HC Deb 11 March 1897 vol 47 cc514-37

"(1) For aiding Voluntary Schools there, shall be annually paid out of moneys provided by Parliament an aid grant, not exceeding in the aggregate five shillings per scholar for the whole number of scholars in those schools.

"(2) The aid grant shall be distributed by the Education Department to such Voluntary Schools and in such manner and amounts as the Department think best for the purpose of helping necessitous schools and increasing their efficiency, due regard being had to the maintenance of voluntary subscriptions.

"(3) If associations of schools are constituted in such manner in such areas and with such governing bodies representative of the managers as are approved by the Education Department, there shall be allotted to each association while so approved,

  1. "(a) a share of the aid grant, to be computed according to the number of scholars in the schools of the association at the rate of five shillings per scholar, or, if the Department fix different rates for town and country schools respectively (which they are hereby empowered to do), then at those rates; and
  2. "(b) a corresponding share of any sum which may be available out of the aid grant after distribution has been made to unassociated schools.

"(4) The share so allotted to each such association shall be distributed as aforesaid by the Education Department after consulting the governing body of the association, and in accordance with any scheme prepared by that body which the Department for the time being approve.

"(5) The Education Department may exclude a school from any share of the aid grant which it might otherwise receive if, in the opinion of the Department, it unreasonably refuses or fails to join such an association, but the refusal or failure shall not be deemed unreasonable if the majority of the schools in the association belong to a religious denomination to which the school in question does not itself belong.

"(6) The Education Department may require as a condition of a school receiving a share of the aid grant that the accounts of the receipts and expenditure of the school shall be annually audited in accordance with the regulations of the Department."

"(7) The decision of the Education Department upon any question relating to the distribution or allotment of the aid grant, including the question whether an association is or is not in conformity with this Act, and whether a school is a town or a country school, shall be final."


called on Mr. Lambert, in whose name stood the first Amendment upon the Paper. [Loud expressions of protest on the Opposition side of the House.]

MR. T. LOUGH (Islington, W.)

I beg to move, Sir, "That you do report progress and ask leave to sit again." [Opposition cheers and Ministerial cries of "Oh!" and "Divide!"]


I decline to put that Question. Mr. Lambert.

MR. J. CALDWELL (Lanark, Mid),

who rose amid loud cries of "Order," said: On the point of order, Sir—


I have already told the hon. Member that I decline to put that Question. Mr. Lambert.


But on the point of order, Sir, is it not the usual practice, when the House has been kept sitting up to the dinner hour and the Chairman has taken the Chair, for the Chairman to go out for half an hour? [Cheers, and Ministerial cries of "Order!"]


Order, order! The hon. Member is in error, for I myself remember an occasion when that practice did not obtain. [Cries of "Once!"] It is not an invariable practice. ["Hear, hear!"]


Is it not the fact?


I really cannot allow the hon. Gentleman to argue the point with me. I call upon Mr. Lambert.


On the point of order, Sir, may I ask you whether there is any precedent, except one occasion, when it was by a general arrangement with the House to enable the House to rise early, for Members not being allowed to take their dinners? ["Hear, hear!"]


I have told the hon. Member that I myself remember an occasion of the kind. ["Hear, hear!"]


By special arrangement?


No, by no arrangement whatever. Mr. Lambert.


, who rose amid loud Ministerial cries of "Oh!" and "Divide!": I would ask you, Sir, whether it is not possible to consult the convenience of the House in this matter. [Cheers.] There are a great many hon. Members who, like myself, have been sitting here for many hours for the purpose of asking questions which have lasted an hour. Many hon. Members, like myself, have, consequently, been unable to obtain the ordinary refreshment which the common Rules of the House usually allow us to secure. ["Hear, hear!"]


There is no particular reason why the House should be adjourned for half an hour, and I may say that I believe that if I were to consult the general convenience, the House would decide in favour of our proceeding. ["Hear, hear!"] I call upon Mr. Lambert.

MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)

I would ask the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury whether—


Order, order! There is no question before the Committee. I call upon Mr. Lambert. ["Hear, hear!"] If the hon. Member does not rise I shall pass him over. ["Hear, hear!"]

MR. G. LAMBERT (Devon, South Molton)

I beg to move "That the Chairman do now leave the Chair."


I will put that Question at once, in order that the Committee may decide it.[Cheers.]


, who rose amid loud Ministerial cries of "Order!" and "Oh!" and Opposition cheers, said,—But, Mr. Lowther, I also appeal to the House—


Order, order! Under the Standing Order of the House, I am empowered, it I think fit, to put the Question at once, and that accordingly I do. [Cheers.]


, who again rose amid loud Opposition cheers, and Ministerial cries of "Order!" and "Divide," said: Mr. Lowther, I appeal to the House—[Loud cries of "Order!" and an HON. MEMBER, "Monstrous!"]


Order yourself. [Ministerial cries of "Oh!" and "Divide!"]

The Committee divided—Ayes, 88; Noes, 174.—(Division List, No. 93.)


I wish to ask you, Sir, whether you would be willing to receive a proposition that do now leave the Chair for half-an-hour.[Ministerial cries of "No, no!"]


The Committee has just decided by two to one that it should proceed.


moved, in Subsection (3), afrer the words "in such areas and with such," to insert the word "elective." He said that, although he was in a somewhat exhausted state— [laughter]—he thought that the case for his Amendment would be more than sufficient to make up for his weakness. The First Lord of the Treasury said last night that many of the Amendments moved that many of the Amendments moved on the Oppsition side of the House were frivolous, and ought not to have been proposed. He belived the right hon. Gentleman did not read the newspapers, but he wished he had undergone the penance of reading the first few sentences of the leading article in The Times, in which it was said that the Amendments of the day before were not a waste of time, and had led to an interesting discussion, and that further information might well be asked for from the Government as to the formation of these associations. The Committee had decided that these associations should be formed for the purposes of the Bill, and that being so, it was essential that they should do their utmost to make them a success. Their formation was, as was admitted by the First Lord of the Treasury, somewhat of an experiment, and he thought there ought to be some elective element in them. Speaking on the Second Reading of the Education Bill last year, the First Lord of the Treasury Said:— No principle seems to me more fundamental, or that we should strive more earnestly to carry out, than the principle which gives to those who have the general interests of any community, be it national or local, the whole control of the finances by which their schemes are supported. That was precisely the principle he wished to carry out—namely, that some kind of elective local authorities should be the bodies by which this money should be distributed. In his opinion, the associations would be more permanent, and would exercise greater influence if the members were elected that if they were merely co-opted or nominated. He would probably be told that these bodies would be governed by the Education Department, but how could that Department exercise any effective control over their constitution? The inspectors of the Department had no special qualifications to act as critics of the composition of these authorities. In the circumstances the Department would be almost compelled to approve of them. He held that it would be contrary to all precedent if an authority having to advise as to the expenditure of public money were to contain no elective element. These bodies ought not to consist merely of co-opted or nominated irresponsible persons. The Department, he would point out, would not be able to disregard their advice, for, as the Vice President of the Council said last year, it was impossible for a central Department to discriminate between schools. Had any estimate been made of the cost of the staff of these advisory bodies?


said that that point did not arise on the question whether they were to be elective or not.


contended that if the associations were to discriminate between schools they ought to have the strength of elective bodies so that they might overbear greedy managers clamouring, without justification, for a share of the grant. If there should be any want of confidence among subscribers in the impartiality of the associations their contributions would diminish. The whole Wesleyan body and the teachers had opposed the plan of the Government. He trusted, therefore, that the Government would agree to the introduction of some elective representative of the parents or of the parish or district councils.


congratulated the hon. Member on his having acquitted himself so well of his task in spite of the difficult circumstances under which he spoke—[laughter]—and to which he had alluded. There was, however, one deficiency in the hon. Member's speech. Although he expressed a general desire for election, he had not said whom he wanted to elect or on what principle the election ought to take place. The hon. Member expressed only an abstract view as to the proper method of constituting the advisory bodies, and beyond the fact that he wished the election to be an election of people who were not managers of schools—[Mr. LAMBERT: "I did not say that they should not be managers."] Well, he did not understand what was the hon. Member's plan.


explained that what he had intended to say was that the parents should be represented, and also the local authorities, if that should be possible, but that the Government would doubtless be the best judges of the way in which the elective element should be introduced.


was glad that the hon. Member should think that there was one matter connected with education on which the Government would be the best judges. ["Hear, hear!" and laughter.] The hon. Member wanted the Committee to give an abstract vote on the subject of election, but he was very vague in his view of who should be the constituents of the body to be elected. He must oppose the introduction of the word "elective" upon this, among other grounds—that it would tie them down to some method of creating a representative advisory body consisting of certain individuals, who would vote under certain conditions at certain times and places, according to some of the methods with which the system of local government had made them familiar. In conformity with the general policy which he advocated the last time this subject was under discussion, he strongly deprecated the Committee declaring that those bodies should be elective. Representative bodies they must be; elective bodies he thought they ought not to be, or, at least, need not be. Of course, if the managers of schools were to be invited under this Bill to form themselves into associations, and desired to have some elective system by which their views should be represented on the association, he need hardly say that the Education Department, as far as the Government had any influence on it, would throw no objection in the way. But to render it absolutely necessary that all the forms of election were to be gone through before these representative bodies were brought into working order, appeared to him to be inimical to the smooth working of the scheme; and he should be sorry to see the Committee adopt it. It was possible, for example, that the schools represented would be of such a number that no election at all was necessary. A number of managers of each school might meet together and form an association; on the other hand, it might happen, without a formal election, that the managers of the various schools should signify to the Education Department that they were entirely satisfied with the representative body which should be created by some less formal methods. Why should they not carry out that policy if they chose to do so? If the hon. Member, in addition to requiring that the association should consist of members elected as distinguished from members representative, should desire to have parents, ratepayers, local authorities, county councils, parish councils, district councils, and subscribers all represented, then, quite apart from the arguments he had adduced, he should offer the strongest resistance in his power to the suggestion he had made.

MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)

said that he was surprised at the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. The Bill contained terms which were impossible of definition, which were much too wide, and which were not applicable to the purpose in view. It left these questions to the discretion of the Department, and he did not think that his hon. Friend was in the least bound to say what should be the constituent elements to elect these associations. If the term "elective" was inserted their desire was to see the associations representative—[The FIRST LORD of the TREASURY: Of whom?"]—of those who were interested in these schools, and to have some element of election as their foundation. [Ironical laughter.] The associations, as they would be constituted, would have no element of popular strength or support, and the desire was to place them on a more popular basis than at present. As they were not allowed to define anything in the Bill, the Department should be left to decide, in regard to the different associations, on what particular elective basis they should be founded. They should not be mere clerical bodies, but they should look to the real interests of educational efficiency. He supported the Amendment.


insisted that the associations should not consist of one religious faith and one class. In many of the localities which would be affected by the Bill, the Dissenting bodies were in the great majority, but those who would manage this grant of money would undoubtedly be the class managing the Church schools. If the Government excluded one large portion of the community from a share in the Administration of the fund, universal dissatisfaction would be created, and in the end the Government would be the sufferers. There would be no difficulty in providing means by which Nonconformists might be elected; the machinery could be easily provided by the Education Department. If that Department should be incapable of undertaking the duty of arranging such a simple piece of machinery, then the Local Government Board would come to their aid and would soon remove the difficulty, providing a scheme for the representation of all classes in the management of this educational endowment fund, or rather this Church schools endowment fund. He had not mentioned the county councils, the district councils, or parish councils for a few minutes, since he heard the Leader of the House refer to these bodies in a tone of horror and alarm. The right hon. Gentleman shrugged his shoulders at the mere mention of urban and rural district councils, but surely he should not be ashamed of the children of his own Party, those young representative bodies that were giving general satisfaction throughout the country, doing useful work in all economical manner. There was no cause for the alarm his manner and remarks seemed to convey. The chairman, vice-chairman, or other member of a parish council, would be a satisfactory nomination to join an association for the administration of these great sums of money. If there was one Amendment on the Paper which, from its reasonable character, should claim the favourable attention of the Government, it was this Amendment. If a minority must have any recognition at all, this was an occasion for it. If the right hon. Gentleman persisted in his refusal to accept the Amendment, then he thought they might once for all abandon all hope of inserting any Amendment in the Bill. ["Hear, hear!"] No doubt that cheer represented the opinion of the Government. If the Government had made up their minds that there should be no Amendment, let them say so at once, and put the minority in the House out of their misery. [Laughter.] The minority offered no opposition to the Bill. [cries of "Oh, oh!"] Not a word had been said against the granting of money for purposes of education, they had only endeavoured to improve and strengthen the Measure, and they appealed for all classes to have a fair share and equal voice in the management. If the right hon. Gentleman meant to refuse every Amendment, then let him get up and say it was no use proposing any Amendment for he would refuse them point-blank, or to listen to any argument, however reasonable. Then the Opposition might consider whether their time might be better occupied than in fighting in this forlorn hope. He again appealed to the right hon. Gentleman, were not all portions of the community equally entitled to representation on these associations with the Established Church people?

MR. W. ALLAN (Gateshead)

asked for a little light on a subject which appeared to him to be very dim. Would the right hon. Gentleman tell the Committee whether these associations were to be the expression of the opinions of the various religious denominations who would benefit by the combination? Would the associations consist of the freely-elected representatives of the religious denominations who would benefit by the grant? That was a point he would like cleared up, and upon this, yesterday, the right hon. Gentleman's answers seemed rather cloudy and involved.


These bodies are to be the representatives of the managers.


Are they to be freely elected representatives of the denominations?


Of the existing managers of schools.


said that so far helped him over his difficulty. Then he turned to the speech of the hon. Member who had just sat down, one phrase of which he noted. The hon. Member abandoned all hope of amendment of the Bill, and asked, "Why go on?" He repeated that question. Why go on with Amendments if they were to waste time and make no progress? Personally he objected to sitting there day after day making no progress. ["Hear, hear!"] If no Amendment were to be accepted, why go on? Repeating the words of the hon. Member, the time of the House might be better occupied, and he was there for business, not for all talk and no work. He represented a Board School constituency, and in expectation that the Government would lay on the Table a Bill for helping necessitous Board Schools. He was there to ask his Liberal and Radical friends to give every assistance towards getting that Bill through, and with that Bill the time of the House might be better occupied. ["Hear!"]


humbly echoed the appeal of the hon. Member to hon. Gentlemen on the Benches opposite to give up moving Amendments. The hon. Gentleman's appeal was founded on reason, and he could not help saying for his own part—though, of course, he did not know what the tactics should be of those who opposed a Bill—that there was great want of knowledge shown of the art of obstruction in the course now being pursued. It pained him to see Amendments moved which were in themselves incomprehensible, and supported by speeches which were incoherent. This Amendment was to render the representative body of managers, which were to be approved by the Education Department, elective. But elected by whom, or how? The Amendment was not only not sense, but it was not even suggestive, nor was it explained by any subsequent Amendment that he had discovered. The First Lord of the Treasury, speaking with his usual felicity and good humour, had, with his amiability, "filled the hungry with good things"—[laughter]—and he was grateful to him for having pointed out the very important difference there is in being elective and being representative. Some of the best and most useful institutions of the country were not elective, though representative. Take a jury, for instance, that was extremely representative, but it was not elective, it was representative of the whole community; and that was the great virtue of a jury, it was representative though not elective. The Sovereign was representative. A Judge was representative, the Speaker was elective, but the Chairman of Committees was representative. [Laughter.] Therefore he conceived the hon. Member who wished these bodies to be elective and did not wish them to be representative erred, for it was better they should be representative than elective. Of course, were these words introduced as proposed, and stood alone, the matter would not be altered one atom, or whether they had a body elected, chosen, or adopted in totality it certainly had to be subjected to the approval of the Education Department. He would, therefore, point out to hon. Members opposite that not only was the Amendment as it stood inconsistent, and that it had been rendered incoherent by the speeches with which it had been advocated, but that if passed it would be useless for the purpose for which it was intended.

MR. JOHN MORLEY (Montrose Burghs)

observed that the hon. Member for Lynn Regis had advanced great many propositions which could hardly be sustained as to what constituted a representative. He had said, for instance, that a Judge was representative, and he presumed so was a Bishop. [Opposition cheers.] But in his remonstrances against what he had called obstruction on the Opposition side of the House, the hon. Member seemed to have forgotten that this was a deliberative Assembly. When he taunted the Opposition with the prolongation of discussion on the various sections of the clause, the hon. Member seemed to have forgotten a Bill on which he himself had taken a very active part.


I did not in the least complain of the prolongation of discussion, but only of inartistic prolongation. [Laughter.]


confessed he did not know the distinction between artistic and inartistic prolongation, but was bound to say the hon. Member in the last Parliament gave them ample opportunities of distinguishing between artistic and inartistic—[laughter.]—on a memorable Bill in the last Parliament. [Cries of "Question!"] Hon. Gentleman opposite called "Question" and he quite understood why. Of course this was relevant, and therefore they were afraid to hear it. [Opposition cheers and cries of "Order!"] It was perfectly in order, otherwise the Chairman would have intervened.


Of course the discussion has gone a little way from the point of the Amendment, but I think the right hon. Gentleman is entitled to reply to the criticisms that have been made by the hon. Member. After that reply has been made I think the Committee should resume the Debate on the Amendment. [Laughter.]


said he would in a sentence or two reply to the hon. Member for Lynn Regis. They had been six or seven nights in Committee on this Bill, but on the Home Rule Bill the first clause alone occupied five nights. On the third clause two nights were expended upon a discussion to postpone the clause, and then eight days were devoted to the third clause itself, after which the closure was moved. ["Hear, hear!"]


we have been nine nights on half a clause. [Ministerial cheers.]


said that of course the clauses of the Home Rule Bill were clauses, but this was a Bill put into a clause. [cheers.] There were seven Sub-sections, each of which, in a Bill framed upon the ordinary principles upon which Bills were presented to the House, would have been a separate clause by itself. ["Hear, hear!"] The right hon. Gentleman was well aware of that, and it the Opposition had brought in a Bill framed in this manner he would have been the very first to protest. [Cheers.] The fourth clause of the Home Rule Bill took nine nights. ["Hear, hear!"] On the Parish Councils Bill six nights were devoted to the first clause. They had spent seven nights, it appeared, upon the first clause of the present Bill, and he submitted, when the hon. Member for Lynn Regis taxed the Opposition with undue prolongation of discussion, he had entirely forgotten the precedent of the conduct of his own Party, and also of his own personal conduct. [Cheers.]


I do not charge the right bon. Gentleman and his Party with undue prolongation. I charged them with foolish and inartistic prolongation. [Laughter.]


Order, order! I think it would be desirable now to leave this topic. ["Hear, hear!"]


said he felt he had sufficiently disposed of the taunt of the hon. Member. ["Hear, hear!"] Upon the point of the Amendment he wished to ask the First Lord a rather simple but pretty obvious question. The right hon. Gentleman rather shifted his ground in his answer to the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment. He said that it would be very hard to tie down the associations by such rules as, for example, they should constitute themselves upon an elective principle. But that argument involved a departure from the argument he had been using throughout these discussions—namely, that the Education Department would make its own regulations, and, therefore, the associations would only have a secondary voice in the matter. The Bill said that these bodies were to be representative of the managers, but the question was upon what principle this representation was to be decided. The right hon. Gentleman said that all the managers were not to be upon the association; but what did representation mean? A representative body must either be elective or selective. ["Hear, hear!"] They contended that the principle ought to be elective and not selective. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would kindly explain upon which principle the associations were to constitute themselves, and what was the principle upon which the Education Department was going to recommend the framing of this scheme.


said there were two possibilities raised by the rather vague Amendment before them. One was as to whether there should be an elective element in these associations, the election not being by the managers, but by somebody, be they parents or be they ratepayers, or other persons outside. To that possibility the Government entertained the strongest objection. The other question was: given the association was to represent only the managers, was that representation to be by election or not? His answer was quite plain: it might be by election or it might not necessarily be by election. As he understood the matter, the schools would be invited to form these associations, and they would, no doubt, suggest the manner in which the associations were to be formed. The Education Department would then have to judge whether, in their view, the association was representative of the managers, and, if they thought it was, no doubt they would assent to the association if in other respects it seemed suitable. [Cheers.]

MR. SAMUEL SMITH (Flintshire)

said these associations would simply be associations of Anglican clergy. [Ministerial cries of "No" and "Divide."]These men would elect themselves. The controlling power would be the extreme Church party, not the moderate party; and these associations would have the power of penalising the schools which were conducted in a very moderate way at present, and to which Nonconformists did not object. He would like to give one or two questions from a catechism Which represented the views of the extreme party. [Cries of "Question."]


said the only question now before the Committee was whether the governing, bodies of these associations were to be elected or not.


said he would, of course, obey that ruling. The only point he wished to bring out was that the tendency of these associations, composed of extreme Ritualists, would be gradually to stimulate the violent anti-Protestant teaching with a view of stamping out Dissent. As the Government refused to adopt any suggestion from that side of the House, it was a farce to carry on the discussion. [Cheers.]


thought it was really time for some one to enter a protest against what he ventured to term the negative attitude which the Government had chosen to assume. [Cheers.] The First Lord of the Treasury had, no doubt in an amiable spirit, criticised the scheme of his hon. Friend who moved the Amendment; but what they had the right to have before them was the scheme of the Government. [Cheers.] The right hon. Gentleman had told them that the speeches made on that side of the House were an object lesson as to the grave difficulties with which the Government had to deal in the creation of these associations. Yes; but it was an object lesson for the Government, whose duty it was to have considered these difficulties before they embarked upon this Bill. [Cheers.] If the right hon. Gentleman would not tell them in distinct terms what the Education Department would do in connection with this matter when the Bill became law, he would venture to tell them why he did not do so. It was because the Education Department and those in charge of this Bill were at arm's length. [Cheers and Ministerial laughter.] He should be glad to hear from the Vice President of the Council or from the Attorney General—if the hon. and learned Gentleman had really got any view upon the matter—what the Education Department anticipated would be the principles upon which those associations would be created. The Committee were told that the whole responsibility for the creation and constitution of those bodies would rest on the Education Department, and yet the responsible Minister for that Department sat dumb in his seat and gave no indication to the Committee of the principles that would guide the Department in the matter. [Cheers.]

MR. R. W. PERKS (Lincolnshire, Louth)

said the question had been asked, what was the use of discussing the Bill in face of the manifest intention of the Government not to accept any Amendment? He could tell the hon. Member for Gates-head that one advantage of debating the Bill was that it enabled Members to declare the side on Which they ranged themselves in regard to the great question of Education—["hear, hear!"]—and another advantage was that it afforded opportunities to constituencies to communicate to their Members their assent to or their dissent from the votes given by those Members.[Cheers.] The question they had to consider was whether the managers, parents, and the scholars of these elementary schools should have some guarantee that these representative bodies should be elected. Yesterday, when the First Lord of the Treasury announced the compact which the Government had entered into with the Roman Catholic community, he stated, in response to the honourable Member for East Mayo, that it would be competent for the governing bodies of the different Churches outside the Church of England, to from one association for the schools of those bodies. The right hon. Gentleman had said, for instance, the Roman Catholic body might appoint one association for the whole 900 schools in connection with that Church. That association would be submitted to the Education Department for its approval. What had the Education Department to satisfy themselves about? Simply that the association was representative of the managers. The Department had not to satisfy itself at all as to whether it was an elective body. That would be a gross injustice in the case of some Roman Catholic schools. In the North of England there were several Roman Catholic schools to which from 40 to 50 Non- conformist children were forced to go, and yet, in the governing body formed to control those Roman Catholic schools, there was no guarantee in the Bill that the elective principle would be adopted, and that the parents of those Nonconformist children would have a voice in the management of the Schools. Then there was the case of the Wesleyan Methodists, who had altogether 500 schools in this country. Those schools were controlled by the Wesleyan Methodist Conference, which was the chief governing body of that Church, assisted by the Wesleyan Education Committee. They would probably propose to form two associations. An association might be proposed for the acceptance of the Education Department which the Conference might say was representative of the managers. But the managers might take an entirely different view, and in the absence of the Amendment it would be left absolutely in the control of the Education Department to say whether these associations were representative of the managers or whether they were not. Take the county of Lincolnshire, a Division of which he represented. There were in that county upwards of 400 Church of England Schools. There was the strongest possible divergence of opinion on ecclesiastical questions in the county of Lincolnshire. Some clergy were extremely evangelical, others were just the opposite. Would there be one association or two associations for the county of Lincolnshire? The managers of those schools would have no assurance that they would be represented properly on the associations. That would materially affect some of the parishes in Lincolnshire. In many parishes there were 60, and in some 80, per cent. Nonconformist children attending the schools, and, in the case of one school of 122 children, there was not a single child of an Anglican Churchman at all in the whole school, although it was a school of the Church of England. That was not at all an isolated instance in the Division he represented. There were four or five Anglican schools with which he was acquainted in which not one child was the child of a member of the Church of England. There should therefore be some guarantee that the governing bodies should be elected and should be representative of the views of parents, children, and subscribers of the schools. He should say that he did not entertain the gloomy views that had been expressed by the Member for the Flint Boroughs as to the future of Dissent in this country if the Bill were passed. The Dissenters of this country were strong enough to take care of themselves. He opposed the Bill because he believed it to be an unjust one, and not because he thought the Bill would do any harm to the Dissenters. At the next election they would be powerful enough to sweep this Measure straight from the Statutebook.

MR. SAMUEL EVANS (Glamorganshire, Mid)

said that this Amendment was very important for many reasons. Important functions were to be intrusted to these associations. They were to guide and advise the Department in the distribution of the grant. But if they were to be really representative bodies there must be some sort of election to them. The Bill left the manner of their formation absolutely vague; and in the present day it was a strong thing to say that some one should represent some one else without any sort of election. The three cases cited by the hon. Member for king's Lynn were not fortunate. The Judges represented no one, unless it were the Sovereign. Juries represented only themselves, because they had no responsibility but to themselves; and who was represented by the Chairman of Committees when the right hon. Gentleman occupied the Chair?


said that he wished to make a personal statement with regard to the remarks of the hon. Member for the Louth Division (Mr. Perks). The hon. Member had entirely mistaken what he said, which was simply an echo of the words of the hon. Member for Leicester. And as to the assent or dissent of his constituents, he thought that the hon. Member's remarks were quite uncalled for. He could not reconcile such a gross attack upon himself by the hon. Member with the vote which the hon. Member gave last year on the veto which the hon. Member gave last year on the Agricultural Rating Bill, whereby two millions were given to the landlords of this country.

MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS (Nottingham, Mansfield)

said that these discussions were of great use, in spite of what the hon. Member for Gateshead had said, because they were making it clearer to the country day by day what the Bill really was, and what the views of the Govern- ment were as to the way in which their Bill was to be administered. The dissatisfaction with these proposals would be increased if these associations were not to be formed on representative principles. From the statement made by the First Lord of the Treasury on the previous evening, it appeared that these associations would be formed on denominational lines, so that our national education would become more denominational than ever. The laity would accordingly require protection, and they could only get it by the adoption of the principle of representation. If that were refused, and this Measure were to be worked for ecclesiastical rather than educational purposes, the laity would be disgusted, and the cause of education would suffer.

SIR JOHN BRUNNER (Cheshire, Nerthwich)

said the positive and determined refusal of the Government to allow the smallest introduction of the elective principle into this clause made the arguments so often used, with absolute sincerity by hon. Gentlemen opposite, that parents ought to be allowed perfect freedom of choice as to the religious education their children received, are absolute and hollow mockery. From time to time they heard of Protestant children being driven into the Roman Catholic Schools, and he would ask hon. Gentleman opposite to realise how hard that hit the parents of the Protestant children. The action of the Government would tend to intensify this course, and he warned hon. Gentlemen opposite that if the persistence of the Government in refusing to introduce the elective principle into the clause was encouraged by them, they would receive an answer from their constituents Which would be a pleasant one for them or the Government.

MR. ABEL THOMASand Mr. HUMPHREYS-OWEN (Montgomery) (Carmarthen, E.)

rose to continue the Debate, when


claimed to move "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 249; Noes, 104.—(Division List, No. 94.)

Question put acordingly, "That the word 'elective' be there inserted."

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 105; Noes, 266.—(Division List, No. 95.)


moved in Subsection (3), after the word "bodies," to insert the words "consisting of a number of persons in equal proportion for each school in the association." He said that the object of the Amendment was to secure that, whatever the number of managers or children, there should be the same representation so as to secure the interests of a small necessitous school.


said that the hon. Member suggested in his Amendment that the representation of small schools on the associations should be the same, and have the same weight as that of the large schools. He did not know that the suggestion in itself was a bad one, and, indeed, it might be a very good one. But at the same time he must strongly object to taking away from the Education Department control over this one matter when the rest were left to their discretion. ["Hear, hear!"] He knew that there were points on which the opinion of the managers of large schools, having a thousand children, ought to have no more weight than those of small schools having only 20 scholars. He, however, believed that the associations themselves would be able to contrive forms of self-government that would enable them to do their work efficiently and justly without any rule being laid down for them by that House. ["Hear, hear!"] He must therefore deprecate any attempt to lay down a rule of the character suggested by the Amendment. For the reasons he had given he felt himself bound to oppose the Amendment. ["Hear, hear!"]


said that the point Which the hon. Gentleman the mover of the Amendment (Mr. Evans) had made was that the Government had given the House no information whether the representation of the schools upon the associations was to be based on the number of children in the schools or on the population of the district. It was of the greatest importance to prevent the small schools being overborne by the larger schools. Unless provision were made to prevent that unfortunate result being brought about, the associations would be useless for any good purpose. He thought that House ought to lay down the prnciple once for all that the managers of the small schools should have equal weight of representation upon the associations with those of the larger schools. He should support the Amendment.

MR. C. HARRISON (Plymouth)

said although it was natural that objection should be taken to the Amendment, yet the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, on behalf of the Government, had assured the House the associations were advisory bodies only, and would have no powers, and would not in fact, manage or control the schools. Confined to the purpose of advising the Education Department which particular school was necessitous to justify its having a grant, the exercise of the advisory powers depended upon an accurate knowledge of the state of the school as regards educational efficiency and the sufficiency of the income of the particular school. On such points as these he could see no reason why one school should have an advantage over another when it came to a question of voting, and to protect the interests of the smaller schools the Amendment might be adopted.

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

The Committee divided—Ayes, 92; Noes, 263.—(Division List, No. 96.)


moved, in Subsection (3) to leave out the words "representative of the managers." He said it was incumbent on the Government to show that the governing bodies ought to be representative of the managers. For his part, he would much prefer to leave the matter to the Education Department. What was wanted was, that these governing bodies should take care that this aid grant should be used for increasing the efficiency of the schools; and they knew that some managers were not so careful of education as of some other matters, and if the bodies were to be representative of them, they would not command the confidence of the parents or the children. If the managers were representative of anybody else there would be good reasons for making the governing bodies representative of the managers; but in almost all cases the managers were not representative of anyone. If the matter were left to the Education Department they would see that people were put on these bodies who would look to the efficiency of the schools.


said there had been two Divisions on Amendments which had been moved, and in the discussion of which the hon. Member had taken part. The first was to introduce the word "elective," and the second was to provide that every school in every association should have an equal right of representation. Now the hon. Member, with a happy versatility, had moved an Amendment that there should be no representation and no election at all—[laughter]—and that the whole thing should be done by the Education Department at its own sweet will. He had confidence in the Education Department, but he thought that the Committee ought not to omit the guidance given by the words "representative of the managers" of schools. The hon. Member and his friends had occupied all night in restricting the liberty of the Education Department, but now they wanted to turn the moderate liberty given to the Department into absolute licence. [Laughter.] The Committee had better pursue the middle course traced in the Bill; and he begged the hon. Member not to press the Amendment to a Division.


asked what was to happen to a new school which joined the association? Was it to have representative managers on the association? How were they to be representative? Were they to be elected? What was to be the process in the formation of the associations?

SIR W. HART DYKE (Kent, Dartford)

said that the elasticity of the clause commended itself to him.


maintained that if those words were omitted the Bill would be more elastic than it was now. It was known, according to the authority of the Vice President of the Council, that this association area was to cover a million of inhabitants. If that were so, the managers of a school could not have more than one representative on the association at most. But managers would not go outside their own body for representatives, and the teaching profession of the country would be excluded from the associations, not to say anything of parents and the different public bodies.


There is nothing in the Bill to prevent teachers from being elected.


asked whether the right hon. Gentleman thought that the managers would go outside their own body to get a representative? He commended the Amendment to the right hon. Gentleman as one that made the Bill shorter and not more understood—points in its favour both. [Laughter.] It would give a wider scope to the Education Department, and leave the Vice President of the Council a more unfettered discretion to carry out the vague and unknown purposes of the Bill.


said that he had had some experience of the Education Department, and believed that it could be trusted to act in the interest of education. According to the present wording of the sub-section there would be no representation on the association beyond the management concerned; but surely the proper course would be to have some representation beyond this in the administration of such large sums of money? He had sufficient faith in the Vice President of the Council to be sure that if he had the opportunity he would think it right to have on the associations a few persons interested in education from other than the managers' point of view. Many Members on the other side of the House would share that opinion; and to give authority to the Education Department would secure such representation.

MR. A. H. DYKE ACLAND (York, W.R., Rotherham)

wished to be quite sure that one or two matters he considered of great importance would still be open after the Committee had voted on the present Amendment. There were two points in controversy here; one was whether teachers should have the opportunity of representation, and the other was whether a certain proportion of representation of laymen should be secured. After a decision on the present Amendment, would it be still open to submit propositions to add members representing different bodies on the associations?


said it would be still open to do so, provided such proposals were consistent with decisions already arrived at.

MR. HERBERT LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)

said in future it might be expected that there would be considerable development of public secondary education, and it was most important that there should be the most cordial relations between the managers of elementary and secondary education. It this Amendment were accepted it would enable that to be done which in Wales had been done in connection with intermediate education. Elementary teachers had been placed upon the Boards which dealt with intermediate education. It would be possible to have intermediate teachers upon the associations with the managers of elementary school, if the proposal of his hon. Friend were adopted. He hoped the Committee would give the Education Department a sufficiently free hand, so that intermediate and elementary education might be co-ordinated in the manner he had suggested.

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

The Committee proceeded to a Division:—Ayes, 261; Noes, 83.—(Division List, No. 97.)

And, it being midnight, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.

Committee report progress; to sit again upon Monday next.