§ (1) It shall be the duty of the local education authority, for the purposes of the Elementary Education (Defective and Epileptic Children) Act, 1899 (herein called the principal Act), to make suitable provision, either alone or in conjunction with another local education authority, for the education of children belonging to their area whose age exceeds seven years and who are ascertained to be mentally defective within the meaning of the principal Act, and accordingly after the words "they may" in Sub-section (1) of Section two of the principal Act there shall be inserted the words "and in the case of mentally defective children whose age exceeds seven years shall":
§ Provided that the duty of a local education authority under this Act shall not include—
- (i.) A duty to make provision for boarding and lodging a mentally defective child unless the Board of Education are satisfied, after considering the report of a duly qualified medical practitioner approved by the Board under Section one of the principal Act, and after consultation with the local education authority, that suitable provision for the child's education cannot be made in any other way, and unless the Grants payable out of moneys provided by Parliament in respect of a mentally defective child so boarded and lodged amount to not less than one-half of the cost of educating, boarding, and lodging that child (including in the case of a school provided by a local education authority expenditure out of income by the authority by way of interest on or repayment of capital raised, or by way of rent or other similar payment, for the purposes of the provision of the school); or
- (ii.) A duty to establish a certified school for boarding and lodging mentally defective children, unless the Board of Education are satisfied after considering such reports, and after such consultation as aforesaid, that there are not less than thirty such children belonging to the area for whoso education suitable provision cannot be made in any other way.
§ Mr. GOLDSMITH
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "another local education authority," and to insert instead thereof the words "other local education authorities." This is practically a drafting Amendment, and will make a particular point quite clear. I think it is an Amendment which the right hon. Gentleman really intended to accept on Committee.
I understand that the words cover either one or more. If they do not I will see that they are altered.
The words proposed are similar to words used previously, and if we adopted a different form now lawyers would want to know what justification there was for an alteration of the words from those used in previous Statutes.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), after the word "the" ["for the education of children"], to insert the word "voluntary." I was not on the Committee that considered this Bill, but I do desire to have this Amendment made. There are two sorts of voluntaryism—
I suggest it would be more convenient if this point could be raised on an Amendment to Clause 4, which I think also stands in the name of the hon. Member. That is a Clause which deals with the duty of the parent. Clause 1 deals with the duty of the authority, and I submit it would be more appropriate to have the question of interference with parental lights raised on Clause 4 rather than now.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
The question comes up again on Clause 2, and I think it is necessary, if we are to discuss whether the education is to be voluntary or compulsory, that the matter should be dealt with at the earliest possible moment when the powers are actually imposed upon the local authority. If we pass this sentence 168 giving these powers to local authorities, I feel that we cannot reasonably or so satisfactorily deprive them of compulsory powers under Clause 4, and therefore, that it would be to the satisfaction of the House to debate the question at the earliest possible moment.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
"The voluntary education of children" would mean that you would have to ask a child of seven years whether he wished to be educated or not.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
In the past when education was voluntary, that meant that the parents might send their children or not. It seems to me if we put the word "voluntary" in here that then we make it voluntary, and that it is the only way in which we can provide that this form of education in residential establishments for mentally defective children is a voluntary system of education, and that no compulsory powers are conferred upon the local authority to enable them to actually compel the attendance of children at those residential schools. I think that this is not only the place where it ought to be discussed, but that the House ought to come to a decision on this question at the earliest possible moment, and that they ought to come to that decision on the ground that we do not want to have children taken from their parents at the age of seven and immured in these residential schools. I move this Amendment on the ground that more and more the people of this country are getting tired to death of the elaborate amount of inspection and control which we here in Parliament decree. It is not as though we were passing laws for ourselves; we are always here passing laws which do not affect us in the least, but which do affect people who have very little power of voicing their resentment against the Acts we pass. What does this mean if it is passed? It means in a rural district, particularly, where it is impossible to have schools in each locality, that there will be residential schools set up in a big county, perhaps sixty miles long and forty miles wide, and such a school may be forty miles away from the home of a child, a mentally defective child of seven who will be sent there. The House knows perfectly well that poor people dislike very 169 strongly having their children sent away to school. They have not got the same traditions that we have of sending children to public schools or residential schools at ten years of age. They keep their children at home, and to have a child taken away, not merely at ten years of age, but actually at seven, seems to be a piece of real tyranny which they resent very bitterly. In addition there is the fact that a child taken away under these circumstances is deemed to be slightly defective, and therefore is a child to whom the mother is more particularly attached.
That being so, I think we ought to be very careful before we make this form of education compulsory. It seems to me that the powers given under Clause 4, where the parents are allowed to object; are not strong enough. They take away with one hand what is conferred with the other. If the Government genuinely desire not to coerce the parents in such a way, then surely this would be the place to put in the voluntary provision, and not wait for the exceptions provided for under Clause 4. In Clause 4 it is "provided that no order shall be made requiring the child to be sent to a certified class or school which is not within reach of the child's residence or to a boarding school without the consent in writing of the parent." That is admirable, and I am very much obliged to the President for putting those words in, but he will observe that no sooner has he made that concession, admirable concession, than he takes away with the subsequent proviso the principal benefit of that concession, because the Clause goes on to say, "unless it is proved to the satisfaction of the Court that such consent is unreasonably withheld." What on earth that means the Court alone is to decide.
Many magistrates, I do not blame them, genuinely think that they are better able to judge what is for the welfare of the child than are the parents of the child. They believe that they are inspired by providence and by superior education to decide what a child ought to do and what ought to be done to a child. Human nature being what it is, these magistrates may very naturally decide that the objection of the parents is absolutely unreasonable, that they are not acting in the interests of the child, and that therefore no attention ought to be paid to them. We know how difficult some benches make it for the man who conscientiously objects to vaccination. They take advantage of everything in the Act to prevent exemptions 170 being granted. Here, too, these words will make it very possible for magistrates holding certain views to overrule the wishes of the parents. If, however, it it definitely laid down that this education is to be voluntary, the whole difficulty will fall to the ground, and there will be enormous saving of time and trouble, both to the Board of Education and to the courts. How many cases will be affected by this proposal? Probably in ninety-nine cases out of 100 the parents will be very glad for the State to take charge of their defective children. Is it worth while, in order to rope in the remaining 1 per cent. and to compel the parent who has a particular affection for his child to send that child to one of these schools, that this compulsory power should be given? If my Amendment is accepted, you will require less cumbersome machinery, you will not be committing what I can only describe as an outrage on the affectionate parent, and you will not lose the benefit of this Bill in regard to ninety-nine out of every 100 children concerned.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I do not know whether the expression "voluntary education" really has any meaning at all. I should have thought that what the hon. Member really meant would be secured by the insertion, after the word "education," of the words "with the consent of their parents." But if he says that "voluntary education" is a term of art, and means education which is not compulsory, I will accept it.
§ Mr. HILLS
May I point out the effect of this Amendment? The Clause imposes upon local education authorities the obligation of making suitable provision for the education of mentally deficient children. If the word "voluntary" is inserted there will be an obligation to provide schools to which the mentally deficient children may go, or not go, as they like. The option is given, not to the parent, but to the child. I do not think the House wants that. It would be imposing on the local education authorities an absolutely impossible obligation. How could they say how many of the mentally deficient children within their area would want to be educated? 171 Most children, if they can avoid education, do so, and I do not think that mental deficiency increases the desire to be educated Therefore, you might impose the obligation of building a school to which no children would go.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
Might I withdraw my Amendment, and move the insertion of the words which you, Sir, have suggested?
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I beg to move, after the word "education" ["for the education of children"] to insert the words, "with the consent of the parents."
I hope the House will not agree to insert these words. The hon. Member, in his great interest in these children, will really do them serious injury if he secures the insertion of these words. Either it is good for these children to be educated, or it is not. In 1870 Parliament determined that all educable children should be educated, and from that time to the present the tyranny of which the hon. Member has spoken has existed in this country, and all children of school age have been obliged to be educated. But with the experience we have gained under the Act of 1870, we have found that there are a certain number of educable children who hitherto have escaped education because they were regarded as mentally deficient. Some of them are merely backward; some, whilst they remain dull and mentally deficient, are able to be taught how to maintain themselves and to become useful citizens. On the other hand, if they continue to be neglected as they are now, they frequently find themselves, if girls, in the maternity ward of the workhouse, while a large number drift into crime. From our experience we have proved that in nearly every case great good results from their being trained in these special schools. We have had considerable experience, as there are 12,000 children in these schools now. But 12,000 are still at large, and we propose that those who are educable should be educated. We do not want to send them, if it is avoidable, to residential institutions, which, of course, are costly, but there are cases where it may be necessary to do so. That, however, would only be done where it was impossible otherwise to make the necessary provision for the child's education.
I submit that it is in the interests of the children themselves, as well as of the 172 parents, that these children who are educable should no longer be allowed to run at large, and very often to become a charge upon the State through the neglect of the authorities to educate them. I have endeavoured to look after the interests of the parents, so far as it is possible and practicable, in the provisions of the Bill. In Clause 4, as the hon. Member has stated, we insist upon the parents being consulted as to the provision to be made for the children. If they like to make any other provision, the authority will not make provision for them; but if the parents neglect to make the necessary provision, it will be the duty of the authority to step in and do so. A large number of these mentally deficient children are themselves the offspring of mentally deficient parents, and I do not think it is reasonable to leave it entirely to the wishes of mentally deficient parents whether or not their mentally deficient child shall be educated. I have endeavoured to meet the views of the hon. Member by insisting upon the parents being consulted. I believe that no Bill has ever been introduced in which more punctilious regard has been paid to the interests of the parents. In the event of a case ever being brought into Court, all the parent will have to do will be to satisfy the Court that he objects to his child being sent to one of these residential institutions because he bonâ fide believes that he is thereby benefiting the child. I hope, therefore, the Amendment will not be accepted.
§ Mr. GOLDSMITH
I agree that the right hon. Gentleman has done a great deal to safeguard the right of the parents, but I do not think he is correct in stating that, this Bill does not propose to go much further than the Act of 1870. There is a great difference between sending a child to a day school and taking a child away from home and placing it in a residential school. I do not know whether the hon. Member (Mr. Wedgwood) wishes to make the whole of this Bill voluntary. If that is his intention, I shall not support him. I think, however, that it is very important that you should not send a child under ten years of age to a boarding school without the consent of the parent, whether that parent is mentally deficient or not. It is perfectly true, as the hon. Member has often stated, that this Bill affects only the children of the poor, and we know perfectly well that very often the child which is not quite normal and has great difficulty in looking after itself is the favourite 173 child of its parents, especially of the mother. To take away a child at the age of seven years and send it to a residential school might cause great hardship.
§ Mr. GOLDSMITH
The right hon. Gentleman referred to backward children. This Bill does not propose to deal with backward children at all; it proposes to deal with defective children. It makes the Act of 1899 compulsory, and that Act has to do with children who—not being imbecile, and not being merely dull or backward, are by reason of mental or physical defect incapable of receiving proper benefit from the instruction in the public elementary schools.It deals not with backward children at all, but with a special class of mentally deficient children. That is all very well in the large towns, where you will be able to send all the children to day schools, and they will be able to spend the rest of the time with their parents. Only in very exceptional circumstances will you send children in a town to a residential school. But it is different in country districts. You cannot have day schools all over the country, and therefore you will have to have residential schools. In those cases proper safeguards are necessary. If the right hon. Gentleman can assure me that he does not propose to send away children under ten years of age—I have an Amendment to that effect later on the Paper—but that his proposal applies only to children above ten years of age, for whom no provision can be made in day schools, I shall not support the Amendment of the hon. Member opposite. But if the right hon. Gentleman cannot give me that assurance, I hope the hon. Member will go to a Division, when I shall certainly support him.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I trust that this Amendment will not be accepted. After all, the authority that under the principal Act has to decide who are mentally defective is the local education authority. If this Amendment were carried it would result in very great pressure being put, in certain cases, upon the local education authorities, or the county council's representative, in order to enable the child to be excused from school on the ground, not that he was backward, but that he was actually, to some extent, mentally defective. So long as you have got a compulsory 174 system of education in the country you must surely make it; apply to those children for whom the State provides education, whether they are normal or abnormal. If you allow a loophole to be made such as is here suggested, it seems to me that that loophole will be widened and that great pressure will be placed in certain cases upon the authorities to allow certain children to remain from school who ought to be there.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I do not think I ever heard a poorer argument from an hon. Member. Our real argument is very much deeper. The President of the Board of Education says that this education should be compulsory in the interests of the community. If legislation in the interests of the community is to be our final touchstone as to whether or not we should pass a law, it would justify this or any other piece of tyranny you like. I believe that the touchstone of legislation should be whether a thing is just or unjust, and not whether it is in the interests of the community or otherwise. It may be urged, no doubt by some, that it is in the interests of the community that mentally defective people should be stamped out. It may, too, be in the interests of the community that people who are not necessarily mentally defective and who think that other people's ideas are wrong should be stamped out! There are many things of the kind in the interests of the community which are unjust. It is desired that the State should decide that in the interests of the community the child should be taken away from home ten months in the year and sent to a boarding-school. I do not care how much it is in the interests of the community, it still remains unjust; and I hope very strongly that there are a certain number of Members in this House who will vote against legislation which is brought in under this specious, but wholly fallacious, argument. We are always being told that we must commit some crime because it is in the interests of the community. I absolutely refuse to be a party to committing crimes in the interest of the community, for, in the long run, what is wrong will never be found to be expedient. It may be thought now that this sort of thing is desirable, but thirty, forty, or fifty years hence public opinion will change in this matter. Public opinion, however, does not change as to what is just and what is unjust. We ought not to be guided by our thought of what is expedient, but by what is just.
§ Sir FREDERICK BANBURY
I am afraid I cannot agree with the arguments of my hon. Friend the Member for the Wilton Division. So far as I understand my hon. Friend, he said, in effect, if this Amendment were put in, the result would be that certain parents who are desirous that their children should not be educated would say that they were mentally deficient, though, as a matter of fact, those children were not mentally deficient. How can they do that? If my hon. Friend will read the Clause he will find it applies to children who are ascertained to be mentally defective and within the meaning of the principal Act. Therefore it does not rest with the parent at all to say whether his or her child is mentally defective. It rests with the authority as defined under the principal Act. Therefore I am afraid that my hon. Friend—and I cannot really quite believe it—either has not carefully read the Clause or does not quite apprehend what the effect of the Amendment will be, or that he is desirous of removing from the parents the right of saying whether or not the child who is mentally defective shall be taken away from that parent and educated in the manner described by this Bill. I am a sufficient lover of liberty, even in these degenerate days, to hold that, after all, a parent should have some say in the way in which his child is to be educated. I hold that, even in the case of children who are not mentally defective—and I go much further in the case of the child who is mentally defective!
If the father and mother are decent people—and I really do not know why it is to be assumed that people because they are poor are not just as good as people who are better off, who are rich, and to whom this Bill will not apply!—I do not quite know why it should be assumed that they are less desirous of looking after the welfare of their children than other parents. That being so, I think it is the parents who will know, especially the mother, whether the child is really in a fit and proper condition to go to school and be taught those things, the greater part of which the child will forget in his later days, and very few of which will be of any use whatever to him if he should fortunately get wiser and recover his mental balance when he gets older. I say, therefore, that the Amendment is an extremely good one. I heard my hon. Friend the Member for Durham City (Mr. Hills) a short time ago cheering when my other hon. Friend opposed the Amendment. Of 176 course, I know my hon. Friend the Member for Durham City thinks that the State should become father and mother and everything else to the children, should see that everybody is brought up in the right way, that their noses are blown at the right moment, that they are given milk and bread when it is good for them, and rice pudding ditto. But some of us are old-fashioned and do not agree with that dicta, and I am glad that the hon. Gentleman opposite the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme still shows some remnants of that common sense that used to distinguish the Liberal party in days gone by, when it was the Liberal party in the true sense of the word.
I do not quite know what attitude the Government is going to take up on this point. I suppose we shall hear something from the President of the Board of Education. The only reason that I can see for rejecting the Amendment is that if the Amendment is inserted the probable result will be that this Bill, like the rest of the Radical measures which the Chancellor of the Exchequer told us yesterday, were generally dead letters, will also be a dead letter; because the majority of parents will keep their children where they ought to-be—in their own homes and under their own control! I will make an appeal to the President of the Board of Education. If he will allow me to say so, I think really that he is a kind hearted man, and I am sure that he would be the last to say that the poor little child of seven or eight years—later I am going by an Amendment to try and increase that to ten years—should be taken away from his parents and put under the control of any particular teacher, however good that teacher may be. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman is a little bit inclined to think that there must be no Amendment to a Government Bill. Probably if I myself were in the exalted position of being on the Front Government Bench, I should be a little bit inclined to think that a Bill that I had drafted was a very good one, and had better not be amended. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not be actuated by that feeling, and that unless he has very strong feelings for the rejection of this Amendment—which I shall be delighted to hear—he will accept it. After all if the Bill amended did not work well it could always be altered. I would appeal to him therefore, to allow the parent to have some real voice in the destiny of the child. I note the Solicitor-General is present. I 177 do not know whether he is going to take part in the Debate, but I trust if he does he will also allow his better judgment to be exercised, and support this Amendment. I really believe that in what I am saying I am speaking in the interests of the Radical party. Not that I want to further Radical interests in the country, but I really do believe that this Amendment, if adopted, will do something to mitigate the antagonism which I am perfectly sure will result if this Bill should become an Act, and really be enforced.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I have a very strong repugnance to legislation of this kind, and shall be glad to see some Amendment in the sense indicated by the hon. Member opposite. I draw, as the hon. Gentleman has done, a very sharp distinction between compelling the parent to send his child to a day school and compelling the parent to send the child away altogether. This latter really involves a degree of hardship which is appalling to contemplate. It is a harsh cruelty to take away a child—and especially a mentally defective child—both a cruelty to the child and a cruelty to the parents. To say that it is to be done in the interests of the community—and here I agree with the hon. Gentleman opposite the Member for Neweastle-under-Lyme—would justify legislation of a far more drastic nature, and methods such as our decadent predecessors adopted when they left unhealthy children out in the cold to kill them. I am not at all sure that such a course was not less cruel than the methods that we are proposing to-day. You are not entitled from motives of public expediency, however great, to inflict more than a certain amount of injustice of this kind on subjects of the King. To break the tender bond between a parent and a young child, and send that child away from its home, is unspeakable cruelty, and is a thing that ought not to be done in a humane and civilised country. I am afraid that I think the safeguard of the judicial procedure, which is relied upon, is not altogether a satisfactory one. The President of the Board of Education, in an answer, drew attention to the language of the Bill further on, where it says:—No order shall be made … unless it is proved to the satisfaction of the Court that such consent is unreasonably withheld, or that the parent cannot be found, but consent shall not be deemed to be unreasonably withheld if 178 withheld with the bonâ-fide intention of benefiting the child.5.0 P.M.
That, I quite agree, it is very desirable to put in, but there is this point which must be constantly in the minds of hon. Members: Poor people have not the same access to Courts of Law as the rich. They are shut out both by want of knowledge and education and by want of means. The procedure of the Law Courts probably seems to them something in the nature of the "Black Art." They do not understand much of it. They have no notion of what their legal rights are. If they do go to a Court of Law they are incapable of pleading their case in person because they have not the education which allows them to speak readily in public. They have not got the means of consulting a solicitor or a barrister. They are, therefore, quite defenceless before the law, and their mind is like that of a domestic animal in the presence of a wild beast. I had occasion to investigate a very touching and striking case in Leicestershire under one of those very oppressive Acts that now exist. It was a case in which the local education authority, in the exercise of an extraordinary policy, proposed to have the child operated on for a disease of the throat, adenoids, against the wishes of the parents. The parents were most respectable people, devoted to their child. Five minutes' conversation with the mother was enough to explain to me what the real reason of this objection was. It was the fear, rightly or wrongly entertained, of an unsuccessful result. They knew of other cases in which operations like that resulted in death. These poor people were prosecuted before the Petty Sessions. My attention was drawn to it. First, the magistrates were very unfavourable to the accused, and the case was adjourned in order to frighten those poor people and with a view to their giving way. I heard of the case, and I wrote an angry letter, and that produced a certain degree of public interest, and the magistrate, on the following Monday, completed the hearing and acquitted the parents.
Thereupon the local education authority took the case to the High Court of Justice. It was in connection with that that I was particularly interested in the utter helplessness of those poor people in connection with the administration of justice. They received a notice that the case was down for hearing on a particular day in October. Nobody, except a trained 179 lawyer, would know that on that account it was going to be heard on a particular day in November. Now that was all they heard. The next thing they heard was that the Court, not having heard their side of the case at all, and only having heard one side, made an order that if the magistrates were satisfied that the prosecution was a reasonable one, they were to convict the accused. Thereupon the magistrates did convict the accused. At that point I ventured to take the whole case into my hands, and I employed a solicitor and counsel, and we were successful when the case came to be tried, and when the solicitor and counsel from London were got to examine the child, and we were able to prove quite successfully, to the satisfaction of the magistrate, that the whole prosecution was an unreasonable one, and that therefore they must acquit. But if this matter had not been brought to my notice at all these poor people would have been convicted, and there is most outrageous hardship in this case to such people.
Rich people seem to think that poor people do not mind being convicted in a Court of Justice. The fact is they feel the indignation of it quite as much as any people in this House would feel it. This poor woman said to me, "I have been respectable all my life, why should I be brought up into a Law Court." It is most unreasonable that such a law should be applied to poor people. If rich people were treated in this way they would take the case from Court to Court, and they would tire out the local authority, for they would be resolved that their child should not be treated in such a way; but poor people are in the face of the law quite defenceless. These Acts are passed with the worst kind of all kinds of harshness, the harshness of good persons. Anybody who has studied humanity knows that the worst kind of harshness is the harshness of good persons, their consciences are besotted and blinded, because they know their motives and intentions are good. There should be a general alteration of the law. There should be some machinery set up by which there should be a person in every Court whose business it would be to take the part of the poor litigant, who should see that they should know what their legal remedies are. We need some alteration of the law altogether, but pending that I do think the proper rule in these cases would be to give the parents the 180 absolute right to refuse to send the child from home, unless, of course, the parents were of weak mind. The President of the Board of Education stated that many mentally defected children have mentally defective parents. Well, if the parent is so deficient that would alter the case. But short of that when the parent is capable of exercising a reasonable discretion he ought to be given the discretion to send the child from home or not, and in ninety-nine cases out of one hundred the parent will decide wisely. And because of the hundredth case are we to break away from sound principles of legislation and to apply a degree of coercion to poor people which we should never apply to rich people, and in many cases inflict cruel and tyrannical hardship upon those poor people.
§ Mr. F. GOLDSTONE
Sometimes it is contended from these benches that there is one law for the rich and one law for the poor. That has been rather discounted from the other side of the House, but not by the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford. But we have to-day a complete justification of what is urged from these benches that there is in practice one law for the rich and one for the poor. It has been urged, too, from the other side that the kind of thing suggested in this Bill will apply only to poor children. But let us imagine what happens in the case of the children of rich parents. I assume, and I think it is a fact, that children of rich parents go as a matter of fact to institutions.
§ Mr. GOLDSTONE
I think it is extremely likely they will. They will get the privilege of specialist treatment. We have to consider the child as well as the parent. That has been ignored altogether. The point made is whether we are going to look at this matter from the point of view of the parent or of the child. Frankly I look at it from the point of view of the child. I think we should be guilty of a dereliction of duty if we ignored the opportunities of sending these children into institutions where they can get proper treatment—in institutions established for the purpose. And, forsooth, because certain parents assume rights and say the child will get no benefit, or prefer to have the child hanging about the street door, and refuse the child that excellent treatment which may make it normal before long, they are 181 to be allowed to have their own way! Looking at it from the point of view of the child therefore, I think we must resist this Amendment and give the deficient child a chance of becoming normal as soon as possible.
§ Mr. HILLS
The subject-matter the House is dealing with now is a child from the age of seven to ten years. I think it is admitted by all parties—I think the Mover admitted it, and I know my hon. Friend the Member for Stowmarket admitted it—that a child of ten years ought properly to go to a residential school. Now those, who say that seven is too young attack the provisions of the Bill upon two grounds.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. Has not the hon. Member gone on to a wrong Amendment? Are we not discussing the question whether the word "voluntary" be inserted?
§ Mr. HILLS
My hon. Friend the Member for the City of London attacked the Bill on the ground of liberty. He says the parents ought to decide whether the child should go at the early age of seven. I ask him to consider who are the people whose interest we ought to take into account. Surely it is not the parents, but the children. Every single reform brought about by legislation could be attacked upon the ground of liberty. Of course, we cannot carry reforms without infringing certain rights. All reforms mean, ex, hypothesi, restrictions of certain powers to be exercised. The question is ought the child to be left to the parents or go to school. The Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University goes much further. He quite supports my hon. Friend on the ground of liberty. He thinks that this Bill is worse than the practice of exposing weakly children, and he said in effect that the Bill commits a crime worse than murder, and imposes penalties worse than death. Does the House really think that? And when we have got to that point have we not got to the reductio ad absurdum? Does anybody think that a child sent to the best of schools, and getting the best of education, is worse than exposing that child to death by starvation? May I very respectfully say to my hon. Friends that they are in this matter disregarding the interests of the child. They do not pretend that the child is better brought up in 182 a small home, with insufficient facilities for education, and that that child when grown up is better off than the child trained at an excellent school. But they say there is the parent. It is so good for the parent that they should have the child. The child is made the scourge for the back of the parent, and the child will suffer. I do not think they mean that. I am sure if my hon. Friend had to deal with the case he would be a despot, and would submit to no parental dictation. Here we have these most excellent schools, where handicrafts are taught, where the low mental capacity of the child is developed and encouraged until finally, in a good many cases, the child is cured, and in nearly all cases it is taught some sort of handicraft. Surely that is a much better place for the child than the home! I appeal to the House to reject this Amendment.
§ Lord A. THYNNE
My hon. Friend who has spoken has accepted what I think is the root fallacy at the back of the minds of hon. Members. They talk of those residential schools and assume that they are excellent schools. I do not want to dispute that, but let us be quite clear what they are. We call them residential schools. In a very large number of cases these schools are and, as they are developed, will become nothing less than child asylums. These schools are intended primarily for the mentally defective and for another class of children in an advanced stage of epilepsy. Everybody will recognise that to deal with the class of children intended for these schools would be far more the function of nurses than teachers, and these schools could be just as accurately described in an Act of Parliament as child asylums as schools. I venture to think that if they were so described in this Bill, the House would be very much more reluctant and more careful about the means of committing a child to such institutions than they are now when they are called by the gentler name of schools. With regard to the ordinary mentally defective child, which is well inside the category or the epileptic child suffering from the last stages of that disease, there can be no argument. I would remind the House that you are liable to send, and actually do send to these schools, a number of children who are considered mentally defective at seven years of age when really they are only cases of backward development. It is a great hardship to the child to send it without very great care 183 and circumspection to a school of this character unless you are quite certain that it is really mentally defective and not a backward child. The right hon. Gentleman talked just now as if these schools were going to be the exception, and that the majority of them were going to be day schools. In big centres there is no need to have residential schools, and as a matter of fact I do not think we have a single residential school in London for this class of children or certainly not more than one. On the other hand, in the country these schools will be the rule. In the case of your rural education authorities you will not have day schools. You cannot have day schools in the villages for mentally defective children or epileptic children. I confess that I share the reluctance of the hon. Member opposite to commit children to these schools without very great care indeed. On the other hand, I feel that there are certain difficulties in supporting the Amendment, because it includes day schools as well as residential schools. What will be the result of that method? A parent will be able to withdraw his child altogether from education if he can prove that it is mentally defective, and then the parent will enjoy a privilege which the parent of a normal child does not enjoy.
§ Lord A. THYNNE
One of the objects of this Bill is to redress that inequality. The second effect of the hon. Member's Amendment is, as I understand it, to place the whole decision in the hand of the parent. That is a point on which I think a great many hon. Members will find difficulty in giving this proposal their support, because in a large number of cases the parents of this class of children are not entirely normal themselves. One would not go so far as to say that they were mentally defective themselves, but school attendance officers and the officials brought into contact with this class of parents will be ready to agree that those parents are less capable of forming a sound judgment with regard to the future of their own children than the parents of a normal child. One hon. Member referred to the case of rich children, and he stated that rich children who were mentally defective were invariably sent to institutions of this character. Personally, I challenge that view altogether. I think that the natural 184 tendency of all parents is to keep the mentally defective child at home, and it requires a great deal of compulsion or pressure from the State in the case of the poorer classes, or pressure from other relations in the case of the better-to-do parents, to persuade a parent to send a mentally defective child into an institution. There are no statistics available on this point, but we can draw an analogy from the case of mentally deficient adults. What is the experience in that case? In well-to-do asylums you find few mentally deficient adults who have not displayed or given signs of homicidal symptoms. The tendency in well-to-do families is to keep the mentally deficient adult at home so long as he is not dangerous or troublesome to manage. The same tendency obtains with regard to mentally deficient children, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to help us out of the difficulty in which some of us find ourselves. For these reasons we are reluctant to vote for this Amendment, because we feel certain, qualms about placing this power in the hands of the parent. If the right hon. Gentleman was to indicate that he is prepared to reconsider certification not being merely in the hands of medical practitioners, and if he would consider the question of a joint certificate signed jointly by a medical practitioner and by a specially selected teacher from a special school who has had experience of this class of children and who knows their symptoms from day to day observation; if he would give us some sort of undertaking of that character he would certainly help some of us out of the difficulty who are now in doubt.
I have endeavoured to meet that point. I have met the representatives of local authorities, and we have talked the matter over, and we have come to a general arrangement. Although we think the certificates should not be signed by teachers, we are of opinion that they ought to be consulted, and we have already passed a Clause which enacts that alteration, and other changes will be made with the same object in view.
§ Lord A. THYNNE
I am aware of those negotiations, but I do not think the Clause we have passed meets the point raised by the local authorities on that matter nor the point I am raising. I am asking for two things. I am asking for a joint certificate, and that the right hon. Gentleman has not conceded. All he has conceded in the new Clause which he 185 persuaded the House to pass is that the certificate should be signed by a qualified medical practitioner, who, if the education authorities orders him to do so, may consult the head teacher of the school which the child attends. That does not meet our point on two grounds. In the first place, we want a joint certificate signed by the two parties; and, in the second place, we want the teacher to be a selected teacher who has had experience at a special school. I think hon. Members will agree that what the right hon. Gentleman has referred to does not meet the case. It dues not meet our case to take an ordinary teacher, with no knowledge of backward or mentally defective children, in a matter of this kind. We want a teacher with special and expert knowledge, and I cannot understand why the right hon. Gentleman will not concede that point. After all, I should have thought if there was one right hon. Gentleman or one hon. Member who would have appreciated the value of a teacher's experience, it would have been the President of the Board of Education, but it seems that he is prepared to ignore and to sacrifice the valuable fount of knowledge which he has got in the staff directly under him. If the right hon. Gentleman would reconsider his decision on that matter, I think it would
§ alter the view of a great many of us with regard to this particular matter.
In regard to consulting an expert, there is no difference between the Noble Lord opposite and myself. An expert can be appointed, and his knowledge will be of very great value to the Board as well as to the local authority.; We shall take that into account, and provision will be made in the Regulations so that it will be quite clear that experts may be appointed. With regard to the final tribunal for the certificate, I am unable to meet the Noble Lord, because the final decision as to whether a child is mentally defective or not should be a matter for a medical man to decide. Although I agree that those who have had teaching experience of these children ought to be consulted, after all their evidence has been secured, I think the final decision must be with a medical man. There is a provision which provides for a final appeal to the Board of Education, if there is any difference of opinion between the expert teacher and their own medical officer.
§ Question put, "That those words be-there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 108; Noes, 289.189
|Division No. 90.]||AYES.||[5.26 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Fletcher, John Samuel||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Gastrell, Major W Houghton||Randles, Sir John S.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Gibbs, George Abraham||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Goldman, C. S.||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Goldsmith, Frank||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Barnston, Harry||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Bonn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Bird, Alfred||Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Blair, Reginald||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Boles, Lieut.-Colonel Denis Fortescue||Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith.||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Harris, Henry Percy||Stewart, Gershom|
|Bull, Sir William James||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Strauss, Arthur (Paddintgon, North)|
|Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Swift, Rigby|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hohler, G. F.||Taibot, Lord Edmund|
|Cassel, Felix||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Torrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hope, Major J. A, (Midlothian)||Terrell, H. (Gloucester)|
|Cator, John||Hume-Williams. William Ellis||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Ingleby, Holcombe||Touche, George Alexander|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Jessel, Captain H. M.||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Jowett, Frederick William||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Joynson-Hicks, William||Watson, Hon. W.|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Mile End)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Currie, George W.||Newdegate, F. A.||Wills, Sir Gilbert|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Newman, John R. P.||Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E. R.)|
|De Forest, Baron||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Wilson, Maj. Sir M. (Bethnal Green, S. W.)|
|Donison-Pender, J. C.||Orde-Powiett, Hon. W. G. A.||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Duncannon Viscount||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Perkins, Walter F.||Younger, Sir George|
|Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Pirie, Duncan V.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Fell, Arthur||Pringle, William M. R.||Mr. Wedgwood and Sir F. Banbury.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Farrell, James Patrick||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Mackinder, Halford J.|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Ffrench, Peter||Maclean, Donald|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Field, William||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Fitzgibbon, John||M'Callum, Sir John M.|
|Alden, Percy||Flavin, Michael Joseph||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||France, Gerald Ashbutner||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Furness, Sir Stephen Wilson||M'Micking, Major Gilbert|
|Arnold, Sydney||Gelder, Sir W. A.||Marks, Sir George Croydon|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Astor, Waldorf||Gill, A. H.||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Gladstone, W. G. C.||Middlebrook, William|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Glanville, Harold James||Millar, James Duncan|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Molloy, Michael|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood.||Goldstone, Frank||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Greene, Walter Raymond||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Mooney, John J.|
|Barnes, George N.||Greig, Colonel J. W.||Morgan, George Hay|
|Barrie, H. T.||Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Morrell, Philip|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S. E.)||Morison, Hector|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Beck, Arthur cecil||Hackett, John||Muldoon, John|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Hall, Frederick (Yorks, Normanton)||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Hancock, John George||Murphy, Martin J.|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Neilson, Francis|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Hardie, J. Keir||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Nuttall, Harry|
|Boland, John Plus||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||O'Dowd, John|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Hommerde, Edward George||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Malley, William|
|Buckmaster, Sir Stanley O.||Henderson, John M. (Aberdeen, W.)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Henry, Sir Charles||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||O'Shee, James John|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hibbert, Sir Henry F.||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Butcher, John George||Higham, John Sharp||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Hills, John Waller||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hinds, John||Parry, Thomas H.|
|Cave, George||Hodge, John||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Hogge, James Myles||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Holt, Richard Durning||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hudson, Walter||Pointer, Joseph|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Clough, William||Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)||Pratt, J. W.|
|Clynes, John R.||John, Edward Thomas||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Cotton, William Francis||Jones, Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Rawson, Colonel Richard H.|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Reddy, Michael|
|Crooks, William||Jones, William S. Glyn (Stepney)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Joyce, Michael||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Cullinan, John||Kellaway, Frederick George||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Kelly, Edward||Rendall, Atheistan|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Kerry, Earl of||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Delany, William||Kilbride, Denis||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||King, Joseph||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.||Lardner, James C. R.||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Dillon, John||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Leach, Charles||Rowlands, James|
|Doris, William||Levy, Sir Maurice||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Duffy, William J.||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, Mid)||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Lundon, Thomas||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Lyell, Charles Henry||Seely, Rt. Hon. Colonel J. E. B.|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Sheehy, David|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook|
|Essex, Sir Richard Walter||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Smith, Albert (Lancs, Clitheroe)|
|Falconer, James||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Snowden, Philip||Walters, Sir John Tudor||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N. W.)|
|Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert||Wardle, George J.||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Starkey, John Ralph||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Webb, H.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)||Weston, Colonel J. W.||Wilson, Captain Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Tennant, Harold John||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow.)|
|Thomas J. H.||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E. R.)||Yeo, Alfred William|
|Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Thorne, William (West Ham)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Thynne, Lord Alexander||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Toulmin, Sir George||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Wiles, Thomas||Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Verney, Sir Harry||Wilkie, Alexander|
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the word "seven" ["for the education of children belonging to their area whose age exceeds seven years "], and to insert instead thereof the word "ten."
The object of this Amendment is to give an opportunity to a child which is mentally defective to remain in the custody of its parents for a rather longer period. As the Bill stands in all the rural districts—I do not know whether it would be the same in London or possibly in any of the large urban centres—a child of seven years of age who has been certified under the provisions of the Act of 1889 to be mentally defective would be taken away from its parents at that tender age and sent to what my hon. Friend just now described as practically an asylum. However good the institution may be, the fact remains that a child of that age would be taken away from its parents and sent to a boarding school—I am quite willing to call it that—if it happened to be in a rural district or, of course, in some urban areas. We all know perfectly well that a child at the age of seven, even if it is the possession of all its faculties, is naturally loath to leave its own home and to be put into the rough surroundings of a boarding school. I do not mean a boarding school in the ordinary sense of the word, but a boarding school where the child lives and sleeps and is with strangers all day. A child of seven is too young, even if its mind is entirely deficient, to be taken away from its parents and put entirely with strangers. As far as my experience goes, the majority of rich parents do not send their children to boarding schools until they are at least nine or ten. I did not go myself until I was eleven years. I did not go to Winchester until I was thirteen, which I think is about the right age, and I did not send my son to a preparatory school until he was ten years of age. My experience goes to 190 show that ten years of age is quite early enough in the case of children who hart? all their wits about them, to take them away from the custody of their parents, and, if that is so in the case of children who have all their wits about them, how much more so is it in the case of children who are mentally deficient? To take a, poor little child which is mentally defective and place it in a boarding home, however excellent that home may be, is to my mind a great outrage and perpetrates considerable cruelty both upon the parents and upon the child. I am not at all sure that it is the best way to improve the mental capacity of the child or its future learning.
My hon. Friend the Member for Durham (Mr. J. W. Hills) said that these were wonderfully good places, and that the result would be that a deficient child in a great many cases would become normal. I believe my hon. Friend is usually accurate in what he says, but I should like to know upon what foundation he goes when he says that these schools are going to be such very efficient places, and on what ground he founds his opinion that in a great many cases the child will become normal. What is the percentage of the cases in which the child does become normal? I admit that I am ignorant upon this matter, but I should be inclined to think, as a matter of fact, that the cases in which the child becomes normal are not very great. As a matter of fact a great many of these children who are supposed to be mentally defective are merely backward children. They are very often shy, nervous children, who want to be encouraged and taken care of; they do not want to be sent out to face the rough-and-tumble even of such a charming place as the school to which my hon. Friend referred. It might be, and I think it would very likely be, that under home influence the child would be much more likely to regain its normal condition than if sent 191 out at this early age to a boarding school. My Noble Friend (Lord A. Thynne) tells me that in London there are no boarding schools, but that they are all day schools. That removes a certain portion of my objection, but it does not remove it all. You take a child mentally defective, and you put it at seven years of age in a class amongst a large number of children varying in ages from seven to thirteen or even fourteen. I suppose that they are the same kind of children that I used to meet in my days when I was a boy at school. They are not too considerate of anybody who is all there. They are inclined to take advantage of the unfortunate child which cannot take care of itself, to make a butt of it, and to exercise their wits upon it. Therefore I should say that to send a child of that tender age which is mentally deficient to mix in the rough-and-tumble with a large number of other children is the very worst thing you could possibly do.
My hon. Friend must not be led away by the insane idea that the moment you set up a State something or other it is going to be very beneficial. Why should a State school be better than a private school? In many cases it is a great deal worse, because the people in charge are not subject to that control to which people in charge of a private school are subject, namely, that they may lose their living and that they will not get their school filled if they do not treat the children properly. I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Sunderland (Mr. Goldstone) is not here, because no doubt he will have something to say in support of the class which he so ably represents. I do not believe that any class—I do not care who they are—who are paid by the State, and are State officials, are of such a high level that they will carry on all their work in an absolutely irreproachable manner. On the contrary they tend to get into a groove, to become hardened, and to disregard the feelings of the people with "horn they deal. I do not take up the position which appears to be held by hon. Members opposite, that once you have State officials everything they do is right. I do not know what argument the right hon. Gentleman is going to use against my Amendment. It seems to me there are no arguments which can be put forward against it. My last Amendment did to a certain extent, if parents did not wish their children to come under the provisions 192 of the Bill, prevent them doing so. But this Amendment only says, "Give the child a chance to develop its mind. For some reason or other it may be behind its age. It may not be more mentally developed than an ordinary child of three or four years of age. Give it a chance, before you take it away from the parents, and put it into one of these schools." I cannot conceive any reason why my Amendment should not be accepted.
§ Mr. GOLDSMITH
I should like to second the Amendment. I want to get a statement from the right hon. Gentleman whether he really wishes this Bill to apply, as far as residential schools are concerned, to children between the ages of seven and ten. The Bill proposes to make the Act of 1899 compulsory. That Act only applied to day schools. It laid down that where there are certain day schools established under that Act, parents might be forced to send their children to the schools. But under the Act of 1899 parents could not be forced to send the child to a residential school, even where the Act had been adopted by the local education authority, and where a residential school had been established. This Bill proposes to make that compulsory, both as regard day schools and residential schools. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider the possibility of saying that no child should be sent to a residential school unless or until it is ten years of age. The Board of Education apparently, when the age limit laid down by this House does not suit it, is quite willing to alter it by Regulations. Last year the Mental Deficiency Act was passed, and under it it was laid down that no child should come under the education authority—no mentally defective child—until it had passed the age of seven. But the right hon. Gentleman has now issued a Regulation and Memorandum, the latter of which says:—It will be convenient therefore if the local education authorities, in addition to notifying such cases as fall within the scope of the Regulation, should furnish the local controlling authority information as to other children in their area, whether over or under seven years of age, who are or appear to be, mentally defective within the meaning of the Mental Deficiency Act, 1913.Here you have the education authority, in the person of the right hon. Gentleman, going far beyond the limits of the powers which the Mental Deficiency Act conferred on him last year. We expressly laid it down that children under seven years of age should not be interfered with—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is now discussing some Regulation laid down under some other Act. He must address his observations to the Amendment before the House.
§ Mr. GOLDSMITH
These model Regulations issued by the Board of Education deal with the Acts both of 1899 and 1913, and as this Bill proposes to make the Act of 1899 compulsory, I submit that I am in order in discussing the Regulations which have been issued under that Act by the Board of Education.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I do not think this is an opportunity for finding fault with Regulations made under some entirely different Act. Now is the time to consider whether seven or ten is the proper age at which to send children to these schools.
§ Mr. GOLDSMITH
I will not pursue that argument. We may have an opportunity of bringing this point forward on another occasion. I will only ask whether the right hon. Gentleman is willing to accept an age limit of ten as far as residental schools are concerned.
I am not prepared to accept this Amendment, even in the modified form suggested by the Seconder. The hon. Baronet who moved it addressed the House as if he had had wide experience in connection with the teaching and training of these mentally deficient children. Of course I have not had any experience myself but, at any rate, I am in touch with those who have had very wide experience, and they inform me that, having studied this question for sixteen years, under the Defective and Epileptic Act of 1899, and having seen the children who are in these defective schools—there are 173 already established in the country and only two or three residential schools—they are satisfied that when we raised the school age from five to seven we were raising it quite sufficiently, and that it is all-important, in the interests of these children, that they should begin their training at the age of seven. The hon. Baronet has suggested, by way of analogy, that they go to school in the same sort of way as was usual in his school-days, and that they learn Latin and Greek and subjects of that kind. But these children are trained in an absolutely different way to the normal child. They are taught how to use their hands by the simplest processes which the ingenuity of teachers has been able to devise. They gradually develop, 194 and unless this manual instruction is given early it is possible that development of a child may be lost for three or four years. These years are required in order to train the children to become self-supporting, and we do not want, therefore, to delay the process of development.
The hon. Baronet asks as to the percentage of cures. There is for really mentally deficient children no cure, but in connection with those who are merely suffering from retarded development there are cures, and in the first few years, about the ages of seven, eight, or nine, it is often possible to find out whether it is a case of retarded development or whether it is really a case of being mentally defective. These schools to some extent supply a provision which enables children to be classified into either mentally defective or those who are merely suffering from temporary, tardy development. In many cases children between the ages of seven and ten attending these schools will be found only to be suffering from retarded development, and they may be discharged, and sent into the normal schools between those ages. It is all-important that children with retarded development should be enabled to attend the ordinary schools of the country between the ages of six and ten, and be discharged from those schools whenever opportunity occurs. That is one reason, at any rate, why I cannot agree to increase the age from seven to ten.
The Board of Education have a very able medical officer in Sir George Newman, and in addition to that they have a staff of inspectors, both male and female, medically trained, who go round these schools. We also collect from the local education authorities statistics as to results which have been obtained by the training of these mentally deficient children, and, speaking in round figures, I may tell the hon. Baronet that of the children who leave these schools 33 per cent. prove able to maintain themselves, and another 33 per cent. are able partially to maintain themselves, although no doubt they will require assistance at a subsequent period of their lives.
§ Mr. GOLDSMITH
Has the right hon. Gentleman any figures to show for how many years these 33 per cent. are able to maintain themselves?
§ 6.0 P.M.
I have a return of a great number of cases, and if the hon. Member is interested I shall be only too glad to show him the results of the statistics we have obtained at the Board of Education. I have gone through a great number of cases myself and I am satisfied that, although many of these children may not be able to earn very high wages they will get enough to support themselves in after life. Thirty-three per cent. are only able to partially support themselves. They earn from 5s. to 7s. per week. Then there are others who have been taught self-control and self-discipline. Their characters have been very much improved, though they may not probably be able to earn anything for themselves after they leave the school unless they are constantly under some kind of supervision. That is a class, no doubt, which at the age of sixteen will come under the control of the custodial authority, which will take charge of them. There appears to be a feeling that the residential institutions are going to be a sort of asylum. But no one who has seen these schools for the mentally deficient in operation can have failed to realise that the teachers are men and women who are devoted to the service of the children. They are extraordinarily patient with them, and one can understand the love extended to them when it is seen how these children flock around them. Their lives are very much happier than they would be in the majority of cases at home. Of course, where there is a home influence which is useful, I am the last person who would desire to deprive the child of the benefit of it. We have made provision for that home influence, even in cases where the children are sent to a residential institution because no other kind of provision can be made for their education. The Regulations will provide for the normal holidays, and the power of the parents to visit their children in these institutions, and the proposals in the Bill do not compel the parents to send their children to these residential institutions, but only when the parents are unreasonably withholding their educable children from going to these schools. If they have a real reason to state before the local education authority to justify their keeping their children at home, perhaps because the children will be benefited by being at home, they will not be compelled to send them to these residential schools. The apprehensions in regard to the character of these institutions is not justified. 196 We intend to see that they shall be real homes for the children, in which they will be well looked after. I believe that, unless a long period of training from seven to sixteen years of age is given to these children, a great number of the benefits which we realise can be secured for them, of which we have had experience during sixteen years, will not prevail in future. Therefore, I ask the House to allow the word "seven" to remain in the Bill as introduced.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
The President of the Board of Education ought to agree to the age being altered to ten. The ordinary method of conducting these special schools is for the teacher to select backward children from the classes, and to suggest to the authority that they would be better looked after in the special schools. In the first three years of the child's life there cannot be very definite proof that he is backward, but when he gets to twelve or thirteen years of age you find out whether the child is backward from the fact that it is at the bottom of its standard. If in the early years of the child's life you give the teacher the power of sifting out the backward children, you are likely to have the teacher making a great many serious mistakes. After all, teachers are human beings like other people. A boy is troublesome, and he may get into the teacher's bad books for any of a hundred and one reasons. The teacher gets "down" on the child, and can have it relegated to one of these special schools. We must remember, however admirable institutions may be in an Act of Parliament and in a Regulation, and however much you believe they are going to be well-managed and that the teachers are all angels, yet none of us are angels, and you have to provide in legislation against hard cases. The Amendment would be a very valuable safeguard to the children for the first three years of their lives, and while they are at the normal school they should not be liable to be weeded out and sent to a special school. If the hon. Baronet goes to a Division I shall support him.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I venture to hope that in the interest of the child itself this Amendment will not be accepted. A good many of the speakers, but not including the hon. Gentleman who has just addressed us, have assumed that all these children are now at home. My experience is that a considerable number of them who will come under the provisions of this 197 Bill are at present in the elementary day schools, and are not receiving there the sort of education that is most suited to them, or most likely in the future to enable them to get remunerative employment, and they are a source of retardation to the other children in the school. As the right hon. Gentleman has pointed out, the sort of sympathetic instruction which is given in these institutions to defective children is largely of a manual character, and also of a voice training character. A good many of these mentally defective children are unable to express themselves. I think the right hon. Gentleman will admit from his Continental experience that in a large number of similar institutions abroad, in the lower classes in the elementary schools, specially selected teachers are instructing the children how to express themselves vocally, and a most important function it is, so far as these very young children are concerned. The hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury)—the typical laissez faire Whig of this House—told us that his own early instruction and the early instruction of his children began at the age of ten.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
But he did not remind the House that both in the case of himself and his children there was, at any rate, the advantage of the possibility of employing a governess. These little children of the poorer classes commence their education in school. They get no education until they go to school. If this Amendment were carried it would be not only a reactionary proceeding—
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
That may be a proper sentiment, but it is not a sentiment which is likely to actuate any educationist on either side of the House in the year 1914. It would be contrary to the provisions of Section 4 of the principal Act, which says that the duty of a parent under Section 4 of the Elementary Education Act, 1876, to provide elementary instruction for his child shall, in the case of a defective or epileptic child over seven years of age in any place where a certified special class or school is within the reach of his child, include the duty of causing such child to attend such special class or school. If this Amendment is carried, it will repeal that Section and a similar Section in the Elementary Education Act, 198 1876, and exempt the parent altogether from sending a child between the age of seven and ten to an elementary school, as is necessary in the case of every other child in the Kingdom. I hope that the House will realise that it is in the best interests not merely of the child, but of those other children with whom he would, in most cases, be thrown in classes 1 and 2 of the ordinary elementary day schools, to insist that the benefit of compulsory elementary education shall apply at that early age to all children, whether normal or abnormal.
§ Mr. HILLS
I rise for the purpose of replying to the question addressed to me by the hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury), when he rather challenged my statement that a large number of these children do return to normal occupations. I agree with the President of the Board of Education that while you do get permanent mental deficiency and that there are incurable cases, yet a large number of these children can be educated up to a point when they can more or less support themselves. For instance, in the schools in London in 1908, 279 children were discharged, of whom full particulars were known. After five years, 139 were employed earning wages and 140 were not; of the 140, 109 were lost sight of, 27 were out of employment, and four were dead, so that after five years, when the children would be twenty-one years of age, one-half were employed earning wages. That speaks very well for the schools, and shows that in a large number of cases you can train them so as to enable them to earn wages. Although the average wage earned was only 10s. 10d. per week, that is something, and it shows that the boys were capable of earning a certain amount towards their support and were doing well.
§ Lord A. THYNNE
My hon. Friend the Member for the Wilton Division (Mr. C. Bathurst) is an example of the want of flexibility and elasticity that always characterises the bureaucrat. He speaks as if there were only one possible age at which you could send a child to school. Because it is laid down in the Education Act that a certain age is the proper age at which to send the normal child to school, therefore that age must necessarily apply to every child in the country, whether he is normal or not normal. The House has not been giving enough serious consideration to this Amendment. If the right hon. Gentleman wants the House to reject this Amendment be must do so on one of two 199 grounds—either, in the first place, that it is essential that the child should go to school at the age of seven for the sake of its training and its future life, or, secondly, that the fact that the child is kept at home between the age of seven and ten is detrimental to its present interests, that it is either a nuisance at home or is liable to danger through being allowed to run about the streets. The right hon. Gentleman has not made good his case against this Amendment upon either of those two grounds. His chief argument was that if the child was sent to school at seven years of age it would enable them to classify the backward child and the mentally deficient child. That is a very serious argument in favour of my hon. Friend's Amendment. I want the House to consider for one moment whether it is better to keep a child that is really mentally defective too long in the ordinary elementary school or to take a child that is really only rather backward, who is a normal child, and confine it in one of these residential schools. There is no doubt that every responsible Member of the House will agree that if we are going to run any risk at all, and if we are going to adopt one alternative or the other, we ought to adopt the first and keep the mentally deficient child too long in the elementary school. It is a very serious matter indeed, because it affects the whole future of the child. If you confine it unjustly or improperly in one of these mentally deficient schools, you are inflicting an injustice upon that child which may follow it right through life. There is this question of the training: Does the right hon. Gentleman really contend that in order to train these children properly it is essential that they should be taken into these schools at the age of seven?
I think it is generally admitted, certainly by the more advanced school of educationists, that the normal child does not benefit by its education between six or seven and ten to the same extent or at the same ratio as it does after ten. I believe it is an established fact that if you take a boy of fifteen who has not begun his education until after ten years of age, he is just as advanced and just as alert intellectually as the boy who began his education at seven years of age. I believe that is an accepted fact among the more advanced school of educationists with regard to normal children, and I believe 200 the same is true with regard to the mentally deficients. The real reason why the right hon. Gentleman wants to get them into the schools at seven years of age is because it will facilitate this matter of classification—this power of sorting the sheep from the goats. That is not a proposal that this House ought to consider for a moment. I think what we have to do is to have the sorting done before the child is sent to these schools, and to take very great care indeed that no backward child is allowed within their gates. It is not a few cases, but there is a very large number of cases of children in the infant departments of some of our large towns who are looked upon as mentally deficient and as likely candidates for mentally deficient schools. As these children grow it is found that the symptoms which were regarded originally as symptoms of mental deficiency are nothing more nor less than ordinary symptoms of backward development. If that is true of the infant departments of some of our large towns, I believe it is equally true of children between seven and ten years of age, and, if the House accepts the Amendment, they will be removing it from the power of the Board of Education and those who work under the Board of Education to commit, with the best intention, a very grave injustice to a considerable section of the backward children of the country.
§ Sir W. ANSON
I regret that I cannot support my hon. Friend in his Amendment. We have heard to-day of children who are prima facie mentally deficient, and are so regarded by medical practitioners, but it is well-known and admitted that these symptoms may arise from retarded development, whether from growth or from improper care and unwise treatment in their bringing up. But there is room for hope and expectation that these children may either be restored to a normal condition or that their defective condition may be so far ameliorated that they may be able to earn their living wholly or in part, or at any rate, that their habit of life and temper may be so improved that they will be able to conduct themselves reasonably and properly. Surely the best prospect for these children is that they should be subject to special training. Is it worth nothing that they should be sent for special training at the earliest possible age? I cannot help thinking it will give the child the best chance to take it at the age of seven. For these reasons I cannot support the Amendment.
I cannot understand the awful risks of grave injustice which we are informed are likely to be inflicted upon certain mentally defective children if they are sent to special schools at the age of seven instead of ten. I should have thought the argument was more in the other direction. Obviously, if we are to do anything with young life, you must be careful not to waste any of what may be called the formative period. It appears to me that the whole objection to this and to other points is more or less a sentimental one. Take, for instance, the hon. Baronet's remarks about home influences. I wonder if he really knows what home influences are in so far as they apply in this case. Does he know from first-hand knowledge of the life of a working mother who has several children—let us say four—one of whom is a mental deficient, what it means to have that child at home. Does he realise how absolutely impossible it is for the woman, or even for the father who comes home at night, seeing little of the child, to give any directions to that child or in any way to help him to overcome the obstacles and the handicap which he is faced with? I should have thought if the hon. Baronet was really anxious that these children should have the best done for them, he would not put any obstacles in the way of their being placed under circumstances where attention could be given to them. Even now all over the country there are coming complaints from education authorities, and especially from teachers that they are having too much to do because their classes are too large. If that is so with the normal child, how in the world is it going to work out to the betterment or to the advantage or the well being of the abnormal child, who should at least have more attention and not less? I am pleased that the Minister for Education is not in any way gong to give way to the appeal which is made to him, because I believe if that appeal was successful it would destroy at least half the usefulness of the Bill.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I recognise perfectly well that in the families of the poorer classes the mother has not the opportunity of looking after her children in quite the same way that parents do in those classes which are better off, but the affection of the parent is just the same, and the affection of the child is just the same, and if the parent prefers to keep the child under her protection and with her for a year or two longer, for the life 202 of me I cannot see why she should not do it, and I cannot understand the attitude of hon. Members below the Gangway who seem to think poor people are an exceptional class who are not to be allowed to do as they like, but are to be dragooned by officials and other people paid by the State into doing what hon. Members think is best for them. I am not at all sure that I agree that hon. Members are good judges upon that point, or upon many others, and I am inclined to think that it is the parents who ought to be the judge in the matter. The right hon. Gentleman gave us some very interesting particulars. He said there were no cures in the cases of really mentally deficient people, but for retarded development there are cures, and he says that 33 per cent. are cured.
I did not say the 33 per cent. were cured, but they were trained so as to become self-supporting.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Then the right hon. Gentleman is minimising the arguments against the Amendment which, in my opinion, were never very strong, because now even these 33 per cent. are not cured, but are trained to earn a small amount of money. Then the right hon. Gentleman went on to describe how he went to one of these residential schools, and found the extraordinary affection which subsisted between the teachers and the children. Of course when he was there everything was at its best. It does not follow that everything went on in exactly the same way when he was not there.
The visits I have paid have not been merely to one school but to several, and they have always been surprise visits, and surprise visits do not really alter the attitude of the children towards the teachers.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
But what is a surprise visit? I often have to make surprise visits as a railway director, and if I say a thing is well done I am told, "It is all very well but they knew you were coming." I say, "I have been most careful to keep my visit secret." They say, "It is all very well but these things get out." If that is so in my own case no doubt when the right hon. Gentleman goes down, probably with two or three policeman to see that he is not assaulted by suffragettes, of course it is perfectly well known that he is coming, and everything is in the most beautiful order. I think I caught from the right hon. Gentle- 203 man a statement to the effect that there were only two or three of these residential schools. If that is right, and I believe it is, how on earth could you draw a conclusion from two or three schools, with perhaps in all three not more than 150 or 160 children, as to what is going to take place if you put a large number of schools all over the country. I am told these schools are for older children. That brings in the question how far it was wise for these older children to indulge in these hugging operations. I think it shows that, at any rate, the arguments brought forward by the right hon. Gentleman are not founded upon a substantial basis, because everyone must admit that when you have only got two or three schools with a small number of children, because they happen to be model institutions doing their duty, it does not follow that in other institutions, where you are going to have a large number of scholars the same thing will occur. The right hon. Gentleman may have got some very efficient teachers, but efficient teachers do not grow by the roadside. Some are efficient, and some are not, and you may be able to get very easily perhaps half-a-dozen efficient teachers, but it is much harder to get two or three hundred. In answer to an interruption of mine, when I asked in who told him that it was necessary that the age should begin
|Division No. 91.]||AYES.||[6.31 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Bryce, J. Annan||Duffy, William J.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Buckmaster, Sir Stanley O.||Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Burn, Colonel C. R.||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Agnew, Sir George Wiliam||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Elverston, Sir Harold|
|Alden, Percy||Byles, Sir William Pollard||Esmonds, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Essex, Sir Richard Walter|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Cave, George||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles|
|Arnold, Sydney||Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Ffrench, Peter|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Field, William|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Chancellor, Henry George||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Chappie, Dr. William Allen||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Clancy, John Joseph||Fitzgibbon, John|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Barnes, George N.||Clough, William||France, Gerald Ashburner|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick, Burghs)||Clynes, John R.||Furness, Sir Stephen Wilson|
|Barrie, H. T.||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Gelder, Sir W. A.|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Cetton, William Francis||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Gladstone, W. G. C.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Crooks, William||Glanville, Harold James|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Crumley, Patrick||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Cullinan, John||Goldstone, Frank|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H.||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Dawes, James Arthur||Greig, Colonel J. W.|
|Boland, John Pius||Deiany, William||Griffith, Ellis Jones|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pembroke)|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Devlin, Joseph||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Dewar, Sir J. A.||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S. E.)|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Dillon, John||Hackett, John|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Donelan, Captain A.||Hall, Frederick (Yorks, Normanton)|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Doris, William||Hancock, John George|
§ at seven, the right hon. Gentleman said it was their inspectors and the local authorities. That is just what occurs with all these State or municipal institutions. Of course, everybody connected with them thinks it a very good thing, and everybody wants to extend it. They get higher salaries if they point out the enormous importance of their work; they get others under them, and they become great people. They say, "The right hon. Gentleman came down to see us the other day, and expressed great satisfaction with all that is going on." That is all very well, but it does not show any reason why my Amendment should not be accepted. As I have not been able to persuade the right hon. Gentleman to accept a reasonable Amendment, I am afraid I must divide the House. There was one moment when I felt that I might be wrong. That was when my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford got up and said he did not agree with me. I attach very great weight to his opinion, but I am rather afraid that for once he is wrong. I do not think his arguments were very strong. I consider that the arguments in support of the Amendment are of a stronger and better nature.
§ Question put, "That the word 'seven' stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes 29:3; Noes, 50.205
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Hardie, J. Keir||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Rowlands, James|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Harris, Henry Percy||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Molloy, Michael||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Seely, Rt. Hon. Colonel J. E. B.|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Sheehy, David|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Mooney, John J.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Morgan, George Hay||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||Morrell, Philip||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Morison, Hector||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Morton, Alpheus Clcophas||Snowden, Philip|
|Henderson, John M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Mount, William Arthur||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Muldoon, John||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Hewart, Gordon||Murphy, Martin J.||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Hibbert, Sir Henry F.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Higham, John Sharp||Neilson, Francis||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Hills, John Waller||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Hinds, John||Nolan, Joseph||Taibot, Lord Edmund|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Nuttall, Harry||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Hogge, James Myles||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Holmes, Daniel Turner||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)|
|Holt, Richard Durning||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||O'Doherty, Philip||Thomas, James Henry|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Donnell, Thomas||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Hudson, Walter||O'Dowd, John||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||O'Malley, William||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|John, Edward Thomas||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Johnson, William||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||O'Shee, James John||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Jones, Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Webb, H.|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Parker, James (Halifax)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Parkes, Ebenezer||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Joyce, Michael||Parry, Thomas H.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Kelly, Edward||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Kilbride, Denis||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|King, Jospeh||Pirie, Duncan V.||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N. W.)|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Pointer, Joseph||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Lardner, James C. R.||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Wills, Sir Gilbert|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Leach, Charles||Radford, George Heynes||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Reddy, Michael||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Wilson, Maj. Sir M (Bethnal Green, S. W.)|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Lundon, Thomas||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Remnant, James Farquharson||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Rendall, Atheistan||Yeo, Alfred William|
|MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Macdohald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Macpherson, James Ian||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)||Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|M'Callum, Sir John M.||Robinson, Sidney|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Fletcher, John Samuel||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Gibbs, George Abraham||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Barlow, Montagu (Salford, South)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Barnston, Harry||Greene, Walter Raymond||Thomson, W. Mitchell. (Down, North)|
|Boles, Lieut.-Colonel Dennis Fortescue||Gretton, John||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)||Tuillbardine, Marquess of|
|Boyton, James||Henderson, Sir A. (St. Geo., Han. Sq.)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Ingleby, Holcombe||Watson, Hon. W.|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Kerry, Earl of||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Newman, John R. P.||Younger, Sir George|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Orue-Powiett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|De Forest, Baron||Peto, Basil Edward||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Denison-Pender, J. C.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Sir F. Banbury and Mr. Goldsmith.|
|Duncannon, Viscount||Rolleston, Sir John|
§ Mr. GOLDSMITH
I beg to move in Sub-section (1) to leave out the word "mentally" ["who are ascertained to be mentally defective "].
The Amendment is more important than it really looks on the Paper. This Bill, as the House is aware, proposes to make the Act of 1899 compulsory. That Act applies to all defective children—that is to say, defective children who by reason of mental or physical defect are incapable of taking advantage of the education in the ordinary elementary schools. The Act of 1899 made no distinction between mentally and physically defective children. This Bill, which proposes to make that Act compulsory, only deals with mentally defective children. Once we make the Act of 1899 compulsory we ought to make it compulsory with regard to all defective children who may be educated, whether they are mentally or physically defective. The right hon. Gentleman, in his speech on the Second Reading, said:—We, therefore, are not proposing to make the Bill compulsory with regard to epileptic children. What we are doing is to make the present Defective and Epilepsy Act compulsory in regard to suitable special schools for the defectives."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th March, 1914, col. 476].Even in his speech he makes a distinction between mentally and physically defective children. If the House had to make a choice between providing educational facilities as between children who are abnormal mentally and children who are physically defective, but capable of receiving a proper education and mentally normal, I am certain that the House would decide in favour of the latter class of children. Under this Bill nothing is going to be done for the physically defective child, the cripple child. If a child is found in a school and is certified by the medical officer as being incapable owing to physical defects of benefiting from the school, that child is turned out, and no provision is made for it. If, by any chance, it is proved that the physically defective child is mentally defective as well, then it is going to be sent to a special school, which is going to be provided under this Act. That is an absurd proposition. Let us provide for the mentally normal child first, and then for the child which is mentally abnormal. A few education authorities have taken advantage of the Act of 1899. The London County Council is one of them. It has at present ninety-one schools for mentally defective children, with an average on the rolls of 7,234. It has fifty-nine schools for physically defective children, including one for 208 tuberculous children, with an average on the rolls of 3,184. The physically defective child when at school is more expensive than the mentally defective child. In London it costs the ratepayers £22 for every cripple child and £17 for every mentally defective child. That is due largely to the fact that cripple children have to be collected in ambulances every morning and brought back again to their homes at night.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Is not the effect of the hon. Member's Amendment to increase the cost of these schools?
§ Mr. GOLDSMITH
No. I may submit that these cripple children are in an ordinary elementary school at present. It depends on the Board of Education whether they receive a larger Grant. If they are transferred to schools for physically defective children it would, no doubt, involve an additional charge on the ratepayers, but it would not involve an additional charge on the national Exchequer, especially as regards residential schools. Sub-Clause (1) provides that the local education authority need not take any steps unless the Board of Education provide half the cost. It is left entirely in the hands of the Board of Education as to whether they will provide the money or not.
§ Lord A. THYNNE
On a point of Order. I submit that it does not necessarily involve an increase of the rates. The increase of expenditure is purely problematical. It does not bring any new class of child within the scope of education. These children are being educated already. What my hon. Friend suggests is that instead of being educated in one class of school they should be educated in another class of school. At present their education is being paid for both by the rates and by the national Exchequer, and this does not necessarily involve any charge on either fund.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
Would not a variation in this Bill in the direction of making it more compulsory on the parent to send the children to such schools involve an additional charge, and if the ruling which you have given now were carried out would not it, in fact, prevent any Amendment in the direction of making the sending of these children to schools more rigid than now, because if even one more child is sent would not that involve an extra charge?
§ Mr. GOLDSMITH
My next Amendment is consequential on that which has been ruled out of order, and I do not move it.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
In reference to the Amendments which stand next in my name, as the word "seven" has already been rejected and the other Amendments are consequential on the Amendment which I ought to have moved on Clause 1, I will not take any notice of them.
§ Mr. GOLDSMITH
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "boarding and lodging" ["provision for boarding and lodging a mentally defective child"].
I move this Amendment so that the Board of Education shall undertake to pay half the costs of children, whether they are in day schools or in residential schools. I think that the right hon. Gentleman has stated that he is providing something like £6 per child in the case of day schools. I am not quite certain whether £6 per child would really meet half the cost. In some cases it might probably be more, and in others it might be less. In London the cost of a mentally defective child in a day school is £17, and therefore the £6, which the right hon. Gentleman told us he is going to provide will not meet half the cost of these children in the elementary day schools. I am certain that the right hon. Gentleman does not intend to put a further charge upon the local ratepayers. The Chancellor of the Exchequer only yesterday said that the burdens, especially the educational burdens, on the local ratepayers were to be reduced, and it seems to be absurd that to-day we should be putting further charges on the local ratepayer. I move this Amendment to make it perfectly clear that in any case, whether the child is in a residential 210 school or not, the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to pay half the cost both, of education and of board and lodging.
§ Lord A. THYNNE
In seconding the Amendment I want to enter an emphatic protest against, not merely the new duties, but the new functions which are being imposed upon local authorities, of which this is a very flagrant example. It is no function of the ordinary local education authority to board and lodge. Their function is to educate. The tendency of this Government has been continually to impose upon local education authorities functions which are foreign to their very constitution. We have already had experience with regard both to the feeding and to the medical treatment of children, both of them admirable objects, with which I have great sympathy, but objects which I think ought not to be entrusted from an administrative point of view to the local education authority. This is the only instance in which you are asking the local education authority in England for the purpose of elementary education to start large boarding establishments. I have great doubts indeed about the wisdom of choosing the local education authority as the authority to manage these establishments; but, quite apart from that, I think that the real serious point is the point raised by my hon. Friend, and that is the financial point, a point which I hope we shall have an opportunity of discussing on a subsequent Amendment. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to announce some concession to the local education authority in this matter.
§ 7.0 P.M.
The effect of this Amendment would be to provide that authorities shall not be under the duty to educate mentally defective children in these schools unless the Treasury pay half the cost. The practice hitherto in relation to all elementary education has been for the Treasury to give definite Grants. There has been a tendency with which I have tried to associate myself to induce the Treasury to give proportionate Grants in certain cases, and I have secured from the Treasury a proportionate Grant in connection with these residential establishments which may be set up under the provisions of this Bill. But in regard to day schools, the Treasury do not see any reason for departing in the present instance from the principle of a definite Grant for special services. In this connection I am glad to have been able to secure an increase. There has been 211 hitherto a special Grant in connection with these day schools. That Grant has been increased from an average of about £4 5s. To £6. It depends upon the passage of this Bill. That is a substantial advance. It will in most instances be half the cost of running these special schools. In some country districts where special day schools have been provided, the cost will be under £12 per head, and therefore, with this Grant of £6, they will get more than half the cost. Taking the average of the cost in the country, we assume that it will run to about £11 per head of the children in these schools, and therefore by taking the £6 grant you get more than half in the majority of cases. I do recognise that there will be some authorities—no doubt London will be one—which will receive a less proportion than will be received by many of these schools, but I am not yet in a position to give a proportionate Grant in regard to these schools nor any larger sum than that which I have been able to extract from the Treasury. I hope the Amendment will not be pressed to a Division, though I quite appreciate the grounds on which it has been moved and seconded.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), paragraph (i), after the word "child's" ["provision for the child's education"], to insert the words "maintenance and accommodation during the period of his."
With the insertion of those words the paragraph would read, "That suitable provision for the child's maintenance and accommodation during the period of his education cannot be made in any other way." I move this Amendment in order to elicit from the right hon. Gentleman a statement of the exact meaning of this proviso. The House will notice that the first Sub-section provides that" it shall be the duty of the local education authority. … to make suitable provision. … for the education of mentally defective children. The Sub-section goes on to say that it shall not be the duty of the local education authorities to make provision for boarding and lodging mentally defective children. And then you would naturally expect to find "unless the Board are satisfied that suitable provision for the child's maintenance and accommodation cannot fee provided in any other way." You find 212 there the word "education." I would like to point out that when you come to paragraph (ii.) you find there, also, ruled out the duty of establishing a certified school if the Board of Education are satisfied there are not less than thirty such children belonging to the area requiring such education. That is to say, taking the Clause as a whole, the local education authority have to provide now, in every case, for the education of these mentally defective children, but they need not provide boarding and lodging in any case where—as I suggest is intention—boarding and lodging can be suitably provided in other ways, and that it shall not provide the actual school for such education where there are less than thirty children. I merely put this fox-ward as a drafting Amendment to meet what I believe to be the meaning of this proviso. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he can explain why the word "education" is found there, seeing that the education is in any case to be provided under the first Sub-section, and what the local education authority is being exempted from is the provision of boarding and lodging. What I am suggesting is that where such maintenance and accommodation of a suitable character can be provided for the defective child there is no reason for stating that suitable provision cannot be made in any other way. Surely it is suitable provision for boarding and lodging which alone is contemplated by this exemption from the terms of Sub-section (1).
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Trevelyan)
It is rather difficult to follow the hon. Gentleman, but I think his Amendment is really one intended to alter the phraseology and not the substance of the Bill. So far as I understand it, I think it must be taken in this way, "suitable provision for the child's education cannot be made in any other way." That refers to the possibility, of course, of a case where a day school is concerned, but the local education authority cannot have anything to do with boarding and lodging. If a suitable day school cannot be found, the local authority have nothing to do, or are not concerned with boarding and lodging so far as the day school is concerned. A day school is possibly suitable provision, but if the words suggested were inserted they would alter the whole meaning of the Clause.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
The hon. Gentleman will admit that there is no reference to a day school here, and, as the proviso is expressed, it appears to apply to every child in the school. I do not want to pres this Amendment in this place, but I would suggest that if it is found on further consideration of this Amendment—I apologise for not having brought it to the notice of the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Gentleman before to-day—that this proviso goes further than is actually intended—as I submit it does—then I venture to hope that the right hon. Gentleman will see that some alteration is made by an Amendment in another place.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. GOLDSMITH
I beg to move, in paragraph (i.), to leave out the words "one-half" ["not less than one-half of the cost"], and to insert instead thereof the word "two-thirds."
§ My Amendment substitutes "two-thirds" for "one-half"—that is to say, the Board of Education should pay two-thirds the cost of these schools. The right hon. Gentleman has only provided one half to be paid by the Board of Education, and we are told that it is a great concession from the Exchequer. We know perfectly well that the Board of Education at the present moment is already paying nearly 50 per cent. of the total cost of education all over the country. The Chancellor of the Exchequer told us yesterday it amounted to 46 per cent., and by the increase to which he then referred, I have no doubt that the contribution for education as a whole from the Exchequer will be more than 50 per cent. The right hon. Gentleman proposes to pay 50 per cent. in the case of these schools for the mentally defective. I would point out that in the case of these schools the local education authority will be put to great expense, and in country districts it will be impossible to provide for these children in day schools. Residential schools will have to be erected—four or five in one administrative area—and it would probably involve the ratepayers in a considerable charge. I trust that the right hon. Gentleman will give us some assurance that he will be able to pay a larger, a considerably larger, contribution to the local ratepayers than 50 per cent.
§ Mr. HOARE
I beg to second the Amendment.
It is a very important one. These schools are exceedingly expensive. In 214 London one of these schools costs a good deal more than twice as much as an elementary day school, and, when it comes to residential schools, I think it will be found that the cost is about £30 per child. If, therefore, this work is to be taken up and effectively carried out by the local authorities, it is most important that it should be given good encouragement. A great deal of educational work has broken down in the past because the local authorities have not been given sufficient financial encouragement. It is most important, therefore, that they should be given more than 50 per cent. After all it will not involve a very heavy expenditure. We heard yesterday that they were going to have at their disposal about £4,000,000 extra money to distribute amongst local authorities. There are only 12,000 mentally defective children for whom places have to be found, and therefore I think it is a very moderate suggestion that the Board should use some part of this £4,000,000 to make more attractive the proposal that the local authorities should make provision at once for the very few thousands of mentally defective children for whom provision should be found at the present moment in the local areas. I therefore hope, if the President of the Board of Education does not accept my hon. Friend's Amendment, that it will be carried to a Division, and that it will have the support of a very large number of Members.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I hope this Amendment will not be pressed to a Division. I am sorry to part company from my hon. Friend opposite or with his Bill, but, obviously, there are very great disadvantages in altering the proportion of one-half to two-thirds. If you make it two-thirds you merely offer an incentive to the local authorities to pass children as mentally defective because of the financial advantage to them compared with passing the children to the ordinary school. I do not want to make it more to the interest of the local authorities to get greater numbers into these schools than it is already. I should deprecate the change from that point of view. Secondly—and apparently I shall not have the support of hon. Members opposite quite so enthusiastically—if it is a question of how the money is to be raised, whether it is to be raised from the rates which are attached to real estate or whether it is to be raised from the general corpus of the taxpayers 215 of the country, I prefer to see the money raised by taxes on real estate. In the one case it is a burden laid upon industry, and in the other case it is merely a reduction of the amount of the rent received by the owner of the real estate. It is very obvious that if we take from the taxpayers a large sum of money, which would otherwise conic from the ratepayers, we are thereby endowing the owners of real estate. I do not think at this time of day it is very desirable to endow further the owners of real estate in this country. In both these aspects this Amendment is in the wrong direction. I quite agree that on this occasion we shall have the Conservative party opposite united in pressing for this Amendment, which I submit would benefit the ratepayers at the expense of the taxpayers, and on these grounds would be acting from the point of view of vested interests, and not from the point of view of public interests.
§ Sir JOHN SPEAR
I cordially support the Amendment, because provision of schools of the kind required under the Bill will be much more expensive than that of ordinary schools, and, therefore, more liberal treatment from the Imperial Exchequer ought to be made in helping the localities to provide those schools. The hon. Member (Mr. Wedgwood) is afraid this might be the means of inducing the local authorities to bring more children into those schools. The object surely of the Bill is the interests of the feebleminded, and therefore any step that would have the effect of more easily making available the advantages of an improved system would be in the interests of the children. I think we have the right to claim that no further burden should be placed on the local authority. It is surely a national responsibility and in the interests of the nation that we should endeavour to provide the children with such education as would make them useful members of society, in the interests not only of the children, but of the Commonwealth. Therefore so large a share of the cost ought not to fall on the local ratepayers. I think the Amendment is equitable and would be the means of inducing the local authorities to try to give effect to the principle contained in the Bill and make provision for the unfortunate children who, through no fault of their own, are handicapped in the battle of life.
It is always popular in the constituencies to advocate the claims of ratepayers as against the claims of the taxpayers. In this House, however, we have got the dual duty not only to look after the interests of our constituents and the ratepayers, but it is more our duty to look after the interests of the taxpayer, and it is as interested in the taxpayer that I want to say one or two words. Parliament, in its wisdom or reverse, has handed over to the education authorities the control and administration of education. The State contributes Grants to that cost of education and sees that the education is efficient and justifies those Grants being given, and if a greater proportion than a moiety is given from the State the tendency will be for local authorities to be extravagant. Of course it is always easy to spend other people's money, but if you are to have that principle of local control it seems to me that we have reached a fair proportion when we call upon the local authorities to pay one-half and the State to contribute the other. Under the proposals of this Bill the State is contributing on an average about one-half, and in some cases a little more, to the expenditure which is incurred by the local education authorities in connection with children in their own area, and as the administration rests with the local authorities I do not think the Government is justified in giving more than a moiety towards the expenditure. In the case of day schools we are giving £6 out of £11, and in the case of residential schools we propose to give one-half. It is now suggested we should give a greater proportion than one-half out of Treasury funds. We are endeavouring to readjust the burden between the ratepayer and the taxpayer by the proposals in the Budget, and it does seem to me we have met hon. Gentlemen who have been looking after the interests of the local education authorities fairly well when we are contributing a full 50 per cent. of the average cost which will be incurred by the authorities in connection with the proposals under this Bill. To pass this Amendment would be to make the Bill not operative. The Treasury would not be prepared to give a greater proportion than they have already assented to, and the only effect of passing the Amendment would be that this Bill, which, I believe, is generally desired and wanted by the House, would become inoperative. Therefore, I hope hon. Members will not press it to a Division.
§ Lord A. THYNNE
I am surprised at the right hon. Gentleman treating this question of a moiety as a sort of sacrosanct figure in this matter. He talks as if there is some virtue about paying half, and that if the Treasury paid for more than half then you are going to get extravagance on the part of the local authorities. I think the right hon. Gentleman cannot have studied the question. Let me give a single instance in which the local authority is permitted to spend a sum of money to which the Government contributes, and that is the case of the equalisation of rates in London. There we find that if the local authority concerned pays anything over 20 or 25 per cent. you have got the interests of economy safeguarded. With regard to the argument advanced by the hon. Member for Neweastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood), I would point out that there is no danger at all of local authorities being induced from financial reasons to treat children as mentally defective. Take the present day elementary schools, where the figure for London is a little over £5, and in the other case of the day special school £17 10s. and in residential schools £30 or more. We base our claim for two-thirds against a moiety because of the fact that the Government compel us—although in form the Bill is permissive—to go in for this very expensive class of education, exceptionally expensive, calculated on the basis of cost per child, and we regard it as outside our normal functions. We suggest, therefore, that it is the duty of the Government to meet us rather more generously in this matter than has been their practice in the past. I am afraid we shall have to press this matter to a Division.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I am afraid the new basis of Grants which the right hon. Gentleman has stated this afternoon will cause very great disappointment amongst all local education authorities, and, indeed, amongst local authorities generally throughout the country after the more hopeful statement which was made by his right hon. Friend
§ the Chancellor of the Exchequer yesterday. We were then assured that so far from a moiety being considered adequate as a Government Grant towards education, that in future a very considerably larger proportion than that would be forthcoming in the case of all normal children in our elementary schools, and yet here the right hon. Gentleman lays down the new proposition that in the case of the most expensive kind of education for which the local education authority shall have to provide, the local education authority is to receive less generous treatment than was adumbrated yesterday. There are many other precedents besides that which my Noble Friend mentioned of the giving of larger Grants for educational purposes, and perhaps the best known is that of the Grant towards the training colleges, which amounts to no less than 75 per cent. Those who recall the terms of the Report of the Royal Commission on Local Taxation will remember that in the case of the mentally defective the Commissioners considered that there was the greatest claim on the part of the local authorities for generous treatment from the Exchequer with regard to what was, in a paramount degree, a national service, namely, the maintenance of lunatics and other persons mentally defective. As regards the suggestion made by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood) as to placing the burden rather on real than on personal property, I would remind the hon. Gentleman that it is not the country districts which are heavily rated owing to the large area of agricultural land of small annual value that has to bear the brunt of this burden, that provide the bulk of the mentally defective persons, and if only there were a larger number of persons brought up upon the land there would be far fewer children who would require treatment in these special institutions.
§ Question put, "That the word 'one-half stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 231; Noes, 105.
|Burns, Ht. Hon. John||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hogge, James Myles||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Holt, Richard Durning||Parry, Thomas H.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Hudson, Walter||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Illingworth, Percy H.||Pointer, Joseph|
|Clough, William||John, Edward Thomas||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Radford, George Heynes|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Reddy, Michael|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Jones, Leit (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Crooks, William||Joyce, Michael||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Kellaway, Frederick George||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Cullinan, John||Kelly, Edward||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Kilbride, Denis||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Dawes, James Arthur||King, Joseph||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|De Forest, Baron||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Delany, William||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Lardner, James C. R.||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal West)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumbr'ld, Cockerm'th)||Samuel, Rt. Hon H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Dillon, John||Leach, Charles||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Doris, William||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Seely, Rt. Hon. Colonel J. E. B.|
|Duffy, William J.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Sheehy, David|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Lundon, Thomas||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Lyell, Charles Henry||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Smith, H. B. Less (Northampton)|
|Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Snowden, Philip|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||M'Kean, John||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Ffrench, Peter||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Field, William||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Tennant, Harold John|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Thomas, James Henry|
|Furness, Sir Stephen Wilson||Middlebrook, William||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Gelder, Sir W. A.||Millar, James Duncan||Toulmin, Sir George|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Molloy, Michael||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Gill, A. H.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Glanville, Harold James||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Wardle, George J.|
|Goldstone, Frank||Mooney, John J.||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Morgan, George Hay||Webb, H.|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones||Morison, Hector||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pemborke)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Muldoon, John||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Murphy, Martin J.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Hackett, John||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Hall, Frederick (Yorks, Normanton)||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Hancock, John George||Nolan, Joseph||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N. W.)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Norman, Sir Henry||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Nuttall, Harry||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||O'Doherty, Philip||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Donnell, Thomas||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||O'Dewd, John||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Henry, Sir Charles||O'Malley, William||Yeo, Alfred William|
|Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Hewart, Gordon||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Shee, James John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hinds, John||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Mr. Gulland and Mr. Wedgwood Benn.|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Boles, Lieut.-Colonel Dennis Fortescue||Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender|
|Barnston, Harry||Boyton, James||Clive, Captain Percy Archer|
|Barrie, H. T.||Bridgenman, William Clive||Clynes, John R.|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Courthope, George Loyd|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Campion, W. R.||Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Craik, Sir Henry|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Cassel, Felix||Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Cautley, Henry Strother||Denison-Pender, J. C.|
|Bigland, Alfred||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Denniss, E. R. B.|
|Bird, Alfred||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Fletcher, John Samuel||Lowe, Sir F. W (Birm., Edgbaston)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Goldman, C. S.||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Grant, J. A.||Mackinder, Halford J.||Sykes, Sir Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Taibot, Lord Edmund|
|Gretton, John||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Terrell, G. (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Mount, William Arthur||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)||Nield, Herbert||Touche, George Alexander|
|Hardie, J. Keir||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Valentia, Viscount|
|Harris, Henry Percy||Parkes, Ebenezer||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Perkins, Walter F.||Watson, Hon. W.|
|Helmsley, Viscount||Peto, Basil Edward||Wheler, Granville, C. H.|
|Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Henderson, Sir A. (St. Geo., Han. Sq.)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Wilson, Captain Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Rees, Sir J. D.||Wilson, Maj. Sir M. (Bethnal Green, S. W.)|
|Hibbert, Sir Henry F.||Remnant, James Farquharson||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Ronaldshay, Earl of||Worthington Evans, L.|
|Hope, Harry (Bute)||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)||Younger, Sir George|
|Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Smith, Harold (Warrington)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Ingleby, Holcombe||Spear, Sir John Ward||Mr. Goldsmith and Mr. Hoare.|
§ Mr. MOUNT
I beg to move in Sub-section (1) after the word "of" ["the cost of educating"], to insert the words "conveying such child to and from any school so provided and of."
It is quite clear that, in rural districts especially, the cost of conveying children to and from these schools will be considerable. The children will not be able to go without some guide, and I wish it to be made quite clear that this cost will be included in the charge, one-half of which is to be borne by the Treasury.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I beg to move, after the word "lodging" ["boarding and lodging that child"], to insert the words '"and medically attending and treating."
What we desire is that the whole cost of and incidental to the education of these children should be taken into account in estimating what the amount provided by the Exchequer shall be. The cost in respect of these children is likely to be exceptionally high as compared with that of normal children. It is only right and fair to expect from the Exchequer an adequate Grant to encourage and help the education authorities in making provision for these children.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I beg to move to leave out the word "similar" ["or other similar payment"].
222 I do not know what the word "similar" is intended to include. It is certainly a very ambiguous expression, and it is only fair that any payment made for the purposes of the provision of a school shall be included in the half cost to be contributed by the Imperial Exchequer.
The word is really necessary, because there may be many charges other than rent, and the words "other similar payment" will include such things as payments for interest and matters of that kind. The Clause follows verbatim Section 71 (2) of the Mental Deficiency Act, 1913, and if the word were omitted here, it would be argued that the Clause was wider than the provision in the earlier Act. The intention is exactly the same; therefore, I think the word had better be returned.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
Such payments as the right hon. Gentleman suggests are already expressly covered by the preceding line, "by way of interest on, or repayment of capital raised." However, I will not press the Amendment, in view of the fact that an earlier Act of Parliament appears to have made a mistake.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
In order to obtain information, I beg to move to leave out paragraph (ii.).
Under this paragraph, a local authority is exempted from the duty of providing a certified school if there are fewer than thirty such children belonging to the area. That provision has been inserted in order to relieve from this burden many of the 223 rural areas of the country. I want to know how many areas are exempted, and whether in those areas the taxpayer will find the whole of the money to provide residential schools for these children? Further, does the area mean the county? Also, what is the total area in England and Wales exempted under this proviso? I do not propose to press the Amendment to a Division, but I wish to have some indication as to whether it is a large or small area that is being exempted. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will also give me an assurance that the proviso will not be extended by the acceptance of a later Amendment proposing to substitute sixty for thirty; or, if it is so extended, I want to know clearly what area will be cut out of the Bill in consequence.
§ Amendment not seconded.
I beg to move to leave out the words "such reports" ["unless the Board of Education are satisfied after considering such reports"], and to insert the words "the reports of such medical practitioners."
§ Question, "That the words 'such reports' stand part of the Bill," put, and negatived.
§ Question proposed, "That the words the reports of such medical practitioners be there inserted."
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I beg to move, at the end of the proposed Amendment, to add the words "in relation thereto."
I wish to make it perfectly clear to what the reports are to refer. It is common knowledge that medical practitioners employed by the local education authorities to-day are making reports from time to time on the condition of children in the ordinary elementary day-schools, and it would be unfair to take one of those reports as the basis upon which the Board of Education should decide whether or not there were a sufficient number of these children in a particular area to compel the local education authority to set up a special school.
I do not think that the addition of the words suggested by the hon. Member would add to the clearness of the paragraph. The words "in relation thereto" would really obscure the meaning, because they might refer to the 224 "duty" or the "school" or the "children." Moreover, the point is already covered by the words "as aforesaid." I think the meaning is quite clear; therefore I hope the words will not be inserted.
§ Amendment to the proposed Amendment negatived.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ Lord A. THYNNE
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), paragraph (ii.), to leave out the word "thirty" ["thirty such children"], and to insert thereof the word "sixty."
As I explained in Grand Committee I do not think there is any reason why thirty should not be the number. Perhaps a larger number would make a better school. At the same time I do think that in the event of there being thirty neglected children in any district for whom no accommodation is being provided, it ought to be pointed out to the local authority by the Board of Education, that it is necessary to make some provision. The tendency will be to make arrangements satisfactory from the point of view of economy, and the effect of any pressure of the Board of Education will possibly be that arrangements will be by one local authority for other areas coming into the area where there are actually thirty children. Perhaps we might split the difference between the thirty and the sixty, and make it forty-five. I think we ought to have power to put pressure upon the authority, and to draw their attention to the neglect of a number rather under sixty.
It will be the county council in the counties, and in county and other boroughs—the borough councils. The number of authorities in the country who will have power in connection with this Bill is, I think, 321.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
The right hon. Gentleman has not replied to my queries. He has not told us how many authorities will be exempted up to forty or up to forty- 225 five? Before it is decided whether the exemptions should be forty-five or thirty we ought to have some indication of how many county councils or the borough councils that exemption really applies to. Whether the number is thirty or forty-five does not, it seems to me, much matter, because few will get complete exemption. There is one other question I should like an answer to: that is whether the Government have to provide accommodation for the people in the exempted districts, or whether they are going to have accommodation altogether?
I am afraid I do not quite follow what the hon. Gentleman desires to know, but I will try to make the position quite clear, and will try to answer what I think is in his mind. There is an obligation placed upon all local education authorities to make provision for their mentally defective children. If they do not do it in one way they can do it in another. There are methods by which education authorities can make provision for the children in rural areas through the existing ordinary elementary schools. It is quite possible for the teacher in the elementary schools so to arrange as to be able to teach the mentally defective child in the way that a mentally defective child ought to be taught. The local education authority may be able to make provision for a class in some of these ordinary elementary schools for the mentally defective children. In those cases where provision is made there will be no necessity for the authority to erect for themselves residential establishments. But if we find in any district thirty neglected children for whom no provision is being made, we think we ought to have the power of pressing upon the authority the desirability of establishing a residential school. In most cases where the number is under forty-five arrangements will be made for the training of those children by the local education authorities with other education authorities. In those cases where there are a very large number of cases—it would have to be a residential establishment. It is possible, too, that one authority might arrange with another for the conveyance of the children day by day, so that a residential school in the district might not then be required. If there are thirty neglected children in any one district—or forty-five, as I have suggested—then we think we ought to have the power to put pressure upon the education authority to do what is necessary.
§ Lord A. THYNNE
This Amendment, which we consider a very important Amendment, was moved formally in order to meet the convenience of His Majesty's Government, and the right hon. Gentleman has taken advantage of its formal moving to make an attack upon the local authorities. I do think the right hon. Gentleman has not treated us fairly in this matter. When negotiations took place about a fortnight ago with regard to this question, the right hon. Gentleman and the Board of Education recognised the strength of the case of those who wanted this number. I think the right hon. Gentleman will bear me out that the number forty-five was mentioned as the complement, and I understood that was going to be accepted. I should like to know from the right hon. Gentleman whether he goes back on that number forty-five, and whether he still maintains the number at thirty or whether he is prepared to meet us in any degree at all?
§ Amendment made: Leave out the word "thirty," and insert instead thereof the word "forty-five."
§ Mr. BATHURST
I beg to move, in Sub-Section (1), paragraph (ii.), to leave out the words "belonging to" ["belonging to the area"] and insert instead thereof the words "then domiciled in."
The words "belonging to" are of a very vague character, and it will be extremely difficult for the local education authority to decide what children come under that definition, and from where they will constitute the number forty-five for whom the special school shall be established. A certain number of these mentally deficient children, especially where the number is large, will be found under guardianship or custody, and away from home altogether, possibly outside the area of the particular local education authority. I imagine, from what the right hon. Gentleman has already said, that he means this condition to apply to children actually within that area, by which expression, I fancy, he means living in the area. If that is so, I will ask him to more clearly define to what children it applies, so as not possibly to force upon the local education authority the expense of setting up a school of this sort when, in fact, there are not as many as forty-five children mentally defective actually to be found living in that area.
§ Sir PHILIP MAGNUS
I beg to second the Amendment. I think the words suggested will make the meaning of the Clause clearer than it is at present.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir S. Buckmaster)
I feel quite sure that if the proposed Amendment had the effect which is suggested it would readily enough be accepted; but, in point of fact, I think a little consideration will show that the only result of this Amendment will be greatly to confuse the question of residence under this Act, and to introduce terms which, I think, in a few sentences I can show will be wholly inapplicable to the procedure which this Act involves. In the first place, I think it is important to point out that the alteration is in a line of a paragraph which fits in with a definition in Clause 5, Sub-Section (1), which says:—For the purposes of the principal Act and this Act, a child shall be deemed to belong to the area in which the residence or permanent home of the child is for the time being situate.This follows the language of Section 10 of the principal Act. If you now alter this language and substitute the word "domicile," you will be substituting a phrase which has a very well-known and definitely legal meaning, quite inapplicable to residence as between county and county, or parish and parish, within the area that this Bill affects. "Domicile" in the law clearly relates, and relates only, to the domicile of a man as between countries—for example, between England, Scotland, or Ireland, or any one of these places, and any place abroad. It has no meaning at all as between parish and parish. If you introduce the word "domicile" here, you will introduce a phrase which could not be interpreted according to the present legal meaning of the word and in the connection which it finds itself. That is the reason why I think it is impossible to accept the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Further Amendment made: At the end of Sub-section (2), add the words:
§ "(3) In case of doubt as to whether a child is or is not mentally defective within the meaning of the principal Act, the matter shall be determined by the Board of Education."—[Mr. Pease.]