Return to page 1

EMMA JANE HARGREAVES  Aged seven in Standard I., taken ill November 6th, died November 17th.  The medical can who attended her certified the cause of death to be “inflammation of the brain, caused by overwork at school”.  The subject was brought before the town council by their medical officer, who strongly condemned the practice of making young children do home lessons.  From inquiries instituted by the Department, it appears that the girls left the infant school the preceding August, prior to which time no home lessons had been required.  She had been under medical care for a feverish cold the preceding February, but the doctor declared that he detected no sign of “head mischief”, either then or at any time prior to the fatal illness.  On November 6th, the girls was found crying, and complained of headache; and the doctor, who was called in on the 8th, found her suffering from inflammation of the brain, and going over her school work in her sleep.  The parents state that the child was quick and fond of work, and that they had often to take books out of her hands; they imputed no blame to the teachers in the matter.  The home lessons for Standard I. would take about 20 minutes to do, and consisted of three or four simple sums, and five words of spelling.  The School Board stated that only one complaint of home lessons had been made in 12 years, and that many persons had complained of their absence or insufficiency.