§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. J. A. Pease)
I beg to move, "That leave be given to introduce a Bill to amend the Law with respect to Grants in aid of building, enlarging, improving, or fitting up elementary schools."
The Bill which I now ask leave to introduce contains one Clause which, if the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament, will enable the Board of Education to give some immediate financial relief to local education authorities. The Government believe that relief to the local education authorities is long overdue. I admit that the sum of £150,000 which I have now to offer them is merely preliminary recognition of the necessities of the local education authorities. I ask the House, therefore, to regard this relief, not as a substitute for, but as an introduction to a very comprehensive measure which we hope to introduce in the next Session. This Bill initiates a new policy, and therefore I am going to ask the Chair to allow me not merely to give an explanatory statement of the Clause, but also to include in my statement some reference to the future policy which is initiated. The Government think it is time that we should propose a definite 1908 scheme of educational development, and we hope that the main features of our financial and administrative policy will be accepted by all parties in the country, and especially by those who are interested in the development of progressive education. I think Members of the House will agree with me that it is far better that we should endeavour to adopt a policy which has been well thought out, rather than to endeavour to meet the necessities of each year by a mere tinkering process. I am authorised to say in connection with medical treatment and medical inspection that, for the purpose of the Grant, we intend for the future to regard those two services as one.
Therefore, I shall place upon the Supplementary Estimates a sum of £50,000, which enables practically a moiety of the expenses connected with the medical service in the country to be met out of Imperial funds. [An HON. MEMBER: "Is that in addition?"] That is in addition to the £80,000 which is estimated for in connection with the medical treatment, and which has already been presented to the House. [An HON. MEMBER: "Is that included in the £150,000?"] That is included in the £150,000; but £100,000 will also be placed upon the Supplementary Estimates, and that will be distributed during the current year under regulations which are now in draft, and which I will circulate to the House at once. That Grant will be in aid of loan charges for educational purposes incurred in the year 1913–14, but it will be assessed on the actual money received in respect of loans sanctioned during 1912–13. I anticipate that the loan charges will approximate this year to £200,000, and, therefore, we anticipate that we shall practically give a moiety of the loan charges in the distribution of this £100,000. I desire, particularly, to call attention to this Grant, because, for the first time, the Government adopt the principle of contributing this aid to the charges on local loans, which have been previously discharged entirely out of the rates. In order that we may have power to distribute the £100,000 it is necessary for me to introduce this one-Clause Bill. The Bill repeals Sections 96 and 97 of the Act of 1870, and is limited to that object. Section 96 provides that no Parliamentary Grant can be made in aid of building, enlarging, improving, or fitting up any elementary school. This money which we are about to distribute is not a building Grant, but is 1909 a Grant-in-Aid of charges incurred for building, and it is esteemed better that we should remove by legislation any scruple that might possibly arise under that Section in regard to the distribution of this money. Section 97 provides that the conditions required to be fulfilled by an elementary school in order to obtain an annual Parliamentary Grant shall be those contained in the Minutes of the Education Department in force for the time being, and no such minute shall be deemed to be in force until it has lain for not less than one month on the Table of both Houses. But times have changed, and this Section is not very applicable to-day, and we thought it better to repeal it, in order to remove any doubts as to its application and put beyond all question that the Board of Education should have power to distribute this Grant.
§ Sir W. ANSON
Does the right hon. Gentleman propose to repeal the whole Section or that part which forbids a differentiation?
§ Mr. PEASE
Sub-section (1) of Clause 1 of the Bill says:—The provision contained in Section 96 of the Elementary Education Act, 1870, making a Parliamentary Grant in aid of building, enlarging, improving, or fitting up an elementary school shall cease to have effect.And Sub-section (2) is as follows:—A Parliamentary Grant made in aid of building, enlarging, improving, or fitting up any elementary school shall not be deemed to be an annual Parliamentary Grant within the meaning of the Education Acts, 1870 to 1911.It is eleven years since the Act of 1902 was passed by this House, and we are now in a position to sum up the advance which has been made. Many of us have thought that there were serious defects in that Act of 1902, but no one who compares the position of to-day with what it was eleven years ago can deny that a very great advance has been made in the education of this country. This advance I wish us all to bear in mind. I bore it in mind when I introduced the Estimates this year, and was somewhat criticised by the right hon. -Gentleman the Member for the City of London, who asked that if our state was as flourishing as my remarks indicated, why was it necessary to make any change? My answer, I think, is to be found in the fact that there are certain aspects of education 1910 to which I did not then allude, for they were out of order, but which can and must be the subject of legislation. It is to these particular aspects that I desire to call the attention of the House this afternoon.
The defects of our so-called national system are two. It is not national, and it is not a system. On one side we find educational activities hampered by considerations, some sectarian and some social. There are difficulties of denominationalism and difficulties of class feeling, which have, or ought to have, nothing to do with education. On the other side we find point after point in which large gaps and deficiencies exist which prevent us from getting that value out of education which does exist. There is a lack of co-ordination and completeness in the system. This must be taken in hand if we are to avoid stagnation or reaction on the one side, and to enter into healthy rivalry with other nations on the Continent of Europe and possibly across the ocean, who, at any rate in regard to higher education, are further advanced in their educational systems than we are. A well-organised system of education is the most powerful means we have of developing the social life of the nation. If the present generation can attend to the physical condition of their children, enlarge their occupations, widen their sympathies, increase their intellectual freedom, and encourage them to use their gifts in mutual service, it will have done the best thing it can do to ensure the peace, the prosperity, and the independence of our country. When education is regarded from such a national standpoint, surely those religious difficulties which have loomed so large in the last ten years assume smaller proportions! It is true that certain limitations have been brought about by the dual system of control which sectarian difficulties have imposed, and these must be dealt with by legislation. I do not propose this afternoon to dwell at any length upon the details connected with the religious controversy, which has unhappily existed in the past few years, nor do I propose, on the present occasion, to dwell on the unduly early age at which compulsory attendance at school ceases under the existing law. What can be said of a system which at the age of from twelve to fourteen allows the children to leave school, the large majority of whom in three years' time have forgotten nearly all they have learnt in the elementary 1911 schools of the country? That is a point of vital interest and concern in our education. That I do not think we can afford to neglect. It must be the subject-matter for legislation next Session.
I now come to the principal object of our legislation, which is to organise intermediate education by extending the powers and duties, and adding to the resources of the local education authorities. When I allude to intermediate education I want the House to realise that I am alluding to all classes of education between the elementary school and the universities. I refer to secondary and higher elementary, to technical, to trade schools, to evening classes, and to continuation classes. All these I include under the word which I am going to use a few times in the course of my remarks as relating to intermediate education. In order that it may be quite clear, I feel impelled to invite the House for a few moments to review with me the educational administration of the country as it is to-day. Under the Act of 1902 there are seventy-six county boroughs, which, for elementary purposes, as well as for all other purposes, have autonomous powers. There are sixty-two county councils which have autonomous powers in relation to elementary education. They also have their Whisky Money, and up to the limit of a 2d. rate for higher education. There are 132 boroughs with a population of more than 10.000, and forty-eight urban districts with a population of more than 20,000, which also possess autonomous powers connected with elementary education, and which have full power of rating up to the extent of a penny. In addition to these, there are 318 larger local education authorities, and there are 878 smaller boroughs, and smaller urban districts which have no power at all in connection with elementary education, but which possess concurrent powers for higher education. These also are limited to an expenditure of a penny rate. As a matter of fact, 200 of these authorities have never attempted even to exercise the powers which were conferred upon them by the Act of 1902. We have 1,196 authorities of one kind and another with varying powers, and with powers of rating and for controlling the higher grades of education.
The way in which the majority of educational authorities have worked in connection with the difficult and responsible duties which we imposed upon them, I 1912 think, command, or ought to command, our admiration. In the local education authorities the nation now possesses a tradition of zealous, enlightened, management, a fund of knowledge and experience, which it would be wasteful and ruinous for us to discard. The local authorities cannot escape further burdens. No one else is so well-fitted to carry these burdens; but they have established an unanswerable claim that further duties shall be accompanied by further and substantial assistance from the State. Out of £29,834,000 which we now spend on education, £14,186,000 are drawn from the rates, and £13,648,000 from Grants-in-Aid from the Exchequer. These figures are in respect of the year 1911–12, the last figures available. I take 1905–6, the first year, which was a complete year under the conditions imposed by the Act of 1902. Look at the increases of expenditure drawn from the rates and from the taxes during the interval of six years. I find that the increases amount to £3,500,000 out of the rates, and £1,000,000 out of Grants-in-Aid. In other words, out of every £9 of additional money required in these six years, £7 have been found by the ratepayer, and only £2 by the taxpayer. It would, therefore, be idle for the Government to hesitate to admit the great demand, which the ratepayer has for further relief from the taxpayer.
We are irrevocably committed as a Government, and I think as a nation, to the municipal basis in educational administration. History, considerations with regard to local pride—which has done so much for us in England in connection with local educational affairs in the past and which has been the mainspring of our administrative efficiency—has convinced us that it is neither possible or desirable to make any change of importance in the area, or to diminish in any way the powers of the local education authorities. The idea of consolidating areas has unquestionable attractions, but it will not work. It will be perhaps within the recollection of the House that in 1896, Sir John Gorst endeavoured to deal with the problem, and failed. Therefore, I do not feel inclined to advise the House to deal with any alteration of areas. Our proposals leave the areas of the local authorities substantially as they were fixed by the Act of 1902. But, after all, local education authorities are machinery. It is of the children we ought to think. We ought to think of them first and last, and all the 1913 time, whether it be in the period in which they are attending the elementary schools or in the period that they go to the intermediate school or in their maturer years, when they go into training colleges or to the universities. Whatever the period be, I shall have a few words to say upon it. First of all, I want to deal with the children of the elementary schools. I think we are bound to think of the child from its very earliest age, even before the actual birth—and I refer here, of course, to the necessity of mother-craft. If the State makes education obligatory it seems to me that we have a great responsibility placed upon us to see that the child is physically fit to receive the education which is forced upon it. A healthy motherhood and a healthy infancy, a healthy school life, are progressive and interdependent steps to a healthy citizenship in later years. But it is the school life that more concerns my Department. The system of compulsory education gives us a unique opportunity for extending and organising the public health service of the State. The education of the young child is primarily physical and not primarily intellectual.
I think we may take credit to ourselves as a nation that, in connection with the physical training in our schools, we have gone further than any other country up to the present time. In 1907 there were brought into existence a wholly new set of conditions and wholly new machinery. We have nearly one thousand medical officers in the medical service of the schools, and we have over seven hundred nurses. Side by side with the school medical service we have ninny developments—developments of sanitation, physical training, Swedish drill, instruction in habits of health, provision of baths for the children, and provision of special schools for delicate children and defectives. All these developments lie at the root of educational progress, and are things of which we may be justly proud. It is in recognition of this that we are now giving to local education authorities the additional £50,000 this year, in order to help them to meet their expenses in connection with the school medical service. If the first condition of sound education is the physical fitness of the children, I think the second indispensable condition is the intellectual and moral fitness of the teachers. A constant supply of teachers in our schools is a matter which never ceases to engage the 1914 attention of the Board. It would be very easy, by lowering the standard, to attract more into the profession, but if we did such a thing we should go far to undo the good work that three generations of devoted teachers have already accomplished. The solution of the problem does not rest, I think, with the Board of Education. We can do something to mitigate their difficulties and to improve their prospects, as we did last year by increasing their pensions scheme. But I think their future position and the improvement of the condition of the teachers really rest with the local education authorities themselves. I do not think we could at this time of day undertake to call upon the Government either to fix the salaries or to contribute a share of the salaries of the teachers who arc appointed by local education authorities, because, if we attempted anything of that kind, we would have to remodel nearly the whole of our system of education. But generally speaking in connection with elementary education, I think that we may feel that when compared, at any rate with other nations, we have already reached a standard of which we need not be ashamed.
I want to look at the other end of the ladder and to speak of the deficiencies which are more obvious in connection with building up a system of higher education in the universities. It is already full of promise. We have two ancient universities and we have fifteen provincial universities, including the five parts of the University of London, which five parts we hope may be consolidated, but which can only be consolidated, I think, by legislation. Closely associated with these universities are sixty-two training colleges for teachers in elementary schools; forty-four of these are supported out of private funds and eighteen are supported by local education authorities. In addition to these of course we have got higher technical colleges, and we have agricultural schools. These are the higher kinds of education nearer to university training, and I am glad to say, in passing, that already the real university spirit is springing up in these institutions. The growing improvement of university life seems to me to be a feature of hopeful promise. The public mind appears to be alive to the educational necessities, and the university mind seems to be alive to public necessities also. If I might take an illustration, I take the case of the leather industries of the University of Leeds. There you 1915 have already obtained teaching in an industry on a scale of great practical importance which really has secured to itself a commanding position not only in this country but abroad. The old relations between the men of science and the men of commerce have in recent years been radically changed, and we see the union of science and of industry bearing fruit in discoveries and inventions and in the opening up of new markets, and we see it in our universities in an increasing degree and perhaps in no place better than in the Imperial College of Science and Technology, where a great movement has been going on, uniting science with industry.
No year passes that we have not to record or chronicle some great benefaction from some eminent men of business to our universities, and if the universities are to serve the needs of the country, if they are going to meet the growing demand for training the mind, to which our complicated activities give rise in modern life, the university must look both to the State as well as to generous contributions from private donors. We hold that under the national system of education such as we are advocating it is possible that what has been done for scholarship, what has been done for law and what has been done for medicine, the university can do for citizenship also. There has been another interesting movement which perhaps illustrates what I have been attempting to explain to the House. Ten years ago there was a movement between the representatives of Oxford and the representatives of the workers, and it has been a most remarkable movement—I allude to the Workers' Educational Association. They have brought to the workers the university curriculum and a great deal of work which was almost unknown before by the working classes. Instruction in political science, instruction in political economy, literature, history, and the institutions of the country have revealed a capacity and an intellectual endeavour and determination in the working people to acquire knowledge which was unknown certainly ten years ago. These people want nothing but the best, and those whom I may call the croakers and the pessimists, who pretend that the defects of our national education are due to lack of character in our men, have the lie given to them in connection with the work which has been going on in 1916 the Workers' Educational Association. And I am glad to bear my tribute to the fertile union between the old and the new system, which, I think, gives us very good hope for the future. We want to build a road from the schools to the universities, and that road must be formed firm enough to be travelled by thousands, and the State hopes to profit by the capacity in thousands which to-day is wasted and unrevealed, and I think that this experiment proves that much more may be done in the future in the direction of combining work and industry with science in the university system which had not previously obtained.
I come now to the third portion of my statement. I have alluded to the children and to the elementary schools, and I have alluded to the universities. What we feel is that in the middle stages this road to which I have just alluded is carried on a large number of broken arches, and that between the elementary stage and the university lies a confusion of intermediate work. In connection with the teachers, a man may be ever so distinguished at his college, he may leave the university with a great record, but that does not necessarily qualify him to become a good teacher in the secondary schools of this country, and one of the great gaps which I think we have to supply is to see that the teachers in our elementary schools, and especially in our secondary schools, shall not only possess knowledge itself, but shall also be trained so that they may impart that knowledge to their pupils to the best possible advantage. And here again, if the position is considered, what do we find? We find in the most thickly populated industrial areas a large number of secondary schools of all grades, some higher elementary schools, some for industrial training, some junior day schools, some senior day schools, evening education classes, and technical schools of all kinds. The choice is very large, and the present condition of the relations of the different schools to each other, and to the whole, if they exist at all, can only be explained by some educational expert, and are not within the knowledge of the average man. Nor am I in a position to help. It is quite impossible to say how many secondary schools there may be in the country. There may be 10,000 or 15,000. I cannot say. What they are doing in these schools, unfortunately, even I have no right to ask, but from what I hear, too little attention is given 1917 to what will become of the children after they leave school, and after they have taken the course given them in these various schools. Hitherto, a good deal of attention has been paid to the brilliant scholar, but not very much attention has been paid to the great majority of children. Again, if the parent is unfortunate enough to be in a district where there is no real good secondary school class, his child has to be content with what we term in the Board of Education, a "Cavendish Academy." Its record, of course, and story may be found in Mr. Well's novel, "Kipps." 'Cavendish Academy is fiction, and I expect my own inspectors to give me facts, and it is my belief that the "Cavendish Academy" was an outstanding fact in our intermediate educational system.
An inspector told me, the other day, that some hundreds of schools existed in Middlesex outside his purview, but in connection with the register of teachers, Teachers' Registration Council, he was invited to inspect some of these schools, and he reported to me on the condition of some of the schools he inspected, at their request. In one case he reported:—There are sixty-six boys in the school. The school was dingy, dirty, poor, and ill-lighted, and the light was so defective that the gas was burning at a quarter to three on a tine afternoon. The ventilation is also probably very defective, but the school had the advantage of a broken window. The only cloakroom was a dark cupboard-like place with twenty-five pegs for sixty-six boys. There was only one convenience in the whole school end one wash-hand basin for all the boys. In another school four classes are taken in an old tin church, while the lowest class is held in an adjoining club-room in the space between two billiard tables. The instruction was not unworthy of the premises. There were no desks or equipment and instruction was given anyway. In another school there were twenty-two boys between the ages of eleven and eighteen in one class. In another school the anxiety of the mistress for the physical well-being of the children was such that she considered ten minutes stretch of the arms on a blackboard so important that no matter what lesson was going on, two girls must always be at the blackboards, which gave the impression of a crucifixion of two at the end of a long school-room. When their ten minutes was up, they gave place to another two girls, who left their seats and took their places, and this went on all day long.There is nothing further from my mind than to speak slightingly or to reflect upon the teachers' profession. They do their duty nobly, although their ways and equipment may be somewhat antiquated. If education is compulsory, it does seem to me to be only right that the parents should have some guarantee as to the sanitary character of the schools as well as to the way in which the children are being taught. Apparently some parents are 1918 quite contented with an education which has what is regarded by them as a sort of social distinction about it given to their children, when they send them to schools of the type which I have been describing. May I give just one more instance. In one school which came to my knowledge, there was a girl of fifteen engaged as a whole-time teacher, and the proprietor resorts to the well-known trick of giving a prize for French at the end of the first term to a backward girl, and the deluded parents quote this as a proof of the excellent teaching received. By false pretences like this, the school helps to keep down the numbers in the excellent county school. I have touched on these points because I want the House and the country to realise that among a certain section of the community there still exists a certain amount of unenlightened public opinion in regard to intermediate education. I do not wish to exaggerate the significance of the Cavendish Academy system. The real defects of our system would still have to be faced if there were no Cavendish Academies in our land, but I emphasise this point because I want the House to realise that a better organisation of our system is absolutely essential if we are to have a truly great national system of education.
§ Sir PHILIP MAGNUS
Does the President suggest that all secondary schools are such as he has described?
§ Mr. PEASE
I have already said that I have no knowledge of some 10,000, or there may be 15,000, or even more of these schools. All I know is that my inspectors were invited to report upon fifty schools not very far from where we are now sitting, and among those schools I received those reports which I have read from my inspectors, and hon. Members may draw their own conclusions. I believe there are many excellent schools among them, but I think there are many that need to be brought up to a higher standard than they have hitherto attained; and for what they are worth, I gave one or two, illustrations to show how some of these schools may be run under our present system.
§ Mr. PEASE
They invited inspection with a view to having their names placed upon the Teachers' Register. If we are to prepare the children for the work of life and for the higher training 1919 in technical colleges or universities, we must really organise and co-ordinate our system in a way which has not been done in the past. We must train a girl or a boy for the best service which their varying capacities aye able to give to the community. We must see that provision is made not only for the exceptional child, but for the normal and the backward children as well. I believe the average boy or girl at the present moment loses half the benefits, either because there are no means to enable them in their own families to go forward or because there.are no schools for those children to attend. I know the difficulty in connection with the parents, and how difficult it is to appeal to parents on this subject, to whom the economic interest must necessarily be paramount when the children attain the age to become potential wage-earners. I believe the reason parents do not take full advantage of secondary education is partly due to the lack of thorough organisation in our system, and these schools are not brought within the reach of all parents. I want those schools and the private schools made available to the particular industries of the particular localities. After the enumeration of the powers, which I have already given the House, which are to be vested in the local educational authorities, hon. Members will realise how difficult it is for us to introduce a system at the point where elementary and higher education is considered to be wholly unsatisfactory. There is no specific duty placed upon any local education authority, and even those which are more enlightened and progressive find themselves in various directions limited by Clauses and portions of the Act of 1902.
I will give an illustration. There are eighty-one urban districts in Lancashire with concurrent powers for higher education, and there is a great deal of friction and almost chaos in this system even in a progressive county like Lancashire. Adjoining districts have different scales of fees and different conditions in regard to admission. Sometimes two adjoining districts teach the same subjects to very small classes, with probably underpaid and not very brilliant teachers, whereas if they combined they could have obtained a really efficient teacher and secured additional Grants. Allow me to take another case within a hundred miles of London. There was no secondary education there, but the county council surrendered their portion of the whisky money to 1920 the borough with a view to enabling a secondary school to be established. A secondary school was established of a sort, but it was so inefficient that the county council intervened and announced their intention of providing a secondary school for the borough. The borough at once gave notice to the county council to quit the premises, and the county council then retaliated by dismissing the teachers, and for the last eight years that feud has lasted, and we have been obliged to suspend all our Grants, and we have ceased to recognise that school, and for eight years proper provision for secondary education has been in abeyance. The sole cause is the inability of those two education authorities to agree.
I think the House will have anticipated the changes which the Government are about to announce. The municipal basis of our education will remain unchanged, and we shall make no considerable changes in connection with our elementary education system except by dealing with single school areas, and, as far as may be necessary, to extend the compulsory school age. We shall not interfere with the freedom or independence of the universities or the government of training colleges or technical colleges. The principle of our legislation will be the obligatory provision of intermediate education for all who desire it, in order to bring it within the reach of all classes. We shall co-ordinate such provision between authorities to prevent overlapping and waste. In our proposals next year we intend to impose upon the council of every county and county borough the duty of providing accommodation for the development and maintenance of a complete and progressive system of education in their area, and we shall impose upon them the duty of affording opportunities for the children obtaining instruction of an advanced character. The local education authorities' resources will have to be extended, and many of their limitations to which I have alluded must be removed. We shall propose to repeal those Sections which place a limit upon their being able to raise money by the rates. We shall propose to repeal Section 18, which compels the local authority to place from half to three-quarters of the burden upon the parish where the new school is erected for the benefit of the parish, when the school does not even become the property of the parish. We shall restore the liberty which the Cockerton judgment to a very large extent deprived the local 1921 education authorities from exercising. The Board of Education will take power to decide what is and what is not education. We shall confer powers on local education authorities to provide baths, playing-fields, nursery schools, and we shall simplify the procedure in connection with obtaining sites for schools. We shall also take power to provide meals on Sundays and to enable local education authorities to provide meals on Sundays and during the holidays, such as has been proposed by the hon. Member for Bradford.
We shall take power to enable local education authorities to prosecute for offences of cruelty to children under Section 12 of the Children Act, 1908, and we shall make the law clear in regard to the teaching of special subjects, such as handicrafts, house-crafts, cookery, and other domestic subjects. With a view to co-ordination it will be the duty of the Board of Education to review the various schemes made by the various authorities to secure the maximum of economy and efficiency with the minimum of waste. We shall create advisory provincial councils in grouped areas who will be empowered to undertake such administrative duties which may be delegated to them by the various local education authorities. These will include many problems, not merely of local interest, but such questions as the training colleges, the control of examinations, the co-ordination of work in higher technical schools and universities, with the creation of centres, the work of secondary schools, and all this kind of work which we believe can be more efficiently done by groups of local education authorities, and we shall take power for the delegation of such work to provincial councils. We shall take powers to exercise control over higher education by smaller authorities and conversely to raise, where necessary, the larger boroughs or urban districts to complete autonomy. We shall lay on the local authorities the duties of doing for intermediate education what the Act of 1902 required them to do for elementary education. We shall take to ourselves the power to co-ordinate and systematise the various local education authorities to advance these operations. No doubt fresh burdens will be imposed upon the local education authorities, who have reached their financial limits of what they can do without further State assistance.
I have done what I could during the last few months to get assistance in a certain 1922 direction by increased Grants for trade schools, bursaries, the Imperial College of Science, and contributions for pensions, both for secondary teachers and elementary teachers, and I have obtained money for the medical treatment of children and other matters. Still, I realise that kind of help is quite inadequate to meet the necessities of the case, and, therefore, I now come to what is the most interesting part of what I have got to say, namely, the question of finance. We estimate that to give effect to the measure which we propose to introduce next year and to give reality to our policy, whether it is or is not affected by the measure which we shall propose, we shall want a large and substantial additional sum, which will rise progressively in the second and subsequent years. It is premature for me to-day upon this Bill to give details of our proposals, but we shall include—we have already included in our forecast—provision for universities, provision for the reconstitution of the London University, and provision for the increased maintenance of our secondary and technical schools. Naturally, however, a very large part of the money which will be given to local education authorities will be given in connection with elementary education. The Government policy is a large one. It will be expensive, but we shall be prepared to foot the Bill. Our eight present Grants are not only in our judgment inadequate, but they are distributed under a wrong system. They are inequitable, they bear no relation either to the expenditure or to the poverty of the authorities, they are complicated, they require a great deal of verification, and they involve altogether disproportionate labour both in the offices of the Board of Education and of the local education authorities. The Grant system is at present in operation is not expansive. The most enlightened administration does not attract a larger Grant. The most lax administration cannot be penalised unless we define or abolish altogether the Grants which we are paying. Therefore, the first step we propose in connection with the new primary Grant we are about to establish will be to change the Grant-earning unit from the school to the area, and average attendance will be calculated on all the children in the area and not in each school.
The new Grant system must fill three principal conditions. It must differentiate between areas of comparative wealth and 1923 of comparative poverty; it must be a Grant in relief of the poorer ratepayer; it must differentiate between areas where administration is liberal and enlightened and those in which it is unprogressive or lax; it must enable the Board to stimulate the backward authority and to enforce a national minimum. We can give effect to these conditions by adopting the plan which was recommended in the Minority Report of the Royal Commission on Local Taxation of 1901. Our plan, therefore, will comprise three Grants—a principal Grant guaranteed to each area that secures a minimum standard of efficiency, provided that area raises a minimum rate. It will be so worked out that the poorer the area is in assessable value the larger will be the Grant. There will also be a supplementary Grant bearing a fixed proportion to that expenditure in excess of the standard minimum. The effect will be that we shall have a more progressive and more liberal system. These two Grants combined will take fairly into account the two factors of assessable value and the expenditure incurred in the locality. They will be Grants-in-Aid of elementary education, but there will be a third Grant, and that will be in aid of loan charges. This Bill enables us to give a Grant for the present year in connection with new loan charges, but we shall also propose that there should be a Grant-in-Aid of all loan charges, both new and old, incurred in connection with all kinds of education throughout the country. These three Grants, we believe, will be a great reform, and I trust that they will minimise to a great extent the amount of excessive office work which our existing system places upon local education authorities.
In conclusion, I must admit that next Session we shall be bound to redress that balance between parties which was, in our judgment, so heavily weighted on one side by the Act of 1902. We consider that, for the present, voluntary schools should remain part of our educational fabric, but we recognise that if a parent desires the freer atmosphere of a provided school, either the school shall be brought to the child or the child to the school. We feel strongly that, at any rate, the grievance felt in single school areas cannot wait for indefinite settlement, and we shall propose to deal with it in our measure next year. I trust that the proposals which I have placed before the House will, at any rate, command 1924 the approval not only of all persons interested in the.progress of education, but also of those who are determined to see grave injustices removed. I will not say anything more at this moment in connection with the religious question. I do not wish at this moment to provoke—I never desire to do that—or to create any excuse for a premature and misdirected controversy in which the true purposes of our proposals would be lost to view. We are anxious that this House and the country, and both the taxpayer and the ratepayer, should look at our proposals as a whole, and that in the interests of education itself they should be judged in the spirit in which the have been framed. The House and the country, I think, can agree that we are laying the foundations of a national system which is well worth some sacrifice, and which is fitted to employ the gifts of good men of all parties and of all creeds.
§ Sir W. ANSON
(who was imperfectly heard): We have in the very interesting discourse of the President of the Board of Education to which we have listened somewhat lost sight of this little Bill, but I understand that £50,000 is to be handed over at once for the purpose of medical inspection, and that a supplementary estimate will be taken, and that £100,000 is to go in aid of loans incurred by local authorities for the purposes of elementary education.
§ Sir W. ANSON
The right hon. Gentleman spoke of repealing the Clause in the Act of 1870, which forbids any differentiation in the Grant on the ground of giving or not giving any particular religious teaching, and I take it that the regulations will make it clear that the apportionment of these Grants will be irrespective of the denominational or undenominational character of the buildings in respect of which the loans are raised. I take it that a loan may be raised for a training college or for a secondary school, as well as for an elementary school, and that no account will be taken of the fact that religious teaching of any particular kind is or is not given. As to the financial proposals which the right hon. Gentleman has promised next year, I think that they must be relegated to a future discussion. If I understood him rightly, an Aid Grant will take the place of the existing Grants which at present cause considerable confusion both at the Board of 1925 Education and with local authorities, and that a further Grant will be given for all purposes. The right hon. Gentleman suggested another Grant for universities and secondary schools, but I was not clear whether that came in the general financial scheme which he foreshadowed. These financial questions, however, are in the future, and we are discussing them on a statement which it may not have been easy to follow in all respects. These proposals which we have heard to-day are the outcome of the reforms indicated by the Lord Chancellor in a speech which rather startled us all. We have been accustomed to listen with some feelings of congratulation which we did not attempt to disguise to statements from successive Presidents of the Board of Education, describing the advancement of education in its various aspects throughout the country, but in January the Lord Chancellor informed us that the state of education in all its branches was chaotic, that. a step forward must be taken on no small scale, and that the leaders of the party—he mentioned several eminent Members of the Government; in fact, I think almost every Cabinet Minister, except the First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Churchill), as being passionately interested in these reforms—were going to make a great effort. In March the Lord Chancellor spoke at Bristol to the National Union of Teachers, and he then took a rather different view. He said that when the scheme was divulged it should be divulged by the President of the Board of Education and not by himself, and that at that time there was no scheme to divulge. He went on to admit that a great deal of good work had been done under the Act of 1902. He dwelt on the great efforts made by the Board of Education and by local authorities to smooth the passage of children from elementary to secondary schools, and he suggested that we should reorganise our education from the top—that is, from the universities downwards.
We then came at last to something practicable—something that we heard from the Secretary of State for India, in April, and a good deal of it has figured somewhat more precisely, and at greater length, in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman to-day. A readjustment of area I take to mean that certain local authorities are to be empowered, and in certain cases to be compelled, to act to-gather where it can be done to the advantage of the area. Medical inspection is a matter which needs to be further 1926 developed. In regard to the half-timer, I take that what the right hon. Gentleman said about the extension of the school age referred to the half-timer, and from the remarks of the Secretary for India I gathered he would admit half-time, coupled with some form of higher education, running concurrently with the work done by the boy in the workshop. The religious difficulty has been dealt with by the right hon. Gentleman. I understand that the voluntary system will be recognised as necessary in our elementary education, and that some steps are being taken to limit the number of single school areas. At present that is as much, I suppose, as the right hon. Gentleman cares to say, and certainly I do not myself care to say more on the subject.
Then there is the question of the registration of secondary schools, giving some indication of the comparative merits of those schools. The right hon. Gentleman told us about the difficulties of a national system of education. A national system of education, in some people's minds, seems to be something which may result in something very much to the detriment of education generally. If, by a national system of education, you mean that every boy or girl is to have access to every grade of education, from the elementary school to the technical school, and thence to the university, at the smallest possible cost, or free of charge, then I think you must either lower your standard or raise your taxation. We all know what the right hon. Gentleman has described as the sham secondary school. He took his illustration from private schools. I have no doubt there are some very bad and some very good private secondary schools. I recollect instances of secondary schools started by local authorities which were really elementary schools with a small addition of staff, and, perhaps, a laboratory thrown out at one end. Practically, there was no real difference in the character of the education given. Certain qualifications of teachers involved a certain impression being conveyed to the parents of children attending them, that they were getting something different from what they got in the elementary school. It would be a very unfortunate thing if, in order to cheapen education and make it accessible you watered your capital or debased your currency, or by lowering the standard, debased the character of the education given. I may say the same with regard to universities. It would be an unhappy thing if, in the desire to afford everybody 1927 an opportunity for universal education, you sent people to the universities with teachers at small salaries where the plant is inadequate, and the instruction given, therefore, far from satisfactory.
I remember two catch phrases often used, one, "equality of opportunity," and the other, "co-ordination of studies." You cannot get the one without the other. Unless you can co-ordinate your studies, so as to make one course of study for all, and the path from the elementary school to the university plain and clear, you can have no co-ordination of studies and no equality of opportunity so that the best qualified may obtain the best education available and suitable. But I take it that the right hon. Gentleman is alive to the difficulties which I am suggesting. He dealt with the question of the universities. He referred to the increasing hold which universities are taking on the life of the country and to the increasing desire, if not for university life, for at all events university teaching for all classes. That has been brought out most conspicuously by the Workers' Educational Association. It is difficult to speak too highly of the single-hearted zeal for education with which that society has gone about its work. They have, by their efforts, brought to the homes of the working classes the best education in a variety of topics of special interest to those classes which the university can produce and place at their disposal. The universities are being made more accessible, not merely by the system of classes or by scholarships, but by other forms of endowment which enable poor men go to the university. I believe it is a great mistake to suppose that many scholarships for colleges and universities are held by men who can afford to do without them. A careful examination was made by a gentleman of my university a short time ago of the means of the various holders of scholarships in the various colleges attached to the university, and, as a result, it was found that hardly any scholarships were held by persons who were not in actual need of that kind of assistance to enable them to go to the university.
Then we come to the secondary schools, or rather intermediate education, that which is provided, not merely in secondary schools, but in higher elementary schools, technical institutes, and continuation classes. I think, perhaps, it is too much to 1928 say that there is chaos in our intermediate education. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of it as being in a bad state, and he gave a description which in part correspond with that given by the Lord Chancellor at the beginning of the year. Intermediate education always involves this difficulty, that you have to consider the needs of the child leaving the elementary school. Those needs are not always easily ascertainable. It is not always possible to make out or ascertain without difficulty what form of intermediate education is most suitable to the future of the Child, because very often the child and its parents have not made up their minds as to what that future is going to be. All one can hope for is that the various opportunities of intermediate education available shall be made known to them as far as possible. There should be some system by which it can be made known to all parents what forms of intermediate education are available for their children, and in that way it may be possible to secure a smooth passage from the elementary school to such further types of education as may be most suitable to the future well-being of the child. We have a great variety of these types of education, and a great variety of effort to ensure that the child gets what he wants. All we need from the Department is the ascertainment of the supply available for the child in a given area, and to see that there is a sufficient system for it to be made known to those who want the education, what kind is available, if they choose to avail themselves of it.
Our elementary schools are, of course, the basis of the fabric of our educational system, and recently I read a passage, very forcibly written, in the report of the Workers' Educational Association which said that educational work must fail unless elementary schools turned out children as well as they could be turned out, receive them in a fit state to be taught, and taught them properly, and in such a manner as that they could appreciate the higher education which was open to them. If that is so, surely the crisis of our whole educational system at this moment is urgent, and that crisis will be found in connection with the supply of teachers in the elementary schools. We build schools and laboratories, we build institutions to train teachers. We found universities. We endow scholarships, but the difficulty is that the teachers are not here to man the schools or laboratories, or to instruct= 1929 the children who are to receive this higher education. The difficulty is acute, and the position for some years to come will be very serious indeed. Look at the figures showing the number of candidates for bursarships and other appointments in secondary schools. In 1906–7, the number was 11,016; in 1900–10, it was 7,191, and in 1912–13, it was 4,355. That points to a dearth of teachers in our schools in the future. It is complained in the Board's Report in regard to secondary schools, that the great majority of the teachers are untrained. Elementary teachers pass in considerable numbers into the secondary schools who are trained, but they have not always that wide reading or scholarship which is necessary for a high class secondary school. Secondary teachers who come from universities, or from the large secondary schools, although they have the necessary knowledge, lack capacity to present the subject in a suitable manner to youthful minds. In our elementary schools, therefore, teachers are not forthcoming, and therefore, the outlook is serious.
Among the other matters mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman was an invitation to the local authorities to offer suggestions. There was also reference to an increase in the maintenance Grant, and to a certain relaxation of rules as affecting pupil teachers. Then there is the question of the standard required of the candidate up for examination. That standard need not be so good. In fact last year, it was not, and, owing to the dearth of teachers, the Board was unable to advance the standard, and had to accept an inferior quality of work. I think that is very serious. One has to ask what is the cause of it. I suppose that partly, as is stated in the Report, it is the attractions of business, of the Civil Service, and of the Colonies, also the long time which the teacher has to spend in preparing for his profession before it becomes remunerative. There is also, undoubtedly, the small salary which a teacher receives for a long period, and, it must be added, the fact that the profession has become unpopular. I think it has become unpopular, for apparently fewer teachers are forthcoming for the elementary schools. What have the teachers themselves done? I confess I was profoundly disappointed in reading the speech of the President of the National Union of Teachers, delivered at the end of March or the beginning of April this year. He said some very true things 1930 about the inadequacy of the arrangements in some of the elementary schools, but in speaking of the position of the teacher I think he was not fair to his great profession. He said:—For one, thing the teacher, after being prepared in this way, was forbidden to cross the portals of the secondary school.The Report of the Board of Education shows that a great number of the teachers in secondary schools come from the elementary training colleges. Any of us who has had any experience in these matters knows that that is so, and that there is no barrier interposed between the teacher, after he has been trained for an elementary school, and his passing into a secondary school. The inspectors say that they prefer the elementary trained teacher, at any rate for the lower classes, to men with higher knowledge in some respects, but who are not so well prepared for the teaching profession. I think the statement I have referred to tends to discourage young men and women from entering the profession. Again he says:—Children from the elementary schools are excluded toted from the secondary school.That I think would discourage a teacher to hope that he will be able, if he goes into an elementary school, to prepare his pupils for something higher. As a matter of fact, one of the most satisfactory features in the Report of the Board consists in the description of the various ways in which children are promoted from the elementary to the secondary school. Whether by bursaries or maintenance Grants, or the age at which it is desirable to change the child from one school to the other, the mode of selection, whether by written or oral examination, the whole matter is carefully gone into, and every effort is made to secure that the child who is capable should go by the road, should be discovered in the proper manner and should get the proper sort of instruction. As a matter of fact, compared with the figures of ten years ago, there are some 50,000, as compared with 5,000, who are now enjoying the benefits of secondary school teaching. Again, the president of the National Union of Teachers complained that when a teacher was trained and certificated he had to compete in the elementary school with another system of teachers. Naturally so, because there are not enough certificated teachers to go round. There are more certificated teachers in the elementary schools than ever before, but there are still not enough to go round the schools. It is not a fair 1931 complaint, and it is discouraging to an intending teacher to be told that he will have to enter into competition. It is not competition; it is merely an effort to stop a gap, caused because you cannot get certificated teachers, with someone not so well qualified but still qualified to take the place of a teacher. I feel sure that more might be done by the teaching profession itself to encourage these young men and women to enter a profession which, apart from the question of salaries, is a high profession.
Too often it is impressed upon the teacher that his business is simply to keep discipline and expound certain subjects. I am quite sure of this—I speak from long experience in the matter—that if you simply go on expounding a subject, however clearly or well arranged your way of putting it may be, you weary yourself and successive audiences because the life of it has gone out. There are two things only which keep teaching alive. One is that the teacher must always be a learner and adding something to his existing knowledge of the subject, so keeping his own interest alive. If he does that the chances are he will keep alive the interest of his class. The other is that he should be taught that those whom he teaches are human beings, that every one of them has probably a different individuality and is capable of looking at the subject in a different way. If he bears in mind that there is an ever-fresh human interest in the process of teaching, then I think he will be willing to enter into what I believe to be one of the noblest professions. Apart from the question of teachers, there is another matter upon which the President dwelt at no undue length—that is the condition in which the child comes to the school. The first thing to bear in mind is that you cannot get a teacher if you do not provide him with an adequate salary. If you leave the salaries to be provided by a local education authority, having regard to the heavy incidence of the rates, you will make education unpopular throughout the country. I was very sorry to hear the President say that he did not propose to assist local education authorities in the matter of teachers' salaries.
§ Sir W. ANSON
If in any other way the money is to be forthcoming, I shall be glad to hear of it. Unless this difficulty is met, 1932 all our schools and laboratories are of little worth. We must get the children into the schools in a proper condition. I do not wish to go into the question of feeding or medical inspection at any length. What we want is not merely to give these advantages to the children from outside. A great deal of medical inspection and medical treatment might be avoided or rendered unnecessary if parents were instructed in the rudiments of health and medical knowledge, and if they were able to take ailments in their inception or when they have made but little progress. A great deal of the necessity for feeding the children would be got over if housekeeping were worked on a better scale and the parents took more interest in the condition of a child. Anyhow, the child is put at a disadvantage with better-to-do children if he has not a comfortable and decent home to work in. It is a consideration well worth looking at, when we are dealing with the question of elementary school teaching, that the number of hours spent in the school are only a very limited portion of the day, and that the rest of the day is spent in the home. If the home is dirty, untidy, crowded, and insanitary, if the child is allowed to be out at a late hour, is ill-fed, ill-housed, and sleeps in unwholesome surroundings, then elementary education will never prosper, because the child will never be in a fit condition to receive the teaching which is offered. Above all, one wants to enlist the interests of the parents, not merely in the physical well-being of the child, not merely by nurse-craft—or, as the President called it, mother-craft—but in the teaching of the child, and to see that the child is the better for it in all respects than he was before. If we can get the people of this country to believe, not merely in the importance of keening their houses clean and their children in good condition to receive the instruction that is given to them, but of giving instruction as part of the education which is to build up the future of the child and ensure, so far as they can, its prosperity in life, our children will become, as they ought to be, worthy citizens of the Empire.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. GOLDSTONE
The President of the Board has to-night brought us to the top of Mount Pisgah to view the promised land with all its good things. My regret is that we are not to-night crossing Jordan and entering more fully into the land of promise which the President has laid before us. I 1933 hope sincerely that nothing may intervene to prevent the President laying before the House next Session the Bill he has just outlined for us. I think all educationists, including probably some on the other side, would deplore the loss of the opportunity, no matter what they may think of other topics, to the President to give us his idea in the form of a Bill of a national system of education. Before I venture to enter upon the President's speech, may I deal briefly with some of the points raised by the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford University (Sir William Anson)? The hon. Baronet ventured to criticise some of the remarks made in a speech by the President of the National Union of Teachers last Easter. I note, for example, that he differed as to the correctness of this statement:—The teacher was forbidden to pass the portals of the secondary school.If the hon. Baronet will recall his own experience at the Board of Education, he will probably agree that there is more in that statement than meets the eye, and that it is true that teachers in elementary schools have been forbidden to cross the portals of the secondary schools. There are many governors of secondary schools who refuse to have any teachers who are of elementary school origin. It is true that a few years ago certain inspectors, representing the Board controlled by my right hon. Friend, were not disposed to look with favour on the inclusion in the staffs of certain secondary schools of what I might call well-equipped teachers in elementary schools, and the thing obtains in part to-day. There are certain heads of secondary schools—their number, I know, is on the decrease—who do not favour the inclusion of their staffs of men of whom they talk in private as having an elementary taint. The complaint of the President of the National Union of Teachers was well founded when he said that certain teachers to-day have to enter into competition with uncertificated teachers already in the schools. It is the fact. Perhaps the hon. Baronet has forgotten the number of certificated teachers who wanted positions a little time ago, and there are some of them still anxious to get positions as certificated teachers, who have been forced by the condition of the teaching market to take posts as uncertificated teachers, though possessing the diploma of a certificated teacher; so the President of the National Union of Teachers 1934 was stating the facts quite moderately. The fact is that the Board of Education itself has been somewhat to blame in the matter. They have allowed uncertificated teachers to go on in their ordinary course without placing any time limit on their employment as uncertificated teachers. They might, it seems to me, by regulation have insisted that a time limit be placed on the recognition of the uncertificated teachers, thus compelling such uncertificated teachers to gain higher qualifications. But I blame more, certain of our local education authorities, whose interest has been largely the cutting down of expense and not that of staffing their schools with the best grade of teacher.
Let me recall the circumstances to the House. You have certain teachers who, anxious to improve their educational and professional qualifications, pass to the training colleges. Their places are filled by certain local education authorities with uncertificated teachers, and when a certificated teacher comes out of college he finds himself in active competition with an uncertificated teacher, and in adverse competition, because the local education authority has filled his place with an uncertificated teacher and, naturally, is loth to turn this uncertificated teacher adrift. I find that certain local educational authorities are so keen on the saving of twopence halfpenny that they will spend almost the difference between the salary of au uncertificated and a certificated teacher in advertisements for a teacher of an uncertificated grade, and that has compelled certain certificated teachers coming out of the training colleges to take positions probably equal to what they held in the last year before they entered a training college at all. In my opinion the statement of the president of the National Union of Teachers, having regard to the facts, which cannot be disputed, was well within the mark. I associate myself with what the hon. Baronet said with regard to the necessity of improving the home surroundings of the children who go to our elementary schools. He is quite correct when he states that the influence on the child is, so far as home is concerned, a longer influence in point of time than the influence of the school. We are bound to recognize, and I am glad that it is recognised in all quarters of the House, that education is really one of the factors which tend to social betterment, but a sound educational system must be allied with a sound housing system. If we are to get these con- 1935 ditions, that is, reasonable food for the people, sleeping accommodation and conditions which will allow their parents to leave children at school instead of sending them off into the workshops at too early an age, is not all this associated with finding some means of supplying the parents with a reasonable wage, which will allow them to bring up their children in decency and self-respect? Is it not associated with schemes for the better housing of the working classes? In fact, I think we are all agreed that education is but one element in social betterment, and that we must associate with education better housing and better wage conditions for our working population. Therefore, I think all sides may join in approval of what the hon. Baronet has said in that regard.
May I now turn to the speech of the President of the Board of Education; and first, let me congratulate him on the lucidity with which he has stated some very difficult propositions. I think a national system of education really is one which makes provision in all its grades for children to pass from grade to grade provided they have the necessary ability to profit by the instruction in the higher grade. A national system of education, properly administered, will take no heed of the financial disabilities of the child. The hall mark will be mental ability to profit by the next grade, not the amount of income of the child's parents. Then we shall get thrown into the mental and intellectual resources of the State, its best developed material, and that, it seems to me, is what we must look to the schools to provide. We are now going to throw upon the local authorities the duty of making adequate provision, not only for elementary but for higher education, and this should be co-ordinated with elementary education, and with university education; in my view a step in advance on which we may congratulate the President, and indeed the House and the country. Of course, the matter is one primarily of finance, and I would that we had been given a little more of what I termed, in the Debate on the Estimates the financial lubricant this year. We have had much of promise; I would there had been a little more of performance in the current year. The local authorities have been looking to the Treasury and the Board of Education for more assistance than they are likely to get in the immediate future, and they 1936 will look, so far as substantial easement is concerned this year, almost in vain. They will hope, no doubt, that what the President has said will mean the fructification in the next year and in succeeding years of amounts considerably in excess of that which the President has suggested for to-day. I got out a few figures which corroborate what the President has said with regard to the increase in the amount which the localities have had to find for education, and going back a year or two, the amount which has been found from the rates is shown up even in more glaring contrast. I looked up the figures for the year preceding the adoption of the Act of 1902. There were some good things in that Act. It certainly co-ordinated all forms of education under one and the same authority, and to that extent, it was an excellent improvement. It co-ordinated secondary technical education with elementary by placing them all under the same authority.
§ Mr. GOLDSTONE
That is another proposition. It does not do that, but it has given us, I think, the basis on which the more complete scheme of co-ordination already outlined in the speech of the President can be built. But the increase in the rates is the direct outcome of that Act, and it is no use to try to deny it. In the year 1901–2 the amount drawn from taxes in England and Wales was £9,869,000, representing 60 per cent. of the total expenditure on elementary education. The rates found £6,485,000, or 40 per cent. The disparity between rate-aid and State-aid, of course, has grown considerably, and now we find that the rates produce something like 50 per cent. broadly speaking, while the State finds the other 50 per cent., but the local authorities have to find £8,500,000 more than they had to find in the year previous to the passing of the Act of 1902, Though I welcome what was done, the chief element in the cost arose from the placing on the rates of the voluntary, or non-provided, schools of the country. The staffs in those schools had to be brought up to the level of the staffs in the provided schools, and of course since that time there have been new duties thrown upon the local authorities which have not cost a great sum, and there has been the necessary rise in the quality of the teaching staff employed in all types of schools, 1937 whether non-provided or provided. The consequence has been that while the State has not found the same proportion as in 1901, the localities have been drawn upon to the extent of £8,500,000 in excess of what they had to find in the pre-1902 days.
The question has been touched upon of the supply of teachers, and I agree that this is a very pressing problem. The number of entrants to the teaching profession tends to diminish, and there is every prospect in the next year or two of a dearth of certificated teachers. Some of the reasons for this dearth I have outlined in replying to the hon. Baronet. The number of bursars and pupil teachers in the year 1906–7 was 11,018. The number has dropped in the year 1912–13 to 4,325, so far as England is concerned. The decrease is almost as great for Wales—from 940 in 1907–8, to 609 in 1912–13. But it must not be assumed for one moment that a Grant of £10,000 in the shape of bribes for bursars by the Board of Education will solve this difficulty. It will not. The parents who are looking abroad for a profession or occupation for their children are not determined by the immediate prospect of £5 or £10 for a child at sixteen or seventeen. The type of home from which our teachers come is ruled in the main by a person who is looking at the ultimate prospect for his boy, and the problem is largely one of boys. The girls are coining forward, almost in numbers equal to what they did in 1906–7. The problem is one of a diminution in the supply of the male certificated teacher. The parent of such a person is attracted, not by the immediate payment of £10 bonus. He is probably prepared to sacrifice the cost of the training of his boy in college, and therefore the immediate subsidy of £5 or £10 is not material to him. It may be welcome, but it is not material. It is not the deciding factor. The deciding factor in the supply of certificated teachers, particularly of men, is the ultimate prospect, considered, if you will, from the point of view of promotion and financial considerations. Until the Board of Education stimulate authorities like Herefordshire to do their duty in this matter it seems to me that this dearth of teachers will continue. The right hon. Gentleman says that he can do little in the matter, but, as a matter of fact, he has solved the difficulty in the secondary schools by action which I recommend to him in the elementary schools. 1938 His inspectors in the case of the secondary schools have pointedly drawn attention to the lowness of the salaries paid to the masters in them. I would that his inspectors would do in Hereford and in some of the black spots, so far as the supply of teachers is concerned, what they have done in regard to the secondary schools. If they could do that with regard to the staffs of the secondary schools—and there they have done it with considerable success—they could do it with equal success in regard to the elementary schools. I hope the right hon. Gentleman when disposing of the Grants outlined, will consider whether authorities like that of Hereford and others are failing in their duty, and whether they are doing their best to provide a sufficient teaching supply by providing sufficient emoluments. The right hon. Gentleman is taking power, wisely, I think, to vary the Grants. These aid Grants have not worked successfully, and I think the time has come for their consolidation and redistribution on a better basis. The basis outlined by the President of the Board of Education may well meet the case better than the present basis, but surely he will consider whether he will award varying Grants to authorities which fail in their duty in the matter of providing sufficient emoluments. The varying of the Grants may be a means of stimulating backward authorities to provide a sufficient supply of qualified teachers.
There is one feature of the right hon. Gentleman's speech which, it seemed to me, was of the utmost importance, namely, that in which he outlined the determination of his Department to suggest the raising of the school age. In this connection I think it will not be out of order if I draw attention to action which is desired by the Blackburn Chamber of Commerce and other authorities in Lancashire. They desire the Government to take action with reference to something that has happened in America bearing directly on the school age of children in this country. I understand that in the American tariff it is proposed that all goods shall be excluded from America which are manufactured wholly or in part by children under the age of fourteen, and it is really suggested by a Chamber of Commerce in this country that our Government should be appealed to to petition the Government of the United States not to put that particular item of its tariff policy into operation. Are we so far to forget our national 1939 dignity as to suggest that we should appeal to the United States to vary this rule against child labour? Our record is none too clean in this matter. Sir John Gorst pledged the British Government at Berlin in 1878 to raise the age of exemption from school attendance to thirteen. That pledge remains to be fulfilled to-day, and is it now suggested by a Chamber of Commerce, forsooth, that we shall petition another Government to allow goods to be exported from this country the profits on which are made by the spoliation of young lives? I hope the Government will lend no ear to such a suggestion. I hope they will rather encourage the American proposal. It will kill the half-time system in Lancashire, and place England where she should be in this matter. This half-time system is a degradation to our national life. We spoil the children in physique, and I am afraid in moral fibre also, by transferring them to the mills at an age when they ought to be at school. I welcome the provision outlined by the right hon. Gentleman in which he proposes to raise the school age, and I hope it will be fourteen at least.
I have statistics which show that in height and in weight the half-timer of Lancashire is less than the average school boy in the elementary school, and considerably less than the average weight and height of the public school boy, and as the half-timer and the public school boy get older so does the disparity increase. In conclusion, I wish to congratulate the President of the Board of Education on what he has outlined, and to express the hope that he will not on any account allow the provisions he contemplates in his Bill to be whittled down. I wish him success in his proposals, and if he can persuade the Treasury to give more money this year, so much the better for the local authorities in the important work they have to do.
§ Mr. HAYES FISHER
The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goldstone) said that we had arrived at the proper Pisgah to-night. I think the Lord Chancellor arrived at the proper Pisgah when he made his famous speech on education at the Manchester Reform Club. Many of us have been looking to the speech which the Lord Chancellor made, and looking also to the many grandiloquent speeches made since then by various Members of the Government, including the President of the Board of Education. We have been waiting 1940 patiently and with much hope for the outlines of the Bill which we should be asked to consider this Session. We have got no Bill, except a very small Bill. The Lord Chancellor informed us, and indeed the President of the Board of Education has borne out his Lordship in every respect, that it was a colossal undertaking to which the Government was about to commit itself. The Lord Chancellor slyly said that this Government was very expensive, and would prove very expensive. Most certainly if any Bill founded on these proposals outlined by the right hon. Gentleman's speech to-day is proposed this Government will be the most expensive Government that has ever held office, not only in the matter of education, but in many other things. It is very difficult indeed to criticise mere proposals. I think we shall have to wait with our criticism until we see them in the Bill. To almost all these proposals one could give a more or less general assent. What one was constantly asking himself when the right hon. Gentleman was speaking, was, where is the money to come from? How is the proportion of expenditure going to be borne between the Exchequer and the local ratepayer? I feel sure that the proposals were made after consultation with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. When the President of the Board of Education made this very glowing speech and promised some millions of money from the Exchequer in relief of the local ratepayer, I did happen to recollect that the Lord Chancellor when he made his grandiloquent and splendid speeches, said he was not making these speeches lightly or casually, but that they were made after consultation with the Prime Minister, and also the Chancellor of the Exchequer, a more important person still, and that they would undoubtedly involve the country in very largely increased cost for education.
The ratepayers have long been complaining of the immense proportion of taxation they have to pay for this great national service of education. The President of the Board of Education has told us that out of the extra £9 spent during recent years the ratepayers have found £7 and the Exchequer only £2. Let me give the figures. Out of every 12s. 6d. spent, the ratepayers have found 12s. and the Exchequer only 6d. If you take the case in London, out of every £100 spent on education, the ratepayers find £72, and the Exchequer only £28, and yet this great measure, as outlined, is going to throw many more millions of expenditure on 1941 somebody. We shall want to know who is the somebody? That is the question which we shall apply to every one of the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman when they are put forward—many of them admirable in themselves if only we could afford them—admirable if only the expenditure is fitted to the right shoulders. After all, we have to look not so much to the proposals outlined to-day in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman under remarkable circumstances, but to the very small Bill which is the outcome of all these deliberations. That is the only thing we are actually to see this Session. It is a small Bill, and I will not say myself how I would treat the proposals which the right hon. Gentleman is going to make. I want to see the Bill. I wish to hear from him on what basis the new Grants are to be made. There is to be a new Grant of £150,000, and £50,000 is to be distributed to those authorities which have adopted some system of medical treatment. I should like to know on what principle that new Grant is to be apportioned. At present the apportionment of such Grants put in the estimates for medical treatment lies entirely with the Board of Education. No regulations have been drawn up so far as I am aware. No principle has been laid down yet for the administration of that medical treatment Grant. It is almost the only Grant which is not allotted on any principle whatever, except what is known to the right hon. Gentleman and his Department.
We shall want to hear from the right hon. Gentleman on what principle this new Grant is to be allocated. The sum of £100,000 is to be given for building Grants. The last were given in 1907. There was £100,000 voted then, and of that £58,000 was actually granted between 1907 and 1911, and the larger proportion of that amount was given to Wales. It was given, I think, on the principle generally of helping only those areas where there was a single school, and where there was deficient accommodation. I question whether that was quite fair. You were shutting out areas which might have made great self-sacrifice, in order to provide themselves with full accommodation. We shall have to ask on what principle this new building Grant is to be distributed. I do not know whether it is to be distributed on the same principles as the Government distribute the Grants in necessitous areas. We have heard nothing to-day about necessitous areas. When that subject is discussed I 1942 will have a good deal to say for the claims of London as regards necessitous areas, because London has for some years past come within the definition of expenditure exceeding that provided by a 1s 6d. rate. If the principles originally applied to that Grant, when made seven years ago, were applied now in their fulness, London would receive very large sums indeed from the Grants in aid of necessitous areas, London would have been entitled in 1911–12 to £50,000, equal to three-tenths of a penny; in 1912–13 to £170,000, equal to nine-tenths of a penny; and in 1913–14 to £312,000, equal to one and two-thirds of a penny.
But London, like some other areas, is shut out from a share in this Grant, because the Board of Education have determined that no local education authority should be entitled to participate in this Grant unless it had participated in the previous year. To them that have—not a very palatable doctrine at present in London. Before I can say, for my own part, what reception I will give to the right hon. Gentleman's Grants of £150,000, I must know a great deal more than I know to-day as to the basis on which these Grants are to be distributed. That is all one need say about the actual Bill itself. But the speech outlined a great many proposals, some of which are completely novel. I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman attaches enough importance to a subject to which I called attention before—that is, the dearth of teachers. That is one of the most acute problems at the present moment of a financial character in connection with education, and this very Bill which the right hon. Gentleman outlines—not the little Bill which he is bringing in, but the big Bill—must accentuate enormously the situation in which the country is likely to find itself. The right hon. Gentleman very properly, to my mind, is endeavouring to institute the policy of cutting down the numbers in the classes. He said nothing about it to-day. It is going to be a very expensive proposal, but also a proposal which must necessitate a larger number of teachers. Every single proposal which the right hon. Gentleman outlines to-day, increasing the age of those who remain at school, trying to attract them to remain at school, dovetailing your secondary education into your primary education, must entail an enormous demand for teachers, teachers of a higher grade, better teachers.
1943 I was surprised that the right hon. Gentleman dismissed the subject of the salaries of teachers in almost one sentence—that he could not possibly conceive that any Government would ever pay anything directly towards increasing the salaries of teachers. They would not take them over, and they would not do anything directly towards increasing the salaries of which I thought the right hon. Gentleman might have mentioned is the question of increased pensions for teachers. Something must be done. The present system is unfair. London has a very advanced system of pensions for teachers. The consequence is that London will attract to its area probably the best of all teachers. London is trying to treat its teachers fairly in this respect. I admit that the right hon. Gentleman has done something. I think that he will have to do a great deal more, and certainly the greatest problem which he has to face, in view of the large proposals of the measure for next Session, is to attract teachers of a high character of efficiency to the teaching profession. One thing which he must attend to is to enlarge the value of the bursaries, and spread them over a greater number of years so as to make it more possible for parents to maintain their children in the years when they are studying for the teaching profession. Many things will have to be done in order to meet the undoubted competition which is going on at the present moment among the particular class, if I may call it so, who are attracted to the teaching profession. The right hon. Gentleman spoke very much about co-ordination. That is a famous word, which means very much or very little. But as one who has taken a great deal of practical interest in technical education for a great number of years, I do want to utter a word of caution against over co-ordination. There is a tendency at the present time, certainly in London, to set examinations for those who desire to continue their education on technical lines. There is a tendency to too great co-ordination, and to rather shut out from actual practice in manual experience and instruction those who have not passed, and, perhaps, cannot pass an examination in theory. I am certain, from considerable observation, that there are a great many youths of fourteen, fifteen, or sixteen, who will pick up the theory by the actual practice, and I see a tendency to shut those lads out from technical schools.
1944 I want our system, while co-ordinated, to make great allowances for those young people who never pass or could pass the examination in theory at thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, or sixteen, but who, if they are given a chance of applying themselves in the technical schools and laboratories, will build up the theory by means of practice. There are many thousands of these, and they are some of the very best material in our polytechnics at the present moment. The right hon. Gentleman laid down certain conditions on which the Grants would have to be based in the future, and two great conditions were, first of all, that it would be by areas and not by schools. I think that would be a change for the better. Then, that the rich areas would have to be treated separately from the poor areas. I do not know how far he is going to carry that. What I want him to recollect is that sometimes a low rateable value is due to a low valuation, and, above all, I want him to recollect that a high rateable value is not always a test of the wealth of the community that lives in that highly rated area, and the high rateable value may be counterbalanced by the very high cost of sites of building and salaries of teachers in these schools. While I think that on both sides of the House there are many true educationists who desire most sincerely to advance education in a practical way and truly believe that the nation will be prosperous according to the number of well-trained and well-equipped citizens whom it prepares for the great commercial race of life, yet we must cut out our coat according to our cloth, and we must see that in the expenditure upon education, which, after all, is a national service and which the right hon. Gentleman admits in its early stages is primarily physical, must in the main be paid for more by the taxpayers than by the ratepayers, because the burden is more equitably distributed among the taxpayers than among the ratepayers. This reform is long overdue, and ought not to wait another year, but ought to be proposed in the very next Budget which is brought forward, either by the right hon. Gentleman or by any other right hon. Gentleman representing him, so that the ratepayers will get some substantial relief from the great burden which they have to bear for this national service.
§ Sir JAMES YOXALL
I wish for nothing better than to endorse and adopt the very able piece of criticism and the admirable statement of the real educational necessi- 1945 ties of the time to which the House has just listened from the right hon. Gentleman opposite. I think that that statement and criticism have been made in an entirely educational spirit, from which the party spirit was completely absent, and have put very clearly what needs to be done and what must be done. The speech of the President of the Board of Education may be compared in its two parts to a very large overcoat on a very small peg. The peg itself, the Bill which is to pass into law this Session, is so small as to be hardly worthy of much attention or much criticism, except in so far as it does, I suppose, indicate the establishment of new principles and new practices in the educational world. When one dons the overcoat and examines it very carefully, one discovers that it is a very large garment indeed, a very well-designed garment, which will bring about a great amount of comfort and help to great numbers of people in this country if they could only put it on. But, after all, the chief value of it will depend upon having it well lined. The lining is of a financial nature. It will take a great many bank notes to line that overcoat. We have not got it clearly this afternoon that the supply of bank notes will be forthcoming in due course. One need not be in the House very long without discovering that we must turn our attention, not to conditions as they ought to be, but to what is and what can be; not to those things which you would like to bring into existence if possible by means of an incantation, but to those other things which must be brought into existence by a long series of Bills and proposals. As far as I know the situation, the plans of the right hon. Gentleman for the future do meet the situation, and I only hope that before long they will pass into law. But I wish to repeat that the one essential thing in all this matter, of which we have not yet been given any clear glimpse, and of which we have not yet had any definite promise, is a very large subvention indeed, a totally new subvention over and above what has been paid hitherto. A subvention not arising in any degree from the rearrangement of the basis of Grants, but a large additional sum per year from the National Exchequer is the most essential requirement, and without such this scheme cannot work, and no scheme can work, and until one sees in figures what the amount is likely to be it would be premature to discuss the details of the plans for the future which were laid before the House to-night.
§ Sir ALFRED CRIPPS
It is difficult to discuss the First Reading of a Bill when the Bill is not in print. I agree with the hon. Member opposite that we have had the promised land sketched, but the question is how that promised land is to be obtained, and how we can derive the benefits of the immense advantages in the educational life which the right hon. Gentleman has pointed out. I have been long enough in the House to hear the advantages to be obtained from a perfect system of education described in glowing terms nineteen or twenty times by the Ministers for Education for the time being. We always agree with them; we all want the results which are described; but my experience is that we stop at the description, except in the case of the great Act of 1902, for which we are indebted to my right hon. Friend the senior Member for the City of London (Mr. Balfour), and which is the only practical proposal that has really carried forward in a substantial manner educational reform in this country. What is the position? In 1902 a Royal Commission reported that national education was mainly a national service, and that the main part of the expenditure ought to come from taxes and not from rates, the reason being that if it comes from rates, about two-thirds of the wealth of the country is exempted from contribution for the educational system, because a penny on the rates produces only about one-third of the yield of a penny on the Income Tax. Can you possibly justify starving any national service, such as education, and making it unpopular as regards expenditure, because you deliberately exempt two-thirds of the wealth of the country from the contribution that it ought to bear in reference to this and all other national services? It is not so much a question between rates and taxes, as a question why you should let off people of large wealth, who ought to contribute to a proportionate extent to the cost of such national services as education.
We are told that since the Royal Commission reported, the charge on the rates has gone up by no less than £8,500,000. Since 1906 £3,500,000 has been added to the rates, as against only £1,000,000 added to Grants from the National Exchequer. Having regard to those figures, is it not an inadequate farce to come forward with a Bill suggesting an increase of £150,000 a year from the Exchequer to deal with a problem of this kind? How is that £150,000 to be used? Fifty thousand 1947 pounds is to be used in relation to an expenditure which has come into being since the Royal Commission reported, namely, for medical treatment. According to all principles the whole cost of medical treatment ought to be placed upon the National Exchequer. It makes no difference to the principle that for purposes of convenience the money is expended through the medium of the local education authority. That leaves only £100,000 a year, which is to be dealt with in connection with building Grants. In view of the largely increased expenditure out of the rates, that is a ludicrously inadequate attempt to deal with one of the great underlying financial problems, and unless that problem is dealt with, you cannot expect the future of education to be satisfactory. On the next point I differ entirely from the views of the President of the Board of Education. He deprecates, as I understand, the salaries of teachers being put either directly or indirectly upon the National Exchequer.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
In my belief they are not; but I will not argue that point with the hon. Member at present. I think the teachers are inadequately paid, and that that is one of the reasons for the dearth in the teaching profession. I speak from a considerable practical experience in educational matters when I say that there is a growing dearth of properly certificated teachers at the present time. If you are to have a national service such as education, the level at which you maintain it entirely depends upon an adequate provision for the teaching staff. It has already been pointed out that it is no good having buildings or systems, or using the word "national," or any of those high-sounding epithets which we have heard this afternoon, unless when we come to the details of the practice of education we have adequate teachers of competent authority in order to carry out such a system as we desire. If the level of our national system depends on adequate teachers, adequately paid, and if we are to have a proper differentiation between local and central expenditure, one of the items in our educational system which ought to be put upon the National Exchequer is the expenditure, whatever it may be, for providing sufficient salaries and pensions to attract to the teaching profession an adequate number of compe- 1948 tent persons. Training colleges are a necessity if you are to have an adequate supply of competent teachers. I suppose that the right hon. Gentleman does not desire to increase unnecessarily the expense of training colleges. If that is so, he ought to allow denominational training colleges the same advantages and the same position in reference to their principles as the undenominational colleges enjoy. My view is that immediately you seem to differentiate between denominational and undenominational principles, you bring in the very sectarian element which, I agree with the right hon. Gentlemen, we ought to keep out of educational matters altogether.
In these matters the State ought to adopt a neutral attitude. There are various people who look upon religion, whether denominational or undenominational, as an essential part of any educational system. They may be right; they may be wrong; I am not discussing that; but it is the duty of the Government as regards Grants and the rendering of assistance to put out of sight altogether either denominational or undenominational principles, and to hold the hand of the State quite neutral. You cannot seek to differentiate in the way in which I understand the right hon. Gentleman desires to do without introducing the sectarian spirit into our educational system. It is just the same as regards single school areas. Speaking as a Churchman, I say that if he would give us the same advantages where there are provided schools that he is seeking to obtain where there are non-provided schools, that is quite right and fair. You ought not to differentiate between the two. Just as every Nonconformist parent ought to have the opportunity of sending his child to a school where he can obtain the religion desired, so also you ought to give the same opportunity under similar conditions to every Churchman. You simply want to hold the hand of the State neutral and not give any advantage either to the one side or to the other. It is in that way, and in that way alone, that you will finally get rid of the sectarian question in the educational system of the country. That is what for some time now Churchmen have been seeking to bring before the Board of Education, this House, and the country. There should be absolute equality. A child ought not to be under any disadvantage because its parents belong to one denomination or another. As regards teachers, 1949 as far as I am concerned, they, like any other Civil servants, ought to be qualified in reference to the public duty they are required to perform, and, in my opinion, no other test ought to be applied. In applying that test—which, of course, means that you should have teachers who can supply the religious teaching which the parents require—you ought to treat everyone alike, whether he belongs to the Church of England or to the smallest. Nonconformist community in the country, and put on one side the constant quarrels about sectarian matters, which can only be done on the basis of fair treatment and equality between the two systems. With regard to intermediate education, it would be quite impossible, having regard to mere outline, which was all the right hon. Gentleman could give us, to attempt to criticise in any detail the proposals sketched to the House to-day. But is not the right hon. Gentleman rather unwise, when he knows that expense is one of the main factors in developing the higher educational system, to make an attack on the private venture schools?
§ Mr. PEASE was understood to disclaim having made any attack.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
I understood, from the illustrations which the right hon. Gentleman gave and from the accounts which he said his inspectors had given of particular private venture schools, that he intended that all such schools should be superseded by some general State or local authority system.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
I am very glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that, and, of course, I accept his statement at once. I think that on every ground we ought not to discourage the private venture school. First of all, it gives poor parents the same opportunity that better-to-do parents have as regards selecting a school. It brings in a certain variety. We do not want all our schools on one cast-iron system. It introduces what, to my mind, is a right principle, that parents who can afford to pay for their children by selecting private venture schools should not only not be deprived of that advantage, but should be encouraged to take that attitude if they desire to do so and think it best for the future of their children. Take, as an illustration, the school in which I was educated, and of which I am a member of 1950 the governing body now. That is a well-endowed school, under neither the State nor the local authority. Are you going to sweep away the special facilities which these great schools give in order to carry further what I agree with my right hon. Friend is co-ordination run mad? I agree that you want to give everyone an opportunity. That opportunity ought to be within the reach of everyone; but you ought not to discourage the existing facilities for intermediate education which, in a large number of instances, is being adequately provided at the present moment.
As regards the cost of this intermediate education scheme sketched out by the right hon. Gentleman, everyone who has any knowledge of education, or who has dealt with secondary or elementary schools, must realise that to attain quarter or half of the ideals put forward by the right hon. Gentleman, very large expenditure would be required, and I am talking of millions, and not of hundreds of thousands. What we want to know, and I do not know whether we shall hear it from the right hon. Gentleman, is approximately what he considers the cost would be of this system of intermediate education which he has sketched out. I want to know, also, given the cost, how he proposes to allocate it as between the rates on the one side and the taxes on the other. He may depend upon it that this is a matter which even idealists in education will have to study and to think out in order to make a proposal of this kind seem fair to the ratepayer and the taxpayer of this country. Elementary education is mainly a national service, as laid down by the Report of the Royal Commission, but I think intermediate education between the elementary school and the university is almost wholly a national service, and ought to be paid for substantially by the National Exchequer. I am glad the hon. Gentleman opposite agrees with that. When you start from that principle, without you are prepared to find the money, I say there is really no bearing in holding out the promised land if it is impossible under the conditions that any of us should enter into it, or, rather, that any of the children of the country should enter into it. The right hon. Gentleman mentioned the Minority Report as the basis on which he may redistribute Grants for the purpose of intermediate education. I have not got that Report by me, but did the Minority Report make any special proposals as 1951 regards intermediate as distinct from elementary education? The right hon. Gentleman probably can tell me, because he has got it in his memory. My recollection is that they did not. I am not aware that they made any special proposals such as he has referred to applicable to intermediate education as distinct from elementary.
What the right hon. Gentleman was doing was this: He was sketching out what must be a very large additional expenditure, not only as regards education, but as regards meals, washhouses, and playgrounds. By all means, let us have all those great social reforms, but I think it is putting the cart before the horse to hold out a picture of this kind without you tell the people of this country where the money is to come from. You must in the long run come back to the financial problems, and realise that the ratepayers of this country do not intend, if they can help it, to bear a heavier burden for education than they are bearing at present. In fact, I go further, and say that at the present time they are asking, and rightly asking, for relief from the burden which they are staggering under, having regard to those figures of increase given by the right hon. Gentleman. I do not propose to go further now because I do not propose to go into what was a mere sketch, but I say that the proposals of this Bill, looked at as a relief to the taxpayer, are ludicrously inadequate. A sum of £150,000 as against an addition of £8,500,000, and that having been put on at a time when the Royal Commission said that the ratepayers were already overburdened, I say that that is ludicrously insufficient. As regards the sketch for the future, I desire to say nothing until I know from what source the funds are coming, and in what way they are intended to be applied by this system.
§ Sir RYLAND ADKINS
I agree with a good deal of what has fallen from the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just spoken, but when he takes the opportunity in referring to the shortage of teachers, of making excursions on the attitude of neutrality, and the attitude of adopting differentiation between one kind of religion over another in this country, the House will remember, I am sure, that one of the things which leads to the shortage of teachers is the fact that the headships of half the schools in the country are closed to nearly half the country because of their conscientious belief. Any 1952 neutrality so-called, or want of differentiation which works out in that way shows a blot on the educational system which must be met by this or some other Government before education can work smoothly in this country. We have heard to-day a small Bill introduced and great schemes sketched out. I desire to say a word on each. With regard to the small Bill introduced, I do not quite understand the motive of the criticism of the hon. and learned Member who last spoke, and the right hon. Gentleman behind him. We agree, and the whole House agrees, that what this Bill proposes to do is a mere trifle compared with what ultimately must be done towards the proper financing of national education, but I hope I did not understand either of them, therefore, to say that they would not support this Bill or that they would do anything to hinder it from becoming law. The case of the ratepayer is so overwhelming that any pittance given even as an acknowledgment of the debt is a valuable thing to have, and at the earliest possible moment.
§ Sir R. ADKINS
Even if it were distributed in a way open to legitimate criticism, yet to get £150,000 from the Treasury to be spent on national education, small though it be compared with what we all want, still is something. I hope I understood my right hon. Friend correctly when he spoke as to the method by which the £100,000 was to be distributed. I understand that is to take the place of half the loan charges throughout the country. Therefore, where so much money was being paid on interest and reduction of loans throughout the country, this is intended to halve that annual expenditure, and that, therefore, every education authority in the country will, in proportion to its loan charges, share in this £100,000 of my right hon. Friend's Bill. If that be the case, it is of value as an acknowledgment of the claims which the ratepayers have upon the Exchequer, and I desire to say at once that I hope my right hon. Friend and the Government will make every effort to see that this small Bill does become law in this Session. The irritation of the ratepayers throughout the country at the constant and chronic disregard of their just claims will not, of course, be satisfied by this, but it will be a palliative for which they will be glad, and, at any rate, will indicate that my right hon. Friend and his colleagues do 1953 admit the debt and are prepared to take measures to reduce it from time to time. It would be a thousand pities, and it would, I am certain, increase the embarrassment of educationists throughout the country if a Bill brought in mentioning a specific sum, however small, did not become law. When I turn from the Bill which, for the reasons I have given, I hope may become law promptly, to the large scheme outlined by my right hon. Friend, I, for one, desire to thank him heartily for that, because it is something to have the education of the country pegged out and to have a responsible Minister referring to the various matters which have to be considered, and if, of necessity, part of his speech could be but little more than a glossary of reforms which are needed, at any rate now that he has spoken they are all on record, and we have the field of educational reform reopened, and it is easier for all those individuals inside this House and out of it who take an interest in education, and try to work it, to apply their criticism to the sketch which my right hon. Friend has made.
There are one or two things to which I should like to refer. I begin, as all speakers have begun, or most speakers, with reference to the financial part of it. The right hon. Gentleman said, as I understood him, that the idea in future is to alter the basis of Grants both for elementary and for intermediate education. There is to be a general Grant, I understand, for elementary education, and there is to be a subsidiary Grant dependent on the resources of the area and upon the way in which the authorities of the area are doing their duty or neglecting it, and those are to be for elementary education alone. Then, as I understand, there is to be a third Grant which has special reference to buildings, whatever part of education those buildings belong to. Is there to be any Grant for intermediate education besides this Grant which has reference only to buildings and to loans, because if there is to be no Grant for intermediate education, as well as the two Grants for elementary education, then the last stag of intermediate education will be worse than the first?
§ Mr. PEASE
In almost the closing words of my speech I alluded to a forecast in which substantial money would have to be devoted by the Exchequer to various purposes of education. I alluded to the 1954 universities, and I alluded to the work connected with the amalgamation of the various forms of universities which exist in London, and I then went on to say that sums would have to be devoted to technical and intermediate education, whilst the great bulk of them no doubt would be given over to elementary education.
§ Sir R. ADKINS
I am very much obliged, and for this reason, that the right hon Gentleman's speech will be read to-morrow by thousands of persons in this country who are now trying to administer the existing Acts, and certainly in most English counties, and in not a few English boroughs, there is more difficulty in getting public support for intermediate education than for elementary. People are now used to the fact that elementary education is compulsory, while intermediate education is not compulsory, and many of us have the greatest difficulty in getting adequate support from the public and the ratepayers in carrying out the wishes of the State in matters of intermediate education. The Grants which are adumbrated for elementary education may if they do not reduce the elementary education rate, and will no doubt retard its growth, as it ought to be retarded, but it is most important when you put alongside that a proposal to make intermediate education compulsory, and to take away the twopenny limit, and when every pressure would be used, and no doubt rightly used, by the Board of Education to encourage the development of intermediate education, it is essential that it should be known to-night on the occasion of the adumbration of this scheme, but the further development of intermediate education will be helped to a very large extent from the Treasury on the grounds which have been referred to by several speakers. One thing certainly all educationists will agree on, and that is that intermediate education is even more of a national character than elementary, which is conditional on local interests to a large extent. There are two other matters to which I should like to refer, and one is the question of the area of co-ordination.
It being a Quarter-past Eight of the clock, and there being Private Business set down by direction of the Chairman of Ways and Means, under the Standing Order No. 8, further Proceeding was postponed without Question put.