SCHOOL BOARD MEETING.
On Thursday morning, the Workington School Board held the monthly meeting, MR. J. MANDALE presiding. All the members of the Board were present but MR. CART*GLI****.
After the minutes of previous meeting had been read, MR. T. DOUGLAS said he didn't see why it was entered in the minute that "At this point MR. So-and-so entered the room." He thought it was unnecessary, but if they had to enter all these things, he would move that it be recorded "that the 'Cumberland Pacquet' came in 10 minutes late." This was a playful allusion to the late entrance of the 'Pacquet' reporter. Minutes were signed.
MR. MCMULLEN next read the monthly financial statement, which showed the balance in bank to be L 489 10s. 6d. Cheques were now wanted for L327 3s. 6d., which would make balance of L 162 7s. 1d.
Numberous letters were next read by the Chairman. One was from MISS GOODFELLOW, Mistress of St. John's School, resigning her post on account of ill health. A testimonial was ordered to be given her. Another letter was from "My Lords" of the Education Department, and they wanted to know about the state of religious instruction in the Board Schools here. A long discussion ensued. The Chairman said that the Bible was not read in all their schools for the simple reason that they had no Bibles. He was in favour of the Bible being read in schools, and also of prayers, and thought the head teachers might give information on such subjects as the life of Joseph. He thought there should be something like uniformity at the schools in the matter. MR. VAUGHAN agreed.
MR. DOUGLAS said that he thought Bible reading in Board Schools should be without comment. His own opinion was that the more free and secular Board Schools were made, the better, as he did not think that any kind of profitable "spiritual teaching" could be given amid tasks and punishments and general school routine. Some members suggested a printed form of prayer, to be approved by the Board before being used, and CAPTAIN RICE wanted to know if any prayer was better than "The Lord's Prayer". The Chairman said he thought there was none so good. MR. DOUGLAS said surely they were'nt going to hinder a head teacher from saying "God bless these poor children." And the Board irreverently laughed. Ultimately after much weak talk, the Chairman moved "that there be uniform Bible-reading, &c., in the schools." MR. MC.ALEER seconded, and it was settled so.
Among other letters was one of some length from MR. GEORGE OGLETHORPE, pointing out that he had a just claim to an increase of salary. He was the only certificated assistant the Board had, and he was their worst paid servant. He had "not decent wages for a navvy", whilst others in the employ of the Board, who had failed to pass their examinations, had as far as L 7 a year more than him. The Chairman was reading on, when he stopped and asked if he should read it all. MR. VAUGHAN said he was going to call it nonsense. MR. DOUGLAS said no, it was not nonsense, it seemed to him that it was absolutely cruel and very unfair to treat this young man so. It was not right at all. MR. MANDALE said they ought at least to put him on a level with the others, as he was equal to any of them. MR. VAUGHAN: Then he ought to be paid the same. The Chairman moved and MR. DOUGLAS seconded that L 10 a year increase be granted to MR. OGLETHORPE, and it was carried. And an increase was never more worthily bestowed.
The use of a portion of St. John's School was granted to MR. OGLETHORPE for a night school for the coming season.
Next MR. RANDALL reported upon the punishment at St. John's schools. He said it was true the lad had been thrashed, and the teacher had no right to do it. But he was a very bad lad, and the master said that he would have got more than he did get if he had been sent to him. The Chairman said if he had got more, there would have been a coroner's inquest on him. MR. MC.ALEER said he saw the boy and it was a serious case. MR. DOUGLAS moved and MR. VAUGHAN seconded that the Clerk write to the teacher and tell him that if such a case occurred again, he would be dismissed. Carried.
There was no other business of public interest.