Maintaining School Standards

Children studying
Children studying
London Illustrated News

In 1891, teachers were under pressure to maintain the high standards expected by government inspectors. At Buttington School the headmaster, Mr Powell, reported on 13th February

"Average 34.5. The Vicar visited and informed me the H.M.I. intends to take the first class on Tuesday next, and the others on 24th."

The Vicar visited
Powys County Archives

The school report for the year from January 1891 to January 1892 deals with standards and the amount of cash grants to which the school is entitled.

Inspector's Report
Powys County Archives

In the Inspector's general report the school fares rather badly:

School inspection report
Click on image to see larger version
Powys County Archives

"This school was closed in consequence of sickness among the scholars in June, but this hardly accounts for the falling off in the quality of the work and of the want of general intelligence. The elementary subjects need special attention. English is fair and geography a failure. No grant can be recommended for Needlework until it is taught more systematically and in accordance with Schedule III. Several of the children in the first and second standards are much beyond the average age and the attendance of many of the children is irregular and ought to receive the attention of the Local Authority.

. . want of general intelligence . .
Powys County Archives

The attention of the Managers is requested to the terms of Article 86 of the Code.

Mr Powell's provisional certificate will expire on the 5th December next (article 54)."

Drawing was inspected and assessed separately and seems to have been for boys only. This subject fared rather better.

Drawing was inspected
Powys County Archives

But as Mr Powell observed:

"Drawing taught according to Time Table and was commenced on July 22nd inst.
Most of the boys seem to like drawing."
Most of the boys seem to like drawing
Powys County Archives

In spite of a problem with falling standards, the school did manage to get many of the children through their certificates in 1891.

One such was William Nichols, who lived in a very full house:

1891 Census
26 Hope
Name Position in
Age Occupation Place of Birth English/Welsh
William Nichols Head M 78 Bricklayer - retired Montgomery, Buttington English
Maria Nichols Wife M 81   Salop English
Alfred Nichols Son M 41 Bricklayer Montgomery, Buttington English
Elizabeth Nichols Daur-in-law M 35   Montgomery, Buttington English
William Nichols G son   9 Scholar Montgomery, Buttington English
John Nichols G son   6 Scholar Montgomery, Buttington English
George Nichols G son   4   Montgomery, Buttington English
Henry Nichols G son   4   Montgomery, Buttington English
Elizabeth Bishop Serv S 15 Nurse - domestic Salop, Aston English

William attained his standard III in all subjects and got to standard VI before leaving to go to work.

Other children are detailed on the next page.