rose to call attention to the New Code of Regulations issued by the Committee of the Privy Council on Education, and now lying upon the Table of the House. Considering that the New Code contained so much that was of importance, he thought he need not apologize for calling the attention of the House to the subject, although, owing to his inexperience of debate, he might fail to make it interesting or attractive. By the Education Act of last year Parliament provided that the quantity of education given in England and Wales should be greatly increased; and by the Minute which the Education Department had recently issued the right non. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Mr. W. E. Forster) had very properly attempted to provide that the quality of the education given in schools aided by the State should be of a satisfactory character. It would be difficult to say which of these tasks—providing for an increase of schools or framing regulations to ensure a good quality of instruction—was the more important. For his own part, he begged to thank the right hon. Gentleman—and 1789 had no doubt that the House would join him in this—for the admirable provisions he had introduced into the New Code. But he thought it would be more profitable that, instead of dwelling upon the excellencies of the Code, he should call attention to certain points where he thought the right hon. Gentleman had either left undone that which he ought to have done, or had even done that which he ought not to have done. He must, however, first express his delight at finding that this was an absolutely New Code, and not merely a revision of previous revisions of the Revised Code. The first subject to which he desired to address himself was that of infant schools. Hardly any portion of our school organization was more important. Now, he much regretted that, as no Government grant was to be given for children under four years of age, such infants would be practically excluded from these schools. No doubt there was a great deal of truth in the view of the right hon. Gentleman, that infant schools were places where instruction should be given, and not where infants should simply be taken care of. But he thought he could successfully argue that for the sake of education children should be attracted to school before the age of four; and he asked what child of four could be more easily taught—that which came straight from the gutter, or one that had been in the baby-class, and there learned habits of obedience, cleanliness, and order? Again, he would ask if it were intended to exclude from school all children under four years of age, who were to take care of them? He feared that in a great many cases elder sisters would be kept away from school to look after younger children, and, probably, both would spend their time in the gutter. The 400 masters and mistresses who had recently met at King's College had but one feeling—namely, that it was most desirable to afford every encouragement to children to go to an infant school at an early age. He would pass on to the subject of the increased number of attendances required at day schools. This was a provision of which he approved; but he wished to suggest whether the form of the provision would not tend to cause neglect of children whose attendance was irregular? From the Returns which had been moved for by the right hon. 1790 Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gathorne Hardy) it appeared that 20 per cent of the children presented for examination by day schools in England and Wales did not come up to the requisite number of 250 attendances; and he would suggest that there should be two rates of grant—the higher for children who gave 250 attendances, and the lower for those who could not attend so often, but yet came 200 times in the year. His next point had reference to evening schools. This, he thought, was a very important branch of the subject. The evening schools seemed to have three functions. First, they had to keep alive in one class of children the instruction which had been given to them in the day school. To a second class they had to give elementary education in history, geography, and grammar, and similar subjects; supplementary to that given in the day school. And to a third and higher class of scholars they had to impart instruction in science and art. He hoped that before long the first of these functions would disappear, but, meanwhile, it must not be despised; for, although there would be a progressive rise in evening schools, they had at present to perform a humble work which ought not to be undervalued. With respect to that portion of their work which was supplementary to the education of the day schools, this Code would, he feared, absolutely extinguish the small rural schools, while it gave no support to the higher class of elementary evening schools such as existed in large numbers in Lancashire and Yorkshire. He though that grants ought to be given for the work which was supplementary to that of the day schools. The right hon. Gentleman proposed, under Schedule 4, to give an additional grant to day schools for instruction in higher subjects; but he did not extend the provision to evening schools for adults, as it would seem that he ought à fortiori to do. The provision, that no scholar over 18 years of age should earn a grant for evening schools, he thought a great mistake. By-and-by there would probably be such a demand for adult education that no such encouragement would be necessary; but at present, at all events, he hoped this limit would be removed. It might be said that elementary education ought not to continue beyond 1791 the age of 18; but his answer was that such a rule would tend to stop all elementary education which did not go beyond that of the day schools; and under the Code itself it was intended that a boy who had in the day school passed in any standard could not be examined in the same or a lower one in an evening school. The provisions with respect to the number of meetings and attendances at evening schools deserved the attentive consideration of the House, for the Vice President expected far too much from them. Under the Revised Code the number of attendances required to qualify a scholar to be present at an examination was 24, but under the New Code it was raised to 50; and while, under the former, 40 school meetings were required before an inspection could take place, under the latter 80 meetings were necessary. The Returns issued that morning showed that only 56.6 meetings were on the average held now by schools in receipt of the Government grant, and therefore the sudden increase to 80 seemed too bold. A clergyman residing in a rural district near the borough he had the honour to represent had written to him a letter in which he said that for 10 years he had laboured both summer and winter to support evening schools; but under the New Code he would have to give them up, or do the work and find the money too. His own experience was that the same result would follow in the manufacturing districts, and that it would be found impossible to comply with the demands of the Code. To comply with the conditions as they stood at present, a school held only two nights a-week would have to meet during 40 weeks of the year, and a school held three nights a-week would have to meet for 27 weeks in order to earn the grant, and this seemed impracticable. The meeting of schoolmasters and mistresses to which he had referred was unanimous upon this point—that if so many attendances were required at evening schools they would be practically extinguished; he therefore hoped that the number of attendances would be reduced to 40 and the number of meetings to 60. He much regretted that provision had not been made to have separate teaching staffs for the morning and evening schools, for with a single staff it was impossible that justice should be done to both. He had hoped that the right 1792 hon. Gentleman would either have acted upon the old Code which prohibited a master of evening schools from teaching in a day school on the afternoon of the same day, or — which would be much better—that there should be an itinerating organizing master, who should have charge of a group of evening schools, teaching in each one or two nights a-week. This plan had been tried with considerable effect in that part of the country in which he himself resided. He regretted that under the New Code Miss Burdett Coutts's plan as to rural schools was to be given up, when he had hoped that the principle of it would have been extended to evening schools. There was one alteration introduced into the Code which he thought was a great improvement, and that was that the plan of the Revised Code for a sham examination conducted by managers should be given up, and that something like a real examination was to be substituted for it; but he regretted that there was not to be a regular annual inspection of evening schools with a view to their receiving the Government grant. He would say a few words as to the system of standards. There was nothing to which the teachers more strongly objected than the provisions continued from the Revised Code, by the 27th Article, under which it was provided that no scholar might be presented a second time for examination under the same standard. What was the meaning of this? It meant that there should be a rigid, artificial, uniform rate of progress for every child, whether he were dull or clever, full-time or half-time, industrious or idle. The child must advance exactly at the proper rate or the highest grant could not be obtained. A clever, industrious, full-time child would be held back, because if the teacher were to present him in too high a standard he would run the risk of losing the grant for a year; and as his object was to get the maximum grant by presenting the child under six successive standards for six successive years, he would never allow the child to have what they used to call at Harrow "a double remove." The dull child and the half-timer would be pushed on, and presented each year in a higher standard than last, and still pushed on, though failing in each; and these successive failures must have a most demoralizing effect upon the child. 1793 The teachers' meeting passed a resolution, which suggested that the article should be so altered that the child who had failed might be presented again and re-examined in the same standard with the view of obtaining the grant. By Articles 30 and 31 of the New Code, it was provided that after the 31st of March, 1873, no day scholar above four, nor evening scholar above 13 should be examined in Standard I., and so on; and this was very much objected to by teachers. He would suggest that these regulations should apply only to cases where school boards had been elected, and had adopted a by-law to enforce attendance. He must now say a word as to pupil-teachers. No separate payment was to be made to teachers for the instruction of pupil-teachers, and, consequently, there would be no part of their duty which would be more likely to be neglected. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would make it a condition of the grant that managers should set aside part of it as a payment to the teacher for the instruction of pupil-teachers. There was another subject of much importance—the giving of good-service pensions to teachers; and he regretted that his right hon. Friend had not seen his way to make some provision for the old age of teachers. The inducements to enter this profession were, at present, lamentably small, and parents, he believed, were by no means willing that their children should seek in that direction for their livelihood. The temptations for schoolmasters and schoolmistresses to quit the profession, too, were, at all times, considerable. The establishment, therefore, of a really good system of superannuation pensions would do much to promote the excellence and efficiency of this deserving class of public servants. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) had given Notice of a Motion, the second part of which, if adopted, would work great injustice to many of the best schools; it was that the voluntary contributions should amount to one-third of the Parliamentary grant, or else that the Parliamentary grant should be proportionately reduced. But cases might easily be conceived where, owing to a pressing need for expenditure, the private contributions, in one year, might actually flow in so as to equal the grant, and yet, in the year following, on ac- 1794 count of the very largeness of the expenditure in the previous year, they might fall to a point below one-third of the Parliamentary grant; which, accordingly, would have, under the Motion, to be reduced in amount. His hon. Friend would see, therefore, that even in cases where voluntary contributions were forthcoming to a sufficient amount, reckoning two or three years together, his Motion would inflict a very grave injury. In conclusion, he would recapitulate the Amendments to the New Code which he would venture to urge upon the Government. The first was the omission of the limit of age in infant schools to children of four and upwards; the second was the adoption of the Amendment of the hon. Member for South-west Lancashire (Mr. Assheton Cross) as to the limit of age to 18, and as to the number of meetings and attendances in evening schools; thirdly, the modification of Article 21 so as to extend to evening schools the grant in respect of higher educational subjects; fourthly, the omission of Article 29, so far as it related to scholars who had failed in two of the three rudiments; fifthly, the limitation of Articles 30 and 31 to districts where attendance is compulsory; sixthly, provision for payment to teachers for the instruction of pupil-teachers; and, lastly, a provision for pensions to schoolmasters and schoolmistresses.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, that he rose immediately after the hon. Gentleman who had just addressed them (Mr. Kay-Shuttleworth), because of the peculiar position which they found themselves in in reference to this discussion of the New Code. There were a number of Notices of Amendments on the Paper, yet, under the peculiar circumstances of discussing this question on going into Committee of Supply, it was impossible that they should be moved, and, consequently, hon. Members would not have a proper opportunity of offering Amendments on the New Code. It would, perhaps, be better if the New Code had been before the House for a longer period. It only came before the House on the 17th of February, and of course it would take a long time to circulate through the country. The managers of thousands of village schools were interested in the subject, and many would not receive the Code until, perhaps, a fortnight or three weeks after its publica- 1795 tion. The only course hon. Members could pursue on the present occasion was to bring under the notice of the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council on Education the objections they entertained to the Code; because, if the Amendments they desired could not be made before the Code became law, they would be compelled to take steps by Resolution or otherwise thereafter. There was one satisfactory part of this question—that was that the night-school part of the Code would not come into operation for some time; and no doubt, therefore, they would have an opportunity of bringing forward Motions; and he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would re-consider that part of the Code, and bring it more into conformity with the wishes of the country. With respect to infant schools, there was some doubt in the country as to the meaning of the Code. One section said the children attending such schools were to be above four and under seven years of age at the date of inspection. Therefore, children might attend the schools when they were only three years old. It would seem, however, according to the 25th section, that no grant or allowance would be made in respect of the attendances of a child under four; by that it would seem that these attendances would not be reckoned although the child might have reached the age of four at the time of the examination. He wished to hear from the right hon. Gentleman what would be the effect of that section. He should himself read the two together, and say that as to a child who was four at the time of the examination its attendance would count. [Mr. W. E. FORSTER dissented.] Then he wanted to know what advantage was got from bringing these children up for inspection. If their attendances were reckoned then there would be a certain amount of grant. He had understood, certainly, that a grant would be given for the attendance of every child in the school. He quite concurred in the propriety of not making Government grants for mere baby attendance, because in such cases no instruction could really be given. He had himself seen children two years old brought to school. The question really was how soon valuable instruction could be given to children? He now came to the question of attendance; and, after looking at the Return which was issued 1796 that morning, and for which he moved the other day, he must admit there was not much to be said against the 250 attendances. As to pupil-teachers, he understood his right hon. Friend (Mr. W. E. Forster) to say that Amendments would be made to meet the difficulty; and therefore would say no more upon that. He now came to the important subject of the night schools, on which he had received communications from every part of the country, mainly from the rural districts. As a rule, the writers agreed in saying it was impossible for them under the present conditions, or under the conditions which the New Code would impose, to get a night school together as many as 80 times in the course of a year. The Return containing the figures with respect to night schools showed that, though a certain number were open as often as 80 times in the year, yet in the rural districts such a thing never occurred. It was stated in the Return that 2,504 evening schools were examined last year, and that they met altogether 141,890 times, so that each school met on the average 56 odd times. He admitted that in towns there might be 80 openings of a night school in the twelvemonth; but in the rural districts this could not be done, as many of the scholars had to come from a considerable distance, and the time of year during which they could attend was very limited. It should also be borne in mind that, in country places, people went to bed wonderfully early. Every inducement should be offered to working people to keep up their knowledge by their attendance at evening schools, for, even if nothing more than that were accomplished, the schools would do a work which would be most valuable to the State. It was said that the effect of the New Code would be to close 2,000 out of the 2,500 night schools that were inspected last year. He did not say that the managers would not make efforts to keep them open; he was speaking only as far as Government aid was concerned. This was not the view of managers only; but an Inspector wrote that it was "a monstrous and untenable proposition to require 80 meetings of a night school, and that the provision would extinguish every night school in his district." His pockets were full of letters on the subject, and no doubt many hon. Members 1797 had received similar communications. He agreed with the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Kay-Shuttleworth) that the question of attendances required revision, but that did not necessarily involve going back to the provisions of the old Code. For a few months longer, under its provision, only 24 attendances at evening meetings would be required; but the jump from 24 to 50 was too great; and he should be satisfied with what was asked for by the hon. Member for Southwest Lancashire — 60 openings of the school and 40 attendances. He wished to know how, under the New Code, scholars at night schools were to be examined—for these scholars were mainly young men and boys who were at work all day, and who could not be called away to centres of inspection or examination. Unless 20 scholars were collected at a particular place there could be no inspection there, and there were villages which could not, possibly, muster 20 night scholars. Of course the examination ought to be a real one; but the Inspectors ought to be brought to the spot. The scholars were all persons earning wages, and therefore under the Code there could no examination without subjecting them to loss. The New Code seemed to omit altogether standards of examination for evening scholars, and it did not provide for their examination in higher subjects. The reduction of the grant by its excess above 15s. per scholar, according to the average attendance, was a limitation which would deprive a number of schools of any advancement; for there were great variations in the proportions between the average attendance and the number sent in for examination. He had received a statement respecting a school in which there were no infants, the master of which calculated that he would not be able to earn anything for extra subjects because the 15s. limitation would come in; and it really seemed that it would be impossible under the New Code for a school to obtain the maximum of the grant. There was thus, practically, no encouragement to go beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic. Then as to the grants to elementary schools—the Resolutions which prefaced the New Code, said the Code of 1870 would determine grants payable up to the 31st of March next, and the New Code those which fell due on and after the 30th of April; and the ques- 1798 tion therefore arose what was to become of the month of April. Nobody knew whether it was to be under the old or the New Code. As Standard II. in the Old Code was Standard I. in the New Code, on the 1st of May children who entered the school in May last year were to be examined; but it seemed to be unreasonable that children who were now being trained to pass the lower standard should be called upon to pass the higher one at short notice, and that children who had not been examined before should be placed on a footing with those who had been previously examined. He hoped his right hon. Friend would make provision of some months to get the children up to the proper mark for passing the examination, as it was hard that they should be cut off from the Government grant. With regard to the girls being put in the same position as the boys, he reminded his right hon. Friend that girls had to be taught needle-work and cutting out, and yet they were required to be brought up to the same standard of arithmetic as boys, which hardly seemed fair. [Mr. W. E. FORSTER: They are much sharper.] Assuming, with the right hon. Gentleman, that girls were sharper than boys, the right hon. Gentleman was not consistent, for in the case of the pupil-teachers, he found that the females were always kept a year behind the males in arithmetic. The right hon. Gentleman had said that in the schools the girls must be kept up to the same standard as the boys; but if he would look at pages 14 and 15 of the New Code, he would find that in the second year the male pupil-teachers were to go as far as Vulgar Fractions, whereas the females were only to go as far as Proportion; that in the third year the males were to go as far as Decimal Fractions, and to the end of the 16th proposition in Book I. of Euclid, whereas the females were only to go as far as Vulgar Fractions; and that in the fourth year the males were required to go as far as Algebra, while the females had to go as far as Decimal Fractions only. He quoted these figures because he thought that they would show that the right hon. Gentleman was inconsistent in requiring that the girls in the schools should be kept up to the same standard as the boys, when he made a distinction between the male and female pupil-teachers. 1799 He was aware that it was said that when the higher branches of arithmetic were reached it was impossible to maintain an equal standard for both males and females, because the former had so much more time to devote to this peculiar branch of study than the latter had at their disposal; but did not that observation apply to the boys and girls in the schools as well as to the pupil-teachers? Upon the subject of the time that ought to be allowed for religious instruction, he thought that some deduction should be made in the hours devoted in the afternoon to secular instruction, in order to permit the children to receive religious instruction without unduly detaining them at school towards evening. It should be recollected that many of the smaller children had to go miles along clayey roads to get home, and that in the short winter days they frequently did not reach home until it became dark. In riding through country districts he had found the children returning from school towards dusk run miles after his horse for the sake of company on the journey. He should suggest that a quarter of an hour should be deducted from the afternoon secular instruction, in which religious instruction could be given. He found, on looking at the Code, that certain regulations were to apply to the "rural districts," and he should be glad to learn from the right hon. Gentleman whether that term applied to small country towns as well as purely agricultural districts. He should also be obliged by the right hon. Gentleman explaining distinctly the date at which inspection on religious subjects would cease, as there appeared to be some uncertainty with respect to that subject. He understood it came to an end on the 30th April. [Mr. W. E. FORSTER: On the 31st March.] He trusted that the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Education Department, whose zeal in the cause of education he fully appreciated, would accept the remarks he had thought it to be his duty to make in the spirit in which they were addressed to him, and that after having passed such a great educational measure, which everybody in the country appeared to be endeavouring to carry out not only in its letter, but in its spirit, he would not stint its operation by attempting to save a few pounds annually in grants.
§ MR. DENT
said, that it was only by 1800 going into these questions of detail that they could see how the Education Act could be best carried into operation. He thought that the New Code was, taken altogether, an improvement on the former. He thought, for instance, that increasing the number of attendances would prove of great advantage, and one that could be easily carried out. He thought, also, that the raising of the standards was quite right. With respect to the smaller districts, in the borough which he represented (Scarborough), where there was a large population engaged chiefly in fishing, the children were largely employed during the summer in waiting upon the visitors; whereas they were almost entirely at leisure during the winter months, and therefore it would be a great boon if, as in the rural districts, they were to be excused from attendance at school during the summer, on the understanding that they should make up for lost time during the winter, provided they were able to pass a certain examination. The regulations for examinations should be made rather more stringent, in order that all children who were qualified by their number of attendances should be compelled to come up for examination. By this means not the merit of a selected few of the children, but that of the whole school, would be ascertained. The clause was rather more strong as regarded the pupil-teachers, which he was glad to see, because he thought that hitherto the teaching power had been inferior to what it ought to be. As regarded evening schools, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. G. Hardy) complained there was no provision for the examination of boys in the higher standards. But he (Mr. Dent) thought it was scarcely right to ask the country to pay for the education of the poorer classes beyond the point of the sixth standard. He thought that when they reached that they ought to provide their further education at their own expense. He approved the change that had been made in the method of examining in the schools, because he did not think that the examinations ought to be left entirely in the hands of their managers. He concurred entirely in the views that had been expressed respecting infant schools; for unless these were supported the elder girls would be kept at home in order to look 1801 after the little ones. Again, children ought to be encouraged to learn their lessons out of school, which was seldom done at present—there was very little pains taken to teach the children at home. He hoped the plan of insisting upon two hours in each day being devoted to secular instruction would have the effect of putting a stop to the too prevalent practice among schoolmasters of allowing parents to curtail the hours of their children's attendance at school. With regard to the extra subjects, he thought a better plan than that proposed by the Government would be to grant 1s. a-head for each of such subjects, as the 15s. per head could be obtained without the extra subjects. With respect to the Motion shortly to be moved in reference to denominational schools, he hoped the House would remember the words of the Act of last Session, and not overweight one class of schools as against another, but let them start fair and run an equal race.
§ MR. ASSHETON CROSS
said, he would confine his remarks to the question of night schools, in reference to which he had placed a Notice on the Paper. He was perfectly willing to leave the whole matter in the hands of the Vice President of the Council, because he was sure that an expression of the general feeling of the House on the subject would have as much weight as a Division in its favour. There were 2,500 of these schools scattered about the country, and they were attended by between 90,000 and 100,000 pupils. An impression had been abroad in many places that there was not the same discipline in night schools as there was in day schools; and that, considering the length of time they had been established, and the amount of money that had been spent upon them, they had not accomplished as much good as might be expected of them. The observation was, to some extent, true. They could not be looked upon as part of the regular army of education; they must be regarded as a volunteer contingent; but they had, nevertheless, done good work. He was very far from saying that it would not be wise to enforce on the night schools more discipline than they had hitherto; but if the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Forster) thought that by putting them—to continue the simile—under martial law, as was proposed by 1802 the New Code—he should improve them, he thought he was mistaken, and that the effect would be to extinguish them altogether in the rural districts. For instance, he thought it would be impossible for night schools in rural districts to be open 80 times in the year, which was the number of times set down in the Code as entitling the schools to receive grants. From the nature of the employment in which rural populations were engaged, and for other reasons incident to their mode of life, the children could only attend school during the 26 weeks of the late autumn and winter, and three times in each week was as often as the pupils could be expected to attend or the schoolmaster to teach—for it must be remembered that in country places there would be only one master to look after both day and night schools. Deducting from these 26 weeks three weeks for holydays at Christmas, there remained only 69 nights. For these reasons he had put upon the Paper his proposal that the night schools being open on 60 nights in the year should be entitled to a grant. The second point was the attendance of children at night schools. He was quite willing to admit that 24 attendances was too little to enable a child to get a grant; but to raise the attendances from 24 to 50 was a pressure which the schools would not bear. Many of the children had a mile or two to go after work was over, when they might be wet, tired, and hungry from their daily toil in the field, and going to school might involve a further walk of one or two miles. He had been requested by the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Brogden) to state that in the mining districts, where people worked alternately day and night, it would be absolutely impossible for them to attend the evening schools, and so get a grant. He also hoped the right hon. Gentleman would re-consider that provision in the Code which limited the age of persons who should be permitted to attend night schools to 18. Now that they were extending the advantages of education to all the youth of the country they ought, instead of diminishing, rather to increase the educational opportunities of adults who had not enjoyed the same advantages in their younger days. If this were not done, it would follow in many cases that parents would be put in the painful position of being 1803 unable to assist their children in prosecuting their studies. The Chancellor of the Exchequer might say they were for extending the payment of taxes; but his (Mr. Cross's) answer was, that it was false economy to grudge the money spent in educating those who wished to be educated. They had better spend the money in education than in gaols and lunatic asylums; and, in the long run, the taxpayers would find that the education money had been well laid out. He did not ask hon. Members to be generous—he only asked them to be just. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would give way on the subject of the night schools.
§ DR. LYON PLAYFAIR
I am glad my hon. Friend the Member for Hastings (Mr. Kay-Shuttleworth) has given us an opportunity of discussing the Revised Code. On the second reading of the Scotch Education Bill, I took the opportunity of expressing my appreciation of its great advance upon preceding Codes. There is a characteristic feature in it which should not escape attention, because it happens to be an omission. I allude to the disappearance of the condition in Article 4 of the old Code, that grants were to be limited to the children of the manual labour class. This omission becomes a necessity when schools are supported by rates, for every ratepayer has a right to use the school for which he pays. Now, I know of nothing so important to education and to the social habits of the people as the abolition of this class distinction in relation to education. It has never existed in Scotch schools, and the consequence is that they contain all classes of the community. No English Members would venture to tell the House, as I am enabled to do with pride, and without a particle of humiliation, that my elementary education was obtained at a Scotch parish school — sitting side by side with the children of working men, and at the same time with the sons of the middle classes and gentlemen in the town in which I lived. This admixture of classes has the most admirable effect on the social condition of the people. It draws out the sympathy of class with class, improves the tone of the scholars, and elevates largely the standards of teaching. I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council on having withdrawn that restriction to 1804 united education, and I venture to assure the House that no change in the Code will ultimately be productive of so much educational as well as social improvement. I wish that I could speak with equal approval of other omissions in the Code. It is with great regret that I see such little provision made for the promotion of music in our schools. Anyone with educational experience knows what a powerful adjunct singing is to the power of the teacher. It has a softening influence on the whole educational system, and tends to unite together the several divisions of the school, and to produce a harmony in the general work. I know the difficulties of admitting singing into the system of the Code. Payments are now based on individual examination, and the appraising a standard of singing is not easy in itself, and may not always be within the qualifications of every Inspector. But though there is a difficulty, it need not be insuperable, and may possibly be overcome by Inspectors of special subjects. Drill and physical training stand in the same position as to difficulty of individual appraisement; but they are highly desirable to encourage in all schools. The new Code does recognize them after a fashion, by allowing drill to count for attendance; but this need of encouragement is far below its importance as an educational agency. The hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. R. Torrens) has already drawn the attention of the House to the importance of encouraging this branch of instruction as a means of teaching military discipline at a nonproductive age, and thus adding to our defensive powers. I fully appreciate this line of argument, for we have the large experience of Switzerland and Germany in its favour, and we see Holland and various other countries imitating their example. But it is in relation to the effects of drill and gymnastics on the employments of civil life that the subject most commends itself to my mind. An urban school especially is made up of very discordant elements, which are difficult to unite in discipline and work for a common object. Nothing aids the master so much in his efforts at mental training as having prompt habits of obedience and harmonious working among his pupils. Drill gives these habits in far quicker time than the mere discipline of school 1805 classes. It is therefore a powerful educational means for the promotion of learning, as well as for the development and improvement of the physical condition of the pupils. Those who remember the former condition of Union schools, and their present state since drill has been introduced, will know what I mean. We have a set of Union boys of the lowest physical condition—ill-fed, and stunted in growth—who on the old system of instruction used to give a most unprofitable outcome. When their schooling was ended, more than one-half were returned on the funds of the Union as unprofitable servants — not worthy of being retained by the employers of labour. Now, Mr. Tuffnell, the Inspector of Union schools, tells us that the obedient, well-drilled boys of the best Union schools, taught to work together, and therefore to labour in unison with others, are in active demand by employers of labour, and that not more than 5 per cent, instead of 50 to 60 per cent, are returned as useless servants. I trust that the subject of physical training will receive more direct recognition in the Code than it has now obtained. It is a question of great importance to this country how we are to counteract the physical deterioration of the people incident to overcrowded urban populations. Taking away the children from their homes to keep them in crowded schoolrooms will not mitigate the evil. But a combination of physical with mental training will operate favourably and simultaneously on the development both of mind and body. Let me remind the Vice President that this object was contemplated in the original Minute of 1839 under these words—Besides the physical training of the children in various employments, such exercises are to be introduced during the hours of recreation as will develop their strength and activity.These wise words have been forgotten for a whole generation. The objections which have been brought against the rules for evening schools are partly valid, but partly invalid. Elementary evening schools for adults ought to have no existence at all in a well-educated country. In other nations such schools are chiefly improvement schools, and are devoted to secondary subjects, especially relating to those branches of science and art which bear on the occupations of the people. In another generation we may 1806 hope that mere elementary evening schools will disappear from the Code altogether, and be substituted by secondary improvement schools, to enable working people to apply that elementary education which they have got in the day school. But as the imperfect state of education among our population compels us to have these elementary evening schools as a temporary measure, let us consider how they may be made most effective. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Hastings (Mr. Kay-Shuttleworth) that it is a hard thing for a master who teaches in the day to teach—even though it is optional—in the evening, and that it would be better for the efficiency of both day and evening schools that they were taught by different masters. But how are you at present to obtain certificated masters for both systems? Now, it is with the utmost difficulty that you can obtain a supply for the demand coming upon you. That demand represents 15,000 new masters, besides that due to waste, which in itself is difficult to meet, and the supply is far from equal to our wants. But as Parliamentary grants can only be given to certificated masters, you must either be content with no evening schools, or you must allow day masters to serve for a term in evening schools. A separate staff for them in the form of peripatetic masters would be undesirable—at least to a great extent—unless you could absorb them rapidly into day schools; for these, if they fulfil their mission, will soon render elementary evening schools altogether unnecessary. But as long as they are requisite, I agree with the hon. Member for South-west Lancashire (Mr. A. Cross) that the attendances exacted are too great, and hope that the Vice President is prepared to modify this rule, 60 meetings and 40 attendances being sufficient in most districts, though a higher number might be attained in urban schools. The discussion this evening illustrates the inconvenience of which I have often complained in this House—that there is no proper connection between the Elementary Education Department and that for science and art. My right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council has to ride two horses at one and the same time. But the feat is a difficult one from the tendency of the separate horses to diverge in their path. If there were a more thorough under- 1807 standing between these educational Departments, the question as to evening schools would be susceptible of easy solution. It ought to be the aim of one Department gradually to lessen the elementary character of such schools, and to induce the other to convert them into improvement schools as quickly as the growing education of the country renders them unnecessary in their lower capacity. With this view, it is scarcely comprehensible why the Code does not extend the special subjects of higher instruction to evening as well as to day schools. This is the scheme followed in most of the Continental States, and accounts for the higher education in matters relating to science and art which you observe among the working classes of other countries. My hon. Friend the Member for Westminster (Mr. W. H. Smith) has an Amendment on the Paper to which too much importance cannot be attached. Our day schools are cumbered with entrants having no sort of similarity in their attainments. The master is therefore perplexed in his classification, and in the distribution of time, which he should devote to the lowest and to the highest subjects of school teaching. Children of five years of age should be able to step into the middle of Standard I at once, and ought not to waste the time of the master by obliging him to teach them the alphabet and pothooks. Infant schools for children of from three to five years of age may relieve the day school of all this drudgery, and give a great impulse to more thorough education during the legal ages, when attendance may be enforced. The Amendment proposed by my hon. Friend has this object in view, and I hope that his purpose—if not his words—will be adopted by the Government. The marked feature of the present Code is the admission into English schools of the specific subjects of higher instruction placed in Schedule 4 of the Code. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. G. Hardy) is, I think, right in pointing out that the Code does not at present give any surety that this provision will necessarily be taken much advantage of, for, as the maximum of 15s. can be won by the lower subjects and by attendances, what inducement is afforded for teaching the higher branches? Nevertheless, teaching them is of great importance. This is not an untried experiment. It has 1808 been the practice of Scotch schools for two centuries, and has been productive of the most admirable effects. The three R's are the tools of education, and these specific subjects are the means by which you show the children how to use these tools in the work of their future life. This gives a vitality to schools which invigorates every part of them. It removes the dismal verbalism which, like tares, chokes the growth of wheat, and substitutes conceptions for words. But it is necessary to prevent these higher subjects from displacing the lower ones. I think, therefore, that it is a wise provision in the Code that they should only be paid for in the case of pupils who have given ample evidence that they have acquired elementary instruction to the fullest extent that is available in the schools. There is much more in the Revised Code to which I would gladly have alluded; but I have said enough to indicate a general appreciation of the care and wisdom with which it has been revised on the present occasion, and to point out the direction in which, improvements may be made upon it even now, and especially when we are again called in another year to consider its revision.
§ MR. DIXON
expressed his approval of the more stringent conditions of the grants, but regretted that the New Code did not contain grants graduated in such a manner as to give the largest amount of support to the best schools, and a smaller amount to the inferior ones. At the present moment every good school could earn the very large grant which was to be allowed under the New Code, while there were many bad schools which were unable to do so; but hereafter the latter would in all probability be in a position to earn the full grant, and consequently the motive exciting to excellence would disappear. He quite concurred in the opinion that had been expressed on that point by the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford, and it had been confirmed since the commencement of the debate by a memorial emanating from a meeting of school managers that had been held at Birmingham, and which he had just received; the memorialists strongly urging that the mode in which the Code would operate would be to discourage the teaching of extra subjects, as the necessary limit could be attained without it. It pointed out, with perfect truth, that 1809 as the full grant would be earned by proficiency in the lower subjects, the stimulus to acquiring the higher ones would cease to exist. As an illustration of his argument he would take the case of a school now capable of containing 400 children. That school might, if well managed, have an average attendance of 400, and it would, under those circumstances, derive no advantage from the New Code. But in another school also capable of containing 400 children, in which the teaching was of an inferior description, and the average attendance only 300, the result under the Revised Code would be that, without any improvement whatsoever in the management of the school, or the merits of the teaching, it might get the full sum which the better schools only now received, because in all our large towns, and ultimately throughout the whole country, compulsory attendance would be established as a rule. Last year he had protested against the intention of the Government to increase the grants to denominational schools, and it was undeniable that the effect of the Bill had been much more denominational—not only than he himself but than anyone else had expected, including even the Vice President of the Council. In the agricultural districts—in fact everywhere, except in the large towns—there had been lately a great multiplication of voluntary schools in order to avoid the necessity for school boards. The Vice President of the Council had himself admitted that the applications for building grants were now ten times as great as the former average; while in one district—Leeds—it was reported that there would henceforth be no room for undenominational schools. There were throughout England thousands of voluntary and denominational schools of a very inferior description never visited by the Government Inspectors, and not receiving Government grants. Every one of these inferior schools ought to have become rate schools to be managed by the ratepayers. But the result of the Act of 1870 would be that these thousands of schools would remain denominational. The effect, then, of that Act might be stated to be greatly to increase the number of denominational schools, and especially of Church schools. The Nonconformist Body would discover that the Act had been the means of bringing into existence a large number of new Church 1810 schools supported by Government money, and there would be a growing disposition on the part of the Nonconformists to look upon this as a new species of religious endowment, with a disastrous result, moreover, from an educational point of view. There was good reason for saying that rate schools would be of a superior class to these voluntary schools. There were two reasons for thinking so. Rate schools would always have a sufficient amount of funds to keep them in a state of efficiency, and they would always be managed by representatives who would act under the control of public opinion and the constituent body. These elements would be wanting in the voluntary schools, and therefore, as a rule, they would be inferior schools. The Act of 1870 would have an unfortunate tendency to multiply and continue denominational schools, instead of making every new school a rate school, managed by the representatives of the public. There were three additions which he should like to see made to the Revised Code. The first and most important recognized the soundness of the principle that no grant should be given to the denominational school unless the subscribers to that school found one-sixth of the total cost. He did not think it was a right thing to allow irresponsible managers to have the control of funds almost entirely, and in some cases exclusively, provided by the fees of the children on the one hand, and the Government grant on the other. His right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council stated last year the reason why he could not accept such a proposition—namely, that these schools were some of the best in the country, and that it was clear either that the parents had a good deal to do with the management, or that they had great confidence in the managers. To this he would reply that the success of a school depended mainly upon the teacher, and that if the schools referred to by his right hon. Friend had been all transferred to the school boards the teachers would have been continued and the schools have remained as good as before. There were, however, a great many schools under voluntary management that were receiving few or no subscriptions which were badly managed, and these more than counterbalanced the schools which, tinder similar circumstances, were well managed. When this 1811 system came to be carried out side by side with the rate schools there would be created a natural dissatisfaction at finding the voluntary denominational schools under the close and exclusive management of one or two individuals who might be honourable, high - minded, and much interested in education, but who would be likely to act in accordance with their own notions. That the taxpayers and the parents of the children attending the schools should be represented on the board of management, whenever the subscriptions and donations failed to reach 1s. 6d. of the cost of the school, was the opinion of the Prime Minister himself, as expressed in his speeches during the Education debates of last year. On the 16th of June, in the debate on going into Committee, Mr. Gladstone said—It is said that the expense of educating a child in an efficient secular school is 30s., of which it may be said one-third is now provided by the Privy Council, one-third from voluntary sources, and one-third by payments from the children. We think that if to the third which is now dispensed the half of the second third were added, subject to the strict conditions which I have described with regard to secular education, the voluntary schools would have no reason to complain."—[3 Hansard, ccii. 280.]Namely, to complain if left to provide one-sixth by subscriptions. Further on, in that same speech, the Prime Minister said—The augmentation would be within a maximum of 50 per cent. It might not be so much; but taking it at about that amount, I think if our propositions be acceded to we may fairly require the promoters of voluntary schools to supply from their own resources and the pence of the children what, with the grant from the Exchequer, will enable them to perfectly well stand in competition with the rated schools."—[Ibid. 282.]In the adjourned debate on the 24th of June he reiterated these opinions in the following words—If, therefore, we do well in holding ourselves detached from the responsibility for the giving of religious instruction in voluntary schools, we shall likewise take care that, under no circumstances, shall the public grants be allowed so to operate as entirely to supply, together with school-pence, the sum necessary to support those schools, and that there shall always remain a void which must be filled up by free private contributions, and without which, failing other sources of assistance, those schools would no longer deserve the character of voluntary."—[Ibid. 938.]Another point to which he wished to direct attention was that the amount of the grant should be diminished by the amount of any endowments received by 1812 elementary schools. There was a provision to that effect in the old Code, and he should like to know from his right hon. Friend the Vice President why it had been omitted from the New Code. In the year ending August, 1869, the Church of England schools received £38,710 in endowments; Roman Catholic schools £406, and the British and Foreign, and other schools, £4,368. By discontinuing the deduction of these endowments from the amount of annual grants the Government would be called upon to pay an extra sum, which might amount to nearly £40,000 yearly, without any reason having been assigned for these increased grants. The third addition was that, in some cases, the income of a school exceeded the actual cost of the school. Now, Government should have the power to demand that a deduction be made from the grant equivalent to the excess of the income over the cost. He held that if the managers gave a fair statement of their income and expenditure, and the legitimate expenditure was smaller than the total income, the difference should be deducted from the grant. That was a fair and just arrangement to which nobody could object. The last portion of the Motion applied to the three points he had just submitted; the first portion of it was the redemption of a pledge he had given last year to resist any increased grants to denominational schools. The hon. Member concluded by moving his Resolution.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that She will be graciously pleased to direct that such alterations be made in the New Code of Regulations issued by the Committee of the Privy Council on Education, and now lying upon the Table of this House, as shall prevent any increased scale of Grants of Public Money to Denominational Schools:
That in Article 32, after Section (a) 1, there be added 'Three times the amount of such subscriptions alone:'
That in Article 32, after Section (a), there be added—
(b) The amount of any annual endowment;
(c) The excess of the income of the school for the year from all sources over its expenditure in that year,
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ LORD ROBERT MONTAGU
commenced by offering three suggestions to the Vice President, which he thought would conduce to the convenience of the House if they were followed. The first was, that whenever an important Minute was laid on the Table, the Vice President should make a statement in explanation of it. When he (Lord Robert Montagu) occupied the office which the Vice President now more worthily fills, he understood that this was the rule of the office, which had never been broken, as it had been this year. This would manifestly be more convenient to the House than to lay a Minute on the Table in silence; for not only would the Members themselves understand it at once, without waiting for the Minute to be printed, and issued, and conned over in private, but also their constituents would understand it the next morning, and could, without loss of time, communicate with their representatives. The New Code must become law in a month after the date on which it was laid on the Table. It was three weeks after that date; and yet only just then had Members begun to hear a little of the feelings of their constituents on the subject. It took a fortnight for a Parliamentary Paper to reach the mind of the nation, and another week before the response could, in the very least degree, be heard. He suggested therefore that, in future, a statement should always be made whenever an important Minute was laid upon the Table of the House. The second suggestion was, that the rule which was embodied in the New Code, and which had appeared in every previous Code, should be scrupulously followed. The rule enacted that whenever a new Code were issued, it should be printed so as to show the deviations which were made in it from the Code which happened to be then in force. It would be so manifestly for the convenience of the House for this rule to be strictly followed, that he needed not, at any greater length, to enlarge upon the subject. The third suggestion was, that the Government should provide some convenient time for the debate of an important Minute, before the time at which it became law. A New Code was suddenly thrown upon 1814 the Table, at 4 o'clock, before Members had assembled; it might, perhaps, be issued the next morning; but when Members, who were eager upon the subject, came down to the House, they found that the Order Book was filled with Notices of Motions for every "independent Members'" night, before the fatal day upon which the Code became law. What was the consequence? Those who desired to urge the Government to make alterations in the law, rushed tumultuously to the Order Book to put down Motions on going into Supply on Friday. There, next morning, appeared a string of Amendments for Addresses to the Crown on the subject of the Code. On the present occasion, the first was that of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon). He alone was able to move his Amendment; all the others, by the rules of the House, were precluded; and their Notices of Motion served no other purpose than that of the short placards at elections — namely, to state succinctly the opinions of the various candidates. He passed to the Motion under the consideration of the House, and the speech of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) in moving it. The aim of both were the same — to abolish entirely all denominational schools. His speech was one continual wail—that the effect of the Bill of last year had been to make denominational schools crop up so that no room was left for his pet project of secular schools. He deplored the case of Leeds by name, because that there every corner was filled with denominational schools, and no space was left where he might plant a school which should exclude all religious teaching. It was very plain that the aim of the hon. Member, and of his party, was not to extend education, but to extend secular education only. Last year he (Lord Robert Montagu) had charged them with not desiring to educate the people, but with seeking only to keep from them every wholesome religious influence and instruction. His argument had been put aside and utterly rejected by the House. Yet now, in less than nine months, the child had come to the birth, and the party below the Gangway had revealed themselves in their true light—not as foster-nurses of education, but as the parents of national infidelity, and the excluders, as an illegitimate offspring, of religion from education. To what point 1815 was the Motion of the hon. Member directed in his eager desire to destroy denominational education? It was directed against the compromise of last year. It would be remembered by the House that the Prime Minister had proposed a compromise between the contending parties; he had accepted the Motion of the right hon. Member for Hampshire (Mr. Cowper-Temple) for the exclusion of religious teaching from rate - supported schools; and he had accepted the suggestion of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) that denominational schools should be cut off from all connection with the school boards, and should not be empowered to receive assistance out of the school rates. This had been the portion of the compromise which was conceded to the party below the Gangway; and it had been made hard and fast, safe and secure, by insertion in the Act of last year. The part of the compromise—and a very inadequate share it was—which had been conceded to the denominationalists, was that the maximum grants to all schools, both secular and denominational, should be increased 50 per cent. This part of the compromise had not been made safe by insertion in the Act of last year. Towards the end of June, he (Lord Robert Montagu) had moved in Committee on the Bill that this part of the compromise should also be inserted in the Bill. The Prime Minister, however, made so definite a promise that his right hon. Friend (Mr. Disraeli) recommended that the Amendment should not be pressed, on the ground that no better guarantee could be given than the word of the Prime Minister. What, then, was the gist of the Motion before the House? The hon. Member "protested against any increase in the grants to the denominational schools;" he would accept the increased grants for the secular schools, but he would deny them to the denominational schools. He was in the position of a person who, in a fit of generosity, had purchased an extravagant present for his wife on New Year's-day, and then grumbled when the bill was sent for payment at Christmas. Let the House, however, consider the new grants, and see whether the bargain of last year had been exceeded; and let the House consider the new restrictions which had been imposed, and see whether the grants were not harder to obtain. He would first take the attendance grants. These 1816 were formerly 4s. for every scholar in average attendance; they were now to be 6s. This showed an increase of 50 per cent. The grant for every infant in average attendance used to be 6s. 6d.; it was now 8s. This was an increase of three-thirteenths, or 23 per cent. A restriction had, however, been imposed; no infants under four years of age were, in future, to be counted. Of the children on the registers, 7.13 per cent, were infants under four years of age; while 31.17 per cent, were infants between four and seven years of age. The grant had, therefore, been decreased by five-fifteenths by this restriction, while it had been increased by three-thirteenths by the difference of grant. The difference was small. It must, moreover, be remembered that infants were not forbidden to go to school; the State merely refused to pay for infants under four years of age; the State would not give any inducement to the mother to relinquish her maternal duties, and send her children to be nursed by the State, while she went out to make money. [Mr. W. E. FORSTER: The grant for infants in separate infant schools is to be 10s.] He was quite aware of that. Of all scholars, 14 per cent were in separate infant schools; and of infants, 37 per cent were in separate infant schools. To this extent there would be a clear gain. He passed now to the examination grants. According to the former Code, the maximum grants on examination were 2s. 8d. a pass for three passes per child; and 1s. 4d. per pass for two passes in extra subjects, up to 120 passes, or £8. The total maximum grant on examinations in small schools, was, therefore, 9s. 4d. for each child which was presented; and in large schools the maximum was 8s. per child, with £8 added. The average maximum grant, under the Revised Code, might, therefore, be taken at 8s. 6d. per child presented for examination. Under the New Code the maximum grant was as follows:—Three passes at 4s. each, for every child presented; together with two passes in extra subjects at 3s. each for those children who had passed in standards above the fourth standard. The total grant was, however, in no case to exceed 15s. This was, therefore, the maximum, however excellent the school might be. This increase was 76 per cent. A great prize, certainly! But it was placed at the top of a very greasy pole; there 1817 were so many restrictions, that it would be hard for many schools to climb up to the maximum. He would enumerate these restrictions—First, under the Revised Code, any child might be presented who had attended 200 days; under the New Code he must have attended 250 days. Now, as the Return showed, which had been issued that morning, from 75 to 85 per cent of those children who were presented for examination—that is, who had attended 200 days — had also attended as much as 250 days. On an average, 80 per cent of the children who were presented for examination, had attended 250 days. This rule decreased the increase of grant, therefore, by 20 per cent; and the new grant was thereby rendered less than 61 per cent greater than the old grant. He did not complain of the rule; he thought it would tend to raise the tone of education. He was merely estimating the real increase of grant. The second restriction was contained in the rule which raised the whole scale of standards a peg. At present every 100 children who had made 200 attendances, and were examined, made, on an average, 225 passes. In future only 80 of these children would be presentable; and every 100 of those who would be examined would make about 200 passes. This rule, therefore, reduced the increase of grant to 40 per cent. The third restriction was the limit of the standards to ages. After March 31,1873, no child above nine years of age could be presented in the New Standard I. (that was, the Old Standard II.). In 1874 no such child could be presented in the New Standard II. or Old Standard III. Now, in 1869–70, three quarters of the children who were examined under the Old Standard II. or New Standard I., were under 10 years of age, and one quarter of such children were above 10 years of age. The numbers were not given in the last Report for any other age. The exact numbers were 134,000 under 10, and 40,000 over 10. In the same year half of the children which had been presented in the Old Standard III., or New Standard II., were over 10 years of age, and half under 10. The exact numbers were 71,000 under 10, and 60,000 over 10. A serious reduction of grant—it would be difficult to estimate the amount with accuracy—would accrue from the operation of this rule. He did not approve of this rule; it was, 1818 doubtless, imposed in an endeavour to raise education throughout the kingdom; yet its effect would be, that if a boy was ignorant at nine years old he would be damned to ignorance for ever. There were other reductions of the grant which were of smaller moment. According to the Revised Code, a pupil-teacher must be kept for every 40 children after the first 50, under penalty of a fine of £10 in each case. By the New Code a pupil-teacher must be kept for every 40 children after the first 20, under a penalty of £20. The fine was doubled, and it was made to hit smaller schools. Formerly, a school of 90 children need not have a pupil-teacher. Now a village school of 60 children must have a pupil-teacher, besides the certificated master, and the woman who must teach the girls to sew. In such a school there would be 24 girls and 36 boys; the former would, of an afternoon, be busy sewing; and the 36 boys would be under the tuition of a master and a pupil-teacher. That, he thought, was unnecessary. Again, in the New Code there was a rule according to which the managers would be fined £10 for every pupil-teacher who failed in his examination; and yet the managers would have to pay him nevertheless. In the Bœotian districts of the country, you must choose one of the numerous boobies to be a pupil teacher. Are you then to fine the managers because he is not a Solon? Again, according to the Revised Code, grants were made to managers whenever a pupil-teacher finished his apprenticeship and entered a normal college, and also in the second year of his course at the college. These grants to the school were, at entrance, £10 if he entered in the first class, or £5 if in the second; and in the second year the grants were £8 or £5. These grants had been omitted from the New Code. He allowed that the compromise had been carried out in respect of the attendance grants, but not in regard to the examination grants. Yet that which had to be encouraged was not attendance, but proficiency in examination. There was also another kind of discouragement which had been given to denominational schools. The House was aware that these schools had been established, and were maintained to promote and teach that religion to which they belonged. How was this affected by the rules of the New Code? 1819 Attendance was to be counted for those children only who had undergone two hours of purely secular instruction in the morning, and two hours in the afternoon. The school-roll was to be called over, and the registers to be written up, both morning and afternoon, before the secular instruction was commenced. In those two duties alone, five hours a-day would be consumed. At what time, then, was the religious instruction to be given? According to the New Code, the pupil-teachers were not to teach more than five hours a-day. When was the religious instruction then to be given? If the school-registers were to be kept open until after the religious instruction was over, a premium would be given to the children to shirk the religious instruction; if the registers were to be closed before the half-hour of religious instruction was begun then the managers would fine themselves by cutting off all the attendance grants of those children who arrived after the religious instruction had commenced. The Vice President had, however, answered the other day that the majority of schools met for two hours morning and afternoon. That was very true; but it must be remembered that an ecclesiastic had a right, under the Revised Code, to enter the school at any time and give religious instruction. That right had been taken away by the Act of last year. The same remarks applied also to evening schools. These schools should, no doubt, be "improvement schools," as the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh University (Dr. Lyon Playfair) had said. Yet they must for many years be content with the work of keeping up the modicum of elementary learning which young men had acquired. When the tone of education throughout the country had been raised, then they might serve the higher purpose. But then he did not understand the reason for the rule of the New Code which denied all grants for extra subjects in the evening schools. Surely the learning of extra subjects should receive every possible encouragement if those schools were to become "improvement schools." Yet, on the other hand, the rules as to the examinations in the standards were imposed as if evening schools were to be merely elementary schools. What would be the effect of these rules? If a boy had passed all the standards by 12 years old, then he could no longer gain any exami- 1820 nation grants for his evening school, and would be regarded by the master as a worthless subject. On the other hand, if a boy at 12 knew little or nothing, then also he could not gain, at any time, any examination grants for his evening school, and would be regarded by the master as not worthy to be taught. The evening schools were, in other ways, very hardly treated. Under the Revised Code they had to meet 40 times, and those scholars only were examined who had attended 24 times. Under the New Code, 80 meetings and 50 attendances were required. He asserted that it would be practically impossible to fulfil these conditions. Attendances, as is well-known, could not be secured before the middle of October, nor after the middle of March. Evening schools could meet only for five months in the year, or, omitting the Christmas holiday, for 19 weeks. Now the master had, under the New Code, to teach the pupil teachers for two hours three times a-week. There were, therefore, only 57 days on which the evening school could meet. The Return which had been issued that morning bore out his statement; for he observed that the great majority of evening schools met only 56 times. Add to this that there were weekly evening services, choir practice, and penny readings, to reduce the number of meetings, and it would be seen that such a rule as that contained in the New Code would shut up every evening school in the country. That would be baneful; as an evening school was, at least, a means for keeping young men and women out of mischief. If, instead of the rule that an hour and a half of purely secular instruction was to be given in them, a rule had been made to enforce two hours of instruction, of which half-an-hour was to be religious, they might be made a positive benefit to the nation.
§ MR. MELLY
congratulated his right hon. Friend on the satisfactory criticism passed upon his Revised Code by almost every hon. Gentleman who had spoken. He would, however, suggest to him, considering the advantage of night schools, whether it would not be possible to draw a line between such schools in rural districts and those in towns. It was his intention to oppose the Motion of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon); but he trusted his hon. Friend would not divide the House. It was 1821 true that last year he (Mr. Melly) had opposed the making of any additional grant to denominatioual schools; but he confessed that during the year a very important change had occurred in the feeling of the country. School boards had been elected in hundreds of towns, and elected upon the denominational principle. They had seen members of the Church of England, of every political party, going together to secure what they believed to be a fair representation on the board; and they had seen the Wesleyans and other denominations standing together to attain the same object. The result was, that there had been elected a number of gentlemen, second to none in the kingdom in point of ability, energy, and zeal; and, on some boards, even where the majority of the electors were Nonconformists and working men, the rectors of the parishes had been elected unanimously as chairmen and vice-chairmen of boards. The elections were conducted on the principle of denominationalism, but almost every candidate declared himself to be in favour of religious, but un-sectarian education. The principle of compulsion, also, had been almost unanimously adopted, by the Boards; and he (Mr. Melly) believed it to be the only one under which the children could be properly educated. He hoped his hon. Friend would withdraw his Motion. The people of this country might not be very logical or very consistent in their opinions, but they were eminently practical, and he believed that the difficulties of the question, which were aimed at by the Motion, would gradually disappear in the working of the system. He congratulated his right hon. Friend on the success of the new measure, which had largely exceeded the anticipations of its friends, and in no single particular had that been more conspicuous than in the manner in which the principle of compulsion had been received throughout the country.
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
said, he had not only taken great interest himself in the working of schools in the rural districts, but had been in communication with gentlemen largely interested in the working of those in the metropolis; and spoke their sentiments as well as his own when he said that there was almost perfect unanimity of opinion that the way in which the Council of Education had dealt with the 1822 raising of the standard with regard to boys' schools was very much to be praised; but he was certain there was an equally universal impression that a great mistake would be made if girls' schools were dealt with in the same way. The Committee of Council seemed to have forgotten that a very large portion of the time of the girls had to be devoted to needlework—time which, undoubtedly, was most usefully employed when their probable future condition in life was considered. But if that time was devoted to needlework they could hardly be expected to acquire the same amount of general knowledge as boys. With regard to night schools he wished to impress on the right hon. Gentleman the necessity of lowering the standard fixed by the New Code, if he did not wish to destroy these schools. If the standard was raised in the manner proposed, it would practically shut up a great number of the night schools in the rural districts. The tendency in the agricultural districts was to take children away from school for labour before they had acquired any large amount of sound knowledge. The night schools stepped in and assisted in maintaining what they had already acquired, or imparting more. He wished to urge that point specially on the attention of the Government, because he was certain that the tendency of the New Code, as regards night schools, as it now stood, would be to strike a great blow at education in the agricultural districts.
§ MR. COWPER-TEMPLE
said, there had been such an unanimity in the suggestions made with respect to night schools, that he trusted his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council would defer to the wishes of the House, and would so alter the Code as to prevent the extinction—as he feared would be the case—of night schools in the rural districts. He attached much importance to these schools, and even if the periods of teaching were short the pupils might acquire habits of attention, discipline, and mental exertion; moreover, the disposition on the part of young men and young women to study when they were masters of their own time should be encouraged as much as possible; but the provisions of the Code, as at present drawn, would tend to diminish the attendance at such schools. The House, he believed, would be 1823 equally unanimous in its condemnation of the Motion of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon), whose consistency, however, could not be questioned. The hon. Member last year proposed secular teaching, when he thought the public was with him; this year, when he has admitted that public opinion is against him, he still maintains his secularist theory. The contribution of the hon. Gentleman towards the solution of that difficult subject was one that he (Mr. Cowper-Temple) thought need not be accepted in any quarter with much gratitude, because it simply punished by fines and disabilities the schools he regarded as denominational. But why were the managers of denominational schools to be punished? Up to the present time they had been the only educators of the people, and had supplied all the primary education of the country. The hon. Member had expressed great dismay at the outburst of voluntary zeal in anticipation of this New Code; but in his (Mr. Cowper-Temple's) opinion it should rather be a cause for satisfaction to think that people had really strong feelings upon religious subjects, and were anxious their children should not be left without the Bible in their schools. Education had been given to the poor by charitable efforts; and the great services thus rendered ought not be disregarded and hindered. He feared the Code, by increasing the required number of attendances, by raising the standard, and by other modes, all tending to diminish the earnings, and by raising the age of infants, would prove injurious to the progress of education, especially in the rural districts.
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
said, he had a strong opinion on the necessity of continuing and keeping up the infant school system, and he was very much afraid it would be seriously affected by Article 25 of the New Code, by which children under four years of age were to be deprived of the grant. He had been informed by managers of these schools that no less than 20 per cent of the children's attendances in infant schools would be excluded by the proposed regulation. In effect, children under five years of age would be deprived of the grants, inasmuch as they must be four years of age before their attendances could be reckoned towards the required number of 250 to enable the Inspector to certify 1824 they were entitled to the grant. It would also have a most damaging effect on the education of the elder children, who would be detained at home to look after them. The promise of the right hon. Gentleman last year, that there should be an increased grant to the extent of 50 per cent had been broken so far as the infant schools were concerned. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would give way to the representations that had been made, and allow the present regulations to stand, so far as infants were concerned. He ventured to say with regard to the arrangement that children between four and seven years of age should receive two hours' secular education, morning and afternoon, apart from religious instruction—it was a little too hard, and he thought a discretion in the matter might very wisely be left to the school managers. By the New Code it was proposed to give sums of money for attendance, and for passing examinations in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and for extra subjects, whereby a child might earn for the school some 24s.; but in no case was the total grant to exceed an average of 15s. per child. His attention had been called to the point by a very acute school manager, who proved conclusively that it was not necessary that more than 70 per cent of the children in average attendance should be presented for examination, and that the great danger was, that under the New Code the work would not be so perfectly done as by the present system. The slow, dull, and careless children would be neglected for the purpose of pushing on and getting larger grants for the intelligent and industrious children. It would, therefore, be better to adopt the suggestion of the hon. Member for Edinburgh University (Dr. Lyon Play-fair). He (Mr. W. H. Smith) objected to one of the tests provided for children of 11 years of age—namely, that they should be capable of repeating correctly by heart 240 lines of poetry. He doubted if that were the best kind of test. The pupil-teachers of 16 or 17 years of age were not required to repeat correctly by heart more than 50 lines of poetry under similar circumstances.
§ MR. WINTERBOTHAM
said, he would congratulate the House on the tone the discussion had assumed. The discussion had not been a very venomous one for an education debate—though 1825 whether dulness had been equally avoided was more than an impartial observer might be able to say. Upon the general question raised by the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) he had nothing to say, for he had not seen any reason to alter the opinion he expressed strongly last year, and, although his hon. Friend had thought it his duty to raise the question, he hoped he would not divide the House upon it. One isolated point had not been noticed in the debate, on which he desired to offer a few remarks—namely, that while a great advantage of this, in the main, very excellent Cede was the distinct recognition of extra subjects—thus raising the standard of primary education throughout the country — one of the most important of these extras was not only ignored, but positively excluded—namely, music. As to drawing, he said nothing, because that was taught by the Science and Art Department; but as to music, although great progress had been made in spreading the means of teaching that art in primary schools, the Vice-President had struck out the subject, and the result would be that although its teaching was not absolutely forbidden, yet attention would first be given to those subjects for which grants were paid. He appealed to the House whether children had not better spend their time in learning vocal music than in studying political economy — although he had nothing to say against political economy, which was a very interesting subject to the cultivated mind of a man in rude health? A knowledge of Lord Overstone's tracts on the Bank Acts, or of the First Lord of the Admiralty's work On the Theory of Foreign Exchanges, or of any other branch of political economy, would be very dearly acquired if the teaching of music were sacrificed. He would remind the House that all educationists from Plato to Gœthe had insisted on the importance of teaching music, and hon. Members, who reverenced patristic authority, might remember that St. Augustine was a music master, and had written six learned, though rather unintelligible books upon the subject. He suspected that the Vice President was not a musician—for which he was sorry, though that, perhaps, accounted for many of his aberrations on this subject. Let the right hon. Gentleman remember Shaks- 1826 peare's denunciation of "the man who hath no music in his soul," and beware his doom—"Let no such man be trusted." What was the effect produced by the study of music? It taught order, attention, and quickness; it practised the memory; and, above all, was the only study that really cultivated the imagination of which untutored minds were capable. It was to them what all art and literature were to us. Hon. Members were now seeking to benefit the poorer classes, and though they could not make all rich, they thought they could make them wise. But to teach them music was to make them happy, and any man who knew anything of music, and enjoyed it, knew how capable of learning it were the great majority of children, and how much the faculty became deadened by neglect. It afforded a great deal of amusement not only to the children themselves, but to their friends. It was like putting a singing bird in every cottage. He had himself had the misfortune — as some persons esteemed it—to be educated at one of those middle-class schools, which were looked down upon by Inspectors who did not understand them, because they had been educated under a different system, and he, in common with three-fourths of a school of 80 or 100 boys, learnt music. Those who had kept it up in after-life knew well that it was an intense delight and led them sometimes even to resist the fascinations of coming down to that House. He therefore asked his right hon. Friend to give his serious attention to this as a practical matter. He knew it would be objected—and he was ashamed of the answer—that the Inspectors did not know anything about music. So much the worse for the Inspectors, and to require them to learn music would be doing good both to them and their families. There was, however, a means of obtaining qualified examiners, for as the Vice President proposed to appoint some Assistant Inspectors, it might be possible to require from an adequate number of them some knowledge of music. The music that he desired should be taught was not that of those howling young savages the charity children in St. Paul's, but a practical system of notation such as could be easily acquired by any intelligent child. It would be a lasting disgrace—at least it 1827 would be a disgrace as long as it lasted—if music were put under a cloud, simply because Inspectors could not be found who were able to examine in that subject. Let hon. Members remember what was done in other countries. In America great stress was laid on the teaching of music; there was a saying, in fact, that there was no primary school without its grand piano. The right hon. Gentleman was proud of the education measure, and wished his name to be associated with it. Let not his name then be handed down to posterity as that of an uncouth barbarian, who refused to allow children to be taught music.
§ MR. STEPHEN CAVE
pointed out that, as the Code now stood, there was no provision for a supply of teachers for infant schools. That was a point of great importance, to which he begged to direct the attention of the right hon. Gentleman. His own experience was that girls between the ages of 17 and 21 years were the best instructors for the purpose, and by a modification of the 59th Article he thought that the object might be attained. There would be a great demand for schoolmistresses, which would increase the difficulty. Pupil-teachers who had been five years in training seldom liked to take such situations, and he thought that an Article similar to the 59th, with alterations in the requirements of age, and years of teaching in the school, would effect the object. He was very anxious about this, as he knew by experience what a humanizing effect infant schools had among the children of country parishes.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
I feel myself to be under a considerable difficulty at this moment. I am not only, as has been suggested by the hon. Member for Edinburgh and St. Andrews Universities (Dr. Lyon Playfair), in the position of a man who has to drive two horses at once, but I feel that I have three distinct things to do together. In the first place, it is due to the House that I should take this opportunity of explaining the provisions of the New Code. I also feel it right to notice the different objections that have been taken to it in the course of this most practical and useful debate. Lastly, I have to defend myself against the charge of being an uncouth barbarian. No doubt the noble Lord opposite (Lord Robert Montagu) may think that I have brought 1828 this difficulty on myself, because I ought to have given an early explanation of the New Code. I should have been glad to have done so, but when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when in my position, tried to do so, he found that it would hardly be within the rules of the House for him to proceed. A mode might perhaps have been found of overcoming this difficulty; but still the other difficulty remained, with which Parliament is constantly pressed — that of providing time for all the important subjects with which it has to deal. And on this head I wish to make an appeal to right hon. Gentlemen opposite, and that is, if they can do so with propriety, to allow the New Code to come into operation at the end of the month, and not to require a longer time for its consideration. It will be within the power of this House and of Parliament at any time during the Session to agree to any Address to the Throne upon the subject which they may think proper, and the Government would feel bound to pay every attention to it; but the reason why I press the House not to delay the operation of the New Code is because we have a most arduous and difficult work before us in ascertaining and remedying the educational deficiencies of the country, and in keeping pace with what I am happy to say is the great demand that the country is making on us to give the widest possible effect to the Act of last year. It is almost impossible for us to get to work on the task of going through the whole country to decide what parishes should be grouped together, and where educational deficiency exists, until the New Code is settled. In framing the New Code we had three duties to perform: first, we had to carry out the principles of the Education Act; secondly, to carry out the pledges given by the Prime Minister and by myself that there should be a considerable increase in the assistance to the inspected schools out of the Parliamentary grant; an increase that was not to exceed 50 per cent, but which it was naturally and justifiably supposed would not fall much below it; and, thirdly, we had to consider what improvements we could make in the Code, in which we must necessarily be guided by our experience of the past working of the system, and the consequences of 1829 the new position which education was assuming in this country. The House will bear me witness that, in stating the additional assistance we contemplated giving, I always accompanied my observations with the distinct condition that this should be consistent with any changes the Government might think fit to introduce for carrying into effect a more efficient and economical system of education. My first thought was efficiency, and after that economy. The first change that we considered made necessary by the passing of the Education Act was the omission of Article 4 of the Code, which confined the Parliamentary grants to the children of parents engaged in manual labour. This was necessary, because it would have been obviously most unreasonable to expect the small shopkeepers and ratepayers of towns to pay for the education of the children of artizans, from the benefit of which their own children were excluded. But I must say that, apart from that consideration, I was very glad of the change, and for this reason—that I see no reason—but, on the contrary, a great objection—to singling out the class engaged in manual labour, and saying that they specially should obtain the assistance of Parliamentary grants. A very large proportion of that class are perhaps in indigent circumstances, but many are very well off for their station in life; and it is a bad political principle to recognize that they have a special claim on the funds of the country — a principle which I believe they would themselves disavow. Indeed—and we are glad to know it to be the fact, many of those who are engaged in manual labour are in the receipt of wages which place them in a position that makes them perfectly well able to hold their own alongside of any class, and they are better off than many persons not engaged in manual labour who belong to the class of small shopkeepers, and even than many professional men. Therefore, we have taken the definition in the Act that it shall be—A school in which elementary education is the object of instruction, and where the ordinary payment for scholars does not exceed 9d. a-week.Our next change was the striking out of Article 6 of the former Code, which said that no aid was to be given to any children who were in boarding schools, or anywhere but in day schools. That provision interpreted literally would have 1830 prevented aid being given to ragged schools, or to schools in which the managers took charge of the children during the dinner hour. That was so manifestly unjust that I do not think it was ever carried out; but we saw no reason why children in the elementary schools should not receive their share of the Parliamentary grant, simply because they were taken care of by charitable persons during the day, or even during the night. The change that has been made by the omission of this article will extend to training ships, in which the hon. Member for Liverpool and the hon. Member for Hull take so deep an interest. The next change is as follows:—We decided last year that while nothing should be done to discourage religious instruction, yet that provision should be made for aid to purely secular schools, and that the Parliamentary grant should not be confined to those schools which are under denominational management, or in which the Bible is read. It is now, therefore, proposed that in future secular schools shall be admitted to the benefit of the grant. Now I come to the provisions to which objection has been made by some Members this evening, as to the minimum of secular instruction which the Government have deemed it necessary should be established. Under the Revised Code—I call the system of last year the Revised Code, and I call this the New Code—an "attendance" was reckoned as two hours of any school instruction. By the New Code it is required that an "attendance" should be two hours instruction on secular subjects. Many objections have been made on this point, and it is said that this will prove an inconvenient arrangement—especially as regards the afternoon—for the management of the school. I will give shortly the reasons why we do not think it will be found inconvenient. Last year I had the time-tables of a large number of schools examined before I brought in the time-table clause. This year I have looked back to them again, and I find the result to be that out of the first 75 cases there are only 11 which do not meet for more than two hours in the afternoon. When I see that a large proportion of schools meet for more than two hours, I cannot think there is inconvenience in schools meeting for this time, and I will endeavour to show why, on prin- 1831 ciple, this arrangement ought to be adhered to. I should like to appeal to any Member who objects to this provision to consider that the great test of the Act of last year will be how far it will bear the principle and practice of compulsion. For my own part, I have no doubt whatever that direct compulsion will soon be the rule throughout the country. I have not been at all surprised at seeing one large town after another adopting the principle of compulsion, for I felt sure from the first that that would be the case. Liverpool and London have both adopted this principle, and with other large towns it is only a question of time. It may be taken for granted, therefore, that this principle will be extensively applied in the course of a year or two, and when it is not voluntarily adopted, Parliament may at the expiration of that period be willing to sanction it. Therefore, I say it is most important that all schools deriving aid from the Parliamentary grant should be able to bear the application of this principle. Assuredly voluntary schools will surfer greatly—I think, indeed, they can hardly stand—unless it be possible to apply compulsion to them; and this will not be possible, unless means are taken to secure efficient and sufficient secular teaching. Unless this secular instruction is given for at least four hours daily—for two hours at each meeting—we could hardly compel the children to attend. Some of my hon. Friends are of opinion that it will be difficult to apply any compulsion whatever to voluntary schools, because of their denominational character; but I would remind them that it would be quite as difficult to apply it to undenominational schools, for a vast number of parents would object to being forced to send their children to schools in which there was no possibility of religious instruction. It is a difficulty that will be felt on both sides. Then it has been suggested that the afternoon attendance might be made shorter if a longer space of time were devoted to instruction in the morning; but the objection to this proposal is that it would wholly interfere with the half-time system, which is daily coming more into vogue. My hon. Friend the Member for Westminster (Mr. W. H. Smith) has remarked that an attendance of two hours was too long for infant schools. The Department 1832 would not, however, think of preventing a portion of that time being set apart for play or pleasant exercises, as far as infant schools were concerned, if it were necessary to prevent the children being overweighed by work. The next proposal which the Government have thought it necessary to make has hardly been alluded to by any speaker to-night—namely, the provision for meeting an increased demand for schoolmasters and schoolmistresses. Undoubtedly there will be a great demand for masters, and though I have always thought we shall be able to obtain more from the training colleges than some hon. Members have anticipated; still, I certainly thought we ought to take all the means in our power for enlisting in our service every good master in the country; at the same time, we thought it most desirable not to give up the principle of certificates. I do not wish, at present, to re-open the question of certificates, and therefore I will only say that, however much we may rely on special examinations for results, they do not constitute by themselves a sufficient guarantee for efficient education and economical expenditure of the public money. The Department, being of this opinion, and yet having to meet this special demand, have made two changes. In the first place, they allow, for three years, certificates to be given without examination to certain masters. Everyone is aware that there are many efficient masters of mature age in schools which, because of the conscientious feelings of the managers, or from some other cause, have not received the Government grant. These masters would find themselves uncertificated, and would have to submit to an examination which, in spite of their acknowledged efficiency, they might have some difficulty in passing. Now, as the Government are desirous of not losing the services of such men—which would be a very hard thing for them, and very inconvenient for us—an arrangement has been made, under Section 59, by which such masters and mistresses will be furnished with a certificate without passing an examination, provided that they are above 35 years old, that they have been teachers for 10 years at least, that they can produce a certificate of good character, and that the Inspectors who have visited their schools report them to be efficient teachers. As regards 1833 younger teachers, another change has been introduced. Under the Revised Code, any man or woman above the age of 22, in any school of which the Inspector gave two favourable reports, might present themselves to the examiners of the training colleges, and obtain a certificate without passing through the training schools. The change we have made works in this way. The age at which candidates may be examined for certificates is reduced from 22 to 21, and reports are to be required from an Inspector upon one examination instead of two examinations of the school in which a candidate has been engaged. I must now allude to the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon). The passing of the Act of last year obliges us to show perfect impartiality between rate schools and voluntary schools. In that we have no option, because the 97th clause of the Act says that the conditions of any Minute, such as that we have laid upon the Table,Shall not give any preference or advantage to any school on the ground that it is or is not provided by a school board.I must remind my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) of the existence of that clause in the Act, because his Motion is contrary to the principle of this clause, which we have honestly endeavoured to carry out. I am convinced that it was a right principle; and it is, indeed, in accordance with my statement when I first brought in the Bill—that we were to have compulsory provision where it was needed, and not unless it was needed. These, then, are the changes which we have found necessary to make on account of the passing of the Education Act. I come now to the second and third duties we have had to perform—those of giving an increased grant and improving the conditions of earning it. I stated last year that I would accompany the increase of grant with such a stimulus to educational activity as we could give. The House must judge whether we have carried out that promise. If we have not, it is not from want of earnest endeavour to do so. I will point out the improvements we have made; first mentioning one which has not been alluded to to-night. It is that we have taken away that restriction of the Revised Code which prevented visits of Inspectors by surprise. 1834 We still arrange that the grant shall be given upon a yearly inspection, of which the managers shall be warned. We could not, in common fairness, conduct the examination in any other manner. We have, however, taken power by Article 12 that the Inspector shall visit at any accidental time, and this arrangement we are enabled to make in consequence of the better organization of district inspection. I think that arrangement is most advisable to secure the general efficiency of the schools, and also to ensure the honest carrying out of the conscience clause. The next point has reference to attendance. It was incumbent upon us to make the change which has been discussed. I believe the time has come when we could safely raise the attendance of the individual children necessary to obtain an examination from 200 to 250. I think I need not dwell upon that, because the House seems to have accepted our alteration. Then there is a special arrangement, which has hardly been noticed, with regard to the half-time schools. A good deal of objection has been taken to it, especially out of the House. Having raised the attendance at day schools from 200 to 250, we have raised the attendance at half-time schools from 100 to 150, because we found they were obtaining more than their share; because they are conducted upon the most rigid principle of compulsion. In my mill school I earn for my children by their examination and attendance more than 15s. per head. No doubt that is partly owing to the sharpness of the Yorkshire child, and partly also to the circumstance that I have good masters; but it is mainly owing to the fact that I can secure the attendance of the children by the strongest compulsion. Their parents, from their absence from school, lose the wage for their work, and that is a greater fine than my hon. Friend the Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) will be able to establish by direct compulsion. As these schools were obtaining more than their share, we felt justified in requiring a higher attendance; but I shall carefully look at the other half-time Acts, and see how they apply. In answer to the right hon. Member for Oxford University (Mr. G. Hardy), I have to say that I should define rural districts as districts in which the parents were engaged in agricultural employment; and if this should apply 1835 to small towns in rural districts, I think it ought to do so. We have made an exception for boys above ten in these districts by reducing the attendances to 150, because we hope, as soon as we can find time, to devise the means to establish the principle of working and schooling together for children in agricultural parishes. In the meantime, several landowners and farmers have applied the principle upon their own estates, and we have introduced this regulation for their assistance. The hon. Member for Scarborough (Mr. Dent) asked why we confined the exception to rural districts; the answer is, that we do not see clearly how to apply it to other cases. But all these arrangements in the New Code must be subject to the information we obtain both as to its working and as to the working of the Act. Now I come to the infants, who have been so paternally cared for by the House. I think every hon. Member who has spoken about these infants will admit that something ought to be done, because in many cases the infant school is turned into a mere créche, and is merely an excuse for allowing mothers to neglect their duties. We have raised the grant for average attendance from 4s. to 6s.; and 14s. or 16s. a-year would be a good deal for the State to pay for relieving a mother from taking care of a child. By the Code of last year there was no condition as to the age of the child. We certainly did give directions to Inspectors to cast out babies when they could do so; but a good many babies passed, and it was necessary to take some action in the matter, as we have done in these clauses. We have declared by Article 19 (b) that no infant is to be paid for if not four years of age on the day of inspection. We have said also by Article 25 that no attendance is to be allowed for until the child is four. On the day of inspection the child must be more than four, and from the day that it reached that age it would have swelled the average of attendance, and therefore to some extent have been paid for; but it could not obtain the special grant of 8s. or 10s., because it would not have made up the 250 attendances. Upon reconsidering the matter we have arrived at the conclusion that there is a good deal of educational advantage to be gained between three and four. We find it absolutely 1836 necessary to keep up the restriction that the child must be four on the day of inspection; but we intend to alter Article 25 by inserting the word "three" instead of "four," which will allow attendances to be taken into account before the child is four years of age. We have increased the age at which children are to be reckoned infants from six years to seven; and the reasons are two-fold—we think that it will be better for the children, and that it is not worth while to have highly-trained Inspectors to examine individually children under seven years old. Now as to the change in the standards. We have made an alteration by which we have struck out Standard I in the Old Code. It was placed exceedingly low in the Old Code, and we think that amount of learning should be obtained by children before coming to school at all, or acquired in the infant school. Our Standards I. II. III. IV. and V. in the New Code very nearly correspond with the Standards II. III. IV. V. and VI. in the Old Code; but still there is a difference between them. The Old Standards III. IV. and V. require that the book in which children should be examined in reading should be one used in school. The ingenuity of man is great; but I should have hardly thought it possible that schoolmasters would have crammed children in reading. But they have done it when reading from a book used in school, so that which seemed to be reading was not reading; and therefore we do not now allow the examination in these standards to be confined to a book used in a school. Then we have introduced a New Standard VI. by which it is attempted to secure a higher class of education, inasmuch as under it children are required to write a theme, or letter, or paraphrase. This does not seem to be a great matter; but it is something to look forward to an examination that implies an original letter or theme. The hon. Member for Westminster (Mr. W. H. Smith) appeared shocked to think that children of the 4th Standard should learn so many things by heart; but if he will come to see me in the holidays I will show him children who will do it, and will also make pretty pithy Yorkshire allusions to what they have been reading. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. G. Hardy) has complained that the female pupil-teachers are required to pass a lower standard than 1837 that which the males are required to pass; whereas the girls in schools are examined in the same standard as the boys. The right hon. Gentleman should, however, recollect that the schools are mixed schools, having the same teaching for both sexes; whereas the curriculum in the male and female training colleges is different. In any further alteration to be made in the standard in schools, however, I hope that that for the boys will be raised instead of that for the girls being lowered. Hon. Members have asked why it is not allowed that a leap should be made in the standards? As soon as it is thought safe to encourage schoolmasters to drive their children on and so to skip a standard, the Department will only be too glad to be able to hold out this stimulus to them; but at present it is thought that it might be dangerous to incite masters to push on clever children to the neglect of the others. Therefore, for the present, at all events, no alteration of this description will be made in the Code. The hon. Member (Mr. Kay-Shuttle-worth), in the most excellent speech with which he opened the debate, and which showed that he inherits his father's educational knowledge, made one remark which astonished me, and which I cannot help thinking he will hear about from his father to-morrow. He asked me why we should not allow children who failed in one standard to come up for examination in the same standard the following year? The reason is simply that, if such a thing were allowed, there would be an immediate lowering of the standard throughout the country, and we should get almost no progress at all. But we do give some inducement to push children forward. We give this inducement—that we make grants for special objects only possible to children who have passed in the three upper standards. As to the alteration in special subjects, the Revised Code afforded a capital educational training for masters and managers who understood it; but I was not surprised yesterday to find a gentleman much engaged in education who said he had no idea as to what the old regulations as to special subjects were. There were two ways in which special subjects were paid for; either the child must, after having got through all the six standards, pass in certain special sub- 1838 jects, and earn the 8s., or there was an encouragement to the school that taught special subjects. It was in this form, that there was 1s. 4d. per pass in reading, writing, and ciphering, which was given to masters who fulfilled certain conditions as to pupil-teachers and passes. After all these conditions were fulfilled the grant was stopped when it reached 120 children. We have replaced all these complicated conditions by this arrangement—that there shall be a certain number of special subjects for the examination of children, and they shall be allowed to pass in not more than two. The child upon passing the examination will earn the payment. As to music, there are two ways in which music has been encouraged hitherto—the one way being really efficient, and the other merely nominal. It has been encouraged in a very efficient manner by music and singing being taught in the school in classes, the time so occupied being allowed to count as time occupied in instruction. The result has been that in a vast number of schools there have been musical classes; but out of 4,423 schools that sent up children last year to be examined in special subjects, only 43 sent up children for examination in music. With regard to the question of teaching music as a special subject, I think it would be impossible to effect it at present. To make the examination effective it must be real; and for the present, at least, we have difficulty in finding among our Inspectors the necessary qualification. Their education had been shaped in accordance with the education of the upper and middle classes generally, and of nine-tenths of the Gentlemen who are listening to me at the present moment. If I were in the position of a schoolmaster, and was entitled to ask all those hon. Gentlemen who understood music to hold up their hands, I am afraid very few hands would be held up. It may be said—"You can make it a condition with Inspectors;" but you cannot make it a condition with Inspectors this year—it is impossible. You cannot easily find gentlemen who have all the qualifications you require. A suggestion has been made to have the examination conducted by means of examination papers, and to have the papers sent up to London to be examined. I know that that has been done in the training schools, but I do not think it would be 1839 wise to apply it to the elementary schools. It is not merely ignorant people like myself who hold the opinion that such an examination as I am now referring to is not satisfactory; in the Report of last year, I find it stated that Mr. Hullah acknowledges that this plan has not come up to his expectations. We think it necessary to make the examination a reality, and not have it conducted by examiners who do not know what they are examining in. It would be a very bad precedent to have Inspectors examining in what they did not understand; and hence for this year we must strike music out of the list of special subjects. I am quite convinced of the immense advantage which it gives to the children—perhaps more advantage to them than even it does to our own class; and I assure my noble Friend (Lord Robert Montagu) that I will do my very best to encourage it in every school. I am not sure that it would not, after all, be better to make music a matter for general instruction in all schools, if we do not strike it out altogether from the list of subjects, as we have done with drawing, and leave it to be attended to by the Science and Art Department. Passing now to another branch of the subject—the evening schools—I do not deny their advantage, though I think their importance, as purely educational institutions, has been somewhat overrated in the debate of this evening. The hon. Member for Hastings (Mr. Kay-Shuttleworth) says there are three objects which should be kept in view in connection with these schools—first, that they might supply the place of day schools, giving the means of acquiring reading and writing to those boys whose education has been neglected; second, keeping up elementary knowledge obtained at the day school; and third, furnishing the means by which higher knowledge may be obtained. But what great educational good can you expect or hope to obtain from schools which are only required to be open 40 nights in the year, and at which the attendance of a boy or girl is required not more than 24 times? Nevertheless, the grant has been made—2s. 6d. for average attendance, and 5s. for examination; and it is a very large sum to pay for 24 nights. I think we are relying on something which will mislead us when we think that, by establishing such evening schools, we 1840 have supplied the want. I do not deny that they are good institutions, and I will on no account give them up—not so much on account of the actual learning acquired at them, as on account of the fact of their reaching and influencing the young people at a time when influence is most useful. But looking to the large sums of money we have expended, and are expending, on them—and we now propose to increase the grant by 50 per cent—the conditions must be made more stringent. I come now to the terms of the Amendment of the hon. Member for South-west Lancashire (Mr. A. Cross), and I will take its last term first—that we should take away the restriction to the age of 18. I cannot hold out any hope that Government will accept that portion of the Amendment. This grant is for young people, not for adults. The men who are making up the deficiencies of their education ought to be kept separate from the boys who come from the day school. The hon. Member does not suppose that the mere fact of their being paid for would make the difference, for if they desired education, and were willing to undertake the labour necessary for acquiring it, they would be both able and willing to pay the small sum necessary for the purpose. But it had been said, why not help them? I do not think we should give Government money to try to coax these persons to learn to read and write. As to the other parts of the Amendment, by the Bill of the late Government night schools were admitted which were not connected with day schools, but these schools were to be kept open 100 times, and the special attendances were to be 60–10 more than my 50. I really see no reason why the advantages to night schools connected with day schools should be more than to schools not connected with day schools. We therefore propose to place all night schools on the same footing. We have also thought it desirable to make the examination a reality, and to get rid of the abuse of a boy or a girl leaving a day school and being allowed to earn money in a lower or even the same standard in a night school. Upon consideration, however, the Government have decided to adopt for one year the proposition of my hon. Friend that the number of nights on which the night schools shall be open shall be 60, and that the number of at- 1841 tendances shall be 40. At the beginning of next year, however, there will be an opportunity of reconsidering that question, and I think practical men will see the advantage of making the respective requirements 80 and 50 for the following years. There is one change suggested by the hon. Member for Hastings that I have not been able to carry out, and that is some plan of paying pensions to schoolmasters. That subject has not been omitted for any want of careful—nay, I might almost say of painful—attention. I think the teachers in schools are to be sympathized with in their desire for a provision for their age. Their labour is very hard, and it unfits them for other employment. I trust, however, that the result of the increase of schools, and of the greater attention now paid to education in the country, will be to make the position of teachers more respected, and to increase their pay, so that they may be able to make some provision for themselves. The Government made it a principle of the Revised Code to give up the direct connection between the State and the teachers. If we had not broken that connection it would have become closer as years went on, and would have resulted in an army of civil servants of from 20,000 to 40,000 in number. We cannot, therefore, consider any superannuation plan, which would imply any direct connection between the Government and the teachers; and, indeed, we think it a matter which primarily concerns the employers of the teachers—namely, the managers of the schools. If any pecuniary aid is asked from the Government, we can only entertain the proposal on the understanding that this aid shall be a reduction in the large increase now made in the grants. However, we will be happy to give our best consideration to any scheme which may be submitted to us by the managers. Hon. Gentlemen have found fault with what they think were in some instances heavy conditions as applied to the managers. The average attendance grant is increased from 4s. to 6s., and the examination grant from 8s. to 12s; the allowance for each of the three elements from 2s. 8d. to 4s. The evening schools examination grant is increased from 5s. to 7s. 6d.; the average attendance from from 2s. 6d. to 4s. By the Act of Parliament we were bound to take care that the Parliamentary grant did not exceed the whole income of the school from 1842 other sources. What we have done in the New Code is, that the Parliamentary grant is not to exceed the amount of the school fees and the subscriptions. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) proposes by his Amendment that there shall be no increased scale of grants to denominational schools. I cannot think my hon. Friend will put the House to the trouble of dividing on that Motion, for by the 97th clause of the Education Act we are compelled to give no advantage to schools supported by the rates over the voluntary schools. It has been asked by several hon. Members—"Why do you keep the 15s. reduction?" and there is a notion in their minds that we take back with one hand what we give with the other. But that chiefly arises from a misunderstanding of the term "average attendance." We say the grant shall not exceed 15s. on the average attendance. The average attendance is arrived at by dividing all the attendances of all the scholars throughout the year by the number of days. Hon. Members will see at once that the children attending 250 days are no guide at all to the number of average attendances; for in the calculation of the average attendances are included all those children who left school before the inspection, all those who came too late for the 250 days, and those who by accident were not present on the day of inspection. It is a mistake to suppose that many of the schools will suffer from this reduction. I believe it will be a very rare thing indeed; and, if it is not, it will be a warning to us that we ought to make the examination more strict. Hon. Gentlemen may think that rather hard; but we do not think we ought to allow the principle that the State will pay more than half what we suppose the elementary education ought to cost. If we paid more we might be paying for the education generally of the lower middle class. But if we find out, owing to the greater demand for masters, that the cost of education increases, we may fairly raise the maximum above 15s. Let me now briefly state what we expect from the Education Act, assisted by this New Code. We have great hope that good, efficient secular instruction, will be secured; that a better attendance will be attained; that the wants of the more needy districts, both rural and in towns, will be met by the increased grants; that there will be more efficiency 1843 in teaching; and that there will be higher teaching. The country has already responded to the Act in a very satisfactory manner. Ninety-three boroughs, with, a population of 4,968,000, have anticipated the action of the Act; the estimated population of all the boroughs of the kingdom being under 6,500,000. Including London, there is a total town population of more than 8,000,000 who have come under the school boards. There are also 74 parishes, or small towns, with a population of 680,000, which have also come under the operation of the Act; and though our regulations for parishes were only issued about five weeks ago, we are issuing orders for districts not in towns at the rate of 15 a-week. There has been a stir in almost every town and every parish, for the school-board districts are electing their best men. Nor can I say that I in any way regret the numerous applications that have been made from all parts of the country to prevent the levy of a rate. I am glad to have found out a mode by which the dislike to rates, especially in the rural districts, has been made the means of assisting educational progress. I will now conclude by thanking the House for the patience and attention with which they have listened to me.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 231; Noes 64: Majority 167.
§ Main Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," by leave, withdrawn.
§ Committee deferred till Monday next.