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EDUCATION BOARD., Issue 10421, 16 September 1897
The adjourned meeting of the Education Board this morning was- attended by Messrs D. Borrie (chairman), H. Clark, W. Snow, J; M'Rae Gallaway, J. F. M. Fraser, P. B. Fraser, A; M'Kerrow, and the Hon. J. MacGregor. 'SCHOOLMATES.' The Minister of Education wrote enclosing a letter he had received from Mr P. B. Fraser calling his attention to-the fact that a .publication entitled 'Schoolmates' was being read in the public schools during school hours. The Minister requested to be informed to what extent the allegation that the publication was being read in school hours was correct.
Mr Fraßer's letter to the Minister was also read.
Mr P. B. Fraser said that two or three meetings ago he brought this matter before the Board, but they declined to take any action in the matter. He pointed out at that time that the publication contained a letter from one of tbeir chief inspectors in which the paper was welcomed as an addition to the reading course of our public schools. He had also pointed out that it was stated that it. was to be read by children during school hours, and also that there were competitions to be held in the public schools by subscribers only, but the Board had declined- to interfere in the matter. Ultimately the Board agreed to request the-inspectors to say to what use this publication was to b*e put in the schools, and also to report on its contents. The inspectors, however, had omitted to reply on the special points that were submitted to them. The Board, therefore, had no official knowledge of how the publication was being used, and. he therefore moved—- " That a circular be sent to school teachers asking them to state whether the periodical ' Schoolmates' is put-to any use in the Bchools under their control, and if so to state if it is circulated or used within the school hours,
and that in the meantime a copy of the inspectors' report already submitted be forwarded to the Minister of Education." Mr J. F. M. Fraser seconded the motion. Mr Snow opposed the motion, and expressed his approval of the publication. ■ He did not know anything about the publication being read in any school. Mr P. B. Fraser said he had never said a word against the publication. What he objected to was the schools being made the medium for the circulation of a private publication. The Hon. J. MacGregor siid the Minister of Education had asked them a certain question, and it was due of them in courtesy to answer that question. He would move as an amendment—" That the Minister be informed that the Board &re not aware that the publication referred to iu his letter of August 27 is being read in the schools in this district in school hours." Mr Snow seconded the amendment. Mr Gallaway said that if they were to answer the question submitted by the Minister they must first be in possession of the necessary information. Mr Fraser's motion aimed at getting that information, and the quickest way to get it was by sending out the circular.
Mr Clark consurred in what Mr Galta way said.
On being put to the vote the motion was carried on the. voices. accounts. Accounts amounting to £8,282 5s 2d were passed for payment. normal school. The following letter from Mr D. White
was read:—"l have seen Mr Hanna, and he tells me that the accommodation at our gymnasium is quite inadequate for the number of girls and students attending the gymnastic classes. The apparatus, too, is poor and insufficient for the purpose. We have 120 girls in the Sixth and Seventh Standards,' and nearly forty students. To try and meet the difficulty I divided both pupils and students into two divisions, having them drilled on alternate days, but Mr Hanna still thinks the classes far too large to drill them properly. I do not approve of the suggestion to send the students either to Union street or to the Girls' High School. Even were this done there is still the same difficulty with regard to pupils. To send my girls to the Union street school gymnasium strikes roe as a little incongruous. I understand that gymnasiums have been erected where there are but thirty pupils in the Fifth and Sixth Standards. In view of this, might I suggest that the Board's architect report on the possibility of improving our own gymnasium. I have arranged with Mr Hanna to wait a little and see if the Board carry out my sussestion." ' ob
The Chairman said it was at Mr White's own request that half the gymnasium space was taken some years ago for the purpose of providing a model country school for the benefit of the students.
On the motion of Mr J. F. M. Fraser it was resolved—" That Mr White be instructed to make the necessary arrangements with Mr Hanna for the students receiving instruction ia gymnastics at the Girls' High School gymnasium." schools' conference. The Secretary of the Dunedin and Suburban Schools' Conference wrote forwarding the resolutions with reference to amendments to the Education Aot which were carried at the recent annual meeting.—On the motion of Mr J. F. M. Fraser it was resolved—"That the letter be received, and that the Conference be informed that the Board have already oommuuicated with the Minister in the direction indicated."
waiareka school. The reports which Inspectors Goyen and Fitzgerald had been requested to eubmit on the plan for the proposed.new school at Waiareka were read by the secretary. The architect's plan was generally approved, and tho opinion was expressed that it would be well to try a school or two built on the principle proposed by Mr Somerville in the present instance.
Mr P. B. Fraser said ; The Board has to face the position that not only do the inspectors approve of the Waiareka schoolroom as a properly designed room, but Mr Goyen goes farther. The plan shows 30ft space from the front to the back of the room, and Mr Goyen in his' plan attached would even make it 34ft, arranging the desks in two groups of five each with a gangway up the middle. The inspectors state that the advantages of this arrangement are as follow : —(1) There is a large.floor space available (16ft) for bringing classes out to receive direct oral teaching from the teacher. (2) The class under instruction is thus uear the teacher an the blackboard. (3) The other pupils are well within the teacher's view. (4) By bringing his pupils to the floor he affords them relief by frequent changes from the sitting to the standing position, (5) He can see the desk workers without turning his head. (C) The gallery, or back-raised benches, are for the silentwork, which can be prosecuted under less distracting noises than under the common or longitudinal plan. ,1 gather these as their chief reasons for recommending the new style of building. If this new plan has superior advantages to the common or longitudinal arrangement, it ought to be adopted and made a rule for all future buildings. But the Board ought" to recognise that the plan is distinctly new, and tha,t a new departure in school buildings is here being made without the knowledge or formal sanction of the Board. It has undoubtedly the approval of the Board's inspectors. Let me describe the common plan. The room is about 22ft in depth, instead of 34ft as proposed b/ Mr Goyen. It is generally about 36ft long, the total area of floor space being about the same in both \ cases, only the inspectors propose the teaching should be done across the length instead of across the depth of the building as heretofore. Regarding their reasons for the new arrangement, 1 do not think the advantages alleged are sufficient to justify the Board in adopting the plan, and there are in my opinion several disadvantages peculiar to the new plan itself. The increased floor space is more apparent than real, there being square feet in the common plan and 384 'in the new, while the common plan provides seats for eighty children and the new for only sixty; so that the increased floor space is not got from any inherent advantages of the new plan, but from simply robbing' the seating aocbmmbdatio'n of the school. The other chief advantage alleged to be peculiar to this plan is that the teaoher can bring his classes out to give them the "relief?' of
standing and be near the blackboard. They I can bev brought near the blackboard under any of the plana. But my exnerience leads ma distinctly to controvert the expressed intention of the inspectors to have the children so frequently standing on the floor for instruction, especially in a country school, where a considerable proportion of the children have to walk going and coming six milee, some eight, and it may be a few of them ten miles a day, besides their play. To make it necessary from the plan of the school that any proportion of them should stand in the course of the day two or more hours on the floor seems to be thoughtless, if not cruel. The R\ a mu a i be , ai , des thes e further disadvantages: (1) Ihe black board space in the inspector's plan is very email (being only 14ft), while in the common plan it is exactly 30ft—a very important point. (2) The "silent workers" in the back seats have frequently to do exercises written on the blackboard. Iu the Waiareka plan the wall blackboard is about 30ft from the back seats, and in Mr Goyen's i 34—? e., the maximum depth is 34 in the latter, against 22 of the common plan. Of course there is a small movable blackboard on an easil in all schools, besides the wall blackboards, but the wall blackboards are the chief ones. The effect on the pupils' eyesight is surely a factor worth-considering. (3) In the common plan the fire is Bft from the children in the front seats, and 22ft. in the backseats; while in the inspector's the distances are 16ft and 34ft. I think the English Education Department may be taken to have the best expert advice on the planning of school buildings. I have the revised code of regulations for 1897, in which are given the building rules, issued under the Fnvy Council governing the entire school premises of the.United Kingdom. Article 85 provides : » All new school premises and enlargements must conform generally to the rules contained in schedule 7." The schedule has the following statements bearing on the subject: " The proper width for a schoolroom is from 18ft to 22ft." It also prints in italics under the arrangements of desks: "In proportion as the depth is increased the teacher must raise his voice to a higher pitch ; and this becomes exhausting to himself, while at the same time it adds inconveniently to the general noise." Quite obviously the teacher cannot always bring his pupils on the floor for every explanation of oral or blackboard work. Hence, to have some of them eleven yards off is directly in the teeth of the English regulation, which will, I think, recommend itself to most people as in accordance with common sens?. The only reason I see in favor of the new plan is the arrangement of the light. It is plentiful, and is admitted from the pupils* S «r e ' which is the P ro P ßr s »de. Id the new Waiareka infant room, however, as is pointed out by Mr Fitzgerald, the light enters from the pupils' right side. The lighting is a matter of the first importance. The English building rules have the follow- '? g : ,tV Every part and corn er of a school should be fully lighted. The light should as far as possible, and especially in class rooms, be admitted from the left side of the scholars. This rule will be found greatly to influence the Pj ttn ?" , S- AII otner win dowß in class rooms should be regarded as supplementary or for summer ventilation. Where left light is impossible right light is next best. Windows full in the eyes of teachers or scholars are not approved." In the face of this English expert authoritative opinion, the fact is ihat a number of the class rooms of the principal schools of Otago are constructed with the light full in the face of the teachers, and without any other light at all, left or right. And I know as a consequence some of the teachers complain of their eyesight; while these class rooms, even from a pupil's point of view, are so contrary to the English requirements as to light that they would not be approved for educational purposes. It seems to me that the Board would be doing a wise thing if it adopted as many of the English building regulations as are applicable to our circumstances, seeing that the architects of all school buildings throughout the United Kingdom have these rules as a general guide. I will therefore move " That the Board instruct the architect to arrange this room iu the usual way—to make it not more than 22fb in depth and about 3Gft in length." Mr J. E. M. Eraser thought they were indebted to Mr P. B. Fraser for having brought his knowledge of the English regulations before them. He moved that the matter be relegated to a committee, consisting of the chairman (Mr Borrie), Mr P. B. Fraser, Mr H. Clark, Inspector Goyen, and the architect, to prepare an improved plan, with power to act."
Mr P. B. Fraser withdrew his motion in avor of the amendment, which was carried nem. dis. THE NEW OFFICES. The Board then went into committee to to consider the plans for the first floor of the* new offices. On resuming, it was resolved, on the motion of Mr P. B. Eraser—" That one of the upper rooms of the new buildings be set apart for the use of the teachers of Otago, and a committee, consisting of the chairman, Mr Gallaway, and the mover, draw up conditions under which it may be used, and report to the Board." WOODLANDS. The secretary was instructed to arrange for the clearing of a sohool site of two acres in block 7, Woodlands. RESIGNATION. Miss Cruickshanks, head-teacher, Kveburn. ' J LEI HI VALLEY. A communication was received from the Lsith Valley School Committee with reference to the formation of works for the protection of the property from the stream Consideration was held over for the present.
TORT CHALMERS. Mr P. B. Fraser drew attention to the report in the paper of the Port Chalmers Scho.ol Committee's meeting in which it was stated : " Correspondence with the Education Board as to an alleged insufficiency of the staff in charge of the lower standards was read, and consideration of the subject postponed till next meeting. It was unanimously resolved that the Board be requested to grant Miss Bott six months' leave of absence on full pay, and that a letter of sympathy be sent 1o Miss Bott." This matter of the Port Chalmers School was before the Board last night, when two motions were adopted, and he would now move—" That the two motions be adopted in open Board," wilh the certification of two facts—first, that the Board never initiated anything in connection with the staff at Port Chalmers, and, second, that it had received no communication asking for six months' leave of absence on full pay. The matter was of great importance, and the Board should at once be put right with the public and the people of Port Chalmers. The motion was carried. The following are the motions:—(l) " That the School Committee be requested to state to the Board all the facts and surroundings of the case of Miss Bott"; and (2) "that the rector be requested to communicate to the Board on the facts regarding the state of the junior department of the school leading up to the action taken by the Committee in communicating with the Board, and leading to the application for leaye of absence to Miss Bott."
EDUCATION BOARD., Issue 10421, 16 September 1897
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