Mexborough and Swinton Times June 21, 1895
Conisborough School Board
The ordinary monthly meeting of the above board was held last Thursday. There were present: Messrs Dufton (Chairman), Pagdin, Norwood and Whitfield.
Notice of Meeting
The Clerk having read the minutes for confirmation, Mr Whitfield took exception to the minute which provided that the previous Thursdays meeting to be adjourned for a week on account of their being a Council meeting onthe same night. He asked why he had not been informed? He got his note at 6 o’clock on the previous Thursday night. He claimed the right which every member of the Board was entitled to claim. The meeting was informal.
The Chairman: If we adjourn it, we postpone it.
Mr Whitfield: No we don’t.
The Chairman: Yes, you are the Chairman of the Parish Council, you are bound to be correct!
Mr Whitfield: if it had been adjourned, would it not have been a matter of courtesy to inform me? You’re saying that I was doesn’t make it so.
The Chairman: It was done by resolution.
Mr Whitfield: If I chose to go to the extreme, I shall rule this meeting out of order now, but I don’t want to go as far as that. Why I came last Thursday evening to attend the meeting!
The Chairman: That’s a lie!
Mr Whitfield: No, it is not. I got ready to come then. (Laughter)
The Chairman: You were told before.
Mr Whitfield: No.
The Chairman: I am not going to answer all your questions you understand.
Mr Whitfield: Your duty is to answer questions.
The Chairman: I cannot be responsible for all the members.
Mr Whitfield: I hold it is your duty to see that the duties of the Board are carried out. This you have not done. Why was the notice sent then? I am surprised at the laxity displayed by the Chairman.
The Chairman: Why you came that night to the Board meeting
Mr Whitfield: I was wrong in saying I came to the meeting that night, I admit. I said wrong. Still that dispose of the point of dispute. I asked the chairman was I entitled be told of the adjournment?
The Chairman: Yes, and you were.
Mr Whitfield: I was not, I tell you. Here is the notice I received at 6 o’clock last Thursday night: “The ordinary monthly meeting will be held on Thursday, the 15th at 7.30. There is no notice of any adjournment.
The Chairman: You ought to have had it sooner but bide your temper.
Mr Whitfield: And you also. There’s a pair of us I think. (Hear, hear)
The Chairman: Jacks as good as his master then. (Laughter)
Mr Whitfield: Answer the question Mr Clarke. When were these notices sent?
The Clerk: I sent them out in the morning, that is sufficient time.
Mr Whitfield: they were all day coming then
Mr Norwood: The notices were not authorised to be sent out before then.
Mr Pagdin said he wrote the clerk asked him to call the meeting at the usual time, only for the 13th as if he was calling it for the 6th. So the notice was received on the day the meeting ought to have been held.
Mr Whitfield: Ordinary courtesy would have dictated that the absent member should be informed of the adjournment. The notice should have said “The other meeting is postponed.”
The Chairman: You are complaining that you didn’t receive your notice soon enough, are you?
Mr Whitfield: I am.
The Chairman: Why did you not say so at first? You have talked long enough
Mr Whitfield: I am entitled to talk a little, and I say this meeting is informal.
The Chairman: Thank you, we will go on in an informal manner then. (Laughter)
Mr Whitfield: I don’t think you know what’s informal and what is in, although it is your duty as chairman to know.
The Chairman: Perhaps not. (Laughter)
Mr Norwood moved the confirmation of the minutes.
Mr Padden seconded and the resolution was carried, Mr Whitfield remaining neutral.
Mr Norwood enquired us the erection of a washhouse by Mr Chambers for the Board, and the Clerk reported that it was not yet begun.
The Attendance Question
Important Letter from Mr Chambers.
The Clerk reported that in accordance with the commands of the Board he had written to Mr W.H. Chambers, manager of Denaby Main Collieries, with regard to his action in refusing to supply lists of irregular scholars. The letter was as follows:
On Thursday evening last, our Mr Sargeantson (attendance officer) reported to the Board that you had, as manager of the Denaby Main Collieries Schools, refused to supply any further lists of irregular attenders thereat. My board instructed me to write, asking you if you could give your reasons for so doing.
George Harrison, Clerk
The following reply had been received:
“Denaby and Cadeby Main Collieries Ltd, Denaby Main
23rd of May 1895
Adverting to your letter of the 21st inst, we may say that in our opinion Mr Sargentson is the best attendance officer the Conisborough School Board has ever had, but it appears he’s not properly supported in compelling parents to send their children regularly to school.
The consequence is, that his visits are totally disregarded, and unless we ourselves, were constantly seeing these parents the attendance at our schools would be very low.
Recently up to week ending May 10, the average attendance fluctuated from 80 to 85% of the number on the Roll, the latter week being 725 on the role, average attendance 615, being a percentage of 84.8.
As we were under the impression that this could be considerably improved, we served notices upon those whose attendance were very bad, which resulted in the week following as follows:
Number on rolls 729, average attendance 649, a percentage of 80.
The attendance at each opening being (before notices were served 602):
644, 646, 661, 652, 648, 641, 648, 641, 646, 658 and 647
We shall be very glad indeed to supply your Board with every information to enable them to carry out their duty, but unless there is an inclination to compel those who disregard repeated warning of the attendance of his dissent their children to school when there is no reasonable excuse for their staying away, it is simply a waste of time and stationery, as well as ratepayers money, to have in existence ar formal system of official routine which is altogether unsatisfactory.
Yours truly, W.H.Chambers.
Some interesting remarks were passed upon this question.
The Chairman: I think we have done very well this quarter. Sometimes children have been reported, and afterwards it had turned out that they never ought to have been owing to sickness etc.
Mr Norwood: The attendance officer has done his work well. The real difficulty lies in the tardiness of the board in not giving him ready authority to prosecute.
Mr Whitfield: it seems to me in the hands of the Clerk, the attendance officer complains that he cannot get his notices in time and blames him (the Clerk). Again, the public seem to be of opinion that a warning from other quarters will have more effect than from the Board. The magistrates don’t support us as they ought to do. We’re take cases and they refuse to convict. The average attendance we have before us, namely 70% is far too low. (Hear, hear). But we should not be governed by hard and fast rules or percentages. We must take the cases individually. In a case of 50%, say, it would perhaps be more charitable to exercise leniency than another case of an average attendance of 60%.
Some cases ought never to be sent before the magistrates. With regard to the notices, what had become of them Mr Clerk?
The Clerk: Mr Sargentson has them; he is fully supplied.
Mr Pagdin: In my opinion, if the attendance officer had been supported by the Court it would never have happened. I move that Mr Chambers be replied to, stating that the attendance officer now has the papers in his own hands, and there is nothing to impede the good attendance at their schools as for as we are concerned.
Mr Whitfield: I would let each case stand on its own merits. (Hear, hear). I will move an amendment, “That it also be said that the previous tardiness was due to the Clerk, and that an entry to that effect be made in the minute book.” The amendment was not seconded, and the resolution was carried.
Tenders for Building.
The Clerk said that a letter from Mr Goodlad had been received, in which he amended his previous tender for washhouses. Mr Whitfield moved that Mr Saville’s offer being accepted. He strongly protested against the amendment of tenders under any circumstances whatever.
The Chairman seconded and the resolution was carried unanimously.
Mr Norwood said he found looking into the bank that there was a deficiency of £15 and he thought this would soon be remedied. (Hear, hear)
The Clerk said a letter been received from the Primitive Methodist, asking for the loan of the Board room, free of charge, as their expenses were very heavy. (Laughter)
Mr Pagdin: How much of they paid before?
The Clerk: 10 shilling usually.
Mr Pagdin moved that their request being granted.
The Chairman seconded.
Mr Whitfield said he demerred upon conscientious and public motives. If they allow it to these people free, they would have continued application which they could not consider. He proposed a charge of five shillings.
The resolution was carried however, and the meeting terminated.