§ (1) Subject as herinafter provided, all young persons shall attend such continuation schools at such times, on such days, as the local education authority of the area in which they reside may require, for three hundred and twenty hours in each year, or, in the case of a period of less than a year, for such number of hours as the local education authority, having regard to all the circumstances, consider reasonable:
§ Provided that at any time after the expiration of five years from the appointed day the Board of Education may, after such inquiry as they think fit, and after consulting the local education authority, by Order increase in respect of any area or part of an area or any young persons or classes of young persons the number of hours of attendance at continuation schools required under this Act, and this Section shall, as respects the area to which, or the young persons to whom, the Order applies, have effect as if the number of hours specified in the Order were substituted for three hundred and twenty; but no such Order shall be made until a draft thereof has lain for not less than thirty days on the Table of each House of Parliament.
§ (2) Any young person—
- (i) who is above the age of fourteen years on the appointed day, or
- (ii) who is above the age of sixteen years, and either—
- (a) has passed the matriculation examination of a university of the United Kingdom or an examination recognised by the Board of Education for the purposes of this Section as equivalent thereto; or
- (b) is shown to the satisfaction of the local education authority to have been up to the age of sixteen under full-time instruction in a school recognised by the Board of Education as efficient or under suitable and efficient full-time instruction in some other manner,
- shall be exempt from the obligation to attend continuation schools under this Act unless he has informed the authority in writing of his desire to attend such schools and the authority have prescribed what school he shall attend.
§ (3) The obligation to attend continuation schools under this Act shall not apply to any young person—
- (i) who is shown to the satisfaction of the local education authority to be under full-time instruction in a school recognised by the Board of Education as efficient or to be under suitable and efficient full-time instruction in some other manner, or
- (ii) who is shown to the satisfaction of the local education authority to be under suitable and efficient part-time instruction in
1896 some other manner for a number of hours in the year (being hours during which if not exempted he might be required to attend a continuation school) equal to the number of hours during which a young person is required under this Act to attend a continuation school.
§ (4) If a young person, who is or has been in any school or educational institution, or the parent of any such young person, represents to the Board that the young person is entitled to exemption under the provisions of this Section, or that the obligation imposed by this Section does not apply to him, by reason that he is or has been under suitable and efficient instruction, but that the local education authority have un reasonably refused to accept the instruction as satisfactory, the Board of Education shall consider the representation, and if satisfied that the representation is well founded, shall make an Order declaring that the young person is exempt from the obligation to attend a continuation school under this Act for such period and subject to such conditions as may be named in the Order:
§ Provided that the Board of Education may refuse to consider any such representation unless the local education authority or the Board of Education are enabled to inspect the school or educational institution in which the instruction is or has been given.
§ (5)The local education authority may require in the case of any young person who is under an obligation to attend a continuation school that his employment shall be suspended on any day when his attendance is required, not only during the period for which ho is required to attend the school, but also for such other specified part of the day, not exceeding two hours, as the authority consider necessary in order to secure that ho may be in a fit mental and bodily condition to receive full benefit from attendance at the school: Provided that, if any question arises between the local education authority and the employer of a young person whether a requirement made under this Sub section is reasonable for the purposes aforesaid, that question shall be determined by the Board of Education, and if the Board of Education determine that the requirement is unreasonable they may substitute such other requirement as they think reasonable.
§ (6)The local education authority shall not require any young person to attend a continuation school on a Sunday, or on any day or part of a day exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which he belongs, or during any holiday or half-holiday to which by any enactment regulating his employment or by agreement ho is entitled, nor so far as practicable during any holiday or half- holiday which in his employment he is accustomed to enjoy, nor between the hours of seven in the evening and eight in the morning: Provided that the local education authority may, with the approval of the Board, vary those hours in the case of young persons employed at night or otherwise employed at abnormal times.
Amendment moved (5th June): In Subsection (1), after the word "reasonable," to insert the words,
Provided that the local education authority, under schemes to be approved by the Board of
Education, shall pay maintenance allowances for young persons who are in compulsory attendance at such continuation schools."—[Mr. Snowden]
§ Question again proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ Mr. ADAMSON
I trust the President of the Board of Education will accept the Amendment standing in the name of my hon. Friend. I am convinced, if the nation is to get the full benefit of the provisions of this Bill for the education of our children, that this Amendment is essential. As a matter of fact, unless some such. Amendment is embodied in the Bill, you are endangering its successful administration when it becomes law. During these Debates there has evidently been created the impression that this Bill goes further than the Labour movement of the country is at the present time prepared to go. So far from that being the case, the Labour movement, at its annual conferences and in countless other ways, has been demanding greater facilities than even this Bill provides for the education of the children. I do not in any way want to belittle the value of the measure we are now considering. It is a great advance on the present position. At the same time, I want to point out that even this Bill falls far short of the demands of the working classes. They want to see their children provided with as easy n passage from the elementary school to the university as is at present enjoyed by the children of the wealthy classes. The working classes of the country realise as fully as any other section of our people that if the nation is to maintain its place amongst the nations of the earth a higher standard of education is necessary. They are as fully alive as anyone to the fact that the struggles of the future between nation and nation will be of such a kind as will call for the very highest standard of education and training, and they are demanding that this training shall be given to the children. At the same time they know from bitter personal experience that unless some such provision as is provided for in this Amendment is put into the Bill their economic position is such that their hopes will again be blighted. Consequently, along with the demand for greater educational facilities they have at the same time put forward a demand for a maintenance Grant in order to make a higher standard of education possible. 1898 If I take my own personal experience I think it will illustrate the position of the working classes so far as this difficulty is concerned. At the age of eleven I had to leave school and go to work in a coal mine. Does anyone imagine that it was because I was anxious to leave school at that early age to work in a coal mine, or that my mother was less anxious to provide her son with as good an education as other parents were providing for their children? Nothing of the kind. Every generous impulse which I had in this world I owe to that mother, who loved me as dearly as any mother could; but the stern necessity, the economic necessity of the family were such that at that early age I was put to work in the coal mine in order to earn my own living and to help the family. That is the problem which the Government of the country is face to face with so far as this education question is concerned. It seems almost sacrilege for anyone to introduce into the discussion of such a sacred problem as education the question of mere money, but if you desire a higher standard that is your trouble, and unless we can find some reasonable solution of that difficulty I fear that we shall fall short of the ideals of the President himself, and possibly of the ideals of the majority of the members of this Committee. If you take the boys and girls away from their work for half their time between the ages of fourteen and eighteen to attend continuation classes you will undoubtedly reduce their earnings by 50 per cent. during that period. How is that loss to be made up to the parents?
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Herbert Fisher)
The proposal is not to take the children away for half-time, but for 320 hours a year.
§ Mr. ADAMSON
Undoubtedly the idea is to extend the number of hours that the children have to attend school after a certain period of time has elapsed. How is that loss to be made up to the parents, particularly those who are struggling with large families? If it is to be made up it can only be done from two sources, either the employer must provide a full wage for a half-week's work or else the State must make up the loss to the parents in the form of maintenance grants. So far as I am personally concerned, I stand for the State providing the necessary money to enable the working-class parent to provide the highest possible 1899 standard of education for their children. In reply to the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden), the President of the Board of Education said:The remedy for the evil, and it is an undoubted evil, is to raise permanently the standard of adult wages.Upon educational matters I would not dare to assume that I possess one tithe of the knowledge which the right hon. Gentleman possesses, but when it comes to discussing the difficulty of raising adult wages permanently, then I speak with an experience of thirty years as a trade union official, and I say that the process of permanently raising wages or improving working-class conditions is so slow a process that if we were to solve this problem in that way there is a serious danger of us falling behind other nations in the evolution of our educational system. In the course of these Debates we have heard less of the old argument about taking away the independence of the working classes or of undermining parental responsibility than we were accustomed to hear, but, after all, will this Amendment undermine parental responsibility? Are the working-class parents really training their children for their own personal benefit? Of course not! They are training their children for the benefit of the whole nation. Nothing has been more clearly demonstrated during the course of the struggle in which we have been engaged for nearly four years than the fact that the children are trained for the whole nation and not for the personal benefit of the parents. I may be reminded of how, under the old Scottish educational system, the parents struggled and made sacrifices to successfully educate their children. Yes, that is perfectly true, but we are seldom told about the parents whose children did not come successfully through because of the economic condition of the families to which they belong. In the course of our discussions on this Bill so much has been said about the Lancashire position that one would imagine that this was purely and simply a Lancashire problem. Nothing could be further from the truth. Lancashire is faced with the same problem, and the working classes there are faced with the same difficulties in regard to this problem as the working classes in other parts of the country. This problem does not only apply to textile industries, but to every 1900 industry in our industrial system, and to all the working classes and their families in the land, and unless we can find a solution along similar lines to those provided in the Amendment, which is supported by my hon. Friends and myself, my fear is that you will not get the value from your Bill that the House and the country anticipate. In conclusion, I strongly urge the President of the Board of Education to seriously consider before this discussion ends the advisability of agreeing to accept the Amendment standing in our name. If that is done, then I have no hesitation in saying that you will have solved one of the greatest difficulties which stand in the way of the children of this nation securing a higher standard of education than has been possible in the past.
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ Major E. WOOD
The right hon. Gentleman who has just addressed the Committee has advanced his case in a way which enlisted the sympathy, if not the support, of all those who listened to him, and I should like, on behalf of myself and others, who perhaps share my view, to explain why it is that we do not find ourselves able to support the Amendment. It is not that one would not wish to make what has been referred to in these Debates as the period of transition, whether from the point of view of the employers or from the point of view of the workpeople, as easy as possible. It must obviously be the desire of all educationists and all those who are concerned in the passage of this Bill to see that period is passed with the minimum of friction and the minimum of hardship, and, although I, for my part, feel great sympathy with the arguments urged by my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden) and with those just advanced by the Leader of the Labour party, I would wish to ask whether there are not other considerations also of weight of which we are bound to take account in forming a judgment. It has been frequently stated that we should rightly regard education from the point of view of the State as an investment, and, while not minimising the hardship that this Bill may cause in individual cases, and perhaps many cases, I would ask my hon. Friends who support this Amendment whether it is not equally right to regard it as an investment also for the individual, and last, but not least, for the parent? I know very well, and a 1901 great many Members of this House know even better than I do, that has been the view taken by a great many parents in the past who have made great efforts in order to provide, and who have succeeded in providing, education for their children, regarding it as an investment. The other night the President of the Board of Education advanced the argument that the passage of this Amendment would carry us far along the path of a maintenance grant for elementary schools. I suggest that it would carry us a great deal farther than that. Would it not be equally legitimate to say that there was a similar claim for maintenance allowances in cases where the State, out of regard for young persons—indeed, it does so in this Bill—further restricts the hours during which those young persons may be earning money? After all, was there not the strongest case on that side when the State first entered upon the path of factory legislation and the regulating of hours of industry in a far more drastic way than it has done since? If the State had then entered upon this path, it would require no profound intelligence or prescience to see how far we should have travelled by now.
I would further urge this upon the Committee, and it is my only excuse for intervening. This Amendment really raises the first of a great many similar questions that this House and this Committee will have to consider in the course of the next few months or years. Everybody knows that in the time that is before us we shall be invited to express our judgment upon a whole variety of social proposals, a great many of which will command our sympathy, and a great many to which we stand pledged, but all of which will cost money. I suggest to the Committee that it is not enough, and it will not be enough, in the circumstances in which we are to judge these proposals, if and when they are made, to consider them purely upon their merits, but we shall have to consider them upon their merits in relation to the general financial position of the country. At the present moment it is not easy to state accurately the extent of the burden that continuation education, for example, will lay upon the parents. I certainly have not got the material to form an accurate judgment of what burden would be laid upon the State by the adoption of this Amendment and by the results which would inevitably flow from it, but one or two things are certain, 1902 and, as practical men in this Committee, we should not do right to ignore them. Even if the War ends next year, we shall be faced as a nation with a huge debt, the figures of which have been variously given. I do not think it is an extravagant conclusion to suppose that in face of that position we are more likely to be confronted by a necessary increase of taxation than any possible remission of taxation, and the only way in which it will be possible for this nation to bear its burdens will be by as rapidly as possible getting the machine running and increasing production. It is, after all, only an elementary platitude of political economy that all taxation is an evil, and that every £5 withdrawn by the State for taxation is £5 withdrawn from productive purposes. I believe that in this I shall carry with me my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn.
§ Major WOOD
It is really over-sanguine on his part to suppose that after the War and after he has readjusted his schemes of taxation to pay the debt, he will be able to confine the incidence of that taxation to one particular section of the community. There is no more profound truth than if you want something you have got to pay for it. We do not yet know whether the War will finish next year, and we do not yet know, therefore, what the burden is going to be that we are going to have to face. The Committee will wish to do a great deal in the direction of social reform. It will want to do housing; it will want to do health; it will want to do old age pensions, and it will want to do a great many more things in the direction of education. I would ask, therefore, if it is not a mere elementary principle to withhold your hands from commitments on a large scale until you know what your burden is going to be and until you have made up your mind in which direction you will wish to spend the money that is available to you? It is only storing up disappointment if we go about the country making promises or if we allow promises to go forth from this House that every social reform has only got to be advanced to be at once conceded and paid for. It is not true, and every man in this Committee knows that it is not true. Therefore, I would appeal to my hon. Friends to agree with me so far as to say that this is not the moment to put forward partial commitments that will 1903 take you hardly know how far, and which for all you know may eventually be found to be in direct conflict with commitments that you will wish more to press.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
If the hon. Member will permit me to say so, we have listened with much pleasure to what he has had to say in opposing this Amendment, and I should like to try and follow him if I can. I share with him this view, and I do not care who knows it. We will not do very much good in this world until we establish the family upon a unity of its own. The family income ought to be the family income, and the expenditure at the disposal of the family ought to be sufficient to enable the family as a social unit to keep itself going. I share those opinions to the fullest extent, and I have never spoken in this House for any Resolution or for any commitment that seems to go contrary to that view without a considerable amount of regret. I have had to vote for those Resolutions, and I shall have to vote for them again, but in doing so I have done it simply bowing to the inevitable necessity of the case. Everyone who has experienced the tremendous pressure that is brought to bear upon working-class families to meet the social commitments placed upon them now, must see that they have to sacrifice the ideal theory and that what would be the ideal remedy must be sacrificed now and again in view of that pressure. That is the position in which I find myself to-day. I do not like the hon. Member's expression, and I do not think that he associates himself with it, that education is a good investment for the State. It may mean greater efficiency and it may mean greater income, but the educationist regards education as a good thing in itself, and the poor man who has to face all the economic problems if life, if he is an educated man, is very much better off than if he had no richness of mind to enable him to make the hours go a little more pleasantly. Even if an educated community had no economic value at all, the State would be wise to provide educational facilities. Therefore, I do not go with the hon. Member, and I do not go with his argument that we ought to consider this Amendment and answer it from the point of view of education being an investment. My right hon. Friend has produced a Bill and the educational experience of the country has determined that certain 1904 measures of compulsion shall be part and parcel of that Bill. The Bill extends its scope beyond the stage of childhood. It brings in young persons, and as the Bill stands at the moment young persons from fourteen to sixteen are to be compelled, whether they like it or not, to go to continuation schools.
In what position does that place us? Somebody must pay for it; somebody must make it possible for these children to attend schools. It could come from the family income, that common pool of resources supplied by the father, the mother, and the rest of the family who are working. I do not think that is fair, because, just as the hon. and gallant Gentleman made some very germane reflections upon the increased expenditure that the State will have to face during the period of reconstruction, so the family will be in precisely the same position when it begins to face the period of reconstruction. There will be all sorts of questions of permanently increased prices; there will be questions of reduced wages; there will be the question of taking off the war bonuses, and so on, and just as the hon. and gallant Member quite rightly put forward the objection that we should look ahead as regards State expenditure, so we want to look ahead as regards the family expenditure. If we impose any further expenditure of this kind on the family income in the immediate future, we shall be doing the family a grave injustice indeed. Therefore, I reject the proposal that the expense of this compulsory continuation school education should come from the family income.
The cost may be taken from the individual's own wages. Again, the same class of objection applies. These wages are required for the family income. Moreover, I think it is far better that if there is any margin on a young person's wages, that margin should be preserved to the young person himself. I believe I shall carry my hon. and gallant Friend with me when I say that there is nothing more important, in view of what the responsibilities of life are going to be, than that a young person of from fourteen to sixteen years of age, who is making a margin on his wages that he does not require to spend at the moment, should be taught to use that money in such a way as to enable it to be a fortress and protection to him in the time to come. If you can secure that, it is very important in view of the problems which will face us a little later 1905 on. Consequently, I reject the proposal that the cost should come from the individual's wages. There is another proposal, however, that might be made and which the Committee might well survey—that is the proposal that the cost should come from trade funds. I remember perfectly well that when I was engaged in a technical school in the East End of London, a school which concerned itself with the tanning industry, some of the most enlightened employers of Bermondsey not only encouraged their employés to attend the school, but also paid for their attending the school. However, I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman or this Committee are prepared to make that compulsory. The difficulties in the way are so many and the economic positions of employers differ so greatly that legislation on that subject would be quite impracticable. Therefore, it is quite impossible to get the money in that way. We come back to the State itself. I do not see any way out of that position. If the young person between fourteen and sixteen attending a school suffers a diminution of income by so doing, who should bear it? Somebody must pay it—his family, himself, his employer, or the State. I do not believe that we can, in justice, impose the charge upon any one of the three first; therefore we are driven to the conclusion that it must be the State. I have offered these observations to try and make our own position perfectly clear. It is not that we want in a reckless way simply to subsidise families or to spend public money, but it is a really hard proposition which this Committee has to meet. I do not believe it can meet it in justice to everybody concerned except by adopting the Amendment.
§ Mr. CURRIE
Like the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, I listened to the hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Wood) with great interest. I may say I agree with everything that fell from him except the conclusion at which he arrived. I regard an Amendment of this kind as a real antidote to what I call the Lancashire poison. I regard what is popularly known as the Lancashire view on the half-time question as a poisonous doctrine. I have thought so for many years. I do not say there was not something to be said for gradually decreasing the amount of half-time labour, but the day for saying that has long passed. The convictions I hold against the Lancashire position make it doubly incumbent upon me to sympathise 1906 with some alternative proposal. This is such a proposal. The hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden) is, of course, a Socialist. I regret that, being elsewhere, I did not hear his speech when he moved this Amendment, but I read, at any rate, a portion of it. Being a Socialist, I should think, although I do not know, and for the present purposes it does not matter very much, that he would say he brings forward a proposal of this kind because he is a Socialist. I do not know how that stands, but I am in favour of something of this kind being done because I am a Conservative. Nothing is more important than to see the President of the Board of Education right through to the end of his task. His duty, and the duty of his colleagues, is to pass the growing generation of young citizens into the service of the State in a proper condition. I would describe that condition as one of fitness for general social service—fitness for the general service of the community. I would not willingly agree to anything short of that. If I thought that the concessions made by the right hon. Gentleman the other night were a giving away of this position, I should have been deeply disappointed. I do not think they amounted to that. I am merely taking note of the fact against the day when we see the Scottish Education Bill brought into this House.
The hon. Member for Blackburn says that the one permanent cure for this trouble, and for all troubles of this kind, is a permanent increase in the ordinary wages of the ordinary working man. I quite agree. I have been saying so for many years myself. That was as powerful a reason in making mo support Mr. Joseph Chamberlain in the whole of his Tariff Reform campaign as anything else. However that may be, I agree with the hon. Member for Blackburn that there is no permanent cure for difficulties of this kind except a permanent and considerable increase in the wages of the ordinary working man, the man carrying on his shoulders the responsibility of supporting a wife and bringing up a young family. One comes back to that from every point. It is the absence of a wage of that kind which drives the working man and his friends and everybody who feels how important housing is into a claim that he should get a 5s. house for 3s. a week. If he had a wage which enabled him to pay an economic rent and bear all these other family burdens, the 1907 idea of suggesting State aid here, there, and everywhere, would not press upon us in the way that it does. If we were certain that the increased wages or even a part of them at present could be regarded as stereotyped for all time, I am not sure that the necessity for an. Amendment of this kind would press itself upon our minds at all. I rather think it would not. We should not have a claim to a 5s. house with a 3s. rent. Education is very much in the same position. We cannot be sure of our ground, and it is not wise to wait. I am not prepared to wait ten years in order to see whether or not wages retain anything like their present level. As part of the process of making up our minds whether or not an Amendment of this kind deserves support we have not time at our disposal. These children will not stop growing up for ten years in order to enable the President to say what position their parents will be in ten years hence. As a matter of fact, the children at present in the schools will have gone and another generation will be in hand.
I am surprised at the conclusion at which the hon. and gallant Member for Ripon arrived. This seems to be one of those questions where we should bear in mind that Members of this House, on both sides, are always saying that they are willing to spend their last shilling in a good cause; that they are willing to spend their last shilling on the War, or on any social reform which they are convinced is of sufficient importance. It is when we are asked to spend not the last but the first shilling that a doubt begins to arise, and the attitude of excessive caution—if the hon. and gallant Member will pardon me using that phrase—begins to exercise a kind of obscuring influence on many minds. That there may be risks in adopting an Amendment of this kind I do not, deny. If the policy advocated by this Amendment were adopted extravagantly or even viciously, as some people think it may be, I agree the results would be unfortunate. On the other hand, if it is applied with reason and moderation, I should not be afraid of any risks it would carry. I should not be afraid of the effect it would have on the parents of the children. I am not afraid, if an Amendment of this kind were adopted and applied with a not too stinting hand, that there will not be still a very ample field left for parental self-sacrifice and the cultivation of parental 1908 responsibility. I do not think that particular corner of the vineyard would be fully tilled by this Amendment. I am prepared to vote for this Amendment, as I do not see any other way open to me, here and now, of expressing my view that something of this kind would be a step in the right direction. I should like to say, however, that I wish the Amendment had contained one or two moderating phrases. For instance, it might well have embodied a condition that such payments were to be made only in cases—they are very numerous cases just now—where the authority making it should recommend to the Board of Education, whose assent is required, that the scale of wages in the particular district, in the trade, or, if you like, with reference to the particular family involved, was insufficient for the purposes of that family. The value of the Amendment would not be impaired if such a condition were contained in it. Further, it would have conciliated opposition, and I should not have been sorry to see it added to the Amendment, if there had been something in the nature of a time limit. My own view is that in a few years' time we shall see that a substantial portion, if not the whole, of the increase of wages which the War has brought about will remain with us. In some trades I should say it is not enough. In some trades the real purchasing power of wages has increased very little indeed. But my anticipation would be that ten years hence it is possible that we should know where we were on the wages problem. If the Amendment were limited to a term of five or ten years, with the intention of forcing the House of Commons to reconsider the matter when that time limit ran out, the value of the Amendment would have been enhanced. As it is, if I am put to the choice of voting for the Amendment or against it. I shall vote for it.
§ Mr. CHARLES ROBERTS
I do not think we ought to press the President of the Board of Education to go further than he is prepared to go in the present Bill, and the speech we have just listened to has not shaken my view that the Government will be well advised to resist the Amendment. The hon. Member (Mr. Currie) has commended the system of maintenance grants as a temporary subsidy from national funds in relief of low wages. I cannot imagine anything more unsatisfactory or more calculated to 1909 reduce wages, and if that is the ground which underlies his attitude, I understand his being attracted by the popularity of the proposal, but foe seems to me to have lapsed from that high standard of economic rectitude which he has often advocated. The suggestion on which this rests seems to me to be based upon the Lancashire idea that the child is primarily a profit-earning machine for the benefit of his parents, and the Amendment seems to suggest that if you deprive the parent of the benefit of his child's earnings you have to compensate him from the funds of the State. I think that is an improper and a very unsound view of the basis of education. You certainly must go further. If the State is going to compensate the parent for the loss of such profits as the child would earn you must certainly compensate him for the loss of the profits which the child would earn between ten and fourteen, if not earlier. That point is quite irresistible and no one suggests that it should be done. There they seem to think it is perfectly natural. But let us go further. Suppose the President were to accept this proposal, are we to give a maintenance grant to parents in respect of the restriction of the child's earnings owing to the fact that we interfere with street trading? The whole thing is based entirely upon a wrong idea. It seems to me the sound position is that you must look to the maintenance of a high rate of wages to finance this extra burden of education. After all, it is not a question of raising wages at present, but of preventing their falling. I do not know whether the young person between fourteen and eighteen has his profit-earning capacity much reduced by the loss of eight hours a week as compared with other children not so employed. I should not have thought it much reduced, but if it is, then it surely must be put as an argument, which no doubt can and will be urged by trade unionists when the time comes for the revision of the rate of wages when the War is ended. This extra burden is here, balanced it may be by the diminution of fees which the President of the Board of Education is going to secure by other Clauses in his Bill. If it is any very serious extra burden, surely that must be put as an argument against the reduction of wages to a point at which the family is unable to support it. It seems to me the whole basis on which it rests is a wrong idea which we ought to 1910 clear out of our minds, and I hope my right hon. Friend means to stand by his refusal.
§ Mr. ELLIS DAVIES
I am rather inclined to think my hon. Friend is put up to represent the official opinions of the party to which he and I belong, and that he is speaking the opinion of the party and not of himself. If his argument is sound it can equally effectively be used as against scholarships, against free places, and even against the endowment of schools, because surely all these things which tend to reduce the cost of education to that extent minimise parental responsibility. My hon. Friend also referred to the children as profit-earning for the parent. I do not know whether it has struck him that what the Clause really does is not to enable them to earn profits but to maintain themselves, which is rather a different thing from the point of view of the class with which I am concerned. Any further expense with regard to education must surely react upon the whole family. Then there is another side of the question. Not only does the family suffer, but the scholar's own health may suffer if the income of the family is less than it ought to be and if the scholar is compelled to attend these classes. A gentleman connected with one of the university colleges in Wales told me some time ago it was a very sad fact that some of the most brilliant children who attended the college broke down in health between eighteen and nineteen years of age, and he attributed it to the fact that they were born and bred in very poor circumstances. The poor food upon which they were brought up in childhood was insufficient to give them the necessary strength to enable them to compete with their fellow scholars later on. That is a fact which ought to be borne in mind in matters of this kind. It is useless to talk about the economic effect upon wages. The most serious question for us is what is going to be the effect upon the child's life and its capacity later on to play its part in life. We know something of the sacrifices in Wales. We have had now for close upon twenty years our intermediate system and our secondary schools, and we who represent working class districts know that the burden undertaken by the parents means a sacrifice, particularly by the mother, and it too often means the accumulation of a load of debt by the father; and I think in the interests of education it is essential that we should do 1911 something, in putting this compulsory task upon the parents, to assist them so far as we can. The question has been raised as to who shall bear the expense. I have given notice of an Amendment that it shall be borne by the Treasury. If it is not, the local education authorities will be aware of the hardships imposed upon the parents, and, I am afraid, will not be prepared to put the Clause into operation. I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he cannot reconsider it, and give power in any event to local education authorities in some cases to give this assistance to the parents.
§ Mr. WING
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will look upon the Amendment with very much more sympathy than he expressed the other evening, because he himself has created an atmosphere in favour of it. He gave an exceedingly interesting address the other day at the Congress of Co-operative Societies at Birkenhead, and made this statement, and there have been persons making public statements since then mainly based upon it, that here you have an Education Act for the first time not only making education compulsory up to fourteen years of age but afterwards, there is to be no reduction of wages, and it in no wise interferes with industry. This is what the right hon. Gentleman said:The country must provide machinery to enable the education of the children of the nation to be continued during the period of adolescence, and in his Bill he attempted to provide for that by giving a few hours a week education without interference with their work or their wages.How is this going to be done? It must either be done by the employers, by the local authorities, or by the State. My hon. Friend (Mr. Roberts) reiterated the argument offered by the right hon. Gentleman the other night, that if you granted this from fourteen to sixteen there was no reason why you should not make it from ten to fourteen. If the nation accepts the position of ten to fourteen it does not seem to me any reason why you should make that the basis of refusal when you make further calls upon the community from fourteen to sixteen. This is an exceedingly difficult matter, because when we speak about the nation being in favour of or against education we do not always state the case. The people are not against education. They are just as sincere in this matter as we are, but it is the finan- 1912 cial problem that leads them to hesitate. In the mining districts of Durham and Northumberland they have very large families, which the right hon. Gentleman would be rather proud of if he saw them attending his schools, but the very fact of a fairly high standard of wages becomes an increasing punishment. Speaking to the representative of a large colliery concern, a man of authority, who was quite in support of the right hon. Gentleman, I said, "What will be the effect on the wages of the average of youths between fourteen and eighteen?" At that time up to eighteen was the provision of the Bill. He said that it will interfere with earning capacity, because you cannot merely deduct the eight hours. There is a large amount of time which is consumed in coming out of and going into the pit. The parents have had a hard fight, and have had to make very great sacrifices and undergo privations, and, according to the provisions of the Mining Act, they could look forward to some means of being recouped for their sacrifices when their sons reached the age of fourteen. Under this compulsory Bill the circumstances are altered. If a parent sends a son to school voluntarily there is an economic advantage, because they are among the comparative few, but when you make this compulsory you destroy that economic advantage. While I am in favour of this Bill I say that when you bring about compulsion in this way some allowance should be made to the people for that compulsion being imposed. My father and mother loved education, but I went to work early. My parents were religious people, with a great desire to do their very best, and we were not bundled into the workaday world because they did not love education, but because the economic surroundings and conditions were too strong for them to be able to maintain us at school.
Now you are raising the age from twelve to sixteen, and you make a very severe strain upon a well-deserving class of people. I hope the right hon. Gentlemen will approach this matter in that generous spirit which has been characteristic of him in his dealing with this Bill, and I hope the House will be able to say not only that the country loves education, but that it is prepared to stand by those whose children have to be educated, not merely because it is a paying invest- 1913 ment, but because it is a better thing than that—because it is good for the nation, for industry, and for the individual citizen.
§ Sir C. BATHURST
I cannot support this Amendment, because I believe it to be wrong in principle and calculated to accentuate a trend of public opinion in this country which in the best interests of the country ought to be stemmed as soon as possible. On the other hand, I do feel considerable sympathy with the arguments put forward by the hon. Member for Carnarvon. I sympathise with his premises, although not with his conclusions. I have found by experience, as I think all who have served on education authorities in the poor districts have found, that children suffer in our elementary schools very severely at times from the results of malnutrition, and that malnutrition is the chief source of retardation of educational progress. That is evidenced not merely by the reports of county medical officers in many parts of the country, and particularly, I am sorry to say, in the South of England, but eminently by the reports that some of us read from year to year of the chief medical officer of the Board itself. It cannot be in the national interests to expend the enormous sum of money which we are now spending and proposing to spend upon elementary and so-called higher education if in fact the children are found not particularly fit to take advantage of the education which is provided for them. In other words, it is a bad national investment, and I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether there is not a half-way house; whether something cannot be done to meet those cases or those periods in which or during which children arc found not to be fit, owing to lack of sufficient money going into the home, to take full advantage of the education provided for them by the State. There is in existence the Provision of Meals Act, which, if I remember right, enables the local education authority during periods of unemployment and other circumstances in which children are obviously going to school without having been sufficiently fed, to put a temporary burden upon the rates to enable food to be provided for these children at the public expense. That provision does not extend, if I am rightly informed, to the cases of children between the ages of fourteen and sixteen who, under this Bill, will be receiving continuation education. It is during these ages more particularly 1914 that the boys and girls, if they are to grow up into healthy manhood and womanhood, should be sufficiently sustained in the matter of food, and I would ask whether some provision cannot be-made by the Provision of Meals Act during this continuation period so that, at any rate in those districts where children can be proved to be suffering from malnutrition during the period of continuation instruction, that the local authority shall make provision, for them as they were enabled to do under the Act in the cases of children under the age of thirteen or fourteen.
The hon. and gallant Gentleman made a rather interesting point when he called the education of the children a national investment. As to the speech of the right hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. Roberts), I shall keep that for reference on this very important matter. If we are to take these arguments at their face value we know that a man has to conduct his business as economically as he can in order to get a large return on that business and for the sake of profit. In this case you are going to compel the poor housewife to send her children to school with the very vague outlook that it will bring some great return to her in years to come. Well knowing how changeable is individual life as years go by and the woman has to endure that all the time, I agree that the right hon. Gentleman's proposal, when the Bill was before the House last time, certainly altered the situation so far as the hours were concerned, and more particularly between the ages of sixteen and eighteen. If I take it rightly, it means that the Board of Education will work in such a way with the local education authorities that the allocation of hours for attending school will not unduly interfere with the number of days broken into. If that is so, I think the damage will be a great deal less than it would have been under the Bill as it stood. I hope that the hon. and gallant Member (Sir C. Bathurst) will not persist in his suggestion that there should be a system of feeding school children beyond the ago of twelve years, publicly at the public expense, and more especially up to sixteen. The families feel that position very seriously, and when boys and girls grow to the age of fifteen and sixteen they would do anything almost in this world rather than go to a place to be fed at the 1915 public expense. There must be some other method of dealing with boys and girls of that age.
The cost of this Bill will be enormous. The hon. Member for Chorley (Sir H. Hibbert), in moving his Amendment, mentioned that the teachers' salaries alone for the area covered by the County of Lancashire for higher education and elementary education were likely to cost £250,000.
§ Sir H. HIBBERT
I said that the increase of teachers' salaries given last year alone was £151,000, towards which the Board of Education contributed £94,000.
§ 5.0 p.m.
At any rate the increased cost will be very great. Have hon. Members conceived what will be the addition to local rates under this Bill? Teachers are demanding more salaries, and it is time they did. I believe the type of teaching we have to-day would have been improved if the incentive had been a little higher than it is at the present time. So far as elementary education is concerned, the teachers are wanting more money and I hope they will get it. In many places they have got it already. Under this Bill when a child leaves the elementary school at fourteen you will require a different class of teacher to give a different class of education, which will demand a great deal higher rate of remuneration than that paid to teachers at the present time. Then there will be the cost of school buildings. I am pleased that the President of the Board of Education offered his Amendment, not that it is giving Lancashire or any other part of the country anything in the long run, but because it gives time for the Board to place suitable buildings at the disposal of the scholars when the time arrives for them to receive their continuation education. The cost of these buildings will be tremendous, and it must necessarily fall on the rates. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman will deny that in the most favourable circumstances that he can conceive the rates of the education authorities must rise tremendously in consequence of this Bill, and these rates are to be paid by people who, prior to the War, had nothing to spare from their family income. Rates have already gone up very considerably in many cases, and will go up higher if social service has to be met after the War. In scores of towns there are miles 1916 upon miles of streets that have been allowed to go out of repair for fear that the rates would get beyond the people, who will have this burden to bear later on, in addition to the loss they may incur in wages. I think the offer made by the right hon. Gentleman, so far as the expense was concerned, may turn out exceedingly good. You are now going to compel parents to send their children to school until they are eighteen years of age, and I would like to give the Committee some reasons why I think action should be taken in the direction of this Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman has a Clause in this Bill which, if taken advantage of, would do more good for the children of this country than education between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. I refer to the proposal to allow a child to attend the elementary school until he is fifteen, and to go on to a secondary school until he is sixteen. I think those two years are of great educational value, and if something can be done to enable parents to send their children to school up to these ages with full-time attendance it will, I am sure, be a great advantage to the country as well as to parents and to children. Instances have been given in the course of these Debates of sacrifices made to enable young people to get education. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Fife (Mr. Adamson), who opened the Debate this afternoon, gave a personal experience of his own. May I give one of my personal experiences? It is not often I speak at any length in this House, but there are certain incidents in my life which I want to prevent happening in the lives of others in the future. I was compelled at the age of eight years to go to work for a doctor. No doubt I looked exceedingly well and strong at the time. My family was poor, I was one of six children, my father was not a big wage earner, and my elder brother had only, just crept into the mill as a half-timer. My wages were half-a-crown a fortnight. It was not a very large sum, but still it was needed. My mother had to go to the mill, and I remember having on every Wednesday night to fetch 30 lbs. of flour from the grocer in order that she might bake it on the Thursday or the Friday night, she having already done the family washing on the Monday, and attended at the mill meantime. All this was done in order to keep the home going. 1917 Before this War began we had begun to pride ourselves, in our part of the country at any rate, that married women were leaving the mills and other employments far earlier than in former years. I want, if possible, to prevent the women working at the mills longer than is absolutely necessary, and I also want to prevent those who have already left from returning to such employment. I know what my own mother went through. That is one of the things I shall never forget. Nobody expects that the cost of living will fall immediately after the War. The cost of food, of clothing, and of household utensils, and of many other things, will probably remain high long after the War. There are lots of our people who are willing to do a great deal in the cause of education. Many of our big firms are working in that direction. They are doing so at their own expense, but, after all, they are but a drop in the ocean compared with the great bulk of trade unionists. If this Amendment is accepted by the Committee it will help this movement. I believe the step suggested is desirable, and even if it means a tax on the whole community, there is no reason why it should not be taken. If a man or woman in consequence of having to send the children to school cannot live without excessive discomfort and poverty, they have a right to come on the community. We should provide the money, if necessary, for carrying on this work.
Nobody knows what is going to happen after the War. Nobody knows if wages will be kept up. But there undoubtedly will be hardship in a great number of cases in this country when this Bill comes to be applied, and the State should recognise that hardship. It will not be fair for it to say to us, "You, as trade unonists, must combine to exact a higher wage from employers." I hate strikes, but if this Bill becomes law I shall be prepared, by strikes or any other means, to get these people sufficient money to feed and clothe themselves in order that they may send their children to school for these additional years. I believe the Bill will pass, even although the Government may refuse to do anything in the direction suggested by this Amendment. That refusal will not put a stop to our efforts to enable parents to send their children to school as we think they should be sent. I never boast of my Constituents, but I take a legitimate and pardonable pride 1918 in them. For forty years I have lived among the people who sent me here. I have worked with them; I have played with them; I have fought with them; I have taken a fair share in the work of the local government body. I have attempted to do my duty as a citizen, and I have come to this House to express their views as best I can. I said I had played with them. May I add that I know no game more dirty than that of party politics. That is experience of party politics. What I want to do is to plead with the right hon. Gentleman to meet us in this matter. I want him to realise what a difference this change will make. A great number of young men and women may find that it will not be until they are nineteen or twenty years of age that they can get full-time employment. At the present time, between sixteen and eighteen, the great bulk of young people are earning adult wages, and if you are going to take away this power of earning wages thousands of families will suffer. Education is a national necessity, more so now than it has ever been in this country. After the War we shall be faced with problems which will require all our physical and mental energies for generations to come. We must equip our people for this work, and for its part the State should recognise its obligation in this matter and do its duty.
§ Mr. FISHER
I am sure the Committee will have listened to the arguments in favour of this Amendment with a great deal of sympathy, and I hope, if I persevere in the attitude which I adopted the other day when this Amendment was first brought up, it will not be taken as a sign that I do not appreciate the force of the arguments which have been so eloquently and impressively used by hon. Members who represent Labour in this House. But I think there is some misapprehension in their minds, first of all as to what is the scope of this Amendment, and, secondly, as to what are the powers already possessed and exercised by local education authorities. The object of this Amendment is to make the provision of maintenance allowances mandatory on local education authorities in respect of continuation classes. I have one great objection to this proposal, and that is that at the very initiation of our new scheme of continuation classes this is substantially an invitation to the employers of this country to reduce the wages of the young persons in their 1919 employment. Under the scheme of the Bill we are not yet certain whether there will be any reduction in the wages of young persons for the very limited number of hours per week they will be under compulsion to attend school. In some cases there may, we hope, be no reduction. In others there may be, but I do submit to hon. Members below the Gangway that, even on their own arguments, it would be a wise course to wait and see how the economic situation develops. Then, again, if you are to give maintenances allowances with mandatory powers in respect of continuation classes, you cannot stop there. After all, the young person who attends the continuation classes is earning money for the greater part of the week. On the other hand, in the case of the young person who, as the result of the great sacrifices of his parents, is attending whole-time a secondary school or is putting in a full-time attendance at an elementary school between the ages of thirteen and fifteen, you have then a much stronger case for the maintenance allowance, and, consequently, one of my objections to my hon. Friend's Amendment is that, by introducing it at this stage, he is practically saying to the local education authority "you must put down your maintenance allowance here."The Board of Education has always realised there is a place in the administration of our system of education for maintenance allowances under exceptional circumstances. As a matter of fact, these allowances are, under present circumstances, freely distributed. In the county of Lancashire they were granted on a very liberal scale to young persons of humble means attending secondary schools, and there is nothing to prevent an extension of these maintenance allowances under suitable safeguards and in exceptional circumstances to young persons attending continuation schools. Under the scheme of procedure which is laid down in the early Clauses of this Bill it will be part of the Board's office in scrutinising the schemes submitted by local education authorities to satisfy themselves that there is some provision for meeting hard cases under the Bill. If, however, the hon. Member's Amendment is carried, and if it becomes mandatory upon every local education authority to provide a vast system of maintenance allowances for young persons whose wages may not be in the least 1920 reduced by the Bill for all we know and who, at any rate, are in a better position to help the family than children in the elementary schools who are debarred from wage earning except for a very few hours in the week, it would have consequences which the hon. Member would be the first to recognise as unfortunate. I will not here labour the point of cost. One hon. Member pointed out that the estimate of some colliery experts in the North was that the scale of wages of young persons might, in the average under the Bill, be reduced to the extent of 6s. Supposing it were made mandatory on the local education authorities to supply maintenance allowances which would compensate the family for the loss of wages on that scale it would mean £39,000,000. That is a considerable sum, and I hope the Committee will forgive me if I follow the advice so wisely and eloquently expressed by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ripon (Major Wood) that we should not be precipitate in this matter. I have explained that there is machinery already under our existing system for the grant of maintenance allowances in cases of exceptional hardship.
§ Mr. ELLIS DAVIES
Is that apart from the educational question? Does it apply to all cases or only to the parents of boys with exceptional educational capacity?
§ Mr. FISHER
I think so far they have only been granted to boys who have been given free places, and I notice that the hon. Member for South Salford (Sir M. Barlow) has an Amendment on that point which I should be very glad to consider when we come to Clause 38, and that Amendment can be moved. With those words I think I have covered the case for the Amendment.
Sir M. BARLOW
I do think it is rather important that we should be quite clear as to this assurance which the President has given We all appreciate the spirit in which he has treated this extremely important question. I think there are many of us who approach this Amendment from this point of view: We cannot accept the Amendment as it stands, so to speak, baldheaded. It goes too far, and 1921 in our view it is ill-conceived. Nor can we accept the position that compensation is better. That is not really the ground of our contention at all. Our contention is that with the parents of a large family there is a case of real difficulty which somehow has to be met. Starting from that, the President has given me the answer, which he was good enough to give me on previous occasions, that there is power under Section 11 of the Act of 1907 to grant bursaries or scholarships in cases where the local education authorities decide to do so in connection with instruction. I venture to suggest that we shall not get very far along that line. We want to distinguish maintenance from scholarships. We want to distinguish the eldest son of a large family who is just coming to the age when he can assist the household from the case of the clever boy whom everybody wants to help on other grounds. This is fundamental. You must distinguish between maintenance and instruction or education as a ground for your grant. Section 11 of the Act of 1907 does not use the word "maintenance" I have not the Act here, but I think it says "instruction—"
§ "By scholarships or bursaries—"
§ Mr. FISHER
(reading):—"shall include a power to aid by scholarships or bursaries the instruction—
Sir M. BARLOW
Exactly what I thought. That deals with elementary education only, and in the earlier Clauses of this Bill I put it to the President as to whether he could not amend that Clause so as to include the word "maintenance" It should not be open to the education authority to say "We will give grants, scholarships, or bursaries to help children, but there is no obligation placed on us by Parliament to assist to keep the home together in the case of the ordinary, or even the dull, boy who is one of a large family who is coming to school although really not able to do so because his parents cannot bear the burden" That is the case we have in view. The President, as I understood it, gave an assurance that if I would move words to that effect on Clause 38—that is, if I am entitled to do so, because this may increase the charge and there may be some technical difficulty on that account—to extend this to cover 1922 maintenance as well as instruction he would favourably consider that, so far as elementary instruction is concerned. I want a similar assurance here with regard to secondary education. Then, I think, the ground is fairly covered, because I do not think it is possible for us sitting here to draft a scheme to deal with all the different cases to say what cases are difficult and what are not—what are deserving and what are not. That must depend on the local authority. It requires local knowledge to settle that. The local authorities have to face elections just as much as we have, and if people are not treated with reasonable solicitude and kindness in cases of large families where they are entitled to make grants, I am certain there are methods of dealing with the representatives on local authorities when the time comes. You must have the local knowledge, and you cannot have that here. Section 38 says the Treasury pays half the cost, so that if the local authority find a proper case—that is, if the right hon. Gentleman accepts my Amendment—for instance, then half the cost of that will fall on the rates and half on the Treasury. My own view, though I know it does not go far enough for the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden), goes a considerable way. I have thought a good deal about this. I want to settle it not only from the point of view of the parents, but from that of the State, and I have been unable to devise any other method. If the right hon. Gentleman will agree that that is a reasonable way of dealing with the whole matter, it will make a considerable difference to my vote on this occasion.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Both the hon. Member for Salford (Sir M. Barlow) and the President of the Board of Education seemed to make a little mistake. I do not think the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden), in moving this Amendment, wanted hard cases to be dealt with by charity. Why we want this Amendment carried is not because of charity, but of justice. Here you are imposing on parents in this country by Act of Parliament a financial burden. It is horrible to say so, but at present the poor parents of this country have to consider their children, when they are ten or twelve years of age, as an increasing financial asset. They are a vested interest for their own old age. Their wage-earning capacity is as much 1923 their property as my stocks and shares are mine, and when an Act of Parliament would deprive them of their property you ought in justice to compensate them for it. The President has said that would amount to a very large sum. If it is a question of justice, I do not think the amount ought to weigh in the balance against that justice. The figures quoted by the President are quite different from my own information. As far as I can see, the average would be about 2s. 6d. a week, and that would amount to about £15,000,000, and not the £39,000,000 of which he spoke.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
The right hon. Gentleman was taking a colliery, and applying that all over the country, which is most inequitable.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Will the right hon. Gentleman say how many children there will be in the schools? On what number is that estimate based?
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
This is not a question of hard cases in the least, and any system of dealing with hard cases does not deal with the rights or wrongs of the case. It may suit some people to gloss over hardship, but we have to take notice of these hard cases and do justice.
§ Sir R. NEWMAN
I quite agree that if this Amendment had been proposed to our grandfathers they would have looked upon it with a good deal of horror, but at the same time I am fully convinced that if they had had the Bill itself brought before them they would have been equally horrified. We all have to change our opinion as time goes on. I have changed my views on many occasions in the last few years. A few years ago I was straining at Limehouse; now, with some of my friends, I am swallowing the Prime Minister. We all change our views as time goes on. With respect to this Bill and the Amendment proposed, I admit that I should at one time have looked at it with suspicion, but I cannot help thinking that the hon. and gallant Member who spoke put the case in a nutshell. It seems to me 1924 to be put in this way. Under this Act, the President proposes to compel young persons between the ages of fourteen and eighteen to attend continuation classes. I think it will be admitted on all hands that whether it is a big or a small amount it will entail a loss on somebody. It seems to me that the question we have to decide in the House of Commons is whether the whole of that loss is to fall upon the parent or whether it is to fall on the community. If it has to fall upon the parents, and the parents only, it seems to me that it amounts to this: that, whereas they have to pay or to meet a loss for the purpose of benefiting the State—because I imagine the object of the measure is to benefit the State—the other members of the community, bachelors, spinsters, and childless people, get off scot free. In other words, the whole of the seed would have to be purchased by the parents and the harvest would be reaped by the general community.
There is one principle to which I object, which I am afraid we are inclined to apply in increasing measure. That is the principle of Parliament placing financial responsibility upon individuals and not finding the wherewithal to meet those responsibilities; in other words, calling for the tune and not paying the piper. In this case, if it is necessary to increase the responsibilities of the parent in the matter of education, I think that the State should meet the responsibilities which it itself creates. I am perfectly certain that the President of the Board of Education is anxious to meet this increase. There is no more enlightened educationist than he; and if he cannot go quite the length of the Amendment before the House he might bring forward, on the Report stage, or some other stage of the Bill, some Amendment that might meet the general demand put forward by the hon. Member for Blackburn, without perhaps, at the same time, offending his supporters, who are inclined to take a less comprehensive view of the situation. I would suggest that possibly he might meet the case some what on the lines of the hon. Baronet who spoke a short time ago. At the same time. I hope if there is going to be a contribution, that it will not come entirely from local rates, but that it will be supported substantially by the Imperial Exchequer. Though I am not a lawyer, it seems to me that Clause 20 goes a good way towards meeting the demands of the hon. Mem- 1925 ber who moved the Amendment, and perhaps it could be strengthened in some way by the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
The Committee has listened with great pleasure to the speech of the hon. Member for Exeter (Sir R. Newman) so ably reinforcing the almost unanimous speeches which have been made in favour of this Amendment.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
The right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London cannot, I think, be saddled with the fact that the great majority of the Members have been unanimous on this question. I desire to say a word in reply to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lincoln, who, speaking from the Opposition Front Bench, but not, I was glad to be assured by him, on behalf of the Opposition, opposed this Amendment, because if the right hon. Gentleman's argument was sound, it is an argument which is equally applicable to all forms of educational help and endowments of any kind, and when the right hon. Gentleman went on to suggest that the Amendment was not necessary, because of the high wages that exist, I think ho forgot entirely the great problem of poverty which exists now during the War just as it existed before. The right hon. Gentleman must remember that education authorities have found it necessary for many years to make grants which accompany scholarships, and which are made because of the poverty of the holders of the scholarships. But the right hon. Gentleman forgets what he said also that the problem is not a problem of increasing wages, but of maintaining wages to the present high level. His words appear to assume that the problem of poverty had been removed by the War, but the fact that these allowances have been found to be so necessary in cases where education is on a voluntary basis makes the provision of these allowances much more urgent when this kind of education is to be placed on a compulsory footing. But I want this problem to be considered wholly from the standpoint of the boys whom we are going to help by the institution of these continuation classes. We hope to cultivate in the mind of the boy himself a love for the things of the mind. The immediate result will be that the poorest boy who has this new love brought into his life will also find himself face to face with new expenses, 1926 if only for the purchase of books and apparatus. A very distinguished ex-Member of this House, Sir Edward Clarke, has just written his autobiography telling us—I mention this only because it is typical of the experience of so many—that when he was at a continuation class and had implanted in him this thing for the love of the things of the mind, he so desired to purchase books that he stole 3s. from the till to buy books.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman expresses his horror or his agreement. I mention that because that difficulty of poverty faces every intelligent student of the humblest class. Therefore, I think that in the interests of the boy himself, solely, you want to give him the means of continuing the education which you are beginning for him. On these grounds, I think that the right hon. Gentleman will see that it is necessary not only to give the mere machinery of education, but to give the means of making it the real thing.
§ Mr. D. MASON
The hon. Member for Exeter has referred to Clause 20, but that merely states:Where a local education authority for the purposes of Part III. of the Education Act, 1902, are satisfied in the case of any children that, owing to the remoteness of their homes or the conditions under which the children are living, or other exceptional circumstances affecting the children, those children are not in a position to receive the full benefit of education by means of the ordinary provision made for the purpose by the authority, the authority may, with the approval of the Board of Education, make such arrangements,"—and so on.That does not in any sense of the word meet the problem which my hon. Friend has submitted Clause 20 speaks of exceptional circumstances. The President of the Board of Education said, in answer to the arguments of my hon. Friend that maintenance allowances were already granted and could be continued with suit-able safeguards. What does "suitable safeguards" mean? That simply means that if there are exceptional cases of poverty maintenance allowance will be granted. That is not the argument, I am sure, of my hon. Friend. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would not suggest that you should base your educational system on people coming forward and having to plead poverty and exceptional circumstances. What we really 1927 desire is that we should have a system of education by which, if we compel people to come into those continuation schools, then, as it is well known that many of them are not financially able to stand the strain, the State ought to find the means of enabling them to undergo that strain. It ought not to be based on exceptional circumstances. We should consider the self-respect of those people. It is a very insulting thing to ask a parent to come forward and plead poverty in order to obtain what we regard as a right. It ought not to be based on insufficient means, but the State ought to regard it in the best sense of the word as a good investment. My hon. Friend took exception to that term. I do not think that my hon. Friend meant anything affecting the parents. He meant that the parents should not themselves bear the expense. But I have no compunction in using the term. It is an excellent investment for the State to pay for education. As the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife has said, the question of spending money on the development of education is one of the most important items of reconstruction. This Amendment is simply to provide for carrying out one of the fundamental objects of the Bill, the laying down of this system of continuation schools, and we ought to make financial provision for it. I believe that the estimate of my hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Wedgwood)—£15,000,000— is much nearer the mark than the £39,000,000 of my right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. MASON
When we are spending over £6,000,000 a day, or nearly £50,000,000 a week, we are not going to grudge spending £15,000,000 in the year for reconstruction to enable this country to face the enormous burdens which we shall have to face. To grudge that money seems to me not to be worthy of the right hon. Gentleman or of the Government. I have no doubt that my hon. Friend intends to divide the Committee on this proposal, and I hope that the Committee will be fully alive to the argument that this is a sound proposal, that we desire to support the principle of continuation schools, and that we shall be prepared to pay for it.
§ Mr. WILSON-FOX
The speech of my hon. Friend who has just sat down shows to what an extent those who have been 1928 accustomed to plead for economy may degenerate owing to the spendthrift habits which the nation has acquired during the War. Though it may be that we have got to pay out so many millions a day at present, the point to which a financier such as my hon. Friend should attach importance is—for how long are we going to be able to continue to pay out money at this rate before the time comes when we must take care of the pence so that the pounds will take care of themselves? The speech of my hon. Friend shows how easy it is to fall into habits of further extravagance. Now the demand is going to be made in this Committee for the endowment of every young person over sixteen so that he may be given a fund out of which to buy books without stealing. That is a proposition which this Committee, I hope, will not view with approval. My hon. Friend has told us, and it is a strong argument which we all feel, that people who are compelled by the State to keep their children at school, and whose means are straitened, ought to be relieved by the State. That is a proposition which we can all sustain, but I do not see how that proposition carries with it the farther proposition that you are to find money which is admittedly not wanted to enable people to preserve their self-respect by refusing to answer questions as to their means. If they have sufficient means, I see no reason why this already sufficiently heavily burdened community should be called upon unnecessarily to provide more money. An hon. Member behind me argued in support of the claim on the ground that poor parents in humble circumstances look to their children for assistance even at an early age, as well as support in their old age.
The question of investment, which has been spoken of, does arise in this connection, because, while it is true that parents in poor circumstances may be deprived of some of the wages which would be earned by their children during the few years that they have to attend these continuation schools, and they suffer some inconvenience, yet it should be remembered that the object of this education is to increase the efficiency of those very children, and consequently, when it comes to the question of supporting their parents in their old age, those children will be in a far better position to contribute to afford that support than they would be if they had not been given 1929 this additional education. Therefore, from the point of view of the parents, it is not sufficient to look at the question only with regard to this short period of education. It must be looked at as a whole, and on the whole there would be very great benefit to the parents from compelling these children to receive this additional education. I submit that the matter should be looked at from the business point of view, and that the State should not be embarrassed with demands for greater expenditure than is absolutely necessary during the period of the War. We are already committed to an immense expenditure in a large number of directions. Fresh demands are made, and we have to cut our coat according to cloth, and, therefore, it must be our object that, while providing necessary means, at the same time care must be taken, in every possible direction, not to incur a wider range of expenditure than is absolutely needful for national purposes.
§ Mr. MARRIOTT
I shall detain the Committee for only one minute. I have only two sentences to speak, and I am not sure that I cannot get what I have to say into one. I am particularly anxious to get on with the Bill, and I think that many of us who have an interest in this measure see that we can better advance it by silence than by speech. My only reason for rising was given in a sentence which fell from my hon. Friend below the Gangway (Mr. Whitehouse), who wanted the President of the Board of Education to assume that there was unanimity in the House upon this Amendment because there was reasonable unanimity in the speeches which had been delivered. I hope the President of the Board of Education will understand that the reason why many of us have not intervened is that we understood that he was going to stand firm in his opposition to this Amendment. If he had shown any sign of weakness in his opposition to it we should have intervened at greater length.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The last half-hour of this Debate has to me been astonishing. First of all, the hon. Gentleman below the Gangway opposite, who I always considered a true apostle of economy, says because we are spending so much money let us spend a little more. It is the most fatal argument that could possibly be used, and it is an argument which has led this present House of Commons to pro- 1930 mote and encourage expenditure. Every Member who happens to have some particular plan says it would only cost so much—say, £15,000,000 or £39,000,000—and so these sums, mount up, until we find ourselves face to face with an enormous and never-ending expenditure. Another thing which fills me with astonishment is this: I always understood that the object of this Bill, and of the particular Clause with which we are now dealing, was to give young persons this additional education in order to fit them to be better citizens and enable us to compete in the markets of the world, and, therefore, to make more money. Not only are the children of these people to have this education given to them for nothing, but they are to be paid for attendance. If that is so, where is the great advantage? If I am told that something is going to be given to me which is going to cost me nothing and which is going to be of immense advantage later, would it not be a little ungrateful having been afforded these advantages, to ask to be paid for receiving them. Yet that seems to be the attitude taken up by hon. Members who support this Amendment, an absolutely untenable attitude.
§ Mr. ALDEN
The right hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) usually opposes proposals for expenditure, but for my part I do not see that we could spend money in a better cause than that of education which will make our children better citizens, and fit them to take their position in the world. If there is anxiety to save, why not make a much bigger attack upon some of the Government Departments which are lavishly spending money? I would point out that the whole question of the future is in the melting pot. We cannot tell whether the working classes of this country are going to be as well off after the War as they were before it. The probability is against their being as well off. My own opinion is that we shall have a very great deal of poverty in the near future and we ought to do everything we can to lighten the burden of those who will, if this Bill becomes law, be compelled to send their children to school for these few additional years. It seems to me that those who think that wages will be increased up to the point at which none of these allowances will be required at all, whether for education or maintenance of the children during the period of education, whether for old age pensions, or any of the innumerable things which we 1931 already assist, are expecting something which, it must be seen, is really impossible.
I sympathise, of course, with what was said by the hon. Member for Leicester, who urges that wages should be increased up to a standard which would permit of families living in comfort, happiness and security; but does anyone in this House suppose that this will be achieved in the next fifty or even 100 years? I am perfectly clear on this point, that you will require, after this War is over, a great deal more assistance for working-class families than was the case before the War that is where those families are on the poverty line. That is why I support this Amendment, which I believe to be just, and the right thing to do. It should not be forgotten that there are many families that are poor even to-day. There are many people at this moment who find it difficult to maintain themselves or to find secure employment. I am not saying that we ought to make any discrimination between the families comparatively well to do and families that are poor, but I must say that when this War is over you will have to do something for the maintenance of children that are called upon to attend school. Everybody knows at the present moment that we are maintaining out of the local education rates a very large number of the children of poor people. I have something like thirty cases on my own books of children who have won scholarships, but are not able to attend school because they could not get the maintenance. I heartily support the Amendment, and I would suggest to the President of the Board of Education, if he does not see his way to accept it, that in the near future, at all events, he will see his way to do so, and meanwhile I trust that a very large number of the Members of the House will vote for this Amendment and convince him that this is a thing which has got to be done.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Sir N. HELME
The administration of the Amendment, if it were adopted, would rest with the Board of Education, who would be under the responsibility of proposing schemes for the maintenance of children sent to the continuation schools. Extravagant expenditure cannot for a moment be faced with equanimity in these times, and we shall find ourselves after the War in a difficult position. But surely needy cases must be provided for, 1932 and, in other cases, in my opinion, it should depend upon whether they were approved or not. In one of the country towns, where there is a grammar school for boys, maintenance can be paid out of endowments for clothing, but in another case, that of a grammar school for girls, no such maintenance can be given. Consequently the boys are benefited to that extent, whilst the girls do not receive the same support. I think this matter is one which requires careful consideration by Parliament, so that the children of poor parents may receive maintenance, while parents sufficiently well off should be able to dispense with this aid, which is not anything in the nature of charitable support. We are banishing altogether anything in the nature of charity from these schemes, and we want it to be felt that no child will be prevented from enjoying the benefit afforded by this measure owing to the inability of its parents to find the money, and especially if it is remembered that there is a grave question as to the possibility of the wages which at the present time have been received by the children working in the mills being no longer received in the future, and the parents having to suffer loss of income because of the lack of services rendered to employers. These are points requiring careful consideration, and I hope that some means will be found without extravagant expenditure which will allow the children of needy parents to receive the benefits intended by this House in making continuation schools compulsory.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
As the Mover of the Amendment, perhaps the Committee will permit me to make a few observations before the vote is taken. I am very grateful for the welcome given to my Amendment, and if its fate is to be determined by the speeches which have been made upon it, I can look forward with confidence to the result of the Division. The main point put forward by the Minister of Education was that provision is made under our education laws for maintenance, and I gather that the intention of the right hon. Gentleman is to give more or less favourable consideration to an Amendment which proposes to extend these powers to continuation schools. May I point out to the right hon. Gentleman, and to one or two other hon. Members who have raised the same point, 1933 that the great advantage of my Amendment is its elasticity? The hon. Member for Leith Burghs (Mr. Currie) would have preferred that it should have been limited to individual cases and a time limit put upon its operation. May I direct attention to the fact that the Amendment proposes that schemes should be drawn up by the local education authorities and submitted to and approved by the Board of Education? It does not lay it down in this Amendment that these schemes should be universal. It leaves these matters open to the local education authority and the Board of Education, and therefore those who are agreed upon the necessity of admitting the principle of maintenance and incorporating it in this Bill may, whatever their views may be on the details of such a scheme and the extension of the application of the scheme, give their support to the Amendment. I hope I shall have reassured those who have had some hesitation on the ground of the too comprehensive character of the Amendment.
In opposing the Amendment, the President said we were inviting the employers of labour to reduce wages, but I really cannot understand what was in the right hon. Gentleman's mind when he made that statement. I hope he will believe me when I say that it is as far as possible from any intention on my part to be offensive, but I would say that he has, not only this afternoon, but on one or two other occasions, shown that he is not very well acquainted with the economic conditions and the industrial conditions in some of our great manufacturing centres. For instance, he seems to assume that there will be no reduction of wages by children being taken away for education for a certain number of hours per week. He must have forgotten that in the Lancashire cotton trade these young people are working at standard rates of wages and that their earnings are in proportion to the number of hours they actually work, and that if they are taken away for any part of the ordinary working week there must be a corresponding reduction in the amount of their wages. He asked us to wait and see what is likely to happen. We know very well what is going to happen. Whatever may be the ultimate outcome, during the transition period, long or short, there will be a proportionate reduction in the wages of these young people.
1934 The hon. Gentleman the Member for Lincoln (Mr. C. Roberts) spoke this afternoon from the rather exalted altitude that he sometimes assumes, and his speech certainly gave no indication of any practical acquaintance with, or knowledge of, the conditions of life of the working people who are going to be affected by this Bill. He displayed, if I may say so, an appalling ignorance of the way in which wages are regulated when he talked so airily about trade unionists maintaining the prevailing standard of wages, and he went on to advise them, out of the fullness of his knowledge, that when they meet in conference with their employers after this Bill comes into operation all they will have to do is to point out to the employers that there has been a reduction of wages on account of the operation of these continuation schools, and the hon. Gentleman seemed to assume that at once the employers would concede an advance of wages in proportion to the loss inflicted by the operation of this scheme. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Clitheroe Division (Captain Smith) has-had a long experience of wage negotiations, and he knows that the Lancashire operatives, who are, I believe, one of the best organised bodies of working people, have had to fight tooth and nail for every 1 per cent. increase of wages they have ever secured. During the War there has been a fairly considerable increase in the standard rate of wages, and I believe that, with the addition of 25 per cent. which has been promised and which will come into operation in a few months' time, there has been an increase of between 40 and 50 per cent. on the standard rate of wages. But the trade is in an exceptionally profitable condition at the present time.
That reminds me of another observation made by the President of the Board of Education, replying to a remark made by one of the speakers, when he said that if the employers had to pay more in wages they must put it on the consumer. That argument might apply where the trade is not subject to foreign competition, but it does not apply to cotton, which before the War had to find an outlet for manufactured goods to a great extent in the foreign market. There have been, as I say, considerable advances of wages during the War, but the employers have conceded these because of the present profitable character of the trade. It is not 1935 reasonable to expect that the trade will remain so profitable after the War, and it is quite certain that the work that our trade union friends will have to do in Lancashire will be not so much to maintain the present rate of wages or to secure an increase of wages as to fight the employers against making a reduction of wages Therefore it is perfectly certain that if this Amendment is not carried, and if some compensation is not given to parents to make up for the reduction in the earnings of their children, the burden will fall wholly upon the parents themselves. I have never heard during the course of the Debate on this Amendment any hon. Member say that he desired that it should fall on the parents, but it will fall on the parents unless some such provision as this is made, and I hope the President of the Board of Education has not said the last word on this question. We cannot wait, as he advised us to do, until we see whether all that we anticipate actually happens. In the meantime the people will be suffering. It may be that in the mining districts the reduction of wages on account of the operation of' this Clause will be more than in the Lancashire cotton trade, and I have spoken to the hon. Member for Houghton-le-Spring (Mr. Wing) since the President of the Board of Education gave us his estimate, and he tells me—
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Quite so. That estimate of the loss of 6s. a week was based cm the expectation of the children being taken away from the mines nearly half-time. Take the facts as they apply to the cotton trade. Between the ages of fourteen and sixteen, taking the weaving industry, in normal times the children would be earning anything from 9s. to 12s. a week. We have to take into consideration the fact that in the year from fourteen to fifteen they are less proficient than between the years seventeen and sixteen, and an average of 12s.—6s. for a loom—I think would not be far from the facts. Suppose we take ten hours a week from 55½, that is, between a fifth and a sixth, and that would mean a loss of wages of about 2s. a week. I do not think it would be more between fourteen and sixteen years of age. Of course, when the Bill is extended to eighteen, the loss would be considerably more, and I take 1936 it that the right hon. Gentleman's estimate was based upon what we might call a full year, that is to say, when the children are in the continuation schools approaching the age of eighteen. But that is a long time to look forward to, because the age is not to be extended to eighteen, under the Amendment made by the right hon. Gentleman last week, until the scheme has been in operation for seven years. This is not the last Education Bill we are going to have in this House; at any rate, I hope not, and if this Amendment be incorporated in the Bill it is not the last word, either. Long before the time arrives when a maintenance scheme for children comes into operation, it is very likely that some Amendments will be made, and therefore I do not think the right hon. Gentleman is justified in opposing the present application of this proposal, because of what it may cost in the course of ten years' time.
It is said it may cost something like £39,000,000 a year. I was amazed to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that there will be nearly 3,000,000 children in these continuation schools. I do not know, but of course, the Board of Education has access to figures and information not available to ordinary Members of this House. Probably his figures may be correct. If I remember rightly, there are only about 1,000,000 children in our elementary schools over the age of twelve, and, therefore, for some years to come there will not be more than 1,000,000 children attending continuation schools between the ages of fourteen and sixteen. Therefore, the average put by the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme—which I do not think is far from wrong—2s. 6d, a week, would not amount to more than £7,000,000 a year. Now we have had objection urged to this Amendment this afternoon on the ground of its costliness. It is refreshing in these days to hear anybody in this House urge national economy. Two or three of the speeches which have been delivered this afternoon have been, to my mind, an indication of the opposition likely to be encountered after the War in the advocacy of all schemes of social reform. The right hon. Gentleman said that ultimately this might cost £39,000,000. The House of Commons passed an Act last year which may possibly cost the country £60,000,000 a year, simply to encourage a certain class of the community to perform a necessary national service, and the very 1937 men who are opposing this Amendment are the men who gave enthusiastic support to that proposal.
Then, again, the Government, for some reason or another, have given a subsidy upon broad, which, we are told, is going to cost the country £40,000,000 a year. There was no objection from the opponents of this Amendment when that proposal was put forward, and yet, when we put forward an Amendment like this, the necessity of which is admitted by everybody, the objections are made that the country cannot afford it. It carries one's mind back to pre-war days, when we were discussing such questions as old age pensions, and when we were told the country could not possibly afford the expenditure that would be involved in such a scheme. Yet now, after nearly four years of war, the country is spending at the rate of from £5,000,000 to £7,000,000 a day. The hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major E. Wood) in his speech enunciated a certain opinion upon political economy, and ventured to say that that opinion would meet with my support.
§ Major E. WOOD
I was not sanguine enough to say that. I hoped it would not meet with his opposition.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
At any rate, the hon. and gallant Member's point was that taxation was always a bad thing, as we took money out of the pocket of the taxpayer which he might use remuneratively, and
§ the State spent it wastefully, extravagantly, and unremuneratively. I am quite sure no Member of this House would say that the money we get out of the pocket of the taxpayer and spend upon education is money that is spent either wastefully, extravagantly, or unremuneratively. Whatever there may be said, and truly said, about other forms of national expenditure, that charge certainly cannot be truthfully made against the amount of national taxation which is expended on education. The amount we are asking for is very small indeed, and it is necessary. It will be economically spent. It will be remuneratively spent, and, may I venture to add this further reason, which, I believe, I mentioned when I introduced this Amendment, that the only objection to educational advance in this country is the economic difficulty on the part of the parents, and if the Government would meet the sacrifices, which otherwise would have to be borne by people whose economic condition does not permit of their bearing this, they would all unite in trying to make this Bill a measure which, for the first time in this country, would be a real educational measure and one which would bring into the service of the nation an educated, efficient, and a moral body of citizens.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 54; Noes,. 143.1939
|Division No. 50.]||AYES.||[6.21 p.m.|
|Adamson, William||Hogge, James Myles||Smith, H. B. Lees-(Northampton)|
|Alden, Percy||Hudson, Walter||Snowden, Philip|
|Anderson, W. C.||Jacobsen, Thomas Owen||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Arnold, Sydney||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||King, Joseph||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Buxton, Noel||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Currie, George W.||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Tillett, B.|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Morrell, Philip||Tootill, Robert|
|Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.||Newman, Sir Robert (Exeter)||Wedgwood, Lieut.-Com. Josiah c.|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||O'Grady. James||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Parrott, Sir James Edward||Whyte, Alexander F.|
|Gilbert, J. D.||Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Wiles, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Glanville, H. J,||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Goddard, Rt. Hon. Sir Daniel Ford||Pringle, William M. R.||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Goldstone, Frank||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Roch, Walter f. (Pembroke)|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Rowlands, James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. Arthur (Durham)||Rowntree, Arnold||Mr. Jowett and Capt A. Smith.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynto||Barren, Sir R. (Leeds, N.)||Blake, Sir Francis Douglas|
|Archdale, Lieut. E. M.||Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Boles, Lieut.-Colonel Dennis Fortescue|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Bathurst, Capt. Sir C. (Wilts, Wilton)||Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Beach, William F. H.||Boyton, Sir James|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Beck, Arthur Cecil||Brace, Rt. Hon. William|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir F. G.||Bellairs, Commander C. W.||Brassey, H. L. C.|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick, Burghs)||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Bridgeman, William Clive|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Horne, Edgar||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hunter, Major Sir Charles Rodk.||Pulley, C. T.|
|Burgoyne, Captain A. H.||Ingleby, Holcombe||Rees, G. C. (Carnarvonshire, Arfon)|
|Burn, Col. C. R,||Jackson, Lt.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York)||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, East)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Reid, Rt. Hon. Sir George H.|
|Cheyne, Sir W. W.||Jones, W. Kennedy (Hornsey)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon)||Larmor, Sir J.||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesell)|
|Collins, Sir W. (Derby)||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Robertson, Rt. Hon. John M.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Robinson, Sidney|
|Cory, Sir Clifford (St. Ives)||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Sanders, Col. Robert Arthur|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lindsay, William Arthur||Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir F. E. (Walton)|
|Croft, Brig.-General Henry Page||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Dalrymple, Hon. H. H.||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Stirling, Lieut.-Col. Archibald|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||McCallum, Sir John M.||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark. West>|
|Dixon, C. H.||McCalmont, Brig-Gen. Robert C. A.||Sykes, Col. Sir Allan John (Knutsford)|
|Dougherty, Rt. Hon. Sir J. B.||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Du Pre, Major W. Baring||Mackinder, Halford J.||Thomas, Sir G. (Monmouth, S.)|
|Faber, Col. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Macmaster, Donald||Thomas-Stanford, Charles|
|Falls, Sir Bertram Godfray||McMicking, Major Gilbert||Tickler, T. G.|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||McNeill, Ronald, (Kent, St.Augustine's)||Tryon, Capt. George Clement|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L. (Hallam)||Maden, Sir John Henry||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes (Fulham)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid.)|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Malcolm, Ian||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Forster, Rt. Hon. Henry William||Marriott, John Arthur Ransoms||Watson, Hon. W. (Lanark, S.)|
|Gibbs, Col. George Abraham||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Weigall, Lieut.-Col. W. E. G. A.|
|Gilmour, Lieut.-Col. John||Morgan, George Hay||Whiteley, Sir H. j.|
|Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred||Morton, Sir Alpheus Cleophas||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough)||Mount, William Arthur||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)|
|Hall, Lt.-Col. Sir Fred (Dulwich)||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Willoughby, Lt.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Wilson, Capt. A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Hamersley, Lt.-Col. Alfred St. George||Nield, Sir Herbert||Wilson, Col. Leslie C. (Reading)|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord C. J.||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Winterton, Captain Earl|
|Haslam, Lewis||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Pearce, Sir William (Limehouse)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Henry, Sir Charles (Shropshire)||Pease, Rt. Hon. H. Pike (Darlington)|
|Hibbert, Sir Henry F.||Peel, Major Hon. G. (Spalding)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Lord|
|Hills, Major John Waller||Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Edmund Talbot and Mr. Pratt.|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Perkins, Walter Frank|
§ The CHAIRMAN
The next two Amendments on the Paper [Col. W. Thorne—to leave out paragraph (i); and Mr. John—to leave out the word "fourteen" ["above the age of fourteen"], and to insert instead thereof the word "sixteen" have been covered by the decision of the Committee on Sub-section (1).
§ Colonel Lord HENRY CAVENDISH-BENTINCK
I beg to move, in Subsection (2, i), after the word "day" ["on the appointed day, or"], to insert the words "and had not been exempted from day school at a lower age than that allowed by the by-laws of the local authority." This Amendment is intended to include what is known as abnormally employed children in the benefits of this Hill. I have no intention of overloading this Bill, or of taking up unnecessarily the time of the Committee. I do not suppose for a moment that the President will accept this Amendment, or that the Committee will be persuaded to vote for it; therefore, as it is an important matter, I should like to obtain from the President a pronouncement of what he intends to do as an alternative. It has been said that our 1940 social system means the exploitation of the poor by the rich. I think at the present time it would be much more true to say that our social system means the exploitation of the young by the old and the middle-aged, for at the present moment children are exploited without scruple and at the "top of their bent" by those concerned. The education authorities have relaxed their by-laws, and have deprived the children of this country of the absolutely minimum education which is their due. The children have been deprived of evening school education and also secondary school education. The Home Office has also relaxed the regulations in connection with child labour. Children and young persons have been working abnormally long hours at purely repetitive processes, which give them not the slightest education towards any future trade. That being so, the consequences are only what might have been expected. It is not surprising to find that juvenile delinquencies have greatly increased. I know the President himself is much concerned on the question, and has appointed a Committee to go into the matter. That Committee, I believe, has reported. If I am not mistaken the President, by this 1941 time, will have had before him this Report. I should like to know from him whether, in this question, he means business or not. It is, or should be, a comparatively easy matter. All that is wanted is good will, energy, and some ready money.
There are hundreds of young people in Government Departments. What has he done for them, and what does he intend to do for them? There are also thousands of young persons in our national factories and our controlled establishments. Does he intend to secure any kind of further education for these young persons? That should be a comparatively easy matter, because his word, or, at least, the word of the Government, is law both in the national factories and in the controlled establishments. If it has been possible to provide for welfare, it ought certainly to be possible to provide for education. I know there is the argument as to the difficulty of obtaining the teachers. Personally I am not much impressed with that argument. One's experience in this world is that you generally get everything you want if you are only ready to pay for it. I am perfectly sure the President will get plenty of teachers if he is only ready to pay the proper price for them. When this Bill was introduced there was not very much said about the difficulty of obtaining teachers. I cannot help thinking that there is a good deal of camouflage about this suggested difficulty, which really only began to be a difficulty when the hostility of Lancashire to educational improvement became so marked that the Bill became endangered. That is all I have to say. I would like to get from the President an answer as to whether the Government really does intend to do anything for the thousands and thousands of children who have been abnormally employed in this War, and to whom we owe a very great debt of reparation.
§ Mr. FISHER
As the Noble Lord has anticipated, I feel it impossible to accept his Amendment, not, as I need hardly assure him, from any lack of sympathy with the object that he has in view. The Noble Lord is desirous of obtaining some educational reparation for the educational losses sustained by the children who have been prematurely withdrawn from school in order to take up war work. It is a very grave case. There are so many exceptions. After very careful study of it I have come to the conclusion that it would be undesirable to complicate the 1942 task of our continuation schools, which already is difficult and arduous enough, by burdening them at the outset with the care of these children and young persons who have gone out into employment, and whom, therefore, it would be very difficult to compel to attend classes. Tin-question has to be treated apart from the general lines of the Bill. I can only assure the Noble Lord that I am anxiously considering it. I am in correspondence with the Treasury, and I have very good hopes that, before very long, that I shall be in a position to announce a definite scheme.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
There is one question I should like to put to the President concerning the problem of the abnormally employed child. The problem resolves itself into the organisation of a proper system for knowing who arc the children who have been released prematurely. What arrangements is the right hon. Gentleman making for keeping statistics all over the country of the children so released for employment; otherwise will they not be lost in the general sea of employment?
§ Mr. FISHER
I am hoping that the local education authorities will shortly receive instructions or recommendations from me to prepare schemes for the abnormal children. They will be requested to take steps to determine who arc the children who will come under that head.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Major HILLS
I beg to move, in Subsection (2), after paragraph (i), to insert,(ii) who has satisfactorily completed a course of training for and is engaged in the sea service, in accordance with the provisions of any national scheme which may hereafter be established, by Order in Council or otherwise, with the object of maintaining an adequate supply of well-trained British seamen, and, pending the establishment of such scheme, in accordance with the provisions of any interim scheme approved by the Board of Education, or.I put forward my Amendment formally for the purpose of asking the President of the Board of Education a question or two. The Amendment provides special training for boys intending to take up a seafaring life. It therefore includes those boys who come under the exemptions of Clause 10, The President promised to consider the matter. He hoped to be in a position to make an announcement on Clause 10. I shall be glad to hear if he can make any statement now.
§ Mr. FISHER
I shall be very glad to accept the Amendment proposed by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Durham. Ho has asked me whether I have any declaration to make with respect to a national scheme of sea training such as is alluded to in the Amendment. I have been in consultation both with the Board of Trade, with the Admiralty, and with leading representatives of the shipping industry upon this subject. We are all agreed that it is desirable to establish some national scheme for the training of boys who desire to enter the mercantile marine. I had an assurance from the Government that, should it be possible to reach an arrangement with the representatives of the shipping industry, the Government will meet the shipping industry; we have thus every hope that a scheme will shortly be devised.
§ Mr. PETO
It is desirable that we should not go lightly from the consideration of this Amendment. It is true that there have been communications between the right hon. Gentleman and those mainly interested in these boys during the past few days. This is an absolutely vital matter, and this and a great many other vital matters were quite left out of the original scheme of the Bill. This Bill having made rapid progress, has only had but a certain and very small time for its consideration. I do not therefore think the Clause or the narrow Sub-section as it stands can be accepted as wholly satisfactory. The principle underlying it is in regard to continuation education after the age of sixteen—between sixteen and eighteen these boys who have completed a course of training for sea service will be exempt from continuation classes. That implies that they will have had two years' full-time training from fourteen to sixteen; otherwise they would be, after the age of fourteen, compulsorily liable to attend continuation classes. Paragraph (b) in Sub-section (2) says that if a boy(b) is shown to the satisfaction of the local education authority to have been up to the age of sixteen under full-time instruction in a school recognised by the Board of Education as efficient or under suitable and efficient full-time instruction in some other mariner,he shall be exempt from the obligation to attend continuation schools. I want the House to consider exactly what that means. Provision in training for the sea now is somewhat haphazard, and is a matter largely due to public charity and the subscriptions of people who believe 1944 in the maintenance of our British sea power, and the maintaining of an adequate supply of well-trained British seamen in our mercantile service. This vital matter is left to certain training ships which depend largely upon voluntary aid, so far as their contributions are concerned, although they have some Grant from the Board of Education. They mostly train boys under fifteen. Although it is quite true some shipowners who own large liners think that boys under the age of sixteen are rather more trouble than they are worth, and do not take the boys before they are sixteen in certain classes of ships, yet there is a great body of opinion to the effect that the proper training of a boy who is meant for the sea is at sea, and reasonably early, and in one class of vessel or another. I ask the Committee to remember the points in regard to boys training for our Navy. They do not wait until the age of sixteen. They go in for special training at the earlier age of thirteen. About 9,000 boys a year are wanted for the mercantile marine, and about half those boys now come from inland parts, and not from the sea-shore or the sea ports at all. Therefore what is absolutely essential is some scheme which, as far as finance is concerned, will not throw a big burden upon inland authorities or upon the parents of the boys. The ordinary boy who chooses a land vocation after fourteen will come under the 280 hours' scheme of continuation training, and he will have to attend one day every week for forty weeks in the year at continuation classes, and the other five days a week he can be helping to maintain himself; but the boy who elects to go to sea must have full-time training, and he will earn nothing under this Amendment between the age of fourteen and sixteen. I think it is essential that a scheme must be worked out whereby the State and the shipowners and the local education authorities must find the whole of this money. Finance is certain to be a difficulty in this matter, and would it not be better to have a little more elasticity, and put down something on the Report stage more on the lines of my Amendment later on the paper, which provides that this provision shall not apply to any young person(i) who has entered into the conditions of an indenture of apprenticeship to the sea service, so long as he complies with the conditions of the indenture or who is an inmate of a school or ship for training boys for the sea service until 1945 he attains the age of fifteen years or who, having attained the age of fifteen years, is employed in any foreign-going or home-trade ship in the British mercantile marine or in any fishing vessel.That covers the fishing as well as the home and foreign trades, and that is a very important matter, because the President must not jump to the conclusion because certain owners of Atlantic liners do not want to be bothered with boys until they are sixteen that a lower age is not necessary for those who go on smaller vessels and trawlers. We want training for all kinds of sea service, and the Bill as it was drawn undoubtedly would have completely shut off all recruits for the sea service altogether. That is obviously an impossible thing to do. Some of us object to discussing these matters in the middle of this War, but an Education Bill which does not consider the provision of a larger supply of British boys for the mercantile marine would indeed be an absurdity! The scheme of training must be in the Bill, and we shall have to press upon the President of the Board of Education that the scheme must be actually in operation before Clause 10 is made to apply to boys who want to go to sea. We want to offer inducement to a good class of boy to take up sea service. We want the best boys we have got for this service and not the dregs of the population, which, so far, have been almost the only source of supply. The boy who elects to go to sea and desires an adventurous career generally goes before he is fourteen, and if he is left to the age of sixteen, as a rule, he does not go. The mercantile marine is the best training you can have for our Navy, upon which the safety of the United Kingdom depends. These words which the right hon. Gentleman has accepted are not the words of the hon. Member whose name appears on the Paper, but they were put forward by the President of the Department as being the best that could be devised in a hurry after such hasty consideration as could be given to the subject. We accept those words, but we do so tentatively and reserve the question as to whether we should not, in the first instance, ask for something more elastic than full-time training for the whole of these two years between fourteen to sixteen. Why should we, in the case of these boys, insist upon the whole time between fourteen and sixteen?
§ Mr. PETO
Then will the right hon. Gentleman indicate the course of training for the boys in the sea service? I really do not understand the meaning of the passage dealing with this point, and I would like to have a little more explanation of what is the scheme. I should like the right hon. Gentleman to keep quite an open mind on this matter and listen to the representations made between now and the Report stage, and, if necessary, alter the Amendment, although we shall agree to this being provisionally put into the Bill at this stage.
§ Mr. LESLIE SCOTT
I want to appeal to the Committee to accept the position which has been indicated by the President of the Board of Education, in which he accepts this Amendment, which obviously is one enunciating the principle and the outline of a plan, although he has not attempted to fill in the details which are essentially a matter that must be arranged afterwards. This Amendment stands in the name of myself and other hon. Members, including the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Peto) as the House would naturally infer from the speech we have just heard. I and others really feel satisfied that the President is going under this Clause to work out by agreement with the shipowners and the Treasury a really sound national system of education for those going into the sea service which will be the foundation of an educated personnel for the mercantile marine in the future. I suggest that we can very well rest content at this stage with this enunciation of the principle and the statement of the outline of the plan, trusting as I do trust to the President of the Board of Education to carry out the spirit of the agreement contained in this Amendment.
§ Commander BELLAIRS
I hope the President will outline the scheme before we pass from the Committee stage, because this looks like a big thing affecting the sea-faring services. The hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Peto) said truly that the requirements of the mercantile marine were about 9,000 boys annually. In 1912 we supplied only 569 from the mercantile training establishments and the rest of the boys from those establishments, rather under 500, went to the Navy. Therefore what is suggested will have to be a very much bigger scheme than what is being done under our existing establishment. I was very interested in the statement made by the hon. Member for Devizes about his Amendment, because he 1947 suggests the boys entering the mercantile marine are in a parallel position to boys entering the Navy. That is a fallacious argument, because the boys entering the Navy are kept under training and they go to school, whereas the boys who enter the mercantile marine as apprentices in steamers do not receive any real training at all. They do not even learn to pull an oar or swim and tend to be used as common fags to run messages.
§ Mr. C. ROBERTS
The President has responded to this Amendment which I am afraid will open a very wide door for discussion. As a matter of fact the whole Committee is really anxious to get on with the Bill, but if the right hon. Gentleman once begins to give the details of the scheme we shall certainly want to spend the rest of the evening discussing them, and this may interfere with the progress of the Bill.
§ Mr. GOLDSTONE
From what was said by the hon. Member for the Exchange Division (Mr. Leslie Scott), he contemplates that the shipowners will be consulted by the President of the Board of Education before the scheme is promulgated. May I suggest that there are other persons interested besides the shipowners.
§ Mr. GOLDSTONE
I am sure the hon. Member did not mean to exclude them. He did not, however, refer to the shipmasters and the association representing the officers of the mercantile marine, and no doubt those two bodies will be borne in mind by the President.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Sir W. ESSEX
I do not think the President should commit himself too fully to this scheme, because there are a large number of people in this country who would look upon these proposals with some degree of doubt and misgiving. After all, this is a Bill for the enlargement of the education of the children of this country, and we are now being asked to promote a scheme which will take children out of the continuation schools and put them to learn a craft which may have added a glamour to the child's imagination, and train them in such a way that they would be pledged and mortgaged 1948 to that craft, and when they came to years of larger knowledge—or sixteen or eighteen—they would be inclined to back out. The whole scheme seems an unsound one, and to incorporate this in an Education Bill does not seem to be germane to the fundamental principles of such a measure. I am very fond of the sea myself, and I only wish to goodness I could get a long journey on it now. At the same time my acquaintance with various ships and various seas leads me to say that the life of a sailor has got to be made more attractive if you want more British men to follow a seafaring life. You are not going to do so by the underhand method of taking a boy when he is full of glamour and mortgaging him to an industry which later, in his more mature judgment, he sees to be closely akin to hardship and slavery. These boys are attracted by the idea of travelling all over the world and seeing foreign countries, but how much do they see? Very little indeed. Their ships are only in port for a short time, and they are very seldom ashore. In recent years, owing to legislation passed by this House, their quarters have been made better, but until the industry itself provides a more attractive outlook for those youngsters who are inclined to join it, it is not for. this House to step outside the orbit of this Education Bill and by a side-wind to find it recruits, especially seeing that in their mature judgment the industry may not offer them sufficient attraction.
§ Mr. WING
The speech of the hon. Member who has spoken last leads me to ask the right hon. Gentleman to stand to the proposition that is on the Paper and to leave himself ample room for movement, because, after all, the institutions of the sea are not so deadly and so sad as has just been stated. After all, the glamour lasts beyond fifteen years of age or this country would be in a very sad position. There are already institutions for maritime training in our various ports, and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to leave himself plenty of sea room, so that these varied institutions and societies, embracing practically the whole of the seafaring population, employers and employed, may be brought into harmony, in order to make seafaring much more advantageous to those who take part in it and in order that the Old Country may be as well supplied with seamen in the future as in the past.
§ Amendment agreed to.1949
§ The CHAIRMAN
There is a manuscript Amendment handed in by the hon. Member for the Devizes Division (Mr. Peto) with regard to stage performers. I do not know how it comes in here—it seems more appropriate to Clause 13—but perhaps the hon. Member will move and explain.
§ Mr. PETO
I beg to move, in Sub-Section (2), after the word "person" ["any young person"], to insert the words "who is duly licensed to perform on the stage." I do not want to raise the whole question of theatrical training on this Clause, but apparently this is the Sub-section which states who shall be exempt from obligation to attend continuation school. We also have Sub-section (3) which says that the obligation to attend continuation school shall not apply to any young person, and then it gives certain other categories. In one or other of these categories we must have the children who are—
§ Mr. DENMAN
On a point of Order. Is an Amendment in order which has no legal effect whatever? A young person does not need to be licensed for the stage, and therefore a requirement that a young person who is duly licensed to perform on the stage has really no effective meaning.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not think that is the effect of the Amendment, but it is not for me to judge on that point.
§ Mr. PETO
I cannot understand the hon. Member's suggestion. It seems to me perfectly clear that if any young person is not exempt from attending continuation school he will have to attend between the ages of fourteen and eighteen according to the provisions of the Bill. I want to say that those young persons who have been licensed to perform on the stage shall not be obliged to attend continuation school. In my view, such a provision is necessary, and, if we provide in Clause 13 any machinery to enable children to get a stage training, it will be necessary when that machinery has been provided for the President on the Report stage to exempt them from the obligation to attend ordinary continuation schools.
§ Mr. FISHER
I really cannot accept this Amendment on the simple ground that a young person does not legally need to be licensed to perform on the stage. The hon. Member's Amendment assumes that 1950 young persons over fourteen are licensed for the stage. They are not licensed for the stage.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), to leave out paragraph (ii). This paragraph grants exemption from attendance at continuation school between the ages of sixteen and eighteen to children who have attended a secondary school full time until the age of sixteen, and it raises a point that is of very considerable and far-reaching importance and that is attended with very great difficulty, which, I think, the President of the Board recognises. If the President's proposal, as embodied in the Bill, remains unaltered, this will be the position with regard to two boys reaching the age of sixteen. One of them who has been at a secondary school until the age of sixteen will be relieved from any liability to attend continuation classes. The other boy who has not been able to go to a secondary school will be under the legal necessity of attending continuation classes until the age of eighteen. This raises a most important economic point, because these two boys at the age of sixteen will be in a position of economic inequality. I should like my right hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) to tell me, if he can, what is the reply to this economic injustice. He is the director, I believe, of a bank, or, perhaps, of more than one bank. I am quite sure that his bank will have a considerable number of young clerks of the age of sixteen. When this Bill is passed, he will have two kinds of applicants for clerkships in his bank. He will have a boy coming to him at the age of sixteen and saying that he is eligible for the clerkship and has attended a secondary school until sixteen. They will be able to employ that boy and know that they will not have to give him any time in order that ho may attend continuation classes. Another boy will come to the right hon. Gentleman at the age of sixteen and say, "I cannot give you full-time service, because, although fully qualified by part-time study, I have not been to a secondary school until sixteen, and, therefore, if you appoint me you will have to give me leave at least one day per week to go to continuation classes." The Committee will see that this is a very real point. 1951 Unless you alter the provisions of the Bill, you are going to create two classes of labour at the age of sixteen. One boy, the son of wealthier parents, will be free of all liability of attending such continuation classes, and another boy, the son of poorer parents, will not be a free agent, because he will always apply for these positions in the industrial world subject to the handicap of attendance at continuation classes. I say nothing of the further objection that it creates an undesirable class distinction, though I regard that as of real importance. I suggest that the only remedy for this economic injustice is to place these two boys on precisely the same footing. It is only in that way that you can get rid of the social difficulty, and, what is more serious, of the economic difficulty, and, although I do not press the right hon. Gentleman necessarily to omit everything in this Sub-section, I do press him to meet this very real difficulty, and to state whether he has considered it, and whether he is prepared to bring forward any alternative proposal to deal with it.
§ Mr. FISHER
The Sub-section which the Amendment seeks to remove from the Bill is founded upon imperious considerations of practical necessity. I may, perhaps, in passing, observe that the Amendment will not operate in any way until after the period of seven years, but, assuming it were to operate to-morrow, what would happen? You have, as the hon. Member truly observes, some young persons who are educated full time in a secondary school up to the age of sixteen. You have others who go out into industry at 14, and who, thereafter receive a part time education of 320 or 280 hours per year. When these two classes of persons reach the age of sixteen, is it possible to conceive that they should be educated together in the same class between the ages of sixteen and eighteen. It is quite clear that the young persons who have had full-time education up to sixteen are on an entirely different level from the young persons who have only had part-time education during these two years. Consequently, if you accept the hon. Member's Amendment, the local education authorities will have to provide special machinery for the education of the young persons who have had full-time education up to the age of sixteen. We have to consider the number of young persons with 1952 whom we are dealing. Until you look into the figures you do not realise what a very small number of children there are in this country who do receive full-time education up to sixteen or beyond sixteen. There are only some 6,700 boys and 11,000 girls in the State-aided secondary schools at the present moment who are over sixteen years of age. It is extremely difficult to keep young persons in school up to sixteen years of age. When the hon. Member comes and draws a picture of the great handicap to which children are exposed by the education from sixteen to eighteen in comparison with the children who have received full-time education up to sixteen, he seems to assume that these two classes of young people will be competing against one another in the same market. That will occur very rarely. He seems also to assume, in his picture of the social injustice involved in this Subsection, that a full-time education up to sixteen is inaccessible to the children of poor parents.
§ Mr. FISHER
That is not so. There is a considerable number of free places. There are in many areas maintenance allowances attached to those free places, specially designed to secure an opportunity for poor children to enter and profit by secondary education. As I pointed out on a previous occasion, no less than 67 per cent. of the children in State-aided secondary schools have come up from the public elementary schools. I trust, therefore, that the Committee will agree with me that we should be embarking on a course which would involve us in expenditure quite out of proportion to the result if we were to adopt the Amendment. Theoretically it might be desirable, but practically it is not so.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
I must certainly say a word or two in reply to the right hon. Gentleman's speech. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] It is relevant to point out that the right hon. Gentleman will see that it is not a question of giving the boy who has been educated full-time up to the age of sixteen the same continued education after sixteen as the other boy I mentioned. He will see that he has already taken power in the subsequent words of this Clause to relieve from attendance at continuation classes young persons who are under instruction in courses of study for the same number of hours in any other 1953 way. It is reasonable that boys educated up to the age of sixteen in a secondary school will quite readily and easily, especially in view of the interests of the universities in assisting in the organisation of these continuation classes, and the ample provision that would be made by the universities and the secondary schools, have special provision made for him, especially as the number of such boys is not large. I am quite sure that if we decide to burke the difficulty now it will crop up in a very acute form in the economic and labour world when it is realised that there is a great inequality placed upon the boy who has not been to a secondary school. The right hon. Gentleman was not correct when he said that the two boys I mentioned would not be competing in the same kind of employment. I take as an example some of the greatest industries in which the two classes of boys would compete. They compete in the banking world, in the railway industry, and in other branches of the transport services. The economic importance of the point is not adequately dealt with by the President, and I trust he will continue to give his serious consideration to the matter.
§ Sir J. D. REES
While the course the right hon. Gentleman proposes to take is entirely acceptable to me, and on this occasion he actually counted the cost—almost a new attitude—might I point out how the objection of the hon. Member (Mr. Whitehouse) might be met? He complains of the injustice to the two classes of young persons of the same age in these schools. Why not have recourse to the clean cut and let them both have complete exemption from attendance at continuation classes? Then the injustice entirely disappears, although I am afraid the hon. Member would not be satisfied.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The next Amendment on the Paper stands in the name of the hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Peto), in Sub-section (2), paragraph (ii), to leave out the, word "sixteen," and insert "fourteen." Does he desire to move that?
§ Mr. PETO
Yes, for two reasons. First, that this Amendment and a subsequent Amendment, to leave out paragraph (b) and to insert a new paragraph,(b) who is above the age of sixteen years,were put on the Paper long before the Amendment of the Lancashire Members 1954 appeared on the Paper or was thought of. This suggestion was not put forward in the first place by the cotton industry at all. It is desirable that the President should know that there are other industries besides the cotton industry which regard the provisions of this Clause with alarm, and believe it will seriously injure them if carried out in their present form. The Institute of Builders met a long while ago—I believe in February—to consider the operation of Clause 10 so far as the building trade was concerned. They arrived at certain conclusions. I will read to the Committee only three of them:(1) They favour the provisions of Clause 10 of the Bill being confined to young persons up to the age of sixteen. (2) Compulsory attendance of young persons employed in the building trade up to the age of eighteen will be disastrous to the trade and generally impracticable.
§ The CHAIRMAN
We must not go back to Sub-section (1) of this Clause, on which we spent nearly two days in debating and amending it. I thought the hon. Member for Devizes had some new point on this Amendment, and I can only admit this Amendment on a distinctly new point which was not settled by the Committee on Sub-section (1).
§ The CHAIRMAN
Certainly, except for those Amendments set out here for alternative education up to the age of sixteen. That is why I first raised the point. The hon. Member now proposes to leave out here the word "sixteen" and to insert the word "fourteen." That would make the paragraph readWho is above the age of fourteen years, and either—(a) has passed the matriculation examination of a, university of the United Kingdom.…which would mean that a young person would have to pass the matriculation examination at the age of fourteen. The second Amendment to leave out paragraph (b) and to insert the wordswho is above the age of sixteen years.I could not admit at all, because that is in clear contradiction to what the Committee decided on Sub-section (1) of this Clause.
§ Mr. PETO
Of course, I accept your ruling, Mr. Whitley, although I must say I think it is a matter for regret that the interests of agriculture and such trades as the building trade are never to be considered at all in regard to this Clause. The previous Debate we had on this Clause referred to the cotton trade and nothing else. However, I must leave myself in your hands, and leave those best able to consider the interests of the buildings trade to decide what action they will take.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is a point on the merits of Clause 10 as amended, and can be raised, no doubt, at a later stage.
§ The CHAIRMAN
So far as discussion is concerned, certainly, but so far as an Amendment is concerned it must rest there.
§ Sir P. MAGNUS
I beg to move, in Sub-section (2, ii., b), after the word "Education" ["instruction in a school recognised by the Board of Education as efficient"], to insert the words "or by a British university." I have similar Amendments applying to other later Sub-sections, but I do not propose to speak more than once upon the subject, as the arguments I am now bringing forward will be applicable to the other cases. The immediate object of this Amendment is to exempt from the obligation to attend continuation schools young persons who under Sub-section (2, ii., b) and Sub-section (3) (i.) have received full-time instruction in schools inspected and approved by a university. The proposed alternative scheme of inspection would apply, unless the Board of Education should desire to extend it to those schools only which are in receipt of any Government Grant. I should be prepared, if necessary, to insert words in the Amendment to that effect. But I do not think it would be necessary because the responsibility of recognising as efficient schools in receipt of State aid—that is, schools which are partly maintained and supported by funds provided by Parliament—must rest with the Board of Education as representing the State. No such responsibility rests with the Board in respect of schools which are not receiving State aid. It is the public generally, and particularly parents, who desire some guarantee that the education provided in these schools is 1956 adequate and satisfactory, and there can be no doubt that the hall-mark of a university would carry equal weight with the hall-mark of the Board of Education. Even now a large number of secondary schools are periodically inspected and examined by the University of London. I find that during the past seven years more than seventy separate schools were so inspected. The majority of them were State-aided and were consequently inspected both by the Board of Education and by the university, but a not inconsiderable number of those schools were inspected by the university only. The concession to which the Amendment refers, is therefore a comparatively small one, distinctly limited in its application and one to which the President might well give his assent. The principle involved, however, is very important, for it confers, and it is intended to confer, a statutory right on certain classes of schools to be inspected, if they so elect, by a university, and to claim for their pupils the exemptions indicated in Sub-sections (2) and (3) of this Clause. The schools to which the Amendment refers, and which are more likely than others to take advantage of it, are the great public schools, the large majority of private schools, some of the endowed schools, such as those maintained by the Corporation and Livery Companies of London, and other schools in which religious instruction of a denominational character is given under the strict observance of the Conscience Clause as an essential part of the curriculum.
It has been suggested to me that inspectors appointed by the newer universities, having had no experience of the work of inspection, would not be qualified to undertake the duties assigned to them under this Clause. These duties are not very exacting, and the universities would not necessarily be called upon to discharge them until the Bill comes into operation, but the Board of Education when it first undertook the duty of inspecting secondary schools had no expert staff of its own. As a fact the University of London inspected secondary schools some years before the Board, under the Act of 1902, was first called upon to undertake these duties. Since then the number of inspectors employed by the Board of Education has naturally become so large that it is able to engage the services of full-time inspectors. I do not think full-time inspectors would be required, at any rate 1957 for many years, by the universities. Indeed, one of the advantages of the alternative scheme to which the Amendment refers is that the inspectors would be generally selected from teachers still in touch with university work. We may assume, therefore, that the inspectors would in most cases be appointed by the senate or governing body of the university with the approval or on the recommendation, of the vice-chancellor or principal, and surely it will not be seriously contended that men so thoroughly conversant with educational problems as Sir Henry Miers, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester, Sir Oliver Lodge of Birmingham, and Dr. Sadler of Leeds, to name only a few, or the late Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield, the present distinguished President of the Board of Education, would be unequal, with the assistance of a professorial staff, to the task of making satisfactory arrangements for the inspection of a few schools, or would be capable of selecting inspectors to decide whether or not a secondary school is providing adequate instruction for young persons up to the ages of sixteen or eighteen. I cannot conceive of any public body better qualified to give such an assurance to local education authorities than a university, which, by its charter, is empowered and considered competent to confer degrees on the results of its examinations, which have a high professional value.
It is probable that one effect of the adoption of this alternative system of inspection, which would leave no school any excuse to avoid inspection, would be that many private schools would be weeded out as inefficient, but the majority, or certainly a very large number, of private schools arc not of the exceptional character of the one indicated by the President in his speech on 29th May, and I am quite certain that he will not desire it to be thought for a moment that the school to which he referred was typical of private schools generally. Indeed, I am not certain that that same school has not been trotted out more than once by former Presidents to indicate how terrible are the conditions under which some private schools are conducted. There are, however, many private schools in which the education provided is in many respects superior to that obtainable in some of our State-aided and State-controlled schools. It is for this reason that such private schools are preferred by many intelligent and highly educated parents as the most 1958 suitable schools for the education of their sons and daughters. It may be assumed, therefore, that no school would be approved by a university unless the education provided was such as to form a suitable foundation for subsequent higher training in a university or technical institute or for professional and business careers', and unless also the hygienic and recreative arrangements were entirely satisfactory.
My Amendment must not be regarded as reflecting in any sense on the value of the services to education rendered by the Board's capable and experienced staff of inspectors, some of whom are men of recognised distinction. The proposal to invite the universities to assist, by the appointment of inspectors, in the general work of secondary education rests on other grounds. The recognition of this principle would help to secure in the schools under university inspection greater variety in the subjects taught and greater freedom in the methods of instruction. It would admit of changes in school discipline and organisation difficult to effect under the system of State inspection, it would afford special opportunities for educational experiment, and generally would free the teachers of these schools from the necessity of adhering too rigidly to the detailed regulations of any State-prescribed code. Schools with widely different curricula, not conforming to any fixed standard of excellence, may be equally efficient in ail the essential principles of education—in the methods adopted for imparting knowledge, which may vary considerably, in the mental discipline, productive of clear thinking and initiative, and above all in the training of character. Seeing that the object of the Bill is the further development of a national system of education, it is incumbent on us to include in that system schools of very different types. We all recognise the success which has attended what I regard as the ill-directed efforts of the German Government to standardise its schools and to control by watchful supervision the work, not only of school teachers, but of university professors. The success of this effort has proved a very potent instrument in helping the German people to realise what they regard as their national aims. But their aims are not our aims, and, warned by the results of their endeavours, we should do what we can to preserve that measure of freedom, variety, and elasticity in our own scheme of educa- 1959 tion which has differentiated it, to our great advantage, from the Prussian system. It is our duty, therefore, to do what we can to lift our educational machinery out of the well-worn grooves of routine and to avoid, as far as possible, the pitfalls of over-organisation and over-State control. My right hon. Friend (Mr. Runciman), soon after his resignation of the position of President of the Board of Education, was reported to have said:At the Board of Education he had found the code held in such veneration that one might have thought it came down from Heaven. He had done what he could to reduce the red tape irritation undergone by teachers.It is to give a greater measure of freedom to some of our teachers, which cannot be permanently secured if all the necessary arrangements for university inspection as suggested, are to be subject to the approval of the Board of Education, that this Amendment appears to me to be necessary. There are other reasons for the adoption of this Amendment. Some of the most far-reaching reforms in education have followed from experiments conducted in schools free from State control. The history of education in this country and in other European countries is mainly a history of such reforms. I will refer to one only in which I was privileged to take an active part. The introduction of manual training, or educational handwork as it is now called, into our schools, the value of which as mental discipline, apart altogether from its economic advantages, is every day more generally recognised, was largely due to an experiment, scientifically conducted, made more than thirty years ago in a voluntary school. There can be no doubt that schools inspected under the stimulating and vivifying influence of our great seats of learning would be in a better position than State-aided schools to initiate and to conduct experiments which are still needed—experiments which may help to solve many outstanding educational problems. The proposal has other advantages. We know for certain, we have heard it frequently during the discussion on this Bill that in the near future there must be a serious dearth of teachers not only for our secondary and elementary schools, but also for these new continuation schools, which will require teachers possessing special qualifications which are at present only imperfectly understood. It is to our 1960 universities that we must look to assist in supplying this great need by arranging for advanced post-graduate specialised courses of instruction for the training of different grades and classes of teachers. After the War it may be expected that our newer universities will find open to them a wide field of educational activities in providing facilities for the systematic training not only of teachers, but also of skilled inspectors.
§ The CHAIRMAN
This is rather more than comes out of the Amendment, I am afraid. The Amendment in this place is only to add to the words "recognised by the Board of Education," the words "or by a British university." It is limited to that. I wonder if the right hon. Gentleman has seen the Government Amendment on Clause 10, page 8, line 17, which deals rather more widely with the point? Perhaps ho has overlooked it.
§ Sir P. MAGNUS
I have seen that Amendment. I thought it would be better that I should say what I have to say on this Amendment than to trouble the Committee with three or four speeches. I have seen the Amendment referred to, and it is because one feels that one cannot agree exactly with the words of that Amendment as it stands, that I think it best to advance these arguments. My reason for advancing them is that it shows the advantage of associating our universities, by means of a system of inspection, with secondary schools. I hope the inspectors appointed by the universities will avail themselves of the opportunities afforded in visiting schools to establish a closer union than at present exists between the instruction given in our universities and in our secondary schools. I will not enlarge upon that argument, but I am quite certain that the President or anyone fully acquainted with the work done in our universities and secondary schools, will recognise what a very great advantage it would be if inspectors trained in the universities had an opportunity of inspecting the schools, bringing with them into those schools the experience acquired in the universities, and at the same time widening the curriculum of the schools so as to secure admission to the universities of young persons who have been taught on very different lines. I look forward to the time when all efficient schools, whether inspected by the university or by the Board of Education, will be so recognised by the Board. I 1961 believe that the acceptance of the Amendment which stands in my name will help to place secondary education on a broader basis, that it will eliminate the inefficient schools, that it will strengthen the connection between our schools and universities, and will bring all good schools, now excluded, within our national scheme of education. I know that the proposal I have made is supported by a large number of Members of this House who are as keenly interested as I am in the passing of this Bill. I know it is approved by large numbers of teachers and parents in all parts of the country. I gladly recognise that the President by his proposal admits the importance of university inspection, and I hope, therefore, that he will accept the Amendment, as it stands in our name, as showing on his part that belief in the value of the independent work and influence of our universities which from him, perhaps, more than from any previous President, might confidently be expected.
§ Mr. FISHER
The hon. Member has correctly divined that I have no insuperable objection to the proposal embodied in his Amendment. He has urged me to accept his own Amendment, but I feel a difficulty about doing that. The form of the Amendment suggests that universities may be a co-ordinate authority with the Board in determining efficiency. The term "an efficient school" is confined by the Board to schools which have reached a definite standard, and it is extremely undesirable that schools should be able to advertise themselves as efficient unless security is afforded that they have reached that standard. It would, I think, be very inconvenient if the term were used in widely different senses as the result of entirely different methods of inspection pursued by the Board on the one hand and the universities on the other. What do we mean by the Board of Education? It seems to be assumed that the Board of Education as an institution is entirely divorced from the universities and entirely denuded of university skill. The Board of Education is served by a number of distinguished public servants, almost every one of whom has been trained in one of our universities, and has taken the highest honours in the British universities. University men inspect the schools, and the Board of Education supply the inspectors. The inspection is by highly trained men. Again, it seems to be 1962 assumed that a definite standard of efficiency means uniformity. I should like hon. Members to look through the Board's list of efficient schools. I will not mention names, but on that list there are schools of the most unconventional type, even of the most fantastic type, I should say. Perhaps the feature which astonishes me most, and which I was surprised to find when I went to the Board of Education, was the predilection which the Board appears to have shown for highly unconventional schools. By these remarks I feel that I may be dispelling a little of the prejudice which has gathered round the Board of Education.
How could a university undertake inspection systematically unless it employed permanent inspectors? Inspection is a difficult task, and it does require a very wide experience of schools. I am not saying this in order to discourage university inspection; on the contrary, the Board welcomes university inspection. It welcomes the co-operation of the universities in the task of inspection, and I suggest that my Amendment, which was framed in order to meet the point raised by my hon. Friend, is better adapted to the situation. It does provide for the co-operation of universities in the task of inspection, and it maintains what I think is a central standard of efficiency. At the same time, it gives the hon. Member everything substantially that he wants. It enables a university to decide on the inspection of schools, and to report upon the result of that inspection.
§ Sir P. MAGNUS
If my right hon. Friend will consent to leave out the words "under arrangements approved by the Board of Education," which gives the Board of Education a determining voice in the character of the inspection to be conducted by a university, I should be prepared to accept this Amendment.
§ Mr. FISHER
I think it is very necessary that the Board and the universities should co-operate. The Clause I have put down represents the actual practice at the present time with respect to the inspection of the University of London. The University of London and the Board co-operate together, and the arrangements are approved by the Board of Education. I am simply putting into this Clause the arrangements which are at present found to work in the case of the inspection of the University of London.
§ Mr. FISHER
We desire that the inspectors, whether they are university inspectors or inspectors of the Board, should at any rate have in their minds a list of the things to which they ought to attach some importance. Ought they to attach some importance to buildings, or ought they to attach some importance to sanitation, and so on. You have to have a list of topics to which the attention of the inspector is to be directed. The public is entitled to know that an efficient school is a school declared to be efficient by the Board and it is entitled to know that the form of instruction given is of a standard which, roughly, is being pursued all over the country.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Sir J. LARMOR
I venture to express very briefly the point of view of the private schoolmaster, which I think has not been put before the Committee on this matter. The way in which it came to my knowledge was in connection with the previous Bill, when I got a very emphatic letter from a very distinguished gentleman who will be very well known to Members of this House. He is a member of the British Academy, which the President of the Board or Education will no doubt recognise is a very select body. He told me that he had been brought up in a private school, and that that private school was still under the control of the family to whom he owed his education, and that they felt it very difficult and very hard, and that he thoroughly agreed with them. Hitherto they had been able to choose varied lines within a certified degree of efficiency, but that in future they would have to come under what he described as the iron rule of the Department which he called bureaucratic. I perfectly recognise what the President of the Board has stated, that the Board of Education are doing their very best to carry out the duties of inspection of schools of the secondary type. I may go further and say that, so far as my information goes, the departure in recent years at the Board of Education in volunteering for the inspection of public schools has been a great success, and many of the public schools are very well pleased to be inspected by the Board of Education instead of, as previously, directly under university auspices. But the point of that success is 1964 that they have an alternative. If Eton or Harrow knew the only thing in front of them was an inspector of the Board of Education who had been working at the same thing for twenty or thirty years, and had of necessity, being a human being, fallen into a departmental rut, if they knew they were compelled to satisfy the Board of Education and could not, if they had an objection, go back again to university inspection in order to acquire an equally valid certificate of efficiency, the state of affairs would be very different. Nobody, so far as I know, wishes to impugn at all the skill of the Board of Education in the inspection of secondary schools, but a great many people in this country do wish to impugn their monopoly in the matter—a monopoly which was the result of declaring that a school cannot be stamped as efficient except by the fiat of the Board of Education, and that there is no alternative to that. The President told us just now that the Board could not admit any co-ordinating authority with itself in declaring that a school is efficient. He gave some reasons for that which carried weight with me until he told us that, in looking through the list of schools declared to be efficient by the Board of Education he found a most remarkable variety, and among them even fantastic kinds of efficiency. If there is already that degree of variety under the auspices of the Board, surely the proposal to do away with the monopoly of the Board, and to have an alternative of university inspection, would not be a very violent stretch of the conditions for certifying efficiency.
The right hon. Gentleman told us that the Board of Education is staffed by university graduates of high distinction. Agreed. But the difficulty the universities have to face is that as soon as these distinguished people get into the Board of Education they find their duties so exacting and they are called upon to concentrate their attention on them so much that the universities lose all touch with them. I am an average example of the university resident myself. I think I know two or three people connected with the Board of Education, but everyone of those distinguished in the subjects with which I deal are now in remote parts of the country. Probably the scientific attainments which they possess are not necessary for administrative purposes, but I think that as long as the Board of Education is so overwhelmed with administrative work you cannot expect their inspect- 1965 ing staff to keep touch with the higher learning of the country as represented by the universities. It would much broaden the outlook, and it would much encourage teachers of secondary schools if they had contact of a less formal character, such as would come from their relations with the universities. The function of an administrative department is to make regulations, and impose penalties for any breach thereof. But we want something more personal than that. So far as I know, the universities have entire sympathy with the efforts of the Board to provide inspectors for higher secondary schools, and they have greater sympathy on the ground that the Board can expend far more money on the purpose than universities can do. I believe my own university has no desire to compete with the Board of Education in the matter of the inspection of schools. But, as it was put to me the other day, the private schoolmasters are appealing to them to make arrangements for the inspection of schools, and they are willing and anxious to assist in the development of education to that extent, although they do not wish to enter into competition with the Board.
I come now to the narrow part of the Amendment. I had some compunction in putting my name down to any Amendment which would deprive youths between sixteen and eighteen of the advantages of this continuation education, but I confess my feeling has been somewhat diminished by the reason given by the President just now for not accepting our proposal. The reason he gave was the consideration of expense and the difficulty of providing teachers which made it almost impossible to arrange for providing for continuation schools for that degree of advanced teaching which would be necessary for boys who had been in full-time attendance at secondary schools up to the age of sixteen. If boys who have been at secondary schools up to the age of sixteen are to be compelled to go to continuation classes which are beneath the level of the ordinary schoolboy of that age, we must take very good care that there is sufficient guarantee that they shall not be compelled to go there when their attainments are such that they could get no advantage from such a course. I was sorry to hear the proposal of the President of the Board that continuation schools are to be restricted in this way, that the matters which are to be dealt with are to be such that a boy who has been educated in an 1966 ordinary way would not be expected to pursue them any further. I thought perhaps there would be a chance in special continuation schools to go beyond that. But if it is so, then it is all the more important that the officials of the Board of Education should not have a right to go to a private school that may have been in existence for twenty years and to declare that it is not efficient according to present ideas, and that the boys attending it must go compulsorily to continuation classes.
§ Mr. FISHER
May I interrupt my hon. Friend? It will not be necessary that the school should be efficient in the sense ordinarily attached to that term by the Hoard of Education in order to be accepted as offering continuation instruction, and such instruction of a very much lower grade would be accepted for the compulsory continuation classes. The Amendment I move gives the university the right to inspect and declare that where a private school does offer instruction it shall be accepted as equivalent to the continuation class.
§ Sir J. LARMOR
My right hon. Friend's Amendment, then, is that the universities may do that which they did before.
§ Sir J. LARMOR
The only other thing I wish to say is as to the enormous difficulty of getting teachers at the present rates of pay. Obviously the success of these continuation classes is problematic only. The difficulty of finding a suitable staff would have been enormous, but I hope that the postponement of the second part of the continuation scheme which the President has agreed to will lead to proper teachers being provided. I think the right hon. Gentleman is well advised to postpone that part of the scheme until arrangements can be made to get teachers. It is very difficult to get teachers for primary schools; it is far more difficult to get them for secondary schools; and if, rightly or wrongly, you are going, by screwing up the inspection of ordinary secondary schools, to make the position of private secondary schoolmasters less desirable, you will thereby, at a time when the provision of teachers is exceedingly difficult, be likely to turn away from the profession enthusiasts who often by their zeal for a profession of their own choice could do much to advance education in this country.
Sir J. D
REES: Knowing as I do that priority of place and not merit gains for me momentary admission into this gallery of educational experts, I must walk very warily, per ignes suppositos, and return as soon as possible to the company of the comparatives uneducated. Nevertheless, I may say parenthetically that as an examiner, and indeed, as an examinee, I have had a wholly and exceptionally large experience. I really did not rise to follow the arguments of my hon. Friend beside me (Sir P. Magnus), who, of course, has marshalled these arguments so completely as to leave no excuse for any subsequent speaker to cover the same ground again. My feeling is that I should like to speak for that person despised and rejected in Parliament, the parent. Is there any parent of any boy at any public school, or indeed at any private school, also judging by my letter bag, who does not regard as the very last thing he wishes to see the standardisation of the school he has selected for its individuality, and the standardisation of the mind and intellect, if happily he have any, of his son? This proposal, if it stands, and even with the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman, will remain a proposal for bringing everything in under one standard. My right hon. Friend, in his anxiety to explain that the inspectors of the Board of Education were not men of a particular type, was driven to point out that there were amongst them some fantastics and some eccentrics. I agree; there are. Nevertheles—
§ Sir J. D. REES
I beg pardon. Nevertheless, I would be inclined to stand by what I said if my right hon. Friend did not say it. There is a hall-mark of the school inspector just as there is a hallmark of silver, only instead of it being a ramping lion it is red-tape. I got up to speak for the parent who is left out of account. Nobody cares about him, although he is more responsible for the children than anyone else, and he does not want to see the school or the child standardised. He selects the school because of its individuality. He rejoices in its individuality, even when, as happens in the case of one of our greatest public schools, the system of the classes is so complicated that the most intelligent boys cannot say what class they are in so to make it plain to their parents. Even the 1968 absurdities of some of our public schools are dear to those who frequent them and to the parents who send their boys there. I will not use the word "absurdities." I withdraw it, and say their individualities and peculiarities. All this is to be crushed out by the Bill. I speak with much diffidence in the presence of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen around me who I know are great educational experts, but I do submit, on behalf of the uneducated if you like, that the principle should be that where there is no State Grant there should be no State inspection. The university inspection is welcomed, but the Board of Education and its inspector approach the whole question from a totally different standpoint. He has a sort of questionnaire. Everything has to be brought within certain lines; everything the parent values for his boy is carefully cut out.
Why is Parliament to be occupied in destroying the individuality of schools which provide the statesmen who adorn these benches and Members themselves? Supposing all Members of Parliament were educated in the same way and inspected by the Board's inspectors, would these Debates be characterised by that brilliant wit, that diversity of speech, or that fascinating individuality which makes it a pleasure to spend a whole day here without any Member feeling the slightest desire to leave these benches? Parliament would be totally different if this Clause were really carried out in the spirit and in the letter. I do not think my right hon. Friend's Clause really very much improve matters, because he wants an arrangement approved by the Board of Education. There you have not the trail of the serpent, but openly restated the very condition we. who are supporting the present Amendment, are anxious to escape. It all costs money. The more schools to be inspected, the more money will be spent. Over and over again on other Clauses I have got up at the risk of boring my right hon. Friend to dwell on the fact that if the Bill is to be brought in the cost of it is the very first of all considerations, for not even education, or indeed anything else, can be done irrespective of cost. At the present moment the parents take the greatest interest in the secondary schools in the education of their children. They visit their children at school, they watch their career, they are interested in all they do, and in their children they live over again their school 1969 lives. All that is exceptionally interesting and valuable, and tends to prolong the type of Englishman of which we have always been proud, and who, I believe, is quite as good a man as will be turned out in the new world which we are to have here in future. I have a great many letters protesting that the effect of this Clause will be to introduce a sort of German principle. I do not know that that is any recommendation at the present time. I do not think we want to copy the Germans or anyone else. In Heaven's name, let us stick to our own great public schools, our own private schools, and our own Government State-aided schools! Let the State-aided schools be frankly and openly put on a totally different footing to the others. I do not want to see the claws of the State extended to clutch everything, least of all in the realms of education, where individuality is absolutely priceless, and once lost can never be regained. I understand—my right hon. Friend will confer a favour on me if he will say whether I am right or wrong—that at present our great public schools are inspected if they themselves ask for such inspection.
§ Sir J. D. REES
Nobody can object to the voluntary principle, but such voluntary inspection is a very different thing to an inspection coming through a cast-iron law like this. I understood that the case was as the right hon. Gentleman said, but I do not think that impairs the argument which I have ventured to submit to the Committee, and believing that there is a great deal of good in our system and that its individuality is its greatest merit, I beg my right hon. Friend to accept the Amendment of the hon. Baronet, or if—which is a way Ministers have, and is one which I heartily admire in them except when I happen to disagree with them—he is going to stick to his own and will not accept my hon. Friend's, I hope he will eliminate from his Amendment "under arrangements approved by the Board of Education" If 1970 he will do that, I believe he will capture the votes of the whole of the Committee and will get his Clause through rapidly.
§ Mr. FISHER
I will very gladly respond to the challenge in the last part of the diverting and brilliant speech of the hon. Member (Sir J. D. Rees). I shall be very glad to make a slight change in my Amendment. For "arrangements approved by the Board of Education" I would accept the following words "under Regulations reached after consultation with the Board of Education." I think that that substantially meets the point which my hon. Friend has raised, and if the Committee will accept those words I will be glad to substitute them.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I listened very attentively to the hon. Gentleman's remarks, and would be very much obliged if he would tell me what is the difference between "under arrangements approved by the Board of Education" and "under arrangements reached after consultation with the Board of Education"? Surely they are substantially the same words?
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
They are exactly the same thing. Will the Board of Education have to approve of them finally?
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I have studied the Clause very carefully and I cannot see any difference. This is more than a point of mere words. Nobody is for a moment saying anything against the Board of Education or against the universities in undertaking this work. But it is from the point of view of education generally, and more especially from the point of view of schools, that nothing is less desirable than to have what the President called a single standard of efficiency, and the object of this Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for the University of London is not to assist the universities or anything of that kind, but to give the people interested in education—small schools and parents and children—the opportunity of going before some other tribunal than the Board of Education. If you have the Board of Education saying to the university, "We wish inspections carried out in this particular way"—as the right hon. 1971 Gentleman pointed out, it may be a question of space or cubic feet, for ventilation, or this, that, or the other thing—you are in danger of introducing the single standard of efficiency which is the very thing that would be a difficulty in the way of education. I support the Member for London University in this, because it is the beginning of a series of Amendments here. It is undesirable that the Board of Education should be the one and only arbiter of efficiency in the schools. I am not in favour of the university in particular. If you put in any other tribunal I would equally as soon have it. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the high degrees and other qualifications of the inspectors of the Board of Education, but they do work together, and there is a danger of stereotyping a type of education. It applies equally to us who have been to certain public schools. There is no doubt we have stereotyped a particular type, and we think it better than others. To that extent we are mistaken. It is a mistake to put into the hands of any particular body the power of determining what is efficient. I should equally oppose this, if the Clause, instead of being as it is now, provided that it should be in the power of one university or in the power of any one body to determine what is efficiency. I am quite sure the Member for London University will not take a Division on this point, but, if he did, I would support him. This is simply a detail in a Bill in which we are all interested. I hold a different view from the right hon. Gentleman on this point, and I am sure that he will not take it as an offence either to him or the Board of Education or the policy of the Government, but I think that the form which is suggested by the Member for London University is certainly the best one.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
While my sympathies on the general question are with my hon. and learned Friend opposite, yet I do not agree with him in condemning so strongly the proposal made by the President of the Board of Education. I think that practically it goes a very long way to meet the difficulties that have been suggested. There is a great difference between arrangements approved by the Board of Education and Regulations adopted after consultation with the Board of Education. That difference is all the greater when you look at the real history of this question practically. I happen to have had in 1972 Scotland a very long experience of this inspection of secondary schools. We have had it for more than thirty years. The universities had for many years taken up this work and carried it out, and I am surprised that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Cambridge University thought that universities would scout this and would not take it up.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I did not mean that. What I meant was that they were not anxious about it. It was not on behalf of the universities that I was supporting this Amendment, but on behalf of the teachers and the taught. I have no instructions to speak on behalf of the universities in this matter.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
The main point is that the universities have carried on this work for a generation in Scotland. Here I join issue with the right hon. Gentleman. He told us that it was a great deal better to have whole-time inspectors appointed by, and acting under, the direction of the Board of Education rather than part-time inspectors, such as are got in universities. The experience in Scotland is precisely the opposite. The Board of Education had to go to the universities and ask the university men to take part-time work only, and they never appointed any permanent or whole-time inspector during the whole course of this work for some thirty-five years. They worked it entirely through the universities or men of university standing. That was an immense advantage. It gave variety and prevented the cast-iron bureaucratic hand from interfering with these schools. I trust, if the Board of Education takes up the work, that they will be sparing of putting it into the hands of whole-time men, who form part of the official machinery. The right hon. Gentleman would do far better if he used part-time men belonging to the universities or of university standing. There is another practical matter to which I would like to draw the attention of the President The fact is that inspection and approval of schools by the university are already permitted by the War Council. Schools from where instruction is given for those who are to take positions in the Army are inspected by the universities just as well as those that are inspected by the Board of Education. Many of the most valuable schools are those which are inspected and examined by the university and not by the Board of Education at all. I am rather disposed to favour the com- 1973 promise proposed by the President, but he will not think because of that I am not in favour of the university system of inspection of schools. On the contrary, I am convinced that every centre of our educational life should have as its chief characteristic great vitality and variety, and that a higher ideal should be given to it by linking it, so far as possible, with the university life of the country. I am perfectly certain with that as the aim, we shall work out the real object which we all have at heart in this Bill.
You cannot make a real and vital organisation of education if you are to have it running in channels prescribed by a mere bureau. The universities may be right or wrong, or may be good or bad; if they are bad, let us hope they may be improved. You cannot have a system which is entirely effectual if it is not largely inspired at its very centre by the higher ideals and education of our universities. It is for that reason that I sympathise entirely with the two hon. Members for Cambridge University who have spoken, and with the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London. For the vital life of education I think there ought to be a system of university inspection, and, here and there, if our university inspection does not meet all cases, supplemented by Board of Education inspection. But I would have the university part of the inspection kept free and independent, and not trammelled by the mere official dictum. I hope that the words indicated by the President will not merely have the effect of prescribing or arranging for university inspection, but will afford an opportunity for the Board and the university to come into consultation as to what is desirable, but not that the one should prescribe the steps to be taken by the other. It is in that sense I take his words, and that is the sense which I have found, from my own experience in Scotland, leads to practical and satisfactory results. There should be no dictation to the university, but the university should carry out its work, and be in constant touch and consultation, with a view to arriving at an understanding with the Department. It is because I hope something of that kind will be worked out by the words indicated by the President, that I propose to accept it as a fairly satisfactory compromise.
§ Mr. P. A. HARRIS
I hope that the President of the Board of Education will 1974 not allow himself to be too much influenced by the representatives of the universities, who made such very eloquent appeals to him to accept the Amendment on the Paper. They have been so persuasive that the right hon. Gentleman, if he will allow me to say so, has weakened a little bit and already made a concession. My own opinion is that the Amendment on the Paper strikes at the very heart of the object of the Bill, as explained on its introduction, it aims at setting up a national system of education. It is against that the Amendment strikes, because it would take out of the power of the Board of Education inspection as to the suitability of the syllabus of private institutions, or schools generally known as public schools. In other words, it would set up a system of privileged schools outside the national system. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] I take it the schools provided by the taxpayers and ratepayers to which ordinary common folk have to send their children will be subject, first to the inspection of the education authority, that is the county council or the council of the municipal borough, and then the Board of Education. But the private schools for children of the well-to-do, will be able to select their own system of inspection and will go to the universities for inspection. I am familiar with our educational system in large centres like London, and that system allows considerable elasticity; there is no stereotyped methods, and the elasticity which prevails allows of a great variety of type. My experience of great public schools and of private schools is that, far from being elastic in their methods, they are stereotyped, they are conventional, they adhere to old forms, and they are much less liable to change and to accept new ideas than are the schools provided by the State and supported by the education authorities, and the universities have not shown themselves very prone to welcome innovations. On the contrary, they have always proved—and I say it with regret as a member of one of the old universities—most reactionary bodies. It is with a very bad grace that universities come forward and ask for special treatment, and that they should have the privilege of inspecting schools as an alternative to the Board of Education on the ground that the Board of Education is likely to be bureaucratic and old-fashioned when they themselves have consistently opposed a change in their old syllabus and obstructed the abolition of compulsory Greek. If we 1975 want newer methods and more elasticity in our education, far from taking the great middle-class school out of the national system, we should insist that they should come in and get the advantage of new ideas that the Board of Education has always shown itself ready to welcome, because the Board of Education is responsible to this House, and this House can bring pressure to bear upon the Board through the ordinary channels and see that their methods are changed. The universities are practically a law unto themselves, going on on the old conservative lines, and doing magnificent work in the cause of study and education, but not at all the kind of authorities you want to have charged with the great business of building up a great system of national education.
If it is really true, as has been suggested by one or two speakers, that the inspectors are inclined to be bureaucratic in their methods, then, I say, you ought to have a change in our inspection system, but if the inspectors are good enough to inspect the ordinary secondary schools of the people, then they ought to be good enough to inspect the schools of the better classes. My own opinion is that the ordinary parents who send their boys to private or public schools might welcome this change. They have no guarantee at present that their children are getting a thoroughly modern and up-to-date system of education. On the contrary, the complaint of the ordinary parent is that, unless his boy is brilliant, although he may have his character built up, and although he may get the benefit of a great public school tradition, he does not get the advantage of a thoroughly modern education such as is obtained at the ordinary secondary schools provided by the municipal authorities and the State. I hope the President will remain firm and not even make the concession that he proposes to make. I hope at any rate that he will resist the Amendment on the Paper in the name of the Member for London University (Sir P. Magnus). There is nothing, in my opinion, that more wants reforming and bringing into line than the schools of the well-to-do. There is nothing which has more broken down of late than the training of the great captains of industry and the men who ought to be the leaders of public thought, and that is because our private schools and our public schools have remained outside the general 1976 progress of educational thought. It is true that some progress has been made in the teaching of science and the introduction of modern methods, but much remains to be done. Some of the more up-to-date public schools, as the President has said, have gone to the Board of Education and asked for the advantage of the inspection of the Board, and I believe that both Harrow and Rugby esteem the advantage of having that inspection of the Board of Education, which is in touch with all the latest experiments in education and knows the general trend of educational thought. In moving an Amendment later on, which I hope the President will accept, suggesting that not only should these schools, if they are to be inspected by the universities—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Sir D. Maclean)
We have already discussed an Amendment at the bottom of the next page for the last three-quarters of an hour, and I really cannot have another Amendment brought in. It is very doubtful as to whether I ought to have allowed the Debate to take the scope it has, because it has trended to the Amendment on the next page rather than to the Amendment before the Committee. I hope that any hon. Member who takes a further point in the Debate will realise the amount of latitude that has already been allowed.
§ Mr. MARRIOTT
I should like to say one word in reply to the speech we have just heard from the other side of the House. It seemed to me to be entirely an unprovoked attack on the Public School and University system.
§ Mr. FISHER
On a point of Order, Sir. Surely we are discussing the Amendment of the hon. Member behind me, which is simply confined to one narrow point, and that is whether the university inspection is qualified to exempt students who attend a particular school from the obligation of attending continuation classes, and I submit that a general discussion such as we have listened to is outside the scope of the Amendment.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I should be very glad, indeed, to take that view, but unfortunately the President himself rather prevented my exercising my authority in the matter, because it was he who suggested the acceptance of an Amendment to his own Amendment which rather prevented me taking the line I should like to have taken. I think it is now the general 1977 feeling of the Committee that the Debate has gone rather widely, and I hope we shall keep very strictly to the rules of ordinary Debate.
§ Mr. MARRIOTT
I understand that I shall not now be in Order in replying to the speech to which the Committee have listened from the other side of the House, and if it is your ruling, Sir, of course I entirely bow to it, and desire to address myself for a few minutes to the speech which was made by the hon. Baronet who moved this Amendment. The Committee have heard a number of very distinguished representatives of very distinguished universities in the last hour and a half. I desire to say quite clearly that I do not speak in any sense at all on behalf of the universities. I am not qualified to speak technically on their behalf, and in saying what I have to say I say it not in the least from the point of view of the universities, but entirely from the point of view of the schools. It is not by the universities that I have been, if I may use the term, briefed on this occasion. I am not aware that the universities desire to have thrust upon them the duty of inspection. In fact, both the distinguished representative of the University of London and the equally distinguished representative of the University of Cambridge have already disclaimed, as I understand, on behalf of those universities, any desire in this matter to usurp functions which the Board of Education may desire to keep in their own hands. It is not, then, from the point of view of the universities that we are discussing this question, but since this Amendment was placed on the Paper I have received a very large number of representations from schools and from other distinguished persons on behalf of the schools and the parents, most strongly supporting the Amendment which has been moved by the Member for the University of London, and I promised that if the opportunity offered that Amendment should have my support. I desire to support it because all through this Bill—a Bill of which the Committee know very well I not only strongly but enthusiastically approve—I have perceived, as I thought, lurking behind many of the provisions of a Bill which is on the whole an admirable one, a very real and very great danger, and that is the danger of exclusive bureaucratic control on the part of the Board of Education. I desire 1978 to say again, as I have said over and over again, that for the present Board of Education I have the highest possible respect. It is enlightened. What the hon. Member most unfairly denies to the universities, I do not deny to the Board of Education—it is progressive, as the universities are progressive, and it is sympathetic, as the universities are sympathetic, to every new experiment in education. Why, the whole of the beginning of the improvement of secondary education in England arose from the action of the University of Oxford in 1858, under the leadership of Bishop Temple and Sir Thomas Acland, whose names will always be honoured in this House and in connection with education in England! We should not have been now discussing this matter but for the action of the University of Oxford in inaugurating the examination of secondary schools.
I do feel very strongly that the present Board of Education is as sympathetic and enlightened as it can be, and, when I add that many of its enlightened officials are personal friends of my own, I am sure the Committee will understand that no better testimonial can be desired. But, in all seriousness, I have a very high respect for the Board. Still, I am not prepared to hand over the whole education of this country, lock, stock, and barrel, to the Board of Education. On the other hand, I do think it is very desirable that you should have some outside control for your schools, both elementary and secondary, or, at any rate, outside inspection. I do not think it is desirable that any school should be the final judge of its own efficiency, and to that extent I entirely agree with the President of the Board of Education. I think—and here I agree with my hon. Friend opposite who was so unkind to the universities—that it must be obvious that schools which receive, as do the schools in which he appears to be principally interested, public subventions, either from taxes or from rates, should be amenable to the authority from whom the subventions are derived. But there are thousands of schools, public and private, which neither receive nor desire to receive any subvention, direct or indirect, from the State or from the locality, and I desire that those schools should remain.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. MARRIOTT
There are many schools which have no endowments. I am 1979 speaking of many schools which have neither endowments nor subventions, nor taxes or rates. What do they ask? They ask very strongly indeed, and especially in connection with the Amendment moved by the hon. Baronet, for a reasonable degree of liberty to conduct their own business in their own way; and I hope that they will be allowed to conduct their own business in their own way to that extent, and that they will conduct it—and this is the point I really want to make—in very different ways, and under the inspection and approval of different educational expert authorities. I should deem it a very great misfortune if the Board of Education were in any way at all deprived of its function of inspection. I entirely agree that there is nothing which in recent years some of the great public schools have done better for themselves and for their pupils and for the State which they serve than to invite the inspection of the Board of Education. I entirely approve of that action, and I hope it may be very much extended in time; but equally I desire that other schools should have liberty of choice in this matter, that they should not be compelled to go for their inspection to the Board of Education, and that just as the public schools desire and invite the assistance of the Board of Education, so other schools should be permitted to invite the inspection of the universities. It is not the universities who desire to thrust their inspection on them. It is the schools who desire to place themselves under the inspection of the universities, and that is all for which in this Amendment we are asking. It is for liberty, for variety, for elasticity; and may I just recall to the Committee those very wise words of the last great Commission into our secondary educational system? Education, they said, is a thing too intimately concerned with individual preference and private life for it to be desirable to throw the whole of it under Government control. In the public service, where the chief object is administrative efficiency, the individual officer is necessarily subordinate. In education, where the chief object is the discovery of more perfect methods, the individual teacher must be left comparatively free. Freedom, variety, elasticity have been the merits which go far to redeem the defects in English education, and they must at all hazards be preserved.
§ Sir P. MAGNUS
I am sorry that the President of the Board of Education, after realising the feeling of the Committee, did not find himself in a position to accept the Amendment in my name in the terms placed on the Paper. But we could not fail to realise from his speech that he was in full sympathy with the object of the Amendment, and he has consented, when his Amendment comes on for consideration, to vary the words to which strong objection was taken, namely, "under arrangements approved by the Board of Education" to these words "under regulations made by the inspecting body after consultation with the Board." I should be very sorry indeed to be compelled to divide the Committee on an Amendment proposed by myself, and therefore, on the understanding that the President will move the Amendment in the terms suggested, I desire to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. CAUTLEY
Do you rule, Mr. Deputy-Chairman, that it is impossible to raise the question altogether whether the 280 hours a year is the sole form of continuation education that is going to be allowed?
§ Sir H. CRAIK
I beg to move, in Subsection (3, ii.), to leave out the wordsfor a number of hours in the year (being hours during which, if not exempted, ho might be required to attend continuation schools) equal to the number of hours dining which a young person is required under this Act to attend a continuation school.The reason I move this Amendment is because I think that in a very large number of cases education might be given which should be thoroughly efficient and would satisfy the parents, and given in a way which it would not be possible, I think, to object to. Suppose a parent sends his son, whom he is desirous of learning a language, somewhere where he is constantly in touch with those speaking that language. It would be impossible to measure that instruction by the number of hours during which instruction might 1981 be given in a class. At the same time it might be a thoroughly efficient education, and the fact that it was efficient and satisfactory, whatever the manner of the tuition, should be a sufficient answer to the requirement as to attending a certain number of hours at a continuation school. The Sub-section as it stands introduces certain qualifications which I think would be better left out.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Herbert Lewis)
The effect of the Amendment of my hon. Friend would be that a young person who was shown to the satisfaction of the local education authority to be under suitable and efficient part-time instruction in some other manner than that proposed would be exempt from the obligation to attend a continuation school, and it would not be necessary that the alternative part-time instruction should occupy the number of hours in the year, whether 280 or 320, which is prescribed in the Bill; there would be a further effect that the instruction might be given between the hours of seven in the evening and eight in the morning. I am sure my hon. Friend will at once see that it would be quite impossible to accept an Amendment of this character. We have already decided that these schools are to be day continuation schools, and we could not possibly make an exception to the effect that the work might be done in the evening. Young people who are hard at work all day cannot be supposed, under the compulsory provisions, to attend school in the evening, nor is it desirable that they should be allowed to escape from the obligations to attend school in the daytime by attending schools late at night. It Is absolutely essential to the framework of the Bill that the obligations which we impose should be of a universal character. I feel sure that great discontent would be occasioned if some young persons, for example, by paying fees at a private school or otherwise, should escape from the obligation which is laid upon them by the Bill. I fear that the effect of accepting the Amendment would be the starting of a large number of private schools, at which it would be impossible to say whether or not the education was adequate or of an effective character. For this and other reasons to which I have alluded, we should, by accepting the Amendment, make a great departure from the principle of the Bill.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
Of course, I do not wish to give any help or encouragement to vices such as those enumerated by the right hon. Gentleman. But I should have liked him to deal more fully with the case I have put. However, I see his difficulty, and I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. LEWIS
I beg to move after Subsection (3), to insert,(4) Where a school supplying secondary education is inspected by a British university, or in Wales by the Central Welsh Board, under Regulations made by the inspecting body after consultation with the Board of Education, and the inspecting body reports to the Board of Education that the school makes satisfactory provision for the education of the scholars, a young person who is attending, or has attended, such a school shall be entitled to such exemption as ho would be entitled to under this Section if he were attending, or had attended, a school recognised by the Board of Education as efficient.
§ Sir W. DICKINSON
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, after the word "education" ["Board of Education, and"], to insert the words "and the local education authority." I had hoped that the President or his representatives on the Treasury Bench would be able to accept this Amendment, and I had also hoped that the hon. Member who has just carried his point on behalf of the University of London, especially, would also be able to agree with the suggestion contained in my Amendment, put down, as it was, at the earnest request of the London County Council. Let me state shortly the views of that body. The proposal has been changed, and it now is proposed that these secondary schools and private schools should be inspected in London by the University of London, and in accordance with arrangements made by the Board of Education upon the application of the university as the inspection body. That will set up—particularly in regard to London, because that is the case which is known to me, and it is on behalf of the county council I am speaking—a kind of dual system in education in London which will be very disadvantageous to the public interest, and which will upset what for many years has been a most satisfactory system, the co-ordination of education by the authorities concerned. Under the Act of 1892 the county council is the authority for the county, and is, I believe, charged with the 1983 co-ordinating of all kinds of education within the area. As the Committee is aware the operation of carrying on secondary education has now for thirty years been, and is, very widely carried out by the education authority. I am glad to say that this work has been satisfactory; so much so that the county councils, as a matter of fact, contribute to the funds of the university and subscribe considerable sums every year for the purpose of endowing certain chairs of science. That process has gone on with the greatest success, and the London County Council are very anxious not to support a system under which any schools in London will be inspected by an authority other than by the Board of Education and without consultation with the local authorities. I did not say anything on the last Amendment because I felt that there was a great need for bringing in the assistance of the universities, but if this assistance is to be brought in behind the back, so to speak, of the local authorities I believe it will be very disadvantageous, because it is most desirable that the Board of Education, the universities, and the local education authorities should act with the utmost unison in regard to all these matters. The hon. Member for the University of London has served on the Technical Education Committee, and, with his assistance, we started a successful system of co-operation and co-ordination with those authorities, and I hope he will not object to this modest demand. All we ask is that when the university submits its regulations to the Board of Education that they shall consult the local authorities before submitting those regulations. This is not intended to embarrass the work of the university, but it is intended to bring all those authorities together so that the general work of education in London and elsewhere may not suffer.
§ Sir P. MAGNUS
I should be only too pleased to support any Amendment which comes from the representative of the London education authorities, a body in regard to which the University of London stands in most intimate relationship, and from which they derive very important subventions. I do not think my right hon. Friend has considered the difficulty there would be in agreeing to this Amendment. He speaks of local education authorities but I should like to know to which he refers. The London University at present examines a very large number of 1984 schools in Surrey, Kent, and Middlesex, and possibly in other counties. I expect other universities will also examine other schools in other counties. The right hon. Gentleman surely cannot suppose that after a university has consulted with the Board of Education they should also be willing to consult each of these different local authorities in whose areas schools are inspected, and in regard to which they might have to introduce separate regulations for the schools in the case of these different education authorities! I feel certain, if my right hon. Friend considered the practical difficulties attending the proposal he has made, he would see that whereas, certainly in London, the University of London would be most happy to know what might be the wishes of the local education, authority with regard to the inspection of their schools, I think he will realise, having regard to the fact that nearly every university will examine schools under more than one education authority, the difficulty of acceding to his Amendment would be practically insuperable. I therefore trust that he will be willing to accept the proposed Amendment of the President of the Board of Education in the terms in which it stands, and I hope he will not divide the Committee on this Amendment. I need scarcely say that nothing is more difficult to me than to oppose any proposal that comes from the London education authority.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
My right hon. Friend who proposed this Amendment and my hon. Friend have discussed this matter as if it solely related to the London University. That is an utter misrepresentation of the position, because it would involve Oxford, Cambridge, or any university in England, and they would have to consult any small education authority in the district in which they happened to inspect the schools. I have not the same close attachment for the London education authority as the hon. Member for the London University. I happen to be on the governing body of several secondary schools in London, and I should be very sorry indeed, from my experience of the Education Committee of the London County Council, to have a system of inspection entirely regulated by the consent of the London Education Committee. That is all I will say for that point as a member of the governing body of more than one secondary school throughout London. I do not think that the educa- 1985 tional views of the London County Council Education Committee always coincided with those of the Board of Education. However that may be, I do not want to discuss this question from the point of view solely of the London County Council or of the schools in the London district. As it stands on the Paper, the Amendment to the Amendment would mean that every university would have to consult any petty local authority before it could inspect any school in its area, and that is a position to which I could not consent.
§ Mr. ROBERTS
I put it to the Board of Education that this Amendment might very well be accepted. It seems to have been argued that there should be one regulation for each inspection, but I cannot think that that is what the words imply. The Regulations have to be made by the inspecting body after consultation with the Board of Education, and the Mover of this Amendment also suggests after consultation with the local education authority. That would not mean that in each school they have to make a separate set of regulations. The inspecting body would draw up one set of regulations, send them to the Board of Education, and also send them to the local education authorities affected, and I think that would conduce to co-ordination.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
Does the hon. Gentleman mean that the inspecting authority should send its arrangements to every local education authority throughout the country in the district in which it happens to inspect the schools?
§ Mr. ROBERTS
Not its arrangements but its regulations. It makes general regulations for the inspection of the school, and I should have thought that it would not have been a very difficult job. It may be that I do not fully appreciate the practical or administrative difficulties, but personally I think there is a good deal to be said for the inspection of schools by the universities, and that you would have it accepted much more readily if the local education authorities had some chance of seeing what are the regulations. After all, the inspecting body has to make them only after consultation. It hears the representations of the local education authority as it will hear those of the Board of Education itself.
§ Mr. ROBERTS
What is the difficulty? After all, it sends its regulations to the local education authority where the schools are. It then hears what the local education authority has to say. After all, they are concerned with the education in their area, and I do not think it is a very extravagant claim. I should have thought that it was a reasonable claim which might be met.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
There are so many local education authorities in a county, and they might have totally different views. How long would it take them, after consultation, to get all the authorities to agree on one set of regulations, and how long would the correspondence be that the university would have to have with all these local education authorities before they got them to agree to a common agreement?
§ Sir E. JONES
I really think my right hon. Friend ought to accept this Amendment. The things begin with the local education authority in every case. First of all, a school will apply to the local education authority, and will suggest that the instructions there given is efficient enough for this compulsory attendance of children which is now extended beyond the present elementary school age. The local education authority will go into the matter with the school, and, if they cannot agree and the local education authority says "No, we do not consider your instruction efficient," then, and then only, does this other point arise, and there is an appeal, and what these gentlemen want is that in case of such an appeal the school shall be subject to inspection by the university rather than by the Board of Education alone.
§ Sir E. JONES
Certainly there can be a scheme drawn up for the inspection of the schools, after consultation with the Board of Education, by a university in place of the Board of Education itself. That is what has been decided. I cannot see what the objection is to consulting the local education authority with whom the negotiations took place in the first instance. The information will be there, the authority will have been through it, and you will probably deal with one whole block of schools within the first few months of the Act coming into operation. The whole thing will be settled one way or the other, and you will have finished 1987 the whole business. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir H. Craik) talks about petty education authorities. These are not petty education authorities. They are in every case the county council. You will have to deal with them for the whole of the schools in their area, probably at one bite.
§ Mr. FISHER
I feel myself unable to accept the Amendment, for the reasons that have been stated so clearly and cogently by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Scottish University (Sir H. Craik). If it is desirable—and I think it is desirable—that the university should be associated with the Board of Education in the way of inspection, then that task should not be too much encumbered by discipline. The Amendment proposed by the hon. Member would place unnecessary difficulties in the way of the university in the discharge of their function. After all, the universities have a very wide diocese. Their academic jurisdiction extends over a considerable number of local education authorities. In the case of Oxford and Cambridge it extends over the whole country, and I think it would be too much to demand that the university should enter into consultation with all the local education authorities whose schools might be affected by their inspection.
§ Mr. HARRIS
The London County Council attaches considerable importance to the introduction of the words moved by my right hon. Friend the Member for North St. Pancras (Sir W. Dickinson). I quite appreciate the difficulty, but what the county council feel—and the London County Council is typical of every educational authority, is that they are responsible for providing the necessary education within the area under their control. They have to see that there is the necessary variety and proper opportunities, and they feel, and rightly feel, that they should be in a position to know what educational facilities are being given by private institutions and by institutions under the control of any private trust or organisation. Personally, I think the case might be met if the President of the Board could give some undertaking that the university making these inspections would keep the local authorities fully versed in what they are doing, in the results of their inspections, and the kinds of education being provided by these private schools. There 1988 is a very strong case that there should be no part of the educational system in a particular area outside the cognisance of the local authority responsible for the administration of education in that area. Some sort of concession is necessary. I am very anxious not to obstruct the passage of the Bill and I know what a big task the right hon. Gentleman has. If he could give some sort of undertaking that he would in the form of an administrative Order or by inserting some words in the Bill meet this strong case, I think it would be a good thing.
§ Mr. FISHER
I think that is an entirely reasonable request, and I can give the undertaking that the local education authority shall certainly be kept in touch with the results of the inspection.
§ Sir W. DICKINSON
This discussion has only convinced me that the right hon. Gentleman has made a very great mistake in acceding to the demands of the universities that they should have this right. You are going to divide the educational inspection. You are going to have the university inspection of the school as well as the Board of Education inspection, and that will be a most disastrous thing for education. That is the reason why I had hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would see his way, at any rate so far as the Statute goes, to bring these three authorities together, and, although I quite understand that he suggests that the local authorities should be kept in touch, that does not put them in the position in which they desire to be placed, and in which they would have the same voice or consultation when these very important matters are being considered. I regret very much that we are departing from the principle of the Education Act of 1902, when undoubtedly the county council was established as the authority for co-ordinating all kinds of education. It is under that authority that the London County Council, for which I have spoken, has done such magnificent work. I believe it has been done by many of the other big authorities, and I believe it could be done all over the country. I do not believe there is any such practical difficulty as was foreshadowed by my right hon. Friend (Sir H. Craik) that would render it impossible. I regret that this course has been adopted by the President of the Board of Education.
§ Amendment to proposed Amendment negatived.
§ Proposed words there inserted.1989
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The next Amendment, standing in the name of the hon. Member for West Nottingham (Sir J. Yoxall), cannot come in here, as it refers to the establishment of continuation schools. That should have been raised on Clause 3. Perhaps the hon. Member will deal with it on Report.
§ Sir J. YOXALL
Perhaps the Amendment would be put in order if I altered the word "establishment" to "continuing." All that I wish to do is to obtain an assurance from the President of the Board of Education that nothing will be done to prevent the continuance of evening continuation schools now in existence. It is a matter of great importance. One wants to conserve to the willing student now attending evening schools the right to do so in future. Perhaps the President will give mo the assurance I require, in which case I will not press my Amendment.
§ Sir J. YOXALL
I beg to move, in Subsection (3), after the words last inserted, to add the words,Provided that nothing under this Section shall be construed as preventing the continuing of continuation schools or classes held after the hour of seven in the evening, when attendance is voluntary, and in the case of scholars under the age of eighteen is in excess of the 280 hours required by this Act.
§ Mr. LEWIS
My hon. Friend is under the apprehension that something in this Sub-section may be construed as preventing the continuance of continuation schools after the hour of seven in the evening where attendance is voluntary. I can give him an assurance to the effect that nothing in this Sub-section can be so construed and that he is under an entire misapprehension.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The next Amendment, standing in the name of the hon. Member for Mid-Lanark (Mr. White-house)—[In Sub-section (3), at the end, to add the wordsProvided always that no young person shall be required by his employers or by a local education authority to attend any school or classes held at or in connection with the place of his employment as a discharge of the obligation imposed upon him under this Section."]—should come at the end of Sub-section (6).
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I did not call on the hon. Member to move that Amendment, which should come up on the Interpretation Clause.
§ Mr. PETO
I beg to move, in Subsection (4), to leave out the word "Board" ["represents to the Board"], and to insert instead thereof the words "local education authority." I move this Amendment for the purpose of taking our, of this Sub-section what appears to me to be a wholly vicious principle, namely, that the Board of Education is to be the sole judge in its own cause, and that the parent who wishes to prove that his child is receiving an efficient education at some other school or educational institution can only approach the local education authority and that the only sort of court of appeal is the Board of Education. It will be, perhaps, to the advantage of the Committee if I were to read the Sub-section as it would stand with the insertion of the various Amendments that I have down on the Paper. Sub-section (4) will read as follows:If a young person, who is or has been in any school or educational institution, or the parent of any such person, represents to the local education authority—That is what I propose, not to the Board—that the young person is entitled to exemption under the provisions of this Section, or that the obligations imposed by this Section does not apply to him, by reason that he is or has been under suitable and efficient instruction—Here I propose to insert the words:or that attendance at a continuation school would be prejudicial to his commercial, industrial, or agricultural training or a hindrance to his career, and the local education authority refuses to accept the instruction or representation as satisfactory, the local education authority may proceed against the young person or the parent or guardian of the young person, and if the court is satisfied that the representation is well founded, it shall make an order declaring that the young person is exempt from the obligation to attend a continuation school unedr this Act for such period and subject to such conditions as may be named in the order.1991 It will be clear to the Committee that what I want is to maintain the right of the parent or the other person responsible for the young person in such a vital question as this—at any rate the right of a parent, if he believes that he is having his child taught in a manner that is perfectly efficient, perhaps in a manner including religious instruction of a special kind to which he attaches great importance, not that that person should only be able to go to the Board of Education and that the Board of Education should be the sole judge, but that they should proceed much in the same way as they can in other educational matters now, namely, that the parent or guardian should go to the local education authority, and the local education authority, if it is not satisfied with the representation made by the parent or guardian, can bring an ordinary action in a court of law—petty sessions—and leave it to a man of the world, such as a petty sessions magistrate is, to decide whether or not on general grounds the education is a reasonable equivalent to the continuation education provided in the Bill. After all, what is the Board of Education? Does anybody suppose that the President or any of the eminent people at the head of the Board of Education will ever give a moment's consideration to a case brought forward by some individual parent with regard to the schooling that his particular child is receiving? The question of efficient instruction other than that given in an elementary school is now decided on a summons for non-attendance. It is proposed in the Bill that the Board of Education shall decide the point, and it would be on the initiation of the local education authority that the matter would be raised and it would be left to the Board of Education to be judge in its own case. May I give the Committee a typical example? Let me take the case of a widowed lady who desires to give tuition herself to her own child. The Committee will remember that there are such eases, and that there are women in this country who are quite as capable of educating their own female children and giving them an efficient education as any schoolmistress in the country. How can she possibly proceed to the Board of Education? The term "Board of Education" I hold to be a mere fiction. The Board consists, of course, of Cabinet Ministers, 1992 and if it ever meets at all, which is extremely doubtful, it is not to be conceived that it would sit in judgment in Whitehall on any such question as this. What would really happen in actual routine would be that some subordinate would act as examiner into the matter, and would report to headquarters, and such report, being returned as a matter of course, would receive a sort of ratifying stamp, and a similar course would no doubt be followed by an official of the local education authority, and the one would agree with the other. The moment you remove the right of final access to the Court in such a matter as the education of the child and the parental authority over the child you not only get into a bureaucracy, but you set up your Board of Education practically as an autocratic star chamber. Educational tyranny is felt sufficiently strong now when education stops at the age of thirteen, and when, as in this Clause, you propose to carry it up to eighteen, and when you say to the parent "280 hours a year is the absolute minimum, and we are not going to consider apprenticeships or any scheme you have for the advancement of your child, though you are giving it what you think is the best education," that is not the way to get this accepted by the country, because the very first thing which would occur to everyone is that, whatever this Education Bill may do, at any rate it removes an inherent liberty which the British subject has hitherto regarded with great pride.
§ Mr. LEWIS
The hon. Member has suggested the substitution of the local education authority in this matter, but I will put it to him that it would be absurd to make the local education authority the authority to appeal to as against the local education authority. Obviously an appeal of that character ought to go to the Board of Education.
§ Mr. LEWIS
But the hon. Member says that the local education authority in a matter of this kind would be the judge in its own cause. Why should it be regarded as the judge in its own cause? The local education authority, after all, has a responsibility to the public as a whole. It represents the public as a whole, and that being the case it has duties to perform under the public eye and under a sense of public responsibility, and there is no reason to suppose that the local 1993 education authority would act in otherwise than an impartial way. But if it is regarded by any person claiming exemption under the provisions of this Clause as acting in a partial manner it is proposed that the appeal should lie to the Board of Education. The appeal is upon the question of whether the alternative instruction is suitable and efficient or not. The Board of Education is the proper authority to decide whether that alternative instruction is suitable and efficient. Something was said when Clause 8, Sub-section (3), was passing through the Committee with regard to the qualification of benches of magistrates to decide upon the efficiency of elementary schools. Whatever the difficulties may be in that respect, surely they are very much enhanced when magistrates are asked to decide whether a class imparting higher education is suitable or efficient from an educational point of view. It is for the educational authority to come to a decision of that kind. In dealing with Clause 8, Sub-section (3), we were, after all, dealing with a system which was in existence. In dealing with this Subsection we are dealing with a new subject, and I hope the Committee, in starting this new system, will enable us to determine the question of the efficiency and suitability of the school by a body which is capable of forming an accurate judgment upon the subject. A great deal has been said in past Debates with reference to the suitability of education. Apprehensions have been expressed lest education should be of too vocational a character. With every conceivable respect to benches of magistrates, especially in those parts of the country where there is no Labour representative at all upon these benches of magistrates, if the question came before them whether purely vocational instruction was suitable or not, I hardly think we should get from them such a decision as would be in accordance with the wishes which were expressed by a majority of the House upon this question. I trust, therefore, the Committee will not accept the proposal.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The right hon. Gentleman has said that in his opinion, and in the opinion of the Committee as a whole, there could be no doubt that the local education authorities would be impartial, and that they were subject to public opinion. I do not think it is a question as to whether they will be impartial but whether it is right that they should be 1994 judge and jury in their own case, because that is the position, in which the Clause as it stands puts them. After all, who are the local education authority? They are, in many cases, a sub-committee of the county council. They are people who have been chosen, probably, on account of their zeal with regard to education. Their natural desire, and certainly the desire of the officials, by whom in a great many cases they arc probably ruled, is to increase the sphere of their influence, and consequently they will be prone to consider that every school which is not under their authority is not efficient. Suppose they come to a decision with which the parent does not agree. To whom are they going to appeal? They are going to appeal to another education authority. We may have at present at the head of the Board of Education an extremely learned and impartial person who, if he looked into it, would very likely give a proper and fair decision; but it is not to be supposed that cither the Minister of Education or the right hon. Gentleman himself will go into all the details of John Smith, who objects to a decision given by a particular local education authority on the ground that his son is not being educated in a school which is efficient, It will be left to some official, who will naturally be influenced by what has always' influenced officials, and what is certainly influencing them at present—a desire to extend their authority and to magnify their office—and he will, of course, say, "In my opinion, the education is not efficient." The right hon. Gentleman objects to the decision of the magistrates because he says the magistrates probably will not come to a decision which is agreeable to the majority of the parents in the district. I do not know how he can say that. At any rate it is not the duty of the magistrates to give decisions which arc agreeable to the people, but decisions which are right. Again, he says that unless there is a Labour representative—he did not say this, but the implication was that the decision was bound to be wrong. I do not see why that should be so. I do not say that the present or the absence of a Labour representative will make a decision of any given bench of magistrates right or wrong. We hope that the bench, whoever composes it, will give a decision to the best of their ability. The ordinary bench of magistrates composed as they are at the present time, even without the assistance of Labour members, are made 1995 up of people who have some knowledge of the world and some knowledge of judging evidence. Many of them have been educated in the great public schools and the universities, and they are quite as capable of judging as any official, or even the right hon. Gentleman himself, whether a school is efficient or not. They can only form an opinion in the same way that the right hon. Gentleman forms an opinion and that is on the evidence brought before them. They will have the evidence brought before them, which will be given on oath, and they will be able to decide on that evidence whether the school is efficient. How will the Board of Education receive evidence? They have no power to administer an oath. They will only get a certain amount of evidence brought before them if they have a public inquiry, which is doubtful. May be a local education authority will send up a note to the Board of Education, which will be seen by an official and will be sent back saying that in his opinion the education is not efficient. What is the parent to do? He has no power of coming forward and saying that he desires to give evidence and to have the members of the local authority examined on oath as to the statement whether the education is efficient or not. He is merely put in the position of writing a letter to a Government Office and we all know what that means. The last place where you can get fair play from is a Government office. I do not say that they are viciously prejudiced, but they are not capable of weighing the evidence and become a judge and jury in their own case. No man is capable of that. I should be very sorry to put myself in the position of being judge and jury in my own case. Therefore my hon. Friend has a very good case and a very important case, and I trust that the Committee will consider it seriously before they reject his Amendment.
§ Sir H. HIBBERT
As the chairman of a county education authority, I should be extremely sorry to see cases of this description settled in a Court of Law. I have had as much experience of the Board of Education as anyone in this House, and I can safely trust to their jurisdiction. In my own county a case of this description would be most carefully sifted. It would be first dealt with by the autonomous department, subject, of course, to the jurisdiction of the county committee. It would be carefully sifted there and then 1996 by the parent committee, subject to the jurisdiction of the Board of Education, which, of course, is the proper course to adopt.
§ 10.0 p.m.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
No one doubts that in the case of the committee presided over by the hon. Member (Sir H. Hibbert) everything would be well, but the hon. Member will not be there for ever, and his committee will be changed, and we do not know what is going to take place, either in an election for this House or in an election for the county council. We are not legislating for the ideal state of affairs which exists in Lancashire in the educational authority presided over by the hon. Gentleman. You may happen in certain circumstances to come across a totally different state of affairs. A good deal of this Bill is not coming into operation for seven years. Who knows what is going to happen in seven years? Therefore to legislate merely because a certain education authority does its duty well is very dangerous.
I trust that the Amendment will not be accepted. The right hon. Member (Sir F. Banbury) seems to hold a brief for the lawyers now. He is not often one who takes up that attitude. This will mean an appeal to the lawyers, and such an appeal would come before a bench of magistrates, not one of whom has served on an education committee, and all of whom may be unacquainted with the facts of the case. This is purely an administrative act, and an administrative act which ought to lie in the hands of the education authority and no one else.
§ Mr. PETO
Having listened to the argument of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, I am not in the slightest degree convinced. I am, on the contrary, convinced that this is a brand-new departure and that you remove from the parent of the child the only appeal that they can have to an independent and impartial court. It most cases it would be a petty sessional court. I believe that an appeal from the local education authorities to what is called the Board of Education would be no appeal at all. It would be simply an appeal from one official, not necessarily a high official, who may have a grudge against a particular school or a particular person, to another educational official. There are many things in this Clause which require free access to 1997 the Courts, and, therefore, I hope I shall receive sufficient support to press this Amendment to a Division.
§ Sir C. BATHURST
I hope that the time of the Committee will not be occupied by my hon. Friend pressing us to go into the Division Lobby. This is not a job for the justices. A petty sessional court is not composed of men necessarily of great educational attainment, or indeed with any great knowledge as to the suitability or otherwise of various places of education provided in their areas, whereas the Board of Education is, and the Board of Education, judging by past experience, has been a very fair arbiter in such matters. It is all very well for local justices to deal with questions of attendance at school, because it is a mere question of fact which has to be proved as to whether a child has or has not attended a particular school. It is quite another thing to ask justices to decide without very elaborate evidence being taken on both sides, whether a particular school is or is not a suitable school for the purpose. My main objection is that you are going to get a different standard of efficiency adopted by different benches of magistrates in different parts of the country. The only Department which is in a position to say what, taking the country as a whole, is the proper standard for this purpose is obviously the Board of Education. The only result of my hon. Friend's Amendment would be that you would have set up, according to the discretion of various benches of magistrates, different standards of education in different parts of the country and it is impossible that such a proposal should be seriously considered by this Committee. Devizes is in a county which has a peculiarly efficient local education authority and I am sure my hon. Friend would not desire to see appeals against any of its decisions.
§ Mr. WILSON-FOX
I do not propose this evening to repeat the speech which I made on a previous occasion on a similar matter. My whole point is this, that it is a great mistake to hand over the whole education of the country and the question of what the standard shall be to one body which is to be the judge in its own court. I think it may be taken for granted that benches of magistrates are capable of fairly and justly deciding on the evidence 1998 put before them. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Hull the other day urged that we ought not to adopt measures which would result in "a sealed pattern form of education throughout the country." It is essential to provide for elasticity in this matter and you do not secure that if you allow one single body of people with fixed ideas to decide every case as they want to. I speak with some feeling on the matter because, having lived for a considerable portion of my life in the overseas possessions of the Empire, I do know that one of the most valuable qualities which Britishers possess, a quality which has enabled them to colonise with such great success, is the extraordinarily valuable quality of elasticity. It is the power of individuality, the power of adaptation to new circumstances which has enabled Britishers to accomplish so much. We want to make provision for that elasticity in this Act and it can best be secured by not allowing the Board of Education to be the judge in its own cases and to standardise, so to speak, the system of education. I hope my right hon. Friend will agree to reconsider this proposal, with a view to its being brought up again at a later stage as part of a considered plan for giving this necessary quality of elasticity.
§ Sir J. D. REES
As one who also has lived overseas a considerable time, I wish to endorse what has fallen from the last speaker. What is required under this proposal is not to set up the standard but to secure adjudication on individual cases. We want absolute elasticity and absolute freedom to deal with individual cases according to individual circumstances. I would suggest that a body composed of Justices of the Peace is well fitted to deal with such cases.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
This is a matter of some importance. You are here leaving the decision of matters which affect the subject to the local education authority and the Board of Education. I suggest that it is far better to leave it to the Law Courts, where both sides can be heard, and where the effect on public opinion is of some assistance in coming to a right decision. The hon. Member for Wiltshire (Captain Bathurst) suggested that because there was an extra, local education authority in Wiltshire that was the best tribunal to try these questions. Something, too, has been said by the Undersecretary for the Department with regard 1999 to magistrates not knowing much about education. One might reply that the local education authority is not necessarily best fitted to deal with these questions, because you do not, as a rule, find teachers upon it. My suggestion is that magistrates are perfectly well able to determine questions affecting the interests of the subject, and they ought to be tried in public by an impartial body. That is a principle which I have enunciated on previous occasions, and which I shall con-
§ Lord H. CAVENDISH-BENTINCK
I beg to move, in Sub-section (5), after the word "school" ["attendance at the school "], to insert the wordsProvided that the hours of employment of any young person who is required under this Section to attend a continuation school, when
§ tinue to enunciate so long as I have the honour of being a Member of this House. I repeat it is highly undesirable that matters of this kind should be determined by Government offices without the parties being heard in public and without the public knowing the reasons for the decisions arrived at.
§ Question put, "That the word 'Board' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided. Ayes, 118; Noes, 12.1999
|Division No. 51.]||AYES.||[10.14 p.m.|
|Adamson, William||Haslam, Lewis||Newman, Sir Robert (Exeter)|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||O'Grady, James|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Helme, sir Norval Watson||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Anderson, William C.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Durham)||Parrott, Sir Edward|
|Archdale, Lt. Edward M.||Hewins, William Albert S.||Pease, Rt. Hon. H. P. (Darlington)|
|Arnold, Sydney||Hibbert, Sir Henry||Peel, Major Hon. G. (Spalding)|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Higham, John Sharp||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Hills, John Waller (Durham)||Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray|
|Barlow, Sir Montague (Salford, S.)||Hinds, John||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Barnett, Capt. Richard W.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Pulley, C. T.|
|Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc. E.)||Hope, Lt.-Col. J. A. (Midlothian)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Bathurst, Capt. Sir C. (Wilts)||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Benn, Arthur S. (Plymouth)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Rees, G. C. (Carnarvon, Arfon)|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, E )||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Jowett, Frederick William||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Soles, Lt.-Col- Fortescue||Kenyon, Barnet||Roberts, Sir Herbert (Donbighs.)|
|Boscawen, sir Arthur Griffith-||Kiley, James Daniel||Robinson, Sidney|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||King, Joseph||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Boyton, Sir James||Lambert, Richard (Cricklade)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter (D'sbury)|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Lane-Fox, Major G. R.||Rutherford, Sir W. Watson (W. Derby)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Sykes, Col. Sir Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Coats, Sir Stuart (Wimbledon)||Lindsay, William Arthur||Thomas, Sir G. (Monmouth, S.)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Cowan, Sir William Henry||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Tillet, Benjamin|
|Davies, Sir W. Ho well (Bristol, S.)||McCalmont, Brig.-Gen. R. C. A.||Tootill, Robert|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||M'Curdy, Charles Albert||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Walker, Col. W. H.|
|Dougherty, Rt. Hon. Sir James B.||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Wedgwood, Lt.-Commander Josiah C.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-In-Furness)||Malcolm, Ian||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Du Pre, Maj. W. B.||Mallalieu, F. W.||Whiteley, Sir H. J. (Droitwich)|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Williams, Aneurin (Durham)|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Wilson, Col, Leslie (Reading)|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L. (Hallam)||Middlebrook, Sir William||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. William Hayes||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Gibbs, Col. George Abraham||Morgan, George Hay||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Gilbert, James Daniel||Morrell, Philip|
|Goldstone, Frank||Mount, William Arthur||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Lord E.|
|Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough)||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Talbot and Mr. Pratt.|
|Gulland, Rt. Hon. John William|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Peto, Basil Edward||Willoughby. Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Fletcher, John S.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Gretton, John||Spear, Sir John Ward||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir|
|Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence (Ashford)||Stirling, Lt.-Col. Archibald||Frederick Banbury and Mr. Wilson-Fox.|
|Marriott, John A. R.||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
§ added to the time necessary for such attendance at school, shall not exceed forty-eight hours in any one week, inclusive of meal hours."
§ This Amendment is intended to benefit young persons for whose hours of labour there is no legal limitation. It is at present possible to work van boys, and boys 2001 engaged in the delivery of parcels in and about shops, for any length of time which their employers choose. From a recent Report of what is called a van boys' committee it was discovered that boys were working from seventy up to ninety hours a week, and they were employed as late as half-past ten or eleven o'clock at night. Under this Bill the state of these young persons will be worse, because it will be possible to work them these long hours plus the eight hours a week in, the continuation schools. There are also young persons engaged in the factories and workshops. Under this Bill it would be possible to work them for the fifty-two or sixty hours period which his the legal limitation, plus the eight hours a week. It was said when the question of ten hours a day was being agitated in Lancashire and Yorkshire that the battle was being fought behind the petticoats of the women. If the fight for a shorter working day is fought under the ægis of the children it will be all the better for the adults. I think it high time this should be done, and if this Amendment is accepted and leads to a shorter working day for adults, the better it will be for industry, the better it will be for the country, and the better it will be for workers. There is no doubt about it that the present legal working hours in our factories and workshops are wasteful, and do not lead to adequate output, and it would be better for industry and the workers if the hours of labour were reduced to forty-eight hours a week.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think it might require the words "provided also," but that could come later on and be dealt with.
§ Mr. FISHER
I would ask the Committee to reject this Amendment, not because it may not be very desirable in itself as a social and economic proposal, but because it is outside the scope of the Education Bill, The Clause indicates the specific purposes for which employment is to be restricted. That is to say, it is to be suspended during the time required for attendance at continuation schools and such additional period as is necessary in order that the young person may be in a fit mental and bodily condition to receive full benefit from attending continuation 2002 school. It is no part of the business of the Education Bill to curtail the general hours of employment of young persons which are authorised by various Statutes throughout the country. That should be a measure initiated from the Home Office I may also add that it has been generally recognised that any plan for the limitation of hours of labour cannot be widely adopted unless it is subject to a good deal of local variations and limitations. Limitations which would be sufficient for employment in shops would be insufficient for employment in mines, and in the employment of young persons there would be limitations of all kinds. For these reasons, and not from any lack of sympathy, I need hardly say, with the general object which the Noble Lord has in view, I ask the Committee not to accept the Amendment.
§ Major HILLS
I have heard the speech of the President with some regret. He gave several reasons for refusing this Amendment. The first was that the Amendment was not required for educational purposes. I entirely join issue with him there. It is an educational Amendment. It is absurd to think you are going to get any benefit by bringing a boy who is overtired from his work to school. It is simply a waste of money to do so, and from the educational standpoint alone there is an overwhelming case for this Amendment.
§ Major HILLS
Yes; but I want a definite limitation of the hours during which a boy can be jointly employed on work and education, and unless you put that in the Bill you will get, in all the unorganised trades, a vast amount of overwork of boys, and you will spend money on their education, and you will waste that money. I do not think the House yet realises how, except in organised trades, boys can be employed practically all day and all night. There is no limit set; and how you are to expect such a boy to profit by education I cannot imagine. I quite agree that the hours of labour and the conditions of employment are not within our purview, but this is wider than that. The President also said that hard and fast rules were not advisable. It is quite true that local conditions differ, but I think that forty-eight hours a week, as specified in this Amendment, are a very good maximum to fix, and I suggest to 2003 the President that the matter should be reconsidered. If he thinks the maximum is too low, it might perhaps be put a bit higher, but I think this House has got to lay down a maximum, and until you do that you will largely waste the money you are spending on education.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
I should like to join my appeal to those which have been made to the President. This Clause itself limits the hours of labour by providing that, in addition to the hours of attendance at the continuation classes, the employers may have to give time off up to two hours each day to enable young persons to go to these classes. If the right hon. Gentleman examines the position he will see that that maximum of two hours a day off the long hours of day-work is wholly insufficient. In the City of London, for instance, there are working long hours a great number of young persons between the ages of fourteen and eighteen who come from, comparatively speaking, far distant places. They come by the Great Eastern Railway from towns within a radius of twenty or even thirty, and sometimes more, miles from London. These young persons will be under the necessity of attending these continuation schools, and some of these classes will undoubtedly be held in the early evening, ending before seven o'clock. In many cases it will take them more than an hour to go from their place of work to their homes. The travelling time exceeds an hour for many thousands of these young persons, and it will, therefore, be seen by the Committee that unless a much more drastic limitation of the hours of labour is going to be enforced, the attendance at these continuation classes will involve upon young persons who have to make these long journeys an almost intolerable physical strain, and will prevent them reaping any educational advantage. With regard to the contention of the right hon. Gentleman that a Bill limiting the hours of labour should be initiated by the Home Office, that can hardly be defended. If that view is correct, it means that however important educational proposals may be they cannot be brought forward by the Education Department, because it has not the standing to propose the limitation of the hours of labour that alone makes educational advance possible. The right hon. Gentleman will remember that in many education Bills there have been interferences both with the hours and with 2004 the conditions of labour, and I fail to see how we can possibly hope for any advance in the educational world if the right hon. Gentleman and his Department are not at the same time to propose reasonable hours and conditions of labour. I very much hope the Amendment will be accepted.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I am not as a rule prone to vote for interference with labour, but I quite agree with the hon. Member for Durham that this is an educational subject. At first when the President spoke, I was inclined to agree with him that it was a matter for the Home Office, but after my hon. Friend's speech I changed my views, and for this reason. Speaking as one who personally was overworked by attending school and going to work at the same time, as a small minority of the House has had the misfortune to do, my own opinion is that the school will suffer. If you require too much of the boy the education will lose by it. At employment ho will probably keep pace with the machine and will be in a physical condition to do that, in all probability. The incentive of wages also applies. Therefore, in every case of an overworked boy you will find that he will do his very utmost to satisfy his employer, and he will treat his school time as rest. He will look upon it that he must keep pace with the machinery and his fellow-workers in the factory or other occupation, and, as he is putting in far too many hours in the week, he will regard the hours he spends in school as a sort of rest. I am inclined to support the Noble Lord for the first time in this House in matters of this kind, though I wish it went further. I prefer the Amendment of the hon. Member for Attercliffe. At any rate, I think forty-four is the very utmost, and I should prefer forty. There is no doubt whatever that going to and coming from work, and going to and coming from school in one day may mean a very large amount of travelling—perhaps in some cases three hours a day on the top of all those hours—and if the Bill is to be passed at all and make workable, I am perfectly sure that it is only a question of time—probably before the seven years are up—when an Amendment of this kind will have to be made. They cannot work long hours like these. It would not only be a public scandal, but the children and the employers would not have it and the schoolmasters would object. I am perfectly 2005 sure, therefore, we must have an amending Bill. This is a courageous Bill in some particulars; I wish it went further. I should be prepared to vote for forty hours, or any number between forty and forty-eight if the Government could see their way to meet it.
§ Mr. D. MASON
I hope the education representative will reconsider this question, and will put in some limit as to the number of hours which a boy can be employed either in attending school or factory. The President referred to Clause 13 as giving this protection. I have studied that Clause, but I can see no protection there on the lines of the Noble Lord's Amendment, because Clause 13, which is in many respects an admirable Clause, provides for stated times beyond which a boy may not be employed, whereas, as I understand, it is in regard to the aggregate amount of hours both at school and work which the Noble Lord's Amendment is to prevent a young person from being overworked, which seems to me to be a very admirable provision, which is entirely omitted in Clause 13. I hope, therefore, that the President and the Parliamentary Secretary will note that Clause 13 does not provide what this Amendment is intended to supply or cover. Perhaps, on the Report stage, some words may be found to meet this very necessary and useful provision to prevent the overwork of young persons.
§ Mr. ROWNTREE
I very much hope that the appeals which have been made to the Board of Education on educational grounds will be listened to. The wording of this Clause is really very significant. The two hours is allowed for journeyings in -order to secure that the boy may be in a fit mental and bodily condition to receive full benefit from his attendance at school. Really, on educational grounds, there is an almost unanswerable case for an Amendment of this kind. I notice that on the Front Bench is the representative of the Ministry of Labour. I should like to ask him whether it is not correct to say that all recent investigations have shown that in the case of young people, having worked a period, equivalent, say, to forty-eight or fifty hours per week, the amount of work that they thereafter are able to do deteriorates rapidly.
§ If that is so in ordinary manual work it seems to me that it is only an indication of the physical state that the young child is in. I do think that the appeal which has been made by the Noble Lord and other Members on educational grounds is one really which the President and his advisers should listen to very closely indeed. I hope that what my right hon. Friend has said to us to-night is not the last word on this point. He definitely states in this Clause that he wants the boy to be in a fit mental and bodily condition to receive full benefit from attendance at school. I am perfectly certain it is impossible for the child to be in a fit state if he is working fifty-four or sixty hours per week. Clause 13 does not meet the point, it deals only with children. We are now dealing with young persons. It is admitted—the Bill admits—the principle in regard to children, and I do hope that my right hon. Friend will, in knowledge of that fact, extend the same principle to young persons, and accept the Amendment of the Noble Lord.
§ Mr. RAFFAN
What, I would ask the President or the Parliamentary Secretary, will be the exact position of the people who come within the operation of this Clause? I, like some of my hon. Friends, am in complete agreement with the view of the President that an Education Bill is not the proper medium for securing an amendment of the Factory Acts. On the other hand, I think it ought to be quite clear that the Education Bill should not be used to diminish the protection given by the Factory Acts. In the case of a factory where male labour is largely employed and where there is no statutory limitation of hours and where a great deal of overtime is worked would it be possible under the Bill as it stands for a young person to continue to be employed for the maximum number of hours now allowed by the Factory Acts and for the period given by the education authorities to be entirely outside that? I should like to know how that is to be prevented. I think the right hon. Gentleman will agree that Clause 13 does not touch that point.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 28; Noes. 68.2007
|Division No. 52.]||AYES.||[10.46 p.m.|
|Adamson, William||Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W,||Gilbert, James Daniel|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Goldstone, Frank|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Durham)|
|Hills, John Waller (Durham)||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Tootill, Robert|
|Hinds, John||Morrell, Philip||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Parrott, Sir Edward||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Peel, Major Hon. G. (Spalding)|
|Kenyon, Barnet||Rendall, Athelstan||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|King, Joseph||Sherwell, Arthur James||Lord H. Cavendish- Bentinck, and Mr.|
|Lambert, Richard (Cricklade)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Rowntree.|
|Marshall, Arthur Harold||Tillet, Benjamin|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Fletcher, John S.||Pease, Rt. Hon. H. P. (Darlington)|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Gibbs, Col. George Abraham||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Archdale, Lt. Edward M.||Gretton, John||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Haslam, Lewis||Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray|
|Baker, Rt. Hon. H. T. (Accrington)||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Helms, Sir Norval Watson||Pulley, C. T.|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick||Hewins, William Albert S.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Barnett, Capt. Richard W.||Hibbert, sir Henry||Rees, G. C. (Carnarvon, Arfon)|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. Fortescue||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, E.)|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur Griffith-||Hope, Lt.-Col. J. A, (Midlothian)||Roberts, Sir Hebbert (Denbighs.)|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, E.)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Lane-Fox, Major G. R.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter (D'sbury.)|
|Cator, John||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Rutherford, W. Watson (W Derby)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Coats, Sir Stuart (Wimbledon)||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Thomas, Sir G. (Monmouth, S.)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lloyd, George Butler (Schrewsbury)||Thomas-Stanford, Chas, (Brighton)|
|Cowan, Sir William Henry||McCalmont, Brig.-Gen. R. C. A.||Walker, Col. W H.|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Malcolm, Ian||Wilson-Fox, Henry (Tamworth)|
|Du Pre, Maj. W. B.||Mallalieu, F. W.||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||Middlebrook, Sir William|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Mond, Rt. Hon. sir Alfred Moritz||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Lord|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L (Hallam)||Mount, William Arthur||Edmund Talbot and Mr. Pratt.|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes (Fulham)||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. FISHER
I beg to move, at the end of the Clause, to insert,(7) A local education authority shall not, without the consent of a young person, require him to attend any continuation school held at or in connection with the place of his employment. The consent given by a young person for the purpose of this provision may be withdrawn by one month's notice in writing sent to the local education authority.Any school attended by a young person at or in connection with the place of his employment shall be open to inspection either by the local education authority or by the Board of Education at the option of the person or persons responsible for the management of the school.The object of this Amendment can be very briefly stated. There is a considerable and not unnatural suspicion prevailing among a large section of the workers of this country that schools established by employers on their own premises for their own workpeople may be organised in such a manner as to hinder the prospects of real education and may be governed by a narrow, technical, or vocational bias. The purpose of this Amendment is two- fold—in the first place, to ensure that a local education authority shall not, with- out the consent of the young person, re- quire him to attend any continuation school held at or in connection with the place of his employment, and, secondly, to ensure that any such school should be open to inspection, either by the local education authority or by the Board of 2008 Education, at the option of the person or persons responsible for the management of the school. It has been held that works schools, as they have been called, should be prohibited in terms. I cannot take that view. It would be quite impossible to prohibit alternative forms of education. It would be a most tyrannical act to say that no private school should be established offering a form of education alternative to that provided in the continuation schools maintained by the local education authority. If you once accept the principle of alternative education, you cannot discriminate between a man who offers alternative education in a private school for his own profit and an employer who offers alternative education in his own works. Therefore, in any case, works schools must be accepted. If an employer is so public-spirited as to desire to pro vide education for his workpeople, he should be allowed to do so, but on one condition—the condition that the school is open to inspection either by the local education authority or by the Board of Education.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I do not quite follow the object of this Amendment. As I understood the Bill as introduced, the Board of Education looked with some favour upon those employers of labour who had started continuation schools on 2009 their own premises. We have had evidence that there is a very large number of such schools carried on by employers of labour, and that they are successful in giving a very good form of education to those who enter them. Now we have an Amendment moved by the Government, and I do not follow its object. What will be the result of it in a case which I have in mind, that of a big jam factory in the country employing a large number of people, which has at present a continuation school on its premises for the people who are employed there? If two or three persons object to attending that school, it would put the education authority to the tremendous expense of starting a new continuation school in the village or parish, otherwise those persons would have no means of attending such a school. Let us assume that that course is followed on a large scale. I hardly think that the President has considered that difficulty in connection with these schools. My hon. Friend (Mr. Whitehouse) suggests that few such schools exist. There, I think, he is wrong, although I know he has had great experience in these matters. I have had the privilege of sitting on this Com- 2010 mittee for many weary years. My recollection of what has been said in the long and interesting Debates on this Bill is that many Members have given evidence of the fact that a large number of these schools do exist.
§ It being Eleven of the Clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.
§ Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER, pursuant to the Order of the House of the 13th February, proposed the Question, "That this House do now adjourn."
§ Adjourned accordingly at One minute after Eleven o'clock.