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Harris District Education Sub-Committee

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Harris District Education Sub-Committee

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The School Board of Harris was established in 1873 although the earlier records have not survived. Prior to 1872, parishes could establish schools but this was not enforced. The Gaelic Society of Scotland and the Scottish Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge were active in the Western Isles setting up temporary or travelling schools.

From 1872, the state assumed complete responsibility for education. The Harris School Board was established answerable to the Board of Education and later the Scottish Education Department. The Board consisted of elected members and was responsible for providing education for all children in the area funded from a parliamentary grant and local rates. School attendance was compulsory except in cases of illness or where the school was more than three miles from home. Fees were payable, but if the parents were unable to pay the Harris Parochial Board / Parish Council met the cost from poor relief until fees were abolished in 1889/1894. The Board was also responsible for the medical inspection of children.

The following schools fell under the control of the Board:

• Amhuinnsuidh
• Ardvourlie
• Berneray
• Bunavoneddar
• Drinishader
• Finsbay
• Grosebay
• Kyles Scalpay
• Kyles Stockinish
• Leverhume Memorial
• Luskentyre
• Manish
• Northton
• Rodel
• St Kilda
• [Sir Edward Scott]
• Scalpay
• Scarista
• Scarp
• Shelibost

The Education Act of 1918 abolished Harris School Board, creating Harris School Management Committee which was responsible to the Inverness-shire Education Authority, a body separate to the County Council. This in turn was responsible to the Scottish Education Department. These committees consisted of parents and teachers as well as representatives from the Education Authority.

The Local Government Act 1929 incorporated Inverness-shire Education Authority into Inverness-shire County Council with local schools being managed through the Harris District Education Sub-Committee. Local government reorganisation in 1975 saw the abolition of the Harris Education District Sub-Committee, its responsibilities being taken over by the education Committee of Comhairle nan Eilean (Western Isles Islands Council).


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