HC Deb 21 February 1911 vol 21 cc1739-40

asked the President of the Board of Education if his attention has been called to a meeting of the higher education committee of Cornwall, when it was stated that the training college authorities at Truro are declining to admit Nonconformists into the college as residential students, and justifying their action on the ground of an agreement with the Board of Education that they shall not be required to admit such students; will he say whether there is such an agreement or understanding; and, if so, as there is no hostel provision and the authorities equally object to the students lodging out, he will state by what means he proposes to enforce the regulations by which these colleges are bound to admit as to one-half students not belonging to the denomination of the college?

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

I have seen newspaper reports and have received a communication from the Principal of the Training College, from which I understand that the first part of the question sums up with substantial accuracy what took place at the meeting in question. With regard to the second part of the question, Article 8 (d) (i) of the Regulations for the Training of Teachers for Elementary Schools provides as follows:— In the selection of candidates for half the number of places which will be vacant, the authorities of a college may not reject, or invite the withdrawal of, the application of any candidate, not belonging to the denomination of the college, on the ground of religious faith or by reason of his refusal to undertake to attend or abstain from attending any place of religious worship, or any religious observance, or instruction in religious subjects in the college or elsewhere, nor may they require any candidate, not belonging to the denomination of the college, to enter for any examination in religious knowledge. It will be observed that it is not required that students claiming admission to a training college under this article should be admitted to residence in the college buildings. The Board insist, however, that all students, without distinction, shall enjoy all the amenities of College life, other than those involved in actual residence in the building. With regard to the third part of the question the Board are pressing the authorities of all training colleges which have at present women students living in lodgings to provide residential accommodation for these students by means either of a hostel or of an annexe. The Board have not, however, thought it necessary to press this course upon the authorities of the training college in question, because they understand that all students admitted to the college hitherto have resided in the college buildings. I may remind my hon. Friend that any student who has been refused admission to a training college has a direct appeal to the Board of Education for a decision as to whether the grounds of refusal were reasonable.