HC Deb 15 June 1893 vol 13 cc1060-1
SIR C. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)

I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland whether his attention has been called to the fact that the School Board for Glasgow has, by a majority of over three to one, resolved to free educate in all the public schools under their control, except one, and the statement that it is proposed to turn that one into a high school for girls; whether he is aware that a majority of the members of the Board when elected advocated a contrary policy; or whether, in view of this significant testimony against the system of fee-paying Board schools, the Scotch Education Department will consider the propriety of modifying the Scottish Code so as to secure the abolition of fees for compulsory subjects in all such schools?

MR. PARKER SMITH (Lanark, Partick)

Before the right hon. Gentleman replies, I should like to ask him if he has any reason to suppose that a similar change of opinion has occurred in any other place; whether he is aware that in the Burgh of Go van a certain change meant an addition of 1½d. to the rates; and is this not a matter for local option, the inhabitants being able to give expression to their views at School Board elections?


An official letter has been received, stating that no fees are to be charged after August next, for scholars in or below the Sixth Standard, in five of the six fee-paying schools under the Glasgow School Board; and I see in the Financial Statement of the Board that the only remaining fee-paying school is to be turned into a High School for girls. I am aware that the course now taken represents a change in the policy hitherto pursued by the Board, in accordance with the views of the majority. Elementary education is, therefore, entirely free in Glasgow, and the amount of fee-paying school accommodation in Scotland has been reduced at one stroke by more than 25 per cent. This result-has been accomplished by the action of local opinion, and the Department is inclined to trust to the operation of local opinion elsewhere than in Glasgow, especially as the circumstances which have convinced the School Board of Glasgow—such, for instance, as the great number of vacant places in the fee-paying schools—exist even more in some other places than in Glasgow; and I may say that the number of vacant places in the fee-paying schools in Govan is very great indeed, and I have very little doubt that public opinion in Govan will follow that of Glasgow.