HC Deb 10 July 1877 vol 235 cc1079-85

(1.) £1,260,829, to complete the sum for Public Education, England and Wales.


in moving the Education Vote for England and Wales, adverted to the loss which the cause of Education and the country at large had sustained through the death of Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth, who was well known as one of the founders of our present system of education. Having spent a considerable time in investigating the educational condition of this country, he pursued his investigations into the education of foreign countries, and, having acquired a vast amount of information on the subject, he took office as Secretary to the Committee of Council on Education as long since as 1839, and afterwards, in conjunction with Mr. E. Tuffnell, established the first normal training school at Battersea, at a cost to themselves of £750 per annum. Prom this course of action arose the great group of normal schools which had played so important a part in our educational system. To Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth the country was indebted to a great extent for the leading Minutes which had governed the action of the Education Department for many years past. After 10 years of service Sir James resigned his post; but down to the day of his death almost, his valuable counsels were always freely given to the Education Department, and he could not himself forget the ready kindness with which he placed his large experience at his disposal, on various occasions, when he had consulted him on some of the many important educational changes, which had been made since the present Government had been in office. The zeal, judgment, and discretion of Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth had effected much for the cause of education, and it would be most unbecoming in the State to forget the services which he had rendered. He hoped the House would also join him in expressing the regret which all must feel at the death of Miss Mary Carpenter, who had also rendered great service to the State by the work she did in connection with reformatory schools and other institutions of a similar character: he, himself, had been greatly indebted to her for the aid she gave him respecting day industrial schools, of which she must justly be considered the founder. The nation was deeply indebted to both: and thanks were as rightly due to them as to the successful general. It would be observed that the total amount of the Education Vote for England and Wales in the year was £1,910,000, or an increase of £203,774 upon the Estimate for last year. This increase had arisen from several causes. For instance, there had been appointed five additional Inspectors and 13 assistant Inspectors; furthermore, there had been a slight increase in the cost of the Training Colleges, owing to increased cost of living and the addition of a few students; while £2,000 was added by the cost of honour certificates. The main difference, however, between the cost of the two years had been caused by the increase in the annual grants, which had amounted to no less than £187,000. During the year the number of public elementary schools had been raised to 14,273, or an increase of 1,056, the accommodation afforded being now sufficient for 3,426,000, an increase of 280,000 upon the preceding year. This would be a sufficient supply for the educational wants of the whole country if the schools were in the right places; but, unfortunately, this was not so. In some districts there was a surplus of accommodation, while in others the schools were not so placed as to be most readily available for the purposes of education. It would, therefore, be necessary to increase the number of schools in some quarters; but this would not be done to a greater extent than was absolutely necessary. Since last year 460 new board schools, giving accommodation for 170,000 additional children, had been established, while in the same period the number of voluntary schools had been increased by 580, giving 110,000 additional seats. The voluntary subscriptions to Church of England schools had increased during the 'year by £63,817, and the number of subscribers by 14,874; to British and Wesleyan schools the increase in the subscriptions was £5,097, and in the subscribers 39; while to Roman Catholic schools the amount of subscriptions had increased by £6,202, and the number of subscribers had decreased by 518. The position, therefore, was that since 1870 there had been established 1,600 board schools—including 600 voluntary schools transferred to the boards—which gave accommodation to 556,000 children; that in the same period there had been established 5,000 voluntary public and elementary schools, affording seats for 1,100,000 additional children. The present state of the case was therefore that rather more than 500,000 seats had been provided by the boards at a cost of £4,427,000, and a little less than 3,000,000 seats had been provided by voluntary effort on an outlay of about £13,000,000, supplemented by the Government grant amounting to £1,750,000, so that the total capital expended by the country on education was something like £19,000,000. There could be no need, therefore, he thought, for the country to blush as to the amount of work it had done in reference to the great work of education. With regard to the number of teachers, there had been an increase during the year of 2,100 certificated teachers, 460 assistant teachers, 2,600 pupil teachers, and 32 in Training Colleges. As far as the attendances of children were concerned, there had been an increase of 200,000 on the books and 150,000 in average attendance. It was satisfactory to know that 170,000 additional children, as compared with the preceding year, had made sufficient attendances to entitle them to Government grants. With regard to the work done by the children, he could have wished that more had been presented for examination in the higher standards; but he thought the fact as it stood was accounted for by the circumstance that the system was comparatively new, and had not as yet become thoroughly organized. He was confirmed in this view by the case of Scotland, a country which had had a much longer experience of compulsory elementary education than England. While in England 87 per cent of the children submitted for examination passed in reading, the percentage was 94 in Scotland. As far as writing was concerned, the percentage was 79 in England and 88 in Scotland, the proportions in reference to arithmetic being 70 per cent in England and 81 in Scotland. These results, he took it, were due to the more lengthy experience of Scotland as compared with England. With regard to the school boards and by-laws, he found that in England out of 202 boroughs 108 had boards, that 15 out of 21 boroughs in Wales were in a similar position, and that of 14,094 civil parishes in England and Wales 1,965 parishes in England had boards and 381 in Wales, making a total of 2,346, such boards covering a population of 12,829,000. Furthermore, by-laws had been passed for 11,221,000 out of a population of 22,700,000. As far as the cost of the education of the children was concerned, he found by comparison between England and Scotland that the expenditure per child in all schools, hoard and voluntary, was £1 13s.d. per head per annum in England and £1 16s. 11d. in Scotland. The rate for education in England amounted to 3s.d.; in Scotland, to 10s. 2d. The Imperial grant in England was 11s. 8d.; in Scotland, it was 11s. 10d. It was worthy of notice that where the voluntary contributions went down there the rates went very largely up. He had a few words to add as to the operation of the new Act. It was, of course, impossible to judge as to its ultimate working, and he did not think that he was the proper person to pass judgment upon it. He might, however, state that out of 106 boroughs which had not school boards 103 had appointed school attendance committees which had shown great zeal in seeing that the children attended school. While of 587 Boards of Guardians, 412 had appointed school attendance committees. So far as he could judge, the Boards of Guardians as well as the Town Councils were throwing themselves into the work with earnestness. Then as to the power which the Act conferred on school boards to fill up by vacancies without popular elections—that provision was working satisfactorily. Much turmoil had been avoided and great judgment had been shown in filling up the vacancies so as to represent the mind of the electors. With respect to compulsion, he saw that some Boards of Guardians were discussing the question whether they had power to compel the attendance of children at school. He could only say that very serious results might follow their not doing so. He did not wish to press the matter, desiring rather to leave it to voluntary effort; and would only say that there was a certain section of the Act of which the Education Department could avail themselves if it were found necessary to do so; and he need hardly assure the Committee that they would not permit any neglect of the provisions of the Act. He rejoiced to observe the very satisfactory rivalry which existed in many quarters between the voluntary and the board schools. Everything seemed to point to this—that people were giving themselves to the great work of seeing that the children of the country had good schools, and that in those schools they were well taught, and had all the benefits and advantages which Parliament intended to secure to them.


said, he hoped the noble Lord would be able to take the Vote at that Sitting. The noble Lord's statement must be satisfactory to every hon. Member present; and from the Report that had been published they had every reason to be hopeful about the progress of this great work, for they had now nearly got to the end of the great job they had undertaken of providing school accommodation for the masses. They were getting the constant attendance of the children, though there was still a great want of regular attendance. He regarded with satisfaction the comparison between the number of children present at examinations and the average number in attendance. Comparing last year with 1870— the year Before the Act passed—the increase in the one was 68 per cent and in the other 72 per cent. He was glad the noble Lord had reminded Boards of Guardians that they had power under the Act of last year to compel the attendance of children at school. The noble Lord had spoken of the larger amount received from rates in Scotland than in England, and he said that as the rates went up subscriptions went down. The two countries could not, however, fairly be compared, as a rate system prevailed universally in Scotland and subscriptions were only obtained in special cases; but in Scotland, where the educational results were not worse but rather better than in England, the parent paid rather more than was paid in England. It was a great mistake to suppose that the cost of education weighed heavily upon the poor of this country. The contrary was the fact. He hoped the noble Lord would now be enabled to obtain his Vote.

Vote agreed to.

(2.) £224,689, to complete the sum for the Science and Art Department, agreed to.

Resolutions to be reported.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £288,782, he granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1878, for Public Education in Scotland.


objected that the Vote could not be properly considered at so late an hour. He moved to report Progress.

Motion agreed to.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow;

Committee also report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.