HC Deb 07 April 1876 vol 228 cc1405-6

asked the Vice President of the Council, If the Government intend to modify the recent regulation by which the children in elementary schools are virtually deprived of instruction in scientific subjects, because no child (according to the Minute) in an elementary school shall be presented for examination in any scientific subject until he (or she) has passed the sixth standard.—a standard which comparatively few children pass, for want of the ability to remain long enough at school; and, whether, if a child, not having passed the standard, should actually leave school, it might be allowed, under the Minute, to join science classes and be presented for examination?


Sir, the regulation by which children in public elementary schools who have not passed the Sixth Standard cannot be presented for examination in the Science Classes of the Science and Art Department was introduced into the Code of last year, and has therefore received the sanction of Parliament. There is no change this year. As to children who have not entered public elementary schools, or who have left them, the Code in no way affects their position, and, if they think fit, they may present themselves for examination in Science in accordance with the regulations of the Science and Art Department. As to children in public elementary schools, I would call the hon. Member's attention to the fact that those who are presented in Standards IV. V. and IV., can also take up in those schools the following, which I think I may properly call Science subjects—Mathematics, Mechanics, Animal Physiology, Physical Geography, and Botany, for which payments are made under the Code. I consider it most undesirable that children of the early age of those who attend our public elementary schools, few of whom are more than 12 or 13 years of age, should attempt to pick up a superficial acquaintance with scientific subjects of a more advanced kind than those which are mentioned in the Code, until they have received a solid foundation of ordinary education such as is provided by the Sixth Standard. I, therefore, can hold out no hope whatever to the hon. Gentleman that we can modify the regulation to which he has called attention.