§ (1) With a view to continuing the education of young persons and helping them to prepare for the freedom and responsibilties of adult life it shall be the duty of the local education authority for the purposes of Part II. of the Education Act, 1902, either separately or in cooperation with other local education authorities, to establish and maintain or secure the establishment and maintenance under their control and direction of a sufficient supply of continuation schools in which suitable courses of instruction and physical training are provided without payment of fees for all young persons resident in their area who are, under this Act, under an obligation to attend such schools.
§ (2) For the purposes aforesaid the local education authority, after such consultation with persons or bodies interested as they consider desirable, from time to time may, and shall when required by the Board of Education, submit to the Board schemes for the progressive organisation of a system of continuation schools and for the purpose of securing general and regular attendance thereat.
§ Mr. KING
I beg to move my Amendment, and I am rather sorry that it comes at a time when the House obviously cannot be expected to have very much of an attendance, because it is clearly of very great importance that we should consider the question which I now come to raise. Clause 3 is entitled, "Estab- 2071 lishment of Continuation Schools." We have come down to the great educational feature of the Bill, the provision of education for the mass of the people who at present get no education at all after they leave the elementary school. The question, therefore, arises which is the best authority, who are the best persons, to take up, organise, provide, maintain, and carry through this new development of education.
That is a question which does not arise on the Amendment on the Paper. The hon. Member is only proposing, I imagine, to move the Amendment as it stands to leave out the preparatory words.
With regard to the second Amendment, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "Part II.," and to insert instead thereof the words "Part III.," I want to ask the hon. Member whether that does not involve an Amendment of the Act of 1902?
§ Mr. KING
The Bill will provide for that later on by making these continuation schools part of elementary education, and even if it did mean an Amendment of the Act of 1902, I think it is a point which can be very well met by consequential Amendments later. There is nothing in the Act of 1902, so far as I remember it, which says that Part III. education authorities shall not do anything but elementary education. It simply says that Part III. elementary education authorities shall have certain duties under this Bill, and I imagine that any subsequent legislation which gave to these existing authorities further powers would not be an Amendment but only an extension of their existing powers.
I understand the hon. Member wishes to make responsible for continuation schools the Part III. education authority instead of the Part II. authority. That is a large Amendment of the Act of 1902.
§ Sir E. JONES
Continuation schools do not come into the Act of 1902. They are brought in for the first time. Continuation schools, previous to this Bill, are not 2072 classified as to whether they belong to elementary education or to higher education. Therefore, the matter is opened afresh, and I would submit, Mr. Whitley, that you might very well give us an opportunity, as it is rather an important matter, to suggest that continuation schools should be allowed to be administered by the Part III. authorities now that they are starting a new series of schools under this Bill not contemplated in the previous Act, which only dealt with technical schools.
I am much obliged. I think I see the point. The fact is that the demarcation was done by Regulation, and not by the Act of 1902.
§ Mr. KING
As I suppose it is quite clear that this Amendment is in order, I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "Part II." ["Part II. of the Education Act, 1902"], in order to insert instead thereof the words "Part III."
Let me as briefly and clearly as possible point out how important it is in starting these continuation classes that we should put them into the most efficient and sympathetic hands. We are going to bring in literally millions of new continuation scholars all over the country, and who will they be? They will be boys and girls who have just left elementary schools. I believe that the best authority to continue their education—especially as there are such large numbers and in view of the fact that they will not be educated with a new kind of education for full-time but by continuation beyond what they are doing already, and for part of that time—the best people to organise and give them their education are the people who have been giving them their previous elementary education. I believe, from a theoretical and practical point of view, it will be found much better, easier, and more effective to extend the elementary schools upwards in more ways than one rather than to make a new development of the higher education authorities and bring in these hundreds of thousands of new scholars which some education authorities will have. I, therefore, propose that the schemes for the continuation schools shall be given, in the first place, to the elementary school authorities, and I do so largely from a practical point of view. I have thought this matter out, and how would I, if I were in a small town or urban dis- 2073 trict which has its Part III. powers, wish to begin these continuation schools and provide for the scholars? I would use as far as possible the existing elementary machinery. I would know the children I had, and I would use all the advice and experience I got through the teachers and managers of the schools, and in using these powers and authorities we have got already I am sure you would build up with much less friction a good system of continuation schools.
There is one other important point. There must be, and there is, especially in England, more than in Wales and Scotland, a difference between elementary and higher education. There is a distinct difference, and it comes out in the whole organisation, in the Grants, and so on. What are the continuation schools going to be? Are they going to be higher or elementary education? They really are a medium between the two, and by putting them under Part II. authorities you are putting them under higher education, when, I believe, they would be much better under Part III., which is the elementary part. This raises a very big issue indeed, and I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary if the Board of Education have consulted Part II. or Part III. authorities before drafting the Bill as it is now. I have no doubt you have consulted county councils and county council associations, but have you consulted Part III. authorities, and are they willing to take on the work of expanding education up to continuation schools? If you would do that you would get your machinery into operation much sooner.
§ Sir E. JONES
This question is one of very considerable importance to large education authorities all over the country, and I should have thought it would have been of great interest to a large number of hon. Members. I hope the representative of the Board of Education will take note of what can be said here to-night on this question. I should like to say that the thing is so important in certain areas that I represent and with which I am acquainted, that I shall have to press forward very strong reasons before the Report stage for this Amendment or something approximating it to be made. At present there are perhaps, unfortunately, a large number of urban areas with a considerable population, some over 50,000 and others running up to as many as 120,000, and even 200,000. Those are 2074 districts which ought properly to be county boroughs, but they are not, and because of that fact they are not Part II. authorities or secondary education under the parent Act. You may get in a little part with 50,000 population under Part II., and you may get another part with 200,000 population which, because it is not technically a borough, is not allowed, except by consent and benevolence, to have any connection with secondary education, or that part of evening schools which is a part of secondary education. The hon. Member for North Somerset (Mr. King) asked whether the Board of Education have consulted the Part III. authorities involved and whether they were agreeable to take on this duty. I can tell the hon. Member that Part III. authorities have held many conferences, and have sent several deputations to the President of the Board of Education, and have presented very powerful arguments indeed as to the whole efficiency of continuation schools that this Bill is setting up, but hitherto without success, and it is now up to the House of Commons to see that the matter is considered and given that proper attention which it deserves.
The difficulty is this: If you have, as unfortunately we have in many parts of the country, big urban authorities which are much more enterprising, progressive, and active than the county councils, you have those urban authorities entirely held up by the retrograde and slow members of a very huge county council, and the result is that nothing has been done. These enterprising urban authorities are willing to spend money, and they cannot do it because the county council is not prepared to do so over its area. Take a county like Glamorganshire, with which I am personally acquainted, and where I know a great deal about the working of the present situation. That county is supposed to delegate its authority to big local areas of this kind for such matters as evening and technical schools under the existing Act, but they do not do it. They appoint local committees, but they will not give them power to spend a 1d. These committees are called together, but they are not allowed to spend a l¼d.; they cannot appoint a teacher, and they cannot exercise any of the real functions that matter in the education which they are supposed to be appointed to administer. The result is that they do not meet and people have no interest in them. There is no public impetus behind the evening 2075 school movement in those areas, and consequently they have been a failure and they have been dragging for years, with the result that education has suffered.
On the top of that state of things you are going to put this continuation business. I shall submit to the Board of Education an account of the awful muddle and complexity that is going to arise in great industrial areas if they carry out the present arrangements. Take Glamorganshire. We have our Part III. authorities doing well with school clinics, the medical inspection of children, and they are doing well in the whole of the sphere over which they have jurisdiction, and there are no more enterprising authorities willing to run up high rates for this purpose than those authorities. They have committees looking after the evening schools. One representative from the Mountain Ash area, for instance, is allowed on the county committee for the whole of the evening schools for a population of 86,000, and there are only two representatives allowed for another area. It took one education authority three years to get the county council to agree to pay for writing paper for evening schools to be carried on, and that sort of thing is going on now. In addition to that you have the board of governors of your local county schools under the Welsh Education Act. They are running technical and evening classes in connection with their county schools. On the top of that by Clause 2 you make it compulsory upon these urban areasto make adequate and suitable arrangements for co-operatng with local education authorities for the purpose of Part II. of the Education Act, 1902, in matters of common interest, and particularly in respect of the preparation of children for further education in schools other than elementary, and their transference at suitable ages to such schools.I think that is very dangerous. It means that the county council will be in a position to dictate terms to these big authorities as to the age at which they will have to let their children go from their elementary schools and also as to the kind of preparatory education that a child is to be given for the county schools on the one hand and for the municipal secondary schools on the other hand. In addition, under Clause 3, you leave it to the county council simply to consult the local authority, and again you tell them: "You may set up another committee and draw up a scheme which gives you no 2076 power or authority or effective control, but simply an academic interest with no energy and go in the thing at all." It is a matter of great importance, particularly for those areas larger than 50,000 population, and it would be very much better to arrange something such as that suggested by the conference of all these education authorities held in Manchester last October. Their proposals are very reasonable and very sound. They want the Part III. authority to be the authority for the continuation schools. They are willing that every year they should submit their proposals for working these higher education schemes, together with an estimate of the cost, for approval by the county authority. They are also prepared to submit proposals and estimates for approval by the county authority for giving effect to the whole of these arrangements, and, if any question arises between them, to leave it to the Board of Education to decide. Instead of these areas being mere children to be dictated to by the county council and to be held back, as they are held back, and instead of confusion being added to the existing confusion, you would then leave it to the local authority that has the local interest, the democratic interest, and the readiness to go forward and to spend money, and that knows its local problem and its local industries, to run the business, subject to the approval of the county council and the final determination of the Board of Education. That is a very reasonable proposal, and I wish strongly to press the Board of Education to again consider this matter in regard to the larger urban districts.
§ Commander BELLAIRS
I hope that the Government will accede to the request which has been put forward that the small local authorities should continue to control education after the age of fourteen. It will introduce great complication to allow the county authority to come into the boroughs, and I think it highly undesirable. It would be interfering with the local authorities, who know thoroughly the whole of the educational system of their small boroughs. They know more what is going on than any education committees in the larger boroughs. In my own town, Maidstone, the town council have passed a resolution, I believe unanimously, in favour of the local authority being the authority in these matters.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Herbert Lewis)
In common with my hon. Friends who have raised this question, I regret that it should be brought forward at a time when the House, as is generally the case at this hour, is rather thin, and I regret it more because my right hon. Friend the President of the Board, who in a matter of this kind can speak with so much more authority than I do, is necessarily absent from the House for a few minutes, and is unable to take part in the Debate. My hon. Friend (Sir E. Jones), whose keen interest in education and whose knowledge of educational problems everyone here will recognise, has put forward a very powerful appeal on behalf of the Part III. authorities, and particularly of the authorities with large populations of over 50,000. May I suggest that the best course for them to meet the situation would be to have themselves constituted into county boroughs? Then they will have full power not only for this particular purpose, but for other purposes as well. I have lamented the thinness of the House, but I am not at all sure, if there were a fuller House, that there would not be present a number of representatives of the Part II. authorities who might have something to say on this question. I wish to approach this matter without any bias either in the direction of the Part III. authorities or of the Part II. authorities, and, looking forward to the kind of work which will have to be done in connection with the establishment and the maintenance of continuation classes, to ask myself which is the authority which, under the circumstances, is best capable and is in the best position to carry out this particular work? Having regard to the work which the Part II. authority is carrying on at the present time—I am not speaking so much of its secondary school work as of all the network of agencies that cover the country at the present time—in the way of technical classes and evening classes and arrangements of that character, it will be impossible in practice for the continuation schools to be separated from those classes and to be administered separately from those classes. They would inevitably, and particularly at the commencement, have to use the same buildings and the same staff. Much of the more advanced work of the continuation. 2078 schools will, for some time to come, have to be done in the technical schools themselves, whose primary function, of course, is to deal with the more advanced classes. They will have to use premises or buildings of that kind, and I venture to say that the wildest confusion would result in the transition from a voluntary to a compulsory system if both systems were not in the same hands.
It is quite possible that some of the suggestions that my hon. Friends have made with reference to the relations-that now subsist between Part II. and Part III. authorities may be desirable in some respects, and, I believe, that, in consequence of this Bill itself, those relations will be improved very considerably. My hon. Friend referred, without very much approbation, to the provisions which the Bill contains for consultation. I would remind my hon. Friend that behind all that, after all, is the power of a reinforced Board of Education, and I trust that in the future it may be possible by administration to smooth away many of the difficulties which have been suggested to-night, but as the Amendment stands—I am speaking upon the very best advice that I have been able to obtain on the subject—it would be a great mistake on the part of the Committee if it were to adopt the suggestion that this work should be placed in the hands of the Part III. authority. Many of them are very small authorities. I trust that the considerations I have adduced will lead the Committee to the conclusion that, on the whole, having regard to the work that will have to be done, and particularly having regard to the preparations which must be made in order to bring this Bill when it becomes an Act into force, those preparations should be left in the hands of that authority which can most easily dovetail them into its other work.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Sir J. HARMOOD-BANNER
I beg to move in Sub-section (1), after the word "1902" to insert the words "and of every local education authority exercising the powers of section three of that Act."
I move the Amendment in accordance with the views expressed with regard to the urban areas. There is no doubt that at present many of the non-county boroughs do their work exceedingly well, but there is a limit to the amount they 2079 can raise—namely, a limit of 1d. rate. It is principally with a view to removing that limit that I move this Amendment. I submit that where a non-county borough or urban district is efficiently maintaining the provision for higher education, no good ground can be shown why it should not also provide its own continuation schools or why there should be this limit of 1d. rate so as to prevent it doing so. If the Bill passes in its present form the non-county borough or the urban district may be providing technical and secondary schools, schools of science and art and evening schools, but the obligation to provide continuation schools will be upon the county authority, who will have full control over those schools and the supervision of the young people at an age when it is most important that it should have relation to the responsibilities of adult life. When these non-county boroughs are doing their duty thoroughly, when they have already administered the elementary and higher education in a proper method, the spirit of co-ordination, which we all want to see in these matters, will be better carried out if it is left in the position under which these non-county boroughs now carry on their most efficient work. I should like to press upon the President of the Board of Education the fact that the work has been well done. It is more likely to be well done and the county council who carry out their duties far removed from these non-county boroughs cannot appreciate the work and cannot create the ambition with regard to education which these non-county boroughs have. It is much better, where the non-county boroughs are showing the disposition, as they are now doing, to carry out their work well, that they should be left in that position and should not have removed from them the duty of providing proper education for all their inhabitants. In my opinion, in many of the non-county boroughs there is the far better organisation of higher education than will be secured by the proposals which are now contained in Clause 3.
§ Mr. LEWIS
Without entering into the Reasons which my hon. Friend has just given for the Amendment, I am bound to point out to him and to the Committee what the exact effect of this Amendment would be. The Clause reads:It shall be the duty of the local education authority for the purposes of Part II. of the Education Act, 1902"—2080 Then come the words of the Amendment—and of every local education authority exercising the powers of Section 3 of that Act—Then the Clause proceeds—either separately or in co-operation with other local education authorities, to establish and maintain. … a sufficient supply of continuation schools.The effect of this Amendment will be to create a dual duty to establish and maintain or secure the establishment and maintenance of a sufficient supply of continuation schools in certain parts of England and Wales, although I am not at all sure how far the Amendment will extend. It is confined to local education authorities exercising the powers of Section 3 of the Education Act, 1902. That means, if there is an authority for the purpose of elementary education which in fact does raise at the present time a rate under Section 3—that is to say, a rate not exceeding 1d. for the purposes of higher education—that authority will have a duty concurrent with the duty of the county council to establish a sufficient supply of continuation schools. That would give rise to an absolutely impossible situation, because both the county council and the elementary authority would have the same duty to perform. They would both have to prepare a scheme for the performance of that duty. If that duty were not adequately performed, it would be very doubtful which authority the Board of Education could call upon to perform it. That, of course, would land us in a perfectly ridiculous position. I do not know that it would be possible to find any precedent whatever in any Act of Parliament requiring two local authorities to perform exactly the same duty, and that I can assure my hon. Friend would be the effect of his Amendment. Therefore I trust he will not press it.
Sir M. BARLOW
With regard to the last point made by the Parliamentary Secretary, if one looks at Section 3 of the Act of 1902, which is dealt with by reference, he will see that that Section gives to the small boroughs—that is to say, the boroughs of 10,000 and the urban districts of 20,000—the power to do just the very thing which we are told it is impossible to do, namely, to have concurrent powers with the county council. Section 3 of the Act of 1902 says—The council of any non-county borough or urban district shell have power as well as the county council to spend such sums as they think fit—2081 within a limit on secondary education. The point of that Section was this: The county council was too big an area in certain cases. That is to say, county boroughs of 50,000 and over have full powers, both Part II. and Part III., like a county, but inside the county under the 1902 Act you had certain closely populated areas, and, for the purposes of the Act, you took small boroughs of 10,000 or urban districts of 20,000, and said to them, "We will give you secondary powers with a limitation of 1d." That limitation is to be swept away under this Bill. You are going, unless this Amendment is adopted, in effect to reverse the policy of the Act of 1902, under which you gave to those densely populated units inside the county area concurrent powers over secondary education.
The main financial responsibility for higher education rests with the Part II. Authority.
Sir M. BARLOW
That may be, but, at any rate, it is part of the same policy, namely, that where you have got a densely populated area inside the county, although it is not big enough to be a county borough with 50,000 people, still, when you have a population in an urban district of 20,000, or in a borough of 10,000, you must treat them in effect as having secondary education powers I am not pledged to this differentiation between duty and power, and if we can have the assistance of the Board of Education and work out some compromise I am quite willing to accept it, and I think the Mover of the Amendment would too. But I do not believe you will get your continuation schools to work in these areas—small boroughs of 10,000 and urban districts of 20,000—unless you give to the authority which has primâ facie Part III.—elementary—authority in those areas power to work the continuation schools. You may do it after working out a scheme with the county council, or something of that kind, but if you are going to say to the elementary authorities in boroughs of 10,000 and urban districts of 20,000, "You shall have nothing to do with continuation schools," I believe in those areas the continuation schools will not work. It is on that basis, and in that spirit, that we have moved the Amendment. If any form of words can be suggested which will carry the thing more clearly we shall be willing to accept it.
§ Mr. BOOTH
As representing a non-county borough, I wish to impress upon 2082 the Government the advisability of meeting this, at any rate, in substance. As far as I can gather from the right hon. Gentleman's answer, he wanted to base his case on a technical objection, and I am afraid it was not quite strong enough. It is quite common for different local authorities to have the same powers. There are powers which the county council has and which the rural district council has, and when the parish council fails the rural district council may take certain matters in hand. It is not altogether new in local government. But the hon. Member (Sir M. Barlow) made an unanswerable point. You cannot hope for these things to succeed unless the non-county borough takes them in hand and works them. After all, I have not much faith in Acts of Parliament. They are simply pieces of paper, and unless you can get live human beings in sympathy with the object to make them a success the mere passing of some paper and ink does not accomplish its purpose. How can you hope, in a thriving, progressive little borough, for your evening continuation schools or your secondary movement to be a success if the local authority does not take it up whole-heartedly? Take my own case. Pontefract might make a success, but they are always prejudiced against anything that comes from Wake-field. It is no use blinking the fact. And that is the case with many other non-county boroughs. Something that is imposed upon them from the centre is looked upon with suspicion, but if they are encouraged to make it a success they go whole-heartedly into it. I am not as keen on this Bill as a good many Members, but at the same time we ought to try to make it successful. Whether this is the right place or the correct technical form I do not know, but I am sure there is a great deal of substance in the argument of the hon. Baronet (Sir J. Harmood-Banner) and the hon. Member (Sir M. Barlow), and if the Government can devise some way in which the non-county borough and the large urban district councils shall co-operate, that might meet the case. I want to put it direct to the representative of the Government. Suppose the two authorities have the same power. They both have to go to his Department. Suppose they represent two alternative schemes. These authorities, when pressed from London, often produce schemes for mere appearance sake, because they do not want someone else to come on the scene. If he con- 2083 siders that one authority or the other is the more genuine and the more determined to make it a success, it entirely depends on his Department which scheme is adopted. There cannot be any duplicate expenditure demanded from the ratepayers. It can never result in that. It is inconceivable that the Department would adopt two schemes at the same time, but it might well be, in certain districts which are a little backward, that if they encourage rivalry between the county authority and the non-county borough and see which brings forward the best scheme, we might get something done, but the mere raising of technical objections I do not think advantageous to the cause of education.
§ Mr. PETO
I wish to say a word on the question, though I do not represent a non-county borough. I think we ought to have some more valid reason than was given from the Front Bench why it is impossible to accept the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman said it was quite impossible to have two authorities doing the same thing. When I look carefully at the Act of 1902 I see that what the hon. Member (Sir M. Barlow) said is perfectly true, that it is the scheme of 1902, and therefore as an ordinary member of this Committee I want, before we scrap the whole of the present machinery and throw on one side that invaluable local asset, the rivalry between one borough and another, and the pride that a locality has in doing a thing better than anyone else when it is done by its own people, some assurance that the present system is not working. The continuation classes and the like have got to be moulded and worked into this scheme of continuation schools, and have got to be made use of in the transition period. If they have been a failure, by all means let us scrap them. We have had fifteen years' experience of Clause 3 of the Act of 1902, and I want to have some better reason for voting with the Government and against the Amendment than that you cannot have two authorities doing the same thing when they have been doing it for fifteen years, and you have not a particle of evidence that the authorities under Clause 3 have not done it a great deal better than under Clause 2. Whatever the result may be, the authorities under Clause 3 are limited to 1d. and under Clause 2 they are limited to a rate which will not exceed the produce of 2d. in the £1. So if the local 2084 education authorities have been able to do something in the way of continuation schools which has been effective during these fifteen years when limited to a rate of 1d., is there any reason why when under Clause 7 we are going to sweep away this limitation we should not entrust the public money to those who have been the custodians of the single talent, the 1d. in the £l, which is all they have been entrusted with so far since 1902? I want to hear from the President of the Board of Education or from the Parliamentary Secretary some better reason than we have already had. I want to know if the present system has not worked, and if there has been a practical difficulty, or a complete failure or a breakdown. I am not in favour of change for the mere sake of change or of uniformity, because it is supposed to produce precisely similar results in different localities. I do not believe it will. I do not believe this Bill will mean success unless you enlist the active sympathies of the people who know the people they are dealing with and have a pride in their own towns. Although I am not in favour of small provincial communities setting up as small nationalities, I am against killing or stifling that local rivalry which is the very salt of the communal life of the people of this country.
§ Mr. GOLDSTONE
I am glad that the Parliamentary Secretary has expressed the view he has in regard to this Amendment. I think it will be generally admitted that one of the weaknesses of the Act of 1902 has been that we have had a far larger number of authorities for secondary education than for elementary education. That was a curious position. Whereas the number of authorities for secondary education was something like 1,000 we had only 300 authorities exercising power over elementary education. The effect of this was to give powers to small authorities for the exercise of secondary education and, therefore, to weaken that wide view and that opportunity for the organisation of secondary education which requires a larger area for its proper organisation than is required for elementary education. If the children were proceeding from the-elementary school direct to the secondary school it would appear to be the wise thing to have one local authority exercising powers over a wide area with full control over elementary and secondary educations as well, but that is not the case. Hence it seems to me that the con- 2085 tinuation schools would appear to merge more into the secondary than into the elementary. In any case the inherent weakness in the Amendment has been already indicated by the Parliamentary Secretary. I think we might add this statement, which I think will not be denied, that it would still leave a far larger number of authorities for secondary or continuation education than for elementary, and there would be the possibility of clashing between the small authority exercising its powers in an area with a population of under 20,000 and an authority which ought to take a view for secondary education and continued education over a far wider area. Therefore I think the Parliamentary Secretary is doing a wise thing in resisting this Amendment and adhering to the terms of the Bill.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Sir E. JONES
I am sorry the hon. Member has made that speech, because I wish to press upon the Government one very practical point. I agree with the hon. Member that if you make your county council the one authority for elementary schools, evening classes, and secondary education in its area, his argument would be pertinent to the practical point, but I do not see how on earth the Board of Education is going to get out of the business without terrible muddle. You are making your continuation schools compulsory. That means that the bulk of the children in a small locality will pass direct by compulsion from the elementary school to the continuation school. What does that mean in practice? It means that you must use the building, the gas, the water, the apparatus, the paper, and the teachers of that school for your continuation school. How on earth are you going to work it, if the building in the evening is to be the property of the county council, if its gas and its coal and its paper and its chalk and its teachers and everything in the evening are going to be the property of the local county council, whereas in the daytime it is to be the property of the local county borough or the urban district authority? I would ask the Board of Education to concentrate upon that point. In these small county areas or in the big urban areas where the ownership of the schools and the whole machinery and the property and the educational apparatus is in the hands of the local authority, under the Act of 1902, you must leave your compulsory continuation schools in the hands of the 2086 small authority. You cannot possibly leave it to the county council by any system that will work without friction and considerable difficulty.
§ Commander BELLAIRS
The representative of the Board of Education disapproves of the Amendment, but he has not in any way disproved the arguments. I do hope he will provide some solution for this business. It stands to reason that the arguments just used by the hon. Member are good. If you are going to have a new authority for continuation schools the tendency will be to build separate schools, and the rate will be levied still on the small boroughs, which will be let in for a great deal of expense, with the result that there will be a great deal of discontent over the educational system you are setting up.
§ Mr. LEWIS
I think that so far from the course that the hon. Member who has just spoken suggests being the most economical it will be the most expensive, because the area of a Part III. authority is the centre for secondary purposes of a much larger area. If the continuation schools are to be provided economically you must have an authority which has dominion not only over the centre, but over the circumference as a whole. Therefore our proposal is the more economical one. I rose more particularly to reply to those hon. Gentlemen who have quoted Section 3 of the Education Act of 1902. May I remind them that there is an essential difference between that particular Section and the one which is now before us, and it is this, namely, that Section 3 of the Act of 1902 simply gives power to a. Part III. authority to raise a rate not exceeding 1d.? Supposing they want to do something more for education—for example, to aid a secondary school in the area of their own authority. They have that power, and a certain number have exercised the power, to raise a 1d. rate. But what my hon. Friend proposes is that the duty to organise continuation schools should be imposed upon the two authorities, the Part II. authority and the Part III. authority as well. That would give rise to an absolutely impossible position. For example, suppose a Part II. authority were to organise continuation schools in the district of a Part III. authority which had not so far levied a rate, and suppose that the Part III. authority were to change its mind and decide to levy a rate—I presume that the work of the Part II. 2087 authority would be scrapped—it would become a duty laid upon both authorities by Act of Parliament to make their preparations, frame their schemes, and submit them to the Board of Education. That is not a mere technical objection. It is an objection that goes to the root of the Amendment itself. I hope sincerely that the Committee will see that this is an Amendment which cannot possibly be accepted.
§ Mr. LEWIS
It might do that, of course, but, having regard to the relations between the two authorities in some cases, I imagine that would not be probable. The effect of the Amendment would be that the duty would be laid on two authorities to make a scheme for the same purpose, and an Amendment of that kind would be quite impracticable.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Sir D. Maclean)
I doubt if the next Amendment is in order, but I will hear the hon. Member upon it.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
I beg to move, after the word "of" ["of continuation schools"], to insert the words" secondary schools and."
This Clause directs education authorities to establish and maintain a sufficient supply of continuation schools, with a view to meeting the needs of young persons from fourteen to sixteen who are, under this Bill, placed under the obligation of attending continuation schools. I desire to widen the scope of the educational facilities that are to be available for these young persons. If the result of the Bill is, as I hope it will be, to give a great impetus to children remaining at school under the age of sixteen, it becomes necessary greatly to increase the number of secondary schools, in order that those children who are going to remain under full time instruction to a later age than heretofore may have suit- 2088 able schools to go to. I have already put the case for a greatly extended system of free secondary schools, and will not attempt to put that case again. I base this limited proposal on this argument, that the President of the Board has himself expressed the hope, not once, but many times, that children who now leave school at fourteen and before fourteen will be kept on full time instruction to a far later age. If that result is going to be achieved we must be prepared to meet the needs of the children. We are not meeting the needs of the children simply by providing continuation schools with their necessarily restricted curricula, and founded in order to meet the needs of young persons who are only attending for a few hours weekly. We must, in addition to that, secure a great increase in the secondary schools of this country, and I think that we can reasonably hope, as the result of this legislation, that some encouragement at least will be given to children to remain at school until a later age, so that it will become necessary to have an increase in the facilities.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
Perhaps the hon. Member will assist me. As far as I read this Clause, it refers to the establishment of continuation schools. The Amendment refers to a different class of school—secondary schools—and it seems to me that of you are going to deal with the matter on those lines you ought to bring up a new Clause. The Amendment seems to me to be rather foreign to this Clause.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
The reason I ask leave to move the Amendment at this stage is because Clause 3 expresses its intentions in rather wider form than that which you have mentioned. At the beginning of Clause 3 it stateswith a view to continuing the education of young persons and helping them to prepare for the freedom and responsibilities of adult life.That being so it is unfortunate that the only method suggested for continuing the education of young persons is the continuation school, with its necessarily limited curriculum and hours of attendance. If my explanation meets the difficulty to which you refer I should like to move this Amendment. I will not occupy the time of the Committee in repeating the arguments which I have offered, I think that the intention is clear and I hope that the President of the Board of Education will meet us in the matter.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I am going to allow the Amendment to be moved because, in view of the Preamble to the Clause, I cannot say whether the Amendment comes in or is shut out.
§ Mr. PETO
Unexpectedly I find myself supporting an Amendment by the hon. Member on an Education Bill. I am well aware of what is generally meant by a continuation school. It is a school where the scholars do not attend all the time, but collect some scraps of information and education at odd hours, generally at night time after working during the day. But there is nothing inherent in the term "continuation school" to limit it to that kind of education, and in view of the limited character of the continuation schools I think that it would be eminently satisfactory to know whether or not this Clause is intended to include this skeleton of the provision of real secondary schools, such as the hon. Member who moves the Amendment speaks of in his Amendment—I mean schools where children can continue whole-time education for whatever period may be decided upon in view of the career which they are going to take up after the age of fourteen when they leave the elementary schools and when the elementary school has probably nothing more to teach them. I support the Amendment particularly from the point of view of agriculture. I believe that the whole of the machinery of Clause 10 of this Bill is utterly inapplicable to agricultural conditions and rural life in sparsely populated districts. I do not believe it can be made to work, and I am quite sure that it is utterly incompatible with taking up agriculture as a profession, and having agriculture a better taught and a better practised profession than it is to-day. I have an Amendment later on this Clause providing for the attendance at a continuation school during a limited period for all the child's time, and that this shall be taken to be the equivalent of the proposed continuation education of two hours a week for forty weeks in the year, which, as I have already said, I do not believe can be made to work in rural districts at all. Therefore I welcome the hon. Member's Amendment making it perfectly clear that the education of young persons and helping them to prepare for the responsibilities of daily life, if it means anything, means enabling them to prepare for the career they are going to take up to earn their living. For that object it will be the duty of the 2090 authority to provide a sufficient supply of continuation schools, if there is ambiguity—perhaps there is no ambiguity—about the continuation schools.
Other members of the Committee may think that the Clause makes it essential that continuation schools must be attended part-time under this Clause. If that be the intention of the Clause, I welcome this Amendment to provide that it shall be the duty of the local education authority to have a sufficient number of secondary schools. I am quite aware of all that that implies, but I want to see rural education, particularly for agriculture, put upon a basis which will really work, and I believe that a proper secondary school in which every child, who elects to take up agriculture as a career, can attend for a limited number of years, after the age of fourteen, with opportunities and facilities for training in particular subjects that shall be of use to them, simple veterinary science, simple engineering, simple chemistry, and subjects of that kind, as well as general education—I do not want to bar general education at all—but with special direction to what is going to be of practical use. That would be an advance and an improvement. To tell children to take up agriculture, and that they are to attend two hours a week for forty weeks, perhaps having to go seven or eight miles to some centre, occupying more time in travelling than in being taught, is to propose a plan that will never work and is perfectly impossible. Therefore I welcome the Amendment making it quite clear that under Clause 3 it will be the duty, if there is a demand for it, of the authority to have sufficient schools; but, if none is required, then none will be supplied. If a local authority deals with a mainly rural area, however, I am convinced that a number of secondary schools for pupils who advance from the education in the elementary school will be found to be an absolute necessity, if you are going to have a practical education suitable for a business, agricultural, or other career. I agree most heartily with the Amendment, and I hope it will make this Clause do something in the direction of affording practical education.
§ Mr. LESLIE SCOTT
On a point of Order. May I ask the President of the Board of Education what his view is of the meaning of the expression "continuation school" in this Bill?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
It is quite sufficient for the occupant of the Chair to interpret what hon. Members say, in connection with points of Order, without having, further, to interpret what certain provisions of the Bill may mean. That is a matter that I must leave to the Minister in charge of the Bill.
The hon. Member (Mr. Peto), I recognise, is very anxious to promote secondary education, but I am afraid that I cannot accept the Amendment for this reason: Clause 3 deals with continuation schools for young persons who are under the obligation to attend such schools; in other words, the Clause deals with a new type of school which provides half-time education for the children. The hon. Member for Devizes does not propose that secondary education should be compulsory upon all the young people of the country.
The scheme of the Bill is very simple. In Clause 1 we impose a duty upon all authorities who, under Part II. of the Act of 1902, have to provide a comprehensive system of education, and within that general description we propose that the Authority shall satisfy us as to the form of the secondary education. We consider that the provision of secondary education is ensured under the operation of Clause 1. Under the operation of Clause 2 we hope to ensure the provision of higher elementary education. Under Clause 3 we hope to ensure the provision of half-time continuation schools. Though I entirely agree with the hon.
2092 Member who moved the Amendment that it is very desirable to increase the opportunities for full-time secondary education, yet I do not think that a full scheme of that kind is possible under this Clause.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I understood, when my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Education referred to Clause 1, that the main parts of that Clause were merely declamatory and a definition of good intentions, and that there was nothing operative about them. Now, when we come to Clause 3, we are given the other view of Clause 1, and we find that we have rather bound ourselves to something very definite. That is different from the tone which the right hon. Gentleman took on on Clause 1, when he tried to get it through the Committee.
I think the hon. Gentleman has mistaken my meaning. When I said that certain phrases had no operative effect in law I was alluding to the initial phases of the Bill, which the hon. Member for North Somerset desired to omit. But over and over again, in the discussion on Clause 1, I pointed out that Clause I did impose a very definite duty upon local education authorities exercising the power, under Part II. of the Bill, to provide for a comprehensive scheme of education which would include necessarily secondary education.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I am sure no one could put it more courteously than the right hon. Gentleman, and I accept his explanation. At the same time, I must remind him that Clause 1 only has one sentence, and that he asserted that the latter part of it was really declamatory and explanatory and had no operative effect. It is not as if the Clause were composed of a number of sentences, or sections; there is only one sentence in it from beginning to end. But I pass that by, except that I must remark that after a Clause is passed it very often occurs that a Minister refers to it as of a good deal more importance than he does when he is trying to get it through. The hon. Member for Devizes made out a very pitiful case. I think the idea of agricultural labourers' sons wanting to learn chemistry or engineering, in order to teach themselves how to milk cows and to grow turnips touched the hearts of everyone in the Committee. I regret that my right hon. Friend cannot do something to meet the hon. Gentleman. I had formed a totally different impression of Clause 3 2093 from that formed by the hon. Member for Devizes. It might be that I was applying it to urban districts and boroughs. When I read the phrase "freedom and responsibilities of adult life" I thought it meant a study of physiology and fitting them for married life. The last thing in my mind was that it fitted them for growing turnips. But I do not forget that technical instruction is important. I would venture to ask whether a substantial case has been made against this Amendment? I do not adopt entirely, as the hon. Member for Mid-Lanarkshire knows, the same attitude as he does towards this Bill, but when he puts forward a suggestion which—I say it quite frankly—would improve the Bill, I do not see why it should be left out. After all, it is very well to say, as the hon. Member for Sunderland said, that the continuation school is practically an extended form of elementary education. Some people might say it was a continuation of secondary education. As I understand it, the continuation school stands midway between the elementary and the secondary school. I should have thought that the ampler the powers taken by the Government under this Bill the better. I do not know if the hon. Member for Mid-Lanarkshire attaches sufficient importance to the Amendment to go to a Division, but, for what it is worth, I think the Bill would be more complete and more workable with the words in rather than without them.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
May I make a suggestion to the President, to whose remarks with regard to that Amendment I listened with great interest? I agree with him that this Clause is not a wholly appropriate place on which to raise this question, but the responsibility is entirely with the President, because he is now moving a Clause which begins with the words,With a view to continuing the education of young persons and helping them to prepare for the freedom and responsibilities of adult life, it shall be the dutyand so forth. After that preamble, obviously we cannot be satisfied with the mere establishment of continuation schools for an hour or two a week to carry out such a programme as that. I would ask the President to make the concession to me in this matter. These words ought to go out if it is simply a Clause to establish continuation schools to meet that point. If these words, if that purely rhetorical 2094 preamble, is not adequately carried out in the Clause, the Clause would simply stand for what it is, a Clause for the establishment of continuation schools. If the right hon. Gentleman would consent to consider that, with a view to making that Amendment on the Report sage of the Bill, I will withdraw my Amendment now,
§ Mr. PETO
I should like to ask the President one thing. In replying to me, he referred to the scheme of the Bill as it is set out, and he argued from that that we had chosen an inappropriate place to suggest the establishment of secondary schools as part of the duty of the local education authority. He said we ought to have done it on Clause 1.
§ Mr. PETO
I accept the correction. The right hon. Gentleman says it was done in Clause 1. I must say I cannot see in Clause 1 any obligation laid on anybody to establish secondary schools available for every child who wishes to take advantage of them. I do not see secondary schools in it at all. But let that pass. It seems to me, looking at Clause 1, and particularly at the marginal note, that the Clause is a sort of general preamble to the Bill in regard to a progressive and comprehensive organisation of education, which certainly does not deal specifically with elementary, or secondary, or continuation education. Clause 2 deals specifically with elementary education.
Clause 1 deals with the authority which has power to provide higher education—that is to say, the county authority, which has power to provide higher education. Clause 2 deals with the authority exercising that power under Part III. of the Act—that is to say, it is restricted to elementary education.
§ Sir E. JONES
On a point of Order. Now that the discussion has gone so far, perhaps our doubts at the beginning may be confirmed. It was moved on Clause 1, by the hon. Member for Mid-Lanarkshire, that there should be free secondary education, and that was negatived. This is raising the same point, which is free compulsory secondary education, and I submit that this matter was disposed of when the previous Amendment on Clause 1 was negatived.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
Probably my first thought with regard to this was more correct, but I do not think I am now 2095 justified in withdrawing it from the Committee, especially in view, as I said, of the opening words of this Clause, which make it extremely difficult for the Chair to exercise a judgment in limiting the liberty of the Committee when words like these are used. It is very difficult for me now.
§ Mr. PETO
In that case, I may continue my remarks. I have only two things more to say. I had got so far as my view of Clause 2, and with that, at any rate, the President agrees. That Clause is confined to the local authorities for the purpose of Part III. of the principal Act, which is elementary education. Therefore, clearly, no practical suggestion was to the point on Clause 2. Clause 3 deals with the establishment of the continuation schools, and we are still without an answer from the President of the Board of Education, to whom you, Sir Donald, told the hon. Member for the Exchange Division of Liverpool that his remarks as to what is the real limitation of continuation schools should have been addressed. Various hon. Members have assumed that the continuation school means a school which you can only attend for a few hours a week, and Some hon. Members have put it at as little as an hour or two a week. But is there anything inherent in the phrase" continuation school'' which would prevent it being a whole-time school? I want to be quite clear that it is within the power of the local education authority under Part II.—that is, the part of the Act which deals, as its headline says, with higher education—to provide, if there is a demand for it—
§ Mr. PETO
I have finished, except that I wish to press for an answer to a question which was really addressed to the right hon. Gentleman, although it was put to the Chair. I do want to know, because it is absolutely pertinent to this Amendment, whether a secondary school can be a continuation school in the sense in which it' is ordinarily used, or whether this Clause and the whole power to provide secondary education means that it must be part-time education only?
§ Mr. RAFFAN
I would have the greatest pleasure in supporting the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Lanark (Mr. Whitehouse) if I thought the 2096 adoption of his Amendment would result in the provision of a single secondary education school where there are scholars who would not otherwise be provided for; but it seems perfectly clear under Clause 1 of the Bill that a county authority that is called upon to make the provision is required to prepare a scheme to be submitted to the Board of Education, and if, in the opinion of the Board of Education, that does not provide adequate facilities for the provision of secondary schools, it will not be approved, and the Board of Education will insist on proper provision being made in the scheme. Assuming the words proposed by my hon. Friend are put in the Bill, and the complaint is made that some education authority is not carrying, out the intention of Parliament as embodied in the provision ho wishes now to insert, the appeal lies to the Board of Education, who would have no further power by the addition of these words than it already possesses. Therefore, with the-greatest desire to assist in the object my hon. Friend has in view, I do suggest that nothing can conceivably be gained by duplicating a provision of this kind. I am satisfied to allow this Clause to deal with the object with which it seeks to deal.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the word "instruction" ["suitable courses of instruction and physical training"], and to insert instead thereof the word" education."
Apart from the question of machinery, there are two questions of principle involved in this Clause for the establishment of continuation schools. By far the most important, or the most revolutionary, is probably the question as to whether these continuation schools are to be compulsory or not. The other point of principle is the advantages of continuation schools in themselves. I wish to raise that question on this Amendment, which, I think, concentrates on one point the debate we have got to have on this vocational education. The idea under this Bill, as will be perceived by turning to Clause 10, is that all young persons, as they are called, between the ages of fourteen and eighteen, will have to go to continuation schools on certain days of the week so as to total 320 hours in the year. It is proposed that 2097 there should be on two or three days of the week in some districts whole-time education in these continuation schools; in other places there should be, perhaps, two or three hours a day on more days of the week. The education which is to be given at these schools is something quite new in the history of British education. Hitherto it has always been assumed, from the very derivation of the word "education," that the idea was to draw out the best that is in the child, and build up the child's character so as to make him, in the opening words of this Clause, better prepared "for the freedom and responsibilities of adult life." That means what we call the Scottish system of education—turning out from your educational mill a child who is able to stand up for his own rights, who is able to think for himself, and able to form his own judgment on matters that are brought before him. He is able, in a word, to become an Englishman instead of a German. He will do what he thinks right, because he thinks it is right, and not because he is told by somebody else that it is right. Is not that the true function of education?
If there were one thing we have all learnt at a public school it was to think for ourselves, to remember that it were better to be dead than to be a slave, and better to do anything rather than submit to injustice or to allow other people to suffer under injustice. I think that was the best lesson we learnt in the public school. That is the best form of education. That is what makes Englishmen. If only we could take the working classes and give them the same education, the same spirit and love of liberty, the same hatred of injustice which all comes from belles-lettres, the liberal education we got, what a revolution we should have in this country… Men would then think for themselves, instead of taking their opinions from the Press. But here in this Bill we have for the first time introduced—I know the President of the Board of Education will say it is only a very small introduction, but still it is an introduction—an entirely different principle, namely, the idea that education is not to turn out the free, independent citizen who will think for himself, but is to turn out a machine tool who will be admirably suited to working for a master. That is a step which, I think, this House ought to hesitate very long before it takes. You have got plenty of examples 2098 of this new form of education in the world. You find splendid examples of it in 'Germany. I have been over to German schools in Frankfurt-on-Main about ten years ago, and there I saw this system in full swing. They take children at the age of fourteen, and I think even younger in some cases, and the education authority decides what trade a boy is to follow. If he is to be a chimney sweep, henceforth the education of that child centres round the chimney. Their arithmetic is all based on the qualifications for a chimney sweep. Their sums are connected with the price of soot and the price of sweeping chimneys. All their education centres round this one thing. I do not know whether Members have read a book by that singular prophet of the future, Mr. H. G. Wells, entitled "The First Men in the Moon." There he discovers in the moon the natural descendants of the Germans of to-day. The workers are specially educated for the work they have to do; some with the right hand, some with the left hand; some have enormous brains; some have excellent sight to do the finer work of watch-making and jewellery-making.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
So far as I can see, the speech of the hon. and gallant Member is one which would be very proper on Second Reading or Third Reading of the Bill, but this Clause deals with the establishment of continuation schools, and the Amendment with the substitution of the word "education" for "instruction" in continuation schools. He is founding an argument which is opposed to the whole principle of the Bill. I quite agree there must be some latitude here to the hon. Member in elaborating his point as to why "education" should be there rather than "instruction," but I must ask him not to go into a rather sweeping and general discussion.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I think, Sir, having given time yourself, you did not discover in the Bill any definition of what a continuation school was. Therefore, I think, perhaps, it is as well that I should explain what final continuation schools are, as I understand it from the President and circulars that I have received, and it would appear that the continuation school is a vocational school.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Well, we have not had any definition of what a continuation school is. All we know is that we are to have young persons between the ages of fourteen and eighteen sent to continuation schools, where, according to the speech of my right hon. Friend on the Second Reading of the Bill—unfortunately I was absent on the Second Beading of this Bill—we are to have vocational schools where the employers are to assist.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
Perhaps I might make a suggestion to the hon. and gallant Member in connection with that point, and that is, that the Minister in charge of the Bill should get up and explain his objection to the use of the word "education" rather than "instruction." The hon. and gallant Gentleman would then have a basis on which to reply, and be able to keep his criticisms rather within the limits of what I conceive to be the correct reading of this Clause.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
We are both sufficiently old Members of the House to know that if a Minister on the Front Bench indicates that he will accept an Amendment, the mover of the Amendment naturally ceases from talking.
May I explain to the hon. and gallant Gentleman that the word "education" appears in the first Clause. He must be led to the conclusion when he reads the Clause that the duty of the education authorities is obvious in this matter.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I am afraid that explanation is not very satisfactory. The right hon. Gentleman talks of the camouflage in the first few lines of this Clause. The Chairman himself has pointed out that they are rhetorical. I should like the right hon. Gentleman to point out any better place than this Clause where we can discuss whether these continuation schools are to be really educational establishments or vocational establishments? If he can, I shall be very glad to withdraw my opposition at this point and move it elsewhere. As I see at the present time, and as the right hon. Gentleman himself will see, this is the only possible opportunity of raising a question as to the character of these continuation schools. We are in a little doubt about 2100 them. The position seems somewhat grotesque, but there does seem a gleam of hope for the first time that these continuation schools are not connected in any way with employment, or are works schools, and if that is so I shall be—[HON. MEMBERS dissented.] Evidently the whole Committee is in doubt on the matter. The right hon. Gentleman himself will see, if he reads this Bill through, that there is no definition of what a continuation school is. There is merely a hint in one place. Further, it is said that the employers will be consulted in the management of these schools. The point I was elaborating when Sir Donald called me to order was that it is of vital importance that the people of this country should not by accident slip into an erroneous form of education, and should not abandon that system of education which hitherto has made us what we are.
Education hitherto has been directed to bringing out and building up the best that is in us. Are we going now, Mr. Whitley, on a point which is admittedly obscure, to establish this all over the country without its ulterior effect being understood, to slip into a system whereby education is no longer devoted to the development of the moral and intelligence of the child, but is directed to turning out from our schools at the age of eighteen young men and women, who are indeed better fitted to perform the operations, minute and intricate operations, of modern industry, but who are less fitted to stand up for their own rights than of yore? We have seen this system in Germany. I have told the House, and the Committee, how in Germany trade has developed. I do not want to see that in England. A great many Members in this House, and others, are saying that we should have the training of our young people exactly like that of Germany if, after the War, they are to compete in the world markets successfully with German-trained children. If we have the same as Germany, all is up with the British Empire. I would sooner see all up with the British Empire than submit to see my countrymen a race of mechanics—for it really means that… I do not for one moment believe that by changing our habits and adopting a foreign and alien system of education we shall improve our national fibre or capacity for production. Six years ago in this House Lord Haldane introduced this matter, and because it has got hold of the bureaucratic mind of the Education Department we 2101 have it here. It is all the more important, therefore, that we people who do take an interest, not only in education but in what we think is best for our own country, should watch this matter, and check any insidious advance towards altering our principles and adopting foreign principles.
I may be quite entirely beside the point. It may be that these continuation schools do not involve any vocational training. I cannot help that. Until the Minister in charge of the Bill has spoken we cannot assert what continuation schools mean; but I do warn the Committee that these continuation schools involve this new element. It will be a bad day for England if this Bill is passed into law. The Committee heard not long ago the hon. Member for Hexham (Mr. Holt), who is connected with the Blue Funnel Line of steamers, and the hon. Member for Tavistock (Sir J. Spear) speak on this particular point in the Bill. Both of them urged the need for vocational training; that it should be firmly placed in the Bill, one on behalf of the mercantile marine, and the other on behalf of the needs of agriculture. If once we believe it is right to provide vocational training for the children of the working classes, every employing class in the country will be on our track to force these classes on the children, so that they may be put into their own particular brand of industrial life. It would be lamentable even if this training for industry were voluntary, but that it is to be compulsory on young persons from fourteen to eighteen by the education authorities, with specialising in the particular trades, seems to me, in the words of the old Act of Edward III., to be tied to that profession for life. After their years of compulsory training they will be classified and conscripted to any form of industry for the rest of their existence. It is a German type. It is particularly anti-Scottish. It is a step towards slavery, and it is for these reasons that I object to this form of compulsorily educating the children of the working classes for certain industries. I want to be very certain that the Board of Education is not going to introduce in this way into the British educational system a system which we should always deplore.
§ Mr. GOLDSTONE
It seems to me that the hon. and gallaat Member has advanced a very important principle indeed, and he has cleverly managed to get in on 2102 an Amendment which does not really give expression to it. We all desire, I imagine, that the continuation school shall not be vocational, but shall have as the basis of its foundation the formation of character and the building up of the love of freedom of opinion which the hon. and gallant Member has indicated is the product of our public-school system. That is the kind of education which we wish to extend to every type of school in the United Kingdom and in the Empire. As a matter of fact, in order to get education of the kind which the hon. and gallant Member desires, a course of instruction would have to be laid down. It will lie with the Board of Education to say whether the course of instruction laid down is one which will give effect to our national aspirations in regard to education. Therefore, if the President will frankly say to the Committee that any scheme submitted to the Board will not meet with approval if it is aimed at a purely vocational kind of training, he will meet the point of view to which expression has been so ably given by the hon. and gallant Member. I do not think, therefore, we need quibble over the word "instruction." We only want some avowal from the President that no scheme will be approved which is frankly vocational.
§ 10.0 P.M.
I have the less difficulty in giving the undertaking which my hon. and gallant Friend has asked for, inasmuch as that undertaking is written in those very rhetorical phrases at the beginning of this Clause which provoke the animadversions of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Commander Wedgwood). It seems to me his objection is based on a misconception. We do wish to make it clear to the local educational authorities that will be sponsors for the establishment and working of this new type of education throughout the country that we do not desire it to be a vocational kind of education. We do not desire it to be strictly and exclusively technical, but we want it to be in the fullest sense a humane form of education. I think I may leave it at that. My hon. and gallant Friend seems to attach undue importance to the word "instruction." But that word is used very frequently in our educational law without its referring necessarily to technical or vocational education. May I call attention to the wording of the Education Act of 1902, 2103 Clause 22, Sub-section (2), where the word is frequently used, and it is used throughout with reference to elementary education. Elementary education is a broad system of education, artistic and literary, and it is this particular system of education which we desire to have continued during the period of adolescence under the operation of Clause 3.
§ Sir RYLAND ADKINS
I am sure the Committee are at one with my right hon. Friend, and accept fully his statement as to the intentions of the Department. But I am bound to say I have a little doubt in my own mind whether the word "instruction," in this connection, when it has to be interpreted in the future not by my right hon. Friend, but by others, will always be made to bear the wide interpretation he has given it. I fully accept everything he has said, but I am not at all certain that the effect of the word "instruction," when put with the word "elementary," may not mean "vocational." You cannot, of course, have elementary vocational instruction, but when you come to the continuation schools there will be forces in the country which will be tempted to interpret it predominantly in the direction of vocational. I am not quite certain, therefore, that it would not be better to interpolate some such words as "intellectual and practical" before "instruction," and I will ask my right hon. Friend to consider whether that should not be done at a later stage. We want to guard against the temptation on the part of a Government Department and of local authorities to go back on what we consider to be a very wise system.
§ Sir P. MAGNUS
A course of instruction may be a literary course, a scientific course, an art course, or a manual course. There is only one thing it cannot be. It cannot be a vocational course, because a course of instruction necessarily implies that the instruction may be in any one of these things. It is not the intention here—and wisely so—to define exactly the kind of instruction to be given in these continuation schools. Presumably, the continuation school is intended to continue the instruction of the young person and to help fit him for the freedom and responsibilities of adult life. In view of that, the instruction would depend very largely on the local educational authority 2104 who will have to decide what kind of instruction shall be given in these continuation schools. It must be remembered that the object of this Clause is to introduce a new kind of day continuation classes. I may remind the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme that technical instruction has been given with the assent of Parliament for twenty or thirty years in evening and other schools, and I am sure he would not wish it to be understood that young persons preparing for adult life are to be deprived of all technical instruction. There is no one who has been more opposed than I have to the system of continuation classes in schools which has been adopted in Germany. There was a time when these schools were all the fashion. Everybody was speaking in praise of them on public platforms. Many hon. Members of this House lauded them up to the skies, but I have always been opposed to them as giving vocational instruction which I consider was utterly inappropriate to the age and requirements of these children. But there is nothing in this Clause indicating that the instruction shall be vocational. On the contrary, I hope that the instruction given in these continuation schools will be preparatory to that higher vocational education which will be given later on in the higher institutions, and for that reason it ought to partake of the character of secondary education. That, however, is not a question on which I am competent to give a definite answer. It must be left very largely to the local authorities to consider what is the best kind of instruction to be given in these schools. By introducing, as has been suggested, such words as "scientific or artistic," you will not meet the case at all. What we want is to give courses of instruction that will raise all those elements of education which are generally included in the instructions given in secondary schools.
§ Captain Sir C. BATHURST
I have seen with some alarm the trend of this discussion, because I am quite sure that bearing in mind that you are dealing with young people between fourteen and eighteen if you are merely going to carry on a bookish curriculum from the elementary schools which has no bearing on the future of the children, this Bill, with its important continuation classes, is going 2105 to be condemned throughout the whole of our rural areas? I am sorry to say I find myself wholly out of sympathy with the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), and I do so as the result of some considerable experience in a county where we have taken enormous pains to incorporate a certain measure of manual and practical work in the curriculum of both elementary and secondary schools. We have found, and this is confirmed by the whole of the teachers in the county of Wiltshire, that where manual instruction or school gardens have been incorporated into the ordinary literary work of the elementary school it has raised the standard by at least 20 per cent., because it has brought some reality into the education of the child. The child has been able to apply what would otherwise be dull, unmeaning instruction to the actual fact of every day life, and to take a much more intelligent interest in his or her education. I go further and say, that when I hear the hon. and gallant Member talking of chaining the working classes down to vocational instruction in the interests of their employers, in my own experience, not only is manual instruction necessary to complete the education of our young people—it is just as essential for employers as for employed—but no man, however rich he may be, can afford to dispense with the instruction of his hand and his eye as well as his mind if he is going to have a complete education and to justify himself in afterlife. I must say that the most attractive part of this Bill to me is that we are going to incorporate something of a practical character into these continuation classes, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not allow himself to give way in this regard, but will maintain all these elements which will make for the improvement of the character of our young people and make them more efficient citizens in a country which has most serious competition to face after this War.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I agree heartily with the hon. Member who has just sat down, and therefore I am in a certain amount of contradiction, I am sorry to say, with the hon. Member who moved this Motion, with whom I agree on so many points. He knows as well as I do that true education is to fit people for the work in life to which they go. At all events, if education or instruction which is given when you are young unfits you for the work afterwards 2106 it is not true education. I remember an eminent ecclesiastic making an attack—absolutely uncalled for—upon university education at one time, in which he said we were turning out people who were not fitted to carry on the competition and strain of the individual at the bar, in the church, and so forth." What do they do?" he asked. "They play for safety into Government offices." I think the attack was absolutely unfounded, but if it had been true it would have been a great slur on the university education of that day. In the same way, the system which I believe the right hon. Gentleman means to incorporate is very excellent. It will contain a very large proportion of education which will fit every person for the work he is going to do. Let us take an example which the hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Wedgwood) held up to derision. Take a boy of fourteen who means to go into the merchant service. It is vitally important that such persons should be available. The merchant shipping service—I have no interest in it in any way—is one of the most important works of any sort or kind. If you keep that boy until he is eighteen years of age on land attending frequently courses which, according to the hon. and gallant Member, are not to be connected in any way with his future profession—the sea—and you bring him up on land and without any knowledge of sea subjects, is he fitted at eighteen to take up a position in the mercantile marine? If he is, I have no objection to the system. I know little enough about the sea, but from what I am told a boy must, before eighteen years of age, hare some kind of mercantile marine knowledge, of ropes and ships, and so forth. If you leave him till eighteen before he goes on board a vessel he is practically lost to the mercantile marine.
If that is the effect of this Bill it will be thoroughly bad, because it will not provide true education. His bent would lie towards the sea, and he should be encouraged during those years, and, in addition to a varied education, he should be instructed in things which bear on his vocation. Otherwise you have this extraordinary paradox, that your so-called education up to eighteen will have rendered him absolutely unfitted for the work of his life. In the same way a lawyer who knows nothing but law and has no education outside law is a very poor creature; certainly he would not be a very good example of the English system, and would 2107 not make a very good lawyer. Be that as it may, an education which absolutely unfitted him to carry on his profession would be an exceedingly bad education. Speaking for myself, the House knows the way in which one has made one's living, and if my education had prevented my taking that on I do not know how I should, for instance, have got into Parliament. I am illustrating here, and I do hope the hon. Member who moved this will reconsider the position and withdraw his opposition to this part of the Bill bearing in mind that, of course, one wants more than vocational training. I hope that he will not press the President to make this Bill not only an Education Bill, as it should be, but something which will prevent a man being fitted for his vocation, for that may be the result if the right hon. Gentleman does not keep some elasticity in such matters as the seafaring profession and other matters which may come up for consideration on Clause 10. I quite understand the hon. and gallant Gentleman's point, but I venture to hope he will reconsider it and see that the Government are right in saying that vocational education is an essential part of secondary education, but that it ought not to be confined to that alone.
§ Mr. RAFFAN
I think my hon. and gallant Friend has rendered a national service by raising this question. It is as important a question as will be raised in any of our discussions on this Bill, and certainly of greater importance than the mere questions of machinery on which we have been spending most of our time. The Committee should remember what is the position of the young people who are affected by this particular Clause. They are not young people withdrawn from industry but engaged in it. They are engaged at least half-time, and under the scheme of the Government more than half, in a given employment. The country has to decide whether what you propose to do is to keep these young people employed, say, in the mill, for three-quarters of the day, or if they are being trained as printers for three-quarters of the day, and when you withdraw them from that particular trade and give them what is called education, all you do is to take them up to some other place and set up something to give still further instruction as to the best means of carrying on their work as cotton operatives or printers, and all this with a view to keeping their minds still con- 2108 centrated on that particular work. If that system were to be adopted to any great extent, there would be the most widespread dissatisfaction among the workpeople of the country. There will be the most widespread disappointment if this Bill is not the stepping-stone to an educated democracy in this country. There will be disappointment if the intention is not to give to the boys and girls of the working classes opportunities which have hitherto been denied to them and which have only in the past been open to the children of the well-to-do—I refer to opportunities to study literature, science, and art—so that in the years that are to come, however hard the calling may be in which they have to earn their living, they will always be able to have other, higher and better opportunities
This Bill will fail lamentably if these things are not realised. I am sure my hon. and gallant Friend does not attach undue importance to the exact form of this Amendment. I agree with the hon. Member for Middleton (Sir E. Adkins) that it might be well to consider whether in this matter of language it would not be placing the matter beyond doubt if the right hon. Gentleman accepted the Amendment which is now proposed or adopted some such words as those which have been suggested by the hon. Member for Middleton. I suggest that the Clause might read at its opening,With a view to helping young people to prepare for the freedom and responsibilities of adult life,dropping the word "education" and substituting the word "instruction." I know that is an alteration which can only be made on the Report stage, but I suggest that it is worthy of consideration, because there can be no doubt that in many districts there will be widespread pressure brought to bear upon many local authorities to make this education vocational, and almost purely vocational, and so deprive these people of the opportunities which it is desired to give them under the Bill. It ought to be made clear beyond all possible doubt that any proposals of that kind will not be tolerated by the Board of Education. The right hon. Gentleman, after pointing out that the preamble to the Clause expressed the intentions of the Board of Education, said that he was afraid he must leave it there. I do hope one may take it that he does not mean, if any local authority submitted to him a scheme which was purely voca- 2109 tional, that he has already made up Mb mind that he would not reject it absolutely and insist upon the local authority taking another mind more in consonance with the suggestions which have been made to-night. I hope that we may have an assurance from him that he would not merely rely upon the local authority construing the Clause in the manner in which he pointed out, but that the Board of Education would insist that the Clause should be so interpreted. If we could have some assurance to that effect, it would be of some assistance. I would venture further to express the hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not close his mind upon the desirability, before the Bill finally passes from the House, of indicating in actual words what are the intentions of the Board.
With reference to the speech made by the hon. and gallant Member for the Wilton Division (Captain Sir C. Bathurst) and any difference of views between him and my hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Wedgwood), I think that the last thing to which my hon. and gallant Friend would object would be that children should be taught gardening, unless they live in a district where it would be a mockery to teach them gardening because of the lack of any opportunity of them having any garden upon which to exercise their skill. Of course, nature study is just the kind of thing which my hon. and gallant Friend indicates is desirable, whether in town or country, and, if nature study or any instruction of that kind would be helpful to young persons, it is by no means inconsistent with the view expressed by him. I am quite sure that in every district you would find, if you gave the opportunity for intellectual development on the part of young men and young women, that you would do far more in the long run, not merely to make them better citizens, but to enable them to add to the productive energy of the country, than you would by a purely vocational system of training.
§ Mr. R. MACDONALD
My hon. and gallant Friend opposite has seized upon the word "instruction" for the purpose of calling the attention of the Committee to certain very important ideas that centre round continuation schools. Whether his Amendment is one of substance or not, the Committee will excuse him for raising it because the ideas that he has brought before us are of the very greatest import- 2110 ance. If we have any complaint with the Education Department and with my right hon. Friend, it is that he has not told us definitely what is his conception of a continuation school. There have been people, perhaps they have been more busy-bodies than authoritative in their pronouncements, who have raised our suspicions about the functions of these continuation schools. I am quite certain that my right hon. Friend, while he is at the head of the Education Department, will act as an educationist and not merely as a supplier of labour. The Committee will do well to tell the Education Department what its conception of a continuation school is. Personally, I regard the school to be provided under this Clause as being, perhaps, one of the most important parts of our educational system. They will only be that if they are properly devised and if their idea is fundamentally sound. I am not going to join my hon. and gallant Friend who moved this Amendment in saying that in continuation schools there should be no trade instruction. I do not think he means that himself. We must remember that the boys and girls attending a continuation school have already engaged in trade. They are apprentices or they have left the ordinary elementary school, and have gone to earn their own living. The very first conception of a continuation school is that if a boy has gone to be an engineer, or a builder, or a carpenter, he should be taught the science and the art underlying and surrounding his vocation. He should not be taught how to use a plane or a hammer or a chisel—that is not the business of the school—but the school ought to teach him what is the system of knowledge which surrounds the trade in which he is engaged, so that he does not merely become a more efficient producer as a workman, but that his brain may cooperate with his hand in everything that he does in earning his living. In that way his world is widened, and he becomes a free man, carrying out the rhetoric with which the Clause is introduced.
That is not all. The continuation school must also remember that when a boy or girl goes to a factory mine, or workshop, the world is not closed to them. The great tragedy of our life to-day is that the world is closed to so many of them once they enter the factory doors. But there are all sorts of exits through intellectual doors at the other side of the 2111 factory, provided the road is completed between the industrial door by which they enter and the intellectual door through which they may come into a still wider world. Therefore my right hon. Friend ought to give us some sort of guarantee that the instruction—the education, as my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme prefers to call it-shall be of such a nature that the workman or workwoman starting life in a factory may, through their knowledge as a factory workman or workwoman, emerge into a much wider and, perhaps, a more useful world. There is another aspect one has to dwell upon, which is impressed upon me in the most lively way by the old experience of a Scottish university before it was tampered with and made much less efficient, at any rate for life, than it is at present. It is this: Under our old system of Scottish universities our sons who started work as ploughmen or as masons used to work in the summer at their occupations as masons and so on, and then in the winter went to the university. That was an extraordinarily valuable experience which we ought to try—I know we cannot catch hold of it again—to embody as much as possible in our modern system. The fact is that where you have intelligence to start with, that keen curiosity to acquire knowledge, to know things and to get to the bottom of things, the moment a child goes to work that curiosity ought to be enlivened, more than it can be enlivened at school, by the wider knowledge of life. The old advantage of the Scottish university was that you got, first of all, people with keen intelligences. Those intelligences were enlivened by contact in life and were developed in that way. There you have your continuation school. My right hon. Friend has got his continuation school contained in this Clause, and his curriculum in that continuation school must be largely guided by providing this opportunity to the working boy or girl not merely to become more efficient as a workman, but to use the working-class experience, and to enliven the intelligence, and, therefore, it is not enough that these instructions should be technical. They must also be liberal. I am no believer in the modern theory that there is no education except scientific. It is all nonsense. I remember a phrase in a speech by the hon. Baronet (Sir P. Magnus), a good many years ago, when 2112 he asked what use has a ploughman for Latin. A ploughman who can read Latin can enjoy his earnings and is a much better ploughman than the man who has to go to a music hall or a cinematograph theatre. It is only in so far as the heads of our Education Department are going to use these continuation schools for the purpose of giving scientific, artistic, and technical education that your continuation school is going to be that magnificent part of our great educational system that is going to do the benefit that my right hon. Friend asks we should give him a chance of doing.
I was waiting for the pure milk of the word, and I have got it from the hon. Member. He has defined, in words far more eloquent than any which I could command, the true scope and interest of Clause 3 of the Bill. There has been a good deal of interesting discussions with respect to the comparative value of vocational and liberal educations. The hon. Member has taken us into a region where these two terms become identical. He has shown us that a liberal education can be obtained, and often most easily obtained, when it is brought into immediate contact with the facts of practical life in which the scholar is engaged. I do not suppose any of us enjoying a perfect acquaintance with a young midshipman or lieutenant in the Royal Navy has not been impressed by the extraordinary effect which a technical or vocational training, liberally interpreted, intellectually conceived, and energetically pursued, has in the development of the general intelligence, and no one can fail to recognise that often it is the shortest way to a liberal education to provide some element of technical training. My hon. Friend behind, who has such a great knowledge of education in our rural districts, has said, with great truth, that it is a matter of common experience that school gardening sharpens the general intelligence of the pupils, teaches them to express themselves better, leads them to a better knowledge of arithmetic, and quickens and improves every part of their school work; and what is true of the elementary school is true also of the later stages of education. I hope hon. Members will rid themselves of the impression that there is a necessary antagonism between vocational education and liberal education. I quite admit that there may be a very illiberal form of vocational education, and 2113 it must be the business and the duty of the Board of Education to see that no illiberal form of vocational education is practised in our continuation schools; but we should be foolish if we arranged a system which paid no attention at any stage of a four years' course to the occupation in which a boy or a girl is engaged. I do not think that would be a course which would be really worth anything to the working classes of this country. I do not think it would be in the interests of an educated democracy in this country that there should be no relation whatever between the education they receive in the school and the life which they are living. At the same time, I feel very strongly that education should be a great liberating force in life, that it should provide compensation against the sordid monotony which attaches to so much of the industrial life of this country; that it should provide a means of escape to a purer and more lofty atmosphere; and the Board of Education would be failing in its duty, and would betray the purpose for which this Bill has been framed, if it sanctioned a scheme of continuation education in which due regard was not had to those liberal aspects of education to which my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester attaches so much importance.
§ Sir J. YOXALL
I would suggest to my right hon. Friend that he should adopt the phrase "courses of study and instruction." We feel some fear as to the use of the term "instruction." We do not want boys and girls to pass their four hours in a room of the works, wholely engaged in technical instruction of the kind pursued in the works. Instruction carries that meaning. We in this House are under the charm of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, but we have to remember that those who will read this Bill when it becomes an Act will not be under that charm, and they will interpret the terms of the Act according to their own ideas, quite apart from what has been said to-night. Therefore I suggest the use of the term "courses of study and instruction." We want them both. We want some method whereby a young person in a day or evening continuation school can study by himself or herself. We also want some method whereby they can be instructed to some particular purpose. We must also have study. Therefore, I suggest the term "courses of study and instruction."
§ Colonel Sir R. WILLIAMS
I hope my hon. and gallant Friend will withdraw this Amendment. It will be a great pity that it should be negatived, because it has provoked a very interesting discussion. It does not really matter very much to this Clause what the words are, because the words are simply that the education authorities are to provide schools in which courses of instruction are to be given. You cannot put in the word "education" in place of "instruction." You cannot have courses of education in that sense, because the course of education begins when a child is young, and finishes when the education of the child is finished. The term "courses of education" is not as good for many purposes as "courses of instruction." After all, we have had a discussion which will be of great value in the country, but it will make no difference in the Bill, because the whole matter of continuation schools is eventually left to the local authority, and if the Board of Education and the local authority do not agree then it goes to Parliament. We do not want to establish a Prussian system of education, under which the Government should lay down what the continuation schools were to be. We rather want it left to the people themselves, each education authority in its own locality to say what the education should be, with the proviso that the Board of Education is not to have the last word but Parliament is to have the last word. Therefore, I hope that the hon. and gallant Gentleman will withdraw this Amendment, as I think that it would be a great pity to have it negatived in a formal manner.
§ Sir W. PEARCE
We should be careful to avoid the mistake which was made on the occasion of the original institution of technical education, when limiting words were put in which occasioned great difficulty in administration. I remember years ago, when I was a member of the Technical Education Board in London, and it became of obvious utility to establish special schools, for instance, in connection with the printing, coach-building, engineering, and building trades, and the limiting words in the original Act presented great difficulty. I am not advocating a complete system of vocational education. I agree entirely with the view put forward by the President and by the Member for Leicester, but unless we are very careful the views expressed in so admirable a 2115 manner may be rendered impossible by limiting words inserted in the Bill through the endeavours of my hon. Friend.
§ Mr. PETO
The hon. Baronet the Member for Dorset attaches very little importance to the actual words; but I think that the Committee and the President of the Board of Education should know that the Professor of Agriculture at the Armstrong Agricultural College, New-castle-on-Tyne, attaches the very greatest importance to this very question raised by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, and a resolution passed by the North-Eastern Agricultural Federation saysThis meeting is of opinion that in the new Education Bill the system of continuation classes should be more clearly defined.It appears from the Debate, so far as it has proceeded, that there is a certain number of members of the Committee who protest altogether against what they call vocational education. I agree with much that was said by the hon. Member for Leicester about providing labourers for employers. That is not the view we ought to take of this question. We have to consider the interests of the person to be educated. As the hon. Member for Leicester pointed out, every person should have a well-instructed mind, and should have an intellectual avenue opened before his leaving for the factory door to better and higher position. Apart from the question of erecting another loom at the continuation school, for a child working a great part of his time at the loom, I think that any continuation education should be made more interesting, should deal with the fundamental principles underlying the career which the person chooses, and not the actual spinning, not the hammer and the plane of the carpenter; it should have relation to the different trades and industries of the country. In fact, it should be primarily for young people being educated to be more efficient and better able to make their own way in the world. That is only one side of it, I admit—the substitution of "education" for "instruction." Both words mean pretty much the same thing, and in that respect there is nothing in the Amendment at all. I know that the mover of the Amendment wants to be quite sure that education is not going to mean merely enabling employers to get more efficient labourers 2116 and make more money out of the trade. That is at the bottom of the opposition to all these ideas. I beg the Committee to take rather a wider view of the subject Do not let us consider the mere question of more efficient labourers for the employers, but what is of real use to the young persons concerned. If the education is to be of any primary use to them at all, it must have for its aim to make them more intelligent and more efficient for the career chosen and the actual work in which they engage and are to make their living by. If you do that, it will open up that great avenue of which the hon. Member for Leicester spoke. The lad who begins life as a building carpenter later may become an architect or a great building contractor, his technical education having given him knowledge of the fundamental principles of the calling in which he is engaged. That is the type of vocational instruction that I should plead for, not merely occupying so many hours at a school in the evening at the same kind of work on which he has been already employed. The boy who has been doing carpentry work to be given more of that work at the continuation school would be not only an absurdity, but a cruelty to him. It is not a question of providing cheap labour, but of making the persons taught more efficient. Therefore I am glad that we have not had, so far, any assurance or promise from the President of the Board of Education that he is going to limit these continuation classes to nothing but literary, scientific, and linguistic education, and things of that kind. I hope they will give intelligent instruction that will make better citizens, better tradesmen and craftsmen, as well as instruction in the arts and sciences which have no particular relation to their industries. I hope, when we proceed to the more practical parts of the Bill, that the President will be quite firm on this question—that he is going to make this Bill a really useful measure to the people particularly concerned, and is not merely going to fill their heads with a lot of knowledge which they may have no opportunity whatever of utilising.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I feel that we have listened to a lot of speeches this evening on this beautiful combination of technical, vocational, or real education, but one thing which has slipped the attention of everybody here is that the people 2117 who are going to draft these schemes are not people like ourselves, who have no direct interest in the form of education, but are the local educational authorities, who are principally composed of the employing classes. They take a much narrower point of view of it than is ever taken here. These people are faced with a double argument in favour of vocational as opposed to real education. In the first place, they have a direct interest in their own trades. For instance, in the Potteries they would tend naturally to give as much instruction as possible in pottery. However liberal-minded the people maybe, that will be eventually the tendency. It will not only be to the benefit of themselves, but also of the district. They will naturally tend to apply themselves to the vocational side. Then, there will be another argument. The whole of the local Press and everybody will say, "It is not only in the interests of our local trade, but of the Empire, if we are to compete with Germany, that we should teach our young folk to be really good at our local trade. These two things together will inevitably drive the local authority to give more attention to the vocational side of the continuation schools rather than to the purely liberal side. The only influence I can look to for increasing the liberal side of the education is the influence of the teachers themselves. The teachers of this country, fortunately, have a very large influence, and a growing influence, on public opinion, and the teachers are absolutely atone with the hon. Member for Nottingham and myself on this point. They know quite well what real education is. They know what it means to the whole of the future lives of these children, taking them away from the drab surroundings of their normal average existence. They will exercise an influence, strong, but nothing like so strong in the opposite direction to the influence of the local education authority. The only thing we have really to rely on, therefore, in order to give a scheme which will be really liberal in character is the Board of Education itself; and what sort of hope have we from the Board of Education? So long as the right hon. Gentleman is there, I think we shall see a fairly liberal policy carried out, but he is not a permanent fixture at the Board of Education. I understand the Conservative party are running somebody against him in Sheffield—
The hon. and gallant Member has had a fairly large experience, and I must ask him not to abuse his privilege.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I should like to know how I have abused any privileges? I have been called to order twice.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
May I point out that the Board of Education is our only hope for keeping these schemes in order? I am sorry I was, in your opinion, led away from the true point of the Amendment before the Committee, but you will agree that, having sat here ever since half-past three on this wretched Bill, and not being able to get out of the House for ten minutes, it is trying to everyone's temper, and may lead to a certain amount of hastiness at three minutes to eleven. The point I wish to make is this: We have heard speeches here, all based upon an ideal solution, in the interests of the child before anything else. I want to point out to the Committee that it will not be influences of that sort which will lay down the exact lines these schemes will take. Therefore it is all the more important that the Board of Education should make it clear to us what sort of schemes they are prepared to adopt, and whether they will put before us a simple scheme. I asked, on an earlier Amendment, that the Board of Education should prepare a sample, so that we might know exactly what the continuation schools should do and what the ideal curriculum should be. We have had no reply from the President of the Board of Education showing in the least what sort of principles the Board of Education wish to apply to these continuation schools. We are justified, before coming to a decision on an important principle such as this, in knowing what principles they intend to apply to these schools. Personally, I shall be glad to withdraw this Amendment, as I do not attach any importance to particular words, if the Government will accept the words proposed by the learned Gentleman. If not, I am afraid I shall 2119 have to go to a Division, and let the country know that there are a few people who are opposed to this particular new departure.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I did not catch what the right hon. Gentleman said at all, so that I do not know what the remarks were he addressed to the Committee. I would not intervene except for a point I want to put before the Committee that has not been touched upon. It is all very well to assume that these children are in good health, but when they, become ill it is all important that they have a certain amount of knowledge. I might give an instance why I think this matter is very urgent. In dealing with cases of tuberculosis what do we find? We find that men who have not been informed, but have only been instructed, do not get better when they 2120 are under treatment. The women recover because they are accustomed to sewing. The men—that is, boys who have grown older—
§ It being Eleven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.
§ Whereupon, MR. SPEAKER, pursuant to the Order of the House of the 13th February, proposed the Question, "That this House do now adjourn."
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Adjourned accordingly at One minute after Eleven o'clock.