HC Deb 18 March 1897 vol 47 cc969-70

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

The expression "Voluntary School means a public elementary day school not provided by a School Board.

Any reference to the number of scholars in schools means the number of scholars in average attendance as computed by the Education Department.

The expression "local rate" means a rate the proceeds of which are applicable to public local purposes, and which is leviable on the basis of an assessment in respect of the yearly value of property, and includes any sum which, though obtained in the first instance by a precept, certificate, or other instrument requiring payment from some authority or officer, is or can be ultimately raised out of a local rate as before defined.

Other expressions have the same meaning as in the Elementary Education Acts 1870 to 1893.

MR J. A. PEASE (Northumberland, Tyneside)

Moved to insert after the words Education Department" A school shall be deemed to be "necessitous" if, in the preceding school year, either— (a) A rate of 3d. in the pound on the rateable value of the school district in which the school was situated, together with any other school district, or part of a school district, for which the school is recognised as available by the Education Department, would have produced less than £20, or less than 7s. 60. per scholar in the school or schools of the district; or, (b) A School Board existed in the district in which the school was situated, and a sum was paid to the treasurer of the School Board by the rating authority which was not less than the proceeds of a rate of 3d. in the pound on the rateable value of the district. Those who had spoken on the Bill had, almost without exception, criticised the vague character of what might be considered a necessitous school under the provisions of the Bill, and the Members of the Government had admitted that the term was somewhat elastic. His object in seeking to define what a necessitous school was, not to limit the necessity to poor districts, but to establish statutory equality with Board Schools. Members would recognise in his Amendment the principle of the 97th Section of the Act of 1870, which applied to Board Schools. He was not himself satisfied with that definition and desired to, see it considerably extended. The Conservative Measure of 1876 when it was introduced contained in the 13th Section a special provision as to Parliamentary grants being given to schools in poor districts. In that section, where the Education Department were satisfied a rate of 3d. would produce less than 6s. per head of one-sixth of the population of the school district, special grants would be provided; that then appeared to be the Government view as to what was a necessitous school. It was the intention of the Government that £620,000 should be given to only necessitous schools. Why not, therefore, now define the word, and allow one standard of necessity for Board and Voluntary Schools alike. It was his object to make the law equal in its application. If the First Lord would indicate to them that in the Bill about to be introduced he was going to extend largely the idea of what was a necessitous Board School, he would be glad to alter his Amendment that what was a necessitous Voluntary School should be exactly the same as a necessitous Board School. They ought to see that equal justice was done as far as possible. He knew the effect of his Amendment would limit the number of schools which would receive the aid grant, but where there was no guarantee of efficiency or public representation on the management, it was expedient that the grant should not be given recklessly. His object was to secure and encourage interest on the part of the managers of Voluntary Schools in their schools, and to secure statutory equality, and he therefore moved.


said there were several subsidiary objections, but there was one overwhelming objection which would prevent the Committee being justified in accepting the Amendment. In estimating the poverty of a Voluntary School the poverty of the district was no criterion. ["Hear, hear!"] He thought the suggestion of the hon. Member was beyond the power of any draftsman, as some of those on the Front Bench would admit.

Amendment negatived; clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 5,—