He was elected to the Norwich School Board in 1899, being the first candidate run by the local Labour party to win a seat on a public body.
In 1870 he was elected a member of the first school board for Birmingham; and for the next six years, and especially after 1873, when he became leader of a majority and chairman, he actively championed the Nonconformist opposition to denominationalism.
The county is under school board jurisdiction and Lerwick has a secondary school, and a few of the other schools earn grants for higher education.
Concurrently with this activity in higher branches, the school board provided a large number of handsome buildings in healthy surroundings.
The police force of each municipality, or rather of each of 66 police districts, is maintained and controlled by the insular government; justice in each municipality is also administered by the insular government; the building, maintenance and repair of public roads are under the management of a board of three road supervisors in each of the seven insular election districts; and matters pertaining to education are for the most part under the insular commissioner of education and a school board of three members elected biennially in each municipality; nearly all other local affairs are within the jurisdiction of the mayor and municipal council.
All children between the ages of eight and fourteen and those between the ages of fourteen and sixteen who cannot read and write English are required to attend either a public or an approved private school for the full term unless excused by the school board on account of physical or mental infirmity.