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107. This arrangement has been in operation during the five financial years from 1922-23 to 1926-27 and the aided schools have continued to receive direct grant from the Board during this period, while a gradually increasing proportion of the local authority's aid has been excluded in calculating the Board's grant to the authority. It now became necessary to consider in more detail the arrangements which should operate from 1st April, 1927. The position to be established at the end of the five years during which the duplication was in process of abolition was, as stated in Circular 1259, that either direct grant under the Regulations for Secondary Schools or grant under Grant Regulations No. 4, but not both, should be paid in respect of the same school. It therefore became necessary to give to the schools the option of deciding whether they should continue to receive direct grant, in which case any aid from a local authority would not be taken into account in assessing the Board's grant to the authority, or should cease to receive direct grant and receive the whole of their aid from the authority. The original intention had been that this option should be exercised as from 1st April, 1927, but in view of the fact that the school year in respect of which the Board's grants are paid ends on 31st July, it was decided that it would be more convenient that the option should be exercised as from 1st August, and that in view of the need for full discussion between the schools and the local authorities it would be reasonable to allow the option to be exercised either as from 1st August, 1926, or as from 1st August, 1927.
108. Circular 1381 explained that the option could be exercised as from either of these dates, and that in the event of the school ceasing to receive direct grant the full amount of the aid given by local authorities to the school in subsequent financial years would be recognisable for grant. If, however, the school continued to receive direct grant after 31st July, 1927, no aid given by the local authority in 1927-28 or subsequent years would be recognised by the Board for grant to the authority. In the case of schools which decided to cease to receive direct grant the Circular also explained the arrangements for the recognition for grant of aid by the authority given in the period before the Board's grant was withdrawn. As the matter was clearly one which affected the finances of the local authorities as well as of the schools, the Circular advised local authorities and governing bodies to confer at an early date with a view to determining which of the alternatives they desired to adopt.
109. The Circular has been generally accepted as a satisfactory method of bringing into full operation the policy which the Board announced in 1922, but there appears to be some misapprehension on certain points. In some cases governing bodies appear to have assumed that if they elect to continue to receive grant from the Board they cannot hope to continue to receive any aid from the local education authority, seeing that such aid would not be recognised
for the Board's grant to the authority. This assumption is not borne out by the fact that local authorities have, as a rule, continued to aid non-maintained secondary schools during the five years from 1922-23 to 1926-27 although the amount of their aid which has been recognised for grant has been gradually reduced during that period. Moreover, in cases where the amount of the Board's grant is greater than the local authority's aid, it would be more advantageous financially to the authority that the school should continue to receive direct grant from the Board, the authority making good the deficiency, than that it should become entirely dependent on the authority for its aid. For example, if the school receives £2,000 a year in grants from the Board and needs an additional £1,500 a year from the authority to make good its annual deficiency, the authority would lose £250 annually if the school ceased to receive direct grant and became entirely dependent on the authority for aid, since in that event, the school would require to receive £3,500 per annum from the authority of which £1,750 would be paid by the Board under the existing grant system, while the remaining £1,750 would be borne by the authority. On the other hand, if the school receives £1,500 a year in direct grant from the Board and needs £2,000 a year from the local authority to make good its deficiency the position would be reversed. In that case the burden on the authority would be £1,750 if the school ceased to receive direct grant from the Board, and £2,000 if it continued to do so, so that it would be to the advantage of the authority that the school should cease to receive direct grant. The question, however, is one for settlement between the governors and the authority in the light of the circumstances, present and prospective, of each individual case.
110. Another point on which some misapprehension has arisen is that some governing bodies appear to have assumed that if they cease to receive direct grant from the Board their schools will become maintained schools and will cease to be conducted under their existing schemes. This is not the case. The fact that a school elects to receive the whole of its aid from the local authority does not in itself convert it into a maintained school or abrogate the provisions of the scheme. It will, of course, be open to the authority to attach to their aid such conditions as they think fit, but this applies equally to cases in which the authority's aid is supplementary to the Board's grants.
111. Observation Visits.-During the year 1925-26 five applications for visits to other secondary schools were made under Article 44 of the Regulations for Secondary Schools as compared with eight in the previous year. Article 44 applied only to schools receiving direct grant from the Board and it is probable that other visits were made in connection with schools which are not eligible for a special
grant for this purpose. Even so, however, it is clear that comparatively little advantage is taken, by promising but inexperienced teachers, of the facilities for observing methods of teaching in other schools, and the Board would welcome an extension of the system.
112. Full Inspections. In 1925-26 199 schools were fully inspected by the Board, 57 for the first time. These figures compare with 208 and 48 during 1924-25.
10. Schemes under the Charitable Trusts Acts and Endowed Schools Acts for Secondary Schools and for Exhibitions.
113. During the year 1925-26 27 schemes were established as compared with 20 during the year 1924-25. Of these, 20 were for secondary schools, including 9 occasioned by the necessity for increasing the maximum tuition or boarding fees allowed under the existing schemes in order to provide for the increase in the cost of maintenance and of boarding. The remaining 7 schemes were in respect of exhibitions tenable at secondary schools or at other institutions of higher education.
114. We print hereunder the report of the Secondary Schools Examinations Council for the year 1925-26 :—
The Examinations Council held four meetings during the year and their Standing Committee met three times. By the retirement from the Board's service of Mr. W. C. Fletcher the Council have been deprived of co-operation and advice which has been of the highest possible value to them throughout the whole period of their existence; the thanks of the Council are also due to Mr. T. A. Stephens, Staff Inspector of Secondary Schools, who retired during the year. Mr. F. B. Stead, Chief Inspector of Secondary Schools, and Mr. D. A. Macnaughton, Staff Inspector of Secondary Schools, have been appointed assessors to the Council in the place of Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Stephens.
The year was spent mainly in considering the reports of the Investigators of the First Examinations held in 1924 and in correspondence, mostly upon matters of detail, with the Examining Bodies about these reports. Of the more general recommendations of the Investigators which were referred to in some detail in our last report, the Council secured the acceptance by all the Examining Bodies of the suggestion that the maximum number of subjects to be offered in a First Examination should be eight, but not all the Examining Bodies were prepared to meet the recommendation of the Investigators that the award of honours and distinctions in the First Examination should be discontinued.
The Council think that it may be of interest to publish some of the statistics in their possession of the First and Second Examinations. These figures give some impression of the position which the various subjects at present occupy in the secondary schools in the country; they are perhaps particularly valuable for the light which they throw on the position of classical studies.
Tables 1 and 2 below show the growth since 1919-20 in the number of candidates for the First and Second Examinations respectively. Table 3 gives the number of entries in each of the subjects of the First Examinations in the years 1919, 1922, 1924 and 1926, the percentage of candidates who offered each of these subjects, and the percentage of credits awarded in them. It will be noticed that there has been a slight falling off in the percentage of entries in Geography. The percentage of candidates offering Latin shows a steady increase from 35.1 in 1919 to 41.3 in 1926. There was a shrinkage in the entries in Greek during the earlier years but a recovery later; the percentage of candidates offering Greek in 1919 was 4.2 and in 1926 3.7. The percentage who offered German varied very little during the period. The figures for Chemistry and Physics show that a higher proportion of pupils than formerly are now offering these subjects. The entries in Art have increased, as have the entries in Music, though the number of candidates offering Music still remains remarkably small.
Table 4 shows the number of candidates who entered for each of the principal groups in the Higher Certificate Examinations in the two years 1920 and 1926. Table 5 shows the number who entered and the number who passed in the individual subjects in these Examinations. The proportion of candidates entering for the Examination in Classical Studies and in the Scientific and Mathematical groups shows a slight shrinkage; Modern Studies have gained at the expense of the other groups. This may be due to the increased entry of girls for these examinations. The proportion of candidates offering Latin has remained about stationary. There is a falling off in the percentage of entries in Greek from 14.5 in 1920 to 10-8 in 1926. Fewer candidates appear to be offering Classics as a group but this is compensated as far as Latin is concerned by the number of candidates who now offer this as a subject in the Modern Studies group. The increased proportion of candidates offering English and History is very noticeable. There is a slight increase in the entries in Geography, accounted for, no doubt, by the institution by one of the Examining Bodies of a separate group in which Geography forms a principal subject.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the statistics is the assurance which they give that Greek and Latin have substantially held their position in the schools. In both the First and Second Examinations there has been a considerable increase in the total number of pupils offering Latin and Greek. The figures may be of sufficient interest to be reproduced here :
The growth in the number of candidates offering Latin in these Examinations is more than proportionate to the growth in the total number of candidates; an increasing number of pupils relatively to the total number of entrants for a School Certificate are year by year taking Latin up to the stage of the First Examination. The proportion of candidates offering Greek is somewhat smaller than it was, though the growth in their total number is remarkable.
Statement showing the number of candidates entering for the examination and the number obtaining a Certificate in the years 1919 to 1926.
Statement showing the number of candidates entering for the Examination and the number obtaining a Certificate in the years 1920 to 1926.