HC Deb 31 May 1892 vol 5 cc391-405


As amended, considered.

(5.10.) MR. MARJORIBANKS (Berwickshire)

The Amendment which I had on the Paper refers to two points: to what we consider the insufficient sum for secondary education, which we propose to increase by £50,000; and, secondly, that of the proposal to give a certain sum to Parochial Boards, which are not considered properly representative. I believe at this stage the First Lord of the Treasury will be inclined to accept the Amendment, which would remove many of the objections we have to the Bill. I see he shakes his head, and as I only desire to repeat the protest I made on a former occasion, I do not think it desirable at this period of the Session to re-discuss the question. I shall simply throw the responsibility of resisting it on the Government, and not move the Amendment which stands in my name.

MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

I should like to hear what the right hon. Gentleman has to say as to the reason for moving this Amendment before I say what I have to say on the subject.

*(5.12.) THE LORD ADVOCATE (Sir C. J. PEARSON,) Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities

I had intended to give an explanation of this Amendment. It may be in the recollection of the House that when the Bill was in Committee, a proposal was discussed for remitting the whole question of secondary education dealt with by this Bill to a Departmental Committee of Inquiry; and in the course of the discussion on the proposal an Amendment was moved by the hon. Member for South Aberdeen (Mr. Bryce) and was accepted by the Government. It was in the words I now proceed to read— Provided that no aid shall be given to any school not being wholly or partially under public management or control. These, of course, are limiting words. The desire of the Committee was to enlarge as far as was consistent with Scotch practice the scope of the provision which was to be made for secondary education by this additional money, and in token of that, I may remind the House that one of the Amendments of this very sub-section consisted in substituting the words "making provision for secondary education" for the words "making grants for secondary education." The proposal which now appears on the Bill as it stands is one obviously not couched in the usual language of draughtmanship, and is capable of more than one interpretation. My desire is to make clear, beyond doubt what the Amendment which was accepted by the Government means in their view, and what they intended by the acceptance of it. I think it is desirable that at this stage the matter should be thoroughly cleared up, and that we should thoroughly understand each other. I may remind the House of the class of schools which may be within the scope of this additional money, distributed by way of grant. There are, first, the burgh schools. There are also those schools which are provided with schemes under the recent Education Endowment Commission. These schools stand on one side as secondary schools properly so called, and they have in one sense public management and control. On the other hand stand the State-aided schools, and it is part of the scheme tabled by the Government that these should be enabled to take advantage of the grant by way of developing secondary departments in schools in places where such secondary departments are required. I need not remind the House that the principle of State aid does in itself involve public control, and inasmuch as the Amendment which was moved in the Committee uses the expression "schools not being wholly or partially under public management," the purpose of this Amendment was, in our view, to exclude private or adventure schools, as they are sometimes called, and not in any way to restrict the category of schools which would be entitled to the grant, so as to exclude any school which was or might become State-aided. I think it would be most unfortunate if, in conseqeence of these words now standing in the Bill, any limit was to be placed upon the development of secondary education in those schools which in the course of their development might have a secondary department added. That being so, the Amendment which stands in my name has the effect of defining beyond doubt the schools and classes of schools which shall be entitled to participate in the grant of £60,000 which we are now distributing. They are to include schools which are under the same management as State-aided schools, higher-class schools, and schools which are managed under the provisions of any Act of Parliament, or Scheme, or Provisional Order issued pursuant to an Act of Parliament. It is in order to make clear the inclusion of primary schools to which State aid is given, and which have now, or in course of their development may receive, a secondary department, that I move this Amendment.

Amendment proposed, In page 2, line 19, to leave out from the word "being," to the end of Sub-section (1) of Clause 2, in order to insert the words "either a school under the same management as a State-aided school or a higher-class public school, or a school managed under the provisions of any Act of Parliament, or scheme, or Provisional Order issued pursuant to an Act of Parliament."—(The Lord Advocate.)

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

(5.16.) MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

I confess I do not understand from the explanation of the Lord Advocate what the meaning of his Amendment is. The expression "under the same management as a State-aided school" appears to me to be a most ambiguous expression. If the right hon. Gentleman means State-aided school, why not say so? We do not know what the management of a State-aided school means. I submit that on that ground alone the House ought not to accept the Amendment. It seems to me that if it were adopted it would give rise to far more difficulty than the words which the right hon. Gentleman proposes to leave out of the clause; and not merely that, but that it would nullify and destroy the Amendment which was previously accepted by the Government. The right hon. Gentleman, in speaking on the First Reading of the Bill, stated that it was part of the Government proposal that the schools which were to be aided by the grant to be made under the scheme of the Scotch Education Department should be schools in the management of which there was an element of public control. These words were applauded upon delivery. And in the debate upon the Bill the Government were congratulated upon the step which they had taken in introducing the principle that schools receiving this exceptional benefit were to be schools which admitted a public element into their governing body. No comment was made by the Government upon these speeches. They did not deny in any way the interpretation which hon. Members put on the Lord Advocate's words, and when the Bill was produced I was not prepared to find nothing in the Bill which carried out the promise which had been made. In order to remedy that defect I moved an Amendment in lines 19 and 20 to the effect that the benefit of the grant should not extend to schools— Not being schools wholly or partially under public management or control. That Amendment was on the Paper for several days before it was come to, and when it was come to it was accepted by the Lord Advocate without a word. I submit that this Amendment has the effect of destroying the value of the words that now stand in the Bill, because there is nothing in this Amendment that recognises the principle of public management or control. I see the Lord Advocate says that a State-aided school is under public control, but that is a very great straining put upon the words. It suggests that the mere fact that a school receives aid from the State imports the element of public control. Certainly, there were no words uttered by the Lord Advocate in introducing this Bill which implied that. It was stated that the schools, which were to receive the grant were to be schools under public management and control. I take it that the effect of these words will be to allow the grant to be received by schools which are not under public control. As regards the ordinary class public schools, I agree that they are already included in the words as they now stand in the Bill, and that the schools managed under the provisions of an Act of Parliament, or Scheme, or Provisional Order, are also included in the words of the Bill as it now stands. Further, there are schools which are wholly or partially under public control. But if we take the first part of the Amendment I find nothing in it to supply the element of public management. What I mean by the element of public management is that there should be on the Governing Body either some person elected by the people, or some person placed there by a public authority, such as a County Council, or a Town Council, or any other authority, being in this sense public, that the public have confidence in him, and that he represents an element distinct from the purely private management of a school. That seems to me to involve a very important principle, and unless the Lord Advocate will agree to leave out the first words of his Amendment, it is an Amendment which we are bound to resist; because in my mind it not only does a serious injury to the Bill itself, but it introduces a principle into Scotch education which I contend against, and which in my mind makes the grant liable to considerable abuse.

(5.26.) MR. BUCHANAN (Edinburgh, W.)

In support of the views expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for South Aberdeen, I may say that during the discussion in Committee I had an Amendment on the Paper dealing with this subject, in order to get the Government to explain what schools there were that they meant to give aid to. However, in the course of the discussion the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for South Aberdeen was accepted without any demur. I now find that the Lord Advocate puts down on the Paper an Amendment which undoubtedly runs very much counter to the words which he then accepted. In the course of the discussion which took place when questions were asked of the Lord Advocate, I understood from him that burgh schools were included, and also that endowed schools, and schools managed under a Provisional Order, or scheme, or under the provisions of an Act of Parliament, were included. Now I find that the Lord Advocate introduces words, the true interpretation of which is undoubtedly very hard to make out. He should have given us instances of the schools which he had in view, and particularly as he is introducing a new class of schools for obtaining the benefit of the distribution of this money, and introducing apparently a new principle. I quite agree with my hon. Friend that we ought to resist the Amendment of the Lord Advocate.

(5.27.) MR. CHARLES PARKER (Perth)

I should like to know from the Lord Advocate what schools are intended to be included by those words. According to the Bill, one part of the application of the grant is to ordinary schools that have a higher or secondary department. I do not know whether that is what he has in view. I should like to ask the Lord Advocate whether, in case his Amendment were carried, what schools would be included under the words "high class schools"? Hon. Members are already acquainted with what are called "higher class schools" in Scotland; but the expression "high class schools," so far as I know, is new to Scotland.

(5.28.) MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)

I cannot congratulate the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Advocate on the way in which he has conducted his business. Here is the case of an Amendment of which formal Notice was given, and which was accepted in the precise form in which it was offered by the right hon. Gentleman; and now he comes down to call for a reversion of the decision of the Committee, and to introduce words which themselves are open to precisely the same objection as was advanced against the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for South Aberdeen (Mr. Bryce). I should like to ask the Lord Advocate what is the difference between a State-aided school and a school under the same management as a State-aided school? So far as I can comprehend these words, they mean the same thing. If not, what is the difference between them?

*(5.29.) MR. ANGUS SUTHERLAND (Sutherland)

I think it is a very strange thing that after the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill should have given what he considers all the necessary explanation that was required, we are as much in the dark as we were before regarding the meaning of the words proposed to be introduced into this Bill. As the hon. Member has just stated, I do not know the difference between a State-aided school and a school under the same management as a State-aided school. Is there any mystery about the sort of school which is to be included? Is it to be a private school, or what sort of school is it to be at all? Besides that, there is the new term which has been alluded to by the hon. Member for Perth (Mr. C. Parker). Does the term "high class school" refer to the nature of the instruction given in the school, or does it refer to the social condition of the children who attend it? We have always held in Scotland that it has been the boast of our educational system that no social distinctions should be made between the children. I hope no attempt will be made to introduce into education distinctions between classes, and for these reasons, as well as for those advanced by my hon. Friends, I think we are justified, if we do not get further and satisfactory explanations of this Amendment, in resisting it as far as we can.

(5.31.) MR. SINCLAIR (&c.) Falkirk,

It seemed to me, when I was considering this Amendment, that the Lord Advocate was proposing to meet a case of this kind—and there is one in my constituency—where there is a school which has departments, if I may use the word which is used in the English Education Act, primary departments, which are State-aided, and secondary departments, which are not State-aided, which do not receive at the present time any assistance from the State. It seems to me, therefore, that the words he has introduced "either a school under the same management as a State-aided school," were reasonable words, and that they are intended to refer to schools such as I have described, and of which there was one—I believe it is now changed—in the borough I represent. With regard to the point raised by the hon. Member who has just sat down, who asked what was meant by the words "high-class school," surely I am right in saying that they referred to the education, and not certainly to the social standing of the children who attend those schools. It would be against all Scotch precedent and desire and thought if it were not so, and I have no doubt myself that the Lord Advocate will find no difficulty in explaining the words in that sense.

*(5.32.) SIR C. J. PEARSON

I only rise to say, in answer to the questions which have been addressed to me, that the words "high-class public school" may carry a wrong impression, and therefore I think a slight amendment might be made. The hon. Member who has just sat down is quite right in surmising that it is the higher department of a school already receiving State aid which is meant, and not any of those social distinctions which have been referred to by hon. Gentlemen opposite. I would, therefore, propose that the Amendment should be amended by substituting the word "higher" for "high" in the second line.

(5.33.) MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)

If that is the explanation which the Lord Advocate gives of this part of the Amendment, it seems to me that he has not met the objections which have been made, because he is confining the word "department" to a school. What he tells us is that when he speaks of a school under the same management as a State-aided school, he refers to an arrangement of this kind—there is a school containing two departments, a primary and a higher department, in which the primary is State-aided and the higher department is not State-aided, and he says that because a school containing two departments is under one government, the higher department is to be described as a separate school. The Lord Advocate's explanation makes the thing more difficult, and it will be perfectly impossible for the Scotch Education Department to draw up regulations that refer to an unintelligible clause that cannot be defined in any other way than that given by the Lord Advocate. It is an interpretation which is self-contradictory. When you talk of a school under the same management as the State-aided school, you are talking of two schools, and not of one school containing two departments. The Lord Advocate wishes to say that half of a school is another school.

(5.37.) MR. CRAWFORD (Lanark, N.E.)

I agree that the Amendment of the Lord Advocate is very unhappily expressed. It may or may not be that technically, in the language of the Education Department, a higher department is a separate school from a lower department, but I do not think that that would be a sufficient defence for the wording of an Act of Parliament being otherwise than ordinary people can understand. My objection to this Amendment goes a great deal deeper than that. The clause, as it now reads, in consequence of an Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Aberdeen, and accepted by the Government, says that— No aid shall be given to any school not being wholly or partially under public management or control. The Lord Advocate is of opinion that there is a certain ambiguity in that phraseology—I am not convinced that there is—but at all events the principle is perfectly distinct. The principle of the Amendment which the Lord Advocate now proposes is totally different. It introduces a class of schools which are not in any sense under public management or control except in the sense that if they obtain a grant they must submit to inspection. Clearly we did not intend to admit such schools. I do not charge the Government with any intentional departure from an understanding, and therefore I am willing that the matter should be considered by the House to be open, because I think the Government must have misunderstood the Amendment which they accepted. But I would strongly urge that the principle now included in the Bill should be adhered to, and that we should not extend this grant to every voluntary school, even though it be not under public management.

Question put.

(5.40.) The House divided:—Ayes 101; Noes 173.—(Div. List, No. 157.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

(5.53.) MR. WALLACE

Shall I now be in Order in asking whether the Lord Advocate will agree to bring in an Interpretation Clause?

(5.54.) SIR C. J. PEARSON

I consider that the words are perfectly clear, and I do not intend to introduce any such clause.

(5.55.) MR. BRYCE

I must join my appeal to that of the hon. Member, on the ground that otherwise the meaning of the clause will be extremely obscure. I hope that the Lord Advocate will withdraw his Amendment and re-introduce it in another form.

Question put, and agreed to.


I beg to move the following Amendment:— Clause, 2, page 2, line 33, leave out sub-section (4), and insert—"In transferring to the Scotch Education Department a sum of fifty thousand pounds to be applied in providing exhibitions or scholarships for secondary education to boys and girls selected by competition from State-aided public schools. I do not wish to occupy much of the time of the House with this Amendment. The point of it is to set aside £50,000 for the purpose of providing exhibitions or scholarships for secondary education. The great fault of this Bill is that it makes no such provision. Not a single penny will be applied by it to the benefit of the working classes. It all goes to the benefit of the middle classes instead of to that of the most numerous class of ratepayers, who are most unjustly burdened by taxation. Now, I contend that £50,000 is not a large sum to set apart for such a purpose as that I propose. It would only provide five thousand exhibitions of the value of £10 each for five years, or one thousand per annum. We hope that the Government will give us the benefit of a death bed repentance in regard to this matter, and that this Parliament, which has done so much evil, will finish up with this little act of justice which is so much desired. It is in order to give the Government this last chance that I move my Amendment.

Amendment proposed, In page 2, line 33, to leave out Sub-section (4) of Clause 2, and insert as a new subsection the words:—"In transferring to the Scotch Education Department a sum of fifty thousand pounds to be applied in providing exhibitions or scholarships for secondary education to boys and girls selected by competition from State-aided public schools.—(Mr. Hunter.)

Question proposed, "That Subsection (4) of Clause 2 stand part of the Bill."


I do not think the hon. Gentleman understands the magnitude of the question he raises. It has been discussed before. It would be impossible to recast the whole Bill at this stage.

MR. PHILIPPS (Lanark, Mid)

The right hon. Gentleman has stated that it is impossible to recast the Bill at this stage, but he is only asked to accept Amendments. No one wishes to keep this Bill before the House longer than possible. It has already been discussed at some length. I wish, however, to say that I think the whole system of education has been framed with the idea of benefiting the State as much as the children. If scholarships and exhibitions are given as now proposed, they will give the children of poor parents the chance of getting to the top of the educational ladder—a state of things we ought to encourage. That is the reason why I support the Amendment of my hon Friend.

Question put.

(6.0.) The House divided:—Ayes 170; Noes 82.—(Div. List, No. 158.)


I beg now to propose an Amendment which is not on the Paper. The point is this: Under Section 2 power is given to the County and Town Councils to apply money for the relief of local rates. I think the Government have contended that by relief of local rates they do not mean the relief of landlords; and therefore I wish to insert words which will prevent, what I daresay the Government do not desire, the possibility of this money being applied in the relief of landlords' rates. There are certain rates to be fixed by Statute exclusively for the landlord, and I propose, in Clause 2, Sub-section 5, page 3, line 17, after the word "Scotland," to insert these words— Provided that no part of this money shall be applied in relief of rates payable by owners only.

Amendment proposed, In page 3, line 17, after the word "Scotland," to insert the words "Provided that no part of this money shall be applied in relief of rates payable by owners only."—(Mr. Hunter.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


This Bill is in the interests of ratepayers generally, and, therefore, I cannot exclude from the scope of the Bill any particular class of ratepayers.

DR. CLARK (Caithness)

I regret that the right hon. Gentleman should decline to accept this moderate Amendment, the object of which is to prevent money from being used by a County Council, in which the landlords have a majority, for the reduction of the rates paid by the landlords alone. I think the Government ought to permit the money to be used only for the reduction of rates common to landlord and tenant, or for the other purposes defined in the clause.

Question put.

(6.20.) The House divided:—Ayes 81; Noes 165.—(Div. List, No. 159.)


With reference to the Amendment standing in my name on the Paper providing that— No portion of the sum shall be applied to any University in which provisions shall not have been made for the full recognition of extra-mural teaching as qualifying for graduation," &c, I may say that I hoped on a former occasion that we might have discussed this matter in connection with the Ordinances, so-called, of the Commission; but it was two o'clock in the morning when they were under consideration, and neither the First Lord nor the Lord Advocate said a word about this question. Now, Sir, we have no extra-mural teaching in arts in Scotland, although the Scotch Universities have plenty of power to prevent any of the evils arising that have been foreshadowed. But although we have no extra-mural teaching in arts in Scotland, we have extra-mural teaching in medicine and divinity. In Glasgow there is St. Magnus College, a well-organised medical school with a large infirmary, and all we ask for is that the students connected with this school—which has been founded and endowed by the citizens of Glasgow—shall have the same fair play as the medical students attending the classes of the University. In Scotland we had a monopoly. Edinburgh was the first to break through that monopoly, and to recognise extramural teaching. Glasgow has since been compelled to recognise it, as every other University has had to do. It was not right that the professors should be in a position to prevent students from being taught by men who were as able to teach as themselves. Since then most of the professors have been taken from the extra-mural lecturers. This proposal will affect both medicine and divinity, because you have competing schools in both sections. There is the school of the Free Church, the United Presbyterian school, the Evangelical Union, Congregationalist, and a number of ecclesiastical and theological academies. Then there is the school of the Faculty of Physicians of Glasgow and the Royal College of Surgeons at Edinburgh. Thus, as I said, both sections will be affected. In the old days before the General Medical Council took action, the sole teacher and the sole examiner was a professor; and unless a student sat under him, and was prepared to adopt all his fads, he ran a risk of being rejected. Fortunately, we have now got an assessor, but, at the same time, we think that the extramural schools should have some voice in the Governing Body. This is a question which ought not to be brought on at the fag end of a Session, or at three o'clock in the morning; and though I do not intend to move the Amendment which is down in my name, or to go to a Division, we can still bring up this matter on the Estimates. When we have the final Ordinance of the Commissioners, and when we see the course they are going to adopt, we shall know what to do. If they take the course that was foreshadowed by the Member for one of the Divisions of Manchester (Sir Henry Roscoe), we shall not perhaps raise very much objection. But we had better wait till we know what they intend to do, and we shall be able to discuss it then. Under these circumstances, and with a view to enable the Government to get through their business, I will withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Bill to be read the third time upon Thursday.