HC Deb 04 May 1865 vol 178 cc1465-6

said, he wished to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education, Whether an Inspector is justified in threatening to recommend that one-tenth of the Grant earned by a School in respect of the proficiency of the Children in reading, writing, and arithmetic should be withheld in case grammar, history, or geography are not taught therein?


said, that he was glad that the Question of his hon. Friend gave him an opportunity of removing a misconception which was very wide-spread, and which had worked and was working much mischief in elementary schools. Although the payments on examination under the Revised Code were made on reading, writing, and arithmetic, it was not the object or the policy of that Code to interfere with the teaching of other elementary subjects, such as history, geography, or grammar, heretofore taught in the National schools. So far was this from being the case, that Instructions to Her Majesty's Inspectors were issued in September, 1862, very soon after the Code came into operation, in which this subject was thus noticed:— The grant to be made to each school depends, as it has ever done, upon the school's whole character and work. The grant is offered for attendance in a school with which the Inspector is satisfied. If he is wholly dissatisfied (Article 50), and if the reasons of such dissatisfaction are confirmed (Article 51e) no grant is made you will judge every school by the same standard that you have hitherto used, as regards its religious, moral, and intellectual merits. The examination under Article 48 does not supersede this judgment, but presupposes it. That article does not prescribe that, if thus much is done, a grant shall be paid, but, unless thus much is done, no grant shall be paid. It does not exclude the inspection of each school by a highly educated public officer, but it fortifies this general test by individual examination. If you keep these distinctions steadily in view you will see how little the scope of your duties is changed. Again, under Article 52a of the Revised Code, not only could the grant be reduced "by not less than one-tenth nor more than one-half in the whole, upon the Inspector's Report, for faults of instruction or discipline," but also "for failure (after one year's notice) of the managers to provide," among other things, "maps." Maps could, of course, only be required for the purpose of teaching geography. He was therefore of opinion that the Inspector had been fully justified in giving the warning to which the question referred. It might be convenient to the House if he took that opportunity of stating that he proposed, when the House met to-morrow, to lay on the table a minute upon the subject of the Endowment of Schools, and make a statement thereon.