Education Laws - Scotland
Scotland. Previous to the Education (Scotland) Act of 1872, the public elementary education rested on the old parochial system, supplemented in more recent times by the parliamentary grants from the Committee of Council on Education. Under the old law the heritors in every parish were bound to provide a schoolhouse, and to con-tribute the schoolmasters salary, half of which, however, was legally chargeable on tenants. [680-2]
The Education Act of 1872 establishes for a limited number of years a Board of Education for Scotland, to be responsible to the Scotch Education Department of the Privy Council, on which its functions are ultimately, to devolve. The board makes an annual report to the department.
A school board must be elected in every parish and burgh as defined in the Act. The number of members (between five and fifteen) is fixed by the Board of Educa-tion, and no teacher in a public school is eligible. The election is by cumulative vote, and disputed elections are to be settled by the sheriff. The school board is a body corporate. Existing parish, burgh, and other schools, established under former Acts, are to be handed over to the school board.
The school board, acting under the Board of Education, shall provide a sufficient supply of school accommodation, and in determining what additional amount is necessary, existing efficient schools are to be Jaken into account, whether public or not. Provision is made for the trans-ference of existing schools to the school board.
The clauses as to the school fund, and the power of the board to impose rates and to borrow money, are similar to those in the English Acts, and it is declared that sunk funds ior behoof of burgh or parish schools shall be administered by the board, and that the board shall be at liberty to receive any property or funds to be employed in promoting educa-tion. Schoolmasters in office at the passing of the Act are not to be prejudiced in any of their rights, but all future appointments shall be during the pleasure of the board, who shall assign such salaries and emoluments as they think fit.
Sections 56-59 relate to the qualifications of teachers. A principal teacher in a public school must possess a certificate of competency or an equivalent as defined in the Act.
Section 62 contains provisions for the maintenance by the school board of higher class public schools in burghs, which are as far as practicable to be released from the necessity of giving elementary instruction, so that the funds maybe applied more exclusively to the instruction on the higher branches. And when by reason of an endowment or otherwise a parish school is in a condition to give instruction in the higher branches, it maybe deemed to be a higher class school and managed accordingly.
Parliamentary grants are to be made (1) to school boards, (2) to the managers of any school which is efficiently contributing to secular education. No grant shall be made in respect of (1) religion instruction, (2) new schools, not being public schools, unless it appears that they are required, regard being had to the religious belief of the parents of the children for whom they are intended, or other special circumstances of the locality. Section 68 is the conscience clause, and it may be mentioned that the preamble of the Act states that it is expedient that managers of public schools should be at liberty to continue the custom of giving "instruction in religion to children whose parents did not object, with liberty to parents, without forfeiting, any of the other advantages of the schools, to elect that their children should not receive such instruction." Section 69 imposes on parents the duty of providing elementary instruction for children between five and thirteen, and the parochial board shall pay the fee for poor parents. Defaulters may be prosecuted ; and persons receiving children into their houses or workshops shall be deemed to have undertaken the duties of parents with reference to the education of children. A certificate of the childs proficiency by an inspector protects the parent or employer from proceedings tinder the Act. Other clauses relate to the non-educational duties imposed by various Acts on schoolmasters (now transferred to registrars), and to the "Schoolmasters Widows Fund," to which new masters are not required to contribute.
The Education Board, continued by Order in Council to 6th August 1877, has been further continued by statute to 6th August 1878.
680-2 The following are the Acts relating to education in Sootiand recited in the Education Act of 1872 :Act of Scots Parliament, 1696 (1st of King William); Geo, III. c. 54 ; 1 and 2 Vict. c. 87, and 24 and 25 Viet. c. 107.
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