Compulsory Education in Scotland 1872

In 1872, the responsibility for education was transferred from churches to elected school boards, which provided compulsory education for children aged 5 to 13 years. The records of Tealing School Board meetings, from 1873 onwards, are a rich source of information about school times in the village.At the first meeting of the School Board on 8 April 1873, it was reported that five members had been elected:

Mr Alexander Bell, Farmer, Balnuith, Tealing
Mr John Ogilvy, Factor, Hare Craig, Dundee
The Reverend Duncan Turner, Minister of the Free Church, Tealing
Mr William Ogilvie, Farmer, Newbigging, Tealing
Mr George Langlands, Farmer, Balkemback, Tealing

Mr Bell was elected Chairman of the Board and the Parochial Schoolmaster, Mr Alexander Menzies (the Dominie), was appointed Treasurer and Clerk. The Board had considerable powers and effectively ran all of the affairs of the school, including the appointment of staff, responsibility for the standard of education provided and all financial matters.

The Education (Scotland) Act of 1872 required that a census of education in the parish be undertaken. This was completed within a fortnight of the first School Board meeting and reported, on 26 April 1873, that there were 195 children in the parish (most families had five or more children), as follows

aged 5 to 13 years and attending school


aged 3 to 13 years and not attending school


above the age of 13 years and attending school




It was also reported that, at that time, there were three schools in the area:

The Parish, now, the Public School

Roll 105

In attendance 80

The Free Church School

Roll 34

In attendance 12

School at Balkello

Roll 25

In attendance 23

Between them, the three schools had accommodation for up to 210 pupils. The condition of the Public School and Free Church buildings was described as "good", Balkello being described as "indifferent".

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