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The Catholic School at Low Valley

July 1907

Barnsley Chronicle July 20, 1907

The school difficulty at Low Valley, a little mining village between Wombwell and Darfield, is still sorely vexing the local populace. It is a fight between the Roman Catholics of the little colony and the West Riding County council, and the Catholics are in no mind to surrender their school, even if they have to maintain it out of their own pockets.

The gist of the matter is that the Council are contemplating the erection of a new school of their own, and they are opposed not only to the erection of a new Catholic school, but to the continued recognition of the existing school, which was built only four years ago. By a clean sweep they hope to bring in all the children, regardless of the wishes of the parents, and on July 1 a Church day school for girls was closed absolutely.

The subject has been raised in Parliament, and to the remark on Mr McKenna that there was no Catholic opposition in 1905 to the proposed new Council school, it is pointed out that the local education authority did not then disclose their intention to drive all children, Catholic and Protestant into the new school.

On the first of this month 41 girls were sent from the  Church school at Low Valley to the Darfield mixed school by order of the County Council, thus overruling a resolution of the local managers not to admit these children on account of want of accommodation.

The managers have since dismissed the Low Valley influx, and those 41 girls are left without school provision of any sort. If the “unnecessary” Catholic school were shut there will be a further 120 children without a school to go to.

The Catholics complained bitterly that their school was condemned in the first instance on secret and incorrect evidence. It was said that “it appears” that the requirements of the Board of education and not be complied with.

This was incorrect.