HC Deb 26 June 1918 vol 107 cc1073-190

Order for Second Reading read.


I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time."

I desire at once to deal with certain objections that have been stated to proceeding with any Education Bill for Scotland at this time, whatever its contents may be and however valuable it may be. One of these objections I find in the Amendment on the Paper which has been put down by my hon. Friend the Member for Elgin Burghs (Mr. Sutherland), and by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for North-West Lanark (Mr. Pringle). I think I understand the point of view of the hon. Member for Elgin Burghs. I well know that he has always entertained a strong view in favour of the existing school board system, and, if I may say so, with justification, from his point of view. If all the school boards in Scotland resembled the school boards in the quarter with which he is most familiar, I agree that a very different problem might have presented itself, but unfortunately they do not. I am not quite sure that I understand so fully the point of view of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for North-West Lanark. I shall have the advantage of hearing him later on, I have no doubt, but I am inclined to suspect that his views have been unconsciously tinctured by the fact that this is a Government Bill, and his question always is, "Can any good come out of Nazareth?"


Well, has it?


I shall listen with great attention to what my hon. and learned Friend has to say on the subject. When I come to look at the Amendment, I find that there are two suggestions contained in it. The first is that the Bill gives rise to important controversial questions, and the second is that there has been no adequate opportunity of ascertaining the views of the people of Scotland on the Bill. I must say that I am not aware—I may be undeceived—that any matter of acute controversy on this Bill now remains. The most acute controversy, as my Scottish colleagues well know, was-with regard to the authority which the Bill proposes to set up. On that question, however, after much conference and consideration, I agreed, as the Bill now shows, to substitute an authority which, I think, has met up till now, and I hope will meet in the future, with acceptance both inside and outside this House. With regard to the point that this Bill has not been fully considered in Scotland, my hon. and learned Friend will remember that the original Bill which I introduced in December has been before the country for six months, and has been discussed up and down Scotland in great detail. The only substantial difference between that Bill and the Bill which I am now asking the House to read a second time is the altered authority which I propose in this Bill should be adopted, and that is in the nature of a concession to the opposition that was offered. Accordingly, unless you were to have a General Election on an Education Bill for Scotland, you could not imagine a Bill which has been more fully discussed than this Bill has been in every quarter of Scotland, nor a Bill which, as it is now framed, excites less controversy. There is a further argument which is sometimes used, and which I think I heard my hon. Friend the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) use a moment ago, and that is that such a Bill should not be proceeded with in war-time.


I did not say that.


That argument leaves me cold. It is used—I do not say by my hon. Friend—by some who dislike the Bill, and who would find ground for opposing it in peace-time just as in war-time. I would like to say that it is quite plain that the Education Bill for England is making steadily for the Statute Book, and I, for one, am not prepared to rest upon my oars and look on while the English Bill makes the legislative harbour. Apart from that, I cannot conceive any topic which is more vitally bound up with the great problems of reconstruction which lie before us than that of education, and in my humble judgment it would be folly and worse to delay the necessary preparations and improvements until after the War. To anyone who takes the opposite view I would respectfully suggest that he should endeavour to put himself in my position and ask himself: If he were Secretary for Scotland, and if he saw the English Bill going on the Statute Book, would he stay his hand and say, "This Bill may be opportune for England, but for some reason or other it is not opportune for Scotland"? Would he not rather take the view which I have taken, that it was his plain duty to present this Bill to the House and to take the considered judgment of the House upon it? I am quite sure that he would.

4.0 P.M.

There is one other what I may call dilatory plea used. It is said, "Let us have a Commission of Inquiry on the subject of education, which can report on the improvements desired." Precious time would certainly in that way be lost. Such a report no man could reasonably expect or hope to be unanimous. The solution of the problem would not, in my judgment, be furthered by this method, and we should miss the tide. We require no Commission to inform us of the urgent improvements in education which are required, and which really are, in some cases, overdue. I ask the House respectfully to reject these dilatory pleas, and I would remind them that they would wreck the Bill if they were sustained. I am slow to believe that in any responsible quarter in the House there is any desire to wreck this Bill.

When I introduced the former Bill in December last I did so with the avowed object of affording free opportunity for the discussion of its provisions. That opportunity has been fully taken advantage of in the interval and considered opinion has been formed both in this House and outside. I have come without difficulty to certain definite conclusions with regard to this matter. In the first place, I am satisfied that the educational provisions of this Bill have, generally speaking, received overwhelming assent and even a cordial welcome in almost every quarter. Secondly, I think there has been practically unanimous agreement that the present school board system in Scotland cannot support the fabric of educational advance which this Bill proposes to erect. Thirdly, I have come to the conclusion that, on the other hand, there is considerable opposition to the proposal which was made in the Bill of last December to merge education in the general business of local government in order that it might be managed by an authority elected for all purposes after the manner of Parliament. Lastly, I formed the opinion that indirect election and the provision for co-opting members is not, generally speaking, acceptable to public opinion. I expounded and commended my views regarding these last matters very respectfully to my colleagues in this House and outside, and I do not propose to-day to rehearse the arguments. I recognise that they have not prevailed. I therefore bow to public opinion, as I understand it. I quite recognise that while, in my opinion, the proposals originally made were the best from an educational point of view, and also from the point of view of the reform of local government—a reform which I believe to be imminent—nevertheless it is desirable, in the case of so important a Bill as this, and at a time like this, to secure, if possible, substantial agreement with regard to its fundamental provisions. I have endeavoured to do that in view of the supreme importance of the educational provisions of the Bill, and the urgency which exists that this measure of reform should be taken in hand at once in order to meet the altered conditions which will prevail after the War. I have, therefore, decided to take a course which will, I cannot hope that it will commend itself to every Member of the House, I trust be in consonance with instructed public opinion upon the question both inside and outside the House of Commons.

The Bill falls naturally into two parts—the first, administrative, and the second, educational. I want to consider for a moment the administrative provisions. The first question which arises is what the educational area ought to be. In my view the county is the smallest area which will serve the purposes of the Bill. The alternatives are really limited in number. The parish or burgh, by almost common consent, is ruled out. The district is manifestly unsuitable. There are 109 county districts in Scotland, exclusive of the four large cities. Twenty-one contain no secondary schools; nineteen have only an imperfect provision of secondary schools of the lower grade. In other words, forty of the districts would not be independent units for the purposes of secondary education. Moreover, the districts would be clearly unfit to carry out the policy laid on the new authority by the scheme of continuation classes which the Bill contains. I have accordingly reached the conclusion that neither the parish nor the burgh, on the one hand, nor the district on the other, will meet the situation which has arisen. There is a third possibility—an area specially delimited for educational purposes. I regard that solution, if I may say so, after careful consideration, as quite unacceptable. To traverse the existing local government divisions would be to erect a barrier in the way of the simplification and the unification of local government which, as I say, is imminent. Moreover, it would really carry with it no compensating advantages. The proposal for delimited areas is not a new one. The suggestion has been before the public since 1908. It was then carefully considered by the Scottish Education Department, which was satisfied that it presented no advantage over the existing areas or over the recognised local government areas. The matter was then taken up by the Educational Institute and discussed fully by them, and they owned that they could not devise any scheme which could be regarded as wholly satisfactory. The Association of School Boards also toyed with the idea, but made no progress with it. Neither did they formulate any general direction, so far as I am aware, for the proper constitution of such an educational area. Other attempts to draft a scheme of this kind have been made and have been very carefully considered, but they have not altered the conclusion we came to. Five minutes' study of the map of Scotland, showing the distribution of the existing centres of secondary education in Scotland, will also show the theoretical and viewy character of this proposal. The nature of the problem which has to be solved must not be forgotten in this connection. It is to make available to the population of the given area, whether that area be a great city or a highland district, the means of obtaining the highest form of education for which individual pupils in that district have shown capacity. The keynote of the Bill is, not to provide schools and educational institutions for higher education. We in Scotland are fairly well supplied in that regard. The problem is to provide means for bringing pupils to existing schools. Provision for secondary education obviously need not be made in every district. Each administrative area, in other words, need not be like a ship complete in itself, and need not furnish within its own borders facilities for every kind of education. Yet that is the idea which really underlies the idea of specially delimited areas.

Finally, in this connection, if you have delimited areas for education, why not also have them for public health, Poor Law, and other branches of the public service? But if all these criss-cross areas were created, the result would be intolerable confusion. This proposal, in short, is inconsistent with the whole idea of the Bill, and would, if sustained, be decisive of its fate. There remains, therefore, the county solution. It has, on the face of it, obvious advantages. It has the advantage of simplicity. It has the advantage of uniformity of rating, and, above all, it is sufficient for higher continuation school instruction. Indeed, I regard the county area, which after careful consideration has been adopted, as fundamental to this Bill. In this connection it is important to remember that since 1908 the County Secondary Education Committee has been the authority for the management in Scotland of secondary education, and, indeed, for all forms of advanced education. That system has worked well, as my Scottish colleagues will bear me out, in spite of the limited financial powers of these committees, and in spite of their indirect election. From these two defects the new authorities will be free.

If the area is settled, the next question is, What is to be the nature of the authority in that area? I accept frankly and without reserve, as the education authority for the purposes of this Bill, what is commonly known as an ad hoc authority—that is, an authority specially selected for the purposes of education. I agree also that that authority should be directly elected, and that it should not contain co-opted members. I want to say a few words if I may with regard to the mode of election which the Bill proposes. Since 1872 the distinctive feature of school board elections in Scotland has been the cumulative vote. To that mode of election great and increasing objection has been taken. It is commonly said that the cumulative vote is responsible for the admitted decline of interest in school board elections in later years. Personally, I am inclined to think that the cause of the decline lies deeper than that, but I agree that the cumulative vote is partly responsible and ought to go. At the same time, I think the simple majority vote does not afford reasonable protection to the interests of minorities, and does not give them adequate opportunity, even when their collective numbers may be considerable, of making their voice heard in the councils of the community. That is a specially important consideration when a matter such as education has to be dealt with by itself apart from other interests of the community. I have, therefore, come to the conclusion that the needs of the case will be best met in the case of what is ex hypothesi an ad hoc authority by the adoption of the principle of proportional representation. It seems, in fact, particularly well adapted to just such a case as this. It will secure some representation of reasonable minorities, scattered, it may be, over a wide area, without allowing them, as the cumulative vote may do, a representation out of all proportion to their strength. Consequently it is proposed that the election of the new education authority for a county or scheduled burgh shall be by special electoral districts, admitting of the application of this principle. Each district will return three members at least, and the larger districts seven or nine—the number of members for each district being governed by considerations of population, area, and the like circumstances. The result of these considerations which I have enumerated will be found in Clauses 1 to 3 of the Bill and in Clause 22. Clause 1 sets up education authorities for each county and for each of the scheduled burghs—that is, generally speaking, the area of the present secondary education committees. Clause 2 provides for the division of the areas into suitable electoral divisions solely for the purposes of election, but not of administration. Clause 22 provides that for the purposes of election in these electoral divisions the principle of the single transferable vote shall apply. These electoral divisions, having regard to geographical and other circumstances may obviously be of unequal size within the same county, and Clause 3 accordingly proposes that each electoral division shall return to the county educational authority a number of members corresponding to its particular requirements.

We shall thus have for each education area a single education authority, freely elected by the population of the area as a whole, in the educational interests of the population as a whole, without undue emphasis on minor parochial or burghal interests, and with due consideration for the interests of minorities. That authority will have the most comprehensive powers, so far as schools and institutions under public control are concerned, and may easily be kept within such limits of size as are conducive to efficiency of work. Having set up such a supreme authority, which is obviously well suited to represent the educational interests of the community as a whole, and which is a necessary foundation for the further educational developments which the Bill contemplates, we have to consider next the question of the management of individual schools or groups of schools. For that purpose the first requisite, except perhaps in the case of the scheduled burghs—that is, the large cities—is local knowledge and local interest, such as cannot be guaranteed, I admit, in all cases in a county authority elected in the manner which I have described. How, then, is such local knowledge and local interest to be secured for the management of local schools? Not, I think, by prescribing in the Bill hard and fast arrangements as to the management of particular schools or classes of schools, which would virtually mean setting up independent and perhaps rival authorities, but rather by authorising a devolution of powers of the education authority to school management committees, according to a scheme which they themselves will propose. It is purely a question of administration, and the local education authority is obviously in the best position to judge what administrative arrangements are best for their area. Such, then, is the purpose of Clause 4.

The local education authority will have ready to their hand existing local bodies—burgh councils and parish councils—who can either themselves provide or assist in providing persons with the requisite local knowledge and interest to form school management committees. But they are not restricted to these bodies. In the case of the first constitution of school management committees they are invited to make use of the services of the outgoing school boards, as is obviously desirable in the interests of continuity of {management. Or they may think fit in certain cases to make use of trade unions or other local bodies of a sufficiently representative character. They will also have a free hand to group schools for purposes of school management and to set up separate committees for schools of a special class. All these powers will be exercised according to a scheme to be submitted to the Department for approval. I want to explain to the House that the object of this submission is to secure that there shall be due consideration given to representations by persons in the localities as to any defects in the scheme as affecting particular interests. There is no intention of interfering departmentally with the ultimate decision of the local authority as to the form of their scheme.

I feel almost inclined to apologise to the House for having spent so much time on what is, from one point of view, mere machinery. My excuse is that no part of this Bill in its earlier form has been the subject of so much discussion in Scotland during the last six months as that relating to the constitution and area of the local authority. And very naturally and properly so, if I may be allowed to say so. School boards in Scotland, one recognises, have a long and honourable history, and though it is generally admitted, as I think it is—my Scottish colleagues upstairs, I know, passed a resolution to that effect—that in their present form they are no longer adequate, we do well, I agree, to be critical of what is to take their place. I am placing before the House proposals for a local education authority which, in my humble judgment and in that of those who advise me, are adequate for the purposes of this Bill. If, consistently with those purposes, Amendments in detail are proposed, then I promise them my most careful consideration.

I now come to the educational provisions of the Bill. Needless to say, these are the very heart of the Bill. Their value has hitherto been rather overshadowed and obscured by the discussion of mere machinery. What is the main object of this Bill? It is, in a sentence, the better education of the whole people of Scotland, irrespective of social class, age, sex, or place of residence. Such, I think, to be the purposes of the Bill. The main proposals which the Bill makes to that end are as follows: First, there is the raising of the normal age for full-time attendance at school from fourteen to fifteen, and a corresponding raising of the age at which exemption from full-time attendance at school may be allowed in any circumstances from twelve to thirteen, and then only on the condition of further attendance at continuation classes to the age of eighteen. That is Clause 13 of the Bill. Secondly, compulsory attendance of pupils at part-time classes from the time of leaving the day school till they attain the age of eighteen, except in the cases of those pupils who have completed a full secondary school course at the age of seventeen. That is Clause 14 of the Bill. The effect of these two provisions combined is that when the Bill comes into full operation the education of practically every young person in Scotland will be continued in one form or another till he or she reaches the age of eighteen. A third set of provisions is aimed at preventing the exploitation of child labour in the interests either of parents or of employers. Those are Clauses 15 and 16. Education is, after all, a serious as well as a costly business, and if a child or young person is in receipt of whole-time education mainly or wholly at the public expense, then we must see to it that his energies are not sapped and impaired for what ought to be his main occupation at this stage of life.

What advantages to the nation do we hope to obtain by carrying out these arrangements which I have hastily sketched? I answer, in the first place, the education of the whole nation, so that education shall become more and more a common possession as befits a true democracy. In the second place, we shall mobilise the intellectual resources of the nation as against those arduous times which are in front of us, when brains developed by education will be of more and more account. Experience tends to show that brains, capacity, talent—call it what you will—is not the prerogative of any special class, but is diffused in an imperfect, irregular, and uncertain fashion through all classes, though in many cases it is unfortunately perverted, stunted or maimed through lack of education. In Scotland, as we all know, no inconsiderable proportion of the men who have> risen to eminence in the learned professions, and, not only so, but also in industry and commerce, are men of the humblest origin, who owe their success in no small measure to the unassuming provision of educational facilities in their native land. Even here we are merely scratching the surface. The premature breaking off of education from a variety of causes—among them, I am afraid, too often the limited outlook of the parents is to be reckoned not the least—has deprived us in the past of much potential energy which otherwise would have been placed at the service of the State and the nation. We have to see that in the national interest this waste shall, if possible, be stopped, or at any rate diminished. I make bold to say, on the information I possess, that at the present moment, or rather before War was declared, the supply of really educated men and women was quite inadequate to the needs of the nation. The total annual output of pupils who had successfully completed the secondary school course in Scotland, from all the secondary schools, including the advanced departments of primary schools, has been well within 2,000.


Does that include both sexes, or is it only boys?


I think I am right in saying it includes both sexes. The completion of the secondary school course, as shown by the possession of the leaving certificate, or by an equivalent examination, is now, as we all know in Scotland, the recognised standard for admission to the universities, as well as to the principal technical colleges and other central institutions. This output is barely sufficient to meet the wants of what are known as the learned professions, including the teachers of secondary schools, which have had a time-honoured reputation for offering facilities to ambitious youths, especially to those from rural districts. That leaves no margin for the needs of industry and commerce. Yet it is becoming more obvious every day that the crying want of those occupations, if they are to maintain their place in the fierce competition and the fierce international rivalry of the future, is an abundant supply of men with a full secondary education. They must, in addition, have received a highly specialised training as chemists or engineers, let us say, or have made a study of one or more foreign languages, and have an intimate knowledge of all that pertains to those countries with which they propose to do business. To expect a specialised knowledge of that kind without a sound foundation of general education, such as is given by a secondary school course, is merely to build on sand. The first step towards meeting the nation's requirements in these directions is accordingly to secure a great increase in the attendance at secondary schools, giving a full general course, as well, doubtless, as increasing the number of those schools. If the age for full-time attendance at any school is raised to fifteen, there is every reason to expect that the attendance at secondary schools will also greatly increase, and of those who begin attendance an increased number may be expected to complete the course rather than fall under the necessity of attending part-time classes to the age of eighteen.

Great as is the advantage from a national point of view of an increase in the numbers who enter and complete a course of secondary education, I am sure there wall be a gain equally great, though of a quite different kind, from the part-time attendance at continuation classes to the age of eighteen of pupils who have left the day school for employment at the age of fifteen or, in exceptional cases, even earlier. It has to be remembered that many pupils, particularly boys, who appear to show no aptitude at all for school studies, of which they do not see the practical application to their proposed subsequent mode of life, do, not infrequently, possess a certain ability, which is developed when they are released from school studies and allowed to concentrate their attention on special studies relative to their employment. It is all to the good that such pupils should be released from full-time attendance at school on condition of part-time attendance at continuation classes related to their employment. The part-time attendance of such a pupil to the age of eighteen is probably much more valuable to the State, and also from the personal point of view, than enforced attendance at school till fifteen. Both in his case and in the case of the all-round pupil, who, from choice or necessity, leaves school for employment at the age of fifteen, it will obviously be a great gain from every point of view that the discipline of the school and the habits of study there formed are not abruptly broken off and discarded for ever. In present circumstances there is a great waste of public money in carrying the education of young people up to a certain point, with no provision for continuance in some small measure when the pupil leaves school for employment. Much more serious is the waste of potential capacity which might otherwise be turned to better account for the service of the nation. It is reasonable, of course, that in the further education of such pupils, reasonable attention should be given to instruction bearing specifically on their employment, but I would express the earnest hope that, in accordance with the provisions of Sub-section (4) of Clause 14 of the Bill, even more attention will be given to furthering and broadening the general education of the future citizen, so that, in the proper sense of the word, he may be a truly educated man.

The years between fifteen and eighteen are critical years in which the intellectual powers are more fully developed and new interests and new ambitions come to the front, and the curriculum of continuation classes for such pupils ought to be such as to give full scope for the development of ideas and studies which have no immediate bearing upon the pupil's present employment. The education should be such as to help in some measure to form cultured tastes which enlarge the horizon of life land make its satisfactions largely independent of economic circumstances; in other words, to make life less materialistic. To these ends the study of standard literature, the cultivation of the artistic faculties, and the reading of history, particularly modern history, and not only the history of our own country, will powerfully contribute.

As will be gathered from the provisions of the Bill, it is not proposed that this educational programme should be imposed all at once. For one thing, the requisite body of teachers is not in existence, and we shall have to proceed gradually and by instalments. Is it not essential, however, that the Bill should state clearly our goal, so that both the local and the central authorities may at once set about the duty of making the necessary preparations with a clear view of the end which is to be attained? In one respect in Scotland we are in a comparatively fortunate position for undertaking a programme such as that. I am informed that before the War we had reached a stage as regards the supply of teachers at which we were able to dispense entirely with unqualified teachers for the service of our full-time schools. These schools from now onward, we hope, will be well staffed with fully qualified teachers specially trained for their work. We have no leeway in that respect to make up. We should even have been able, but for war conditions, to fairly supply the schools with the additional staff required to cope with the influx of additional pupils resulting from the raising of the school age to fifteen. As a matter of fact, a considerable proportion of the pupils of these ages are in attendance at school under present conditions. But the working out of an adequate programme of instruction for the part-time instruction of pupils between fifteen and eighteen, and the recruiting of a body of teachers suitably qualified for the work, will be a formidable task, and we do not propose meantime to raise the age for compulsory attendance at continuation classes beyond sixteen. At the same time, from the comparatively favourable position as regards the supply of teachers in Scotland, we should be reluctant to delay the further raising of the age longer than is absolutely necessary, and accordingly we take power in the Bill to effect a further raising of the age by instalments to seventeen and eighteen, as circumstances permit, without binding themselves to any specified length of moratorium.

The provisions of the Bill which I have outlined are in substance identical with the corresponding Clauses in the Bill of December, and they are not dissimilar from those which have already received the favourable consideration of this House in the case of England. They have, moreover, been before the public of Scotland for several months, and though public discussion of the former issue of the Bill has been largely concentrated on the question of the authority, nevertheless I am satisfied, from representations which have been made to me, and from the numerous interviews which I have had with representatives of many diverse interests, that the substance of these Clauses has the overwhelming support of the people of Scotland, and not least of the classes of the population which will be directly affected by them. Scarcely a single working-class organisation has made a representation to me against these provisions of the Bill. On the contrary, I have received from many such organisations expressions of emphatic approval of these Clauses, mingled occasionally with regret that I have not seen my way to go further. I would not, however, have the House infer that there have been no expressions of dissent. But apart from the indisposition expressed by some people to proceed with any Education Bill at present, the only representations we have had so far have been not in opposition to the general tenor of these Clauses, but in favour of modifications as respects particular industries. Of course these are matters which there will be a full opportunity of discussing at a later stage, and I therefore do not propose to advert to them further at present. The Clauses which I have described are the essential Clause of the Bill—a Bill which has for its main object the raising of the standard of education among the people, and by their fate the Bill stands or falls.

I pass now to another but related topic, namely, the position of the voluntary, and particularly of the Roman Catholic, schools in relation to what I have described as the main object of the Bill. To avoid repetition I propose to confine myself to a consideration of the position of the Roman Catholic community in Scotland. What I have to say of them applies to other religious communities maintaining their own schools, but possibly in a less degree. The Roman Catholic community has stood outside the public school system ever since its inception in 1872. They have chosen rather, while paying as ratepayers their share in the expense of providing and maintaining schools which they never or rarely use, to provide and maintain at their own expense their own separate schools for the use of their children. Why they have chosen to do so I do not propose to discuss. I do not desire to pronounce any opinion upon the right or the wrong of the course they have seen fit to adopt. I merely state the fact and the consequences as they seem to me from the point of view of the main purpose of this Bill, namely, the raising of the level of education of the whole mass of the population in Scotland. The consequences are that in spite of straining every resource open to them to the utmost to meet the double burden, their separate schools are, generally speaking, inferior as regards building and equipment, their teachers are zealous, but poorly paid, their provision of secondary schools is totally inadequate, and the educational outlook of the mass of their children is unduly narrowing. What hope is there then, under present conditions, of effecting an improvement in the standard of education for the mass of the Catholic community corresponding to the aspirations of this Bill? I frankly answer, None. And yet the children in attendance in these schools constitute one-seventh of the school population of Scotland, and in some districts from a third to a fourth. It is clearly not in the national interest that such a proportion of the population in Scotland should be left out of account in our endeavour to raise the general level of education for the mass of the people. The only remedy I can see is to bring these and other separate denominational schools into the public school system, and, while providing for their maintenance at the public expense, to subject them to the control of the local authority in the same way as other public schools, with adequate guarantees, of course, for the maintenance of their distinctive religious instruction. Proposals to that effect are contained in Clause 17, which I commend to the careful consideration of my fellow Members, both Protestant and Catholic, in the hope that they will agree that it offers a reasonable solution of a great educational difficulty. Failure to solve that difficulty would render it impossible to give full effect to the essential provisions of the Bill.

One more set of Clauses and I have done. Clause 7 provides for schemes for the provision of education and Clause 20 deals with education Grants. The object of these two Clauses taken together is to effect a great measure of decentralisation, to secure that Scotland will be free to manage her educational affairs on her own lines, apart from any enforced or suggested parallelism with England, and to confer freedom on each local authority in Scotland to initiate and to manage a scheme of education suited to the circumstances of its own district so long as it is in reasonable conformity with the accepted educational system of the country as a whole. This means sweeping away the whole apparatus of Codes and Grants from the Department which has obtained both in England and Scotland with various modifications since the days of the revised Code of Lord Sherbrooke The essential motive of this system was good, and in the days of small school boards it was no doubt a powerful weapon in the hands of the Department for securing some kind of educational advance in the more backward districts of the country which would otherwise not have been secured. In its crudest form it meant payment by results—so much for each pass in reading, writing, and in other subjects of the school curriculum. Even in its more refined forms of later days it really amounted to a bribe to local authorities to do things which were deemed by the central authority to be for the good of its constituents educationally. The establishment of schools providing education of what was thought to be of a more advanced or of a special type was stimulated by the offer of higher grants. The teaching of special subjects, especially those new to the curriculum of the day, such as first of all drawing, and then such subjects as woodwork, cookery, school gardening, and so on, were similarly encouraged, the basis of grant being in general the numbers in attendance. Each new grant was hailed with delight both in Parliament and outside. If England had a particular grant, Scotland had to have it also, even though the money in the circumstances would in Scotland have been applied possibly to better educational advantage in other ways. The result has been on the whole a considerable educational advance, and, as regards the larger and more enlightened authorities, it is probable that the form of the grant did not very much matter. But the result upon the weaker authorities, and in some degree upon all, has been to restrict educational freedom and initiative, to pervert the educational perspective, and to neglect the weightier matters of education for the sake of the tithes of anise and cumin. In ordinary circumstances the business of a local education authority was apt to resolve itself into the simple but fascinating problem of how to secure the maximum amount of grants with the least possible expenditure from local resources.

With the establishment of what we hope will be powerful and enlightened authorities for large areas opportunity offers for a review of this whole system. I propose to adopt, as the regulating principle of grants in future, the payment as grant of a certain proportion of the ascertained expenditure of the local authority incurred within its statutory powers in the discharge of its statutory functions, and with, the approval of its constituents, who will have to find in all cases a considerable proportion of the expense which its authority proposes to incur. It is also proposed to make a special grant-in-aid towards the local expenditure of those authorities, who, in discharging a national duty in the national interests, find themselves obliged to impose upon their constituents a burden larger than that which is the average in the country. Frankly, this is an experiment, and it seems to me an experiment which it is necessary to make, if the new authorities which are being set up are to have real educational responsibility. It is an experiment, and, as such, will be given effect to by minutes of the Department. Experience for a long time has taught us a lesson not to be too confident that an experiment which is hailed with approval for the time being may not develop defects which require a remedy. In any case, there will have to be attached to the grants from the very outset certain general conditions for securing satisfactory attendance, proper staffing of schools, efficiency of work, and so on; but the general principle will be that if a local authority has submitted a satisfactory scheme of educational provision for its district, and is carrying it out with reasonable efficiency, it may count upon receiving a fixed proportion of the expenditure it has incurred thereupon. For the complete attainment of the object aimed at it is necessary that Scotland should receive for the support of its educational system a due proportion of the goods that belongeth to her, having regard to the expenditure from the common purse for the benefit of other portions of the United Kingdom. That is the object of Clause 20.


We do not want a due proportion; we want all.


The proportion which the Bill specifies is to be found in Clause 20, and I will ask the hon. Member to consider whether it is not a fair proposal. The proposal is this, that, apart from the expenditure upon Departmental administration and certain minor matters which I need not specially mention, the Treasury has agreed that there shall be put into the Education (Scotland) Fund (1) all sums payable from local taxation sources under the Act of 1908 (2), an equivalent of the amount expended from the Parliamentary Vote in the standard year (1914), and (3) eleven-eightieths of the excess of the amount expended from the Education Vote for England and Wales in any year over the amount so expended in the standard year. That represents the amount secured for Scotland in future for the support of its educational system. With what we believe to be the greater leeway to be made up in England it is reasonably certain that the educational needs of Scotland will be not inadequately provided for for a considerable time to come, with greater freedom to apply the resources available in the manner that may best conduce to the efficiency of our educational system as a whole.

Under such a condition of things as I have outlined there is obvious need for some body which will, in some measure at least, focus educational opinion in Scotland and secure, I need scarcely say voluntarily, some degree of common purpose and co-ordination as between the educational schemes proposed by the various districts. There must be some understood national system, as elastic as possible, some accepted classification and grading of schools and institutions, not merely in relation to one another, but to the universities and other places of advanced education. It is not desirable that any one local education authority, in the exercise of its extensive power, should adopt an educational scheme for its district in serious disconformity with that of its neighbours or of Scotland generally. I do not anticipate that such cases will arise, but they may arise, and it is desirable that the Department, or rather the responsible Minister, should have the assistance of some accredited body in the endeavour to ascertain the prevailing opinions of Scotland, educationally, on such cases if they arise, as well as on any question of general educational policy. Obviously, the local educational authorities must form the nucleus of such a body. But I think it will be generally agreed that there are other bodies and persons whose opinions must be taken into consideration in matters of this sort. There are the universities and other institutions for advanced studies. There is, above all, the whole body of qualified teachers, whose primary business in life is the furtherance of education, and who, of necessity, have the best knowledge of its practical requirements. From these elements I propose to form an advisory council, as set out in Clause 19, to which I will have recourse as occasion arises to inform myself as to the prevailing drift of opinion in educational circles on education questions. I propose in Clause 24 similar advisory councils for the assistance of local education authorities. In both cases these advisory councils are of the nature of an experiment, and their future development will depend on the extent to which either or both are found to serve a really useful purpose. In neither case will there be any interference with the constitutional powers either of the local or the central authority.

I would earnestly beg the House not to exaggerate the considerations that divide us, but to concentrate upon those which unite us. I would ask the House to help me to place this Bill upon the Statute Book. My Scottish colleagues will, I think, bear me out when I say that I have employed all methods of conference, persuasion, and compromise which are reasonably open to me. I have in the result made a large and important concession, which I hope and believe will meet with a fair and generous response. My one aim, while? am responsible for education in Scotland, is to ensure, not only in the interests of Scotland, but in the interests of the world, that our country shall not lag behind in the educational race, but shall be in the van, which has always been in the past her appointed place. To that end let us strive. Let us have faith and, vision in the matter. Let us repress all niggling and destructive criticism and unite in improving and strengthening the Bill in Committee. If we do this, and place the Bill on the Statute Book, I am confident that future generations will remember with gratitude the Parliament which placed it there.


I congratulate my right hon. Friend on having secured an opportunity for the Second Reading of this Bill for the advancement of education in Scotland. It is true that we are a few weeks behind the English Bill, but we have one or two advantages. Instead of the Bill going to a Committee of the Whole House, which is unable to sit continuously, we shall have this Bill, I presume, before the Scottish Grand Committee, and that body, if it so desires, can act with such energy as to make up all the leeway, and enable us to carry the Education Bill for Scotland at the same time as the English Bill, or perhaps a little earlier. Another advantage which my right hon. Friend has is that certain of the main principles of this Bill, although not identical in detail, are similar in principle to those which have already been accepted by the House of Commons. For example, there is the question of the raising of the age of compulsory attendance and the age of possible exemption. I do not think the proposals in the English and Scottish Bills are identical, but they are similar. There is a most valuable part of the Bill, the very heart of the Bill, and that is the proposal that not selected children but all children shall have the benefit of more advanced instruction, and shall be able to carry their course of education from the time of childhood through the period which my right hon. Friend described as the critical period of adolescence, and that we shall have not only an extension of the area of higher education, but a considerable improvement of the standard. I am sure we all feel that it is in that period of adolescence that we shall obtain invaluable and most fruitful results. These provisions have awakened a great deal of interest in Scotland, and I have received a great deal of evidence that the Labour organisations of the country are keenly interested in the matter. I can imagine nothing more encouraging. For days past I have received numbers of resolutions from my Constituency and the neighbourhood of my Constituency, anxiously asking when this Scottish Education Bill would be introduced, for the Scottish working men understand what this Bill means to the children and young persons of Scotland. They, at least, so far as I can judge, are in favour of its main principles. Under Clause 5, which will also greatly interest them, there are wide powers which are given to assist young persons who are to attend continuation schools and young persons and children attending secondary schools, technical institutions and higher educational institutions up to the university. One provision which greatly interested me is the provision for providing books. I cannot help feeling that for many young persons the benefits of miscellaneous reading will be at least as valuable as the benefits of a regular course of study.

5.0 P.M.

The two controversial things in the Bill are matters which necessarily must be controversial in any Education Bill. Those are the questions of authority and area-I think my right hon. Friend did rightly in yielding to the strong expressions of opinion manifested in Scotland in favour of a directly elected authority, and in opposition to the principle of co-option. I confess that the principle of co-option is one to which I have never found myself very friendly, nor do I think that the experience of the principle of co-option has justified it. The question of area is necessarily a very difficult question. I am bound to say that I think my right hon. Friend made out a good case for saying that the alternative areas which had been suggested were not in themselves ideal. One thing is quite certain, there is general, if not unanimous, assent to the proposition that larger areas are necessary. If secondary and technical education and the system of continuation schools are to be developed far beyond their present position, larger areas are necessary. I think the one thing follows on the other. Then comes the question of teachers. We all feel that my right hon. Friend was right in dwelling on the acknowledged importance of higher education to help us in the competition that is going to come after the War. For my part, I look upon the thing as even more important, although I admit that that concession is most important from the point of view of the individual and the indirect effect upon the stability of the nation. But if we are to have a proper system of education, we cannot ignore the fact that we have got to do a great deal for the teaching profession. We are bound to demand a larger number of teachers, and it is not enough to offer higher emoluments. That we shall have to do. We have got to improve the status of the teachers and give them a prospect of advancement. Teachers have urged, and with justice, that the small area did not give them a prospect of advancement, and we must recognise that as a fact to be taken into consideration. The third reason is the question of rating. I was very much impressed, when I occupied the office which my right hon. Friend now holds, with the absurd disparities between education rates in different parts of Scotland. They varied from a trifle to over 5s. in the £, with the curious result that one parish, the Island of Lewis, had total rates, I think, speaking from memory, of 23s. 4d. in the £. This education rate is one in which the greatest variations of all occur, and the larger areas will tend to minimise these disparities, and will tend to equalisation of rates. That is a serious consideration in support of the proposal.

But this is one point on which I would like to preserve an open mind, and on which my right hon. Friend will, I hope, preserve an open mind. That is in regard to the First Schedule. It only gives the names of, I think, five important towns which are to be education authorities. It is a question whether there are not some other towns in Scotland—I do not wish to discuss the matter in any detail, that is for the Committee—which actually have populations larger than some of the counties, but which have complete educational apparatus within themselves. And, I think, that it is a question for consideration in Committee whether we should not take into account the cases of some of these towns, and, meantime, keep an open mind with regard to them. They might be dealt with by themselves, or dealt with together with some of the adjoining parishes which depend upon them for the educational institutions to which their children resort. There is one other subject which has long interested me, and I am very glad indeed that my right hon. Friend has had the courage to deal with it. That is the question of the voluntary or the denominational schools. He said, very fairly, that if you are going to raise the standard and increase the scope of education you could not leave that question any longer unsettled. Apart from that it is a question that ought to have been settled long ago, and I hope that my right hon. Friend will succeed in obtaining an amount of agreement on the subject which has not been obtained before.

I have had for a great many years to do with education both as a member of a very large education authority and as a Minister in England and in Scotland, and I know something about education in both countries, and I know what the difficulties which my right hon. Friend has to face really amount to. They are very grave, but they are to be overcome by courage. They are religious questions—clerical and ecclesiastical questions. When I was at the English Board of Education for a short time the most of my troubles came from clerical and ecclesiastical questions, and I came to this definite conclusion, that if you are to make any definite progress in education, and are to do anything useful and valuable, you must fix your eyes with determination on one consideration alone, and that is the welfare of the children. The state of affairs described by my right hon. Friend-children in Scotland in denominational schools which are starved, starved in equipment, buildings, and, worst of all, starved as to the teachers—is a thing which ought not to be allowed to last another year. Because if you have starved, ill-paid teachers, the effect is bound to re-act on the children, and I hope that among the great advantages of this Bill, which I have no doubt my hon. Friend will succeed in carrying, this very important thing, which from some points of view is more difficult, will not be dropped as a minor matter. In my humble judgment it is a major matter. I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the Bill, and on his very clear and candid description of its provisions. It has been begun rather late in the Session, but Scotsmen can do a great deal if they have the will, and I wish him a happy and speedy passage for his Bill, and I hope that in the race with the English Bill he may succeed in being the winner.


I beg to move to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof the words, this House declines to give a Second Heading to a Bill which raises important controversial questions upon which there has been no adequate opportunity to ascertain the opinion of the Scottish people. I desire, in the first place, to congratulate my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Scotland on his very lucid exposition of the details of the Bill, and I do so all the more readily because his lucidity is the more remarkable in view of the great domestic anxiety which he has at the present moment. I am sure that the House is at one with me in sympathising with him and in hoping that that anxiety will soon be over. I have also to thank the Secretary for Scotland on the very graceful tribute which he has paid to school board officials in my own part of the North-East of Scotland. I quite agree with him. I should not dream of putting down the Amendment which stands in the name of my hon. and learned Friend and myself if it were not that I feel convinced that a better Bill could have been produced and that this is a particularly unique moment for having a survey of the educational ground of Scotland. Before, however, I go to that, I may be allowed to say this: We have been told that there is such a thing as a political truce, that controversial measures are not to be discussed. Minister after Minister has told us that possibly too many controversial measures are being brought forward. From my part of the world I cannot charge my memory with receiving one communication from any public body in favour of this Bill. I have received numerous communications from public bodies, not merely in my own Constituency, but in a very large part of Banffshire and Aberdeenshire, asking that the Bill should not be proceeded with. I want to know what a controversiol measure is. What proportion of the inhabitants of Scotland have to be on one side before it can be called controversial?

Apart from that, this, Education Bill is, and should be, a great scheme of reconstruction. We have at present Committees almost as numerous as the sands of the sea to consider every sort of question. The question of education in Scotland is not merely essential, but is fundamental, and I cannot for the life of me understand why, in a question of this kind, the Secretary for Scotland did not insist on having an independent inquiry. I am one with the Secretary in thinking that the school board areas should be enlarged. I am not sure that I agree with him in thinking that the county, in all circumstances, is the best area. Take, for instance, the county of Inverness. I do not see how you can get-all the members of the school board to have sufficient meetings. One thing I am certain of is that local interests and the local touch go a great way in the matter of education. Taking away for the present the question of children and parents, it seems to me that there are three bodies charged with education in Scotland. They are the Education Department, the school boards, and the teachers. I can scarcely conceive how it comes about that the Secretary for Scotland has so changed his ideas in regard to the position of teachers. In the Bill of last year the position of the teaching profession in regard to administrative work was clearly defined. In this Bill it is not so. They are excluded. It seems to me that that is an impossible position.

When you have the Whitley Committee reporting that employers and employés should meet on the basis of equality to discuss grievances it seems to me that there is no reason why teachers, who after all have to provide the education, should not be admitted, not as a favour, but as a right; to the different committees. In the legal, medical, and clerical professions the members to a large extent regulate their own business. This I am sure of, that unless you give the teachers positions on these committees, unless, as my right hon. Friend opposite said, you improve their status and improve their salaries, we shall have to face this grave difficulty, that promising boys and girls will not go into the teaching profession. We require in the hard struggle which we are to have with Germany the best brains of Scotland to go into that profession. Therefore, it seems to me that we ought to make very generous allowance for the payment of teachers. Sir Walter Scott, in describing his great character, Dominie Sampson, tells us that he received a salary a great deal less than that of the agricultural labourer. The same thing at the present moment holds good, I should say, in regard to the general run of teachers. They do not get a sufficient salary, and it seems to me that in the most necessary of the professions which will have to deal with the conditions which are to make for a peace competition with Germany we require to be generous to our teachers so that we shall get the very best men possible. I agree, I think, with my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Scotland in what he said regarding the advisory council. It, however, as put forward here, is a very, very small measure, indeed. Let me refer to Clause19— It shall be lawful for His Majesty in Council— and so on on matters referred to the advisory council by the Department. It seems to me that an advisory council such as this has no authority, and will receive no respect. In my opinion the proposal is not worth the paper that it is printed upon. The body will be a futile body. I go further. I admit that the Department must have a glimmering of the real state of matters when the proposal is made. I regret to have to say it, but I do say that I know of no public governing body which is more out of touch with opinion in Scotland than is the Education Department.


It always has been.


When I say that, I do not forget for a moment the eminent services of the very distinguished head of the Department, or what the Department has done, but I do say that the Department hitherto has been an autocracy, and that by this measure you are simply enthroning the Department more firmly than ever. What you do require is a composite body, composed from the organisations of business men, workmen, universities, teaching professions, professions, and also from the Department. I do not go the length of saying that a body such as I describe should make the educational policy in Scotland, but I do go the length of saying that no policy should be promulgated by the Education Department without consultation with, and without the concurrence of, such a body. Teachers complain, I think with a great deal of truth, that the Department's proposals are often tainted with, what shall I say, German ideas. We object to that entirely. Our situation is totally different from that of Germany, and we can surely formulate a scheme of our own. I associate myself with what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for St. Rollox (Mr. McKinnon Wood) said regarding the voluntary school question. I am in utter sympathy with that. I hold the opinion that the voluntary schools should be included in this general scheme of State education. I knew of the negotiations that took place between the right hon. Gentleman and his predecessors and members of the Catholic body. I am glad that negotiations are likely to terminate happily. I was made acquainted with them by my friend the late Bishop of Aberdeen, who, I may be allowed to say, was the statesman of the Scottish hierarchy, and whose opinions were strongly in favour of what I say—the inclusion of voluntary schools in the State system. I am thankful that the opinions of the statesman are to be carried in preference to those of the zealot. It seems to me the Catholics of Scotland should get at least as good terms in Scotland, where there is less religious bigotry, as they have in England. Under the Bill that is not so.

I am pleased at the provision that is to be made for technical education and for continuation classes. These continuation classes will form a big educational scheme in the future, but I am not at all satisfied with the provision made for technical education. We are lamentably behind in Scotland what they are on the Continent, and it seems to me from this Bill that there is no one empowered to begin these technical schools. Further, provision ought to be made whereby one or two counties can conjoin in order to have technical education. In the North-East of Scotland, where the population is rather sparse, it may be impossible for the ordinary county to provide such technical instruction. I would appeal to the Secretary for Scotland to be a good deal more generous in regard to technical education than the Bill seems to be. I do not want to go into minor details, but I would say that if a boy or a girl is to be educated solely with a view to the trade or profession which he or she is to engage in later on, the nature of the education will be narrow and hard. It seems to me the education should be conducted so as to have in view in the far distance something connected with the trade or profession they are to follow afterwards. In connection with that, might I say that while provision is made for pupils up to the age of sixteen, provision ought to be made for pupils over eighteen—that is to say, a good many lads do not complete their apprenticeship at the age of eighteen. Then as to the provision of books, might I suggest that in small provincial places where there is a library rate these towns may be a great deal worse off than the ordinary parish where there is nothing of the kind? The 1d. rate at the present time does little more than pay officials.

May I be allowed to say that nothing would induce me to oppose this Bill if it were not, as I have already stated, that I think in Scotland we have characters and individualities of our own. Formerly we were in the van of educational progress. That can be no longer said; we are lagging lamentably. I remember during the South African War I had occasion frequently to be in Germany. The feeling against us at the time was intense, but I came away with the conviction that the feeling was not merely one of jealousy, but largely one of contempt. I am doubtful whether we are sufficiently thoroughgoing in our methods. I am certain of this, that under the old system of pariah education in Scotland we, at any rate, displayed more self-reliance than we do now. My idea would be, if possible, to have the self-reliance of the old system and the thoroughness and the seriousness which ought to exist under the new. A good deal was said as to the reading of literature. May I point out that a teacher, it seems to me, goes very often along the line of least resistance—that is to say, if a boy or girl takes to novel reading, that is allowed to be developed by the teacher. I think the teacher might take into consideration that the mind of a child might be gradually diverted from the ordinary to something more serious in literature, so that we shall not day after day see the ordinary boy or girl simply reading penny dreadfuls. We in my part of Scotland have solved the problem of sending boys from the schools to the university, but we have not solved the problem of technical education, and I am certain that we will not do it unless we have a wider view and a wider horizon. I am certain that if everything is to be put into the hands of a Department and every little scheme is to be approved by them, we shall simply be peddling with a system of education at a time when our every energy and our best brains ought to be devoted to getting the best possible scheme for good old Scotland.


I beg to second the Amendment which has just been moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Elgin Burghs (Mr. Sutherland). I desire to associate myself not only with what he has said, but also with what has been said by my right hon. Friend the Member for St. Rollox (Mr. McKinnon Wood), with reference to the speech of the Secretary for Scotland. We are all greatly indebted to the Secretary for Scotland for the extreme lucidity of his exposition this afternoon. I think all of us will agree that it is a model of what such statements should be in this House, and it is an unfortunate fact that it has been reserved almost exclusively to Scottish Members to listen to this exhibition of Ministerial lucidity. In seconding this Motion I hope I shall not justify the compliment which my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Scotland paid me. It is true that I approach this Bill from a somewhat different point of view to that indicated in his speech by my hon. Friend who has just spoken, but the attitude I take up is, to my mind, an intelligible attitude, and is one which is shared by a large number of people, not only in this House, but throughout the whole country. My right hon. Friend was very vague in his account of the origin and inception of this Bill. Undoubtedly before the Government's Bill for English education were introduced there was no demand on the part of any large body of opinion in Scotland for a change in the educational system of that country at the present time. I know that for many years there has been a strong opinion that there are serious defects in our system, and in particular I believe that the teachers have been almost unanimously in favour of-large administrative changes. But until the English Bill was first brought forward there was no suggestion that any change should be made in Scotland in respect of education. Why has it been done?

What is the origin of the English Bill? When the present Government came into power it came into power, on its own profession, to do two things: first of all, to win the War, and, secondly, to create a new heaven and a new earth. It was going to do more than that, as I am reminded. That is, of course, a very large order, and as they are not carrying out the former part of their policy they have to do something to be apparently justifying the other claim. That is why we are having Bills dealing with Scottish education, dealing with English education, dealing with a Ministry of Health, with maternity and child welfare, and all sorts of subjects that hardly anybody outside this House knows anything about, or at the present time cares about. I believe that throughout the whole country there is but one overmastering preoccupation in the minds of men and women, and that is the successful prosecution of the War; and, in view of that preoccupation, they are able to give very little of their mind and very little of their attention to other less important and more secondary objects. If it be true—and I admit it is true—that the Secretary for Scotland has encountered very little opposition to his proposals up to the present time, it is due largely, if not solely, to the fact of that preoccupation of the public mind. The body of teachers and some committees and trade unions have undoubtedly taken some interest in this Bill, and have also passed resolutions, but those bodies are unrepresentative of the real opinion of Scotland at the present time. Local authorities have their representatives in this House, but they have now for years dispensed with the necessity of communicating with them, and they are becoming totally irresponsible and autocratic bodies representing nobody but themselves, and therefore their resolutions, so far as they have any relevance to this important matter, are of no more importance than the resolutions of debating societies. Under these circumstances, has this House, this totally unrepresentative body, the right to pass this measure?

It is not legislation for to-day that we are passing. On the admission of Ministers, it will be years before the Government will be able to put many of the more important provisions of this Bill into operation. Have we any right to legislate for people ten years hence? We are imposing very important obligations upon them; we are imposing upon them financial obligations, and certain statutory obligations both upon parents and children, obligations which are imposed under penalties. Have we to-day the right to put these things on the Statute Book in relation to people who will be affected ten years hence, and are not now represented here? I think it is absurd for a senile and moribund assembly such as this to enter upon legislation of this kind. Have we any title to say that we really speak for the population of Scotland to-day in this instance? It is important to remember that there are at least 600,000 men of that country out of civil life and in the ranks of the fighting forces. It is possible that some of these men have given spare moments to educational problems, but is there the slightest justification for suggesting that either the Government or Members of this House have any right to represent these people on this question? This is a general caveat against proceeding with this Bill. My right hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract reminds me that the electorate has been enormously reinforced, and we have no right now to make educational provisions affecting them—and which can only come into operation ten years hence—before the new voters can exercise the franchise. This is not a measure of reconstruction, or of setting up a State fabric which you will be tinkering and repairing, taking down and setting up again. Why waste our time in doing that?

I think it was an admirable suggestion of my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh that some form of inquiry should be made. In this House we have a regular method of dealing with proposals of this kind, and why not refer this Bill to a Select Committee, to take evidence from all kinds of organisations, women's organisations, workmen's associations, and from the teachers as well, and so on. You would get information in a far more representative way by the method I suggest, and you would waste no time, because undoubtedly during the time this inquiry was taking place nothing could possibly be done in carrying out the provisions of the Bill. I am not going into the question of administrative changes. The difficulty connected with that is that you make no real difference so far as half the population is concerned. If you take the five cities mentioned in the First Schedule, you perhaps have half the population, so that administratively things would be as they are to-day. My right hon. Friend has already put forward that the number of towns mentioned in the Schedule should be considerably increased, and I think there is a strong case for adopting that suggestion. The administrative provisions are only going to affect a very small minority of the population of Scotland, and my hon. Friend has shown that in some areas it is very doubtful whether it will be in operation. I am very glad to welcome the promise which my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Scotland has made to change the proposal as to co-opted committees in the original Bill. I think he was well advised in doing that, for we know that Scotland has no love for indirectly elected committees of co-opted members, which run counter to the democratic feeling of the country. Having rescued the right hon. Gentleman from malign influences, it would be ungracious to offer any criticism of the proposal as it at present stands.

I would ask the House for a few moments to consider what is really going to happen in regard to the proposal for raising the school age and for the extension and multiplication of continuation classes. As to extending the facilities for continuation classes, and at the same time making no provision for that purpose at present, is simply putting a pious opinion on paper. Whether in regard to Conscription in Ireland or education in Scotland, that is the very worst thing from the point of view of legislation that can be done. To put Acts of Parliament on the Statute Book without their coming into operation tends to bring the whole of our legislation into contempt. People find that the measures are on the Statute Book, but that they are not being carried out, and that will tend to their looking in the same way at all other provisions which are of a mandatory character, and you will have consequent looseness in the carrying out of Acts of Parliament. I think that is a most unfortunate situation to create, and one which this House should on no account lend any countenance to. What is the situation? We know to what extent the ranks of the teachers have been depleted owing to the necessities of the War. I make no complaint on that head, although, to my mind, the Scottish Education Board has shown-too little anxiety to put itself in opposition to the War Office in cases where teachers. are being taken for military service. What is the effect on the country? I have a letter from a relative of my own who is a member of a school board in the West of Scotland, and who says that as a result of what is being done to-day it would be necessary to discontinue continuation classes there altogether for the present, and that the board contemplated passing a resolution to that effect at their next meeting. On the question of raising the school age there is going to be difficulty. It is true that the Secretary for Scotland spoke with great optimism of the available supply of teachers. It may have been so before the War, but you have only to reckon the number of teachers who have been or are being taken now, or those who have unfortunately lost their lives, and you have also only to consider that during these years you have not had the normal recruitment of teachers owing to the fact that so many who would otherwise have become teachers, have been drafted into the ranks of the Army. To see that you are going to have several years of arrears which it will take a long time to make up, and I believe that many authorities will agree that it will be several years after the War—we do not know how long the War is going to continue, probably it may go on for another two years, or it may be several years before it will be possible to restore the normal pre-war educational facilities. Is it not ludicrous to put on the Statute Book provisions which it would take years after the War to bring into operation?

You will have great difficulties in regard to the continuation classes. There is a proposal to dispense with the evening continuation classes, and to have them in the day time. What does that mean? It is only necessary to consider how your existing continuation classes are carried on. How are they staffed? They are staffed largely, so far as general education is concerned, by the teachers who are working in the day time in the ordinary school, and whose work in the continuation classes represents to some extent overtime. So far as technical subjects are concerned the classes are officered by men who work in their trades or professions during the day, and give their services in the school and those special classes. If you are having day continuation classes you cannot get the work done by these men. You will therefore have to obtain a special full-time staff for your day continuation classes, and that aggravates the difficulty which I have been describing. I think these severe practical considerations prove that it is altogether premature to endeavour to put these new proposals upon the Statute Book at this time of day. I will not suggest for a moment that my right hon. Friend and the Scottish Education Department should not be looking ahead, should not be considering with the best materials at their disposal the problems of the future. I believe, for example, that the whole problem of the teaching profession is one which urgently requires attention and demands a solution, but that can be done entirely apart from this Bill. I believe that the emoluments and the status of the teacher should be improved, that that is one of the most urgent questions of the present time, but that does not require this legislation. It can be done without it. It is very largely a matter of finance, and I believe that if the standard of Scottish education is to be maintained and improved, its maintenance and improvement will mainly depend on the improvement of the quality of our teachers.

That brings me to the last point with which I desire to deal. My right hon. Friend spoke, as it is now the fashion to speak, of the importance of the years of adolescence, and it now seems to be a popular craze that if you get the adolescents into continuation classes all will be right with the world. That is sheer nonsense. The only influence that really matters with the adolescent is the influence of the father, and the State cannot supply the position of the father. If there is trouble in dealing with adolescents in these days of the War, it is mainly due to the fact that such a large number of the fathers of these boys are at the present time fighting in the Army, and I think that it is going to be a grave blunder for the Government and the Parliament of this country to suggest that the real training and the proper education of these adolescents can be taken over by the State from the parents. It cannot be done, and if you attempt to do it it will be a failure. Continuation classes are of importance from the educational point of view, from the point of view of enlarging the minds and improving the efficiency of these youths, but that aspect of it, the suggestion that the continuation class is going to be a substitute for parental influence, is simply absurd. I think I have made out a cast for the point of view which I hold. It is not, as my right hon. Friend suggested, due to my general attitude of hostility to the present Government, though I do not disclaim that general hostility. I think it is justified, and growingly justified, but there is a case on its merits against taking the step which the House is now being asked to take, and it is because I believe that the case on its merits is unanswerable that I, with great pleasure, second this Amendment.


It is with the greatest pleasure that I ask to be allowed to associate myself, as I do most heartily, in congratulating my right hon. Friend on the lucidity of his explanation of the Bill, and on the calm and balanced judgment with which he has dealt with the various objections and doubts that have been raised, so that I think now, whatever my hon. Friend who has just sat down may say, he has at his back an overwhelmingly large amount of support from Scotland. I must deal before I go further with the Motion that has been moved by my hon. Friends the hon. Member for the Elgin Burghs (Mr. Sutherland) and the hon. and learned Member for Lanarkshire (Mr. Pringle). It would be obvious to anyone who listened to these speeches that they were singularly inconsistent in the arguments with which they supported the same Motion. The Mover of the Amendment began by stating that he thought there had been no adequate previous inquiry, that that inquiry ought to be made at once, and that meanwhile there was no need to press on with this legislation, but he immediately began to show that there were a great number of urgent needs for Scottish education and urgent lacunae which we had to fill up. He told us the teachers were lamentably insufficient, he told us that an advisory council was urgently needed, he told us that the Department was German in its sympathy and entirely autocratic, and must be dealt with, and he also told us that whatever might be said with regard to the old conditions of Scottish education, we now incur the contempt of some friends of his that he met in Germany. The arguments of the Seconder of the Amendment were singularly inconsistent with these. His grounds for postponing the Bill were that this Parliament was so defunct and so decrepit that it had no right to deal with any legislation at all. He told us that there were grave defects in Scottish education, and that, however much they were needed to be dealt with, this Parliament had no right to deal with them. May I put a question to my hon. Friend? If these things are shown to be needed for the good of Scotland, if they are demanded by a vast proportion of the people of Scotland, have we, sitting as their representatives, any right to take the dangerous course of refusing them?

The hon. Member said that teachers were wanted, and that we could not move on till we had got more teachers. I have some experience of this question. I sat for several months as chairman of the Committee that dealt with the teachers' salary question. That was a large and impartial Committee, and nothing impressed itself more upon us than this: that you could never deal properly with the question of teachers and get their status recognised, and a proper career open to them, and that you could never get adequate resources from which to pay them, unless you had enlarged areas, and that until those enlarged areas came the teachers must remain, as they now are, crippled in their ambitions and paid a miserable pittance instead of an adequate salary. No one feels more than I do that this time is a time when we are all thinking of one thing and one thing only, and subordinating every other duty. I am no great friend of a flood of legislation, and in fact I think there has been too much legislation introduced by the Government, but if an urgent need closely connected with the War, and a means of dealing with a difficulty that has been largely created and increased by the War is called for, then I think an exception must be made in favour of dealing with this special need. Now I come to the provisions of the Bill itself. However close my interest in education is and has always been, I speak absolutely impersonally as a critic of this Bill. I have had nothing to do with what my hon. Friend calls the inception and origin of the Bill, and I am as little concerned with it as he is himself, and I therefore bring to the judgment of this Bill an absolutely unbiassed mind.

6.0 P.M.

As my right hon. Friend knows, I felt great and almost insuperable difficulty in supporting the Bill as he originally introduced it. I was so convinced of the necessity of some Bill that I would have done my very best to try to subordinate what I felt were conscientious convictions in favour of an ad hoc system, and I am all the more grateful to my right hon. Friend that, after weighing all the circumstances, he has come to see that the bulk of opinion was in the other direction, and I now, except for some minor and not very-important reservations, can promise him on the whole my hearty support of this Bill. We have two Bills before us just now, the English and Scottish Bills. It would be dangerous to institute on too large a scale a comparison between them. That might arouse undue self-complacency on the one side, and might perhaps provoke somewhat tender susceptibilities on the other side. I will not, therefore, compare them on a large scale, but there are one or two features that strike me in regard to the two Bills in which I incline to prefer the Bill of my right hon. Friend. It does not open with what I think is the defect of the English Bill—namely, rather a philosophical and high-flown, grandiose description about a progressive and comprehensive scheme of education, and how various new ideals of education are to be produced. That is not practical business, and I prefer what the Scottish Bill does, and that is to begin straight with business and establish what I think is the crucial point—local education authorities. We must give the key-note of the Bill in encouragement, and I am glad to see that after the first four Clauses that establish the education authorities the right hon. Gentleman wisely strikes a note of encouragement and sympathy in the fifth Clause of the Bill. Whatever the English Bill says, you cannot create a national system of education by Act of Parliament. You can no more do that than you can create the natural fertility of the soil. You may improve, organise, develop, and help, just as you may manure the ground; but if you are to have a great system, that system must spring from the genius, instinct, and energy of the people themselves, and the sympathy they are prepared to bring to bear. What, after all, is the practical meaning of education? It is just this, that the older generation can give help to the younger generation in order to prevent it having to learn the lesson in the harsh school of experience. Experience is the harshest of all schools. It never forgets. It never leaves unpunished any fault. The lessons learnt in the school of experience are not realised until it is too late, and one is left to look back on the failures and errors, mistakes and regrets. What we do in education is to try to save the generation that is going to do our work in the battle of life from these harsh lessons got in the school of the world. How much you can help them depends upon the zeal, the energy, the sympathy, which you can get from the people of the country. You can try to develop that by all your Acts of Parliament, by all your Codes and what you like, but the real momentum, the living power, must come from the people themselves and from the energy that rests with them, and that is sure to come. It has always come at great historical epochs of the country. What epoch will be greater for our country than the epoch that sees the close of this War and the starting of a new era? And is it not absolutely necessary, in spite of all the arguments of my hon. and learned Friend, to say we must be prepared for that moment, when undoubtedly the nation will be eager to organise, to economise, to make the best use of its resources, and to start on a sound foundation the lives of the young?

Let us remember that this new generation which is now coming up will suffer from one thing to a greater extent than any previous generation has done. Those who would have been travelling on the road in front of them have in enormous proportion laid down their lives. The younger generation will in countless cases lose that help that they would have had from an elder brother or an older friend. They will be forced to start upon their course of life with a gap between them and the next generation. All the more necessary is it then that you should prepare the ground for the work, that you should seize upon this moment to deal with the crucial matter of organisation. I would only ask that all your organisation and all your work should be accompanied by the desire to help this younger generation; that, above all, you should try to make school-time a good time. Nine years of life, from five to fourteen—and now we are going to add four years more—is not an insignificant slice out of life. Surely it is of considerable importance that we should make school something else than a place of tasks; that we should make it a place that will give them an inspiration for all their lives, so that they will look back on their school not as a mere task room, but as a place which gave them joy and happiness. I remember when I first came up to an English university that there was nothing struck me more than the affection and regard with which all my contemporaries at the university spoke of their school life. I am not going to use any language of false compliment about the old schools of Scotland. They have vastly improved, but I say our schools fifty or sixty years ago were miserable, unhappy, dismal places, to which I look back with no feeling of affection whatever. They were dull and uninspiring. Games and anything of that sort were absolutely neglected. I never once remember, during my whole school life, ever seeing one of our masters in the playground. I trust that one of the accompaniments of this new movement of education will be sympathy and the introduction of greater happiness into school-life.

Next, you will not have a happy school unless you can have a contented and sufficiently paid teacher—a teacher who can raise his mind above the constant grinding care of making ends meet. At the request of my right hon. Friend, I acted as chairman, last autumn, of a Committee, and I would give him my profound thanks for the kindness with which he speaks of the Report of the Committee, and, above all, of my own efforts. It was a Committee composed of all sorts of different interests—a large Committee. We came to a unanimous decision that salaries must be largely increased and must be increased without delay. It must be remembered that the recommendations of that Committee, which I am glad are being carried out in a considerable number of cases, represent a minimum, and by no means a maximum, payment to teachers. Another thing is, you must attach the interest of the parents in the school. I rather agree with my hon. Friend that that interest is not now so great as it used to be in Scotland. We must revive that interest, that ambition, that unselfish interest on the part of the parents which existed, and was the tradition of Scotland and the pride of Scotland. Nothing was more interesting to me than to come into contact with the parents in the remote glens of fishing villages of Scotland and to see how keen they were, and how much sacrifice they were ready to make in order to improve their schools and to make them an institution of which their locality might be proud.

I will touch very shortly upon one other point. I would say to my right hon. Friend and the Department for which he is responsible, do try to make, as I said, the key-note of your administration encouragement, not compulsion. The more I see of compulsion the more I dread its hardening effect in education. I am rather glad my right hon. Friend in Clause 14 does not put the word "compulsion" quite so prominently forward as it is in the English Bill. I think he does wisely rather to cover up the pill with a good deal of jam, as he does in Clause 14. It may be necessary in extreme cases, and as a last resort, to have compulsion, but do not let us put it as the only means, and the best means, for stimulating education. I will ask my right hon. Friend to allow me to quote some words from a Report of his own Department, which seems to me to favour voluntary rather than compulsory education. Speaking of the difficulties of continuation classes under war conditions, the Report says: In certain quarters compulsion has been suspended, but voluntary attendance has increased. A subject like cookery has been given up in some places owing to the difficulty of procuring material; in others, classes have been filled by those desiring to make the best use of what is procurable. It goes on to give two illustrations in remotely distant districts: It is pleasing to find that Lockerbie classes have stood the test of a change of headmaster. The late headmaster of the compulsory classes in Lockerbie has now started continuation classes at Hoddam with a phenomenal enrolment composed largely of munition workers. The feature of the Session was the extraordinary popularity of the classes held at Banff, Headrooms, an isolated rural school, where the energy and enthusiasm of a female teacher attracted an enrolment almost equal to that of the day school. I want in regard to the important point in this Bill regarding the voluntary schools to say in a single word that I cordially support the proposed solution. No doubt injustice has been done to those schools. It is enormously difficult to deal with them—I know it by experience. It is difficult to find any form of words that will appear just and reasonable, but if we can only invent that form—and I am convinced that the right hon. Gentleman will find it—then it will work practically with the very greatest advantage—if there be on the part of those concerned—and I believe I know enough in my intercourse with them to know that there will be a desire to make the arrangements work cordially. Under these circumstances I believe it will be a success. I cordially congratulate my right hon. Friend that a solution, and a very promising solution, has been found in what has for more than one generation been a standing difficulty in regard to the organisation of Scottish education.


I feel that the occasion of the Second Reading of the Education Bill of my right hon. Friend marks so important a stage in the journey of our Scottish national development that I am unwilling to pass it by in silence. I do not wish to enlarge more directly upon the general subject of education because that has been the theme of speculation from the earliest times. Learned men of all generations have had their own systems of education, and have recommended them as being the best for the production of the future generations. I do think, however, that we here ought to look to the benefits of education, not, as it were, individually, as a thing to draw forth from the individual the best that is in him, that which is innate in him, and of which probably he is not aware, but in order that he may be able to apply those qualities for the benefit of the community and of the State. I think, perhaps, we in Scotland have been in the habit—which was justified some time ago—in considering our system of education was rather better than any which prevailed elsewhere. I would ask the House to beware lest there be anything pharisaical in that boast. It is because I think we are taking steps to prevent that being so that I welcome this Bill, and venture to offer to my right hon. Friend my humble congratulations on his achievement.

I welcome this Bill because I think it is designed, when passed into law, to succeed in setting up a real improvement in our educational machine, an improvement which will bring the changes in that mechanism that are desirable, and will impart vigour, freshness, and increased power to it. My right hon. Friend who has just sat down has said very truly that "of all projects of reconstruction after this War the one which is most pregnant with hope is the reform of education." We look forward to that rather than to any other subject. In dealing with this Bill—as I wish to be brief—I shall not touch upon many of the various aspects of the subject. There is one point of comment I should like to make. It deals really with the foundation of the Bill. That is the alteration of area. I want to draw the attention of the House, in commenting upon the change which is contemplated in the Bill, to what exists under present conditions. In order to bring this more clearly to the notice of hon. Members I should like to quote the Report of fthe Committee of the Privy Council on education which has just been presented to Parliament. On the very first page of the Report referred to it says: As stated last year, we are bound to raise questions when school boards in the same neighbourhood and similarly circumstanced differ so widely in their attitude to the subject of child employment. I am coming later to the subject of child employment. I do, however, want to draw attention to the extraordinary disparity of treatment in neighbourhoods, contiguous one to the other, by the different authorities. It is highly desirable, first of all, that we should get rid of any disparity of treatment, and that there should not be diverse methods of administration and of exercising authority in two districts, the one contiguous to the other, because, think of how it re-acts upon those who are employed—that is the children? Such differentiation must clearly produce great heartburnings amongst employers who feel, because they are unequally treated, that they are unfairly treated. In the second place, I would say it is not less desirable that all the authorities should adopt the highest standard—not differing standards—but the highest standard in matters educational; and in all the areas. I think we may congratulate ourselves that by this Bill this disparity of treatment is, if not wholly abolished, at all events largely prevented. I say "not wholly" because in the new system under the Bill we shall still have lines of demarcation. That is another point: there may be differentiation as between counties. Let me direct the attention of the House to one section of page 4 of the Report to which I have just referred, and in which Mr. Jamiason says: It would seem to be the case that in the districts controlled by the larger boards, whose machinery for looking after attendance is efficient, the tendency to irregularity can be held in check, but that the machinery at the disposal of the small boards is apt to break down when it has to deal with abnormal conditions. That is a very clear indication of how larger boards will be of value in educational administration. I do not want to labour the point of the larger area, but my right hon. Friend the Member for the St. Rollox Division gave two or three reasons to the House why he welcomed the large area, and I entirely subscribe to those views. It is not by any means too early that we are undertaking this change, particularly in the interests of the teachers. I am quite sure that my right hon. Friend will not misunderstand me if I do not speak at length upon this subject. I merely wish to mention it to show my anxiety that this should be brought about in the interests of the teacher, and in the interests of education generally. I know I am forcing an open door when speaking upon this subject, and, indeed, the key to the door is in this very Bill. Let me come to this question of authority, and say that there seems to be a consensus of opinion in the House that there should be ad hoc authorities.




I did not say the feeling was unanimous, but there is a preponderance of feeling in this House on that subject. I do say that primâ facie there is the presumption that those who are elected for educational purposes, and educational purposes alone, are imbued with a larger enthusiasm for education than those who are elected for a multitude of other things; such, for instance, as lighting, drainage, water schemes, or tramways, which seems to me, in these days, to be developing into a question of religious belief amongst some hon. Members. Therefore, I do think that my right hon. Friend has been wise in adhering to the system of a body elected for the direct purposes of education. Let me come to the question of child labour. I notice that my right hon. Friend not long ago received a deputation from a body of Scottish newsagents who were very anxious that the delivery of newspapers and milk in the early morning by small children should not be interfered with. It is undoubtedly desirable that we should have our newspapers and our milk—although the latter seems to be difficult to get in these days—but that it should be small children only who should have the privilege of delivering our newspapers and milk in the morning would seem to be a reproach to the resources of civilisation. It is now, I regret to say, a very long time since I first, as a very small voice, tried to impress upon this House the desirability of thinking more about the children and less about the employers, more of the child and less of the parent. We have heard a great many speeches concerning the employers' time, but vedy little about the children's time. I would ask the House to remember that if in the years that the child should be imbibing education you deprive him of the opportunity of that education it is a thing you can never make up. May I refer again to the Report? What is said at the bottom of page 4 as to employment? Mr. Munro Fraser says: There is a division of opinion among the headmasters as to whether the conditions of labour are more arduous— than before the War— but none as to the harmful influence of such employment on the education of the children. They come late to school, tired and worn out with the early rising, and the heavy burdens; they are often irregular in attendance, they are often too sleepy to profit by the instruction. That some retain vigour of mind and body is in spite of these adverse conditions, and not because of them. I notice that in the deputation to which I have referred that it was brought as an argument before my right hon. Friend by a speaker (Mr. Fairfield) that in his youth he took milk and newspapers round in the early morning, and so did a good many other people who were more distinguished than himself. He looked upon it, he said, as a method for making strong, healthy, vigorous, and hardy Scots.


Hear, hear!


I would call attention to these words of the inspector— Some retain vigour of mind and body in spite of these adverse conditions and not because of them. I would only venture to make these quotations from the Report because it is the latest Report of which I have any knowledge. Long ago I read from the Back Benches—I was going to say scores of quotations from Reports of all periods—denouncing this system of the employment of children. No scheme of education can possibly be successful where that employment is carried out as it has been done in the past. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister for Education was partly in favour of this system of employment, and in his speeches on educational reform he says: We must realise that many light economic services may be appropriately and happily performed by young people, that a little real work in the real world widens experience and often brightens the wits, and, indeed, that many well-to-do children would be the better for a moderate daily dose of such an experience. Then my right hon. Friend proceeds: But though the State cannot forbid wage-earning among young people it should and must assign a value to learning as well as to earning. It has a right and a duty to affirm that it believes in education for the masses, and that by education it means not a sham and a make-believe but something substantial, something which will leave a durable mark on mind and character, and that the claim of this education on the child is to be paramount. I approve of the raising of the age for compulsory education, and I welcome that just as much as I welcome the continuation classes. Let me say one word upon Clause 19, which deals with the advisory council. I know my right hon. Friend has had a good deal of representation from Scottish bodies urging that it would be desirable that he should share with somebody, such as the advisory council, the responsibility of administering education in Scotland. In my judgment it is the Scottish Education Department and the Secretary for Scotland who ought to be responsible for the administration of education in Scotland, and to attempt any joint responsibility would, in my judgment, be absolutely futile and wrong. I see my right hon. Friend has inserted what I should call a pious Clause, because it says that tit shall be lawful for this council to be set up for the purpose of advising the Department on matters referred to the advisory council by the Department, and the council shall take into consideration any advice or representation submitted to them by the advisory council. Of course, if the Department do not wish to refer any matters to them, they need not do so. At any rate, that is how I read the Clause. I think the advisory council may be considered as a thing that we do not care very much about. Let me say, in conclusion, that, looking to the broader aspects of this question not only as a citizen hoping for growth and development of the community, but looking also to the tragic losses we have sustained in this awful maelstrom of the last four years, I say it is the duty of statesmen to attempt to repair the ravages of the. War, but, alas, many or the ravages and devastations which have occurred are irreparable! I feel that Parliament has laid it down as a duty and solemn obligation to take such steps as it can, and this Bill is a step to see to it that we provide for future generations of Scotsmen an opportunity for the fullest measure of service.

Mr. BARNES (War Cabinet)

Mine is not a speaking part in the Government, and I promise those hon. Members who wish to speak that I shall not stand between them more than a very few minutes. I want to associate myself with this Bill, and I wish to congratulate my right hon. Friend upon the presentation of a measure which is a sensible advance in providing facilities for the better education of the rising generation of the country to which he and I belong. I want to refer to one or two of the provisions of the Bill. First of all, I think it is right that I should refer to the industrial provisions. Like my right hon. Friend who has just sat down, I welcome the raising of the age to fifteen, and the further extension of attendance from twelve to thirteen. That is an advance as compared with those south of the Border, but we lake to think in Scotland that we are in advance in educational matters, and I hope that Provision in the Bill will be adhered to. In regard to continuation schools, I have long thought that the defect of our educational system is that sudden break between the school age of the boy or girl up to thirteen or fourteen, as the case may be, and then beginning to work in profit-making industries immediately afterwards and for whole time. In that way a boy leaves school when he has not realised the value of education to him; he goes into a factory, and for eight or nine hours a day, and sometimes even longer, he works in some occupation in which his whole energies are absorbed in getting his living, or contributing to the support of his father and mother; and before he knows where he is he has lost touch with education. I think it is a capital provision that there should be this continuation after a full-time attendance at school, and the young people should have this 320 hours per year. I hope my right hon. Friend will be more fortunate than the President of the Board of Education, and I trust he will be able to retain 320 hours as the minimum for continuation schools in Scotland. I look upon the continuation classes as one of the most important features of this Bill, because it will add to the interests of the young people in education, and lead to greater efforts after the compulsory age of eighteen has been reached.

I welcome the provision made for maintenance grants in those cases where the boy would otherwise be doing something to maintain the family. It is true that the provision in that respect is of a somewhat elementary character, but it does give power to the local authorities to make grants in exceptional cases. I welcome that proposal, and I hope that it will be freely exercised in Scotland. Now I come to the administration part, and I am glad that the ad hoc authority has been maintained. I ventured to write to my right hon. Friend after the presentation of his first Bill in regard to the proposal for an ad hoc authority, and in regard to the voluntary schools, and I am glad that he has avoided those rocks and shoals of public opinion in Scotland by adhering to the ad hoc authority, although I am not so sure that, theoretically, he would not have been justified in going on with his other proposal. I remember that controversy arose in regard to the Bill that was introduced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Bal-four) in 1902 or 1903, when we were predicting that the result of that Bill would be the transfer of sectarian troubles from the school boards to the local authorities, and I believe there was a genuine fear that that would be the result of the introduction of that Bill. That Bill has now passed into an Act, and those fears have not been realised.


Oh, yes, they have.


Be that as it may. When the school boards were abolished we were up against those who attached a sentimental value to the school board, and, having regard to the time in which we are living, I think we ought to avoid controversy, and therefore I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman has retained the ad hoc authority, and I believe public opinion in Scotland will be satisfied with that. In regard to the area, it was one of the deftcts of the old parish system that they were unable to get the right kind of representation upon the school board, because the area was too small, and I believe there were seven or eight hundred of them. Of course, that was a ridiculous administrative number in regard to education in Scotland, and it resulted in getting the wrong kind of men, and in getting too many authorities. It was a system that could not last. I am inclined to think that the county area is just on the other band too large. I should accept the county area as it is in the Bill, provided that arrangements are made for workmen who have hitherto taken part in the administration of the small boards. I know provision is made in the Bill for the payment of travelling and personal expenses. I hope that a liberal interpretation will be placed on those words, and that provision will be made that where a man has lost money through the loss of remunerative time that that man will get some compensation for the time he has so lost performing these educational duties. I read the Bill in that sense, and I welcome the provision for the larger areas. Even then I think we shall have somewhere about thirty-eight or thirty-nine school boards in Scotland, which in all conscience are enough.

The third provision I want to say a word or two about is the absorption of the voluntary schools, and I congratulate my right hon. Friend on approaching that question in a spirit of liberality and generosity. I think that is a right attitude. I have heard in this House and out of it speeches of those who seem to think that everybody ought to be flattened out to a particular pattern, generally their own pattern, and that nobody should teach any sort of religion except their particular brand of religion, and sometimes it is even said that no religion should be taught in the school. I do not know of any person in a position of responsibility and authority who has said that we ought to banish religion altogether from the schools, and that being so, it does seem to me that the voluntary schools in Scotland have been carried on under a condition of things which has imposed immense sacrifices and struggles on the part of those who have kept them up and maintained them under circumstances of some considerable unfairness. I am, therefore, very glad to find that in approaching this question of the voluntary schools the right hon. Gentleman: has made what I regard as a liberal and generous provision. If my words can reach those who are directly interested I should advise them to take advantage of the offer that has now been made to them in this Bill, which is the best offer made to voluntary schools in my time, and I think I am right in saying that it is the best offer they are likely to get in my time. The Bill makes provision that the voluntary schools may be bought at a price which may be agreed upon, or, if no agreement can be reached, at a price fixed by arbitration. It provides that the school teachers in those schools, provided they are taken over, shall be placed upon the same scale of salaries as similar teachers elsewhere performing like duties. It also provides that the religious instruction provided in those schools, both as to time and character, shall be continued after they are taken over. I say, again, that is a very liberal offer to make to the voluntary schools on the part of the public authority. It, so to speak, harmonises the idea of religious instruction of a particular kind with popular control of the school, and I hope that it will settle, or, at all events, will open the door for a settlement of this long standing question of sectarian bitterness, which, to some extent, has absorbed the energies of those who have had to administer the Education Acts in Scotland, energies which might very well be more fittingly devoted to the welfare of the children under their care. There is also a further provision in the second Bill which was not in the first Bill. It is the provision for taking over schools even after the stipulated time of two years. Two years is the time within which a school must be taken over, but, if there is some reason or other which seems to the Department to be a good one, a school can be taken over after the expiration of the two years. Further, a school of that character, started after the expiration of the two years, may be taken over on the same terms under certain conditions for safeguarding the public purse and harmonising with the idea of public control.

There are many other points that might be touched upon, and no doubt will be touched upon, but, unfortunately, I want to get away, and other people want to speak. I may, in these few observations, associate myself heartily with the Secretary for Scotland, and wish him good luck in commending this Bill to the House. It will not clash with the other Bill, because it is proposed to take it upstairs. I hope, when it is taken upstairs, that there will be some little Amendments. There is, for instance, a provision that for a part of the day other than a school day a child of thirteen may be taken into a workshop or employed at any time after six o'clock in the morning and up to eight o'clock at night. I am against that provision. Six o'clock is far too early for a child of thirteen to start work. I had to do it myself long before I was thirteen, and I do not want other people's children to have to do the same. I believe that in Scotland people are far different from what they were in my young days. I remember, going back nearly fifty years I am sorry to say, when, although education in Scotland even then was far ahead of the English standard, there was a large number of people in Scotland, workmen, who were more or less illiterate. That time has gone. The average workman in Scotland now can read, write, and take an intelligent part in public affairs. He has now reached the stage of education where he realises even his own defects and shortcomings, and where he realises the value of education to such an extent that he wants a better education for his girl and his boy than he got himself. This Bill provides that education, and therefore I heartily support it.

Colonel Sir J. HOPE

I cordially approve of this Bill, and think that it will do good for education in Scotland, though there are various points on which it will require amendment. I do not know that I am very enthusiastic about the race that the Secretary for Scotland wishes to enter with the Minister for Education in England as to which Bill will pass first. There is no urgent hurry about forcing this Bill through Committee. I join in the general expressions of approval that the ad hoc principle has been retained in regard to the education authority. I am quite sure that the Secretary for Scotland has acted in accordance with almost universal public opinion. It is only an ad hoc authority that can deal properly with our Scottish system of education. An authority elected for any other purpose, such as a county council, which in the future will have even more work to do, could not safely undertake the increasing burden of directing our education. I am not entirely satisfied that the Secretary for Scotland has gone far enough in giving way to the universal opposition to the principle of co-option and indirect election. The right hon. Gentleman himself, in his speech to-day, acknowledged that the principle of co-option and indirect election was contrary to the desire of the Scottish people. I am referring, of course, to the constitution of the school management committee. Clause 4, governed by Schedule III., is somewhat vague, though the constitution has been explained to some extent by the Secretary for Scotland this afternoon. I gather that when the first local authority is election it will proceed to submit a scheme for the approval of the Scottish Education Department. The Secretary for Scotland said that this local education authority would have a free hand in the scheme, but surely in the first instance some rules and principles will be laid down by the Department for the guidance of these local authorities in drawing up the schemes. If this is the case, I think the House should have some voice in framing these rules and principles, rather than leave everything to the Scottish Education Department.

I gather that these school management committees are to be partly the nominees of the local bodies, and, to a certain extent, of the local education committees. I am not quite sure whether there are to be any co-opted members. Anyhow, it seems to me that these school management committees will certainly be constituted upon some principle of indirect election and co-option. They certainly will not be constituted by direct election. It is a little difficult yet to visualise the powers and duties of these school management committees, but it seems to me, especially in the county areas, that the powers will be considerable. The Secretary for Scotland has already stated that there must be some more local control than can be provided by the central county authority. Small things come to one's mind, such as the question of defaults, and deciding whether parents are to be prosecuted for their children not attending school or whether they are to have exemption. I think that must be dealt with by the school management committee. There are always small matters. There are the holidays, and there must be a certain amount to do in connection with the teachers which will have to be left to these school management committees. I am very doubtful whether Scottish opinion will agree to entrusting these powers to a non-elected body. The people of Scotland have not yet had time to express any opinion, having only had the Bill for a week.


If my hon. and gallant Friend will look at Clause 4, he will see that it is provided that the local education authority shall in every case exercise and perform certain duties, which include the appointment and remuneration of school teachers.


I quite see that, but I rather thought that the question of the appointment of teachers would be referred to the school management committee for their opinion in the same way as at present there is a teachers' committee of the school board, though the final appointment, I quite admit, would rest with the county authority. Of course, that is a question of detail. Personally, I have always been in favour of the large area, and I welcome this county area, to which I hope my right hon. Friend will adhere. The large areas will improve the control of finance and will equalise the rates. Of course, they will control secondary and technical education, and they will have the supreme control of the appointment, and, of course, the dismissal of the teachers. I trust that the Secretary for Scotland will insist, as he has already promised, that when these larger authorities are appointed they shall be given a very free hand, much freer than the school boards have been given in the past, and that there will be less interference from the central Department in London. Any undue interference is no doubt resented in Scotland, where we certainly prefer to manage our own educational affairs. I suggest that these school management committees might be quite well elected. Why should there not be areas, parishes and burghs, or groups of parishes and burghs, and why should not the school management committees be elected at the same time and upon the same register as the parish council? I suggest that there should be no area smaller than the area of the present school board, and further that the number of members of the school management committees should be smaller than the number of the present school board. Supposing any education authority proposed to constitute their school management committee on these lines of election, would there be any objection? Would it be competent under the Bill for them to do so? I think we should have some clearer definition of what exactly is intended with regard to the method of constituting these school management committees, which, I think, will play a very important part in our Scottish educational system. I cordially approve of the principle of continuation classes, and of adequate facilities being provided for the purpose. Of course, we have them now under the 1908 Act, and that they have been taken advantage of to some extent is proved by the fact, as stated in the report of the Scottish Council on Education, that there are 108,000 young persons in Scotland now attending continuation classes, and that there were 150,000 attending before the War. Before the War, 20 per cent. of the children attending the elementary schools attended the continuation classes.

7.0 P.M.

It seems to me that even before this Bill was brought in there was considerable provision for continuation classes which was taken advantage of by Scottish young persons. The English Bill has been referred to. I hope, quite apart from what has been said in some quarters, the Secretary for Scotland will consent to amend the Clause dealing with continuation classes somewhat on the lines of the Amendments made to a similar Clause in the English Bill. Under the English Bill, for instance, the provision for compulsion from sixteen to eighteen is not to come into operation for seven years. The Secretary for Scotland, however, under his Bill proposes to leave the question of date entirely in the hands of the Department. I do not see why Scottish Members should not settle that here and now, as the English Members have done. I also think we should consider whether the number of hours—320 per year—is not excessive, and whether we should not reduce the minimum number to 280, or possibly 240, as suggested in many representations I have had from Scotland. But these are, of course, Committee points. I am strongly in favour of every facility being given for continuation classes, but I hope we shall not rush into any very new and drastic compulsory schemes before we have had time to realise what new conditions may develop after the War. As regards Clause 24, I do not quite understand the position in regard to local advisory councils. I take it there is to be one in every county. I quite see the force of having a central advisory council, but to have thirty-eight local advisory councils scattered all over Scotland, in every educational area, seems to me to be providing a fifth wheel to the coach that may either prove useless or else cause friction with the authorities. I gather that these advisory councils are to have no power, and, therefore, I cannot see what use they can be. If the local authority wants expert advice, surely it can get it from experts whenever required, without setting up advisory committees with no powers, as proposed in this Bill.

Clause 25 is a new Clause, which also I do not understand. It seems to give powers to the Department to frame a new rule for bringing the Act into force. I should certainly have preferred to see in the Bill mention of a proposal that the Order bringing the Act into force should lie on the Table of the House of Commons for a certain period before becoming operative. But I see nothing of that, and I confess I am a little suspicious of granting these extended powers to the Department. I hope the Secretary for Scotland will not rush this Bill too quickly through Committee. It is, in regard to certain points—especially the constitution of the authority—quite a new departure. Fully 80 per cent. of the representations Members had from Scotland in regard to the previous Bill referred to the constitution of the authority. There were numerous schemes put forward by local bodies, and I think that it is only fair they should have a chance of considering this new scheme, which I admit is a concession, and of making representations here if they so wish before the Bill is dealt with in Committee. It is not easy in war time for local bodies to get together and to spare time to come up in deputation to London. Why cannot this Bill be read a second time this evening, and its consideration in Committee be left over until after the autumn Recess? By sitting one day a week in October, November, and December we shall be afforded ample time for getting the Bill through Committee and passed into law before the end of the year, and surely that should satisfy the most anxious supporters of the measure. I am afraid if the Secretary for Scotland presses his supporters too hard he will run the danger of converting some of them into opponents of the Bill. I hope he will consider that suggestion, and allow the Scottish people a little time to investigate the details of the measure.


I desire to join in the congratulations to the Secretary for Scotland on having introduced this Bill. Most, of us have had many meetings in connection with the right hon. Gentleman's previous Bill. I do not know how many deputations we have received. I know we had one from the school boards of Scotland and one from the Educational Institute. There have been others. I know, too, that my right hon. Friend has met the Scottish Members on more than one occasion with reference to the provisions of his Bill. He has spared neither time nor effort, he has given us every opportunity of meeting him. Many of us would have preferred to have had specially delimited areas for educational purposes, and two of my hon. Friends have been at great pains to show how this could be done. However, the Scottish Secretary has met us most fairly. The one thing we did press upon him was this, that whatever the authority was to be, it must be an ad hoc authority, specially elected for the purposes of education. That principle is embodied in this Bill, and we welcome it, although, as I have said, many of us would have preferred specially delimited areas. I hope myself that the right hon. Gentleman will not be so ill-advised as to adopt the suggestion of my hon. and gallant Friend who last spoke, to postpone the Committee stage of this Bill until after the Recess. I think the Committee should be set up shortly, and that he should press on with it, not unduly, perhaps, but with all reasonable speed, in view of the time of the year. I am not going to make a long speech, for many other hon. Gentlemen desire to address the House, but I am anxious to say a few words, in view of the number of meetings we have had with the right hon. Gentleman, to express our gratitude to him for the very fair way in which he has met us. I want to make an appeal to my hon. Friends who have moved an Amendment not to press it. I hope they will withdraw it, so that we may get the Second Reading of this Bill without a dissentient voice. My hon. Friend the Member for North-West Lanark (Mr. Pringle) said this was not the time for this class of legislation. If it is not the time, when will the time be? Most of us, no doubt, are thinking of the War and of the victory which we think is surely coming, but which may be long delayed. No question will more affect the future of Scotland than this of education. In my opinion this is the opportune time for legislation of this kind. These are critical days; we know that the new times that are coming demand new measures and new men. As the world rolls on that is always necessary. I say the time has come when we ought to make this change with reference to education in Scotland, and I think the Secretary for Scotland will have the unanimous support of all those who have the interests of education in Scotland at heart if he insists on pressing this measure forward.


I want to raise a point of common interest to the whole of Great Britain. It is the question of the training of boys who want to adopt the sea service as their career in life. Under the English Bill the President of the Board of Education for England has agreed to the adoption of a general national sea-training scheme, under which boys will, up to the age, whatever it may be, of fifteen and a half or sixteen, get their full-time education at school specially provided for the purpose of giving adequate training for the sea service as well as the ordinary education which the boys would receive during the four years at continuation schools under the English Bill up to the age of eighteen. The point I desire to make is this: The British Mercantile Marine, so to speak, is one unit. It knows no distinction between Scotland and England, and the system of training for boys who want to enter the mercantile marine should be a system which in all its essentials is common to Scotland as well as to England. The appeal I make is this, that before this Bill reaches the Committee stage the Secretary for Scotland shall get into communication with the President of the English Board of Education and ascertain what is being done by arrangements between the Board of Education, the local educational authorities, and the shipping industry, including shipowners and masters, officers and men, and see whether he cannot adopt the essentials of that scheme for use in Scotland, so that we may have one general system of training boys who want to adopt the sea as their profession—a system that will fit in with the conditions of a service which absolutely prevent any system of continuation schools being applicable to boys who are away on voyages for long periods of time, but which will produce a race of sailors for the British Mercantile Marine well educated in the sense of general education and also possessing some of the important elements of sea training before the boys join their ships. I venture to submit it is really important that the system of sea training of boys in Great Britain should, for all practical purposes, be one and not two systems differing one from the other.


I should like to join with my colleagues who have already spoken in thanking the Secretary for Scotland for having listened to the criticism that has proceeded on this Bill during the last few months. There are, however, still one or two points I should like to bring to the notice of the House. On the question of area, I confess I am not very happy about the adoption of the county area. Anyone who knows Scotland and the map of Scotland knows that there is an extraordinary geographical difference in size and character between the counties, and that it is practically impossible to say you will treat every county alike. I am also not happy about it, because it seems that the Bill proceeds on a policy quite alien to the Scottish nature. In all Scottish government, for as long as I have been able to read history, things have proceeded from the bottom upwards. In all sorts of government you begin with the small unit, the parish, and work up through the district to the county, and then to the whole country. That is the genius of the Scottish people. They have done that in their ecclesiastical affairs. You have the Congregation, the Presbytery, the Synod, and then the Assembly, beginning from the smaller body and going up to the national body. This Bill proceeds on the opposite principle. It erects, first of all, a county authority, and then works down from that to a school management committee, which is to cover some district not very well specified. The school management committee is apparently to be nominated by the county authority. It is not in any way representative, but is merely a nominated body.

Again, the county education authority is bound to set up an advisory council to advise itself. That seems to be the fifth wheel to the coach. Why elect a county body to deal with education and then insist that the elected body, which is to be responsible to the ratepayers, shall appoint some other body to advise it? In this way the Secretary for Scotland gets his co-opted authorities in a roundabout way and a way which is just as objectionable as in the previous Bill. The Secretary for Scotland does still adhere to the parish, because there is a parish collection of rates. I can see that there is going to be all sorts of difficulties with the new area. Take, for example, the county of Lanarkshire, which is to have one authority, and the smaller counties, which are also to have one authority for each. In the case of secondary education there is in my Constituency the Dumfries Academy, which serves Kirkcudbrightshire just as much as Dumfries-shire. In cases like that, special conditions will have to be laid down to meet them. I am quite sure that the county authority is not going to be worked very easily. I agree, of course, that the parish authority is too small, but I am not happy that only a county authority is to be adopted, and I hope the Secretary for Scotland will keep an open mind as to the possibility, in some cases, of dividing the counties and in others, perhaps, of amalgamating the counties. Another point is that the burghs do not receive proper attention. Hitherto the school boards of the big burghs have run the secondary schools. They have knowledge and experience of them. To suddenly divorce the secondary schools from these burgh school boards and hand them over to the county is a somewhat dangerous experiment. Another point in connection with the area is this: I am all for proportional representation. I have supported it at every stage. I do not think the Secretary for Scotland has, and I rather think the Lord Advocate has been an opponent of it.


Of the partial application of it.


This is a partial application of it of which I approve, but I wish to point out that in order to make the people of Scotland appreciate this new county authority it must be put to them that they really do have representation upon it. If you are going to have big areas under proportional representation, you may have in these electoral districts several parishes which are not represented at all upon the new education authority. To begin with, that is a great danger. I believe the people of Scotland will only accept this if they are assured that each parish is to have a representative upon the county education authority. The Secretary for Scotland says that these electoral districts are to have from three members up to seven or nine, but I notice that he himself is to divide the areas. He ought in some way to submit those divisions to the House of Commons. We ought to know what these electoral districts are to be, and the right hon. Gentleman ought in some way to consult the Scottish. Members before he puts his scheme into operation. Passing to the question of secondary education, I agree entirely that there must be greater provision for secondary education in Scotland. But this Bill is meant to increase the number of children who are going in for secondary education. I should like to remind the Secretary for Scotland that the Scottish tradition is that children shall attend day school. The Scottish tradition is that the great thing is home influence. I hope the right hon. Gentleman and the Department will take care that that is not destroyed, or rather that that is preserved as much as possible under the new scheme. If you are going to take the children away from home, you must be careful that they are in good hands. Merely to send a host of children to find what lodging they can in a country town, is not paying proper attention to them I am quite convinced, from what I know of the Scottish people, that they will insist that their children should be more properly looked after when they go to the county towns. There must be a much wider establishment of hostels than there is at present. The only hostel for children attending a secondary school—the Lord Advocate knows it well from his previous connection with Dumfries—is the hostel in Dumfries, which takes only a limited number of pupils. It has been a great success. I hope the Department will take care that there shall be a great multiplication of these hostels where children can stay when they go up for their secondary education.

As to continuation schools, I am strongly in favour of the proposals in the Bill in respect to them. I learned at a continuation school, I taught at one, and I have managed one. They are extremely valuable, because in many cases it is only when the boy or girl gets to the age when he goes to them that he begins to realise that education is of some value. Therefore the Secretary for Scotland is quite right in continuing the education in these schools. But I would remind him that the optional compulsion of the Education Act of 1908 has not been a success. I believe that Edinburgh is the only place that has put it into operation. He will have to create a great measure of public opinion in favour of it. That is why I am glad the matter is to come into operation gradually. There is one Department of the continuation school which will require more consideration than any other—that is, the schools in the country districts, where agriculture will be the technical or trade subject chiefly taught. Anyone who knows the agricultural districts of Scotland will see the difficulty at once where there is a long way to go from the farm to the nearest village or town where the continuation school is held. I suppose that in such a case the Department is considering the establishment of winter schools. I was very glad to see in the Report recently issued of the Committee on the future of agriculture that this matter was gone into pretty fully, and that one of the Scottish representatives on the Committee (Sir Matthew Wallace) makes some very extremely interesting suggestions on continuation education in agriculture.

At the other end of the scale there is a provision in the English Bill which is not in the Scottish Bill—that is, for the encouragement of nursery schools. If the right hon. Gentleman himself does not do so, I hope to put down a new Clause to encourage them. They are established in Glasgow by the school board and in Edinburgh by private enterprise. From the answer given by the Secretary for Scotland we know that at present these are under the encouragement of the Local Government Board, but the feeling of those who are running them is that that is wrong, and that they should be under the care of the education authorities, so that from the earliest years of attending school a child should be under the direct care, not of the Local Government Board, but of the education authority. It is of the greatest importance that children from three to five years of age who cannot, by reason of the nature of the employment of their mothers, be properly attended to, should have the opportunity of going to these nursery schools, and of being guarded during these very tender years, so that their life shall not be destroyed or wasted. With regard to the employment of young persons, the provisions will have to come into operation gradually, and the public will have to become gradually accustomed to them. There is a Clause which says that no one shall be allowed to engage in street trading under the age of fifteen. I had the honour to serve on a Committee in 1909 which reported in 1910 on that subject, and they recommended, for the whole country—the evidence from Scotland showed that Scotland was very much more ready for it than England—that no boy under seventeen, and no girl under eighteen, should be so employed. I put it to the Secretary for Scotland that fifteen is a very tender age, especially for a girl. If he cannot see his way to make it a higher age for boys, at any rate he should for girls. I think we all agree that it is not right that a girl of fifteen, or even sixteen, should be allowed to go about the streets trading, even under the Regulations that prevail at present.

The right hon. Gentleman made some statements about the finance of the Bill. It is a little difficult to understand it except with his very lucid explanation, but he said Scotland ought to stand on its own legs and not be dependent on what is done in England. Unfortunately, that is exactly what the Bill does. We are only to get eleven-eightieths of what England gets, so that really the progress of education in Scotland is dependent upon the progress of education in England. It is a complicated matter I admit, but still we are only going to get our share compared with England. If Scotland wants to spend more money upon education than England does, and I believe she does, why should we not be allowed to do that if we are prepared to spend less money on something else? I think there is a much greater passion for education in Scotland than in England, and I hope this Bill will increase that passion, and I do not think we should be held back because of what may be the slower desire for progress in England. The right hon. Gentleman said there would be granted to the education authorities a fixed proportion of their expenditure. He did not say what the proportion is. Is it to be half and half-half rates and half Grants—or is it to be 75 per cent. of national money and 25 per cent. of rate money? Of late years the rate money has tended to increase and the grant money to decrease, but now that education conies to be more and more of a national service I hope the national proportion will increase. The right hon. Gentleman said what rather surprised me, that there were in future to be no more codes and no more detailed Grants, and so on. What is to be the future of the Government inspection? Is it to go on in the same way, and, if so, what sort of standard is to be called for, or is inspection to cease altogether? Is the Government going to save money by doing away with inspectors?


The inspection will continue as before, though it is true the standards which the inspection will be directed to secure will no longer be the old cast-iron standards.


I am quite interested to hear that. I hope in future when the education authorities prepare schemes they will be allowed to carry them out, and that there will be independence, and that if one authority is willing to make an experiment and do something strong in the way of education it will be allowed to do it. The right hon. Gentleman emphasised the independence and the power of these local education authorities but the Bill does not do so at all. The Bill says comparatively little about them, and almost every Clause contains something that the Secretary for Scotland or the Department is to do. We do not seem to be getting out of the hands of the Department or of the Secretary for Scotland. Even this advisory council, which I am very glad to see, is merely a body deputed by the Department to consider anything that the Department asks it to consider. It apparently has no real existence of its own and no independent authority. It is only allowed to advise on questions which are remitted. I hope in Committee the right hon. Gentleman will really be prepared to consider Amendments which will make the advisory council a little more authoritative than he suggested. I can see also through the Bill many other things that I think the Scottish Members might have a little more say in. I have always felt that the Scottish Members are not used for administrative purposes in the way they might be. A great many Members have had experience of education in Scotland in one way or another and yet we come here and know far less about what is being done than almost anyone in Scotland. When we are making a new start the right hon. Gentleman might take his colleagues from Scotland a little more into consultation than was done under the previous system. We know ourselves, or we hear from our Constituents, what is wanted, and I think something might be devised whereby the whole Scottish nation, as well as its representatives, should be considered as being interested in education and should have a very direct interest and share in its management.


With much that has fallen from my right hon. Friend I am in cordial agreement, but I fear I must cross swords with the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Hope). I very much regretted to hear him make an appeal to the Secretary for Scotland to whittle down the educational provisions of this Bill, and I hope my right hon. Friend will most strongly and resolutely decline to follow the example which has been set in regard to the English Bill. One of the most refreshing features of this Debate has been the speech of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Barnes). It is very interesting and refreshing to find a Member of that august body, the War Cabinet, speaking from that box on a Government measure, but with the frankness and detachment of an impartial private Member, and delivering in that capacity a speech which is a perfect model of the deportment which a private Member of benevolent inclinations and a critical attitude towards the Government should exhibit. I shall endeavour to comport myself in accordance with that example. I congratulate my right hon. Friend most sincerely upon this Bill. It differs very materially from the last, and in every point of difference it is an improvement. I know that the Scottish colleagues of the right hon. Gentleman value the extremely fair and courteous spirit in which throughout all these discussions he has met us; and with regard to what the Secretary for Scotland himself said in introducing the measure, I think it is right that his Scottish colleagues should emphasise this fact, which is not sufficiently understood, that if the attempt to hand over the educational interests of Scotland to the county councils, already overburdened with work and already largely immune from the real democratic element, had been persisted in, it would have been fatal to the Scottish Education Bill.

Throughout the length and breadth of Scotland the provisions under this new Bill for an ad hoc authority will be warmly welcomed, and I am convinced that a great body of the Scottish people are behind my right hon. Friend when he makes that provision. He has met Scottish opinion very fairly in this respect, but this measure, good as it is, would have been better still if, in addition to having an ad hoc authority, he had embodied the principle of an ad hoc area. The more this question of an ad hoc area has been discussed the more obvious it is that there is not only a considerable measure of agreement that the existing school board areas are too small, but there is also a pretty general consensus of opinion that the true line of progress lies in building up from the existing foundations by grouping a number of parishes round an existing secondary school and so constituting an ad hoc educational area, efficient in point of size and educational facilities, and in close touch with the people of the locality. I know that the right hon. Gentleman has considered this matter fairly according to his lights, and I regret very deeply that he has not seen his way to elaborate in the present measure a system such as I have outlined, which has a growing measure of Scottish opinion behind it. I am sure, however, the House will note with great satisfaction that in Clause 4 there is outlined, somewhat vaguely, it is true—I hope the outline will be made somewhat more ample in Committee—a system of management committees. A good many of us had no use whatever for the somewhat illusory machinery of parents' committees which was suggested in the last Bill, but these management committees are entirely different in their nature. They may have, under this Bill, very important functions indeed. It is true they are to be delegated to them by the education authority, but they will almost certainly be functions of great importance and of real authority, and in time to come these management committees, from the point of view of the day-to-day administration of Scottish education, will be really important and authoritative bodies. It is to be regretted, therefore, that, although in the first instance the existing school boards are to provide a certain number of members for these management bodies, yet, later on, there is no safeguard whatever that any persons who are elected representatives of the people in any sense or for any purpose, except; of course, a few members of the local education authority, will be called upon to serve on that body; and I would suggest to the Lord Advocate that it is for the consideration of the Government whether they might not amplify the position with regard to these management committees by making it obligatory that a certain number of their members must be chosen from the elected representatives of the local democracy on the parish council. If that were done, I think two results would follow. The prestige and position of the parish councils would be enhanced and the management committee would gain greatly in usefulness by being brought into much more direct touch with the needs of the local democracy and with a knowledge of legal details.

There are some other points in the Bill on which, I think, many of us, and perhaps a majority of the Scottish Members, would require some Amendment, and I will mention one of these. The position of the Scottish burghs under the Bill is very unsatisfactory indeed. The treatment of important burghs is really most unfortunate. The burgh of Kilmarnock, which I represent —other instances will occur to other Members who represent other excellent burghs with excellent educational facilities—has a school board which is most complete and most efficient as an educational authority. Their voluntary and their secondary education are unsurpassed in Scotland. They have elementary and secondary education, and, furthermore, they have spent many thousands of pounds on a magnificent technical school, one of the finest in the West of Scotland. I do not think you could go anywhere in the world and find an educational authority administering a small area which has been more completely justified by its record of success than the educational authority of Kilmarnock has been. And not Kilmarnock alone. There are numbers of other burghs in Scotland with just the same sort of record, and I am sure the case of some of these burghs will be put in the subsequent Debate. But when I look through Schedule I. of the Bill and find the few ewe lambs which are to be spared in this general massacre of the innocents, I find these great names of burghs forming education areas—Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Leith. I have not a single word to say against any of these, but I find the name of Kilmarnock is not included in the list. I do not want to appear offensive to the Lord Advocate, but I would ask him what has Kilmarnock done that it should be treated in this way? Does he allege that the people of Kilmarnock have not risen to a full measure of their responsibilities?


As far as I know, Kilmarnock has done remarkably well in regard to its educational work.


I am very glad to have that acknowledgment, but that acknowledgment makes the mystery only the deeper as to why Kilmarnock is not included in this list. The fact is that Kilmarnock has done magnificently, and it is a very poor return for so much enlightened energy and labour over a number of years that the authority which made it should be wiped out of existence. I could understand the Government's proposal if Kilmarnock and Dunfermline and other burghs of that kind, with a splendid educational record, were being offered up as necessary victims upon some altar of great public improvement, but I do not believe that they are necessary victims. If this proposal is persisted in the Secretary for Scotland and the Lord Advocate will go down in Scottish history as a pair of inverted Abrahams, who in the face not only of reason, but of authority, offered up on the departmental altar a whole procession of educational Isaacs. What can be the objection of allowing burghs, say, of 25,000 inhabitants, to retain the privilege of forming education areas of their own? In Scotland a burgh of 20,000 inhabitants has for very many purposes been treated as equivalent to a borough containing 50,000 inhabitants south of the Tweed, and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider between now and the Committee stage whether or not he will turn a sympathetic ear to the proposal that burghs of 25,000 inhabitants or over should in proper circumstances retain the privilege of forming separate educational areas in view of their record.

I have offered a few words of criticism, following the excellent example of the right hon. Member for Blackfriars, but I would like to say that whatever may be argued about matters of detail the Bill is—and I differ entirely from the hon. and learned Member for Lanark (Mr. Pringle) on this point—not only demanded by but welcomed by the Scottish representatives in this House. What would have been our position as Scottish representatives if the people of Scotland had seen a magnificent English Bill going through Parliament and Scotland had not had her porridge spoon in the broth. There would have been much serious indignation felt in Scotland, and I feel sure that the most able and eloquent exponent of that indignation in the House would have been my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Lanark. It has been urged this afternoon by the hon. and learned Member and others that this is not the time for such a measure of education. We have been reminded that there is a war on, and that only war measures should be brought before Parliament. I have had a great deal of sympathy with that point of view. Peoples' thoughts are immersed in the great events that are occurring across the Channel, so near to us, but I support the Bill because, in the true sense of the word, it is a war measure. What will be the position after the War? The result of the War, we all hope and believe, will be a very much enhanced material prosperity among the working classes, partly owing to new developments in productive methods, and partly, we all hope, to the new spirit animating all classes and interests. But material prosperity alone never elevated a people, and there is a very grave danger in the future that all that increased material prosperity may really turn to dust and ashes, bringing no real content and no real happiness or peace of mind. I think a great many of us most sincerely feel that that is one of the gravest dangers of the future, that whatever you do to uplift the material standard may lose more than half its efficacy, because there is some element still wanting. You may improve your methods of production, you may increase output, you may train your workers to a high pitch of intelligence and efficiency as the mere tools of an industry in whose prosperity they fully share, but having done all these things, is it not a mere mockery if at the same time you keep locked away from them the secrets which alone can enable them to enjoy their leisure hours to the fullest and the best?

It is said that this is not the time to extend the school age, or to add to our already heavy educational obligations The years which this Bill proposes to add to the education of the Scottish child between fourteen and eighteen are the most important years of life; the very years when, under proper conditions, above all, as my hon. Friend the Member for South Edinburgh will agree, there is enthusiasm and culture in the teacher—the eyes of the mind can be opened to the richest inheritance in the intellectual and spiritual sphere that any people ever had, and the taste and desire kindled to go in and possess the land. I believe that is a most important element in the future of this country, and I believe that that idea is sincerely held by the Secretary for Scotland and his most able colleague the permanent head of the Scottish Education Department. It is because I can see that great idea shining through the thirty Clauses and six Schedules of this rather complicated Bill that I sincerely hope the measure will have a reasonably smooth and speedy, though not an entirely uncriticised and unamended, passage to the Statute Book.


I agree with my hon. Friend that there is an overwhelming desire in Scotland that this Bill should be passed into law with as little delay as possible. Representing a great industrial constituency, I am perfectly certain that in wishing the Bill a favourable passage I am speaking the almost unanimous desire of my electors. I do not, however, agree with my hon. Friend (Mr. Shaw) in regard to the question of area. I agree that there are considerable difficulties in laying down the county as area. On the other hand, I think it does make for more simplicity in local government, and that the system which has been advocated of special areas for education would undoubtedly set back for a considerable time the simplification of local government which we all desire. Therefore, for my part, I welcome the setting up of the county with an ad hoc authority as the local education authority. I am not quite so certain as to the school management committees. I think there are great difficulties in the suggestion which has been made that these committees should in some way be elected bodies. If they were I think you would be liable to have very great difficulties arising between them and the main education authority. On the other hand, there is a very great danger that these local management committees may be starved as to their work by the local education authorities. I am well aware that it is laid down that they should exercise all the powers with the exception of certain powers which are set up in the Bill, and that they should exercise these powers, subject to restrictions and regulations which may be laid down by the local education authority. I think there is great danger in allowing restrictions and regulations of that kind. I would draw my right hon. Friend's attention to what has happened, and what I know from experience has happened, very largely under the English Education Act of 1902. There, as he is well aware, the county council is the local education authority, but they can delegate powers to district committees, and I know that there has been great reluctance in many counties to delegate sufficient powers, with the result that those who are members of the district education committees have ceased to take any interest whatever in their work, and the whole work has really been concentrated in the county council in the centre of the county. I think it would be a great disaster if that were to happen under this Bill. I hope that steps will be taken by the Scottish education authorities, or in some other way to see that real powers are delegated to these school management committees in order that the members of those bodies may retain a vivid interest in education, and will be willing to give their best towards the service of the schools in their locality.

A great deal may be expected from the increased education area. It will offer a better chance to the teachers. It will enable, I think, a better and more instructed class of education official to be engaged at the higher salaries which will be able to be paid, and I think we may look for great advantages in that respect. I suggest that at the bottom of the whole educational system lies the question whether you can get a contented and a well-paid teaching staff with adequate hopes for advancement in their profession. That is absolutely essential, but at the present moment it does not exist. I have talked to various teachers in Scotland, and asked them what they were going to do with their own sons, and on every occasion they have said to me that they have no intention of putting their sons into the teaching profession. That is the great danger at the present moment. The teaching profession during the last few years has become more and more unpopular, and will become more and more unpopular unless you can raise the status of it absolutely out of its present position, and give real hopes of a career, and hopes of a salary to some extent commensurate with the salaries which people with similar attainments may obtain in other walks of life. That, I believe, is at the bottom of a great deal of the difficulties at the present time in regard to education.

There is one other point on which I would like to congratulate the Secretary for Scotland, and that is the very courageous way in which he has dealt with the existing voluntary schools. I was for some time connected with education in England, and I know how extraordinarily difficult this question of voluntary schools was. It was constantly causing difficulty. I know how difficult it was to arrive at any sort of settlement, and how unsatisfactory in many ways is the settlement arrived at by the Act of 1902. I believe that the settlement proposed in this Bill—which I hope has been accepted by the Roman Catholic authorities, because if it has not I am afraid things will not work very well—offers a solution far superior to the solution which is adopted in the English Act of 1902. I want to deal with one final point, and that is in relation to Clause 18, which enables the Secretary for Scotland to transfer to the Scottish Education Department powers in regard to industrial and reformatory schools.

8.0 P.M.

I had the honour to preside over a Departmental Committee which inquired into the condition of reformatory and industrial schools in Scotland. The majority of that Committee recommended that these schools should be transferred to the management of the Scottish Education Department. We felt that these schools were really a Cinderella of the educational system of Scotland. They were sidetracked. The teachers in them had no real chances of promotion. There was very little interchange of teachers between ordinary elementary schools and reformatory and industrial schools. The majority of the Committee were convinced that if these schools were to take the place they ought to take in the educational system of the country that could only be done by their complete transference to the Education Department. I do not for a moment wish to depreciate the work that has been done in those schools. A very splendid work has been and is being done by their superintendents, teachers, and managers. But the whole trend of those schools has been to become more of an educational nature. They were started originally with the idea of punishment. That has long been lost. More and more, year by year, they have been regarded as being only educational institutions. I am glad that at last the logic of the situation is being faced and that powers are taken under this Bill for their transfer to the Education Department of Scotland. I only wish, in conclusion, to differ from what was said by my hon. Friend behind in his desire for a delay of this Bill. I hope that the Secretary for Scotland will press it forward with all speed, of course with due regard to any Amendments which may be necessary in Committee.


I am extremely sorry that a delaying Amendment has been moved this afternoon, because I am very much afraid that when it goes abroad it may give the altogether erroneous impression that educational zeal in Scotland is on the wane. I am sure that this is not so. I am equally sure that we have not North of the Tweed any large or influential body of obscurantists who hate the idea of popular education and can only be brought to give a grudging consent to it by arguments based upon expediency. It would be utterly foreign, I am sure, to the national tradition, for instance, to belaud, as an English Member did in the course of the Debate on the English Bill, an incomparable cattleman who did not know B from a bull's foot and who had risen to that state of perfection because of his inability to read a newspaper and write a letter. We believe in Scotland in education, not merely because it affords material advantages, but because it is impossible for the man to be complete without it. Such being the national creed, I am certain that my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Scotland need not listen to those who, for example, are firmly convinced that man was made for cotton and not cotton for man, nor need he, I think, trouble to remind his critics that German brains are more to be feared than German bullets, or that the League of Nations, which as I think everybody agrees, implies a very much fiercer competition than ever obtained before in the rivalry of the world's commerce and industry, No, I am quite sure that he will never hear the authentic voice of Scotland chanting the beatitudes of ignorance. He has, I believe, simply to co-operate with his fellow members, who are most eager with him that Scotland shall retain her honoured position in the forefront of educated nations. I believe that my right hon. Friend will have a great deal more trouble in Committee from excess of zeal than from defect of conviction.

When I first compared this Bill as it stands to-day with the first draft which my hon. Friend exposed to the drum-fire of criticism, I felt constrained, like the Shakesperian clown, to say: "Verily Bottom thou art translated." It has been said that everything suffers from translation except a bishop. I think that my right hon. Friend's Bill is so far episcopal that it has benefited very greatly from translation, and as it now stands I have no hesitation whatever in saying that it is one of the finest instruments of educational reform ever offered to any nation. It is marked by a breadth of vision, a high sincerity and a deep democratic sympathy. It is bold and far-reaching, and will mark, I believe, the beginning of an epoch of educational activity such as even Scotland, I believe, has never known. Of course, it is not perfect. There are blemishes in it, just as there are spots in the sun. But my right hon. Friend has shown such an admirably open mind to the drafting of this Bill that I am quite sure that he will welcome every reasonable and honest Amendment in the course of the Committee stage. I wish that he were here for me to proffer him in person my most cordial support, either by speech or by silence, whichever he may deem the more effective, in inscribing his Bill on the Statute Book. On another ground, I can congratulate him, too. As he himself noticed in his opening speech, the strictly educational features of the Bill have been accepted almost in toto by the best opinion in Scotland. He has received almost universal applause for his great proposal that there shall be in every area an adequate provision of all forms of education, primary, intermediate and secondary—an adequate provision and a free provision. When this Bill passes into law, Scotsmen will be able to boast that their clever sons and daughters have an absolutely open and untrammelled career presented to them, extending from the infant school right to the university. I take leave to doubt whether there is any other nation on earth which can make the same boast. His scheme for the establishment of the day continuation schools has aroused no particular opposition.

The provision of books for young persons and adults in places where the Public Libraries Act does not operate has no detractors, and few voices have been raised against the principle of taking over the voluntary schools, though I am bound to confess that in some of the new Clauses there is a good deal of combustible material. There has been an expressed objection to raising the school age on the part of parents, who view with alarm the prospect of postponed wage-earning by the children, but I am perfectly certain that my right hon. Friend can not only remove the opposition, and, indeed, can carry with him, I believe, all but the most careless and indifferent of parents, if he will consent to the extension of his maintenance Clauses. Under the present Bill, any child of fourteen years of age who is in an intermediate or a secondary school may have a maintenance allowance. Why should he not permit the child who remains an additional year in the elementary schools to have a similar allowance? I go even a step further. If he will begin his maintenance allowances at thirteen, he will be able to do away with all those exemptions from school attendance which find a place in the first Sub-section of Clause 13. I earnestly hope that he will adopt this course and not exempt any child before it reaches the age of fifteen. I confess to a positive enthusiasm for the day continuation classes. I bad an opportunity on the Second Reading of the English Bill, of expressing my views on that topic, and I will not, therefore, weary the House by reiterating them now. I have one or two additional remarks to make. Scotland has now an unique opportunity of going one better than England. The President of the English Board of Education saw fit, at the instance, shall we say, of what has been called very well, the Ulster of education, to postpone the application of this scheme to pupils of from sixteen to eighteen years of age for a period of seven years. Seven I know is the sacred number, but in this connection there is nothing sacred about it—rather the contrary—to me. I most earnestly hope that my right hon. Friend will yield to no pressure in this respect, but will retain the power which he has under the scheme of this Bill by which his Department can put the whole scheme into force at any time it considers the educational horizon to be propitious. I think that it would be deplorable if we were to follow the precedent of England in this respect. If it is permissible in these days to use a Bismarckian expression, I would beseech him to stand on this question like a rock of bronze.

While on continuation schools, may I say how sorry I am that my right hon. Friend proposes to exempt from attendance those who are over fourteen on the appointed day. I hope to persuade him to substitute sixteen for fourteen, and I will tell him why. If he will only recall the Report of his own Department for 1917–18, he will recollect that therein very grave disappointment is expressed, particularly in reference to rural areas, with regard to the unusual number of cases of avoidable irregular attendance and unnecessary and even illegal exemption. There is no doubt whatever that the children now passing through the elementary schools are receiving a much worse education than their immediate predecessors. How could it be otherwise? The regrettable calling up of teachers in such large numbers has involved, of course, a very lamentable weakening of teaching power. The utilisation of the buildings for military purposes and the general dislocation of education have resulted in robbing these unhappy pupils of a large portion of their birthright. I think that we ought not to be content to regard them as the educational victims of this War. Therefore, I suggest to my right hon. Friend that he should remember that, in the course of a few years, these children will be voters, and will have in their hands the destinies of the Empire. They will have to exercise the franchise during the reconstruction period, at a time when revolutionary theories will be in the air, and when every kind of wild-cat notion will have advocates and supporters. I am sure education has a stabilising effect, and I am equally certain that ill-educated voters are a distinct danger to the State. I hope with all my heart I shall be able, for this and other reasons, to persuade my right hon. Friend to substitute the figure sixteen for fourteen in his Bill.

The only marked controversy, as he himself has noticed to-day, which has been aroused by his Bill has been in connection with the character of the educational authority and the area over which it is to operate. I applaud his most admirable wisdom in so modifying his Bill as to give way to the strongly-expressed public opinion that the system should be an ad hoc one in preference to what I may be permitted to call, if we are to have bastard Latin, the omnium gatherum method. If he will allow me to say so, I think in making his first choice as the authority the county council he was led away by the false analogy of England. I think it is now generally recognised that the county authority was not selected on educational grounds at all, but simply to avoid that religious strife which might have attained very formidable dimensions indeed if the old ad hoc elections had been permitted to continue. In 1902, when you instituted the county authority, you had in your voluntary schools in England 3,000,000 pupils, in your board schools 2,500,000, and in 8,000 out of 10,000 villages you had only a Church school. The Government of the day deliberately chose the county council as the authority in order to maintain the precarious existence of the voluntary school. The idea was to withdraw it from the public gaze by mixing it up with roads, sewers, bridges, lunacy, swine fever, river pollution, and other matters of that sort, and so to prevent it from becoming a single electoral issue. It is quite true that English education has benefited under the Act of 1902, not because of the county council system, but simply because the voluntary schools for the first time in their history have been adequately financed and equipped. The council schools are no whit the better off they were under the old regime, and meanwhile officialism has advanced by leaps and bounds. I have seen an estimate which shows that under the present system the cost of officialism has increased by more than 100 per cent. Though education is advancing under the current system, you can, I am sure, no more ascribe it to the county councils than you can ascribe otto of roses to the otter.

Surely the great need of education to-day is to get the average citizen interested in it. How can he be interested in it if his vote has to be determined by a multitude of considerations entirely irrespective of education? How can you expect to advance education by camouflaging it? I repeat my opinion that the right hon. Gentleman has shown a very great wisdom in yielding to the pressure of public opinion by setting up an ad hoc authority. While he has abolished school boards, he recognises most clearly that he cannot afford to dispense with the services of experienced educational administrators. We have in Scotland over 900 school boards, and I am sure that we have in the membership of those boards 2,000 or more very experienced and very capable educational administrators. It would be, I think, a thousand pities if in the diminished condition of our man-power we were to waste the experience and enthusiasm of these persons. By setting up an ad hoc authority you secure the services of these men, and you do not take a leap in the dark at a time when sound educational administration is essential in the work of reconstruction. You give effect also, I think, to the national tendency towards caution, and you ensure a continuity of effort and focus local attention upon that great communal service which is of vital importance to the nation. Further, you avoid that excess of co-optation upon authorities which is abhorrent to democratic sentiment and which is a serious infraction of the wise rule that public expenditure should be in the hands of publicly elected representatives. School boards have played no unworthy part in the past, and I am sure we are wrong to cast aspersions on them or their work. Their faults are faults of constitution. The parish school boards, of course, administer far too small an area, and their operations are thereby circumscribed and their efforts curtailed. Their numbers are recruited necessarily from the neighbourhood of the parish pump, and too frequently their views are microscopic rather than telescopic with regard to their functions. They are elected on a plan which destroys public interest and enables cliques to prevail. Nevertheless, the small school boards in their day have done good pioneer work, and I am sure we are right in preserving this principle, but giving it an application over a very much wider area with an improved electoral system. The abolition of the cumulative vote and the institution of proportional representation is certainly a step in the right direction.

I think, by the way, we shall have to devise some sort of means of avoiding a multiplicity of candidates. I now come to a question on which there is bound to be a great conflict of opinion. I should be very much surprised if my hon. Friend is not in Committee besought to establish a system of Commissioners who will go round the country and delimit it for special educational purposes. I myself believe that every educational thinker has now come to the conclusion that you must have a large area. The advantages are obvious, and scarcely need statement. You can unify the rate and thus stimulate that local zeal which is too often "cribbed, cabined, and confined" by the necessity of raising the educational impost. You can set up central institutions, you can make arrangements for technical, university, and professional education with an amplitude of scope and a completeness of plan utterly impossible in the case of small areas. You can organise your continuation school system much more efficiently, and can give your teachers a wider sphere of promotion. I lay very especial stress on this advantage, for unless you can offer your teachers a career and hold out to them a prospect of advancement you will never get that hopeful, healthy alertness and that constancy of vigorous activity which is the first essential of educational success. It should never be forgotten that teaching is a particularly dry and depressing occupation. I can conscientiously assert that I was more tired and depressed at the end of the ordinary six-hour day of teaching than I am after my fourteen hours of editorial and Parliamentary work at the present time. In no profession is a constant stimulus more necessary. The traveller who trudges through the sands of desert buoys up his spirits against deadly monotony and ever-increasing weariness by directing his thoughts to some green and refreshing oasis that lies in front of him. So it should be with the teacher. You can only expect a dull and soulless performance of the daily round and common task if there is nothing to satisfy his ambitions and stimulate his energies. There is no alternative to the county area as set up by the Bill, except a specially delimited area for educational purposes. I hope my right hon. Friend will sternly resist any solicitation to set up a Commission for especially delimiting the country from the educational point of view. Scotland, in my opinion, cannot afford to waste a single hour if she is to retain her old supremacy, and the first result of setting up these Commissioners would be to bring about considerable delay. By specially delimiting areas you ignore the county as an established local government area, and ignore the fact that it possesses established rating machinery, and you introduce all sorts of baffling complexities which are wholly unnecessary. If you are to take an existing secondary school as your nucleus, your areas will have to rival in eccentricity of outline the famous Panhandle state of Jerry Mander.

The Commissioners will be confronted almost immediately with most complicated questions of population and valuation, travelling facilities, and problematic sites of new institutions for higher education. Their task is difficult in the extreme, as anybody knows who has attempted it. Besides, what do you gain by this exercise of patience and ingenuity? By the Bill the real work of administration will be done by school management committees, and the local authority is empowered to group together schools. When you combine that power with the fact that by the eleventh paragraph of the Second Schedule the local authorties can combine with other local authorities, or can co-operate with them for all educational purposes of the Bill, then I say that all the aims of those who advocate a specially delimited area can be attained by this Bill. The establishment over a county area of an ad hoc authority so empowered comes as nearly the ideal that you are likely to get in this imperfect world. Let me detain the House very briefly in order to state what I believe is the attitude of teachers upon this Bill. No one, of course, would deny the importance of securing their enthusiastic co-operation, and no one would blame them for jealously maintaining their professional rights. They accept this Bill as a great measure of educational reform, and they are unwilling to jeopardise it by agitating against any of its provisions; at the same time, they do hope that their security of tenure will be safeguarded as of yore, and that the present right of appeal, which is withdrawn by Section 11 of Clause 23, will be restored. They are quite content with the appeal they had before to the Education Department, or even to the new Central Advisory Council. Then, again, they ask for representation on the central management committees, and on the local as well as on the Central Advisory Councils, and they ask for this representation by nominees of their own. I hope the. House will not think that these are extravagant demands. We have entered upon a new era in the relationship between employers and employed, and the Whitley recommendations apply equally in the educational sphere as in every other department of national activity. I hope my right hon. Friend will be able to define in the Bill some method of securing closer co-operation between the teachers and the local authorities.

Finally, I should like to make a few remarks about the advisory council. The Clause as it stands is very vague, and I cannot ascertain from a study of it whether the council is to be the creature of the Department or a free council. I must say, if it is to be the pale reflex of the Education Department, I am strongly opposed to it. My right hon. Friend in his Edinburgh speech laid down very fully and without ambiguity the character of its constitution and outlines the kind of work it would have to do. He set out by declaring that the creation of a small number of large authorities, and the possibility that these authorities! would form associations, made the necessity of an advisory council less apparent than under the old system. Nevertheless he decided that the advisory council would not be useless, and with this scant blessing he proceeded to describe its anatomy, which, as might have been expected, was discovered to be a bloodless creation, with all the pith and marrow carefully extracted from the bones. He laid down the fundamental principle that the advisory council "cannot be allowed to touch the authority of the Department." He still adheres to the view which he expressed in January last, and, I think, seems to envisage the Department as a kind of reigning sovereign of Teutonic tendencies. The figure so far dominates his mind that he actually speaks of an advisory council as the Department's Privy Council. In these days of lavish honour lists I shall not be surprised if he does not propose to give the prefix "right honourable" to members of the council, or at least, to make them Companions of Dover House. So far as I know, nobody proposes to deprive the Education Department of its ultimate responsibility, but what we do want is to inform it, to instruct it, and to guide it by presenting it with the considered opinions of a body of expert, experienced and independent men and women. What conception had my right hon. Friend of this advisory council in January last? It was to be nominated by him under, I suppose, the advice of the permanent secretary, and, so nominated, it would probably consist of tame educationists, guaranteed to be sufficiently pliable in the backbone. I am pretty well sure that those who dare to assert themselves against this Department will probably be conspicuous by their absence. When appointed, these ladies and gentlemen, according to the Edinburgh pronouncement, are to be simply hewers of wood and drawers of water for the Education Department. My right hon. Friend said their functions would be Dot so much to criticise proposals worked out by the officers of the Department, as to investigate matters referred to them by the Department. That is to say, they will do the work of officials without either the status or pay of officials. Then they are to deliberate behind closed doors, and their findings are to be confidential except in so far as the Minister might see fit to publish any of their deliverances.

I observe in the second edition of the Clause that the Department must take into consideration any advice or representations made to them by the Council. That means, of course, that the advisory council is not to be snubbed or ignored. For this relief, much thanks! I shall be amazed if in the whole of broad Scotland you can find fifteen self-respecting men and women who will undertake to serve the Department in such a menial capacity. My right hon. Friend—I wish he were here—has not enlarged his vision in regard to this council, and I can only say that he has given us the shadow instead of the substance, the simulacrum instead of the real thing. Surely if the council is competent to guide the Department at all, it ought not to be limited to the topics dictated to it by the Department, and, if it is not to have those powers, I wonder why my right hon. Friend put it into the Bill at all, for he can at any moment without legislative sanction call together fifteen ladies and gentlemen to do housemaid's work for his Department. If he has not changed his mind, the real reason, I think, why an advisory council of this character is to be established appears in the frank statement he made in Edinburgh. "The hands of the Department would be strengthened, and the course of its measures would be made smoother, if it were publicly known that its policy had been formally approved beforehand by enlightened opinion." So, then, it would appear that the function of the advisory council is to be a Departmental dug-out against a barrage of popular opinion.

If that is my right hon. Friend's last word with regard to the advisory council, I think he would be well advised to withdraw it. But he can really transform it into something acceptable in a very short time if he will, for example, allow the accredited educational bodies of Scotland to nominate their own representatives, and if he will let this council be a freely deliberative body, not merely for the purpose of giving advice upon topics submitted to it, but on any question of educational interest. I conclude, as I began, with the language of congratulation. I believe it is given by this Bill to my right hon. Friend to realise the ideals which inspired King James IV. of blessed memory in his famous and oft-quoted Statute of the year 1496. A standard writer has referred to that Statute as a striking monument to the far-sighted wisdom of the Prince in whose reign it was passed and a prophetic anticipation of the future development of national education. I believe with all my heart that we now have the opportunity of the ages, and I earnestly hope that we shall be equal to it. I am sure that we shall be entirely worthy of the gratitude of generations yet unborn, and that we shall prove ourselves patriots in the highest and the truest sense if we bend all our energies to a speedy passing of this great Bill.


I wish only to intervene for a very few moments, but I should like to add my expression of appreciation to the Secretary for Scotland for the alterations which he has made in this Bill. I cannot myself agree with those hon. Members who have taken dilatory action in dealing with this question of education. It is true that legislation on matters other than those dealing with or arising out of the War is to be deprecated at the present time, but from such experience as I have had I cannot but believe that there is a large consensus of opinion in approval of any measure which will improve the educational facilities of the country. Reference was made to the fact that a large number of the manhood of this country was absent and was unable to voice its opinion. I do not profess to speak for that opinion, but I do know-that there are many men serving at the present time who realise the great benefits of education and, further, that an immense number of those who have in the course of the War received commissions at least have realised that the benefit of education has been of enormous assistance to them in the service of their country, and I cannot help thinking that the soldiers who are serving at the present time will view at any rate with sympathy any efforts which the House of Commons may make to improve the education of this country.

With regard to the reference that was made to the women who are going to be added to the electorate next election, I do not think that they either will quarrel with any efforts which Members of this House may make to improve the system of education. They of all the electors of this country will have a close and a personal interest in that question. In connection with that, I will only say that I am sure there are many of them who are thinking to-day of the question of infant nurseries and those first and preliminary steps which lead from the home to the more public school. And I hope that the educational authorities will at any rate take an active interest in those problems. The experiments which have already been made in that direction encourage us, I think, to an extension of those experiments. So far as I have been able to acquaint myself with the feeling of my Constituents and of those whom I have met in Scotland, it is perhaps true to say that there is a body of opinion which has thought that this measure might have been well postponed, but on the whole the majority and the consensus of opinion is, under the circumstances, I believe, in favour of a measure being carried, more particularly in view of the fact that England is going in all human probability to pass a measure dealing with this question. It has been said that we in Scotland are far in advance of education in England. That may be true or not, but at any rate there is nothing which should deter us from endeavouring to improve our system.

I think there, no doubt, is a feeling among many people in Scotland, both parents and employers of labour, that the possibility of this legislation may make their industries and the legitimate upkeep of the home more difficult. I think that the Secretary for Scotland recognises that feeling, and that in so far as he is able he intends to meet it. I do hope that in carrying out this measure it will be a gradual and an educative process. It is true that what opposition does exist may have in the minds of those who express it certain grounds, but I do think that as time progresses we will find that a great many of those difficulties will be swept away, and that in the end public opinion will come to see that this measure is of benefit to the country. I am not going to go into any of the details of the measure at this time. All I would say is that there are, and there should be, certain points left open for discussion in Committee. I am satisfied that if the Scottish Members address themselves to various methods of improving this measure, we will see this legislation carried for the benefit of the country. I only conclude by expressing the general opinion, I am sure, of all Members of this House that the Secretary for Scotland, in his happy means of meeting Members of this House in consultation, and meeting the many representative deputations from Scotland, will, in the end, have his reward.


In taking part in the Second Reading Debate, I wish, if I can, to follow the excellent example that has been set by the hon. and gallant Member for Renfrew (Captain Gilmour). I do not intend to take part at any great length. I think, in the course of a Second Reading Debate, we should permit of as many as possible of the Members interested in a measure of this character having the opportunity of giving their views. I wish to congratulate the Secretary for Scotland upon his courage in proceeding with the Bill. I think that it would have been a national calamity if this Bill had been held up. There has been a large body of opinion in Scotland for years in favour of a Bill of this character. Those in favour of a Bill of this kind are of opinion that if we are to hold our own among the nations of the earth we require to improve and enlarge our educational system. If that were necessary prior to the War in which we are now engaged, it is more necessary than ever for the period of reconstruction after the War. We shall have many big questions demanding our attention. If these are to be dealt with adequately, we require that they shall be dealt with by as highly educated a people as possible. With that part of the Bill, the educational provisions, which the Secretary for Scotland described as being the heart of the Bill, I do not think there will be much opposition. Any differences of opinion that may exist on that part, I think, will be capable of adjustment. Where we may have differences of opinion, where we may even differ strongly from the Secretary for Scotland himself, is on the administrative part of the Bill. In the course of his opening statement he said that there is now no large body of opinion in Scotland against the provisions of this Bill. I fear he was taking rather an optimistic view of the situation if he thought that in the main the people of Scotland were seeing eye-to-eye with him on all the provisions of this Bill.

There are just one of two of the provisions of the Bill to which I want to draw his attention and to show where there is a considerable volume of opinion in Scotland that does not see eye-to-eye with him regarding some of its provisions. I take, first, the question of the advisory council, which has been frequently referred to in the course of the Debate, and, in drawing his attention to that, I would remind him that at a representative conference of co-operative and labour bodies, held in the early part of the present year, that very point was discussed, and they strongly differed from the Secretary for Scotland upon that point. They are of the opinion that if the Scottish people are to be given real control over education a Council of Education ought to be created with its headquarters in Scotland. This council should be the supreme authority in all matters appertaining to primary, secondary, and technical education, and also be the authority responsible for the training of teachers. The composition of this council should be as follows: President, a Minister of Education for Scotland; six representatives from school boards, two representatives from organised labour and the co-operative movement, two from employers, two teachers' representatives appointed by the Educational Institute of Scotland, and the four divisional chief inspectors. That was a claim far in advance of the provision that the right hon. Gentleman has made in the Bill in the form of an advisory council.

The next point I want to deal with to show there is a considerable volume of opinion which does not agree with the provision made by the Secretary for Scotland is this: The Secretary for Scotland stated that the county is the only area that can administer this Bill successfully. I think, if my memory serves me well, in his opening statement he went so far as to say that the Bill would stand or fall by the county area. I am sorry if that is the position he has given public expression to before we have had the opportunity of going fully into the matter in Committee. That same body to which I have already drawn his attention, namely, the Labour and Co-operative Conference, are of the opinion that the county area will not be a suitable one for the purposes of administration, and I am not sure that their opposition to the county area is of the character that the Secretary for Scotland himself dealt with this afternoon. They are of the opinion that if the Bill is to be well administered, the working classes of the country should have a greater opportunity of taking part in its administration than can possibly be the case if we have the county as the area. They think that the areas should be specially delimited, and delimited in such a way as will make it possible for the meetings of the education authorities to be held in the evening, with a chance of the members reaching their homes that same evening. The reason for this is obvious. They realise that if the meetings of the education authorities are to be held during the day it will be almost impossible for as large a number of representatives to be drawn from the working classes as they would like to see. There are many of the occupations in which our people are engaged where it is impossible for them to be absent from the work for many days in the month. Consequently they desire that in the specially delimited areas it should be made possible for them to attend evening meetings with a view to avoiding the difficulty of losing work.

9.0 P.M.

The next point to which I wish briefly to draw the attention of the Secretary for Scotland is that part of the Bill where he makes provision for travelling expenses, and for maintenance allowances. There, again, this same body to whom I am drawing his attention are of opinion that he does not go far enough in the Bill. They believe that not only should there be travelling expenses and subsistence allowances; they say where it is absolutely necessary for work to be lost that there should also be payment of the wages that will consequently be lost by the working-class representatives. The Secretary for Scotland, in the course of his opening remarks, told us that he had many expressions of approval from working-class organisations in Scotland, the exceptions to that, I think, if I understood him aright, being expressions of regret that he had not gone further than he has. There, I think, he fairly expressed the opinion of the working-class movement in Scotland. For years they have been demanding greater educational facilities for their children. They fully recognise that if we are to maintain our place in the world a higher Standard of education is a national necessity. Consequently, they have been demanding greater educational facilities. I would also remind the Secretary for Scotland that along with that demand they have been asking that the economic position of the working classes should be improved, because, unless there is ample provision made for maintenance allowances in this Bill they will not get the full measure of benefit from its provisions. I hope that in the course of our discussions in the Committee stage that the Secretary for Scotland will lend a sympathetic ear to the plea for the extension of maintenance allowances, so that when we finish the Bill we shall be able to say that we have secured ample provision to enable the working classes of the country to take full advantage of the measure.

There is one other point where, I think, the representatives of the moderate working classes join issue with the Secretary for Scotland and are of opinion that his Bill should go much further than it does—that is, in the number of pupils that are to be under the charge of any one teacher. The standard size of the class should, they think, be reduced to thirty. Here, again, if we are to get full advantage of the Bill, we will require to give this matter our very careful consideration. There are many other points, which, if I could take time to deal with them, I could bring to the attention of the right hon. Gentleman, but, as I stated at the beginning, I do not want to take up too much time on Second Beading. We shall have ample opportunity in the Committee to raise these points and discuss them with him. I hope that in the course of the Committee stage my right hon. Friend will be prepared to give careful and serious consideration to the various points that we bring before him. I trust that in Grand Committee he and the Scottish Members may be able to produce a Bill that-will increase the educational facilities of our country and give our people greater opportunities to secure a higher education than at present—that we will be able to produce a Bill which will enable the meanest child in the land, the child of the poorest parent, to have as easy a passage from the elementary school to the university as is now possible to the children of wealthy parents. The hon. Member for South Edinburgh, in the course of his remarks, congratulated the Secretary for Scotland on having that provision embodied in the Bill. I regret to say that I cannot agree with him. I cannot find it here. We shall require to make considerable improvement on the provisions contained here before we reach that happy position. I earnestly trust we will be able to do so before the Bill finds its way on to the Statute Book.


I desire to join those who have preceded me in expressing my satisfaction with the change which my right hon. Friend opposite has made in the administrative Clauses of the Bill. He has dropped the proposals to hand over the management of the educational staffs to the county councils. He adheres to the county as the area. I listened with close attention to what he said on that subject, and I confess I listened without being convinced that he was right He grounds himself on two main reasons. The first is that the county provides an adequate basis for the organisation of secondary and continuation classes. I am not going to dispute my right hon. Friend's contention, but I should like, first of all, to draw attention to one objection, which I feel very strongly, which was alluded to by my right hon. Friend the Member for the Black-friars Division, and which has also been alluded to by the right hon. Gentleman who have just sat down, and it is an objection which I think can be urged with great force against the acceptance of the county as the administrative area. It is that, so far as I can see, it practically excludes the members of the working classes from becoming members of the administrative body. I do not say it would be impossible, but I am sure it would be extremely difficult for any working man to become a member of a county authority. It is not merely that he can ill afford the time or expense of attending, because that can be provided for, and my right hon. Friend does in fact seek to provide for it in the provisions of this Bill. The objection arises from the fact that the workman must get the consent of his employer, and even with the utmost good will the employer may be unable to give his consent. Obviously it is not a matter of indifference to the employer as to whether the workman attends regularly at his work or not because the work must be done, and you cannot reasonably expect the employer at regular and frequent intervals to dispense with those services of his workmen. This difficulty is illustrated very forcibly by the composition of county councils at the present time. Practically there are no workmen on those councils.


Yes; in Lanarkshire.


Well, outside Lanarkshire there are practically no workmen on those councils, and the fact is that there is an overwhelming majority practically in all the counties of Scotland of the representatives of the well-to-do classes, and practically no representatives at all of the working classes. That objection does not apply to the present system in which the parish is the area, and the further you go from the parish the stronger the objection becomes. It is true that there may be equally strong countervailing reasons for the adoption of the larger administrative area, and this brings me back to the reasons which the right hon. Gentleman urged in support of the county area. The first reason was that he held it provided the only adequate basis for the organisation of secondary organisation and continuation classes. That certainly is a sound and good reason for an area larger than the parish. If the county is the only area in which adequate organisation can be secured, that is a good reason for accepting the county, even though the county has other drawbacks that might militate against the proposal. If it is true that the county is absolutely essential for the adequate organisation of education in all its grades, no argument ought to stand against it; but can that be said of the provisions of the right hon. Gentleman's Bill?

Is it true that the county is the only area or the smallest area which provides for an adequate organisation of education of the various grades? Of course, it is school population and the correct distribution of population that determines organisation and that makes an easy or a difficult thing. It must be so if you take the county as giving us the only unit of population that would make an adequate organisation. Now there are five towns in the whole of Scotland each with a population providing an adequate basis of organisation, and he proposes to make them independent authorities. In other words, he admits exceptions to the county as the administrative area. Of course, the answer would be that it is because the towns are large and that they all have a population which makes the organisation of education not only possible but easy. It is not because they are the only towns in Scotland providing the necessary basis of organisation. There are only eleven counties in the whole of Scotland with a population that exceeds 80,000. There are twenty-two with a population below 80,000, and there is a very large number of counties in Scotland with a population under 40,000. There are no less than fourteen counties with a population of less than 44,000. I want to know, if it is possible in these cases adequately to organise education, why it is not possible to set aside all burghs of a population of 30,000? If my right hon. Friend would accept the proposal that as a general principle the county ought to be the area, I reckon that about twenty burghs might be excluded from that rule. Then the working population in the industrial parts of Scotland might get more adequate representation on the authority without any injury at all to the main object that he has in view, and with no serious detriment to the second of his reasons for adopting the county as the area.

It is quite true—it is undeniable—that in a county scheme there would be a very considerable gain so far as equality of rating and so on is concerned, but there would still be very serious inequalities as between county and county. We cannot get rid of the inequality of rating by the adoption of the county area. There would not be inequalities of rating throughout Scotland quite as great under a county system as under the existing system, but you would not in the least degree affect the inequality of rating as between county and county. I hope that my right hon. Friend will be prepared to listen with sympathy to Amendments that may be made in Committee enlarging his Schedule of exceptions. That is really the one point upon which I desired to address the House; otherwise, I am in agreement with my right hon. Friend. I join with others in my expression of admiration for the educational provisions of the Bill and my gratitude to my right hon. Friend for having introduced them. There is one point that I should like to press upon him. I have tried to think how the proportional representation machinery will work in thinly populated districts, but I do not dwell upon that. I want to know how he proposes to fill casual vacancies. There is no provision in the Bill for the filling of casual vacancies. It is possible that there may be an unrepealed Clause in some other Bill which does provide for it, but I would press that there should be a definite provision inserted in this Bill for the filling of casual vacancies. I am sure that he will be forced to adopt the principle of co-option. He can get no other means of filling casual vacancies. At any rate, there ought to be a provision in the Bill that would make it clear that casual vacancies are not to be filled by the proportional representation machinery. That is all that I desire to say.


I join in the general congratulations to the Secretary for Scotland in the lucidity with which he has presented this Bill to the House. It was a model statement for Ministers. He gave us a very good and a very clear insight into the provisions of the Bill. I should like, however, to say, quite frankly, that never since I have been in the House have I regretted more that a Bill of this character has not been submitted to a Parliament sitting in Scotland. There is no subject in which the whole of the Scottish people take a keener interest than in Scottish education, and except on the Land Bill I have never felt so greatly that lack of a Scottish Parliament as in considering this Bill. For one thing, the atmosphere which has been created in this House by the provisions of the English Bill and the discussions which have taken place upon that Bill has not, in my judgment, helped to raise in us and in this House that standard of education at which we aim and which we claim in Scotland. Accordingly, I sincerely trust that it will not be long before we have that Parliament dealing with this matter, and I am quite sure that the Secretary for Scotland will heartily agree with me. Of course, the interest in Scotland in educational matters is traditional. Whatever benefits John Knox conferred upon Scotland from the religious point of view, the introduction of the parish schools into Scotland have, in my judgment, had a profound effect upon the Scottish people and the Scottish character. We have seen the result of it in what has been produced among the people. Many Members may not be aware that a far greater proportion of the population of Scotland goes into the professions than is the case in England. It is also well known that the production man per man is greater in Scotland than in England. There is a greater use of machinery in Scotland than in England. All the elements by which you try to judge the character of a people are shown in these things, and I believe they have been very largely brought about by the system of education which has existed in Scotland since the days of John Knox. For all these reasons I very much regret that we have not the stimulus of the atmosphere of a Scottish Parliament to consider this Bill. I am very glad that the right hon. Gentleman has recognised the strength of the feeling which has existed in Scotland, as amongst Members of Parliament, against the abolition of the ad hoc authority. I am sure he recognises that those who have been fighting for the retention of this principle or, rather, for the introduction of this principle into the Scottish Education Bill have been actuated by the highest opinions and by conscientious convictions with regard to the matter; indeed, the way in which he has listened to expressions of opinion on this subject shows that he realises that we have been actuated by the highest motives, to improve this Bill. Accordingly, I congratulate him sincerely that he has listened to the views put forward in opposition to his original Bill. I suppose most Members of Parliament have seen the Report of the Commission of the Scottish School Boards Association, appointed to inquire into the council system of educational administration in England. I will give two very short opinions. One is by the representative mangers of the London elementary schools. They passed a resolution on 25th February, 1918, in the following terms: That, in the opinion of the representative managers, the working of the Education Act of 1903 has proved the necessity of an ad hoc authority, in order to secure efficiency and economy in London education. That is entirely against the opinions which were given forth as the reason for our adopting the English system. That refers to the London case, I see that the secretary of the Northern Counties Educational League says that he has little hesitation in declaring that the Act of 1902 was little short of a calamity. The whole information which has been given in that pamphlet issued by the Scottish School Boards Association shows that they are absolutely opposed to the abolition of the ad hoc authority. I am satisfied that if it had not been done in England it would never have been proposed for Scotland. You will find as strong an opinion expressed with regard to the abolition of small areas as has been done with regard to placing them under the county authority. I sincerely trust that in this matter we shall have some further concession. I had the pleasure of listening to the right hon. Gentleman's speech on his previous Education Bill, in which he referred to the views of Lord Haldane and Sir Charles Douglas on this matter. Now, I have never looked upon these two gentlemen as sound authorities upon educational questions. Anything which comes from that quarter I look on with great suspicion, and therefore the right hon. Gentleman did not commend his Bill by quoting them as authorities in favour of the abolition of the ad hoc principle.


I did not quote them in that connection.


I thought the right hon. Gentleman had done so. Still, in educational matters, anything coming from that quarter does not commend itself strongly to me. I should like to say frankly that I look forward with some anxiety to what may occur when this Bill becomes an Act, because if it passes in its present form, so far as the county area is concerned, I am very much afraid that another Government or another Department may at a later date propose to abolish or transfer the ad hoc authority area. I have very great anxiety on that score, because I think that would be such a calamity. I trust, therefore, that the Secretary for Scotland will meet us on this point. The hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Shaw) referred to the position of his own burgh. Before the hon. Member spoke I had made a special note of the fact that the position of Kilmarnock from an educational point of view—its advanced position—is due to the fact that it has always been a democratic place, at any rate so far as church government is concerned. The same applies to Perth and to other towns I could mention, and I do think that something should be done in the direction suggested in the speech delivered by the hon. Member for Falkirk Burgh (Mr. Murray Macdonald). If it can be done it will be very helpful. I should like also to refer to the subject mentioned by the right hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Adamson). He touched upon the great difficulty that working people would have in attending the meetings of the authority. It very often happens that it is impossible to spare a man from his work, although he may be most competent to sit on these committees. He may have taken great interest in educational matters, but it is exceedingly more difficult to let him go away from his work to attend the meetings than it would be to release people occupying less responsible positions. This, to my mind, is a very serious matter affecting the working classes especially, because however willing employers may be to give a man an opportunity of doing his work, in many cases his absence would be disastrous to the works, and therefore he cannot be allowed to go. Accordingly. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not be adamant on this question. I appeal to him for his own sake, and for the sake of the Bill, to give it careful consideration and to try and meet us.

Another matter to which I should like to refer is one affecting teachers. The position of teachers under the Bill is, in my opinion, not adequately safeguarded, and something should be done to give them higher salaries. This also applies to women. It will be within the recollection of many Members of the House that we had several deputations attending our meetings upstairs, and that of all the representatives who came there none more greatly impressed the Committee than the representatives of the women. They stated their case so fairly and so exhaustively that they gave us more stuff to think about than any other representatives. I sincerely trust something will be done to meet the position which these women laid before us. We ought to adopt the principle that wherever you have women possessing the same qualifications and performing precisely the same work as men they should have the same salary. It is not fair, because she is a woman, to say she shall have a lower salary than a man for doing precisely the same work and fulfilling the conditions the Department lay down. Another matter I should like to refer to, and it is one on which I would like to sincerely congratulate the right hon. Gentleman, is the provision the Bill makes for Roman Catholic schools. I have always held the view that it is not possible to allow school boards to teach religion of any kind in their schools without giving other people liberty to teach their religion. I am very glad indeed that the right hon. Gentleman has done something to meet the wishes of these people; it will remove a very great grievance. It is a thorny subject, it is scarcely possible to touch it without raising prejudices, and I therefore all the more heartily congratulate him on what he has done. Another point to which I wish to refer was brought forward by the hon. Member for Dumfries Burghs (Mr. Gulland). It is with regard to the establishment of nursery schools. We have some of these schools, voluntarily established, in Edinburgh and Glasgow, but I think provision should he made in this Bill compelling all school boards to establish nursery schools. The mental capacity of a child is not quickly gauged. In some cases its aptitude may be promptly discovered; in other cases it will need studying for a year or two; therefore, it is essential to have these schools established so as to help in the early formation of the child's mind. I do not wish to offer any opposition to the Bill; on the contrary, I shall give it all the help I can, but I do appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to keep an open mind on some of these very difficult and thorny subjects.


The general chorus of approval which has greeted the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman, ranging, as it does, from the confines of modern Socialism to those of barbaric Conservatism, must, I think, cause the right hon. Gentleman to begin to wonder whether he is not running the danger which is the common lot of those of whom all men speak well. I hope he finds; in this general agreement ample reward for the hard work he has devoted to the preparation of this Bill. His former Bill would have proved an agreed Bill to the extent to which this promises. My hon. Friend the Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. Price) suggested a fear that at some future date some other Government or Department might reopen or reverse the decision come to on some of these questions. There is no absolute finality in these matters, but I am one of those who rather regret that the right hon. Gentleman has abandoned his attempt to get rid altogether of the ad hoc system. Speaking for myself, the decision having now been taken, the fair thing to do is to give the new system a trial for a number of years to see how it works. The main objection to the ad hoc system, in my mind, was the existence of hundreds of school boards on a perfectly trifling scale, ill-equipped for their work. It is rather an interesting speculation whether, when the Acts of 1872 was passing through, Lord Young would have pinned his faith to the ad hoc system if he had had what my right hon. Friend now has, a properly developed system of local government in Scotland. He had to make the machinery to do the work. My doubt about the decision taken on the ad hoc system arises from the fact that I doubt, looking to the amount of money which will be required ten years hence for the working of this scheme, whether the ratepayers in Scotland will stand being subject to two assessing bodies, the town council or the urban council on the one hand and the school board on the other, both of which will make considerable demands on them. If the school board system fails, it will be on that ground, rather than on any other. The question in the mind of the parish dweller in Scotland takes the "love me, love my dog" form. He began with the school board. He has in mind the fact that for forty years the school board has been the body which has brought education to his door. He knows no other. However, the settlement should be accepted and given a fair trial for some time; I have no sympathy with any attempt to reopen it just now. It follows, if you adopt this settlement, that there is not the need which existed before for co-opted members. It was an idea largely borrowed from England, where, in many parishes, there were no school boards, and the whole of education was on less advanced lines, and co-option was a bridge built to transfer them from the old system to the new one. The ad hoc system being retained, the dispute as to co-opted members very largely answers itself.

There remains the difficult point of the delimitation of burgh and county areas. I listened to the hon. Member for Kilmarnock Burghs (Mr. Shaw) with a good deal of interest, and I agree with him in hoping that there will be no delay in passing this Bill into law. He spoke of the educational facilities provided in Kilniarnock and suggested that a comparison should be made between them and those available in other burghs. That is not the point at issue. I have not heard anyone suggest that a place like Kilmarnock could not manage its own educational business—and indeed, all its business—perfectly well. That is not the difficulty. If one considers the question whether these burghs, with anything from 20,000 to 100,000 inhabitants, can manage their own educational matters, the answer is plain enough. The difficulty arises when you have to face a situation you would have to face if you removed that burgh from contact with its surrounding counties. The difficulties are not in the burghs, but in the county areas. That is the problem with which the Secretary for Scotland has had to deal, and I do not doubt that that accounts in a measure for his treatment of Leith. It is a matter of electoral geography, not a question of Leith being able to do these things better or worse than Kilmarnock. The suggestion I threw out some time ago with regard to the inequalities suggested by the difficulties of the delimitation of the county areas was that some elasticity should be allowed to enable counties to join hands to a greater extent than they have hitherto done. Along some such line such difficulties as may occur would be found capable of solution.

The great ideas embodied in this Bill cannot be regarded as new. What is new is the willingness of the people to listen to them and, still more, to foot the bill which its proposals will involve. It is probably true that seven years, it may be twenty years and in some cases thirty years, will be required before the whole of these provisions really get into their stride and full working order. The difficulties of building, money, the growing up of a whole generation of teachers, and the provision of proper facilities for training teachers, will take more time than we are inclined to think both in Scotland and in England. The provision of Grants, such as they are, in the Bill, is on the meagre side. The question of training children for the sea is a Committee point which will require careful consideration. I was surprised to hear what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Fife (Mr. Adamson) said when he deplored the lack of real popular control in these matters. In these popularly elected bodies voters in Scotland have as much control as they care to exercise. If they do not secure more control it must be their own fault, because the machinery is placed at their convenience. Speaking subject to correction, I see nothing in the Bill to prevent a school board meeting in the evening if it wishes to do so.

As to voluntary schools, they in Scotland represent a problem which has long been a vexed one. I attach the greatest importance to the religious instruction of children, and if I thought that this Bill were going to place any obstacle in the way of any religious body—in particular, of the Roman Communion—instructing its own children in its own faith, I could not see my way to support it. I do not think the Bill does anything of the sort. On the contrary, I take the view that, if those who have made self-sacrifices for the voluntary schools will continue to work in the same spirit for them, they will find ways and means of carrying out their wishes in that important direction which will be more satisfactory than those they have found at their disposal in the past. Those who have made such sacrifices for their schools in the last two generations believe that they had better pay rates two or three times over lather than sacrifice what they consider is of infinite value to their children. The question of whether the education they have succeeded in providing is as efficient as that of the ordinary board school is another matter. From the point of view of ordinary business, I think that the Secretary for Scotland has fairly met all parties concerned, and I hope that in Committee there will not be much difficulty in carrying these Clauses in the Bill. Certainly the wage-earning classes in Scotland, as in England, now realise that, after all, "knowledge is power." What they want, and what they hope to secure by this Bill, is a freer and more equal right of access to that particular kind of knowledge from which in the past they have not been debarred, perhaps, but to which they have not had such free access as they are now entitled to. For that reason alone, I hope the Bill will be placed on the Statute Book without any delay. Which of the Scottish Members will have the courage—I should regard it as mistaken courage—to vote against the Second Beading of this Bill? I am thankful to say the Amendment to throw out the Bill does not come from my side of the House. I am rather at a loss to understand why people should seek to reject the Second Beading at all. I do not believe the two Members from Scotland who spoke against the Bill quite intended that their speeches should be seriously taken. There was only one remark made by the hon. Member who moved the Amendment that I have some sympathy with. That was where he suggested that Scotland for the past generation had been rather trading upon her established reputation of being a well-educated country. With that view I find myself not altogether in disagreement. The impression left on my mind by these other arguments was that they were advanced in a spirit of complete levity.

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Whitley)

It is not in order to suggest that an hon. Member's speech should not be taken seriously.


I withdraw the suggestion of levity. I will merely say there are degrees of seriousness. People in Scotland will accept the opposition offered in their name to the Bill with very much seriousness. So far from hoping that the Amendment will be withdrawn, I hope the hon. Members will show that they were quite serious and will have the courage of their opinions, though I think they are mistaken, and will go to a Division, so that the electors in Scotland may know the name of every Member who seeks to wreck the Bill.


Like the hon. Member (Mr. Currie) I regret that the rejection of the Bill should have been moved by two Members from Scotland, and I think it is all the more incumbent upon those of us who have received strong representations from our constituencies in favour of the passage of such a Bill that we should take part in this Debate. I have received from a very large number of public bodies throughout my Constituency, and from a very large number of individuals who are closely interested in education, strong representations in favour of the passage of a Scottish Education Bill during the present Session. Following closely, as I did, the speeches of the Mover and Seconder of the rejection, they do not appear to me to have addressed themselves seriously to the provisions of the Bill itself, though they did make, I am quite willing to admit, serious observations with regard to the policy of introducing such a Bill at this time. I propose to deal particularly with the question of the new areas. It was with great regret that I found my right hon. Friend in introducing the previous Bill had not adopted the ad hoc authority, but he has with the best possible grace accepted the views which have been so freely expressed in Scotland on that point and has now modified the Bill, which will give great satisfaction in many quarters. But in modifying the principle originally embodied in the Bill and in agreeing to the ad hoc authority, it appears to me that he was bound very seriously to consider how far that carried him in the direction of the ideal of the specially delimited ad hoc educational area. I have always held strongly the view that, in the interest of education, that would have been the best solution of the problem. I admit that the difficulties are very great, but I think we are bound to keep this in view—that the real problem we were faced with with regard to the present school board system was the failure of the smaller school boards and the limited "funds" which were available within the parish areas for the development of our educational system. It appears to me that the right hon. Gentleman in his desire to meet the real difficulty has gone too far in the other direction. In other words, in order to abolish the small school boards and to meet the difficulties which arose through the operation of the smaller school board areas, he has gone to the other extreme in regard to the delimitation of the educational areas in a number of cases by the hard and fast standard—the standard which he has now provided, namely, the county area. I should like to appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether it would not be possible for him to reconsider this question in the light of Amendments which may be put before him in the Committee stage. Let me take the county of Lanarkshire, which is a good illustration of the difficulty of working a large area. Is it suggested that the whole of that county can be covered by the members of the local education authority, and that they will be able to attend meetings held at different times in different parts of the county? The difficulty of travelling itself is very great. At present, no doubt, we have got district committees of the county council, where Labour members attend with regularity, but these are divided over a number of different wards.

With regard to the burgh question, I should like to appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to consider the position of large burghs, which are excluded altogether under the present Schedule—burghs with a population of 35,000 and upwards, which, after all, represent a very substantial portion of the population of Scotland, and which deserve special consideration. I trust that Amendments put down to deal with the large burgh school boards will receive special consideration in Committee. I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman upon his attempt to solve the problem of the voluntary schools. That has always been a very difficult question in the West of Scotland, and I am sure it will be generally regarded as an attempt on his part to afford a solution fair to all the interests concerned. I note that in the Bill there is every intention to recognise the religious views which are so tenaciously held by those who at present are in charge of Catholic schools, and it is even intended to provide additional schools in areas where the needs of the population holding that particular form of faith may necessitate increased school accommodation—that is, taken along with the provision that certain schools may be closed if no longer required. I have had many conversations with people interested in the question in the West of Scotland, and the impression I have formed is that there is a very strong desire to get a settlement. The teachers have undoubtedly a very great interest in this matter. The problem of their salaries will be solved at once if they are brought into this Bill. The Catholic laity are also, I believe, very anxious to have this question settled upon these lines, and so, I believe, are many of the clergy, with some of whom I have had opportunities of discussing it. There is a general feeling that this is a time when the matter should be settled with good will. I sincerely trust there will be no attempt on the discussion of this Bill in Committee to take up any extreme attitude on any side, and that we may hope for a settlement on the lines suggested by the Secretary for Scotland.

In regard to the teachers, we have had several efforts made by the Government to improve salaries during the past year, but it appears to me that if we are ever going to put our educational system upon a proper footing we must improve the status and the remuneration of the teacher. I put a question to my right hon. Friend the other day as to whether he proposed to carry out the recommendations of the Craik Committee in regard to the increases of salary at the same time that he introduces the present Bill. I hope the Lord Advocate will consider, along with the Secretary for Scotland, the desirability of dealing with these two problems at the same time. If you are going to get an improved educational system set up in Scotland, let us there and then deal with the question of the improvement of the teachers' salaries. It may require additional legislation, and it will certainly require immediate treatment, if you are going to secure the best class of teacher for the future needs of the country. We are all aware how extremely difficult it will be to start these continuation classes, and how great is the need for teachers at the present time. If the Government is prepared to show that they are in earnest by dealing with this problem simultaneously with the Bill they have introduced for the improvement of education in Scotland, I feel sure it would go a very long way to help the situation in the immediate future.

10.0 P.M.

With respect to the advisory committees, my experience has always been that whenever you take away any real authority or responsibility from a committee in the work that they are actually engaged in, you very considerably reduce the value of the help they can give. In reading the Clause as it appears in the Bill it seems to me that you would have the greatest difficulty in getting any self-respecting people to take up such duties as have been laid down. I am always in favour of giving to those who are interested in education an opportunity of expressing their views to those who are in power. But if you are only going to call them in to advise upon certain questions, and you need not take the advice which is offered you, it appears to me they are in exactly the same position as outside authorities at the present moment would be if you went to them and asked for their advice on a particular question. If they are to be treated in earnest as a responsible and official body and as a body which is qualified to render real assistance, and whose views ought to be adopted up to a certain point by those in authority, I believe all would be ready to help. I believe in Scotland we have a large number of those who may be regarded as educational experts who are always willing to give their best advice and assistance, but if they are to be put in that official capacity they are entitled to ask for a little more responsible authority than that which is to be conferred upon them under this Bill. I do hope that we shall see this Bill passed into law at the very earliest date, and that there will be the best effort made in Committee on the part of those who seek to improve the Bill, as it requires to be improved in some particulars, and that they will approach the question purely with a desire to produce the best possible measure, and not to reduce in any way the possibilities of the measure reaching the Statute Book at the earliest possible moment. I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman and those associated with him in his attempt to get through a measure which Scotland has long been asking for.


I desire to join in the congratulations which have been offered by practically every speaker to the Secretary for Scotland, not only for the Bill he has introduced, but for the manner of its introduction. I do not know that I ever heard a more lucid explanation of the principles of a very complicated Bill than that which he gave to us this afternoon, and I am sure we are very much indebted to him for it. I am not sure that I am in accord with the majority in congratulating the right hon. Gentleman in having got rid of his earlier proposals in regard to the authority. I am a believer in county councils and borough councils, and I have had a good deal more experience in these matters than perhaps most hon. Members, and I think that in view of the chance of something like devolution legislation for Scotland before very long, it would have been desirable to have armed these bodies with greater responsibility than they now possess, and as much authority as possible on all local questions. I do wish—although the right hon. Gentleman had no alternatives in view of the pressure put upon him—that this matter of area had been left, and I should have been glad if we could have thrashed it out in Committee upstairs, and have realised what were the pros and cons in favour or against the proposals, and have settled deliberately, without any outside pressure, what was the proper authority to create. I regret that opportunity has not been given. Many people might have changed their views if the matter had been thrashed out upstairs. The school board authorities very naturally desired to retain their authority, and they have succeeded, but it is very questionable whether, when we come to deal with the larger question of devolution legislation, that arrangement will last. I very much doubt whether it will.

As to the area, it seems to be forgotten that the area for local government purposes for the moment is the county area, and it is the area for secondary education purposes, and you would have all sorts of difficulties about rating if you create delimited areas for this purpose. The difficulties of county rating at the present moment are very great. Hon. Members know that quite well, and to cut across county boundaries would involve an entirely new rating authority. You cannot possibly do it otherwise. The delimited area would require to be the rating authority, with the varied powers which the county council at present possess, but without that outlook upon county expenditure, which it is most desirable a rating authority should have, I do not see how you can get rid of that by the proposal in the Bill. It would be a very great advantage if the authority in the county for educational and other purposes was an authority which could take a wide view of the whole circumstances, and the whole expenditure of the locality and act to some extent reasonably in accordance with its obligations. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dumfries Burghs made an interesting speech on this subject, which was tinged with a good deal of rather acrid criticism. On that particular question of area, he brought in the case of the Dumfries Academy. Apparently he had not read the Fourth Clause of the Bill. Because the pupils from Kirkcudbrightshire, which he desires to include in the area for the purposes of higher education, will be still dealt with by Dumfries, and they can go to the Academy if they want to go there, and the Kirkcudbrightshire people will find the money to pay for the education. Therefore, there is no difficulty whatever about it. That is perfectly well dealt with under Clause 4.

There has been considerable objection to the principle of co-option having been a necessary corollary of the proposal of the Secretary for Scotland that the county councils and burgh councils should be the local educational authority in his former Bill. We have that principle of co-option in the present measure in the appointment of management committees. I do not see how you can avoid it. You must have management committees, and I believe you will get the right people. I believe the people who really take an interest in education in the particular district or parish or town, as the case may be, will, no doubt, be co-opted on these bodies and give effective service on them. The question of the First Schedule of the Bill and the inclusion in it of only five towns was commented upon by the hon. Member for Kilmarnock Burghs (Mr. Shaw), with special reference to the case of Kilmarnock. The case of Ayr has already been dealt with by the hon. Member for West Lanark (Mr. Pringle) in eulogistic terms. Therefore I do not need to say anything in the interests of my own Constituency. But I would like to say this, that I presume that in each of these cases there would be a local management committee and the advantages which they at present possess would be continued. They would be under the control of the local management committee, which, no doubt, would represent every shade of opinion in those towns and would include those who had already taken an interest in the educational work of the community. I think, therefore, that although I do not for a moment say that the Schedule might not usefully be extended, the right hon. Gentleman had better take care how far he extends it, or he may find so many demands for inclusion that we should very soon be getting back to the small area which we all desire to get rid of. The moment you begin to give this concession to Ayr and Kilmarnock you will have to give it to other districts where they have all this sort of higher education; you will get back to the old and most objectionable system of being again subject to these smaller areas and to the very imperfect management of education affairs. The hon. Member (Mr. Shaw) has a sort of hereditary interest in the small areas. I think that is at the bottom of his attitude. Hereditary instincts have a curious way of cropping up at times and my impression is that that accounts very largely for the right hon. Gentleman's attitude on this question.

With regard to the voluntary schools, I should like to say that I am a manager of a voluntary school. I am on the management of a Scottish episcopal school, and I have had some experience of the great difficulty there has been in carrying on voluntary schools. I do not know that I sympathise with the founders of that school in which I myself am interested, but at the same time it has gone on for many years. It is an old foundation of 150 years and we have conducted it in the best way we possibly could. That school has the largest average attendance of any school of its size in the community, but we have been very severely handicapped under the present system. The teachers are underpaid. It would be a perfect godsend to voluntary schools and to education generally if the House accepts, as I hope it will accept, the proposal of the Secretary for Scotland. I earnestly hope my right hon. Friend will find it comparatively easy to pass this through the House without much delay, because most of us are very overburdened with work outside, as has been pointed out, and one cannot give one's undivided attention to such a very important measure as this Bill is at the present time. I therefore hope there will be no time wasted in Committee, and that we shall deal only with practical questions.


I want to indulge in the unique experience of congratulating His Majesty's Government and to join with others in thanking my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Scotland for having not only given us this afternoon a very clear exposition of this particular measure, but also for the tact and skill which he has displayed in overcoming a great deal of the opposition that might be brought against the original Bill by consultation and conference before the introduction of the present measure. I entirely disagree with those who protest that this is not a time for a measure of education. I think if ever there was a time in which we ought to press on with the educational needs of all parts of the United Kingdom it is the present moment, and I think the objections taken to the introduction of a measure of this importance at such a moment as this are entirely beside the mark. I gather from the speech of my hon. Friend who has just sat down that he has certain misgivings about the ad hoc principles introduced in this Bill. I certainly cannot agree with him in that. I feel perfectly confident that unless you have a body that has its sole attention devoted to education, and that it is not distracted by the administration of other public services, you are very likely to fail. Although I am a Scottish Member I am resident in England a great deal, and I have had some experience of the working of the English Act and of English schools. I cannot say that the county council is a body in all cases—there may be many cases where it has been successful—that will give the undivided attention which education, and education alone, needs. After all, education is on a perfectly different basis from that of the other services and duties which come under a public body like the county council. In discussing a Bill of this description a great deal of time often has to be given up to machinery, administration, finance, and areas, and very often one loses sight of the principle. I was very glad to hear my right hon. Friend enlarge to some extent on the advantages which the extension of the age would give in matters of education. He specially mentioned that if you had this educaton up to the age of eighteen you would give an opportunity of reading modern history, and not only the history of our own country. I was very glad to hear him say that, because it is one of the most deplorable things in education throughout the United Kingdom that modern history is entirely neglected. Children are taught about Wallace and Bruce and William the Conqueror, but nothing about what was going on in the world fifty years before they were born. I think it of the utmost importance that there should be an extension of the study of history In such a way as to give pupils a full knowledge not only of the history of their own country in modern times, but also of the history and political and economic development of foreign countries. I mention that particular subject because I do not think that its importance can be overestimated.

My right hon. Friend said he did not think that there would be any objection to the Bill on the ground that it went too far. It would be more open to the objection that it did not go far enough. Certainly I would like it to go a great deal further than it does, because I would like to see a step still further taken in the advance of educational reform. It would be a distinct advantage if the status of the teacher were still further recognised, and he were given a higher salary. The position of the teacher is one which we should regard as one of immense importance. I believe that the duties that are given to the school teachers in this country are the most delicate and the most important that can be entrusted to any set of men, and the teachers ought to be adequately paid, because with them, to a large extent, rests the responsibility for the intellectual development of future generations. There is one other direction in which I would like to see this Bill take an advanced line and go very much ahead of the English Bill. That is in setting up the secondary schools, because I am convinced that while we all of us are so much concerned with the education of the children of the poorer classes of this country we are very much neglecting the children of the richer class. We think because public schools with rich endowments are set up for the well-to-do classes in this country that nothing further need be done for them. I believe that the public school, boarding school system is a thoroughly bad one, and I believe that the education of the children of the richer classes in these schools has proved itself to be most unsuccessful, and, while we may be deploring the neglect of education of the children of the poorer classes, I do not think that we ought to lose sight of the equal ignorance and the uneducated state of the children of the richer classes throughout the country. Although I admit that the public schools in Scotland compare very favourably with the public schools in England, if they are not in most cases distinctly superior, I am perfectly certain that that system is a wrong one, and while you cannot possibly change these richly-endowed public schools the only way to undermine that system is to have publicly-endowed voluntary schools for all classes which will be day schools to which all children, whatever the means of the parents may be, may come. That inevitably will come some day. It is simply a matter of time, but I should like very much to have seen Scotland in the forefront in bringing about this much-needed reform.


The Debate has been so long that a second day almost might be allowed on a Bill so important. There are certain criticisms that can be made on this Bill that I think it would be much more useful to get out on the Second Reading than in the Committee stage. I always think that discussion on the Second Reading is very much better than long discussions in Committee, and if we indicate on Second Reading the points on which we differ from the Government, I think it will do more to assist a satisfactory conclusion. It is quite true that probably every Scottish Member could speak for an hour on this measure, for it is a subject which interests every Scotsman. We do not propose to do that, but I should like to hear from the Lord Advocate what he has to say in reply to the criticisms that have been offered. There are one or two points I want to indicate quite shortly in order to prove that I want the Bill to go to Committee and get through as soon as possible. My primary objection to this Bill, so far as I can see it, is that no attempt is made in any part of it to get rid of the Scottish Education Department in London. I think that is essential if we are to have any reform of Scottish education, that we should get rid of Sir John Struthers and the Scottish Education Department in London. I will make a quotation from Sir John Struthers, who, speaking on the 21st November, 1912, at the Royal Commission on the Civil Service, said: You understand distinctly that the same Minister is head of both offices, but we are entirely independent. There are no officials of the Secretary for Scotland to pass judgment on our papers or our doings. I want to point out from this that there are no officials responsible to the Secretary for Scotland, the colleague of the Lord Advocate, who are entitled to pass judgment on questions affecting education in Scotland. I consider that a serious matter. We represent the people of Scotland, whatever our politics, and we ought to have control of the Department which exercises its power over the destinies of Scotland.

Colonel GREIG

So you do!


It is no use my hon. and gallant Friend talking nonsense. We have not that control, and it my hon. Friend knows anything of the history of Scottish education, he is aware that there is great objection to the Scottish Education Department being controlled from London by officials who know nothing at all about Scotland, who never carry out the desires of Scotland, and who thwart the current educational progress in Scotland. The second point has reference to higher education in Scotland. My right hon. Friend knows that ever since the Carnegie Trust was set up in Scotland, and Mr. Carnegie gave so many millions to Scottish university education, the method by which promising youths pass from the secondary school to the university is through the Trust Committee, who are not popularly elected, and who are a body which the Carnegie Trust brought into being. They have even gone the length of dictating what certificates the pupils are to have before they are admitted to the university with the advantage of the Trust. I object very strongly to the intervention of Carnegie and his millions in the higher education of Scotland, and I shall certainly raise the point when we reach the Committee stage.

The other point I want to draw attention to is this: A great deal has been said in the course of the Debate about the need for better facilities for higher education in Scotland. At the present moment what is wrong with higher education in Scotland is this, that the centres at which it can be obtained are far too remote for the children who may enjoy the advantages of those centres. Those of us who know Scotland well, and presumably every Scottish Member does, know that it is a fact that the better endowed children, so far as brains are concerned, have frequently in all kinds of weather—and weather is not particularly pleasant in Scotland during the school months—to travel by train, and frequently, in addition, to take a cycle journey, in order to attend these higher education centres. When they do not do that they are boarded out in the burgh towns of Scotland. The effect of that upon children at a time when their minds are created, and at a time when both boys and girls are adolescent, is, in my view, a bad influence. Talking of adolescence, I want to put forward a view which I think probably very few will agree with, but I think it is sound. One of the great mistakes which is made in all education is the attempt to force either boys or girls, at the period of their adolescence, in the way in which they are forced in our secondary education to-day. A great deal of education is wasted because the public of this country do not understand the eugenics of education, and I am perfectly certain that, in Scotland particularly, when our girls and boys at the period of their adolescence have to make this long railway and cycle journey in order to attend a higher secondary school, and have their intellects forced at a time when their physical bodies are developing, it is a wrong and an unsound policy, which I should like to see changed.

With regard to the teachers, there is one thing about them, and it is this, that we have been in the habit in Scotland of looking upon the teacher in our rural districts as a very considerable part of the social life of that community, and I regret very much that men and women in Scotland, many of whom have taken university degrees, only go to our rural districts for a couple or three years and then migrate from there to our burgh schools. I consider it essential, if we are going to maintain that part of Scottish life, which is essential for maintaining the traditions of our country, that we should have the very best type of teacher in our village communities, and the only solution for that, obviously, is this, namely, a national system of payment of teachers' salaries. It is perfectly ridiculous to expect some of our Highland counties or some of our Western counties in Scotland to maintain, out of the rate system which is available now, men and women teachers who are well qualified, and the only way to get over that is to put the teachers' salaries on a kind of Civil Service basis, so that you would really encourage men and women of talent and capacity and of proved ability to remain in the villages of Scotland; and, after all, as my colleagues know, the rural parts of Scotland are certainly going to be developed in the near future. There is a great development going to happen in Scotland when you get water power developed and a proper scheme of afforestation, and I think one of the most satisfactory solutions of the problem of rural life would be the maintenance in the community of teachers of capacity. They will not stay if not satisfied from the point of view of remuneration, and I am going to suggest to the Lord Advocate to consider in the Committee stage of the Bill whether or not these salaries could not be put on a national basis. There is a good deal to say, but I do not want to deprive the Lord Advocate of the right of reply or anyone else who wants to speak. Therefore, I hope the Secretary for Scotland will take these four points into consideration when we get into Committee.

Colonel GREIG

I have hesitated to intervene in the Debate because of the position I occupy, but I should not feel I had done my duty to my Constituents if I did not rise for a very few moments to state what I believe is their view upon this Bill. I represent a constituency in the West of Scotland largely industrial as well as rural, and I must confess, when the original draft of this Bill came in, I took a view which I found was rather at variance with some of my chief supporters. The Bill was a Bill which adopted the principle of handing over the control of education to the county councils. I very much agree with what has fallen from the hon. Member for Ayr Burghs. Having had experience of education in England, having taken part in the development of educational questions in England for a good many years, I have felt that, to a large extent, that would be a wise provision. I know many of us at the time when the English Education Bill of ten or fifteen years ago passed education over to the control of county councils had very great misgivings about that, but I think there are very few people nowadays who have not come to the conclusion that, on the whole, that was a wise measure. It was felt at that time that there might be ecclesiastical discussions in the elections for county councils. Nothing of the sort has happened, and I believe on the whole the supervision and direction of education has been satisfactorily confided to the hands of the county councils. But I am bound to confess that is not the opinion of the bulk of my Constituents, and I have therefore felt compelled to bow to their decision, because I feel they are people directly concerned in the question. At the same time, I do not hesitate to say that I think, in the long run, Scotland will find that it will be the wisest and best course to concentrate all local effort in one local body elected for the supervision of all local matters, and that by doing so they will make that body what I imagine is at the back of the mind of a good many people here and outside—a much more effectively democratic body than at the present time. That, I believe, will come in the long run, and I believe it will be most economical and expedient, but that may be for the future.

With reference to the present Bill, the ad hoc principle has been adopted, but I am delighted to see that the Secretary for Scotland has acted through the county area, for I am bound to confess I do not think any other area would be of use. What is the provision with regard to secondary schools? If you had your specially delimited area grouped round your secondary schools it would not work in Scotland at the present day. There are just over 140 such schools recognised by the Education Department. About ninety of these are situated in the Midland Valley (which is approximately only one-fifth of the area of Scotland). Of the remaining fifty schools, one half occupy the North-East promontory from Nairn to Aberdeen already referred to, and the remaining twenty-five or twenty-six serve the rest of Scotland, amounting to fully two-thirds of the country…. It becomes evident from the foregoing facts that the proposal to divide Scotland up into so-called educational areas, with a secondary school as a centre, is by no means an easy one. In fact, this area would not work at all. Having said so much in regard to the area, let me turn to what has fallen from my hon. Friend (Mr. Hogge). He made an attack upon the Scottish Education Department, and said that it would be much better if the decisions or suggestions of that Department could pass through other Departments to the Scottish Office. My hon. Friend is one of those who advocate what is called Home Rule for Scotland. The first result of that would be that there would be in Scotland an Education Department, and, very probably, an Education Minister, who would be directly responsible to the Scottish Parliament. How does that differ from the present arrangements? What happens now is that the departmental head of the Scottish Education Department reports directly to the Scottish Secretary, who is the Minister for Education. If the suggestion of my hon. Friend were carried out we should see that departmental official reporting to other departmental officials before his decision or suggestions could get to the Secretary for Scotland. This would be reactionary and detrimental to education. The fact is that the Secretary for Scotland is the Minister for Education and has direct access to the head of the Department in England, which has to be here so long as Scottish affairs are managed in London.


The Secretary is only Vice-President.

Colonel GREIG

That is only a question of name. Everybody knows that education in Scotland is managed by a Department, precisely as is the Local Government Board or the Board of Agriculture. The head of that Department reports directly to the Executive. The Scottish Education Department is, in fact, different to the others, because all the others report through the Permanent Secretary. One other word in reference to what has fallen from the hon. Member for North-West Lanark. He has put down this dilatory Motion on the suggestion that this question is not being discussed in Scotland. He must have paid very little attention to what is going on there during the present time. I suppose his energies have been so absorbed in attacking the present Government and obstructing the conduct of the War that he has had no time to attend to what the people in Scotland have been doing. They have found time to attend to both the War and this question. If there is one question that has occupied the people of Scotland besides the War, it is this question of education. No one who has read or seen the correspondence that has been going on in the Scottish newspapers and has seen the deputations that have come to London, interviewing both Scottish Members and the Department, without knowing that this question of education is one upon which Scotland is very keen and desires it to be settled as soon as possible. As to the suggestion that the Bill should not have been introduced during the War, a more absurd suggestion has never been made! It is suggested that because the men at the front are not here that we should not go on with this Bill. Who are we interested in? Is it not the children of these men at the front? The men will have very great cause for complaint if we do not make the best use we can of our time in securing the future of these children who may be left orphans by the War. As to the interest of the people in the question, I hold in my hand a document. It says: The Women's Educational Union approves of the introduction of the Education (Scotland) Bill as a well-timed effort to extend and strengthen the educational system of Scotland. I join in the congratulations of Scottish Members to the Secretary for Scotland for what he has done in bringing in this Bill, and I hope he will do his utmost to pass it into law.


I will only intervene for a moment or two, and will state my points with great brevity. I hope I shall be allowed to do what is to me a unique pleasure, that is to be able to congratulate a member of His Majesty's Government upon the legislation they have introduced. That is a unique experience for me, and I desire sincerely to congratulate the Secretary for Scotland upon the character of the Bill and upon the spirit of the speech in which he so ably and clearly expounded its provisions. I was especially glad that he devoted attention to the more purely educational proposals of the Bill. So many of the discussions we have had on educational matters in the past have really not been concerned with education but with all sorts of dogmatic questions which have little relation to education. I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman has kept the ad hoc authority. I think it would have been a mistake to change that authority merely because the authorities had been changed in England. In the great educational advance which I hope is before the nation I think it will be a distinct gain to the United Kingdom to have the two systems working side by side. It will be a great gain to be able to judge, and have the advantage of those systems. With regard to the proposals of the Bill the right hon. Gentleman will admit that in raising the school age it would be a great mistake to regard the elementary school as a system complete in itself. I hope if the Lord Advocate has time that he will refer to this matter, to the point that we desire to see a great extension of the secondary schools in Scotland. Happily in Scotland the idea does not exist which exists in this country. The feeling is not nearly so strong in Scotland as in England that the elementary school is complete in itself. In Scotland, much more than in England, the elementary school is regarded as the first stage in the education of the children, leading naturally to the secondary school. This is a very important point, because now that the age for full time attendance is being raised to fifteen it would be a great mistake if during the last year or two at the elementary school the pupil was merely marking time. It would be far better that he should pass on to some more advanced place of education, and I hope that we are going to work towards a system under which every child, no matter what his social condition or his poverty may be, will have the opportunity of going to a secondary school. There is another proposal in the Bill that so far has not been referred to, but which is a very important one, and shows an advance upon the English Bill. The right hon. Gentleman has recognised that libraries are an educational institution and should properly be, if not under the direct management of the educational authority at any rate regarded as a serious part of our educational system to be worked in close co-operation with our schools, and in that Clause I think he will be able to point the way to England to show a great development in the use of what has been in many cases a much neglected possibility in education, namely, the use of the public library. May I ask the Lord Advocate one other question? In the Bill, whilst the leaving age is raised to fifteen, the age at which exemption may be given is fixed at thirteen. In the English Bill, the age at which exemption may be given is fourteen. I should like to ask why that discrimination should now be made. If children in England are to be kept at school up to fourteen as the minimum why should fourteen not be the minimum in Scotland? When the Bill in so many respects shows a great advance upon what it has been possible to achieve by or to put into the English Bill I think it is a great pity, in a matter of fundamental importance like this, that we should fall behind the educational provisions of the English Bill. I desire once more to offer my sincere congratulations to the right hon. Gentleman upon the introduction of a Bill which does deal with many of the vital problems of education.


I did not think it possible for a Bill, introduced with regard to a matter which excites a great deal of interest and as to which there is a great deal of enthusiasm among the Scottish people, to meet with so favourable a general reception as has attended the Second Reading of this Bill. Certainly, the credit for that state of things is due very largely indeed to the wisdom with which my right hon. Friend has met objectors half-way. It seems to me that the most valuable feature about to-day's work in the House is that a compromise fairly considered and fairly offered has been fairly accepted, and consequently the foundations of a successful Committee stage have been well and truly laid. The concession has been offered of an authority wholly ad hoc, but that is coupled with the retention of the county area, and, as has been said by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Eugene Wason) and by the right hon. Member for the Blackfriars Division (Mr. Barnes), although there are some who would rather have some other form of area than the county area, they acknowledge that they have been fairly met, and that there is a broad basis of agreement upon which we can proceed to build the superstructure. May I refer to one or two criticisms that have been made with regard to the matter of area, criticisms not intended to upset the county area as the basis, but intended to suggest certain possible limitations upon it. These criticisms have mainly, if not exclusively, been founded upon the case of the burghs. It is true that there are a number of burghs in Scotland other than the five big burghs whose names appear in the Schedule who have done a very great deal, some more and some less, in the way of providing themselves with a complete equipment in the department of secondary education.

That is true. On the other hand, we must most frankly and clearly look this fact in the face, that if we are going to tackle the establishment of a general system of improved secondary education throughout Scotland, the great majority of the burghs which have done a good deal in this direction themselves cannot alone provide the additional accommodation which is required, and it will have to combine with the county in providing the additional equipment. There must be a combination of other forces—that is an absolute and practical necessity if we are going to succeed. Of course, that does not necessarily mean that the list of five is absolutely exhaustive of those which it might be expedient to treat separately, though, as far as I can see at the present time, it is practically exhaustive. I confess I see some danger if one begins to go beyond the list which usage has sanctioned in a great many matters of local government. The moment we go beyond that list and accede to the claims of A, we shall be very hard pressed to give way also to B and C. I think it may turn out that perhaps the best way is to tackle the problem by asking the county burghs in education to do what they have to do in a great many other Departments—to join forces and to combine for these purposes of local government and education. The county area—although there may be some modification of it—is, I take it, the best; it is the accepted basis of compromise which my right hon. Friend has offered, and which I think the House has agreed to.

There has been criticism about the school management committees. The right hon. Member for Dumfries seemed to think it is altogether anti-Scottish. I do not quite understand his view about it. He said our habit had been to build from below upwards; if he meant to build our authorities on an elective basis, I agree, The local education authority is built on an elective basis. But I do not think that is what he meant. However, he is not here. He said in the case of county government, we began with the parish and built up the county. We did nothing of the sort. We began with the county council, and from that we organised the parish councils. When you come to this particular question about the school management committee, I ask the House to remember that this committee is an administrative body in the strictest and narrowest sense. It has nothing to do with the general educational policy of the district in which its school happens to be situated. We must make the policy a matter of larger direction, and therefore properly the function of a larger body. There are a great many things, such as school buildings, land, and school attendance, on which local knowledge is indispensable, and that is administrative work for which you must have somebody on the spot, but this body it is proposed to make a delegation from the education authority. You cannot have two elected bodies; they would immediately begin to fight with each other.

There was a suggestion thrown out which, although I do not in the least pretend to bind my right hon. Friend about it, struck me as being not undeserving of an open mind. I think it was the hon. Member for Kilmamock (Mr. Shaw)—I am not quite sure—who threw out the suggestion that it might be a not inexpedient thing to provide that, with regard at any rate, to some, let us say some proportion of the members of a school management committee, they should be appointed from some elective body. He referred to the parish council and the burgh council. I am not saying that that is a proposal for immediate or hasty adoption, but it is a proposal which might well be deserving of consideration. At least, it would give to the school management committee something of an elective flavour and would prevent anybody saying that they were persons merely co-opted without having already got the hall-mark of a democratic constitution. A single word about one other feature of the Bill; I am sorry that time does not admit that I should do more than refer to it shortly. Suggestions were made that we should not press this Bill, because it raises controversies. Precisely, my right hon. Friend's concession has made this Bill uncontroversial, and that objection does not exist. Again, it was said that the Bill was one which a Parliament like this has no authority to pass. I could understand that if this Bill were one which sought to tie up the education authorities in the immediate future. But if there is any feature which this Bill possesses it is that of giving freedom to the education authorities. The hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) made an appeal that we should put some form of shackle upon the education authorities. Well, I am not so careful about that. I think it is a very important thing that our new local education authorities should be cut free, as to a very large extent they will be cut free, of the absolute and close control of the Scottish Education Department. You do allow, for the first time, a broad, open door to local education policy through this Bill. I hope that the House will, therefore, agree to it, and I would appeal to those who moved and seconded the Amendment to allow us to have a unanimous Second Reading for this Bill.


I do not intend to talk out the Bill, but as I take a great interest in education matters, and look upon Scotland as the leader in education, I wish to give it my blessing. If I could aspire to any high position, it would be to be on the Committee upstairs, which is to consider the Bill. In the pious hope that I may be privileged to take a part in that Committee, and on a further occasion, I will defer further remarks.


I desire to point out to the Government that there is not a quorum in the House, nor yet sufficient Members to give the Closure. I know that is because there is a War on. The Government are absolutely at the mercy of any men who wished to come in and destroy the whole proceedings. I should certainly not do that on a Scottish Bill, but will content myself with saying that the Bill contradicts on many vital points the English Bill, therefore the Government has two faces.

Amendment negatived.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a second time, and committed to a Standing Committee.

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."