§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum not exceeding £1,122,128 be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1907, for Public Education in Scotland, and for Science and Art in Scotland, including a Grant in Aid."
§ THE SECRETARY FOR SCOTLAND (Mr. SINCLAIR,) Forfarshire
said he might be allowed, in submitting these Estimates, to introduce a few remarks in order to bring the consideration of the Committee to the question which would form the chief topic of discussion, namely, the Minute for the training of teachers. In the last few years there had been many changes carried out administratively in Scottish education, and these Estimates, like those of various other Departments which had been discussed already, were inherited. The present Government came into office at a time of the year when the Estimates were in an advanced condition, and under any circumstances it would have been difficult to make any radical change in either policy or Estimates this year. There had not been, however, in the House of Commons in the last few years any great difference between Scottish Members in regard to Scottish education, except perhaps when they came to discuss the Education Bills of the late Government. But so far as the administration of Scottish education had been concerned, whilst there had been great interest shown by Scottish Members in all parts of the House, and, as an expression of that great interest, considerable criticism, there had never been any deep or wide difference of opinion between them. In reviewing very briefly what had occurred during the last few years he did so under the eyes of the hon. 1167 Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities, who, they all recognised, had had an honourable share in directing that policy. Since the year 1898 great changes had been carried out in Scottish education. Elementary education had been transformed in many directions. The custom of leaving school after passing the fifth standard had gone. The leaving certificate, and all the arrangements as well as the grants depending on the results in different branches of study, had gone, and there was now a system under which there was much greater freedom to the teacher in connection with the work of the school, much greater security to the school board, in that its resources depended on the fixed grant, and altogether an improved state of things. One incidental advantage of great importance was that they had longer attendance at school. By the Act of 1901 the age of fourteen was fixed as the limit of compulsory education, and the arrangements since had been based upon that. In consequence of the changes there had been a considerable increase in the attendance at the primary schools of pupils at a later age. Another change carried out was the organisation of the higher grade schools. Roughly, when pupils in the elementary schools reached the average age of twelve there was a bifurcation between those who intended to prolong their education by going to a higher grade school and those who, looking forward possibly to taking up unskilled occupations or for other reasons, could not remain at school beyond the age of fourteen. These latter, whose school course was based upon the principle that their study of the elementary subjects should be as complete as possible, could go on and get the intermediary certificate at the age of fourteen. It was among these partly that there had been a great increase of attendance. The pupils contemplatng another course of study after the age of twelve entered upon a course of higher grade education. In former days the education now given in higher grade schools or in the higher grade departments of the elementary schools was entirely unorganised, and, except in special cases, was incoherent. There were science and art classes; there were 1168 classes established by the county council' but there was no organised system of higher grade education. The establishment of higher grade schools had been encouraged throughout the country, and the opportunity was afforded to pupils who wished to continue their education up to fifteen or sixteen years of age to attend higher grade schools. It was obvious that this opportunity was limited; that was to say, there could not be higher grade schools within the reach of all pupils, especially in rural districts. Though the increase in the number of these higher grade schools in Scotland had been very marked, there were still only 137 throughout the country. It was hoped and intended that when this system was fully developed there should be facilities for higher grade education within the reach of all those who wished to take advantage of them. Personally he held strongly, now that the State had practically swept out of its course all private adventure in the matter of such schools, that it was the bounden duty of the Government to place within the reach of ability of all kinds, and wherever it might be found, the opportunities of development. The increase of higher grade education implied a great increase in the teaching staff and, from the fact that the education was of a somewhat higher kind, an improvement in the quality of the teaching. There was one other respect in which advance had been made in the last few years, and that was in affording facilities for education to those who had left school and who found the necessity or the desirability of improving their education as years went on. To supply this need in former days they had the evening continuation schools, but it had been felt that there was need of an organised effort to meet this growing want, and there had now grown up a system which was described in the continuation class code, and which afforded to pupils an opportunity of this kind. These continuation classes, which had been organised into a system, might be held at any time during the day and not necessarily in the evening, and instruction might be given in single subjects or in groups of subjects. They provided elementary education for those who found themselves deficient in it. Indeed it was very often found that 1169 before such pupils could go on to the other advantages given under the code they had to supplement their earlier and elementary education. Having done that, or if they were to enter upon the other branches of study without it, they could provide themselves with special instruction having application to the trades in which they were engaged. The idea underlying the system of continuation classes was two-fold. In the first place, it was hoped that the system might really lead up to the central technical institutions which were now established in Scotland, and that these technical institutions, governed as they were by the representatives of trade and employers actually engaged in trade, might exercise a powerful influence upon the character and education of the young people who took advantage of' them. Just as it was hoped that the higher grade facilities would be placed within the reach of the pupils who took advantage of them in the day schools of the country, so it was hoped that as this system was more widely known and taken advantage of continuation classes would be within the reach of all pupils who wished to take advantage of them. This development postulated an increase in the number of qualified teachers. It had always been the traditional boast of Scotland that it was possible for an able and capable boy to go from the parish school to the University. It should be possible now, but for the fact that in regard to the greatness of the population in Scotland the operation of altered circumstances compelled some degree of specialisation in the different classes of schools. Whereas in days gone by advanced and exceptional pupils went to the University at sixteen, fifteen, or even fourteen years of age, the Universities themselves had moved forward and such cases were rare under existing conditions. Regard must be had to the fact that there was division and specialisation of schools, and now probably men rarely entered the University at a lower age than seventeen. The principle underlying the organisation of the schools he had briefly described was clearly stated in the explanatory memorandum of the collection of circulars issued some years ago. The principle 1170 was this: Whereas in Scotland for those who were not going to stay at school beyond the age of fourteen there were to be public elementary schools which would give the education qualifying for the merit certificate at that age, for those who intended to take a more prolonged course there was the higher grade schools which would carry them on to the age of fifteen or sixteen, while for those who wished to prolong their education to the University point at seventeen or eighteen there was the higher class school. These three lines of education were not to be imposed one on another; they were on parallel lines, and they rested on the foundation that where higher grade schools were not actually within the reach of pupils they must be put within their reach by means of bursaries; and by that means, right through the whole system, to open the channel of education to those who were able to take advantage of the facilities thus afforded. It would interest the Committee to know the figures showing the increase in the number of pupils in the elementary schools since the Act of 1901 established the statutory age at fourteen. The number of pupils over twelve on the register in 1901 was 157,543, being 20.5 of the whole. It was now 22.89 of the whole. At the same time I the percentage of increase on the number of children between seven and twelve was only 1.89, while the percentage of increase under seven was 0.81. The increase, therefore, had been chiefly in the pupils above twelve. Taking the figures in another way, the total increase of pupils over twelve was 26,542. Allowing an increase of 7,000 for the growth of population this represented a clear gain on the attendance of these particular children of over 19,000. He had said enough to show that the view taken hitherto was that every elementary school should be at any rate in posse a higher grade-school. There was nothing to prevent a higher grade pupil from being taken on to higher grade subjects in an elementary school. While that applied to an elementary school so far as higher grade education was concerned, it was intended that it should apply in the higher grade schools so far as secondary education was concerned. There was no desire to put any limit on such development so long as the 1171 higher grade schools did not come into unnecessary competition with the other schools. The success of the higher grade schools had been considerable. There were now 135 in Scotland, and, although their distribution left something to be desired, there were comparatively few districts now, he understood, where the opportunity for secondary education was not within the reach of enterprising youth. There were six of these higher grade schools in the county of Sutherland, four in Ross-shire, one in the Island of Lewis, and one in the Island of Skye, and it was hoped that these facilities might increase as time went on and as there was more readiness to take advantage of them. The average attendance in the higher grade schools, including the higher grade departments, in 1900 was 2,949; four years later it was 10,000; and last year it was about 15,000. These figures showed that considerable advantage had been taken of this development. He would not dwell on the continuation class schools. In recent years there had been considerable development in the attendance of pupils of more mature years at the schools in Scotland. This seemed to carry with it the obligation to provide an increase, if possible, of the teaching staff. How had the training of the teachers been provided in the past? Until the year 1895 the training of teachers in Scotland was entirely carried on in denominational colleges under the control of the churches. These colleges and churches had unquestionably done great service to Scotland and to the interests of Scottish education. But even before that year there was a growing feeling that this was properly not denominational but national work. Apart entirely from that question of principle, there were pressing practical reasons for attempting to increase the supply of teachers. The fact was, as had been often stated in this House, and by nobody more emphatically than himself, the existing provision in regard to teachers was not, sufficient. The churches expressed themselves averse to undertaking any development in this matter without the aid of State funds. Public opinion, he thought, was not inclined to justify the placing of further State funds at the disposal of the denominations for this purpose, in view of Mr. Sinclair. 1172 the growing feeling that this was a national duty and obligation. In 1895 the Committees which went under the name of King's Students Committees established one after another in the principal Universities schools for the training of intending teachers, thus endeavouring to add to the output of the Training Colleges King's students. The number of such students was 335. This Minute had worked for some years, but it was varied in its definite form. The Minute issued last year constituted what were now known as Provincial Committees, and a definite shape and form was given to the machinery for providing an extra supply of teachers. These Committees consisted of representatives from the Universities, but the predominating proportion of their number were representatives of the school boards. It was thought that all these bodies had an interest in the matter and that they should be properly represented. Then power was given to train King's scholars as well as King's students. That was practically to undertake the work of the old training colleges. It was premature to build new premises until the view of the churches was known. The Provincial Committees were empowered to accept the transference of the Church training colleges on conditions. On the one hand the churches were not bound to transfer the colleges, nor were the Committees under obligation to accept them except under proper conditions; and it was laid down in the Minute that if such transference involved the payment of money the Treasury had first to be consulted. There was one condition which it was as well to make clear, and that was that in no case did the Department introduce any proposal that the expense of providing religious instruction by the Provincial Committees, whether for King's students in new colleges or in existing colleges, should be made in any degree out of the grants coming from Parliament. The next step taken by the late Government was the provisional issue of drafting regulations for the training of teachers. These regulations had been under consideration for the last six months; they had been published in all the Scottish newspapers; they were known to the authorities interested in education; and the school 1173 boards, especially in the great centres of population, had been in conference on the points raised by the Minute. The main change carried out by the Minute was the establishment of a concurrent system of the supply of teachers—a system of junior students which should be concurrent with the existing system of pupil-teachers. The fact was that the pupil-teacher system did not induce a sufficiently elastic supply of future teachers. There was no increase in the number of pupil-teachers sufficiently corresponding to the increase in the teaching staff. In 1873 the percentage of pupil-teachers to the total staff was 58.09; ten years after the figure had fallen to 33.18; in 1893 it was only 25.68; and last year it was only 20.43. It was notable also in particular that the output of male teachers under this system was inadequate. In 1873 the percentage of male pupil-teachers to the total staff was 53.22; but in 1905 it had fallen to 12.13. Another notable fact was that the proportion coming from the country districts had been growing less and less. As a matter of fact the pupil-teacher system had been given up. He did not say that the pupil-teacher system had not been of great assistance in the past; it had in many cases produced good teachers, but looked at coldly it was a form of cheap labour. The business of the pupil-teacher originally was to carry on the mechanical part of teaching under the guidance of some other teacher. In former days he had very little opportunity for his own education or for the study of the requirements of his profession. All honour to those who had surmounted those difficulties. In 1873, by regulation, the number of pupil-teachers to one certificated teacher was cut down to four; in 1878 it was three and in 1888 it was two. That brought with it a greater proportion of certificated teachers and an improvement in the work by which the pupil-teachers prepared themselves for their profession. As a matter of fact a great departure in this matter was taken in 1895, when what was practically the half-day system was instituted. The pupil-teacher was then obliged to teach half the day and to give the rest of the day to his own improvement. He or she lost his or her essential position in the 1174 school. That to was say, the pupil-teacher became an auxiliary who, whether boy or girl, could not give uninterrupted care to the class of children. While on the one hand he lost his former position in the school it was undoubtedly the case that the attainments of the pupil-teacher improved. Although he did not rely upon these points he thought he could give figures to establish what he had said. The pupil-teacher had, in fact, been abolishing himself; that was to say, the proposed regulations did little more than recognise existing developments. As to the cost, the school board was relieved from all expenditure for the maintenance and pay of these junior students who took the place of the pupil-teachers. Each board was given the opportunity of putting forward a certain number of candidates to be trained as junior students and to receive the maintenance allowance which might be taken while being trained. This maintenance allowance might be taken as the equivalent of the salary of the pupil-teachers, and it would enable the holder to obtain an education not only in his own parish, but anywhere in his own county, so that he would receive an education which would be comparable not with that which he would receive in country districts but with that which he would receive in large towns under school boards. The managers of the special training centres would receive a grant for the instruction of these junior students to the extent of such a sum as would almost, if not altogether, provide for their education and training. Two important alterations been made in the Minute in deference to criticisms. There was in the first place nothing in the Minute which arrested or abolished the present pupil-teacher system, and in the second place the paragraph in the Minute as originally drafted, which dealt with candidates on probation, had also been omitted. He must confess that these omissions had been made contrary to his own judgment and that of the Department. There were of course, however, pros and cons—advantages and disadvantages. As the Minute now stood a junior student must have obtained an intermediate certificate before he would be accepted as a junior student. There were very many schools 1175 in the country, however, which could not bring their scholars up to the intermediate certificate, and it seemed necessary, therefore, that arrangements should be made to enable the bright pupil in distant parts of the country to be sent to a school—and boarded if necessary— which could give him the education to enable him to obtain the intermediate certificate which was the necessary preliminary to his becoming a junior student. That was the part of the scheme to which objection was taken and it had been omitted, but under the Aid Grant Minute an additional sum of £25,000 in the present year, an amount which could be increased in future years if necessity was shown, would be placed at the disposal of the county councils for the express purpose of enabling them to make these provisions for pupils in out-of the-way districts who were unable to obtain the intermediate certificate in their own locality. A part of this £25,000 would go for the purpose of trying the scheme of the draft Minute, and it would be for future consideration if further and more definite steps were to be taken in that direction. It was urged that great expense would fall upon school boards if they were to replace pupil-teachers by certificated teachers, and had to make structural alterations in classrooms to meet the additional number of children. In reply to that objection he might first point out that the pupil teacher was not yet abolished. And even when the time came (if it ever came) when it seemed desirable to adopt wholly this system of junior students, several years must elapse before any system took the place of the existing system of pupil teachers. This question of expense and difficulty in structural arrangements might be considered to fall with exceptional hardship on the small schools. In the small schools every effort had been made to meet the difficulties. Special encouragement was given to small schools in the shape of grants towards the payment of teachers to improve their staffs. Another objection to this proposal was that the regulation made it more difficult for children of working-class parents to enter the teaching profession. If that could really be urged against this Minute it would be a grave and fatal objection, for he held strongly that it would be 1176 disastrous for the purpose of the education of the country not to pick their brains from wherever they could get them. The whole brain power of the country should certainly be drawn upon for the supply of the teaching profession. The intention of these regulations was entirely in the direction of opening the door more widely to the brains of all classes of the community. This would certainly have been the effect in black and white, in his humble judgment, if the previous chapter of the Minute which they had omitted had not been omitted; but it having been omitted the attempt had been made in the meantime to place at the disposal of the educational authorities for this purpose a sum equivalent for the year to the sum now paid in salaries for pupil-teacher students and for pupil-teachers. There was only one other objection which had been urged against the regulation, that was that these new junior students would not receive sufficient practice in teaching. The answer to that was that they were substituting for the present facilities for teaching, which were casual and not thorough and very often without direction or guidance, an organised system of instruction in teaching. The Minute provided for a minimum of six months instruction in teaching, which could be increased afterwards to two years. That, he thought, was a complete answer to the objection. There had been additional expenditure in recent years in education on Scotland. It has been due to two causes, namely, the increase in the attendance of senior pupils and the regulations restricting the number of pupils to be taught by one teacher. But there had been additions to the resources of the local authorities which had been placed at their disposal by Parliament. There was the higher grade grant to the higher grade schools, the increased grant to the supplementary classes, and the help given under the general aid grant. The question had been raised in various memorials as to the proportion of the burden borne by the school board authorities and the proportion supplied by grants. What was the result of the additional burdens imposed on the school authorities and the additional grants available since that time? Taking all the additional expenditure for Scotland 1177 for all the objects towards which State aid was given, reckoning capital expenditure in the shape of interest on and the repayment of loans, and counting local grants not as part of State grants but local contributions, he found that the figures were these. In 1900–1 the proportions were: State aid, 47.7 per cent, and the local charge 52.3; in the year 1904–5 the State aid was 51.22 and the local charge 48.78. The same general results were arrived at if they excluded the expenditure for the training of teachers as being a national object, the burden of which should not fall on the locality. In 1900–1 the State aid was 46.74 per cent., the charge on the locality 53.26. Four years later the position was reversed, the State aid being 50.17 as against that of the locality, which was 41.83. The contribution of the State to general expenditure was 29 per cent, as against a local contribution of 12.26 per cent. He suggested that in the memorials that had been prepared the whole question had been treated on a rather narrow basis. It had been discussed as if it were simply a matter of expenditure of and grants to school boards. Nearly one-ninth of the school population of Scotland was taught in voluntary schools. Any increase of grants to school boards in years past had necessitated an increase of grant to those schools also. Furthermore, only half of the higher grade schools in the country were under the school boards and additional assistance given to the school boards for the purposes of education would necessitate an increase of grants to other schools rendering the same service to the nation. Lastly, the most expensive part of Scottish education, the continuation classes at the central institutions, were not under the management of the school boards. Even if they took school boards alone and reckoned every item of expenditure incurred, such as the rent of offices, salaries of officers, and so forth, as part of local contribution and not part of State grants, the general conclusion would not be substantially altered. The grants for the higher grade schools had not yet been fully taken advantage of. Let them take the following comparison: In 1900–1 the State provided 45.6 per cent and the local authority 54.4. Four years later, viz., 1904–5, the State had advanced to 49.2 1178 against the localities' 50.8. The proportion of State grants was in reality normal. On the whole it was inevitable that State grants should have kept pace in recent years with the additional expenditure imposed by the State, and further, that a set of grants should have been made available sufficient to meet expenditure not already in sight. Let them take, for instance, the new regulations for teachers. Under those regulations the school boards would be relieved of the maintenance of junior students, and on the other hand school boards would receive for the instruction of junior students at approved centres grants for more than double, and approximating to three times, the amount of what they at present received for the instruction of pupil teachers. There were two points on the question of expenditure which remained. It was possible that while the proportion of Scotland was, as a whole, satisfactory, certain localities bore a disproportionate burden. He might say that that very question was receiving at the present time the serious consideration of the Department with a view to seeing whether some more equitable scheme might not be formulated. The second point was that it was possible, though the proportion in the past had been maintained or even exceeded, that that proportion was in itself inadequate and should be revised, either upon broad general grounds in the interest of the community out of consideration for the due proportion as between State aid and the income of the schools. This question would also receive careful consideration, and representations would be made, if necessary, to the Treasury. In the meantime he ought to mention that the Treasury had consented to a measure of relief to extra necessitous school boards in Scotland, viz., those who required to levy a rate of over 1s. 6d. in the £, on similar terms to those which would be granted to similar districts in England. That came as a Treasury subvention in consequence of the subventions of England under the Bill. [An HON. MEMBER: You are not using any part of your own money for that purpose.] The right hon. Member explained that it was not Scotch money. Continuing, he said he would endeavour to show where they stood in the matter of public 1179 education in Scotland. There was, of course, an ample field for further development. There was the higher grade school system which was not yet complete. It must be gradually developed, but it would not be complete until all those facilities were within reach of the pupils who wished to take advantage of them. It was extremely desirable not only that greater use and advantage should be taken of the higher grade school in the case of pupils who had not left school, but also that advantage should be taken of continuation schools in the case of pupils who had left the day schools. In many other countries the education of the people did not stop at the age of fourteen, but continued in later years, the people giving not the whole time, but portions of their time to it. It seemed to him that the time had almost, if not altogether arrived, when consideration might be given to the suggestion which had already been made, viz., that some discretion, some power, should be given to school boards to compel attendance at the evening continuation classes, at the same time giving powers to exempt pupils who could not, for good reasons, attend. In that way they might advance gradually and slowly in the direction of prolonging the education of the people.
*SIR HENRY CEAIK (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)
, congratulated the right hon. Gentleman on his clear statement, and was glad that he had found no reason to depart from the main policy of the Department. There was scarcely an item in the Estimates which did not remind him of some past struggle with the Treasury, and he could promise the right hon. Gentleman support in his efforts to secure the rights of Scotland in educational matters. He was glad that the right hon. Gentleman had paid a very deserving tribute to the policy initiated by Lord Dunedin. He trusted that if there were any reasons for complaint in the future that Scotland had not been treated with sufficient liberality, it would not be the Secretary for Scotland or the Department over which he presided that would be to blame. He was fully in accord with the Minute produced by the right hon. Gentleman in regard to the training of teachers, though he regretted that, in deference to more or 1180 less well-informed criticism, he had not had the courage to carry out his intentions fully, but had withdrawn a certain part of the regulations which he originally put forward. In dealing with those regulations he wished to allude to one sort of criticism which had been too frequently used with regard to this and other regulations. Could the Department find any better way of taking the country into its confidence than by issuing a Minute for full and free criticism? The Minute was issued in draft, and that fact was found fault with and discussed at various meetings and in various journals. He would recall to the right hon. Gentleman an experience of his own. About fourteen years ago there was a certain considerable sum of money that had to be distributed in some way or other. There was much doubt as to how it should be distributed, and as a fair and reasonable way of taking the country into its confidence, the Government of the day issued a Memorandum in draft for which he was himself more or less responsible. That Memorandum was discussed in this House by some with full intelligence, and by others with no understanding whatever. One gentleman, who was no longer a Member of this House, denounced the Memorandum in most unmeasured terms, and declared that whatever scheme might be invented for distributing the money none could be worse or more absurd than the one put forward in the Memorandum. At the time he happened to be in a certain part of this Chamber, and the hon. Member he referred to came and asked him if he had a copy of that Memorandum, which he said he had never read. That was the I fate which mot a good many Memoranda, which were often criticised before they; had been read. [Cries of "Oh, oh !"] The abolition of the pupil-teacher system could not come too soon, and he regretted that the end of it had been to some extent postponed. He was glad that, in a lurking corner of the Minute, it had been provided that although the probationers disappeared in name they remained in substance, and even this partial disappearance was due to criticisms which were not always well informed. He felt bound here to allude to one reflection which the right hon. Gentleman had made upon training colleges. They were all aware of the excellent work which had 1181 been done by the training colleges carried on by the Churches. He was not aware that there was any serious complaint in regard to the training colleges thoroughout Scotland, or of the work they had done. They were carried on in a most liberal spirit, and the reason for reconstructing the system was not that the denominational system of training had failed, but it was due to an entirely different cause. There were two ways of training teachers. Some, of them were taken at an early ago and made pupil-teachers. They then passed on to the training colleges, but they never associated with those who were preparing for other professions, and they emerged from the colleges without having had an opportunity of mixing with a wide body of students. This was felt to be an improper training, and so there had been added the other way by which the teachers entered the University and carried on their instruction along with the ordinary students of the University. Those two systems undoubtedly worked one against the other. One system was carried on in institutions specially supported by the State, which, by their nature were not allowed to admit any other students than those who were preparing for the teaching profession. The other system gave certain support to the students at Universities carrying on their general work. The question they had to consider was how to present the overlapping of the two systems and the Minute was intended to do this. He regretted that the right hon. Gentleman seemed to have found a reason for the new system in a doubt as to the efficacy of the work done by the training colleges, and in their denominational character.
§ *SIR HENRY CRAIK
said he was pleased to have that denial. He was glad to hear there was to be a grant to school boards in necessitous districts in Scotland as an equivalent to the £135,000 which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had announced was to be given to necessitous schools in England.
§ MR. SINCLAIR
It is equivalent in the sense that we are claiming for Scotland equal treatment; that is to say, 1182 school boards in the same position in Scotland will receive the same aid.
§ *SIR HENRY CRAIK
said he understood that the sum was to balance the English grant of £135,000. The necessitous districts were more numerous in Scotland than in England, and the grant to Scotland ought to be larger than it would be if it was fixed on the basis of population. But further, in recent years the grants to University colleges in England and Wales had risen from £15,000 to £100,000. Why was there nothing to correspond to those grants upon this Vote? He knew they would be told that in the Universities Act of 1889 they accepted a certain sum in lieu of their claims. Nothing could be more unfair than to quote that Act against them. The words of Section 28 of that Act were—And the sum granted in pursuance of this Act shall be deemed to be in full discharge of all past and present claims.The grants to which he was referring were new since the year 1889. This was a matter of simple justice. It was quite true that they had £30,000 under the Local Taxation Act of 1892, but that came from money which belonged to Scotland, and was not drawn from the National Exchequer in any sense whatever. Under the English Education Bill, which was now under the consideration of the House, £1,000,000 annually was promised to carry out certain regulations in England, and more than £100,000 of that sum would come from Scottish pockets. They must insist that a corresponding sum should be given to Scotland. It would not do for the Treasury to say that they would consider the Scottish claims as they were put forward. They must clearly understand what claims were to be admitted, and see that they were admitting them upon a similar foundation both for England and Scotland. Let the Committee consider what was going on. They were adding more grants in England for training colleges. The other day he noticed that the President of the Board of Education had announced that the secondary education grants in England were to be largely increased. As far as Scotland was concerned, they were told to put forward their claims, and the Department would see what they wore worth, He would 1183 remind the Committee, however, that while the rate for secondary education in England was limited to 1d. in the pound, the rate levied for secondary education by Scottish school boards frequently amounted to from 8d. to 10d. in the pound. Therefore they claimed that, whatever increase there might be in the grants made for secondary education in England, there should be at least a similar increase in the grants to Scotland. He hoped the Government would do something to remedy the grievance of Scotland in regard to the granting of pensions and gratuities to teachers. He wished particularly to refer to this question, because not only were the teachers, but Scotland as a whole was suffering under a serious grievance in this matter. When the Superannuation Act of 1887 was before the House the Scottish Education Department were anxious that that measure should not in any way curtail the powers of school boards under the Act of 1872. A different view, however, was taken by the Government, and, unfortunately, after having fought the question with some pertinacity they found that an arrangement had been come to between the National Union in England and the representatives of the teachers of Scotland and the powers of the Scottish school boards were curtailed. At the time he thought that was a mistake, and he had never since altered his opinion in regard to it. He thought that the powers given to the school boards in regard to this question under the Act of 1872 ought to have been preserved. It should be remembered that the Act of 1872 was not an elementary education Act, but an Act for the education of the whole people of Scotland, and not one line of the Act restricted it to elementary education. He thought it would have astonished Scotsmen in 1872, and above all the framers of that Act, if they had thought that the average pension of the teachers at any school in Scotland would be not more than £32 or £34 a year. One reason why he regretted that the Bill laid before Parliament by the late Government was not passed was that it proposed to alter that anomaly, and to give to school boards the powers they had under the Act of 1870. He trusted that if this provision could not be put in a comprehensive Education Bill it might be embodied in a Bill of one clause. There were in the Estimates Votes for the 1184 Scottish Museum, the National Gallery of Scotland, and the Royal Society of Scotland. It would not be in order to enter at present into the discussion of these items, but he wished to point out to the Secretary for Scotland that it would be for the convenience, not only of the Committee and the Department but of Scottish administration generally, that all these items should come under the Education Vote.
The question of the form of future Estimates is not in order. Hon. Members can only discuss the matter to which the Vote now before the Committee refers.
§ *SIR HENRY CRAIK
said he quite understood that. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would consider the suggestion he had made. Referring to the constitution of the Department, he wished to recall a discussion which took place earlier in the session with regard to the salary of the Minister who was at the head of the Department. He listened to that discussion with very considerable surprise. He had hoped that one of Lord Crewe's colleagues I in the Cabinet, and most of all the Secretary for Scotland, would rise to point out that after all the Lord President of the Council was at the head of this Department and responsible for the whole Vote now before the Committee, and for the whole conduct of Scottish educational affairs. He thought that would have been a very good answer to the remarks as to the inadequate work assigned to Lord Crowe. The fact was apparently unknown to his colleagues that Lord Crewe was at the head of and entirely responsible for Scottish Education.
§ *SIR HENRY CRAIK
said his surprise would be still greater if Lord Crewe did not know. The hon. Member for Ross-shire and the hon. Member for Sutherland were both much perplexed over the payment of a salary to the Lord President, being unable to find out any reason why it was paid. The Lord President was responsible for every one of the Answers given in this House in regard to Scottish education.
§ *SIR HENRY CRAIK
said the hon. Member had shown himself entirely ignorant of how the work of the Department was conducted. There were something like 800 to 1,000 letters per week to be answered in the Department, and as the subordinate officer responsible for that work, he received a living wage. But the responsibility for excogitating the Scottish education policy of the Government belonged to the Lord President as head of the Department, and he was surely worthy of his salary. He had nothing more to say on that point. He congratulated the Secretary for Scotland on the satisfactory statement he had made, and on the fact that he had given generous recognition of the work of his predecessors Lord Balfour and Lord Dunedin. He wished the right hon. Gentleman success in connection with the future work of the Department.
§ *MR. SMEATON (Stirlingshire)
said the first impression made on his mind by the speech of the Secretary for Scotland was that he had succeeded most admirably in giving a rechauffé of the Memoranda and Circulars and Reports prepared by the hon. Member for the Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities. He had very little trouble in tracing the intimate connection between the speech and these productions of Dover House. The speeches of the Secretary for Scotland and of the hon. Gentleman opposite were both very laudatory of the existing state of affairs. According to the right hon. Gentleman nothing could be better than the present state of Scottish education. He thought hon. Members from Scotland would have preferred to hear something original from the right hon. Gentleman instead of a mere precis of the Memoranda issued by the hon. Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities, who for several years had been largely responsible for directing the policy of Scottish education. The right hon. Gentleman had told the Committee that there had been no difference of 1186 opinion on the part of Members of the previous Parliament in regard to the policy which was new being pursued. He found from reference to Hansard that there had been serious differences of opinion amongst Members of Parliament in regard to the policy of Scottish education during the past few years, and in particular in regard to the constitutional aspect of the question. It was to that matter he desired to draw the attention of the Committee. He had heard the opinions of a large number of men and women who were deeply interested in Scottish education, and he ventured to think that their opinions were at least worthy of being fairly put before the Committee. A leading Scottish newspaper had described the present school board system as a farce, so far as effective control of education was concerned, as the boards simply existed to carry out the orders of the Education Department situated in London, whose powers were exercised in the most arbitrary manner. The right hon. Gentleman had stated that there was nothing to prevent a promising pupil from entering the higher grade department of a board school. Did the right hon. Gentleman not know that under the most recent orders the aid grant to a higher grade department was not made unless the course of instruction was given in a separate building? If the higher grade department was under the same roof the grant was withdrawn. In regard to continuation classes the system pursued of having a hard and fast curriculum had been found to be an impediment to the use of the schools by the working class—the very class for whom they were intended. The right hon. Gentleman had made a remark to the effect that the pupil teachers had abolished themselves. He did not desire to discuss that question at the present moment, because he had not had sufficient time to study the revised draft of the Minute. But he would say that although the pupil teacher system had not been technically abolished it was practically wiped out.
§ MR. SINCLAIR
said that there was nothing whatever to prevent the school boards continuing the system during this financial year.
§ MR. SINCLAIR
said that what would be done after was for future consideration. What he had put before the Committee was precisely the fact. The school boards had full discretion to employ pupil teachers until the arrangements for another year were considered.
§ *MR. SMEATON
said there was no use shirking the question. The right hon. Gentleman knew perfectly well that the abolition of the pupil teacher system was coming on.
§ *MR. SMEATON
thought that everyone who had studied the first draft and the final draft of the Minute would be of his opinion. What he wished, however, more particularly to draw the attention of the Committee to was the unconstitutional and in some respects the illegal action of the Scottish Education Department in its administration of Scottish education. For; the past ten years the Department had been practically legislating by Minute and circular without the consent of the representatives of the Scottish people whose money it was using in promotion of its unauthorised legislation. The Department had certain legal functions to perform under the Scottish Education Act of 1872. These were simply the administration of the Parliamentary grants given for specific purposes under the Act. It had no authority to alter the educational policy of Scotland as set forth in that Act. He maintained that the Department had been usurping the powers reserved to Parliament and using the financial resources at its disposal as a lever to compel the school boards to consent to an alteration of the old educational policy of Scotland. The principal objects of the Act of 1872 were to devolve the entire management and control of Scottish Education on popularly elected school boards and to stimulate those boards by Parliamentary giants of money to be distributed by the Department. In the distribution of those grants the condition imposed was that the standard of education which existed in Scotland in 1872 should not be lowered in the parish or public schools. The author of that Act, Lord Young, knew full well how admirably the old 1188 system had served the nation, and that system, re-established in 1872, had never been surpassed for efficiency and results by any system in the world. The interest and co-operation of the parents in the schools was a marked feature in the old system, and that was continued under the school boards. A new and democratic franchise was created, and every man and woman whose name appeared on the valuation roll had a vote in the election of the school boards. It was recognised that education was different from other branches of local and muncipal government, and that the parents had an interest in the education of the children apart altogether from their interests as ratepayers. Hence the creation by the Act of ad hoc boards for education alone and the close touch of the parents and ratepayers with the school management. Each parish had the exclusive control of its own system of education, secular and religious. Of late years, the Education Department had steadily undermined the control and initiative of the school boards; it had steadily encroached on its statutory powers and centralised all power in itself. The Department had done this by diverting, he had almost said perverting, the large funds at its disposal for the maintenance of the old parochial system, to the promotion—he might say the compulsion—of a new policy of its own, to the detriment of the education given to the children in the board schools. He admitted that many of the regulations of the Department for the encouragement of higher education among the favoured few were admirable. In fact, what had given the Department its strong position was that the advance of higher education was absolutely necessary, and that Parliament had not, as yet, provided any machinery for controlling the Department or laid, down any line of policy in an Act for the distribution of the money granted from time to time for secondary education. Hence the grip which the Department had fastened on the school boards. The tactics of the Department were self-evident and crafty enough. It suggested a new curriculum and gave high grants for it, although it allowed the old curriculum to remain optional, for a time, but the latter was finally abolished and with it the grants, so that the school boards had to fall into line in respect of the new curriculum or lose all grants. 1189 Naturally the school boards were eager to get the money even on conditions which they disliked and disapproved. The Department was absolutely master, and said "must" where it formerly said "may". The parish schools of Scotland had from 1696 down to 1872 given instruction in both elementary and secondary subjects, and their standard was always high. The national system which was continued under the Act of 1872 was never limited to elementary instruction. It included higher teaching, and for 200 years the parish schools had been the direct feeders of the Universities. It was the boast of Scotland that the poorest of her sons could and did qualify in the parish schools at little expense to themselves, and none to the State, for entering straight into the Universities. It was this combination of primary and secondary education in the same school under the same roof which had maintained the remarkable efficiency and high standard of the Scottish parish schools. He wished to say that he quite exonerated the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland from any participation in the reactionary policy of of the last few years which he most heartily condemned. That was a policy initiated under the late Tory Government. It never was the policy of Liberal Governments to crib, cabin, and confine education in Scottish parish schools. He had ventured to hope that when the Liberal Government came into power they would take a new departure in this regard, and he confessed the disappointment which he felt that they had not done so. The indictment which he brought against the Department was that instead of maintaining, as required by clause 67 of the Act of 1872, the combination in the parish schools of primary and secondary education, their policy had been to lower the standard of the parish schools by confining the instruction given in them to elementary subjects, and concentrating the higher education in certain selected centres not accessible to the children of the working classes, who were thereby deprived of their birthright. But this retrograde policy did not end there. Even in many of the selected higher schools the Department was working to compel a uniform curriculum designed to impede preparation for the University, ignoring the great prin- 1190 ciple advocated by John Stuart Mill that the very life of a liberal education depended on diversity of curriculum; and it was moreover aiming at confining University preparation to what were called higher class schools, which were altogether out of reach of the poor, and were intended only for the children of the well-to-do. This was one of the characteristics of the late Government—sacrifice of the interests of the masses to the interests of the classes. Even in the continuation classes the same characteristic was apparent; cast iron uniformity was being insisted on by the Department, and resulted in many I working men and women being debarred from getting the benefit which those classes were designed to give. The Education Department was thus guilty of a threefold contravention of educational policy as established by custom and law—in usurping the powers both of Parliament and of school boards, practically denying to working class children the right, enjoyed for over 200 years, to an education fitting; them for the University, and in lowering the standard of education in the board schools. This retrograde policy of the Department—which must eventually result in depressing the condition of the working classes—had been in operation for about ten years, and was being rapidly consummated. Before 1896 it encouraged higher grade classes in the parish schools by giving special grants for specific subjects, and the school boards responded, by employing a superior class of teacher. Since then, however, this policy has been reversed, and the Department now aimed at isolating higher education in certain selected centres, depleting the ordinary board schools and withdrawing grants from higher grade departments, injuring the elementary education in them by necessitating the appointment of an inferior class of teachers, and removing the stimulus of the presence and example of a few bright advanced pupils. The Department had succeeded to a large extent in this reactionary policy by manipulating the grants. Formerly, special grants were made to school boards for specific advanced subjects. Since 1896, however, these grants had, he believed, been withdrawn, and now they were given simply for average attendance as in England. The incentive to higher education had thus been taken away, and the standard of the parish school 1191 lowered. The last important matter in which the Department had been acting unconstitutionally, and in his opinion illegally, was in regard to pupil teachers. He had not yet been able to study the final draft of the new Regulation for the training of teachers. But he understood that it embodied in substance the policy of the original draft. That policy, in a word, was to abolish, after a certain date, pupil teachers as recognised by the Act of 1872, and to substitute for them a class of nominated probationers, who were to be taken away and trained in selected centres under committees. Under the Act of 1872, the pupil teacher was an integral part of the board school establishment, and, apart altogether from the wisdom or unwisdom of the proposed change, no Department had the power or right to abolish what the law had established, without an Act of Parliament. As to the merits of the change, he hesitated to give a final opinion. But of this there could be little doubt, that it would deprive the working classes of the opportunity of entering the teaching profession; it would largely increase the difficulty and cost of staffing the schools; it would raise the rates; it would certainly not afford the excellent individual practical training which the present; method afforded, and it would destroy; the democratic character of the teaching profession and of Scottish education, by introducing class distinctions in the school staff—a kind of distinction altogether foreign to the traditional educational policy of Scotland. Surely it would be far better to take the simple and not very costly step of enlarging the accommodation of the training colleges so as to allow entry for training to the hundreds of male and female pupil teachers who, year by year, were refused admission simply from want of room. The purpose of his Motion was this. The Scottish Education Department had during all these years been pursuing a course contrary both to custom and to law, and to established policy, and contrary also to a large body of the best informed Scottish opinion, including the opinion of several of the highest educational officials. This must be arrested, and the whole field of Scottish education surveyed by representatives of the people in touch with national and local opinion. At present the school boards were being overridden by what 1192 were called "My Lords" of the Committee of the Privy Council for Education. But he asked, Who were "My Lords" From the answer given by the right hon. Gentleman to several questions it appeared, at any rate, that "My Lords" never met in Committee on Education, that there was, in fact, no working Committee at all, that the whole thing was a fiction. "My Lords" wore simply the Secretary of the Scottish Education Department sitting at his desk in Dover House. It was a one-man Department; and Scottish education, instead of being administered by its popular local school boards, was controlled by one well-meaning despot sitting in London. This was certainly never contemplated by the law, and the nation resented it. It was a sham which a Liberal Government must put an end to. What was now needed was a National Board of Education for Scotland —such as Wales was about to have—elected by the people and in touch with them, sitting in Edinburgh and controlling the Department, and a carefully planned and comprehensive Act dealing with every aspect of Scottish education, laying down clear lines of policy and leaving the National Board to carry out this policy with the aid of Parliamentary grants, distributed through the agency, but not at the discretion of the Department. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would give them an assurance, and guarantee that this course would betaken at the earliest possible moment. He begged to move.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £l,122,028, be granted for the said Service." (Mr. Smeaton.)
§ *MR. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)
said that at the present time they had a most important Minute on the Table of the House, a Minute as important as an Act of Parliament. Speaking as a county Member, he wished to draw attention to the aspect of the Minute so far as it concerned the counties. In the form in which it was orginally introduced, it would have, no doubt, worked well in the towns, but he believed it would have been entirely a dead letter in the country, and he was glad indeed to see the change his right hon. friend had made in leaving the pupil teacher system alone in the country districts for the 1193 present—not that he was an advocate of the pupil teacher system, but because had that not been done, he believed no teachers would have been drawn from Scottish country lads. Instead of pupil teachers they were to have junior students who must attend secondary schools. Secondary schools, however, wore not as common as blackberries; in the county he represented there was only one. Before the pupil went to a secondary school he must also have an intermediate certificate, which meant that for three years he must attend an intermediate school. They, too, were by no means to be found in every parish. Therefore, before a country boy could become a teacher under the new system something entirely revolutionary must be done. Whether that was to take the form of the establishment of further schools he did not know, but he believed it was the intention to establish a sort of bursary system by which a lad in one parish could attend a school in some other parish. He very much wished to see such a system established, but they must have money before they could do that, and the £25,000 spoken of would be a mere trifle. Therefore, if the system was going to work, one of the first essentials was that they should have more money. He was a little disappointed with the tone of his right hon. friend with regard to getting money from the Treasury. The other day a letter was published, signed by himself, the hon. Member for Dumfries Burghs, and the hon. Member for Leith Burghs. It was an admirable letter. The proof of the pudding was in the eating. It had already effected a large part of its purpose, because he understood they were going to got a grant for necessitous schools. His right hon. friend must try and get all the money he could for them from the Treasury. What he must venture to do, if such a thing might be suggested, was to make himself disagreeable. It would be a difficult task, no doubt, but he must remember that the Treasury had a hide of iron and a heart of stone. There was only one other point to which he wished to allude, and that was the question of retiring allowances for the teachers. The object of this Minute was to got teachers in Scotland, and he was perfectly certain that it would be absolutely futile so long as these beggarly allowances were given. Teachers had to retire at the age of sixty-five, and 1194 the allowances they got were so shabby and poor as to keep people out of the profession. The Superannuation Act had been a very great disappointment. When that Act was before this House he moved as an Amendment that school boards should be allowed to supplement these allowances, and though the Amendment was supported by the vast majority of Scottish Members on both sides of the House, it was unfortunately defeated. It would not be in order now to discuss an Amendment of that character, but what he wished to ask was whether in the meantime something could not be done in that direction. Since the Superannuation Act had been passed 118 teachers had retired. Some of those were dead. There were only ninety-one now alive. The average retiring allowance was£32, half that given to a policeman. He ventured to suggest that something might be done by the Department to enlarge this allowance. He believed so small a sum as £2,000 would do a great deal in that direction, and he ventured to suggest that some such sum might be taken from the money not yet allocated and applied to this purpose. He was not specially championing the cause of the teachers. He considered it as an educational question, and the Scottish school boards were alive to the necessity of it. He believed 250 school boards were now trying, he would not say to evade the Act, but, to get round it by themselves paying the contribution which the teachers had to pay to ensure this retiring allowance. This was of the greatest importance educationally, and it was a matter to which he hoped his right hon. friend would give attention.
§ MR. BLACK (Banffshire)
said that one of the first objections to the regulations issued with respect to the training of teachers was that they dealt with matters which ought not to have been dealt with in a Minute at all, because the House was thus deprived of an opportunity of criticising in detail the proposals of the Government and of addressing themselves to the points which they would wish modified. They had the Minute thrown at their heads, and they either had to take it or vote against the Government. That, he considered, was a very unfortunate position. There were some regulations which were good and some which were bad, and he would remind 1195 the right hon. Gentleman that, whilst, no doubt, continuity of policy was a good thing, a general election had taken place, and a new Party had been returned to power with a mandate to make Scottish education democratic. That election condemned the whole educational system of the late Government, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would respond to the mandate given and say that the traditional policy of Scotland, under which there should be available to every boy and girl the opportunity of continuing his education through the elementary stage right up to the university, should receive effect at the hands of the Government, and that the policy of doing away with the parish school system and of gathering the children into large centres should cease. They were told that the policy of the abolition of the pupil teacher was designed to increase the supply of teachers. That was a remarkable statement in view of the last Report of the Committee of the Council of Education for Scotland, in which it was stated that whatever sources of supply might be added, it was not proposed to abolish the pupil teachers. In the original draft the pupil teacher was in so many words abolished. Those words disappeared in the final regulations, but there remained a very important provision which said that by 1914 the pupil teacher would be as extinct as the dodo. What young man or woman in Scotland was going to become a pupil teacher when told that by 1914 he would not be recognised as part of the staff of the school, and would cease to have any status at all, unless he became a certificated teacher? The manifest result would be to dry up the supply. He did not know whether the statement that the supply was now drying up was well founded in fact, but for the last four or five years pupil teachers had remained 4,000 in number. What wonder was it that they did not increase if the Department gave them to understand that they were going to be abolished, and that persons were to be placed at a disadvantage if they took that method of entering the profession? Unless they opened the door to every working man's family they would restrict the area of supply, and do away with the democratic element in Scottish education and the Scottish teaching profession. If this proposal of the Scottish Education 1196 Department were carried out, it would prevent the children of the artisan and the working man from entering the profession, and it was from the working classes that the great bulk of successful teachers had been obtained. Under the present system such persons were welcomed, and received a full development of any aptitude they had for teaching, and he sincerely hoped the right hon. Gentleman would maintain that system without any discouraging expressions. He trusted that no Scottish Member would encourage the Government in the belief that in abolishing the pupil teachers they were following the real inclinations and true opinions of the Scottish people.
*MR. COCHEANE (Ayrshire, N.)
said he had listened with great interest and attention to the very full account of the position of Scottish Education given by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman when he said that Scottish Members, however they might disagree upon other points, were united on one subject, namely, the desire to see a steady and continuous improvement in the educational system of Scotland. He was glad that the right hon Gentleman during the time he had been Secretary for Scotland had noticed the steady improvement all desired to see. The hon. Member for Stirlingshire had accused the Secretary for Scotland of not having a policy of his own, but of relying on the policy laid down by the hon. Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities. He however, thought the right hon. Gentleman would be very well advised indeed to adhere as closely as he possibly could to any policy laid down by so high an authority as the hon. Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities. The hon. Member for Stirlingshire had declared that the policy was a retrograde policy and had expressed deep disappointment, but, at the same time, he had endorsed what was said by the Secretary for Scotland, that education in Scotland was in a very flourishing condition and improving every day.
§ *MR. COCHRANE
said that if the average attendance had increased it 1197 showed that a larger proportion of the population was attending school.
§ *MR. SMEATON
said the hon. Gentleman perhaps forgot that there was a law which compelled every child up to a certain age to attend school and that therefore mere figures of attendance did not justify the assertion—which by the way he had not made—that education in Scotland was in a nourishing condition.
said that fortunately it was not his duty to defend the Estimates. He was merely congratulating Scottish Members upon the rosy statement made by the Secretary for Scotland. The main point, so far as he could gather from the course of the discussion, to which hon. Members took exception was the policy laid down by the right hon. Gentleman as regarded pupil teachers. It was complained that he desired to abolish the present system of pupil teachers and substitute another system. The argument used against the proposal was that it would prevent the sons of working men from rising to the teaching profession. He did not believe it could possibly have that effect, because careful provisions were made whereby promising pupils who desired to enter the teaching profession could get that measure of education which would best fit them to impart education to others. Was it not the better method that they should themselves first devote time to acquiring the most modern and best means of conveying instruction to others before they endeavoured to impart that which they had not had the opportunity of acquiring? He believed that under the regulations of the Scottish Education Department it would still be open to the humblest to rise in the future as in the past; but in the interests of the education of the children let them advance with the times, and see that the teachers had every possible means of acquiring the best education to enable them to discharge their duties in the most efficient manner. All hon. Members could unite in seeing that the Treasury dealt in a fair and reasonable manner with their requirements. They could not get education for nothing. They must have money, and whatever their opinions might be as to the way in which the money was applied, no one would complain that money spent on education in Scotland 1198 was in any way wasted. He was glad to note that there was to be a small additional grant given to necessitous schools, and he hoped all Scottish Members would see that it was adequate, and fully equivalent to the similar grant given to schools in England. Then, again, as regarded the fresh contribution of £1,000,000 that was to be given to schools in England, as £100,000 of that would be contributed by Scotland, he hoped that Scottish Members would unite in getting Scotland her proper share. He agreed with the hon. Member for Kincardineshire on the question of the superannuation of teachers, which had become somewhat acute in Scotland. The evil was brought to the notice of the late Government, who also desired to meet the grievance. Every day they imposed upon the teachers in Scotland higher duties and responsibilities. The teachers had the care of the children from three to fourteen years of age—their most impressionable years. Was it wise or right to offer to the teachers after forty years of arduous work a pension, the average of which was £32 4s. 6d., some being as low as £15 or £17 a year? It was half the amount that was given to a police constable for serving twenty-five years. He felt that at any rate the Committee were in unison and sympathy with regard to this question, and if the right hon. Gentleman felt that a short Bill would meet the circumstances he was perfectly certain that the Opposition would not take any hostile attitude. There were two points that had not been touched upon in the debate. He had had the honour with several other hon. Gentlemen of serving on the Royal Commission on Physical Training in Scotland. They made very careful inquiries into the conditions of school children in Scotland, and it would be impossible to imagine a more pitiable account than that which was brought to them from some of the large cities and towns. The Commission made moderate recommendations; they did not suggest any wild proposals for feeding children at the expense of someone other than their parents. He did not think they wanted that in Scotland. But what they proposed was that accommodation and means for enabling children to be properly fed should be provided in each school or at a centre, but that, except for a limited sum to provide the necessary equipment, 1199 no part of the cost should be thrown on the rates. There were few districts in which concerts or other entertainments by the children could not be successfully organised to raise money. The Commission found that the spirit of independence still existed in Scotland, and that the people, so long as they could afford to feed their children, as they generally did sufficiently and well, did not want to ask any others to do it for them. The other point related to the sanitary condition of the schools in Scotland, and there again they had evidence brought before them that many of the most recently and most expensively constructed schools were in a far from sanitary condition. He hoped they might get from the Secretary for Scotland or the Lord Advocate some assurance that matters of such vital importance to the health and welfare of the children were receiving the attention of the Department, and that as regarded the medical supervision of the children the Government intended to take means to see that everything possible was done. The Report of the Commission on that point contained some valuable information. They appointed some fully qualified gentlemen to inspect certain schools in the populous parts of Scotland, and they reported that very little attention would save the eyesight of thousands of children, and that very little attention would prevent advanced stages of phthisis. Upon questions of this kind he thought Scottish Members might present a united front, and when he saw how kind Scotland was to the Cabinet, which had become a sort of asylum for Scottish Members, he thought they had a claim that the least they could do was not to allow these questions to fall into the background.
THE LORD-ADVOCATE (Mr. THOMAS SHAW,) Hawick Burghs
said the debate had been of much practical interest. He wished to acknowledge the services which his hon. friend had given upon the Physical Training Commission. He was afraid that education was very often made to rest upon a physical basis which was quite inadequate to support it. Unfortunately under our present system we had to proceed with the facilities for training the mind without considering the state of the body. Revelations had been made 1200 by the Committees on Physical Training and Physical Deterioration which were calculated to shock the mind not only of every educational reformer but also every social reformer. The state of these young creatures who were placed together in the same room was sometimes too appalling to be described. Some of them suffered from defects of vision and of hearing and other ailments, but he would give hon. Members the assurance that the Scottish Department would not in any respect neglect the duty of very carefully weighing and considering both those Reports. Whenever his hon. friend opposite declared that anything was wild in the extreme he generally took a fancy to it, and when he declared that proposals for feeding the children were wild and extreme, he began to think there must be something in them worth considering. With regard to finance, perhaps the Deputy-Chairman would permit him to say that his services on this subject in the past had been absolutely invaluable and his utterances would always furnish Scotsmen in search of a financial grievance with ample material. He did think, however, that the British Treasury was not going to behave niggardly with regard to Scotland, and the Committee might rely upon having the very sympathetic ear of the Chancellor of the Exchequer with regard to Scottish demands. There were no wild cat schemes floating about in Scotland; every object was well considered by the Department which made the demand. With regard to the pupil teacher question, he would say frankly that he thought it would have been a national disaster if suddenly or in any inconsiderate way they had abolished the system of pupil teachership in Scotland. What was the situation at present? In regard to all the engagements under the system of recent years, the broad fact remained that out of these teachers in Scotland one in five was a pupil teacher. Therefore to abolish them would be almost a revolutionary act, and this showed the advantage of public criticism. The clause now in force provided that pupil teachers from July 1st, 1906, or prior to that date, might continue to serve under the terms of their engagement, and be reckoned as part of the school staff. Hon. Members should contrast that with the previous Minute. 1201 The House of Commons quite understood that those Minutes wore framed in a transition period. The hon. Member for Banffshire had called attention to what he thought was still a matter worthy of consideration, that after the year 1914 no uncertificated teacher would be recognised as a part of the staff except as assistant teachers. He would promise his hon. friend that that matter would be carefully considered by the Scottish Department. He could assure him that there was a general desire to be loyal to the spirit of the continuance of the pupil teacher system throughout this Minute, and if there was anything in it which was inconsistent, they would see that that genuine spirit was realised in the technical terms of the Minute. He hoped the Committee would not consider that that was an unsatisfactory view.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW
said he could only say that the Education Department would have to frame alterations and they would take the earliest opportunity of considering the matter.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW
said that if any amendment of the Minute in the direction indicated by his hon. friend was found to be necessary, it would have to be made in the form of a supplementary Minute which would be laid on the Table of the House, and would be open to the criticism of hon. Members. There was a very great deal to sympathise with in the speech of the hon. Member for Stirlingshire. The hon. Member had raised a question which had been raised over and over again—namely, the outstanding controversy in Scotland, which he had described as the contest between the democracy in Scotland and the forces of the bureaucracy in London. That was what it meant. The Secretary for Scotland and the Government were very anxious to give every facility possible for the fuller expression of the mind of Scotland upon educational subjects. They recognised that the issue of Minutes from an office in virtue of general words in the 1202 statute which gave them Parliamentary effect, but without any opportunity for full and effective control either in Scotland or in this House, was a power which could be accompanied—he did not say it had been—with not a little abuse. The Government thought the time had come for taking the public more into their confidence. As to the general question of the effect of the Minutes, he thought his hon. friend the Member for North Ayshire made a great mistake in attributing the enormous progress with regard to the most excellent part of the educational career between twelve and fourteen to something in the history of the Scottish Education Department. No doubt it happened in the history of the Scottish Education Department, but his point was that it was effected by Act of Parliament, and by open discussion in this House. The passing of the Act of 1901 had been far more effective than all the Minutes ever issued, because in the few years that had elapsed since then a net increase of 19,000 scholars had been made between the ages of twelve and fourteen. He rejoiced that this result had been achieved. He knew quite well that all Departments were necessarily apt to fall into the mistake of endeavouring to methodise things too much. The school system of departments and compartments, and the segregation of the various portions of school life could not be rashly superimposed on the fine old traditional system under which all the parish schools and schoolmasters had their highest ambition satisfied in training their best boys and sending them right forward to the university. While he said that, might he say that he did not think the Scottish Education Department had done a better thing than in endeavouring to introduce into that system, not compulsory compartments, but a scheme whereby there could be graduation from one stage of education to another, going on without interrupting the career, and always opening up fresh avenues of advance to the pupil? He had said over and over again that he did not think they would be right in Scotland until they took money out of the matter altogether, in so far as money was an impediment in the career of the humblest in the land towards getting the best education that could be afforded. Here he spoke not as a member of the Government, but he spoke, he hoped, not against 1203 the policy of the Government. There were difficulties, he knew, in the way of making secondary education absolutely free. But he considered that all these Minutes must be regarded as steps partially in the dark until a state of affairs was reached when a finger could not be pointed to any Scottish boy or girl who had been cramped in exercising to the full the faculties with which he or she had been endowed by nature. He said that particularly with regard to the remote districts of Scotland, and especially the Hebrides, where the system of education was a contrast between the love of education for its own sake and the financial difficulties which almost saddened the mind. He recalled not one jot or tittle of the criticism which for ten years he had delivered from the Opposition side of the House. His ideals were just the same, and this Minute was in no respect inconsistent with them. If he thought it was a Minute for abolishing the old pupil-teacher system he should condemn it out and out. Certain things would have to be considered in view of the present discussion. For example, it would have to be considered whether junior students should have to pay fees for any part of their instruction. But in all those things he had found that the spirit of the Minutes had been transformed into a desire to help the whole system of Scottish education without obstructing it by any foreign ideals and notions. The whole desire was to transform the system into a higher and bettor one. They were all very proud that in the discussions of recent years they had never been troubled with the idea of abolishing popular representation and control. No scheme would have lived an hour, even during the darkest time of the last decade, which had proposed the abolition of the Scottish School Board system. It was well to remember when they talked of the career of the pupil-teacher that they must take into account the fact that there was a school board watching over each particular pupil, anxious to provide him or her with facilities for living under the parental roof, and for the development and improvement of that career. These were all branches of one great question. It was with the hope that their education would thrive and push the people along with it that he made the observation to hon. Members sitting round him, 1204 that indeed they need have no fear that the spirit of the present Education Department was such as to be antagonistic to most of those ideals which had been expressed in the debate.
§ *MR. GULLAND (Dumfries Burghs)
said he was glad the right hon. Gentleman had considered the question of schools for adults. He was glad that greater interest was being taken in the evening continuation schools, and expressed himself as being in favour of the Minute as amended. These schools were not now called evening schools, but continuation schools. He might mention a school of this sort in Dumfriesshire, where he had the pleasure of distributing the prizes a short time ago. A firm of boiler-makers had a continuation school in their works for their own apprentices, and among the men engaged in the works there were some who could teach. Instead of waiting until the evening the firm allowed the apprentices to go to their continuation school in the forenoon when their faculties were at the best. The whole of the community attended at the prize distribution, and he could say that it was one of the most interesting; functions in which he had ever taken part. He hoped that other employers would follow that example, and encourage their apprentices to go to the continuation schools. He was extremely glad also to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that he was considering the advisability of the making attendance at I continuation schools compulsory until the age of sixteen, for only in that way could the children get full advantage of the training. He shared the dislike of the hon. Member for Stirlingshire for this form of legislation by Minute and Circular. Before he came into the House he had said many hard things about that form of legislation, but since he had been there and saw how Scottish business was transacted he took rather a different view of the subject. Until that day they had not had five minutes of Government time for Scottish business. He did not know who was to blame. He supposed that it was as much the fault of the Scottish Members as of any Minister or official; they did not make as much noise as the Irish Members. Under these circumstances, if they could not get legislation by Act of Parliament, there was no reason why they 1205 should not get it by Minute. A good deal of the criticism levelled at the Minute was against the first draft, and not the revised draft. He regretted extremely that that revised draft had not been in the hands of Members until the previous day. He approved strongly of the present form of the Minute, and he congratulated the right hon. Gentleman on having given effect to all the Amendments proposed. He should like to say that there had been great success in submitting the regulations in draft form to the Scottish people for their criticism; and he would suggest that when the right hon. Gentleman came to frame a Bill for Scottish education, he should submit it to the people of Scotland, who could discuss it during the recess. He was sure that it was only in some such way that they would have a satisfactory Scottish Education Bill. There was one relic of the old Minute in its revised form which drew a class distinction between students. If a student went through a training college, paid his own fees, and did not get a bursary or State allowance, he might teach in a primary or secondary school; but if he obtained a bursary or had his fees granted him he could not teach in a secondary school until after two years. He did not think it was fair to put that limitation on young men and women who were clever enough to win bursaries. He was particularly pleased to see that the right hon. Gentleman insisted on opportunities for the further study of geography. The trouble was that at present there was no place where students could get a special course of geography, and he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would see his way to give the Scottish Geographical Society a good big grant to undertake such a course. The right hon. Gentleman had got the Treasury to agree to a grant of £8 per head for King's students, but he hoped that that grant would soon be increased to £10. He trusted that this Minute would have the desired effect of increasing the supply of teachers, but what was still wanted were higher salaries, greater security of tenure, and better pensions. As to the administrative body that was responsible for Scottish education, it was designated as "My Lords of the Committee of Council of Education." "My Lords" were appointed in February, and a most excellent body of men they were; the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the 1206 Exchequer, the Secretary for the Colonies, the Secretary for War, the Secretary for Scotland, the Lord-Advocate— in fact, all the brilliant men who were now governing the Empire. But he ventured to say that "My Lords" had never met, and that they never would meet. He would suggest that this polite fiction should be given up at once, and that the Secretary for Scotland should be placed at the head of a real Scottish Education Department. He pleaded with the right hon. Secretary for Scotland to magnify his own office, and not to play second fiddle to "My Lords," and that he should soon introduce a Minute that "My Lords" had disestablished themselves. Again he thought that the head office of the Scottish Education Department should be in Edinburgh, and not in London. He had been a Member of the Edinburgh School Board for many years, and he knew that correspondence between the Scottish school boards and the Department in London frequently accentuated differences which might have been minimised by a few minutes conversation. To have the head office of the Department in London was to keep it out of touch with Scottish opinion. It was said that it was necessary that the Department should be near the Treasury but, after all, money was only asked for once a year, and it would be easy for the heads of the Department to run up to London instead of only making a flying visit from London to Scotland. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would democratise his Department, and bring it down to Scotland. He had almost always looked on the pamphlet by the hon. Member for Mid Lanark on "Subventions to Scotland" as a sort of Shorter Catechism, and he hoped that now that hon. Member was in office he would take every opportunity to help Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman had referred to some figures contained in a memorial sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer about the relative proportion of grants and rates. Those figures did not deal with the local contribution, but with rates. He did not think it was necessary to go at length into that question now, because the plea had been granted by the Treasury and they had consented to give an equivalent grant. The reason the rates in Scotland were down three farthings in the pound on the year was that in consequence of the 1207 equivalent aid grant the Scottish school boards had fixed their rates low. The rates were now, however, going up again, and in Glasgow had gone up to the extent of a penny. In regard to educational matters in Scotland, however, there was the greatest need that more money should be wrung from the Treasury. The right hon. Gentleman had said that the money with which they were dealing was not Scottish money. In one sense it was not, it was true, Scottish money, but in another sense it was. It was money which had come out of Scottish pockets, and if it was not used in Scotland it would be used for the purpose of necessitous school districts in England. They had a right to claim more money. They had a right to an equivalent grant in regard to the million which was to be devoted to education under the Education Bill, and they also ought to have sums of money equivalent to the grants which were made to University colleges in England and Wales. While Scotland had in the past led the way in regard to education, of late years, in his judgment, it had not kept pace with other countries. They asked the right hon. Gentleman to sec that Scotland would always be in the van in regard to matters of education.
§ *MR. JOHN DEWAR (Inverness)
wished to inquire what was being done in regard to Gaelic-speaking education. There were a great many thousands of children who did not know any English until they were four or five years of age, when they were taught by teachers who knew no Gaelic. That was most unfair to the children, because their education could not be complete unless it was conveyed in a language which both pupil and teacher understood. He saw nothing in the Report before them which showed that any special attention was being given to Gaelic speaking districts. He should like to see more special education given to the teachers who desired to teach in Gaelic-speaking districts, so that the number of Gaelic-speaking teachers might in their Education Bill be increased. The previous Government provided a special committee for the Highlands; this met with much favour, and he was much disappointed that there was no such arrangement in the proposals now before the House. He wished to ask whether any provision was made in regard to the representatives attending the Committee 1208 meetings at the University centres. The representative selected was usually the parish minister, or minister of other denominations, and it was a severe drain on the resources of a man with a limited income to have to go from a remote parish in the Highlands to Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow, or St. Andrews, and support himself there for several days. The hon. Member also criticised the pension system in regard to teachers, and declared that the pensions granted were quite inadequate and tended to depreciate the teaching profession in the eyes of the public.
§ *SIR HENRY CRAIK
said that the speech of the Lord-Advocate had very much changed the position of matters. He did not refer to the decorative personalities which the right hon. Gentleman was accustomed to use and which he was not concerned to answer.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW
said he did not understand what his hon. friend referred to. He had simply entered a good-humoured protest and was not conscious that he had indulged in any personalities.
§ *SIR HENRY CRAIK
said he was speaking in the recollection of the Committee, who would no doubt recollect the words the right hon. Gentleman used in regard to hon. Members of the House.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW
said he would not pursue the subject but would leave the matter where his hon. friend left it. His hon. friend had said that the House would recollect and he was sure that no one in the House would think that he had made any personal references of an objectionable character.
§ *SIR HENRY CRAIK
said he still maintained his own opinion and adhered to the statement which he had originally made. He wished to point out that it was a grave inconvenience to have the Minister in charge of a particular Vote making one speech while a colleague associated closely with that Minister made a speech which in spirit and in letter was opposed to the speech of the Minister in charge of the Vote. [Cries of "No, no."] He adhered to that statement. The Secretary for Scotland had said that 1209 he adhered to the Minute, that he had changed it without full conviction in regard to some small and unimportant points, and that the Minute carried out the object with which it had been drafted. The Lord-Advocate, however, seemed to take the contrary view.
§ *THE DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Mr. CALDWELL,) Lanarkshire, Mid.
said it was unusual to call upon an hon. Member for the second time in regard to discussions of this kind, especially when there were so many Members rising to speak who had not yet spoken, and unless he had thought that the hon. Member had some new points to deal with, which would not occupy more than a minute or two, he should not have called upon him. The hon. Member seemed to be going over the same ground that had already been covered.
§ *SIR HENRY CRAIK
said he was talking about a now incident which had occurred in the course of the discussion. The speech of the Lord Advocate entirely changed their attitude towards this question. While the Secretary for Scotland had said one thing the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Advocate had said exactly the opposite.
§ MR SINCLAIR
assured the hon. Member that there was complete agreement between himself and the Lord-Advocate. He thought that the criticisms which the hon. Gentleman had made had been made under a complete misapprehension.
§ *MR. SUTHERLAND (Elgin Burghs)
said he had had a long connection with School Board work, and he could assure the Committee that when Boards received communications from "My Lords" of the Education Department they appreciated them at their true value. He wished to associate himself with what had been said by the two right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench. He congratulated them on the spirit which they had manifested in regard to education in Scotland. As the chairman of a school board he had known the late Secretary of the Scottish Education Department long and intimately through his Minutes and Circulars, and he was now glad to meet him face to face. The Minute for the training of teachers had 1210 been referred to. But Parliament could not alter it by one jot or tittle. Many of the provisions of the Minute were of sufficient importance to be embodied in a Bill, and in his judgment the sooner they got a new Education Bill for Scotland, the better. The Secretary for Scotland had said that he wished to have in every parish in Scotland a higher-grade school. That would be a very serious undertaking, because a higher-grade school cost a great deal for upkeep.
§ MR. SINCLAIR
explained that he did not say he wanted a higher-grade school in every parish. What he did say was that he wanted higher-grade school facilities.
§ MR. SUTHERLAND
said that if the right hon. Gentleman only referred to higher-grade school facilities then he was at one with him. He wished, moreover, to associate himself with what had been said by the Lord-Advocate.
And, it being a quarter-past Eight of the Clock, and there being Private Business set down by direction of the Chairman of Ways and Means under Standing Order No. 8, further Proceeding was postponed without Question put.