HC Deb 26 May 1902 vol 108 cc551-619

Motion made and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £5,421,862, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1903, for the salaries and expenses of the Board of Education, and of the various establishments connected therewith, including sundry grants in aid."


In view of the debate we are about to have on the question of education I think all I need now do is to explain to the Committee the general purposes to which this Vote is applied by the Board of Education, and the influence which that gives to the Department over the schools of the country. This will also enable me to draw attention to the changes and developments which have taken place in he administration of the Board of Education since my noble friend the Duke of Devonshire became the head of it. I do not think the Committee would wish me to claim any special merit for the Parliamentary officials in these matters, because the administration of the Board of Education is not conducted on Party lines, although many people try to make out that it is. All the reforms that are made are for the most part made silently, and without sound of trumpet, and it is generally only when some vested interests are touched that clamorous complaints are made to this House, and discussions take place, and quite undue prominence is often given to matters which are really matters of unimportant detail. The direct influence of the Department over secondary education, and over the secondary schools of the country, depends on the science and art grants which have for a long time been voted by Parliament for the promotion of science and art instruction in the secondary schools. When my noble friend came into office these grants were administered strictly on the payment by results principle. Students were examined in the various subjects, and grants made according to the number of passes. This was altered, in the very first year of the present administration, by substituting for it payment by attendance. The former system had been a very vexatious one. An enormous number of minute Rules had to be made for the purposes of protecting the Treasury against exactions, and, a great many of these Rules proving unvailing, a number of fresh Rules had to be made. I do not think I need waste the time of the Committee by describing them, as the whole of the system is now being very rapidly swept away. The present method is to give Government grants to day schools and evening schools which have satisfied certain broad, liberal conditions.

The day schools to which grants are made are of two distinct classes. First of all, there are schools which have developed from the old organised science schools established seven or eight years ago. These schools absorb grants to the amount of £120,000. They are 217 in number, and there are 26,583 scholars in them. The grants are paid on inspection and examination of the school as a whole, although there are some few supplementary and extra grants paid in the very high subjects of science as the result of the examination. A system is now proposed by which any one of these schools which has been established for five years may have a block grant given to it for the next three years together, quite irrespective of the annual number of students, and after three years there will be a fresh assessment and a three years block system will be established. In the new schools of this kind which are established, all the grants will be consolidated into one, and a very simple system will be established, by which it is hoped that all the schools which receive grants as schools of science will be relieved of all vexatious restrictions and left to carry on instruction very much in their own way, all incentive to cram for the purpose of earning the grant by passing an examination being removed. These schools are, of course, to some extent special schools, in which the study of science is carried so far as to fit young men to enter the engineering or other scientific professions. A new class of school has now been formed, in which there is no more science instruction given than is considered to be part of a general liberal education. They are not science schools in any specialised sense, but schools in which proper encouragement is given to the study of science. These schools only came into force in August, of last year, but there are in existence altogether 105–62 in England and 43 in Wales—with 12,072 scholars. The curriculum of these schools has to be approved by the Board of Education, but the conditions are very much easier than those of the schools of science. No art, or geometrical drawing, is compulsory, and the schools are left to the ordinary liberal curriculum of a secondary school. All these schools are liable to inspection, and will be inspected practically every year. It is a very interesting experiment, which I hope may be productive of a very great improvement in secondary schools. Then there are schools of art, on which £50,000 a year is expended. Those schools of art which are five years old are also to have an annual block grant upon the average of the preceding three years, and after three years the grants will be re-assessed. It is the confident expectation of the Board of Education that the new system thus commenced will absolutely do away with the old plan of giving grants for science and art classes, and it is believed that within two or three years all these classes will have disappeared and the scholars absorbed in the schools. The Committee will see that in the present year only £80,000 is taken for the remaining science classes, and £20,000 for the remaining art classes, and I have no doubt in the next two or three years the sums asked for for these classes will be a diminishing amount, until the classes have disappeared altogether.

I come now to evening schools. These schools are an extremely important part of the secondary education of the country, because it is on them that young men and women who are beginning to earn their living in trades and manufactures have principally to rely for carrying on their education. When the present Administration came into office, there were two classes of these evening schools. First of all, there were schools under the Science and Art Department working according to the Directory; and, secondly, there were evening continuation schools working on the Continuation School Code under the administration of the Education Department at Whitehall. In fact, the Department was a house divided against itself, with two different sets of schools and two different sets of regulations, frequently in competition. In many cases a clever and astute manager of a school could contrive to be under both systems at once and draw simultaneous grants from the Science and Art Department and from the Education Department for really the same work. I have often described this to the Committee before, and I have always said that it was one of the very worst examples of overlapping and educational confusion in our system. The matter really requires very urgent and immediate reform, and it is a great mistake to suppose that it was the Cockerton judgment which made this reform necessary. Reform had been necessary for years, but it was the Cockerton judgment which first brought it before the notice of the country and of Parliament, and really made reform absolutely essential. These schools, even under the old system, were very rapidly increasing. In the towns they were for the most part run by the School Boards, though not exclusively, for some were run by private enterprise and some by the municipalities. In the counties they were generally run by the County Councils. The County Council schools during the last five or six years have increased very much more rapidly than the School Board schools, though it is perhaps only fair to say that one reason of their more rapid increase is that they had more leeway to make up.


And more money to spend.


No. They had not more money to spend. They were limited to the local taxation money and to a penny rate, whereas the School Boards had, or thought they had, unlimited rates to draw upon, and did draw upon them without stint. I have a few figures here. The schools under the School Boards, excluding London and the county boroughs, have increased since 1896 by 50 per cent., but the County Council schools have increased by 94 per cent. In the last year for which I have the figures the School Boards spent on these schools out of the rates £18,059, whereas the County Councils have spent £27, 326. That was the urgent necessity for the Minute of the Board of Education of July 3rd, 1901, which simplified the whole business by placing all the schools under the Board of Education, and giving them all grants on one system of regulations, which have been reduced to a comparatively small number. They are treated now as secondary and technical schools, which they really are, and they are not treated as elementary schools, which they really are not. They are not elementary for two reasons. In the first place, the bulk of the scholars who attend them are far past the age of childhood, and secondly, they do not teach elementary subjects at all for the most part, but advanced, and rather highly advanced, technical and technological instruction. Some members of the Committee are impatient to ascertain the results of this change of system. It is quite impossible to arrive at the results until the year is over, and we can take account of the work which has been done, but I will give the results so far in one or two counties. In Bucks there were twenty-four schools in the year before the change, and there are now eighty. In Warwickshire there were fifty-eight before the change, and now there are 109. The results in other parts of England are equally satisfactory. The hon. Member for North Camberwell some time ago issued a Return to show that there is a smaller number of pupils on the rolls in London and some of the large towns than there was a year ago. I do not know why the Board of Education should be held responsible for that, even if it were true. If the Minute had caused a smaller number of schools to be open, there might have been something to be said; but as long as the schools are open, what has the Board or the Minute to do with the number of pupils on the rolls? Last September and October, when I was in London, I received the notices of the London School Board exactly as before. Had I not had the misfortune to be the Vice President of the Committee of Council of Education, I should not have known that there had been any change. If it is true that there have been fewer pupils on the rolls, I should say that the cause probably is that those who attend evening schools for the purpose of amusement have become tired of doing so and want something fresh. That probably would account for the smaller number of enrolments. But as far as can tell, after making very dilgent inquiry from the inspectors, the amount of attendance this year has very much increased, and there has been very much more actual solid work done in the schools.

DR. MACNAMARA (Camberwell, N.)



All over the country.


Including London?


Yes, everywhere, including London. I should be very much surprised if the first year of this new system does not show that a very great deal more good, honest, solid educational work has been done than in previous years. The number of schools this year all over England and Wales has been greater than it was last year, when there was a diminution, and the year before, which up to that time was the largest year. It will be necessary, however, to wait till the year is over before the effect of the Minute of July 3rd. 1901, with regard to the number of schools and scholars, can be properly judged.

The next matter in which the Board of Education exercises influence on secondary schools is inspection. This inspection was authorised by the Education Act of 1899, but it was only brought into actual working in the autumn of 1900. By June 30th, last, when I was asked a question on the subject, only twenty-seven schools had actually been inspected, but in the following half-year twenty-four more schools were inspected, and in the broken half of the present year thirty-four schools have been inspected, and thirty-five further inspections have been fixed, which will take place before the end of July. These inspections are always accompanied by a conference with the managers, whether they are voluntary managers or governing bodies of endowed schools, under schemes of the Charity Commission or Technical Instruction Committees of County Councils. The inspections have been conducted very often by specialists—sometimes by specialists of very great distinction in such matters, for instance, as modern languages—and partly by the inspectors of the Board of Education. It is too early to say more than that the scheme promises exceedingly well. One remarkable testimony, however, has resulted from the examination of almost all these schools, and that is to the fact that external examinations have been found to hinder the introduction of improved methods of teaching. They are the excuse for inferior methods of teaching and for making little attempt to improve them. I may mention that the Board of Education, under the powers of the Act, have authorised Oxford University, Cambridge University, and the Victoria University to act as their agents for the purpose of examination, and many of the examinations have been already, and will be in the future, so far as the literary part is concerned, conducted through them. It may interest the Committee to learn that out of 148 schools, of which the inspection has either taken place or been fixed, twenty-nine are endowed schools, twenty-four private schools, and seventy - five county or municipal schools.

I wish to say that both in the administration of the Parliamentary grant and in the inspection of schools, the Board of Education carefully bears in mind the danger of suppressing originality and variety. No attempt, at any rate at present, is made to reduce these schools to uniformity. I hope the time will be very far distant when those who have to administer the public funds of this country, and to carry out the provisions of the Act with regard to secondary schools, forget the enormous danger of interfering to produce uniformity of system, and I trust that they will give every encouragement to variety and independence. The Committee will recollect that these secondary schools-consist of three classes. First, there are private schools, which it must be remembered include some of the best schools in the country. Of these I cannot give the number—but it must not be supposed that when I refer to them as private schools I mean simply schools conducted for private profit. They include Marlborough and other endowed schools, and the girls' public day schools, notably one at Cheltenham, founded entirely by private enterprise, which is a school of which the nation has a light to be proud. Then there are endowed schools to the number of 391, instructing 45,926 scholars. These schools are managed by quasi - public authorities, and it would be most disastrous if we were compelled to substitute for the existing administration the redtape administration of any public Department. Lastly, there are county and municipal schools, 239 in number, and these are managed by persons responsible to the ratepayers in the district. This is popular and democratic management, and it would be a most fatal mistake to interfere with it. I come now to the schools which the Government itself has established. There are two colleges in London which are entirely under the management of the Board of Education itself. The first is the Royal College of Science. It is an excellent institution, with 306 students, 164 of whom are Government students. Among the Government students are fifty science teachers and forty-five national school teachers, and there are thirty five teachers from other schools. There are fourteen students who have been sent up from the provinces in consequence of their meritorious performances in higher schools and local colleges. These students are taught very advanced chemistry, mechanics, metallurgy, physics, geology, mining, and biology. The Vote for this school, which is a very advanced science school, has been increased in the present year by £1,000 for the purpose of enabling work to be continued—begun by Sir Norman Lockyer—respecting the relation of certain precedent phenomena in the sun observed through the spectroscope to the subsequent rainfall in India and Australia. No certain law has yet been established, but if the research is successful it will have enormous beneficial economic effects, both for India and Australia. Then there is the Royal College of Art which has been entirely re-organised. It is now divided into four branches—architecture, ornament and design, decorative painting, and sculpture. There are lower divisions in each of these four branches, and there is a principal to whose extremely able administration the present position of the school is due. The principal art masters of the country who are sent there to be trained go through all the four branches, and other persons who are not going to be art masters specialise. This is not an amateurs' institution; a very high qualification is required for entrance. There are only 350 students who occupy places at all, and the claims of national scholars receive the first consideration. There have been established craft schools for the more advanced students, and they are now taught etching and engraving, pottery, writing and illumination, embroidery, tapestry, weaving, carving in wood and stone and marble, and furniture decoration. They are assisted by technical masters who act as a council of advice on technical matters with the President of the Board of Education, and each of them acts as visitor to the particular branch of schools to which each belongs. All that has been going on now for two or three years. The schools of art are improving every year, and I have no doubt they will be a very great credit to the community and to the administration of the Board of Education by the Government.

Now I want to say a word about the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Victoria and Albert Museum is very much more appreciated on the Continent than in England. They have given us that greatest form of flattery, imitation. There has been established in Berlin an institution on the model of the Victoria and Albert Museum. In France, Switzerland and other countries there are also museums of the same kind, and in 1889, M. Machon, Minister of Public Instruction, reported that the South Kensington Museum was the most powerful agent for the propagation of art and industrial instruction in England. The principal development of the Victoria and Albert Museum during recent years is in the circulation department, by which copies of all the most beautiful scientific works and historical collections have been made accessible to the people of the provinces. I find in 1895 there were fifty-two provincial museums receiving 19,929 objects, and in 1901 there were eighty-eight provincial museums receiving 20,149 objects. But in the schools of art in provincial centres in 1895 there were 241 schools of art receiving 6,057 objects and in 1901 289 provincial schools of art receiving 14,880 objects; and the directors of provincial museums and the masters of provincial schools of art are constantly visiting the Victoria and Albert Museum, where they are in the habit of conferring with the circulation department, where they are treated with every courtesy. Great activity is now displayed in making copies of all the great works of art for educational purposes, which are collected from the Continent of Europe. Copies are made in electrotype, plaster, photography, coloured drawings, lantern slides, and books; and any suggestions made by local museums and local schools of art receive the most careful attention. We have also had during the present administration the museum open on Sundays and about 100,000 people a year come into the museum on that day, showing, I am happy to say, that the people are spending their leisure in this most laudable way every Sunday afternoon.

Now I must say a word about the geological survey. The geological survey has been very vigorously carried on. In Ireland the survey has been finished, and in England and Wales the solid has been finished and the superficial is being carried on. The southern half of Scotland has been surveyed, and great progress is being made in the highlands. In 1900 a Committee was appointed, over which my hon. friend the Member for the Richmond Division of Yorkshire presided, to consider the whole conditions of the geological survey and the recommendations of that Committee have been carried out in every respect.

As to elementary schools.—[Ironical laughter]—I do not know why the hon. Member should laugh. It is a matter on which nearly £8,000,000 has been spent, and it is a question of great importance. When the present administration came into office there were grants for drawing and manual instruction tested by efficient examiners from South Kensington. Besides that there was an enormous number of grants made for other matters. There were grants for average attendance, discipline, and organisation, needle-work, singing, ear and note, class subjects by examination and specific subjects by examination. Besides that there were grants for cookery, laundry, and dairy - work by inspection instead of examination. But the greatest reform that has been made in my time by the Board of Education is the establishment of the block grants. I should be very sorry to claim, either for the Lord President or myself any particular credit for that. The matter has been discussed for years, and it was adopted in Scotland a year before it was adopted here, but we certainly deserve the credit as being the first administrators who ventured to carry that system into execution, and even as it is it has done good. The great task of the reformer is to pull down the obstacles to progress that have been set up.

The evils that were removed by the block grant system were these. First of all, the old system encouraged the neglect of the lower elementary education; the higher work was badly done because it rested not on a sound but on a rotten foundation. The benefits which we expect ultimately from this system—because it will be years before all the possibilities will be taken advantage of—will be that there will be a much greater variety in the scheme of teaching in schools, and that the system of instruction will be suited to the surroundings of the children; there will be one kind of instruction for country schools and another for town schools. Then there is the benefit to be derived from the removal of the pressure of examinations, and the adaptation of the education to the surroundings of the children. The teachers of the schools will be at leisure to teach the children instead of preparing them for examinations. The system throws the responsibility upon the people on whom it ought to be thrown on the teachers, the managers, and the inspectors of each particular place. How could the central office at Whitehall prescribe what forms of local history should be taught in a school? Think of the schools which have a historical place near them—and there are many of them. Then, again, look at Nature study, where some of the subjects do not exist in a neighbourhood. How much the study of Nature can be adapted to the particular flowers, and insects, and animals met with in a child's daily life. The teachers can also take care that the classes are inter related; that the work done in the one class shall be a preparation for the work to be done in the next : and that the elementary school shall be a real preparation for the higher education to which the children will pass. Naturally, it alters the duty of the inspectors. Instead of an inspector walking into a school and examining the children as he now does, he has to inquire first what is the course of study, how the staff is distributed, the tests adopted by the head teacher of the work of subordinates, and the system of internal examinations. Because, mischievous as external examinations are, there is no bolter aid to education than examinations by the teachers themselves. The inspector must determine whether the children discover things for themselves and show any power of applying the education given to them. That brings me to this—that the whole of this system of elementary schools will depend for its success entirely on the inspectors. If the service of inspectors is a good service, the schools will be good and if the service of the inspectors is bad, they will surely be bad. In 1895 there were two classes of inspectors; there was the South Kensington science and art staff examining in science and art, drawing, and manual instruction, and there was the Whitehall staff examining in the other parts of elementary teaching. They all did their work by individual examination, which is an extremely easy way of examining a school, but produces no satisfactory educational results. They never had to study the work of the school as a whole; they never had to watch the ordinary daily teaching of the staff. It was no part of their duty to appreciate and understand any special method which the ingenuity or cleverness of an individual teacher might have introduced into the school. It was no part of their duty to advise the teachers and managers of schools as to the subjects which they should teach and the methods which they should employ; and I suppose that an inspector who attempted to propagate new ideas would probably have found himself entirely out of place.

Now, evidently, we require a staff of inspectors who can do all these things, who possess great qualifications, great knowledge of teaching methods, not only in England but in other parts of the world, who have wide sympathies with teachers of various classes and various powers, who shall be independent of any kind of influence exercised upon them, either from the central office or from the Association of Teachers or any body of that kind, and who shall be brave and honest enough to speak the truth about the schools they visit. Another thing is that it is very desirable that before a young man is put to the arduous duty of inspecting schools he should serve some, kind of apprenticeship, and for that reason a new system has been established by the Duke of Devonshire of appointing young men, first of all, to be junior inspectors, and to work for a considerable time under supervision and observation. The qualifications required are youth, a liberal education, and some teaching experience—because no one can appreciate the difficulties of teachers unless he has had some experience of teaching himself. I should like to say here that from this class of junior inspectors young men of the elementary teacher class are not excluded. In the few who have already been appointed—there have been thirty-one appointments since the system began—there are several who have worked their way up from being pupil teachers, who have taught in elementary schools, and have found their way to college by scholarships earned by their own exertion and merit, and who are likely, as far as we can judge, to prove as good and as effective inspectors as those who have had much greater advantage, in the educational field. I have no doubt that as long as the appointments to this service are made by the Duke of Devonshire he will recognise merit, in whatever kind of society it may be found. All these new inspectors are not to be Whitehall inspectors or South Kensington inspectors, but inspectors of the Board of Education, and they will have to inspect any kind of school in any way the Board of Education may require. [An HON. MEMBER : Secondary schools?] Secondary as well as primary, technical as well as secondary, and so forth. Some appointments have been made for great literary merit, some for great scientific merit, and some for special kinds of merit. The object is to have a staff of inspectors from which we can draw for any kind of school we want inspected. Until we have this new service going, we are obliged to have recourse to special inspectors in special subjects. It is particularly important that they should not be confined to inspecting one kind of school, because it is the opinion of the Board of Education that a variety of inspection and a variety of experience is useful either in elementary or in secondary schools.

Now I come to that part of the subject of which I can give the least satisfactory account—that is, the supply and training of teachers. The whole object of all our Acts of Parliament, of all the Lords President of the Council, of the Vice-Presidents, of all the secretaries and officers and clerks, of our local authorities, and of our taxes and rates, is to put thirty or forty children into a room with a competent teacher, and all our efforts will be entirely thrown away unless those teachers can be found. Some branches of the profession might be left to take care of themselves, because the law of supply and demand will secure a fair number of secondary teachers, teachers of science and art, and so forth. But in elementary teaching you cannot trust to the law of supply and demand, because the preparation for the position of an elementary schoolmaster must be as long as the preparation for the position of a secondary school master, and the class from which the great bulk of these teachers are drawn, and must for some time to come be drawn, is a poorer class, for whom it is impossible to wait to the end of a long and expensive training. Therefore we must have extraneous assistance.

I have often expressed my opinion of the pupil teacher system in this country—it is unique. You take a bright child of thirteen years of age and make him into a school drudge, who has to spend most of his time in school helping the teachers. In the intervals of this rather heavy task for a child of that age, you think he can pick up the amount of culture and education which are essential in any effective teacher. You profess to teach him for short intervals before and after school. But you do not really teach him at all; you merely prepare him to pass an examination once a year. That is not teaching: it is cramming. Ultimately he goes in for what is called the King's Scholarship examination. It was called the King's Scholarship examination—quasi Incus a non lucendo—because there is no scholarship to be obtained at all. If he has gone through that examination, and is lucky enough to get into a training college, he spends two years in trying to absorb knowledge which he is scarcely fitted to take in, because he has not the foundation upon which to build, and for the taking in of which he is entirely unprepared. I have over and over again spoken to principals of training colleges on this subject, and have never heard but one reply—that the students who come to their training colleges are not prepared as they ought to be prepared to receive the instruction which is there given. If the pupil teacher is not lucky enough to get into a training college, he becomes an acting teacher. He repeats his earlier experiments, and tries in the intervals of a very arduous and exhausting profession to pick up sufficient knowledge to pass an examination for the certificate. If he fails either to get a certificate or to pass the scholarship exam nation, he falls into the ranks of uncertificated teachers, who are sure of some kind of employment because the dearth of teachers is so great, but many of whom are wholly unfitted to be employed in teaching the children of this country. I do not believe there is any other country in the world which would stand such a system. The Duke of Devonshire and I have been very severely blamed for the continuance of this system. I occupy in the Board of Education a position analogous to the Court functionary who in former days was known as the "Whipping-boy." But we have made attempts at reform. Several years ago a Committee of expert people, well qualified to give an opinion on the question of pupil teachers, was appointed. They did not condemn the system root and branch, but recommended certain reforms. When the Education Department tried to make these reforms they found it was quite impossible to interfere with the use of pupil teachers in the schools.




Because we were told, and I believe it to be so, they were wanted for the work of the schools, and the poverty of the managers prevented them giving pupil teachers that leisure to learn which otherwise they would gladly have given. It is the same in the training colleges. Residential training colleges have a sort of monopoly—they do not admit of very much development—and the day training colleges which could develop have very insufficient means. In fact, what is called the King's Scholarship is really a grant in aid of training colleges, and we grant training colleges £15 more for teaching a residential student than for teaching a day student. I cannot say why it is cheaper to teach a woman than a man, but for some reason a woman gets £5 more if she is in a residential college than if she is in a day college.


Why do not you give more?


Because I am not the Chancellor of the Exchequer.


Did you recommend it to him?


The Committee can imagine with what pleasure the Board of Education looks upon the introduction of the Government Bill of this year, which creates local authorities which will have power to improve this system. I have no doubt they will do so, because in many places they have begun to do it in an irregular way already. The Committee have no doubt heard of pupil teacher centres. They are really secondary schools, in which young children are trained for teaching service. I believe that in London and many of the great towns the School Boards have been driven to establish these pupil teacher centres in order to keep up the supply of teachers, because they have found that if some such steps were not taken it would be impossible to get teachers. But the name is really misleading. What really takes place is this. In a pupil teacher centre promising children—boys or girls—are taken at about fourteen years of age. They are given a high salary up to eighteen, which is not payment for services done, but is really a scholarship to enable them to be educated in the profession of teaching. I have got the figures from one large town in the Midlands, which gives boys £15 a year when they first enter, and raises that sum to £40 a year by the time they get to eighteen. Girls, who again, for some reason, are paid for at a lower rate, get £12 a year when they first enter, and £30 when eighteen. They get also £10 in order to help them to go to college. But these children have to spend half their time in the schools, not because they are useful or wanted in the schools, but because it is necessary to keep up the pretence of their being pupil teachers. They do not teach in the schools; they cut their pencils, and do other things of that sort. I cannot say that this system is educationally a great success. It has broken down on two grounds. The necessity of the pupil teachers spending half their time in the schools is fatal to efficient and continuous work. The principals and inspectors of the training colleges assure me that the pupil teachers do nothing in the schools. They learn nothing there, and are not wanted there. [Opposition cries of "Oh!"] The London School Board do not count these pupil teachers on their staff at all. At that age, a child ought not to go into school at all except for the purpose of learning. The other objection to this plan is that lately it has been pronounced to be illegal. The Board of Education did not make the law. But some system of this sort ought to be kept up, and will be by the new local authorities. In some parts of Wales the plan has been adopted of sending the pupil teachers to the secondary schools, where they can devote their whole time to study.

I hope Parliament will leave the local authorities to make their own plans. Much has been said which indicates that an effort will be made to insist on a uniform Parliamentary scheme; but it is to be hoped that nothing of the kind will be done. In this matter there must be variety, because the system which answers in one case will not answer in another. If the local authorities are left to carry out their own plans in their own way, some very good schemes will be started. I object to tying up the new authority either in the fetters of an Act of Parliament or in the more flexible and irritating regulations of a Government Department. I have sufficient faith in local government to believe that the local authorities will solve the problem if they are left to do so; and no one will be more grateful than the Board of Education, which has itself been quite unable to find a solution.

*(3.33.) DR. MACNAMARA

asked the Committee to come back from drift and geological surveys, and said he desired to move a reduction in the salary of the Vice-President as a protest against what he conceived to he the disastrous policy of the Board of Education in regard to evening schools. He invited hon. Members to consider the extreme importance of evening schools in their educational system. At the present time there were every year half a million of young children who left the elementary day schools between the ages roughly of eleven and fifteen. This half a million of children had been kept under beneficent and wholesome educational influences day by day for five or six years, and had practically just commenced their education, which was very meagre in the best of cases. These children were just upon the threshold of education, and if they could only be kept under instruction for a few years more the money would be spent with advantage, whereas if the children at this age were let go the money already spent upon their education would be largely wasted, because their education was in no sense permanent. The evening continuation branch of the education question had been disastrously dealt with by the present administration. At the present moment in England and Wales they had 3,000,000 ex-elementary day school scholars under the age of twenty, and it was obvious that every effort of statesmanship should be used to keep them in touch with education.

That effort had been made by previous Vice-Presidents of the Council, but he could not say the same thing of the present occupant of the office. Even when the effort had been generously made, the task of getting these 3,000,000 ex-elementary day school scholars into the evening continuation schools had been one of great difficulty, as he knew from his own experience. But, notwithstanding this fact, by the efforts of School Board members and Technical Instruction Committee members they had been able to secure year by year an increase in the numbers attending the night schools. Although it had been a painfully slow increase, the numbers had unremittingly increased from the very earliest days. In 1894–95 there were enrolled in these schools in England and Wales 270,000 pupils, and in 1899–1900 there were 510,000 enrolments, which was the high water mark of the night school movement. The Vice-President of the Council would see that these figures meant that of the ex-elementary day school scholars under twenty years of age in England and Wales at tin; present time they got one out of six attending the evening schools. If another one out of six was receiving education under other public agencies, there still remained four out of six, or 2,000,000 children, whom they ought to try to get into the schools. As far as the Vice-President and the Board of Education were concerned, so far from encouraging the schools, the Department had badgered, worried, irritated, and perplexed the conductors of night schools, and the tendency of this policy had been to make them fall to pieces, rather than develop them as they had done in the past.

He wished to refer to two enactments—the Cockerton Act and the Minute of July 3rd—to which reference had already been made. He could not, at the present moment, refer at any length to the Cockerton Act, as by the rules of the House he must deal only with departmental administration. The Minute of duly 3rd last year was a four-page leaflet of a most cryptic character, and it took the place of the Code for night schools, which had been built up with great care, educational skill, ability, and patience by Mr. Acland. The main purposes of this Minute were, firstly, to prevent the School Board rate from being spent on any evening school instruction; and, secondly, to prevent any rate or Exchequer grant from being spent upon the instruction in any public elementary night school of any person over fifteen years of age. The Vice-President had said today, and many times before, that this was the result of the Cockerton judgment; but it was nothing of the sort, because the question of age was not argued, and there was nothing in the judgment about fifteen years of age, or any age at all. What happened was that Mr. Justice Wills said that if he were asked at what age childhood ceased, he should say at some where between sixteen and seventeen years at the highest. It was a significant comment that the right hon. Gentleman, with curious avidity, should take hold of this statement, and screw the limit down to fifteen years. The Vice-President said he took that course upon an opinion given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife. He thought it was about time that opinion should be read to the Committee. It was an opinion which the Education Department did not pay for, although they had acted upon it, for it was supplied to the School Board for London. Upon this point, he would quote from the Minutes of the School Board for London. On the 9th of May last year it was resolved— That the Solicitor of the Board be requested to take the opinion of Mr. H. Asquith, K.C., and Mr. Llewellyn Davies on the question as to where the age limit is to be drawn below which it would be legal for the Board to admit scholars to the evening schools. The Vice-President said he had acted upon that opinion.


No, no.


said that upon a previous occasion, when he quoted the statement made by Mr. Justice Wills, the right hon. Gentleman replied—Yes, but the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife has also given an opinion.


Yes, but the hon. Member now says that the Board of Education acted upon the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife. They did nothing of the kind. We took the best legal advice we could upon the question.


said the joint opinion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife and Mr. Llewellyn Davies was— It is not possible to give a certain or definite answer to the question which is put to us. No limit of age for scholars in board schools is fixed by the Elementary Education Acts. It was not clearly decided, either in the Queen's Bench Division or in the Court of Appeal, what the limit is. The only indication on this point is contained in the opinion expressed by Mr. Justice Wills that childhood for this purpose comes to an end somewhere between sixteen and seventeen at the highest. It goes on to say— All that can be said with certainty is that the Elementary Education Act, 1891, shows that for the purpose of the Elementary Education Acts a boy or girl who has not readied the age of fifteen may be regarded as a child, and consequently may be taught in a board school. Up to hat age, there fore, the Board may safely admit scholars to their schools. It is possible that, if the question conies before the Court again, the age limit might be fixed at some higher point; but whether that would be so, and what would be the precise age selected, are matters of pure conjecture. It follows, in our opinion, that if the Board admit to their schools scholars above the age of fifteen, they will do so at the risk of future disallowances of all expenditure on the instruction of such scholars. It had been his impression up to this moment that this was the opinion on which the Board of Education acted, but he was glad to know from the Vice-President that that was not the case. He was glad the Board got a decision they paid for, apart from that given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife.

Last session he ventured to warn the Government that the policy which they were then pursuing in the method of dealing with the Cockerton difficulty, and their Minute of 3rd July, would have a most serious effect upon the night school system of this country. He stated that he thought from his experience that their method of dealing with the Cockerton difficulty, and their Minute, would work disaster. He would state what he was told by the Vice-President—and he wanted to lay stress upon the statement, because the Government appeared to be oblivious as to what would happen. The right hon. Gentleman said on 9th July— No person will be excluded from an evening school by the Minute. The First Lord of the Treasury on the same day said— I venture to say that as the result of this measure there will not be a single adult of either sex who will be deprived of any of the advantages of the present system. Again, six days later the First Lord said— The hon. Member for North Camberwell says it will be the right, and may perhaps be the duty, of the School Boards to chalk up upon the doors of these closed schools : 'No school; closed by order of the Government.' Was there ever an educationist who so successfully disguised himself for the moment as a party politician? No such danger need be apprehended. He asked the Committee to consider what happened in response to these three statements. He took the trouble to send to the clerks of 400 School Boards forms of inquiry as to how they were getting on under the Cockerton Act and the Minute of 3rd July. The questions he put to them were as follow— Was it necessary this past session to obtain the sanction of your municipal authority for the continuance of any of your night school work? Was that sanction given? Was any difficulty experienced? Had any of the night school work of your Board to be dropped? Can you give the number of pupils enrolled down to date compared with the same number at the same date of the last two or three years? If your Board's pupils have fallen off, would it be true that the pupils have to any extent—and if so to what extent—been accommodated by Technical Instruction Committee or other agencies? The whole point of the right hon. Gentleman's reference this afternoon to the night school work of the School Boards was that if that work fell off, the County Council technical instruction schools would progress, because the pupils excluded from the one would naturally find their way into the other. That was a point which he wished to traverse in the most emphatic way. He got replies from 250 School Boards. A great number of the other Boards which did not reply had not had at any time night schools under their charge. He would quote a few of the replies he had received. He would begin with the case of Brighton. The Vice-President was familiar with the case, but he did not give it to the Committee this afternoon. That was the case in which the Municipal Council said—You will not continue the science and art classes; we won't give our sanction. At the time when the refusal was announced there were 658 science and art students in the schools of the Brighton School Board. The door was closed upon them, and he found on inquiry that the science and art classes of the Brighton municipal authority had only increased by sixty-eighty students in science and twenty-five in art, so that the net result was that there were about 600 young people who were at school last year absolutely shut out from the instruction they were receiving. At Grays, in Essex, the night school enrolments up to October, 1900, were 321. Up to October 1901 they had fallen to fifty-four. In the case of Higher Newcastle, the School Board, under the impression that the night school work would be carried on by the municipal authorities, did not apply for sanction. The work was taken up by the Technical Instruction Committee, but they afterwards dropped it, because the County Council refused a grant for the elementary subjects. He believed the County Council was absolutely within its right. In the little village of Whickham, in Durham the numbers had fallen from 110 to 56. He could give the case of night school after night school where the work had been dropped in consequence of the difficulty created by the new regulations of the Technical Instruction Committee. At Blackburn certain subjects had to be dropped. The Vice-President would not deny that the Minute of July 3rd withdrew the special grants for ambulance, home nursing, and physical instruction.


Yes, that is denied.


said he held in his hand the Minute of July 3rd, and also Mr. Acland's code of regulations up to that time. In the one there was a special branch for ambulance, home nursing, and physical instruction; and in the other these subjects were absolutely dropped out. The right hon. Gentleman said last year that they were dropped out for simplicity.


There are a great number of home nursing classes to which grants are given.


said that his point was that they were dropped out of the Minute.


Not the ambulance and the home nursing.


said there seemed to be some perplexity in their minds here, and how much more would that be the case in the minds of members of School Boards? It was a fact that doubt and irritation had been set up by those conflicting statements of which the Committee had a good example this afternoon.


I never made a conflicting statement on the subject.


said he was well aware that ambulance, home nursing, and physical instruction were included in the Minute of 1902, but they had been re-introduced by the right hon. Gentleman. He was talking of the Minute of 1901.


I explained all this last year. The statement was made in this House, and everybody knew it, that they would be allowed and grants given.


said it was a very great pity that they were not mentioned in the Minute, as they had been in every preceding issue of the night school code. At Blackburn the physical exercises were dropped because they would not get the grant. At Barry the night schools were closed in consequence of the restrictions of the new Minute; at Colne manual instruction, cookery, and laundry work were dropped; and at Collierley no night school was opened, as most of the former pupils were over fifteen, and the Board felt that there was a risk that the Cockerton judgment would smite them. He could go on interminably to quote cases, especially those of small places, where the people were doubtful that if they signed cheques for evening school work they would be surcharged. At Plymouth all physical exercises were dropped because of the withdrawal of the grants for this subject. At Gillingham and Grange the numbers for 1900 were 260, while for 1901 they only reached 100. The age limit of the night school Minute had a bad effect in the cases of boys intending to enter the dockyard as apprentices.

Of the 250 School Boards which replied, only 132 gave full information and specific figures as to the number of enrolments, but these included the great School Boards of the country. Up to October, 1900—that was the beginning of the last session before the Cockerton Act—the total number of enrolments in these cases was 224,141. Up to October, 1901—that was the first part of the first session after the Cockerton Act—the enrolments were 190,363. That was a falling off of 34,000 pupils, and on a rough estimate he should say that when they came to examine the figures for the first year after the Cockerton Act they would find a falling off of 100,000 pupils. In the case of London he could give later figures showing similar results. The right hon. Gentleman said—Perhaps there has been a falling off in the matter of enroment, but we have opened as many schools. Then he went on to say—Perhaps the number has fallen off, but, at any rate, the attendance is better. When the right hon. Gentleman was asked whether it was better in London, he replied, "Yes." It might be better in one or two selected schools. What are the actual facts, not in regard to enrolment but in regard to the numbers present at all? Here I bring the figures down to 25th March, 1902. "The average attendance has increased" : that is the specific statement of the right hon. Gentleman, one of the few we have been able to procure from him.


I said over and over again that I could not possibly tell until the year was over; but that I could say, so far as my information, went, that the actual attendance had kept up.


All I can do now is to add to the right hon. Gentleman's information. Now, what are the facts? Up to the 25th March, 1901, whilst the average present at all our night schools was 58,632, on 25th March the average present at all was 55,238, or a falling off of 3,500, and the enrolments had fallen off 8,000. That was under a system by which not a single pupil was to be excluded from any night school in the future! The right hon. Gentleman tells us that the admissions may have increased or fallen off, but that the attendance was better because the students are more zealous. Now, I would like to know how many of these figures are figures for technical instruction in night schools which have never before been given in these Returns, and which have been put in to cover the balance of loss on account of the Minute of July 3rd of last year. What was struck out of that Minute? Ambulance, home nursing, and physical exercise. The Minute specifically stated that the special grant was not to be made for physical exercise. The statement made last year as to why it was struck out requires a little further elucidation. The right hon. Gentleman told me and told the Committee that it was due to abuses which had grown up under that physical exercise grant, and that one of these abuses was that there had been School Board balls under the guise of physical exercise. What are the facts? In under twenty classes out of 400 London School Board's night schools, at the end of the evening's work, very occasionally, and under the special sanction of the Inspectors of the Board of Education, the physical exercise took the form of an impromptu dance. That is the abuse which made it impossible for the right hon. Gentleman to continue the grant for physical exercise. There is scarcely a day on which I do not put this question to myself: "Why cannot we have in England the same administration in regard to education as we have in Scotland?" I wish the Scotch Education Department would lend the English Department Sir Henry Craik for six months. On November 20th, 1900, the Rev. Jacob Primer, a member of the Dunfermline School Board, wrote to the Board of Education in Scotland as follows— I have witnessed in ore of our burgh of Dunfermline schools as follows : Infants—Scotch reels, quadrilles, haymakers; Classes II. and III.—quadrilles; Classes IV. to VI. (girls only)—quadrilles, polka, Circassian circle—' [Great laughter.] Oh, there is worse to come— Boys of seven, eight and nine years, took the girls through the dances with their arms round their waists. Are such dances to he considered as included in a system of primary education? Is there to he any protection for the children of Christian parents who conscientiously object to dancing an relgious and moral grounds? The picture of boys of seven or eight dancing with their arms round the waists of girls of the same age certainly is not my idea of Caledonia stern and wild." Let us look at the reply of the Scotch Board of Education. The Secretary, Sir Henry Craik, says— I am directed to state that my Lords see no reason to object to the inclusion of dancing within the physical exercises forming part of a sell of cuiricuium. The extent to which it is carried, and the consideration of what is most suitable for the children, is a matter primarily for the School Board, and my Lords have no doubt that the Board will pay careful attention to these points. Now, that appears to me to be an eminently sensible reply; but we cannot get a reply like that from the English Board of Education under any circumstances. The other day the London School Board wrote to the Board of Education saying that there was a great demand for the teaching of swimming; that they had received formerly a special grant for swimming as a physical exercise under the Night School Code, and they asked whether the Board of Education would give them a special indulgence in regard to such a grant. What was the answer of the Board of Education? It was—of course I am paraphrasing the reply—that under all the circumstances the London School Board might have a special grant at the present time, but that they must teach the swimming on land : they must not teach it in the water.


I never saw such a letter.


Let me state the facts. This is our letter— 19th March, 1902. Shortly after Easter, the students of the evening continuation schools will be taught swimming and life-saving at the baths, the preparatory lesions on land having already been given. No grant is, however, payable at present according to the Minute of the 3rd July, 1901, but, having regard to the educational value of this useful and necessary subject, I am directed to ask that, as in the case of first aid, the Board of Education will he good enough to allow grant under Group VIII (v). The instruction has been, and will be given according to the enclosed syllabus, which, it will be observed, provides for the thorough instruction of the students in this branch of education. And here is a copy of the letter of the Board of Education— 26th April. I am directed to state that the Board of Education are prepared to recognise instruction in Parts I and II of Section 11 of the swimming and life-saving syllabus submitted therewith as eligible for giants under Article 17 of the Minute of the 3rd July, 1901, provided that the principal part of the instruction is in Part 11. The Board are not prepared to allow giants on any other part of the instruction given under this syllabus. Now I turn to the syllabus, which sets forth—Part I, for which we can have a grant, is instruction in the school in rescue drill on land. Part II, for which we can have a grant, is instruction in the resuscitation of the apparently drowned, on land. Part III, for which we cannot have any grant, is instruction at the swimming baths.


Resuscitation of the apparently drowned is not teaching swimming.


What I said was that the answer of the Board of Education was that you can have a grant if you teach the method on land.


No, you said swimming. What the Board of Education appears to have stated was that you could have a grant for teaching the resuscitation of the apparently drowned on land, but not in the water. That is quite a different thing.


The Vice-President began by saying that he knew nothing of this letter.


What I said was that I had never heard or seen any letter from the Board of Education which gave a licence to teach swimming on land and refused to license to teach swimming in water.


Part I of the syllabus says that the instruction in the school is to be rescue drill on land, Part II resuscitation of the apparently drowned, and Part III instruction at the swimming bath. I say it is a fair paraphrase of the letter of the Board of Education to say that we could have a grant for teaching swimming on land but not in water at the swimming bath. The contrast between Scotland and England need not be confined to matters of this sort. There are more serious matters. The Scotch Education Department permits the school rates to be spent on every conceivable education the School Board pleases. They may even build a university if they like. But in England we cannot spend the rates except on the most elementary education. Here are the subjects taught in the Glasgow School Board night schools : French, Latin, Greek, elocution. German, Gaelic, music, police classes, chemistry, steam, millinery, botany, modelling, weaving and drawing, pianoforte, gymnastics, fencing and physical drill, health and sick nursing, dancing and Spanish. The Blue-books of the Scotch Education Department show exactly the same thing. One of His Majesty's Inspectors of Schools in Scotland, Mr. Calder, says in his Report that what is being taught in the rate-aided night schools of Scotland is— Shorthand, typewriting, book-keeping, commercial arithmetic and geography, drawing, chemistry, mathematics, mensuration, higher English. Latin, French, German and Spanish, wood-carving and modelling in clay, military and physical drill, needlework, dressmaking, millinery, practical cookery, sick-nursing, laundry, and ambulance work. I want to know why we cannot spend the rates in England in night schools on the same subjects. There is another point. You can spend the rates in Scotland on any pupils of any age. We are not permitted to spend the rates on any pupils in a public elementary night school above the age of fifteen. There is one other contrast. In Scotland you may have, if the local authority chooses, freenight schools supported from the rates. Under the Minute of 3rd July of this year it is stated that— The Board of Education will not in general recognise schools in which no fees are charged, but they will be prepared, in certain cases, to approve of the remission of fees to individual students. In Scotland that is a matter for the locality entirely. If the local authority desires free night schools it may have them.

The policy of remitting fees in certain cases was a very invidious policy, and one which the Government threw over when it gave the country free education. Every day school, as he understood it, had the right to make night school grants if the locality would bear the rate. He had contested three School Boards elections and he always made free night schools the chief plank in his platform. If the right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President persisted in his unjustifiable attack on free night schools it would spell disaster to the night schools in London. In 1894 the number of enrolments was 48,000, in 1895 it was 50,000, in 1896 it was 57,000. Then the fees were abolished and the enrolment immediately went up to 110,000, and in the two years since then it had increased to 146,000. He desired to protest most emphatically against the difference in the treatment awarded to Scotland and that awarded to England in this matter of night schools, and against the delay at Whitehall which was characteristic of the administration of the Board of Education. The Vice-President had spoken of Whitehall as in times past having been a house divided against itself. It was more divided now than it had ever been in the seventy years of its existence. The night schools commenced work in the first week of last September; the managers commenced in great doubt and at once applied for recognition. Ten or eleven weeks after, on November 20th, the Board of Education issued in reply to that appeal for recognition, an appeal as to whether these schools were conducting themselves legally or not, a printed circular stating that in consequence of the number of applicants for recognition some time must elapse before the I apartment could determine the list of recognised schools. What was the position of many small schools? After waiting ten or eleven weeks to see if they were doing what was legal they were told some more time must elapse before they could get a reply. Never before had there been a time when they had not been answered within a fortnight or three weeks, and he was in a position to say that up to last Easter a number of these small schools had not been replied to. The result was, the managers of these small schools who had been signing the cheques, said to themselves—"Well, we may be wrong, so we will sign no more cheques;" and the whole thing was dropped. This was a result of the Board's not carrying out its administration in a prompt and efficient way, and if this part of education work should be dropped it would be due to the deliberate purpose of the Vice-President to put down elementary night schools in this country. He moved the reduction of the Vote by £100.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item A, I (Salaries, Wages, and Allowances) be reduced by 100. in respect of the Salary of the Vice-President of the Council. "—Dr. Macnamara.

*(4.22.) MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)

joined in the protest against the administration of the Board of Education. The Department bad now issued two small pamphlets, one dealing with the evening schools and one with the elementary day schools, and he submitted there was great neglect of detail and a lack of grasp and knowledge of the subject in dealing with the evening continuation schools on the one hand, and the organised science and art schools on the other, and there was a terrible doubt in the minds of the managers as to what the position of these schools was to be, as from the 31st of July this year to March next year, assuming the Bill now before the House was to become law. That position was not dealt with in the pamphlets to which he had referred. It was a matter of great difficulty, doubt, and anxiety, and that difficulty, doubt, and anxiety ought not to be allowed to exist by a competent Board of Education. He was therefore driven to the conclusion that the Board of Education was not efficient. In his speech the Vice-President had referred to nature studies. In the insect world there was a fly called the bee fly. It looked like a bee in every respect, and it hummed like a bee, but it was only a fly after all, and if he dared to draw a parallel he would say that in the Vice-President of Education at the present moment we had a Minister who looked like a Minister of Education and who talked like one, but who after all was far from being a Minister of Education. Upon other occasions the right hon. Gentleman had amused the House with sallies of wit and humour which covered and concealed the paucity of his information on the subject of education. Today his speech was exceedingly dull. The whole of the facts and figures which the right hon. Gentleman had given, which were accurate, had already been published in the Blue-books of the Department, and those which did not appear in the Blue books were not accurate.

He had been absolutely astonished by some of the "facts" given by the Vice-President with regard to the schools; and upon the question of pupil teachers he had been compelled to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman. There must be a pupil teaching system; the acolyte who was preparing for the profession of teaching must be given a training in the art and science of teaching coincident with his acquiring the general information and broad culture to which the right hon. Gentleman had referred. If it was done in another way, particularly with regard to the elementary schools—if it was endeavoured to take this professional and general culture in a sandwich system of a year in a higher school and a year in training—the country would not obtain a teacher with his heart in the work and who would be willing to remain in the elementary school, who, on the whole, would be as good as the pupil teachers who were being trained today in the centres to which the right hon. Gentleman had alluded. At almost every point of the right hon. Gentleman's speech today there had been errors of fact. Anyone who had listened to the right hon. Gentleman would have thought that only in his administration—in the last two or three years—had attempts been made to do away with the old system and to put inspection on a sound footing. But these and other reforms had long been pressed upon the Department by teachers, and some of them had begun long before the right hon. Gentleman came into office; and, although he might take credit for extending them in some degree, he could not take the whole credit of them. Every one of the reforms which the right hon. Gentleman had taken credit for had been pressed upon the Department in the time of his predecessors, and he defied the right hon. Gentleman to point to a single reform that he had mentioned that had not been pressed on the Department by teachers in the past. There was one point which the teachers of the public elementary schools felt very greatly at this moment, and that was the Order in Council in regard to the registration of teachers. He found in that Order of Council what he had noticed throughout the speech of the right hon. Gentleman this afternoon—a looking at the question of elementary education, from the point of view of secondary education, and a desire to subordinate the whole vast field of elementary education to the ideas and aims of one engaged in secondary education.

What was the plan of the right hon. Gentleman's speech this afternoon? To approach the question of elementary education by a long series of points directed to secondary education. He rejoiced in the fact that the Board of Education Act was passed, and he rejoiced in the reforms which had taken place at South Kensington, but where he parted company with the right hon. Gentleman was that the Vice-President had gone on to regard the great subject of elementary education, which had been detached absolutely from secondary education, and to administer it for the past two or three years, from the point of view of the secondary schools, as a preparation for the secondary schools; and it was not only preposterous and absurd, but harmful to look at it from that point of view alone. The real policy should be so to level up elementary education as to make the passage to the secondary schools easy for all. The proper duty of a Minister of Education was to improve elementary education and to organise a proper system of secondary education. He denied that the condition of secondary education of this country, as evidenced by the old grammar schools and the system of examination hitherto applied to them, was so good as to make it desirable to transform the elementary education of this country and bring it into line with them. The practice of the Vice-President was to belittle the school teachers and their work as greatly as he had belittled the work of the School Boards; but if he consulted his inspectors as to the teaching capacity of tin-teachers in the elementary schools, and the reports they had made for many years past, he would find those teachers were as competent as any in the world, and were as conversant with their work. But there had been a deliberate intention on the part of the Department to make a distinction between those teachers who had been teaching in elementary schools and those who had been engaged in non-elementary schools. In the scheme of registration of teachers which had been devised by the Department there were to be two columns—A and B. In column A were to be the names of those teachers who held the certificate of the Board of Education for employment in the public elementary schools, and in column B the names of all other teachers otherwise qualified. What were the other qualifications? Not merely high academic-degrees, but residence in a secondary training college. A teacher might have gained the highest academic distinctions, but, unless he had been to a secondary training college, or had taught in a school not an elementary school, then that highly-qualified person, full of years, experience, and attainments, could not go under column B, and the result must be the exclusion of some of the best teachers of the land. This policy of the Department was illustrated also in the handbook recently issued containing recommendations for secondary day schools. It was a policy of invidious exclusion from the secondary day schools of some of the best, most successful and highly qualified teachers in the land. Administration and policy were all of a piece. Their object was to magnify and glorify a highly defective system of secondary education, and, while magnifying and glorifying that, to depress correspondingly and to repress and be-little the system of elementary education in the land, in order to make it fit into that secondary education, only part of which, and that the most unsatisfactory part, was under the control of an Education Department of the most unsatisfactory and imperfect nature. When the endeavour was made to elicit from the right hon. Gentleman a statement which would help to redress some injustice in connection with an elementary school, no sympathy and scant help was received. A case in point was that of Mrs. Morgan, who had been mistress of a Church of England school in Worcestershire. This lady was nearly sixty-four years of age, and, if she had remained in the school until September, 1903, would have completed her sixty-fifth year, and could have retired on the meagre pension allowed by the State after forty five years service. She had not been long at the school, so the vicar could not say that, having been appointed when young, she had now grown too old to continue to hold her post; nor could it be said she was incompetent, because the inspector of the Board of Education had spoken of her work in the most complimentary terms. This lady, however, within fifteen or sixteen months of attaining superannuation age, had been dismissed, and failure had attended the efforts of at any rate one Bishop—if not two—to induce the vicar to change his mind. The matter was then brought before the right hon. Gentleman by Question, but his reply was simply that the Board of Education had no power to intervene. That was the stereotyped reply to complaints.

Last year, and the year before, a Bill was promised to prevent this sort of thing. If the right hon. Gentleman was less active in damaging higher forms of elementary education, and more ready to champion the cause of those who needed his championship, he would better ornament his position. Everybody who employed labour knew what it was to keep an old servant beyond the time at which he was really competent to do his work. But in this case the Board's inspector certified the teacher to be competent, and that she could remain in the school without damage to the institution for another fifteen months. Yet she was turned away without any allowance, at an age when it was almost impossible for her to obtain another school, without employment or resources. That treatment meted out to a servant of the State by a st ward of the State—because these managers who expended the money of the State were certainly stewards of the State—was such that no Member of the House would dream of meting out to a servant of his own. The Vice-President ought to have power to interfere in such cases, in order that injustices might be removed. He had ventured to speak in strong terms of the policy and work of the Vice-President, and to express his belief that the right hon. Gentleman was wrong in his facts and data. His fear always was that, instead of taking the trouble to acquaint himself with the facts, the right hon. Gentleman, hot-headed and off-handed, would place in a Code or Regulation or Minute some new arrangement with regard to the schools altogether unjustified by the circumstances of the case. It was because of that habit in the past that one looked forward with so much anxiety to what might occur in the future. But good would very likely come out of evil, because the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman towards "Cockertonising," and the Cockerton movement, had led to the Bill before the House under which there would be one local authority for all forms of education. It was to be hoped that that body would have power to prevent abuses of authority such as he had referred to, and to transfer not only scholars, but teachers from school to school. It would not, however, have power to transfer teachers if the abominably invidious and unfair distinction with regard to the entry in Column B upon the Register was maintained. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would express his Sympathy with the idea that all teachers who were qualified should be entered upon the register, notwithstanding what might be their experience in any one class of school.

*(4.54.) SIR. ALBERT ROLLIT (Islington, S.)

said that, while Members might be disposed to approve of the general principles of the speech of the Vice-President of the Council, the real point was as to the application of those principles in the work of administration. While he could not accept the figures which had been given as correctly indicating the reductions made in the evening continuation schools and classes, he desired to disclaim all sympathy with such reductions. Whether legal or illegal, the work of these schools and classes was most useful, and it was done at a time when no other body was doing it; and work of that character was entitled to the gratitude, and even approval, of all who were interested in the education of the country. With regard to the limitation of the school age to fifteen, no such arbitrary term should be fixed from an educational point of view. It depended entirely on the educational development of the scholar, and any such limitation would not be in the interest of education. The great object should be to retain the scholars longer at school, rather than to shorten the term; and if they were suitable but not ready to enter the secondary schools, facilities should be provided for the continuance of their primary schooling. There was a constant disposition to vibrate between the two extremes as to the relative value of mere inspections and examinations, whether internal or external. One great object of examinations was to test not merely the scholars but also the teachers. The right hon. Gentleman had expressed in very general terms approval of the examination by the teacher of his own work, but he (the hon. Member) thought that system was hardly open to such general commendation. Some external test of those who are taught, of those who teach, of the results of their work, and of the justification of the policy and expenditure of Parliament, was of very material importance. While there were extremes to which it should not be taken, examination as a whole was a rough, but still a good test of what was being accomplished, and personally he would be very sorry if in any material degree it was removed from those schools with which Parliament had to deal. Then in regard to grants for special purposes, there might have been excesses, but they were a useful form of encouragement to both scholars and teachers, which had its value, and he was not altogether in favour of dealing with schools on an entirely different system.

Passing from these somewhat critical observations, he desired to express full approval of the extension—if not the change—which had been made in dealing with evening schools by the new regulations in relation to commercial subjects. For many years it had been felt by some Members that the Science and Art grants might usefully be extended to elementary commercial training, or rather training in subjects with a commercial aspect. He had often felt that while the productive side of education had been most properly provided for, the distributive side, which was equally important, had not been similarly dealt with. When one remembered that throughout foreign countries, and particularly in the United States, great attention had been given to commercial training, it was a matter of regret that so little had been done in that direction in this country. When he visited the high commercial schools in all quarters of the continent and saw the work which they were doing, and the great advantage which the various States derived from those schools, he certainly felt that this country was behind the times in commercial education, and at any rate the elementary foundations of better commercial training ought to be laid in connection with their secondary and evening classes and schools.

He was very glad that these steps had been taken. Although there might be a plurality of causes of commercial competition, in view of the great competition they had to meet, he thought higher commercial instruction should be given under a wide system such as existed in other countries, not so much for the simple education of clerks and others, but for the education of ultimate heads of Departments and captains of industry, who had done so much in the past to advance the commerce of various foreign countries. He read, therefore, with interest and pleasure that the regulations contemplated, among other things, instruction in drawing in the evening classes, in English, book-keeping, geography, etc., and French and German, and other languages. They desired that all those subjects should be taught upon proper principles, and although many of the subjects might be of a utilitarian character, he did not think it was impossible that even book-keeping might be made disciplinary and a source of intellectual training if properly taught. With reference to geography and history, if anyone thought of the educational effect of commercial history and geography they would conclude that it was about time that this was made a subject of more general instruction. He did not mean geography in the sense of simply knowing the various capital towns, but in knowing—say—something of the configuration and possibilities of the development of the different portions of the world, in having a knowledge of the old trade routes and the new markets and routes which had been re-established since the construction of the Suez Canal, which was one cause of the commercial changes which they saw going on. All the subjects he had mentioned and many others were full of the deepest interest and were excellent subjects for instruction. With regard to French and German and other languages he would only say that languages were the instruments of international trade, and our want of acquaintance as a nation with the languages of other nations had been a distinct detriment to our commercial operations in the past. If the Leader of the House had been in his place he would have added a word about the great service which the right hon. Gentleman did for commercial instruction when, at the request of a deputation which waited upon him, he promised, and carried out that promise, that the metric system of weights and measures, the absence of which had been a great obstacle to international trade, should be taught in their schools.

There was another matter in connection with the teaching of these commercial subjects. He desired to say that in a correspondence he had had with the Department of his right hon. friend, the inclusion of all these subjects had taken place upon the condition that they should be properly taught by well-qualified teachers. They accepted that condition most completely. Those who advocated more commercial instruction had no desire to degrade the standard of education, for their object was to raise it. They recognised most completely that the intellectual demands of modern business were of the most exacting character, and if the right hon. Gentleman would lay the foundation for this demand by requiring a high standard of qualification for teachers, he would have the utmost support from those who desired that there should be more commercial subjects in their curricula with a view to training for commercial pursuits. They wished to enlarge the basis in regard to what business demanded, and qualify the people in a higher degree for performing those duties, both in the interests of the people and of the State. With regard to the training of teachers, he desired that they should have the fullest opportunities, and that they should be enabled to possess the highest qualifications. He did not think they had always taken care that the conditions of their service promoted that result. Until quite recently the remuneration of teachers had been inadequate, and in many cases are so still, and the want of superannuation, and the doubtful nature of their tenure had prevented them from giving a free mind to their work. But they all hoped that under the Bill now before the House the local authorities would be able to see that proper provision was made for the teachers, because what the teachers were, so would the schools be, and unless they gave opportunities to their teachers in the way of training, they would not get the education which was necessary. He regretted some of the remarks which had been made about the pupil teacher system. He was aware that the system was open to criticism, but, nevertheless, they had hitherto had to make the best of it, and it was a disappointment to him that, in his own constituency at that moment, an attempt was being made to surcharge persons who had been doing their best to improve the status and capabilities of the teachers by erecting, as the School Board had most wisely done, a Pupil Teachers' Central Training School. Such things were; discordant with the views and aspirations of the House in regard to public education, and as was the case last year, he hoped something would be done to secure what was absolutely necessary, namely, the best education possible for those concerned. He hoped that when they came to discuss the Education Bill in Committee, those things would not be left out of consideration. He hoped they would not be left too vague in the Bill, for it ought to be suggestive and indicate principles in dealing with them so that local authorities would not be afraid to do those things, and they ought to be clearly commissioned by Parliament to do what this House believed to be necessary without the perils of surcharge. Taking the right hon. Gentleman's speech as a whole, in a sense, it indicated new departures, and although, the majority of them were open to approval some courses of action were indicated which might call for some criticism. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman indicated what he was satisfied was the feeling of the House—whether from the higher or intellectual or from the more commercial or material point of view, viz., that education of the people of this country was their most important object and duty. They all recognised that whatever battles they might have to fight in the future the great clash of forces would be upon commercial questions, and it was the people best equipped for that purpose, and those who were in consequence of education the most alert and quick in character and action, that would be likely to try to obtain the predominance which England now enjoyed, and which it was their duty through education and commercial knowledge to endeavour to the very utmost to maintain.

*(5.12.) LORD EDMUND FITZMAUR, ICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)

said he was anxious to say a few words upon points which had been raised, although the condition of the House itself at the moment was a proof that most hon. Members felt that many of the questions which were usually debated at very considerable length, and sometimes with very strong feelings upon the Education Estimates, were more likely to find a proper place during the discussion of the clauses of the Education Bill which was now before Parliament. The observations which had fallen from his hon. friend the Member for South Islington were a proof of that statement. The hon. Member had alluded, for example, to the question of the training of teachers, and more especially to the pupil teacher question. Last year he placed upon the Notice Paper a Motion to reduce the salary of the right hon. Gentleman opposite in order to raise the question of training colleges, and more especially the grievance which the children of Nonconformist parents suffer from. This was a question which would be brought up in connection with the earlier clauses of the Education Bill, and therefore he would not take up the time of the Committee discussing that question at the present moment. There were, however, some other matters which were not mixed up with the clauses of the Education Bill to which allusion might properly be made and to which allusion had already been made. For example there was the question which his hon. friend the Member for Nottingham had mentioned in regard to the registration of teachers, He was not inclined to agree with the hon. Member that a slur would be cast upon a teacher by being placed in one part of the register. But unfortunately there was a feeling in the profession of elementary teachers that this arrangement was one that might place them at some disadvantage in regard to other classes of the profession. He was inclined to think that it would be desirable for the Minister of Education to consider whether some other arrangement might not be made which would not be viewed with disfavour by a class of teachers who played so useful a part in the education of the country.

He desired to say a few words in regard to the Order in Council which had recently been placed on the Table of the House in regard to the duties which the Council would take over almost immediately, if it had not already done so, from the Charity Commissioners. He expressed the hope that they might receive some assurance that at no distant date all this work would be placed under one Department, and that the transfer of a portion of the duties of the Charity Commissioners to the Education Department would eventually be followed up by the complete consolidation of the duties of the two offices; because he could not help fearing that under the present arrangement there would be very great delay when they had to deal with endowments. He understood that if they approached the question of endowments from the education side, they would go to the Education Office; but the moment it was a question concerning property, there would be another office to consult, and that delay would arise on account of the Departments having to communicate with each other. There was also a strong feeling in the House, and he believed in the country, that it would be of advantage if the Charity Commissioners had a regular Parliamentary representative in the House. At, present, when Questions relating to that Department were asked, some Member—not a member of the Government—replied from the Bench behind Ministers. He thought the transference of work which had already taken place might simply be regarded as a first and important step in that direction.

Speaking on the question of evening continuation schools, which had attracted most attention today, he said his hon. friend the Member for North Camberwell had fully proved his case up to this point—that in many cases where the School Boards had decided not to apply to take on the work which had been hit at, so to speak, by the celebrated Cockerton judgment, the work had suffered very severely; but he was of opinion that in those cases where the School Boards had exercised the option given to them by the Act of last year, of asking to continue the work, no harm did result. Some justification was required from the Government of the causes which had led to these matters being, as it were, chucked backward and forward between the County Council on the one hand and the School Board on the other. What educational advantage had crime from all those minute and intricate points which had been forced upon the House and the country and the teaching profession by the proceedings of Mr. Cockerton? He had been told that Mr. Cockerton, was an independent auditor, and a stern-hearted man with a high sense of duty, who never received any hint to raise this question; but certainly it was a very remarkable thing that all these troublesome points should suddenly have been raised, and there was a strong suspicion, which all the assurances given in the House would hardly a lay, that Mr. Cockerton was encouraged to take the steps he did with the view of bringing the subject-matters to a point. In any case, he desired to protest against the harm which had been done by the uncertainty introduced two years ago into a state of things which had worked perfectly well and had gone on with the knowledge and, so far as could be judged, with the approval of the Education Department itself. His hon. friend the Member for South Islington alluded to a recent case, and to the harm that had arisen from it. The hon. Member did not speak with any desire to make Party capital against the Government. The hon. Member spoke as an educationist. Thank heaven, the energies of Mr. Cockerton had not been directed against the useful decision that many things could be done under the Clause 7 of the Science and Art Department; but after the proceedings of that gentleman in other matters, they had been trembling in the County Council offices lest he should start a campaign against them. Let them hope that in any case they had heard the last of Mr. Cockerton. He desired to protest in regard to the past, in the hope that it might be some encouragement to the Education Office to put a check on that gentleman, or any other gentleman who might think of making a similar campaign. He had had a good deal to do with Local Government Board auditors. They were a useful body, but they could not he relied upon to take the same view of the same questions for a long period of years. Speaking as the Chairman of a County Council, he could state that it sometimes happened that one auditor ordered the accounts to be kept a certain way, and then another auditor disallowed the accounts, because he said they were not properly kept. What was really required in regard to the auditors was that there should be more control by the Department which appointed them. There should be some exchange of views between them, and they should not act so much independently of each other. There should, in fact, be a college of auditors. He wished to ask a question with respect to the important question of fees in the evening continuation schools. There was an important change in the evening school code, which appeared to order that in such schools fees should be paid. Many hon. Members regarded these schools from different points of view. To some an evening school conveyed the idea, say in the city of London, of a place attended by persons of already high education who only desired to complete their education. To him it convoyed an absolutely different idea—a place like Salisbury Plain, where the children of a lot of poor agricultural labourers attended, where the value of education had not yet got a great hold on the affection and imagination of the people themselves, and where it was with the utmost difficulty that they could be got to send their children to school. His view was that if they insisted on the payment of fees, and especially in the rural districts, at the evening schools, they might as well in many places put up the shutters at once. He gathered from a letter which he had seen two days ago, addressed by the Department to the secretary of his own county committee, that if 25 per cent. of the expenses of these evening continuation schools was paid by the county authority, this would be considered an adequate subscription, and would save them from being hit by the rule. It would be a great relief if the Vice-President would explain exactly what was intended in regard to this matter.

(5.30.) MR. ERNEST GRAY (West Ham, N.)

said he desired to endorse as strongly as he could what had been said with regard to the village evening schools. He hoped if this debate served no other purpose it would give the Vice-President an opportunity of removing some of the doubts which prevailed with regard to these schools. He entirely agreed that not only in many of our rural communities would the night schools put up their shutters, but that that would be done in the poorer districts of our large towns. He was not one of those who believed that all school work should be free, for in many of the fee-paying schools the work was better done than in the free schools. The pupils worked better, and the average attendance undoubtedly improved where a small fee was charged. But in the poorer and slum districts of London and other large towns, and in many village districts, to demand a fee from some children and not from others—to make a distinction between those who could pay and those who could not—must mean the closing of the night schools altogether. He could not think that that was the object of the Board of Education. He wished to take up the question to which the last speaker had referred. He wanted to invite the representative of the Government to clear the Government from the charge, which had been made against them for the last two or three years, that they had instigated the Cockerton movement. That might have been done in this House, though he had not been present to hear it; but he knew that the allegation had, been made repeatedly, in the press and at public meetings, that it was the policy of the present Government to cut down to the narrowest limits the work of elementary education, and that the right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President of the Council was the person responsible. He did not repeat the statement as his own belief, because he knew it was contrary to fact altogether. So far as he knew, the Cockerton judgment was got through the action of the Association of Head Masters. The whole question was one of pure law, and the Government had nothing to do with the decision thereof;: but the Government, acting in accordance with the judgment of the Courts of Law, were bound to support their officer by the legal machinery at their disposal. That, so far as he knew, was the only part which the Government had taken in the Cockerton judgment—they neither instigated it nor defended it, except in the way in which every servant of the Government was defended. But the main idea running through the whole of the public discussions on the education question was that the Cockerton judgment was part of the policy of the Government to restrain education work within certain limits. He invited the right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President, before the debate closed, to say definitely that the Government had nothing to do with that judgment from beginning to end. He was anxious that allegations of that sort should not be used, as they had been used, mischievously for party purposes. They had been utilised for the purpose of instilling suspicion into the minds of the public, and introducing into School Boards an element of doubt, which tended to destroy all their action in the present and limit it for the future, because it was said that they never knew what the Government were going to do —whether the Government would not put Mr. Cockerton on to some other phase of popular School Board activity. That opinion had been strengthened by a decision of the Courts just before Easter, in regard to pupil teacher centres.

He wanted the Government to say definitely what was to be their attitude for the next three or four years in regard to pupil teacher centres. Surely the Vice-President must know that the decisions which were given on Easter eve had led many School Boards to fear that they might not be able to carry on their pupil teacher centres, and that they were at their wits end to know what was to be done to discharge their legal obligation to train the pupil teachers. What were they to do? Were they to revert to the old practice which had been condemned by everybody, and by no one more strongly than the right hon. Gentleman himself, of tuition for an hour before school time, an hour between school times, and then two or three hours later on—each little group of teachers in their own particular school? Were they to revert to that, or were they to continue the pupil teacher centres until all branches of education were placed under the one authority which the Education Bill proposed to set up? The Committee must recollect that the Education Bill would not come into operation until 31st March next, and schemes would have to be settled under it, but these could not come into force until the close of 1904, or possibly the spring of 1905. What was to be done in the interval? The Board of Education had power to suspend the judgment of the Court surcharging the members of School Boards for certain expenditure in connection with these pupil teacher centres. Might that expenditure continue? The question was how they were to train their teachers. It was not only a School Board question. He knew that whenever the suppression of a School Board was referred to, his right hon. friend regarded it with approval, but he would remind him that many of those pupil teacher centres were carried on for the benefit also of the voluntary schools. If the pupil teachers were thrown back on the hands of the managers to train, these had not the machinery to do it properly. In fact they were in a worse rather than in a better position than before the pupil teacher centres were established. The pupil teacher centre system was a great improvement on the old. A fairly large number of pupil teachers were drawn together in these centres, so that their academical training might be carried on with that enthusiasm which arose naturally when a good number of students were engaged on the same tasks, but which did not arise when a student was working alone. Strangely enough, the Vice-President seldom made a speech in the House without making some remark intended, he supposed, to be a joke, but which severely hurt the feelings of people who were honestly trying to do the work and carry out the behests of the Board over which the right hon. Gentleman presided. He said that the pupil teachers were not wanted in these schools, that they merely sharpened pencils, and that some of the schools did not even count these pupil teachers. It might be necessary to explain that Article 73 of the Code required that in a day school there should be a minimum number of teachers. In many of the large Boards the fact was recognised that young persons under the age of eighteen ought not to be entrusted with the school care of the children, and, therefore, they employed a certain number of teachers, although they did not count them on the staff. They were in excess of the minimum staff. The pupil teachers were necessary for the assistance of the adult teachers, and if they were removed there would be the greatest difficulty in carrying on some of the schools. There were some thousands of pupil teachers who went to the schools one half of the week, and the other half of the week they spent at the pupil teacher centres, where they acquired knowledge. Some people imagined that when the new educational authority was in force the whole question could be settled by having the pupil teachers trained in a secondary school of the ordinary type; but he very much doubted whether such a system would achieve the best results. Indeed, he doubted whether it would be possible for any well-organised secondary school to take in a large draft of persons, who would necessarily be absent from the school for a large part of the week, acquiring their practical training in special schools. He hoped the day was not far distant when pupil teacher centres would throw their doors open to other students in arts and literature, who were not necessarily going to be teachers in after life. There must necessarily be attached training schools in which these young persons might obtain practice in the art which they were afterwards to profess.

He was notvery hopeful of getting any statement from the Government as to what its policy would be until the new Bill came into operation. All he could say was there was a feeling of very deep anxiety experienced by the teachers who were conducting these schools, and by the guardians of those young persons who had allowed them to enter into this profession, and who were now looking with grave dismay as to their future prospects; and a feeling of very grave doubt on the part of the conductors of these classes as to what was to happen. Apparently no light whatever was to be gained from the Vice-President as to the view his Department took. It was a somewhat difficult situation. A policy of drift was being adopted and they had heard nothing since Easter. He should have thought one of the first things the Vice-President would have said would have been that the Government would have been prepared to adopt a particular line of policy with regard to these great institutions, which were well equipped secondary schools, and what they proposed to do with them until the new machinery was in full operation.

Just one or two words on another subject, which the Vice-President might have referred to at greater length, the admirable work which was now being done by the Board of Education with regard to the inspection of secondary schools. He himself believed that one of the most useful measures passed was the Board of Education Act of 1899, under which it became possible to inspect secondary schools. That gave the opportunity to the professional classes, which the artisan classes had had since 1870. Every labourer and working man who sent his child to a public elementary school knew that that school had a certificate of efficiency from the Board of Education, but it was not until 1899 that an opportunity of that kind was given to the vast number of private schools termed secondary. He did not think it was generally understood that the inspection of the Board of Education could not be forced on secondary schools; it came by invitation. The parents should know that they could bring pressure to bear upon the authorities of the schools at which their children were educated to invite the Board of Education to come and inspect them. Professional men, solicitors, and barristers in small practice sent their children to these schools and paid £30, £40, or £50 a year for them, and no guarantee was given to them of the syllabus, which might be much or little. The report was from the inspector privately selected by the governors of the school, and might be worthless or otherwise, but they ought to have, and now had, a right of putting pressure upon the authorities of the school to secure adequate inspection—an inspection which would not be an examination of the capacity of the individual child, but an inspection of the methods of teaching, an inspection of the sanitary condition of the school buildings, and an inspection of the governing body, of their accounts, and to see whether they were husbanding their resources properly; in fact, an inspection of every portion which went to make up a secondary school and its work, carried out by some of the most competent men to be secured throughout the country. He would venture to draw attention to the fact that if they wanted these thoroughly competent men of great authority and recognised standing in every branch of study, they would have to go to gentlemen outside the Department, and gentlemen who had turned thirty-five years of age, and he ventured to suggest that they never would get for the work of inspection a thoroughly efficient and effective staff until they dropped the absurd regulation which prohibited the engagement by the State of men over the age of thirty-five. He pressed the Board of Education to revise this rule in order that they could get for both secondary and elementary work the very best men the country could produce for the work of inspection. He was glad to hear from the Vice-President that those engaged in the inspection of secondary schools were also to inspect primary schools in the same district. If a poor secondary school desired to have inspection by the Board of Education or by a University expert, they, as a rule, were compelled to pay a heavy fee, and he wanted to know whether it had been agreed by the Treasury that where the authorities of a poor school could not afford to pay the fee for inspection, the Treasury would undertake to inspect the school.

He had always felt that the money which we had at our disposal, if properly used, could carry out far more than it had accomplished in the pas. It was not the dearth of money, but the way in which it was expended. Some of the schools just on the border line between efficiency and inefficiency were those who very often could not afford the fifty guineas required for the inspection, but thirty or forty guineas spent every year by the Treasury in inspection might be the means of saving families in that district from being defrauded, and might be the means of screwing up the school to a state of efficiency, and giving the people of the middle classes a chance of realising that after all there was some direct good to be got out of the action the State was taking in regard to popular education. A suggestion occurred to him in regard to what the Vice-President had said with reference to the Victoria and Albert Museum. He had never been quite able to understand why the Board of Education had not inaugurated in England that which had produced such excellent results in many countries abroad, school museums, which were not expensive and which were exceedingly Useful. He instanced such museums in Switzerland. He had seen these museums and had often wished we had them in this country. They would afford teachers of the secondary and elementary schools an opportunity of seeing how they could put together useful apparatus at trifling cost. He hoped the Vice-President of the Council would give some assurance that evening schools might continue, that pupil teacher centres should not have to fear collapse pending the establishment of new authorities, and that he would say a few words of encouragement to those who were passing through a time of great trouble and trial in the educational world owing to conflicting judgments and delay in legislation.

(6.8.) MR. WHITLET (Halifax)

desired to make an appeal on behalf of, not the clever, but the dull or the average child, who, he thought, was being neglected by the present policy of the Vice-President of the Council. The Minute of last year had been followed by a second step, going even farther in the same direction. He could not be accused of undervaluing technical education, because he was one of the founders of technical schools, and one of those who supported them before they were taken over by the municipalities. He pleaded for those who became the Hooligans of our streets, who were driven into the streets when their day's work was done. He had for many years studied what could be done for this unfortunate class of lads from the age of about thirteen up to nineteen, to see how they could be drawn into the schools and be given a healthy training, and his complaint was that the Board of Education did not take into account the fact that these lads had worked their ten hours in a factory before they came to the schools. He had found that the only proper way to deal with such persons as these was to teach as little as possible by book work, and as much as possible by eye, and ear, and hand, and above all let this be carried on side by side with physical instruction. The result of the code of the 3rd of July last year was to penalise such subjects as physical instruction, history, and geography, and every subject which to his mind went to build up a good citizen of the country. And the tendency of the Department in this regard had arisen from the mistaken policy of putting all the evening schools under the class of technical schools. The action of the Board of Education had resulted in dropping into the streets of our towns for years a large number of those who for many years had preferred to come to the schools. The grant for physical instruction in these schools up to the present year was the attendance grant, and was a penny per hour per school. That was all the State paid at the particular age when it was necessary to decide whether the pupil should grow up a good citizen or should be thrown on the streets. He was connected with eleven schools, which had 2,000 scholars; and, although he considered the Minute a bad one—and he had opposed it to the best of his ability when it was passed—the first thing he did was to go down and persuade everybody connected with the system to do their best for the new system, and make the best of what he considered to be a bad change. Although the Committee was obliged to give up the schools, they were carried on by the Technical Instruction Committee. They looked at the schools from a different point of view—that of feeders to the technical schools. They very properly thought they could not take over the physical instruction in these schools, which was one of the attractions to get these lads into them, if the two things were carried on together. But the right hon. Gentleman, with his wretched Minute of last year, had condemned physical instruction altogether. This work was practically thrown over, and, but for half-a-dozen public-spirited individuals who said they would rather bear the expense themselves than see it given up entirely, would have been completely stopped in his constituency. The right hon. Gentleman was making the code and regulations tend to the advantage simply of the clever and studious boys, while they drove out of the schools the average dull and rough boys, who, according to his experience, were the very best material to deal with. By physical and mental instruction being combined in a proper way, these boys could be converted from Hooligans into the very best members of society. The persons now carrying on the work in his constituency were practically of that type, who in their younger days were gathered in from the streets, and were now anxious to extend to their successors in the schools the benefits they then received. Unless satisfactory assurances were given that the policy of the last two years would be reversed, he should certainly vote for the reduction.

(6.18.) MR. BABTLEY (Islington, N.)

agreed very largely with the views which had been expressed in regard to evening schools. A good many years of his life had been spent at the Education Department, and he then felt that the evening schools' work was about the most important of the educational system of the country. His view at that time was that compulsory education might possibly with advantage begin rather with the evening schools, so that boys and girls, for a year or two after leaving day school, should attend one or two evenings a week so as not to lose the rudimentary knowledge they had, and also be kept out of a good deal of mischief, and be trained just at that period of life when teaching had some real and practical effect. He should be extremely sorry to think that anything the Government had done had in any way injured the evening continuation schools. The Cockerton judgment, however, had nothing to do with the Government, but still he would be sorry if that decision interfered with the promotion of such schools. Every effort should be made to extend them, and, although he had never been an advocate of freeing these schools, believing that a small payment would very often increase the bonâ fide attendance, if poverty prevented children going to them he would prefer to see them free.

The Committee, he believed, hardly realised the enormous departure now being made by the grants to the new secondary schools. He fully agreed as to the advantages of these schools being inspected. Not only did he believe it was an advantage that schools, of whatever class, should be publicly inspected, but he would allow the cost of such inspection to be borne by taxation. This cost was a very serious item to many schools, and it would be a great advantage if it was defrayed without any subscription being required from the locality. But when that was said he thought enough had been done. He could not understand why they should be almost forcing public grants on all schools. Practically all schools, if they chose to comply with the regulations, could get the grants. Why should a large part of the secondary education of all classes of the community be paid for out of public funds? The Girls Public Day School Company was established about thirty years ago for the purpose of improving the education of girls of all classes. That Company now had about forty schools, with 7,000 or 8,000 pupils, had paid its way all along, and was at present paying a dividend of 4 per cent. Last year about one-fourth of the dividend was absolutely paid out of taxation in the shape of the large grants given by the Board of Education. That was not an impecunious Company; the fees of the pupils amounted to fifteen guineas a year; and he could not understand where the authority came from to pay so large a part of the cost of educating the children of people who were sufficiently well to do to pay such fees. According to the recent Minute, public grants of from 80s. to 180s. were to be paid for all pupils for a period of not more than four years. There were thousands, or even millions, of these children, and it was a very startling departure from the general idea of legislation that a system of secondary education should now be begun, the cost of which was to fall entirely on Imperial taxation and the local rates. The words which formerly barred schools carried on for private profit had been omitted from the Minute. If the omission was intentional, it meant that all those schools were to participate in these grants. If that was not intended, it meant that the private adventure schools, which had done so much good work, would be practically ruined by the competition of these rate-aided and State-aided schools. That was neither a right nor a wise step to take. The right hon. Gentleman had said that every variety of school should be encouraged. Nothing had done more for the benefit of education than the various classes of secondary schools which had existed, but if the private adventure schools were to be killed, and schools established and carried on by the rates and Imperial grants, there would be a stereotyped sec of secondary, just as there was of elementary, schools. Moreover, the cost would be very great indeed. In the debates of 1870 the general idea was that the grants should be limited to the working classes. That principle had been altogether departed from, and, considering the enormously increased expenditure now going on, it was somewhat startling that, without any direct order from Parliament, it should be proposed to defray the cost of the secondary education of all classes out of the public purse. The middle classes were quite able and willing to pay for the education of their children, and it was most unreasonable that, by the State paying these grants, the risk should be run of destroying a great number of private adventure schools, and the burden of taxation enormously increased. He was greatly interested in education, and no one could say he had not shown anxiety for its promotion, but he certainly thought it was an utter mistake to take the step now contemplated. It would not tend to make-education more popular; and, with this additional demand on the Exchequer, it would be idle to talk about reducing the burdens on the State, as Members were so fond of doing.

*(6.30.) MR. STEVENSON (Suffolk, Eye)

said he wished to raise a matter of very considerable importance connected with the promotion of secondary education, and the question of ensuring its efficiency. The present system involved the perpetuation of a grave injustice to one particular class of the educational community. He wished to call attention to the conditions of tenure of assistant masters in the secondary endowed schools. The object they all had in view was to secure that every opportunity and encouragement should be given to the best men to take part in the educational work of those schools; but the power of arbitrary dismissal which now rested with the head masters of secondary schools, operated to the prejudice of those who otherwise would desire to take part in the work of education. It was obvious that the responsibility for this state of things now rested with the Board of Education, and whatever legislative changes might be introduced, the ultimate responsibility would continue to rest at Whitehall, and any appeal which might be devised to give assistant masters protection against arbitrary dismissal would have to be made to Whitehall. He was not sure whether the answer which the right hon. Gentleman gave a few weeks ago with respect to the dismissal of assistant masters from the Merchant Taylors' School, was intended to be of a final character with reference to the policy of the Department in regard to this matter. The right hon. Gentleman said that the Board had never been able to devise a plan of appeal which could properly be inserted in a scheme. But it was high time that such a plan should be devised, and it was exactly one of those questions which could usefully be referred to the Consultative Committee, and this afforded them an excellent opportunity of discussing a scheme of this kind. Recently a joint deputation of assistant masters and head masters had urged upon the right hon. Gentleman the desirability of this question of security of tenure being brought before the Consultative Committee, to enable them to discuss a practical scheme. The right hon. Gentleman then gave a negative answer, which he hoped was not final, because if the Consultative Committee was to do any good, surely this was one of the matters which might most fittingly be referred to it for discussion and settlement.

He was not quite sure that the right hon. Gentleman appreciated the gravity of this question. In former years he believed it was not the custom to give the arbitrary powers of dismissal to head masters. This was shown by a letter written by Mr. Richmond on behalf of the Endowed Schools Commissioners in 1872. They had now got beyond an appeal to the governors of the schools, and what they wanted was an appeal to the Board of Education. He did not know at what time the Endowed Schools Commissioners made this change. The theory was that the governors were able to dismiss the head master without reason given, and the head master was able to dismiss the assistant masters without reason given. In practice this system had not worked well, because in some schools the assistant masters in regard to qualifications were upon the same level as the head masters. Therefore it was unjust that assistant masters should be liable to dismissal without any appeal whatsoever. In the majority of cases, of course, head masters did not abuse their power of arbitrary dismissal; but the system had not worked well. All that the assistant masters asked for was a right to appeal to the Board of Education. He had particulars, with all of which he would not trouble the House, of fifteen cases in which the arbitrary dismissal of assistant masters had occurred within the last few years. In 1890 and 1894, at different schools, the appointment of a new head master was followed by the dismissal of the whole staff without any reason being assigned. One of the men dismissed had had thirty-five years experience in the school; and all were honours men of Oxford or Cambridge. In 1899 there was a case of a head master who, retiring with a pension, dismissed the whole staff at the beginning of his last term, because he was in doubt as to his legal liability in the event of the staff not being retained by the new head master.

These cases showed the abuses which arose under the present system, and it seemed to him that the right hon. Gentleman ought to apply his mind to this question, and those who sat upon the Consultative Committee might also consider it. The present system was injurious to secondary education, and worked grievous wrongs in individual cases. If the grievances of the assistant masters were remedied a good deal would be done to further the cause of secondary education. It must not be supposed that the head masters as a body were hostile to this reform, because many of the most prominent head masters had taken the strong view that there ought to be an appeal. The present Archbishop of Canterbury had repeatedly stated his opinion that there ought to be a right of appeal in these eases. Had he quoted the whole of the fifteen cases, which he could have done had time permitted, the right hon. Gentleman would have seen at once that many of them deserved his immediate attention. In the case of the Merchant Taylors' School one of the dismissed assistant masters under the pension scheme would have to pay premiums for nine years after his dismissal, and this without the possibility of obtaining work in other schools. The men who were dismissed were very often about forty-five to fifty years of age, who had served faithfully in the schools, and who had had great educational experience. It did not always follow that a head master who had better degrees was the best teacher, for the capacity for imparting knowledge was no less important than the knowledge itself. So long as a new head master was able to come with an entirely new staff and turn out arbitarily, without compensation, the old staff, there must be a complete break of continuity in the educational work in that particular instance, and a very grave injustice must be done to those teachers who were dismissed. This system must have the effect of preventing the best men from embarking upon an educational career, and that was a result which by every possible means in their power they ought to endeavour to avert.

(6.45.) MR. MACVEAGH (Down, S.)

called the attention of the Vice-President to the case of the school in connection with St. Patrick's Benevolent Society, which he understood was in receipt of an annual grant from the Educational Department. That school was founded without any religious distinction whatever in connection with the educational work, the condition being that its operations should be conducted among the poorer classes of Irish children in London. He need scarcely point out that the poorer class of Irish in London belonged to the Catholic Church, but in this school no Catholic teacher was engaged, although inducements were held out to Catholic children to attend the school. He submitted, therefore, that the school was not conducted in accordance with the spirit of the bequest, and that it had become a proselytising institution. He was sure the right hon. Gentleman would recognise the necessity of making close inquiry into the case before further grants were given to the school. On 24th March he asked a question with regard to the school, and the reply he received was that the Charity Commissioners had no record of the history of the school.


If the hon. Member will communicate with me I will take Care that the matter is inquired into.

MAJOR RASCH (Essex, Chelmsford)

said the question of the security of tenure of teachers was one which involved great hardship, and he did not see why it should not be remedied. Teachers might be dismissed for all sorts of reasons, and what was wanted was the right of appeal to the right hon. Gentleman at Whitehall. The Vice-President sympathised with them in a more or less platonic way, but he had not got further. He did not see why the right hon. Gentleman should not bring in a Bill to remedy this injustice.

(6.50.) SIR JOSEPH LEESE (Lancashire, Accrington)

said the history of this question of security of tenure was a very curious one. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would be able to find some way out of the difficulty. He suggested that a provision should be put in the Education Bill which would give to teachers what was really their right in this matter.

MR. GODDARD (Ipswich)

said he was glad that the important question of the evening continuation schools had been raised by the hon. Member for North Camberwell. There was scarcely a more important question which could be discussed at the present time, and it ought to be realised how the policy of the Government was really injuring these schools. He knew there were some who minimised the harm that was being done, but the fact remained that these schools, since the Minute came into force, had diminished both in the number of students and the work they did, and that there was really no available substitute. He found from the figures with respect to Ipswich that the pupils were less by seventy-four, the class entries were less by 207, and five classes had been abandoned. These were facts they could not get behind. The right hon. Gentleman said, "Oh! but these pupils go into the technical classes of the Corporation." As a matter of fact they did not go there, and the reason was a very simple one which could easily be understood. The class of lads and girls who went into the evening schools were those who were beginning to find that their elementary education had not been sufficient, and who preferred to go back to the teachers who taught them in the elementary schools rather than to the classes of the Technical Instruction Committee. It had been proved again and again in Ipswich that where these schools had been opened the lads and girls invariably went back to the masters and mistresses who taught them in the elementary schools. A few months ago at a Council meeting at Ipswich he called attention to the fact that there was no increase in the number of pupils attending the classes of the Technical Instruction Committee, although they were spending a very much larger sum of money than had been spent in years gone by. The hon. Member for Islington had said that they must not blame the Government for this, because it was not a question of Government policy but a question of what was legal. On the face of it that was the case, but surely if the Government had realised the value of these schools, it would have been just as easy to legalise and continue them as to adopt a policy which would greatly reduce their number and ultimately destroy them.

MR. HERBERT LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)

said he could give the right hon. Gentleman particulars of a case in his own knowledge where the strain of the duties was so great and heavy that the teacher ultimately sank under them. The doctor had certified that it was owing to overwork on Sundays and week days. The question of duties was one in which teachers were deeply interested, and he urged the right hon. Gentleman to take it into consideration, with the view of making perfectly clear what the duties were.


With regard to the security of tenure of teachers, there will be ample opportunity of discussing the question of the appeal of teachers against dismissal for nonperformance of duties, because, if the provisions of the Education Bill are not sufficient, a clause can be introduced into the Bill protecting the teachers against wrongful dismissal. A Bill was brought in last year, but it could not be passed. There is no occasion to bring in a Bill this year, because it is a matter quite within the province of the Committee on the Education Bill. With regard to the question of the wrongful dismissal of teachers in secondary schools, I can assure the hon. Member for Eye that I have discussed it, when I was an assistant master myself, before the hon. Member was born; and I am quite alive to the disadvantage in the profession of teachers being liable to dismissal by the arbitrary will of a head master. I told the deputation which came to see me that I should be happy to consider any practical plan which could be suggested to give an appeal. The plan of giving an appeal to a governing body does seem to me to be a practical plan, but I understand that that would not satisfy the teachers now. I do not consider that an appeal to the Board of Education is a practical plan, because I do not think the Board of Education is either qualified or able to undertake such a task.


asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would refer the matter to a consultative Committee.


I could not refer a matter of that kind to a consultative Committee. Probably any practical plan that is suggested would be submitted to the judgment of a consultative Committee, but there must be a practical plan before we can undertake to move in the matter at all.

With regard to the general discussion, it has ranged over a considerable number of topics, and I have received the castigation which I usually receive on these occasions from those who are understood in this House to represent the elementary school teachers, not only for my own shortcomings, not only for the shortcomings of my noble friend the Duke of Devonshire, but also for those of the officials of the Local Government Board, of the Judges of the High Court, and of everybody who has done anything in the country which is considered by those gentlemen to be at all detrimental to education. I am afraid that we cannot at this moment carry the controversy about the evening schools any farther. It is the opinion—an opinion which I receive with great respect—of the hon. Member for North Camberwell, and it is the opinion of the hon. Member for Ipswich, that the Government are ruining and destroying these evening schools. It is the official opinion of the Department that we are doing nothing of the kind; but that, on the contrary, we are greatly improving the evening schools. I have always told the House that the number of entries is no criterion of the number in the schools, because, where education is free, a person can put his name down on the books of a school without any trouble at all, and a number of those who enter their names never go to the school at all. Some boys go about entering themselves on school after school, and really the number of entries is a most uncertain test of the number who are actually-receiving instruction. Then as to the number in average attendance, I have always said that I do not believe that the regulations which the Board of Education made last July have in any way diminished the number of those who go to school merely for the purpose of receiving instruction. Hon. Members must wait until the end of the school year in order to see if the accounts show whether the one party to the dispute or the other is right. The hon. Member for North Camberwell was rather indignant with me because I did not accept the information he obtained from the country, but he must remember that the information supplied to him was obtained from the School Boards, who are partisans in this matter, and who represent, not the judgment of the inspectors or the officials of the Department, who are comparatively neutral, but those engaged in the controversy, and who are anxious to show that the Minute of July 3rd, is a disastrous failure. I have had the opportunity of testing some of the hon. Gentleman's figures, and I found them in many cases to be absolutely untrue. In the case of Fenny Stratford, for example, it was represented that the School Board had to give up their school because the County Council had refused a licence to carry it on. I inquired into the case, and found this to be absolutely untrue.


If I said that the number in attendance had decreased. I did so on the authority of the clerk of the School Board.


I do not for a moment question the hon. Gentleman's bona fides. All I say is that I question the accuracy of the information he has collected. When I came to inquire into the case, I found that the school had been carried on by the County Council for several years, with the entire concurrence of the School Board, many members of which were members of the Committee of the County Council carrying on the work. And it was stopped with the perfect good faith and in the perfect temper of everybody. In the matter of fees, the regulations of the Board of Education provide that in general fees are to be paid, but those who propose to establish a school in which fees are not to be paid must show cause—that is, give a satisfactory reason—such a reason as was suggested by the noble Lord opposite. No doubt schools, especially in poor neighbourhoods where it could not reasonably be expected that fees could be paid, would be excepted. All the conditions for evening schools are that some part of the cost shall be paid by the locality. Anything like 25 per cent. paid by subscription, or by fees, from the rates, or any other source available, will be quite sufficient.

I think there is some difference between me and the hon. Member for Halifax as to the functions of the Board of Education in connection with some of these schools. I do not think the Department would be justified in applying sums of money voted by the House of Commons, not too liberally, for education to purposes of mere philanthropy. But this is what many persons ask. No doubt it is very desirable that Hooligans should be off the streets into the schools; but that should be done by the local people themselves. I do not think that the cost should fall wholly on the Consolidated Fund. In the case mentioned by the hon. Member for Halifax, when it was found that the new regulation of the Board of Education was said to inflict a hardship on this recreative school, the educational part of the work of the school was taken up by the Municipal Council, and the philanthropic part by the residents of Halifax. I would remind hon. Members also that, in respect of the grievance about the register, the Consultative Committee is responsible. These gentlemen are experts, men who thoroughly understand the question; and for the Duke of Devonshire or myself to have taken upon ourselves the responsibility of reversing their decision, would have been a very strong and very high-handed action. I cannot see anything unreasonable in the regulation made by the Consultative Committee as to the qualifications of teachers in elementary and secondary schools. The pupil teacher centres are analogous to the case of higher-grade schools. The Board of Education is found fault with because the School Boards, having done, that for which they had no legal authority, and having been called to task for it, not by the Board of Education, which has no power in the matter of expenditure, but by the auditor of another Department of State over which we have no control, and that decision having been confirmed by the judges, some confusion has arisen. But I cannot assume on behalf of the Board any responsibility in the matter. The Board will act with those centres on the precedent of higher-grade schools, and will not withdraw grants from the pupil teacher centres, but will continue to pay them until the Courts of Law have positively pronounced whether or not the expenditure is illegal. I may remind hon. Members that the Act passed last session covered the case of the pupil teacher centres, and every school which has been conducted by a School Board or Borough or County Council without the authority of law may continue. In the Bill now before Parliament there is a provision for continuing all the licences which are in existence on July 31st of the present year until the Education Bill is passed into an Act and comes into force. Therefore, there is a perfect remedy for the difficulty in which School Boards find themselves, if they only choose to avail themselves of it.


May I ask whether that applies to London?


I am told that it does apply to London. In reply to the hon. Member for South Islington, I can

assure him that the grants for the teaching of art in secondary schools have been in existence for a long time, and the grants now given under new forms are only taking the place of the old science and art grants.


asked the right hon. Gentleman if he could say anything about the fees for inspection in secondary schools.


I refer my hon. friend to the Board of Education Act. I think he has overlooked Section 3, subsection 2, of that Act.


said he had received no reply to his Question as to how it was that, down to November last, ten or eleven weeks after the starting of the evening school session, the local authority was still waiting for the sanction of the Board of Education.


I am told that the circular which the hon. Gentleman quotes to the Committee was sent out in September to most of the schools. The case which the hon. Member has in his mind must have been an exceptional one. The schools were all told, quite early in September, that, where the evening schools were to be carried on as in the previous year, sanction would be given, and there is no school, practically, in any difficulty as to going on with its work or left in any state of uncertainty.

Question put.

The Committee divided :—Ayes, 102; Noes, 181. (Division List No. 177.)

Original Question again proposed.


rose to continue the debate on the main Question.


I hope the hon. Gentleman will allow us to have this Vote without further discussion.


said that only one item had been discussed in this Vote, and there were many other subjects to which attention ought to be called. He did not desire to lose the opportunity of calling attention to a class of clerks in the Education Department who were called examiners. There were now twenty-four of these officers who were in the Elementary Education Department, and fifteen in the Secondary Education Department. The salaries were £600 to £800 for the senior examiners and £250 to £600 for the junior examiners. The point he wished to raise was that, as far as he could learn, these officers had nothing whatever to do with the question of examination. Although they were called examiners——

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.