The objects which the technical education board has had in view in its dealings with the polytechnics have been:—
1. To allow to the several governing bodies the greatest possible freedom in the conduct of social, recreative and even religious work within the provisions of the schemes of the Charity Commissioners.
2. To secure to each polytechnic the services of an educational principal, who should be responsible to his governing body for the organization and conduct of the whole of the work of the institution.
3. To provide in each polytechnic a permanent staff of teachers, who should be heads of their respective departments and give their whole time to the work of the institution, and thus to establish a corporate or collegiate life in the polytechnic.
4. To ensure that all branches of experimental science are taught experimentally, and that the students have the opportunity of carrying out practical laboratory work, at an inclusive fee not exceeding ten shillings for any one subject.
5. To provide efficient workshop instruction in all practical trade subjects.
6. To secure that the number of students under the charge of any one teacher in laboratory or workshop classes, or in other classes in which personal supervision is of paramount importance, shall not exceed a stated limit (fifteen in the workshop, or twenty in the laboratory).
7. To exclude from classes students who, for want of preliminary training, are incapable of profiting by the instruction provided; and to this end to restrict the attendance at workshop classes to those who are actually engaged in the trades concerned, and have thus opportunities of acquiring the necessary manual dexterity in the performance of their daily duties.
8. To furnish an adequate fixed stipend for all teachers, in place of a contingent interest in fees and grants.
9. To encourage private subscriptions and donations.
10. To establish an efficient system of inspection.
11. To facilitate the advertisement of polytechnic classes, and especially to invite the co-operation of trade societies in supporting their respective classes.
12. To encourage the higher development of some special branch of study in each polytechnic.
13. To utilize the polytechnic buildings as far as possible in the daytime by the establishment of technical day schools, or otherwise.
14. To secure uniformity in the keeping of accounts.
The regulations under which the council has attempted to secure its objects by means of grants have been changed from time to time as the work of the polytechnics has developed, but they provide that the council's aid should be partly in the form of a. fixed grant to each institution, partly a share of the salaries of the principal and the permanent teachers, partly a grant on attendance, the scale depending on the subject and character of the instruction, and partly a subsidy (15%) on voluntary contributions. In addition to the annual grants for maintenance, substantial grants for building and equipment are made from time to time.
The scale of grants adopted by the council for the session 1907-1908 was the following:—
i. A fixed grant assigned to each polytechnic.
ii. Three-fourths of the salary of the principal (subject to certain conditions).
iii. Fifty per cent. of the salaries of heads of approved departments.
iv. Ten per cent. of the salaries of other teachers.
v. Fifteen per cent. on (voluntary) annual subscriptions or donations.
vi. Attendance grants on evening classes varying from 1d. to 6d. per student-hour (subject to certain conditions of minimum attendance, eligibility, &c.).
vii. Special grants not exceeding £50 for courses of lectures on particular subjects required or approved by the council.
viii. Special grants towards any departments which the council may desire to see established or maintained.
ix. Equipment grants and building grants in accordance with the special requirements of the institutions.
The above grants are independent of any contributions which the council may make towards secondary day schools or day schools of domestic economy or training colleges of domestic economy in the polytechnics.
With a view to a due division of labour, and also to the co-operation of the public bodies concerned, the “London Polytechnic Council” was created in 1894. It was composed of representatives of the Central Governing Body, the technical education board of the London County Council, and the City and Guilds of London Institute, and its duty was to consult London Polytechnic Council. as to the appropriation of funds, the organization of teaching, the holding of needful examinations, and the supervision of the work generally. After ten years of work the London polytechnic council was dissolved in the summer of 1904 in consequence of the abolition of the technical education board of the London County Council, when the council became responsible for all grades of education. A statement below shows the number and names of the several institutions, and the extent to which they have been severally aided by the Central Governing Body and the London County Council.
The “People's Palace” owes its origin in part to the popularity of a novel by Sir Walter Besant, entitled All Sorts and The People's Palace. Conditions of Men, in which the writer pointed out the sore need of the inhabitants of East London for social improvement and healthy recreation, and set forth an imaginary picture of a “Palace of Delight,” wherein this need might be partly satisfied. Much public interest was awakened, large subscriptions were given, and the Central Governing Body aided the project; but the munificence of the drapers' company in setting aside £7000 a year for its permanent maintenance released the London County Council from any obligation to make a grant. Apart from the social and recreative side of this popular institution, the educational section, under the name of the East London Technical College, steadily increased in numbers and influence under the fostering care of the drapers' company and has now been recognized as a “school” of the university of London under the title of “The East London College” and is being utilized by the London County Council in the same way as other “schools of the university.”
Grants to the London Polytechnics during the Session 1906-1907.
|Central Governing Body. London County Council.|
|Borough Road Polytechnic||2,500||1,563||820||5,285|
|City of London College||1,000||901||515||3,725|
|East London College||3,500||224||nil||nil|
|Regent Street Polytechnic||3,500||3,916||965||7,665|
|Sir John Cass's Institute||nil||50||510||2,400|
In the above table the grants are given to the nearest pound. Up to July 1907 the total expenditure of the council upon the polytechnics, apart from the day schools, training colleges, &c., conducted in them, was about £525,000, almost exactly the same as that of the Central Governing Body. The voluntary grants from the central governing body include a contribution towards a compassionate fund, and a pension fund based on endowment assurances for all permanent officers of the polytechnics in receipt of salaries of not less than £100 a year.
The grants received from the board of education amount to about £30,000 a year, while the fees of students and members produce about £45,000. Voluntary subscriptions, including those from city companies and other sources of income, produce about £30,000 in addition, so that out of a total expenditure of about £200,000 a year the council now contributes 30%, the Central Governing Body 18%, fees 22½%, the board of education 15% and city companies and other subscribers 15%.