HC Deb 10 March 1910 vol 14 cc1681-733

I rise to call the attention of the Committee to a subject discussed with considerable frequency in the last House of Commons—the regulations in relation to training colleges and secondary schools introduced by the predecessor of the right hon. Gentleman who now presides over the Board of Education. I anticipate I shall be told that there has been no considerable modification of the position since the matter was discussed in the last House of Commons. But there is one circumstance which, I think, entitles me to consider that the matter should be raised in the present House, and that circumstance is to be found in the distinction between the general view held in the last House of Commons as to denominational teaching and the view which may be supposed to be held by the present House on that subject. In the last House of Commons an overwhelming majority of the Members were definitely pledged to the view that there should be no denominational teaching in schools, and, if that were the view held by the majority, it might not be altogether unreasonable to deal in some way with the denominational training colleges in which teachers are produced for the express purpose of giving denominational teaching. If you, by your general educational policy, contemplate the continuance of denominational teaching, then it is highly reasonable to take precautions for educating teachers qualified to give that teaching; but if you take the view generally held in the last House of Commons that denominational teaching is approaching an early legislative conclusion, there is something to be said for the statement that one must clarify the denominational atmosphere of these training colleges. Certainly, the constitution of the present House of Commons, if examined from this point of view, shows some rather remarkable conclusions. In the first place one does not find that hon. Gentlemen who sit opposite, and who in the last House of Commons strongly opposed the denominational claims advanced from these benches, were consistent at the General Election. Take the case of the hon. Member for Huddersfield, who supported the anti-denominational policy of the right hon. Gentleman during the last four years. At the time of the election he wrote to the Roman Catholic clergyman in Huddersfield announcing a strong desire to maintain the existing facilities enjoyed by Roman Catholics in the form of subventions from the rates. If hon. Gentlemen have now been converted by us to the view that rate-aid should be given in future for denominational purposes they surely will agree it is an opportune moment to consider whether we should not also revise these training college regulations, which considerably reduce the opportunity of training teachers to give that particular form of instruction. In Liverpool, and I think I may say in Lancashire generally, we had the happiness of seeing hon. Gentlemen opposite who for four years had been bitterly and contemptuously opposed to denominational teaching, giving specific pledges with regard to the denominational schools of Roman Catholics. If it is the view of hon. Gentlemen opposite, as it is our view, that these facilities should still be given, it must be reasonable that there should be some modification of the regulation introduced by the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor, and to some extent maintained by himself, in the matter of providing teachers to give this instruction. We recognise, therefore, that the objections to rate-aid are no longer entertained by hon. Gentlemen opposite. The passive resistance movement is now revealed in its proper light. Hon. Gentlemen are divided on the denominational question, but on this side of the House we have not modified our views, and, seeing that the eighty Irish Members may be presumed to hold to-day the views they entertained in the last House of Commons, it will, as the result of a short calculation, be seen that there is a considerable Majority in the present House of Commons hostile to the policy which is responsible for the change in the training colleges. I may call attention to an address given by Archbishop Bourne in September, 1909, in which he declared that the then Minister of Education, by his regulations regarding secondary schools, was engaged in sapping and undermining the whole structure of Catholic education. The Catholic Members of Parliament seemed powerless to stop it. The Minister of Education, by offering a premium—he did not like to call it a bribe—to those who were willing to forego definite religious teaching, was gradually rendering the continued effective existence of Catholic training colleges so difficult that in the end, if he had his way, he would destroy them altogether. The position is this: There is, accepting that statement by Archbishop Bourne as being representative of the views of hon. Gentle- men from Ireland below the Gangway, a Majority of Members who may be presumed to disagree with the general character of the regulations which were introduced by the right hon. Gentleman's predecessors. What are the circumstances under which those regulations were originally introduced? As the House knows, the Government of the day and the Board of Education are powerless, so far as the elementary schools of the country are concerned, to introduce those far-reaching changes, which until recently, at any rate, represented their policy, without legislation. In other words, the Government could not deprive the denominations of the dogmatic teaching which they enjoy to-day unless they could carry through both Houses of Parliament an Act appropriate to that purpose. They tried to do that on several occasions in the last House of Commons, as far as elementary schools were concerned, and were unsuccessful, but they found themselves much more fortunately circumstanced when they came to deal with the training colleges, because the Board of Education had power to impose any condition to their grant that they might choose. The Committee will recall what occurred in 1907, when the heart of the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor was full of rage at the loss of the Education Bill associated with the name of the present Chief Secretary for Ireland. He introduced the regulation which has been the subject of so much controversy and so much dissatisfaction. Until that time the training colleges, denominational, undenominational, and secular, were equally recognised by the State, and I think the majority will agree that that is the only sound principle, so far as the relations of the State with the training colleges are concerned. It is most important that hon. Gentlemen should appreciate what is the extent of the claim based on pecuniary obligations which the State is in a position to make in regard to these training colleges. During the last twenty-five years the State has given no help towards building any one of these colleges, and its view apparently has been that those who made themselves responsible for the expense were deserving well of the community as a whole, and ought to be guarded in making provision for the teachers, and that the denomination which provided its own building would be rewarded for its public-spirited efforts by getting a grant.

6.0 P.M.

I may point out to the House that every class of teacher is, of course, required. If a Roman Catholic teacher is not required for one school, he is required for another, and the same applies to the Jewish or Church of England teacher; in other words, there is room, and, indeed, there is a necessity, for a training college to which those professing every school of thought should be admitted, and that the teachers of all these schools should be equipped for the religious teaching they have to give.

In these circumstances, both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church, and not to a very considerable extent, but to some extent, the Wesleyan Methodists, all went to considerable expense in building these training colleges, and in 1907 the extent of the provision which had been made can be given in the following figures: In that year the Church of England had provided 3,327 residential places, the Roman Catholic community 629, the Wesleyans 270, and the Undenomi-nationalists 1,128. I would pause for a moment to ask the House to consider how meritorious a public service has been discharged by these communities, who had, at their own expense, provided these training colleges, which would make the teachers in our elementary schools more efficient. I do not think there is anyone who will not admit that benefit. Teachers, after all, must be trained if they are to be efficient, and it is universally conceded that residence at a training college is a very great advantage. The position, then, was that the religious zeal and the liberality of the Churchmen, Roman Catholics, and Wesleyans had provided these buildings for a purpose which everyone must concede to be a most useful public purpose, and had done so without costing the State a farthing.

I do not think I am putting it too high when I say it was an implied condition of honour that the Board of Education in permitting these buildings to be built and encouraging their founders to incur the necessary expenditure—that it was an implied condition of honour that the Board would never use its arbitrary powers to deprive the denominations of the only consideration they had for the sacrifices they had made. Nobody supposes that the members of the Church of England or the members of the Church of Rome would have gone to the expense of providing these training colleges in order that they might be used by persons who did not share their religious views, and the one critical moment at which it is necessary to analyse the nature of the contract made between the Board of Education of the day and those who built these institutions is the critical moment when the money was expended with the knowledge of the Education Department for a specific purpose. Then the obligation of honour inures. It can be crystallised in a sentence by saying that the Board of Education accepted value from those who built these colleges, and in return recognised their right to train the teachers according to the religious views of those who found the money for the buildings.

I have told the House quite shortly what the position in 1907 was as far as the Church and Nonconformists' places were concerned, but besides these it is, in order that the House may have the complete facts to form a judgment, necessary to say that there were in 1907 3,541 places in day training colleges which were free from all denominational conditions. So that in 1907 the position was this—the figures may be a little modified since, but I am not concerned with that, they are sufficiently accurate for my purpose—in 1907 there were 4,236 denominational places in these training colleges as contrasted with 4,669 undenominational places, and 801 open places in undenominational hostels attached to church colleges. If there has been any change in the figure since I do not think the right hon. Gentleman will contradict me when I say it has been in the direction of increasing the proportion of undenominational places to denominational places. If that is so, I think it is not putting the contention too high to say that then, both in 1907, and even more so in the present day, there has been ample provision in the training colleges, day and residential both, for denominational and undenominational teachers, and that no one has been able to found a grievance successfully upon the inability of persons who wanted to qualify on undenominational lines to obtain the facilities they require. How do those figures compare with the additions since 1907–4,236 denominational places and 5,470 undenominational places?

Considering that the educational policy of the Government in this House is dead, and looking at the educational policy of the last four years, I do not think that is a bad proportion of undenominational places to denominational places, because the right hon. Gentleman must realise, and the House must realise, that having regard to the definitive failure of the campaign which was carried on in the last Parliament, and having regard to the clear and candid adoption of most of the principles of the Act of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, the candid acceptance in Liverpool and many other parts of the country by Gentlemen who were contesting seats at the last General Election of the necessity of State aid, surely this House must ask itself whether regulations which were justified as long as there was a prospect, through disability, of denominational teaching being destroyed in the schools, can be permitted to survive in the House of Commons, in which I have shown that a clear majority is in open revolt from the educational policy the Government were carrying on in the last Parliament. What were these regulations which were introduced by the predecessor of the present President of the Board of Education in 1907. As the Committee will probably be aware, it was made impossible in the future to build new denominational colleges, and a conscience clause was introduced for boarders in all church training colleges and all Roman Catholic training colleges, and the result of this regulation, which caused extreme indignation, was that Churchmen and Roman Catholics were compelled to receive Nonconformists into their training colleges, even to the exclusion of their own people, on whose behalf they built those colleges. The highest legal advice was taken on behalf of these training colleges as to the illegality of the regulations and as to their consistency with the trust deeds of these colleges, and, having taken this advice, the information was made public, and the right hon. Gentleman the predecessor of the present President of the Board of Education gave a thoroughly characteristic reply to the effect that the training colleges should alter their trusts. That was the suggestion which came from him, and it had the merit of simplicity because the suggestion was that, having received it from the Board in its administrative capacity, they should go back to the Board in their judicial capacity as Charity Commissioners and invite them to alter those trusts. A more shocking proposal was never put forward for dealing with a fiduciary obligation by a Minister whose special duty ought to have been to protect these trusts.

Fortunately, the rule of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty was succeeded by that of the right hon. Gentleman who now holds that position, and if he will allow me to say so, I and many of my Friends clearly recognise, without surrendering some individual grounds of criticism, the complete change of tone and manner which the right hon. Gentleman has introduced into the conduct and policy of his office. This spirit of moderation and conciliation was reflected in the changes which the right hon. Gentleman made in the proposed regulations of his predecessor. I cannot say that the alterations which the right hon. Gentleman made went anything like as far as we now think in this House of Commons they should go, but I must make this admission, and I desire to make it in the fullest possible manner, that I do think they went quite as far as it was possible for the right hon. Gentleman to go in the last House of Commons, or having regard to the known opinions of his supporters it would have been reasonable for us to expect he should go. But the position to-day has altered considerably, and no one is more capable of recognising that than the right hon. Gentleman, and I would ask him to consider what was the extent of the modification which he introduced? The explanation is a little involved and a little lengthy, but I think I can summarise it with sufficient accuracy for this House if I say that the conscience clause under the proposal of his predecessor was to apply to all the colleges under the regulation, and the right hon. Gentleman's conscience clause was not to apply to applicants for admission to those training colleges who were actually members of the denominations which had founded the training college. That was the first considerable modification, and the second was that the conscience clause was not to apply to more than half the applicants, and I think I am right in saying that the provision as to the building of new denominational colleges which had been made by his predecessor is retained in the modified regulation of the right hon. Gentleman. While admitting that the regulations are a great improvement on his predecessor's I want really to ask the right hon. Gentleman how far he can justify them even in their modified form in a House of Commons as at present constituted? I suppose he has no intention of moving to reintroduce any one of those Education Bills of the last Parliament. He would agree, as I have already pointed out, that if he tried to introduce either No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, or No. 4 it could not survive a Second Reading Division. That case has gone. It has definitely joined the list of lost causes which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen have been accumulating for many years past. If that is so, what follows? It follows that the opinion, not of the House of Lords, but of the House of Commons, which has come back fresh from the constituencies to attack the House of Lords, is not prepared to sanction the suppression of denominational teaching in schools, and is further determined to insist that all those who were in enjoyment of that education shall continue to receive that assistance from the rates which you spent nearly two years of Parliamentary time in the last House of Commons trying to put an end to. If that is so, another consequence surely follows. Denominational teaching is to survive, and those who are to give it must be adequately equipped and educated. No one at this period of our educational controversy will deny that those who are going to give that religious education must be taught to do so. If they are to be made efficient as such teachers, where are they to receive their education? The answer, of course, is that they can only receive it at these training colleges, and that the regulations of the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor have very gravely impaired the efficiency of those training colleges for this necessary purpose. I may be told that this was a modus vivendi introduced by the right hon. Gentleman and accepted by Churchmen at the time. There is an element of truth in that, but it is not more than an element of truth, because they accepted the modus vivendi which the right hon. Gentleman proposed for this very simple reason, that it was an alternative only to the far more oppressive proposals of his predecessor. It would be as reasonable to say, when a man is asked for his money or his life, that he had been a willing agent in parting with his money as to say that either the Church or the Roman Catholics were willing agents when they assented to the modified proposals for which the right hon. Gentleman is responsible. The truth is that these regulations, even as modified by the right hon. Gentleman, were and are bitterly resented both by Roman Catholics and by members of the Church of England, and there are very few of us on these benches who were not specifically asked whether, if we were returned to this House of Commons, we would do all that was in our power to procure their modification at the earliest possible opportunity. It happens also to be within my knowledge that a similar pledge was in some cases very freely given by some hon. Gentlemen, at any rate, on the benches opposite.

The particular points on which I attack the policy of the right hon. Gentleman and his predecessor are these. These regulations were originally introduced by the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor for purely partisan objects. From first to last no educational ground was ever alleged. It was put forward purely and simply on the denominational ground. It was put forward just at the moment when indignation was general among hon. Members opposite because of the loss of the first Education Bill of 1906. As these grounds are now out of date surely it is a convenient moment for reverting to the sound and healthy rule, which for seventy years has been adopted in our educational system, that in dealing with secondary school grants and training college grants the State shall be absolutely neutral. That was the old principle, and the only question the State ever asked itself in the old days, up to the unhappy tenure of power by the present First Lord of the Admiralty, was, are they or are they not secularly efficient? No one on these benches would hope or ask for any grant unless the condition precedent of secular efficiency was established. We contend for this proposition, that when once the standard of secular efficiency—set it as high as you like—is satisfied, from that moment the State has no right to do anything except to remain neutral in the matter, and that attitude of neutrality would not have been abandoned by the late Government in 1907 if it had not been for the exasperation produced by the failure of their earliest Education Bill. It is not too late yet for the Government to revert, and, indeed, they might under all the circumstances be very well advised to revert, to this healthier tradition of which I have spoken, and if they are in any way inclined to do that I might point out that there is very respectable statutory authority for the impartiality which I am attempting to press on their attention. Under the Public Elementary Education Act of 1870 the Board of Education is not at liberty to discriminate between voluntary and provided schools in the making of grants. That principle is precisely the same whether you are dealing with schools or with colleges which provide teachers for your schools.

In the matter of higher education there was a provision comparable in scope in the Education Act of 1902, to the effect that the local education authority, in making grants in aid of higher education, shall not impose religious or anti-religious conditions upon the schools. Let the Committee see what a paradox follows if one contrasts this provision of the Act of 1902 with the recent administrative treatment of these colleges by the Board of Education. Under the section which I have just read the local education authority, in making grants in aid of higher education, cannot impose religious or anti-religious conditions, but the term higher education technically includes training colleges also, and, therefore, we are face to face with this paradoxical position, that Parliament, by Statute, has forbidden the local education authority, as invidious, to make these discriminations which the right hon. Gentleman and his predecessor have been making administratively and as a Departmental matter in the last four years. I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that it is highly improper that the Board of Education should deal administratively with so contentious a matter. There is no Government Department—I do not care whether it represents hon. Gentlemen opposite or the political party to which I belong—that I myself would trust to apply administrative principles on a vexed controversial question of party politics of this kind, where there was so much temptation to subordinate the principles of administration to political views. It only requires to be stated for the position to be clear. For four years hon. Gentlemen opposite have been attempting to do this. During all that time provocation and dissatisfaction have been caused by the obligation on the part of the Board of Education to deal administratively and judicially with these highly vexed questions. Surely the only road of safety was that the Government should have said, "We will maintain the neutrality which the Board of Education has observed ever since the building grants were first given, for a period of time which now amounts to almost seventy years."

I may be asked whether the Church of England or the Roman Catholics made any offer at all to the Government which afforded a more reasonable basis for compromise than the so-called compromise which was ultimately adopted. I think I remember feeing a document which was signed by one archbishop and several bishops of the Church of England, in which they made proposals to the Board of Education of that day, the effect of which was that, by establishing hostels in connection with Church of England training colleges, Nonconformists, who genuinely desired to avail themselves of the educational advantages of those training colleges, should be allowed to do so without excluding any Church of England teachers from the opportunity of obtaining denominational instruction in those training colleges. I cannot help thinking, under all the circumstances of the case, that that was an extremely liberal offer on the part of the Church of England, and one that the Government of the day would have been very well advised to accept.

I would press upon the right hon. Gentleman this view, which I, and I think almost all my friends, most strongly entertain—the practice was not commenced by the right hon. Gentleman, it was initiated by his predecessor—that training colleges, to their great prejudice in the curtailment of their educational usefulness, and in breach of the implied bargain upon which they incurred expenditure in the matter of buildings, have been treated by the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor in a manner which is tyrannous, which unnecessarily impairs their usefulness, and which was only adopted in its origin for purely party purposes. The right hon. Gentleman showed in the fourth Educational Bill which he introduced, though it was a Bill which may of us thought was foredoomed to failure, that he could recognise this principle—that compromise in these matters is far better than any attempt at dictation or tyranny. That is the one lesson that I have derived after four years of discussion of Educational Bills and politics. I have never spoken in this House or in Lancashire as a very strong denominationalist myself, and I have frequently stated, in answer to questions and otherwise, that if I were sending a child to school I should be perfectly satisfied with the Cowper-Temple form of instruction, but as far as training colleges and schools are concerned, I carry more deeply from every Debate and from the failure of each successive scheme this conviction: that whether you are a denominationalist, as so many of my hon. Friends are, or whether you are not, you will never solve these educational questions either in your schools or in your training colleges unless you realise this elementary truth—that large numbers of devout and conscientious persons believe that matters deeply affecting the future welfare of their children are bound up in these questions, and you will never settle it as long as you leave them with a bitter sense of grievance that they are being made to pay for the facilities in similar matters which other creeds enjoy while they are themselves grudged the same facilities.


I rise to support the Motion. It is only because during the last two or three years I have been brought into somewhat exceptional connection with training colleges in the county of London that I put before hon. Members one or two lessons which I have drawn from that personal experience. I do not for a moment suggest that I should pose as an expert, but during the two or three years in which I have been a member of the educational authority for the County of London I have had an opportunity of studying the actual administration of the Board of Education regulations, not only in the county council training colleges, but in the denominational training colleges as well. During that time I have been incessantly engaged in the work, particularly of the county council training colleges, and I have been brought into contact with the denominational colleges as well. I therefore have had a somewhat exceptional opportunity of seeing how the regulations of the Board actually work. I welcome this opportunity of discussing the regulations. Up till now they have only been issued at the very end of the scholastic year. They have been issued on the eve of the breaking-up of the training colleges for their summer holidays, and it has been extremely difficult for hon. Members to discuss them. It has been extremely difficult for the principals and staffs of training colleges to make their arrangements for the ensuing year. To-night we have an opportunity of discussing the regulations issued last June, two months before the regulations of 1910 will be issued, and I do hope that after what we have to state we may look forward to some modification or withdrawal of the objectionable features of the regulations of 1909 when the new regulations come to be issued. We have an exceptional opportunity to-day, because for the first time since 1907 this question can be considered on its own merits, quite apart from any partisan question. My hon. and learned Friend has already alluded to the change that has taken place in this House. The result of that change has been that there is no longer the same pressure from behind to induce the President of the Board of Education to issue regulations in the same form as last year. He has on more than one occasion shown a conciliatory attitude towards denominational schools and denominational education, and I do hope, now that political pressure has, at any rate, been lessened, he will extend to colleges that consideration which he has shown himself ready to extend to schools.

We know that the regulations of 1907 were not introduced for any educational reason at all. They were introduced as a means by which certain hon. Members attempted to get back in the colleges what they failed to get in the schools. Now we can consider this question simply on its own merits from the educational point of view. The House is already in possession of the salient points of this controversy, and I need not recount them. They know what the effect of the regulations is, and they also know, owing to what I believe to be the beneficial policy of the Board of Education, that training colleges are every year playing a more important part in the training of teachers for elementary schools. We may look forward to no distant time when the training college will be the only avenue of entrance into the scholastic profession. The training college has become even more important than it was in the past. My hon. and learned Friend has already alluded to the actual number of places in the two kinds of training colleges—denominational and undenominational—and I do feel very strongly that the time has come to reconsider the position for three reasons. In the first place, the President of the Board of Education, in conference last year with certain representatives of the Church of England, made a modification of the regulations of 1908 by what is known as the modus vivendi, under which 50 per cent. of denominational places were withdrawn from the scope of the regulations issued by his predecessor. It seems to me that the whole of the conditions of that compromise have now come to an end. If I understood the compromise rightly, it was an attempt to meet the President half-way in the matter of training colleges, and to get back something in the elementary schools. At that particular time compromise was in the air. Now the compromise with reference to the elementary schools has come to an end. One of the main conditions in the modus vivendi as to the 50 per cent. has ceased to exist. The withdrawal of the pressure on the benches behind the right hon. Gentleman has entirely changed the position of affairs, and I would like to draw attention to the fact that during the last four years the number of places in training colleges has undergone a very large and important change.

There may have been some grievance on the part of undenominationalists in the past that when they wished to enter training colleges a great majority of the institutions were in the hands of various denominations. By the policy adopted in the last three or four years by the Board of Education a great stimulus has been given to the foundation of undenominational colleges. The Board have offered a grant of three-fourths of the cost of the building and site of any municipal training college, and the result has been that local authorities, and particularly the County Council of London, have been building these undenominational colleges on a very large scale. Let me give the figures as they affect London at the present moment. I find that in the County of London there are 1,764 places in County Council undenominational training colleges. In two other undenominational training colleges there are 669 places. In the denominational training colleges in London there are 1,450 places. The result is that you have in the County of London about 1,000 undenominational places more than you have of denominational places. You could only justify a further extension by saying that even with this great excess of undenominational places there was still a demand on the part of undenominationalists to obtain admission that they could not get. What is the state of affairs? During the last two years I have received a good many letters on the subject of training colleges from aggrieved ratepayers in London, and the purport of a large number of them is that at the present moment we have not too few municipal places in training colleges in London, but too many. The result is that only in the last two or three weeks I introduced proposals to the London Education Committee which would reduce the undenominational municipal places by no less than 160 a year. There will, therefore, be in future, if these proposals pass the London County Council, 320 less undenominational places than there are now in the county of London, for the simple reason that they are not required.

I shall be told that while there may be an excess of undenominational places in day colleges, that does not affect residential colleges. I do not know the state of affairs as to residential colleges elsewhere, but, at any rate, in London there is no attempt which cannot be satisfied to gain admission to residential colleges. The largest residential college is an undenominational; and the most important and efficient in London is not a residential college at all, but a day college. That seems to me to dispose entirely of the grievance that undenominationalists cannot obtain admission to residential colleges when they so desire. Let me appeal to the President of the Board of Education by putting two points to him. The first is an educational point. At the present moment the denominational colleges are doing magnificent work. We have found in the county council during the past few years that the best students turned out are from denominational colleges. The right hon. Gentleman is aware that it has been the practice of the county council during the last few years to pick out the best students from the various training colleges and to put them on what is known as the "college list," which enables them to find immediate employment. It is fact that upon this college list during the past four or five years the pick of the students of the training colleges of the whole country have been students from denominational colleges. If the right hon. Gentleman strikes a blow at these denominational colleges, it is patent that he strikes a blow at the best form of training now given in the colleges of the country.

There is the further point that these regulations are extremely complicated. It is very difficult even for the principal and staff of a college who wish loyally to carry them out, to do so, and serious complications arise. It is extremely difficult for a principal to make provision for an unknown number of undenominational students one year when he has not the least idea how many will attend next year. I am not stating a hypothetical case, for I know what has happened in my own experience. The result is that a loss of grant is being inflicted on particular colleges. While I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman, in the first place, on educational grounds, I would like, in the second place, to appeal to him on religious grounds. Everyone is aware that 999 out of every 1,000 teachers are required to give religious instruction at some time when they become teachers in elementary schools. But the only colleges in which a student is absolutely certain to receive any religious instruction at all are the denominational colleges. We are told that whilst you need most intense application to be able to teach natural science, history, mathematics, and other branches of the school curriculum, you can teach the Bible by instinct, and need no special instruction to enable you to teach it in the elementary schools. At any rate, as regards the elementary schools of London, I do not believe that anybody would be so bold as to say that Bible instruction is given as adequately and completely as it should be. I have seen reports which state that this teaching has not been efficiently given. How can you expect it when the majority of the teachers may not have had an opportunity of receiving any religious instruction in the undenominational colleges to which they have been? We are also told that the students themselves do not require it, and that they have reached an age when it is unnecessary to inflict instruction of this kind upon them, and that there is no demand for this instruction. We have found from our practical experience even in the undenominational colleges that there is a very strong demand.

We found that until last year in the county council and municipal colleges in London there was no religious instruction being given at all, either denominational or undenominational. We thought that was a most unfortunate state of affairs. We therefore took the opportunity of giving to the students a chance of saying whether or not they desired religious instruction. You are aware that under Part 2 of the 1902 Act a local authority can provide facilities for students who desire explicit denominational instruction. We determined to put that clause of the Act into force. I may point out that no pressure whatever was brought to bear upon any student. I may also point out that the students' time table was already exceedingly full, and that it would be putting individual students to some inconvenience to ask them to attend any further lectures. These facilities have now been in force for only a few months, and at the present moment we have got a class attended by no less than one hundred Anglican students, purely voluntary, in one of our colleges, and we have got a class of fifty Nonconformists in another, and a class of fifteen Roman Catholics in a third. That seems to show that even in the undenominational colleges, where you would not expect this demand to be so keen, there is a very real and genuine demand for explicit religious instruction. But at present the only colleges in which students are absolutely certain of getting religious instruction, independent of county council majorities, are the denominational colleges. If you destroy these colleges or if you mutilate them you are taking a very long step towards secularising the colleges and schools altogether. We know that the President of the Board of Education is not anxious for what is known as the secular solution. He showed it in his introduction of Chapter 10 in the regulations last year. Unfortunately he withdrew that particular chapter, so that at the present moment there are no safeguards in the undenominational colleges at all for any religious instruction.

I appeal to him first of all in the interest of education, and I appeal, in the second place, in the interest of religious instruction, to withdraw these totally unnecessary and harassing articles in the regulations. The Church of England training colleges—and what I say applies equally well to denominational colleges of other denominations—are only too anxious to continue to take their part in the education of the country. If he will only treat them fairly, if he will only ask them as a matter of grace what he is now insisting upon as a condition of their existence, I feel sure that they will meet him. I am sure that the President of the Board of Education knows that in one particular college of which I am thinking at the present moment—St. Gabriel's, at Kenning-ton—they are only too anxious to receive into the house attached to the college Nonconformist students. I am perfectly certain that what is true of that college is true also of a great many others of the denominational colleges. If he would only ask them as a matter of grace, and not put a pistol to their heads, I am sure that they would be only too anxious to include among their students the students of denominations other than that for which the college was explicitly founded. My hon. and learned Friend (Mr. F. E. Smith) has alluded to another point, the change in the conditions in this House; and that I do not press further. I would rather appeal to the President in the interest of justice and education, and I feel sure that that appeal will carry a great deal of weight with him.


The Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool (Mr. F. E. Smith), in reviewing the training colleges and the building of them, said that they were rewarded according to their works. I think that the hon. and learned Gentleman would have been more accurate if he had said that they were rewarded according to their wealth and not according to their work. That is the whole history of the denominational colleges as dealt with by the party who sit on the opposite benches. That was the main principle which dominated their action. There was another principle that was acted upon in the methods which they adopted as regards training colleges, and that was the giving of power to the wealthy denominational Church of England, and practically to them alone, because they were the only denomination who had the money to build the training colleges apart from the Roman Catholics. In doing so they went contrary to what is the main principle of a very large number, if not a large majority, of the people of this country, the principle which we hold that it is the duty not of denominations, but of the nation at large to provide the training college education which is necessary for the staffing of the schools. The hon. and learned Member who moved the reduction of this Vote took for granted that if one party of the State makes a bargain with a certain denomination, that if they build training colleges the small sum which they spend in building shall carry with it the right for ever to a grant from the Government, which will keep those training colleges in all their expenses, that it is a matter of justice to continue that arrangement. He said that that was a fair bargain and that it was a condition of honour to continue such a system.

First of all, is it a fair system? I do not agree that the making of the bargain originally was a question of honour. Very far from it. I think it was a question of great discredit to the party who for all those years gave so great a power to one or two denominations for so small a sum. But, more than that, I say it was a discreditable thing that money should have come into the question at all, and that the possession of money should have been allowed for all those years to determine whom they would have to train the great majority of the teachers of this country. But there is even a greater question of principle. There are two schools of thought in this country, those who think the training colleges should be under the control of denominations and those who think that training colleges ought to be under the control of the State and of the municipality. So far from its being a question of honour that the system which was established of keeping power almost entirely in the hands of a denomination should be continued, I say that if you allow that, if you allow the purchase by one or two denominations by finding the money to build these colleges to continue as a principle, you allow that consideration to outweigh the other and to prevent a reversal of the policy. I claim that, although the Conservative party believed that it was desirable to keep the training in the hands of denominations, yet, if a reversal of that view was accomplished in the country, it was certainly in the power and it was the right of those who came to rule in this House to adopt a different system.

It was within their right obviously to say, "We shall sweep away this idea that the purse is going to govern the question. We shall sweep away the idea that because a certain denomination provides colleges, the rent of which forms only a small proportion of the annual expenditure, the whole of the rest of the annual expenditure is to be found by the State." Your new Government is entitled to say, "There can be no question of honour in saying that the bargain which has been made is a bad one, and, more than that, that it has been a thoroughly unjust one, and to the country that the great number of places in the training colleges that are obtained, practically, for one or two denominations for so small a sum is not in any way desirable." The hon. Member for Liverpool spoke of the number of places in the training colleges themselves. Then he went on to speak of the number of places in the lay training colleges. Then he added the two together, and he spoke of the two corresponding numbers of denominational and undenominational places in both classes of colleges, well knowing that students from the one class of college are never, and never have been, when they are seeking for places in the educational world, on the same footing as students who have gone to another class of college.

7.0 P.M.

The grouping of the two, as the hon. Member must have known perfectly well, was an unjust and an unfair grouping and tended to give a wrong impression to those who listened to it and who are not accustomed to dealing with these questions. The position when these regulations were put in force was this. There were every year thousands of Nonconformist students who had passed examinations which qualified them for entering the training college, but because they were Nonconformists they were excluded from the training colleges, where many who had passed their examinations with lower marks were allowed to enter, and they were kept for the whole of their lives on a lower basis of salary through the country, and they were excluded from these places where everything except the amount of rent was provided by the Government. Does anyone on the other side say that that is not the basest and grossest form of bribery—[Several HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—the basest and grossest form of injustice by which those who have long purses can give those who agree with them better places than those whose friends have not long purses, or who even hold a different political creed, and simply believe that the training colleges ought to be in the hands of the State and ought not to be in the hands of denominations? The hon. Member stated that the duty of the State in these matters was to be neutral. The duty of the State through all these years was not to be neutral, but its action, so to speak, was to wink at a certain system which produced the result which a certain party wanted; and as long as they remained in power they were enabled by means of this apparent neutrality to keep the greater part of the teaching in their own hands. That is not neutrality—it is really a slim method of obtaining their own way. I will not go into what view the Irish Members may take upon this question, but one thing I have quite clearly in my mind, that during the education Debates not only in the last Parliament, but in the Parliament before, and during the Education Bill of 1902, there were none more scathing in their denunciations of the injustice that was put upon Nonconformists by methods of this kind than the Members from Ireland. It is quite true that in that Parliament the Government made it worth the while of the Irish Members to support them. It is quite true that on three separate occasions the Government would not have succeeded without the support of Irish Members. Their own followers not only spoke against the injustice in connection with this training college question, but actually voted against their own supporters on the question, and Irish Members, in 1902, three times came to the assistance of the Government on a question similar to this in order to save them from defeat. It may be that the Irish Members take a different view as to the training colleges to-day, and they may take a different view on the question of interest now in their own training colleges, but throughout the whole of the education Debates, although their votes have not always been with us, their speeches have been with us, and they did not, in the country, claim that the Noncomformists have been treated in regard to the question of training colleges in anything like a fair manner. The speaker who has just sat down gave the House to understand that, excepting for these training colleges, you could not be sure of getting anything which you might call religious education. I cannot make that tally with the hon. Member's own speech, for he gave us an account of how, under the London County Council, members of the Church of England, and some Nonconformists and Roman Catholics, could get religious training voluntarily under that authority.

The same is true in other places, and there is no doubt whatever that the statement he made is grossly inaccurate. Those who wish for training in religious teaching outside these colleges are able to get it. I admit that when at the present time different municipalities are building training colleges in a way with which I thoroughly agree, the grant being 75 per cent. of the cost of both building and site, I regard that as the only proper solution. It is the theory of many of the best educationalists, who have held it for many years, that it is the duty of the State, through the municipalities rather, perhaps, than by the State, to take upon itself not only the cost of the site and the building, but that, in respect of the training colleges which are already established, they should also take the responsibility of practically the whole of the maintenance. Training colleges are being planned or being built, and there is ample proof that Nonconformists, Catholics, and others, all wish to get into training colleges that are not controlled by one particular denomination. If, when these training colleges are established, there is ample room for all students, so that no one is excluded simply on the ground of his belief or disbelief, it may not then be necessary to have a conscience clause in the denominational colleges. The Government may not desire it, or it may not be necessary. But so long as any are excluded from colleges which are almost entirely maintained out of grants, with the exception of rent, from taking their places according to the merits of their examination, I hope the regulation will be enforced that a number of places shall be retained by means of a conscience clause, so that every teacher, when he has finished his school training, shall be able to take his place on his merits in some training college. I believe there will be in the course of a year or two ample room, and possibly there will be no necessity for the conscience clause. There has not been room up to the present time—leaving out the day training colleges, which are on a different footing—and I hope that the President of the Board of Education will not withdraw or modify in any way the regulation, and that the requisite accommodation is found in the training colleges.


As a new Member, speaking for the first time, I am glad to have an opportunity of saying only a few words upon a subject which in the Lancashire constituency which I represent is one of the keenest possible and the most earnest interest. Everyone in this House, as the Committee knows perfectly well, is aware that the borough of Preston is devoted to denominational schools. I believe that at Preston all the schools are denominational, Church of England or Roman Catholic, save one or, at the most, two, which are Board schools. Consequently the people of that constituency take the greatest interest in any question that affects the religious teaching given in the training college—the religious training of the teachers who are to teach in the public elementary schools. It seems to me that the policy of the Government during the last four years, as regards these matters would, if it had been successfully carried into law, have in fact been hostile to religious teaching in public elementary schools. And so I believe, too, that the policy of the Government, as embodied in the regulations of the Board of Education, are, in very truth, in their effect hostile to religious training in our denominational training colleges. I have a two-fold grievance in connection with the regulations of the Board of Education. I complain of the existence of some of those regulations, and I complain, too, of the non-existence of other regulations—I refer especially to the regulations contained in Chapter 10. I complain that those regulations, which were undoubtedly approved by the present President of the Board of Education, were strangled by him almost immediately after their birth. The first grievance that I have is as to the existence of certain regulations which lay down that 50 per cent., at least half of the vacancies an denominational training colleges, must be absolutely left open to students belonging to any religious denomination whatever. I say of regulations of that kind that they are unfair to the denominational training colleges; it seems to me, also, that they are absolutely unnecessary by reason of some matters which I will allude to again, and which were referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool.

I object, also, to these particular regulations, because it seems to me that, in very truth, they may adversely affect what has been called the family life in these training colleges. First of all, in considering whether they are unfair or not, these regulations particularly say that 50 per cent. of the vacancies of denominational colleges must be left open to students of denominations, no matter what they are. They are unfair, and I do not think that one ought to disregard the history of these colleges. One must not forget that members belonging to particular denominations found the money themselves, in the first instance, for the building of these training colleges. Of course, one does not forget that the Government made Grants in Aid up to a certain period, but those grants they made were not large, and undoubtedly the vast bulk of the expenditure fell upon the members of particular denominations. They were glad to put their hands in their pockets, but they intended that their money should be for religious teaching in their own particular faith, and should be given to students who wanted to be trained to become teachers; they were thoroughly glad to incur this expenditure in the confident faith that the Government of this country would continue to recognise the denominational character of the schools to which they contributed their money. Then came the grievance of the undenominationalists—the Nonconformist grievance. I understand they came forward and said, "We have no room; we can find no room for undenominational students. We want access to your denominational schools for our Nonconformist students." That is what they want. I will not go now into whether that grievance was well founded or not, but one cannot, and ought not to, forget that, after all, when Nonconformists made that grievance there were training colleges which were undenominational. There were two residential training colleges which were undenominational, and, above and beyond that, there were these hostels, which were close to the denominational training colleges, where the Nonconformist students could obtain lodging. The Nonconformist students dwelling in these hostels were consequently made free of access to the denominational training college; they had all the advantage of living there, and they shared the intellectual life and the social life of the institution without being subject to the liability of having to attend religious service or attend any religious instruction whatever. I do submit that, under these circumstances, having regard to that history, it is unfair that those colleges should now have this liability imposed upon them of opening them to the extent of one-hall the number of actual vacancies to students belonging to another religious faith.

The next grievance against this particular rule is this, that I do earnestly believe that it adversely affects what is called the family life of all these denominational training colleges. One must not forget the kind of life which these denominational students lead there. There they are, all with one common interest, all bound for the same profession, all in those denominational training colleges belonging to the same religious faith, and having their own daily service in chapel, which constitutes, and very properly constitutes, a great bond between the students in those colleges. I do not think it is fair for one single moment to compare the life of the students in denominational training colleges with the life of undergraduates in the colleges of the Universities, as people so often do. You must remember that these denominational students, after all, are going in for the same profession. Undergraduates of the Universities go in for different professions, for the Army, for a short period, or for politics, for the Bar, and what not, while the denominational students are all bound for the same profession. The point is this, that in that profession when they become teachers they will have to teach, and they may have to give religious instruction, and therefore when they may have to give religious instruction subsequently, surely it is well that religious instruction should be given adequately and properly. How can they best be trained to give it but in the atmosphere of their own particular religious denomination? That is why I do maintain earnestly that you ought, in these denominational training colleges, maintain what is called the religious atmosphere, whether it be Church of England atmosphere or Roman Catholic atmosphere.

As I said just now, these regulations are unnecessary; it is not as if the denominational training colleges or the authorities there, sought to thwart any Nonconformist students who sought admission or sought to impose any obstacles whatever in their way, because they have opened, close by their gates, hostels in which Nonconformist students may dwell, and at the same time get all the benefits of the denominational training college. I think the hon. and learned Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool alluded to the offer made, I think, in 1907 by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Who can doubt that that same offer is open to-day on behalf of the Church of England—namely, that the hostels near the denominational training colleges should be thrown open to Nonconformist students, who are made free of access inside the walls of the denominational training colleges? But the Archbishop, as I understand, suggested, as a wise and prudent measure of reciprocity, that at the same time the undenominational training colleges should in return afford the same facility to denominational students dwelling in hostels outside the walls of those colleges. I want to say a word about the regulations which do not exist—those embodied in Chapter 10–Regulations which, it seems to me, with all respect to the President of the Board of Education, were very wisely framed, and were very wisely considered, and very unhappily withdrawn. I will read the material words of Chapter 10, which was withdrawn entirely after it had obtained the approval of the President of the Board of Education. These are the words:— Religious Instruction.—Such colleges as do not already provide for the training of students in the giving of religious instruction, whether distinctive of any particular denomination or not, shall provide a Course of training which shall prepare students to give such instruction in, and explanations of the Bible as is suited to the capacities of the children. Surely that was a wise regulation most unhappily withdrawn, because what, after all, did that regulation consist of? Only this, that there should in every training college throughout the land be afforded to those who were students in training to be teachers the opportunity, if they wished to avail themselves of it, of attending religious instruction which they afterwards would have to teach. That regulation was withdrawn by the President of the Board of Education in his speech on the Education Estimates in July of last year. I do trust that is not a final withdrawal. I do trust the President of the Board of Education may come into line, and into the line that he marked out for himself when he drafted and approved of that regulation. I hope and trust that withdrawal is not final, and that hope and that trust is not simply as a Churchman, but as well because I am convinced that the people of England, or, at least, the great majority of them, are determined that the Bible shall be taught, and shall be explained properly, to the children in the public elementary schools. If the people of England are determined that the Bible shall be so taught, and shall be properly explained in the public elementary schools, is it not worth while seeing that it is well taught and properly taught? How can it possibly be well taught unless those who have to teach it are themselves trained in some form of religious instruction?


I only intervene to emphasise what fell from the hon. and learned Member for the Walton Division and other speakers, namely, that the Catholics in this country are strongly opposed to the existence of these training college regulations. There appears to be an idea in some quarters, and I rather gathered from some remarks that fell from an hon. Member opposite, that he might possibly be of that opinion, that the Catholics in this country are not so strongly opposed to these training college regulations. It is quite true that our opposition in public has perhaps been more emphasised on the secondary school regulations, which, to our mind, are grossly unjust in that they deprive us of being allowed to start any new secondary school at all with any hope of obtaining any grant. In public we have emphasised that point no doubt more than we have our grievance against the training college regulations, but there is also another reason, perhaps why we have not been so violent, so to speak, in our opposition to the training college regulations, and one which, I am sure, is well known to the right hon. Gentleman opposite. It is simply this that, as he must know well, and as was brought out for his predecessor, and put before the late Prime Minister by a deputation of Catholics received by him, and headed by the Catholic Archbishop—they were officially and definitely informed that if these training college regulations were applied to the Catholic colleges it would be absolutely our duty to ignore them altogether and treat them as a dead letter. I simply rose to emphasise this point, to make it quite clear that we Catholics are as strongly opposed if not more strongly opposed, if possible, than those of the Anglican communion to these regulations. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will, considering as we know that these regulations were framed originally at a time of great strife and great stress, and as we know he has himself shown a more conciliatory spirit with regard to the whole question of education, that he will see his way now to give us a promise of removing these obnoxious regulations, both as regards training colleges and secondary schools.


I listened with a great deal of interest to the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Walton. If I understood the case he made out, it was this, that, as a matter of equity and common justice, any denomination that built a training college had the right to the full control, practical maintenance by the State, the denomination taking entire charge, having full management, and imposing its conditions on all the students who were trained there. That appeared to me, if I may say so, with great respect, to be a very illogical deduction. If you look at the relative payments of the owners and builders of the college and by the State in maintenance, I think you will find the proportion, as far as the State contribution is concerned, is about seven-ninths, and the denominational contribution about two-ninths. Therefore, seriously to submit to this House that those authorities who contribute two-ninths of the cost are to have the full control and entire responsibility for its management, and to admit and exclude according to their own devices, does not seem to be a proposition that is based on equity and justice. I venture to submit to this Committee that the only claim the denominationalists have is for two-ninths of the students to be of their own persuasion and to be admitted according to the test they may impose. If it is to be the basis of the argument that the bargain, or the alleged bargain, with the State and the denominational body is to be on the ground of contribution, then in equity and in justice clearly the State should nominate, the State should control, and the State should lay down conditions of entrance for a due and proper proportion according to the cost incurred.

But on educational grounds these seminaries appear to me to be very undesirable. Personally, I have never looked with favour upon schools devoted to the sons of the clergy, or schools for the sons of Non-conformist ministers. Men who are brought up in the atmosphere of one denomination and associated with one class are always the narrowest type of men you can discover. To send young men to training colleges where the atmosphere is entirely of one type is not to produce the best type of teacher, or to produce the teacher who has that broad outlook which is essential for a really efficient teacher. What does this claim of the denominationalists amount to? It is that by the payment of this small proportion of the cost in the erection of the college they are to have State patronage for the large sums of money expended out of the Imperial Exchequer for the purpose of maintenance. In other words, because one community is a wealthy community and can afford to find money to build a college, they are to have entrusted to them patronage to this very considerable extent. I certainly do not think that it makes for educational efficiency or in a real advantage in the training of teachers. I was impressed by the maiden speech made by the hon. Gentleman who spoke after the hon. and learned Member for Walton. I think the admissions in the latter part of his speech were very significant. Though he was posing, in the commencement of what was a very excellent speech, as an advocate of the denominational colleges, in the latter part of his speech, explaining his own practical experience in London, I think he made out a very good case indeed for the undenominational college, where he told us the instruction that was given was voluntary instruction that the different types required. There was an atmosphere of freedom in the undenominational college, and there was no injustice to the Churchman or in- justice to the Roman Catholic. There was a class for training Roman Catholic teachers; also a class for Church of England teachers, and a class for Cowper-Temple teachers. If you are to have religious instruction for teachers at all, that seems to me the way to do it, and that is the kind of atmosphere which should prevail in the college. I imagine there would be no superiority or inferiority of one section as compared with another. To set against that the policy of the denominational college which insists upon all conforming to one standard and all receiving one kind of instruction seems to me not to make for educational efficiency, nor to create the kind of atmosphere which is healthy and beneficial to the teachers.

The real remedy for the whole business is that the State should provide the money for the training colleges, for their building as well as for their upkeep. It seems to me an entirely illogical proposition to fasten upon our educational system this plausible theory of maintenance by the State and building by the denominational authorities, with the whole and sole control vested in the hands of the latter. The amended regulations enforced last year seem to me to be not only very fair but very generous in the concessions they made. In my opinion the cause of religion is not advantaged by the position taken up in respect of these denominational colleges. An atmosphere of the type created by the hard and fast rules and regulations which the denominational colleges require is contrary to the real spirit of religion, and is not likely to be beneficial to the teachers trained under such auspices. I hope the Minister for Education will not make any further concessions. The present regulations are fair and reasonable. No cause has been made out, as far as justice is concerned, for any change, and I venture to say there is no case on educational grounds; while, in my opinion, at any rate, in the interests of religion it is not desirable that the peculiar and special prerogatives of the denominational training colleges should be further bolstered up.


I think the last speaker went to the root of the matter when he described the conditions of the denominational schools. Personally I agree with him to a considerable extent in that I believe that the ideal of education is not in being brought up entirely with those with whom you agree. But there is a higher ideal than that, and that is religious liberty as a whole. There are a vast number of people equally entitled to their opinion with myself, who desire that their children should be associated only with those with whom they have agreement in religion. I think the true attitude of the State towards those who are willing to spend their time and money in giving religious instruction should be one of benevolent neutrality. If schools can turn out children who satisfy the State requirements, I think the State, if it were possible, ought to recognise them; but I admit that there are great difficulties in putting that ideal into force with respect to elementary schools. I need not go into the difficulties, but none of them exist in regard to the training colleges. Training colleges can be and are carried on by different denominations with perfect efficiency, and thus it has been that colleges which have existed now for sixty or seventy years have been able to draw to themselves those teachers who desired their teaching. The only grievance which for a time obtained was that Nonconformists for some reason or other did not or were not able to build training colleges themselves, and undoubtedly Churchmen got an advantage in the teaching profession by reason of the existence of Church of England training colleges.

What was the service performed by the Church? It was that she stepped in and did that which the State ought to have done. No doubt the Church did this excellent service on behalf of those who believed in her tenets, but it was a service which did good to the State as well as to the Anglican church. No one can question that it was a public service deserving the admiration of those concerned in it. The students who went to the training colleges were provided not merely with religious instruction, but with social and educational advantages. The State invited and encouraged the Church to build these colleges, and undoubtedly the colleges were built in the faith that the State would recognise the services of those who had been encouraged to erect them. The only defect in the system was that apparently it did not extend to the Nonconformist communities. I myself regret it very much, but Nonconformists were for a time insufficiently accommodated. I do not inquire into whose fault it was. It may very well be that the resources of the Church of England were greater than those of the Nonconformist communities. I do not pass any opinion upon that. At any rate, for a time, Nonconformists were handicapped, and they were unable to get the education they desired because the Church colleges built for and accommodating Church men, were not able to receive Nonconformists. That difficulty, however, has now, to a large extent, passed away. Even in 1907, when the predecessor of the present President of the Board of Education passed regulations which would have ruined the Anglican training colleges, a practice was begun which those who were entitled to represent the Church promised should continue. It was promised in a spirit of true tolerance and hospitality that Nonconformists should be welcomed in hostels attached to the Church of England training colleges, that they should have whatever social and educational advantages those colleges afforded, and that they should be under none of the obligations which might vex their consciences, such as attending chapel and entering into the religious life of the college. I submit that that offer was tolerant, generous, and hospitable to Nonconformist teachers. If it were accepted—I believe it has been largely—it would secure the very result desired by the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Tudor Walters) of bringing together in social and educational concord those who in certain religious matters are unable to agree. That is precisely the condition in which most of us lived at the universities. We were brought into contact with those who held different religious views from our own; but it would be preposterous to suggest that that circumstance was a bar to entering into social friendships, which have been of great benefit to both parties.

I will not go into the past or into the efforts made by the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor to ruin the state of things which I have described. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dews-bury (Mr. Runciman) is now Minister for Education, and I would make a most earnest appeal to him, in the altered conditions of the time and in the altered tone which prevails in this House in respect to these matters, to recognise the determination which exists among the people of this country—a determination which I am certain no party will be able to put an end to—that their children and their teachers shall be brought up and trained in their own faith. Neary half the children of the country are educated in voluntary schools with religious instruction as a part of their curriculum, and religious instruction is also given to a great number of children educated in the council schools; so that probably nine-tenths of the children of the country in one way or another receive, at any rate, some religious instruction in the schools. How, then, is it possible to maintain that it is undesirable that the teachers who are bound to give that instruction should learn what they are obliged to teach? I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will not take up that wholly untenable position. Further, it is against public policy that a change so great as that which has been made by these regulations, or what remains of them, should be effected on the authority of the Minister for Education. You have here a state of things which has existed for sixty or seventy years with the assent and encouragement of Parliament. For sixty years these colleges have been recognsed in a manner which gave them as strong a prescriptive right as could be imagined. It is quite true that Parliament might take away that right. Parliament could do anything. But I submit that it is against public policy that any other authority, even so great an authority as the Minister for Education, should be able, by a mere stroke of the pen, to take away a right which has existed, and for which great sacrifices have been made for so many years. Every time there is a change of Government you revive what we should all now deplore—a bitter and exasperating controversy. It seems to me to be perfectly clear that if the Minister for Education should change a long-continued practice of this kind merely by an edict from his office that it is absolutely inevitable that those who succeed him—and some day or other there must succeed him some who do not hold his opinions in regard to this matter, but hold strongly contrary opinions—will retaliate, and alter the thing back to the position in which it stood. That would be a deplorable thing. We want harmony and continuity in educational policy, and I submit that you cannot possibly enjoy it unless you treat, at any rate, as continuous the practice which has existed for so many years, and which has been encouraged by Parliament, and which has not been reversed by Parliament. All these arguments, strong in themselves, become doubly strong at the present moment, when, as my hon. and learned Friend showed in his speech at the beginning, without any provocation—it is the fact—that the majority of this House are in favour of denominational education, and adjure the opinion held by our predecessors in the last very controversial Parliament. I do not desire to say a single provocative word upon the matter, but I earnestly hope that the spirit the Minister for Education has brought to the consideration of these matters may prevail, and that he may see his way not to retain this regulation, it being entirely unnecessary now, but once and for all to abolish it.


May I say one or two words on this topic before the right hon. Gentleman the Minister for Education addresses the House. Speaking as a Churchman who has taken some interest in education, I wish to say that I rather dissent from the views expressed by the hon. Member opposite that Churchmen in any way take an antagonistic view of undenominational training or undenominational colleges.


I did not suggest that.


I am glad that the hon. Member did not suggest that, and I should like to state here in Committee that so far as the views of Churchmen are concerned their desire is that there should be absolutely equal treatment of training colleges, and indeed of all schools in all matters of creed or doctrine. They appeal to what they consider a higher principle—the principle of religious equality and of religious tolerance, which ought to express itself in giving all round facilities, and not giving exclusive privileges, to either denominationalists or undenominationalists. One other point in answer to the hon. Gentleman opposite. He mentioned what the Church had done in the past. Now Anglicans in the past have been pioneers in the work of training colleges, but I think he forgot this fact, that when grants were made from the State before 1870–none have been made since that date—they were made on the basis that these church training colleges were placed under trusts by means of trust deeds. The Government which was responsible for these grants made them upon that condition. That being so, surely the denominationalist colleges may say it is very hard that after subscriptions have been given to them on that basis, and in view of the Government imposing these trust conditions, that suddenly regulations should be introduced which we have been advised on the highest possible authority are absolutely inconsistent with these conditions, which in the old days the Government itself imposed.

If I may say so in regard to this matter, I do not make any especial claim for what denominationalists have done in the past. But I may contrast it with what has been done by undenominationalists, not in the way of blame, but by way of contrast. It has never been the case that denominationalists have desired to exclude Nonconformists from the training colleges. So far as Anglicans are concerned, nothing is further from their views on educational matters than an idea of that kind. But it is a very different thing to say that because undenominational colleges have not been provided, and denominationalist colleges have been provided, that those who provide denominational training or excluded undenominationalists for whom similar facilities ought to have been provided—although up to a certain date they were not provided—should have injustice done to them. It is not a question of excluding undenominationalists. No one is more anxious in this matter than Churchmen that there should be ample opportunity provided in training colleges for every undenominationalist in the country who desires to be trained in undenominationalist religious training or creed. But I think I may say this, and probably the hon. Gentleman opposite will agree with me, that religious teaching is the keystone to our denominationalist system. It is no good this House laying down principles as regards religious teaching, whether denominational or undenominational, unless we provide qualified teachers to carry out the principles which we desire to see carried out in our public elementary schools, and it is equally useless to lay down principles as regards religious teaching without at the same time we make provision that the teacher should be trained and qualified to give the form of religious education which we require.

As regards No. 10, I do not wish to go into that matter again, but I agree with all that has been said, that it is most unfortunate, in the interests of undenominational religious teaching, that the proposals originally brought forward in No. 10 were withdrawn by the right hon. Gentleman as head of the Education Department. If we are to have this teaching at all, it is essential for denominational or undenominational colleges that better training should be given. And I rejoice myself that on a recent date a much larger range of facilities has been given in undenominationalist colleges than was possible in the old days. I agree, too, that it is the duty of the State to make certain, after a sufficient time of preparation, that there is accommodation in the national training colleges for every Nonconformist teacher who desires to have the advantage of a training college education before he embarks upon his teaching career. Let it, therefore, be quite certain at the outset that no Churchman, and no one speaking on behalf of Churchmen, wants anything like a monopoly in regard to the teaching in our training colleges. Our position is exactly the opposite. We desire equal facilities all round. We desire that there should be no difference in treatment of denominationalists and undenominationalists, but that all should have the same facilities quite irrespective of a particular creed or doctrine.

I want to say one word in addition to the right hon. Gentleman opposite. I happen to be a member—I do not know that there is any other Member of the House also a member—of the Executive Training College Committee which had certain negotiations with the right hon. Gentleman. So far as those negotiations have run they are private, and I would not seek to give them, but I would ask the right hon. Gentleman if I am not right in saying this: That, first of all, it was made perfectly clear that what is called the modus vivendi was only accepted for temporary purposes; and, secondly, was it not also made perfectly clear that it was accepted for temporary purposes, not on the basis of the training colleges not getting the grant in the ordinary sense of the term, but on this basis: that the grant, though nominally given to the training colleges, was really given in the nature of bursarships to students to enable them to have the advantage of a training college education? What was felt by those who represented the training colleges was this, that it would be grossly unfair when students were expecting the advantages of a denominational training college that they should suddenly be deprived of that whereby their career as teachers might be seriously interfered with. It was from the point of view of conserving the just rights of the students who had expectations of the advantages of the training colleges that the modus vivendi was entered into. It was pointed out at the time, and has been pointed out again, that the regulations as originally proposed were not in accordance with the trust deeds of the denominational colleges, and therefore it was essential for the managers of those various colleges—I happen to be a manager of some myself—to make some temporary arrangement, so that the student who probably had been brought up in the expectation that he should find facilities if he wanted them, should find them. It would have been a monstrous thing, I think, when these teachers, who were looking forward to the teaching profession, and as preliminary obtaining a certain amount of religious teaching in training colleges, should have been deprived of it, and the managers and those responsible made every effort, not for the maintenance of the training college itself—because that could have been done—out to maintain the promises which they had held out to the teachers who wanted the advantages of these training colleges. It was pointed out quite clearly, and I want to make it quite clear now, that the modus vivendi which is contained in the regulations now before the House was only accepted as a temporary measure, and with the proviso which I have now introduced.

There is one other point. There seems to be a misunderstanding in regard to the Church policy on this question of training colleges. Here, again, I want to appeal to the right hon. Gentleman opposite when he comes to speak, as to whether he will corroborate or not the view I am now putting forward. What Churchmen or Anglicans proposed was this: They said. "We are quite willing as regards our denominational colleges that there should be attached to them undenominational hostels." Indeed, in the case of St. Gabriel's, to which reference has already been made, there is an undenominational hostel attached to a denominational college, and the undenominational hostel in that case has probably the same accommodation as the residential college itself. So that in that case Churchmen themselves provide in their own training college that an equal number of Nonconformists should have the advantage of religious training before entering upon the teaching profession. What they said was this: If the church training college is to carry out its true purpose of encouraging a religious atmosphere in the social life of the college itself you must have a uniformity or homogeneity as regards the particular religious training which you are giving to residential students. I do not believe that anyone who has had anything practically to do with these training colleges will come to any other conclusion that if you want the best possible results in respect to religious teaching in any particular college you must encourage, as far as possible, social unity amongst the teachers who are being trained in that particular college, and may I say one word in answer to the hon. Gentleman opposite. I should like to know from what statistics he derives the opinion that these denominationalist training colleges produced narrow-minded teachers?

8.0 P.M.

The whole opinion that I have got, and I have got a good deal, is in the opposite direction, and I think also the right hon. Gentleman cannot have attended to the statistics given in the admirable speech of the hon. Member opposite because he has had experience as regards the training colleges and training college regulations; and he told us from his experience—and his experience fully is in agreement with all those who have given religious training in various forms—that the best form of teaching, producing the best form of teachers, was given in the residential denominational colleges. I believe that is the experience of all persons who have dealt practically with the management of the various training colleges that have the selection of teachers in our public elementary schools. I deny absolutely as wholly inconsistent with all statistics and experience I have had the suggestion that the training in the training denominational colleges provides a narrow-minded teacher in any sense at all. I go a little further, and say that, so far from its being the desire of the Anglicans to produce any materials of that kind, it is their desire and policy, not only in the training colleges, but in all the public elementary schools that denominationalism and undenominationalism should have absolutely equal treatment, without any preference whatever one way or the other; and from my point of view the policy which was put forward in the last House of Commons, and which, I hope, will not be put forward by this House of Commons, was necessarily of a reactionary and intolerant kind. I could not understand why undenominationalists should try to debar the denominational parent from the form of religious education he requires for his child. As a denominationalist I desire every undenominationalist in this country to have the form of religious education he desires for the good of his children. I want to go a little further. I think every poor man in this country who has to send his children to a neighbouring school should have the advantage which his better-off neighbour has. Everyone knows that the parent who can select the school for his child selects the school in which the form of religious teaching is given which he desires. Every poor parent in this country ought to have the same advantage, and I do say that, to my mind, it is essentially intolerable and essentially inconsistent the primary principle of religious equality to bring forward a policy which was un-doubtedly brought forward at the last Parliament, which gave an exclusive endowment to undenominationalists, and which proposes that so far as denominational teaching is concerned, it should not be allowed in our public elementary schools.


What about the single school areas?


If the hon. Member had really studied this matter with a view to bringing about a fair arrangement, he would have found that the children attending in the single school areas could have got religious teaching in each school in accordance with the wishes and desires of the parents.


Did the Act of 1902 give that?


I will not go back to the Act of 1902 for this reason. The Act of 1902 put denominationalists and undenominationalists, as far as the grant and as far as the rates were concerned, on practically equal conditions, and where there was any inequality—I make this statement on behalf of Churchmen—you found no one more ready than those very Churchmen to do what they could to put an end to any fancied injustice so far as Nonconformists were concerned.

I think it is the greatest mistake that these educational questions should be discussed on the basis of religious prejudice when it ought to be discussed entirely from the educational point of view. So far as religion is concerned, everyone should be entitled to equal and the same treatment, without any particular inquiry as to what particular creed and doctrine they hold. That has been the policy of the Anglicans in this educational question, and that is their policy at the present time. The right hon. Gentleman knows that so far as regards these Church training colleges, the Anglicans have often, in connection with undenominational colleges, to provide denominational hostels. You may have a denominational college and an undenominational hostel, and you may have an undenominational college and a denominational hostel. Is he not aware that that policy is negatived by that Department of which he is the head at the present time? I ask on what principle he refuses to allow a denominational hostel to be attached to an undenominational college when he allows an undenominational hostel to be attached to a denominational college? I hope that in anything I have said I have stirred no animosity upon this education question. What we want is—and the time is coming—to have these matters settled, and to be settled upon the basis of equal treatment all round, without any question of denominational or undenominational treatment. We want all round equal religious equality and tolerance, and it is only in that way we shall get rid of the sectarian discussions in connection with education questions.

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Runciman)

With much of the doctrine announced by the hon. and learned Member who has just sat down, I should find myself in full agreement, but I think if he meant it to apply strictly to the training colleges he would find himself in conflict with the trustees, and that he was going outside the provisions of the trust, and he would discover that, bad as our regulations may be, they would not carry him and his friends anything like so far as the particular principles which he himself says ought to be applied to an educational system. I quite recognise he has not attempted to attack the regulations in a hostile manner, but he wishes that they should be reasonably applied in the training colleges, and should oppose no unfair conditions on training colleges. I think I can show that as they have been administered during the last two years—and the Committee will admit this is very largely a matter of administration—there has been no unfairness shown to the denominational colleges, and when we hear the hon. Member for Walton (Mr. F. E. Smith) say that by administrative action we have deliberately attempted to destroy the denominational colleges, he is really stretching language beyond its reasonable limits. We have not attempted to destroy the denominational colleges, but we recognise such rules in these colleges, and have endeavoured to preserve the denominational character and atmosphere of the colleges, while at the same time giving the Nonconformist the right they ought to have had years ago in institutions which they have largely supported our of State funds. The hon. Gentleman appears to have overlooked the fact which was stated by an hon. Member behind me that over seven-ninths of the income of denominational training colleges comes from the State. In 1863 the voluntary subscriptions from the Church of England towards these training colleges was £11,900, while the sum of £67,000 was provided by way of Exchequer grant. Last year the voluntary subscriptions were lower—though higher than for some years past—than in 1863–they were just over £11,000, and the Exchequer grant was no less than £178,000. That has really altered the situation as regards the training colleges, and I am sure no one, even on the other side of the House, could imagine for a moment that the old conditions of 1863 should prevail at this time in the residential denominational training colleges. The regulalations brought in in 1907, and which began in 1908 by my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty, declared that you should have in all denominational colleges what you already had in all denominational elementary schools years ago—that is you should have a conscience clause for the pupils there. I quite recognise that the effect of this on many denominational colleges might have been to alter their character. I quite recognise that, in principle, my right hon. Friend was quite right in these matters, but you can only arrive at a working agreement by compromise, and after much effort we succeeded in making an arrangement which has now held good for two years. Half the denominational training colleges were thrown open to Non- conformists and others who would have been barred by the terms of the trust. The hon. and learned Member for Walton suggested that the effect of our regulations was to diminish the number of places. I think he overlooked the fact that during the last few years the number of places in denominational training colleges has actually increased, and it is since our regulations have been brought in. In 1906 there were 4,579 recognised in denominational colleges. Since then there have been added 281 new places. It has been possible under these regulations to increase the size of some of the training colleges, although not to increase their number, and at the present time the Church of England training colleges provide places for no less than one-fourth of the teachers therein. The regulations have not destroyed their character by the institution of a con-science clause. When the hon. Gentleman the Member for Walton objects to a conscience clause and upholds what I imagine to be his view with regard to the training colleges, namely, that the trusts should decide for all time how the students of these colleges should be taught, he is forgetting his own doctrine of parent rights. He would find it very difficult on any platform in the country to justify the claim that he now puts forward that in these training colleges supported to the extent of seven-ninths by State funds, he would withhold all rights in a conscience clause. That is an untenable position, and I am sure that the hon. and learned Member who does sometimes express reasonable views, will see that it is impossible to hold to the old position, having altered to some extent the conditions under which students enter into these colleges we have not only not destroyed the character of the colleges, but we have in some cases increased their accommodation. Hon. Gentlemen ask why we object to the building of hostels. We have sanctioned the building of hostels even recently with the object of meeting that very difficulty, and we have raised no difficulty when satisfactory arrangements could be made for housing such students when it is done according to the rules applying to the ordinary practice of the college, and so long as they are housed in buildings over which there is proper supervision provided and in which there is proper accommodation.


Does the right hon. Gentleman say he will allow denominational hostels to be built for undenominational colleges?


I am dealing with the point of hostels for undenominational colleges. We will consider whether we can recognise such buildings and whether they are suitable for the purpose. The circular issued upon this subject stated:— If satisfactory arrangements can be made for housing any such students—students admitted under the conscience clause—in buildings subject to proper supervision and providing adequate facilities for dining room, study and common rooms for students, the Board will consider whether they can recognise such a building, at any rate temporarily, as an annexe to college, and can regard the students who are housed in it as resident students instead of as day students for the purpose of their grants. That, I believe, is a perfectly fair and reasonable offer which in some places has been taken advantage of. The right hon. Gentleman asked why we are not prepared to accept the conditions offered by the denominational hostels attached to undenominational colleges. I should like to know what he means by denominational colleges? Does he mean institutions like the Borough Road College? If he does, then I say that that is a matter for the Borough Road people themselves. If we find that under their educational conditions discipline can be maintained we should be quite prepared to consider their proposal. It is perfectly possible in some training colleges for the day students to be housed as they please so long as they are under proper control, but to have denominational hostels supported by State funds not under proper control could not be tolerated.


I did not suggest it.


I think the hon. and learned Gentleman rather suggested it in his speech.


What I suggested was that where the Anglicans were prepared to build and bear the whole cost of denominational hostels attached to an undenominational college that could be done.


If it is for the purpose of students attending a day training college they can practically do anything they like in the way of housing their students, so long as it is outside the training college, and does not interfere with the regulations under which the students receive their training. I can understand the objection which has been taken by the Noble Lord on sentimental grounds, but I submit that no Roman Catholic college has suffered in the least by these regulations. I would go further, and say that no Church of England college has suffered by these regulations either. All told, I am informed that out of 1,700 places in Church of England colleges 177 have been occupied by those who have taken advantage of the conscience clause—that is to say, in the total number of admissions in the year beginning 1908 one-tenth of them were those who took advantage of the conscience clause. I draw particular attention to the proportion, because it bears out, first of all, that the regulation did meet a real grievance, and that there were a substantial number of students who were excluded from these colleges on religious grounds, or, if not excluded on religious grounds, had been induced to comply with religious practices in which they had not been brought up in order to enter those colleges. I believe the number of students who take advantage of the conscience clause at St. Gabriel's remains as it was before, and in this Church of England training college imbued with the Church of England spirit, manned by Church of England officers, under the control of a Church of England housekeeper and housemaid, in no way has the character of St. Gabriel's suffered in the least. The same applies to other colleges, where these regulations are happily working well. I commend these facts to those interested in denominational hostels, and ask them to "let sleeping dogs lie." No harm has been done, and these regulations have allowed many of those who felt they were suffering from a disqualification entirely due to their religious faith an opening in our teaching profession which might otherwise have been closed to them.

I hope there will be no attempt to revive the old religious controversy. During the last twelve months we have lived to some extent in a period of calm. It is true there has been some friction which must last as long as the conditions of the Act of 1902 remain unamended. I have done what I could to prevent religious bitterness entering either into the central administration or the local administration, and so far as the training colleges are concerned we have had no outbreaks of the old religious alarms which were well known three, four, five, and six years ago. During that time we have been able to devote our attention more than ever to purely educational interests, not only in the colleges but in the schools, and hon. Gentlemen opposite, as well as those sitting on this side who have followed the administration of the last few years, must realise that that calm has been of great advantage to our educational system. Great advances have been made in secondary schools, and training colleges have extended their curriculum with good effect. Many of the old sources of troubles and quarrels which used to absorb so much time have passed away, and I trust that hon. Gentlemen opposite will not attempt to urge on their friends either in this House or in the country the tearing up of a compromise which has worked well.

The Noble Lord opposite may think that some of the colleges have suffered, but we have no knowledge of this at the Board of Education. The colleges have worked well, and in so far as they have worked well, they have justified the compromise arrived at by an agreement on both sides as a temporary expedient. That compromise ought to be tried for a further time, and there ought to be further reasons given for tearing it up than those which have been given in this Debate. I said it was a temporary compromise. I still believe it must be of a temporary nature. I feel that the whole position of training colleges will have to be reviewed in the coming year. I should hesitate to commit myself to any scheme or any set of Regulations which would allow denominational colleges to keep complete control of those colleges, the appointment of the staff, to impose upon their students religious regulations without a conscience Clause, and at the same time continue to get seven-ninths of their maintenance from the Stats. That cannot be contemplated as a permanent solution. If hon. Gentlemen opposite think they can revert to the old state of things with any degree of permanence, they are very much mistaken, and I would suggest in the best interests of their colleges that they had better accept the compromise, I will not say as a permanent solution, but, at any rate, as a means of preventing these training colleges being dragged down into the cockpit of quarrels and exacerbations, instead of allowing them to do the work of producing the best teachers.


Perhaps I may be allowed to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is prepared to give any reply to the suggestions made by the hon. Member for Chelsea (Mr. Hoare) with regard to the regulations which were introduced last year by the Board of Education with respect to the religious instruction to be given in undenominational colleges. It seems to me that the action of the Board of Education last year was very undignified. They introduced regulations for the religious training in undenominational training colleges, and, in consequence of certain pressure brought to bear upon them from gentlemen on benches behind the Treasury Bench, the Board without any reason withdrew those important regulations. I need scarcely remind the House that not only in the late House of Commons, but also in the present Parliament, there was a decided expression of opinion made against secular instruction in our elementary schools. We know, as a matter of fact, that religious education of an undenominational character is given in our Council schools and in all schools in which denominational education is not given. No arguments could have been stronger than those adduced by the Board of Education in favour of the necessity of giving an adequate training to those persons who were to give religious education of an undenominational character in the Council schools. I do not think I could do better than read just a sentence or two from the prefatory memorandum to those regulations from the Board of Education which were only issued in the summer of last year:— The object of the new provisions is to secure that colleges which do not already provide for the training of students in the giving of religious instruction shall provide a course of training which shall prepare students to give such undenominational instruction in, and explanation of, the Bible, as are suited to the capacities of children. This requirement is in the view of the Board justified by the consideration that a college which trains students for the work of teaching in elementary schools ought to prepare them to deal efficiently with every side of the instruction which it will in future be their duty to give. I should like to know what educational reasons have induced the Board of Education to recede from that important position. It is certainly essential if religious instruction of any kind is to be given in our elementary schools that it should be given by teachers who are properly trained to give such instruction. What is the argument adduced by those who have prevailed upon the President of the Board of Education to withdraw these important regulations? I am credibly informed that there was a largely attended meeting of the Council of Nonconformist Members of Parliament to discuss the regulations for training colleges, and chiefly Chapter X. of those regulations. Mr. Runciman, who was a Member of the Council, attended, and stated he did not attach much importance to that chapter, but a resolution was subsequently conveyed to the President of the Board of Education by Sir George White and Mr. Hay Morgan, and the view taken by the Nonconformist Members was that to teach the art of teaching in training colleges was sufficient, and that no more art was required to give simple Bible teaching than to give instruction in history. I venture to say that from an educational point of view that is absolutely unsound. I believe more art is required to give instruction in the elementary principles of religion founded on simple Bible teaching possibly than in any other subject. The hon. Member for Chelsea, who has had a wide experience in this subject, and to whose speech we all listened with the greatest possible attention and advantage, stated that there is no subject in our Council schools which is worse taught than simple Bible reading. Surely, if it is worth while to give religious instruction in our undenominational schools—and it is considered absolutely essential that such instruction shall be given—it is advisable that adequate instruction should be given to those who are to teach this important subject. I would not have ventured to rise after the closing speech of the President of the Board of Education if he had referred in any way to this important matter, and I do sincerely hope he will be able to give us an assurance that he will reintroduce this year those regulations for which such cogent reasons were advanced in a memorandum signed by the Secretary of the Board of Education.


Before the Committee proceeds to a Division I should like to say a very few sentences; indeed, I am only led to do that because I listen to the sort of speech we have heard from the President of the Board of Education with a feeling akin to despair. Every word, every gesture, and his whole manner and demeanour indicated a moderation, a conciliatory disposition, and a desire to meet what is said on the other side, and yet every word said, or almost every word, indicated that he has not even begun to understand what the feelings are of those whose desires he is anxious to meet. He talks, for example, of the seven-ninths which the State pays for the maintenance of these denominational colleges in which denominational instruction is given. He seems to forget altogether that the State gives nine-ninths to the rival undenominational colleges. The undenominational system is to the minds of many of us quite as repellant as the denominational system is to them. Why is it that our religions convictions are to be treated as of less value than theirs? Why is it that our religion is to be treated as something inferior and something which may be considered lucky if it is allowed any opportunity at all in State institutions, whereas their religion, or at any rate the religion they like to favour, is given every advantage and every financial assistance? Let me say over and over again that in the opinion of many of us this is the great religious controversy of our time, a controversy between those who hold to an undenominational system of religion and those who belong to the Roman Catholic Church, or to the Church of England, or to some other definite body of religious teaching. It is as unfair to favour undenominational institutions, and to put denominational institutions under comparative restrictions and disabilities, as it would have been unfair in the 16th century to have favoured Papists at the expense of Protestants or Protestants at the expense of Papists. All these conceptions that the undenominational system is somehow or other the fair system for the State to help, and that denominational systems are on another basis, we resent, we repudiate, and we deny, and the right hon. Gentleman deceives himself altogether if he thinks that so long as he and his Friends adhere to that decision there can ever be, or there ought to be, anything approaching educational or religious peace. So long as it is maintained that the undenominational system is in a position of privilege and so long as equal rights are denied to denominational bodies, so long will there be, and there ought to be, persistent contention; and when he tells us this system ought to be accepted, and we are to let sleeping dogs lie, he is in a fool's paradise. We have not the slightest intention of accepting this system. We intend to go on with the agitation until we have uprooted the privilege of undenominationalism and forced it back into a position of equality. It is in the maintenance of those principles that I shall take part in the coming Division, and I hope many will take part with me.


I gathered from what the right hon. Gentleman said a moment ago that the main reasons for the alterations of the regulations under which training colleges are carried on, made in 1897, rose from the fact that there was an insufficiency of places available for Nonconformists. That position no longer obtains. The difficulties at the present time are in the Church of England. There are 3,324 places open to members of the Church of England and 8,493 open to non-members of the Church of England. It cannot be claimed, as the right hon. Gentleman suggested, that the serious modification made was in the interests of the Church of England training colleges. The grounds on which these alterations were made do not exist at the present time. They have passed away, and therefore, the right hon. Gentleman might very well adopt the suggestion of the hon. Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool and revert to the position which formerly existed in connection with the training colleges of the Church of England. The right hon. Gentleman speaks of the arrangement as a compromise. I have always noticed that, on educational questions, when our Friends opposite make a regulation which amounts to an attack upon the Church of England, or upon Roman Catholics, or on the Jewish denominations, whenever they desire to put them to a disadvantage and to destroy any vestige of religious liberty or equality, they call it a compromise. We do not accept that term. We have had no opportunity of opposing them during the last four years; in connection with our training colleges we have had no opportunity given us, either by the First Lord of the Admiralty or by the right hon. Gentleman himself, of opposing these violent attacks upon our rights. Yet the right hon. Gentleman comes to us to-night with a delightful manner of eternal peace, and with words as soft and mild as anyone can desire, and tells us it is a compromise! We have never made any compromise. We have simply had the regulations forced upon us, and they have taken out of our hands one-half of the accommodation in our training colleges to make places available for persons who utterly disregard the principles upon which those colleges exist and are maintained. Yet we are told, for-sooth, that it is a compromise. As the Noble Lord said just now, we shall never sit down under that. We will never accept such a position. There is no reason why we should. The constitution of the present House of Commons, with its vigorous Majority on behalf of the denominational system of education, should be quite sufficient warning to the right hon. Gentleman opposite and his supporters that we are not going to submit quietly to this. There is no reason why the original arrangement under which we were allowed to maintain these buildings should not still obtain. All we ask is that we should be fairly treated—that we should be treated as well as other people. The right hon. Gentleman talks about the considerable number of students in these colleges who abstain from receiving the religious instruction for which the colleges have been erected, as if they formed a useful leaven rather than otherwise among the students. Under the right hon. Gentleman's regulation 50 per cent. of the students may do so. As a matter of fact, at present only 10 per cent. do so, but doubtless he will take further steps to increase the percentage. What is the result even if you only have 10 per cent.? Say you have a family of ten. If one member of that family is thoroughly out of sympathy with the other nine, and if they all have to live and work together under the same roof and under exactly the same conditions everybody knows what serious difficulties may arise through that one recalcitant member, and what a temptation and trial he may prove to the others. The mere fact that one-tenth of the students in these colleges refuse to accept the religious training and influence which these institutions provide must constitute a very grievous danger to the efficiency and happiness of the students. The hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Tudor Walters) said that teachers trained in Church of England colleges were narrow-minded. I wish he could have a little talk with the National Union of Teachers on that subject. I believe the majority of teachers in this country, at any rate until recent times, have been trained in Church of England colleges. What, I wonder, would the National Union of Teachers say of an hon. Member who described the teachers in the elementary schools of this country as narrow-minded.


I rise to a point of Order. The hon. Member is entirely misrepresenting an absent Member, and I wish to ask if that is in Order.


That is not a point of order, but I must say I think the hon. Gentleman is travelling far beyond the subject under discussion.


I was referring to the character of the teachers trained in the colleges, and, with much respect, I submit I have not travelled far from the subject, seeing that the Question under discussion is that of training colleges and the training of teachers. The hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Rowland Barran) said the question in connection with the Church of England was one of wealth. But it must not be forgotten that, years ago, it was only the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Jewish people who cared at all for education. The English Nonconformists never made any sacrifice that was worth naming—[CRIES of "Oh, oh!"]—excepting a very small organisation called the British and Foreign School Society. [An HON. MEMBER: "Which you attempted to destroy."] At that time, when the Nonconformists ignored the value of education and the necessity for training colleges, the Church of England, the Roman Catholics, and the Jews were doing this work, and now, after they have made provision for the training of the teachers, the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends come and suggest a compromise, under which they propose to steal half of the places in the training colleges. The Nonconformists never really valued education until the passing of the Act of 1870, when they suddenly discovered that it was likely to be of value. Why do not Nonconformists build their own training colleges? No; they do not do that, but they wait until they have a Radical Government in power, and then they come in and seize half of the property of the Church, and they call that a compromise. I shall never have greater satisfaction in giving any vote than I shall have in voting for the reduction of this Vote, and I trust that the time will not be long before we shall revert to the position occupied before 1907, and when this iniquitous proposal of the present First Lord of the Admiralty, then President of the Board of Education, will be cancelled, and the authorities of the Church of England, the Roman Catholics, the Wesleyans, and the Jewish denominations shall alike have the liberty which they previously enjoyed. Nothing more than religious equality and equality of treatment is asked for, and nothing less will satisfy us.


I think out of courtesy I ought to say one word in reply to the hon. Gentleman opposite. He asked me why I was not prepared this

year to press what had been Chapter X. in the Regulation last year. I still hold my own private opinion that the change which I proposed last year would be for the advantage of the undenominational colleges, but I recognise that if it were pressed on the colleges now it would only raise an amount of religious friction which would do more harm than good, and it is in the interests of the suppression of that friction that I am not prepared to press it unduly, and put it in the form of a new regulation. I quite understand the Noble Lord below the Gangway would welcome a religious row, and there may be occasions when I may share the pleasure with him, but I do not wish it to happen while I am President of the Board of Education.

Question put, "That item Class 4 A (Board of Education) be reduced by the sum of £100."

The Comittee divided: Ayes. 101; Noes, 145.

Division No. 8.] AYES. [8.50 p.m.
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F. Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue Nield, Herbert
Adam, Major William A. Fletcher, John Samuel Paget, Almeric Hugh
Archer-Shee, Major Martin Forster, Henry William Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)
Arkwright, John Stanhope Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S.W.) Perkins, Walter Frank
Baird, John Lawrence Goldman, Charles Sydney Peto, Basil Edward
Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.) Goulding, Edward Alfred Pollock, Ernest Murray
Balcarres, Lord Grant, James Augustus Proby, Col. Douglas James
Banner, John S. Harmood- Gretton, John Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Baring, Captain Hon. Guy Victor Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight) Remnant, James Farquharson
Barnston, Harry Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford) Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.) Harris, F. L. (Tower Hamlets, Stepney) Ronaldshay, Earl of
Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc. E.) Henderson, H. G. H. (Berkshire) Rutherford, William Watson
Beckett, Hon. William Gervase Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter Sanders, Robert Arthur
Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish- Hills, John Walter (Durham) Sanderson, Lancelot
Bird, Alfred Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)
Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid) Hope, Harry (Bute) Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Boyton, James Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)
Brackenbury, Henry Langton Horne, William E. (Surrey, Gulidford) Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Bull, Sir William James Hunt, Rowland Stewart, Gershom (Ches. Wirral)
Butcher, S. H. (Cambridge University) Jackson, John A. (Whitehaven) Talbot, Lord Edmund
Cator, John Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East) Thynne, Lord Alexander
Cautley, Henry Strother Jessel, Captain Herbert M. Tobin, Alfred Aspinall
Cave, George King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull) Tryon, Capt. George Clement
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Knight, Capt. Eric Ayshford Valentia, Viscount
Cooper, Capt. Bryan R. (Dublin, S.) Llewelyn, Major Venables Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) Wheler, Granville C. H.
Courthope, George Loyd Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsay) Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich) Winterton, Earl
Craik, Sir Henry Mackinder, Halford J. Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred Macmaster, Donald Worthington-Evans, L. (Colchester)
Croft, Henry Page M'Arthur, Charles Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Dalrymple, Viscount Magnus, Sir Philip
Duke, Henry Edward Morpeth, Viscount TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Hoare and Mr. Carlile.
Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M. Newdegate, F. A.
Faber, George D. (Clapham) Newton, Harry Kottingham
Agnew, George William Barlow, Sir John Emmott Burns, Rt. Hon. John
Alden, Percy Barnes, George N. Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas
Allen, Charles Peter Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.) Buxton, C. R. (Devon, Mid)
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Barton, William Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)
Atherley-Jones, Llewelyn A. Bentham, George Jackson Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Brigg, Sir John Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)
Barclay, Sir Thomas Brunner, John F. L. Chancellor, Henry George
Chapple, Dr. William Allen Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Shackleton, David James
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Jowett, Frederick William Simon, John Alisebrook
Clough, William King, Joseph (Somerset, N.) Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)
Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock) Lambert, George Soares, Ernest Joseph
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.) Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis Strachey, Sir Edward
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Lehmann, Rudolf, c. Sutton, John E.
Cory, Sir Clifford John Lewis, John Herbert Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Cowan, William Henry Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Crawshay-Williams, Eliot Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Thomas, James Henry (Derby)
Crosfield, Arthur H. Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Crossley, William J. M'Callum, John M. Tomkinson, Rt. Hon. James
Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) M'Laren, Rt. Hon. Sir C. B. (Leices.) Toulmin, George
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) M'Laren, F. W. S. (Linc, Spalding) Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Marks, George Croydon Twist, Henry
Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas Masterman, C. F. G. Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Middlebrook, William Verney, Frederick William
Fenwick, Charles Mond, Alfred Moritz Vivian, Henry
Gelder, Sir William Alfred Montagu, Hon. E. S. Walsh, Stephen
Gill, Alfred Henry Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall) Walters, John Tudor
Glanville, Harold James Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Wardle, George J.
Grenfell, Cecil Alfred Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C. Watt, Henry A.
Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Neilson, Francis Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Guest, Capt. Hon. Frederick E. Nuttall, Harry White, Sir George (Norfolk)
Hancock, John George Palmer, Godfrey Mark White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Parker, James (Halifax) White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)
Hardie, J. Keir (Werthyr Tydvil) Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. Whitehouse, John Howard
Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Pointer, Joseph Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central) Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Radford, George Heynes Wiles, Thomas
Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Raffan, Peter Wilson Williams, Aneurin (Plymouth)
Haywarrd, Evan Rees, John David Williams, John (Glamorgan)
Helme, Norval Watson Rendall, Athelstan Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Henry, Charles Solomon Roberts, George H. (Norwich) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
Higham, John Sharp Robertson, John M. (Tyneside) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Hodge, John Robinson, Sidney Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)
Hooper, Arthur George Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke) Young, William (Perth, East)
Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich) Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Hudson, Walter Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Hughes, Spencer Leigh Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Fuller and Mr. Gulland.
Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil) Seddon, James A.
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Seely, Col., Right Hon. J. E. B.

Original Question put, and agreed to.