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Title: An assessment of the contribution of the Church of Scotland to school education 1774-1874 focusing in particular on the work of the General Assembly Education Committee 1824-72
Author: Stevenson, J.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2005
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In 1824 the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland agreed to set up a committee to bring forward a plan for increasing the means of school education in Scotland. The following year the Assembly formally re­appointed this committee as an Education Committee whose remit was to plant schools to supplement parochial schools in areas where additional provision was most needed, particularly in the Highlands and Islands. This thesis describes the work of this committee over almost fifty years (1824-1872) during which time it established over 280 elementary schools throughout the country and two colleges for training teachers (“normal schools”). The Education Committee was also answerable to the General Assembly for the oversight of the Church’s statutory management of parochial schools through the supervision of local presbyteries and kirk sessions. This control of schools by the Church involved these Church courts in visiting parish schools and in examining schoolmasters and ensuring that they were members of the Church. The Education Committee’s endeavours were soon hampered by the lack of voluntary funding and it had to rely on government aid, particularly for its teacher training scheme. To make matters more difficult by the mid 1850s denominational and private enterprise had created a manifold pattern of education consisting of nine or ten different types of school, with the Free Church, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church all engaged in setting up their own schools and all looking to the government for financial assistance. In this situation the Established Church’s control of parish schools was challenged and in political and ecclesiastical circles a number of questions were raised, principally, should the management of all Scottish schools (including parochial schools and Church schools) be transferred to local boards under the supervision of some centralised body and, if so, who should be responsible for the delivery of religious instruction presently under the jurisdiction of the various denominations?
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available