Series GR-0122 - School inspectors' reports

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School inspectors' reports

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  • microform
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  • 1918-1957 (Creation)
    British Columbia. Dept. of Education

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61 microfilm reels : [B06648 - B06708]

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Biographical history

The Ministry of Education was established in 1920 under its first name, the Dept. of Education, by an amendment to the Public School Act (SBC 1920, c. 82). The educational system of British Columbia had been founded in the Crown colony period in the Common School Act (1865), replaced by the Common School Ordinance (1869), and administered respectively by the superintendent of education or inspector general of schools, reporting directly to the governor-in-council. The Public School Act (SBC 1872, c. 16) was enacted in 1872, creating a Provincial Board of Education and a superintendent of education reporting to the Provincial Secretary. The Provincial Secretary also doubled as the minister of education until 1924. It was not until the 1920 amendment to the Public School Act that a distinct Dept. of Education was constituted with the functions and responsibilities of education in the province. The Dept. of Education, under the direction of the minister of education, assisted by a deputy minister and superintendent of education, was responsible for the maintenance and management of all normal schools, the issuing of teachers’ certificates of qualification, and advising the Council of Public Instruction on all matters relating to education in the province. Home economics, high school correspondence, recreational and physical education, extension and adult education, and educational reference and school services were added as branches or divisions between 1920 and 1950. The department assumed responsibility for the School of the Deaf and Blind (Jericho Hill) in 1922, the Victoria School of Art in 1938 (closed in 1942), and Vancouver School of Navigation in 1938. In 1942 the Provincial Library and Archives, the Public Library Commission, and the Provincial Museum were transferred to the department from the Dept. of Provincial Secretary. By 1947, the work of the department was divided among the following branches: High School Correspondence Branch, Elementary Correspondence Branch, Educational and Vocational Guidance, Industrial Education, Adult Education, School for the Deaf and the Blind, School Radio Broadcasts, Division of Tests, Standards, and Research, Text-book Branch, Visual Education, Inspection of Schools, and Normal Schools. In 1976, the Dept. of Education was renamed the Ministry of Education (OIC 3199/76).

Custodial history

The original records were transferred from the Topaz Ave. vault in 1975. They were microfilmed by the Records Management branch in 1985 and transferred to the Archives in March 1986.

Scope and content

The series consists of School Inspectors' reports created by the Dept. of Education between 1918 and 1957. The reports are arranged alphabetically, by name of school or community, for the years 1918-1938; thereafter, reports are filed alphabetically by name of teacher.

Evaluations of a number of private schools are included, as well as assessments of manual training and domestic science programmes in various schools. These reports contain evaluations of individual teachers and assessments of education programmes in all types of schools throughout the province. The report forms varied over the years, but in most instances they contain information on teachers' qualifications, teaching methods and classroom discipline, pupils' progress, and the availability and condition of teaching equipment.

Early reports on provincial elementary schools also contain information on the size and condition of the school buildings and grounds. As a rule, the inspectors' reports were arranged alphabetically, by name of school inspected, and filed chronologically under various categories. During the years 1918-1937, the main categories were "Elementary Schools," "High Schools and Superior Schools," and "Manual Training and Domestic Science." There were, however, frequent exceptions and alterations to this filing system. For example, during the years 1929-1931 Vancouver schools (i.e. those administered by the Vancouver School Board) were filed separately from other municipal schools; during the years 1934-1938 the Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and the Blind was accorded a separate file. Between 1928 and 1937 files pertaining to certain "private schools" were also kept separately. "Private schools" in this instance included some independent schools such as Crofton House, Vancouver, several religious colleges, and a number of Indian residential schools. In addition, rural elementary schools were listed separately from other provincial elementary schools during the years 1928-1937. The "Rural Schools" reports were prepared by Miss Lottie Bowron, Rural Teachers' Welfare Officer (Women's). Her reports often contain detailed accounts of the conditions faced by teachers in small, isolated communities.

In many ways these reports complement the School District Information Forms prepared by the Teachers' Bureau in the 1920s [see GR-0461]. The Department of Education adopted a new filing system in 1938. From that year until 1957, when this series ends, all public school inspectors' reports, irrespective of school categories, were filed alphabetically under the names of individual teachers.

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Original records were destroyed after microfilming in 1985.

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Restrictions on access

These records are restricted. Please contact the BC Archives for information about access.

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Associated materials

For related records see:
GR-0456 - District and Municipal School Inspectors' Reports, 1916, 1940-1946 and
GR-1492 - a directory of the inspectors, listing the schools for which they were responsible

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General note

Accession number(s): 76-G-052

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