Conisborough – School Board – Cases of Cruelty to Children

May 1895

Mexborough and Swinton Times May 3, 1895

The Alleged ill use of scholars

Messrs Kelly and others attended the Scholl Board meeting with reference to reported ill use of children at the Conisborough schools the months previous.

It appeared that the children returned home bearing evidence marks of ill usage.

Mrs was informed of it and it was explained by the fact that the teacher, Miss Roberts, had been in the habit of punishing the children by a judiciously applied “shaking,” which was supposed that the children had come into contact with the desks. It was promised that the Board would take all available pains to see that the provisions and rules of the Educational Act should be enforced.

Mexborough and Swinton Times May 24, 1895

Conisborough School Board – Cases of Cruelty to Children

An adjourned meeting of this Board was held last evening, in which there were present Messrs Dufton (Chairman), Pagdin, Whitfield and Marsh. There were also present Mr Gibson (inspector of the SPC C) and three of the Conisborough teachers.

The first matter dealt with on the question that arisen in reference to cruelty to children at the schools. Mr Smith, headmaster had written to the Inspector asking if it were true that he had made the following statements to the Conisborough School Board. The Clerk having informed Mr Smith that the inspector made these statements:

1. That there is at Conisborough a set of most brutal teachers he has ever had experience of in this district or in the metropolis.
2. That you have for the past six months investigated cases of cruelty to children by teachers.
3. That you have collected sufficient evidence to have all the teachers struck off the roll by the Education Department.
4. That if the board did not dismiss the teachers implicated, you would report the matter to the Education Department

The inspectors report was that of April 16 he had an interview on the crossover bridge at Conisborough with Mr George Harrison. The interview was of a private nature, but he made a slanderous statement about the teachers at Conisborough Board School; he did not mention any teacher by name; he did not know the name of any teacher.

Clause 1 of Mr Smith’s letter was untrue.

Close 2 was true. He had had several complaints extending over two years, more numerous than in any other district under his notice.
Clause 3 was untrue. He was quite ignorant that the teachers were under control of a department.
Clause 4 was untrue.

The Clerk stated that on the date referred to the Inspector went to him and stated he had been to see some cases of gross brutality from the Conisborough school, and that he never heard of such gross cases in his life. Moreover his district never met with anything but kindness except in one case at Goole. If the inspector remembered anything at all, he will remember saying so. He afterwards said he regretted very much that Mr Harrison and repeated to the teachers what he had said. The inspector knew this was true. God knew it was true.

Mr Whitfield: It appears to me to be a breach of confidence to promulgate a conversation of this sort, whether it be true or untrue.

Mr Smith: As far as I am concerned, the object I wanted is attained. I meant to test the truth of the statement.

Mr Pagdin: As far as we are concerned, the matter is one between the inspector and the Clerk. The board have no further business with the matter.

Mr Whitfield: We have certainly business with it if he can either prove or disprove it. It is so late as the 16th, and the last meeting was the first after that.
The Clerk: yes

The Inspector: I do not think our Society ought to interfere when the case was not very serious. The Board ought to deal with such cases.

Mr Whitfield: If he had had cases of harshness they did not amount to cruelty?

The Inspector: No

Mr Whitfield: The inspector would not interfere unless there was some gross cruelty, and surely we are not so bad as all that, if we were, it is time we were prosecuted as well.

Mr Pagdin: The matter would never have occurred but for the breach of confidence of our Clerk. The matter then ended.