Saturday, 24 December 2016

Notes on The School Strikes in Scotland.

Recorded on Sat 30th Nov 1889 in The Queenslander.

The good town of Hawick, the capital of the
Borders, has acquired a fresh claim to notoriety.
It is the scene of the very latest development of
the strike movement. The scholars of two of
its board schools have "come out." On the
27th September, a majority of the scholars in
the higher standards marched out of their class
rooms, and their teachers were left lamenting.
The demands of the strikers are not for any
thing co paltry as higher pay. They claim
shorter hours, lighter work (that is to cay,
easier lessons), and better teachers. There is
something comical ns well a** something very
shocking in these demands. What the boys
want, in faot, is to assume tho functions of tho
school board and at the same timo to exchange
places with their mastere. Following the
example of the dook strikers, thoy organised a
public demonstration. Haviug formed a pro
cession, thoy marched through tho streets of
tho town between the two rebellioua Bchools,
appealing in this way for public sympathy and
Bupport. Their proceedings wero perfectly
orderly ; and when tho local police were a«ked
to interfere they declined, as tho Metropolitan
Police did, on the ground that it was a private
quarrel, and that neither life nor property was
endangered. The leverage on which the little
rebels rely is the belief that, if they disqualify
themselves for presentation to the inspector by
absences there will be a loss of the Government
grant, which will tell npon their teachers and
on the ratepayers. They forget, however, that
their escapade may entail on them another
J ear's attendance at school. At Greenock on
londay, 30th September, the older scholars
attending one of the board schools openly re
volted, on the ground that the school hours
were too long and that they were getting too
many lessons to learn at home. They congre
gated in front of the school and refused to
enter it. Alter discussing their position for
some time they determined to invade some
of the other board schools with the
object of enlisting further sympathy
and extending the agitation. Forming
themselves into proces├čion, and singing,
shouting, and cheering, they proceeded to the
board school nearest their own, in the hope
that they would get the scholars of the higher
standards to join their ranks. In this, how
ever, they were not successful, as the master,
on hearing what was their objeot, sent for the
police and locked the door. Another school
thoy visited with like results, but later in the
day their ranks were increased by boys from
some of the other schools. Tho members of the
School Board are doing all they oan to quell
the revolt. The strike extended to Aberdeen
on Wednesday, 2nd October. A large body of
scholars paraded the streets of the town sing
ing and cheering. The revolt began in the
Established Churoh Normal Sohool, and
spread thence to the Free Church Normal
Sohool. Various schools were visited by the
boys, and at one the janitor, after ushering
them into the playground, tried to imprison
them by locking the gate. They esoaped,
however, by a door in the rear of the ground.
The boys demand free education and
the abolition of certain tasks and grievances.
At Port Glasgow the boys in one school struck
on Tuesday afternoon, Ist Ootober, and marched
through the town in procession, singing.
Thoy visited the other schools, but only a few
boys joined them. The boys complain of too
many home lessons, and want free education.
In Glasgow on Wednesday there was a con
siderable amount of excitement among the
ohildren of some of tbe schools, and they struck
for fewer home lessons and no "strap." Tho
movement promises to have other develop
ments; for at Port Glasgow the grocers'
errand boys have sent in a requisition to their
masters, declaring that, unless their wages
were increased Is. por week, they would not
lift a basket after Friday. A telegram from
Aberdeen Btates that the schoolboys attending
the various publio sohools in that city met and
demonstrated against tho length of time they are
kept in school, and also the number of home
lessons that are given them. A featuro of the
demonstration was the use of roughly impro
vised banners. The youngsters discuss the
situation with great gravity, and speak of
calling a "meeting" to ventilate their
" grievances."

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