MR. J. CARVELL WILLIAMS (Notts, Mansfield)
I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education, at what date, and in what official document, it was decided by the Education Department that parts of the Church Catechism are not distinctive of any particular religious denomination, and may, therefore, be used in board schools; whether the document will be laid before Parliament; what are the parts of the Catechism 582 which the Department holds are not distinctive of any particular religious denomination; what steps, if any, were taken by the Department to ascertain the parts of the Catechism which were taught in the board schools reported in the Return of 1895 as using the Catechism, and to put an end to that use; and whether the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown has been taken as to the legality of using portions of the Church Catechism in board schools?
§ SIR JOHN GORST
The Committee of Council is of opinion that the Creed, the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments are not distinctive of any particular religious denomination. They believe their predecessors to have held a similar opinion, though it is not recorded in any official document, nor does the opinion of the Law Officers appear to have been taken on the subject. The Committee of Council have taken no steps to ascertain that the School Boards referred to are observing the law, as no complaint has reached them of its being violated.
MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS
asked whether the Department would take steps with regard to the schools mentioned in the Return of 1895?
§ SIR J. GORST
Our Inspectors never interfere unless they have some reason to fear that some person is aggrieved.