7. - We have considered the question of the award of medals and prizes and have had the advantage of consulting representatives of the London Head Teachers' Association.
Originally, medals were awarded to children in recognition of punctual attendance, but for some time past, medals have been awarded to those children who are deserving in respect of attendance, conduct and industry. It was strongly urged by the teachers' representatives that owing to this method of assessing a child's claim to a medal, there was no essential difference between the qualifications necessary to obtain a prize and those necessary to obtain a medal. We are satisfied that in practice both these forms of award are given for the same qualities and , in these circumstances, there appears to be no reason for continuing to give two different kinds of award. We believe that greater benefits accrue to children from the presentation of good prize books than from the possession of a medal, the opinion of teachers being that children value a book very much more than any other form of reward.
In spite of the fact that medals have been for some time awarded for other qualities than that of regular and punctual attendance may parents and children still believe that in order to earn a medal a child must continually attend school, and that regular attendance entitles a child to a medal.
The teachers whom we consulted were strongly of opinion that this has the effect of causing children in some cases to attend school when they are not physically fit to do so, becoming a source of danger both to themselves and to other children, and thus defeating one of the principal objects in altering the basis of the award.
The Council on 2nd December, 1919 (p. 1544), approved expenditure of £16,000 for the year 1920-21 for the award of prizes and medals in elementary schools. Of this sum £10,000 was allocated to prizes and £6,000 to medals. The pre-war cost of prizes was £10,000 but the constantly increasing cost of books has had the effect of lowering the quality and quantity of prize books which can be awarded out of this sum. we believe that it will be to the general benefit of the children if the £6,000 now allocated to the purchase of medals were added to the sum allowed for prizes in order that the standard of the latter may be improved. We accordingly recommend the abolition of the award of medals.
Our recommendations contain certain amendments of the amounts to be allowed per head, which will absorb the £6,000 (allowed for medals) into the prize fund; and we propose certain other alterations which will have the effect of partially removing the disparity of award between the pupils of any given age.
With regard to central schools, the amount of prizes per head at present allowed varies according to the number of years a pupil has been in attendance at school. We propose to change this method so far as central schools are concerned, and to allow 1s. a head during the first two years and 1s. 6d. a head during other years.
The general effect of our recommendations will be to increase the prize fund of any given department by about 60 per cent. The General purposes Committee will submit the necessary alteration of the regulations in due course. We recommend -
(a) That, after the award for the educational year 1919-20, the award of medals to children in attendance at public elementary schools and special schools be discontinued.
(b) That the amount to be allowed in each public elementary school for prizes be such as may be prescribed, but shall not exceed the following amounts -
(i) Central schools and upper sections of higher grade schools - First two years, 1s. a head; after second year, 1s. 6d. a head.
(ii) Senior departments of ordinary public elementary schools and lower sections of higher grade schools, 1s. a head in respect of children in standard V and upwards or corresponding classes; 5d. a head in respect of children below standard V or corresponding class.
(iii) Infants' departments of ordinary public elementary schools - 5d. a head in respect of children in standards I, II and III or corresponding classes; 2d. a head in respect of children below standard I or corresponding class.
(c) That the amount to be allowed in each special school for prizes be such as may be prescribed, but shall not exceed the following amounts -
|Schools for mentally and physically defective children||- 6 a head|
|Schools, other than residential schools, for blind and deaf children||1 - a head|
|Residential schools for the blind and deaf children||1 6 a head|
|(d) that the minimum net value of prizes awarded to pupils in public elementary schools be as follows -|
|Central schools and upper sections of higher grade schools||3 - a head|
|Upper standards of ordinary elementary schools||2 - a head|
|Lower standards of ordinary elementary schools||1 - a head|
|"Standard" classes in infants' departments||1 - a head|