§ * MR. JEBB (Cambridge University)
The object of the motion which I have placed on the Paper is to provide an opportunity for the discussion of those proposed modifications in our system of elementary education which have already excited such widespread interest throughout the country. It is fitting that these proposals, involving as they do national concerns of the highest moment, should be attentively considered by this House; and, in giving us a day for that purpose, the First Lord of the Treasury has responded to a desire which has been, I think, very generally felt in all parts of the House. I propose to deal first with the Education Code, and then with the Minute issued recently by the Board of Education. The terms of my motion are intended to express that general and cordial approval to which, in my opinion, these proposals are unquestionably entitled, without necessarily affirming or suggesting that they may not prove to be susceptible of improvement in one or another particular. I shall have to touch upon details, but it will be more especially my aim to bring on the larger aspects of these proposed changes, and the principles which underlie them. I shall do my best to be concise, but I venture to appeal for that indulgence which the generosity of the House usually accords to those Members whose interventions in debate are comparatively rare. The central feature of the new Code is the block grant. The first great merit of the block giant is that it delivers primary education from the influence of a mercenary motive. Under the old 597 system of payment for individual subjects there was a strong inducement to managers and masters to turn a school into a machine for earning the largest possible grant, irrespective of the true educational interests of the children. The principal grant of 14s. or 12s. 6d., according to the degree of merit, was only one of the sources of income. Among the other contributory sources were, first, the grant for class subjects, and, secondly, the grant for specific higher subjects. The four class subjects from which a choice could be made were English, elementary science, history, and geography, and only two of these were paid for. Thus, if English and elementary science were chosen in a particular school as the class subjects, that school could make no more money by teaching history or geography. But it could earn an additional grant by teaching a specific subject, such as French. Yet obviously it is educationally better for a child in an elementary school to learn something about English history than to be taught a small smattering of French. Thus the educational interest of the child was too often overridden by the mercenary motive of earning the highest possible grant. The managers and teachers were not always to blame; they were sometimes forced to do that in order to make both ends meet. The block grant sweeps away this evil. The grant to a school will henceforth depend on the inspector's report as to the educational value of the work done in the school as a whole, and the intelligence of the teaching. The second great merit of the block grant is that it gives more freedom and greater elasticity in the choice of subjects to be taught. The curriculum in each school can be adapted to the particular circumstances and needs of the children. In rural schools, for instance, children can be taught such things as are most likely to awaken their minds, to interest them, and to be useful to them in their afterlives; so, again, in town schools, under all the varying conditions of particular localities. Everywhere the teaching can be adapted to the real educational interests of the taught. That, also, is an immense gain. There is a third merit which belongs to the block grant. It is fixed at 22s. as the normal amount. That gives new stability to the income of a school, and managers of schools will be able to plan their work beforehand with a sense of financial security which they 598 have not hitherto possessed. As to these broad merits of the block grant system there is little difference of opinion. The principle of the block grant has been generally welcomed. Almost unanimously the adoption of that principle in the new Code has been recognised as a salutary educational reform. At the same time, certain criticisms have been made, and certain objections have been taken to the manner in which the block grant is likely to affect certain schools. With these I now propose to deal. The normal grant is to be 22s., the lower grant 21s. It is objected that the difference of 1s. is not sufficient to supply an adequate motive for good work. It does not sufficiently recognise differences of merit between schools. The inferior school, secure of its 21s., will not bestir itself; the better school, be it ever so good, cannot obtain more than 22s. This criticism rests upon a complete misconception. The rates of 22s. and 21s. are not intended to correspond with degrees of merit. The grant for all schools, except those which are distinctly defective, will be 22s. The deduction of 1s. —the giving of 21s. — is intended to be a brand of demerit. It is a warning; it is the first penalty, fore-; shadowing a second and greater penalty that is held in reserve, if, after a reasonable period of grace, the defective school shows no improvement. That ultimate penalty is the withdrawal of the grant altogether. During the last ten years the Education Department has been gradually introducing a change of policy in regard to inefficient schools. Before 1890 the system was that, if a school was found unsatisfactory, it was fined in a fraction of the grant proportionate to its failure. If it was very bad, it might lose as much as one-half, or even more, of the grant. But by the loss of so large a part of its resources a defective school was often deprived of the power to mend its ways. Experience showed that to go on increasing the fine upon an inefficient school was the surest way to make its inefficiency permanent and hopeless. Latterly a different policy has been adopted. That policy is to warn an inefficient school, without depriving it of the means of improvement; and if, after a certain time, it still fails to improve, then, not to fine it more heavily, but to put it out of existence, and to see that it is replaced by an efficient school. That 599 is the policy represented by the lower, or 21s., grant. The loss of the shilling is the first penalty, to be followed ultimately, after such an interval as the Board may think reasonable, by the extreme penalty of extinction. And a school which ultimately incurs that extreme penalty must either be incorrigibly defective, or else it must be a school for which there is no real need in the place where it exists. On the other hand, a vast number of schools which have hitherto been financially weak, schools which have been partly crippled by want of means, hut have struggled along and have done fairly good work, will now be enabled, by getting 22s. instead of perhaps 18s. or 19s., to attain a better level. The general standard of efficiency in our primary system, as a whole, will unquestionably be raised by the block grant. It is also objected that the 22s. grant did not adequately reward those schools which have hitherto been teaching some higher subjects over and above the ordinary elementary work. Such schools, which may have been earning a 25s. or 27s. grant, will be losers, and may be obliged to give up their higher teaching. If the new Code stood alone that objection would have force. But the new Code has been supplemented by the minute of the Board of Education, issued on April 6th. That minute makes provision for establishing a new type of higher grade school, which must be organised to afford a complete four years' course of instruction approved by the Board. That course will begin from a point represented by Standard V., but will thenceforth be on a higher plane than that of the ordinary elementary school. Before I come to the criticisms of detail which have been made upon that minute I wish to observe there is a larger aspect in which it must be considered. The minute has nothing to do directly with secondary education. The new higher grade school is intended to be the crown of our primary system. No scholar will be allowed to remain in such higher grade school after the close of the school year in which he or she is fifteen years old. But the minute necessarily raises this question—What is the proper relation of primary to secondary education? What is the general conception, the principle, which underlies this minute of the Board? What view does it imply as to the manner in which primary and 600 secondary schools should be coordinated? I venture to think that that principle, that conception, might be stated somewhat as follows. I am not giving merely my own view, but one which was embodied, in 1897, in a very instructive and important memorandum drawn up by representatives of masters of secondary schools on the one part and of headmasters of higher grade schools and schools of science on the other part. Their concordat marks the most definite step that has hitherto been taken towards formulating the main principles on which primary may be delimited from secondary education; and it has a most important bearing on the Board of Education minute which we are now considering. The difference between primary and secondary education does not depend chiefly on the subjects taught. Certain subjects must be common to primary and secondary schools. It depends on the aim of the school and on the general character of the instruction given. And in determining these the most important factor is the normal leaving age of the pupil. For most children day school training ends at fourteen or fifteen at the very latest. These usually take up manual or industrial employments. Primary education, ordinary and higher, is, broadly speaking, that which is planned for a leaving age of fifteen at the latest. In secondary education there are two main classes of schools:—(1) Those in which the normal leaving age is 16 or 17; and (2) those in which it is 18 or 19. The pupils of such schools may take up the higher industrial employments, or commerce and business, or scientific or professional pursuits. They pass on to a technical college, a university college, or a university. A child in an ordinary elementary school has or should have three choices open to him—(1) To stay in that school till he has completed the standards; (2) after passing Standard IV. to pass to a higher elementary school, there to complete a four-years course; and (3) to pass to a secondary school at the same break. Now, the higher grade school set up by the minute answers to the second of these choices. It is to be a higher primary school, not a lower secondary school, and so its course is planned to end at the age of fifteen at latest. Primary education aims at training the mind as well as giving useful knowledge; but, on account of the limited time, it is more practical and gives 601 a larger place to immediate utility than secondary education does, where the foremost object is a liberal training of the mind. We can now see how desirable it is that this valuable minute should be followed, as soon as may be, by the promised Bill for establishing local authorities for secondary education, which, as the First Lord of the Treasury recently intimated, will shortly be introduced in another place. I hope the appearance of this minute indicates that that will soon be done. Such authorities will look to it that due provision is made, by means of scholarships or otherwise, for passing on the most promising pupils of primary schools to secondary schools, in some of which there should be a junior or preparatory section, including the normal subjects of primary education as well as subjects suitable to the special aim of the secondary school. Such a co-ordination of primary with secondary education has now for the first time become possible, by the creation of a central authority which is to supervise both. Meanwhile all criticisms of this minute are beside the mark which complain that the new higher grade school has a course planned only up to the age of fifteen. That is essential to its taking a proper place as a higher primary school in a completely-organised system of national education. I now turn to some minor criticisms which have been made upon the minute. Why, it is asked, is a child required to have spent two years in an ordinary elementary school before it is admitted to the higher school? The answer is, because otherwise the children of the well-to-do middle classes, after being privately educated, might be sent to the higher school and crowd out the poorer children. This is a safeguard for the working classes, to prevent the higher school from being invaded by a class for whom it was never intended. Then it is asked, why require the fitness of a child to enter the higher school to be certified by an inspector? Because, it may be replied, the State, in giving money, must retain the power to examine every child about whose fitness to profit by the higher-grade school there can be any reasonable doubt. But there is no idea of having an individual examination of children in all cases. The inspector can use his discretion, and if he is satisfied that the standard of the elementary school from which the child comes is in 602 itself a sufficient guarantee, he need not examine the child. The power of examination is retained only as a safeguard. Exception has also been taken to the rule that a child, on entering the higher-grade school, must always begin with the first year's course. The reason is this. The four-years course of such a school will be a carefully-planned whole; it is desirable that the pupil should go through it as a whole, instead of taking it up in the middle. After Standard V. it would at once be on a different plane from the course of the ordinary school. If a pupil in the ordinary school is fit to go on to the higher, that fact will usually be apparent at twelve years of age. If, owing to a change of residence, a child migrates from one higher-grade school to another, the Board will be aware of the fact, and will not, of course, make the child begin over again with the first year's course. I now come to a larger question raised by the new type of school. Do the new schools adequately provide for higher elementary teaching? Ought we also to give extra grants for higher teaching to ordinary elementary schools Experience will doubtless show. But meanwhile a fair trial is due to the new scheme as it stands. As against paying separately for higher subjects in the ordinary schools, two considerations may be suggested which deserve to be carefully weighed. One is financial; the other, educational. As to the first, the block grant was calculated on an average of what the schools have hitherto been earning, not only by ordinary work but also by higher work. If the higher work had not been taken into account in computing the average, the block grant must have been lower. The schools that now ask for extra grants for higher work should consider that they cannot have it both ways. The educational reason against such grants is that it is desirable, in an organised system such as is aimed at, to concentrate the attention of ordinary elementary schools on the normal elementary work, while we provide for the higher work in schools specially planned and staffed for that purpose. Even where an ordinary elementary school teaches the highest subjects well, it is better in the interests of national education as a whole that these subjects should be taught in a school expressly designed and staffed for that function. This is prescribed by 603 sound principles of educational economy. There is, however, nothing in the minute to prevent a school board, which is al- ready giving higher elementary teaching, in its ordinary schools, from continuing' to do so. The loss which some school boards will suffer under the block grant will be made up by a very small addition to the rate. In Leeds, for example, that addition would be represented by one-third of 1d. in the £; in Manchester, by one-eighth of 1d.; in London, by one-thirty-seventh of 1d. But it has been urged that the transference of a child from the ordinary elementary school to the higher is an evil in itself, as involving a break in the continuity of school life. But it seems to be forgotten that such a break constantly occurs in secondary education, when, at much the same age, a pupil passes from a preparatory to a higher school, and it is not found to be injurious. Nothing in the minute prevents the higher grade school from being under the same roof as the ordinary school, if the premises are found to be suitable. As to the suggestion that the head teacher of the higher school should also supervise the lower school, there is a probability that it might sometimes be permitted by the discretion of the board. As a general rule, however, such an arrangement would be liable to the objection that the type of master in the higher grade school would be somewhat different' to that required in the lower school. Voluntary schools which desire to go on teaching higher subjects might sometimes achieve that object by co-operation, and by setting apart one or two schools in a given area for higher elementary teaching. I now propose to speak of the objection which has been taken both to the new Code and to the new minute in relation to the age limit. Article 13 of the new Code provides "that no grant should be made for a scholar who has been more than one year under instruction in Standard VII., if he has passed his fourteenth birthday." Some critics of that article seem to have forgotten that this is no new thing. At one time there used to be annual examinations of the children individually in the standards, and, as soon as a pupil had completed Standard VII., then, if he had passed his fourteenth birthday, no further grant was made for him. Since 1890 these examinations have ceased in most schools. The new Article 13 is merely an adjustment 604 of the old rule to existing circumstances, without making that rule more stringent in its intended effect. Section 3 of the minute provides that "no grant shall be made in a higher grade school for a pupil over fifteen years of age." Parliament long ago decided that a pupil's fifteenth year is the point at which primary education, as distinguished from secondary, should cease. Under the Act of 1891 the fee grant ceased at that limit, and so the other grants naturally cease also. Another criticism, applied both to the new Code and to the minute, concerns the provisions with regard to pupil teachers.. As there has been some misapprehension on this point, I will ask the permission of the House to say a few words about it. Under the new Code, grants are made for all pupil teachers who are trained in a school, and not, as formerly, for those only who pass their examinations. As the whole number trained is larger than the number of those who pass, the grant per head is necessarily smaller; but under the old plan, the examinations that counted for a grant were only those supervised by the Department. The new policy is to impart greater freedom and elasticity to the course of the pupil teacher's training, by giving him a larger choice of examinations which he may pass in order to earn the grant. For instance, if he passes the London University matriculation examination, that will now entitle him to the grant; but it would not have counted before. With regard to the minute, it is objected that the pupil teacher who leaves the higher grade school at fifteen will have a break in his education, if he does not begin his work as a pupil teacher till he is sixteen.. But it should be observed that he can, and usually does, begin it at fifteen. The last point on which I desire to say a few words is the comparison so often instituted between the scale of grants in the new Code and new minute on the one hand, and the higher scale in the Scotch Code on the other. Any such comparison between the English and the Scotch Codes is entirely fallacious. There are two vital differences between the two Codes which entirely vitiate any such comparison. First, all educational grants in Scotland are still subject to the 17s. 6d. limit. Unless the grant earned by a school is met by an equal sum from the locality, 605 then the grant cannot exceed 17s. 6d. Suppose a school earned 24s., and the locality provides only 23s.; then the grant paid is not 24s. but only 17s. 6d. That limit was abolished for English day schools in 1897. The other great difference is that in Scotland the school boards, from their beginning, have been provided with funds for promoting not only elementary education, but higher-education also. The English Education Department has never made grants to any but elementary schools. Such funds as have been available in England for education higher than elementary have hitherto been administed by the Science and Art Department. It is a fallacy to compare the new higher grade school created by the new minute with the Scotch higher grade school. The Scotch school is at once a higher primary school and a special type of secondary school, in which pupils can stay on up to the age of eighteen. The fallacy of comparing it with the English higher grade school has arisen, no doubt, from the fact that it is under a school board, it being forgotten that the.Scotch school board is not, like the English, concerned only with primary education. I desire to thank the House, in no conventional sense, for the indulgent hearing which it has given to these remarks. I have endeavoured to show that the proposals in the Code and the minute are conducive to the better organisation of our primary system, and that it is essential to view them also in their bearing on that better organisation of our secondary system which, we hope, will soon be completed. When that completion has taken place, then our primary and secondary systems will form mutually complementary parts of one great whole; and our national education, in its entirety, will be redeemed from defects which have too long placed us at a disadvantage relatively to the other leading countries of the world. I beg to move the resolution which stands in my name.
§ MR. HOBHOUSE (Somersetshire, N.)
I think the House will agree with me that after the clear statement which has just been made there is very little for me to add in seconding this resolution. There are, perhaps, just one or two points, and I desire to draw attention to the probable effect which this new Code will have on country schools, where hitherto there has been what has been well described as a grant- 606 earning rather than an educational system. The teachers are required to teach two class subjects, and they are not allowed to teach more than two, and naturally they select those of a more mechanical character. At the present time there is an absence of all-round teaching in our country schools owing to the system of the teacher being confined to two class subjects, and this tends more than anything else to prevent the development of the natural intelligence of the poorest of our country districts. It is one of the best features in this now Code that it introduces for the first time an all-round curriculum which embraces not only English history, but also object lessons in what are called common things, which have produced so many beneficial results in all the Scotch schools. The country teachers, I believe, as a class, and the school managers in the country districts will carefully consider the operation of the new block grant, which, I think, will confer a great boon upon country school managers and teachers both educationally and financially. I have received letters from teachers upon this subject with which I will not trouble the House, but they bring out very clearly that under this new system they will have much greater freedom to carry out proper educational views, and to do what used to be done before the days of a rigid Code in some of our country schools—that is, to develop in the children ideas which will give them a real interest in the life that goes on around them, and not a mere mechanical exercise of memory and devotion to pedantic studies. This system lies at the root of any educational reform, and will be a benefit alike to teacher, manager, and child. One objection raised is that, under the new system, a far greater responsibility and a far greater power will be given to Her Majesty's inspectors. I believe myself that the inspectors, speaking generally, are well worthy of greater responsibilities. The House must bear in mind that if there is to be more freedom of teaching it can only be efficiently done by giving Her Majesty's inspectors greater power. Surely it is better to give greater freedom to the teachers under the living control of an intelligent inspector than less freedom to teachers under the dead hand of a rigid Code. Just one word with regard to the financial results. I do not think it 607 has ever yet been sufficiently recognised that it is far more expensive per head to run a small school than a large one. It is quite true there are provisions in the Code enabling larger grants to be given to the very small schools in sparsely-populated districts, but, as a rule, the larger school not only gets as much per head as the smaller school, but it gets more, and this enables it to have a better staff proportionately, and with a better staff' it can work up specific subjects. If they get this steady grant of 21s. or 22s., I believe the managers of small schools will be able to put them in a thoroughly efficient condition. They will then not have the excuse which they have now, that owing to the small number of children and classes it is impossible to get that amount of efficiency out of them that they get at the larger schools. No doubt some of the larger schools will lose by this financial readjustment. That is inevitable unless the Treasury are willing to devote an additional amount to education, but I think the gain will be largely in excess of the loss. But there are certain features to which we may refer in considering the loss which will be incurred by some of these larger schools. In the first place the number of children qualified to take specific subjects is really very small compared with the number of pupils. Last year it was only 6 per cent., and the year before it was only 3 per cent. There are still to be additional grants that will be able to be earned chiefly by the larger schools. It will also effect a considerable saving both to the teachers and the Education Department, because it will not be necessary to keep so many registers, and the whole system can be more easily administered. As regards Voluntary schools, I think that the larger schools may very well hope to get some recumbent of any loss they may sustain by the readjustment of the Voluntary aid grant. That grant will in many places be relieved, as regards the smaller schools, from the operation of the Code, and it may very well be possible to afford a larger grant for the larger schools. So much for the operation of the new Code. With regard to the minute, I do not think it would be possible in introducing such a large change as this not to deal with the position of the higher-grade schools. It is true these schools have grown up somewhat outside the law, but still they have had the consent, sometimes 608 more than the tacit consent, of the Education Department, and surely the time has arrived when their position should be put on a regularised footing, and when they should take their proper place in our national educational organisation. Most of those schools have, I believe, been doing very valuable continuation work for the children of the working classes up to the ago of fifteen, and it is only a comparatively few years since they have outgrown the sphere of elementary education, and have become really schools of science and secondary education. The recommendation of the Royal Commission with reference to these schools was that they should be treated as secondary schools, and placed under the jurisdiction of the local authorities for secondary education. The Commissioners clearly stated their opinion that these schools should be co-ordinated with other secondary schools, and they suggested two ways in which that might be done, first by proposing a stricter limit of age, and, secondly, by a proper system of scholarships. Our local authorities for secondary education have not yet been created, but I am sure we shall all feel that after this departure it is more than ever necessary that they should be speedily constituted. The minute is a distinct step towards the co-ordination recommended by the Royal Commission. It may be said to establish for the first time a system of day continuation schools for the children of those classes who require such schools up to the age of fifteen, and in localities where they are suitable and necessary. It provides a carefully graduated course of instruction, and ensures a proper and efficient staff for the purpose. It gives a grant which, putting aside the high standard of the Scotch grant, which is on a very different footing, must be regarded as liberal, and, so far as the minute meets the circumstances of particular schools, it is a well-devised plan for the organisation of these schools. It recognises the continuation work of the school boards, and puts it on a permanent footing to an extent which I think ought to be acceptable to those who take an interest in school board work, although it does not satisfy all the aspirations of those who claim for the school boards the position held by the Scottish boards as regards the supervision and management of secondary education. I sincerely hope that this minute will be administered in a thoroughly liberal 609 spirit, and that there will be a minimum amount of disturbance to existing schools. Some readjustment and some grouping of pupils there must be, but it will not be necessary in all cases to provide separate buildings for these higher-grade schools. The larger school boards will be able to make arrangements for grouping their children. After all, we are not giving our approval to an Act of Parliament, but to a minute which will admit of modification from time to time, and it can always be construed liberally by a liberal Treasury and a liberal Education Department. In conclusion, I would ask the House to take a broad view of this question. It may be true—no doubt it is true—that individual schools may lose financially, though, I believe, no school will lose educationally under this new scheme. After all, the broad question is whether this reform is required in the interests of our national education, and whether it is based on sound principles which will be fruitful in the future. If we come to that conclusion, then we ought to confirm the present proposals, and to give our hearty thanks to the Vice-President for having taken up this question in the thorough way he has, and for laying the foundation of a new and far reaching reform in our national education system.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That, in the opinion of this House, the proposals contained in the Code of Regulations for Day Schools and in the Minutes of the Board of Education laid before Parliament during the present session are conducive to the interests of Education." —(Mr. Jebb.)
§ * MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)
I venture to think that what the House is really discussing is not only a new Code and a new Minute, but a new model and a new hope. The admirable speech of the hon. Member for Cambridge University struck me with a sense of contrast when I compared what he said as regards the future of this scheme with what was said by Sir Lyon Playfair, who when Vice-President of the Council stated in the House that three-fourths of the money spent on elementary education up to that date might just as well have been thrown into the sea. That was a sweeping statement, but true in this sense, 610 that the educational effect obtained under the old system up to that date might have been had at a cost of one-fourth of the amount, had that one-fourth been properly applied, and that if the whole amount had been properly applied we might have had four times the educational effect obtained. The old system was not wholly insufficient, and did not completely fail to bring about good educational results. We see the effect of it to-day in many of the characteristics of the nation—in the greater attention given to reading, and in the greater demand for books, magazines, and newspapers— not always an intelligent demand, but much better than no demand at all. We see it in the improved moral characteristics of the people, in the better order that prevails, in the diminishing amount of crime, and in the greater amount of temperance. I would be the last to say that under the old system no good work was done, and that no satisfactory results were obtained; but what I do say is that from 1862 to 1889 a very large part of the money spent by this House on public elementary education was in effect wasted because of the bad system and the false ideal of educational affairs which obtained. What was that ideal? It was entirely commercial. What was said was: "You shall sell us so many subjects over the educational counter of your school, and we will hand you back so many shillings in so many grants at the end of the year." A school which took in its curriculum seven subjects received seven grants, and a school which took eleven subjects received eleven grants, entirely irrespective of the conditions of the schools or the difficulties surrounding their operations, or whether they were rural or urban schools—slum or suburban. The measure and the test were — so many subjects taught, so many grants. All that is swept away, and I rejoice at and approve of it. I congratulate the Vice-President that it has come to his turn to effect this reform. Different Vice-Presidents have tried to do away with the old system bit by bit, and from him has come not the ultimate instalment of reform, not even the penultimate instalment, but shall I say the ante-penultimate instalment. This change began in 1890 under the wise administration of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dartford; it was continued by Mr. Acland, and is now 611 carried further by the right hon. Gentle-man the present Vice-President. I congratulate him, and I venture to offer my humble approval of the block grant, as it is laid down in the Code. The Government have also taken the step of affirming the principle of higher elementary education which was taken in Germany eighty years ago. For eighty years you have had in Germany these higher elementary schools with a curriculum mainly scientific. You have had them in France since 1848 under the Law of Guizot. Here we have had schools of this type in certain parts of the country since 1876, but these schools only existed by sufferance. They had to fight their way with-out sanction except from the school boards in the most enlightened towns, and have met with obstacles and drawbacks at almost every turn from the administration of the Science and Art Department. For the last three years they have encountered repression and annoyances in every possible way. At last the Local Government Board auditors stepped in and sought to arrest, or at least to hinder, the operations of the very kind of school which the Government now proposes to set up. I congratulate the Government on their late repentance in this matter; I congratulate the right hon. the Vice-President on the wiser course which he is now pursuing, compared with the course taken twelve months ago. If I criticise the higher elementary school minute it is on details only, and not on its principle. I believe that it will be of the greatest importance to the country, and, with the hon. Member who spoke last in the debate, I believe that it will not conflict in any serious way or in the least degree with the proper operation of secondary schools exclusively so called. There has been a great deal of confusion as to a secondary education for the masses of the people of this country. There has been a misleading metaphor about a ladder from the gutter to the university. Such a ladder can never be reared for the bulk of the people. We want for them a ladder leading from the gutter to the technical institution. I venture to think that we do not want in these days, and we shall want less and less in the future, a ladder from the gutter to the older universities, where the studies are mainly classical, and the preparations are mainly literary and intended for people of leisured life and large means. If I do away 612 with this metaphor of the ladder I must set up another. We have to build up two edifices in the matter of higher education. A proper basis for the secondary school is not a proper basis for the higher elementary school or the technical institution A child of twelve years of age taught in a public elementary school may pass into an endowed grammar school on the classical side without much hindrance. Later than the age of twelve he suffers much difficulty. Time is lost to him, and he hardly ever succeeds in making a great success of his career in that kind of school. There are exceptions, of course. The teacher knows them, can pick them out, and, under a proper system of grouped schools, the schoolmaster, with the assistance of the local authority, may place such a boy eventually in an endowed grammar school, where he will succeed and pass to the top. But for the bulk of the children you need a totally different career—a career from the elementary school to the higher grade school, with a course which is in the main scientific, mechanic, artistic, and technical. If you provide that generously all over the country, and not in the manufacturing towns alone, you will find in the course of time the proper number and the proper kind of students for your technical educational institutions. At the present moment the large sums of money spent by the county councils and the borough councils on technical education are very largely wasted, because of insufficient preparation on the part of the pupils. If you compare the technical institutions in Germany with those in England you will find that the English system is watered down to meet the insufficient preparation of the students who come into the school. You have technical colleges here built at great expense and maintained at great expense doing the work which is done in Germany in the higher elementary schools, and that is because the preparation of the children for technical work, owing to the absence of a proper system of higher elementary schools, has been so inferior that you can at first teach them hardly anything at all in the technical colleges, which are, therefore, "keyed down" a full octave. If we were to establish all over the country not seventy, as at present, but 700 higher elementary schools, the waste of money at present 613 going on in the technical institutions would be avoided. For that reason alone I welcome the establishment of the higher elementary schools. I rejoice also to know that it is probable that those school boards and those teachers who in the past, in spite of all difficulties, have been carrying on the higher grade schools will now meet with the benevolent approval of the Board of Education, instead of being obstructed by the Science and Art Department. But the minute does not go far enough in the provision of higher elementary education. Where you have a separate school, well and good; and where you have an elementary school building part of which can be used for the higher elementary education, well and good. But take the rural districts. Where there is only one school in the parish, and that school rather small, there is no possible chance of grouping in the locality as in the case of towns where you have half a dozen board schools and it becomes a simple business to set one aside for higher elementary education to which promising children on reaching the age of twelve can be sent. In these rural districts, with only one school, how are you going, under this minute, to provide for higher elementary education for the children? You cannot do it. Up to the present there has been some teaching in special subjects in such schools, and some grants given; but those grants have been abolished by the new Code. Therefore, you have this situation, that in hundreds of Voluntary and Board schools up and down the country the higher elementary education will cease to be given, because it will not be paid for under the Code, and cannot receive a grant under the minute. That is the prospect before us. The Royal Commission on Secondary Education referred to this very point; and in regard to setting down here, there, and everywhere secondary and higher elementary schools, they deliberately recommend that where the circumstances of the locality were such that a separate higher elementary school could not be provided, an arrangement should be made whereby a "secondary top" may be added to the primary school. What I plead for is that, in those districts where from the nature of things higher elementary schools cannot be provided, the ordinary elementary schools should have the means afforded them of giving some 614 higher elementary education. I know the minute can be developed by subsequent minute or by subsequent Code, and I have no doubt that circumstances will compel development in the direction I have mentioned. But I wish it could be done now, at the outset. I am sure it will have to be done in the long run, and I press it on the attention of the Vice-President in the hope that even now he will be able to announce to the House that, so far as provision of the higher elementary education is concerned, in the rural districts and the smaller towns there will be a generous interpretation of the minute in its administration. I note that the terms of the minute are not so formal or precise as they might be. But there is to be no grant to a higher elementary school in respect of a boy or girl of more than fifteen years of age. He or she must not stop in school longer than the end of the school year in which he or she has reached his or her fifteenth birthday. Now, we have set up in various parts of the country university colleges and technical institutions, admission to which is governed by the limit of age of sixteen. A boy who leaves a higher elementary school at fifteen cannot enter a university college or technical college until the age of sixteen. What is he to do with the intervening year? I think that is a blot on the scheme, and I would like to know why this limit of fifteen years is imposed. I heard a reason given by the Iron. Member for the University of Cambridge which amounted to this, that it was an essential condition to prevent competition with the grammar schools. Now, it is impossible to conceive of any local authority or any teacher who would propose to send a boy of fifteen years to a local grammar school. It would be educationally futile to make a transfer at that age. You cannot contemplate for a moment the passing of a boy of fifteen from a higher elementary school to a secondary school. The passing should take place at a much younger age than that if you wish to make the best of the boy. You should at least raise the age of passing out of the higher elementary school from fifteen to sixteen; but I do not myself see why there should be any limit at all. [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!] The most enlightened school boards which have considered this matter, and which have made provision for higher-education in the past are strongly 615 opposed to this compulsory limitation to fifteen years in every case, though they know that that is the age at which most boys enter on their future career, and begin to earn wages. Why did not the right hon. Gentleman insert in his minute the words "as a rule," and leave it to the local authority to decide whether the circumstances were such as to warrant an extension of the teaching to a child above the age of fifteen? There is this other question of the admission of the child into the higher grade school—a child is not to come into the higher elementary school unless he or she has been for two years in a public elementary school. That is to prevent the school being invaded by the children of a class for whom it is not intended. If I were a strong supporter of the ideals of grammar schools, if I were a close and persistent friend of those schools, I should regret this limitation. The effect of it will be to drive into the public elementary schools a number of children of middle class parents, who believe the higher elementary schools to be better than the endowed grammar schools. I venture to say that this condition, which is intended to exclude the children of middle-class parents, will work the other way. The financial part of the minute will go far to provide against the loss by school boards which will recoup themselves by the grant from the Treasury for their, higher elementary schools. Those Voluntary schools of the country which have earned the highest grants have lost considerably by the Free Education Act, and they will lose heavily by the reductions of other grants, and unless they are allowed to have a grant for the higher elementary classes they will lose heavily there. The Government are the patrons of the Voluntary schools, and it is not particularly my duty to speak for them. I only draw attention to the fact that this, the higher elementary grant, will tend to recoup the Board schools, but not the Voluntary schools. I welcome and appreciate the changes and look forward with great hope to the result. But there is one point to which I must draw attention. We know that the money which goes into the school board fund will be expended on the schools. We have two guarantees for that, first of all the sharp scrutiny of the elected person, and second the Local Government auditor, a business man armed with full powers, 616 with the local ratepayers at his back to watch him. But we have no such safeguard that the additional money which goes into the coffers of the Voluntary school under the increased grants in the Code shall be wholly, entirely, and properly spent on that school; you have no "elected person," and you have no public audit like that under the school board. At present there is an audit of an unsatisfactory description, and the best evidence of that is that the other day a meeting 1,700 strong, consisting largely of teachers of denominational schools, declared almost unanimously that it was absolutely necessary that the Voluntary school accounts should be subjected to the same public scrutiny as those of the Board schools, and I say that to fully reap the benefit of this minute this further reform should take place, and I hope the Government will consider this point.
§ * MR. ALFRED HUTTON (Yorkshire, W.R., Morley)
The House listened with very great interest to the speech delivered on this minute by the hon. Member for Cambridge University, in which he explained the intention of the Education Department as contained in the new Code and minute; but throughout the speech we did not have a single word of criticism. Everything that had been proposed by the Department was right, whether in the Code or the minute. In fact, every time I have heard him in this House on educational questions the hon. Gentleman has never had a word of criticism to offer. I suppose he is a firm believer of the inspiration of the President and Vice-President, of the Board of Education, though they are not always inspired in the same direction. So far as I can remember, the hon. Member who. proposed this motion is the only man prominently connected with education who stood publicly committed to the Code, the whole Code, and nothing but the Code. The President of the Board of Education refused to commit himself to it until we had had a discussion in this House on the subject; and it is some consolation. to know the discussions in this House are not useless if they lead Ministers in another place to make up their minds. The Code was laid on the Table of this House; it was not a tentative, measure, and if no exception was taken to it it would automatically become law, and 617 yet the President of the Board of Education was not committed to it. We are told that the code is revolutionary in character, and that any Government which attempted to interfere with the higher elementary schools would find itself very unpopular by a previous Conservative Vice-President. There is no manner of doubt at all that this new minute has been forced from the Government. [Sir J. GORST: No.] The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head, but that has been the policy of the present Government towards the higher grade schools. They have had to struggle hard against every discouragement from the Department. In the first place the re arrangement of the conditions of the drawing grant referred to by my hon. friend; secondly, the right hon. Gentleman refused Whitehall grants to schools receiving science and art department grants. It is no laughing matter for those who have to conduct the schools. The next move was that these schools were not to be maintained out of the school rate. Does the right hon. Gentleman ask me to believe——
§ THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE COMMITTEE OF COUNCIL ox EDUCATION (Sir J. GORST, Cambridge University)
The Education Department has no control whatever over the Local Government Board auditor.
§ * MR. ALFRED HUTTON
That is possibly true, but no one can persuade me that that Government auditor surcharged these sums without instructions from someone pretty high up. The fact that they had the grant for a considerable period with the approval of the Department, and suddenly after years of the practice that this should happen, was a distinct proof that the Government auditor must have got a hint from another quarter. How many schools built and standing to-day with the intention of providing higher grade education are standing empty —well, not empty, but are un-recognised by the Department, because it won't give the grant? They are schools built at the instigation of the Department and its inspectors. They are schools built on plans approved by the Department. They are schools built to do the work under the direction of the Science and Art Department, or the Board of Education now. I say that the 618 Government Department has done its best during the past five years to make the life of those carrying on the higher grade schools intolerable and impossible. The Code as it stood was simply the last step in a course that appeared to many of us to be a deliberate and steady plan to put an end to the existence of that-state of affairs. Why was the right hon.. Gentleman in such a hurry to get that new proposal through? Mr. Acland wrote a letter to The Time in which he said it was customary in connection with great changes to give ample notice of the reasons for them. The only explanation that occurred to my mind was that the right hon. Gentleman wished to do this off his own bat, before the new consultative committee, which he himself established, should come into operation and have anything to say. We have already heard that the chief characteristic change in the Code of this year is the change in regard to the block grant. I suppose I am correct in saying that the block grant was taken out of the Scotch Code. There it has existed for some time with success. The right hon. Gentleman has appropriated the principle in the English Code. When we ask for the advantages of the Scotch Code we have the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University telling us chat we cannot have them. Why? Of all reasons, because in England we have been deprived of the 17s. fid. limit. Why, because we have lost the 17s. 6d. limit, are we to lose the corresponding advantages we might obtain, and which the Scotch Code gives to them?
§ * MR. ALFRED HUTTON
I am quite aware of that. I understand that the Government wish to have a Secondary Education Bill passed. I think it would have been well to have that proposal lie-fore us. I think it would have been well not to be in such a hurry until we had the complete scheme of the Government. At any rate, we ought to have it all accomplished within one session. I thought that sooner or later we should bitterly have to regret the loss of the 17s. 6d. limit. As to the effect of the block grant, my charge against the grant and its concomitant condition is that the 619 worse the school is the more money it will have given to it, and the better the school is the more money it will lose. I do not object so much to the levelling up process, but I do object to the other part— that the better a school is the more it shall be fined, and the more the burden placed on those in charge of it. There is no choice. Teachers who are alive keenly and intelligently to their responsibility are to be fined, discouraged, and paralyzed in their work, and those who are sleepy, indifferent, negligent, and I may say culpably negligent, of their responsibility are to have this additional money given to them without any safeguard being taken that the money will be well spent. I will read a short paragraph as to the condition of education in the country districts. It is from the clerk to the school board of a small village—The attendance is very unsatisfactory. No one takes any interest in education in this district, and the parents do not yet sufficiently value it for their children. When the children are ten years old or more, there are many things in which they can help their parents or earn a little money—potato planting and getting, turnip singling, haymaking, harvesting; and on threshing days and cleaning days the mothers keep them at home to look after the babies, etc. Education is at a very low ebb in this parish. There are no county people or any persons to take a lead in these matters. It is a very thankless task to have anything to do with education here. I feel very strongly on this subject. It is so very awful to see the utter neglect and disregard of parents to, in some small measure, raise the standard of thought of their children. I feel it is so utterly hopeless here.I say that if you gave £2 per child in that village you would not do anything unless the inspector seemed that the money should be well spent on an adequate staff for the children at the school. Under the Scotch Code what happens? There you have the power of reducing the grant in the case of inefficiency, and you have the power of increasing the grant in the case of special efficiency. The hon. Member who introduced this motion dislikes the principle of reducing the grant, but does not dislike the principle of withdrawing it altogether. I submit that it would be less harmful in certain cases to reduce the grant somewhat rather than take, it away altogether. At any rate, you might take the power that the Scotch Code gives of increasing the grant, so as to give a stimulus to indifferent teachers to increase the 620 standard of education. Even at present the low standard of education in many parishes is only to be obtained under constant pressure. If you are going to deprive yourselves of the powers you have at present, and which are possessed in the Scotch Code, I think you will make a great mistake. The Scotch people do not need such pressure. They are supposed to be fond of education, and they are deserving of that reputation. If the Scotch people require a stimulus, I think it is much more true of us. There are many places that need it very sorely in this country to-day. One more remark in regard to the grants is that this is supposed to emancipate the teacher. My hon. friend below me did not point out that although the teacher would not have to take up so many specific subjects he would have in future to teach a curriculum chosen by the inspector. I read it that the inspector fixes the curriculum. The teacher will have to take up the class of subject he chooses. To make the teacher take up subjects whether they interest him or not would be much worse than the present system. I think the right hon. Gentleman should also take a further safeguard, and that is in relation to the staffing of schools. The light hon. Gentleman proposed in the Code of 1899 to reduce the number of pupil teachers in certain cases, and to increase the staff of certificated teachers. We were told by the noble lord the Member for Rochester that it was a thunderbolt, and that the National Society had not had time to consider the report of the parliamentary committee on the whole system of pupil teaching. Since that time the National Society has met and drawn up a report, and the Archbishop of Canterbury headed a deputation to present that report. One of the recommendations was that some inducement should be offered to head teachers to encourage the employment of pupil teachers in their schools. I think that is the explanation why the right hon. Gentleman has not ventured once again to see some improvement of the staff in those schools where it is needed so much. I will read another example of the need of staffing the country schools. This is from an inspector—I spent an afternoon in a village school. The number present was forty-four; thirty-live of these were spread over the first five standards, and nine infants were in two groups. Thus the master, a man of sixty years, had 621 seven classes to teach. And he had no help whatever except for the needlework, I sat in the school and watched him with deep interest. Seven classes were to be kept going. How would it be done? First, the two groups of infants were set to copy some letters that had been put on the blackboard: then the I. was set to transcription; IV. and V. worked sums from their arithmetics; and the master gave the object lesson for the day to II. and III. combined. This lesson was remarkable: it was broken in so many pieces. A boy would stand up in IV. and V. and say, 'Please sir!' The master would turn from his class, ask the interrupter for his difficulty, give him a hint, or step to his side, and, quick returning, pick up the thread of the broken lesson as best he might. Or with a side glance he would observe a boy or a girl apparently stuck in a sum; and, 'Are you fast? 'Tell me if you are fast? was thrown encouragingly again and again to the group at arithmetic. Two or three excursions to the infants; a hasty inspection from his place of the I. transcription; an order to clean slates and refill them—such breaks were constantly recurring; yet on through it all went the object lesson. But (l) what an impossible task; (2) what a strain upon the teacher; (3) what a waste of the children's time! The efforts of the master to meet the demands upon him were pathetic. A school so staffed wastes much of the children's time and makes a slave of the teacher. There are many such in the rural parts of the Sheffield district, and additional help is urgently needed in them.I quite agree; and now that you are giving more money is your opportunity to renew the conditions in the Code which you withdrew last year so hastily. I think no retreat was ever so rapid or complete—or "slim,"' I think, is now the correct word—as the retreat of the Department last year. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will show a little more courage in this matter of giving more money and seeing that these schools are better staffed. The hon. Member who seconded this motion defended the proposal with regard to small schools on the ground that small rural schools are more expensive per head to staff. I quite agree that small schools should have more money per head than larger schools; but the Department do not agree with me. They have a 5s. special aid grant, and can differentiate between the small rural schools and the large town schools. Do they do it, and give more money per head to the small rural schools? No, certainly not. They give 5s. 3d. to the town school and 3s. 9d. to the Voluntary rural school, which needs the grant so much more, and which is so much more expensive to staff and carry on. The hon. Member, instead of seconding this motion in such complimentary phrases, 622 should bring pressure to bear on the right hon. Gentleman to give more attention to the needs of the small Voluntary schools.. I want to come now to the new minute of the Education Department in regard to higher grade schools. On the whole, as far as the levelling up is concerned, I am very pleased with any improvements the right hon. Gentleman has made, although I think they are very meagre and small; but when we come to the levelling down, that is quite another matter. we know that in a great many schools grants are earned up to. 27s. 6d.—varying from:27s. 6d. downwards; but now the maximum of those schools will be 22s. There are one or two special grants, I admit; but the maximum as compared with the 27s. 6d. will be 22s. in the future. That is a very serious matter. I will take just two or three matters in the minute in detail as they come up. I must refer first of all to the question of grants in connection with scholars over fifteen years of age. I will take one school to illustrate my point. Hon. Members know that under the minute no scholar may remain at school after reaching the age of fifteen years. I know of one school in which there are 250 boys over fifteen years of age. Those scholars will not be able to remain in that school if the school adopts the minute of the Department, or if they remain no grant will be received from the Department. That is a very serious matter both for the children and for the town. Where are those children to go to? Certainly there are no other schools in the town to which they can go. Until the right hon. Gentleman has laid down his proposals for secondary schools it is grossly unfair that he should do anything to prevent in any way the encouragement of those boys remaining at school after reaching fifteen years of age. Where will most of these scholars go to? To the technical institute. But if they are turned out of school at fifteen years of age they will have a year or two with nothing, to do before they are able to attend the technical institute. The hon. Member for Wigan will confirm me in stating that a great deal of money was spent on technical schools which for a long time were useless, and the enthusiasm of these schools was wasted—for what reason?
§ * MR. ALFRED HUTTON
I said the enthusiasm, not the schools, was wasted. A great deal of enthusiasm has been damped on account of the want of success. What is the reason? Because the hoys in the town were not kept in school up to the time when the technical college could take them over. When the boys went to the college the first thing that had to be done was to turn the college into an elementary school in order to teach the boys either things they had forgotten or things they had never been taught, but which they would have been taught had they remained at school. It is only now, after all these years, that it is possible for this college to do any good work. The hon. Gentleman who moved this motion dealt rather lightly with the suggestion that boys or girls who left under fifteen years of age would have a gap of nine months or so before they could become pupil teachers, if the managers took advantage of the Code that they should not be employed until they were sixteen years of age.
* MR, ALFRED HUTTON
Not if the Board takes advantage of the present rules of the Code and refuses to employ "cheap child labour or drudges," to use the words of the right hon. Gentleman himself. The object is to raise not to reduce the age of pupil teachers. I think it is a shabby thing to reduce the grant in connection with pupil teachers. The right hon. Gentleman says the average grant will be the same all over the country—that is to say, the total amount will be the same. But we want to see that improved in regard to pupil teachers. Boards refuse to take pupil teachers until they are fairly well trained and are better educated; we want to encourage that kind of thing in other schools, and where boards have established large central schools for boys and girls who will ultimately be the certificated masters and mistresses of elementary schools. I think it is a shabby thing to reduce the maximum grant to those boards of managers, who are trying to do their best for the boys and girls. It will have this effect—that in some places where at present the managers are -content with the services of pupil teachers 624 for half-time in the schools, and allow them to study at home or to attend central classes the remainder of the time, they will be compelled owing to the reduction of the grant to require more than half the time of the teachers in the school. I may be wrong, but I am afraid that will be the result.
§ SIR. J. GORST
They cannot do it. Under the regulations of the Department they cannot employ ex-pupil teachers for more than half the time in teaching in the school.
§ * MR. ALFRED HUTTON
I am afraid I put it rather incorrectly. I meant that the time can be increased during which their services are required as teachers in the school.
§ * MR. ALFRED HUTTON
Not beyond half-time, but beyond the time which under certain boards they are at present employed. Another point upon which we require information is in regard to the science schools. Does the regulation of the minute on this subject exclude what have been science and art grants, or does it not? Where science schools exist at present will it be possible to carry them on?
§ SIR J. GORST
I can answer that question at once. If they remain science schools they will receive the grant of the old Science and Art Department. If they become higher grade elementary schools they will receive grants as in the nature of higher grade elementary schools.
§ * MR. ALFRED HUTTON
I am very much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. We now have it on his authority that these schools will be able to continue and to receive the grants they have hitherto received from the Science and Art Department.
§ SIR J. GORST
I hope the hon. Gentleman does not misunderstand me. If the schools turn themselves into higher 625 elementary schools they will receive what are called science and art grants.
§ * MR. ALFRED HUTTON
I am perfectly aware of that, and I will come to that point under the next head. They have the option of either coming under the minute or remaining as science schools pretty much as they exist at present. They cannot come into the minute; the whole of the work would be disorganised. It is perfectly apparent that such schools will never come under the minute of the Education Department. What will happen? They will have to be subject to the new Code and their work will be very largely fettered by the reduction of the grant from 27s. 6d. to 22s. It is all very well for the hon. Gentleman to say the loss can come out of the rates when the ratepayers are Always talking so much about any addition to the rates. Why should those who profess to be interested in education force the school board to increase the rate by reducing the grant? One other point in regard to the minute to which I wish to refer is that of the separate headmaster for the higher grade school. Practically every higher grade school which exists in the country to-day has not been established as a higher grade school, but has grown up. I am afraid this minute hits at that natural development very severely. I take a case in my own constituency—a town which has three Board schools. They discussed the advisability of establishing a higher grade school and came to the conclusion that they had not sufficient resources, so they gathered the "ex-seventh" children, as they are called, into one school and established special classes for them. That is the way most of our higher grade schools have begun. The right hon. Gentleman will not allow that. Under this minute such a school cannot be recognised at all, because there is not a separate headmaster, and the masters teaching these schools are not giving their whole time to the higher grade instruction. The extraordinary thing is that that is the provision which hits most of all the Voluntary schools. Those managers of Voluntary schools who have endeavoured to do something above the ordinary level of education will be prevented by the reduction of the grant to 22s., and they will not be able to come under the 626 minute, because it will be too expensive for them to have a special teacher for every class. By these means I believe the Department will do more harm and more to prevent the natural development from elementary education to higher or secondary education than by any other step they have taken for a long time. The hon. Member who introduced this motion suggested that we should define the separation between elementary and secondary education. I am not going to attempt it, but I will say that one must grow out of the other; and if you prevent, as you do prevent under this minute, the natural growth of the clever children and their aggregation into the higher classes of a school which may in time come in under the minute, I think the light hon. Gentleman is taking a very serious step in the interests of education. I have spoken at far greater length than I intended, and I will content myself now by moving my Amendment to the resolution.
§ * MR. MATHER (Lancashire, Rossendale)
I beg leave to second this Amendment. The hon. Member for Cambridge University apologised for intervening in this debate on the ground that he had rarely spoken. I have more reason to apologise because, for more than five years, I have not had the honour of a seat in this House, and it may appear to be somewhat presumptuous on my part to now attempt to intervene in a debate of this character. I have all my life taken a deep interest in that section of education which affects the working classes. Being an employer of labour, it has been my duty as well as my pleasure to discover and encourage such qualities as the working classes might develop with advantage. I have looked at this Code and this new minute with an intense desire—not considering these matters politically—of seeing that the Government are moving along the stream of time in the direction in which all other countries are advancing — namely, preparing for the higher development of the mental qualities of the people with a view to their industrial advancement. The hon. Member for the Cambridge University seemed to indicate that the higher grade teaching of the elementary schools upon which the working classes of this country have depended for the last ten or fifteen years has not been of such a character as is necessary to enable them to enter upon their 627 various occupations with the intelligence and knowledge which they ought to have derived from it. I find from the explanation of the hon. Member that there will be an entire separation between the normal education in elementary schools and the higher elementary education proposed now by the Government. I hope the right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President of the Council— who, I believe, has in his heart a very much greater desire to see the Education Department of this country extend and develop instruction for the people than he can at present carry out—will be able to satisfy us on this point — namely, that the higher grade elementary instruction now in large practical operation in the various towns of this country will not be in the least degree interfered with by the adoption of this minute or any part of the new Code. I hope he will make it clear to us that all these schools shall be encouraged in every way in which the Department can encourage them, because if they are in any way discouraged, it will go forth to the school boards of the country that the existence of the higher grade board schools is in jeopardy, and that would cause the greatest dismay throughout the country, and we should find a retrograde movement set in which it might take a very long time to repair. I should like to show that these higher grade board schools are the only means we have had, since the passing of the Technical Instruction Act of 1889, by which the better and more clever and gifted children of the working classes could take advantage of our technical schools. I wish to point out that the technical schools in England differ from those of any other country in the world. Our technical schools mean graded scientific schools in which science applied to industry is made an object of study, and in which tests are made in the various processes required for the industrial development of every town or county. These schools can take children out from the lower stages of science, and introduce them to science teaching of a character which awakens their intelligence and prepares them in a very short time to enter upon their occupations with a greater chance of success. These higher-grade elementary schools have done a splendid work in preparing children for the technical schools, and it seems to me it would 628 be not only a waste but a great wrong to the children, to the parents, and to the nation at large, not to encourage this educational development. The hon. Member for Cambridge, University seems to deprecate the present continuity between the elementary and the higher grade schools, which are the vital part of education for the industrial classes.
§ * MR. JEBB
Permit me to say that I did not utter a word against such continuity. My point was that the new higher grade school is designed to fit on to the ordinary elementary school after Standard IV. And I expressly pointed out that the School Boards could, if they chose, go on giving their higher teaching just as at present.
§ * MR. MATHER
I am glad to hear that explanation, because an impression was left on my mind by the hon. Member's speech that at Standard IV. the elementary scholars would pass on to the new higher elementary schools established under the minute, and that the education in the higher standards would not be of the character it is now. If the higher education now prevailing in most of the best board schools and Voluntary schools of the country may be continued under the new minute, then I do not think we shall, have much objection to the other portion of the minute, which is to develop new higher grade schools wherever they are needed. I would like to point out, in reference to this question of carrying on the highest possible education of an elementary character in all the schools, that the grant, as it is proposed to administer it, will have a very serious effect, and especially upon the Voluntary schools. Hon. Members are aware that more than half of the children in the country are attending Voluntary schools. Therefore, we cannot afford at the present time— since we have a dual system, and we are the only country which has this dual system—to disregard the effect of this grant on Voluntary schools, although we may be supporters of the Board school system. It has been truly said that under this proposal the less efficient schools will receive the higher grant. The least efficient schools in the country at the present time belong to the denominational class, the Voluntary schools, which are generally less efficient than the Board schools. [Ministerial cries of "No, 629 no!"] But the facts prove this, if the expenditure is any guide as to the quality of the education given. You will find that the sum of £2 15s. per annum is spent per head upon the children under the elementary school system in the Board schools, while I believe the sum spent per head in Voluntary schools is only something like £2. Unless Voluntary schools are very much better managed than Board schools, which can scarcely be granted, there must be some advantages for the extra 15s. spent per head in Board schools. My point is that the standard of the higher education given in Voluntary schools, which provide for 2,500,000 of our children, will be very much reduced by this proposal, although the less efficient schools may be improved, owing to the way the grant will be administered. The higher grade teaching will be reduced because some 6s. or 7s. less will be granted per annum than they have hitherto enjoyed. Under these circumstances the Board schools have their remedy by going to the rates; and though this may not be agreeable to the ratepayers, it will be done, because the spirit of education is abroad, and there is no doubt that the ratepayers will respond to that spirit. But where is this 6s. or 7s. to come from to replace the money taken from the higher grade schools under the voluntary system? Is it not a fact that, taking the country as a whole, voluntary subscriptions to denominational schools are decreasing year by year? It is in the nature of things that this should be so. ion cannot expect in a country like this that those persons who are strongly in favour of a definite religious teaching can be satisfied with the disparity which exists between one class of school and another. The time has come when the dual system will have to cease. This country will have to rise to the occasion, and the Church of England will have to rise to the occasion, and I am glad to see that some signs are appearing that the highest dignitaries of the Church are trying to find some means by which the control of Voluntary schools can be given to public authourities, while they themselves will become responsible in their own way for religious teaching. I believe that is becoming an inevitable necessity in this country, where we have tried long enough to run this dual system. The Vice-President of the Council, like the man in the circus, is riding two 630 horses, and he is riding with one foot on each in a somewhat precarious position. One of these horses has plenty of mettle and go, and the other is somewhat slow and difficult to move along. you cannot have two systems in a great country like this. Let us turn for a moment to other countries where this kind of blundering along has not been done. Take, for instance, what has been accomplished for elementary education by the system of instruction in Switzerland, and in the Canton of Zurich especially. There you have compulsory education up to fourteen years of age. There the kind of thing which has been suggested by the new minute—namely, that there shall be a separation between the elementary schools proper and the higher elementary schools—has been in operation. But recently the authorities in that part of Switzerland have come to the conclusion that you must complete all the primary and higher stages of elementary education in one school in order to keep up a continuity, or otherwise a leakage will be developed, and the children, losing interest by being divided from the associations of their youth, will not take the trouble at the voluntary age to pass on from the elementary schools proper to the schools of secondary education. In order to remedy this defect, they have now established advanced classes in all the primary elementary schools to secure these children the advantage of such education as fits them to enter upon gainful occupations in life with more prospects of success. We in this country require, in the first instance, that our elementary system of education should be broad-based, so as to do the utmost it possibly can for every child in the land, in the sense of keeping them and inducing them to remain at school as long as they can possibly find sufficient suitable instruction to fit them for the occupations they may afterwards follow, and that can only be done, in my opinion, by having continuity of education. What are called the normal elements of instruction should be given first, and afterwards on that school should be grafted such other branches of education as have been successfully adopted in the best Board and Voluntary schools in this country. That ground, once covered, ought to be held sacred, and nothing ought to disturb an arrangement so admirably suited to the ordinary conditions of our life and that 631 fits our children to enter into the technical schools of the country, which should be adapted to take them up to the first stage of technical education. My right hon. friend the Member for Dartford, who sits opposite to me this evening, deserves the thanks of this country for having been the author of the Technical Instruction Act of 1889. That Act has not fulfilled the expectations of many hon. Members simply for this reason—that so little preparation was formerly made in other branches of education to prepare our young people to enter these schools. That preparation has been extended of late to these higher elementary schools. I am glad to hear that the right hon. Gentleman proposes to extend the higher elementary schools throughout the land, but do not let us undo that which we have already done in other places without the intervention of the Department. The Department ought to legalise these schools, which are now in a position to carry on this work. These schools have never been recognised by the Code, and if the right hon. Gentleman would add to the proposals made in the Code and in the minute the legalising of the higher grade schools now in existence, I believe he would remove great apprehension from the minds of many school authorities in the country, and those schools might become more efficient in the future than they have been in the past. That is a very important point. There is, I believe, a legal action now pending against the London School Board on account of some surcharges for education given in their higher grade schools. If the right hon. Gentleman would only introduce some recognition of these schools, we should have them established as part of our educational system. This question, which forces itself upon our minds, is of so much importance that the country cannot afford to trifle with it any longer. We are in intellectual competition with all the countries in the world, who are at present in advance of us in many of their schools, and in their school preparations for the development of their arts and manufactures. We have at least to place ourselves on an equal footing with them if we are to maintain our position among the nations of the world, and develop that intellectual force which this Empire will require for its maintenance in the future. I believe we have all the stamina required, and that we can persuade the people of this 632 country that education is a very vital thing, absolutely necessary to enable us to compete favourably with the best educated nations of the world.
To leave out from the word 'That,' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words 'this House approves the adoption of the principle of the block grant contained in the New Code, and the establishment, under the minute, of higher elementary schools, but is of opinion that the educational proposals of the Department contain provisions which are not conducive to the best interests of education,' instead thereof."—(Mr. Alfred Hutton.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. GRAY (West Ham, N.)
Perhaps the hon. Member for Rossendale will forgive me if I venture to say how pleased I am to find that during his absence from the House he has not altogether forgotten his old love. I know that in times gone by he took an active interest, both inside and outside of this House, not only in technical education but in all questions affecting elementary schools. I am glad to hear that he has now taken up this question again. His speech contrasted very strongly and very favourably, in my opinion, with the speech made by the mover of the Amendment. I hope the hon. Member who moved the Amendment will forgive me when I say that I think his speech was a very interesting study. He has attempted all through that speech to minimise the importance of the change proposed and to exaggerate the defects. The impression left upon my mind by his speech was that he knew that the step the Government is taking is a thoroughly good one, but his partizan opinions baulked his judgment. I find again and again a strain of distrust of the Government running through his speech, and I do not think that is quite fair. In his opening statement he quoted from the Duke of Devonshire's speech in another place, but I think he might have gone on with it a little further. I assume that he read that speech very carefully, and, if my memory serves me rightly, the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Education stated that whenever they were dealing with the question of secondary education it might be necessary to introduce a clause drawing a line between higher elementary 633 and secondary education. That phrase "higher elementary" was very significant indeed.
§ MR. ALFRED HUTTON
The point I referred to was the provision made in the Code, and what the hon. Member alludes to is the clause of a Bill.
§ MR. GRAY
I think it is only fair to give the Government credit for having in mind a scheme to establish higher elementary schools at the time that speech was delivered, and which they subsequently placed before the country. Before the country had realised what the Code was, and before this agitation was set afloat, those significant phrases were used by the President of the Board of Education in another place. I believe those words showed that the Government had in view a step which they would be compelled to take not by public agitation, but in the interests of public education, in order to firmly establish the public elementary schools. The speech of the mover of this Amendment will leave on the mind of the casual critic the impression that the changes are not very important, and that the defects are enormous. I would like to emphasise what was really the main point of the speech of the hon. Member for Cambridge University — the very great importance to our schools, to our commerce, and to the general progress of our country of the alterations in the Code this year. Let no one imagine that this is a sudden revolution. This is a step—although a very large and important one—in that progress which we have been making ever since the year 1890. Looking at the Code of to-day, it is very interesting and very instructive to glance back at one or two of the Codes which have appeared since 1862. I am not going to weary the House by recapitulation, but I desire to call attention to the fact that now for the first time we are to be freed from the deadening influence which has hindered the work of the Education Department and the efforts of our teachers and school managers. In 1862 the Board of Education conceived the idea that it was their duty to administer grants, but not their duty to encourage education. They seemed to be fettered by the notion that they were bound to see that every shilling and sixpence spent went for some special subject 634 and some special branch of work, and they utterly failed during the next twenty or thirty years to have any conception of what public elementary education really should be. In 1863 a fixed grant of 8s. per child was made to the old schools, and every child earning that grant had to pass in reading, writing and arithmetic. If he failed in one subject, 2s. 8d. was deducted from the grant; if he failed in two subjects, away went another third; and if he failed in the three, all the grant was lost. Almost up to the present we have perpetuated that system. If I cared to adopt a partisan tone — I would much prefer to deal with the matter from an educational standpoint, but if I cared to indulge in recrimination I would remind the hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment that in the whole history of the Education Department no one forged more tightly these fetters than Mr. Mundella when he was head of the Education Department in a Liberal Administration, and that the Code introduced into the House of Commons in 1882 was one of the very worst that had ever been devised for this country. The principle of that Code was to pay for work accomplished, and to compel children, no matter what their origin or home surroundings might be, to go forward at the same rate, a stage year by year, and to take up so many subjects and receive so much for each subject. In this matter both parties have been alike to blame, and the system was maintained in England years after every Continental nation had abandoned it as being thoroughly unsound. I welcome this change, and I think that the school managers throughout the country ought to realise its great importance. I also think that the House of Commons before it further discusses the Amendment ought really to fully appreciate the magnitude of the change which is to be brought about. Under the old Code, grants were made for the amount of work accomplished, and as my hon. friend the Member for the University of Cambridge has said, a great part of the grant depended on the number of subjects taken. Very curious results followed from that principle. There were seven class subjects, and the four of them usually taken were English grammar, history, geography, and elementary science. But for some reason which no man could ever divine the Education Department said, "We will 635 pay you for two of these, but not for more. If you desire to teach English geography and history you will have to take them at the peril of the other two." But while the Education Department refused to pay for three subjects, they would allow the same school and the same children to take up some science subject such as chemistry. I never could; understand why such a distinction was set up between science subjects and subjects such as English history. The very curious result was that you had children in public elementary schools— mainly the children of the working classes who in after years would have to earn their livelihood probably as artisan— practically forbidden by the Education Department and by the system which the country had adopted from studying such a subject as English history, although they were allowed to take up the study of mechanics. Accordingly we had children with a knowledge of the lever, the wheel, the pulley, the inclined plane, hydrostatics, liquids under the action of gravity, and the parallelogram of forces, but these children had not the slightest chance of learning anything of the struggles of their forefathers. If they took history and grammar, then geography was a closed book to them. They might be allowed to go in for navigation, and a child in a public elementary school might have some knowledge of the methods of determining the error of the compass by latitude and longitude, but he would have to wait until a war occurred to know anything of the component parts of the British Empire. That is the system which obtained practically since 1862 right down to last year, and no change which the Education Department could bring about can be of greater benefit to the schools and to the entire community than the abolition of this system of paying for work accomplished and paying for individual subjects. I do not say that we have reached the end of reform— very far from it; but I hope that a time will come when, as in Switzerland and Germany, managers of schools will estimate their expenditure for the forthcoming year, and that that money will be provided by the authorities. That is a very good thing in Germany, and it is an admirable thing in Switzerland, and I cannot understand why what is good for them should be bad for us. We are constantly applauding 636 the success of German institutes and Swiss institutes. No one can wander through schools in Germany and Switzerland without realising the result of the different system which prevails in them. It is not because the German child is more alert than the English child, or that German teachers are more expert than English teachers, but because the schools are carried on on an entirely different principle. In England the schools have been treated as grant-earning machines, as though they were factories instead of places for the development of intellect and intelligence. In German schools the expenditure is provided by the authorities. What is the condition of Voluntary and Board schools in rural districts in England? Money has to be obtained from private sources and banking accounts have to be overdrawn until the grant is received for work accomplished. May I refer briefly to a phase of this question not yet touched upon? I heard a few days ago from the Archbishop of Canterbury a most impassioned and eloquent appeal to the country to regard the formation of character as the highest work to which any teacher could put his hand. The formation of the character of children in schools is of infinitely more importance than the study of mechanics or physics, or even the elementary subjects. How has the Board of Education encouraged it? Why, it gives 12s. to 14s. for proficiency in elementary subjects, and it only provides 1s. or 1s. 6d. for the formation of character, and discipline, obedience, truthfulness and cleanliness have been valued intermediately between singing and drawing. Instead of being regarded as one of the main features of school work it has been appraised by the Government year after year, and by the country, at 1s. 6d. per head, and even that grant was earned by the pupils merely sitting still in school while the inspector was present, because, of course, it was impossible for an inspector during a short visit to tell whether the children were cleanly, obedient, and so on. That is the system we are now sweeping away, and I put it to the hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment whether the change which will be brought about is not infinitely more important than the one or two defects which remain. It will enable school managers and teachers to get rid of the mercenary ideas which have dominated them up to the present, 637 and to work for the development of the intelligence of the child, regardless of pecuniary considerations. They can do more. They can take in rural districts the form of study best suited for rural children, and in urban districts the curriculum best suited for the locality; they can endeavour to fit the children for the work they will have to discharge after they leave school, and they will not be compelled to follow the cast - iron regulations laid down by the Board of Education, who know very little indeed of child life. It is lamentable to think of the mischief which has been done to our country by the prevalence of the system which, happily, is now being swept away. We have, however, at least a quarter of a century of error to undo before we can hope to compete with those who have been following the bettor system of Switzerland and Germany. The attendance at our evening schools is in itself a sufficient condemnation of the system which has prevailed in the day schools. The children have had enough of this system of cramming and of being regarded as machines to earn money in the day schools, and they will not go to the evening schools to have a repetition of that experience. That is a most emphatic condemnation of the system. I quite realise that it is only by the patience of the House that I have been allowed so far to condemn that which is passing away, and I have always observed that when any change has been made people do not want to talk much of the past. I would not have done so this afternoon were it not for the speech which has been delivered by the mover of the Amendment, which might have created in many minds the impression that the change is a comparatively trifling one. I am intensely delighted that the Code has been followed by this minute of the Board of Education. The higher grade schools, whether they have been established by school boards or by voluntary managers, have been formed because the people of the country are determined to get a decent education for their children; they have been established because the artisan is determined that his children shall have a better chance in life than he himself had. They ought never to have been condemned as the fancy of some extravagant school board, and it is not for the Government or the Board of Education to try to stop the progress which is proceeding 638 throughout the country. These schools ought to have had official recognition earlier, but the fact of the matter was that no one imagined until the Local Government Board auditor throw doubt on the position that they had not official sanction. I do not know whether the Vice-President himself has opened any of these higher grade schools, but I know that the Permanent Secretary of the Department has on more than one occasion taken part either at the opening or on the anniversary of the opening of these schools. And as far as the Board of Education is concerned they have again and again recognised the important work these high grade schools are discharging. Therefore it is hardly fair to suggest that the Government are trying to crush these schools out of existence. Probably had the Local Government Board auditor left them alone we should never have seen this minute in its present form. This minute establishes beyond all question the position of these schools in the future, and whatever might have been said of them in the past they are now a part of the educational system of the country, and it will be quite legitimate to spend rates on them. There is nothing in the minute that will stop a higher elementary school from being associated with a school of science or with a public elementary school, and a higher elementary school may be established in the same building as an ordinary elementary school. I for one cannot assent, and I hope the House of Commons will not consent, to giving special grants for special subjects. It has been stated indirectly in this debate, and directly in the press and at various meetings, that the higher standards in ordinary elementary schools ought to receive additional grants in respect of additional subjects. If you do that you might again have the inducement to take up a subject in order to got the grant, and that has been the curse of the old system. Let us keep clear of that, whatever we do. Give the child the fullest education by all means. I put no limit to it except the capacity of the child and the years he may have attained. Give him that which he may reasonably take and digest; there has been very little digestion in the past, but a great deal of cramming. Where we have Voluntary or Board schools in a district not large enough to allow the establish- 639 merit of a separate building for a higher elementary school, it seems to me that there is nothing whatever in the minute which will prevent managers of such schools setting aside a portion of an existing building and using it entirely as a higher elementary school. Not infrequently public elementary schools are worked in three departments. I regret that we still call the lowest the infants school, and I would wish it had a greater resemblance to the kindergarten. In the other departments the elder boys and girls work together, and my own personal belief is that very excellent work is accomplished. I never have been able to understand the objection to boys and girls working under the same roof and under the same teachers; they work together in their homes, and a great strengthening of character goes from one to the other, the boys being softened and the girls strengthened. That system is largely in vogue in the north of England, and why should it not be extended throughout the country? There is no reason whatever why a higher elementary school should not take these standards. It can very easily be done. All the difficulties which have been conjured up have no existence in the minute. They are founded rather on distrust of the Government. I know something has been said with regard to the difficulty of having separate head teachers, but that has been already overcome. There is a clause in the Code under which one person may act as organising master for one entire building, with head teachers for the several departments under his control. That system can be applied under the minute, if I am not mistaken. I hope, however, that before the minute is finally passed through Parliament a few slight modifications may be made in it. Let the Education Department place a little more trust in the common sense of the localities than it does at present; let it have more confidence in the managers of schools and in school boards, and let them be given a little more power to exercise their own judgment. Why, for instance, should a rigid rule be laid down that a child must necessarily leave school when he completes fifteen years? Why should that be? Consider the position. Here are parents denying themselves in order that they may keep their children at school until they are able to send them to a technical institute on 640 reaching the age of sixteen. Why should a manager be compelled to bundle such children out into the street? Let them stay. Let there be no inducement to keep children at school in order that they may earn grants, but let no child be turned out into the street who is willing to stay. I do not think anyone would support such a proposal as that. Then it is proposed that a child must necessarily pass a couple of years in a public elementary school. I quite appreciate the reasons given for that by my hon. friend the Member for the University of Cambridge, but I do not think such a rule should be rigidly laid down. I can conceive many instances where a child might have a good claim to be taken into a higher elementary school who had not passed through a public elementary school. The matter should be left to the local authority with the supervision of the Board of Education. I am sure that the inspectors will not admit children wholesale who cannot establish any claim to admittance to a higher elementary school, but I think that the hard and fast rule should not be laid down that every child, no matter what the conditions of its early life may have been, is to be prevented from entering a higher elementary school unless he has passed a couple of years in a public school. A child may be delicate and unable to attend school, and may have been trained at home up to the age of twelve or thirteen. In that case, if this rule is applied, that child will be compelled to go to a public elementary school for two years, and at the end of that period will have reached an age so advanced that his parents may be unable to send him to a higher elementary school at all. The result will be that he will lose the benefit of higher education. It may seem a small thing and comparatively out of proportion to the change itself, but it is of some value, and I hope that the rule will be framed, as nearly every article in the Code is framed, with the preface "as a rule," giving the Board of Education a discretion, in order that the new minute may come into operation without inflicting any injustice. These changes, important as they are, are not the end of the series, but they are an important step in the right direction. They will enable poor, poverty-stricken schools, especially in the rural districts, to do something to give 641 efficient education. What has been the trouble throughout our educational work in the country districts? The poor small village school, with a few subscriptions or a miserable school board rate to support it, sent children out into the world heavily handicapped as compared with children taught in the larger schools. The principle we have worked upon hitherto is, "Once poor, always poor; if you have not got a grant, you never shall get a grant.' The Government did something to remedy this by the Bill of 1897. Incidentally I may remark what a number of champions of the Voluntary schools have sprung up on the other side of the House. When the Government tried to help the Voluntary schools, hon. Members on the other side of the House who are now defending them said they were everything that is bad; but now, when it is held that the Government is doing something that may hurt the Voluntary schools, these hon. Gentleman say that the Voluntary schools are deserving of the utmost support. This is "passing strange." I cannot help feeling that the motive of this friendship for the Voluntary schools is a veiled attack upon the Government. I believe that both the Voluntary and Board schools are doing excellent work, and I have never been able to join in the attack on either of them. Some of the Board schools are wretchedly poor and wretchedly inefficient; while some of the Voluntary schools are anything but good. But there will be a chance of the poor Board and Voluntary schools, particularly in the country districts, to receive this money which will help to make them efficient. I know that some say that you would have the teachers shirking their work, knowing that the money will easily come in. Is the lawyer paid by results? He makes sure of his money. He is paid for work done, at all events for work he is supposed to have done, and no one has ever suggested that he should wait till the case was won. The doctor is not paid by results. The clergyman is not paid by results, nor is there any examination in his case. It has been left to another field of intellectual activity to say, "Work to the end of the year, and see what the result of your work has been." It is because of that system that the poor country schools have remained ever poor. There is another method of dealing with inefficient schools to which the hon. 642 Member for the Cambridge University did not refer—and to my mind the most important—in the hands of the Board of Education. If the school is inefficient because the teachers are incompetent, the Board of Education can secure their dismissal. If the teachers are competent and the school is still inefficient, the fault must lie in the managers; so get rid of the management and got others in their place. But to take the money away which would enable you to get good managers and competent teachers, is to punish the children, who are not responsible for the inefficiency. The country need not fear that this money will not secure high efficiency. There are ample powers to see that the money is properly spent and that real and lasting results are obtained. We have been relying on statistics and reports for years past which were not worth the paper they were printed on. The children have gone out into the world crammed and stuffed with subjects that will not be of much use to them in the time to come owing to this injurious and hateful system; and what they have learned is soon forgotten. Manufacturers and others deplore that children from sixteen to eighteen years of age come to them whose education is next to nothing, and whose intelligence is next to nothing. They complain that the boys are neither alert, skilful, nor intelligent; in fact, we have been throwing away money on their education. Now, there is some justice in that lament. However, I do believe that | this reform will make it possible for us to secure real and lasting results in our schools; and it will pave the way to many other reforms that are still necessary before we make the educational system of England complete. I most cordially thank Her Majesty's Government for the new Code and minute.
* COLONEL MELLOR (Lancashire, Radcliffe)
I should not have intervened in this debate wore it not that my long experience as a school manager entitles me to express an opinion on the subject before us. For the last forty-six years I have been continuously a manager of elementary schools. At the present time I am the manager of three elementary schools. In one of them, by the new Code, there will be a slight gain; in another, a slight loss; and in the third, we will be left as we were. The only question we have to consider is, 643 will this new Code and this new block grant system be an advantage to the elementary schools of the country as a whole? There can be no question that in the vast majority of these schools there will be a decided advantage. I have spoken of one where there will be a slight loss. It is a school in the south of England with 700 children—as good a school as is in the country, and which always earned the largest possible grant. The loss to that school by the introduction of this new Code will not amount to more than threepence per head, or about a £10 note in all. The fact is that the great majority of the children of this country will not be able so take advantage of the higher elementary schools. I rejoice to think that these schools are to be continued under circumstances which will add to their efficiency and not detract from it. But we must bear in mind this fact, that if it is expected that these higher grade or higher elementary schools are going to minister to the great bulk of the children of the country, we are making a serious mistake. The great majority of children, by the exigencies of their position, are notable to remain at school after they are thirteen or fourteen years of ago. In fact, we know that the great bulk of them leave school at twelve. That is the great blot on our elementary educational system. If we can discover some means by which the elementary education can be continued to a later age, then a great deal of the preparation we are now making will not be wasted as it now is to a large extent. The only way by which we can prepare these children for the higher grade schools is by inducing them to remain by some means or other up to the age of sixteen years. It is quite certain that we cannot do that in day schools; and the only way is to induce them to attend evening continuation schools. I have heard it said that the children are so disgusted with the education they got at the present time by cramming that they cannot be induced to attend evening schools. My own opinion is that scholars prefer not to attend school, and not until we can bring to bear compulsion in some form or another will we got the boys to attend evening continuation schools. I remember the time when payment by results was first introduced in the elementary schools by Mr. Robert Lowe, afterwards Lord Sherbrooke. Mr. 644 Lowe was not satisfied with the result obtained for the money spent by the country, although we should consider the then expenditure now very meagre; and he introduced the system of payment by results in order to ensure that the country should get something in return for its expenditure. Experience has shown that that system has been entirely nugatory, and in many cases the effect has been distinctly mischievous. We are now going back to the principle which existed when I first became acquainted with elementary schools in 1851-2. I remember the time when the late Dr. Morrell was an inspector, and the perfectly broad-minded spirit in which he conducted his inspection, and i apprehend a similar kind of inspection will be reverted to. During the last twenty-five years the elementary schools have been nothing but mills for grinding out passes. I remember the late Professor Huxley saying that our educational system was fitted not to teach the children what to know, but how to pass, and the consequence was that they passed and did not know. I believe that is true, and I welcome, with all my heart, the change in the system. I congratulate the Board of Education and the secretary of that Board for having had the courage to introduce this new system, which I hope will be extended. We have heard a good deal about education in Switzerland, Germany, and Franco. I have visited schools in Switzerland several times. Only last year I inspected a new school in one of the largest towns in that country. Speaking to the local banker, I congratulated him on the school, and made some comparison between the schools of England and those of Switzerland. The Swiss system has been highly praised by some hon. Members; but this gentleman said to me—You have one advantage in England which we do not possess. We spend more money in proportion to population on education than you do, but we do not get as good results. In England you build up character in your schools, while we give education which is neither moral nor religious.I, for one, would certainly regret that our denominational school system should cease. I quite agree that the time is coming, and is very near, when we shall have to put secular education in these schools into the hands of the school boards, leaving the religious education to other agencies. I should be glad to see 645 all our schools under popular control. We have nothing to fear from it, but everything to gain. I hope the time will not be long before we shall not be hampered by want of money, and that we shall be able to produce an education equal in every way to the best of the Board schools. It is now to some extent inferior, because we are unable to pay our staff' as highly or to have as numerous a staff as in the Board schools. However, I trust all these obstacles will soon be removed, and it is for that reason that I support this minute with all my heart. I am convinced that it will produce even greater benefits than have been promised.
§ MR. BROADHURST (Leicester)
My reason for objecting to the Code under discussion is that there is a strong feeling, which I entirely share, that it is a direct aid to the prevention of the children of the working classes attaining the higher classes of knowledge. That appears to me clear on the face of it. Why should the Government at this particular period of our history endeavour to curtail and to lop the higher grades of education instead of encouraging them? The Leicester School Board will lose something like £450 under this Code. I presume that the denominational schools will gain. It is not my purpose to discuss the advanced allowance made to the denominational schools; but if you give that why do you find it necessary at the same time to cut down the earning capacity of the board schools? You are now going to reduce the possible grant from 27s. 6d. to 22s., and are only going to make a shilling difference between the highest attainments in the elementary schools and in the worst—that is, the most inefficient. I believe that the whole of these suggestions in the Code have been promoted by what is called the Association of Headmasters —that is, the headmasters of the grammar schools of the country. They became jealous of the good education given in the Board schools, and in the higher grade schools in connection with the Board schools. In many cases, popular and rate-controlled schools were earning a higher grant than the grammar schools; and the headmasters of the grammar schools, instead of emulating the rate-controlled schools and endeavouring to bring their own institutions to the same level as the higher grade rate-controlled 646 schools, tried to lop off the attainments of the higher grade schools. If that is the secret object aimed at by this Code it is a very bad object, and it ought not to have been countenanced by the Education Department. The Leicester School Board condemn the Code from the point of view I have been stating. They say that it will be productive of the greatest injustice, and cannot fail to bring about a serious deterioration in the quality of national education. That is the serious language of a school board as capable as any in the country, and which is responsible for the education of the children of a population of more than 200,000. Then they say that the effect of the reduction of the pupil teachers' grant from £12 to £6 during the course of apprenticeship will discourage and penalise boards and managers who have done most for the training of their teachers, and who have been urged to take up this work by the Education Department. What can the Vice-President possibly advance in support of this alteration in regard to pupil teachers? As I understand it, and as the Leicester School Board understand it, you are going to give a small annual grant to all pupil teachers whether they have passed their examination or not. How are you going to defend such a thing as that? Suppose that a trade union should say to an employer, "You pay £2,000 a week in wages over so many persons engaged, whether they have earned the money or not, and whether they have done their work well or badly——"
§ SIR J. GORST
These managers make proper provision for the education of the pupil teachers who do the work.
§ MR. BROADHURST
Yes, I understand; but under the Code they may obtain this £6 whether they have passed the examination or not.
§ SIR. J. GORST
The grant is not made to the pupil teachers but to the managers of the school who taught the pupil teachers. If they properly teach the pupil teachers then the grant is paid, just as a lawyer is paid whether he wins or loses his case.
§ MR. BROADHURST
That is a general principle which a great many lazy people would like to have very 647 widely applied. It would be very profitable to myself if I could come under such a happy dispensation, especially in regard to public funds. But I am really so astounded that I can hardly understand that the Vice-President—a man so keen and with such a sharp appreciation of logic—is serious in the explanation he has given, and in the apparent defence he intends to set up in support of his proposal. I will put it in another way. Is it possible under the Code, with the connivance of the managers, that the pupil teachers can earn £6, whether they have passed their examinations or not?
§ SIR J. GORST
It is the managers who deal with the school who are paid for giving instruction to the pupil teachers, just as a doctor is paid for attending his patients.
§ MR. BROADHURST
Yes; if the managers are paid for the amount of knowledge which they have imparted to the minds of the pupil teachers, they will receive this grant whether they succeed or not.
§ SIR J. GORST
NO, unless they do their part of the bargain. Unless they have given proper instruction to the pupil teachers to the satisfaction of the Board of Education they will not be paid.
§ MR. BROADHURST
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it will be possible under the new Code for money to be granted by the Treasury to pupil teachers who are inefficient?
§ SIR J. GORST
No money will be granted to the pupil teachers. The money goes to the managers of the schools, and it is granted to them for having given proper instruction to the pupil teachers.
§ MR. BROADHURST
I still contend that there is no guarantee of the efficiency of the teaching of the pupil teachers on the part of the managers.
§ MR. BROADHURST
Well, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will make that perfectly clear in the course of his reply, for it is a very important point. Now, a constituent has written to me making 648 bitter complaint of the rejection at the age of fifteen of scholars who would otherwise remain in the higher grade schools, to the advantage of the scholars themselves and to the advantage of the community to whom their talents would be returned which they had acquired during schoolage. The hon. Member for West Nottingham in a part of his defence of the Code endeavoured to square his conscience with that defence, but lamentably failed in many respects; and a severer condemnation of this fifteen years arrangement there could not have been submitted by any hon. Gentleman than was made by the hon. Member for West Nottingham. The whole of this branch of the Code is creating grave uneasiness in the country amongst school boards and the supporters of the education of the people, and amongst our manufacturers, who have to depend on the people who have to do highly skilled work, work which is becoming more skilled every year. At this period, when you are extending your Empire, you are cutting-down knowledge. Surely there is a greater necessity for the extension of knowledge than for the extension of Empire, and I think gentlemen on the opposite side should readily admit that. But the Leicester School Board is not alone in condemnation of this Code. It has been condemned by an even greater authority. What does the Association of School Boards of England and Wales say about it? In a document signed by the Dean of Manchester, as well as by the hon. secretary of that association, it is said that the provisions relating to pupil teachers are reactionary and disastrous; and that there will be no further recognition by grant of educational methods. This is a socialistic proposal of the worst kind. It proposes to give to all alike, good, bad, and indifferent, whether they are worth it or not. Whilst there is this provision for inefficient schools, there is no co-equal provision in the new Code for the schools themselves, the staff of teachers, or the teaching in the schools. There appears to be a desire to cut down the higher education of the people and to prevent them having the opportunity of advancing their position in life. It appears to me that we are going backward instead of forward, and I cannot understand why such a proposal as this should be made at this particular time. All hon. Members associated 649 with trade or commerce know that every year we live brain power becomes more, and muscle and brute force less, important in the competition in the trade of the world. Why should the Government belittle and cut down the higher grade education? They ought to be engaged in developing it and in raising it still higher. I do not criticise the policy of raising the lower branches, I object to cutting down the higher branches to the level of the lower. I do not think with these fears and suspicions in our minds any apology whatever is needed for opposing the motion submitted to the House by the Government. Of course, if the right hon. Gentleman possesses some magic by which he can explain these fears away, and show that the Code does exactly the opposite to that which we think it proposes to do, I shall be delighted and the country will be pleased. But to our minds you appear to be striking a deadly blow at any opportunity being given to the poor of the country to obtain that knowledge, which is the greatest power man can possess, and you are seeking to prevent the poor obtaining a share of the knowledge which would enable them to be more useful in the work of the Empire. They have no means of providing education for their children other than the popular schools of the country. This is not a party question, it is a question of the efficiency of the Empire, and of equipping the people with the best methods of fighting the battle of life and contending with our foreign competitors in all parts of the world. This is a step in the wrong direction, and these proposals ought to be so altered as to bring them into line with the necessities of the age. We ought to see that nothing is done which strikes at the root of the higher intellectual development of our children -—we should rather take measures to encourage that development.
§ * SIR F. S. POWELL
I do not share the anxious alarm of the hon. Gentleman who has just addressed the House, and I hope before the debate reaches its conclusion he will feel some consolation from the fact that if I shared his opinion I should undoubtedly condemn the Code. I believe the proposals of the Government will have an effect of a far-reaching character directly opposed to what appears to the hon. Gentleman opposite inevitable. 650 The hon. Member who preceded him complained of the sharp limitation of fifteen years in the now limit. As a governor of several grammar schools carrying out schemes which have been sanctioned by the Charity Commissioners, I may say it is no uncommon thing to have, in the provisions in those schemes when a definite age is fixed for leaving school, a provision that there should be a certain elasticity about it by which the time could be extended in the case of a brilliant pupil. There is no reason why this Code should not contain a similarly elastic provision. If it did, the whole objection of the hon. Gentleman would be removed. He also alluded to the conduct of education under the Code and under the new minute in the same building. I have learned, in my visits to schools abroad, a lesson. Abroad they make far more use of their buildings than we in this country. The most splendid set of schools which I ever visited in Germany had this remarkable feature. Over every doorway were two inscriptions, one giving a description of the class for which the room was used for the purposes of elementary education, and the other the name of the class to which it was appropriated for higher education. If the system is adopted in Germany I think we might adopt it in our schools with a great gain to the strength of our educational system. A gallant friend of mine who has just left the House appears to have had a useful conversation with a Swiss expert as to the difference between the expense of Switzerland and England. Most of us have heard of the Reports, known as the White-book, published by Mr. Sadler, of the Education Department, and it is with pleasure and surprise that I find the statement made in the last Report that the same amount per head is spent in England as in Switzerland, so that we are no longer behind that country in the amount we spend on education, and the reproach has disappeared forever I welcome the audit; because, in all institutions, I believe effective audit is the greatest protection that they can possess. I rejoice to see an extension of the principle to the Voluntary schools. The Board schools in rural districts are of an inferior character, and I believe that education in our rural districts is miserably starved. One hon. Member made some reference to the diminution of voluntary contributions, but the hon. Member was evidently 651 speaking from ancient statistics, for the last statistics show that the voluntary contributions are increasing. There is still that spirit of self-denial which like many other spirits, grows as it proceeds. Another hon. Member referred to the gulf between the Voluntary schools and the technical colleges; that was a just observation. It affects all our great towns, and causes great disappointment in cities with a large industrial population. The fact is in this matter we have been carried on by an ill-regulated enthusiasm, and have been too hasty in constructing those magnificent technical colleges. It would have been more wise if, before constructing them, we had organised a complete system of Secondary education. Our system will be complete in a few years, and we shall then have no gulf between the lower and the higher grade schools; as to the latter I should be the last to censure them. They have grown up independently of the elementary schools, and not in imitation of them. In Bradford we have a number of higher grade schools doing excellent work, and we have the same at Leeds and other places, and I rejoice that this new minute will give now life to that class of school which would be a great loss to the country if it disappeared. I do not often agree with the hon. Member for Leicester, but a little note of harmony makes discord sometimes agreeable, and although I do not follow the whole of his argument with regard to the pupil teachers I do agree with the result of his investigations, and I think the change in the Code will cause great disappointment in the Voluntary schools if the Government does not meet their desires and does not amend the Code in that respect. Some reference has been made to the Committee of inquiry into the question of pupil teachers, and as one who sat upon that Committee I express my entire concurrence with the decision at which it arrived. We were quite convinced that the pupil teachers enter upon their duties at too early an age, and there should be some principle such as that which is called half time—they should give lessons during part of the day and receive instruction during the remaining hours of their school life. With regard to the staff of the schools, I believe this scheme will do much to improve the staff in rural schools and remove many of the difficulties under which our country schools labour 652 by the change. Speaking more generally on the subject, I welcome the change introduced by the Government by the block grant; but there is one danger which I fear. I am not sure that there is not danger in the entire abolition of the individual examination. When the revised Act of Mr. Lowe was introduced there was amongst educationists a great doubt as to whether the inspection was efficient, whether efficiency was secured, and whether it was not advisable to make occasional examination of individual children. Since the individual examination has ceased many of our schools have retrograded, and although great convenience resulted from the change injury to the cause of education has resulted there from. I am not sure that the groundwork of our education is sufficiently well laid. I have heard complaints from gentlemen engaged in commerce that they have difficulty in finding among the boys in our schools those who are so far competent to write or calculate that they are able to act with any efficiency in the counting-house in their establishments. We must not forgot to teach these children to read and write. We know that in higher education there is often great difficulty in laying a solid foundation, and if that is the case in our great schools of Eton and Harrow it-is not the less true of our lesser schools. I rejoice that the proposals of the Government are in favour of a varied curriculum, and as different districts have different wants, I think there ought to be different curricula to meet those wants; but I hope it may not be forgotten that however much districts may differ there must be many subjects taught in every school— drawing, geography, history, and that new subject which has now found its way into our schools as it has in German, schools for many years past, "Nature culture." It will teach the master to lead his children into fields of education highly interesting to them, and teach them to seek information in the fields, and not entirely from dull books. We want to give our people thoroughly practical education adapted to their lives, and we ought to give them one which would improve their idea of the life they will have to lead, and to those who have a higher gift of learning an opportunity to rise in the social scale, and take a higher place than that in which they were born. I 653 doubt if the House is aware how far children pass in these subjects. There is a formidable list of twenty subjects, and I find from the last report issued that out of 175,689 children presented, 17,000 passed in two subjects. Of this 175,000 there were 53,000 in London, leaving in the whole of the country only 122,000 children who passed in any specific subject. Whether the children have derived much information from the instructions given on this subject I greatly doubt. When regard is had to the hurried way in which the information is imparted and the imperfect attention of the teachers I think the children carry very little knowledge away, and the time which is taken up by the subject is time wasted. There is one other point to which I should like to refer. With regard to the infant schools, I greatly regret the omission of the grant with regard to them, but I find consolation in the fact that this Code, is not the end all of education. I believe it is the beginning, and I am satisfied to condone many defects in the Code, believing it to be a new departure, an initial step, the most important stage, and believe it will render infinite service to the education of this country.
* MR. HERBERT ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.)
I am extremely glad the Leader of the House has seen his way to give us an opportunity of discussing this matter. In the first place, I think it is hardly realised how great are the powers now in the hands of the Board of Education. In 1897 the Government brought in an Education Bill which added to the grants given to denominational schools on the scale of five shillings per head. The House spent some weeks m thoroughly debating that measure, and I do not think it could be said the time was thrown away. To night we are dealing with a Code which in some cases may be the means of adding not so much as five shillings, but considerably over three shillings per head to certain primary schools, and containing changes of principle in regard to the administration of the grants given for primary education much more far-reaching than anything contained in the Bill of 1897. It is a kind of irony that whereas in regard to the Bill of 1897, owing to its form, it was the right of the House of Commons to spend not one night but weeks in discussing its provisions, yet 654 upon this occasion we have been allowed only by the mercy, so to speak, of the right hon. Gentleman opposite to have one night for the discussion of this important matter. I wish to guard that remark from conveying the impression that I desire in any way to criticise adversely those who are at the head the Board of Education. I criticise, not persons, but the system, and I should like to be allowed to add an expression of my high appreciation of the splendid educational qualities displayed by the permanent head of the Board of Education, Sir George Kekewich, whom we recognise to be not only a fine educationist but a most distinguished public servant, and a man who is raised far above the possibility of being touched by political or partisan motives. I desire to make only two remarks in regard to the Code. In the first place I join with almost every speaker who has expressed his opinion to-night with regard to the tightness of the principle involved in the block grant. I do not suppose that on the ground of principle there can be two opinions. The only thing which requires to be made perfectly clear is that the efficiency of all primary schools should not in any way be affected by the passing of that Code; and that nothing should be done in any way to alter the position of higher-grade schools. That is the only point of doubt in my mind. In principle I favour the block grant, but so far as I now have knowledge of the question—perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will be able to dispel some of my doubt—I cannot bring myself to believe that the passing of the Code in its present form will fulfil these two conditions. I should like to make one further remark upon that point. Although most, if not all, of us believe in the grant in principle, I think it makes a great deal of difference to the ease that the new principle is introduced after the old principle has been in work for thirty years, if we were for the first time setting up in this country a system of primary education it seems to me it would be very much easier to avoid the many difficulties connected with this new principle than it is at the present time. I hardly think that those who are responsible for the framing of the Code have sufficiently realised the exceptional difficulty inherent in the fact of the new principle being introduced after another 655 principle has been at work more or less successfully for a long period. The cardinal point to be dealt with, and upon which satisfaction is required, is the minute. Granted that the principle of the block grant is a right one, granted at the same time that there must be a large number of difficulties, at all events during the first few years of its application, in what way and to what extent are these difficulties and objections met by the minute of 6th April? I will not enter in detail on these points, but I would like to press the point upon which the hon. Member for West Ham laid great stress—that some alteration should be made in the condition that no child should have the right of entering these higher-grade schools without the sanction of the inspector. Another point of detail upon which I desire some further light is the precise condition upon which it will be possible in future for higher-grade schools to be planted, so to speak, upon the ordinary elementary school, and the conditions under which those two schools can be carried on side by side in the same building. With regard to rural schools it seems to me that it would be almost impossible, unless some modification is made in the present form of the Code, to have these higher-grade schools established in the same premises as or within measurable distance of ordinary elementary schools. I do not intend to-night to go into the question of financial loss. Hon. Members who represent boroughs containing schools which will suffer this financial loss will, no doubt, lay their views before the House. I would like only to protest against the argument used by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University, when he said that even if a loss of £2,000 or £2,500 was incurred by any school board they could easily get it out of the rates. That was no reply to the objection which has been urged, and I feel sure that the general sense of the House will not look upon it as in any way a solution of the difficult}7. I now come to the special case of Wales. How will this Code affect secondary education? One or two general propositions can be laid down with respect to education in Wales. First of all, it will be generally agreed that an exceptional interest in education in all its grades is taken in Wales; and further, that this is due mainly to the fact that we have by our educational system in 656 Wales, so far as the intermediate schools and the national colleges are concerned, been able to bring into touch with educational advancement the interest of the people at large. In other words, we have been able to introduce in Wales, in reference to these two branches of higher education, the element of popular control. The third proposition I would lay down in regard to Welsh education is that it is not only very important to raise the standard of efficiency in all primary schools, but it is quite as important at the same time to bring about by some system or other the linking of all primary schools with the intermediate schools and national colleges through some central organisation. The intermediate schools in Wales have been established for some years, and have been in every sense of the word a success. But they have had to labour Tinder one pressing difficulty, and that is in regard to a certain class of primary schools. It must be remembered that 70 per cent. of those who attend the intermediate schools are drawn from the primary schools, and we have found that with regard to a certain class of primary schools the education given has not been such as to fit the children to go to the higher grade schools and take full advantage of the education there given. How do we stand financially? The board schools in Wales in 1898 earned rather over £1 per head, while the denominational schools earned 19s. 8¾d. per head. Under the Code, the Board schools will gain between 1s. 11d. and 2s. 11d. per head, and the denominational schools will gain from 2s. 3d., and 3s. 3d. per head. We are glad, very glad, to welcome an increase in the income of these schools, but when it comes to a question of adding over 3s. per head to a certain class of schools from Imperial funds, the question must arise in the minds of those who are deeply interested in the educational advancement of the country whether it is not time to consider the justice of allowing, even in regard to all schools, Board and denominational, to a certain extent the right of the people to have a share in their government. I am glad that in this debate, with one or two trifling exceptions, there has been an entire absence of political allusion, and it seems to me to be a sign of the greatest encouragement that we should have spent the whole evening in discussing a great educational 657 question, a question which is connected necessarily more or less with political conflict, and have been able almost completely to banish every kind of political allusion whatsoever. We are moving slowly forward in regard to education in the country; we are beginning dimly to recognise that education is not an issue to be played with in the arena of political partisanship, but that it is rather one of the most important national interests. I have one further remark to make in regard to the effect of the passing of this Code upon secondary education in Wales. The Bishop of St. Asaph in a public speech a short time ago in Wales made a detailed allusion to the effect of this Code upon secondary education in Wales in the future. I do not wish in any way to make any adverse comment upon the Bishop of St. Asaph in regard to education or anything else; I would rather recognise in him a man who is truly interested in the advance of education in the Principality. What I wish to point out to the House is that he clearly seemed to think that the effect of the Code upon the primary schools in Wales would be to keep them from taking the place of intermediate schools. These are his words—It seemed to him most essential that they should not have an elementary school doing the work of an intermediate school.However necessary that may be, I think anyone who has a knowledge of the facts of Welsh education would say rather that it was more important to do something to prevent the intermediate schools having to do the work of the elementary schools than to make the elementary schools perform the duties of the intermediate schools. The great aim in regard to primary education in Wales should be to lift up the I schools in all parts of the country. The higher the efficiency of the primary schools throughout the country is, the more effective will be the work done by the intermediate schools. I conclude as I began, by testifying my willingness cordially to support the principle of the block grant, and in finishing I would like to read the views upon this question which were expressed in a loading article in The Times newspaper, which show that this question is entirely outside party politics. This is what The Times says—If every teacher in an elementary school were filled with the fervid enthusiasm and 658 the passionate energy of an Arnold or a Thring, we might feel sure that the freedom thus given would be well and wisely used, and that the State would be amply repaid for every penny advanced to assist local educational effort. But human nature being what it is, in teachers, in school managers, and even in Government inspectors, it is not strange that many people have their misgivings …. Inefficient teaching …. will practically escape unpunished, when in the case of all schools except those which are so bad as not to be worthy of any grant at all, the difference between excellence and mediocrity, or worse, is not rated at more than 1s. per head.And the article concludes in this way—In future, if the scheme is adopted, the whole question within these narrow limits will rest with the inspector, who will be practically relieved from the obligation of inquiry into results as evidenced by the individual effect of the school training on the mind of each child. General impressions are somewhat untrustworthy, and inspectors are only ordinary men, not necessarily inspired with burning zeal. We are not sure that it is altogether prudent to abandon the check of inquiry into individual results.I quote these words from the leading article in The Times simply in order to impress the fact that this is not and cannot in any way be regarded as a political question. All of us have a right to doubt whether the Code will attain the end at which it aims and to ask the Government very seriously whether certain modifications cannot be made in it which will render it more certain, at all events, that the results we all have at heart will be secured by the passing of the Code.
§ SIR ALBERT ROLLIT (Islington, S.)
I desire to say a very few words, as the subject of education is one in which I have always taken the very greatest interest. The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken said that the boroughs would incur a financial loss under the new system. That, I believe, will be so, and we may once more have to make a protest on their behalf; but I am bound to add that there is no subject on which that loss would be more willingly incurred than that of education, because whatever payment is made in respect of education is an economic payment, and whatever may be said of the possibilities to the individual of the education he may have received, it is nevertheless true that in the case of the masses their morality and character are improved, and that the result of education is a great saving to the State. At first I had some fear that the new Code would be disadvantageous to the higher grade schools— 659 institutions of which I know the value, having been chairman of a school board, and institutions which I know to be extremely popular with parents—that is, with the ratepayers. These schools exercise, to my mind, a most useful process of selection in aid of the more promising children, who are helped in them by scholarships to a large extent; and I am only too glad to acknowledge to the right hon. Gentleman, whose presence at the Education Department is I am sure of great value to the nation, that the danger I have feared is met, if not wholly, at any rate to a very great extent, by the recent minute of the Department. We ought to adopt every means we can of retaining children at school for the longest possible period, as that means saving whatever we have already given them, instead of in most cases absolutely wasting it. I cannot help feeling that the higher grade schools have redressed to a very largo extent the disadvantages under which we have laboured as compared with competing nations in regard to our lesser educational term. Apart from any higher considerations, the necessity of unproved primary education for maintaining the commercial position of this country is most pressing. I believe that the speed with which Germany in the last twelve or fifteen years has established her commercial schools has been chiefly due to the excellence of her primary and secondary schools, and to the long period during which the children are retained in those schools. In this country, on the contrary, and in Yorkshire and the manufacturing districts particularly, it has been found that the want of a sound general education has been the great barrier to the progress of technical education, and I would point out that equally so it has been and is the barrier to what we call commercial education. Technical education provides for the productive side of commerce, and commercial education for its distributive side. In both directions our long delay in establishing a State system, and the slowness with which we have progressed as to age and other matters, has been of great commercial disadvantage to this country as compared with competing nations. This extended education is, then, a national need, and I cannot help thinking that the higher grade schools will be of great advantage in enabling children to 660 continue their studies and then to amplify them at the continuation schools, many of which have been recently established by the London School Board in co-operation with the Chamber of Commerce, for the special purpose of giving commercial education. I hope that these considerations will appeal to the right hon. Gentleman as a reason for quickly completing the system of secondary education in this country by the establishment of local authorities, and that at a very early date we shall see the promised Bill, and be able, as we hope, to finish the edifice of secondary education which has recently been erected. I would like to urge upon the right hon. Gentleman that while the principle of his proposal is good, there is in all education a need of elasticity and variety. Even Mr. Squeers might claim that his plans were various and his instruments elastic, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will make some few concessions which I think would be a considerable improvement. Why is the fifteen years limit to be maintained? Let us keep the children at school if we possibly can. It is very little we can give them at the best, but let us give them the most we possibly can. Let us remember that in many cases they will go to polytechnics and technical schools, and if there is a gulf between, those children may be lost in it instead of their education being continued. I venture to suggest that in this matter the principal teacher will be the best judge, and Her Majesty's inspector might well have a discretion in dealing with this important matter in which I hope a concession will be made. I hope that still there will be higher classes in our elementary schools, and that they will receive aid and grants. At any rate I will point out on behalf of the metropolitan teachers that there are many schools in which there are these higher classes—I believe there are between forty and fifty such schools in London—and until higher grade schools can be established it will be a positive loss to the State if this class of teaching should not be continued. I hope, at any rate, that temporarily, if not permanently, a concession will also be made on this point. There are some other minor amendments which I will venture to suggest. I think the certificate for admission to the school would come better from the principal teacher than from one of Her Majesty's 661 inspectors. That is a personal matter as to which I think the teacher would be the best judge. The Amendment would be opposed to what we ought to be very careful about, and that is any tendency towards increased centralisation. Why should there be a proviso that each student should enter in the lowest class? Surely the rule of our public and other schools, and the rule of economy of time and the rale which has relation to ability, is that the boy or girl should be placed in his or her proper position in the school having regard to ability. Unless you do that you will create a positive loss of educational time both for the master and the student. I think it would be a hard rule to have an exclusion of all except those who have been two years in public elementary schools, and why? Let me mention one hard case. Supposing someone has been in trade and has failed. In his better days his children have been at a high school, but under adverse circumstances he may wish to give them the best education at the higher grade school, but he is prevented under this rule from doing so, and that would be a hardship to him and a disadvantage to the child. As to the principle of the block grants, which are said to have answered so well in Scotland, I recognise that there must be some advantage in the greater latitude and freedom for teaching which is given to the teachers by that system. But, on the other hand, are we not travelling a little quickly from individual examination, which is a security to the public, and is also some security to the individual and to the parents, that the teaching is good. The worst feature of our educational system has been the process of action and reaction. The pendulum is too constantly swaying to and fro. It is so with the universities and with the University of London, and it is the same with regard to our classes, which do not encourage individual distinction. There are dangers in both extremes, and my idea of a proper check would be some practical combination of these systems of general and individual examination. I will conclude by saying that, on the whole, I think the State is once more under a great educational obligation to the right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President of the Council. Whatever may be said in criticism of his plans, at any rate the right hon. Gentleman has legalised, even if it be technically only, those institutions 662 which we value so much—namely, the higher grade schools. He has retained them for the children, and he has added something to the equality of opportunity for the poorest; and he has placed at the disposal of clever boys and girls the means of advancing not only their education but probably their prospects in life. This principle has been successful in Scotland, and I only hope that in our treatment of education in this country we shall follow more closely that example and make every sacrifice of public funds we possibly can in the interests of education.
§ * MR. GODDARD (Ipswich)
I do not rise for the purpose of proposing anything in the direction of altering the block grant, or of criticising the minute relating to higher grade schools. I cannot help thinking that a good many platitudes' have been uttered in regard to the attitude which the Department has taken up with regard to the higher grade schools, and I felt some sympathy with the hon. Member for the Morley Division when he challenged the Education Department as to their want of interest in science; and although he certainly elicited from the Vice-President the fact that the science schools may continue to receive the grants they have hitherto received, the point should not be forgotten that the Department refuses to support these higher grade schools in order to give them that opportunity. I think it was the hon. Member for North Somersetshire who, in his speech, spoke of the higher grade schools which have grown up somewhat outside the law, although with something more than the tacit assent of the Department. That is quite true, but I should like to state a ease in my own town of Ipswich which illustrates the attitude of the Education Department towards these higher grade schools, and I do not think we should blink our eyes to the real facts of the case. In this case the board established a higher grade school in 1892, which was held in a building which was orignally meant for an elementary school. That step was taken with the sanction of the Education Department, and before giving its sanction the Department received a deputation from the board, and questioned the representatives of the board with respect 663 to the proposed curriculum at this school, of which a draft was asked for, and which was sent to the Department. In that draft the Department did sanction that science should be taught, so that before the school was established the Education Department knew what was proposed to be done. In 1893 classes under the Science and Art Department were commenced in the school. In 1895 the board received a report from the Science and Art Department stating that it was advisable to form an organised science school. Later on the Science and Art inspector requested an interview with the board, and pressed the board most strongly to establish and organise a science school. It was pointed out to the inspector that the laboratories which were required for it before it could be recognised as a science school would involve very large expense, and the inspector replied that higher grants would be obtained if the school was recognised as a science school, and that this would compensate the board for its outlay. These laboratories could not be provided in that building, and the board proposed to erect a now building for the purpose. The Education Department had been informed the whole way through, and the inspector of the Science and Art Department met the board and saw the plans, after which he suggested certain alterations, which were approved of and carried out. Acting on the advice of the inspector of the Department, the board asked the Science and Art Department to recognise the premises as suitable for an organised science school. The reply to that was that they could not be recognised until they wore properly equipped and in working order. Nothing was said to deter the school board managers from making this extra expense, and nothing was said to them which would lead them to suppose that they would not have their school recognised as a proper science school. When the new premises were first occupied in September, 1899, the Department, having notice of the change, and having received a formal application for recognition as a school of science, they replied that, because the school of science was to be supported partly out of the school fund and partly out of the local rate, because of the ruling of the auditor in London, the Department did not intend to recognise these new schools. This is an illustration which clearly shows that 664 the Education Department has not been keen to recognise these higher grade schools, or to give them the full advantage of the money which they were prepared to spend. Here in this case the money was expended, and every alteration was made to suit the convenience and instruction of the inspector, and yet when it was completed the only reply obtained is that it cannot be recognised as a science school. The effect of that decision, in view of this Code which we are discussing, is that this school which has been receiving science grants for some years no longer has the opportunity of receiving those grants, and has no means of paying for this extra expenditure which is involved except by a further local rate. I think, therefore, that the hon. Member for the Morley Division was perfectly justified in bringing a charge against the Education Department of not facilitating these schemes for higher education. In the speech of the hon. Member for North Somersetshire he made reference to the small schools as being much more expensive than the larger schools. I was rather surprised to hear the hon. Member make that remark, because last year, in the debate on the Estimates, I mentioned this fact myself.* I made allusion to the fact that the cost per head in schools with an average attendance of sixty and under was probably double that of schools with an attendance of 120 and over. I made that allusion with the view of pointing out that the Department, having made a grant of 5s. per head as a Voluntary aid grant to these Voluntary schools, the associations who administered that grant did not administer it at all in view of the extra expense of those smaller and poorer schools, but gave a far larger sum to those schools in the towns and a very much smaller sum to the schools in the country which needed it most. I quoted illustrations, and it seems strange that the hon. Member for Somersetshire should speak of this case, because there was an opportunity of giving extra assistance to these small and more expensive schools, but it was refused. I quoted some cases in which some schools received 6s. per head, while schools in small rural parishes where the expenses are unusually great only received 1s. 6d. per head, and in some* See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxx., page 882.665 cases 1s. In one case they received as low as l0d. per head. I should like to say a few words in regard to the new principle involved in this Code. There are no doubt many educational reasons to be urged in favour of a graduated system of block or normal grant as distinguished from the system hitherto adopted in the Code in England. There are certain points which ought to be remembered in adopting in England a system which has worked, no doubt, well in Scotland. The conditions are not the same in Scotland, where the local education authorities are in touch with the people of the respective districts almost universally. In Scotland the schools are nearly all under local representative control, which is the most important point; and further than that, in Scotland almost all classes of the people are in favour of a very generous system of education in all grades of schools, but in England the circumstances are somewhat different to that. In England the local authorities for elementary education only control about two-thirds of the schools of the country. In England less than half of the elementary schools are under representative control, and among the people of this country the feeling in favour of a generous and broad system of education in all classes of schools is far less satisfactory than it is in Scotland. I say that, in view of these facts, it is more essential that the introduction of this block system should be attended with even greater safeguards for the efficiency and development of the schools than are to be found in the Scotch System. And yet if the Code proposed for England and Wales is compared with the Code in use in Scotland it will be seen that almost all safeguards for encouraging that efficiency and development are absent. We cannot lose sight of the effect of the proposed change upon the managers of schools and school boards. The effect will be that inefficient schools, whether Board or Voluntary schools, will get a large increase of grant. That is clear. They will get-that increase of grant without any safeguards for improved work or for increased staff, or for better paid teachers, or for better discipline in those schools. I observed in the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University, who opened this debate, that he used an expression which he called 666 "the extreme penalty of extinction." That is the only penalty which is left in the hands of the Department to use. Practically all that is left to the Depart- merit to show their condemnation of inefficient schools is this extreme penalty of extinction. I think one ought to appeal to the common sense of the House on this matter. In how many cases will this extreme penalty be used? How often will the inspectors of the Department really venture to shut up schools because they are inefficient? It seems to me that a penalty which is so extreme will he very rarely used indeed, and it becomes of no use at all. Really the only alternative is either 21s. or 22s., and I think that is a ridiculous and insignificent difference between an inferiorly-conducted school and a first-class school, for it is simply 1s. per head. While I think the block system has many advantages, there ought to be more gradation of grant to reward or to punish merit or demerit. So far from there being any incentive to good work, it seems to me that the effect will be a great temptation to the managers of schools to reduce their staff and the number of subjects taught in those schools. This is inevitable, for it is simply following out the lines—which I think were bad lines—which were adopted with regard to the drawing class, to which allusion has been made. The drawing class grant used to be 1s., 1s. 6d.,aud 2s. per head, according to the efficiency of the teaching. Then the Department brought them to a beggarly uniform rate of 1s. 9d. per head, and the result was that good schools which had taken pains to teach their scholars in this department lost a great deal of money, and the schools which did poor work and had a poor staff gained nearly 50 per cent. on their old grant. I do feel that the block system of grant is good: I think it is better than the payment by results, if proper safeguards are used for the efficiency of the schools. As it is set out in the Code, we are now considering what appears to me to be a heavy premium and an unearned boon on bad work, inefficient schools and selfish managers, and this, at the same time, is a drag on the more advanced and efficient schools and managers and school boards which tends to lessen the quantity and to deteriorate the quality of the work they do. I am bound also to 667 say that it appears to ma that, whether intended or not, it is only another method of giving a substantial dole to the most inefficient, and, in many cases, the most sectarian and exclusive schools in the country which are not under public control, but which are under private control, and which will get the greatest advantage from this proposal. I maintain that that is bad enough. We have constantly, during the last few years, been going in the direction of giving more and more money to those schools which are privately managed, and having less regard to the principle that where public money is used, popular1 control ought to go with it. That is bad enough, but I think it is worse still when this dole is not taken from the Imperial fund, but is practically a deduction from the best managed schools to be given' to the poorly managed and inefficient schools. It is robbing Peter to pay Paul with a vengeance, and it is contrary to the law of rewards and punishments. What is proposed here is to reward the evil-doer and to punish those who are too zealous for good work. I should like to say one word in regard to pupil teachers. I think the method of dealing with pupil teachers is just on the same down-grade line as the rest of this matter. As I understand it, what is proposed now is to give to pupil teachers a £2 grant each year, whatever kind of pass they make. If they pass at all they get the £2 grant. Formerly what these pupil teachers obtained was £2, £3, or £5. The effect of this is to reduce a £10 grant down to £6. Formerly pupil teachers could have earned £10, and now they can only get £6. What inducement is there in this arrangement to school boards and associated managers to institute central classes with highly qualified special instructors for pupil teachers? What inducement is there for school managers to take such steps? While I think there is a great deal to be said in favour of the block system as it is adopted in Scotland; while there is a great deal to be said in favour of the legal recognition of higher grade schools which has not been done formerly, at the same time, I do think these changes should have been accompanied by greater safeguards for the efficiency of those Schools.
§ * COLONEL MILWARD (Warwickshire, Stratford-upon-Avon)
I think we might very well have left this question where the lucid speech of my hon. friend the Member for Cambridge University left it. I am extremely obliged to the hon. Gentleman for pointing out so clearly the distinction between higher elementary and secondary schools. In common with those who take an interest in this question of education I have taken a very deep interest in the institution of the new Board of Education, and in the fact that we were promised three joint secretaries of equal power, one for primary education, another for secondary education, and a third for technical education. I think that is of enormous importance, more especially in connection with secondary and technical education. With regard to the Amendment which the hon. Member for Morley has placed before the House, it appeared first of all in a strange and different form. On the 27th of March it appeared for the first time on the Notice Paper as an Amendment praying Her Majesty to withhold her consent to Clause 98, 101, and 103 of the new Code. The hon. Gentleman's Amendment was directed to praying Her Majesty to withhold her consent to the block grant. Now the hon. Member is supporting an Amendment which states that the House' approves of and adopts the principle of the block grant. It is evident that the hon. Gentleman has entirely changed his. opinion on the subject, and though, of; course, it is open to all of us to change our opinions, it appears strange that an hon. Member who put down a motion objecting to a certain course a few weeks ago. should now express approval of that course. In the meantime other hon. Members have been down to the country, and I think they have found every educational authority approves of this block grant. I myself received a considerable number of letters from constituents of mine who have a right to speak on questions of education with reference to the block grant. I received one for instance from the secretary of the Stratford-on-Avon and District Association of Teachers, asking me to kindly use my influence in support of the block grant. He said that the advantages of the proposed system heartily commended themselves to the Association, and that it would enable managers and teachers to 669 decide what subjects were suitable or un suitable. I wrote to him, and asked him; whether the Association represented voluntary schools which I know predominate. in the district, and he replied that the Association was composed of both Board and Voluntary school teachers, and that his letter represented the views of both sections. I think this is not a question between Voluntary schools and Board schools, although it may be a question between large Board and Voluntary schools and small Board and Voluntary schools. I had also a letter from the organising secretary of the Worcester Diocesan Council, who stated that the block grant would confer the greatest possible benefit on managers and teachers and would enable them to prosecute their duties in a far more satisfactory manner. A hon. Gentleman opposite said that teachers in future would only teach the curriculum laid down by the inspectors. That is an entire mistake. The curriculum will be laid down by the teachers themselves, although, of course, the inspectors will have the right to withhold their consent. Different teachers will be interested in different subjects, and teachers will probably teach the subjects in which they themselves are the most interested. There is one point which I should like to recommend to right hon. friends and which deserve? the consideration of the Department. That is the possibility of paying these grants quarterly. The expenses upon Voluntary and Board school managers are enormous, and I venture earnestly to suggest a change which I am sure will be a great benefit to the schools of the country. With regard to the minute, I should like to ask a few questions. The minute establishes higher elementary education, but I do not understand what is to happen in small towns and villages where there are a certain number of children desirous of enjoying the benefit of this education, but yet not sufficient for the creation of a school. As I understand it, it will not be necessary to have a separate school, though it will be necessary in almost every case to have separate teachers. That is perfectly right, but where the number of children is small where are they to go for higher elementary education? I think that ought to be considered. Of course, it is too late this year, but if the matter is considered I hope a change will be made which will 670 secure to these children the benefits of this education. It may be a difficult matter, but it is one which ought to be got over. I quite understand what the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University said as to the non-invasion by the middle classes of these higher elementary schools, and that children entering them must have spent two years in an ordinary elementary school. Otherwise we should have children sent to the higher schools whose parents would not allow them to attend the ordinary schools. I should like to call attention to the very remarkable speech made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Rossendale, whose remarks were re-echoed by the Member for the Ratcliffe Division on this side of the House — namely, that the time must come when we must put an end to the dual system. It is plain that the difficulties are not so great but that they might be bridged over. That, I think, is the feeling on all sides, especially among laymen. In the north of England there is a strong desire to obtain rate aid for schools, and most managers are perfectly willing to give a share of public control. I am also very anxious that the incomes of the Voluntary schools should be equal to the incomes of the Board schools, but what we do insist upon is a religious education—that there should be a foundation of religious education for all children educated in England. Surely at a round table or some other conference it might be possible to hit upon some plan by which this might be accomplished. I hope we shall see that change take place, and that it will take place on conditions which will not in any degree militate against the rights of the Church of England.
* SIR U. KAY-SHUTTLEWORTH (Lancashire, Clitheroe)
We are discussing a measure which is at least as important as most Government Bills, and I think I may say much more important than the average Government Bill, and in some respects more important than any Government Bill this session. We have been engaged in discussing this question for several hours, and although the measure has been before the House and the country for a considerable time, neither before to-night nor in the course of this debate have we heard any authoritative information from the Government as to the view they take, nor any explanation of 671 the principles which have actuated the Board of Education in making these proposals. If it had been a Bill we should probably have had an explanation on its introduction; if not, then certainly on its Second Reading, and the House would have been in possession of information which at present it lacks. I know that the debate was opened by a very interesting speech delivered by a colleague of the right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President in the representation of Cambridge University. Interesting as that speech was, and entitled as it was to the special attention of the House on account of the high authority and standing of the hon. gentleman who delivered it, still the House should not be deprived of a speech from a responsible Minister of the Crown, and I hope the debate will not proceed much further before the right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President or some other right hon. Gentleman, will give us the information to which the House is entitled. With reference to the Code, I for one greatly rejoice at the general advance in educational views on the part of the Department which is shown by its proposals. The block grant which is the central feature of the proposal means that a school is not to earn a few shillings by passing children through the three It's, and is not to earn so much more by an examination in one class subject or another, and so much by teaching a specific subject, and that in future the amount of the grant is not to be made dependent on the individual examination of little boys and little girls. I am sorry to say I am old enough to remember — it was my first experience within these walls sitting under the gallery—when in 1863 that system of individual examination was first introduced by Mr. Lowe in his Revised Code. Since then by degrees and by the action of successive Vice-Presidents of the Council, among whom I might mention gentlemen on both sides of the House, though I must particularly refer to Mr. Mundella and Mr. Acland, we have departed a long way from the measure introduced in 1863, which by the way was not passed by the House in the extreme form in which it was introduced but which was modified. At that time the House was very much carried away by the cry of payment by results. That cry sounded well, but I venture to think it was a very misleading cry. Payment by results is a good principle if pro- 672 perly applied to real educational results; but if it is not accompanied by securities for good beaching and equipment, it is as I have said very misleading. It is the duty of the Department not merely to look at what may be achieved by a school at the end of a school year, but also to see that at the beginning of a school year the school has a proper staff and is properly equipped, and in that respect I doubt whether as much has been done by the Department as needs to be done. I think that payment by results was a misnomer for the system now superseded. I entirely agree with the hon. Member for South Islington that what is needed is a good general education on which everything else may be founded. The result of the old system was that instead of a good general education children were merely taught the bare rudiments of reading, writing, and arithmetic, in order to earn grants. I welcome heartily the direction in which the present change goes, but I am not quite certain that we are not face to face with a similar danger to that in which the House stood in 1863. The Report of the Duke of Newcastle's Royal Commission had then pointed out certain defects in our educational system, and the result was a vast swing of the pendulum, which landed us in the system to which I referred. The pendulum has now swung the other way, and I am not quite sure that it has not swung a little too far. I may be told that the block grant is not consistent with pecuniary fines for inefficiency. But we have the example of the Scotch Code, which has received the sanction of Parliament, and for which the present Government are responsible. The block grant is there coupled with conditions and with penalties for the non fulfilment of these conditions. There are a large number of conditions, and for the non-fulfilment of them a reduction of from 10 per cent. to 50 per cent may be made in the grant. What does this Code propose? It seems to me to err in not recognising the absolute necessity that if we are to exact from managers the employment of a sufficient and efficient staff and the attainment of efficiency, we ought to be able to impose penalties for non-compliance with the conditions of the Code. Under this Code the inspectors have two alternatives to giving the highest grant: one is the ridiculously small reduction of one shilling per child, and 673 the other is to withhold the grant altogether, with the result of utterly extinguishing the school. I venture to say that the latter is a penalty which the Board of Education will not venture to carry into effect in the vast majority of instances, although they may do so in a few extreme cases. I notice that the number of schools warned lately by the Department has been remarkably small, and the number from which the grants have been absolutely withdrawn has been next to nothing, find I believe it will continue next to nothing, because the Government will shrink from imposing such a severe punishment. I therefore feel that the result will be that inefficient schools will always get 21s. per child of public money. I do not think that that is a satisfactory state of things from our point of view as guardians of the public purse. I have been dealing with the question of the effect of this Code with respect to the worst schools, and I now turn to the best ordinary schools. I will not detain the House by going elaborately into the minute of the Board of Education. I welcome it most heartily, but I think it is too rigid, and I hope the Vice-President will be able to announce to the House that he intends to modify the rigidity of its form before it comes into force, and thus adapt it to the needs of existing higher grade schools. I now pass to consider a case which comes specially under my notice in Lancashire. We have there a large number of good elementary schools which earn a great deal more than 22s. per child. What is to be their position in the future? Some of them are schools in comparatively small towns, and others are schools in rather large towns, where, owing to our peculiar system, the children are distributed among a large number of schools belonging to various religious denominations. In many of these schools the greatest efforts are made to give in the topmost classes an elementary education very much better than the ordinary elementary education. I dismiss for a moment the case of the Board schools, and consider the case of Voluntary schools, particularly Church and Wesleyan schools, in which a great deal has been done in the way of giving superior primary education. What will be the effect of this Code on these schools? They will lose heavily, and where will they recoup themselves from? What I see will be the immediate 674 effect of the Code on these superior elementary schools is that they will be obliged to reduce their staffs and weaken their equipment. Surely that cannot be the intention of the right hon. Gentleman. A striking letter was published in The Times in March, written by Canon Scott, of Salford, who has excellent Voluntary schools. He said that if the Code were passed they would be certain to lose heavily on all good schools in town areas, that it would be impossible to make good that loss by subscriptions, and that it would have to be met by "economy of staff and salaries —that is by reduction of efficiency. "I do not say that all these schools are schools of the class to which I have referred, although some of them are. There is very considerable risk that some schools will suffer, because the staff will have to be reduced, and after all, the greatest security you have for the efficiency of a school is to have a staff of highly trained teachers. Well, I hope that on that subject and also on the minute of the Board of Education, the right hon. Gentleman will give an assurance to the House that the proposals which have been so suddenly launched on the public, and which took us all considerably by surprise, are liable to reconsideration, and will be modified before they come into force. I think we have a right to expect that the points adduced in this debate shall be carefully considered by the Board of Education. We have a right to ask that the Code shall be amended, both as regards its effect on the weaker schools and the superior elementary schools, and that the minute of the Board of Education shall be made less rigid and adapted more fully to meet the requirements of the best higher grade schools. I hope we shall draw from the right hon. Gentleman an explanation of the intentions of the Government in regard to these important proposals. I conclude by saying that the central principles of the Code, or most f them, are a great step forward; but they are accompanied by defects which we must press on the attention of the Government, and we ask the Government to remove them by introducing Amendments.
§ * MR. W. F. LAWRENCE (Liverpool, Abercromby)
I desire to associate myself in large measure with the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman. In Lanca- 675 shire higher grade classes have been established rather than higher grade schools, and I wish to express to the House the feeling of disappointment which the Liverpool district feels in regard to this Code. They heartily; welcome the important changes, sometimes called revolutionary, in the matter of payment by block grants; but while they recognise the value of that alteration they think that the system in Lancashire. which has been adopted with the appreciation of the local public, and with the approval of the Department in Whitehall, should not be lightly interfered with except after very careful consideration, In fact, the whole system in the Liverpool district has been based on the principle of locality and of the children obtaining the best form of elementary education by continuing on in their old school; and hitherto that has not been found fault with, while it has been cordially approved of by the people of the district. While I modestly venture to criticise this Code, I think I have the approval both of the School Board authorities and the managers of the Voluntary schools in urging on the Government to hesitate before pushing it on. I admit that the new Code should not be condemned before it is tried, but at the same time the Code ought not to be tried to the prejudice of what may be called the Lancashire system, and ought not to be forced down the throats of Lancashire educationists until it has been proved to be the best system of education elsewhere. What we feel is that, when we shall no doubt lose an appreciable sum of money as regards Board schools, that can be promptly made, good at the expense of the rates; but as regards the Church and other Voluntary schools, which have hitherto been so successful, that failure of money cannot be so easily remedied. Assuredly the effect will be that, although in Liverpool the two systems work well side by side, with the one single aim of promoting the highest possible education, and working for whatever is best, under this Code they will be compelled to launch out into a new departure with a large extra expenditure. That pecuniary cost will make the rivalry between the Board schools and the Voluntary yet more keen, and assuredly in the long run the great successful Church schools will most seriously suffer. The hon. and gallant Member for Radcliffe 676 spoke of a school which only lost 3d. per child, but under this block grant of 22s. we shall lose for every boy 3d, and for every girl who has taken up drawing 1s. 3d. But we will lose a large extra figure under the specific grants. I can mention one school which will lose £65 per year, another which will lose £52 a year, and a third which will lose £58 a year. And these schools have been worked so successfully that they have been able to give most of their aid-grant to more needy schools. The result is that they would have to forego their charity to less favoured localities, and these localities will suffer in consequence. The Vice-President thinks that we can easily convert these higher grade classes into higher grade schools; but so far from that being the case I am informed by a gentleman whose authority is infinitely greater than mine that it will be almost a physical impossibility to do so, because in the Voluntary schools not many more than 160 children will be qualified to be drafted off into the higher grade schools, instead of being carried on in their places in the higher grade classes. Moreover, in this case it would be a mixed school, and there would be economic and physical difficulties which would make the transition impossible. Then I am informed that as summing you got over the initial difficulty, you will not have money enough to keep the school up to the standard with only 160 children in the locality. What we desire is that some modus vivendi should be found, and that our system should not be torn up by the roots until this new Code has had a fair trial. It is perfectly right that this new scheme should be tried in a district which is tabula rasa, but we submit that in circumstances like ours we should have the most careful consideration before we are requested to upset the whole system. I am in a position to say that in a locality which attaches so much importance to the present system, we are very loth indeed to adopt this more expensive and to us, new scheme of higher grade schools. We trust that our cause will appeal to the authorities in Whitehall, and while we approve of the Code being put in working order in those districts where they have a clean sheet to work upon, we hope the authorities will have regard to our present local circumstances.
§ * MR. HUMPHREYS-OWEN (Montgomeryshire)
On the whole I regard the Code and the minute now brought before us, and I believe most Members on this side of the House agree with me, as a very great and important advance in our educational system. Unquestionably we must provide for several classes of children. A very large portion of the children of this country must finish their education at a very early age. It is unfortunate that that should be so, but still the fact remains that the great bulk of the children of the working classes must go out into the world at thirteen or fourteen years of age. It is, therefore, unnecessary to make extensive provision for any large number in the higher-grade schools. But at the same time it is imperatively desirable that all parents who can afford to give their children the advantages of higher education should be enabled to do so with the least possible privation and loss. Moreover, it is in the interest of the community that clever children should have the way cleared to them to rise to higher positions in which their special gifts may be of advantage to the State. The scheme which the Government have foreshadowed by means of the Code and minute, I think deserves the gratitude of the country. But I am afraid that the Government have suffered from the adoption of a somewhat too ambitious scheme. The Government has conceived a great scheme, rising from the ordinary primary to higher primary education; and from that through secondary university education. We have been told repeatedly, and we accept the assurance, that they are prepared to organise State secondary education, but unfortunately they have been a little too prompt. By the proposals now before the House, which take away the grants for specific subjects, they have pulled down a portion of their educational edifice, and have provided any substitute for it. It would have been better if they had only shored up the old building until they were ready with the new one. The schools which have been doing fairly satisfactory higher elementary work will suffer severely, such as those mentioned by my hon. friend below me and my hon. friend the Member for Abercromby, and ought 678 to claim our very serious attention. But those are matters which do not specially concern the points I wish to submit to the right hon. the Vice-President. As he knows, we in Wales have got a system of secondary education which I venture to think is very similar to that which was described by my hon. friend the Member for Cambridge University as existing in Scotland. Our system of secondary education, from the necessities of the case, is doing some higher elementary work. Now, I think the circumstances of the rural districts are such as to make it inevitable that the secondary schools should continue to do work of that description. It is impossible in thinly populated districts, with imperfect railway communication, to have two separate and completely organised systems of higher primary education on the one hand, and a complete secondary education on the other; and while I fully rely on the wisdom of the Board of Education in entrusting to its inspectors the duty of seeing that the new higher grade elementary schools are not established in such a way as to overlap the schools already existing, I think the facts should be prominently brought before the Board of Education, because there is some risk of something of that kind happening. I think it may be worth while mentioning that a very considerable number — five-sevenths of the whole number —in the secondary schools come from the elementary schools. That is a good augury for the higher elementary schools which the Government propose to establish. The children from the Welsh elementary schools pass on, as I have said, through the secondary schools, and, leaving these schools, finish their career in the old universities or in the university colleges; and in that way the ladder between the elementary and the highest education is made complete. Now, in the case of the country schools in England, I am afraid there will be some difficulty. I do not think it will be possible to establish higher grade schools in purely rural districts. I do not see where the provision is to come from either of money, or, indeed, of a sufficient number of children to make the schools efficient in organisation, to say nothing of staff and equipment. At all events, until the Government is prepared to give a much larger help to the small country schools, I think we must be content with 679 having the existing conditions of inefficiency only very slightly ameliorated. However, the small country schools, of which there are many both Board and denominational in my constituency, will benefit by the Government proposals, and therefore I welcome them. But I must express my regret that there is nothing in the Code to screw up the standard either of the teaching or the equipment. The schools will simply get 2s. or 3s. more per head, but unless very stringent instructions are given to the inspectors to insist upon greatly improved standards both of equipment and in the staff I am afraid that the money will be largely wasted. Certainly we ought in many schools to have a more efficient staff than at present. I think it is to be regretted that this opportunity was taken of insisting on some measure of local control. Until we have full local control, the interests of education will always suffer. If you want to have schools really popular you must give the people a share in their government. The Welsh intermediate system of education is a success just because we have enlisted the sympathies of the people of every district in it. There is no reason at all why you should not get in England, as in Wales, numbers of people who would take an interest in the schools, and bring their knowledge and experience to bear on their administration. I do not say for a moment that there are not many people in England who take a pride in their schools, but there are many exceptions, and the way to remedy these exceptions is to give local control in the management of the schools. That we should get rid of payment by results is highly satisfactory. I know that the strong feeling of all elementary teachers is opposed to it; I know that the teachers of secondary schools are likewise alarmed lest the system of payment by results should be introduced into their schools. There is nothing they dread more than the mechanical routine of time table and curriculum inseparable from that system. I know that some friends of education are afraid lest the block grant, unaccompanied by any examination, may lead to some shirking of duty by the teachers. Of course, human nature is frail, and it may be possible that in some cases a grant without any check by an annual examination may lead to abuse; but the true 680 remedy for that is in the Scottish system of merit certificates, and that is the next step which the Education Board ought to adopt—that is to say, to give merit certificates to all children who leave school in a certain standard. We have the germ of this in the present certificates of proficiency. If these certificates were given generally and the public were educated into regarding them as giving some credit to the scholars who win them, they would be an ample test and check on any schoolmasters who were inclined to take their work rather too easily. I am afraid I cannot be quite so sanguine about getting rid of the religious difficulty as some hon. Members seem to-night. I fear that the wish to control the appointment of teachers will be a rock on which any proposals of that kind will split. I am afraid that the denominations which feel strongly the importance of giving instruction in their distinctive dogmas will insist on retaining the nomination and appointment of teachers belonging to their respective bodies, and that this will make nugatory any provisions for the public local control of education. And therefore unless and until we can come to a more general agreement than we have yet arrived at, as to the extent to which we teach great religious principles without distinctive dogma, there will be great difficulty in doing more in giving religious instruction than is done already in many Board schools. On the whole, though I welcome the Code and the minute, I think I should feel bound to vote with the hon. Member for Morley as a protest against some of the provisions in it. At the same time I recognise fully that the Board of Education has taken a great step in advance, and I hope that it may prove of educational advantage.
§ * SIR W. HART DYKE (Kent, Dartford)
I should like to say a few words in the course of this debate. Although the debate has proceeded for some considerable length I have seldom known a discussion in regard to education which has been characterised by so little party spirit. True enough there has been sharp criticism here and there from the other side of the House, but Her Majesty's Government have little or nothing to complain of in that. Now this question of education 681 is one of the greatest puzzles of the age in which we live. Thirty years after the passing of the Elementary Education Act we find ourselves still seeking an ideal system, and I should be eager enough, even at this very instant, to press on Her Majesty's Government not to be satisfied with their minor additional instalments of reform, but to give us this evening the assurance that there will be a steady advance all along the line to secondary education. It is not this party or that party that is to blame altogether for the neglect of this matter. During these last thirty years many Governments have been in office—some with very large majorities and some with small, but each and all of them have shirked the difficulties of this question. So far as I am concerned, I long ago came to the conviction that though the settlement of Mr. Forster was an excellent one under all the circumstances, it did involve a compromise which, however excellent and necessary at the time, was the worst possible foundation upon which to build the superstructure of secondary education which we have all desired for so many years, and the absence of which in this country amounts to something like a national scandal. Acknowledging the difficulties, it is a good thing to know that no time has been wasted to-night as regards this debate. With regard to the Code, I welcome the complete changes which are involved. With regard to the change itself, and the future of education, there were some criticisms made by an hon. Gentleman who said there were not the safeguards in this Code that there were in the Scotch Code; but it must be remembered that this Code is not the only instrument which governs the elementary school system. Very rigid instructions are issued to inspectors as to carrying out its provisions. Then it is said that there is not sufficient differentiation between good, bad, and indifferent Board schools; but I believe the grants of 21s. and 22s. are given on this basis. The school, if it satisfies the inspector, gets 22s., but if it is at all weak or indifferent then the 21s. grant is given as a warning that if the inspector does not a find a different state of things existing when he visits the school again the grant will be withdrawn altogether. Turning to the religious difficulties and payment of rates by the Voluntary schools, I am glad to see in the new Code a prominent place is 682 given to a more practical method of teaching. I am not here to advocate the teaching of trades in our schools, but? do advocate that instruction should be given to the children suitable to the neighbourhood. The Code is an excellent one, whether applied to town or country, but I am not sure that the education given in the agricultural districts is not far too much cramming with books and far too little teaching of the agricultural surroundings which obtain. I believe that this will prove to be a change of great and lasting advantage, and. will form a system more useful and attractive in its character than any used before. As to the pecuniary future of our schools, it has been urged that considerable losses will occur with regard to the Board schools, but I believe my right hon. friend will be able to show that a very exaggerated view has been taken, both as regards the Board and the Voluntary schools. But the Code is not an Act of Parliament. It refers to changes which may not be demanded next year. The minute we are dealing with may be superseded by another. These changes are subject to the educational development which may take place. The larger grant for the higher grade schools will encourage the number of the schools, and the more schools the more money will be earned. To a great many of our Voluntary schools this change will be an enormous boon, and they will be put not only on a proper financial basis, but some aid will be given, from one school to another, and the Voluntary school which now only earns 18s. per head per child, will under the new rule earn 22s., and by such a re-adjustment I believe much financial injustice will be removed. Criticisms have been made with regard to the limit of age. That is a very serious criticism; the age limit is a blot upon the Code; it leaves a gulf where elementary education ends and higher education begins, and until that gulf is bridged there will be no continuity in our system, because the greater the ability of the child the sooner he passes through the standards and the longer the period which he has to wait before he can work, and he thus forgets all he knows. But again this proposal is subject to the educational development now going on at this moment with regard to evening continuation schools, the increase of which is simply extraordinary. In some districts they are doub- 683 ling and trebling their number day by day. There is nothing finite about these proposals, which can be altered at any time by a subsequent minute. Of course, they are subject to criticism, as every change must be subject to criticism. It is the very nature and essence of things that that should be so. In my opinion, this is a step in the right direction, and the commencement of a complete educational system by which the children may find a ladder from the elementary school leading up to the university—an educational system really worthy of a practical people.
§ SIR J. GORST
The right hon. Baronet the Member for the Clitheroe Division of Lancashire appealed to me to say something on behalf of the Government before this debate came to a close; but I am sure the House would have much regretted if any premature termination of the debate had prevented hon. Members listening to the weighty and wise speech of my right hon. friend near me. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Dartford has some right to be heard in the House of Commons on this question, because the present policy of the Government is merely the continuation and accomplishment of a policy which has been carried on in the Education Department for ten years, and which was initiated by my right hon. friend. The Code and the minute of the Board of Education have been now for a long time before Members of the House. They declare the policy and intentions of the Government, and, if any further elucidation of that policy had been necessary, I think the very clear and lucid exposition of the Code and minute by my hon. friend and colleague the Member for the University of Cambridge would have put Members of the House of Commons in possession of all the views of the Government upon the subject. We are confronted to-night with a hostile motion, as I suppose I must describe it, which begins by a very cordial approval of the principle of the block grant and the establishment under the minute of higher elementary schools, and then goes on to say that there are some things in these proposals of the Government which are not conducive to the best interests of education. I think he would have been a very clever and successful man who would have succeeded in propos- 684 ing a Code or minute which somebody in this House would not have found fault with. I thought it my duty to sit quietly and silently during the debate, in order to try and make out what these things were that were "not conducive to the best interests of education," so that I might give the best answer I could to the allegations made. Well, we have heard from one or two of the speakers some very strong censure on the motives of the Government. The hon. Member for Leicester was very severe indeed on the motives and intentions and procedure of the Government, and if I had thought he really meant what he said I should have felt very much ashamed of myself. But I can assure the hon. Member for Leicester and hon. Members opposite that the Board of Education in this matter has been animated by a desire to do its duty to the millions of children in this country who are receiving only elementary education, who never will receive anything more, and who are entire strangers to all the specific subjects and higher education of which the House has been talking this evening. Let me recall the attention of the House to the relative magnitude of these two interests. There are receiving purely elementary education—that is, education without any specific or higher subjects at all—in the elementary schools in England 5,307,000 children; and of all those children who are doing any specific subjects at all, who are under any kind of higher instruction, there are only 346,000. So that there are ninety-four children not receiving any instruction in specific subjects to six children who are receiving such instruction. Now, I confess at once that the primary object of this Code is to promote the interests of the 94 per cent, of the children. Although I do not admit that the interests of the 6 per cent, are in any way damaged by it—indeed, I think I shall show that they are promoted—yet the main object of the Code and of the Board of Education and of the Government is to benefit this 94 per cent, of the children who are receiving nothing but elementary education. Is the idea of the present system of payment by results for specific subjects taught an imaginary hallucination of the Board of Education '? The hon. Member for the Morley Division seemed to think that nobody had ever heard of a block system until it was put into the Scotch Code last year, and, as 685 he expressed it, that we had filched this idea from the Scotch Code of last year and had introduced it in hot haste and without any adequate consideration of the educational system of England and Wales. Why, the block grant has been discussed by all people who have taken part in educational questions for the last five or six years; it has been growing in popular favour; it originated not with philosophers and theorists, but was first forced on the attention of the people of this country by the teachers in the schools—by the people who had the most practical interest and acquaintance with the matter. It has been recommended and pressed upon the Education Department by all the inspectors without exception; it is believed in as the proper system by all the officials and all those who have been professionally connected with education: it has the unanimous support, I believe, of all the teachers and of a great many of the Members of this House, who have urged it upon the Government in their speeches. The School Board for London was addressed by its chairman, Lord Reay, who is not a member of this party, in the autumn of last year, and he then blamed the Government for not having applied to England and Wales the system which had been applied to Scotland. The Report of the London School Board inspectors which was received by the Board stated that the relative educational value of the various subjects included in the curriculum of the schools did not always receive sufficient attention when the curriculum was planned; that the Code of the Education Department had divided the subjects of instruction into obligatory and optional subjects, and the latter, again, into class subjects, specific subjects, and subjects of the nature of manual training, with their attendant piecemeal grants; that this classification of subjects sometimes led to the school curriculum being more extended and less intelligent than it might be, and frequently caused a want of continuity in individual subjects. [An HON. MEMBER: That is agreed.] No, it is not; hon. Members opposite have objected very strongly. The Report also stated that there was little hope of this slate of things being remedied to any great extent unless the Education Department altered its system of grants and passed a single grant for the whole of the instruction, and that 686 if this were done well-planned and liberal curricula would then be possible. [Opposition cheers, in which Sir EDWARD GREY joined.] The hon. Baronet the Member for the Berwick Division seems to think that I am to desist from my argument because an Amendment has been concocted on the other side which he and his friend behind him can both vote for. I am not answering the Amendment, but the speeches by which the Amendment was supported, and the hon. Baronet was not in the House—he was no doubt more agreeably employed elsewhere —while his supporters who sit behind him made their speeches.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY (Northumberland, Berwick)
I differ entirely from the construction of the right hon. Gentleman; the speeches were made in support of the Amendment.
§ SIR J. GORST
My hon. friend the Member for the Cambridge University said there were schools which suffered by the present system. I do not know whether I shall be annoying the hon. baronet if I give him an illustration in support of my hon. friend's argument. I find, from a statement of our inspectors, that in one of the schools which will be so very much hurt by the adoption of this system the girls were taught, as a specific subject for which a grant could be received, animal physiology. They are taught animal physiology from diagrams and pictures, without any practical work. As to animal physiology, I have the high authority of the present Member for London University for saying that animal physiology taught in that fashion is, as an educational exercise, absolutely worthless. But the hon. Member said it was not absolutely-worthless, as it earned a grant of 1s. from the Department. The girls are taught animal physiology, but they are not taught either history or geography. I have another case of a school in a rough mining village in Monmouthshire where no geology is taught 687 but where the children are taught physiology and French. Then, again, I cannot produce the exact case, but I have a very lively recollection two or three years ago of a case in the Midlands, an excellent school, where the children are taught navigation, and the grant earned in consequence of that teaching. May I read to the House what was written to me by one of the very best inspectors in England and Wales when I wrote to him on this subject three years ago? He said—I am glad to say that in my district I have no schools attempting to increase their income by adding specific subjects to the ordinary curriculum. My opinion has always been, and experience has always borne it out, that specific subjects are not worth the money paid for them.As the Member for the University of Cambridge said, the great advantage of the abolition of specific grants and the giving of one block grant is that it would remove all inducements to teaching unsuitable subjects for the purpose of earning giants; it would require every school to have a curriculum and every child to learn according to that curriculum; it would concentrate the attention of the teachers on teaching a few subjects well, instead of giving the pupils a smattering on a variety of useless and unnecessary subjects; it would give to every school a stable income which could be really relied upon, and which, after all, whatever hon. Members opposite may say, is the first necessity for any school which intends to be efficient. What are the objections taken to the Code in the course of this debate? The first is that a number of schools will lose some money; but you cannot have the block grant without that. Some schools must lose money. Really I am quite astonished that anybody who approves of the system of the block grant should complain for a moment that if the block grant is adopted some schools must lose money. If you say, "I approve of the block grant, but I do not approve of any school earning 1s. less than before," it seems to me quite a contradiction in terms; but the fallacy which underlies that contention is that the school which earns the highest grant is necessarily the best school. I am sorry to say that that is not at all the case. No doubt some very good schools earn very high grants, but some schools earn 688 their grants by neglecting elementary education and by teaching the children subjects which are unsuited for them, and that these are dubbed the best schools in the country is I think a very great misfortune. The hon. Member for the Morley Division to my great astonishment accused me of being a violent enemy of higher-grade schools. I always thought I was one of their warmest friends. He gave as proof of that that I had struck three blows at the higher grade schools. The first blow, he said, was delivered three years ago, when I was a party to applying a scheme to schools of science very much like the present one. I remember that occasion very well. It turned the grants to the schools of science from payment for the results of examinations into an attendance grant or block grant. Everybody had been crying out for this reform, but as soon as it was made I am sorry to say that the managers of the schools did what many of them have done in the present case. They sat down and made calculations as to how much grant they had got under the old system and how much they would get under the new, and every manager who found that he would get one shilling less under the new system than under the old, at once opposed the change, while those who found they would get more held their tongues and said nothing. There was considerable agitation in the country—nothing like the agitation there was about a month ago in reference to this Code— among the managers of schools of science against the new system, but it was carried out. All sorts of things were prophesied about it. It was going to bring I do not know how many schools to a premature and untimely end, but it has been very acceptable to everybody, and we have almost forgotten now that there was over any question about the matter. And all these schools of science are going on quite as comfortably as they went on before the change, just in the same way as all these elementary schools will go on perfectly comfortably after this Code has come into operation. The second blow which I struck at the schools of science was that there was a provision put into the directory which prevented schools of science from earning double grants— from getting one from the Education Department and another from the Science and Art Department 689 at the same time for the same work. It was an abuse which had grown up, and it was very properly put a stop to. The third blow which I struck, according to the hon. Member, was that the Local Government Board auditor, over whom I have no more control than I have over the hon. Member, had sat in a judicial capacity in London and disallowed some expenditure of the London School Board—a matter which is now before a court of law, and with which I have no more to do than the hon. Member himself. Then the other objection that has been raised is that the inspector can only reduce the grant by a single shilling—that is to say, the school is to receive either 22s. or 21s. I do not know that much more need be said on this point than was said by my hon. friend the Member for Cambridge University. If a school is inefficient and you take away a great part of its money, that is the very way to secure that the inefficiency shall be permanent. How you are going to secure the efficiency of a school by taking away all its income, I do not know. There, again, you have had experience, and this provision was put in as the result of experience. In these schools of science there is the provision that if they do not provide proper laboratory apparatus the grant is to be reduced. That is the sort of provision the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Clitheroe would like to see in the present Code. What is the experience? It has been proved by experience that if the school has not got proper apparatus, and if you reduce its grant, you insure that it will not have any proper apparatus, because it has got no money to buy it. If we were to put into the Code that an inspector could reduce the grant by 5s., I think you would find that experience would very soon prove that such a reduction would be the most senseless way of punishing an unsatisfactory school. There are other methods by which the efficiency of a school can be secured very much more effectually than that. I think that is all I have heard about objections to the Code. There was, too, the analogy of the Scotch grant. It is a very curious thing that, when many Members in this House are declaring that the terms which have been given to Scotland are very much more favourable than those given to England, hon. Members who represent Scotch constituencies are, at the same 690 time, representing that the terms given to England are very much more favourable than those given to Scotland. The fact is it is impossible to make any comparison between the cases of the two countries. Nobody has any fixed principle upon which you can go in these financial comparisons. I always find that people adapt their principles to suit the case with which they are dealing. I should like to say a word about the pupil teacher clause, because that regulation has been very much misunderstood. At the present moment payments are made to the managers of schools who train pupil teachers. But the training of the pupil teacher is his preparation for an examination. I am sorry to say that pupil teachers are hardly educated at all. They spend half their time in working in school, and the other half they spend in preparing for an examination which is not, in my opinion, education at all. The sort of things they prepare are most deplorable. I will give the House an instance. There are pupil teachers who can tell you with perfect accuracy the number of square miles which are drained by the River Amazon, but when they are asked what are the manufactures of Staffordshire they do not know that Staffordshire is the centre of the pottery industry of this country. I find pupil teachers who will tell you the exact number of feet in height of Mount Everest, but ask them about the Clyde or Glasgow and they think that the Clyde is in Ireland, and that to get from Glasgow to Bristol you have to go round by the Cove of Cork. I think it is a most unfortunate thing that the grants made in respect of pupil teachers depend upon their capacity to pass an examination. What encouragement is there to managers of schools to go to the expense and trouble of training pupil teachers if the grant the Government gives for their training depends on the accident of their passing one of these examinations or not? As regards the higher grade schools, I think that if anything could prove that the Government are friendly to those schools-it would be this minute. The higher grade schools are at the present time in very great jeopardy. They have extended their operations into giving, secondary education, and the school rate has been applied to paying the expenses of what is undoubtedly secondary education. I do not know whether this con- 691 stitutes me an enemy of the higher grade schools, but since I have been Vice-President of the Council I have never ceased to say that, in my opinion and in the opinion of the old Committee of the Council and of the present Board of Education, that proceeding is illegal. This is no new thing. The hon. Member for the Morley Division talked of it as if it were a new discovery made by the auditor last year. It is a statement which has been made over and over again by the official representatives of the Education Department that no school board has any legal right to expend the school funds upon secondary education. You have, consequently, this state of things. You have school boards who have established excellent higher grade schools, whose work I have always spoken of in terms of the highest eulogy; and the school boards are now supporting these schools in an illegal manner out of the school funds. What, then, is to be done? This minute affords the opportunity of placing these schools on a legal and legitimate footing, and although there may be some higher grade schools which will stand out and take the chance of the law courts—the chance of the decision of the Court of Queen's Bench being contrary to the expressed opinion of the Education Department—yet I believe the great majority of those schools have hailed with satisfaction the publication of this minute, and that they will convert themselves into higher elementary schools so as to place their proceedings on a proper and legitimate footing. What are the provisions that are "not conducive to the best interests of education"? There is the question of ago. The question of age is a detail upon which the Government will be guided by experience. They have taken the best advice they could obtain, and they have come to the conclusion that the age of fifteen is a very proper limit. Members talk as if there were no other means of education for the children of artisans but the higher elementary schools. But, as was pointed out in the course of the debate, the Welsh intermediate schools contain seventy or eighty per cent, of the children from the elementary schools; and when you have secondary schools established—as I have every hope they soon will be—you will find in them the legitimate place for those clever children of the working classes whose parents at great sacrifice 692 continue their education after leaving the elementary schools. It is desirable, and it is really the only way to prevent overlapping, to have a limit of age, which is far better than any other method by which to discriminate between one kind of school and another.
§ MR. MATHER
Will the right hon. Gentleman explain how the higher grade schools can conform to the new minute?
§ SIR J. GORST
There may be exceptional cases where the schools cannot conform, but I understand that the great bulk of them can conform immediately.
§ SIR J. GORST
They will have to do more than change their name. They will have to conform to all the conditions of the minute with regard to staff, apparatus, and other things. But I understand that most of the higher grade schools are doing that. As I was saying, the case of a child remaining at school after fifteen is an exceptional case, and is properly provided for by scholarships, and not by turning higher elementary schools into secondary schools. The object is really to secure these schools for the class for whom they are intended. That, again, is a matter which will be the subject of observation and thought and care. People really speak as though the Board of Education is some stupid body, which will learn nothing from experience and vary nothing in its schemes. The present proposal is an experiment. It is a proposal which has been made after consultation with the best authorities, including some of the best representatives of the higher grade schools. It is an experiment designed on the authority of the Board of Education, and it will be carried out in an intelligent spirit. Wherever discretion is allowed, discretion will be exercised, and, if it is found by experience that any of the provisions that are placed in the present minute are disadvantageous to education or are not capable of being carried out, I can assure the House that my noble friend the President of the Board of Education will immediately frame a new minute so as to 693 give effect to any amendment. [An HON. MEMBER: When? This year or next year?] Well, the new minute will be framed when experience has told us that the present minute requires amendment. Whether that will happen this year or next year, or at all, I cannot toll until we have had experience. Now I hope that the House will believe that this Code and this minute, which are so heartily approved of by the Opposition, have been conceived with a desire to advance the elementary education of this country; that this scheme is the result of careful consideration and consultation with the best authorities available; and that the Board of Education believes that it can be carried into practical and useful effect. I hope the House will also believe that the Board of Education will watch the operation of this new policy and will be ready at once to make amendments wherever experience proves that amendments are necessary. I trust the House will not reject the scheme put forward by Her Majesty's Government because there are two or three provisions in it of a purely detail character which may not in all respects accord with the notions of some hon. Gentlemen opposite.
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
We have had a long debate to-night, one remarkable feature of which has been the entire absence of those topics generally introduced in an educational controversy. There has not been a single breath as to ecclesiastical gain, and there has been no controversy between the friends and opponents of Voluntary denominational schools. That is a very good omen for the future, and I should be the last person to disturb the conciliatory spirit and general unanimity which has prevailed. I wish to call the attention of the House to some of the remarks made by the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, and not only so, but to some of the things which he very significantly omitted. The right hon. Gentleman devoted a considerable part of his reply to a defence of the block grant system, which I think is significant, considering that the Amendment expressly blesses the block grant system. It seemed as though the right hon. Gentleman was wasting his 694 ammunition on a kopje which was not occupied by the enemy. I say no more about that, because we are all perfectly agreed about the block system, and I cannot understand that there should be any necessity for defending the propriety of getting rid of so absurd a system as that of specific grants. The light hon. Gentleman seems to me to mistake what the object of my right hon. friend has been. While we entirely agree that two substantial pieces of the educational problem are represented by the recognition of higher grade schools and by the adoption of the block grant system, we feel at the same time that both those benefits are accompanied by a series of defects which may go far to mar their excellence, and. to which it is necessary to call attention in order that the Board of Education may fix its mind upon them and endeavour, to amend them if they find the predictions regarding them turn out to be true. The Vice-President says that the parts of the scheme to which we took objection are the more serious parts. Our great objection is to the provision which fixes the new grant at either 21s., or, in the case of excellence, 22s.—or perhaps I should reverse it and say 22s. reducible to 21s.our objection to that is that it is levelling up the grant instead of levelling up education, and this is a fault which lurks in all the educational proposals we have had from the Government since 1896. It is an addition to the expenditure of money, without any security for a corresponding improvement in the result. That is one charge we always bring, because we always find it in any scheme that is brought before us. I do not wish to attack this scheme, but I do say that the extra money to be given should have been used to secure more efficiency, and particularly in the form of the better staffing of the schools. The right hon. Gentleman, by the excellent proposal he introduced last year, and which he unfortunately abandoned at the instance of the hon. Member for North Hampshire, admitted that the staffing system of rural schools as regards pupil teachers was unsatisfactory. Why not have taken this opportunity, when another grant is being given, of having screwed those schools up to a higher point, and perhaps reintroduced that very proposal? I do not know that there is any special reason for expecting that the voluntary schools will 695 take advantage of this offer, but clearly there will be eases in which voluntary schools will use the additional money for the purpose of relieving their subscribers instead of improving their staff. That ought not to be possible. I do not think the Government intend it, but it is possible, and it ought not to be. If we give this additional money we ought to have some security that it will be well used. I now come to the question of the difference between 21s. and 22s. The right hon. Gentleman practically evaded that question. The only answer he made to the criticisms which so many hon. Members have made upon this difference was that if you withdraw the grant altogether you would ruin the schools. In that respect he gave a complete answer to those hon. Members on his own side, including the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Dartford Division of Kent, who had urged that the true remedy was to be found in destroying the grant altogether. The right hon. Gentleman knows that that will not be done, and he says it will not be done because you cannot afford to destroy the schools. Is not that an admission that the only way he has of stimulating schools to higher efficiency is the difference between 21s. and 22s.? On this point, at any rate, we may appeal to Scotland. In the Scotch system of block grants there is a provision by which the inspector can reduce the amount in respect of certain deficiencies. That reduction may go to the extent of five-tenths, and therefore the school can be docked of a very large part of its total grant in respect of its deficiencies. There, at any rate, is a point which if it is good for Scotland is good for England. What difference is there between the condition of the two countries to make this valuable provision, under which the Scotch schools are kept up to the highest point of efficiency, unavailable for English schemes? The right hon. Gentleman appeared to me to give no answer whatever to the criticisms which have been passed upon his proposal to deprive the inspectors and the Department of any means of stimulating schools to efficiency. That is the principal charge we make against this Minute, and I do not think any answer can be made. If the managers of all our country schools were capable of bringing schools up to a state of efficiency, you might perhaps be able to rely upon them, but, from what 696 we know, the managers of country schools and also of some Board schools are not, as a rule, men who are able either by their knowledge or by their practical experience to deal with schools in that way. We are obliged to rely upon the pecuniary motive, but that the right hon. Gentleman nullifies by this proposal. I come now to the question of the higher elementary schools, and I acknowledge very gladly that the Department has come to the rescue, as it was put by the right hon. Gentleman, of these schools in what he calls their position of jeopardy. But it deserves to be remembered that this I minute was not issued contemporaneously with the Code, but as the result of the agitation of those who were interested in higher grade schools. The minute removes a good many but not all of the objections we have complained of. I do not think the form in which it is couched is by any means that which will make the higher grade Board schools a success. There has been for some time past a good deal of jealousy of the higher grade elementary schools, but not particularly because they are conducted by the school boards. Perhaps I may be permitted to make a few remarks about the origin of these higher grade Board schools, because I am not sure that it is familiar to all Members. The House will recollect that in 1868 a Royal Commission reported on the then state of secondary education, and recommended that there should be three grades of secondary schools: first grade schools, corresponding to those we call public schools; second grade schools, for boys who remained at school up to the age of sixteen or seventeen years; and third grade schools, which would give education to boys who would leave school at thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, or sixteen years of age, and which were to have a fee, on the average of, £4 or £5 a year, that being supposed to be the lowest at which an education of the humblest secondary character could be given. Under the Bill of 1869 the recommendations of that Commission wore carried out as regards the endowed schools, and schools of the first and second grades have been organised by the Charity Commission throughout the country; but, unfortunately, nothing was done to provide the third grade schools except in a few favoured places such as Liverpool and Birmingham. Speaking broadly, we may say that both in the large towns 697 and in the country districts there has been little or no public provision of third grade secondary education. This was the state of things. School boards began to find that this education was greatly needed, and they continually enlarged their ideas and their programmes until they gave what was described by the right hon. Gentleman as being practically secondary education. I am not sure that I assent to that description. It seems to me that the education they give might rather be described as being on the border-line of secondary and elementary. It is exceedingly hard— indeed, perhaps it is impossible-—to draw a line of distinction between elementary and secondary education. Our ideas of elementary education are always ripening as the country advances, and as our ideas rise we begin to think that that which was at one time considered adequate for every child is no longer adequate, and subjects which previously we thought to belong to secondary education now enter into our conception of elementary education. Therefore, I would not like the House to assume that these higher grade schools are to be considered as secondary schools in the proper sense of the term. That being so, it is surely clear that you cannot deal adequately with higher grade schools until you have dealt with secondary education. The future constitution and working of higher grade schools must depend upon the provision you make for secondary education, and until you have a Secondary Education Bill you cannot consider any plan made for these schools as being more than provisional and temporary. All our criticisms, therefore, to-night upon this minute and upon the higher grade schools must be considered as purely temporary, and I do not think the right hon. Gentleman will differ from that view. When we get the Secondary Education Bill we shall have to consider the relation the two classes of schools bear the one to the other, and, if I may venture to refer to the opinion of the Secondary Education Commission, that opinion was that you should not repress or extinguish higher grade elementary schools, but that you should endeavour to correlate and develop them in conjunction with third grade secondary schools. I am glad to sec that my light hon. friend assents to that proposition. That being so, we must wait until we have the Secondary Education Bill before the 698 matter can be concluded. The right hon. Gentleman to-night pointedly abstained from answering the appeal made to him as to whether the Government Intend to deal with the question of secondary education. Upon that subject I will make only one remark. I think it very desirable that we should know as soon as possible what are the views of the Government upon the subject. At the same time, considering the period of the session at which we have arrived, the extreme importance of the question, the amount of interest the measure will evoke among local authorities, school boards, county councils, and borough councils, and the length of time these local authorities will require to consider and discuss the question, I can hardly suppose that the Government entertain the hope of passing any Bill of this kind this session. Of course I assume, in any case, that if they thought of legislating upon that subject they would introduce a Bill which would not touch any religious controversy. It would be quite impossible at this period of the session to pass a Bill which raised that question; but in regard to the question of local authorities it would be extremely difficult, seeing that we have now arrived at the 3rd of May, for a subject of this kind to be dealt with within the next three months. Therefore I return to the view which I seek to suggest to the House, that we cannot do more at present than pass provisional criticisms upon the higher grade minute, and that we must wait until we get the Secondary Education Bill before we finally adjust the position of the two classes of schools. I will really make only one criticism upon the minute. The right hon. Gentleman has not to any great extent answered the criticisms which have been made upon the minute, and he particularly abstained from dealing with much the most important of those criticisms—namely, that the minute appears to contemplate only higher grade schools which have an independent staff, and does not contemplate what may be called higher grade classes such as have been founded in Manchester, Leeds, and other places. I feel sure that if we consider the country as a whole we shall find that more sound good is done by the higher grade classes in the elementary schools than is done even by these great higher grade schools in big towns, and yet under the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman it will apparently be impossible 699 to have such classes in the future. What is the value of such classes? In the first place, they carry on the children. You have the children undergoing elementary teaching, and you move them forward from the lower classes to the higher classes according to their diligence, zeal, and capacity, and you get the parents to consent to their being moved forward where you might not find it easy to obtain that consent if the children had to be sent to a different school at a different place under different teaching, This is the characteristic and merit of these upper branches of elementary schools. In the next place, there are a great many places to which you cannot apply the system of separate higher grade schools. Take, for instance, the case of a town in which there are a considerable number of schools of various kinds; there are elementary schools, and very good ones, under the control of religious denominations, and there are certain schools, and very good ones, under the school board. No one of those bodies is strong enough to establish a higher grade school, and if one body was sufficiently strong the children from the other elementary schools would not come into the higher grade school, because they are all attached to their own schools—either they are Board school children, or they are Wesleyan children, or they are Church of England children. Therefore, a higher grade Board school in a town like that would not accomplish the object you desire, while that object could be accomplished by allowing a group of higher classes to be attached to those schools. The same argument applies to the rural districts. It is perfectly clear that in the rural districts you cannot have higher grade Voluntary schools, but you may have higher grade classes. If anyone wants to know what good can be done by higher classes in elementary schools, let him study and note the enormous results that have been achieved in the north-east of Scotland by the schools which enjoy the Ferguson Bequest. In those schools a large amount of higher education has been given by the teaching in the higher departments of the elementary schools which could not possibly have been given in any other way. The hour is so late that I must not venture to criticise any further, nor indeed have I much more to say with regard to the scheme the Government have laid before 700 us. I feel that we have had somewhat scant encouragement from the Government with regard to the objections we take to the provisions of the Code. On the other hand, I welcome the assurance of the right hon. Gentleman—which is only what we were entitled to expect—that he would profit by experience and introduce any improvements which experience might suggest. We do not ask him to introduce any others. I will sit down after making one remark which has been forcibly brought to my mind by nearly everything which has passed in this debate. Our elementary education is at present in a fluid condition. Everybody has admitted that we cannot stop where we are; everybody has admitted that our system contains errors and excesses, that it wastes money in some directions and does not spend enough in others; that it has what was aptly termed as unnecessary plurality, that it multiplies schools where fewer schools would suffice to do the work, and that it does not bring schools into proper relation to one another. All these things are admitted, and it has been said both by my hon. friend and by the hon. Member for Rossendale—whom we are so glad to see among us again—and by several hon. Members on the other side of the House, that they would gladly welcome a system under which Voluntary and Board schools could be consolidated with some new provision for religious instruction. Both that and what has been said in regard to the higher grade elementary schools make me feel that we are on the eve of still larger changes in our system of elementary education. I earnestly hope that the new Board of Education and its Consultative Committee will take the advice tendered to them with so much authority, and I think with so much wisdom, by the right hon. Gentle-man the Member for the Dartford Division of Kent, that they ought to go on boldly, that they ought to form their policy on their views of what is in the interests of education, and that that policy should be irrespective of party. I think the result of this debate, which has been singularly free from any party or religious feeling, ought to encourage the Govern-to feel that if they approach these educational problems in a large educational spirit they will have the cordial and united support of the House of Commons.
§ Question put.701
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 188: Noes, 105. (Division List No. 108.)703
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)|
|Arnold, Alfred||Gorst, Rt. hon. Sir John E.||Pender, Sir James|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Goschen, Rt. Hn G J (St George's||Percy, Earl|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Pilkington, R.(Lanes, Newton)|
|Baillie, James E.B.(Inverness)||Graham, Henry Robert||Plunkett, Rt. Hn Horace Curzon|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn A. J. (Manch'r)||Green, Walford D (Wednesbury||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn Gerald W (Leeds||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Purvis, Robert|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Gull, Sir Cameron|
|Barry, Rt. Hn A H Smith-(Hunts||Rankin, Sir James|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M.H. (Brist'l)||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Richards, Henry Charles|
|Bethell, Commander||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. Wm.||Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l).|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.|
|Bolitho, Thomas Bedford||Hardy, Laurence||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson,|
|Bond, Edward||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Robinson, Brooke|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Heath, James||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel W..|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Helder, Augustus||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Brown, Alexander H.||Henderson, Alexander||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Hermon-Hodge, Robert T.||Rutherford, John|
|Hickman, Sir Alfred|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes.)||Hoare, E. Brodie (Hampstead)||Samuel, Harry S. (Lime house)|
|Cavendish, V.C.W (Derbyshire||Hobhouse, Henry||Sandon, Viscount|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Savory, Sir Joseph|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Houston, R. P.||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Chamberlain, J Austen Worc'r||Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies||Sidebottom, William (Derbys.)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Charrington, Spencer||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Stanley, Edward Jas, (Somerset|
|Colston, Chas. Edw H. Athole||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Stephens, Henry Charles|
|Cook, F. Lucas (Lambeth)||Knowles, Lees||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Cox, Irwin E. Bainbridge||Lafone, Alfred||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Lawrence, Sir E Durning-(Corn.||Strauss, Arthur|
|Curzon, Viscount||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Strutt, Hon. (Charles Hedley|
|Lecky, Rt Hon William Edw. H.||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Swan.|
|Daly, James||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Talbot, Rt.Hon. J. G. (Ox. Unv.)|
|Denny, Colonel||Long, Col. Chas, W.(Evesham)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverpool)||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Doogan, P. C.||Lowe, Francis William||Vincenl, Col.Sir C E H (She field|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Doughty, George||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Welby, Sir Charles G.E. (Notts.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Whiteley, H.(Ashton-under-L.|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon Sir William Hart||Macaleese, Daniel||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset)|
|Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Williams, Jos'ph Powell-(Birm.)|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Maclure, Sir John William||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|M'Killop, James||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Faber, George Denison||Manners, Lord Edw. Wm, J.||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.|
|Fellowes, Hon Ailwyn Edw||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Finch, George H.||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Milward, Colonel Victor||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Fisher, William Haynes||Moore, William (Antrim N.)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Forster, Henry William||Morgan, Hn F. (Monm'thsh.)||Wyndham, George|
|Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Foster, Sir Michael (Lon. Univ.||Mount, William George||Young, Com. (Berks, East)|
|Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||younger, William|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Muntz, Philip A|
|Gedge, Sydney||Murray, Rt. Hn A. Graham (Bute)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Godson, Sir Augustus F.||Newdigate, Francis Alexander|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Griffith, Ellis J.||Priestley, Brings|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Gurdon, Sir William B.||Randell, David|
|Asher, Alexander||Haldane, Richard Burdon||Richardson, J. (Durham, S.E.)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Harwood, George||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Hazell, Walter||Runciman, Walter|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Billson, Alfred||Holland, William Henry||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Birrell, Augustine||Horniman, Frederick John||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Jacoby, James Alfred||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Brigg, John||Joicey, Sir James||Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh.)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Kay-Shuttle worth, Rt Hn Sir U||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Kearley, Hudson E.||Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Kitson, Sir James||Steadman, William Charles|
|Burns, John||Lambert, George||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Burt, Thomas||Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington)||Stuart, James (Shoreditch)|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Lloyd-George, David||Tennant, Harold John|
|Caldwell, James||Lough, Thomas||Thomas, Alfred (Glam., E.)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Lyell, Sir Leonard||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Causton, Richard Knight||M'Arthur, William(Cornwall)||Ure, Alexander|
|Cawley, Frederick||M'Crae, George||Wallace, Robert|
|Channing, Francis Allston||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Walton, John Lawson(Leeds, S.)|
|Clark, Dr. G. B.||Maddison, Fred.||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardig'n)||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Weir, James Galloway|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Whiteley, George (Stockport)|
|Duckworth, James||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Dunn, Sir William||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Emmott, Alfred||Moss, Samuel||Woodhouse, Sir J. T (Hudders'd)|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Moulton, John Fletcher||Woods, Samuel|
|Evans, Sir Francis H (South'ton)||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Evershed, Sydney||Palmer, George Wm.(Reading)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Paulton, James Mellor||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Alfred Hutton and Mr. Mather.|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Pease, J. A. (Northumberl'nd)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn Herbert John||Perks, Robert William|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||Price, Robert John|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ Debate arising.
§ It being after Twelve of the clock, the, Debate stood adjourned.