§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £5,249,806, 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, 1904, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Education, and of the various Establishments connected therewith, including sundry Grants in Aid."
§ *THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE BOARD OF EDUCATION (Sir WILLIAM ANSON,) Oxford University
In moving this Vote I have to 166 make a statement which goes somewhat outside the ordinary statements heretofore made on these occasions, because the House will naturally expect to hear something of the working of the Act passed last year; and upon this, although the working of the Act is only in its inception, there is a good deal to be said. The Committee will recollect that the duties thrown upon local authorities by the Act are large and varied. The whole field of education was placed under their control, and they can study the resources of their areas, and plan out their educational policy for each year. The Committee will like to hear how the various authorities have approached the task set before them. Every council was desired to form a scheme for an Education Committee, and the number of councils called upon to frame schemes was 333–62 counties, 69county boroughs, 139 boroughs, and 63 urban districts. Of these schemes have been submitted to the Board of Education, published and approved, to the number of 238 in England and five in Wales; there are schemes now in course of publication to the number of twenty six, and the schemes sanctioned for publication but not yet published are seven in number; thirty-four schemes submitted to the Board are now under consideration with a view to publication; sanction has been refused to four schemes, and nineteen councils have not yet sent in schemes, some because their areas being large they have not yet been able to formulate their schemes, and in other cases urban district councils are considering whether they shall relinquish their educational powers to County Councils. The great majority, then, of the councils have already sent in schemes which have been approved, comparatively few are hanging back or are held over—and for these, in most cases, adequate reasons have been assigned—and only four councils have sent in schemes which have not been sanctioned for publication. The Committee may desire to know what line the Board has taken. The Act of last year requires that schemes shall be approved by the Board of Education, and published within the area of the authority. We thought it desirable that in the boroughs the period of publication should be three weeks, and that in counties a month 167 should be given. In certain cases we have felt it necessary to say the scheme cannot be published because it cannot ultimately be approved. In other cases we have sent forward for publication with a warning that there might be protests and ultimate difficulties before the Schemes were approved; and in other cases we sent forward for publication with the practical assurance that, unless objection was taken, the scheme commended itself to the Board of Education.
Before the conclusion of January we thought it desirable to issue a circular to all counties and to county boroughs and non county boroughs and urban districts setting forth the duties of the councils, the sources from which their income would be drawn, what were the provisions of the Act as to the scheme, what was necessary and what was optional. Then it was thought desirable to offer some explanation of a matter which had been a good deal discussed in this House—namely, what was meant by the indication in the Act that in certain circumstances the nomination and recommendation of various bodies might be desirable. We stated the duties of the Board in respect of schemes, and warned councils of the possible grounds on which protests might be made, and appeals put in asking the Board to withhold its approval of the scheme. We thought it desirable to throw as much light as possible on these matters for the information of the councils. But as time went on we were made aware that councils wished for Something more in the way of assistance; and, accordingly, in February we sent round a second circular of suggestions, indicating how the scheme might be framed, and how the various actual requirements of the Act might be met by nomination, recommendation, consultation, or selection by the councils themselves. I think it would be desirable, in order to prevent misunderstanding in the country, to make it quite clear what were the points which were regarded merely as suggestions, and those on which the Board felt bound to insist. The points on which we felt bound to insist were, primarily, that there should be persons of experience in education, and persons acquainted with the needs 168 of the various schools in the area, on the Education Committee. How those people were to be placed on the Committee is, no doubt, a matter which different councils may treat in different ways, either selecting them themselves, or inviting other bodies to nominate them. But these were points on which, while we were willing to advise, we did not feel bound to insist on our advice being followed. There have been certain cases in which we have felt bound to insist—cases where we thought that any injustice was likely to be done to any school or to education, where we thought co-ordination was in danger by the construction of two Committees, cases in which we thought sufficient provision was not made for the presence of certain representative persons on the Committee, and, lastly, where the council endeavoured to fix, with some degree of permanency, matters relating to delegation and procedure.
In regard to cases of injustice, I am happy to say that there are none. There are cases in which we have had some anxiety, and in these we have communicated with the councils directly, and have had interviews with certain members of the councils. We have been satisfied that in these cases, either by the introduction of words in the scheme or assurances from the council, that no injustice of any kind to schools was contemplated. I think I may fairly say that in these matters the interests of the various denominations have been completely met. I do not think that injustice was contemplated or feared in one sort of a school more than another. I think I may say that the last occasion on which I said some alteration would be necessary before sanction was given to a scheme was a case in which the representatives of a certain Council proposed to place on the committee a representative of the Free Church Council, but limited the selection of the Free Church Council to a woman conversant with technical education. I said that, though it was quite proper that the Free Church Council should be represented, to limit the choice in such a grotesque manner was quite improper, and some alteration should be made. I am glad to say that such an alteration was made.
169 There are, as I have already said, four cases in which publication has been refused, and I will tell the Committee why. We had suggested to the councils that it would be useful, where they thought that they could adequately provide out of their own body for the representation of every sort of education, that they should, nevertheless, put into their scheme a clause which would operate as a reminder of the different sorts of education which should always be represented on the Committee. As was pointed out in the circular which we sent round, there was always to be borne in mind University education, secondary education of boys' and girls' in its higher and lower grades, technical instruction, commercial and industrial education, having special regard to the interests of the area, the training of teachers, and the claims of elementary education in council schools and in voluntary schools. We thought that would be a useful reminder to the councils, and we have constantly urged upon them to include all provisions of this nature. There are certain councils who tell us that they are efficiently provided in their own body with representatives of all these interests. I have no doubt they are; but there are certain councils which, though provided in this way, have constructed their Committee so as to consist of members of the council and one or two women. We have always inquired whether they were satisfied personally that the necessary educational interests were represented, and we have also asked them to make provision that, if hereafter those interests are not represented on the council, as might happen under the scheme, the scheme should be so adjusted that such persons should be introduced from outside The process is perfectly simple. The scheme need only run that there shall be a Committee to consist of so many persons, one of whom shall always be a woman, and not less than so many of them be members of the council. Then it would always be possible for the council to reduce the numbers of its own members if, by any flow or ebb in the municipal tide, the educational persons on the council happened not to be available to serve. There was also this suggestion, that some provision might be made for the increase in the number of the Committee if they did not cover all interests. 170 We have never suggested that any council which could give us satisfactory assurances would not carry out those assurances, but we have said that we were bound to ensure that the Act was applied, not merely to present circumstances, but to all time; and so long as the scheme remains in its present form we have told the councils definitely that, although we were thoroughly well prepared to accept their assurances, that the Committee would be well manned out of their own body; we must also require that the scheme be sufficiently elastic to admit of the admission of the necessary educational element if the council itself did not provide it.
I do not think that that in any way trenches on the powers of the councils. It merely asks them to provide that the Act of last year shall be observed in the letter as well as in the spirit. Very few councils have made any difficulty in meeting the points I have indicated, but there are four to whom we had to say clearly that we could not and would not pass the schemes, which did not comply with our requirements. I am anxious to declare positively and publicly the policy of the Board in this respect; but I wish to point out that the Board is keeping within the four corners of the Act of list year, and that it is not trenching in any way on the freedom which the council should properly enjoy or on the field of its proper labours. I am prepared to stand by the declarations we have made, and to insist that these provisions shall be made in the scheme. There is another matter on which we are at present at issue with one or two of the councils, and that is on the question of the delegation by the councils of their powers under the Act. They have the power under the Act of delegating all their powers, except those of raising the rate or borrowing money. Certain councils proceeded at once to delegate all the powers that they could delegate to the Committee. We pointed out at once that that was not fair with regard to the councils of the future, that the delegation as contemplated in the Act was essentially a delegation of power which might be extended or curtailed, or withdrawn from time to time at the pleasure of the council, 171 and therefore we have consistently resisted any suggestion or proposal on the part of councils to restrict their successors in regard to delegation. There is also the converse of that—I am sorry to say at this moment we are at issue with one council, though I hope we may convince them that we are right—and that is where a council introduces words into its scheme which would make it impossible to delegate powers—such a clause as that the Committee shall act with the authority and under the direction of the council. If the council afterwards desired to delegate some of its powers it would then be found that the Committee was incapable of acting except under express direction. I think we are right in telling the councils that delegation is essentially a matter which they must keep in their own hands and reserve for their successors. It is the same with procedure. The councils are entitled to direct the procedure of their Committees from time to time, and procedure is eminently a matter which may require to be adjusted and altered from time to time; and wherever we have found in a scheme regulations fixing procedure we have told the council that these rules must come out, and that they must determine procedure by standing orders. I hope I have made it clear how far we have approached the councils by way of suggestion, and how far we have approached them by way of insistence. I think the matters on which we insist are matters on which we are bound to insist. I may say that our relations with the councils have been almost universally friendly. There is the limited number of cases, to which I have alluded, where there is a point-blank resistance to our requirements by councils, but these councils are the exception, and I hope they will soon see that they ought to comply with the Act, not only now, but as long as their scheme remains in force. I think that is all I have to tell the Committee as to the present working of the Act in relation to the councils.
The local authorities, who are really only beginning their work, are beginning to consult the Board of Education as to the arrangements of their schools. In some cases the consultation takes the 172 form of inquiry into their resources by way of endowment. In other cases, and I think chiefly, the questions that have arisen relate to turning higher grade schools into secondary schools. We have not gone far enough in that matter for me to be able to tell the Committee anything worth telling them, except that the consultations are beginning, and I hope the Board of Education may be able, with all the variety of resources which are at the disposal of the various educational authorities, to assist them to work out educational policies suitable to their respective areas.
Now that I have told the Committee how the councils, so far as they have gone, are addressing them-selves to the work before them, it will be right that I should say what material the Board of Education has for doing its work and assisting the councils in doing theirs. First, as to the Departmental arrangements. When the Board of Education Bill was discussed in 1899 a great deal was said about a tripartite arrangement of the Board, by which there should be three branches of the Board—elementary, secondary, and technological. At that time, when South Kensington was merged in the Board of Education, the constitution of the Board was as follows: There was a permanent secretary, who had hitherto been mainly engaged in the work of elementary education; there was a principal assistant secretary for elementary education; and there was a principal assistant secretary for everything that was not elementary education—Sir William Abney. At the beginning of this year Sir William Abney, for reasons-of health, resigned his position on the Board. I should like to take this opportunity of saying how greatly the country and the education of the country is indebted to Sir William Abney for the work which he has done in promoting the study of science and art throughout the country. I am glad to say that Sir William Abney will continue to advise the Board for some years to come; but he has retired from his place as permanent assistant secretary, and we now have the tripartite arrangement which was talked of in 1899 173 —a principal assistant secretary for elementary education, another for secondary education and a third for technological education.
As regards elementary education I shall have something to say presently. As regards secondary education what I have to say is hardly any addition in substance to what was said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University last year. Our dealings with secondary education are partly work we have taken over from the Charity Commission, and partly the assistance of certain types of secondary education. There are schools under A division, where the bulk of the scholars' time is appropriated to science, mathematics, manual instruction, and art, and there are schools under B division which appropriate about one third of their time. I should say there are 226 schools now receiving grants in the A division and 160 in the B division; and in both we are adopting the principle of the block grant; that is to say, we are paying for curriculum and not for specific subjects. The science classes are a diminishing quantity, and will not last much longer. The day classes for science at schools which have been subsidised by the Board are not satisfactory. They are too intermittent; they are usually demanded by schools which have small appliances and no laboratories and therefore they are too theoretical. I should say there are certain day school companies which have received assistance for some years past. It was announced last year that these companies, which are dividend paying companies, would not receive the grant any longer; but the Treasury has considered—and I think it is fair as they only had notice towards the end of last year—that this practice should not be wound up at the end of this month, but that they should have a year's grace. I do not commend the practice, but, on the other hand, I am prepared to recognise the fairness of giving these schools a year's grace, after which I hope the practice will be altogether discontinued.
The technological department under Mr. Ogilvie at South Kensington is a department of a most miscellaneous character. It has charge of science and art I museums, schools of art, technical institutions and evening classes. The grant for 174 technical institutions is a grant for a two years course in science or in science and art. The pupil must either have had a three years course in a Division; A. school or a Division B. school, or he must be more than fifteen years of age, and capable of profiting by an advanced course of instruction. Here, again, we have adopted the principle of the block grant, and we are introducing an approved course in place of the various items of instruction which, hitherto have been entitled to earn the grant.
As regards evening classes, I am bound to say the number has slightly, though not considerably, decreased. But this is a year of transition, and I hope the evening classes will shortly revive. The policy of treating them as technical and secondary branches of the work of the Board of Education has not impaired their utility, though it has for the moment checked their increase. I wish to dispel the fears of those who think that elementary education is no longer obtainable in these classes. The combination of subjects is left to the local authority, and the word "elementary" is not used because it was thought that the word "preliminary" might have a more attractive meaning. The teaching, is preliminary, and every effort is made to make this teaching, however elementary, real; that is to say, to make it correspond to the surroundings and interests of the pupils. After discussing with Mr. Ogilvie the conditions of the teaching in these evening classes, I am satisfied that no effort will be spared to give what I have just described as reality to the teaching, and that in every case, whether it is advanced or whether it is preliminary, it will be adapted to what the pupil is doing, and what he is thinking about, and; to the circumstances and conditions of the area around him. In that way I believe the slight set-back in the evening classes will be of temporary duration, and that we shall find them increasing in number as we go on.
I now come to the other source by which the Board of Education informs itself, and hopes to inform the local authorities. The inspectorate is, of course, the great instrument of the Board, and it is especially important 175 now in our new relations with the local authorities I will deal first with the inspectorate of the elementary schools, because there we have had a change of machinery. Hitherto we have had a senior chief inspector who took London for his division, and eleven chief inspectors, two of whom were assigned to training colleges and the rest to certain divisions in the country. We have now changed this, and we have a chief inspector who is not attached to any district, but is the channel of communication between the inspectorate and the Board. The inspectorate have one of themselves through whom they can always communicate with the Board, The divisional inspectors will be eleven in number. One will be assigned to London. Each divisional inspector will be made responsible for the inspection of the training colleges within his area, and the two inspectors formerly assigned to the training colleges will be given, one to London and one to a new division which we are constituting in the north because the former northern division was too large for any one man to deal with. Yorkshire is quite enough for one divisional inspector, and the new division will consist of Northumberland, Durham, Cumberland, and Westmorland. What we desire is that the divisional inspectors should be in more constant correspondence with their staff and the chief inspector with the divisional inspectors. In that way we hope to get into closer contact with the local authorities, to get a better general knowledge of the wants of every area and to be able to meet the local authorities where they want information. I have been asked frequently in this House and outside by persons interested in the new Education Committees what assistance they may expect to receive from the inspectors of the Department. We are prepared to give them as much assistance as we possibly can. Instructions have been given to every inspector—they are now, if not in the hands of every inspector, on the way—to give assistance to local authorities; and we only ask local authorities to take the initiative in coming to our inspectors and telling them what they want to know. The inspectors will respond, I hope, freely and cordially to the demands or requests of the local authorities. No 176 doubt there may be matters on which the inspector will have to refer to the Board, where he is asked Questions on matters on which it is possible that an appeal may lie to the Board of Education, or, in other matters, cases may arise in which the inspector will have to say to the local authority, "I must consult the Board before I give you information on this point." But I think those casts will not be numerous, and I cordially hope that our inspectors will be able to give the local authorities all the assistance they will be glad to receive.
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON
That will certainly be within their power. Now I come to the secondary inspectors. The secondary inspectorate is not yet fully organised, for one practical reason—namely, that until quite lately, until the passing of the Board of Education Act, the secondary inspectorate was entirely organised as an inspectorate for the purposes of science and art. What with the work taken over from the Charity Commissioners, and what with the requirements thrown upon us by the regulations for the register of teachers, we want not only more men, but we want more men with literary and linguistic qualifications, and we want men of such experience and position as will command the confidence of the local authorities and the headmasters of secondary schools. We have been driven to the temporary employment of a large number of inspectors for secondary schools. Perhaps the Committee will better understand what I am speaking of if I say that the regulations for the registry of teachers require that teachers to be on the register should possess certain qualifications, and one of those qualifications is probationary service in a school recognised by the Board of Education; and, as a great many-teachers are unable to comply with the new provision, clauses have been introduced which enablethe teachers who have undergone a certain period of previous service at a recognised school to be placed on the register. The number of schools demanding recognition for this 177 purpose is very large. I think the Committee will be surprised when I tell them that since October 1,325 schools have been recognised, and that 296 have been refused recognition. I am informed by Mr. Bruce, the principal assistant secretary of that department, that he thinks the work has been extremely well done. I think it is a remarkable piece of work to have done in the time, and that it should not pass without recognition. As I have said, we want more men. We have had to employ temporary inspectors, and we have also had to borrow inspectors from the elementary department; but we hope, in course of time, to develop an inspectorate which shall be adequate to our requirements for secondary education. There is no actual division between the inspectorate on the technological side and the inspectorate on the secondary side. The elementary schools are grouped by themselves The technical and secondary inspectors are common ground between the heads of their respective branches, but, of course, there are certain inspectors who are mainly literary, and there are certain inspectors who are mainly scientific, and we borrow largely from the elementary staff. They are not water-tight compartments but each department is willing to assist the others consistently with the proper discharge of its own duties. The Board has two other sources of information. One is the director of special inquiries. The business of the director of special inquiries is to collect and supply information and make occasional reports under the direction of the chiefs of the departments. I have to express here my great regret that the Department has lost the services of Mr. Sadler. I need not say more now, because I believe that the subject will be discussed at a later stage of our debate, except that I wish to express my personal regret that Mr. Sadler thought it necessary to resign. I believe we have obtained an admirable successor to Mr. Sadler, that that branch of our Department will continue to collect information as has been done admirably during the last few years by Mr. Sadler, and that it will, at the same time, utilise that information for the benefit of local authorities, I cannot help thinking that among those eleven volumes of 178 Reports which have been published by the Board of Education, local authorities may find some methods of education which may form proper material for experiment in their own areas.
The other means of information and assistance which the Board possess is the Consultative Committee. The Consultative Committee is a body of which I had better not say very much in praise because I have been a Member of it until not quite a year ago. It has had thrown upon it the duty of framing regulations for the register of teachers, and it has been consulted by the Board as to the propriety of accepting and recognising certain bodies for the purposes of inspection. It is now engaged in an important inquiry as to leaving examinations for the purpose of entering the Universities or some of the professions. That inquiry is now going on, and all I can say is that it promises to be a very important and interesting inquiry. The Consultative Committee is a body of persons who represent a great variety of educational experience; and I hope that hereafter, as, indeed, has been the case and is now, the opinions which it forwards to us on the matters which we lay before it may be found of great practical value to the Board of Education.
Now I have told the Committee how far the councils of the counties have come forward to deal with the problems presented to them by the Education Act, and what is the present position of the Board of Education for the purpose of assisting them in the matter, but there are one or two general questions which I should like to bring before the attention of the Committee. There is always the question asked by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and by other people, whether we get a full return for the money which we are spending on I education. I will first touch upon secondary education. We spend comparatively a trifle on secondary education—not much more than £500,000. I But do we get a full return for that, and is it as well spent as it should be? I fear that in some ways the money we are spending on secondary education is destroying an education which had some elements of good in it, and is not giving us anything really substantial in its place. What we want is, I think, 179 two sorts of education for that which we call secondary education. We want a good liberal education, with such a knowledge of science as will enable a man to understand the world he lives in—such a knowledge of science, I am sorry to say, as was not given to the youth of a period which I recollect; and we want a good technical education—something that will fit our youths to compete in the commercial struggles of the day, coupled with such a knowledge of language, literature, and history as will remind them that, after all, there is a past, and that great men have said and done great things worth saying and worth recording. I fear that in a large and important branch of schools we are losing both these. The schools to which I refer are not the well-known public schools, but the smaller grammar schools, which are more numerous, and to which very often the professional man who cannot afford to send his son to one of the better-known schools looks to give his son a liberal education. I have before me a Report which, I confess, has rather alarmed me as to these schools. What do they get from us? They get assistance from the Board of Education, either as schools where practically the whole of the boy's time is absorbed in science and mathematics, or as schools where a third of the time is so occupied. But, I am sorry to say, the schools that come to us are generally poor schools which go in for the larger grants and so far sacrifice what I believe to be the higher educational interests of their pupils. The assistance they have got from the local authorities has been in the direction of technical education. Everything has trended in the direction of a scientific education, and yet we are constantly told that in the application of science to industry we are immeasurably behind the other nations of Europe. In these schools, I am told by a very competent, a very experienced, and a very judicially-minded inspector, that they have practically abandoned Greek, that they have almost abandoned Latin, and that geography, history, and literature are neglected or untaught. A classical language is, after all, the best machinery for the analysis of the construction of language, and it does introduce the student, in learning the language, to 180 the masterpieces of classical literature. And it is desirable that the student should know something about language, because it is by language that we express our thoughts. It is desirable also that we should know what men are doing now, and what they may have done in the past, and said as well. And, as we have to live on the earth's surface, it is desirable that we should know something of physical and historical geography. I do not think that the colloquial knowledge of French and such mathematics and science as is learned by a boy who will not have to apply them in the course of his subsequent career is at all adequate to the old-fashioned liberal education, with all its faults, which we are so rapidly superseding in these secondary schools. I should like to see it more thorough and more real than it was at a period which I hardly like to recall, but I do wish to see more public attention excited in the revival of the older studies, and in particular in the insistence of a knowledge of some portion of good literature, whether it is French, German, English, Latin, or Greek. I will not trouble the Committee by quoting from a Report which, I hope, will be published, but I will read the concluding sentences:—The result of what I have been describing is that it is no uncommon thing for a bright and intelligent boy to leave school at the age of sixteen or seventeen without ever having had an opportunity of becoming acquainted with any book except text-books written purely for school purposes. At the best he will have read a poem of Scott or a play of Shakespeare for examination, and even that is made destitute of educational value by the nature of the editions used and the excessive importance attached to notes and philological discussions far too advanced for the boys. To take a single case, the edition of Shakespeare most commonly used prints all difficult words in italics, thereby distracting the attention from the sound and beauty of the verse, and discouraging all spontaneous observationAs to history—No history but English history is taught, although an understanding of English history is impossible without some knowledge of the history of the Continent. The period chosen for study is determined, not by the previous career of the boys, but by the syllabus of an examination, and I have, not once, but repeatedly, found boys studying the Wars of the Roses who are quite ignorant of all previous history; in one case so ignorant that they did not Know who William the Conqueror was.181 I think this calls for the attention of the Board of Education. I think this should be corrected, and corrected in one of two ways—either by altering the types of education to which we give grants, or by only paying grants if we are thoroughly satisfied that other studies are not being neglected.
§ *MR. EMMOTT (Oldham)
asked whether these schools were receiving grants under the A scheme for schools of science.
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON
Yes. When I come to elementary education, the question whether we get full return for our money becomes crucial, because of the enormous sums spent every year. I looked at the Report for 1901–2, and found that in Parliamentary grants more than £8,000,000 was spent, more than £3,000,000 in rates, and more than £800,000 in voluntary contributions—in all, considerably more than £11,000,000. I would first say that this money is ill-spent if the children are ill-taught. We have a limited supply of training colleges for teachers, and the want is really too well known for me to enter into any statistics on the matter. The cause is mainly the insufficient supply of training colleges, and the early pressure and imperfect training of the pupil teachers. The Committee may possibly recollect that in the course of our debates on the Education Bill last year it was announced by the Prime Minister that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be prepared to make grants to students living in hostels attached to day training colleges on the same scale as the grants made to students in residential colleges. The latter receive £50 for a man and £35 for a woman. In day training colleges men receive £35 and women £30. In the case of the residential colleges the payment is made to the college, and not to the students; and in the case of the day training colleges 182 the payment is made to some extent to the institution where the instruction is given. A limit has been imposed up to now that the grant should not exceed 75 per cent. of the total cost of the student's training. The grant now approximates so nearly to this limit, and the saving to the Exchequer is so small, and the administrative trouble of going into the accounts of all the colleges, and of all the hostels, which we hope will be more numerous in future, is so great, that it has been decided to abolish the 75 per cent. limitation The students in the residential colleges and hostels will, therefore, be placed on the same footing, and the students in day training colleges will continue as they are. We have a body of regulations concerning training colleges, and including regulations as to hostels and as to pupil teachers; and I will not trouble the Committee by saying more as to the terms of the grant, or the conditions under which the Board will approve the hostels. There is one matter I am bound to mention, because it stands rather apart. The old Universities of Oxford and Cambridge have large day training colleges, and they are attended by students of three sorts; there are those who may not be members of the Universities at all, students who are non collegiate, there are students not attached to any college or hall, and students who are members of colleges. Of the latter some spend part of their time at college and part in lodgings, some more, some less; and we have found it impossible to draw a distinction between two members of the same college, one living in college rooms and the other in lodgings over the way. The student living in lodgings sanctioned and authorised by the college is under strict college discipline and liable to any requirements made upon him. Under those circumstances the Treasury has consented to treat both these classes of students on the same footing. But I am bound to say that the Board has undertaken to make quite sure that the student in lodgings gets the full benefit, and is subject to the full discipline of his college, and that he therefore will not lose anything of the disciplinary result of the life which the college may 183 afford. I have considered the matter very carefully, because there are no other places in the world where there are collegiate institutions similar to those of Oxford and Cambridge, where a student gets a corporate life in this form, and where he can get that whether he lives in lodgings or in college rooms. I should like to say that the arrangement as to the giant does not strike me as having leached a position of finality. I cannot entirely reconcile myself to the large difference drawn between a man in a residential college and a woman, and there may also be something to be said for a closer approximation between the day training schools and the residential colleges. But it is impossible to raise that question this year. I do not know whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer will receive any such proposal with consideration in a future year, but I wish to record my own opinion that the present state of the grant is somewhat arbitrary.
Now I come to the question of the pupil teacher, where we are making a gradual change, which I hope will be a very considerable and fruitful change. At present the pupil teacher may begin work in rural districts at the age of fourteen, in urban districts at the age of fifteen; 40s. is paid for him; and he works at the school (or the. King's Scholarship examination—works and teaches at the same time. Below the pupil teacher in the teaching scale is the probationer, who is unpaid and untaught, but is recognised on the staff as equivalent to the instruction of ten children. I do not desire to see this order continued; the pupil teacher, I think every one will admit, begins too early.
*SIR WILLIAM ANRON
There is a monitor, but I do not think the Committee are prepared to struggle with the monitor. What we want in the case of a person entering the teaching profession is a period of preparation, and that period of preparation will diminish the amount of uninterrupted teaching. We cannot get it all at once, because we 184 shall have to upset the staffing arrangements of the school, which have gone on under their present condition for a long time, and in rural districts, and other parts besides, it would lead to great inconvenience if they were suddenly deprived of their pupil teachers. We propose to proceed in this way—After 1st August, 1904, no one is to begin to teach before the age of fifteen in the country, or sixteen in the town. After 1st August, 1905, every pupil teacher must be taught in a pupil teacher centre, and must not work for more than half time. Before this stage the scholar must have some preparation either at a secondary school, or at a higher elementary school; either at a secondary school which earns one of the two grants, or at a secondary school which does not earn either of the grants, but to which for these purposes the grant of £2 a year will be made; or failing this at preparatory classes, which we hope will be established where these secondary schools are not available for the students. The ideal we aim at is three or four years at a secondary school with a minimum grant of £2 a year in cases where secondary schools obtain a grant from the Education Department, and then a period of two years at a pupil teacher centre with a grant of £3. We hope that some secondary schools will establish pupil teacher centres in connection with their work. We hope that preparatory classes in the pupil teacher centres may develop into secondary schools; but we look for unbroken preparation until the age of sixteen, and for half-time preparation and half time teaching up to the age of eighteen, after which we hope the pupil teachers will go to the training college and enter the teaching profession better prepared than they are now. This is one of the reasons to which I referred just now, why we wish to reserve to ourselves freedom as to the types of secondary education which the Board of Education will assist. We also look forward to and will welcome co-operation with the local education authorities, some of whom have taken up the work of training teachers already with energy. We will be prepared to work with them experimentally or on lines laid down. I wish to recognise the 185 efforts made in some parts of the country I in that direction, and I hope these efforts will be imitated and followed in other parts of the country. I can assure the local authorities who wish to undertake this good work, that the desire of the Board of Education is to co-operate with them.
There are two other matters connected with elementary education which sometimes make me despair. One is, what happens to boys when they leave school? There is need of a body of people, who ought to be managers of schools, who would watch a boy when he is about to leave school and see that he is not taken away too soon, and that his career is not spoiled by his going into temporary office work, so as to secure that the boy gets the advantage in after life of the education he has received. I will give an illustration which came before me not long ago. I was taken by one of our inspectors to a wood-work centre in London. He told me he had been about in various parts of the Continent inspecting centres and places where this sort of work is done, and he said that the work done in that particular centre was superior to any done on the Continent. I asked what happened to the boys when they left. The master told me that not more than 7 per cent. went into the business for which they were there being prepared with advantage and profit. He also told me that something like from 15 to 20 per cent., after having gone into an office and grown out of office work—I am afraid that employers of labour do not always consider when they employ boys that they incur some responsibility—when they leave the office, go back and resume painfully and not so effectually as heretofore the work they had been doing before. And all this time the great furniture workshops in London have been filled with French and German workmen doing the work which our own boys might do better than they! That concerns the way in which the children leave the school.
But there is another and more serious question, and that is the condition in which the children come to school. There was, the other day, a noteworthy discussion in another place on the deterioration of the people, and various 186 bodies of persons were mentioned as supplying evidence—recruiting officers, the Local Government Board, etc. I venture to think that inspectors of schools in large towns could furnish some evidence that would be very valuable in any inquiry of that kind. I heard the other day from some of our inspectors some facts which I think ought to be known to the House. There are, according to the testimony of an inspector who is very careful and very sympathetic with regard to children, more than 60,000 children in London who are physically inferior, and who cannot get the benefit of the teaching in the schools. How does this arise? They start badly. They are the offspring of early marriages and of unthrifty parents; they are overworked; they work before they go to school, and they work when they come back from school. They do not get enough rest, because the mothers do not take the trouble to send the children to bed, and they run about the streets until after midnight. They do not get enough food; they go out to school in the morning without breakfast; and their housing is bad. I am told that in Lambeth there are 12,000 one roomed tenancies. Their homes are bad, and, with such neglect of the parents, the influence on the children cannot be good. The result is that these children are easily tired in mind and body. They cannot sustain their attention; they cannot last through an ordinary day at school. They fail early, and any sort of disorder takes easy hold of them. They are backward to the extent of two, three, and sometimes four years behind the well-fed and well-looked-after children of the same age. Now, what remedy can you find for this? An inquiry was promised the other day in another place; and all I can say is that the Board of Education will be most desirous to press for the fulfilment of that promise, and be most ready to provide such evidence as will make that inquiry efficient and complete. But after all, although the Local Government Board may do something in the matter of housing, the Home Office in the matter of the employment of children, and the Board of Education in limiting the size of the classes in the schools in 187 the poorer districts so as to ensure more individual attention on the part of the teachers, this is not a case in which, it seems to me, legislation or administration can possibly say the last word. What we want is to get the parents to live decent lives and to show proper parental affection and care for their children. No Department can give a new revelation or a spiritual or moral impulse. What is really wanted is volunteer effort, the work of men and women for men and women in these poor places, probably as managers of schools. At any rate, they should get to know the children in their homes and try to impress on the parents their duty towards the children which they have brought into the world. Surely, there are many people who might occupy themselves in these things. There are many people in this town, I believe, who, when they wake up in the morning, have to exercise some thought as to how they are going to get through the day. The work I am suggesting that these people should do is not, on the face of it, attractive work. The process of regeneration is bound to be slow and full of disappointments, and marred by frequent conviction of total failure. And yet, I promise to anyone who will undertake a work of this sort and carry it through, that some morning or another they will wake up and find that though they have deliberately sacrificed somewhat of pleasure they have found happiness unawares.
§ MR. WILLIAM JONES (Carnarvonshire, Arfon)
said that the outlook which the hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education had, in the course of his interesting speech, shown of our educational system was not at all an inspiring one. And the reason, so far as he could see, was the total inefficiency and lack of training methods. The hon. Gentleman talked about the secondary schools of England, and said that the training going on in these schools was mechanical and dull. So far as he could gather, the methods employed by the teachers must have been exceedingly cramped. The teachers had evidently never had any training to make these methods elastic; had never any sense of proportion, and no imagination at all. 188 Take the school which the hon. Gentleman instanced where the children were taught all about the Wars of the Roses without having been taught anything about the Norman Conquest. That contrasted unfavourably with the methods employed in Germany, the United States of America and elsewhere. It seemed to him that what was needed was not more training colleges of the old kind, but that the teachers in the elementary, as well as the secondary schools, should have a first-class University training instead of occupying places in residential colleges. He hoped the inspectors, with the mandate from the Board of Education referred to by the hon. Gentleman, would advise local education authorities not to multiply residential colleges and so create vested interests. The local authorities should be helped by grants to enable students who intended to become teachers to have a training in a University, not merely a training with men and women of the same class, but a training mixed up with men who were to become Members of Parliament, politicians, scientists, doctors, and all sorts of people. He could not understand anything more detrimental to future teachers than to segregate them in one building. Most of the teachers in elementary schools came from the humbler classes of the community, and their methods of training in these residential colleges became mechanical and dull, and they only mixed with the same class to which they belonged. Thus they became stereotyped. They should be sent into healthy and wholesome communion in a University, where they could mix with their tutors and professors, and with fellow-men, rich and poor alike. That had never been done until recently with regard to the teachers. After all, the teachers were the soul of the schools, and unless they got an active personality, with a fine equipment and plenty of brain power, how could they expect this country to compete in the world of technical education, science, and commerce with Germany and the United States. That had been their great failure in the past. There was a great deal of talk just now about "the inquest of the nation." Let them begin to make an inquiry into the proper training of teachers, and the 189 result of that would be most fruitful. They could see how technological studies had helped to make Germany and the United States their great commercial rivals and competitors.
He was glad that the hon. Gentleman had touched upon the promise made by the Prime Minister last July. He thought the promise extended beyond hostels; but he saw from the Report of the Board of Education, which was issued a few days ago, that hostels must be of five years standing before the grant could be given. By that moans, a whole generation of children would miss an improved system of teaching. Why should not the Board of Education trust the University Colleges to see that the schoolmasters and schoolmistresses should not only get the best possible education but also the best possible maintenance; and why should not the same grant be given to them as was given to students entering the training colleges of Oxford and Cambridge. He was very glad that the students who were being trained in connection with the Universities got the same grant as was given to students in special training colleges. But why confine the grant to Oxford and Cambridge? Very few students of the humbler classes could afford to go to Oxford or Cambridge. Thousands could afford to go to the training colleges in connection with the University Colleges. These University Colleges were scattered all over the land. He did not think that there was more than one district in which persons who intended to be teachers could not be trained at a University College. The only part of the country not supplied was East Anglia, and he thought that there were sufficient good educationalists in Norwich to have a training college there to supply East Anglia with sufficient mental equipment and sound educational methods for the training of teachers in that part of the country. All the other parts of the country had been mapped out, so that teachers could have ready access to the University Colleges. He himself knew of the good results which had followed the training of teachers in the University Colleges of Bangor and Aberystwyth. In Aberystwyth they had got the best training college in these Islands. There were 135 students, and there were hostels only for the women. Why should the men's college be penalised until they 190 had a hostel of five years' standing? See what was lost to the education of the country by that policy. He hoped that the question would not be dealt with as one of segregation. Segregation was a very bad thing for education. Let the students have a home, and let that home be in connection with a University College, so that the students might mix, not only with intending teachers, but with all the other students, join the same classes, attend the same debates, play the same games. That was the way to train a band of teachers, and to raise the whole status of the educational system of the country. He was glad that they were going to eliminate the pupil teachers, the little boys and girls who were themselves intellectually starved, and who could not be expected to impart education to other children. Although the pupil teachers' centres had done a great deal of work, he was against sending pupils to them in future for the same reason he had already stated in connection with adult teachers. Let them send the pupil teachers to the secondary schools, where they could meet with boys and girls of other classes. In that way they would get a new stratification; they would raise the status of the teaching profession, and do away with the barrier between elementary teachers and secondary teachers, which had hitherto been the curse of the educational system of the country. The pupil teachers should get the 60s. grant, and should be taught, not at a pupil teachers' centre, but trained in secondary schools with their fine equipment. If that were done, it would be a preliminary work to raising the whole community and the whole citizenship of the country. It would bring a finer grain into the commerce of the country, and with free trade and education he would not be afraid of the competition of other countries.
§ SIR JOHN GORST (Cambridge University)
said he entirely agreed with the admirable sentiments which the hon. Gentleman had just expressed as to the training of teachers. He thought the hon. Gentleman would agree with him in generally thanking the Secretary to the Board of Education for the excellent reforms which the Board intended to make with reference to the training of 191 teachers. He had nothing to say about them except approbation, with the single exception of the deficiency to which the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken had called attention. He knew very well that that was not the policy of the hon. Baronet the Secretary to the Board of Education. In it he recognised the hand of the Treasury, and he hoped it would not be long before the general influence of public opinion would induce the Treasury to act economically, and that the Board of Education would urge that it would be economy on the part of the Treasury to allow this higher grant to be paid, not only to those who were fortunate enough to live in colleges at Oxford or Cambridge, but to all those teachers who were being trained in the University Colleges. He thought they might very safely say that as long as a young man or a young woman went to an accredited training college, and satisfied the authorities as to the manner in which he or she was accommodated, there was no reason why the higher grant should not be paid. It would be economy on the part of the Treasury to pay the higher grant, because they would get value for the money in the improved teaching which the teachers would be able to impart. He should like to make a few general observations on the statement of the hon. Baronet. First of all, he should like to congratulate the hon. Baronet and the Government on the excellent account the hon. Baronet had been able to give of the working of the Act of last session. There were a certain number of minor difficulties and troubles connected with that Act; but the great object of the Act was to induce the local authorities to undertake the general supervision of the education of the country. From the statement of the hon. Baronet it appeared that, so far as the working of the Act had gone, the local authorities had accepted the functions which Parliament gave them, and were in the course of carrying out the extremely important duties which the Act of last session imposed upon them. He had always thought and always said that when once they induced the great municipalities and the great County Councils of the country to take up the education of the people, and when those authorities were given ample and sufficient powers to carry out their duties, that 192 they might expect enormous progress in the work of education. That view had been given very satisfactory confirmation by the statement of the hon. Baronet.
The Secretary to the Board of Education made this year the same statement that had been made in this Committee year after year. It was an odd statement for a Minister asking the House to vote eight millions of money to make. It was that a very large part of the money which the House was asked to vote would be absolutely thrown away. He entirely agreed with the hon. Baronet in the statement he gave as to the reasons why this money was wasted. As regarded secondary education, he thought, however, that there was a reform going on to which his hon. friend scarcely did justice. Formerly, grants for secondary education were made entirely in the shape of grants for science and art instruction, and were given entirely as the result of examinations. The effect of it was that quite an unnatural stimulus was given to all the poorer schools which looked to earning grants; and instead of giving satisfactory education to the children, the teachers prepared them for examinations which were to put money into the pockets of the trustees and managers of those schools. It was a very vicious system, and it was put an end to mainly by Sir William Abney, the late Secretary to the Science and Art Department, to whom the hon. Baronet paid a well-deserved tribute. He put a stop in the first place to payment by results, and gave a block payment not for examinations, but for teaching, and he instituted the two classes of schools to which grants were given. For the first time for the A schools, which were the older schools, a regulation was made that no grant should be paid unless the literary instruction in the school was satisfactory to the Board of Education. Not only was science taught in those schools and grants given for it, but the inspectors of the Department took care that the literary instruction given — history, geography, foreign languages, and frequently Latin and Greek—was properly taught, and that the general curriculum of the schools was such as to give a generally liberal education. The B schools went a step further in this direction, because in the B schools there must be satisfactory literary instruction, and the science instruction was 193 not more than the amount of science which ought to be taught in a general education. In these days, no man or woman could be said to be efficiently educated unless he or she had some acquaintance with what were called scientific methods, and the application of those methods towards one branch at least of natural science. That was the minimum of what he should call a general education, and he did not think that a person who knew nothing but Latin and Greek had any more right to be called a cultured person than one who knew nothing but science and mathematics.
He would now pass to something more important, which was the waste in elementary education. The reason why so much money was wasted in elementary education was the miserable condition in which the children of a great number of parents in the poorer parts of our great cities were sent to school. He had called attention to this matter on the Scotch Estimates, because in Scotland there had been an inquiry made into the condition of the children of Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and the result of the investigation had been perfectly appalling. He asked the hon. Baronet whether the Board of Education would not make some similar inquiry into the condition of the children of London? It could be done in a few weeks, and would be extremely interesting to see if the condition of the children of the Metropolis was as deplorable. He would not recapitulate what he had said on former occasions, but would commend the Report of the Royal Commission to hon. Members. It appeared that these poor children—the children who lived in one or two-roomed tenements in Edinburgh—were in every respect below the proper condition of children; they were stunted and starved; there was a fearful percentage of preventible disease amongst them; the hearing of more than half was imperfect through ear and throat disease; their sight was affected in such a way that they were not fit to receive instruction in the schools, and a very large number of them were half starved. More than 30 per cent. of them were suffering from actual starvation. If anything like that prevailed in our great cities it was perfectly obvious that for us to train teachers, to pay for schools, to pay Education Committees' inspectors, and salaries to various officers, and to 194 open these schools for the reception of these poor little wretches who were quite unable and unfit to receive the instruction given, was the height of absurdity. The two Gentlemen who made the inquiries in Scotland called attention to the fact that to give physical instruction to children in this state was absolute cruelty. He might add to that, that to give mental instruction was also cruelty, because mental instruction wasted the tissues just as much as bodily instruction and to make these little wretches learn arithmetic and geography when they had nothing in their stomachs, was as cruel as it was to work a starving horse or any other animal.
The hon. Baronet had proposed two remedies, both of which were excellent in their way. First of all he said they should not have too large schools, but the Board of Education prescribed no limit to the size of an elementary school. There were eighteen schools in the last twelve months sanctioned in which the number of 1,000 children would be greatly exceeded, and he would like to ask what were the special circumstances which constrained the Board to sanction them. The other remedy was the efforts of philanthropy. There were a number of persons in this country who devoted their lives and time to the care of these schools and these poor and unhappy children. He was happy to say many people devoted themselves to this task, and had rendered most valuable assistance to the cause, but he thought a public authority ought not to say—"Let the philanthropist deal with this matter; we will do nothing, and allow the evil to go on."
He desired to recommend to the Board if Education three specific remedies for this state of things, which might be put into operation at once, and which might do something towards alleviating this unhappy condition. If the Board of Education did not act upon them there was no reason why the local authorities, the municipalities of great cities, and the County Councils should not move in the matter and do something on their own motion for the amelioration of this shocking state of things. The first thing he would suggest was that there should be a system of adequate examination of the children in order to see what the children were like in the schools. The teachers made an enormous number of useless Returns, and 195 their time would be much better occupied if each teacher made such an inspection of the children in his class as was made by the officers of the army every day. The teacher knew what children came to school without breakfast, and knew those who were half starved, and those who suffered from being overworked and were too tired to learn when obey came co school. But the matter ought not to stop there. There ought to be a regular periodical examination of all the children in our schools by the local authority—a medical examination. Not only were many of the Scotch children that were examined found to be suffering from curable defects which could be seen without medical training, but in many cases they were suffering from diseases which no one but a medical man could have detected, but which ought to be made known before the children were subjected to the work of the school. For instance, apparently healthy children, doing heavy dumb-bell exercises, were found to have weak hearts, and to be actually in danger of dropping down dead in consequence of the school exercises through whch in perfect innocence they were being put. Other children were in an advanced stage of phthisis, and it was well known that occasionally ophthalmia and other diseases broke out in which it was most important that children should be at once segregated. The proposition he made would not cost a great deal to carry out, but whatever it cost it would be an economical expenditure of money, and he hoped that the hon. Baronet, if he could not see his way to make it a condition of the Government grant that there should be such an inspection, would at any rate recommend it to the local authorities by circular, so that they might have their attention drawn to the matter.
His second suggestion was that more attention should be paid to the ventilation of schools. The schools of the London School Board and the School Boards around London were generally admirably ventilated, but in other big cities, and especially in country places whore the air all around was the purest imaginable, the air in the schools was foul and unhealthy. On a previous occasion he referred to a scientific inquiry which had been undertaken as to the condition of the schools of Manchester. That inquiry was conducted by gentlemen 196 connected with Owen's College, and it had been found that even the schools of Higher Broughton, which were attended by the children of better class artisans, were extremely bad in the matter of ventilation. The rules were admirable The fault was not in the rules or the structure, but in the carrying out of the ventilation after the school was opened. Inspectors, teachers, and managers were not sufficiently alive to the importance of this matter to the children. If, by instructions to inspectors, and the rigid enforcement of the rules with regard to ventilation, the hon. Baronet brought about a revolution in the schools in this respect it would be greatly to the advantage of the country.
The third practical recommendation he desired to make was that the Board of Education or the local authority should take some steps, he did not say to feed the children, but to see that they were fed. In this matter he had been greatly misrepresented. He had been called a Socialist, and told that he would upset parental responsibility, and so forth. That was not his desire at all. All he said was that if the authorities undertook to give instruction, either mental or physical, to children, they had no right to do it without also being responsible for seeing that the children were adequately fed before they were instructed. He had been told on high authority that what really was most to blame in our social conditions was not that the children were starved, but that they were improperly fed. In the old days, when the children ate porridge and food of that sort, they were much more properly fed than now, when white bread, not of the most nourishing kind, and tea practically formed the food of a large I part of the population. If the local authorities would provide the food many parents would gladly pay for it, in order to be sure that their children were adequately and properly fed. He suggested that the local authorities should be encouraged to do this. In many schools, attended by the children of well-to-do parents, it would be quite unnecessary to make any such arrangement, but in all schools where it was required he saw no reason why there should not be provided, at cost price, a school breakfast or a school dinner, or both. He believed that something like a penny would pay for a breakfast, and a 197 wholesome dinner would cost very little more. The teachers should have a discretion to send in to the school breakfast or dinner those children whom they knew to be underfed. The list of the children so sent in should be examined by the local authority, and those parents who could pay should be made to pay, while in the case of those who could not pay reference should be made to the Poor Law authority, and the natural consequences of the receipt of public relief would follow. He was not wedded to any particular plan. All he contended was that it was the duty of the local authority which taught the children to see that before they were taught they were adequately fed.
Then there were two matters connected with the administration of public education to which he wished to refer. One of the things which hindered the attendance of the children, frightened children from school, and made school unpopular, was the extent to which caning prevailed, not only in boys' schools, where one did not object to it so much, but also in girls' and infants' schools, where it was most objectionable. In a large number of schools the practice prevailed as a regular part of the school routine, and quite little children and girls were constantly caned. He did not say that it often degenerated into cruelty or brutality—such cases were rare; but what he did say was that the practice deterred children from going to school, and it was one of the things which made children so dislike school life, that as soon as they were emancipated from it they did not care to go into a school again. This kind of punishment had been abolished in every country except England, while in Egyptian schools infliction of corporal punishment was absolutely prohibited, and he had never seen schools in which the order and discipline were better. The last matter to which he would refer was the question of inspection. He was glad the Government were taking in hand the reorganisation of the inspection of schools. It was absolutely essential that that should be done, because the question of how far schools were to be inspected by the Government and how far by local authorities would certainly arise very shortly, and the local authorities would not be satisfied with Government inspection unless it was thoroughly efficient. 198 By far the better system was to have the inspectors appointed by and responsible to the central Government, who could keep up a much better inspectoral service than any local authority, except perhaps that in London. Moreover, a Government inspector, was much less susceptible to or likely to have his judgment warped by local influence The first essential of an efficient inspectorate was that the inspectors should consider themselves judicial officers. They should make their reports under a sense of personal responsibility, and these reports when once made should never be tampered with or altered by the Central Department. An inspector ought to say when a school was bad as well as when a school was good, and he ought not to be reproached or looked down on because he told the truth, and when he saw that instruction was inefficiently given, or that the apparatus was not good, had the courage to say so. A great deal had been heard in the past with regard to military officers being asked to alter their reports, but he thought the Committee had no idea how often inspectors were asked to alter theirs. Such a thing should never be done. It was quite clear that they would not be able to classify the schools in this way. A few local authorities, when there was no Cockerton judgment before their eyes, would establish schools which would at once be elementary, technical, and secondary schools, having all those branches going on under the same teachers. They would find it very difficult to have three sets of inspectors going in the same schools. He felt sure that the operation of the new Act, which would obliterate the distinction which could now be drawn under the Cockerton judgment, would do away with that distinction. They would have different inspectors for different subjects, but they would have to be members of the same body under the same official in spector, and the local authority would have to communicate with one person only about all the schools in their district. He was sorry to have occupied so much time, and, in conclusion, he wished to congratulate most heartily the hon. Baronet on the very satisfactory statement he had made to the Committee He most urgently pressed upon the House of Commons and His Majesty's Government the urgent and immediate 199 necessity of taking steps to deal with this enormous evil in the condition of the children in the schools, which, if it was not arrested and altered, would more than anything else tend to the misery of their future population, and put an end to all hopes of anything like material progress.
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)
said they had had the advantage of hearing a very interesting statement from the Secretary to the Board of Education, and everybody must feel that that statement, the first since the passing of the Act of last year, marked, to a certain extent, an important period in the history of education. It was, of course, too soon to judge in any decisive manner whether the Act of last year was going to produce all the good results which its framers anticipated, or any of the evil results which some of its critics foreshadowed. So far it seemed to him that both the hopes and the unfavourable anticipations had been realised to a certain extent. The great County Councils and county boroughs had thrown themselves into the task of organising their Education Committees with great zeal and energy, and with considerable success. On the other hand, it was far too soon to give any decisive opinion as to how far in county boroughs and the large towns which previously possessed School Boards, the anticipations of evil which some of them on the Opposition side of the House held might not yet possibly be realised. He did not conceal from the Committee, nothwithstanding the reassuring statement of the right hon. Gentleman, that he thought it was too soon, from the very nature of the subject, to decide whether the Committees of large county boroughs and the ex-School Board boroughs, being bodies largely burdened with other municipal duties, would be able fully and adequately to find time to discharge the great new duties placed upon them. He sincerely hoped that whatever doubts they had expressed on that side of the House as to the success of this measure might by the results turn out not to be justified.
It was more pleasant to turn from these controversial subjects to the subjects touched upon in the speeches made during 200 that afternoon. His right hon. friend the Member for Cambridge University had urged upon the Committee the immense importance of what might be called the physical aspects of education. He had spoken from the point of view of the crowded populations of the great towns. He was glad to hear what fell from the right hon. Gentleman when he said that in his opinion a very large portion of these observations applied also to rural districts Nothing was more remarkable and extraordinary than the apparently absolute ignorance of the average school manager upon the ventilation of schools. At the present time County Councils were naturally engaged in the task of taking stock of the condition of the public elementary schools in their counties, because the existence of the famous wear-and-tear-clause obliged them to take stock of the condition of those schools so as to protect themselves against any unreasonable claims. In many counties the county surveyors had been instructed to inspect the schools from the point of view of their general condition, and that brought before them the question of ventilation. In a few cases in his own county he had accompanied the county surveyor in his examination of the schools, and he had been told by him that it was the rarest thing to find a school where there was any reasonable system of ventilation, and that the number of schools where the children, who might be supposed to have a vested interest in pure air, were unnecessarily brought within the purview of a state of things which could only be described as most insanitary was very great. On the walls of those very schools where they found bad systems of ventilation could be seen the advertisement of some great ventilating firm. Some of these firms gent round illustrations in the hope that their system of ventilation might be adopted, but they simply became the pictorial decorations of the walls of the schools. Over and over again well intentioned managers had asked what they were to do in the matter, and the answer given them was that they should simply look at the pictures on the walls and they would see the blunders they were making.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University had raised 201 some far more difficult questions with regard to the health of the children from the point of view of medical supervision. One of the things which was most alarming was the terrible growth of lunacy in this country. There was no doubt at all that in every lunatic asylum in this country there were a certain number of cases which had found their way there through early neglect of the condition of fatigue of the human head. If a child never digested its food properly for want of mastication, a state of things was setup which ended in attrition of the digestive powers of the human body, and if the child happened to possess a weakly body, general weakness set in which told on the human brain, and eventually under very small pressure the mind of that person gave way and a certain number of cases went from those causes to increase the melancholy total, which was increasing year by year, of those who were inmates of lunatic asylums. There was no matter which ought to attract, in connection with this matter of the health of the children which had been raised in the very interesting speech of the right hon. Gentleman, the attention of the managers of the schools, difficult as the matter was, more strongly than to try to arrange that there should be from time to time a medical inspection of the children. The Local Government Board had already taken some steps in this direction. He know it was very difficult to proceed in this matter, because very often these questions were met with ridicule. He recollected a discussion at a board meeting in regard to a circular upon this subject from the Department concerned, and a most excellent farmer he knew said in regard to it, "What nonsense all this is. If Providence intended a child to have good teeth the child would have them, and if Providence intended him to have bad teeth he would have them; and it was very absurd of the Local Government Board to try and interfere in these matters." He hoped that those County Councils which had taken the wise step of appointing County Medical Officers of Health would organise a regular system of inspection of the schools in regard to all these matters, and in that way he believed they would ultimately bring up the standard of the health of the population. Then they would not hear so much about 202 the deterioration of our population. What they heard in regard to that matter the other day might be true or untrue; they were awaiting inquiry as to whether there was anything in the long and alarming tale. He believed there was unfortunately too much foundation for it in many cases, whether the whole of the tale was true or not. It was perfectly certain that there were many evils arising from remediable causes, and if they were able from the earliest age to have a thorough medical inspection of the children, to take some steps, difficult as it was in crowded towns, to organise a system of school meals, and to take steps for the purpose of securing good ventilation in the schools, he believed that in another generation they should hear less of the deterioration of the population, whether in town or country.
He heard with great satisfaction what fell from the hon. Gentleman in regard to the probationers and pupil teachers. The hon. Gentleman did not include in his good intentions the class of monitors, but it was quite certain that if they once touched the question of probationers and pupil teachers the position of monitors must very soon be affected. He understood the hon. Gentleman to wish that the pupil teachers' centres should be not discontinued, but continued in connection with secondary schools as much as possible, and that the pupil teacher should as far as possible be brought within the purview of an established system of secondary education. He was exceedingly glad to hear that, especially because in the county with which he had most to do they had during the past two years gradually introduced a system of that kind. They had succeeded under the Technical Education Acts in setting up an almost complete system of secondary schools, and they had brought almost all the pupil teachers into direct connection with these secondary schools. That had been done with the full approbation of the Department Inspector, Mr. Currie. If that system could be generally adopted he believed they should rapidly see a very great improvement in the condition of pupil teachers. If in addition to that it was possible to bring the pupil teacher, when he was undergoing his training, into University Colleges in the manner which had been suggested, and to diminish as much as possible his 203 training in special colleges where he found the same kind of people as himself, and did not get the advantage of wider society and more mixed and general ideas, he believed they would be on the road to establishing a really good system of training for teachers. He saw no good reason why it should not be done. University Colleges were growing up in almost every part of England. The Eastern Counties had been mentioned as being rather unfortunately situated in that respect, and the suggestion was made that the great borough of Norwich should be encouraged to form a University College. He was not saying a word against that, but he would remind the Committee that East Anglia was not far from Cambridge, and, therefore, for all practical purposes, East Anglia was already supplied with University Colleges in those institutions which had been set up under the control of the University with most excellent results with regard to the training of teachers.
An observation fell from the hon. Gentleman which had led to some discussion in regard to the great necessity of taking care that, in the enthusiasm which had now set in for scientific education, they should not rush into the opposite extreme of the dangers they desired to avoid, and forget the importance of literary training. Formerly literary training had it all its own way. In the days when the Secretary to the Board of Education and himself were receiving their education they never had a chance of receiving any scientific education, even if they had desired to have it. Now there was perhaps a danger a little the other way, and some of those new secondary schools were perhaps driving the scientific side of their education a little too hard at the expense of literary subjects. He had often had the advantage not only of reading but of hearing opinions of Dr. Bell, who was now retiring from Marlborough College. He was universally admitted to be one of the greatest educational authorities in this country. He heard him the other day speaking of the very great importance of County Councils taking care in appointing directors, or secondary education Committees, to bear in mind the 204 claims of literary training as well as scientific training, because he foresaw that just as in former years scientific education was unduly pushed aside in favour of literary education, so there was a danger now of literary education being pushed aside in favour of scientific education alone. When some Supplementary Estimates were before the Committee during the present session he raised the point whether it would be possible out of the Votes proposed to Parliament, for secondary schools formed by companies which paid dividends of 4 or 5 per cent., to receive grants. He said at the time it appeared to him to raise a very large question, because although the dividend might be only 4 or 5 per cent., it was not an unnatural question for the taxpayer to ask whether it was right and proper that moneys voted by Parliament should be used in paying the dividends of public companies. There was a venture of that kind on foot, not in his own county, but the neighbouring county, where expectations were put forward and formed on Government grants being received. He indicated then that he disapproved of the plan, and stated that he was anxious to know how the matter stood. In the interest of the promoters of the company it was right that they should know. He understood from the hon. Gentleman that such a vote of public money would not be possible to schools promoted by companies, and it was stated that none of the money then asked in the shape of an Estimate would be devoted to that purpose or in that way. He himself felt that the Supplementary Estimate was not affected by the question he raised. He was anxious to know what was the policy of the Government, and the impression left upon him by the answer he received was that it was not proposed to use public money in this manner. Now he found from a document which had been issued that it was distinctly laid down that companies of this kind paying dividends of 4 or 5 per cent. were to be able to receive capitation grants and teaching grants from the Education Department. If that was so he hoped the Committee might have a clear statement why it was so, and whether the Government had really foreseen the difficult and awkward questions which might possibly be raised in connection with this matter.
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON
said he should like to reply at once to what had fallen from the noble Lord in his concluding sentences. He did not think the noble Lord was in the House at the beginning of the statement he made. He certainly intended to apologise to him for having unintentionally misled him in the debate which took place in February last. He was then under the impression that the grants hitherto made to those company schools were to be discontinued this summer, and that none of the money voted by Parliament would be received by them. He stated in his speech just now that the Treasury had considered that these schools should continue to receive the grants until August next year, and that after that they should be discontinued.
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE
said he was sorry he was not in the House at the moment that statement was made.
§ MR. VICARY GIBBS (Hertfordshire, St. Albans)
said the by-laws promulgated by his hon. friend the Secretary to the Education Department alarmed and surprised him very much. He believed his hon. friend did not refer to the matter in his speech. It was for good or ill of so great importance that be thought it was desirable the attention of the Committee should be called to it, and that his hon. friend should have an opportunity of justifying his action in the matter. Under the old by-laws children who did not attend school for religious instruction were put to some secular work during the time religious instruction was being given Under the new by-laws those children were now permitted not to come to school until the religious instruction had been given, and the result was that they had another hour's time free from school work which was not possessed by children whose parents desired that they should receive religious education. It appeared to him that it was nothing more nor less than a bribe to these poor people to withdraw their children from religious teaching for the sake of the money which they could make out of them by sending them to 206 work. He was quite sure that that was not the intention of his hon. friend, but he was equally clear that that was the result in many cases. There was an immense number of parents who had no pronounced objection to the religious education of their children, but who did not like to pay so much per week for it, and the children suffered. As had been pointed out by the right hon. Member for Cambridge University, very many of the children were unfit to receive any instruction, moral or mental. That was very often caused by their being kept at work up to eight in the morning; but now, under the new by-law, they could be kept at work blacking boots or doing; other work till nine. He was quite certain that when the Churchmen of the country came to learn of this new by-law they would say that they had been wounded in the house of their friends. He was quite sure that it would have a disastrous effect on the religious teaching of the children of the country, and would lead to the impression that the hon. Gentleman was not desirous that the children should obtain that religious teaching which, he thought, they all wished they should receive. Every parent who found it difficult or troublesome to pass on his children to school by nine o'clock in the morning would be tempted to profess objection to religious education, because he could keep the children at work an hour later. What a barren gift it was to the children to preserve to them the voluntary schools, if they were not sent to them for the purpose of religious education! He could not understand what justification there was for this alteration of the bylaw. This matter was so important that he did not consider that this step should have been taken until the opinion of Parliament had been expressed upon it. He was astonished that his hon. friend had taken this step, and he felt sure that there must be some explanation for it which had entirely escaped the notice of his hon. friend.
§ *DR. MACNAMARA (Camberwell, N.)
said that from an educational point of view he had listened with great interest to the extremely important and far-reaching pronouncement of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education. It was more important still that the hon. Gentleman had evidenced a general desire 207 to carry his ideas into practice. He would not go for the moment into the constitution of the schemes which the hon. Gentleman had adumbrated; but he could only say that it would have been of advantage if the July mood of the Board of Education had been more apparent last January. He, however, hoped that the July mood would be perpetuated. He had no doubt that the Parliamentary Secretary, who had the Board of Education behind him, would fully realise the enormous responsibilities and the enormous opportunities which the passage of last year's Act would place upon him. Last year's Act took one irrevocable step. A good many things were in that Act which would probably be removed, but they would not go back on that one step—the abolition of the system of obtaining the education of the children of England from charitable funds. They were now irrevocably fixed to the principle of public education from public funds. That imposed an entirely new responsibility on the Board of Education. The old system of voluntary contributions meant that half the children of the country went to schools, which, because of the impossibility of getting their income from charity, were manned by teachers largely juvenile, or by wholly unqualified adults. The classes were so large as to be unteachable; the premises were old, antiquated, and insanitary; the apparatus was very scanty and very ill-adapted for the purposes of education. The getting away from voluntary contributions plainly involved that the Board of Education must recognise the new state of things. The Board of Education had been compelled to fix its standards with regard to the exigencies of the voluntary schools. They winked at the shortcomings of the managers in a way they would not have done had the managers had proper funds forthcoming, and the managers did not carry out even the meagre obligations imposed upon them by the Board of Education. However, they were now at the beginning of a new era in public education as a public charge; and all the old shortcomings consequent on charitable contributions had disappeared. The cardinal feature was for the Board of Education to revise all its standards with discretion, and get away from the old system. The Act of last year had 208 initiated this great reform, but it had been accompanied by very great irritation in the country which had nothing to do with the schemes referred to by the Parliamentary Secretary. That irritation did not appear to be disappearing, and it was accompanied by a great controversy. He thought that irritation was entirely justified, because, in putting the voluntary schools on the rates the public did not got complete control of these schools. Charitable contributions might have justified the imposition of a test on the head teachers over and above that imposed by public authority, but he denied the right of a private agency to claim to superimpose a denominational test on 20,000 out of 30,000 head teachers supported as they now were exclusively by public funds. The irritation would be maintained, and it seemed to him that it would be the duty of the Liberal Party to remove the shortcomings to which he had referred. Politicians would fight this out in the country, and they would see with what result; but the Board of Education should recognise that they had embarked on a new era.
He thought that the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary justified the hope that the Board of Education, through Mr. Morant and the exertions of the Parliamentary Secretary, would do much to improve elementary education throughout the length and breadth of the land; for they could not improve the higher education unless they had a sound foundation of elementary education on which to rest. He thought that the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary was a most happy augury for the future, and that the remarkable series of documents issued from the Board of Education within the last forty-eight hours justified the expectation in which he had indulged. Reference had been made to one of these documents—that relating to the training of pupil teachers. He considered that that was the most admirable educational monograph he had ever read; and that when put into operation, as he had no doubt it would soon be, the effect of it on the training of young people who were to become pupil teachers could not be over-estimated. They would in the first instance have, from the age of from thirteen to fifteen, to go into higher elementary schools; then they were not to be apprenticed till fifteen in the rural 209 districts and sixteen in the towns, though he did not understand the reasons for this discrimination. He never understood that the rural children were more precocious than the town children. Next, after apprenticeship they must not work more than half-time as teachers. All this would make an enormous change in the condition of the training of a great many of the teachers of the country, and it need not be feared that it was a very drastic change. The Committee over which the Rev. Mr. Sharpe presided recommended all these reforms in 1898, and every one of them was to come into operation in 1900. Some of them were not to come into operation till 1904, and a certain number in 1905, so that there need be no anxiety that the changes were too drastic or too hurried. A good many of the great School Boards had carried out these proposals years ago, and he himself had had the opportunity, as Chairman of the Pupil Teachers' Committee and the London School Board, of carrying many of them out. There was therefore no head long speed on the part of the Board of Education. He wanted to appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary not to stop here, but that after having laid down the foundations he should see that public education at the public charge would go forward.
Other reforms would have to follow. There were employed in the day schools teachers under Article 68 who were over eighteen years of age, and who need have necessarily no other qualification whatever. There were at the present time 18,000 of those teachers in the elementary schools, 14,000 being in denominational schools. Their existence had never been justified except on the ground of the poverty of the voluntary system. Mr. Sharpe's Committee in 1898 recommended that if between 1898 and 1900 new appointments were made under Article 68 some education qualification should be submitted. That was a very reasonable and moderate request. The Committee also recommended that from 1900 those appointments should cease, but nothing whatever had been done. With the great change of last year, the argument of the poverty of the denominational system disappeared. Surely, therefore, he would not appeal in vain when he asked that in next year's Code notice should be given that after a certain date there would be 210 no further appointments to the office of Article 68 teachers. They could not get rid of the 18,000 teachers who were now employed; but he thought it was fair and reasonable to ask that after, say, 1905 there should be no further appointments to this office. Then there was the old standard requirement, which was perhaps the most vital of all, apart from the important question of the condition of the children to which the right hon. Gentleman had referred sympathetically. That was the standard—laid down by the Government again because of the exigencies of the denominational system—as to the number of children each teacher should teach in an elementary school. In no country in the world were the classes so unteachably large, and the standard was admittedly founded on the exigencies of a system which had now disappeared. The head teacher, no matter how much he might have to do in the way of organisation and supervision, was personally responsible for the teaching of fifty children in average attendance, which might mean seventy-five different children. The certificated assistant teacher was responsible for the teaching of sixty children in average attendance, or perhaps eighty different children; the head pupil teacher for forty-five children in average attendance, or perhaps sixty children; and each pupil teacher for thirty children in average attendance, of perhaps forty-five or fifty children. The Committee would be glad to know that the monitor had disappeared. (Sir J. GORST dissented.) If the late Vice-President had studied the Education Code he would see that monitors were not included.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said the monitors did not exist in the Education Code; but they still existed in the flesh.
§ *DR. MACNAMARA
said he was dealing with teachers recognised by the Board of Education. Monitors were not recognised, and therefore they did not officially exist. The number of children to be taught by each teacher was fixed with regard to the poverty of half of the schools of the country; and he appealed to the Secretary to the Board of Education to give some indication of his views as to whether the number should not be 211 substantially reduced. Nothing like it existed in any civilised system of which he was aware. In no other country were there classes of sixty or seventy children in the elementary schools; and the standard was fixed because of the difficulty of maintaining schools by charitable contributions. All that had now disappeared; and he claimed that those large classes should be materially reduced at the earliest possible date.
He deplored very much indeed the controversy which had arisen in the country in connection with the Act of last year. He thought, however, that that controversy and the irritation it caused were entirely justified because of the failure of the Act to submit rate-aided denominational schools to full control, and to free public servants, entirely paid from public funds, from denominational tests. There again he thought the Board of Education, and especially the Parliamentary Secretary, might, by by-laws such as that of which the hon. Member for the St. Albans Division spoke so disparagingly, do a great deal to soften the asperity and remove the bitterness occasioned by the Act of last year. The by-law of which the hon. Member for the St. Albans Division complained was, in his opinion, one of the most important that had been issued by the Board of Education for fifty years, and was pregnant with issues of the most far-reaching character. In the past if a parent desired his child not to attend religious instruction the child had to attend school nevertheless; and it was the duty of the school authorities to provide secular education for him in another room during religious instruction. The old by-law was in contravention, in his humble opinion, of Section 7 of the Act of 1870. The new by law-was, however, an absolutely correct interpretation of that section. The new by-law stated that the time during which every child should attend school should be the whole time in which the school should be open for instruction, provided that where the parent had notified the managers in writing of his intention to withdraw his child from instruction in religious subjects, such time should be the whole, time for which the school should be open for secular instruction only. The child need not come to the school until the time for secular 212 instruction began. He did not know anything that could be of greater importance in its effect on the working of elementary schools than the new by-law. What would happen? In the first place, Nonconformists, especially in the villages, would withdraw their children generally. They were already taking steps to have what was called "a national withdrawal" from religious instruction in the Church schools. The Church people would also at once avail themselves of the opportunity to withdraw their children from religious instruction in the Board schools, so that they might receive religious instruction elsewhere. Indeed, the Church Times recommended that as an enormous boon to Church people. But the hon. Member for the St. Albans Division did refer to an exceedingly important please of the matter; and that was that when the by-law was generally known, there was not a shadow of a doubt of what would happen. After fifty years of bitter agitation, and through a mere by-law, the public elementary schools of this country-might be secularised. When the by-law became known people would say, "Very well. I will keep my child at home until the time for secular instruction begins." It was not a matter for the Committee; it was the inalienable right of the parents. The only fear he had was that it would seriously dislocate the whole work of the school, without any adequate reason. Clearly, in the case of provided schools the local authority would have the right of saying that the religious instruction should be given at the end of the sitting. He wished to know whether the local authority would also be entitled to say, as a condition of giving aid to a denominational school,, that the religious instruction should be given in that school at the end instead of the beginning of a sitting, in order that the work of the school might not be dislocated He was afraid that the new by-law would dislocate the working of the school; but he could not help that. It would also do two other things. The raison d'être of the special form of management for denominational schools would disappear. There would be no longer any reason for it. There would be every form of liberty and religious 213 instruction that was wanted. The children could be withdrawn, or sent elsewhere, or kept at home; and they would get rid of what would be a thorny problem in this House some day—viz., the system of management given to denominational schools under the Act of last year. The by-law would do something else. When they had perfect liberty, what was the raison d'être for imposing denominational tests on teachers? That would have to disappear; and then they would be on the only solid foundation on which they could rest, namely, that when a public servant was paid out of public funds they had no right to superimpose any test upon him other than the qualification demanded by the public authority. He foresaw dislocation and difficulty; but he thought it could be met if the religious instruction were given at the end of the sitting. That would be a very good way out of the very difficult problem created by the Act of last year. The new by-law was a proper interpretation of Section 7 of the Act of 1870, which the old by-law was not.
There was one other matter, which was of such supreme importance that he was justified in calling attention to it. During the thirty-three years of the dual system a great many Church managers found themselves unable to continue their schools, as they were responsible in part for their maintenance, and they relinquished them, he should say to the number of thousands throughout the country. In London 354 Church and other denominational schools had been transferred to the School Board, but Section 24 of the Act of 1870, which was not repealed by the Act of last year, provided, if the managers could find the money to maintain them, for the transfer back of these schools to the denominational managers, if two-thirds of the School Board agreed to that course being adopted. That being so, a very serious situation was now created, because under the new Act there was no responsibility on the managers for maintenance, and only a very small responsibility for the upkeep and structural alterations, and now that the responsibility for maintenance had disappeared, applications would be made on all sides for the retransference of these schools which had been practically Board schools for the last twenty or 214 thirty years. The teachers of those schools which were retransferred would be in a most serious position; they had been appointed as to a Board school without regard to what might be their religious belief, and the result to them would be that directly the schools were handed back to the managers the teachers would or might be dismissed on the ground of religious incompatibility, and there was no appeal for such a dismissal. The hon. Member then drew attention to the opinions expressed by the Secretary to the Board of Education, and the Prime Minister in the course of the discussion before the Act of 1902 was passed, and said he took it, and he hoped he was right in doing so, that every legitimate difficulty would be placed in the way of the retransference of these schools. If there was to be a transfer back to the denominational managers, then the school transferred must be treated as a new school, and all the forms for the opening of new schools must be complied with. If that was admitted, then the difficulties in the way of a retransference would be multiplied, and he thought it only right that they should be, because he did not think it right that a school which had for over twenty years been a Board school should be transferred back to Denominationalism.
§ MR. CRIPPS (Lancashire, Stretford)
thought the hon. Member was raising an imaginary difficulty in the matter of these retransfers. The Act of last year provided guarantees in the event of such retransfers taking place, and he hoped that, while the Department saw that these were complied with, they would not put unreasonable difficulties in the way. One of the most important parts of the speech of the hon. Member was that in which he dealt with the operation of the Act of last year. The hon. Member recognised that the Act of last year operated in the direction of a great educational reform. He quite agreed, and the Parliamentary Secretary fully recognised the fact, that following on that great reform we ought to have other incidental reforms in order that the children of this country should get the full benefit of this the greatest educational reform we had had since 1870. There was one 215 reference to the Act of last session to which he could not agree. He could not agree with the hon. Member opposite as to the irritation which had been aroused in some parts of the country with reference to the payment of the the education rate. He did not see why there should be more irritation over paying rates for these denominational purposes than in paying taxes for the same purposes, and he said this in full recognition of the fact that in his view no rates at all should be used for educational matters. He had always urged that a national expenditure should be met out of the national Exchequer. It was grossly unfair to put an additional expense on one-third of the wealth of this country and allow two-thirds to be allowed to go free in respect of the expenditure of what was a national system of education. The people who were raising this question under the plea of "passive resistance" referred to the rates because they thought that payment from the rates was in itself unpopular, and that, being unpopular, a demand of that kind lent itself very readily to prejudice. Apart from prejudice, he could not imagine for one moment how any one who claimed to be interested in education could take part in a movement which put obstruction in the way of carrying out what the hon. Member opposite had acknowledged to be a great educational reform.
As to the by-law, he thought they might exaggerate its importance, but if it meant what the hon. Member for Camberwell said it meant, then they could not have a worse by-law, or one more out of harmony with the true meaning of the Education Act of last year. The hon. Member for Camberwell supported the by-law, and said he thought it would have the effect of secularising the education of this country. If a by-law had been promulgated which would have the incidental effect of secularising the education of this country, that by-law should not be allowed to stand for one moment. The question of the secularisation of education was threshed out last year, and he thought he might say that, although there were different views of denominational education, and how 216 the system of denominational education should be constituted, there was almost a consensus of opinion that sufficient religious provision should be made for all children whose parents desired to take advantage of it. It would be deplorable if, by a side-wind, all the work they undertook last year in order to preserve religious education to the children should be destroyed. Nothing could be more improper; nothing would be more likely to subvert the real intention of Parliament than the passing of a by-law of which the tendency would be to do away with denominational schools, and with those tests which a majority of that House thought were right, in order to ensure that they should have the particular form of denominational education they required. He asked the Parliamentary Secretary whether he agreed with the view that the effect of this by-law would be to secularise education, to weaken the denominational schools, and to take away the necessity of having denominational masters. If that was the view of the Parliamentary Secretary, he would take every legitimate step to get that by-law cancelled, because it would be entirely inconsistent with the action of the House last year, and with the views of those who desired religious education, of whatever denomination they might be.
As to the remarks of the hon. Baronet with regard to schemes, everybody would admit that he had taken a proper attitude in allowing local authorities to make their own schemes so far as they conformed to the main principles of the Act and did not purport to bind for all time their successors. He agreed that such guarantees should be provided, but, they having been provided, the local authorities ought to have, as nearly as possible, freedom. There was not only the question of the co-ordination of our various educational systems; there was the question of devolution as between the Board at Whitehall and the various local authorities, and it would defeat one of the great objects of the Act of last year if the Board of Education in any way unnecessarily interfered with the constitution of the local authorities. If the Board took to interfering in such matters instead of performing their proper duty of seeing that the level 217 of education was maintained in all parts of the country, a severe blow would be struck at the Act of last year. There were two other matters to which he desired to refer. There was no doubt that the small grammar schools were, in many directions, going down the hill. Our system of education was in a condition of fluctuation, and there was more danger to be apprehended from that fact than from anything else in the educational arena. It was exceedingly dangerous not to have some fixed idea in educational aims. The old grammar schools did what they could to lay the foundations of a literary education, but at present they were in a nondescript position. To a great extent the old idea had been given up, and nothing definite put in its place. A proper educational system could not exist without some definite plan of action. Children must be given something which concentrated their attention and presented difficulties to be overcome. He did not believe in the "wishy-washy" form of education so much in vogue, the main principle of which was to do nothing well, to shun difficulties, and to get a smattering of all sorts of knowledge. He regarded with some alarm the tendency, even in the Universities, to spread the educational net too wide, which had the result of allowing all the true elements of education to escape in one direction or another, while the best system of mental training was pushed into the background in order that there might be put forward a large programme which looked well on paper, but which, from an educational point of view, was worth nothing at all.
He would not go into the question of training colleges except to say that they ought to be provided for by the State. If the ratepayers were to be expected to provide colleges for the training of teachers for the benefit of the country at large, there would never be a proper and effective provision for that most important feature in any educational system. He hoped the State would take this matter in hand, and deal with it properly. Another matter had reference to the cost of deaf and blind schools. At present the cost of these schools was very large, being about £36 per child per 218 year. There was a provision in regard to these schools which did not exist in connection with any others—viz., that as much as one-third of the cost must be found from sources other than the rate and-many of these schools in recent years had had to have recourse to their capital account to comply with that provision. The obligation was really unnecessary, and, if it were withdrawn, it would not be necessary to ask for either a larger grant or a larger payment from the Guardians, because sufficient economies could be effected to meet the difference. It was a serious matter that these splendid institutions, dealing with an unfortunate class of children, should go to the wall simply because such an obligation had, without any reason, been introduced, and he hoped the Parliamentary Secretary would be able to hold out hopes of the restriction being removed. Last year's Act was a great educational reform, and the nation looked to the Board of Education so to carry it out as to improve in material respects the education of the children of the country.
§ MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)
thought the hon and learned Member had been rather unfair to the hon. Member for Camberwell with regard to the by-law, and that the hon. Member for Camberwell had laid too much stress on what would happen as the result of that by-law. The by-law could not be adopted except by the consent of a majority of the authority, which consent was not likely to be given in places other than where the majority, being Nonconformist, felt very keenly the denominational difficulty of their children going to denominational schools, or where the majority, being Anglican, felt equally deeply the difficulty of their children going to the councils' schools. In actual practice there was no deep feeling with regard to Anglican children going to the councils' schools and receiving undenominational religious instruction; therefore, in the greater part of the country there would be no attempt to put the by-law into force to prevent the children of Church of England parents attending the religious instruction in the councils' schools. But in a locality where there was a large majority of Nonconformist parents, who objected to their children receiving the admittedly doctrinal religious instruction given in denominational schools, 219 the by-law might be used as a convenient safety-valve, and might bring about in that locality a condition of peace which was far from existing just now. To that extent the by-law would be operative, and because he believed it would operate only in those districts where the difficulty was most keenly felt, he heartily accepted and commended it. He did not think it meant the secularisation of the instruction in denominational schools. With regard to the statement of the Parliamentary Secretary, he thought as he listened to it that there was an incongruity between the speech (not only in its matter but also in its tone) and what was taking place in educational circles outside the House. It was a speech of philosophic peace and academic calm; but outside the House they found a condition which was anything but peaceful or calm. He should like to take up some of the references made by the hon. and learned Member for the Stretford Division in respect to the "passive resistance" movement. The hon. and learned Member expressed the hope that no Member of the House would take a part in that movement. He (the speaker) had not sanctioned it, nor had he taken any part in it, but he was sorry to gather from the hon. and learned Member's remarks that he cast something like an aspersion on the motives of those who, in different parts of the country from a political and religious conscience, had taken up this attitude. There was a political conscience in this matter. It consisted in the time-honoured English belief that taxation and representation should go together, and that the expenditure of public money should be wholly under public control. The other part of the contention consisted in the belief that it was morally wrong to call upon people to provide money or take an active part in the provision of denominational teaching, whether for their own or other children, in which they themselves did not believe. He had been content to wait for the vindication of those two principles until what seemed to him the more important principle had been adopted—viz., until the children of the country were put in a position of having a thoroughly efficient education. Now that that had been secured, he was prepared henceforth to abandon some of the 220 temporary complacency with which he had regarded the infringement of the principles he had referred to, and to labour for the vindication of those principles. He did not think they would have to wait long for an opportunity of vindicating those principles. Where public management was given public control should accompany it, and wherever schools were supported by public money no denominational teaching of any kind should be given.
He listened with the greatest sympathy and admiration to the speech of the hon. Baronet in which he dealt so eloquently with the social condition of the children of the country, but he thought it would be found from the experience of the teachers in the country that it was the greatest exaggeration to say that in regard to physique and health the children were going backward. Experience, so far as the teachers were concerned, went rather to assert that with reference to height, weight, sight, the condition of the teeth, and well-fed preparation before school, the children were improving and not going backward, and the present generation of school children were better fitted for school work than the previous generation. He hoped the Secretary to the Board of Education would not suppose that his work would be futile and the amendments he proposed to make in the administration of his office be rendered nugatory until they could obtain some means of bringing the physical condition of the children up to the ideal. There was much to be done before that could be reached. The defects would not be remedied by sending doctors and dentists to the children. The great reason why the £8,000,000 per year was not expended to the best possible effect consisted almost entirely in the brevity of the school life of the children and the irregularity of their attendance. These were matters which the Government could remedy to a very large extent without waiting for the slow growth of the physical and mental condition of the children towards the ideal. He need not tell the hon. Baronet that more than fifteen children out of every hundred were always away from school; that five of those fifteen had no excuse for being away, that nearly a million were never on the school books at all, and that the number of children who remained at school after twelve years of age hardly went into hundreds of thousands. If the 221 hon. Baronet wished to render thoroughly I effective the money spent on education he must do something by way of legislation for providing better means of inspection, and of bringing pressure to bear on the local authorities and the magistrates to improve the length of the life of the child at school and to secure its regular attendance.
Coming to secondary education he pointed out that the great defect of the system was that it did not make adequate provision for the transfer of the cleverer boys and girls in public elementary schools to the secondary schools. It was a hybrid system which did something for children whose parents could pay a high fee, but little for those whose parents could not pay such fees. It was said that the old grammar school was deteriorating, and why? Because it had ceased to fulfil its traditional function, and it was attempting a dual function, ft had put off its old suit and put on a modern one which hardly fitted it. The system adopted elsewhere was not to have two sets of schools in one and the same institution, but to set up two different schools. A German scholar when he left the purely elementary school might piss either to the science school or to the language school. From the science school he could pass to the higher science school. If he went to the language school he could pass to the higher language school and then to the University. There was no attempt to put under one roof and one set of teachers two incongruous kinds of secondary education—the older and the more modern kind. He joined in the hope expressed by many hon. Members that something would be done to equalise the grants given to residential colleges and day training colleges. The hon. Baronet held out the hope that he might be able to announce something satisfactory in this way. As to teachers, he thought the only way of increasing the supply would be to make their career more attractive. This was a matter which rested with the Government and the Goverment alone, to remedy.
§ MR. ERNEST GRAY (West Ham, N.)
said he had had dining the last six months considerable opportunity of watching what had transpired in the various counties and county boroughs 222 affected by the Education Act of last year, and, in particular, of noting the part played by the Board of Education, and he wished to take this opportunity of complimenting his hon. friend upon the aptitude which he and the officials of his Department had shown with regard to that enactment. They had a task of enormous difficulty to discharge. They had had to deal with every administrative county and borough, and a very large number of urban districts. The councils of some of them had, unfortunately, taken part in the political agitation which marked the closing months of last year. But when they found themselves face to face with the Act they forgot the part they took in politics, and braced themselves up to the administration of the Act. There was every prospect of the Board of Education falling into error, but, so far as he could see, the Board had met their task without delay. They had discharged their obligations with rapidity and unvarying courtesy in the whole of their dealings, both by official correspondence and the interviews which they had had with the great educational authorities throughout the country. If there was one task more difficult than another it was that of constituting, under orders of the Board of Education, the boards of management for the various voluntary schools of the country. He recollected that some years ago Mr. Acland remarked that any Minister who attempted to touch trust deeds would be immediately brought to grief. They had seen the Board of Education under the Act of last year interfering with the trust deeds of nearly every voluntary school throughout the country. He believed that at one date they had applications for 10,000 orders in their hands. There was every possibility of arousing suspicion and wounding the susceptibilities of people closely associated with these schools, and he thought it was a matter for congratulation that the Board of Education had managed to get through this mass of very difficult and complicated work with such a marked absence of friction. He could not help paying a tribute of commendation to the marvellous energy and great tact which had been shown 223 by Mr. Morant, the permanent chief of the Board of Education, in carrying through this very heavy, complicated, and, he might say, very dangerous task. The work had been accomplished with satisfaction to the great majority of those who had at the present time to take part in the operations of the Act of last year. He realised that there were yet difficult places to face. There were a few councils up and down the country led by gentlemen who had taken a prominent part in politics in years gone by. For example, there was Durham Council, with Mr. Storey at its head. He was afraid that some people were thinking more of the political position than the educational position, and in many of those cases the difficulty was not yet met, but it was postponed. He did think it was a remarkable comment on the administration of the Act that out of about 330 possible education authorities under the Act of last year, only about half-a-dozen smaller districts had decided to relinquish, while, of the remainder, in over 200 cases the Act was actually in operation, if not both for elementary and higher education, certainly for higher, and the elementary would be transferred in the course of the next few weeks. In many of the districts the whole of the old Board schools had come under the control of those educational authorities with the advice and assistance of the Board of Education. That work had been accomplished with marked smoothness. On the first day possible some thirty-five districts took advantage of the Act. They were told last year that there was not the remotest possibility of anyone accomplishing the task in 1903, and that a few might come into operation in 1904. One was always interested in pro phecies of that character when they were falsified. He thought it only his duty to bear this testimony to the work accomplished by the Board of Education.
He was sorry that the various documents dealing with the secondary schools and other important matters were not issued until within the last few days. It was practically impossible for any person to obtain a sufficient grip of them to intelligently criticise the new regulations. He should like to say this in regard to the scheme for the better 224 training of teachers. He welcomed most cordially every clause of it. He was most anxious to see the great local authorities constituted under the Act of last year take the permission which the Board of Education now gave them and use it to the utmost of their power. He was heartily glad that the Board recognised the desirability of sending persons who were to become pupil teachers into higher grade schools for two or three years before they began work as pupil teachers. He was sorry the Board had not laid down a definite limit as to the number of pupil teachers to be employed in the schools. There was one phase of this scheme of training to which he would invite the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary. He agreed with his hon. and learned friend the Member for the Stretford Division, that the charge for the training of teachers should never on any consideration have been thrown on the locality. If public education was a national charge, then surely the training of teachers was of all phases of the work the most national in its character. Teachers were not trained to serve only in the county where they were trained, or to serve only in this country. They were trained to serve also in distant portions of the Empire, and surely it was absurd to throw upon the county or borough rate the cost of training persons whose services would be rendered to the State as a whole. There was also a very serious educational disadvantage under this system to which he would venture to refer. The moment they asked a great comity, or even a county borough, to build, equip, and control a pupil teachers' centre, and then to follow it up by building, equipping, and controlling either an hostel in the nearest University or a training college within their own boundary, what did they do? The local authority insisted that none but their own pupil teachers should go into that centre. Anything worse for education he could hardly imagine. It had a most narrowing tendency upon the teachers themselves, and it hindered the work of education in the schools they were afterwards called to supervise. He would go so far as to penalise a local authority that appointed any teacher who had no experience or practice in any other part of the country. 225 He hoped the Board of Education would insist upon all those training colleges and hostels being open to students from all parts of the country. He hoped this would be done, because in the first place he was anxious that the teachers should be brought together from different parts of the country, and be able to compare experiences, and get that rubbing of shoulders which would be so beneficial when they were distributed amongst the schools. He desired also that the sympathy of the local authorities should be enlisted in the endeavour to have the cost now borne by the local rates thrown upon the National Exchequer.
Reference had been made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University to the fact that during the past few months the Board of Education had sanctioned the erection of inordinately large schools. Such schools had been sanctioned at Halifax and Leicester. In one case, he believed, a boys and girls school had been sanctioned for 1,200 scholars. In his judgment, speaking as an old teacher, no one person could properly exercise supervision over that number. In the closing sentences of the right hon. Baronet's speech, he expressed the hope that some people would come forward to look after those children when they were about to conclude their school work and go out into the world. The German teacher had as a rule the advice of every parent as to what his child was going to do in after life. The German teacher secured by the better organisation of the school, and the small size of the classes an opportunity of knowing something of the personality, the ability, and the bent of every scholar under his control. That could never be got in those great barrack institutions which the Board of Education had sanctioned. He understood that the Board had laid down a rule that not more than 400 pupils should be accommodated in each department. Why was that departed from, and sanction given to 1,000 being accommodated in one department? He would watch with very considerable interest not as to where these schools were, but as to the reasons which had induced the Board of Education to depart from what he understood to be the fixed policy of the Board. He would like to 226 urge on the Board of Education the advisability now of cancelling, or certainly materially modifying, the declaration which students were called upon to make when they went into a trainign college. Every student had to sign a declaration that he would, on quitting the college, serve only in public elementary schools. Two years ago the; Colonial Secretary, with his usual force, insisted that in colonial schools the teachers should be free from such a declaration, because he desired to get teachers trained in some of the great English colleges, and the declaration stood in the way. There was one case in which a teacher who had quitted the training college thirty-three years before was asked to repay to the State the cost of his training in the college because he accepted a situation in other than a public elementary school. That was absurd. Teachers should not be trained for any particular form of school, but for all types of schools, and for all establishments recognised by the State as educational. This was the more desirable now that higher and elementary education were put under one authority, and when the work was co-ordinated. It seemed to him ridiculous to ask a student solemnly to declare that on quitting college he would go into one type of school, and not into another.
He would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether he could state, not in detail but generally, what the policy was which the Board of Education proposed to adopt in regard to school inspection? Some of them had been a little disturbed to learn that when a chief inspector was required he could not be found within the ranks of the English inspectorate, but that the Department went to the antipodes for a gentleman to fill that post. He would like to know what qualifications Mr. Cyril Jackson possessed which specially fitted him for the chief inspectorship? He knew that that appointment had been regarded with serious heart-buring. It was regarded as a slur on the English inspectorate, and some were inclined to quit the service of the State and seek employment under local authorities. That appointment needed some justification, and he hoped the 227 hon. Baronet would do his best to justify it. He for one, and he knew many agreed with him, regarded the introduction of the system of inspection, as against the old system of individual examination, as a great boon. Was that to be continued? Was it to be broken down by the local authorities appointing inspectors who would insist on examining each individual scholar on every subject? If so, the last state was going to be worse than the first. He expressed the hope that the Board of Education would insist on being paramount, that the system of general inspection would be maintained, and that the local authorities would not attempt to work the two altogether incompatible systems in one and the same school. He knew that some of the London authorities, particularly the London School Board, had a hankering after the Egyptian fleshpots. The true purpose of education intellectual development and formation of character—could not be attained by individual examination. All the work that was done in the schools should be to equip the scholars, not for an annual examination, but for after life. He knew of nothing which would be so disastrous as to slip back into a system for the sake of getting results which could be tabulated and talked about. He had seen the Vice - President of the Council twenty years ago stand at the Table and declare that everything was going on satisfactorily, that the passes in that year were 5 better than last year, and that something else was 1½ per cent. better than the year before. The House and the country were deluded into the belief that everything was going well in the public schools. He, for one, rejoiced immensely that the Parliamentary Secretary had had the courage to tell the Committee and the country that things were not satisfactory in the schools, and that much more required to be done. He hoped that the Parliamentary Secretary would be able to give some assurance that the working of the schools of the country would not be allowed to slip back into the old evil system of individual examination. He was not at all anxious to get results which could be served up in tables. That system had taught the children to hate the schools far more than physical punishment, and it was a 228 system which kept the evening schools, empty.
§ MR. BRYCE
said he wished to join in expressing the pleasure with which the Committee had listened to the statement of the Secretary to the Board of Education. It was not only marked with great lucidity and precision, but showed his perception of what the educational needs of the country were, and breathed throughout a spirit of fairness and conciliation, which was illustrated by the action of the Board of Education in dealing with the constitution of the Education. Committees under the Act of last session. So far as he had followed the hon. Baronet, it seemed to him that the Parliamentary Secretary had grasped the meaning of the Act, and that the desire of Parliament was to let the local authorities have their own way, compatible with the provisions, of the Act. The hon. Baronet had exactly apprehended what was in the mind of Parliament, and he was glad that the Department had adopted a view which was likely to make the Act work easily.
There were two matters for regret, however. One was, that so much work should have been so suddenly thrown on these already over-burdened authorities. What had passed in some of the counties led him to believe that in this respect their apprehensions had not been exaggerated. He knew cases where the local authorities could not see how they were to deal with the large accumulation of work connected with elementary education, if they were to attend also to the work of secondary education. That was a difficulty which the Board of Education would have to-get over. The other point was as to the presence of women on the Committees. The Amendment moved by the right hon. Member for East Somerset had made it necessary that there should be at least two women on every Committee, but that, apparently, had not been the construction adopted by the Board of Education. He thought the better construction of the sub-section would be that there ought to be more than one woman on each Committee. The Board of Education had not, however, taken that view, because in a great many cases Committees had been constituted in 229 which only one woman had been appointed. One was certainly not enough. He thought the help which women could render would be much improved if there were at least two on each Committee, although two would not in his opinion be enough. The Lancashire County Council had appointed two women, one to attend to elementary education, and the other to secondary education. But it was perfectly clear that with the tremendous amount of work which must fall on one woman who looked after elementary education, she would not be able to grapple with that part of the work which naturally fell to women members, and for which members of the other sex naturally looked to them for guidance. There were a great many questions regarding which women could render the greatest possible service; and he saw with very great regret the inadequate number of women who had been placed on the Committees. He hoped the hon. Gentleman would tell them a little more about what had been done with regard to the endowments, and also with reference to the trust deeds. The facts as to the principles on which the trust deeds had been altered, and the number of cases dealt with, would be of interest. He wished to join in what had been said as to the admirable qualities and services of Mr. Sadler, and could not help feeling that, somehow or other, means ought to have been taken to avoid the loss of those services. He had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Sadler, not only personally but officially, because he was a valuable member of the Education Commission. Without, anticipating the discussion to be brought on later, he wished to express his great regret that Mr. Sadler's services should have been lost to the country, and he thought that means should have been taken to avoid that loss. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Stretford Division dealt in a somewhat controversial spirit with the question of the by-law raised by the hon. Member for St. Albans. He could not agree that the tendency of the by-law would be to secularise education. He knew that an opposite view was taken of it by some of the unsectarian party, who looked upon the by-law as one which might be worked in sectarian interests. He himself did not share those feelings, and he did not think the by-law was open to the 230 censure of hon. Gentlemen opposite or of those who advocated sectarianism.
§ MR. BRYCE
said he thought his hon. friend repudiated the view attributed to him by the hon. and learned Gentleman. At any rate, the view he himself took up was that the by-law was an eirenicon, and the Board meant neither to favour one party nor the other, but to suggest a way of escape out of the difficulties that arose.
§ MR. VICARY GIBBS
said his ground of complaint was that the by-law was a temptation to the parents to cause the children to do manual work instead of receiving religious education of any kind.
§ MR. BRYCE
said he did not know whether that might be the case in a few instances. But the cases in which these difficulties arose were chiefly cases of rural parishes, where there was not likely to be so much temptation to turn the child on for half-an-hour in the morning. He could understand that in the populous districts of towns a child might be employed to sell newspapers and do other work. He believed the tendency of the by-law would be to promote peace, and they ought to have a much longer experience of its operation before taking the view which had been put forward, that it would secularise the schools. As to retransfers, he hoped it was shown conclusively by the declaration of the Secretary to the Board of Education and of the Prime Minister, as well as by looking at the spirit of the Act of 1870, and also the tendency of Section 8 of the Act of last session, that these cases ought to be regarded as cases in which the principles of Section 8 ought to be applied, as well as the principles of Section 24; and that no retransfer ought to be allowed except under the utmost safeguard provided by the Act of 1870 and also the Act of last session. He was glad to gather that that also was the view of the Secretary to the Board of Education. The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite delivered an impassioned speech on the subject of tests. They did not generally discuss 231 the question of tests with the fervour displayed by the hon. Gentleman, who endeavoured to represent the Bill of last year as a great educational reform. In the view of many of them, however, so far from being a great reform it was the reopening of a great and embittered controversy. They were likely to see tests become more and more the subject of an embittered controversy, after which the tests would themselves finally perish.
The Secretary to the Board had raised two questions of great interest. One was that of the physical condition of children, which had also been dealt with very fully by the right hon. Member for Cambridge University on this occasion, and on the Vote for Scottish Education. It was a question eminently deserving the attention of every one. He should like to know whether the Secretary to the Board intended to institute any inquiry in England similar to that which was instituted in Scotland. Some typical districts might be taken, especially urban districts, with a view of showing how far the facts elicited with regard to Scotland were true in England also. He apprehended that those facts would be found to be true also of parts of London and of the northern towns. To make an inquiry of that kind ought to be possible without great expense or delay, so that some remedial measures might be taken. He felt sure the matter would be entertained sympathetically. The other topic was the position of science teaching in the grammar schools. It was a question of the greatest possible importance, and he was very glad it had attracted the attention of the hon. Gentleman. He had himself for years past endeavoured to get the House to understand the revolution which was taking place in the education given in the secondary schools of this country, a revolution which was by no means confined to the grammar schools, for it obtained in those schools which had largely superseded them, the higher-grade schools, as they used to call them, and in a number of newer schools which were not grammar schools technically. In all these schools the science teaching had been growing and the teaching of literary and human subjects had been vanishing, or suffering from a kind of atrophy. Science, which up to some thirty or forty years ago had been entirely neglected and excluded from the great 232 bulk of our secondary schools, had now taken a terrible revenge, and one which was becoming dangerous to the interests of this country. Under the influence of science and art grants and of grants, made for technical education to County Councils, the literary teaching was more and more pressed out of the programme, as there was less money to be earned by them. It would be absurd for any one to deal with this question as though indifferent to the merits either of the one type of training or of the other. It was clear that they were both necessary branches of a proper education, and that both ought to have adequate provision. What was it that was being done now? Very little education, and that of a poorer sort, was being given in literature, very little in history, in grammar, or in geography. On the other hand, scientific education of a sort was being given very largely to boys who would never have occasion to use science in their daily life at all.
Too much could not be done to make provision for scientific education for those who were going to embark in any branch of industry in which scientific knowledge would be useful. We were suffering from the want of competent leaders of scientific work, and scientific advisers in the great industries. He could enumerate a number of industries which had quitted the country because we had not a sufficient number of competent trained scientific workers. It must not be thought he was indifferent to that branch of the subject. But take the case of the average boy who was going to be a clerk or to fill one of the humbler walks in the literary or clerical profession. It was clear that & knowledge of science would be of value to him only in so far as it was made a part of a liberal education, and stimulated his mind, awakened his intelligence, and gave him an idea of scientific method, and of the nature of scientific evidence and how scientific method ought to be applied not only in science but in the daily walk of whatever profession he might follow. But his complaint was that as generally imparted, scientific instruction was not stimulating in that way. It was to a very large extent the mere cultivation of the memory, and was treated in a dull and lifeless way. 233 It was quite true that there were many teachers who could not make literary teaching stimulating to the mind. But he believed it was more difficult still to make scientific teaching stimulating to the intelligence, and the number of teachers was much smaller who could so teach science as to awaken the intelligence than the number of those who could do that by literary teaching. Further, there was this advantage in literary teaching—however dull the teacher might be, the mind of the pupil was brought into contact with the great moral influences of the phenomena of language, which was in itself stimulating. Still more was that the case if he were brought into contact with good literature. The boy brought into contact with good literature acquired the power of reading and enjoying what he real. He got something which would be a source of benefit and pleasure to him for all the hours of his life, and if his teacher was incompetent he had advantages brought in his way on the literary side of his teaching which he could not enjoy unless the teacher was eminently competent on the scientific side of teaching. He believed that was how the matter presented itself to the mind of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education. He welcomed his observations upon the subject, and he hoped he would continue to bear the matter carefully in mind. He did not for a moment disparage the importance of science as part of the liberal education of everybody, and as forming a special education for those who were to turn it to account, but that was quite compatible with the necessity of preserving the literary side of instruction in our schools. He hoped the Board of Education would do all that it could to keep before the minds of the local authorities the duty of organising secondary education, and bringing it abreast of the needs of the times.
§ *SIR F. S. POWELL (Wigan)
congratulated the right hon. Gentleman upon having brought forward the neglect of literary teaching which constituted so great a danger to this country at the present time. The right hon. Gentleman had confined his remarks on this point 234 to the case of boys, but what had struck him most in his visits to these schools was the scientific instruction given to girls. He believed much of the information conveyed to girls in the course of a comparatively late period of their education on scientific subjects was utterly and entirely useless to them. He was quite certain that good service had been rendered by calling attention to the subject; because, as the school age had advanced, there was no doubt some difficulty in devising useful employment of the years spent at school; and the school hours being increased, an opportunity was given for giving more literature. He hoped more literature would be given, and that the evil of the danger which we were now experiencing would be removed. He repeated an expression of the anxiety in the minds of many friends of the voluntary schools caused by the nature of this new by-law. There was a feeling among the friends of voluntary schools of great alarm. He believed the effect of the new by-law would be that children would be employed in earning some small wages instead of receiving religious instruction. It was not, in his opinion, a question between the Church, the Roman Catholic and the undenominational schools; but a question between religious teaching on the one hand, and the spending of time which ought to be given to religious teaching in either earning money or in mere wanton idleness, on the other. He believed that this new by-law would remove from the parents inducements to send their children to school at an early hour, and that it would be prejudicial to the education of the children. One point to which he desired to refer was the new Memorandum which had been issued during the last few days with reference to the secondary schools. It appeared to him that that memorandum was almost sure to produce wholesome results. He thought the competition between certain old grammar schools and technical schools had done great harm to education. There had been duplication, and in consequence weakness arose. Great injury was done by driving out of the field one school financially inferior to the other, although probably educationally superior. It many cases old grammar schools had been most seriously injured by new technical schools. 235 Those old grammar schools had been performing valuable service to the community, and were now not only rendering no service, but were rather an incumbrance and an obstacle. He congratulated the right hon. Gentleman on his schemes. He had examined many, and the scheme for the borough which he had the honour to represent had created the greatest satisfaction, and would do a great deal to vitalise education throughout the borough, and it would, he hoped, lead to there being secondary schools where at present they were sadly wanted. He congratulated the Government on the successful administration of the Bill passed last year, and he hoped that any difficulties that arose would be successfully dealt with. Those who were in this House ten years hence would have to thank the Government which he had the honour to support for the blessing they had conferred upon the country in passing the Educational Act of 1902.
§ MR ALFRED HUTTON (Yorkshire, W.R., Morley)
expressed his satisfaction at the speech of the hon. Baronet, and more especially at the latter part, which dealt with educational matters alone. It was quite true that less friction had occurred than might have been expected, and they might congratulate themselves that the Board of Education had got rid of a great deal of the burden by following the only path open to them, which was submitting to the wishes and desires of the various councils.
§ And, it being half-past Seven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report again this evening.