HC Deb 15 May 1907 vol 174 cc1037-68
MR. SILCOCK (Somersetshire, Wells)

rose to call attention to the administration of education other than elementary in England, and to move—"That in the opinion of this House it is desirable that further encouragement shall be given by the Board of Education to those schools which have, since the Act of 1902, been classified as other than elementary, and that the principle of public local control should be extended to all schools other than elementary and to training colleges which receive help from public funds, at least to the extent of securing adequate local public representation on the governing body; and, further, that all schools arid training colleges assisted by public funds should be freed from all sectarian tests for teachers, scholars, or members of the governing body." He said that fie did not intend to deal with the question of elementary education except to say that the present position of that subject excited deep dissatisfaction in the country. Secondary education, according the Report of the Board of Education or the year 1906, was the most important educational question of the present day, affecting as it did the efficiency, intelligence, and well-being of the nation. It was, however, described in that Report as being in a state of chaos, and the object of his Resolution was really to ask the Board of Education to take steps to bring order out of that chaos. There were nearly 5,000,000 of children between the ages of seven and fourteen in the schools of the country. A fair proportion of them might be expected to avail themselves of higher education the opportunity were given them. Every year there were in schools 600,000 children reaching the age of twelve, and some provision should be made for their education other than elementary. They ought to expect that a considerable proportion of those children would be prepared to avail themselves of any opportunity given to them, but the provision was wholly inadequate. In Scotland every child up to the age of eighteen had efficient and suitable education free of charge and under public control. Let the House contrast that with the position of affairs in England. The total number of children in secondary schools or in schools which were not public elementary schools was under 1,000,000, and excluding those in the evening schools and in pupil teacher and training colleges, there were only 160,000 children in the secondary schools receiving public money. Every Member of the House must admit that that showed that the provision was utterly inadequate. The chief provision for secondary education was by means of scholarships given by education authorities, but only 14,000 scholarships were given in the whole of England. The conditions made by the Board of Education tended to keep the children of the working classes out of those schools. The fee of £3 should be abolished. The artificial distinction between elementary and non-elementary schools should be removed altogether. There should be a continuous system and no hard and fast line drawn between the two. Secondary education should be as much for the poor child as for the child of the upper and middle classes. Restrictions as to the number of free places should be removed, and the safeguards and restrictions now applied to elementary schools under which money was given should apply also to secondary schools that received public money. The Board of Education should encourage the building of new schools by local authorities and discourage the system of scholarships which was really a subvention to private schools. The principle of public local control should be extended to all schools in receipt of public money. They also wanted those schools to be free from all sectarian tests. In the pastsecondary education had not been so afflicted with the religious difficulty as elementary. Steps should be taken by the Board of Education to see that the religious difficulty did not find a lodgment in secondary education. The Board should always refuse grants to public teachers' colleges unless they bad religious freedom within their walls. They asked that the principle of religious freedom should be applied wherever money was granted to aid secondary schools. As to the general question of secondary education, he reminded the House that it was not a charity. It was, he contended, the duty of the State in its own interests to see that the children of the State were properly educated. If the State was to have hotter workmen and better citizens the education of the children must be carried a stage beyond that to which it was carried at the present time. The Imperialists who dreaded the competition of foreign countries might well remember Sir Lyon Play fair's remark to the members of the British Association that the competition between the nations of the future would be the competition of intellect. They looked forward to the time when men would be educated in this country, to whatever class they belonged, and when it would not be considered an anomaly for a man to be well educated because he happened to belong to the working class. They asked that the Government should take steps to put an end to the present waste of the nation's resources; to organise and bring order out of chaos; and to deal in a broad and comprehensive spirit with this question of secondary education. He begged to move.

*MR. ADKINS (Lancashire, Middleton)

in seconding the Resolution, said that it, like many that had been brought before the House in the present session or the last, was not intended as a Resolution of censure upon the Government, but was meant to ventilate a great and important subject, to show to the Government and to the House what a strong public feeling there was on the matter, and to encourage the Government, in whom they had confidence, to take up the question and advance it, in spite of its difficulties, another stage or two towards the solution they desired. The problem of secondary education, although it was difficult, was most vital and pressing. The child who left an elementary school, in spite of all that had been done for him, had hardly begun to be educated. Many of the greatest advantages that came from education would not be gained by that child unless that education was supplemented. They felt that the nation itself, compared with other nations, was in a very large degree imperilled, if the bulk of those inhabiting the country did not get any education beyond that within the limits of what was called elementary. With regard to the last paragraph of the Resolution, which touched on the question of sectarian tests, the deliberate wishes of the House and he ventured to say of the majority of the people in the country could not for ever be thwarted by the action of the subordinate branch of the Legislature. The difficulties which attended the problem in regard to elementary education did not attend it to anything like the same extent when they were dealing with education other than elementary. They were dealing, with lads and girls who were older, and to whom, therefore, the State during that period of their education was not so much in the place of a parent And in cases where there were endowments the true solution lay in the provision of hostels of a denominational character from denominational endowments, while all the scholars could share in the general teaching of the school. The central part of the Resolution referred to the question of encouraging education other than elementary and the question of extending the principle of popular control. Before the Act of 1902 a good deal of education was conducted by school boards and other authorities as a higher kind of elementary education, a kind which under that Act must now be described as secondary education. The effect of that Act, whether intended or not, whether merely transitional or not, had been in many parts of the country to distress, hinder, and arrest that higher elementary, or lower secondary, education which in many places was flourishing greatly to the public advantage before the Act was passed. He would give an illustration from the constituency which he had the honour to represent. In the town of Little borough there was an elementary school which had a great deal of local support and in which the inhabitants took great interest. It was extended upwards in ways which, he dared say, were not according to Cockerton, but which were of local advantage and aroused a great deal of local enthusiasm. That form of education was given in the same buildings and to a large extent by the same teachers. The effect of the Act of 1902 upon that institution was this. Promising young people were told that there was a grammar school at Manchester fifteen miles away and another at Todmorden, an interesting fact to a few but not so interesting to many of the people who sent their children to that school. Orders were sent out by the Board of Education that a wall must be built between the part of the building in which strict elementary education was given and that in which the secondary education was given, as if it was a fever hospital whore isolation was necessary. Suggestions were made as to fees which were most embarrassing to those interested, and the result had been for the time at all events to injure if not to kill the local enthusiasm for something better than ordinary strict elementary education. Matters like that were a public evil. In this country people could not be driven and dragooned into better ways. They might be led, and, as he had ventured to say before, would go still further if they were taken by the hand. The policy of the last five or six years, though perhaps only a temporary one, had been to hinder and prevent further development of what in many cases was a valuable kind of education. In the desire to foster secondary education of a higher type there was, no doubt, one practical difficulty realised by all educationists, which was that a boy whose education was to last until he was sixteen had to be caught young and passed through a curriculum which differed in many respects from that given to a boy who was intended to leave school earlier. It was certainly most important that all that was best in our old secondary education and those traditions which with all their faults had been bound up with the civilisation of our country should be retained, diffused, and extended, and the policy advocated by the Resolution was that the education hitherto enjoyed by the few should be purified, made better, and handed an to the many who had had up to the present no opportunity of getting it. He understood the wish of the Department to maintain and extend education of a high type which this form or method of curriculum might help, and a great deal might be said for it, but alongside of that educational policy was i great educational danger. If in order to secure such a curriculum they so exercised their administrative powers as to widen the gulf between the few who could and the many who could not attain to it, they were likely to do more harm by the social effects of their policy than good by reason of the valuable educational advantages which it possessed. If secondary education was to flourish, if the House was prepared to vote more money for it, if they were to have support from the local rates along with the local self-government which must follow, it was necessary surely to enlist the sympathies of people generally, and, most of all of that great bulk of their fellow-countrymen who up to now had been content practically with merely elementary education. Therefore it seemed to him that the pith of the problem was to combine the maintenance of that high standard and the preservation of all that was good in old educational tradition with the enlistment of the sympathies of the many, making it easy for the many and not merely the few, to get the benefits which he had described. How did the matter appear to many poor workmen in different parts of the country? They saw that their own children won very few scholarships. So far was the educational theory to which he had referred rigidly acted upon that those scholarships had to be won by the children at a comparatively early age. It did not always follow that the child who showed cleverness at an early age was going to be more worthy the higher education than the child which developed later. A workman's child won a scholarship and went to a secondary school, which was very often away from his home, and which was very often steeped in what was good in educational tradition, and also in what was not so good. The child was better educated perhaps, but when he returned home he was utterly out of sympathy with his parents and with the humble life from which he had sprung and in reference to which he ought to be qualified to give high and valuable service. He could understand the extravagant phrases which had been used with regard to this subject, and he could well imagine how the present conditions were looked upon as if the children of the poor must become either part of a horde of serfs or part of a handful of snobs; and it was precisely because that feeling was in the air, and because that was felt so strongly up and down the country, that some of them were anxious this session to ventilate the matter in Parliament, and if possible get the matter discussed in the House of Commons. What were the remedies? He ventured to suggest one or two on the lines of the Resolution. In the first place, in great towns they ought to have, at any rate, one large school in which was given both the education appropriate to those who were going to leave early, and the education appropriate to those who were going to stay longer. It might well happen that there were many parts of teaching which could not be given in common, but there were other parts which he was convinced could be given in that way. There were the elements of the history of our country, there were the beginnings of the knowledge of our literature, and matters of that kind, which ought to be taught with all that was best in the old traditions infused into them and taught to both kinds of scholars. Even if the plan involved largely duplicating the staff to meet the need of separate instruction in many subjects, it was still worth while to have both types in one school. To those who loft at the age of fourteen and to those who stayed later, there was this advantage in being in one and the same school rather than in separate schools, namely, that if they were both in the same school they shared its life, were its badge, and they had, as it were, two sets who met in the playground, where they learned to cherish the feeling that they belonged to the same school, and where they also learned that social distinctions were trifling compared with the true spirit of comradeship between young Englishmen. He suggested that that was one method that ought to be tried, because the want of sympathy with higher education and the class feeling connected with it which were now so prevalent were dangers to the State which it required enterprise and flexibility of method to deal with. In the second place it was surely possible to increase very considerably the local public control of every public school in which secondary education was given with help from public funds. There were some schools which received not a farthing from the rates, but were supported by old endowments, by fees, and by grants from the Board of Education. Even in those cases he would ask his right hon. friend to make it a condition of receiving the grants that there should be some representative of the local education authority. And for this reason among others: if the local education authority had been backward, if the local ratepayers were even more economical than ratepayers generally were, it meant that they had yet to learn the duty of spending money on this important matter, and if some of their number were allowed to go on the governing bodies of such schools, they would return to their councils interested in the work that had been done and anxious to strengthen local control and support the school from local resources. He had seen in his experience more than one case where the governors of a school which had no local support had been strengthened by the presence on their board of members of the local education authority. What had been the result? The school had awakened much greater interest, and the local education authority, after a time, became willing to help. When they came to those schools where help was given by the local authorities, he was sure that his right hon. friend required no suggestion and very little encouragement to strengthen the principle of popular local control, and those cases were bound to be more and more numerous as time went on, because unless support did come from local and Imperial sources, the problem of secondary education could never be solved. Then he submitted that that local control ought to be more of a reality than it was. He had received a letter that day from his friend the Chairman of the Worcestershire County Council, Mr. Willis Bund, a great administrator, who pointed out to him the important discussion his council was having with the Board of Education on this point, namely, that where the county supplied a considerable part of the money the county authority ought to have a considerable voice in the way in which that money was spent. He knew he was touching on delicate points of administration, but he unhesitatingly said that they would do well to bring about gradually, steadily, yet rapidly a system in which those elected by the people to look after local education should have a more quick and living interest and power in the administration of higher education. There was also the great question of endowments. In every county in England there were a considerable number of educational endowments, many, for instance, less than £50 a year. It was one of the many difficult matters which followed upon the Act of 1902, that those town and village endowments had to be settled with very great care by the Board of Education. The Board did show great care, but it frequently went into too great detail, deciding that half-a-sovereign had to go here and another small sum to some other purpose. He submitted that those endowments, at least those under £50, ought to be left to be used by the trustees, for any purpose of education other than elementary provided that the local education authority approved. They would thereby strengthen the local control over secondary education, and promote the much needed flexibility of administration which would assist those who knew the local conditions, and yet who worked in a sufficiently large area not to be dominated by local prejudices. Those who brought this question before the House did so, not in any spirit of antagonism to the Government, nor with any aim which would tend to destroy educational machinery. They were most anxious that the benefit of secondary education should be extended as far as possible. They were most anxious that the mass of the people should no longer be alienated from secondary education in any way. Some part of their position might be founded on misconceptions; if so, let those misconceptions be cleared up. Some of their grievances might be founded on facts; if so, let those facts be altered. It might be that a change of policy or exposition of policy was required; for his own part he thought something of both was wanted. He hoped that the Government, in spite of their many difficulties and their great amount of work, would deal with this question. He was sure that the great majority of Members of that House, who by accident of birth and circumstance had been allowed personally to know something of what higher education meant, would desire that those who had been less fortunate in the past should be succeeded by a generation that should share in their advantages, and that the humanising, helpful, and elevating tendencies of real education might be known throughout our streets and in the places where our people dwelt.

*SIR PHILIP MAGNUS (London University)

said he did not think anyone could complain of the substance or tone of the speeches which had been made by the two hon. Gentleman who moved and seconded this Resolution. The Resolution contained three propositions—(1) that it was desirable that further encouragement should be given by the Board of Education to secondary education; (2) that schools receiving State aid should be brought more definitely under public control than they were at the present time; and (3) that such schools, including training colleges, should be free from all sorts of religious tests. He did not propose in the very few remarks he intended to make to refer at any length to the third of those propositions, he must say, however, as regarded the first proposition that he was in complete sympathy with the mover and seconder of the Resolution. Those two hon. Members were quite correct in stating that there were few subjects at present before the country which were of more importance than the question of secondary education. At the same time, he would like them to bear in mind the fact that as regarded the question of the extension of secondary instruction it did not do to be in too great a hurry. They must remember that it was not yet five years since the Act of 1902 came into operation which placed secondary schools under the direct control of the Board of Education. He was not there as an apologist for the Board of Education, which would no doubt be represented by its President at a later stage in the debate. From his own knowledge of what the Board of Education had done he must say that it had always shown a sympathetic interest in all attempts which had been made to improve secondary education, and having regard to the difficulties of the work which they had to undertake he did not think they had been at all slow in the progress they had made. He thought, however, it would be very unfortunate, and in this he believed the mover and seconder would be disposed to agree with him, that the supply of secondary education should be in excess of the demand. What they had to take care of was that there should be among the working classes and among those who received the main part of their education at elementary schools a demand for that secondary education which the State was asked to offer. The people of this country required to be encouraged to see its importance. His own experience went to show that there was a lack of interest and desire among the working classes for the facilities which already existed. He asked the House to remember that it was not advisable to be in too great a hurry to multiply secondary schools before the demand for such instruction could be said to exist. It had been pointed out by the seconder of the Resolution that it was desirable there should be continuous education from the elementary to the secondary schools. He was in complete sympathy with that idea, but of course there was a difficulty in carrying it into effect, and that was due to a great extent to the character of instruction given in elementary and secondary schools. They should remember that as they advanced from elementary to higher forms of education the kind of education the children received tended to become differentiated. Elementary education was very much the same for all classes of children, but secondary education in all countries differed very considerably. He was quite willing to admit that it was somewhat chaotic at the present time in this country, but that was owing to the fact that secondary education had been under the direction of the Board of Education for so very short a time. When they compared secondary education in this country with what they found in Germany and other countries they were comparing it with organisations which had been in existence for decades. In all those countries where secondary education was well organised they would find different types of schools. It was very important, if children were to be taken from the elementary school into a secondary school of a particular kind, that they should be removed at an early age in order that they might receive the different kind of training afforded to them in the higher school. That was one of the difficulties which existed in the way of having a continuous scheme of elementary and secondary education. The difference was not entirely a social distinction, as people were very often inclined to imagine, but it was a distinction essential to the character of the education. The curriculum of any school must depend upon, and be regulated by the age at which it was probable the child would leave the school. If the entire education of a child or of the great majority of the children in a particular school was likely to be completed at the age of fourteen, that would be the determining factor in arranging the curriculum. If the children were to pass from that school into a school of a different character then they must be taken away at the age of eleven or twelve. There ought to be no difficulty in discovering the capabilities of children at that age for secondary education. He was strongly of opinion that whenever they found children of eleven or twelve years of ago who showed ability on the literary, scientific, artistic, or mathematical side, they should at once seize those children not only for their own sakes, but for the benefit of the State, and give them the highest possible education. The only way therefore in which that opportunity could be afforded was by means of scholarships. It should be borne in mind that it was not possible for the parent of every child to afford to continue the child's education up to the age of seventeen years or eighteen years. Therefore the education must be free, but beyond that the parent should be helped with regard to the education of his child, and that could only be done by way of scholarships. He was disposed to think that it was not necessary to select those children in all cases by means of competitive examinations. He thought that the system of competitive examinations applied to children of eleven and twelve years of age was a cruel system, and the teachers themselves should be consulted as to the children who were most competent. After the teachers had been consulted a selection might be made, and those children after having been carefully examined both physically and intellectually ought to be passed on to the secondary schools. As had already been pointed out a large number of children were not sufficiently developed educationally at the age of eleven or twelve, and they might show more promise at the age of fourteen. He was sure they did not want to exclude children of fourteen years of age from the higher education to which they might be entitled. But it was quite certain that the kind of secondary school to which a child of fourteen should be sent ought to be different from the school to which they sent children of eleven and twelve years of age. He was most desirous of seeing secondary education very carefully organised with a view to providing schools of different types. He would be the last person to suggest that anything should be done to lower the standard of our classical education. He thought that was a most valuable training, and young people with literary ability ought to have the opportunity of pursuing their studies in schools providing such instruction. He was equally desirous of seeing schools of the same grade as some of our literary secondary schools, in which the education was almost exclusively scientific and practical, and dealing with modern languages. Such modern schools scarcely existed on the lines which he wished to see. If secondary schools of that kind were organised from which Latin and Greek were excluded, but where the education was carried out upon practical lines, and where there was a sound literary instruction, and at the same time good teaching in modern languages, there would be no difficulty in taking a child who had boon well educated at an elementary school and removing him at the age of fourteen into a school of that type. The child could pass from a school of that sort to a secondary school without any break in the continuity of his education. Referring to the question of control, he did not think that the governors of any secondary school would object to some amount of what was called public control. He was not certain that it would always be an advantage. He saw no objection to it; but many hon. Members must be aware of the difficulty which local authorities sometimes had in finding persons willing to accept the position of managers of secondary schools. In many cases the local authority had to appoint persons who were not members of the authority at all. He doubted whether public control would add much to the value of the education given in the secondary schools. He believed public control would be attended with considerable difficulty in the girls' schools to which reference had been made by a previous speaker. The Girls' Public Day School Trust had been to a great extent the pioneers of secondary education for girls, and the public owed them a debt of gratitude. While there would be considerable difficulty in asking that those schools should be placed under local control, he did not see that the governors should have any objection to someone representing the Board of Education being appointed to the governing body. Personally he was not disposed to attach much value to local control in some of our public schools. He was not aware of any secondary school in which the religious difficulty existed. He appealed to hon. Members not to do anything which would raise the religious bogey in the secondary schools. There were difficulties enough in the organisation of those schools without introducing the religious question. In connection with the elementary schools it was a difficulty which existed far more in that House than in the country at large. He was confident that the President of the Board of Education would give a sympathetic reply.

*MR. SHACKLETON (Lancashire, N. E., Clitheroe)

said he felt the importance of providing proper facilities for secondary education. If there were any Members in the House who had occasion to complain of the want of those facilities in the past it was those with whom he was associated. He was not aware that there was even one of the Labour Members who had had more than the opportunities afforded by the elementary schools. If they were in earnest in this matter it was because they felt personally the need for adequate provision being made. Something had been said by previous speakers as to the opinion of the working men of the country on this question. There were organised methods of ascertaining the opinions of working men, and a more accurate estimate of their opinions could be obtained in that way than by taking the opinions expressed by individual workmen. Such organisations as trade councils had as good a right to express the opinion of working men on education questions as upon other matters. The principal point raised in the Resolution now before the House was that in relation to finance. Year after year working men through their representatives in trade organisations had passed resolutions in favour of the State coming more to their assistance in regard to secondary education. It was in the direction indicated by the Resolution that working men thought the Government should come to their assistance in that matter. He thought, therefore, that the Labour Members were entitled to support the Resolution. He took it that no Member would oppose the Resolution and say that the child of the workman should not have fair opportunities. The fact that the Resolution had the support not only of working men's representatives, but also of Members in the House generally, should be sufficient to enable the Government to accept it. They had been told that there was not such a demand from the workman that his child should be educated as there ought to be. He admitted that there was not the demand which he would like to see, but surely they were going the wrong way to put that right by stifling the demand. He knew what the feeling was among the people whom he represented when they were told that they had to meet a charge of £3 before a child could be sent to a secondary school. That was not the way to encourage a man who had 25s. or 30s. a week to send his boy or girl to a secondary school and to make the sacrifice involved in keeping the child out of the factory. If the President of the Board of Education could see his way to remove that barrier he was perfectly certain that the working classes would thank him. It was the duty of those interested in the development of secondary education to encourage the working classes to take a broader view of the question than they had at present, so that their children might have greater opportunities for receiving higher education. He thought schoolmasters and schoolmistresses in their own localities could do something to foster the desire for secondary education. When boys and girls were on the point of leaving school the teachers should endeavour to induce them to remain a little longer, and if they could not succeed in that, they should impress on the pupils the desirability of going on with their education at a continuation school. He agreed with the last speaker that examination was hardly a fair test of the qualifications of a child of twelve or thirteen years of age. The schoolmaster ought to be a fair judge whether a young lad had such ability as would make him a fit and proper person to proceed to a secondary school. There was a duty also in regard to the relations between employers and apprentices. At present employers were not inclined to take a lad as an apprentice after fourteen, and therefore those lads who remained at school until sixteen years of age suffered a disadvantage, especially in the engineering shops. Although there might not be much difficulty on the subject of religious tests in secondary schools, there was a good deal of difficulty felt on that subject in regard to the training colleges. In fact, that was the greatest blot on our educational system. When the result of a King's scholarship examination was published, he had known of lads spending as much as 15s. in telegrams to ascertain whether there were vacancies in training colleges for them. And the result was almost invariably that there was no room. In his opinion it was absurd that young lads should have to change their religion in order to got into a training college, which too often was the case.


apologised for speaking so comparatively early in the debate, but he thought that what he wanted to say would clear the ground somewhat. The difficulty in which he found himself arose from the fact that criticism had been directed against the Board, partly for what it now did and had the power to alter and partly for what it did and had no power to alter. It was of value to the President of the Board that he should have the advantage of knowing what men with experience in local educational matters felt on this subject. The duty of providing secondary education rested solely on the local education authorities. The Board acted on secondary education in no other way than through the grants, and they depended on the regulations which the Board made. One of the regulations, which, he hoped, would be introduced very shortly, was in those terms— A school:'— that was a secondary school— may be with or without fees, but any scale of fees must be approved by the Board. That, he thought, disposed of the criticism directed against the Board of insisting on fees. What was the position as to fees at the present moment? There were, in the 600 secondary schools recognised by the Board and receiving grants, 104,938 scholars, and of these over 56,808 came from public elementary schools. Of those 28,674 attended schools which were already under complete municipal control, 24,941 attended ordinary endowed schools, and 3,253 attended other secondary schools. Of the total 56,868 scholars from public elementary schools, 29,440 paid no fees and enjoyed free education at secondary schools. If they took, in addition, the figures of the children in attendance at higher elementary schools and in the top classes in the elementary schools it would be soon that the position, although nothing like what he would wish to see, was not quite so black as it had been painted. Turning to another point as to how they were going to administer education grants, especially in regard to free places, the duty of providing the schools rested upon the education authority, but it was their business to see that it administered the grants so that the will of Parliament should be carried out. As he construed the will of Parliament he believed he was carrying it out. His hon. friend for the Wells Division had complained with great truth that at the present time there was not anything like a sufficient supply of secondary schools, and it would be a pity if they began to deal with the existing supply by cutting it down. There was a supply of secondary schools at the present time, such as it was, which depended in many cases upon endowments, fees, and grants. Many of them did comply with such conditions as he thought the majority of that House would wish, to see, but if they took away the grants they would in many cases be closing those schools. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had placed at his disposal additional money for secondary education, and he proposed to divide the grants for the ensuing year into two categories. The schools which refused to remain under any regulations other than the old regulations he proposed to confine to the old grants, and nothing more. Then he had a second category. He proposed that the additional grants should be given only to the schools which conformed to the now conditions. Those conditions were, first, that there must be a majority of representative managers, either appointed by local representative authorities such as county or borough councils, district or parish councils, or boards of guardians, or elected by popular local constituences, such as parish meetings. The second condition was that the instrument under which the school was governed must not require members of the teaching staff to belong or not to belong to any particular denomination; it must not require a majority of the governing body to belong or not to belong to any religious denomination; and it must not provide for the appointment of a majority of the governing body by any person or persons or any body the majority of whom were required to belong or not not to belong to any particular denomination. Thus in every way freedom of conscience, whether on the staff or in the governing body, was obtained for the school. There might or might not be fees, but if there were the fees must be subject to the approval of the Board, and there must also be an adequate number of free places. Those must not be confused with scholarships. They would be for public elementary school children who would not be asked to compete with children outside, but who would only be asked to pass a qualifying examination. The general rule would be that any school receiving the additional grant should offer at least 25 per cent. of its places for public elementary school children, who should enter free. The schools might have as many more free places as they liked, and where the schools were provided by the local education authority he trusted they would all be free. There were cases, however, where 25 per cent. of the places would not be used in any ease in that way. He proposed that, where a resolution was passed by the local education authority supporting the application for recognition by a school which did not in all respects comply with those requirements about public management and conscience clause, the Board might, if they saw fit, waive those requirements. With regard to training colleges, he had found that question a difficult one to deal with. The only conclusion he had been able to come to was that in every training college there ought to be a conscience clause. The training colleges were almost exclusively supported out of public funds. That regulation would, for administrative reasons, not come into force this year, but it would come before the House next year. With regard to the supply of additional schools, that duty rested upon the local education authority who were bound to carry out the views of the ratepayers. All the Board of Education could do was to offer them the bribe of the general grant; and under the new regulations the Board had materially in creased the grant. It would be an increase in the proportion of three to five. They were, therefore, offering a distinct inducement to the local educational authorities to put their hands in their pockets to provide additional schools. He appealed to the hon. Member for Clitheroe to use his influence with the trade councils in this matter. Their resolutions should be addressed to the local authorities, and they should urge upon the local ratepayers the duty of facing the burden. The Government were willing to assist them; but theirs was the primary responsibility, and they must act. The Board's inspectors did their utmost to induce the local authorities to be generous; and he was thankful to say that there were many local authorities doing their utmost in the way of providing secondary schools. It would be invidious to mention particular eases; but he saw around him several gentlemen who had personally interested themselves in inducing their local authorities to appeal to the ratepayers to find the necessary money, and had succeeded. The Board had to deal with the country as a whole, and their figures were small because many of the local authorities were so backward in taking action. Why, until the law compelled, some of them would not spend the whisky money, much less rate themselves. Very recently a local authority could have got over its difficulty by a rate of a sixth of a penny, but it could not be induced to put even that charge upon the ratepayers. He hoped, therefore, hon. Members would be lenient with the Board of Education and accept his assurance that the Department would do its best with an earnest, active, and intelligent desire to raise the general educational level and obtain a good, efficient system of secondary schools. They would obtain such schools, but meanwhile lot a little patience be extended to the Board. The policy of the Board was to democratise the secondary schools in the sense of raising the level and securing for the humblest in the land the opportunity of education for their children in really good schools. Much of the criticism addressed to the Board in the discussion should be directed to local authorities, and so far as the Board of Education had influence the utmost endeavours would be made to carry out the views of hon. Members.

*SIR WILLIAM ANSON (Oxford Univerity)

said they had listened with great interest to the right hon. Gentleman's statement of the policy of the Board of Education in relation to the Resolution. The Resolution asked for three things—more encouragement for schools other than elementary, more local control over them, and the diminution or.abolition of sectarian requirements. The right hon. Gentleman had told the House in general terms that he had more money to dispose of—which they were glad to hear—which he was going to use to induce local authorities to come forward by offering them more local control under certain conditions; but he had expected from the Board rather more guidance. What had to be filled was the gap between elementary schools and secondary schools of the type properly defined by the Board. Before 1902 elementary schools did good work, not always of an elementary kind; they wandered into the region of secondary or higher education, in some cases doing it very well and in other cases not very well. In almost all cases where they did the work well the attention of the best teachers was distracted from the children who were their proper concern in elementary schools. The Act of 1902 compelled a distinction to be made between elementary and secondary schools. Secondary schools were required to give some teaching in languages and literature and give the pupils some notion of scientific methods, but in almost all cases the practical requirements of the child had to be considered in relation to the work he would have to do, and, though there was an attempt to specialise in the last two years, there was always a gap between the two schools. How did the Hoard propose to fill that gap, or would it be loft to local authorities to work out the complicated matter? When he was at the Board of Education he had endeavoured to move from below and to fill the gap by higher elementary schools developing elementary work on higher lines suited to the requirements of the children. There was, however, still a gap between those schools and the higher type of secondary schools, and he hoped to hear how that was proposed to be tilled. Local authorities had taken up the work with great good-will and readiness, and in some cases with a great deal of acumen, but many were inexperienced in the work of education. It must be borne in mind that a school was not made a secondary school simply by calling it a secondary school; and that the education of a boy was not served by sending him to a school which could not give him; the education he required. The resources upon which a school rested were Government grants, rates, and fees, and if fees were knocked away the financial stability of the school must be impaired. Now it was proposed that a local authority might start a school and offer it as a free gift to the locality. That would be extremely popular for a time. But would such a school be able to do all it professed to do? The absence of fees often meant lower salaries. If the salaries of teachers were low, the staff would be inefficient, and if the staff were inefficient, whatever the school might profess to do, it could not really do it. Although a school might be ostensibly a secondary school, although it might have a curriculum which excited admiration, although the scholars might be really anxious to obtain teaching therein, although the teachers might be desirous of giving it, yet they might not be able to get the kind of teacher who could give the sort of teaching which the school professed to give; and he, therefore, hoped that the President of the Board would bear this in mind, that if they created a type of school which professed to give a kind of education which it could not in reality give, because it could not afford the kind of teacher who could give the education which the school professed to give, then the splendid conception of bringing secondary education to the door of the working classes would be a disappointment and a fraud. He trusted that the Board of Education would take steps to set free the local authorities as regarded the remission of fees, and that they would also inquire very carefully into the financial conditions of a school before encouraging it, by offering it a grant, to undertake that which it could not successfully perform. They were all glad that the local authorities should be represented in the government of the schools, but the complete control of the school by the local authority was not always to the advantage of the school. In the Report of the Commission on Secondary Education it was contemplated that the local authorities should be represented, but not that they should have the entire control of the schools. On page 56 of the Report of the Board of Education for 1906, an illustration was afforded of a school governed entirely by the local education authority through one or more Committees, and mainly through the agency of the organising secretary. Now, if the head master and head mistress could only communicate with the governing body (the committee of the county council) through the organising secretary, that was not likely to create any strong sense of responsibility, nor was the teacher likely to approach his task with any great enthusiasm. No doubt, with longer experience, local authorities would become perfectly well informed on these subjects, but at present they did not know all that was required for the proper government of the secondary school; and, although he welcomed the representation of the local authorities in all cases, he could not help thinking that the requirement that there should be a majority of local representatives in all cases where a school was to receive the higher grant, was a somewhat dangerous move in the direction of creating a government of secondary schools which might not always be to the advantage of those schools. He was very glad to hear that State aid was not to be altogether withdrawn from the schools which were not under local control. If the Board of Education were to go so far in the direction of requiring local control as to decline to give a grant to any school privately governed, he thought they would do great injury to secondary education. The local authorities had so recently taken up the question of secondary education that the supply of schools was deficient and would remain deficient for some time, if the Board of Education did not encourage reliance on those schools which were not at present under local control. As regarded the training colleges, the effect of what had been told them by the President of the Board of Educa- tion was not at first sight very obvious, but at the same time it did not strike him as being very alarming to those colleges which had been built and started by denominations. It would be a very unfortunate thing if in the case of colleges which had been built in the faith that they would be maintained by Government grant, they were to be told that because they were denominational henceforth they were to be starved. The private enterprise which had started the training of teachers in this country had emanated from the Church of England, which was entitled to the consideration due to the pioneer in the great work of training the teachers of the country, he was quite ready to admit the generous nature of the Government grant so far as the maintenance of the students was concerned, but it must be borne in mind that the grant was dependent on the existence of a building. The Government had not until recently offered any contribution to building, and local authorities had shrunk from the charge of maintaining the schools. The requirements of the proposed conscience clause did not seem to him to amount to more than this, that a Nonconformist would be able to go to a Church college, and that a Church of England student would be able to go to a Nonconformist college, both without any fear, of proselytising. But there was one matter arising out of the Resolution which he thought its mover ought to bear in mind. It was constantly urged that the Government should bear the whole cost of the training of teachers. If so it was difficult to see where local control came in. He had always urged local authorities to build training colleges and retain that right of local control which could only arise if they contributed something either to the building or to the maintenance of the college, and which was necessary to them if they were to construct a scheme for the boys and girls within their area who would enter the teaching profession. He welcomed the announcement made by the President of the Board of Education that more money would be forthcoming for secondary education. He wished the right hon. Gentleman had told them the amount. He had himself made a humble effort in that direction for which his successor got the credit. The great object which the Board of Education had to carry out was the moulding of the secondary schools to meet the requirements of the children in any given area, and the instruction of the local authorities in the best method of filling up the interval which existed between the elementary and the higher type of secondary school. The Education Board in these matters must guide the local authorities, because they had a survey over the whole area of England and Wales, and they could bring an amount of experience to bear upon the subject that no local authority could offer. It was for the Board rather than the local authorities to instruct and guide the public mind as to what the various types of education other than elementary should be. It would have been more satisfactory if the right hon. Gentleman had said he was going to spend this money for schools of a new and definite type such as were badly wanted in various parts of the country. Before they could form an opinion about what was going to be done for the training colleges they must wait to see the regulations, but he was glad that the action of Board with respect to denominational training colleges did not appear to be harsh.

MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)

congratulated his right hon. friend on the spirit in which he had approached this problem. It marked a new epoch for the President of the Board of Education to get up in the House of Commons and say that the conscience clause was now to apply to training colleges for teachers. He wished to ask one or two questions. The conscience clause was hung up in every public elementary school, and it protected every child in that school who needed its protection, and any child in the neighbourhood might demand to enter that school and could not be kept out of it because of any religious opinions. Would the President of the Board of Education accompany this regulation dealing with the conscience clause by another regulation that no King's scholar who had passed the necessary qualifying examination should be excluded from any training college on account of religion? That was the vital part of the whole question. It was useless to put a statement upon the wall in a training college that any student, once inside, would have the right to abstain from attending religious observances at a certain place of worship. The committee of management of such a college might, under that rule, still be able to exclude from entering the college any student who did not state tacitly, if not expressly, his willingness to observe the religious observances of the college and to worship in a certain place. He rejoiced that the right hon. Gentleman was going to give more money to secondary schools and to insist upon a real course of instruction in those schools. The President of the Board of Education had stated that he intended to invite the governing body in existing secondary schools to admit a number of persons representing the local authority. Did he mean to apply that principle to the training colleges? If so they might expect the management of those colleges to be democratised and then all religious tests, so far as those colleges were concerned, would be removed. More money was to be given to those secondary schools which adopted popular methods of management. Would the President of the Board of Education tell the House in what way he proposed to apportion the grants to which he had referred? Were the grants to be apportioned equally in the first, second, third, and fourth years, or were they to be apportioned on an ascending scale from year to year? The right hon. Gentleman had the advantage of knowing what the figures were up to date. The latest figures which he himself had been able to obtain were two years old. He wished that arrangements could be made for placing more recent figures at the disposal of Members of the House. The statement of the right hon. Gentleman that half of the children; attending the secondary schools and receiving grants from the Board of Education had gone through the public elementary schools, and that half of the children were attending the secondary schools free of fees, might be perfectly accurate so far as it went, but he thought it revealed a specious aspect which was perhaps hardly fair to those who had brought this matter forward. How many of the number were probationers or pupil teachers? How many were obtaining secondary education on the understanding that they should become teachers later on? He did not question the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman as to free places, but he would point out that there was not a single secondary school in the county of London where free places existed for children from elementary schools. The Minister for Education had expressed his proud determination to see that second ary schools were really and properly secondary schools, where secondary education of the right type was given. He hoped that that did not mean that in his opinion there was only one right type. No one acquainted with the subject would wish to destroy that secondary education of the classical and literary type which had existed so long. Whether she advantages of that type of school came from the curriculum or the other conditions of public schools might be doubted. He was inclined to think it lay in the playing fields, with their organised games, and the spirit of subordination and unselfishness which they produced. If they could have this in the elementary and the modern secondary school he was inclined to think the same results would be achieved. At the same time he hoped it would be open to local authorities to develop whit they sought to develop, and what the people of this country wished—a secondary education of a more modern and more practical type.

MR. BUTCHER (Cambridge University)

said he had noticed with especial pleasure from the speech of the President of the Board of Education that he considered the free air of discussion was almost essential for intending teachers who had passed the age of childhood. His fooling was that the training colleges of the future would need to be drawn into closer relations with the Universities. University life, he considered, would provide the froe atmosphere which was desired. At the same time he recognised that so long as we provided teachers to give religious instruction some kind of denominational college would be necessary. There was a certain unity of life and thought which could not be got apart from that. He welcomed the suggestion that there should be a conscience clause. To his mind the most important part of the discussion that evening related to popular control over schools which received State grants. There seemed to be some difference of opinion as to what that popular control should be. He himself was in favour in such cases of some representation being given either to the local authority or to the Board of Education. One of the first conditions of improvement was that the local authorities should realise that the salaries of the teachers should be raised. The whole equipment of secondary schools was something entirely different from what was thought sufficient ten, fifteen, or twenty years ago; and therefore the remark of the President of the Board of Education that because they had got on with a smaller grant in the past, they could get on with a smaller grant in the future was entirely wrong. If this demand for popular control was carried out to its full effect, the result would be undoubtedly that secondary education would be far more costly than at present, because the springs of private enterprise would be dried up, and instead of giving larger access to secondary education for the many, they would be closing many doors and admitting only the few. He held that secondary education should come in future somewhat more under local control. We were still in what he might call an experimental stage, and we could not get any one definite typo of what was best. What was needed was diversity and variety which would come through the initiative and capacity of the head masters who were allowed the utmost freedom. The local authorities were new to their work and did not know very much, and, even if they did know their work, however loyal the local authorities and however patriotic their committees might be, they were inclined to make far too rigorous and uniform requirements to suit the type of school which he desired to see. He was perfectly convinced that freedom in the schools, combined, of course, with a certain amount of suitable discipline, was the first of all necessities, not only in regard to the intellectual methods to be pursued, but in regard to the character-forming influences which should be existent in the school. If they asked the best teachers in the secondary schools what their chief grievance in the matter of control was, they would say that they were subject to many harassing restrictions and vexatious regulations which were supposed to be part of a policy of control in regard to grants of public money. Popular control ought, however, in his judgment to carry with it the utmost freedom to the headmaster and the capacity to develop the greatest diversity in the type of school.

MR. STUART (Sunderland)

congratulated the mover and seconder of the Resolution on the reply which they had drawn from the President of the Board of Education in regard to the secondary part of the education of the country. There were a good many points in the right hon. Gentleman's statement which might give rise to difference of opinion, such as his references to training colleges and popular control. However, he did not rise to deal with any of those subjects, but to point to two questions in which he thought hon. Members upon both sides of the House would be enabled to approach the consideration of the matter from the same point of view. The first point was that whatever might be done in regard to secondary education the great difficulty which had to be overcome throughout the country was that of bringing the local authority up to scratch in all cases so that they took up the subject in a proper manner. He admitted that there had been a great advance, especially since the Act of 1902, in regard to secondary education, but the local authorities were still behindhand. The local authorities were too distinct one from another and suffered from want of knowledge of what kind of secondary education was to be aimed at, and what class of schools they should establish. There were in the schools two classes of pupils, those who came forward at an early age and were permitted to receive secondary education, and those who were permitted to receive it only at the end of their course of elementary instruction. They could not, however, keep up secondary education merely as a continuance of elementary education. They could not say after a person went through a course of elementary education for a certain number of years that he should go through a course of secondary education. He thought a great deal might be done by the Board of Education in giving much more assistance than they did—although he knew they did a great deal—as to the character of schools required in the country. He agreed with the hon. Member who had last spoken, that there should be greater variety in the schools under the same local authority, and he believed that information on the matter might be diffused more widely by the Department. The other point he wished to call attention to was the unwillingness of the local authorities to raise the money. The real necessity was to raise the demand for secondary education in the constituencies so that the local education authorities would be supported in their efforts to forward it, and he appealed to hon. Members generally to use their influence so that money might be raised for the purposes of secondary education.


said that, after the statement of the Minister for Education, and after the satisfactory discussion which had taken place, he begged leave to withdraw his Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.