§ Amendments reported (according to Order).
§ Clause 2 [Transfer of property and functions to Minister and construction of Acts and documents]:
§ THE MINISTER OF ECONOMIC WARFARE (THE EARL OF SELBORNE)
The Amendment to this clause is merely a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.
Page 2, line 14, at end insert ("except where the context otherwise requires").—(The Earl of Selborne.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 4:
§ Central Advisory Councils.
§ 4.—(1) There shall be two Central Advisory Councils for Education, one for England and the other for Wales and Monmouthshire, and it shall be the duty of those Councils to advise the Minister upon such matters connected with educational theory and practice as they think fit, and upon any questions referred to them by him.
§ (2) The members of each Council shall be appointed by the Minister, and the Minister shall appoint a member of each Council to be Chairman thereof and shall appoint an officer of the Ministry of Education to be secretary thereto.
§ LORD ROCHE moved, in subsection (2), after the first "Minister," to insert "but as to one-third of the members the Minister shall make the appointments after consultation alternately with the President of the Board of Trade and with 761 the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries." The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move this Amendment. I understand from a communication I have received that the noble Earl in charge of the Bill does not find himself in a position to accept it. I therefore will speak very shortly upon it. I think it is so good and so thoroughly sound that it needs very few words to commend it to the House. On the Second Reading of the Bill I thought it right to express my sense of the importance of technical education, and those who spoke for the Minister expressed the same view, as indeed did everybody else. I take it that we are all concerned with what is the best method of securing technical education. I said then, and I say again, that without technical education we cannot live at all, and if we cannot live at all we cannot learn how to spend our lives, either in the sense spoken of by the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, or in the sense that many other speakers have indicated. The question is how best to get it. My noble friend Lord Barnby desired to insert words in the Bill stressing the advantage of technical education. Whether that be right or wrong, there is nothing about curriculum in the Bill and the objection was raised that it is no good picking out one thing and making an exception of it. My method is to secure means by which it shall in fact be effected by machinery.
§ I very well remember meeting the late Lord Moulton, after he had discharged himself of his function of securing an adequate supply of explosives during the last war. They were very short and at the battle of Neuve Chapelle there were not enough to go on with. I asked Lord Moulton how he found things, and he said that the first thing he found was that a contract had been made by a civil servant for millions of shells with a firm which could not supply thousands. I asked: "What did you do?" He replied: "I pointed out to him that we wanted shells and not penalty clauses," because this civil servant, in apologizing, had said, "There is a penalty clause." We wanted shells and not a penalty clause, even if the firm in question had been able to pay the penalty. Lord Moulton added: "I saw to it that he did not manage that department any more." That is the method I desire to advocate. I desire to 762 give assistance to the Minister of Education with regard to technical education and agricultural education because I deem that assistance is required. It is not an attack upon the independence or competence of the Ministry, but the fact is that they do not know as much about it as some other people.
§ It was said by the noble Earl that the Minister of Education would rely on his Council. That Council, which is mentioned in Clause 4, is to advise him about matters connected with educational theory and practice. I take it that curriculum will be the most important thing to start with in educational theory and practice. I am not going to lecture your Lordships, even if I felt qualified to do so, upon the proper curriculum for technical education. I am not so foolish as to think that it consists only in teaching pupils the job they do in factories. It consists of a new mixture of what may be called cultural education with scientific and technical education and a due mixture of the practice of the art or craft with the theory and science of it. That is a highly technical matter and with great respect to the Minister, who has the greatest enthusiasm I am sure for technical education, he is not in a position probably to know those who are best qualified to deal with technical matters. Neither, I suggest, are the people in his Ministry. As I have said before, Advisory Committees are often a collection of people deemed to be sensible mainly because they agree to a large extent with those who appoint them. A difference of outlook is highly important and I suggest that that can best be got if the Minister would consent to consult with his colleagues in the Government, the Minister of Agriculture and the President of the Board of Trade.
§ My reasons for thinking that the Ministry of Education is not best qualified to deal with these matters is simply that while they are men of great ability, no doubt, and men of unflinching honesty, they are, taking them by and large, the product of the old universities. They are not the product of the modern universities and technical colleges, and you must get that mixture. No doubt it will be said the Minister would attend to that matter, but Ministers, even Ministers of Education, do not abide forever. What abides is the Ministry of civil servants 763 and, speaking for myself, I am not satisfied that they do not need assistance in managing the arrangements for technical education. Despite all the lip service that is rendered now to technical education, people are very apt to return to their old ways. We have seen what happened about the financial provisions of this Bill. The sums provided under the advice of the Minister's Advisory Committee had to be multiplied fourteen times because they had not thoroughly appreciated what technical education meant and how it should be carried out. With regard to agricultural education, looking about the country in which I have always lived since I was a boy, I see the whole countryside strewn with the products of secondary schools which have been managed by the Board of Education. We talk now about not wanting black-coated workers. The countryside is strewn with the products of the secondary schools—little shopgirls and clerks who ought to be in something much more useful and much better. Only the other day I asked a young woman what her friend was going to do. She replied: "Something clerical, I suppose, because she has secured her school certificate." It is that sort of thing in the country that I am afraid of and I would like the Minister to accept the assistance of his colleagues the Minister of Agriculture and the President of the Board of Trade in consultation.
§ In response to a suggestion made to me by my noble friend Lord Addison and by Earl De La Warr, whom I do not see in the House at the moment, I altered the Amendment which I moved in the Committee stage, from an Amendment that the Minister should appoint two-thirds of a Council and that the President of the Board of Trade and the Minister of Agriculture should appoint the other part. It was suggested to me that all appointments should rest with the Minister of Education and that he should consult as to part of those appointments with the President of the Board of Trade and as to part of them with the Minister of Agriculture. It would simplify matters if we could specify the actual numbers of the appointments, but I have not the least notion what the size of the Council is going to be. If we could be informed as to the size of these Councils we should easily make an alteration. I do hope 764 that your Lordships will support and carry this Amendment because I submit that it is a proper one.
Page 3, line 18, after the first ("Minister") insert ("but as to one-third of the members the Minister shall make the appointments after consultation alternately with the President of the Board of Trade and with the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries")—(Lord Roche).
§ LORD AMMON
My Lords, I wish briefly to support my noble friend who has moved this Amendment on the same grounds that I have put forward many times at the Education Committee of the L.C.C.—namely, that it is essential that the status of technical education should be raised. Hitherto it has been the idea that secondary education refers only to what I would call, colloquially, white-collared education, and that has rather tended to promote snobbishness. One has found, for instance, that in a family where there are two boys, one of whom has been to what is normally described as a secondary school while the other has been to a trade school, the boy who has attended the secondary school thinks he is superior to the other boy. If the war has taught us anything it has taught us something different to that. One feels that anything that would help to break down that rather absurd barrier and lift the dignity of technical training is well worth while. I found in visiting, during the early stages of the war, some of the places where young people were being trained in technical matters that these young men and the young women who had won secondary scholarships and had originally gone into ordinary avocations, shop-keeping, dressmaking and so on, were absolutely thrilled with their new work and they felt that they were now being much more usefully employed. As I read Lord Roche's Amendment it goes very much in the right direction, and I, therefore, have very much pleasure in supporting it.
§ EARL STANHOPE
My Lords, whilst entirely agreeing with everything that has been said by Lord Roche and Lord Ammon I would like to support this Amendment from yet another point of view. If I were President of the Board of Education I would wish to have a very strong Council to support and guide me in regard to the general trend of education. The noble Earl, Lord Selborne, no 765 doubt will say that of course the Minister of Education will consult these colleagues in regard to matters of technical education, and will take advice from those best qualified to give it with regard to trade training and training for agriculture. I do not doubt that he will so consult his colleagues, but it is essential that these Councils should be thought to be, and should in fact be, expert. I am quite certain that it will increase their standing if they are nominated through the Minister of Education by the President of the Board of Trade in one instance and the Minister of Agriculture in the other. It will strengthen the position of these Councils and the Councils will be looked up to by the country as a whole. I should have thought that from the Minister of Education's own outlook the provision contained in this Amendment would appear a very wise one. Surely it is only right to put into the Bill that some of these representatives shall be nominated through those in the Government best qualified to nominate them. I think that this Amendment is well worth accepting from the Government's point of view and, as I said before, I wholly agree with the arguments put forward by the two previous speakers.
§ LORD BARNBY
My Lords, I understand that the noble Earl, Lord Selborne, has indicated his intention to resist this Amendment. I ask eave of the House to occupy a few minutes in emphasizing some of the reasons why I submit that the Amendment should be supported. May I remind the House—if it needs reminding—that on the Committee stage of the Bill I supported the plea for technical education? Lord Roche was good enough to refer to that just now. I desire most warmly to support his plea, and I would point out that whatever the House may aspire to provide in the way of education under the Bill must be paid for from funds which can only be derived from trade prosperity. The House displayed some impatience with me when I spoke on technical education on the last occasion, but surely it is only commonsense to say that whatever is spent on education must be won through our trade success. The plea has been made that there is a danger that the arrangements now envisaged will not be sufficient to provide for the flow of teachers, scientists and research workers who will be needed.
766 Many members in this House, and a very wide circle outside, are passionately interested in this question, which I suggest should take precedence over other considerations of minor importance.
I have indicated the lines on which I previously presumed to take up the time of the House, and my object now is to be brief. Lord Roche has elucidated the reasons which underlie his Amendment with an ability which I cannot hope to approach, but I ask the House's indulgence while I draw your attention to an Amendment which was proposed to be raised in another place but was ruled out of order, on Clause 30, on the ground that the matter should have been dealt with at an earlier stage. It was put forward by Sir Harold Webbe, a past member of the Ministry of Education, who knows intimately the circumstances to which Lord Roche has drawn attention to-day. I quote:In execution of the duties imposed upon him under this Act the Minister shall in particular make such arrangements as he considers expedient for securing that there shall be sufficient facilities for the training of an adequate number of technologists to meet the needs of all branches of industry and commerce.I submit that that was not an unreasonable plea for an assurance from the Minister to an industrial nation like ourselves, whose welfare is dependent upon the prosperity of its industry. It is in that sense that I wish to support the plea which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Roche, has put forward for providing what he thinks will be the best means of securing that end.
§ LORD RANKEILLOUR
My Lords, I desire to support the Amendment, not with any special reference to technical education, but from the general consideration of the weaknesses of human nature. If you have an Advisory Council their business is to give independent and sound advice. If their appointment is left to the Minister without any check upon him he will always be tempted to select those who are likely to give him the advice he wants. Therefore I suggest that there shall be an entirely independent appointment.
§ THE EARL OF SELBORNE
My Lords, you will have seen by glancing 767 at the Order Paper that I have tabled a large number of Amendments, many of which are designed to meet the views of your Lordships expressed during the Committee stage. I mention that fact merely to bring out what no doubt is already recognized, that my right honourable friend the President of the Board of Education, with whom I have had the advantage of conferring during the interval, has been most anxious to meet the points stressed by your Lordships in the Committee stage, and has given them very careful consideration with his advisers. Therefore, it is in no unsympathetic spirit that I have to point out the reasons why the Government are unable to accept this particular Amendment. I confess that I am a little discouraged by the fact that I appear to have failed completely during the Committee stage to convince Lord Roche and other noble Lords that there is nobody in England who is keener on the subject of technical education than the President of the Board of Education. Technical education is a major feature of his whole educational scheme. It is he who has introduced the modern schools into our educational system, and he has proposed this Advisory Council for the express purpose of giving him that assistance which, as your Lordships have pointed out, he will certainly require.
Why, then, do the Government feel it would be unwise to put these words into the Bill? In the first place, there is a technical objection. I am told that it is contrary to constitutional practice to require in an Act of Parliament that one Minister should consult another. That has never been done, because the theory of the Constitution is that the Crown is one and indivisible and all Ministers are advisers of His Majesty. Of course, we all know that Ministers habitually consult one another, and the Cabinet exists for that purpose.
§ LORD ROCHE
My noble friend said last time that this had been done in the Agricultural Marketing Bill. It may be in deference to this constitutional theory that the words used there are that the two Ministers should act "in conjunction". I have no objection to using the words "in conjunction" if that would overcome the constitutional difficulty.
§ THE EARL OF SELBORNE
That is the technical point. The point of substance is that if you require the Minister to consult particular authorities you tie his hand. For instance, why should the Board of Trade and the Minister of Agriculture be mentioned, and not the Home Secretary? Of course the President of the Board of Education will consult the Minister of Agriculture and the President of the Board of Trade; he will also consult the Home Secretary, because it would be desirable that there should be gentlemen on his Council who have experience of matters with which the Home Secretary has to deal. I also think it would be a mistake to tie the President to official channels. Let there be no mistake about this, the President and every Minister of Education will have to have upon his Council men who have technical standing and technical knowledge, and also agriculturists. But is it wise to say that they must necessarily be obtained through official channels?
My noble and learned friend showed so much distrust of the Civil Service in his speech that I am rather surprised that he should have framed his Amendment in such a form as would make Parliament say that the Minister of Education must ask for the nominee of the Board of Trade or the Minister of Agriculture in regard to technical experts and agriculturists. I do not think that that would necessarily be the right course. As I have said, he would of course consult his colleagues, but he ought to be free to go outside and to nominate on his Council an agriculturist, let us say, who was not persona grata at the Ministry of Agriculture if he thought he would be a valuable person on his Council. Therefore the short answer to noble Lords is that the President and the Board of Education are intensely anxious to get the best technical, agricultural and other outside advice in the administration of this Act. It is for that purpose that these Advisory Councils are being set up, and I do ask noble Lords to allow the Minister to have a free hand in the choice of his advisers. He must know—every Minister knows—that the whole success of his work depends on getting the right advice, and that advice must be sought not only in one or two directions, but in a large number of directions, and it will be for the Minister of the day to have a properly balanced Council, so that the best men from every angle from which 769 he requires advice may be available and may work as a team to help him. Therefore I hope my noble and learned friend will not press this Amendment.
§ LORD ADDISON
My Lords, I am sure nobody must be more conscious than the noble Earl that his resistance to this Amendment is based on grounds that are rather thin. Everybody recognizes, when a Minister has to appoint a Council of this kind, that he will go out of his way to consult all kinds of people and institutions; and there is nothing in the noble and learned Lord' s Amendment to prevent that. The Minister would without a doubt be completely free to consult anybody he likes and no doubt he would consult a considerable number of people. At the same time none of us has any doubt as to the intention and outlook of the present Minister of Education. I am sure we should all have complete confidence if he were to be there for a long time, but owing to the accidents of political and Parliamentary life the Minister may be changed. This Amendment is to indicate the intention of Parliament as to the type of person to be consulted who would be more cognizant with the sort of problems the noble and learned Lord indicated. I think myself that it is a matter of first-rate importance that these people should be represented on the Council.
It is no affront to the Civil Service. I am sure that none of us is second to the noble Earl in his admiration of civil servants, but they happen to be, quite necessarily, influenced by their own training and outlook—the men at the Board of Education, Eke all the rest of us. We are all, instinctively and inevitably, influenced by our own training and outlook, and we cannot help it. It is a fact, and I hope it will never cease to be a fact, that the men on the permanent staffs of the different Ministries are men with specialized outlooks. This Amendment is to secure that the outlook of people associated with other departments of activity, which are particularly important in matters of education in the modern sense, shall be brought into consultation. Clearly the President of the Board of Trade and the Minister of Agriculture are the appropriate Ministers. There is no difficulty about consulting with your Parliamentary colleagues, I quite agree, and I remember a discussion we had when the Agricultural 770 Marketing Act was going through. I do not remember what the words then adopted were.
§ LORD ADDISON
I dare say it is quite likely that the noble Earl opposite, who led the nominal opposition on that occasion, was responsible for pressing me to put them in. If so, he served a useful public purpose, as he has done many times. But I do remember that there was provision for consultation in some form with the Minister of Health. I cannot see any reason why this kind of provision should not be inserted in the Bill—I do not say in the precise form of words the noble and learned Lord has suggested. That is not the point. The wording could be altered on the Third Reading if necessary, but there should be provision in the Bill for this consultation with the Ministers representing these two Departments. I hope that the noble Earl will reconsider the matter. There is no reason at all why this should not be done.
§ LORD SOULBURY
My Lords, I do not wish to strike a dissentient note, but in this case I think my noble friend Lord Selborne is right in resisting this Amendment. It is common practice for Amendments of this kind to be moved in another place, and as far as I can recollect the Government have nearly always resisted them, and rightly so. If the President of the Board of Education is not really competent to appoint a Central Advisory Council without a provision of this sort, then he really ought not to be President of the Board of Education. If every Minister had the duty imposed upon him by Act of Parliament to consult with this or that person in appointing a Council of this kind, it would bring matters almost to a farce. I hope my noble friend will resist this Amendment because it is quite unnecessary. Of course the President of the Board will, in practice, consult his colleagues. If he has difficulty in finding suitable members of the council to deal with trade matters, he will get on to the Board of Trade and say "Whom do you advise?" On agricultural matters he will get in touch with the Ministry of Agriculture and say, "Can you please let me have the names of a few gentlemen suitable for this purpose?" To prescribe 771 in an Act of Parliament, every time a council is to be appointed, that the Minister shall consult with this or that other Department is unnecessary.
§ LORD ROCHE
My Lords, the support that the noble Lord who has just sat down has given to the Minister confirms me in my view that it is very necessary to press this Amendment. The noble Lord has expressed the view of the Board of Education. It is not that I distrust the present Minister. I hold the view about him which Lord Addison so adequately expressed, but I may be permitted to add an expression of hope that he will not add to the chances and vicissitudes of political life, the chances and vicissitudes of climbing too many ladders! Neither have I
§ Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.
§ House adjourned during pleasure.
§ House resumed.
§ Clause 7:
§ Stages and purposes of statutory system of education.
§ 7. The statutory system of public education shall be organized in three progressive stages to be known as primary education, secondary education, and further education; and it shall be the duty of the local education authority for every area, so far as their powers extend, to contribute towards the moral, mental, and physical development of the community by securing that efficient education throughout those stages shall be available to meet the needs of the population of their area.
§ THE EARL OE SELBORNE moved to insert "spiritual" before "moral." The noble Earl said: My Lords, as the772
§ distrust or dislike for the Civil Service. I have served in one capacity or another in too many Ministries for that; but I would like a due and adequate admixture of Ministries, and the Ministries that ought to be mixed with the Board of Education here are the Board of Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture. It is the sole, isolated, and too narrow view which I fear, and these general offers of consultation here, there, and everywhere leave me quite cold. I ask your Lordships to insist that the Ministry of Agriculture and the Board of Trade should be consulted.
§ On Question, Whether the said words shall be there inserted?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 21; Not-Contents, 20.771
|Brooke and Warwick, E.||Maugham, V.||Ammon, L.|
|Stanhope, E.||Sankey, V.||Barnby, L.|
|Brabazon of Tara, L.|
|Bennett, V.||Birmingham, L. Bp.||Chatfield, L.|
|Elibank, V.||Chichester, L. Bp.||Rankeillour, L. [Teller.]|
|FitzAlan of Derwent, V.||Roche, L.|
|Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.)||Aberdare, L.||Southwood, L.|
|Addison, L. [Teller.]||Strabolgi, L.|
|Simon, V. (L. Chancellor.)||Selborne, E.||Chesham, L.|
|Normanby, M.||Davidson, V.||Denman, L.|
|Samuel, V.||Mottistone, L.|
|Cavan, E.||Queenborough, L.|
|Lucan, E.||Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)||Soulbury, L.|
|Munster, E. [Teller.]||Templemore, L. [Teller.]|
|Perth, E.||Cecil, L. (V. Cranborne.)||Teviot, L.|
|Willoughby de Broke, L.|
§ noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, in whose name this Amendment appears on the Marshalled List, is not here to move it I would like to move it myself because it was one I had hoped to be able to accept. This is one of the Amendments that was debated during the Committee stage and one which the President of the Board and his advisers have considered very sympathetically. The Government feel they would be meeting the wishes of the House and the judgment of your Lordships if they inserted the word "spiritual" in line 32 of page 4. My noble friend Lord Rankeillour has an Amendment following, to insert the word "religious" instead of "moral." In the view of my right honourable friend the President the word "spiritual" is more appropriate to this clause. It is in effect a wider term.773
§ It is the fact that there is no provision in the Bill for any religious education in young peoples' colleges,—county colleges—and, although my noble friend Lord Rankeillour had an Amendment to that effect on the Committee stage and has put down an Amendment to the same effect on this stage, it is the view of the President of the Board of Education that it would be inappropriate and a mistake to insert that Amendment in the Bill. The word "religious" would not cover the three stages of education sketched in Clause 7, but the Government do realize that in the view of your Lordships' House and, I have no doubt, in the view of a much wider public outside, it would be a mistake in Clause 7 of the Bill, which is really a declaratory clause to have no reference to the spiritual side of education. Therefore I have been asked on behalf of His Majesty's Government to accept the Amendment which stands in the name of my noble friend Lord Bledisloe.
Page 4, line 32, at end insert ("spiritual").—(The Earl of Selborne.)
§ LORD ABERDARE
My Lords, I beg to thank the noble Earl in charge of the Bill for accepting this Amendment and only desire to explain that, the Amendment having been raised on Second Reading and again on the Committee stage, I understood it would not be acceptable to the Board of Education. I also did hear fall from the lips of the most reverend Primate on the Committee stage that he preferred the word "religious" to spiritual, and for that reason I was not prepared to move this Amendment, but was waiting for the following Amendment, in the name of Lord Rankeillour, to be moved. But in the circumstances I am perfectly prepared to accept this Amendment.
§ LORD RANKEILLOUR
My Lords, I confess I should have preferred "religious" but "spiritual" is undoubtedly a great improvement, and I will not move my Amendment or make any further observations.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 8:
§ Duty of local education authorities to secure provision of primary end secondary schools.
- (a) to the need for securing that primary and secondary education are provided in separate schools;
- (b) to the expediency of securing that, so far as is compatible with the need for providing efficient instruction and training and the avoidance of unreasonable expense to the authority, provision is made for enabling pupils to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents;
THE EARL OF SELBORNE moved to omit paragraph (b) from subsection (2). The noble Earl said: My Lords, this Amendment is really consequential on an Amendment that comes later on, but I think I had better deal with the point now because that will make for lucidity. In the Committee stage my noble friend Lord Rankeillour pointed out that subsection 2 (b) of Clause 8 did not really cover the whole Bill and on examination I found that my noble friend was perfectly right. Therefore I have put down on behalf of the Government a new Amendment which will be found on page 7 of the Marshalled List of Amendments, to insert as a new clause:
In the exercise and performance of all powers and duties conferred and imposed on them by this Act the Minister and local education authorities shall have regard to the general principle that so far as is compatible with the provision of efficient instruction and training and the avoidance of unreasonable public expenditure pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents.
As those words are so framed as to cover the whole of the Bill, subsection 2 (b) of Clause 8 is no longer necessary. That is the object of the Amendment that I now move.
Page 5, line 19, leave out paragraph (b).—(The Earl of Selborne.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
THE LORD BISHOP OF CHICHESTER moved, in subsection (2), to insert after paragraph (b):
(c) to the need for securing that the religious instruction given to all pupils, unless their parents otherwise request, is in accordance with the principles of the Christian faith.
§ The right reverend Prelate said: My Lords, on the Committee stage I moved an Amendment to insert the words "in accordance with the principles of the Christian faith" in Clause 26, and my Amendment was strongly supported by the most reverend Primate speaking on behalf of the Church of England and also of the Free Churches. In reply, the 775 noble Earl said that nothing would be gained by the addition of these words, and he said that it was the intention of the Government that religious instruction should be Christian, but that he would re-examine the matter. He ended by saying that unless I could show a method by which what I desired could be achieved, without getting the Government into further difficulty, he hoped I would consent not to press the Amendment. I did not press the Amendment, but I pursued inquiries with the noble Earl's encouragement, and that is the reason why I bring forward this present more general Amendment at an earlier place in the Bill. If the Government accept the Amendment, of course it would not be necessary for me to move later Amendments to Clause 26.
§ This Amendment has certain advantages over the previous Amendment and I contend that it does not get the Government into further difficulties. Two objections to specific mention of the Christian faith were put forward by the noble Earl. The first is the need of provision for the Jews and the noble Earl acknowledged that in my former Amendment I did make such provision. I make that provision now in the words "unless their parents otherwise request." The other more difficult objection was the danger of litigation. The noble Earl said it would be very awkward if a particular syllabus were attacked in the courts on the ground that it was not in accordance with the principles of the Christian faith. In the Amendment which I now move I am calling attention to one of the duties of the local education authority and it is not connected with any question of an exact or particular syllabus. I suggest that reference to the Christian faith is very appropriate in this place giving a general direction, for in the earlier part of Clause 8 the duties of the local education authority are said to include providing full-time education suitable to the requirements of both junior and senior pupils and also providing opportunities for education "offering such variety of instruction and training as may be desirable in view of their different ages, abilities and aptitudes." Seeing that religious instruction takes a prominent place in the Bill, it seems very desirable to mention the need for securing religious instruction here in this clause.776
§ I think that it is in perfect line with the general provision now going to be inserted in another clause in the Bill that pupils should be educated, as far as practicable, in accordance with the wishes of their parents. I attach, and many others attach, very great importance to the definition in this general terminology of the character of the religious instruction. It is quite true that the Government have declared their intention that the religious instruction shall be Christian, but the declaration of a Minister, unlike an Act of Parliament, has no binding force. Religious instruction is deemed by the Government and by Parliament to be important, so important that the Government for the first time make it compulsory. If it is to be compulsory, and I say nothing on that question of principle at this moment, the faith in which the religious instruction is to be given should be specified, otherwise it might be any faith and that faith need not be consistent with the Christian religion. This is a point of very great substance. We ought not be ashamed in a matter of educational reform of saying that we wish our children to be brought up as Christians, and in so important a matter it would be most unfortunate and misleading if the word "Christian" were not included in the Bill.
Page 5, line 24, at end insert the said new paragraph (c).—(The Lord Bishop of Chichester.)
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My Lords, this is a matter about which I have been deeply concerned. I only want to underline the fact mentioned by the right reverend Prelate that the Amendment I tabled earlier to another part of the Bill was put down at the urgent request of two bodies, the British Council of Churches, representing the Church of England and the Free Churches, and the Joint Conference of Anglicans and Free Churchmen, the leaders of which have so greatly contributed to the acceptance of the agreed syllabuses. That is the condition of affairs which has made possible the passage of this Bill by a great measure of agreement. By putting in this Amendment in a clause which says that a local authority shall have regard to so-and-so and not in one of the obligatory clauses, we escape the 777 difficulty of reference to the courts. Therefore I trust that this Amendment will be sympathetically received.
§ THE EARL OF SELBORNE
My Lords, I need hardly say that nobody would be better pleased than I if it were wise to accept this Amendment. I recognize what the most reverend Primate has said, that a very wide body of public opinion, not by any means confined to any particular denomination, would be glad to see these words in the Bill, and I have no doubt my right honourable friend would also be glad if he thought it was a wise course and good legislation. Let us never forget that we are, in passing an Act of Parliament, fulfilling a technical operation. We must not be tempted to act as if we were bill posters advertising a particular cause which we wish to see promulgated. We must confine our efforts to producing that Act of Parliament which is best going to fulfil the wishes of Parliament and which is going to function most smoothly and lead to the least friction.
The right reverend Prelate has devoted particular attention to this point, which he has raised in other parts of the Bill and particularly in regard to what used to be the seventh Schedule and is now the Sixth Schedule. The Amendments I hope to move at a later stage do, I think the right reverend Prelate will agree, strengthen and improve the Sixth Schedule very much, and I am sure he and the most reverend Primate will agree with me when I say there can be no manner of doubt that all these agreed syllabuses will be Christian syllabuses, except those which are designed for the Jews. Nobody in any quarter of the House doubts that. Therefore, while the purpose of putting the word "Christian" in the Bill is, as I said on a previous occasion, to hoist the flag of St. George, an object with which I personally have every sympathy, we must ask whether that is good legislation.
The right reverend Prelate alluded to a declaration I made as Minister in charge of the Bill, that it was the object and purpose of the Government to provide that the religious education given under this Act should be Christian education. He said that was all very well as far as it went but it was not binding in the manner in which an Act of Parliament is binding. What does he mean by "binding"? He 778 means something he can bring before the courts, and on which he can get a judicial decision enforcing the law. That is what he means by "binding."
THE LORD BISHOP OF CHICHESTER
I am sorry to interrupt but I mean nothing more than is applicable to every other sentence in the Bill.
§ THE EARL OF SELBORNE
Exactly. It is very important that every sentence in the Bill should be enforceable in the courts. It is precisely that issue that my right honourable friend wishes to avoid in connexion with the word "Christian." He does not think it would be profitable, in any event, that there should be debated in the secular courts, and decided in the secular courts, the question whether a particular syllabus was in conformity with the Christian religion or not. That difficulty might he created by the insertion of these words without there being any corresponding advantage. It is not as if the right reverend Prelate would gain anything by the insertion of these words. Nothing would be gained. The possibility of the Christian religion being taught would not be strengthened in any way, or perhaps I should say the chances of the Christian religion being taught would not be strengthened in any way. It is, as I have said, a mere flag, and a flag which could be dragged into the courts.
It is for that reason that the original Amendment put forward by the right reverend Prelate was not supported by the Government, and I am advised that the same difficulty applies to these words. They either mean something or they mean nothing. If they mean something then they can be argued in the courts. I mean that it could be argued that the local education authority in fulfilling their duty had not had regard to the provision that the religious instruction should be in accordance with the principles of the Christian faith. The petitioner in a suit might urge that the agreed syllabus violated the principles of the Christian faith, and that would at once bring the whole issue before the courts. Therefore, inasmuch as that the Amendment moved by the right reverend Prelate would not achieve anything towards the furtherance of Christian teaching under the Bill, and might conceivably have this unfortunate consequence, it would, in the judgment of my right honourable friend, be inadvisable to insert these words in the Bill. 779 Therefore I hope that the right reverend Prelate will not press his Amendment.
THE LORD BISHOP OF CHICHESTER
My Lords, I cannot help feeling that the noble Earl's reply is a very weak one, and inadequate to the realities of the situation. Of course, I should not have moved the insertion of the word "Christian" if it did not mean something. It does mean something. I cannot help wondering what it is of which the President of the Board of Education and the noble Earl are afraid. Is there something else which worries them? This business of passing a Bill is, of course, a technical operation, and nobody more than myself desires that the operation of working the Bill should be a smooth one. At this point let me say that I am grateful for the improvements made in the Sixth Schedule. I would like, however, to press my view on the insufficiency—from even the point of view of the courts, as I shall show in a moment—of the declaration made by the noble Earl. I am obliged to contrast his declaration with the declaration made by the President himself elsewhere. The noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, will not, I am sure, misunderstand me or doubt my great sympathy for the representatives of the Jewish faith whose wishes I desire to meet in every possible way. But this is a point where ambiguity should be avoided in everybody's interests, and even in the interests of possible litigation.
The President of the Board on the 10th of January made the following remarks in the course of an address to the Board of Deputies of British Jews. I am not complaining of anything he said about the Jewish religion, and I hope that I shall have the sympathy and belief of the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, when I say this. But what I am anxious to bring out is the great danger of ambiguity in a matter of this kind. This is what the President said:There is every reason why the Jewish representative should be called into the deliberations for framing a syllabus under the Bill. The fact that the syllabus will be worked out by a group of people belonging to various persuasions will mean that any marked bias peculiar to one denomination will be prevented: the syllabus should be genuinely interdenominational—a description which I much prefer to that of 'undenominational'. The Bill permits of different syllabuses being adopted for different schools or for different classes of pupils. There is no reason, therefore, 780 to anticipate that syllabus instruction will be imparted which is unsuitable or insufficient whether one views the matter from the Jewish or Christian standpoint …I know that there are contemplated in this statement different syllabuses for different schools or for different classes of pupils. The point to which I would call attention is the looseness of the use of the word "denomination". The President goes on to say:Before all the denominations there lies therefore an enormous taskIn other words the President of the Board is speaking of the Jewish community as one denomination, and when he uses the word "denomination" in that sense I cannot help feeling that he is exposing himself to the danger of very uncomfortable litigation in the courts, seeing that under Clause 26 it is forbidden in county schools to give religious instruction which includes any catechism or formulary which is distinctive of any particular religious denomination. Now it is quite arguable that as the Jewish community is described as a denomination, the Christian community might be described as a denomination. There is an acknowledged ambiguity in the word "denomination". Does it refer to divisions of the Christian community or does it refer to different groups of religious people. While—and I think this is the real point—there is no governing direction to the effect that the general religious instruction should be of a Christian character, it does seem to me to open the door to litigation in the courts of a new kind, suggesting that the use of the Apostles' Creed, which is now lawful, implies the use of a formulary of the Christian denomination, and therefore that it should not be employed.
I should not have brought this matter up if the noble Earl had seen his way to give a favourable reply, because the ambiguity could then have been cleared away by the acceptance of my Amendment. I am bound to say that the reason which I have given does point to a very real danger, and I should regard it as questionable whether, without some reference to the word "Christian," it would be possible for the President to claim with real cogency that he gives effect to the first of the Archbishop's five points, which is that in all schools a Christian education should be given to all scholars except in so far as any parents may wish to 781 withdraw their children from it. The President does claim to have met that point, but in my judgment it is not met at present. It would be met if a provision on the lines of or identical, with my Amendment were inserted. I should like to emphasize again that the words "in accordance with the principles of the Christian faith" are words which have been used for seventy years in schemes under the Endowed Schools Act, and have never led to litigation in the courts. I believe that the danger which the noble Earl indicates is an unreal one, and I hope very much that he will reconsider his opposition.
§ THE EARL OF SELBORNE
My Lords, with the leave of the House I will make one short comment on what the right reverend Prelate has said. I think that it is a mistake to put upon a speech which my right honourable friend the President of the Board of Education made at a prize-giving somewhere—
§ THE EARL OF SELBORNE
I think that it would be a great mistake to try to put on that speech an interpretation which it will not bear and was never intended to bear. The very speech which the right reverend Prelate quoted was one in which the President pointed out that it would be possible to have two agreed syllabuses in a controlled school, obviously to deal with the case where there are Jewish pupils and Christian pupils in the same school. With regard to the right reverend Prelate's fear that the words used by the President of the Board of Education on that occasion would be held to be legally binding, I would remind him that the principle of Cowper-Temple teaching has been the law of the land for over seventy years, and any of the issues which he has raised might have been brought up during this period, but they never have been. I suggest, therefore, that the sensible thing is to let sleeping dogs lie. What undenominational teaching is, is a matter which is by now very well understood in this country.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My Lords, I venture to ask the right reverend Prelate not to press this Amendment to a Division, because either 782 he will be defeated, which would be very unfortunate, or he will be successful here and defeated in another place. Nothing worse could be said than that we pressed to a Division the question of inserting these words and failed to get them in. As it is, we have the assurance of the noble Earl as to the intention of the Government, and that can be quoted and will carry great weight, though not legally binding. On the other hand, if anyone could point to a hostile vote in Parliament on this question it might be exceedingly damaging. As there is grievous risk of the words, if once inserted, being removed again, I think it would be unwise to press the Amendment.
THE LORD BISHOP OF CHICHESTER
My Lords, in deference to what the most reverend Primate has said, I shall not press this Amendment to a Division.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 9:
§ County schools, auxiliary schools, nursery schools, and special schools.
§ (2) Primary and secondary schools maintained by a local education authority, not being nursery schools or special schools, shall, if established by a local education authority or by a former authority, be known as county schools and, if established otherwise than by such an authority, be known as auxiliary schools:
§ THE EARL OF SELBORNE moved, in subsection (2), to substitute "voluntary" for "auxiliary." The noble Earl said: My Lords, this is an Amendment designed to meet the criticism of the noble Earl, Lord Stanhope, who said—I thought with a large measure of support from your Lordships—that he regarded the word "auxiliary" as unfortunate and as implying some derogation of the importance or status of the schools in question. That view, as I say, appeared to commend itself to a large number of your Lordships in Committee, but the alternative words which were then proposed did not seem, to the Government at any rate, to be any very great improvement. Therefore, having consulted my right honourable friend the President of the Board of Education on the subject, I should like to suggest that perhaps in the circumstances the best plan would be to go back to the old term "voluntary," which is well understood. Everybody knows what a "voluntary" school is, 783 and throughout the Bill I suggest that we should use that term instead of the term "auxiliary" schools. If that meets with general acceptance, I shall move that the consequential Amendments be made. I beg to move.
Page 6, line 8, leave out ("auxiliary") and insert ("voluntary").—(The Earl of Selborne.)
§ EARL STANHOPE
My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Earl who is in charge of the Bill for having met us in this respect, and I congratulate my noble friend Lord Rankeillour, who originally suggested the use of the word "voluntary."
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ THE EARL OF SELBORNE
My Lords, I beg to move that the officers of the House be instructed to make the necessary consequential Amendments.
§ Moved, That the officers of the House be instructed to make the necessary consequential Amendments.—(The Earl of Selborne.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ Clause 15:
§ Classification of auxiliary schools as controlled schools, aided schools, or special agreement schools.
(3) The managers or governors of a controlled school shall not be responsible for any of the expenses of maintaining the school, but the following provisions shall have effect with respect to the maintenance of aided schools and special agreement schools:
(b) the managers or governors of the school shall not be responsible for repairs to the school playground or playing fields or to the interior of any buildings or for repairs necessary in consequence of the use of the premises, in pursuance of any direction or requirement of the authority, for purposes other than those of the school.
§ THE EARL OF SELBORNE moved, in paragraph (b) of subsection (3), after "buildings," to insert "forming part of the school premises." The noble Earl said: My Lords, I do not think that this Amendment was mentioned in Committee, but it now appears to be necessary to make it clear that the responsibilities of the local education authority in respect 784 of repairs do not extend to the teacher's dwelling-house. The repair of the teacher's dwelling-house has always been the responsibility of the managers, who are able to charge the teacher an economic rent. In another part of the Bill the local education authority is made responsible for any kitchen which may be established for the purpose of providing meals for children, but otherwise their responsibilities only extend to the school building. The teacher's house is not part of the school building, and must be dealt with as any other form of property is. This Amendment is just to make that clear.
Page 13, line 31, at end insert ("forming part of the school premises").—(The Earl of Selborne.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 22:
§ Powers of local education authority as to use and care of premises of auxiliary schools.
§ 22.—(1) The school premises of a controlled school shall be occupied and used in accordance with the directions of the local education authority, so, however, that the managers or governors of the school shall be entitled to determine the use to which the school premises or any part thereof shall be put on Saturdays except when required to be used on Saturdays for the purposes of the school or for any purpose connected with education or with the welfare of the young for which the local education authority desire to provide accommodation on the premises or on that part thereof, and the foundation managers shall be entitled to determine the use to which the school premises or any part thereof be put on Sundays.
§ THE EARL OF SELBORNE moved, in subsection (1), to leave out all words from the beginning down to and including "governors of the" and insert "The managers or governors of a controlled." The noble Earl said: My Lords, this is the first of a series of Amendments designed to meet the point raised by the right reverend Prelate, the Bishop of Wakefield, and by the most reverend Primate during the Committee stage. It was pointed out by them that a good deal of friction might occur if the local education authority, which in country districts is the county council, have to be referred to every time the use of the village school was wanted for some non-educational purposes, some public meeting or flower show or what not. In order to meet the 785 point the Government have drafted these Amendments, the effect of which will be that the governors or managers of a school will be able to decide the purposes for which the school is to be used, subject to any directions they may receive from the local education authority. I have got written out here how the clause would read if these Amendments were carried, and I could read it out if that would be of any assistance. But if noble Lords are satisfied with that description, I need not do so.
Page 18, line 37, leave out from the beginning to ("school") in line 40 and insert ("The managers or governors of a controlled").—(The Earl of Selborne.)
THE LORD BISHOP OF WAKEFIELD
My Lords, I should like to express my gratitude to the Government for incorporating the Amendment of the Bill in this form. I think it will achieve fully the purposes which we desire to attain.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Amendments moved—
§ Page 19, line 3, a after ("thereof") insert ("shall")
§ Page 19, line 3, at end insert ("but save as aforesaid the local education authority may give such directions as to the occupation and use of the school premises of a controlled School as they think fit")
§ Page 19, line 8, leave out ("require") and insert ("direct")
§ Page 19, line 13, leave out ("required") and insert ("directed")
Page 19, line 14, at end insert:
("(3) Subject to any directions given by a local education authority under the foregoing provisions of this section and to the requirements of any enactment other than this Act or the regulations made thereunder, the occupation and use of the school premises of any auxiliary school shall be under the control of the managers or governors thereof")—(The Earl of Selborne).
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
§ Clause 23 [Secular instruction in county schools and in auxiliary schools]:
LORD MOTTISTONE moved to add to the clause:
The secular instruction to be given to the pupils in every county school and in every auxiliary school shall comprise instruction as regards the duties of citizenship according to law, including the duty of defending their
native land and assisting in the maintenance of law and order within the realm
The noble Lord said: My Lords, I hope your Lordships will observe that the you is in a slightly different form from that in which I first moved it. The Amendment now contains the governing words "according to law", which I had stressed in my previous remarks on this subject, and that apparently was not understood, least of all by the noble Lord, Lord Addison, whose astonishing interruption in the previous debate I must be permitted to deal with. These words are added in order to clarify the issue and in order to make quite sure that this is the law of the land—a point to which I may venture to draw the attention of the most reverend Primate who, I think, until this moment had not realized that these things were part of the law of the land.
§ LORD MOTTISTONE
I thank his Grace for his words, but in a conversation I had with him I gathered that he was not aware of it. I may tell him, however, that a number of his flock, both Bishops and others, have expressed to me the greatest surprise that it was the duty of the citizen to defend the peace, even at the risk of his life. Very few people know it; his Grace is one of a small minority, as I shall presently show. This Amendment, as your Lordships see it on the Paper, was written by and was in the handwriting when handed in of an authority whom none will dispute, Lord Maugham, until recently the Lord Chancellor of this realm. I have reason to know from discussions I have had with other noble Lords—Lord Roche, Lord Sankey and others—that there is no dispute about this matter among those in legal circles and those who know the facts. And indeed the most notable contribution in clearing up this issue was made by the present Lord Chancellor himself, in a speech which I have quoted more than once. Therefore I think there can be no dispute that what I here suggest all children should be taught is the law of the land.
But before I come to the next question I shall touch upon, I must really ask the attention of the House to the astonishing statement made by Lord Addison on a previous occasion, when I had not the 787 opportunity to reply. He said, speaking of the words that I then proposed to put in, which were the same as these, except that "according to law" was not in:I can understand that Hitler would have rejoiced in words like these—the very thing he has been doing for the last fifteen years with the children of Germany.That is not only not the case, it is the contrary of the case. I have in my pocket a letter from a man well known to your Lordships, who calls it a "damnable lie." What is more, he adds that it has had a wide circulation throughout England and Scotland, and that it appears to be thought that I and my friends were proposing that we should teach our children what Hitler has been teaching his children for the last fifteen years. So I propose to tell your Lordships, and to prove it I am sure, that the exact contrary is the case, that what we are proposing is to teach the exact opposite of what Hitler has been teaching. We know what he has been teaching the German children because it has been announced constantly. Many members of the House have seen it being done. The children are being taught all the time these pages from Mein Kampf. I have here the latest unexpurgated copy, published by Hurst and Blackett but corrected up to 1939, which gives all the passages which are taught to the children in the German schools. Let us see what truth there is in "this damnable lie," as my friend calls it, but what I should call a misapprehension of the true facts of the case.
§ LORD MOTTISTONE
That will do very well—a very good phrase. I always thought that that was another phrase for a "damnable lie." Thank you, sir, for "terminological inexactitude." I begin with what we propose to teach, and then I shall tell you what Hitler is teaching. The first thing, you will see, is the principles of English law—equality of sacrifice of all those living within the realm, if need be of their lives, in defence of the peace. That is an ancient law upon which the whole structure of our State is founded, though many people do not seem to know it. It is not that you can wait for a policeman. If you see some blackguard hitting a child it is not open to you to say, "I shall go and call the police." 788 If you have the least prospect of success, you have to intervene even at the risk of your life. In the same way if two parachutists are seen endeavouring to smuggle my noble friend Lord Addison into an aeroplane—which may well happen—if the bystanders have the least possible chance of success it is their duty to go for them and save my noble friend. In spite of these unguarded words which my noble friend used, I do not think that Hitler would welcome him with open arms. He has said too many patriotic things to give him the chance of surviving when he got to Germany. So long as he can say "Help," and a man knows the law, help will come. That is what we teach, and that reverses what Hitler teaches.
Another very important thing is this. What we teach is that these rights and duties apply to all races, all people living in the realm, whether Jews, negroes, English, or Scots. What does Hitler teach in this book? Not just Aryans only, but men of his Party. They are the only people who have got to intervene on these occasions. I am going to leave these books with my noble friend (Lord Addison). The denunciation of the Jews is so frightful that I shall not quote it, but it is the fact that throughout the pages of this book—a chapter of which is read to every child in every school each day—the words used about the Jews are so frightful, so cruel, so unjust, that they must have an influence on them. They have had, and the horrible things that have been done, quite unknown to mankind before, if there is truth in what we hear, not only in the way of persecution but in inflicting the horrors of mutilation and murder upon the Jews, have only been made possible among the German people by dinning into them the words of this book. That is what has done it. We are not teaching them that.
What do we teach in this Amendment of mine? Respect for the Constitution and the law and for Parliament. What does Hitler teach? He denounces Parliament. I have a phrase here which I must quote. This is the kind of thing he says:In reality the Parliamentary institution never functioned except to the detriment of the country.And here again, listen to this:What did Parliament do? Instead of crushing the head of the French Hydra once and for all with the mailed first, and granting 789 Alsace-Loraine equal rights with other German States, Parliament did neither one nor the other.That is what the German child is being taught—that what ought to have been done, what must be done now, is to crush the French Hydra. We are not teaching that. Finally, what does this teach all the time in every word of this book of the Constitution? I have chosen Dicey. The duty of defence against an aggressor. From the purely military point of view we knew that the best form of defence is attack. That is not in the Constitution. It is defence against an aggressor. What is there in Hitler's book? One long shout for Germany to be strong so that she can crush the Hydra-head of France and all those who dare to withstand the Aryan race.
I trust your Lordships will forgive me for speaking with some vehemence on this matter, but if it is true, as I believe it is, that this theory that some of us here are seeking to teach the children what Hitler has taught for the last fifteen years has a wide circulation, am I not entitled to ask that those who have spread his abroad should withdraw and apologize, as I frankly now ask my noble friend Lord Addison to do? I here give him—this is like a prize-giving!—this book which is the doctrine according to the English Constitution, which I trust he will read, and here is the doctrine according to Hitler. I make this offer to my noble friend because a complete withdrawal and apology are rather rare in Parliament, though they are good when they come. If he has any doubt as to the legal meaning of the words in the book, Dicey's Constitution, which I have given him, or in the interpretation of Mein Kampf—for interpretation is a matter of high legal authority—I refer him to the Lord Chancellor of the Government of which he was a member and who I understand belongs to his Party, Lord Sankey. I will abide by his decision, and if Lord Sankey says that the two things are not only not the same, but the exact contrary then I demand a complete and ample apology.
I pass from that to urge upon the noble Earl opposite to get us out of the dilemma as to whither this Amendment should be in the form of regulation or be a provision of the Bill. This Amendment which I propose includes within it all those suggestions made by Lord Chatfield, Lord Bledisloe, Lord Elibank, and others as 790 to what should be taught by way of regulation. If every child understands that it is his duty to serve his country, to defend the peace in times of peace and of war, all these things follow quite easily. Some have said—it was said to me only this morning—"Let sleeping dogs lie. You will only stir up trouble if you put this in the Bill." That is how it was put to me. "All sorts of teachers, good worthy fellows with Pacifist leanings, will rebel against it." May I deal with that? I can claim to have some knowledge of what the teachers of this country think because for the last eighteen years I have been meeting them constantly in conferences all over the country. The foundation of the National Savings Movement is in the schools. The teachers began it and the enormous success of the movement is due in the first degree to the teachers. When I go round the country, as I do, addressing big and little meetings, I always meet the teachers and we talk about these things. I believe that if you say to the teachers, "This is the simple law of the citizen" —or if the noble Earl prefers it, I would leave out all the words after citizen in order to make it quite clear—"which proclaims the equality of sacrifice, which proclaims how wrong Hitler is, which proclaims that we English people have found a way of life in some ways different but in others like that of the Romans in the best times of their Republic, or it may be like the Swiss to-day," you will have their support.
Do not you see that it is vital that a child should know that he should intervene to help a poor little wretch being beaten to death? If he were asked to do that he would at once say "Yes." It may be said: "What we do not like is militarism. We do not want you bringing in your Cadet Corps all the time." But say to them: "This is the exact opposite, this just proclaims the irreducible minimum of duty of the citizen of an English State," and you will have their support. Questions as to what you shall teach boys afterwards have nothing to do with it. These are the elementary duties of the citizen and they are our glory and our pride. I guarantee that if I am addressing a hundred teachers I will get ninety-nine of them to agree with me.
Why not then grasp the nettle and put it in the Bill? Hitherto you have not, I know, put these mandatory things into 791 Education Bills but here you have departed from that, I think most rightly and wisely. Not only have the wonderful skill of the Minister of Education and his zeal and integrity been evidenced in the wise and careful conduct of the Bill in this House, but we have managed to get it agreed that our duty to God should be taught in every school. Having once decided that, should we not as a natural corrollary also have proclaimed by teachers our duty to our country and the peace of the realm and have children taught what we all believe? We may well be proud that we have confided to the whole mass of the people, not to a class, not to a uniformed minority, but to the whole body of our people, the defence of the realm and the peace of the land. I beg the noble Earl to take a new view of this question and, having regard to what I have said and of the suggestion I make, to put it in the shortest possible form, perhaps that which Lord Maugham proposes. At any rate I strongly commend this Amendment to your Lordships and beg to move.
Page 20, line 6, at end insert the said new subsection.—(Lord Mottistone.)
§ LORD KEYES
My Lords, I wish to support my noble friend's Amendment for the reasons which led me to support his original Amendment. I think it is important that every child in the country should be brought up to be ready to serve his country and, if need be, to fight for it. My noble friend Lord Mottistone has dealt with an interruption of the noble Lord, Lord Addison, much more correctly and good humouredly than I should have been able to do. But I want to refer to another speech the noble Lord made later in the day. I was much scolded by the noble Viscount, Lord Cecil, for mentioning the League of Nations' Union Peace Ballot and was told it was extraneous to the subject. I do not admit for a moment that to be the case because the League of Nations' Union was teaching the youth of the country all sorts of things contrary to the Amendment which my noble friend has moved.
At the time I thought that both the Oxford Union resolution and the League of Nations' Union Peace Ballot were harmless; it was the harm they did abroad to 792 which I was referring. Since then I have had an opportunity of looking at the national declaration by the League of Nations' Union and the fifth question people were asked was this:Do you consider that if a nation insists on attacking another, the other nations should combine to compel it to stop byI have ascertained that four of the eleven millions did not vote for (b). That just shows how important it is that the children should be taught that it is part of their duty to the country to be ready to serve it in the Armed Forces or in other Services of the Crown. I say therefore this is not extraneous to what we are debating. It is very important.
- (a) economic and non-military measures,
- (b) if necessary, military measures?"
I will now refer to what my noble friend Lord Addison said. I think we have crossed swords in another place on one or two occasions. He asked why we were so wretchedly fidgety about it. I am sure that "fidgety" does not express my feelings. I am coldly furious to think that the next generation may be asked to suffer like the last two generations. I am furious to think that my generation and my children's generation should be asked to suffer as they have done because the whole country has not been educated into quite a different spirit and quite a different outlook from that which is taught by the League of Nations' Union. I do not want to talk about personal matters, but in my own family, ten members of which are of my generation, ten brothers and brothers-in-law, five were killed in the last Great War. Already in this war eight of the next generation, sons and nephews, have been killed. A race of potential leaders is being wiped out, killed in its youth, too young to have become fathers.
Where is the next generation coming from before this struggle ends? I do not complain that men will not fight. The country is splendid. Look at what the miners in certain mining regiments have done? Their gallantry and valour in every field is second to none, but no one can be happy about what has happened in the mines, but if the men had been taught in their boyhood, from the outset of their youth, that they owed the duty of their services to the country we would not have had these inequalities of sacrifice. I feel so strongly about this that I hope my noble friend Lord Addison and his friends 793 will realize that what they have been teaching and preaching between the wars, and which I have been trying to combat between those wars and Lord Roberts did before the last Great War, is wrong. It has resulted in the sacrifice of a great many young men because the country was not ready, because we had to hold the line inadequately supplied with weapons and munitions, and because it took a king time before the country could make the great effort which is now carrying us on to victory. For those reasons I support Lord Mottistone's Motion. When my noble friend Lord Selborne rejected the Amendment on behalf of the Board of Education he did it mainly on the ground of drafting difficulties. I cannot believe that those difficulties cannot be overcome, and I hope your Lordships will support Lord Mottistone.
§ THE EARL or SELBORNE
My Lords, may I intervene at this point to indicate the attitude of the Government? I personally would like to subscribe to every word the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, said in moving his Amendment. It is the intention of my right honourable friend, the President of the Board of Education, to take all necessary steps to secure that the children of this country are educated in the duties of citizenship, including the particular duty which my noble friend has in mind, but I am afraid when I spoke on this matter in the Committee stage I made a mistake which I should like to take this opportunity of correcting, not then having had the advantage of being able to consult my right honourable friend in the manner I might have been able to do in different circumstances. I then said that the President of the Board of Education would issue regulations enjoining that these principles should form part of the education of children, but the view of my right honourable friend is that a regulation would not be an appropriate instrument and that it should be done by a circular and also on his part by addresses to the teachers and to the local education authorities.
In the view of the President regulations are appropriate for defining the conditions under which monetary grants shall be paid and matters of that sort, but they are not appropriate for giving instructions in regard to the curriculum. The proper way to do that is by circular and also by general exhortation. Your Lordships 794 must recognize that education in this country is, to a very large extent, in the hands of the local education authorities, which are bodies resting on popular support in the same way that Parliament does. I think my right honourable friend feels that we ought to be a little careful as to how far any instruction on any matter of doctrine, however universally accepted, should be, as it were, imposed by the President on the local education authorities. I mention that point because it would not be a candid picture of his policy if I did not do so. Subject to that, it is his intention to take every step to draw the attention of the local education authorities and of the teachers to the importance of making all children understand what are their civic duties in this respect. I entirely agree with what both noble Lords have said about that. I think it is very important in a democracy that these things should be clearly understood and that is certainly the view of the President of the Board of Education.
The objection to the Amendment is the one I gave before, that in this Bill we are erecting a piece of machinery. We are creating machinery and we are not dealing with curriculum. When we are legislating we must legislate well and in a workmanlike fashion. Nobody is more capable of advancing the principles he holds dear than my noble friend in the proper way and on proper occasions. He can speak here and on a thousand platforms in the country in favour of any cause that he holds dear and his words will always carry great weight. But to put a cause, however national, however sacred, however unchallengeable, into an Act of Parliament is just bad legislation. Therefore the Government are bound to oppose it. I hope your Lordships will not be carried away—it is very easy to be carried away—by the eloquence of my noble friend, but will look at the matter in a sane and sensible fashion, passing the Bill in a workmanlike form and refraining from decorating it with various flags to which we all owe allegiance.
§ LORD MOTTISTONE
My Lords, may I be permitted, in order to shorten discussion, to put a question to my noble friend? May I ask whether the machinery that he suggests will make it as certain that this particular doctrine will have the same authority and universal accept- 795 ance as the doctrine dealt with in the clauses dealing with religious teaching? The local education authorities will have to see to it that there is corporate worship and religious teaching in the schools. Will the machinery be the same in this case?
§ THE EARL OF SELBORNE
My Lords, you are well aware that for the past fifty years we have been trying to deal with the problem of providing for religious education in an Act of Parliament, and many a controversy and many a headache has it led to. We see the result of these fifty years' labours in this Bill. I cannot pretend that any circular issued by the Board of Education would have the same effect as an Act of Parliament, but in the teaching of patriotism and civic duties surely what is important is not what you can enforce by Act of Parliament but that you should carry the teaching profession, the local education authorities and the parents with you, and that they should all realize that this is a matter which should be explained to children and which children should appreciate.
§ LORD ADDISON
My Lords, I must respond to the appeal of the noble Lord, but I am afraid not quite in that mood of repentance for which he was sanguine enough to hope. I would recall to your Lordships, and I would like to support very heartily, the plea of the noble Earl that we should legislate in a sensible and practical way. The Amendment to which I was speaking was in these words:The secular education to be given to the pupils in every county school and every secondary school shall include simple teaching as to the right and duty of every citizen to defend his native land.In that Amendment the duty of the citizen was limited to defending his native land. In my speech the opening sentence was:I am sorry to introduce a jarring note. Let there be instruction in the duties of citizenship by all means.Those were my words. The more that can be instilled into our children the better it will be, but it depends upon the interpretation we give to that kind of instruction. To-day it becomes your duty to your neighbour, but in my speech I pleaded that the duty of citizenship included duty to your neighbour.
796 A friend of mine the other day spoke of the peril in which we stand by allowing ourselves to become slaves to science and perhaps our existence as a civilization to be endangered by the progress of science, to the neglect of other elementary and more vital things. He said to me: "What is the good of being able to get to London in half an hour by aeroplane if you do not tell the truth when you get there?" He was dealing there with a very elementary and important consideration. The point is, what do we mean by the duty of the citizen? There are a number of Amendments, with which I have myself the greatest possible sympathy, standing in the name of the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, about teaching the history of the British Commonwealth of Nations. But, of course, we here are not constructing a school syllabus. We are constructing an Education Act. We must expect the people who are in charge of education to educate, and to have a proper, growing and increasing apprehension of what they mean by education. You cannot put into the Bill this and that particular definition. I cannot imagine anyone teaching history, for instance, without teaching the history of the British Commonwealth. It is a great story, a story of sacrifice, of adventure and of fairness. It is a wonderful story, an immortal story, and it is a part of history. You do not take out particular parts of history, you expect history to be taught as a whole.
The same thing applies in respect of the duties of citizenship. I agree with the noble Lord sitting behind me to a certain extent. I deplore the events which he deplores. I do not think they can be accounted for by the reasons which he suggests, but I join with him in deploring them. But in this matter what is it that noble Lords are so apprehensive about? I think that never in history has there been given a more remarkable demonstration of national solidarity than we have been having in recent times. It is a wonderful demonstration, and it is due to the fact that people are fighting for something in which they believe. They believe in liberty, they are fighing for it, they are willing to die for it, and that is because they have the right motives in their souls, not because of something in a syllabus.
Now I come to the noble Lord's interpretation. I have spoken to him about 797 this and I told him I wanted to know what he meant. The noble Lord has been kind enough to tell us something of what he does mean. He has quoted from previous utterances and I take the liberty of doing the same. This Amendment to which I have referred was designed principally to secure that there should be taught in schools the right and duty of the citizen to defend his native land. Hitler's interpretation is that the State is everything, that the individual must sacrifice his life and everything else—even truth, honesty and family—for the State. We all deplore that kind of thing, we hate it just as much as the noble Lord does and we are fighting it.
The noble Lord has said: "What I am proposing is to ensure that for the future teachers and taught alike shall have instilled into them the principles of the British Constitution." That certainly did not appear in the Amendment. He further said that it should be taught that "the defence of the realm and the keeping of the peace are the right and duty of each individual citizen." I am glad that the noble Lord has brought to us this copy of Dicey. I shall really have to make some inquiry about it though before I accept it from him. Some of your Lordships may remember that Mr. Gillie Potter, in a broadcast, described a hearth-rug at the hall at Hogsnorton, and mentioned that it had the letters "G.W.R." in the middle of it. I see that this book has got the word "Brooks's" upon it.
§ LORD MOTTISTONE
If the noble Lord will forgive me, I can give him a complete explanation. May I say in passing that in future he should pronounce that word "Brookses"? The facts are simply these. I went to the Library of the House of Lords, and I said to the Librarian: "Can I take Dicey's Law of the Constitution into the Chamber?" The Librarian said "I would rather you did not." Therefore as I was unable to get the book from our own Library I thought that the best thing to do was to go to a respectable club and ask permission to borrow a copy of the book from its library.
§ LORD ADDISON
There you are you see; that just shows you how important it is to get an interpretation from the noble Lord. I thought the noble Lord was giving me the book, and I believe the House thought so too. However we 798 now know that he borrowed it from Brooks's. To go back to this question of mine about interpretation. The noble Lord in interpreting his Amendment went on to say that if the citizen sees a man in uniform beating a child to death it is his duty, if he has the least prospect of success, to go for the blackguard and stop him. When did mufti become a shield for a blackguard? You notice the noble Lord said: "If the citizen sees a man in uniform beating a child to death." What about it if he is not in uniform? My humble interpretation of the duties of citizenship is that whether the man were in uniform or not I would have a shot at him.
§ LORD ADDISON
I am reading what the noble Lord said. I am entitled to take this as his understanding of what he means. You notice that he says that the citizen "if he has the least prospect of success" is to go for the blackguard and stop him. When we first stood up to Hitler we did not stop to estimate whether we should have any great prospect of success or not. We said: "We will fight him," and I think that any ordinary citizen who sees a man beating a child to death will go for him whether the man is in uniform or not, or whether he thinks that he is likely to succeed with his intervention or not. I suggest that my interpretations of the duties of citizenship are much better than those of the noble Lord. But, as I have said, all this shows how necessary it is to have proper interpretations. The noble Lord's speech to-day, I thought, bore extraordinarily little relation to his own Amendment; that again indicates how necessary it is to get something in the way of an interpretation.
I am apprehensive about putting words of this kind into an Act of Parliament. That is why I object to it. I do not of course object to any citizen doing his duty. The higher the ideals of citizenship are the better it is for us all. The British citizen has shown that he is willing to fight and to die for his country. No citizens anywhere have shown that spirit better, but you are not going to promote that spirit by putting into this Bill the sort of words which the noble Lord now recommends. An Act of Parliament is not the place for this sort of thing, and 799 I am sure that the decision of the Government is the right one. I do not place myself second to the noble Lord or to anyone else in patriotism or in willingness to sacrifice myself for my native land, and that applies also to my noble friends. But that has nothing to do with our objection to an inappropriate Amendment being put into an Act of Parliament, and therefore these apeals to Dicey and to some hydra-headed creature of the French Revolution appear to me to have no connexion with this Amendment. That sort of argument leaves me completely cold. This is a bad Amendment, and I object to its being made.
§ VISCOUNT MAUGHAM
My Lords, I should like to say a few words on this topic. Everybody who has spoken with heat says that other things leave him cold. I hope to remain cold throughout, but it is my view that this Amendment is one of great importance and we have to make up our minds upon it. I do not think that it is a triviality at all. I am not for a moment suggesting that in this country people are not patriotic, and have not joined the Forces with alacrity, and are not fighting with the greatest courage and spirit; nevertheless, we are legislating now, I hope, for a very long period of years, and I do not think that it would be dangerous or improper—I shall give reasons for saying so—to insert in this Bill what my noble friend Lord Addison himself says is implicit in it—namely, that everybody should be instructed in the duties of citizenship.
The opinion of historians at the present time, so far as I have been able to understand it, is that the terrible state of affairs on the Continent is very largely due to the fact that the people there have not been instructed in the duties of citizenship and in their other duties to their country. In particular, those who have studied the history of France in recent years will say that no body of people in that country is so responsible for the unfortunate actions of France in the year 1940 as the teachers. I do not think that the danger here is nearly as great as it was in France, but this is a possible danger everywhere; and for my part I think it is in the highest degree important that something (not necessarily these words) should be put somewhere in this Bill (not necessarily in this particular 800 place) to show that the duties of citizenship have to be taught in the secondary and county schools by the teachers. I have in mind a very able and remarkable book called Conversation with Lord Bryce by Mr. Gilbert Murray, which has just been published. The author there refers to the awful events which have taken place on the Continent as being largely due to the lack of effective instruction on matters of this kind.
The next thing I want to ask is this: Is anybody confident that this instruction is being given to children in the secondary schools of this country? Do the people concerned know that it is their duty to support law and order and, in certain conditions, to sacrifice their lives for their country? Have many of them ever heard that said? This is a matter on which it is difficult to be dogmatic, and I may be wrong, but my opinion is that a large proportion of the population have not the least notion that any of these duties apply to them. They think that for the protection of their country they can rely on the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, and with regard to other matters they can rely on the police, and they think that they have no duties whatever. If that is so, it is high time that they were taught the facts.
My noble friend Lord Addison has made some caustic observations and, as usual, with the greatest dexterity he has seized upon some matters here which he says lead to ambiguity. That is a false point altogether, because this Amendment has reference only to instruction in the duties of citizenship according to law. The Amendment does not profess to give a complete statement of the law on this subject, and the words which follow only state that there are certain duties with regard to national defence and the maintenance of law and order which fall on the citizen, without limiting the duties of the citizen to these things. It is a complete mistake to suppose that because my noble friend Lord Mottistone has referred to some specific duties he is attempting to define them all. This Amendment does not attempt to define them; all it says is that the instruction should be given "as regards the duties of citizenship according to law," and it mentions two of those duties. For my part I should be perfectly willing to accept what has already been admitted as something that 801 should be taught, and to stop at the words "the duties of citizenship according to law," and then it will be left for those who are in charge of education to select those duties which ought to be taught to children. But that instruction should be given in the main facts I have no doubt at all; I think it is clear that it should be.
It is suggested that these words should not find a place in the Bill. That is a curious argument to put forward. In Clause 7 of the Bill we have the words "to contribute towards the moral, mental, and physical development of the community." I leave out "physical," because that is it a different category, but we have to teach spiritual, mental and moral duties; why, therefore, should we not teach the duties of citizenship in some form or another? What is the difference in principle between teaching a boy the ethical fact that he must not steal—which I suppose that he is taught—and teaching him that he has a positive duty to defend his country and to assist the police, subject to law? I myself am unable to sec the distinction between the moral duties of the citizen from this point of view and the duties of citizenship. It seems to me that they are closely allied, and I am unable to see why we should not insert some such provision as this in the Bill.
On the other hand, I do see at once that this is something apart from the ordinary syllabus which the local education authority will lay down. It is not like a proposition in Euclid, or a passage in Caesar's Commentaries, or whatever it is that they teach in the secondary schools. It is different from that. It is far more important, in my opinion, but it is different. If this provision is not made, I can quite imagine that there are cases where the local education authority will take the view, or may some years hence take the view, at a time of national strife that they do not agree that anything should be taught in schools which would assist the Government to get a satisfactory Air Force as a guard against some future dangers to this country. That would be dead wrong. That is the sort of darter that this Amendment might serve to prevent. I strongly urge your Lordships to regard this Amendment—and the same thing applies, if this one is rejected, to the Amendment to be moved by Lord Chatfield—as of great 802 value, and I shall be extremely sorry if they are not accepted in some form or another.
§ LORD ROCHE
My Lords, with the greatest possible diffidence I am going to make a suggestion which may not be acceptable either to the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, or to the noble Earl, but I will try. Lord Mottistone quoted me as a legal authority. I am sorry he did so, but it is quite true that I told him that I thought his law was unexceptionable. He should add, however, than I told him also I was not quite sure about his policy, and that I thought he should accept the offer that I understood to be made to him to do this thing by regulation. But the position is now that that offer has been withdrawn. Where do we stand? My suggestion is this. A circular is a little nebulous, but this is the Report stage and we have got to do something soon.
If your Lordships will turn to Clause 4 you will follow my suggestion. Under that clause the Minister may consult his Council upon any question referred to them by him. The noble Earl says he accepts Lord Mottistone's doctrine in full, so does the President and undertakes to Lord Mottistone to refer to the Council not the question of what should be taught but how it should be taught. Is not that an ample assurance that attention will be given to what he desires, and does not the same thing apply to these other Amendments? Thus you would get rid of the difficulty which we are in. Leave all questions of how to deal with those matters to the Council, both in regard to military service and the British Empire. Ask them how it should be taught. The President undertakes to submit to them the fact that it should be taught and simply asks them how.
§ LORD KEYES
Would that instruction be in any way binding on the next President of the Board of Education? On the other hand, if the Amendment were inserted and it went into an Act of Parliament the Government would have to go to both Houses of Parliament to abrogate it.
§ THE EARL OF SELBORNE
My Lords, I think I can assure Lord Roche that if it were the wish of this House the President of the Board of Education would 803 certainly seek the advice of his Advisory Council as to how best this matter, together with other matters, should be handled. I can certainly give him that assurance.
§ LORD MOTTISTONE
My Lords, the matter stands thus, and I think we can bring it quite simply to an issue: if the President of the Board of Education, as we are told, accepts the principle laid down in this Amendment—clearly and lucidly expounded by Lord Maugham and more vigorously no doubt but less skilfully by myself—and if he says that he will see to it that such instruction shall be given in the same way as instruction is given in religious matters, then I accept Lord Roche's suggestion with the greatest pleasure. The only question is, is it "shall" or "may"? The matter has been brought to an issue now, for no less a newspaper than The Times, the respecable Times, referring in its Educational Supplement to the regulation which the noble Earl promised me should be issued, declared in effect, "We trust he will do no such thing, that he will issue no such regulation." We now know it is the wish of this House. Are we going to climb down before the leading article in The Times Educational Supplement, and is the Minister in charge of the Bill, who said "We will issue a regulation" when we come to the next stage, going to say, "Oh, sorry I spoke. No, we will issue a circular" which, I understand, like any other circular, will not be at all mandatory? Well then, we reject it. The issue is joined quite clearly. Are the children to be told that the rights of citizenship must be expounded to them in simple words or are you going to leave it to the local education authority? If you are to leave it to them, I am bound going to say I cannot accept such a falling away from a promise given in Parliament.
§ THE EARL OF SELBORNE
My Lords, with your Lordships' leave, perhaps I may answer that question. A circular from the Board of Education is, of course, a very familiar instrument. The noble Lord asks me whether it is binding, whether it is "shall" or "may." As I endeavoured to point out in my previous remarks, the education system of this country is to a very large extent decentralized, and rests in the hands of the local education authorities. What my 804 right honourable friend has authorized me to say is that he will issue a circular drawing the attention of the local education authorities and the teachers to the importance of teaching the duties of citizenship, including this aspect of citizenship, and will urge them to give that teaching. That is not what my noble friend would call mandatory, but neither are the words, I suggest, that he wishes to put in this Bill. They would not be any more mandatory. What is necessary is to bring the local education authorities and the teachers along with us in this object, just as we do in regard to other matters in connexion with education. There is no cause to suspect either the teachers or the local education authorities of lack of appreciation of the importance of this matter, and therefore it would be inappropriate to suggest that anything beyond the normal procedure of the Board of Education is called for. I hope my noble friend will accept this assurance that I have given him.
§ LORD CHATFIELD
My Lords, may I interpose on a point of procedure? I have an Amendment on this very clause which is different from that moved by the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone. It is also an Amendment to insert a new subsection at the end of line 6 on page 20. What is my position if the Amendment of the noble Lord is agreed to by the Government? Am I then unable to move my Amendment at the same place?
§ THE EARL OF SELBORNE
If the Amendment of Lord Mottistone is carried, the Amendment by the noble Lord, Lord Chatfield, would not read; it would have to be redrafted.
§ LORD LATHAM
My Lords, the view expressed by the noble Earl on behalf of the Government is the correct one, and I and my friends hope that the Government will not recede from the attitude my noble friend has indicated. Clearly a circular is the proper means by which the desire expressed in this Amendment should be brought to the notice of those responsible for the actual administration of education. I should however like to ask the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, and those who support him what is the mischief which this Amendment is designed to cure. Is it the case that in the past our people have been unwilling to maintain law, to keep the peace, to assist the police, or to behave themselves 805 in a proper way in a civilized, organized, legal society, and therefore it is necessary to have this instruction put in the Bill? Is it the case that, for want of such a provision in earlier Education Statutes or in earlier regulations issued by former Presidents of the Board of Education, our men and women have shown themselves unwilling to defend this country? What is the mischief that this is intended to cure? What are the defects resident in our people which arise from an absence of such a provision in earlier Education Statutes?
I have no desire to import heat into this matter, but I must say I can quite understand men and women who have passed through our State schools regarding this Amendment and what has been said in its support, as well as what was said in support of the former Amendment moved by Lord Mottistone, as something of an affront to their patriotism. After all, the men and women who went through the State schools showed no lack of desire or willingness to defend their land in the first World War, and they have not shown any less willingness to defend their land in this war. I can see no grounds at all for altering the practice which has been in existence for a number of Tars. The noble Viscount, Lord Maugham, referred to the situation in Europe, and put it down mainly to the absence of recognition of the duties of citizenship in the various countries of Europe.
§ LORD LATHAM
To a great extent. That may or may not be the case. We are not suffering from these defects in this country.
§ LORD LATHAM
Is there any likelihood that we shall? After all, we faced the greatest crisis any nation in history faced in 1939 and 1940.
§ LORD LATHAM
I am coming to the question of "quite unprepared" in a moment. It is not suggested that we are suffering from the defects of France. The defects which the teaching staff suffered in France were political rather than 806 otherwise, into which it is not to-day appropriate to go. The noble Viscount said that it is the habit of the people of this country to rely on the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. Who constitutes the Army, the Navy and the Air Force except the people of this country? Are they not entitled to rely upon themselves? They have done it hitherto with some success. The noble Lord, Lord Keyes, raised the question about this country being unprepared. It was unprepared. You cannot put that down to the business of teaching in the State schools. Oh, no! After all, it was not the products of the State schools who were the apostles of appeasement between the two wars. It was not they who were invited to Nuremberg to the Partei Tag celebrations and came back and assembled in country houses to discuss the virtues of Nazism. It was not they who approved the policy of Mussolini. So far as I know, no boy or girl issuing from a State school sent a telegram to General De Bono or approved the attack by Mussolini on Abyssinia, or found that Fascism was a desirable form of government because the trains ran more punctually in Italy. It was not the products of the State schools who adopted that point of view or adhered to that political philosophy. I shall not pursue my inquiries as to which schools the apostles of that policy emerged from.
§ LORD BARNBY
May I ask the noble Lord, without being controversial, from what schools those people came who fried to interfere with military tattoos, which aimed at instilling the very objects that Lord Mottistone is now recommending? The members of those city councils probably attended State schools.
§ LORD LATHAM
As regards being unprepared, after all it was not a Government composed of the products of the State schools who refused up to within a few months of the outbreak of war to establish a Ministry of Supply. It was not a Government composed of the products of the State schools whose Prime Minister had to admit that, because of political considerations in 1935, he hesitated to give this country the advice it ought to have had. I do suggest that, having regard to the unexampled efforts, courage, heroism, devotion, work, steadfastness that the people of this country 807 —products of the State schools and other schools—have put forward, it is a little difficult at this time to justify the assumption that, in order that those who go to the State schools should in future be good citizens, it is necessary to embody an obligation of this kind in an Act of Parliament. That would be a grave reflection on the people of this country for which history finds and exhibits no justification whatever.
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR DOMINION AFFAIRS (VISCOUNT CRANBORNE) (Lord Cecil)
My Lords, I rise only to try to clarify the position a bit. I really think the discussion is getting a little wide. I do not want to go into what I consider the rather unnecessarily provocative remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Latham.
A good deal might be said about the attitude of all Parties before the war. None of us is entirely free from blame. I do not think that the speech which he has just delivered was inspired by that spirit of national unity which is characteristic of this country as a whole.
The noble Lord made a provocative speech and he will forgive me if I reply. What I did want to say in rising to speak to your Lordships is this. It seems to me there is some misapprehension among some of your Lordships both as to the position under this Amendment and as to the attitude of His Majesty's Government. I detected it, I think, even in the speech which such an authoritative and experienced noble Lord as the noble Viscount, Lord Maugham, made a few minutes ago. I got the impression from his speech—perhaps he did not intend it—that the question between us is "should the duties of citizenship be taught or not?" That was the impression his speech made upon me. That, in fact, is not the point at all. The Government have not found it necessary to oppose this Amendment because they think it undesirable or unnecessary. I think my noble friend Lord Selborne has already made it perfectly clear that he agrees with every word that was said by the noble Lord, 808 Lord Mottistone, in introducing the Amendment. I should have thought there was clearly nothing more important than that people should be educated in the duties of citizenship and in particular in the duty of defending their native land. I think indeed we may say with some pride that it is characteristic of your Lordships' House that you immediately recognized this fact and devoted a considerable amount of attention to an aspect of education which you rightly regard as fundamental.
It is perfectly true, and I think it has been admitted this afternoon, that before this war there was a good deal of woolly thinking on matters of this kind. A good many people have, since 1939, changed their minds. Certainly, I should think that the war must have proved conclusively to everybody but the woolliest and the very silliest—and I hope they are not very many—that the defence of one's native land it inextricably bound up with the preservation of all those things which alone make life worth living. Therefore there is in fact no difference between the noble Lord and the Government on the object to be attained; none at all.
This, I think, is also clear from the answer which was given by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education in another place on July 6. He said:It is the intention of my right honourable friend when the Education Bill becomes law to apprise local education authorities and teachers of the need for instruction in the duties and responsibilities of citizenship.That is perfectly clear. He added:Such particular aspects of those duties and responsibilities as are referred to by my honourable friend"—that is in the question he had been asked—cannot adequately be dealt with in regulations which prescribe the minimum conditions for the payment of grant. The precise manner in which the subject can most effectively be imparted to pupils of differing ages and abilities is at present engaging the attention of my right honourable friend.What he meant was that it is a difficult question of machinery, but my right honourable friend the President of the Board is at present engaged in trying to find the most satisfactory means of satisfying what we all agree to be a desirable and necesssary condition of education.
In fact, really the question that is between us—if there is a question, and I 809 hope there is not—is merely one of machinery: shall there be specific mention of this subject in the Bill or shall there not? That is the only question which is between us. The difficulty, as it has been explained before, of His Majesty's Government in this matter is that the Bill deals with the machinery of a public system of education and it does not prescribe toe subjects of the curriculum. Efforts have been made, as your Lordships know, during the debates in the Committee stage, and I think in Report stage, to introduce references to particular subjects which were of interest to noble Lords. There is the question of citizenship which has been introduced by the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone. There is the question of the Empire which was introduced by the noble Viscount, Lord Bledislce. They might easily have asked for the introduction of the subjects of history and geography, both of which are essential to citizenship and also to a knowledge of the British Commonwealth and Empire. But none of these things are in fact ruled out. On the contrary, nearly ill of them, perhaps all of them, will certainly be included in the curricula when the curricula are drawn up.
We have been told that the children of this country are to be educated spiritually, morally and mentally. I should have thought that the duties of citizenship arid the duty to defend one's native land were wholly covered by those words. Certainly they ought to be. I do think it is inappropriate to put these things in detail in the Bill itself. If you put in these things you will find that when the Bill goes back to another place there will be people pressing for the inclusion of other subjects, and ultimately you will probably get an immensely voluminous and still utterly incomplete and unsatisfying Bill, because there will always be people who have not got exactly what they want. I do therefore suggest to Lord Mottistone that he would be wise riot to press his Amendment at the present time. I would further repeat what my noble friend Lord Selborne has already said, that he is quite ready to undertake on behalf of my right honourable friend the President of the Board of Education that he will refer to his Advisory Council the question of how these difficult subjects may best be taught. I would have thought that that gives the House all they want because the Presi- 810 dent of the Board will refer to his Advisory Council not the question of whether these things should be taught but how they should be taught. I suggest, therefore, there is no need for the House to debate this any longer and that we should come to a decision.
§ LORD CHATFIELD
My Lords, I should like to intervene, if I may, at this stage in view of the uncertainty as to whether my Amendment will come before your Lordships' House. I am not satisfied with the words of the Amendment moved by my noble friend. I think that the actual wording of his Amendment has been one of the causes of the stormy weather through which it has passed. As regards the question that has been just dealt with by the Leader of the House, I feel that the difficulty about how this regulation or law should be made is due to the fact that we have failed to put the security of the country on a high enough place. We, for instance, do not hesitate to put into the Education Bill religious teaching, yet we say we cannot put in anything about defence or about defending your country because it is called secular teaching. But why should you call the subject of the safety of the country secular teaching, like geography or history or some such subject? It ought to be on a higher plane. There is no controversy, or should be none, about the principle of the safety of the country any more than there is about the principle of religious teaching. I should have thought it would have been quite possible to have put into the Bill the safety of the country as you have put in religion because the two subjects are entirely separate from the ordinary secular curriculum.
To my mind the Amendment moved by Lord Mottistone does not go far enough. It does not touch the basic difficulties that have caused the controversies about which I addressed your Lordships some three months ago. You want to teach the young about their responsibilities and if you teach them that then you can be perfectly certain that when they have to fulfil those responsibilities they will not fail. I am not at all sure that it is wise at this time to put into a Bill, when our young men are fighting so wonderfully and when many are just leaving school to go into the front line, anything which implies that there can be any doubt at all about their being willing to defend their 811 country, but I do feel that we can put in something which is quite uncontroversial, that it is our duty to tell the young of their responsibilities. For instance, I have suggested in the Amendment I have put on the Paper that they should be taught two things: that they should be taught, in the first place, something simple about the defence of their country, and secondly, that they should be taught the responsibilities for securing peace in the world that have been accepted by the British races.
As regards the first, surely the young should be taught that we live in a highly dangerous state in these islands, that we have got great responsibilities because we have a system which depends on a long line of communications all over the sea which are highly vulnerable, and that there are many people who would like to destroy them. We ought to be able to teach them the fact that the world is really not a very contented place, that there are many races who have grievances and who are dissatisfied with their position. If that is so, then it ought to be impressed upon the young because they are the factors which are the causes of war.
It is quite wrong to imagine that because you teach the young something about the duty of defending their country you are going to make them what is sometimes called, rather with derision, military-minded. The mistake we made in the peace years was that we believed love of peace and weakness went together and that aggression and strength were inevitably allied. That is wrong. We have to realize that strength should be in the hands of the peaceful and that the aggressor should not be allowed to be strong. Those are the kind of principles that we ought to teach the young, to my mind. But it would be quite insufficient to tell the young that all they need do is to be able to defend their country. That does not go far enough to-day.
The noble Lord, Lord Addison, said the other day that he would like them to be taught that a man has a duty towards his neighbour and that he should love his neighbour as himself. I think the young might wisely ask him: "Who is my neighbour?" That, you will remember, was the question asked by the young lawyer which led to Our Lord giving him 812 the parable of the Good Samaritan. The Good Samaritan was not of the tribe of the man he helped and rescued. The teaching of the parable was that if anyone is in trouble it is your duty to help whether or not he is your brother or of your own race. There can be no doubt that that is the spirit which stood behind the League of Nations and it is the spirit which governed this country when we went into this war.
Although the cynic may say we went to war to defend ourselves, that was not the spiritual reason why we took up arms in defence of Poland or why we gave a guarantee to that country and to Greece. We must not forget that, and we must realize that the young of to-day are just as likely to have to fight for some brother in another hemisphere as to have to fight for their brothers in this country. Do they realize that? Do they realize that when we old men make laws and sign treaties they will have to honour those treaties when we have passed away? I do not think they do, and I am sure it is wrong that we should lay such heavy responsibilities on the young and not teach them that they have got those responsibilities perhaps one day to fulfil. I think we ought to teach them that the world is growing smaller every day, that they are no longer merely citizens of this country but citizens of the world, and that that is what gives them these immense responsibilities. If only you teach them that it will make their lessons in geography and history far more interesting. I agree with those who think that history should be taught the other way round, that the young should be taught modern history and taught their responsibilities, even if, at the end of their school days, they have not got further back than Ethelred the Unready. It is very important, if you teach youth about their responsibilities and about the dangers that this country is liable to suffer, that their knowledge should be tested when passing for their school certificate. If you do not do that you will not get keenness put by the teachers into the instruction.
The youth of to-day, as we all know, is the elector of to-morrow. He has to be taught that there are three things in our national life which have to be equated, the national income, the standard of living and our security. Those things ought to be equated in this way, 813 that your standard of living is your national income less what you must expend on your national security. Unfortunately, we always put it the other way, and consequently in all democratic countries there has been the same failure, so that neither America nor ourselves, France or any other democratic country has been able to make themselves ready to fulfil their responsibilities. If you teach the young that they may have to fight for other countries besides their own on moral principles, then the end democratic weakness will be overcome, because youth will say: "If you have given us, you old men" (such as we who are here to-day) "these terrible responsibilities, will you give us the means of fulfilling them?" Then the political difficulties and the political hesitations in peace-time, in asking electors for money to defend the country, will gradually be overcome. Therefore I suggest that the wording of Lord Mottistone's Amendment should be changed, and that it should be changed into the words which I was to have moved in my own Amendment—the effect bring that we should teach the young t he responsibilities "for world peace and security accepted by the British races." If that is done there will be no doubt whatever that they will be as ready in the future as they have shown themselves to be to-day to defend their country.
§ LORD MOTTISTONE
My Lords, I am sure you r Lordships want a decision on this matter. I think I see daylight, a way out of this dilemma which is a very acute one. I believe that the most reverend Primate can quite easily be the agent of peace who will solve our problem. The dilemma arises because there are so many of us who think that it is so important that in all schools these things of which we have been speaking should be taught. We say that these duties are almost as important as one's duty to God, in fact they are in conformity with it. We know that failure to give this teaching did contribute to the great depletion of our Forces, a fact which my noble friend Lord Latham has quite forgotten.
§ LORD MOTTISTONE
It is a fact that people were not anxious to serve. They did not think that it was necessary. But 814 to revert to what I was saying, there is a way out of our dilemma. My noble friend the Leader of the House, in a speech in which he most generously accepted the substance of what I said, stated that he would have thought that what is to be taught in all schools—namely the "moral obligation"—would include what we have in mind. If the most reverend Primate would say, as I am sure he can, that in arranging for this moral instruction to be given in all schools there shall be included the teaching of one's duty to one's neighbour and the duties of citizenship, then I and my friends feel that we can easily withdraw my Amendment, for then we could rest assured that teaching of the kind to which we attach so much importance would be ensured.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My Lords, the noble Lord has appealed to me, and I am only too willing to do anything I can to help. But I do not know whether my influence will carry much weight in deciding what should be included in the word "moral." I should certainly desire that the moral teaching given in schools, and the moral influence exercised by them should tend in the direction of building up people to a full sense of their responsibility as citizens both for the maintenance of peace and for the defence of their country when subject to attack. I should also regard that as covering the points raised by the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Chatfield. So far as my own personal influence might go, it would be exercised in this direction, but I cannot give any encouragement to the noble Lord to suppose that the decision in that matter will in any material degree rest with me.
THE LORD BISHOP OF LONDON
My Lords, may I add a word which I think might help my noble friends? It is ensured in the Bill that there shall be teaching of religion but what is to be taught is referred to a consensus of opinion between local authorities, the teachers, the denominations and everybody concerned as shown in conference. There is a whole schedule devoted to this. I think the word "moral" applied to teaching, without the slightest doubt includes obligations of citizenship. But as has been said you cannot proceed to define a syllabus in the Bill. To whom should it be referred? I would go back to the suggestion of the noble and learned Lord that the Central 815 Advisory Council will consider the details of the matter and will discuss all teaching of this sort. The only final solution of the problem must be found in a consensus of opinion among the authorities, the teaching profession and anybody else concerned. The Central Advisory Council is an excellent body for exploring territory. The Bill contains requirements for religious teaching, teaching in the duty to God and moral teaching, and this certainly means also your duty to your neighbour. The Bill has special machinery for defining religious teaching and the Central Advisory Council is a vital part of the machinery.
§ Tim EARL of SELBORNE
My Lords, in view of what has just been said, may I make an appeal to my noble friend Lord Mottistone to accept the assurance that I have given that the President of the Board of Education will consult the Advisory Committee on this particular subject?
§ LORD MOTTISTONE
I am in the hands of my friends who are acting with me, but so far as I am concerned I think this debate has shown a determination on the part of the Government to further the views which we have put forward. That I think fulfils all that I have asked for. In view of what has been said, and especially in view of what has fallen from the lips of the most reverend Primate, I think we can rest content with the assurances that have been given and with your permission I will withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
My Lords, I think that before the next noble Lord rises I ought to consult the House once more. We have not made nearly as good progress in this matter as I had hoped we should make, and there is a good deal more business on the Paper for to-day. In the circumstances, I would suggest that the wisest thing would be, after the long debate we have had on this clause, to adjourn the Report stage of the Education Bill now, proceed to the other business on the Paper, and start with Viscount Elibank's Amendment to-morrow. 816 I would, in making that suggestion, plead with your Lordships for more expedition. If we can we must get on more quickly to-morrow. We must finish this debate on the Report stage to-morrow night, whatever happens.
THE LORD BISHOP OF LONDON
My Lords, is it possible to ask the noble Lords who are responsible for the next two Amendments to accept a similar assurance to that just given—namely, that their two Amendments would be referred to the Central Advisory Council? Everything which has been said on the two Amendments just dealt with applies equally to the next two Amendments. It has been agreed that we cannot construct a syllabus in this House and in this Bill. If the Government would consent to refer these two matters also to the Central Advisory Council I believe that the movers of the Amendment would best serve the interests which they have at heart, and would best assist the progress of the Bill by withdrawing.
I would like to accept the right reverend Prelate's proposal but before doing so I would like to hear a statement from the noble Earl, Lord Selborne, upon the subject because the Amendment I have put on the Paper has the effect of placing the whole onus on local authorities of making provision to enable pupils to acquire certain knowledge. I cannot accept a proposal to withdraw my Motion without hearing what the noble Earl has to say.
§ THE EARL OF SELBORNE
My Lords, I will certainly give my noble friend's words careful consideration. I suggest that we now ought to adopt the proposal of the noble Leader of the House that the debate on the Report stage of the Education Bill should be adjourned and should be resumed to-morrow with the Amendment of my noble friend Viscount Elibank.
§ Further consideration of the Bill on Report adjourned till to-morrow.