HC Deb 11 July 1879 vol 248 cc249-71

in rising to call attention to the training of the Teachers in Elementary Schools in Ireland, and to move— That, considering the very large proportion of untrained Teachers in charge of Elementary Schools in Ireland, and the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Primary Education which reported in 1868, it is desirable that steps should be immediately taken by Her Majesty's Government to give effect to the Resolution in regard to Grants to Training Schools adopted by the Board of National Education in. Ireland in December 1874; said, the question to which he wished to ask the attention of the House, although not of the burning character of the educational topics lately submitted, was still one of very considerable importance. They had lately been considering the condition of higher education in Ireland. He desired now to call attention to the other end of the educational course, and the matters connected with the interests and well-being of the schools frequented by the children of the large mass of the population. He felt sure it would be admitted that no point in connection with these schools was of more importance than the character and fitness of the teachers who presided in them, and he thought it would also be very generally granted that teaching itself was an art, that it required to be learned, that training and instruction should precede practice, and that it was not every young lad or girl who passed through a school that was capable of undertaking its management. It would scarcely be denied, he thought, that to have successful teaching there should be competent teachers, and in order to secure these there must be established some system of preliminary training. No truth was more fully recognized by the founders of the National system of education in Ireland than this one. For the purpose of carrying out this training an institution was established in Marl-borough Street, Dublin, shortly after the National system of education was founded. It was first opened for males, and subsequently for females, and it had been in working operation for nearly 40 years. Subsequently, at various times, district and minor model schools were founded, all under the control and management of the Board of Education, and upon these schools £50,000 a-year was now spent. As already stated, according to the Report of the Royal Commission, a residence of two years was contemplated, and he would now like to ask attention to the actual facts regarding the duration of the training. In England and Scotland two years was the duration of the training; but in Ireland, as a matter of fact, the ordinary training lasted only five months, and, in many instances, only four months. Beyond that, short as it was, it was most miserably defective. Mr. Marshall, one of the English Inspectors, referred to the teachers who had spent four or five months in the Dublin training school as "virtually untrained." Mr. Connor, another Inspector, referred to them in the same sense; and Mr. O'Hara stated that very little difference could be found between trained and untrained teachers. But not only was the length of training wretched, but the numbers who took advantage of this wretched training were very small. In considering this part of the subject he would have to go back a little on the history of the question. In June, 1866, more than 13 years ago, Lord Carlingford, then Mr. Chichester Fortescue, Chief Secretary for Ireland, wrote as follows to the Commissioners on National Education:— I am desired "by His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant, to inform you that Her Majesty's Government have had under their consideration several important questions connected with the operation of the National system of education in Ireland. The first question which they request the Board to consider is that of the training of the teachers of the model schools. It was originally laid down by Lord Derby, as a condition of the employment of teachers, that they should receive previous instruction in the normal school which was established in Dublin in 1833; but the Commissioners of Education, having this one normal school only, and having a large and increasing number of teachers to train, were forced to adopt a very limited course of instruction, a course which at first was spread over three months only, and which has never exceeded five months, and notwithstanding this effort to extend, however imperfectly, the influences of training as widely as possible, it appears that there are still in the National Schools 4,369 untrained teachers out of a total of 7,472. It is, of course, known to the Government that the district model schools assist in supplying competent teachers; but the number they are able to send out does not, it appears, exceed 90, while in 34 out of 60 school districts no model school has been established. It is accordingly ascertained that between the training school in Dublin and the district model schools in the country the number of persons prepared for the office of teacher is only about 400, whereas the number of new teachers annually required is 900. The Government view this state of things with much concern, and are anxious to apply a remedy for the incompleteness and inadequacy of the present training. Here they had the position of affairs at that time very clearly laid down by the responsible Minister of the Crown. The training, he stated, was inadequate both as to duration and extent. It lasted only five months, and was not participated in by the majority of the teachers; and that, he stated, was regarded with much concern by the Government. The result of that letter of Mr. Chichester Fortescue's was a recommendation of an alteration in the system by the Board of Education, and the preparation of an Estimate for carrying it out. But a change of Government took place, the Conservative Party came into power, and the new Chief Secretary, Lord Mayo, declined to do anything in the matter without first having a preliminary inquiry. In the following year, 1867, he announced the intention of the Government to appoint a Royal Commission, which was accordingly appointed in 1868. That Commission sat for three years, and in the end issued a most exhaustive Report in 1871, in which the subject of training of teachers was most elaborately treated. The Commissioners found the facts to be exactly as Mr. Chichester Fortescue had stated—that the training of teachers was miserably defective, both as to the length of time and the number who took advantage of it; in fact, they found there was no effective system of training at all in Ireland, and they went into consideration of the causes which led to this, and the remedies which ought to be applied. The cause of all this, both as stated by Mr. Chichester Fortescue, and admitted by the Board of Education, and proved before the Royal Commission, was the old cause which had marred all educational efforts in Ireland. It was the old attempt to force on an unwilling people a system of mixed and secular education; and here, as every-where else, it had broken down. The ordinary primary National schools had not failed, simply because, though in name they were mixed and secular, they were in practice, to all intents and purposes, separate and denominational schools; but the training schools, just like the Queen's Colleges, were the purest types of the mixed system; and, accordingly, as in every other branch of education where that was the case, the failure was conspicuous. As already stated, a central training school was established in Dublin, and other model schools subsequently in different parts of the country. Those were essentially mixed and secular schools, and in the central training school the teacher under a course of training was obliged to reside as well as to attend for instruction. The distinction between these institutions and the ordinary day schools was, therefore, a very marked one. The training schools, just as the Queen's Colleges, were real types of thoroughly secular institutions. The evils of this system could not be expressed in more eloquent words than in the Report of Messrs. Cowen and Stokes, two of Lord Mayo's Royal Commissioners. They say— No system, however carefully devised, which ignores the power to he derived in forming the character from unity of religious convictions, can he effectual. In Marlborough Street, at every turn, religious differences are kept before the pupils. It is no happy family which is divided into these sects, continually separating from each other for religious duties, who cannot say even 'Our Father' in common. Those young people are no longer children, fresh and light-hearted. They have learned to feel already the bitterness and difficulty which religious differences create. And they recommend that the training of teachers should be denominational, even if no other part of the system be altered. Sir Alexander Macdonald, so long the able head of the Board of Education, himself a strong supporter of mixed education, admitted the same thing, and stated— If we call out 300 or 400 persons from every part of Ireland, from their own homes and their own pastures, every year for half a-year, to he educated in Dublin, it is a very monstrous thing that we should not provide for their spiritual as well as their secular education; and he went on to say that the system of united training of teachers in Ireland had failed. In 1866, when Mr. Chichester Fortescue brought the subject under the notice of the Board, he not only pointed out the existence and the extent of the evil, but suggested a remedy. He suggested, on behalf of the Government, first, the establishment of model and training schools under local management corresponding, to a certain extent, with the ordinary non-vested primary schools; and, secondly, the granting of permission to students trained in Dublin in the State model schools to board out. In this recommendation the Royal Commission and the Board of Education concurred. Messrs. Cowen and Stokes again report— The importance which we attach to the employment of trained teachers generally in schools, the repugnance displayed towards the system of united training, the difficulty of overcoming the reasons on which this repugnance is founded, and the advantages which may accompany increased facilities for establishing and conducting training schools, convince us that the claims for denominational training should be conceded. And the Commission itself reported— That the aid of the Board should be given to training schools under the management of committees, voluntary societies, or religions bodies, under certain conditions. This recommendation of the Commission, made in 1871, has ever since remained a dead letter. In the following year the attention of Parliament was occupied with more pressing questions, and in the year after the Government of Mr. Gladstone went out of Office and the present Government came into power. It was not long in power when attention was again directed to the subject, and in 1874 the right hon. Baronet the present Secretary of State for the Colonies (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), then Chief Secretary for Ireland, wrote to the Board of Education, on behalf of the Lord Lieutenant, to the following effect:— His Grace invites the special attention of the Board to the important subject embraced in Question No. 6 [referring to the training schools]. His Grace understands that in England there are 39 training schools, with 2,894 students, with a grant of £90,000 a-year; in Scotland 5 training schools, with 704 students, and a grant of £21,500; while in Ireland there is only 1 normal training school, with 218 students, and a grant of £7,646, although this deficiency is to some extent supplemented by a system of district model schools. It is further to be borne in mind that whereas two years is generally considered the minimum period of residence in a training school, the Irish teachers, with the exception of those that undergo a special term of training, remain only about five months in the Marlborough Street school. The existing insufficiency of teachers, trained even to this extent, cannot but injuriously affect the present standard of education; and His Grace observes that in their last Report the Commissioners show that they have 6,284 untrained teachers in the service. His Grace is anxious to bring the recommendations of Mr. Chichester Fortescue and the Royal Commissioners under the notice of the Board, while, at the same time, guarding himself against expressing any opinion upon their respective merits. This letter was written in November, 1874, and in reply to it, in the following month, the Board of Education met to consider the recommendations made by Mr. Chichester Fortescue arid the Royal Commission, when they came to certain resolutions which it was the object of the Motion now before the House to enforce. They decided to approve of certain alterations in the system of training in Marlborough Street, and of allowing grants to non-vested or denominational training Colleges or schools upon certain conditions. The conditions were mainly these—that a training College should include a College for instructing candidates for the office of teacher of the National School, and of a practising National School. No grant to be made unless the secular teaching was open to pupils of all denominations, and that the site of the school should be approved of by the Board; that a certain number of hours should be devoted to secular instruction; that the practising school should be a National School carried on on the same system as any ordinary National School; that grants should be made to the credit of the training College of £100 for every master and £70 for every mistress with a first-class certificate, and £80 and £50 for masters and mistresses with second-class certificates who had been trained continually for two years; and if trained for only one year, half the grant to be given—the grant in no case to exceed 75 per cent of the total expenditure of the college, and the examination of students and programme of examination for admission to be settled by the Board. Those recommendations were made in 1874, at the instance of the late Chief Secretary, and nothing had since been done to carry them into effect. On the other hand, since those recommendations were made, things had been going from bad to worse. When Lord Carlingford wrote the first letter, about 40 per cent of the teachers were trained; when Sir Michael Hicks-Beach wrote in 1874, about 38 percent; but, according to the last Report of the Commissioners on National Education, there were now in Ireland 10,674 teachers, and of these only 3,394 were trained—that was to say, only about 32 per cent of all the teachers in Ireland were trained. So that, instead of getting better, matters were getting much worse; and if the thing was urgent in 1866 it was still more so now. That, then, was the state of affairs in Ireland; and before saying more upon it he wished to call attention for a few moments to what was done in England and Scotland. In England and Scotland no such system as that forced upon Ireland was in existence. In England district training colleges attached to the different religious denominations were recognized and endowed. Up to the passing of the Education Act of 1871, not only were denominational schools and training colleges recognized, but actually religious teaching itself was inspected and reported upon. Since 1871 this had ceased. The State no longer recognized religious teaching; but it did not place it under a ban. It did not say that where religious teaching was given no grant should be made for secular teaching, and it did not make the teaching of religious truths a disability. Yet that was what was attempted to be done in Ireland. In England there were over 40 training Colleges aided by the State in connection with almost every considerable religious Body over the country—with the Church of England, the Wesleyans, Congregationalists, Roman Catholics, and even the Secularists—for the latter he ventured to call as much a separate and distinct sect as any other. All these Colleges were assisted by the State, and what was the result? It appeared from the last Report of the Committee of the Privy Council that of teachers employed in schools in England and Wales only 25 per cent were untrained, 75 being trained; and that training did not consist in a miserable stay of three or four months in a training school, as 61 percent of the teachers employed in English schools had undergone two years' training, 10 per cent for more than one year, and only 3 per cent less than a year. Further than that, the proportion of untrained teachers in the schools was yearly diminishing. The training schools in England and Wales had now about 3,000 students in training for the two years' course, and supplied annually 1,500, which was nearly or just about the full number required to supply vacancies; whereas in Ireland, with an annual want of about 700 teachers, the total number trained in 1878, according to the last Report of the Board, was 166. Then, as to Scotland. There, as in England, separate denominational training schools were recognized. In Scotland, of the masters employed in teaching, 53 per cent had been trained for two years, 13 per cent for one year, and 5 per cent for less than a year, and 29 per cent were untrained; and of mistresses 69 per cent were trained for two years, 9 per cent for one year, 1 per cent for less than a year, and only 21 per cent untrained. There were 1,000 students in training for the two years' course, an annual supply of 500 teachers, or more than the full number supplied for the annual vacancies. The training schools in Scotland were essentially denominational, and religious instruction was given in them. The fact was reported even in the Report of the Government Inspector, and examinations in religious knowledge were held at the end of the course; and on this point of religious teaching the teachers or committees having charge of the College had the most ample powers to teach what they wished, and how they wished. To these denominational Colleges annual grants were made of £100 for every master trained two years, and £70 for every mistress. And further than that, an arrangement had been made with the Scotch. Universities, by which a special course of study and examination at those Unversities was provided for a certain number of those students, and the attendance at that course of study, and the passing of those University examinations, entitled the students to have their certificates, and the Colleges from which they came to the payments on their behalf1, so that they had there in Scotland purely denominational Colleges receiving direct grants of £50 a-year for each student who passed a certain University examination corresponding as they were told in the Report with that of the degree of B.A. Yet, in the face of that, his hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) felt justified in getting up in the House and declaring, in a speech which he had thought worth while to have printed in pamphlet form, that the grant of £20 a-year to denominational Colleges for the results of teaching proficiently in secular subjects in Ireland was "absolutely monstrous." In Ireland no grants were made for training schools beyond those made to the Government institutions, and the result was that 68 per cent of the teachers were untrained, and of those called trained only a very small proportion received more than four months' training. In England and Scotland large grants were made to denominational training schools, with the result that in England only 25 per cent of the masters were untrained, and in Scotland only 29 per cent. The system adopted in Ireland had been condemned by successive Governments, it had been condemned by the Board of Education, it had been condemned by a Royal Commission; yet nothing was done to alter it, and it remained unchanged, side by side with a totally different system in England and Scotland. It was impossible in these circumstances for Irishmen, and especially for Irish Catholics, not to feel that in this, as in every other branch of the Education question, they were treated exceptionally, wholly on account of their religion. If they were not Irishmen and Catholics it would be impossible for this state of things to continue. Even from the most anti-religious point of view it was monstrously absurd. If, by it young men could be induced to enter into the mixed State training schools, and that Catholic candidates for the office of teacher were to be found there in large numbers, there would be some excuse for the proceeding on the ground of common sense; but when that was not the case, and when the only result was having the education of the country carried on by untrained teachers, the proceeding was absolutely senseless. But it might be said that the granting of the demands in respect of this training of teachers would be contrary to the whole spirit and principle of education in Ireland. He denied that altogether. The system of primary education in Ireland might be called anything that people liked; but it was, practically, a denominational system, and the moment the State approved of the non-vested primary schools and gave grants to those schools, that moment the whole principle of mixed education was given up, and after the reality was given up it was idle to fight about the shadow. What he wished to press upon the House by the adoption of his Motion was that the principle of the non-vested system should be extended to the training schools, and that non-vested, and, he would admit, practically denominational schools, just as non-invested primary schools, should be put on the same footing of recognition as similar schools in England and Scotland. This demand was a just one. It was a simple one. It was supported by the highest authorities, by the Government of 1866, by the Board of Education, by the Royal Commission appointed by the Party now in power; and he could not believe that the present Government, who had at such an early period shown an interest in the matter, would refuse to grant it. The money for carrying it out was at hand, or, at least, a portion of it. Nearly £50,000 a-year was at present spent in Ireland on the central training schools of the district model schools, and, in a great part, uselessly spent. Some of those funds, at least, might be usefully diverted in the manner he proposed; and in the confident hope that the Government would do that little act of justice he begged to move the Resolution of which he had given Notice.


in seconding the Motion, quoted statistics to show the defective nature of the arrangements that had been made for the training of teachers, as referred to in the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Eos-common (the O'Conor Don). Estimating the minimum number of the teachers who should be trained for Ireland at 500, he calculated that the cost per annum would amount to £25,000. His hon. Friend asked for an increase in the present Vote of £25,000, and the hon. and learned Member for Kildare (Mr. Meldon) also asked for an increase. Both of those hon. Members wished to improve the condition of the teachers, the one intellectually, and the other physically. Considerable retrenchment might, he thought, be effected in other directions. One branch of those Estimates required very careful consideration. The model schools were, professedly, a portion of that training system; and the reports of the Inspectors pointed out how completely they had failed in that respect. Taking those schools simply on economical grounds, the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland could fairly effect a considerable reduction upon them. The objects sought by those schools were to give a model of mixed education, to afford examples for the National Schools, and also to give a preparatory training to young teachers. But they had absolutely failed as training schools, and very few of them were really models of mixed education. The Royal Commissioners showed that a very great proportion of the children educated in those schools, with money voted for the benefit of the poorer classes, were the children of the respectable and richer classes. In 1874, a Department Commission of the Treasury was appointed to inquire into those schools, as there was a proposal to increase the salaries of the masters. The Commissioners said that not more than one-third of the children in those schools were drawn from the working classes. No less a sum than £40,000 a-year was thrown away upon those schools, which had failed in every object for which they were intended. In point of fact, the model schools were intermediate schools. For a long time past the managers of schools in Ireland had been alive to the serious nature of the want of training; and, accordingly, in 1875, the Catholic Bishops started a training College of their own. In 1878–79 there were 45 teachers in that institution. The hon. Member concluded by expressing a hope that the House would accept the proposals of his hon. Friend.

Amendment proposed, To leave out the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "considering the very large proportion of untrained Teachers in charge of Elementary Schools in Ireland, and the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Primary Education which reported in 1868, it is desirable that steps should be immediately taken by Her Majesty's Government to give effect to the Resolution in regard to Grants to Training Schools adopted by the Board of National Education in Ireland in December 1874,"—(The O'Conor Don,) —instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


said, that his hon. Friend who had already addressed the House (the O'Conor Don) had entered at such length into this subject that, at that late hour, he should not be justified in taking up much of the time of the House. He should not have intruded into the debate at all, if he had not wished to bear his testimony to the deep interest felt in Ireland with regard to this subject. The House had heard, with feelings of regret, the sad history that had been given to it of the state in which so vast a number of teachers in the National Schools in Ireland now were. It was a melancholy thing for them to have to state now that a system which had been in force for so many years in Ireland should only possess 31 per cent of trained teachers, 'when the total number of teachers was about 6,000. He believed that in any effort which they might initiate, and which they were prepared to make, the state of the National School teachers in Ireland was the most important matter to be considered, and more particularly their training for the avocations which they had to pursue. Though he was always ready to advocate any scheme for improving their physical well-being, and to increase their salaries, yet the most important matter of all was that this House should see that the persons to whom it had intrusted teaching in Ireland should be qualified for the position in which they were placed. It had been shown to the House that for a long series of years the state of the training for National School teachers in Ireland had been complained of, and that a Royal Commission had sat upon the subject, and that successive Chief Secretaries for Ireland had felt it so important a matter that they had brought it under the notice of the Board. It had also been shown that, so long ago as 1874, the right hon. Gentleman who now filled the Office of Secretary of State for the Colonies (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) wrote to the Board of National Education in Ireland, putting before them, two proposals with regard to the training schools. One was the proposal of Mr. Forbes' Committee in 1860, and the other was the proposal of the Royal Commission, headed by Lord Powis, in 1868. The right hon. Gentleman now the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in 1874, brought these proposals before them, with the purpose then pointed out by him, and with the desire that the assistance of the Commissioners of National Education should be given to devise some practical and reasonable scheme to remove the state of things which was an obstacle to giving a high standard of education to the Irish people. He was glad to see the right hon. Gentleman to whom he alluded then in his place, and he trusted that they would have his assistance in carrying out the objects which they had in view. The right hon. Gentleman declared then that it was necessary for carrying out the education of the Irish people that an alteration should be made with regard to the training of the teachers, and he submitted these two proposals, which were, to a great extent, identical in principle, and which would carry out the object of the hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don). He trusted that this subject had been so long considered that they would have an assurance from the Government that night that the hopes of the Irish people would not be left uncared for. This matter was of very serious importance, for it should be recollected that every year which passed saw a number of the youth of the country pass away from these schools, and the whole of their future lives would be influenced for good or for ill by the education which they had there received. He did not think that anything could be more disastrous to the future well-being of the Irish people than that a system of training, which had been admitted on all hands to be defective, should be continued. They desired that that House should unanimously come to the conclusion that nothing could be more injurious than the existence of these schools which were not fit for their work; and he trusted that they would have an assurance from the Government that they would be ready to carry out the suggestions addressed to the National Board by the late Chief Secretary for Ireland. The National Board, in response to his application, put before him a scheme which had been detailed at length by other hon. Members; and he trusted that they would have some assurance from the Government that they would consider this question, and that they were prepared to deal with it. If they did so, he was sure that they would confer a lasting benefit upon the Irish people.


observed, that the hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don) had stated what he considered to be the evils in this system as it now existed, and what he proposed to do to remedy them. It was a very serious thing if any large number of teachers were not competent; but he (Mr. Bruen) did not think he could quite coincide with his hon. Friend in the remedy he proposed. He proposed, in fact, that the training of teachers should be taken from under the control of the National Board of Education, and should be committed to the care of independent voluntary bodies of persons. At present, the training of teachers was conducted under the control of the National Board, and not under the con- trol of other bodies; and he must say that he gave his preference to the training institutions remaining under the control of the National Board. He did not, however, think that even if the training institutions for teachers were placed under the control, or in the hands of persons other than the National Board, the evils which his hon. Friend had pointed out would be remedied, for he thought the evils which he had noticed proceeded from an entirely different source from that which had been stated. He believed that the cause of there being so few competent teachers in Ireland was that the remuneration was so very small. The remuneration at present given to teachers in Ireland was perfectly inadequate to induce men to spend a certain portion of their lives in preparing to enter the service of the National Board, and afterwards continuing in it. The present training institutions trained a very considerable number of men; but it must not be supposed that the whole number trained ever became teachers. It had been noticed that out of those trained a very large proportion, for instance, of those educated at the training establishment in Marlborough Street never became teachers in National Schools at all; or, even if they did, they left the service very shortly, and got into other occupations. That fact showed where the evil laid, and that it was not in the institutions, or in their management, but in the want of inducement to teachers to remain in the service. Had he been in Order, he should have been inclined to move an Amendment, to the effect that it was expedient that additional inducements should be given to teachers to continue in the service of the Board, and that they should have increased remuneration. He believed if increased remuneration were paid to teachers, they would very soon have a sufficient supply of perfectly competent teachers. No doubt, this question was one of expense, and, of course, it was very difficult to come down to that House and ask for a larger supply of money for educational purposes in Ireland. He did not think that they would be driven to that necessity. The hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Errington) had told the House of the class of children that were educated in some of the model schools. He thought it would be a reasonable thing if some school fees were imposed upon those persons able to pay them, who sent their children to these schools. By that means, they would obtain sufficient money to increase the salaries of the teachers in Ireland without additional taxation. He did not wish to see these fees imposed upon the poorer classes, who were unable to pay for sending their children to school. There should be some provision that, whenever a person was not, in the opinion of the Board of Guardians, able to pay the school fees, then the school fees, or a portion of them, should be remitted. By that means, they would get such a sum of money as would be sufficient to offer a very material inducement to competent teachers.


said, that there had been three attacks made upon the system of education in Ireland. One attack was directed against the University system; the second against the education represented by the National Schools; and the third, which was most likely to follow, was for the purpose of doing away with the present system of National Education, and introducing an entirely denominational education. The hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don) had brought before the House a Paper containing the recommendations made to the Government in 1874, through the right hon. Gentleman who was now Secretary of State for the Colonies (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach). He (Mr. Macartney) was not surprised that the Government of the period did not act upon the recommendations made by a small majority of the National Board of Education in Dublin. Anyone who went through the Papers would see that opinions were very much divided upon that Board, and that three or four different plans were proposed. Ultimately, by a narrow majority, the recommendations were made which had now been brought to the attention of the House. For five years the hon. Member for Roscommon had thought it right not to take any step in the matter; but he had at length brought it forward. In the first place, it was proposed to establish training Colleges which should be entirely denominational, and that 75 per cent of the yearly expense of these Colleges should be paid by the State. The amount to be paid for these Colleges for the training of masters and mistresses was not to exceed 75 per cent of the total expenditure. The Motion did not say the total expenditure for teaching, but the total expenditure for the establishment of the Colleges. Thus, the State was to be at the expense of maintaining institutions of an entirely denominational nature, and was to pay three-fourths of their maintenance. The hon. Member maintained that in England and Scotland a large sum of money was contributed to denominational education; but he did not tell the House how much of the total expenses of the denominational education so afforded came from private sources, and how much from public revenues. If he had done so, he would have told the House that if 75 per cent was to be given in Ireland a very much smaller proportion was now given in England and Scotland. Another of the proposals made was that the candidates should be recommended for examination by the managers of the Colleges, or else by the patron or manager of the school. Hon. Members were not, perhaps, aware how the patrons and managers of National Schools in Ireland were appointed. In England, generally, the patron of the school was a person who had built it, or endowed it, or who paid a very large proportion of the sum required for its maintenance. In Ireland, the schools generally were of a very modest character, and had cost very little, and most frequently the patron did not contribute a single shilling towards the expenses of the school, and the school manager and patron were not in the same position as in England. The great majority of patrons—not the managers were persons who paid nothing towards the maintenance of the school; but, notwithstanding that fact, it was proposed that those persons should give the recommendations for the training Colleges. The patrons were generally clergymen, either Roman Catholic, or, perhaps, of the Church of Ireland, or Presbyterian, and were very unlike the patrons in England, who had expended money, or contributed towards the maintenance of the school. The great complaint of the hon. Member for Roscommon was that the persons sent to be trained at the training school in Dublin were not enabled to remain there long enough. It seemed to him that it would be better to propose that they should be kept in Dublin for a much longer period, being maintained there by the same Body that now maintained them. If they compared the schools in Ireland under the control of private persons with the schools under the control of the Commissioners, it would be found that the latter would compare very favourably with them. He believed that anyone investigating the state of the schools in Ireland would find that the schools of which the sole direction was under the Commissioners were infinitely better conducted than those under private management. Experience taught that a transfer of the schools now under the control of the Commissioners to private persons would result in the infliction of a great injury upon education. He wished to refer to one question which his hon. Friend had made a main feature of his proposal. At one time during his hon. Friend's speech, he (Mr. Macartney) had thought he was about to suggest that the money required should be taken from some source such as was proposed in his University scheme—namely, the surplus revenues of the Church of Ireland. He (Mr. Macartney) thought that as he had proposed that source for University Education, he would propose that the money for the National Schools in Ireland should be derived from the same source. But he had not made that proposal, and had suggested instead that the expenditure on the National Model Schools of Ireland should be reduced. In his (Mr. Macartney's) opinion, these schools were of the greatest benefit to Ireland, and were the best feature of Irish education below the University. The Returns showed the efficiency of these schools in a very remarkable degree. They were largely attended; and he might mention that among a total of 29 schools about 500 pupils were educated in each school. The average attendance at the schools showed that they were by no means inefficient. He was confident that no better schools where classics were not taught existed. These schools were excepted from the operation of the Intermediate Education scheme, why he did not know. He was one that wanted them admitted; but they were not admitted to the benefits of the Act. The schools might be at a disadvantage as compared with others for one reason, and that was, they were not approved by the highest ecclesiastical authorities in Ireland. The ecclesiastics objected to the attendance at the schools of all who professed the Roman Catholic faith; but, notwithstanding the objection to them, the attendance at the schools was very good. What the hon. Member's proposition amounted to was, therefore, that, with a view to improving the education of Ireland, all the best schools should be swept away, and schools should be substituted which would be under the control and administration of the clergy. All other countries in Europe had, at the present moment, come to the conclusion that education should not be under the control of the clergy, and it was asked that Great Britain and Ireland should go upon a different principle to that which was now adopted in all countries which professed the Roman Catholic religion. He hoped and believed that this country would not be behind the French, German, and other nations, and that they would not, at this the closing part of the 19th century, take such a retrogade step as to establish denominational schools under the exclusive control of the Church of Rome.

Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,


thought that the speech of the hon. Member who had introduced this Motion (the O'Conor Don), had been delivered to a House which was somewhat fatigued by the more animated discussion which had occupied the earlier part of the evening. Of course, it was more than could be expected from human nature to be proof against the serious attack which had been made upon their time during the last few nights. He was not surprised, therefore, at the Benches being empty, even when that interesting subject which the hon. Member brought forward was being discussed, and Gentlemen representing Irish constituencies, who they knew took great interest in this subject, were unfortunately prevented, from the causes to which he had referred, from being present in any number. He had been led to make these remarks from seeing that scarcely half-a-dozen Irish Members collectively were present at any time during the speech of the hon. Member for Roscommon, and those who followed in the discussion did not succeed in obtaining a better audience. The subject which had been introduced by the hon. Member for Roscommon had failed on that occasion to arouse any very great interest on the part of Representatives from Ireland; but it was, undoubtedly, a subject of very great importance. Perhaps its importance was insignificant compare with the question of Order or disorder, or with attempts to alter or vary the Forms of Procedure of the House; but, although a subject of less moment, it was one which, undoubtedly, commanded considerable attention. It was a remarkable fact that there were a vast number of untrained teachers employed in the schools of Ireland. That was a deficiency that called for very serious attention. The hon. Member, in enunciating that proposition, was upon very safe ground; it was not likely that he would find anyone to rise in his place and confute that statement. It was true, he proceeded to suggest the remedy for this state of affairs. There had been two remedies suggested with the view of meeting the difficulty, and yet of avoiding the alternative of an increased school grant. The hon. Member for Roscommon and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Longford (Mr. Errington) appeared to go into the matter very fairly upon the question of expense, and it might very properly be considered that that was an important element in dealing with the subject. The hon. Member for Longford suggested, as he thought he was bound to do, some item for retrenchment which would justify the House, in what were popularly called bad times, in incurring any additional expense. The subject which the hon. Member had suggested for retrenchment was that of model schools. If the House had been in a more complete state than it was when the remarks were addressed to it, some other hon. Members might have competed in making suggestions with the hon. Member. He thought the hon. Member would have found also that many hon. Gentlemen would have risen in their places and expressed themselves strongly in favour of the model schools. He did not feel called upon to discuss to what extent model schools really carried out the specific work for which they were intended, nor how far many persons had taken advantage of public funds for obtaining an education to which they ought to contribute. It was not necessary for him to say more upon those subjects, but only to point out that the model schools were doing their work well, and that the subject should be well considered before they were abolished. With respect to National School teachers, their position had for some time engaged the attention of the Government; and he hoped, before many days were over, to be in a position to submit to the House a scheme, which he hoped would meet with its approval, for improving their position in life. That, of course, could not be done without some addition to public burdens, and without financial arrangements into which it was not then proper for him to enter. As they were aware, Parliament had then arrived at a very late period of the Session, when the time of the House was counted by moments, and it was impossible at that time to deal with any fresh subject. They must be all aware, from sources of information open to everyone, that there was a measure then engaging the attention of Parliament in "another place," which they might hope soon to have brought before them. He said this to show that the time of Parliament during the remainder of the Session would be fully occupied, and more than usually occupied, with the subject of education in Ireland. Therefore, he thought the House could scarcely be unprepared for his statement on the present occasion, which was that the Government was not prepared at the present time to enter upon this very important and by no means small field which the hon. Gentleman had opened out that night. He might, however, state that it was a subject which had been engaging the attention of the Government for some time; and if he could see his way at once, without raising any difference of opinion on the other side, to settle this question, he could assure the House that he should be glad to do so. Anyone must, however, see that if there were any proposal made it would be met with difference of opinion on one side; and where it was likely that a subject would meet with opposition from one Party or another at that period of the Session, the Government would not be justified in taking up the time of the House by bringing it on. At the same time, he could assure the House that the subject was one which would not be lost sight of by the Government; it would involve considerable financial arrangements when they came to approach it. The hon. Gentleman, by the discussion he had raised that night, had done good service; he had stated his views with great ability and clearness. He had succeeded also, in the interests of the public service, in illustrating the fact that this subject was not to be approached without great consideration, and that it would occupy more time than the Government felt at that moment was at their disposal.


remarked, that hon. Members must be very glad to hear that the Government were going to do something for the National School teachers of Ireland. That was the only bright spot in the otherwise gloomy speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland. If the Government were going to introduce a scheme for the benefit of National School teachers, a great advance would be achieved in primary education; and he did not think that so long as they were going to do something the Government was open to very much censure. The points brought forward by the hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don) were very important. In telling the House only that the Government were going to do something for the National School teachers, and in not going into any of these matters, he thought the Chief Secretary for Ireland had been playing with the House. The Chief Secretary had said nothing of any sort or kind about the Motion, except that something was to be done for the school teachers, and that the subject would be considered. Amongst the very vague promises offered them, there was, as he had remarked, the only bright spot, that something was to be done for the teachers. The present Government had been in Office six years, and he thought it time they did something for Ireland, as it was now said they were going to do. He would remind them that this was the last Session that they could be put off with mere promises, and that the time had come when these matters must receive attention.


wished to say one word with respect to the cost of training school teachers. Every pupil trained in the school college at Dublin cost £50 a-year. The English system gave a great deal more freedom, and cost £60 a-year per teacher. But there was this difference with regard to the result of the English system—no one was paid in England until two years' training had been completed, and, more than that, until two years had been passed in teaching, and the teacher had been reported upon favorably. At the College in Marlborough Street, a teacher received £50 a-year during the first two years of his career, whether he afterwards became a teacher or not. The cost of the English system, which had so many advantages was, therefore, only one-fifth more than the cost of the Irish system. Some remarks had been made with regard to the managers and patrons of National Schools in Ireland having expended very little money, and, therefore, not being deserving of much consideration; but hon. Gentlemen forgot that the reason for this was, when the National system was introduced into Ireland the landowners set their faces against it, and not only would not contribute, but would not dispose of their land for the schools. In consequence of that, the Catholic clergy were obliged to collect money from their poor parishioners in order to provide schools; and in too many cases these schools were, from the nature of things, miserable edifices. That was one of the reasons why National Schools in Ireland were in so unsatisfactory a state.


believed he had no right to reply; but just wished to say, in consequence of the answer given by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, that as he did not perceive, in the answer he had made, any sort of promise that his desire would be carried out, he could not but express his feelings in a Division. He thought the measure should be pressed, especially as it had been before Parliament ever since the year 1874.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 64, Noes 48: Majority 16.—(Div. List, No. 161.)

Main Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Committee deferred till Monday next.

House adjourned at a quarter after One o'clock till Monday next.