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higher class public schools, and those regarding compulsory attendance. In both these matters the Scotch Statute differs from the English. The English Statute deals with elementary education alone ; by the Scotch Statute the framework of a graded system of public education is laid down in an Act of Parliament comprehending infant, elementary, and higher class public schools. In Scotland education is made compulsory and universal by the direct agency of statute law in both town and country; in England it is left to the discretion of school boards appointed in localities to enforce education on the people or not.
The object of the Act is to amend and extend the provisions of the law of Scotland on the subject of education, in such manner that the means of procuring efficient education for their children may be furnished and made available to the whole people of Scotland. The principles upon which the Bill was framed are (in the Lord Advocate's words 1) : “First, that the imperial money voted by Parliament for promoting national education should be, in Scotland as it was in England, administered by the Government, and not by a statutory Board, which would not be responsible to the Government, and for whose proceedings, consequently, the Government could not be responsible to Parliament. Second, that a popularly elected school board should be forthwith established in every parish and burgh, and that the duties of each school board should be, first, to manage all rate-supported schools within the district; next to provide such additional school accommodation as should be necessary in the district; and thirdly, to impose and levy such local school rates as should be necessary. Third, that there should be one uniform system of management, applicable without distinction to all public rate-supported schools, whether existing before the Act or established under the Act to supply the ascertained deficiency. Fourth, that the religious teaching was to be given at such hours that it would not interrupt or interfere with the secular instruction, and that children were at liberty to withdraw from it without losing any part of the secular instruction." These were the leading principles of the Bill, and they are the leading principles of the Act. Effect is given to the first principle by the creation of a Scotch Education Department of the Privy Council, consisting of members of the Government, including the president and vice-president of the Council, and the Lord Advocate of the time, whose duty it is to determine the rates and conditions according to which Parliamentary grants may be given in Scotland, and to frame, and from time to time revise, the minutes containing these rates and conditions. The second principle is carried out by the sections providing for the establishment of school boards in every parish and burgh, and those specifying the duties and powers of the school boards. The third by those provisions which deal with the parochial and burgh schools existing at the passing of the Act, and with the establishment of new schools. And the words in the preamble," whereas it has been the custom in the public schools of Scotland to give instruction in religion to children whose parents did not object to the instruction so given, but with liberty to parents, without forfeiting any of the other advantages of the schools, to elect that their children should not receive such instruction, and it is expedient that the managers of public schools shall be at liberty to continue the said custom,” coupled with the Conscience Clause (8 68), carry out the fourth principle. The Bill as introduced, and as it passed the Commons, did not contain these words, and the Conscience Clause was different. The House of Lords inserted the following as part of the preamble—viz. : “And whereas it has been the usage in Scotland, sanctioned by legislation, to make provision for religious instruction in public schools as an essential part of education, and it is desirable in extending the system of education to afford means for continuing such religious instruction to all children whose parents do not decline it on conscientious grounds.” But the House of Commons substituted the words in the Act for these words on the ground that they were accurate in point of fact, which the others, in so far as they differed from them, were not. It was not proposed in either House to insert any enacting clause in consequence of these words in the preamble; and the preamble was assented to because it was in harmony with the provisions in the Bill. There is no injunction to give instruction in religious subjects. The words in the preamble may be construed by the managers of public schools as an expression of what is clearly to be inferred from the enacting clauses, viz., that, subject to the restrictions therein expressly specified, they may make what arrangements they think proper with regard to religious teaching in the schools under their management. These restrictions relate to the time to be appointed for such teaching, and the liberty given to parents to elect that their children shall receive it or not as they—the parents—may see fit.
1 Lord Advocate in Committee, June 3.
The Act may be regarded as divided into seven parts, dealing with :
1. Constitution of school districts, (8$ 1; 8, 9, 10, 11, 17). 2. Management, . . . . (S3, 4, 5, 8, 12-22,
48, 52, 57,58, 67, 70). 3. Supply of school accommodation, (SS 23-42). 4. Finance and Parliamentary grant, (SS 43-53, 67, 70, 78). 5. Teachers, . . . . (SS 54-61, 76, 77, 78). 6. Higher class schools, . . (SS 62-64). 7. Miscellaneous provisions, . (SS 65-80)—
e.g., inspection, (8 66); conscience clause, (8 68); compulsory attendance, (SS 69-73); repeal of Acts, (8 78).
In the following Summary of the provisions of the Act, it is proposed to adopt this division, and to explain, where it may be thought necessary, the provisions relating to the several parts.
I. CONSTITUTION OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS."
Sections 1, 8, 9, 10, 11, 17.
EVERY parish and every burgh (subject to the exceptions mentioned below) is constituted a school district.
Within twelve months after the passing of the Act—i.e., before the 6th of August 1873—a school board shall be elected for and in every school district in Scotland. $ 8.
Parish is defined to mean any parish which does not wholly consist of a burgh or part of a burgh, and to include any school district formed under the Act. § 1.
Burgh is defined to mean any royal burgh and any burgh or town returning, or contributing as a burgh to return, a member to Parliament, and to include eight towns specified in a schedule appended to the Act—viz., Girvan, Wick and Pulteneytown, Alloa, Kirkintilloch, Dalkeith, Broughty-Ferry, Bathgate, and Kilsyth. These towns do not come within the definition of burgh as given above, but they are sufficiently important and populous to be considered as school districts separate from the country parishes which surround them. $ 1. Area of a Parish.
The area of a parish is exclusive of the area of any burgh or part of a burgh situated therein, for which a school board is required to be elected. $ 9.
1 District is used here in a general sense. It has also a special sense under this Act—viz., the union of portions of two or more parishes detached from the main body of the parish and formed into a school district. Cf. § 17.
? A quoad sacra parish made up of parts of two or more civil parishes is esteemed a parish for the purposes of the Act, and as such is entitled to have a separate school board. Cf. § 10, p. 7, note 2, p. 166.
Parishes or parts of parishes united quoad omnia or quoad sacra are deemed one parish." § 10. Small Parishes.
Small or thinly-populated parishes may be added to adjacent parishes by order of the Board of Education, and when so added shall be regarded as part of the parish to which they are added.
School districts may be formed by two or more school boards detaching portions from their parishes and uniting them into districts.
Such districts are deemed parishes.
The consent of the sheriff of the county in which such parishes or any of them lie must be given to this arrangement. § 17. Small Burghs may be united with their Parishes.
A burgh with a population under 3000 3 may, by order of the Board of Education, be dealt with as part of the parish in which it, or the greater part of it, is situated. The order must be issued within six months after the passing of the Act—i.e., before the 6th of February 1873. § 11. Area of a Burgh.
The area of a burgh shall be taken to be the limits within which the municipal (or if there are no municipal, the police) assessments are levied. $ 9.
1 A list of quoad sacra parishes entitled to School Boards under this section will be found in the Appendix, p. 166. Rules for the conduct of the first elections in such parishes have been issued by the Board under the powers conferred on them by § 12, sub-sec. 5, and will be found in the Appendix, p. 156. Cf. p. 7, § 10, note 2.
2 For the election of school boards to such districts, cf. p. 13, note 2. Appendix, p. 156.
3 According to the census of 1871, there were 4 Royal and 29 Parliamentary burghs with populations under 3000—viz., Auchtermuchty, Earlsferry, Falkland, Newburgh, Anstruther-Easter, Anstruther-Wester, Bervie, Crail, Cromarty, Cullen, Culross, Dingwall, Dornoch, Fortrose, Inverary, Inverkeithing, Inverurie, Kilrenny, Kinghorn, Kintore, Kirkcudbright, Lauder, Lochmaben, New Galloway, North Berwick, Oban, Peebles, Pittenweem, Queensferry, Sanquhar, Tain, Whithorn, Wigtown. All these burghs, with the exception of Anstruther-Easter and Oban, have been united to parishes. A list will be found in the App. p. 164.