HOOLE SCHOOL DIFFICULTY.|1907-12-18|The Chester Courant and Advertiser for North Wales - Welsh Newspapers Online
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TIIF, NEW EDUCATION BILL.…

HOOLE SCHOOL DIFFICULTY.

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HOOLE SCHOOL DIFFICULTY. HOW IT COULD BE SOLVED. URBAN COUNCIL'S CONSIDERATION. PROTESTS AGAINST EXTRAVAGANCE. For two hours and a half the Hoole Urban Council, at a. special meeting held on Monday evening, discussed the question of the proposal to build a new Council school for Hoole. Mr. W. J. Croydon presided over a full attendance. It will be remembered tliit the matter was dis- cussed at lengtth at the ordinary IDeding of the Council, a week a.go, but ooasicLtiiu-tion was adjoiiriiied, to the spe-cial meetddg. Tho qiiioslion was introduced by Mr. W. Wil- liams, who moved the following resolution, of which he had given notice:—That Messrs. Dobson and Woollam, the lepresentat.ivee ap- pointed by this Council on the Administrative Sub-oomnaittoo for the Chesttr Union area, represent to the sub-comorittee, at their next meeting, the desirability of definitely ascer- taining- whether it is absolutely necessary to build a new school, referred to in the. notice from the Cheshire County Council, dated the 22nd Novomhor, 1907, at an cstimatod, cost of over £5,000, or whether the expenditure of such a largo sum could not be obviated by the erection of a now infant school for WO children on a site which might be obtained free of cost, and by alterations and additions to the existing schools in Hooic, the estimated cmt of which would not exceed £ 3.000; and to point out to the sub-comnaittse the heavy rates in these dis- tl^icta, and tiie n ^je*sa;ty for the strictest economy compatible with efficiency." He stated that in 1907 the County Council Inspector re- ported as to the existing school accommodation in Hoole, painting out that there was provision for 822 ohilda«ai, 374 in tlie boys' school, 252 in the girls, and 196 in the -nfan& school, on the 10ft. basis for the boys and girls, and 9ft. for tho infante. At present tlie number of chil- dren on tha book's, including those in tho tem- porary infants' school, was 930, tllk1; be;ng 349 in the boys' sol tool and 233 in the girls, while owing to tbo congested state of tliewo schools 50 Standard 1. children were being educated in the infants' school, in which the number was 240. Tk'ieie were also children in the temporary in- fants' school, which made up the to;al. There was also to ba considered that tilieie were 332 ohildiKm from Hoole and Newton who at.tend.ed city schools, while 106 Chester children came to the Hoolo schools, leaving 226 to be provided for. These figures, however, did not convey ad-i accurate idea of the position of things, becauso tho average attendance was considerably less than the number on the books. In the boys' school tlie average attendance was 314, and tbeac was a margin of 56 plaoos. He regiettcd that Mr. Wallace had described the Westmin- ster schools as being like a gwi or a dungeon and being badly lighted, and considered it was misleading and a gross slander on the schools, win oh were as good as any that could bo built. The schools had been recently enlarged by the Duke of Westminster, and met every require- ment of tho Board of Education's Inspector. They admitted there was overcrowding in th9 girls' school, but the Mission-room had been altered to provide temporary accommodation to tide over the difficulty. He contended that there was no need to build a new Council school for the district, as the difficulty could be over- come by adopting a less expansive scheme. Ad- joini'ng the Westminster schools was a piece of land wiiaoh had been set apart at one time for the purpose of enlarging the schools its occasion required. The land was vested in trustees, and he had eveiy reason to believe the trustees would, under tho circumstances, be prepared to make a prosont of the site to the district for the purpose of building the infants' school sugges- ted., and this would be an enormous saving to the ratepayers, and would provide sufficient accommodation for the district for many to come. He did not believe that the population in Hoole would increase to any enormous extent in the artisan classes, as land was being oot apart for tho building of larger houses. It was suggested that tho County Coun- cil did not build new schools adjoining existing Church schools, because they said they would be simply training grounds for the Church. This could be easily overcome, because under the 1902 Act pareirte oould demand that their chil- dren should be taught the County Caunail Scriptural syllabus. A schoolmaster in Hoole had told him that there was NO DIFFICULTY in regard to the religious difficulty, as where representation was made, though it was not in many, ho gladly gave the applicants unde- nominational teaching. (Hear, hoar.) The re- ligious difficulty could be met by a freer and wider use of the Scriptural teaching in schools. By the erection of a new Council school they wou!d gain nothing in educational efficiency, but there would be a saving of about £ 3,000 to the ratepayers. (Applause.) Mr. Walton formally seconded. Mr. Duck said there seemed to be a mistaken idea. as to the Westminster schools. They were built by tho late Marquis of Westminster to supply the needs of the district, and to carry on the work which was instituted by two ladies, the Misses Carver. For a considerable number of yeairs school penoo were paid at the school, and the dofioioncy which arose year by year was met by these ladies. They were built purely as undenominational schools. (Hear, hear.) For three years H M. Inspector—he was sorry one of the local papers went out of its way to speak with anything but respect of his roport-had reported for the last throe years that at thieee schools there was overcrowding, that structural alterations were necessary, and tiiat tho children were running a serious danger of having their eyesight impaired by the con- dition of the school. Mr. Dobson: We cannot have that. Mr. Duck: It is from II.M. Inspectors re- port- If Mr. Dobson wishes to place his opinion against that of the report, he is perfectly at liberty to do so. Mr. Dobson I have soon the school. Continuing, Mr. Duck said that for the last two or threw years the managers had been asked to comply with the requirements of the Education authority, but unfortunately they had not. found themselves in a position to do so. 1Io believed also that application had been made to Eaton, a source from which ten years ago funds wcro forthcoming to bring th3 school up- to-date, according to the necessities of that time. In the present case, after a long corre- spondence, the matter had been taken up seri- ously by the County Council, who stirred up the local sub-committee, and the latter had die- sided that a new srfiool for Hoole was neces- sary. He thought tha time had passed for the Council to enter a protest. As regarded the vacant piece of ground, Mr. Willuum would know veiy well that the County Council would never sanction the building of a new school on that piec? of ground. The schools which were now built, nuLSI. bo within their own grounds. He had every sympathy with tlie managers of die Westminster schools. They were placed in a similar position some years ago, when they asked the late Duko to carry out structural alterations, and his Graoo said he was willing to do so on certain conditions. These were such that they could not bo accepted, but rather than stand in the way of education in the district they Juanckd back to the Duke what ho had entrusted to, thorn for 25 years. The present difficulty could be easily got over if tho mana- gers of the school went to the County Council and said they could not poesiibly go on any longer, and they were prepared to baid the schools over to the County Council. lIe thought that even at the eleventh hour that might be considered. Ho understood that the cost. of a new Council school would work out at about £ 16 per hoad, which, reckoning 300 children, would giv^ a total of £ 4,800, and in addition there would be the fittings, etc. Mr. Williams: I do not think Mr. Duck can estimate tho cost, as the site has yet to be purchased, and might cost anything. I under- stand it cost. J616 per head at Miotic Traiford, but land in Hoole ood Newton was considerably more. Mr. Duck remarked that if they could not. got an acre of land for £ 1,000 it was a bad look out. If the now school was to be built under the present Act of Parliament the money could be borrowed only for 30 years, but under aai Act wliich came into on tlie 1st January it oould be» obtained for 60 y«un?, which would work out at an extra rate of J.,bd. in the £ for the builtting, the coat of upkeep and teacbing CIA the oounty. lib was ail very well talking about the present), but they had to look to the future. The birth-rate in Hoole was generally very high—(hoar, hcor)-and the County Council were wise in selecting a site to which they could add as necessity demanded. They paid 17s. 7d. per head for the ohildretn who left the district to attend school in Chester, and lost 32s. 6d. per head in grant, so tliat about £ 800 went out of the district which might be spent in Hoole. Mr. Dobson: Would tlie new school save that? Mr. Duck: It would. Mr. Dobson: I say it would have nothing to do with it Mr. Duck argued that if sufficient school ac- commodation was provided in their own dis- trict they could say to the city authorities they did not want them to take in their children, as they had made provision in their own dis- trict, and if they still went to tho city the County Council could stop the 17s. 7d. per head, though the city would receive the Govern- ment grant. He advised the Council to peti- tion the Board of Education before sanctioning tho building of the school to hold an inquiry into tho district, when those who opposed the scheme could bring forth their evidence. Al- luding to the question of extravagance, he said the-ro was no such cry when they opposed the tfanis coming" into Hoole., when they built the park, which cost 3-d. in the £ or when the question of amalgamation was brought up, but when it. came to erecting a school which became absolutely necessary to the district at an outlay of IYL in the £ there was this cry of extrava- gance. (Mr. Thomas: "Shame.") Mr. Crowder remarked that ho agreed with Mr. Williams's resolution in principle, but he would movo an amendment. If the Westmin- ster school oouJd bo proved or shewn to be in anything like the condition it was described by Mr. Wallace, then he would strongly support the idea of a now school. (Hear, hear.) He wanted Mr. Wallace to prove his statement. (Applause.) Mr. Wallace said he. did not wish to withdraw anything he had said, as he still thought the Westminster school was like a dungeon. (Mr. Thomas: Hear, hear.) The Inspectors report had said that one of the ola^siooms was insani- tary, and that the children were in danger of losing their eyesight, and that it was not fit for the children to be taught there. They ought to tako into account the reports of the nieai who were appointed for the purpose, and he thought it a shame that they should be ignored in the papers as if they were of no account. Although Mr. Williams's scheme might suit the wants of the present moment, in all probability in a very short time they would be too small, necessitating their moving again. It was nob a matter of church or aliapol with him, but ono of education cund the sanitary conditions of the- school. Mr. Crowder, continuing, said he had thoroughly examined tho school that morning, and could speak from poisonal knowledge. He did not know whether ho had ever been in a bettor built aohool in his lifo—(hear, hc.a.r)- the light, air space and acconrniodation in every way being perfection. He approached the head- mistresses of the girls' and infants' schools, and asked them if they wished to bo in a better school. They replied, "No, never," adding tliat they were d'iegustcd at the remarts reported as ha-v 'n,(,r been, said at the last meeting. Nothing MORE INACCURATE OR MORE UNJUST could have evor been said against a school. Ac- cording to the regulations of the Board of Education, in every school area them must be school accommodation for one-sixth of the popu- lation. At tho last census the population of Hoole was 5,341, or, excluding the workhouse, about 5,000, so that, they must provide. accom- modation for 833 children. There was an average attendance in Iloole of 750, and the actual accommodation was for 833, boys 390, girls 276, infants 221, and 70 more in the M iseion-room. T%iS left from the actual netfc accommodation room still for 207 children on the 10ft,. basis. T-aking the girls' school only, they had tecoinmodation for 252, and the highest average att-endanco that morning was 251. Then they had 64 city children in the Hoole schools—("No, no, 1061")—nearly all of whom lived in the vicinity of Station-viow. These children came because there had been made- quate accommodation in Bough ten, but a new Council school was going to be built for that district, so that in tho future most of those childreai would attend city achoole. In Chester there were 7,021 children on the registers, and there was accommodation for 8,972, so that someone else was extravagant besides the County Council, and wanted to bo brought to book. To date the average number on the roll was 7,093, while the average attendance was 6,077, leaving accommodation for 2,895 more than .h) average attendance. The Chairman: It does not say we should be extravagant. Mr. Crowder, resuming, said there was plenty of accommodation in the city, and the authorities had never yet said To a Hoole child "Go back to Hoole." Cheater charged only the exact cos', of the scholar, and made no profit. Why wore they building tiheso schools? It was certainly rot the intention of the Government who passed the 1902 Act. that such an extreme course should bo taken as had been in this case. His contention was rhat there was already ample provision, and if the Council disagreed with the action of the County Education Com- mittee they could approach the Board of Edu- cation. About four years ago the cost of edu- cation in Hoole was I lzd. in the £ and to-day it was Ilid., which was scandalous, and it was high time they began to curtail expendi- ture. The district, could not stand it. It was costing him £ 40 a year, and it was time they begun to put their foot down. What was tho use of this expense? It was not Hcole, as in Hoole they had ample accommodation for their own purposes. It was a question of sec- tarianism. Tho proposed new school was not, for the benefit of Hoole, but for Newton. (Hear, hear.) They were not there in the in- terests of Newton; they had done too much for Newton, and it was quite time they began to fight, their own battle. Let Newton pro- vide for itself. He moved the following F,niendment: -"That this Council appeaj to the County Council and Education Sub-Com- mittee for the Chester Union area to further investigate the provision of adequate school accommodation for this district. While this Council have no desire to impede the growth of education, or do other than protect the health of their children, our local experience convinces us that the present proposed ex. penditure is UNREASONABLE AND UN- WARRANTED. In the opinion of this Council the building of an infants' school at a cost not exceeding £2,000 on land which mig-ht be obtained free of cost will suffice. In case the County Coun- cil determine to carry out their present scheme this Council requests that the matter might stand In abeyance for three months too enable th-i-s Council to obtain the opinion of the rate- payer* of Hoole as to whether it is not in the interests of this district to reconsider the ques- tion of incorporation with the city of Chester." (Sonic laughter.) Mr. Woollam, referring to the criticism of himself, declared that he had supported Mr. Dobson on the local Education Sub-Committee in all matters affecting the interests of Hoole, with the exception of the site question, when he acted according to hie own convictions. Mr. Dobson agreed. M'f. Woollam, conitiniuing, said that looking at. the question from a disinterested point of view, and not as a r-oligiotik, question, he did not think thev should have a new school, and that it should be built in Newton. Mr Richmond1 formally seconded tiie amend- ment. Mr. Ball said the new school would not be wanted if the existing ones were not Church eohoolfi. If they were unsecta-rian schools Members strongly objected to tho introduction of the religious element. Mr. Dobson said he was not present at the meeting of tJlIe Education Sub-committee when it was decided to build a new Council school, as he received1 no notice of tiie meeting. He understood thesis were only six members pre- sent. Mr. Williams: Then it ought to have been deferred. M1,. Wooilam. said the sub-coimoitt.ee had treated the matter lightly until they received a strong krtter from the County ChnMndtbee saying that they must taha ootion, and they heed no dhotce. Mr. Benn contended that the managers of the schools had done nothing except when pressed. He felt, strongly that the managers had neg- lected their duty. He thought the only reason- able and wise course was the provision of a new school. Children had gone to the city schools because the Hoole schools were not up-to-date. EXPENDITURE ONLY TRIVIAL. He argued i-hat the expense was only trivial, and the workingmen of Hoole would not allow a triflo of only 1W. in the £ to stand in the way of providing good and efficient accommoda- tion for tha children. Mr. Thomaa asked if it was not a fact that the accommodation had been insufficient for tho last two years, and whether one of the classrooms was not badiiy lighted? They "bog- gled" at 1 jd. in the £ to provide proper accom- modation for the children, when it was ad- mitted that they wero in a school whicir en. dangered the-ir eyesight. He did not believe in building for posterity so much, but he did ibelieve in providing for tho needs of the district. After quoting tlie example of the United Statics and Germany in regard to educa- tion, ho said it had been stated in the great oracle, the "Cheshiro Obsarvor," that they should not force an expenditure of £ 10,000 on the district. He was sorry that that assurance was based on a statement made there by a man who ought to have known better, and who ought not to have overstated the facts for gain- ing a paltry end, If they had not considered tholr packets too much, the question would not have taken two hours to settle. He was above being bought on any question, and stood for the best interests of the children, irrespective of creed or politics. There was so much rangling and bitterness over education question tihat in future his stand would bo for all parsons outside, irrespective of cloth. (A Voice: I tear, b"L.I.) If secular education had to through that channel, he was pii-lwxd to re- ceive it, but there were other alternatives quite as satisfactory and as efficient as secular educa- tion. He advised the Council to support the County Council in their action. Mr. Richmond contended that, Mr. Thomas had based his arguments on the Inspector's re- port. Personally, he had not a great admira- tion for Government. officials. He supported Mr. Williams's motion principally on the ground of expense. If tho schools were actually needed he would be one of the. first to say, "Let us have them," but he failed to see why they should go to that enormous expense, boeause in his opinion it would cost nearer £ 10.000 before they finishjed. Ho did not believe in religious education in school; there were the extremes on both sides. There was one party urging a new school to be built because they wanted to push out, the Westminster school. There were only a small number of scholars to bo accommodated, and to build a school to cost L5,000 or £6,000 was a useless erpenre. If the ratepayers ware asked to vote on the matter they would say in an emphatic mannser that, they did not want this useless expense, and would be on the side of economy, as they had been on a recent ooca. sion. Mr. Williams called attention to a remark of Mr. Thomas's about obtaining the money for tho schools by going about "oap in hand," and said the Church within the last eight or nine years had spent between £ 1,200 and EI,400 on the schools. Ho would not object to going "cap in hand" now if it would save the rates. (Hear, hear.) He also argued that the children from Hoole who attended the city schools, such as tho OaHoge, the Wesleyan schools, Himter- streot, etc., would not attend the- new school in Hoole. Mr. Dobson explained thaA tlie figure of £ 10.000 which he mentioned at the last meeting, and which had been referred to, was quoted only for argument's sate. Had it not been for the local sub-committee, however, the figure would have reached nearer £ 10.000. On being appealed to, Mr. Crowder withdrew his a.mend.mont IvII". Williams's motion was then put to the meeting, the voting being as follows:— For: The Chairman and Messirs. Williams., Walton, Richmond, Ball, Crowder and Dobson. Against: Messrs. Wooilam, Duck, Wallace, Thomas and Benm. Th<* motion was therefore carried. Mr. Duck raised the question of a deputation waiting upon the local education sub-committee or the County Council, and mentioned the names of Messrs. Williams, Thomas and Wal- ton as such a deputation. On the Clerk's ad- vice, however, the matter was deferred until the County Council's reply had been received. NEWTON COUNCIL PROTEST. A meeting of the Newton Parish Council was held at the Ermine Hotel, on Monday evening, 711n the Chairman (Mr. Ashworth) presiding over a full attendance. The school question was disetissed and the following resolutions were unanimously pas.wd:-(I) "That this Council express astonish- ment at their not being consulted nor allowed to have a representative on the sub-committee re the site of the proposed new school for Newton and Hoole." (2) That the proposed new school is not required, and that the present schools with alterations and enlargements would be better suited to meet the wants of the district for the next thirty years."—The resolutions were ordered to be sent to the County Council.

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