§ [THIRD READING.]
§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."
§ SIR JOHN GORST (Cambridge University)
said that before he referred to the merits of the Bill he thought he ought to say a few words as to the method by which this measure had arrived at its present stage without one single word being addressed to the House by its promoters in defence of the Bill. This was a Bill to repeal the provisions of an Act passed in 1899, under which the Board of Education had acted ever since. Such a Bill should have been brought in and promoted on the responsibility of the Board of Education itself, and he congratulated the Secretary to the Board of Education upon having discovered a new method of passing through this House Departmental Bills.
§ House counted.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Less than forty Members being present the proceedings will be suspended until a quorum is formed.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
, resuming his speech at five minutes past one, said that when he was interrupted by the Motion to count the House he was endeavouring to show that the Bill under consideration was intended to deal with a provision of an Act of Parliament under which the Board of Education had acted for some years. In his opinion, a proposal to repeal such a provision ought to be made on the responsibility of the Board of Education, and not of a private Member. He might call this "surreptitious legislation," because the Board of Education, instead of bringing in the Bill itself, had had it brought in by a private Member, 1432 although, no doubt, it was concocted and prepared at the Education Office.
§ *THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE BOARD OF EDUCATION (Sir WILLIAM ANSON,) Oxford University
May I say I never heard anything of the Bill until it was introduced.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
I said the Bill was prepared by the Board of Education, and I will undertake to prove it.
§ MR. HEYWOOD JOHNSTONE (Sussex, Horsham)
May I at once correct the right hon. Gentleman. I drafted the Bill myself without any previous communication with the Board of Education.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said he had never heard of a Bill intended to deal with the policy of the Board of Education, and to repeal an Act of Parliament, being brought in under such circumstances, and he still felt that it had been done with the approval and sanction of the Board of Education. The Bill had been run through its various stages without a single word being said upon it, and although the hon. Member for Horsham knew it was to be opposed on the Motion for the Third Reading, he did not get up in his place and say anything in support of it. It was only by the purest accident that he himself happened to be present when the Bill was about to be read a third time, and was enabled thus to secure, at least, that some discussion of it should take place before it was finally passed. He was afraid that the arguments he was about to address to the House would not reach the ears of those who would presently vote upon the measure, and he could only say that he deeply lamented that that should be so.
Now he came to the merits of the Bill. The object of the Bill was to repeal a clause in an Act, passed in 1899, to protect unhappy, defective, and epileptic children. It was intended to protect them from being herded together in large institutions. There were two methods of dealing with children who were under public management, and the better way, in his opinion, was to make a kind of home for them—a small home 1433 where a child could have individual attention, and where there was someone whom it could look up to and love, and also where it could mix with a few companions of its own age. That was the natural and best way in which a child should be brought up. When deprived of a natural home, the best thing that could be done for it, in the interests of the child itself, was to provide it with an artificial home. This method of providing small homes had been adopted in various cases, with the greatest advantage and success. The other method of bringing up children was the more popular one of herding them together in grand institutions and fine buildings, with large staffs and all the modern appliances. There they were brought up by a sort of machinery, they could not have individual attention, nor was there any particular person to whom they could look up and love, and they, therefore, lost the greater part of the advantages in the moral education of a child not attached to the atmosphere of home life. These institutions always had been and always would be extremely popular. There was, of course, the patronage of appointing the secretary, the superintendent, and the matron, there was the delight of building, and of having plans prepared and altering them from time to time. Then there was the ceremony of laying the foundation stone, which was attended by the principal persons in the county, sometimes even by a Member of Parliament, or a Member of the Government, and in some cases actually by Royalty itself, and, finally, there was the institution itself, a magnificent building which constituted a record of the charity and public spirit of the promoters. But, after all, these institutions were not favourable to the children put into them. On this point there was a Committee appointed in 1893 or 1894 by the Government of the day, and the chairman of the committee was the late Mr. Mundella, than whom nobody took a greater interest in the welfare of children. A large number of persons of different political complexion and ideas in regard to children gave evidence before that Committee, which, although it was appointed to inquire into the treatment of children in workhouse schools, 1434 eventually came to deal with the care of children generally, and reported unanimously against the practice of herding them together in these institutions, and in favour of their separation in small families and small establishments such as he had described.
If he wanted to occupy the time of the House he could quote many passages from the Report of the Committee, and from the evidence given before it, which would very strongly support the case he was endeavouring to lay before the House, but he would content himself with saying that both the evidence and the Report conclusively established two things. The first, that these great congregations of children were very dangerous to their physical health. Ophthalmia, ringworm, and other diseases became very rife among the children, and could not be easily controlled. Although the children were kept extremely clean, were under medical supervision, and were excellently well fed, there being nothing wanting in regard to their care, disease dogged these great institutions. Secondly, the great majority of opinion was that the aggregation of children in those large institutions was extremely detrimental to their moral character and to all those qualities which were produced by love, affection, friendship, and human, treatment and care. If this method of aggregation was deleterious to healthy children it was still more dangerous to children, suffering from any kind of weakness or affliction. In this connection he would like to quote the Report issued in 1901 by the Metropolitan Asylums Board, which body had charge of all the defective children in the Metropolis. This was what that Report said—The original policy settled by the Board on the recommendation of the Special Committee re children, and approved by the Local Government Board, was to provide for defective children by 'small houses on the vicinity of the special schools of the School Board for London where groups of children, say eight in each, could be properly attended and eared for by foster mothers.' … the word small coupled with the emphatic mention of individual care stands out on every page of the evidence given before the Poor Law Schools Committee of 1894–6 as the characteristic sought and advocated by witnesses of experience, and the Committee themselves adopted this view. Speaking of homes for normal children (the 1435 ease for the borderland children is naturally much stronger) the Committee say that it is of the first importance to keep the homes small.He would also read a letter he had received that morning from Mr. James Brown, an energetic member of the Metropolitan Asylums Board—Feeble-minded children attend a Board school close by, and only in classes of small numbers. To house them in large buildings or to put a number of houses close together would ruin the scheme, the essence of which is that they should mix with strong-minded children and have bright surroundings. We tried to get self-contained houses for eight each, but finding this difficult we took several larger—one up to twenty. We all lament this now, and from experience shall not, repeat it. In another case we took three small houses and joined them together, but the matron or mother strongly recommends us in any future case to take houses not accommodating more than eight children, and to make them self-contained and a house mother to each. These children require constant and individual care, and we have many cases of great improvement resulting from this course. The whole scheme would fail if the numbers of those thrown together were large—they would imitate each other and so deteriorate. We have also taken away from Darenth Asylum 150 children of the educable type, and put them into a large home at Ealing. The removal from a large asylum into a comparatively small home with garden and playgrounds has had a marvellous effect even on those children who were imbeciles, In the smaller homes the medical care is much more personal and effective, and this is very important—also the feeding. The effect of the smaller homes is that the mother is able to detect and know intimately the mental and physical condition of each child, which would be impossible in the larger numbers. We have now obtained sanction to keep children up to twenty or twenty-one years of age, and shall have them taught, as far as possible, simple trades. This again makes it imperative to keep the number small so as to insure careful personal attention.That was the testimony of a gentleman who had given a considerable portion of his time to the care of these unhappy children. The colonist system, whilst it had not all, had a great many of the defects of the great institution system, and one of its greatest was that it was enormously costly. It had been very much taken up by Boards of Guardians for the children of paupers, and he would like to give an instance of the cost of carrying it out. The Board of Guardians of Greenwich had adopted it, and they had to spend £178,000 to house 600 children, or £290 for very child housed. St. Olaves spent £148,000 for 600 children, or £246 for every child.
1436 He now came to the genesis of the Bill. It referred to the defective as well as the epileptic, and all the opposition came from some persons who had established a great epileptic institution, and who desired to have the children sent there at the cost of the ratepayers of the various districts sending them. That institution was not established for children, and at the present moment there were only two boys in it under the age of sixteen, and no girls, whilst there were 130 grownup people. What was proposed by the manager of this school was to put among these grown up men and women a number of children, who would be sent into the institution and paid for by the various School Boards and other educational authorities. This system of mixing children with adults was extremely objectionable, and ought not to be adopted except after very careful inquiry. A good deal had been said at times in that House about children in workhouses, and about the evils which attached to keeping them there, especially in cases where they were mixed up with older people. In his opinion, if they were going to have institutions for children, those institutions should be retained exclusively for children, and the Board of Education ought not to allow the children to be mixed up with adult people. Now the Chalfont Colony was a most excellent institution, and he had no desire to say a single word against it. The objection which he was putting before the House in regard to the treatment of children in the institution did not apply to the treatment of adult people. The authorities of that institution after it was opened lost no time in applying to the Board of Education for a certificate which would enable the educational authorities to pay the cost of maintaining defective and epileptic children in their institution. They applied to the Board of Education to certify it, and to exempt it from the operation of the Act on the ground that the colony existed before the Act was passed.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
In Buckinghamshire. The authorities of it applied first to be exempted from the Act on the ground that they were in existence before the Act was passed. They then applied to be allowed to have twenty-four instead of fifteen children in each home. Their only reason for that application was that the cost of maintaining a home for only fifteen would be disproportionately large. They alleged in their memorial that it would increase the cost of maintaining the children by £4 a child a year, or, roughly speaking, 1s. 6d. per week, so that the Board of Education was invited to act contrary to an Act of Parliament for the sake of saving 1s. 6d. per week in the maintenance of these children. In the memorial which the managers of the institution addressed to the Board of Education, they said—It must be admitted that there would be advantages in very small homes for, say, six or eight children each, but in the case of epileptics this would obviously be impracticable on account of the excessive cost of supervision.The managers were, in fact, really convicted out of their own mouths, for, while recognising that it would be very much better to have the children in small homes, they wanted to place them in larger numbers for the sake of saving 1s. 6d. per week in the cost of their maintenance. He was surprised that the Board of Education should suggest giving up the interest and welfare of the children on such grounds.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
The hon. Member will have an opportunity afterwards of replying to me, and he can do so.
§ MR. HEYWOOD JOHNSTONE
Evidently the right hon. Gentleman does not wish to place the whole paragraph before the House.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
continuing—It must be admitted that there would be advantages in very small homes for, say, six or eight children each, but in the case of epileptics this would obviously be impracticable on account of the excessive cost of supervision. If this number be exceeded, it is believed that all the essential points of the home system that are capable of being retained with fifteen children can equally well be retained with twenty-four, while the latter number has also some actual advantages. If there are as many as fifteen children in a home, it will certainly happen that they will not all be quite congenial to one another, and in the smaller home the children are thrown more together than in the somewhat larger one for, say, twenty-four, in which also more opportunity is given to the inmates to form pleasant companionships. In short, in the somewhat larger home there is a possibility of a modified classification within the home itself, as distinguished from the stricter classification as between one home and another.It came to this, that 1s. 6d. a week was the measure of the difficulty which they detailed in their memorial. They went on to say that epileptics, more than ordinary children, needed to be kept bright and happy. That was what he himself had contended. It was necessary in the case of ordinary children, and it became still more necessary in the case of these unfortunate epileptic children. This institution wished to be allowed to have free growth. It evidently contemplated a very great increase of its establishment and a very great extension of the present buildings. Well, he had no objection to its free growth and development so long as it was not carried on at the expense of these unhappy children. In regard to small homes he would like to quote a few words from another Report. It was a passage from a letter sent by the Society to the Local Government Board on the 20th March, 1900, and was in the following words—A large proportion of the cases received at the Chalfont Colony are paupers, and my Committee have thus had opportunities of observing the effects upon epileptics of workhouse life. The pauper cases received at the colony may be divided broadly into two classes—those on the one hand whose previous residence at the workhouse has been of short duration, and those on the other hand who have been subjected during more lengthy periods to the depressing influences of those institutions. Among the former class have been many of the best and most hopeful cases received at the colony; the latter class, almost without exception, have been found to have already sunk to such a hopeless degree of 1439 mental and moral deterioration as to have lost, not only the capacity, but even the desire, for any improvement of their condition.These were the people among whom it was desired to place the epileptic children, greatly, as he ventured to say, to their deterioration and disadvantage. However much it might tend to economy and saving, he did not think that such a practice should be permitted. The motives which he had mentioned in the earlier part of his speech for the creation of these institutions for the congregation of children were very powerful with some people, and certainly would tend to encourage them to go in for establishing more of such institutions. It had been said that the colony system was an excellent one because it brought epileptic children into out door life. No doubt living in the open air was one of the best things that could be arranged for these children, but the colony system was not necessary to enable them to lead such a life. They could lead it under much more favourable conditions if they were placed in small homes. Before he sat down he wanted to say a word or two about the proposals of the Bill. It would probably be said by the Secretary to the Board of Education that the Bill did not interfere with the carrying out of the views to which he had given expression, because the Board of Education would have power to make rules and regulations. He, however, had had longer experience of the Board of Education than his hon. friend. He should not in the least doubt his perfect sincerity and genuineness in making use of that argument, but he would like to tell him, and he would like to tell the House, that these public Departments were like wax in the hands of influential people who pressed for these licences to enable them to evade the letter of the law. These institutions possessed enormous influence; he defied the Board of Education to stand against the pressure that would be brought to bear upon it unless it had the protection of an Act of Parliament. If a case had been made out for an alteration of the law the change ought to be in the direction of making the limits more elastic by increasing the number in each house or institution, and not in the direction of 1440 abolishing the limits altogether and substituting the feeble resistance of the Board of Education to the strong pressure, social, political, and Parliamentary, which would be brought to bear upon them by these institutions. Then there was the ridiculous farce of laying upon the Table of the House for a certain period the rules made by the Board of Education. Everybody who had much Parliamentary experience knew how perfectly futile and ridiculous was such a safeguard. It was really not worth the paper upon which it was printed. It made no difference whatever to the action of the Board, and it in no way protected the Board from the pressure to which it would be subjected. He had detained the House at considerable length, but it was because he felt very strongly on the matter. He was indignant that these poor children should be deprived of the safeguards and the protection provided by the enactment it was now sought to repeal. All he asked for was an inquiry, and he thought he had made out a case. At an earlier stage he had suggested to the promoters that a Select Committee should hear what there was to be said on the two sides, undertaking, that if the Committee reported in favour of the further progress of the Bill, to withdraw his opposition. His overtures were rejected, but he thought he had shown that the law ought not to be altered without the matter being discussed and inquired into. He therefore moved that the Bill be recommitted to a Select Committee.
§ *SIR FRANCIS POWELL (Wigan)
, in seconding the Motion, said he had been interested in the Bills of 1893 and 1899, which were really sister measures and required to be taken together. It was impossible to enter into the investigation of this subject without feeling the great danger involved in the multiplication of overgrown institutions. When the measure of 1899 was under discussion in another place, the then President of the Council declared that the Council would not look with favour on very large institutions, but would strictly limit their numbers. There was a similar condemnation of overgrown 1441 institutions in the Report of the Departmental Committee on Defective and Epileptic Children, upon which the Bill of 1899 was founded. Under that measure security was taken that the houses should not be larger than a certain size, or more than four in number, in other words, each colony was not to exceed sixty. That was a sufficiently large number, and to go beyond it would be mischievous to the cause which all had at heart. If larger numbers were permitted, the institutional spirit was apt to arise, making mechanical the arrangements which ought to be free, and destroying the elasticity and adaptability to constantly varying circumstances, which were absolutely necessary in dealing with young people of the class under discussion. The Government reports on education last year, while speaking of a considerable increase in the provision for the blind and dead, stated that except in day schools no provision whatever had been made for defective children. Before they conferred larger powers, Members were entitled to demand that the powers already existing should be fully exercised. According to the Report of last year, no provision at all had been made for epileptics under the Act. That showed that the existing powers were not fully exercised, and it was the duty of those interested in this subject to see that the children received the full benefit of the legislation already passed before larger powers were sought. Reference was made in the Memorandum on the print of the Bill to the colony system. It appeared that in Germany there were now thirty of these homes, and fifty more would probably be added in the course of a short time. In Norway there was one large institution with 180 pupils. That was a sufficient warning as to the very great danger of proceeding in the manner proposed with the risk of establishing overgrown institutions. In the Copenhagen Institution there were three departments. The first department was preparatory for testing whether the child was suitable for the training; the second department was for manual training; and the third was of an elementary character. In one of these institutions they had eleven different 1442 kinds of looms and other machinery, a condition which, in his opinion, was more calculated to cause insanity among these afflicted children than to cure it. From the remarks he had made he thought he had shown that there were grounds for an inquiry. Having before them the warning of the promoters of the Bill elsewhere in 1889, the warning of the Commissioners themselves whose Reports he had read, and the warning given by the constitution of these overgrown, and, therefore, undesirable institutions abroad, they should walk warily and cautiously, and not sanction this legislation until after the most careful inquiry and the most careful consideration of all the facts which such an inquiry would lay before the country. He begged to second the Amendment.
To leave out from the word 'be,' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words 're-committed to a Select Committee.'"—(Sir John Gorst.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. HEYWOOD JOHNSTONE
said the speech they had heard this afternoon from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University, a former Vice-President of the Board of Education, was one which deserved attention, for, of course, in a matter of this sort his opinion must carry very great weight with the House. He hoped, however, that he might be able to convince the House, or such portion of it as he might reach, that it was unnecessary to refer this Bill to a Select Committee. It was greatly to be regretted that the question would be decided by the votes of those who had not had an opportunity of listening to the arguments used on either side. He could assure his right hon. friend that his misgivings in regard to this system of aggregation were, at all events, misplaced on the present occasion. His right hon. 1443 friend the Member for Cambridge University and the hon. Member for Wigan had directed their speeches not to the rejection of this measure, but only to its suspension until it had been considered by a Committee. They asked what they are pleased to term an inquiry. Of course that was a familiar form of procedure in this House, and hon. Members were very well aware that if they wanted to see the end of a Bill at this time of the session, one of the best ways was to try to get it referred to a Select Committee for inquiry, because they might be reasonably certain that after that inquiry there would be no time for it to get through the House, He wished to point out that inquiry might be twofold. There might be inquiry into the subject at large, or into the working of the Act which this Bill sought to amend. With regard to inquiry into the subject at large he was not sure that either of his hon. friends had made it clear to the House that there had been close inquiry into the subject already. There was an inquiry undertaken by a Departmental Committee in 1896. On that Committee there were various eminent persons whose names he need not read to the House. In due time that Committee reported, and its Report covered thirty-eight pages of large print, followed by minutes of the evidence amounting to 283. A very large number of witnesses of all descriptions were examined on that occasion. In the face of that Report he did not think that any human being could hope successfully to contend that the subject had not been sufficiently inquired into. In the Report there was no suggestion of any such limitations as was established by the Act of 1899 which it was sought by this Bill to amend. There was no need for a Committee to inquire into the working of the Act of 1899, because that Act had never worked at all. That was the real answer, and that was in one sense the foundation of his case. The Act of 1899 contained an unfortunate clause by which the Board of Education were precluded from certifying any establishment for boarding and lodging defective or epileptic children if more than fifteen children were boarded and lodged in any one building, or if the establishment comprised more than four such buildings. He submitted 1444 to the House, with entire confidence, that owing to the introduction of that limit the Act had been made absolutely unworkable. There never had been a Report presented in regard to the working of the Act, because nothing had ever been done, and so far as this part of his argument was concerned, he might leave it with the statement, which he did not believe could be contradicted, that there was no need for an inquiry into the working of the Act of 1899 because it had never worked at all.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said that the Metropolitan Asylums Board had a great number of defective children under their charge.
§ MR. HEYWOOD JOHNSTONE
accepted the statement of his right hon. friend, but the Act required that a Report should be laid before both Houses of Parliament annually, and he had been unable to find that such a Report was ever laid before Parliament.
§ SIR FRANCIS POWELL
said the hon. Member would find mention of this subject in the Report of the Board of Education.
§ MR. HEYWOOD JOHNSTONE
said his case was that no application had been made for certificates, and that none had been granted. He would, with the permission of the House, state the provisions of the Act itself. The first section provided that the school authority might make arrangements for determining what children in their district were defective or epileptic. By Section 2 they were empowered to make provision—for these child ten—(1) by special classes, (2) by boarding out near thereto, (3) by establishing schools—certified by the Department. They had also power to contribute towards the maintenance of certified schools. But that section also imposed the limitation of fifteen which he had already described. Therefore it was particularly desirable that there should be home life at the disposal of these children. The local authority had power to provide for home life by arranging for boarding out. The present Bill proposed to amend Sub section (6) of Clause 2. The right hon. Gentleman 1445 the Member for Cambridge University had made some allusion this afternoon to what he was pleased to term the method by which this Bill had been dealt with up to the present stage. They all understood that discussion was not very easy or likely to be attained after half-past five on a Friday, or after midnight on other days. No one had had an opportunity of explaining this Bill as he himself would have liked to do, and it was by the goodwill and good feeling of the House that it had been allowed to pass the earlier stages. It was not on account of any inherent wickedness on his part that he had not addressed the House on the subject. But when his right hon. friend alluded to the method by which the Bill had got to the present stage, he wished that he had also alluded to the method by which the clause it was proposed to amend found its way into the original Bill. He had referred to Hansard for the purpose of informing himself on that subject. The Bill in 1899 came down to them from the other House. It came to them without this clause in it, and he could not find anything in Hansard to show how it was put in the Bill in this House. The record of their proceedings simply stated that certain Amendments were made and the Bill read a third time. He could only believe that the clause was put in somehow or other without proper consideration by the House as to what the effect of it would be. His right hon. friend would correct him if he was wrong, but so far as he could see there was no discussion or opportunity given for discussion by the House when the Bill of 1899 was before them.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
The Bill was passed in the regular course. The Amendment was proposed and accepted, and there was every opportunity for discussion.
§ MR. HEYWOOD JOHNSTONE
said he was much obliged to his right hon. friend. What he suggested was that this Amendment was never on the Paper.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
It was certainly on the Paper. So far as my recollection 1446 goes, it was on the Paper for a considerable time, because it was certainly considered by my noble friend the President of the Board of Education and myself before the Bill came on.
§ MR. HEYWOOD JOHNSTONE
said he could not say more than that he had carefully searched the pages of Hansard, and that he could not find the slightest trace of this Amendment there. He accepted the statement, however, of his right hon. friend that it was on the Paper, and that it was considered by himself and the President of the Board of Education. Whatever might be the history of its incubation, when it was brought forward it had a favourable reception from the Board of Education. His right hon. friend had represented that this Bill was an example of the modern fashion for aggregation. He wished to point out to the House that that did not follow. Under this Bill the power of control would still remain with Parliament. At all events, the right hon. Gentleman could not get away from the fact that the Board of Education would take care that the rules made under the Bill were such as would reasonably ensure that nothing would be done which might promote the herding together of children in large establishments, or promote those consequent evils which they very well knew followed from that—evils which were so graphically described in the Report of Mr. Mundella's Committee already alluded to by his right hon. friend.
He wished to point out what the actual defects of the clause had been hitherto, and for that purpose he would draw the attention of the House very briefly to certain letters he had received on the subject, and also to the opinion expressed by the National Society for Employment of Epileptics. He had received a letter dated March 9th, 1903, from Miss Townsend, a lady connected with the National Association for Promoting the Welfare of the Feeble-Minded, who was a member of the Departmental Committee to which he had already referred. She said—The 'fifteen' clause has been a stumbling block all along in the way of the establishment of Homes, more especially for epileptics, and it 1447 was certainly never contemplated by the Departmental Committee, who confined themselves to deprecating the founding of large institutions. Now that it becomes increasingly evident that institution life must be the lot of the majority of these children all through their lives, there is the less reason for maintaining the clause—always provided that they receive the individual care and training which is essential.In another letter, dated March 18th, Miss Townsend said—Although personally I prefer small Homes to large ones, yet we all found the limitation to fifteen a vexatious one and shall be glad to have it removed. My cottage home for eight children works admirably, but if that number is exceeded one may as well have thirty as fifteen, and the greater number is an economy.A correspondent informed him that a Catholic body in the East End of London had provided the first epileptic school under the Act of 1899, and they were all anxious that the numbers should not be limited to sixty. The Report for 1901 of the hon. Medical Staff of the National Society for Employment of Epileptics contained the following:—It is very unfortunate that the Board of Education have not seen their way to repeal or amend Section 2, Sub-section 6, of the Elementary Education (Defective and Epileptic Children) Act, 1899, which prevents any establishment being certified under the Act if more than fifteen children are boarded and lodged in any one building, or if the institution contains more than four such buildings. … It is grievous to think that all Act which was intended to benefit these children should have so contrary an effect.In a Memorial, dated March 6th, 1900, to the Board of Education, that Society pointed out their objections to the conditions imposed by Section 2, Sub-section 6, and asked the Board to recommend Parliament to amend the Act. And then the Memorial went on to say—It is a most important feature of the colony or family system that boys and girls should be received in the same establishment, though in different Homes, and this would limit the number of Homes for each sex to two, which is quite insufficient for purposes of classification. In classifying the inmates of such an establishment, it would be necessary to have regard to the mental condition and the severity of the epilepsy, and also to character and previous bringing up. If this latter point were disregarded, serious danger would be incurred. It is obvious, therefore, that two Homes would not give scope for such classification as is necessary, even if no provision were made for those most necessitous of all cases—the epileptic children who are also blind, or deaf and dumb, or otherwise afflicted.1448 And then the Memorial went on to speak of the difficulty of arranging the children in different classes—In an establishment limited to sixty epileptic children, of all ages and of varying degrees of physical and mental capacity, it would be impossible without an unreasonably large teaching stall' to arrange for the proper division of the children into clashes. The same objection would apply still more strongly to the necessary industrial training. For the proper industrial training of the children, according to their respective inclinations and capacity, and with a view to their becoming wholly or partially self -supporting, it is essential that a considerable variety of occupations should be taught, and, consequently, that there should be a variety of capable instructors, which would, economically speaking, be impracticable in an establishment limited to about thirty children of each sex, of whom, at any time, only the minority would be of such, an age as to be receiving regular industrial training. This difficulty could not properly be avoided by having separate establishments for these elder children, because it is an essential feature of the family system upon which such establishments should be based that children of various ages should be brought together.And then they refer again to the colony system as it is worked abroad. Of Bielefeld they said—It is undoubtedly the one which is least institutional—the one which gives the fullest scope to individual character and development. It is at the same time the largest, having a population of over 1,500 epileptics of all ages, children and adults.And then they go on to say—Even if there were à priori grounds for believing the limitations of Section 2, Subsection 6, to be wise, it would, nevertheless, appear to be extremely undesirable to stamp in advance a uniform pattern upon all epileptic establishments in this country, and to prevent their free growth and development upon such lines as time and trial may show to be best. Such restriction as is justifiable under any circumstances would appear to be so only when formulated as the result of experience, not when imposed in anticipation of it.The Board of Education stated in reply that the subject had been recently brought before them in connection with similar memorials from the London and other School Boards—The Board are, however, unable to hold that a sufficient case has been made out for the repeal or amendment of the clause in question in an Act which has not as yet had a practical trial.He quite admitted that that was a very good answer at the time, viz., in June 1900; but the Act had now been in existence for four years, and it was quite 1449 impossible for the Board of Education to give the same answer to a similar memorial addressed to them at the present time. It was easy enough to speak lightly or deprecatingly of the work done by this great society; but he and his friends wished by means of the Bill under discussion to enlarge their sphere of usefulness, and to relax the conditions under which they were fettered and bound by the Board of Education.
§ MR. HERBERT SAMUEL (Yorkshire, Cleveland)
said that after the exceedingly powerful speech of the right hon Member for Cambridge University, it would be well to have some further public inquiry before they committed themselves to the passing of this amending Bill. The hon. Member said that the Act of 1899 had not worked well, but if he would refer to the Report of the Education Department he would find a couple of pages devoted to the subject in which it was stated that the Act had been adopted, and satisfactory arrangements had been made in no fewer than 109 day schools and classes.
§ MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said that the Report went on to say that there was a tendency to board out children and make arrangements in regard to institutions. He thought, therefore, that the Act had not been the dead letter described by the hon. Gentleman. One of the recommendations of the Select Committee was that the school authorities should have power to send their children to these institutions the numbers in which did not exceed twenty; and apparently the Bill under discussion did, to a considerable extent, run counter to the recommendations of the Committee. The object of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University was not to reject the Bill, but that it should be sent to a Select Committee for inquiry.
§ *SIR JOHN BATTY TUKE (Edinburgh and St. Andrews Universities)
said that the Act of 1899 had not worked, inasmuch 1450 as it was unworkable. He supported the Bill, the object of which was to extend the usefulness of the existing machinery. It was a great relief to his mind when he heard the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University say that he had not visited any of these institutions. He was perfectly certain that if the right hon. Gentleman had visited Rickmanshurst he would never have confused the issue by mixing it up in his description of establishments in which large numbers of epileptics and weak-minded persons were aggregated. He knew that institution by personal inspection. It occupied a ridge of high-lying land with pretty surroundings, and was composed of various houses scattered over the area, in which were distributed some 150 or 160 epileptics. He could assure hon. Members that he had never seen a similar institution for epileptics in such admirable condition He had made careful inquiry and could speak very highly of the work done by this organisation. It had failed in a certain number of cases, but in the vast majority of cases it had prevented the degradation to which epileptics were so liable. To compare their condition with that of the ordinary occupants of alunatic asylum was ridiculous. His argument was that if so much good had been done by such institutions to adult epileptics, how much more would they benefit young epileptics whose disease was not confirmed.
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON
said he wished to say that this was a private Member's Bill. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University had stated that the Bill had emanated from the Board of Education, and that he was even prepared to prove it. He could assure the right hon. Gentleman that he knew nothing of the Bill until he saw it in print. The hon. Member for Horsham, who stated that he had drafted the Bill himself, was good enough to send him a copy of it, asking him to express his opinion about it. He thought it was a measure which would turn the Act of 1899, which, so far as epileptic children were concerned, was a dead letter, into a 1451 useful and valuable Act. He had had representations of a very forcible character from the London School Board, and also from the National Society for Epileptics, as to the impossibility of working the Act under present conditions. He had taken export opinion, and was advised that this Bill would serve a useful purpose, and that epileptic children would benefit if the Bill were passed. He wished to correct a misapprehension on the part of the hon. Member for Cleveland who talked about the difference of opinion as to the operation of the Act He thought if the hon. Member looked over the Act he would see that there were a good many provisions which did not affect epileptic children at all, but which related entirely to defective children. The portion of the Act which provided for schools and classes for defective children had come into operation, but it had been found impossible under the Act to provide homes and colonies for epileptic children who could not go to school without risk of injury to themselves or to others, or of disturbance of the work of the school. A Return showed that in the case of defective children four small boarding-houses had been established, accommodating thirty, twenty, fifteen, and six children in separate homes, and these children were taught in schools in the immediate neighbourhood, and separate schools for such children had been started in many places. But the Bill of his hon. friend was intended to lead to the possibility of boarding out and teaching epileptic children who
§ could not go out to a school. The only way of dealing with such children was to provide homes for them in which they could be nurtured and taught in sufficient numbers, to enable the children to be properly classified and the school properly staffed. What had been said about the danger of aggregation of children arose from the confusion between Poor Law children, who were normal children, and who should associate as far as possible with other children, and epileptic children, who could not associate with other children, because they might injure themselves or others. There was no desire to bring together a great number of these children; but it was desirable, if not essential, that they should be brought together in sufficient numbers to enable them to be properly taught and have opportunities of companionship. These were the reasons which induced him as a private Member; and not as a representative of the Government in any way, to vote for this measure.
§ SIR JOSEPH LEESE (Lancashire, Accrington)
said that the Act of 1889 had been a dead letter so far as epileptic children were concerned, and he supported the Bill because it would make provision for the education and training of such children.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided: Ayes 149; Noes. 87. (Division List No. 123.)1453
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Chapman, Edward||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Charrington, Spencer||Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon|
|Allan, Sir William (Gateshead)||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Collings, Right Hon. Jesse||Flower, Ernest|
|Atkinson, Right Hon. John||Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Forster, Henry William|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Colston, Chas. Edw H. Athole||Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W.|
|Austin, Sir John||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Garfit, William|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Cranborne, Viscount||Gilhooly, James|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick|
|Beach, Rt. Hon. Sir M. Hicks||Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & N'rn|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Denny, Colonel||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)|
|Bignold, Arthur||Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway)||Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Dickson, Charles Scott||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Groves, James Grimble|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (Lynn Regis)||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Gunter, Sir Robert|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Duke, Henry Edward||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton|
|Campbell, Rt Hn J. A (Glasg.)||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Hatch, Ernest Frederick G.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Faber, E. B. (Hants, W.)||Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Ed.||Helder, Augustus|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Hobhouse, Rt Hn H. (Somers't, E|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Hoult, Joseph|
|Howard, J. (Midd., Tott'ham||Nicholson, William Graham||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Hutton, John (Yorks. N. R.)||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Knowles, Lees||O'Brien, P. J. Tipperary, N.)||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)|
|Lawson, Sir Wilfird (Cornwall)||Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)||Stroyan, John|
|Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley||Sullivan, Donal|
|Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)||Pemberton, John S. G.||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Pilkington, Lt.-Col. Richard||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Plummer, Walter R.||Tully, Jasper|
|Lowe, Francis William||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Purvis, Robert||Welby, Lt-Col A. C. E. (Taunton|
|Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft||Randles, John S.||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth)||Rattigan, Sir William Henry||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Reckitt, Harold James||Williams Rt Hn J. Powell-(Birm|
|MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Redmond, William (Clare)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Maconochie, A. W.||Reid, James (Greenock)||Wilson, Chas. H. (Hull, W.)|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine||Wilson, John (Clasqow)|
|Malcolm, Ian||Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge||Wodehonse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson||Worsley-Taylor, Hry. Wilson|
|Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh N.||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart|
|Mitchell, William (Burnley)||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Russell, T. W.||Wylie, Alexander|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. E. J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Mowbray, Sir Robt. Gray C.||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Sir William Houldsworth|
|Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)||and Mr. Heywood John-|
|Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath||Simeon, Sir Barrington||stone.|
|Myers, William Henry||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Newdegate, Francis A. N.||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbt, Hy.||Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Joicey, Sir James||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Jones, David Brynmor (>Swansea||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Black, Alexander William||Kennedy, Patrick James||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Boland, John||Kitson, Sir James||Samuel, Herbt. L. (Cleveland)|
|Brigg, John||Lambert, George||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.)|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Caldwell, James||Lewis, John Herbert||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Cameron, Robert||Lloyd-George, David||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Cremer, William Randal||Lundon, W.||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Crombie, John William||M'Fadden, Edward||Thomas, Sir A. (Glam., E.)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardign||M'Laren, Sir Charles Benj.||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Delany, William||Mappin, Sir Fredk. Thorpe||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. E. M.|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Mellor, Rt. Hn. John William||Ure, Alexander|
|Edwards, Frank||Morrell, George Herbert||Wallace, Robert|
|Emmott, Alfred||Moss, Samuel||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone)||Moulton, John Fletcher||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Wason, E. (Clackmannan)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.||Williams O. (Merioneth)|
|Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J. (Man'r||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||Wilson, H. J. (York, W. R.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||O'Doherty, William||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Woodhouse, Sir JT (Huddersf'd|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J.||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Younger William|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Palmer, Sir Charles M. (Durham||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Priestley, Arthur|
|Hayter, Rt Hon Sir Arthur D.||Pym, C. Guy||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Sir John Gorst and Sir|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Rea, Russell||Francis Powell.|
|Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristl, E||Reddy, M.|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Rickett, J. Compton|
Bill read the third time, and passed.