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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]

The Education Board

The Education Board.

The Wanganui Education Board has jurisdiction over a district which comprises the Counties of Wanganui, Waitotara, Hawera, Patea, Waimarino, Rangitikei, Oroua, Kai-ranga, Kiwitea, Pohangina, and Mana-watu. The members of the Board for the year 1907 are:—Messrs. F. Pirani (chairman), W. C. Cargill, F. M. Spurdle, A. Fraser, D. H. Guthrie, J. Smith, G. H. Bennett, E. Dixon, and F. Purnell. The officers are:—Messrs. G. D. Braik, M.A. (chief inspector), J. Milne, M.A., and T. B. Strong, M.A., B.Sc. (inspectors), W. J. Carson (secretary and treasurer), W. H. Swanger (accountant), R. Brown (dairy instructor), J. Grant, page 596 B.A., (agriculture), E. H. Clark and H. Bannister (woodwork), and Misses Mollison and Fergus (cookery). For the purposes of manual and technical education, the district is divided into three sub-districts—namely, the Northern, which is under the supervision of Mr A. A. Hintz; the Central, under Mr A. Varney, who is also Director of the Wanganui Technical School and school classes for the whole district; and the Southern, under Mr W. H. N. Amos. There is a fine building devoted to technical education at Wanganui, buildings at Marton and Eltham, and a building in course of construction at Feilding. Six of the schools under the control of the Board rank as District High Schools, namely, Feilding, Marton, Wanganui, Patea, Hawera, and Eltham. During the year ended 31st December, 1906, ten new schools were opened within the district, and seven schools were closed, leaving 185 as the total number of schools in operation at the end of that year. The entire teaching staff in the employ of the Board at the same time was 374 (an increase of twelve on the previous year). The total number of pupils in attendance at the end of the year was 12,983, an increase of 497 on the former year. The average attendance stood at 11,104, showing an improvement of 330 on the year previous. Five new schools and four new teachers' residences were erected by the Board in 1906. The gross revenue of the Board for the year named was £78,078; the income is derived chiefly from ordinary and special grants and capitation fees from the Government, but includes also revenue from reserves, fees, and donations. The offices of the Wanganui Education Board are in Nixon Street.

Mr William J. Carson, Secretary and Treasurer of the Wanganui Education Board, is also Secretary of the Board of Governors of the Wanganui Girls' College.

The Wanganui Technical School was founded by the Wanganui Education Board in the year 1892, and stands on a central site at the corner of Victoria Avenue and Guyton Street. The original building was erected with funds granted by the Education Department, subsidised by the Education Board. In 1906 extensive alterations and additions were made; an office, library, and engineering workrooms were built, and the science room was thoroughly equipped with all modern appliances. The institution is supported by capita-tion, fees from students, and scholarships and donations from several public bodies. Members of the Technical School Committee for the year 1907:—Messrs. F. M. Spurdle (chairman), G. Carson, A. M. McLeod, R. W. Green, J. Graham, G. Spriggens, R. Hughes, and the Rev. E. Drake. Mr G. D. Braik, M.A., Chief Inspector of the Education Board, is Superintendent, and Mr A. Varney the Director.

Mr Arthur Varney, A.C.P., Director of the Wanganui Technical School, was appointed to that position in the year 1905. He was born in Belper, Derbyshire, England, where he received his primary education. In 1891 he attended Saltley College, Birmingham, and afterwards went to Leeds, where he became a teacher. There he served thirteen years under the Leeds Education Board, the last two years being at Cockburn Higher Grade and Technical School. Mr. Varney had charge also of large evening schools, and was on the staff of the Leeds Pupil Teachers' College as an art teacher in prospective geometry and design. In 1904 he came to New Zealand, and landed in Auckland. He served five months as relieving teacher under the Auckland Board of Education, and was then appointed to the staff of the secondary classes of the Wanganui District High School, and had charge of evening science classes at the Technical School. Six months later he was appointed director. In 1895 Mr Varney married a daughter of the Rev. L. E. Ellis, a retired Primitive Methodist minister of Alfredton, Derbyshire, England, and has one daughter.