The Pupil Teacher System
The SBL calculated that London schools needed a thousand new teachers every
year to replace those that left or retired. Until 1906 over half of these came
through the 'pupil teacher' system.
At 13, pupils could stay on at school as probationers to help with the
teaching of younger pupils. After two years as probationers, they would then
spend another three years, learning the job before taking a final exam. If they
passed, they would be paid to go to training college to become a qualified
There were usually two pupil teachers to each teacher. In 1870, the head
teacher was responsible for training the pupil teachers, but the SBL thought
this was a bad idea and set up special colleges. For half the week they would go
to the college, the rest of the time they would work in the classroom.
Pupil teachers were paid a small wage. These were their wages in 1903:
|Pupil teachers wages in 1903
The SBL always thought the pupil teacher system was a bad idea. When the
London County Council took over the SBL schools in 1904, it opened new teacher
training colleges such as Avery Hill in south east London. In 1913 the final
pupil teacher in London qualified for college.