HL Deb 16 July 1883 vol 281 cc1473-96

I entreat your Lordships' kindest indulgence to the remarks which I am about to make, because I am most painfully sensible of my inability to address you as you have a right to expect to be addressed. I can only assure you in all sincerity that I never intrude upon you without the greatest reluctance from a sense of duty alone, when I believe that the views and arguments which commend themselves to my judgment will not be presented to you by any other of your Lordships. I must begin by explaining why I have changed the form of the Notice which I had originally given. The fact is, my own strong and long-cherished opinions had been so much strengthened and revived by my renewed study of the question with a view to address you to-day, that I became anxious to put them formally on record. Hence my present Resolution—somewhat tardily, I allow—placed on the Notice Paper, and drawn up without concert with any of your Lordships, to embody, at least, my own protest against the proposal of the Irish Government. As to that, I feel bound to say—though I confess I was at first inclined to suspect otherwise—fuller inquiry and investigation have satisfied me that it is the result of their honest conviction, which I share with them, of the existence of a very real lack of properly trained or even competent teachers in Ireland; and further—but here I differ with them both as to their plan and, if that were good, as to the extravagance of the terms offered—that this was the best way of supplying that unquestionably real want. The Chief Secretary for Ireland writes last March to the Commissioners of National Education— In His Excellency's view the importance of instruction in the art of teaching cannot be over-rated. It is not sufficient that teachers should possess certain scholastic attainments. They should be trained in the best methods of imparting instruction and of school organization, so that on the one hand there may be no waste of teaching power, and on the other the children may be most readily and effectively taught the rudiments of an elementary course of instruction. This can only be accomplished by a careful system of training, and His Excellency, therefore, entirely approves of the proposal to extend the opportunities of training in Normal Colleges to young persons about to become teachers. With this view the Government are now prepared to encourage and facilitate the establishment of Training Colleges under local management in Ireland by authorizing the Commissioners to make grants towards their maintenance; and as the English scheme of Training Colleges is the outcome of a vast official experience, the Government are of opinion that it might with advantage he adopted, pure and simple, by the Commissioners of National Education. As the expenditure upon the support of the proposed Training Colleges may in the course of some years become a charge of great magnitude, the Heads of Her Majesty's Government have impressed upon His Excellency the importance of insisting upon a strong and effective administration of the inspection and control of these institutions. This system consists in taking a number of young persons of either sex, as the ease may be, and educating them apart at the expense of the State, chiefly in the same branches of learning that are commonly given in places of general secondary education: superadding only a certain amount of special instruction in the art of teaching, with regular opportunities for observing the exercise of that art by experts; and, further, a certain amount of actual practice in it under skilled superintendence in schools conveniently provided for the purpose, and hence called practising schools. I am quite aware that this system, during its short existence of some 20 to 30 years, has attracted more and more of official confidence and approbation: but I believe those of the non-official and non-clerical public, who have bestowed any thought upon the matter, are becoming more and more doubtful of its soundness in principle, and of the value of some, at least, of its results in practice.

It was natural that the first Training College should have been established as a separate institution. The fact was only recognized in England at all since my own school days—and nowhere very much earlier—that teaching really was an art capable of being studied and learnt; and, in the words of Mr. Trevelyan's letter, that— It is not sufficient that teachers should possess certain scholastic attainments. They should he trained in the best methods of imparting instruction and of school organization, so that on the one hand there may be no waste of teaching power, and on the other the children may he most readily and effectively taught the rudiments of an elementary course of instruction. If instruction in the art of teaching had not been, in the first instance, given separately in special Training Colleges, it would have been difficult to show the distinct results of that training, and, by that crucial test, to convince the public of its great advantages. The whole idea was new to the civilized world. It is not surprising, therefore, that many highly educated Englishmen, including some actually eminent teachers, should be even now sceptical about the value of the system. For myself, however, I may say that, after some reading on the subject, and personal visits to the earliest Training School in England, I early become a convert to the utility of such special preparation for the profession of teaching; and was, indeed, an early contributor towards that school—I mean, of course, the one at Battersea, which my Friends Sir James Shuttle worth and Mr. E. Tufnell, the pioneers of the system in England, with such enlightened and patriotic generosity, established there at their own risk. Its value soon became known from its results; and by degrees, as the want of competent teachers came to be more recognized in England, more Training Colleges were established by the different Christian Churches and the larger educational societies of the country. But with these Colleges the State had for some time nothing to do. The students either defrayed the largo part of the cost of their board and training not provided by subscription, or had it defrayed for them individually by friends who took a personal interest in them. By-and-bye the State came forward and gave more and more aid, both towards building such Colleges and in the shape of Queen's Scholarships to students, till far the greater part of the cost of the students' maintenance and instruction came to be paid by the Treasury, with, I must add, the usual consequence of State manufacture, excessive direct cost of the article produced, and heavy indirect expense for inspection, verification, and examination. Concurrently with these successive changes in the system, the character of the students also gradually changed. The late Principal of the Exeter Diocesan Training College—which I had with some difficulty persuaded some Devonshire Liberals to join me in supporting in its infancy under Bishop Phillpotts—told me, as I stated to the Schools Inquiry Committee, that the proportion of independent and State-supported students there had just about been reversed in his time. He spoke highly of both lots, but said they were marked by different characteristics; and he thought that the independent ones, though, perhaps, rather less intellectual, were, on the whole, rather the more satisfactory. Since that, what had been a very large majority has become the rule almost without exception, and the Government grants have become more than large enough, in my opinion, to defray all reasonable working expenses. When this had been so a certain time, I felt it my duty, along with a certain number of others, to discontinue my subscription to that College.

One early and unhappy result of the payment by the State of the bulk of the expenses of students at Training Colleges was to lower the profession of an elementary schoolmaster in the eyes of the middle class, so that they have long declined adopting it for their sons; though it is—thanks to the Treasury—far less costly to prepare for, and, on the average, better remunerated at starting, than many other employments under Government or in private business, which they eagerly seek for their sons after preparing for them at their own expense and often paying a premium besides. Of this I have personally seen some striking instances. There were, according to the Education Report of 1881, indications of the profession being to a certain degree glutted at last by the increased annual supply of teachers from these Training Colleges so unwisely multiplied, and their standard for the time so unduly relaxed, to meet the obviously temporary demand caused by the Elementary Education Act of 1870, and other spasmodic attempts since, in the shape of Statutes and Codes, to remedy at once, per saltum, the lamentable neglect of more than two centuries. I find, in the last Report on that of 1882, anxious mention of the number of places found for them with the average amount of salary, indicating the continued operation in England of that law of supply and demand so scornfully ignored by the Government both in their grand and petty legislation. I am speaking especially of the male teachers; for the female teachers were from the first being constantly withdrawn by marriage; and though I have the facts about both sexes with me, I shall continue to speak of male teachers only to save time. The annual outcome of male teachers from those Colleges to be provided annually with situations amounts to between 600 and 700, and more than 100 besides from Scotland, even after the contemplated reductions in number there. I cannot help suspecting that some of the recent requirements of additional teaching power in schools, which have been so heavily felt by voluntary school managers, not having, like the school boards, the unlimited purse of the ratepayers to draw upon, have been partly occasioned by the desire to find places for this large annual outcome of teachers, as well as to improve the teaching in the schools, if not also to give a quiet lift to board schools against voluntary schools. There are well-founded complaints enough of the slowness of promotion in the Army and Navy: but the officers of those two Professions, besides the danger of occasional war—and it is seldom that we have not a little fighting to do somewhere in our extended Empire—have always the perils of the sea and of tropical climates to encounter, with proportionate risks, causing corresponding vacancies.

But the congestion in the safe and uneventful teaching profession, especially among the males, will soon be much greater. That able and widely-circulating paper, The Standard, in a remarkable article on the whole system of pupil teachers and Training Colleges, says— The number of adult teachers is already far beyond the wants of the community. After describing, as a consequence of the system, the rejection, by competitive examination, of two pupil teachers for every one who succeeds in winning a place in a Training College, the writer goes on to ask— What is to become of the thousands of young people who work as teachers till they are 19, and are then compelled to drop out of the profession? Adding, further on— The consequences are very serious. He then proceeds to describe the pupil teacher under the English and Scotch Government system— If he has the assistance of a painstaking master he usually develops into a thoroughly useful teaching machine by the time he attains the age of 18. But he is nothing more than a machine. He also says— If we consider the course of training which a pupil teacher undergoes, it is plain that the whole plan tends to produce a kind of narrow specialist, who is useless when taken off his own ground. I must not stop to trouble your Lordships with passages on the same subject in The Farmer, or Chamber of Agriculture Journal. But from the pupil teacher I must revert to the student after quitting his Training College, and say that very shortly, if not now, this training, so costly to the State, and so useless to the recipients of it for any other profession, will only lead to their further swelling the already over-crowded list of candidates for clerkships, which it has been long the tendency of successive Governments, by their educational policy, to augment. For it should be remembered that almost every student in the Training Colleges has for years been drawn from the wage class; that the sympathies of this powerful, well-organized, and increasing body are, therefore, wholly with the employed against the employer; and, moreover, that their idea of the dignity of labour is too often confined to labouring with a pen in the hand or behind the ear. The influence of these separate Training Colleges upon their students, and of these students, when become teachers, upon their pupils, especially in what Bishop Temple, strongly deprecating them, calls, not "advanced," but "non-elementary" elementary schools, tends uniformly to divert more and more hands from the work of production, whether in agriculture, manufactures, or mining, into the work of clerks and shopmen, and such like; or, in the language of political economy, into the work of verification or distribution—multiplying these just when, in consequence, there are fewer transactions to verify and less produce to distribute. Of course, being exclusive and separate establishments set apart for one profession alone, every class feeling and professional prejudice must inevitably become intensified in them, from the nature of things, and not from the fault of their inmates, as is so forcibly remarked by the Schools Inquiry Commissioners— Every Training School has, in some degree, the fault that attends all strictly professional places of instruction. It tends to narrow the mind a little, to give too distinctly professional a cast to the character. It is complained that the trained masters in this country often show that they would have been better, had they been educated in company with those who were preparing for other employments. I can understand and respect the sentiment which leads the Roman Church to insist on educating her future priests after a certain age in separate seminaries kept exclusively for them without the admixture of any lay students, though I cannot sympathize with it, for I have always agreed with the many clergymen who declare it to be a great advantage both to themselves and the Church of England, that all her clergy are educated along with their lay comrades at school and College. But what I have never been able to comprehend is, why young persons being trained to be teachers should be brought up on a totally opposite system, in what I have heard called Protestant Maynooths. The want of more friendships and wider acquaintance with their contemporaries of other callings, and a certain "priggishness" observable in too many of them, which may be distinctly traced to this cause, can alone, in my opinion, account for the notorious lack of general popularity of that, with very rare exceptions, highly estimable and well-conducted body of men, the elementary schoolmasters of England. The very able and instructive Report of the Schools Inquiry Commission (understood to have been drawn up by Bishop Temple, no mean educational authority) deals with this as well as with most other educational questions. And here I must be allowed to read to your Lordships the names appended to that Report, presented in December, 1867, which was the result of an exhaustive inquiry at home and abroad, carried on not only by themselves, but by a number of highly qualified Assistant Commissioners during several years—Taunton, Lyttelton, W. E. Hook (afterwards Dean), E. Temple (now Bishop of Exeter), Anthony Thorold (now Bishop of Rochester), T. D. Acland, E. Baines, (of Leeds), W. E. Forster (since Chief Secretary), P. Erle, and John Storrar. The present Lord Derby and Sir Stafford Northcote, who became Cabinet Ministers while Members of the Commission, stated that they did not sign, partly because they had latterly been unable to attend the meetings or study the evidence, and partly because they thought it better not to do so as Members of the Executive Government.

The Commissioners give their reasons for declining to recommend the establishment of any Training College for masters of endowed schools, though they say of England— It is to the Training Schools that the great improvements in elementary teachers is really due; and they say of France— The Normal School at Paris supplies the French schools with teachers not to be surpassed in the world. But they go on further to say— The Prussians have no such Training Schools, and yet their teachers are admirably qualified, and in many respects better fitted to succeed in English schools than the French would be. The French teachers are teachers and nothing else. They are not educators; they do not undertake to form the character: they do not undertake to govern as well instruct. And the Report continues in a remarkable passage, which your Lordships must permit me to trouble you with— But the main objection to the establishment of a Training School for masters for the endowed schools by the State is that it would almost inevitably give the Government an undue control over all the superior education of the country. I shall point out how this has already began to make itself felt in England. I had long before that repeatedly protested that this work of training teachers might be much better and very much cheaper done in connection with general secondary education; and, indeed, years ago suggested using these Training Colleges as excellent nuclei for new institutions on a large scale to supply the admitted deficiency in secondary education—the students carrying on together the studies which they had all in common to pursue, and those who had different specialties to follow pursuing these separately under separate instructors, as is the case at our Universities, and, in a lesser degree, at our public schools with Modern Sides. They would thus grow up together, and form, as the class above them do at school and College, life-long friendships and acquaintances before diverging into different professions and occupations; and would unconsciously learn besides each to regard his own and other callings with a broader and less prejudiced view.

In England, however, there would have been, in any case, great difficulties to contend with in the adoption of any such scheme; inasmuch as the work of secondary education, though very deficient both as regards quality and amount when the Training Colleges were being established, had been carried on for centuries; and, therefore, its general character had been determined. And then in England the formidable religious difficulty was wholly absent. I have repeatedly, during the last 40 years, stood with dignitaries of the Church of England and eminent Nonconformist ministers on the platform of the Training School of the British and Foreign Society, which has so long supplied that Society's schools, many Dissenting schools, many Board schools, and some Church of England schools with teachers; and which began long ago to number several of our Prelates among its patrons, besides earnest lay Churchmen.

In Ireland the case is very different. The National Education system established by the late Lord Derby continued truly undenominational, while those two genuinely-liberal Prelates—Archbishop Whately and Archbishop Murray—sat together at the Irish Board of Education. But it has long, I fear, practically ceased to be so, and throughout the greater part of Ireland has become virtually Roman Catholic. Those who call to mind how signally Mr. Pitt's intention in founding Maynooth to supply Ireland with a loyal priesthood, educated at home instead of abroad, failed of accomplishment, and how the directly opposite effect was produced, may well hesitate about approving the present scheme. That no Maynooth-trained priests were imprisoned during the recent suspension of habeas corpus in Ireland was, I believe, much more owing to the timidity—to use no harsher word—of the Irish Government, than to any lack of disloyalty and encouragement to lawlessness in the speeches of several reverend agitators. We may, I maintain, without bigotry or intolerance, think it a grave objection to these contemplated Training Colleges that they will surely all be denominational in a country, where difference of race has engendered internal discord terribly intensified by difference of religion, and that most of them will be as surely Roman Catholic; because they will be Roman Catholic, not in the sense that lay Universities were in Roman Catholic countries before any other religion was tolerated, but will be, in fact, absolutely and exclusively under the management and control of the priests—in short, semi-clerical schools, or—if I may venture to coin the word-practically "semi-seminaries." As a consistent Liberal, I more than once risked my seat for Plymouth by my votes for the grant to Maynooth, and especially by my vote for Sir Robert Peel's permanent endowment of Maynooth, which so unaccountably led Mr. Gladstone to retire from a Government, with whose Conservative and Protectionist policy he then professed cordially to agree. But, Liberal as I am and always have been, I confess I do not like encouraging by large subsidies the establishment of exclusive places of education under such exclusive priestly influence. I have always been for religious as well as civil and commercial freedom; and I am opposed to priestly domination, Roman Catholic, Anglican, or, I may add, Presbyterian, for Milton long ago wrote— New Presbyter is but old Priest writ large. The Protestants of Ireland seem to be getting alarmed. No wonder. I find the United Presbyterian Synod has unanimously resolved to petition against the scheme. I hold in my hand the able speech of the Rev. Dr. Bryce, ex-Principal of the Belfast Presbyterian Academy, and Senior Minister of the United Presbyterian Congregation—a veteran Liberal—from which I would, with your permission, read two or three sentences— In early manhood I warmly advocated Catholic Emancipation, though in those days that was deemed little short of high treason; but it seems as if we may soon have to agitate for Protestant Emancipation, at least in Ireland, since Conservative and Liberal Governments seem to vie with one another in disregarding the great Liberal principle of religious equality, by granting exclusive privileges to the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland…… I come … to the latest step that has been taken towards the establishment of a Catholic ascendancy in place of that Protestant ascendancy which the chivalrous generosity of the Whigs in the first half of the 19th century, with so much difficulty and at so great sacrifices, at last overthrew … Now, all the discord and crime that have brought so much misery and shame on Ireland, have arisen from the too great success of the execrable policy of England, relentlessly pursued through 20 gene rations, in artificially and violently preventing the amalgamation of the races.…. Yet this is the policy which a 'Liberal' Government have agreed to accept at the dictation of a small knot of ecclesiastics.…. The Roman Catholic laity do not want it, I know well; and I have reason to believe that many of the priests are of the same mind. In Ireland, I quite agree with the Government in thinking that some aid from public money is required—though very much less than they propose—towards getting teachers trained, as well as for getting secondary education supplied, in away acceptable to the people; and the more because Ireland has been much impoverished under their rule. On the other hand, in Ireland, where the scheme involves such religious difficulty, the supply of intermediate or secondary education had been utterly inadequate—indeed, till the late Government's Act, hardly more than nominal. Though that Act, however, is apparently working extremely well, nearly double the number of students having been examined under it in 1881 that had been in 1879—indeed, the Commissioners say the numbers are increasing so fast that they will have to reduce the result fees unless their grant is increased—yet that Act has only very recently come into operation. There could, therefore, hardly be any insuperable difficulty in modifying it, so as to allow of the many additional teachers wanted in Ireland being trained in connection with other students preparing for other callings, instead of being all trained separately within the walls of the sort of Protestant and Roman Catholic lay seminaries proposed. Why should not the teachers required for the Irish elementary schools be dealt with as the able and experienced Schools Inquiry Commissioners deliberately recommended teachers should be for the endowed schools? After giving their reasons against establishing a Training College, they say— But many of the advantages which a Training School would give might, perhaps, be obtained with none of these disadvantages, and at much less cost, by a well-devised system of certificates. The Schools Inquiry Commissioners say such a system would be much less costly. The Chief Secretary's letter says— The expenditure upon the support of the proposed Training Colleges may in the course of some years become a charge of great magnitude. Judging from the experience of Training Colleges in England it will, indeed, be so, especially if carried out in Ireland on the extravagant terms proposed. And this brings me to the financial objections to the English system, and à fortiori to its proposed extension on the same expensive scale to the cheaper country of Ireland, with its corresponding lower salaries to the generality of teachers. I have many figures with me; but after troubling your Lordships at such length already, I will mention only very few of them.

I see by the last Report of the Education Department in England that the average cost of each of the 1,380 male students in a Training College has risen from a little over £56, which it was three years before, to £59 8s. 7d., nearly £1 more than in 1881, while in the highest it was over £70. The payments of the students vary in the different Colleges, but rarely exceed £10 each for the two years, as is shown by the aggregate of fees received from the 3,121 male and female students in 1882, which was a little under £17,000, or little more than £5 a-piece. This, with their payments for books of under £4,500, makes their contribution little more than £21,000 towards the total expense of these Colleges of over £154,000, of which the Education and Science and Art Departments together pay nearly £113,000. I see that the board and establishment charges together, apart from tuition, which averages near £21, average almost £39, of which nearly £29 is for board proper; while in the accounts of the Devon and Norfolk County Schools and Cavendish College, with which I am acquainted, these two are united, and the tuition is taken separately, amounting to about half what it is in the Training Colleges, or about £10 10s. The Inspector has a long paragraph in his Report about the dietaries in these Training Colleges, suggesting their being more varied with fish, fruit, and jam, and complaining that some are not appetizing enough for young men engaged in brain-work. On an average of years the board at the Devon County School has been under £20, and in the Norfolk County School under £21. The average payments by parents at the Devon County School have been under £37, including Latin and other extras; the inclusive cost per boy at the Norfolk County School is 40 guineas. The average dividend at the Devon County School for the last 15 years has been over 2 per cent, which represents some interest on the cost of building; and during its shorter existence that of the Norfolk County School has been much the same; which interest on buildings does not appear as part of the annual cost of the students in Training Colleges. For a long while all the students at the Training Colleges, except a very small fraction, have been drawn from the wage class. Why should their requirements for board and lodging so much exceed those of so many middle-class schools, which are doing good brain work too? Why they get so much more may be partly explained by what happened at the Exeter Training College. I was complaining at the Diocesan Conference of the great and increasing" cost of the students, then averaging I forget how many pounds a head above £50, and was comparing it with the terms of the Devon and Norfolk County Schools, when the Chairman of the College Committee explained that the Inspector had ordered the young men beer. And this in the Diocese of Exeter, where our hard-working Bishop, a noted pedestrian as well as scholar, has long been a total abstainer, and more and more of the clergy and laity are yearly becoming so! I have heard that many of the old and recent Middle Class Schools, with moderate charges, are doing good work. I find that at the last Cambridge Local Examination, when more than 600 seniors, and 3,800 juniors, or over, in all, 4,400 were examined, four county schools, or schools akin to them in character, were among the eight, and seven county schools among the fourteen, which passed the greatest number, and this with quite their fair proportion of honours. Therefore, here, at least, there is no deficiency of brain work—but brain work elicited, directed, and maintained at far less cost, than it is at the State-supported Training Colleges.

And now, my Lords, with most grateful thanks for your kind indulgence, on which I have trespassed so long, I will only say, in conclusion, that I have tried to show, and I venture to hope have shown, that the English Training College system is not to be recommended either for permanence in England or for extension to Ireland, where it will have the additional disadvantage of raising a religious difficulty; that, according to the opinion of the Schools Inquiry Commissioners, it is by no means either the only, or the best, system for us to adopt; and that there is an alternative system, which is quite practicable and much less costly—viz., one that would depend partly on local and commercial interests—these being encouraged, not cramped, by a wise combination with endowments and Government aid. I object, on principle, to the interference of the State with the practical machinery, by which a free and intelligent community provides for its own wants as it feels their pressure. The sense of want in education is comparatively recent, and perhaps, for a time, it needed stimulus and anticipation. But now that want is indisputably generally felt, there is great reason to think that the State will best promote the final object, a well-educated people, by gradually withdrawing its own official interference, and trusting mainly to guidance and encouragement.

Moved to resolveThat it is inexpedient to extend to Ireland on an equally expensive scale the costly English system of State-supported training colleges for the teachers of elementary schools."—(The Earl Fortescue.)


said, he should not attempt to follow the discursive speech of the noble Earl (Earl Fortescue), which was partly educational, partly autobiographical, partly historical, and partly financial; but had very little to do with the Motion before their Lordships. He found it impossible to ascertain, from the statement of the noble Earl, whether he was opposed to all Training Colleges; and whether he would extinguish all such Colleges in England at this moment?


Not suddenly.


The noble Earl, then, at some time or other, would be in favour of abolishing these Colleges, which had the approval of all who were most experienced in the conduct of education, and were largely a reproduction of institutions which existed throughout Europe. He thought their Lordships would hesitate before concurring with the view of the noble Earl, that these Training Colleges should either suddenly or slowly be abolished, to the exceeding detriment of real education. He was much surprised that the noble Earl should have taken the course he had adopted. That was neither the time nor the place in which anyone could have expected that the enormous importance of Training Colleges should have been doubted; for all those who had earned the gratitude and respect of their fellow-men as great instructors had always spoken of such Colleges as institutions of the last necessity to the advancement of the country. Let extravagant, or inefficient, or badly-situated Colleges, if there were any, be reformed, or abolished; but to lay down, as a general proposition, that Training Colleges were not desirable or necessary for the purposes of the education of a civilized people seemed to him (Lord O'Hagan) to be absurd. Teaching was an art—a delicate and difficult art—which, like other arts, had to be learnt, and required to be studied and taught with the greatest possible care, and under the most favourable conditions. The organization and teaching of a school, the utilization of the means of instruction, the comparative merits of various systems with a view to the substitution for obsolete methods of others newer and better—all this must be necessarily taught in an institution devoted to the purpose; and, if that were not done, it appeared to him they must have imperfect teaching, and not such as a country like this ought for a moment to tolerate, or to grudge the expense of procuring. When those who were not taught themselves were permitted to teach, it was the case of the blind leading the blind. It was impossible that the education of the people could be properly conducted unless teachers were properly trained. So far as Ireland was concerned, it seemed to him that that absolute necessity was unsupplied. In that regard, its position was extremely unsatisfactory, and circumstances to which he need not further allude had produced the most lamentable results. In Ireland, there were 7,365 untrained, and only 3,809 trained, teachers, and it was hardly possible to conceive anything more eloquent than those figures were in demonstrating that change was absolutely necessary. There was in Ireland only one Training Establishment subsidized by the State, and there were three Training Establishments unassisted by the State. One of these was Protestant, and two were Catholic. In 1881, the number of teachers trained in the subsidized school was 161, and of these only 59 were Roman Catholics. The inequality was due to the opposition of the Roman Catholic Church; but it was an opposition on grounds that had been over and over again countenanced by the Imperial Government. The main fact of the situation in Ireland was that of the Catholic teachers 27 per cent only were trained, and of the Protestant teachers 52 per cent were trained; while 66 per cent of the total number of the teachers were altogether untrained. In England, the State afforded a subsidy of £110,500, to support 42 Colleges with 3,150 students, and even with that machinery, there was not a sufficiently large number of properly instructed teachers. The noble Earl had complained that the amount of the subsidy was excessive; but he (Lord O'Hagan) did not think the House would be of that opinion. In Scotland, £27,000 was paid for seven Colleges, with 851 students; while, in Ireland, the whole sum given to the one subsidized College with 220 students was £7,755. That was the state of the case after 20 years' work. The matter had been again and again pressed upon the attention of Parliament, and the result was, as he had said, that now there were in England 42 Colleges with 3,150 students, in Scotland 7 Colleges and 851 students, and in Ireland one College and 220 students. Again, he asked, was it necessary to do more than state these eloquent figures? Was it desirable or proper that the country which, for many reasons, required assistance for its education more than the richer Island, should be in this position—that her children should be taught by untrained teachers at home; whilst, if they came to this country, they obtained the benefit of being instructed by trained teachers? It was a shame that, in this United Empire, there should be such a monstrous inequality between one portion and another. Nothing had been done to rectify the manifest and flagrant wrong. And, moreover, the evil which he had thus conclusively proved to exist was increasing from year to year. In 1866, there were 4,369 untrained Irish teachers; in 1874, the number was 6,284; and, at present, it was 7,067. The Commissioners had always been at one in this matter. They had, in 1866, made to the Government a proposal substantially the same as that which was now submitted; but nothing was done till the year 1868, when a Commission was appointed which drew up a Memorial to the then Chief Secretary, pointing out the inadequacy of Training Colleges in Ireland, and the necessity of taking a course like that which was now to be adopted. In 1870 another Commission was appointed, which also reported in favour of Training Colleges. Sir Michael Hicks-Beach declared that it would be a source of deep gratification, if a reasonable scheme could be devised to remedy a state of things which was a serious obstacle to the maintenance of a fit standard of education in Ireland; and he did his best to bring about that which it was now hoped would be accomplished. Under the succeeding Ministry, the heads of the Irish Government were now agreed that the importance of the subject could not be overlooked, and they announced that they were prepared to encourage the establishment of Training Colleges under local management, by authorizing the Commissioners to make grants for their maintenance; and, as the English system was the outcome of large financial experience, they declared their opinion that it might be adopted with advantage. With regard to the question of expense, it was impossible, for anyone who knew the value of popular instruction, to say that a certain provision was suitable for England, and that a proportional amount was too much for Ireland. Indeed, it might be fairly urged that Ireland was entitled to more, so as to make up for the time that had been lost. The expenditure would be guarded in the most careful way, because a part of the scheme, acting on the precedent of the English system, arranged that, before a grant could be obtained, there must be a local payment of one-fourth of the outlay to be incurred. Let them remember how poor the people of Ireland were, and how difficult it was to get local contributions for ordinary schools which, being local, were more interesting to the people than any Normal College could be; and let them ask themselves whether it was possible to imagine the danger of extravagance in such a case? If the majority of the schools were Roman Catholic, that was only because of the larger number of Roman Catholic people. He would not say more, except to express an earnest hope that the proposition to continue and extend the establishment of Training Colleges under local management would be cordially accepted, and that their Lordships would not interpose any objection to the carrying out of a scheme which was so urgently demanded, and so essential to the highest interests of the community.


said, the question was, whether it would be wise to allow denominational Training Colleges, which had acted so well in England, to be extended to Ireland?—because the Roman Catholic doctrine was that, in all establishments for boarders where the principal stood in loco parentis, all religious instruction should be under the control of the Church. That the majority of teachers should be of the same religion as the majority of the children was reasonable, from both a Roman Catholic and an Anglican point of view. There was no reason why the development of Training Colleges which had taken place in England, being guarded by the Conscience Clause, should not, with the necessary modifications, also take place in Ireland. He was glad that this scheme was favourably considered by the Government, for he believed, among other things, it would do good to all classes in Ireland, and give the people of that country more inducement to take an interest in education; but there was one recommendation he would make, and that was that these Training Colleges should be examined by the Inspectors of the English Training Colleges. He believed that that could be done without interfering with the management and discipline of the schools, which might be vested in the Irish National Board. If that could be done, and Inspectors could be appointed, on the same footing as in England, the public, both in England and Ireland, would have a sufficient assurance that the Irish Training Schools would be kept up to the standard of English Training Schools, and that some endeavour would be made to get the Irish teachers as efficient as the English, which would pave the way for a stricter examination in the National Schools, thus bringing them more nearly up to the same standard. Subject to that improvement, he thought the scheme which had been propounded by the Commissioners of Education was one very likely to benefit the teachers of Ireland.


said, the question of education, as regarded Ireland, was one of great importance; indeed, he did not know a more important one, and the action taken in the future with regard to it would have great influence on the people. What they bad to consider was this—they had undenominational education and denominational education in Ireland; and what the noble Earl (the Earl of Powis) really asked them to do was, to change from the undenominational to the denominational system. The National system in Ireland was established by the late Lord Derby, on the principle of united secular and separate religious education. That had been a system which bad worked admirably in Ireland, and had kept some degree of union between the different religions, and had prevented that total separation which must have resulted from the adoption of another system. But he asked the noble Lord the Lord President of the Council to answer him this—whether these Training Colleges would not be under the management and control of clergymen? The words were—" The manager shall be a clergyman, or other person of position in society." That meant that the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland were to have the training in their own hands; and the result of that system would be, as the noble and learned Lord (Lord O'Hagan) knew very well, that these Training Establishments would nearly all be in the hands of the Monastic and Conventual Institutions of the country, so that out of the funds provided by the taxpayers of Great Britain they would be establishing institutions on these principles through the length and breadth of Ireland. A great wrong would be inflicted by the denominational system on the minorities in country districts, whore these must receive denominational education, or none at all. He hoped no change would be made, for he contended that Parliament ought to hesitate long before it threw over the system of mixed education, which had succeeded so admirably in Ireland. This system had long been upheld by the Liberal Party, and he well remembered an able speech made, some years back, in support of it by the noble and learned Lord (Lord O'Hagan), who now threw it over. If they did throw it over, the deplorable effect would be to encourage religious antipathy in a country where that feeling was already too strong.


said, the questions of the noble Lord (Lord Oranmore and Browne) appeared to him to be rather in the nature of positive assertions than anything else. One of them, upon which he had said a good deal, related to the primary education given in the ordinary National Schools, and not to the special Training Colleges, which was the subject with which their Lordships were dealing. No doubt, there were very many small minorities or handfuls of Protestant children scattered over a great portion of Ireland, and attending National Schools, in which the education given was practically Roman Catholic, and naturally so, the country being Catholic. Those minorities were fully protected, however, by the rules of the National Board at that moment, and they would continue to be. He knew of no reason why the noble Lord should think that in future those children would be in greater danger than they were at the present moment. The noble Lord evidently thought that, in one respect, a great revolution would be produced by this addition to the Irish National system now in force; and, apparently, that those Roman Catholic teachers who might hereafter, for the first time, receive technical training in properly-conducted Colleges would otherwise have received their education in schools of which he himself would approve. Did the noble Lord really suppose that these young Roman Catholic teachers, at that moment, who were preparing themselves as best they could, and without any proper training, for the profession of schoolmaster, were being brought up in institutions of which he seemed to approve? A very small number—indeed, so small that for national purposes it was not worth while to take them into account—were so brought up; but the great bulk of the Roman Catholic teachers, who were carrying on the work of education in Ireland, had been brought up under the auspices of their own Church, and under influences quite as denominational as could obtain under the system now sought to be set up. In almost every case these young men, preparing for the business of a schoolmaster, had been brought up in large schools under Roman Catholic—he might say clerical Roman Catholic—management; and the proposed Training Colleges could, in no degree, be more denominational than those schools in which these young men were being brought up. The only difference would be that, instead of being untrained, they would be trained; instead of being unskilled, they would be skilled; and, instead of being comparatively bad teachers, they would be comparatively good ones. He was very glad to hear his noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Powis) giving his valuable support to the proposal made by the National Board and by the Government—a proposal which was substantially the same that the noble Earl and his Commission recommended some years ago. He (Lord Carlingford) must say, however, that he was not prepared off-hand to accept his noble Friend's suggestion that English Inspectors should be imported into Ireland to look into and report upon the mode in which these Training Colleges were conducted. He could assure his noble Friend and their Lordships that the National Commissioners would take the most rigid care to see that in all matters of building and management, and of secular education, these Colleges came up to their requirements. He need hardly say that the school teaching of the Colleges should be in all respects upon the ordinary terms of the National Schools; and the teachers in training would, in every case, be practised in schools attached to the Colleges, which would be, as nearly as possible, identical with the other schools of the National Board. They would be expected to give full and proper Returns, in the same manner as the National Schools, and would be subjected to the same rigid rules, and to the same time table. He would remind the noble Earl (Earl Fortescue) of the Kildare Street Training School, which was the first Training College ever established in Ireland. The noble Earl would be shocked to hear that, as long ago as 1815, that School was established at the expense of the State, and it would be a candidate for the proposed grant. It was not necessary that he should trouble their Lordships at any length, especially after the speech of the noble and learned Lord behind him (Lord O'Hagan), who had spoken on behalf of the Irish National Board, with whom the Government were at one in this matter. It was proposed to adapt to Ireland the system which had long been established and insisted upon in England. These Colleges were incapable of obtaining aid themselves. The state of things that existed in Ireland seemed almost incredible to an English educationalist; and he must say that he was sorry his noble Friend (Earl Fortescue) had not given these proposals a welcome, instead of meeting them with the Motion he had made. At the same time, he was glad to have the opportunity—he was going to say of expressing to the House how utterly he disagreed with the noble Earl; but he would not say that, because he did not wish to differ with him if he could help it, but of welcoming these proposals, upon a subject in which he happened in former days to have taken a warm interest. He begged to recommend the proposal earnestly to their Lordships as the only means he knew or had ever heard of for meeting this formidable deficiency of training in the Irish National system, which was growing year by year, and was undermining the whole system of education in the country. No one had suggested any other course that could be taken, except the noble Earl who had brought forward the Motion (Earl Fortescue), and who had suggested that teachers should train themselves; but they had no means of training themselves. Of the starvation of the Irish training system there was no doubt; and if that condition of starvation in which Ireland had been kept so long were allowed to continue, the result would be a still greater deficiency of teachers. The noble Earl was alarmed lest they should over-feed the patient who was at present suffering from inanition. He (Lord Carlingford) thought that there was no fear that such over-feeding would take place, or that there would he any extravagance in this matter. The noble Earl seemed to think that the English training system was extravagant. ["Hear, hear!"] He (Lord Carlingford) was not prepared to admit it was extravagant, on the part of a country like England, to spend £110,000 a-year upon the training of school teachers—upon that part of the school system which was absolutely essential to the vitality of the whole, and which it would be the most fallacious economy to starve. But let him remind them that Training Colleges, in this matter of State aid on the one hand, and of voluntary support on the other, were in a totally different position from the ordinary schools of the country. Those schools enlisted and maintained a vast amount of local personal interest and support; but Training Colleges had very little support of that kind. They drew their students from an area so wide that it was impossible for them to command that local and personal interest which was the cause of the subscriptions which flowed in for the support of Elementary Schools. He believed, therefore, that such aid as the State had given in this country was by no means in excess of that which was required to maintain the Colleges in efficiency after they had been established, as they had been, mainly by very great and noble voluntary efforts. He saw no reason whatever why the English scale should not be applied to Ireland. The noble Earl had condemned the whole system of State-aided training. He (Lord Carlingford) said, better give it up in this country first before they refused to extend it to Ireland; but they did not mean to give it up in this country. This country, having long made up its mind to insist upon this training under these conditions for the benefit of its own people, might fairly be expected now—and it was very late in the day—to extend the same system to the Sister Country. He, therefore, heartily recommended this proposal to the favourable reception of the House. He need hardly say that if the late Duke of Marlborough had been alive, and in the House that night, he would unquestionably have lent his support to this proposal. Not long before his death he expressed himself in the strongest manner in favour of the view of the National Board, and expressed great pleasure that that which he himself had desired to accomplish, when he ruled in Ireland, now seemed on the eve of being fulfilled. He (Lord Carlingford) was convinced that not only would the proposal remedy defects which were undermining the Irish system of education at its very foundation, but that it would put an end to a state of things which constituted to the people of Ireland a great and positive injustice.


, in reply, said, he would not trespass upon the patience of the House again for more than one minute. It had been stated by the noble and learned Lord (Lord O'Hagan) that all civilized nations had Training Colleges. Now, Prussia was not only most successful in the arts of war, but also in those of peace. It was a most highly educated nation; Prussian teachers were, the Schools Inquiry Report said, admirably prepared and qualified; and yet Prussia had no Training Schools. He had not pressed the Government to begin immediately discontinuing—he only protested against their thus confirming and extending—a certainly very costly, and utterly artificial, system.

On Question? Resolved in the negative.