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Kemp, George Henry

There are many file letters in the NSW Archives from teachers unhappy about the Inspector's report on them and their school. George Kemp, whilst teacher at Narrabundah Public school authored one of the more compelling of them:

The retardation so noticeable in the school under my charge is due to late enrolment and irregular attendance. I am enclosing a list of the retarded pupils, with date of admission, age when admitted, and days of attendance to June 13th.

Most of 38 children travel to school by coach, some of them for 13 miles, only 3 enrolled live within three miles of the school, and during wet weather, when the coach is unable to run they miss their schooling, and during the winter months they suffer severely on the grounds that they are too tired. I am handicapped by the people I am striving to assist.

Owing to a shortage of Primer 1 reading books, I have copied phrases of lessons there-in on cardboard slips, adding new phrases week by week, and gave each child a set. I found by this means the children did not memorise the sentences as in the book, and found much interest in building new sentences not in the book, and I thus had the first step to composition in my infant classes.

I feel very much dis-heartened over the result of the last inspection, and as the coach has again ceased running, perhaps for months, more than half of these children will receive no more schooling until some other arrangement is made. I had an attendance of 13 today, whereas had the coach been running I should have had 43.

I have done my duty to the best of my ability under the circumstances, and will feel it very hard if you decide the fault is mine.


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