HC Deb 08 May 1862 vol 166 cc1446-51

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.

MR. MASSEY in the Chair.

£842,119, Public Education in Great Britain.


said, it appeared to have been the usual expectation that the person who held his present office, in bringing forward the Vote for Education, should say something that would get up a debate. But he thought the House had lately heard enough on the subject, and that he would best consult their wishes by not troubling them with any statement, but simply confine himself to answering any questions which hon. Gentlemen might be pleased to ask him. The Estimate for last year amounted to £803,794, and this year it amounted to £842,119, being an increase over the preceding year of £38,325. Of that increase £13,500 was accounted for as being sums which would be taken for schools that would derive aid for the first time under the Revised Code on the examination of the children who attended them. The rest of the excess was accounted for by an increase consequent on the spread of the system. There was no other item in the Estimate that called for any observation. He had only one remark to make on the general subject, and that had reference to the training colleges. The Government had prepared a corrected syllabus of study for those colleges, by which they had endeavoured to reduce the standard of examination for teachers to a lower scale than the existing one, making it more exclusively practical and professional. He hoped to publish the syllabus before long, and that it might be found acceptable to the House.


said, he thought the training colleges were a great mistake, and he was therefore glad to hear that a lower standard of examination was to be adopted in them, so as to render the course of study more practical in its nature. He trusted that more attention would thus be given to subjects of elementary instruction.


said, he was not surprised at the small amount of debate which the Vote had excited, considering how fully the subject had been discussed recently. The small increase in the Vote was attributable to the yearly increment of schools, and he was glad to believe that under the Revised Code a larger number of schools, chiefly of the poorer class, would receive the benefits of the Vote. The diminution in the grant for books and apparatus met with his approval, but he did not approve of the transfer of ragged and industrial schools to the Home Department, as he thought the whole educational machinery should be under the control and supervision of one department.


observed, that the certificated schoolmasters had been not altogether fairly treated, in a recent debate; and although partial extracts from the Commissioners' Reports had been quoted to justify those remarks, he ventured to state that a reference to those Reports would show that the schools under certificated masters met with a larger share of approval from the Inspectors than schools which were under uncertificated masters. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Committee of Education would listen to the arguments that had been addressed to him on behalf of the certificated masters by the hon. Members for Perthshire and Cambridgeshire.


asked, whether the charge for establishment, including inspection, would cover the costs of inspection under the new system? With regard to training colleges, he thought they should only attempt to train persons in the mode of conducting schools, and should not give a general education to intending schoolmasters. Pupils would then stay a shorter time, and the expenditure would be much reduced.


said, he hoped, as they were about to close the discussion of the education question for a year, that it would be understood, that they left it re infectâ, not having done all that ought to be done, and that the rural and poorer districts were still unprovided for. The Report of the Education Commissioners proved this. It showed that a great portion of the grant was absorbed by large cities that did not require it; and this had been made evident by a return moved for by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire. The Commissioners came to the conclusion that there was no other mode of ministering to the necessities of the rural districts than by resorting to a county rate. The Government determined not to take that course, and this House supported them in the determination. He did not blame them for this, but he was entitled to advert to the fact to show that the grievance of the rural districts was yet to be redressed. If their case was hard in England, it was much worse in Wales, where they had two languages to contend with. None but those resident in such districts knew how much the difficulties of education are increased under these circumstances. Scot- land and Ireland had systems of their own, and Wales should not fare worse than they did. He hoped the Government would take the ease into consideration before another year came round. If they wished to make that country in sympathy, in heart, and feeling one with England, let them extend to all parts of it the blessings of education. The boon would be duly appreciated there. The Government that extended it to them would never be forgotten.


said, that during the ensuing year all the schools now aided by the Privy Council would be examined under the former Code, so that there would be no increase in the charge for inspection with regard to them; and those which came in under the new Code would be so few that no increase was apprehended in their case either. The Code did not come into effect until the 30th of June, and, consequently, the examinations under the new Code would not begin until after that date. He did not think it would be necessary to add to the number of Inspectors, though they might require some assistance during the examinations. As to the cost of the training colleges he quite agreed in the necessity of reducing the proportion contributed by the Government. They now paid 90 per cent of the cost, and had proposed a reduction of 20 per cent in respect of the Queen's scholars, but the House had declined to accede to the proposal. He only hoped that the training colleges themselves would take the matter into consideration, for it was impossible that the present arrangement should be a permanent one, and that establishments professing to be based upon the voluntary system should receive a subvention of 90 per cent from the State, With regard to the point mentioned by the hon. Member (Mr. Pugh), he admitted that the system did not go far enough, but he doubted whether that defect could ever be thoroughly remedied. The completeness of the educational system depend ed on the willingness of persons to come forward with voluntary aid, and it was not in the power of the Government to produce that willingness on the part of the public.


said, it was impossible for Welsh children to acquire any portion of the capitation grant, owing to the difficulty which attended the learning of a new language.

Vote agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £116,695, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Expense of the Department of Science and Art which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1863,


said, that connected with that Vote was, for the first time, a sum on account of the Royal Dublin Society, and he complained that certain correspondence for which he had moved on the subject, several weeks ago, had not yet been presented.


said, he thought that the Vote ought to be postponed, as the return which the noble Lord asked for had not been presented. He moved that the Chairman report progress.


said, he regretted that the return had not been presented. He was not able to say why it had been delayed, but he would inquire into the cause, and would take care that it should be laid on the table at as early a period as possible.


said, he wished to call attention to the fact that the Director of the Museum of Irish Industry in Dublin f was also President of the Queen's College at Cork. As Director of the Museum he received £400 a year, and as Dublin was some hours' distance by railway from Cork, it was difficult to conceive how the same individual could efficiently discharge the duties of the two offices.


said, he agreed with his right hon. Friend that it was not desirable that the same individual should hold both these offices. Sir Robert Kane, he believed, had been called on to make his election between the two offices, but for some reason or other he had not yet done so.


said, that Sir Robert Kane was appointed to the office of President of the Queen's College in Cork by the late Sir Robert Peel while he was Director of the Museum in Dublin, and he believed that Sir Robert Kane discharged the duties of both offices to the satisfaction of all concerned.


said, he was surprised to hear that Sir Robert Peel should first have appointed Sir Robert Kane to an office which required his presence in Cork, and then should have given him a post in Dublin which rendered his presence in Cork impossible. He really did not know how Sir Robert Kane, though a very able man, could perform the duties of both offices, unless he possessed something of the quality of Sir Boyle Roche's bird of being in two places at once.


said, he wished to know what the duties of the lecturers were.


said, that Sir Robert Kane was not wholly responsible for the delay which occurred in making his election between the two offices. A correspondence had been going on between the Irish Government and the Treasury. That correspondence was now closed. An improvement would be made in the professorships; Sir Robert Kane would make his election which of the offices he would retain.


stated, that the late Government understood distinctly that Sir Robert Kane had declined to go to the College at Cork.


said, he hoped in that case that the Government would not fill up the vacancy at the Museum.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."

The Committee divided: — Ayes 65; Noes 59: Majority 6.

House resumed.

Resolution to be reported To-morrow.

Committee also report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.