Conisborough School Board – New Desks – The Blind Boy – The New Act

June 1901

Mexborough and Swinton Times, June 7.

Conisborough School Board.

The Blind Boy.

The New Act.

A Letter from Mr J. Pagdin and a Refusal to Pay.

A fair amount of business was done at an ordinary monthly meeting of the Conisborough School Board, which was held in offices of the Board on Monday evening.

A very vexed question was brought up, viz, a man named White attended before the Board to see if his boy who was 13 years of age, and had passed the fifth standard could not leave school. He was told, however, that the boy must be 14 years of age, or else pass a Labour examination, or failing that, show 350 attendances per year for five years. The boy had failed to pass the Labour examination.

The parents thought it was not fair when boys of 13 were running about the street, whilst others had to go to school. The members said it must be seen about, but they did not seem to see that anyone of the children who were 13 years of age might have been 13 on the day before the Act came into force, and having passed the fifth standard would escape having to go to school until they were 14.

A letter was read from Mr Pagdin, stating that he would not pay the amount of money which the Clerk had been instructed to demand. The clerk was instructed to write and explain to Mr Pike how the money was owing. More may be heard of this later on.

Another assistant master was appointed, and in his application he said he was a good bowler and good bat. Now he is appointed something maybe heard of the team of Conisborough, and they may top the League yet – who knows.

Mr W.W. Norwood presided, and the other members present were: Messrs Gillett, Booth, Brocklesby, Marsh, D.Robinson and Ravenscroft, with Mr F. Allen (clerk) and Mr Sargentson (attendance officer).


The Chairman said the first item of business, was in regard to the new desks. Mr Brocklesby, Mr Robinson, and himself went and visited the schools and made enquiries, and they found that more desks were absolutely necessary.

They found that boys were sitting three on a form which were only made to accommodate two. They also found six boys on forms made to accommodate five. They went into the infant school to see if they could borrow or transfer some of the desks there, but none were available. Therefore they thought that more desks were necessary, and they had ordered some; he thought they had come, but he had not seen them.

Mr Farmery, the caretaker, said the desks came a week after they were ordered, and now they were in use.

Mr Marsh: I think that you went to see if the school would contain more desks.

The Chairman: We measured the classrooms, and found there was room for the desks, or we should not have ordered them.

Mr Robinson: There was plenty of room.

The Chairman: We measured the place for two cupboards which were necessary in the schoolroom. According to the syllabus they had to get somewhere to put the chemicals and things. They ordered two cupboards to be placed in the schoolroom.

The Blind Boy.

The Clerk said he had received a letter from Mr F.E.Nicholson, the Clerk to the Guardians, with reference to the blind boy, Willie Coggan

The Guardians had to see the parents at the meeting, and the parents had to give their consent to letting the boy go to the school. The parents had not attended the meeting of the Guardians, and therefore the Guardians could not do anything in the matter.

The Chairman said that was the only obstacle in the way when he was a member of the Guardians. At that time he felt sure that he could have got the lad in a school if the parents had only backed him up at the time. He had seen him that day wandering about. The reason he thought was they did not like the lad to go to a long way from home. He would be able to learn a trade, he partly knew basket making, and he will be able to learn that or piano tuning

Mr Sargentson: He has got on well with basket making.

Mr Brocklesby asked if Mr Sargentson could call on the parents and see what he could do.

The Chairman said if they could get the boy away into a school room it would be better for both the boy and the Board, as if he remained he would not be able to earn his own living, and would in time be chargeable to the Union.

It was ultimately decided that the attendance officer call on the parents of the boy.

The New Act.

A man named white said attended before the Board. He reference to his boy, who he stated, was 13 years of age, and he wanted to know if the Board would grant him an exemption order. The boy had passed his Fifth Standard , but had failed in “one word” at the Labour examination.

The Chairman explained to the man that the Board could not grant an exemption order unless the boy had been at school. There had been a new Act passed, which made it compulsory for children to attend school until they were 14 years of age, unless they had passed the Labour examination.

Mr Whitehead asked how it was that there were boys running about the streets were only 13 years old.

The Chairman said he could not account for it.

Mr Whitehead said that his boy had been a regular attender at school and was only away when he was ill.

Mr Robinson said that he thought it was a pity when a boy of 13 years of age, and having passed the fifth and, should have to attend school.

Mr Ravencroft said that he had seen Mr Soar refuse to employ boys at the colliery who were 13 years and 10 months old.

Mr Whitehead asked how many boys were only 13 and were working at the pit.

Mr Ravencroft said he did not think there were any.

It was ultimately decided that the attendance officer obtain from the schools the attendance of the boy for each year, and also the doctors certificate for the time he had been ill.

Mr Whitehead, when he was leaving, said “I think that our superiors in Parliament ought to keep them at school until there were 21 years old, and then let them get married.” (Loud laughter)

A Truant.

A man named Thomas Haugh also attended the meeting, bringing with him his boy, whom he said he could not get to go to school. He was always playing truant with other boys.

He had tried to do the best he could with him. He had beaten him, and kicked him, but it was all to no purpose, and he played truant still.

The other night he had told him that he had to go before the Board, and he began to cry, and said that he would go to school. The next day he played truant again. (Laughter.)

The Chairman: His resolution was soon broken.

The Chairman then talked to the boy, and gave him one more chance.

A Refusal to Pay by Mr Pagdin

the Chairman said that a letter had been received from Mr J Pagdin in answer to the Clerk’s letter.

The Clerk had written informing Mr Pagdin that £2 14s 6d was due from him, and that the hundred pounds due on his promissory note had been paid. The reply was as follows.

“Bow Bridge, Hollinbroke, near Newark.

Dear Sir,
I am in receipt of yours of the May 2, 1901, and respectfully return the same.
I posited decline the responsibility of the amount.

Yours sincerely
John Pagdin

the Chairman: The question is, what action shall we take now?

Mr Blooms: The question is, what action can we take?

The Chairman: the amount was put in his hands, and must be his and is now.

The clek in answer to Mr Brocklesby, stated that he had written to his Brother once or twice, and he had said that they could do what they like, he was not going to bother about it.

The Chairman said he thought that they ought to leave it with the auditor. He would then advise them what to do.

The Clerk said that the auditor was out of the district now. He himself would not advise them to take the matter into their County Court.

The Chairman said that as they went into Court over it and lost the case, they would be surcharged by the auditor with the cost.

Mr Marsh said that the Clerk ought to write again, and informing how the amount was annoying.

Mr Booth: I am of the same opinion. I think he ought to have some explanation.

The Chairman: As to how the amount was owing?

Mr Booth: Yes.

Mr Marsh: Informing him that the money was received by him.

The Chairman said that he thought that if they got it that way it would be better than adopting more stringent measures.

Mr Marsh moved that Mr Pagdin be written to giving an explanation.

Mr Booth seconded and the resolution was carried.

Mr Booth said that the Clerk tell Mr Pagdin that the auditor had found the money against him

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