BY offering Dr. Temple the Bishopric of Exeter, Mr. Gladstone has removed from his post the most eminent schoolmaster in England. Dr. Temple has done much for the education, present and future, of all classes; and although this is not the place to comment on all he has done in this direction, we may note here what he has done for education in Science. He may fairly claim to be the first head-master who has recognised its importance, and effectively introduced it into his school. And its introduction at Rugby is of special importance, because it is the acknowledged leader in educational progress, and because so many head-masters have been trained there. Now Harrow and Eton, and several other schools are doing something, though none yet with quite the same liberality as Rugby: but it will be instructive to look back ten years, and thus to estimate the advance. Rugby was then the only public school where science was taught at all. But even there it was under great disadvantages. No school was assigned to it; it was an extra, and heavily weighted by extra payment. There was no laboratory, scarcely any apparatus, and scarcely any funds for procuring it. About forty to fifty boys attended lectures on it, but there was no possibility of making those lectures consecutive, and of dealing with advanced pupils. Now there is a suite of rooms devoted to science. A large and excellent laboratory, where thirty boys are working at the same time at practical chemistry with the assistance of a laboratory superintendent, opens into a smaller private laboratory, which is for the use of the master and a few advanced students. This again opens into a chemical lecture room, in which from forty to fifty can conveniently sit. The seats are raised, and the lecture table fitted with all that is required. Adjoining is the physical science lecture room, in which sixty can sit, and of which a part is assigned to work tables. And out of this the master's private room is reached, in which apparatus is kept, and experiments and work prepared. There is a considerable geological museum, and an incipient botanical collection. A Natural History Society meets frequently, and publishes reports and papers contributed by the boys. Five masters take part in teaching natural science. It is introduced into the regular school work (about 360 out of 500 appear to be in the Natural Science classes); being compulsory on all the middle school; an alternative in the upper school; and optional in the Sixth Form. And the result of the teaching has been satisfactory. It has not damaged classics. It has been the means of educating many boys, and has been a visible gain to the great majority; and it has steadily contributed to the lists of honours gained at the University. If Dr. Temple had done nothing else, his name would deserve honour at our hand for having brought about this change. Let us hope that his successor will be equally liberal to science, and maintain its efficiency.
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Notes. Nature 1, 25–26 (1869). https://doi.org/10.1038/001025a0