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SCHOOL BOARD. The monthly meeting of the Ruthin School Board was held in the Mayor's Parlour, adjoin- ing the Council Chambers on Friday evening, when the members present were:—Mr. Theodore J. Rouw (Chairman), Mr. Francis Dowell (Vice- chairman), the Rev. Isaac James, Messrs. R. Harris Jones, and T. M. Gee, Mr. Ezra Ro- berts (Clerk), Mr. Williams (Headmaster), and Mr. Phillips (School Attendance Officer). THE ATTENDANCE OF MEMBERS. As instructed at the last meeting, the Clerk had prepared a return showing the attendances made by members of the Board during the past three years. The number possible in each case was 39, and the actual attendances were Mr. Francis Dowell, 23 the Rev. Isaac James, 27; Mr. David Jones, 21 Mr. J. W. Lumley, 18; the Rev. J. F. Reece, 8; Mr. T. H. Ro berts, 19; ancl Mr. T. J. Rouw, 31. The Chairman said the comments made at the meeting were not only upon the attendance at the meetings of the Board, but upon the visit ing of the schools. The work of the Board was not altogether done at meetings of that kind-a good deal of work could be done by members paying more attention to the visiting of the school. The Rev. Isaac James: We generally appoint two members to act as visitors. The Chairman We appoint two as visitors, but I don't think that debars any other member from visiting the schools. The appointment of school visitors is really in case of any matter of urgency cropping up. I am strongly against the appointment of two as visitors, because my experience has been that the two appointed seldom turn up, and if you go through the log- book for the last three years you will find that most of the members have hardly ever put foot in the schools. THE ATTENDANCE OF CHILDREN. The monthly report showed that the number of scholars on the register of the Board School was 198, and the average attendance for the four weeks ending February 24th was 127'3 infants, 74; average attendance, 42.8. National School, 260 on the register; average, 1182; Clocaenog School, 6 average, 4 2 percentage in Board School (higher department), 67 in- fanta, 62; National School, 70; Clocaenog, 73; increase in Board School, 1'2 (higher depart ment); infants, -l'I. The Chairman considered this was not at all satisfactory. They should have at least an at- tendance of 80 per cent. Mr. Dowell called attention to the fact that the attendance at the National School was more than at the Board School, and it had been 80 for years. The Clerk said they would never be able to satisfactorily guage their attendance until they had a more effective return than they had at present. They should have what was called a duplicate register, in which the name of every child should be entered, so that they conld trace the attendance of any child for any period they liked. He would suggest also the advisa- bility of having a sort of prize scheme for at- tendance. It might, too, be a. good plan to get out a circular to parents asking them to make every effort to send their children regularly to school, pointing out that irregular attendance meant a direct loss to the ratepayers. The Chairman said he quite agreed that com- pulsion should be the last thing they should re- sort to. He was strongly in favour of offering onaall,prizes for attendance. It would pay them in the long run, for not only would they get a better attendance, but as a result they would secure a high grant. The best idea would be, as the Clerk suggested, to issue a circular to the ratepayers of Ruthin pointing out not only the loss to themselves, but to the children also in not being half educated. The Attendance Officer should take a note of those children who stayed away from school for the purpose of going to work, for he did not think it was well understood that they could take proceedings against persons who employed children who ought to be at school, and that they were sub- ject to a fine of 40s. It should be an instruction from the meeting that the Attendance Officer be asked to submit a list cf such children, And then the Board could decide what steps to take. The Rev. Isaac James said there was another class whom they should look after, he meant those who were too poor to clothe their child- ren properly, and, therefore, did not care to send them to school. The Chairman said he was afraid it was often the case that people had quite sufficient money to clothe their children properly, but would not do it, preferring to spend their money in other ways. The Clerk pointed out that regular attend. ance under the byelaws meant attendance at school every time the school was opened unless reasonable excuse could be given. Reasonable excuse generally meant illness. Of course, there was a discretion resting with the magis trates, but it had always been held that poverty was not a reasonable excuse, now that the parents did not have to pay school fees. The Rev. 1. James: But if a poor child has no clothes, surely that must be a reasonable ex. cuse. The Chairman I don't think we can resolve ourselves into a kind of clothing club (laugh- ter). I don't believe there is a case in Ruthin where a child is neglected, where the neglect was not dne to both or one or other of the parents. I think it should be an instruction to the Attendance Officer to use a little more energy if possible. Why should not the at- tendance at the Board School be equal to that at the National School ? I hope that during the next month the attendance will be increased to 75 per cent. in the Board School, and that at the end of that time the Attendance Officer will provide the list we have asked him for, of those who are employed who should not be. It was eventually decided to leave the mat- ter in the hands of Messrs. Dowell and Gee who bad been appointed to go through the ab- sentee lists. APPOINTMENT OF SCHOOL VISITORS. With regard to the appointment of school visitors, the Chairman said he considered the whole Board should act as school visitors, and that they should go to the schools as often as possible. In answer to a question, the schoolmaster said the attendance of members had been a very considerable help in the past. It was decided to adopt the Chairman's sug- gestion. THE CHAIRMAN AND THE SCHOOL- MASTER. The Chairman asked Mr. Williams, the head- master, when he submitted his time table to the Government Inspector. Mr. Williams replied that he did so whenever he felt it was necessary to make a change in the table. If he thought it was workable it might remain in force for two or three years. The Chairman thought it would be well if the Board considered the time table at one of their meetings, and asked Mr. Williams what grant they were earning. Mr. Williams replied that the grant obtained was about 1:1 per head, and the Clerk stated the amount was 18s. per head on average at- tendance and an additional £10 which would make it about 19s. 8d. The Chairman said he found there were schools in the neighbourhood who weie earning a very much higher grant. Mr. Williams: Will you name them, Mr. Rouw ? The Chairman said he could not do so at the moment, but he knew it was so. t Mr. Williams considered it was not right for Mr. Rouw to make such a statement without supporting it. He took it as a reflection upon the efficiency of the staff. Mr. Rouw No, sir, I did not intend any- thing of the kind. Mr. Williams Well that was certainly how it appeared to me. We are certainly earning as much as we can. It was decided that the question should be put down for discussion at the next meeting of the Board. THE ESTIMATES. The Clerk submitted the estimates for in- come and expenditure of the Board as follows: —Sum required for administration expenses, f50 10s. lid.; expenses of maintenance, 9461 12s. 6d.; payment in respect of loans, 933; payment to Clocaenog School Board, £ 7 2s.— total, 9553 5s. 5d. The receipts would, pro- bably, be:—The annual grant, 9184 18s. 8d. (based on average of years); drawing grant, 912 4s. lOd.; fee grant, f,98 Os. lOd. balance in hand, 914 6s. 7d.-total, 9310 Os. lid. This left a deiciency of E242 4s. 6d. to be appor- tioned as follows :—Ruthin borough, £ 181; Llanfwrog rural, £ 41 (less £ 22 portion of grant under Agricultural Rates Act); Llanrhydd rural, 920 (less Ell); amount to be received direct from Government on behalf of these two parishes under the Agricultural Rates Act, £33, making a total of £242, The Chairman What amount of rate does that work out at? The Clerk: The rate in the borough calcu- lating upon the total rateable value would be about 41d., but owing to the fact that only one- fourth is paid by land and only one-half by cottage property, it will represent a rate of 5id. The Chairman This, of course, will be an increase on the rate last year. The Clerk Yes, it was 5d. last year. There is one item which will account for almost the whole of the increase-you have increased the salary of the assistant master from jE50 to JE80. The Chairman We have to face this fact- that we shall require a bigger rate. The Clerk said there were several matters which ought to be gone into by the Board which were not provided for in the estimates. If they took these things intc consideration it would be well to go in for a loan which would only cause a small additional expenditure per annum. The Chairman said he most certainly thought they should go in for a loan if they were going to carry out the heating of the school, which was at present in a most unsatisfactory condi- tion. Then, as the Inspector had pointed out, it was absolutely necessary something should be done for the playground, and that would, probably, mean an expenditure of £100. It was decided that the estimates be accepted and that a precept be signed for the amount stated. THE SCHOLARSHIPS' EXAMINATION. The Clerk read a letter from the Local Governing Body of the Ruthin County School, saying it was intended to hold an examination for scholarships on March 25th, and as the alterations to the school premises would not be completed until after that date, they asked the Board's permission to hold the examination in the Board School. The application w.is granted. In answer to a question, Mr.Williams said he expected he would have a few pupils in for the examination.