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Letter from John Williams, Honorary Secretary, Swindon and District Teachers'Association, to N S Maskelyne, MP, inviting him to a conference of MPs toconsider the new Education Code.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Revised Code

In 1858 a Royal Commission chaired by the Duke of Newcastle, investigated therising level of public expenditure on education. Newcastle's report,published in 1861, recommended that public money for education be continued,but suggested that such support should be dependent upon a system of CHquot;paymentby results'. Robert Lowe (1811 - 1892), the Vice President of the EducationBoard established in 1859 by the Prime Minister Lord Palmerston (1811 -1892), accepted the main points of the Newcastle Commission.

In 1862 Lowe announced a Revised Code for Education. In future schools couldclaim 4s a year for each pupil with a satisfactory attendance record. Anadditional 8s was paid if the pupil passed examinations in reading, writingand arithmetic.

Lowe pointed out that this system would help protect the public money beingspent on education. As he said in the House of Commons: 'If it is not cheap,it shall be efficient, if it is not efficient, it shall be cheap.' Every yearHer Majesty's Inspectors (HMIs) visited each school to test pupils inreading, writing and arithmetic. Teachers, whose salaries normally dependedon the size of the grant, were tempted to change their approach to education.In many schools, teachers concentrated exclusively on preparing the childrenfor the yearly HMI visit. This system of paying grants based on performancecontinued until 1897.

Mervyn Herbert Nevil Story Maskelyne 1823 - 1911, MP

Maskelyne was educated at Wadham College, Oxford University. He was made ahonorary fellow in 1873. He was a teacher of mineralogy and chemistry atOxford from 1851, and went on to become a professor of mineralogy, 1856 -95. From 1857 to 1880 he was keeper of the minerals at the British Museum,1857 - 80. During his time at the British Museum he rearranged and extendedthe collections, publishing a catalogue (1853) and a guide (1868).

Maskelyne was MP for Cricklade as Liberal, 1880 - 1886, and as LiberalUnionist, 1886 - 92. He was also a member of Wiltshire County Council, 1889 -1904.

His publications include:

  • A guide to the collection of minerals (1862)
  • Mineralogical notes (1863)
  • Index to the collection of minerals: with references to the table cases inwhich the species to which they belong are exhibited at the British Museum(1866)
  • Mineralogical notices (1871)
  • Crystallography (1895)


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