§ Considered in Committee:
§ (In the Committee.)
§ [Mr. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith) in the Chair.
§ Clause 8:—706
(10.42.) Amendment proposed—
In page 3, line 11, to leave out the words 'have power to,' and insert the word ' periodically.'"—
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."707
§ * SIR WILLIAM ANSON
said he thought the Amendment put on the local education authority a very unnecessary obligation. That authority would be responsible for the maintenance and efficiency of the school. It would find the money, and as a matter of course it would take care that it got the worth of the money by I inspecting the school.
§ MR. BRYCE
said the Amendment did not add anything to the power of the local authority, but he thought it might be worth while considering whether the power should not be made an obligation. They certainly understood from the Government that it was intended that certain functions, hitherto discharged by the Board of Education, should be undertaken in practice by the local authority, which was to relieve the Board of Education of some of its work of inspection. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge to state whether he did not express his views to that effect. Under these circumstances it seemed only natural that the Committee should express its opinion that the local authority should be allowed to exercise its right. Otherwise it was very likely they would take a rather lax view, of their duty and would not inspect as much as they ought to do. [MINISTERIAL, cries of "Oh, oh.") That was a possibility: they had to guard against possibilities. He could hardly conceive that any harm could be done by accepting this Amendment.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said there was no doubt whatever that the whole efficiency of the schools depended on a proper system of inspection—a system of inspection by one and not by two authorities. If there were two authorities giving contradictory orders, it was quite impossible that a school could be made efficient. Of all the functions the central authority could perform, that of inspection was the most important. The Board of Education ought to carry out the work of inspection. He quite granted that the present system of inspection was by no means efficient, and he hoped to have the opportunity on another occasion of giving the House his view of what the 708 system should be. It would be a mistake to transfer the work of inspection from the Board of Education to the local authority. To mention only one reason, the Board was capable of having much more impartial inspectors than the local authorities were. No doubt there would have to be a certain amount of administrative inspection by the local authorities, because, as they were to be masters of the finance and to give -directions as to the mode in which instruction in the schools was to be carried on, they must have a sufficient amount of inspection to secure obedience to their orders. Of all kinds of inspection the most mischievous and useless was periodic inspection, because under that system the teachers knew when the inspectors were coming. Preparation was made for the inspection, and the inspectors did not see the school in its normal but in its dressed up condition. The inspection should be in the way of surprise visits.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
thought the instructions they gave in this Bill to the local education authority should be definite. The first words of the Clause were that the local authority should maintain and keep efficient those schools, and the fear which some hon. Members entertained was that there was no real intention to enable the local authorities to be the real managers of the schools. The sub-Clauses did not carry out the words with which the Clause opened, and there was no sub-Clause that gave so much support to this condition as the one they were now considering. He thought what the Government meant on the subject of inspection ought to be made clear in the Bill. There should be no doubt left in the minds of those who might have to construe it hereafter. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University had said that there ought to be a certain amount of administrative inspection, but that was not provided for in the Bill. There was no desire to interfere with proper inspection through the Board of Education, but the local education authority could not possibly discharge the great duties placed upon it by this Clause unless it inspected the schools and was perfectly conversant with all the work that went on there. 709 It was absolutely necessary that the Clause should be made clear in regard to administrative inspection.
§ MR. HENRY HOBHOUSE
said the hon. Member for West Islington had used the expression "managers of the schools'' in referring to the functions of the local authority. They were not to manage but to control the schools, and these were two very different things. Nothing would be worse for the schools and the ratepayers than to have an unnecessary double inspection. It was quite true that they would want the local authority to inspect the schools occasionally when special points arose, but as a rule he was sure that His Majesty's inspectors would do the work well and efficiently, and if the Committee accepted the new Clause of which he had given notice, namely, that the inspectors should be directed to send their reports to the local authority as well as to the Board of Education, no difficulty would arise. If any difficulty arose then they could no doubt have an inspector down, but thev objected to a statutory obligation.
§ MR. M'KENNA
said hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House seemed to forget that this Bill was a measure to establish a single authority which was to co-ordinate primary and secondary education both in the voluntary schools and the public and provided schools. The only official who could serve as a co-ordinating factor between the primary and the secondary schools would be the local inspector. If the local authority did not insist upon inspecting the schools they would have no means of obtaining a uniform standard of elementary education which was to form the groundwork of the secondary department. How were they going to co-ordinate the schools and prevent overlapping, which was the main object of this Bill, unless they had local inspection? It was absolutely essential that they should have a local inspection, but it was obvious they were departing from the original proposals of the Government and coming to the root and foundation of the Bill, the granting of rates for the voluntary schools. They would find, as they went on, the original pretences abandoned.
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE
said he was sorry that the Government had not seen their way to accept this Amendment. It was certainly one that would make the Bill clearer, and if there was a greater readiness to accept Amendments of this kind they might progress rather more rapidly than they were doing. The right hon. Gentleman had tried to place upon the Amendment before the Committee a sense which it did not quite bear. The word "periodical" did not necessarily mean fixed times. If it did, he might agree with the right hon. Gentleman that there might be a solid objection to the Amendment. He took it that periodical inspection meant from time to time. If the words "from time to time'" would recommend the Amendment more to the Government, he would suggest that these words might be substituted. He could not conceive that any self-respecting county authority would not insist upon carrying out inspection of the schools. He wanted to know what was to be the relation between the Government inspector and the county inspector, because that was a matter on which as yet they knew absolutely nothing. Subjection 2 provided that the grants in future were to be paid to the local authority and distributed by them to all the schools, whether denominational or provided. That being so, inspection by the distributing authority was absolutely necessary.
§ (ll.0.) SIR WILLIAM ANSON
said they were dealing now with the conditions under which the denominational schools were to be maintained by the local authority, one of those conditions being that the schools should be open to inspection. The education authority would have the right when they pleased to inspect the denominational schools. If hon. Gentlemen on the other side wished to enforce inspection by the local authority by a general rule they must find some other place in the Bill to put it in. This was not the place at which to do it.
§ MR. SAMUEL EVANS (Glamorganshire, Mid)
said the words "have power to" must be left in, otherwise the local authority would be committing a trespass every time they entered a voluntary school. 711 Unless they had the right to inspect they had no right to enter the premises at all. The duty of inspecting the schools periodically should be placed on the new education authority, but whether this was the right place in the Bill to impose that duty he was not quite sure.
MR. BRYN ROBERTS (Carnarvonshire, Eifion)
said that unless the words "have power to" remained in the Clause the local authority would have no right to enter the school. The arguments of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University were against the Clause and not against the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman endeavoured to evade the difficulty by suggesting that a certain kind of inspection should take place by the local authority with reference to finance. If that was so there was no force in his objection. If a certain kind of inspection was desirable, why not make it compulsory? They had been constantly-told that the Bill was to give the entire control of secular education to the local authority. If that was so the duty of inspection by the local authority was absolute.
§ MR. GEORGE WHITE (Norfolk, N.W.)
said that most Members of the House knew that the School Boards had inspectors who were extremely valuable. Their inspection was not confined to the quality of the teaching. They went into all the details of the school management. He was sure inspection of that kind would be absolutely necessary when the local authority had to deal with education in so wide an area as that of a county. In many cases the managers knew very little of the practical work of teaching, and there an inspectorship was found to be very valuable. From long experience he could say that he had never known a local inspector clash with His Majesty's inspectors.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said he earnestly hoped the Committee would not continue the discussion when clearly the Amendment could not be inserted in this place. Hon. Members should recollect what they were at. The question was not the desirability of inspecting this or that class of schools. What was wanted was 712 that it should be made a condition precedent that the local authority should maintain their schools in an efficient state, and it was, if he might say so, verging on nonsense to say that they would not do so. He did not think they would add to their reputation as a business assembly by continuing the discussion.
§ * MR. FLETCHER MOULTON (Cornwall, Launceston)
said he could fully assure the First Lord of the Treasury that they appreciated the force of his objection that this was not the place to insert a provision as to the duty of H. M.'s inspectors; but he was anxious that the Committee should not pass from this Clause without an undertaking that inspection should be a duty imposed on the local authority. If the Bill passed in its present form, which only gave a power to inspect, any court would say that inspection was by the Act not contemplated as a duty. What they were afraid of in connection with this Bill was that in regard to non-provided schools there should grow up an idea that the connection of the local education authority with them was not a genuine and business-like connection, and anything which made that dilettante, if he might use the phrase, was a thing they were rightly jealous of. They ought to have an assurance that the duty of inspection of all schools, and of auditing the accounts of all schools, should be proclaimed in the Bill.
§ COLONEL PILKINGTON (Lancashire, Newton)
asked whether it was really to be understood that the new local education authority that was to have control over the secular education of these schools was not to inspect.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said he wished to repudiate the interpretation which had been placed on his remarks. They were all in favour of inspection; but his point was that it was bad business to discuss the particular question now raised on a Clause where it would be out of place.
§ COLONEL PILKINGTON
said it was exceedingly difficult for a Member sitting on this side of the House to express his opinion on this question. This was the first time that he had risen during the 713 whole of the proceedings of the Committee, but he desired to follow up the suggestion of the hon. Member for Launceston, and he thought it right to suggest to the Committee that at the proper time it should be recognised that one of the first and most important duties of the local authority should be to inspect the schools regularly, and as often as possible. If they wanted work well done in any affair, whether in schools or in workshops, the most important and valuable thing was for the authority to regulate and inspect that work. He did not suppose that the Prime Minister had a more loyal supporter than he was. He had never voted against him, and did not intend to do so now, but he repeated that, at the proper time, the duty of inspection by the new education.
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Cranborne, Viscount||Hamilton Rt Hn Lord G (Midd'x|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Hare, Thomas Leigh|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Harris, Frederick Leverton|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Davenport, W. Bromley-||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cockfield||Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley|
|Bain, Colonel. James Robert||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Helder, Augustus|
|Balcarres, Lord||Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Henderson, Sir Alexander|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Doughty, George||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Higginbottom, S. W.|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W.(Leed.||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christchs||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Hogg, Lindsay|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Hope, F.(Sheffield, Brightside|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Howard, John (Kent Faversham|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.)||Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil|
|Bignold, Arthur||Faber, George Denison (York)||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Bill, Charles||Fardell, Sir T. George||Hutton, John (Yorks, N R.)|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J.(Manc'r||Johnstone, Heywood|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Kemp, George|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Finch, George H.||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Kennedy, Patrick James|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Fisher, William Hayes||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh)|
|Butcher, John George||Fison, Frederick William||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop.|
|Carew, James Laurence||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Keswick, William|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Fletcher, Rt. John. Sir Henry||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)|
|Cavendish, V.C.W (Derbyshire||Flower, Ernest||Lawson, John Grant|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Forster, Henry William||Lee, Arthur H (Hants, Fareham|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S. W||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J.(Birm.||Galloway, William Johnson||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn J. A. (Worc.||Gardner, Ernest||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Chapman, Edward||Garfit, William||Long, Col. Charles W (Evesham|
|Charrington, Spencer||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Long, Rt. Hn Walter (Bristol, S.|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Gordon. Maj Evans-(T'rH'mlets||Lowe, Francis William|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Gore, Hn. G. R. C. Ormsby-(Salop||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir. John Eldon||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Greene, Sir E W (B'rySEdm'nds||Macartney, Rt. Hn W. G Ellison|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Grenfell, William Henry||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Greville, Hon. Ronald||MacIver David (Liverpool)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Groves, James Grimble||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
§ authority under this New Education Act should be laid down thoroughly and strongly in the Bill.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
said that the Prime Minister had complained of the prolongation of the debate, but if he would give the Committee a promise that in some other part of the Bill provision should be made that not only the provided but the non-provided schools should be compulsorily inspected, there would be no desire to discuss the Amendment further.
§ (11.20.) Question put.
§ Committee divided:—Ayes, 198; Noes, 88. (Division List, No. 417.)
|M'Calmont, Col. H. L. B (Cambs||Randles, John S.||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Malcolm, Ian||Rankin, Sir James||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Milvain, Thomas||Reid, James (Greenock)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.||Richards, Henry Charles||Vincent, Col. Sir CEH (Sheffield|
|Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Ridley, Hon M. W.(Stalybridge||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H|
|Morgan David J (Walthamstow||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Webb, Colonel Wm. George|
|Morrison, James Archibald||Ropner, Colonel Robert||Welby, Lt. Col A. C. E (Taunton|
|Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Round, Rt. Hon. James||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Mount, William Arthur||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute||Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)||Seton-Karr, Henry||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Nicholson, William Graham||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Smith, HC (North'mb, Tyneside||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Peel, Hn. Wm. Robt. Wellesley||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.||Wylie, Alexander|
|Pemberton, John S. G.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Percy, Earl||Spear, John Ward||Younger, William|
|Pilkington, Lieut-Col. Richard||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M Taggart|
|Plummer, Walter R.||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Sir Alexander Acland Hood and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Talbot, RtHn.J.G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Purvis, Robert||Thorton, Percy M.|
|Allen, Charles P (Glouc., Stroud||Grant, Corrie||Rigg, Richard|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Griffith, Ellis. J.||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Black, Alexander William||Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale-||Shackleton, David James|
|Brigg, John||Helme, Norval Watson||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Holland, Sir William Henry||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Horniman, Frederick John||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Burns, John||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Spencer. Rt Hn C. R. (Northants|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Jones William (Carnarvonshire||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Caldwell, James||Labouchere, Henry||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Langley, Batty||Taylor, Theodore Cooke|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Cawley, Frederick||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Thomas, David Alfred (M'rthyr)|
|Cremer, William Randal||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Tomkinson, James|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Leng, Sir John||Toulmin, George|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Lloyd-George, David||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||Lough, Thomas||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||M'Crae, George||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Edwards, Frank||M'Kenna, Reginald||Whiteley, George(York, W. R.)|
|Emmott, Alfred||Markham, Arthur Basil||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Moss, Samuel||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Moulton, John Fletcher||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Pease, J. A. (Salfron Walden)|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Rea, Russell||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Gladstone, Rt Hn. Herbert John||Reckitt, Harold James||Mr. Levy and Mr. Charles Morley.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Rickett, J. Compton|
§ (11.35.) DR. MACNAMARA
said that the proposal to omit salaries was ruled out because the Prime Minister moved the closure; but now having entered on a definition of the appropriation of expenditure, he submitted it was in order to raise the question as to the appropriation of money in respect of salaries
* THE CHAIRMAN
If you have control of the expenditure, you can fix a scale of payment. The next Amendment is, I think, also covered by the words which have been inserted.
§ MR. TREVELYAN (Yorkshire, W.R., Elland)
said the object of the Amendment he now moved was to make it perfectly clear that any member of the local authority or of the Education 717 Committee should have the same liberty to enter and inspect any school as the managers. In order to control the schools properly, it was essential that the members of the controlling authority should have perfectly free access to them; and unless it were legally certain that they would have that access under the Bill as it stood, the words ought to be inserted. He hoped the Government would accept a very simple and, he thought, natural Amendment.
In page 3, line 12, after the word 'school,' to insert 'any member of that authority, or of the Education Committee, shall have the same liberty to enter and inspect the school as any manager.'"—(Mr. Trevelyan.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
said he hoped that the hon. Gentleman would not press his Amendment. It was never intended that any individual member of the local education authority should be allowed to roam into a school and inspect it at his own pleasure. The local education authority might make provision for inspection; but would it be contended that it was advisable that every member of that body should have the right of inspection. The Amendment was not one which could possibly be accepted.
§ MR. JOSEPH A. PEASE (Essex, Saffron Walden)
said he thought that the Education Committee might at least be allowed to go into the schools, even if the County Council as a whole might not. A similar provision had brought technical education work throughout the country into close sym- 718 pathy with the County Councils, because members of Technical Education Committees were allowed to inspect the schools from time to time, and the inspection was appreciated by the teachers, and brought the work of education into close harmony with the governing body.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
said that of course the Education Committee might be useful for the purposes of inspection; but what was not desirable was that it should be laid down in an Act of Parliament that each individual member of the County Council, without any authority from that body, should have the right to enter and inspect a school.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said that at present the members of every School Board had that right, however large the Board might be. The fifty-five members of the London School Board could enter any of their schools; but the Attorney-General really exaggerated the practice. He seemed to imagine that seventy or eighty members of the County Council might all wish to enter and inspect a school in a remote part of the county. That suggestion was perfectly ridiculous. The only practical value of the Amendment would be that the County Councillor for a particular district would have the right to enter any school in that district. There was not the slightest danger that a County Councillor would travel from one end of the county to the other in order to inspect a school; but it was desirable that a County Councillor for a district should have the right to inspect the schools in that district. Surely the Government might make that concession.
§ MR. M'KENNA
said that his hon. friend who had just spoken had forgotten one important fact, namely, that these were private schools, and that the only thing public about them was that the public paid for them. Of course the Government would not admit any inspection of the schools. The analogy of the School Boards did not apply; and, therefore, to ask the Government to allow the gentlemen who were elected on the County Council, and who knew all about the schools, or any person, other than a particular official inspector, to inspect the schools, was asking from the Government what they could not reasonably be expected to grant. He trusted, therefore, his hon. friend would not ask them to depart from the great principle of the Bill, which was to maintain the perfect privacy of the voluntary schools, although the public paid for them. He trusted his hon. friend would not press his Amendment.
MR. HERBERT ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.)
said he did not quite agree with his hon. friend who had just spoken. He thought that the opposition of the Government was based on a not very wide acquaintance with the facts of the case, and on a mistaken idea that what was desired was to allow the entire County Council to visit the schools in a body. That idea was preposterous. He was sorry to say that in his experience the great difficulty in the past had been not the number eager to inspect the schools but the difficulty of arousing any interest in certain bodies in the work of education. If the doors of the schools were open to the authority charged with maintaining them in an efficient condition, it would be an educational reform of considerable merit. He hoped remarks of his hon. friend would not be taken seriously.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said he was a member of the London School Board, and what happened had been described by his hon. friend the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs. All the members of the Board had access to the 450 schools which the Board managed. The member for a particular district generally visited the schools in that district, and informed the Board of what was going on. There were a few members on the Board who visited a great many schools in order to get special knowledge—men like Mr. Diggle and Mr. Lyulph Stanley, who were intensely useful to the Board, and whose value to the Board would not be anything like what it was, if they had not constant access to the schools, in order that they might know quite as much about them as the inspectors. That was simply what he desired. He would be perfectly ready to omit "and inspect" from the Amendment.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said there appeared to be some confusion in the minds of hon. Gentlemen. The hon. Gentleman who had just spoken said that as a member of the London School Board he had a perfect right to enter any school under it: but he imagined that it would be perfectly within the competence of the education authority to do with regard to the schools in its area what the London School Board did with regard to the schools in its area; but no statutory; power was given to the members of any School Board for that purpose. The education authority under the Bill as it stood would be perfectly empowered to enter any school in its area, but that was quite different to laying down a statutory provision to the effect that any member of a County Council should enter any school in the county, irrespective of the wishes of the council itself.
§ MR. SAMUEL EVANS
said he was glad his hon. friend had limited his Amendment to the right of entry to the schools which the public would be bound to maintain. He would put a practical case, which would show the hardship which would be caused in many districts unless some such Amendment were accepted. Suppose that no power was delegated by the County Council to any particular person to enter the schools, and that there wore complaints as to the abuses in a particular school. The County Council need only meet every three months, and it might happen that three months would have to elapse before members of the local education authority could be given the right to enter the schools. Suppose, again, that some abuse was going on in a school with the connivance of the managers; it was only fair that power should be given to the county councillor for the district to enter that school, and he was perfectly certain that in no case would that power be abused.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said that the local education authority could give power to their members to enter any school in their area.
§ MR. SAMUEL EVANS
said that if it was so the Amendment before the Committee sought to obtain a power which would be within the competence of every County Council to grant. It was necessary to elucidate the matter, because that was not the view of the Attorney General.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
said he said exactly what had been said by the First Lord of the Treasury, and he hoped that hon. Members would try to understand him instead of trying to misunderstand 722 him. The authority to enter might either be by actual and express delegation or by the implied course of business.
§ MR. SAMUEL EVANS
said he quite followed that point, and was not trying to misunderstand the right hon. Gentleman. But the right hon. Gentleman stated in express terms that they could not be expected to allow the County Council to march into a school in a body; and that, therefore, they should delegate that right to some few persons. That would not meet the practical difficulty, which was that the representative of a particular district, on the County Council should not be allowed to enter the schools in that district unless the County Council had empowered all its members to visit all schools in its area. If the County Council had that power it would exercise it. Hut that, was no reason why the Amendment should not be accepted; and he did not think it would be seriously contended that a power of that kind would be abused.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
said it was desirable that every member of the local education authority, as well as the members of the education committee should have the right of entry into the schools. All the powers and duties of the School Boards were transferred to the new authorities, and it was in the competence of the School Boards at the present time to empower all their members under all circumstances to enter the schools in their areas at any time. He imagined that one of the first acts of the local education authority would be to pass a general resolution giving that power. That being so, he did not see the necessity for the Amendment.
§ MR. MOSS
said that the Attorney General in opposing the Amendment stated that it was surely not to be expected that all the Members of the County Council should be entitled to enter a school at any time; but the Prime Minister on the other hand stated that the Amendment was absurd because the County Councils would have power under the Act to do exactly what was now asked. He thought the Attorney General did not quite realise what the Bill proposed. The Bill proposed that the County Councils should be the local education authority acting through a Committee. A school might be fifty or sixty miles away from the town in which the County Council met, and he agreed with his hon. friend that it might be very important that the member of the County Council representing the particular district in which the school was situated should have the right to inspect that school. He did not know why it should be assumed that the first act of the County Council would be to pass a resolution expressly empowering its members to visit the schools in the county. He thought it was a somewhat remote possibility. He himself thought that if the County Councils were to have: the duty cast upon them of carrying out elementary education, they might, at any; rate, lie given power to enter the schools.
§ MR. BRYCE
said he thought his hon. friend had attained his object, and that it would not be necessary to press his Amendment to a division. The whole difficulty arose from the line taken up by the Attorney General; but what had been said by the Prime Minister removed his objection. It was perfectly true that the 724 powers of the School Boards to be transferred would include that power.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
* THE CHAIRMAN
The next Amendment is covered by what has already been inserted in the Bill. The Amendment after that is covered by the right of inspection; which also covers the Amendment of the hon. Member for West Nottingham. The right to inspect a school includes the right to inspect the minutes and other records.
§ Committee report Progress.
§ To sit again Tomorrow.