1872 Education Act
The 1872 Education Act created state schools which were designated
non-denominational. The Act also made education compulsory
for all children aged 5-13. Before this time it had not been
compulsory for children to be educated though the state had
legislated to establish schools, provided funds for them,
inspected them and required that their teachers be trained
to certain standards. Prior to 1872 charities, faith groups
and private tutors had provided education. In 1872, the dominant
agencies which the state had chosen to run the school system
in Scotland, namely the Presbyterian religious institutions,
were changed. The state now set up school boards, as it deemed
the board system was more efficient than the old parish system,
but essentially the public goals of state provision remained
the same. This made the 1872 Act fundamentally different in
significance from the Education Act of 1870 in England and
Wales, which marked the true beginning of public schooling
in the UK and in which Catholic schools were involved.
Some religious denominations saw the 1872 Act as the beginning
of the secularisation of the Scottish education system. However,
many Presbyterian churches assumed that after the Act, schools
would continue to be, in reality, Presbyterian schools and
for a very long time they were in fact correct.
Before the 1872 Act, the Catholic communities in Scotland
set up their own schools. Catholic schools were set up largely
as a response to the discrimination against the Irish and
Irish Catholic communities and an inability to teach openly
Catholic values to children. It was a way in which the Church
could provide education for people in poverty who were largely
excluded from the mainstream of the communities in which they
were now resident. However, the Argyll Commission of the 1860's
did find examples of Catholic children being educated in the
parish schools. Here in Kilsyth there we many examples of
Catholic children, where for the want of a Catholic school,
attended Kilsyth Primary School for their secular education
and Sunday School for R.E.
The Catholic hierarchy chose not to join the state system
in Scotland established in 1872, despite state encouragement
to do so, since there were concerns about state schools being
defacto Presbyterian Schools and continuing the Presbyterian
tradions from which they has arisen. Many schools joined the
state system having been previously Parish Schools run by
the Church or Free Church of Scotland. It was felt by the
Scottish Catholic Hierarchy that for their childrens’
Relious Education (R.E.) and Religious Observance (R.O.) there
should be a specifically Catholic capability to teach and
the ability to observe the liturgical callendar undiluted
by the State or secular concerns.
In the late 19th Century there was still much mutual suspicion
between the State and the Catholic Hierarchy and the Catholic
community at large, for good reason. It was within living
memory that need for the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829
has been required to repeel many formalised anti-Catholic
mechanisms of State prejudice such as the Act of Uniformity,
the Test Act and the Penal Laws (Education Act 1695, Disarming
Act 1695, Marriage Act 1697, Banishment Act 1697, Registration
Act 1704, Popery Act 1704 and 1709, Occasional Conformity
Act 1711 and the Disenfranchising Act 1728.) Together this
legislation required Catholics to abjure the temporal and
spiritual authority of the Pope, renounce transubstantiation
and financially support the Anglican Church in England, a
significant burden on freedom of religious expression to say
the least! A slowly paced succession of reforms were introduced
over the 19th Centrury allowing Catholics freedom of worship,
freedom of association and freedom of employment in the civil
service, leaving only the Act of Settlement 1701 as one of
the few legal provisions which still to this day discriminates
against Roman Catholics in the mechanisms of the highest offices
of State. It should therefor come as no surprise that the
Catholic community wanted to retain their newly found freedom
of religious expression and decline State involvement in Church
run schools at that time.
The Episcopalian Church and the Catholic Church also had further
concerns about the secularisation aspects of the 1872 Education
Act and so both Catholic and Episcopalian denominational schools
remained outwith the state system until 1918.
1918 Education (Scotland) Act.
Education Act 1918, often known as the Fisher Act, is an Act
of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (8 & 9 Geo. V
c. 39). It was drawn up by Herbert Fisher. Herbert Albert
Laurens Fisher OM (21 March 1865 – 18 April 1940) was
an English historian, educator, and Liberal politician.
This Act raised the school leaving age to fourteen and planned
to expand tertiary education. Other features of the 1918 Education
Act included funding for Catholic state schools in Scotland,
the provision of ancillary services (medical inspection, nursery
schools, centres for pupils with special needs, class sizes
of no more than 30 and many other reforms.
By the 1920s, the education of young children was of growing
interest and concern to politicians, as well as to educationalists.
As a result of this rising level of public debate, the Government
of the day created a series of commissions of enquiry, headed
by Sir William Henry Hadow. Altogether the Hadow Committee
published three very important reports - 1926, 1931 and 1933.
These reports led to major changes in the structure of primary
education. In particular, they resulted in separate and distinctive
educational practise for children aged 5-7 (infants) and those
aged 7-11 (juniors).
By 1918 had become clear that the attainment gap between Catholic
and state schools had widened significantly, with children
in Catholic Schools performing less well than those in state
State support for Catholic schools was therefore seen by the
government as a necessity in order to achieve equality of
provision for all pupils in Scotland. Catholic schools had
been unable to financially afford the level or range of education
required to ensure that their pupils achieved parity with
state school pupils.
The Government therefore proposed to bring Catholic schools
into the state sector within the 1918 Education (Scotland)
Act, and to provide them with full state funding. As part
of the move to bring Catholic schools into the state education
system the Act guaranteed the following rights for the Catholic
• Catholic schools were to be fully funded by the state.
They would be open to inspection by Her Majesty's Inspectors;
• As public schools, Catholic schools were to be open
to all, but provided primarily to serve the needs of the Catholic
• The Church was expected to approve all teachers in
Catholic schools as to their 'religious belief and character';
the local education authority was to appoint, with the approval
of the church, a supervisor for religious education in Catholic
This move enabled Catholic schools to have financial security
whilst retaining their individual identity. Catholic schools
themselves saw state support as extremely helpful because
it removed the burden of self-financing and maintenance. The
Education Act of 1918 was however largely acknowledged by
all quarters to be pluralistic in intent and nature. It was
on the whole amicably implemented but it wasn’t entirely
uncontroversial even within the Catholic community. Eventually,
those that resisted the Act succumbed only because they could
not afford to build a proper secondary system without the
funding that came only with full education authority control
It should be noted however that in 1918 act the Catholic schools
in Scotland were not offered the option of being voluntary
providers sanctioned and financed by the state as in England
and Wales and Ireland. They HAD to accept transfer to the
education authorities if they were to continue to receive
The Education (Scotland) Act 1980
The Education (Scotland) Act 1980 requires education authorities
and schools to make provision for religious education (RE)
and religious observance (RO) with opportunities for parents
to withdraw their children if they wish.
National advice on the provision of RE and RO was provided
in the Scottish Office Education Department Circular 6/91.
For primary schools this stated that a minimum of 10% of curriculum
time be spent on religious and moral education and that religious
observance be held not less than once a week. For secondary
schools, the Circular stated that a minimum of 5% of curricular
time in S1/S2 and 80 hours over S3/S4 be spent on RME, and
that it should be a continuing element in the curriculum of
S5/S6 pupils. On RO in secondary schools it stated that this
should be held at least once a month, preferably with greater
Guidance on RE is also provided in the National Guidelines
on RME 5-14 (1992), that outline the aims of RE, designed
to help pupils to develop a knowledge and understanding of
Christianity and other world religions. It also states the
need to recognise religion as an important expression of human
experience; to appreciate moral values such as honesty, liberty,
justice, fairness and concern for others; to investigate and
understand the questions and answers that religions can offer
about the nature and meaning of life and develop their own
beliefs, attitudes, moral values and practices through a process
of personal search, discovery and critical evaluation. A separate
document (Religious Education 5-14 Roman Catholic Schools)
was issued in 1994 in recognition of the right of church authorities
to determine the religious education curriculum in Catholic
schools. While this document also aims to encourage an understanding
of other world religions and other Christian traditions its
main purpose is to 'help Catholic pupils to develop a knowledge
and understanding of their own faith and to support their
Catholic schools are now fully funded by the Scottish Government
and administered by the Education and Lifelong Learning Directorate.
There are specific legal provisions to ensure the promotion
of a Catholic ethos in these schools: applicants for positions
in the areas of Religious Education, Guidance or Senior Management
must be approved by the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland,
which also appoints a chaplain to each of its schools.
From the St Patrick's School Web Site:
St Patrick's primary was an established school in Stirlingshire
serving the pupils of the community and parish of St Patrick's
from Kilsyth, Queenzieburn, Banton and St Luke's, Banknock.
When the school moved to its present location in the early
sixties it was a primary and junior secondary.
After a few years the area was regionalised and responsibility
for the school passed to the Dunbarton division of Strathclyde
As part of this regional restructure it was designated a
high school, taking pupils from primary one through to fourth
year, successfully presenting many pupils for "O"
levels, until the mid seventies when the secondary department
was moved to the newly opened St Maurice’s High School
school. The area was again involved in the regionalisation
process in the early nineties and is now under the auspices
of North Lanarkshire Council.
And from the St Maurice’s Web site:
The name of St Maurice was chosen since he is the patron
saint of the town of Brom in France, the "twin-town"
for Cumbernauld. St Maurice was a Christian commander of a
Roman Legion in the 3rd century A.D. who was martyred with
most of his men for refusing to offer a sacrifice to pagan
idols in south eastern Gaul. The school crest and badge reflect
the life of St Maurice and the principles for which he died.
Our motto is "ad Deum" - "to God".
The main building was opened in 1975 and an extension building
was opened in 1981 to cope with the rising roll. Phase one
of the school which came into use in August 1976, contains
the school administrative offices, teaching rooms, assembly
hall, dining room, and staff accommodation at ground level
with two landscaped internal courtyards. Above this is a two-storey
block for science, home economics, business studies and music.
The "open-plan" design of the home economics suite
is a feature to be noted. A separate block, to which access
is gained directly from the main block, houses the gymnasium,
drama studio, swimming pool, games hall and changing rooms.
Phase two was completed in August 1981, contains additional
classrooms, staff-room and offices, including a conference
room, an "open-plan" art department and project
area. Apart from the buildings themselves the site has been
used to provide two association football pitches, a hockey
pitch, and a rugby pitch. Car parking is provided at the northern
end of the school and two janitors' houses are located overlooking
this area. A lift, ramps and specially designed toilet accommodation
have been provided to make possible the admission to the school
of physically handicapped and those pupils in wheel chairs.
A lift, ramps and specially designed toilet accommodation
have been provided to make possible the admission to the school
of physically disabled and those pupils in wheel chairs.
It is most important that pupils do not confine their energies
to the classroom. They are encouraged to join school societies,
take part in educational visits, make full use of the school
library, and enjoy a full list of sporting activities, including
school football teams; five-a-side competitions; girls football;
badminton; basketball; skiing and snowboarding; professional
golf lessons; swimming; gymnastic club; cinema, theatre and
concert trips; school trips at home and abroad; debating;
school band and choir; quiz teams and book clubs. As part
of North Lanarkshire's strategy for raising achievement a
number of pupils from S4 are invited to go on an Outward Bound
course each year at Loch Eil, Fort William at no cost to the
pupils. During this week they undertake a range of exciting,
challenging and motivating activities designed to help them
develop a greater understanding of themselves and their true
capabilities. We normally send around 36 pupils from this
school, and many of them return to school with more positive
and determined attitudes which, in turn, is reflected in their
schoolwork and performance in exams.
Over the past few years Out of School Learning Activities
have expanded considerably in St Maurice's. As well as traditional
exam revision supported study offered in the second term,
St Maurice's offers a large number of activities designed
to raise achievement and self esteem as well as encouraging
lifelong learning and citizenship. We currently offer a summer
school, a programme for new S1 entrants designed to aid transition
to the secondary school where pupils are encouraged to get
to know their staff and fellow pupils and become familiar
with the school surroundings before the session starts. Team
building skills are encouraged and pupils take part in a number
of outdoor activities at Strathclyde Country Park. Pupils
then construct web pages which describe their experiences
and make t-shirt as a memento of their time at summer school.
There is a S1 homework club for S1 pupils every Tuesday after
school where staff are available to help pupils with their
assignments as well as providing the opportunity for some
physical activities in the PE department. S1 and S2 lunchtime
reading club is also available to promote reading and literacy
in S1 and S2 through personal reading, discussion and writing
about novels of pupils' choice. There is a dance club once
a week for pupils of all age ranges.
St Maurice's sees itself as a focal point of the local community.
It is therefore, a priority of the school to develop and strengthen
links with the local community. These links include working
together with industry, Glencryan School local interest groups
etc. Community involvement of our pupils is encouraged. The
school building itself is a fully used resource for the social
and educational activity in the locality.
St Maurice's High School has excellent relations with its
associated primary schools which are Holy Cross Primary, St
Francis of Assisi Primary, St Helen's Primary, St Patrick's
Primary Kilsyth and St Michael's Primary.
The School Roll for 2006/07 was:
S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 Total
219 207 202 266 149 89 1132