HC Deb 28 July 1876 vol 231 cc9-27

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)


moved, in page 5, after Clause 12, to insert the following Clause— (Conditions of contribution to day industrial schools.) The conditions of a Parliamentary" contribution to a certified day industrial school shall conform to the standards for the time being in force for the purposes of a Parliamentary Grant to public elementary schools; but they may vary the amounts of the contributions to be made in respect of such standards respectively. Any conditions made by a Secretary of State for the purposes of contributions to a day industrial school shall be laid before Parliament in the same manner as minutes of the Education Department. New clause (Conditions of contribution to day industrial schools,)—(Mr. Rathbone)—brought up, and read a first time. On Question, That the clause be now read a second time?


said, he was requested by his right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), to state to the Committee that he thought this would be a very good and useful clause. One defect of the present system was the want of similarity between the education given in industrial schools and in ordinary schools. The clause would give some security that these industrial schools would be used not only as refuges, but for the purposes of education.


said, he should be glad to accept the clause of his hon. Friend, both because he understood it met his views and the wishes of hon. Gentlemen opposite, who had given much thought to this question, and because he thought some such provision was desirable, as he was himself anxious that a strict hand should be kept over these schools, so that they should be as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh had said—bonâ fide educational establishments, and not merely refuges for neglected children. It was possible, however, that the clause would need, on further consideration, some alteration in its wording; if so, it must be understood that he was free to make it on the Report.


whilst assenting to the clause, must counsel the House to exercise the greatest caution in the matter. He must repeat, he was greatly afraid that these schools would be abused and would involve the country in great expense.


said, he was of opinion that the wording of the clause would not carry out the intention of the Mover.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read the second time, and added to the Bill.


moved, in page 11, after Clause 29, to insert the following Clause:— (Religious education in schools supported mainly by Parliamentary grants and school fees.) Wherever in any school the income derived from voluntary contributions and endowments shall not, on the average of two successive years, amount to one-sixth part of its total income, including the school fees and the Parliamentary grant, the Education Department shall give notice to the managers of such school that it shall thenceforward be a condition of any Parliamentary grant to such school that no religious catechism or religious formulary which if distinctive of any religious denomination shall he taught in such school, and from the date of such notice no Parliamentary grant shall be made by the Education Department to such school unless such condition is fulfilled. The clause he had to submit appeared to be a necessary consequence, he might say a logical consequence, of the clause which the noble Lord added to the Bill last week, by which all restriction upon the Parliamentary grant to denominational schools was removed up to the extent of 17s. 6d. That clause was, in his opinion, a most serious departure from the principle of the arrangement of 1871. The principle of that arrangement was clearly laid down by his right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) in 1870, and was as follows:—"First, that the grant from the Education Department should be given only for secular results; and, secondly, that under no circumstances should the public grants be allowed so to operate as entirely to supply, together with the school pence, the sum necessary to support those schools, without there should always remain a void which must be filled up from private contributions, and without which, failing other sources of assistance, those schools would no longer deserve the character of voluntary." With this object the restriction upon the Parliamentary grant was inserted in the Act of 1870, which had now been repealed by the noble Lord. The restriction did not appear to have been wholly successful, as certain free schools had been enabled to escape through it, but their number was so inconsiderable that they might be neglected. Now, the effect of the noble Lord's clause, started upon the Committee at the last moment, would be enormously to increase the number of schools, which being called voluntary, and which being really denominational, would in future be wholly supported by Parliamentary grants or by school fees, and which would be able wholly, or nearly so, to dispense with private subscriptions. The object of his clause was to provide that such schools, when they ceased to be voluntary in the sense that they were no longer supported by private contributions, but were dependent, wholly or mainly, on State aid and school fees, should be no longer entitled to the privilege of a voluntary character; that they should no longer be permitted to be denominational, but that they should come under the operation of the clause in the Act of 1870, which applied to board schools, and which went by the name of his right hon. Friend the Member for South Hampshire (Mr. Cowper-Temple), and that they should be compelled to be undenominational. Before, however, he dealt with the argument in favour of this course, he must be permitted to say a few words in proof of the statement he had made that the result of the noble Lord's clause would be to enable a large number of schools to dispense with voluntary contributions. In the first place, he must remind the House of what they were doing by this Bill. The object and purport of the Bill was to fill the empty benches of the denominational schools throughout the country, and especially in the rural districts. As a rule, these districts were now fairly supplied with schools. The schools were there, the teachers were there, but the benches were half empty. By the compulsory clauses of this Bill they hoped to add at least one-third to the number of children in average attendance at these schools. But if they added one-third to the number of children in average attendance, they would increase the Parliamentary grant and the school fees by one third. Then, again, they had given power to the Guardians to pay the school fees for parents who were too poor to do so. They had left to the managers the full power to raise the school fees, and this, coupled with the compulsory powers of attendance, would undoubtedly enable the managers to screw up the school fees. During the last five or six years already there had been a tendency to screw up the school fees, and in Church schools they had risen from an average of 7s. 11d. to 9s. 2d. Lastly, they had done away with the restriction upon the Parliamentary grant up to 17s. 6d. The present average grant on attendance was 12s. in Church schools; those who were better acquainted than he was said that it might fairly be expected that the grant would rise to 15s. What he said was, that the joint operation of all these measures would be enormously to increase the financial resources of the denominational schools, and to render a great proportion of them practically independent of voluntary contributions. Let him take an average Church school in a rural district. Five years ago such a school relied in about equal proportions on the Parliamentary grant, school fees and voluntary subscriptions, and each of these amounted to about 8s. per head on the average attendance. During the past five years the Parliamentary grant had already risen greatly in proportion to the other two, and the school pence had also risen. The present proportions were, voluntary subscriptions, 8s. 4d.; the school fees, 9s. 2d.; and the Government grant, nearly 12s. If they added one-third to the school fees and to the Parliamentary grant, they would obtain a sum of 7s., which was nearly the amount of the voluntary subscriptions, and with the increased Parliamentary grant, and with the power of raising the school fees, would practically dispense with the necessity for subscriptions in a large number of schools. Another way of looking at it was this—the total amount of the voluntary subscriptions for all the voluntary schools was £470,000. If the compulsory powers of this Bill were successfull, and if the average attendance in rural schools was raised to the same level as at Leeds and Birmingham, 600,000 children would be added to the average attendance in the rural schools, and 600,000 children meant an addition to the revenues of the denominational schools of £240,000 in school fees, and £330,000 to the Parliamentary grant, a total of £570,000, without any consideration of the addition to the grant by the removal of the restriction or the possibility of increasing the fees. He contended, therefore, that it was clear beyond all question that the resources of the denominational schools would be vastly increased by the Bill, and that a very large proportion of them would be able to dispense with voluntary contributions. It seemed to him that voluntary schools could claim a title to the name on two grounds—First, if the attendance was voluntary; Secondly, if they were supported by voluntary contributions. And so long as they were voluntary in this sense, they were entitled to teach what dogmas they thought fit; and it might be worth while for the State to assist them in teaching secular subjects. But when they ceased to be voluntary in either sense, when attendance was compulsory, when they no longer relied mainly on voluntary contributions, they were no longer voluntary schools in any true sense of the term, they were practically State schools; they ought to be subject to State control; the State could not support them without being responsible for the religious doctrines taught in them; and for the same reason which had induced Parliament to forbid the teaching of any catechism or dogmatic theology in the board schools, it ought to interfere with the religious teaching of these schools. He had always felt utmost difficult to justify the proposal to compel Nonconformists to send their children to schools of a denominational character, even when such schools were supported by voluntary contributions; but how vastly increased the grievance was when these schoolswere wholly or mainly dependent on State aid and on school fees. He asked hon. Members whether they could expect that this system could last, or whether it would not give rise to an agitation to which that against church rates alone would compare. What he proposed was to provide beforehand for such cases£to deal with so-called voluntary schools, which might hereafter cease to be really voluntary schools, in the same way as board schools were now dealt with, and to provide that where the subscriptions did not amount to one-fourth part of the total income of the school, the Cowper-Temple Clause of the Act of 1870 should at once apply to the school, and that it should be a condition of the Parliamentary grant that no dogmatic theology should be taught in such schools.

Clause (Religious education in schools supported mainly by Parliamentary grants and school fees,)—(Mr. Shaw Lefevre,)—brought up, and read the first time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."


observed that there was one fundamental error in the statement of the hon. Gentleman, a statement he had often to contest—namely, that the Bill would apply principally to rural schools. It would not, and for this reason£ that the attendance was rather better in the country than in towns, as he had shown over and over again; and the hon. Gentleman entirely overlooked what he had often called attention to before—namely, that the voluntary schools had a great claim to be considered in a different category from the board schools, not only because they received no aid from the rates, but because their supporters gave their in valuable voluntary management and oversight, and, even if there were no annual subscriptions, there was virtually a large voluntary contribution in the buildings themselves, on which a sum—estimated at about £13,000,000 sterling£had been spent from voluntary sources, besides the cost of annual maintenance and repair—the State having contributed less than £2,000,000. Again, the proposed change would affect board and voluntary schools exactly alike, and it should be remembered that there were a large number of struggling board schools in various places where the pressure of the education rates was much complained of, owing to the requirements of recent legislation and of the Department. With respect to the proposed clause, he would remind the hon. Gentleman that last night he announced, on the part of the Government, that they would not interfere in any way with anything that touched upon the religious question, and that announcement had been cordially received by both sides. The clause now proposed involved the religious question, because it would alter altogether the conditions of the Conscience Clause and of the Cowper-Temple Clause. Her Majesty's Government considered the religious question outside the four corners of the Bill, and he must, therefore, while prepared to answer the arguments of the hon. Member, adhere to the determination he had so expressed.


said, that the noble Lord had a perfect right to pledge the Government to any particular course; but he had no right to say that on that side they ought not to propose or discuss any clause which they regarded as following legitimately from Amendments or clauses which had been already agreed to, even if it did touch upon the religious question. The Government had by the 13th clause of the Bill virtually given up voluntary schools. They would become mere adventure schools, supported by Government subventions. That clause would have a most corrupting effect upon the localities, the schools would be converted into State schools, and he thought that the children in such schools had a right to protection under the Cowper-Temple Clause.


said, that the working men of Warwickshire had a strong feeling with respect to religious teaching, and prized nothing more dearly than the reading of the Holy Scriptures. He could not support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Reading, but protested against the decision of the Government to exclude religious teaching from their consideration, as he was of opinion that all education would be worse than useless if the youth of this country were not taught their duty to God as well as to man.


said, that for different reasons than those assigned by the hon. and learned Baronet the Member for South Warwickshire (Sir Eardley Wilmot), he could not support the clause. Its effect would-be to deny religious instruction to the poor schools and give it to the rich. The noble Lord the Vice President of the Council (Vicount Sandon) had, in the proposal, an excellent opportunity here offered him of injuring his enemy the Nonconformist, by accepting the clause and then laying the blame upon the hon. Member for Reading, for he (Lord Robert Montagu) believed that the majority of the British and Nonconformist schools would suffer from its adoption.


said, he could not accept the declaration of the noble Lord the Vice President of the Council, that the decision to which the House had come on the previous night with respect to religious teaching was highly satisfactory to that House. Were those who insisted upon the reading of the Holy Scriptures to be treated as adopting a formulary? He did not like the manner in which they were proceeding. They were proceeding in the dark. What would be the result of giving State aid to denominational schools, without any guarantee on the part of the Government as to what the definition of "denominational schools" would be? It would be equal to concurrent endowment. He was not prepared to support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Reading, although he thought it went a good way in the direction of solving the difficulty that had arisen upon the subject. He regretted that the clause of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford was not accepted. He was not indifferent to the value of the blind principle of compulsion in places where there might be only one school; but, as an advocate of religious liberty, he thought that in such cases some guarantee should be afforded that no religious teaching should be forced on the child contrary to the convictions of the parent.


supported the clause of the hon. Member for Reading. The objection which the Nonconformists had to sending children to denominational schools not subject to the school boards was that they were liable to be taught the Church Catechism. He did not wish to speak with disrespect of any formulary which had been adopted by any religious Body; but whatever might be the feeling of hon. Gentlemen opposite with respect to the teaching of the Church Catechism, the Nonconformists had a strong feeling against such teaching being forced upon their children. The answers returned to a circular issued by Mr. Bousted to about 300 Nonconformists of all denominations in Wales, showed that the feeling against the teaching of the Church Catechism was overwhelming. They believed that it taught a priestly and sacramental form of religion.


deprecated the "cavalier" way in which the noble Lord the Vice President of the Council had treated the able speech of the hon. Member for Reading. The Opposition had not raised the point under discussion, it was the Government who had forced it upon hon. Gentlemen upon that side of the House. They had a right to demand that there should be some guarantee that the religious education to be given in schools which had ceased to be voluntary, should be the same as when they were really voluntary. He contended that unless the Amendment were accepted the clause would, as had been observed by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), practically establish concurrent endowment. The hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) would never have thought of bringing forward his clause, if the Government had not absolutely and fundamentally altered the principles and conditions on which voluntary denominational schools should exist in future. The object of the Bill was not simply to establish the principle of compulsion, but to give additional assistance to voluntary denominational schools. But by Parliamentary grants you virtually gave them a public character, and the object of the Amendment was, that where school was supported by the public money, it should not be allowed to teach peculiar religious Catechisms or formularies. That was a true principle, and he would support it. Any institution, be it a school or anything else, which was supported by public money, ought to have public management forced upon it.


said, he was quite aware that at present some few schools were supported partly by fees and by grants, but these schools were dealt with as school-board schools, and it could not but be expected that if the Government proposed to turn voluntary schools into State schools, that there should be a demand for State management. The Government made no answer to that argument last night, and to-day the only answer that had been given was, that last night there was an agreement that the religious question should not be discussed. Now, if there was such an agreement—and he did not know that there was—it was that no fresh religious question should be discussed. This religious question was imported into the Bill by the clause that had been passed, and especially by the manner in which it had been passed, and the strong form it had assumed. He could understand the noble Lord the Vice President of the Council (Viscount Sandon) not wishing to have the question discussed, but that did not absolve him from giving an answer to the hon. Member for Reading.


would not undertake to say that there was any agreement on the previous night that the religious question should not be discussed, but there was a division which indicated the sense of the Committee upon the subject. The position of the Government was this—if the proposed clause were accepted, it would be enlarging the scope of the Bill. They would be bound to consider whether the clause did not impose arbitrary conditions on managers. In fact, they would have to re-open the whole question. By so doing they would let in a variety of topics that could not possibly be considered.


in supporting the clause, said they might ask who would be masters of the voluntary schools when those schools ceased to be voluntary and became denominational? The whole system of teaching and instruction would be altered, and while work might be increased school fees would be diminished. There was no doubt that public money would be applied for denominational teaching; but in his opinion the educational instruction, judging of the past, was very defective. Questioning the children categorically, their answers were very unsatisfactory.


who spoke amid considerable interruption, said in moving to report Progress, that he did so out of deference to the impatience—he might say the legitimate impatience—of the Committee. He begged to offer as a reason for the Motion that the Amendment appeared to raise an entirely new question upon which it would be well that the Committee should have time to consider. It was that there should be some reasonable publicity given to the manner in which under this Bill public money was to be expended. ["No, no!"] If he was wrong, the observations which he made might, perhaps, be useful in reference to some other Amendment. The Government by the Bill were placing the clergy of the Church of England in an entirely new position before the law and the country. The clergy, in former times, kept the country as "a preserve" for their own benefit, but they did not instruct the children; beyond impressing them to do no harm. They were not allowed to think. He was glad to see the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had taken his seat, because the observations he was making were worthy of his attention. Under what circumstances, he asked, were the clergy to be invested with the new authority proposed by this Bill? Under no justifiable authority that he knew. Under what circumstances were they now to be placed in a position to receive and be supported by local rates? Why, the clergy now did not really know their own opinions, and they did not even know each other's opinion. [Cries of "Divide, divide!"]


rose to Order, and said the Question the hon. Member was speaking upon had nothing to do with the clause under the consideration of the Committee. Surely the remarks of the hon. Gentleman were equally applicable to the case of "the unfortunate nobleman at present languishing in Dartmoor prison" as to the clause under discussion.


said, the hon. Member for Peterborough was not addressing himself to the clause at all, but justifying his Motion to report Progress; and it would be as well if he would confine himself to the Motion, for many of his remarks appeared to be wholly irrelevant.


thanked the hon. Gentleman for his correction. The clergy of the Church of England—["Divide, divide!"]


rose to Order. He was always anxious that the hon. Member should obtain a hearing in the House; but the time of hon. Members ought not to be wasted in this way by their having to listen to remarks having nothing to do with the subject-matter before the House.


said, he must again call upon the hon. Member for Peterborough to address himself directly to the question before the Committee.


said, he considered that new questions had been started by the raising of the discussion. He would not, however, trespass longer on the Committee, and would submit his Motion that the Chairman report Progress.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Whalley.)


said, there was an anxious desire on both sides of the House to conclude the Bill that day if possible, so that they might approach other important questions, and also take a survey of their general position, and make such arrangements which he hoped would meet with the approbation of the House. He had hoped, therefore, that such a Motion as that proposed by the hon. Member for Peterborough would not have been proposed. He need not point out to the House how unreasonable it was, and he trusted to the good sense and spirit on both sides of the House to support the Government in carrying on the business of the country.


also appealed to the hon. Member for Peterborough not to put the House to the useless trouble of dividing upon his Motion.


said, he was willing to withdraw it.


said, that the Motion had been only brought forward in consequence of the impatience shown by hon. Members on the Ministerial side of the House. If it was withdrawn he hoped that the interruptions which caused it would not be renewed.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.


believed that if the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had been in the House when the hon. Member for Peterborough was subject to such interruptions, he would have excused the Motion which had been made, for he believed there was no one who wished more than the right hon. Gentleman that every hon. Member should have a fair hearing. With reference to the question before the House, he feared they were going to stir up a real religious difficulty, which would lead to agitation of the worst kind. He was afraid that by the adoption of the last two clauses the Government had given life and vigour to the Birmingham agitation. Why should there be an exception in favour of schools that could earn their own endowments? The money here was given open-handed, and Parliament was not to be informed what was to be done with it. The result would be that in many cases it would turn out that the money went to pay the choir, or was applied to purposes which ought to be effected by voluntary aid. He protested against granting money for which no account was rendered. If a school were State-supported it ought to be under State management and control. He feared they would be landed in a religious difficulty, respecting which every hon. Member, whether on the one side or the other of the House, would be called on by his constituents to give an account. He should like a Return which would show the total expenditure of every school in the country.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 111; Noes 185: Majority 74.


moved, after Clause 30, the insertion of a clause giving the same power to local authorities with regard to educational endowments as school boards now had under the 13th section of the Act of 1873, and that if a school board were subsequently formed in accordance with that Act, such educational endowment should be transferred and managed by such school board.

Clause (Local authority to have same powers as School Board with regard to educational endowments,)—(Mr. Alexander Brown,)—brought up, and read the first time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."


pointed out that the House had already pronounced its opinion upon the proposition in the division upon the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright). The Government then stated that it was a proposal they could not entertain.


said, his clause referred to endowments only, and not to the management of schools.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 108; Noes 187: Majority 79.


moved in page 13, after Clause 37, to insert a new clause, providing that the managers of any school in receipt of an annual grant from the Education Department should annually produce an account showing in detail the income of such school from all sources. The object of the clause was to inform the localities how the managers of schools spent the fees received from the parents of the children.


said, he had carefully inquired into the matter, and he found that all the information required by the clause was supplied now to the Department as a condition of the Government Grant. The adoption of the clause would depart from the principle laid down by the Government, to which they attached, great importance, that the local authorities should have nothing to do with the internal details of the schools which were under voluntary management. He could not assent to the clause. He intended further on to move an Amendment to that of the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. A. M'Arthur), which would, to a certain extent, remove some of the objections of the hon. and learned Member for Reading.


said, the question raised was an. important one, but it would not be well to press it at that time. His hon. Friend had better renew the subject on Report, after the clause of the hon. Member for Leicester had been disposed of.


on that assurance, begged to withdraw the clause. He could assure the noble Lord that he did not wish for the interference of the local authorities, but simply to enable the parents to see the accounts, and if any other mode of publishing the accounts could be devised, he would not adhere to his proposition.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.


moved a new clause, providing that every school district which provided accommodation in public elementary schools for all children between the ages of 5 and 13 years inclusive, resident in such a district, should be deemed to have provided sufficient school accommodation within the meaning of the Education Act of 1870. As a Member of the London School Board, he felt they had in some instances provided too much accommodation for infants. In Germany and Switzerland the limit of school age was from 5 to 13 years of age.


said, if the question of the amount of school accommodation to be required by the Department were raised, they would at once find themselves in a great sea of difficulties. The requirements of the Department had nearly all been issued to the country by the Department on a certain basis; and to accept this clause would unsettle all the arrangements made throughout the country. He trusted, therefore, his hon. Friend would not re-open this matter.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.


moved the insertion of a new clause, providing that any alteration of rules should be construed to refer to the same rule under the Act of 1870, for which it was substituted. Its object was to prevent the raising of the question of the creation of a school board in any district more than once in three years. He instanced the case of a parish in which there had been an agitation for the establishment of a school board once a year during the last six years, and he thought the same check should be put on frivolous and wanton contests of that character as was put on contests for the dissolution of school boards by the Amendment which had been previously adopted at the suggestion of the hon. Member for Reading.


supported the clause, and said that it would prevent the frequent agitation of educational questions.


hoped that the Government would not accept the clause.


said, that by the Bill they were creating an educational authority in every parish, and bound by law to see that the instruction of no children was neglected, and that this would diminish the temptation to indulge in wanton contests for the establishment of school boards where they were not wanted to supply schools, but only for compulsory powers to fill them, as an inexpensive existing authority would be already on the spot to do the work. The question raised by the clause was, no doubt, one of importance; but if they once entered upon it, its discussion must occupy many hours. He hoped his hon. Friend would not press the clause. If the evils of which his hon. Friend complained continued, and extended to many districts, it might perhaps be well hereafter to provide by a separate measure for the purposes contemplated by his hon. Friend.


said, he was so confident of the justice of the proposition that he could not consent to accede to the proposition of his noble Friend.

Clause negatived.


moved a clause to repeal the last paragraph in Clause 23 of the Elementary Education Act of 1870, and to insert in lieu thereof a clause providing that every school transferred to any school board should in all matters relating to its maintenance and management be deemed to be a school provided by the school board, and any religious instruction given to scholars attending the said school between the hours of nine in the morning and five in the afternoon on any days in which the schoolhouse was in use by the school board should be only such as the Act permitted to be given in a school which had been provided by a school board. His object was to prevent such transferred schools from continuing purely voluntary schools.


said, the Education Department had no control at present in such cases. As far as possible provision had been made to meet the hon. Member's views; but the clause brought up a large number of religious questions which could not then be discussed, and he hoped it would not be pressed.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.


moved the following clause, which, both in an industrial and an educational sense, was, he thought, of very great importance:— (Employment and education of children in factories, &c.) Whereas by sections fourteen and fifteen of the Workshop Regulation Act of 1867 provision is made respecting the education of children employed in workshops, and it is expedient to substitute for the said sections the provisions respecting education of the Factory Acts of 1844 and 1874, Be it therefore enacted, That sections thirty-one, thirty-eight, and thirty-nine of the Factory Act of 1844, and sections twelve and fifteen of the Factory Act of 1874, shall apply to the employment and education of all children employed in factories and workshops. Such an alteration would, he believed, make half-time education effective.


supported the clause.


said, he had no objection to accept the clause, subject to some modification on the Report.

Clause agreed to, and ordered to be added to the Bill.


moved the addition of a clause to compel the Education Department from time to time to publish a list of efficient schools, whether receiving Government grants or not, such lists to be conclusive evidence that the schools not included therein are inefficient.


hoped the hon. Member would not press his clause for the reason that it would put upon the Department an amount of work which it could not well undertake. To carry out the clause, the Department would, have to inspect all private adventure schools, of which there were supposed to be some 40,000, with 120,000 scholars, in the large towns alone. An inspection of the kind would be a very delicate one to undertake, and in many cases it would destroy, by direct Government action, the livelihood of the persons who owned private adventure schools, which would lead to serious difficulties. He trusted, therefore, that the hon. Member would be content to leave the private adventure schools to the sure but slower and more indirect action of the Bill, which, as it confined certificates of school attendance to certificated efficient schools, not kept for private profit, must tell upon these schools; and, more than this, as sufficient instruction for the Standard certificates was only likely to be obtained in good schools, there would be an additional reason why the bad private adventure schools would be forsaken by the parents. The good private adventure schools would, he hoped, hold their own. He thought they would be a valuable element of variety in our school system, would tend to prevent a dry uniformity, and would be useful as competitors, and give parents a larger choice.


said, the insistance upon a certificate would have the effect of extinguishing these private venture schools naturally, and in the meantime it was not desirable to prevent free trade in schools.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.


in moving that the Chairman report Progress, suggested that the House should meet to-morrow at 12 o'clock, in order to conclude the Committee on the Bill. If this was done, the debate on the Turkish question could be proceeded with on Monday next, on which day it would also be in his power definitively to inform the House as to what, in the view of Her Majesty's Government, should be the course of Public Business.


wished to know whether, in the event of the House sitting to-morrow, any business other than the Education Bill would be taken?


replied that only the Education Bill would be taken.

Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

Committee report Progress.

On the Motion of Mr. DISRAELI, resolved, "That the House, at its rising, do adjourn till To-morrow at Twelve of the clock."