HC Deb 11 March 1908 vol 185 cc1653-4

Order for Second Reading read.

MR. JESSE COLLINGS (Birmingham, Bordesley),

in moving the Second Reading of this Bill, said that it had passed its Second Reading with the unanimous consent of the House a few years ago. The object of the measure was, instead of having so much literary teaching in rural schools, to provide for the teaching of agricultural and horticultural subjects, and of Nature study. While these ubjects might be optional in urban schools, they would be compulsory in schools in rural districts, and where possible school gardens for practical instruction in fruit culture, flower growing, and the like should be provided. Unless this was done in elementary schools the teaching in the higher and secondary schools was practically useless. If the children reached the age of fifteen on book learning only, it was too late to get them to take up agriculture. Children trained in these pursuits very early acquired a liking for them, and that continued with them in after life. At the last meeting of the Dairy Farmers' Association he saw a girl of about thirteen milking cows as well as he had ever seen it done in his life. He moved that the Bill be read a second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."

SIR P. BANBURY (City of London)

said the right hon. Gentleman need not be afraid; he was not going to prevent his Bill going through. He only wanted to ask him one or two questions. A sub section of Clause 2 said that a special grant not exceeding 75 per cent. of the cost should be made by the local education authority of these schools. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that the object of the Bill in rural districts was excellent; but he asked whether this clause, which contemplated increased expenditure, meant that all the subjects at present taught in the schools were to be in addition to what was provided for n this Bill? For, if so, that would cause a largely increased expenditure. He hoped that on the Committee Stage the right hon. Gentleman would endeavour to make such alterations in the Bill as would cover the object of it, but would not impose increased expenditure on the locality.