'Ofsted' Report 1869 – Lichfield Grammar School

So again, looking for something completely different I came across this little gem which I thought I’d share.   Mr Green’s report on Lichfield Grammar School is a lot more complimentary than his report on the school at the ‘large lifeless village’ of Abbots Bromley!  

Odd Grammar School, St John St

Lichfield Free Grammar School – Mr. Green’s Report (1869)

I have elsewhere spoken of the grammar school here as rather more select than most. The yearly payment of an ordinary day boy at it would come practically to 12l. a year; that of the six foundationers to 4/., against which has to be set 1/. 6s. 8d. paid yearly to each of the foundationers. Lichfield being a town in which there are a good many professional men, there is no difficulty in getting a fair number of boys at the terms mentioned. When I was there, 26 day boys (including foundationers) were in attendance, with 17 boarders. The terms for the latter, I was told, were not uniform. Meanwhile there are two commercial academies in the town. At one of them, from which I obtained some information, there were 24 day boys at 4/. each a year, and 12 boarders (mostly sons of farmers) at from 22/. to 25/. a year. I was not allowed to examine this school, but I think that little is learnt in it except the reading and writing of English, and arithmetic. In the other I understood that there were about 20 day boys. There is no doubt that the existence of these schools is chiefly clue to the expensiveness of the grammar school, and to the proportion which the attention given in it to Latin, Greek, and French, bears to the attention given to ‘English’ and arithmetic. Whether the presence in the grammar school of the sons of professional men, who now attend it, could be combined with that of the boys now sent to the private commercial schools, is a very doubtful question.
All the boys in the grammar school learn Latin, French, and drawing. All begin Greek in the second class (from the top) unless the parents object. One or two learn a little German. In the first class, when I was there, were five boys, aged respectively 15, 15, 16, 14, 15. Two of them (not the best) were boarders. Of three day boys one was the son of the station master, the other two were sons of professional men. They had been reading Virgil, Xenophon’s Anabasis, and the Hecuba. One of them, however, did not learn Greek. I heard them construe 100 lines of the 2nd TEneid, which they had got up for the second time the night before, and also some Xenophon. In both they construed readily and correctly, and were very intelligent about the grammar. They understood the formation of tenses in Greek, and the higher syntax. Two of them certainly would have been likely to do well at Rugby or Marlborough, if sent on there. In the second class were eight boys, of the average age of 14, of whom three were boarders, five (the highest) day scholars. They were doing Caesar and Greek grammar. They construed the Caesar very well, without the usual boggling over relatives. The third class I tried in English grammar and writing from dictation ; in both they did fairly. The arithmetic of the second and third classes was decent, but, considering that more than half the school was below the third, not so quick or correct as might have been desired. The Euclid, again, of the first class wasnot quite in proportion to their Latin and Greek. I gave the boys in it a few minutes to look over the last five propositions of the first book, which they had done some time before, and then set them to write out the 47th. Two did it well, but the rest failed. These boys could translate easy French into English, without dictionary, pretty well, but were puzzled by a difficult construction.On the whole I thought that quite as much had been made of the school as could be expected, but that the subjects of instruction were rather overcrowded. In particular it was to be regretted that arithmetic was taught only in half-hours, and those the least fresh half-hours of all, it having been the custom to assign the last half-hour of every morning to it. The behaviour of the boys was very pleasing.
The schoolroom was large and good, but had no class room. A gravelled playground of fair size, with a swing, adjoined. A field for cricket was hired elsewhere. The master kept some of his boarders in a rented house, the one belonging to the school not being large enough. When I was there, he employed two assistants, not graduates, whose united salaries were 1001 a year, with board and lodging. In addition to what I have said about charities and education at Lichfield in my general report, I have only to suggest the desirability of affiliating Minor’s school in some way to the grammar school.
Digest Op Information.
“The Municipal Trustees have a charity, called Terrick’s, for teaching poor children. It consists of consols, and a house and garden in Lichfield which stood under a building lease of 99 years at 5I. a year until June 1864. Out of the income was paid 5/. a year to the girls’ national school, and occasional accumulation sof the balance were divided amongst the three parish schools.
Head master’s house adapted for boarders. ENDOWED
Objects of Trust.—For a free grammar school at Lichfield for the instruction of poor boys (feoffment, 27 April 1587).
Subjects of Instruction.—School founded as a grammar school.
Government and Masters.—The trustees of the Lichfield municipal charities (appointed by Court of Chancery) appoint and dismiss the masters and fix the payments to be made by town boys.
Head master is not required to be a clergyman, or a graduate. The trustees do not object to his holding church preferment.
State of School in Second Half-year of 1864.

General Character.—Classical. In age of scholars, second grade.
Masters.—Head master and usher.
Day Scholars.—26 (in Jan. 1869) including six free scholars on Dean Walker’s foundation, and two free scholars on Terrick’s trust. Nonfoundationers pav 5l 8s. for general instruction. All pay 3/. 3s. for French and drawing, and 1/. is. for incidental expenses.
Boarders.—8 (in Jan. 1869), paying 52/. 10s. for board and instruction. French and drawing 41. 4s. extra. Four meals a day.
Instruction, Discipline. – At admission boys must be able to read and write.
School classified by Latin chiefly. School course modified to suit particular cases. Scripture lessons prepared on Sunday for Monday. Catechism taught.
School opened and closed daily with prayers from Prayer Book generally. Promotions according to master’s opinion of proficiency in Latin.

Examinations every year by examiners chosen by the master. Prizes to the first and second boys in each class, and for German, French, and drawing.
Punishments: extra lessons, detention in school, and caning in public; the latter by head master only.
Under masters may give extra lessons; monitors (first class) assist in maintaining discipline.
Playground, quarter of an acre, and field (quarter of a mile off) for cricket and football. No school bounds.
School time, 40 weeks per annum. Study, 32 hours per week for day boys, 38 for boarders. During last five years no boy gone to University.
List Of Trustees, &c.
Trustees (1865):
Rev. Trevor Owen Burnes Floyer, of Aldersham.
Rev. John Muckleslon,
Rev. T. G. Parr,
M. B. Morgan, Surgeon, }all of Lichfield.
H. W. Hewitt,
James Potter, Architect,
Steward and Treasurer: Charles Simpson.
Head Master (1867): Rev. J. M. Seaton, M.A.

1 thought on “'Ofsted' Report 1869 – Lichfield Grammar School

  1. Pingback: Written into Lichfield history | Lichfield Lore

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