§ Resolutions [20th August] reported.
§ CIVIL SERVICES AND REVENUE DEPARTMENTS ESTIMATES, 1894–5.
§ Resolutions read a second time.
§ First Twenty-one Resolutions postponed.180
That a sum, not exceeding £3,155,589, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1895, for Public Education in England and Wales, including Expenses of the Education Office in London,
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Mr. ACLAND,) York, W.R., Rotherham
The lateness of the period of the Session we have now arrived at, the amount of work we still have to go through, and, I may add, the lateness of the hour at which many of us went to bed last night, would all of them have disinclined me from making any preliminary statement at all; but it is the universal practice, which I believe has never been broken through, that some short statement should be made on the Education Vote, and if I make only a skeleton of a statement to-day, I daresay the House will pardon the brevity of that which I have to say. I am asking for £6,500,000, which is a large increase on the sum asked for last year. £4,000,000 of the sum goes to the day schools and evening schools, and £2,000,000 goes to those schools in respect of the fee grant. The remaining £500,000 is devoted to the expenses of administration and of the Training Colleges. The most notable fact connected with the increase of the Estimates is that part of it is due to the increase in average attendance during the year completed on the 31st of August last. I have no doubt that a large part of that increase is due to the Free Education Act of the late Government. I can best show what that increase is by saying that in 1890 the increase in the average attendance was about 35,000 children; in 1891, 32,000; and in 1892, 126,000 children. In preparing the Estimates for last year we thought that if we made provision for 126,000 children we should be within the mark. But from 1892 to 1893 the attendance bounded up to 229,000 children, and that Increase accounts largely for the Supplementary Estimate which was introduced at an earlier part of this year, as well as for the large increase in the present Estimate. This in itself is very satisfactory, especially when we bear in mind that the percentage of attendance per 100 children is largely increasing, as well as the average attend- 181 ance. We find that while in 1891 out of 100 children on the Register there were 77.7 in average attendance, last year there were 79.98. This rise of 2 per cent. is very important when so large a number of children are concerned. Then there is an increase in the attendance at evening schools, and we estimate this year that the average attendance will be practically by 100 per cent. We believe that the desire to carry on the education of the day schools in the evening continuation schools and the publication of the Evening Continuation School Code, which does everything it can to encourage attendance at evening schools, will justify this estimate of an increase from 81,000 children to 165,000. I ought to say a word about the working of the Free Education Act. We have now 4,250,000 children on the Register as free scholars and 890,000 children still pay fees, of whom, roughly speaking, about 500,000 do not pay more than 1d. a week. A certain number of Petitions for free education have been received by the Department during the year, and a considerable number of them have been granted. I think that there are perhaps some places where the parents hardly yet realise what their rights under the Act really are, but I hope that by degrees they will fully understand what the Act of 1891 really means. I do not, of course, for a moment deny that there are a certain number of parents who prefer to pay fees, and there are schools where fees are paid because the parents desire it. But, as a matter of fact, the vast proportion of children have now free education. As to the curriculum of the schools, there is an excellent choice to be found in the Code for managers and teachers if they desire to extend their range or to alter their subjects. After all, the question of the particular subjects to be taken up is one to be judged by those; of working who manage the schools. The real point is whether the teaching is teaching which is full of life, or merely a kind of dry-bones instruction which has no life. There can be no doubt that in some of our schools there is a great deal of cramming—a great deal of burdening of that excellent beast of burden, the memory. What I hope and believe is taking place is that the new generation of teachers which is growing up, helped, I trust, with the advice and assistance of the better In- 182 spectors, will gradually introduce it more reasonable and effective method of teaching and training of our children. The more our schools can be without any interference from the Department as some of them really are now, the more effective and admirable they will be in all their methods, and the less need there will be for annual visits from Inspectors. We are doing all we can to lessen the necessity of these formal annual visits from Inspectors. In the evening schools visits of surprise are made from time to time to see how the schools generally are going on as a whole. In the infant schools this year we have tried to develop the same system. We hope the time may come when the fear of the annual visit by the teacher or the manager may become much less, and when the Department will be able to supersede it more than now by reasonable visits of inspection from time to time to consider the state of the schools as a whole—as it appears in its ordinary workaday fashion. Annual visits, however, are still considered necessary in the case of a certain number of schools. There is another matter I must allude to here, and that is that no curriculum in the upper part of our schools is of much use unless we can keep the children at school longer than is done at the present time. Above everything, those who are interested in national education ought to aim at persuading parents, and those who life responsible for the bye-laws, to extend the years of school life. Consider the enormous advantage which is possessed, quite apart from natural intelligence, by the children of our own class—the class of people who mostly enter this House—through being kept at school and at the University for at, least 14 years. On the other hand, consider the disadvantage suffered by the children of working men and small tradesmen, who very often receive little more, than seven years' education. Quite apart from natural intelligence, the real mastery of those subjects which are taught in our schools or Universities must be obtained in an infinitely higher degree by the child who has the advantage of so large a continuance of educational influences. I agree that we want the parents on our side in this matter, and I am glad to say that I believe the more thoughtful parents are more and more 183 becoming aware that by keeping their children at school up to 14 or 15 or 16 years of age, and not sending them into the world to labour to compete very often with people who are older, they are bestowing upon them the best gift they can grant, thus providing them with an admirable outfit for life. While I say that we want the parents more on our side, I do not disguise the fact that great responsibility in the matter lies on my own Department, and on all the Local Authorities who are concerned, not to delay the provision of school accommodation where it is only beginning to be required, not to overburden the teachers, who have already a heavy task to perform, and to do everything they can to lessen the disadvantages at which the children are placed in crowded parts of town and country. I regret that there is often delay—I hope not on the part of my Department—by which children are kept for many months, and sometimes longer, out of school. We must all feel glad that there is a steady movement going on in the country for intermediate education, which will give advantages at least to the picked children whose parents can afford it to carry on their education further than the elementary schools. There is no example more remarkable in this respect than the working of the Welsh Intermediate Education Act of the late Government, under which 70 or 80 cheap, popular, secondary schools are provided and are taken advantage of by the better-off working men, small tradesmen, and small farmers, to the great advantage of the country. I certainly think that the Science and Art Department—which is doing excellent work in various parts of the country—is inelastic and wooden, and would do well to follow the example in the Code of 1890, introduced by my right hon. Friend the Member for the Dartford Division of Kent, and to do what they can to lessen mere examination on paper and to substitute a form of inspection for it. The first step towards that is to have adequate inspection, and that is what I am trying to get. I am trying to substitute by degrees for ex-military men (who, no doubt, have done good service in the position) a younger and, I hope, a really intelligent class of Inspectors, who will be able to carry on the work of the Science and Art Department more on the lines of the best work of 184 Whitehall, to the great improvement of all the work done from South Kensington. I wish to say one word with reference to teachers' pensions. I hope the Report of the Departmental Committee on this subject will be before the Treasury in the course of two or three months. We all know, and we knew at the time we discussed it in Committee upstairs, that when the State came to grapple with the matter it would be found to be a very expensive affair; but I understand that the Report of the Departmental Committee will show that, if anything, the plan will be even more expensive than has been anticipated. I have no hesitation in saying that if some of our smaller schools in the country are in a state which is hardly adequate for the present day it is partly due to the fact that the teacher has got too old for his work, and that it would be to the advantage of the teacher, the school, and the children alike, that he should receive a well-deserved pension, and make room for a younger man. I have also had under consideration the importance of better training for pupil teachers, and of affording the highest possible education in the Training Colleges, especially in science teaching. I have had the opportunity of meeting from time to time some of the heads of the chief Training Colleges in regard to the development and improvement of the curriculum in these Colleges, especially in science. Popular science ought, I think, to be one of the subjects taught in our elementary schools, and I would train the teachers how to deal with that in an efficient way. There is one more point with regard to the teachers I should like to mention. It is that I think the work of the teachers in schools should be separated from their work outside, and I hope to bring in a short Bill dealing with the subject. There are, no doubt, difficulties in connection with the teachers because of the insecurity many of them feel in being open to unreasonable and unjust dismissal. These cases occur quite as much at the hands of the small School Boards as at the hands of the managers of voluntary schools. I think that all good teachers should feel really safe from arbitrary dismissal, which does occur—though seldom, I admit. I wish to say a few words with regard to the improvement of the school buildings in the country, what I believe is generally 185 considered, by those who on platforms and elsewhere make speeches about me, to be the chief item the direction in which I show a prejudice against Church schools. I will say this—that since the two or three Debates which took place earlier in the year I think a very much more satisfactory modus vivendi has been arrived at between the Department and a good many of those who were dissatisfied before, including a good many Members of this House who usually sit on the opposite side. We are all agreed that the condition of school buildings should be, both in town and country, as thoroughly healthy as possible. For the sake of the children, for the sake of the parents, and even more for the sake of the teachers, it is highly undesirable that the work of education should be carried out in premises which are insanitary and unhealthy. This is no new policy. I hope and believe that a more friendly spirit has grown up in the working out of this policy as between managers and School Boards on the one hand, and the Inspectors and officials of the Department on the other. I wish frankly to acknowledge this—that those who are most able to judge whether the policy of the last two years has been the persecution of the Church schools or not have spoken frankly and truly, as I believe, on this question. The National Society and its officials certainly know more about this matter than any single individual can possibly do; and at their annual meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury, acting as their chairman, said that, while the Department was ruling over the voluntary schools with rigour, that fact ought to make everybody extremely careful, both in public and in private, not to bring against the Department charges which could not be justified. I wish a noble Lord in another place, and other persons who write me letters which no Member would think reasonable, would take the advice of the Archbishop. The Archbishop said the National Society had a committee which was on the watch most carefully, and no doubt it has had admirable opportunities to look microscopically into these matters and to investigate any complaint made against the Department. It was the opinion of that Committee that no undue pressure had been put upon Church schools. I confess I rely 186 upon that—unless we become more severe—against a great many statements by individuals which have been or may be made. There are, of course, other charges, the charges of hastiness, and of inopportuneness. But I have said before, and say again, that you cannot have a great Department with a vast number of Inspectors and a considerable number of officials without making some mistakes. It is inevitable that there will be found in a great staff like ours men who have not the same tact and judgment as the best of those who do the administrative work. It is my task, and the task of the permanant Secretary, to do everything in our power not to justify mistakes, but to try to remedy them. From what I know of our Department there are far fewer letters and communications written in the old formal style than there were some years ago. The right kind of public official is the man who knows when a formal acknowledgment or answer is necessary, and, on the other hand, who knows when to give not only a civil, courteous reply, but a reply which shows that he understands the position of those who write to him. It is impossible that the head of a Department—I mean the permanent Secretary, still less myself—can see every communication; but I can assure hon. Gentlemen that I do all in my power to get Inspectors and officials to understand—many of them fully understand without any directions—that correspondence on all these delicate and difficult matters ought to be carried on with a great deal of courtesy and sympathy. Besides trying to encourage this tone and spirit, I have taken another step which I think is a very useful one. One of the great difficulties which arise in these matters of buildings is between the managers who understand the circumstances on the spot and our architect and his Department in London. It is almost impossible to change the present system, because our Inspectors are not architects; and if they were to attempt to give orders, to approve plans, and to suggest modifications up to the point of their approval being final, we should get a great many more letters than now. It is absolutely essential that there should be an effective and able architect who really knows, as certainly our architect does, the whole of his profession. But such a man, sitting in 187 Whitehall, may fail to understand the details of the local situation, so I have appointed a travelling architect, who, I am sure, from my own experience of the past few months, has been of the greatest possible service to managers and School Boards when they get into difficulty. I have from time to time sent this travelling architect to see those who were in difficulties about their buildings, and I know those who have received him will admit that he has been able to give advice about the re-arrangement of old buildings or about the plans and details of new buildings which has been of the highest possible service. I do not mean to say that this gentleman alone can go everywhere, but I wish to say to hon. Members that on any occasion of special difficulty I am most anxious to send this gentleman to clear up matters that may arise between the managers and ourselves. I have been asked a few questions with regard to grants under Articles 104 and 105 of the Code. I can only say about that, that we consider these grants to small schools of the highest value, and they are, as we intend them to be used, almost essential to the carrying on of our small schools when in difficult circumstances. Nobody who has anything to do with the small country schools can deny that many of them are in great difficulties as compared with the large town schools. I have just had a Return made which will show a great many facts bearing on voluntary schools. One point it will show is that there is in many cases a most liberal subscription to voluntary schools. It is very difficult to carry on a country voluntary school with subscriptions of less than 10s. or 15s. Nearly 5,000 schools get subscriptions of more than 10s. a head; some of them getting over l5s., and some of them over 20s. a head. On the other hand, there are about 5,000 schools getting less than 5s. a head, and about 1,000 getting nothing at all. Of course, I admit that in some of these cases the schools have endowments, which render subscriptions not so necessary. About 4,000 schools receive between 5s. and 10s. a head. Those who have experience of country schools admit that unless you get about 10s. a head you are likely to get into difficulties; and it is not easy to draw a distinction between town and country schools. Some town 188 schools can run themselves without subscriptions, but country schools can do nothing of the sort. Therefore these grants are of great importance. Whenever the grants are really needed for the purposes for which they are intended—for assisting the really effective work of the schools—they are given. They are not meant merely to save other people's pockets, nor for building grants, nor are they intended to be given in any case where the population of either 300 or 500 is exceeded; and they apply alike to Board and voluntary schools. I would only say that these questions, however few in number, receive the most careful attention individually, and we never take the grants away except when we believe we are bound to do so. If there are cases of hardship in which hon. Members think that these grants have been unjustly withheld, such cases will always be most carefully revised. There is a special class of cases in the schools of this country which deserve our best attention—I refer to the cases of children who are suffering from physical incapacity, and whose brains are not like those of other children, but who may, if they are properly treated, be restored to a normal capacity. It is most important that all managers of Board schools should treat such children with the utmost sympathy and care. We have made arrangements for the special treatment of such children, under which they are to be withdrawn from the ordinary elementary schools for two or three years, and so treated according to their peculiar powers that, at the end of that time, where possible, they may be restored to the elementary schools. Nothing is more remarkable than the success which attends such a course of treatment of such children whose mental powers are thereby brought back to them, and they thus are able to return to the elementary schools and receive the ordinary education. With regard to the blind and deaf children, there is no doubt that the amount of £6,000 which was asked for in the Estimates of last year for their treatment will have to be increased. The Act which was passed last year is working admirably, and I believe that in a short time there will be very few of these cases unprovided for. With reference to the children whose homes give them no opportunity and who are insufficiently provided with food, I desire 189 to express my thorough belief in the voluntary efforts that are being made to supply this deficiency. It is useless to expect the children to take advantage of the instruction given to them at the elementary schools unless they have food inside their bodies capable of sustaining them during the hours of teaching. Of course, it is possible that such a system may be abused; but by taking care I think that a stop may be put to fraudulent cases. There are a very large number of our teachers who are so conscious of the enormous importance of this subject that they would beat infinite trouble to supervise what is done, and I have no doubt they would be admirable judges as to deserving cases. But there is another form of helping these children. I do not think that wealthy men and women can devote their money to a more worthy purpose than to subscribe to a fund for taking them out into the country for a week, or two or three weeks, for they would then come back with new ideas and healthier bodies. My predecessor in Office stated that, secondary education would be gradually and more, effectually recognised in this country, and I trust sincerely that after the Royal Commission has reported, we may be able to do more, not only for the children in the elementary schools, but for those of what is called the lower middle-class, whose parents—farmers and small tradesmen—are not inclined to send them to the elementary schools, and for whom very little adequate provision is available. But for this purpose we need more real and effective harmony amongst the various institutions connected with education. Such institutions ought to play into each other's hands for the advantage and the benefit of the young people whose education is intrusted to them. I am, however, afraid that there are but few places in which that harmony prevails to the extent that it ought to do. In Birmingham, however, every effort is made by all the Educational Authorities to act in harmony with each other. There is a great foundation for boys and girls, a School of Art, a rising School of Science, and a great and effective School Board, all of them acting in harmony, and the result is that they have been able to carry out a most effective system of education from the top to the bottom. I quite agree with those who believe that 190 our elementary system of education is far from being what it ought to be, because up to the present a due sense of the importance of education has not been engrained among the parents throughout the country. This condition of things will, however, I trust, soon be remedied, because the younger parents, who have had the advantage of a good elementary education themselves, are determined to give their children at least as good, if not a better, education than they themselves received. We cannot, however, expect to do everything at once, and we may be satisfied with the gradual progress that, we have been making during the last 25 years. At the present day education counts for a great deal, as the educated undoubtedly have a decided advantage in life over the uneducated portion of the people. I trust that a broader view of national education will teach us not to press our own individual views, whether in the Education Department or in the School Board, or as managers or as teachers, too far, and that we shall not allow private or sectional interests to overcome broad national interests, but that, on the contrary, we shall do our utmost to develop the faculties and characters of the hundreds of thousands of children who are under our charge, so as to give them, to the best of our ability, fresh opportunities in life by means of the wisest methods of training that can be devised.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE (Rochester)
said, the right hon. Gentleman had been good enough to apologise to the House in the most courteous way for the scanty statement he was about, to make. He did not know that the right hon. Gentleman's statement could be described as scanty, but, no doubt, under happier circumstances, the right hon. Gentleman's speech might have been fuller than it had been that night. Looking at the state of the House, however, the right hon. Gentleman had every justification for not making a lengthened statement. It was a great scandal that the House should not have had an adequate opportunity afforded to them for the discussion of this most important subject until the end of the Session. When the Education Code was before the House earlier in the Session the discussion was interrupted by the right hon. Gentleman's own friends, 191 whose interruptions made it perfectly' impossible to adequately discuss the enormous interests of education.
§ MR. ACLAND
said, that the House had an opportunity of discussing the subject on the Vote on Account.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
said, he did not think much time had been occupied on the Vote on Account, but he could assure the right hon. Gentleman that next Session the Opposition would take care not to allow any Vote on this subject to be taken without adequate discussion. He was very much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for that suggestion. The statement of the right hon. Gentleman as to the evening schools appeared to be satisfactory. These schools were worthy the support of the House; they were voluntary in their character, and were attended by children who were really of an age which enabled them adequately to learn and retain all they had learned in a way in which those children who were still at the compulsory age could hardly be expected to do. With reference to intermediate education, he should like to give one warning to the Government. They had appointed a Commission, and had held up to their admiration the working of the Welsh intermediate system. Whatever the intentions of those who passed the Welsh Intermediate Education Act were, he and his friends were not at all satisfied with its working. If the right hon. Gentleman intended to bring in a system of secondary education, unless he dealt adequately and properly from their point of view with the great religious difficulty, he would never receive facilities from their side of the House for passing any measure into law. The religious question arose in the matter of secondary education in a more important fashion than it did with regard to primary education, and unless the Bill dealing with the subject provided proper safeguards with reference to religion they should fight every clause and every line of it. The right hon. Gentleman, he thought, at one time was under the impression that he (Viscount Cranborne) was bent on attacking the permanent officials of the Department. He wished to say that he never desired to attack the permanent officials. The only way of criticising a Department was through the person of the Minister who represented the De- 192 partment in this House, and that mode was the one which he himself had followed. So far from attacking the permanent officials he had a great regard for them. He had always been treated by them with the greatest courtesy, and had found them a very intelligent and industrious body of public servants. The right hon. Gentleman said there had been a modus vivendi established between those who attacked the policy of the Department and the Department itself. He thought that might be due to the fact which the right hon. Gentleman attributed it to—that Members of Parliament had begun to take a more reasonable view than they did. But he also thought it was due to the fact that there had been a very much more careful supervision of the conduct of the Department by questions, and by the publication of Returns than existed before. That, of course, had a proper effect on the Minister and the Department, and the public had probably reaped the advantage from that extra supervision which it had been in the power of some of them to exercise over some of the proceedings of the Department. The real fact was that even if the Department were perfect, and the right hon. Gentleman were also perfect—which he know he did not claim to be—the work of the Department was so colossal as to make perfection almost impossible, and the right hon. Gentleman had shown a very acute sense of that in his speech. This careful and detailed control of 20,000 schools by a Central Office in Whitehall was sure to lead to hardship in a number of cases. The Department had to deal with an enormous mass of detail, and both the right hon. Gentleman himself and the Department were very often misinformed. As a proof of this, he would cite the case of the Cleckheaton School, which he had previously called attention to by means of questions. That was the case of the closing next month of one of the voluntary schools in the district which, it was alleged by the Department, would produce a want of accommodation. The locality was very strongly opposed to the establishment of a School Board, and this feeling was not confined to Conservatives and Churchmen, but was the general feeling of the locality entertained by all parties and all denominations. Accordingly, they made repre- 193 sentations to the Department that the accommodation was provided for in the existing voluntary schools. The right hon. Gentleman, however, would not accept this view, and he put forward as a, special reason why the existing voluntary schools would not supply the requisite accommodation the fact that a certain number of children were half-timers, and that it was necessary to have a school near the mill. But the half-timers did not now, and never did, go from the mill to the school; therefore, the relative position of the mill and the school had nothing whatever to do with the circumstances of the case. When that was pointed out a letter was written, on the responsibility of the right hon. Gentleman, stating that the Department were aware of this all the time. If they were they did not say so, and if they did know it, then it knocked the bottom out of their argument, because why was it important that a school should be near a mill if the half-timers did not, go from the mill to the school? The children always went home before they went to the school, in order to make themselves more presentable. The fact of the position of the particular school in relation to the mill had nothing to do with it. What was important was the position of the school in relation to the home, and in no case was the homo more than three-quarters of a mile from the school, and, as a matter of fact, all the children lived a shorter distance than three-quarters of a mile from the school. The right hon. Gentleman said he made very careful inquiries. All he could say was, that the inquiry could not have been careful enough when it did not reveal this very essential fact. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would explain why it was important that the Cleckheaton School should be near the mill, when, as a matter of fact, the children never went from the mill to the school. The only argument put forward in a second letter from the Department was that the children occupied the whole of the time that ought to be devoted to dinner in going from school to their homes and from their homes to the mill, or the other way, and that that was bad for their health. He ventured to say in the hour which was by law allowed for dinner in the middle of the working day in the mills, a child could 194 easily cover the distance of half-a-mile to his home in 10 minutes, so that the contention of the Department was an entire delusion, and he suspected was entirely founded on the misinformation which the Department originally got as to the habits of the children who were half-timers in this district. He was, therefore, astonished that the right hon. Gentleman had refused the request for a public inquiry. He quite admitted that the managers of the existing voluntary schools had no locus standi, as they did not take their opportunity when they might have done so; but a system of private inquiry did not reveal any of the essential facts, and the right hon. Gentleman would have done much better if he had granted a public inquiry, when all the facts could have been disclosed, and the right hon. Gentleman would not then have been in the difficulty in which he was placed at present. He did not desire to dwell on individual cases. It should be remembered that in dealing with these cases they were dealing with people who had with the greatest possible difficulty in many cases collected money for the establishment of the school, and who had given enormous personal efforts and exertions to its maintenance and conduct, and they ought, therefore, to be treated with the most extreme carefulness by a great Public Department, and every kind of injustice, if possible, avoided. The Local Government Board had certain powers in dealing with Local Authorities, but these latter knew exactly the length of the arm of the Board, and when it attempted to interfere unduly, the Board was treated with dignified but complete contempt. The Education Department, however, had to deal with country clergymen who had not, as a rule, legal advisers by their side, and an order from the Department was calculated to cause alarm. As an illustration of what he meant, there was a village in Dorset which bore a name not unlike his own. The Department suggested to the manager of the school that he should put up a gymnastic apparatus, as if the few children in the village school did not get sufficient exercise for their little bodies in the trees along the roadside. He hoped the managers of these schools would understand that what looked like iron in the machinery of the Department 195 was merely painted wood. He hoped, further, that the managers of country schools would bear that in view. He was glad to gather from the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman that he would be careful in dealing with these country schools, and he thanked him for it. If the power of the right hon. Gentleman and his Department was not carefully looked after he would become as great a despot as the Sultan of Turkey. The Department was often wrong in matters of law, and that was another reason why they should be extremely careful. They were wrong in regard to the payment of a certain grant, for they contended that it ought to be calculated on the average attendance of the whole year, whereas it had to be calculated on the average attendance of the last quarter. Again, take the question of whether there ought to be a charge for books. There again the Department, he believed, was entirely wrong. They declared that the compulsory charge for books was illegal, but the Department had no right to prevent charges for books. They were, however, extremely vague about the matter, as had been shown by correspondence which had taken place on the subject. Not only had the Department despotic power in administering the law, but they were extremely vague as to the meaning of the provisions of the law. The right hon. Gentleman was most reluctant to take the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown; but considering how inaccurate the Department were in matters of law, they ought to be willing to submit doubtful cases to the Law Officers of the Crown who were expected to advise on questions of law. His contention was this: that the compulsory charge for books was legal before the passing of the Act of 1891, and remained legal, and that the Department had no right to prevent charges for books. The right hon. Gentleman would find that he had no right whatever to prohibit the purchase of books.
§ MR. ACLAND
Years ago it was absolutely forbidden to exclude a child from a school because the parents refused to pay for books.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
said, that his recollection differed from that of the right hon. Gentleman, who had never produced any public document in support 196 of his statement. Up to the passing of he Act of 1891, charges were made for books in an enormous number of schools. Under that Act the Department held that such charges were illegal; but according to the advice he had received they were legal, and always had been legal.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
said, the question was whether compulsory charges were legal now, and he was advised that they were. The right hon. Gentleman held that upon the effectiveness of elementary education depended the force and vigour of the nation; but he and his friends held that there was something more important than elementary education, and that was the religious training of the children. It was because the voluntary schools held the real key of knowledge, and conferred upon the nation an untold benefit, that they ought to be treated by the Education Minister with the greatest consideration. He concluded, moving the reduction of the salary of the Vice President by the sum of £500.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out £3,155,589, and insert "£3,155,089"—( Viscount Cranborne.)
§ Question proposed, "That '£3,155,589' stand part of the Resolution."
§ MR. EVERETT (Suffolk, Woodbridge)
said, he was glad to hear what the Vice President said about the grant to a school being made to depend less and less upon an annual examination, which had always appeared to him to be a great blot upon our present system. The result of an examination might depend largely on the question whether the Inspector making it was in a good humour or a bad humour at the time. With reference to improvements and alterations in buildings, he would ask the Vice President to be rather tender in dealing with schools in agricultural districts, where the children spent a good deal of time in the open air, and where sumptuous school buildings would be in great contrast with their humble homes. As to pensions for teachers, it would be a pleasant thing, of course, if all teachers should have pensions, but there were many people who would like to have pensions for themselves, and, until 197 a system of old-age pensions was established, many persons were unwilling to tax themselves for pensions for teachers. He thanked the right hon. Gentleman for his statement with regard to the independence of teachers. In many of the villages the position of the teachers was not independent, and any measures which added to the independence of teachers would be welcomed, not by themselves only, but also by the public generally. There was a strong feeling among private schoolmasters that their interests had been insufficiently guarded in the constitution of the Secondary Education Commission; and he hoped that in giving effect to any of their recommendations of that Commission nothing would be done that would involve injustice to private schoolmasters.
§ MR. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN (Kent, Tunbridge)
said, that the statement of the Vice President had been on many points satisfactory, and it had been generally conciliatory. In reply to questions put in the House, the right hon. Gentleman had been good enough to say he would extend the time during which alterations and improvements in schools could be made, and he had also endeavoured to prevent his staff acting too rigorously. But the right hon. Gentleman was mistaken if he thought he had arrived at a, modus vivendi, and if he supposed that the dissatisfaction with the extreme pressure he had put upon voluntary schools was coming to an end. Wherever he went throughout the country he heard the, same complaints of the pressure that had been put upon the managers of voluntary schools. He heard of buildings erected with the approval of the Department two or three years ago being condemned and new buildings being now demanded; he heard of new regulations being applied to old buildings, and of offices upon which large sums of money had been spent, and passed a year or two ago by the Department being now deemed insufficient. He thought he could prove that this pressure was continuing by reading an extract from a letter written by the Secretary of the Canterbury Diocesan Education Society, who writes as follows:—The pressure on us is abnormal, as the following statistics will show:—In 1889 five schools applied for and obtained assistance from the Society. In 1890, 12; in 1891, 14; in 1892, 22; 198 in 1893, 44; in 1894, up to June 1,31. Upwards of £13,000 of work had been undertaken in the schools that applied to us in the years 1892 and 1893, and about £10,000 more work had been proposed in 1894.Everywhere the same complaints were being made; and there was no doubt that if the new demands were persisted in, a number of voluntary schools would have to be abandoned, and Board schools would have to take their place. He did not accuse the Vice President of having directly sought that object, because of his opposition to the religious instruction in the voluntary schools, but had this been his motive and his object he could not have done more to attain that object. Many of the demands made were absolutely ridiculous and absurd. In one case objection had been taken to diamond panes in windows, and a demand made that other panes should be substituted. Other schools had been complained of because there were not enough doors with porches to allow of separate entrances for boys and girls. Then there was the question of hat-pegs. Hat-pegs which were scarcely ever used had to be put up in the school buildings. The manager of one school wrote to the effect that at considerable expense they had erected a now cloak-room especially to accommodate the pegs, that on a particular day when he visited the school there were 80 children in attendance, and that, out of 130 pegs erected to please "my Lords of the Education Department," only three were being used. Again, separate playgrounds for boys and girls were demanded. In one school near the village green a playground was demanded. Why could not the children play about the village green? "Oh," it was said, "the boys and the girls would play together. There ought to be separate playgrounds." These sort of demands were ridiculous. Boys and girls were brought up together, and ought to be brought up together, and to make those demands, especially in country villages, when rates were high, and agricultural depression prevailed, the result must be to make the continuance of voluntary schools impossible, and to set up one universal system of School Boards. Of course, some hon. Gentlemen opposite approved of that. The reason of his and his Colleagues' opposition to it was well known. They were not opposed to educational progress, or to the perfecting of 199 our system of elementary education; they were to the improvement of the sanitary condition of the school things; but they said that far more important than any of these changes or the most perfect system of elementary education was an absolute guarantee for religious instruction, and that could only be got, not in Board schools, but in voluntary schools, by which he did not mean Church schools alone, but in the voluntary schools of all religious denominations. Several instances might be given of the way in which the voluntary schools were being harassed. New buildings that were approved of a few years ago were now condemned. In one case a new cloakroom was erected in 1889 and approved of by the Department; in 1893 an Inspector came down and reported that the accommodation was sufficient; but the Department got a private Report on the subject, and they sent down a letter to the manager of the school saying that the ventilation of the building was bad, and that there was not a proper cloakroom. The result was that after the expenditure of large sums of money on the ventilation in 1890, and on the cloakroom in 1889—both of which had been approved of by the Department—the manager had now to pull down the whole school.
§ MR. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
said, there were other demands of a similar character which made it better to build an entirely new school. Under the same manager there was another school, in which a cloakroom was put up in 1891, and approved of by the Department at the time. The cloak-room was now condemned as a shed and a temporary expedient. That was a state of affairs that ought not to be allowed to continue. They did not ask for finality; they knew that in a matter of this sort, with the population growing and changing, there could not be finality; but they said that a building that was good enough in 1890 must be good enough now, unless there had been a great increase in the population, and that had not been shown. On the contrary, in the district with which he was dealing the population had decreased 25 per cent, since 1891; and notwithstanding that, and, further, notwithstanding the fact that 200 the accommodation was approved of as sufficient by the Department in 1891, the schools were now called upon to build new cloak-rooms. All those unfair and unjust demands on the part of the Department would result in the closing of voluntary schools, and though that might possibly please some of the right lion. Gentleman's supporters, it was a result that the friends of the voluntary system in the House were bound to see that it did not come about if they could possibly prevent it. But it was not only by pressure about new buildings that voluntary schools were being attacked. All sorts of expedients were resorted to—he did not say with the connivance of the right hon. Gentleman, but without his interference—for agitating in favour of School Boards in various places. In one case the Town Council, at a small meeting and by a snap majority, said they would like to have a Board school; but subsequently another meeting of the Town Council was held, and by a large majority that resolution was rescinded. What did the right hon. Gentleman do? He absolutely refused to pay any attention to the second resolution, and acted on the first, and thus a Board school was forced on the town though a large majority was against it. Then there was the case of Birkenhead. In that case a circular was sent round to parents saying that they wanted and could not get free education, and therefore that they ought to petition the right hon. Gentleman for a Board school. Those statements were not true. The schools provided free education, but they said that in cases where the parents were willing to pay a small fee they could do so. But the right hon. Gentleman refused to take any notice of the conduct of persons who sent to him a petition for a School Board upon alleged facts which were not facts, and circulated to the parents statements which were quite untrue.
§ MR. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
said, it was news to him to hear there ever was an inquiry; but, if so, he withdrew any personal imputations. There was nother point he wished to refer to. It was in relation to grants given to small schools. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that up to a certain time those grants were given, but that they were 201 now illegal and could not be given in the future.
§ MR. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
said, he was aware it was withdrawn in many cases. Another harassing regulation of the Department was that they must be satisfied as to the population in a certain radius before they allowed a grant. That meant that the manager of the school must take a private Census. Hitherto the Regular Census had always been taken by the Department as sufficient; and he questioned whether the managers of schools had any right to pry into the privacy of people by taking a Census of their own.
§ MR. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
said, that then the Public Accounts Committee asked for something that was perfectly illegal. Interferences of various kinds were made with the voluntary schools, absurd demands as to alterations were made, too little time was given for the carrying out of alterations and improvements and a new reading was given to old Acts of Parliament, all tending to crush out the voluntary schools and make their continued existence impossible. He was not bringing a charge against the right hon. Gentleman. He accepted the right hon. Gentleman's denial that he had any motive for what he had done; but at the same time if this was to be the result of the action of the Department, action dictated it might be by the highest motives and love for education, many people would be bound to offer opposition. He denied that he and his friends were standing in the way of educational progress, but that they must maintain the voluntary schools as the only guarantee for religious instruction; and if the arbitrary powers of the Department were to be used in such a way as to crush out those schools, it would be their duty to oppose the action of the Department on every possible occasion.
MR. HERBERT LEWIS (Flint, &c.)
said, he was sure the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken would accept the view of the general policy of the Education Department expressed by the Bishop of St. Asaph, the most able and eloquent champion of the Church in Wales, and one who took the keenest interest in the Church 202 schools of his diocese. The Bishop, speaking at a recent meeting of the St. Asaph Diocesan Societies, said—They must take care not to protest against a policy that was going to improve education. He did not want to attribute motives to any political person. He knew that Mr. Acland was supposed to be inspired with hostility to all National schools. He (the Bishop) did not think so. So far as Mr. Acland wished to use his influence for improving their school buildings and to raise to a higher level their educational status, they should do their best to work with him. He was not going to say that there were not a great many Church schools that wanted improving just as Board schools did. But taking things as a whole, he did not think they ought to complain against the requirements. In one or two instances he thought the Department were pressing for things that were not absolutely necessary. But he had not found himself that the Department was asking for anything that was unreasonable.It would be impossible to have a more complete justification of the policy of the right hon. Gentleman than this statement. The Bishop could be straightforward and candid with his own friends as well as with his opponents, and he (Mr. Herbert Lewis) was sure that no hon. Gentleman opposite would venture to gainsay the testimony of the Bishop to the value of the policy of the Department. The right hon. Gentleman had earned the gratitude of every parent in the country by the effective steps he had taken to brighten and to purify the elementary schools—to make them more healthful and comfortable. The elementary schools were the homes of the children during the greater part of the daytime, and it was absolutely necessary that the children's home should be so built and equipped as to secure the health and well-being of the scholars. No doubt the requirements of the Department had drawn to some extent upon the pockets of the squire and clergyman; but although the taxpayer paid the larger portion of the expense of maintaining the school, they had no voice whatever in its management, and the least they could expect was that the privileged managers should make adequate provision for the health and comfort of the children. He trusted the right hon. Gentleman would steadfastly pursue the enlightened policy which had earned for him the thanks of the community.
§ MR. J. G. TALBOT (Oxford University)
said, he would not waste the time of the House by adding to what had 203 already been said as to the very satisfactory statement of the right hon. Gentleman and the conciliatory manner in which he had met the various complaints made to him; he admitted that the replies he had given to the questions put to him in the course of the Session had been, generally speaking, satisfactory. One remark he (Mr. Talbot) would make on the general situation. He thought the Vice President of the Council ought to have made an apology to the House in the name of the Government—of which he was an influential Member—for bringing this important subject under discussion as late as the 21st of August. The condition of public business, with all respect to those who managed the affairs of the House, was, to those who had many years' experience of Parliamentary life, a matter of serious concern. Not only had they been obliged to take part in the discussion of measures which many of them thought unnecessary, and at times which were inconvenient, but the whole business of Supply—to transact which was, after all, the main object for which Parliament met—was now crowded into a corner at the fag-end of the Session. And if that were true with regard to Supply generally, it was pre-eminently true of their educational discussions, because the subject did not excite one tithe of the interest which it would have aroused if brought on at a proper time of the year. It was obvious that those who might usually read these Debates were now scattered to the four winds of heaven. The hon. Member for Lanarkshire, in putting a question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer a short time back, had seemed to acquiesce in the present most dangerous condition of things. He had said—Considering the short time available, becoming less this Session, for the discussion of Votes in Committee of Supply,and so on. (He Mr. Talbot) quoted that because it seemed that even supporters of the Government who used to pose as the vigilant guardians of the public expenditure were acquiescing in a state of things which a few years ago would have been considered intolerable. They not only acquiesced in the existing state of things, but seemed to contemplate with complacency the fact that it was likely to get worse. Unless the Tory Party, who were generally supposed to ignore the 204 rights of the people, and to acquiesce in all sorts of terrible abuses, stood up for the rights of the people and criticised the action of Ministers, it seemed to him that they would drive Supply more and more into a corner. Though he did not agree with all that had been quoted from the Bishop of St. Asaph, he did not complain so much that the requirements of the Department were heavy as of the manner in which they were pressed on the managers—on the School Boards as well as on the managers of voluntary schools. He would give a few illustrations of the estimated cost of those requirements. In the archdeaconry of Manchester (50 schools) the estimated cost of the requirements was £25,876; in the archdeaconry of Blackburn (39 schools) the estimated cost was ,£19,186; in the archdeaconry of Lancaster (seven schools) the estimate was £3,034; and in Nottingham borough (22 schools) it was £3,713. In the diocese of Canterbury work amounting to over £18,000 was required in 1892–3, and in 1894 £10,000 worth more work was proposed. The complaint was as to want of finality in the requirements. The case of Whitchurch, in the County of Salop, was a typical instance. Considerable alterations were made in the schools of that place to meet the requirements of Her Majesty's Inspector, who now condemned the schools; and the money spent last year might as well have been thrown into the gutter. At Exton, in Rutlandshire, the Department at first ordered a class room in 1891; the plans were approved and the class room built. In 1893 they said the class room should have another door, and the managers said—We were obliged to knock a hole through the wall. This year they order a gallery. If these things were necessary they should have told us so when the class room was ordered; then they could have been done at little extra cost or without damaging the building.Another complaint in this parish, was that having doubled the voluntary rate they got a little more than they wanted for that year, and this made a reason for depriving the managers of the small school grant under Article 104. The managers said, "our Report is 'most excellent.'" From Derwent there came a complaint that "offices" had been condemned—Notwithstanding they were re-arranged four years ago to the satisfaction of the District 205 Sanitary Authority. They are lofty, with ample ventilation.From Llanymynech in the diocese of St. Asaph there came a complaint that the playgrounds were new, and that now new porches were demanded. Lord Kimberley last year had given the assurance that, although the Department meant to do what they could to put the schools on the best possible footing, they did not intend to do so in a manner that would be oppressive. Unfortunately, however, the Department did not seem to have sufficiently impressed this desire upon their School Inspectors. Another complaint—one he was almost ashamed to make, because it was taking the bread out of the mouth of the hon. Member for Wigan—was as to the 17s. 6d. limit. It was a scandal that this limit should still remain in force. It ought long since to have been increased. It was imposed as representing half the expense of the school, but it no longer represented that half, and it ought to be increased to 20s. or 21s. When, he asked, would good schools cease to be punished in this way for their goodness? The difficulty in obtaining assistant-teachers for small schools was another source of complaint. The Vice President had more than once promised to consider this difficulty, which was also pointed out by Mr. Henry Herbert, Her Majesty's Inspector for Bucks, who wrote in his Report just issued in reference to infant classes—The great difficulty of obtaining suitable assistant teachers for these classes remains. The demand for them is great, the supply of them is small; and of course they look for a salary which will enable them to live respectably. It is this salary question which is often, though not always, the stumbling block. One cannot help sympathising with the managers of voluntary schools who find it so hard to get subscriptions and to make both ends meet, and with the smaller School Boards, who, in the present state of agricultural depression, dare not increase the already heavy rates for the better maintenance of their schools.Would the Vice President under these exceptional circumstances, vouched for by his own Inspector, go back, at all events temporarily, to the old rule, and in next year's Code alter Article 52 so as to allow pupil teachers who had obtained a second class in the Queen's Scholarship Examination to be recognised as "provisionally certificated teachers"? It was much to be regretted 206 that schools were not encouraged to be solvent. The Department frequently withheld grants to small schools under Articles 104 and 105 if the balance sheet showed satisfactorily a balance on the right side. The withholding of the grant to a school in any single year because the managers had financed the school well was most unsatisfactory. On the other hand, he gratefully acknowledged the action of the Department in the direction of giving up warning schools for want of class subjects.
§ SIR F. S. POWELL (Wigan)
desired to direct the attention of the Vice President to the hardship which was imposed on school managers in consequence of the refusal of the Education Department to allow the interest charged by banks when, pending the receipt of the Government grant, managers had to borrow money to carry on the work of their schools. In such cases the interest charge was struck out of the accounts, whatever sacrifices managers might have made for the purpose of carrying on their work. He also wished to know what course the right hon. Gentleman intended to adopt with reference to Betton's Charity, and whether the scheme dealing with it would be completed before the Prorogation of Parliament? It would be an advantage to education if an arrangement could be made that on some Government night the business should be suspended so that an opportunity might be afforded to hon. Members of discussing the Code for a few hours before midnight. If such an opportunity were allowed many difficulties would be removed. As regarded pensions, he was anxious that a scheme should be sanctioned by the Government. The changes in our system of education had been so great during the last few years that some of the senior teachers could not be expected to be equal to the new demands, and it would be to their advantage and for the benefit of education that they should be honourably retired. He therefore hoped the Government would introduce and pass through Parliament a scheme for that purpose. He asked the Department to assist some of the small rural schools by making admission to the office of mistress more easy, there being many women who could not meet all the requirements of the Code, but who were, nevertheless, per- 207 fectly competent to give the necessary instruction. Although, in theory, more efficient teachers might be appointed, many persons would be quite competent as school-mistresses to perform the duties required of them. He entirely endorsed the remarks of his hon. Friend in regard to Cleckheaton, in the West Riding. He was well acquainted with that district, and agreed to what had been said as to half-timers. They began at 11 years of age, and were quite able to walk short distances to school. He expressed regret that the Department was no longer to have the services of Mr. Fitch; but although not officially connected with the cause of education, he hoped the country would long have the advantage of that gentleman's knowledge, experience, and advice. As to examinations in religious knowledge, that gentleman had suggested an alteration of time; hitherto they had been nearly simultaneous. At his suggestion, also, the curriculum in religious subjects had been modified. He hoped the recommendations of Mr. Fitch would be adopted. He deplored the low standard of exemption, and considered it would be a retrograde, almost a fatal, step if the suggestion were adopted that the standard should no longer have any relation to exemption, and that age alone should rule. It was scandalous to see how low that standard was, and if the Local Authorities would not raise it, it would be necessary for the Government to take steps in the matter. Attention should be given to the language of the Inspectors with reference to the action of Magistrates and of attendance committees. The law was not enforced, attendance committees neglected their duty, and Magistrates were far too much led away by mistaken sympathy towards parents rather than by a desire to promote the education of the children. Many years ago Mr. Forster said, "Our first duty, and our paramount duty, is to teach these children to read," but the Reports of the Inspectors on the subject of reading were very disappointing. One Report stated there was a want of power to explain the meaning of what was read even in good schools. Another said the reading was unsatisfactory. Others spoke in the same tone. It was well known that in this matter of education there was no royal road to learning. They knew that in the case of 208 great grammar schools unless a boy was well grounded he would never become a scholar; and so in the case of elementary schools, if the elementary subjects, reading and so forth, were neglected, that solid and substantial progress in education which everybody so much desired would never be made. He had a suspicion in his own mind that at this moment some of the teachers were paying too much attention to their connection with the Universities and to what he might call the higher side of education. With regard to school buildings, the supporters of voluntary schools had no desire to defend unwholesome schools; in fact, those who, like himself, were acquainted with great towns were perfectly alive to the necessity for healthy schools. He did not say for a moment that finality was possible in this matter. Improvements would be made from time to time, and they must be adopted; but there was a great difference between making that admission and objecting, as he did, to unnecessary changes. In some cases class-rooms had been condemned because of some slight defect in dimensions. Such objections were really pedantic and could make no difference whatever in the actual efficiency of the school. In one case that was mentioned to him of a school which was doing excellent work the class-room was somewhat short of the prescribed dimensions, and the requirements of the Department caused the expenditure of £100 in a poverty-stricken district. Such proceedings as that must render education unpopular, and when they were dealing with voluntary managers he did not think that more pressure than necessary should be put upon them. It was not right that a building which had been approved one year should be condemned in the next. Certainly the Government might do all that was necessary or desirable in the way of sanitary improvements without inflicting annoyances on school managers. In cases where the Inspectors suggested alterations some inquiry ought to be held. He certainly, however, felt bound to act fairly to the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and to say that several cases had come before him in the course of the last few weeks in which the Government had made some concessions when the difficulties were submitted to them. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman, having 209 adopted that course in some cases, would not do less in others. He entirely agreed with his hon. Friend that voluntary schools possessed many advantages not possessed by Board schools, one being the full and complete instruction they gave in religious subjects. He believed that education must be largely voluntary, and that unless play was given to individual tastes and theories it would be less effective. While the Cowper-Temple Clause existed the teaching in religious subjects must be imperfect and unsatisfactory. All he desired was to see all work heartily and well together without overlapping, and with education more concentrated under a better system in the interests of the cause they so earnestly desired to promote. Education should be largely voluntary, and sufficient play given to individual feeling within wise limits.
§ MR. H. S. FOSTER (Suffolk, Lowestoft)
thanked the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President for the very prompt way in which he had dealt with the matters brought before him, but he thought that some of the observations of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the conduct of the Department in dealing with complaints were quite borne out by the facts. He would not then go into details, but he knew that detailed complaints of the conduct of Inspectors had been sent in from four or five schools in his Division which had been treated in a red-tape spirit, though in some cases the Vice President had sent Inspectors to investigate complaints and full justice had been done by the Department. In some cases managers who had fallen under the displeasure of an Inspector had requested that an officer might be sent down by the Department, but their request had been refused, although the strictures of the Inspector were of the most contradictory character, and unless the right hon. Gentleman's attention had been called to the facts gross injustice would have been done. Some Inspectors were a perfect terror to managers and teachers, not because they themselves had in any way done badly in the schools, but because the Inspectors were men of most uncertain temperament, and the future of schools was at their mercy unless the Department was so conducted as to be a fair court of appeal from them. He urged the right hon. Gentle- 210 man to impress on the Heads of Departments the duty of not assuming that an Inspector must be right when complaints couched in proper and respectful language were made, and that the managers were wrong. Inquiry should be made, and someone sent down by the Department. As regarded loans borrowed for the purposes of defraying school expenses, he put a question to the right hon. Gentleman three or four months ago whether it would not be possible to make advances to voluntary schools—it did not matter so much in the case of Board schools—to the amount of one-third of the probable annual grant, based on the earnings of the previous year. The voluntary schools ought not to be kept out of their funds a longer time than was absolutely necessary. The managers had to make advances to pay the salaries of teachers, while they were waiting for the grant to come in, which was often a most inconvenient thing to do. Neither the managers nor the teachers ought to be put under personal disabilities of the kind. In any case the Department might consider the propriety and possibility, if it could not accelerate the payment of the annual grant, to allow some of the expenses to be paid out of the grant. He knew a case in which the school year ended on the 31st of May, while the examination might be held at any time in June. The Report, in one instance, did not go in until August, and, as a matter of fact, the fee grant for the quarter ending the 31st of May was not paid until very much later in the year—until November. It was his opinion that the withholding of the fee grant was illegal pending any question of structural alteration. The payment of the fee, again, was regulated, not by the result of the examination, but had reference to the average attendance. When the payment of a grant did not depend upon the results of an examination there ought to be no prolonged delay. The supporters of voluntary schools claimed from the Department fair treatment only for those institutions. They did not ask for any exceptional treatment, but they insisted that the work of the voluntary schools entitled them to consideration and justice. Any system that should result in closing these schools must have the effect of increasing largely the taxpayers' burdens.
§ SIR R. TEMPLE
said, he congratulated the right hon. Gentleman the Minister for Education, but his congratulations could be couched in general terms only. So far as details were concerned, he was not able to extend his congratulations. He should not go through the items of the Vote, but would deal with a few points only. The commonest cause of complaints on the part of the supporters of the voluntary system was that their schools were being constantly pushed out of existence by Board schools. He maintained that the policy of the Education Act was that the School Board system should supplement, but not supplant, the voluntary system. This principle had recently been disregarded by the Department in the case of Buck-fastleigh, in Devonshire. A voluntary school established by the Roman Catholics in that neighbourhood had been refused the ordinary grant by the Department because the School Board of the district had thought fit to open a rival school. He contended that the Department had no right to withhold the grant, nor the local School Board to advise that it should be withheld, unless the School Board could show that there was a deficiency of school accommodation, and this they had not done.
§ SIR R. TEMPLE,
continuing, said, the action which had been taken in the case was a perversion of the Education Act, and was certainly contrary to the policy pursued by the London School Board. He objected to the practical details in the administration of the Department, and also to the Bill recently introduced by the right hon. Gentleman regarding school attendance, because it made no provision for the ex officio District Inspectors being retained on the school attendance committees. With regard to the continuation schools, it was the conviction of most educationists that no purely voluntary system would prove successful. He agreed that unless some limited form of compulsion was applied the continuation school system would never be efficient and satisfactory. A very important matter to which he wished to direct attention was that of superannuation for the teachers, and he could assure the right hon. Gentleman that the teaching world were waiting anxiously for 212 action to be taken on the decision of the Committees appointed to consider the subject. A year and a-half had elapsed since the House favourably expressed its opinion on the question. The Select Committee, who had already reported, had been to some extent superseded by a Departmental Committee, less authoritative and responsible. The right hon. Gentleman could, of course, adopt his own form of procedure, but the great point was to bring the matter to an issue, and it was most earnestly hoped, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman would move in the matter as soon as he possibly could. He might assure the right hon. Gentleman, at any rate, that he would have no rest in the Office he held until the question was settled. In conclusion, he wished to say that while he would be the last to disparage the merits of the School Board system, which was necessary in some parts of the country, yet he was bound to affirm, as one knowing both sides of the question, that it was impossible for the Board school to be as good as the voluntary school for education all round—for education not merely intellectual, but of a moral and religious character.
§ MR. J. STUART
said, he thought that the right hon. Gentleman himself could exercise some pressure upon this subject. He should urge himself that the pauper schools should be placed under the Education Department, and that the Vice President should use his influence to bring that change about. In London 7,000 children at least passed through the pauper schools every year, and the passing of these children backwards and forwards between the pauper and the public elementary schools created an element with which the elementary school teachers found great difficulty in dealing, and which retarded the progress of education. Some of the pauper schools could not easily be brought under the Department, but with a large number no difficulty would be experienced. He hoped this question would form one of the subjects of inquiry by the Committee about to be appointed. On another point he wished that the requirements of the Department could be made considerably more stringent. In all parts of the country, and especially in London, there were a large number of classes which were too large for the teachers. A class 213 that was too large was one of the most serious dangers to efficient instruction. The Code referred to a class of 60 as being large enough for one teacher to deal with; and it declared that on no account should the size of the class be more than 15 per cent. larger than that. Without counting the voluntary schools, which were perhaps in a worse position in this respect, there were in the London Board schools many classes of more than 70 pupils, with only one teacher. Indeed, he had a list of a dozen cases where one teacher had to teach a class of over 100. Such a class was useless, and the money spent on it was thrown away.
MR. BRYNMOR JONES
said, he should like to be informed upon what principle the Department regulated its demands for increased school accommodation in a School Board district.
§ MR. TOMLINSON
said, he must complain of the extremely rigid view taken by the architect of the Department as to the structural regulations for schools. One of these regulations required that the light should be arranged to come from the left hand or the right hand of the scholars. He knew a recent instance in which eight good windows had been struck out of a plan, making a well-lighted school so dark that a dormer had to be put in. This was generally very unnecessary, and it was improbable that in their work, after leaving school, the scholars would find such conditions observed. They were, in fact, sitting in that House with the light behind and in front. The tone of the Inspectors' Reports was very unsympathetic to voluntary schools. Mr. Cornish cited Preston as a town which had "suffered from the want of the impulse to improvement" supplied by a School Board; but added that a guarantee fund of £10,000 had been raised in Preston for school improvements. As a matter of fact, the fund amounted to £21,000, and it was determined that the backward schools should be brought up to the level of the many existing excellent denominational schools in the town. Mr. Cornish's remarks were uncalled for; and instead of being held up as a bad example, Preston ought to be congratulated on having done so much in education without the interference of a School Board.
§ MR. ACLAND
said, that he had to thank hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the 214 House for the tone of their remarks, and especially the Member for the Flint Boroughs. Though he could not hope to agree with hon. Gentlemen opposite on some matters of principle and many matters of detail, he was glad to know that they recognised his efforts to meet their wishes on some important points. He looked on the provision of pensions not only as for the benefit of the teachers, but as for the benefit of the children. The school at Llangiby, in Monmouthshire, to which reference had been made, was a wretched school, and was not condemned because of a temporary class-room, but because it was not a fit school to exist. He had received many letters encouraging him to carry on the policy of providing cloakrooms and hat-pegs, one of the strongest reasons given being that the tendency of such arrangements was to avoid infection. The precaution of keeping clothes and hats separate was one which all medical men regarded as of importance. He also agreed as to the importance of providing playgrounds in connection with schools, but they could not insist upon such spaces in all cases. Within two miles of the House of Commons there were 25,000 children in schools which had not a single inch of playground. No one could regard that as a very desirable state of things, and yet it was very difficult to alter. Indeed, the only way in which it could be altered was for generous people who had large sums of money at their disposal to come forward and bear the cost of providing the schools with playgrounds. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford had referred to the 17s. 6d. limit, but, after the demands which he had made upon the Treasury since he had been in Office, he was afraid there was little chance of that limit being enlarged. The supply of teachers was occupying his attention. He was very unwilling to lower the standard for teachers, but, on the whole, the Department had satisfied themselves that for the present there was no great dearth of teachers. He undertook to go into the question of civil and ecclesiastical parishes to see whether any arrangement could be made to offer relief. The question of bank interest raised by the hon. Member for Wigan was an old-standing difficulty, and the auditors 215 had always disallowed interest on overdrafts. They held that it was capital expenditure, and as such could not appear in the school accounts. The hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Tomlinson) spoke of our demands in regard to light being somewhat excessive. I can only say that I think in difficult places we do not always press our demands, but we think that when new buildings are started those demands ought to be complied with. In the view of those who have looked into this matter it is desirable not to have the light too high, and that the children should be placed sideways to it. I have now done my best to answer all the questions put to me, and I will conclude by saying that I will look into those matters I undertook to look into, and that I hope the friendly relations into which some of the matters have been brought will continue to prevail. I can assure hon. Members opposite that I shall do all in my power to avoid causes of reasonable complaint and to instil into all our Inspectors and officials that they should do what they can to follow the examples of the best Inspectors and officials so as to give as little difficulty as possible either to the Department or to gentlemen opposite. I wish to re-echo the words of the hon. Gentleman opposite as to Mr. Fitch, who was so admirable a servant of the Department for many years—namely, that we regret his loss and feel that he must carry with him into his retirement a sense of duty admirably performed. To him and to many of the Inspectors of officials I owe the warmest thanks.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
That a sum, not exceeding £361,122, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1895, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of Science and Art, and of the various Establishments connected therewith,
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
said, he wished for some information about the new arrangement respecting inspections. He gathered from the right hon. Gentleman's remarks on the previous Vote that he contemplated, in the elementary schools, introducing the system of an annual inspection, but as regarded 216 the Science and Art exhibitions he understood there had been a considerable change in the last year or two, under which the system of employing Royal Engineer officers was being done away with and a system was being adopted upon a sounder basis. If the right hon. Gentleman would tell them his views upon this, which was a matter of some importance and interest, he would reserve his remarks upon other important matters probably to another Session.
MR. HERBERT LEWIS,
who was almost inaudible in the Reporters' Gallery, was understood to say that he wished to-refer to the question he raised last night when the Chancellor of the Exchequer had no opportunity to reply. As the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Acland) then heard what he (Mr. Lewis) had to say with regard to a Central Museum in Wales, he trusted he would be able to give them some hope that the matter would be considered favourably.
§ MR. ACLAND
said, that in taking the course of removing the Royal Engineer and other officers, a good many of whom were over the maximum age, their object was to constitute such a staff as might be available for the work under the Department. Their object was to add a Resident Inspector, somewhat more learned and trained in educational matters and methods, fitted to carry on inspection work, not only in drawing in elementary schools, but in their Science and Art schools: He did not know that they could jump into a system of pure inspection at once, but by degrees he hoped to lessen the amount of mere paper work and introduce the element of inspection into the examination. In answer to his hon. Friend, he had to say he heard what he had said last night, and he believed that a Museum would be provided for Wales later on. He could, however, say that in the matter of loans Wales had as full and absolute a title to some share in the matter of loans as England, and if a claim was made for a share in these loans he should meet it in the fullest way possible, because he could quite believe in their efficacy in developing education. He had no doubt some place would be found for a Central Museum, but they were unfortunately situated as to the matter of capital. He could only say that if the day arose he should be glad to apply the 217 same system to Wales as was applied in Edinburgh and Dublin.
MR. HERBERT LEWIS
said, that perhaps he might explain that his reference to South Kensington last night was not in any sense intended to imply that Wales suffered any injustice whatever in that respect; he was referring to the fact that there was no National Library, no Art Gallery, and no Museum.
§ Resolution agreed to.
That a sum, not exceeding £80,279, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1895, for the Salaries and Expenses of the British Museum, including the amount required for the Natural History Museum,
§ COLONEL BRIDGEMAN (Bolton)
said, he wished to ask the Secretary to the Treasury if he would not take into consideration the question of the opening of the British Museum for a slightly longer period than was the case at present? At the end of February the Museum was closed at 4 o'clock, and he had seen people turned out on a bright sunshiny day in February, some years ago, at 4 o'clock when there was at least an hour and a half's daylight left before it would have been necessary to close the Museum. Some few years ago he made the same application with regard to the Natural History Museum, and the hour of closing was extended to half-past 4 o'clock; and he would now ask the right hon. Gentleman if he would bring the question before the Trustees of the Museum?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Sir J. T. HIBBERT,) Oldham
said, he should be glad to bring the question before the Trustees, as no doubt 4 o'clock was very early on those days when it was not open in the evening, and certainly towards the end of February; at all events it might be continued open for nearly an hour longer, which would be a convenience to a great many persons. As the hon. Member was aware, a large number of persons did visit the Museum in the evenings.
§ Resolution agreed to.
§ Twenty-fifth Resolution agreed to.218
That a sum, not exceeding £825, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1895, for the Salaries and Expenses of the National Portrait Gallery,
§ SIR F. S. POWELL (Wigan)
asked when they might expect the building for the National Portrait Gallery would be opened?
§ SIR J. T. HIBBERT
said, he hoped it might be opened some time before the end of the present year; everything was being prepared with regard to that event, and it was important it should be opened as soon as possible.
§ Resolution agreed to.
§ Twenty-seventh Resolution agreed to.
That a sum, not exceeding £50,094, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1895, in aid of the Expenses of certain Universities and Colleges in Great Britain, and of the Expenses under 'The Welsh Intermediate Education Act, 1889,'
§ Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ SIR F. S. POWELL
said, he first desired to tender his acknowledgment to his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Committee of the Council of Education for the manner in which the right hon. Gentleman had alluded to the views he expressed last year, that there should be a full account presented of the work of the different Colleges. That account had been prepared and it was a most valuable and instructive document, but to his mind it was still defective. The heading of "finance" was of great value, but it would be of greater value if more particulars were asked for. One point they desired to know respecting these Colleges was the amount of fees, and he found that in many cases under the head of "finance" the fees were grouped together in one figure so that they were deprived of all information as to the fees charged to individual students. Another point which he raised last year, and had mentioned in the course of the present Session, was one which, in his judgment and the judgment of those who took an 219 interest in education, was of some importance—namely, a record of the residence of the students in these Colleges. Every College had a Register record in which were mentioned the residences of the students, and what he desired to have was a record showing the home residence of each of the students, not of course their town or country, but showing how many resided in England, how many in Wales, how many in Scotland, and how many in Ireland. The claim of Wales was to have a College for Welsh students, and if it was shown that many of the students came from England, the College was not fostering the purpose for which it was established. He spoke with no unfriendly feeling towards Wales, but he could not help contrasting the £15,000 voted for England with the £12,000 voted for Wales. In the case of England there were 11 Colleges, and in the case of Wales there were three, and when he came to examine the number of students in Wales he found the number of students did not justify such an outlay. The students at Aberystwith at the time the Return was made numbered 217, and the number now, he believed, was 317; the number at Bangor was 149; and the number at Cardiff' was 317, making at the time the Return was made up 683 altogether. He certainly hoped these Colleges would grow, as he desired their prosperity; but, at the same time, they must, when so large a grant was voted, have some regard to their present condition. He found that in the case of Aberystwith, with now 317 students, there was a staff of 25; in Bangor, with 149 students, there was a staff of 24; and in the case of Cardiff', with 317 students, there was a staff of 31. He knew perfectly well how necessary it was, in the interest of education, to have a large staff, that in Colleges it was necessary to have an enormously large staff; but, at the same time, he felt that they had in Wales a somewhat redundant staff, and he hoped that those who took an interest in the matter would endeavour to bring the number of pupils more into proportion with the staff. He did not regret the £12,000 that was given to Wales, but he did regret the small sum that was given to England; he was quite prepared to give Wales £12,000, provided they had in England a larger sum than £15,000. Not only was there this 220 great discrepancy, but the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer was reported to have said a few days ago he was willing to give a further grant of £10,000 for the building of one single College. He had not made these remarks in any invidious or unkind spirit towards Wales, and, having made these remarks respecting Wales, he might be permitted to give some few figures regarding England. At Nottingham there were 1,607 students; at Liverpool there were 2,218; and at Owen's College, Manchester, there were 1,307. These were circumstances which, he thought, ought to be considered as showing that if they treated Wales and England with equality and fairness there ought to be a large increase in the sum granted to England. He wished to take this opportunity of saying some words respecting King's College, in London, and it was his duty last year to make some reference to this College. The facts relating to King's College were these: The Government proposed to withdraw the grant from King's College, London, unless it would remove within the present year the denominational test from all teaching other than theological. Anyone reading that document would suppose that that removal could take place by some resolution, by some Act of the College, and that they were masters of the situation and were at liberty to do as they pleased in this matter. Apart from the sense of duty and obligation, on which he would say a word in a moment or two, he must remind the House that the authorities at King's College were bound by Statute. And then, in the distribution of the grant, came this most remarkable passage, which he desired to draw attention to—In the event of the authorities of King's College declining to obtain the suggested alteration in Clause 12 of the King's College Act of 1882, the Committee recommend the grant of £1,700, conditionally granted to King's College, shall be divided as is stated below.He could find no other case where any authority had been condemned to pay a fine unless an Act of Parliament were passed through this House. But here they had it on the face of the document that except this College made a change in the law it was to be fined to the extent of £1,700 a year. The condition was absolutely monstrous. But even that was not all. That which made the case 221 the more iniquitous was this: except the authorities did cause a change in the law to be made the money was to be devoted to other Colleges. He was a member of the Court of Victoria University, which consisted of three Colleges: Owen's College, Manchester, Liverpool University, and Yorkshire College, Leeds. If his friends on the Council of King's College did not alter the law the Court of Victoria University would gain £1,710. He, as a member of that Court, entirely declined to take advantage of any such proposal. He did not think it right that such a body as the Court of the Victoria University, University College, London, Durham College, Mason's College, Nottingham, and so on, should be tempted by a bribe to exercise the influence of Parliament to the injury of King's College. This proposal was, to his mind, a most tyrannical proceeding. It was said that the proposal had for its object the freeing of education from religious trammels, but he found that none were so fond of their own dogmas as those who were opposed to the dogmas of others. It was a wrong, a cruel, and almost a persecuting thing to remove this amount from King's College because they taught doctrines in accordance with the Church of England. Something like £217,541, derived from voluntary gifts, had to be spent on King's College. The number of day students was (men) 1,206, evening students 1,975, and women students 4,443, whilst 1,300 students attended classes in special subjects. He had, he contended, clearly shown that King's College was erected at great cost and large sacrifices, and that the numbers of students who took advantage of its educational facilities were very great. The education given at the Institution, so far from being of an obsolete character, was full of life and abounded in health and energy. The curriculum, instead of being obsolete and narrow, was of the widest character, including the faculty of theology, arts, engineering, natural science, medicine, and a particular system of training designed for those intending to enter the Civil Service. The apparatus was of a high character—in fact, he believed there was no Institution in England where the apparatus for secular and technical education was of the high character that it was in King's College, London. They 222 had thus a large sum of money given by private benefaction, a large number of students resorting to the College, and ample apparatus for carrying out the objects of the Institution. He believed, there was no Institution better equipped than King's College, and none more worthy of support. He declared that to refuse King's College the advantage of this grant because it taught the doctrines of the Church of England was to commit an act of signal injustice, to discourage a liberal education, and to inflict a grievous wrong to the cause of religion. He feared very much if Parliament, without protest, allowed such an Act as this on the part of the Government to pass it might be carried on as regarded their Training Colleges. He had read that night some very emphatic words of Mr. Pitt, wherein he urged the importance of connecting religion with higher education. If that were true as regarded the Training Colleges it was also true as regarded King's College, and if it were sound as regarded King's College, it was also sound as regarded the Training Colleges. He certainly felt that no course would be more reactionary, more contrary to every liberal sentiment, and more in opposition to all that was due to religion, than to say that a College like King's College, which taught religion according to the doctrines of the Church of England—or for that matter according to the doctrines of any single church—on that account was to be fined to the extent of £1,700 a year, and not to be placed on the same level as other Institutions that were inferior in numbers and equipment, and did not perform nearly so good a work in the cause of education.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. BRYCE,) Aberdeen, S.
said, the hon. Baronet had avoided strangely all that really related to the case. He would venture to state what the real facts of the case were. First of all let him say, with reference to the hon. Baronet's charges against the Committee, that it was not the Committee which had to make this decision. The Committee were bound by the terms of the Reference to a particular Scheme, and if the hon. Gentleman would look at the terms of the Reference he would find that the Committee were bound by the principle that a share of the grant could not be allowed to any College in which any de- 223 nominational or religious tests were or could be demanded from any member of the teaching staff other than those occupying Theological Chairs.
§ MR. BRYCE
said, the Committee had to carry out that principle, and they carried it out in the form in which the hon. Member said it had inflicted grievous wrong and injustice on this College. In reply to that he would just say that had the Committee proceeded literally, according to their terms of Reference, or had they taken any other course than that which they had pursued in relation to their notification to the King's College authorities, they must have altogether excluded the College from all consideration in respect of the grant. The Committee, however, had preferred to take a more liberal and indulgent course, and they had therefore suggested to the Treasury that a period of grace should be allowed to the College Authorities within which they might abolish the religious tests for other than Theological Chairs, therefore putting it on the same level with other Colleges that received the grant. That was the process which the hon. Gentleman complained of. The hon. Member said that King's College was bound by Statute. If the hon. Gentleman would look at the Treasury Minute which he would find accompanied the Report he would find the Treasury accepted the principle that King's College should have till the 31st of March, 1895, to obtain the necessary alterations in Clause 12 of King's College Act, 1882, and no doubt an alteration of that kind would be at once granted by Parliament if King's College applied for it, because it would be entirely in harmony with the course Parliament followed in the case of the University of Oxford and Cambridge. He had shown that the Committee were bound by the terms of the Reference, but he could say that if the College Authorities had applied for an extension of the time that had been allowed them for the abolition of the tests, the Treasury would have been glad to have assented to such an application, and every facility would have been given to the College for passing the necessary Bill to enable the term to be extended. He did not think that any hon. Member in that House would 224 have been disposed to offer any opposition to the passing of such a measure. If, however, it was suggested that the period up to March, 1895, was too short and should be extended, that was, no doubt, a matter which the Treasury would be disposed to entertain. Nobody wished that a valuable Institution like King's College should suffer in any way; therefore, on the part of the Treasury, the Government would extend that period if it was thought necessary in the interests of King's College, to enable it to get rid of the test. The hon. Gentleman described this as a case of wanton injustice to the College, and he suggested that the allocation of the money, which would be set free if it did not go to King's College, was to be regarded as a bribe to other University Colleges. Parliament voted the money for University Colleges, and if it was not applied to the particular College of King's College, it must of necessity be devoted to the other University Colleges. The House might think from the tone adopted by the hon. Member that there was some exceptional hardship being inflicted on King's College. What were the facts? There was not, so far as he knew, any sum of public money whatever paid either in England or Scotland to any University possessing a theological test except in its theological faculties. [Hon. MEMBERS: What about Ireland?] He was speaking of Great Britain. This was a grant to University Colleges in Great Britain, and it was unnecessary to go beyond Great Britain, nor would it be proper to go beyond Great Britain in a case of this kind where this was a grant to University Colleges in Great Britain. It was with Great Britain only they were concerned. [An hon. MEMBER: What about Ireland?] He must appeal to hon. Members to abstain from these unbecoming interruptions, which did no credit to the cause they advocated. There was not, as he had said, so far as he knew, any grant of public money made in Great Britain to any University or College which had any theological test; except in its theological faculties, and why should an exception be made in the case of King's College to the principle elsewhere universally adopted? In 1871 an Act was passed abolishing theological tests from every one of the ancient Colleges of Oxford and Cam- 225 bridge, Parliament providing that their ancient endowments should no longer be governed by theological tests, and that University education in this country should be entirely free from theological conditions.
§ MR. BRYCE
said, no; and this was not an endowment. This was a grant made by the taxpayers from year to year, and what possible reason could be suggested why the State should remove theological tests from ancient endowments, and at the same time from money which came out of the pockets of the taxpayers should create new endowments with theological tests? This was not an endowment in any sense, but a Parliamentary grant. Parliament obtained this money from the taxpayers of all religious denominations, and yet it was suggested that they should take this sum of money and allot it to one of the denominations giving it, and that Parliament, having itself abolished theological tests in the ancient Universities and Colleges, should devote this money to supporting a theological test at King's College. If this were done Parliament would be going back on its former legislation, would be rendering absurd the principle adopted in 1871, and would be doing a great injustice to other Religious Bodies.
§ MR. BRYNMOR JONES (Gloucester, Stroud)
said, the hon. Baronet opposite had not at all shown the actual work which was being done by the three University Colleges in Wales. He did not think that in the list of students the hon. Baronet had given the agricultural students were included, nor the students of Cardiff, belonging to the artisan class who attended the evening classes, nor those who attended the lectures given in connection with the County Council under the scheme agreed upon with the authorities. He ventured to say there could be no greater justification for this Vote than the fact that within 10 years of the establishment of these Colleges there should be nearly 600 young men receiving University education in Wales equal to that given in University College or King's College, to which the hon. Baronet referred. With regard to the comparison of the Vote for Wales and England, he submitted that was not 226 a fair comparison to take, because in the Vote for England the immense provisions connected with the ancient Universities were not included at all. The true comparison was with Scotland. He found there was a grant to the Scottish Universities generally of £42,000, to Aberdeen University £12,000, and in addition there was an annual sum of £30,000 payable to these Colleges from the Local Taxation (Scotland) Account, making a total of £84,000, which was paid for Scottish University purposes. The population of Scotland was something over 4,000,000; the population of Wales and Monmouthshire was not very greatly in excess of 2,000,000, and if they took that as a fair comparison it was perfectly obvious that the grants to Wales were not excessive, but were rather under those which, having regard to the population, the people of the Principality might fairly claim.
MR. MOWBRAY (Lancashire, Prestwich)
said, his sole justification for rising on the present occasion was that he had the honour of serving with the President of the Board of Trade upon a Committee with regard to the distribution of this grant of £15,000 to University Colleges in Great Britain; and he also had the honour of serving on a previous Committee with regard to the same question in the year 1889. These two Committees, besides representing both sides of the House, contained independent educational authorities. On these two Committees there was no question whatever as to the deserving character of King's College to share in these grants, but the question referred to then was simply what was the quality of the teaching in these various University Colleges, what the amount of work done, the income received from local subscriptions and from fees. He declared that in the two Committees, which sat in 1889 and 1891 respectively, there was no question raised as to the deserving character of King's College to take a grant, nor as to its efficiency, nor the efficient character or quality of the work which it performed.
§ MR. BRYCE (interposing)
said, that no question was now raised as to the efficiency of King's College. It was excluded simply on account of its denominational character. In the Committee of 1891 he entered a caveat as to the 227 denominational character of King's College.
said, that he had mentioned the fact not to elicit that denial, but to bring home to the House the fact that this attempt to deprive King's College of the grant was made not because of any failure of efficiency, but because, more than other Colleges, it added religion to efficient education. He thought his right hon. Friend and his colleague, the hon. Member for South Manchester, never did a worse thing for intermediate, secondary, and higher education in this country than when they introduced into it the demon of religious discord by their note on the denominational character of King's College. There was no necessity for the action of the right hon. Gentleman and his colleague. All the Committee had to consider was the amount and quality of the work done, and on that ground alone they recommended this grant to the College. If this policy was to be pursued in reference to King's College, what was to be done with regard to other Educational Institutions which were more denominational in character, and which received assistance from the public funds? Were they all to be deprived of the Government grant? When the Legislature decided that the ancient endowments of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge should be thrown open without any religious tests, the Legislature did not prevent the endowment of sections of Colleges with denominational endowments, and at this moment half a College at Oxford was enjoying all the rights and privileges of the Colleges of the University of Oxford, although that College was confined to members of the Church of England by a recent endowment. There were also Training Colleges of a denominational character in this country which received grants. It was only last year that there was a discussion in the House with regard to Denominational Training Colleges in Ireland; and the Irish Members acknowledged that the Leader of the Opposition had done them justice in supporting the grants to the Denominational Training Colleges. Surely the people on this side of St. George's Channel had the same right to denominational education as the people on the other side of the Channel. But if this treatment was to 228 be applied to King's College, what was to become of the principle on which the voluntary schools in primary education received grants from the public? The right hon. Gentleman the Minister for Education denied the accusation that he wished to do away with those voluntary schools. That showed that those schools, according to the admission of right hon. Gentlemen and hon. Gentlemen opposite, had the right to receive assistance from the public funds; and then how could they say that King's College was absolutely disqualified to receive assistance because of its denominational character? They said—"Oh, but this College could purge itself of its offence." Yes; being a denominational institution, if it was prepared to put itself into the position of Mr. Jabez Balfour, of having obtained money for one purpose and of applying it to something else. Since the foundation of King's College £200,000 had been expended on buildings, and the actual tenure of the site had been granted to the College upon the consideration that it should always be used for education in connection with the principles of the Church of England. Of course, hon. Gentlemen opposite who were ready to repudiate all contracts might be ready to repudiate this contract; but he did not think that the English people, with their sense of fairness and justice, would consider that King's College, in being asked to repudiate the conditions on which it received its endowments, was not being fairly treated by the Government. He had not the slightest interest in King's College; and, personally, he had very little sympathy with religious tests; but he thought the Government were treating the College very unfairly from an educational point of view. It was said that it was the desire of the Government to develop higher education, but he said that they had struck a blow at higher education by the line they had taken in this matter. To refuse endowments because they were denominational was very much as if they cut their nose in order to spite their face. Whether denominational tests were good or not, they must remember that one of the strongest motives that men had to devote their money to those Denominational Institutions was that they might do something for the religion in which 229 they believed; and undoubtedly, in the future, if their unfortunate scheme was carried out, the Government would be doing a great deal to hamper and destroy secondary and higher education in this country.
§ SIR J. T. HIBBERT
appealed to the House, having regard to the large amount of business which remained to be done, to come to a decision at once on this question.
§ MR. J. G. TALBOT
said, that this was a sample of the manner in which English Members were treated. An important grievance of English Members was to be discussed and disposed of in half an hour; whereas a grievance of the same character affecting the Roman Catholic Church would be discussed by the Irish Members for a couple of nights. A grosser case of religious intolerance than this of King's College had seldom been witnessed. This was a recent foundation upon definite principles, and the proposition of Her Majesty's Government was, "If you want to have your grant, give up your principles." A more nefarious way of treating those who had convictions he had never heard. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer condescended to gratify the feelings of some of his supporters by saying that in future he would not allow any grant to a College which had a denominational flavour, he was doing that which was absolutely inconsistent, and quite unworthy of his position. If they dared to carry out this anti-denominational principle the Government would bring down upon them the whole force of their Irish supporters. This College was founded in 1829, and was solemnly recognised by Act of Parliament in 1882. In the Charter words were used providing thatinstruction in the doctrines of Christianity as taught by the Church of England is to be for ever combined with other branches of useful education.Hitherto King's College had received £1,700 a year—its share of £15,000 a year amongst 12 University Colleges; but this grant was now to be withdrawn. Why? Because it had acted upon its foundation principles. If a Division was taken he would gladly support his hon. Friend.
§ MR. BARTLEY
said, that this was not a matter of conscience in any sense; 230 it was simply a question of votes with the Government. The right hon. Gentleman said that this was not done in England or Scotland, but he carefully avoided all reference to Ireland. The House had come to this—that for the sake of votes on one side or the other any amount of principle was thrown to the winds by the Government. If the right hon. Gentleman dared to do anything of the sort he proposed to do to King's College to Roman Catholics he would be flung off the Treasury Bench in the morning. This King's College was established to carry on a system of education on the basis of the doctrines of the Church of England. That was a proper Institution to establish, and the House had every right to support it. They knew that the votes given for denominational teaching in Ireland were given absolutely and solely on the condition that the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church were to be taught as the essential basis of the system of education. They knew that the Irish people would not take the money on any other condition. Why, then, should not King's College get a grant? Simply because some of the followers of the Government desired to destroy denominational teaching. The proposed action of the Government in regard to King's College was most intolerant, and he believed that the great bulk of the religious Dissenters of the country wished for nothing more than fair play all round. He was not ashamed to say that there ought to be Nonconformist Training Colleges getting grants from the public funds. It was done in Ireland, and he did not see why it should not be done in England.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 79; Noes 35.—(Division List, No. 243.)
§ Twenty-ninth Resolution agreed to.
That a sum, not exceeding £485,449, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1895, for Public Education in Scotland,
§ MR. CALDWELL (Lanark, Mid)
This Vote relates to a matter of considerable and general importance. We have reliable statistics annually made up, 231 of the number of horses, cows, sheep, and pigs in the United Kingdom, but we have no statistics of the number of children receiving education in schools in Scotland. Children are educated partly in State-aided and partly in non-State-aided schools. We have the statistics relating to the State-aided schools, but we have no statistics with reference to the non-State-aided schools. Without the aid of the statistics in both classes of schools we are unable either to ascertain the existing state of education in Scotland or to compare one year with another. There may, for instance, be an increase in the attendance at State-aided schools, but we do not know how far that increase may have arisen from a decrease in the attendance at non-State-aided schools. There is no reason why we should be in this state of ignorance regarding education in Scotland. The Scotch Education Department and the School Boards in every parish in Scotland are charged with the duty of seeing that every child of school age is being properly educated. A School Board ought, therefore, to know where each child in the parish is being educated; and whether the instruction given at any non-State-aided school is efficient instruction. The Glasgow School Board have the annual statistics of the attendance at all the non-State-aided schools within their jurisdiction, and there is no reason why every other School Board in Scotland should not have the same statistics. If there be any defect in legislation to obtain this information it is obviously the duty of the Department to remedy this defect, and any Bill to confer such powers would no doubt pass this House with the unanimous assent of both sides. The Annual Report of the Scotch Education Department (following the precedent of former Reports) sets forth a table, page VI.—To exhibit the results in a statistical form, and to draw reliable inferences as to the progress of education.In Scotland, since 1872, it gives the average attendance in 1872 as 213,549, and in 1893 as 542,851, showing an increase in 1893 over 1872 of 329,302, or an increase of 154 per cent, in the average attendance at school in Scotland. If this were anything like a fair representation of the state of education in Scotland in 1872, then Scotch educa- 232 tion, contrary to the general belief, must have been in a very poor state. The comparison, however, ignores the fact that in Scotland in 1872, whilst there was only an average attendance in State-aided schools of 213,549, the total number of children between the ages of five and 15 receiving education in that year was 550,000. Thousands of children who, in 1872, were attending non-State-aided schools have since been transferred to State-aided schools, thus, no doubt, swelling the attendance at the latter schools, but without any corresponding increase in the number of children receiving education in Scotland. There is not time to go into the details of the statistics on the present occasion, but it can be demonstrated that, after making due allowance for the increase of population, the number of children receiving education in Scotland has only increased by about 10 per cent., instead of the 154 per cent, as shown in the statistics of the Department. The fallacy in the comparison made by the Department between 1872 and 1893 lies in their taking only the statistics of the State-aided schools, and altogether ignoring the non-State-aided schools. Fifty per cent. of the children receiving education in Scotland in 1872 were receiving it outside of the State-aided schools, as against only 10 per cent. at the present time. As an evidence of the growth of secondary education in Scotland, the Department might equally as well found on the statistics that, whilst in 1888 there were only 29 schools, and only 972 candidates examined in secondary subjects, those had increased in last year to 132 schools, and 7,148 candidates, being an increase of 700 per cent. As regards school accommodation, there is accommodation for 768,540 children. The average attendance is only 563,286, thus showing a surplus of school places of 205,254, which at £10 per school place represents a capital of upwards of £2,000,000. The Department go into statistics to make out that there ought to be at school each day 681,719, children; but as the average attendance is only 563,286, it shows, according to their statistics, that there are 118,433 children daily less at school in Scotland than there ought to be. Then why are these children not at school? It is the duty of the Department and of School Boards throughout the country 233 to see that every child is at school who ought to be at school. The Department cannot set up this high number who ought to be at school as an excuse for the excessive school accommodation, without at the same time condemning themselves for laxity of administration as regards the school attendance. The school accommodation throughout Scotland, especially in the rural districts, is absurdly high notwithstanding all the attempts of the Department to explain it away. It is the number of children in actual daily average attendance who have to be provided for, and not any theoretical number which can be shown on paper. Passing to the question of the standard of instruction, I find that during the last two or three years there has been a great change in the mode of examination. Formerly it was individual, and as a result we had individual progress and an increase in attendance in the higher standards, i.e., Standard IV. and upwards. Now it is more a school and class examination, and the payments are based on average attendance. The result is, that the average attendance has greatly increased. Whilst the school register has increased by 8,582, the average attendance has increased by 13,866. The increase in average attendance does not necessarily show educational progress. Average attendance is capable of manipulation. The total attendances at the school are added together and divided by the number of times the school is open. When the school attendance is abnormally low the average attendance may be increased by closing the school during the period of depression. Then every attendance of the most irregular and casual attender is counted equally with every attendance of the most regular attender. Whilst every attendance of the most regular attender is counted for payment, yet the attendance beyond the average is not educationally profitable, as each child has to keep pace with the average of the class. All deductions of educational progress from an increase in the average attendance are therefore utterly unreliable. As a check upon manipulation of the average attendance, we ought to have a Return of the number of times the school was open during the year and compare it with previous years. It was stated and expected that 234 the change of examination from individual to school or class examination would enable the teacher to devote more time to clever scholars. Let us see how far this has been justified by the result. Up till the change was made we find great and annually increasing attendances, presentations, and passes in the higher standards and in specific subjects. The Department does not help us to compare the numbers on the roll, or the presentations in the various standards. We ought to have these statistics for comparison. From materials on hand we can make out that not only is the former annual increase on the higher standards arrested, but there is a positive decrease in the higher standard. As this is a matter of great importance, I have gone into it most carefully and minutely, and will give the result in the Report of the Southern Division. I find from the table of Dr. Kerr, the Chief Inspector for Scotland, page 7, that whilst the children in and under Standard III. had increased by 1,474, those in IV., V., and VI. had decreased by 663, notwithstanding a largely increased average attendance. In the Report of the Western Division, Dr. Ogilvie points out, page 4, that whilst the average attendance had increased by 14,570 scholars there were only 2,385 additional presented, and there were as many as 779 fewer in Standards IV., V., and VI. In the Report of the Northern Division of Dr. Stewart we find, page 3, that whilst the numbers in average attendance had increased by 2,238, the numbers presented had only increased by 477; whilst those presented in Standards IV., V., and VI. had decreased by 124. Comparing this Northern Division with the year 1891, we find a decrease of 5,548 of presentations in Standards IV. to VI. So far as we have material to judge of the state and progress of the higher Standards IV. to VI., the results are eminently unsatisfactory and on the downward grade. Turning now to passes in specific subjects, we find an equally unsatisfactory state of matters. Instead of the annually increasing progress to which we were accustomed, we have to complain not only of the arrestment of progress, but of actual decline, and here we deal with individual passes, the only remnant of former individual examination. Whilst there was an 235 increase of 174 in the number presented in three subjects, there was only an increase of 13 in the numbers who passed; and whilst there was an increase of 451 in the number presented in two subjects, there was an actual decrease of 27 in the number who passed. Comparing this with the year 1891, we find 1893 showing a decrease of 408 passes in three subjects, and a decrease of 576 passes in two subjects. These specific subjects practically include the work done in Ex. VI. The Tables show that there was an increase of 880 in the number examined in 1893 in Ex. VI., although the results indicated show a decrease in the passes for specific subjects 3 and 2. It would be interesting if we could trace how this increase in the numbers examined in Ex. VI. arises when there has been a decrease in Standards IV. to VI. Probably we shall find the explanation to be that, owing to the abolition of school fees, parents have withdrawn their children from better-class private schools, and whilst their numbers have prevented the decrease from being greater than it otherwise would have been in Standards IV. to VI., yet the numbers have been so comparatively large in Ex. VI. as actually to show an increase in the numbers examined in Ex. VI. I do not attach much importance to the improvement in the number of schools classified as "Excellent," "Good," or "Fair." As this classification affects the amount of grant, there will be a certain amount of pressure, both on the part, of the teacher and the School Board to have every school possible advanced to "Excellent." We may, therefore, expect an increasing annual improvement in this respect, even although the actual educational results may show a decline of education, both in quantity and quality, in the higher standards and subjects. I now turn to the question of the supply of teachers, which is an important matter. The main source of supply of certificated teachers comes through the Training Colleges, which, although mainly, and to the extent of about £32,000, are annually supported by Government grant, are nevertheless denominational. They are situate in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen, and are connected three with the Church of 236 Scotland, three with the Free Church of Scotland, and one with the Episcopal Church. These Training Colleges accommodate only 854 teachers; and as the curriculum extends over a period of two years, this represents an annual output of only 427 certificated teachers by these Colleges. For many years past the number of teachers annually certificated has not been sufficient to meet the annual waste (6 per cent.) plus the increasing school attendance, and certain action of the Department tended some time ago seriously to diminish the output of certificated teachers. The result is that a great scarcity of certificated teachers has been felt throughout Scotland. The scarcity has been felt mostly in the poorer districts, as the larger School Boards by the higher salaries offered can always command a choice of applicants. The policy of restricting the output of teachers may, in the long run, tend to raise the salaries of the teachers, but the immediate and future effect will be disastrous to education. The dearth of trained teachers, owing to the defective supply of the Training Colleges, has taken years to bring about, and the remedy will take years before it can become effective. It requires 496, or 6 per cent. of their number, to meet the annual waste of certificated teachers by death, resignation, &c. The Training Colleges, as presently constituted, are not able to meet this annual waste, much less to supply the increased number of certificated teachers to meet the annual increasing school attendance. The increase was partly met last year and to the extent of 42 by graduates. Then there were last year 122 acting teachers—an increase of 107 over the preceding year—who passed the examination and were certificated, but who had no training in Training Colleges. The result is an increasing number of untrained certificated teachers, which every Inspector is deploring. This dearth in the supply of trained certificated teachers arises from the inadequacy of the Training Colleges to accommodate more than about 427 annually. Last year there were 689 applicants duly qualified to enter the Training Colleges, but, solely from want of room (there being only 423 vacancies), no fewer than 266 duly-qualified applicants, who had served their apprentice- 237 ship and who had passed their examination, were turned adrift. If was cruel to these 266 applicants, who had served their apprenticeship and passed their examination, who would require to take situations as acting teachers in the hope of some future day becoming certified, but without the advantage and prestige of being College trained. The loss is great to the interest of education, as it increases what is deplored as being the untrained teaching element. Dr. Ogilvie in his Report, page 8, says—The teaching staff, so far as it is recruited from the Training Colleges and the Universities, is steadily advancing in breadth of culture and general efficiency. But the supply through these channels falls materially short of the demand, and the balance is maintained by the rush of acting teachers through the gateway of the Christmas examination. The growing predominance of untrained teachers is a regrettable necessity.Dr. Kerr, in his interesting Report on Training Colleges, refers to the same thing. When on this subject I want to know from the Secretary of Scotland if the Department have considered Dr. Kerr's Report; and what conclusion they have come to regarding the anomalies he points out on page 2 with regard to admission to the Training Colleges and on pages 38 and 39 to his observations on the proposed alterations of dates of examination? It is obvious that we ought to have Training Colleges under the State or connected with the Universities. Everyone qualified to enter the Training Colleges ought to have the means of doing it. We spend £1,500,000 of Imperial and local ratepayers' money on this, but the benefits from that expenditure are jeopardised by defective arrangements as to Training Colleges. As to pupil teachers, as all but 3 per cent. of the students in the Training Colleges have been pupil teachers, the importance of this class becomes strikingly apparent. From all quarters comes unsatisfactory reports regarding the pupil teachers. Dr. Kerr says (page 2)—The difficulty of obtaining suitable male candidates as pupil teachers is a steadily increasing one.(Page 23)—The results of the examination of pupil teachers compares unfavourably with those of former years.These are the points I have thought it my duty to bring before the House as to 238 Scotch Education. To read the Report of the Scotch Education Department one would think that Scotland was getting on extraordinarily well as to education, but when we come to look at the facts we find that such is not the case. Beginning at the pupil teachers and going up to the Training Colleges things are not what they ought to be. Then when we come to the schools we find there is a decrease in passes in the higher standards where formerly there were great increases. Surely, then, the time has come to say something on this important question.
§ MR. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)
said, he desired to say a few words on this Vote, though he fully realised that the circumstances of the time imposed on him the obligation of compressing his observations into as small a compass as possible. By the recent Act £60,000 was voted for secondary education, and of this £3,000 was set apart for inspection and examinations, and his point was that this sum was wasted under the present arrangements. First, as to inspection, what was required was that it should be divided in such a way as to ensure a common standard. They knew how such a standard could be secured. They had in their elementary schools an excellent system of School Inspectors. The Inspectors were not only highly-educated gentlemen, but gentlemen devoted to their work, who gave their whole time to it and inspired general confidence. What would be said if it were proposed that this system should be put an end to, and that in the place of the present Inspectors they should have a motley crowd of men who would carry on their ordinary avocations whilst inspecting. And yet this was no travesty of what took place in connection with secondary education. The Inspectors consisted of University Professors, Scotch College Professors, English Professors, an advocate, and a number of Inspectors of primary schools. What he wanted to impress on the Scotch Education Office was the necessity for the employment of efficient Inspectors. He urged them to throw aside the present system and to spend the money on one or two Inspectors of secondary education, who would devote their whole time to the work. With regard to the leaving certificate, he advocated the adoption of a system which 239 would ensure uniformity and make the certificate a standard to which some importance might be attached. Under present circumstances the leaving certificate was absolutely useless. If a young man applied for a situation on the strength of a leaving certificate, of what value was it? It might mean nothing, or something, or a good deal. If the young man had been examined in French it meant that he was an indifferent scholar; if in English that he was tolerably instructed; while, if he had passed the Rhadamantine examination in arithmetic it might mean that the young man was of a calibre something approaching Newton or Descartes. Such a system was worse than useless, and the money expended upon it might be much better spent.
§ THE SECRETARY FOR SCOTLAND (Sir G. TREVELYAN,) Glasgow, Bridgeton
said, the hon. Member for Lanark complained that the House had not sufficient education statistics for Scotland, and urged that an annual Census should be taken of children in other schools than schools subsidised by the Board. There were plenty of statistics to show that, under the system of public subsidy and public inspection, Scotch education had been steadily improving. The present statistics were exceedingly satisfactory. In 1878 there were 50,000 children in elementary schools not inspected or subsidised by the State. The statistics on this point were not very reliable, because they had to be obtained from the schools themselves, who were not in any way bound to give them. In 1890 there were 540,000 children in average attendance; in 1891–2 there were 549,000; and in 1892–93 there were 560,000. The evening schools, which 12 months ago numbered 275, now numbered 680.
§ SIR G. TREVELYAN
said, that attacks had been made on the grant in proportion to the number of scholars. The grant for these schools last year was £10,000, and he very much doubted whether the Estimate of £27,000 for this year would not be seriously under the mark. It was said that the passes in the higher subjects were not increasing, but when they came to look at the real state of higher education they found the results in Scotland proportionately much 240 better than in England. A report from a Highland school in Banffshire with 500 boys and girls stated that specific subjects were largely taken, and that the results were very satisfactory; several scholars were doing advanced work in languages and mathematics; excellent discipline was maintained, and the school was not overcrowded. He would not say that was absolutely a specimen Report, but hon. Members would agree that it was a very good one for a Highland school in a remote district. They might be quite sure that the same result was shown in other stages. His noble Friend had referred to the change in the system of inspection, which was no longer an individual system, but a general inspection of the whole school judged from the general standard of education. The change was undoubtedly a very bold one, but, on the whole, he believed it to be thoroughly satisfactory, because it afforded more latitude for classification in the schools and led to more education being given and less cramming. As to the difficulty of finding certificated teachers in Scotland, what was the reason? While in England 40 per cent. of the teachers were certificated, in Scotland no less than 55 per cent. were certificated. There was a difficulty in keeping up this great number of certificated teachers, and, as this number could not be entirely provided by the Training Colleges, he thought it would be well if they extended to Scotland that portion of the English system which enabled non-resident students to be educated in the Universities in the great cities of Scotland. The hon. Member for Kincardineshire had asked a question upon an interesting point. The great point in Scotch education was the manner in which the higher ambitions had been opened to the great mass of the population by the leaving certificate which was accepted by all the great educational bodies and by the State as an entry to its service. The method of giving small payments of £20 or £30 a year to able young men fresh from their University studies was, he thought, the very best way in which the money could be spent, not only in inspection, but in examinations for the merit certificates. It was a better system than paying high increasing salaries to men who in 20 or 30 years would become stale for their 241 work. It was a kind of inspection which thoroughly succeeded; it was well adapted for Scotland, and had been permanently taken up by the whole educational body in that country.
§ Resolution agreed to.
§ Thirty-first Resolution agreed to.
§ Subsequent Resolutions postponed.
§ Resolutions One to Thirteen further postponed.
That a sum, not exceeding £499,792, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1895, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland,
§ MR. KNOX (Cavan, W.)
said, the hon. Member for Roscommon had drawn attention to the books issued from time to time for use in the national schools in Ireland, and pressed on the attention of the Chief Secretary the fact that no history of any country might be used in any elementary school in Ireland as a reading-book. From the Student's Hume down to Pinnock's Catechism they had all been refused, book after book, and the same thing applied to the histories of Ireland itself. In spite of the repeated efforts of the clergy and others of all denominations, not merely were the histories of Ireland and England prohibited from being used as reading-books in the schools, but also those of Greece and Rome. So strongly did the Commissioners desire to keep from the national schools anything belonging to the outer world, that when Sister Ursula, of the Convent in Dublin, applied for leave to use such a book as Brilliant Speakers and Wise Thinkers, one of Dr. Arnold's works, it was refused. That was what happened in all cases, however innocent the work might be, and though applied for by persons of various political views. One was tempted to ask whether some innocent history of Ireland might not be found, leaving out all reference to the sieges of Derry and Limerick, for use in Irish schools? History was a subject which every child should have some knowledge of, and he pressed the Chief Secretary for Ireland to use his influence to persuade the Commis- 242 sioners to relax their rule. With reference to the fee grant, he pointed out that in 1891 the total sum set apart from the Probate Duties was to be divided in the proportion of 80 per cent. to England, 11 per cent. to Scotland, and 9 per cent. to Ireland. In 1892 the grant was first made to Ireland, and her share amounted then to £210,000. Since that date, in spite of the fact that the sum to be so distributed had very largely increased, the share allotted to Ireland had remained absolutely at the same figure each year. It was represented at the time that by giving about 8s. per head for the Irish schools, they would not receive an equivalent benefit, while the grant for England had been increased by leaps and bounds. If they received in the same proportion they would have got £30,000 more at least. In consequence of this restriction the capitation grant had been cut down year by year, and while English teachers were getting their stationary 10s. for each pupil, the Irish masters were receiving less and less as the years went on. He trusted, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman would see when the Estimates were made up next year that Ireland received, in place of this fixed sum of £210,000, whatever amount her share of 9 per cent. of the total grant came to. It was a subject also of complaint that the schools of the Christian Brotherhood had not been admitted into the educational system of Ireland, and he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would be able to give them some definite information in regard to the matter. They had further, throughout the country, a strong feeling in favour of the teachers. The point at issue was a narrow one. The Christian Brothers were willing to adopt the timetable and to submit their books for the sanction of the National Board, but they still said that inasmuch as for many years they had endured much hardship and poverty to retain the use of certain images in their schools, they would not now consent to give them up, or indeed to hide them in cupboards. Contrary to the wishes of the Protestant and Catholic members of the National Board and of the Public Bodies throughout Ireland, the right hon. Gentleman still refused to admit the Christian Brothers' schools to the Irish educational system unless they put the crucifix into the cupboard. That was substan- 243 tially the only point of difference. The National Board consisted of equal numbers of Protestants and Catholics, and by an enormous majority it had decided in favour of admitting the Christian Brothers' schools. The only opposition came from a small section of the Presbyterian Body; and it was a most hollow sham, for the Presbyterians were the keenest denominationalists in educational matters to be found in Ireland. While there were 12,600 Episcopalian children under Catholic teachers, there were only 3,900 Presbyterian children, and the total numbers of Episcopalian and Presbyterian children in the Irish schools were about equal. He hoped the Chief Secretary would not allow himself to be ruled by a small section of the Presbyterian General Assembly which did not in this matter really represent the feelings of the Presbyterian community. Great pecuniary hardship was caused to the Catholics in the southern towns, where they were paying school fees and subscriptions to keep open their schools, which received no public grant, while the Protestant schools were free. In Ireland the same rule with regard to pictures and images in schools should be applied as was applied in England. He moved the reduction of the Vote by £1,000, but he hoped that the Chief Secretary would make it unnecessary to go to a Division by declaring that he was willing to admit the schools of the Christian Brothers to the benefits of the grant.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out "£499,792," and insert "£498,792."—(Mr. Knox.)
§ Question proposed, "That £499,792 stand part of the Resolution."
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. J. MORLEY,) Newcastle-upon-Tyne
said, his hon. and learned Friend had touched on three topics of varying degrees of importance; and in none of those was he very far from his hon. and learned Friend, not even in the last. In the first place, his hon. and learned Friend had referred to the books sanctioned and circulated by the National Board. He (Mr. J. Morley) had said more than once since he had been in Office that, in his judgment, it was to be regretted there was not a more open field for competition 244 in this question of books. But the contention of the National Board that their books were sold at cost price was an important consideration. The hon. and learned Gentleman went a little far in some of his demands. He talked about sanctioning the use of an "innocent history of Ireland." Such a history would have to omit any mention of the Siege of Derry or the Battle of the Boyne, and other events. He (Mr. J. Morley) hoped to see the day when Irishmen would be able to look back on those events with something like the same composure with which Englishmen looked back at the incidents of the Civil War. It was quite true that the embers were still smouldering, but in the meantime he did not see how an "innocent history of Ireland" was going to be written. A history might be written in the tone of composure to which he had referred, but its circulation in the national schools of Ireland would only be possible when the mind and heart of the country had become more composed. He fully agreed with his hon. and learned Friend that the field of competition was not wide enough in regard to these books. He had no fault to find with the account given by the hon. Member of the provisions of the Act of 1892. It was arranged that Ireland should have 9 per cent. of the total fund, Scotland 11 per cent., and England 3 per cent., and he was now carefully considering whether the fixed sum of £210,000 given to Ireland under it should remain fixed at that figure. The whole question turned upon the legal construction of the words of the Act of 1892. He felt that there was a strong primâ facie case made out for an increase of the £210,000 to something, at all events, like the proportion of the English grant. He was doing the best to ascertain the best legal interpretation which could be found in Ireland of the words referred to. It was not an easy question, but he felt that the case of Ireland was rather a hard one. He did not know whether, in the opinion of those who were interested in national education in Ireland, an increased sum could be profitably and wisely expended, but he assured his hon. Friend he was giving his attention to the matter. With reference to the burning question of the Christian Brothers, he quite admitted that his hon. Friend had made a very strong case with reference to Irish opinion, 245 but at the same time he thought he had put the case somewhat higher than all the facts would justify. His hon. Friend had said that the Christian Brothers were far more popular than other teachers. He was not quite sure that his hon. Friend could substantiate that proposition. He (Mr. J. Morley) recognised the admirable work that had been done by the Christian Brothers. He recognised the high opinion which was entertained of them by educational experts, not only in Ireland but in England, and he thought his right hon. Friend the Educational Minister in England (Mr. A. Acland) who had in times past gone over the Christian Brothers' schools, would probably go as far as anybody in recognising the educational service they had done and were doing; but to say that opinion was entirely unanimous was going a little too far. His hon. Friend should not forget that there was a great organised body of National school teachers in Ireland, and he was not at all sure that they would particularly welcome the participation of the Christian Brothers in the education grant.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
said, he thought that the school teachers of Ireland, although most of them were Catholics, had a very zealous or a very strong desire that the view of his hon. Friend should be conceded. He did not say that was a decisive argument, but he thought his hon. Friend put the case somewhat higher than the fact justified. His hon. Friend had said that the Christian Brothers were willing to submit their books to the examination and inspection of the National Board, and, if they were not approved of, to substitute others or accept the National Board books. As far as his (Mr. J. Morley's) knowledge went, the Christian Brothers had declared they were prepared to go to this extent: that if there should be any school with which they were connected in which there were Protestant children whose parents objected to certain books, those children should be allowed to use other books which would be more congenial to their parents. That was very 246 different from submitting the books to the National Board. The hon. Gentleman had referred to sacred emblems, which was the great point of difficulty in this question, and had spoken about locking up emblems in cupboards. He had himself been about in convent schools which were affiliated with the National Board, and it was in these convent and monastic schools that one found this locking up of sacred emblems in cupboards during certain hours. He was bound to say that from whatever point of view they regarded the system—whether from the point of view of those who regarded those emblems as sacred, or from the point of view of those who, like himself, regarded them as not being sacred—from whatever point of view they regarded it, he thought the system of locking up sacred emblems during certain hours, and then revealing them, was a monstrous humiliation to those who had to undergo it, and not much less a humiliation to those who imposed it. He was certain that in the case of a school where there were some Protestant children, and where this humiliating restriction was resorted to, the effect of this artificial concealment during certain hours could be nothing but to arouse curiosity and to excite those feelings which Protestant parents would desire not to be stirred up or aroused. In England, in a similar case, this humiliating arrangement did not exist, and he did not think that anything was gained by such a device. So far as he was concerned, he should like to see some arrangement arrived at, and he did not despair of an arrangement being arrived at by which the Christian Brothers might be placed in the same position as the convent schools in Ireland without those odious and humiliating restrictions. He should like to say this further. The late Government passed in 1892 a Compulsory Education Act. That Act was at the present moment, owing to the careless way in which it was passed—he did not apportion the blame for the carelessness—in the very places where it was most desirable that it should be effective and operative, something like a dead letter. In Cork, Waterford, Limerick, and several other places the Act was practically a dead letter, and in other places it was much less in operation than it ought to be. 247 And why? Partly because there were technical difficulties under the Act which unfortunately he had been unable to get that House to set right, and in no small degree because the Christian Brothers were not admitted. He believed the question for the House of Commons was this: Did they or did they not wish that the Act of 1892 giving to Ireland, which needed it much more than England or Scotland did, a compulsory system of education, should be operative and effective in Ireland? If Parliament intended that compulsion should become the educational law in Ireland as it was in England, depend upon it that sooner or later steps would have to be taken and provisions would have to be devised by which the Christian Brothers would be permitted to participate in the educational grant. He did not think that the proposals made by the majority of the National Board to carry out that object would work. They were too crude; but this he did say: that some scheme would have to be devised; and he repeated that he did not despair himself of framing some proposals which might be suggested to the National Board when the time came which would have the effect of including the Christian Brothers' schools amongst the schools which participated in the education grant, and until that was done, by himself or some other Minister, the Act of 1892, which Parliament had passed with the full intention of giving to Ireland, which needed them more than any other portion of the three Kingdoms, those educational benefits which Ireland was thoroughly prepared for, must remain practically a dead letter.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR (Manchester, E.)
said, he rejoiced that the right hon. Gentleman thought he had devised a scheme by which the long-vexed question centring round the Christian Brothers might be settled in a manner satisfactory to every educational interest in Ireland. At the same time, having listened to the right hon. Gentleman's speech, he must say that he was afraid the right hon. Gentleman did not realise, and his hon. Friend who cheered him did not realise, all that had to be faced in finding that solution. The right hon. Gentleman had ransacked his vocabulary for epithets to express his extreme humiliation at the fact that convent and monastic schools were obliged to conceal their religious 248 emblems during the ordinary school hours. He, however, did not agree that it was a humiliation. He must ask the House to consider what were the special circumstances of Ireland which differentiated that country from England in this respect and made the English experience alone an insufficient precedent for action in Ireland. There would be no difficulty in Ireland if every school were attended by either Protestants or Roman Catholics, or if every district was, as in England, a place where the religious sentiments of the inhabitants were such that a Protestant parent might perfectly safely send his children to a Roman Catholic school without the slightest fear of religious propaganda being involved. He had never been able to satisfy himself that that was the case in Ireland. The question did not arise in either Ulster or the large cities and towns in Ireland; but if they took the case of a very small knot of Protestant families in some remote district in the South or West or South-East of Ireland, where the great bulk of the population was Roman Catholic, and where the whole trend and tenour of public opinion was Roman Catholic, the Protestant children must either go without schooling altogether or attend a Roman Catholic school. If they went to such a school, where the religious emblems were shown during the school hours, could it be maintained that there was no element of what the parents, at all events, would think to be religious propaganda involved in them? It could not be denied that these emblems were shown for a theological and religious purpose. He put it to the House whether, under these circumstances, it was fair to require these Protestant parents in these small Protestant communities to send their children to such a school, to be subjected to influences which were admitted to be specially Roman Catholic in their character. He confessed that he was never able to find a solution of that difficulty. If the right hon. Gentleman had been able to find a solution, and at the same time to bring into the general scheme of Irish education the Christian Brothers, whose ability and services to education he fully recognised, no one would rejoice more heartily than he should. But until some form of protection against that particular danger were devised he did not believe that a solution 249 of the difficulty could be devised in consonance with the general opinion in this country, or with any fair regard to the interests of the parents of the children he had described.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, that he had listened to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition with some surprise. He remembered one speech of the right hon. Gentleman in which he expressed something more than hope and desire that he might be able to satisfy the wants of the Irish Roman Catholics in the matter of University education. [Mr. A. J. BALFOUR: Hear, hear.] Why, then, should he now think this question insoluble?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I do not believe I have altered my opinion on this question by one hair's breadth.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, that the argument of the right hon. Gentleman's speech was contrary to the desire which he had expressed. How were they similar? The desire of various creeds to increase the numbers professing those creeds was as real in England as in Ireland. Let them go further and consider where the difference lay. There were Catholic schools all over England in which emblems were exhibited, and he knew from the Minister for Education that no injury was done in those schools to the interests of the Protestant children who attended them.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The difference is that in England there is no case where there is a small Protestant colony in the midst of a vastly preponderating Catholic population.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, he should like to know why the right hon. Gentleman should base his argument solely on that? Protestant symbols and texts were exhibited in Protestant schools. The district had nothing to do with the question. It was the influence of the schools that the House was considering.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
pointed out that the whole drift of his speech was that the effect of the emblems in these Catholic schools was to produce an effect which they could not produce where the general training was Protestant.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, he thought that the right hon. Gentleman had used an exceedingly subtle argument, and one which he, for one, could not follow. He knew of no emblem in a Catholic school 250 which indicated a dogma. He claimed for the Catholic schools in Ireland the liberty that was allowed to Catholic schools in Great Britain. The schools of the Christian Brothers existed only in the cities and towns where the Protestants had schools of their own, and therefore the question of any possible injury to the Protestants did not arise. He had formed the opinion that the Leader of the Opposition had a tolerably open mind on the question, and he asked him, in view of the fact that what he feared existed in England, and that the state of facts which he described had no relation to the question at issue, to reconsider his attitude. It was some draw back to them in Ireland that whatever Party was in power they had always to be ruled by Englishmen, who had to learn the facts of the case under the disadvantage of ignorance of the country. This Government had come into Office on the policy of giving to Ireland the right of legislation and administration of her own affairs, and it was not unreasonable to ask that, though the Government might be baffled and thwarted by the Unionist Party in the House and their Standing Committee in another place in their efforts at legislation, at least in the sphere of administration where their power was effective and final they would remember the fundamental article of their own policy. But he was bound to say that after two years' administration of a Home Rule Government he could discern no practical difference between the administration of the Education Department under the Chief Secretary and what it was under the right hon. Member for East Manchester. He spoke with some feeling on the question of the Christian Brothers' schools. The Irish Members would not have allowed the Education Bill to pass two years ago unless there had been a specific understanding that the schools of the Christian Brothers would be admitted. What was the spectre which the Chief Secretary feared? Whence was the opposition to come? The Tory Party assented to, and the Liberal Party concurred in, the understanding of which he had spoken, and the Act would never come into effectual working unless the schools of the Christian Brothers were admitted. The Tory Party had invited the National Board of Education in Ireland to amend 251 their Rules, and the Board had, not once but twice, suggested Rules for the settlement of the question, but the Chief Secretary had interposed his personal veto and prevented a settlement. He did not believe that if the right hon. Member for Leeds had been in Office he would have rejected the Amendment proposed by the National Board. The majority on the Board included every member of the Catholic Body, with Lord Justice Fitzgibbon and the Senior Fellow of Trinity College, who was the most eminent representative of the Episcopalian Body in Ireland. The opponents of the measure were the least distinguished members, and they represented only a fraction of a sect which was located in only one part of Ireland, having nothing to do with the localities in which the Christian Brothers' schools existed, and which, therefore, must be moved by some kind of feeling which charity forbade him to characterise as it deserved. He trusted that an effort would be made to do this act of justice. The Christian Brothers were the heralds and precursors of elementary education in Ireland; they were the most popular educators of children in Ireland; they were regarded with affection mingled with veneration, and had been the most successful educators in the country. They had declared their willingness to extend the Conscience Clause, which was now at work in their higher schools, to the primary system. They were ready to have their books inspected and their teachers examined, and they were satisfied that their share of the grant should depend upon the efficiency of the secular education given by them. As long as they were excluded from the grant, the Act of 1892 would be a dead letter, and the longer the exclusion lasted the greater would the feeling of injustice and resentment which now prevailed grow in Ireland. He did not, however, care to press this view too strongly on the right hon. Gentleman, because he believed the right hon. Gentleman's sense of justice would induce him to accede to the demand. Where the will existed in a case like this there was no impossibility in finding out the way. Giving the right hon. Gentleman the credit for having the will, he trusted that the way would be found before the beginning of next year.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
I have no right to speak again on this Resolution, and I only wish to say that it appears to me that the House has had an opportunity of hearing the various points of view from which this very important question may be considered. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. A. J. Balfour) stated his view at length, and I believe it was not of an irreconcilable character. On the contrary, the right hon. Gentleman spoke in a tone which showed that he appreciates the difficulties, and desires to diminish them. For my part, I have stated that I am not without hope of being able to propose, in effect, a solution which may avoid most of the difficulties which the right hon. Gentleman opposite has indicated, and may meet the views which my hon. Friend opposite has just expressed. That being the case, the House may perhaps now be willing to allow us to take the remainder of the Irish Votes. We shall then propose to postpone the other Votes till we come to the Post Office Votes, and when they are disposed of we shall proceed with the Report of Supply of August 17th.
§ MR. KNOX
said, that after the right hon. Gentleman's statement, though he could not honestly say that he regarded it as quite satisfactory, he would not press the Amendment to a Division. He felt convinced that a Division would not show the real opinion of Members in this matter, as he believed that the vast majority of the Liberal Party, some of whose Members might on the present occasion be disposed to vote for the Government, were in favour of the admission of the Christian Brothers to the grant.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Resolution agreed to.
§ Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Resolutions agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the subsequent Resolutions to Resolution 51 be further postponed."—(Sir J. T. Hibbert.)
§ MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
asked whether, in view of the very late Sitting of the previous night, and of the amount of time that would in all probability be necessary to complete the Post 253 Office Votes, it was intended to seriously ask the House to dispose of the Report of the other Votes at that Sitting? Would it not be possible to adjourn the Report of Supply taken on the 17th of August until to-morrow's Sitting without preventing the realisation of the general desire of the Committee that the House should be prorogued on Saturday? He would suggest that probably, after all, this would facilitate the passage of the Estimates, for it certainly would require some time to discuss the Report, and it would be impossible to have an adequate discussion at 1or 2 o'clock in the morning.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
said, the Post Office Vote, if adequately discussed, might take a week. The subject was full of importance, and opened up questions which came home to every one of them. But, as he understood, the points which were to be raised were points which would take a very short time indeed; and when they were disposed of ample time would be left for the consideration and, if necessary, the discussion of the Report of Supply of August 17, in which the hon. Member and others were interested. He would remind his hon. Friend that there were a number of items in the Report that they should go through, and that there was a danger, if the ordinary Report was not disposed of, of running over until next week for the date of the Prorogation. From his recollection of what happened last night, there was an understanding that they should discuss the Report of Supply of the 17th of August arid the Post Office Vote. That being so, the hon. Member must feel that the Government were only doing what their pledges required them to do.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
did not think that at this moment they could fix the hour for rising. They did not know how long the Post Office Vote would last; but from what he knew of the probable course of the Debate, he did not think it would be long.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, that neither he nor his friends desired to prolong the discussion on Supply. Their objection last night was not that the time was unduly limited, but that the Government 254 did not, proceed with the Orders of the Day. Having heard what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman, he would be disposed to say that many of them, having said what they had to say about the House of Lords last night, would now be content to take a Division, leaving those hon. Gentlemen who had not had an opportunity of speaking yesterday to express their opinions now.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Resolutions Twenty and Twenty-one, and Thirty-two to Fifty further postponed.