Education - Schools and University
From early times to 1908 by John
Kerr, M.A., LL.D. (1910)
WHEN, at the suggestion of the Syndics of the Cambridge
University Press, I undertook to write the History of Scottish Education
from early times to the present day, I did so with much hesitation. The
difficulty of presenting within comparatively narrow limits such an
account of a large subject as would be at once solid enough to be useful
to the educationist, and interesting enough to appeal to the general
reader, seemed a very serious one. As I have proceeded with my task that
difficulty has not disappeared. All important as education is for the
well-being of a nation, it cannot be called a generally attractive
subject. There is no doubt in every community a small percentage who take
a special interest in it, but as a rule, it is only those who are
practically or professionally in close quarters with it who give serious
consideration to either the history or the details of education. While the
admirably accurate, and, for the period and subject covered, exhaustive
record in Grants Burgh Schools of Scotland is a perfect storehouse of
facts accompanied by eminently sensible comments, it is more a book for
reference than continuous perusal. In the work which I have undertaken it
is not desirable, even if it were possible, to introduce the innumerable
details which Mr Grant has with most praiseworthy industry and skill
brought together. My aim has been to select from them and other available
sources such as are typical of the time and locality to which they belong,
and present themto use the language of Artin an impressionist or
It can scarcely be said
that the historian of education, in dealing with what precedes the 12th
Century, is standing on sufficiently solid ground. With that century
accordingly our history begins.
The History falls
conveniently into four periods.
First (a) Schools from early times to 1560
and the founding of Grammar Schools. (b) The founding of the three oldest
Second (a) Schools from
1560 to 1696, the Reformation era. (b) The Universities of the same
Third (a) Schools from 1696
to 1872, the era of well-established Parish Schools. (b) The Universities
from 1696 to the period when, by the Act of 1858, they may be said to have
Fourth (a) Schools from
1872 to 1908. (b) The Universities from 1858 to 1908.
In 1907 when my task up to
1906 was within sight of completion, I was unfortunately seized with an
illness which made absolute rest for several months imperative. Recovered
so far as to resume work I decided to bring my narrative to a certain
extent up to date, and proceeded to deal with what is rather the politics
than the history of educationthe multitudinous changes which from 1906 to
1908 characterise the subject alike in School and University. We have in
schools an entire change in the character of inspection and in the
training of teachers; in the universities changes in the curricula, and
demands for autonomy arising from the restiveness of General Councils,
under conditions which made the framing of New Ordinances, suitable to the
varying needs and environments of each university, exceedingly difficult.
In these circumstances it was suggested to me that the history might be
suitably rounded off up to date by experts giving in short appendixes a
condensed account of what has been done, and the outlook of what has been
proposed, during these two years. I have been fortunate in securing kind
friends who have both the will and the skill required, each appendix
appearing under the name of the author.
I have endeavoured to be
accurate in the use of quotation marks, and in verification of references
in footnotes. I have revised the whole carefully, supplying omissions, and
removing what could with advantage be spared, and it is perhaps not
unreasonable to expect that a close and practical acquaintance with the
school and university life of both Scotland and England for more than
fifty years has prevented me from falling into very serious inaccuracy or
I regret that Mr Strongs
interesting treatise on Secondary Education in Scotland did not appear
till the whole of the present work was in type, and so too late for me to
profit by it.
I have to acknowledge with
hearty thanks the readiness with which my requests for information and for
the revision of some of the proof sheets were met by University
OfficialsJ. M. Anderson of St Andrews, J. Coutts and W. Innes Addison of
Glasgow, P. J. Anderson of Aberdeen, and Sir Ludovic Grant of Edinburgh. I
have also to thank C. Stewart of Gordons College, Aberdeen, and Dr Lauder
of the Edinburgh and East of Scotland Agricultural College for useful
notes. But more than to any other my very special thanks are due to Dr
Giles of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, for most careful revision of all the
proofs and for many valuable suggestions. Lastly a well-deserved
acknowledgment to my daughter for a full Index is probably not out of
December 15, 1909.
Chapter I -
Schools before 1500
Scottish schools not advanced. Students went to England and the
continent. Church schools. Grammar schools only in some of the larger
towns. Connection between church and education. High reputation of Perth
Grammar school. School officials. Desire for higher education. Social
position of the Rector. Ayr Burgh school, famous then as now. Emoluments
of teachers. Cathedral, Abbey and Collegiate schools religious rather
than educational in character. Sang schools. Libraries. Languages
taught. Aberdeen Grammar school. Summary.
Chapter II - First
Period to 1560. Universities Introductory
A Scots College in Paris. Universities almost strictly ecclesiastical.
Meaning of Universities. Wandering life of the Medieval student. Lawless
student life in Paris. Goliards. Students privileged persons. Student
mendicancy legalised. Ecclesiastics regularly studied Law and Medicine.
Scots College documents were lost or destroyed at the time of the French
Chapter III - First
Period to 1560. St. Andrews University
Foundation. The Schola Illustris the germ of the University. Great
rejoicing at reception of Papal Bull. James I Patron. His visit.
Proposed transference to Perth. Bishop Wardlaw provides buildings.
Rivalry of competing pedagogies. Election of Rectors. Students of every
nationality welcomed. Learning encouraged by Church of Rome. Colleges of
St Salvator, St Mary and St Leonard. Discipline and regulations monastic
rather than educational. Cock-fighting allowed. Famous Professors and
Students. Buchanan, Lyndsay, Hamilton, Knox, Major. Great variation in
the number of students in different years. The respective aims of the
three colleges. Subjects for degree of M.A. Greek when taught in
Chapter IV - First
Period to 1560. Glasgow University
What led to its foundation. In 1453 the King granted a charter and
certain privileges. Modelled on Bologna. Most promising start made the
Faculty of Arts prominent. No endowment, the teaching staff being
beneficed clergymen. First building lent temporarily. In 1460 an
absolute gift, and called a Paedagogiurn. Records of privileges,
discipline and members. Little reference to course of study. Gradual
decadence in Faculty of Arts and general laxity.
Chapter V - First
Period to 1560. Aberdeen University
Foundation. Elphinstone and James IV. Trade and education in northeast
of Scotland. Conflicting descriptions as to education and social
condition. Elphinstones character. Provision for salaries. Subjects
taught. Trivium and quadrivium. Members of Kings College. Chancellor
and Rector most important. Emoluments. Regents. Dunbars Charter and
influence. Deterioration after Dunbars death. First Bursary
competition. Three universities have much in common.
Chapter VI - Second
Period (1560 - 1696). Burgh and Other Schools
Greed of Nobility. Churchs attitude to Education. Knoxs scheme.
Appointment of Masters. Action of Town Councils. Burgh and Parochial
Schools. Examinations thorough. Holidays, bent silver, games. Tenure of
office. Discipline severe. Decay of Music. Catechism. Libraries.
Chapter VII - Second
Period (1560 - 1696). St. Andrews University
Book of Discipline. Attitude of the Nobles. New University regulations.
Rectors duties. Regenting changed. Knoxs ideal not realised. Sad
condition of University in 1563. Reformation injurious. Fewer students.
Two Colleges were opposed to, one favoured the Reformation. Changes in
subjects taught. Professorships of Hebrew. Andrew Melville. His energy
successful. Alternation of Presbyterianism and Episcopacy.
Chapter VIII - Second
Period (1560 - 1696). Glasgow University
Bursaries first founded. Action of Town Council. Slender means and small
staff. Classes broken up. Andrew Melville to the rescue. Changes between
Regenting and the professorial system. Snell exhibitions founded.
Nova erectio. Increase of graduates. The Restoration and
establishment of Episcopacy. Visitations partially effective. Conditions
as to Graduation slack. Students riotous.
Chapter IX - Second
Period (1560 - 1696). Aberdeen: King's College
Anderson and Leslie forbidden by the General Assembly to preach.
Anderson and four colleagues deposed. Eight disastrous years. Arbuthnot
a good man but as Principal not efficient. Interchange of students
between Scottish and foreign universities. Andrew Melvilles conference
with Arbuthnot. Nova Fundatio, its history one of great
complexity. Theological Chair founded by Bishop Forbes. Union of Kings
and Marischal Colleges in 1641 merely nominal for 20years.
"Aberdeen Doctors." How the students day was spent. Great jealousy
between the colleges. Reforms, shortened sessions and wearing of red
Chapter XI - Second
Period (1583 - 1696). Edinburgh University
Origin and foundation. Conflicting accounts. Lawson chief promoter.
Charter granted, but neither sludium generale nor university mentioned.
Without the name it did the work of a university. Building and first
Rector humble and unpretentious. Regulations as to work of medieval
origin. Graduation recognised as valid. Professorships founded. Subjects
of examination. Sands made Principal. Steady advance to University
Status. Lord Provost chosen Rector. Relation of Barbers to the Church.
Corporation of Barber Surgeons. The "Seal of Cause" and Royal College of
Surgeons. Incorporation of Physicians and Apothecaries. Royal College of
Physicians. Conditions of patent granted. Summary of 136 years.
Chapter XII - Third
Period (1696 - 1872). Burgh and other Schools
Important branches not taught. Academies largely proprietary. Burghs
without burgh schools. Holidays. Discipline. Teachers, how appointed.
Tenure of office. Pensions. Greek taught. Music. No grants for
burgh schools. Poor buildings. Heriots and Merchant Company. Primary
Schools up to 1872. Educational Institute.
Chapter XV - Third
Period (1696 - 1872). Parish Schools
John Knoxs scheme basis of Scottish education. Original high aim of
schools. Want of money. Civil and religious discords. Co-operation
between church and school. Desire for education. Institution of
Government Inspection and grants. Salaries increased. Small number of
inspectors. Revised code. Demoralising effect on teachers and taught.
Separate code for Scotland. Reminiscences of old Scottish schools.
Schoolmasters widows fund.
Chapter XVI - Third
Period (1696 - 1864). Stow and Training of Teachers
Systematic training of teachers at home and abroad. David Stow. Sabbath
schools in Glasgow. System based on experience. Bell and Lancaster.
Glasgow Infant School Society. Glasgow Educational Society. Carlyle
offers himself as Rector. His view on training. Model schools
instituted. Normal Seminary. Spread of Stows system. Effect of
Disruption. Episcopal Training College. Pupil-teachers. Leaving
Chapter XVII - Third
Period (1696 - 1858). St. Andrews University
Features common to all Scottish Universities in 17th and 18th centuries.
Latin. Regents. Professors. Bursars. St Andrews. Maitland Andersons
matriculation rolls. Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor. Union of colleges.
Course of study. Election of Rector. Chairs founded. French. "Princely
Chandos." Bursaries. Prayers. Public worship. Buildings and funds.
Chapter XVIII - Third
Period (1696 - 1858). Glasgow University
University staff. Appointment of Professors. Latin teaching. Attempt at
improvement. New Chairs. Royal Grants. Patriotism. Degree of M.D. Better
regulations. Hutcheson Institution. Salaries. Common table. Reeds
account of the university. Infirmary. Donations. Increase in attendance.
Medicine. New Chairs. English versus Scottish medical training. Better
Chapter XIX - Third
Period (1696 - 1858). Aberdeen University
Unsatisfactory condition in Aberdeen. Dilapidated buildings, negligence,
and want of funds. New Chairs. Bickerings. Queen Annes gift. Royal
commission. Dr James Frasers gift. Eminent Scotsmen. Secular rather
than religious trend of thought. Regenting. Laxity in Bursars work.
Residence enforced. Examination paper on medicine. Medical education.
Arts curriculum. Election of Rector. Valuable gifts. Permanent union of
colleges. Appendix A. Appendix B.
Chapter XX - Third
Period (1696 - 1858). Marischal College
Universities become institutions of state. Gifts towards buildings.
Chairs founded. Duties of Principal. Progress. Curriculum. Proposed
union falls through. Academic activity. Graduation. Parliamentary
Commission. Curriculum. College rebuilt. Union at last with Kings
College. Appendix. Graduation Thesis. Programme of lectures.
Chapter XXI - Third
Period (1696 - 1858). Edinburgh University
"Cardinal Carstares" royal grant. Legal instruction. Town Council and
Professors. Educational progress during Restoration and Revolution. Arts
curriculum. Graduation steadily declines. New Chairs. Incorporation of
Surgeons and Physicians. Great activity in Edinburgh medical world.
Medical graduation. Science. Industrial museum. Faculty of Divinity.
Relations between Town Council and Senatus. Foundation of new building.
Hamilton and Wilson. Royal Commission. New ordinances. Many disputes.
Entrance examination. Effect of Disruption.
Chapter XXII - Fourth
Period (1872 - 1908). Primary and Other Schools and Code Changes
Many changes. Area of educational field widened. Universities training
versus secondary and higher grade schools. Dick Bequest. Competition and
presentation Bursars. Latin. Graduation in Aberdeen and elsewhere. James
Dick. Object of Bequest. Important changes introduced. High standard
attained. Professor Laurie and the Bequest. Satisfactory results. Milne
Bequest. Original conditions altered. Philip Bequest.
Chapter XXIV - Fourth
Period (1872 - 1907). Training Colleges
Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen. Roman
Catholic College for women in Glasgow. St Georges College for secondary
teachers in Edinburgh. Pupil-teachers and training-college students
before and since 1873. University teaching combined with normal school
training. Sources for supply of teachers. Provincial committees. Junior
and senior students. Pupil-teacher system.
Chapter XXV - Fourth
Period (1872 - 1908). Secondary Schools
Burgh and grammar schools under
school-board management. Parish schools and secondary education. Lord
Balfour and higher education. Anomalous position of secondary schools.
Merchant Company of Edinburgh pioneers in reform. Monastic system
condemned. Hospitals converted into day schools. Steady growth, good
results. Allan Glens school in Glasgow. Glasgow and West of Scotland
Technical College. Robert Gordons Hospital and School of Art, Aberdeen.
Edinburgh High School, Academy etc. Fettes College. Bursaries.
Educational Endowments Act. Craik and secondary education. Leaving
Certificate Examination. Success due to Sir Henry Craik. Dr Struthers
report in 1906. Training of teachers. Technical Schools Act of 1887.
Equivalent grant and its distribution. Character and functions of higher
grade schools. Residue grant. Local Taxation account (Scotland) Act of
1892. Distribution of funds. Science and Art. Central institutions.
Continuation classes. Links with central institutions. Over-pressure
checked as far as possible.
Chapter XXVI - Fourth
Period (1858 - 1908). Universities
Two landmarks in the history of Scottish universities. Act of 1858, its
aims and results. Degree of M.A. New Chairs. Junior classes. Preliminary
examination. Widened curriculum. Subjects for M.A. degree, and Science
degrees. New constitution of university court. Students representative
council. Affiliation of new colleges. Privy Council. Act of 1889,
extensive investigations. New method adopted. Passing of ordinances
difficult. Medical course lengthened. Classes for women in arts and
medicine. Degree of LL.B. Degree of B.L. Graduation in Divinity. Degree
of B.D. Honorary degrees of D.D. and LL.D. Increase in students and
subjects of instruction. Additional lecturers and assistants. Bursary
regulations. Double marks for English, Latin, Greek and Mathematics.
Patronage of Professorships. Pensions and compensations. Fees and
emoluments. New Chairs. Graduation in Music. Queen Margaret College,
Glasgow. Original research. Carnegies gift. Degrees of D.Sc., D.Phil.
and D.Litt. St Andrews and Dundee. Degrees in applied Science. Extension
of universities by affiliation. St Mungos College, Glasgow. Heriot Watt
College. Agricultural Education. Agricultural Colleges. Edinburgh and
East of Scotland. West of Scotland. Aberdeen and North of Scotland.
Statistics concerning University of St Andrews, University of Glasgow,
Queen Margaret College, University of Aberdeen, University of Edinburgh.
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