§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ [Mr. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith) in the Chair.]131
§ Clause 6:—
§ (2.45.) MR. HERBERT LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)
Before the Amendment standing in my name is passed over, I wish to ask if one I have further down on the Paper—In Clause 6, page 2, line 33, leave out from 'have' to 'the' in line 35,is in order. It is of a more limited character than my first one, which proposes to insert the words —Except in the case of schools provided by a School Board.
The second Amendment would not make some unless oilier words were inserted. Does the hon. Member propose to do that?
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
The words I want to leave out are—The powers and duties of School Boards and School Attendance Committees under the Elementary Education Acts, 1870 1900,and that raises a question of great importance, although of a much more limited character than the first Amendment, which I understand you have ruled out of order.
§ *MR. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)
said that the object of the Amendment he now moved was to attempt to embody in the Bill the principle of the devolution of the powers of the Education Department to the local authority, which was suggested by the Government in the Bill of 1896. After the discussion of last week it was obvious that the whole, position assumed a different aspect. The principle of an ad hoc, authority had now been set aside, and it was desirable, in the interests of educational efficiency, to extend as far as possible the powers of the new authority, in order to make it effective for the coordination of education and to render all branches of education absolutely and permanently efficient. He did not wish 132 to raise on that Amendment the question of the control or management of denominational schools, he wished simply to touch the question of the responsibility of the local authority for the efficient working of denominational schools in the new position in which they were placed. In this Bill an enormous boon and advantage was being conferred on the voluntary or denominational schools by placing them upon the rates, and they certainly ought to demand some quid pro quo for the local authority in respect of it. It used to be urged again and again, although he could scarcely understand the sincerity of those who urged it, that the control of the Education Department was quite sufficient popular or public control of the denominational school system of this country to justify placing them on the grants or on the rates. But it seemed to him that the principle which the Government set before the House in 1896 was a sound one to follow, in order to meet the present situation, and to secure in the public interest a quid pro quo for the enormous boon granted to denominational schools under the Bill. If there was a strong case for devolution in 1896, there was a far stronger case now that the rates were in question. He had expressly drawn his Amendment on moderate lines, and had only proposed that the Board of Education should have a gradual power of devolution; in tact, it was a more limited proposal than that of the Government in 1896. In addition to the question of the efficiency of the voluntary schools, he would draw attention to the absolute necessity of the local authority having more power with a view to the co-ordination of all-branches of education in the area. They ought not only to co-ordinate education, but they ought to be in a position to provide against wasteful expenditure on small and inferior schools. If they were to have a real educational authority, the county authority ought to be in a position to form a general scheme of education for the whole of its area, to deal with inferior, inadequate, and improper schools, to impress on managers the necessity of giving up some schools and consolidating others, and otherwise to provide for the efficiency of education in the district. Obviously this co-ordination was most 133 needed in the rural districts, and they would be able to do nothing for education in such districts unless there was a power of reorganisation and consolidation such as he suggested. For these objects there must be some devolution of the powers of the Board of Education, especially in dealing with this class of district. The Vice-President of the Council in 1896, in defending the proposal then made, said that the work of the Department had become unbearable—and that the paramount Education Authority constituted under that Bill in every county and county borough was to be "a sort of separate Education Department for each county." And further—It is proposed to decentralize entirely the administration of school grants by the Education Department to throw upon these bodies the duties of administering the Parliamentary grant. The general inspection of schools will of course, be undertaken a so by the count authority, and the Committee of Council will only have inspectors who will visit the schools from time to time see than the county education authority is properly fulfilling its duties and the education is up to the proper standard.He even went so far as to encourage each county to draw up its own type of Education Code. That might be going too far, and acting too precipitately, but he would only say, looking to Clause 8. that he saw there no powers which were sufficiently wide, detailed, and definite, to secure the object he had in view, and which the Vice President of the Council had in view in his more sweeping proposal in 1896. Therefore he wished to press his Amendment on the Committee. He was bound to say that the Bill of 1896 was a more liberal and more progressive measure in many respects than the present. There was great danger in the present Bill that the local educational authority would not have the power or the opportunity of really co-ordinating or developing education to the highest point or of curing the evils of unsatisfactory tendencies in itself. He asked the Government to deal with this proposal in a broad spirit. He thought his suggestion merited consideration, because; it did not insist on an immediate and sweeping devolution of the powers of the Board of Education. In some counties or county boroughs there would be an immediate devolution of some important powers, and in other counties the devolution should be more gradual and tentative.
In page 2, line 32, after 'shall,' insert 'undertake, on such terms as may be from time to time agreed on between the authority and the Board of Education, the administration on behalf of the Board of all or any of the duties of the Board in respect of money provided by Parliament and in respect of certifying the efficiency of schools.' "—(Mr. Channing.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE COMMITTEE OF COUNCIL ON EDUCATION (Sir JOHN GORST, Cambridge University),
said that as he understood, the hon. Member proposed to grant to the local authorities on elementary education proposed to be set up by this Bill, certain provisions which it was intended to bestow on the local educational authorities by the Bill of 1896. He would be glad to consider a proposal of that sort with the greatest possible goodwill, but if his memory did not betray him, the proposal made in the Bill of 1896 was very vehemently opposed by his predecessor in office, and by the generality of the hon. Members opposite, including the hon. Member himself. The fact really was that the condition of the present Bill was wholly different from that of 1896, and that very admirable provision of the 1896 Bill referred to by the hon. Member did not apply at all either to the machinery of the present Bill or to the present condition of the relations between the Board of Education and the elementary schools. In the first place, in 1896 the local authorities were not made the managers of the new schools, but rather the controlling body. There were not only School Board schools, but private schools under voluntary management to the number of 20,000, and if the Bill had become law it would not have lessened that number. Therefore, the Board of Education would have had to deal under the Bill of 1896 with an immense number of independent bodies of school managers. Under the present Bill the Board of Education would have only to deal with the number of local authorities for elementary education which at the maximum amounted to little more than 200. [Dr. MACNAMARA: 338.]. Well, 338; that was a very much less number than 20,000. Not only that, the relation between the Board of Education and the managers of schools 135 was very much simpler than in those days. In those days schools were inspected by the Department, and grants were made for all sorts of different subjects, and there was a great deal of detailed work in fixing the amount of the grants. Now a block grant was given at so much per scholar in every school in average attendance, and all that the Board of Education had got to do was to see that the attendance was maintained and that the school was in an efficient and satisfactory state. He did not see how those simple but very important duties which the Board of Education had to perform could be conveniently delegated. He dared say that it might be possible, in conjunction with the local authorities, to make some new regulation as to the average attendance. While they had the responsible local authorities to deal with, they would be able to simplify the duty of the Board of Education in regard to attendance, but that could be done without any authority of the kind proposed in the hon. Member's Amendment by Act of Parliament. It only required an alteration of the Rule in the Code, and that could be done by degrees more satisfactorily than by Act of Parliament; although he dared say that some of these functions could be, with great advantage, delegated by the Board of Education to the local authorities. But there was a great function which the Board of Education ought not to delegate to anybody. It was absolutely necessary that when they spent money in elementary education the schools should be efficient, and that efficiency was only to be obtained by a proper and intelligent system of continuous inspection by properly organised inspectors from the Central Board. It was for the interest of the local authorities themselves that this impartial inspection should go on, because all the results of that inspection would be communicated to them and they could have no better information as to the efficiency of the teaching in their schools, than the reports of the inspectors of the Central Board, properly organised, as he hoped they would be.
§ *MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)
said while he sympathised with the motive of the hon. Member in moving his Amendment, he did not think it was necessary to press it. Under Clause 8, the local authorities would have power over the whole of the schools in their area not now possessed, in two ways. First of all, they could inspect all the aided schools. In the second place, there would be a public audit of the accounts of all the schools. The efficiency of a school depended on two factors—the efficiency of the teaching and the adequate expenditure of money; and when the local authority was able to assure itself that all the public money given to denominational schools was spent for the purpose for which that money was given, they should see a considerable improvement in the efficiency of these schools. Again, it was almost as important that the inspection from the Central Board should go on concurrently with the local inspection. He submitted to his hon. friend that if he desired to realise the standard of efficiency which ought to be, he ran a risk that that would not be obtained if all the powers were delegated to the local authority. Experience in the past has proved that the local authorities had not been sufficiently keen in securing a full average attendance, and not particularly eager to fix a high standard of efficiency, as the parents who had children at school were anxious to get them to leave school and go to work. Pressure, therefore, might be brought to bear on the local authorities to spend less money on the schools by reducing educational efficiency in the locality. At present, if a School Board attempted to lower the efficiency of the schools in order to lower the rates, that Board would be fined. It should depend upon the standard set up from Whitehall, and maintained at as high and fair a level as the joint wisdom of the inspectors can devise. The duty of testing and deciding as to efficiency must be placed outside the locality. When his hon. friend proposed that the local authority should take over those powers which were now vested in the central authority, and which ought not to be relaxed, he thought he was going too far.
§ (3.20.) MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)
thought his hon. friend the Member for West Nottingham had rather misread the Amendment, which did not contemplate that the central authority should let go all control. The principle was the same as that which was introduced in the Bill of 1896, and it was the best thing in that measure. If that principle had been given to Wales they would have made very good use of it. Their secondary and higher education was worked on the principle of this Amendment. The central authority still had every control, and if they found that secondary education was poor they could withhold the grant, and bring the most effective pressure to bear to keep the schools up to the mark. That was what his hon. friend contemplated in his Amendment, which devolved upon the local authority greater powers for organising education, and not to reduce the level and status of education. What the Amendment aimed at was to alter the direction of educational activity and energy, in any one particular county. In every country in the world where education had been a success it was organised upon the principles of local autonomy. In Germany or Switzerland the Government did not lay down the general standard. Each canton organised its own education, and the central Government only had financial control. The curriculum of the school was not prepared by the central authority, and the same applied to the United States, where the education was almost entirely in the hands of the State authorities. His hon. friend simply proposed by his Amendment a compromise between the United States system and the present system in this country. The complaint was not that they did not spend sufficient money, but that they did not get the kind of education that was applicable to the needs of particular districts. They got an education given in a rural district which trained the children for town life, and children were flocking from the villages to the towns. They should not merely train children for a county life, but also develope in them an aptitude and taste for a country life. How could the Board of Education prepare a curriculum for an agricultural county like 138 Somerset or Gloucestershire. Why not leave it to those counties to lay down the general lines upon which education should proceed there? [Cries of Oh, Oh!"] Apparently his hon. friends had no confidence in Gloucestershire. They ought to say to those counties— "These are the grants we make you, and you can spend them in any way that trains them to become good citizens of Somerset or Gloucestershire." That was what they wanted, and not attempts to make a Cockney out of a Somerset man. It had been said that Somerset would probably use the money for putting down swine fever, or something of that kind, but if they provided that the money must be spent upon education then each county would form its own plans and draw up its own curriculum. In that way they would get what the Prime Minister indicated in his speech, namely, the training of every intellect in order to bring out its most efficient qualities. The primary system was the only failure in Wales, and had been denounced by the hon. Member for North Camberwell. But while the higher and secondary education, as organised by themselves, produced the best results, the primary system, as turned out by the right hon. Gentlemen at Whitehall, gave the same training to a Welsh child as to a child living in Whitechapel.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
If that is so it is the fault of the local education authority, because the curriculum is drawn up by the managers of the schools.
MR. BRYNMOR JONES (Swansea, District)
said that although he agreed with a good deal of what was said by the mover of the Amendment, he could not vote for his proposal as it stood. His hon. friend the Member for Carnarvon appeared to have misconstrued the effect of this Amendment, for if it were carried it would be possible for the Board of Education, by favouring a particular authority, to part with all control of the money provided by Parliament. He could not understand how anybody could defend that devolution of that kind to any local education authority should take place. How could they hand over the money voted by Parliament to one local authority without retaining any control 139 between it and the Board of Education? This proposal meant to transfer all the authority of the Board of Education to the local authority. He could quite understand that it might be well to group divers education authorities together, and devolve on such a general body, representing a large number of education authorities, some powers of the Education Board. He had no wish to prolong the discussion, his only reason for rising being that he did not care to oppose the Amendment of one so sincere in his devotion to the cause of education as his hon. friend, without stating the reason for his so doing.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ *DR. MACNAMARA (Camberwell, N.)
said he had considerable misgivings as to what would take place if they handed over the control of elementary education to the rural education authorities, because the past history of the agricultural communities of this country for the last thirty years did not disclose any particular zeal or enthusiasm on their part for primary education. They did well in technical education when they did not raise money from their own rates, but obtained it out of the Exchequer. The more he studied the question, the greater his misgivings became. A good deal had been said by the Prime Minister as to the irritation of Whitehall interference; but if that were abolished it would be disastrous to the children who were unhappy enough to be born in the villages of this country. He could not say what would be the effect in Wales, where the people appeared to be strongly enthusiastic in this matter, and who no doubt would carry out this power with great generosity and ardour. But that would not be the case with England. What sort of primary education would the children have meted out to them? The history of the last seventy years had been one long struggle by the local authorities in agricultural districts against the standard which Whitehall had endeavoured to hold them to. It was a good thing for the unfortunate children born in the country that there were some gentlemen at Whitehall, city bred, to look after their interests. The agricultural administrators did not see the 140 necessity for education. Right hon. Members like the Member for Thanet and the Member for Sleaford would come down and tell the House that education had done a great deal of harm that it had depleted the country of labour. And if broad-minded men of affairs like these made such remarks as those, what would not happen in the villages? Every child ought to have a thoroughly liberal education. He repudiated the doctrine of a country educacation for a country child as one which was thoroughly unjust to the child; as one which ruled him down to a certain; level. We had no right to rule him, down. Let us give them a good and solid foundation, and then they could become agricultural labourers afterwards. He drew attention to the fact that in the agricultural counties the rural school attendance committees for many years past had the right to fix the standard for total exemption from school in the rural districts, with the result that only one fixed the Sixth Standard, 238 fixed the Fifth, and 336, or rather more than half the rural school attendance committees in the country did not go beyond the Fourth Standard. Recent modifications of the law, largely due, he was glad to say, to the Vice-president of the Council, would, however, mend that matter. With regard to the half-time exemptions, 323 school attendance committees only fixed the Third as the Standard for half-time exemptions, whilst forty-five committees had not gone higher than Standard 2. In addition to fixing low Standards there was not a local authority which did not flagrantly disregard its own byelaws. We were now going to give autonomy. He would accept it that it was proposed, to continue the Whitehall Code and inspection and the general control of the Education Department over the Government grant. But he asked not only that there should be a continuance of Whitehall control and inspection, but that that control should be strengthened and developed, so that with the additional million sterling which it was proposed to grant from State funds to primary education, further advances might be made in the character of the instruction in the interests of these village children. Many of the rural 141 schools were in respect of staffing, equipment, and apparatus in a shameful condition, and it was absolutely essential that the local education authorities should not be freed from the control and inspection of Whitehall in regard to these important matters.
In page 2, line 32, at beginning, to insert the words 'In accordance with the regulations for the time being of the Board of Trade.' "—Dr. Macnamara.
§ Question proposed, "That those words 'be there inserted."
§ (3.45.) SIR JOHN GORST
thought the words of the Amendment were unnecessary. The object of the Bill was to shift the responsibility for education in the rural parts of the country to the County Councils. Those Councils were composed of gentlemen who, in a variety of ways, had shown their strong interest in education by the provision they had already made in their respective counties. There was no primâ facie reason to suppose that the Councils would not make proper provision for elementary education, or that they would require the regulations of the Board of Education to show them what to do. He reminded the Committee that the Board of Education already possessed absolute powers in regard to elementary education in every district in the country. Decentralisation did not mean that the Exchequer were to give these local authorities money to spend as they liked. The Board of Education was to retain the whole control of the Exchequer money, and as that defrayed three-fourths of the cost of maintaining the schools the Board would be able to exercise a most powerful influence in the direction of efficiency. In the case of an inefficient school, the Board would be able to take away the grant, and thus absolutely fine the school. The Board nominally had that power at present, but it was practically impossible to use it because the inefficiency of a school was usually due to lack of funds, and to stop the grant would probably close the school altogether, or, at any rate, to render it absolutely impossible for the school to become efficient. But when the managers of the school were the 142 representatives of the ratepayers, and could take out of the rates the money necessary to make good the deficiency, the power to withhold the grant would be a very real power, and in the case of a really inefficient school would be exercised at once, because it would not entail the closing of the school, or even a reduction in its expenditure. It would simply throw the burden upon the ratepayers of the county, who might be trusted to take care that the County Council who represented them did not allow it to be possible for such a burden to be cast upon them. The Board of Education would thus have sufficient power to secure the efficiency of the schools, and the Amendment was really unnecessary.
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
pointed out that on several occasions they had been told by the First Lord that many of the powers of the Board of Education were to be handed over to the local authorities. The Vice-President, however, had now apparently gone back on that declaration, and conveyed the idea that the Board would in the future have all the powers it had had in the past. If that was the case there would be the same inspection, the same class of control, and the same amount of correspondence between the local managers and Whitehall as in the past.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
explained that the Board of Education would not correspond with the managers of the school, but with the local authority; the managers would be the mere creatures and servants of the local authorities.
§ MR. BRYCE
said the Committee had been led to understand that the managers, at any rate of the voluntary schools, were to have a very important 143 and independent position, but the Bill was so kaleidoscopic in its character that its aspect changed with every statement of the right hon. Gentleman, The questions to which answers were desired were: Would the control hitherto exercised by the Board of Education be diminished? Would the work hitherto done by the Board in the way of keeping the managers up to the mark be henceforth done by the local authorities? He understood the right hon. Gentleman to answer those questions in the negative. That was entirely different from the view given by the First Lord. The Bill had been welcomed by many Members because they thought it would lead to decentralisation, and that the Board of Education would transfer some of its powers to the local authorities. They now understood that that would not be the case. The clause was one of the most important in the Bill; it came nearest to raising the question of the relations between the local authorities and the Board of Education, but it was impossible properly to deal with either the clause or the Amendment without some further explanation. To take the one question of inspection: were the schools to be inspected by the Board of Education inspector or by the inspector of the local authority, or by both? There was the greatest difficulty in understanding what were to be the relations between the two bodies, and the present was as good an opportunity as any for the right hon. Gentleman to explain more fully the intentions of the Government.
§ MR. SAMUEL EVANS (Glamorganshire, Mid)
said the clause at first sight appeared to deal only with matters of routine, but it really raised the important question of the general relations which were to exist between the Board of Education and the local authorities, and upon that point the Committee were entitled to some further explanation. From an educational point of view, he agreed with the hon. Member for North Camber-well that in many places it would be well to keep the control practically in the hands of the Board of Education. Much of the difficulty in dealing with the various Amendments arose from the 144 fact that some Members were inclined, quite naturally, to regard one part of the country instead of looking at the country as a whole. An indication of what would happen in English counties unless the control were in the hands of the Board of Education might be gathered from the warm welcome given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Sleaford Division to the statement that the managers would be the mere creatures and servants of the local authority.
§ MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)
said the hon. Member was quite mistaken; he made no exhibition of feeling, either the one way or the other.
§ MR. SAMUEL EVANS
thought the right hon. Gentleman indicated that he entirely agreed that that ought to be the position of the managers of the schools.
§ MR. SAMUEL EVANS
hoped, then, that in the course of the debate the right hon. Gentleman would state what his view on the point was. The practical questions involved were very important. Were the inspectors of the Board of Education to remain in their present position?
§ MR. SAMUEL EVANS
said in that case there would be some control by the Board of Education. In the next place, was the Board of Education to frame the code?
§ MR. SAMUEL EVANS
said that these matters were not clear from the words of the clause, and there were other points upon which enlightenment was sought. His view was that the Board of Education must be supreme in matters of education, and he should, therefore, support the Amendment.
§ (4.0.) SIR W. HART DYKE (Kent, Dartford)
said they were all looking forward to having better schools, but how were they going to be procured? Where did the punitive power or compulsion come in? 145 With regard to the school managers, he presumed after the Act had passed they would be in very much the same position as they were at present. Under the Act of 1870, School Boards might delegate their powers of management of a school to a body of managers, and they might remove all or any of those managers if they liked.
§ MR. SAMUEL EVANS
That refers to managers of board schools, but we are now talking of the managers of voluntary schools.
§ SIR W. HART DYKE
replied that no doubt the system for all schools would be alike. [Cries of "No, no."] Could any hon. Member opposite quote any clause to show that there was to be a distinction drawn between the two? Hon. Members opposite had conjured up all kinds of possibilities, but they were in regard to some other Bill, and certainly did not apply to this Measure. Under this Bill he presumed that the same system would prevail for both board schools and voluntary schools, and in this matter he hoped the Committee would be guided by common sense. The responsibility could not rest alone with the local authority, and it must come home to Whitehall to control the expenditure of these vast sums of money. At Whitehall must rest the punitive power.
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)
contended that the question of the managers did not arise upon this clause. The intention of the Amendment was that the position should be made perfectly clear, and he could not really understand why the right hon. Gentleman should not agree to insert those words. On the Opposition side they thought the insertion of the words was desirable, and on the other side of the House they had been told by the Vice-President of the Council, that they could not possibly do any harm.
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE
said that if the words were inserted, the power of the Education Department would 146 be kept up, and if an uncertainty did arise it would be because of the wide and far-reaching generalities which were used about decentralisation by the First Lord of the Treasury. When this Bill was first introduced, many hon. Members said it was a decentralisation Measure. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire said that the County Councils were tied hand and foot by the Education Office, and then he was told by the Prime Minister that he was entirely wrong, and they had been led to believe that this principle was contained in the Bill.
§ MR. HENRY HOBHOUSE (Somersetshire, E.)
hoped the Committee would not insert the words which had been proposed, for it had not been disputed that the words wore unnecessary. This clause put the local authorities in the position of the existing School Boards. The result of inserting such words was very often mischievous, because some new meaning had to be found for them, and they might place the local authorities under still further restrictions. A good deal had been said about that decentralisation contained in this Bill, but he understood that the inspectors of the Board of Education would still perform their present duties. He hoped the reports of the inspectors would be submitted to the local authority, so that they might have an opportunity of judging of the efficiency of the school. The grants would be paid through the local education authority, and if the Board of Education inspector reported that a certain school was inefficient after he had represented that fact in his report to the local education authority, the Board of Education might withhold the grant and bring pressure to bear to remedy the inefficiency.
§ (4.15.) MR. ALFRED HUTTON (Yorkshire, W.R., Morley)
said he understood that the words which had been proposed were in the Act of 1870, and, therefore, it would be an unwise thing to deliberately leave them out in the present Act. If they were not inserted, it would give the new local authorities a kind of freedom which was not desirable. He desired the local education authorities to have plenty of elasticity, but not freedom, with regard to the standard. If there was any doubt about this point, it would be unwise to 147 reject this Amendment. It was more important now than it was in 1870, and for this reason: that all the grants were now capitation grants. The new grant should be a capitation grant. They were always told that the Department took some means of securing that the money did not go to the relief of ordinary subscriptions, but for the improvement of the staff or apparatus. If they were able to secure that in the past, he thought the right hon. Gentleman ought to secure that under this Act, when they were going to have twice the sum of money given as a capitation grant, the money should go to increasing the standard of education to be given in the schools. He thought that was a reasonable request. What they wanted was to have it made perfectly plain in the Act that the Department had the power of the screw to compel the authority to keep up the efficiency and the standard of education.
MR. BRYNMOR JONES
said that they could not really ascertain what the effect of the addition of the words proposed to be inserted would be, or whether they were necessary or unnecessary, until they had a full understanding of several vague phrases which occurred in Clause 6. The effect of inserting these words after "shall" would be to finally determine the form of the Clause. The Clause said—The local education authority shall throughout their area have the powers and duties of a School Board and School Attendance Committee under the Elementary Education Acts, 1870 to 1900, and the control of all secular instruction in public elementary schools, whether provided by them or not.And then the Clause went on, somewhat irrelevantly from a drafting point of view—And School Boards and School Attendance Committees shall be abolished in that area.What he could not understand clearly was what was the position under the first proposition of the Clause. Did it mean that the Board of Education would he in exactly the same relation to the local authority as the Board of Education was now to the School Board?
MR. BRYNMOR JONES
Very well. If that was so, the insertion of the 148 words of the Amendment might be very important. They might be necessary from certain points of view. They might materially after the relations between the Board of Education and the local education authority by extending or restricting the powers of the Board of Education—he did not know which. If the words "subject to the regulations of the Board of Education for the time being" were inserted, obviously the powers of the local education authority would be limited.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said that when he answered the speech of the hon. Member for North Camberwell he had not seen its terms, the Amendment not being on the Paper. He understood that the object of the Amendment was to give more power to the Board of Education. It was in reference to that that he said it was unnecessary, and he assured the Committee that the Education Department had sufficient power to secure the efficiency of the schools. Since then he had had an opportunity of considering the actual words proposed by the hon. Member, and he thought that all this time the Committee had been discussing what was not affected by the Clause. The object of the Clause was to give the new authority "the powers and duties of a School Board and School Attendance Committee under the Elementary Education Acts, 1870 to 1900." The hon. Member for North Camberwell proposed that that should be done "subject to the regulations of the Board of Education for the time being." What would be the effect of that? The effect would be to enable the Board of Education to curtail their powers as a School Board, and to curtail their powers as a School Attendance Committee. The words of the Amendment would enable the Board of Education to modify or increase the powers of the local authority. That might be a useful provision, perhaps, for the Board of Education, but it might be utterly subversive of the real intention of the Act of Parliament. It would give the Board of Education a roving commission to modify the provisions of the Act by regulations made at their will. That was not what the hon. Member intended. He was sure the Committee would never give such powers to a 149 Government Department. If it were desired to give more power to the Board of Education, this Clause of the Bill was not the place in which to give it. The powers of school managers would be discussed when they came to the next Clause.
MR. T. P. O' CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
thought the hon. Member for North Camberwell might be satisfied with the discussion which had taken place. When he heard the speech of the hon. Member, he was inclined to strongly support the Amendment. They were all agreed in the desire that education should be kept up at a higher level than it had been in some villages by the rural obscurantist School Boards and School Attendance Committees. The Vice-President of the Council had been one of the strongest critics of those reactionary bodies in the rural districts. He believed that the Vice-President would agree with the hon. Member for North Camberwell that the necessary pressure should be put on those districts. As he understood the question, the Board of Education had under this Bill fuller authority than under any previous legislation. With regard to the giving of grants, they would be perfectly entitled to withhold the grant if they were dissatisfied with a school. He understood that the additional million would also be subject in its distribution to the approval of the school by the Board of Education. If that were so, he wanted to know what good the Amendment would do. The harm it would do was that it would give the Board of Education power to interfere in the economy of a school in other subjects than the mere efficiency of the school. Roman Catholic schools would now have public support in the shape of rates instead of private subscriptions; and if the manager of a school came to him in future and asked him to interfere with the Vice-President for insisting on greater efficiency and healthiness, he could refuse to go to the Vice-President, because it would no longer be possible for managers to plead poverty, as they had done on previous occasions. He believed the Amendment would be mischievous, because subjects which should be dealt with by the local autonomous authority would be under 150 the regulation of the central authority. That was a depletion of local autonomy which he would not be ready to accept. He was in entire sympathy with the spirit of the Amendment, but in the circumstances he would ask his hon. friend not to press it.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
said he understood from the Vice-President of the Council that the powers of Whitehall would be unimpaired, and that it would not be competent for the local authority to reduce the standard of education. On that understanding, he would ask leave to withdraw his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ (4.35.) MR. HERBERT LEWIS
said it might be thought that the Amendment he now moved was an Amendment more verbal than substantial. The Clause as it stood read—The local education authority shall, throughout their area, have the powers and duties of a School Board and School Attendance Committee under the Elementary Education Acts, 1870 to 1900.Now, as a matter of fact, some of these powers and duties had already been expressly abolished, and as there were certain powers under the Elementary Education Acts of 1870, 1873, and 1876, which were abolished by Section 19 and the Fourth Schedule of this Bill, it seemed to him it was absolutely necessary to insert the words he proposed, in order to make it quite clear that the powers and duties which were to be transferred to the local education authorities did not include those powers and duties which were expressly abolished by the Bill.
In page 2, line 32, after the word 'shall,' to insert the words 'except as hereinafter provided.' "—Mr. Herbert Lewis.
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. WALTER LONG, Bristol, S.),
said he hoped the hon. Member would not press his Amendment, because the Clause was perfectly clear, and the powers and duties to which the hon. Member referred would not pass to the new education authority.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
said that while he thought the inclusion of the words he had proposed would be an improvement, after what the right hon. Gentleman had said he would ask leave to withdraw his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
moved the omission of the words—The powers and duties of a School Board and School Attendance Committee, under the Elementary Education Acts, 1870 to 1900, and the.The object of this Amendment was to keep alive the School Boards, so far as the "powers and duties" were concerned. The Committee had already decided that there was to be one authority over the whole of education, and necessarily the School Board would be the subordinate body to the local authority. His Amendment would enable the School Boards to carry out the powers and duties assigned to them, subject to the control of the local authority.
said that that question had been decided by an Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Rossendale, and could not be raised again.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
said that there were two bodies by which the school attendance was to be supervised—the School Boards and the School Attendance Committees of the Board of Guardians. The object of the words inserted in the Clause was to make it clear that the powers and duties of the School Boards and the School Attendance Committees of the Boards of Guardians should be transferred to the new educational authority.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
asked if he was to understand that the meaning of the words in the Clause as it stood was that the local educational authority was to have control of education over all schools—whether board schools or voluntary schools?
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
said that his contention was that there was absolutely 152 no necessity whatever for the introduction of those words in the Clause, having regard to the fact that the local educational authority was to have the control of all secular instruction in the public elementary schools. Surely these words were as wide as they could possibly be made. As a matter of fact, however, he contended that all the powers and duties of the School Boards were not transferred to the local educational authority. He asked the Chairman to put his Amendment to the Committee in such a form as would not exclude other Amendments of substance lower down on the Paper.
In page 2, line 23, to leave out from the word 'have' to the word 'the' in line 35."— (Mr. Herbert Lewis.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause."
§ MR. WALTER LONG
said that it was undoubted that if those words were omitted it would open up the question as to whether the powers and duties of the School Boards and of the Attendance Committees of the Boards of Guardians were transferred. They were quite distinctive powers.
§ LORD EDMUND F1TZMAURICE
said that if he understood the position correctly, he hoped his hon. friend would not press his Amendment, because in the rural districts they must get out of the hands of the School Attendance Committee. His absolute conviction was, from what he knew of the schools of England, that if they got a County Committee representative of a large area, they would be much more likely to improve the bye-laws securing a better attendance of scholars, than if they trusted small parochial School Boards or School Attendance Committees of the Boards of Guardians. He was not one to throw stones at the small School Boards. He had known small School Boards which had done good work, and he had known small School Boards which had done bad work, and he was bound to admit that except where they were adjacent to large towns and partook more of an urban character, small School Boards 153 and still more small School Attendance Committees had as a whole failed. He hoped the words would be allowed to stand as they were in the Bill, that his hon. friend would withdraw his Amendment with regard to that, and that the other points which it was desired to raise by the Amendment might be raised in another form.
§ MR. ALFRED HUTTON
called attention to the fact that the School Boards had power to re-transfer the voluntary schools which had been transferred to them in the past. The voluntary schools so transferred were innumerable; they were unable to come up to the standard of efficiency required by the Board of Education and so were transferred to the School Board, which had not only made them efficient but had maintained them out of the rates. If the new authority were to have this power of re-transference and these schools were re-transferred, as in all probability they would be, the voluntary school managers would be thrown upon their own resources to obtain voluntary subscriptions to maintain what was now a public school maintained out of the public rates.
§ MR. ALFRED HUTTON
did not know-how that might be. All he knew was that the School Boards had the power to re-transfer these schools, and he thought that by the new authorities they would be re-transferred wholesale. It would be in his opinion a most serious thing to re-denominationalise schools which for years had been public schools maintained out of the rates. With regard to the attendance bye-laws, it had been suggested that those were transferable to the new authorities, but he took it that one of the bright spots of this Bill was that these bye-laws were to be abolished.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
pointed out that this was really a legal question. Bye-laws were territorial, and prevailed over certain areas in the county. When the Bill passed, the bye-laws would not be abolished, but the local authority would have power to vary them.
§ MR. ALFRED HUTTON
asked whether this would be so, because the School Boards had no power to vary the bye-laws of the schools which came under their observation, and if all these bye-laws were transferable to the new authorities as successors to the School Boards, and had power to vary them, that would be sufficient. The School Boards had no power to vary them without the consent of the school managers, and as the School Boards under this Bill would disappear, he assumed these bye-laws would be abolished.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
doubted whether a local authority would be so foolish as to consent to administer a hundred different sets of bye-laws. If it was a wise authority it would make, he thought, one bye-law for the whole of the county.
§ MR. ALFRED HUTTON
said if that were so, there was nothing more to be said with regard to that matter. Another power he desired to refer to was with regard to the supply of sufficient accommodation by the Department. At present the Education Department could compel the School Board to find sufficient accommodation; would that power be transferred to the new authority?
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said the new authority was compelled to provide school accommodation for the children within its area.
§ MR. ALFRED HUTTON
in that case had nothing more to say, except that he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would insert some words in the Bill to make it quite clear.
§ MR. HENRY HOBHOUSE
said the first thing the new authority would do would be to look over these bye-laws and see that they were put into a proper form. He thought that, if this Amendment were carried, the effect would be most disastrous. This Clause at present gave the new authority all the powers of the School Board, but if these words were inserted the local authority would not be able to provide a school for a district in which a School Board did not now exist. He therefore hoped the words of the Clause would be allowed to stand.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
asked whether, as these words stood, it was perfectly clear that the new local authority would be in the same position as if we had universal School Boards at present.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said that was an important admission, because the Bill was really establishing something like universal School Boards under the local authority. There was an ambiguity in the word "their" as it stood in the Clause. "The local authority" it was proposed, "should, throughout their area, have the powers and duties of a School Board and School Attendance Committee." The words were rather misleading, and it should be made clear that the words "their area" referred to the area of the local authority and not to the areas of the School Boards and School Attendance Committees, which would exclude non-school board areas.
§ MR. BRYCE
said three points had been raised. With regard to the first, the natural reading of the passage would be that all the powers of the School Board within the area would pass to the new authority. It would also be a natural course for the county authority to provide a uniform set of bye-laws. Any doubt about these points raised by the form of drafting should be removed. The next point was with regard to the attendance bye-laws. After the passage of this Bill the educational authority would be the educational authority for one area no longer, and it would be particularly awkward to enforce one set of bye-laws in one area and one in another, and therefore all the County Councils would make them uniform, no doubt, for the various areas. The third point raised was the power of re-transfer. If the power of the re-transfer of schools arose later in the Bill, discussion could be reserved, but it was an important point, and he could not suppose that it was intended that schools taken over by a School Board should be given back by the new authority to voluntary management.
§ *SIR FRANCIS POWELL (Wigan)
hoped that among the improvements which the Bill would effect would be the unification of bye-laws, which now varied in adjoining districts, though all conditions of population and trade were similar. It was most injurious to adjoining districts that these bye-laws should vary, and he hoped that the Government would, when the new bye-laws were submitted to them for sanction insist that they should be uniform and require higher standards to the benefit of education and the advantage of the people.
§ SIR JOHN BRUNNER (Cheshire, Northwich)
expressed surprise and alarm at the possibility of the new authority exercising the power to re-transfer to denominational management schools which had been transferred to School Boards. It was quite plain that the power would exist, and it was a disastrous prospect. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would be able to tell the Committee that this part of the Bill would not be insisted on, because if it were they would have to oppose it very strongly indeed.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said the 24th Clause of the Act of 1870 empowered a School Board, on stringent conditions, to re-transfer a school to voluntary management. The conditions included the consent of the Education Department, a resolution of a two-thirds majority at a special School Board meeting, and the repayment of all expenditure upon the school from the rates. No doubt under the general words of the Clause, the same powers, with its conditions, would be vested in the new authority. He hoped, however, the Committee would find more convenient opportunity for discussing this point on Clause 12 in regard to the new regulations for voluntary schools. If, from the general powers, the Committee wished to make this an exception, the schedule would be the place to make it.
§ MR. GEORGE WHITE (Norfolk, N. W.)
said it was absolutely necessary, in dealing with a matter of this kind, to test it in detail, and he wished to know how far the powers of the School Board were to be transferred to the new authority. First of all he desired to know if the power of 157 a School Board to dismiss the managers of a school would be transferred intact to the new authority.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said that would depend on the conditions the Committee might think it right to insert in Clauses 7 and 8 in reference to the position of managers.
§ *(5.15.) SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
, reminded the Vice-President that this point was not now being raised for the first time, but that it was dealt with by several speakers in the debate on the Second Reading of the Bill. The point was of first-class importance, and the right hon. Gentleman had suggested that it could be met by including Section 24 of the Act of 1870 in the schedule of repeals, but he had not said that the Government would assent to such an Amendment. It was essential that the Committee should know the intention of the Government on the subject, and until that knowledge was imparted these general words should be kept before the Committee. Many of the powers transferred were, however, inapplicable in detail to the new state of things, and these general words ought to be carefully scrutinised from the point of view of such details. To take the one point of the two-thirds majority. What would answer to the two-thirds majority of the School Board? Would it be a two-thirds majority of the County Council, or a two-thirds majority of the Committee? That was merely an illustration, but it showed how productive of litigation these general words might be.
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON (Oxford University)
hoped the Committee would have some assurance from the Government with regard to the treatment of Clause 24 of the Act of 1870. Quite apart from the difficulty of the two-thirds majority, which had been referred to, it had to be remembered that heretofore a school, when re-transferred, was transferred to a body prepared to take over its maintenance, whereas now it would be transferred to a body which would continue to repair the buildings, but would not be I responsible for the maintenance. Under 158 these circumstances the position was so very different that he hoped the Government would promise favourably to consider the repeal of Clause 24 when the Schedule was reached.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL (Greenwich)
said that although the stringent provisions of Clause 24 of the Act of 1870 would prevent the frequent use of the power of re-transfer, it might be availed of in cases which otherwise would have to be met under Clauses 9 and 10 of the present Bill. In places where there were only board schools, but in which a considerable proportion of the population preferred a denominational school, and, by common consent, it was desirable that they should have such a school, the case might occasionally be met by a re-transfer of an old voluntary school to the denominational managers. To provide for such a case he thought the words should be retained.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
thought the-argument of his noble friend was not likely to appeal very strongly to the Committee. It was perfectly true that the policy of the Bill was that under certain circumstances new denominational schools might be built not at the expense of the denomination, but that was very different from a case in which a denomination was unwilling or unable to continue the cost of a school, and had transferred it to the local authority under conditions which made a re-transfer impossible unless there was some extraordinary change in local circumstances. It would be a rather strong order to say that there should be a re-transfer to a denomination when the burden of keeping up the school had been so largely diminished. His own inclination would be to say that this power of re-transfer—which he thought was rarely, if ever used—should not be continued, but that the denominations should be content with the very large powers given to them to erect denominational schools where there seemed to be a real necessity for them.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
in view of the concession made by the right hon. Gentleman, and the assurance that the point raised by the hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs would be considered, asked leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
MR. HERBERT ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.)
moved to omit the words ''and duties" from line thirty-three. While disposed to agree that the powers as to management hitherto exercised by the School Board should be transferred to the local Education Committee, he thought there was much to be said in favour of leaving the duties as far as possible in the hands of the local managers. There were many advantages in having a single authority dominating the primary schools in a county area, but there was also the danger of a diminution in the local interest taken in the primary education in the various towns and villages in that county. What was to be the real position of these managing Committees? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Dartford Division had expressed the opinion that they would be in pretty much the same position as at present, while the Vice President had assured the Committee that they would be the creatures and servants of the local Education Committee. On the broad ground that it was well to place some responsibility upon these bodies, he thought there was much to be said for the Amendment. One of the duties to be transferred, if the Clause passed in its present form, was that of maintaining the schools in an efficient condition. That was already provided for by Clause 8. Then there was the duty of providing school buildings and suitable school apparatus. From the standpoint of efficiency a very good purpose might be served by leaving that responsibility on the shoulders of the local Committee. All would agree that the duties with regard to inspection should be discharged by the Board of Education and the county authorities, but the duty of appointing an attendance officer—who required to be a local man in order that he should know the local circumstances of each case—might be better exercised by the local Committee. The same remark would apply to the duty of making returns. It was very desirable that people should be induced to continue to take an alert interest in the management of the schools in their respective localities, and if such duties as he had referred to were left in the 160 hands of the local managers it was far more likely that efficient men and women would be forthcoming to fill positions on those Committees. He believed the interests of education would be promoted by the adoption of his Amendment, and therefore, he begged to move.
In page 2, line 33, to leave out 'and duties.'"—(Mr. Herbert Roberts.)
That the words 'and duties' stand part of the clause.
§ (5.30.) SIR JOHN GORST
said the hon. Member had spoken about what he called the local Education Committee, but what that body was he had not attempted to explain. It was quite clear that nobody but the local authority could find the funds, and therefore upon that body should be put the duty of providing school buildings and apparatus. As to school attendance officers, it was quite true that they might consult the local body of managers of their own creation to advise them, but they must make themselves responsible for the carrying out of this important duty. In regard to the making of returns, which School Boards were bound to do, it was clear that some of those returns would be very costly, and incur a very large expenditure of money indeed. The examples which had been given by hon. Members seemed to him most clearly to be fatal objections.
§ Amendment negatived.
said he understood that in the schedule the 5th Section of the Act of 1891 was repealed, and therefore the powers and duties of a School Board as regarded the provision of free places were omitted from this Bill. He did not see in any part of the Bill any provision which placed the same responsibility or gave the same power to the local education authority which was given in Section 5 of the Act of 1891 to the School Boards. He wished to raise this matter because it seemed to him to be a matter of extreme importance that the local education authority should have the same power of providing on its 161 own responsibility the making of provision for free places. If the right hon. Gentleman could assure him that such power was already in the Bill, he would not press his Amendment. He begged to move.
In page 2, line 35, after '1900,' to insert the words 'and if at any time the Board of Education are satisfied that the authority have failed to perform any such duty, the Board may send them a requisition requiring them to fulfil the duty which they have so failed to perform.'"—(Mr. Channing.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said there was no doubt about the authorities having this power under the Bill, but he would promise that this matter should be looked into, and he would take care that the authorities should be subjected to the obligation expressed in the Amendment.
§ MR. CHANN1NG
said he was astonished that so important a point had not been fully considered before. If the right hon. Gentleman would give him a pledge that this particular section of the Act of 1891 would not be repealed, of course the question fell to the ground.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
Really the hon. Member should not be surprised because in the third schedule it is provided that—(5.) The following provision shall have effect in lieu of section 5 of the Elementary Education Act, 1891—'The duty of a local education authority under the Education Acts, 1870 to 1902, to provide a sufficient amount of public school accommodation, shall include the duty to provide a sufficient amount of public school accommodation without payment of fees in every part of their area.'
§ DR. MACNAMARA
said he wished to know whether it was the view of the Government that Clause 10 did or did not seriously modify the situation which had existed up to the present time with regard to the supply of the necessary school accommodation.
SIR JOHN GOEST
said they could discuss that point upon Clause 10 when he should be prepared to argue the point.
§ MR. CORRIE GRANT (Warwickshire, Rugby)
pointed out that Section 5 162 of the Act of 1891 provided for a limit of age, and laid down that public school accommodation should be provided without payment of fees for children over three and under fifteen years of age. Sub-section 5 took the place of this provision, but it only imposed the obligation of providing public school accommodation and said nothing about the limit of age prescribed by the Act of 1891. This Amendment raised one of the many questions which ought to be raised as to the powers and duties of School Boards. He wished to know if this was the correct method of raising these questions, or should they be dealt with when dealing with the schedules, or would they then be shut out?
I should say generally that they would not be shut out. This Clause is a general transfer of all the powers except those which are entirely repealed by the schedules. Therefore if the hon. Member wishes to transfer to a new local authority certain powers which appear now under the Schedule, his proper course is to strike out the repealed section under the schedule. If the hon. Member wishes to add to those powers I do not think he will be precluded in any way when we reach the schedule, this Clause being simply a general one.
§ MR. CHANNING
said that having regard to the statement of the hon. Gentleman that the status quo was to be maintained, he begged leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
said that before the Amendment was withdrawn he wished to know whether he could now or at some subsequent stage raise the question of the provision of free places in unsectarian schools. That was a very great grievance in some parts of the country. He asked whether, with the leave of the hon. Member for East Northamptonshire, the Committee would consent to allow the Amendment to be amended by the insertion after "accommodation" of the words "in a school provided by the local authority." They were making a new departure in elementary education, and it would be a great dereliction of duty on the part of the House of Commons if they allowed 163 this opportunity to pass of securing sufficient accommodation in schools provided by the local authority itself.
§ MR. BOUSFIELD (Hackney, N.)
said this Amendment would impose an entirely new duty. The Clause dealt with the transfer of existing powers.
If a School Board has the power now which the hon. Member is desirous to have transferred, the words are not necessary, because it will be transferred. If they have not the power now, I do not think it can be put into this Clause.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ *(5.52.) SIR JOSEPH LEESE (Lancashire, Accrington)
moved an Amendment on Clause 6, providing for the insertion after "Committee" of the words "as set out in the fifth schedule hereto." the object being to add a schedule to the Bill clearly defining the powers and duties under the Elementary Education Acts, 1870 to 1900, to be conferred on the new local education authority. He confessed when he first read the words imposing powers and duties of a School Board and School Attendance Committee, under the Elementary Education Acts, 1870 to 1900—that was thirty years of statutory accumulation, and further complicated by Cockerton and other judgments—he was dismayed. If these were his feelings, having had the advantage of a legal training involving a more or less intimate acquaintance with statutes for some years, what must the feeling of the newly-appointed member of the new local education authority be when he was confronted with the appalling and unexplained responsibility conveyed in these words. Such a man would not in the least know how to start finding out what his duties and obligations were. An expert would be wiser. He would send immediately to the Vote Office, if he were a Member 164 of Parliament, or to Messrs. Eyre & Spottiswoode if he were not, and he would buy all the Elementary Education Acts, 1870 to 1900. Then he would take the repealing schedule of this Bill, namely the fourth schedule to this Act, and he would proceed to strike out of the Elementary Acts, 1870 to 1900, all sections and portions of sections that were repealed by that schedule. Then he would make a careful abstract of what remained of the Elementary Acts, and from that he would extract a list of his "powers and duties." That was how the skilled member of the new education authority would set to work—but alas for the amateur at this kind of job. He would be distracted, if not driven to insanity, or at least insomnia; and one thing was certain—that if his knowledge depended upon his own exertions, there would not be one in fifty of these new members of the new education authority who would ever face the task and know what his powers and duties under this Bill were. They simply would not do this technical work, and he did not think it was fair to ask them to do it unaided. Then why not do it for them? His object was to give the new member of the Local Education Authority a bird's eye view of his duties and powers under this Bill. When he has read this Clause and asked what were his duties and powers, the answer was clear—"look at Schedule V." Otherwise there was a danger that he either would never make his investigation at all, or he would be left to the guidance of a Town Clerk or some other official, who would not, and could not be expected to be a reliable educational authority. From either alternative, he could foresee confusion and mistake. Nay, even supposing that a clerk to the new education authority did become a legal expert—and there were many able men amongst these corporation and County Council servants — the clerk in legal matters would become the Board, and a repetition in education of the influence of clerks to justices, would be repeated—a condition of things which, he thought, was much to be deprecated. So much for the convenience and utility of his suggestion. Now, as to the drafting. This was not so much a drafting Amendment, as a supplement to the words of the Clause—explanatory of the words. He did not attack the drafting. He 165 only desired to make it clear, so that he who runs may read and understand. Now as to the effect of his proposed words. He wanted only a declaration in the Clause that there should be a schedule of duties and powers. He did not ask the Government to prepare the schedule. He had had a schedule prepared for him. It was based on a paper issued by the National Education Association, which he had had carefully checked. It had, he believed, been carefully done, and against each description of power and duty there was placed this section of the Act whence that power or duty was deduced, so that the member of the new authority could be put at once on the spot. It might be urged that it would be dangerous to have such a list, lest some power or duty should be omitted. To this he replied, No. These powers and duties were nearly, if not entirely, statutory. There was no danger, provided the subject was attacked with industry and zeal. Even if there were such danger, it would not pass the wit of man to provide, after consideration, protecting words against limitation. Further, there was nothing in his proposal which would interfere with the form of the Bill, except perhaps the simplification of the repealing schedule. He desired that this Bill should be self-contained. A little trouble taken now would make these points and duties clear. If they desired a popular Bill let the Government make it a clear Bill. He offered it with all sincerity, desiring to improve this Bill, and he ventured to regard his suggestion is a red piece of practical legislation.
In page 2., line 34, after the word 'Committee,' to insert the words '[as set out in the Fifth Schedule hereto].'" —(Sir Joseph Leese.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. WALTER LONG
said he sympathised with the object his hon. friend had in view, viz., to make Acts of Parliament clearer and more easily understood. But it did nut appear to him that that object would be obtained by the means adopted by his hon. friend. The difficulties would, he conceived, be 166 increased rather than diminished by the adoption of the Amendment. Perhaps what was desired might be best secured, after the Bill had become law, by passing an Act consolidating all educational legislation, and issuing a text book containing in general and popular form the necessary information. In these circumstances he hoped the hon. Gentleman would not press his Amendment.
§ MR. CORRIE GRANT
said he supported the Amendment, because it was an attempt to make an Act of Parliament more simple for laymen. The right hon. Gentleman had distinctly argued on the other side of the question, and wanted to make Acts of Parliament more complicated than they need be, and to worry the general public by a, text book which would be written by a lawyer. He wished to quote a judgment by the late Lord Coleridge on legislation by reference in a case in which the judges were asked to decide the meaning of a section in an Act of Parliament—This procedure of legislation by reference," said Lord Coleridge, "makes the interpretation of modern Acts of Parliament a very difficult, and sometimes doubtful matter. We, the judges, have perhaps the least cause to complain. We sit here for the purpose, among other things, of interpreting Acts of Parliament, and we bring, or ought to bring, to our task trained and experienced intellects. But in practical matters of every day concern, such as the possession and exercise of the franchise, it is of the last importance that the law conferring it, and the rules which govern its exercise, should be easily comprehensible by the mass of the ordinary voters. We are well aware that protest as to past legislation is unavailing, but for the future to draw attention in a plain evil may perhaps be the first step towards its remedy.He had other references in which judges had complained of the same thing, but he did not think he need trouble the Committee with further illustrations of the evils of the present system. There was no Member who had ever been called upon to deal with a far reaching Act of Parliament but had felt the difficulty which his hon. friend wanted to remove. If a man wanted to know what the Bill really did, he was told that the local education authority was to have all the powers and duties of a School Board and School Attendance Committee, and then he was referred to the Elementary Education Acts, 1870 to 167 1900. If he purchased these Elementary Education Acts he found, as soon as he got to the second of them, that certain sections of the Act of 1870 were repealed, and if he went on through all the Acts he discovered that certain sections in previous Acts were repealed and certain other sections were modified. And then having gone through all these Acts and tried to understand them, he was advised to buy a text book, which might or might not be accurate, and which certainly had no authority. Why should not a simple schedule of the kind proposed in the Amendment of his hon. friend be adopted, so as to give those who had to deal with education all the information they required.
§ MR. BOUSFIELD
said there was not much chance in a particular case of doing anything which was contrary to the general run of legislation. There could be but one opinion, that the vicious practice of legislation by reference rendered it difficult for lawyers, and practically impossible for laymen, to understand Acts of Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman who answered his hon. and learned friend had spoken in sympathetic terms in reference to the matter, and he suggested that the difficulty might be met by a Consolidation Act. No doubt that was a way to solve the difficulty, but his right hon. friend knew well that there was not the slightest chance of an Educational Consolidation Act being passed within a measurable and reasonable time. He would like to ask the Government if the passing of such a Consolidation Act could not be facilitated by some alteration in the Standing Orders.
§ MR. BOUSFIELD
said he did not understand that there was such a Standing Order in existence. At any rate, some alteration should be made in what was at present a very vicious practice.
§ MR. BRYCE
said he thought his hon. and learned friend was entitled to the thanks of the Committee, and even of the Government, for the trouble he had taken 168 in preparing this schedule, which was a model, in point of clearness and preciseness, of what a schedule should be. It was really a matter of the greatest possible importance that in this Act, which was going to be worked by large numbers of education authorities, there should be such a clear and brief statement of the powers and duties of the new education authorities, as was contained in the Schedule drawn up by his hon. friend. The President of the Local Government Board said that the members of the local authorities could provide themselves with a legal textbook; but the ordinary layman found it as difficult to understand an ordinary textbook as the Act of Parliament with which it dealt. The sections were interspersed with comments and cross references, which would make it difficult for a lay member of the local authorities to follow. The President of the Local Government Board had also said that they might have a Consolidation Act. He acknowledged that there was a proposal to facilitate the passage of Consolidation Acts by a new Standing Order, but that was not yet passed. But overloaded as the House was with work, it would be found difficult to pass an Education Consolidation Act, and, therefore, it was like asking them to wait till the millennium. He thought his hon. and learned friend had done very well in bringing forward this schedule. The only difficulty was that it would require very close examination, but the law officers of the Crown and the legal Members of the House had got plenty of time for that. He thought the Government would really do well to accept the Amendment, and between now and the time when the schedule would be reached to give it that close examination to which he had referred.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said he agreed with the opinion expressed on both sides of the House as to the undoubtedly great inconvenience to the public which now arose from the habit of legislation by cross-reference. He believed that he had been as responsible for legislation by cross-reference as his neighbours; but, after all, it was the inevitable result of the desire of the modern House of Commons to discuss at great length all important legislative measures brought before it. Every Government had experienced that difficulty, and had been 169 been forced to meet it in the same way. An hon. Gentleman opposite spoke of a dictum of Lord Coleridge, in which he denounced legislation by reference; but he had no doubt that Lord Coleridge, when he was Attorney General, had, in drafting Bills, done exactly what his predecessors had done. He was afraid he could not recommend the House to adopt the Amendment.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)
said that the matter was extremely simple and non-controversial, and he was quite sure, if the right hon. Gentleman could see his way to meet the supporters of the Amendment, there would be no disposition to discuss at length the schedule when they reached it.
§ MR. SAMUEL EVANS
said that the Amendment of his hon and learned friend would command the assent of everybody on that side of the House. All were agreed that legislation by reference was a bad system. If the right hon. Gentleman were himself a lawyer, he would see the mischief which was now complained of. The evil was more pronounced, perhaps, in the Workmen's Compensation Act than in any other. Under that Act complaints arose over and over again as to the way in which the Act had been drafted. With regard to the Amendment before the House it raised no very controversial matters, but it gathered into a convenient
§ form that which was put forward in Clause 6 of the Bill. There were many parts of the various Acts of Parliament which imposed duties on School Boards which had not been considered, and if they were not considered and dealt with now, the Government would only be laying up for themselves a great many difficulties. Nobody could say how many Acts of Parliament were dealt with. There were the Acts of 1870, 1873, 1876, 1879, 1880, 1893 and 1899 and others, and was it common sense to ask the House to legislate on matters of this kind in this way? There would be many persons dealing with the Act who were not lawyers but members of local bodies, and it was not conceivable to suppose that these men would not find themselves in a perfect quagmire of difficulties when they came to deal with these matters. In his opinion, in this Act they ought to have a complete code, so that anybody who ran could read the Act. He hoped the hon. Member who moved the Amendment would go still further and arrange a complete schedule. So far as the Amendment went he should support it.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
suggested that there was a precedent for a schedule of this kind, and that was the Behring Sea Fisheries Act, in which all the sections referred to were embodied in a schedule. Such a method removed much doubt and difficulty.
§ (6.23.) Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 105; Noes, 277. (Division List, No. 288.)173
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Cremer, William Randal||Harmsworth, R. Leicester|
|Allan, Sir William (Gateshead)||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Harwood, George|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Duncan, J. Hastings||Hemphill, Hon. Charles H.|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Dunn, Sir William||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)|
|Brigg, John||Edwards, frank||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Elibank, Master of||Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Emmott, Alfred||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Evans, Sir Francis H (Maidst'ne||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Burns, John||Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Lambert, George|
|Burt, Thomas||Fanquharson, Dr. Robert||Langley, Batty|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Fenwick, Charles||Layland- Barratt, Francis|
|Caine, William Sproston||Fitzmamice, Lord Edmond||Leigh, Sir Joseph|
|Caldwell, James||Gladstone, Rt. Herbert John||Levy, Maurice|
|Cameron, Robert||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Berwick)||Lloyd-George, David|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Griffith, Ellis J.||Lough, Thomas|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|M'Kenna, Reginald||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan|
|Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.)||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Mather, Sir William||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Mellor, Rt. Hn. John William||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Soares, Ernest J.||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Moulton, Jon Fletcher||Strachey, Sir Edward||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Newnes, Sir George||Taylor, Theodore Cooke||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Tennant, Harold John||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid.|
|Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)||Wilson, Henry J. (York. W. R.|
|Priestley, Arthur||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)||Woodhouse, Sir J T (Huddersf'd|
|Rea, Russell||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries)||Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings|
|Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Thomas, J A (Glamorg'n, Gower|
|Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)||Tomkinson, James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Robson, William Snowdon||Toulmin, George||Sir Joseph Leese and Mr.|
|Runciman, Walter||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Corrie Grant.|
|Russell, T. W.||Ure, Alexander|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Green, Walford D. (Wednesb'ry|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex F.||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Greville, Hon. Ronald|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Colston. Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill|
|Allhusen, Augustus H'nry Eden||Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Gunter, Sir Robert|
|Ambrose, Robert||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Hall, Edward Marshall|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Cranborne, Lord||Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nderry|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Hare, Thomas Leigh|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Harrington, Timothy|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Crossley, Sir Savile||Harris, Frederick Leverton|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chath'm||Healy, Timothy Michael|
|Balcarres, Lord||Delany, William||Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Dewar, Sir T. R. (Tower H'mlets||Henderson, Sir Alexander|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Dickson, Charles Scott||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Dickson-Poynder Sir John P.||Hickman, Sir Alfred|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Higginbottom, S. W.|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fr'd Dixon||Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Doogan, P. C.||Hogg, Lindsay|
|Beach, Rt Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Dorington, Rt. Hn. Sir John E.||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hornby, Sir William Henry|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Duke, Henry Edward||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry|
|Bignold, Arthur||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Hoult, Joseph|
|Bill, Charles||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William Hart||Howard, J no. (Kent, Faversham|
|Blundell, Col. Henry||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham|
|Bond, Edward||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.)||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Fardell, Sir T. George||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Fellowes, Hon. Allwyn Edward||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)|
|Bowles, Capt, H. F. (Middlesex||Fergusson, Rt Hon Sir J. (Manc'r||Joyce, Michael|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (Lynn Regis)||Field, William||Kennedy, Patrick James|
|Brassey, Albert||Finch, George H.||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop)|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Fisher, William Hayes||Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.)|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Lawrence, Joseph (Monmouth)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)|
|Butcher, John George||Fletcher. Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lawson, John Grant|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A (Glasgow||Flower, Ernest||Lee, Arthur H (Hants, Fareham|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Flynn, James Christopher||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Carew, James Laurence||Forster, Henry William||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Foster, Sir Michael (Lon. Unv)||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Foster, Philip S.(Warwick, S. W||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Galloway, William Johnson||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Gardner, Ernest||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (E'lgin & Nairn)||Lowe, Francis William|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Wore'r||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Line.)||Lowther, C. (Cumb., (Eskdale|
|Chapman, Edward||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Charrington, Spencer||Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Graham, Henry Robert||Lundon, W.|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Smith, Hon W. F. D. (Strand)|
|MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Maclver, David (Liverpool)||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Parker, Sir Gilbert||Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)|
|Maconochie, A. W.||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robt. Wellesley||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Pemberton, John S. G.||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Penn, John||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|M'Govern, T.||Pierpoint, Robert||Sullivan, Donal|
|M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Plummer, Walter R.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Talbot, Rt Hn J G (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Power, Patrick Joseph||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Melville, Beresford Valentine||Pretyman, Ernest George||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Purvis, Robert||Tomlinson. Sir Win. Edw. M.|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Pym, C. Guy||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Milvain, Thomas||Rankin. Sir James||Tully, Jasper|
|Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Raseh, Major Frederic Came||Valentia, Viscount|
|Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Ratcliff, R. F.||Vincent, Sir Edgar Exeter|
|Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Reddy, M.||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Mooney, John J.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. CE (Taunton|
|Morgan, David J (Walth'mstow||Redmond, William (Clare)||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.)|
|Morgan, Hn. Fred (Monm'thsh.||Reid, James (Greenock)||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Renshaw, (Charles Bine||Whiteley, H. Ashton-und-Lyne|
|Morrison, James Archibald||Richards, Henry Charles||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford||Ridley, Hon M. W. (Stalybridge||Williams, Rt Hn J Powell-(Birm|
|Mount, William Arthur||Ridley, S. Forde (BethnalGreen||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Wills, Sir Frederick|
|Muntz, Sir Philip A.||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Murray, Rt Hn A Graham (Bate||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Round, Rt. Hon. James||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Royds, Clement Molynenx||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R.(Bath)|
|Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Rutherford, John||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Nolan, Col. John P.(Galway, N.||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Wylie, Alexander|
|Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Seely, Maj J.E.B. (Isle of Wight||Young, Samuel|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Seton-Karr, Henry||Younger, William|
|O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|O'Conner, James (Wicklow, W||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|O'Conner, T. P. (Liverpool)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)||Sir William Walrond|
|O'Malley, William||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)||and Mr. Anstruther.|
§ MR. WHITLEY (Halifax)
moved—In page 2, line 35, after 1900,' insert 'and the Canal Boats Acts, 1877 and 1884.'
§ SIR JOHN BRUNNER
thought a shorter form of words would be more convenient, and suggested "and other Acts including local Acts."
in order to make the matter clear begged leave to withdraw his Amendment, in order to insert after "1900" the words "any other Acts including Local Acts."
§ The Amendment was by leave withdrawn, and the substituted Amendment agreed to.
§ *MR. HERBERT LEWIS
said that so many questions had arisen as to the respective spheres of control and management occupied by the local education authorities, and local school managers respectively, that it became absolutely necessary to add some words to the Bill showing where the controlling authority was to be found. What authority, for instance, had control over the teachers' salaries? That was a most important question. Was that to be left to the discretion of the local managers? Then, again, with regard to the specific amounts to be allocated to the different teachers, was that to be settled by the county authority, or was that body to grant a lump stun which the Managers could divide as they thought best? He thought the ultimate authority in a case of that kind ought to rest with the local 175 authority and not with the managers. Then there were questions which related to the schools and the expenditure for books and apparatus. Hitherto considerations of economy had had to prevail in the schools; were they now to have a régime of extravagance because whatever was asked for would have to be supplied by the local authorities? Was the supply of books and apparatus to be left in the hands of the local managers? Then, with regard to school fees, was that to be in the hands of the education authority, or was it to be determined by the school managers? The county to which he belonged had two secondary schools, one of which attempted to underbid the other by charging a lower fee, but the county authority decided that the fees should be uniform in order that one school might not underbid the other. Was it not possible under this Bill that similar difficulties might arise, not by underbidding, but by offering illegitimate advantages, unless the education authority had full control over the schools. Another important question was as to the control of religious instruction in the schools provided by the authority. Was that control to be in the hands of the managers or of the authority? If the former, he feared the managers would be appointed on sectarian grounds. In any case, it was desirable that the Committee should know exactly whether the local education authority would have full control in that respect. These questions should not be left to be settled by Courts of law. The High Court of Parliament should, in the first instance, define the respective spheres of the authority and the managers. Again, who was to decide as to the use of school buildings and furniture outside school hours? Further, if new furniture had to be provided, and the managers preferred a kind which would be more useful for general parochial purposes, would the local authority be able to insist on the provision of furniture primarily, if not entirely, suitable for the purposes of the children of the school? Another question was as to the use by the Church, without payment, of furniture provided at the expense of the ratepayers. A number of similar questions would occur to every Member, in regard to which unnecessary friction 176 might arise between the local authority and the managers. It was impossible to set out in the schedule the respective degrees of control to be exercised by the two bodies, and, as far as he could see, the only satisfactory solution of the difficulty was by providing that the full control of the schools should be in the hands of the local education authority. He therefore begged to move the Amendment standing in his name.
In page 2, line 35, after the word 'the' to insert the word 'full.'"—(Mr. Herbert Lewis.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'full' be there inserted."
§ (6.50.) SIR JOHN GORST
did not think there was much difference between "control" and "full control," and doubted whether the insertion of the adjective would much strengthen the clause. The hon. Member had raised a great number of questions which had nothing to do with this Amendment, and would be more conveniently discussed on Clauses 7 and 8, regulating the relations between the local authority and the school managers. The present clause merely gave, in general terms, control over all secular elementary education to the now local authority. The local authority had the power of the purse, and, therefore, he fancied that in all the minor matters which the hon. Gentleman had mentioned that authority would be able to exercise pretty effective control. Reference had been made to teachers' salaries. As the local authorities wore going to pay the salaries, he believed they would have a very potent voice in the matter, and, as they would be responsible for the efficiency of the school, they would have a potent voice in deciding what the start' of the school should be.
MR. BRYNMOR JONES
said that the education authority, so far as it provided schools, might no doubt provide them on its own terms, but with regard to voluntary schools it might find itself in some difficulty, owing to the ambiguity of the word "control." If this Amendment were accepted the education authority would have, in effect, absolute control over the schools. The word "absolute" would perhaps be a better word than that proposed by the 177 Amendment, but the adjective "full," in his opinion at any rate, strengthened the power of the local authority, and he should, therefore, vote for the Amendment.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said the Committee had already decided that the local authorities were to have the powers and duties of a School Board and School Attendance Committee, and if they were to add to that the control of education, the latter must be something which the School Board did not, at present, possess. The Amendment was important only to the extent that it raised the question as to whether the absolute control of education in a certain area was to be given to the local authority. In the schedule the section had been abolished which enabled the Board of Education to put a School Board which did not perform its duties in default, and to take independent measures to organise education in that district. He took it, therefore, that, in future, the Board of Education could not exercise those functions. What did "control of education" mean? If he interpreted the words aright it meant that the Board of Education transferred the whole of its powers, free from any conditions or safeguards, to the local authority. If it did not mean that, what did it mean? He thought the Committee ought to have the assistance of the legal advisers of the Crown on these points of drafting, which sometimes involved questions of considerable substance. The relations of the local authorities and the Board of Education depended entirely on the interpretation placed by the Courts upon the word "control." As far as he could see, it would be within the competence of any Government in future practically to band over the whole control of education now exercised by the Board of Education to the local authorities. His only objection to that, provided it were done under proper safeguards, would be in regard to the small towns of 10,000 inhabitants. It was one thing to hand over the control to responsible bodies such as the County Councils, but to hand it over to these little authorities was quite a different matter, and, he believed, would be detrimental to the interests of education. He again asked 178 the Vice President of the Council what was contemplated by the word "control." Would the Board of Education have any power to declare a School Board to be in default?
SIR JOHN GOEST
said the point was so simple that he would even venture to answer the hon. Member without the assistance of the law officers of the Crown. In the Schedule, Section 16 of the Elementary Education Act was repealed, and that was the section which required the Board of Education to declare a School Board in default. This Bill contained what was believed by the Government to be a very much better provision. It would be very easy to go to the Courts and get a mandamus if the necessity arose.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
asked what powers the local authority would have that the School Board had not got at present.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said the local authority would he able to take a general survey of the whole of the elementary education in their county, to make provision for it as a whole, to co-ordinate the different schools in the county, and fit them into one general scheme.
MR. BRYNMOR JONES
asked whether the Board of Education could obtain a mandamus against the local authority.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said there was a provision of that kind in the Bill. This might be a good or a bad proposal, but it was the provision that the Government put before the Committee, as a better provision than that in Section 16 of the Elementary Education Act.
§ MR. McKENNA (Monmouthshire, N.)
said that it was perfectly clear that the word "control" must be interpreted by sub-Clauses a, b, c, and d, of Clause 8, which defined what was to be the nature of the control. He thought the Amendment was an extremely valuable one. If they put in the word "full" in front of "control," he submitted that it would be held that the word "full" gave some greater power than was given by the word "control" alone. He looked upon this word, not as a mere 179 adjective in front of control, but as a matter of real substance, and it provided that it was to be a full control so far as secondary education was concerned. The noble Lord the Member for Greenwich had said that they were perfectly willing that the local authority should have absolute control over secondary instruction. Unless they put in some qualifying adjective, they would not get that complete and full control for the aided schools which the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich was willing to grant.
MR. CHARLES Mc ARTHUR (Liverpool, Exchange)
thought the point was one of importance, as it was proposed to define the extent of the authority given. The hon. Member opposite used the words "absolute control," and if there was and doubt about the matter, and the word "full" would clear away that doubt, then he should be quite willing to settle the matter in that way. He had always understood that any terms used in an Act of Parliament were used in the full sense unless limited by express words or by the context. He should have thought that the word "control," in the absence of any limitation, meant full control. There were duties and powers appertaining to these education authorities which were not clearly understood, such as the dismissal of teachers. He thought, however, that the proper way was to deal with those points when they were reached, and he yielded to no hon. Member in his desire that the control should be full and effective, but he hardly thought the proper way to deal with it was by accepting this Amendment.
§ (7.10.) MR. SAMUEL EVANS
thought there was great force in the argument that "control" would be read as being limited by the words in the various sub-clauses of Clause 8, and therefore he hoped the Government would accept the word "full," for it could not do any harm. He agreed that adjectives ought not to appear so much in Acts of Parliament, but it was necessary to adopt some word to show that there was nothing in the way of control which was outside the jurisdiction of the local education authority. He desired to make two or three observations upon this subject in a wider sense. When they were dealing with 180 the jurisdiction of the School Boards over elementary education they had never before divorced the words "control" and "management." He thought he was entitled to point out that in the Act of 1870 they did not distinguish between "control" and "management," and he thought it was important to know the opinion of the Government upon this point. Under the Act they devolved from the local authority on to the managers of school matters of management, but in the Act of 1870, section 14, it was provided that every school should be conducted under the control and management of the School Board. Section 15 of that Act provided that the School Board might, if it thought fit, from time to time do certain things in regard to the control and management of the school. The hon. Member opposite had referred to the dismissal of teachers which he thought required full investigation, but was the appointment and dismissal of teachers a matter of control by the Education Department, or was it a matter in regard to the management of the schools? He hardly knew what they were leaving in the hands of the authority. He should like to know whether the local authority, which was to have full control over all secondary and elementary education, could in any way get rid of that control. He was rather inclined to think they could. Under this Bill, having regard to the portion of the section which they had already disposed of, he thought the education authority could give up its control if it desired to do so. He thought that followed by the provision made by section 15, which had been brought into this Clause. They were placing the control in the hands of the education authority, but by giving control to the manager they were allowing the local education authority to divest itself entirely of control, and they might leave the question entirely to a body of managers. This might turn out to be a very serious matter, for the managers need not be members of the education authority at all. In some small boroughs or urban districts an obscurantist body might appoint certain managers to deal with education just as they liked, and that was allowed by the Bill. He thought they ought to know 181 much more clearly than they did now what was the dividing line between control and management, and they ought to make it impossible that this control, which ought to remain in the hands of the local authority, should be delegated to any body of managers upon which it was not necessary that there should be any single person elected by the ratepayers at all.
§ MR. HENRY HOBHOUSE
said the hon. and learned Gentleman was right in saying that "control" and "management" had been used very much as synonyms, and that it was now necessary to make a distinction between them. Hitherto there were practically only two bodies—the Board of Education and the School Board. It was true that there was some power for the delegation of duties, but the School Board had been the managing body. The new authority was to be the controlling body and not the managing body. He urged that the Committee should make a distinction between control and management. It occurred to him that control was equivalent to supervision. Now it was proposed to insert the word "full" before "control." Lawyers all admitted that adjectives were rather dangerous in Acts of Parliament. He did not think anybody had given whole-hearted support to the insertion of the word "full." The "control" referred to in the Clause was divided with the Board of Education which was the superior controlling body. There being double control, it would therefore never do to give absolute control to the local education authority.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said it seemed to him that the observations of the hon. and learned Member for North Monmouthshire were irrelevant to the Amendment. He endeavoured to point out the difference between "control" and "management," but it was difficult lo see how that was relevant to the question whether the word "full" should be inserted. It was either unmeaning or tautological. Adjectives were carefully to be avoided except in newspaper articles, where they were useful, especially when payment was at space rates, but the idea of bringing the 182 sobriety of an Act of Parliament down to the somewhat florid style of newspaper articles was novel and revolutionary, and he hoped it was an idea unacceptable to the Committee. To insert the word "full" in the way proposed would be inconsistent with sub-section (c) of Clause 8. He would be glad if his hon. friend would withdraw the Amendment.
§ *SIR JOHN BRUNNER
said that Clause 8 had been spoken of as a Clause of limitations. It was not so. Clause 8 described several powers which were to be bestowed on the local education authority. If the word "full" or "absolute" were inserted in Clause 6 now they would not be so nervously anxious to put every description of power into Clause 8. If the word "absolute" were inserted now, they would avoid a struggle to get further powers for the local authority into Clause 8.
§ MR. CORRIE GRANT
said he would prefer the word "absolute," to the word "full." In support of this view he cited a letter, dated April 22, 1902, written by the Secretary for the Colonies to Mr. James Grey Glover, in which the right hon. Gentleman said—It gives to this authority, working through a representative Committee, absolute control of the secular education in the schools. The hours and the curriculum of instruction, the salaries of the teachers, the nature of the appliances, and the arrangements of the buildings will all he decided by the local authority, and although the actual nomination of the teachers is, in the case of the voluntary schools, reserved to the Committee of Management of such school, the local authority will he able to veto the appointment, or to secure dismissal if necessary, on educational grounds.He thought this a good reason for inserting the word "absolute." He ventured to suggest that it was very desirable from the point of view of the hon. Member for East Somerset, to provide in this Clause that the whole power of dealing with schools on the secular side was to be given to the local education authority. Clause 6 conferred the power; Clause 7 proceeded to deal with the appointment of two sets of managers; and then came Clause 8 which was entirely a limitation Clause.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
offered as a compromise the words "shall be responsible for, and have control"
183 This being accepted, the Amendment was withdrawn in favour of Mr. Balfour's words, which were inserted in the Clause.
§ It being half-past seven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report progress; to sit again this evening.