§ (1) In order that full information may be available as to the provision for education and the use made of such provision in England and Wales—
- (a) It shall be the duty of the responsible person as hereinafter defined in respect of every school or educational institution not in receipt of Grants from the Board of Education to furnish to the Board of Education in a form prescribed by the Board—
- (i) in the case of a school or educational institution existing at the appointed day, within three months of that day;
- (ii) in the case of a school or educational institution opened after the appointed day, within three months of the opening thereof;
- (b) It shall be the duty of every such responsible person when required by the Board of Education to furnish to the Board such further particulars with respect to the school or institution as may be prescribed by Regulations made by the Board:
§ Provided that the Board may exempt from both or either of the above obligations any schools or educational institutions with respect to which the necessary information is already in the possession of the Board or is otherwise available.
§ (2) If the responsible person fails to furnish any information required by this Section, he shall be liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding ten pounds, and to a penalty not exceeding five pounds for every, day on which the failure continues after conviction therefor.
§ (3) For the purpose of this Section "the responsible person" means the secretary or person performing the duty of secretary to the governing body of the school or institution, or if there is no governing body the headmaster or person responsible for the management of the school or institution.
§ (4) Any Regulations made by the Board of Education under this Section with respect to the particulars to be furnished shall be laid before Parliament as soon as may be after they are made.
§ Sir S. COATS
I beg to move, in Subsection (1, b), after the word "particulars" ["furnish to the Board such further particulars"], to insert the words "relating to educational matters."
The President will recognise that this is an Amendment of an entirely reasonable character. It restricts the right of the Board of Education, in interrogating the responsible heads of non-provided schools, to matters which have to do with education only. It is quite conceivable that these interrogations may be extended by one so minded to inquiries as to endowments, 1623 trustees, and so forth, and vexatious correspondence might ensue which would be of no advantage and would lead nowhere. This is only a reasonable protection to be extended in the circumstances. I should be very glad if the President will say whether he would be willing to publish a form of inquiry which could be laid before this House, which could be criticised and which would give sufficient protection to the managers and those responsible for non-provided schools.
I quite understand the anxiety of my hon. Friend that voluntary institutions should be protected from inquisitorial demands or unreasonable requests for information, but I think that this protection is provided in the Clause itself. If the hon. Member will look at Sub-section (4) he will see it states—Any Regulations made by the Board of Education under this Section with respect to the particulars to be furnished shall be laid before Parliament as soon as may be after they are made.The effect of these words is to incorporate the Rules Publication Act. I would observe that the Regulations must, in the first place, be published in draft, and an opportunity afforded to all persons interested to offer objections or representations. This will ensure full investigation of the question and, if the Board has made extravagant demands for information, means will be found for discussing the matter in Parliament. I hope that will satisfy my hon. Friend?
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Sir N. HELME
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (1), to add the words,Provided also that in the case of institutions certified by the Board of Control under the Mental Deficiency Act such information and particulars shall be furnished by the Board of Control.We shall all be in thorough agreement with the object of this Clause. Certainly the Board of Education are entitled to ascertain what places there are in England and Wales which are carrying on the work of education, and what kind of education is therein given. The object of this Amendment is not to prevent that in any way, but, as the Government has introduced the following provision—Provided that the Board may exempt from both or either of the above obligations any schools or educational institutions in respect to which the necessary information is already in the possession of the Board or is otherwise available"—1624 I would ask that there should be a clear understanding with regard to those institutions which are under the Board of Control. There are such charitable institutions as, for instance, the Royal Albert Institution at Lancaster, which is doing great work on behalf of the six northern counties. While we in that institution are desirous of adapting its educational processes to the wishes of the Board of Education, an arrangement has already been come to with the Board of Control and the Board of Education that such work shall be done through the Board of Control. As that arrangement has already been completed, the Committee will agree that it is not an improper request to urge that the Board of Control should be the authority through which the inquiry is made. In asking for the insertion of these words I am not taking the risk of opening the question to wider issues. It might be suggested that other boards, such as the Board of Agriculture, might come in, but I would point out that where a Statute limits the object prescribed within its terms, there is no need whatever, when a Bill is passed, to fear that other institutions might be affected by it.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. H. Lewis)
I would submit to my hon. Friend and the Committee that the Amendment is unnecessary. I do not take the same view of the agreement referred to by my hon. Friend in regard to this particular matter. The Board of Control themselves have not expressed any desire that this Amendment should be passed. I can assure my hon. Friend that the Board of Education will consult the Board of Control as to the method by which the information desired under this Clause with regard to educational matters shall be obtained.
§ Sir N. HELME
The Amendment was not put down at the request of the Board of Control in any way. As the Government are unwilling to accept the suggestion I have offered, I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.