§ MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid.)
then moved as an Amendment to Clause 3 to leave out all after the word "for" in line 16 down to the end of line 3 in page 2 with the view of inserting the words "every parish in Scotland." He said the object of the Amendment was to raise at this stage the question of changing the existing parish area and substituting for it the areas fixed in the Bill. He quite admitted that there had been hitherto a very great consensus of opinion in Scotland openly expressed in favour of wider areas. But if they went more deeply into the views of the community they would find that there were many in Scotland who objected altogether to the effect of the change made by abolishing school boards and establishing wider areas in their place. He had not had an opportunity on the Second Reading of speaking on the Bill, and therefore, he took that, the first opportunity, of expressing his views in regard to this question of dealing with the existing school board districts. He would not be daunted from expressing his views on the question by any feeling that probably there might be an overwhelming opinion against him on the subject. He thought he could show some very good reasons for having the parish area continued in Scotland. The parish area had existed for centuries. It existed long before the Reformation, and it had continued to be not merely the educational area, but also the parochial board of management area. Everything relating to the social life of the people was involved in the parish area in Scotland. Then again, they found that the parish area was the area which, having worked for centuries, had become almost like a family peculiarity of itself. It had its own hereditary characteristics, and they would find in Scotland that the people in one parish differed from the people in another. They would find distinct characteristics belonging to each, because of that hereditary state which had grown up for centuries. Let them 1512 take what had occurred in the matter of education. The parent had generally assisted in the preliminary work of educating his child, and it was not infrequently the case that before the child was sent to school it was able to read a chapter from the Bible. Then there had been a close relationship between the parent and the teacher, and the teacher, knowing the parent, took great interest in the child, while the parent on his part gave assistance in seeing that the home lessons were learned. In England they did not find anything of the sort. The parents did not take a personal interest in the education of their children. On the contrary, they sent the children to school when they were about three years of age, and they seemed to consider that it was the duty of the teacher alone to look after the educational training. When the Act of 1872 was passed, the principle upon which it was based was the continuation of the parish system of education which had worked so well for centuries in Scotland. Therefore it was that school boards were established for every parish in Scotland so as to keep up the local interest in the work. As the parish increased in size, of course there could not be that close intercourse between parent and teacher which had existed in the olden times when the population was scantier, and so school boards were elected and the parents secured their representation on that body. School boards, it would be remembered, were elected for every parish, and that was the constitutional method adopted to secure the representation of the parents in the management of the schools, and in the communication with the teachers. That was the essence of the Act of 1872 which it was now proposed to displace. The great secret of success in Scotch education had been the close relationship between the parent and the school, and it was in that respect that he feared this Bill would fail.
Then there was the question of compulsory attendance in Scotland. There was a feeling that it was the local men, representing the community, who enforced compulsory attendance. If they withdrew the influence of the parent in the parish school, as the Bill proposed, 1513 the parents would cease to have that special interest in the school which they had under the existing system. The Bill proposed that so many parishes should be grouped together, and that the management of all the schools should be centred in one authority. That would immediately loosen the control, attachment, and interests of the parents of a parish in the parish school. Not only that, but it would loosen and weaken the interest of the ratepayers in the management of the schools. Under the Bill, a parish would not have the management of its own schools. It would be assessed as before, and pay very much the same amount; but the schools would be managed by a combination in which the direct representative of the parish might only be one in six; and he might be out-voted by his colleagues in a matter which concerned his parish and his parish only. At present, the parishes had Home Rule as far as education was concerned; and each parish might travel as fast or as slow as it liked without being trammelled in the slightest degree by the views of outsiders. He looked upon the Bill as a retrograde measure from first to last; and he believed, its effect would be to weaken the interest both of the ratepayers and the parents with reference to the parish schools. It might be said that the direct representative of the parish would have a part in the management of schools in other parishes; but what consolation was it to a man to know that the affairs of his parish were to be managed by others and that he would have a share in managing the affairs of other parishes? That would be no consolation.
Then with referene to the salaries of teachers, supposing there was a school which was anxious to progress, which was different from the schools surrounding it, and which was willing to pay for increased educational power, progress in future would not depend on the representative of that particular school but on the five outsiders who were on the board of management; and, as they would be taxed for any increase, they would not see the benefit of increasing the grant from the common fund for the benefit of a school in one parish only. The 1514 tendency would be to hamper the schools who wished to get forward. It was also said that one effect of the large area would be the promotion of teachers; but where was the hope of preferment? It might be that there would be hope of preferment for the lazy man, who had no ability, and who would be promoted automatically by rotation. But, from the educational point of view, that would not be as convenient as the existing system. At the present moment, any teacher in Scotland could stand as a candidate for a position under any school board. There was no restriction or limit, and the result was that men of ability had the whole country open to them; and, in that way, talent was able to exercise its due influence. But what would happen if the Bill were passed? Every school board would be a close corporation, and every district would have to promote its own teachers; and, if any outsider were appointed, he would have to start at the bottom and work his way upwards. Look at the position in which a school, willing to pay for education, would be placed. If the position of chief teacher were vacant, the school board would say that the next man should be promoted. The parish might say that they did not want that man, that they wanted to select a teacher for themselves, and not a man who was merely promoted because he was there. After all, promotion was no test of merit. But, under the Bill, the parish could not select a teacher for itself, and, therefore, the parish would lose all interest in its schools if the management were given over to a majority who did not represent the parish at all.
When it was known that an Education Bill was to be introduced for Scotland, there was a great deal of uneasiness, having regard to what had happened in England, lest the school boards should be abolished because they were not rating authorities. But the conditions were exactly the same in Scotland as in England. The school board sent the precept to the local rating authority, and that authority collected the money. It was said by the Prime Minister that they could not have a school board as the education authority, because it was not representative of the ratepayers; and in the case of England it was laid down that 1515 the rating authority and the managers should be the same persons. Surely a principle such as that should apply to the whole of the United Kingdom. Yet the Government had decided that the school boards should be abolished in England, but should continue in Scotland. The explanation was that the Government had to advance arguments to suit the exigencies of the moment, which had no foundation whatever in principle. Under the Bill there would be this anomaly. The rating authority would be the parish, and the managing authority would be another body. His experience, however, was that such matters in this House were not decided by argument, but by a Party vote in the division lobbies. The larger area would not have that peculiar acquaintance with the life and social conditions of the people as would the parish area. In the case of a district, there were lighting, drainage, and public health questions to be considered. The reason why the district was given charge of the public health was that experience showed that in the smaller areas complaints were made against interested parties on the management by the sanitary inspectors; and it was felt that there should be independent control. Those were matters of mere pecuniary consideration, but when dealing with education they were not dealing with finance alone. There was parental control to be considered, and in the parish area they were in much closer touch with parental control and everything that concerned the welfare of the parish, as a parish.
The Secretary for Scotland's reason for a wider area was that he viewed the student passing through the elementary school to the secondary and on to the University, but everybody who knew Scotland knew that education was divided into three divisions. There was the parish school proper, which belonged to the old parish system, which was conducted by the parish school boards under State aid. The second division was the secondary school education, in which they had a new system altogether with a curriculum of its own worked out for years under a system of its own, and then there were the Universities. They were three entirely different divisions, and it did not follow that the men who 1516 were able to manage these different schools could manage the whole. The men who dealt with the Universities were quite distinct and different from those who dealt with the secondary and parish schools. Why did not they unify the whole system? They did not attempt to do that, and they must have a separate establishment to manage each scholastic body. It must also be remembered that; the parish school was not an elementary school as understood in England. In every parish school in Scotland there had, to be some secondary education at the, top. That was so under the old parochial system, under which they were able to prepare pupils to go to the Universities. That was the ideal for which they ought to strive. They should recognise that every parish school taught some secondary education at the top. He did not say they should teach secondary subjects on secondary lines. When pupils went to a secondary school they went for a different class of training, but on the other hand, in the parish schools, the secondary education at the top was much better taught.
There was also the fact that the parish desired that the children of that parish; should be taught in the parish school. If the children lived twenty miles away from the secondary school they would have to board near by, and when it came to boarding it mattered little whether the school was twenty, fifty, or one hundred miles away. The smattering of secondary education which a boy got in the parish school in any subject was a great benefit. It gave him a stimulus after he left the parish school to continue in that particular branch of instruction. The whole basis of this Bill was that the Government desired to put the secondary and elementary schools under one management, which was a great mistake. Education was stimulated as much by competition as anything else, and if they took the whole education, elementary and secondary, of a large district and took out of it all competition by having it managed by a body half-heartedly elected by six different parishes, the principle of secondary education would fall practically into the hands of teachers and officials, which was a thing to be avoided as much as possible. In Scotland they had 1,000 parishes, which meant 1,000 interests 1517 each striving against the other for the interest of its own particular area; each with a department of secondary education at the top of the parish school, the effect of which was that the secondary schools in Scotland were undersold by what was provided by the secondary department of the school board. That was the practice adopted by the Board of Education, and the Secretary for Scotland now wanted to reverse the policy and to keep down the elementary schools and raise up the secondary schools which the parish schools had been responsible for keeping down. The result of such a policy would be to drain the parish schools of their best pupils in order to put them into the secondary schools, and when the best boys of a school were withdrawn the tone of that school was spoiled. When they went to a school and found the head boys dons in the play-ground, it gave children even of three years of age a stimulus to go to that school and become dons at some future period. The result of it all would be a distinct cleavage and the parish school, which ought to be an efficient principle, would be lowered from what it had been.
Upon the question of areas, the parish area lent itself to the parish ideal. Secondary education lent itself to a larger area, but even secondary education could not be confined to mere territorial limits, men went from all parts of Scotland to the Universities. They could not maintain secondary education within the limits of one county. Let them take the county of Renfrew, which went up to the borders of Glasgow. People in Renfrew would not think of going for secondary education to Paisley or Greenock. There was a special reason for treating the education of Scotland as a whole. The Secretary for Scotland himself did not think there was to be any tax levied for secondary education in Scotland, and assuming that he got the funds the Bill asked for they would be provided out of the money provided for Scotland as a whole. The matter could not be worked territorially, either by the county or by the district, because secondary education did not lend itself to the same kind of arrangement as was best suited to the parochial schools. In the opinion of the Govern- 1518 ment the scheme of the Bill was undoubtedly vital, but he felt bound to enter his protest against the substitution of the district for the parish, being convinced that in the future working of the system many difficulties would occur and much heartburning be caused if the parishes were deprived of the control of their schools. He begged to move.
In page 1, line l6, to leave out all words from the word for' down to the word 'Aberdeen' in page 2, line 3, in order to insert the words' every parish in Scotland' instead there-of."—(Mr. Caldwell.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause."
MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
said the Amendment was really an attempt to abolish the forward movement embodied in the Bill by keeping to the parochial unit for the education authority. He did not think that many words were necessary in support of the principle of the Bill. There was an almost universal consensus of opinion in Scotland that the time had come when, while fully admitting the usefulness of the parochial arrangement in the past, it was necessary in the higher conception of education which now prevailed to take a larger district than the parish area. That was absolutely necessary in the interests of secondary education. Once that was admitted, and admitting also the general proposition on which the Bill was based—namely, that it was desirable to have one authority for all classes of education, the case was at once proved against the Amendment. The hon. Member had tried to show that the scheme of the Bill was against the interese of the teaching profession. In that matter the teaching profession might be trusted to look after their own interest, and so far as this part of the Bill was concerned there were no more strenuous approvers of it than the recognised exponents of teaching, and he was content to believe that in this matter the members of the teaching profession were better judges than the hon. Member of their own interests. It was unnecessary to recapitulate the arguments which he used on the Second Reading of the Bill; he believed he was backed by the almost 1519 unanimous approval of those who had the cause of education at heart; therefore he should oppose the Amendment.
§ MR. AINSWORTH (Argyllshire)
said that while the Committee were on the subject of the importance of the parish as the unit of education administration, he desired to refer to one point of which he believed it would be necessary for the Bill to take some notic—namely, parishes on the west coast of Scotland where an island constituted a parish, and where it would be almost an impossibility for representatives to attend meetings of the larger district either on the mainland or on another island. How education was to be continued in places of that kind without some system analogous to the present parish system he failed to see. As an instance, the Island of Three might be taken as an example. There was there a large population, and education was a matter of supreme importance to the inhabitants, but it would be an absolute impossibility for the representative of that island to attend, with anything like regularity, education meetings on the Island of Mull which would probably be the district of which it would form part. He hoped, therefore, that if the present parish system was to be departed from the right hon. Gentleman would be able to devise some system by which the cases to which he referred could be properly dealt with.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
said the Amendment before the Committee raised a question which went to the very root of the proposal of the Government:—namely, whether they should adapt the development of secondary and technical education to the existing system of elementary education with the parish as the area—a system which had worked with conspicuous success—or sacrifice the interests of elementary education to the possible future advantages of secondary and technical education. The Secretary for Scotland had adopted the latter view, and had practically answered the contention of the hon. Member for Mid-Lanark by saying that if the Committee agreed with the doctrine of co-ordination there was no case for the Amendment. Much more proof was 1520 really wanted of the salutary and effective nature of this doctrine of co-ordination, and the Secretary for Scotland would have acted more wisely if he had looked at the practical advantages which Scotland had enjoyed for the last thirty years under the existing system rather than to the prospect of possible advantages under one authority, more distant and less popular, which would look after both elementary and secondary education. But one could not fail to recognise that since the introduction of the Bill those who had spoken out on the subject had, in the main, supported the principle of the larger area, and he admitted that it was out of the question to ask the Government to alter the Bill so substantially as to base it upon a different principle. Members were entitled, however, to take the present opportunity of entering a protest, or, at any rate, of expressing their regret that the system, under which the parochial authorities who for thirty years had not only efficiently discharged the great work of elementary education, but had also done everything within their power to advance the cause of higher education, was not to be maintained and have grafted upon it some new organisation for secondary education, but was to be supplanted by a new system which might be good enough for secondary education, but which would certainly be less efficient for elementary education.
§ DR. MACNAMARA (Camberwell, N.)
thought the case of the islands was very well met indeed. He noticed that the Island of Cumbrae with 187 children was to have a locally autonomous authority, and it was certainly not advisable to go lower down than that. As to the Amendment before the Committee, he should feel bound to vote against it. He admitted the great work done by the small boards and the necessity of keeping the people in touch with the schools, but the scheme of the hon. Member was educational Home Rule run mad. In the county of Aberdeen there were ninety-two school boards; Forfar had sixty, and Lanark fifty, while in Peebles there was a school board for a village of which the total population was ninety-eight, of whom probably fifteen or twenty would be children. Why in such a 1521 case as that there should be an autonomous body, with a triennial election, involving various expenses, amounting probably to a 5d. rate, he could not understand. Much of the money raised for education had been spent in the unnecessary multiplication of purely official machinery. The scheme of the Bill was a very fair one, though he agreed that Sutherland would probably require some division, and that in other cases amalgamation rather than division would be required, and he would oppose the Amendment.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said that the Secretary for Scotland had quietly stated that, inasmuch as the Bill went on the principle of co-ordination while the Amendment was inconsistent with that principle, therefore nothing more need be said against the Amendment. A more ridiculous assertion was never made. For the right hon. Gentleman calmly to assume that there could be any real coordination between secondary education and the parish school instruction was altogether absurd. The proposal of the Bill really meant that the whole education of Scotland was to be regulated in the interests of about 20,000 children.
§ SIR J. FERGUSSON (Manchester, N.E.)
stated that the County Council of Ayrshire was unanimous in thinking it desirable that the whole county should be managed by one authority, and there was an Amendment on the Paper to give effect to that view. He thought the Committee should know that the ideas of the hon. Member for Mid-Lanark were not widely accepted in Scotland.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW,
while welcoming the assistance of the hon. Member for North Camberwell, reminded him that there were larger islands than the Island of Cumbrae. For instance, there was the Island of Lewis, and what would the hon. Member say if 404,000 acres with a widely scattered population were placed under one board. It was to meet such cases as that that the present Amendment had been moved. The cast-iron method of districts was just as bad as the cast-iron method of parochial areas. In his opinion what ought to have been done was to have kept the parochial divisions, and to have made provision for 1522 linking them up into districts having regard to the convenience of railway and sea communication and to the provision of secondary and technical education at certain centres in the district. On the merits of the Amendment itself, however, he was bound to accept the Bill in favour of districts, on the assumption that some provision would be made for sub-dividing districts in the case of huge extent of territory or large masses of population.
§ MR. H. C. RICHARDS (Finsbury, E.)
said it was now found that the hon. Member for North Camberwell, who strongly opposed co-ordination in London, held different views where Scotland was concerned. The remarks of the hon. Member for Argyllshire had made it clear that it would be a rank injustice to compel representatives from the Western Islands to go to the mainland to carry out their educational duties, and therefore, if a division were taken, he should support the Amendment.
MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
said the hon. Member for Finsbury was leaving the port of London, which he knew, for districts with which he was not familiar, and he would remind him that the Island of Mull was not on the mainland.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ MR. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire),
who had placed on the Paper the following Amendment—In Clause 3, page 1, line 17, after the word 'each,' to insert the words 'district, or where a district is deemed by the Secretary for Scotland too large or too small for the purposes of this Act, each part of a district, or group"—said that as the Secretary for Scotland had put down an Amendment which practically covered the same ground, he would simply state the scope of his own proposal. The principle with which the Government had started was that there should be one area and one authority for both primary and secondary education. That might be a good or a bad principle, but, as the Government had adopted it, the parish at once disappeared as being too small an area for secondary education. The Government were therefore limited to either the district or the county as the area, and in deciding upon the district he 1523 thought they had shown a certain consideration for the susceptibilities of those who wished to see not too large an area. The district, however, was open to criticism. Some district, no doubt, should be sub-divided, but on the other hand there were many districts which would be too small, and he desired to express the hope that the right hon. Gentleman would adhere to his own Amendment rather than accept the views which were put forward by some of his supporters. If they adopted the county as the education area they would require a scheme with elasticity of some sort. He thought it would be better to adopt the smaller area and work up afterwards, rather than adopt the larger one and work downwards. He approved the Amendment of which the Secretary for Scotland had given notice, and as it would be more convenient to take the discussion on it he would not move his own Amendment.
§ *MR.MACONOCHIE (Aberdeenshire, E.)
moved an Amendment on Clause 3 providing that the county should be the administrative area for education purposes. He said he had been careful to get all the information he could on this subject from his constituents, and he had gone thoroughly into the matter. If the county area were adopted, the work could be delegated to parishes in such a way as to admit of the development of education on the lines carried on hitherto. It was contended by some that in the cases of Ross-shire and Inverness-shire this proposal would not be of advantage. Speaking from experience of these counties he considered that if they adopted the county area the sparsely populated districts would get the benefit of being in the larger rateable area. In the Islands of Barra and South Uist the whole of the school board rate was paid by the proprietors and a few large farmers, and the amount collected would not in his opinion be sufficient to give to the inhabitants there the necessary provision for technical and secondary instruction which the Scotch Members desired to give them. So far as Ross-shire was concerned, it was contended that Stornoway, or the Island of Lewis, with a population of 25,000, should be dealt with as a separate school board area.
§ *MR. MACONOCHIE
said that might be so. If they had the advantage of the assessable area of the whole county they might be able without any expense to themselves to have a secondary school in the Island of Lewis, whereas if they made the island a school board area it was so poor that they would not be able to have that advantage He believed the valuation of the island had gone down 50 per cent, in the last twenty-five years. He begged to move.
In page 1, line 17, to leave out the words 'districts of.'"—(Mr Maconochie.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause."
§ *SIR CHARLES RENSHAW (Renfrewshire, W.)
said there had been some discussion on the question of the desirability of maintaining the old parochial system of instruction in Scotland. Really and truly the question involved in this clause was not the question of parishes. It was the question whether or not districts of counties, or counties themselves, were to be the units in which in future education in Scotland was to be administered. There were three questions to be considered under this Amendment. In the first place there was the proposal of the Bill which was the hard and fast line of the local government district as the area for education purposes. On the Second Reading of the Bill he stated what in his opinion was the objection to that proposal. The second proposal was that now before the Committee, namely, that they should take the county as the education area of the new school board, and that, as was proposed in a subsequent Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Dumfriesshire, the Secretary for Scotland, if school boards wished it, should have power to divide counties into special education areas. The third proposal was that they should take the district as in the Bill and give certain powers to the Secretary for Scotland to combine or divide districts. He thought all who had considered this from the 1525 point of view of the counties were grateful to the Secretary for Scotland for having placed on the Paper the Amendment standing in his name. He did not agree with the criticism of his hon. friend the Member for the Border Burghs as to the unkindness on the part of the Government in putting their Amendments on the Paper. He had often heard objections from the Opposition that Amendments were sprung upon them at the last moment without notice. They were under a great debt of gratitude to the Government for letting the House know beforehand what Amendments they would propose on the Bill. He hoped that what the Government had done in this matter would materially contribute to the rapid progress of the Bill in Committee. His right hon. friend had given notice of a proposal to take the district as the area and to give power to county councils, town councils, or school boards to apply to him that the whole county might for education purposes be made one area. He himself would prefer very much to take from the start the larger area. He believed it would be better from the educational point of view. The county areas had practically been for sometime the working units, so far as secondary and technical education was concerned, under the limited powers devolved upon them in connection with technical education, which had been in operation for twelve or fourteen years. For that reason if for no other it would be desirable to continue the county as the unit. If they once gave up the parochial principle they would have to establish some other system of management. His hon. friend the Member for the Border Burghs did not like the system proposed by the Amendment in the name of the Secretary for Scotland so much as the proposal in the Bill. For his own part he infinitely preferred the Amendment to the proposal in the Bill. By setting up school boards for the larger areas he was convinced that they would get a better class of educationalists to serve upon them. In the Education Bill for England the county was established as the education area.
§ *SIR CHARLES RENSHAW
said he did not think his right hon. friend quarrelled with the largeness of the area. The English counties were infinitely larger than the Scotch counties, and if the Government were able to entrust to the county councils of England reponsibility for elementary, technical, and higher education surely they could do so with still greater confidence to the counties of Scotland. He submitted that from another point of view it was very desirable that the county should be the area. Under the old system there were 940 different school boards in Scotland. Under the proposal in the Bill there would be 111 established. If they adopted the county area for the thirty-three counties, and if they sub-divided, a few of them for special reasons, there would probable not be more than fifty or sixty school boards in the whole of Scotland. There would, therefore, be a great economy in the administrative work in Scotland.
There was another feature of the Bill which he should like to call attention to. Curiously enough the large and populous counties of Lanark and Renfrew suffered under the Bill from areas proposed to be established. He could not understand what objection there could be to the larger area of the county being adopted for the school boards in the county when they were going to establish so large an area as that proposed by the Bill for Glasgow. They were going to sweep in Govan which did not want to go. Pollokshaws was being taken out of his own county—he was afraid not unwillingly on the part of Pollokshaws itself which was the centre for a certain amount of education work and swept into the enormous district established for Glasgow. Leith was to be sacrificed to Edinburgh. He would not say that from an educational point of view that might not be an advantage; but if these large areas were to be established in the case of Edinburgh and Leith, and in the case of Glasgow—the latter including Govan, Rutherglen, and other places embracing more than 1,000,000 of population in its area—he could not understand why there was any hesitation whatever in taking the county as the area outside the enumerated areas. If the county were 1527 adopted as the limit it could in special that local opinion on educational subjects cases be cut down into special educational demanded much closer attention than in districts, and they would be able, he believed, to get best educational results. Therefore he would support the Amendment of the hon. Member.
§ *MR. BIGNOLD (Wick Burghs)
said he understood that under the provisions of this Bill there would be a pooling of the 1890 and 1892 grants, amounting to £500,000 a year. Some of this money fell to the share of the Orkney Islands. The Amendment which the Secretary for Scotland had now laid upon the Table would be welcomed in Orkney because it supplied a power of combination of local government districts which was much needed there: without it the children of the northern islands who would have to come over to the mainland division for secondary and technical education would be shut out. He trusted that the Government would grant an allowance of a viaticum to enable the children to travel to Kirkwall. He thought that the Amendment practically embodied the desires of the inhabitants of the islands.
§ MR. HALDANE (Haddingtonshire)
said that his was a new matter altogether, and had been approached without, consideration of the existing circumstances in Scotland. There might be much to be said for the proposal of the hon. Gentleman opposite who contended that it was inconsistent to adopt one principle for England and another for Scotland. But in Scotland there was a set of circumstances with which the Government had to deal which was very different from that in England. In England the school boards only covered less than half the whole area, the rest being devoted to voluntary schools with educational appliances which were not of a satisfactory character. There was no organisation of educational opinion in England such as in Scotland, and accordingly, rightly or wrongly, the Government took the county as the educational area. But in Scotland the position was quite different. The whole country was covered with school board, and right through Scotland there was a highly organised educational opinion. It was, therefore, impossible for the Government to leave out of sight 1528 that local opinion on educational subjects demanded much closer attention then in England. The Government had taken the course which might not be altogether logical, and had adopted local government districts of the county which were not fashioned primarily for educational purposes; but one could not help feeling that in so doing the Government paid I attention to the feeling of Scotland as a whole. He knew that there were some people in Scotland who felt strongly in favour of the county area; but he knew parts of the country where it would be impossible. He himself lived in the county of Perth—an enormous county—and the result of taking the comity council as the governing body would be that the administration of all education would tend to fall into the hands of the lairds. What was wanted was that the local education, mind should be represented, and that the men who were keen on education should have a chance of getting on to the school boards. He knew that in Lanarkshire where education was highly organised, the condition of the whole educational work under the county council was beyond praise, and the county area might be started there without much difficulty. But take other counties, such as Fife. He had been told that it would be simply impossible to hope that the best educationalists could give up a whole day and take a long journey to attend meetings of the education committee. Though criticism might be offered on the logic of the Government proposal, he thought it was best.
§ *COLONEL DENNY (Kilmarnock Burghs)
said that the hon. Gentleman had perhaps overlooked the fact that there were other Amendments on the Paper—one by himself—that the Secretary for Scotland should have power by order, if he considered it in the public interest, to divide a county into educational districts; so that even if this Amendment were passed, it would not necessarily mean that the county authority should invariably be the county school board. In the one case the county was divided by order and in the other the districts were aggregated. On the whole he thought the former was the better.
§ DR MACNAMARA
said that the hon. Member for Renfrewshire used an argument from the English Education Act that the county area should be set up as the education authority. His experience of the working of the English Education Act was that nothing could be worse for the administration of education than the county area. Take the case of Devonshire; it was administered from the centre of Exeter, and the experience was that the conduct of education was falling into the hands of the leisured class and of the paid officials. Some day or other some Government would have to decentralise these huge areas. It was impossible that the administration of the education of the country should be carried on permanently by a bureaucracy. He was as much against microscopic administrative bodies as against large ones. In half a dozen of the counties of Scotland it would be physically impossible for the school boards to be representative of the people. Inverness-shire had an area of 4,200 square miles, Argyllshire 3,200 square miles, and Ross and Cromarty 3,000 square miles. How was it possible to administer primary education in such large areas as these with efficiency? The experience of the Education Act of 1902 was all against the county area. Then there was the question of the payment of the travelling expenses of members of the school committees. The Government refused it in England and he supposed they would refuse it for Scotland, though the Scotch people got many concessions which the English people did not. He hoped the Secretary for Scotland would not listen to the Amendment.
MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
said he quite recognised that this was a question of expediency. He would be perfectly frank as to why he thought it necessary to resist the Amendment, with the view of asking the Committee to accept an Amendment he had on the Paper. That Amendment was put down because he thought the feeling of the House was, without doubt, that there ought to be a measure of elasticity; and if there was to be elasticity at which end were they to begin? He quite admitted that throughout the length and breadth of Scotland the history of education and of 1530 the school boards which they were displacing showed that there were many more counties which needed division than should remain undivided. That being the case it was surely very much better for everybody, and certainly for himself, that they should begin with a state of affairs which prevailed in the major part of the counties, and leave it to the action of the Department to be guided by public opinion in aggregating the districts where necessary. In other words, he would have a great deal more to do in the province of dividing than he would have in the province of aggregating; and he thought it would be to the advantage of everyone that he should be called in as little as possible. For these reasons, and looking to the necessities of the Highland counties, he hoped the Committee would reject the Amendment.
§ MR. WEIR
said he was glad to hear that the right hon. Gentleman was going to oppose the Amendment. The information of the hon. Gentleman who proposed the Amendment was most inaccurate. He said that the population of the Island of Lewis was 25,000 when it was 30,000; and that the valuation of the island was going down. If that was so, it was because the deer forests had been undervalued. He had just received a telegram from the town clerk of Stornoway asking him to oppose the county as the education area. That proposal was so monstrous that he was amazed it had ever been suggested. He, himself, had made up his mind long before he had received the telegram to oppose the Amendment.
§ MR. BRYCE
said he thought the Committee would recognise that this was a real difficulty; and that it was exactly the same difficulty they met with in connection with the English Education Bill. The difficulty was that they wanted a different area for elementary education and for secondary education. For elementary education they wanted a comparatively small area; and secondary education a comparatively large area. The best area for elementary education would be either the parish, or a combination of parishes, and the best area for secondary education would be 1531 the county, or possibly in the case of a large county like Lanarkshire a division of the county. The principle on which the Government proceeded was that there must only be one authority. That was an inevitable difficulty, and all the Committee could do would be to endeavour to choose the least of the evils. It would be a great evil to sacrifice elementary education to secondary education; yet practically that was what they were asked to do. It was admitted that it was desirable that members of the working classes and the peasantry should take part in the work of elementary education; but that could not be if the county were to be the area even with the payment of travelling expenses. That put the county out of Court as the authority for elementary education. On the other hand, it was clear that most of the districts would be too small to make proper provision for secondary education. Secondary education could not be organised with a smaller population than 40,000 or 50,000. As the hon. Member for North Camberwell said, it was perfectly true that in England the elementary system was not working. He knew a county in the South of England which, finding that it was unable to deal with elementary education, delegated the work to district committees. That was what they asked for in 1902, but which they did not get. The experience of England showed that the county was not the proper authority to deal with elementary education. The real remedy for the difficulty was to allow elementary education areas to combine for the purpose of secondary education, and statutory power should be given for the purpose. That was not in any way inconsistent with the plan of the Secretary for Scotland. If the right hon. Gentleman saw any objection to that, at any rate he could hardly object to a clause enabling the elementary education authorities to appoint delegates to undertake secondary education in their respective areas. He would, however, prefer the plan of the Secretary for Scotland to that of the Amendment, as it would enable them to overcome the difficulty with which they were confronted without sacrificing elementary education, and at the same time give secondary education its proper chance.
§ MR. MAXWELL (Dumfriesshire)
said that the education authority might consist of the county councillors and the parish councillors for a particular district, who would supervise all education, secondary and elementary, in that district. The Bill, however, did not proceed on those lines. In a great many cases it had been found that district committees were far too small; and even if power were given to them to combine for the purpose of secondary education, there would be great difficulty in carrying out their duties. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberdeen said that a population of 40,000 to 50,000 was necessary in order to carry out a proper system of secondary education; but in sixteen of the counties in Scotland the population was under 50,000, and half of those counties were to be divided up into district committees. The proposal he had on the Paper was that, in the first instance, there should be one school board in the county; and that it should have power to apply to the Secretary for Scotland to be divided up into committees. In that way better districts would be formed than under the proposal of the Secretary for Scotland. However, as the right hon. Gentleman had met them so far, he would be prepared to accept his Amendment; although it did not go the whole length he desired.
§ MR. WALLACE (Perth)
said that the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment admitted that the county would not be a satisfactory area; and he suggested that power should be given to sub-divide it. On the other hand, everyone could see that there was no difference in the view expressed by the supporters of the Amendment, and by those who opposed it. They all admitted that power should be given to sub-divide, if the county were to be the area; and that if the district were to be the area, power should be given to unite several districts. Everyone agreed that the locality should be consulted, and that the view of Scotland should be respected; and, that being so, it seemed to him there was very little difference between the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman and the Amendment of the Secretary for Scotland. He himself 1533 preferred the Amendment of the Secretary for Scotland. It respected local opinion, and in that way they were likely to get a satisfactory area.
§ *MR. MACONOCHIE
said that after the explanation of the Secretary for Scotland he believed that the question was only one of method. Whether they would take the county and work downwards, or take the district and work upward, they were all agreed on the principle. Probably the Amendment of the Secretary for Scotland would be the better plan. With reference to the remarks of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Ross, he would say that his experiences of the county extended over twenty-nine years, and that for fifteen years he lived in it for a certain period every year. He would ask leave to withdraw his Amendment.
MR. PARKER SMITH (Lanarkshire, Partick)
said they were all agreed that there ought not to be a cast-iron rule for all the counties of Scotland. It had been said that there were only four counties that needed to be divided; but there was a considerable difference between the division of a county and what the Secretary for Scotland was asking for. If they were divided they would not divide into proper districts, and he hoped, therefore, that greater latitude would be taken by the Scottish Office in deciding how the districts were to be divided. They ought not to be the old local government districts—districts which were arranged for quite another purpose; they ought to be allowed to go across the boundary, where it was necessary to take n any part and incorporate it in the district.
§ MR. AINSWORTH
suggested that if the Scottish Office took powers over and above those for the sub-division of the counties into districts to divide the districts into parishes, or a combination of parishes, it would meet the case of the Highland parishes to which he had referred previously. He hoped before they came to the final discussion on the Scottish Secretary's Amendment the right hon. Gentleman would see his way to carry out the suggestions made to him.
THE EARL OF DALKEITH (Roxburgh)
said the local government districts with 1534 which he was acquainted were not well suited for educational districts. It was doubtful whether the Scottish Board of Education would have more work to do under one form than under another; but it would be much easier, he thought, if the county was first adopted as the area, and was then sub-divided into districts suitable for educational districts. There were many counties where the county was far more suitable for a district than were the Local Government Board districts. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman, in considering the matter later, would see his way to making that change.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW
expressed his concurrence with what had fallen from his noble friend in regard to the unsuitability of the Local Government Board districts, which often embraced three or four counties in which there was a perfect network of towns, and those districts would be most unsuitable for educational districts. But he also thought a county was an unsuitable area and that brought him back to his original idea that the proper solution was to take the towns as centres and to grade out from them. The Secretary for Scotland proposed to divide those counties which were not already districts into districts; but oven there he was embarassed by the county divisions. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman might see his way to give powers of combination, not only to districts in individual counties, so as to enable one county to link up with itself any inlying portion of another county. He made that observation in the hope that the power of combination would be so used as to bring closer together the educational needs of a particular district.
§ MR. CATHCART WASON (Orkney and Shetland)
said the success of this Bill depended largely on the question of area. So far as his constituency was concerned, the districts there were absolutely impossible and unworkable under any such scheme as this. At the same time, a hard and fast line that the county should be the area would, in many cases, make things very much worse. He sincerely hoped that the elasticity alluded to by so many Members would De given, and that the Secretary for Scotland would take the necessary powers, if he found public 1535 opinion was ripe in certain directions, and that the people of a district having local knowledge were of the opinion that j certain districts might be amalgamated. If the right hon. Gentleman would take power to give effect to the wishes of the people in that way, all the necessities of the case would be met.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said this Amendment showed the great difficulty experienced when they departed from the principle of the parish area. When they came to the district area they immediately found themselves awkwardly placed with regard to the rest of the county. When they came to deal with the county they were still more awkwardly situated, because of the other counties bordering on it; and the result was that from an educational point of view, there would never be a county or a district, but a combination based on educational grounds entirely. That showed the absurdity of starting to make a district when they had immediately to make great exceptions, instead of attaching it, as they would have to attach it, to the parish areas.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
In page 1, line 23, at the end, to insert the words' Provided that, before the commencement of this Act, on a representation received not later than the twenty-fifth day of October, one thousand nine hundred and four, from a comity council or district committee of a county council, or from a town council, or from an existing school board, and from time to time after the commencement of this Act, on representation from a school board, the Secretary for Scotland may, by order or orders, which order or orders shall be laid as soon as may be upon the Table of both Houses of Parliament, determine that any two counties including as aforesaid, or that any two or more local government districts, including as aforesaid, in any county, shall, for the purposes of this Act, be combined into one district, or that any county not divided into local government districts, including as aforesaid, shall, for the purpose of this Act, be divided into districts, and such districts shall be specified in the order; and the foregoing provisions of this section shall not apply to any county or local government district, including as aforesaid, so far as comprised within a district or districts specified in any such order, but a school board shall be established for each of the districts so specified. In making an order after the commencement of this Act under this section the Secretary for Scotland shall follow as nearly as may be the procedure prescribed by the forty-sixth section
of the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1894,. with respect to the making of an order for altering the boundaries of parishes, and shall have the necessary powers in that behalf, including power to provide for all matters which appear to him necessary or proper for giving full effect to the order, and where necessary for the adjustment and distribution, of the powers, property, liabilities, debts, officers, and servants of the school boards affected by the order, and for the settlement of differences arising out of the order.'" (Mr. A. Graham Murray.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words-be there inserted."
MR. PARKER SMITH
said the Amendment would go a long way towards relaxing the rigidity of the provision, but he did not think it went far enough. The Secretary for Scotland would have power to deal with whole counties or whole local government districts; he would be able to put two complete counties, or two or more complete local districts together, but that was hardly sufficient. Under, the scheme of the Bill the borough of Govan was included in the Glasgow district; but there was a small part of the parish of Govan outside the borough, and outside the boundaries of Glasgow, and outside the proposed new education area. This small part would be entirely isolated, and nothing was more obvious than that if the borough of Govan was to be taken in with the district of Glasgow the small part in the Lower Ward of Lanark should be taken in also. That was merely an illustration; dozens of similar cases would arise, and it might be desirable in some cases to divide even parishes. It was, therefore, very desirable that the Secretary for Scotland should have power to deal with parts of counties or parts of local government districts. In order to provide for that, he desired to move an Amendment providing that any two or more counties or parts of counties, or any two or more local government districts or parts of districts might be formed into-one district, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would see his way to accept that proposal.
Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment—
In line 8, after the word 'two' to insert the words 'or more.'"—(Mr. Parker Smith.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."1537
MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
said that as the hon. Member was really raising a general question of the same class as that raised by the hon. Member for the Elgin Burghs, it would be as well to state what his attitude in the matter was. He would prefer to take his own Amendment as it stood; but as the view seemed to be prevalent in the Committee that more elasticity was required, he was prepared to accept words to give effect to that feeling, subject however, to one understanding. He could not accept the view that parts of parishes might be dealt with. That would never do, because though conceivably from an educational point of view cases of that kind might arise, any such action would throw the whole question of rating into confusion. They could not have absolute perfection in every case; more or less rough lines had to be taken; therefore, while he was willing to give further elasticity in the matter of sub-division of districts, it must be clearly understood that that sub-division should follow parish lines. The particular words of the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for the Partick Division were hardly necessary, as he could not conceive uniting more than two counties, nor would the words uggested by the hon. Member or the Elgin Burghs be quite satisfactory. If, however, the Committee would accept the Amendment as it stood on the Paper, he would undertake to consider the matter from the point of view of draftmanship, and bring up a proposal on the Report stage to carry out the views which had been expressed.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW
said the Committee would doubtless accept the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman. Personally, he would suggest the insertion of the words "any two or more local government districts or parts of district, included as aforesaid in any county, or in one or more counties." That would cover the case he had more than once referred to—of a district in one county which might very properly be annexed to a district in another county. On the question of rating, he entirely agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that nothing more confusing could be enacted than that different sections of the same parish 1538 should be assessable under different authorities.
MR. PARKER SMITH
said that if hon. Members had shared with him the ill-fortune of living at a point where four counties met, they would not regard the desirability of the collocation of more than two counties as inconceivable. With regard to parishes, the cases he had in mind were those in which the proposed educational boundary cut across the parish. The right hon. Gentleman would require powers to rectify such cases, otherwise a small portion of the parish would be left outside the area which it was proposed to constitute. If it was understood that the right hon. Gentleman would provide for such cases as that, the Committee would doubtless accept whatever form of words he brought forward on the Report stage.
§ MR. CALDWELL
suggested that in some cases it would be desirable to have a working agreement between different areas.
§ MR. BRYCE
said that as the Secretary for Scotland proposed to make considerable alterations in the clause, he desired to make a suggestion and to inquire whether the right hon. Gentleman would give effect to it. On the point already dealt with there was little difference of opinion in the Committee as to what was desired, and in all probability the words which the right hon. Gentleman would bring up would meet with general acceptance. He thought, however, that the real object of having a union of districts would be less frequently for the purpose of elementary education than for the purpose of secondary or technical education, and the question he desired to ask was whether the right hon. Gentleman would consider the desirability of taking powers to unite districts or counties for the purpose of secondary education where they were not united for the purposes of elementary education. He had intended to move the insertion after the words "purposes of this Act" of the words "or for such of those purposes as relate to technical or higher education," but as it might be better to deal with this power of union by a 1539 separate clause, he did not propose to move that Amendment at the present stage. He hoped, however, that the right hon. Gentleman would give him an assurance that the point would be considered.
§ Amendment to the proposed Amendment was, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. CALDWELL moved to insert after the word "Parliament" the words "but shall not come into force until after an Address in favour of the same shall have passed both Houses of Parliament." ["Oh, oh!"] He was surprised that an hon. Member should say "Oh, oh," to such a proposal, as everybody who knew anything about Parliamentary procedure was aware that it was no use to place Orders on the Table of the House when nothing could be done with them. According to the Rules of the House, if it were simply provided in an Act of Parliament that certain Orders should lie on the Table for a certain period, there was no opportunity on which those Orders could be discussed, or any opinion expressed in regard to them. This was a very important matter, as it dealt not only with the question of education but also with the question of taxation. One district might be seriously injured in the matter of rating by being linked with another, and while the district whose rates were reduced by such a union might view the matter with equanimity, that certainly would not be the case with the district whose rates were increased. Under the Amendment it would only be necessary for the county council, the town council, or an existing school board, to apply for a certain combination, and the Secretary for Scotland to sanction it. But the school board might have been elected without any reference to such a combination, and he submitted that it would be very unfair for the ratepayers to be involved in considerable expense without their previous knowledge or consent. If the scheme of the Bill was to be altered in the manner now proposed there ought to be some provision by which the matter could be debated in the House of Commons. Questions of little importance might very well be dealt with without discussion; but in a matter which involved questions both of education and taxa- 1540 tion the ratepayers ought to be safeguarded. He begged to move.
Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment—
In line 8, after the word 'Parliament' to insert the words 'but shall not come into force until after an Address in favour of the same shall have passed both Houses of Parliament.'"—(Mr. Caldwell.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
said the hon. Member had omitted to explain that the effect of the proposed Amendment would be to stultify entirely the concessions which he (the right hon. Gentleman) had just made to the general feeling of the Committee. The hon. Member desired that nothing should be approved until a favouring Address had passed both Houses of Parliament. The Act was to come into operation next year; the first representations had to be made by 25th October. Unless, therefore, an autumn session was to be held for the express purpose, it was not likely that the approving Address could be voted until some time in the following year; while if the hon. Member made as good use of his opportunities as he usually did, it was extremely doubtful whether the approving Address would pass at all. The only result, therefore, would be to take away from the counties concerned the very power of effecting combinations or sub-divisions for which the Committee had been contending.
§ *MR. TENNANT (Berwickshire)
said that unless this Bill differed very much from other Acts of Parliament, there would always be an opportunity given to pray His Majesty to modify or to reject altogether the Orders referred to. Orders under the Factory Act were frequently discussed after twelve o'clock, and he presumed a similar course might be followed with regard to the Orders under this clause. Perhaps the Secretary for Scotland would kindly inform him if this was not so.
§ *MR. CATHCART WASON
said a more utterly preposterous proposal than that made by the hon. Member for Mid-Lanark he had never heard. If the 1541 excessively selfish proposition of the hon. Member was agreed to, the whole of the educational advantages which Orkney and Shetland hoped to derive from this Bill would be rendered nugatory. He was really surprised to find the hon. Member posing as a crusted Tory, and refusing to place confidence in the people. These authorities were elected by a purely democratic vote; they were to be trusted in matters of this sort; and, as it was purely on their initiative that the Secretary for Scotland could act, he could only suppose that the Amendment was submitted for a purpose which he did not like to describe. The Amendment proposed by the hon. Member to the Amendment, which had already been accepted by the Government on clear proof that the Bill would be unworkable not only in Orkney and Shetland but in other counties, would undo all the efforts he and others had been making and without which their education districts would be in dire confusion. The view of the hon. Member might be met by leaving out all reference whatever to Parliament, as there was absolutely no necessity to lay the Orders on the Table. It was a matter purely between the Secretary for Scotland and the local authorities who had the interests of the children of the district at heart. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland desired to carry out the wishes of the people of Scotland, so far as he possibly could, without any undue interference by Parliament. There was too much interference by Parliament in many affairs already.
§ MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)
said he did not think the castigation by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland was at all called for. The hon. Gentleman came here with the enthusiasm of a recent convert and lectured the hon. Member for Mid-Lanark as to what was the meaning of the Amendment before the Committee. The hon. Member had not apprehended the Amendment. He desired to disassociate himself from the hon. Member when he said that Parliament interfered too much in these matters. Apparently his idea was that everything should be left to the Secretary for Scotland and the local authorities. They had all much confidence in the 1542 present Secretary for Scotland, but he would not always occupy that office; and the point they had to consider was whether they were to welcome with open arms the Amendment proposed by the right hon. Gentleman, which was intended to meet many of the Amendments on the Paper. As he understood the Amendment it really shelved a question which this House ought to consider and decide. The right hon. Gentleman said, "Place confidence in me, and hand the whole thing over to me, and then I will make an Order on some future occasion which will be carried through." That brought them to the question how far they should hand over authority to the Secretary for Scotland. The Amendment of the hon. Member for Mid-Lanark simply said that the House should retain some powers in order to enable them to disagree with any Order made by the Secretary for Scotland. The question was whether they were to have an effective power of objecting to the action of the Secretary for Scotland. The present system of laying such Orders on the Table of the House was no check at all if they desired to interfere with the action of the Secretary for Scotland. The Bill proposed that Leith should be included in Edinburgh; but at some future day it would be open to the Secretary for Scotland, on the application of one of the parties interested, to oppose the wishes of this House in that matter. They ought to retain effective power in such matters of criticising any action of the Secretary for Scotland with which they might disagree. He had, therefore, great pleasure in supporting the Amendment of his hon. friend.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
said the Secretary for Scotland had told them what the effect of the Amendment would be, but not what would be the effect of his own proposal. That proposal was to lay these schemes on the Table of the House. What power would the House have over them? None. Therefore, the words in the Bill had no practical effect at all; and the point on which the decision of the Committee would turn was whether they desired to have an opportunity of discussing these Orders or not. The presence of these words gave the public the impression 1543 that the House had control over these Orders, and, unless the phrase was struck out, he thought the clause should be amended in the sense proposed by the hon. Member for Mid-Lanark.
MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
said there was really, so far as he knew, no misconception about this matter. The words in the Amendment were that the Order or Orders "shall be laid, as soon as may be, upon the Table of both Houses of Parliament," but that did not give the right of stopping the procedure embodied in an Order. They must get the Education Bill started somehow. They must get it started with certain districts with school boards, and the proposition of the Government was that the local government district should be the district to elect the school board. The Committee had almost unanimously said that that should be the district, but there were certain cases where there ought to be combination, and in order to give certain elasticity he had brought forward this clause, not of his own motion, but in order to meet the views which had been placed before him. If the words proposed by the hon. Member for Mid Lanark were put in, it would simply mean that the Secretary for Scotland would be unable to exercise the power of combination until they could have a discussion in some future session of Parliament for which the Government would necessarily have to find time. So far as the actual power of Parliament was concerned, he would remind the Committee that they would always have the power to discuss the whole question on the Estimates when the vote for the salary of the unfortunate Secretary for Scotland was brought forward. If the Secretary for Scotland were so left to himself as to take such an extraordinary course as that suggested by the hon. Member for the Kirkcaldy Burghs in regard to the disjunction of Leith from Edinburgh, the hon. Member would have his chance of defeating the Government. The words about laying the Orders on the Table of both Houses of Parliament were introduced because that had been the long established practice, but nobody supposed that it gave Parliament an opportunity for stopping what was proposed. He agreed 1544 that for all practical purposes the words might as well be out, but he did not see any necessity for taking them out, because if he were to do so it would take this matter away from the practice which had been followed in such matters.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
said he wished to get an opportunity of discussing the circumstances if he thought the Government were going wrong. If the scheme was made by the Education Department the right hon. Gentleman was to make it after the representations of the locality. What he wanted was that the right hon. Gentleman should make the scheme according to the representations of the locality. The English Act said that if a scheme had not been made by the local authorities with the approval of the Board of Education within twelve months, that Board might, subject to the provisions of the Act, make a Provisional Order which could be discussed in Parliament. Would the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland say that in the future administration of this Act, if he drew up a scheme on the representations of the localities, that scheme would be cast in the form of a Provisional Order which could be discussed in Parliament?
§ MR. CROMBIE
said that his hon. friend had raised an important principle. It seemed to him that there was every necessity for the House discussing minutes and circulars issued by the Education Department. It was very obvious that if this Act was going to come into operation on the day appointed, it would be perfectly impossible to discuss all these points. It must be remembered that the localities in question would have, by the Amendment before the Committee, an opportunity of putting their views before the Education Department.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said that the object of the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment was to make a change in the educational districts different from that which might be in the Bill. That was a most important change, for the Secretary for Scotland might make an Order for a combination which, if it had been made in the House, the House would not have sanctioned. The proposal 1545 was to delegate powers to the right hon. Gentleman to do something which might be repugnant to the House. It was said that this was a case of urgency; but this he denied. Time was to be taken to consider the changes after hearing all parties. But the Amendment of the Secretary for Scotland did not limit itself to changes that might be made on the 25th October, but applied to every subsequent change. These changes would have to be carefully considered, and there was no reason whatever why Parliament should not have an opportunity of expressing an opinion upon them. The change would not be merely a question affecting education, but a question affecting rates as well. He did not want to limit the power of the localities or of the Secretary for Scotland, but to see that the Order, or Orders, making the change were laid before Parliament, so that the House might have an opportunity of discussing them. He had no antagonism to a change; but if a change was needed, it ought to be made with deliberation, and nothing should be done to prejudice the rights of Parliament.
§ SIR MARK STEWART (Kirkcudbrightshire)
said he hoped the Committee would come to a decision at once. They were making very small progress, all because one or two Members were setting themselves up against, practically, the unanimous wishes of the Committee.
MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
said he bad considered the suggestion made by the right hon. Member for South Aberdeen, but this was not the place in the Bill to carry it out. They must settle the education body at once. He thought that the education body should have power to administer both primary and secondary education, but he could quite see that there might be cases where there should be combination for secondary education and not for primary. It was very much better that that should be dependent on the local bodies themselves than on the Secretary for Scotland. He would be glad to give favourable consideration to a clause put down on page 55 by the hon. Member for Kincardineshire, which provided that—It shall be lawful for the school boards of two or more adjoining education districts, 1546 whether in the same county or not, to appoint a joint committee which shall formulate and, if approved by the several school boards concerned, administer a scheme of education common to such districts.It was quite clear that that clause, with a very little alteration, might be made to serve the purpose of the right hon. Member for South Aberdeen.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW
said he thought it was very unfortunate that his hon. friend had moved his Amendment in a positive form. It would have been far better if he had moved it in a negative form. He would suggest that the Amendment should read—Which Order or Orders shall be laid, as soon as may be, upon the Table of both Houses of Parliament and shall come into effect, unless disapproved of, within forty days.The reason why he was anxious about this point was that within his own Parliamentary recollection they used to have, after twelve o'clock, the privilege of discussing Amendments on these Orders; and he remembered on one occasion when that had been done with very great advantage to the country. That privilege had disappeared owing to an alteration of the Standing Orders, but he would like to see it restored. This was the first occasion on which they had had the opportunity of securing any power of review of the large powers assumed and exercised by the Scotch Education Department, and he thought this was an excellent opportunity for having the fiats of the Department laid on the Table of Parliament and discussed.
MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
said that, the proposal of the Amendment did not seem practical. What would happen? Representations would be made to him next October. According to the hon. Gentleman, Parliament was to have the power of disallowing these Orders within forty days of their being laid on the Table of this House. Parliament would meet about the usual time, that was to said, about the 15th of February next, and the forty days would not elapse until after the 1547 first school board election. They would not know where they were. Like Mahomet's coffin, they would be hanging in mid-air.
§ MR. DALZIEL
said he did not consider the right hon Member's arguments conclusive. All they desired to do was to make their protest more effective to the House. The fact that the right hon. Gentleman had drawn his Bill in such a way as to make it impossible—
MR A. GRAHAM MURRAY
said he did not draw this clause, all he had to do was to introduce the Bill. The whole thing arose because this clause, which had the assent of nearly every one in the House, did not suit the views of the hon. Member for Mid-Lanark and the hon. Member opposite.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
said the point made by his hon. and learned friend near him was that if these words meant nothing at all they should not have been put into the Bill. Though the right hon. Gentleman did not draw this clause, it was his clause still. He knew who put these words in, and that the person who put them in must have had some intention in doing so. It was a most objectionable thing to put in words that seemed to
§ involve the connivance of Parliament when, as a matter of fact, Parliament had no power in the matter.
MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
said they were always very pleased when the right hon. Gentleman took part in the debates of the Committee, but he wished the right hon. Gentleman could have been in the House a little earlier. Three-quarters of an hour previously he had expressed, his willingness to take the words out. He might point out that it had always been the practice in all Education Acts since the Act of 1872 to lay all administrative Acts of the Department before Parliament.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
asked whether in the case of the Code there were not special provisions that when these things were laid on the Table of the House they must be dealt with in a particular manner.
MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
admitted that that was the view of Mr. Speaker Peel; but Mr. Speaker had ruled differently, and it was not so now.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW
said he agreed; with the right hon. Gentleman in that statement; it was because he wished the House to regain that which it had lost that he had spoken.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 82; Noes, 199. (Division List No. 146.)1551
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Dobbie, Joseph||Long, Sir John|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herb. Henry||Edwards, Frank||Levy, Maurice|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Fenwick, Charles||Lough, Thomas|
|Austin, Sir John||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Lundon, W.|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Fuller, J. M. F.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Black, Alexander William||Furness, Sir Christopher||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)|
|Boland, John||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herb. John||M'Crae, George|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh)||Hammond, John||Mansfield, Horace Rendall|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Hayden, John Patrick||Mooney, John J.|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)|
|Burt, Thomas||Hobhouse, C.E.H. (Bristol, E.)||Morley, Rt. Hn. John (Montrose|
|Cameron, Robert||Horniman, Frederick John||Murnaghan, George|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||Newnes, Sir George|
|Cremer, William Randal||Joicey, Sir James||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.|
|Crooks William||Kilbride, Denis||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W|
|Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway||Labouchere, Henry||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||White, Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Reid, Sir R.Threshie (Dumfries||Soares, Ernest J.||Whiteley, George (York, W.R.)|
|Richards, Henry Charles||Spencer, Rt.Hn. C.R(Northants||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Sullivan, Donal||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Caldwell and Mr. Dalziel.|
|Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)||Walton, Joseph (Barusley)|
|Shipman, Dr. John G.||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Duke, Henry Edward||Lucas, Reginald J.(Portsmouth.|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Dunn, Sir William||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Maconochie, A. W.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Elibank, Master of||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O.||Ellice, Capt E.C (SAndrw'sBghs||M'Iver, Sir Lenis(Edinburgh, W|
|Asher, Alexander||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Maxwell, W.J.H. (Dumfriessh.|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Ferguson, R, C. Munro (Leith)||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J.(Manc'r||Middlemore, Jn. Throgmorton|
|Balcarres, Lord||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G.|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Milvain, Thomas|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A.J.(Manch'r||Fisher, William Hayes||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Fison, Frederick William||Montagu, Hn. J. Scott (Hants.)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Flower, Sir Ernest||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Forster, Henry William||Muntz, Sir Philip A.|
|Bignold, Arthur||Galloway, William Johnson||Murphy, John|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Gardner, Ernest||Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Garfit, William||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Bowles, Lt.-Col. H. F (Middlesex||Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H.||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Brassey, Albert||Gore, Hn G. R. C. Ormsby-(Salop||Myers, William Henry|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Gretton, John||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Butcher. John George||Gunter, Sir Robert||Nolan, Col. J. P. (Galway, N.)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasgow||Hain, Edward||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Haldane, Rt, Hon. Richard B.||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid.)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbyshire||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Partington, Oswald|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Harris, E. Leverton (Tynem'th)||Pease, Herb. Pike (Darlington)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Percy, Earl|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Heath, James (Staffords, N.W.)||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A (Worc.||Henderson, Sir A.(Stafford, W.)||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Chapman, Edward||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Charrington, Spencer||Hoare, Sir Samuel||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Hogg, Lindsay||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Hope, J.F.(Sheffield, Brightside||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Houston, Robert Paterson||Rankin, Sir James|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil||Reddy, M.|
|Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Hunt, Rowland||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine|
|Crombie, John William||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Roche, John|
|Cullinan, J.||Joyce, Michael||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W.(Salop.||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Davenport, William Bromley-||Kerr, John||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Delany, William||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Sheehy, David|
|Denny, Colonel||Knowles, Sir Lees||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.)||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monmouth)||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Lawson, J. Grant (Yorks., N.R.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lanes.|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Doogan, P. C.||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S.||Stroyan, John|
|Dorington, Rt. Hn. Sir John E.||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Doughty, George||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Bristol, S.)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Lowe, Francis William||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Tuff, Charles|
|Tufnell, Lieut-Col. Edward||Wason, Jn. Cathcart (Orkney)||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Tuke, Sir John Batty||Webb, Colonel William George||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Ure, Alexander||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C (Taunton||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Valentia, Viscount||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Walker, Col. William Hall||Wilson, John (Falkirk)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.|
|Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Wanklyn, James Leslie||Wilson-Todd, Sir W.H.(Yorks.)|
|Warde, Colonel C. E.||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R.(Bath|
Bill read a second time, and committed.
§ MR. GEORGE BROWN (Edinburgh Central)
said that the last Amendment which; was accepted by the Secretary for Scot-land dealt with divisions of counties. There was, however, another class of combination which ought to be kept in mind; and that was the combination of a rural district with an adjacent suburban district. The fact that such cases might arise was shown by the number of Amendments which appeared on the Paper on the subject. The acceptance of his Amendment, however, might have the effect of a number of those Amendments being withdrawn. He begged to move.
Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment—
In line 10, after the word 'county' to insert the words 'or any local government district or any enumerated district.'"—(Mr, George Brown.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
thought the Committee would agree that in this matter they had gone far enough. It was really inadvisable that these questions should go back to the Government Department more than was absolutely necessary. The enumerated districts were really the large cities in Scotland, and it would be very inexpedient from time to time to disturb the existing areas by taking in portions of the county districts. He therefore could not accept the Amendment.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ MR. AINSWORTH
said it was necessary in the interest of the Western Islands that the Secretary for Scotland should have the power to constitute separate parishes or combinations of parishes as areas under the Act.
MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY (intervening)
stated that he had already agreed 1552 to bring forward wordson the Report stage dealing with that point.
§ Proposed words inserted in the clause.
MR. PARKER SMITH
said the Amendment he was about to move, although it raised a local question, affected more than one-fifth of the whole population of Scotland. It involved educational issues raising questions of principle as well as of local feeling. The object of the Amendment was to continue to Govan its local independence. The parish of Govan immediately adjoined Glasgow. There was no obvious physical distinction between the two. Govan contained the Burghs of Partick and Govan itself, as well as other large districts, and was partly inside and partly outside the municipal area of Glasgow. The population was 200,000, and was rapidly increasing; the assessable rental was over £1,000,000; and there were more than 30,000 scholars. There was scarcely any difference between Glasgow and Govan in the matter of rating, and as it stood the parish school board of Govan was the third largest in Scotland. The school board and town councils of Govan and Partick strongly desired that things should remain as at present, but the school board and the Corporation of Glasgow wished Govan to be included in their area. Although feeling had been manifested before on this subject, there had been no previous attempt to give effect to it, and no ground was alleged even now by the school board and the municipality for the inclusion of Govan. No suggestion whatever was made against the efficiency of the school board for Govan, and the presumption under these circumstances seemed to be in favour of the continuance of the present position. The issue presented by the Amendment was between continuing the school board 1553 as it at present existed and amalgamating it with that of Glasgow. No one, either inside or outside Glasgow, would be satisfied with a scheme under which one-half of Govan was included in Glasgow and the other half left outside. If anything at all was done, the parish must be dealt with as a whole. In asking that the parish should be left in its present position, he was not asking anything inconsistent with the scheme of the Bill. The proposals of the Government laid down no hard and fast rule as to boundaries, whether municipal or otherwise, and the whole action of the Committee during the afternoon had been to place more and more discretion in the hands of the Secretary for Scotland in the matter of dividing areas in the manner best suited for educational purposes. That being so, it was necessary to consider this problem only on educational grounds, and he hoped the Secretary for Scotland would allow the Committee to express its view on the matter freely and that he would not enforce the views of the Government by the appointment of the official Whips in the division.
The arguments for and against the proposal were partly educational and partly otherwise. By some it was held that the proposal would influence municipal divisions in the future. The town councils of Partick and Govan had hitherto strongly objected to being included in Glasgow. They maintained a position of friendly and neighbourly independence, but they held that their position in the future with regard to municipal annexation would be seriously affected if they were included in Glasgow for educational purposes. Parliament had uniformly declined to force annexation upon any local body which did not desire it, and that in itself was a strong argument against this annexation for educational purposes being forced upon Govan. The arguments in favour of the proposal on educational grounds were much stronger. Hitherto Glasgow and Govan had existed side by side without the slightest friction. Children had been interchanged between one board and the other with perfect freedom. Govan had a full and complete equipment for education of all descriptions, and it possessed half-a-dozen higher-grade schools in which pupils could be, and 1554 were, carried on until they were ready to go to the University. What gain, then, would there be in throwing the two areas into one? There were great advantages in having districts of a reasonable and moderate size, inasmuch as it allowed members of the board to have a personal knowledge of the affairs of the schools and teachers, which was quite impossible in an enormously large area such as Glasgow. Everybody was in favour of large areas, but the question was—how large? He submitted that it was better to have an area with 250,000 inhabitants than an area with 1,000,000 inhabitants, but under the scheme of the Bill Glasgow would contain a population of fully 1,000,000, and have under its charge 150,000 children and over 4,000 teachers. It was impossible for the members of one board to have personal touch with so large an army of children and teachers, and there would be considerable danger of the work being done simply through officials. There were advantages to be set against this in having one large area, but they had not made themselves felt in the past and they had not been expressed by the town council or the school board of Glasgow. The amalgamation was not desired by the parish of Govan, and the Government could not point to any educational reasons for the change. In all the schools up to the higher-grade schools the apparatus of Govan was perfectly sufficient for all that was to be done in the parish. The teachers would prefer that there should be a continuation of the present system, because they were more in touch with a smaller board than they would be with a larger one. He thought a place like Govan was entitled to continue with that separate control which had hitherto been exerted with such admirable results.
In page 2, line 3, after the word 'Glasgow' to insert the word 'Govan.'"—(Mr. Parker Smith.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'Govan' be there inserted."
MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
said this was a question which had to be determined on educational considerations 1555 alone. One of the great objects of the reorganisation of the system of secondary education was to prevent expensive and harmful overlapping. There was no place where overlapping was more apt to occur than in the great towns where there was more than one education authority. He would remind those Members of the Committee who were not familiar with the geography of that part of the world that the city of Glasgow was composed partly of the city parish, partly of the Barony parish, and partly of Govan parish. Everbody probably remembered the long municipal controversy which culminated in the city of Glasgow as it now existed. It included in its borders among other places Partick which was originally a separate police burgh. It should, therefore, be clearly understood that it would not suit the proposer of this Amendment to take the burgh of Govan as it existed separately from Glasgow.
MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
said the point which he really was leading up to was that it would not be in accordance with the wishes of the proposer of this Amendment if the town of Govan were allowed to be a separate education authority. What they wished was that the whole parish of Govan as it now existed should be a separate education authority. In other words they would take out of the city of Glasgow that portion of the city which lay within the parish of Govan.
MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
said he meant that. That would be a situation perfectly unique. The great idea in framing the Bill had been to take the cities as they found them and not to take anything away from them, but here it was proposed to carve out of Glasgow a certain portion in order to erect it into an educational centre which they would call Govan. The offices of the Govan School Board were at the present moment in Glasgow, and no wonder, because Govan was a parish which 1556 lay on both sides of the Clyde. To carve out Govan from Glasgow and make it an education area by itself, irrespective of boundaries, would really encourage competition and overlapping, and he did not think he would be consulting the best educational interests if he accepted the Amendment. He hoped his hon. friend would be far from thinking that he was dogmatising as an educational expert in this matter. He had done his best to ascertain what was the best educational opinion on the subject and it was all one way. The school board and the town council of Glasgow were in favour of the provision in the Bill.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said he knew the districts intimately. The Secretary for Scotland had quite properly stated that the effect of making Govan an educational authority by itself would be to take a small portion out of Glasgow. But the fact that there happened to be a small portion of Govan in Glasgow was surely no reason for swallowing up the larger portion, and that was practically the proposal of the Bill. What they had to consider was how the matter stood at present. Govan parish had certainly a large population by itself, and it had an educational system of its own. It was all very well to say that it was necessary to avoid overlapping, but while the Secretary for Scotland expressed that pious opinion he gave the Committee no indication that there was overlapping. In point of fact, those who knew the district were well aware there was positively no overlapping whatever as between Govan and Glasgow. The schools were full, and the parents in the district had their choice of sending their children to the one or the other, according to convenience. He was sure the Secretary for Scotland would not contend that the Govan School Board had not been well managed. It was one of the best school boards in the kingdom—in some respects better than that in Glasgow—because it was less unwieldy, and more immediately under control. There were in Govan special industries, distinct from those in Glasgow, and the schools were adapted to serve the wants of the district in that respect. It would 1557 be a great mistake to absorb the school board management of Govan in that of Glasgow, because the work could not be undertaken without delegation of powers to people who were not direct representatives of the ratepayers of Govan. Govan had shown that it was not wanting in enterprise. It had a valuation equal to that of Glasgow, and its rate was something less. He thought that it would be beneficial to have competition between the schools of Govan and Glasgow, instead of combining them in one large area.
§ MR. ALEXANDER CROSS (Glasgow, Camlachie)
said he supported the clause as it stood. This was a great measure of consolidation. The Committee would observe that the clause provided for the consolidation of the school board districts of Glasgow, Govan, Partick, Kinning Park and Pollokshaws. The matter was not so simple as the hon. Member for Partick had stated. The parish of Govan absorbed a large portion of the very best part of the rating area of Glasgow, such as Hillhead and Kelvinside. The interests of Govan could not be separated from those of Glasgow.
§ MR. DALZIEL
said that if the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland had shown that any overlapping had existed in the past, or was likely to exist in the future, in regard to educational matters, provided the Amendment was accepted, the right hon. Gentleman might have had a good case. But the argument, so far as it had proceeded, was all on one side. They had in Govan one of the most popular and successful of the Scottish school boards. It had done more work than the Glasgow School Board, and the whole question was whether the opinion of Govan was practically unanimous in favour of a continued separate educational existence.
And it being half-past Seven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again this evening.