The Argus, dated Friday 17th March 1882 [Melbourne]
THE PRAHRAN STATE SCHOOL CASE.
The following is the report and recommendation of the inspector general of the Education department on the case of Mr
P H. Templeton, head teacher of the Prahran state school. The recommendation was endorsed by the secretary, and
the Minister has since carried it into effect .
Mr Templeton's exclusion of James Muir (aged 12) and Boston Bartlett (aged 10) in June or July last, on the plea that
they had not brought written excuses for their previous absence was, to say the least, unwarranted and ill advises. He
should have admitted the boys, and required them to bring excuses on the following day.
The exclusion of these children on the 24th of January last was in direct contravention of instructions contained in
circular 73 8, and our letters of December 28th, 1880 November 30th, 1881, and December 13th, 1881.
In his letter to Mr Muir, Mr Templeton states that the boys were excluded owing to there not being room for them in the
4th and 1st classes respectively. The district inspector's report shows that there was ample room in both these classes.
Besides, in our letter of the 13th December, 1881, the head teacher was informed that "children should not be refused
admission because the particular class for which they are qualified is crowded so long as the total amount of
accommodation available in the school is sufficient for the children in attendance, at an allowance of eight square feet of
floor space per child '.
And in our letter of the 30th November, 1881, the head teacher was instructed to "decline to receive any more children
under six years of age” until he had " been able to accede to all requests from children above that age”.
In No 1,467 there is accommodation (at eight square feet per child) for 975 children, and the average attendance for
January was 880, the actual attendance for the 21th of January being 908.
Further than this, on the above date (which is that on which the Muir children were excluded), six new scholars were
admitted, four of them being under six years of age.
From the reopening of the school in January up to the time of the proceedings being taken against Mr Muir, it appears
that 122 new children were enrolled, 42 of them being under six years of age, and one over 15. Of these children 66
were placed in the first class, and six in the fourth.
In looking into the whole facts of this case, it appears to be clear that Mr Temple ton had been most culpable in that he
has deliberately disobeyed the departments instructions.
It may be here pointed out that in May, 1880, Mr Templeton’s attention was called to his having persistently disregarded
the instructions conveyed in circular 73 22 and 76-15
In consequence of these irregularities, and his lax management of the school, he will be cautioned that unless able to
exercise a more efficient management of the school in future, he would be removed to a less responsible position.
As this caution has not been sufficient, I now recommend that Mr Templeton be cen sured, and transferred to a smaller