HC Deb 20 March 1871 vol 205 cc269-71

asked the Vice President of the Council, When he will communicate to the House, or lay upon the Table the alterations in the New Code?


Sir, the New Code being now in legal operation, I hope to lay on the Table to-morrow the Minute of the modifications proposed by the Government to meet what they supposed to be the wishes of the House, and which they themselves think desirable from the fresh information they have obtained. It may be convenient if I briefly mention them to the House. Article 25 will be altered to allow the attendance of children to be counted between the ages of three and four, though they will not be paid for unless they are four on the day of inspection. As regards night schools, for one year they will be required to be open 60 instead of 80 times, and from each scholar will be required 40 instead of 50 attendances. In the 2nd Schedule the maximum time for which pupil teachers can be obliged to serve will be, as under the Revised Code, six hours instead of five hours per day, and 30 hours instead of 25 hours per week. We had reduced the time thinking it might be too long for the pupil teachers; but we find that the half-time system prevents our maintaining the reduction; and though we must maintain the minimum of two hours per meeting for secular instruction, we do not wish to interfere with the managers if they wish to keep the school open for three hours for either secular or religious instruction. At the same time, we reduce the hours of special instruction by the teachers to pupil teachers from six hours to five hours per week, as was the case in the Revised Code. There will also be some alteration in Article 75, by which managers will be able at once to supply the place of pupil teachers dismissed for misconduct, and as regards half-time attendances, we provide for the exceptional position for this year of children under the Printworks Act. There are two other points. My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) seemed to think that in some cases the surplus of educational income might be applied to other than educational purposes; as, for instance, to chapel funds. We believe that we prevent this being done by our administrative arrangements; but to make our intention and practice quite clear we introduce into Article 32, relating to the reduction of the grant, a provision by which the grant is reduced "by any expenditure not for educational purposes out of the income of the school." The only other provision relates to a matter in which many hon. Members take an interest—the teaching of music. For reasons which I have already stated, we cannot this year include music among the special subjects; but on every account we are most anxious to encourage its teaching, and we believe this can be best done by making it part of the school work in all elementary day schools, infant as well as others; and we have, therefore, included among the new Minutes a provision that, after the 31st of March, 1872, the grant to day schools shall be reduced— By one shilling per scholar on the average number in attendance unless the Inspector be satisfied that vocal music is made a part of the ordinary course of instruction. This provision must, of course, be laid on the Table of the House again at the beginning of next Session; but in the belief that it will be then approved by the House, we state now that it will be inserted in the Code of next year, in order that managers may this year make arrangements for teaching singing in those comparatively few schools in which it is not already taught, and especially in order that the school boards may provide for it in their new schools. By the end of this year we hope also to have arranged for inspection of music.


said, that under the Revised Code it was required that the alterations which might be made from year to year should be so specified that not only the House, but the country generally should be made acquainted with them, and he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is prepared to lay on the Table the new alterations proposed in such terms that hon. Members might see in what they consisted?


replied that, as regarded the alterations made by the New as compared with the Revised Code, it would be quite impossible to explain them in the manner which the right hon. Gentleman's Question seemed to indicate. To do so it would be necessary to print them in italics or in red letters, or to draw a line through every word of the Old Code. The modifications, however, were so expressed that he thought no hon. Member or manager of a school would be in doubt as to their scope and meaning.