HC Deb 08 August 1881 vol 264 cc1210-36

rose to make his Statement on the Education Vote.


rose to Order. He wished to know whether, after the right hon. Gentleman had made his Statement on going into Committee of Supply, any other hon. Member could speak on the Motion on going into Committee of Supply?


It will be open for any hon. Member to speak on the Motion that the Speaker do leave the Chair.


Sir, I beg to thank the House for allowing me to make my Statement with the Speaker in the Chair. My reason for asking this favour of the House is two-fold. Not for the sake of the Estimates which I am able to submit to the House, and which I should be quite prepared to submit in the usual way. But it will be in the recollection of the House that in the other House of Parliament, when the Code under which the conditions of the grant for education are made was carried, a distinct pledge was given to both this and the other House of Parliament that before the close of this Session we would submit proposals for the reform of the Code, and it is upon that ground, before going into Committee of Supply, that I shall make a double Statement—the one relating to the ordinary business of the past year, and the proposed financial statement for the coming year, and the principles on which we propose to revise the Code. All that relates to the expenditure of the past year I shall endeavour to condense into as short a space as possible, in order not to trespass upon the time of the House. The expenditure in 1880 was as follows:—The sum granted was £2,535,967, and the expenditure £2,525,769, the result being a saving of £10,308 upon the Estimates. The charge for annual grants, which was estimated at £2,217,348, reached £2,213,673, an increase of £120,231 on the previous year, the details of which are as follows:—The estimate of average attendance was 2,800,480 children, and the actual average was 2,814,000; the estimated grant was 15s. 8d., and the grant really made was 15s.d. The estimate for the evening schools for the average attendance was 52,530 children and an estimate of 9s., and the result was 41,500 at 8s. 6¼d.., a falling off in numbers of 11,000, and in the grant of 5d. in the year. Now, Sir, I come to the Estimates that the House will be asked to vote tonight for the current year 188–12. The sum required this year is £2,683,958, as compared with £2,535,967 granted in 1880–1. This is an increase of £147,991, and it produces a difference of £93,000 increase on the Estimates of 1880–1. Although at first sight this difference will appear to be considerable, it will be understood that the increase in the expenditure was really an over-estimated expenditure in the year 1879–80. The increase on the Vote for 1880–1 would have stood £140,000, instead of £55,000 on the Estimates; therefore, the increase on the Estimates 1881–2 is £144,794, and it is a little more than an increase in the last year, which was really £140,000. The increase on the com- ing year 1881–2 occurs almost entirely under the head of annual grants. The amount of the Votes is £2,362,142, an increase of £144,794 for the grant. It will be necessary that I shall show the House the expenditure for annual grants, and the comparison of this special head for the past three years shows that the increase asked for is not an extensive one. The annual grant made to the elementary schools in 1878–9 was £1,961,000, or an increase of £267,000 on the preceding year. In 1879–80 it was £2,093,000, or an increase of £132,000; in 1880-1, £2,213,000, or an increase of £120,000; and in 1881–2 it is £2,362,000, or an increase of £144,794. It will be noticed by the figures set forth that there is a very large increase in 1878–9, and that was occasioned by the passing of the Act of 1876, which only came into practical operation in 1878–9. Amongst the other items, there is an increase of £7,670 for expenditure this year, caused by the addition of six Inspectors and nine Inspectors' Assistants, and by the usual number of Inspectors being entitled to the increment. The Inspectors were appointed after the details of the Estimates had been made for last year, and they come into the present year. There is only one more item in reference to the expenditure that I ought to trouble the House with, and that is the building grant on the Act of 1870 for £670, and it is the last year of that grant. I now invite the House to consider the real educational progress of the past year. I may say, before going into that part of the question, that there is no new or striking feature in the course of the year. There have been no new forces brought into operation during the year; we have been working steadily and quietly under the Acts of 1870 and 1876, and, as the Act of 1880 as to general compulsion did not come into operation until the 1st of January this year, the statement of progress that I have to make is the more gratifying, because the same steady, continuous, and unbroken progress of education has been going on since the passing of the Act of 1870. The principal features which I have to mention are as follows:—Accommodation is now afforded 4,240,000 children, showing an increase of 98,000 school places during the year; the scholars on the register, 3,895,000, showing a remarkable increase of 185,000 scholars in average attendance, 2,751,000, being an increase in attendance of 156,000 for the previous year; the scholars individually examined, 1,904,000, being an increase of 144,000 in one year. The percentage of passing in the three R.'s, which is one of the real tests of the work done, is 81.2 as against 80.4 last year. They have now touched the highest point they have ever reached in the history of the Department. The proportion of scholars examined in Standard IV. and upwards, which is very interesting to several Members, and my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. H. H. Fowler), who, I am glad to see in his usual place, is 24.61 as against 22.1 of last year—a very large amount indeed. We do not bring the children up to the higher standard; we are doing very little in the arrears of thorough education. I am as dissatisfied as any man in this House about them; but still it is gratifying to find this year that the proportion of scholars examined is increasing. Well, we have 41,426 masters, being nearly 3,000 more than heretofore, and we have 33,733 pupil teachers, and that gives an increase of 538. The cost for maintenance for scholars in Board schools is £2 1s. 11¾d., being a decrease of 1d. per head; and voluntary schools, £1 14s.d., or an increase of 1¾d. per head. The rate of the grant earned is, for Board schools, 15s.d. per head, an increase of 4¼d. on the previous year; and for voluntary schools, 15s. 5d., or an increase of 1¾d. per head. It is the first time since the passing of the Act of 1870 that the Board schools have shown any substantial increase over the voluntary schools. Now, in these figures there are two or three points we have of interest, and the first is the number of scholars on the registers. Although these have gone on increasing year by year from 1,693,000 in 1870 to 3,895,000 in the past year, it shows a substantial increase of 185,000 during the past year. Now, the normal increase according to the growth of the population will be about 70,000 in the year; but we continue to receive into our schools nearly three times that increase every year, and, at this moment that I am addressing the House, the probability is that there are over 4,000,000 of children on the registers of the schools, and we have every reason to expect that within the next 10 years, when the Act of last year comes into full operation, the numbers will not be far short of 5,000,000 children. The next question to which I must call attention is that we have gone from 1,793,000 to above 4,000,000; and we are calculating on something like, after this year, a continual increase of 200,000 children a-year. The average attendance has now reached 70.6, and this includes infants—the vast number of children who only attend half-time, and who are permitted by the School Board when they pass the Standard to be employed half-time. If they were full time they would not detract very much from the average of the whole, and it must make a difference in the average of the year. Considering that every year we are passing in more of the children of their regular class, and that the compulsion reaches the more neglected of the lower classes, it is more satisfactory to find that the average attendance is higher to-day than it has ever reached before. That is an indication of real and substantial progress. We have not reached, by any means, what we hope to, and may, attain, and the best proof of that is what Scotland has already done. Scotland has already reached 76 per cent average attendance, including half-time; and there is this to be said about Scotland, that the Scotch children go to school later, but stay later than the English children. That is owing to climate, and that infant schools are not so general as in England; and it is a most satisfactory result in the School Board in Scotland that they have already brought up the average attendance to 76 per cent. Now, compulsion has done this. It has succeeded in bringing a larger number of children to attend schools for at least a portion of their time, and has improved the average attendance to the point to which I have stated. I have a table here which shows that it has had the effect of causing a very considerable increase of the number of scholars who attend sufficiently regular to bring the grant to the schools. Out of every 100 scholars on the register in England and Wales there were 62 per cent, and they were qualified by attendance in the proportion of 40.2. In 1880, at the same stage, 68.3 on the register, and they were qualified by attendance to the extent of 52.2. This shows a number of children who get the grant in Scotland. I am bound to say the result is much better. They had been in 1874 64.9, and, at the present moment, they have reached 73.6, who make full school attendance. I am approaching that which I regard as the most satisfactory feature of the year, and that is the result of last year's examinations, and it is to this point I invite my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton. The children examined did better in the three It's than in the previous year, the percentage of passes having risen from 80.4 to 81.2; whilst the proportion of scholars examined in Standards IV. to VI., compared with the total number of scholars individually examined, rose from 22.1 per cent to 24.61 per cent. Now, in order to show the change which was gradually coming over our educational experience, I will ask the attention of the House to this fact—that the percentage of passes to the number of children examined fell steadily during the first six years after the passing of the Act of 1870. The number of ignorant and neglected children brought in, and the number of elder children who were unable to pass the Standard, was so large that there was a steady fall in the percentage of passes through England and Wales. In 1872 the following were the percentages:—Passes in 1872, 81.1; in 1873, 80.8; in 1874, 80; in 1875, 79.7; in 1876, 78.8; and here in 1877 we ended the trouble. There had been a steady fall; then came the rise, and the recovery was due to this, that more attention was paid to the teaching of the infant children. The interest taken in the schools had begun to effect a great change in the children's passing in the upper Standards, and the number of backward children grew less and less. In 1878 the number rose to 79.5; in 1879 to 80.4; in 1880, 81.2. This is the highest point at which the number has ever stood in Standards IV. to VI. Now, the test is, what do you pass in the upper schools? There are bye-laws and Factory Acts which affect these. The bye-laws and the Factory Acts take half our children in the Fourth Standard out of schools every year. That is to say, that 50 per cent of the children who pass the Fourth Standard in any year pass at once out of school. That is one reason why we cannot pass our children to the higher Standards, because the Standard of the Factory Act is the Fourth Standard, and the Standards throughout the country, especially the rural districts, are from II. to IV., or III. to V., for half-time and full time respectively. The progress which had been made in the higher Standards was one of the features in the year the most gratifying. I have made out statements which show the number of children presented in the higher Standards since the passing of the Act of 1870. In 1870 the number who passed under the Old Code was 191,663 to all schools. Practically, it was 102,630, taking it as compared with the Code, as we have since that time raised the Standards. In 1871 we have no record because the Code changed. Then in 1872, 118,000; in 1873, 131,000, being an increase of 13,000; in 1874, 155,000, being an increase of 24,000; in 1875, 194,000, an increase of 39,000; in 1876, 234,000, an increase of 40,000; in 1877, 270,000, an increase of 36,000; in 1878, 324,000, an increase of 54,000; in 1879, 388,000, an increase of 64,000; and last year 468,000, an increase of 80,000 children in the upper Standards. The increased number passed through the upper Standards IV. to VI. since 1870 was more than 400 per cent. That is the best test of the work that is really being done. However well we may be doing with the English schools, the Scotch are doing better; and in Scotland this is much more remarkable than among ourselves. The numbers for Scotland—where they have had the compulsory system in full operation since 1872, while ours has just come into full operation—shows that in 1872 they passed 35,502 children, and they finished in 1880 by passing 102,259 in the upper Standards—that is to say, out of 304,000, the average attendance was one-third of the whole, or 33 per cent in Scotland, as against 24 per cent in England. I should like to give a single illustration of the way the Scotchmen manage their schools, showing the wonderful results that are accomplished. I was struck with the case of a school which was placed in my hands some few months ago, and it gives an illustration of what could be done under the most adverse circumstances. It was a school in the village of Easdale, in the Island of Seil, in the county of Argyll. The chief industry of the place is slate quarries. Well, in 1874 the Report was exceedingly unfavourable. In 1875 the School Board began a new school, and they appointed a new teacher, and this is the sort of progress which has been made since. In the first year only six out of 134 could be presented in the higher Standards. In 1876 the school had an admirable Report; in 1879, when the Inspector came, he said— This is one of the best schools I know. There is no failure in reading and writing, and only two out of 116 failed in arithmetic, and when I visited the place some years ago the education of the children was in a lamentable state. Thanks to the wise policy of the Board and the ability of the teacher, it is now the best school in Argyll. Out of 134, only seven failed, and the Inspector said it was, in all respects, a model school. I think that a school and school board making such marvellous progress as that shows ought to be brought under the notice of the House. Now, Sir, I have given the statistics for England and Wales as to the number who have passed the upper Standards. The grants earned in 1879-80 had risen from 15s.d. to 15s.d., an increase of 4¼d., and the voluntary schools to 15s. 5d., an increase of 1¾d. I said that this is the first time that the board schools show an advantage over the voluntary schools; but the grant is not always the measure of success, and I say this irrespective of this circumstance in reference to board schools and voluntary schools. It depends upon the number of infants in the respective schools on the list, for the infants bring down the average, and the real test is the children in the upper Standards and the upper ages. Now, the average cost in the London School Board schools was £2 17s.d. per head, and in the voluntary schools £2 0s. 10¾d. The board schools in the Provinces are only £1 17s.d. I am bound to say that the heavy cost of the London Board schools raises the average of the board schools throughout the country. The London Board school average was £2 17s.d., and the London voluntary school £2 0s. 10¼d., against £1 14s. 2d. in the country. I am not going to be the apologist for the London School Board; there is no need for me to take up the defence of the London School Board, as it possesses able Representatives in this House. I am bound to say that I was very much struck with that, and I made it my business to institute inquiries as to the cost of the London Board schools as compared with other schools. Now, it is only fair, whatever may be said in favour of voluntary schools or Board schools, that it should be fairly and honestly stated. I find that the London Board schools are increasing at the rate of 23,000 a-year for the last 10 years; that for every year they have to furnish schools and charge that upon the current year's account. Then, again, unlike any other board schools in the country, they have to bear the expense without the grant for this 23,000; so that really, to take the proper average, we believe that it would be impossible to get the cost of the London Board schools until the London Board schools have supplied all this deficiency of education and the children are in average attendance. Then the grant for salaries is very considerable. Then, taking the average of the country schools, no allowance is made in the salaries, but a residence is provided for the masters; whereas, in London, the residence of the masters is to be paid out of their salaries. That is only fair to be borne in mind; but to show the vast work which the London School Board has yet to do—for it is a vast work, for the deficiency is not nearly supplied, and the new Census has shown us that Lambeth alone has increased nearly 250,000 during the last 10 years—there is the population of one of our great towns, and the London School Board have to keep up with the growth of the population, and this growth represents something like 1,100 persons a-week; and, in order to make provision for the population, they must open one school a month. That is the only way in which the population of London can be provided for. The only wonder is that, looking at the vast work already done, and yet remains to be done, how we could have remained content with such a state of things as must have existed. The total expenditure on education for last year amounts to £5,078,259; to this sum the endowment has contributed £143,000, the voluntary contributions about £731,000; the rates £726,000. Though it is fair to notice that the contributions are still in excess of the rates, it is a most creditable feature. The children's pence contributed £1,431,000, and the Government grant £1,982,000, and the receipts from other sources were £55,000. I am bound to quote these figures to consider what would be the grant, and what must be the rate to make up the enormous deficiencies which would result from these two sources—the Exchequer and the ratepayers. I have now stated everything which relates to the educational work of the past year, and I hope that the House will be satisfied that we are really making progress. I may say that the highest grant, taking the schools in their denominations, was made by the Wesleyan schools. There are one or two points with respect to the working of the Act that I should like to say a few words upon. I believe that those great results which I have been able to lay before the House, and which I hope will be still greater, have been the result of compulsion; without it we could never have achieved such results. I am sorry to say that there are still serious obstacles to the future working of that Act. Only this day I had a letter from a School Attendance Committee that less than half the children in the district were not in attendance, and the reason of only half the children being at school was that when the cases were brought before the magistrates the magistrates had resolved not to convict, and these people set the law at defiance. In many instances—and this was most surprising in London—the magistrates seem to think that they were almost above the law, and they do absolutely set the law at defiance in hundreds of cases. It is remarkable when we consider with what general assent both Houses of Parliament passed the Act last year. Both Houses of the Legislature had allowed the Act to make compulsion general throughout the land to pass without the slightest sign of amendment or opposition, and I think it was a very good omen, and it showed the general assent of the Legislature to the compulsory working of the Education Acts. At the time of passing the Act there were about 16,500,000 in England and Wales under the bye-laws, and by the 1st January it was required that every Union and every local authority should make an application for bye-laws. I am glad to report that on the 31st December last the whole of the Unions and local authorities throughout England and Wales, except a small remnant numbering only about 260,000 inhabitants, had applied for bye-laws, and now there was no district throughout the land where those bye-laws have not come fairly into operation. But still there are some things that must be amended if the compulsory system is to be efficiently worked. One is the cost and difficulty of proceeding under the Summary Jurisdiction Act. The cost to the locality of taking out summonses, and the difficulties which have been unexpectedly imposed, have raised very serious obstacles to the working of compulsory education. I do think that parents who are so neglectful of their duty as those who will not take the trouble to send their children to school, and, worse still, those who have come under the operation of the Industrial Schools Act, should be punished. There were cases recently where the man has neglected his own family and allowed them to run in the streets till they were sent to an industrial school, and was, at the same time, getting good wages and keeping another family, and not contributing a farthing. They set the law at defiance, because they had no goods to distrain upon. I do trust that something will be done in order to overcome this difficulty. A great deal has been said about taking out summonses. I am bound to say, from the cases which have come under my notice in the Education Department, that the school boards make very few mistakes. I have had particulars furnished me of the amount of summonses taken out by the London School Board with a view to enforcing compulsory attendance. There is a periodical published which makes it a subject of censure, and says that the London School Board is very harsh with parents. Under the bye-laws, the well-known "B" notice, where the parents are admonished for not sending their children to school, there were 79,715 notices sent out last year, and out of that number only 7,722 were summoned, and the number of cases dismissed was only four. Under Section 11—that is, to meet the case of habitual neglect—there were 3,871 summonses, and the cases dismissed were only 11. The employers summoned were 22, and only one case was dismissed. I think that is a fair illustration of the working of compulsion, and this disproves the constant allegations of the hardships undergone by parents at the hands of the school boards. We are asked what are the moral results of the education on which the country is spending £5,000,000 a-year. We hear a good deal of declamation against our present system as being irreligious. I am quite sure that neither the noble Lord the Member for Liverpool (Viscount Sandon) nor the noble Lord the Member for Middlesex (Lord George Hamilton), who have presided in the Department, will say that they are irreligious. I know in the town of Liverpool, which the noble Lord (Viscount Sandon) represents, that both the school board and the voluntary schools work heartily together, and prizes are given in religious instruction in that town, and the results have astonished some of the opponents of the school boards when they come to see the answers of the children. The same thing was told me in Manchester of the papers submitted to the school board, and one who is well known for his opposition to school boards admits he was taken quite aback by the examination papers, and had no conception of the amount of Biblical knowledge which had been attained by the children in school board schools. If I wanted to disprove the statement about the decline of religious teaching, I could bring a few facts to the notice of the House. The total number of children in voluntary schools in 1870 was 1,449,000, the total in 1880 was 2,759,000, showing that the numbers receiving very distinct religious instruction in voluntary schools had increased by 811,000 children. Of these there was an increase in the Church schools of 627,000; in the Roman Catholic schools of 79,000; in the British and Wesleyan schools of 127,000; and in the Board schools of 1,085,000, showing a total of 1,900,000, or a total increase of nearly 2,000,000. This total increase of nearly 2,000,000 of children in the schools of the country, and a very large proportion in voluntary schools of the country, are, except a small number, receiving religious teaching. Then in Scotland the school boards adhere to the old system. After that statement, who can say that there is no religious teaching given to the children? On the contrary, I think that there never was so much religious teaching given to the children of the country as at this moment, and that it was never so well taught and so well understood as since the Act of 1870 was passed. As to the moral results of the Act, we have abun- dant evidence of them. I have heard from the Chief Inspector of London Police the wonderful change that he believes to be brought about by the vast number of wretched children taken from the streets. In the town of Birmingham Major Bond says that the effect has been to get rid of the young ruffians who used to stand at the street corners, and whose coarse language and coarse manners caused a scandal in all our large towns. There was a great diminution in that respect and in juvenile crime, and the same thing was reported from all parts of the country. We have been going on during the last 10 years making progress towards civilizing and humanizing those who have been neglected in the past. I should like to say a few words as to the devotion of hundreds and thousands of noble men and women who have taken part in the cause of education. It is extraordinary, and the noble Lord opposite (Viscount Sandon) will bear me out, that in towns like Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, and elsewhere, when they take up this work they become absorbed in it, and they devote their lives and their energies and a great deal of their money to it. The voluntary effort brought into the school board system has astonished me. In Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, and elsewhere, we find men and women who are doing honour to themselves and sacrificing their time and means to the educational interests of the rising generation. Having concluded what I have to say in that respect, I proceed now to that part of the Statement which refers more immediately to the Papers which I have laid on the Table. The House will be aware that a year ago, when I made my Annual Statement, we were somewhat under the censure of the Upper House. The subject had scarcely been a month before the country before Resolutions were made in the other branch of the Legislature denouncing the Code as ambitious and entirely uncalled for. My noble Friend the Lord President of the Council (Earl Spencer) promised the other House of Parliament, and I promised this in my Statement, that during the coming year we would make full inquiry into the operations of the Code; and if we found that it was not for the advantage of education, and not calculated to bring out the best possible results for the expenditure and the devotion given to it, that we would come down to the House and frankly state what was the result of our inquiry, and I have now here fulfilled that pledge. I may say that we have had complaints as to the Code from, I think, everybody who takes an interest in education. The teachers complain that it gives too little freedom to teaching, that it gives unnecessary clerical labour, and that it does not distinguish between good and bad teaching and good and bad schools, that schools that display no skill get as much as those where the work is thoroughly well done. From that time to this we have been receiving suggestions from all quarters, and obtaining evidence to enable us to arrive at a wise solution. I cannot enter upon this subject without speaking of the great assistance we have received, and the ability and zeal shown by the officials in the permanent branch of my Department. Personally, I cannot but express my obligation for what they have done in this matter, and the way in which they have set themselves to accomplish this reform. I should have been unable to make such a statement, or to have laid it on the Table in the shape I now place it, had it not been for the intelligence and ability of the permanent staff with which I have been associated. It is due to them that I should acknowledge the assistance they have rendered in getting out the scheme which I have laid on the Table. In the first place, we had Memorials from school boards and from persons connected with education who made suggestions for the improvement of the Code. We found ourselves able to agree upon certain principles, and then papers were prepared by 20 or 30 of our principal Inspectors, and we elicited from them the freest possible criticism, and asked them to give suggestions as to the best system which their long experience enabled them to give. Having received those Reports, we were enabled to make a draft Report, and we agreed further that the matter should be thoroughly sifted and the detail worked out by a Committee. The House would like to know the process by which we arrived at that. Sir Francis Sandford, Mr. Sykes, and Mr. Cumin represented the three chiefs of the Education Department; Mr. Warburton, Mr. Sharpe, and Mr. Fitch, the three Inspectors representing the great Training Colleges— Mr. Warburton for his experience in smaller schools, and Mr. Sharpe for the larger schools. I presided over this Committee myself, and Mr. Hodgson acted as Secretary, and we had many a long and laborious day's work in arriving at the scheme which we have now submitted to the House. When we had accomplished that, we felt that we must put our work through a finer sieve and must call in additional critics, and we added to the Committee Mr. Matthew Arnold, Mr. Moncrieff, Mr. Oakeley, and Mr. Blakiston, and Lord Spencer himself presided over that Committee, and the result is that which I have laid on the Table. I must say, in laying it upon the Table of the House, that I do so with great hope and great confidence. But we do not ask, and we shall not ask the House to assent to it as it stands. We simply submit it as the proposals to form the basis of the future Education Code of the country. We ask that it shall receive, not only the fullest criticism, but we hope that it will receive fair consideration. It is not to be made a Party question. But we must all assist in the good work. It is not a Party question with us. We will take good care that we deal with all schools on an equality, treating them all alike, whether voluntary or board schools, and they will come under the same regulations and receive the same grant if they have the same capacity. What we wish to arrive at is sound educational principles, and if we arrive at sound educational principles we can deal with the money payment afterwards. We do not want to go into the question of whether we pay 3d. too much for this or 6d. too much for the other; but what we want to know is what will present the best results and the most thoroughly sound education. I can only say that I trust that during the Recess I shall receive suggestions from all parts of the House, and I can promise, on behalf of the Department, that they shall receive our candid and careful attention. Now I shall submit a few heads of the scheme. Under the first head we deal with the attendance. It is proposed to adopt the average attendance in each school as the basis of the grants which have hitherto been made on account of individual scholars, whether infants under seven years of age presented to Her Majesty's Inspectors for collective examination, or children above seven presented for exa- mination in reading, writing, and arithmetic. The next is that— Two hundred and fifty attendances will be no longer required as a condition of examination; but all scholars who have been on the register for six months will, unless there is a reasonable excuse for their absence, have to be presented to the Inspector. Now, with reference to that, I have to say that this is the fairest measure of the work of the school. The grant now depends too much upon chance circumstances and accident over which teachers and managers have no control. For instance, a wet day for inspection, or a snowy day, or the absence of some of the principal children, immediately affects the grant, and the school suffers for one year in consequence of these circumstances. Another reason is that it will keep the work of the school equal. The failure in any part will affect the whole school; and it will tend to make the teachers take an interest in the good and bad scholars alike, and will lead them to take as much interest in the proficient and non-proficient, and in the quick and the dull scholars. The change is in the interest of the children generally. There are constantly cases coming before me of loss to teachers from the causes I have indicated. There was an event which came before me the other day of a loss arising from the removal of a battery of artillery. These are hardships which are constantly arising; but there is something more serious. We shall remove the temptation to tremendous fraud. It was the most painful part of my duty to have to sit in judgment on teachers who had been tempted to make one or two strokes of the pen which had brought them under the charge of fraud, and the inevitable consequences following, that their certificates are suspended and their characters blasted, and their careers blighted or ruined. I had a case on Saturday last where it only required one single stroke of the pen to complete the number of attendances of one boy. He attended 249 times, and the schoolmaster made that one stroke. What was the difference in that school? That single stroke made £16 difference to that school, because it just brought that boy into the list of boys to be presented. It brought them within the 20 per cent, and it made just £16 difference. We have had cases where two strokes have made £10 and £20, and even £30 and £40 difference to the school; and when the master has done all he can, and the boys fail him at the last moment, I must say that the temptation is very strong to bring up the attendance of the school, and I think that that temptation ought to be removed. Abolishing those 250 attendances will remove the strain on the teacher's mind; and it will be the fairest way to obtain payment by results, and I am quite satisfied that it will give great elasticity of teaching and improve the whole system. Now we say, under the 3rd clause, that grants will be so assessed that the present average rate of aid will, as far as possible, be maintained. The fair school will receive nearly the same grant, the bad school will receive a little less, and the good school a little more; and thus we discriminate between the various schools. Then there will be grants common to all schools. As to music, we propose that the full grant will be paid if the singing is satisfactorily taught from, notes, or according to the Tonic Sol-fa system. Only one-half will be paid if the singing is taught by ear. Then there is a sewing schedule, which we felt we might make a little lighter for the younger scholars. We felt that it was too much for the younger scholars, and the fancy sewing was not exactly what we wanted. Clause 6 is also common to all schools; and this is called the Special Merit Clause. This is a clause which will do more, perhaps, to lift the tide of education than any other in the scheme. The Inspector shall have regard to (a) the organization and discipline; (b) the employment of intelligent methods of instruction; and (c) the general quality of the work in each school, especially in the standard examination; and shall have power to recommend an additional grant on the average attendance, varying in amount according as the school is, in these respects, fair, good, or excellent. There will be a special merit grant on these three heads. Now, I think the House will say—"You are placing great powers in the hands of the Inspectors." Well, I will show how that is proposed to be done when we complete the organization for inspection; and by it we hope to insure greater economy, and greater efficiency, and much greater uniformity than hitherto. I now come to infant schools; these also have an average attendance, and where the infants in a school amount to 40 a separate adult teacher will be required for their instruction. For more than 60 infants a certificated teacher will be required. We cannot have infants committed to the charge of monitors or young pupil teachers. We must insist upon better infant school teaching—the foundation of all teaching—and we propose also that part of the grants will be made to depend upon the infants being taught by special methods, something akin to the Kindergarten, giving appropriate and varied occupations; suitable instruction in the rudiments of reading, writing, and arithmetic; and a systematic course of simple lessons on objects—and we want that carried right through the school—and on the phenomena of nature and of common life. Then infants between six and seven may, at the discretion of the Inspector, be examined individually according to Standard I. of the Code of 1870; and if any scholars in an infant school are taught in Standard I., they will be examined and paid for as in schools for older children. Then we come to boys' and girls' schools. Payments on the passes of individual scholars will be abolished, and 250 attendances will be no longer required as a condition of examination. Then we stipulate that— All scholars on the register shall be present at the inspection, unless there is a reasonable excuse for absence; and all such children who have been six months and upwards on the registers are to be presented for examination. Then, as to the mode of assessing the grant— The grant will be calculated on the results of the examination of these scholars. It will be based upon the proportion of passes actually made to those that might have been made by the scholars examined. I cannot claim credit for this invention; it is one of the simplest, and it saves an immense amount of labour. Let me explain it. It states the proportion of passes actually made to those that might have been made. Now, supposing you had 100 children; the maximum they might make would be 300 passes. Supposing they make 270 passes, that is 90 per cent; and supposing they make 240 passes, that is 80 per cent, they will be paid for thus—10s. when they make 100 passes per cent; then 9s. and 8s. when they made 90 and 80 passes per cent. But the House will see that there will be no longer that temptation to push forward children who can make a certain percentage; it will be based upon the work of the school, and upon the special merits of the school; and I believe in that respect we may expect a vast improvement, and get better results out of the teaching. In Standards I. and II. we propose, unless either of them is a Standard for half-time labour, that instead of examining every child—and there are 3,000,000 or 4,000,000 children scheduled in the Education Department—instead of examining them individually, the Inspectors will examine such a number of scholars as will enable them to estimate the quality of the instruction in each of the three elementary subjects. The Inspector may take 10, 20, or 30 children, just as he pleases. When you get to Standard III., where the passes are important, and where the parents like to know how their children are getting on, then, for the present at least, all scholars presented in Standard III. and upwards will be examined. More than 1,250,000 of the children are examined in Standards I. and II., and the examination of those little children under seven years of age in the very simplest elements imposes upon the Inspectors an amount of labour perfectly unnecessary, and this amount of drudgery we propose to relieve the Inspectors of. Well, then, we propose to add a Seventh Standard. We had six Standards; but what was the result? In many a rural school, when a boy has passed the Sixth Standard and wants to stay a little longer, the teachers are anxious to get rid of him. I have complaints saying—"My boy has passed the Sixth Standard, and I want to keep him at school, and they say that they cannot keep him unless they double his fee, because he does not earn a grant." We believe now that we must have seven Standards. We say that if any scholar, over 10 years of age, is, after the 1st April, 1883, presented in the First or Second. Standard, the passes made by such scholar will not be reckoned in calculating the percentage of passes for the purpose of a grant. Then I come to a very difficult question—the question of class subjects. I have satisfied myself that specific subjects in the Fourth Standard lead almost entirely to cram. They are simply used for the purpose of getting a grant, and we have little physiologists and little geologists of nine or ten years of age who get up some technical words which they do not understand, and that has done very much to the neglect of thoroughness in other subjects. Now, there are some things that children should know, some common facts that children ought to be made acquainted with. I want the House to bear in mind we have to work and take the condition of the labour market into consideration, and the state of the Acts, and the fact that the majority of our passes are in the Fourth Standard, and the children who pass the Fourth Standard we want to learn something more. There are some things that they ought to learn, and they ought to have some standard work, and acquire a knowledge of certain specific subjects in addition. I think it is better to remove the specific subjects to the Fifth Standard. The school will be regarded as made up of two divisions—in the lower division, Standards I. to IV.; and in the upper, Standard V. and upwards. Two class subjects may be taken in each division. English will be taken as a class subject—that is to say, grammar and recitation. A boy ought to know something of his own language, and something of the poetry and literature of his own language, and we insist that it shall not be the commonplace stuff that is to be found in the school books; but we propose that they shall learn good English, and get them to learn 100 lines of Milton or 100 lines of Shakespeare; and instead of taking a fourth or fifth-rate obscure poet, we intend them to read Milton and Shakespeare in the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Standards. We say that geography, including physical geography—in fact, the two subjects must be taught together. Mr. Fearon, who represents the physical geography, has a proposition. He proposes that in the First Standard they shall know the meaning and use of the map. A plan of the school and the playground will be given, and he desires that they shall know the four cardinal points. Then they shall go on to the size and shape of the world; geographical terms will be explained and illustrated by reference to the map of England; and physical geography, with reference to rivers, and so on. "What they do learn they shall learn not merely from books. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for the University of Dublin said that he never meant that they should be taught merely from reading books, but that they should have illustrations. We propose that they shall have illustrations. Then we pass on to what we call elementary science. English—grammar and recitation; geography—including physical geography—and elementary science will alone be recognized as class subjects in the lower division, and if only one class subject is taken in the lower division, it shall be English; if two are taken, the second shall be geography or elementary science. The upper division may take as class subjects any of the three subjects to which the lower division is restricted, or history, or a specific subject, treated and examined in as a class subject. The grant for class subjects will be made, as now, on the average attendance, and an increased grant will be paid if 20 per cent of the scholars examined are presented in Standard IV. and upwards. We propose that one of the reading books in each Standard must be an historical reading book, adapted to the ages of the scholars in the Standard. Now, I do' not know why children who read something should not have historical reading books, so that a child may know something of the history of his own country. Then there are specific subjects. We say that no scholars shall be examined in specific subjects if the percentage of actual to possible passes in the elementary subjects of the previous inspection was less than 75—that is, unless 75 per cent of them pass in Standards; we say that they shall not take up specific subjects until they have done this. I now pass on to the night schools. They are thoroughly on the decrease. Their decline is something like from 70,000 or 80,000 to 40,000 in this year. The teaching of merely the three R's in the night school has ceased to be attractive. Children are taught them in the day school, and then the condition of boys who have been presented in a higher Standard in the day school has gone a long way to ruin the night schools, and I think our night schools may be said to be in a most miserably declining condition. Now, we propose to do this. We are anxious that a boy whose short school life in the Fourth Standard ended at 10 or 11 years of age may have some chance of carrying on his education during the evening. We do not propose to make his attendance compulsory; a boy who has worked eight or ten hours cannot be compelled, he must be attracted. We have laid down three simple clauses for the night schools. Grants will be no longer confined to reading, writing, and arithmetic, but will be made also for proficiency in class subjects. As something more than reading and writing will be taught hereafter in the night schools, grants will be paid in respect of those children only who, having passed the Standard fixed by the bye-laws of their district for total exemption, are under no obligation to attend school, and are not day scholars. That is to say, a boy who has passed his full time Standard, and leaves the day school before he can receive the grant, may attend a night school. There is another clause which I hope the House will agree to—it is that a teacher in a night school need not be a layman. I know that the Nonconformist ministers may help the teachers of the night schools, whose burden is heavy enough. Often in the rural districts the only intelligent person who can assist the schoolmaster might be the Nonconformist minister, and I ask that he shall be allowed to assist the schoolmaster. At present we allow none but laymen to teach in the day schools; and I see no reason why a Christian brother, or a local preacher, should not assist at a night school. I see no reason why a clergyman who wishes to be useful cannot be allowed to assist in a night school. But if there is any blame or any merit due to that suggestion it is due to me. I am prepared to take the full share of discredit, if any, for that suggestion. I know from my experience in my earlier youth that all the knowledge of natural history I obtained was at a night school taught by a clergyman, who, at the same time, taught a friend of mine, now one of the greatest naturalists living, and the Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society, Dr. Bates. At the last meeting of the British Association at Sheffield there were several clergymen who desired to teach botany to children; and those men found that they were excluded from the schools, and they had to take the children to their own houses to give them lessons. I think that the House will not misinterpret my desire to utilise all those forces. Special grants to pupil teachers will be continued. Not more than three pupil teachers will be allowed in any school or department, whatever number of certificated teachers may be employed. The number of pupil teachers to be employed as teachers are now in excess considerably, and there will be some 76,000 school teachers without hope of employment when they have finished their apprenticeship. We also abolish the stipendiary monitors. They have not been a success. Candidates for apprenticeship as pupil teachers will be required to pass Standards V. and VI. Then, as to the staff in the school, an assistant teacher will count as sufficient for 60 scholars instead of 80, as heretofore; and no teacher examined at or after Christmas, 1882, will be allowed to have pupil teachers who has not passed in papers of the second year. We wish to raise the status and qualification of the teacher. We are closing a side-door by which incompetent persons enter the profession, and I shall tell you how we intend to open another door. By Clause 38 we make a fair and right concession to the schoolmaster. The annual entries made by Inspectors on teachers' certificates will be discontinued after they have been raised to the first class. We often have complaints that a young Inspector will endorse the certificate of an old teacher in a way very disheartening to the teacher in his work. If a man has once attained his first class, he can always get from the Department a record of his services, and he will be entitled to claim from the managers of his school a certified copy of the Inspector's yearly Report when it is entered in the log book. We propose to open another avenue to the teaching profession. In my experience in the Education Department I have applications by the dozen—almost by the hundred—from University men who want some occupation. We are multiplying very largely the number of men who attend the University. All our grammar schools have scholarships. That bridges the gulf between elementary schools and the Universities. In the town of Birmingham the system is so complete that you have a perfect network of elementary schools. Then you have the higher schools for those who have to pass out in the 14th or 15th year; and, further, you have your middle-class scholarships founded by King Edward's foundation. The same thing takes place in Manchester, Liverpool, and Nottingham, and if we can only get the endowments of the country applicable to their proper objects, if we can only get the endowments dealt with with any degree of rapidity, we shall have a complete system of middle-class education which will meet the wants of, and gives a stimulus to, the elementary schools. This brings, moreover, more men to the Universities. A man going to the University in Scotland carried his University teaching into business; but in England a man who had been at the University thought he must be a professional man, or a servant of the Government, or have some employment that is not in the ordinary line of common employment. We propose to open the doors to those who come from the University, and to make them teachers. We say that graduates of any University in the United Kingdom, and women who have passed certain of the higher examinations held by the Universities, may be recognized as assistant teachers, and will be admissible to examination for certificates after serving as assistants for one year in a school under inspection if the Inspector reports favourably of their skill in teaching and reading, and, in the case of women, of needlework. We require them to come to work for a year, and offer them a fair field, and it will be a field through which they will pass to the schools. It will bring up the whole profession, and raise the tone of the teachers of the elementary schools by the qualifications which these teachers will possess. I am now about to conclude. Certificates will be no longer granted without examination; and no certificate will be cancelled, suspended, or reduced until the Department has informed the teacher of the charges against him, and has given him an opportunity of explanation. Now, I have two questions about which my noble Friend the Member for Liverpool (Viscount Sandon) has some difficulty, and as to which I know that whatever merit there is in them is due to my noble Friend; but I believe they were made to meet a state of things that is now passing away. The payment of honour certificates will be discontinued. The noble Lord thought the honour system stimulated the attendance of children, and that it was one of the means of indirect compulsion. He expected that it would be largely availed of, and it was thought there would be a payment of £50,000 a-year; instead of which, owing to the objection that it was always to be a reward in the future, and that it was prospective and not retrospective, the honour certificate has caused a great deal of heartburning and a great deal of difficulty, and I know of nothing that has caused so much trouble to the Department. A person feels that the child at the end of the year, if he does not receive his payment back, is in some little difficulty, and that it is a wrong done to the children. Now, there is no need of this stimulus any longer, and I think it can be better employed in bringing them into the night school than in spending £50,000 a-year, which goes mainly to the children of the lower middle-class. Then there is another question. The production of a Child's School Book will no longer be required as a condition of the payment of annual grants. Now, the school book was meant to keep a record of the age and attainments of [the child, so that it might be a record for all purposes, whether as a record for labour, or on passing from school to school. I was very sanguine myself, and I know I spoke very strongly on this, and I am bound to say that nearly all over the country it is a complete failure. In a town like Birmingham not 2 per cent of the school books have been used. Some of the children have three and four, and as many as 11 school books, and I find a statement here where a child has been found with three school books with a different age in each school book, that each of the ages was a wrong one, and the Factory Inspectors refused to accept the school book as the real proof of the child's age. Therefore The Child's School Book must go, and we no longer make the production of the school book necessary. I am almost ashamed to look at the clock. I have only one more topic to speak upon, and I have no doubt I will be asked what are we going to do with the system of inspection, for if we are going to give special money grants to schools, how are you going to deal with individual Inspectors who make grants on mere caprice? Well, now, our system of inspection is somewhat overgrown. The whole Department has grown up so rapidly, and inspection of every individual student has been considered so important, that we have a large number of Inspectors—120 or 130—and an equal number of Inspectors' assistants, and if we continue to examine them we must increase this staff every year. We have complaints from various parts of the country as to the laxity in some cases and the want of indulgence in others, and these complaints cause a great deal of trouble and anxiety. What we propose to do is to divide England and Wales into districts. We shall take from amongst our very best and most trusted Inspectors a certain number of men to be Inspectors of those districts, and we shall place them at the head of those districts. Under those Inspectors there will be other Inspectors who will be subordinate in the district, and with that Inspector they will have to communicate, and he will be held responsible for their work. We propose by that to diminish the higher grade of Inspectors, and to call into existence another class of Inspectors. We have no freedom. Some of our ablest and best Inspectors' assistants, who have taken University degrees, men of high character and ability, who have spent a dozen years in the service of the Department, cannot earn any considerable addition to their salary, and, after doing good service, perhaps only receive £175 per annum. We propose to get an Inspector between the Inspector and the Inspector's assistant, and we propose to have sub-Inspectors recruited from the ranks of the Inspectors' assistants and from the ranks of the schoolmasters. The salaries of those sub-Inspectors would have to be fixed by the Treasury; but they would only be called into existence as sort of supernumeraries, when others retire or drop off; but we propose that the Chief Inspectors of the Department—and there are 12 or 15 of them—shall once a year meet at Whitehall, and lay down a regular system of examination for their respective districts. They shall agree upon a plan and upon their tests as to good, fair, and excellent, and shall then enforce that uniformity upon the Inspectors below them. We hope by this means to achieve much more uniformity throughout the country. I do not intend that any Inspector shall be employed who has not had ample preparation and experience in the schools; but we do intend that there shall be some test exacted from Inspectors as to their capacity to inspect, and as to their ability to descend to child-life. I must apologize to the House; and although my Statement must be rather dry, and have no charm about it, yet I do feel that the Department with which I am connected is as much associated with the honour and the greatness of England as our Army and Navy.