HC Deb 22 April 1913 vol 52 cc225-7
32. Mr. PIRIE

asked the Secretary for Scotland, with reference to his statement to the recent deputation on the subject of higher instruction in rural schools that he would be glad to assist any efforts emanating from local school boards, if he would take into consideration the difficulty of teaching science in many rural schools, partly owing to lack of equipment and partly to lack of teaching facilities, and in consequence will he be prepared to sanction any alternative subjects being substituted so that promising pupils may not have their educational future blocked for lack of this one subject, especially as they can readily make good an acquaintance with it at a later stage?

The SECRETARY for SCOTLAND (Mr. McKinnon Wood)

As a matter of fact many pupils from small rural schools whose attainments are otherwise satisfactory have been admitted to the second year course of an intermediate school and some even to the third year without any preliminary instruction in science on condition that special arrangements for their instruction in that subject will be made in the intermediate school. But in the interests of the proper organisation of the intermediate school it is most desirable that wherever circumstances admit of it provision should be made for instruction in science in some form in primary schools which are in the habit of sending on pupils with a year's preparation to an intermediate school.


Is there no change in the right hon. Gentleman's attitude towards the question of higher education in Scotland?


There is no need for any change in my attitude.


Did not the right hon. Gentleman say to the deputation which he received on the subject that there was a great change?


No. My reply to the deputation was an explanation of the facts as they were.

33 and 39. Mr. CATHCART WASON

asked the Secretary for Scotland (1) how many school boards in Scotland were consulted as to the Memorandum issued by the President of the Board of Education with reference to the necessity of applicants for the position of school teachers obtaining certificates from registered dental surgeons and the nature of their reply; and (2) if he is aware that, by a circular issuing from the Board of Education, London, prescribing that every person claiming to be recognised as a certificated teacher must have a certificate from a registered dental surgeon stating that such person has undergone the necessary dental treatment, whether such order applies to Scotland, and if the Scottish Education Department was consulted thereon; and whether, in view of the hardship inflicted on many applicants in Scotland, where there happen to be no registered dentists, and the slur inflicted on gentlemen who have long enjoyed the public confidence as dentists although unregistered, he will make further inquiry into the matter?


I would remind my hon. Friend that requirements of the English Board of Education do not apply in Scotland.


Has the right hon. Gentleman ever seen this circular to which allusion is made, and has it been actually used in Scotland?


No. No letter of the English Education Board is used in Scotland.


asked whether there was a decrease in the number of scholars on the elementary school registers in Scotland in the year 1912, as against the year 1911; and whether the decrease is due to the drain of the large emigration which is taking place from Scotland?


There was a slight decrease of about one-eighth per cent., the figures for the year ending 31st August, 1911, being 847,984; and for 1912, 846,890. It is difficult at present to express a certain opinion as to the cause. Probably the cause mentioned by my hon. Friend has contributed, but there is also the element of a reduced birth-rate.

40. Mr. PIRIE

asked the Secretary for Scotland, in view of the sympathetic attitude taken up by him to the deputation in regard to the teaching of intermediate subjects in rural schools, if he will state what practical steps he proposes to take so as to encourage school boards, by giving them equipment and teaching Grants, whereby the attainment of the intermediate certificate by a pupil may bring the same financial reward to a school board whether the pupil is trained at an intermediate or primary school?


The assimilation of capitation Grants for intermediate education in primary schools to those given to intermediate schools as seems to be suggested by my hon. Friend would, I am satisfied, be of little assistance to rural school boards. The only effective way of aiding rural school boards to make some provision of intermediate education in their primary schools is by granting them a certain proportion of the extra expense they incur for the purpose, irrespective of the number of pupils instructed. That is the principle of the small schools Grant and the Grant for equipment at present administered by the secondary education committees under Section 17 (8) and (9) of the Education (Scotland) Act, 1908.


I will put a further question on the Adjournment of the House.