§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £20,265,000, be granted to His Majesty, on account, for or towards defraying the charges for the following Civil Service and Revenue Departments for the year ending 31st March, viz.—
|Board of Education||6,000,000|
|Board of Agriculture||65,000|
|Crofters Commission, Scotland||2,000|
|Royal Palaces and Marlborough House||40,000|
|Royal Parks and Pleasure Gardens||50,000|
|Houses of Parliament Buildings||16,000|
|Miscellaneous Legal Buildings, Great Britain||30,000|
|Art and Science Buildings, Great Britain||20,000|
|Diplomatic and Consular Buildings||18,000|
|Public Buildings, Great Britain||225,000|
|Surveys of the United Kingdom||90,000|
|Harbours under the Board of Trade||7,000|
|Rates on Government Property||250,000|
|Public Works and Buildings, Ireland||110,000|
|United Kingdom, and England:—|
|House of Lords Offices||2,000|
|House of Commons Offices||12,000|
|Treasury and Subordinate Departments||40,000|
|Privy Council Office, &c.||5,000|
|Board of Trade||75,000|
|Mercantile Marine Services||30,000|
|Bankruptcy Department of the Board of Trade||3|
|Civil Service Commission||18,000|
|Exchequer and Audit Department||25,000|
|Friendly Societies Registry||3,000|
|Local Government Board||85,000|
|Mint (including Coinage)||5|
|National Debt Office||6,000|
|Public Record Office||10,000|
|Public Works Loan Commission||5|
|Registrar General's Office||19,000|
|Stationery and Printing||320,000|
|Woods, Forests, &c., Office of||8,000|
|Works and Public Buildings, Office of||30,000|
|Secretary for Scotland||25,000|
|Registrar General's Office||5,000|
|Local Government Board||6,000|
|Lord Lieutenant's Household||2,000|
|Chief Secretary for Ireland||16,000|
|Department of Agriculture||75,000|
|Charitable Donations and Bequests Office||1,000|
|Local Government Board||25,000|
|Public Record Office||2,000|
|Public Works Office||18,000|
|Registrar General's Office||6,000|
|Valuation and Boundary Survey||7,000|
|United Kingdom and England:—|
|Miscellaneous Legal Expenses||27,000|
|Supreme Court of Judicature||140,000|
|Police, England and Wales||18,000|
|Prisons, England and the Colonies||340,000|
|Reformatory and Industrial Schools, Great Britain||140,000|
|Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum||14,000|
|Law Charges and Courts of Law||30,000|
|Register House, Edinburgh||15,000|
|Law Charges and Criminal Prosecutions||35,000|
|Supreme Court of Judicature, and other Legal Departments||45,000|
|County Court Officers, &c.||46,000|
|Dublin Metropolitan Police||45,000|
|Royal Irish Constabulary||600,000|
|Reformatory and Industrial Schools||55,000|
|Dundrum Criminal Lunatic Asylum||3,000|
|United Kingdom and England:—|
|National Portrait Gallery||3,000|
|Scientific Investigation, &c, United Kingdom||22,000|
|Universities and Colleges, Great Britain, and Intermediate Education, Wales||42,000|
|Endowed Schools Commissioners||400|
|Diplomatic and Consular Services||250,000|
|Uganda, Central and East Africa Protectorates, and Uganda Railway||320,000|
|Cyprus, Grant in Aid||85,000|
|Telegraph Subsidies and Pacific Cable||32,000|
|Superannuation and Retired Allowances||280,000|
|Merchant Seaman's Fund Pensions, etc.||2,000|
|Miscellaneous Charitable and other Allowances||1,000|
|Hospitals and Charities, Ireland||17,000|
|Repayments to the Local Loans Fund||——|
|St. Louis Exhibition, 1904||——|
|Total for Civil Services||£13,035,000|
|Post Office Packet Service||250,000|
|Post Office Telegraphs||2,000,000|
|Total for Revenue Departments||£7,230,000|
§ Whereupon Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item, Class 4, Vote I (Board of Education) be reduced by £100." —(Dr. Macnamara.)
§ MR. JOHN BURNS, continuing his remarks, said the dearth of officers in the Army was due to the fact that very often in public schools the students were so fed up with the routine and monotony of military drill in the cadet corps that it sickened their military aspirations for the rest of their lives. If it were true that Waterloo was won on the playing field of Eton, that was in itself a condemnation of this particular idea, because it showed that if a man had brains and courage he would find in the hour of need that the adaptability produced by gymnastic exercises was more valuable to him than the results of monotonous military drill. He 1311 thought the training of children should be regulated by their strength, and should be in accordance with the desires of their parents. If the Code now under discussion were imposed on the elementary schools, it would, he believed, be resented and some parents would withdraw their children from its operation. It was a mistake to attempt to inculcate drill so early in life. It would be better to have children taught how to breathe, develop themselves, masticate their food, wash their teeth—and their language in some localities—swim, and so forth, and to see-that their parents obtained sufficient wages to provide them with good nourishment. When Colonel Onslow said that this particular system of drill was not fit for children, he submitted that the hon. Member for North Camberwell had high authority for asking that the whole matter should be submitted to a Committee. If the hon. Baronet persisted in carrying out War Office tactics and skirmishing proceedings for boys and girls under thirteen years of age, he would make more pro-Boers of parents than he imagined. Military drill and violent physical training should be confined to recruits and soldiers. If the Board desired to make the children smarter, cleaner, and more punctual, and to develop their bodies, instead of consulting a committee of drill sergeants they should take the advice of a small committee of doctors, schoolmasters, and schoolmistresses. He would lose no opportunity of protesting against the attempt to militarise instruction, and to impose upon physically weak children a method of training which, instead of doing good, would, in the majority of cases, do physical and moral harm.
§ MR HENRY HOBHOUSE (Somersetshire, E.)
suggested that the physical training course, which he did not believe had been introduced with any sinister motives, should not be pursued according to a uniform and cast-iron system. He was glad to see that modifications had been introduced into the Code, but they do not go far enough. The alternative courses ought certainly to be optional in every school, particularly in rural districts. The question of physical training was a very different one as affecting rural and urban schools. In 1312 the slums of big towns, the physique of he children was such that a great deal more of these active exercises were required during school hours, than was the case in the country, where the children had plenty of opportunities for fresh air and exercise. Moreover, in nine-cases out of ten, the head of a village school would be a schoolmistress, and it would be impossible to have a regular course of physical training. The time might come when they would be better able to do it, but at present it would be a mistake to impose upon all schools any uniform system. The conclusion he had come to, after having recently examined Colonel Fox before a committee, was that the whole subject was in a very inchoate condition, and much further consideration was required before any definite system was adopted.
The inspection of schools was a very important matter, and might prove to be the keystone of the whole system, as the efficiency of the schools would depend on the efficiency of the inspection. He sincerely hoped that the Government would, to a large extent, place their inspectors at the disposal of the local authorities. To duplicate inspection all over the country would be bad for the ratepayers and bad for the schools. He suggested that the reports of the inspectors should be placed at the disposal of the local authorities and that those reports should be communicated in full without delay. He hoped the Government would take care that the inspectors were thoroughly efficient. Too much importance had perhaps in the past been attached to the strict limit of age, as that limit might prevent the Board securing the services of really experienced men who understood school work. As to the recent circular, personally he had no reason to complain of it. The Board had given a great deal of useful guidance to the local authorities and the managers of schools, but they should not stop at the issue of circulars. Under the Act of last year the local authorities had to consult the Board in framing their schemes, and it was most important that that consultation should take the form of interviews with some really first-class men connected with the Department, who could suggest new lines of work and offer legitimate criticisms. In the matter of higher education the local authorities would require much 1313 stimulus. They would be compelled to carry out certain duties in regard to elementary education, but there would be considerable danger of the work of higher education being neglected on account of the limitation of the funds and of the energies of the authorities being taken up by the more controversial work of elementary education. Another matter to which he wished to refer was connected with the science examinations in the training colleges. Two years ago, on the recommendation of a Departmental Committee, the Board of Education adopted a syllabus which provided, among other things, that general science teaching should in future be given from a practical and experimental point of view. He was sorry to hear that in the very first examination under the new system there was to be no practical examination in science whatever. The training colleges, almost without exception, having taken up the new syllabus con, amore, had developed their science; teaching in a very practical way, and they would be greatly discouraged by the examination being held on the old and obsolete lines. In conclusion, he congratulated the Board on the improvement which had been introduced under the new régime. A fresh era of improvements had been entered upon. He was glad they had taken up seriously the question of pupil teachers, that being one of the most important and pressing subjects that could engage the attention of the new local authorities, and unless they had some guidance from the Board of Education on the matter, it was possible that a great deal of their labour would be wasted or prove ineffective.
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)
said the question of military drill and physical training was one of the greatest importance. It would be quite as easy in the country as in the large towns, if it were thought desirable, to pass all the children through some form of elementary military drill, but whether it would encourage the unfortunate children to join the Volunteers immediately on leaving school he was extremely sceptical. He could not help thinking that the remarkable document which had been so ridiculed by his hon, friend was another of the triumphs of the War Office, and that the Secretary of State for War rather than the Secre- 1314 tary to the Board of Education should have been present to explain it. There was this essential difference between town and country districts, that whereas in the latter mere military drill might be of very dubious advantage, even from the point of view of those who advocated it, there was no doubt that in urban districts, small and large, a carefully organised system of physical exercises was one of the greatest necessities of the day, and when the County Council Committees were fairly in the saddle, a great deal might be done in that direction. The matter was entirely one of organisation, and now that they had committees operating over large areas, it ought to be possible within a comparatively short space of time, with the aid of the Board of Education—providing obstructive circulars were not issued by the War Office—to establish a good system of physical exercises, based on really scientific principles. If a boy was strong and healthy, in nine cases out of ten he would have a natural desire to use his health and strength in the Volunteers, or in some other manner connected with military life, but if he was driven through the mill too soon he would in all probability throw up the whole thing as soon as possible.
With regard to the inspectorate, it was desirable that the intentions of the Government should be known, as the County Committees were now about to make their arrangements, and they could not tell what kind of officers to appoint or what salaries to offer until they knew how far they were to be assisted by the Government inspectors. At present there were the old elementary school inspectors, the inspectors appointed to examine secondary and technical schools, and those occupied in examining evening classes. Their districts frequently overlapped, and there was much room for organisation. By taking counties, or groups of counties, he believed much improvement could be effected in the service of the inspectorate. There had been a great deal of anxiety in regard to finances during the first two or three years under the new régime, and a circular had been issued explaining the intentions of the department. As that circular was a most difficult document to under stand, it would be advantage if a 1315 general statement could be made by the representative of the Board. There was one point of some importance upon which he desired to ask for some information. An attempt was being made in Church circles to form companies, which were to distribute a dividend of not more than 4 per cent, or 5 per cent., to found secondary, schools with the idea that they would be entitled to receive a payment of so much per head out of the public funds, and out of the Votes of this House for education. It had been stated at a meeting of one of those companies, that the Treasury had stated that they had no intention of allowing any such payments to be made. The proposal was that the persons who put their money into a financial undertaking, which would not otherwise pay, were to receive 4 or 5 per cent, from the taxpayers. Whether that was right or wrong it was desirable that the Committee should know whether these funds were liable to be used for the purpose he had described. He hoped the reply of the Government would be that the action of the permanent officials of the Treasury would be supported by them, because otherwise an almost indefinite prospect would be opened up for educational speculation, which was an exceedingly objectionable thing, and he did not think it would be to the advantage of public education at all. Those were the points which he desired to press upon the Government. He did not wish to say anything derogatory in regard to the action of the Education Office, because, after the passing of the Education Act last year, the case had been settled against them, and he anticipated that the Education Department would in all probability do their best, If certain clauses had been used in the direction he had indicated, he assumed that it was a matter upon which they might look forward to future legislation being introduced to remedy this. With regard to the action of the County Councils generally, he believed there was every intention on their part to rise to the level of their opportunities; and although no doubt there would be some differences of opinion in regard to certain subjects, nevertheless he believed that there 1316 would be a great many subjects upon which the County Councils and the Education Office would work together harmoniously.
§ *MR. SHAW-STEWART (Renfrew, E.)
said that as one of the Commissioners who had just reported to the House upon this question for Scotland, he should like to say a word or two in favour of the appointment of a skilled committee of men and women to draw up a model course of physical training, for England, instead of relying upon the present model course, which was to a very great extent founded upon military drill. The inquiries of the Physical Training Commission had lasted nearly twelve months, and the Commissioners were all impressed with the necessity for physical training being most carefully organised all along the line. Physical training was different to mental training, because mental training was the result of centuries of experience, but physical training for all and sundry was something new, and therefore it was necessary to have a system which was applicable to all sorts of children, well-fed and ill-fed, well clothed and ill-clothed and devised after the most careful consideration of all the systems in vogue. The Commission examined a number of systems, including the Swiss, German, French and American systems, but they found defects in them all. The conclusion they came to was that in order to get the best out of all these systems it was not necessary to go to a military expert. Admirable as the military expert might be, and admirable as he believed Colonel Fox to be, it was not enough to go to a military expert only, and he strongly supported the suggestion from the other side that the Education Department of England should appoint a skilled committee, aided by medical^ experts, to draw up a model course.
That course should be of a very wide and varied description, so that it might be varied by the teachers to all classes of children, suited to all conditions of health, and to children whether in the towns or in the country. In order to ascertain the existing physical condition of the children in Scotland, they appointed two eminent medical officers to examine a large number of children, and 600 1317 children were examined in Aberdeen schools, and 600 in Edinburgh schools, and the result of that examination showed that it was necessary that the greatest possible care should be taken in devising a system which might be applicable to all. The Commission, after full inquiry, recommended that there should be medical inspection of the children in all schools. They all hoped that the generation which was now growing up would be better fitted to bear arms for their country if necessary, he best system to enable them to efficiently bear arms was one which would develop those who were weakly as well as those who were strong. They should develop the bodies of children to the best state of efficiency to which each was capable of being developed, so that in after life they might be fitted to follow up any trade or profession, or follow the profession of arms, with the best possible advantage to their country.
§ *MR. LEVY (Leicestershire, Loughborough)
said he thought they were all agreed that it was undesirable that they should train children to become soldiers, and if his lion, friend went to a division he should support him. What he wished specially to call the attention of the House to was the excessive zeal of the Board of Education in rejecting the schemes of the County Councils, when those schemes were well within the meaning of the Act. The interference of the Board of Education in such cases was, in his opinion, unnecessary and unjustifiable, and it was unfair that the Act, which contained many inequalities and injustices, forced into it by the closure, should be so interpreted and carried into effect by the officials of the department as to make it seem more harsh. He desired to refer to a scheme formulated by the Leicestershire County Council. That scheme was absolutely within the four corners of the Act. By some means the scheme found its way to the Board of Education prior to being submitted to the County Council, and the day before the Council met a letter was received from the Board of Education, and was read by the clerk, stating that it was desirable to recast the scheme and therefore it would be better to refer the scheme to the Committee again and 1318 report to the Council in February. A good deal of time was lost and it was clear that some official or member of the County Council had been in communication with the Board of Education in an unjustifiable manner. The original scheme contained no provision for nomination by any particular bodies outside the County Council. The Committee was to consist of forty-two members: thirty-two from the County Council and ten outside.
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON said the Leicestershire County Council did not submit any scheme at the time referred to, and as a matter of fact no scheme had been rejected by the Board of Education.
§ *MR. LEVY said he endeavoured to ascertain from the right hon. Gentleman how the scheme came into the possession of the Board of Education by a Question put in the House; but he could get no satisfactory reply. Instead of a Committee of forty-two members the Board of Education proposed forty-six, thirty-four from the Council, and twelve outside members. Eight bodies wore also mentioned with powers to nominate—among them the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, the University of Birmingham, the Peterborough Diocesan Association of Voluntary Schools, the Midland Association of Wesleyan Schools and the Association of Catholic Schools. The original scheme made no provision for representation of denominational Associations. It was desired that the people nominated should be well versed in the matter of education and qualified to carry out the education scheme, irrespective of their religious opinions. People, he was convinced, would resent the unjustifiable interference with their schemes by the Board of Education, and those who had been inclined to give the Act a fair trial would probably not be inclined now to carry it out. The hon. Member proceeded to remark that the Borough Council of Loughborough had sent a scheme to London, but it had been returned, and the Loughborough Council did not feel inclined to make any drastic alterations in the scheme which they had submitted. They believed their scheme was absolute] y in accordance with the Act.1319
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON
The scheme of the Loughborough Council has gone back to-day to the Council for publication in the form sent up by the Council.
§ *MR. LEVY said there had been an impression created that the Board of Education were altering schemes to make them admit sectarian bodies. He assured the Government that if any attempt was made to impose sectarian or denominational control it would be resented by the people of this country.
§ MR. ARKWRIGHT (Hereford)
said he proposed to confine his remarks to the statements made by the hon. Member for North Camberwell, and he hoped the House would grant him its indulgence. He believed that the physical education of the children of this country was a very serious question, and he believed also that he was the only hon. Member of the House who had made this question an important item in his election address. In regard to what the hon. Member for Battersea had said, even if it were true that the movement for physical education in the schools had received a considerable impetus from the recent war and was to be set down partly to a spirit of militarism, it was not altogether a bad thing. But it was not entirely that. Our children did not go only into the Army or the Navy. They went equally to the plough, and one of the underlying reasons for the lamentable exodus from our rural districts was the phenomenon of sheer physical exhaustion with which the young child was met very soon after he had left school and gone to labour for which he was not fitted. He did not contend that physical education would do much to remedy this, but at any moment they were dealing with at least 2,000,000 boys, and, dealing with that mass, there surely would be, with an organised system of proper physical education, a tendency to help children to stay in the country—at any rate, there would be a general improvement in the physical condition of the children at the time when they actually left school and went to work. He did not hesitate to say that he thought it would not be at all a bad thing if the schools of this country knew more about the Army and Navy, and were actually drilled with a view to giving a certain amount of assistance in 1320 recruiting for the Army and Navy. He did not think the Secretary for the Board of Education need be ashamed of being recognised as the first and most important recruiting sergeant in this country. But, after all, it was not so much a matter for the Committee as for the Education Department itself to deal with. It was to a great extent a question of inspection and a question of administration. He thought every hon. Member who had gone into schools and had seen that extraordinary operation which was known as musical drill, must have left the school with qualms as to whether or not the right thing was being done for the children. He maintained that the idea of the teachers was that the drill had for its first object to attract and catch the eye of the examiner. The drill displayed was too often a slap-dash performance which satisfied that gentleman for a few minutes, but was not sound, and had the faults of a hybrid system. The department should deal with this drill question, but the House should lay down the criterion that no drill should be taught in the schools which a doctor would not allow his own children to undergo. That was surely a sound principle on which they should proceed in future. He hoped the hon. Member who moved the Motion would withdraw it. The debate had been long and interesting, and, he was sure, would have a good effect in enabling the country to realise that that House was giving serious attention to the matter.
§ *MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)
said the question they were now considering was not whether there should be drill in the public schools—the question was what kind of drill they were to have-Higher medical opinion, so far as it had been consulted, was against this course of drill from the physiological point of view The Committee would have gathered from the debate that in this matter the War Office, not content with the magnificent successes in its own sphere, had poached on the preserves of the Education Department, and had again manifested that inevitable capacity for blundering which it had shown in its own proper domain. At the time when the attention of the whole country was drawn to the necessity of increasing the Auxiliary 1321 forces and the Army, it seemed to have occurred to the War Office authorities that it would be a good and a wise thing if boys from their school days upwards were trained in military drill. They seemed then to have proceeded to the Board of Education and insisted on something being put into the Code. The result was that the "Model Course of Physical Training" was issued. That course was all taken from the Red Book, applicable to recruits and private soldiers, and related chiefly to t he use of the chest muscles and the bayonet. It was a matter about which the Committee had a right to complain, that the Hoard of Education had allowed itself to be overruled and coerced by the War Office in taking a course of that kind. Did the Board of Education propose to emulate the incapacity of the War Office in these matters? Did the Board of Education, before issuing the "Model Course," obtain medical opinion upon it, and were professors of physical culture, inspectors, and teachers of schools ever consulted on the matter? He believed the answer was in the negative, and that nothing of the sort had been done.
An alternative view was that the "Model Course" had been in some insidious way forced on the Board of Education, and that it had been brought into existence without receiving proper notice. The Committee had had that night a repudiation of responsibility for it on the part of the right hon. Baronet who was Parliamentary Secretary to the Board at the time it was issued. He thought he was therefore entitled to suppose that the War Office had insidiously succeeded in putting this "Model Course" before the country. If they had a proper "Model Course" drawn up for schools it might not be a military drill course, but he was sure it would be one providing a suitable preparatory course of drill for any career which a boy might follow in after life. If they wanted a boy to become a Volunteer when he grew up, they must not give him while at school his preparatory information in indigestible lumps. He dared say that the hon. Baronet would tell them that this "Model Course" was not compulsory. But it had been made compulsory in many districts, because of the ill-judged enthusiasm with which 1322 some of the inspectors had pressed this on. In the Code issued to-day there were some alterations and improvements which would go so far to ameliorate the condition of matters, but they would not go far enough. He urged that the question of the Model Drill course should be considered by a committee, and that in the meantime instructions should be given to the inspectors that it was not to treated as a compulsory subject. He also advocated the opening of the ranks of the inspectorate to teachers, and asked to be informed of the number of cases in which application had been made to the Board of Education for the variation of the trust deed of schools hitherto undenominational, with a view to making them denominational.
§ MR. M'KENNA (Monmouthshire, N.)
called attention to the action of the Board of Education in reference to the High Pavement School at Nottingham, in order to meet the requirements of the Board, the children in the intermediate department had been displaced, and accommodation for 150 children had to be found. An application by the School Board to use the laundry and the gymnasium for the accommodation of these children had been refused by the Board of Education. The Board of Education refused on the ground, firstly of the unsuitability of the buildings as at present arranged for ordinary teaching purposes. In answer to that the managers of the school on 26th February passed a resolution declaring that they were satisfied the laundry and gymnasium rooms were well adapted for the purposes of c ass teaching, and strongly urging the Board to sanction their use for the intermediate section. Independent testimony had been obtained as to the character of the rooms, and he was able to state that there could not be a shadow of doubt that they were far better adapted for use as a school than hundreds of schools which were at present sanctioned by the Board of Education all over the country. The second ground for refusal was that there would be disadvantages attending the necessary cessation in the higher elementary schools, of laundry work and 1323 gymnastic exercises. The Committee would be surprised to hear that the higher school was not using these rooms; for laundry work and gymnastic exercises. There was, therefore, no substance in that objection. The third objection was the apparent absence of any urgent need for the use of the rooms in question for the purpose. The Board of Education explained that there was ample surplus accommodation to be found elsewhere. In this matter he wished to bring no charge against the Parliamentary Secretary or the Board of Education, but he wished to direct his charge against those persons from whom the Board of Education got information. The Board of Education suggested that the 150 children should be sent to All Saints' National School, which had vacancies for them. In answer to a question recently addressed to him, the hon. Baronet stated that that school was only half-a mile distant. As a matter of fact it was a mile distant, and it was not only inconvenient with respect to situation, but owing to the nature of the land which had to be traversed it was dangerous for the children to go there. Questions had been asked as to the character of the land through which the children had to pass, whether assaults had not been committed on children on this wholly unprotected land, and whether it had been placed under special police supervision. On all these points the hon. Baronet had been told by his informant in Nottingham that there was not the slightest ground for asking such questions.
Now, what were the facts? A simple reference to the map would have shown that the distance between the two schools was a mile, and not half-a-mile. That was not a trifling matter for children, especially girls, who had to pass over an open unprotected space with an evil repute, sometimes in the dark. What was the motive of the hon. Baronet's correspondent in giving incorrect information of that sort? On the second point, the character of the land, he had asked the hon. Baronet whether he had referred to the Chief Constable of Nottingham regarding the grave criminal assaults against children which had taken place on this land, part of which consisted of 1324 a deep ravine entirely unlighted. The great bulk of the children who attended the High Pavement School had to cross that land before they could attend All Saints' School, and it would appear from the facts, so far as the convenience and safety of the children were concerned, that it was far more desirable that they should attend the school in the neighbourhood of their own homes—that was in the temporary building—until the new school was built, rather than All Saints' School. The hon. Baronet had suggested that there were other schools besides All Saints', but from local inquiries he had made he understood that that was not so. He was therefore entitled to ask that the Board of Education should continue to allow the use of the temporary school. They all knew that the use of temporary buildings as voluntary schools had been allowed all over the country, and why in the case of a great School Board like Nottingham should the opinion of the managers be flouted, and the children lie compelled to undergo the risks he had described, merely, so far as he could judge, in order to bring the children into this All Saints' School? It was not as if All Saints' was a model school. What was the report that had been made as to that school? It would be only fair that the hon. Baronet should not rely wholly on the report of an inspector whose career had caused much trouble, and had not been absolutely immaculate. The hon. Baronet should rather listen to the appeal brought before him by so important a School Board as that of Nottingham, and sanction the continued use by the School Board of the temporary school building.
*COLONEL WILLIAMS (Dorsetshire, W.)
said he wish ed to emphasise the extreme difficulty in which County Councils were placed in regard to the financial responsibilities involved in taking over the work of the elementary schools. It was extremely difficult to raise the rate to something more than double that otherwise required, or else to borrow large sums of money which they would not be able to repay for three or four years, and on which they would have to pay considerable interest. Consequently they would have to diminish the work of the schools, and that would hamper the amount earned.
1325 But what was much more important was that the interests of education would be prejudiced, because it was difficult enough at present to get the ratepayers to take in interest in education. If the rates were suddenly raised it would throw back the whole cause of education for many years. He therefore hoped the Treasury would be induced to come to the aid, financially, of the local authorities to enable them to bear this heavy extra burden. He also wished to refer to the question of inspection. It was often claimed that the new Act enabled all education to be graduated, but if they were going to have various systems of education encouraged by various inspectors they would never be able to know where they were. It was a very important part of the coordination of education that the inspection should be in the same hands and under the same trained mind; and that the whole education of a county should be controlled by one authority and inspected by one set of inspectors.
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON said that the debate had ranged over a very wide field, and he would endeavour to answer the various questions raised as fully as possible. Dealing first with the complaint of the hon. Member for Monmouthshire in regard to Nottingham, he had made special inquiries into the matter, and had ascertained that, for the credit of Nottingham, the Chief-Constable repudiated with indignation the idea that the open space referred to was more dangerous than any open space in or near any large town, and that, in fact, the charges brought against the character of that ground were unfounded. From the information at first received it had appeared that All Saints' was the chief available school for the children turned out of the High Pavement School. There was no doubt there were vacant places in All Saints' school, the use of which would necessitate the children crossing his open space, but there were abundant vacant places in three other Board schools, which were nearer the homes of the children, than would have been available if the use of the gymnasium and the laundry were continued. These vacant places numbered 242, and he thought that that set 1326 at rest any question that the children attending Board schools would be driven to a denominational school. Until the Board of Education were satisfied that a higher elementary school could be conducted under the conditions on which alone a higher elementary school must be conducted under the law they must decline to sanction the use of the temporary building. As to finance, the Board of Education had made the best arrangement in their power to meet the convenience of the local authorities out of the sums voted by Parliament for the present year—the Parliamentary Grant, the Block Grant, the Aid Grant, and the Fee Grant—and they could do no more. It was said that it was wrong to refer the local authorities to the Local Government Board or to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but it was to them that they must go, because the Board of Education had done all it could do, and could not get more than twelve pence out of the shilling. He now I turned to the staple of the debate. He was glad that the hon. Member for Camberwell, who opened the discussion, had been good enough to express his satisfaction with the clause in the new Code as to the non-employment of the elementary school teachers in other work than in the elementary schools. The hon. Member had remarked that, although the Code had been altered to some extent, he regretted that it had not been made effective in some other of its provisions. That he also regretted; but it must be borne in mind that it would have been very rash to revise the Code further in view of the new conditions, which were hardly yet realised, and while the Board of Education were working under very great pressure. They did attempt to revise the Code, but it was found that it would be better to leave things as they were for a while than to attempt the larger revision certainly called for, and to make only such arrangements as appeared to be urgent, rather than cause temporary confusion without really producing what must take time to produce—a consecutive and well-ordered Code. He came now to the subject of the new course of physical drill which had been so keenly criticised on both sides of the House. He had been somewhat surprised at the 1327 objection which came from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University, because in the Code of last year this model course of physical training was set forth, not as absolutely compulsory, but as definitely a "Model Course" setting forth the minimum of what was desirable even in small schools. Almost the first important document which came into his hands during the first two days of his term of office was this much-criticised "Model Course," which he had received with veneration as the right hon. Gentleman's last completed work at the Board of Education. However, if the Code of 1902 were compared with that of 1903 it would be found that a very great change had taken place as to the mode in which the physical training was to be dealt with. The "Model Course" was regarded as suitable to the upper classes of elementary schools. What was now mainly set forth was that physical training should be looked upon as one of the most important parts of elementary education. The object in view was the healthy development and training of muscles, and not merely smartness and dexterity in the performance of drill. Somewhat severe criticisms had been levelled against the "Model Course," and ore hon. Member had said that the Board of Education seemed determined to make the children soldiers, and the parents pro-Boers. It was also said that some of the requirements of the "Model Course" were grotesque and injurious to the health, but to judge from the pictures illustrating the Swedish drill, that was nearly as grotesque as the exercises proscribed by the "Model Course," and in each ease the exercises were noted as optional. However, the Board of Education had become perfectly aware of the difficulties attending the carrying out of this "Model Course." They had discovered that the local conditions and circumstances of the schools, and the space available for the exercises, made it impossible in some places to carry out the "Model Course." It was very difficult to be learned by the teachers, especially by female teachers, while certain of the requirements could not apply to children of tender age or to girls. The main purpose of the Board was the physical education of the 1328 children, and he attached the importance given to it by hon. Members on both sides of the House. He entirely agreed with the hon. Member for Hereford, who had put the subject in the most forcible and impressive form. Nevertheless, he thought the "Model Course" had been somewhat hardly dealt with, because under proper conditions, and as a guide, it had produced excellent results. The President of the Board of Education, who took a great interest in the subject, went only that day to see a large school exercised in physical training, and had reported that the drill was very well done, and that there was nothing of a special military character about it, while it was seemingly producing excellent results. But the Scottish Educational Department had recently been inquiring into the subject of physical training, and the results of that inquiry would receive the closest attention. If it were necessary, and he thought it would be, the Board £ Education would be prepared to appoint a Departmental Committee to inquire into the best form of physical training for children.
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON said its investigations would not be confined solely to the model course.
§ As to inspection, the Board would be glad to place the results of the work of their inspectors at the disposal of the local authorities. It was desirable that there should be co-operation in the matter; but the Board had some hesitation in suggesting that the local authorities were not capable of doing the work of inspection for themselves. As to the same inspectors undertaking the inspection of both elementary and secondary schools, the whole future of inspection was uncertain. A new set of conditions was being entered upon, and the demand for the inspection of secondary schools would be greatly increased by the requirements of the registry of teachers. Teachers would have to undergo a certain training and a period of probation. This would involve an addition to the inspectorate 1329 of secondary schools, and he hoped that as time went on they might be able to develop a complete system of inspection of secondary schools, and that it might be possible for their inspectors to interchange their work, and in that way the Board would get a better and more comprehensive knowledge of the whole educational system of the country than they could secure if their inspectors worked on two separate and distinct lines. But lie said this with reservations. He did not feel that it was possible at this moment to forecast the results of the Education Act of last year and of the work which was being done in framing a register of teachers, and he could only express the hope that they would get a fuller and better system of inspection of all classes of schools in the not remote future than they had had in the past.
§ The right hon. Member for Somerset had suggested that the Board of Education might do something more to assist local authorities in telling them what they had to do in the way of secondary education. There again the Board of Education had rather shrunk from any appearance of a desire to dictate to the local education authorities. He suggested that they should send round consulting inspectors, who would tell the local education authorities the best lines on which they could conduct their secondary education work. He thought ho would prefer to wait until they had received some invitation from the local authorities.
§ MR. HENRY HOBHOUSE
Under the Act the local authorities are bound to act in consultation with the Board of Education.
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON said that was so, and when they entered into consultation with the Board of Education, they would probably say in what way they expected the, Board to assist them in developing their schools for secondary education. When they did that he need not say that the Board of Education would be most happy to do all they could to help them in their work. The next matter which had been discussed was the attitude of the Board of Education to the schemes submitted by the Councils; and some suggestions had been made as to the Board using such powers as it possessed to put undue pressure upon Councils. The object of the Board, first and last, had been to assist the County Councils in the work of forming their schemes; and to do this they sent round, in the first instance, a memorandum which told them what their powers were, what were the resources at their disposal, and the mode in which the Act empowered them to construct their committee They confined themselves almost entirely to the provisions of the Act lust session. But they did do something to explain—and this was what the right hon. Gentleman opposite objected to—what was meant by 'nomination" and "recommendation," and what were the duties of the Board of Education in respect to schemes. He believed that, on the whole, the well-intentioned suggestions which had been put forward had worked well The Board had made them frequently, and without causing offence. He thought the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Leicester, who had taxed him with some malpractices in regard to the Leicester and Lough borough schemes, could hardly have understood the process by which these schemes were made. There was 1331 great deal of informal communication between the persons interested. When the Board received the scheme they possibly sent it back with some suggestions. But those were merely suggestions. All the Board could do was to withhold its approval of the scheme, in which event it must make a scheme of its own at the end of the year, and get it put into operation by provisional order. Was it conceivable that the Board of Education should wish to adopt any course of that sort? The fact was that, so far as his experience went, the Board of Education and the local authorities had been working together in the most friendly spirit. The Board's suggestions had been taken in good part, and if they had not been accepted, the Board had taken that non-acceptance in very good part. On the whole, he believed that an excellent body of schemes would shortly be brought into operation. They would be creditable to the local authorities which promoted them, and of advantage to the areas in which they were to operate. The Board of Education had really been single-minded in this matter. There had been no thought of forcing the representation either of intellectual interests or of denominational interests on any council with which the Board had had to do. The des re had been that the council might avoid the risk of remonstrance, appeal, and delay in the operation of the scheme. As to the noble Lord's suggestion that there were still secondary schools which had been founded for profit, and which also obtained grants from the Board of Education, he must say that he knew of no such schools. If there were any he was ready to inquire into the matter, and he 1332 thought he could assure the Committee that none of the money now asked for would go in that direction. As regarded physical training, he hoped the Departmental Committee, which it was proposed to constitute, would be able to produce a thoroughly acceptable scheme. As to inspection, he hoped that in a short time a good system would be worked out.
§ DR. MACNAMARA said he would like to express his sense of obligation to the hon. Gentleman for having decided to appoint an expert Committee to inquire into the question of physical training. Under the circumstances he asked leave to withdraw his Motion.
§ Motion by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. HELME (Lancashire, Lancaster)
said he desired to ask the Secretary to the Board of Education if he would be good enough to reconsider the regulation preventing the giving of information with regard to the number of marks obtained by candidates who failed to obtain a place in the second class in the King's Scholarship Examinations. He ventured to think that where the friends of pupil teachers were sufficiently interested in the result of an examination to apply to the Board of Education, they should be told in what particular subject the student had not done well, so that he might either give particular attention to it before the next examination, or cease his efforts to enter a profession for which he was eminently unqualified.
§ MR. LAYLAND BARRATT (Devonshire, Torquay)
feared there might be some misapprehension owing to the form in which a certain circular had been issued by the Board of Education when a scheme was before the Cornwall County Council. He moved an Amendment to the third clause, suggesting the substitution of the words, "schools not provided by the council" for "voluntary elementary schools." The Clerk at once said he had received a letter from the Board of Education intimating that they intended to use the words, "voluntary elementary schools" in these cases, and that if the Amendment were adopted, the Board would probably send the scheme back. Now he wanted to know if the Board of Education had any objection to the use of the words he had suggested.
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON promised the hon. Member for Lancaster to further inquire into the question of giving information to the friends of unsuccessful students in the King's Scholarship Examinations. In regard to the use of the words "non-provided schools," the Board, after consideration of the point, decided in favour of the old-fashioned phraseology, merely substituting "council" for "Board" schools, but if any Council preferred the words "non-provided" he did not think there would be any objection to using them: it was merely a matter of taste.
§ MR. LAYLAND-BARRATT
Was the clerk to the Cornwall County Council right in construing the circular of the Board of Education as an intimation that any scheme containing the words he suggested would not be sanctioned
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON
I think if any hon. friend looks at the document he will see it merely contains a number of suggestions: there is nothing to indicate that the Board of Education would necessarily refuse to approve or even to remonstrate against the non-adoption of any of them.
§ *MR. WEIR (ROSS and Cromarty)
said he wished to move the reduction of the Vote by £100 in order to call attention to the action of the Scottish Education Department. The Committee had heard a good deal about the importance of inspection. They had inspectors in Scotland who made reports to the Scottish Education Department with reference to bad ventilation bad drainage of schools, and bad supplies of water; and his complaint was that those reports were disregarded by the Department. As a result of the insanitary condition of some of the schools, and the bad water supply, fevers broke out in the country districts, more especially in the Highlands and Islands, which were far removed from populous towns. Then the schools in the district were closed. One school in the Island of Lewis, which had been attended by 200 children, had been closed for many months owing to fever; whereas, if the Scottish Education Department had attended to the reports of the inspectors, the disease might have been prevented. It was the duty of the Education Department to urge on the Local Government Hoard the necessity of taking action in order to get rid of disease as tar as possible. Fever was raging in the district he referred to in Lewis for months. The Education Department did not move in the matter. No inquiry was held. Such a state of 1335 things could not happen in England, and he wanted the Education Department to realise that it was a very serious matter that a school should be closed for months. That was not an isolated case. Such cases were continually happening in outlying districts, and no one took the trouble to inquire into them except the school inspector. He gave a good and honest report, but that report was disregard d by the Education Department. That was not fair to the children or to the parents. It was not patriotic that High and children should be left without education. What chance had they without education? There were no industries in these parts, and it was essential that the boys and girls in the Highlands should have the benefit of the best possible education to equip them for life in any part of the world. At present they did not get a chance. Another matter to which he wished to refer was the custom of carrying peats to school every morning. He thought that was abolished, and that a circular had been issued that it was quite irregular. He should like to know whether any steps had been taken to stop it in every part of the Highlands. The Report of the Royal Commission on Physical Training had just been issued, and he hoped that in every school in Scotland physical training, not military training, would be given to the boys and girls. He hoped the Lord Advocate would give him information on the points he had raised.
§ *THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. A. GRAHAM MURRAY, Buteshire)
said the hon. Member had indulged in the denunciation of the Education Department, but he had 1336 evidently not been able to differentiate between a school inspector and an inspector of the Local Government Board. As far as the school inspectors were concerned, he could only say there was not the slightest cause whatever for imputing to them neglect.
§ *MR. WEIR said he did not charge the school inspectors with neglect; he charged the Scotch Education Office. He said distinctly that the school inspectors did their duty well; but when they complained in their reports, no attention was paid to them by the Education Department.
§ *MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY said that the hon. Member never seemed to realise the difference between the Education Department and those who were entrusted with the public health. There was no reason, whatever, for charging the Scotch Education Department with any neglect of duty in this matter. The defects which were brought to their knowledge were immediately brought to the knowledge of the local bodies. The hon. Member had never been able to clear his mind as to the real duties and powers of the Central Education Department, It was not a public health Department, and never would be and until the hon. Member got into his mind a clearer view of the functions of the Department, he supposed they would hear his vague denunciations from year to year. He could not tell the hon. Gentleman any more about peats. As the hon. Gentleman knew, a circular stopping the practice of bringing peats to school was issued; and, so far as he knew, there had been no contravention of that circular. But if there was, it should be brought before the notice of the department, in order that they might com- 1337 municate with the School Board authorities. The hon. Member entirely forgot that in all those matters it was the School Board that was responsible, and not the Education Department, who could not tell whether a certain number of girls in the Highlands were carry in peats in their pinafores or not.
§ SIR EDWARD STRACHEY (Somersetshire, S.)
said he desired to ask the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Agriculture a question with regard to a speech he delivered at Leicester. According to the report of that speech which appeared in The Times, the right hon. Gentleman said that the Board of Agriculture in the past had relied too much on the advice of agricultural bodies, such as the Central Chamber of Agriculture; and that it was his intention to substitute for such advice an advisory board, to be set up and appointed by himself. The right hon. Gentleman did not go into details, and, so far, no statement had been published as to how this board was to be constituted. Was it to be a paid body or an unpaid body? Was it to be appointed by the right hon. Gentleman, or by societies such as the Royal Agricultural Society, and similar societies? He would ask the right hon. Gentleman before he called this board into existence to consider a rather serious question. If it was to be set up by himself, it would remain for all time undoubtedly. There was this danger: that the President of the Board of Trade might take a line unpopular with agriculturists; and he would then be able to fall back on this board, and say that it was no use farmers' clubs or the Central Chamber of Agriculture taking a different view. He thought it was very necessary' 1338 before the body was called into existence that further information should be given, and that the matter should be fully discussed in the House.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Mr. HANBURY, Preston)
said he would explain very briefly what the facts were. He thought the hon. Baronet had rather misunderstood what he said at Leicester, because the body which he proposed to appoint was a totally different body to that which the hon. Baronet appeared to imagine. He did not want to supersede the advice of the Central Chamber of Agriculture, which he thought most valuable. His difficulty was that such bodies only represented the general wants of farmers as a whole; and he was most anxious to get in touch with farmers in various districts, and with the various industries they represented. Farming in one district might differ very much from farming in another district; and he, therefore, wanted to get into touch with all the various localities. He did not want one body advising him as to farming in general, but as the industry varied in the various localities, he wanted to be advised from each locality to have people with whom he could put himself in touch, and learn the real pressing needs of the people. He proposed to appoint some fifteen advisers, a clear majority of whom would be appointed by the agricultural associations; and in order that all classes of farmers might be represented he proposed to retain the nomination of something under one-half in his own hands; because he knew that very often the associations did not represent the smaller men, and he was most anxious that they should be represented.
§ MR. SPEAR (Devonshire, Tavistock)
said they all had a great deal of confidence in the present President of the Board of Agriculture. He had shown great anxiety to be well acquainted with the needs of the agricultural districts, and had inspired confidence; and be ventured to express the hope that Parliament would support his efforts to deal properly with the important industry of agriculture by providing him with the wherewithal. They had two striking cases recently of the decadence of agriculture. One was the anxiety with reference to the native food supply in time of war; the other was the inferiority of recruits for the Army. He thought both these questions had arisen, in no small degree, because of the difficulties agriculturists encountered in recent years. They, however, looked with hope to the energy and ability with which the right hon. Gentleman was presiding over the Board of Agriculture. He was entirely in accord with the right hon. Gentleman's proposal to form an advisory committee. He thought it was of the greatest importance that agriculturists should be in close touch with the President of the Board of Agriculture; and that they should be able to bring to his attention matters which would promote agriculture, and prevent the depopulation of the rural districts. He should like to point out some of the means to that end. They looked to the President of the Board of Agriculture to help them with reference to railway rates. Certainly, the British farmer had a good deal to complain of in the treatment he received from the railway companies. He thought it should be easy for the Board of Agriculture to make arrangements with the railway companies to 1340 provide, at least one day a week, trucks to carry farm produce in small quantities, at a lower rate than now obtained. Another matter was the desirability of promoting some uniform system of weights and measures. Agriculturists were being continually handicapped by the different standards, which caused inconvenience and confusion, and he thought also, loss. Another matter was the establishment of a system of parcels post for farm produce.
And, it being Midnight, the Chairman proceeded, in pursuance of Standing Order 15, to put the Question necessary to dispose of the Vote.
Original Question put, and agreed to.
Resolution to be reported upon Monday next; Committee to sit again upon Monday next.