HC Deb 02 July 1918 vol 107 cc1633-5

(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of Section six of the Education Act, 1902, or, in the case of London, Sub-section (1) of Section two of the Education (London) Act, 1903, as to the appointment of managers, any public elementary school which in the opinion of the Board is organised for the sole purpose of giving advanced instruction to older children may be managed in such manner as may be approved by the local education authority, and, in the case of a school not provided by that authority, also by the managers of the school.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in Sections six and eight of the Education Act, 1902, or in Section two of the Education (London) Act, 1903, the provision of premises for classes in practical or advanced instruction for children attending from more than one public elementary school shall not be deemed to be the provision of a new public elementary school, and any class conducted in such premises may be managed in such manner as may be approved by the local education authority.


I beg to move to leave out Sub-section (1).

This is a very important Clause. It deals with the provisions relating to central schools and classes. What I propose to do is to leave out the first Sub-section, which practically abolishes managers in certain cases. That will overthrow one of the principles of the settlement of 1902. The President of the Board of Education invokes that sacrosanct Act of Parliament when it is convenient to him, but he lays unholy hands upon it here. He is going in future, under the scheme which will have to be put forward, with the driving impetus of certain special grants and awards which he will be able to give, to single out certain schools which will be of a higher grade and organised for the purpose of giving advanced instruction. These schools will no longer be managed in the old way. If you have one elementary school which is teaching advanced subjects that is all to the good, but in a place where there are three or four schools it is most undesirable, as often happens in towns, that those schools should be going parallel and doing the same work exactly side by side. It would be a great advantage if you could get one school to go ahead and to have advanced education and higher classes, continuing education for children up to an age where they will not be attracted to the unsuitable instruction given in other schools in the same locality. That would be entirely to the good; but why should you take away the old managerial status and right? Supposing there is a Church school and a Roman Catholic school, and under the scheme the Church school is singled out to give higher instruction. Though I have no great faith or veneration for the so-called truce and compromise that has been arrived at, such as it is, for denominational schools, I do not want to take away the managerial status of that Church school and put it under the local authority; but that is what, under the circumstances I am describing, will be the effect of this Clause.

It is a Clause which I do not believe will work well, and for the objects which the right hon. Gentleman has in view I believe it will be an obstacle rather than a help. He is doing away with the managerial status in the very schools where it is most desirable to be a manager. If I wanted to leave the activities of this House and to become a school manager, the school that I should choose would be one where they were doing advanced, higher, and better work. But that is the place where you are not going to allow anyone to become a manager except the managers who are appointed by the local authority. You will not allow a person to become a manager in the ordinary way, either through local interests or because he subscribes, or perhaps through the parish council when it is a provided school. You are taking away the management from the popular and democratic person and giving it to the superior person appointed by the local education authority. I entirely object to that policy. I believe it will not assist the good educational objects which the Clause has in view

7.0 P.M.


A central school is primarily a school giving advanced instruction which collects its pupils from a wider area than the ordinary public elementary school. We have had considerable difficulty in devising any formal machinery for the management of such a central school within the four corners of Section 6 of the Education Act of 1902. Under that Section a provided school in a county has a body of managers consisting of four persons appointed by the county council, together with two appointed by minor local authorities, who are generally the parish council or the parish meeting. Let us suppose that you have a central school serving a group of twelve country parishes. It is a matter of very great difficulty to devise any formal machinery whereby two managers can be appointed to represent the twelve parish councils. It seems to be a much simpler plan to give to the county council a free hand in providing for the management of such a school as it thinks fit. I submit to the Committee that that is a rational aim.

Amendment negatived.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.