HC Deb 03 April 1882 vol 268 cc598-641

, in rising to call attention to the following Amend- ment of which he had given Notice, but which the Forms of the House prevented him from moving, namely— That it is desirable to allow School Boards and Committees to present Children for Examination in any of the recognized Class subjects, said, he trusted he need hardly disclaim any intention of attacking the New Code as a whole. Far from it, he thanked the right hon. Gentleman for the great care and attention he had given to the subject. There were, however, some points in the Code which he feared would work injuriously. For instance, his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council was taking a retrograde step in excluding children of the Fourth Standard from specific subjects. On some future occasion he should, perhaps, ask the House to allow him to call their attention to this part of the subject, unless, indeed, his right hon. Friend could be induced to reconsider the matter. He would only say now that the clause as it stood would cut off three-fifths of the science instruction at present given in Liverpool. For the present, however, he wished to ask the House to let him direct their attention for a few minutes to the regulations affecting what were called class subjects. The subjects taught in elementary schools were divided by the Code into three heads—obligatory subjects, class subjects, and specific subjects. The obligatory subjects were reading, writing, and arithmetic; the class subjects were English, geography, elementary science, and history, and for girls, sewing. Now, the points of which he complained were that two of these only could be taken, and that one must always be English. Most schools would, he believed, select geography or history for the second, and the consequence was that elementary science, though nominally included, would have but little chance. A good elementary education should surely include the rudiments of all four; and though he would not press schoolmasters to take them all up, at any rate at present, still he saw no reason why they should limit the number to two and exclude the others. Now, the "English" of the Code was mainly grammar. It included, no doubt, the learning by heart of a certain number of lines of poetry; still, the main portion of the time would be devoted to grammar. Of course, it sounded very plausible to say that everyone should learn his mother tongue; but the question was how? He believed the child would learn English better by reading Shakespeare and Milton and the Bible than if he knew all Lindley Murray by heart. How many gentlemen in that House ever learnt English grammar? Not even, he believed, a "bare" majority. Had our greatest orators done so? The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster had told them that he had never learned any English grammar, and he doubted whether the Prime Minister ever had. Still, he had no desire that grammar should be excluded. All he asked was that it should not be given an unfair advantage. Another reason against making grammar obligatory was that they must, to a certain extent, consult the idiosyncrasies of schoolmasters. He did not deny that some men could make grammar interesting; but he believed that they were few in number. To force men who could not make it interesting to teach it was not only to waste time, but worse, for anything that made children hate their lessons did them irreparable injury. Now, he hoped no hon. Members would be frightened by the term "science" Some even of Her Majesty's Inspectors seemed entirely to misunderstand what was desired. For instance, Mr. Holmes, in a Report published in the annual Blue Book, said— With all due deference to Sir John Lubbock's opinion, I hope that the children in our elementary schools will long continue to learn about Liverpool and Glasgow, the Rhine and the Danube, the manufactures of England, and the commerce of Australia, rather than about cortical parenchymas and chlorophyll granules, the mesenteric lymphatics and the thoracic duct. Mr. Ley, again, severely remarked on— The notion of some 3,835,272 little Sandfords and Mertons walking about the highways and byways of Great Britain listening to sermons on stones and spiders, or discussing petals and sepals with duly qualified Mr. Barlows. But he did not wish to introduce technical phraseology, though he might add that there were as long words in grammar as in any other subject. The elementary science of which he spoke was that defined in the 1st Schedule. Hon. Members would see that it meant a progressive course of simple lessons on common objects, such as familiar animals, plants, and substances in ordinary life. It might be said that "elementary science" was a very grand name for simple lessons in common and familiar objects. This he admitted; but be must, of course, use the language of the Code, and he thought critics would find it difficult to substitute any better name for "elementary science" Even Mr. Matthew Arnold was driven to fall back on German and call it naturkunde, which we might, perhaps, come to adopt as we had clôure. At any rate, be hoped it would be distinctly understood that he was not asking for anything difficult or advanced; but merely that teachers should not be precluded from giving children interesting and instructive lessons on familiar natural objects in order to torment them with abstruse grammatical technicalities. His right hon. Friend would admit that Mr. Fearon was a great authority on such questions. Now, how did Mr. Fearon say that grammar must be taught? He said— The teacher should, immediately after imparting the first elementary notions and general definitions, proceed to the subject and predicate, beginning with the noun and pronoun as the subject, and with intransitive verbs as verbs of complete predication. He should then pass on to the direct objective relations of nouns and pronouns with verbs of incomplete predication. This was surely as difficult as any branch of science. Few men ever understood children better than the late Dean Dawes, and he supposed his school at Sombourne was one of the very best England had ever seen. What was the secret of his success? The school was specially reported on for the Education Department by Mr. Moseley, who said— That feature in the King's Sombourne School which constitutes probably its greatest excellence, and to which Mr. Dawes attributes chiefly its influence with the agricultural population around him, is the union of instruction in a few simple principles of natural science applicable to things familiar to the children's daily observation with everything else usually taught in a national school. The Committee of that House, which sat in 1868, under the able presidency of his hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. B. Samuelson), recommended that the rudiments of natural science should be taught in all our national schools, and recorded their opinion that "Nothing less will suffice if we are to maintain our position in the van of industrial nations" Sir Francis Sandford, in giving evidence before the Scotch Commissioners on Endowed Institutions, spoke strongly in favour of the clause in the old Code on these subjects. He said— It is a distinct encouragement for him to take up subjects for instruction of great and lively interest in the school itself, and of practical utility in after life to the great majority of the children when they leave school. Dr. Percival, also, the late Head Master of Clifton College, speaking of our public schools, said— I consider that the introduction of science has not in any way interfered with the successful pursuit of the old studies; while many of our boys who have gained distinction in classics or mathematics have thus acquired a sound elementary knowledge of two or three branches of science, and many others have had all their powers stimulated by thus finding out that slowness in learning languages does not necessarily mean general stupidity. Remarking on this, Mr. Hance, the able Secretary of the Liverpool Board, truly said— If, however, such are the results of the introduction of science instruction into schools whose curriculum already included not only the study of the masterpieces of Greece and Rome, as well as the varied attractions of mathematics, modern languages, English literature, &c, what must be its stimulating effect upon children whose mental food has hitherto been confined to the dull routine of reading, writing, and arithmetic, varied only by a modicum of grammar, history, or geography? In this he believed that Mr. Hance expressed the general opinion of elementary teachers. At the recent Conference of the National Union of Elementary Teachers it was resolved— That this Conference is of opinion, with regard to Article 19 of the Code of 1876, that each subject taught to the satisfaction of the Inspector should be paid for at the rate of 2s. per subject up to a limit of three subjects. The advantage of introducing geography and elementary science was strikingly shown by the experience of Liverpool. For several years the percentage of passes was 74.5 per cent, varying only between 74.3 and 74.7; but in 1877 special subjects were added, and in four years the percentage of passes rose to no less than 89 per cent. Again, the British Association, through its Special Committee, had carefully con- sidered the subject. They represented the general feeling of men of science in the country; and they felt that under the proposed Code the teaching of elementary science, in which he knew the Vice President of the Council took much interest, would be placed at a great disadvantage. They therefore adopted, and a few days ago forwarded to him, the following Resolution:— This Committee has heard with satisfaction that Sir John Lubbock has given Notice to bring the question of the teaching of natural knowledge again before Parliament, and offers him its support in asking that the three class subjects of Schedule II. of the New Code—namely, English, geography, and elementary science—should be placed on the same footing. If he were not afraid of wearying the House it would be easy to quote many other authorities. They did not ask the House to make science obligatory, but only to give it a fair chance. The next ground on which he based his Amendment was on the undesirability of interfering more than was absolutely necessary with local self-government. His right hon. Friend the Prime Minister had often pointed out the advantages of local self-government with force and eloquence. He intended to propose a wide and comprehensive Bill for County Government, yet in this Code the Government actually dictated to School Boards exactly what subjects they should teach, and forced them to take up grammar instead of elementary science whether they wished it or not. The School Board of London, and, he believed, of Liverpool also, had passed resolutions condemning this provision of the Code. Surely it was a great anomaly that when they had a School Board representing 4,000,000 of people they could not trust them on such a point as that. There was one other body of persons in whose name he implored his right hon. Friend not to harden his heart against the appeal. He meant those mainly concerned—the school children themselves. On a previous occasion he mentioned to the House the result of votes he had taken in several schools between the different subjects, and that elementary science was by far the most popular. Of course, he had never used this as an argument for excluding other subjects; but it seemed to him a very strong one against excluding science. He should never forget a lesson he heard in one of the Liverpool schools. He wished his right hon. Friend could have heard that lesson, and seen the eager attention of the children, their vivid interest, and bright faces; it would have pleaded for his Amendment with irresistible eloquence. He would venture to give the House another of his own experiences. He persuaded the master of the school in his village to take up elementary astronomy. The schoolmaster was very reluctant to make the experiment. He had no taste for science, and knew little about it. Still, he consented. A year later came out the last Code, which made grammar and history practically obligatory. The schoolmaster then called on him in some distress, and asked if it was really necessary to give up the astronomy, as he was not prepared to take up three subjects. He explained to him that it was, but said he thought he would have been glad of the change, "Oh, Sir," he said, "you know I did not wish to take up astronomy; but as soon as I began I found the children were so much interested; it brightened them up so much that they learnt their other lessons all the better, and I should, therefore, be very sorry to give it up." That, he believed, was the general experience of those schools in which elementary science had been taught. His hon. Friend the Secretary to the Admiralty, in his charming Life of Macaulay, said that that great man, who had everything which ability, wealth, and rank could give him, derived his greatest happiness from books. That source of enjoyment would be open to the poorest of those children if they taught them how to use it; but the Code forced on all schools one subject, and that the driest and most technical, the most distasteful of all to the minds of children. They were anxious, on the contrary, to make the schools as interesting to the children as possible. People often talked of teaching children to read as if it consisted in the mere mechanical act of deciphering the letters and transforming the written characters into audible sound and mental images. But teaching a child how to read and teaching it to read were two totally different things. They had not taught them to read if they have not taught them to love reading. In reading one of the last numbers of The Journal of Education he was much struck by an experience of a schoolmistress. She had some difficulty with her school, till one day she thought of giving a lesson on animals. The effect seemed to have been magical; the children were delighted. She had no longer any reason to complain of absence or inattention, and they strove to behave well at other lessons for fear of being excluded from this one. Thus this lesson actually became are ward. No doubt in education they must have must that was tedious, much that taxed the memory. That made it so much the more necessary to introduce some subject of a different character. They did not ask for the introduction of any subjects of a difficult or abstruse character. They did not ask that any subject should be made compulsory. All they begged for was that those elementary lessons on familiar objects should be placed on the same footing as grammar—that the book of Nature should not be shut out from the schools of England.


said, that no reasonable person could doubt the advisability of taking some steps in the direction of the Amendment of his bon. Friend the Member for the University of London. He thought the managers ought to have the option of two or three different subjects. There would be difficulties raised, no doubt, to that course, and the same sort of answer would be given as had been given to the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Collings); and they would be told that the Code was elaborate, but could not, in present circumstances, be made much less elaborate. The question as between the subjects under discussion, as it appeared to him, resolved itself into a discussion as to the relatively educational character of those subjects. And here he would assert that none of the other subjects presented to his mind a better educational implement than did some of the simpler forms of natural science. It was true that there was some difficulty in teaching those branches of science well, and they might easily be taught in a dry and uninteresting manner, so as to have little value. He knew that in teaching them they were often not made educational; but, on the other hand, neither were the other subjects. The subject of history, for instance, was by no means, even in their aspect as subjects for examination at the Universities, of high educational value. For history, as taught ordinarily, was little more than an exercise for the memory. English and literature, he admitted, had a very high educational value, while geography, to be taught at all usefully, trenched on more than one branch of science. Natural science, on the other hand, dealt with what the child was in contact with on every side, exercising his observant faculties and awaking his interest, while forming his mind by the more or less exact study of what was above him and around him. English and literature were not likely to be neglected by managers or teachers who had the whole career of the child in which to teach them; while, of the remaining subjects, he maintained that there was no one which could be made so educational as that of natural science. But the discretion ought to lie with the managers, who would teach what the staff were best qualified to teach, and what was most suitable to the wants of the children and the requirements of the particular district. He therefore supported the proposal of his hon. Friend, and hoped the right hon. Gentleman would see his way to make some concession. But, before sitting down, he desired to express a hope that as time went on and Codes got developed, the right hon. Gentleman or his successors might get a firmer hold, at least on the children in urban and densely peopled districts, up to and beyond their 13th year; so that their education might be of some real value in the class of subjects to which the attention of the House had been drawn in the Amendment of his hon. Friend. In this way primary education might become the stepping stone to, without superseding, that secondary education which it might be hoped the Department would take in hand at no remote future.


said, that the position of natural science had of late years materially changed in our elementary schools. Men were made shy of the subject by the grand terms applied in the New Code to its different branches. The question, in his view, was—What were really the subjects of instruction in elementary science to which children in the first four Standards were going to be subjected? After all, the first four Standards were the really important matter. Subjects 1, 2, and 3 were common objects, such as familiar animals; then came more advanced objects, such as animals and plants, with particular reference to agriculture, art, and manufacture, together with the thermometer. Now, hose were very much, after all, what were considered formerly among the teaching of "common things" Those were subjects of teaching which gave very interesting views; and he thought, unless the Vice President of the Council suggested some very grave difficulties in this matter, that the time had come when it would be well to give a freedom to schools to allow the elementary science being taken up at the option of the manager. He thought the whole tendency of action in regard to schools of late years had been to feel their way towards giving the greater option to managers with regard to the subjects to be taught in the schools. It had been so when he was Vice President, and the same policy had been followed by his noble Friend the Member for Middlesex (Lord George Hamilton). As time went on, no doubt the tendency would be to give greater freedom in this respect; and he, for one, rejoiced in the prospect. The greater variety of choice the managers had, the better it would be for the children. His hon. Friend the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock) had ably advocated, on that and other occasions, the claims of natural science. He quite agreed with the hon. Baronet that the great thing was to make children, as far as possible, observe and think. Beading, writing, and arithmetic were the three great primary objects. With reference to the Code generally, he would not like to go into details at that late hour; but he very much regretted that they apparently would have no opportunity of discussing this most important document. He did not know whether the Vice President could hold out to them any hopes of further discussing it; but he (Viscount Sandon), for one, must put in a distinct protest against that important Paper becoming the law of all schools without further sifting. It was probable it would be some months yet before those interested in it would have really understood or completely mastered it. He rejoiced at the prospect of simplification, for, from experience of four years in the Education Department, he was not quite so hopeful as the right hon. Gentleman of making it a simple Code. Though he recognized the earnest de- sire there was to make it simple, the more he saw the more he felt it was a duty to make it a simple document. However, it had his best wishes, as it had those of all who were interested in the schools. It seemed to him the whole action of the Code in the future turned very much on the conduct of the Inspectors in wielding the great powers which were about to be placed in their hands. It was to be regretted, however, that at the time when the Inspectors were made very important personages, they should be somewhat checked in the freedom of their criticisms on the action of the Department. He gathered from the Circular that in future they were not to criticize the Code which they administered. Whoever had been at the head of the Department had often received suggestions that the criticisms of the Inspectors, in their Annual Reports, should be checked; but he had always resisted any interference with the freedom of the Inspectors in this respect, because he thought it was of the greatest advantage to the country that there should be free discussion in the Blue Books as to our educational system. There was one important change made with respect to the grants for the three elementary subjects; of course, it was one of the cardinal changes of the Code. Just before coming to the House he received an important letter from the clerk of the school board at Liverpool, which had most admirably carried out the whole of the educational system for the last 10 years. With the permission of the House he would read from that letter a passage which raised a grave doubt as to one important matter in the Code. The writer said— You will observe that by Article 109 (e) the amount of this grant per head on the average attendance is to be regulated by the percentage of passes obtained to those which might have been obtained at an examination in which all children whose names had been on the rolls of the school for the last 22 weeks of the school year, and are so still on the day of inspection, must be presented. This makes it to be the direct interest of managers and teachers that no child should fulfil these conditions who is not likely to be successful in the examination, and, therefore, inevitably tends to the exclusion of backward children. To illustrate the working of the proposed grants for elementary subjects, I am desired to take the cases of two schools each with an average attendance of 100, one of which (a) having been gradually purged of all backward scholars as the day of examination approached, presents and passes 90 children; while the other (b), which has taken no such precautions, presents 100, of whom five fail. The grant to the two schools would be as follows—viz. (a) 100 times 8s. 4d., or £41 13s. 4d., and (b) 100 times 7s. 11d., or £39 l1s. 8d.—the difference between7s. l1d. and 8s. 4d. arising from the fact that the first school has passed 100 per cent of the number presented, and the other only 95 per cent, although the latter has actually passed five children more than the former, in addition to having given conscientious instruction to the five children who failed, but whom the first school would have excluded. This letter raised a very important point, which he felt sure would receive careful consideration from the right hon. Gentleman. There was another point of change in the Code that he personally regretted, although he believed his right hon. Friend was justified in making it—he meant the dropping of the honour certificates. It was a very great pity that the scheme was not re-modelled, instead of being dropped altogether. He might have been faulty in his provisions respecting it; but still he thought the principle itself was a sound one—namely, that when the children of the whole working class were being driven into the schools, certain exhibitions should be provided to act as an encouragement to them. Thus, they would not be merely driven to school, but encouraged to remain there. He believed the honour certificate might be rendered very valuable if it were worth something like a small scholarship; and he hoped that, as time went on, the subject might be re-handled. Another change which he regarded with some suspicion was that relating to the grants to small rural schools. In the Act of 1876 the late Government provided that grants should be made to such schools, and there was a proposal in the New Code to strike off these grants. He must strongly plead for these small schools in the interest of the rural population, as it was most important that the children should not be forced to go to larger schools at a distance, at a greater cost of strength and anxiety. He desired now to make a few remarks on one of the most important clauses of this New Code—namely, that relating to the merit grant. The right hon. Gentleman had omitted the definition of discipline that had been in the Code for seven or eight years. The following was the definition which he put into the Code seven or eight years ago:— To meet the requirements respecting discipline, the managers and teachers will be expected to satisfy the Inspector that all reasonable care is taken in the ordinary management of the school to bring up the children in habits of punctuality, of good manners and language, of cleanliness and neatness, and also to impress upon the children the importance of cheerful obedience to duty, of consideration and respect for others, and of honour and truthfulness in word and act. He and his Colleagues thought that it was very important that the State should speak out boldly on this subject, after having determined to take no part in religious teaching. School boards and managers of schools—Church of England, Nonconformist, and Roman Catholic—had written letters thanking the then Government, and himself as representing it, for having thus strengthened the hands of managers and teachers in maintaining a high moral tone in the schools. The most valued Inspectors hailed with the greatest cordiality the step which was taken at that time. One of them, who represented the Department in Yorkshire for some time, said— It is quite certain that unless discipline is well maintained the best instruction is worthless. I am very glad, therefore, that under the New Code a grant is to be made to schools where the discipline is satisfactory, and that certain requirements must be fulfilled for the grant to be earned. Unless I am much mistaken, this explicit statement of the teachers' duties will mark an important epoch in our educational history. Definite rules are now for the first time given, and the objects to be aimed at are distinctly prescribed. A wider and higher meaning is now attached to the word 'discipline,' which signifies not merely the maintenance of order, but moral training. The best opportunity of testing discipline is afforded by visits paid without notice, when the school is seen in its ordinary working dress. Another Inspector, in the Sheffield district, observed— The special grant for discipline is evidently tending to make teachers more attentive to the bearing and conduct of their scholars. It is, I find, a matter of general satisfaction that the importance of moral discipline, as well as mere outward order, is now recognized by the Department. This declaration on your Lordship's part that the above are essential elements in the education which the nation desires to secure for its citizens is, I feel convinced, having a good effect; it is, as I have found by personal experience, not only a means of strengthening the hands of your Inspectors when they feel obliged to call attention to defects in the moral discipline of any school, but it is also an encouragement to those who cling to the belief that the true ideal of national education includes the training of the mind and heart, and the formation of the moral character. Again, an Inspector from Wales wrote— But, after all, to give true education, hand-in-hand with this mere instruction must go the discipline of mind and body; and with hearty goodwill did I greet those words on discipline first introduced some two years ago into the Code. It might interest the House to know how they came to insert this definition of discipline. What first brought it to his mind personally was the reading of a most remarkable definition laid down by the Queen as to the highest qualities of a British sailor on the occasion of Her Majesty giving a gold medal to a sailor on board one of the training ships. In much the same way their object was to lay down in the Code the model of the character which the teachers should attempt to encourage. The right hon. Gentleman opposite was, he knew, as eager as possible to promote the moral character of the schools; and, that being so, there could be no reason for taking away the standard that they wished the scholars to copy. The present time afforded a most admirable opportunity for efforts in this direction, as there would soon be 5,000,000 of children in the schools and an army of 50,000 trained teachers. There were many other matters connected with the Code to which he would not now call attention; but he wished, before he sat down, to make an appeal to his right hon. Friend. The prosperity of schools hereafter, from a monetary point of view, would depend on the attendance of children. For the sake of the thousands of children who attended no school, and for the sake of the hundreds who only attended irregularly, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would lose no opportunity of impressing on the School Attendance Committees of school boards the absolute necessity of enforcing the regular attendance of children. He (Viscount Sandon) put a strong clause into the Act enabling the Vice President of the Council of Education to supersede School Attendance Committees for neglect, and appoint two or three gentlemen at a suitable remuneration for a period of two years to fulfil their duties. If the right hon. Gentleman would only appoint one or two of these Committees, there would be a general alertness aroused on the part of School Attendance Committees throughout the country. The country was greatly indebted to the right hon. Gentleman for his labours in reference to the children under his charge; and, having done so much, he trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would not forget that their moral welfare was quite as much cherished by the people of England and the parents of England as their intellectual qualities.


, who had the following Amendment on the Paper:— That the existing system of training colleges being mainly under denominational management, and the admission of students being entirely in the hands of the college authorities, is unsatisfactory and inadequate at the present day as affording no protection to the rights of conscience of the students, and as tending to exclude those students who come from Board Schools who are desirous and well qualified to pursue the career of elementary teachers; and that the School Boards of this country, which now educate a continually increasing proportion of all the children attending public elementary schools in England and Wales, are entitled for their teachers to an un-sectarian system of training, with the protection of a conscience clause, said, he agreed with the noble Lord opposite as to the importance of regular school attendance; but thought that this was a matter upon which his speech should have been addressed to the Home Secretary rather than to the Vice President of the Council. The experience of the London School Board was that the magistrates formed the most serious obstruction in the way of carrying out the work of elementary education; and, moreover, after parents had been brought before the magistrates, and after the magistrates had imposed a fine upon them, the Summary Jurisdiction Act, by substituting distress for imprisonment, had imposed an almost insuperable obstacle to the work of school boards. The London School Board had been obliged to leave the coercive bye-laws almost in suspense, because they shrank from applying so cruel a remedy against the poor. The imposition of a term of imprisonment in 99 cases out of 100 produced the payment of the fine; whereas, to enforce distress, might cost from £1 10s. to £2, and often caused great misery to innocent wives and children. In listening to the remarks of both the hon. Baronet and the noble Lord, be felt the difficulty of discussing the details of the Code in the House of Commons. Many of them were for the consideration of experts, and the question raised by the hon. Baronet was pre-eminently one of that category. The House was fitted well enough to deal with great principles, but not to settle minute details, and the Privy Council ought to have a wide discretion allowed to it with regard to minor matters. As to the subject of his Resolution, the Vice President of the Council stated in the debate last year that he was strongly of opinion that no student ought to be excluded from College on account of his religious opinions, and that he would look into it and take steps to remedy any grievance. Since that time the matter had been taken up by a great many school boards, including those of London, Bradford, and Ipswich; and the Department, in reply to the representations from Bradford, had stated that it was contemplated shortly to establish three new Training Colleges, two of which would be undenominational. But any such remedy as that would be quite inadequate to the grievance complained of. The grievance was that the entrance to the profession of teachers was almost entirely in the hands of Colleges which were irresponsible in their management, and mainly sectarian in their teaching. If the Training Colleges were strictly voluntary institutions, Parliament would have nothing to say to their management; but they were not in any respect voluntary or private. It was true that a great part of their original cost was defrayed by private subscriptions; but about three-tenths of it was supplied by the State. The question, however, was not the original cost, but the annual maintenance; and of the whole yearly expenditure of those Colleges only 15 per cent was defrayed by private subscriptions, while 85 per cent was defrayed by the State and by the fees of the students. If the Training Colleges defrayed their own expenses without coming to Parliament for a Vote, they might conduct their business on the narrowest basis they pleased. But when the managers came to Parliament for an annual grant to subsidize their labours, the House of Commons was morally as well as legally justified in looking into the system of management, and, if it thought fit, in imposing new conditions upon which the annual grant should be obtained. He did not think that he would have any difficulty in persuading hon. Members on that side of the House that the undenominational system of Training Colleges was the best. In 1839, when Lord Melbourne first constituted the Educational Committee of Privy Council, the first proposition was that the State should establish undenominational Training Colleges; but the proposal was defeated by the obstinate resistance of the Bishops and the Tory Party. He hoped the Liberals of the House of Commons in 1882 were not less in favour of undenominational and unsectarian teaching than their Predecessors more than 40 years ago. When the opposition succeeded, the State deliberately handed over to the various sects the task of doing the work of the nation. But all knew that when they undertook to encourage the sects, all the money and the patronage fell, in point of fact, into the hands of the most powerful sect which enjoyed the privilege of establishment. When there was a concordat between the Government and the Bishops, when the Government Inspectors were bound to be clergymen, when their nomination was to be approved by the two Archbishops, who could also, by withdrawing their approval, procure their dismissal, it was no wonder that from 1840 to 1870 they should have side by side a system of denominationalism in the day schools and in the Training Colleges. But in 1870 was passed an Act which, in spite of its shortcomings, was one of the most progressive this country had ever seen, and which first recognized the duty of providing national education. A truly national system was then established, which had increased with such rapid strides that nearly 30 per cent of all the children in this country were now educated in Board schools; and yet the Church Training Colleges had 580 more places than were necessary for supplying the Church schools; the Wesleyan and Roman Catholic Colleges had more than their share; while the Board schools and British schools, forming the undenominational part of our national system, which provided for more than 38 per cent of the children, had only 15 per cent of the Training College accommodation of the country. If undenominational school children had an adequate proportion of Training College accommodation supplied to them, there would be 780 more institutions for that purpose than there were now. He thought that great injustice was done by compelling undenominational students to enter the Training Colleges, because they were called upon to violate their consciences by taking part in the religious instruction of the College. It was most undesirable that students should be placed in such a position as to be tempted to barter away their consciences for the material advantages which those Training Colleges offered. He wished to ask hon. Members who were connected with Yorkshire if they had ever considered the wretched state of things existing with regard to Training Colleges there? That county, with all its activity, and what some hon. Members opposite might perhaps call its aggressive Nonconformity, had only two small Church of England Training Colleges—one for masters at York, and one for mistresses at Ripon. There was no choice there whatever. At Ripon the candidates for admission were asked if they had been baptized and confirmed, and the Communion was practically re-imposed as a test, although he should have thought Churchmen would have considered that a desecration of the Sacrament. There was also an entrance examination in the Prayer Book. Now, if the educational results had been good, some might make light of the religious difficulty; but, as the Reports showed, the results were deplorably bad, for at the 1880 Examination York College came out at the bottom of the list. Whereas, in the average of Training Colleges in England, 40 per cent of males passed in the 1st division, at York only 3 per cent passed; and instead of the average of 12 per cent in the 3rd division, it was there the very excessive number of 36 per cent in the lowest rank. Yet, young Baptists from Bradford and Halifax must get baptized in dozens, like the conquered Saxons, and get up a Catechism they did not believe in in order, if they went to a Church College, to have their intellectual ability spoiled and come out in the 3rd division. Turning to another important centre of the country's activity and industry—Lancashire and Cheshire—and omitting reference to the Catholic College at Liverpool, he found that there were only two Church of England Colleges available—one at Chester for males, and another at Warrington for females. At the latter there were the same condi- tions of admission as at Ripon; but neither Warrington nor Chester was as bad as Ripon or York, although both fell below the average. Surely much injustice was done to the activity of this great district; and no one could doubt that the energy which had there done so much for other purposes would produce satisfactory results if applied to the establishment of Training Colleges. Insufficiency of means caused this inefficiency; but be refused to recognize any vested interest in the ignorance of the people of this country. He thought the school boards ought to establish Colleges of their own. The interests of the country ought not to be sacrificed to the requirements of denominations. But he should be met with the usual charge of reckless expenditure. Let him take London as an example. The London School Board educated 270,000 children. There were 3,700 teachers, and would soon be 4,000. More than 300 fresh teachers were required every year. Therefore, they ought to have Colleges accommodating 600 pupils, as the course lasted two years; so that they might be enabled to supply annually 100 fresh masters and 200 fresh mistresses. In the existing Colleges the cost to the subscribers was £17 a-year for each male pupil and £12 for each female. He thought those sums were too small, and would allow £30 for the males and £20 for the females. The total annual cost would even then only be £7,000; and, allowing £3,000 as a sinking fund for the re-payment of capital, £10,000, or a sum less than a rate of one-tenth of 1d. in the pound. The Denominational Colleges should no longer be allowed to enjoy the monopoly they had hitherto enjoyed. If something was not done very shortly in that matter, he believed the claim would be raised that they should put an end altogether to that system of utterly irresponsible and private management which neither satisfied the rights of conscience nor gave security for efficient instruction.


said, he wished, before coming to the terms of the Motion to which he desired to call the attention of the House, to refer briefly to some of the speeches which had been made that night. And, first, as to the proposal of the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock), he confessed that he cordially sympathized with it. When he was himself Vice President of the Council, the hon. Baronet brought forward the proposal that natural science should be one of the class subjects in elementary schools; and, although objections were then urged against it by more experienced authorities on education, he had thought the balance of argument was in favour of the proposal. Since then the Vice President of the Council had made alterations in regard to those class subjects, and imposed some limitations to which the hon. Baronet objected; but unless there were very strong administrative reasons to the contrary, he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would give a favourable consideration to the suggestion of the hon. Baronet, and allow teachers and managers fuller option as to the subjects they might teach as class subjects. He had listened to the vehement denunciations of the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Lyulph Stanley) against the system of Denominational Colleges. That hon. Member had evidently a strong dislike of anything like denominationalism in connection either with schools or Colleges except in the case of the Roman Catholics. He was curious to know why the hon. Member made that exception, and he supposed it was because a great number of Roman Catholics who took an interest in the Training Colleges resided in Oldham. But, be that as it might, those Colleges had long been established, and they were recognized upon a certain understanding. If it could be shown that they had led to the violation of conscience, or to the imposition of unfair conditions upon candidates for admission, then it would be the duty of the Vice President of the Council to interfere. But he believed that, as a rule, the complaints in that matter came from candidates who had failed in the examinations, and who were, perhaps, naturally inclined to attribute their want of success to some unfairness. If it were true that the present Colleges were not sufficient to meet the growing demand for teachers, the remedy was clear; let them add to the number of Training Colleges. He certainly did not think the country would be of opinion that the Government ought to accede to the proposal of the hon. Member for Oldham, which practically meant the destruction of Colleges which had unquestionably done much to promote elementary education in this country. Adverting to the important Minute of Council, known as the New Education Code, he agreed with the hon. Member for Oldham that all those Codes must necessarily be very technical, and that it was almost impossible to discuss their detail with advantage in that House. There were, however, one or two points among the minuter details of the Code to which he wished to ask the attention of the Vice President of the Council. One of the alterations made in it was, that the number of hours during which pupil teachers might give instruction in the schools was reduced from 30 to 25. No doubt the motive of that change was a humane one—namely, to prevent pupil teachers from being overworked; but it must be remembered that they formed part of the teaching staff in every school, and especially in the rural schools, and that, if that abridgement of the hours was insisted upon, it would disorganize the whole arrangements of the school. He hoped, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman would not be unwilling to reconsider that point. The Resolution which he had purposed putting on the Notice Paper last Friday night if the House had not been counted out was to the effect that the House, while approving of many of the changes made in the Code, was of opinion that the introduction of the new Standard VII., under which children of the middle classes could, up to any age, obtain secondary education in primary schools receiving public money, was contrary to the understanding sanctioned in the Acts relating to elementary education. He had taken substantially the same position in a speech he had made two years ago which had been misunderstood. He admitted it was essential that if we were to maintain our commercial supremacy every facility should be afforded for certain of the children of the artizan class getting education in excess of that described as primary; but we were now going further than that. Of course, all children must start from the same point, and receive primary instruction; but the difference between primary and secondary instruction was considered to be determined by the age at which instruction was expected to cease. Elementary education was supposed to end at 14, and secondary education was supposed to be continued up to 16 or later; and there had been a good deal of legislation on the basis of the difference thus defined. Hitherto the Elementary Code had prescribed six Standards; but now a seventh was added, and whereas hitherto a scholar must be presented in a Standard higher than that in which he had already passed, he might pass more than once in the Seventh Standard. That would give masters and mistresses great inducements to keep children at school as long as possible. He would not in the least object to that if they were bonâ fide the children of the working classes; but it was clear that this would be the setting up of a system of secondary education, and that middle-class children would chiefly benefit by it. When he was Vice President of the Council he received communications on the subject from Bradford, Sheffield, and Barrow-in-Furness. They expressed a demand for higher elementary education, which he thought might be safely acceded to on certain conditions, and he sanctioned the establishment of a certain number of higher-grade schools at a fee of 9d. on certain conditions, which were embodied in the Code of 1880. The two safeguards were that the instruction was not to be continued above the age of 15, and that not more than 10 per cent of the scholars were to pay 9d. One school board had proposed to charge 1s. or more, and in order to bring the school within the statutory limits of 9d. per head to associate with the higher-grade school an infant school with a fee of 1d. In the New Code there was no definition of elementary education, so that any subject could be taught; there was no limitation as to the amount of money which might be spent; and there was no definition of the classes who might send their children to the schools. Even a Member of Parliament might send his children to them. He did not object to that so long as it was elementary and not secondary instruction that was given. With payments by results, the system encouraged teachers to prefer intelligent children who could do their home lessons well, pass examinations, and increase the grant earned by the school. One of the difficulties of everyone who had had any personal experience of the administration of the Education Votes was, that if they sanctioned a first-rate school with a low fee in a poor district, because the district was poor, there was the greatest possible inducement on the part of the teachers to try and draw into it children of a higher class than was intended for it. Taking all these things into consideration, it was quite clear that if they were going to set up a system of secondary education along with the primary schools, undoubtedly more and more of the middle class would go there, because they would attain, not primary, but secondary education. He believed that various school boards were setting up these schools. The Endowed Schools' Commission were re-organizing, on certain principles, the various endowments in England, and they were establishing secondary schools; but there was nothing to support such schools except the endowments, and, consequently, it was found necessary to insist on the payment of a fee enormously in advance, of the fee paid for elementary education. He had hitherto stated only his own opinions. He frankly admitted that but very little weight might be attached to his opinions, because he had had very little experience in connection with the subject; but the Report on which he based his opinions was a Report made some years ago upon Education in England, which formed the basis of the action of the Endowed Schools and Charity Commissioners, and which furnished Mr. W. E. Forster, the then Vice President of the Council, with many of the arguments he brought forward in support of his Elementary Education Act of 1870. The Noblemen and Gentlemen who sat upon the Commission were Lord Taunton, Dr. Hook, Lord Derby, the Bishop of Exeter, Mr. W. E. Forster, Sir Stafford Northcote, Sir Edward Baines, and Sir Thomas Acland. The Commissioners, in their Report, summed up the whole matter in a few sentences, and placed in an intelligible form the precise difference between secondary and primary education. They said— It is found that, viewed in this way, education, as distinct from direct preparation for employment, can at present he classified as that which is to stop at about 14, that which is to stop at about 16, and that which is to continue till 18 or 19; and for convenience we shall call these the 3rd, the 2nd, and the 1st grade of education respectively. The difference in the time assigned makes some difference in the very nature of the education itself. If a boy cannot remain at school beyond the age of 14, it is useless to begin teaching him such subjects as re- quire a longer time for their proper study; if he can continue till 18 or 19, it may be expedient to postpone some studies that would otherwise be commenced early. Both the substance and the arrangement of the instruction will thus greatly depend on the length of time that can be devoted to it. And this was the conclusion to which the Commissioners arrived— It is obvious that these distinctions correspond roughly, but by no means exactly, to the gradations of society. Those who can afford to pay more for their children's education will also, as a general rule, continue that education for a longer time. If that were so, what followed? Why, that the richer a man was the longer he kept his son at school, and the poorer he was the sooner he had to take him away. The children of the richer classes stopped at school longer than the children of the poorer classes, and if the Government grant was to go to these schools, then it followed that the longer a child was at school the more he got of the public money. Consequently, as the child of the rich man remained longest he received the largest sum, and that was exactly the reverse of the principle on which the grant was given, because the purposes and object for which the grant was originally given were to promote the education of the children who belonged to the humblest classes. [Mr. MUNDELLA: That is not the Act.] He (Lord George Hamilton) admitted that that was not the Act. There was nothing in the Act which made such a declaration; but he maintained that that was the object of the grant. And what must be the inevitable result? He contended that this spurious system of secondary education was detrimental to the elementary or primary education of the mass of the scholars who went to the elementary schools. He was aware that he spoke a little feelingly upon the matter; but he believed it to be one which afforded considerable ground for complaint. Every boy who went into a great public school was put through exactly the same course of classical instruction as if he were going to College, and were to aspire for honours; whereas, as a matter of fact, 19 boys out of 20 did not go to College, but left early, at the age of 17 or 18, in order to seek employment, and seldom obtained a thorough knowledge of Latin and Greek. In other words, their education was sacrificed in order that a few other boys might obtain the classical knowledge necessary to enable them to proceed to the Universities. He thought care ought to be taken that the children of the poorer classes, to whom a general knowledge was absolutely necessary, did not suffer from the efforts that were made to provide secondary instruction, and that all of them were thoroughly grounded in all elementary and more necessary subjects. He had now stated very briefly what were his reasons for calling attention to this important matter, in reference to the present Code. The Vice President, or rather the Lord President, was now raising the limitation in regard to age, and a boy could remain at school up to the age of 21. Certainly that was not the education of the children of the working classes. He did not believe that 100 children, above the age of 15, who were bonâ fide sons of working men, were in the schools of the Kingdom at the present moment; and if this system of education were suffered to continue, the children who received it would be the children of the middle classes. Who would obtain the prizes and exhibitions? The children of the middle classes, of course. He quite admitted the difficulties in the way of the Vice President in dealing with these graded schools; but if they were sanctioned it would be absolutely necessary to put a limitation of some kind upon them. Could they limit the expenditure? He admitted that it would be unwise to define the character of the children who were to be admitted; but they could lay down a limit in regard to age—that was to say, that no child after a certain age should attend the elementary schools, and if there were exceptionally able children belonging to the working classes, he would be quite ready to consent to a liberal system of exhibitions, or scholarships, by which such children would go on to the second grade or into the purely secondary schools. He could not consider that if the Code passed in its entirety, and there was no such limitation as he had mentioned imposed on the elementary schools or the scholars in England, it would be soon found necessary to legislate in one direction or the other. In Scotland, although the children of all classes attended the parochial schools, yet the practice was for the children to pay a higher fee in proportion to the Standard they attained, and the parents did not object to that. In Ireland there had been an endeavour in the last few years to improve the elementary education by an intermediate system of examination. What he felt was, that if anything was done in order to give facilities for the children in the elementary schools to obtain an education in excess of that which it was anticipated at the time the Education Acts were passed they would demand, he thought they ought to seek to bring forward some scheme that would be a little more uniform, and would not have the disadvantage of allowing one Department to compete with another. At the present moment they had the Charity Commissioners on one side of Whitehall, and the Education Department on the other, with schemes of education absolutely incompatible with one another. There could be very little doubt that if the Education Department were to succeed, and this Code were to become law, it would altogether kill the secondary schools established by the Endowed Schools Commissioners. He said, then, that whatever they did, let them do it openly; and he wished to warn the House against giving its assent to the passing of this Code without a protest, because, if it did so, it would be sanctioning, by a side-wind, a spurious system of secondary education. The proposed system, certainly, did seem to abolish all distinction which previously existed between primary and secondary education, by increasing the age and altering the bye-laws on which the schools now rested. He contended that the children who would suffer most from this spurious system of secondary education were the children of the working classes, for whom the existing system of education was mainly intended. He therefore said to the Government—Do one of two things. If you change the Code so much, bring in a Bill to put under Parliamentary control, not only the higher grade of elementary schools, but all the secondary schools now promoted by the Endowed Schools Commissioners. On the other hand, if they did not propose to go that length, and did not think that the time had arrived when secondary education should be promoted by money from the State, they would have no alternative but to come to the conclusion at which he had arrived, and accept this spurious system of education imposing some limit on the money grant, the subjects taught, or on the age of the children who attended the schools.


If I do not answer all the speeches which have been made at the length I should if I had had the opportunity of answering them earlier, I hope, looking at the hour of the night (12.15), I shall not be thought disrespectful to any Member of the House. My hon. Friend the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock) complains that we have not given sufficient freedom for science, and he is anxious for several things in reference thereto. His Resolution says— That it is desirable to allow School Boards and Committees to present children for examination in any of the recognized class subjects. Now, Sir, the whole of the evidence and the whole of the experience of the Education Department is that that is really impossible, considering the short school-life of the great majority of English children, to encourage children who leave the schools when they pass the Fourth Standard that they are not only to be acquainted with reading, writing, and arithmetic, but that they must also read history, and must attain English elementary science and geography as class subjects. That is more than can possibly be put on children who leave school when they have passed the Fourth Standard. A great number of our children having passed the Fourth Standard go out to labour at as early as 10 years of age, especially in the agricultural districts. Out of 14,000 there are 9,000 who go out after having passed the Fourth Standard, and I would ask anyone who has examined the question, whether it is possible, within the short school-life of those who have reached the Fourth Standard, to crowd all these subjects upon a child, and have them all equally well taught? The whole object of our Code is thoroughness. We want to secure that what is done is done well, that the children who only have reading, writing, and arithmetic shall attain—the girls needlework, and the boys English, with a knowledge of geography; and that they shall have a good acquaintance with them all. The experience of all of our best Inspectors is that any attempt to force more upon them is to dissipate their energies, confuse their minds, and leave them in the end ill-educated. If the House will only give to us what Germany does, and what France has this morning given—namely, the power to keep the children at school up to a definite age, and not to allow a child to leave until he has reached 13 or 14 years of age, then we say—"You may teach such children the whole of these subjects; but, as long as they can in any way pass from the school, and, under bye-laws, go out to work at 10 years of age, it is impossible to exact from them all that you are attempting to obtain." Under pressure from my hon. Friend, I placed certain specific subjects in the Fourth Standard, and I pledged myself to the House that I would thoroughly investigate the question of science-teaching in the case of children who reached that Standard, and satisfy myself whether it would be possible to teach specific subjects properly in the Fourth Standard. And I said if I found I could not do so I would advance a Standard, and put those subjects in the Fifth. But I am bound to say that the result of our observations is, that to attempt to make children physiologists and political economists before they are 10 years of age is attempting too much. A system that aims at that results in mere cram, and under such a system the whole Standard-work is neglected, while the child's mind, so far from its being enlarged, is deteriorated. My hon. Friend refers to the case of Liverpool, and he says that the effect of the Code, as it stands, will be to cut off something like one-half or three-fifths of the science-teaching in that town, that is to say, with regard to children who have not passed the Fourth Standard. But, Sir, we have allowed what is, in fact, a large measure of science-teaching in addition to the Standard-work, and that is a point which my hon. Friend has apparently overlooked. We have made geography one of the class subjects, two of which can be taken up; and my hon. Friend complains that only two of the subjects named—English geography, and elementary science and history—can be taken up. Let us suppose that English, and one other class subject—say, geography—are taken up. Although we have simplified the subject of geography, we have included in that branch physical and political geography; and it no longer means something to be learned by rote, such as a number of names on the map—it is something to be done by means of read- ing books and oral lessons, illustrated, so far as possible, by maps, diagrams, specimens, and simple experiments; and the result is that a large amount of science-teaching is associated with physical and political geography, which are included in the 2nd and 3rd classes. The plan of instruction may, therefore, be so varied and worked as to include a large amount of what is really good and suitable in elementary science. I am well aware that science has been most successfully taught in the Liverpool schools. Liverpool has had rare advantages in this respect. It possesses one of the best and most public-spirited School Boards in England. In its schools, however, science is not taught by the ordinary teachers—it is specially taught, and a special Science Demonstrator is employed by the Liverpool School Board, with the successful result which I have alluded to. But if you were to engage the ordinary teacher to take this subject, he would most probably fail in all his work. Therefore, I think it is better to limit the teacher to two of the class subjects named in the Schedule, and that one of these should be English. I believe that a knowledge of our language imparted by the reading of standard English poetry and prose is of more value to the child than any other teaching which can be given to him. In this branch the main portion of the child's time would not, as my hon. Friend supposes, be devoted to grammar. English, in the sense used in the Code, does not mean the teachings of Lindley Murray, of which, I have no doubt, many hon. Gentlemen have a horror. It is a different thing altogether, and our arrangement is one that cannot fail to be most instructive to the child. Then, again, what can be better than to cultivate the imagination of children by imparting a knowledge of good poetry at the time of life when their memory is most capable of retaining imaginative impressions? On the whole, we considered that we could not do better than insist upon English in the First Standard. My own predilections are favourable to freedom, and I have endeavoured to carry out that principle in the Code. I shall give this subject further consideration, and will submit the question to the Council of Her Majesty's Inspectors and the able men who have assisted in framing this Code; and, if it be possible, I shall be only too happy to yield to what seems to be a general wish. The noble Lord the Member for Liverpool (Viscount Sandon) has asked me whether there would be further opportunities for discussion? Sir, I regret that this opportunity has been spent in almost anything but discussion of the Code. That, however, has not been my fault, or the fault of the Government. This is not a time for requests and supplications to hon. Members to set aside their Motions in order to meet the wishes of other hon. Members, and I can only again express my regret that there has not been a better opportunity for discussion on the present occasion. But the noble Lords opposite, who have had so much experience in this matter, and who know all the bearings of the question, and who have faced all the difficulties which I myself have encountered, have, I think, expressed everything which, to their minds, appears in the nature of a shortcoming in the Code. Now, I believe that whatever may be the other merits of the Code, it has at least the merit of simplicity. For the first time we have a Code without cross-references, without foot-notes, and which anybody can understand. The credit of this is not due to me, but to the permanent officials in the Department, who deserve all the credit the House can give them. The next point which the noble Lord called attention to was that the Code gave enormous powers to the Inspectors. This is quite true; but in this respect the present Code is the same as its predecessors. Every School Board Code that has been issued gives enormous powers to the Inspectors; and I do not think, on the whole, that, except with regard to the merit grant, the Code gives larger powers than any which has preceded it. We were bound to secure fairness, and some approximation to uniformity of tests applied by Inspectors—a thing which at the establishment of our educational system was much easier than it is now, because formerly there were only some 20 Inspectors, whereas at the present time there are between 110 and 120. The noble Lord must be aware that there has been a great deal of heartburning at the different tests applied by Inspectors; but we believe we shall be able to get rid of these difficulties by the system we have organized, which places the whole supervision in the hands of a small number of Inspectors. The noble Lord has expressed some regret at the issue of the Circular, which places some restrictions on the criticisms of Inspectors with regard to the Code which they have to administer. But the Circular in question is not a new one, and I find it was in use when the noble Lord himself was in Office. It is, I believe, simply a reprint of a form which has been in use for many years. The noble Lord has given us the opinion of Mr. Hart, the clerk to the Liverpool School Board, who has expressed his fear that the effect of the regulation of the grant by the percentage of passes would be, in the case of some schools, that the masters would purge them of the backward scholars at examination time, in order to obtain a higher percentage of passes. No doubt, all schools are exposed to some acts of this kind; but it would be the duty of the Inspectors to see that the registers had not been cleared of the backward scholars, and if, on examination, it was found that children were absent without sufficient reason—in other words, if we discovered that any shcool-master had turned out the dunces for the purpose of obtaining a higher percentage, I think it would be right to treat the act as a fraud, and to deprive that schoolmaster of his certificate. I do not think it very likely that such a practice will be resorted to; nevertheless, it is a matter we have not overlooked, and measures will be provided to deal with it. The noble Lord has also expressed regret that a change has been made in the matter of honour certificates. But, as a matter of fact, it has been found that the system of honour certificates, as given by the Department, did not always produce the best results, and we think that better results may be looked for from a system of honour certificates administered by the local authorities. We think that more encouragement to diligence is afforded to a child by the possession of a parchment testimonial, which can be taken away, framed, and hung up at home, than by any intangible proof of merit. With regard to the objection by the noble Lord to the omission of a definition of discipline from the Code, I must remind him that this is hardly a subject which can be dealt with in the Code. It is a matter for the Inspector, and the principles referred to in the definition read by the noble Lord are, of course, expected to be enforced in every school. With regard to the apprehension expressed by him, that the extra grants to rural schools would be diminished, I can assure him that there is not the smallest intention of any such reduction. The object of the change in relation to these grants is to prevent large schools in small districts which are fed by neighbouring parishes, from getting extra grants. The noble Lord has referred to the need of impressing upon School Boards and Attendance Committees their duties with respect to the regular attendance of the children, and has also recommended the disestablishment of two or three Committees in case of their failure to enforce regular attendance. Perhaps the noble Lord will be surprised to hear that I have already done this, in some instances with very excellent results. In one district, where the attendance was very bad, we found that the chairman of the Attendance Committee was a large employer of children, who were kept at work contrary to the Act. In this case—the action of the chairman being supported by his brother committeemen—we simply dissolved the Committee and insisted upon the appointment of a new one, with the result that the school attendance nearly doubled. The whole success of this Code turns upon the School Attendance Officers doing their duty; and I can assure hon. Members that the statement of the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Lyulph Stanley) is not at all exaggerated when he says that some of the magistrates in the country believe that they are doing parents a kindness in not enforcing the attendance of children at school. We have many appeals from poor men to allow their children to escape from what they believe to be the hardship of the Act; but it must be borne in mind that the hardship is not in compelling the attendance of the children at school, but in the fact that unless they pass the requisite Standards they cannot obtain certificates. Magistrates, therefore, do a most cruel thing in not enforcing the attendance of children at school during their early years. I will do my best to insist on local Attendance Committees doing their duty; and I wish I could do something with regard to the Summary Jurisdiction Act, which is a matter of much greater difficulty. Now I come to the very important point raised in the able speech of the hon. Member for Oldham. Nobody could have presented the case to the House with greater force, and yet I cannot agree with the proposition the hon. Member has made. I say at once that we should never have succeeded as well as we have done in enforcing compulsion in England if we had not enlisted all the forces at our command—religious and other bodies. We have 2,000,000 children in the Church schools. Why are they in the Church schools? Because the Church is willing to pay £500,000 or £600,000 a-year to give those children definite religious instruction in the principles of the Church. But how can she do this if the teachers are not trained in these principles? I cannot see how we can insist on sending teachers to Training Colleges which are founded on distinct conditions—which are the subject of special trusts, and have received money for special trusts. We cannot ask them to admit persons of all faiths and creeds, or of no faith or creed, into the family life of those Colleges—and it must be remembered that, after all, it is a family life. I have visited several of these Colleges, and what do I find? In Liverpool there is a Catholic Training College for women, excellently conducted, but practically of conventual life? How can you insist on persons of all creeds being admitted there? I want to know how we can carry out compulsion in England if the Catholics are not to be allowed to teach religious principles in their own schools? In towns like Liverpool, where you have 200,000 or 250,000 Roman Catholics, and like Manchester, Sheffield, and other great towns, it would be impossible to force children into the schools unless you had all the assistance which the religious denominations can give you for that purpose. My hon. Friend says we can trust to the day schools, and why not to the Training Colleges? But day schools and Training Colleges are not on all fours. In regard to the day schools, parents give religious instruction to the children, and can take them to their own church or chapel on Sundays; but what can be done in Training Colleges? There you may have 100 or 200 young women living a life in common, and joining in prayers in common; and how can you possibly separate the various religious faiths of those people? I must say I cannot see my way out of this difficulty, except by one method—and there I meet my hon. Friend. Any person who is a fit subject to enter an undenominational College, and desires to enter it, ought to have the right to receive that training. To that extent I am entirely with my hon. Friend, and I will endeavour to secure it; but if my hon. Friend says that will not meet his case, and what he insists on is that we shall break down the denominational principle in these Colleges, then I say you must first change your Act of Parliament, and break down the denominational principle in your schools. The Training Colleges are a necessary corollary of your denominational schools. Let us take the case as it stands. There are about 2,000,000 children taught in denominational schools, to educate whom the various Denominations spend about £750,000 a-year. Why do they do this? In order to give them religious instruction. Then we have the Training Colleges, on which the Church of England has spent £271,000; the Roman Catholics, £60,000; the Wesleyans, £68,000; the British and Foreign Society, £80,000; and the Congregationalists, £30,000; making altogether nearly £520,000, in addition to the Government grant of £114,000. Then let us take the annual income. The total cost of maintenance is about £149,000 a-year. Of this, £109,000 is the Government grant, and the remaining £40,000 is made up of £23,000 in voluntary subscriptions, and £16,000 or £17,000 in rates. The Board schools have 30 per cent of the children on the register; 30.4 per cent of the certificated teachers; 31 per cent of the pupil teachers; 24 per cent of the pupil teachers were admitted into the Training Colleges as students in 1881 from Board schools. In the Church of England Colleges alone about 19 per cent were from Board schools, and 17 per cent of the females and 20 per cent of the males in the Wesleyan Colleges were also from Board schools. It cannot, then, be denied that the teachers employed in the Board schools are of all religious denominations. Many of them—probably as large a proportion of them as of the people generally—are members of the Church of England, many are Wesleyans, many Congregationalists, and many of other denominations. Why, then, is the case so unfair as my hon. Friend seems to suppose? All I can say is, that men whom I believe to be thoroughly impartial, and who have investigated the matter with the greatest thoroughness, assure me that there is no practical injustice. However, there are two or three undenominational Colleges under the consideration of the Education Department. Further, I should be glad if I could see my way to establishing day Training Colleges in London. That, I think, would meet the whole case. I think the Church Colleges, and all the other denominational Colleges do very wisely to provide a conscience clause for day students. But my hon. Friend is not content with that, and says it must be outside the existing Colleges. I think that is pushing the matter to an extreme; for if there is room inside, I do not see any necessity for going outside. I stand up as strongly as my hon. Friend for the rights of conscience, and I should resent as strongly as he would the violation of the conscience of any pupil teacher. I will do my best to secure that every pupil teacher who desires undenominational training shall have it; but, at the same time, I cannot say that I would be a party to any attempt to destroy the religious teaching in these Training Colleges. I was sorry to hear what my hon. Friend said about the rudeness, coarseness, and absence of refinement in these Training Colleges. The last Report I have on the Colleges says the Inspector cannot speak too highly of the morale and general tone of the whole body of students. He says the arrangements are excellent, and that efforts are made in every direction to refine and cultivate the taste, and enlarge the ideas of the teachers; and I am sure, when that Report reaches the hands of my hon. Friend, he will find it in striking contrast with his remarks. Just one word more. I have two letters—one from the Principal of one of the British and Foreign Society's Schools, the other from the Principal of the College at Bangor—saying they hardly know how to place the teachers; that there are too many in the market; and that there is no necessity for any more Training Colleges for the middle students. Now I approach the remarks of the noble Lord (Lord George Hamilton), my Predecessor in the Office I now hold. The noble Lord first raised the question of the hours of work for pupil teachers; and I will tell him what decided me in reducing these hours. Since I have been in the Education Department, I have received frequent representations from the pupil teachers, especially the females, as to their breaking down through extreme stress of work; and I have proof positive from clergymen and medical men of the pupil teachers being shamefully overworked. I have a Memorial from the Liverpool Council of Education praying me to take some steps to reduce the hours. In January, I had an opportunity of going to Liverpool, and I visited the whole of the Training Centres there. There are three or more of them, assisted by the Lady Superintendents. I examined the female pupil teachers as to their hours of work, and I found numbers of those young women working from 7 or 8 in the morning till 10 and 11 at night—week in, week out. The representations made to me were that it was most distressing to see how they lost their health and tone, and became nervous and dyspeptic, through the overwork. I laid the matter before the Council and the whole of the senior Inspectors, every one of whom agreed that a change was desirable; and everyone since appealed to said the same thing—that, if the senior teachers will so arrange their time-tables that at certain hours these pupil teachers may get relief, the necessary relaxation can be provided. However, I am as anxious as the noble Lord that we should not derange the organization of the schools, and the matter shall have my most serious consideration, and no mischief shall result. No mischief can result, because the arrangement does not affect the existing contracts. By the existing contracts the teachers are bound to work 30 hours a week, so that at present no harm can arise, and it will only be the future teachers who will be affected. The final point raised by the noble Lord, and the most important one probably to the House, is that we are trenching on the domain of middle-class instruction. I assure the noble Lord that he has been fighting a shadow, a ghost, or a monster of his own creation. What are the facts? The noble Lord said that we allowed children when they had passed the Sixth Standard to be considered as "ex-6," and to go on year after year taking three specific subjects, and, as the result, taking up what an Inspector to-day called "fads," and not solid instruction—this and that of the specific subjects requiring the concentrated attention of the master to manage these few advanced and, probably, clever boys. But the Code of the noble Lord the Member for Liverpool (Viscount Sandon) and the noble Lord the Member for Middlesex (Lord George Hamilton) allowed these "ex-6" boys to be presented again and again till they were 18 years of age, if they chose to be presented. [Lord GEORGE HAMILTON: I put the limit at 15.] The noble Lord put a limit on the 15th year; but let us settle one thing at once. First, as to the curriculum. Is it better that boys who have passed the Sixth Standard in reading, writing, and arithmetic, should get no more instruction, no continuous and regular instruction in plain, good work, which could go on year after year—taking, say, a language and two science subjects, and two class subjects—and draw the full grant; or that, having passed the Sixth Standard, they should do something better in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and so raise the whole tone of the ordinary work of the school? That is all round education; the other is incomplete education; and that was the sole reason for introducing the Seventh Standard. I have the authority of all the best Inspectors for this. I have received hundreds of Memorials in its favour; and the first protest I have heard against it is that by the noble Lord, who thinks he sees an attempt to bring in middle-class education by a side-wind. I assure the noble Lord that that was the very last thing intended. What we want is that the clever boys shall not be driven out of the schools. Every year children are passing at an earlier age. Last year the noble Lord will find, by the Returns, that 150 children passed the Fifth Standard before they were 10 years of age; and some of them also passed the Sixth Standard. What are we going to do with them? They will be "ex-6" at 10 years of age. Can you turn them out of school? Are they to go on to 14, and have no continuous instruction? Are they not improving the whole tone of the reading, writing, and arithmetic, for the benefit of the whole of the children? That is the sole object of the Seventh Standard, and I am satisfied that the noble Lord will, on inquiry, find that I am right. But I will grant him one point—namely, that the limitation of age is well worthy of consideration. We simply adopt 18, because there are no children who stop till 18, except poor cripples or children who have been injured in early life, or have suffered long illness. We thought it unnecessary to continue that age any longer, and that misled the ordinary reader of the Code. But as for this year, children can only be paid on passing the Seventh Standard, and, as all the children who are now "ex-6" must pass the Seventh Standard, no harm can happen this year; and T will take care, before the Code is laid on the Table again, that there shall be a limitation of ages to prevent such a possibility as the noble Lord points out. The noble Lord himself created the very schools in which the clever boys are found; I have not had to certify for one; and it is rather hard that he should reproach me for giving this higher education of which he is himself, practically, the author. There are the Bradford School and the Sheffield School; they are the creation of the noble Lord, and they are doing excellent work; and in many instances the children are maintained from 12 to 16 years of age. How? The noble Lord visited the school at Sheffield, and he put forward a particular child, and then said—"This will not do." What was the case? The child had won a scholarship of £10 a-year given by the manufacturers in the town. The child was the son of a poor woman who earned a living by mangling. She was paid £10 a-year to allow the child to continue at the school, and he is the most promising scholar in the school. I hope I have now said enough to satisfy the noble Lord, and to allay the fears of hon. Members who think that we are going to establish, under the pretext of secondary education, a system of middle-class education. That is the last thing we desire. I am afraid I have wasted my own time and the time of the House; but it was necessary to say this much to satisfy the House. I hope I have met, as far as I can, the wishes of the hon. Members who have addressed the House; and that, even late as it is, the House will allow me to make my Statement and to take my Vote.


said, he thought this was one of the most inconvenient debates that the House had ever been called upon to take part in. Having had a desultory discussion for some hours on a subject brought forward by the Government—the Army Bill—and after a long and desultory discussion, the right hon. Gentleman now asked the House to allow the Speaker to leave the Chair at 1 o'clock in the morning, in order that he might make his Statement on the Education Estimates. He never had been an Obstructionist, and did not wish to be; but he thought, if ever there was a case for insisting upon delay, it was this. Of course, he might have to give way; but he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would himself give way, and allow hon. Gentlemen an opportunity of considering the Statement, and would promise that, on the Report of the Education Vote, there should be an opportunity for the discussion which could not be taken tonight—


I have no command of the time of the House.


said, the points he wished chiefly to impress upon the right hon. Gentleman were—first, the conditions under which the Inspectors were to act under the New Code. He thought that the right hon. Gentleman had sought to minimize the effect of the new alterations, and that his statements were unintentionally misleading, and would lead the House and the country to imagine that Inspectors would have no more influence on the ultimate grant in aid of education than they had previously had. But upon this he wished to point out that, with regard to the merit grants, the schools were to be considered excellent, good, or fair. If they were excellent, they received 3s.; if good, 2s.; if fair, 1s.—all on the average attendance. The case was stronger as to infant schools, which received 6s. for excellent, 4s. for good, and 2s. for fair. All that was to depend entirely upon the individual judgment of the Inspector. A few days ago he had put a question to the right hon. Gentleman, whose answer was, to some extent, satisfactory—namely, that he hoped to organize some system of appeal to the head Inspectors, in order to mitigate, in some degree, the extreme discretion given to the Inspectors. It was, however, a question of extreme importance whether, unless instructions to Inspectors were most specific, the schools which did the hard work of teaching the poor children in large towns and in the remote rural districts would not be injured by this extreme discretion. This license to Inspectors was given now for the first time. The right hon. Gentleman, in his natural anxiety to commend his work to the House, had rather misled the House by pressing upon them the necessity for this discretion being given to Inspectors. Then the right hon. Gentleman had gone out of his way, in kindness of heart, to make alterations in regard to pupil teachers. But kindness to one person might be cruelty to another; and there was such a thing as apparent kindness to pupil teachers which would inflict hardship upon the other teachers. Upon the question of reducing the hours of work, a body of school managers and teachers, meeting in Oxford, and having, unfortunately, no Member of their own for that City, had adopted the following resolution:— That serious inconvenience and embarrassment would be caused to managers and teachers by the proposed rule to restrict the employment of pupil teachers to 25, instead of 30, hours a-week, as at present. In support of this resolution it is submitted:—I. That the proposed change would he injurious to the order and discipline in the school. II. That in some schools, particularly in rural districts, it would be all but impossible for the head teacher to carry on the work of the school during the occasional absence of a pupil teacher, who may happen to be his sole assistant. III. That it would tend to the withdrawal of pupil teachers from the hour of religious instruction, as a convenient plan of reducing the time of their service to the 25 hours. IV. That there is great danger that the inconvenience resulting from the change would lead to a serious diminution in the number of the pupil teachers employed. V. That the reduction of the hours of employment in school is not the most desirable way of giving relief to pupil teachers, even supposing it to be a fact that they are in any cases suffering from an excessive strain. Some weight ought to be given to the representations of these school managers, and the House should be very careful lest, in attempting to do an act of kindness to the pupil teachers, they were injuring the other teachers. The right hon. Gentleman had rightly remarked upon the strain put upon the pupil teachers; and if he (Mr. J. G. Talbot) had his way, he would agree with the hon. Baronet (Sir John Lub- bock) as to preferring specific subjects, and in the case of almost all the pupil teachers, except the most advanced, he would not require them to be instructed in out-of-the-way subjects, and so diminish the strain put upon them by cramming into their minds all kinds of subjects, which were neither profitable to them nor necessary for them to teach.


said, the Vice President of the Council (Mr. Mundella) alluded to many subjects connected with the Code; but they had been mostly subjects relating to schools in large towns. He, being connected with rural populations and immediately connected with rural schools, wished to point out one or two facts which he thought ought to be brought before the attention of the House. The people in rural districts were most anxious that education should be promoted in every possible way; but, having himself been for many years a trustee of a national school and chairman of a Board of Guardians under whose superintendence the school education had been placed, he wished to express his hope that over-education would not be produced among the rural classes. He maintained that for the rural classes the rudiments of education were quite sufficient, and it was a great mistake to over-educate them. Let them have instruction in reading, writing, and arithmetic; but do not let their minds be crammed with other matters, which would not be of any use to them in their future walk of life. With regard to the question of the magistrates, who, the right hon. Gentleman had said, did not support the Committees in enforcing attendance, he wished to remind the right hon. Gentleman that the magistrates were placed in a very difficult position. The Attendance Officers were supposed to bring cases before the magistrates, and to require the attendance of the children's parents; but there was a certain laxity in the law at present, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would do his best to alter the law in such a way as to provide better punishment for persons who did not send their children to school. At the present time, if a parent was brought before a magistrate for the non-attendance of his child, a fine of 5s. could be enforced; but if that 5s. was not paid at the time, the law provided a very roundabout way of enforcing that payment—namely, by a distress warrant, which increased the cost to the parent. He would urge on the Vice President of the Council that he should devise some means of imposing on a parent who did not pay the fines a certain term of imprisonment, say, seven or ten days. He urged this, because it was known amongst the people generally that there was this laxity in the law, and the magistrates were, in consequence, placed in a very unfortunate and very unpleasant position. If this alteration could be made, those who were members of school boards, and trustees of schools and Chairmen of Guardians, would use their best efforts to carry out the Code which was now proposed.


said, he thought the managers in small rural districts and poor suburban districts would feel great anxiety under the new proposal. He had had some experience of these small schools, and he thought the effect of this Code would be to increase the ordinary expenditure, decrease the Government grant, and throw a great many of the voluntary schools into the hands of the school boards. There were at least 30 per cent of these small schools in the country, with an aggregate attendance of 60 children. What would be the effect of this Code upon them? The Code changed the whole system. The basis of the grant was to be the average attendance of the whole year, instead of 250 attendances as before; and that, he thought, would be very detrimental to the small schools, because, though in towns there was no difficulty in the way of children attending schools, in the country, where distances were long and roads often bad, it was frequently impossible for the small children to attend. He had seen some of them coming two miles in the wet, and had known them remain four and five hours in their damp clothes, and without any refreshment. Under such circumstances as these, it was cruel for parents to send their children. Well, as to the other point—namely, the maximum they were going to give for the "three R's," they had reduced it from 9s. to 8s. 4d., whilst for class subjects they were giving the opportunity of obtaining 12s.; but small rural schools would not earn a farthing for these special subjects.


said, that, as against that, there was the 4s. 6d.


said, he was aware of that; but he was going to point out that, in increasing the amount from 4s. to 4s. 6d., the right hon. Gentleman had imposed new conditions which would render it impossible for small schools to avail themselves of the increased grant. There was one other grant—that in regard to music—which had not been touched on. They were giving 1s. per child for music; but that was to be curtailed by 6d., unless the children were taught by note or by some regular system. He maintained that it was impossible for children in rural districts to learn by note, for the reason that they would never be able to secure the necessary instruction. The right hon. Gentleman had told them that there was also a merit grant; but that grant was entirely at the discretion of the Inspectors. He wished to point out to the right hon. Gentleman that, in his opinion, the key to this Code was in his (Mr. Mundella's) pocket at the present moment, because he had not given them the instructions he was going to issue to the Inspectors. The right hon. Gentleman had promised that these instructions should be placed upon the Table; but they were not yet completed. Until, however, they were presented to the House, hon. Members would not know what the effect of the Code was to be. He would like the right hon. Gentleman to tell them whether the same standard of intelligence and attainments was to be applied to the small rural schools as was applied to the large schools in towns? In forming an opinion as to whether these schools were good or bad, were the same rules to be applied to one class as to the other? If so, a considerable grievance would be created. What he (Sir Massey Lopes) urged was this—that the whole of the Code depended upon the instructions they were going to give to the Inspectors. There was another complaint he had to make—and the subject of it had been already alluded to. It was, that they were really by this Code going to give what he called "secondary education," instead of that education which it was the sole object and intention of the Education Act to impart. They were not only undertaking to give primary education to the lower classes, but they were undertaking to give an advanced education to the middle classes. That was a grievance which many conceived to be a great one. They did not object to paying their rates for elementary education; but they said the Government were now not only imposing burdens on ratepayers for purposes which were never contemplated when the Act was passed, but they were also taking a Parliamentary grant, and using it for purposes for which it was never intended. He would not, at that hour of the night, any longer detain the House; but what he wanted to impress upon hon. Members was, that to small schools in rural places this Code would be a very serious thing, and would affect them very disadvantageously. It would be found for good schools a very good Code; but for indifferent—or what an hon. Gentleman had called "less satisfactory," schools, it would take from them, the very means they required for improvement. In the Code the Government were making no allowance for special circumstances and difficulties, and for what he would call the inequality of conditions in the different examinations.