§ MR. J. CALDWELL (Lanark, Mid.)
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether it is the case that the Scotch Education Department have resolved to place the Episcopal School at Ardchattan on the list of schools in receipt of Government grant; is he aware that the Ardchattan School Board have made sufficient provision for all the children of school age resident within the district; that the electors of the parish have repeatedly homologated the action of the School Board in opposing the recognition of the Episcopal School as a state-aided school; and that, according to a religious census recently furnished to the Department by the managers of the Episcopal School, there was only one family of Episcopalians in the district, leaving out of consideration the teacher's own family; and whether, seeing that the School Board have resigned, and that this is the third time within the period of three years that the Board has resigned as a body, owing to the endeavours of the Department to place the Episcopal School at Ardchattan upon the grant-earning list, he will state what steps the Department intends taking to carry on the work of education of the district?
§ * THE LORD ADVOCATE (Sir CHARLES PEARSON,) Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities
The Episcopal School at Ardchattan was placed on the list of schools to which annual grants 167 might conditionally be made, in 1890, as it was then judged that the conditions of the Education Act were fulfilled. As the attendance fell off the grants were suspended, but in view of an increased attendance that suspension has been recently removed. The Act provides that before recognition a school shall be required, regard being had to the religious belief of the parents, and its recognition does not depend upon the amount of accommodation in the public school. But the managers have been warned that the attendance must be the result of a spontaneous desire on the part of the parents, and not of any action taken by the managers to induce children to attend it in preference to the public school, and that any evidence of such action would be followed by the suspension or withdrawal of grant. Notice of the resignation of the School Board has been received by the Department, and it will now be the duty of the Department to consider the action it has to take under the Education Acts.