HC Deb 09 July 1858 vol 151 cc1171-2

said, he rose to call the attention of the House to the injudicious course pursued by the Departments of Science and Art in diminishing in some instances the allowance to provincial schools before art instruction had become sufficiently appreciated in such localities as to render the schools independent of Government aid for their maintenance. The Vote proposed to be granted by Parliament for these departments had now reached upwards of £80,000; but the lion's share of that sum was absorbed by the Museum and other institutions at Kensington, while the claims of the country schools were comparatively neglected. Unfortunately, in that part of Ireland with which he was connected manufactures Were in such a backward state that the diminution of the allowances pressed with peculiar severity on the schools of art; and he hoped that, considering the immense benefits conferred by art instruction, a stringent inquiry would be instituted and the evil remedied.


said, that as this was one of the first votes on the paper, it would have been better to have delayed this matter until the House went into Committee; but as he had introduced it, he must be allowed to say that the hon. Gentleman was utterly mistaken in saying that an unjust share of the Vote was apportioned to the metropolis, for the museums were open to all visitors, and in fact were actually sent round the country. Moreover, so far from Ireland being dealt with unfairly, it stood on precisely the same footing as the rest of the country, and fully shared in the benefits conferred. As regarded the change in the mode of bestowing grants, he could only say that it had been of the greatest advantage. Experience had proved that the old system of affording pecuniary assistance annually to provincial schools had tended to destroy all self-reliance in the schools themselves; but by the introduction of the new system of granting assistance according to the results, and the number of prizes, the schools had become more self-supporting, and the cost to Government had been reduced from £4 per pupil to 13s., while the education had improved, and the number of students had been multiplied to a most considerable extent.


said, he felt the greatest distrust of State grants for such purposes, and he hoped that in Committee the right hon. Gentleman would be prepared to enter into a statement of the effect of local schools.

Main Question put, and agreed to.