HC Deb 14 June 1906 vol 158 cc1233-6

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £1,122,128, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1907, for Public Education in Scotland, and for Science and Art in Scotland, including a Grant in Aid."

Whereupon Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £1,122,028, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Smeaton.)


referred to the facilities which wore now enjoyed in Scotland for obtaining University education. He desired to acknowledge the indebtedness of the Scottish people to Mr. Andrew Carnegie for the munificent gift which had enabled the youth of Scotland to receive a university education free. As to the Minute which had boon placed on the Table he asked whether the Secretary for Scotland could state how many of the school boards and other educational authorities were in favour of it as it stood. Rural boards were unable to bring the same pressure to bear on the Department as the large boards could do. The Department often provided machinery without taking into account the circumstances of the localities. Pupils attending public schools in the rural districts had in many cases simply to mark time between the ages of twelve and fourteen. Could anyone tell him why there was such a hurry to carry this Minute into effect? The Secretary for Scotland had stated that neither he nor the very able and experienced Secretary of the Department approved of it in its present form. The Committee ought to be given time to go fully into the question, education authorities and others in Scotland should be afforded more time to study and consult regarding the Minute. Hon. Members had received copies of it only yesterday and to-day. Dealing with the question of grants to Scottish county councils for the purposes of technical education he thought that in many cases the technical education given was not of a kind to warrant the expenditure of so much money. The time was ripe for the reconsideration of the education question in Scotland. He urged that the Government should give adequate and continuous time for the discussion of Scottish estimates, and he thought that Members from Scotland should insist on getting that time.


said that after careful consideration he had come to the conclusion that the Minute was one which ought to be supported. He did not think that under it the children of the wage-earning classes would be excluded from the teaching profession. He maintained that the children of the wage-earning classes should get as good an education as possible, and that this end could only be attained by keeping up the standard of 'the teaching Profession. Democratic control of education was also needed, and a representative educational council and local boards should be established of a calibre to hold their own against the Scottish Education Department. As to the cost of education, the growth of local burdens was very great, and it was essential that Scotland should get the whole of the money to which she was entitled in regard to the equivalent grant for the money voted to the University Colleges, and the £1,000,000 to be devoted to English education under the Education Bill. The school boards at present had to work under great difficulties caused by lack of co-ordination and lack of funds, and they were further hampered by lack of recruits for the teaching profession. They had a great leeway to make up in regard to practical training and technical education. Another year should not be allowed to pass without the whole of this question of education, perhaps the greatest of all Scottish questions, being adequately dealt with.


rose to reply when—

MR. MORTON (Sutherland)

on a point of order, asked whether it was usual for the Member of the Government in charge of the Estimates to intervene when he had himself taken up the best part of the evening.


said that it was not only usual but proper that the Minister in charge of the Estimates should answer the various questions put to him in discussion, before the discussion closed.


said the last thing he desired to do was to stand between his hon. friend and the Committee.


But that is what you are doing.


thought it was only courteous to the Committee that he should endeavour to reply, in the few minutes that were left, to some of the criticisms that had been passed on the Estimates. He regretted that the Minute which had been referred to, and which had been welcomed by experienced Members in its altered form, was not in the hands of Members, but he was able to state that in that Minute provision was made for the proper teaching of Gaelic. On the question of teachers nothing could be done without legislation, while in regard to finance he should welcome most heartily any support which the Scottish Members on either side would give him in demanding both time and money from the Government. He concluded by expressing the hope that the Committee would now allow the Vote to be taken.

MR. MITCHELL-THOMSON (Lanarkshire, N.W.)

said if the right hon. Gentleman would give the Committee an assurance that further time would be given for the discussion of Scottish Estimates, he was prepared to offer no opposition to this Vote, otherwise he was prepared to go on until he was interrupted.


said he would do his utmost to secure further time for Scottish Estimates, but he could give no positive undertaking.

And, it being Eleven of the Clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.

Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.