§ MR. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)
To ask the President of the Board of Education whether the circular of 13th June, 1902, addressed to county councils and enclosing the Minute of 16th April, 1902, authorising the Buckinghamshire County Council, under Section 8 of the Technical Instruction Act, 1889, to include in their syllabus instruction in the principles and practice of agricultural co-operation, resulted in applications from other county councils, and in the sanctioning of this subject of instruction in other counties, and, if so, in which counties; whether, in pursuance of their powers under Section 2 of the Education Act, 1902, any local education authorities, and, if so, how many, have applied to the Board of Education to sanction the inclusion of the principles and practice of agricultural co-operation in their syllabus of technical instruction; and whether any county, county borough, or other education committees for the purposes of elementary education have applied to the Board of Education for their sanction for teaching this subject in any school under their control, and, if so, in which counties or districts, and in how many instances.
(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The circulars referred to were issued by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries after consultation with the Board of Education. The Board of Education sanctioned the subject "Principles and Practice of 591 Agricultural Co-operation," by Minute under The Technical Instruction Act, 1889, on 16th April, 1902, on the representation of the Buckinghamshire County Council that it was a form of instruction suitable to the circumstances of the district. This subject was similarly sanctioned in respect of the areas of fourteen other county councils, viz., Carnarvon, Cheshire, East Sussex, Staffordshire, Essex, East Suffolk, Pembroke, Oxford, Leicester, Shropshire, Carmarthen, Rutland, Cardigan, Devonshire. The Education Act, 1902, rendered obsolete those Minutes of the late Science and Art Department, and made it unnecessary for county councils to obtain the express sanction of the Board of Education for the recognition of any particular subject as a branch of technical instruction. I am not in a position to furnish the number of authorities which now include in their programme of technical instruction any classes on the "Principles and Practice of Agricultural Co-operation." I am not aware that any local authorities for elementary education have attempted to teach children in any public elementary school "The Principles and Practice of Agricultural Co-operation," but I think it hardly likely that an attempt has been made, or, if made, would be fruitful; at all events, in any but the higher classes in those few schools where an unusual number of children attend until fourteen and fifteen years of age.