EDUCATION ACT. [March 26, 1856.]
Aa A -t to promote Education in the Province t of Nelson. Preamble. — Whereas it is expedient to establish such a system as may promote Education in the province : Be H therefore enacted, by the Superintendent of vie Province of Nelson, with the advice and consent of the Provincial Council thereof, as follows :—: —
1 . The Superintendent may constitute Educational Districts. — For the purposes of this Act, it shall be lawful for the Superintendent to constitute within the province educational districts, and to make such provisions for carrying this Act into operation as he shall think expedient, until the election of the Central Board, as hereinafter provided.
2. Rates to be levied. — For raising the necessary funds for establishing aud maintaining district schools, and for otherwise carrying out the provisions of tin's Act, there shall be levied annually upon every householder in the province a uniform rate of one pound, and a further sum of five shillings for every child of such householder between the ages of fh'c and fourteen years : Provided always that no person shall be liable to pay for more than four children, nor for any child attending any school not established under this Act, in respect of whom such person shall produce to the Collector a certificate, signed by the •teacher of such school, showing that such child ha^attended during the three months previous to the levying of the rate ; and that nil schools established under this Act shall be onen to all children.
3. Ratepayers to pay their Rates at Places appointed for that purpose. — The said rate shall be paid to some person appointed by the Central Board for that purpose, by the persons liable to the payment thereof, on a day and at a place to be fixed for that purpose by the Board, by public notice in some newspaper published or generally circulated in the province, not being less than twenty-one days From the time of giving notice ; and if the rate, or any part thereof, shall not be paid on the day so to be fixed for that purpose, the same may be recovered in a summary manner before any Justice of the Peace : Provided always that the Local Committees shall have power to excuse any person from the payment of such rate whom they may think unable, through poverty, to pay the same.
4. Local Committees to be elected. — The householders in each educational district shall, in the month of June in each year, at a time and place to be fixed fur that purpose by the Superintendent or such person as he shall appoint, elect a committee of nine householders, nny three of whom shall be a quorum, to superintend the working of the schools in the district, subject to the control of the Central Board, as hereinafter mentioned.
f>. Local Committees to appoint Teachers, fyc. — The Local Committees shall also appoint all necessary teachers, and, subject to the confirmation of the Inspector, prescribe the general course of instruction and discipline in the schools in their respective districts ; but no persons shall be so appointed unless they shall have received a certificate of competency, as hereinafter provided.
6. Central Board of Education. — There shall be a Central Board of Education, which shall consist of one person to be elected annually by each of the Local Committees, and one person to be appointed by the Superintendent, who shall be a member of the Executive Council of the pvovinee, any four of the members of which Board shall be a quorum ; and such Board shall be deemed to be constituted as soon as four members shall have been appointed, and shall continue in office until a new Board shall be appointed.
7. Central Board may constitute new Districts. — The Central Board shall have power, from time to time, to constitute new districts, and to alter any districts established under this Act.
8. Central Board to distribute Moneys, §-c , and to superintend proceedings of Local Committees. — The Central Board shall have power to distribute among the district schools any moneys levied um'er ths authority o[ this Act, or voted by the Provincial Council for educational purposes (unless it shall be otherwise specified, in: such vote), and also any sums which may from time to time accrue from any lallds reserved for the purposes of general
education, and shall also have power to direct the lnsp n ctor of Schools, aud otherwise to superintend the proceedings of the Local Committees.
9. Central Board may erect Schools, fyc. — The Central Board shall also have power to eiect and maintain schools, and to provide books, maps, and other requisites for the use of such schools, and to erect and keep in repair dwelling-houses for the teachers, aud to pay the teachers such salaries as the Board shall deem fit ; and in the event of any Local Committee neglecting or refusing to appoint a teacher in any educational district, the said Board may appoint such teacher, and make such other provisions as they may think neeessarv for the maintenance of such school.
10. Teachers ma; be oppointed. — It shall be lawful for the said Board, upon such terms and conditions as they shall think fit, to provide teachers for any parts of the province not included within educational districts.
1 1 . Central Board may examine Candidates for the Office of Master or Teacher. — The Central Board shall have power to examine any person who shall be a candidate for the office of master or teacher ot* any school established under this Act, and to grant a certificate to any person whom they shall deem competent to fill such office : Provided always that no person shall receive such certificate against whose moral character there shall be any proved cause of complaint.
12. Secretary' and Collectors to be appointed. — The said Central Board shall have power to appoint a secretary and rate collectors, and to pay such secretary and collectors such remuneration as they shall think reasonable.
13. Central Board may make By-Laws — It shall be lawful for the Central Board to make rules for regulating the meetings and proceedings of the Board not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act : Provided always that no such rules shall have any effect until the same shall have been allowed by the Superintendent aud Executive Council of the province. H. Schools to be open to all Children. — All schools maintained wholly or in part by rates levied under this Act shall be open to all children ; but it shall be lawful for the teacher of such schools to expel or forbid the attendance of any child who, from gross misconduct or incorrigible disobedience, may be considered an injurious or dangerous example to the other scholars ; the parents of such child having, however, a right to appeal first to the Local Committee, and finally to the Central Board.
15. Religious Instruction not to be of controversial character. — Any religious instruction given in such schools shall be free from all controversial character, and shall be imparted at such hours that any parents objecting thereto may be able to withdraw their children from the school at the time when it is given.
16". Evening Schools may be established for young Persons above 12 Fears of age. — To provide for the education of young people of more advanced age, every teacher shall be required to open an Evening School whenever not fewer than six pupils above twelve years of age offer themselves. But at such EveningSchools it shall be allowed to the teacher to charge a moderate fee for his attention to such pupils, subject to .the approval of the Local Committee.
17. Schools to be open to Inspectors. — All Schools supported wholly or in part by such rates, or receiving pecuniary aid from the Provincial Government, or from the proceeds of lands reserved as aforesaid, shall be open at all times to the visits of parents of children attending the same, and to the inspection of some person to be appointed for that purpose by the Central Board, who are hereby authorized from time to time to appoint or dismiss such Inspector.
18. All Moneys to be paid to Provincial Treasurer, and appropriated by Central Board. — All Moneys levied or received under the authority of this Act shall be paid to the Treasurer of the Province, to be appropriated by the Central Board in carrying out the provisions of this Act ; and the said Board may issue their warrants (such warrants to be signed by the Chairman for the time being, and any two other members thereof) for any sum not exceeding the sum liabb at the time to be appropriated by the Central Board ; and such warrants shall be countersigned by the Secretary of such Board.
19. Central Board may sue and be sued in the Name of the Secretary, §r. — The Central Board may sue and bs sued in the name of their secretary, or any member of such Board for the time being; and legal or equitable proceedings taken by or against the Board in the name of any one of the Board or their secretary shall not abate or be discontinued by the death or removal of such secretary or member, but the secretary for the time being, or any member of such Board, shall always be deemed to be the plaintiff or defendant (as the case may be) in any such proceedings : Provided always that the said Board and their secretary respectively shall in no case be personally liable, uor shall the private estate and effects of any of them be liable, for the payment of any monej'S or costs or otherwise in respect of any contract which shall be made by them or any of them, or for any act, deed, or matter dove or executed by them or any of them in their or his official capacity, and on the public service.
20. Accounts to be kept and audited. — The Central Board shall, in books to be kept for that purpose, enter true accounts of all sums of money by them received and paid, and of the several matters in re&pect whereof such sums shall have been received and paid ; and all accounts, with all vouchers and papers relating thereto, together with a full abstract or balance sheet thereof, signed by three at least of the members of the Board, shall, at the end of each year, be audited in the. same manner as the public accounts of the province, and a copy of such abstract or balauce sheet shall, when audited, be published by the Central Board in some newspaper circulated within the province. 2L Central Board tv transmit half-yearly Reports to Superintendent. — It shall be the duty of the Central Board to prepare halfyearly reports, showing the condition of the province as regards education, setting forth the number of existing schools, the number of
scholars attending these, the course of instruction pursued in them, and all other such
matters as may seem to be of interest and desirable to communicate. And such reports shall be transmitted to the Superintendent of the province as soon as conveniently may be, and also to the Speaker of the Provincial Council, to he by him laid on the table of the Council at the session next ensuing, 22. Exemption of Natives from the payment of Hates. — Nothing hereinbefore contained shall render any aboriginal native liable to the payment of any rate to be raised under the provisions of this Act. 23. Short Title.— •This Act shall be intituled, and may be cited, as the "Education Act, 1856."