§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I have to rule that the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities—to the effect that the House while welcoming educational legislation for Scotland regrets that the present measure does not propose change in the educational areas, which is urgently required in the interests of efficient administration—is not technically in order, because it does not challenge the principle of the Bill. The question raised can be decided by an Amendment to the Bill itself. If the hon. Member wants to object to the Second Reading he should 77 move that the Bill be read this day six months.
§ SIR HENRY CRAIK (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)
said that his Amendment was intended to indicate a criticism that he had to make on the Bill, though he did not intend to put the House to the trouble of a division. He was in somewhat of a difficulty in discussing that question, because he had to speak after a necessarily limited exposition of the Bill by the Secretary for Scotland, who, notwithstanding that the measure was one of the first importance for Scotland, introduced it under the ten minutes rule, and was in consequence unable to deal with many of the large questions it contained. There was one matter which must afford some measure of satisfaction, and that was that in dealing with this Bill it was not overshadowed, as in the case of the English Education Bill, by a mass of burning questions from which the question of education itself scarcely emerged. He hoped, indeed, they would have no necessity in the debate to refer to the religious difficulty at all. But it was noteworthy that while the benches were crowded with Members when those questions were raised, they were now practically empty when real educational topics were under discussion. His criticism of the Bill was directed rather at the omissions than the provisions. He had nothing but support for what the Bill contained, and the Secretary for Scotland would find no factious opposition on that side of the House. The right hon. Gentleman had shown much boldness of conception and foresight, but the construction of the Bill depended in its essence very much on what was omitted. From one end of Scotland to the other the first question in education administration was the size of the area. Again and again attempts had been made to deal with this question, and the late Government on no less than three occasions nearly landed their fish. They secured the Second Reading and got the Bill into the narrows of the water, but whether the fish was too strong, or the narrows too rapid, or the angler too unskilful, the fact remained that the fish got away. He was glad that they were to have the assistance of the Secretary for War in the debate, and he hoped that while the right hon. Gentleman had put on the panoply of Mars he was not going to 78 discard altogether the robes of Minerva. When the question was formerly before the House no one asserted more emphatically than the right hon. Gentleman the necessity for a change in the areas. Perhaps it was not a want of boldness that had prevented such a proposal being introduced into this Bill. Possibly there had been a little rift within the lute, for the Secretary for Scotland did not at the time express full concurrence with the views of the right hon. Gentleman. He thought too the Lord Advocate also expressed considerable doubt. The Bill was urgently required by Scotland. They had waited patiently and had lagged behind in the educational race because of the want of this much-needed legislation. They were not going to refuse half a loaf, although they could wish that a larger measure, dealing more adequately with the question, had been put before them. He feared, however, that when they obtained this Bill it would be very difficult indeed to re-open the question, as the patience of Scotland was frequently abused by the House. The Scottish followers of the present Government he was afraid would acquiesce in the position and would not insist on further legislation. He noticed that the hon. Member for Leith had a Motion on the Paper for a national advisory committee.
§ MR. MUNRO FERGUSON (Leith Burghs)
It is put forward as an alternative to the enlargement of the local bodies.
§ SIR HENRY CRAIK
said he ventured to dissent entirely from such a proposal. Let them remember there were two ends to the string—one held by the central authority and the other by the local authority, and if they were not equally balanced the proper course was to increase the weight of the local authority by enlarging it. But they could not increase that weight nor add to the influence of the local authority by merely placing a buffer between it and the Department. He had read of a proposal by the Chamber of Commerce in Edinburgh that there should be a general advisory council in Scotland, and one which should have much more than mere advisory powers, but he did not think hon. Members would approve of that. How could a general educational council he made as responsible as the local boards? It would have neither a 79 soul to save nor a body to keep while the Department emphatically had both, and it would lose its soul if it misinterpreted the views of Scotland as to what was advantageous, while its officials going round the country might be made to suffer badly. They could not, he repeated, secure the enlargement and strengthening of local bodies by interposing such a buffer. There was another suggestion, viz., that they should have a voluntary combination of school areas. He would advise the right hon. Gentleman to avoid any such scheme, because it meant they would have a miscellaneous congeries of local authorities paying different rates, and containing many elements of dissension and of friction. It would never be known how long they would last, as immediately there appeared an element of incompatibility in the associated boards they would break up. It would be an unhappy, confused, unpractical scheme to attempt this combination of school boards. It would create new and more local divisions between the different parties. He was anxious not to occupy at undue length the time of the House, but the subject with which he was dealing was one in which he was specially interested. He wanted first of all to strip away all the non-essential parts of the Bill. There were 29 clauses. The first two and the last four were absolutely formal, and the same remark applied to Clause 10, which dealt with the Court of Summary Jurisdiction. But beyond these there were eight clauses which were of a special character, and about which he now had something to say, but they did not touch any very large principle. In the first subsection of Clause 6, there was a very important point which he thought would create more interest among English Members as well as Scottish Members when they observed that it apparently reenacted the old provisions of the law with regard to compulsory education. But there was one little word which had existed in every Act of Parliament hitherto, and which was now dropped, and that was the word "elementary" between "efficient" and "education"—"efficient elementary education." It was rather an important thing, he thought the House would agree, that for the first time the House was now imposing the absolute duty upon the parents of providing an education which was not limited to elementary education. He 80 was entirely in favour of the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman; he had no doubt whatever about it in his own mind. In Scotland they had insisted upon education being carried on up to the age of 14, and when they insisted upon that they necessarily either wasted the time of the pupil or they must teach him subjects which could not by the ordinary use of language be called elementary education. He was not going to oppose that provision. The last part of the section dealt with what was very much a technical matter, but one not unimportant. Hitherto, in all these elementary schools, the children had become subject to the Act on reaching a particular age, and had dropped into the school gradually from day to day, week to week, and month to month as they reached that age. That broke up the school; it gave it no consistent life, no periodical provision for the school session. It interfered with and interrupted school work. Section 13 he passed over at once; it merely laid down the sources of the money which was to be contributed under the Bill. It made really a very slight alteration in the existing system. It brought various sums of money into one school, and the Education Department relinquished its exclusive administration, of the money under the Act of 1898. It took away from the municipal authority, the town council, the money which they had had the right to apply alternatively either to education or to relief of the rates. He believed that everyone would agree that the full experience of the past sixteen years showed the absurdity of the application of money which had followed under the Act of 1892. It had been beneficial neither to the one side nor to the other, and it was far better to have it clearly laid down by Act of Parliament how the money was to be expended. Section 16 dealt only with machinery, and did not decide the actual distribution of the money. Section 17 was unimportant, because it dealt only with a temporary sum of money—£140,000—which would soon be expended, and they need not quarrel about how it was to be administered for the time being. Clause 19 related to the audit of accounts. It might provoke opposition, but be himself wished to give his support to the right hon. Gentleman, who he thought was, on the whole, right in giving those more stringent powers for 81 the auditing of accounts. Clause 21 introduced, and it was the only place whore it was introduced in the Bill, what he thought hon. Members would agree, when they thought it over, was a mistake, and that was the special assistance to be given to the inhabitants of poor places who were too heavily burdened by the rate for education. That was far more a matter of finance than of education, and he thought it would have been far better kept separate from an Education Bill. The money that went into a parish from the central authority was very heavy in proportion to its resources, and if they had to give special assistance to localities, then it became a matter of finance all round, and was no more a matter for an Education Bill than the graduating of the income-tax. The right hon. Gentleman's predecessors had fallen into the same error as was being fallen into now, and it was an error which in practice had not worked satisfactorily. Clause 22 dealt with what ho was sure was not known to English Members, namely, the compulsory use of the rates for the support and maintenance of the higher class schools. English Members left Scottish Members so much to deal with their own affairs that they were in absolute ignorance of the advances made in Scotland. But really the right hon. Gentleman was enacting nothing which was not done under Section 18 of the Act of 1878. The school boards had power to do that, and all that was wanted was the sanction of the Department, and that sanction the right hon. Gentleman would agree he was right in saying never in one instance had been refused during the last thirteen years. Section 23 was a very important one, but it did not belong to the principle of the Bill. The cumulative vote had frequently led to absurdities, but it would not be swept away quite so easily as hon. Members opposite might think. It had worked in certain districts towards the representation of minorities, and he would not be surprised if, perhaps in a quarter of the House now untenanted, the right hon. Gentleman found certain difficulties and objections raised to that portion of the Bill. He had cleared away a large part of the Bill, no less than eighteen out of the twenty-nine clauses, leaving only eleven which dealt with really important questions. Clauses 3, 4, and 5 gave additional powers to school boards. He 82 had no strong affection for them, and he thought they must look at them with some care. Subsection 1 of Clause 3 really re-enacted what had been already the case with the school boards, who could provide any education contained in the Code. It re-enacted almost in express terms the Education Endowment Act of 1882. Subsection 2 dealt with the more important question of the feeding of the school children. So far as that section was concerned he had stated in the country that he was entirely in assent with the proposal. He thought it was a necessary part of educational work that there should be means provided by which the children should be fed. If hon. Members referred to paragraph 3 of the excellent Memorandum which the right hon. Gentleman had supplied they would see that the Minister actually affirmed what he himself had previously advocated. The right hon. Gentleman said in that paragraph that it was apparently a common thing in country districts for meals to be provided. The right hon. Gentleman was aware of the practice, and if he had believed that it was not according to the law he would have disallowed the cost on the audit of the accounts. There were other proposals about which he would have more to say afterwards. Subsection 4 was a new and very bold advance. It gave to the school boards the power of having something like an employment bureau. Ho was not going to say that the right hon. Gentleman had taken this step, because a lady of family, well known in connection with education work, had framed a scheme which he was very glad to think would be carried out by the Education Department. He was glad that a scheme so elaborately devised would have an opportunity of being carried out. It was a matter which must lead to enormous social development throughout the country, and would bring the schools into close contact with the active working life of the country. With regard to Subsection 5 he saw no reason to object to it. It was an extension of the burden laid on the ratepayers, an extension which he did not think would always be necessary, and he trusted the school boards would not always use it. But why had the right hon. Gentleman made a very important change this session? In the previous Bill he had proposed that the 83 school boards should have an impartial power of giving this to their own, and to voluntary schools as well. Why had he struck out the voluntary school? What new light had been thrown upon it? Why was he not continuing to these schools an advantage for which the parents of the pupils attending them would pay as ratepayers just as much as the parents of the children who drew this advantage from the public school? He had no doubt the right hon. Gentleman would give some explanation, but it was a change of front and it touched a point of policy of very considerable importance. He still had doubt with regard to Subsection 6, which dealt with the power of school board members, at the cost of the ratepayers, to go wandering all over the country for what were called educational conferences. He was afraid that during his official life he had rather thrown cold water on proposals of that sort. He was not sure that his difficulties were entirely removed. He knew that many of his friends thought these conferences led to very great benefits, but were they not to have some restrictions? Conferences might be held in New York or in Berlin. Were they to pay the expenses of school board members out of the rates for foreign or transatlantic visits? They must have the power to a certain extent restricted. As the subsection now stood it might give rise to a sort of expenditure that would be a very serious burden on the rates. Then with regard to Clause 4, of which he had spoken as increasing the powers of school boards, he considered it entirely beneficial He did not think there would be any difference of opinion in the House on that point, and he was glad also that it went a little further than the similar English Bill, and that it gave power out of the Scottish education fund, which was to be obtained by pooling all these monies, to supplement defective action in this regard by local authorities. In that respect it added a very important element which was lacking in the provisions made by the English Bill of last session. Then in Clause 5 they came to a very much more important principle. He was afraid that, although his opposition would not be directed, of course, to obstruction or interference with the progress of the Bill, he must on principle declare his total dissent from some of its provisions. Let them provide, if they liked, as a part 84 of educational work the machinery for giving the necessary meals in schools; for providing utensils and other machinery necessary for doing it; but the moment they began to supply food, which was the right and proper duty of a parent, and made it a part of educational machinery, they broke from a principle that was of the very highest value, socially and morally, for the whole population of the country. They were told that this was to be given at the expense of the education rate. When were they to come at the real opinion of the Government on this question? In 1906 they supported a proposal to give full and free power to local education authorities to feed children of every class in their schools. They supported it, forsooth, because they thought that in Committee it would be altered. It was passed with certain restrictions in England. He was glad to say it was not the law of Scotland. Last year again in their own Bill they made their proposal. Food was to be supplied but at the expense of the poor rate, and the disabilities of poor relief were not to extend to parents who received this help. But they conceived that after all it was a part of Poor Law administration and not of educational administration and they embodied that in the Bill. Now it was to be put on the education rate. Surely they might require some sort of definite position to be taken up by the Government on this question. He knew he was in a minority, and, of course, in Committee they would be a negligible quantity, but he must on principle declare his dissent from that proposal as one of the cruellest that could be made for the home-life of Scotland, and for the moral character of Scotsmen, of which they were so proud. If a man could not feed himself and had to go for his own food to the Poor Law authority, he was deprived of the rights of citizenship. But if he fed himself and neglected what was a higher and far more moral duty, the feeding of those for whose being he was responsible, he was to be exempt from such disability and put upon a higher level. Could anything tend more to lower the character of Scotsmen? He came now to three important clausse dealing with the new compulsory power of attendance. The first, with regard to attendance orders, was a very serious alteration of machinery. It altered the 85 machinery in this way. Now he understood they would proceed direct by attendance order. Hitherto under the Education Acts the parent was bound to have his child educated but was not bound to send him to school. He might educate him anywhere he liked. Frequently it had been pleaded, when a parent had been brought before the magistrate, that he was giving his child education in some other way than at school, and the magistrate had a right to satisfy himself of the efficiency of the education and dismiss the charge. That would not arise now. Now, if a parent did not send his child to school, it was not the magistrate who was to decide whether he was giving efficient education, but the school board. There was an appeal to the Sheriff, but instead of first going before the Sheriff it would only go in the last resort. A man might have an attendance order issued against him without any appeal to the Courts of law. He did not know that that would not act well, but it was a very important change, and a change that he did not think hon. Members should pass without noticing what it involved. Then he came to a very important question, an absolutely new departure in all our educational legislation. That was, that while there was imposed upon school boards the compulsory duty of providing continuation classes, there was also imposed upon young people compulsory attendance up to seventeen. He was personally entirely in assent with these changes. There was no greater wastage than in the period between fourteen and seventeen. They saw the work undone, and even a promising boy was in those years turned into a hooligan. They had left this as a mere casual thing to be established, not by Parliament, but surely it was Parliament, and not local government, which should itself impose such a vast increase of compulsory attendance. They had left it to the casual decision of no less than 984 boards. Was that sound policy? If they were going to have compulsory education up to seventeen, ought it not to be done once for all by Parliament? Were they to have a multi-coloured surface of the country where, by passing a mile or two into another parish, one might be exempted altogether from attendance up to seven- 86 teen and be free from schooling at fourteen? Surely that was absurd. He knew, however, that there were strong temptations to the right hon. Gentleman to adopt that course. The proposition was a strong one and it might perhaps have to be introduced gradually, but there was more than that. It required machinery, and that machinery must be provided by by-laws. It would be a subject of the most tremendous difficulty to devise those by-laws. Let the House look at what was proposed with regard to duties of parents under the Bill. Under Clause 6 it was to be the duty of a parent to educate his child up to fourteen. But when they got beyond fourteen and up to sixteen that was no longer continued in the same form. The presumption was not to be that the parent was guilty. If was only if it could be proved that the parent by actual prevention, by wilful neglect, had hindered a young person from attending school that he was to be guilty. Supposing the parent was not guilty of any such apathy or neglect, who was to be punished? The modified proposal between fourteen and sixteen did not carry the right hon. Gentleman the whole way up to seventeen. For young persons between sixteen and seventeen the penalties were a fine of 40s. for the first offence and £5 for a second offence. Did hon. Members opposite seriously propose to impose a fine of £2 or £5 upon boys of sixteen and seventeen years of age? Were they going to send them to prison? Much as he sympathised with the object in view he thought the right hon. Gentleman would find that he had entered upon a very difficult question. He was quite prepared to support the proposal as a whole if it could be shown that difficulties would not arise in the cases he had mentioned. There was one thing missing in the provision of continuation classes which he thought they ought to insist upon, and that was compulsory physical training and drill. There was no better path for education, nothing that would do them more good, and raise them more in their citizenship than a thorough physical training, and the Secretary for War would find no better means of realising the fulness of his aims and ideas for the development of his Territorial Army than 87 in continuing this method. Not only as an educationist, but as Minister for War, he trusted what he had said would receive the right hon. Gentleman's cordial support. Then there were three clauses dealing with teachers, and one of them contained a long-needed provision giving the teachers greater security of tenure. They had discussed this subject over and over again, and he did not think there was any difference of opinion amongst Scottish Members or the question. They had all seen the evils which had been wrought in the past, and some time ago they were unanimous in placing their names or the back of a single clause Bill dealing with the question. He would rather this security were given in a different way, and it would have been much sounder if the area had been enlarged. With larger areas there would not have been any room for those small local squabbles which had often rendered the teacher's life a curse to him, and had frequently turned him adrift at a time when he could not very well follow any other employment. The provision would not work very smoothly, although it would be a sort of threat held out to irresponsible and meddlesome school boards, but he did not think it would be found at all satisfactory when they came to put it into force. There was one condition which he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not object to cutting out—he alluded to the condition that a teacher who conceived he had a wrong would have to obtain the signatures of thirty ratepayers before appealing. That was rather an absurd proposal. Probably it would not be difficult in a large town to get thirty ratepayers to sign, but in a small country district they could not be got without the teacher going round cadging for signatures. The cutting out of that condition would make no difference in the school working, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would be persuaded to allow the appeal to be open in every case without the condition. The Bill gave the teachers some hope that their position in regard to pensions would be as good as it used to be before the Superannuation Act was passed, because that Act was designed solely to meet English difficulties and 88 conditions. It was mistakenly applied to Scotland and it had worked endless hardship. A pension to be really a means of increasing the efficiency of education must be fixed on a basis upon which a man could with safety and certainty reckon. If they had a casual pension depending upon the benevolent feelings of school hoards from year to year, it would not only be unsatisfactory but, in addition, most extravagant and wasteful. They would not by the system of deferred salary draw any better men into the service. He would also appeal on behalf of the teacher in the small school who was receiving a salary which did not constitute a living wage. He thought the right hon. Gentleman might very well fix a minimum pension upon less than which the poorest should not be forced to live. Clauses 14 and 15 provided for the distribution of the central fund. The distribution was ingenious, and he granted that they could not possibly distribute the money for higher education to all the 984 school boards throughout Scotland unless it was drawn into some sort of centre. By adopting the machinery which had been in operation for some sixteen years the right hon. Gentleman had contrived the very best substitutes he could find. Hon. Members might say that for these secondary education committees he had necessarily a partiality, but he would remind the House that they were not the creation of one Government only. The Government which came to an end in 1892 proposed these Committees in one of those Minutes of the Department which were so frequently attacked. There was a debate on the subject in 1892, and the scheme for the moment was set aside, but after an inquiry on the part of Sir George Trevelyan the Minute was renewed, and those committees were again adopted. Further consideration modified it. Objections were put forward by Members of the House, and it was modified so far that they were forced to "repeat the offence" and to establish committees the expedience of which they had themselves doubted. The House would pardon him when he said that he referred with some diffidence to subsection (b) of Clause 14, which provided that out of the Education (Scotland) 89 Fund payments might be made to the Universities "after consideration of the results of such investigations" as the Secretary for Scotland might direct to be made. He would not quote anything about fearing the Greeks when they brought gifts, and he was not going to show any want of gratitude to the Government for having placed the Universities of Scotland in a favourable position in regard to this Bill. He was glad, on the other hand, that the right hon. Gentleman had seen that the work of these Universities was the coping stone of Scottish education, and that in any scheme of Scottish education they must have a part and must be assigned a share of any benefits that were going. He would venture to utter one word of warning. The Scottish Members generally, and not merely those representing the Universities, had claimed that the Scottish Universities should receive assistance tantamount or bearing some relation to those lavish grants given for University education both in England and in Ireland. A grant of £100,000 was given some years ago to the Universities in England; Wales had had additional money bestowed upon it; and Ireland was to have £80,000 for University education under the proposal of the Chief Secretary. Scotland had had absolutely not a penny. He believed that a deputation waited upon the Prime Minister not long ago to urge the needs of Scotland. Let it be remembered that they did not accept the money that might come to them under Clause 14 as in any sense a satisfaction of their just claims. He knew it would be said that the Scottish Universities had £47,000 a year under the Act of 1889. He was quite sure that the right hon. Gentleman would not use that argument. That sum represented in its origin the actual property and endowments of the Universities which were given generations ago, and which were taken away by the Crown. In Glasgow the fund of the Archbishopric of Glasgow we s escheated to the Crown, but the Crown at the same time took upon itself the burden which was borne for generations by the property of the University. The Act of 1889, therefore, did not endow the Universities; it simply transposed the form in which their charges should be met. Under the Act of 1892, £30,000 was given, but the right 90 hon. Gentleman knew that that was not English money. It was purely Scottish money, not drawn out of the national exchequer at all. The money to be dealt with under this Bill was again Scottish money, and what they insisted upon was that it must not be held to be a discharge of what they considered a just debt due to the Scottish Universities which ought to bear some relation to the grants made to England, Wales, and Ireland. There was one condition in regard to this grant as to which he must utter a very emphatic word of caution. It was not to be supposed that the Scottish Universities were to be turned into State-managed or State-inspected institutions. They were not going to have the type of University "made in Germany" foisted upon them in Scotland. When he was at the Education Office he used to have transmitted to him from the Foreign Office long schedules of inquiry from foreign Powers with the request that he should supply information in regard to the most minute points as to the management, discipline, and personnel of the Scottish Universities. He had always held officially that the Scottish Education Office had absolutely no knowledge of the internal economy of the Scottish Universities. It was an essential part of their national tradition in Scottish University administration that no State authority should attempt to have such a curbing effect on the free development of the Universities. He was speaking in the interest, not of the Universities simply but of the Scottish nation. The Scottish people would never consent to their Universities being reduced to the level of foreign Universities, State-managed and State-controlled. He said frankly that he was not speaking for the professorial or teaching body of the Universities. He had not had a single letter from a professor in the Universities he represented. The remonstrances which had reached him had come from people outside of the Universities—old students and members of the general council—who quite apart from all personal interest were determined to resist—he trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would be able to give him full assurance that they would successfully resist—any such State interference with the Universities. Was it thought 91 that they were to have inspection of institutions where such men as Lord Kelvin and Lord Lister had been teachers? The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for War were Lord Rectors of Scottish Universities, and he trusted that they would be the first to resist on behalf of the Universities any attempt to bring them into the thongs of State management. There were two or three conditions which he wished to press upon the Government. First of all, there must be no interference with a University until it had itself initiated a matter, and asked for money. If it chose to refrain from requesting money it should be absolutely free from being in any way interfered with. Secondly, if a request was made it was not to be granted until after investigation by the Secretary for Scotland. He would rather have the word "inquiry" than "investigation" in this connection. "Investigation" was an unusual word in an Act of Parliament. He did not know any Act in which it occurred. After inquiry the Secretary for Scotland might determine the sum to be granted from the Education Fund. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would be able to give an adequate assurance that it was not intended by this offer to impose on the Scottish Universities any narrow restrictions. If any such intention were veiled behind the offer he would be impelled to say that it was an invidious one. The Bill was an important one, and he had attempted, so far as he could, to deal with its important features. He was not going to show any vexatious opposition. He had endeavoured to point out the stumbling blocks which the right hon. Gentleman might find in the way.
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. HALDANE,) Haddington
I think the House may congratulate itself on the attitude and tone of the hon. Member who has just sat down. Speaking for the Opposition he has divested himself of every shred of partisanship in this matter, and has spoken with great authority and knowledge about this Bill in a fashion which leads one to hope that the very best energies of the House of Commons, without distinction of party, will be concentrated upon making it as perfect as possible. The 92 hon. Gentleman at the beginning of his speech told us what he has maintained throughout, that he came here on the whole to bless the contents of the Bill, and that his curses, if curses they could be called, would be—as they were very gentle—confined to things omitted, and not to things proposed to be committed. When the right hon. Gentleman proceeded to develop this point he, I think, afforded some justification to those of us who are keenly interested in this matter, and for the form which this Bill assumes. I do not apologise for rising to address the House on this matter, because, being interested as I am in Scottish education, my right hon. Friend was so good as to consult me at various stages of the preparation of the Bill on points which arose, and it was just upon those points that the questions raised by the hon. Member for the two great northern Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen hang. The hon. Gentleman said: Why do you not deal with areas? and he coupled that with a warning against dealing with a National Council of the Universities. These two subjects are not within the four corners of the Bill. They are not prejudiced by anything that is in the Bill. They are not touched. It is open to this House at any other time to make these changes, and to add them to the structure which it is proposed to erect, but I think that on the whole those responsible for the Bill have done wisely in steering clear on this occasion of these two questions. The hon. Member said that if this Bill had been brought in by the late Government without a provision for areas, I should have been the first to move an Amendment. I am not so sure of that. I was then strongly in favour of large areas, as I am now; but I have learned that when you see your way to get anything substantial it is well to separate controversial topics from the other topics. I vividly recall the days of summer when I sat wearily and patiently supporting the Government of the day while their supporters were tearing their proposition to pieces. When I remember the aridity with which my friend Sir Charles Renshaw, who I regret is no longer in the House, attacked the propositions of the Government in regard to areas which I 93 supported strongly then, I feel that perhaps even now I should have been found supporting in the generous spirit the hon. Member has shown, the Bill brought in by a Conservative Government without any reference to areas. And again when it comes to a General Council in Scotland, that is a proposal which I supported strongly in the past and support now, and when I find my hon. friend attacks the proposal of the hon. Member for Leith Burghs, then too I am confirmed in the view that, in order to get something substantial, it is well to steer clear of that also, knowing that the question, for better or worse, is open hereafter. Now I come to the broad reason why the Government invite the House to go forward with this Bill. It is because it contains some very large propositions for the advance of our educational system, propositions which are quite new so far as the country south of the Tweed is concerned. The purposes of the Bill are directed to two objects—the organic whole of education and certain extensions of detail in the existing machinery. I want to say a word on the organic whole of education which the Bill seeks to create. In Scotland we have been fortunate in having four Universities which from time immemorial have taken a large part in the general system of national education. They have not been segregated as the English Universities have been, at any rate in days gone by. They have been an active and integral part in our system of education, and they are that to-day more than ever, untroubled as they are with denominational controversies, and we have handed over to the Universities the training of the teachers. The time is peculiarly appropriate for doing what we can with due respect to these Universities to bring the various parts of the educational organization—the higher education which the Universities represent, the secondary and technical education which is between the elementary and the University, and the elementary education—into the closest relation so that they may be exercised with due co-operation. The mode in which the Bill proceeds to do this is financial. The main purpose of the Bill is to create a financial instrument to bring that about. We create 94 an education fund in Scotland into which the local taxation grants enacted from time to time are collected, so that there is one whole fund for Scottish education. That no doubt will have to be considered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but the sum itself is a large fund, and it is a fund which will be far more economically and effectively used under the provisions of the Bill than hitherto. What do we do? In the first place, we take the highest education, the University—and with the object of making that efficient we make that purpose the first mortgage on the fund. The second thing is that we take secondary and technical education and deal with that in a fashion somewhat analogous to that in which we deal with the University. In that there is a broad principle which we are recognising. We do not mean that technical schools are merely schools with evening classes. I am glad to say that technical education for the artisan classes in Scotland has been developing year by year. There is one difficulty forging ahead; I mean the day classes of the technical schools, which are getting to be so important a part of the higher education of the country. In Germany for long past the Universities have worked side by side with the technical high schools which are really technical Universities, the scholars for which are prepared not in the Gymnasien, but in the Realschulen, which prepare a different stream of pupils for getting a higher education of a more technical kind than is given in the Universities. These two are side by side; and that is what we are aiming at in Scotland. The new technical schools and the other great colleges—the Heriot-Watt in Edinburgh, the West of Scotland in Glasgow, and new colleges in Dundee and Aberdeen will be brought into closer relation with the Universities apart from this Bill; and the purpose of the Bill is to cement the good relationship and, if possible, to make it more intimate and to put the teaching on a higher level. That is what may be called the highest education part of the Bill, and these two purposes are the first mortgages on the fund. Then dealing still with the central fund we turn to secondary education. The Bill contains many provisions, mainly of detail, 95 for stimulating secondary education. That is the more easy, because we have practically swept away the sharp line of demarcation between elementary and secondary education in Scotland; and in doing that we are restoring the great tradition of the old parish schools in the past when they gave secondary education. Then came the change of 1872 which devoted the elementary schools to the purpose of elementary education alone. We have been getting away from that for years, and we now return to the old parish school system in which the scholars may obtain a secondary education. Then comes the machinery of the district committees, mainly of the county areas, over which the rest of the fund is distributed. It is distributed for a variety of purposes which are very important, not only for assisting in the work of the school boards and making it efficient, but for carrying out the further purpose of extending the period during which education is compulsory in Scotland. I have now sketched the nature of the instrument which the Bill seeks to create. I come to one or two points of detail to which the hon. Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities directed his attention. First of all the hon. Gentleman expressed a little apprehension lest we should interfere with the Universities. I have been intimately connected with the Scottish Universities as a student, as a teacher, and as a Lord Rector. I know their internal organisation very well, and I am not ashamed to say that it is capable of a good deal of improvement. I do not share the view of the hon. Member that there is not a great deal to be done. I want to shake them out of the atmosphere of conservatism which hangs too heavily upon them. I am far from saying that there are not indications that they are improving and going ahead, but there is a good deal to learn from these modern Universities of which my hon. friend spoke in tones of criticism. There is a great freedom in these Universities in the way in which they are shaping their own educational destinies. If I had the choice I should choose at once their far more efficient organisation, if I could substitute it for the somewhat entangled machinery of the Senatus and the University Court to which the 96 professors have to give so much of the time which they should devote to their classes. We do not embark on the perilous venture of putting these things right in this Bill. We have gone very cautiously about it. The Universities we propose to assist in a fashion analogous to that in which the English Universities have been recently assisted. And when my hon. friend spoke of the great assistance given to the English Universities, from £15,000 up to £100,000, he forgets that within the last nine years six new teaching Universities have been created in England, and that that amount represents all the money grants which they have got amongst them. I do not think that the Scottish Universities are so badly off as the hon. Member represented, but I agree that the time has come when we should make them a little better off.
§ SIR HENRY CRAIK
The right hon. Gentleman does not mean that you are going to balance State funds against money that already belongs to the Universities as a right?
§ *MR. HALDANE
Not in the least; but I was taking my hon. friend's figures, when he speaks of £100,000. Well, I think it is very little when it is divided between the new Universities which have not a penny of endowment. But I am far from saving that I disagree with one word of what my hon. friend said about the old endowments of the Scottish Universities. What we have got to do is make these Universities efficient, and money is wanted for the purpose. The way we propose to work is this. The English analogy is useful. There will be a Committee of which my right hon. friend will be the responsible head. The Committee will sit and consider the claims submitted to them by the Universities themselves. So far from interfering with the Universities, we propose to encourage them to put forward their claims of what they require. All we say is that we shall look to the expenditure of public money closely. We shall be glad to give money where it is wanted, and we hope to bring them into the same harmonious frame of mind as we are in ourselves. Therefore, we trust to see a rapid revolution in the general condition of the Universities at 97 various points, where from want of funds they are handicapped at the present time. That is the proposal with regard to the University Committee which I have described. Then as to the technical schools, there is enough said in the Bill to make it unnecessary for me to dwell upon that. Then I come to the next part, which is the work to be done by the district committees. The district committees are an integral portion of the machinery for distributing public money in this fashion, and the district committees, I hope, will be able to make that part of education which includes the secondary schools and elementary schools self-contained. There is one point upon which, I think, we are deficient, and it is the point in regard to which the hon. Member himself rendered great assistance during the time he was at Dover House, and that is in the matter or position of things which the leaving certificate creates. I think it all wrong that Universities should have to examine the men and women who go to them seeking admission to see if they are efficient. I think it would be infinitely better if the leaving certificate corresponded to what the leaving certificate is in many parts of the Continent—a guarantee that the holder has had a secondary education qualifying for admission to a University. Such a guarantee gives coherence to secondary education, and sets the Universities more free to pursue their proper duties of giving the highest education. While that is one of the things the Bill helps to make possible, it is not one of the things touched by the Bill. The district committees will have important functions as regards secondary education. It is not possible for every county area to have its own school. There may be one just over the border in the next county, and it has always been a source of jealousy that people should cross over and take the advantages of the school. Through the machinery of these committees the district committee of the county where such children reside will be called upon to pay compensation in the shape of the fees of the pupils whom the schools of another county have to take, and in that way we hope to get rid of a great deal of the friction which arises 98 at the present time. Then another point which the district committees have to deal with is the allocation of bursaries to the poorer children who want to go to these secondary schools or to the Universities. The provision of these bursaries in a more organised form will not only avert the waste of a good deal of money, but will make that money applicable in the most effective way by reaching the largest number of boys and girls who have shown themselves capable of taking higher education than they can get in their own locality. The remainder of the money which these committees handle will in the main go for paying the continuation education which the Bill proposes to give, and finally in relief of rates after the other purposes have been satisfied. But while that is the first part and purpose of the Bill, and while the machinery is as I describe, there is another reform which this Bill contains which, I think, is even more novel, and quite as important. Practically we are taking the first step to make education compulsory in Scotland up to the age of seventeen. It is satisfactory not only from the point of view of Scotland, but from the point of view of the nation, that this far-reaching proposition should have received the reception it has recently obtained in Scotland. There was a conference towards the end of April of the Scottish School Boards in Scotland, and they were unanimous in support of this proposal of the Bill; and, more than that, zealous people brought over persons to this country to lecture on education, including perhaps the greatest living authority on this form of education on the Continent, Dr. Kirschensteiner, and the address which he delivered tended very much to crystallise public opinion on this subject. Education is compulsory up to the age of fourteen, but what happens? The boys and girls are taken away to some business, and are cut off from the chance of securing higher education and of adapting themselves for a better position which they would get if they were decently educated. In fact, you have in this country a great flaw in our educational system, the gap between the elementary school and the later stage of higher education which comparatively 99 few can get. That will be bridged over. I do not believe we could have bridged it over a year earlier than the year in which we live, even in Scotland, but I am glad to recognise that this part of the Bill is being received on all hands with welcome. Of course, they will have to proceed cautiously, and should take, as has been done in Germany, the wise course of consulting, not only the education authorities, but the trade unions, and the representatives of employers and employed. There are two lines on which the public are ready to come to an agreement. The first is a better training for trades, and the second a better training for citizenship. These two things go together, and they have been far on the Continent, where in the best centres the employers have shown themselves, not only willing, but desirous that the boys and girls, instead of going after the hours of employment when they are tired, shall go in part during the hours of employment. The result has been that there are parts of Germany where 98 per cent. go to the continuation schools. I have seen there often the young workers disappear in the afternoon, and you ask where they have gone to, and you are told the continuation school. You can see the same in factories and workshops, and there is no doubt that it operates admirably for the future of these young minds.
§ *MR. H. J. TENNANT (Berwickshire)
Do they undertake those studies in the time of their employment?
§ *MR. HALDANE
Inside the time of their employment. The employers themselves have found the system a great advantage.
§ *MR. HALDANE
I think we may learn from that certain principles which we have been able to embody tentatively in this Bill. The first principle the Government have learned from that system is that the secondary continuation education shall no longer be a luxury, but a right and a duty. The second is that that education shall not be merely a continuation of board school work, but 100 something new which touches the practical application in life, the trade or employment, and which also tends to promote the culture of the mind. If the school boards really take advantage of the provisions of this Bill, to any large extent, I think those two principles, will in what is proposed be realised at least in their foundation. The continuation schools which it is proposed to establish are to be at the discretion of the school boards. A certain pressure will be put upon them, but it is intended to give the largest latitude possible, to let the school boards proceed tentatively, and to work the thing out in accordance with the interests of the locality. All localities are not alike. In the big town you may be able to have a continuation school on such a scale and such an application extending to boys and girls as you cannot have in a country district. Power is given to the school boards to make by-laws which shall compel the attendance of any boy or girl who leaves school at fourteen, and who is not in any secondary school or continuation school or getting education which is an adequate substitute. The provisions of the clause enabling that to be done are, as I have said, very elastic, because this is entirely a new start off, so far as this country is concerned, and we should be committing a very great mistake if we were to try to set up some cast-iron system before public opinion is ripe for it. We hope that the school boards will set to work to educate the public mind on this question, and for this reason we place this duty in the hands of those bodies, believing that they can make greater progress in conciliating public opinion than we can do. There are other minor matters in this Bill. My hon. friend opposite spoke of one which seems a very small thing, but it is not, and that is the attendance order. Up to now we have had the loss of a great many scholars, because the sheriff, as a kind-hearted man, refuses to put the law into operation. Now the school boards have to enforce the law. That is a valuab1e step forward. Then there are powers of medical inspection. The machinery in Scotland for helping children in difficulties whose eves are defective or who are suffering 101 from adenoids has completely broken down. The infirmaries and the hospitals are quite unable to deal with the amount of work which is put upon them, and I hope there will be a proper medical inspection, and as we go on a little further I hope we shall see that children who have defective eyesight have spectacles, so that they may not ruin their eyes for the want of them. Then we have the powers to feed, although some may think they do not go far enough. You cannot give proper education to children unless they are in proper condition. There are other miscellaneous provisions in the Bill. The abolition of plural voting will, I believe, be a useful and valuable thing, and also the provision of pensions for teachers when the authorities take a different view from the school board. All these are valuable portions of the Bill, but the great purpose of the Bill is the new financial instrument which I have described, and notably the provision for bringing the continuation of education up to the age of seventeen. The seeds which are sown by this Bill are sown in such a way as are likely to produce fruit. In sitting down I wish to say that, speaking not merely as a Scottish Member, but as a Member of this House, I feel that this Bill contains lessons which go far beyond Scotland. What can be done in Scotland can be done for England if taken in the right way. One part of the country to which the provisions of the Bill could be peculiarly adapted is Wales; it has very much the same conditions as exist in Scotland. To treat England as a whole on the analogy of this Bill may not be possible, but to deal with districts of England like Lancashire and Yorkshire, areas where they can supply the machinery that is needed, might be possible, so as to lead in the direction of making the University the head and the guiding element in our educational system. On those lines you will lift parties above the miserable squabbles which have been so much heard of in education of late, simply because education is not lifted to a high enough place. If we cannot see that our future rests with the children and that the future of the child rests upon securing adequate training in early life—and it cannot be adequate 102 unless it is carried beyond the elementary school, with the chance of the University or technical school—if we cannot see that, we have not realised what is the extent of our duty with regard to education. It is because I believe that this problem is one of the most important and pressing of social problems that I am proud to be associated even in a minor capacity with the Bill as a first step in realising an educational ideal short to which we cannot afford to halt.
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON (Oxford University)
In the remarks I am about to make I only desire to offer some criticisms of the Bill. I do not rise in any spirit of opposition, and in that respect I follow the hon. Member for the Aberdeen University. I welcome most of its provisions, but I am anxious to offer some criticism of what I think, in spite of what the right hon. Gentleman has said about the great purpose of the Bill, is its limited scope in one important respect. The right hon. Gentleman told us in one part of his speech—he spoke of the Bill as being a missionary effort in respect of what might be called the lower geographical part of the United Kingdom by which I presume he meant England and Wales. But a good many of the provisions of the Bill are already available in England, and I think it might have been better to call the measure an "Administrative Provisions Bill," instead of an Education Bill for Scotland. Some of these provisions are no doubt excellent; and in particular subsection 4 of Clause 3 which states that school boards may incur expenditure—In maintaining or combining with other bodies to maintain any agency for collecting and distributing information as to employments open to children on leaving school.This is a matter which should never be absent from the minds of the managers of an elementary school, because when the children leave the school they are often too anxious to obtain temporary employment and so lose all the benefit of their education. Therefore I cordially welcome this provision. The provision dealing with the feeding of children is largely a reproduction of the Bill passed for England a little over a year ago. I do not entertain the anxiety of my hon. friend behind me, but I rather regret in one 103 respect that the local authorities are not encouraged in this Bill, as they were in the English Bill, to associate themselves with voluntary agencies in the provision of meals. I believe that in this way a great deal could be done to bring assistance to the families and to the children by the knowledge which persons of leisure and inclination in this voluntary work might acquire as to the homes of the children. I would also like to see the provision dealing with medical inspection strengthened. Local authorities may provide for it, and if they do not, the Department may require it. I would like it even made compulsory, as it is in England. I echo everything that has been said by the right hon. Gentleman as to the importance of the continuation classes, and I am glad to find that there is money available from the Treasury to get over the difficulties that might be raised by the ratepayers in the institution of these classes, difficulties which I do not think the right hon. Gentleman has considered. He told us how these continuation classes were conducted abroad; how the young waiter left his work and the young clerk his desk to take up these continuation studies. But are the Government sure that they have in this country, or in Scotland, that amount of willingness to follow up education which would make compulsion unnecessary? I doubt whether they can always be sure that a boy of fifteen or sixteen would be inclined, after the day's work, to take up some line of study or to enter a continuation class. The difficulty has always haunted me in relation to this question as to what form of compulsion we should apply. Is it to be applied to the boy or to the parent? If to the parent, hon. Members may figure to themselves many cases of great hardship where a parent might be asked, and might be unwilling, to drive his boy to school after a day's work. The question of compulsion is extremely difficult, and it has stood in the way of progress being made with this most hopeful inception of carrying forward education in England up to the present time. I cannot help thinking that the right hon. Gentleman rather shirked that difficulty. Then we were told a great deal of the Fund, and of the great scheme of education which this Fund was to bring into effect. 104 Then who is to administer this Fund? This is, in my judgment, the weak part of the Bill. The Department intervenes at every turn. I would like to see this Bill follow the lines of the Bill introduced by Mr. Graham Murray in 1904. The right hon. Gentleman said that there was much opposition to that Bill. But since that time a fuller experience has been acquired of the effect in this country of the municipalisation of education and the entrusting to the local authority the treatment of nearly every variety of education over a large area. Personally I would like to see the locality made the authority. We should get a better system of education, for it is not easy to see how each one one of 984 school boards could take a conspectus of the whole of education in their area. The teachers would have a better opportunity of getting their merits recognised beyond the narrow sphere in which they work; their teaching capacity is less known and their opportunity of promotion and their chance of gratifying their natural ambition is much diminished by the retention of these small areas. Then you cannot obtain the same expert opinion in the general educational interest in the case of a school board as you can in the larger area of a county, and bear in mind that the Bill of 1904, although it did not attempt to municipalise education in the ordinary sense of the word, did take the county area, making provision for due representations of the Royal and Parliamentary burghs and so made the area for education practically co-extensive with the area of the county administration. But your system breaks oft short. The school board carries the child up to the secondary grade, and then the secondary education committee come and remove the child to a secondary school or elsewhere by means of a bursary without any previous knowledge of the child, and places him in a secondary school out of the range of the people who have hitherto watched his progress. The interest in education, as we noticed in England, increased in an extraordinary degree under the operation of the Act of 1902; because the Act brought into play all the educational interests of an area, and so helped in creating that belief in education which it takes time to develope, certainly in this country. I 105 think that possibly your continuation schools and your bursaries and your Fund, and your whole system which you have built up in this House, and in the Scottish Education Department, from top to bottom, and which reads so splendidly, so magnificently on paper, will fail because without that interest which is the creation of popular control, it will never work its way into the hearts of the people and do that work which we all desire to see done for the education of the people in every part of the United Kingdom.
§ *MR. ESSLEMONT (Aberdeen, S.)
said that in rising to take part in a debate in the House for the first time he was sure that he could rely on the kind indulgence of hon. Members. He was sorry that in the first words he had to address to them he found himself disagreeing in a measure with the opening remarks of the hon. Member for the Aberdeen and Glasgow Universities in the most interesting speech which he had delivered. The hon. Member had seemed to indicate that the condition of education in Scotland was very unsatisfactory, and had gone so far as to hint that in his view it was in a state of decay. Speaking for the district which he had the honour to represent in the House, he could certainly dispute that assertion. He was perfectly satisfied that during the last twenty years remarkable progress had been made, and that within the limits of the powers which had been conferred on school boards by Parliament, they had discharged their duties admirably, and the standard of education in Scotland never stood higher than it did to-day. While that was so there was a very wide spread desire for extended powers, and if there was anything defective in the present educational system of Scotland he was sorry to say that the House must accept the responsibility. The introduction of so many Bills during the last few years had created a feeling of unrest which had had a most unsatisfactory influence on the administration of education in Scotland. There had been a series of attempts to legislate, and a succession of failures to do so. He trusted that the House would give the Bill a Second Reading, and that it would get into the Scottish 106 Committee at once, so that it should not have the same fate as other measures which had been considered by the House during the past few years. If he thought that it would meet with such a fate he would be inclined to use the words which he noticed the hon. Member for Aberdeen and. Glasgow Universities used in his Amendment, and would welcome the Bill "with regret." He wanted first of all to make one or two references to what he regarded as very important omissions. Here again he regretted to say that he was at variance with the Member for Aberdeen and Glasgow Universities; because he deprecated the proposal which the hon. Member for the Leith Burghs desired to discuss—he deprecated the idea of any advisory education council for Scotland. He had the greatest possible regard and respect for the gentleman who at present presided over the Scottish Education Department. He recognised his great ability; he knew the deep interest which he had taken in the cause of education, and he was aware of the assistance which he had given to the local education authorities. But everyone in Scotland did not know the official head of the Scottish Education Department as Members of that House did, and he could assure the House that there was a general desire in Scotland for the formation of an education council through which the minutes and decrees of the Department might pass and be approved before they emanated from the Scottish Office, and were sent down to be enforced on the local education authority. He was quite satisfied that the Department would lose nothing either in dignity, authority, or influence in Scotland if such a council were formed. It was probably too late to expect the Government to reconsider that point, but he thought that sooner or later it was a thing that would be realised, for he was certain that the general opinion was in favour of it. There were one or two other omissions in the Bill to which he should like to refer. It was a fact that there was no direct reference to the constitution of the secondary education district committees in the Bill. He would be told that these committees were formed by minute of the Department in 1902, and 107 that if they did not fulfil the new functions imposed upon them they could be reconstituted. But the responsibilities which were being placed upon those committees were so important in character, so far-reaching, that he thought even yet it might be necessary for the Government in Committee to set out distinctly by clause in the Bill how those committees were to be reconstituted. The third omission to which he would like to refer had relation to the clause dealing with the superannuation of teachers. He did not know why that Clause should be absolutely restricted to teachers. There were other men doing excellent service for school boards in Scotland. What about the clerks and attendance officers, many of whom had devoted their whole lives to the promotion of education and to the discharge of their duties under the school boards? He could instance one case where the clerk had held office for the long period of thirty-six years, ever since the Education Act came into force in 1872. It would be impossible to exaggerate the splendid influence of that official in the cause of education, and he thought that it would be a shame if a man who had done such admirable work for the cause of education should be permanently and unnecessarily excluded from the benefits of a superannuation scheme such as was proposed by the Bill. The first provisons of the Bill to which he would like to call attention were those dealing with medical inspection and with neglected children. He did not think that medical inspection need be costly, for in many schools it would not be very necessary, but still the school boards ought to have the power to set this system of medical inspection into operation. He was glad that the case of neglected children had again been noticed. He was very pleased indeed that it was now left to the education authority itself to deal directly with that question without the intervention of the parish council. There was no sadder picture of our modern social life than was to be found in the condition of neglected children, and he rejoiced that power was to be conferred on the local education authority enabling them to detect cases of child neglect, and not only to detect but to bring offenders before the jus- 108 tices and obtain their punishment. Having had some years experience as a member of the school board, he was thoroughly satisfied that in the case of Aberdeen at all events, nearly everything that required to be done could be done within the resources which were at present available; but if it was necessary to impose a rate for the purpose there was no object for which he would more willingly pay. When dealing with a question like this, which appealed to many of them as a public duty, he thought they ought not to rely entirely on voluntary contributions to carry it into effect. There were many other directions in which the munificent donor could find opportunities of getting rid of his money. And they must always remember that it was only through the rates and taxes that they could get any certain income at all. It was their duty to see that these neglected children were properly fed and clothed, and he thought that it was equally their duty to see that the funds for the purpose were provided by the public. When they were told, as he was sorry the Member for the Universities had told them that afternoon, that this proposal was going to sap and undermine the independence of the Scottish race, he did not believe a word of it. They were told expressly the same thing when it was proposed to abolish fees in public schools. They were told the same thing when it was suggested it would be a desirable thing in the interests of education that free books should be provided; and now just the same story was being repeated to them. It ought to be borne in mind that the working classes themselves were large contributors to the rates, and he doubted that the working man had gained very much by the abolition of school fees. He was not at all sure that on the average he would not be better off under the old system than under the present system, because now not only had he to pay the rates when he had children at school, but he had to continue paying them when they were dead, or when they had left school; he had to go on paying during his whole life. Probably from an economic point of view he would be better off under the old conditions than under the new. But this could be said of 109 the working classes of Scotland, that they had always been in favour of a thoroughly sound educational system, and even supposing that this Bill did add somewhat slightly to the burden of rating, it would not be the members of the working classes who would complain. There were two other clauses to which he should like to make a single reference. First, Clause 8, which empowered a school board to insist in cases of exemption on attendance at continuation or other classes. That was a clause about which he was sure there would be absolutely no division of opinion. But when they came to Clause 9, which empowered school boards to enforce attendance at continuation schools for young persons between fourteen and seventeen, he was not quite sure that they might not be legislating somewhat in advance of public opinion. But the clause as it stood in the Bill was permissive, and as he recognised that it was a great experiment which he supposed every Member of the House would wish to turn out a complete success, he hoped to 'see the provision carried into effect at the earliest date. Just one other point, and that was the question of employment bureaus. The hon. Member for the Universities had made a graceful reference to the fact that this movement, if not initiated, was certainly very greatly advanced through the work of a lady, whose father was one of the best friends the cause of education ever had and who did a great deal to promote the interests of education throughout the whole of the North of Scotland.
§ SIR JOHN TUKE (Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities)
, who was very indistinctly heard, was understood to ask how Clauses 13 and 14, taken together, worked out. As had been already stated, in Clause 13 all moneys devoted to education, with the exception of the sums which by the Acts of 1889 anti 1892 were credited to the Universities, had to be pooled and also any moneys which might be voted by the House, and these monies were to constitute the education fund. Further it had to be administered by the Department. The special purposes to which the fund was to be devoted were laid down in Clause 14, but, with one exception, in all the subsections of that clause the 110 money was to be administered by the Department, which by laying down one condition after another on which grants might be made might dominate the whole position. This was possible under the Bill as it was presented to the House, and it was a very serious menace to the independence of the Universities. On these grounds he objected strongly to the Bill. Otherwise he supported its provisions, but he begged to make a protest against these two clauses or against any interference with the autonomy of the Universities.
§ *MR MUNRO FERGUSON (Leith Burghs)
said that most of the provisions in the Bill would be most warmly received by all the present school boards in Scotland, and it would be better to have an imperfect Bill carried through Parliament than to run the risk of losing a perfect one, because what they had suffered from in Scotland almost more than anything else of recent years had been the introduction of legislation which had subsequently been dropped. The Bill provided for many needs and made some new departures of vital interest. The continuation classes were the best part of the Bill, because the way in which children from fourteen to seventeen nowadays found their way on to the streets after their day's work was done was one of the most serious menaces to our civilisation. The condition of that raw juvenile population was not at all what it should be, and without these continuation classes he saw no remedy for it. He hoped, as had already been urged, that the physical side of this training would be properly attended to along with the intellectual side. We ought to have in this country a thorough system of gymnasia such as they had in Sweden. They could be very cheaply put up and just as the whole population of Sweden, boys and girls; were trained in these gymnasia, so ought the children to be here if we were to get the full benefit from these continuation classes. He agreed that attendance ought to be, and he hoped would before long be, made compulsory, and that a lead might shortly be given by some of the leading boards. They were very grateful also for the education fund, although the conditions under which it was to be administered would be a most important question 111 when they got into Committee. The establishment of the principle of one voter one vote would be a great electoral advantage. Medical inspection was beginning already, and would, he trusted, progress very rapidly under these provisions, some of which were perhaps of more doubtful character as regarded their results. As regarded teachers' pensions, the hon. Member for Aberdeen had said that the principle of pensions ought to be extended. Yes, but that hung a good deal upon the question of areas, because if they gave pensions to all the unnecessary staffs now employed by parish school boards, the burden would be far more than the community could bear. Again, the pensions were irregularly given. There would be very active touting and canvassing of a kind which he thought ought to be unnecessary and was highly undesirable. Very often where a pension was most needed it would be least likely to be got. That provision was defective. So also was the appeal. No doubt the appeal would be an advantage, but it was not really anything like so necessary for the profession or for the public service as that there should be a circulation of teachers over sufficient areas, so that a round peg should be no longer stuck into a square hole. That would be far more important as regarded the teachers than even the provisions of the Bill. The defects of the Bill were not what it provided but what it omitted, and it did so little to remedy administrative chaos that if, as the. Secretary for War had told them, they ought to try to make the Bill as perfect as possible, he did not think they could exclude altogether the question of areas. He would like to give some reasons why he thought the Bill would break down to a great extent for want of dealing with the question of areas. It was not a hostile proposal to make. It was a friendly proposal. As had been said, there was no partisanship on a Scottish Education Bill. They could not avoid dealing with the question of areas. The right hon. Gentleman laid down three essentials in 1903. Besides the extension of areas he declared that administration ought to be in close relationship to those concerned and therefore in Edinburgh, and another idea in the scheme was that in the administration of Scottish 112 education the Minister should have the advantage and advice of a consultative committee, which should include the best expert representatives of education. The scheme did not profess to be final, but it aimed at indicating practical lines of action. Not one of these essentials was included in this Bill. They could not look upon this, therefore, as a reform Bill, although with regard to the continuation classes and the education fund it was certainly of the nature of a wide reform for the present school board powers. The administration of the education fund was to be put absolutely in the hands of the Department. Absolute autocracy was the substance of the Bill, and that would be the essence of future educational policy in Scotland. They would get that in two ways, on the principle of Divide et impera, and because it was impossible for any authority to kick against a Department which had absolute control of the funds. What was the present situation, and how would it be affected by widening the areas? At present they had four educational authorities distributing education funds besides the Universities, namely, the school boards, burgh, technical committees, county committees, and boards of governors administering many of their secondary schools and colleges. Under this Bill the burgh technical committee would go—would, that the county committee would go too. What of those left? The parish and the small burgh boards were notoriously the weak spot. The small boards were inefficient, not for want of power but for want of funds, and often for want of initiative. They were told that the boards ought to combine, but they might just as well expect the Wee Frees and the United Frees to combine as some of these small educational authorities. There was nothing in the Bill to make them combine. In many cases combination between these boards would not materially reduce the grotesque discrepancies in the incidence of the' rate, They might have a rate of 2d. in one parish and 2s. in the next parish; he had known such cases. He had known an instance where the area heavily rated found the higher education for the parish paying a 2d. rate. How would this Bill affect the burden of the staffs in the side schools? The 113 art of higher school competition was advancing and the relations of boards, governors and secondary schools with the county committees were chaotic. Under the existing larger boards perfection was possible. The hon. Member for Aberdeen had evidently never found any trouble whatever in connection with areas, and there was no such trouble at Aberdeen. He would like to compare Aberdeen City with the kingdom of Fife. Aberdeen had a perfect area or at any rate it was as near perfection as possible. In Fife they found parish boards often well fitted for the leading strings of the Department. They also found larger educational centres, like Dunfermline and St. Andrews, identified closely with the leading industries of their district, and yet educationally divorced from them. Burghs like Kirkcaldy and Dysart had town councils exercising authority over one area, and school boards over other areas. There was no provision in this Bill to make any change in that. In the burgh of Dysart, the school board was egged on by the county organiser to set up an intermediate school, probably against the policy of the Department, and without any particular sanction from anybody. The county committee ran large classes in those burghs, in competition with the evening classes run by the local education committees. That showed that the system was rotten, and the only solution was that the county committee should be abolished. Few counties had so good a county committee as Fife, where the work was run by an able inspector and a bustling organiser, who might be taken to represent quality and quantity. Those were the authorities upon which they were asked to rely. One result of this combination was that nobody knew who was responsible. Responsibility was so divided that public interest in education was dying, and Scotland, once so rich in leaders in learning, was falling behind in the educational race. He was aware that in Scotland the Government habitually supported divided responsibility for public affairs as for private relations, but in the one case, as in the other, they destroyed private or corporate initiative. It might be true that Scotland suffered by the backwash of English religious troubles. 114 Governments and governed alike were so discouraged that there was a universal depression in educational matters, and a general inability to act. A curious example of indifference occurred at the last meeting of his own county committee. The county of Fife was rapidly becoming the chief coalfield in Scotland, There was a proposal made for a mining school, for which they wanted £1,000. They asked the Miners' Union to contribute, and they replied that it was no business of theirs. That showed a considerable lack of educational interest amongst the leading industrial classes of Scotland, as compared with what they found in Wales. If they had a district board for Dunfermline, the miners would be represented on it, and it would, be much better worth their while than sitting on a county committee. If the system of education had been properly co-ordinated, the miners would have been taking their part in it, and there would not have been this appeal falling upon deaf ears. If that had been done, there would have been a simple, system instead of the present complicated system which was preserved under the Bill. He reminded the House that if they had district boards and no county committees, public spirit and initiative would replace wrangling and indifference. Who, after all, was better fitted than the average Scotsman for local administration? Let him have the chance. If they had but one authority and a proper area, then co-ordination and efficiency, economy and elasticity, under responsible and trustworthy democratic control would flourish upon their native soil; technical education would be sympathetically and practically developed, and elasticity and directness would replace the cast-iron roundabout methods of the Department which could never control the details of applied science to, agriculture, mining, fisheries, and other kinds of industry. Only those of all ranks and conditions who knew the industries and localities, in conjunction with experts, but not placed under their heel, could lead on the people and re-establish Scotland's ancient pre-eminence in education. So much for the present situation. With the school boards under strict and in most cases unnecessary tutelage, 115 county committees well fitted by circumstances to disappear, a plague of confusion to be staved, the penalty of local impotence exacted by a false system, the overshadowing growth of the Department by reason of the atrophy of local control, except in the case of powerful boards, a situation crystalised by a Bill which impelled them away from free initiative and towards a bureaucracy which it rendered necessarily absolute—necessarily absolute because there would be waste and confusion in administration—the consequent resentment of the ratepayers would become only too gross a scandal. The choice they had was as between the authority with undivided responsibility, or Dover House—educational authorities commanding respect, or a Department to enforce order—a Department automatically driving local authorities, occupied each with one branch of education, along the line of least waste and failure. That was the choice imposed upon them by the Government. It was true that the county education committees were made much of in the Bill, but they were merely conduit pipes for the Department through which would pass the direct payment of grants. The power of the county committees was an apparent power, and if it was sufficient for anything, it would be to produce friction with the authorities over secondary schools. The rector of a high school, Mr. Rose, had reminded them of how the power of the Department had arisen. He had shown very clearly how impossible it was for the local authorities to do otherwise than blindly submit to its decrees; he had pointed out how the different circulars, memorandums, and minutes of the Department had gradually crystalised into a system under which it was impossible for any local authority to take any independent action. In Kirkcaldy, it was the desire of the board to drop science in the case of a few pupils in order to teach them a third language. The board was told that it could teach a third language if it liked, but no grant would be obtained. They must have that absolute authority of the Department over the local authority unless they had areas each provided with an authority which might be allowed to have a rational amount of independence. Mr. 116 Rose did not criticise the general lines of the administration of the Department any more than he himself criticised them. It was a wise tyranny, but the question was—Is tyranny a wise form of administration, and one which should be persevered in? Ever since the Union, Scotland had been the slave of bureaucracy. Was that really the policy of the Liberals now, and were they going to rivet the chains of bureaucracy still more upon themselves? That was what would happen under this Bill, and that was why he had addressed the House at such length. He did not argue against a rational amount of central control, but in educational matters there was no initiative left to the local authority. This Bill swept everything into the departmental net. They needed larger areas, coupled with a Department in Scotland and a council of education. There were few Scottish representatives who opposed that policy and none who upheld the status quo except the promoters of the Bill. He would, not go into the question as to what the areas should be, because he was afraid they were not likely to get them. But if they were not going to have areas, then he thought the question of the National Council became more important. Two objections had been raised to the destroying of the parish areas. One of them was voiced by Sir Charles Bine Renshaw when the House threw out the Bill drawn by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. The Conservative objection to the larger areas was that the adoption of such areas would mean heavier rates on agricultural land which already was overtaxed. That was probably to some extent true. The Liberal objection to destroying the parish areas was that a small board was more democratic and representative of the working class. The fact was that it was the small board that reduced representative institutions to impotence. The small board was not allowed to have any power, and that was the reason why the central power had been so enormously strengthened in Scotland. They did not as a rule find working men sitting on parish boards, and if expenses were allowed for travelling to attend district board meetings, they would get a better representation of the working class on 117 these boards than on the parish boards. To refuse to consider these points was to show a lack of understanding of the practical needs of the present situation and of public opinion.
§ MR. BOLAND (Kerry, S.)
said there were certain provisions in the Bill which would have to be considered in the interest of the voluntary schools. The financial provisions especially would have to be considered; but he did not propose at present to speak upon them at any length. The Irish Nationalists intended in Committee to move Amendments in the interests of the voluntary schools, but they would not interfere with the general scope of the Bill, and his desire was that the Second Reading of the Bill should be secured without undue delay.
§ *MR. BARNES (Glasgow, Blackfriars)
said that the Bill did not fully meet the Scottish demand for educational reform, but, so far as it went, it conformed in the main to Scottish public opinion. He would, therefore, vote for the Second Reading and urge the Government to push it through. He wanted to say a few words about two omissions from the Bill on which every hon. Member who had spoken hitherto had commented. He referred to the omission of provisions for enlarged areas and a representative authority covering the whole of Scotland. It seemed to him that the old school board area was probably suitable for the times and requirements of the year 1872 when the first Education Act for Scotland was passed. Possibly the principle of a school board for every parish was a good one at that time and saved Scotland from a great deal of the acrimony that characterised the discussion of the education question in the South. He had nothing to say against the old parish areas at the time of 1872, but they had had thirty-six years experience, and different times demanded different requirements, and now a larger area was required for the school boards and for education generally. Since 1872 the town population in Scotland had increased and the country population had shrunk, while the fringes of the towns were, and had been for some time, peopled by well- 118 to-do citizens and the centres were inhabited by people steeped in poverty, so that there was an unequal burden, which had not to be borne according to ability to pay, but rested on the shoulders of those least able to bear it. In some towns the population had run over the parish area into as many as half-a-dozen other parish areas. Such was the case in Glasgow, the poorest part of which he represented. There were within the city boundaries of the City of Glasgow half-a-dozen school board areas. In almost every one of these areas there was a population of very well-to-do people on whom the rating burden was much less than on the people inside the Glasgow area. He took, as illustrating his point, Govan, which had a population of something like 92,000. Govan had not only an industrial population, but for school board purposes a population on the other side of the river consisting altogether of well-to-do people. The consequence was that Govan was rated at 1s. 4d. per £1 which was equal to £3 9s. 3½d. per scholar, while Glasgow was rated at 1s. 5d., which only produced £2 15s. 8¼d. per scholar. He suggested that that ought to be avoided in the future in some way or another because it worked out a considerable difference in the amount of attention given to the instruction of the scholars and the equipment of the schools. The advantage fell to schools in the area which included Hillhead and Kelvinside, which were districts corresponding to Hanover Square and Belgravia in London, an advantage further added to from the fact that the scholars of Hillhead and Kelvinside came from homes where they were well-fed and well-clothed and consequently walked off with the prizes of the educational machine such as scholarships and bursaries which came out of the public funds. Dundee, which was his native town, was pretty much in the same position in those respects as Glasgow. He had said enough to show that there was a case for enlarging the areas in large towns. Of course, it might be said that there was provision in the Bill for enlarging the areas by the amalgamation of school boards, but that provision was entirely of a voluntary character, and they all knew that small bodies 119 were prone to perpetuate their own existence, and he was inclined to think that the voluntary provision would be largely inoperative. As to the omission from the Bill of a provision for a general authority, he agreed with the hon. Member for the Leith Burghs that that authority should be only advisory. But in the Bill there was a reference to a mysterious thing called "the Department." That "Department" had authority to grant fuller powers to school boards as to medical inspection and the disposition of money which up to now had been used or held for other than educational purposes. He had looked to see what this "Department" was, and the only explanation he could find was that the "Department" meant the Scottish Education Department. He asked then those who had had experience of the administration of Scottish educational matters, but he got very little information. He was driven to the conclusion that this "Department" was covered by one man who might or might not be a Scotsman, and who might over-rule all that the local education authorities might want to do in regard to education in Scotland. It appeared to him that that was a very unsatisfactory condition of things. It had up to now been indefensible, but to increase the powers of this "Department" would be intolerable. He suggested that there should be some provision in the Bill whereby an advising authority should be created which had local knowledge of and local interest in education in Scotland. As to the positive provisions in the Bill, the most satisfactory to his mind were those which provided for the medical inspection and feeding of the children. He differed from several speakers, including the Secretary for War, who had put forward that the continuation classes were the most important part of the Bill. He believed that the clauses for the medical inspection and feeding of the children were the most important. It was lamentable that in this twentieth century of civilisation such provisions should form part of an Education Bill. He believed that the best place at which children could be fed, under any circumstances, was over the table legs of their parents. He believed in the preservation of family life, 120 based as it was on mutual affection and service and goodwill. But, at the same time, there was no shutting their eyes to obvious facts, and he was glad that this Bill recognised obvious facts. Of course, they had in Scotland an industrious people, and all the means wherewith to convert the raw materials into finished commodities, although they had not commonsense enough to distribute those commodities so that by honest work a man could provide for himself and family. Lamentable and discreditable as that was, still it was something gained that they had the facts recognised as they were in this Bill. Moreover, although recognised in a very cautious way—in a Scottish way—it was in one sense entirely satisfactory, and in a way different from the Bill of last year. In that Bill it was provided that relief of that character should be a matter for the parish council to decide. In this Bill it was provided that it should be a matter for the educational authority. That was a change all to the good, and he congratulated the Secretary for Scotland on this wise provision, and on the part of the Labour Members he had to thank the right hon. Gentleman for it. Then there were a certain number of provisions for giving increased power to provide books, etc., for the children. He was in favour of all of them, and his only regret was that they were so belated. He would like to endorse what had been said by the hon. Member for the University of Edinburgh as to Clause 5. He saw no reason why the provision of school books and other requisites of the school should be confined to the schools under the direct management of the education authority. It was a small matter, it was not a question of the endowment of any religious denomination, but one which went directly to the parents of the poorer children, and he might add that the right hon. Gentleman in doing the thing might do it in a wholehearted way and provide that schools, not only under the local authority, but in the whole area, should be provided for in that way. Then as to medical inspection. The provision in regard to it was one of the best in the Bill. He believed that a child was sometimes thought to be stupid or obstinate when it was suffering from wax in the ears, or 121 lazy and artful when it was suffering from bad eyesight. He believed that it was absolutely necessary that they should have some examination of this sort by means of which the physical defects of the children could be ascertained and rectified if they were to have education properly carried on. Therefore, he was whole-heartedly in favour of that clause, but might he direct the attention of the Secretary for Scotland to the little word "may" in the first line of Clause 4, which ran—The Board may, and when required by the Department shall.It might be that there was need for some little elasticity in the Bill. It might be that in certain districts it might not be necessary to put this provision into operation, though he did not know, and could not conceive where they were. He believed it was just as much desirable to have children examined medically as to have them educated. Why should not the clause be turned the other way, and say that the board "shall," but in certain circumstances under the order of the representative authority need not? He hoped to see set up at no distant date might be exempted. He suggested that the provision might be and should be very considerably strengthened and the same observation applied to the provision about meals. The clause provided for the feeding of the child if after inquiry it was found that the case could not be met by voluntary agency, and he thought that that was altogether of too cautious a character. He suggested that the feeding of the children was a condition that ought to go along with the compulsory attendance of those children at school, and, therefore, the obligation for their proper feeding was a matter devolving upon the public authority—a duty of a permanent character which help from any other voluntary agency could not adequately meet. It was said that "charity suffereth much, and is kind," but he believed that charity suffered far too much and was too kind to a great many people who sponged upon it; and who were artful and traded upon it. That sort of thing did harm, and he thought that the condition as to inquiry about voluntary agencies might be cut out and the provision for 122 feeding made of a more whole-hearted character. There were plenty of safeguards in the last subsection of the clause, because they had power reserved to the local authority to recover from the parent if his failure to provide food was from any other cause than ill-health or poverty. He came to Clauses 8 and 9, which had to do with continuation schools, in the first place, as applying to those children who had had exemption before the age of fourteen, and in the case of Clause 9 as applying to children from the age of fourteen to seventeen. It had been said by more than one speaker that that was the best part of the Bill, and the Secretary for War had gone so far as to say that this particular clause had been welcomed by all classes of opinion, and had appeared to take it for granted that working-class opinion would be in favour of it. He noticed that the right hon. Gentleman said that in Germany where these continuation schools had been carried on with great success the representatives of the trade unions had been consulted prior to their being established, and had given their assent to a large extent. He regretted that something of the same sort was not done here, and he suggested to the Secretary for Scotland that if that had been done, at all events the clause might have been differently framed. For his part, and he thought he could speak for the whole of the Labour Party, they were opposed to the principle of compulsion being applied to a boy up to the age of seventeen, unless in some way or another that boy was going to be guarded from overstrain. It was all very well to give exemption before the age of fourteen, although it was a regrettable necessity, but still he supposed in these cases they must recognise the widow and the poor person, and, therefore, they must recognise that there were people who needed some little support from their children, and they must not lose sight of the fact that half the time a sharp child passed in a school between twelve and fourteen was wasted because it was occupied only in travelling over the same ground. Therefore they recognised the necessity for these exemptions, but they did not recognise the necessity of compelling that poor child, because he had parents who were poor, and because exemption 123 had been granted to him at the age of twelve years, to attend a night school after having worked ten hours a day for a living. He was not going to vote for that clause as it was at present. It appeared to be somewhat safeguarded, but it did give the local authority power to compel attendance at a night school. The fifth sub-section of Clause 8 was also objectionable because it imposed penalties on a young person under sixteen who failed to comply with compulsory attendance. The only safeguard was that he was not going to have to walk two miles each way. They were actually going to provide that this young person of sixteen years, if he did not comply with the Act, should be liable to a fine of £5 or £2. That provision was likely to bring the law into contempt, because in nine cases out of ten the boy or girl would not have 5d., therefore it would be a dead letter. He was very doubtful if other clauses were altogether justifiable, especially that appertaining to imprisonment of the guardian or parent, but he was quite certain that at all events that provision was altogether unjustifiable and could not be carried out. Therefore, he appealed to the Secretary of Scotland to cut it out altogether. Coming to Clause 12, which provided for provision for old teachers, he was not quite in favour of that, but we wanted the best staff in the school that they could get, and for that reason he should be inclined to vote for it, although he was not enthusiastic about it. The last thing he wanted to say a word or two about was Clauses 13 and 25, which, so far as he could understand, transferred to the Department—that bureaucratic authority—considerable sums of money which hitherto had been used for other than educational purposes in Scotland, and they turned over under Clause 25 several sums of money which had been local endowments used by local authorities. He would want to find a good case being made out for these particular provisions before he could vote for them. On the whole he would give the Bill his guarded support, and he welcomed it. He thought that was his duty. He was not there to vote for a Bill simply because it was put forward by a Liberal Govern- 124 ment. He looked at every Bill, first of all, from the point of view of the particular interest which he represented in the House, and then from the point of view of the good of the community. He thought that that was a perfectly candid and altogether justifiable admission. He was there to represent labour, and he looked at this and other Bills to see how they affected the everyday life of the working-man, and he thought he was justified in doing so. Therefore, he was going to give and was giving a guarded support to this Bill. He welcomed it so far as it went, in giving greater power to the local authorities in Scotland, who were equally as well able to look after the people of their respective areas, and a good deal better able than highly placed individuals in Edinburgh or London. So far as it gave power to the local authorities he welcomed the Bill, and he also did so because it made some provision long overdue for the material benefit of the poor little children who attended schools in Scotland. He welcomed it because of its medical inspection, and because it provided meals for the children and put them in a position to absorb the education given to them. He welcomed it for other reasons that might be mentioned, but principally because it was a measure long overdue in a matter in which Scotland had long been in advance of other nations.
§ *MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid.)
said he only intervened owing to the remarks which had been made with regard to wider areas. The Education (Scotland) Act, 1872, which was passed by a Liberal Government, placed education in the hands of popularly elected school boards, with the view of securing the co-operation of parents, and also of enlisting the interest of the ratepayers and the community in education. The parish area was selected for that purpose as being the area which was most likely to bring the people into personal touch with the management of their own schools. It was selected as the area of rating, and consequently became the area of administration. The parish area in Scotland was very much larger than the parish area in England. There were about 1,000 parishes in Scotland, which 125 would correspond with 7,500 for England. The parish area in Scotland had been the education area ever since the Reformation. It was the ecclesiastical area, and the area most representative of the public social life of the people. It was also the area of Poor Law administration, and so much importance did the Liberal Government attach to the parish area that they dignified the old parochial boards by the name of parish councils and increased their powers. Each parish had its own hereditary characteristics, and the people of one parish differed in many respects from the people of an adjoining parish. There was no demand from the parishes, or from parish school boards, for wider areas. One reason urged for wider areas, and not leaving it to localities to combine, was the impossibility of getting localities to combine. But why should Parliament compel localities to combine who were averse to any combination? He could quite understand the policy of the Party opposite in preferring a wider area, such as the county area; but from the Liberal point of view, and considering that this was a Bill brought in by a Liberal Government, the area could not be other than the parish area, as in the Bill. The school board franchise, which was adopted in 1872, was extremely low for these days. It was a £4 franchise, with no disability on the ground of sex, and no disqualification owing to the non-payment of rates. The cumulative vote was instituted in order that minorities might be represented. Parish school boards were within easy reach of the inhabitants of the parish, while, by the Act of 1872, power was given to apoint school managers for individual schools. The interest of parents in the education of their children was recognised as quite different from their interest as ratepayers in other parish or municipal matters. Education had a purely local interest within a three-mile radius of the school, and no one would dispute that, as regards primary education, the parish area was the most suitable. The people of one parish had and could have no interest in the primary education of the people of an adjoining parish and no desire to interfere with it. Any question with regard to a wider area could only arise in the case of secondary education. Secondary schools, however, only existed 126 in burghs and populous rural districts where there was a large population and a demand for secondary education. As a rule, the pupi's in such schools, to the extent of three-fourths of their number, were children of the inhabitants of the parish in which the school was situated, and for whom the secondary school was mainly, if not entirely, erected. Obviously, such a secondary school should be under the management of the school hoard of the parish which had to make up the deficiency in the school fund. According to the Bill, therefore, there was co-ordination of all education (primary, intermediate, or secondary) in one education authority, the parish school board. A wider area had been asked for, but no one in the course of the debate had stated what that wider area should be. In the Bill of 1904, brought in by a Unionist Government, the number of school boards was to be reduced from 1,000 to 100. That meant that ten school boards on an average should be amalgamated. Was such a combination to control the secondary school, three-fourths of the attendants in which were children of one parish? Again, were the whole ten parishes to be rated for that secondary school equally with the parish which received three-fourths of the whole benefit, at their own door? The cry for wider areas had been raised largely by teachers who seemed to desire to be further removed from the control of the parents and parish ratepayers, and to entertain the belief that school boards of larger areas would be more liberal in the matter of teachers' salaries and other expenditure. The experience of school boards with dense populations, and large valuations in limited areas, could form no criterion as to what might be the action of school boards in wider areas with a sparse and scattered population. If there were wider areas the control of education would be in the hands of factors and large ratepayers who might have no sympathy with the working classes getting expensive education. In the smaller area, there would be no limit to the people of the parish (mainly the working classes) having as high education as the locality desired, and was willing to pay for. The conjoining of several parishes would create all manner 127 of difficulties. If a vacancy occurred in one parish, the people of that parish might find themselves deprived of the choice of a teacher, and forced to accept the teacher promoted from an adjoining parish whom they did not want. If, again, the inhabitants of one parish desired to raise the salary of a teacher or get a higher paid teacher, they could not do so without the consent of the other parishes. Surely, it was in the interest of education that each parish should be allowed to develop its own education, in its own way, and at its own expense, untrammelled by the inhabitants of other parishes. It might be asked, what about the 25 per cent. of the pupils attending secondary schools who came from outside the school board area? According to the Bill, the school board were to be paid for such children at the actual cost to them per child, after deducting the grants received from public money. Such outside children would be no loss, but a positive benefit pecuniarily to the school board. They would bring both fees and grants, which, by increasing the school fund, would enable higher class teachers to be employed, to the benefit of the whole school. In the case of a wider area there might be a secondary school in the leading parish of the combination, and an inducement to deplete the other parish schools of their best scholars, who might not be desirous of prosecuting, secondary education studies, thus reducing the status of such schools. Under the old parochial system, the aim was to have in every parish a teacher qualified to teach higher subjects, and prepare pupils for the University. Under the pupil teacher system, the teacher was compelled to prepare his pupil teacher for the training college. In so doing, he had to keep up his higher subjects and keep himself abreast of the work in the training colleges. This necessitated the keeping of at least one highly trained teacher in a school. Owing to the practical abolition of the pupil teacher system, there was the danger of schools being reduced to merely primary schools, with no incentive towards advanced classes for those children who did not desire to enter a secondary course, but 128 who would be leaving school at fourteen. In schools where higher subjects we taught, even although not of a very advanced kind, the elementary might be expected to be better taught, as it had a higher objective to work up to. A stimulating effect was experienced by even the youngest children through the presence of the dons in the school and in the playground. At present, owing to the higher grants given for attendances in higher grade and secondary schools, there was a danger of depleting State-aided schools of their best scholars, only for a short and unprofitable attendance at a higher grade or secondary school. In the Bill of 1904, the area was nominally that of the district of a county, while the rating was that of the parish. The Bill gave power to create a school board area which might be smaller than even a parish, or which might be the combination of two or more counties. It was the area question, and its absolute indefiniteness, which practically prevented progress with the Bill. The present Bill recognised for secondary education practically only one area, that of Scotland, while recognising the county and large burgh area for the distribution of grants. If a crofter wanted to send his boy to the University, he need not necessarily send him to Aberdeen. He might find it more convenient to send him to Glasgow or to Edinburgh, where probably he would have relations. The Bill would enable a crofter or other person to select the University or the secondary school which was most convenient or the most suitable, and which was ill receipt of grants from public money. He found no fault with hon. Members opposite preferring the wider area; but he pointed out, so far as the Liberal Party were concerned, that they had purposely put education into the hands of popularly elected parish school boards. They meant to recognise the right of every parish to carry education as high as they were willing to pay for, and to leave them untrammelled by any other outside authority. That was the principle of the Bill, and he hoped that so far as the question of area was concerned they would hear no more about it. 129 It was the invention of teachers who thought—in his opinion mistakenly—that a wider area would benefit them.
§ *MAJOR ANSTRUTHER-GRAY (St. Andrews Burghs)
said he had served for some years on a parish school board, but he could not pose as an expert on education. There was one remark made by the Deputy-Chairman which he very much deplored. He hoped he was mistaken with regard to it. He thought he had heard him say that factors, landlords, and large farmers did not want the people of Scotland to have a good education.
§ *MR. CALDWELL
I do not think I put it so broadly as that. I have heard it said by persons in that position that the working classes are being too highly-educated.
§ *MAJOR ANSTRUTHER-GRAY
said his experience was quite different. He thought that, if they regarded Scotland throughout, they would find that landlord, large tenant, and factor were as keen and as anxious as the Labour Party that the people of Scotland should have proper education. It was certainly his opinion, and he was sure it was the opinion of everyone who sat on those benches. He also wished to join in the protest that had been made by the hon. Member for Edinburgh and St. Andrews against any interference with the Universities of Scotland. He thought they had quite enough to do with putting their school boards and education right without meddling with the Universities. Of course, it was a great advantage to a boy to be able to attend secondary and continuation classes up to the age of seventeen, but he quite agreed that medical inspection would be necessary to prevent youths having their strength overtaxed. The unenviable duty of enforcing this compulsion devolved upon the members of the parish council. He was afraid they would find a good deal of difficulty with some of the parents who would very much grudge the time spent at the continuation classes by their boys when they helped them in their employment. He did not know how it was 130 to be done, but everybody would try to make it work. They wanted the Bill to go through. They had been disappointed for many years. It was not a perfect Bill, but he thought everybody was keen on making it go. The proposed fine of £5 5s. wanted a bit of explanation. How were they going to fine a boy 40s. for a first offence and £5 5s. for a second offence when the boy did not possess either 40s. or £5 5s. The Liberal Government seemed fond of a fine of £5. The Territorial Army were frightened out of their wits by it, and now they were going to frighten the school boys of Scotland. He regarded physical training as very important. They must have a lad healthy in order that he might profit by the education afforded him. There was a point in Clause 3 which might be considered. It was to be lawful for school boards to combine together for certain purposes. He would like, with great deference, to suggest to the Secretary for Scotland that he might include the managers of the endowed schools. He thought they might be given the same privilege. He did not think any harm would accrue. There were in his own constituency three celebrated endowed schools, and he had received information from them that it would be welcomed. He thought most teachers would be very glad to see some amendment in Clauses 11 and 12 as to retiring allowances, but he thought these matters could be better threshed out in Committee, and he was not going to labour the point. He would just quote one very short paragraph from a letter he had received on the subject—What is desired is that inasmuch as the Department is prepared to give a grant in aid to teachers retiring allowance, such grant should be secured to the teacher independent of the school board or other local authority.That was practically the feeling of teachers in his constituency, and he appealed to the Secretary for Scotland that the matter should have his kind consideration. Section 24 admitted of endowed schools with their properties and buildings being handed over to the school board by a vote of the bare majority of the managers. In Lord Dunedin's Bill a similar provision was enacted but the majority had to be two-thirds, and he thought the income of such schools was only to be £1,000 a 131 year. A bare majority left the possibility open to some regrettable circumstance, when a small majority might pass the thing, perhaps, with a catch vote. He thought the Advisory Council would be a good thing. It could not make any active interference. It could only give advice, and he never knew that good advice hurt anybody. They need not take it unless they liked. The Bill was not perfect, but it was certainly an advance on what we had at present, and he thought they might trust the good sense of the Scottish Grand Committee to hammer it out in Committee, and he had great pleasure in blessing the Bill.
§ *MR. EUGENE WASON (Clackmannan and Kinross)
said he had sat throughout the whole debate, and he was anxious to say a few words upon the Bill, as he had recently come front Scotland, where he had met a deputation from the Educational Institute of Teachers in Scotland on the subject. The one point upon which all appeared to have set their hearts was that there should be an extension of area, and they had asked him to use any influence he might have with the Secretary for Scotland to endeavour to get him to amend the Bill in that respect. He told them he was afraid that in that respect he would be unable to budge the right hon. Gentleman one inch, because he knew what his views were by the attitude he had taken up on the previous Education Bill. But so far as the other provisions of the Bill were concerned they welcomed them most heartily, and he thought they might fairly congratulate the Secretary for Scotland on the measure of support which his Bill had received from all quarters of the House. He was sure it was a great pleasure to them all to have the intervention of the Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means in the debate. They missed him sadly in their Scottish debates. He might also congratulate the Scottish Members that the Bill was likely to have a smooth passage in the Scottish Grand Committee, and he was only sorry he should not be presiding over it on this occasion for he would have an easier job than on the last. One point on which he would like to say a word or two was 132 touched on by the hon. Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities—the feeding of the children. The hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford University had said that he thought in this respect the school boards ought to have power to co-operate with voluntary agencies. That was exactly what they had in the Bill as far as he could make out. There was that very provision in Clause 5. If he did not agree with the hon. Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities on that point, he most thoroughly agreed with him upon two other points on which he had spoken. One was with regard to the right of appeal for the teachers. In that respect it was ridiculous that it should be necessary for the teacher whose conduct was being considered to go begging to get the support of thirty ratepayers. He was certain it had only to be brought to the notice of the Secretary for Scotland for the measure to be amended in that respect. There was one point the teachers made when they saw him: they said they would much prefer to have an appeal to the provincial councils than to the Department. There was another point upon which he wanted to ask the Secretary for Scotland a question. It was with reference to Clause 15, where the school board which was providing intermediate or secondary education was entitled to recover fees from the surrounding districts. It was a matter which no doubt had been considered, and he wanted clearly to understand whether in this section it would be made clear that in calculating cost the capital expenditure was also to be included. He would like the right hon. Gentleman to take that into account, because many of these districts had gone to very large expense, and many were burdened with very heavy debt in respect of the school buildings they had put up, and in that respect there ought to be a charge levied upon the school children of the surrounding districts who came in and got the benefit of the secondary education. So far as he knew the feeling in Scotland, this cry for extended areas all came from one quarter, the School Board Association and Educational Institute of. Scotland.
§ *MR. EUGENE WASON
said his arithmetic was wrong, and he was glad to be corrected by the hon. Member. He thought also they would be agreed in this. So far as primary education was concerned, they could never get a better area than the existing school board. As far as he could he would assist in getting the measure passed into law. The noble Lord the Member for Marylebone had said that Scotsmen were not pre-eminently qualified to manage their own affairs. If he were there, and saw how they were able to discuss an Education Bill, possibly he might alter his opinion, and he would be very glad if he could congratulate Englishmen upon getting any Bill half as good as this, because if they did they would settle their education difficulties for a long time.
§ *MR. H. J. TENNANT
said he would like to associate himself with what his right hon. friend had said of the Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means, because it was a great satisfaction to them to hear him speak from that bench which he adorned, and he was sure it must have been no less of a pleasure and satisfaction to him to feel that the Prime Minister had come within the ambit of his eloquence. He gave this Bill not a hesitating but a general and warm support, and in doing so he feared he might be convicted by the hon. Member for Leith Burghs of being a slave of bureaucracy rivetting chains upon himself. The wisdom of the Government in not touching the area question had been demonstrated in the debate. The Secretary for War had remarked that the Government were dealing with the area question cautiously. That was a very happy way of describing the Government action, and he proposed to deal with it not less cautiously. He thought in all seriousness that one of the provisions of the Bill which dealt with district committees was not at all a bad substitute for the enlargement of the area, and he hoped it would have the effect which had been hoped from the enlarged area of giving teachers a larger scope, as it 134 were, and making the aggregation of school boards a fair substitute for the bigger entity. With regard to continuation schools, he would like to emphasise what the hon. Member for Blackfriars had said, that educational work ought to be done inside the child's time of employment. The mistake the hon. Member fell into was in supposing that continuation schools must necessarily be night schools. They need not. They might perfectly well be day schools. He would certainly support any Amendment for making it plain that so far as compulsion was concerned this work must be done out of the time the child was in employment. They must not expect the child to be employed in full industrial employment, and also give time to educational purposes between fourteen and seventeen. He would also impress on his right hon. friend the necessity of having a minimum salary in his pension scheme, and with regard to dismissals he associated himself with previous speakers in thinking that appeal against dismissal ought to be easy for the dismissed teacher to obtain, without what had been described as "cadging round." He welcomed those two provisions of the Bill, because he felt that security of tenure, and a reasonable pension would give a better position to a class of man to whom sufficient testimony had not been paid in that debate—men who were giving the best of their lives to a very noble object, who were upborne, even in times of trouble and often poverty by the highest ideals and a lofty sense of duty. He did not believe in the agencies which were now at work in regard to school feeding. He believed it would be much better to make school feeding universal and charge the parents for it as they did in the schools of the rich at the present moment. They would by that means avoid the stigma which might attach to the poorer children, who had to be, and ought to be, fed at the expense of the country. They would be able to recover nine-tenths of the money expended on the food, and the remaining tenth ought to be borne by the community. With regard to medical inspection, he associated himself with what had been said about the limiting words, "the school board may and where 135 required by the Department shall," and in Committee he would move to make that compulsory provision. It would not be the first time he had made it his duty to move that medical inspection of school children should be made compulsory. In 1906 he moved an Amendment, which had become law now. He would like briefly to recapitulate the arguments which he thought were absolutely unanswerable in favour of compulsion. By the insertion with in the four corners of the Bill of a provision for medical inspection they admitted that it was desirable. It was not only desirable but essential. Education was now by law in this country both compulsory and universal, therefore the conditions which governed education ought also to be compulsory and universal. There ought to be no power for education authorities to differ as to the manner in which they should carry out this, not only elementary, but absolutely essential duty. If hon. Members looked at the Reports of Departmental and Inter-Departmental Committees and Royal Commissions they would find that they had all pronounced with great emphasis upon the necessity of compulsion in regard to this matter of medical inspection. Dr. Leslie Mackenzie in 1903 declared that a large number of serious and minor diseases affected physical and mental efficiency and constituted an overwhelming case for the medical inspection of school children. Enormous damage might be done to children with weak organs owing to those defects not being known. Inquiries in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Dundee had been made with similar results. Dr. Templeman had said that the result of the Dundee examination materially added to the mass of evidence already accumulated showing the urgent necessity for medical inspection of school children. The necessity for such an inspection was shown by the records for the Army, which showed that out of 69,000 rejected 4,400 were rejected for bad teeth. Much of that might be put an end to by an efficient system of medical inspection. Take into consideration the large number who were now swelling the ranks of the unemployed: that ought to be sufficient reason to induce the House to spend the sum of money required to have an efficient medical inspection of children, which 136 would repay them in the end one hundred fold. He might be told that they could not afford to do this. His answer to that was that they could not afford not to do it.
§ *MR. YOUNGER (Ayr Burghs)
said that if anyone could convince him as to the correctness of the policy set forth in this Bill it would be the Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means. He was one of those heretics who, from his own experience and knowledge, had come to the conclusion that an extension of areas would be a good thing in the school board districts in Scotland. His opinion on that point had been somewhat shaken by the language of the hon. Member opposite. He thought there would be great disappointment among educationists generally that an attempt had not been made to tackle that question. It seemed to him that they were beginning at the wrong end, and that it would have been far wiser to have constituted a more important authority instead of conferring these powers on the smaller authorities and afterwards seeking to enlarge them. It could not be done so easily later on as at the present time. That, however, was no reason why they should not welcome the Bill. The provision made for the education fund was excellent. With regard to the necessity for medical inspection he thought they were all agreed upon that. He had no fault whatever to find with the abolition of the cumulative vote, although he was aware that it had frequently enabled minorities to obtain some representation. He had, however, seen cumulative voting very much abused and he would not be sorry to see an end put to it. Allusion had been made to the question of the feeding of the children. Upon that question there seemed to be some difference of opinion, and some of the school boards in his constituency thought the duty of feeding the school children was not in their line and ought to be placed upon the parish council, who possessed the machinery for carrying it out. He was not so much enamoured of the experience he had had on the county committees. In his own county it was very unsatisfactory, for he found representatives coming from school boards of various parishes all trying to have 137 a pull at the funds, with the result that education was not administered as efficiently as it ought to be. As to evening continuation schools, no doubt the provisions dealing with that question were in the right direction. It was obvious that a large sum of money would be required to carry on those schools in the future, and there did not appear to be in the Bill any provision as to where that money was to come from. Three-fourths of the cost was to come from the departmental fund, but a large sum would be saddled on the community. He was entirely in favour of the proposals in reference to the provision of pensions for teachers, but he was not at all certain that the school board should be the authority to decide whether or not a pension should be granted. He agreed that there should be an appeal against unjust decisions, and it would be a very hard thing to make a schoolmaster go round the parish getting signatures to a memorial. The teachers ought to be allowed to appeal on their own account. Voluntary schools should be placed in the same position as board schools with regard to the provision of books and of pensions for the teachers. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to make good these omissions. They did not want to disturb the peace which existed in Scotland, and he asked the right hon. Gentleman to consider favourably the representations he had made.
§ *MR. GULLAND (Dumfries Burghs)
said he wished to direct attention to a few points which had not been very fully discussed. The Bill seemed to him to be a good one from the point of view of education, but a weak one from the point of view of administration. Referring to the provision for the introduction of two terms in the year, he said it did not matter very much whether children attended school on their fifth birthday, but the date of leaving school was of great importance. He rejoiced that there was a clause that they should not leave school on the day they reached fourteen years of age, and that they should remain until the end of the term after they had reached their fourteenth birthday. Under the present system a senior class might begin well, but towards the end of the 138 session it thinned down as the birthdays of the children arrived, and it became so small that there was scarcely any enthusiasm in the class to do the work properly. Therefore the last year, which should be the best, was just a period of marking time. The supplementary course introduced some years ago, which had proved most valuable, would be greatly improved by that provision. Under the attendance order a school board would really become a court. Up till now the law hid seemed to condone a defaulting parent, and to make it as difficult as possible for a school board to compel a child to attend school. In the country districts the procedure was very expensive, and the result was that the school boards had not put the compulsory clause into operation in the way they should have done. The new proposal in the Bill would be of immense advantage. The clause about the feeding of neglected children seemed to him to be better than the one in the previous Bill. The measure applied to England two years ago was permissive, and it had not been made effective in many places. The clause in this Bill aimed at less, but he believed that it would secure more. As to continuation schools, the Bill provided that school boards now must start those. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to take care that he encouraged school boards to start those schools by being a little more generous in his grants to them. The Memorandum which the right hon. Gentleman had issued explaining the Bill stated that three-fourths of the cost of those schools was paid to the board, but that was not so. Not more than three-fourths could be paid, but it did not follow that three-fourths would be paid. In Highland districts not more than seven-eighths might be paid, but there were only a few cases where the whole seven-eighths had been paid. According to the last Blue-book issued, the total cost of continuation schools in Scotland was £134,000, whereas the Government grants only amounted to £76,000. In many of the country districts young people came from long distances, and it was impossible to have full attendance in the evening every time a school was open. In regard to those 139 continuation schools the school board would now have the option of making the attendance compulsory. It seemed to him that in the present state of public opinion that was the right way to go about it. The Bill provided that attendance might be made compulsory up to any age not exceeding seventeen. That was an improvement on last year's Bill. He could imagine that in many districts the school board would begin by making attendance compulsory up to fifteen or sixteen, and so gradually educate public opinion on the subject. Referring to the remarks of the hon. Member for the Blackfriars Division of Glasgow, it seemed to him that it would be much better for the school boards in the localities to co-operate with trade unions and employers to secure the attendance of young people. There were one or two cases in Scotland where employers allowed their apprentices to attend continuation classes during the hours of employment. He hoped the new provision would induce other employers to carry out the same idea. He agreed with the hon. Member for Berwickshire that medical inspection should be made compulsory. Under the terms of the Bill there would be a little difficulty in carrying out the matter of medical inspection. If school boards carried out the inspection they were to receive a grant of half the cost, but if they neglected to put it in operation the secondary education committee came in, and paid for the whole thing. He did not see why inspection should not be made compulsory, the Government paying the whole cost. He asked the right hon. Gentleman to explain why there should be two methods of procedure. The hon. Member for the Ayr burghs had referred to the grievance arising from the cost thrown upon burghs by outsiders attending secondary schools. At Dumfries Academy there were 190 children attending from inside the burgh, and 264 from outside, and yet the whole cost fell upon the burgh of Dumfries. Exactly the same thing was true of the academies at Annan, Kirkcudbright, and many other places. What was now proposed would relieve the burghs to a certain extent. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to make it perfectly clear that the average 140 cost of education would include interest and repayment of the capital spent in erecting buildings. Very often a secondary school had been built or rebuilt for the benefit of outsiders. Its previous condition was big enough for the town itself, but not big enough to accommodate the outsiders, and it would be a distinct hardship if a burgh could not recoup itself from outside sources. With regard to the machinery of the measure, in many ways the school boards were not greatly encouraged by the Bill. The Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities had spoken of the necessity for the independence of the Universities. He would plead for the independence of the school boards. He did not see why the representatives elected by the people of a locality should be deprived of their independence and put under the heel of a Department any more than the Universities. As to the improvement of the school board election system, which included the abolition of the cumulative vote, it was scarcely enough in a big city to abolish that vote without making some other provision. They must either divide a city into wards or districts, or adopt a system of proportional representation by single transferable vote. He warned the right hon. Gentleman that that could not be left as it was in the Bill at present. He objected to the new form of audit, pointing out that it introduced the idea of surcharging the expenditure on the members. There had been no scandal in Scotland through school boards spending money in unsuitable ways. There were many cases not provided for in the Scottish Education Acts and the money spent on those might be surcharged by the auditor. For example, there was no provision for a school board erecting offices, and unless the right hon. Gentleman inserted a clause providing for that, the members of a board might be surcharged, and that would be manifestly absurd. In Edinburgh for many years books had been supplied free, but it was questionable whether it was legal that they should be. If an auditor were to declare the practice illegal he might as a former member of the board be called upon to pay out of his own pocket his 141 share of the expenditure. There were two school hoards which had recently instituted medical inspection, and he questioned whether that was strictly legal; but surely it would not be right to surcharge the members of those school boards for the expense of that inspection. In the same way certain boards had recently very properly bought recreation grounds, which he did not believe was legal, and yet the auditor had never had the power in Scotland to surcharge such expenditure. After all, the school boards were the representatives of the people, and they might be trusted to spend the rates properly, especially as, if they did not, the ratepayers could turn them out. The next part of the Bill referred to the secondary education committees. Those committees were not the creation of Parliament. Parliament knew nothing of them. They were created by the Department by Minute dated 10th June, 1907. In the Memorandum issued by the right hon. Gentleman to accompany the Bill it was stated that these committees were virtually combinations of the school boards, and that they were intended to exercise all the functions of the school boards in regard to secondary education. It was just because they were not joint committees of all the school boards that he objected to their constitution. As a matter of fact they were composed half of representatives from town councils or county councils and half of representatives from the school boards. There might be additional members from the town councils or the county councils, and the Government inspectors; but in every case the representatives of the school boards were in a minority. It seemed to him that the committees were of sufficient importance to have more than a casual reference made to them in the Bill. They should be constituted by the Bill, and their constitution distinctly enacted. He would remind the right hon. Gentleman that by other provisions in the Bill which pooled the Government grants the reason for having representatives of the town councils and county councils on these committees was gone. He maintained that the constitution of the committees should be re-cast, and that they should consist entirely of the representatives of school boards. He thought 142 that that would get rid of many of the arguments against the retention of the parish areas. Further, he would point out that by Clause 27 the Department could, by a Minute, change the constitution of these committees. It seemed to him that this was far too important a matter to be trusted to the hands of a Department, and it should be reserved to the representatives of the people in Parliament. In fact, he contended that now they had an opportunity under this Bill, Parliament itself should constitute these committees, especially as their powers were to be so greatly increased. He made that suggestion the more emphatic, because, if the Department had power, of its own initiative, to alter the constitution of the committees, he knew that there were influential people in Scotland who wished to municipalise education altogether, who would remove the control of Scottish education from school boards to town councils. He thought it would be most unfortunate if that could be done by a stroke of the Department, without an opportunity being afforded to Parliament to discuss it. The constitution of the committees was such that they were merely the spouts of the Department. They existed merely to carry out the instructions of the Department. He suggested that these bodies should rather be made more representative of the school hoards, and much more independent of the Department than at present. As to the financial aspect of the Bill, one did not know how much money was to be allocated to the first object, viz., the Universities; and he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would, before the debate closed, tell the House how much money was to be devoted to the Universities, and how much to other educational purposes. At any rate, he trusted that if not now, on the Committee stage, the right hon. Gentleman would give full particulars of the different financial proposals, as many other important questions would depend upon the relative sums which were to go to the town and country districts. His next point was as to the position of the Scottish Education Department. The Bill gave more power to that Department, which was really the most striking case of tyranny 143 he knew outside Russia. It was a benevolent tyranny, but all the same a downright tyranny so far as Scotland was concerned. These secondary education committees were the conducting pipes of the Department; the provincial committees for the training of teachers were set up as dummies of the Department; and he knew that many men on the provincial committees were resigning because they found they were of no use but were only called in to sanction the decisions and arrangements to which the Department had come. One could not go into any secondary school in Scotland and speak to the head-master or to the representatives on the committees without finding that they were being gradually squeezed by the Department, and that they could not call their souls their own. Wherever one went it was found impossible in the existing circumstances for the work of the schools to be satisfactorily conducted in sympathy with Scottish ideas on education, as everybody seemed to be at logger heads with the Department. He was bound to say that at present the Department had a most excellent head, who was carrying on worthily the traditions set by his predecessor; but all the same it was impossible, as he had said, for the work of the Department to be conducted in sympathy with Scottish ideas. Perhaps it would be out of order if he were to say that the only way they could ever get the representatives of the people of Scotland to have a real control over such an essentially Scottish matter as education was to have a Scottish Parliament in Scotland, managing Scottish affairs. Apart from that, he appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to insert a clause in the Bill transferring the Scottish Education Department to Scotland. That would be immensely popular, and remove a good deal of the friction which at present existed. All the other national boards were located in Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman since he came into office had acquired premises in Edinburgh in which to house a certain number of junior clerks. He claimed that the right hon. Gentleman was sympathetic, for he had said in answer to a Question recently put to him, that "in the meantime" it was not proposed to make 144 those premises the headquarters of the Scottish Education Department. He submitted to the right hon. Gentleman that now was the time, and that this Bill gave him the opportunity of doing that which he believed would be enormously valued in Scotland, and would help the work of education throughout the country. He knew it was said that the Secretary to the Department should be in London, where the financial work of the Department had to be settled when the Estimates were being made up. Well, let the Secretary to the Department come; up to London at that particular times but the greater part of his work was in Scotland, and he ought to be in the middle of it in Scotland, and not at a desk in London, where he was 400 miles removed from the influence of Scottish opinion. He pleaded that that should be done, and also that the Secretary to the Department should be surrounded by an educational council as was suggested by the hon. Member for the Leith Burghs. He need not always take the advice of that council, but there were new educational wants and developments constantly arising, and it was not always possible for a Secretary sitting in London to know the real facts; and the education authorities in Scotland should not have circulars or Minutes prepared in London thrown at their heads. Something should be done to carry public opinion with the decisions of the Department and to make their decisions more popular. He had discussed these points from what he might call the local public point of view. In Scotland there was still an enthusiasm for education. That was due to the popularly elected bodies, and he maintained that they would not help education in Scotland if they were to tighten the screw from London. The way to help education in Scotland was to encourage local interest in it, and to bring the headquarters more into touch with the local authorities. If they were to do that, even more would be done in the future for Scottish education than had been done in the past.
§ *CAPTAIN WARING (Banffshire)
thought the measure was one which ought to be proceeded with and passed into law in the present session, but too many of the 145 provisions were optional, which the local education authority might or might not adopt. He ventured to criticise one or two of the principles which underlay the Bill. Sub-section 2 of Clause 3 related to the provision of accommodation and equipment and services for the preparation and supply of food to pupils attending schools in the district. He was entirely in favour of the principle, but he had discovered a strong objection to the power relating thereto being vested in the school board. The parish council was the proper authority. He had been made conscious of the strong objection on the part of members of the school board that they should be turned into restaurant-managers for the schools. Then, as regarded free books, he was of opinion that when a child first went to school or passed into a higher standard, naturally new books were required, but he found that exception was taken to the principle that the children should be given free of cost all the necessary books for school purposes. It meant waste, entailing considerable expense, and it seemed to him that a lesson might better be impressed upon the child in regard to care and management if those books were not paid for as proposed. Clause 5 provided that wilful and habitual neglect was punishable summarily as an offence of cruelty. He ventured to suggest (and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would consider his suggestion with a certain amount of sympathy) that the power to treat such an offence should be given to the justices of the peace as well as the sheriff merely as a matter of convenience and expediency. As regarded the increased power given in the Bill to the secondary committee, in a widely scattered district such as he represented, containing four or five centres, not one of which was preeminent, the committees established as they were by the present system pulled in opposite directions, and under this Bill the evils would be greatly exaggerated. He associated himself with those who regretted that the right hon. Gentleman had not seen his way to deal in the Bill with areas and to establish in Scotland special education districts with committees for both primary and secondary education, and finally granting to these committees a large measure of independence 146 from the Department. This Bill had disappointed many of those who were largely interested in education in the constituency which he represented, and until the Government were prepared to settle the question of areas he did not think that anyone could say that education ill Scotland had been placed upon a sound basis.
§ *MR. BUTCHER (Cambridge University)
hoped the House would permit him to say a few words on this Bill, although he did not represent a Scottish constituency. There was this satisfaction about discussing the Bill just now before the House, and, indeed, any Education Bill relating to Scotland, that there were no party issues raised as far as could he see, still less any religious controversies, so that they were able to discuss the measure in an unbiassed spirit. Whatever were the merits of Scottish education he did not think that Scotland owed very much for its interest in education or the efficiency it had reached to the efforts of this House. The last year in which there was a Bill dealing with educational organisation in any large sense was as far back as 1872, and no one, he thought, could look dispassionately upon the state of Scottish education at present without feeling that a great deal of the machinery was antiquated. Some people still clung with a pathetic and sentimental affection to the feeling for the parish, and the parish school board. Expression had been given to it that afternoon. One understood it and admired it, knowing how much the parish and the school board had done to make Scotland what it was, but he did not think that any impartial critic of the system could fail to see that whatever its great merits were in the past, that system was almost obsolete. Now that the State had undertaken the organisation of secondary as well as of primary education they had hoped that they should have some larger measure than was now before them. He must confess that in that sense the Bill was a great disappointment. The Secretary for War said in regard to the Bill that it was an attempt to make education an organic whole, but it was in truth nothing of the kind. It was a hotch-potch Bill, with a great many useful provisions, and for these 147 he did not wish to withhold his praise; but the Bill, as a whole, had no plan, no governing idea, no coherent scheme. Of unified education there was none. A unified fund there was, to be administered by the central authority, and the Bill thereby intensified the extreme centralisation from which Scotland had already suffered. His impressions derived from a long residence in Scotland about education were that primary education in Scotland was superior to primary education in England, but that secondary education in Scotland was on a lower level than in England; although—and this was the curious thing—there was a passion for learning, a disinterested love of learning, in Scotland which they scarcely found anywhere in England. The link between the elementary schools and the Universities was the defective point in the education of Scotland. One cause was the highly centralised and too bureaucratic system under which education—especially secondary education—was placed. As long as they continued to maintain that system, a weak local body from its very weakness invited more stringent central control. As was said by the hon. Member for Dumfries, the Department was a benevolent despotism. The Department wars consulted on a vast number of subjects and very often consulted, he believed, when it would rather not be consulted; but also he was bound to say, unless all that came to his ears was unfounded, the Department also interfered very often when it was not consulted, and its fussy and vexatious interference had been increasing in recent years. The result was that there was very little local initiative; the initiative came from Whitehall. No doubt that condition of things was not altogether displeasing to able permanent officials, who felt they could do immense good by having the whole thing in their own hands. The longer administrative reform, consisting in the enlargement of areas, was put off, the more the Department would be able to tighten its bonds and spread its net wider. From that point of view the Bill was a disappointment. He would now pass to the particular clause of the Bill which most concerned him, as having been formerly connected with one of the Scottish Univer- 148 Sities—Clause 14, under which provision was made that certain monies should be allocated to the Universities under the direction of the Secretary for Scotland. Under this head the Secretary for War made some remarks which did not tend to allay his apprehensions. He himself believed in University freedom as the very first condition of University success, and he had hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would have given the guarantees which were suggested in the speech of his hon. friend the Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities which might have removed their misgivings. Instead of that, the right hon. Gentleman, in spite of the sympathy which he always showed towards Universities in general and in particular towards the Universities of his native land, yet used language which seemed to indicate that the Universities were placed in very real peril. He said "the Universities are capable of a great deal of improvement," "an atmosphere of conservatism hangs about them," "we have got to make the Universities efficient." In all that he agreed, but were they going to make them efficient through State or bureaucratic control? The right hon. Gentleman proceeded to describe the method by which this money would be allocated to the Universities. He told them that it was proposed to deal with the Universities of Scotland in a fashion analogous to that in which the newer Universities of England had been dealt with. But what would Manchester or Birmingham, or any of the new Universities of England say if they were put under tie Board of Education in the allotment of their grants? At present these grants were considered by a Committee of the Treasury. Fortunately, however, the Treasury did not think it knew much about the details of education, but unfortunately the Scottish Department thought it knew everything about education, in all its forms. The Universities Committee would in practice probably be a Committee of the Department. This committee, they were told, would listen to the claims which were put forward by the Universities and proceed to allocate the money. The right hon. Gentleman said: "They will state their case and we will parley with them," 149 and he added: "We hope to bring them to our way of thinking," or words to that effect. That was exactly the danger of which they were afraid. Further, the right hon. Gentleman spoke of the State control of the Universities in Germany in a way which made one feel that his own individual preference was for State-controlled Universities. All he could say was that the kind of control which the State exercised over the Universities in Germany would be repudiated by the people of Scotland. He might be told that the words of the clause which nominated the Secretary for Scotland and not the Department as the authority who was to be responsible for the allocation of the money, ought to be sufficient guarantee that the Universities were not meant to fall under the control of the Department. But the House must consider this fact that in this clause there was a large list of competing claims for a share in the funds. All claims other than the claim of the Universities were to be considered and adjudicated upon by the Department. There was no suggestion of a definite sum of money being allocated to the Universities without previous consideration of all the other claims. Even though the Universities had precedence in their claim, the amount to be allocated must therefore depend partly on the question what surplus was likely to be left for the other claims. There the action of the Department was at once brought in, and the Department must thus have a real voice in deciding how much was to go to each University, and—what was more—on what conditions that money was to be allocated. His apprehensions as to the effect of this clause upon the freedom of the University were heightened by another fact. In other grades of education grants had been usual to give a certain bias to study. The same influences might be brought to bear on University education. At this moment, and for some years past, the administrative action of the Department had been all in the direction of giving less and less freedom to the schools And the localities, and of using the grants to carry out certain educational views of its own. The Department 150 was now allocating the grants to secondary schools not so much for the purpose of producing efficiency of education, as of producing uniformity of type. A similar thing was happening in England, with this difference that in England the thing aimed at was to produce uniformity of type in religious education, while in Scotland the object was to produce uniformity of type in secular education. The Department had undoubtedly disclaimed any such intention. But the practice of the Department was less elastic than the letter of the rules which it issued to the educational bodies. There was at work in the Department a bureaucratic instinct which preferred Chinese simplicity and symmetry. It was shown in the attempt to introduce into the secondary schools of Scotland what was call a typical curriculum. A typical curriculum was an excellent thing, no doubt, but the typical curriculum had been hardening into a fixed curriculum. It was a curious anomaly that while they had got rid of the fixed code for primary schools they should have imposed on the secondary schools a fixed and unbending curriculum. It was a curriculum which gave a strong bias in a particular direction and penalised those who did not conform to it. It laid down stringent rules affecting the whole period of a boy's school life. His years were mapped out, his time measured, his courses staged; the able boy and the dullard had to run side by side and neck and neck. Promotion was given not by efficiency, but by standing, and a boy was kept back, however forward and brilliant he might be, in order to go through the complete three years course which marked the first stage, even if he had already attained proficiency in all the subjects qualifying him to proceed the next stage. He had heard from schoolmasters in Scotland that many boys preparing for the Universities were sacrificed to boys whose school time came to an end after obtaining their Intermediate Certificates. The result of keeping the better pupils so long over the preparatory subjects was that the remaining two years were insufficient to bring them up to the required standard in subjects that wore to form part of their University studies. Two examinations dominated this school course, 151 the Intermediate and the Leaving Certificate, and the second was dominated by the first. The concrete effect of this administrative rigour as enforced by the grant was summed up in the letter of a headmaster who said that German would be entirely abolished, Greek considerably hurt and the average standard of education lowered. Of course, he recognised the high abilities of the officials who were conducting the Department, but he could not help seeing that, owing to the fact that education was centralised in this way in London, there were no larger administrative areas, no powerful and independent local authorities, which could stand up against the Department. The Department was becoming more highly bureaucratic, and for that reason he looked at its interference with University learning, as likely to be disastrous. One other point. For the last year or two a movement had been on foot in Scotland to secure greater autonomy and academic independence to the Scottish Universities. The ordinances framed by the Universities Commission imposed restrictions which were now regarded as vexatious, and draft ordinances were about to be submitted to the Privy Council which were intended to revoke the ordinances of the Commission, and to give the Universities greater freedom. Was it not a curious irony of circumstance that at the moment when the Universities were demanding this larger autonomy a Bill should come before Parliament under which, if he read it aright, the Universities were to be freed from the bondage of ordinances only to pass under the domination of the Department? The circulars of the Department might become a more irritating form of interference than the permanent ordinances. They could not imagine that this was the only money that would come from the State to the Scottish Universities. But if once this machinery were established, it would become the recognised means for allocating further grants. It was a method without parallel so far as he knew in any University of England, Scotland, Wales, or Ireland; and he hoped the Universities before making up their minds to accept money, which indeed was always grateful to Scottish as well as to other Universities, would weigh well 152 the terms on which it came to them. He had no right to speak for any University or for any members of the Scottish Universities. He only spoke as the question presented itself independently to his own mind. The fact that the Universities had not yet spoken was by no means decisive a s to what was their opinion. The Bill came up during the holidays, and he did not believe it had yet been considered by any of the governing bodies of the Universities, although no doubt individual members of those bodies had given it consideration. For his own part, if he were a member of a Scottish University, and were offered money on the terms on which it seemed to be offered in the Bill, he would say: "Tua tecurn sit pecunia."
§ *MR. CATHCART WASON (Orkney and Shetland)
said he considered the Bill in many respects a great step in advance, but it was essential for him in the interests of his constituents to say a few words in regard to one or two points. One of the principal proposals in the Bill, from his point of view, was that regarding retiring allowances to teachers. A gentleman with whom he was well acquainted, and who was in full possession of his faculties, would, in a very short time, have to retire from the post he now held on a very small allowance. His salary was, he thought, only £143 per annum. The Government proposed to allow the school board to pay pensions to retiring teachers, and they were prepared to supplement them in a liberal fashion. There were some districts where the rates ran up to 16s. in the £, and even more, and it would be almost impossible for the school board there to grant pensions to, retiring teachers. What they wished, therefore, was that the Department themselves should pay to the teachers in the poorer school districts where salaries were low, such pensions as they could afford, without any reference to the ability of the local authorities to start them. Anyone who had had practical experience of the matter knew that it would be almost impossible for the local authorities in those districts to take advantage of the Act. For that reason they thought the Government might well come down and where the 153 salaries were low grant such pensions as they could afford; and in Committee he should certainly move an Amendment to that effect. He trusted it would be supported by all hon. Members for Scotland, or, at any rate, by those representing the poorer districts. In richer districts where the schoolmasters enjoyed higher salaries he had no doubt the provisions of the Bill would be largely taken advantage of and would be very acceptable; but if poor districts did not get some assistance in the way he had suggested, their position would not be improved. He did not speak for the teachers only, but also for the people in those districts. Above all they wanted the children to get the benefit of a satisfactory education; and they felt that the teacher would be as far as possible removed from all local petty jealousy and tyranny if the Department had this power of giving, in places where minimum salaries were paid, pensions irrespective of the local authority. The hon. Member for Mid Lanarkshire in his most interesting contribution to the debate had not touched upon a subject with which he dealt very largely in an address to his constituents recently. He was generally recognised as one of the chief authorities in the House upon the question, and he sincerely trusted that when the Bill got into Committee they would have the very able assistance of the hon. Member for Mid Lanarkshire in securing a little more attention for the poor districts than the Bill gave. Practically every Member for Scotland, he thought, was pledged to give to teachers a right of appeal against injustice. The provisions in the Bill would be perfectly satisfactory in the case of the large and wealthy districts. There would not be the smallest difficulty there for a teacher who had been unjustly dismissed to get thirty ratepayers willing to support his demand for an inquiry, but it would be quite impossible in the poorer districts for a teacher who felt himself justly aggrieved to get the requisite number of ratepayers to support him. He sincerely trusted that on both these proposals the Government would listen with a kindly and favourable ear to the representations of the poorer districts. They said, in the first instance, that the Department should give what- 154 ever they could to those teachers whose salaries were low, and, secondly, that the right of appeal to the Department for what a teacher considered was an unjust dismissal should be granted without the teacher's having to undertake the painful task of canvassing his friends and neighbours for support. He would not labour the other provisions of the Bill, many of which he considered most admirable, but he trusted those two points would not be lost sight of in Committee.
§ MR. R. DUNCAN (Lanarkshire, Govan)
said that his hon. friend who represented the Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities, had dwelt with emphasis upon the desire for more efficiency in the way of the physical training of the children of Scotland. He believed that England was very much ahead of Scotland in regard to physical training. The English schoolboy got a systematic training which, so far, had not developed in Scotland. We could not keep our place in the world if our boys were not more disciplined than they had been in the past. All the hon. Member's admiration for German methods, and for the scientific spirit which had carried Germans so far, and would carry them much further, was justified. The other subject on which he wished to say a few words was the danger that undue State action might cramp the initiative of the Universities. The University of Glasgow must be thankful for what Benjamin Disraeli did when he gave it £120,000, and helped to place it on that proud eminence on which it now stood. When a gift was given, something was surely expected by the giver, and rightly so. If the State gave the Scottish Universities money they had at least the right to indicate on what lines they would wish the Universities to be developed. But let it not be forgotten that we lived in an age of development. He had no hesitation in saying that development was the creed of Scotland. How had that development come about? By the exertions of individual men, and he would be a very superficial student of Scottish University life who did not see how much the Universities of Scotland had been indebted to individual discoverers—men who had extended the 155 fields of knowledge, not merely for Scotland, but for the Empire and the world at large. The history of Scotland was bright with the names of great discoverers, and men who had fostered science and original research, and let them not enter upon a State system which would cramp that spirit of self-reliance and the extension of knowledge. He trusted the Universities of Scotland would be a credit and a help to Scotland in the future as they had been since the Middle Ages.
§ MR. PIRIE (Aberdeen, N.)
said it was totally unnecessary for the hon. Member for Cambridge University to apologise for taking part in a Scottish debate. To his mind, the most striking observation the hon. Member had made was when he drew attention to the lamentable fact that the efforts of that House, as regarded education in Scotland, might be stated to have been practically nil. It was more than thirty years ago that an Education Bill was passed for Scotland, and all educational development since then had been more or less the work of a bureaucratic Department. It might be said that the curse of education in Scotland had been centralisation, and he appealed now to the Government to take the utmost advantage of the great opportunity which lay before them, and to approach this subject with an open mind and make that debate and the Committee stage of the Bill a reality, instead of what it often was—a dead letter. Let them not follow the examples of the Committee stage of an important Bill last Year, but allow Members to vote as they liked without being obliged, more or less, to follow party decisions. If Scottish education was ever to free itself from centralisation, Scottish Members must vote independently according to the wishes of their constituents and of the men who spent their lives in working for education, and not merely at the behests of prominent officials of the Scottish Education Department, voiced in the House through the Front Bench representatives. That was the most important point to which he wished to draw attention. He, personally, was strongly of opinion that effect ought to be given to the wish which had been expressed that the Education Depart- 156 ment should be removed from Whitehall to Edinburgh. He could not understand the logic of the fact that this, the most important of all the numerous Boards which governed Scotland, should be carried out in London instead of in the Scottish capital. The question of deputations would be solved at once, to a large extent, if such removal took place; the whole Department would be more in touch with Scottish feeling, and, he believed, as did every educational enthusiast and every Scottish schoolmaster to whom he had spoken, that there would never be finality on the question of Scottish education until that reform had been carried out. He wished to say a word or two as to his personal views and predilections on the proposal to feed school children through the intermediary of the school board. He was entirely in sympathy with the views expressed by the hon. Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities. He thought it was a mistake to load school boards with a duty which was really foreign to them. He entirely admitted the necessity of feeding the children, but he would like to see it laid upon a body more directly suited for such a duty. It would be infinitely preferable to relieve school boards of the proposed duty. Let them put other duties upon them if they liked, and give them greater educational independence, but they should allow parish councils and local authorities to deal with that matter which was more germane and more directly connected with them, otherwise they would rather hamper the capabilities of the school boards for educational efficiency. He was also strongly in favour of the proposal to appoint a national advisory committee on education while this Bill was before the House. The Secretary for Scotland might congratulate himself on the fact that he had an opportunity, which very seldom fell to any Secretary for Scotland, to carry a measure of enormous benefit to his country and that opportunity was enhanced by the absolute absence of party feeling. He was sure that if the right hon. Gentleman would only approach the matter with an open mind, allowing Scottish representatives to express their views without too much feeling that they must follow Government decisions in place of Scottish 157 sentiment, the measure ought to be a great success.
*MR. DUNDAS WHITE (Dumbartonshire)
thought they might congratulate themselves on the Bill's having been brought in at this stage of the session. When it became law it would effect most useful reforms in Scottish education in systematising it, in providing for the children in various ways, and in bridging over that great gulf which now lay between the times when children left school and when they found some permanent occupation in life. In order to make the system efficient the question of areas was of very great importance. He approved of the present areas because they were necessary if Scottish education was to be kept along democratic lines, and his own view was that however perfect the system might be, if it lacked that democratic element of close touch with the people whose children actually came to the schools, that system was bound to wither and to die at no very distant date, so far as efficiency was concerned. He was rather surprised to hear some criticism of the proposal that there should be an audit. Anyone who followed the finance of school boards would see the necessity for an audit. With the new powers proposed to be given to school boards there was no reason why there should not be a very strict audit, and he was sure those school boards which were best doing their work would be the most willing to face the audit. Of course, owing to their small character certain boards were wasteful in various ways, but the Government was doing the most it could in giving practically unlimited powers of uniting and combining for common purposes. He knew there was not always great willingness to combine in that way. There were various local jealousies, but he believed in the long run the good sense of the people would prevail, and by that voluntary union of the smaller school boards they would really build up a system which would be extremely effective. He thought also the provisions as to better pensions for teachers were not only desirable but necessary. It seemed to him, however, that the provisions were perhaps too much in the nature of charity 158 and too little in the nature of pay. They should recognise that these pensions were really in the nature of deferred pay. If they failed to recognise that, and simply put them as charity to be given after the teacher had left the service, they were not merely departing from sound financial lines, but they laid themselves open to difficulties in practice. It was desirable that teachers should be able to move from one school board to another, and to find those places for which their particular capacities best suited them. But if the system of pensions was developed too much on charitable lines there would be considerable difficulty in a teacher's getting a place under another school board after he had attained middle life, and it we s very possible that some of the school boards might attach conditions to employment which might to some extent neutralise the intended benefit. The scheme, however, was an important step in the right direction. In the clause which followed he congratulated the Government on their extension of the pension system to teachers in voluntary schools. Those teachers were about the hardest worked and the poorest paid in our educational system. They were an integral part of the educational system of Scotland, and he congratulated the Government upon having brought them into this scheme. He could speak more particularly for the teachers in the Catholic schools, many of whom were working under conditions less favourable than they might obtain elsewhere. The voluntary schools in Scotland had, to a very large extent, saved the ratepayers a good deal of expense, and there were over 80,000 Catholic children in those schools. The cost in the board schools was a little over £1 per head per child, and consequently they might claim that fully £80,000 a year was being saved in the cost of education, while the saving of expenditure in the matter of buildings probably came to about the same amount. That, of course, was not the object, but it was an incidental result, and it should be borne in mind. He was glad that those voluntary pensions provisions had been framed on such lines that these teachers could be brought in. There was one other point to which he desired to direct the attention of the 159 House. His hon. friend the Member for had up to the present been said, and the Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities he did not think it ought to be allowed had referred to Clause 17 and said it to pass unnoticed. What he referred was comparatively unimportant. There to was the principle of compulsion, the had recently been a good deal of talk principle of making school attendance about the growth of bureaucracy in compulsory on children between the Scotland, and Clause 17 afforded a good instance of how it worked. The Department had fixed an arbitrary line of 12s. per child, 10s. of which was to come out of the Parliamentary grant and 2s. out of the fund made up partly of what was called the Whisky Money under the Act of 1890 and partly of what was called the Probate Money under the Act of 1892. It was expressly stated in those Acts that these moneys should be added to the fee grants and distributed accordingly. Owing to the arbitrary action of the Department, compel the attendance of those children, however, in restricting the payments and many of whom might have been working accumulating the surpluses, and as the very long hours during the day, at annual amounts of these grants had been evening continuation classes. It was increasing much more rapidly than the proposed to carry the matter even numbers of the children, no less a sum further than that, because there was than £26,000 had been added to these accumulations in the course of last year, and the total of the accumulations now stood at over £140,000. Section 17 of the Bill now proposed that the money which had been accumulated in the face of a direct statutory direction, should be handed over from primary to secondary and advanced education, and proposed to give statutory force to the 12s. limit for future years. He would be the last man to say anything against advanced education, but he thought it right to call attention to the way these funds had been treated. The result of that policy had been that the country districts had been impoverished for the benefit of the large centres where these advanced institutions were situated. Taking the Bill as a whole, however, it was excellent in its conception, and, with improvements in Committee, it would no doubt make a very important advance in the educational system of Scotland.
§ MR. WALSH (Lancashire, Ince)
said it was with considerable reluctance that he intervened in the debate, because he recognized the right of Scotsmen to have a day to themselves when dealing with a purely Scottish measure. There was, however, one principle in the Bill upon which very little 160 had up to the present been said, and he did not think it ought to be allowed to pass unnoticed. What he referred to was the principle of compulsion, the principle of compulsion, the principle of making school attendance compulsory on children between the ages of fourteen and seventeen. That was a far-reaching precedent that might be extended to England. It was proposed to give the school boards power to make by-laws forcing children to of fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen years age. When persons arrived at the age of seventeen he thought they were entitled to be called something more than children. It was proposed to give power to the school boards to compel the attendance of those children, many of whom might have been working very long hours during day, at evening continuation classes. It was proposed to carry the matter even further than that, because there was also a proposal to make the parents responsible, and to mullet them in penalties if they did not carry out the desires of the school boards, and young persons were responsible themselves for a penalty of 40s. for the first offence, and £5 for subsequent offences after the age of sixteen and up to the age of seventeen. That to him seemed to be right or it might be wrong. When a young person had been at work all day there ought at least to be some chance of that person developing his own individuality. Something had been said about stereo typing education and placing themselves too much under bureaucratic Government. He did not know whether there was any popular demand for this class of education in Scotland, but it was admitted that the Scottish people up to now were the best educated in the United Kingdom. That had been accomplished without any compulsion. The department of mining with which he was specially connected had without any compulsion established the finest technical classes in the kingdom. In the mining districts boys were down the mine before six in the morning. They did not return until four in the afternoon, and at the end of this arduous day they were 161 to be compelled under the Bill to attend continuation classes.
§ *MR. HALDANE
said that the clause was drawn to enable school boards to provide that the continuation instruction should take place in the working hours. Complete discretion was given in each locality to meet the circumstances of the case.
§ MR. WALSH
said that discretion was given to the boards to arrange the time themselves, and it would not necessarily be within the working hours of young persons affected. School boards, if they cared to, could arrange the time of attendance after the ordinary working hours, and it would not be straining the argument too far to say that somebody of employers desirous of getting skilled workers might arrange the time of the ordinary working day in order that these young people might get a better knowledge of their craft or industry. He did not say anything as to the motives of this proposal, but he would like to know how they were going to exact the penalties up to the age of sixteen, but after sixteen and up to seventeen the child itself was to be individually responsible. The provision that penalties might be imposed on both parents and young people for non-attendance at these classes was legislation on entirely novel lines. How were such penalties to be enforced? Would they proceed by the ordinary Country Court summons? The time had arrived when the rights of parents and even the rights of the children ought to be considered in matters other than education. Was there any demand for such a proposal? He had visited Scotland quite recently and he had not seen any effective expression given to any such demand. As a matter of fact they were taking from the parents, after they had borne the full responsibility of the upkeep of their children for fourteen years, the responsibility which really ought to rest with them during most impressionable years of a child's life. It was weakening parental discretion and responsibility. While in many cases there ought to be compulsion in order to make education as effective as it could be made, 162 yet the parent had still some rights, and one should not overlook the individuality of the child. He feared that there was a danger under the bill of stereotyping education in many districts, as, for example, where mining was the staple industry. In the Wigan there was probably the finest mining and technical college in the kingdom, and the result was that almost everybody was taught mining and the value of skill and technical knowledge in mining was going down day by day. The pits were swarming with educated men, and their social status was decreasing. It was perfectly true that they were better men from the fact that they were educated. At the same time there ought to be scope for that individuality of choice, in the case of both parents and children, upon which the fortunes of the nation in the long run were based. He submitted that the policy proposed to be established in Scotland was a far-reaching one. If established in Scotland, it was bound to be applied to England, and possibly to Ireland also, and it was, therefore, desirable that a word of warning that a word of warning should be said at the present stage.
§ *MR. MORTON (Sutherland)
said the representatives of Scotland might congratulate themselves, this House, and the people, that they could have a discussion on an Education Bill without the introduction of any sectarian feeling. Which did not mean true religion. The clause referred to by the hon. Member for the Ince division of Lancashire was, after all, a Socialistic clause. He did not think it was one to which, for that reason, the hon. Member might strongly object. He(MR.MORTON) admitted that it was a clause which required careful consideration, because it seemed rather absurd that they should force education on a boy or girl after fourteen years of age. If they were not willing to be taught after that age, they had been go to work. As to medical examination, he thought there was more to be said in favour of that than of anything else. Unless it was done officially it probably would not be done at all. As to whether it should be optional or not on the part of the school board, he would not for the moment say, but he thought it was a wise provision that 163 there should be medical examination. It was truly an unfortunate state of things in any country that there were parents who would not provide their children with food, but there were some parents who would not do so. He did not forget that the greater part of the difficulty was caused by the amount of money which was wasted in strong drink. At any rate, he hoped that parents would be compelled to repay the money spent in feeding their children if they could possibly afford it. As to the Universities, he did not agree that there was any need to Germanise our educational institutions. Let them get all the good they could out of what could be learnt from German methods, but, at the same time, he did not think it was necessary to Germanise everything in this country. As to pensions, it was admitted all over Scotland that something ought to be done in the way of providing for teachers. He supposed, therefore, it was wise that some attempt should be made to deal with the question of pensions in this Bill. Whether it would not be wise that teachers should be asked to contribute something towards their pensions as was done in the case of other officia1s, he did not know. That was a matter which ought to be considered in Committee. With regard to the question of an appeal, it would be unfortunate for the work of education if allowing an appeal tended to disturb the relations between teachers and local authorities. That also was a matter which could be considered in Committee. He was inclined to think the Government had acted wisely in keeping clear of the areas controversy. In the Highlands big areas were certainly not desirable. The distance that members of school boards would have to travel would prevent proper attendance, and the management would fall too much into the hands of officials. He hoped the Secretary for Scotland would consider the desirability of providing classes for the teaching of Gaelic. What was wanted was that 164 there should be regular classes for the teaching of Gaelic in places where parents required that kind of instruction for the children. They had heard a great deal about what was called the Department. The word "Department" occurred all over the Bill. He agreed with those who held the view that they should not leave too much to central boards or officials. Boards had been the curse of Ireland, and to some extent of Scotland. Unless they had a strong Minister at the head of a Department, the officials of the Department led and the Minister had to follow. The head office of the Scottish Education Department ought never to have been brought to London. It ought to be in Edinburgh, and he thought the present Secretary for Scotland would do a good piece of work if he celebrated his tenure of office by making a change of such vast importance as the removal of the Education Office to the capital of Scotland. At a time when there was so large a majority of Liberals representing Scotland, there would be no difficulty in making the change. He agreed with what had been said as to the desirability of having in Scotland something in the nature of Home Rule to deal simply with Scottish affairs. During the last few years there had been little or no opportunity on the Estimates of considering the local matters affecting Scotland.
§ *MR. MORTON
expressed a hope that there would be a full opportunity in Committee of considering the matters referred to in the Bill generally. The measure had been too long delayed, and he thought they were entitled to ask Parliament to pass it into law during the present session. He trusted that a fair amount of money would be allocated to Scotland to enable them to 165 complete all the educational wants and interests of the whole of the people. Scotland had never been short in finding their share towards the expenses of the government of the Empire, and he trusted that in the apportionment of money Scotland would receive all that was properly required to enable them to carry out every necessary educational reform. In Scotland they actually suffered on account of the nation a virtue of economy among the people themselves, as Parliament thought they could do with less money than other portions of the United Kingdom because they were so economical. He believed that there was a great deal of truth in that, but that was no ground why Parliament should refuse the necessary grant of money to enable Scotland to carry out the educational reforms outlined in the Bill. The agreement as to "equivalent grants" should be honourably adhered to.
§ THE SECRETARY FOR SCOTLAND (Mr. SINCLAIR,) Forfarshire
I hope I may be allowed before the debate closes to answer some of the questions put to me on the Bill which is now before the House. I am sure I have no cause to complain of the friendly and pleasant way in which the Bill has been criticised, and as responsible for the Bill I should like to recognise in the fullest measure the earnest desire expressed on all sides of the House that it should be made as good a Bill as possible, and that it should be passed into law if possible this session. At any rate there is a live interest in education among hon. Members who represent Scottish constituencies. If I am rightly informed on the matter there will be a real appreciation in the country at large of anything that Parliament can do to promote the interests of education in Scotland. In the first place, let me assure hon. Members that any criticisms to which I do not allude specifically will not be forgotten. I have done my best to make a note of the various suggestions made to the House and the Government, 166 and they will be considered with all the care that can be given to them. The debate opened with a criticism from an hon. Gentleman opposite, whom we are always glad to hear on this subject, with regard to areas, and disappointment has been expressed by more than one speaker that the Government have not seen fit to include in their measure a proposal for the alteration of existing areas in Scotland. The truth is that after most careful consideration the Government have come to the conclusion that there is no sufficient reason for departing from the well-tried system of direct and immediate local control of education in Scotland. It is 200 years old, and I believe I can show that it is not now acting in Scotland as an obstacle to the progress of education, as has been suggested tonight. No doubt there have been expressions of opinion during the debate in favour of the alteration of existing areas, but those who have heard the debate will, I am sure, readily recognise that there are now, as there were some years ago, very strong divisions of opinion in regard to this subject among Scottish representatives and the people generally; and I say frankly that to attempt any alteration of areas on the present occasion would be to invite the loss of the Bill. I am not expressing my own opinion, one way or another. It may be that opinion may in time become ripe for such a change, but I am confident that to attempt it at the present moment would bring about the loss of the Bill, and prevent the opportunity of doing the good provided for by the Bill. What would it mean? It would mean that in all insulated districts and in large towns school boards would disappear from that country; and I should like to know what such places as Perth, Greenock, Paisley, and other large towns would say if the Government proposed to sweep away their school boards which they know so well into a new organisation in the county. You may depend upon it that we have acted 167 wisely in not attempting to deal with the question at the present time. Former Bills which attempted the change did not pass; and that change was the rock upon which they split. To attempt an alteration of areas is to land in the intricacies of rating and financial considerations instead of a discussion of educational questions on their educational merits. The system of school boards in Scotland has, on the whole, worked well; certainly it has worked well as regards primary education. It is only in regard to secondary education that doubt is expressed in some quarters as to whether the existing authorities are equal to their task. It has to be noted that the growth of this opinion dates from the year 1902, when the English Education Act was passed, establishing in England for the first time public education authorities on a county basis. The case of England is not really comparable with that of Scotland. In 1902 not only were there no authorities in England for secondary education, but over large tracks of the country there was no public authority for any kind of education whatever. It was necessary to set up some authority, and owing largely to considerations pertaining to secondary education, the county authority was chosen. Already there are symptoms that the county authorities in England do not meet the whole necessities of the case; and Bills are before Parliament proposing that for the assistance of these central county authorities local authorities should be established ill the English counties. A Committee was recently appointed by the Board of Education to look into this very subject, the reference to which was—To consider and advise the Board of Education what methods are desirable and possible under existing legislation for securing greater local interest in the administration of elementary education in administrative counties by some form of devolution and delegate to some kind of local authority.168 If hon. Members study the Report of that Committee they will find absolute confirmation of the fact that there is need in England of supplementing the county council authorities by some smaller local authorities. These considerations are sufficient to make one pause before lightly abandoning the local authorities in Scotland. The school boards have stood the test of time, and have always interested themselves in and promoted the subject of education. There is another difference between England and Scotland. I speak of the past. In England secondary education has been confined to what are roughly called "the classes." In Scotland for the last 200 years there has been no such break between the two stages of education. Of course, the proportion of those who have benefited by the opportunities for secondary education in Scotland are larger now than they were; they have varied from time to time. But opportunities for secondary education have been, and I trust will continue to be, the right and concern of all classes of the people. By presumption and by practice such opportunities for secondary education have been the right, and will continue to be the right, and hope and concern o f all classes of people alike. It is this fact that the overwhelming majority in Scotland of those who pay the cost, of secondary education have at one time or another in their career been in the primary schools—it is this democratic feature, if I may so describe it, which is so characteristic of the feeling, temper, and history of the people, which more than anything else, when you sit down to work out any scheme for the machinery of education, makes it impossible or at any rate highly undesirable, and extremely difficult, to separate secondary from primary education, and to place the one thing under one set of authorities and the other under another set of authorities It is difficult, and in my opinion dangerous, to remove either the one kind of 169 education or the other from that direct immediate and popular interest and control which are afforded by the school board. After all, these may be theoretical considerations, but let us lock for a moment at what has been the progress in the last thirty-five years in secondary education in Scotland. The hon. Member for Leith Burghs spoke of administrative chaos and overlapping and other evils. Let us just see what foundation there is for the charge that no progress has been made in secondary education in Scotland under the present machinery. The school board is the unit which has really produced the requisite progress in Scottish education. In and before the year 1872 what was the state of secondary education in Scotland? Many parish schools sent their best scholars, haply one or two, and sometimes more, straight to the Universities. Besides that, there was a considerable amount of secondary education—higher education—given to those who did not go so far as to get to the University. And that kind of education was continued after that year, 1872, as hon. Members will remember, under the name of specific subjects taught, by the board, but besides that there were in 1872 eleven schools in all Scotland scheduled as higher class public schools, and a few were added subsequently. In addition to these, there were about twenty-five endowed schools which were professedly secondary schools. An entrance standard for the Universities did not exist. There was no entrance standard, and as a matter of fact, Universities were doing, so far as this standard was concerned, the real work, proper for secondary schools, and thus the level of University education was cut down; on the one hand, and on the other, the ground was cut away from the operations of secondary schools, and the organisation of any efficient system of secondary education was out of the question. Now, the Act of 1872, good as it was, new area as it opened for Scottish education, was framed largely under 170 English influence, the influences surrounding the Act of 1870 which opened a new educational area for England, and unfortunately one of the concomitants of that change was that the powers of school boards in Scotland in regard to secondary education were greatly restricted, and for a time these restrictions prevailed. Encouragement was at first given to the idea that education was not a public concern, that those who were able to pay for it should do so, and that it was no concern of the community generally that as large a proportion as possible of its citizens should be trained in this higher education. But a better day came. The inspection of secondary schools came in 1886, and leaving certificate examinations were also instituted. A few years later preliminary examinations for the Universities were established, and then in 1892 came the first specific, contribution towards secondary education given from public funds. What has been the result of that, development? A great increase in the machinery under the present system, a great increase in the number of schools giving systematic secondary education, and, at the same time, complete recovery from the low level of attainment which prevailed years before. There are thirty-two Higher-class public schools and twenty-four endowed schools giving a complete secondary education up to the doors of the University. Further, there are 169 higher grade schools giving a full three Years course of education, and of these sixty-eight have developed a full five years course of education, being for all practical purposes secondary schools on a level with the higher class public schools, and in some instances more than rivalling those older established ones if the test of the leaving certificate be taken. That is a test of the standard of attainment which is now reached by these higher grade schools which have developed a five years' course. The entrance standard of the Universities is now what the graduation standard was thirty-five years ago. 171 Now, how have these developments, which I think must be regarded as satisfactory and as contradicting the statements that there has has been no progress, that there is administrative chaos, that there is nothing done for secondary education in Scotland, been obtained? They are not due to the establishment of a new authority nor the delimitation of artificial areas. It is the spontaneous and natural development of the working of the school boards. Larger resources have overcome the indifference of which complaint has been made, and on all sides there is eagerness to create and develop centres of secondary education in all parts of Scotland. Mention was made in the debate of the position of the secondary education centres. It was urged, by one hon. Gentleman that if a school board established schools in the centre of a district, at an rate it ought to be adequately supported; but you must remember that there is another side to that, a healthy side; it promotes a healthy development and healthy competition and emulation if the charges are too high. This spontaneous desire awl this eagerness to supply facilities for secondary education is not found in any one part of the country, but from John o'Groats to the other end of the country you can see the same thing going on, without any artificial delimitation of districts, or any attempt to establish symmetrical areas. The mainspring of the whale movement has been the activity of the existing parish school board responding to the popular desire for increased systematic secondary education. And there is no limit to this process. Pray, do not let me be understood as suggesting for a moment that we should rest where we are; we are still very far from having a profusion of secondary education facilities, and there is really no obstacle to the further development and multiplication of these higher grade schools where they are really required, wherever the school board is willing to incur the expense of the 172 establishment of one of these schools to qualify students for entrance to the University. It depends upon whether you get local support to school boards, and if the secondary schools cannot be within the reach of all children, as the House knows, we are doing our best, by assisting bursaries and extending this Bill, to bring the children to the schools. Let me, before passing from this point, say one further word, and it is this. Parish schools, in the old days, educated their best pupils, it is alleged, and often had to sacrifice the main body of their students. That is now guarded against by the provision that where higher grade facilities are provided there must be a special staff, and the school boards are encouraged by special grants to provide a staff. By that means not only do we respond to the needs of the school board and the school, but we respond also to the needs of the continuation pupils, while the general interests of the main body of pupils are safeguarded. These considerations are what have influenced the Government in adhering on the present occasion to the existing organisation of education in Scotland. We have not attempted to alter the machinery. That is the answer to several small criticisms which were made on various parts of the Bill to-night. If we had attempted to alter the areas we should no doubt have been able to deal with several incidental points to which allusion has been made on this occasion.
§ MR. MUNRO FERGUSON
was understood to inquire if the right hon. Gentleman included his in the small criticisms to which he alluded. He had made a statement as to the weak and divided control between the board school and the parish school and the county committee in Fife, and had said that that was administrative chaos. Did he deny that?
§ MR. SINCLAIR
I do not deny the truth of what the hon. Gentleman says, and what he describes, but I say that 173 on the matter of the general improvement of education the attempt, to show that the system of administration in Scotland produces administrative chaos is absolutely devoid of foundation in fact I do not deny that there are differences between one authority and another.
§ MR. MUNRO FERGUSON
The right hon. Gentleman is not quite correct to say that I restricted my view of the system of administrative chaos. I said that in the administrative system we have administrative chaos, but I did not say that there was no good work done. All I say is that I made a good case of administrative chaos to which the right hon. Gentleman has given no reply.
§ MR. SINCLAIR
I was not thinking of the hon. Member particularly when I spoke. I should think there were eight or ten Members who spoke in the same way. I cannot imagine what the hon. Member means.
§ MR. SINCLAIR
I was doing my best to do so. I propose now, if I may be allowed, to pass from that subject to some other criticisms that have been offered to the Bill. Much criticism has been directed to the Education Department. With great respect I say that it is a wholly unconstitutional proceeding to single out a Department as distinguished from the Minister responsible for that Department. If hon. Members object to the policy of a Department their proper course is to condemn and complain of the action of the Minister. It is a wholesome feature of our Constitution and of this House that Civil servants should be immune from this criticism, which only leads to confusion of people outside who are not so well informed and who think from such criticism that there is some engine of destruction called the De- 174 partment which the Government cannot control. Nothing is more misleading than these continued attacks on a Department, of which I am proud to be the manager. I do not wish to shirk my responsibilities in this matter and am only too glad to defend my Department so far as I am responsible for it. I was much struck with what fell from the hon. Member for the University of Cambridge who spoke, with not only a knowledge of the Scottish University conditions, but also a very wide knowledge of this subject through all its ramifications. I should be the first to recognise that when you establish a system of State education as you have in Scotland, there must be a tendency to uniformity, but the responsibility for the tendency lies, not with the administrative department, but with Parliament and the people of this country who sanctioned the passing of certain Acts of Parliament. If you establish a compulsory system of free education under the control of Parliament so that there is a clean sweep of all private education, you must take the responsibility for what you have done, and the real responsibility for tins tendency to uniformity lies with Parliament. The Scottish Education Department, like any other department of the Government, has a very simple and limited duty to perform—a duty limited strictly by Statute and by regulations laid before and approved by Parliament. The Department administers money under statutory directions and under statutory directions alone. There is no capricious refusal of money to anyone. The Department is obliged to deal out even-handed justice to all schools. These matters are confined strictly by the regulations.
§ MR. SINCLAIR
The hon. Member is not quite correct; but, assuming that he is, the proper thing is not to be labour 175 the authority which cannot help you, but to come to Parliament and alter the conditions and introduce conditions under which Parliament shall have full control. The hon. Gentleman complained of the Department.
§ MR. SINCLAIR
Then, so far we understand each other thoroughly, Another duty carried out by the Department is to see that the school board carries out the instructions of Parliament, which are to provide secondary free education, and that they carry out the instructions of Parliament in other matters. I can only assure the House of this, which is a very striking fact. Hon. Members have told the House to-day—the lion. Member for Dumfries-shire among others—that wherever they go in Scotland they meet nothing but complaints of friction and incidents between the Department and the school hoard. I can only tell them that there is always the avenue of Questions, and I cannot believe that there is this perpetual state of friction between the school boards and the Department in Scotland. I doubt very much if it exists. I have taken the greatest trouble to investigate it, and I can only say that Questions are very readily asked, and not least by hon. Gentlemen representing Scottish constituencies, on numberless occasions, and that the Questions to the Minister for the Scottish Education Department are singularly few in number. That is only to be accounted for by the absence of friction. The hon. Member for Leith Burghs says "Transfer the Department to Edinburgh." I say transfer it to-morrow if you transfer with it the Parliament which controls it. A Scottish Education Department, with a Minister responsible to Parliament and under the control of Parliament, I can understand. School boards raising and administering public money, with the sanction of Parliament and responsible to Parliament, I can understand. At the other end 176 of the scale I can understand school boards levying rates with the sanction of their electors; but a National Council, with no responsibility to Parliament on the one hand, or the local authority on the other, I can find no rational place for in our scheme of education. I know it has been suggested, and I ask hon. Members to consider this. Such responsible authority as they comprise between themselves, the British Parliament and their own school boards, makes for better education, but such a council would be hound to weaken Parliament or obstruct and delay it, and must end in confusion when it gets to the hands of the local authorities. In conclusion, I will just say this. This Bill does not touch the money which has hitherto been allocated to the Universities, and with regard to the future there will be no interference with them except on their own initiative.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed to a Standing Committee.