§ MR. H. S. FOSTER
I beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education whether he has now seen the Report of the special committee appointed by the Newcastle Diocesan Society to assist voluntary schools in the county of Northumberland in resisting pressure from the Department, and particularly to the statement therein that the committee had recovered during the year 1894 the sum of £900 from the Department in respect of arrears in the county of Northumberland, which it is stated had been retained by the Department, and the further statement in the said report that in five school districts in Northumberland the establishment of school boards was imminent, but had been avoided through the action of the committee, and whether he is able to explain the circumstances alluded to so far as the Department is concerned; and whether, in view of the fact that the committee have been able to render the Department valuable assistance in enabling them to understand the local circumstances affecting the voluntary schools in their district, he will invite the formation of similar committees in other parts of the country?
§ MR. ACLAND
The report in question is the one which I informed the hon. Member that I had seen when I replied to his question on the 28th February. The circumstances alluded to so far as the Department is concerned may perhaps be best explained in the words of the member of the committee who wrote the article prefixed to this report—What was lacking in each case was a little 1273 common sense to help officialism at headquarters to grasp the practical situation. My Lords are quite willing—at least this is our unvarying experience—to treat most courteously with managers who will state their case with patience and clearness. In no one instance have we been met by other than fairness.The formation of similar committees in other parts of the country is obviously a matter for local initiative, not for that of the Department.