Public Schools of the
County of York.—Division of the County for Educational Purposes.—
Extracts from Reports of Inspector Hodgson.—School Statistics.—Inspector
THE public schools of
the County of York will compare favourably with those in other parts of
Western Canada, and are maintained n a high degree of usefulness and
efficiency. For educational purposes the county is divided into two
parts, known respectively as the northern and southern divisions. The
Inspector for the northern division is Mr. D. Fothering-ham, of Aurora.
For the southern division the Inspector is Mr. James Hodgson, of Bloor
Street West, Toronto. The report of the last-named gentleman, bearing
date the nth of June, 1883, contains a good deal of interesting and
useful information respecting the public schools in his division. " In
the Township of York," he writes, " the standing and efficiency of the
schools have, upon the whole, been well maintained, fourteen schools
ranking in the 1. class, six schools in the II. class, and five schools
in the III. class.
"In the Village of
Markham a new brick school-house, containing four large, airy
school-rooms, has been erected, and in S. S. No. 22, Markham, a new
brick school-house also; the school accommodation in South York is now
ample. In the Village of Parkdale the school buildings are decidedly
superior, and all the appliances necessary for successful teaching have
been provided by the trustees, and the staff of teachers of the I. and
II. class undoubtedly entitle it to be made the Model School for the
training of teachers in South York. The head master is a first-class
teacher, holding a Provincial Certificate, and is an undergraduate of
Toronto University. In the school building there is a room to be
specially set apart for the accommodation of teachers in training, so as
not to interfere with the ordinary work of the school; this requisite
was never provided in the Yorkville Model School.
"For the above reasons,
and also for the convenience of candidates for the teaching profession
in South York, I have recommended to the Education Department that the
public school in the Village of Parkdale should be constituted the Model
or Training School for the southern division of the County of York, and
I feel confident that such is the public spirit of the trustees and
inhabitants of that village that nothing will be left unprovided to make
it a credit to the entire county."
Salaries of Teachers.
The highest salary of a
male teacher in the Townships of Scarborough and Markham was $525; in
York, $900; in Etobicoke and Vaughan, $450. The lowest salary to a male
teacher in York, $267; in Scarborough, $340; in Etobicoke, $300; and in
The average of male
teachers in the township was $422.56. Of female teachers in the
Normal School Trained
In York 23 teachers had
a Normal training.
In Markham 11
In Scarboro' 4
In Etobicoke 2
In York 3 teachers held
I. Class Provincial.
In York 22 teachers held II. Class Provincial
In Markham 15 teachers held II. Class Provincial.
In Scarboro' 7
In Etobicoke 2
In the County of S.
York there were 16 teachers Old County Board, I. Class. Forty-three
teachers New County Board, III. Class.
In the whole of South
York (not including villages) 40 children between 7 and 13 did not
attend any school. On the Daily Registers 8,753 pupils of all ages
attended school; of these 8,537 were of the ages between 5 and 16.
2,241 pupils attended
100 days, or 20 school weeks.
1,856 " " 150 " 30 "
1,916 " " 200 " 40 "
432 " " every day during the year.
Classes of the Pupils.
7,336 in Spelling and
Dictation: 7,642 in Writing; 6,610 in Arithmetic; 4,648 in Geography;
3,274 in Grammar and Composition; 1,089 in Canadian History; 1,326 in
British History; 943 in Hygiene; 247 in Algebra; 228 in Geometry and
Mensuration; 376 in Bookkeeping.
76 Schools opened and
closed with prayer. 47 Schools repeated the Ten Commandments with fair
regularity. The Inspector hopes to be able to state in the next year's
report a decided improvement in these particulars, as the keeping of the
Commandments, and a regard to the Moral Law lie at the foundation of
individual and social happiness, and there can be no security for our
country's prosperity and well being without them.
of Government Grant.
In his latest report,
presented on the 9th of June, 1884, Mr. Hodgson, referring to the
statistics presented during the previous year, remarks as follows: "I
find, upon comparison, very little change in any of the statistics above
named, and it has been to myself a source of unfeigned pleasure to
witness the earnestness manifested by the teachers generally in their
school work, and the increasing efficiency exhibited by them in the
discharge of their onerous duties. A great deal has been said of late in
favour of what are called ' Uniform Promotion Examinations.' I am not
going to trouble you with arguing the question at length. It is one of
the hobbies of the age, and, of course, has its admirers and advocates.
My decided opinion is that the teacher is the proper person to make the
promotions from one class to another. He knows, or ought to know, what
strangers cannot possibly know, the real standing of every scholar, the
ability of each, and the temperament also; and I hold him responsible
for all promotions, and can never willingly consent to remove that
responsibility from the teacher, and place it upon an irresponsible
committee, however talented. I very seldom find any particular ground of
complaint for improper promotions. My practice is to advise any new or
fresh teacher, on taking charge of a school, not to make any changes in
classification in a hurry, but to wait and thoroughly understand and
find out the merits and standing of each pupil before attempting any
changes whatever. I have full confidence in the candidates trained in
our Model School for South York, that they will exercise suitable
caution in this respect, and what 1 conceive to be the needless expense
incident to uniform promotions will be avoided altogether.
"Of all the drawbacks
affecting the success of our public schools, irregular attendance is the
greatest, and seems to be the most difficult to be grappled with. Could
not something be done effectively by giving prizes in books for regular
attendance only, irrespective of attainments, or even what has been
termed good conduct ? The great object to be aimed at is to get the
children to attend school, trusting the teacher to see to it that every
thing be done on his or her part to secure their improvement or
advancement in knowledge. The daily register would be the criterion for
deciding as to the reward. Here there could be no favouritism shown; and
superior talents could not carry off the prizes, as is often the case,
thus giving a premium to ability instead of real merit, and often
discouraging and sometimes crushing the spirit of more deserving pupils.
"The following note was
attached to the annual returns of one of the School Sections in
Etobicoke, 'The undersigned trustees wish very respectfully to say that
they consider the School Law, in its present state, as regards the
attendance of children between the ages of seven and thirteen years, as
impracticable, at least in rural districts, as it requires the
appointment by the Trustees in each School Section of a public
prosecutor, to prosecute delinquent parents. Such a person cannot be
found in a majority of rural sections. And while we think the attendance
of the children in question very desirable, we think the end would be
better, and much more effectually reached by the Trustees being required
to examine into each case, and, if they found the non-attendance to be
inexcusable, that they be directed to impose a penalty to be collected
as a tax through the local Council, or otherwise. The end, in our
opinion, would be more effectually reached in this way, without the
odium and expense of going before a magistrate.' I concur most fully in
the above opinion, and think it very desirable that some such change
should be made in the School Law by the proper authority and remedy, as
far as possible, the evil of non-attendance, which is too prevalent in
almost all the rural School Sections, as well as in many of our
The last report of the
Inspector for the Northern Division, which was presented to the
Municipal Council in June last, embodies a comparison of the state of
public school education in 1871 and 1883. It also refers to other
factors in educational work, not established in 1871, and not therefore
open to comparison, but which now add considerably to general results
from year to year.
"It is," says Mr.
Fotheringham, "over twelve years since the administration of school
matters was put into the hands of County Inspectors, and since the law
and regulations were so modified as to begin what may be styled the New
Era of Education in Ontario. The period since 1871 is so considerable as
to justify conclusions and inferences of comparative reliability; and,
in this way, a vantage ground may be reached from which to look forward
and plan for the future wisely and liberally.
"From these statements
gratifying progress in most directions is evident. "The population, not
accurately reported for 1883, owing to an error in printing the annual
returns, but about 7,000 has fallen off in about the same proportion
throughout the Province, as indicated by the annual report of the
Minister of Education. Put increased facilities have been provided for
attendance as shown by the addition of eleven school houses and eight
school boards since 1871. That this has been appreciated is evidenced by
a rise in the average attendance from 37˝ to 45 per cent.
"That liberality in the
support of education is growing throughout the Inspectorate is evident
from the very large amount expended on building, from the marked advance
in the average salaries of both male and female teachers, and from the
higher rate per pupil paid in the county. The average per pupil in the
public schools of this Inspectorate is now §6.65. Throughout the
Province it is $6.42; $6.03 in rural districts; §8.81 in cities; $6.86
in towns. In Toronto the cost per pupil is $9.31. The average cost per
pupil of the High Schools is $27.56 throughout Ontario. The average
attendance, 45 per cent., in North York, is the same as in all the
Province. Waterloo County has an average of 49 per cent, -the highest
among counties. The per cent, of attendance in Hamilton is 66; in
"The average salary of
male teachers in the counties of Ontario is $385; of female teachers,
$248; in cities, of male teachers, $742; of females, $331. In York (N.),
male teachers receive an average of nearly $425, and females, $265.62.
"School property has
been largely renewed, and has more than doubled in value ; while the
accommodation has greatly improved in character as well as in space. The
teaching staff has kept pace in this march of improvement—in training,
in literary attainments, and in efficiency. There are now 48 or nearly
half of the teachers Normal trained ; and the 43 third-class teachers
have also received training, though of a more limited character, m
County Model Schools.
"These conclusions may
be reached and confirmed through facts to be observed in another
direction. The classification and work of the schools are shown to be
more efficient by the large increase of successful candidates at the
half yearly Entrance Examinations to the High Schools, and also by the
numbers that have passed the Uniform Promotion Examinations which have
now been held in the Inspectorate three times. After an impartial and
careful examination last March, 430 out of about 800 candidates for
promotion were successful, and secured certificates.
"It is due to the
County Council to say that after three half-yearly examinations for
promotions in the schools of North York, these have more than realized
my anticipations. They have given general satisfaction, and have proved
a healthy and powerful stimulus to both teachers and scholars. So long
as they deserve this character, you will not hesitate to make the usual
half-yearly appropriation, which is hereby respectfully solicited.
"The High School
Entrance Examinations, established thirteen years ago, have done much to
stimulate to thorough work in the higher classes of the public schools ;
and never more than at present. About sixty at Newmarket and forty-five
at Richmond Hill present themselves on each occasion, and an increasing
percentage is successful from time to time. These places are, however,
so far from some of the rural districts that the task of leaving their
own neighbourhood, the cost of travel and board, and the nervousness
produced by mingling with strangers at an examination, have deprived
many of the advantages of the Entrance Examinations.
*To meet this
difficulty I enquired in the schools of North Gwillimbury and Georgina,
as to the number who might attend were an Entrance Examination held in
Sutton, and was encouraged by the estimate of about twenty. I next
secured the sanction of the Hon. G. W. Ross, Minister of Education, to
this proposal, similar to an arrangement in Peel, where several special
examinations are held, and the results found excellent. I then explained
the matter to the Warden of the county, who also favoured the plan, and
undertook to guarantee the expense, as the Council could not be
consulted in time to allow the necessary advertising to be done. When I
state that I have now applications from forty-jive candidates to be
allowed to write to Sutton, all of whom would either not have written at
all or would have gone to High School out of the county, I am sure the
Council will see the wisdom of this new departure, and readily provide
for the necessary outlay, about one dollar per candidate. The plan I
propose is to appoint one, or, if necessary, two competent persons to
preside at the examination for two days ; then to have all the papers
sent to myself; and, with the Newmarket Head Master, I will examine and
value the work done. The School Board of Sutton have kindly and readily
placed their building at our disposal for the examination, without
charge. Should this experiment prove satisfactory, I anticipate your
approval of its repetition from time to time. It will afford much better
facilities for pupils on the Pake Simcoe Branch Road, as well as for
those in the two northern townships; and, at present, several from Mount
Albert will attend who otherwise would go out of the county.''
information with respect to the schools of the County of York will be
found interspersed here and there throughout the sketches of the various