[from A Hundred Years of Education]
"WHAT sort of a Crossing ?"the familiar greeting from the quay as the boat steals up to her berth.
And it stands for something that marks us off from other schools, something not always of pleasure but always of adventure, making for virility, stirring in our blood a touch of the old Viking spirit that built the Empire.
There are timid folk that fear the crossing; we are sorry for them. They miss what nothing else can give, not physical only but of the spirit, the ozone of the breezes, the open spaces, contact with hills and sea in all their moods : and the Island itself, Ellan Vannin, whence her truest son, whose centenary we celebrate this year, drew his inspiration : Maughold Head and Laxey with Snaefell and North Barrule and Pennypot rising behind them from the mist as we approach, and then, on the left, our own South Barrule and Langness stretching seawards in lizard form. Education is not education without romance, and we have it all round us. It sinks into our souls, if we have souls, and remains a heritage for life.
I like to think of each term as a crossing, in fair weather sometimes and sometimes rough, and after 53 of them, as I yield the bridge to younger hands, there remains just one thing for me to do, to edit the ships log if perchance it may be of service to future captains in their navigation.
In these 17 years the Empire and the world have been making history and we have been carried, willy nilly, in their wake. They have been strenuous, often anxious years, hut always exhilarating; and as T. E. Browns
"Cullege" approaches its own Centenary, it seems a fitting effort to compile its story in consecutive narrative. Things of vivid experience pass quickly into oblivion and even now the records of earlier days are all too sparse.
For the earlier times I have drawn mainly on Moores History of the Island, supplemented by the archives of the college, often themselves very defective . Some obscurities remain which will, I hope, be cleared up, and probably some mistakes I have made corrected, when the promised History of Education in the Isle of Man appears. And I have to thank various friends for information on particular points and other help , especially the Archdeacon of Man , Canon Quine, the Second Deemster (Mr. R. D. Farrant), and Mr. William Cubbon, Curator of the Manx Museum, also my colleagues, Mr. O. W. Mitchell and Mr. L. H. Scott, for reading the proofs. The frontispiece, from a drawing made for the occasion, is a gift of the artist, Wilfrid T. Quayle, O.K.W. , author of "A Manx Sketch Book".
The Trustees have authorised the issue of this pamphlet, but the opinions expressed in it are purely personal and for them I take sole responsibility.
I could have wished that it had been my lot to remain upon the bridge till the Centenary, but nature warns me that the time has come, not, I hope, for idleness, hut for less exacting work. And it is better so; a Centenary looks back and forward, but it is towards the future that our Course is set, and 1933 will herald in the second century of the schools life with the captain of the new voyage already firmly established on the bridge. This, then, is my send-off to him from the quay.
While this was in preparation a great figure in the schools history passed away in the person of Mr. W. G. Wilson. I had had his help and sympathy in the earlier part, and in the great sense of loss we feel one item is the knowledge that what I have said would have been better said after the final revision of one who, as a master for 32 years and Vice-Principal for the all too short period of four, was a greater force than any other one man in building up the modern tradition of the College, curius pars magna fuit.
The near approach of its Centenary makes it a fitting time to take stock of King Williams College. These 100 years have been years of change amounting to revolution, and in education may be divided into three epochs: that which in England began about 1850 with the modern "Public School," that following the Balfour Act of 1902, and the war and its aftermath. Like all Manx institutions the College reacts to every change on the mainland, and the necessary background of its story must be constructed from that of English education during its lifetime. And we must go further back still. The present is always an evolution from the past, and to understand its course is the only possible way to forecast, even to a limited extent, what is in store in a very uncertain future. For there are no grounds for supposing that we have reached a static position ; change is much more likely to accelerate, and those who lay their plans on the assumption that the future will be as the present or the past live in a fools paradise.
My experience has enabled me to see something from different angles of all these epochs, as a boy at Haileybury and an undergraduate at Oxford, as an assistant master from 1891 at Manchester Grammar School and Bromsgrove, as Headmaster at York from 1900, and at the College from 1913.
Confusion is apt to arise from an undefined nomenclature, and it is first necessary to arrive at a clear idea of what is meant by such terms as High School, Secondary School, Grammar School, and Public School.
High School is not a technical term. It is a name commonly used in Germany and America to describe the chief school in a town, and has been adopted in the same sense, but without consistency, in England and Scotland.
The word Secondary is the survival of an unsuccessful attempt to grade education into Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. But Elementary and University have displaced the first and last, university (universitas) meaning originally a place where there were instruction and examination in all or most branches of study. Only "Secondary" survives from this nomenclature, and the word properly describes all schools, not being technical schools, which educate above the Elementary but not reaching University standard ; Eton, for instance, is a Secondary School. But the lower forms of many Secondary Schools overlap with the Public Elementary and Private Preparatory Schools; and since 1902 the term has come in common parlance to connote schools, not being Public Elementary Schools, which are either provided or financed, and controlled, by Local Education. Authorities. This meaning is unscientific but useful as supplying a name for a thing, and in that sense it is used hereafter.
Education in mediæval England, so far as it existed, was carried on in the monasteries and the schools attached to secular cathedral bodies, of which the most famous in the 8th century was St. Peters School, York, whence Alcuin, first boy and then headmaster, went to be " Education Minister " to the Emperor Charlemagne. Three schools, Winchester (1387), Eton (1441), and Westminster (1500) had Royal Charters, and, presumably to distinguish them from schools founded by private benefaction, are in a certain Act of Parliament described as " the Public Schools" ; but this does not help much to the understanding of a very equivocal term.
The Reformation destroyed the educational, as it did the poor-law system of the country, but the revival of learning made good the loss, and in the next two centuries 782 local schools were endowed by pious benefactors to give education in "grammar" or the classics, in contra-distinction to the Theological schools, the only form then of technical education. The movement slowed down and, in the 18th century, gave place to the Charity Schools, the precursors of the later Elementary Schools.
The foundation of the Grammar School generally provided for the free education of a few poor pupils, but fee-paying pupils were also admitted. Fees in many cases would d be low , pupils relatively few and endowments meagre; so the Grammar Schools had a struggling existence, those only becoming prosperous and famous which were situated in populous towns or founded by the wealthy City Companies, such as Merchant Taylors', Tonbridge (the Skinners Company), and Oundle (the Grocers Company).
A few of the Grammar Schools, of which Rugby ( 1567) is the type, expanded and took boarders. It seems likely that these came to be termed Public Boarding Schools, and, for short, Public Schools, to distinguish them from the many Private Boarding Schools which grew up in the 18th century. But the name, never properly applied to a privately-owned school, came in common parlance to convey a certain undefined prestige, much as did " High School." It is apparently in this sense that Lord Clarendons Commission, in 1862, enumerated " the nine great Public SchoolsEton, Harrow, Rugby , Winchester, Westminster, Charterhouse, Shrewsbury, St. Pauls and Merchant Taylors." It will be noted that two of them, St. Pauls and Merchant Taylors, are day-schools, their inclusion in the list being doubtless due to the prestige accruing to two great London Schools.
The Industrial Revolution brought a great increase of population and wealth, and with it a demand for more Boarding Schools. The Private Schools could not rise to the standard. required in buildings, equipment and playing. fields, and they fell into disrepute by the publication of " Nicholas Nickleby " (1839). There followed, round about 1850, the new crop of great boarding schools, Marlborough, Clifton, Wellington, Haileybury, etc., and the Commission of 1852 started others of the old Grammar Schools (Uppingham, Sedhergh, Giggleswick, etc.) upon a career of expansion. It is a curious symptom of what was happening that Dr. Holden was "promoted" from Uppingham to the Cathedral School of Durham, and his next successor hut two at Uppingham was " promoted " thither from Durham.
There was, however, a revival of a great many of the local Grammar Schools. Populations were increasing: many of them had valuable close scholarships at the Universities, and they were used, as the lower forms of Secondary Schools often are now, as Preparatory Schools by the " gentry." This retained a wholesome mixture of classes and the subsequent development of the "Preparatory Schools," in other ways good, has had an unfortunate influence in class segregation. The close connection between them and the Public Schools has tended to intensify the exclusiveness of the latter ; but this exclusiveness is far less marked in the Northern than in the Southern Public Schools, owing to the habit in the North of still using the Grammar or Secondary School as the Preparatory School.
Mr. Thring, having converted Uppingham into a Public School, wasted no time, and in 1869 founded the Headmasters Conference to represent the " Public Schools." It was followed later by the Incorporated Association of Headmasters, for election to which all Headmasters of schools not privately owned are eligible. A great number of the Headmasters of Public Schools are members of it, and owing to its numbers and the relative unity of its outlook it is a far more influential body, though membership of the less effective Conference is much coveted as giving prestige, but doubts have now been raised, even in the Conference itself, whether it has not outlived its usefulness.
And what is a Public School ? Not only the three, or the nine, for Uppingham itself was not one of them. Not only Boarding Schools, for two of the nine were Day Schools. Many other Day Schools have been added to the Conference; some schools traditionally represented have been since absorbed into the State system, and no satisfactory test of membership has ever been devised. Election is at the discretion of the Committee, who require evidence of an independent governing body, and of adequate numbers and association with the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The Committee recently asked the Conference to provide them with a definite test of eligibility, which the Conference failed to do. And the Conference now has by a unanimous vote repudiated the suggestion that for a Headmaster to be a member of it constitutes a school a Public School ; but people still think it does. There is, therefore, no definition of a Public School. Membership of the Conference gives no more than a presumption of a right to the title, and you can only say that those are Public Schools which are considered to he so. The War Office aims at confining the O.T.C. to "Public Schools " : the invitations to the Duke of Yorks Camp are only issued to " Public Schools," and those responsible in each case interpret the name as they like. It is an unfortunate term, for it is an invidious one; but it is impossible to get rid of it, for there is no equivalent ; like a yorker, "I dont know what else you could call it." But ill defined as it is you must call it something, so probably the name will stick. In the popular mind it connotes a certain prestige and the system of self-government associated in its origin with the name of Dr. Arnold.
Hereafter Public School is used in this sense, while public school indicates one which is not privately owned.
The interest of the State in Secondary Education was first aroused by the Prince Consort, who, to stimulate science and art, inspired the Crystal Palace Exhibition of 185 I, and himself sketched the idea of it. From this sprang the Science and Art Department of South Kensington, through which Government grants were made to encourage these subjects in local schools. Thus began the development of science teaching, which while it has immensely broadened the basis of education has proportionately added to its cost, both capital and current.
The requirements constantly increase. At first it was considered sufficient to teach Chemistry and Physics, but now Mechanics and Practical Engineering, on which side King Williams has been a pioneer, are being more generally introduced; and the leaders of Scientific Education, about two years ago, initiated a strong campaign in favour of Biology and Physiology. "Here, too, King Williams was already in the field, and " General Science," giving, lower down the School, scientific instruction on a broad syllabus, drawn up by Mr. Stenning, was introduced before it became common in other schools.
Towards the end of the century, the newly-established Board of Education took over the functions of South Kensington in addition to the control of School endowments hitherto vested in the Charity Commission ; but these changes did not seriously affect the Isle of Man.
In 1902 came the Balfour Act, by which (1) the Board of Education was given power to subsidize Secondary Schools generally and without reference to special subjects ; (2) Local Authorities were created with power to subsidize out of the rates. With subsidies went, of course, control. There are now three types of public secondary school, schools wholly independent, schools subsidized and controlled by the Board only, and schools subsidized and controlled by both the Board and the Local Authority. It is this third type which is now generally described as " Secondary." The Secondary Schools consist of two classes : existing schools taken over having their own endowments and governing bodies, and new Schools wholly " provided " by the Local Authority. It has been the custom to add representatives of the Local Authority to the Governing Bodies of the existing schools and to appoint Governors for the provided schools. Grave questions in status arose at Sheffield when the Authority, with a Labour majority, abolished the Governing Body of King Edward VIIs School and put it directly under the Higher Education Committee. The Headmaster, who thereby lost his right to be a member of the Headmasters Conference, resigned.
In all provided and aided schools there must be a certain proportion of "free places" and subsidies have made possible the substantial lowering of fees. The professed objective of the Labour Party is to abolish all fees in all Secondary Schools and bring all of them under public control. Another of their objects, not entirely consistent with this, is to get access to the Public Schools for their sons. The solution will, doubtless, like everything English, come by compromise, but the objectives of what is at present the strongest party in the country are a factor that must be considered in computing the force of currents.
The coping stone to the scheme has been put by the generous provision by Local Authorities of "County Major Scholarships " in supplement to Scholarships won at the Universities. These in England can be held, irrespective of the School at which he is educated, by any boy whose parents reside in the locality and whose total income fails below a stated figure. Thus opportunity is opened to a boy of parts to go right through from the Elementary School to the University with little cost to his parents. In the Isle of Man these State Scholarships are restricted to pupils from State-aided Schools.
At first mistakes were made, and in early days same serious ones, and State regulation always tends to work against that elasticity which education above all things requires ; experience has remedied some, though not all of them, and regulation of anything seems to be impossible without tiresome and expensive red tape. But, generally speaking, the system thus created has worked well, and stands among the greatest social achievements of any nation, when operated by people with a broad outlook and familiar with all the intricacies of education in every branch.
It was of course obvious that the new system must have radical reactions on existing schools. To the old Private School (with the exception of the Preparatory School) it gave or is giving the coup de grace. To many of the local Grammar Schools, which were taken over, it brought a new lease of life, and other schools found salvation by accepting control and subsidies (given then without the condition of free scholars) from the State only. The independent schools necessarily suffered when parents found almost at their doors efficient schools, splendidly built and equipped and charging a fee below cost price. People even who could afford higher fees are affected psychologically, and wealthy men sometimes send their Sons to the controlled schools on the ground that as they have to pay for them they may as well use them.
The loss of boys could not be compensated by raising fees and no funds except voluntary subscriptions were available to meet the immensely higher standard now being set in building and equipment. Salaries remained low and the advance of science was an added cost. The consequence was the collapse of a number of the smaller quasi Public Schools, Bath College, Leamington, Eltham, etc. Good trade prevented a greater slide, and independent schools, when favourably situated, were worked into the local system, scholarships, and bursaries (without control) being financed by local Authorities. This was the position to which Dulwich reverted after it abandoned control.
In all, however, except the strongest of the independent schools the decade following 1902 was marked by a decline in numbers and this is reflected at the College in the drop from 214 to 143. Local reasons contributed, particularly the wreck of the "Ellan Vannin", but I have no doubt that, in the main, the fortunes of King Williams College reflected that of the corresponding schools over the water.
The declaration of War shook the Public Schools, like everything else, to their foundations. Every fit boy over 17 left to join the forces, and the more so as the War Office pressed for O.T.C. Cadets to take commissions in the new Army. Other boys were withdrawn from loss or feared loss of business. This, again, was reflected at the College. In July, 1914, the numbers stood at 172, by Christmas, 1915, they were down again to 140, of which some were refugees taken free of cost. But then a change came about and unexpected results followed. The War Office learnt by heroic but ghastly experience that boys cannot command troops in battle, and, yielding to what the Headmasters Conference had from the first urged on them, raised the age of commissions to 18½. A great deal of money was made and people who had hitherto looked askance at the Public Schools began to send their sons to them. Partly, there was nothing else on which the Government allowed them to spend ; partly, families were l)called up, homes and servants hard to get and feeding difficult, so the boy was sent to "boarding school " to save trouble ; partly, they wanted a commission for him through the O.T.C. to keep him from the ranks. This new class which discovered the Public Schools found they liked them and continued during the trade boom to use them ; they do so still when they can afford it. A salutary effect is seen in the inter-mingling-of classes, for the new influx, which contained some splendid material, had often started in very humble homes. The Headmaster of Eton, with characteristic irony, put it to the Conference in the words "Eton is now the school of the profiteers son."
All Public Schools rapidly filled. The bigger ones had long waiting lists and even the smaller ones could not absorb all the overflow. New schools were opened, of which the most famous are those on the Stowe Foundation, Stowe itself, Canford, and the Wrekin College (the last a private school, Wellington College, Salop, converted into a Public School), and new schools are still being added.
The financial aspect of this movement is amazing when we remember the gloomy anticipations of 1914-15 . Apart from the new schools, built and equipped, lavish subscriptions from Old Boys and friends who made money in the War and the boom have enabled existing schools to extend and re-equip themselves, and the standard which any School which wants to succeed must attain has again been raised. Increased numbers and fees have enabled them to meet the increased costs and to provide for their staffs in a way rendered imperative by the Burnham Scale and the superannuation schemes in State schools. But both in the supply of schools and their financial dispositions the market has been dressed for a continuance of the boom.
There remains one aspect of the Public Schools to be considered, their relation to careers, and in a realistic age this constitutes the "articulus stantis vel cadentis ecclesiae." I am not here concerned either to defend or criticize, hut only to state facts as by long study, close observation and intimate experience I conceive them to be.
The Public Schools have an integral connexion with the older universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and for brevity I shall call them taken together "the Block."
The Block has always had a preferential value, which it has not lost, for certain careers, the First Class Civil Service, and some of the professions, notably education. In schools, the most lucrative Assistant-Masterships are in the Public Schools, where they may rise above the Burnham maximum and may be further increased by House Masterships. Oxford and Cambridge have very nearly a monopoly of these posts; and there has been in the last few years a somewhat startling tendency to appoint Headmasters of Secondary Schools, even the smaller ones, from Public Schools; the converse is almost unknown. The new Universities mostly seek their Vice-Chancellors and Professors from Oxford and Cambridge, who to their own posts appoint their own alumni. The personel of the Board of Education is also drawn predominantly from the Block.
But it is in business that the War has produced the most unexpected results. In it the captains of commerce and industry discovered the Public Schools, partly by sending their sons to them, partly by observation of the efficiency and power of handling men shown by officers from the O..T .C . Before the War, with the exception of a few pioneers, they had looked askance at the Block as resorts of the idle rich, wedded to the obsolete classics and productive chiefly of an athletic complex and the Oxford drawl. The prejudice was stronger, and, as an Oxford man, I must admit, better warranted against Oxford than Cambridge, and Cambridge still holds the advantage, though Oxford is now going ahead. Employers wanted smart lads of 16, who had learnt "something useful," who knew their place and would be punctual in the morning. The smartest could rise, but management still went largely by influence to sons, nephews or friends of the firm, who, with a career assured, did much to foster the reproach of the " idle rich."
But changes already at work were accelerated by the War. The private firm was yielding more and more to the joint Stock Company, and business was becoming big. It needed men of power and leadership to keep abreast of competition. Directors either themselves or by appointments committees of their own went out in search of the best material and influence is at a discount.
The first discovery they made was that the curriculum of the Block was much wider than they had supposed, and was growing wider still. So at the Universities could he found men with technical qualifications. The Government had already made the same discovery. In illustration I may mention six College boys, three trained in Botany and appointed, two to the Indian Woods and Forests, one to research work on tropical diseases derived from plants in Africa ; one, with a 2nd Class in Mathematics and a 1st in Physics, to the research side of Greenwich under the Admiralty; one with a 1st in Economics to the accounts department of Lyons Restaurants and a chemist to the Analytical research department of the same firm. I mention College boys only because, in their cases, I happen to know the facts.
The second discovery was that the idle rich were becoming obsolete. There were very few who could afford to be idle. The Universities which before the War had admitted men without examination and been lenient to those who went up for "social" reasons, made Matriculation an Entrance Examination, while many Colleges stiffened it with a still harder entrance, and idlers at a later stage receive short shrift. Pressure of numbers gave the Universities a free hand, for both Oxford and Cambridge have risen numerically by almost a third. They refuse many men each year and it is difficult for a boy who cannot show that he can sit for an Honours degree to get a place. Even a pass degree, too, cannot be got without work and a man who fails is sent down. The Universities are flooded with a new class, who go to them to find a career, and know there is none for the idler. Concurrently the same thing has happened in schools. The modern boy, who is shrewder and looks further ahead than his predecessor, realises that father has no soft job waiting for him, and that without at least a School Certificate he is likely to queue up with the unemployed. There are, there have been and there always will be, idlers everywhere, but they are not in one Block more than in another. Scholarship results and other examinations prove that the Public Schools are at least holding their own ; an attempt a few years ago in the Press to prove the opposite broke down. The Oxford and Cambridge School Certificate is admittedly the stiffest.
But the most important change is the vastly increased demand for managing ability : and it is realized that for this curriculum matters little so long as it entails hard work and hard thinking. There was an illuminating correspondence in Tue Times last winter on this subject, in which some of the great leaders of commerce and industry took part. Incidentally, a plea made for the transference of scholarship emoluments from the Classics to Modern Languages met with very little support. In illustration of the managerial posts this opened to University candidates, I may mention one College boy taken on the staff of the L N E .R . , one by the Burmah Timber Company, and several others in big trading firms in India and the Farther East.
The tendency now is to follow the Civil Service division of First and Second Class, differentiating between managerial and merely clerical staffs, the former being appointed ad hoc at a later stage, with a higher starting salary and much greater ultimate prospects. The breach is not: so absolute in business as in the Civil Service, but it is becoming constantly more difficult to rise from the clerical to the managerial. To leave School too soon with inadequate qualifications may lead to a blind alley.
Further, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get a mediocre job for a mediocre boy, even if he has a Matriculation Certificate, and will become more so if, as is likely, the mechanisation of business spreads from the Banks to other firms, for the book-keeper is being ousted by the machine. The demand, however, for managing capacity still exceeds the supply, and is more likely to increase than to diminish, for you cannot invent a machine with personality ; and despite their greatly increased numbers the Universities cannot meet the demand.
Hence the move of employers towards the Public Schools, mainly a post-War growth. How this came about may he illustrated by a conversation I had with a very influential business man soon after the War. We already had a small University connexion with his firm, and when I happened to be in London he kindly asked me to lunch and we discussed appointments. "We take," he said, " our men from the Universities in order to get them sorted," to which I replied " yes, but you miss a great deal of the best material which cannot afford a University course. He replied, If you will sort them for us we will take them direct from school," and he scheduled the qualities required, on which my comment was that they were exactly those I wanted for a praepositor. From this conversation dates our more intimate association, which, since 1919, has sent 25 College boys into this combine, of whom 14 have been Insular boys.
The practice is spreading from commerce to industry, and an organisation has been initiated by Mr. Evan Williams among mine-owners, which selects from Public Schools boys destined to become mines-managers, and sends them with Scholarships to Birmingham University to be trained. There are agencies, acting with the Labour Ministry, of both the Headmasters Conference and I.A.H.M., which open promising careers. Another industry into which College boys have been going is making an interesting experiment in substituting Public School boys for " shop stewards," and I have reason for thinking that the experiment is likely to be followed elsewhere. For in handling men with the humorous common sense used in managing their Houses, troubles which might become serious are nipped in the bud. I visited this firm and was anxious to find out how it worked in practice. A story, in illustration, was told me by the managing director of a College Boy who had just been put in charge of half a factory. He was 20, and had only been on the job three days when he found two of the oldest men having a violent quarrel and using language not fit for a drawing-room. "Now or never," said the boy to himself, and started dressing down the two hoary-headed sinners. " Disgraceful," he said, " using language like this before women and children," etc., etc., and the two subsided and never gave any more trouble.
The spread of the idea in commerce, industry, banks, insurance, etc., both at home and abroad, is seen in the frequency with which we Headmasters receive letters asking us to recommend boys, often from people who are entirely unknown to us, assisted by the growing realization that our recommendations are made without fear or favour from an intimate knowledge of the capacities and characters of the boys. It is not policy, apart from anything else, to " sell a pup."
These posts may often rise to four figures and real responsibility. There are only three ways to recruit ; one is by examination, which gives no test of savoir faire and drive ; the second is the old system of influence or "jobbery," and the third is this, of personal recommendation by those who know and whose interest it is to recommend according to merit. For if they find that we try to foist our " pets " upon them (I quote the word from a business man) they go elsewhere.
It is essentially a Public School connexion. The advantage of the Block over other Schools and Universities is not a matter of " snobbery " ; indeed a great many of the men working the new system are not themselves Public School or University men. It is purely a matter of business. The residential University and the Public School afford opportunities of developing and testing powers of leadership which are perforce absent in nonresidential Universities and day schools owing to the intenser social life after day-boys have gone home.
There is a good deal of rather perverse misunderstanding current about the " fetish of athletics." Athletics, and especially Rugby football, are the best physical training in existence, and provide an absorbing subject of talk which, at least in comparison with some possible alternatives, is wholesome. Prowess in games brings prestige everywhere among the Anglo-Saxon race. But prowess does not necessarily bring either influence or popularity. I have had three Heads of the School who never played a game in their lives, and many excellent non-athletic Heads of Houses. These boys have no difficulty, if they are of the right calibre, in maintaining their authority and influence ; and when election is made to the headship Of a House-room of juniors it is noticeable how frequently a star athlete is passed over in favour of a non-athletic boy who will, and does, rule the room better; for boys like good government.
But it is humorous to suppose that the stress being laid on athletics by business men is due to the worship of athletics ; for instance, a College boy recently walked in with his references, but without other introduction, to the head London office of one of the " Big Five Banks. They told him he was too old and they had a queue of applicants half a mile long, but appointed him immediately when they found that he had got his 1st XI colours. It is being realised that in playing games boys and men mix with people, rub off their angles and make friends, and even more, that if they star at all they will have had an immense amount of administrative work to do in picking and captaining sides, arranging for grounds, kit, etc., supervising and training their House juniors, and having, In short, great opportunities to learn wisdom by mistakes. Not less so is it with the multitude of offices, dignified and undignified, that fall alike in other ways to the athlete and the non-athlete, the Praepositor, the Head of a House-room or dormitory, the Treasurers and Secretaries of various Societies, the Editors of the School Magazine, Librarians, Fire-Brigade, Meteorologists ; prefects responsible for ringing bells, keeping rooms tidy, collecting letters for the post, bringing the House absentee lists, etc., so much so that there are few people who have not some lob to manage or mismanage. And some one is unpleasant when it is mismanaged.
Above all, Heads of Houses and the Head of the School are responsible for everything, not only routine discipline, but control of arrangements for tea and reception of visitors at matches, in Chapel, at public entertainments. All that goes on is in their hands subject to an advisory supervision by masters, and all the delicate matters, too, that arise in what for three-quarters of the year is the borne life of the boys is in their hands. It is their business to see that their House is not only disciplined but happy. If we intervene it is after consultation with them, but mostly we manage the school through them with far more success than when we tried to do it directly. Finally, there are the O.T.C. and Scouting.
This system of self-management extends from the top to the bottom of the school, though, of course, the Junior House requires more direct intervention. It gives opportunity for developing and for showing leadership and the reverse. As it has grown and come to be known its value has come to he recognised, for the curriculum is only a part of education, and pace Mr. Dalton, boys cannot manage their own affairs in school-time, still less each others.
In some quarters it is thought that the advantage of the Public School is transient and will go. This may be so ; no one can prophesy the future, though at present all the signs are in the opposite direction. And though self-government is being developed in a promising manner in day schools and in the Public Elementary Schools, there can, from the nature of things, never be the same opportunities as in boarding schools. An Old Boy, now a master in a big Day School, said to me : " The difficulty in developing a sense of responsibility among the Praepositors is that you cannot find enough for them to do." Our difficulty is the opposite. The advantage to us is that they run the School better than we can ; the advantage to them is that they can and do get guidance from us in intimate conversation, but must then shoulder the responsibility. So they do not go out into the world novices .
One more factor. For some Government appointments, as I have said, competitive examination still remains, but items bearing considerable market value are C interview " and " record," record meaning such experience as I have described. For the newer Colonial Services competitive examination has been either not established or abolished, except for the Ceylon Police, and appointments are made on record only, though here, of course, record includes the examinations passed in the normal course of education.
What will happen now that the slump seems definitely to have come ? The facts and the causes of it are too well known to need many words. The sure though slower recovery of other nations, the development of their own resources by tariff walls, the substitution of oil and electricity for coal ; the disastrous incursion of the French into the Ruhr valley with its consequences, ca canny, the inflation of the mark enabling Germany to get rid of her internal debt, the raising of our own miners wages above economic level with the increased demand for our coal, the proposed reduction leading to the miners strike and the General Strike ; the over-capitalisation of the cotton trade, high costs of production and " rationalisation " slow in coming; our honourable payment of our debts; unemployment and other things entailing high taxation ; China and India : markets lost which will probably never be recovered ; all these have produced the longest and intensest depression in trade ever known, and there are as yet no signs of improvement. With exceptions, too, it is a world condition of over-production.
There may be a revival of trade, for it is often the unexpected that happens ; and indeed recovery in a degree generally follows a slump. But it would be blind optimism to expect a return to the conditions of 1912, and still more of 1919-25. I do not suppose most of us look for any speedy end, and if, as seems not unlikely, Labour remains in power, we must expect them to proceed with their proposed programme, social reform at the cost of the more well-to-do and the nationalization of education; there will then be a great shrinkage in the clientele of the Public Schools.
The gloomiest view is that of the Dean of St. Pauls. He thinks the Public Schools will gradually close and be extinct by the end of the century ; after all, in their modern form, they are not a century old. Dr. Cyril Norwood, Headmaster of Harrow, thinks they will continue as exclusive class institutions. I think myself he is right of a few, granted that by class he means plutocracy, not aristocracy. But I most strongly dissent from the ground on which Dr. Norwood defends his prophecy, that the University and not the School is the age for class intermingling. I have known a great many men who were helped to Oxford by scholarships from humble homes and local schools, and was intimate in my undergraduate days with several. One of my friends is now a distinguished man, and many of them make good, but too many retain their class consciousness and fail to mingle. I have known come tragic cases of men of ability developing an "inferiority complex " which they concealed beneath a fierce class animosity. The result is very different when the mingling takes place in the unselfconscious stage of youth, for then a boy by the time he leaves school is sure of himself and has lost, among other things, his accent. The human boy is not naturally a snob and those of us who have had opportunities of watching from the inside know the immense value to the " gentleman " of mixing in free and friendly intercourse with the virile blood which is making its own way in the world. At no time in its history has class been caste in England, and that is the secret of our greater success in passing through revolutionary times without catastrophe. It will be a thousand pities if peace loses us the camaraderie of the trenches; and for these reasons, though I expect the exclusive school to continue, I do not regard it as a great asset to the community.
The Public Schools that survive as exclusive schools we will call Class A. They will be wealthy schools, able to charge high fees to a diminishing class of wealthy people. For the rest, I anticipate a repetition, perhaps on a larger scale, of what happened after 1902. Those which we will call Class B, that have weak endowments, less prestige, and an isolated position, will have a great struggle, in which probably many of them will go bankrupt and close. Those, however which we will call Class C, that can retain their character and at the same time supply a necessary local need, seem to me to be the solution of the future educational problem, for there will still be a need for what the Public School is now supplying. And the demand for education steadily increases. Whether or no in any area such a school can be worked into the local scheme will depend on local public opinion and the avoidance of the rigidity of regulation which worked such havoc in the early days of State control. The Board of Education has been learning, though it still sometimes ties itself up in its own red tape. The County Councils in England mostly take a very broad view, and some of the Borough Councils, though not all. But if, in the new economic era, the Public School is to continue its peculiar contribution, it must be by a compromise recognizing essential conditions, one of which is self management. Our problems do not lend themselves to regulation by a system of control built up to meet the needs of a wholly different type of school.