§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "a sum, not exceeding £17,304,000, be granted to His Majesty, on account, for or towards defraying the Charges for the following Civil Services and Revenue Departments for the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1902, namely:
|Board of Education||4,100,000|
|Board of Trade||60,000|
|Royal Palaces and Marlborough House||20,000|
|Royal Parks and Pleasure Gardens||40,000|
|Houses of Parliament Biddings||16,000|
|Miscellaneous Legal Buildings, Great Britain||18,000|
|Art and Science Buildings, Great Britain||12,000|
|Diplomatic and Consular Buildings||12,000|
|Public Buildings, Great Britain||145,000|
|Surveys of the United Kingdom||80,000|
|Harbours under the Board of Trade||2,000|
|Rates on Government Property||250,000|
|Public Works and Buildings, Ireland||70,000|
|United Kingdom and England—|
|House of Lords, Offices||3,000|
|House of Commons, Offices||12,000|
|Treasury and Subordinate Departments||39,000|
|Privy Council Office, etc.||5,000|
|Privy Seal Office||1,000|
|Mercantile Marine Services||30,000|
|Bankruptcy Department of the Board of Trade||3|
|Board of Agriculture||75,000|
|Civil Service Commission||18,000|
|Exchequer and Audit Department||24,000|
|Friendly Societies Registry||2,200|
|Local Government Board||85,000|
|Mint (including Coinage)||10|
|National Debt Office||6,000|
|Public Record Office||11,000|
|Public Works Loan Commission||5|
|Registrar General's Office||130,000|
|Stationery and Printing||280,000|
|Woods, Forests, etc., Office of||8,000|
|Works and Public Buildings, Office of||23,000|
|Secretary for Scotland||25,500|
|Registrar General's Office||28,000|
|Local Government Board||5,00O|
|Lord Lieutenant's Household||2,000|
|Chief Secretary and Subordinate Departments||16,000|
|Departments of Agriculture||70,000|
|Charitable Donations and Bequests Office||1,000|
|Local Government Board||20,000|
|Public Record Office||2,000|
|Public Works Office||16,000|
|Registrar General's Office||20,000|
|Valuation and Boundary Survey||6,000|
|Tinted Kingdom and England:—|
|Miscellaneous Legal Expenses||27,000|
|Supreme Court of Judicature||140,000|
|Police, England and Wales||22,000|
|Prisons, England and the Colonies||260,000|
|Reformatory and Industrial Schools, Great Britain||140,000|
|Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum||18,000|
|Law Charges and Courts of Law||30,000|
|Register House, Edinburgh||15,000|
|Law Charges and Criminal Prosecutions||35,000|
|Supreme Court of Judicature, and other Legal Departments||45,000|
|County Court Officers, etc.||46,000|
|Dublin Metropolitan Police||40,000|
|Loyal Irish Constabulary||600,000|
|Reformatory and Industrial Schools||55,500|
|Dundrum Criminal Lunatic Asylum||3,500|
|United Kingdom and England:—|
|National Portrait Gallery||3,000|
|Scientific Investigation, etc., United Kingdom||25,000|
|Universities and Colleges, Great Britain, and Intermediate Education, Wales||41,000|
|Endowed Schools Commissioners||400|
|Diplomatic and Consular Services||225,000|
|Uganda, Central and East Africa Protectorates and Uganda Railway||320,000|
|Cyprus, Grant in Aid||15,000|
|Subsidies to Telegraph Companies||50,000|
|Superannuation and Retired Allowances||280,000|
|Merchant Seamen's Fund Pensions, etc||3,000|
|Miscellaneous Charitable and other Allowances||1,000|
|Hospitals and Charities, Ireland||17,000|
|Post Office Packet Service||210,000|
|Post Office Telegraphs||1,680,000|
|Total for Revenue Departments||£ 6,870,000|
§ *MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)
Said that during the last twelve mouths they had had in the administration of the Board of Education a very serious departure from those principles which had been laid down in the past in this House and a very serious blow had been struck at the integrity and efficiency of the higher elementary school work of this realm. He found that, in January, 1899. Little more than two years ago, the Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education made a statement which was then, and was now, he believed, in consonance with the wishes of the 595 House and the desires of the country. He would quote that statement and then proceed to show the Committee to what extent and in what manner the administration of the Board of Education had departed from the sound principles laid down by the Minister in charge himself. Speaking at Bradford, the right hon. Gentleman said that "he thought that it would be a most unfortunate thing if the hoard schools, the higher elementary schools, and the schools of science in the large cities were in any way interfered with." He had to submit to the Committee that the operations of the school boards in the great cities of the country in their higher grade schools and schools of science had been very seriously interfered with by the Board of Education under the administration of the right lion, Gentleman himself.
The Committee would remember that little more than twelve months ago a great amount of feeling was manifested in the House upon the question of higher elementary school work. A new principle of allocating the Parliamentary grant to elementary schools had been brought in. And one consequential feature of it was, that the schools which bad previously received the highest grants were by the levelling system cut down in tin amount which they drew from the grant. A formidable agitation grew up in the country that the higher grade schools were being unjustly treated, and in March, 1900, the Government, through the mouthpiece of the right hon. Gentleman, announced a compromise and promised to put organised schools and higher grade schools on a legal and legitimate footing. That promise had not been carried out, and the Higher Elementary School Minute, adopted in April last with general approval of the House, at a time when the feeling of hon. Members of all sections was so strong, had not been adhered to, and in spirit, if not in letter, that Minute had become something like an administrative fraud. He must go back further than twelve months ago in order to deal with the whole question of the attack on higher grade schools, which, if not initiated and not favoured, bad at least been not repudiated by the Board of Education, and by the right hon. Gentleman himself. This attack had grown and grown 596 Until the higher grade schools and the organised science schools were in great peril. The evening continuation schools were in greater peril, and the machinery set up in April last had been nullified and stultified by the Board of Education itself. Four years ago, by the enter prise of many school boards, schools had been set up something after the pattern of Les Ecoles Primaires Superieures in France, and the higher grade schools in Germany. These schools were fostered and encouraged by the Board of Education, grants were given to them, and expression of satisfaction were made regarding the work done by them. The Vice-President of the Council went down to the country to open these schools sometimes all official from the Board of Education itself performed that duly, and, generally speaking, the policy of the Department was to foster and encourage, approve and improve these schools. But a change came over that policy. Schools which had been built by school boards, some of them on the invitation even of the Board of Education, for the express purpose of giving this higher grade education, were refused grants when application was made for them by the school hoards. Money laid out in furnishing physical and chemical laboratories, and in the preparation of rooms for drawing and other higher elementary work, became of non-effect and all this was done by the order of the Board of Education under the right hon. Gentleman.
Now, the Board of Education existed by the will of the people of this country. And the right hon. Gentleman himself, as its head, existed to promote and not to retard education and it there were any gentlemen on the Board of Education who were of opinion that education was to be kept at a standstill, marking time, so to speak, and that what was regarded as a satisfactory amount of education twenty-five years ago was sufficient now, then they entirely misinterpreted the feeling of the House and the country. Those higher grade schools were fulfilling an admirable function. They were not very numerous, only some sixty in all, but, such as they were, they were preparing lads of from thirteen to sixteen years of age to enter the technical 597 Schools and colleges of the country with that preliminary knowledge which the director's of these schools and colleges found to be non-existent formerly. They were preparing these lads to become captains of industry, managers, foremen, draftsmen, chemists, and leaders of the industrial classes. If one lesson was to be gained from the Reports of Royal Commissions and private investigators as to the condition of things in France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, and America, it was that the cause that the success of the manufacturing processes in these countries, compared with our own, consisted in the higher education of foremen, managers, leaders, etc. The higher education of the great mass of the operatives was comparatively unimportant to that. The higher grade schools and the schools of science existed for providing an education of that kind, which was vitally necessary to the continued existence of the manufacturing industries of this country. The change had begun through the action of an institution that had been condemned both in the House and in the country— the old Science and Art Department at South Kensington. When the Board of Education issued a Day School Code, it had to lie on the Table of the House for a certain number of days, and could be upset by the vote of the House: but this Science and Art Department had had the extraordinary power of being able to issue their own rules and regulations without consulting the House or laying them on the Table at all.
The reactionary, foolish, almost criminal policy of hampering the schools appeared to have found a ready supporter in the right hon. The Vice-President of the Council. The first step taken was to disable school boards from receiving Science and Art grants for science and art classes and organised science schools. But grants were given to all sorts of unimportant and unrepresentative bodies in fact, to any committee of two or three gentlemen, if only they could get sonic little local support in the way of fees or subscriptions. Ordinary grammar schools maintained very largely by endowments, and proprietary schools run as a commercial concern for profit, might apply for these science grants and 598 Get them but by a ukase of this self-constituted and independent section of the Board of Education, issued last year, school boards might not make application for grants to their schools except Upon conditions. They must find local support in the shape of fees, which was opposed entirely to the policy of tree education, or they must obtain support from a rate levied under the Technical Instruction Act. Now the Department knew that very few local authorities rated themselves under the Technical Instruction Act. They did not sec the use of doing that when there was a school rate already drawn by the same authority from the same ratepayer.
The policy was first of all to disable the school boards from obtaining Science and Art grants for their schools. That being done by the autocratic procedure of the Board of Education, the next step was to disable the school boards from making up this loss by preventing them from using the school board rate for the purposes of higher education.
Having succeeded in disabling the school boards from participating in Science and Art grants, except on condition of charging fees, the next step was to prevent the boards from using the school board rate. The result was that a School of Art in North London, a relic of the era of philanthropic enterprise, drew the attention of the Local Government Board to the expenditure of the London School Board in science and art classes and evening continuation schools. The auditor, under the circumstances, was obliged to test the question raised, and it was desirable to know whether the Board of Education was represented at the audit, and whether the attention of the auditor was drawn to the past administration of the Board in that matter, and whether any care was taken by the Board to see that the auditor was fully informed upon the question from the point of view of public policy, and of law, and of the minutes having the force of law. The Committee would also wish to know whether the Board of Education made any representations. Or whether it did anything more than sit quiet and wait the decision of the law courts upon what had taken place. The case stood for appeal to a higher court, and meanwhile there was 599 the unseemly spectacle of the authority charged with the duty of providing higher elementary education compelled to go into the law courts and spend the money of the ratepayers in defending the right of the authority to give higher education. Last April the policy of the Government was to favour and encourage and to reward the higher elementary schools' efforts. What had the Board of Education done since last April to make the actions of the board schools legal by minutes or otherwise to make such administration applicable. Nothing had been done by the Board of Education, and, so long as the present policy existed, nothing would be done. It was significant that a committee had been formed to fight school boards on this question, and had for its chairman the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich, while another prominent member of the committee and associated with him was long the leader of the Moderate party on the London School Board, and now, he believed, Member for Aston. The result had been that the work of the school boards in regard to science classes had been paralysed. The work of evening continuation schools had been damaged irretrievably or retarded for years to come. The condition had been imposed that education should be confined to persons under sixteen, and as a consequence 150,000 persons in those schools last year would, if the decision were upheld, be ousted from that means of education.
They had been told that the Higher Elementary School Minute would place science schools on a legal and legitimate footing, but he complained that out of 190 applications the Department had sanctioned only two in eleven months. The London School Board made application for the recognition of seventy-nine schools, in various localities of London, to which the most promising children of the elementary schools were to be drafted. All the principal school boards of the country, too, made application for recognition of higher elementary schools, and again and again they had failed. All sorts of pretexts had been made for the refusal of recognition. It had been impossible for the local authorities to please the Board of Education, and no school board in the country was 600 Satisfied with the way in which the Minute had been administered and hardly one but was disgusted with the administration of the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman, no doubt, would say he expected when this Minute was put forward that the ordinary science schools would be transformed into higher elementary schools, and would probably say that he was not to blame but that was not the opinion generally held. In an organised science school a boy might remain until the age of eighteen, but according to the Higher Elementary School Minute the moment he arrived at fifteen he had to leave. Other conditions laid down in the Minute made it impracticable, and the right hon. Gentle-man was warned at the time it was put forward that it would be so.
All this indicated, he submitted, something like a deliberate policy, engineered by whom, and arising from what sources, he would not attempt to discuss. It was something like a deliberate policy to check the higher elementary education, nullify the efforts of the school boards, and change the whole policy of the country in respect to these schools, and the Committee ought to consider that such a policy was not the kind of work they expected the Board of Education to do, and not the kind of work for which money was voted in Committee for the Board of Education. Having disabled the school boards, having refused to recognise the higher elementary schools, having destroyed one useful set of machinery which had existed for twenty-four years, having refused to set up a new set of machinery, he could find no excuse for the course which the Board had pursued. From what quarter and from what machinery they were to get the higher primary school at all? There was no secondary education department set up by statute. The school boards had been refused power to set up these schools, and there was no authority capable of supplying them. Higher elementary education was to go by the board. They had to wait, he supposed, for higher primary schools to be built and managed by an authority not yet created. In the meantime the excellent work done up to now was hampered and arrested, and if the appeal in another place went against them it was to come entirely to 601 an end. The right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President of the Council would quibble, if he might use the term, between higher elementary schools and secondary schools, and distinguish between one authority and another, and east himself on the protection of the law. No doubt he would give a very plausible explanation of the whole circumstances, but the hon. Member would ask the Committee to remember that the net result of all these proceedings was bad. The right hon. Gentleman would tell them that the Government were limited at present by legal considerations. They had heard a good deal of that kind of thing from the right hon. Gentleman. There was nobody more eloquent and less operative than the right hon. Gentleman, but eloquent platitudes and amusing epigrams were poor food for the educational needs of the country.
In moving that the Vote he reduced by £ 100 he asked the Committee to declare that the time had come when they wished the Education Board to make a serious attempt to provide for the people of the country that higher elementary education which they stood in need of, and which it was in the interests of the country they should have.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Item, Vote 1, Class 4 (Board of Education), be reduced by £ 100."— (Mr. Yoxall)
§ THE VICE-PRESIDENT of the BOARD OF EDUCATION (Sir J. GORST,) Cambridge University
The hon. Member who has just sat down complained of two things. First, he complained that school boards had not power to spend the school board rate upon, instruction outside the subjects of the Elementary Education Code in day schools and night schools; and, secondly, he complained that under the Higher Elementary School Minute of last year the school boards did not get large enough Exchequer grants for their higher elementary schools.
Now it is quite true that these higher elementary schools sprang up almost immediately after the passing of the Elementary Education Act of 1870. They were not invented by either Governments or societies; they really sprang up by themselves. I do not think any 602 the worse of them for that, for such schools are better suited to meet the wants of the people than those invented for them by politicians. I want to ask the Committee to remember what the hon. Member has not explained as yet, that there are two absolutely different kinds of higher grade schools. In the first place, there are a number of higher grade schools which teach each of the subjects of the Elementary Day School Code. They were formerly under the Education Department. They were inspected by the officers of the Education Department, and they were subject to all the rules of the Education Department. I have very often been asked how many of this sort of schools there are. I am sorry to say that I have never been able to answer the question, because there is every kind of school in the shading off from the most elementary school in the country up to the very best of these higher grade schools, and every possible variation of schools between one extreme and the other which keep within the limits of the Elementary Day School Code. It is impossible to say where to draw the line and to say of the schools above. "These are higher grade schools." and of the schools below, "These are only ordinary elementary schools." But there is no doubt there are a very great number of them. The legality of these schools has never been called in question, nor has the right of the school board to spend the rates in building and maintaining such schools ever been called in question. The right to spend the rates on schools of this kind is not in any way affected or called in question by the recent judgment. But, besides these higher grade schools, of the legality of which there has never been any question, there is another kind of higher grade school which I will describe. It is a school which consists of two divisions— an upper division and a lower division. The lower division is a public elementary school it very generally takes the older children in the higher standards, it takes specific subjects, and it obtains its grants from the Education Department, and is conducted as an elementary school. The upper division is not a public elementary school at all it is, frankly, an organised school of science. It has no chil- 603 dren In the standards. It takes not the subjects of the Elementary Day School Code, but the science and art subjects of the Directory. It is inspected by the inspectors of the Science and Art Department, and it receives its grant from that Department. It is an organised science and not a public elementary school. Schools of this kind, of which there are about sixty or seventy in the country, are inspected by two distinct sets of inspectors. The Education Department inspector inspects the lower division and shuts his eyes to the existence of the higher division, of which he is not officially cognisant. The Science and Art Department inspector comes in his turn and inspects the other division. And closes his eyes to the existence of the lower division, with which he has officially nothing whatever to do. There is no inspection of these schools as a whole. There are no proper accounts kept of these schools as a whole, and they are kept as a sort of double institutions such as I have described. Schools of this kind have never been declared to be illegal either by the Education Department or by the judgment in the recent ease. There is no illegality in the establishment of such schools. The illegality is in the application of the school rate to the building or maintenance of the upper division of that school. That is not a new discovery of mine or of the Science and Art Department. It has been known ever since schools of this kind were conducted.
I will just give the Committee an example or two of what was said in past times. I have here an official letter from the Education Department to the Barrow-in-Furness School Board, written in 1884, which says—I am to point out that the provision of a separate school for science and art classes does not appear to come within the province of a school board.Then there is a letter from the Local Government Board to the London School Board, in November, 1885, when an auditor had disallowed an expenditure of the Board exactly analogous to that which was disallowed the other day. The Local Government Board says—The School Board have no authority in law to establish or maintain a science and art school at the expense of the school fund, 604 Because that school is not an elementary school within the meaning of the Education Acts.Then there is a letter written to the London School Board in 1888, which says—An organised science and art school is quite distinct from a public elementary school. In such a school the money paid by the Science and Art Department to the managers forms no part of the receipts or expenditure of the school as a public elementary school… The rates cannot legally be applied to supply instruction in any subject which is not recognised by the Code and taught to the children in the standards.I have another letter written, in 1888, by the Local Government Board to the Brighton School Board, who had also had their expenditure disallowed by their auditor upon similar grounds. It says—The school board had no legal authority to pay out of the funds of the school board any part of the costs of establishing and maintaining an organised school of science, the school not being an elementary one within the meaning of the Education Acts.I find again, in 1892, a letter to the Hanley School Board, which says—The higher section of the [higher grade] school organised as proposed and receiving grants from the Science and Art Department as an organised science school would not be a public elementary school, nor could the cost of the erection of the premises in which it was to be conducted be included in a loan sanctioned by this Department.I think that that will show that the expenditure of the school rate on the maintenance of schools like the upper department of this kind of upper grade school has all along been declared by the Education Department to be illegal, and the judgment given the other day only confirmed the statements of the. Department under every kind of Minister, from the time these schools were, established down to the present day. There was no difficulty about the buildings, because the schools were established in buildings which were already in existence, or which, in some cases, were given for the purpose.
As regards maintenance, the schools were at the outset maintained not out of the school rate, but by fees and the Science and Art grants. Some of the school boards boasted not only that the schools were not a burden on the rates, 605 but that the ratepayers made a profit from the fact that the school board managed a school of this kind. I should like to establish what I have said by a quotation or two. The Brighton School Board writes, in lc887—If the amount of the fees received is taken into account, it will he seen that a profit to the ratepayers has resulted.Before the Education Commission in 1884, Mr. Scotson, the headmaster of the Central Higher Grade School, Manchester, said, in answer to a question on this point, "It is practically more than self-supporting." He very frequently had more than £150 to distribute amongst the teachers, of which £50 used to go to himself. A great deal has been said in these controversies about the late Mr. Mundella's Circular in 1882, which undoubtedly encouraged the establishment of these schools. What did he say? I have never seen it quoted—Under a well-organised system of graded schools the cost to the ratepayers need not be greater than it is now.
§ Sir J. GORST
Then Mr. Macarthy, the chairman of the Birmingham School Board, gave evidence before the Secondary Education Commission in 1895, and this is what he said—I should like to say that the present Board secondary school can only rightly exist if, so far as its most ordinary work is concerned— namely, the real secondary work—it costs the local rates nothing. Practically, such schools are dependent on grants from the Science and Art Department.To show my bona fides in the matter, I may mention that in 1890, when I was comparatively new to this office, I wrote an article, on education, which appeared in the Nineteenth Century. That article was very much complained of on some accounts, but this particular passage was criticised by no one—The Boards, as purveyors of higher educacation, allege that they make a profit which inures to the benefit of the ratepayers.That shows my bona fide belief of a few years ago, that the school rate was not spent on the maintenance of these schools, and that they were really not 606 Only self-supporting, but, in some cases, even a source of profit to the ratepayers.
Then there is the question of buildings. That, of course, is the difficulty. A school board cannot raise a loan to build a school without obtaining the sanction of the Education Department to the loan. School boards from time to time applied for loans to build schools of this kind, but they were always told that it would not be legal to charge such loans upon the school rates. Yet, in spite of that, it is quite true that such schools have been built and the expenditure met out of loans charged on the school rate. I will illustrate what the modus operandi, generally, was. An application was made by the Brighton School Board for sanction to a loan for building a higher grade school, in which the upper portion should be a school of science. They were informed that such a use of the school board funds was illegal. That application was then withdrawn, and an application was made for a public elementary school giving science instruction under the Code, and having laboratories for that purpose. Sanction to that was given, the school was built, and was at once used not as a public elementary school, but as a school of science.
§ MR. YOXALL
was understood to say that in the case of Hanley the building built with the loan referred to was a public elementary school and an organised school of science as well, but the main part of it was used for the purposes of the latter.
§ SIR J. GORST
I will give the facts of that case. The Hanley School Board, in 1892, asked for sanction to a school which was to begin at Standard VII., and have a higher department as an organised science school. The Education Department replied that such a department would not be a public, elementary school, nor could the cost of the erection of the premises in which it was conducted be included in the loan sanctioned by the Department under the Elementary Education Acts. The school board replied withdrawing that part of the scheme, and saying that the chemical laboratory, art room, etc., would now be used for the instruction of children 607 In the standards of the Education Code. The loan was thereupon sanctioned. The school was opened on 24th May, 1804, and a school of science started in the building. Three years after there were 191 pupils in the organised science school, no science at all being taught to the children in the standards.
§ MR. YOXALL
Will the right hon. Gentleman quote the figures for the school as a whole, or allow me to do so?
§ Sir J. GORST
The hon. Member will have an opportunity afterwards; it is not germane to my argument. I am illustrating how it came about that although the Education Department said it was illegal, yet these schools were built. I will give another very recent ease which shows exactly how the thing is done. In February, 1899, when attention had been called to this illegality and everybody was aware of it, the Leeds School Board wrote for sanction to a building they required for science accommodation and intended for the use of scholars in the primary elementary schools taking the scientific subjects in accordance with the scheme of science laid down in the Code. The reply of the Education Department was this—We understand the premises to he required for the purposes of a primary elementary school in which science is to he taught in accordance with the scheme laid down in the Code; that the science rooms are not more than sufficient for these purposes; that they will be used for these purposes; and upon that understanding we sanction the loan.That is clear enough. But this is what the school board say in their report eighteen months later—The fine structure now in course of erection in Burton Street is to be the future home of the present Southern Higher Grade School',—which is a school of science. I thereupon directed a letter to the school board to ask how they reconciled the condition on which they accepted the sanction to the loan with this statement in their report, but I am sorry to say, although that letter was sent some time ago, they have not yet offered an explanation.
The hon. Member in his speech said that if this judgment is affirmed on appeal it will not touch the buildings, because they are built and done with. But the judgment will, as the hon. Member 608 Pointed out, strike at the revenue of the schools. It will prevent the rates being any longer spent in the maintenance of these schools, which, I may say, nobody wishes to see injured or destroyed. The school boards will have three courses open to them. First of all they can return to the condition of things, if it is possible to return to it, which obtained in the early days of these schools; they can charge fees and make the schools self-supporting, as Mr. Mundella said they ought to be, with the provision of free places for children whose parents are unable to pay the fees, but who deserve to be educated in a school of this kind. The second possibility is, to come to terms with the local authority which has power to rate for this purpose. The hon. Member was very scornful about that. The real point is that the borough or urban council has power to lay a rate to be applied to this purpose.
§ Sir J. GORST
Yes, and a penny would in most cases be sufficient. That arrangement is actually in operation at Jarrow-on-Tyne and New Mills, Derbyshire.
§ Sir J. GORST
Those are two cases I know of and can verify, but I have every reason to believe that there are many other cases, and if there were time I have no doubt I could find them. There is the case of Ulverston. Ulverston was one of the school boards that applied to have an elementary school, and correspondence took place. Undoubtedly they did not want a higher elementary school at all; they wanted a school of science. Negotiations are now going on which, I believe, will be brought to a satisfactory conclusion, by which the county of Lancaster will lay a penny rate in the town of Ulverston and apply that rate to the maintenance of this school.
§ Sir JOHN BRUNNER (Cheshire, Northwich)
Do I understand that the county can levy a rate in Ulverston?
§ Sir J. GORST
It is rather a curious state of the law at present. Ulverston can lay a penny rate itself, and the 609 County of Lancaster also can lay a penny rate.
§ Sir J. GORST
In Ulverston. The Ulverston penny rate is unfortunately already appropriated to some other purpose, and in order to make the thing legal the Ulverston people have requested the county of Lancaster to lay a penny rate upon them, and I have every reason to believe that in the course of a few weeks that will be done, and the rate applied, with the consent of all parties, to enable the school to be established in a legal manner.
§ Sir J. GORST
Yes. I do not think there is any danger of any one of these schools, if it is a good school, being injured, even assuming the judgment is confimed. The final course open is the Higher Elementary School Minute. I stated last year that the Higher Elementary School Minute was invented on purpose for these schools; it was intended, in the event of the judgment being in acordance with the legal opinion of the Board of Education, to legalise their position.
I must now say a few words about the evening schools. Evening schools are the most chaotic part of the whole of our chaotic system. Evening school instruction ranges from the three R's —which generally have been previously taught to the scholars at the public expense and are being taught again at the public expense—up to such subjects as drawing from the life, differential and integral calculus, spherical trigonometry, and advanced processes of metallurgy. These evening continuation schools draw their revenue from public as well as from private sources. They get their revenue firstly from the rates, which is perfectly legal so long as they keep within the very wide range of the Evening Continuation School Code. Then they draw revenue from the county council for technical instruction, and they also have local taxation money, which comes from the Chancellor of the 610 Exchequer, and which is distributed through the county council. They also have a grant from the Science and Art Department and the grant for elementary education. These schools are inspected by four different sets of inspectors, and they are established by one set of managers who compete with those schools set up by another set of managers, and thus pupils are drawn from schools supported by public money. In the case of London the London School Board took upon itself some three years ago, without any definite Parliamentary authority, to make all the evening schools free, and the effect of making these evening schools free has been not to draw students out of the streets, but to draw students from other schools and institutions. There is no doubt that in the case of a great many of the polytechnics receiving public money the students are drawn away into the schools because they have to pay either smaller fees or no fees at all. It is quite true that if the judgment is confirmed on appeal, these evening schools, maintained by the rates, will not be able to teach subjects outside the Evening School Continuation Code, and they will not be able to teach science.
The Lord President of the Council was asked in the House of Lords the other day * whether he would bring in a Bill to cure this difficulty, and from the answer my noble friend gave in another place. I cannot promise, and hon. Members must not expect, that the Government will bring in any Bill which will deal with this specific complaint of school boards. But the Government will bring in a Bill, as my noble friend said in the House of Lords, upon which all these points can be raised, and upon which a Parliamentary decision can be taken. The Government will bring in a Bill for the creation of secondary education authorities having power to provide public instruction in those subjects which are not contained in the Elementary and Evening Continuation Schools Codes. Parliament will then decide whether there is to be one authority for dealing with education. If it decides that there should be only one, it will* See preceding volume of Debates, page 978.611 then have to say who that authority shall be. If Parliament decides to have two authorities, the House will then have to decide what definition of higher education shall be adopted, and where the limit of one authority ceases and that of the other begins.
Parliament will also have to decide another matter which has never yet been brought to a decision. That is, whether it is for the interest of the country that adults shall receive this higher education or any education at the expense, of the country. I do not wish to prejudice this question at all. There is, of course, a great deal to be said on both sides. But take a case of this kind: A person of mature life wishes to amuse himself, to provide himself with recreation by drawing. Has he any right to ask the ratepayers or the taxpayers to pay not only the cost of his being taught, but also of the materials which he uses?—because, I am told, anybody who wishes to learn drawing has nothing to do but to walk into one of the London evening continuation schools, and he can there get most excellent instruction and have all his materials found for him. It may be right that that should be done, but I think Parliament ought to decide it. I do not think it is right that even such an august body as the London School Board should decide that question without the authority of Parliament, and certainly upon the Bill to be brought in the House will have an opportunity of deciding this question.
I have already detained the House rather a long time, but I must briefly refer to the Higher Elementary School Minute. The, Higher Elementary School Minute does no doubt diminish the Exchequer grants received by the higher grade schools of the type to which I have been referring, and that I say is perfectly legal and perfectly light. That question was discussed last session. It is inseparable from the system of the block grant that those schools that are earning most from the Government should suffer; hut, on looking through the figures, I find that the School Board of London all through London has lost only £4,000 by the operation of the block grant system, representing a one-thirty-seventh of a penny rate. 612 Cardiff lost one-sixth of a penny, Liverpool one-fifteenth of a penny, Manchester one-eighth of a penny, and so on. I do not think the higher grade schools are in any danger, because a slightly greater proportion of their cost will be defrayed by rates and a slightly less proportion will be paid out of the Consolidated Fund. It does not seem to me to be reasonable that rich schools should come to this House and cry out that we are destroying the higher grade schools by putting on them a charge of one-thirty-seventh of a penny.
I do not think that I need say much more. The agitation that is going on in regard to this matter is really an attempt on the part of the school boards of the country to get themselves made secondary education authorities as the school boards are in Scotland. We can discuss that when the Bill to which I have already referred comes on. I will only just say briefly what are my objections to the school board as the education authority. My first objection is its inapplicability to the rural districts, which require higher education quite as much as, if not more than, the great towns. My second objection is that the methods of the school boards have the effect of destroying excellent institutions which already exist and which are doing really good work. I am sorry to say that the figures show that there is not the slightest doubt that the secondary schools of London, which have been aided by the Technical Instruction Committee of the London County Council, and which are very efficient schools, have been injured by the higher grade schools of the London School Board; for whereas formerly a great number of children from the elementary schools found their way into these secondary schools, they are now kept out of these schools because the School Board keep them in the inferior schools, and they are not allowed to enter the higher schools. It will be seen that, so far from giving the children of working men a better education, you are actually preventing them getting the better education which they would otherwise get. My third objection is that the type of school established by the school board is not the type you would like to see all over this country. 613 It is tainted by the defects of our elementary school system—defects which lead to too much of an attempt to drill and too much training of the children, and too little attempt is made to develop their character and give them any originality of their own. You cannot help this if you have hundreds of children under one management, for it is impossible for the head of the school to superintend such a large number and to know enough of the children to enable him to develop their character at the same time. These are the reasons why we think the school boards should not be made the authority for these higher grade schools. One thing I quite admit, and that is, that we shall never have anything like a proper system of education in this country until we make up our mind what is to be the authority, until we have one authority, and until schools of every kind and every grade are placed under that authority. Then there will be no more overlapping, no more trouble about the particular kind of school, or the particular course of education to be given in it; because if you have one authority in a district you can lay out a plan of education suited to the wants of the people of that district, and you can build such schools as are necessary for the peculiar wants and idiosyncrasies of the people of the district. You would have education carried on in a sensible and business kind of manner, and you would get rid of the chaos which exists at present.
§ *MR. J. H. WHITLEY (Halifax)
said he wished to draw the attention of the right lion, the Vice-President to the special difficulties under which evening continuation schools at present laboured. He could speak with some little authority on this question, from the fact that for the last fifteen years he had been engaged in Halifax in the management of some of the most successful continuation schools in the country. The first thing he wanted was the abolition of the 17s. 6d. Limit. He did not know whether it had been an oversight on the part of the right hon. Gentleman, but when the Day School Code abolished the 17s. 6d. Limit, it was left in existence in regard to evening schools, which was an extreme hardship. For fifteen years those with 614 Whom he had been working had been labouring to raise the standard of education in those evening schools, and when, at the end of fourteen years, they were able to earn grants exceeding the 17s. 6d., they found that the money could not be paid because this iniquitous regulation still remained on the Evening School Code.
The second matter which he wished to press on the right hon. Gentleman was the connection between the evening and the day schools. Three years ago the right hon. Gentleman introduced into the Evening School Code a regulation forbidding children who were attending a day school to attend, at the same time, an evening school. With the spirit of the regulation he agreed, but in actual practice it had resulted in considerable harm to the children they wished to benefit. His most important point was to get the children to pass from the day to the evening school without the break. His experience showed that unless they did that, the chances were doubled or tripled that they would never get them into the evening schools. He would ask whether the right hon. Gentleman would not consider a system whereby a child, within six months of leaving a day school, could enter an evening school. The two systems would overlap in the least degree, but they could be so arranged as to take away the probability of break. What happened was this. Unless a child became a "full timer" during the six months of the summer, he was inable to begin the evening school session at the proper time. All the classes had been arranged, and the children had fixed on their companions. The child did not like to go into the school halfway through the winter session, and therefore in many cases he said he would not go to the evening school until next year. When the break was once made in this way the chances were that they never got such children into evening schools at all. It a reasonable modification of the regulation made eight years ago were introduced, it would not be a hardship on the children in the day schools, and would be a very great advantage to the country.
The third matter he wished to press on the attention of the right hon. Gentleman was physical education in the evening schools. In the evening schools 615 with which he was connected, he had insisted, in spite of the Evening School Code, on a large proportion of physical education. Hon. Members must remember that they were dealing with children who had spent ten hours already at work; and he had always held that it was not advisable that such children should have their education based entirely on book work. Therefore, in his evening schools, it had always been essential that physical drill and gymnastics should be carried on alongside and with mental instruction. He attributed to that fact a large part of the success of these schools, and the high percentage of the regular attendance at them. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, when he was arranging his next Code, he would not put in a specific grant for physical culture under proper precautions. In the present condition of the Army and Navy there was nothing more important than that our youths should get more regular and systematic physical education in the evening schools. He had heard with gratification the concluding words of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, when he asserted that the Bill he was going to introduce into the House would not be like some other Bills, or like the laws of the Medes and Persians, which could not be altered, but that it would be a Bill which the House could discuss in a businesslike manner, not a cast-iron Bill which they must accept or reject. He trusted that the promise would be fulfilled, and that the Bill would be brought in and discussed in a broad spirit.
§ MR. FLOWER (Bradford, W.)
said there were two or three matters to which he wished to draw the attention of the Committee and the right hon. Gentleman. First of all, however, he joined cordially in the concluding remarks of the hon. Gentleman opposite. He thought the time had now come when, in discussing matters affecting education, they might well eliminate party elements and think solely in a practical and business-like way of the very difficult and intricate problems with which they had to deal. The speech of the right hon. The Vice-President was an evidence of that fact.
Passing from that, what was it that evening continuation schools were trying to do? They were trying three things— 616 to combine what he would call a system of night schools with that of continuing the education of children from the elementary day schools, and with a soupçon of technical education—and they were failing in the combination. At least, his experience on the London School Board was that the effort to combine the three systems in one was not a success. They had heard accounts brought before the London School Board of such evening continuation schools being opened free, but at a very large cost to the ratepayers, and of the classes being very largely attended. But the Committee would have smiled if they had heard the report as to the actual attendance at some of these classes. Nevertheless, the evening continuation schools of the London School Board were doing a great and useful work, and in these days when public attention was being directed to the large number of young people who were loafing about the streets, one would be sorry to do anything to curtail that useful work, although it needed to be systematised. He sincerely hoped from the speech of the Vice-President that it was the intention of the Government to steadily and persistently persevere in that course. The task was really not so very difficult. They had not to contend against any antagonism, or any public feeling, but only against the smaller petty jealousies between local bodies. Of course the ideal which the right hon. Gentleman had sketched of one central authority would be the true solution of the problem—one local authority responsible for all education throughout well-defined areas.
There was another matter to which he would like to draw attention, and again he did so in no party spirit. From time to time they heard of the educational progress in other countries. That had become almost a commonplace, and in metaphorical language it was urged that England was lagging behind other nations in this respect. Unhappily it was the truth. No matter what codes they might invent, or what authorities they might establish, they had got to I come back at last to the quality of the teachers who were going to impart the instruction. [An HON. MEMBER: And the number of them.] Those who were responsible for the education of this country might make every attempt in 617 other directions, but these would of necessity fail. The scarcity of places in the training colleges was now nothing less than a scandal. Representative after representative of the Education Department had, from the Treasury Bench, deplored the scarcity of places in the training colleges, even after the Chancellor of the Exchequer had met the request of the Education Department with a rebuke. The accommodation in the training colleges was wholly and utterly inadequate to meet the demand, and the result was that young teachers, with every hope that they might make themselves useful public servants, found themselves unable to complete their career or to obtain admission to the training colleges. Consequently they resorted to other professions, and the years of work they had given was lost, besides a considerable amount of public money expended on them. He hoped the Government would consider the question of increasing the number of training colleges. The ideal would be to link the training colleges to the universities, and give the young teachers a taste of that wider life which was obtained in a public university. But if that could not be done, they ought not to see the teachers of the future dropping out of the ranks—hundreds, almost thousands, of capable young people who might be efficient and brilliant teachers, denied admission to the training colleges. He hoped and believed that the religious difficulty was not going any more to hinder them from working for the progress of education. He believed that all the religious difficulties could be settled by a five minutes conference round a common table, on the broad principle of "give and take."
That brought him to another point which he wished to bring before the attention of the Committee—namely, the securing of a reasonable fixity of tenure for the teachers. This equally applied to teachers in voluntary as in board schools. How could they hope to induce the young people of the country to become teachers unless there was some reasonable prospect of fixity of tenure, and some provision made against the arbitrary and capricious dismissal of teachers? He believed himself that that could be secured by a Minute of the 618 Education Department; but if not, it might be done by a Bill of an entirely non-contentious character. But until it was done there would from time to time arise cases of harsh, capricious, and cruel dismissal of teachers. And these would disgust a large number of young people who would otherwise enter the teaching profession.
He would most respectfully and earnestly press on the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the matters which he had brought before the Committee; and he hoped that he would be permitted to express the anticipation that the Bill promised by the right hon. Gentleman would be introduced ere long in the House. At the present moment, all who engaged in the work of education were doing so under difficult conditions. There had been a legal decision of the King's Bench Division pronouncing that much of the education given by the school boards of recent years had been illegal. That decision had been appealed against, although the Education Department had very properly decided to continue paying the grants pending the appeal. This condition of chaos could not, however, and ought not to, go on much longer. It ought to be the serious work of the Government this session to simplify and regulate the education of the country as it ought to be, and to create an authority which would once for all put an end to the disastrous and extravagant system of overlapping, and place the public education of the country on a real businesslike footing.
§ *DR. MACNAMARA (Camberwell, K)
said they must all agree with the right hon. Gentleman that every grade of school and each kind of education should be in each district under the same local authority responsible to the people. The right hon. The Vice-President had told them that the right of any school board to use the rates for advanced instruction had been challenged in the courts of law. Now, the very fact of that challenge was, in his opinion, a very serious commentary on the capacity of the officials of the Education Department to interpret the Parliamentary statutes for the last thirty years. The late Mr. Mundella, a pre- 619 decessor of the right hon. Gentleman, had gone out of his way to invite the Welsh school boards to establish higher grade schools, although no doubt he had added that they ought to be self-supporting. But, apart from Mr. Mundella, the present Vice-President and other members of the Board of Education had gone down to the country and in various cities and towns made flamboyant speeches congratulating the people of these towns on founding higher grade schools. No opposition had ever been raised by the Department until the other day as to the propriety of using the school rates for the support of these schools. He did not propose to deal further with this part of the question, seeing that the decision of the courts had been challenged, and that the point must hereafter be decided by the final court of appeal.
But what he wanted to come to was a matter which was not sub judice, and which had not been challenged in a court of law—namely, the administration of the Higher Elementary Schools Minute. He hoped the House would excuse him if he went into this matter in some detail. Hon. Members would remember that the Education Code last year initiated a very salutary reform — a reform due to the right hon. Gentleman, and which provided for the "block" grant instead of special grants. Under that system a large number of schools which had been devoting attention to a large number of specific subjects lost a great deal of money, and in response to the pressure from both sides of the House—[An HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh.] —well, or as a result of the spontaneous goodwill towards education which the right hon. Gentleman had always evinced in everything he had said—
§ SIR J. GORST
said that he might explain that the grants to the higher grade schools and the schools of science would be continued until the legal issue of the appeal which had been made to the House of Lords on the point.
§ *DR. MACNAMARA
said he would confine his remarks to the Elementary School Minute of April last, which provided for special instruction and special grants. That Minute seemed to be a 620 genuine endeavour on the part of the right hon. Gentleman to provide facilities for the continuous education of the children of the working classes whose parents were willing to keep them at school up to fifteen years of age. It was on that statement that the hon. Member for Cambridge University based his suggestion for a Higher Elementary Education Minute. It was on the strength of this statement that it was a genuine endeavour to make provision for the further education of the working-class children—rendered necessary by the cutting down of the grants under the Block grant system — that the House has agreed that the Code and the Minute were conducive to the best interests of education. He did not want to put it offensively, but directly the matter had passed away from the House the scope of the Minute began to be dwarfed to a very alarming degree. The local authorities who applied for recognition of their schools under the Minute were promptly told that such schools to be recognised must have a curriculum bearing a close resemblance to the curriculum of a school of science. Schools of science were higher grade schools organised under rules of the now happily defunct Science and Art Department, and which had a curriculum mainly scientific. He complained of that administration; there was nothing in the Minute about conforming to a scientific course. The Minute was one merely establishing higher elementary schools, not higher elementary schools of science; and if that had been the intention of the Minute it would have been better for the House to have been told of it before it passed away from them. The Minute laid down that the Board should decide which grant should be paid in the case of each year's course after consulting the report and recommendation on four points—the suitability of the instruction to the circumstances of the scholars and the neighbourhood; the thoroughness and the intelligence with which the instruction was given; the sufficiency and suitability of the staff; and the discipline and organisation. Of these four points the pregnant phrase was the first. Would the right hon. Gentleman argue that a course of instruction, mainly scientific, would be universally suitable to the use of all 621 schools in all neighbourhoods? If he did not argue in that way then there was nothing in the Minute which would justify the ruling which the Board of Education was now giving right and left, that the provisions of the Higher Elementary School Minute were not applicable to schools of a commercial type. He considered it was a most fatuous ruling. The one thing needed at the present time was opportunity for commercial training. It was always his impression that the Government believed that the one particular need of the moment was commercial education. At a conference held at the Guildhall on the question of commercial education, and which was convened by the London Chamber of Commerce, the Vice-President of the Council agreed that commercial education was in the opinion of the Government essential. That was also shown by the remarks made by the Home Secretary on the previous day when distributing prizes in connection with the London Chamber of Commerce scheme. The right hon. Gentleman said on that occasion, that in being present he was only performing his duty. "It would be a strange thing," he added, "if the Government of a great commercial country like this did not show an interest in a matter so vitally affecting the interests of the country." The way in which the Government showed that interest consisted in their rigidly declining to recognise schools which proposed to give commercial training. The Government must be very unworthy fiduciaries if they deprived the working classes of this one avenue to success which was now open to them. Everybody was alive to the importance of commercial education except those who ought to be most alive to it—those who controlled education. He protested very strongly against this endeavour to rule out commercial training for the people. Although Lord Rosebery and the Colonial Secretary had recently made strong statements as to the necessity for commercial education, all that was received from the Board of Education was well summed up in a letter written to the London School Board:—Business training cannot be recognised as part of the curriculum of higher elementary schools.But the right hon. Gentleman might say that the Government never having 622 paid for commercial education could not begin to do so now; but that I would be an extraordinary statement to make, seeing that the country had I paid for commercial instruction and that the Board of Education in its Science and Art Directory made provision for commercial instruction. He hoped the Board of Education would see its way to modify this ruling at once. Let them contrast the system in this country, with that of Scotland. Why should not the one be as good as the other—what was sauce for the Scotch gander surely was sauce for the English goose? In Scotland it was always desired that the local authorities should feel themselves free to vary the curriculum according to local needs, but that was not so in England, and the same remark applied to the age for leaving. In Scotland it could be extended to eighteen years, whilst in England it was ruled down to fifteen; the only complimentary explanation being that an English child could at the age of fifteen attain the same intellectual level as a Scotch child of eighteen. The local authorities of Bradford (the Manchester of the woollen trade) desired to have a higher elementary school organised on commercial lines, with French and German as the leading subjects. That was a suggestion which one would have thought would have been encouraged, but it was not, and Bradford was told that it could not have a school organised on commercial lines, it must be a school of science. There was nothing whatever in the Minute to justify any such ruling.
The House had been told a short time ago that there had been some 190 applications for recognition under the Higher Elementary Minute. The same information had been given on the 31st of July last. Were they to understand that no applications were made during the seven months which intervene between those two dates? Out of those 190 applications two only had been recognised. That was the information given to the House nearly twelve months after the Minute was passed, that only two had been recognised out of 190. In London there were seventy-nine high grade schools, and the London School Board, disliking the science course, had foregone the preferential grants and took most of the cost out of 623 the ratepayers, because they preferred a general commercial curriculum. When the Higher Elementary Minute was introduced they suggested that these seventy-nine schools should be recognised, and the Board of Education magnanimously offered to recognise four, or rather the School Board authorities were told that the Board of Education would consider four out of the seventy-nine. Seventy-nine looked rather a high figure, but that was only one school to every 100,000 of the population. Surely every district with 100,000 population was entitled to one higher grade school. The answer which they obtained was that the Board of Education would consider the advisability of recognising the four schools of science, which would give two higher grade schools in Greenwich and two in Marylebone, those being the places in which these four schools were situated. In nine out of the eleven divisions of the London School Board there were no higher elementary schools under the Minute. In the Division of West Lambeth, which he himself represented, there were seven Parliamentary boroughs with 650,000 population, 130,000 of whom were children attending the elementary schools, and that division did not possess a higher elementary school under the Minute. That was not the spirit in which the Minute was placed before the House of Commons.
He did not want to labour the point, but he could not help saying that, all the country over, there had been a set determination on the part of the Board of Education to put every conceivable obstacle in the way of establishing higher elementary education and the further development of the working-class children. It was simply marvellous how the rulings under the Minute were developing. In April last the Birmingham teachers applied through the Secretary to the Colonies that elementary and higher elementary schools might be held under one roof, and he received a letter from the Board of Education which contained the following—The new Minute does not state that the new type of school must necessarily be in a totally separate building from an ordinary elementary school.Shortly after that the Hebden Bridge School Board wrote to the Board of 624 Education on the same subject and received the following reply—The Board of Education do not propose to sanction as higher elementary schools, schools which are in part used as ordinary elementary schools. Higher elementary schools must be separate and complete.He submitted that such a ruling as that was in direct conflict with the ruling obtained by the Colonial Secretary on behalf of the Birmingham teachers.
§ SIR J. GORST
was understood to say that the second ruling was a mistake. He would not object to sanction as higher elementary schools, schools which were partly used as ordinary schools, and in many cases he had sanctioned them.
§ *DR. MACNAMARA
Had the right hon. Gentleman sanctioned the schools at Hebden Bridge? That was the school to which ho was referring, and he would be very much surprised to hear that the Board of Education had at Hebden Bridge sanctioned a higher elementary school and a primary school under one roof. If Minutes were administered in this manner they would before very long be administered entirely out of existence. It was impossible to fix these people. They dodged about from kopje to kopje in a way that put the activity of Christian De Wet into the shade. When endeavouring to fix the responsibility for the deliberate and reprehensible attempt to whittle down the Higher Elementary Minute, the difficulty with which one was confronted was that it was quite impossible to believe the Vice-President could be responsible, for every public utterance of his proclaimed him to be a generous and enlightened and progressive educationalist. Whoever was responsible, having regard to the manner in which we were plunged into the fiercest of commercial struggles with our foreign rivals, it was lamentable to the last degree. It was Little Englandism of the most pernicious type to put these obstacles in the way of most generous facilities for the intellectual equipment of the children of the people. He pleaded for a touch of Imperialism in this matter, and thought that the greatest possible facilities should be given by the Board of Education.
§ SIR W. HART DYKE (Kent, Dartford)
said the debate had been one of extraordinary interest, and if it had shown one thing more than another, it had shown that it was high time that they had something more than these educational speeches from the right hon. Gentleman. It was high time that, after debate upon debate in this House, measures of the kind which had been shown with almost sickening reiteration to be necessary should be produced before them, and that an Act of Parliament should reduce this matter to a practical shape.
Hon. Gentlemen who had spoken on the subject on this occasion had cast upon the administration of the Education Department the imputation that the treatment of higher grade schools for many years had been a serious reflection on the Education Department. He thought the reflection should rather be cast on the people of this country, who for thirty years past had shown so little interest in education. If they had taken half the interest in this question that they had taken in taxation and other matters a remedy would have been found long ago. All Governments had dreaded and shirked the difficulty of filling up the obvious gap between elementary and higher education. He appealed to the House never to cease to put pressure on the Government until the latter produced a measure and gave earnest of their intention to carry it to a practical conclusion. No Government ever had such an opportunity as the Government had at this moment of dealing with the question. This debate showed what an extraordinary change had come over public opinion in respect to this subject, not only outside but within the walls of that House. This new Parliament was prepared to deal practically with the question. He believed that hon. Members were prepared to make some sacrifices of principle on each side to secure a good measure. They were prepared to approach the matter, not as partisans of either the voluntary or school board system, but as educationists. He believed that before many years had passed, and when the first stress of pressure came as regarded our commercial supremacy, we should find what a bitter penalty we had to pay for 626 thirty years of negligence. Facts could be adduced which would show the fruit of the educational efforts in America as regarded the engineering trade. He believed that facts and figures would be brought before the House which would awaken hon. Members and the Government to the urgency of proceeding in this matter. His right hon. Friend had alluded to a Bill which was to come before the House. He believed that that Bill had the germs of success in it. He believed that the whole key of the position was that they must trust the representatives of the people in each locality. The less Parliament interfered with the localities the better. They must have a central authority, but the solution of the difficulty was to place the education of the people in some local authority in each district. He appealed to hon. Members, whatever the promised measure was, to remember the huge issues involved, to sink their political differences, and to endeavour to come to a wise and just conclusion.
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
Said the discussion that day showed that there was a general feeling that the time had come for endeavouring to pass a comprehensive measure which would get rid of the evils and inconveniences which had been so strongly pointed out on the Opposition side of the House. The right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President did not grapple with the difficulty underlying the whole matter—namely, the fact that the higher grade schools, which had been allowed to go on for a good many years, had suddenly found themselves dealt with in an entirely different spirit, and had found themselves in great difficulty in carrying on the work they did.
The House would allow him to say how these higher grade schools came into existence. A Commission which reported in 18G8 pointed out that the greatest educational need of the country, besides, of course, the establishment of elementary schools, was the establishment of higher grade schools—secondary schools which should give a practical education to children from the age of fourteen or fifteen for a moderate fee not exceeding £4 a year. Nothing had been done to give effect to that recommendation from that time to now, and except by the schemes 627 of the Endowed Schools Commissioners nothing was done to create these schools, which were the greatest need of the country then, and were the greatest need of the country still. Then came the Education Act of 1870, and two years after that Act came into operation the school boards, feeling that the benefits obtained in the elementary schools were very largely lost because the children could not carry their education further, started these higher grade schools. He did not think the right hon. Gentleman would dispute the growth of these higher grade schools. From that time to now they had been of the greatest possible benefit. No part of our educational machinery had been better than those sixty or seventy schools which would be hit at by the case now under appeal. Therefore this was a very serious case.
It was not denied, and it would not be denied by the Education Department itself, that the line they had taken lately had been very different from the line taken at an earlier time. It would have been quite impossible for the school boards to have gone on as they had done continually developing these schools and working them out on larger lines if the Education Department had adopted the kind of policy which had been adopted lately. He did not at all deny that there were some drawbacks. One of them had been mentioned that night. Under the influence of the science and art grants these schools were going too exclusively on the scientific line. He did not deny that there were some places where it might be true that, as the right hon. Gentleman had pointed out, the higher grade schools were to some extent coming into competition with secondary schools in a way that made it difficult for them to carry on, but, on the whole, the balance of advantage was very greatly on the side of the higher grade schools. They had become so indispensable in the educational machinery of the country that any interference with them ought to have been avoided by the Board of Education. Well, under some influence, the origin of which he could not guess, the Board of Education had disregarded the danger, and they had checked the usefulness of these higher grade schools. He believed that at this moment these schools were in serious difficult, because in order 628 to satisfy the requirements of the Science and Art Department they had gone on incurring expenses, erecting schools, and purchasing apparatus. Now they found themselves suddenly cut off from the resources on which they had counted, and they were in serous financial difficulties.
§ SIR J. GORST
said he had distinctly stated that until the final judgment was given in the case the grants would be paid.
§ MR. BRYCE
remarked that there was a sword hanging over their heads, so to speak, and they were unable to develop their work. The present position of school boards was really an extremely difficult one, and one which made it impossible for them to continue the course by which they had rendered considerable service. Therefore, he could not help wishing that the Board of Education, before they issued their new Minute, before they set the Cockerton case going—
§ SIR J. GORST
said he absolutely disclaimed all responsibility for the Cocker-ton case; the Board of Education had nothing whatever to do with it.
§ MR. BRYCE
said that in that case the Board of Education ought to have framed their Minute in a different way, and they ought to have administered the Minute in a different spirit from that which they appeared to have pursued. These schools filled gaps, and were doing most useful work. The higher grade schools were doing most useful technical work, and he asked why it should be cut short. There was neither reason, consistency, nor public advantage in the line the Board of Education had taken.
He agreed with the main conclusion of his right hon. Friend the Member for the Dartford Division that what was wanted was a systematic revision of the whole system. The Vice-President of the Council had said that there was a want of public interest in the question; but why was there a want of public interest? Because it was perfectly impossible for any private individual, unless he gave his mind to the study of the excessively complicated condition into which our 629 system of education had got, to understand anything about it. This was not a new matter. It had been admitted for years. It was dealt with in the fullest manner by the Royal Commission that reported in 1895. That Commission was unanimous. The right hon. Gentleman on every occasion he had addressed the House since had admitted that the matter was urgent. The present Government had a large majority. Why did it not deal with the question, and why by the Minute of last session did it actually begin to pull down the old house before erecting a new one? That ought not to have been done until they had established a new authority to carry out a new scheme. The Board of Education had reversed that progress, and they had stopped the authority which was doing useful work before they had started a new authority to take its place. He hoped the Committee might take it that there was no doubt that the Government would introduce a Hill. Perhaps they would say whether the Hill would be introduced in this or in the other House?
§ MR. BRYCE
said he would conclude with one piece of advice to the Government. If they desired their Bill to succeed, let them frame it with sole reference to educational considerations, and make it a Bill that should be fair as between the different authorities which were more or less seised of this question, and, above all, let them take every taint of sectarianism out of it. Let there be nothing in the Bill which would arouse those sectarian passions which had so much injured the cause of education, which would impede the passage of the measure, and which would make it more difficult to work. If they would introduce a Bill purely educational, he thought they would have no difficulty in passing it through the House.
§ EARL PERCY (Kensington, S.)
Protested against the imputation that those who supported the Government's action in this matter were reactionary and opposed to commercial education. He thought that commercial, education was 630 the thing we most needed, probably more than scientific education, and unless it were provided by the Government, or unless the Government provided the means by which that commercial education could be given, we would not retain for long our commercial supremacy in the competition with foreign countries. It by no means followed that they undervalued commercial education because they refused to allow schools to supply it which, by the very essence of their being, were incapable and unfitted to provide it. The hon. Member opposite said that no one would have dreamt when the Minute was discussed in the House that the Government would have placed a construction on it which would prevent the school boards giving commercial education in the schools. He should say that anyone who considered the subject for a moment would see that the Government had no alternative. The Royal Commission on Secondary Education reported that the school boards had already taken the place of what were called by the Schools Inquiry Commission the third grade, and in some cases the second grade schools. The Minute of last year seemed to him to have begun to carry out the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Secondary Education which investigated the subject of these higher grade schools. It laid down the age limit of these schools—the age limit was fifteen—and by doing so it sharply distinguished these schools from the secondary schools, in which the leaving age was sixteen to nineteen years. The whole object of these higher grade schools was that they should provide scientific training for those who were going into industry or manufacture, while the secondary schools should be open to those who could afford more than one or two years attendance after leaving the ordinary public elementary school, and who could undergo a more general and business training which should fit them to go into a college. The Government had agreed to recognise those schools under the Minute.
Surely the wisest policy of the Government in regard to their future Education Bill was to encourage school boards to provide all higher grade science schools which were necesssary for that part of the population which was going to enter 631 into some industry or manufacture; that they should then erect an authority for secondary education which should provide higher grade schools, in which the children should remain for four years, and in which they should have a proper commercial education; and, lastly, that they should provide a regular system of scholarships which should, on the one hand, take the child of the public elementary school to the higher grade organised science school, and, on the other hand, from the public elementary school to the secondary commercial school. When that had been done we would have a thorough businesslike system.
§ *MR. GEORGE WHITE (Norfolk, N.W.)
said he knew it was a somewhat dangerous thing to make any personal reference in first rising to address the Committee, but he wished to say that he had been connected with a large school board for twenty-seven years, and he had for four terms been chairman of that board; he was also a governor of two endowed schools. Therefore he was sure the Committee would pardon him in giving this educational history, because he felt that he had had some opportunity of informing himself in regard to the various phases of educational work, of knowing how they might overlap each other, and how cooperation might be secured with advantage to all.
He felt, in rising to support the Amendment, that he was not opposing any grant of public money for the purpose of education. It must be a relief to the Committee, as it was to himself, for a short time at any rate, to get rid of the interminable discussion they bad had upon the war, and the never-ending payments necessary for the cost of the war, and to consider for a few hours matters affecting the condition and the well-being of the people at home. He could not forbear from reminding the Committee that measures of coercion and destruction were far more costly than those of beneficial construction. The prosecution and imprisonment of one Hooligan cost ten times more than an elementary scholar's education. It was a sad and awful thing to feel that when this war should terminate, for the two years it has existed it will have cost 632 more than the whole of the money the State has expended on education since the Act of 1870 was passed. He felt that the House ought to know what plans the Government had for the future with regard to the education of this country, and whether they had any remedy for the chaos the right hon. Gentleman had so graphically described; and especially whether they were prepared to put the higher grade schools on a more permanent footing.
He quite supported the distinct allegation that the Department and its work in recent years, so far as education is concerned, had been of a decidedly reactionary character, not only in regard to legislation, but more especially in regard to the administration of the Acts by the Department. There was the best evidence of this in some portions of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, in which he attempted to show that the work of school boards need not be injured in the least, because they had the technical education grant, or the rate which the technical committees are allowed to raise, to fall back upon to continue their work. Would any hon. Member contend that the technical grant and the technical rate combined were too much for the work which a technical committee had to undertake, whether in cities, boroughs, or rural districts? This was another evidence on the part of the right hon. Gentleman of the way in which the Department attempted to throw the proper work of the school boards on to some other department of educational work. It did not appear to matter to the right hon. Gentleman who took up this work so long as it was taken away from the school boards.
He would instance two or three cases of the reactionary policy of the Department. The grant-in-aid of three-quarters of a million of money, and the exemptions of denominational schools from rates began a new principle with regard to the administration of grants in connection with education in this country. It seemed to him, and he thought the working out of it would prove, that the grant-in-aid was really intended to assist inefficient schools, which were doing their work very badly, and at the same time to demand no increased efficiency from them. Until this Govern- 633 ment came into office it was always thought, and acted upon by educationists in connection with school boards, that the school board was the proper authority to supply any acknowledged deficiency of educational accommodation. It had been for this Government to show that that was not so. He could demonstrate over and over again from examples, from large towns as well as from villages, that obstacles had been put in the way of school boards supplying acknowledged deficiencies, where the accommodation had been insufficient and inefficient, and yet delays, extending to years, had been granted until a denominational effort had been made, rather than permit a school board to be established, or an existing board to supply the deficiency. That was a way of administering the Acts which he did not think was in accordance with the spirit of the Education Act of 1870, and certainly was not in accordance with the action of the Department up to the time this Government came into office.
It was not only in these ways but in the efforts which were apparently being made to check the character of the education in our midst that the Government had shown their reactionary policy. It was not necessary for him to detain the Committee with the history of the growth of higher grade schools, but he could not follow the right hon. Gentleman opposite in his description of their growth. They were but the natural and simple outgrowth of the Act of 1870. Even that Act gave scope for certain specific subjects, and he believed that before that Act was passed grants were administered from the Education Department for specific subjects, some of which were even in these later days almost dragged into what is called secondary education. It was quite true that school boards and those who were anxious to establish higher grade schools did on many occasions proclaim the hope that these schools would be erected and carried on without expense to the rates. But the right hon. Gentleman argued as though that was a proof that the illegality of these schools was acknowledged. It was nothing of the sort. He himself, as a strong advocate, and perhaps the founder, of the higher grade school in connection with one large school board, when he stood 634 before his fellow citizens expressed the hope that in a few years it would not be a burden on the rates. But he did not express the hope because he felt there was any illegality in taking money from the rates in support of such schools. The growth of the interest of the public in education had been slow, and it was necessary, so to speak, to gild the pill a little in order to induce ordinary citizens to give the thing a chance. Mr. Mundella in the same way said the schools should be self-supporting, but by so saying he did not give the slightest intimation that it was illegal to take money from the rates for their support. Surely it was not contended that the education of to-day should be judged upon the same standard as thirty years ago. Was it to be assumed that the progress of the century was to be marked in everything except our educational work? The hon. Member for West Nottingham said that we appeared to be merely marking time in regard to higher education. He thought we were doing worse, and that in the past five years we had gone back.
After a few years experience of the Education Act, the larger school boards began to establish these higher grade schools. Naturally, they found that it tended to economy, and also to efficiency of teaching, to group higher standards in certain schools, and most large towns established these higher grade schools. They were established in order to deal with those children who were capable of following the instruction given in the higher standards, and also those whose parents were willing they should remain at school for a few years longer. He would take the higher grade school at Norwich as an example, and give the concrete history of that school. In the first instance, only a small modicum of science was taught, such as he supposed higher elementary schools were now intended to teach, but they were almost driven by the South Kensington Department to establish a school of science. Therefore, after a few years they established a science school within the higher grade school. He quite agreed that the science schools as then established were too scientific for the curriculum of a popular day school like a higher grade school, and therefore they got relief. The Committee would notice that within 635 two years from that date they had been compelled as a school board to build, in addition to the chemical laboratory which they had in connection with the higher grade school, a physical laboratory, at an expense of £1,000. That had been open only twelve months, and now they were told that all this was illegal, and that they had no right to take any money from the rates for the support of this science school.
The matter of age was another point upon which the Education Department had shown a very reactionary tendency. A little time ago 65 per cent, of the boys and girls in our schools left at the age of eleven. The efforts of all educationists had been devoted to getting children to stay longer at school, especially in the higher grade schools. Nothing could be more suicidal than in the face of the progress which was being made to put this block upon our higher education. What reason was there for it? The ratepayers who had to pay had made no public protest against the application of rates to higher grade schools. As one who knew something of the educational work in the big towns of the country, he said that so far as his knowledge went there was no rate more popular or more willingly paid than the, portion which goes to the maintenance of these higher grade schools. He ventured to say that the persons at the bottom of this objection were mainly the head masters of our secondary schools, who had been stirring up the opposition to school board work. Many of these secondary schools were private schools run for private profit. He was somewhat surprised at the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman in comparing the teachers of our higher grade schools and their capacity for giving instruction with the teaching capacity of many of the secondary schoolmasters. It was a sorry thing if the efficiency and thorough training which the best masters in our higher grade schools had had would not compare satisfactorily with that of the secondary schoolmasters, many of whom, although extremely able men, had had no training whatever, so far as the art of teaching was concerned.
A great deal had been said which was not strictly accurate with regard to the influence of higher grade schools upon 636 secondary schools. To a very great extent the fears expressed were groundless. If the secondary schools were doing their duty and giving a thoroughly sound education, why should they be afraid of the competition of the higher grade schools? A cry of this kind was raised in his own city some years ago. It was said that one of the schools there was being injured by the influence of the higher grade school. He sifted the facts, and found that not one scholar less attended the school after the higher grade school was opened than attended previously. But he also found that a year and a half before the higher grade school was opened this endowed school had raised its fees, and in consequence the number of boys attending had considerably diminished. That was before the higher grade school was opened, but yet it was popularly supposed in the city that the higher grade school had injured the endowed school to that extent. Grammar schools, many of which confined themselves to a classical education, would always have a separate section of the community supporting them, because class distinction, which, had such influence in the country, would always separate the attendants at the grammar schools from those at the higher grade schools.
While there were some who protested against the action of higher grade schools, let him draw the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the fact that there were very loud protests coming from the great bulk of our organised labour men and artisans against the efforts which were being made to injure the higher grade schools. At labour congresses and trade-union meetings great interest had been excited in this movement, and the right hon. Gentleman would hear from these trade councils that they were determined their children should not be robbed of practically their only chance of securing that education which was necessary to fit them to take their fair position in life. These higher grade schools were the best aids to the technical schools which were being established with such great advantage throughout the country. They were really the groundwork upon which the technical schools might and would be able to build, and instead of restricting their influence 637 in our large towns he would suggest that it the right hon. Gentleman would devise a scheme to extend their influence and advantages to the rural districts he would be doing a great service to the cause of education and to the country at large. The rural districts stood in need of the instruction which the higher grade schools were giving in the more populous districts, and if the right lion. Gentleman would by some scheme or other provide that it should be given he would confer an inestimable advantage upon those districts.
The tight hon. Gentleman had laboured a great deal to prove the illegality of the school boards in this matter, but something more would be heard about that when the appeal had been decided. Even if it were demonstrated that their action had all through been illegal, he hoped that the right lion. Gentleman would see tit to provide sonic means by which the higher grade schools might not be injured in the work they were doing. Those behind the scenes did not forget that long before the Cockerton case was before the country there were attacks upon our higher grade schools in one way or another. In 1896 there was an attack in this House, which was afterwards withdrawn, but there had been a sapping and mining going on ever since, which he felt had been a very great injury. First of all, the Science and Art Department, through the Technical Instruction Committee, did their best to limit the work of the present boards and to prevent new boards taking up science teaching. That had been going on for five years, until it has now culminated in an appeal to the law.
With regard to the Minute of last April a great deal had been said as to the manner in which it had been administered. It restricted the education and the age, and he did not think that the Committee would be satisfied unless the right hon. Gentleman told them what it was that had kept the Department from recognising more of these higher elementary schools, He believed that in December the right hon. Gentleman said there were several more applications that were on the point of being recognised, and yet to-day we stood at the point of having two—
§ *MR. GEORGE WHITE
said we had reached a dozen in twelve months out of 190 applications, and the Committee was absolutely ignorant of the reasons why the remainder had not been recognised. Rumour had it that all the chaotic condition of education in regard to science and art was caused by the ill-assorted union which had taken place between the Education Department and the Science and Art Department of South Kensington. He did not think a single educationist in the country desired to see the Science and Art Department survive one month longer than it did, but since the union the Education Department had gone back. There was formerly not much fault to be found with the administrative work so far as promptness was concerned, but since the union both Departments appeared to be as bad as the Science and Art Department was previously. He thought the Committee ought to know whether there was any unanimity of feeling and action between the two branches, or whether there was likely to be a divorce again. At present it is like a father and mother who are quarrelling, and are yet determined to live together, to the great detriment of the family they are bringing up.
The Committee would appreciate some of the difficulties with which the right hon. Gentleman had to contend in his present position. The right hon. Gentleman himself had said that we had a territorial aristocracy who were very indifferent to the interests of education, and he (Mr. White) had been struck with the cheers coming from hon. Gentlemen opposite when anything was said against the work of the higher grade schools being supported out of the rates. Probably not a few of the hon. Gentlemen opposite had had a great deal of their education from funds which they had not supplied, and he for one was democratic enough to feel for and to press the interests of the working classes being supplied from the rates in regard to higher education such as was given in the higher grade board schools. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not be 639 deterred by such influences, especially as he belonged to a Government which included amongst its members the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary. It was from that right hon. Gentleman and those who sat with him at that time that he got his fullest and best ideals of a national system of education a great many years ago, and, knowing the power he wielded in the, Cabinet, he could not, and the nation would not, exempt him from blame if this state of things continued. He would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to show the same interest in popular education that he had shown in the earlier part of his political career, and not to allow reactionary ecclesiastical individuals to put back the clock of education, to the great detriment of the commercial and moral interests of the country.
One word with regard to the authority of which the right hon. Gentleman had spoken. To his mind the best and most encouraging words delivered by the right hon. Gentleman to-night were the few words with which he concluded his speech in reference to one authority to deal with elementary, secondary, and technical education. He (Mr. White) was an ardent supporter of the school board system, but he was perfectly content to say—and he was speaking the sentiments of a great many educationists throughout the country—that they were not wedded absolutely to a school board management of these three branches of education. They did not feel that a school board was necessarily the best body that could be elected for the purpose. It was elected for one purpose, and if these additional duties were added it might require reforming in various ways. But he did contend that, whatever the body might be, it should be very largely, if not entirely, an elected body. The people should have a very large voice in its constitution, and then, and only then, would it have the confidence of the people sufficiently to back it in carrying on the great educational work of the country.
He could have said a word or two with reference to the influence of these Acts upon the evening schools, but he would forbear. The question was now before the Committee, and he hoped the very emphatic words of the right hon. Gentle- 640 man the Member for Dartford would influence the Governemnt, so that when their Bill was proposed it might be such as all true educationists could support. He was sure he expressed the sentiments of those who felt strongly upon the question of school board education when he said that they would be willing to sacrifice some of their opinions in this matter if they could but see the three systems of education under one popularly-elected body, and that authority administering the Education Acts in an enlightened spirit to the advantage of the community at large.
§ MR. HENRY HOBHOUSE (Somersetshire, E.)
All who have listened to this debate with the true interests of education at heart must feel grateful at the unanimity on both sides in favour of educational reform, and at the freedom the discussion has displayed from that thin sectarian and party spirit which is apt to disfigure and delay our educational debates. The friends of the school board system have, not unnaturally, taken an early opportunity of directing attention to the condition of the law, but naturally they have found themselves somewhat in a difficulty in discussing a question which is still sub judice. The London School Board, rightly or wrongly, have decided to appeal to Cæsar, to the highest law court of the land, and they have the natural answer of the Government, "Unto Cæsar thou hast appealed, and unto Cæsar thou must go." I somewhat regret that they have thought it necessary to spend the money of the ratepayers in prolonging this litigation, and consequently to cause considerable delay in the deciding of a question which, after all, is not a matter for the law at all. This is a question with which the Government and this House must ultimately deal, whatever the decision is in the law courts. I think we ought to realise that difficulties have arisen in respect of these higher grade schools principally from the fact that for so many years past we have neglected to deal with this very difficult question of the organisation of the higher education of this country. The school boards, which are no doubt most ambitious and aspiring local bodies, have 641 done their best, and I think it ought to be recorded to their credit that in many of our thickly populated centres they have filled the gap in the educational system which undoubtedly existed. They have, in some places, it may be, interfered and somewhat injured the schools of other institutions, but I think we must all acknowledge that in some places where educational needs are most pressing they have erected a very useful and necessary class of schools.
That higher elementary schools, or what some of us regard as secondary schools, are required cannot be denied. Whether it is necessary to make them free or not is another question. I think we must all regret that some of the great school boards should have had recourse to such subterfuges and evasions as the Vice-President of the Council has mentioned just now. But I do not think that any jealousy on the part of local authorities ought to be allowed to retard the completion of our system of education in our huge towns and elsewhere. It has been recognised on the highest authority most emphatically, and with unanimity by the late Commission on Secondary Education, that what was really required was co-ordination between the different local authorities, and this was actually carried out, not by legislation or by the action of the Government—although they have done something by the introduction of Clause 7—but by voluntary co-ordination and a coming together of the local authorities. The city of Manchester is a very striking example of this, for there the Technical Instruction Committee, the School Board, and the University College have conic together, and they have decided what the limit of their respective jurisdictions should be. They have not spent their time considering how they shall cut into each other, but they have made a point of deciding how to arrange their schools so that they shall not overlap but fit in one with the other. Everybody laments this want of organisation and overlapping, and we have had some very remarkable instances this evening. Ulverston could not get a science school until three different local authorities had been brought into co-operation by the action of the central body. Such a thing is a scandal at the present day. Look at the position 642 of the evening continuation schools in the rural districts. A great many of them have been started by the action of the county councils, but those council have no statutory power to carry them on, and there is some doubt as to whether they are legal. They have had to give large grants of money for the purpose, because otherwise these schools could not exist. Let us take a broad view of this matter and not impure too closely which local authority ought to be entrusted to carry on these schools. As a nation we ought to make up our minds that in this twentieth century it is necessary to have a complete system of national education, and let us have as e few local authorities as possible, and do everything we can to strengthen the hands of the central department.
I am asked to vote to-day for a reduction of the salary of the Vice-President of the Council, but as far as I know he is the only gentleman on the front bench who takes any interest at all in this question. There has been a most singular absence to-night of most of the prominent members of the Cabinet. If I had been asked to vote for a reduction of the salary of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I should have been much more ready to have gone into the Opposition lobby, because, after all, many of these educational reforms are believed in and supported by my right hon. friend the Vice-President of the Council; but his difficulty is with the Treasury. The Treasury is not quite as liberal on these educational matters as it is on some matters of reform which are perhaps more popular on this side of the House. I have no doubt that my right hon. friend would have dealt more generously with the Minute if he had had more funds. I cannot think that it is necessary to give these higher grade board schools always a scientific character. We do not want to specialise either as to commercial or scientific education, and I cannot help thinking that in this ease the result of our system of science and art grants is somewhat prejudicial to general education. I hope the Treasury and all other departments of the Government will recognise that in this country education must grow, and the expenses must grow as well. We cannot afford to stand still in this matter. If no other authorities 643 are erected to start schools of this character, then these higher grade elementary schools, or whatever they may be called, which exist largely for the benefit of the working classes and which are demanded by them, arid without which our system of education will not he complete—these must be carried on, and, if no I new authority is erected, then the school boards must carry them on. If the Government wish to alter this state of things the sooner they bring in their Education Bill the better. It must take a long time to discuss that measure, and we have already waited too long for it. Every year that passes increases the difficulties rather than diminishes them, and the net result of this debate will be a valuable one if it only convinces this House that legislation is sorely needed in order to bring about the only solution of these difficulties of our educational administration.
§ *MR. DUKE (Plymouth)
As a Member who has a direct interest in this question, owing to the action of the Education Board in my constituency, I would like to join hon. Members who have spoken in pressing upon the Vice-President of the Council the great urgency there is for the introduction of some measure which will put the practical business of education for promising boys and girls of the poorer classes upon something like a business footing. Hon. Gentlemen on the other side have reproached the right hon. Gentleman and the Government with a want of sympathy with the development of the kind of education to which I have referred, because of what has taken place in the testing of the legality of the attitude of the school boards. I venture to suggest to the House that that is a great mistake, for there could not be a stronger evidence s of the necessity of legislation upon this question than the decision in the Cockerton case, and the state of things which that decision showed to exist. For my part, I think the trial of the question in the Cockerton ease has been a great public benefit. I think those who raised the question and challenged the legality of the proceedings of the London School Board did a public service in that respect, because it is not a satisfactory thing that the commercial and business education 644 of a large section of the poorer part of the population should depend upon the tolerant attitude of the Education Department towards that kind of education. I am sure it is not satisfactory to the working classes in the country that that branch of education should depend upon the tolerance of any department of the Government. It must be as a matter of right and as a matter of public administration in the common interest that that branch of education shall be put upon a sound footing. Nobody who knows what has been going on in the higher grade schools will be disposed to say that these schools have not met a public necessity, and that public necessity has been aggravated by the improvement in the provision of elementary education. There was in former years, especially in the towns of the country, a class of schools which the board schools have practically put out of existence, where moderate fees were paid, and where the smaller tradesmen and business men and the better-paid class of artisans sent their children for business education, and got an education of a different kind from that which is now provided in board schools, under the direct personal influence of a class of schoolmasters who practically have now ceased to exist. That class of schools, if not practically driven out of existence, has been diminished very much in number by the severity of the competition which has been produced by the development of the board-school system. Nothing has been provided in its place.
One of the aggravating circumstances in regard to the provision of satisfactory business training for hoys of the poorer class is that while you have developed the elementary schools you have done nothing to provide a substitute for those schools which the elementary schools have killed. The frightful condition of commercial education in our towns, as compared with the condition of that in Continental towns, is felt by business men everywhere to be a scandal in this country. One only needs to see the proceedings of chambers of commerce or to meet business men in order to find out the difficulties they have in obtaining satisfactory clerks with business training and commercial knowledge, to feel that the Government is not doing its duty 645 to a large class of its constituents in this source of great satisfaction to the public respect. We are laying up for ourselves outside as well as to hon. Members in difficulties for the future by provide or to encourage a system of sound commercial education. You have at the present time an excellent system of elementary education for boys who are to be employed in workshops and in industries, and who are not expected to take an active, leading part in those employments; but you are doing nothing for the hoys who are to compete with the hoys of France, Germany, and America in endeavouring to maintain for this country. I will not say a supremacy, but something like an equality in competing for the commerce of the world. It has been shown by the recent decision of the courts that we have done nothing in this country in the way of making proper provision for the aspiring and capable boys of the poorer class, and for this reason one does not need to blame those who have brought forward the question raised in the Cockerton case and brought it to an issue. I regard it as a matter of very little consequence which way the Cockerton decision ultimately goes, provided that this House makes up its mind that the reproach which lies upon our present system of education shall be removed.
There was one part of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman which I listened to with great satisfaction, and which seemed to indicate that he might be placed in charge of a measure which would be devoted to sweeping away those delects which now exist in our system of education. If the right hon. Gentleman succeeds in passing such a measure into law he will confer not only a service upon this generation but upon future generations, and he will associate his name with the cause of education in a manner which will please those who know how much he has the cause of education at heart. Hut there was an observation which the right hon. Gentleman made, in answer to a question front the other side of the House, which I must confess disappointed me a little. At present it seems not to be known when or where the proposed measure for this improvement of the educational system will be introduced. I hope that that uncertainty will very speedily be dispelled, and I am sure it would be a 646 source of great satisfaction to the public outside as well as to hon. Members in this House if the right hon. Gentleman would assure the Committee that we shall have certainly in the course of this session, and at a period when it can be fully discussed and its difficulties fully dealt with, a measure which will do something substantial at any rate to remove the confusion which exists in that branch of education which is proposed to he dealt with, and which will supply the link which is missing in our present educational system. One hon. Member has referred to the great expenditure upon the war, and he seemed to regard it as a matter for regret, in view of our educational necessities, that we had spent such great sums in that direction. For my part I am content that we should do all we can to find the money for all our responsibilities. I do not regret that we have spent that money in that direction, but I should regret it if I thought it was possible that people who know what are the necessities of the country at home in respect of this very urgent and pressing matter would be at all discouraged in dealing with this matter because of the obligations we have had to face abroad. I certainly shall not be disposed to vote for the proposal to reduce the right hon. Gentleman's salary, I wish to give the right hon. Gentleman a free hand in the matter, and I hope that when he introduces this Education Bill he will meet with that success which he deserves.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington. W.)
There is only one point to which I desire to draw the attention of the House; it is a matter which was referred to by the hon. Member for North Camberwell, and also by the noble Lord who represents South Kensington. We have listened with interest to the short and able speech made by the noble Lord, and we know he has aright to speak on this question, because he is a London Member. The question I refer to is the treatment of the seventy-nine higher grade schools of London. I disagree with the view which the noble Lord has put before the Committee, and I rise, to support my hon. friend, who has brought forward a most pressing grievance, which is great felt by the people of London, which the right 647 hon. Gentleman opposite could settle, I believe, in the way we desire, and I hope he will make an announcement on the subject before the debate closes. The noble Lord said that the Board of Education was perfectly right in this matter, because the maintenance of the seventy-nine, higher grade schools would interfere with secondary education as it exists at the present time, and that it would interfere with the schools which are to be created. This is an entire mistake, for these schools are provided only for young people between the ages of twelve and fifteen. When a child passes the fifteenth year he must be taken away from these schools. The second grade schools deal with young people between the ages of sixteen and nineteen years, therefore there is no conflict between the two. We heard with a great deal of pleasure the able speeches delivered from the benches opposite, and we hope to hear many more speeches in the same spirit from the same quarter during this debate. The hon. Member who has just sat down dealt with the question of the necessity of securing a better commercial education for the children. These seventy-nine schools were intended to give a commercial training. In November, 1898, one of the Government inspectors said, in regard to one of these schools which was about to be opened, that it should be designed not only with a view to provide for science and art, but also for the teaching of modern languages and for giving a commercial training. That was in the year 1898, and that is the opinion of one of the inspectors of the Board of Education. On the 2nd of March, 1899, there was a Memorandum sent out, which drew attention to two points—namely, the lack of commercial training, and the inadequate amount of time which was given to the only modern language taken. Those recommendations came from the Education Department itself. At that time the Education Department were urging schools to give a commercial education, and now they were taking away the grant because those schools had done this. The noble Lord who represents South Kensington said that it was more desirable to give a science and art training than to give this commercial training, 648 because it would be a much better preparation for an industrial or manufacturing career for boys and girls who Would ultimately assist in those industries. But in London the great industry is commerce. That is our chief industry, and while we agree that in Manchester and other manufacturing cities the schools should provide the special training which the children want in those districts, surely we have a right to claim that in London commercial education is an absolute necessity for the children. I do not see how this could have been made the ground by the Education Department for the withdrawal of these grants. On the 27th of July last, in this House. I put a question to the right hon. Gentleman, and I got a very long answer to that question.* I then put a supplementary question, in which I asked him in how many of these seventy-nine schools he was prepared to pay the higher grants asked for by the London School Board, and the right hon. Gentleman replied, "Not one; the curriculum is of a commercial and not of a scientific nature." Therefore, for giving this commercial education all these schools are to be fined, and all the work of the London School Board in this direction is to be Upset. I will give another illustration. Shorthand, typewriting, and bookkeeping have been taken up, because it was thought that an effort should be made to fit out these young people in these branches, because there was a greater demand for them; but the Education Department has singled out the London School Hoard for persecution, and it has done what it can to destroy these schools.
§ MR. LOUGH
I do hope that the right hon. Gentleman will give us a more, intelligent reply than merely shaking his head. I asked the right hon. Gentleman to deal with the Minute, and he said he would deal with it presently, and later on he made a most apologetic, reference to it. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that there is a loss of £4,000 a year in London on the operation of this system, and he* See The Parliamentary Debates) [Fourth Series], Vol. Ixxxvi., page 1516.649 minimises the seriousness of that loss by saying that it was only one thirty-seventh part of a penny. The Vice-President of the Council appeared to apologise for the treatment London has received in respect of commercial education; but why does lie, pursue that treatment? This is not a question of the amount of money, but it is the spirit of the Board of Education that the people protest against. You may say what you like about the Code, but I think that shorthand, typewriting, and bookkeeping should not be classed as scientific or artistic education. I hardly know where the line can be drawn between these things, and it does seem to me to be straining a point very much, first of all to urge these schools to teach these subjects, and then fine them because they have done so. We have had three elections recently—the General Election, the School Board, and the County Council election—and I noticed that the people were moved as much by the treatment of these seventy-nine schools as by any other question that was presented to them. "We have been reminded that there are already seventy-nine of these schools, but that means only one school for every hundred thousand of the population. These are higher grade schools, and they should not be mixed up with the secondary schools. I want to press this question on behalf of London absolutely home on the right hon. Gentleman. We are, reminded by the First Lord of the Treasury that we have twenty-three days to criticise the Government, but I venture to observe that most of that time is wasted, because our criticism is generally perfectly barren. Perhaps to-day we shall waste from half-past four to twelve o'clock to-night criticising the policy of the Government. This is a matter which is entirely at the disposal of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. LOUGH
The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head. We all believe and hope that the right hon. Gentleman will be in a position to say after this debate that he was compelled by the House of Commons to yield upon this question. Are our representations to meet with no response whatever upon 650 a practical question of this kind when there is an almost unanimous opinion expressed on both sides of the House? I will conclude by simply asking the right hon. Gentleman to consider during the remainder of the debate these points on behalf of London, and one way or another to try to do something to save from extinction these seventy-nine schools, which are doing a most useful work in the Metropolis.
§ *MR. TULLY (Leitrim, S.)
said the debate had shown very clearly the great dissatisfaction of the country at the present state of education in this country.
Attention called to the fact that forty Members were not present. House, counted, and forty Members being found present—
§ *MR. TULLY
(resuming) said that serious complaints bad been heard from both sides of the House, so that it must be a difficult thing for the right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President to perceive where he, had a friend. But when hon. Gentlemen lodged these complaints ought not they to consider whether they were not equally responsible for what had happened? Much of the trouble arose from the fact that many hon. Gentlemen desired to exclude the religious element from the teaching, whilst others desired to include it. A great deal had been said about the necessity for higher education, but it appeared to him that what was really required was a, good sound commercial education, which according to many of the experts who had spoken upon the question was not given to the people of this country. Typewriting, shorthand, and modern languages were all branches of higher elementary education, and if this country was to attain the educational level of Germany, France, and America, all these subjects would have to be taken up. In Germany particularly most people knew one modern language besides their own, and the neglect to teach modern languages in this country was very disadvantageous to the people. The present state of education was largely due to the persistent endeavour to drive religion out of the schools, and that had militated with special force against the Irish, who by bad 651 government had been driven from Ireland to seek their livelihood in England, and who had had to provide voluntary schools for their children. Such schools, supported only by the voluntary subscriptions of an indigent people, could not hope to compete with board schools maintained out of the rates—to which these people also had to pay their share—and consequently the children of these poor people were unable to obtain the advantages to which they were entitled. The religious aspect of the question had been definitely settled in Germany, where there was a large Catholic population living side by side with a Protestant population. The schools in each district taught the religion of the district, and unless a similar system were adopted here, England would never obtain the same educational level as her greatest competitor.
The complaint which he had to make was the unfair way in which the Irish were treated in this matter, and it was for that reason he protested against the Vote. In any scheme that was put forward he hoped some steps would be taken to put the Irish children in this country on the same level as the English children, and that the attempt which was made in this intolerant manner to keep the Irish children down would cease.
§ MR. RICHARDS (Finsbury, E.)
said, speaking from an experience of twenty years on the subject of secondary education, the plan which he wished to see adopted as far as possible in this country was the German, which recognised primary, secondary, and, finally, university education. That was the educational ladder which he wished to see erected by the Government. He protested against handing over to school boards the work of secondary education, for which they were not created and for which they were not fitted. He was satisfied that by pursuing the policy of either taking the town council in county boroughs or the county council in counties, or representatives of those bodies, as the educational authority, the Government were more likely to solve the educational problem than by allowing school boards to include in their curriculum subjects which were essentially within the domain 652 of secondary education. The majority of school boards, especially in rural districts, were returned, hot on educational questions, but as the result of battles between Church and the intolerance of dissent. What had been said with regard to Germany was absolutely true. They had satisfactorily solved the religious difficulty in the manner suggested, and no educational difficulty resulted.
The hon. Member for North-West Norfolk had spoken of the necessity for some authority for evening continuation schools; with that he quite agreed. He remembered once being told that a great deal of money was wasted in evening continuation schools, but the London School Board had shown that that was a fallacy. He, for one, did not grudge the money spent on the education of those who were prepared to give up their time after business to improve their position on the educational ladder. He appealed to the Government not to allow the school boards to run in opposition to the higher educational colleges established in various parts of the country, and to teach in their curriculum subjects of secondary education. He was sure it would be for the benefit of education that the work of primary education should be retained for the school boards only. Of course, he was not for a moment suggesting that the primary schools should direct their attention to primary education only. We were in need of a real system of commercial education, and that could not be obtained by what were called continuation classes. He was quite prepared to admit that they could deal with subjects which would lead to the commercial school, but they could only deal with them as specific subjects, and not on what he called the higher level of commercial education. We ought to follow the German plan, and he would recommend hon. Members to read the report of the Committee of the London County Council on technical education. Anyone who studied that report would master the systems of two or three Conthiental nations, and, he thought, would come to the conclusion that the German system was the best. We should establish in each of our large towns a system of commercial education, taking sixteen as 653 the lowest age, and going up to nineteen, or even later—a three years system. He said, unhesitatingly, that was not work for any of the school boards, but for another authority. He knew one parish in Cornwall where it was actually charged against the clergyman of the parish that an effort he made to provide secondary education was only another attempt to win young men for the Church. It only showed the depth to which the sectarian spirit which was abroad in these educational matters would descend. He knew another case where a clergyman established a higher grade school in a cathedral city, and the proposal that the local authority should make a grant to the school for the teaching of technical subjects was opposed on the ground that it might be an injustice to the Nonconformists, as if it could possibly matter in the teaching of chemistry whether the children were taught by a Pagan or a Hottentot. Such was the blindness of the supporters of hon. Members on the other side that they would pursue any policy of opposition to a secondary school which had an ecclesiastical flavour about it. Until we realised that religious matters should be shut outside the educational purview we should never get on with such a system. He knew that the hon. Member for Camberwell had been attacked for his liberal views on education. He hoped the hon. Member would show that he was willing to place those broad views at the disposal of his party, and support any real scheme which the Government might bring forward. He was sure they would carry it if they remembered that in primary education they bad no wish to displace the present authority.
§ MR. ALFRED HUTTON (Yorkshire, W.R., Morley)
said the last two speeches must have cheered the spirit of the Vice-President, as they had introduced for the first time the religious and theological difficulty. The hon. Member for East Finsbury told them that Liberals and Nonconformists only sought positions on school boards in order to put an end to voluntary schools. He never knew that before. Supposing that they succeeded in getting on the boards, they were absolutely unable to achieve that object. He had always thought that "the boot was on the other leg," and 654 that the object of the supporters of voluntary schools was, as a rule, to try to put a stop to the school boards, in order to put an end to the authority of the people.
This debate was initiated by the hon. Member for West Nottingham on a different question altogether. The matters they had had under discussion related largely to the higher grade schools. The right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President of the Council was face to face with a strong feeling in the country. It was not a party feeling. On this question there was no party view. They had men of all parties. He thought the conclusion it which they had arrived in regard to the administration of the higher grade schools for the past twelve months was that it had been absurd. The right hon. Gentleman in the early part of his speech dealt with the illegality of the uglier grade schools.
§ SIR. J. GORST
I beg the hon. Gentleman's pardon. I did not say that the schools were illegal. What I said was hat the spending of the rates on them vas illegal.
§ MR. ALFRED HUTTON
said he perfectly understood the distinction. Of course, it was the spending of rates upon them that was illegal. The right hon. Gentleman told them two ways to get out of the difficulty.
§ MR. ALFRED HUTTON
said he only remembered two at the moment. The first was that the school board could come to an arrangement with the local authority. The local authority had two funds at its disposal. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman, supposing the local authority bad already quite sufficient engagements to meet without increasing its contribution to the school board, what was to be the position of the school board in that case? Every one of the towns instanced by the right hon. Gentleman was comparatively small in area. Take Bradford, Halifax, and Huddersfield—he believed in all these three towns the county council or town council had undertaken the control and management of the technical school. If a school board went to these authorities and told them that they were in duty bound to maintain the higher grade schools, he 655 was afraid they would be disposed to reply that they would take their own course and see to the efficiency of their own school. The town councils of Bradford and Leeds had other engagements. They gave large contributions to the Church Institute classes. Would the right hon. Gentleman defend the withdrawing of the grants from those classes in order that the higher education schools might be maintained? It was absolutely hopeless that these schools could be maintained efficiently. These urban authorities had not the resources free and at liberty, and having sufficient engagements at present they could not assist the, school board to maintain the higher grade schools. The only other solution suggested by the right hon. Gentleman which he could recollect was private subscription.
§ MR. ALFRED HUTTON
thought the answer to that was that having once abolished fees it would be exceedingly difficult to put them on again. He did not think it would be possible to reinstate them. The third course was the Minute. When the light hon. Gentleman explained the Minute to the House of Commons a year ago,* they were told, notwithstanding all the criticisms which they ventured to offer, that the Department were making a proposal which they honestly intended should he used in the maintenance of the efficiency of the schools. He should like to read the concluding portion of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, it was so very much to the point.Now I hope that the House will believe that this Code and this Minute, which are so heartily approved by the Opposition, have been conceived with a desire to advance the elementary education of the country; that this scheme is the result of careful consideration and consultation with the best authorities available; and that the Board of Education believes that it can be carried into practical and useful effect. I hope the House will also believe that the Board of Education will watch the operation of this new policy and will be ready at once to make amendments wherever experience proves that amendments are necessary.The Department had refused every time to vary the conditions it had laid down.*See The Parliamentary Debate [Fourth Series], Vol. lxxxii., page 683.
§ SIR J. GORST
They cannot vary the Minute without laying a fresh Minute before the House of Commons.
§ MR. ALFRED HUTTON
said it was rather significant that the Department had always replied in the stereotyped phrase that they could not possibly hold out any hope that any changes would be made in the Minute under which the application had been made. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say—I trust the House will not reject the scheme put forward by Her Majesty's Government because there are two or three provisions in it of a purely detail character which may not in all respects accord with the notions of some hon. Gentlemen opposite.There were numerous cases in which amendments had been named, and in every case the Department had replied that they could not possibly consider any alteration in the Minute. He thought they had done worse. They had interpreted the Minute in a way that nobody could possibly have anticipated. He was perfectly aware that for many years in this country we were wofully behind other countries in matters of scientific teaching. Now we were having science run mad. Nothing but science would receive any consideration from the Government. If any other proposal was made they denied any grant or recognition at all. He fully expected when the new Code came up that they would have a regulation that no infant school would be recognised unless it was supplied with proper arrangements for the teaching of elementary science. The school hoards were seeking to have something in addition, or some option, but the right hon. Gentleman was doing his best to deny it. They were not asking the right hon. Gentleman to establish a new type of school; they simply asked for some latitude; and what were the excuses offered for refusing this? In one case the Department replied that they could not recognise the curriculum proposed by the school board, because they found in it book-keeping, shorthand, and business training. But the extraordinary thing was that while the Department refused to recognise in the curriculum of the higher grade school book-keeping and shorthand, those subjects could actually be taught under the Code in the elementary schools. The Department replied that these were to be considered 657 outside the scope of the higher grade schools, which were to be confined to the teaching of elementary science, He thought he might say that very few boards would ever consent to bring their schools under the Minute unless some of the conditions were altered. To bring them under the Minute would be to degrade the education given, and if a hoard would consent to do that, he did not think their majority would be the same after the next election. People in the large towns were proud of these schools, and they were not going to have them degraded by having them brought under the grant-earning Minute which the right hon. Gentleman brought before Parliament with the promise that it would be elastic.
The right hon. Gentleman made one remark which he thought very unfortunate. He said the school boards were trying to make themselves the authority for secondary education. The right hon. Gentleman had no justification whatever for that statement. The hon. Member ventured to state that there was not a school board in the country that had the slightest ambition to make itself the authority for secondary education. Whether that were so or not, he felt hound to say, by way of warning the right hon. Gentleman, that in fixing upon some new authority he would he unwise to select either of the two antagonistic bodies at present in existence—the school boards and the technical instruction committees of the county councils. They were, rather jealous of one another. If the right hon. Gentleman were wise, he would create some authority which would not partake of favouring either of these disputants for the honour of having charge and control of secondary education. That would prevent jealousy, and put an end to the search for some line of demarcation between elementary and secondary education. If the Government were going to pursue that will-o'-the-wisp, they would never settle education. No line of demarcation could be found.
§ MR. ALFRED HUTTON
said he was very glad the right hon. Gentleman cheered that statement, because they had had the Duke of Devonshire repeatedly saying that the Department was seeking 658 a line of demarcation. He maintained that it was impossible to find one. The Department, knowing it could not find it in the curriculum, was seeking for it in the age of the students, but that was e equally impossible. The only way to avoid tie difficulty was to establish one authority with which all could fall into line, and which would be acceptable to the friends of the technical instruction committees on the one hand, and to the school boards on the other.
§ *MR. GRAY (West Ham, N.)
The general tone of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman filled me with deep regret. There was only one statement with which I found myself in complete agreement, and that was the statement with which he closed his speech in reference to the necessity for having one authority con-rolling all forms of education. Even with regard to that his view is apparently not the view of the Government, as he says the Government is to introduce a Bill upon which the House will have an opportunity of settling this question without the guidance of the Government. The Bill is to be introduced in such a form that the House shall settle for itself—
§ SIR J. GORST
I said nothing of the kind. What I said was that on the Bill the Government would introduce Parliament would have an opportunity of raising these questions and getting a Parliamentary decision upon them. I never said the Government would introduce a Bill without guidance.
§ *MR. GRAY
I am glad my right hon. friend excludes that interpretation. I should be much more satisfied it the Government will screw up its courage at last, and come down with a scheme of one authority for all forms of education. I use the words "screw up its courage" advisedly, because although we were told in 1896 that this thing was essential, and in 1897 that the Bills they introduced were patching measures, designed to prepare the way for a final scheme of reform, yet the years which have since elapsed have witnessed no progress in the move- 659 ment inside the House, while the country outside is clamouring for a settlement. Year after year, on the Education Estimates, the Vice-President of the Council declares that this thing is necessary, and I am driven to the conclusion that it is simply on account of lack of courage on the part of the Government that we do not get the measure.
The speech of the right hon. Gentleman to-night filled me with surprise. I understood that the object of this debate was to obtain from the Vice-President a clear interpretation of the policy of his Department with regard to the Higher Elementary Minute. He failed to give any such interpretation. That policy has been inconsistent from the first day to the last. Will the light hon. Gentleman himself get up and defend it? I think not. Can he explain the principles upon, which the Department is acting now? The explanation he gave at the commencement of this debate is totally different from the explanation, put before the Committee when the Minute was before us. Is he not aware that amongst these school boards, a large number of which are composed of Church people, with majorities of what are called "Moderates," as well as among all people interested in the education of the children, there is a feeling of deep anxiety as to what he would say this evening with regard to higher elementary schools. They started in May last with considerable hope; they saw a prospect of the schools called higher elementary schools being legalised. We were told that the object of this Minute was to legalise these particular schools. To-day we are told that it was in order that the organised science schools might be safeguarded in view of the possible decision of the courts in the Cockerton case.
§ *MR. GRAY
The right hon. Gentleman says that is what he said in May last. Perhaps I may venture to quote. What was the difficulty in May last? I was present throughout the whole of the debate, and the circumstances are very vividly before my mind. The block grant had been introduced, and that lobby was full of gentlemen who were trying to get the Government to withdraw the block grant on account 660 of the mischief it was said it would inflict upon certain of the higher class schools. That block grant was in jeopardy; it was saved by the introduction of the Minute. The hon. Member for Cambridge University coupled the block grant of the Code with the Higher Elementary Minute in one and the same motion, and we went through the lobby in support of the Government on the double question—the Higher Elementary Minute, the natural corollary of the introduction of the block grant. The block grant did not inflict the slightest shadow of loss or injustice upon the higher grade schools. It did not touch the higher grade schools by so much as the, one-thirty-seventh of a penny at which the right hon. Gentleman estimates the injury in certain large towns. That one-thirty-seventh of a penny is not a very great loss to the ratepayers, but it represents a very large loss indeed to the 200 or 300 children who would have taken advantage of it, not only in board schools but in voluntary schools also. What are the facts of the case? The hon. Member for Cambridge University used these words—It is also objected that the 22s. grant—that is, the new block grant—did not adequately reward those schools which have hitherto been teaching some higher subjects over and above the ordinary elementary work.That is not, the higher grade schools.Such schools, which may have been earning a 25s. or 27s. grant, will be losers.Those are not higher grade schools; they are the higher standard schools, the higher divisions in some of the schools where a grant of 25s. or 27s. had been earned before the introduction of the block grant. He went on to say—These schools may be obliged to give up their higher teaching.Now mark the next statement:If the Code stood alone that objection would have force. But the new Code has been supplemented by the Minute of the Board of Education of April last,supplemented, as he went on to explain, to meet the very case of these higher standard schools where a grant of 27s. had been earned in the past, and not to meet the case, of the higher grade schools at all. The right hon. Gentleman may say that he is not responsible in any way for what his colleague in the representa- 661 tion of Cambridge University may say. Unfortunately for that line of argument, in his own speech the right hon. Gentleman says—I think the very lucid and clear exposition of the Code and Minute by my hon. friend and colleague the Member for the University of Cambridge would have put Members of the House of Commons in possession of all the views of the Government upon this subject.I have always regarded that, as I am sure the great majority of Members on both sides of the House in the last Parliament also regarded it, as fathering the exposition of policy given by the hon. Member for Cambridge University. It was perfectly clear to all of its that this Higher Elementary Minute was to meet the case of the schools which were to be hit by the introduction of the block grant. But what do we hear to-night? That it is not to meet the case of those schools, but the case of the higher grade schools. In the early part of his speech the right hon. Gentleman said there were two or three forms of higher grade schools. He went on to explain that there was the form in which the teaching of the ordinary Code subjects was followed, and that there was a large number of these schools. These were not organised schools of science; they taught the ordinary subjects of the Day School Code; and then he said, "These can go on." He dismissed them in the most airy fashion. I want to know how they are to go on without the money they are expecting to get out of this Higher Elementary Minute. These schools were, from the point of view of the ratepayers, and also from the public point of view, not only necessary but carried on on the most economical lines. What can be more ruinous than to have three or four children in one school, half a dozen in another, and a dozen in another, stopping for two or three years, demanding the attention of special teachers, and being taught special subjects? What can be more expensive than a system of that sort? These higher standard schools took all these children and grouped them together in one school, devoted the whole of their teaching to upper standard work, and relied on getting the higher grant of 27s. per child. These schools could not continue to exist, when the block grant system was introduced, but for the safeguard of the Higher Elementary 662 Minute. To-night we learn that these schools are not to look for any hope under the Higher Elementary Minute. They are not to continue the work they have been doing for years their only chance of getting assistance from the central treasury is by becoming organised schools of science. Nothing can be more disastrous than to try to cast the whole of these schools into one mould. I always thought these higher elementary schools were to resemble Les Ecoles Primaires Supérieures in France, with their three years course, and that the children stopping two or three years would take just those subjects which would fit them for the walk they were going to follow in after life. They can specialist at that age to some extent. I have seen the schools in excellent working order—
§ *MR. GRAY
Yes, in France. I spent several days only a fortnight ago in some of these French schools; they were doing good work, and, as far as one could judge in a rapid glance, producing excellent results. They were not insisting on all the children following a scientific course in the first year. In the first year the children all take the same general line of study; in the second year they are divided into three sections—the literary, the industrial, and the commercial; and in the third year they mark still more emphatically the amount of time they should spend in the year on either industrial, commercial, or literary subjects, according to the walk of life they are going to follow later. It may be said that that is specialising at too early an age. But the great majority of those children will never go a step further; they are going to leave educational work when they have finished their course at the school. If they have no chance of specialising before leaving what are they to do? In Bradford they want the boys in their offices as commercial clerks; where are they to get the early stages of their training? According to the policy of the Board of Education they are to get it in the school of science.—[AN HON. MEMBER: There is an excellent grammar school in Bradford.]—Yes, at which fees must be paid, and in which the greater portion of the study is not commercial 663 but literary, from which the children may come out with a good literary education, and yet be only fitted to starve as clerks at £50 a year. I want to see introduced in our English schools a system of training which will induce the children to look upon manual labour as an honourable calling. But you do not get it by making all the schools organised science schools. Why should you not have book-keeping for a lad thirteen or fourteen years old? If you have an advanced course of organic chemistry, why not a course in French or some other modern language? Are all these children going to earn their living in the manufacturing departments of the State? Are they all going to be mechanics? We are training a large number of our children in the primary schools to do the manufacturing of the article, but we are training hardly one for the distribution of the article when made. All over the country merchants are lamenting this defect in our national system of education. It would be all very well to talk about specialising at a later date, that it could be postponed until the children got to the secondary schools, but for the one fact that a very large percentage, of the children can never have an opportunity of going to a secondary school, and unless there is something in the way of specialisation in these schools you have not only done no good to those children, but you have done them a great deal of harm. You ought to be able to judge at fourteen years of age what the parent proposes to do with, the child. In some schools I have visited the head teacher's time is largely occupied in advising parents as to the walk of life a child should follow, having carefully noted the aptitudes of the child in school and the liking it has for special branches of study. I thought we were going to have under the Higher Elementary Minute schools of the description I have mentioned; the very name encouraged that hope. Now we are told it is to safeguard the higher grade schools.
I should like to go a step further with regard to these higher elementary schools. It has been argued all the evening as if none but school boards were able to establish these schools. What about half the children of the country? What 664 about the 2,600,000 children who are still attending voluntary schools? Are these to have no opportunity whatever? Said the Vice-President very airily, "These schools can go on." Yes, legally they can go on, but they cannot go on without the necessary money. If the right hon. Gentleman withdraws the support of this Higher Elementary Minute, these schools must of necessity close their doors. As far as voluntary schools are concerned, there are two courses open: to transfer their children to the board schools and seek the support of the rates, in order to keep the higher elementary school going, or to abandon all hope of a child attending a voluntary school getting this slightly higher form of education. I beseech the Committee not to run away with the idea that this is secondary school training. Go into the schools and see them at work; look at the work in the higher elementary schools across the water; judge for yourselves whether that is secondary school work. Recollect the homes these children come from, their limited vocabulary when they start, the difficulties they have to contend with. It is absurd to suggest, except in a very few cases indeed, that anything in the nature of real secondary education can be given to such children before the ago of fifteen. The Swiss would laugh at the idea of this being secondary education. They look upon it as an essential feature of their primary school life. In many countries they would refuse to let the child leave school earlier, insisting on the whole burden of its education being thrown upon the State, and insisting upon the child staying at school until it had passed through this course in the higher elementary school.
Now I turn for one moment to the question of the higher grade schools—the organised science schools. I hope the right hon. Gentleman did not intend to leave the impression, but I am bound to say he left it on my mind, that these schools had been established by fraud. We had case after case quoted where school boards had applied for loans to build schools, giving an assurance that they were to be elementary schools and organised science, schools, and then, having obtained the loans on these conditions, they used the school solely as an 665 organised science school. It sounded very much like a charge of fraud, of obtaining loans under false pretences. I hope the right hon. Gentleman did not intend to convey that impression; but, if so, if these school boards were fraudulent in their intentions, the Hoard of Education connived at the fraud, aided and abetted it, published documents, quasi-official, encouraging boards to carry on this work, suggesting to them that it was their obvious duty to establish these schools; and I believe I have been out with some of the officials of the Department to the opening of higher grade schools, when no words could be too flattering of the authority for the excellent way in which they were discharging their public duty. I have heard it over and over again, and I agree with the flattery, or rather the praise; I agree that these authorities are doing their duty. If they were not, what would the ratepayers have done with them at the next election? They would have thrown them out of office. These are popularly-elected bodies. One would imagine that they were bodies which held office contrary to the wishes of the local ratepayers. The establishment of the great majority of these higher grade schools has been the subject of keen criticism and contest at school board elections. The people, if any, to condemn are not the members of the school board, but the electors who put them into office. The electors are primarily responsible for every higher grade school in existence.
When the Vice-President was referring to these schools he gave us one or two instances in which he said these loans had been obtained under false pretences—cases in which, having obtained the loan, they then established a science school. Somebody asked him to give the figures showing the proportion of science and elementary scholars respectively in the school. I will give the figures in one or two instances. I believe one of the schools referred was at Hanley, where under the conditions set forth the school was established, and, said the right lion. Gentleman, "What did they do? There were 309 scholars receiving scientific instruction in that school" Perfectly true; but I think he ought to have added that in the same building there were 279 children receiv- 666 ing the ordinary elementary instruction. Therefore it seems to me that they were fairly keeping the conditions. Another case mentioned was that at Leeds, in which the conditions were laid down and said to be violated, and we were told there were no less than 204 scholars taking the scientific course. Yes, but surely we ought to have been told that in addition there were in the same building no less that 737 children taking the ordinary elementary school course. Therefore, I suggest that the conditions under which the loans were obtained were not violated. If I take the total of fifty-nine of these so-called organised science schools, I find 11,800 scholars in the science section, and no less than 26,099 in the elementary section, so that the great majority of the scholars are still doing the ordinary elementary school work, and the remainder are taking the scientific course.
I do not propose to weary the Committee except with one word more. I am tired of trying to get any progress in the administration of the Department. What do I find? Why, at the General Election a few months ago Member after Member, on this side of the House as well as on that, set forth in paragraph after paragraph their desire to see rapid progress in popular education. Speeches were made by Conservative and Unionist candidates, in favour generally of the Imperialistic policy of the Government; but if the word "education" were ejaculated by some enthusiast in the meeting the reply was—"Yes, I am all in favour of progress in popular education." No sooner do we get in this Chamber than the desire to see progress vanishes. [Ministerial cries of "Oh, oh."] Well, if the desire for progress in this matter has not evaporated, then I hope that hon. Members will soon have an opportunity of showing their zeal. This debate tonight has been worth the having if only for the speech which we have heard from the right hon. Member for Dart-ford. But what he has said in the House to-night on this question has been said here and in the country scores of times, and yet we cannot get this question settled. Public meetings attended by the clergy and the bishops of the Church have all clamoured for this reform, and voluntary school managers declare that in spite of all their endeavours 667 in the past few years they cannot keep going much longer. Only yesterday another case came into my hands of a London school which was shut up because it was found impossible to carry it on any longer. The same cry is coming from one end of the country to the other. Owing to the vacillating policy of the Education Department we do not know what next year may bring. It has been said that it is necessary to draw a clear line of demarcation between primary and secondary schools, but you would not need that if you had one local authority. A great waste of money, waste of effort, and waste of time is characterising the existing system. There is needless overlapping, and a struggle is going on between the secondary and technical authorities and the school board and the voluntary schools for the body of the same child, in order to drag that child into this and that school simply to get the grant per head that is paid by the State. If Parliament will but give ns a single educational authority in each county council area, that local authority will take precious good care that there is none of this overlapping. Such a reform would destroy three-fourths of the existing jealousies, for it would then be nobody's interest to keep a child in a particular school, but it would be everybody's interest to put a child in that school in which it would be best taught.
I am appealing for no one sect, but for the training of these children upon whom the future of this great Empire depends. There is a, great commercial contest going on between the great nations, and you are doing nothing to meet it. We know how much the intelligence of a battalion affects results on the battle field, and we hear that it is necessary that our soldiers should be better trained. Why not give them this chance in the day school? Why should those parents who want to keep their children at school until they are fifteen years of age not have the chance of doing so? At all events, if the locality is prepared to do this, do not let the Government hinder them, and if their action happens to be illegal, then I say that it is the first duty of the Government to come to Parliament for that legislation which will enable a locality to carry out its own desire.
§ SIR JOSEPH LEESE (Lancashire, Accrington)
I wish to call the attention 668 of the House to the summary dismissal of teachers without them having any opportunities of appeal or any chance of reinstatement. I remember that in the last session of Parliament, in the year 1900, I put a question to the right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President of the Council, asking him if he would bring in a Bill making the Board of Education the final court of appeal in such matters as this. I remember that he promised then to bring in a Bill the following session. Then there came the General Election, and in the short session of December last I put down another question, and he promised me another Bill this session. And I am sorry to say that when a question was put the other night he gave the same rather evasive answer. My reason for rising to-night is simply and solely to ask him to regard this matter as one of pure justice and not as a party question.
SIR, J. GORST
I cannot allow the hon. Member to say that I gave an evasive answer upon this subject.
§ SIR J. GORST
I said that my noble friend the Lord President of the Council in December last authorised me to say that the matter would be dealt with in the present session. My noble friend is still of the same mind. The matter will be dealt with, but whether it will be dealt with by minute or legislation is still under consideration. My hon. friend the Member for West Ham accused me of saying one thing last year and another thing this year. The only way to defend myself against this charge is to inflict upon the Committee a passage from a speech which I made on. 3rd May, 1890. I then said—You have school boards who have established excellent higher-grade schools, whose work I have always spoken of in terms of the highest eulogy, end school hoards are now supporting those schools in an illegal manner out of the school funds. What, then, is to he done? This Minute affords an opportunity of placing these schools on a legal and legitimate footing, and although there may he some higher-grade schools which will stand out and take the chance of the law courts, yet I believe the great majority of these schools have hailed with satisfaction the publication of this Minute, and that they will convert themselves into higher elementary schools so as to put their proceedings on a proper and legitimate footing.669 The majority of the great school boards boycotted the Higher Education Minute and resolved, particularly as the Science and Art Department were continuing to pay the grants, to wait for the final judgment. A few of the boards have come in, and Sheffield and Salford and some others have converted their schools into higher elementary schools; but the majority of the boards are holding out until the final judgment, and then I have no doubt that a very large number of them will come in.
The hon. Member for Halifax asked me three questions. The first was why 17s. 6d. was still imposed upon evening continuation schools. That is a question for the Treasury, and not for the Board of Education. With regard to the question of the attendance of children at evening continuation schools, I will do everything in my power to make regulations by which the evening continuation schools shall be real continuation schools, but I am most reluctant to allow even for six months a wretched child to attend all the day at the day school and all the evening at the evening school. I think that if a child of tender years has attended properly to school in the day-time it is almost cruel to expect that child to attend at an evening school as well. As to the question of physical instruction in evening schools, I can assure the House that I am as eager as any hon. Member to see that the children, both boys and girls, have proper physical instruction.
The hon. Member for West Islington, the hon. Member for North Camberwell, and my hon. friend the Member for West Ham have all been extremely zealous in regard to the case of commercial education generally. My idea of a commercial education differs somewhat from theirs, but I do not doubt that they are genuine in their zeal, and I hope that they will be equally generous to me and believe me when I say that I am not trying to destroy our education or the commercial schools by the policy we have adopted. My idea of a commercial education is not satisfied by merely teaching typewriting and shorthand to boys of ten to fourteen years of age. That is not my notion of a commercial education. Book-keeping as a branch of arithmetic is a very proper subject, and there is no obstacle to its being taught; but typewriting of course 670 is a more technical accomplishment, and so is shorthand, and I do not think, considering the short time there is for general education, that the time of the children should be devoted to teaching them a merely technical art.
The hon. Member for North Camber-well was good enough to weary the House by quoting a number of passages from the speech which I made some years ago at the Mansion House, but his quotations do not fairly represent my views. What I said was that the only way by which you can have a good commercial education is by establishing it upon a sound general elementary education, and between the ages of ten and fourteen years the children ought to be undergoing their general education; and to attempt to specialise and teach them what is called a commercial education is merely a waste of time, and will produce results which will be of no value whatever. I should like to be allowed to say on this subject that this question of specialisation in education is one which has exercised very much the attention of those who look upon education from a philosophical point of view. If anybody takes the time and trouble to do what I have had to do as part of ray duties, that is to visit the educational exhibits at the late Paris Exhibition, he will have been struck by a very remarkable divergence between the northern Teutonic and Anglo-Saxon races and the Southern races, like the French and the Italians. The universal principle of the Northern races is general education and the general development of intelligence up to a comparatively late age, and no specialisation before sixteen or seventeen. That principle is carried out, too, in a most remarkable way in America. America is a practical country, a commercial country, a manufacturing country, where everybody is looking to "the main chance," and yet these unphilosophical and practical Americans do not attempt to specialise in any way whatever until a comparatively late age. They do not prepare the child for a particular walk in life, but they give it a general education which is calculated to develop all the faculties of mind and body, and then for the first time they begin to specialise. But that is not so in France, and my hon. friend has been speaking about the French schools. In France, as in Italy and the Southern 671 countries generally, they attempt very early to teach the children what we call something useful. That is to say, at a very early age they begin to give one kind of instruction to a child who is going to be an agricultural labourer, another kind to a child who is going to be a clerk, and so forth. In this way the children are prepared for the course in life which the are expected to follow. It is a very remarkable thing, but I was told by the people with whom I conversed at Paris that the result of the Exhibition had been to very much shake the faith of the French educationists in their own system, and they were very much more inclined to adopt the American system of general education, which was, in the main, the English system of not specialising. That is the policy which the Board of Education have been pursuing in tins country in relation to these higher elementary schools for which we have been so severely handled. The idea of the higher elementary school is that it should be a school giving a general education calculated to develop the faculties of the boys and girls between ten and fourteen. I think that is a very early age to specialise.
Then some hon. Member has talked about these schools being pure schools of science. The amount of science which is required in the higher elementary school is four hours per week for the first two years, and six hours per week for the last two years, half of which is to be practical work. That is not more science than can be reasonably acquired in an ordinary general education. There are twenty-five hours in the school week, and, therefore, twenty-one or nineteen available for other than scientific, subjects. It should be remembered that it is not the same science in every school, for there is a great variety which can be taught. The teaching of science is a matter in which there can be an enormous amount of variety. Therefore you have twenty-one hours at the disposal of the school managers for other subjects in the first two years, and you can devote it to your own English language, or even to shorthand and bookkeeping, though I regret enormously the time which school boards I when those children arrive at the age devote to those subjects. Then why, it is asked, are not these large grants given to the ordinary higher grade schools? 672 The Department is tied by its duty to Parliament. There is no power to give these large grants in the Higher Elementary School Minute to any school which does not teach subjects outside of the Elementary School Code, and there is no Parliamentary authority to give grants for anything outside the Code but scientific subjects. The general idea of Parliament is that literary education is provided for by very large endowments, that technical education is provided for by the whiskey money which comes out of the Consolidated Fund, and that science and art and elementary education are provided for by the annual grants of the House of Commons.
§ SIR J. GORST
Yes, we can modify the Code, but until it is modified it must be observed. Suppose that a higher elementary school is started for teaching boys between twelve and fourteen some special commercial subject such as the Spanish language, for instance. Let me point out this fact. There is another authority in the district which is empowered by Parliament to teach modern languages, and which has Exchequer money given to it by this House for the purpose of enabling it to teach them. What is really proposed is, that having set up a technical instruction committee, say, in the borough of Bradford, for the purpose of teaching Spanish and having the power to teach the Spanish language, we are to set up another authority to teach Spanish which is to receive a large Exchequer grant. Therefore, we should have two schools at Bradford drawing pupils from one another and competing for the same students. It is the most monstrous confusion that you can possibly conceive. I do not think that the is a matter in which there can be an hon. Members who are so zealous for a commercial educational have any idea of this. If instead of agitating for these higher grants you will take the children of the higher grade schools and teach them within the four corners of the Code all the subjects which the Code allows you sound general elementary education, when those children arrive at the age of fourteen or fifteen and leave the elementary school, then they are exactly in the condition to receive a special com- 673 mercial education. If the school boards would give up the idea of keeping the children out of the secondary schools and instead of this prepare them for the secondary schools, and after they have left this course of study, then send them into secondary schools to receive technical education in one, and commercial education in the other, I think you would have your children very much better educated than you will if you persist in keeping the children out of the secondary schools. In this way you give the children the advantages of a much wider education. It is not the hon. Members opposite alone who are zealous for the poor man's child. We are trying to do what is best for his child, but you want to keep the poor man's child perpetually in a school of his own. We want him to mix with the rest of the population, and we want the cleverer of the children of the working classes of this country to mix with other children and with other boys and girls, so that they can ultimately find their way into the universities. Everybody knows how many of the distinguished men in the universities of the land and in our scientific societies have sprung from the ranks of the people. You can never promote the real higher education of the people by shutting them up in a separate school of their own. You want to mix all classes together, and give scholarships and exhibitions by which the best and cleverest children of the working classes can find their way to the universities, and it is in that way only that you will perpetuate that system which has made this country as great as it is.
§ *MR. MATHER (Lancashire. Rossendale)
Any hon. Member who has looked at the crowded Strangers' Gallery to-night must have noticed the intense interest which is taken in this subject by the country as a whole. The old lassitude and lethargy connected with this great subject seem to have passed away. It has passed away not on purely academic grounds, but owing to a fear, which is becoming intensified as the years roll on, that Great Britain stands in danger among the great nations of the world as regards her future during the next twenty-live years. The right hon. Gentleman opposite has used arguments and littered sentiments which do not appear to me to be quite consistent 674 the one with the other. None of us, I think, on this side of the House, or on the other side of the House, will dispute the fact that the, American system of general education for all classes of the community, from the bottom to the top, is the most perfect and symmetrical plan by which the human mind can be trained intelligently for the purposes of life. All classes join together in this system of education. They meet at the primary school, they meet at the grammar school, and pursue their way to the higher schools, and many of them find their way to the colleges eventually. Yon find under the American system all classes of the community mingling together, and nothing in my opinion, is better calculated to make a nation truly great in all its aims and objects than that the children should be educated on the American plan. That is precisely the plan that we advocate on this side of the House, and which many hon. Members on the opposite side desire to see carried out and adopted in England. But to do this you must adopt the American authority, and the American authority is a universal school board in every city of the country. There is scarcely a single exception in all the areas of city life in America where the school board is not elected to take charge of education from the bottom to the top, and it takes entire control. Education is afforded without money and without price to all ranks and classes of the community through public taxation. If that were the system established in this country, none of us would object, but we have cause to complain now of the way in which our children are trained under dual authorities. Under the American system the children pass from the primary school upwards, and if that system was adopted in England, we should have an educated people in a comparatively short space of time. The interest taken in this discussion this evening will make itself felt not only with the Committee, but certainly throughout the entire country, as marking a new departure in the great question of education.
I understand that we are about to have introduced during this year many new things. At any rate the Government of the day have promised certain reforms in 675 several directions. But of all the reforms which appear to be most necessary for the salvation of the country, in my opinion and in the opinion of many others who have studied this question for many years, a reform in our national education stands the first; and it also stands the first in the estimation of the country. In the discussion of this great national question we have had an empty Front Ministerial Bench, and rather a small attendance in Committee, but the interest outside in this question has been manifested to-night by the very large number of the public present here. I believe that next Friday we are to have another reform introduced into this House in connection with the Army. Upon that occasion the Front Bench opposite and all the benches in the House will be crowded, and it will be difficult to get a seat in the House. But I maintain that this question of national education should precede all other reforms, because even Army reform depends for its efficiency upon educational reform. I do ask the right hon. Gentleman to take it most seriously into his consideration, because it must be evident from what he has heard during the debate to-day and from his own experience outside, that at least the people of this country have come to the conclusion that we can no longer face the future upon the basis of that want of intelligence and that inadequate provision for general education which we have been passing through during the last twenty-five years. We are thankful for the small progress achieved, but that has only made us feel more acutely than ever what a vast difference there is between the advantages of the working classes in this country and those enjoyed by America and Germany when they come face to face with the real purposes of life. I am a large manufacturer, and we engineers of England are in a position to compare our industry with those large industries carried on on the other side of the Atlantic and in Germany. It must be within the knowledge of every Member of the Committee that during the last ten years there has been a gradual encroachment upon all the industries for which this country was distinguished in former years. Our supremacy has been challenged and undermined. This has not 676 happened for want of natural resources, or for want of coal, iron, copper or other raw materials which we obtain from all parts of the earth by a splendid development of the shipping interest. The difficulty is that the human material is not as competent now to deal with the scientific and industrial problems of the day as it was twenty-five years ago. The rest of the world has gone ahead, and has got into line with us, and even passed us in many industries. Those engaged in scientific industries naturally ask why it is that we cannot maintain this supremacy in the future; why we fear the competition of to-day. There is only one palpable reason, which stares us in the face all the time, and that is the lack of that cultivated intelligence amongst the industrial classes which is necessary to enable us to carry on our industries in the scientific manner which the world demands in all directions. Only the other day I came across a remarkable illustration of this point. I was asked to obtain an English chemical analyst for a large manufacturing firm abroad, and after looking round for weeks, I could only find four who were in any sense competent to come up to the necessary requirements. On the other side of the water I could have found scores where I could only find one here. That kind of thing disheartens industry when looking to the future. I will ask the right hon. Gentleman, if he doubts my experience, or the results of it, to consult any large employer of labour, engaged in any scientific industry in this country, and he will find that one and all of them experience the greatest difficulty in getting proper human material to face the great problems which have to be met. I think that is the greatest obstacle to our maintaining the supremacy which we formerly held amongst the nations of the world.
For these reasons, is it not the duty of the Government to throw aside all other considerations, and give all that we require for the reform of our national system of education? The right hon. Gentleman stated in regard to the 17s. 6d. limit that the matter depended upon the Treasury. Any Government worthy of the name that wishes to meet our enemies not only in the field but also those in our own household—any Government capable of recognising the signs of 677 the times and which desires to meet these enemies, surely ought to regard national education as one of the most important questions to which it could devote the money of the people. The Treasury should be made to feel tins, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the House, and the gentlemen who rule the destinies of the nation, should recognise the fact that we at least on this side of the House are willing to bury the hatchet of discord so far as all the minor differences of a national system of education are concerned, and are willing to support the Government as we did in the passing of the Technical Instruction Bill of 1889— which would never have passed but for our action on this side of the House. We are willing to go with them and justify their action in our constituencies, if they will only give us the chance by establishing once and for all a system under one large authority, without making any lines of demarcation to differentiate between the education necessary for the working classes and for the middle classes of the country, and all classes up to that stage of culture to which some of them may aspire later on. I have done what I could in my business to encourage the spirit of education among parents, for I have stipulated that in my works no apprentice shall be taken under sixteen years of age who has not undergone a regular course of higher instruction. Age alone cannot be the test. You cannot differentiate between the ages of fifteen and sixteen. Elementary science should be a subject of common and general education in our primary schools, and to teach something of the laws of nature is to make a child understand the A B C of science. There is no difficult about explaining to a child the nature of the atmosphere he breathes, or the manner in which we obtain water by means of a pump, or the difference between a vacuum and air pressure, or the forces of nature. All these things meet him through the ordinary course of his life, and they can be brought before him in the schoolroom at the age of fourteen or fifteen just as well as they can be at the age of eighteen.
I earnestly press upon the right lion. Gentleman to take it from the Committee's attitude to-night that we are 678 really in earnest. I have never heard the House of Commons so much in earnest as it has been to-night on this great question of national education. Outside the House the right hon. Gentleman needs no proof that the country is aroused upon this important matter. We have the example of other nations before us. It is a matter for irony for us to be now discussing what the English nation requires in education for her future destiny. We are the oldest nation of the world in the modern sense of the word, and should be the most advanced. The right hon. Gentleman has now a splendid opportunity, for the House is ready and more than eager to support him in every way it can, and if he will only make the Cabinet understand how much in earnest the House is, and still more the country, then I think we shall have reached a very happy period in our history. A new reign has just dawned upon us. We have a now monarch and a new Parliament, and we have entered on a new century. Let it be recorded in our history that this was a time when a new national system of education was established throughout the length and breadth of the land, and then I believe the country will once more rise to great achievements.
§ *Mr. BOND (Nottingham, E.)
said that in the earlier part of the debate his right hon. friend the Member for South Aberdeen gave an account of the way in which the higher grade schools came into existence. Those who were acquainted with the history of this educational movement knew that here and there up and down the country it began by pressing education beyond the standards of the Code, which it was perceived could be got through by children of average ability long before the time at which it was desirable that they should leave school. The consequence was that schools began to be established which had since been known as higher grade schools. It was recognised that when they got beyond the standards of the Code they could no longer use the rates for the support of those schools, and the result was that though the children were still kept in the buildings the education was supposed to be paid for partly by fees, partly by the grants from the Science and Art 679 Department. Subsequently, however, the fees were diminished, and in some cases entirely abolished. The grants of the Science and Art Department were diminished or were less easily obtained, and the consequence was that schools of this kind, established to meet a real want, found themselves obliged to carry on in a manner which in the earlier stage of their existence they would have considered to be illegal. Then there came a still further development in the schools of the great northern towns. In London, where the higher grade schools had only lately been developed, the object of establishing them was not so much to fill an ascertained gap in education as to increase the prestige of the School Board, and really enter into competition with existing secondary schools. That had happened to his knowledge to a very large extent, and the difficulty in the matter was that the masters conducting the higher grade schools were naturally desirous of keeping the children in the schools instead of willingly relinquishing them to the secondary schools, to the detriment not only of the education of the children, but to the great detriment of the secondary schools. Children were now kept at the higher grade schools until they were about fifteen, and then because it was found that they would have a better chance of obtaining certain kinds of employment if they came from a secondary school they were sent to such a school for what was thought to be a finishing year. That was bad for the education of the children and disadvantageous to the secondary schools.
There were two great things to be considered in connection with the matter. One was that the Act of 1870 was intended to provide for the elementary education of the great mass of the people —labourers, artisans, soldiers, policemen, and the men filling the lower ranks of the Civil Service. At what age would such people begin to earn their livelihood? Was it possible in the conditions of our social system—even though he thought it desirable—that such children as those for whom the elementary system of education was devised could remain at school beyond the age of fourteen? He heard with great interest the statement of the hon. Gentleman opposite about not taking apprentices into his works until they 680 were sixteen. But from the way in which the hon. Gentleman announced the fact he evidently regarded it as exceptional. Elementary education was now free, or practically free, and question was whether the Committee was prepared to go any further in the direction of making education, to a higher degree, gratuitous? The higher grade schools had one great attraction in the eyes of parents, and that was that no fees were payable at them—at least in London. Another difficulty was the comparative lateness of the age at which scholars now entered the secondary schools. That was a real danger to education. They were not at liberty to treat education as consisting of a number of different stages, like a house of cards*. Education properly understood was a much more serious matter than that. It was a matter of organic growth, so far as it could be secured, of drawing on the child stage by stage, from subject to subject, and in the end turning him out as complete a social instrument as he could be turned out having regard to the time ho remained at school. He confessed that the situation presented very great difficulties. School boards and schoolmasters and mistresses in elementary schools, actuated no doubt by very laudable motives and desirous of doing their very best for the education I of the children confided to their care, had departed from the plain course prescribed for them by the Elementary Education Act, and had unquestionably encroached on the field of secondary education. They did it in many cases with the assent, approval, and recognition of the inhabitants of the districts in which the development had taken place, and with the left-handed recognition of the Education Department. Now that the illegality of such action was being discussed, they were confronted with what was certainly a difficult, delicate, and awkward question. The schools which had been established were doing good work, and work which met with the approval of the bulk of the inhabitants I of the districts where it was being carried on. It would be extremely difficult to shut them up altogether, and he himself thought that the conclusion which had been arrived at by some 6i the speakers in the debate was a right 681 conclusion, and that the only way of getting a really satisfactory system of education, which would provide necessary instruction up to the age of about sixteen, was to establish either one central authority or several local authorities to deal with the whole subject. There were however immense perils and difficulties in that plan. They could not remodel their education system in that way without a very large increase of expenditure. Hon. Members on both sides seemed prepared for that, but no hon. Member had given any figures to indicate what the cost would lie. At present education was practically free up to the age of fifteen or thereabouts.
If they wished to go further, and provide State education for children remaining at school until the age of seventeen or thereabouts, and to eliminate the unhappy jealousies which had prevailed for a long time between the elementary and secondary schools, the only way to proceed, so far as he could see, was to fall back on some such plan as had been suggested. He hoped that when the Bill which had been promised was introduced it would be found to contain provisions for the consolidation of education authorities in different districts, so that the entire system from beginning to end might be worked harmoniously on a definite plan.
§ Mr. ASQUITH
I shall not detain the Committee for more than two or three minutes. As this has been such a remarkable debate, it may lie desirable before we proceed to a division for one to endeavour to summarise its main features. It is certainly the first time in my experience of the House of Commons in which practically a whole evening, nominally devoted to a Vote on Account embracing all the branches of the Civil Service, has been entirely occupied by the one topic we are engaged on. We hear a great deal, rightly and justly, about the necessity of reforming some of our public Departments, the War Office, and so on; but I think the manner in which the House has occupied its time to-night is the most significant proof the country could have that we look on the reform of our educational system as coming first and foremost. I think, without any distinction of party, we may recognise that as a hopeful 682 sign, because it shows that not merely has the debate been contributed to almost equally by both sides of the House; not merely that we are full of hope and desire for the future, bin that we are animated by what I conceive to be a just and legitimate apprehension as to our existing educational position.
My hon. friend the Member for Rossendale, in his speech a few minutes ago, and speaking with his long experience as a large employer of labour, emphasised in. I think, not at all accentuated or exaggerated terms, the enormous danger to which the industries of this country are exposed, not from any falling off in the energy or even in the intelligence of either our capitalists or labourers, but from the superiority in methods of training which have been adopted by our leading competitors in the industrial world. For the first time in the history of this country,-indeed in the history of the world, the exports of a foreign country during the last twelve months have exceeded, our own and if ever there were an occasion when it was time for us to look round and put our educational house in order that occasion has now arrived. There is also another point which has found ample expression during the course of this debate, and that is that whatever differences we may have had in the past or may have in the future—and J do not in the least disguise or minimise their importance—as to the position of denominational schools on the one side and board schools on the other, there is a certain neutral ground in the direction of educational improvement on which all parties in this House may meet. The greatest educational reform which has taken place in our time was carried out under the conduct of my right hon. friend—I mean the providing of free education in our primary schools. That was a matter on which there was no division of party opinion, and the measure was carried into law practically with the consent of all parties. There is another illustration, not perhaps so wide-reaching in its effects, but not to be ignored—I refer to the Technical Instruction Act of 1899. That Act, I am sorry to say, was circumscribed in its extent, but it has already produced, and will, if largely extended, continue to produce, the foundations of a system of technical 683 education throughout the length and breadth of the country. Having regard to the manifest indications of a universally dominating interest in this matter, and to the willingness of all parties in the State to co-operate in the solution of it, cannot the Government give us this year—they have an unexampled opportunity—a chance of making a really large step forward?
There are two measures to which I desire particularly to refer. The first is what may he done by legislation, and the other is what may be done by administration. As regards legislation, I think it is universally acknowledged that the time has come when we may really take a practical step towards the attainment of what has long been an educational ideal—namely, the co-ordination of our various systems of primary, secondary and more developed education into something like a harmonious and logical system. Speaker after speaker has pointed out to-night that a clever child, the child with brains, who has passed through a primary school, finds himself in the next stage very much handicapped by want of adequate provision for his more developed education, and very often cut short at a time when, if he had proper facilities and opportunities, he might be able to develop his education to a degree which would make him a really efficient worker in the development of the industries and science of the country.
That is a matter of course as to which we must suspend our judgment until we see the scheme of the Government, but I want to lay even still greater stress on the necessity and urgency of a reform which does not depend upon legislation at all, but which could be carried out to-morrow by a stroke of the Vice-President's pen. There are a number of children who have reached the age of twelve or thirteen, and who from the necessities of the case—the circumstances of their parents and so forth—can probably never hope to mount up the higher rungs of the educational ladder, or obtain the advantages which a secondary and more developed system of education would provide. If the law is to be interpreted in the sense in which it has been interpreted by the Courts, these children 684 will be left absolutely stranded during two of the most important and critical years of their lives. Having passed the sixth or even the seventh standard, and being still at a school age, and in the elementary schools, they will be left absolutely stranded and compelled to go without any further education. Well, I say to the Vice-President and to His Majesty's Government, if they will modify and mould the Code issued from Whitehall so as to continue the facilities which are now provided in the higher branches of elementary schools, but of which they are threatened to be deprived, they will provide for this class of children, who really may not have another chance in their lives, the only possible means of developing their minds and faculties and making them capable and efficient citizens. That is absolutely within the power of the right hon, Gentleman to-morrow, if he wishes to exercise his statutory rights to bring it into effect. I earnestly hope and believe that the debate to-night will supply an impulse and incentive to the Government to carry out these two steps, and I hope that such a favourable opportunity will not be lost.
§ MAJOR RASCH (Essex, Chelmsford)
said he did not pretend to be an expert in educational matters. In the agricultural districts education was sometimes regarded as a great advantage and at other times as an unmitigated nuisance, but he did not propose to express his own views on the subject. He only wished to say that he desired to support the view put forward by the hon. Member for Accrington with reference to the security of the tenure of teachers in elementary schools. The teachers were subject to irresponsible Boards, and if they went to church or to chapel, if they played the organ or refused to play the organ, or accepted the eastern position, they were liable to dismissal and had no appeal. All they asked was that there should be an appeal to the county councils or to the Vice-President himself. For the last year and a half he and other hon. Members had been pressing the matter on the Vice-President of the Council without the slightest effect; they only received the usual official answer that the matter was being considered. When the right 685 hon. Gentleman was asked a supplementary question, lie only said his answer was veracious. It was, however, un-commonly unsatisfactory. The right hon. Gentleman said just now that the question was under consideration, but if the Duke of Devonshire could not make up his
§ mind in a year and a half with reference to such a simple question—well, he did not deserve to be where he was.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 130; Noes, 225. (Division List No. 38.)687
|Abraham, William(Cork, N.E.||Gilhooly, James||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J.||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glouc., Stroud||Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Malley, William|
|Ambrose, Robert||Grant, Corrie||O'Mara, James|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Hy.||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Griffith, Ellis J.||Partington, Oswald|
|Bell, Richard||Guidon, Sir W. Brampton||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Roland, John||Haldane, Richard Burdon||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Boyle, James||Hammond, John||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Hardie, J. K.(Merthyr Tydvil)||Price, Robert John|
|Brigg, John||Harms worth. R. Leicester||Rasch, Major Frederic Carrie|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Reddy, M.|
|Brown, George M.(Edinburgh)||Hobhouse. C. E. H.(Bristol, E.)||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Holland, William Henry||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Joicey, Sir James||Roche, John|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Jordan, Jeremiah||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Caine, William Sproston||Joyce, Michael||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Caldwell, James||Kearley, Hudson, E.||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh.)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Smith, HC (North'mb. Tyneside|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Cawley, Frederick||Levy, Maurice||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lough, Thomas||Spencer. Rt Hn C. R (Northants.|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Lundon, W.||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Crean, Eugene||M'Crae, George||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Cullinan, J.||M'Dermott, Patrick||Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||M'Govern, T.||Thomson, F. W. (York, W.R.)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Tomkinson, James|
|Delany, William||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Trevelyan Charles Philips|
|Donelan, Capt. A.||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Tully, Jasper|
|Doogan, P. C.||Mather, William||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Duffy, William J.||Morton, Edw. J.C.(Devonport)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Duncan, James H.||Murphy, J.||White, Patrick (Meath, North|
|Elibank, Master of||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Emmott, Alfred||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipp'ry, Mid.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Mr. Yoxall and Mr. Alfred Hutton.|
|Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Balfour, Rt. Hn. A.J. (Manch'r.||Brookfield, Colonel Montagu|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds||Bull, William James|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Balfour, Maj. K. R. (Christch.)||Butcher, John George|
|Allhusen, Augustus Hy. Eden.||Banbury, Frederick George||Carlile, William Walter|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benj.||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes.)|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Beach, Rt. Hn Sir M. H.(Bristol)||Cavendish, V.C.W.(Derbysh.)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Arrol, Sir William||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)|
|Ashmead Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J.(Birm.)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Bond, Edward||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc.|
|Bagot. Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Brassey, Albert||Chapman, Edward|
|Balcarres, Lord||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Churchill, Winston Spencer|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Collings, Right Hon. Jesse||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Kennedy, Patrick James||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Cook, Frederick Lucas||Kenyon, Hon. G. T. (Denbigh)||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Corbett, A. Cameron(Glasgow||Kenyon, James (Lancs., Bury)||Purvis, Robert|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop)||Pym, C. Guy|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd(Bolton)||Keswick, William||Randles, John S.|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Ratcliffe, R. F.|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Knowles, Lees||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chath'm||Law, Andrew Bonar||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lawrence, William F.||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Lawson, John Grant||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cockfield||Lee, Capt A.H (Hants, Fareh'm.||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (St'ly bridge)|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Leveson-Gower, Fred. N. S.||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Long, Col. Chas. W.(Evesham)||Ropner, Col. Robert|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Long, Rt Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.)||Russell, T. W.|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Rutherford, John|
|Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn Sir J. (Manc'r||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Lucas, R. J. (Portsmouth)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Finch, George H.||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Seely, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Macdona, John Cumming||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Fisher, William Hayes||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Maconochie, A. W.||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.)|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Smith, James P. (Lanarks.)|
|Forster, Henry William||M'Calmont. Col. J. (Antrim, E.)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans)||M'Killop, James(Stirlingshire)||Spear, John Ward|
|Gordon, Hn. J.E. (Elgin & Nairn||Majendie, James A. H.||Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)|
|Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Malcolm, Ian||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'r H'ml'ts||Markham, Arthur Basil||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Gore, Hon. F. S. Ormsby-||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Stock, James Henry|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Maxwell, W. J. H.(Dumfriessh.||Sturt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Milward, Colonel Victor||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Moles worth, Sir Lewis||Talbot,Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf. Univ.|
|Greene, Sir E.W.(Bury St. Ed.)||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Mooney, John J.||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Gretton, John||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Groves, James Grimble||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Tufnell, Col. Edward|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Morgan, David J (Walthamst'w||Valentia, Viscount|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Morrell, George Herbert||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G (Midd'x||Morrison, James Archibald||Wason, John C. (Orkney)|
|Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nderry||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptf'rd)||AVelby, Lt.-Col. A.C.E(Tauntn|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'd)||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Whiteley, H.(Ashton-u.-Lyne)|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset)|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley)||Wills, Sir Frederick|
|Heath, Jas. (Stat fords., N.W.||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Helder, Augustus||Nicholson, William Graham||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C.B. Stuart-|
|Hermon-Hodge, Robert T.||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Higginbottom, S. W.||Nolan, Col. John P.(Galway, N.)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Hoare, Edw. B. (Hampstead)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Hobhouse, Hy. (Somerset, E.)||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Young, Commander(Berks, E.)|
|Hope,J. F. (Sheff'ld, Brightside||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Hoult, Joseph||Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robt, Wellesley||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Hutton, John (Yorks, N.R.)||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Percy, Earl|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ It being after midnight, and objection being taken to further proceeding, the Chairman proceeded to- interrupt the business.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 220; Noes, 117. (Division List No. 39.)691
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Greene, Sir E W (B'ry S Edm'nds||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Newdigate, Francis Alexander|
|Allhusen, Augustus Hy. Eden||Cretton, John||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Groves, James Grimble||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Guthrie, Walter Murray||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Arrol, Sir William||Hambro, Charles Eric||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G. (Mid'x||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n|
|Bagot,Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nderry||Peel, Hn. Wm. Rbt. Wellesley|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Hardy, L. (Kent, Ashford)||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Balfour, Rt.Hn.A.J.(Manch'r.||Harris, F. L. (Tynemouth)||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Balfour, Maj. K. R.(Christch.)||Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Heath, Jas. (Staffords., N.W.||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Bathurst. Hon. Allen Benjamin||Helder, Augustus||Purvis, Robert|
|Beach,Rt Hn. Sir. M. H. (Bristol||Hermon-Hodge, Robert T.||Pym, C. Guy|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Higginbottom, S. W.||Randles, John S.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Hoare, E. Brodie (Hampstead)||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Hobhouse, Hy. (Somerset, E.)||Ratcliffe, R. F.|
|Blundell, Col. Henry||Hope, J.F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Bond, Edward||Hoult, Joseph||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Brassey, Albert||Hutton, John (Yorks., N. R.)||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Ridley, Hn. M.W. (Staly bridge|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Morton||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Bull, William James||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Butcher, John George||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Carlile, William Walter||Kearley, Hudson E.||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Kenyon, Hn. G. T. (Denbigh)||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Cavendish, V.C.W (Derbyshire)||Kenyon, James (Lancs., Bury)||Russell, T. W.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop)||Rutherford, John|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Keswick, William||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J (Birm.||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alex.|
|Chamberlain, J Austen(Worc'r||Knowles, Lees||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse|
|Chapman, Edward||Law, Andrew Bonar||Scott, Sir S.(Marylebone, W.)|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Lawrence, William F.||Seely, Chas. Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H.A.E.||Lawson. John Grant||Sharpe, Willian Edward T.|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Lee,Capt A.H. (Hants, Fareh'm||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Colomb,SirJohnCharles Ready||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Smith, HC (North'mb. Tyn's'de|
|Cook, Frederick Lucas||Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Long. Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.)||Spear, John Ward|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Stanley, Hn Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)|
|Davies, Sir H. D. (Chatham)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Stock, James Henry|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lucas, Col. F. (Lowestoft)||Sturt, Hon Humphry Napier|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Lucas. R. J. (Portsmouth)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Dimsdale, Sir J. Cockfield||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J.G (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Macdona, John Cumming||Tollemaohe, Henry James|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Maclver, David (Liverpool)||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Maconochie, A. W.||Tufnell, Col. Edward|
|Duke, Henry Edward||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||M'Calmont,Col. J. (Antrim, E.)||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Fardell, Sir T. Ceorge||M 'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Fergusson,Rt Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Majendie, James A. H.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Malcolm, Ian||Welby, Lt-Col. A.C.E (Taunt'n|
|Finch, George H.||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Whiteley,H. (Ashton-U.-Lyne|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Maxwell,W.J.H.(Dumfriessh)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Milward, Colonel Victor||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Wills, Sir Frederick|
|Forster, Henry William||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Wilson, A. Stanley(York,E.R.|
|Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Wilson, J.W. (Worcestersh. N.|
|Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||More, Rbt. Jasper (Shropshire||Wortley,Rt.Hon.C. B. Stuart-|
|Gordon,Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Morrell, George Herbert||Wylie, Alexander|
|Gordon, Maj Evans- (T'r H'ml'ts||Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Gore, Hon. F. S. Ormsby-||Morrison, James Archibald||Young, Commander (Berks, E.|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Sir William Walrond and|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Murray. Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.||Gilhooly, James||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Allen,CharlesP(Glouc.,Stroud||Grant, Corrie||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Griffith, Ellis J.||O'Malley, William|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Mara, James|
|Asquith,RtHn. HerbertHenry||Haldane, Richard Burdon||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Bell, Richard||Hammond, John||Partington, Oswald|
|Boland, John||Hardie, J. Keir(MerthyrTydvil||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Boyle, James||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Brigg, John||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Price, Robert John|
|Brown,George M.(Edinburgh)||Jordan, Jeremiah||Reddy, M.|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Joyce, Michael||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Kennedy, Patrick James||Roche, John|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Caldwell, James||Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Cawley, Frederick||Levy, Maurice||Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh.)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lough, Thomas||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Lundon, W.||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Spencer,Rt.Hn.C R(Northants|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Crean, Eugene||M'Crae, George||Tennant, Harold John|
|Cullinan, J.||M'Govern, T.||Thomas, DavidAlfred(Merthyr|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Thomas,F.Freeman-(Hastings|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Thomson, F. W.(York, W. R.|
|Delany, William||Mansfield, Horace Kendall||Tomkinson, James|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Doogan, P. C.||Mather, William||Tully, Jasper|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Mooney, John J.||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Duffy, William J.||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Duncan, James H.||Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport)||White, Luke (York. E. R.)|
|Elibank, Master of||Murphy, J,||White, Patrick (Meath, North|
|Emmott, Alfred||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Whitely, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Evans,SirFrancisH (Maidsto'e||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Brien,Kendal(Tipper'ryMid||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Foster, Sir Walter (DerbyCo.)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Mr. Herbert Gladstone and Mr. Causton.|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
§ Original Question put accordingly.
§ The CHAIRMAN named the Tellers:—Ayes, Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther; Noes, Mr. Yoxall and Mr. Brodhurst.
Order, order! The House must clear for the division. I must ask hon. Members to proceed to the division lobbies.
§ [A minute later.]
§ Mr. FLAVIN (Kerry, N.)
May I be permitted to point out that we feel it our 692 duty to protest against the manner in which all the Irish Votes have been closured without a single Irish voice having been heard.
Order, order! It is not possible to go back on the decision of the House. The House has already decided that the question should be put, and it is my duty to put it.
Order, order! If the hon. Members decline to proceed to the division lobbies, I must report the circumstances to the Speaker.
§ The CHAIRMAN thereupon directed the doors to be unlocked in order to report the matter to the Speaker.
§ Mr. Speaker resumed the Chair.
Mr. Speaker, I have to report to you. Sir, that during the course of the division on the question which I was ordered to put by the House as a result of the division upon the closure, a certain number of Members of the House declined to leave their seats and to proceed into the division lobbies. I requested them more than once to proceed, but I gathered from the observations which fell from these hon. Members, or some of them, that they declined to proceed. Thereupon I thought it was due to the House, in the position in which we found ourselves, that I should follow the precedent which had been set on a former occasion and ask you, Sir, to return to the Chair. It was impossible for me, Sir, to see all the hon. Members who declined to leave their seats, but I may say that among those whom I was able to observe were the Members for South-East Cork, North Kerry, South Tipperary, North Meath, North Leitrim, East Limerick, North-East Cork, West Cavan, East Tyrone, South Fermanagh, East Cork, and West Cork.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The order having been made for clearing the House, it is the duty of every Member, in accordance with that order, to clear the House for the purpose of a division. I must remind hon. Members that they are breaking the rules of the House in not clearing the House for a division. I 694 must ask them whether they still persist in refusing to leave the House? [Severa: Hon. Members: We will not.] I name you, Mr. Crean, Mr. Flavin, Mr. Cullinan, Mr. White, Mr. M'Hugh, Mr. Lundon, Mr. William Abraham, Mr. M'Govern, Mr. Doogan, Mr. Jordan, Captain Donelan, Mr. Gilhooly for wilfully obstructing the business of the House and disregarding the authority of the Chair.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the said Members, Mr. Crean, Mr. Flavin, Mr. Cullinan, Mr. Patrick White, Mr. M'Hugh, Mr. Lundon, Mr. William Abraham, Mr. M'Govern, Mr. Doogan, Mr. Jordan, Captain Donelan, and Mr. Gilhooly be suspended from the service of the House."—(Mr. A. J. Balfour.)
§ The House proceeded to a division.
§ Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther were appointed Tellers for the Ayes, but no Member being willing to act as Teller for the Noes, Mr. Speaker declared that the Ayes had it.
§ *Mr. SPEAKER
The Serjeant-at-Arms will see that the orders of the House are obeyed, and that adequate force is used if it becomes necessary to compel the hon. Member. I must call the names of the hon. Members in order, and I must ask the messengers to see that they are removed if they will not withdraw. I call on Mr. Crean to leave the House.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I appeal to the hon. Members to have some respect for the dignity of the House to which they belong.
§ MR. FLAVIN
May I point out, Sir, that in your absence a Vote of seventeen millions of money was closured without a single Irish Member having taken part in the discussion?
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I must ask Mr. Patrick White, who is one of the Members I have named, to leave the House, and I appeal to him to leave it peaceably,
§ *MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN (Kilkenny)
Before this unpleasantness proceeds any further lam, speaking for myself, very anxious that some way out of the difficulty should be found. I sympathise with the protest of my hon. friends, and if a way out is not found, then the same course as that which we have just witnessed will have to be gone through with every Member on these benches. I would appeal, if I may, through you, Sir, to the Leader of the House, and ask him if he would not let the matter now end. I think that by allowing the House to be now adjourned, we might meet in a better temper all round to-morrow. If that suggestion cannot be adopted, then I see no other alternative to every Member on these benches being forcibly removed. 696 I hope you will see your way to offer some suggestion, Sir.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The only suggstion that I can possibly make is that hon. Members, whether they agree with the course that has been taken in the House or not, should respect the order of the House first. An order having been made and a division called, and the hon. Members having been named for refusing to proceed to the lobby, they should retire from the House decently. A protest may be made on a proper occasion, but their duty now is to retire peaceably.
§ Mr. CULLINAN (Tipperary, S.), Mr. DOOGAN (Tyrone, E.), CAPTAIN DONELAX (CORK CO., E.). Mr. WILLIAM ABRAHAM (Cork Co., N.E.), Mr. GILHOOLY (Cork Co., W.), Mr. LUNDON (Limerick, E.), Mr. MCGOVERN (Cavan, W.), Mr. JORDAN (Fermanagh, S.), and Mr. FLAVIN, having refused to obey the order of the Speaker to leave the House, were removed.
§ *Mr. SPEAKER
The House will now resume its proceedings in Committee, and I hope that, if it is found necessary to take a division, and hon. Members are asked to leave the House, they will do so in accordance with the order of the Chair.
§ The House again resolved itself into Committee:—
§ (In the Committee.)
§ [MR. W. J. LOWTHER in the Chair.]
§ Original Question put, "That £17,304,000 be granted on account for the said Services."
§ The Committee proceeded to a division.
§ Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther were appointed Tellers for the Ayes, but no Member being willing to act as Teller for the Noes, the Chairman declared that the Ayes had it.
§ It being after midnight, the Chairman left the chair to make his report to the House.
§ Resolution to be reported to-morrow.
§ Committee to sit again to-morrow.
§ House adjourned at Ten minutes after One of the clock.