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The middle of this century was a time of considerable unrest, educational as well as political. Two important Commissions investigated Secondary Education. By the foresight, tact and energy of a little band of women, the second and more important commission included in their research a few secondary schools for girls. The incalculable benefit of university education was gradually opened to women, and even before this women teachers found great stimulation and valuable guidance in their teaching work through the testing and criticism of university examinations. The young teacher of to-day is perhaps apt to forget the great advantage to girls' education, especially in the beginning, of the Local Examinations.
From the sixties the education of women teachers has
made very rapid progress. In 1869, Girton College was opened, and two years later, Newnham College. Eight years later two women's Halls were opened at Oxford, followed quickly by others elsewhere. From the seventies, a substructure of university education has been possible for an increasing number of women teachers, and each decade has increased the number of graduate women teachers.
The time seemed ripe in the seventies for the further development of a special professional training for teachers. Short courses for women secondary teachers had been given by the Home and Colonial Elementary Training College, and elsewhere, and informal training had been possible at the Ladies' College, Cheltenham, and no doubt at other good schools. The first serious attempt at secondary training was in 1878 by the establishment of the Maria Grey Training College, on whom fell the honour and also the special difficulties of starting the movement as regards women. I find that between 400 and 500 students have been trained at this college, of whom about 50 have been graduates.
During the next year, 1879, the University of Cambridge made a remarkable departure. From 1871 to 1876 resolutions were passed by the Head Masters' Conference in favour of the
training of teachers. A committee was formed, and memorials were forwarded in 1877 and 1878 to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. It really seemed as if those who were historically our natural educational leaders were going to initiate the training of secondary teachers. Schemes were framed by both universities in 1878. In 1879 the committee sent questions to all the members of the Conference to see how far they were willing to adopt the schemes of the universities, but the amount of support was very small. The University of Cambridge, however, started courses of lectures on the history, practice, and theory of education, and these continue to the present time. In the following year this university also started an examination for teachers. Nearly 1500 candidates have successfully passed this examination, about 60 men and the rest women. The University of London soon followed with a teacher's diploma for its own graduates and nearly 80 candidates have obtained this diploma.
In 1881 the question of training was again discussed at the Head Masters' Conference, and a further series of questions was sent round to the members in 1882. The answers were so discouraging that the question was dropped. Meanwhile in 1882 the Finsbury Training College for men was decided on, and was opened in Jan. 1883. There was an excellent Council, including Dr Butler, Dr Percival, Mr Bell of Marlborough, Mr Thring, Dr Ridding, late Headmaster of Winchester, etc., but the scheme was either premature or not what was required, for we find the first entry consisted of three students, all of whom had scholarships, and the entry for the second year consisted only of three university men, and in October 1886 the college was closed, partly for want of funds, and partly no doubt because of insufficient support from the Headmasters of the great Public Schools and the best grammar schools. Thus in the history of secondary training in England we are obliged to enumerate the wreck of several hopeful schemes.
In 1885 two more training colleges for women were estab
lished, which fortunately still survive. Each had certain elements of novelty. The training department in connection with the Ladies' College, Cheltenham, was the first attempt to connect the secondary training of women with a famous school already in existence. About 120 students have been trained in Cheltenham, about one in nine have been graduates.
In the same year, under the beneficent shadow of this university was started another training college, which probably many of you have visited. It was the first residential secondary training college, and also the first I think to utilise lectures on education given at an university. It has had some 600 students, about 180 of whom are graduates.
Several other training colleges have been started for women, but as yet the numbers attending them are small.
In 1890 Day Training Colleges for elementary teachers were established in connection with universities and university colleges, and most of them have now made provision for the training of secondary teachers as well as elementary. As yet few secondary teachers have taken advantage of these arrangements.
One of the disputed points in training at present is whether it is advisable to train together teachers preparing to teach in secondary and in elementary schools. In the presence of conflicting opinions I may be allowed perhaps to give a personal one. I believe that training is affected to a small degree by the kind of educational work students are going to undertake (and this necessary differentiation is I think quite possible in one college), but it is affected to a considerable degree by the kind of education which students have received. It appears to me therefore undesirable to attempt to train together a pupil teacher educated in an elementary school, whose qualification is a Queen's Scholarship, with another student educated in a good grammar school or high school, and who has a degree obtained at Oxford or Cambridge. On the other hand I see no reason why two university graduates
should not with advantage be trained together, although one intends teaching in a secondary school, and the other in an elementary school.
In 1891 an important Select Committee was appointed in connection with Teachers' Registration. The 16 members included Mr Arthur Acland, and their report contained these words, "Your committee regard as one of the most important objects of a registration bill the training of teachers in secondary schools." This report contains a mass of information about secondary training as it existed in 1891, and the opinions of many of those concerned in training.
In 1893 an important conference was held at Oxford on secondary education. The report of that conference gives a very fair idea of the opinion of English secondary teachers at that time on the question of training. Three years later a similar. conference was held at Cambridge, and it is easy to detect that public opinion on training had grown between those dates.
In 1894 occurred that gallant but unsuccessful attempt to start a training college by the College of Preceptors, to which I have already referred.
In 1894-95 we have a very important Royal Commission on Secondary Education, and its opinion on training is of course of great value. In the report occur these words, "We are disposed to think it is generally desirable that those who intend to adopt teaching as a profession should pass through a course of special preparation for it." Future generations of teachers will no doubt wonder at the term "generally."
In 1896 an important and fairly representative committee of secondary teachers was established to consider the question of training, and their pamphlet at present represents the highwater mark of English opinion on this question, and deserves careful study.
During the last five years the universities of Oxford and Cambridge have both initiated schemes of secondary training,
Cambridge for men only, as a training college for women already existed, Oxford for men and women. Professors of Education have also been appointed in Wales, Liverpool, and Manchester.
During the last twenty years English public opinion on training has steadily grown, and the places where secondary training can be obtained have steadily increased in number. Still we in England know we are but at the beginning of things. Let me remind you for one moment what a serious drawback it has been to us in England, right through this century, that the first class of teachers to be trained were elementary teachers, and the second class were women secondary teachers. Until the aristocracy of our profession seriously grapple with this problem of training, we must wait I think for a satisfactory solution as far as England is concerned. Meanwhile the registration of teachers lies ahead, and legislation may force the masters of our great Public Schools into this struggle, where they, with their greater advantages and privileges, should always have been in command.
Meanwhile there are apparently four dangers in the immediate future of secondary training which we should avoid :
1. So to multiply the centres for secondary training, that instead of a few admirably equipped centres, we shall have a large number inadequately equipped with a few students in each. I confess I have been startled to find lately the number of present centres that have no students or very few. It is obvious that this is financially possible only when secondary training is but one of several functions performed by a given staff, and this arrangement may easily tend to give a very inadequate idea of the profound educational importance of secondary training. On the other hand the work of training is so difficult and requires so much individual attention, that it is plain that a training college can easily be too large to carry on its work very effectively.
2. To attempt to carry out at the same time two such