HC Deb 04 June 1872 vol 211 cc1194-8

Clause 1 (Interpretation of Act).

Section, Definition of "Parish School."


said, he desired to draw a distinction between parish schools and schools to be placed under the management and control of the local education boards. He would therefore move to insert words defining Parliamentary schools, as "schools established under the provisions of the Act, 1 & 2 Vict., c. 87."


objected to the proposed Amendment, but would himself move an Amendment which he thought would meet the views of the hon. And learned Gentleman, and also of the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren.) In the next section, "Burgh Schools" were defined as any school to which that term is now legally applicable—and any public school situate in a burgh, "and now under the management or partial management of the town council thereof." He proposed to strike out these words.

After short discussion, Amendment agreed to; words struck out.

Then, on the Motion of Sir ROBERT ANSTRUTHER, the word "Schoolmistress" was added to the definition of "Teacher."

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 2 (Expenses of Scotch Education Department).


moved that the Clause be postponed.


said, that if the Committee adopted the view of the hon. Member as being the most convenient, he should not object to it; but he failed to see the necessity of it. The Committee on the previous night decided that a Scotch Department should be created for the performance of certain duties. What those duties would be must, of course, depend upon the form in which the Bill passed; but if officers were to be appointed, they must be paid, and all the clause asked was that provision for such payment should be made.


pointed out that this clause was absolutely necessary, inasmuch as the Committee had already affirmed that there must be a Scotch Education Department to distribute the Education Grant, which was now distributed by the Committee of Council without distinction between Scotland and England.


said, be thought the point aimed at had been missed by the advocates of the Bill. What he wanted to know was whether the Scotch Board was to be a sham—which he was rather afraid was what was intended—or whether it was to be a real working Board. If the latter, it would, of course, be necessary to provide for the salaries of the officers; but he thought they should not make that provision until it was seen what would be required.


said, there was no intention on the part of the Privy Council to interfere with the Scotch Board; and if there was to be a Scotch Board it ought to be paid.


said, he did not understand the decision of the previous night as being in favour of a Scotch Education Department of the Privy Council. What he wanted to see was a Scotch Board, managing in Scotland the education of the Scotch people, and not a double set of paid officials performing the same work.


said, he would oppose the appointment of a paid temporary Commission, because he thought such a Commission would be useless, and would be not unlikely to become a permanent burden upon the Exchequer. But he did not understand his hon. And learned Friend to say that the appointment of a paid Commission was intended. As there must be officers to manage education matters in Scotland, he saw no reason for postponing a clause which merely provided for the payment of their salaries.


said, that before the clause was agreed to the Government ought to state what was to be the exact nature of this Board. If the clause defining the Education Board, its duties and requirements, was not yet prepared and ready to lay on the Table of the House, let the present clause be postponed until it was.


said, he was surprised that the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) had asked what was to be the nature of the Scotch Board, because the Lord Advocate stated distinctly last night that he had substantially adopted his (Mr. M'Lagan's) Amendment. The right hon. And learned Gentleman at the same time said that the members of the Board were to be paid. It was expedient that this clause should be postponed until the Government laid before the Committee the clause which they intended to propose instead of his Amendment. He hoped that clause would not disappoint Scotch Members by proposing the appointment of a sham Board.


also agreed as to the advisability of postponing the clause, although he thought the real question was not so much the payment of the officers as the definition of their duties.


, in consenting to the postponement of Clauses 2 and 3, said, he hoped hon. Members had no fear, after the explanation which had been afforded, of anything like a sham Board being constituted under the provisions of this Bill. The Government would consent to the temporary appoint- ment of a body which should exist as long as, and no longer than, necessary to give the measure a fair start, but should have no power to interfere with the mode in which the Imperial Government distributed the Imperial funds.


observed, that if the Committee went on postponing clauses in this way the result would be to leave a very small residium of work. The Bill had been draughted with the intention of placing the whole of these powers in the hands of the Committee of Council in London, and the Government having changed their ground at the last moment, much confusion had naturally occurred. It was impossible to proceed with it until the Government had decided upon the constitution and powers of the new Board in Scotland, and until those points were settled the Committee would be working in the dark, and would be sure to make a most unsatisfactory affair of the Bill.


trusted that before the postponed clauses were again brought up the Government would find some more appropriate designation for the Scotch Board than "Officers to be appointed in Scotland."


attributed the whole of the inconvenience the Committee had to endure in this matter to the fact that the right hon. And learned Lord Advocate had changed his plan. What the decision of the Government was to be they were, it seemed, not to know before Thursday. In order to enable the Government to amend their Bill as a whole he begged to move that the Chairman report Progress, and that the measure be proceeded with next Thursday.


said, he hoped the hon. Baronet would not press his Motion, in order that those parts of the Bill which were unaffected by the change in the views of the Government might be proceeded with.


said, that being just as anxious as his hon. Friend to press the Bill forward, he would not persevere with his Motion to report Progress; but it appeared to him that the Government ought, at the earliest possible opportunity, to state to the Committee what they proposed to do in reference to this clause. He believed the Board in Ireland administered public funds independently, and he thought Scotchmen were quite as competent as Irishmen to do this. The whole amount would be only about £250,000 a-year—not more than the income of many a private gentleman in this country. An attempt was being made to get political capital by degrading his countrymen, by supposing that they could not administer a sum like this in an honest way. [Murmurs.] If Scotch Members said a Board in Edinburgh could not administer a sum like that, they did not give their countrymen a very good character.

Motion, "That the Chairman do report Progress, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause postponed.

Clause 3 postponed.