§ 1. £2,182,224, Public Education.
§ (4.33.) MR. PICTON (Leicester)
There are only one or two points I desire to refer to, but I think they are not without importance. Article 99 C. lays down that as a rule children of 163 seven years of age must pass in the first standard. That, no doubt, appears to be a very practical and sensible rule. We all wish to see children advance as rapidly as they can with due consideration for their health and general development, but my point is that the continued insistence upon the individual examination of children at the age of seven in Standard I. absolutely prohibits the adoption of the Kindergarten system in our infant schools. I cannot get any Vice President of the Council or any sufficient number of Members of this House apparently to appreciate the importance of that consideration. While, however, I have the honour of a scat in this House I shall never miss the opportunity of insisting that we must continue to be altogether behind in the race of educational progress while we make so little use of the Kindergarten system in our schools. We are obtaining far lower and more imperfect practical results than we should obtain if we abandoned the system of mechanical cram, and adopted the system of kind and loving culture which is provided by the Kindergarten plan. There are many Kindergartens established throughout London, and in various parts of the country. The aim of the system is to develop the child naturally by pleasing and agreeable exercises, which involve very little labour to the child, and, in fact, are really a kind of play. Then I find in the Code an assumption that words of one syllable are necessarily less difficult to read than longer words. That is an old-fashioned and absurd notion. Some of the most difficult words in the language are words of one syllable, such as "eight," or "one," or "taught," or "wrought." The fact that such an assumption should be made with regard to the first standard shows, I think, an incorrect apprehension of what the real difficulties are at the beginning of a child's career. Under the Kindergarten system the sounds of letters are taught and associated with certain signs which the child sees before it, and by a very gradual and natural process the child comes to read almost without being aware that any effort has been made. The arithmetical standard is an absurd one to adopt for a child of seven. A child of that age cannot have the 164 remotest notion of what a thousand means, or of any larger number than it can count upon the fingers of its hand. In Germany it is the custom to keep children at numbers under 10 for a whole year, giving them continual practice in the simple numbers, and thus importing a faculty for future progress that is never obtained under any other system. I think, at all events, the Department might allow more liberty to schoolmasters in these respects. I do wish the Education Department would re-consider this matter, and not make it a hard and fast rule that every child of seven must pass through the second standard. A great deal of what is called over-pressure arises simply from our rigid and mechanical system of teaching. We do not make the teaching interesting to the children, and, therefore, their nervous system is strained, and their faculties break down. I will earnestly exhort the Vice President of the Council, if he wishes to introduce a valuable reform which would be pleasing to all the best friends of children, to re-consider this matter. I wish to allude to another point, respecting the new system of classifying teachers. A new distinction is to be enforced between trained and untrained teachers. One would naturally suppose that by a trained teacher would be meant a man or woman who had gone through proper practice, had become familar with all the necessary technicalities of school teaching, and had learnt the proper subjects. But the word "trained" in this New Code is taken to mean something different. It means that the teacher to whom it is applied has passed through a training college, which is approved by the Department. Far be it from me to undervalue the importance of passing teachers through training colleges wherever it is practicable, but that is a very different thing from saying you must draw a lifelong distinction between those who have passed through a training college and those who have not. Surely, if it is a common expression that the proof of the pudding is in the eating, the proof of the teacher is in the teaching. If a teacher proves by his successes, by his power of organisation, and by the progress of the children under him that he is as capable as a man who has gone through a training college, why should you insist upon 165 a stigma of difference between him and his trained colleague? I am aware that the Vice President has conceded that the distinction shall not be retrospective, but only prospective; but this concession will complicate matters even more. Instead of having only two varieties of teachers, the trained and the untrained, you will have three, namely, those; who have passed through the training colleges, those who are untrained but to whom the rule does not apply, and those who are untrained to whom the rule does apply. The real difference between one man and another in a school is, that one man has the gift of teaching and another has not. It is almost as true of a teacher as of the poet, that he is born, not made. If a man is born with a capacity for teaching he will make the best of the poorest material. Therefore, I really think it is rather hard to institute a distinction between the two classes of people throughout their lives, without any regard to the way in which the untrained teacher may perform his duties. Some time ago the Education Department offered to graduates at college and to ladies who had passed certain university examinations the opportunity of entering the teaching profession in our elementary schools, even though they had not passed through the ordinary training college. Experience and practice were required, of course, but this being acquired these ladies and gentlemen were recognised as equally qualified for the profession with certificated teachers. But this position is now taken away, and upon these teachers rests, as a sort of stigma or disqualification through their career, the distinction that they are not trained teachers because they have not passed through a training college. This, I think, is scarcely dealing fairly with this class. Again, another question, and I think a very serious one, is the ever-recurring religious difficulty. I do not wish to introduce any element of dissension into this, which ought to be a friendly conversation, but still it is a matter that ought with all fairness to be considered. I find in the minority Report of the Royal Commission on Education that the number of students in the Church of England training colleges in 1886 was 2,210, or a proportion of 67. 5 per cent, of the whole of the teachers under train- 166 ing in that year. Of course, there are no Board training colleges, although Board school teachers are put as a separate denomination in the statistics of school attendance. In the British colleges the students were 15. 7 of the whole supply for the year. But when we turn to the attendance at the schools under different denominations the percentage is entirely different. While the Church of England students are 67. 5 per cent, of those under training for teachers, the children in average attendance at Church of England schools are 47. 3 of the whole attendance at elementary schools, the Board schools having' an average attendance of 36. 4, and these Board school teachers have no special training colleges. This shows that the supply of denominational training colleges is disproportionate to the demand of the denominational schools, and the result is that many Nonconformists, or those who are not attached to any particular denomination, have great difficulty in being passed as teachers at all, as the managers of the denominational training colleges expect as a rule that the students shall he of that religion to which the college belongs. This Code provides for the foundation of day training colleges where all denominations may meet together, but as only a very limited number of students will be able to avail themselves of these, the proposal is wholly inadequate to meet the needs of the day. The result of this disproportion between the supply of colleges and the demand for training by those who do not belong to the Church of England or any particular denomination is that young people must do violence to their religious or conscientious scruples, or be debarred from the benefit that a training college gives. They qualify themselves as best they can by attending classes and passing examinations. Why, however, should there be anything in the nature of a stigma upon them; why should they be supposed to occupy a lower position? Much dissatisfaction prevails upon this point, and I hope this matter will receive re-consideration.
§ (5.0.) MR. J. G. TALBOT (Oxford University)
There is much in the criticism which has been offered from hon. Members on the other side with which I can agree, but I am sure I am at one with my right hon. Friend when 167 I say I am quite sure there is no intention whatever to cast any slur upon those able, hardworking teachers who have not passed through training colleges. I am sure Her Majesty's Government recognise the good work done by untrained teachers. I must take exception to the assumption that the constitution of Church of England training colleges should be altered to supply the whole body of trained teachers for the country. What the Church of England colleges attend to is the supply of an adequate number of trained teachers for the schools of the Church. It does happen that a large number of Board school teachers are trained there, but that only shows the appreciation the Board has of the training given, they are glad to get teachers so trained. If there is any grievance on the part of denominational bodies, religious or non-religious bodies, who may think the training should be other than it is, well, the simple remedy is for them to put their hands in their pockets and provide themselves with training colleges, which I have no doubt would receive recognition by the State, and would supply the teachers required. Turning from the remarks of the hon. Member on this subject, I join in the chorus of congratulation to the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President upon the success of his New Code. I avoid old controversies, and will simply say we have before us a most satisfactory Code. Of course, like all human institutions, it has its imperfections, and I am sure my right hon. Friend will not think I am going beyond the limits of friendly criticism when I say it may be possible even now to make improvements in this Code. The advantages of the Code are apparent at once, simplicity in the allotment of the grant; less variation in the annual grants, both very important improvements, and carrying out the spirit of our wishes, which we have long urged in vain; and a third advantage is to be found in the liberty of classification allowed to teachers. This is a substantial advantage, but I am bound to mention, on the other hand, a point deserving attention which, if attended to, may make this Code still more satisfactory. The Code makes increased requirements from schools, but the new scale of grants will fail to meet the requirements in 168 many cases. There are advantages given to small rural schools, but there is a class of schools not sufficiently attended to yet doing good work which will not get assistance, schools in large scattered rural parishes with populations of about a thousand, more or less. In these parishes educational work is carried on with a struggle against great difficulties. Such parishes there are in Bucks and elsewhere, large and with a sparse and poor population, where education is carried on with very little assistance from the wealthier classes. I think it would be worth the attention of the Government whether in such places assistance could be given by way of special grant in some manner. I know it may be said if education cannot be carried on by voluntary subscription recourse may be had to a School Board, there are those who think this a panacea for all evils, and the way to bring about perfection in education. But this is not the doctrine generally held in such places, nor do I or many of my hon. Friends near me share in any such view. The inhabitants in these parishes are content with the present system of schools, and do not appreciate any addition to the rate burdens they have to bear. There can be no question but the rate system is more expensive than the voluntary system. Let me-say a word upon what was said on the last occasion in Committee, I think by the hon. Member for Poplar (Mr. Buxton), to the effect that voluntary subscriptions have very much diminished. That is an exaggeration; they have not very much diminished. They have not increased pro tanto with the number of schools which, I am quite prepared to say, must be maintained by voluntary effort. But let it be remembered that a great deal of voluntary assistance is given which never appears in the balance sheet of school accounts. For instance, the building or land is often the property of the Lord of the Manor, or of a resident in the parish, and the free gift of such things constitutes a very important contribution, which yet finds no place in the balance sheet. Teachers' houses, too, are often freely given by landlords, but the very important contribution in the form of a remission of rent is not set out in the accounts. Many other methods might be mentioned 169 in which assistance is given in money, or money's worth, towards education. All these are voluntary contributions, yet because they do not appear in the balance sheet of school accounts hon. Members are tempted to get up and say, "You call these voluntary schools, but you do not contribute towards the support of the schools as you should." Certainly it is the duty of church people to maintain their schools by voluntary contributions, but before we are subjected to criticism on this account let full credit be given for the actual contributions that are made. There is a point has been urged upon my right hon. Friend, and I think there will be general agreement that it deserves attention. The teaching of drawing is to be compulsory under the new Code after August 31, 1891. As a member of the late Royal Commission I congratulate the Vice President upon the acceptance of our recommendation in this respect; but, at the same time, it is well to consider how this will practically work. At the present moment it is absolutely impossible to teach drawing- in every school without doing injustice to existing teachers or to the resources of the school. The present Code contains no drawing syllabus or regulations. The regulations, when introduced next year, as they presumably will be, should be so framed that school managers in schools where the present teachers are not qualified to teach drawing under the Science and Art Department may be allowed to introduce the teaching of drawing gradually. There are many schools admirably taught by male and female teachers, who yet are unable to teach drawing, and could not qualify themselves for that teaching within a limited time. Surely it would be a great hardship to a master or mistress that, though conducting the school admirably under all the requirements hitherto demanded, he or she should be sent to the right about because unable to teach drawing. This could be met by an Instruction to Inspectors that they shall be satisfied that the means of teaching drawing cannot at present be provided, and in the belief that the Department will have due regard to the interests of all I have nothing but thanks to offer for this change. With regard to the pension question, all who are interested 170 in the status of the teachers must agree with the right hon. Gentleman in his expression of opinion that it is not in a satisfactory state. There are some small grievances connected with the teachers of 1851 which I think that the Government might well remedy. Is it worth while, for the sake of the small sum involved in this matter of persons, to encourage the grievance of a most deserving class of teachers? I would make an earnest appeal to the Government to act generously towards the claims of teachers engaged between 1851 and 1862, that they may receive the pensions to which they consider themselves entitled. There is another point upon which I shall find myself in opposition to the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir J. Lubbock). I cannot help thinking sometimes, as I listen to remarks upon the extension of the curriculum, that we are apt to be a little too ambitious. I do not wish to deprive any boy of these opportunities of getting all possible instruction from which he may derive advantage, but I think we have reached or exceeded the limit of education which should be provided from the public funds. I do not in the hast grudge the fullest opportunities being afforded to clever boys by means of scholarships, or at the expense of their friends, but I think it is a mistake to overload the ordinary curriculum of elementary schools with subjects that are no part of elementary education in the ordinary acceptation of the term. This, I know, is not a popular doctrine, and it may shock my hon. Friend the Member for the London University, and others, but it is my decided view that all that the public are called upon to do is to provide the children of the working classes with full opportunity to read well, write well, and cipher. For that view, I have the authority of the late Mr. Bright, who advocated this view pretty much in the words I have used ["No, no!"] Well, the hon. Member for Bradford expresses dissent, and he can correct me if I am wrong in the opinion I attach to the words used by the late Mr. Bright There is a great danger nowadays in people being led to suppose that the State should do everything for everybody. It is a most pernicious doctrine, but it is a doctrine that is largely applied to educational matters. While I would offer 171 every reasonable facility for the development of education beyond the elementary education the State provides, yet it ought to be borne in mind that a great proportion of those who contribute through the rates towards this system of elementary education are but little richer than those whose children are thus educated, and it is most unfair to ask them, out of their scanty earnings, to contribute to what may be termed the luxuries of education rather than the necessaries. With these observations I conclude, as I began, with congratulations to my right hon. Friend. I think the Code of 1890 will be a happy epoch in our educational history.
§ (5.20.) MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)
I had not the good fortune to hear the Vice President the other night when he made his interesting statement, but I have read his speech with care, and I can heartily congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on the great advance the new Code indicates in the direction some of us have for years advocated. For the first time we have changes made which will have the effect of making education more practical, interesting, and attractive, and will strike at the root of that system of payment by results, which has been the curse of elementary education for so long. The teachers have long groaned under that system, and lam glad it is to be so largely modified. At the same time, of course, I admit that the State must take security for the due application of its money, and I am jealous of any alteration that may have the effect of lowering the efficiency of our schools through inefficient inspection. We must insist upon getting a full return for our money. It is quite possible to secure that without the odious grinding system of payment by results. I desire, also, to commend the Code for the increased liberty of classification it allows. There never was a more preposterous doctrine laid down than that children should advance in line year by year, no matter what the difference in their abilities, health, and social condition, and I am glad to find the Code recognises this. I thank the Vice President for the step he has taken in widening the curriculum of education, and I cannot agree with the remarks of the hon. Member for Oxford University (Mr. Talbot). This will have the effect of 172 making education more attractive and interesting than in the past, when the memory was the sole faculty that was developed, and nothing was done to draw out the imaginative faculty. What we wish is that the children should leave school with a taste for further education and knowledge. A course of mere reading, writing, and ciphering, sickens a child with education; these are the means, and not the end. We would have a child leave school with his powers of observation stimulated and with some elementary knowledge in science, such as the hon. Baronet (Sir J. Lubbock) has done so much to inculcate. To this end I am glad to find drawing is to take a leading place. This, with such subjects as agriculture, cookery, laundry work, &c, will make the school a pleasant, interesting place for children, while it brings home to parents the advantages of the education of their children. Too long has our system of education been merely a strain upon the memory—a recollection of phrases, not a knowledge of things. I hail with delight this useful beginning of a better state of things. The true principle is that of the Kindergarten system, which I found in admirable operation at the Marlborough. Street schools in Dublin. I wish especially to commend the Vice President of the Council for his courage in putting' manual training into the Code. I believe that to be one of the greatest social reforms it is possible to carry out. There is in this country a great mass of unskilled labour. In our large towns there are tens and hundreds of thousands of people who are incapable of using their hands in any effective manner, and it will be impossible to put an end to the destitution prevailing in the East End of London, and our other large towns, until a good system of manual training is introduced. We have heard a good deal lately about the Sweating Commission. There is at present a mass of children who live in the streets, who rise to manhood and womanhood knowing nothing and capable of nothing, and as they grow up they become a part of the great mass of casual labour to be found in all large towns. The material upon which the sweater draws is just this class of helpless, casual labour, and we shall never put an end to sweating until we raise the condition of 173 this mass of people, and fit them for better work than these victims of the sweaters' dens are capable of. I rejoice at the introduction of manual training, because I believe it will be the means of raising to a more healthy level the social condition of this great mass of our population. I wish also to thank the Vice President for what he said with reference to continuation schools. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman "that there is complete unanimity with reference to these schools." It is surprising that the nation has been so sleepy and backward with respect to this matter, but a few of those on this side of the House have taken every opportunity of pressing the need of these continuation schools on the House of Commons, and I myself have introduced a Bill in three successive Sessions for their establishment. I thank the right hon. Gentleman for having adopted some of our suggestions, and for having so heartily responded to our appeals. I hold that such schools, if rightly expanded, would do mere to rescue the children of the poor from the degradation of the London streets than anything else. There is nothing more lamentable than the utter waste of educational power which goes on under our present system. There never was a more wasteful system than ours. The average child at the age of 1G will be found to have forgotten almost everything he has learnt. The Vice President has admitted there is a huge gap between the time when a child leaves school and the time when he gets occupation, but it is the fault of the House of Commons that this huge gap occurs, and it is our business now to find a means of bridging it over. In rural districts the average age at which children leave school is about 11 years; in some districts they leave even at 10. This is, in my opinion, a shameful fact. In large towns it is somewhat better. I n London the average is about 12½ years, though in many of the large towns it is not more than 11½ to 12. The very fact that children are allowed to leave school when they pass a certain standard encourages this system, and causes clever children to be leaving school earlier and earlier. A quick child can get through the Fourth Standard at the age of 10, and, what is worse, parents look upon it as a great object to get their children away from school 174 That system is utterly unsound. We want an age standard and not a qualification standard. Every other country of any degree of civilisation has an age standard. In Germany it is 14, with continuation schools up to 17. In Switzerland 15 is the earliest age at which a child leaves the elementary day school, and then there is an excellent system of continuation schools. In France 13 is the compulsory age, and in that country, also, there are excellent continuation schools. We are so far behind other countries that we ought to be ashamed, and that is the reason why in our large towns we have a social condition which most other countries would not tolerate. If we had a good system of continuation schools we could make some allowance for children leaving school early. Our present system of evening schools is ill but a dead letter. The number of children attending them is so small that they are scarcely worth mentioning, and even the few who do attend, attend so irregularly that they derive little benefit. We are glad to think that these great changes have been made in the Code. Under the new Code the character of the education to be given in evening schools will be left largely to the discretion of the teachers. That is a step in the right direction, for the teachers will be able to provide for the real educational requirements of the children, and it will make the schools more attractive. But something more is wanted. Without some measure of compulsion we shall never get the mass of the children of the poor into our continuation schools. I know that many hon. Members do not altogether approve the suggestion of compulsion. But I say that the great bulk of the children of the working classes could, without difficulty, give an attendance of three nights a week during five months of the year. That is all we ask for. Why should there not be compulsion? I do not believe that the people will object to it, if useful practical education is given. The views of the country upon the question are more advanced than the Government think. With compulsion we should have not 40.000, but 400,000 children attending evening schools. Without it it is hopeless to expect that the education of slum children will be continued in evening schools. Nothing but com- 175 pulsion will save these poor children from walking in the wretched footsteps of their parents. Girls need continuation schools quite as much as boys. The wretched plight of many poor women, sweated seamstresses and others, is due to the fact that they have had no educational training such as would tit them, for example, to be domestic servants. I think all girls should be instructed in domestic economy. I am glad that cookery is to be taught. If girls over 12 years of age are required to attend evening schools for two or three years there will be many fewer of these sad failures in life. At the Berlin Conference it was agreed the age of child labour ought to be raised, and that children under 12 should be forbidden to engage in industrial work. But in this country children are allowed to enter factories at the age of 10 years. I hold that our present half-time limit ought to be raised from the age of 10 to 12, or, at any rate, to 11. Another most needful change would be to make attendance at our day schools obligatory up to the age of 13. I am afraid that Germany will soon be ahead of us in labour regulations, as she is at present in the matter of education. I hope the Government, therefore, will go a little further than they have done; that they will raise the half-time age, and that; they will make attendance at day schools obligatory up to the age of 13. I view their proposals for elementary education with satisfaction, but I cannot close my eyes to the fact that a great deal still remains to be done to put us a head of other nations. We are allowing a vast amount of our national resources to be wasted. There are untold possibilities of progress in this country if but we would work the educational mine as we might do. I hope that the House will not be contented with the poor results we have so far obtained, but will insist on a much higher standard, and its necessary concomitant—a much happier social condition.
§ (5.57.) COLONEL EYRE (Lincolnshire, Gainsborough)
I hope that when teachers are examined special regard will be paid to the question of their abilty to impart knowledge. In Germany teachers are required to pass high examinations in the art of teaching, and 176 theresult is that, in imparting knowledge, the Germans are far superior to any other nation. A man may be a Senior Wrangler or a double first, but it does not follow that he can impart information to children. I trust the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council will give this point consideration.
§ (5.58.) SIR J. LUBBOCK (London University)
I had no intention of speaking on the present occasion; but as the hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford has referred particularly to me, perhaps I may be allowed to say a few words. I was sorry to hear the remarks of the hon. Gentle man, because I had hoped we were practically agreed. The hon. Member signed the Report of the Royal Commission which recommended as essential subjects of instruction in elementary schools, not only reading, writing, and arithmetic, but also English history, English language, geography, and a knowledge of the elementary facts of Nature—that is to say, of elementary science. The right hon. Gentleman said he thought it sufficient to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic; but if we are to teach reading, it would be just as well that the children who learn to read should learn something that may he useful in their after life. We keep the children at school in London not so long as some of us might wish, but, at any rate, until they are 12 or 13 years of ago, while in other districts in the country they are not kept quite so long at school, I am sorry to say. Nevertheless, an intelligent child of 11 or 12, and still more an intelligent child of between 12 and 13, is capable of learning-much more than mere reading, writing, and arithmetic. They never will read in after life if reading is not made to interest them; and, remembering this, we are bound to give them the best education we can—that is to say, the kind of education which is likely to prove useful to them in after life. One of the great faults of the education we give to these children is, that it is not made sufficiently interesting to them, and is not carried on afterwards by continuation schools; so that the children soon forget what they have already learned. I fully concur in much that has been said in the excellent speech 177 of my hon. Friend (Mr. S. Smith), and I agree with him in thinking we might do a great deal more than is being done at present to make the education of our children interesting, and in that way to keep thorn for a longer period at school. The hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Talbot) who has just spoken has alluded to what he calls the luxuries of education; but, as far as I am concerned, I do not regard mere reading, writing, and arithmetic as education at all. They are simply the preliminaries to education, and unless we teach our children something more than that, we can hardly say we have given them an education. I would remind my hon. Friend of the Report which he himself has signed, a Report expressing the unanimous opinion of the Commissioners on Education, that not only reading, writing, and arithmetic should be taught, but that some of the other things he just now so much deprecated were essential to the education of the children of this country. I am very reluctant to have it supposed that we are advocating anything which is Utopian or impossible, and I would remind the House that the Report of the Commission I have referred to — a Commission selected from those who had a practical knowledge of educational matters—was practically unanimous. I do not wish to go beyond the recommendations of that Commission, and I do not wish the idea to go forth that we differ in opinion on these points from the judgment given by that body. I know that a great deal has already been done with a view of making education more attractive in our elementary schools; and I trust the result of the New Code will be to give us a good deal more in the same direction. Of course, the New Code does not give as all we could wish. I regret that the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council has not been able to adopt all the recommendations of the Royal Commission, although I am glad to see he has been enabled to adopt many of them. We might, however, have hoped that on the points upon which the Commissioners were unanimous the Government would have given effect to what they recommended. Under the Code as it stands children can only be presented in two of the four subjects, 178 namely, history, geography, elementary science, and the knowledge of English. These should be regarded as essential portions of the education given in all our elementary schools. Perhaps we could not make them obligatory at once, but, at any rate, we might encourage the teaching of these subjects in all the schools. I hope my right hon. Friend will consider this suggestion, as I feel assured that if he would adopt the recommendations of the Royal Commissioners in regard to these matters, he will very greatly improve the New Code, for which, even as far as it now goes, I have to thank him as a step taken in the right direction.
§ (6.6.) VISCOUNT CRANBORNE (Lancashire, N.E., Darwen)
No one can have listened to the remarks of the hon. Baronet who has just sat down without a good deal of pleasure. But, for my part, I must rank myself rather as a disciple of my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford than as a follower of the hon. Baronet opposite. The hon. Baronet, speaking of what he termed the luxuries of education, has stated that reading, writing, and arithmetic are not education at all: but surely we have gone very much further than that in reaching the realms of educational luxury. I have nothing to say against the best education that can be given at a reasonable expense to children of all classes in this country; but when such things as German and science of a somewhat advanced character are taught, I think the ratepayers have some reason to complain of the way in which their money is expended. When we consider the extraordinary point which the School Board rate of London has now reached the fact must be brought home to the minds of most people that we have very nearly reached the extreme limit to which the ratepayers can be called on to submit. Apart from the question of expense, I think that everyone who has taken part in this Debate has agreed that the great object is to give a good education at a reasonable expense—that is to say, such an education as is most suitable to the requirements of the children. I am sure we all hail with great satisfaction the steps that have been taken in this direction by the New Code which, my right hon. Friend has 179 just laid upon the Table, especially with regard to the proposed instruction in such subjects as cookery and laundry work. I entirely concur in the view expressed by the hon. Member for Flintshire (Mr. S. Smith) that the proposed extensions of our educational system are well worthy of the support and approval of this House. I desire to address myself for a few moments only to what I regard as one practical branch of the educational question, connected with what I have just referred to. There is a class of scholars in this country whose case particularly calls for attention in order that their needs may be mot by our educational policy—I refer to those children called "half-timers." There is considerable difficulty in dealing with the half-time question. The hon. Member for Flintshire said he thought the age for half-timers ought to be raised, and for that matter, also, the ago of the full-timers. That may or may not be the proper view of this point; but I submit that whatever age you may fix it becomes a very important question, and one well worthy of our consideration whether you can obtain exactly the same standard of education by the half-time system as you get where the full time of the scholar is given to educational work. It will be remembered that every scholar, whether a half-timer or a full-timer, must, according to the Code, be advanced one standard each year. Now, what does this mean? It simply means this: that with only half the ordinary time at their disposal, the half-time children have to attain the same standard as the children who are on full time. A certain number of children may be sufficiently clever to assimilate the necessary knowledge without difficulty. There are others, however, who are absolutely incapable of doing so at all; and between the two there is a class of children who can just reach the necessary standard under an immense amount of pressure on the parts of their parents and teachers—a pressure which is very detrimental both to their health and to the best interests of education. The Code does not deal with this difficulty. There are certain provisions applicable to schools entirely composed of half-timers, under which a certain amount of relief may be granted, but there are very few schools of that 180 character in this country. There is in the Code the suggestion of freedom of classification, and this might reach those children who are not clever enough to assimilate the knowledge demanded of the cleverer children, who have to attain, a particular standard. But, however far the classification system may be extended, it must be accompanied by certain restrictions. There are, I believe, cases in which the children are not advanced one standard a year, but these cases are very rare. Then there are the cases in which drawing must be taught. This is an exception from complete freedom of classification, and must tell very hardly on those children who have only half-time at their disposal. Then, again, there is the further difficulty occasioned by the pressure used by the parents to make the children reach the standard of full time exemption, which, of course, is greatly to the interest of the parents, a fact of which hon. Members who are connected with Lancashire must be well aware. The result of this overpressure is injurious to the children, both in regard to their health and their education. There are two remedies-which present themselves. One is, that in the case of the half-time scholars the standard should be lowered. The people of Lancashire are considered very clever and very shrewd, and a large proportion of the children are able to reach the full requirements even in half-time. There is every desire to give them the best education which can be afforded, and there is no reason in the world why they should be condemned to a lower standard of education than is demanded for children in other-parts of the country. I, therefore, submit that a lower standard is not the proper remedy. There is-another suggestion. It is that the instructions to the Inspectors should be less rigid in the case of children on half-time than in the case of children on full time. That is to say, in awarding the grant, they should not insist upon the same proportion of half-timers reaching the required standard that they would do in the case of the whole time scholars. I know the attention of my right hon. Friend has been called to this question. I know that he has in many respects sympathy for those children who are engaged in the practical work of 181 life. Notwithstanding what has fallen from the hon. Gentleman the Member for Flintshire, I venture to think that the actual work of life is a far more valuable education for children than can lie derived for pushing them forward, in spite of the limited time at their disposal, to a higher standard than they are actually obliged to reach. I have only to join in the chorus of thanks which have been given to my fight hon. Friend. I thank him especially that he has found himself able to meet us on so very many points to which we called attention on the Code last year. But there is one point to which I should like to call attention. The right hon. Gentleman is aware that last year we were very much interested in inducing the Government to establish a fixed grant, and there can be nothing more complete up to a certain point than the fixed grant which he has established. I have to thank him very much for the policy which he has adopted. But I would like to make this demand. There are two Articles which do not seem to be consistent. Article 87 provides that the grant is not to be refused except under grave circumstances and after due warning, and it gives the right of appeal to the Chief Inspector. Article 92 provides that unless the general conditions of the Code are fulfilled, the Department have the power, after considering all the circumstances, of not paying the grant or a portion of the grant. What I suggest is that the principle of Article 86 as to giving due warning should he incorporated in Article 92, so that the grant can never be diminished except under grave circumstances, and after due warning, with the right of appeal. I shall not attempt to go into the controversy between the voluntary and Board schools. I confine myself to a protest against the view which was so often expressed, that the voluntary subscription has diminished. It is not the fact. The voluntary subscriptions have not sensibly diminished at all. During the first 10 or 12 years of the present school system in this country the voluntary subscription increased enormously. From that time they have been practically stationary. There was a very slight diminution at one time, but the tendency to diminish came to an end last year. But it must be re- 182 membered that during the period of slight diminution the increased endowments of the Church of England schools more than compensated for the diminution of the voluntary subscriptions. I am well aware that part of the increased endowments is due to the action of the Charity Commissioners, but that does not account for the whole of the increase of the endowments. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford University that it would be a matter of immense regret if the voluntary subscriptions diminished, but I hope to see them still increase. Still, I must say that when sneers are made against the voluntary schools, that I consider them more valuable because of their voluntary management than their subscriptions. But I will not go into the old controversy, and merely making my protest against the charge that voluntary subscriptions are diminishing, I conclude, as I began, by thanking the right hon. Gentleman for the Code he has laid on the Table of the House.
§ (6.25.) MR. MATHER (Lancashire, S.E., Gorton)
Sir, I feel that by the Code which the right hon. Gentleman has brought forward, a great step in advance has been made in the cause of education. I congratulate the Vice President on the courage he has displayed and on his sagacity and skill in drawing up a Code which has been able to pass through so many difficult positions raised on former occasions. The House will remember that, about the termination of last Session, it was only possible to pass a Technical Education Bill which dealt with a part of the great question of our national system of education. I am happy to know that there are hon. Friends of mine on this side of the House, who feel that this Code completes the scheme foreshadowed last year, and that from the infants' school up to the secondary degree in technical instruction, we may look forward to a system of national instruction in the best sense of the word, which will enable the people of England in the future, as regards intelligence, industry, skill, and enterprise to compete with the most educated nations of the world. In the Instructions to Inspectors, the phrase occurs "to encourage variety, freedom, and breadth" in education. That is in contradiction to the sterility which has been 183 characteristic of our system for the last 20 years. I take the words "variety, freedom, and breadth" as indicating the spirit of the Department, and educationists should bear those words in mind when any sentence occurs in the Code which they do not think clear. I believe the hearty and enthusiastic speech with which the right hon. Gentleman introduced the Code shows that he desires that the utmost benefit shall be derived from it by both teachers and children. There are three points of the Code which are entirely new—the training of teachers, the position given to elementary science, and the position given to manual training. In these three steps is to be found the very best possible instruction for the children of the working classes. I do not think that the Department intends to introduce the Kindergarten system pure and simple; but there is sufficient in the Code to indicate that it is the basis on which the instruction of children in infants' schools will be framed. The Kindergarten system is not simply a method of entertaining children. It is based on a philosophic consideration by Froebel of the condition of a child's mind. I see in the Code a distinct organic connection between the higher forms of education and the lower or infant forms. It is suggested that the Kindergarten method and kindred methods shall be employed in the teaching of science. The schools, if properly administered, will be all that can be desired to enable that method to become part and parcel of the national educational system of the country. Manual training, allied to drawing, has been shown to be most desirable —an almost indispensable—thing in our elementary schools. If I am over-rating this departure the Vice President will correct me; but, as I understand, this system of Froebel's beginning with the Kindergarten is to be allied in the earlier days of the child's training with the three R's, and on that will be built that manual training which will develop the best faculties both of hand and eye and brain. In my opinion, these are the gems of the new Code, and I believe the Code will be administered in the spirit which I find breathing throughout it. I only wish that the Member for Oxford University and the noble Lord near him would travel in America and Germany, 184 and there see what manual and technical education is and its effect on the after life of the people. I wish they could see the great elementary schools of Philadelphia, where the Kindergarten system is now gradually becoming part and parcel of the education of the people. Under the new Code we may have a more perfect system even than that of Philadelphia. Probably the half-time exemptions will be less a matter for consideration in the future, in consequence of the manual training, which will make elementary schools more attractive to children than they are at present. Instead of our having to make the allowances suggested by the noble Lord opposite (Lord Cranborne), who thinks; half-timers should be treated more leniently than other pupils, I hope the effect of the new Code will be to extend the school life of every child a year or two at least, and that half-timers will not begin at 10, but at 11 or 12 years of ago. It will be the greatest possible satisfaction to all true men and women throughout the country if the effect of the new Code, well administered, is to induce-parents, without further compulsion, to extend the school life of their children. I believe the education under the new Code will surpass that given in other countries. Both in America and in Germany manual training is carried out chiefly by voluntary effort. Bat the-system of general education in the latter country is much more enlightened than ours. Matthew Arnold said that was due to the training of the teachers, and I am delighted to find that the Vice President has adopted much of the German principle, and has, by the day colleges, encouraged teachers to pass through a collegiate course of education at very small expense, probably by this process enabling this country to derive from the great Universities and Colleges advantages similar to those derived by Germany. Owens College, at Manchester, has already offered to the Education Department all its advantages for the-benefit of teachers in the North of England. I hope the Vice President will accept the invitation so offered. The more closely we ally popular education to the highest teaching institutions the sooner we shall bring to bear upon the children of the working classes those principles and influences which will 185 refine them morally and in their general daily conduct, and enable them to be more fitted for the occupations they have to follow, and the more fitted to add to the national progress, the prosperity, and commercial advantages which we desire for the Empire.
§ (6.40.) MR. CUNINGHAME GRAHAM (Lanark, N.W., West)
I refrain from joining in the chorus of commendation with which this Bill has been received, and I am not at all sure that the right hon. Baronet the Vice President of the Council will not be grateful to me for pointing out the desirability of caution, and of reminding the Committee that great expectations are raised, which are sometimes not fulfilled, when a great chorus of praise bursts out on any particular measure. Perhaps, from the fact that I am a Scotchman, I always like to reserve my praise until I have seen a measure under trial, and can speak from experience as to its working. I reflect, too, in this instance, that it is the children of the working classes, of whom we have heard something this afternoon, who are to benefit by the Bill, and, therefore, the opinion of the working classes will weigh more with me than the opinions of hon. Members of this House, no matter how qualified to speak on matters of education. One or two observations that fell from the hon. Member who has just sat down rather puzzled me. He seemed to hope that our system of education could be gone on with without compulsory measures, and I am not quite sure how he can reconcile that to the praise he gives the Bill itself. He would almost seem to be in doubt as to whether this Code is the result of voluntary effort, or whether or not it is proposed to ask the sanction of Parliament to it. If the sanction of the House is to be given to it, I must say I fail to see the force of the hon. Member's observations. I heartily concur in the observations that fell from the hon. Member for Flintshire (Mr. S. Smith) as to the time to which children might fairly remain at school; and I think the hon. Member's observations have been most unjustly interpreted by the noble Lord opposite (Viscount Cran-borne), when he said that the hon. Member wished to strain the mental faculties of the children. If I apprehended rightly what the hon. Member for Flint- 186 shire wished to convey the very reverse was in his mind. I was glad to see there were special provisions contained in the Bill with reference to technical education, not because I wish to see the children of the working classes merely made more efficient machines for piling up profits for their employers in future times, but because I think the working classes of this country should be placed on an artistic and æsthetic level with the working classes of Germany and France, which is a thing we cannot claim at the present moment. There is to be a special grant given for technical education; and I want to know how that technical education is to be taught. Is it to be taught by school teachers or by trained artisans? I must say that the idea of ordinary school teachers dealing with subjects which can only be properly understood by men who have served six or seven years of an apprenticeship to a trade is not one that I, personally, contemplate with much confidence. If this education is to be imparted by school teachers, I want to have the right hon. Gentleman's opinion as to how long these teachers are likely to tike in qualifying in order to he able to give efficient technical instruction, such as would be given by a skilled artisan or draughtsman who had passed through the whole curriculum of learning his trade and had exercised that trade for some time. Does the right hon. Gentleman know how drawing is taught in our Board Schools—that is to say, drawing which is intended for technical training? One would think that it would be from machines, or models of parts of machines, so that it could be applied to practical purposes; but we find that in the Board Schools of London and other parts of the country nothing of the kind is done. The children draw from copies, and it is ridiculous to suppose that by that means reliable technical knowledge can be imparted. If what I have stated is correct of the vast bulk of the Board schools of the country, I want to know what sort of practical work will be turned out by children who are so instructed? Technical drawing in such a form as this becomes not only a farce, but a loss of time, both to teachers and pupils. Some time ago the London School Board wanted two pattern makers to teach woodwork. Pattern makers are a highly paid class of men, 187 who obtain from £2 to £3 a week. The salary given by the London School Board was £75 a year each; and I find that, instead of getting two skilled pattern makers, the Board obtained the services of two common carpenters. The Board was obliged to engage two school teachers to oversee the carpenters. I ask the Committee, could anything be more ridiculous? The salaries paid to the superintendents, who were ordinary Board School teachers, was £150. It is quite clear that no technical education could possibly have been imparted by the Board School teachers.
§ MR. C. GRAHAM
I refer to several of the London schools. It would be invidious, perhaps, to name them; but I shall be happy to furnish the hon. Gentleman with the names privately. What is wanted is real practical instruction, and such instruction can only be successfully imparted by men who have passed a considerable portion of their lives in practical work. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will see that the right men are employed. I tell the right hon. Gentleman that in consequence of the system which has been adopted there is a feeling of resentment growing up amongst practical men, and that many of them are becoming enemies of the educational system.
§ (6.57.) SIR B. SAMUELSON (Oxfordshire, Banbury)
The hon. Member who has just spoken appears to me to have confused two things—the teaching of a trade and the training which can properly be imparted to young children. I should be very sorry if there was any intention out of the proceeds of any Government grant to undertake the teaching of trades. It would be unjust to teach one or more trades by means of public money without teaching every trade, and that would be impossible. I have witnessed the manual instruction in some of the London School Boards, and I am able to assert that the training which is imparted by elementary teachers is of such a character as to be well worth the time devoted to it.
§ MR. C. GRAHAM
Do I understand the hon. Gentleman to say that the instruction imparted in any school in London he has himself visited is such as 188 would enable a skilled man to make machines from the drawings done by the scholars?
§ SIR B. SAMUELSON
Certainly not, and I should be very sorry to see instruction of that kind given. But such instruction is given as to insure that the eye of the pupil is correct, and that he understands the tools he is using. I have myself seen such instruction given by elementary teachers who have been trained in the central schools of the City and Guilds of London. I have also seen similar instruction attempted to be imparted by artisans, and I believe the instruction given by the elementary teacher was far more valuable than that given by the artisan. The reason is that artisans do not understand teaching, whereas schoolmasters do. I am very glad, indeed, to find that attention is being drawn to the question of making drawing practical instead of—as it is in many instances— extremely perfunctory. There, I think, the hon. Gentleman has hit the right nail on the head. If, however, he will visit the Sheffield higher elementary school or the Board Schools at Manchester, Keighley, or Birmingham, he will find that pupils are taught first to make a correct drawing of an object they have afterwards to execute in wood or iron. That is a kind of drawing I should like to see carried further among the higher students, but one cannot begin with that. You must begin by training the pupils to copy from models instead of from drawings, and I hope that encouragement will be given by the Inspectors to teachers to use models instead of drawing from the flat. There is no such thing in France as drawing from the flat; all drawings being made from models.
§ SIR B. SAMUELSON
I am very glad to hear it. I should have been glad to see the Article in the Code on the question of drawing a little more stringent than it is. If I remember rightly, what the Article says is, in substance, that where there is no provision for teaching drawing, drawing is not to be taught. Provision can be made, and ought to be made, even in remote villages, by combination for teaching drawing, and it is a matter of so much importance that I do 189 not think it ought to be left to the discretion of managers. I hope the time is not far distant when drawing will be made obligatory for girls as well as boys. I should not have risen at all to address the Committee on this subject had it not been for some of the observations which fell from the noble Lord the Member for Darwen (Viscount Cranborne). He called attention to the difficulties attending half-time education. In my opinion, there is only one mode in which those difficulties can be mat—it is to prevent half-time children going to work until they have carried their education further than they do at present. At Bradford children are allowed to go to work after they have passed the Second Standard.
§ SIR B. SAMUELSON
Well, Standard III. is bad enough, and I am glad the authorities at Bradford have been shamed into some improvement. In foreign countries children are not allowed to go to work before they are 12 years of age. That is the true remedy. Keep your children compulsorily at school up to a reasonable age and until they give some assurance that they have profited by the education they have received. Do not let them go until they are qualified to enter into industrial life. When you have done that coax them into an industrial school if you can. I should like to keep them till they are 14, but at all events keep them until they are 13, and if they have not reached a certain standard, let them be compelled to attend continuation classes. The greatest latitude of instruction should, I think, be allowed in continuation schools. It is absurd to think that young men of 17 or 18 years of age will be tempted into school if they have to undergo the drudgery of the three R's. The Code has gone a long way in offering inducements to people to attend evening schools. It was time that inducements were offered, because the number of scholars in our continuation schools was dropping off year by year, and, in fact, the school were becoming obsolete. There is just one other point in connection with the Code I desire to mention. Everybody has praised my right hon. 190 Friend, and I gladly join in the praise bestowed upon him; but there is a little timidity, and I think in some cases unnecessary timidity, in the course he has taken. The point to which I now wish to call attention to is that of the day training colleges. For a long time we have been anxious to see such colleges established. I believe they will not only be good in so far as they will cheapen the training of our elementary teachers, and thereby enable us to obtain assistant teachers at a reasonable rate instead of relying upon pupil teachers, but I think they will also introduce into the teaching profession a class of persons whom we ought to be very glad to see in that profession. I allude more especially now to a higher grade of female teachers, and I should be glad, indeed, if every encouragement were given to our University Colleges and other collegiate institutions to take up the training of teachers, both male and female. In the Code I find a limit is imposed as to the number of students. I hope that is a limitation which will not be continued in future years. [An hon. MEMBER: It is only for this year.] It is very clear that this is meant as a protection for the old colleges. The old colleges need no protection. They do their work well, and I think they will be able to hold their own with the day training colleges which we are now about to establish. They have great advantages. Their buildings exist through the liberality of the denominations, and they have very considerable grants from the Government. They have a prestige, they have done good work, and they need no protection. There is no reason whatever why there should be any limit to the number of students who should be allowed to be trained in day colleges. I was glad to hear it was only for this year. Again, I am glad that encouragement has been given to the smaller country schools. The additional grant to those schools will enable them to afford a better education than it has hitherto been in their power to afford. In many cases the clergyman has had to bear the whole cost of those schools. Generally speaking, the schools are denominational schools. They are no worse for that; indeed, School Boards in small country districts are by no means good institutions. Board Schools 191 are of no use except in tolerably large localities, and if they are really to be serviceable in rural districts, small parishes ought to be combined in order to make large districts. I have heard of one School Board the Chairman of which is unable to write his own name. Such a School Board only tends to cause the School Board system to fall into disrepute. But there is one thing which small schools can do, whether denominational or School Board, and that is combine together in order to obtain competent instruction in drawing and other subjects which cannot be expected to be imparted satisfactorily by the ordinary elementary schoolmaster. An excellent point in the Code is the provision that if a pupil teacher, after a certain term, shows he is not likely to succeed in the profession, his indentures are to be cancelled. I hope that if I have in any way criticised the Code my right hon. Friend will not think I am less grateful to him than others who have spoken. I am sure the country will be grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for the improvements which the Code will effect in our system of elementary education, and I believe he himself will in future years look back with pleasure to the time when he introduced this Code.
§ (7.18.) MR. J. SPENCER BALFOUR (Burnley)
I am anxious to enforce the appeal made by the noble Lord the Member for Darwen (Viscount Cran-borne) in respect to half-timers. His Lordship's reactionary opinions on the subject of education generally may not induce the Committee to regard his recommendations in reference to half-timers with much favour; but I submit that if we are really anxious to secure effective education in this country we must face the half-time difficulty. I speak as an old member of a School Board, and as one who for some years had to administer the compulsory clauses of the Act. Much as I dislike the half-time system, unwilling as I am to see the half-time system extended, I am bound to say that without that system there would be no chance of enforcing the compulsory attendance clause. That is the case in the South of England, but it is particularly the case in the North of England. I assure hon. Members who have spoken about the attractions of the new Code that parents are not in- 192 fluenced, and often, unfortunately, cannot be influenced, by the attractions of a new Code, when they are arranging the attendance of their children at school. For instance, to expect a widow with two or three boys growing up to manhood to keep her children at home a year or two longer than she is absolutely obliged when they have the opportunity of going out and earning something, is to expect more than human nature is capable of. We ought to remember that practical instruction in useful employment is by no means the least valuable part of education. I should be the last to limit the amount of the education of our children. I entirely differ from the noble Lord in talking about what is the most suitable amount of education. In my judgment, the most suitable amount of education is the best we can give. At the same time, we must face the fact that in the North of England, and in Lancashire especially, there is an enormous number of half-timers. The Vice President of the Council will be willing to admit that the efficiency and the success of the Elementary Education Act has been very marked in Lancashire, and that in some districts where the half-time system prevails most there are some of the best schools in the country. That is especially the case in Burnley, the town I represent. One of the schools there has received the highest grant which it is possible for a school to receive. At the same time a very large proportion of the children are half-timers. I trust the Vice President of the Council will see his way to meet the reasonable wishes of the school teachers in this matter. It should be remembered that the teachers are very heavily weighted when they have this large number of half-timers on their hands. They cannot refuse to receive such pupils; but it is very hard, indeed, upon them when the Inspector comes down in cold blood and expects that the half-time child shall be able to pass as wide an examination as the child who has attended full time. As to the qualification of the teachers, I congratulate the Vice President of the Council on the proposals contained in the New Code; and so far from agreeing with the hon. Member for Leicester, that any stigma is attached to the teachers who are not able to take charge of pupil 193 teachers, I have been in communication with many teachers throughout the country, and am in a position to say that they recognise the wisdom of the proposed alterations. With regard to the test and qualification of half-timers, perhaps in the course of the next 12 months the right hon. Gentleman will he able to consider what that test and qualification shall be. In the original Code we had no experience whatever of the various details of compulsion, and, therefore, we had to adopt a somewhat crude qualification for half-timers; hut I submit that instead of having a system that shall vary in different parts of the country it would be well for the Education Department to re-consider the whole question of half-timers, especially as to what should be their qualification. I am disposed to think that age and number of previous attendances at school should be their only qualification. No child should be competent to obtain a half-time certificate until he has made a given number of full attendances at school during his life, and no child under a certain age should be removed from full school instruction, unless the condition and necessities of the parents require him to be so removed, nor should any child be so removed until he has an immediate prospect of profitable and useful employment.
§ (7.25.) MR. JESSE COLLINGS (Birmingham, Bordesley)
I listened with special interest to the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Darwen (Viscount Cranborne), because it brought forcibly to my mind the progress we have made in the cause of education. We have made great progress during the past 20 years, and all Vice Presidents of the Council will have to make up their minds that they cannot listen to any retrogressive proposals. I remember that when I was one of a deputation who waited upon Mr. Forster I gave it as my opinion that the time would come, and I hoped it was not far distant, when the cost of education in the country all told would be equal to the cost of the Army. That idea was ridiculed at the time, but we are gradually creeping up to that standard. A good deal has been said about the possibilities under this Code, but I think one of the results of the Code will be to bring home to the minds of the people the absolute and imperative necessity of extending the age up to which children 194 shall compulsorily attend school. Moreover, the Code is more in accordance with common sense than any previous Code; and, to me, it is very curious how the Code goes back, so to speak, to the principles of the old educationalists, or rather of those men of the 16th and 17th centuries who could better lay claim to the title of professors of the science of education than the men of the present day seem able to do. The great German educationalist, Froebel, said—Often teach the same thing. Nothing should be learnt by heart. Give time for play and recreation. Give no rule before you have given examples. Teach no language out of grammars but out of authors.And in the 16th century it was advised that teaching should be more in accordance with Nature, that pictures or object lessons should be adopted, and that not words but things should be taught. It is very curious to see how we are now adopting this natural system of teaching. But I rose to refer to one particular point. The Code provides for the development of scientific and technical education in towns, hut it seems to me that the same kind of teaching in rural schools, particularly in rural night schools, is not up to the mark compared with the importance of the industry in which rural children are greatly interested. As a manufacturing country we are greatly concerned in technical education in our industrial centres. Hon. Members continually and rightly urge that if we are to maintain our manufacturing supremacy, scientific training must be well attended to. But there is not an equal concern on the part of the Department or the country in the teaching of agriculture, the oldest, the largest, and one of the most honourable industries in the world. Considering the difficulties under which the small rural schools labour, I think the Government ought to treat such schools with liberality. The right hon. Gentleman has referred to the changes and advantages in the curriculum by the introduction of elementary science in regard to agriculture, and such changes there are, but I regret that their value is rather in the recognition of the importance of the subject than in any sufficient practical means of carrying out the instruction. When we see the number of children brought up for examination under 195 Standard IV., and when we note what a falling off in numbers there is in examinations under Standard V., we realise what a large number of children leave school after passing Standard IV. We may take it for granted that a great number of those who leave school at this stage are in the rural districts. I am not attaching blame to anyone for this, but I think that, noting the fact that an extraordinary number of these children come from the rural districts, it is obvious that the teaching' of agriculture as a specific subject is of very little use in rural schools, because the instruction does not begin until the children are in the Fifth Standard. It is quits true that under the head of Elementary Science 5, 6, 7, and 8 there are subjects in which agriculture is included, but what I contend is, that when children leave at the Fourth Standard there is enormous waste to begin with, and the children leave just at the time when they would, if they continued at school, enter upon the very valuable teaching that is afforded under the teaching of science and agriculture as specific subjects. Take one instance of the necessity of teaching of agricultural subjects. Some of the simplest discoveries in science, as applied to agriculture, are unknown, because the rural population have never been taught. I know, for instance, districts in Berkshire, and the same practice obtains in many other parts of the country, where the people continue to smother their bees, simply because they have never been taught any plan to supersede that wasteful, barbarous, antiquated proceeding. What I should like in some future Code, if the Vice President could see his way clearly, would be to declare every school where the Board or Attendance Committee put the Fourth Standard as the end of compulsory education, an inefficient school. It really is inefficient, that is to say, it does not turn out the article, to use a manufacturing term, that is expected, and the consequence is the failure in that instance goes to add to the cost of the general education of the country. To use the manufacturer simile, if he has a certain number of failures or imperfect specimens these add to the cost of those he effectively produces, and so these examples of imperfect education make our 196 educational system so expensive as compared with the actual results. I would make the teaching of agriculture in rural schools compulsory. It is compulsory in Ireland, throughout the whole of the National Schools, beyond a certain standard, and I notice that in 1888 there were 84,786 boys in primary schools examined in agriculture, 60 per cent, of whom passed. They have very valuable text books which are used in the schools. In France, too, agriculture is taught in the primary schools, that is to say, the simple facts and processes connected with agriculture. We, too, should recognise the importance of bringing up our boys in a plain and practical manner to some knowledge of the greatest industry of our country, which needs all the help we can give it. Only one point more I wish to mention, and that is in reference to reading books. From the examination I have given them I do not think they are the most suitable for their purpose. The right hon. Baronet the Member for London University (Sir J. Lubbock) said this evening that children in learning to read must read something, and it would be far better if in our country schools the children read in books dealing with the natural life and phenomena around them. No better subjects can be found. There is all natural history to draw upon, and no fairy tale can be more interesting than the explanation and elucidation of Nature's work being-carried on around them. To illustrate what I mean, I remember a few months ago catching a boy as he was running from school, and I said to him, "What is the name of that tree?" The boy did not know. I question if he had really seen the tree he passed four times a day. This is an example of how the real object of education had failed; the development of observation, the awakening of interest, the habit of inquiry had not been touched by his school instruction. The right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Lubbock) has shown the interest there is in the study of subjects we find around us, the habits of bees and insects, and subjects which awaken a country boy's interest to his after advantage. I wonder that no enterprising publisher has provided, for reading in our elementary schools, books such as would arrest the attention of boys by dealing with natural objects with which they are familiar. I 197 remember in my younger days, when I had a good deal to do with the teaching in a class of schools which I am glad to say has departed, I mean the old ragged school, that yon might examine a boy in the multiplication table or other elementary school subject, as then taught, and put him down as the biggest fool in the school, but the moment you mentioned an animal, bird, insect, or some natural object which may have happened to come within his observation, you might see his mental facilities awakening, and you might see there were possibilities in him worthy of development. But I regret that I have occupied so much of the time of the Committee. What I wish to urge upon the Vice President is that he should give further facilities for the teaching of the elements of agriculture in our rural schools, and, if he can see his way, I would urge him to make it a compulsory subject in this country, as it is in Ireland, in France, and in some other countries.
§ (7.40.) MR. CONWAY (Leitrim, N.)
In regard to the subject of agriculture I should be glad to see it made part of the ordinary work of the school, and not limited to standards above Standard IV. We know that in some districts schools have no standard above Standard IV. When, however, hon. Members talk of mere reading, writing, and arithmetic, they create a false impression of the character of the examinations in the schools. To pass in reading, does not mean that passages shall be read with proper pronunciation and emphasis; the reader may give the passage with all the elocution of a Henry Irving, or of our best public speakers, but unless he knows something of the matter he reads he will be unable to pass. The best work in primary schools is done under Standards I. to IV. and for the hon. Member (Mr. Colling's) to advise the Vice President to treat every school as inefficient which does not provide for examinations in Standards V. and VI. is a ridiculous recommendation on the face of it. The hon. Member went on to talk of reading books, but we have a staff of Inspectors, who, with 20years' experience, have given general satisfaction, and yet the hon. Member would have books adopted outside the recommendations of these Inspectors. It is all very well for the hon. Member to go back to the 15th 198 or 16th century, and bring us the result of his reading, but those of us who have had intimate observation of educational work will not be convinced by the hon. Member's arguments and illustrations. The hon. Member tells us a tale of a boy who did not know the name of a tree, but very possibly the lad was alarmed and bewildered by being suddenly accosted, and may have-taken the hon. Member for an Inspector, and possibly anticipated punishment for being found outside school. I venture-to join in the congratulations to the Vice President upon the introduction of his New Code, and I may say that during his term of office the administration of the right hon. Gentleman has-been generally to the satisfaction of school managers. The Now Code is elastic, and it may become expansive. It is not a Teacher's Code, it is an Inspector's Code, and as such is elastic and expansive. From the pecuniary point of view I think the New Code will not pay so well as the present Code—schools will not earn the same amount of grant. But the power of the Inspector for the encouragement of good work will be increased. He will have the power of going two or three times to a school in the course of a year, and of confidentially advising master or mistress. The line of demarcation between Inspector and master is removed, and the latter may have the full advantage of the experience of the Inspector. But when hon. Members congratulate themselves upon the system of payment by results being abolished, an examination of the Code shows that is a declaration that cannot be sustained. The merit grant is practically retained. What does the fixed grant mean? What do you mean by the 12s. 6d. and 14s. grants and the 9s. and 7s. grants, and, in the case of infant schools, the 2s. and 4s. 6d. grants? Payment by results is-not really done away with. Inspectors should have power to determine whether a school is efficient or not, and upon that a fixed grant upon the average attendance ought to be embodied in the Code. Payment by result is retained and classification is retained, although the right hon. Gentleman has explained that a Circular to Inspectors shall be issued modifying instructions in this regard. We want full liberty of classi- 199 fication, and the periodical visits of Inspectors, intelligently applied, should enable teachers to cover any difficulties in classification. The Code ought to be radically altered; we ought to have a fixed grant on average attendance, and the Instructions to Inspectors should do away with sample or individual examinations. The Inspector takes a third of the boys present and passes an opinion upon the result of his examination. Is not this individual examination? I regret that the right hon. Gentleman has not had the courage to tackle the question of the 17s. 6d. limit; he has made special exceptions, but he keeps the 17s. 6d. limit. The right hon. Gentleman has not taken into account the immense sacrifices made by voluntary schools; why should he not do away with the 17s. 6d. limit in regard to all subjects called "specific?" The results would not be paid for until the Department was perfectly satisfied. Why, then, when a voluntary school is able to produce results satisfactory to the Department and to the admiration of the country, should not the Department be generous and give the school the full benefit of the grant? I regret the right hon. Gentleman has not had the courage to grapple with this limit, which spoils the effect of much the New Code effects. There is one point I wish to put before the right Gentleman; it is a small point; but there is much irritation in connection with it, and I do not think it has yet been touched upon—I refer to Article 9, the publication of the Report, which provides that the balance sheet shall be published immediately after the receipt of the Report of the Inspector, and a Copy of Form 9 shall be posted on the school door or other public place for 14 consecutive days. I am surprised that attention has not been drawn to this. It seems to assume that all school buildings have enclosed areas in front from which the public are excluded; but in our towns the buildings often abut directly upon the street, and managers are asked to publish their accounts on the school doors for the satisfaction of every inquisitive passer-by. Managers do not fear the closest investigation of their accounts on the part of a Government official. A public auditor should be appointed, and to him these accounts should be submitted, and with his Report the Department ought to be 200 satisfied. There is no reason why the managers should be called upon to expose their accounts to every curiosity-monger, to every individual who may possibly have a quarrel with the management, to every young man whose attentions to a school mistress or teacher may be influenced by the amount of salary she receives. The scrutiny of an auditor ought to satisfy the Department, and I do not think the managers should be required to gratify mere curiosity. One other matter I hare to mention, and that is in reference to the old teachers; and, by way of preliminary observation, I am glad to find that the right hon. Gentleman anticipates within the next few years we may have a general superannuation scheme for teachers. Already some little discussion has taken place as to a section of this class, but I want to see a whole-hearted and not a piece-meal scheme. We know from Reports that 18,000 teachers receive no more than £75 a year, and large numbers receive £50 and less. How is it possible on such payments to provide for old age, when worn out in the service? 1846, when I may say the present system of education had its commencement, the Privy Council passed a Minute to the effect that it was expedient to make provision in certain cases for retiring allowances to schoolmasters and mistresses, and that the Lord President should draw up regulations to that end. Following this, in December of that year, another Minute was issued establishing a system of pensions to teachers in certain cases on the basis of two-thirds of the amount of salary. This was modified in 1857, and in 1862, under Mr. Robert Lowe's Code, these payments were abolished. Now, I know perfectly well, for I was myself personally interested as a teacher, what the effect has been. I remember that I was induced to join the profession under the promise that, after a certain term of service, I should be entitled to a pension, and between 1858, when I entered the service, and 1862, all teachers were engaged on similar terms. The unfairness with which teachers had been treated was generally recognised, and led to the passing of a Motion in 1884 and the granting of pensions in 232 cases of engagements in the service up to 1851. I would strongly urge upon the Vice President that he should 201 entertain the proposition made by the hon. Member for Oxford University (Mr. Talbot), that the State should keep faith with those teachers who were engaged in the service up to 1862, and they should receive the pensions they are fully entitled to. The Code is not all that could be desired; but it is a step in the right direction, and, so far, I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman, and look forward to a further advance which will produce a Code satisfactory to all engaged or interested in the education of the country.
§ (8.0.) MR. JASPER MORE (Shropshire, Ludlow)
I wish to draw attention to a detail in the proposed Code which has hitherto escaped much observation, the proposal to introduce physical training into our schools. This is a matter in which I and others in my constituency have long been much interested, and we have exercised such influence as we possess to obtain its introduction into the Code. For 40 years the Wenlock Olympian Society has been supporting physical training, and trying to obtain its recognition in national schools. Last year there was a Conference of Frenchmen held in Paris, interested in the introduction of English and American games into French schools. A Society with that object was formed, and they have this year published a Report which contains the results of experiments carried out at Wenlock in my constituency as to the effect of physical education upon children of the same age. In this Report it is stated that children, exercised in the schools with Indian clubs, horizontal bars, the vaulting horse, &c., increased in breadth of chest two inches, while other children in similar circumstances increased only half an inch through drilling. It is satisfactory to see the taste for physical exercises is increasing in the Metropolis. During the Whitsuntide recess the Member for Leeds presided over an exhibition of athletic exercises at the Agricultural Hall, honoured by the presence of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and I am informed that athletic exercises for young girls are among the most popular purposes for which the hall of the Peoples' Palace is used. The carrying out of the details of such exercises in schools no doubt presents difficulties. There is the capacity of teachers for 202 giving instruction, and the cost of apparatus and other matters which would require Departmental consideration; but, without trespassing on the time of the Committee, I add my congratulations to the right hon. Gentleman upon the recognition of physical training for the first time in the Code, and if he can see his way to proceed a little further in the same direction he will greatly add to our obligations.
§ (8.5.) MR. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)
In the first place, I should like to give my hearty support to what has fallen from the hon. Member for Shropshire in regard to physical education, and I sincerely hope the right hon. Gentleman may see his way to strengthen this point still further in his next Education Code. The hon. Member for North Leitrim has dealt so fully and ably with the questions upon which teachers are specially interested that I do not venture to follow him. The answer given by the Vice President in reference to the saving of the rights of existing certificated teachers and the instructions to Inspectors renders it unnecessary that I should touch upon these matters. With regard to the question of audit, it really seems to me the proposal in the Code is insufficient on one point. What is required, and what would be only just in some parishes, such as that wherein I live, is that there should be ready access at any time by any ratepayer to the accounts of the school. In the parish where I live the school is maintained by a voluntary school rate, not an infrequent arrangement in the country, and I think the accounts should be open to the scrutiny of every ratepayer. I beg to thank the right hon. Gentleman for the full opportunity for the discussion of education we have had this year. He has acted liberally, and I think wisely, in according us so much time, because, as the right hon. Gentleman remarked the other night, we are likely in the future to be plunged into troubled waters and to have to engage in more heated controversies. The right hon. Gentleman may not be in a position to carry out his intentions next year, and some of us hope that may be so. It is obviously to the advantage of both sides of the House that the real issues raised by the proposals in the Code should be thoroughly discussed on the present occasion. The 203 Debate will clear the ground, and we shall understand, and the country will understand, more definitely the tendency of the Government proposals, and how they are related to proposals foreshadowed for the coining Session. The noble Lord the Member for Darwen (Lord Cranborne) put some rather close questions to the right hon. Gentleman; and from the assent he gave to the views of the noble Lord with regard to the interpretation of Article 92, I venture to draw certain conclusions. Expression has been given to the opinion by various authorities that this large increase of income to smaller schools is not coupled with a sufficient guarantee that the increase shall go to securing the efficiency of the schools. I gather from the assent expressed by the right hon. Gentleman to the views of the noble Lord that we are to understand from the words in Section 92, that the Department will have power to deal with a portion of the grant, to exercise discretion in withholding part from inefficient schools, that this is really nugatory, that there will be a delay and appeals to the Chief Inspector and to the Department, and that in the words there is no security that the school efficiency shall be immediately increased by the grant. This is of first-class importance, and goes to the very centre of the question upon which we are engaged, and it is a point I wish to emphasise, having in view the possible proposals next year. The essential part of the Code seems to me to be the increase in the fixed grants to small schools. Is that grant really to secure efficiency or not? It is obvious that the increase of income will be enormous in the case of the very worst schools in the country; and we do not think there is any guarantee that we shall have additional results as compared to what we now have. The result will be that some of the worst schools, schools which have not obtained the "merit" grant, will receive an enormous addition to their income, amounting in some cases to 30 per cent., and though there may be an adverse Report from the Inspector, the process of appeal may be gone through, and it will practically be a long time before a remedy can be applied. I do not in the least object to an increase of grants to small and poor schools; on the contrary, I cordially welcome such an 204 increase to schools in the poor and destitute villages with which many of us are familiar, if only we have a guarantee that the increase shall be devoted to making the educational work more effective. But I repeat, the effect of the proposal as it stands will be to hand over a very large sum to a large number of schools—voluntary schools—without sufficient guarantee that the money will be devoted to the promotion of efficiency, and will not go merely to the relief of there subscribers. The number of schools that will be affected by this additional grant is exceedingly large. There are no less than 4,214 Church of England schools which will receive a very considerable addition to their income without a guarantee of efficiency, the grant all round being raised to 13s. 6d., while they now receive grants varying from 8s. 7d. to 10s. 7d. There are one or two other points to which I should like to draw attention. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will not think that I wish to detract from the general expression of approval which has been bestowed upon the educational advance he has endeavoured to carry out in the Code and in which he has on many points been successful; but I think it is the duty of all who are interested in education to indicate defects, and point out matters in which the Code is open to criticism. I turn to the question of accommodation, and I really think that many practical educationists must regret that the proposals in the Code are so far behind the recommendations of the Commissioners and so far behind the proposals in the Code of last year. We who sat in the House and followed the history of last year's Code saw with great regret the results following the persistent attacks upon the Education Department from hon. Gentlemen opposite, and those interested in the maintenance of the existing system of voluntary schools and the present limit, for we know the insufficiency of accommodation, the in some cases insanitary buildings and badly lighted school-rooms, in which the voluntary system is carried on. There was a case referred to last year in regard to the town of Luton, in Bedfordshire. The Department, in accordance with their proposal in last year's Code, laid down the principle that in calculating the deficiency of accommodation which had to be met, the places in 205 voluntary schools should be estimated on the 10 feet limit, although the decision of the Government with regard to last year's Code was that they did not adhere to their first proposal to insist on the application of the 10 feet limit to existing voluntary schools. Now we are in this position: that Her Majesty's Government do not propose to deal with the 8 feet limit in existing voluntary schools; but are we to understand that, in the calculation of deficiencies to be supplied by School Boards, whore such are in existence, the Department will calculate existing accommodation on the 10 feet, as they did at Luton? I hope the Government will arrive at some arrangement by which the 10 feet limit shall be adopted generally, for it is a matter of great importance to the health of the children. Turning for a moment to the question of pupil teachers. I wish the Government had, in framing this Code, laid down some better guarantee that pupil teachers should have more time and opportunity for self-training and self-advancement. I may be wrong, and I speak with diffidence on the point; but it seems to me the Cods is not sufficiently explicit, and does not sufficiently secure the position of pupil teachers in this respect. The extension of the curriculum in day and evening schools is admirable, and the granting of alternative courses is one of the best proposals made for a long time. I welcome the remarks the right hon. Gentleman made the other evening, which, if I rightly understand them, indicate that this is only the beginning of a wise and generous policy on this subject, and that we shall have a gradual widening and deepening of the channels of education. In touching upon the subject of agricultural instruction, I may say the importance of this has not been overrated during the discussion by the hon. Member for the Bordesley Division and others. I live in an agricultural district, and I am sure that if in evening classes we had instruction in subjects relating to agriculture given in an attractive form there would be a great improvement in the moral tone of the young men of our villages, as well as great advantage to the industry in which they are engaged. I turn for a moment to the subject of drawing, and here I recognise one of the most important advances made by the 206 Code. But though I listened carefully to the explanations of the Vice President the other night in regard to this subject, and found a warm recognition of the educational value of the subject, I could not find any indication of any working machinery for carrying it out. There are schools admirably conducted in other respects where the teachers are incapable of teaching drawing, and so the managers will not entertain the subject. The right hon. Gentleman has not pointed out any practical method of overcoming the difficulty. The real remedy is the remodelling of our school management system. I do not know of any School Board where the Chairman is unable to write his name; but I do know instances where Boards, small and composed of men whose intentions are far ahead of their power of dealing with important subjects like this, wish to carry out higher education, but cannot. These difficulties would be met by combined action carried out by a higher authority than a village authority. It is useless to leave the management of educational matters to a country clergyman, assisted by one or two farmers of the district, and expect that they will be able to carry out a system of higher education such as is foreshadowed in this Code. What is wanted is a higher authority, an educational council or authority over a large area, composed of men of knowledge and ability which they would bring to bear upon the subject, and who would be able to work out a system of peripatetic teaching in various subjects to the great advantage of education within their area. This brings me to the real issue of this discussion, a controversial subject into which I have no wish now to enter deeply. I have to impress upon the House this fact, that we are having this boon given to the worst class of voluntary schools, without any guarantee that these schools will be brought up to a thoroughly efficient point. You are giving the advantage to the voluntary schools, which you propose to follow up with further advantages in the coming year. I will not go into the point further, nor do I refer to it in any bitter spirit. What I insist upon, in conclusion, is that you cannot obtain the highest results except by combination. The only proper system is that of a representative authority elected by the people them 207 selves, with a wide area, where the whole of these educational questions can be dealt with by a large representative body, in the interests of the people and not in the interests of a creed. (8.31.)
§ (9.2.) Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; Committee counted, and 40 Members being found present,
§ (9.4.) MR. H. J. WILSON (York, W.R., Holmfirth)
I only wish to occupy the time of the Committee for a few moments whilst I draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to two points which, though small, are, I think, worthy of the attention of the Committee. At the end of the Code there is a reference made to the lowest dimensions for the building of teachers' houses, and I find that the minimum height of the rooms is fixed at 8ft. I have the honour to be a member of a Sanitary Authority, and we have Local Bodies coming to us from time to time for powers to compel ail houses to be built of certain dimensions. So far as I am aware, 8ft. has never been allowed as a minimum in any case. They have asked for 9ft. and. 8ft. 6in., and it seems to me to be a matter to be regretted that even when the lowest class of houses for the poorest section of the population have to have rooms of not less than 8ft. 6in. in height, we should allow our school teachers to inhabit houses with rooms as low as 8ft. I trust that now that the right hon. Gentleman's attention has been called to the matter, although he has fixed this as a minimum, he will not, save in very exceptional cases, allow the minimum to be reached. Then, I would call attention to the requirements of the Code in regard to the teaching of French. There are not a great many children in the elementary schools of this country who acre taught French, and I am afraid that, while the regulations remain as they are, there are not likely to be many. In the Higher Board School of Sheffield French has been taught from the beginning, and great difficulty has been experienced in connection with it. For some years in that school the teacher was a highly trained and fully certificated Swiss teacher. He taught with considerable success so long as he was allowed to pursue a somewhat more popular method than that prescribed by the Code. My point is that it is not possible 208 under ordinary circumstances for children, even in the higher Board schools, to give a great deal of attention to French, and that, therefore, it is desirable that they should be permitted to acquire a sort of colloquial knowledge of the language that may be of use to them in commercial pursuits rather than that they should be required to ground themselves in grammar, the study of which they will never be able to continue for any length of time. I have received a letter from the teacher to whom I have referred, from which I make the following extracts. He says—I have been able to see fully, these last years, the disadvantages of the scheme of last Code, having been obliged through a decision of the School Board to follow exactly this scheme in my teaching. This decision was taken in order to increase the grant…The New Code brings no improvements, and if adopted will perpetuate the mistaken features of English teaching of French, in spite of all desire shown by the public Press and by the Chambers of Commerce to introduce an efficient teaching.The disadvantages I found in teaching according to the line drawn by the Code are the following:—
- 1. The teacher being obliged to teach so much theory and grammar, must necessarily neglect conversation and written practice, which only can interest the pupils.
- 2. The pupils soon get tired of this dry study, and leave it off as soon as they can.
- 3. The powers of conversing, which is necessary in order to obtain a commercial certificate, will never be acquired thus.
- 4. This language teaching is inefficient, and will be of very little use, if any, to the pupils in their career. The standard of the French in the Central School is now worse than it was a few years ago, though the financial results may have increased…The objections I have to the New Code scheme are the following:—
- 1. The first year is completely taken up by a theoretical teaching, and it will be more so now that a reading book is to be introduced.
- 2. The second, and especially the third, year have really less to do than the first.
- 3. The conversation is put off to the third year, consequently will never be useful, if there is ever a conversation.Would it not be possible to have an alternative course for this subject as it is the ease for English and the other class subjects for instance, and as the Code treats modern languages like dead languages, could not there be a course for those who learn it in view of commerce or industry? The following alternate scheme would answer this purpose and make a first step towards commercial schools, which, by-and-bye, will surely be opened in England as they are abroad:—First year or stage: Grammar to the two first conjugations used in conversation in little easy questions and answers spoken and dictated. Notice shall be 209 taken of the pronunciation. Second year; Grammar—the four conjugations used in conversation; the most important irregular verbs. Dictation in French: importance given to pronunciation. Third year: Grammar—irregular verbs. Dictation in French. Easy composition or oral relation in French of an easy subject; good pronunciation essential…I think that if there were a second course typical of newer methods of teaching, the Council of Education would promote a sound, useful knowledge which would surely bring good fruit for the country.We find that the counting houses of this country are filled with German clerks, who come here and obtain employment because they have a better knowledge of foreign languages than our own people. I think that state of things should not be allowed to continue to exist. It cannot be called a foolish luxury to have our children taught French, or German, or both, and they should be taught in the way this gentleman suggests, so as to be able to make commercial use of those languages in this country, or, if necessary, abroad. The hon. Baronet the Member for the Banbury Division spoke of members of School Boards being unable to read or write. Well, I do not know of cases of that kind; but I do know a case where, in a certain village, the Chairman of a School Board, who was a man who could do very little more than sign his name, was a most determined supporter of technical education, and whenever this education was referred to as a luxury or as unnecessary, he used to say to the men working with him, "I don't care what you say, but we are going to have these lads educated better than we were." And I hope we shall have our children educated in these higher subjects in spite of the fears of noble Lords and others.
§ (9.15.) MR. CONYBEARE
I was glad the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down emphasised the necessity of having instruction in foreign languages. What he has said as to our own people being ousted from profitable employment by immigration, from Germany in particular, is perfectly true. I have always been most anxious to see a great deal more and better instruction given to our children in French and German, and, looking at the amount of business transacted with South America, in Spanish also. I mention this because we can hardly expect this improved 210 teaching to take place in our elementary schools, when we find it so lamentably deficient in our higher grade schools. Even in our great public schools, except among a few boys who take what is called "the modern side," the boys who are drilled in French or German are no better able to make use of those languages for practical commercial purposes than if they had never seen a book relating to French or German in their lives. How, then, are you going to instruct your poor children in your elementary schools in these subjects? I am afraid if we asked the Vice President for increased grants to enable us to employ foreign teachers we should have him pulling a very long face indeed. And here I would say that almost the only thing for which I was inclined to find fault with the right hon. Baronet for his speech the other evening was his too frequent expression of regret at the amount we are spending on education every year. We ought to spend more on education than we do on the Army and Navy. The Americans do that, and until we follow their example—though I do not say we should not spend enough money on armaments to place ourselves in a sound state of defence—we shall never keep abreast of the requirements of the times. I am glad to add my quota of approval and satisfaction at the Code which has been introduced by the right hon. Baronet, and I beg to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on his statement this year being far more satisfactory than that which he made last Session. It is a satisfaction to me to be able to congratulate a Tory Minister upon any point. It is not often that I find an opportunity, but there is an opportunity now, and I gladly avail myself of it. The right hon. Gentleman touched lightly on the question of payment by results, and while I admit the steps which have been taken with a view to getting rid of that baneful system, I would point out that a great deal must depend on the working of the Act through the instructions given to the Inspectors. There are many loop-holes in the instructions through which the system of payment of results may creep in, and the right hon. Gentleman may find that it has been more abolished in name than in actuality. Under 211 Article 98, Sub-section B, it seems to me that the objectionable system of payment by results may still continue. I recognise that probably the heaviest blow which the right hon. Gentleman has struck against the system of paying by results is the establishment of a fixed grant, which will relieve teachers, and I think Inspectors too, to a very great extent of that financial pressure which has been at the root of many of the evils of the present system. You cannot, of course, get rid entirely of individual examination, but I hope that many of the evils of the system will be eliminated. With respect to the question of examination, I should like to draw the right hon. Gentleman's attention to Section 99 of the Act, in conjunction with the instruction in Section 13. In Section 99 it is laid down that all scholars whose names are on the register must, as a rule, be present at the inspection, and all are liable to be examined. Section 13 provides that the Inspector may choose at random, as specimens of the rest, one-third or one-half of the scholars. There is this difficulty to be faced, that there; may be present in the class a not inconsiderable number of children who have recently entered it, and the Inspector may pitch on the very children who, by reason of their being newcomers, will be the least likely to do credit to the school. I may say also it is almost impossible, unless you diminish the number of schools which each Inspector has to look after, or increase the number of Inspectors, to provide for the surprise visits which are intended. I hear complaints from various parts of the country as to the enormous amount of work falling on individual Inspectors. Of course, the answer is that there are not sufficient funds for a very large increase of Inspectors. This is one of the points on which I think we ought to sanction an increase of expenditure. To my mind it is "a penny wise and pound foolish" policy to neglect to provide sufficient Inspectors to relieve the high pressure at which they have to work at the present time. I think also there ought to be greater control over the Inspectors. I hear that one of the Inspectors in my own division has refused to allow boys to discontinue needlework in favour of some other subject. I admit that a boy should know 212 something about needlework as well as about other subjects, but I think, if parents desire a boy to discontinue instruction in needlework, there is perhaps not sufficient reason why he should not be allowed to discontinue it. The new Regulations affecting teachers appear to me to be most admirably framed for the purpose in view, and the only complaint I should make with regard to the teaching power is that, as a rule, too great a number of children are set down as the-maximum size of a class. Article 73 of the Code relates to the number of scholars teachers shall have charge of. On this point I can speak with some? personal experience, because for some years I had the honour of being a teacher in the High School at Manchester, a school where you do not get the lowest class of boys, certainly. From experience I can say that it is impossible for any teacher to deal satisfactorily with more than 50 boys at the outside in one-class. I should prefer to say that 35 are quite sufficient for a teacher. If this is true in regard to high-class schools, or to public schools, or endowed schools, how much more true must it be when we are dealing with the little wretched urchins out of the street, who have no idea of discipline, and with whom you have to commence at the beginning, I have received a letter from a lady-teacher, who says that her own experience tells her that 40 children, especially when they are under six years of age, are quite as many as one teacher can do-justice to or keep a cheerful discipline amongst. She also tells mo that, in order to have an average attendance of 70, a teacher must have about 100 children on the class rolls, all of whom she may have to attend to on many days. Then there is a point with respect to classification. I ask the right hon. Gentleman's careful attention to the rule which he lays down in Article 99 C as to the examination of scholars over seven years of age in Standard I. I know there are certain provisions and limitations introduced in the Instructions on, this point; but I am afraid that in practice the teachers will find that these provisions mean that almost all children will have to go up into Standard I. when they are seven years of age. If the Inspectors are not exceedingly careful not to insist upon the examination of 213 children of seven years of age in Standard I., I am afraid the teachers generally will be anxious to send up delicate children before the right time to Standard I., which will overtax their mental and physical strength. As a member of the School Board I had to deal with a certain school. The most efficient teacher of that school lost her situation in consequence of a difference on this very point between the Inspector and herself. It is very unfair there should be any opportunity for such a difference arising, and for the loss by the teacher of her situation, and by the school of her services. In the case to which I refer the teacher was found to be right; but it did not save her from having to give up her profession. I have found in the case of boys, especially of small boys, that if they are not well fed and clad they are likely to be more delicate in physical strength than even girls, and that to send them to Standard I. simply because they happen to be a few days or weeks over age is cruel, owing to the great roughness with which they are liable to be treated by the elder boys in the standard. I desire now to offer a word upon what has elicited a great deal of interesting comment in this Debate, namely, the training of the powers of observation. Not only in the elementary schools, but in the highest schools of the country, the training of the powers of observation of the children is the last thing that is thought of. However clever our boys may be at book-learning and athletics, they pass through life without in the least using their eyes to observe the phenomena of Nature. This arises from the fact that we begin by cramming childrens' minds with all kinds of abstract rules, instead of developing their mental faculties by giving them what, at an early age, they can properly assimilate. It is of importance, in my opinion, that our children should know something of the simple science connected with the phenomena of Nature. You will infer that I am a determined opponent of what is known as grammar. I think that to ram into the minds of the unfortunate little urchins abstract and pedantic forms, which are known under the name of grammar, is simply a waste of time. It gives children a distaste for other useful forms of learning, and, therefore, does irreparable mischief. I have 214 not the same condemnation to bestow on recitation. That, I think, is highly useful, developing, as it does, the childrens' powers of memory. There is another point in connection with curriculum I want to draw attention to, and that is drill. In the curriculum, drill is mentioned casually, and that only in connection with the infants. I feel very strongly that children, to whatever class of life they belong, ought to be made accustomed to drill of a useful and military character. I am not one of those who think that by accustoming the children to drill we shall be inspiring the minds of the boys with military ideas which will have a prejudicial effect upon our country hereafter. Every young man in the country ought to be drilled and accustomed to weapons of self-defence—ought to know how to use the rifle. I believe that so far from encouraging military passions that will be the best preventive against anything like the adoption of a universal system of conscription in this country. For the purpose of training boys in habits of discipline and orderliness, and also for developing their mental faculties, drill is desirable. Drill is carried on to a great extent in many of the Board schools in London, but it is by no means universal. Drill should be a necessary portion of the curriculum, and I imagine there would be no difficulty in finding many old soldiers who would make very efficient drill masters. Now, on page 28 of the Schedule relating to elementary science mention is made of domestic economy. That apparently is limited to girls, but I want to know why boys should not have the benefit of the course. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will turn his attention to the point. In this House I represent a mining constituency. We have heard much about the necessity of having agricultural education in rural districts, and of book-keeping and all that sort of thing. I should like to press on the right hon. Gentleman the desirability in mining constituencies such as mine of having particular attention paid to the question of mining education. I will not dwell on the point, as I think it is sufficient to drop the hint. One word in reference to the admission of children to school. The right hon. Gentleman may reply that this is a question of administration, which will be dealt with 215 privately; but I must draw his attention to Article 78, which says that no child may be refused admission as a scholar on other than reasonable grounds. We have heard of a case in which the Rev. H. D. Pearson, who was recently a member of the School Board for London, refused a boy admission to a school simply on the ground of his non-attendance at the parson's Sunday-school. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether that, in his opinion, is a reasonable ground. I am most anxious not to delay the Committee, and, therefore, I will only refer incidentally to two other points—school libraries and savings banks. I have no doubt those points have been under the consideration of the right hon. Gentleman. I am sure we must all be agreed that the more school libraries and school savings banks we have the better it will be for the children and all who derive benefit directly or indirectly from the school.
§ (9 50.) MR. CAUSTON (Southwark, W.)
There are some matters, such as needle-work, which are referred to in the Code which I am sure all hon. Members will admit would be best dealt with by ladies. There are several things to which the schoolmistresses object, and it is only right that someone should draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to some of the mistress's objections. I profess entire ignorance of needlework. I do not know whether the Vice President of the Council professes to be guided by personal knowledge, or whether he has a Committee of matrons to advise him on the subject; but I think it would well that I should, in the briefest possible way, state what alterations are desired. It is suggested that, in regard to Standard I., felling, the obsolete and fancy stitching, marking, whipping, and diagonal cut, should be struck out. The teachers also suggest that the provision that the number of garments required in Standards I., II., and III., be half as many as there are children on the books be made applicable to all the standards. Then they suggest that the alternative scheme adopted for small schools be extended to larger schools, where the upper standards are small; that inspecction be substituted for examination in infant schools; that in Standard III. fixing the hem for two sides be substituted for four sides, and 216 that one hour instead of 45 minutes be allowed for examination. These are matters in which the teachers take a deep interest, and I think their suggestions are worthy of, and should have, favourable consideration. I shall be pleased to hand to the right hon. Gentleman the objections in writing, as I have no doubt it has been difficult for him to follow me. Now, I want to say a word on the question of appeal. It is the teachers' desire, and I think it is only fair that if the Inspector considers and intends to report that the school is being conducted inefficiently, he should there and then state the objection and give the teacher an opportunity of appealing against the Report at the moment, and so obtain an immediate re-examination of the children. I trust that this act of justice to the teachers will be conceded by the Vice President.
§ SIR L. PLAYFAIR
My right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council must be satisfied with the practical character of the speeches which have been made in the two nights' Debate. The speeches have traversed the whole subjects of the Code, and have gone much into detail. The Code is of such a character that in the few remarks I propose to make I shall put details to one side. The Code ought to be viewed in its general aspects. It is a real revolution in the state of the education of the country at the present time. That revolution has been pending for some years. The friends of education have been distressed at the low results obtained by the present methods of education, and the time has come when the Department, backed up by the efforts of a Royal Commission, have had the bravery to revolutionise the system and to bring it into sympathy with the educated opinion of the country. The extensive character of the change is disguised by the details. You may have no conception of the magnitude of a forest if you bestow too much attention on individual trees around you; and I think the magnitude of this Code and the important changes which it is likely to produce on the education of this country are not seen if we address ourselves too much to specific parts of the Code itself. The Code has met with general approval and has commended itself to the good sense of the 217 country. This House of Commons has been extremely generous in the matter of money; but as the results have been so small, it is time we found out what has produced the waste. I believe it would not be too much to say that a vast quantity of the treasure we have expended on education might with as much advantage to the country have been put in one of those great ocean ships which go to the Atlantic and have been thrown into the sea. Now, an hon. Member has said that this is an Inspectors' Code. I agree with him that the two great agencies involved in this New Code are the Inspectors and the teachers; and I would say it is a Code which may be called an Inspectors' Code and a Teachers' Code. First of all, let us see what is the result to the Inspectors. The Inspectors of this country are men of high mental qualifications, generally of the highest University education. They have been selected for their knowledge, for their ability, and for their learning. What is it this Code does? It converts these Inspectors in future from mere assessors of percentages in examination into advisers of the managers and true helpers of the teachers. The Code undoubtedly throws an enormous amount of new responsibility on the Inspectors. I know how admirably those gentlemen have worked, and how zealous they are in the performance of their duties. I believe that they will accept these new responsibilities with pleasure; they will throw even more zeal into their work, and will make the education of the country more worthy of the liberality which the country shows in voting money to it. An hon. Member has said that the teachers have a good deal to complain of in this Code. I do not say there are no matters in respect of which they might not have been better considered. But what, let me ask, does the Code do for the teachers? Of course, it does not do everything they could expect, but they are no longer to be treated as grinders at the mill. In future they are to be the trainers of efficient and intelligent citizens and are to use their own teaching methods in order to obtain these results. Canon Moseley, who was an Inspector, once used the expression "As is the teacher so is the school." The qualities of the teacher are reflected by the scholars as in so many pieces of a broken mirror. Under the system now 218 in force it is impossible for the teacher to produce effective results. All this is now to be altered. The system is to be free from cram. Examinations are always an evil in education, but, unfortunately, we have no other means of testing the efficiency of a school. We cannot get rid altogether of examinations, but this system reduces examination to a minimum by testing efficiency by sample. The teachers in future will be in a position of greater dignity, and will have more power in showing their efficiency. I admit there is a want of elasticity still, but I think the teachers should be satisfied with the great step in advance. Experience of the working of the New Code will prove whether further elasticity ought to be given. As to the training of teachers, I think there need be no timidity in the direction of limiting the number of teachers trained in extra-mural schools to 200 a year. Of course, you do not want to train teachers in excess of the demand, but I hope my right hon. Friend will withdraw that limit. This system of outdoor training schools is not an experiment; it has worked success fully in Scotland, and if you have so small a number as 200 it will be found impossible to secure a proper staff of professors in the collegiate institutions which you desire to undertake this duty. I once examined a school for teachers in America which contained 1,200 pupils, and the result was admirable. Now, what does the Code do for the scholars? The Code from which we are just emancipated had the crudest conception of the continuity of education, and I consider that the great merit of the new Code is the idea of continuity of education throughout. The five Standards chiefly passed by the scholars in a school have no continuity of education about them in the sense of true education; they are merely the tools of education. The pupils are never taught how to use those tools for the purposes of future life. All that is given is a thin veneer of education, which soon wears off after the child leaves school. This Code brings them all into line to produce efficiency in elementary education, it links one school with another, and it gives an educational curriculum which really carries out the 219 views of the Royal Commission except in one respect. Having given them that efficiency, I hope the Code will make science a class subject, and in course of time put it on a level with drawing, which the Code makes compulsory. Drawing is a part of technical education. It is the language of work, and if you teach your scholars how to draw you enable them to interpret their own ideas and to do their work more efficiently. There are five gates to knowledge, and only through these gateways can knowledge enter the mind. Two of those gateways you have closed in former Codes—the eye and the hand—and you can best open them by teaching drawing. As to evening schools, I warned the late Mr. Forster, in 1870, that they would dwindle away, and they now do not contain 1 per cent. of the scholars. And the reason for that is obvious—namely, because the evening schools merely give elementary education instead of becoming continuation schools, giving higher instruction to their scholars. I trust that in future these evening schools will become continuation schools, and will thus link together the elementary schools and those schools in which higher education is given. We do not obtain the results which we ought to secure in our schools, and we do not send out our children fully equipped in armour for the battle of life. The armour with which we supply them cracks with the first blow. Would hon. Members, in regard to their own children, think them fitted, even with these superior advantages, to go into life at 11 years of age? What is being done at the present time, is to turn the children of the working classes out at 10 or 11 years of age with a thin varnish of education, which is speedily rubbed off. They are expected to be equal to the working classes of other countries which possess secondary and continuation schools, where a complete technical education is given. The Vice President in his admirable speech said that this Code would cover the whole area of technical education. I do not agree with him. You will never give real technical education in the elementary schools; we do not desire it; what is required is to impart to them a desire to enter continuation schools and techni- 220 cal schools. The present competition of industry in the world is a competition of intellect, and unless you make our population intellectual, and enable it to apply its intelligence to the work and industry of the country, it is perfectly impossible to continue the competition. I desire to say a few words as to the aid you give to small schools throughout the country. I agree that that aid ought to be liberal, and I think it will prove to be largely in excess of what you expect. You cannot ultimately expect it to be less than £200,000 a year, and for such a payment I think we have a right to expect greatly increased efficiency. It is possible to maintain inefficiency instead of increasing efficiency, and it must be expected that we shall jealously watch this increased expenditure. Many of us favour Board Schools rather than voluntary schools. I have always given as hearty support to voluntary schools; but if by means of this increased grant you maintain inefficiency instead of increasing the efficiency, if it is found that the managers cannot give greater efficiency, then we must put local managers over them. While I do not regard the voluntary schools with disfavour, I wish to point out that they are upon their trial, and that in consideration of greater assistance they will have to become more efficient than they have hitherto shown themselves to be. Such schools may easily render themselves more efficient by combining together to obtain the services of efficient teachers of specialities, such as drawing or cookery. In conclusion, as an old Vice President of the Council, I should like to congratulate the members of the Department upon the work they have done in preparing this new Code, and the Secretaries and the Inspectors and other officials upon the zeal they have displayed in the matter. A great change is to be effected in the education of the country; but I hold that still greater improvements will result if some of the suggestions we have made are adopted.
§ (10.25.) THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Sir W. HART DYKE,) Kent, Dartford
After the inordinately long speech in which I explained the changes in our educational system that will result from the provisions of the new Code, it would not be fair of me to occupy much time in commenting upon 221 the various speeches that have been delivered in the course of this discussion. I thank hon. Members not only for their fair and candid criticism, but also for the more than generous treatment they have accorded to me. I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman opposite has bestowed a well-merited meed of praise upon the officials of the Department for the part they have taken in the preparation of the new Code. It has been said that this is an Inspectors' and Teachers' Code. But it is much more the Code of the Education Department, and it will only be by a vigilant exercise of care by the Department that it can be worked properly for the benefit of the education o: the country. Hon. Members opposite appear to think that the proposals that have been made with regard to the day training colleges are rather meagre; and while not differing from their views very widely, all I can say upon that point is that I will consult my Colleagues with reference to the suggestions that have been made, which, if adopted, may probably improve the somewhat experimental lines on which the Code has been prepared. I think that the new Code, taken with the Acts of last year, cover the whole ground as far as technical education is concerned. Hon. Members opposite take a more gloomy view as regards the expenditure of the Department than I am prepared to do; and as far as our existing proposals go I hope that the expenditure will only amount to half the sum that has been suggested. I hope, however, that before many years pass we shall reach that maximum sum, for no money can be spent in a better way. With regard to the money to be spent on small schools, I think that the Department will be able to see that it is properly administered. The Department is now served by a number of Inspectors, none of whom have been less than 10 years at their work, and I think that it would be paying those gentlemen a poor compliment to say that they will not be able to put a true test as to where this money has gone. The Department is in constant communication with these Inspectors by means of conferences, and the Inspectors must determine whether this money is so spent as to secure greater educational efficiency.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)
Do I understand the 222 right hon. Gentleman to estimate that the expenditure will be £100,000 in addition to the Estimates of this year.
§ SIR W. HART DYKE
Yes; it will amount to £100,000 in addition to the basis upon which the present Estimates are framed; but as there will only be six or seven months to which the new Code will apply of this financial year the Supplementary Estimate will not be so much. The hon. Member for Poplar has asked what the estimated expenditure per head will be under the Code Bill. The estimated number of day schools is 4,500, with 250,000 scholars, or an average attendance of 55.5, the expenditure is estimated at 3s. 7½d. per head. The hon. Member for Evesham has alluded to one change. With respect to classification, the Department are determined that it shall be thorough and real; and, as I said before, they are prepared to issue a Circular to their Inspectors dealing with this question. I will read a few sentences of a Memorandum, giving the substance of that Circular—It is the intention of the Department that teachers should experience no difficulty whatever in honestly classifying their scholars according to capacity and attainment.We lay down that under ordinary circumstances a scholar should he advanced a standard in elementary and class subjects, or a stage in specific subjects, each year, and that an infant over seven years of age should, as a rule, be presented in the First Standard. But this rule is intended to apply only to the average child of average capacity, and having had ordinary opportunities. The freedom given will more than fill the place of the former exception, schedules, with this difference—that a child may be advanced in any subject he is fit to be advanced in, and kept back in any subject in which he is backward. In every school it may be expected that there will be some children unfit to be advanced.We shall instruct the Inspector that it will not be his duty to inquire closely into the reasons for the classification of particular children if he is satisfied that the school, as a whole, is making fair progress. But if he has reason to suppose that there has been an abuse of the freedom given—for instance, if low classification has been rendered necessary by neglect of the scholars, or if the classification is such as to disorganise the school—it will then, of course, be his duty to inquire, and the result of his inquiries must necessarily affect his judgment of the efficiency of the school.The Inspector will be instructed to take into account the presence of sickness in the district, irregularity of attendance from causes beyond the manager's control, and any cause local or otherwise, which may affect prejudicially the progress of the scholars.223 That is, generally speaking, the system under which they will work; they will not inquire too closely into cases where the teachers think it right to keep children back. With regard to the question of the fixed grant, I hold, in common with the majority of the Committee, that we should not be treating the taxpayers of this country fairly if we did away altogether with the examination test. The hon. Member for Evesham seems to think that we should pay one large fixed grant, and that Inspectors should look in casually. The Department have deeply considered the question, and it is their strong opinion not only that Parliament would not give its assent to the doing away with the examination test altogether, but also that it would be most injurious to the education of this country; and I believe that the immediate result would be to reduce all schools down to one minimum level, and do away with a great deal of that just ambition which we wish to excite among all teachers and managers.
§ SIR R. TEMPLE
I never meant to say that there should be no examination; on the contrary, I guarded against that supposition in my speech of Tuesday last. I admit that examination should be made casually, or occasionally, according to circumstances. What I deprecate is the individual examination of every scholar.
§ SIR W. HART DYKE
I am glad to find that the hon. Member is almost at one with us upon the question. With regard to the question of drawing, I find myself between the Scylla of those who advocate the grievance of the teachers on the ground that they would be injured in their profession if this question were pressed too abruptly, and the Charybdis of those who, like myself, are most anxious to see this subject adopted in all our schools. We shall endeavour to steer a safe and just course. It is utterly impossible to say that in one year drawing should be taught in all schools; but we shall proceed on broad and common-sense principles, and do our utmost to promote drawing. Though we must not at first deal harshly with teachers in this respect, yet we hope that before many years have passed Ave shall find drawing thoroughly adopted throughout the whole educational system of the country, to the enormous benefit of our education. The hon. Member for Flint- 224 shire has made allusion to night schools, and has referred to the question of compulsion. For my own part, I am not prepared to advocate a system of compulsion, as I think that we should be running a great risk in doing so, and I prefer to endeavour to attract scholars as much as possible to evening schools. With regard to the question of the Seventh Standard, the Department propose to make an addendum in this connection; they intend to recognise the attendance of any scholar who has not reached the age of 14, and permit up to that limit reexamination in Standard VII. Many other suggestions have been made by hon. Members, and many modifications of the Code have been urged upon the Department; but I would remind hon. Members that the Code is not like the law of the Medes and Persians, and has to be re-introduced next Session. I will bear in mind the suggestions which have been made, and if the experience of a few months confirms opinions which may have been expressed I will promise to consider the questions. The hon. Member for Leicester has urged the adoption of the Kindergarten system, and in this respect he was most forcibly answered by the hon. Member for Gorton. Under this Code we do favour the system which the hon. Member advocates, but I am afraid that we cannot adopt it throughout every Standard. As far as I and the whole of the Education Department are concerned, we take the keenest interest in the Code, and will leave no stone unturned to enable it to operate successfully.
§ (10.45.) SIR J. PULESTON (Devonport)
Speaking as a Welshman, I do not think I ought to allow the discussion to close without giving expression to the obligation which all feel in Wales to the Vice President of the Council for a Code dealing with that most difficult subject, bi-lingual teaching. By his treatment of it he has gratified people of all parties and all creeds in the Principality. That and the other parts of the Code have given complete satisfaction in Wales; and it is due to the right hon. Gentleman that we should emphasise that satisfaction in this Debate, seeing that this action has followed upon the equally satisfactory treatment by the right hon. Gentleman of the question of intermediate education in Wales. We 225 have, in Wales, reason to be proud of the present Education Department.
§ (10.47.) Mr. PICTON (Leicester)
The right hon. Gentleman has not touched on the question of the permanent distinction between trained and untrained teachers. This question causes a great deal of soreness of feeling among teachers, and it will give great satisfaction if the right hon. Gentleman will indicate that the matter shall be re-considered.
§ (10.49.) MR. W. ABRAHAM (Glamorgan, Rhondda)
I wish to add a word to what has been said by the hon. Member for Devonport, who has the honour of being a Welshman, but not a Welsh Member. On behalf of the Welsh people I wish to express my gratitude to the right hon. Gentleman for what he has done in regard to the Welsh language, and for the education of the Welsh people.
§ (10.50.) SIR W. HART DYKE
With regard to the question of the hon. Member for Leicester, I have stated again and again that the provisions of the Code are not to be in any sense retrospective. I will promise to watch the question very closely, and will do my utmost to remove any grievance which may arise. A question has been raised as to the publication of Reports, and in regard to that I am prepared to act on the recommendations of the Royal Commission. I shall, of course, be glad to consider any suggestion that may be made with regard to our method of giving information.
§ (10.52.) MR. CONYBEARE
I wish to make an explanation. In what I said earlier this evening, I referred to the action of Mr. Pearson in one of his schools. Since I sat down I have been informed that he denied the statements in a letter to the Press, which I had not seen. Under these circumstances, I regret to have mentioned the matter at all.
§ (10.53.) MR. BRUNNER (Cheshire, Northwich)
Will the right hon. Gentleman give parents who are aggrieved by the position chosen for a pupil by a teacher the right of appeal to the managers of the school? I have heard of more than one case of complaint of a child being kept in a lower standard seemingly by way of punishment when it is fitted for a superior standard.
§ (10.54.) SIR W. HART DYKE
It seems to me that this is a question purely for the managers to deal with.
§ (10.55.) SIR R. TEMPLE
Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to maintain the distinction between trained and untrained teachers, the former counting for 70 scholars, and the latter for 60?
§ Vote agreed to.
§ Resolution to be reported upon Monday next; Committee to sit again upon Monday next.