§ (1.) £2,102,772, to complete the sum for Public Education.
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Mr. E. STANHOPE)
Sir, I rise to move the Education Estimates. It is customary, on these occasions, for the Minister in charge of these Estimates to submit to the Committee some account of the Educational Budget and the educational progress of the year. To that duty I shall almost entirely confine myself to-day. The Estimates I have to submit are those of my Predecessor, and the Committee will not, I am sure, expect from me any general statement of policy. The sum voted for Education in England and Wales during the last financial year was £3,181,875. If hon. Members will look at the Estimates, they will find this somewhat in excess of the figures given there, because it includes a Supplementary Estimate, which was not voted until too late to be taken into account in the comparison. With this sum of £3,181,875 we have to compare the amount which I now ask the Committee to vote — namely, £3,302,772, showing an increase, as nearly as possible, for England and Wales of £121,000. Now, this increase is almost entirely due to the growth in the rate of grant for day scholars, and upon the increase in the average number of children in attendance at school. When the Estimates for 1884–5 were prepared, the effect of the New Code, during the few months it had been in operation, appeared to be somewhat to check the rate of increase in the average attendances. But a recovery soon took place, and the ultimate result during 666 the inspection year ending August 31, 1884, was that the rate of increase in the average attendance rose to 4.67 per cent, and there was an increase of 1d. in the rate of grant for a day scholar. Hon. Members will observe that the comparison is made, not with the original Estimate for last year, but with the actual results. Taken in this way, the increase I have to describe to the Committee may be said to show only about the normal rate of increase; but, judging from the results of the last four months of the financial year, the Department is now inclined to think that the rate of increase may be somewhat higher than the Estimate. The cost of maintenance per scholar in average attendance is also increasing. In all the board schools of England and Wales the cost per scholar in average attendance last year was £2 1s. 8½., showing an increase of 5d. over the preceding year. In the voluntary schools in England and Wales it was £1 5s. 2d., or 3½d per scholar more than in 1883. It will be seen that the average cost per scholar in the board schools of England and Wales exceeded that in the voluntary schools by 6s. 6½d. This disproportion is greatest in the towns, and if the comparison had been limited to the country districts, the excess would have been somewhat less than half that amount. It is still specially great in London, although the cost of maintaining each child in a board school in London has decreased, and is at the present time less by 1s. 11½ d. than it was two years ago. But even now the cost of education in the board schools of London exceeds that of educating a child in a voluntary school by a far greater proportion than in the rest of the country. If we take London alone, the cost per child in board schools exceeds that in voluntary schools by no less than 12s. 4d. but if we take the whole of the country outside London, hon. Members will find the difference between the cost per child in board and voluntary schools is only 3s. 1¼d. It may be interesting to the Committee to hear what is the total annual expenditure we are now making, from all sources, for the support of elementary schools in England and Wales. I give the figures for lastyear. We have, first of all, the Government grant, which I have stated at £2,846,000; volun- 667 tary contributions provide £734,000; school pence—including the amount paid by the Guardians in aid of poor children—£1,734,000; the rates contribute £915,000; endowments and all other sources of school income, £222,000— making a grand total of annual expenditure for Elementary Education in England and Wales of £6,451,000, or, roughly, £6,500,000. But, besides this annual expenditure for purposes of Elementary Education, the Committee will, of course, remember that there have been very considerable sums laid out in building, enlarging, and improving schools buildings and teachers' residences. I have had an estimate made of this amount since the passing of the Elementary Education Act of 1870, and the figures are very remarkable. Voluntary schools since that period have received from the Government in building grants, £312,000; but the voluntary contributions, partly to meet these grants and partly to erect school buildings independent of Parliamentary grants, have reached the very large amount of £6,348,000. During the same period— I am giving the figures up to Michaelmas last—board schools had borrowed for these purposes rather over £16,000,000 on security of the rates; so that the total capital expenditure since the Education Act passed, in building new schools and improving existing ones in England and Wales, has not been far short of £23,000,000. I have troubled the Committee with these figures only to show how great the efforts are which have been made in this country to overtake the great problem of providing all our children with good elementary education, and that they cannot be measured only by the amount of the Vote I am now submitting. It becomes now my duty to point out to the Committee, in some little detail, what are the chief results which our expenditure has obtained for us. First of all, I would like to ask, what is the present supply of school accommodation, and how far is it sufficient to meet the wants of that portion of the population of the country which ought to be at school? After making allowance for various reasonable causes of absence, the usual and well-known calculation is that school accommodation ought to be provided for one-sixth of the total population of the country. Taking the esti- 668 mated population of England and Wales in 1884 at 27,132,449, the Returns of school places ought to show provision for 4,522,075 scholars. As a matter of fact, the total supply of school places is in excess of this, and is 4,826,738. In other words, if only the school places could be properly distributed throughout the country, we should have at the present time, in existing schools, about 300,000 more school places than we have children to send to them. But, of course, this is not so, as they are not properly distributed; and while some counties appear to have a considerable excess of school accommodation, others, especially in the South of England, are deficient. The increase in the school accommodation during the past year has been at the rate of 3.34 per cent; but if we were to look back over the last 15 years, and see what the results of our capital expenditure have been since the Education Act has been in operation, we should find that the amount of school accommodation in efficient elementary schools has increased from 1,765,000 to 4,826,000 school places; or, in other words, there has been an increase of 170 per cent. But when we come to the use which is made of this school accommodation, the picture is not so satisfactory, although showing, year by year, signs of great improvement. The number of children on the books last year was 4,337,000, and the number in average attendance 3,273,000. In other words, out of 100 children who ought to be at school, 96 were on the register, but only 72 were in average attendance. At the same time, however, the improvement in the number on the register has been since, in the year just passed, 1.5 per cent, and in the number in average attendance 4.67 per cent. The Estimate I have now to present to the Committee is, as I have said, not based upon a correspondingly high rate of increase in the average attendance, because it is perfectly clear that, as we more nearly approach the full number of children which should be enrolled on the registers of the elementary schools, we cannot expect that the average attendance should continue to increase in so rapid a proportion as it did when compulsory attendance first took effect. In the results of the examinations, the comparative improvement during the year has been greater in England and Wales 669 than in Scotland; but the Scotch are still vastly ahead of us. The percentage of passes increased during the year by 2.36 per cent, while the number of scholars examined in Standard IV. and upwards rose by no less than 10.87 per cent. This is a remarkable rate of increase, and is all the more satisfactory if we look a little further back and see how steady and continuous this improvement has been. Whereas, in 1874, only 18 per cent of the children in average attendance were examined in Standard IV. and upwards, last year the proportion was 31¼ per cent. This review of our educational progress naturally leads to the inquiry whether it has been accompanied by any drawbacks, and obliges me to say a few words upon a matter which has attracted a great deal of attention during the past two years—I mean that of over-pressure. Its importance can hardly be exaggerated. It would be bad enough, in my opinion, if it turned out to be true that the result of the efforts we have been making to improve and advance elementary education, and to got the best possible return for the money we expend, is to make these poor little children miserable. But if it could be proved that it had a further result of rendering them weak in body and feeble in mind, and unable to bring to the real work of life the full vigour of which they would otherwise be capable, then I say a remedy must be applied promptly and effectively. But is it true? Well, I venture to express the opinion, after the best consideration I have been able to give to the evidence upon the subject, that it is sufficiently proved that such cases do exist. It may be perfectly true, as the right hon. Gentleman my Predecessor the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) suggested last year, that this result is much more generally due to the insufficient feeding that the children receive at home than to the amount of strain to which their minds are subjected. It is satisfactory to think that there are other means by which this evil can be approached and grappled with besides that of diminishing the amount of school work; and I heartily rejoice that attention has been so prominently called to this matter of deficient food in a large degree owing to the remarks made by the right hon. Gentleman himself, because it has led in many parts of the country to efforts being made 670 to meet the difficulty, and get rid of this part of the evil. But there are, in addition to that, at least two other causes which fall more directly within my province, which appear likely to contribute to over-pressure, and which, undoubtedly, require most careful watching. They are home lessons and overtime. Now, there can be no manner of doubt that home lessons, however useful, have sometimes been a source of danger. Pushed by the eagerness of an energetic teacher beyond their legitimate and acknowledged function, they may, in conceivable circumstances, do more harm than good. So, again, with overtime, which if injudiciously imposed, in order to push a dull child beyond his physical strength up to a certain Standard, or to make up, in the last few days of the inspection, for previous omission or neglect, may well produce great evils. I recognize fully the responsibility which rests upon the Education Department, not only to exercise constant watchfulness over these possible causes of over-pressure, but also to lose no suitable opportunity of informing itself of the extent to which they prevail and may be remedied. The Committee will find, both in the Code and in the Instructions issued to School Inspectors, the precautions which, up to this time, the Department has thought it necessary to enforce in this matter for the purpose of preventing the evil. But, after all, the Committee will admit that the only real and efficient way by which these irregularities can be effectually prevented, and the health of the children adequately protected, is by constantly enforcing upon school managers that the real responsibility lies with them. It is they who can, and it is they who ought, to take care that the necessary precautions are rigorously observed, and who, by making use of the powers given to them for the exemption of weakly children, can arrest the evil at the outset. Hon. Members will forgive me if I mention the special provisions which deal with the subject. Under the Code the managers are held responsible for the health of children who may need to be relieved from part of the school work. But the Inspectors also are specially enjoined to satisfy themselves that the children are not unduly pressed. In the time-table of infant schools a due proportion of the time 671 must be assigned to manual exorcises and to recreative employment. Where overtime is improperly made use of, the managers should forbid it, or report the matter to the Inspector. And, lastly, the Instructions to the Inspectors themselves distinctly lay down the limits within which home lessons are justified, pointing out that for delicate or very young children they are plainly unsuitable, and that, in all cases, they should be used only as a means of keeping up and illustrating lessons which have been explained and mastered at school. I hope, Sir, for my part, that those precautions laid down by the Education Department, if continually enforced by the managers, may do much to prevent the recurrence of the evil. But, certainly, the action of these provisions ought to be very carefully watched, and be supplemented, if a necessity is proved. I cannot depart altogether from this subject without adding that the result of our investigation has been to bring to light the fact that whatever may have been the case among little children, the new requirements of the Code have caused a severe strain among female teachers; and it is due to them, and, indeed, to teachers of both sexes, to express how largely the satisfactory progress which I have endeavoured to explain to the Committee has been due to the efforts made by them to grapple with the difficulties presented to them. I come now to two or three special questions as to which I ought to say a word. The first is that of cookery, as to which so much interest was manifested the other day by the House that I am tempted to say that it is now taught in 121 more schools than in 1883. Grants were made to 7,597 girls; and there can be no doubt that the success attained has been sufficient to cause school boards and voluntary associations in many parts of the country to take every means in their power for including cookery in the ordinary course of school instruction. I hope to see a very large development of the scheme, especially in the agricultural districts, where it is, perhaps, more wanted than in the towns. Formerly, this teaching of cookery in schools was in many oases of a merely theoretical character. Now, the Code has been so amended as to assist in making this instruction not only demonstrative, but of a practical character, and it is 672 hoped that the change will be most advantageous. Then there is drawing, which has been added to the list of class or optional subjects. The Royal Commission on Technical Education called attention in its Report to the prominence given to instruction in drawing in the Continental schools visited by them, and they contrasted it with the infinitesimal attention paid to it in the English schools. They pointed out that the study of drawing was the most essential step, if not the foundation, for technical education of any kind. So again the matter has been pressed upon the Department by the authorities of South Kensington, who have undertaken to conduct the examinations for the next two years, the results being forwarded to them by local Superintendents. The managers have full liberty to classify children in the Standards suitable to their drawing capacity, and as only a certain proportion need pass to earn the test grant, there will be no question of putting undue pressure upon children who are hopelessly incapable, or indisposed to learn drawing. It is hoped that the change now made in the Code will stimulate the teaching of drawing throughout the schools of the country. One other change ought to be recorded. Efforts have been made to make inspection more uniform, and at the same time to give a more complete account of the state of education in the country. Reports will no longer be required from all the Inspectors in rotation, but half of the Chief Inspectors will each year present a Report upon their division, with the assistance of the other Inspectors working in it. There are other burning questions on which I might be expected to touch; but the Committee will probably think that I only exercise a wise discretion if I ask to be allowed to defer any opinion upon them until I have had more time for examining them in detail. Certainly, anyone who enters upon the work of administering the Education Department must do so with a humbling sense of the magnitude of the great problem before him. Much, indeed, has been done. Our great educational system, founded on the legacy of 1870, is a compromise which solved many difficulties, and is still full of life and vigour. We have enlisted in our work a body of school 673 managers full of zeal and devotion. We have created an army of school teachers of great and exceptional ability; but how much yet remains to be done? Think of the hundreds of little children who, in spite of all your machinery, and all your fine speeches, you do not get into your schools. Think of the hundreds who go away from them with a smattering of knowledge which will not stand the test of a life solely devoted to manual labour. Personally, I am very hopeful of the future, because it has fallen to my lot to have special opportunities of observing the change that has already taken place, and the progress which has been made. It was my duty, during two years before the passing of the Education Act of 1870, to study in the agricultural districts the conditions under which village schools were then carrying on their work, and the enormous difficulties under which school managers wore then struggling to bring home education to the people. And in the towns the difficulties were even greater—far greater. But anyone who makes that survey now will see with rejoicing the growing success of those struggles, and the daily-increasing results that are obtained. But how has this progress been attained? Well, in my judgment, mainly because, in spite of many mistakes, you have, on the whole, succeeded in carrying the opinion of the people with your work. Take care not to lose that advantage. The zeal of educational progress must be tempered with discretion. It is a time when educational theories of the wildest and most subversive character are afloat, when the true measure of parental obligation and the limits of the duties of the State are subjected to fierce discussion. There are some inclined to place hardly any limit to the amount of the education, or to the variety of the subjects which you are to pour into a little child's head. There are others who would indefinitely extend the amount of public money devoted to education. But if we want really to carry public opinion with us, we must have a little patience, and some regard to the feelings, the prejudices, and the purses of others. We cannot yet solve, we do not yet half understand, the new and great educational problems which the complexity of our social life will present to us. All we can do at present is to go steadily on 674 with the work, without faltering, upon the lines already laid down, and not to rest content until we are giving to all the children of the country an education in all respects calculated to increase their usefulness as citizens of the country. I will now, with the permission of the Committee, pass from those general considerations to a few questions specially affecting Scotland; and there are several questions of great importance in the various grades of Scotch education, which, I think, ought not to be passed over on the present occasion without comment. And, first, it is impossible to omit mention of the energetic work now being done by the Educational Endowments Commission. My noble Friend (Lord Balfour of Burleigh) and my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Glasgow (Mr. J. A. Campbell) and their Colleagues certainly afford an example to similar bodies of the way in which work can be got through. I believe that more than 100 schemes have already been submitted, of which the most important— the Heriot's Hospital scheme—now lies on the Table. I may also refer for a moment to the recent Circular issued by the Education Department as to the inspection of higher class schools. Under the Act of 1872 that inspection was to have been carried out by Inspectors named by the school boards. But this was not found to be satisfactory, and it certainly was incomplete. Now, by the Act of 1882, all endowed schools are to be inspected as the Scotch Education Department may direct, and the cost is to be paid out of the funds of the endowment. In order to carry out this inspection in the best manner, full representations have been invited from all those who are interested in the matter. Some have been received; and if I now venture to sketch out a proposal which satisfies some, at least, of the necessary conditions, it is not because it has been adopted, or that our minds are made up upon it, but in order to put it forward solely for consideration and criticism in Scotland. It seems obvious that in order to combine efficiency with economy and uniformity there should be a body of examiners appointed to undertake the examination of all the higher schools, whether subject by statute or by choice. These examiners might be selected by a Cen- 675 tral Board in Scotland, consisting of Representatives—first, of the Universities; secondly, of the Scotch Education Department; thirdly, of the teachers of the higher schools; and perhaps, also, of the governors of those schools. It might be appointed triennially, and in addition to selecting the examiners it might issue instructions as to their duty in detail. Then there is the question of paying the examiners. The Treasury is ready to contribute £300 a-year. This might be thrown into a common examination fund, to which the various Governing Bodies might be called upon to contribute according to a scheme to be arranged by the Board, and which might be varied when necessary. As I have said, I throw out the scheme for the consideration of all those who are specially interested in the subject. I come now to the case of the ordinary State-aided schools in Scotland. The Vote which is now asked for shows an increase over the sum voted last year of £24,761. It is, as in the case of the English Vote, almost entirely caused by the increase of the average attendance in schools. The Estimate provides for the additional number of 11,000 children, or an increased average of 2.V per cent. The rate of grant has similarly risen from 17s. 11½d. to an estimated rate of 18s. 1d. The scholars on the register have increased by 3.3 per cent, and those in average attendance by 3.49 per cent. In the results attained the schools of Scotland still have a very great advantage over those of England and Wales. The proportion of scholars examined in Standard IV. and upwards last year was, in England and Wales, 31¼ per cent; while, in Scotland, the proportion examined in those Standards was 37 per cent. During the past year the Department has had under careful consideration that portion of the Report of the Crofters' Commission which relates to education in Highland schools. The Committee will probably recollect that that Committee pointed out that the benefits of the Education Act of 1872 did not fairly come into operation in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland for some years after it had begun to operate in the Lowlands. And it indicated certain special difficulties, such as the extreme costliness of education in some of the poorest districts, owing especially to the large number of school 676 buildings necessary to meet the requirements of a very scattered population, and the loss of income caused by great irregularity of attendance. Since then, one of the examiners in the Scotch Department, Mr. Henry Craik, was sent by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Mundella) to make special inquiry into this subject; and his Report has been laid upon the Table of the House, together with a Minute setting forth the special conditions which will in future regulate the grants to schools in the Highlands and. Islands. It must be admitted that there is much excuse for irregularity of attendance, especially among infants. My hon. Friends from Scotland will, I am sure, forgive me if I mention the climate first. But the absence of good roads, and the great distances often to be traversed, are also serious obstacles And yet, in spite of all these drawbacks, I find in the Report of Mr. Craik, to which I have alluded, this passage—After seeing the parts of the country where the conditions are most unfavourable, I do not think, on the whole, that the difficulties are greater than are to be found in several mainland districts where a good attendance is obtained.But I am sorry to say that the result is that, out of 298,000 children between four and seven years of age, only 121,000 are on the school registers, and only 86,000, or less than one-third of the total number, are in average attendance. Even of these, only 28,700 are in proper infant schools. Many others are under the male teachers of mixed schools, who are not altogether the best fitted for the task of teaching them. In other other parts of the Highlands the defective attendance is often duo to the fact that the compulsory clauses of the Acts are not sufficiently put into operation. But although I am still obliged to speak in these terms of the attendance, it is only fair to admit that of late years the improvement has been very rapid. The cost of maintaining a Scotch school is rather larger in Scotland than in England, owing in part to the wider range of subjects taught in them, and partly owing to the higher salaries commanded by Scotch teachers. I notice that in all the Scotch schools the cost of maintenance per child in average attendance was £2 1s. 6d. But in the special 677 counties to which I have just alluded it was far higher. In Argyllshire it was £2 13s.; in Buteshire, £2 14s. 5d.; and in Inverness-shire, £2 6s. 2d. Therefore, I think it cannot he denied that the burden laid upon many of these localities, in respect of keeping up schools, is certainly very heavy. The Committee will remember that it was proposed by the 67th section of the Act of 1872 — commonly known as the Lochiel Clause—to empower the Department to supplement the rates in the Highland and Island districts by a grant making up the 3d. rate to 7s. 6d. per child. The Crofters' Commission, recognizing the extreme poverty of some of these districts, recommended that the grant should be increased to 10s. This proposal contained manifest advantages. It would have been a direct encouragement to increased attendance, and would apply only to cases where a large population is found along with a small rateable value. This could only, however, have been effected by legislation, and the scheme adopted by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Mundella) was to hold out encouragement to improved attendance by a gradually increasing payment, as the attendance approaches the number on the register. This will also have the effect of stimulating the exertions of the teachers, which is a matter of great importance. Another financial point was also brought before the Department—namely, the loans raised by school boards upon the security of the rates. The Crofters' Commission recommended that these should be cancelled. But as it was obvious that those boards which have been extravagant would have benefited unduly, while those which have been economical, or had done all they could to discharge their liabilities, would have obtained little advantage, this proposal was on this and other grounds, not accepted by the Department. There are two other points in the recent Minutes which ought not to be omitted. The first is the teaching of Gaelic, which has long been under consideration; and is now to be paid for as a specific subject. Payment will also be made to encourage the employment of Gaelic pupil teachers, in the hope of eventually providing a body of certified teachers specially fitted for employment in the Highlands. The second point is the special grant offered 678 for the encouragement of higher instruction. One reads with satisfaction, in Mr. Craik's Report, of the keen interest which this subject excites even in the Hebrides; and it may be noted that while in England only 67 children passed in Latin and none in Greek, in the State-aided Scotch schools no less than 6,253 were qualified in Latin, and 330 in Greek. I have thought it right to put before the Committee, as concisely as I can, the object of the recent Minute. But I wish completely to reserve my own opinion upon the sufficiency of the changes which have been made. If I should continue responsible for education in Scotland, there is no part of the subject which I should wish to investigate with more care and with more hopefulness, because of the keen desire for education which exists in Scotland, than the best means of overcoming the difficulties with which those poor Highland schools have to contend. There is only one other subject which I need mention to the Committee, and it is that the Scotch Code in general undoubtedly requires careful reexamination in light of the changes recently made in the English Code; but this has been naturally postponed until the future of Scotch education has been decided. I have now to thank the Committee most cordially for the attention with which they have listened to me on this somewhat dry subject, and I will only add that I shall be happy to answer any questions that may be put to me.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
said, he thought the Committee was to be congratulated on the clear and satisfactory statement which they had just heard, and the right hon. Gentleman was to be congratulated upon the ability with which he had addressed himself to the subject. If they were to have a Conservative Government in Office, and to suffer the loss of the services of his right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella), who had certainly placed his mark on the national education of the country, it was an advantage to have a right hon. Gentleman occupying the position of Vice President of the Council who was untrammelled by pledges, and who would be found, as was evident from the statement to which they had just listened, ready and anxious to carry out the education of the country in the progressive way in which it had been 679 conducted by his Predecessors, both Conservative and Liberal. It seemed to be thought by some that, because they had an ardent friend of the voluntary system in Office, there -would be a feeling of antagonism on the part of the right hon. Gentleman and on the part of his supporters to the board system. For his part, he (Mr. Buxton) could not see why there should be any such feeling of antagonism at all. There was, and ought to be, plenty of room for both systems; and they could, if properly dealt with, be worked side by side. Each had advantages which were not possessed by the other; and he believed himself that the existence of the two systems side by side conduced to efficiency and gave variety to education, instead of producing a dull uniformity. By the competition and friendly rivalry which existed, both systems would be kept up to the mark. He differed entirely from some of his hon. Friends who sat on the Benches near him, who thought that the voluntary system ought to be smitten hip and thigh from Dan to Beersheba. But, on the other hand, it ought to be clearly understood that the voluntary system must not be unduly bolstered up. The reason for the existence of the voluntary system was that its supporters considered that, in combining education with dogma, they were carrying out the proper system, and they were willing to make sacrifices in order to promote that object. If they were not willing to make sacrifices for their zeal by putting their hands in their pockets, he, for one, thought the voluntary system ought to come to an end. It would not be right, he thought, for the State to increase the grant now made to voluntary schools. It would be altogether improper to hand over a sufficient income from the public money to irresponsible persons, so that it would require no further effort on their part to keep up the system in which they were specially interested. They were told that the voluntary system at present was suffering under heavy and grievous burdens. No doubt, since 1870, not only the supporters of voluntary schools, but all persons in the country, had had to make sacrifices and bear heavy burdens in consequence of the passing of the Education Act of that year; but he thought the supporters of the voluntary system had been benefited 680 almost more largely than any other portion of the community; and the fact that the supporters of voluntary schools had been able from year to year to increase the number of their schools showed that the system was not, at all events, at death's door. He would make an attempt to analyze the complaint that of late years, and especially last year, had been made on the part of the supporters of the voluntary system—namely, that the burden had become so heavy that it was almost impossible to carry on the voluntary schools. Taking the Church of England as one of the loudest in making that complaint, and as one which, after all, was only typical of the others, he would compare the state of their case in the last four years, during the time the Education Department had been under the auspices of his right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella), from 1880 to 1884. He had not got later figures. He thought he could show that, instead of suffering as heavily as had been supposed, on the whole the voluntary system was in a very satisfactory and flourishing condition. During the four years of which he had spoken, he found that the attendance in the Church of England voluntary schools in England and Wales had increased from 1,492,300 to 1,617,300. That was an increase of 125,000 children. He wished to endorse the satisfaction felt by the right hon. Gentleman at the great efforts which the supporters of the voluntary system, and especially the members of the Church of England, had made by moans of their expenditure on buildings, and the valuable result of their labours towards increasing the amount of national education. On the other hand, while they had increased the average attendance by 125,000 children, the income of voluntary schools, from sources other than voluntary subscriptions, had increased from £1,994,000 to £2,253,000, or an increase of £260,000; and the right hon. Gentleman anticipated that that increase would be still further enlarged this year. But it had been said that the expenditure for education had largely increased also, and therefore the burden upon the voluntary system was much greater than it had been. No doubt the expense had increased, and he believed the Committee generally would congratulate themselves on that fact. But what was 681 the amount that the voluntary subscribers of the Church of England were called upon to pay in order to meet the balance of the annual cost left over, after taking this amount of income into account? Would the Committee believe that, after four years, the schools were costing no more at all, but that there had been an actual saving of £2,000 a-year? While in 1880 the subscribers paid £587,270, they were now paying £585,072, or a diminution of £2,200 a-year. Therefore, instead of being pitied, they ought to be envied and congratulated, because, with an increase of 125,000 children, they were receiving £260,000 more in subscriptions, and the entire cost of the schools was £2,200 less than it was four years ago. Of course, it would be said that, in addition to their voluntary contributions, the subscribers had had to pay largely in the shape of rates. He found that the rate had increased from 1880 to 1884 by £189,000; but as the number of subscribers to the Church of England voluntary system was 221,000—that was, not one in 100 of the whole population—the total amount that they had to pay towards this increased rate could not be very large. The complaints were made by those who did not inquire into the facts, and there was a certain amount of apathy on the part of some, so far as the general advancement of national education was concerned, because they were subscribers to the voluntary system. He had laid these figures before the Committee in order to show that the cry was greatly exaggerated, and that the ground for complaint on the part of the voluntary schools was nothing like so great as they tried to make out. The right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Mr. Stanhope) had said something upon the question of over-pressure. He understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that it was sufficiently proved that such cases did exist. He (Mr. Buxton) had no desire to enter into that question again. They had already debated the whole question of over-pressure; but the more the matter was inquired into the more it would be found that the over-pressure supposed to exist had been vastly exaggerated. Those who cried out loudest ignored the fact, which he thought the right hon. Gentleman would allow, that under any system of education curried 682 out under any plan—even a plan they would most approve of—it must lead to a certain amount of discomfort and over-straining in the case of a certain number of children, who were in reality suffering from other causes which affected their health and happiness. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that the outcry which had been raised had done much good. It had directed public attention to the question, and had—if it were not heresy to say so—woke up the Department; it had certainly woke up the managers, teachers, and Inspectors, and it had resulted in an attempt being made to secure the relaxation of the stringency of the Code, and to give a greater latitude to local bodies and individuals. This, together with the steps contemplated by the right hon. Gentleman, would have the effect of reducing the pressure upon children to a minimum. He was glad to hear from the right hon. Gentleman that, as far as he was concerned, he intended to see that the new system of withdrawal should be fully carried out; that he was impressed with the necessity of diminishing the homo lessons, and that he intended to prohibit the keeping in of the children as a punishment. He (Mr. Buxton) thought the new Code was intended to meet the cry of over-pressure; but, as it had not yet had a fair time for working, it was too early to judge how far the relaxations given by it would operate. The principle of decentralization established by the Code had only been established within the last two years; but as soon as a sufficient time had been given to allow of the results being worked out he believed they would be found to be satisfactory. He had been glad to hoar the right hon. Gentleman, in connection with this subject, mention the question of under-feeding, and the attempts which had been made by some of the managers to provide self-supporting penny dinners for the children. He was glad to find that the right hon. Gentleman was giving attention to the subject, and that he had taken sufficient interest in it to induce him to join the Council which had been formed for providing these self-supporting penny dinners. It was certainly most discouraging, at present, at all events, to find that while the system had been successful in other parts of the country it had been by no 683 means successful in London. Perhaps it was owing to the fact that the system had not been sufficiently long in working order; but he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would give encouragement to those who were engaged in the work to continue their efforts. (Such encouragement might give renewed stimulus and prevent future failure. There was much in the system itself which ought to insure its ultimate success. The reasons of the hitherto partial failure were many and manifold; but he need not trouble the Committee with entering into them. A reason often put forward by some was the lack of funds on the part of the parents; but he confessed that he did not see how that could be urged as a reason for the apparent failure. The fact that the number of children who attended these dinners varied so largely from day to day and from week to week was due rather to the caprice of the parents than to any variation in the wages which they earned. The philanthropists who distributed free tickets broadcast were, perhaps, in a measure, largely responsible for the partial failure of the system. If the right hon. Gentleman would not officially—for the Department could only exercise a benevolent neutrality in the matter—but if he would unofficially encourage the efforts of those who were promoting the movement, he might do a great deal to improve the cause of national education.
§ SIR FREDERICK MILNER
remarked that as the right hon. Gentleman who presided over this Department had promised to issue a Commission to inquire into the condition of the blind, he should like to say a few words upon that subject, and also as to the condition of the deaf and dumb, and to bring it formally under the notice of the House. He believed that every hon. Member of that House would admit that the education of deaf, dumb, and blind children was a question of the greatest national importance; and he did not think that it was to the credit of the country that they should be alone among nearly all the civilized nations of the world in doing next to nothing towards the discharge of this important duty. In these days of civilization it was hardly less cruel to neglect the education of these unfortunate children than it was in. the old days of superstition to expose children 684 on the mountains as was done by the Greeks, or to throw them into the Tiber, as was done by the Romans. He would road to the Committee the opinion of two very eminent men who were much more qualified to speak on the subject than he was himself. Dr. Buxton, in his Notes of Progress, said—It is certainly not to our credit to know that in every country but our own, wherever the deaf are educated at all, they are educated with State aid. Even our fellow-subjects, when they live under a Colonial Government, freely tax themselves for the education of their deaf children. The British taxpayer alone, among all civilized Christian men, enjoys immunity from taxation for the instruction of those who under the name of the abnormal classes—those"without hearing, without sight, without mental power—are the special care of even such a poor nation as Norway, that country having, as recently as 1881, consolidated and developed all its previous beneficent legislation for the compulsory education of the classes named.Monsignor de Haerne said—It is a great honour for England to have abolished the Slave Trade. But there are thousands of slaves in the British Empire— namely, the deaf mutes, who are the true slaves of the ignorance or carelessness either of their parents or the Government. If England is justly proud of having, to a great extent, extirpated slavery in the world, ought she to fail in finding the necessary means for the deliverance of her national slaves at home?He would not detain the Committee by going into too many details upon the question, important as it was; but he hoped that it might be his privilege on some future day to enter more fully into it. He had taken great pains to ascertain the opinion of men who were well qualified to speak upon the subject, and he had received most valuable assistance from Mr. Buckle, of the Blind School, York, from Captain de Bisson, author of Our Schools and Colleges, and others. It was a fact that in America, Germany, Belgium, Holland, France, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and other countries, direct aid was given by the State towards the persons suffering from these maladies, and our Colonies— Canada, Australia, and New Zealand— were following the good example so set. He purposely avoided going into the methods adopted by these different countries in granting aid, because he did not wish unnecessarily to take up the time of the Committee; but, in opposition to the example set by foreign nations and our own Colonies, it was well known that we continued to go on 685 neglecting this most important work, and practically giving little or no help to the education of these unfortunate children. It was true that in England Boards of Guardians might send a child afflicted with dumbness or blindness to school, and pay, with the sanction of the Local Government Board, £20 for his maintenance; but it was entirely a question for the discretion of the Guardians whether the child should be sent or not. No provision existed for the supply by the State of special schools; and the education of the deaf, dumb, and blind was not recognized as part of our general educational system. In the inquiries he had made into the matter he had only heard two arguments against the giving of State aid. One was that the deaf, dumb, and blind never became capable citizens, and the other that they wore fit objects of public charity, and ought to be supported by the charity of the country. With the first of these objections he entirely joined issue. It was a mistake to suppose that deaf and blind children could not be made capable citizens. Science had conclusively proved that the deaf, dumb, and blind were as capable of being taught and of attaining to as high a pitch of culture as hearing and seeing persons; but, of course, they must be taught by special methods and appliances. No one could go round a blind school without being struck by the marvellous skill displayed by the pupils there in basket making, brush making, mat making, and other employments; and they were capable of studying and practising music, needlework, and in some cases drawing. In the schools for the deaf and dumb, also, the most marvellous results were obtained. To such a pitch of perfection were these unfortunate children brought by skilled methods of education, that it might almost, be thought that they could see with their eyes, and they literally could speak with their months. He only mentioned these facts in order to refute the statement that these children were not as capable as other children; and if any hon. Member who took an interest in the question would only visit the institutions set apart for the education of the deaf, dumb, and blind, he would be unable to deny that if properly taught they could be made just as capable citizens as any other person in the country; 686 and few would deny that it was the bounden duty of the State to do its utmost to make them capable citizens. As to the other argument—that of charity—no doubt it must be admitted that these unfortunate sufferers were fit objects of charity; and as their education was more than usually expensive, it might be right that a certain portion of the cost should be provided by charity and the rest by the State. He certainly thought that substantial aid ought to be given by the State to these institutions, and that would free a great deal of the money now given in charity for a work hardly less important than that of the education of the children—namely, establishing institutions for helping those who had the misfortune to lose their sight, and in a few cases their hearing and speech, after they had attained an age beyond that at which they could be educated. There was no doubt that a vast amount of terrible suffering existed among such persons who lost their sight after the age of education was passed. They were certainly fitting objects of charity, and some of the money now given in the shape of charity for the support of schools might be applied to their relief and assistance. It might be asked how it was that so important a work had been so long neglected in this country. It was understood that if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) had remained in Office he had some scheme which he had intended at an early date to propound. But, like a great many other Government schemes which were notoriously slow in seeing the daylight, the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman, although it had been some years in his head, had never been presented, probably because the Government had been frightened at the propect of the expense which might be incurred in carrying it out. Personally, he thought it would have been better to have expended less in the education of those who were in the full possession of their senses than utterly to neglect the education of these unfortunate children. He maintained that every child in the country, whether in full possession of his faculties or afflicted with these terrible misfortunes, ought, at any rate, to receive a minimum amount of education. He had himself prepared a scheme which he intended to submit to the 687 House, and which had been suggested to him by persons who were thoroughly competent to give advice; but he would defer it for the present, as he did not think it would servo any good purpose to place it before the House at this moment. He understood that a Royal Commission was shortly to be appointed to inquire into the education of the blind; and although it might be right that a separate Commission should be appointed to inquire into the education of the deaf and dumb, still he thought that the one question was just as important as the other. There ought to be no further delay in investigating these questions; and he earnestly hoped that hon. Members would consider it the duty of the State as well as of the individual to do the very utmost, and not to shrink from expense in relieving the sufferings of those afflicted with these terrible misfortunes. He was sorry that he had been compelled to detain the Committee at such great length; but he trusted that the remarks he had made would succeed, to some extent, in awakening the interest of hon. Members in a question which he and many others had deeply at heart. It was impossible to exaggerate the extent of the calamity which befell those who were smitten with blindness or deprived of the senses of hearing and speaking. Those who were even partially deprived of those precious senses knew only too well how it took away half the brightness; and they could, perhaps, realize more fully the extent of the calamity to those who were totally blind, or entirely deprived of the sense of hearing.
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Mr. E. STANHOPE)
I think it may save time if I answer my hon. Friend behind me (Sir Frederick Milner) at once. I can only say, after hearing his interesting speech, that Her Majesty's Government are fully impressed with the importance of the questions he has brought before the Committee. As regards the blind, it is the intention of the Government to cause a Commission to be issued immediately to inquire into their condition, and the means by which they may be educated and made self-supporting. I believe it is the intention of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary (Sir R. Assheton Cross) shortly to issue a Commission. As regards the deaf and dumb, I do not think the same 688 Commission could investigate their case; but I am of opinion that the time has come when some inquiry should also be made with regard to them. I, therefore, propose to instruct the Inspectors, in certain districts, to report to me how far the Education Acts have failed to meet the case of the deaf and dumb. I hope my hon. Friend will be satisfied with that statement.
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK
said, there were one or two points in the Code to which he would like to direct the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella), and also that of the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council on Education (Mr. Stanhope). The first provision of the Code to which he asked their attention was that which required that if only one class subject be taken it must be English; if two, one must be English; and if three, one must be English and one drawing. The other class subjects, as the Committee knew, were history, geography, and elementary science. Now, as three class subjects only could be taken, it followed that if history were selected neither geography nor elementary science could be taken. If geography were chosen, history and elementary science must be omitted, while, if elementary science were taken, history and geography were excluded. He did not deny that English grammar was an important subject; on the other hand, many of those who had obtained the greatest mastery over our language never studied it, and it was certainly a subject by no means popular with children. He would not, however, exclude it from the list of class subjects, and all that he objected to with regard to it was its being made obligatory. It seemed to him, for several reasons, undesirable to lay down stringent regulations; and as between the six class subjects they might surely leave the selection to the schoolmaster and the School Board. In the first place, schoolmasters were not all alike; and one man would make a subject interesting and instructive which in the hands of another would be dull and unprofitable. He was far from saying that history, geography, and elementary science should be obligatory; but, at the same time, he did say that their aim should be that children who had passed through school 689 should learn something of the laws of nature, something of the history of their country, and something of the geography of the world in which they lived. That question had been pressed on the Education Department by the National Society; and so strongly was it felt by many, that some of the geography text books, including those used by the Liverpool board, contained as much elementary science as geography, strictly so called, and they were thus enabled practically to teach the two subjects, to a certain extent, simultaneously. The lessons in elementary science were so delightful to the children, did so much to quicken their intelligence, and in that way to help, rather than to hinder, the other subjects, that he had no doubt this subject would slowly force its way into the schools whatever the Department might do; but the action of the Department tended greatly to obstruct this desirable result; and although he did not ask Her Majesty's Government to force it on the managers of schools, he did ask them to allow it to have a fair chance. In the interesting debate, so ably initiated last Friday by his hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool (Mr. Samuel Smith), several hon. Members expressed the opinion—which, indeed, seemed to command general assent—that their system of education was too bookish. It was that drawback which lessons in elementary science would tend to obviate. Elementary science cultivated the powers of observation, while the other subjects strained, and he might say even overstrained, the memory. Moreover, if they were to maintain their rapidly increasing population in anything approaching to comfort, it could only be by carefully utilizing the gifts and resources of science. They had heard many eloquent speeches in favour of local self-government, and were promised a wide and generous measure of that character in the next Parliament. But side by side with those vague professions they found in practice more and more centralization, an ever-increasing army of Inspectors, the control of local affairs, the management of prisons, the very conduct of business more and more absorbed by Government Departments and Government officials. The very Government which brought in a Bill to give London increased powers of self- 690 government dictated to the. London School Board, and would not allow them to say whether a given school should teach geography or English grammar. He did not ask the Committee to pronounce an opinion as between the subjects; but let them not proclaim themselves in favour of a large and generous measure of local self-government on the one hand, and then lay down stringent rules of this character on the other. It might be said that a class subject might possibly be taken as a special subject; but that was surrounded by so many difficulties that it was really no answer to his contention. He was grateful for the concession made in allowing the school boards to determine for themselves whether the Fourth Standard should be placed in the first or second category; and he would earnestly bog that school boards and committees should be allowed to determine for themselves in which and how many of the five class subjects they would present their children for examination. If this question were to be determined by the children themselves there would be an overwhelming vote in favour of elementary science, and they would do well to consider the wishes and instincts of the children themselves. Education was better than instruction; it did not so much matter what they knew when they loft school as what they wished to know. The love of knowledge was even more important than knowledge itself. However much children might have learnt they would soon forget what they did not care for, and however little they might know they would soon teach themselves if they had the wish to learn.
§ MR. J. G. HUBBARD
said, that the Committee were asked to agree in voting a considerable sum of money for educational purposes; but it was to be remembered that this sum did not include the whole of the cost of education in the country. Independently of the large sum voted by that House, a sum of no less than £1,800,000 was collected by rates for the support mainly of board schools. But there was another class of schools; the State was not the sole educator of the country. It was true that there were about 1,000,000 children in average attendance in the board schools; but there were more than 2,000,000 children in the voluntary schools of the 691 country. He was obliged at the beginning of his remarks to refer to the analysis of the position of the voluntary schools made by his hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Mr. Sydney Buxton). His hon. Friend had said they had prospered under the circumstances of which they complained. He (Mr. Hubbard) would not argue this question on the part of the Church of England alone; he treated it as a religious question, affecting equally Church of England Schools, Roman Catholic Schools, Wesleyan or Jewish Schools, and in that light he claimed Her Majesty's Government's attention to the subject. The State said—"We require every child to be educated, and we require that education be tested as to efficiency." The voluntary schools complied with those stipulations, and they received a certain capitation grant for the education of the children; that grant, on the part of the State, amounted to about 16.s. per head. What was the cost to the country of the children in the board schools? It was £2 14s. per head; and, therefore, his conclusion was that the hon. Member for Peterborough need not be afraid of destroying the voluntary character of voluntary schools by slightly enlarging the grant. It was true that a religious feeling supported voluntary schools. Those who supported them believed that religion ought to be the basis of all education: and they believed that religious teaching, unless it was given by teachers who were thoroughly in earnest, would be ineffective. They asked that there should be liberty of teaching in religious matters, and that the managers of religious schools should not be placed at a disadvantage. As he had pointed out, the voluntary schools cost the country, in the Government grant, l6s. per head; whereas the country had to pay £2 14s. for every school board pupil. He was not going to ask assistance for those schools which did not want it; where voluntary schools could keep up their establishments with their present means he was quite satisfied that they should be loft alone. Seeing the large number of schools where the foes must be low, and where the contributors must be few and poor also, he said it was cruel to deprive them of any portion of any portion of the grant earned upon examination and proof of excellence, 692 because they could not comply with the condition of raising 17s. 6d. by fees and voluntary contributions, defining voluntary contributions as annual money subscriptions. Schools that were excellent in every respect had been shorn of their right by that rule. Bearing in mind that the 17s. 6d. limit operated most unfairly, though unintentionally, as so construed, he suggested that, where needful to protect a school against the curtailment of the grant it had earned, the managers might count rent to the extent of 4s. per child as a portion of the stipulated voluntary contributions of their school. That was a definite proposal, which he was sure would not interfere with the economical rule of the late Vice President of the Education Board.
§ MR. PICTON
said, it should be borne in mind that the schools referred to by the right hon. Gentleman who had just spoken were far more voluntary in their management then they were with respect to their maintenance. The theory generally adopted was, he believed, that if people wished to have the management within their own hands, and were not in a representative position, they ought to pay for it. So long, therefore, as the managers raised a reasonable proportion of the expense of the schools, it had been held that they had a right to exercise their powers with regard to them. That had been the general opinion, although he did not entirely subscribe to it himself. But it was not held that managers had a right to unburden themselves of all expense whatever in the management of schools, and still have the right to manage public funds, for that was, in fact, what their arguments came to. He did not think that that argument would be generally entertained by the country; and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Mr. E. Stanhope) would not take the advice that had been given him, notwithstanding the respect which he was sure the right hon. Gentleman and all in that House had for the source from which it came. He ventured to assure him that if he did go in that direction at all he would encounter a very considerable amount of opposition. But it was not his intention to allude to any disputable topics on that occasion. He wished to ask the attention of the Vice President of the Council 693 to a particular point in the Code; the instructions to Inspectors on a subject that he had not alluded to in his comprehensive and interesting speech—that was to say, the application of the Kindergarten system of instruction in infant schools. It had been repeated over and over again by many Members of that House that in all educational systems physical development ought to form part of the curriculum of mental training. That principle had been urged to-day by the hon. Baronet (Sir John Lubbock), who had inveighed against making education too bookish. But if that was a fair argument with regard to the education of the elder children, much more so was it applicable to the education of little children, who, in a fair sense, might be regarded as having more body than mind, and the greater part of whose education must be conveyed through the medium of their senses rather than through their mind. A great German educational reformer, Friederich Froebel, had laid it down that children should be educated by means of play —that play was intended by the Almighty Creator as an instrument of education. But he did not think that the time devoted to play should be lost; he thought that it might be so managed as to prepare the faculties for higher instruction. The Kindergarten had been adopted in many private schools in the country. It was sufficient to say, without entering into minute description, that by means of variously coloured balls, boxes of objects of various forms, and other similar things the children were exercised in useful ways, such as moulding in clay, while, at the same time, they were taught to calculate. It would be seen that in this way the youngest children might be interested, and even delighted, while their bodily strength and mental faculties were exercised. Now, his point was that the Code did not give the full scope which might be given for the exercise and application of these sound principles. He admitted that the right hon. Gentleman the late Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education (Mr. Mundella) during his term of Office had done very much to facilitate the system which he (Mr. Picton) was desirous of pressing on the right hon. Gentleman his Successor (Mr. E. Stanhope). Of course they all knew that the present Vice Pre- 694 sident had no part in framing the Code; and, much as his Predecessor had done when in Office, he had left much still to be done by his Successor, who he hoped would give his serious attention to this subject. He wished especially to call attention to the instructions given to Inspectors in regard to the Code of 1885, paragraph 6, which had reference to infant schools. There was a good deal of intelligent advice given to Her Majesty's Inspectors; but, still, what was laid down tended to prevent the application of the Kindergarten system to those schools. For instance—Your attention is specially directed to the results of instruction in reading, writing, and arithmetic.It should be remembered that these were not supposed to be subjects of individual examination, and that the adherents of the Kindergarten system followed a different plan in teaching children to read, write, and calculate, to that which had been adopted by the Government in previous years. Inspectors would ask children of three and four years of age to read very short syllables, and even to write a few letters of the alphabet; but the children in the Kindergarten were not taught in that way. They were taught the sounds and powers of letters, but not the names; and they would often read syllables without knowing the names of the letters at all. It was found that in this way they could associate sound and sense better than when, for instance, they were told, under the old system, that C, A, and I, as usually pronounced, made the sound "cat." If Her Majesty's Inspectors would allow the fullest liberty to the managers of schools who used this system, he prophesied that it would be found, when the children had reached the age of seven years, to have worked a very great improvement. He must again make his acknowledgments to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) for the facilities he had offered, and for what he had done in this direction; but until the paragraphs in the Code to which he had referred were somewhat altered, he did not think that the desired result would be obtained. For instance, the Kindergarten system in paragraph 10 was only mentioned by way of limitation. He there-fore hoped that the proper facilities 695 would be given to the managers of schools who desired to take up the Kindergarten system in its entirety.
§ MR. J. G. TALBOT
said, there was one subject referred to in the speech of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down on which he entirely concurred with him. He was not sure that the hon. Gentleman was in the House on the occasion of his calling attention to the evils resulting from the system of payment by results; but he thought he might call upon him to support the doctrine which he had then endeavoured to advance. When the hon. Gentleman asked the House and the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President to give as much liberty as possible to managers to conduct their schools in the way that seemed best to them, although the hon. Gentleman referred to infant schools in particular, he (Mr. Talbot) went a little higher, and said that this was a principle on which he thought they ought to act with regard to education in general. If his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education (Mr E. Stanhope) would go into this question in the same spirit as he had gone into the other matters relating to education, he believed he would find that the system of payment by results was one which, at no distant date, must engage the attention of Her Majesty's Government. The right hon. Gentleman had told them that there was to be a Commission appointed to inquire into the condition, from an educational point of view, of the blind; and they wore also told that special instructions were to be given to Inspectors to look into the condition of the deaf and dumb. But he (Mr. Talbot) thought that, at the present time, a little more courage was necessary. He wanted to see the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into the working of the Education Acts generally, because he was certain that a great deal of information was required on that subject. They were constantly hearing complaints from hon. Members on both sides of the House— certainly on that side—with regard to the unfairness with which the voluntary schools were treated. Then, again, they heard complaints about over- pressure in elementary schools; and on that point his right hon. Friend had made an important admission in saying that there was some ground for believing in the existence of 696 over-pressure, not only of children, but of teachers, which he thought was the greater evil of the two. Now, these were amongst the matters which he thought well deserved the attention of a Royal Commission; but he thought he might go on broader ground than that, and say that when a system of this kind had operated for 15 years it was not going too far to ask that inquiry should be made as to how it was working. He did not ask that any special modification should be introduced because his own political Friends were now in power; he asked for the appointment of a Royal Commission to go into all these subjects, so that they might have solid ground to go upon for what had so often been urged—that was to say, if the evidence given before the Commission showed that reform was necessary. The right hon. Gentleman had said that if managers would look into the conduct of their schools there would not be so much over-pressure as was stated to exist. But it must be borne in mind that managers were, to a great extent, under compulsion. They wore under the pressure of Her Majesty's Inspectors, and they were, of course, under the pressure of the Education Office. It might be the duty of managers to see, as far as they could, that neither the children nor the teachers were over-pressed; but they knew that the very existence of their schools depended on the result of the Inspector's visit. If, then, the whole pecuniary fortune of the school depended on the result of one single visit by the Inspector in the course of a year, it was not to be wondered at that a certain amount of over-pressure should take place which would not otherwise exist. Therefore, he said that Her Majesty's Inspectors ought to be instructed not to press the managers to over-press, but to discourage the practice as much as possible; and then the Department of the Government which had to deal with the subject of education should impress on the Inspectors themselves the desirability of refraining from anything of the kind. He was glad to hear from the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir John Lubbock) the admission—which coming from him was very valuable—that education in their schools ought not to be too bookish. Had he (Mr. Talbot) said that he might have been regarded as an Obstructionist to education; but 697 as coming from the hon. Baronet he trusted the remark would he received in a different light. No one, he thought, could doubt that it was quite as honourable for a man or woman to learn at the outset of life the manual work which they would have to do in their after career as it was for those intended for the position of clerk or lawyer to learn something of the work they would afterwards be called upon to perform. There was only one other subject to which he desired to call attention, and that was to the enormous burdens which wore now being laid, not merely on those who contributed to the' support of the voluntary schools, a subject on which something had been said by previous speakers, but also on the municipal bodies. He believed he was correct in quoting his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council as having stated that the School Board loans had amounted to £16,000,000. If hon. Members knew anything, as he had had occasion to know, of the expenditure incurred by the municipal bodies throughout the country in other directions, they would be somewhat startled at the enormous total of the figures that might be given. It should be remembered that these School Board loans were only one part of the municipal burdens borne by the people of this country; and he could not but think that something ought to be done to put some kind of check on their municipal expenditure. He did not say that he considered his right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Mundella) chargeable with extravagance in connection with School Board expenditure; but still, in regard to municipal expenditure generally, they were all aware of the great temptation there was to expend freely the money of other people, and he regarded it as one of the functions of Parliament to put a check on the extravagant expenditure of municipal bodies. Until Parliament 'had grappled with this question, which had now become a national one, of the enormous local expenditure incurred by municipal bodies, it never would be able to impose that restriction on the extravagance of those bodies, without which the evil would never he stopped. One point that ought to be borne in mind was that, however extravagant i municipal bodies were, the expenditure they incurred never seemed to make the slightest difference to their constituents. 698 The members who sanctioned the expenditure were re-elected all the same; and although hon. Gentlemen opposite might say—"If the ratepayers do not object, you ought not to do so," he felt bound to urge that it was the duty of Parliament to object, and that if it were the case that Parliament had a little more wisdom than other people—and he supposed it was generally conceded that it had, otherwise they would not be there at all—it must cither check these enormous local expenditures, or be prepared to see the day when it would be found that the burden they created had become almost unknowingly so great an incubus on the population that a strong reaction would set in and produce results which, whatever they might be, would be duo to the simple fact that Parliament had not opened its eyes to the extravagance of the municipal bodies, and had, consequently, failed to impose any wholesome restraint. He congratulated his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council on the very able and, on the whole, satisfactory Budget he had put before the Committee that night. He was sure they could all rely on his right hon. Friend's holding the balance fairly between the board schools and the voluntary schools, which had already accomplished, and were still doing, a vast work for the education of the whole community; and he would conclude by repeating that with which he had begun —namely, that he thought he had made out a strong case for the issue of a Royal Commission to inquire into the working of the Elementary Education Acts.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
Although I did not rise at an earlier period of the debate, I think the Committee is now desirous of getting through the discussion as rapidly as possible; and as I am anxious to correct what I deem to be one or two mistakes into which the hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Talbot) has fallen, I take the present opportunity of offering what remarks I have to make to the Committee. I trust I may be allowed, in the first instance, to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman my Successor in the Office of Vice President of the Council on the clear and interesting statement he has this evening placed before the Committee. I feel with the last speaker the utmost confidence that the 699 right hon. Gentleman will do as all his Predecessors have done, hold the balance fairly between all Parties, and administer the Education Acts in the spirit in which they were enacted by this House. The year that has just passed has undoubtedly been a year of the greatest progress we have ever had in regard to the Education Acts. It is really marvellous to note the strides education has made in this country, As the right hon. Gentleman himself has pointed out, the supply of school accommodation—that is to say, the seats provided for the children of this country—if properly distributed would meet all the wants of the country at the present moment. But, unhappily, this accommodation is not properly distributed. An excess of seats in the City of London, for example, will not meet the demand at Greenwich; and the same remark applies to Scotland and the rural districts, for it will be found that while there is an excess which tells up very largely in the tale of the whole supply of places, yet when you want to meet the demands of the increasing populations of the large towns throughout the country that excess is of no service whatever. There is, I believe, still the greatest deficiency to be found within the Metropolitan area—I allude especially to the growing suburbs of London; and on this point I may state that Mr. Hughes, a member of the London School Board, when he accompanied a deputation last year, stated that in the Metropolitan suburbs we can hardly build too many schools. In the great and increasing district of Lambeth, for instance, the population is extending so rapidly that something like four or five new board schools a-year are required to supply the demands of the increased growth of that part of the Metropolis alone. If, therefore, we are to keep pace with the actual wants of London we must erect a new board school for the accommodation of 1,000 children every month. This sounds like a prodigious demand as being merely what is necessary to meet the wants of a single population. My right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council has made a very interesting statement as to the cost of the scholars in the board schools and voluntary schools. I should be the last man to deny that there may be extravagance in the management both of the voluntary and of 700 the board schools; but, at the same time, I think it must be admitted that there has been an interested and a very unfair outcry against the expenditure of the school boards, not only in London, but throughout the country. I believe that the School Board of the Metropolis has done a work the importance of which the public hardly appreciate, and that the influence which that work is having and will continue to have in the solution of those social problems to which the right hon. Gentleman made reference at the close of his speech is likely to be greater almost than it is possible for the Committee to conceive. I have watched this work for the last five years—I might almost say for the last 25 years—and it is impossible for me to convey to the Committee my conviction of the excellence of the work that is now being done in raising up a population that will strengthen the national character and tend to check the evils of intemperance, pauperism, and vice, and in bringing the influence of education to bear in the solution of the most difficult problems of the day. And in saying this I am not speaking without actual knowledge. I hear a great deal said against board schools and the way in which they fulfil their purpose; but it is far from my intention to say anything against voluntary schools. I trust, therefore, that if I say anything in favour of board schools, it is not to be supposed that I am thereby depreciating the voluntary schools. It is a common error to suppose that when we speak well of the one we necessarily speak ill of the other. On the contrary, as has been well said by the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Sydney Buxton), there is ample work for both of them to do —aye, and even more than they can do; and I can bear testimony, from what I have seen during the five years I have been in Office, to the excellent influence which the managers of the voluntary schools exert upon the condition of the schools, and the teachers and the children who come under their care. There is nothing more valuable to the cause of education than the influence of good managers, while there can be nothing more pernicious than the influence of voluntary managers who neglect the duties of management in connection with the schools over which they have control. 701 Before I turn to the figures which the right hon. Gentleman has laid before the Committee, and in which there is a great deal that must have been of much interest to us all, I should like to tell the Committee something of the work that has been done, not only during the last five years, but during the period that has elapsed since the Education Acts were passed. There were two or three subjects touched upon by the right hon. Gentleman, and by other speakers who have followed him, to which, in the first instance, I wish to allude. The right hon. Gentleman has spoken of the educational progress made last year in England and Wales as having been greater than that attained by Scotland. I am quite sure the right hon. Gentleman did not intend it to be supposed that education in England had overtaken Scotch education. The progress made in England and Wales has been great because the scope for it has been great. The deficiency has been so large, and we have been and are so much in arrear of Scotland, that there has been more ground to make up here. We have not yet, as has truly been said, overtaken Scotland either, in the matter of average attendance at school or in the attainments of the scholars; and I am afraid it will be some time before we do so, especially as Scotland is continually making splendid progress, and may be expected in the future to make even greater advances than she has achieved during the past few years. Look at what was the case last year. I believe the progress then made by that country was greater than it had been for several previous years, and that the 18s. 1d. per head to which the grant has risen from 17s. ll½d., and for which the right hon. Gentleman has provided in his Estimate for next year, will be found too small, and that the right hon. Gentleman will find himself at the end of the financial year out of his calculation, owing to the progress Scotland is making being greater than he anticipates. This was the case last year; and we had to come down to this House and ask for a large Supplementary Estimate both for England and Scotland. And here I must say, with regard to all these Educational Estimates, it is impossible to forecast precisely what will be the expenditure for a particular year, because 702 it depends very much, not only on the zeal of the Local Bodies, on the action of the school boards, managers, and magistrates, but very much even on what may be the state of the weather. In a wet season the attendance is lower than it is in a dry season; and it is found that when there is a fine open winter in Scotland there is a considerable increase in the average attendance, and consequently in the amount of the grant for that country. The right hon. Gentleman has stated, as we ail admit, that there have probably been some cases of overpressure. I have never denied that there might be some cases; but my belief is that the physical advantages of attending school are all on the side of the good of the population; that the school attendance improves the health of the poor children, although not, perhaps, in the same degree as it improves their morals. The noble Lord opposite (Lord Algernon Percy), who knows something of the London board schools, can testify how splendidly the children go through their exercises; how those exorcises strengthens them and smartens them up, giving them habits of accuracy and discipline which are of the greatest possible advantage to them. I hope we shall do all we can to encourage the school boards in the development of this physical training. But it must be remembered that all these things cost money. I say, however, that we ought to have drilling places and drill masters, and we ought also to introduce, as I hope we shall do, gymnasiums and gymnastic exercises, providing the necessary apparatus, which, of course, will be the source of further outlay, for which, also, we must be prepared. I join with those who deprecate extravagance; but, at the same time, I think that parsimony in education is the worst economy in the world. It is an old story, but it was said by one of the Presidents of the American Republic—I believe by President Garfield—that all to be saved which depreciates the character of the education is lost twice over if it be saved at the sacrifice of advantage to the children. I say, therefore, that we ought to encourage these physical exercises; and I say further that not only are they beneficial to the children generally, but if we take the ease of the poor children who are sent from the one room in which the whole family reside—and in some of 703 the London board schools from 60 to 80 per cent of the children are those of families living in a single room—we find that those children are brought from the wretched streets and alleys, and the miserable staircases on which they are in the habit of playing, and placed in large rooms and good play grounds, where they can breathe a pure atmosphere, and where their lives are brightened, as indeed the children show themselves; for those poor little things, after all, love the school a great deal more than the children of the well-to-do working class. But the right hon. Gentleman has said that there are two things which we ought to beware of—home lessons and overtime. I admit that excessive home lessons must be a great disadvantage; but I should be very sorry to see the Education Department prohibit home lessons. If you attempt this, either in England or Scotland, but especially in Scotland, you will have an outcry on the part of the parents such as would very soon have the effect of reversing any decision you may come to in that direction. With respect to the question of overtime I am entirely in agreement with the right hon. Gentleman. I think the teachers have no right to keep the children for a month, or even two or three months, before the examination in order to give them a long training for the purpose of covering the results of past neglect. I shall be very glad to support the Inspectors in preventing this, for I know that they are all instructed to take care that overtime is not excessively resorted to; and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will support them in the endeavour to put an end to it. There is one point in connection with the subject to which I wish to allude. I refer to the over-pressure imposed on the teachers, and especially on the female teachers. If there is one thing more than another of which I have been thoroughly convinced for years past, it is that the whole method of training and working female teachers is unreasonable almost to the point of being absolutely cruel. Take the life of a female teacher. She begins, perhaps, as a monitor at the age of 13 and becomes a pupil teacher at 14, when she is made not only to teach all day long, but to do a great deal of drudgery both be-fore and after school hours. She has to be up early in the morning, and late in 704 the evening; she has to get up her lessons, so that she may be able to pass her annual examination, all this being in addition to her school work. At the age of 18 or 19, if she does not succeed at the Training College, she has again to go into school and work the whole of her time as an assistant, while she has also to work hard at her own education, in order that she may pass the examination at the end of the year and obtain a certificate, after which she ultimately becomes a schoolmistress. I cannot conceive anything more laborious than the life of such a teacher, who has to work hard in the school five days a-week, not only in the school itself, but before the school opens in the morning and after it is closed in the evening, cramming up to obtain her own education. This comes from the bad side of our pupil teacher system, which is the real outcome of the parsimony of the English people in regard to education. It came, in the first instance, from a desire to conduct education very cheaply. Still, it has its advantages; for the English pupil teacher who spends part of her day in school and the other part of the day in acquiring the education necessary for her future career becomes a better teacher and better able to manage a school than does the young woman who, after a training such as can be got in France or Germany, does not enter an English school until she is 20 or 21 years of age. There is, however, another thing I should like to point out to hon. Members. I have recently been visiting some rural schools, and I have been quite shocked to see the amount of work imposed upon the female teachers. In one case I saw a female teacher with 68 children under her.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
No; it was a voluntary school. That teacher had to go through the whole of the six Standards, and had also to look after a pupil teacher with her infant class. Her work, as she told me, was not done when she closed the school doors at the end of the week. She had to train her pupil teacher, of course; but she had to do more than that. She had been engaged on the condition that she was to teach in the Sunday school twice a-day, take the children to church, and play the 705 harmonium. The result of all this was that, week in and week out, that poor girl never had a day's rest. Now, there is no one in this House who has a higher opinion of the value of Sunday school work than I have; but, at the same time, I do wish school managers would arrange that this Sunday school work should be done rather by non-professional teachers, so that the ordinary teacher should have a day of leisure on the Sunday, in order that she might obtain a little needed rest. To keep the teacher at work every day in the week, Sunday included, is really cruel and unjust; and if any hon. Member will only take up the educational newspapers and look through them—say, The Schoolmaster or The Guardian —he will find advertisements for teachers who, in addition to the ordinary work of teaching in school and training the pupil teacher, are also required to do a great deal of quasi-parochial work. I think the time has now arrived when a considerable demand will be made by these persons for, at any rate, the Sunday's rest. With respect to this over-pressure on the teachers, there is no doubt that very much of it arises from the insufficiency of the staff; and wherever there is insufficiency of staff the teachers are overworked, the children are worried, and the school is not conducted with that system and order and regularity which ought to exist. The result is that there must be a push given first to one class and then to another, in order to bring the children up to a condition in which they may be able to pass the examination. What is really wanted is more staff; and when hon. Gentlemen opposite and those on this side of the House also contrast, as they frequently do, the cheapness of the voluntary schools with the cost of the board schools, I would beg them to bear in mind that by far too many of the voluntary schools have been and are being conducted with an altogether insufficient staff, and that that is one of the chief reasons why they are carried on at a cheaper rate than the board schools. When we come to look at the cost of many of the voluntary schools of London, we find that they expend as much, if not more, than the board schools in the country by 1s. or 2s. per head, and I know some of these that are spending even more than the board schools in London, and are at 706 the same time conducting their education with great success. 'There are several of these voluntary schools which I could name that are doing their work quite as well, or even better, than any other schools in the country; but then they are doing it with an adequate staff. The hon. Member for York (Sir Frederick Milner) has spoken about the education of the blind and the deaf and. dumb. I have listened with great sympathy to his remarks, and I am glad to be able to say that the late Government decided on asking for the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into the condition and education of the blind; and I may add that I urged upon my Colleagues that they should add to that investigation an inquiry into the condition of the deaf and dumb, because I considered that both these classes have been greatly neglected, and that a great deal of misery and pauperism are the result of their slighted education. I believe that the result would well repay a fair outlay on the part of the Government, if they would take care to have the blind and deaf and dumb properly trained. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Hubbard) has put forward a plea for an increased grant of 4s. per head all round. That demand, if assented to, would really mean an increase in the annual grant to the extent of £1,000,000, because it could not be supposed that the grant should be increased to the extent of 4s. per head in England without a similar addition being made to the grant for Scotland. If it is given in the one case, we cannot withhold it in the other. It must be remembered that there are at the present moment more than 5,000,000 children on the rolls of the English and Scotch schools, and that, consequently, if 4s. per head be added to the present grant, there is another £1,000,000 gone at once. Having regard to the fact that the voluntary schools are costing less and less for their management every year, and that there is a steady decline in the cost of education in those voluntary schools, while at the same time the grant is increasing, the fees are increasing, and the voluntary subscriptions are diminishing, I think it is unreasonable to make such a demand, and I do not suppose the right hon. Gentleman who made it is likely to find the Treasury 707 giving encouragement to any such claim. The hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Talbot) has urged the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into the general question of what has been done under the Education Acts. What I have to say upon that proposal is, that a great deal must depend, in the first place, on what are the objects of that Royal Commission, and, in the next place, on how the Commission is to be constituted. All I can say is, that if we are to have a Royal Commission to inquire into the character and quality of English education, and into our existing methods, and if the Educationalists are to be as fairly represented upon it as was the case in the Duke of Newcastle's Commission, I should be very glad to see it appointed. I am quite sure that the result will be an increased demand for a better class of education. An inquiry will certainly not result in cheapening the education of the country, or in lowering the quality of its tone. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Talbot) complained also of the system of inspection. It has become rather the fashion of late to complain of the Inspectors. I am sure that, so far as I was concerned, I did my utmost to re-organize the staff of Inspectors, and put all the machinery in such a condition that with proper supervision it would work smoothly. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Talbot) complains of the Inspector going but once a-year. I should have liked to ask him, if he had been in his place, how it is that the National Society, of which he is a member, adopt the very system of inspection for religious education which is adopted for secular education? Diocesan inspection is urged upon every school in the country, and the Diocesan Inspector goes round to every school once a-year. The results are found, I was going to say as important, but I think they are found more important, to the teachers of the schools than the results in the case of secular instruction. The National Society adopted just the same means of inspection; they classed the schools as fair, good, and excellent; and the teachers tell me that if they do not succeed in attaining a high standard in religious instruction they are more severely reproved by the Diocesan Inspectors than they are under similar circumstances by the Secular Inspectors. So if you are to abolish inspection for 708 secular subjects you must do very much the same thing in the case of religious subjects. Well, now, the hon. Gentleman also spoke of the enormous burdens placed on the ratepayers, and said the time had come to check the extravagances of the school boards. We are constantly hearing of the extravagances of the school boards. I should like to bring under the notice of the Committee a few figures, which will illustrate what is the cost of education in this country as compared with other countries. Let us take our own Colonies. I have here a Return which has just been issued relating to the year 1883. It contains a Report from the Government Statist of Victoria, and a most interesting Report it is. Now, what is the cost of education in our Australian Colonies? The population was 3,000,000 and some thousands. The total expenditure of the Australian Colonies in 1883 for education was £2,104,599; in round figures there was £2,000,000 of expenditure for 3,000,000 of population. If you were to apply that rule to the English population the cost of education in this country would be £20,000,000 a-year. Now, the whole cost of education in this country, including the Science and Art instruction, is under £12,000,000 a-year—I put it roughly at £12,000,000. £2,000,000 must be taken off that sum as the amount paid by children in fees, so the cost of education—Science and Art, Board Schools, Voluntary Schools, &c. — is £10,000,000. There are 35,000,000 of population, so that gives you about 6s. per head per annum for the whole population. Now, what is the cost per head per annum in Australia? It is 14s. And the cost in Massachusetts is 19s. per head per annum; and in the City of Paris it is 12s. 6d. per head per annum. We spend on education about one-third what is spent in Massachusetts; we spend considerably less than one-half what is spent by our Australian Colonies; and we spend less than one-half of what is spent in the City of Paris. Now, there are two or three figures with respect to the remarkable progress of the last few years which I think will interest the Committee. I have taken the results for 1869, 1879, and 1884 as to the number on the school registers and as to the average attendance. Well, in 1869 the number of 709 children on the school registers in England and Wales was 1,569,000, in 1879 3,711,000, and in 1884 4,337,000. The average attendance in 1869 was 1,063,000, in 1879 2,595,000,and in 1884 3,273,000; or, to put it another way, the average percentage of attendance was 67.78 in 1869, 69.93 in 1879, and 75.46 in 1884. If we take into consideration the number of half-timers, the average attendance in England and Wales was last year brought up for the first time to something over 80 per cent. Now, the most remarkable of all statements was the one that affects the educational progress. In 1869 the number of children in Standards V. to VII. was 91,400, in 1879 it had risen to 163,300, and in 1884—a lapse of five years—it had risen to 325,200. It will thus be seen that the numbers in the upper Standards have nearly doubled in the last five years. These results I am quite sure are satisfactory. I am also quite sure of another thing, and that is that the outlay on education is the best outlay the Government has ever made or is likely to make. There is in existence a very remarkable Paper which I hope will shortly be published. It has not yet come to the notice of the House; but I am enabled by the favour of the right hon. Gentleman the late Home Secretary (Sir William Harcourt) to make a quotation from it. The Paper relates to the administration of the Criminal Law, and contains a correspondence between the late Home Secretary and the late Lord Chancellor (Earl Selborne) upon the subject. Now, the facts set forth are most remarkable. They show that the decline in the criminal population is exceedinglyrapid—that, indeed, it becomes more and more rapid every year.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
It is a confidential document I am quoting from; but I have no doubt my right hon. Friend (Sir William Harcourt) will lay it on the Table if he were asked to do so. I can give some quotations, at any rate, from official Correspondence. The Prison Commissioners in their Report for 1883 say that the decrease in the number of persons in the prisons in 1881.2 and in 1883 occurred chiefly amongst the younger criminals, the decrease amongst those under 30 years of age forming 710 55.1 per cent of the whole, and amongst those over 30 forming 449 per cent. The number in prison under 16 years of age in March, 1880, was 429; it fell in 1883 to 268, and since then it ha3 fallen much lower. The total number of prisoners under sentence of penal servitude fell from 11,660 in 1869 to under 9,500 in 1884. But the great reduction is in the number of prisoners under 30 years of age, it having fallen nearly one-half. The Paper I have here attributes the decrease mainly to two things — the Education Act, and the working of our Reformatory and Industrial Schools. I hope that if the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. E. Stanhope) is in Office next year, he will see his way to extend the industrial school system. There is nothing more important than that we should have a thoroughly good system of day industrial and truant schools. There is no Royal road for solving the great social question which affects our large towns; but I believe that, by patiently persevering in this line, we shall do much to get rid of the misery and the depravity which is too common amongst our population. In conclusion, I must again congratulate my right hon. Friend upon his statement, which he made with so much ability and clearness.
§ LORD ALGERNON PERCY
said, he did not wish to detain the Committee many minutes; but as allusion had been made to the expenditure of the London School Board, he desired to say that, in his opinion, the question did require the closest attention on the part of the Education Department. He was rather surprised at one figure that was quoted by his right hon. Friend (Mr. E. Stanhope). If he was not mistaken, the right hon. Gentleman said that the expenditure or maintenance per head in the London School Board had somewhat decreased. That certainly did not appear to agree with the figures in the Estimate of Expenditure issued by the School Board, for the year 1885–6, commencing the 25th of March, 1885. There he saw that, for the current year, the maintenance of day schools provided by the Board amounted to 32s. 8d. per child; for the year ending the 25th of March, 1886, it was estimated that the net cost of maintenance would be 35s. 11d. per child, or an increase of 3s. 3d. per child, 711 Again, if they took the total expenditure of the London School Board, they found it had gone up in the year from £950,804 to £1,045,365. He did not wish to use the word extravagance in reference to the London School Board, as the hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Talbot) did, because he thought it was a great mistake to prejudge the case. If the present expenditure was absolutely necessary, nothing more was to be said; but there was a very general feeling amongst the inhabitants of the Metropolis that the expenditure was not necessary, and that feeling was likely to increase unless some good explanation was given. He therefore thought it was most desirable, in the interest of education, that an inquiry into the matter should be instituted, and a clear explanation of all the facts of the case given. The more one examined the accounts and compared the expenditure of the London School Board with the expenditure on education in the large towns of the country, the more it appeared necessary that some further light should be thrown upon the subject. The total expenditure of the London School Board for the next year was estimated at £1,090,000, and of that sum no less than 75 per cent was defrayed by the rates, 15 per cent was defrayed by the Government grant, and the remaining 10 per cent was defrayed by the school pence. The Committee would see, therefore, that the expenditure of the School Board was a matter which did affect very vitally the interests of the inhabitants of the Metropolis. Were hon. Gentlemen acquainted with the amount of income derived from the rates by the school boards in London and in the following large towns:—Sheffield, Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford, Hull, Leeds, and Liverpool? In the Provinces, the highest income ever reached, from 1880 to 1883–4, was in Bradford in 1881, and that was a little over 18s. per child; whereas, in London, the income had never been lower than in 1883–4, when it was £1 10.9. 7¼d, while in the Estimate just issued it would amount to £1 15s. 1d. Again, the average total expenditure per scholar had always been much lower in the Provinces than in London. The highest was in Bradford in 1883–4, when it was £2 7s. 7d., whereas it had always been 712 over £2 15s. in London, and it was now, he believed, a little over £2 17s. Therefore, it could not be said that the expenditure had decreased. He was far from saying that the work of the London School Board had not been exceedingly valuable; but that was not quite the point. The question was whether the work done could have been done as well with a less expenditure. It was also a question whether the work done was really of an elementary description, for which the London School Board was originally instituted. Now, if it could be proved that large towns in the country, having school boards, did good work and better work than the London School Board at less expenditure, then he thought the question arose, what were the different conditions which caused such an enormous discrepancy? It was all very well for the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) to talk about building a school every month to accommodate 1,000 scholars, gymnasiums, and the like. These were all very excellent institutions; but the question was, where were they going to stop? Was all this to be defrayed from the rates? The rates had gone up steadily every year, and now for school board purposes they were. 9d. in the pound. It must be remembered, too, that this increase had taken place at a time when the average attendance had increased, and the amount gained by Government grant had very largely increased, which would have led one to expect a decrease rather than an increase on the rates. The chief item of increase was under the head of "Salaries." The salaries for the year ending 29th September, 1873, amounted to £1 4s. 3d. per scholar; but in the School Board Estimates for 1885 they amounted to no less than £2 6s. 1d. per scholar. The number provided for was 312,671, so that the increase of the rate under this head alone amounted to £342,332, or to more than 2¾d. in the pound. In the Report of the Committee of Council on Education, the board schools in England and Wales, who did their work exceedingly well, obtained their salaried teachers at the rate of £1 12s. 0½d. per scholar. Some explanation was certainly required why such extraordinary high salaries should be necessary in London. It appeared also that the London School 713 Board found it necessary to give a salary of about £100 a-year more than was given by voluntary schools in London for masters and mistresses respectively. It might be said that the voluntary schools were, to a certain extent, starved; but he did not think that could be said truly of voluntary schools as a rule. The Return which had been granted on the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Somerset (Mr. R. H. Paget) showed how many voluntary schools suffered under Article 114. At any rate, if it could be said of certain voluntary schools, it could not be said of the board schools of Manchester, because in 1883–4 the grants earned by the board schools of Manchester amounted to 11¼d. per head more than those earned by the board schools of London, whereas the salaries paid in the board schools of London were 12,s 11d. per head higher than those paid in the board schools in Manchester. It therefore appeared that in the Manchester board schools better work could be done for 13s. per head loss cost than could be done by the London board schools, He had hitherto carefully avoided saying anything about the cost of building or of sites; but he could not help thinking that a certain amount of extravagance, or, he should say, undue expenditure, took place under those heads because of the undue competition which was created between board schools and voluntary schools. This competition took place in two ways. In the first place, by the board schools lowering the fees to such an extent that the voluntary schools suffered in consequence; and, in the second place, by putting up board schools in immediate proximity to voluntary schools, where they were not required, and where the result was to destroy the voluntary schools. A remarkable instance of this occurred in St. James', Westminter. The Pulteney Street Board School was built to accommodate 1,000 scholars at a cost of £33 per head. The result was that two national schools instantly lost 611 scholars.
§ LORD ALGERNON PERCY
said, he did not wish to detain the Committee on this point; but he could give the names of the schools if the hon. Gentleman really desired them.
§ LORD ALGERNON PERCY
said, the two schools were the National School, in Marshall Street, and St. Peter's National School, in Great Windmill Street. There were also three schools under Government grant and one school under Trustees, which were closed. The total number of places now vacant amounted to 1,711. All of those places could have been occupied by children receiving education free of any expense to the rates. But the most curious fact was, that in the parish at the present moment there were fewer children receiving elementary education than there were at the time the Pulteney Street School was built. He thought he had adduced figures to justify the very strong suspicion entertained by many that the expenditure of the London School Board was scarcely warranted, He considered that on all grounds it was most important that some inquiry should be made, with the view of securing some check, if there really was need for it, upon the present expenditure of the Board.
MR. LYULPH STANLEY
said, he did not think it was right he should detain the Committee long by going into the allegations against the London School Board, because they were now engaged in considering the general Education Estimates for the country, He would like, however, to refer to the observations of the noble Lord the Member for Westminster (Lord Algernon Percy). It appeared to him that the noble Lord had been misled by a document circulated by the St. James' Vestry, and from which he had quoted some of his figures. The noble Lord, who, he was sure, would not intentionally make a mistake, said that when the Pulteney Street School was built the schools in Great Windmill Street and Marshall Street were emptied.
§ LORD ALGERNON PERCY
said, he never used the word emptied. What he did say was, that those schools lost 611 scholars.
MR. LYULPH STANLEY
said, he had not the figures with him; but his impression was that both the school in Marshall Street and that in Great Windmill Street had substantially as many children now, or until six months ago, as they had before the Pulteney Street 715 School was built. The noble Lord must know that for some time past Westminster had been greatly disturbed by street improvements, and that might possibly have recently diminished the number of scholars in those two schools. The noble Lord had been misled very much, because he gave the Committee to understand that three schools had been closed in consequence of the erection of the Pulteney Street School. That statement was made in the document from which the noble Lord had quoted. It was a curious fact, that the schools mentioned were schools transferred to the London School Board. The premises were quite unsuitable for schools, and it was to replace them that the Pulteney Street School was built. One of them was the Craven School, very near to Marshall Street; one was attached to St. Luke's, and was transferred to the Board because the manager was unable to carry it on, as the lease was expiring; and the third was a school under a chapel in an adjoining street, and was hired by the Board while the Pulteney Street School was being built, and while the old school, on the site, was pulled down. He was satisfied the noble Lord would not again allude to Pulteney Street School as a school built so as to close three voluntary schools and to partially destroy two others. There were one or two matters mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. E. Stanhope) in regard to which he wished to make a few observations. He admitted that the cost in London was very high, as the right hon. Gentleman had stated, and he did not think he could hold out any great hope to hon. Members that, so far as London was concerned, it would be diminished. It had been mentioned that the cost of education in the schools was 12s. 4d. per head higher than in the voluntary schools. No doubt that was substantially correct; but he thought that one or two items would show that that was not very surprising. In the first place, the Vestries were not very friendly to the London School Board, and they had always taken the opportunity of putting the rating of the London board schools at as high a figure as possible; and the result was that the London School Board payments for rates amounted to about 3s. for each child. Again, whenever a voluntary school was transferred to the Board, 716 the Vestries always took the opportunity of raising the rating. Voluntary schools, as a rule, were rated at a very low and nominal value; but they had had cases of schools which, although rated at £50 a-year as voluntary schools, were, on transfer to the School Board, rated at £500 a-year. That, he said, was very unjust, and, as he had pointed out, it had contributed to bringing up the rate to about 3s. per scholar. It should be remembered also that the teachers in the voluntary schools were largely paid by items which did not appear in the accounts of the cost of those schools. It was no uncommon thing for the head teachers to have residences given to them as part of their pay, and that could not be put at less than £25 a-year; but it was an item which did not appear in the balance sheet, and a larger salary must, of course, be given where the teacher did not have a house given to him. He found that in one school the master was allowed to sell books to the children at the ordinary retail price, which gave him a profit of £10 or £15 a-year. That was regarded as a private transaction between the master and the child. It might, as an hon. Gentleman opposite said, be an exceptional case; but he (Mr. Lyulph Stanley) was stating the fact as it came within his knowledge, and he said that such a practice was clearly mischievous, because it was the interest of the master to force more books on the children than they required in order that he might make a profit. He admitted that the rate was very high, and it had been properly pointed out that the chief item of expense was that of salaries. It was there that heavy expenses were incurred. He did not wish to trouble the Committee more than he could help with regard to the London School Board; but he thought he had a right to ask the Committee whether they did not think that the salaries of teachers ought to be such as to attract the educated men and women in the profession of teachers? As they could get a jerry builder to run up a house at almost any figure, so, in the matter of education, they could get some wretched starveling to teach children somehow or other, and if they liked to pay the bottom price instead of the top price in the market, no doubt it was possible to cut down the expenses of the Board by many thousands of pounds in the 717 year. But he asked, whether it would have been a wise policy to try to grapple with the mass of ignorance in the country with the cheapest teachers that could be got? He said that, under no circumstances, would it be a wise economy to try to cheapen their teachers, even if teachers were to be had at low salaries. If they had to go into the highways and byeways for the children they had to instruct, he held that teachers of the highest morals, character, and ability, were not too good for their purpose. Those children were not to be taught reading, writing, and arithmetic only; they had to be civilized and humanized as well, and for that purpose the high moral qualities of patience, forbearance, and kindness were necessary. He said, considering the work that had to be done in London and in the great towns of the country, the best policy was to pay the best price in order to get teachers who could properly perform the difficult work that had to be done. He admitted that the cost of tuition was high; but it was the duty of the Education Department and of every liberal man and woman in the country to see that this work was done well. With regard to over-pressure, he believed that the over-pressure which did exist had been greatly over-estimated. There was a certain amount of overpressure, and he was certain there would be more of it, if stupid teachers were employed. But he agreed that there was great danger of over-pressure in respect of teachers, especially woman teachers and pupil teachers, and a great part of the responsibility for that rested with the Education Department, which had allowed for years a miserably inadequate staff to supply the requirements of the Department. The Education Department year after year had said that a certificated teacher should reckon on the staff for 80 children in average attendance. When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for (Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) laid that down as a minimum, did he not know that he was holding up a standard which many poor managers both of voluntary and of school boards would treat as a maximum? He said that the result of that was a scandal and a reproach to their system; and that when it was known that managers were working on that minimum, which the Regulations of the Department allowed, 718 it was for those on the Front Bench so to alter the Code that over-pressure as the result of an insufficient staff could not possibly arise. They must make up their minds, that if they were to have education worthy of the county, it would cost a great deal more than it had cost up to the present time. He would like to draw the attention of the Vice President (Mr. E. Stanhope) to the danger of over-centralization. He remembered having mentioned before in that House a remarkable speech of the late Earl of Beaconsfield, which he made in the memorable debate of 1839, when the first proposal was made for forming the Committee of Council. The Earl of Beaconsfield, then Mr. Disraeli, even at the beginning of the creation of the Education Department, raised the voice of warning against creating a Central Department which should interfere with the individual character of self-government in localities. He (Mr. Lyulph Stanley) acknowledged that where a Government grant was made there must be supervision, and that when efficiency was the basis of payment there must be a test of efficiency; but he objected to obstacles being placed in the way of people who wanted to teach something sensible and intelligible that did not happen to appear in the Code. He wished at this point to say a few words with regard to the growing interference with the managers of elementary schools. It was true that the Code itself lay on the Table of the House, but the Instructions to Inspectors were more in the nature of a Departmental document. It was, of course, very proper that Instructions should be issued to Inspectors; but his contention was that those Instructions contained many things which were practically additions to the Code, and that some of them were very material additions. There was one innovation with regard to the registers. It was necessary that registers should be kept, and the Department must make reasonable regulations as to the mode of keeping them; but he said it was a usurpation for the Department to proceed to extend by their authority to an enormous extent the time for which names should be kept on the registers. Those were matters which ought to be very much in the discretion of managers and teachers. He did not complain that names were kept on the register a clear fortnight; but 719 the Department had ordered that names should be kept on it for six weeks; and this year they had gone further, and said that names were not to be removed from the register unless it could be proved that the children had left the neighbourhood, or something of that kind. He always regretted very much to hear the Code discussed in the House of Commons, because the House was not competent to discuss these technical details; but the more they were obliged to refrain from discussing it, the more they must appeal to the forbearance of the Department not to make year by year fresh encroachments on the independence of schools. He was sorry there had been so little said in the course of that discussion of the efficiency, and so much about the cost of education— so little about the progress of education, and so much about the poor ratepayers, who, however, he believed, were quite satisfied with the results which their money was producing.
§ MR. ACKERS
said, he did not think the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Mr. E. Stanhope) would be astonished when he spoke on behalf of the dumb of this country, and said that he could not be satisfied with the answer given by the right hon. Gentleman that night. A Royal Commission had been promised for the blind, but not for the deaf. It was, he regretted to say, another instance of the indifference to the subject of the education of the deaf, that during the remarks of his hon. Friend (Sir Frederick Milner) there was a general buzz of conversation in the House. The Act of 1870 declared that the whole of the children of the country should be educated. But hitherto the Education Department had neglected to undertake the education of the deaf and blind. When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) was Vice President of the Council he had the honour of waiting on him on two separate occasions—one in the year 1877, and the other in March last—with deputations on the subject, who were told that the State took no cognizance of the deaf and blind in this matter; that there was no desire on the part of the Department to deny that they wore included within the Act of 1870, but the Department were not going to enforce that compulsory power of education with regard to the deaf and blind which applied to other children.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
I was not Vice President of the Council in 1877. The hon. Member only came to me this year.
§ MR. ACKERS
said, he found that, although wrong in his dates, he was correct in his facts, and that he was with the deputation which waited on the right hon. Gentleman in 1882—not 1877—when he was Vice President, and which was introduced by General Cotton. He believed they had had the sympathy of the right hon. Gentleman in this matter all along; but, notwithstanding that, and in spite of the fact that the State required that every child should be educated, nothing whatever had been done. He rejoiced that universal education was now the law of the land; but that law was not really carried out, and he maintained that it should apply to all children, and not be confined merely to those who could see and hear. The blind and deaf should have the same advantages in respect of education as their more fortunate fellow-creatures. He said that they ought to be made as capable citizens as education could make them; and that was a proposition which he believed could in no way be controverted. Still there was this general want of interest in the subject. He reminded the Committee that he had asked on a former occasion for a Royal Commission to inquire into the subject, and he had urged that, not because he had any doubt as to what ought to be done in the matter, but because he desired to bring before the House and the country sufficient evidence by means of that Commission. But the Commission was not granted, and the reply was that the Department had under consideration an inquiry with reference to the blind and deaf and dumb. Now, it had been very well said by his hon. Friend (Sir Frederick Milner) that the circumstances of the blind and the deaf and dumb were very different. Those who understood one of those did not necessarily understand the other; and at a conference of teachers and others connected with the education of the deaf in the United Kingdom, held in this City a few days ago, a Resolution had been unanimously passed that it would not suffice to have a Royal Commission to inquire into the condition of the blind, deaf, and dumb, but that a separate Commission should be granted to inquire into the education 721 and condition of the deaf and dumb. But he was afraid that the never failing recurrence of the argument about the ratepayer and the rates, would prevent the subject from receiving the attention which it deserved. He, for one, hoped that the present Government would grapple with this wretched system of rates. He hoped the Government would give effect to this, and that they would make a public announcement in this House, that one of the first things that should engage their attention, if returned to power, would be a fair re-arrangement of local burdens, so that every class of property might bear its fair share, and then he ventured to say there would not be found a single Member to come forward and say that this or that useful measure could not be carried into effect, and that this or that class of property did not bear a fair share of taxation. There was no one thing, supported partly by rates, in this country to which so large an amount of Imperial assistance was given as education, and if hon. Members would take the figures given by the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education that evening, they would see that the amount given in aid of rates was larger in proportion than was the case in any other matter partly supported by local rates. In his opinion, hon. Members made a great mistake in not taking the trouble to see how much was given from Imperial sources towards the relief of elementary education. There was no civilized country that did not take care of its deaf by giving them State aid and elementary education. The position in India with regard to the deaf and dumb was this. There was only one school for them, in which there were 10 children, and that was started last year by a foreign ecclesiastic. There were in their Indian Empire more deaf and dumb, all wholly uneducated, than the educated deaf of all ages in the whole world beside, and if it were not for the female infanticide practised there the number would be very much larger still. He would not detain the Committee longer on a subject that, as a rule, was not of much interest. He regretted that the debate had come on at so late an hour, when the attendance of hon. Members interested in educational matters was very small, and he apologized for having taken up so much time in advocating the claims of a class who, un- 722 fortunately, did not receive the attention which they deserved.
§ MR. MOLLOY
said, it had been suggested by Members on the Government side of the House that a considerable amount of dissatisfaction existed in this country on the subject of the education of the people. The hon. Member for Oxford University (Mr. J. G. Talbot) had suggested that a Royal Commission should be appointed for the purpose of examining into the whole question of elementary education in the country. And the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella), when he rose to speak on his own Estimate which had been introduced by the right hon. Gentleman's Successor, remarked that so far as he was concerned he would be willing to support the nomination of such Royal Commission. Now, a very large amount of dissatisfaction did undoubtedly exist at the present time on the subject of elementary education. The Committee has listened that evening to the speeches of three or four hon. Members, all of whom represented one single idea which ruled m the country with regard to education. They were a body of Gentlemen joined together in that House, having the same sympathies and the same ideas with regard to education; but outside them there was a very large proportion of the people of the country, who were thoroughly dissatisfied with the present system. In regard to the number of children attending the elementary schools, he pointed out that the voluntary schools educated two-thirds of the whole number, and that the board schools educated only one-third. As between the voluntary schools and the board schools the whole question was one of religious teaching. He and his hon. Friends maintained that there was no system of religious education in the board schools, and also that all education should be based on religious instruction. Their plan was a simple one. There were two sources from which money flowed for the purpose of education in this country—one was the Consolidated Fund, and the other the rates. Both the voluntary schools and the board schools had their share out of the Consolidated Fund; but the proportion of the grant which the voluntary schools received was not sufficient for the purpose of education; it did not pay more than one-third of their 723 maintenance. On the other hand, the board schools had not only their share of the grant, but they had also the rate which they collected under the powers vested in them by Act of Parliament; so that they had the managers of voluntary schools handicapped to this extent—that, with the exception of the small portion which they got from the Consolidated Fund, they wore bound to find two-thirds of the whole amount necessary for the purpose of maintaining them. Now, the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (Sir William Hart Dyke) had said in his remarks—"Whatever you do, use this Act in accordance with the intentions of the promoters of the Act." The promoters of the Act never intended it to be used in the way in which it had been used, and was now being used. It was intended as a supplement to the voluntary system, and it was intended that a proportion of the money collected under the powers of the Act of 1870 should go to the support of the voluntary schools; but they knew that the money had not gone in that direction, and that practically it had been absorbed for the purposes of the board schools. The point he was putting to the Committee was, in his opinion, sufficient to show that the complaint made by the supporters of the voluntary schools of the country was legitimate, and at least deserved consideration. It was for that reason that he was pleased to hear the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) say that he was willing to support the appointment of a Royal Commission for the purpose of examining into the whole question of elementary education. There were other reasons which he could name why such a Commission would be of advantage, both from the point of view of the board schools and that of the voluntary system. He might refer to a Motion introduced and almost carried, in reference to the board schools, by Mr. Taylor, under which it was proposed that the board schools should be opened free to all children—that was to say, that the school fees now paid should be remitted, and that the children should attend the schools without any payment on their part at all. He looked upon that as nothing more or less than the pauperizing of education with regard to 724 the class who would avail themselves of the advantages of the schools, and who were well able to pay for education under the old system. He thought there was more in this point than might appear at first sight. A large number of those who attended the schools would be children of tradesmen, and if they were to offer them education without any effort being made on the part of their parents, he repeated that it would be pauperizing them and a class of persons who could pay. He was not, however, going to discuss the point on that occasion; he simply put it forward as a subject which might properly engage the attention of the Royal Commission which had been suggested. Then there was the question of the rate, which went on increasing year by year, and the gross amount of which, according to those competent to form a judgment, was 2s. 6d. in the pound. That was certainly a subject worthy of examination at the hands of the Royal Commission. The fact was, that the whole of their system of elementary education had been built up piecemeal, and not on any consistent plan—it had not been a single consolidated idea brought forward at once. The Education Act of 1870 was introduced by its authors avowedly as a supplement to the voluntary schools; and the Prime Minister of the day, when the Bill was introduced, had stated in the clearest terms that it was not intended in any sense to interfere with or lessen the power, or lessen the revenues of the voluntary schools, and he said also that the rates raised under the powers vested in the schools should also be devoted to purposes necessary to the voluntary schools. But that had not been done. He had intended to make a strong complaint as to the treatment of voluntary schools, to show how great was the injustice under which they suffered, and how great the difficulties they had to contend against. Notwithstanding that injustice, and notwithstanding those difficulties, the voluntary schools had held their own with the board schools; and except as regarded decimal points—the difference being as between 88.10 and 88.17— there was no difference between the efficiency of the board schools and the voluntary schools. To be frank about it, he thought there was a slight increase in favour of the board schools; but, 725 practically, the voluntary schools had held their own ground, and that under conditions that were somewhat startling, for if they took the cost per head in the voluntary schools and in the board schools last year for education—which it could not be denied, in fact, which it was admitted, was equal in efficiency in the one as in the other—they found the difference was as follows:—In the Church of England schools the cost per head was £1 15.s. 2d.; in the Catholic schools, £1 12s. 6d.; and in the board schools, £2 14s. 6d. Well, on the face of it, there was something wrong. There must be some extravagance and unnecessary expense somewhere to make the difference between the board schools and the voluntary schools so great as that. With regard to efficiency, he had said that this year it was rather in favour of the board schools; but that could be easily accounted for by the fact that the board schools were lighter, healthier, pleasanter, and altogether more comfortable schools than the voluntary schools. Their maps and books were much better; the teachers were much better paid, the difference being £100 a-year, he believed—£250 in the board schools, and £150 in the voluntary schools. There was a growing discontent in the country with regard to the elementary schools. Hon. Gentlemen around him who belonged to the Radical Party would maintain that that discontent was all in one direction; whilst he and his Friends were prepared, on behalf of the parents of two-thirds of the children educated in the country at the present time, to maintain that it was in exactly the opposite direction. What was the dispute and difference between them—between the two schools? Why, it was this—the difference between Christianity and no Christianity. This point was a very important one, and one that would command greater attention before long. Whatever the opinion of this country was, he and his Friends maintained —and in these matters it was always best to state what they meant—that the board schools were really being used for the extinction of Christianity. He did not allege that that was done purposely, but such was certainly the fact. ["No, no!"] That was the statement he and his Friends made in all seriousness. Their allegation was this—there was no religious education in the board schools.
§ MR. MOLLOY
Allow me to finish my sentence. I say you have no religious education in the board schools, as we understand it.
§ MR. MOLLOY
said, he should be glad if the right hon. Gentleman would allow him to finish. What he maintained was that in the board schools they had no religious education such as they — if the right hon. Gentleman liked to call them so—Religionists—believed religious education ought to be. The school boards had no formulas; they had no catechisms; no explanation was given even of the Bible. There was no explanation of the Scriptures except such as the teacher chose to give; and who were the teachers in the board schools? They might be anything. A man was not excluded on account of any particular creed. The School Board Authorities could not exclude even Mr. Bradlaugh if he obtained a school. Take the two extremes—take himself, for instance, and Mr. Bradlaugh, holding views as diametrically opposite as it was possible to conceive. If they were both appointed teachers in board schools they would both be expounders of the Bible, and that was called "religious education." Could any man in his senses call it "religious education?" A teacher might be a believer in the Bible; he might, on the other hand, be no believer in it, and a denier of its truth—a man might be a strong Religionist or an Atheist, and yet it was called "religious education" when a teacher, whatever his qualification, was made an expounder of the Bible. He was only stating the fact. Children of from five to 13 were instructed in religion in this way by teachers appointed for their experience and knowledge in teaching, and without reference to creed —by teachers appointed no matter what religion they belonged to, and no matter whether or not they had any religion at all. They who did profess creeds— and he was not speaking of his own coreligionists, the Roman Catholics, in particular, but of all creeds, Catholic, Church of England, Wesleyan, Presbyterian—did not believe that this expounding of the Bible by secular teachers was religious education. It certainly was not Christian education. Well, on the other hand, in their own voluntary 727 schools they had Christian education, a fact which nobody would deny. If the schools were Church of England they had Church of England teaching; if Catholic, Catholic teaching. There was, then, an enormous difference between the two systems. [A laugh.] His hon. Friend might laugh—he might laugh because they differed, but he could not deny the facts. No one could deny these facts. They were true and were not to be denied, although, of course, a different interpretation might be put upon them. Hon. Members might hold a different opinion to him, but he had put the two different opinions before the Committee, one of which would have to prevail either now or before long. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Mundella) and those who thought with him were in favour of the present school board system, whereas he (Mr. Molloy) and his Friends were opposed to it. He was no opponent of the board schools, nor, that he was aware of, were any of his Friends who took the same view as himself on this question. They demanded the fulfilment of the Act as it was brought into the House and passed into law. They also demanded justice for the voluntary schools, which, up to the year 1870, were all that existed for the education of the people. He would impress that fact upon those who were now so keen about education and the extension of the board system. He did not, however, wish to enter upon a lengthened discussion on these points with hon. Gentlemen. All he desired to do was to place before the Committee the reasons why he advocated the concession which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) said he had no objection to, and which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Peterborough (Mr. Sydney Buxton) was also in favour of. Another thing he wished to press upon the consideration of the Committee was this—that they had chaos now existing in their different systems of education in the country. He and his Friends were not satisfied; others were not satisfied. It was a piecemeal system—a system which had been pieced. It was a disjointed system altogether. Whatever the result of such a Royal Commission as that asked for might be, it would have this satisfaction —that it would be the decision of the country; and he maintained that the de- 728 cision of the country had never been taken on this grave question of voluntary education in the country. In 1870 the Act was not understood by the people outside, and from that time to the present it had been changing from its original intention to its present form in such a manner that he held that the people of the country did not now understand it. The Act had never had the sanction of the great body of the people of the country. It might be that the result of such an inquiry might be entirely against the voluntary schools. If inquiry were held, and proper examination were made into the subject, he admitted that they would have to abide by the result; but there was one thing they were not prepared to abide by—they were not prepared to abide by the present system without some examination of it being made to see what changes were necessary. It would be all the better for those who were so strongly in favour of the present system under the school boards—which he (Mr. Molloy), whether rightly or wrongly, called the non-examination system—that such an examination should take place, as it would strengthen their hands in the future. The Religionists were willing to abide by the examination. All sides, he believed, were willing that this Royal Commission should be appointed, and he made this appeal to the Government strengthened by high authority, for even the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) had assented to the proposal.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
begged the hon. Member's pardon. He had certainly not assented to the proposal; but, on the contrary, had looked upon the proposal with disfavour, and had expressed his objection.
§ MR. MOLLOY
said, that he had understood the right hon. Gentleman to assent to the proposal in his opening observations, and he must confess it had astonished him very much. Of course, the right hon. Gentleman would oppose such inquiry; he was afraid of it.
§ MR. MOLLOY
Yes; the right hon. Gentleman was afraid of the subject being examined by a Royal Commission, because he knew that two -thirds of the people of the country were against the gradual extinction of the Voluntary system—they were not opposed to the 729 School Board system, but were opposed to the extinction of their own system, which, at great cost and under great difficulty, they were still keeping up in the country. Notwithstanding anything the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Mundella) might say, he (Mr. Molloy) would earnestly urge on the Government to adopt the course he proposed. What was the system the right hon. Gentleman was in favour of? Did the Committee wish to understand it? The mere statement of it would be sufficient to give the Committee to understand the surprise he had felt when he had thought the right hon. Gentleman had been willing to assent to the appointment of a Royal Commission. Let hon. Members read the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the late President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain), delivered at Birmingham on the 15th of January, 1883—at a meeting at which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield was present. They would find in that speech a clear indication of the tone of mind of the right hon. Gentleman the late Vice President of the Council and of the late President of the Board of Trade—their tone of mind with regard to the system of education which had grown up under their thumbs in the country. The system was a copy of that which existed in France —he would quote two or three words from the speech to which he referred as an illustration. The right hon. Gentleman the late President of the Board of Trade had said—It is interesting to observe what direction public opinion is taking. Mr. Mundella has spoken of the gigantic efforts which are being made in France in order to further national education in that country. The present position of this question owes much to that great Republican who is just dead, the premature termination of whose illustrious career is a loss, not to France only, but to the Liberal cause throughout the world. But, in France, M. Gambetta made it a chief point in his policy to draw a sharp line of distinction between the Church and all matters of education, and it is in that direction, I do not hesitate to say, that the thoughts of men and the acts of legislators are constantly tending.Here they had, then, a tendency on the question of copying what had happened in Prance. Let them consider for a moment what this system was which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Chamberlain) and his Colleague so much admired and so much desired to introduce 730 into this country. Well, it might be summed up in the words of one thoroughly well acquainted with the matter, and which they could all indorse, for they were equally well acquainted with it. This was the policy of the French statesmen, whose policy some of our own leading politicians were so anxious to copy—The abolition of chaplains in the Army; the abolition of the judicial oath"—and they had heard something about the Oath here in the House of Commons only the other day—the abolition of the annals of religion from schools; attacks on grants for public worship;and so on. That was the French system under M. Gambetta, and which, as he (Mr. Molloy) had said, was to be introduced under the direction of those who, like the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Mundella), said they would not consent to any examination into this matter by a Royal Commission. M. Jules Simon, speaking on this very system he (Mr. Molloy) had described, and which was to be copied in this country, had said—The Atheists make the law; this is pushing the respect for minorities a little too far.Well, he did not want to go into a discussion of those matters, although they were of vast importance, and were well worth consideration. All he had wished to do had been to give just the headings of their objections. He admitted that people who took an opposite view to them—that was to say, to himself and his Friends—had as much right to their opinions as he had to his; but he desired to show the divergence of opinion between them. He spoke of the divergence of opinion amongst the public, for they each spoke for their own section of the public. He had pointed out that the whole elementary system of education in the country had been made piecemeal—that it was disjointed from beginning to end. He had pointed out the increase in the rates, an increase which many said was undue, unfair, and extravagant to the last degree; and he had pointed out that the calls were going on increasing, and that no one would say whether this time two years the rate would not be 2s. 6d. in the pound. That, if it occurred, might be the best thing that could happen to the 731 country, or it might be the worst—he would not pretend to say which; hut great dissatisfaction was growing up, on the ground of the increase of this rate, amongst the people who had to pay it— not amongst those who had the management of it, but amongst those out of whose pockets it was taken. He had pointed out, also, that this new question of the opening free of the board schools, under the Motion of Miss Helen Taylor, which was so nearly carried by the London School Board the other day, and which was to come before hon. Members in the form of a Petition to the House, was opening up a new channel, not only of discontent, but also of danger of the pauperization of education amongst a class that were quite able to pay for it—he meant the small tradesmen. He had pointed out, also, the great injustice which this gratuitous education would inflict upon the voluntary schools. In point of fact, he might take every point of the educational system of the country, and show how much discontent existed on the one side or the other; and he contended that in order to put an end to this discontent, and to obtain a settlement of the question—which it was admitted was the most important question which could occupy the attention of the House, not only from his point of view, as he had already stated, but from the point of view in which many would agree with him, that in the board schools, as at present conducted, religious teaching was a sham, and meant nothing more nor less than the extinction of Christianity in England—in order to obtain a settlement of the question, an inquiry should be instituted. The phrase he used in regard to the result of the Board system of education was a strong one, no doubt, and he would not adopt it unless he felt bound in duty and conscience to do so. If they took the children who had been educated in the board schools, he freely admitted that their proficiency in secular subjects was very high; but in regard to religious instruction, if hon. Gentlemen followed them, as they had been followed by those whose duty it was to examine into this question, they would find that the state of mind of nine-tenths of them was a state of mind represented by an absence of religious feeling. He did not mean that their state of mind was 732 an absence of morality or an absence of honesty, but an utter absence of religious feeling and liberality of thought on questions of morality that would astound the House if it were to go into the subject and study it as it ought to study it. That was a broad statement, but it was one he was prepared to stand by. Given 10 years longer of the present board system in this country, and the voluntary schools would loose every chance of continuance. It would mean the extinction of the voluntary schools by the board schools of the country. But the country would not have that. The late Government might say—"You have power over the rates; we will have no examination." But, whether they wanted an examination or not, that examination should take place. The discontent was so great, and was increasing so much from day to day, that those in authority would not be able to withstand it. He saw the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. E. Stanhope) back in his place, so he would discontinue. He had made his remarks in good faith; but he did beseech the Government to use the power they now had in their hands to have a thorough examination made into the whole system of elementary education in the country—not for the purpose of carrying out the views of himself, or any other individual or section, but in order that they might understand what the state of things was, which was a thing they did not clearly know at present. He asked the Government to do that in all sincerity; and he declared that if they did not now use the power which had been placed in their hands somewhat unexpectedly, and use it in the direction he had pointed out, honestly and fairly, they would, he thought, be guilty of a great dereliction of duty, and of something far worse— that was to say, of an act of cowardice in connection with a matter of the greatest and most vital importance.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
asked the permission of the Committee to make a short explanation. The hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had imputed to him that he was in favour of the French system under M. Gambetta. Now, he begged to say that he had never expressed the least sympathy with such a system, and that he had always expressed himself thoroughly hostile to it —that was, so far as it affected the ex- 733 elusion of all religious teaching from the country. He had always been opposed to that system, and he hoped he always should be.
§ MR. RANKIN
said, he did not rise to continue the discussion on the relative merits of board and voluntay schools, although he might be allowed to give his opinion, in passing, that as far as rural districts were concerned, the more board schools were kept out, and voluntary schools encouraged, the better it was for all classes. But he merely rose to throw out two suggestions—one, with regard to industrial or technical education. His suggestion was that a great many more subjects might be introduced into the category of extra subjects, and that it should be within the power of managers of schools to take any of those subjects which they thought fit as extra subjects. For instance, gardening, basket-making, and shoe-making might be very advantageously included in the list of extra subjects as suitable for boys. Amongst the subjects suitable for girls, cooking might with advantage be included. If those subjects were taken as extra subjects in lieu very often of grammar and geometry— not that he undervalued grammar or geometry—he thought the alteration would prove very valuable to the ordinary children of their rural elementary schools. He hoped his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council (Mr. E. Stanhope) would consider whether that might not be done, to some little extent, at all events. No new agency need be brought into play; it would be left to the managers themselves to devise means for the introduction of the extra subjects; and all the Government would have to do would be to cause an inspection to ascertain whether the school was, in respect of the subject, worthy of a grant. Cooking, he looked upon as one of the most important subjects which could be taught the rural poor, who, for the most part, were lamentably deficient in that useful art. He thought that a better knowledge of gardening combined with a better knowledge on the wife's part of how to cook the products of a garden, would go a long way towards the amelioration of the condition of their people. The other point he wished to urge on the attention of the right hon. Gentleman was the method of stimulating what was some times called higher 734 education. He had been an Examiner under the Diocesan Board for a great many years, and his experience had convinced him that, upon the whole, the education of their rural poor was about as high as was necessary for their ordinary walk in life. Occasionally, however, one came across clever children who were able to attain a much higher standard of efficiency than their brethren, and if for those children a system of Scholarships for some of the higher schools could be established, the difficulties of the case might be met. He did not think it was possible to screw up the education of the masses of the people to a higher point than it had at present attained, nor did he think it would be altogether wise to have the people educated in a higher degree, having regard to their walk of life. When a clever boy or girl came to the front, it would be a matter of great kindness to them if they could obtain some Scholarship which would enable them to go to a school of higher education, and, if clever enough, to pass on to the highest rank of Scholarship in the country. What he had stated had been carried out to a large extent in Liverpool by voluntary agency, and he thought it might with advantage be drafted on to their system of elementary training. He agreed with a good deal that had fallen from the hon. Gentleman the Member for Oldham (Mr. Lyulph Stanley) with regard to the autocratic powers which Inspectors very often took upon themselves. More should be left to the genius of their school managers. He would not detain the Committee further than to express the hope that the right hon. Gentleman would turn his attention to the two suggestions he had made.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ (2.) £311,573, to complete the sum for the Science and Art Department.
§ (3.) £280,174, to complete the sum for Public Education (Scotland).
§ MR. COCHRAN-PATRICK
said, he might, perhaps, be permitted to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Mr. E. Stanhope) on the very clear and able statement he had made to the Committee with regard to the progress of education in Scotland, and he might also 735 congratulate the Committee and Scotland on the very satisfactory statement it had been in the power of the right hon. Gentleman to make. They had been told that the progress made in Scotland for many years had not ceased. This year, in spite of very great depression in agriculture, in trade, in commerce, and in manufactures, they wore able to record a very sensible increase both in numbers and in the quality of the education imparted to the children of Scotland. There were, however, one or two points which he would like to deal with very briefly. In the first place, they had again in Scotland to contend with an evil which had existed almost from the very first—an evil which paralyzed, to a great extent, all the the best-intentioned efforts of the school boards in that country—he meant the evil of irregular attendance. He understood that of late there had been an improvement in the attendance; but the improvement was very slight, and the necessity for dealing with the evil still continued to be as urgent as it was before. He impressed on the Department very strongly the necessity of urging school boards to use every effort in their power to deal with the matter. He was not one of those who thought it would be possible to do away altogether with irregular attendance. There were always causes—illness, epidemics, and the like—which would make a sort of normal irregular attendance; but, apart from those causes, there was in Scotland an amount of irregular attendance which might and ought to be prevented. There was another point to which he wished to ask the attention of the right hon. Gentleman, though he was aware that, in regard to it, he held opinions adverse to those of the Department—it was the question of the attendance of infants at the board schools. He was quite prepared to admit that in large towns, where the schools were situated at no great distance from the homes of the parents, and where those homes were on sanitary grounds very imperfect, it might be of the greatest possible advantage to the children, both physically, morally, and intellectually, to be put to school at a very early period; but when they had to deal, as they had to deal in Scotland, with very many rural parishes in which children resided considerable distances 736 from school, it would be a great pity if too strict a line of compulsory attendance, or of attendance at all, were to be drawn in the case of mere infants. He was inclined to believe that one of the chief reasons why in Scotland they had been free from the evils of over-pressure was that hitherto they had not insisted upon very young children being brought under the operation of the Education Acts. He would not do much more than mention the question of over-pressure, because it had been so often before the Committee. He had been Chairman of several school boards in Scotland, and he had looked into the question with care both from a theoretical and a practical point of view. He was satisfied from the evidence before him that while in England cases of over-pressure did exist, in Scotland they existed only to the number that would be found in every country where they had to deal with 500,000 children of various stages of intellectual capacity. He thought one other reason of the absence of overpressure in Scotland besides that he had already alleged—namely, that they had not insisted so much upon infants being unduly pressed at a very early age— was that they taught a much greater variety of subjects than was taught in the board schools in England. But he entirely agreed with what had been said by several hon. Members who had addressed the Committee as to the necessity for guarding very carefully against over-pressure in the case of the teachers in the board schools. He was aware of cases of that kind. He believed that the real remedy for over-pressure in the teaching staff was for the School Boards to see that they had a sufficiently large staff, and that they had teachers who were thoroughly trained to their work. He could not help alluding to one matter which had attracted and was attracting very growing attention in Scotland in connection with education. There was a feeling, and he thought there were good grounds for it, that it was absolutely necessary to separate the two Departments in London. He was sure it was not beyond the scope of the knowledge of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. E. Stanhope) that some such demand had been made, and the ground on which the demand had been made was that in Scotland the conditions of education differed not only in degree, but in 737 kind from the conditions which prevailed in England, and that it was difficult to manage satisfactorily the education of two countries, the conditions of which differed in essential particulars. Now, in the first place, they had in Scotland a system of education which was not purely elementary—the State-aided system was not purely elementary as it was in England; and, in the second place, they had not to contend with what in England was called the voluntary system. They had no parish or educational unit in Scotland in which there was not a school board, and in consequence of that some of the adverse conditions which affected education in England were fortunately absent in Scotland. And, in the third place, they had in Scotland in educational matters a freedom from sectarian questions which he ventured to think was greatly to the advantage of education, and it was very necessary that in whatever changes might take place in the Department this important feature should not be lost sight of. He would not dwell on the point, because he understood from what had occurred in "another place" the House would before long have an opportunity of discussing it; he only mentioned it here for the purpose of directing attention to its importance. Now, he thought one result of the mingling of the two educational systems in one Department was practical inconvenience, and that practical inconvenience had been shown in a very marked manner of late. The Education Department issued a Minute in June last dealing with the important subjects of drawing and cookery. With the teaching of those subjects he was entirely in sympathy, and he believed it was intended that the provision made in the Minute should apply to Scotland. In consequence of the mingling of the two Departments he understood it was quite impossible that the Minute could apply to Scotland. If that was so—he hoped it was not—it would show more than anything else the necessity he had been urging upon the Committee of having the Departments separated. Now, there was one other suggestion he wished to make to the Department in consequence of what took place principally at the last triennial election of school boards in Scotland. It would be within the knowledge of the Committee that Questions 738 had been asked in reference to the proceedings at those elections. Without going into the details of any particular cases, he thought it would be very desirable if Parliament could see its way to extend to school board elections in Scotland all or at least some of the provisions of the Parliamentary Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Act. There was only one other matter to which he should like to draw attention. He heard with the greatest satisfaction what was said by the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Mr. E. Stanhope) with regard to the inspection of higher class schools in Scotland. Last month the Scotch Education Department issued a very important Circular on the subject. What the Department expected to obtain was a trustworthy estimate of the position and resources of higher education in Scotland, in order to enable them to form an opinion as to how far the functions of each educational institution, whether elementary schools, higher schools, or Universities, could be dealt with. The Minute was a most important one, one from which he expected the most satisfactory results. He was not going to give any opinion on the method proposed by the right hon. Gentleman for the promotion of higher education, because he had not had the time to consider fully how it would work. He might say, however, that the aid proposed to be given appeared to him to be very inadequate. He hoped that, before the scheme was brought into operation, the Department would take an opportunity of fully considering what its results were likely to be. He was sure the object the right hon. Gentleman had in view was one in the highest degree laudable. What the right hon. Gentleman intended to do would have an important bearing on the education of the people of Scotland; but he (Mr. Cochran - Patrick) was not altogether satisfied with the method by which it was proposed to attain tie end in view. He did not wish to take up the time of the Committee by referring at any length to the question of education in the Highlands, because there were other Members more intimately acquainted with the Highlands than he, who were better able to deal with the subject. As far as he had been able to learn from the Report to which the right hon. Gentleman had alluded, the proposals there made, 739 or something akin to them, were absolutely necessary if the people of the Highlands were to derive the advantages from education which were derived in other parts of the country.
called the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Mr. E. Stanhope) to the puzzling nature of some of the questions put in examinations to young children. He understood that, in the examination of Scotch schools, questions of compound proportion were put to the children, while such questions wore omitted in the examination of English schools. He had had occasion to ask in the House Questions regarding the difficult nature of a sum of compound proportion which had been set children of 12 years of age. He was answered by the right hon. Gentleman's Predecessor (Mr. Mundella) that the sum had actually been put to children of the 6th Standard; and he was subsequently informed that it was put to the students in the Training College, and that only five out of 40 succeeded in solving it. Frequent complaints had been made that Inspectors indulged in very extraordinary and puzzling questions; and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) stated that Instructions had been issued to the effect that that style of questions was to be avoided. In his reply, however, the right hon. Gentleman admitted that the very question to which he (Dr. Cameron) referred had been put to children months after the Instructions on the subject were issued. There was another point to which he should like to call attention, although it did not exclusively relate to Scotland—he meant the system of physical training. In every country in the world except this a certain amount of physical training was recommended and encouraged by the State in the case of children educated in public schools. To find exactly what he referred to, they had only to go out of the Department presided over by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. E. Stanhope). One would hardly expect that the most perfect example of schools in which physical training was encouraged was to be found under the Local Government Board and Poor Law Guardians; but such was the case. The other day he visited the Surrey District School, near Sydenham. The school 740 was presided over by a very able gentleman, a Mr. Marston, who had adopted the system of physical education, and who had succeeded in imbuing with his views the Guardians who constituted the District Board. In that school some of the most wretched children of the Metropolis were received. There were some 800 of the pauper children of a population of 500,000, and they were placed in the school from the age of three. In the ordinary population of that age the mortality would be, he supposed, about 10 per 1.000 per annum; but in this school the mortality was only four per 1,000 per annum. The children were kept occupied; their tendency to vice was kept in check by the constancy with which they were exercised. Boys and girls alike were trained in physical exercises. The boys devoted a certain time each day to the gymnasium; they were trained to swim, and the result was that out of these wretched materials fine stalwart youngsters were turned out. They were trained industrially, and when between 14 and 15 they were sent forth into the world able to earn from 10s. to 15s. a-week. He thought that was a very satisfactory result. Of course, industrial training was altogether outside the scope of the right hon. Gentleman's functions. But in connection with the primary schools, in many countries—in France, in many parts of Germany, and notably in Sweden—a system of physical training, by means of what were known as free extension exercises, was given with the most beneficial result. The system of physical training was applied not only to muscular development, but to the improvement of the eye-sight. In Germany a very great deal of damage had been done to the eye-sight to the children by their being obliged to study under improper conditions; and he was afraid that in this country a similar result was being brought about in the spread of popular education. He was perfectly certain that if the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Mr. E. Stanhope) would pay a visit to a few of the schools under the Local Government Board, he would see that even from their pauper system were to be derived lessons which he might with great advantage apply to the public schools of the country.
said, that when the Estimates for Scotch Education were 741 before the House last year the present system of providing for the training of teachers by denominational schools or colleges was considered, and he then urged that the present system should be abandoned. Since then this subject had come up more seriously, and had attracted the attention of influential bodies in Scotland. The Educational Institute, in several of its branches, had shown dislike of the present system, and there was a general opinion that denominational institutions were ineffective, as well as otherwise objectionable. The Educational Institute memorialized the Universities, which were really national institutions, that they should undertake the duty of educating the teachers, and prevent education being denationalized by sectarian schools, which were under the influence of one or other of the Churches of Scotland. He did not know what view the other Universities had taken; but the University of Aberdeen looked upon the proposal favourably. In Edinburgh and St. Andrew's there were already Professors of Education, who, he had no doubt, were ready to discharge the duties of the Normal Colleges. With regard to Aberdeen and Glasgow the case was different. He had placed in the hands of the Minister of Education copies of Memorials which the University of Aberdeen, who had taken up the subject, had presented to the Scotch Committee of Privy Council on Education last year and this year. The University had expressed their wish that the charge of training teachers should be transferred from the present Training Colleges to the Universities. The University authorities would, upon the transfer to them of a proportion of the grant of £26,000 now paid to the Denominational Colleges, provide for the appointment of a Professor of Education, so as to be enabled to pass students through a special curriculum equal to that of the Normal Colleges, as well as maintain practical model schools and other appliances which might be necessary fur that important purpose. He wished to bring this matter before the right hon. Gentle-man (Mr. E. Stanhope). He wished to know whether this question had engaged the attention of the right hon. Gentleman, or whether it would do so now? It was a most important movement, and the feeling in Scotland 742 was increasing in strength against the denominational system, and more especially against the training of teachers under denominational influences. He could answer for the feeling, both of laymen and Churchmen, being increasingly roused against it; and since a proposal had been made by one of the Universities that this duty should be performed by national institutions, free from sectarianism, he could hardly doubt that it ought to engage the consideration of the Government.
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT (Mr. E. STANHOPE)
said, that if the Committee would allow him he should like to express his thanks generally to hon. Gentlemen for their exceedingly kind references to himself, and for their various suggestions for the improvement of the Code, and in other respects for the improvement of education in England and Scotland. Hon. Gentlemen had coupled with their suggestions the very kind proposal that he should not answer the questions raised, but should take the opportunity which would be afforded him during the Recess of devoting attention to them. That proposal he should accept, and it was not, therefore, his intention to-day to answer the questions which had been addressed to him. There were only one or two points as to which he thought he ought to give an answer. First of all, there was the point raised by the hon. Member for North Ayrshire (Mr. Cochran-Patrick). The hon. Gentleman had mentioned some Minutes which had been recently issued. Well, those Minutes were issued before he (Mr. E. Stanhope) had anything to do with the Education Department. His attention had been drawn to them, however, and he had examined the matter. He had found that the Minutes were issued with the best possible intention —namely, with the intention of explaining that no difference would be made between the treatment of England and Scotland. Those Minutes were now on the Table, and would soon come into force; but he had come to the conclusion that for the future separate Minutes ought to be issued for the two countries. Then the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, the Member for Aberdeen (Mr. Webster), had asked him about the position of Aberdeen University, and had called his attention to certain Memorials that the Universities 743 had presented to the Education Department in regard to the difficulty. That subject would engage his attention. He believed the difficulty had arisen from the fact that at Aberdeen there was no male Training College. There was a female Training College, but no College for males, though the University was especially connected with males. Certain suggestions had been brought be-fore the Education Department; and he might say, speaking generally, that the Education Department was favourable to the proposal of the Aberdeen University. Communications were going on, and the Department was waiting at the present moment for financial proposals, which would have to be considered as to details. As soon as those details were obtained, the Department would be able to consider the suggestions of the Aberdeen University and the hon. Gentleman, and to come to a conclusion which, he hoped, would be satisfactory to the University of Aberdeen. He did not know that there was any point on which it was necessary for him to further detain the Committee.
§ SIR LYON PLAYFAIR
said, the Committee was in a peculiar position in passing a Vote of £500,000 without knowing who the Minister would be who was to administer it. If they knew who was to be the responsible Minister to administer the £500,000 he should be exceedingly glad, and so would the people of Scotland. If the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. E. Stanhope) were to be the responsible Minister he should be satisfied, and would have confidence that the Education Code would be administered wisely and well. He was not allowed to discuss debates which had taken place "elsewhere;" but he might observe that in "another place" it had been decided to cut the right hon. Gentleman in two—to cut Scotch education off from his official care—and that some Minister, they did not know who, was to replace him in regard to the charge of these Votes. It was a really unsatisfactory thing that they were asked to pass this Vote without knowing in the least degree who was to administer it—whether it was to be administered by a man of large experience in such matters, or whether it was to be relegated to a new Minister, a man of no experience in educational matters. He did not intend to propose the ad- 744 journment of this Vote, and should reserve any further observations he had to make either to the Report stage, or until the proposal was made to them to do away with the present Minister now responsible for Scotch Education in that House and have the Vote administered by someone else. That proposal was one which, when it came before them, must receive great attention. He only mentioned the matter now in order to protest against this large Vote being asked for without their knowing who was to administer it.
§ Vote agreed to.