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Schools in Victorian times, H.M.I's, and training of Monitor and Pupil Teacher Mary A Collingwood 1890's 1900's

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Schools in Victorian times and the training of Pupil Teacher Mary A. Collingwood.

I researched the history of this school (St. Michael’s at Bamford, Lancashire) forty one years ago for a long essay as part of my teacher training. I came across it recently and thought that it might be of interest to others. This is one chapter of ten.

Pupil Teachers.

It was in 1846 that Sir James P Kay-Shuttleworth, as Secretary for the Committee of the Privy Council, issued his famous minutes on the arrangements of Pupil Teachers.

Bright children of thirteen years and over stayed on at the elementary school to become assistant teachers. They were apprenticed to teachers who had to be approved by the H.M.I’s and stayed until they were eighteen years old, during which time they received tuition of seven and a half hours per week from the Master in order to improve their own knowledge, and they taught the younger children each day to gain practise in teaching. H.M.I’s were to report on their progress throughout their training. At the end of their apprenticeship they were eligible for an exam which could lead to a Queen’s Scholarship which would finance their training at one of the new colleges. They could attend these colleges for one or two years but most of the Pupil Teachers just carried on teaching and did not receive any college training. The pay was ten pounds per annum at thirteen years, rising gradually to twenty pounds per annum at eighteen years. A college training meant that teachers could obtain a higher salary and this was dependent on the number of years actually spent at college.

However some years later, R L Morant felt that it was necessary to improve the quality of teachers in elementary schools, who had in fact, often been at the school all their life, having received no secondary education or college training.

Pupil Teacher centres were therefore set up in various towns and these went some way to meeting the higher standards of the nineteenth century.

Mary AnnCollingwood


First Pupil teacher

St Michael’s had its first Pupil Teacher in 1871; prior to that time there had been the Master and an assistant for the girls’ needlework only.

In the years following, the school had many Pupil teachers and they were known as Pupil Teacher 1st year, Pupil Teacher 2nd year, Pupil Teacher 3rd year, Pupil Teacher 4th year, Pupil Teacher 5th year, when they were then recognised as teachers (uncertificated) under certain Articles in the Codes of the time e.g. “Article 50”.

Often prior to commencement as a Pupil Teacher, pupils became stipendiary monitors i.e. monitors who received pay. An example of this can be seen in the following extract from the log book -

Sept 13th 1889. Cynthia Blakesley was appointed Monitor at a salary of £5”.

She later became a Pupil Teacher and in September 1895 she passed the Queen’s Scholarship Examination and was “recognised under Articles 50 and 52 in the Code”.

Staff photo about 1898


1898 Mary Appointed Stipendiary Monitress

In September 1898 the annual report of Her Majesty’s Inspector stated that the school was understaffed and so the school advertised. The following is an extract –

Sept 16th 1898. The managers have not been able to supply extra staff yet, though two teachers have been advertised for”.

On September 30th a teacher was appointed and on October 1st a monitress was appointed. Extract –

October 31st. Mary A Collingwood has served as a Stipendiary Monitress in the Infants’ Dept. since October 1st.

She was one of the older pupils of the school and helped the Infants’ mistress – in her own words –

My first year as a Probationer (Monitress) was spent in the infant room with the mistress there looking after the babies and doing whatever she wanted me to do”.

It can be seen from the photograph that Miss Collingwood was very young when she commenced her teaching career. She is pictured kneeling, front left of the photograph.

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Her first salary was two shillings and sixpence per week and this was paid by the school managers.

Mary's training

Mary’s training

Her training involved attendance at various church schools in the district where the Head teachers took turns to give the Pupil Teachers (including Monitors/Probationers) instruction from 8 a.m. until a time which allowed the pupils to travel to their own school for the start of school at 9 a.m. She later attended the Pupil Teacher Centre at Bury for three afternoons per week and on occasions her own Head teacher, Mr Parkinson, gave her tuition after school. Evening classes and correspondence courses were another source of instruction for her.

The formation of a Pupil Teacher Centre at Bury (just a few miles away) was first considered in June, 1899, when a meeting was held in Bury to consider the advisability of forming Centre classes for Pupil Teachers at Bury. The comment in the logbook was –

June 9th. ……………… Such classes would prove a boon to our Pupil Teachers, especially so in the Rural Districts

The centre was formed and on –

Oct. 16th 1899. M Collingwood and A Eddleston attended the Pupil Teacher Centre Class in Bury today for the first time. They are to attend Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays(afternoon).

However, prior to attending the Centre she attended the classes held locally by the Head teachers who were very pleased with her early progress –

she does her work in a highly creditable manner”.

Quarterly examinations were held for all Pupil Teachers in Heywood and later on were held at the Centre in Bury. The subjects studied and marks obtained in one examination of 1899 can be seen in the list below –

Subject, Marks obtained, No of possible marks

Geography 30 30

History 25 30

Arithmetic 30 30

Music 23 30

School Method 18 20

English Grammar 21 30

Essay 10 10

result – 48% and Geography the lowest with 15%.

On September 11th 1900 the following comment is made –

“Pupil Teacher M A Collingwood’s agreement signed today”.

Mary was now a Pupil Teacher of the 1st year and was about fifteen years of age.

Sometimes the young pupils were given duties which required much responsibility. An example of this was when Mary was about fourteen and a half years of age and she had to attend a lecture instead of the Headmaster. The following is the extract from the logbook –

March 6th 1890. The drawing expert for the district gave a lecture to teachers in Bury on March 1st. I was unable to attend but requested M Collingwood to be present and to supply a summary of the address. She has prepared as an exercise in composition a digest of the chief points touched by Mr Latimer”.

It is difficult to understand why one of the more experienced members of staff was not chosen to attend the lecture instead of little Mary.

The Pupil Teachers were not provided with books by the schools or the Centre classes. Their parents were expected to provide the necessary books. Although Miss Collingwood did not appear to have any difficulty in obtaining her books, one Pupil Teacher did in her first year. The following is the relevant extract from the records –

July 13th 1891. For sometime past I have had reason to complain of C Blakesley about the neglect of her parents to furnish her with suitable books. I am pleased to say that she has been supplied with a Geography book and a Smith’s History book”.

Mary struggles to reach a satisfactory standard.

Between October and December 1900, Mary was absent from school many times because of sickness and it would appear that she also missed some of her classes at the pupil Teacher Centre for the same reason. As a result Mary did not do very well at the Quarterly examination as can be seen from the following comments –

Pupil Teacher 1st year – M Collingwood. Language is very weak, 5% of marks only obtained – ‘work not regularly done – Fair’, M Collingwood has had five absences owing to sickness”.

In addition to the Quarterly Examinations, Pupil Teachers also had Drawing and Religious Examinations, e.g. –

Dec. 1st 1900. M Collingwood sat for the Diocesan Examination today”.

It was in June 1901 that Mary received the results of her examination for the end of her first year as a Pupil Teacher. She had “passed fairly”.

Mary did not do very well at the centre classes and the following extract shows that the centre was not satisfied with her work.

Jan 21st 1902. Have received a note from Mr Jowitt of the Pupil Teacher Centre, Bury, wherein he complains of the irregularity of M Collingwood. This is not the first complaint of the kind, consequently the matter has been reported to the Managers”.

Some two weeks later the following entry was made –

Feb. 3rd 1902

Received Quarterly report from Mr Jowitt of the P.T. classes, Bury. M Collingwood’s attendance has been bad and the report on her conduct and progress is very far from satisfactory. Mr Jowitt is willing to give her one more chance to improve if the Managers are willing to do the same. Mr Dearden went into the details of the case yesterday and on Miss Collingwood’s promise to reform, granted her on behalf of the Managers another opportunity for her to do so”.

She must have made some attempt for she passed her examination in July 1902 for the second year –

M A Collingwood 2nd year – has passed fairly”.

It would appear however that sometime between July 1902 and February 1903, the Managers withdrew Miss Collingwood from the Centre classes. Consequently since Christmas 1902 she remained behind after school for lessons – from 4.30 – 5.15 p.m. in order to receive tuition for the Scholarship examination.

From June 1902 until June 1903 Miss Collingwood was a Pupil Teacher of the 3rd year. It was in December 1903 that she sat for the King’s Scholarship (previously known as the Queen’s Scholarship).

Dec.14th. Miss Mills and Miss Collingwood attending the Kings Scholarship Exam in Rochdale, special organisation is necessary to cope with the work”.

The latter half of the sentence shows how dependent the school was on its Pupil Teachers who at this stage had their own class.

The result of the examination was received in March 1904 –

March 2nd 1904. Received Board of Education Form 24B – M Collingwood is placed in the Second Class of the Kings Scholarship List”.

Staff photo before 1907 Mary seated second row, right.


Mary is appointed to the staff of the school.

In April 1904 –

April 25th 1904. Miss M Collingwood has been appointed on the staff as Article 50, dating from 1st January, 1904”.

Mary was an uncertificated teacher but she did sit the Certificate examination two years later in July 1906, at Manchester. It would appear that she failed although no comment is made regarding this. The only indication that she was not successful is in the fact that she is referred to as “M A Collingwood – Cert 50” and never as a Certified teacher.

As stated earlier, Mary was the assistant to the Infants’ teacher when she first began as a Probationer (monitress) in 1898. In 1899 when she became a Candidate (recognised under Art 33 of the Code) she assisted the Head master with Standards II and III.

In the following year she again assisted the Head master with Standards II and III but as he was also in charge of two other standards it is obvious that more would be expected of her. In 1901/1902 and 1902/1903 it is only known that she taught in the Mixed School. However in 1903/1904 she took Standard II alone. This was probably because she had actually served five years and was considered capable of being in charge of her own class. The following year, i.e. 1904/1905 she was in charge of two standards as she had now been appointed on the staff as an Assistant Mistress.

It can be seen that she assisted other members of staff for the first few years but afterwards she was in charge herself of first one standard, but later she always had at least two standards. Mary did not go to Training College, but this was not unusual as the majority of teachers were not college trained.

By 1900, 30% of elementary teachers were trained and certified. About 25% were certified but untrained and 45% were former Pupil Teachers who were neither trained at colleges nor certified by any of the other procedures that existed at the time. In 1902 three quarters of the teachers in the Voluntary and Board Schools were still untrained.

Pupil Teacher pay seems to have varied at different schools, depending upon the wealth of the school. At St Michael’s monitors received £5 per annum in their first year. However the list below gives the figures for the Schools of the Borough of Heywood.

Oct. 11th 1901.

The following if a scheme of payment for P.T’s in the schools of the Borough of Heywood.

Probationers - Maximum £3

Candidates - “ £5

1st year P.T’s - “ £10

2nd year P.T’s - “ £12.10

3rd year P.T’s - “ £15

When Mary retired from her teaching career she had spent over fifty years at St. Michael's as a pupil, monitor, pupil teacher and teacher.

She was born 7th June 1885, the daughter of Alfred and Maria Collingwood.

In 1916 she married Harold Brewster. She moved to Worthing in Sussex after retiring and died aged 88 in 1973.

Mary with Standard II


Mary and Standard III


Mary with Standards IV and V 1909



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