Continuing the theme of trying to get afeel for life in Tyrone in the 1800s, folk might be interested in details ofearly school records that they might find interesting.
Broadly, there are 2 sets of records heldin PRONI. The first is attendance records. So that’s daily attendance for eachpupil which can contain their age, townland, parents names and academicprogress (or lack of it). The second set are files on the management of eachschool. These contain details of the building, it’s general condition, theteachers and their salaries, the results of school inspections and steps madeto improve facilities. PRONI has produced a list of all theattendance records it holds. They are filed by parish. So it’s easy enough tofind out if there are any records for the school your ancestor may haveattended, provided you know which parish and ideally which school theyattended. Many records have not survived, and it’s worth knowing that most ofPRONI's records are for the National Schools (which commonly started in the1830s and 1840s). There were plenty of other schools around the country run bychurches and charitable bodies. Their records mostly have not made it intopreservation. The attendance records are held in thePRONI fond SCH. The list of schools can be found on the PRONI website. Theschool management records are filed under reference ED in PRONI. If you searchthe e-catalogue for ED plus the school name you should be able to find outwhether they have a file for the school you are interested in. Note that boththe attendance records and the school management records are not on-line. Theyare in paper format and so you need to go in person to view them (or getsomeone else do it for you). I have attached a summary of events for aschool in Co. Antrim to give you a flavour of the sort of information – some ofit a bit surprising – that can be found in the management files. Common themesI have noted, having looked at quite a lot of these files: 1. Poor standards of education 2. Poor attendance records 3. Teachers failing to keepaccurate attendance records. Sometimes not compiling them. In others increasingthe attendance to justify a case for additional resources (eg an additionalteacher). Every generation has probably fiddled management stats since the dawnof time, and they were certainly at it in the 1800s. 4. Drunkenness by teachers. 5. Immoral activities with thepupils 6. Teachers having difficultygetting the children to attend school, especially when there was work to bedone on the farm (ie the summer months). Parents couldn’t see the benefits ofeducation and felt the children were more useful working in the fields than atschool. 7. Lack of resources to teacheffectively. AUGHTERCLONEYNational School, Co. Antrim (PRONI: ED/6/2/2/1) This school opened in 1834 on a 99 yearlease. The records up to 1855 have been lost but this file covers from 1855 to1896. Sad to say, there was a general theme of underperformance by the teachersover the years: 2.1.1857 “Manager to secure a more regularattendance of pupils.” 15.5.1857 Teacher P McGoldrick to complywith programme to observe cleanliness. 16.5.1857 48 males and 28 females enrolled;21/11 actually in attendance; average ages 8/10; 10 pupils under 9 years ofage. 2.11.1860 P McGoldrick admonished forneglecting to enter attendance before noon 17.10.1861 P. McGoldrick admonished not tosmoke in schoolroom. Should he again be reported for doing so he will bedepressed or dismissed. 22.2.1862 Deficiency of pupils in writingand arithmetic. 5.11.1862 Low proficiency of pupils. Map ofIreland to be provided 6.3.1863 £8 salary to Rose Duggan asworkmistress 20.1.1865 Withdraw salary from Rose Dugganworkmistress, average attendance being insufficient. Windows unsatisfactory.Provide a new map of Europe. 25.5.1866 Low proficiency in geography andarithmetic. Still waiting for a new map of Europe. 11.6.1869. Business to be commencedpunctually in future. Map of Europe to be provided. 1871 Sale stock and map of Europe to beprovided. Roof to be repaired and house whitewashed. 1871 Teachers salary was £24 p.a plus freeschoolhouse. 21.3.1871 Salary to Patrick McGoldrickterminated 31.3.1871. Retiring gratuity granted. Patrick Canavan to take overfrom 1.4.1871. 1872 Manager informed that generallyproficiency must be improved. Patrick Canavan admonished. Manager admonished re low progress ofinfants class. 1st class to be improved in reading and spelling andgrammar. Teacher to repair torn observations book; keep school clock going andgive more attention to school documents required for examinations. 21.12.1881 Teacher admonished re lowproficiency 2.12.1882. Mr P Canavan reprimanded on thevery low proficiency and fine threatened 1.5.1884 some tiles removed from roof bylate storms. Doors off out offices. 1885 Manager (who was the local parishpriest) refused to certify as to Patrick Canavan’s character in March 85. Hadgiven notice of dismissal. Inspectorstates that suspicions of immorality was the cause of the manager’s hesitationin certifying as to character. 1885 Marked improvement in pupilsperformance 1886 Teacher Miss Ellen Mooney is competent 12/4/1886 Manager having asked whetherteacher should strip herself in the room for medical examination. Commissionerscommented that they could not allow such a shocking procedure. 29.9.1894 Teacher cautioned re arrears inschool accounts and untidy condition of schoolroom 31.1.1896 Teacher Ellen Haughan reprimandedfor neglecting use of leave of absence book, whereby but for the Inspectorsvisit, the attendance for the day would have stood 8 in excess of what itshould be. Any future neglect of this kind must be considered as rendering heruntrustworthy and dealt with accordingly. Inspector reports arrears in registerand roll book, although teacher was cautioned in Sept 94 for similar arrears.Commissioners consider that the early leaving of 8 pupils without any specifiedreason indicates lax discipline. (Ms Haughan moved to Feystown school where shewas sacked on 31.3.1900 for gross inefficiency). I wonder if they ever got that new map ofEurope? Elwyn
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