The National School moved to 18 Liverpool Street in 1827 where Ann and Thomas would live and work until the end of 1830. During this time their family continued to grow with the birth of James (b. 26 September 1828, d. October 1828) and Edward (b. 19 February 1830).
In a School Return dated 13 January 1827, in Ann’s own handwriting, she is described as School Mistress of the National Central Female School, Hobart Town. There were 42 female students, aged from 3 to 14 years and a summary is given of their current educational achievements. Her two daughters featured in the return:
Emma, aged 7, was educated to “Collects from 1 to 10 by 3 stages. Reading Book No. 2, part 1st. Monosyllabic Writing. Needlework.”
Ann, aged 3, was educated to “Collects from 1 to 5 by 3 stages. Spelling Book No. 1, pages 3 and 4. Alphabetical Writing.”
THE HOBART TOWN COURIER, SATURDAY 8 DECEMBER 1827, page 2
“Whoever has lately passed along Liverpool-st. immediately after 12 o’clock at noon, has observed among the boys let loose from Mr. Stone’s school, a native black boy playing with his school-fellows at marbles. He was received about 8 or 9 years ago into the care of the late Lieutenant Governor, after he had been left behind at New Norfolk, by the tribe to which he belonged. His name was George Van Diemen. After some time he was sent to England for his education where he remained about 5 years, and evinced considerable depth of intellect. He returned lately with Mr. Kermode, under whose care he was left by Colonel Sorell, and during hts stay in Hobart-town, he not only made considerable progress, but was the means of promoting that of his school fellows. We regret to add, that he lately became consumptive, and died on Monday in the Hospital.”
THE HOBART TOWN COURIER: SATURDAY, APRIL 12 1828. page 3
“National School..—We have great pleasure in stating that on Monday the National School, in Liverpool street was visited by the Venerable the Archdeacon, when the children were publicly examined by the Archdeacon and the Reverend Mr Bedford. Three medals of different sizes were offered as prizes to the boys and girls, who were examined in the 3rd, and 12th Chapters of Genesis, the 40th and 53rd of Isaiah, the 3rd of Malachi, the 3rd of St. Mathew, 22nd of St. Luke, the 19th and 20th of St. John, all of which were repeated, as also the Chief truths of the Christian religion, Osterwald’s Abridgement of the Bible, the Church Catechism, and the Rubric of Church of England, in all of which the candidates for the medals shared very considerable progress and knowledge. The conditions for being candidates for the medals were regular attendance at Church and School.
“The following rewards were given, viz.-The two large, silver medals to Joseph Edwards and Olive Drabble; also a large Bible and Prayer Book. The second silver medal to James Edwards, also a smaller Bible and Prayer Book. The two smallest medals to George Drabble and Susan Robinson, also a small Bible and Prayer Book.
“It was gratifying to observe that the children preferred taking Bibles and Prayer Books, to the money which was offered with the medals. During the whole course of the examination the intellectual improvement which they evinced, and the orderly conduct which they preserved, redounded very greatly to the credit of the master and mistress of the Institution, (Mr. and Mrs. Stone,) and the excellent discipline they maintained, to whose exertions the progress of the scholars is chiefly to be attributed.
“After enjoying themselves with a cold dinner, and tea, and cakes, with which they were entertained, the school broke up about five o’clock. It is the first public exhibition of the kind which has taken place in Hobart town, and we rejoice to learn that it is intended in future to be annual and more public.”
Dr Bell’s System of Education
From the description of the achievements of the pupils at the National School it is likely that they were following Dr Andrew Bell’s System, which was certainly the case in all sixteen government schools in 1832.
Believing that students learned best from their fellow students, the more proficient were appointed as monitors or student teachers to help those who had reached a lesser standard as well as to keep records and perform other duties.
The lessons were also divided into small sections, each of which had to be mastered before moving on to the next. For example when learning to write they would start by tracing the letters i, l, t, o, one by one, pronouncing each one at the same time. When this was perfect they then learned the vowels in a similar way before putting together vowels and consonants in two letter syllables la, le, li, lo, lu, and so on.
Because the letters or syllables were pronounced while being written and longer words were divided into their syllables the pupils were learning to read and write at the same time.
Extensive use was made of material from the Book of Common Prayer and the Bible so that the students were learning moral and spiritual values while learning to read and write.
Arithmetic was taught in a similar way.