§ In order that full benefit may be derived from the system of public elementary schools, it shall be the duty of a local education authority for the purposes of Part III. of the Education Act, 1902,—
- (a) to make adequate and suitable provision by means of central schools, central or special classes or otherwise—
- (i.) for including in the curriculum of public elementary schools, at appropriate stages, practical instruction suitable to the ages, capacities, and circumstances of the children; and
- (ii.) for organising in public elementary schools courses of advanced instruction for the older children in attendance at such schools, including children who stay at such schools beyond the age of fourteen; and
- (b) to make adequate and suitable arrangements for co-operating with local education authorities for the purposes of Part
2042 II. of the Education Act, 1902, in matters of common interest, and particularly in respect of—
- (i.) the preparation of children for further education in schools other than elementary, and their transference at suitable ages to such schools; and
- (ii.) the supply and training of teachers;
I beg to move to leave out the words "in order that full benefit may be derived from the system of public elementary schools."
This is one of two Amendments standing in my name which are merely matters of machinery and are introduced to make Clause 2 harmonise with Clause 1. The effect of the Bill as it stands is that the county councils and the county borough councils, which are the authorities for the purposes of both elementary and higher education, when required by the Board of Education, are to submit schemes for the progressive development and comprehensive organisation of education in respect of their area so far as their powers extend. This obligation extends both to higher education and to elementary education, and the scheme must necessarily be for the organisation of elementary education, so far as the powers of those authorities extend to that branch of education in their area. County councils are not authorities for elementary education in boroughs with a population of over 10,000 or in urban districts with a population of over 20,000. In those areas the preparation of the scheme for elementary education is a matter not for the county councils, but for the council of the borough or the urban district council concerned as the local education authority for the purpose of Part III. of the Act of 1902. The natural result would be that Clause 2 should impose upon these authorities for the purpose of Part III.—that is to say, the authorities which are not the authorities for higher education, but only for elementary education.—the duty of preparing and submitting a scheme for the organisation and the promotion of elementary education in this area. Clause 2 of the Bill as it is drafted docs not go so far as that. It does not impose an obligation to submit a scheme in respect of the organisation and the promotion of elementary education in the area. It only imposes an obligation in respect of certain 2043 particular purposes of elementary education, and those purposes comprise the whole school duties of a Part III. authority. The Amendment I propose is intended to remove this anomaly and to make it the duty of a Part III. authority to prepare schemes co-extensive with the duty of providing for elementary education. If the Committee would like an example of something which would be included under the Amendment and would not be included under the original Clause, I would refer to the building programme of a Part III. authority. It is, I think, very desirable that Part III. authorities should be encouraged to take up progressive building schemes in connection with elementary education in their areas. Under the Amendment they will be able to do so, whereas under the Clause as' originally drafted they would be precluded from doing so.
§ Mr. KING
I think the President is to be congratulated on this Amendment. It is very desirable that he should be supported. I hope he will not think this Bill is perfect, because he has already proved to himself that his first draft was not perfect. If we welcome his Amendment I hope he will welcome some of ours.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment made: After "1902" ["Education Act, 1902"], insert the words" to make adequate and suitable provision in order that full benefit may be derived from the system of public elementary schools, and for that purpose amongst other matters."— [Mr. Fisher.]
§ Sir H. CRAIK
I beg to move the Amendment standing in the name of my hon. Friend (Sir M. Barlow)—after the words last inserted to add the words "unless adequate and suitable provision is otherwise made."
I move the Amendment in order to get information from the right hon. Gentleman. It may be that there is already adequate and suitable provision. There may be some endowed school or there may be a school provided by a religious community, or otherwise. I want to understand that in this injunction made upon the local education authority there is no obligation to disregard such existing provision. I think it is not only a matter of justice, but it is a great advantage to education that regard should be had to such provision. I hope there is nothing 2044 in the Clause submitted to the Committee which would check or lessen that wholesome variety of competition which give character to our schools.
§ Mr. WING
I would like to support this Amendment because it really does bear on what the right hon. Gentleman has already referred to with respect to training for seamanship. He will find that in a very large number of ports in this country very great preparation has been made to meet that particular aspect of our education. This Amendment would apply to other forms of education, and I think the right hon. Gentleman would be very wise to accept it. It in no wise interferes with the object of the Bill. It simply provides that none of the existing machinery should be scrapped if it is equal to its purpose.
§ Mr. KING
I must protest against this Amendment. I hope it will not be accepted. It would be perfectly futile to pass a Bill if you are going to accept Amendments of this character. This Amendment says that if there are existing suitable provision, apparently the Section is not to apply. Who is to say what is suitable? I presume the Board of Education. If the Board of Education is to decide every matter of this kind, and it is to decide it entirely its own way, what is the good of putting this in the Bill? It is simply giving an opportunity for rejection, correspondence, delay, red-tape, and the pillar-to-post business. I hope we shall have sensible Amendments strengthening the Bill, and not futile Amendments which weaken it. I look upon this Amendment as a futile, weakening, and useless Amendment, and I hope it will be resisted.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I support this Amendment for the reason that I think it is a sensible Amendment and not a futile Amendment. It says that certain things should be done unless suitable accommodation is already provided. Where there is suitable accommodation, the Amendment provides that it should not be scrapped merely for the sake of some particular local authority if they have a fad. It proposes that if there is suitable accommodation, that accommodation shall be used. I cannot conceive any more sensible proposal.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I would ask the Government to support this Amendment. The difficulties which the hon. Member 2045 (Mr. King) raised do not exist, because the same words used in this Amendment are used two lines afterwards in the Clause. I should imagine that this Amendment is a most useful one, and ought to be put in. It would do away with one difficulty. There is a fear that this Bill means bringing too much uniformity into education and making too much of a cast-iron scheme. The Amendment would be useful, because it would show that the Government have no desire to injure private enterprise. One hon. Member (Mr. Wing) has mentioned specific instances where in some towns particular schools have already started for the purpose of giving suitable education for those who are going to sea. It is not the intention of the Government to injure these in any way. We all know that quite well, and it is not the intention of the Government to injure schools which have been started by private enterprise. Therefore the inclusion of this Amendment in the Bill will be of great advantage and would let people know the intentions of the Government.
Sir M. BARLOW
In supporting this Amendment I may point out that this is not a secondary school Clause, but that it deals with Part III., elementary education. The great thing which we have in mind is the provision of what is called the central school—the higher elementary school. I do not want to go into any controversial topics, because all through the discussion it has been agreed that on the whole religious subject the concordat, or whatever you choose to call it, as it stands at present, shall be undisturbed. The President has met us very reasonably and adequately in that spirit. There has been a great deal of fear expressed on behalf not only of the Church of England, but also of the Roman Catholic authorities, who have, as we all know, a large interest in the elementary education of this country with regard to the schools, and whether they are going to be prejudiced in any way by the new Bill and particularly by one or two of the earlier Clauses. Clause 2 lays on the local authority the express statutory obligation of providing these various forms of better education, and, among others, the statutory obligation of providing these central schools. It has been said all along that there is no hardship to the Church or the Roman Catholic bodies because they provide their own. If that is so, it must be made clear in the Clause that 2046 there is a provision to do so. You must not on the one hand promise to those who do provide now the non-provided schools the right to provide central schools, and on the other hand say that it is the statutory obligation of the local authorities and of nobody else. It is implied by Clause 29 of the Bill that Church schools, or non-provided schools generally may, be combined for the purpose of a central school. All I want to make clear is that when a statutory obligation is laid on a local authority to provide central schools, it shall not be exclusive of the provision of adequate central schools by the Church or the Roman Catholic bodies or any other body who wish to do so, provided, of course, that these schools are adequate to the satisfaction of the Board of Education. I hope in the spirit of the understanding, for which we are to thank the President, that these words may be accepted, so as to-make quite clear what really is his intention, namely, that central schools can be provided by other authorities than the local authority, provided always, of course, that they are efficient in every way.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
I hope very much that the right hon. Gentleman will not accept this Amendment. I never heard an Amendment having such far-reaching consequences moved in this House in such gentle and persuasive terms, but terms which have no reference whatever to the real gravity of the Amendment. My hon. Friend who is responsible for this Amendment unfortunately lives this evening in a glass house. In an earlier speech he suggested that an Amendment moved dealing strictly with the educational point must be a wrecking Amendment if pressed. I did not agree with him then, and I am not going to suggest to him that he is moving this Amendment in a sense hostile to the Bill, and with a desire to wreck the Bill. But I hope that I can show the Committee that if this Amendment is incorporated in the Bill it will certainly destroy some of the most valuable proposals in the Bill. The context of the Clause must be remembered. This is a proposal to limit the powers of local education authorities in making provision for the development of the curricula of the elementary schools, because if this Amendment is put into the Bill it would mean that, if a private school or institution exists which is already doing the same work, the local education authority would be debarred by the mere existence of this private institution from 2047 themselves setting up a rival school. This revises, I think, in its worst form the whole question of vested interests in education. Educational advance has suffered for several decades from the vested interests in education, and this Amendment, which was moved in such strikingly gentle and non-controversial terms, seeks once more to establish in a very objectionable form vested interests in education. The schools that are contemplated in the Clause which we are discussing are to be publicly managed and free schools. Whatever schools are founded, the parents whose children go to them will have control over the management of the school, and they will be also free schools. If the local authorities are to be prevented from establishing publicly controlled schools and free schools, if there is a private school already in existence which can claim to be doing the same work, the adoption of such an Amendment would give us a new vested interest in education and nullify the very object of the Clause which is to enable the local education authority to have a perfectly free hand in providing a public and national system of education.
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to accept this Amendment. The hon. Member who has just spoken misreads the effect of it, owing to the preconceived notions which he has in his mind of vested interests, which he conceives wrongly it is designed, to serve. I fail to follow what the objection to this Amendment is. To the ordinary plain man, if there is adequate and suitable provision, it would seem that it is not necessary to create other provisions. What I understand by "suitable provision" would be provision of satisfactory education that covers the ground. I quite understand the reluctance of hon. Members to establish a kind of imperium in imperio of unsatisfactory education, but if, by giving the right powers to the education authorities, you can satisfy yourselves that what you are taking over is educationally satisfactory, and covers the ground, it would seem to me to be mere common sense to allow the Amendment to be incorporated.
I think that it is quite clear that some misapprehension exists as to the scope and intention of Clause 2. The argument so far as it has gone has been based largely upon the facilities to 2048 be secured by the provision of schools. The Clause is a Clause dealing with curricula in public elementary schools, whether those elementary schools are provided or non-provided, and the Clause enacts that the local education authority shall make adequate provision for certain forms of curricula in public elementary schools. My hon. Friend the Member for Salford pointed out that it would be very undesirable for local education authorities, when they are making public provision of this kind, not to take into account existing accommodation. That is the principle which all along has been acknowledged, both in the sphere of elementary education and secondary education. In the sphere of secondary education we had it in Section 2 of Clause 2 of the Act of 1902, which provided thata council, in exercising their powers under this part of this Act, shall have regard to any existing supply of efficient schools or colleges, and to any steps already taken for the purpose of higher education under the Technical Instruction Acts, 1889 and 1891.Therefore the Amendment of my hon. Friend is quite in the spirit of our education legislation as it stands at present. On the other hand, I think my hon. Friend's object is already secured by Clause 29 of this Bill, in which it is specifically laid down thatexcept as expressly provided by this Act nothing in this Act shall affect the provisions of the Education Acts relating to public elementary schools not provided by the local education authority.That Clause meets the point put by my hon. Friend, and for that reason, and that reason only, I should prefer the Amendment to be withdrawn.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
While not disagreeing with the substance of my right hon. Friend's contention, I think that it is better for two reasons to put in the words. As, I understand, the Clause deals with more than merely the curricula. It starts by saying that it is to make adequate and suitable provision by means of central schools, which means in itself the building of additional schools. The Amendment says that you ought not to build a new central school when you have got next door a school which is doing the work adequately. Again. Clause 2 (b) does refer to other matters than purely elementary teaching. It refers to secondary schools as well. Therefore to say that this point is met by Section 29 of the Bill is wrong.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I do not think that Section 29 of this Bill covers it. That is a very vague Clause, but if the right hon. Gentleman is right in saying that Clause 29 does give the relief we want, there cannot be the slightest harm in putting the words in here. People outside do not know what the point of law is, and I am by no means clear that the advisers of my right hon. Friend are right.—I do not say they are wrong.—that this Amendment is covered by the Clause. If they are right, however, then there is not the slightest harm in putting these words in. You would allay a lot of suspicion that exists in non-legal minds by putting definitely in the forefront of this Bill that there is no intention in any way to put up unnecessary schools in opposition to adequate existing schools.
§ Mr. P. A. HARRIS
I hope the President of the Board of Education will remain firm. I thought the words of the Amendment were quite innocent until I heard the speech of the hon. Member who moved it. I should have been inclined to oppose it, but when the hon. Gentleman explained its purpose I saw, as my hon. Friend said, the cloven hoof behind it. As a. matter of fact, the great difficulty we shall find will not be that education authorities will build too many but rather that they will build too few schools, and we should not provide education authorities with substantial excuses not to do their duty. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will resist this Amendment, which, I think, would weaken his Bill.
Sir M. BARLOW
The President of the Board of Education suggests that, so far as elementary education is concerned, we are protected by Clause 29, but so far as secondary education is concerned it is not mentioned in that Clause. I am not particular about the words I have suggested, but it is a point which, I think, should be covered by some form of words.
§ Sir P. MAGNUS
I wish to say one word in support of the Amendment, and it seems to me that these words ought to be accepted. The hon. Member opposite (Mr. Whitehouse) suggested that the local education authority might, if these words were inserted, be debarred from setting up a rival school.
§ Sir P. MAGNUS
I think it very desirable that these words should be inserted if they prevent the local authority from setting up a rival school to one already existing. I am not a lawyer, and I cannot pretend to legally interpret the clause of an Act of Parliament, but certainly, if the Act is as interpreted by the hon. Member, it is necessary to make express provision in regard to rival schools. I think that words should be inserted if only to make the Bill quite clear to persons of non-legal mind.
In spite of what has fallen from my hon. Friend behind me, I still think that his object is met (Clause 29) and by the provision in the Act of 1902. In the first place, there is the guarantee under Clause 29 as regards elementary education. Then Clause 8 of the Act of 1902 says:Where the local education authority, or any other persons propose to provide a new public elementary school they shall give public notice of their intention to do so, and the managers of any existing school or the local education authority (where they are not themselves the persons proposing to provide the school), or any ten ratepayers in the area for which it is proposed to provide the school, may, within three months after the notice is given, appeal to the Board of Education on the ground that the proposed school is not required, or that a school provided by the local education authority, or not so provided, as the case may be, is butter suited to meet the wants of the district than the school proposed to be provided, and any school built in contravention of the decision of the Board of Education on such appeal shall be treated as unnecessary.I submit to my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Rawlinson) that this is a complete guarantee, and I suggest that the words of my hon. Friend's Amendment add nothing to that very substantial guarantee.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I hope we may be allowed to proceed after the explanation which my right hon. Friend has given. I understand it completely; he has satisfied me, and I should be very glad if hon. Members can see their way to go on.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
When the hon. Member for North Somerset (Mr. King) and the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. McKenna) are so very satisfied, surely does it not, with all respect to the Com- 2051 mittee, look rather dangerous. I submit again that, even if the Amendment be covered, it is always better to put it in black and white in the Bill.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 51; Noes, 158.2051
|Division No. 36.]||AYES.||[6.55 p.m.|
|Archdale, Lieut. E. M.||Foster, Philip Staveley||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Fredk. G.||Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.)||Gretton, John||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord C. J.||Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray|
|Bellairs, Commander C. W.||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Lawrence||Rawlinson, John Fredrick Peel|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Hibbert, Sir Henry F.||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Bigland, Alfred||Hohler, G. F.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Jackson, Lieut.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York)||Sykes, Col. Sir Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Butcher, John George||Larmor, Sir J,||Terrell, George (Wilts)|
|Carson, Rt. Han. Sir Edward H.||Mackinder, Halford J.||Tickler, T. G.|
|Cator, John||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Weston, J. W.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wheler, Major Granville C. H.|
|Cheyne, Sir W. W.||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome||Williams, Col. Sir Robert (Dorset, W.)|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Meux, Adml. Hon. Sir Hedworth||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Cowan, Sir W. H.||Mount, William Arthur||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Nield, Sir Herbert|
|Dixon, C. H.||Orde-Powlett, Hon. w. G. A.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir M. Barlow and Sir James Boyton.|
|Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Parker, Rt. Hon. Sir G. (Gravesend)|
|Adamson, William||Hancock, John George||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Harris, Sir Henry P. (Paddington, S.)||Randles, Sir John S.|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland||Harris, Percy A. (Leicester, S.)||Rea, William Russell|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Haslam, Lewis||Rees, G. C. (Carnarvonshire, Arfon)|
|Anderson, W. C.||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Baker, Rt. Hon. H. T. (Accrington)||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Higham, John Sharp||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Hinds, John||Robertson, Rt. Hon. J. M.|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E. H.||Robinson, Sidney|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. George N.||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick Burghs)||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Rowlands, James|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Hudson, Walter||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Bird, Alfred||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Sanders, Col. Robert Arthur|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Jacobsen, Thomas Owen||Scott. Leslie (Liverpool Exchange)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)||Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir F. E. (Liverpool)|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Jones, Sir Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Somervell, William Henry|
|Brassey, H. L. C.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Stoker, R. B.|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Jones, W. Kennedy (Hornsey)||Sutton, John E.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Jowett, Frederick William||Swift, Rigby|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||King, Joseph||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Carew, C.||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Thomas, Sir A. G. (Men., S.)|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Lewis, Rt. Hon. Join Herbert||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Clynes, John R.||Lindsay, William Arthur||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Collins, Sir W. (Derby)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Tootill, Robert|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. J. M. (Falk. B'ghs)||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, E.)||McKenna. Rt. Hon. Reginald||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||McMicking, Major Gilbert||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Maden, Sir John Henry||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Maitland. Sir A. D. Steel-||Watson. John Bertrand (Stockton)|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Watt, Henry A.|
|Dougherty, Rt. Hon. Sir J. B.||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Wedgwood, Lt.-Commander Josiah|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Middlebrook, Sir William||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Duncan, Sir J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Morgan, George Hay||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Finney, Samuel||Morrell, Philip||Whiteley, Sir H. J.|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L. (Hallam)||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Wiles, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Norman, Rt. Hon. Major Sir H.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Nuttall, Harry||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N)|
|Gibbs, Col. George Abraham||Palmer,. Godfrey Mark||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Gilbert, J. D.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Gilmour, Lieut.-Col. John||Parkes, Sir Edward E.||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Glanville, Harold James||Parrott, Sir James Edward||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Goldstone, Frank||Pearce, Sir William (Limehouse)||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough)||Peel, Major Hon. G. (Spalding)||Yoxall, Sir James H.|
|Greig, Col. J. W.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Griffith, Rt. Hon. Sir Ellis J.||Pratt, J. W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.— Captain Guest and Lord E. Talbot.|
|Gulland, Rt. Hon. John William||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I beg to move, to leave out the words(i) For including in the curriculum of public elementary schools, at appropriate stages, practical instruction suitable to the ages, capacities, and circumstances of the children; and.The portion of the Clause which I wish to leave out is that which makes it the duty of the local education authorities to include in the curriculum of public elementary schools, at appropriate stages, practical instruction suitable to the ages, capacities, and circumstances of the pupil. It may seem, at first sight, iniquitous for a person who calls himself an educational reformer to oppose any form of practical instruction, and far be it from me that I should have any desire to limit practical instruction in our schools. The practical instruction that is given in gardening in our elementary schools, at the present time, is perhaps the best education the children get in those elementary schools. It gives them a real interest in their work. But a very hard and fast line must be drawn between practical instruction, such as is given in our elementary schools at the present time, and the form of practical instruction which is devised under this Bill. The practical instruction proposed in this Clause is compulsory instruction for older children, for young persons between the ages of fourteen and eighteen.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
No, the Amendment is quite clear. It is the duty of the local education authority to make adequate provision, by means of central schools, central or special classes, or otherwise, for including in the curriculum of practical instruction suitable to the ages and capacities of the children. Does that apply only to children under fourteen?
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
In that case, that is no addition to the powers already possessed by the Board of Education. Is that so?
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Then I have nothing further to say on this question. Under paragraph (a, i) no additional 2054 power is given to the Board of Education to compel children to practical handicraft. If that is so, the Clause may pass.
I should like to make it quite clear to the hon. and gallant Gentleman, because perhaps he misunderstood me. Every local education authority has power to provide forms of practical instruction in handicraft in elementary schools. A large number of local education authorities have not taken action; they have not exercised these powers; and, consequently, there has been a great divergence of practice between one part of the country and another. In some parts of the country gardens have been provided, and in other parts of the country practically nothing has been done. The object of this Clause is to enable the Board of Education to require practical instruction to be provided in these elementary schools.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Perhaps I had better move my Amendment, to permit of this discussion. I beg to move it formally. As I understand it, additional powers are given to the Board of Education to compel local authorities to do what the best local authorities are doing at the present time?
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
To that I have no objection whatever. What I want to know is, will this mean an extension of that form of vocational education in the elementary schools which leads to the training of ladies' maids, and people of that sort? I think, in London, they train people for ladies' maids and butlers. I do not want to have any of that sort of training. I should like to have some expression from the Board of Education that any form of vocational training in a parasitic employment will be frowned upon.
§ Sir P. MAGNUS
This Clause does not apply to vocational education at all, but only to what if called ordinary practical education. It will apply not only to children under the age of fourteen, but to an advanced age up to sixteen, provided they remain at the elementary school until that age. I think that is so
§ Mr. R. MACDONALD
I am not quite clear about the scope of these words "capacities and circumstances of the children." I am not quite sure I am right, but I think—the right hon. Gentleman will correct me if I am wrong—that the two words "capacities" and "circumstances," in relation to practical instruction, are new. The practical instruction in gardening is a most admirable thing; it is on the right lines, and it might very well be extended. There is, for instance, a most interesting series of schools which I once saw in Paris, based upon the idea of practical instruction, where the art and science of certain trades are taught along with the practical technique of the trade. It was a very interesting experiment, and was a combination of what one could quite properly call liberal education with technical education and practical education. But these things are very largely psychological, and if the right spirit is not in them one can see at once that the whole genius of the experiment will fall to pieces, and an experiment, which would be most admirable if properly conducted, becomes most improper, and is fraught with very serious consequences, when otherwise conducted. I do not know if it is prejudice, and I hope it is not something more substantial than that, but I do not like, in an Education Bill, powers given to any authority to take a child of under fourteen—my objection is founded on that—and say, "We will give you technical instruction in accordance with your capacity or in accordance with your circumstances." "Circumstances" must mean social circumstances.
§ Mr. MACDONALD
But there is a great deal more than that. If that is all, I do not object in the least to that. I think the Committee will see that "circumstances" means much more than that. We have had experience of educational committees, and I am afraid that under this Bill we are going to have still more experience of educational committees. While it is perfectly true that the Education Department has the last word, we have also had experience of the Education Department, and we may have it again. In any event, it is the duty of this Committee to see that Clauses and Sections are not put into the Bill which 2056 are very easily capable of being misapplied. My right hon. Friend knows perfectly well that memoranda have been circulated about this Bill, advocating what is barely and boldly vocational education, which is wrong and has nothing to be said for it, even from the point of view of the good employer. This Clause with this Sub-section has been seized upon as a justification. I am rather sorry that my hon. and gallant Friend says he is only technically moving his Amendment, as I should like to see the intention to base on this a policy of liberal education, which has been lost sight of in the last few years. Anything done in this way must be based on a liberal education, and the Sub-section should be drafted in such a way as to make it clear and mandatory, so that the Board of Education and the local education committees shall have to carry out the much clearer instructions that are given them.
§ Sir P. MAGNUS
I think the word "circumstances" might be regarded as being susceptible of meanings which we are not inclined to assent to. I am not certain that the word "capacities" is altogether the right word. At the same time, we want this practical instruction, which is not vocational instruction but science, art or handicraft, to be adapted in some way or other to the wants of the children. I venture to suggest that instead of the word 'capacities" we should substitute the word "abilities," and instead of the word "circumstances" we should substitute the word "requirements." The Sub-section would then read "practical instruction suitable to the ages, abilities, and requirements of the children." I do not think there will be any objection to that.
§ Mr. HARRIS
I am quite certain the action of this Clause is what the House generally desires. Anyone who knows of these schools knows that the syllabus aims at being varied, and at meeting the capacities of the children educated there. I agree that the word "circumstances" has an objectionable sound which might be liable to wrong interpretation. The President of the Board of Education, with his great knowledge of the English language, will surely be able to suggest a more suitable word which will remove any false impression amongst the children and the bulk of the people, that the children are going to be educated according to their social status.
I am also disposed to think that there is considerable force in what the hon. Member for Leicester said. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it would be possible to leave out the words "ages, capacities, and circumstances," and simply say "instruction as suitable to the children attending the schools"?
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
In supporting that suggestion may I point out that it could well be adopted, because the phrase "practical instruction," which the hon. Member for the London University states does not mean vocational instruction, is defined in Clause 42 of the Bill. In Clause 42 is set forth what is meant by "practical instruction." That Clause does not bear out what the hon. Member for London University states, because, if the Commit tee will turn to it, they will see that "practical instruction," amongst other things mentioned, includes instruction in laundry work and in dairy work, and in other work that is certainly vocational instruction. The fact that this Clause sets forth those subjects—some of them vocational subjects—makes it the more desirable that we should not include in Clause 2 "circumstances of the children."
I am very willing to meet the sense of the Committee on this point, and will suggest the insertion of words, so that it will read "instruction suitable to the ages and requirements of the children.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. KING
I beg to move, in paragraph (a, i.), after the word "practical," to insert the words" scientific, artistic, or technical."
I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman will accept these words. I think they enlarge the definition Clause 42 slightly, and, in view of the proposal which I understand my right hon. Friend is willing to consider favourably in regard to the period of elementary education, I think they are well worth consideration.
I hope the hon. Member will excuse me if I do not accept his sug- 2058 gestion. I have, as I think many Members of the Committee have, a very great objection to introducing technical training into our elementary schools. I draw a distinction between technical training on the one hand and practical instruction on the other. Artistic education is already given under the ordinary curriculum in every elementary school, and therefore I do not think there is any necessity for the introduction of these words.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I beg to move, in paragraph (a, i), after the word "ages," to insert the word "and." Then I should like the paragraph to read "instruction suitable to the ages and capacities of the children."
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I do not like the word "requirements." Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman can give something better. I do not want the suspicion to remain in the minds of the local authorities that they are to consider, "Here is the son of a gardener; he had better be brought up as a gardener." Or, "Here is the son of a coachman; he had better be brought up in the stables." I admit, in a country school, you want more gardening and less carpentry, perhaps; and in a town school more engineering and less gardening. So far as those requirements are concerned, I am with the right hon. Gentleman, but I want to avoid some body of supermen deciding what sort of career each boy in an elementary school is to take up and to label him accordingly.
§ Mr. R. MACDONALD
I wonder if my right hon. Friend would adopt the suggestion made by the hon. and gallant Member for Ripon, and delete these words altogether, so that the paragraph would read, "Instruction suitable to the children"? The curriculum could then be adapted to the things that are suitable. It does not help to put in the other words, and it would be much less offensive and much less liable to be misread by wrong-minded local education authorities if the right hon. Gentleman confined himself to the expression which is perfectly definite and perfectly workable that the instruction shall be suitable to the children.
Mr. FISHER (indistinctly heard)
The adaptation of the form of training to the age, the ability, and the requirements of the child is not always considered, and we have in a very special way to draw the attention of the local education authorities to these factors in the education.
§ Mr. HARRIS
I hope all the definitions will not be left out. I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. R. Macdonald) as to the advisability of leaving out anything that is objectionable, but I think it is necessary that educational authorities should be clear as to the real object of these central schools. The great difficulty is that education authorities take the line of least resistance, and think that any form of scientific education is good enough for the children. The aim of these central schools is to give variety—to work out the best syllabus—so that every child has a chance of finding some form of education which is suitable to his ability and capacity. Therefore I hope the President of the Board of Education will keep in the words "ages and capacities," and leave out the word "circumstances."
I am quite willing to accept the words "ages, abilities, and requirements," if that find favour with the Committee.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
I hope the President of the Board of Education will keep to his decision. I am quite certain, although I agree with a great deal that fell from the hon. Member for Leicester, that a definition going into some detail is necessary. If that definition is; lacking, I know from experience over and over again that a slipshod scheme will be made which is not adapted to the circumstances and requirements of the children. If you give them some guidance you will put the local authorities on their mettle, and they will try to give you something more adequate, instead of a slipshod scheme they are too much inclined to make.
§ Sir J. SPEAR
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will adhere to his words, especially as regards rural schools, for there is many a lad there who has not capabilities for pursuing book-learning 2060 and scientific studies, but he has the ability, equally valuable, of understanding rural life, forestry, and agriculture, and he will have as good a future in that kind of life as in any other. Since he is qualified for that, and fitted for it, it is desirable that his capacities in that direction should be developed in his own interest and in the interest of the country. We do not want to do anything to prevent a lad going anywhere he wishes, but, at the same time, if he is mentally and physically cut out for rural life, and his capacity excels in that direction, surely the education authority ought to have the opportunity of developing that capacity in his own interest and for the welfare of the community.
I understand it is the desire of the Committee that the words should run "ages, abilities, and requirements."
§ Question, "That the word 'and' be there inserted," put, and negatived.
I beg to move, in paragraph (a, i), to leave out the words "capacities and circumstances," and to insert instead thereof the words "abilities and requirements."
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I beg to move, in paragraph (a, ii) to leave out the word "instruction" ["courses of advanced instruction"] and to insert instead thereof the word "learning."
The way the Bill is drafted may be merely a matter of dictation as between "instruction" and "learning," but I think there is a great deal more behind it. I want, in the first place, to get a statement from the President as to the sort of 2061 language that is intended in the Subsection. So far as I can make out it is to apply to children in the elementary schools up to the age of fourteen. I do not, however, understand the last line of the Subsection which says: "Who stay at such schools beyond the age of fourteen." What children is it here intended to deal with? Above all, what does the right hon. Gentleman mean by "advanced instruction"? I prefer the good old-fashioned word "learning," which has throughout centuries meant the widest of learning, whereas "instruction" certainly may mean vocational instruction, which the opinion of the House is against. I think the mere substitution of these words is of very little importance unless the President and the Board of Education really mean that those who are older, and therefore the more intelligent children in the elementary schools, should have really what you might call public school education in the last years they stay at school. It must be common knowledge to most Members that the older and more intelligent child who has got into the seventh standard at an early age very often spends the whole of the last year at school wasting his or her time entirely, without getting any special instruction, and reading quietly to fill in the time. One of the best things we can do for our education is to provide a decent literary education for those children during the last year or so they are at school.
If that is what is intended by the paragraph—and it certainly might be—no one could possibly cavil at it, but will welcome that additional pressure upon local authorities to give this decent teaching. But what does "instruction" mean? We have seen those pamphlets circulated as to the intentions of the Bill on the vocational side, and one wants to know what it means; for it makes one a little bit nervous lest the President and the Board of Education may not have at the back of their mind something very different from the literœ humaniores, or humane letters; it may mean instead of that vocational instruction to the child. Therefore, I move to leave out the word "instruction," and to substitute the word "learning." If the President accepts this it will be an indication that so long as he is at the Board of Education the instruction given in these public elementary schools to the older children will be the intelligent instruction which an Oxford don would naturally wish to give to the children of 2062 the country. If the right hon. Gentleman refuses to accept the word "learning," then I shall be afraid that the right hon. Gentleman is at the moment more of the Sheffield professor than the Oxford don. He assured us earlier in the Debate that he was an Oxford don. Here comes the test of it… Will he accept the alteration? I hope he will. Certainly in the interests of the children, because the hope of the future is the children, of the country. We Liberals have great confidence in the right hon. Gentleman at the Board of Education, in spite of the many hard things we have said about this Bill, for we know perfectly well that he is the one bulwark left against the sweeping tide of the new education backed up by the bureaucrats and the manufacturers.
There is some difficulty in connecting the phrase "advanced learning" with the idea of the public elementary school. I do not think that even under the pressure of this Bill, beneficent as the Bill may be, we shall be able to obtain that advanced learning desired in our public elementary schools. I think a very much better type of advanced instruction will be available suitable for children in the last two years of their elementary school life. That advanced instruction will be instruction of a general kind. I fully appreciate and share the love of my hon. and gallant Friend for polite letters. The more we can have of literature, the better. I think children between the ages of twelve and fourteen are capable of appreciating the beauties of literature. The desire in the Clause is to provide a better general education for the children of our elementary schools.
That is all. We do not want anything like technical or vocational instruction. We want practical, general instruction, but not technical or vocational instruction.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
What is the meaning of this paragraph at the end, "who stay at such schools beyond the age of fourteen"? That is one of the points which the right hon. Gentleman has not answered. What is intended by it?
The explanation, I think, is in Section 22 of the Education Act of 1902—(2) The power to provide instruction under the Elementary Education Acts, 1870 to 1900 shall, except where those Acts expressly provide 2063 to the contrary, be limited to the provision in a public elementary school of instruction given under the Regulations of the Board of Education to scholars who at the close of the school year will not be more than sixteen years of age: provided that the local authority may, with the consent of the Board of Education, extend those limits in the case of any such school, if no suitable hgher education is available within a reasonable distance of the school.There will always be a certain number of children who will stay at the public elementary school beyond the stated years. Very often it is girls who stay after they have attained fourteen. Considerable numbers stay. They are not obliged to, but they do so, and it is desirable that instruction suitable should be given.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I am very much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. There will be more of these older children in the schools, we believe, than there are at the present time. Would it, therefore, not be possible to state that this general education should include the French language? One point should be the better learning of French.
Does that point arise on the Amendment to leave out the word "instruction" and insert the word "learning"?
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Yes; certainly… I think anybody would admit that. I do think it is very important at the present time that the children of the elementary schools should be given the opportunity of learning the language of our best Ally. We are going to give better teaching. This is one of the branches of better learning that they should acquire. I hope this point will subsequently be borne in mind by the Board of Education.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I beg to move, after the word "older" ["advanced instruction for the older children"], to insert the words "or more intelligent."
The younger child who has got into the seventh standard at a very early age is the one of whom most care must be taken to see that they fill up their time at the school intelligently. The clever child may have got to the top, and have been taught everything, all the subjects, and might then be taken home or to earn money. He is allowed to continue at school doing nothing for the year. It should be made clear that the advanced 2064 instruction is not of necessity given to the older and more stupid child, but to the older and more intelligent.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ The following Amendment stood on the Paper in the name of Mr. KING:
§ In paragraph (a, ii.), after the word "fourteen" ["beyond the age of fourteen"], insert the words "and those who stay at such schools until the age of sixteen."
In regard to this Amendment, I feel in some difficulty. The hon. Member proposes to add "until the age of sixteen." My impression was that the age of sixteen was beyond the age of fourteen.
§ Mr. KING
That is so, Sir. But my Amendment is one of substance, and for this reason: We should have in view the subsequent Clauses of the Bill, and there is a Clause making the child liable to attend school up to the age of sixteen. If after the elementary school age, up to sixteen, that child attends the specified time, he will then be free of liability to attend a continuation school from sixteen to eighteen. We, therefore, have a new class of child created. I want these children to be able to stay to get their full-time instruction in the elementary schools, and then in the higher-grade schools, or higher schools, which are to be provided under this Clause. If you do not make provision here for those children, what will you have as the position? This, that a number of children will be attending good higher-grade teaching in elementary schools up to the age of fifteen years and three months. They would be willing to continue under that education up to sixteen, but their term would end owing to the provision of Clause 22 (2) of the Act of 1902, and, while being willing to obtain an education of which they have not had the full benefit, they will be debarred from remaining in the elementary school. I raised this question in October last. It will be found on page 867 of the OFFICIAL REPORT for the 24th October. In my question I then pointed out that an Amendment of Section 22 (2) of the Act of 1902 was required in order to meet this difficulty. The President of the Board of Education admitted in his reply that it 2065 was so, and he said he had the matter under consideration. I understand he is of opinion now that the point ought to be met, and that there ought to be some amendment of the age for elementary education which would meet this point. It can be done by these words. I admit that they put the Clause in a very clumsy and awkward form, but I can suggest other words. I would propose to put in the words "including children who stay at such schools beyond the age of fourteen, and for children liable to attend for other education up to the age of sixteen." That, too, would be very awkward, but the only alternatives to meet my point, the strength of which the right hon. Gentleman has admitted, are to make the alteration in this place or to extend the provision as to the elementary education age by amending Clause 22 (2) of the Act of 1902.
I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman for raising this point, because I think it is an important one. If he will allow me, I should like to have time to consider it. The question of detaining children at elementary schools beyond the appointed age is one of some delicacy. It is very important not to discourage any form of education. There are, no doubt, children who, through some accident, or perhaps because they are very backward, ought to remain in the elementary school even after they have reached the age of fourteen, because they are not suitable for any other kind of education. The cases of these children require to be carefully considered, and if my hon. Friend will leave it to me I will see what can be done.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
I do not want to delay the proceedings, but this is a very important point. It raises the whole question of the relations between elementary and secondary schools. My point is, perhaps, somewhat different from that put by my hon. Friend who moved this Amendment. You are going by an Amendment which is to be proposed at a later stage to give the elementary schools power to arrange a curriculum on the assumption that these children will remain at the elementary school until the age of sixteen. If you are going to encourage children to remain there till they reach that age, you must give such a liberal curriculum in the elementary school as shall secure that the 2066 children who stay there will not suffer by so doing as compared with those who have gone to the secondary school.
§ Mr. KING
I agree that the President of the Board of Education has met me fairly and that he sees my point. May I remind him that I drew attention to this matter six months ago, and he, therefore, has had plenty of time to come to a decision upon what really is a very big question in connection with the work done in these schools? I want to show shortly how in certain parts of the country, in districts, for instance, where the coal and iron industries prevail, this will operate. The object of these two industries is to get well-educated boys at the age of sixteen and to employ them as full-timers. Therefore what you want in these districts-is a good education up to the age of sixteen. I am referring to districts like the North-East Coast, Durham, and so on, where plenty of boys are wanted at the age of sixteen. A provision such as I offer here will be of the very greatest practical value in carrying out the work of this Act in those districts, and the President of the Board of Education really ought to make up his mind how he is going to do it. While I am quite ready to withdraw my Amendment, I would urge that as early as possible, even before we come to the employment Clauses, he should be in a position to announce the decision.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. KING
I beg to move, at the end of paragraph (a, ii.), to insert the words,so much of the definition of the term' elementary school in Section three of the Elementary Education Act, 1870, as requires that elementary education shall be the principal part of the education there given shall not apply to such courses of advanced instruction for older scholars, and.This is an Amendment to which I attach very great importance, and I hope that it will be accepted.
§ Amendment agreed to.
With regard to the next Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Lanarkshire (Mr. Whitehouse), the subject of it was fully debated on Clause 1, but I understand it is raised here rather as a drafting point arising out of that Debate.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
Yes. I beg to move, in paragraph (b), after the word "of" ["particularly in respect of"], to insert the words:(i) the provision of free secondary schools available for all who have satisfactorily completed the elementary school course or who are otherwise qualified for admission.I hope there will be no confusion with regard to my object in moving this Amendment. When the general discussion was taken on the question of free secondary education, we debated the whole policy of the relations of elementary and secondary education. In the Clause we are now discussing provision is made that it shall be the duty of the local education authority to do certain things. In Sub-section (b) these authorities may make arrangements for co-operating with local authorities for the purpose of Part II. of the Education Act. There are set out certain special things on which they may co-operate. The Amendment I move will have the effect of suggesting that the local education authority shall co-operate with the authorities for carrying out the purposes of Part II. of the Education Act on the definite point of the provision of free secondary schools available for all who have satisfactorily completed the elementary school course or who are otherwise qualified for admission. This will in terms direct the attention of the local education authority to the desirability of co-operating with the other authority in making provision in the secondary schools for the children who are passing from the elementary school. I need not occupy the time of the Committee by repeating the general arguments which have been raised in the course of this Debate. I will content myself with urging that at least we should not shut out this direction in general terms that the two education authorities should consider in consultation the provision of free secondary schools for the children from elementary schools.
The Clause now under discussion deals with the authority under Part III. of the Education Act, 1902, that is to say, it deals with the authority whose jurisdiction is limited to elementary education. The hon. Member's suggestion is that these authorities should co-operate with the authorities for higher education in the matter of the provision of free secondary schools. I think if we were to accept this Amendment we should be introducing a good deal of confusion into our administrative machinery, and 2068 for this reason, quite apart from any other, I hope my hon. Friend will withdraw his Amendment. After all, we have, I think, to accept the administrative machinery as it is left by the Act of 1902. If we part from that principle we may be landed into all kinds of complex and controversial problems. I would suggest to my hon. Friend it would be a little unfortunate if we were to confuse the functions of these two distinct types of authority, and in view of this consideration I hope he will think fit to withdraw his Amendment.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
Will the right hon. Gentleman allow me to point out that the bringing together of the authorities under Part II. and Part III. of the original Education Act is done by himself in Sub-section (b) of the Clause, which we are discussing, because he there proposes that the authorities for Part III. of the Education Act should for the first time co-operate with the authorities for Part II. of that Act. They are to cooperate in the preparation of children for secondary schools, for their transfer to such schools, and in the supply and training of teachers—not teachers for elementary schools, but teachers for secondary schools. Therefore, the rigid zones are removed by this proposal which emanates from the President himself. Seeing that the authorities are to consult in regard to the curriculum the transference of children, and the provision of teachers, surely they can also consult as to the provision of adequate secondary schools for the children who are under consideration. My suggestion is, therefore, really the logical development of the President's Bill, and I hope very much that it may receive his further consideration. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. MACKINDER
I want to say a few words on a matter which I have not found it very practicable to raise in the form of an Amendment, because it affects the general tenor of this Clause and also of certain other Clauses. It is a point to which I would very much like to direct the attention of the House with a view to its consideration by the President of the Board before the Report stage is reached. 2069 I notice that in this Clause, and in other Clauses, we use the expression common in Acts of Parliament, "It shall be the duty of the local education authority," etc, to do certain things. I take it that the obvious meaning of that is that it shall be the duty of the authority as soon as this Bill becomes law; in other words, that the authority will be expected to use due diligence and do its duty forthwith. I would direct attention to other words in this Clause, "The supply and training of teachers." To my mind, to bring this Act of Parliament into general operation will, under present circumstances, be a matter of quite a number of years. Everything will depend on the supply of teachers, and if there is any premature attempt to set up schemes, or teaching based on schemes, before there is an adequate supply of properly educated teachers the effect will simply be to bring the whole of this beneficent plan into discredit. We are, as the President knows, in a very exceptional state of circumstances at the present time. Even before the War you had difficulty in getting teachers. You will have had left out more than one generation of university teachers and two generations of teachers trained at training colleges.
When you get the young men this especially, of course, affects the male teachers—back from the War you will then have to carry out a very large amount of instruction before they can be properly" qualified teachers. You are especially emphasising what has been called the advanced side of instruction. You are, even as regards elementary schools, requiring more advanced teaching, and in other portions of the Bill—in regard to continuation classes—you are making immense demands on the supply of teachers in that connection. I want to draw attention to these words "It shall be the duty,'' because it seems to me that it might be well in some way or other, if it could be conveniently done, to indicate that we do not wish to have schemes which may look very well in theory but which cannot be worked for a number of years brought prematurely into existence, because the sole effect of that will be to discredit education in this country. Already in England education is not in too high favour with large numbers of the people, and if you are to gain confidence for education then you must have the greatest care as to how you bring these new proposals into opera- 2070 tion. I, for one, am in entire sympathy with what has been said on this Clause in regard to the desirability of general education as opposed to vocational education. It seems to me that if we are to work this great experiment of democracy to which we are committed we must have that general education, but if that general education is to be given to children over fourteen with any adequate results it must be given by properly educated teachers, and in order to have them in sufficient supply to carry out the enormous number of schemes that will come forward under this Bill—in view of the effects of the War and oven of events before the War—you will require several years of preparatory work before anything really adequate can be done to carry out the provisions of the Bill. Therefore, while I welcome the proposals, it does seem to me that it might be desirable, if it were possible—and I ask that the matter may be considered between now and Report—in some way to indicate that we are not looking for undue haste, and that we do hope to have even a spell of years before this Bill can be brought into full operation.
§ Question put, and agreed to.