Return to page 1
RACHEL GIBBONS – On the 27th March a latter was received by the Department enclosing an account of an inquest lately held at Egham with reference to the death of Rachel Gibbons, attending the Royal School, Windsor. After hearing the evidence of the father and of the medical man who attended the child, the jury returned a verdict that she died of “inflammation of the brain, produced by overwork at school and lessons at home”. The girl, who was only 6 years 10 months, was receiving instruction according to the Second Standard of the Code. The distance from her home to the school was two miles. She never showed any unwillingness to go to school, but her parents state that she frequently cried, and complained of the hardness of her work at home. They had, however, never been sufficiently alarmed to make any complaints to the teachers, or to ask that she might be relieved of any part of her home work. At the inquest the doctor directly attributed the illness to overwork and mental strain, but he subsequently stated that he could not assign this as a direct cause of illness, which might have been due to other causes, especially as the family were constitutionally delicate. The school in question does not receive any Government aid, and is simply visited once a year by Her Majesty’s Inspector, in order to test the attainments of the older children. The infant class to which the girl belonged is never present on the occasion of the inspector’s visit, nor is the course of instruction which they undergo submitted to or approved by the Department. Her Majesty’s Inspector states that had that course been submitted for his official sanction he could not have approved it, as it was, in his opinion, too difficult and advanced for children of such tender years. Rachel Gibbons, although not yet seven years of age, was receiving instruction in the Second Standard, and her home lessons appear to have been exceptionally severe.