HC Deb 20 December 1906 vol 167 cc1724-5
MR. CLOUGH (Yorkshire, W.R., Skipton)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education whether, in view of the Board's circulars in November last to local education authorities, to the effect that after 15th December, 1906, the appellation of National will be omitted altogether from the official list of schools, and suggesting for that term the epithet Church of England should be substituted, he will substitute for the nomenclature of National, British, or Church of England, the name of Non-provided, associated with the village or township in single-school areas or the street in districts where there are two or more schools, in order that denominational control may not be emphasised; and whether he will delay the publication of the new official list of schools for such a period as will enable local education authorities to give due consideration to the recommendation of their district sub-committees upon the subject.


The hon. Member has, I think, slightly misunderstood the purpose and the effects of the changes proposed in the circular. In the great majority of cases the excision of the word National from the title of the schools will not necessitate the insertion of any other phrase—Church of England or anything else—in its place. It is only in the small minority of cases, where the excision would cause confusion between one school and another, that a new distinctive term of some kind is required; and there are certain advantages, while our present system continues, in letting the name of the school indicate plainly to the parents of the children what is the nature of the school's religious instruction and of its management, since this facilitates both the parents' choice of a school and also their use of the conscience clause. I am aware, however, that there are some disadvantages as well as advantages in the arrangement; and I will give careful consideration to the point suggested by the hon. Member, though I doubt whether the precise method suggested by him would be feasible in large numbers of rural and semi-rural cases.


May we have an Answer to the second portion of the Question? Can the right hon. Gentleman postpone the publication of the new official list?


No; I do not think I can postpone the new official list, but it will be of a temporary character, and I shall be quite open to consider the objections of the hon. Gentleman, and shall be happy to consider any objections submitted to me.