HC Deb 14 July 1905 vol 149 cc745-800

On the Order to go into Committee on this Bill.

Mr. BLACK (Banffshire)

said that when this Bill was read a second time there had been standing on the Paper for some weeks an instruction to refer the Bill to a Committee of Scotch Members with fifteen English Members to be added by the Committee of Selection. That was a very usual kind of Motion upon Scotch Bills, and the last occasion upon which a similar Motion was adopted was in the case of the Scotch Licensing Bill in 1903. Such a Motion had been made upon other occasions, and it was in accordance with a Standing Order passed in 1893. At the proper time he rose in his place to move this Motion, the present Secretary to the Local Government Board being in the Chair, but instead of calling upon him, which would have been in accordance with precedent, he allowed the Bill to go automatically to a Committee of the Whole House. He believed it was generally recognised and admitted by the then occupant of the Chair, the clerks at the Table, and the Patronage Secretary to the Treasury that it was an error, and that he ought to have been called upon to move his Motion so that he might have taken a division upon it. He, therefore, submitted that he was entitled to move now. He understood that the Government had no objection to his Motion being considered now, and, seeing that he had been prevented from moving his Motion by an error from the Chair, he wished to know if he would be in order under these circumstances in moving his instruction now.


I am afraid that the Motion is not now admissible. The hon. Member states that by an oversight he was not called upon. I understand that the Deputy-Chairman did not hear the hon. Member, and I think the hon. Member ought to have insisted upon being heard.


I did my best,


There is no power to interpose with a Motion of this kind now.


Not if the House assents?

Mr. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid.)

asked if it was not usual on the Second Reading for the Speaker to call upon a Member to move the Motion which stood in his name upon the Paper. In this case his hon. friend, rose, made a Motion, and insisted, and he contended that the hon. Member could not have done more than he did.


I have nothing more to add. I think if the hon. Member had been a little more persistent he would have been heard.

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

[Mr. GRANT LAWSON (Yorkshire, N.R., Thirsk) in the Chair.]

Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.

Clause 3:—

LORD WILLOUGHBY DE ERESBY (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)

moved to leave out the words "of the following educational districts" and substitute "county," and said that being an English Member he felt that some apology was due to the Committee in moving this Amendment. His only excuse was, however, that for a large part of the year he lived in Scotland, and he was a large ratepayer there. He desired that everything should be done for the benefit of education in Scotland, and his only wish was that if they were to have a good Bill to improve education in Scotland it should be worked in as cheap and efficient a manner as possible. He was strongly of opinion that the county was the proper area for education, both elementary and secondary, and he thought that opinion was shared by a large number of Scotch Members upon both sides of the House. He believed that the Lord-Advocate, in introducing this Bill, stated as his excuse for continuing the local government district for the new education authority that it was a compromise between those who wished to have the county area and those who preferred that the parish should remain the area for elementary education. Personally, he was not particularly fond of compromises, and they were often exceedingly unsatisfactory. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberdeen had spoken strongly in favour of the county being made the area. He had stated that the county was the proper area for secondary education, and that no small area could deal efficiently with the secondary education required; and he further stated that the Government scheme was a most unsatisfactory compromise.

He thought they might take a lesson from what had occurred I under the English Bill. During the whole time that the English Education Bill was in Committee there was a feeling prevalent amongst county Members that considerable expense would be entailed by these new proposals, and in many counties that expectation had been amply fulfilled, and the rates had gone up. However popular it might be on public platforms to talk of the merits and advantages of people being well educated, it was not, perhaps, so popular when the people were asked to pay the bill. The English Bill only set up some fifty authorities in the counties, but this Bill was setting up no fewer than 107 authorities in a country with a population far less than England and with a much smaller valuation. This would mean that there would have to be no less than 107 different staffs and sets of officials. Salaries would have to be paid to them all, and offices would have to be erected for them, and there would also be their expenses to pay; and considering that amalgamation might take place in the future there was a great danger that these officials, having been appointed, would consider that they had fixity of tenure, and would want compensation if they were turned out of their posts. It had been suggested by the hon. Member for Haddingtonshire that in addition to the expense of paying a host of officials the travelling expenses of the members of these authorities should be paid. He thought they ought to do their best to keep these expenses down. He was afraid there was a danger of them getting very near that state of things under which two-thirds of the population paid the other third for looking after them.

He submitted that if they were to start by making the county the area it would be easier for the counties to subdivide than for the districts to amalgamate. In these matters he had always found that it was easier to part than to come together. Shakespeare said that parting was such sweet sorrow. He thought it would be most difficult for the districts to amalgamate. The County Councils Association of Scotland had passed by thirteen votes to four a resolution in favour of the county area being selected instead of the district. The district areas had been set up simply to look after the roads, and it did not follow that that would be the best urea for education. It was almost like the parish councillor who, in order to promote economy, suggested that instead of having two pipes for gas and water both these services should be supplied through one pipe. In many of the areas it would be exceedingly inconvenient for the members to attend the meetings, and, in his opinion, it would be far better to map out Scotland into completely new districts, taking the chief towns as the centre. There were several counties in Scotland in which it would be perfectly impossible, unless the rates were made absolutely stupendous to properly carry out the work of education. In Argyll there were seven districts with a population of 70,000 and a rateable value of £527,000. A penny rate in those districts would produce about £300, and that sum would not go far in paying salaries of officers, providing offices for them, and paying travelling expenses. In the county of Ross and Cromarty there were eight districts with a population of 76,000 and a valuation of £300,000. In this instance a penny rate would only produce about £l£150. Therefore, if they wished in some of these districts to carry on the work of education in a proper manner they would have to start at once with a shilling rate. He hoped that the Government would give this Amendment their earnest consideration. He thought that the Bill as it stood would be a very heavy charge upon poor country districts in consequence of the multiplication of these authorities and officials.

Amendment proposed — In page 1, line 16, to leave out the words, 'of the following education districts,' and insert the word 'county.'"—(Lord Willoughby de Eresby.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause."


said this subject was very fully discussed in Committee last year, and there was a very considerable difference of opinion upon it. Those interested in this question were grateful to the Government for the changes they had made which would make it easier to work out the scheme of district boards as against county boards. His view was that the district area was a bad one. He appealed to the Government to allow the House to decide this question without putting pressure upon their supporters. A division upon this question would practically decide the numerous Amendments which were on the Paper upon this question. He did not think this was a question upon which any fresh light could be thrown by continuing the discussion.


said this question was fully discussed last year on more than one occasion. After discussion, by no means regulated by Party lines, an Amendment similar to the one now before the Committee was withdrawn in view of certain Amendments promised by his predecessor. Those Amendments took the shape of a proviso giving the Secretary for Scotland very large powers of dividing and aggregating districts. The present Bill differed from last year's Bill only in the respect that greater elasticity was given to those powers. He agreed there was a good deal to be said on both sides of the question raised by the Amendment; but, taking the whole matter into consideration, he thought no sufficient reason had been shown for departing from the view which prevailed last session. The noble Lord who introduced the Amendment did not propose to get rid of school boards. He did not propose that the county council should be the education authority. He proposed that the new school boards should have a larger area than the Bill gave. But the new school boards would require some officials, and there would be some expense whatever the area might be. He submitted that no reason had been shown for departing from the course taken last session, when it was decided that the local government district should be taken. It would adapt itself very well to all the requirements of education. and in view of the further facilities which had been given in the provision for special districts he adhered to the proposal in the Bill.

*MR. AINSWORTH (Argyllshire)

said he would like to emphasise what had been said as to the extreme necessity of watching expenses in large and poor counties, especially in the Highlands. The proposal of the noble Lord was to make the county the alternative of the district. He thought the noble Lord was going to the wrong end of the argument. The point desired in the Highlands was to keep the parish as the foundation and the unit of the new organisation. In the Highland counties it was essential that this should be done. The districts into which these counties were divided were in themselves large oven for local government work. In order to get persons to take an interest in education they must confine the area to the parish. Probably many hon. Members were not aware how large Highland counties were. He asked the House to consider the position of a Highland district split up into islands. He instanced the Island of Mull which was thirty or forty miles across. The district of Mull included the Island of Tiree. The Committee would see that there would be great difficulty, if it was not actually impossible, in getting members of the board to attend meetings because of the amount of travel by sea which the work would involve. He hoped the Lord-Advocate would be able to insert words in the proviso clause which would enable them to overcome this difficulty. He warned the right hon. Gentleman that if the Bill was to do good in the Highlands the parish should remain.

Mr. BUCHANAN (Perthshire, E.)

said he was glad to hear that it was not the intention of the Lord-Advocate to depart from this fundamental particular in the scheme of the Bill. There were many who thought the Bill went too far already in the way of making the areas too large. If at this early stage the Government were going to adopt such a large and fundamental change in the Bill he thought it would augur unfavourably for the progress of discussion in Committee. The noble Lord had adduced two arguments in favour of his proposal. One was in regard to the question of expense, and the other was that opinion in Scotland was in favour of his proposal. The Lord-Advocate had already dealt with the question of expense, but he would add that the present system based on parish areas was much cheaper than the English system based on county areas. Of course, any change in machinery in a matter connected with education must increase expenditure, and he was perfectly certain that under this Bill one of the consequences would be to increase expense. It would be increased very much more if the suggestion of the noble Lord were adopted. The noble Lord quoted the opinions of county councils which were in favour of his proposal, and he was supported by the hon. Member for West Renfrewshire. The noble Lord spoke as a large ratepayer and proprietor in Perthshire, but he did not speak the views of the county council of Perth. He held in his hand a memorandum on this subject which had been distributed by the county council of Perth. The question submitted to county councils was: "Are county councils in favour of the proposal in the Bill, or do they desire the county area with power to sub-divide?" The answer of the county council of Perth was that they were in favour of the proposal in the Bill subject to a matter connected with the City of Perth which he need not go into. He hoped the proposed alteration would not be made at this early stage of the discussion.

Mr. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

, on a point of order, sad the Amendment before the Committee raised the issue as between the county and the district as the area for secondary and elementary education. But there was another issue of great importance, and that was the issue between the district and the parish, which was the existing area. It would be very inconvenient to Members if they had to discuss both these issues together. He asked whether it would be possible to have a discussion now on the Amendment of the noble Lord, and also an opportunity later of discussing the other proposal.


expressed the opinion that there would be an opportunity on a subsequent Amendment of discussing whether the parish should be retained as the school board area.


did not agree that the matter raised by the Amendment was settled last year. He understood that on that occasion further clauses were to be brought up to deal with it. He held distinctly that the county was more suitable as the area for secondary and technical education, but, with regard to elementary education, sub-division might an some cases be necessary. If the Government adhered to the district he hoped they would make provision for the transfer in particular cases of one or two parishes from one district to another.


said he gathered that on this Amendment they must confine their remarks to the question of the county as against the district proposed. He thought everyone who had considered the subject, whether in regard to England or Scotland, had come to the conclusion that the county was the smallest area suitable for secondary education. One of the few points on which they were all agreed in discussing the English Education Bill was that the county was the smallest area that could be worked for secondary education. But if that were true of England, it was still more true of Scotland, where in most counties the population was so sparse. It would be impossible to organise secondary education in Scotland in a less area than a county, because there would neither be population nor revenue enough, nor all the other means which were necessary to work secondary education efficiently. What was wanted was a certain system of bursaries to enable clever boys to go on from the primary to the secondary schools, and from these to the University. Many of the parish schools in Scotland from of old down to our day had given a good secondary education to clever boys—especially in the North-East of Scotland. But taking that country as a whole, secondary education could only be organised in counties. They could perfectly well have an organisation in every county for secondary education which might be constituted either of a body elected for the purpose or chosen from local school boards or other local authorities. AH that was wanted was a body capable of speaking for the whole county. But he said, without hesitation, that the experiment which had been tried in England of placing elementary education on the county authorities had been a failure; and that the best educationalists in England now regretted that the county had been chosen as the area for the administration of elementary education.

The county area was far too large. He knew counties where they had tried to remedy the evil by appointing local committees. After long discussion, when the Bill was before the House, they succeeded in getting a provision introduced which enabled the county authorities to allow local committees to be appointed. But he was told that these local committees, although they had diminished the bad effects of the county area, had not done away entirely with these bad effects. They had too little power; they had not that interest in elementary education which the older school boards had. What was wanted for elementary education was to associate the people themselves with the education of their children. Till forty or fifty years ago, the old parish schools of Scotland—although there was much to be desired in the improvement of their organisation—stood close to the people, who took the greatest interest in them and knew all that was passing in them. The school boards had also been in close touch with the people of all ranks and degrees. But if the county were made the area for elementary education how many wheelwrights and other artisans, ploughmen, small farmers, and other poor persons would be able to serve on the education authority and take part in the administration of the education of their locality.


said he had another Amendment lower down on the Paper by which he proposed to make the parish councils the managers of the parish schools subject to the supervision of the county councils.


said that that would not by any means meet the difficulty which he foresaw. The local people would only be managers without any sense of responsibility, and, therefore, they could not be in anything like the position of independence the school boards enjoyed under the present system. There were managers under the English Act, but they had no power and had no responsibility. Therefore, to put it on no higher ground, they would lose the benefit of the assistance in educational work of a large class of people who were now taking part in the work of education; and they would put in their place men who could afford to pay the railway or coach fares to go to the place of meeting. There was another difficulty besides that of money—the question of time. A small farmer, or ploughman, or rural artisan could not possibly find the time or afford to lose a whole day's work in order to attend a county meeting. There was yet another difficulty. Where there was administration over a large area by a central body there was not that personal knowledge of the local needs of the localities, and the administration, therefore, fell into the hands of the officials. That had been the effect of the Education Act in England. It meant not only a loss of personal knowledge, but the doing of things by general rules instead of adjusting them to each particular case. It meant red tape, because it was only on general lines that officials would work; and that meant a loss of practical touch with the people. It likewise meant more expense, because the tendency of officialism was to increase expense and to demand a larger staff. These considerations seemed to him to be sufficient argument to induce the Committee to reject the proposal of the noble Lord. He was anxious to press this argument, for when they came to discuss the question as between districts and parish areas the same considerations would recur. He also wished to take the opportunity of calling the attention of English Members—whose attendance that afternoon he greatly appreciated — to the fact that the experience they had had in England was an inducement to them to help the Scotch Members in rejecting this proposal, which would destroy a system of educational administration which had done so much for Scotland in the past.

Mr. MAXWELL (Dumfriesshire)

said t hat there were some districts in Scotland where the population was under 20,000 and where there was no secondary school or even a higher-grade school. In these districts, if they were to do anything for secondary education, they must either start a school of their own or combine with another district. But there was no provision in the Bill to compel two small districts to combine. It appeared to him that that was rather inconsistent, because they compelled Leith to combine with Edinburgh and Govan with Glasgow although there were in both these places thoroughly equipped secondary and technical schools. It appeared to him that if they were to build on the county area the Secretary for Scotland or a Commission should have the power, with all the facts before him or them, to divide the county into what would be the best areas for secondary education.

Mr. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)

said that he preferred the district as the area for the reasons which he gave last year and which he thought it unnecessary to repeat now. At the same time he entirely sympathised with his hon. friend when he said that in many cases the district would not be a sufficient area for secondary education and that they must have some plan to combine districts. Last year he proposed a clause to that effect, and the late Lord-Advocate gave him a distinct promise that it would be embodied in the Bill. He had put down a similar clause on the Paper, but he could find no provision in the Bill for carrying out the promise of the Lord-Advocate last year. Would the present Lord-Advocate give an assurance that such a provision would be inserted so as to carry out this most necessary arrangement?


said there were several degrees of goodness and badness in the proposals submitted to the House. He must say that the best scheme of all was to adopt the parish area for educational purposes in Scotland and work up from that to suitable areas for elementary, secondary and technical education. That would give an ad hocarea for an ad hocauthority. He would put into the second degree of praise the proposal of the noble Lord opposite. They were all agreed that the county was the best area for secondary education, although it was too large for elementary education. There were only four counties out of thirty-three in Scotland which had a population exceeding 12,000 or 20,000. In a population of, say, 20,000 there was only 5 per cent, available for secondary education, and a secondary school with only 100 pupils could not pay the teachers sufficient salaries or provide adequate appliances. At the bottom of the list of proposals for badness he would put that of the Government, which adopted districts of counties formed for an entirely different purpose than that of education. He would vote for the proposal of the noble Lord not because it was a vote against, the parish areas, but because it was a vote against the Government.

MR. THOMAS SHAW (Hawick Burghs)

said he did not agree with his right hon. friend the Member for Aberdeen that county areas were ideal areas for education. The county area was the paradise of officialism. Neither the county, the parish, nor the district was the ideal area. What was wanted was something which would be suitable for education, and it would not do to take for that purpose a district which from historic reasons was either a parish or a county. What ought to be done in Scotland with regard to education was what was done for local government. A Boundary Commission should be appointed to consider the means of transport from one quarter to another with the object of ascertaining if, in view of the transport, a given place was a convenient centre from which to radiate into the country districts, picking up the population which would find for its requirements the most convenient place for education in that centre. Until that was done there would not be peace. While he differed from his right hon. friend as to the ideal position of the county as the area, he had the greatest doubt as to the policy of the Government—as to their policy as a whole. Year after year as these Bills went on, the area was not only growing larger and larger, but facilities were given for combining larger and larger areas, and in this Bill it was actually proposed that the Secretary for Scotland should permit two counties or districts to be combined for the purposes of education. But there was no power in the Bill to enable the Secretary for Scotland to permit an inconveniently large county, in regard to education, to be sub-divided into districts.


Oh, yes, there is a power.


said that the power was a conditional power, conditional on the districts so created being inside the county. The clientele of a secondary educational centre was drawn very often from six or seven counties and it could not possibly be said that a county area was suitable for a purpose of that kind. What was manifestly wanted was that a Boundary Commission should go down and investigate cases of the kind of Galashiels so as to ascertain whether they would produce an educational result, having in view the fact that localities must have local representation in an effective form, as to their requirements with regard to technical and secondary education. This might lead up to the formation of secondary and technical educational centres which would be convenient to the population affected. He expressed his obligation to the noble Lord for moving this Amendment as it brought before the attention of the Committee a question which was growing graver year by year. When these districts came to be investigated that question would be found still more strongly accentuated because some of the districts in point of view of population were absolutely contemptible, and at the other end of the scale they were so large as to be unworkable.

He did not desire to detain the Committee unduly upon this matter, but he must say he thought his hon. friend the Member for Kincardineshire had a good case for asking for an express clause in this Bill to deal with the circumstances to which he had referred. The point was brought out in an Amendment proposed by the late Lord-Advocate last year. The learned Lord then said he could agree that there might be cases where there should be combination for the purposes of secondary education, but not for the purposes of primary education, and, in admitting that, the learned Lord admitted the cardinal error of the present Bill, namely, the dislocation of the old school boards that had worked so well. As an illustration of what would be the effect of county centres he might say that a friend of his who was largely concerned in management had told him that, independent of other expenses, in railway fares alone his duties entailed upon him an expense of £50 a year. What were they going to do in the case of large counties like Inverness and Sutherland. In Inverness they had an area of 2,695,000 acres, and he put it to any hon. Member whether it would be possible to have a school board administering the educational affairs of these great counties without the parents of the children being completely disfranchised with regard to questions of education. There was no provision in this Bill for the payment of expenses even to those who could not afford the expense thrown upon them by their duties as members of these bodies. If the Government would give them that concession they might substitute small districts for small parishes. But instead of that, they had an Amendment before the Committee to go back to counties and to make them the centre for education, of all kinds.


said he was not surprised that this Amendment should come from the other side of the House, because the main object of the Conservative Party was centralisation in connection with all local affairs. No reason had been assigned why a county should be chosen as the area. In Scotland education was almost entirely carried on in Board schools which were not confined to elementary education but which embraced secondary education as well. The object in Scotland had always been to carry on secondary and elementary education under the one authority, as it was carried on in the thousand parishes in Scotland. There were in Scotland three divisions of education. There were the State-aided schools which gave both primary and secondary education, the secondary schools proper with a curriculum of their own, and the Universities, and there must be a separate class of people to manage each different class of school. For the sake of these 20,000 children in purely secondary and technical schools were they going to change the body which governed the education of 700,000 children? It has been suggested that the county area was the better one for secondary education, but how could that possibly be so? They had an example of the difficulty in the case of Glasgow and the counties round about. There they had Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire, Dumbartonshire, and Stirlingshire all surrounding Glasgow. They wanted secondary education and high-class technical schools, but how could they limit the district for a high-class technical school? If they were to introduce such a school in each of those counties they would destroy the very object and power of such a school, for, after all, high-class technical education was not to be limited by locality. A high-class school was like a University, it should draw its pupils from all the centres round about.

He had been inquiring into the working of education boards in English counties, and he had found that there was a great deal of dissatisfaction with the wideness of the area and with its consequent unworkability. He had in his hands a magazine in which the writer of an article described the working of the system, and one of the first things he pointed out was that none but men of leisure could afford to become members of the education committee of the county council, the expenses being so heavy. One of the previous speakers had cited a case in which the annual expense of attending the meetings of the educational authority had amounted to £50, and according to this article he found that it was frequently the case that such expenses amounted to £30 per year. Another objection was that under that system a great deal of the work fell practically into the hands of the officials. No doubt members of the county council took an interest in matters which specially affected the district they represented, but when it came to dealing with the affairs of the county as a whole, and with matters affecting other districts, they really took little interest in them. Consequently, there was a system of wire pulling, and he ventured to think that the hon. Member for Renfrewshire was well aware of the existence of that practice.


I deny it.


said that apparently the hon. Member was not sufficiently on the alert to see it, but at any rate that had proved to be the experience in England. It was clear that the system, afforded more scope for the wire-puller than would be possible in a smaller district. He trusted lion. Members would not think that he had for a moment any intention to slander county councils in Scotland. He was only referring to matters as they existed in the East of England. But still there was a danger that these practices might extend to Scotland. Then, again, in England they found the effect to be that more and more power was falling into the hands of the officials. What happened was that the official had more technical knowledge of the details of the policy which had to be carried out, and consequently he was allowed to have his own way, which would not be the case where the area was smaller. Again, in a large area they practically had the monopoly of the education of the whole district in the hands of one body, and while possibly in that large area there was one borough which had special aspiration in regard to educational matters which a view to being able to fit itself to compete with the industries of surrounding districts, the remainder of the area might probably be purely country, possessing county interests, and the result might be that the representatives of those county interests would dominate the educational policy, which would have no sympathy whatever with the borough aspirations. Consequently the representatives of the borough would fail to have an interest in the proceedings of the educational authority. In England, too, it had been found that under this system of wide areas there had been a slackness of administration.

There were likely also to be produced considerable difficulties arising from the variation in the size of the county areas. For instance, there was the county of Buteshire with its population of 18,641, just 141 more than sufficient to save them from the effect of the new redistribution proposed. Let them compare that with the county of Lanark with its enormous population.

How could they expect one education authority to cover that vast county? It might be all right in the case of a borough like Glasgow to have one educational authority, which no doubt could satisfactorily manage the educational interests. But it was altogether different when they had to deal with a vast area like the county of Lanark, and undoubtedly one effect of having such a wide area would be to prevent men taking a keen interest in educational matters or accepting positions on the education authority, unless they happened to live in the particular town in which that authority had its headquarters, and they would thus deprive them of the power they desired to exercise in controlling the education of their country. The district area was bad enough, but the county area would make things absolutely unworkable, and entirely destroy that local interest in education which marked the great difference between the educational systems of England and Scotland.

MR. EUGENE WASON (Clankmannan and Kinross)

thought it was right to point out that not a single Member on the Ministerial side of the House had supported the Lord-Advocate in regard to the Amendment under discussion. There was a strong feeling among his own constituents that it would be a thousand pities to do away with the existing school boards so far as elementary education was concerned. No doubt as regarded technical and secondary education they might have larger areas, but so far as primary education was concerned they could have no better area than the present. He hoped they should get the Bill modified in that respect, so that local interest in education might be maintained.


said he thought he might be allowed to explain his position. In his previous speech, when moving the Amendment, it seemed that he had not made it quite clear that he wanted to have the county education authority elected ad hocthe authority for secondary education. In a later part of the Bill he proposed to move a new clause which would give the parish council great power as regarded elementary education. Therefore he proposed to preserve the local interest in elementary education in the different parishes.

MR. BRIGG (Yorkshire, W.R., Keighley)

said he intervened in the debate for the purpose of stating what his own experience had been. It had been found by practical experience that the areas in England were much too large. Before the county councils could get to work, local committees had to be appointed for each district, and in connection with one county council there were fifteen or sixteen local committees. County councils were therefore considering the question whether steps should be taken in order to lessen the area.

MR. HUNTER CRAIG (Lanarkshire, Govan)

said he would deplore the demolition of the Scottish school boards and the acceptance of the county area. He had had twelve years experience as chairman of a school board in the North of Ayrshire, which drew its pupils not only from two parishes, but from two counties, and the effect of making the county the school board area would be to cut off from it one-half of its pupils. If the framers of the Bill had acted on the basis of populous areas the measure would have been a much more practical one. There would be great inconvenience and expense to members of new school boards in the attending of meetings held many miles away from their localities. It might be well to have a county area for secondary education, but certainly not for elementary education. The life of education in Scotland had been that they had local schools locally managed. Without respect to the county area let them take the nearest and most convenient place for secondary education. According to this Bill scholars would have to be sent to Ayrshire secondary schools from, the district of which he was speaking, whereas if there was the opportunity of

sending them into Renfrewshire, scholars would have the advantage of a railway system which would take them to Greenock, where they could attend the secondary schools. He hoped something would yet be done to preserve these valuable school boards.

MR. DOBBIE (Ayr Burghs)

urged that the Amendment should be withdrawn. At this rate they could make no progress with the Bill. A very slight Amendment to the next sub-section would meet all the difficulties which had been put forward. He intended to support the Government, in the hope that after disposing of this Amendment they might make some headway with the Bill.


said it was a very extraordinary thing that not one Member on the Government side had supported the proposal of the Government. The Amendment was associated with the proviso in the clause, which was in the following terms— Provided that on a representation received not later than October 25th, 1905, from 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 a representation from a county council, or from a town council, or from a school board, the Secretary for Scotland may, by order, determine that any two counties or that any two or more local government districts, shall, for the purpose of this Act, be combined into one education district, or that any county not divided into local government districts, or any local government district, shall, for the purposes of this Act, be divided into education districts, and such education districts shall be specified in the order; and a school board shall be established for each of the education districts so specified. Here they had a provision under which unsuitable counties could be sub-divided, and that was why he supported the Amendment.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 148; Noes, 32. (Division List No. 282)

Ainsworth, John Stirling Baird, John George Alexander Bartley, Sir George C. T.
Allhusen, Augustus Henry E. Balcarres, Lord Bignold, Sir Arthur
Arrol, Sir William Balfour. Rt. Hn. A.J. (Manch'r Bingham, Lord
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herb. Henry Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey) Blundell, Colonel Henry
Atkinson, Rt. Hn. John Balfour, Rt HnGeraldW(Leeds Bond, Edward
Bailey, James,(Walworth). Balfour, Kenneth R.(Christch). Bowles,Lt-Col.H.F. (Middlesex)
Bain, Colonel James Robert Banbury, Sir Frederick Geo. Bowles, T. Gibson (King'sLynn
Brodrick, Rt. Hn. St. John Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby- Pym, C. Guy
Brown, Sir Alex. H. (Shropsh). Graham, Henry Robert Rankin, Sir James
Brown, George M. (Edinburgh) Grant, Corrie Reid, James (Greenock)
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Grenfell, William Henry Reid, Sir, R Threshie(Dumfries
Bull, William James Hamilton,Marq.of (L'nd'nderry Remnant, James Farquharson
Buxton,N.E (York, NR. Whitby Harmsworth, R. Leicester Ridley, S. Forde
Caldwell, James Heaton, John Henniker Ritchie,Rt. Hon. Chas. Thomson
Campbell, Rt Hn. JA(Glasgow) Higham, John Sharp Robinson, Brooke
Campbell, J.HM(Dublin Univ. Hozier, Hn.James Henry Cecil Royds, Clement Molyneux
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Hudson, George Bickersteth Rutherford John (Lancashire)
Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edw. H. Hunt, Rowland Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh- Isaacs, Rufus Daniel Sharpe, William Edward T.
Chamberlain, Rt HnJ.A(Worc. Jameson, Major J. Eustace Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Channing, Francis Allston Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred Shaw-Stewart, Sir H. (Renfrew
Cheetham, John Frederick Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton Shipman, Dr. John G.
Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E. Jones, DavidBrynmor(Swansea Smith, RtHnJ. Parker(Lanarks
Coghill, Douglas Harry Lamont, Norman Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.
Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark) Lee, Arthur H.(Hants.Fareham Stroyan, John
Crombie, John William Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester
Crooks, William Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S. Thomas, David Alfred(Merthyr
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R. Thorburn, Sir Walter
Davenport, William Bromley Long, Rt.Hn.Walter(Bristol,S. Tomkinson, James
Davies, M. Vaughan(Cardigan Lowe, Francis William Tuff, Charles
Denny, Colonel Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Tufnell, Lieut.-Col.Edward
Dickson, Charles Scott Macdona, John Cummming Tuke, Sir John Batty
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Maconochie, A. W. Vincent,Col.SirC.E.H.(Sheffield
Dobbie, Joseph M'Crae, George Walrond,Rt.Hn.Sir WilliamH.
Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers- M'Iver, SirLewis(Edinburgh,W Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Douglas, Chas. M. (Lanark) Maxwell, Rt.HnSirH.E(Wigt'n Warde, Colonel C. E.
Duke, Henry Edward Milner, Rt Hn. Sir Frederick G. Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
Dunn, Sir William Milvain, Thomas Wason, John Cathcart(Orkney
Edwards, Frank Mitchell, William (Burnley Welby, Lt.-Col.A.C.E.(Taunton
Egerton, Hn. A. de Tatton Morrison, James Archibald Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Elibank, Master of Morton, Arthur H. Aylmor Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Ellice, Capt EC(SAndrw'sB'ghs Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C. Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Elliot, Hn. A. Ralph Douglas Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Evans, Samuel T (Glamorgan) Nicholson, William Graham Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) Nolan, Col. John P.(Galway,N.
Findlay, Alex. (Lanark, NE.), Parkes, Ebenezer TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Finlay, Rt HnSir RB(Inv'rn'ss Percy, Earl Sir Alexander Acland-Hood
Gladstone, Rt.Hn.Herbert J. Pretyman, Ernest George and Mr. Henry Forster.
Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk. Purvis, Robert
Baker, Joseph Allen Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)
Bell, Richard Leese, Sir JosephF. (Accrington Soares, Ernest J.
Brigg, John M'Kenna, Reginald Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart
Bright, Allan Heywood Maxwell, W. H (Dumfriesshire Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen Thomas, JA(Glamorgan,Gower
Cameron, Robert Norton, Capt. Cecil William Ure, Alexander
Dalkeith, Earl of Nussey, Thomas Willans Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. P.
Duncan, J. Hastings Parrott, William
Goddard, Daniel Ford Philipps, John Wynford TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D. Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Lord Willoughby de Eresby
Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk. Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine and Mr Black.
Lambert, George Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Langley, Batty Russell, T. W.

moved an Amendment, the effect of which was to maintain the existing state of things under which every burgh, and parish had its own school board. He said the Amendment raised one of the most important points in connection with the whole Bill. It dealt with the education authority to be set up under the Bill. The effect of the clause, if passed as drafted, would be to abolish about 1,000 school boards. Upwards of 900 of these were parish school boards, and fifty-seven were burgh school boards. Obviously a change of that kind would require something very strong so justify it. He had always advocated the old parochial school system of Scotland. He admired it in many respects as having been at the root of the success of Scottish education. In that respect Scotland differed in educational matters from any other country. If he felt strongly in the matter of preserving the parish area in Scotland as the unit for educational administration, it was because he had the idea that in that area, and that alone, education could be successfully conducted.

MR. T. W. RTSSELL (Tyrone, S.)

called attention to the fact that there were not forty Members present.

House counted, and forty Members being found present.


said he wished to refer to the way in which this Bill affected the constituency of Mid-Lanark, which he represented. That constituency would be affected by the Bill in a manner more prejudicially than any other constituency in Scotland. The Middle Ward of Lanark had a population of 322,000 at the present moment, and it had nineteen school boards. All these school boards had been carrying on very great work both in elementary and secondary education. If this Amendment were defeated these school boards would be entirely abolished, and in their place there would be set up only one school board for the whole of that ward. The ward had not only a large population, but very large territorial area. It extended from Airdrie to Shotts, and the suggestion of the Bill was that these nineteen school boards, against which not a single word had been said, should be abolished. Whatever argument might be used for abolishing these boards, inefficiency would not be urged against them. In the case of Buteshire, which had a population of about 18,641, there were to be three school boards, and one of these would be for the Island of Cumbraæ with a population of about 1,800. Could anyone conceive a more nonsensical system than that which they were asked to adopt? When the principle of the Bill was applied it worked out by giving one school board for 1,800 inhabitants in Cumbraæ, and only one school board for 322,000 inhabitants in the populous and industrial centre of the Middle Ward of Lanark.

He was curious to know what were the grounds upon which the Lord-Advocate could justify a change of that kind. There were no school boards in the whole kingdom—he did not take Scotland alone, but in this connection he included England—which had done their work more efficiently than the boards in the Middle Ward of Lanarkshire. He instanced Motherwell, which had a first class secondary school, where in the past work had been carried on successfully. Wishaw had one of the most important secondary and technical schools in the whole of Scotland, and it was doing a great deal of good work suited to the particular industry which was carried on in the district, namely, coal and iron mining. At Larkhall there was another secondary school, and he would like to know what the Lord-Advocate had got to say against the school board of Larkhall. Had the Education Department got a single bad report in regard to the secondary education given in that school? At Blantyre the school board had not limited itself to elementary education, secondary education was given at that place of a pretty high order. At Cambuslang, where the population consisted of the overflow of the middle class of Glasgow, people who lived in villadom, and where also there was an industrial population connected with the locality, the deepest interest was taken in the school work both in respect of elementary and secondary education. It had one of the best secondary schools in the kingdom, and the very best teachers were engaged to carry on the work. In regard to Hamilton, Airdrie, Coatbridge, and other places the same thing could be said. It was proposed by this Bill, which had been brought in without any justification, to dispossess these places of their school boards, and to put the whole area under one school board. The effect would be that the new school board would require a home somewhere. Probably it would be at Airdrie as perhaps the most populous place in the district. If the board had not its headquarters at Airdrie, Glasgow might be chosen. The result of that would be that the education affairs of the different parishes would be managed by representatives sent to that board who would not have the same local interest as was possessed at present by the members of the existing school boards. Wishaw, which had at present the full management of its own educational affairs, would have one representative on the new board. Who was to manage the schools which were now managed by the present school boards? They would be managed by persons outside the district. Who were the parties who had been in favour of this change? The Lord-Advocate very likely would say that Scottish opinion was unanimously in favour of the Bill.


The hon. Member for Mid Lanark is not.


said that was to say that with that exception Scottish opinion was in favour of the Bill. He ventured to say from communications he had received that that was not correct. The Lord-Advocate received deputations from one quarter in favour of the Bill, and they knew very well where those deputations came from. He remembered when Lord Balfour of Burleigh wished to introduce an Education Bill for Scotland, he. invited information and suggestions from all parties as to what should be put in the Bill. He never knew of anything more ridiculous, because when dealing with an Education Bill the framer ought himself to be able to deal with it on his own authority. If information was asked here and there they would get a hotch-potch Bill.

Teachers were in favour of the wider area proposed by this Bill. They would have liked the county area, but the Government had gone between that and the parish area and had proposed the district area of the county. The Secondary School Teachers' Association and the large burghs in Scotland were the only parties so far as he could discover who were pressing this Bill forward. So far as he could gather, outside of the Teachers' Union, the people of Scotland were in favour of letting things be as they were. There was the strongest possible argument for that. The parish area was to be the area for taxation I under the Bill. The school buildings were to be separately charged to the parish area. It was said in the case of England that there was an anomaly about school boards because they were not rating bodies and that they only I issued a precept to the rating bodies. It was said that that was an anachronism, and yet in Scotland the county councils were to be the rating authority for education. If they looked into the history of the parish area in Scotland, they had to go back a very long time. They had to go back to 1696. In Scotland the parish was not only the area for education, but for the Church, and the management of the poor. The parish was the area for everything relating to the social life and condition of the people, and it had continued so down to the present moment, when the Government sought to abolish that area.

The Committee had not yet had any reason assigned why the change should be made. The Education Act of 1872 made education compulsory, and school boards were appointed in every borough and parish in Scotland. The ratepayers in the different parishes had the opportunity of electing the school boards, and in that way they had the full management of their own parish education. They were now, under the proposal in the Bill, to have only one vote in the management of their own school, and other people were to have a share in the management, although the school might be one in the management of which they were not concerned. At the present moment working men were able to become members of the school board, and a great deal of educational work was done by that class. Men in the rank of life of the hon. Member for Woolwich, the hon. Member for Durham, and the hon. Member for Battersea would have no possible chance of being on the new school board. In the parish area such men could attend board meetings, but in the larger area they would not be able to attend the board. A system which divorced the working classes not merely from having the full management of their parish school, but also divorced the great mass of the working classes from sitting on the school boards, was something for which the Committee wanted more justification than had yet been offered.

Another reason why it was desirable to have the school board in the particular parish was that the school attendance committee had to consider questions as to whether certain children should be exempted from attending school. How would that be dealt with under the Bill? Of course they could not have the school boards sitting in a particular locality hearing cases and deciding whether they would grant exemptions or not. It was an important matter to have men in the locality who knew the condition of the people, and who were able to decide in such cases from their own knowledge. In future, under the Bill, there would be managers composed of people outside the district altogether sitting in judgment on these cases. The majority of them would have no local knowledge, and perhaps no sympathy for the people. The Bill recognised that the district councils could not possibly perform the work themselves, and that there must be delegation. At present school boards had the power of delegating a portion of their work to managers, but practically no managers had been appointed, as boards preferred to do the work themselves. In the Bill proposed last year two-thirds of the managers in the case of a borough were to be elected by the town council, and two-thirds in the case of a parish were to be elected by the parish council or landward committee. Even that concession was taken away in the present Bill. Why was it taken away? The Lord-Advocate knew very well that it was taken away because the teachers did not want local control. The Bill now left even the appointment of managers in the hands of the school board, which would be composed to the extent of nine-tenths of aliens, so far as the parish was concerned.

The intention of the policy proposed to be carried out was to centralise the control of education. The reason why the parish system was to be abolished and the larger area adopted——a proposal which was being supported by the teachers alone—was that the teachers hoped to get larger salaries because there would be, more lavish expenditure with the wider area. They also considered that they would have a larger field for promotion. His own view was that instead of there being a larger there would be a smaller field for promotion. If a vacancy occured in a school at Wishaw or Larkhall at the present moment the school board of the particular parish interested would consider how it was to be filled up, and if they wanted a superior teacher they would have no difficulty in giving an increased salary to the man they wanted. But if Wishaw or Lark-hall only formed part of a wider area a teacher would get promotion from another school in that area, though be might not be a man of the superior class whose services the board could at present command. It was obvious that educational progress would be more likely if they had one district competing against another for teachers than if the appointments were in the hands of one board acting for a wide area. A district of a, county which might be quite suitable as an administrative unit in connection with such questions as cattle disease and the maintenance of roads might not be a suitable area for education purposes. Education had to deal with population alone, and the administrative area should not be one which had no relation to the population of the locality.

He had not heard an argument based on educational considerations in favour of the proposed change. It had not been shown why for the sake of 20,000 children attending the secondary schools the school board areas were to be changed for 800,000 children in the elementary schools. As a rule working men took more interest in the education given in the schools than in the particular rate imposed for education. The amount of the assessment might be a very small matter on a £5 rent, but it was of great importance that the education given should be of the best quality. If the area under the administration of a board was so large that its members were not in the same degree representative of the different localities as the members of smaller boards, the popular interest in education might be diminished, and the electors might be swayed more by the amount of the rate than promotion of education.

Amendment proposed— In page 1, line 19, to leave out from the word 'each,' to the end of line 24, and insert the words 'parish and burgh in Scotland.' "—{Mr. Caldwell)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause."


said he was anxious to know what the Lord-Advocate would say in reply to the powerful speech of his hon. friend the Member for Mid Lanark. It appeared to him that so far as anomalies were concerned, the proposals brought forward by the President of the Local Government Board for the redistribution of seats were not so great as the anomalies contained in this Bill. It seemed to him to be absolutely preposterous that there should be a school board for Cumbrae with a population of 1,800, and only one school board for Mid Lanark with a population of 322,000. He reminded the Committee that some of the parishes in Scotland were very large. The parish in which he was born was twenty miles long by eight miles broad. He considered that was sufficiently large for an education area. Although the people of Scotland wanted an Education Bill passed, he did not think they wanted this special Bill. He would like to see the parish retained as the unit for elementary education. If that could be done, and if there was a power of amalgamation for secondary and Technical education then, and then only, would they get a Bill acceptable to Scotland. He was most anxious to see the Bill passed, but he really was at a loss to know what the Lord-Advocate would be able to say in reply to the indictment of the hon. Member for Mid-Lanark.


said he had difficulty in understanding the position taken up by the hon. Member for Clackmannan, who said that the people of Scotland desired an Education Bill, but did not desire this Education Bill, and then concluded by remarking that he desired to see this Bill passed.


with Amendments.


said he had correctly represented what the hon. member stated. He asked the Committee to consider what the position was. Of course, the Amendment struck at the very root of the Bill, and, if it were carried, the Bill necessarily went.


. Hear, hear!


said the hon. Member who proposed the Amendment evidently recognised that that was so. Yet he was a party to allowing the Second Reading to pass without a division—which was to say that he was satisfied with the principle of the Bill.


No, no! The Lord-Advocate would not suppose that. I would call a division of my own Motion. I reserved my objections till the Committee stage.


said that his objection was that this Amendment struck at the principle of the Bill More than that, this was practically the same Amendment which the hon. Member proposed last year, and which received so little support that he did not challenge a division.


Since last year public opinion in Scotland has got more developed, and it is now very much stronger against the abolition of the parish areas.


said that he had had a fair amount of opportunity of ascertaining what public opinion in Scotland was, and, so far as he could judge, there was an overwhelming majority in favour of the Bill as it stood, even without amendment, rather than lose it. Last year, when the same Amendment was proposed, the hon. and learned Member for the Border Burghs said he was bound to accept the proposal of the Bill in favour of districts on the assumption that some provision would be made for sub-dividing districts in the case of huge extents. of territory or large masses of population. That assumption had been given effect to by the proviso introduced into the Bill. Therefore, the hon. and learned Gentleman stood bound to oppose the Amendment and to support the proposal of the Bill. The hon. Member for Mid Lanark assented to the statement that the Amendment would strike at the principle of the Bill, and that he would defend the small parish areas as suitable for the educational needs of the country.


I do.


As confined to elementary education—Yes.


Who is there among us who will say that you are to separate elementary and secondary education?


When did you discover that the present system was so inefficient? We never heard any dissatisfaction until the Bill was brought in last year.


said the position of the Government was not one of complaint against the existing school boards, which had ably discharged their duties, but they recognised that the situation had changed, and that the time had come when they must adapt their educational system to the needs of the country. Hon. Members opposite could not even agree among themselves. [OPPOSITION cries of "Oh."] There was no vice in that surely. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberdeen had interposed in the debate, and the hon. and learned Member for the Border Burghs afterwards got up to controvert the views of his right hon. friend. That was a distinct instance of want of agreement between two eminent Members for Scotland in regard to an educational policy for Scotland. He had understood that there was a general agreement amongst all educationalists that secondary and elementary education should be placed under the same control. He had also understood that there was a general agreement that the smaller area should no longer manage the educational interests in all their branches and they must have a large area. He agreed that the local government district was open to comment. It had never been said that it was perfect, but it had been put forward as the best area they could get. Large powers had been given to provide for aggregation or distribution in areas which required it. The result of the Bill would be that the districts proposed would be an immense improvement upon the existing parish areas so fat as the management and conduct of their educational work was concerned. No reason had been advanced for departing from the position taken up last year. On the contrary, public opinion in Scotland was immensely in favour of the Bill, and there would be very great dissatisfaction if a Bill, which the vast majority of those interested in education in Scotland believed to be a long way in advance of anything that now existed or had heretofore been proposed, was endangered or lost by reason of the discussions in this House. [OPPOSITION cries of "Oh."] He was sure he had not said anything that was discourteous, or that could be taken exception to. He was quite satisfied that public opinion in Scotland wished this Bill, and that it would be greatly dissatisfied if it were not passed.

MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)

Why, you have put down a whole lot of Amendments yourselves.


Do you tell us this is not a proper place to discuss the Bill?


said that the country would judge. All he submitted to the Committee was that the arguments which the hon. Member had submitted in favour of this proposal—the same as those he submitted last year—should be treated as they were then treated, and that the House should agree with the Government that the proposals in the Bill were better calculated to advance the interests of Scotch education, and to effect a great improvement on what existed at the present time.

SIR ROBERT REID (Dumfries Burghs)

said that the Lord-Advocate had directed quite a small part of his speech to the particular Amendment before the House. For his part he was not opposed to the views of the Lord-Advocate; and he agreed that it would be preferable to accept the Government proposals rather than to sacrifice the Bill; if, indeed, the passage of the Bill depended upon that acceptation. A good many of the Scottish Members had exercised considerable self-restraint during the discussion and desired to do nothing that would prevent the Bill from passing. Last year the Bill might have been passed into law had a little more time been given to it by the Government. Everybody knew that; but no,, it was relegated to the dog days, and they were told that unless they despatched the Amendments in a few hours instead of days, the Bill could not pass. This year they had come to the even more sorry spectacle of the House being engaged on a Bill, the Second Reading of which had been passed without a division, but to which the Government had not the slightest intention of giving sufficient time to enable it to pass.


said that the hon. and learned Member's remarks were rather wide of the discussion of the Amendment.


said he would not pursue that subject further beyond saying that the Government had only given four hours that afternoon for the purpose of considering what the Lord-Advocate had himself admitted to be an enormous and very serious question. All he could say was that the Government had no intention or idea of passing this Bill; and that they did not think it necessary or worth while to give proper time for the discussion of Scotch business. What they had said before and would say again in Scotland was that the business of Scotland was treated with contempt by the Government that was now in power.


said he was inclined to suggest an Amendment by which the parish should be acknowledged as the unit, but that the Secretary for Scotland should have the power, if he thought fit, to combine for educational purposes, more than one parish or burgh. He thought it would meet the views of all parties.


said that like many of his hon. friends he had refrained from taking part in the debate with the view of preventing the Government trying to place, the responsibility of the non-passage of this Bill on the shoulders of the Opposition. He was surprised that the Lord-Advocate, who was usually so conciliatory, should have levelled a totally unfounded charge against the Opposition. That charge was that if this Bill was not allowed to pass it would be on account of prolonged discussion. Did the Lord-Advocate mean to suggest that this Bill, affecting the whole of Scotland, was to pass without any discussion at all? Did the right hon. Gentleman suggest that there had been any undue discussion? It was not fair on the part of the Government, when they brought forward a Bill of the greatest importance to Scotland, that they should take shelter from their own delinquencies and place the blame on the shoulders of the Opposition. If the Government had thought anything of this Bill they would have brought it forward and had it discussed earlier in the session. The fact was that it was the Eton and Harrow cricket match that day which was responsible, he supposed for the Bill having been put down at all. Yet he believed there was a general desire that the Bill should pass with proper Amendments, and in passing it the Lord-Advocate would have the hearty co-operation of many Members on that side of the House. He would rather see the Bill openly and promptly sacrificed than—


Order, order! The hon. Member must come to the Amendment.


said it was only a question of time. He confessed he had been led away by the most discursive and argumentative speech of the Lord-Advocate on the general point. The question was whether they ought not to retain the parish area as the unit in connection with elementary education. He confessed he had listened with astonishment to the indictment which the Lord-Advocate had made as to the working of the present system. The Lord-Advocate had said that the present system had been a complete and absolute failure, and that the whole of Scotland recognised it. Now, that was a totally unwarranted statement.


said that that was not a statement made by him.


said that, then, he did not know what the Lord-Advocate meant. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said that the parish authority had not been a success, and that therefore these increased powers ought to be given. He contended that there was no person in authority in Scotland who would dare go before any representative public meeting and condemn the way in which the work of education had been carried on by the parish school boards. It was the proudest boast of Scotland that boys had been sent out from the parish school board schools and had taken distinguished places in every part of the world; and, therefore, he had heard with surprise and indignation the reflections which the Lord-Advocate had made on the present school authorities. The question was whether they should have a larger area than the parish. It was true that in regard to particular parishes the local school board had fuller knowledge of the wants of the district than a board representing a larger area would possess. Then under the scheme of the Bill they would require to have as representatives on the board men of wealth and leisure. He acknowledged that for secondary education there was something to be said for having a larger area; but he insisted that for elementary education the areas should be kept exactly as they were.


said that the inadequate opportunities for discussion on the Bill required no demonstration, and it was out of the question for the Lord-Advocate to deprecate discussion in this House on this most important question. As to differences of opinion among the Opposition, they would be in a sorry case if, on the Committee stage of a serious and important Bill, they might mot exchange ideas in regard to the best lines of educational development for their country. He did not think that the Lord-Advocate quite appreciated the development of opinion in Scotland in regard to this question. He had already given one notable instance of that which ought to have been taken into account viz., the opinions expressed by the For-farshire school boards. He quite took it from his hon. and learned friend that there was no intention on his part to make derogatory remarks on existing school boards. One of the most valuable reports of the past year was that of the Port Glasgow School Board, one sentence of which wag relevant to the Amendment before the Committee. It was to the effect that the provisions in the Bill for the extension of the area and the supersession of the existing school boards were such as practically to ignore the right of parents in each locality to have a direct voice in the management of the schools in the area. Another school board reported that the areas proposed in the Bill were too large, and, if carried into effect, would be the means of destroying to a large extent the local interest in the schools. Further, that school beard declared that, if the proposed areas were agreed to, very few local gentlemen would have the means or the time to travel to the meetings of the board, and consequently the selection of the representatives would be limited to candidates, of wealth and leisure. In the clause under discussion, he quite granted that the Government had gone some way to meet the argument presented, because amongst powers of aggregation there were also powers of division; but that power of division into education districts was only permissible on the sanction of Dover House. They did not desire to hand over that power to the gentlemen in Dover House, however eminent they might be. He believed that if the old parochial areas were retained for the purposes of elementary education, with power given to them to combine for secondary and technical education, even though they were supervised from Whitehall, it would be greatly to the interest of education in Scotland.

SIR MARK STEWART (Kirkcudbrightshire)

said that he had had a large practical experience of school board work during the last thirty years, and he admitted that he would part company with the old system with, much regret. A great deal more interest used to be taken in the management of education than now; but he concurred with the Lord-Advocate that the time had come when they should have a more extended sphere of educational management. He did not think that they would lose local interest if they parted with the old system. The schools were not to cease to exist, and the boards would practically remain the same as they were before. Although the managers would not be elected directly to that position, in all probability they would be taken from the members of the parish councils. He would rather have the Bill as a whole as it stood than lose the opportunity of passing a Bill at all. There were several points with which the existing school boards could not adequately deal; and it was not to be wondered at that the teachers came and asked Parliament to pass this Bill. Under existing conditions they were subject to very considerable hardships. If a good teacher was appointed to a rural school, he remained there to the end of his days; but the Bill proposed to deal quite impartially with the whole system of teaching in the county; and he thought the teachers would have a much greater chance of promotion under the proposed newly constituted authority than under the old system. Again, what could the present members of the school boards know of secondary education? He believed that 90 per cent. of the Scotch Members were willing that this Bill should pass, and he asked the Lord-Advocate to induce, in the course of the week, the Government to give a few more days to carry the Bill into law thin session.


said that the Lord-Advocate had perhaps minimised the feeling in Scotland upon the question under discussion. He had a report from the school board of Port Glasgow, a most important industrial centre in the West of Scotland, which stated that some of the features of this Bill were most objectionable, especially the provision for the extension of the areas, which practically ignored the right of parents in each locality to take part in the management of the schools. Undoubtedly public feeling in Scotland was developing on the lines indicated by the hon. Member for Mid.-Lanark. His own opinion, however, was that the larger area proposed by the Bill was an improvement, and he should therefore vote against the Amendment.


said he regretted that the Lord-Advocate had introduced into this discussion a degree of animadversion which he thought the Committee had done nothing to justify. There was only one day's debate on the Second Reading of the Bill, and now they had only this short time given to begin with for the Committee stage. A supporter of the right hon. Gentleman had moved an Amendment which occupied one or two hours, finding many supporters on the Ministerial Benches, and because of that the Lord-Advocate told them that if the discussions were prolonged at the same length Scotland would be deprived of the advantages of this Bill. But unfortunately, the House had a duty to perform in regard to this or any other Bill; he held that the edge of fair discussion had not yet been reached. In any case the Lord-Advocate's lecture was premature, as this was only the second day on the Bill. With regard to the Amendment he had to say that he thought it was a thousand pities that the Government ever contemplated interfering with the parish school boards of Scotland. No doubt, as they had slaughtered the school boards in England, they thought it would be inconsistent if, having to remodel Scottish education, they did not abolish the school hoards in Scotland also. Local control had been the corner-stone of the education system in Scotland through all the generations of the past, even in the old days when the parish minister was the principal local authority; and he was enough of a democrat to believe that such local control was a most essential point in regard especially to primary education, which concerned the great mass of the people. They did not keep up the same control if they took the larger district of the county. Now the control would be left to the managers who were to be appointed and who would be only the agents of this higher authority. When the Lord-Advocate said that the whole of Scotland was waiting and gasping for this Bill to pass, he could tell him this—and he thought he could pit his knowledge of Scotland against that of the, right hon. Gentleman—that so far as his knowledge of Scotland went, and also his conception of the genius and general sympathies of the Scottish people, he believed that nine-tenths of the people were opposed to the abolition of the parish school boards, however much they might approve of other parts of the Bill.

The people of Scotland were not all composed of schoolmasters who were, no doubt, in favour of it, or philosophers, dreamers, or doctrinaires, and all those who had had a hand in creating this ridiculous co-ordination system which had played havoc in many instances and respects with English education, and which he did not expect would do much good to Scotland. The Scotch were a plain people who wished their children to be properly educated in the parish schools, by the parish schoolmaster, up to the time they went to the University. This system of secondary and technical education might be wanted in some parts of Scotland, but if it was, why was it not possible to have it going on side by side with the old system with all its benefits. It was because this part of the Bill abolished the old parish connection that he should heartily support the Amendment of his hon. friend. It would be quite possible, of course, to enlarge certain areas, for some of the present areas were too small. He was, he believed, the only survivor in the House of those who took part in Lord Young's Act of 1872, and he remembered either moving or at least putting on the Paper an Amendment on this very point, that parishes should have the power of uniting under proper control for the purpose of efficient management. With that they got all the advantage they required, and that, of course, would be consistent with maintaining throughout the country the school boards which had done such splendid service in the past, and which were better than any fantastic alien body which they could erect in the vicinity of the parish to carry on the great work upon which the prosperity of their country had so largely depended in the past.

Mr. PARKER SMITH (Lanarkshire, Partick)

said he would like to have the opinion of the four right hon. Gentlemen opposite upon the speech which the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition had just made, as to whether they signified their desire to return to the old parish system.


I never said so.


said he certainly understood that the right hon. Gentleman regarded the large development of secondary schools as apparently superfluous and unnecessary.


said, on the contrary, he said exactly the reverse. What he said was that he did not wish to destroy the old system which should, in his opinion, be carried on side by side with the new, which the changing conditions in Scotland made necessary.


accepted the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman, and said it appeared to him that the right hon. Gentleman had by his speech opened up a very large and bold question which he (Mr. Parker Smith) thought was settled years ago. Was that the spirit in which the Opposition were going to discuss this Bill? Was that the spirit in which, in the opinion of hon. Gentlemen opposite, the Scotch people expected it to be discussed? The question raised in the Bill was one of the most important questions that could be raised with regard to Scotland, but if all these points were to be regarded as open questions, and were all to be argued out from beginning to end, it was not one day but a whole session that would be required to force the passage of this Bill. It would, however, be clear to people here and in Scotland, and to all those strangers who took a great interest in the Bill—


on a point of order, asked whether, he having been called to order for referring to the general state of the Bill, the hon. Member now addressing the Committee was in order in taking the same course.


asked whether it was not the fact that the question had been opened up by several speakers on the other side, and whether, that being so, he was not entitled to reply.


said an opening had been given by the Lord-Advocate in his speech, and that being so, he (the Deputy-Chairman) had allowed some latitude to one or two speakers. The debate had since continued on the same lines and he felt he could not rule it out of order on account of the Lord-Advocate having introduced it.


asked whether the Committee was to understand from that ruling that this discursive debate was entirely due to the speech of the Lord-Advocate.


said he could not admit that. He only desired to convey to the Committee the reason why he had allowed some latitude.


said he would not pursue the subject further. But having regard to the fact that the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite enjoyed a certain consideration in Scotland, he also desired to state his view in order that the people of Scotland might be perfectly able to judge on which side was the desire to pass the Bill into law.

MR. FINDLAY (Lanarkshire, N.E.)

said he had had no special desire to intervene in the discussion, but after what had been said he felt constrained to show the Committee how this matter affected his own district. The school boards of the various parishes had done their work most efficiently, and he could not conceive that the work could be better done. He thought the proposed change would kill a great deal of the local interest, and he wished emphatically to say that he did not believe that the larger school board area would ensure the work being carried on more efficiently or more economically than it was being carried on by the present authorities in the parish areas in and round Motherwell.

Mr. HALDANE (Haddingtonshire)

admitted that this was a very difficult question, and one upon which all people in Scotland did not think alike. The conclusion that he had come to was that, taking Scotland as a whole, the system of this Bill was the only system upon which education could be conducted. There might be some improvements made in the Bill, because he was satisfied that many people in Scotland held a very strong opinion with regard to parting with the old school boards, and he thought something might be done to ameliorate that Speaking for himself, he was so anxious to get the new system introduced into Scotland, so conscious of the extent to which Scottish education was suffering from want of a new instrument, so much moved by appeals which reached him by every post to get the Bill through, that he would go a long way to take the Bill as it stood.

MR. GEORGE WHITE (Norfolk, N. W.)

said the hon. Member who had just sat down was so laudably anxious to spread secondary education in Scotland that he sometimes overlooked the real interests of elementary education. Had the Government, in dealing with the English Bill, confined themselves to the lines suggested by his right hon. friend below, they would not have tampered with elementary education in the way they had. It had not been proved that the larger areas had been a success. He ventured to say that all those actually interested in progressive education found the areas over which they had to preside altogether too large to enable them to keep in personal contact with the work, so that the Act had become an officials' Act, to be worked mainly by officials. The general interest which was taken in the parish schools in days gone by had disappeared owing to the treatment of the managers, who could not now order so much as a lead pencil without going to the education authority. He quite agreed that there were in Scotland, as there were in the past in England very small parish school boards, and it would be better to join two or three together. But it was not necessary to destroy the parish school boards and the direct contact of the parents with them in order to do that. In England they had done their best to make secondary education an absolutely separate work, and they had not found that the principle of co-ordination could be carried out in the way in which it was first supposed it could be. He therefore felt satisfied, from his experience of the working of the Act in England, that, so far as Scotland was concerned, both on the ground of economy and of efficiency, it would have been far better to have enlarged the area of a few of the smaller school boards in Scotland, but to have maintained for the most part the parish unit intact.


, referring to the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Partick, pointed out that only yesterday morning forty new Amendments were put on the Paper in the name of the Lord-Advocate. In view of that fact, were they to be told that they were doing anything at all unfair in considering one of the most important Amendments that could possibly be discussed?


said the Amendments standing in his name were put down merely that hon. Members on both sides of the House might ascertain the Amendments he was prepared to accept.


replied that that did not vitiate his point which was that it was only yesterday that they got an idea of what the intentions of the Government were. There were yesterday morning 360 odd Amendments on the Paper. More than half of these stood in the name of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and a large number of them in the name of the right hon. Member for Partick himself. In these circumstances it was absurd to bring railing accusations against hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House.


thought the hon. Gentleman had better address himself to the Amendment.


said the right lion. Gentleman the Member for Partick had made a variety of charges against the Leader of the Opposition, and all he desired to point out was that there was another side to the question.


said his Amendment did not include the combination of

parishes, and he was not moving the existing state of things. He was moving to take the parishes and burghs as the units.

Question put.

The Committee divided:——Ayes, 130; Noes, 67. (Division List No. 283.)

Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Pretyman, Ernest George
Allhusen,Augustus Henry Eden Finlay,RtHn.SirR. B.(Inv'rn'ss Purvis, Robert
Allsopp, Hon. George Flower, Sir Ernest Pym, C. Guy
Arnold-Forster, Rt.Hn.HughO Graham, Henry Robert Rankin, Sir James
Arrol, Sir William Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Greene, W. Raymond (Camps, Reid, James (Greenock)
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt.Hn.SirH. Haldane, Rt, Hon. Richard B. Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine
Bailey, James (Walworth) Hambro, Charles Eric Ridley, S. Forde
Baird, John George Alexander Hamilton, Marg,of(L'nd'nderry) Ritchie Rt.Hon.Chas.Thomson
Balcarres, Lord Hay, Hon. Clande George Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield
Balfour, Rt. Hon.AJ.(Manch'r Heaton, John Henniker Robertson, Herbert (Hackney
Balfour, RtHnGeraIdW.(Leeds Howard, J. (Midd, Tottenham Robinson, Brooke
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Hozier, Hon. James Henrycecil Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye
Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Hudson, George Biekersteth Royds, Clement Molyneux
Bignold, Sir Arthur Hunt, Rowland Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Bingham, Lord Jeffreys, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fred. Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Blundell, Colonel Henry Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton Sharpe, William Edward T.
Bond, Edward King, Sir Henry Seymour Shaw-Stewart, Sir H.(Renfrew)
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Lambton, Hon. Frederick Win. Simeon, Sir Barrington
Brown, Sir Alex. (Shropsh.) Lamont, Norman Smith, Rt.HnJParker(Lanark
Brown, George,M. (Edinburgh Laurie, Lieut.-General Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart
Brymer, William Ernest Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.
Campbell, Rt.Hn.J.A.(Glasgow Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool Stroyan, John
Campbell, J.H.M.(DublinUniy. Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Strutt, Hon. (Charles Hedley
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S. Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh, Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R. Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Long, Rt. Hn.Walter(Bristol,S Thorburn, Sir Walter
Chamberlain,Rt.HnJ.A.(Wore. Lucas, Reginald J.(Portsmouth Tuff, Charles
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Tuke, Sir John Batty
Coddington, Sir William Macdona, John (Cumming Ure, Alexander
Corbott, T. L. (Down, North) Maconochie, A. W. Wallace, Robert
Cripps, Charles Alfred Martin, Richard Biddulph Walrond, Rt,Hn.SirWilliamH.
Crombie, John William Maxwell,Rt.HnSirH.E.(Wigt'n Warde, Colonel C. E.
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Maxwell,W.J.H.(Dumfriesshire Welby, Lt,-Col.A.C.E.(Taunton
Davenport, William Bromley Milvain, Thomas Whiteley, H.(Ashton und.Lyne
Dickson, Charles Scott Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Whitmore Charles Algernon
Dixon-Hartand, SirFred.Dixon Montagu, Hon. J.Scott(Hants.) Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Dobbie, Joseph Morrison, James Archibald Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H.(Yorks.
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart
Duke, Henry Edward Nicholson, William Graham
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Pease, HerbertPike(Darlington TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Elibank, Master of Percy, Earl Sir Alexander Acland-Hood
Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) Pierpoint, Robert and Mr. Henry Forster
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Ainsworth, John Stirling Eve, Harry Trelawney Shipman, Dr. John G.
Austin, Sir John Findlay, Alexander (LanarkNE Sinclair, John (Forfarshire
Baker, Joseph Allen Fowler, Rt. Hon Sir Henry Slack, John (Bamford
Barran, Rowland Hirst Goddard, Daniel Ford Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Black, Alexander William Grant, Corrie Soares, Ernest J.
Bright, Allan Heywood Harmsworth, R. Leicester Spencer,Rt.Hn.C.R.(Northants
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Higham, John Sharp Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Jones, DavidBrynmor(Swansea Tennant, Harold John
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Jones, Leif (Appleby) Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen,E.)
Burt, Thomas Kitson, Sir James Thomas, David Alfred(Merthyr
Cameron, Robert Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall Thomas,J.A(Glamorgan, Gower
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Leese, Sir JosephF.(Accirngton Toulmin, George
Causton, Richard Knight Lewis, John Herbert Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Channing, Francis Allston Lough, Thomas Wason, John Cathcart(Orkney)
Cheetham, John Frederick M'Crae, George Weir, James Galloway
Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark) Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe White, George (Norfolk)
Cremer William Randal Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Crooks, William Morley, Rt.Hn.John(Montrose Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway,N Yoxall, James Henry
Dalziel, James Henry Parrott, William
Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan Philipps, John Wynford TELLEKS FOR THE NOES—
Duncan, J. Hastings Russell, T. W. Mr. Caldwell and Mr. Eugene
Dunn, Sir William Shaw, Chas. Edw. (Stafford) Wason
Edwards, Frank Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)

Question put, and agreed to.


said the Amendment he moved was an attempt to safeguard the rights of parish councils in the event of an order by the Secretary for Scotland being contemplated for dividing or combining areas proposed in the Bill. If the Bill passed as it stood, the only authorities who would be allowed to make representations to the Secretary for Scotland were the county or the town council or the enlarged school board. He thought he would carry the Committee with him in suggesting that the parish council should be entitled to come forward to the Secretary for Scotland and say that in the interests of local control over education the district proposed by the Bill should be split up so as to preserve the local control which he was sure all desired. He begged to move.

Amendment proposed— In page 2, line 6, after the word 'board' to insert the words 'or from a parish council,'''—(Mr. Black.)

Question proposed, 'That those words be there inserted."


said he hoped the Amendment would not be pressed. Until the Bill was passed the existing school board would be able to make representations, and after the Bill was passed the enlarged school board would be able to do so. Surely the interests of education would be sufficiently attended to by the representations which could be made either by the school board or by the county council.


urged that Amendment was necessary.


said that the matter was not of great importance, and if the hon. Member wished to press the Amendment he had no objection.


said the next Amend merit standing in his name was intended to provide for the case of art order dividing or combining districts before the Act came into operation. As the Bill at present stood, if the Secretary for Scotland made a division or amalgamation he could do so without consulting anybody and without giving notice to anybody. His Amendment was to provide that before the change took place, and before a county or district was joined to or divided from another, due notice should be given to all parties interested. His Amendment also provided that any of the local authorities interested or any twenty ratepayers might appear before the Secretary for Scotland and plead their case for or against amalgamation or division. He begged to move.

Amendment proposed— In page 2, line 14, at the end to insert the words, 'Provided further that an order made under this section shall not come into force until one month after the same has been published in at least one newspayer circulating in the neighbourhood affected by the order during which period it shall be competent for any local authority or any twenty ratepapers within or bordering upon the area affected by such order to present a requisition for a hearing thereon, and on receiving such a requisition the Secretary for Scotland shall appoint a convenient time and place for hearing parties, and he shall then and there, either by himself or by a proper person as his depute, hear parties as to such order, and shall at his sole discretion or at the sole discretion of his depute receive evidence written or oral and shall determine in the matter as may seem just.'"—(Mr. Black.)

Question proposed, "That these words be there inserted."


said that under this proviso a most important change might be effected without any intimation to the people of the district concerned. Surely a proposal to reduce a county area into a district or parish area was a vital one and the inhabitants affected ought to have an opportunity of making representations before the Secretary for Scotland came to any decision on it. Would it be right to create a new school board district just before the Act came into operation, without hearing the parties vitally concerned? They were already trying to leave out certain adjuncts, such as Leith from Edinburgh and Govan from Glasgow, but of what use was it for them to do that if the Secretary for Scotland was to be able, by a stroke of the pen, to practically undo all that had been done or that was contained in the Bill! Why should not notice be given in the same way as when alterations were proposed under the Boundaries Act of 1894. In that case it was provided that the Secretary for Scotland should hold an inquiry and give complete notice in the Edinburgh Gazetteand in the newspapers, so that every person having an interest should have an opportunity of being heard. Even if this proposal were carried the Secretary for Scotland would have the most absolute power to make any change he thought fit. The only effect of carrying the Amendment would be to ensure that persons affected would have an opportunity of being heard.


said this matter had not been overlooked, but the question was whether time would allow of doing as suggested in the Amendment. Under Section 50 the first school board was to be elected on April lat, 1906, and while he did not dispute the reasonableness of the hon. Member's proposal, he did doubt whether there would be time between the passing of the Act and the making of the necessary arrangements which would have to precede the election, to hold such an inquiry as was suggested. He was quite willing, however, to consider the point. He could not accept the Amendment now. It must be remembered that the Secretary for Scotland could not act on his own initiative; he had to be set in motion by representations from the county council or the school board or some other public body. Those bodies would necessarily take some time to consider whether representations should be made, and then the Secretary for Scotland would probably require to communicate with them before coming to a conclusion. Then a month would be required for advertising purposes, and more time must be allowed for the consideration of evidence either oral or written, and the matter would have to be further considered before the issue of a final deliverance which must be made before April, 1906, so as to enable proper arrangements to be made for an election at that date. If the hon. Member, however, would withdraw the Amendment he would undertake to reconsider the matter, although he could not pledge himself that that reconsideration would result in a favourable answer.


thought the suggestion a reasonable one, but pointed out that the cases in which the suggested inquiry would be necessary would probably be very few indeed.


Under the circumstances I ask leave, to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


said the object of his next Amendment was to ensure that when the Secretary for Scotland came to consider either now or at some future time the question of dividing a large area into small areas he should as far as possible have regard to the school board districts under the existing laws, or such aggregation thereof as might for educational purposes solely seem best. The object of introducing the word "solely" was to be found in the fact that the districts proposed in the Bill were admittedly in many cases entirely unsuitable for education, and when the right hon. Gentleman came to the task of dividing them it was only right and reasonable he should have special regard to educational convenience. If the right hon. Gentleman would accept this Amendment it would go far towards meeting the views of hon. Members on both sides of the House. It would also be desirable that the right hon. Gentleman should keep in view the securing of a convenient centre with good means of communication so that pupils living at home might be able to attend the school of the district to which they were attached. Further, regard should be had to the efficiency of the facilities provided in existing schools for purposes of both elementary and secondary education. To this proviso he attached much importance, and where schools were so conducted that they were unable to send their pupils direct to the University they should be made the centre of the district.

Amendment proposed— In page 2, line 14, at the end, to insert the words, 'provided further that in considering as to dividing a local government district into education districts under this section the Secretary for Scotland shall as far as possible preserve the school board districts under the heretofore existing law or such aggregations thereof as may for educational purposes solely seem best, keeping in view not only population and area but also means of communication with a convenient centre for secondary education and the efficiency of the facilities heretofore provided in the existing school board district for secondary as well as elementary education."—(Mr. Black.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


said he could not accept the Amendment. Keeping in view the fact that the Secretary for Scotland was not to initiate proceedings it would be better that he should be left with a free hand. He did not suggest that the considerations mentioned in the Amendment should not be taken into account, and due weight no doubt would be given to them, but inserted as a statutory declaration they would unduly fetter the judgment of the Secretary for Scotland.


I have put in the word "as far as possible."


If a thing is not possible it cannot be done. I repeat that in my opinion it would be unwise to tie our hands in this manner, and I hope, therefore, that the Amendment will not be pressed.


thought it would be extremely advantageous when

they were providing for a combination of the areas, to give some statutory lead to the official responsible so as to guide him in making up his mind on the subject. He trusted that the Lord-Advocate would see his way to accept some form of words in this direction.

MR. TENNANT (Berwickshire)

said that those who lived in Scotland and took an active part in public affairs had good reason to realise the extreme difficulty of communication, having often to travel distances to attend meetings of public authorities which could not be conveniently completed in one day. This Amendment seemed harmless enough. It was only in the nature of a signpost directing the administrator's path, and he did not agree that it would unduly tie the hands of the Government.


also appealed to the Lord-Advocate to accept the Amendment.


trusted the right hon. Gentleman would not put the Committee to the trouble of a division.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 69; Noes, 119. (Division List No. 284.)

Ainsworth, John Stirling Cameron, Robert Dobbie, Joseph
Austin, Sir John Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Duncan, J. Hastings
Baker, Joseph Allen Channing, Francis Allston Dunn, Sir William
Barran, Rowland Hirst Cheetham, John Frederick Edwards, Frank
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark' Eve, Harry Trelawne.
Bright, Allan Heywood Cremer, William Randal Findlay,Alexander(LanarkN.E
Brown, George M. (Edinburgh Crombie, John William Goddard, Daniel Ford
Bunner, Sir John Tomlinson Crooks, William Grant, Corrie
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Harmsworth, R. Leicester
Burt, Thomas Dalziel, James Henry Higham, John Sharp
Caldwell, James Davies, M. Vanghan (Cardigan Jones, David Brynmor(Swansea
Jones Leif (Appleby) Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford) Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
Lambert George Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.) Wason, John Cathcart(Orkney)
Lamont, Norman Shipman, Dr. John G. Weir, James Galloway
Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall) Sinclair, John (Forfarshire) White, George (Norfolk)
Lewis, John Herbert Slack, John Bamford Whitley, J. H. (Halifax
Lough, Thomas Soares, Ernest J. Wilson, Henry J.(York, W.R.
M'Crae, George Spencer, Rt.Hn.C.R.(Northants Woodhouse, Sir JT(Huddersf'd
Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe Tennant, Harold John Yoxall, James Henry
Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Thomas, Abel(Carmarthen,E
Morley,Rt. Hon. John(Montrose Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Parrott, William Thomas, JA.Glamorgan,Gower Mr. Black and Mr. Robert
Philipps, John Wynford Toulmin, George Wallace.
Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion) Ure, Alexander
Russell, T. W. Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Elibank, Master of Percy, Earl
Allhusen, AugustusHenryEden Faber, George Denison (York) Pierpoint, Robert
Allsopp, Hon. George Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Arnold-Forster, Rt.Hn.HughO Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Pretyman, Ernest George
Arrol, Sir William Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Purvis, Robert
Atkinson, Et. Hon. John Finlay, Rt HnSirRB.(Inv'rn'ss Rankin, Sir James
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt.Hon.SirH Flower, Sir Ernest Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne
Bailey, James (Walworth Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Reid, James (Greenock)
Baird, John George Alexander Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine
Balcarres, Lord Hall, Edward Marshall Ridley, S. Forde
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A.J.(Manch'r Hambro, Charles Eric Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)
Balfour, RtHnGeraldW.(Leeds Hamilton, Marq. of(L'nd'nderry Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Hardy,Laurence(Kent,Ashford Robinson, Brooke
Banner, John S. Harmood- Hay, Hon. Claude George Royds, Clement Molyneux
Bentinuk, Lord Henry C. Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil Runciman, Walter
Bignold, Sir Arthur Hudson, George Bickersteth Sassoon. Sir Edward Albert
Bill, Charles Hunt, Rowland Sharpe, William Edward T.
Blundell, Colonel Henry Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. ArthurFred. Shaw-Stewart, Sir H.(Renfrew)
Bond, Edward. Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton Simeon, Sir Barrington
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Kimber, Sir Henry Smith, Rt HnJ Parker(Lanarks
Brymer, William Ernest King, Sir Henry Seymour Stewart, Sir Mark J.M 'Taggart
Campbell, Rt.Hn.J.A. (Glasgow Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M,
Campbell,J.H,M.(Dublin Univ. Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Stroyan, John
Carson, Rt. Hon, Sir Edw. H. Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh. Lawson, Hn.H.L.W.(Mile End Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Thorburn, Sir Walter
Chamberlain, Rt, Hn. J. A.(Worc. Leveson-Gower, FrederickN.S. Tuff, Charles
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Long, Rt,Hn.Walter(Bristol, S. Tuke, Sir John Batty
Coddington, Sir William Lucas, Reginald J.(Portsmouth Walrond, Rt.Hn.Sir WilliamH.
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Warde, Colonel C. E.
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Macdona, John Cumming Welby, Lt.-Col.A.C.E.(Taunton
Cripps, Charles Alfred Maconochie, A. W. Whiteley. H.(Ashton and Lync
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Martin, Richard Biddulph Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Davenport, William Bromley Maxwell, Rt.Hn.SirHE(Wigt'n Wilson-Toad, Sir W. H. (Yorks
Dickson, Charles Scott Maxwell, W.J.H(Dumfriesshire Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Disracli, Coningsby Ralph Milvain, Thomas Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson
Dixon-Hartland.Sir Fred.Dixon Morrison, James Archibald Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Nicholson, William Graham TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Duke, Henry Edward Nolan, Col. JohnP.(Galway,N.) Sir Alexander-Acland Hood
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Pease, Herbert PikeDarlington and Mr. Herny Foreter.

And, it being after half-past Five of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.

Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.

Whereupon Mr. Speaker adjourned the House without Question put, in pursuance of Standing Order No. 3

Adjourned at twenty minutes before Six o'clock till Monday next.