§ (1)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 duty of the local education authority for the purposes of Part II. of the Education Act, 1902, either separately or in co operation 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, 2182 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.
§ Adjourned Debate resumed on Amendment proposed (7th May) —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." —[Colonel Wedgwood.]
§ Question again proposed, "That the word ' instruction' stand part of the Clause."
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Herbert Fisher)
Last night, the hon. Member for Nottingham (Sir J. Yoxall) suggested the words "study and instruction." I have considered that suggestion, and I shall be glad to accept it.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I understand, though I did not hear very clearly what the right hon. Gentleman said, that he is willing to accept the words, "study and instruction," in lieu of "instruction." In that case, although I do not think it rules out vocational instruction, I am willing to withdraw my Amendment in order to raise the question of vocational instruction later on.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Amendment made: After the word "of"["courses of instruction"], insert the word "study."— [Mr. Fisher.]
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
I beg to move, after the word "instruction," to insert the words "other than military training."
I do not attach any importance to the particular form in which words are inserted to deal with this matter, if the President of the Board of Education desires to amend the Bill to meet the case which is to be submitted to him, but this appears to be a convenient opportunity for raising the general question of military training under the new Bill. I am very conscious myself that it is extremely difficult to raise this matter, and to consider it strictly from an educational standpoint, and with a view to the educational system we are going to build up in the days of peace to which we look forward, in the middle of the European War. I hope the Committee will not think me unreasonable if I suggest that this is not a war problem, 2183 and this is not a question, whatever view we take upon it, which can either be defended or condemned by, for instance, the kind of argument that would be used for or against some of the legislation which has been called forth by the War. If the Committee will allow me to do so, I want to put aside all the controversies and the prejudices and the passions that have been called forth by certain of the legislation due to the War, and to consider the proposals on this question in the Bill strictly from the standpoint of the educational system we desire to build up for all time.
What is the situation? The Bill, as drafted, is silent upon this question. From beginning to end of the Bill there is no reference whatever to military drill or military training of any description, but, although this silence is observed in the Bill, the Bill does give power to local authorities, under the schemes that they are to carry out, to institute military drill and military training for the young persons who are compulsorily to attend these continuation schools. I am quite sure that the Committee will assent to this, that whether they desire to Bee military training as a normal feature of our educational system, or whether other members of the Committee object to any such permanent feature of our educational system, we shall all agree that at least such a change must be carried out only after the deliberate decision of this House and of Parliament, and must not be introduced by a side wind, or in a way that is not adequately understood. Let us, therefore, be quite clear with regard to the Bill that it does give power to local education authorities, as a part of the schemes to be set up under the Bill, to compel young persons between the ages of fourteen and eighteen to receive at these compulsory continuation schools military drill and military training generally. The matter has already been raised on the floor of this House since the introduction of the Bill. The President of the Board of Education was asked whether this power was indeed within the Bill, and whether local education authorities under his proposal have this power. The right hon. Gentleman, who will correct me if I do not accurately represent his reply, whilst not denying that local education authorities have the power to put schemes for military training in their education schemes, went on 2184 to point out that the Board of Education itself would be opposed to any such scheme, and, I understood him to say, such schemes would not receive the sanction of the Board of Education. The President confirms what I now state. I feel quite sure, after that statement by the President, now confirmed, that so long as he remains the President of the Board of Education, any such schemes as these which I mention will not receive his assent.
But that is no guarantee whatever against the introduction and the carrying out of any such scheme. I hope that the present head of the Board of Education, if he will allow me to say so, will long continue in that office, whatever changes take place. Yet we have no security that that will be so, and the only guarantee, according to the answer given by the right hon. Gentleman, against such schemes as these is that they should be rejected by the Board of Education, and, as the political character of the Board may change from year to year, there is no permanent guarantee there, and obviously it is a matter which must not be left to the personal opinions of the temporary head of the Board of Education, but must be a matter for the deliberate judgment of this House. Such is the case that, under the Bill, local authorities can suggest schemes for military training, and if they receive the assent of the Board, so far as it is necessary within the Bill for such assent to be given, they can carry out schemes requiring young persons to be compelled to attend continuation schools set up under this Bill, and to undergo as part of that course military training or military drill. The problem, I suggest, is primarily an educational problem. We are not now sitting as a Committee to consider the Army or the Navy Estimates, or to consider how best to recruit the Army or the Navy; we are considering solely the educational needs of this country, and we all realise that the Bill we are now hoping to carry through Parliament will not come into anything like full operation until peace has been re-established. So that the problem we are considering is wholly an educational problem, and is not in any sense a military problem. If it were a military problem a separate Bill should be introduced, a Bill making definite proposals for the establishment of military training for the use of the country.
2185 There are many Members of this House who, in the Debates that took place here before the War broke out, were warmly in favour of compulsory military training for the youth of this country, and many, no doubt, hold those views now even more strongly than they held them before. This is not the Bill in which such views can be incorporated, because this is an Education Bill, looking forward to the days of peace, and is not a Bill concerned with military matters or with the future recruiting of the Army. I suggest, therefore, with very great respect, that it is quite impossible to mix up these two questions, and I am trying to submit arguments to show that the problem should be regarded as an educational problem, and should not be prejudiced by references to the abnormal position in which the world stands to-day. The question will probably come up in an acute form by local education authorities, but perhaps I may say this: First, the right hon. Gentleman has said that he himself will refuse schemes submitted to him which attempt to embody military training. I want to remind the right hon. Gentleman, if the Bill remains in this vague form, of the kind of pressure that will be put upon him, or upon any other President who succeeds him, from certain sections of the public on the ground of physical training. Great emphasis is laid—and is properly laid—in this Bill upon the question of physical training. It is a special charge to the appropriate authorities to make arrangements for physical training in connection with these continuation schools, and it is in connection with the question of physical training that most pressure would be put upon the Board of Education to authorise military training.
We are all familiar with the argument for military drill. It is said to be a very good form of exercise and of physical training for the youth of the country. That argument would be placed before the President from many quarters in order to influence him in allowing the duties that fall upon local educational authorities in this connection to be discharged by means of the formation of military cadet corps, and similar institutions. There is a great divergence of view as to what is best in regard to the physical needs of the youth of the country. I venture to say that there is a very great preponderance of opinion that military training is not—taken on 2186 its merits—the best form of physical training for adolescent years. I am quite sure the President of the Board could quote from matter before him at this moment the evidence of educational experts, who combine with great knowledge of education a great knowledge of the physical needs of youth; that evidence from experts qualified to speak is almost unanimously against what we understand by military drill as being the best, or in many respects even the most desirable, form of physical training for youth. The way has been pointed in many directions as to how physical training should be developed. Take the secondary schools, especially, which have developed games and playing fields, which have made provision for far greater outdoor life for the children and which have developed general sport, swimming—above all, the whole outdoor life which has been developed by such organisations as the Boy Scouts, combining not only the development of intellect but the development of initiative and personality—combined, I say, with all these virtues is the first-class physical training by reason of an active outdoor life. So, let it not be thought, when this problem is being discussed by the devotees of military training, that even if it were desirable in other ways, military training is the best form of physical training for the youth of the country
I have quoted, and I could quote, the evidence of innumerable experts which goes to show that military training is a far lower form of physical training for youth than those other forms of training which I have mentioned. We need not argue the case because it has been demonstrated. There is this other aspect of the question. I have spoken of one aspect of it, because I think it is so supremely important, and because the argument in connection with this matter deals generally with this subject of physical training. I want to refer to the general question of the intellectual and moral training of the youth of the nation. I should like to remind the President of the words of one authority. I have no doubt that he knows that authority well. During the War, at a recent meeting of the British Association, the subject of the institution of compulsory military training was considered by one of the bodies of that association. I think the right hon. Gentleman will remember the very remarkable speech that was delivered by 2187 a man having unrivalled experience—I do not want to put the case too high, but by a man who stands very high indeed in the educational world, and who has had almost unique educational experience. I refer to the head master of Manchester Grammar School. That gentleman, speaking with the authority of his life's work behind him, referred to the great importance of the influence upon boys of a rigid system of military training whilst they were in their adolescent years. He used arguments which I wish to repeat in this House. He said that the machine-like discipline—I am not quoting his exact words, but the spirit of them—of the German people, and those qualities that we must condemn, had been implanted in the German people, in part, by their system of military training beginning whilst they are yet immature boys. Surely we shall be all agreed upon the moral and intellectual results which have followed, at least in certain modern nations, upon the universal application of military training to the youth of the country. I do not think that we want, in the planning out of our educational system for days of peace, in providing a great basis upon which we can build, and to slowly get to something approaching a perfect educational system—I say I do not think we want to introduce elements which have led to such lamentable results in the case of other nations, and the results of which we are always deploring.
I think it will be generally accepted that we want in education, above all, to free ourselves from the spirit of the drill sergeant in the schools. We want, above all, to protect the individuality of the boys who are entrusted to the care of our schools. We want to give them the very best advantages we can; to give them every opportunity for development in a physically healthy way. We want also to enable them to develop morally, mentally, intellectually in an equally healthy way I therefore appeal to the right hon. Gentleman representing the Government to see that words are introduced into the. Bill—I do not mind in what form, or at what point—which will protect the public from reactionary schemes of this kind. By reactionary schemes, I mean schemes which would impose compulsory physical or compulsory military training of any kind upon the youth of the nation. It may be that there is—or will be—a great majority 2188 in Parliament, who desire when this War is over to introduce something approaching a form of Conscription.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
The right hon. Baronet says that he wishes to introduce universal service when the War is over. If that be so, and if the right hon. Gentleman is in a majority, then the matter ought to be introduced in clear terms, and in the form of a Bill. It ought not to be left to local educational authorities to have the power, owing to the vagueness of this Education Bill, to introduce any such schemes. The policy, be it good or bad—and I believe it to be an evil one—is one that ought to receive in an adequate way the assent of Parliament. There should be no attempt to introduce it by a side wind. Let me point out the extraordinary position that would arise if the Bill goes forth in its present form, and local education authorities were able to persuade the President of the Board of Education to sanction schemes of military training for these continuation classes. Under the law as it now stands, no compulsory military training of any kind can be imposed upon children attending the elementary schools or upon children attending the secondary schools. If, therefore, the Bill went through, and the provision of military schemes followed, we should be in the anomalous position of requiring children who were compelled to attend continuation classes from the age of fourteen to eighteen to receive compulsory military drill and military training, whereas the children in the elementary schools, and in the secondary schools, would be entirely protected against any such compulsion. The position then—which is another illustration of allowing such schemes to be introduced because of the vagueness or indefiniteness of this Bill—would be to create a wholly anomalous state of affairs. I need hardly say that I am not urging this Amendment because of any anomaly that would be created. I have endeavoured to set forth the reasons why some change in the wording of the Bill is necessary on the general grounds of principle, and I beg to move.
§ Mr. FISHER
The hon. Gentleman who has moved this Amendment has observed, with justice, that there is no allusion to military instruction or military training in the text of the Bill. He, of course, divined the reason for its omission. This Bill is an Education Bill, 2189 and is not a Bill intended to promote a change or development in the military system of the country. I agree with the hon. Gentleman in thinking that it would be entirely inappropriate to take advantage of an Education Bill to introduce such a radical alteration in our scheme of education as the introduction of compulsory military training in the schools. The issue which we are discussing at this point is a comparatively narrow issue. It is the question as to whether or not military training should be, in terms, excluded from the continuation classes which are designed in the Bill. So far as I know the mind of the War Office, there is no desire whatever to see military training included in the continued education given to the young people of this country. The interest of the War Office is that young people, that is boys when they have reached the military age of eighteen, should be in a fit physical condition. It is only after they have reached the age of eighteen that formal military instruction under the War Office begins. Again, there is this difficulty as to the teaching—it is intended for girls as well as for boys. It is only an element in the very small modicum of instruction extending over 320 hours per year, and it would be quite impracticable to introduce anything like formal military training in the small amount of time available. The Board of Education has had by this time a long experience of physical training. We have had physical training in our elementary schools. We have established organisers of physical training to supervise the physical training in different areas, and the Board has a very clear policy with respect to physical training, and a very definite idea of the type which it is most desirable on hygienic and physical grounds to encourage. Consequently the Board has no intention of introducing on Clause 3 compulsory military training into our schools, and that being so I see very little reason why military training should be in terms excluded.
§ Mr. FISHER
No military training could be enforced against the view of the Board of Education. There is one very strong reason why a local education authority should not attempt to enforce military training in a continuation class, 2190 and that reason is that the local education authority to attempt to embark upon such a course would be confronted with the awkward phenomena of the conscientious objector, and that local education authority would be very brave if it brought upon itself all the numerous difficulties which the presence of that form of conscience involves in its train. I can therefore give my hon. Friend the very satisfactory assurance that there is no desire on the part of the Government to introduce compulsory military training into our continuation classes, and that the policy of the Board of Education will be directed towards the development of physical training on the principles which have governed the action of the Board in this matter in respect of elementary education, and on principles which are very widely adopted in this country both by the naval and military authorities.
§ Mr. ADAMSON
I regret very much that the right hon. Gentleman is not in favour of accepting an Amendment on the lines suggested by the hon. Member who has just made this proposal, or on the lines suggested by my right hon. Friend and myself in an Amendment further down on the Order Paper. I think the Amendment we propose is better to accomplish the object in view than the one moved by the hon. Member for Mid-Lanark (Mr. Whitehouse). At the same time, I may point out that the idea and the principle of this Amendment has the wholehearted support of organised Labour in this country. We believe in providing for physical training in this Bill with the purpose in view of developing the physique of the children, and thereby building up a strong, healthy race, which, because of being strong and healthy, will be better able to absorb the education which is provided for them in this Bill. At the same time, we are afraid that this provision in the Bill will be used in the coming days by the militarists for the purpose of giving military training. It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to say that he has no intention that it should be used in that manner or that the Board of Education has no such intention, or that it is not the policy of the War Office that it should be used in such a manner. Ministers of Education change, and we have no guarantee that future Ministers of Education or future War Ministers may not change their ideas, and consequently we desire that provision should be put in the Bill to prevent them 2191 carrying out such a policy. As has already been very well pointed out, this is an Education Bill, and ought to be kept as such. If the question of military training is to be considered in this country in the future, it should be considered in the terms of a Bill which specifically provides for such a thing. I hope this will not be necessary in the future. I hope that as a result of the present struggle in which we are engaged there will be no necessity for such a thing, but if such be the case and we are required to consider questions of military training, it should be done in the terms of a Bill brought in for the specific purpose of dealing with such a change. I therefore hope that my right hon. Friend will see his way to agree to one or other of the Amendments down on the Paper dealing with this matter. Naturally my own preference is for the Amendment in the name of my hon. Friend and myself, but I hope one or other of these Amendments will be inserted, because we feel that only by the insertion of such a provision shall we get any guarantee in the future that the militarist party will be prevented from using the Education Bill for the purpose of imposing military training on the youth of the country.
§ Sir GEORGE GREENWOOD
This Bill puts a duty on local 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 in physical training are provided without fees." The hon. Member for Lanarkshire moves the insertion of the words "other than military instruction."
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
I have moved my Amendment in a slightly different form, and it now reads "other than military training."
§ Sir G. GREENWOOD
I think we can very well debate the whole question on this Amendment. There is no hon. Member of this House who is more entirely opposed to militarism than I am. I am a pacifist—so great a pacifist that I would go on fighting this War until I have obtained a satisfactory and permanent peace. If there is militarism in this country—and I am afraid after four years of war that is militarism—then I hope when peace comes all that will be finally swept away. But really I want to 2192 know what the hon. Member means exactly by "military training." Who is to say what is military training? Swedish exercises may be military training. I understood the hon. Member to approve of the Boy Scouts, and that is a distinct form of military training. The hon. Member says that he does not want to see the establishment of a rigid system of military training in the continuation schools.
None of us want to see a rigid system of military training. What I want to know is whether the hon. Member objects to all drill? Does he object to boys between fourteen and eighteen being taught their drill? To imagine that the teaching of drill to boys between fourteen and eighteen years of age is going to turn them all into little Prussians thirsting for the blood of their fellow-creatures seems to me the most absurd proposition that can be put forward. I maintain that a certain amount of drill—I do not know whether it is military drill—is a very good thing for boys, but if the principle of this Amendment was carried out, you would have to put down all the Volunteers in our great public schools, because that is military drill. When I last went to my old school at Eton, which has done so magnificently and splendidly in this War, I was struck by seeing the number of boys slouching about, and if they had military drill it would cure them of that, and it would be a good thing for them in after life.
I do not know who is to say what constitutes military drill, or what is the real definition of military instruction. I do not know whether Swedish instruction might not be looked upon as being military. The hon. Member for Mid-Lanark said he wanted this question to be discussed not from the point of view of the present War. I am not discussing it from that point of view, and I say that in time of peace it is a very excellent thing that boys between fourteen and eighteen should be taught their drill, and I am very glad to hear that the President of the Board of Education will not accept this Amendment, and I hope he will continue in that frame of mind.
§ Colonel GREIG
I think the hon. Member who has just spoken has touched the spot. Those who have listened to the last few speeches must have been somewhat surprised at the attitude taken up by the Leader of the Labour party, and one of 2193 my colleagues from Scotland. They want a hard and fast rigid rule in this country that nothing in the form of military drill shall be introduced into our schools, and why? Because they are afraid it will be used for the purpose of giving military training. How can it be so used assuming the words are not in? First of all you have to convince the local education authority that such a scheme will be a good thing. That is a scheme comprising extreme military training. I am accepting for the moment the view of hon. Members who are supporting this Amendment that it means military training of an extreme and exaggerated type. The local education authority has first of all to be persuaded that some sort of training of that kind should be inserted in the scheme.
The attitude which has been taken up by hon. Members who have spoken shows considerable distrust of the local education authorities, and that is hardly consistent with their usual democratic ideas. Not only has a scheme to be passed by the local authority, but it has to be sanctioned by the President of the Board of Education. To what is the Board of Education subject? It is subject to the control of Parliament, and it is showing a considerable distrust of any Parliament in the future to say that you must have in this Statute a rigid rule which cannot be altered except by a fresh Act of Parliament, rather than trusting the Parliaments of the future. Apart from that, what is the actual military training which the hon. Member has in mind? He has never said what he means by it. Anybody connected with the development of military training during the course of this War must know, in the first place, that instead of the training becoming of a rigid military character it is mainly physical training. If you go down to the camps you will find that in the early part of their training the men are taught to play games; they do physical exercises and Swedish drill which is not of a distinctly military type. If these words are put into the Bill you will have hon. Members suggesting that nothing else should be permitted in the schools but what an hon. colleague of mine suggested just now as likely to commend itself to the hon. Member for Lanarkshire and his Friends—that is, musical chairs and hunt the-slipper. Would the hon. Members exclude camp life from the training of young people?
§ Colonel GREIG
The most important part of the training in camp is best exemplified in its effects by what appeared in the papers the other day showing how a young Boy Scout took in charge two German prisoners, and when he handed them over to the authorities stood at the salute. That is the sort of thing we must have if we are to beat our enemies. You must have the really effective thing in training, namely, discipline; and that is what we lack to-day. We must put our feet down and have discipline in a good form; the lack of it will only be encouraged by accepting this Amendment.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
Listening to the very interesting speech of my hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Greig), I was amazed at his innocence. He seems to assume that whatever is done by the Army at the present moment is militant; and if the Army is being trained by Swedish drill methods, therefore those methods must be military, and must be excluded by the Board of Education if my hon. Friend's Amendment be embodied in this Bill. I am quite sure that after a moment's reflection my hon. and gallant Friend will see that that is exceedingly bad logic. One might just as well say when you go down to a military camp and sec the men eating their breakfast that that, too, is militarising physical instruction. A number of people are in favour of what is, strictly speaking, military drill in schools, and the question is, are those who belong to that school of thought right or wrong? So far as drill is concerned, so far as exercises and physical training are concerned, we stand on common ground. It is the type of exercise we are at present using which is being discussed here on my hon. Friend's Amendment. Should military training be a part of education? We say it should not. I do not know whether my hon. and gallant Friend agrees or disagrees with that. He began his speech by saying "no" and he finished by saying "yes."
§ Mr. MACDONALD
It is not necessarily so; it is the way in which it is imparted that decides that point. My hon. Friend must be very well acquainted with certain pronouncements made by educationists of this country, and if he has not come 2195 across it I would like to commend to him a. book by a director of educational instruction, one of the founders of the Educational League, Mr. Brockington, which has recently been published, and which deals with military drill. There is no doubt in this writer's mind as to what is military drill. The book is in favour of military drill, and it is a perfectly rational proposition for those who are in favour of it.
§ Mr. MACDONALD
Does my hon. Friend suggest that that book is not in favour of military drill? It is perfectly plain that it is; it actually includes instruction how to conduct the bayonet exercise. I say that those in favour of military drill have a very rational proposition to defend. There is not the least doubt that there is a difference between the physical drill defended by my hon. Friend opposite and the military drill spoken of by educationists like Mr. Brockington and the school to which he belongs.
§ Mr. MACDONALD
That will be the duty of the Board of Education. What is the position? At the present moment the Board of Education have to decide on a vague phrase "physical drill," and that means if my right hon. Friend should leave the Board of Education—may I apologise to him for using this argument—then we shall have to get a guarantee from his successor as to whether he agrees with him or not, because, so far as the law is concerned, my right hon. Friend is empowered to say a certain drill is not military drill, while his successor will be equally empowered to declare that it is military drill. We want, therefore, to insert in the Bill some form of words which will warn the Board of Education that military drill is not to be encouraged. We cannot define exactly what is military drill. The Board of Education will always have to define it, if this Amendment is put into the Bill. The difficulty with the Bill as at present drafted is that the Board of Education will have no guidance from the House of Commons as to what the physical drill is to be, but, if our Amendment is agreed to, then the Board of Education will have the guidance of this House that military drill shall not be included in the curriculum.
§ Mr. MACDONALD
I am sure my hon. Friend appreciates the difference between the two things. I quite admit that it is not an easy thing to stand up in this House and, in an elaborately detailed way, define what military drill or training is. It is like a great many other things in life; there is a very broad margin, a large piece of No Man's Land. The only effect of this Amendment is to give guidance to the Board of Education that there are certain features of military drill which are not to be adopted. Take the last sentence of my hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Greig), in which he spoke of discipline. What did he mean by that?
§ Mr. MACDONALD
Does the hon. and gallant Member mean military discipline—discipline imposed by orders from the Government, discipline imposed upon a man until it becomes a mechanical response to an order? That is not my conception of discipline
§ Mr. MACDONALD
Then I think the hon. and gallant Gentleman rather misrepresented himself in what he said. The military conception of discipline is undoubtedly the discipline of the machine; my conception is discipline of the human mind. The military conception of discipline is something imposed, not by an educational authority but by a superior authority, which ultimately rests upon force. My conception of discipline which comes from educational drill is that discipline which is implanted in the mind of the educated individual, so that he himself, in response to his own impulses, does not necessarily deliver his prisoners at the salute but delivers them feeling that he has done his duty to the State and the right thing by himself. If hon. Members will turn to certain curriculum suggested by educationists like Mr. Brockington, they will find that there is a type of syllabus which does impose discipline in this mechanical way. I am opposed, and my Friends around me are opposed, to that type; and if the Board of Education declare that it, too, is opposed to it, we want this Committee to lay down Instructions in this Bill so that the Board may 2197 remain opposed to it. We want to make it impossible for the Board of Education, whoever may be at the head of it and whatever his own sentiments may be, to depart from that true educational policy and to adopt a militarising policy instead. There is this other point: Military instruction or military drill—it does not much matter which expression is used—does impose on the physique of children under eighteen a training which is physiologically improper. Take, again, the book to which I have referred. Anyone who understands physiology must come to the conclusion that certain exercises recommended in that book put too great a strain upon the physiology of boys and young persons between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. There is no soldier, no man of intelligence and brain, who wants anybody to interfere with military training until youth has arrived at the age of eighteen years. What is wanted is a well-developed body as a basis for the drill; you want not only a well-developed body, but a well-developed mind.
My hon. and gallant Friend has referred to the experience of this War. What is that experience? It is that the soldier who simply obeys orders mechanically is not nearly such a good man as the one who has brains and understands the orders given him and who, while acting under orders, can at the same time, with his intelligence fully alive all the time, obey those orders. We have to lay a foundation for this. Supposing it is necessary after the War to accept compulsory military service. The foundation of compulsory military service, if it is to be efficient, is not mechanical obedience, but the discipline of a live mind and sound body; and any educational authority ought to recognise no system of education—no system of educating the mind and training the body—except that. That is a distinct division between the two ideas—the educational method of imposing discipline and the military method of doing so. But that is not all. My hon. and gallant Friend drew a distinction between this country and Germany. Is he aware that it is the German military training which has developed such abominable features as have been revealed during the last three or four years of war? Is he aware that it began necessarily in this kind of style, and that there was in the first instance no question of the open provision of this method of 2198 training. It was simply begun in exactly the way that my hon. and gallant Friend ended his speech—discipline, obedience to orders, and so on. The moment you start with that on you have to go to the logical and natural conclusions, and the logical and natural conclusions of the latter part of my hon. and gallant Friend's speech is the German discipline, the German mentality, the German Army of today. If he had been a German in 1869 he would have shaken his head at anyone saying that to him and holding this view. To-day, if he were a German, he would have to accept the logical conclusion and say, "It is very sad, but national necessity imposes upon me the result which I so much deplore." Finally, there is a tremendously keen discussion going on in Germany at the present moment on this very point. Every educational journal in Germany, so I am told by one who is following them, is discussing this question. The question of the military training of youths has been brought before various educational authorities in Germany, and the extraordinary result of this is that those authorities are all turning it down. They are not going to have it, and only just the other day I am told that an educational authority at Hamburg discussed the question of the continued military training of German school youths up to seventeen or eighteen, I think, and they were wise enough to turn the whole thing down. What I would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to do is this. He is with us in intention, he is with us in spirit, and he gives us a pledge that so long as he remains at the Board of Education our intention in moving this Amendment will be carried out as though the Amendment had been embodied in the Bill. What is his objection to embodying the Amendment in the Bill? He must see it is his duty to protect this country against the deterioration of educational ideas. He must see that putting in a prohibition of military training still leaves the application and definition in the hands of the Board of Education, and that the only thing that happens as the result of accepting this Amendment is to give the country some guarantee that its educational system is not going to deteriorate on German lines.
§ Sir GEORGE REID
I have listened to this Debate with great interest, because thirty or forty years ago I was Minister of Education in a distant part of His 2199 Majesty's Dominions, and had a great deal to do with the question of education and with the subjects and ideas which have been before this Committee to-day. I think the President of the Board has met my hon. Friend opposite in a way which exposes him, perhaps, to very serious complaint in another direction. The phrase "military training" in an Act of Parliament creates endless disputes. It is such a vague expression. Incidentally, every form of education tends to educate the mind for something or other in life, and one of the great defects, if I may say so with great respect, of English education from the elementary schools up to the great universities is that they have not thought sufficiently of the incidental training of the human mind for the serious occupations of life. The President of the Board is making a new departure which has excited my lively admiration, because he sees that the education of this country must be made to bear more on the every-day life and national interests. I can understand a conscientious objector who objects to fighting for his country objecting to anybody else helping to fight for his country, and if I thought any educational system included any sort of training that would bring about the Prussian system, I am sure I should be just as warm as the hon. Members opposite in opposing it. We have had experience in Australia of all these things for the last thirty or forty years. Every boy in every elementary school goes through a large amount of elementary drill. They march into school and engage in exercises in the playground, and it is the most agreeable form of compulsory military training of which one can conceive, because the boys are delighted to be half-an-hour out of school.
§ Sir G. REID
From the age of fourteen every young man has to learn how to help to defend his country. It has been, I think, one of the causes of this horrible War, to decide whether to end militarism or whether militarism is to end us, that young England suddenly called upon to fight in the trenches never had the slightest glimmering of training in some of the secondary schools of England incidentally to fit them for their duty in defence of the country. The Australian boys have had no more prejudice against 2200 drill. They enjoy it, and when the young Australian was called upon to fight for his country and to go to the Dardanelles the fact that from his earliest school-days up to the moment he went out he had obtained incidentally some sort of military drill helped to make him the brilliant success that he was. So far as I am concerned, I think with the President of the Board that on that one point it is impossible to introduce an expression so open to controversy, and that he is absolutely correct in the position he has taken up. My hope, which is just as strong as that of my hon. Friends opposite, is that we will have a perpetual peace, but we will never be sure of a perpetual peace until the youngsters of England, Scotland, and Ireland too, are so trained that they are ready and fit to fight for their country if necessary.
§ Sir E. JONES
I think the discussion has gone to an extent that has almost become unreal, and I hope even now that the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Macdonald) will see that while his emphasis upon the necessity for avoiding danger is something with which we all sympathise and is not wasted, nevertheless the situation, so far as the practical point of this Bill is concerned, is not so alarming as he seems to think. The position is this. The Board of Education and certain local authorities have made within the last few years in the elementary schools a very great and commendable push in regard to this question of physical training. One of the finest achievements of the Board of Education in its whole history has been the excellent way in which it has succeeded in the last few years in taking physical training up out of the gutter and from being a spasmodic thing and causing it to become a big national thing, linking it up with the medical inspection of schools. The whole thing has been put on a most excellent basis, and I am quite certain that if the two hon. Members opposite who feel so keenly in this matter were to get hold of the Regulation and Instructions of the Board of Education, relating as they do now to girls and boys, to the medical inspectors of schools they would find nothing in them applied to elementary schools to which they could possibly take any exception. I challenge anyone now to get up at this moment and point to any example in any school of this country in which they could take any objection to the physical training being conducted in the 2201 elementary schools. I hope I am not causing any offence, but those hon. Members are talking entirely in the abstract so far as the present instructions of the Board of Education in the elementary schools are concerned.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
The instructions and the reports which are issued by Dr. Newman are, of course, instructions which are wholly educational and which we desire to see embodied in the educational system, and they expressly and in terms repudiate military training.
§ Sir E. JONES
Of course they do; that is what I have said. There is nothing to complain of in the present practice of the Board of Education or the way in which they have carried out physical training in the elementary schools up to the present time, and the hon. Gentleman, by his interjection, confirms that. What are we doing under Clause 3? We are simply saying that the same instructions under the same authorities, the same Board of Education, and the same medical officers shall be continued in the case of boys from fourteen to eighteen years of age. That is all that has been said in this Bill. You are taking the same powers in this Bill regarding the children over fourteen as you are now exercising for children under fourteen, and the opposition, therefore, is, as I say, quite abstract opposition.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
The Clause, so far from doing what the hon. Gentleman says, imposes on the local education authorities the duty of themselves formulating schemes which are eventually submitted.
§ Sir E. JONES
That duty is imposed upon them in regard to every elementary school by the regulations of the Board of Education at the present time, and has been for some few years. There, again, I repeat, you are simply taking powers in this Bill to continue for the boys and girls over fourteen what you are doing now for those up to fourteen. That is all you are doing. The President of the Board of Education will correct me if I am wrong. The crux of this matter is this: It is, after all, a plain, practical point. I agree that to introduce broad words like this is to make the whole thing impossible and farcical. Any stray objector could get up and say that a particular teacher was touching military training. You could not conduct a class at all. If you put this into the Bill any crank, or any fool, can stop at any moment the teachers marshalling their school in the morning. You cannot 2202 tell them to "right turn" or to "halt" if you are to give these words a strict interpretation. You may not intend to do it any more than the President by his broad words of "physical training" intends to do any of the alarming things that have been outlined here to-day. In addition, I would like to ask the hon. Gentleman opposite whether they are going to forbid fire drill in the schools? They are bound to do so according to the line they are taking. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] How can you arrange a fire drill without a word of command and everybody having to answer to it? You cannot marshal them or get them there without asking them to do it. We must really look at the practical side of this question, and not merely at a German bogey. The thing cannot possibly be done. Any teacher with a class going to sleep has suddenly for five or six minutes to get them up and make them move their arms about, or do something of the kind. That is mass discipline—command, dragooning them. That is what is objected to. I venture to submit that it is far too dangerous to put in wide limiting words of this character.
I will conclude by saying that the guarantee of the hon. Member for Leicester as to the future physical training in the schools of this kind is, after all, in the teachers of the country. There is far too much assumption in this House, and in previous Debates I have made it my business to point it out, that you can guarantee the instruction of your children by introducing limiting words in one direction or the other into an Act of Parliament. The method the teacher in charge of this drill and physical training adopts is—all and everything. It is the beginning and the end, and, after all, we must confide in the teachers of the country. They will see to it that the schools are not converted into military institutions. The teachers are not going to be humbugged by the War Office. I am quite sure that the hon. Member for Nottingham (Sir J. Yoxall) will agree with me that in this matter we must confide in the teachers, and trust to them more than to anything. When in addition you have the practice which has now been established for several years in our elementary schools, and which is being extended to the continuation schools, I cannot see that all these fears are justified, and I do see that the Amendment is utterly impossible and exceedingly dangerous to the conduct of any school in the country.
I cannot lay claim to the educational experience of my hon. Friend opposite (Sir E. Jones), but I think the extravagance of his speech is its own answer. We are asking the President of the Board of Education to put in words to prevent the prostitution of continuation schools for military objects. We agree entirely with the physical education given in the elementary schools. No objection has been taken to it. It is carefully thought out on scientific methods, with the object of improving the physique of the children. Military drill is surely directed to preparing the minds as well as the bodies of boys between the ages of fourteen and eighteen with the idea of qualifying them as soldiers. We hope that we are on the eve of an era of peace. We are fighting a military nation, and we want to destroy the military spirit. Are we going to allow local authorities, unless overborne by the Board of Education, to accustom children at the age of fourteen to the idea that they can only become efficient if they become efficient killers? Military drill is directed to accustoming boys to the idea of international hatred and to the idea that they must be prepared and must qualify themselves to destroy the lives of their fellows. The age of eighteen is quite early enough for that kind of teaching. The efficiency of military drill has been denounced by educational authorities, but I did not expect to hear from the hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir G. Greenwood) such justification for their statements as he gave just now. Unlike some of us, he had the good fortune to pass through Eton. Sometime ago, when he was there, he was saddened by the slouching appearance of a number of the boys. Although they have so brilliantly distinguished themselves in this War, and although they have subjected themselves to this particular form of military drill, yet they slouch.
§ Sir G. GREENWOOD
It was only a minority who probably had not been in the Volunteers. May I ask my hon. Friend if he is really going to object to any form of drill whatever which can be described as military drill in our schools?
I am not going to object to any form of rational drill which is calculated to improve and extend the physical powers of our children.
May I explain why we are taking this stand now? There is an agitation in different parts of the country for the introduction of military drill into our elementary schools. There was a great meeting at the Mansion House, presided over by the Lord Mayor, at which Lord Cheylesmore advocated compulsory military drill, and the meeting voted upon it. In consequence of the War in which we are engaged, people's minds are not now normal—it is quite understandable, though we hope sometime that they will become so—and all kinds of demands for this kind of thing are arising in different parts of the country. Here you have an education authority complaining that some of their teachers refuse to give military instruction. They say that only thirty refuse to co-operate, whereas those who are going to help in giving this military instruction which is to prepare the minds of children with, the idea that they are to become soldiers number hundreds. Something has been said about the nature of this military training. My hon. Friend the Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald) referred to a book which has been published dealing with this subject. Here are one or two things which it is suggested should be taught to the boys:Bayonet practice: This may be carried on as physical drill without bayonets fixed.Elsewhere the author speaks of the duty of teaching applied science, and says it provides a sure foundation for instruction in the use of machine-guns, bombs, hand grenades, or whatever weapon human ingenuity may conceive. That is the kind of thing that you do not want put in the minds of boys of fourteen. This is published by a Director of Education under a county education authority, and it is widely circulated among other education authorities. Surely it is not the time, when we claim that our aim is to make an end of war and when we say that we hope to secure such a peace as will make a return of war practically impossible, to place in the hands of local authorities the power to impose upon students of fourteen years and upwards in continuation schools this particular form of education. The hours will be short enough in any case, and they might be devoted to much more useful purposes than this. Our only safeguard against it is the character of the present holder of the office of President of the Board of Education. If he were going to be President perpetually, I 2205 should not have any desire to put in this Amendment, but he will not always be President. He may not be President next week. Nobody knows when this Government will come to an end, and he may be succeeded by a militarist who would give every sympathetic consideration to any scheme submitted to him by the local education authority. We want to ensure against the militarising of the minds of these boys when they go to these continuation schools, and we say that eighteen is quite early enough at which to take possession of their bodies and instruct them in this particular way. I make no complaint of the attitude of the President on this question, and for his ideas on education I have the greatest possible admiration, but I hope he will respond to our appeal and make provision against the introduction of any military element in the instruction given in these schools, leaving that to a later stage in the life of the boy, in the hope that when this War is over, the necessity will never arise.
§ Sir J. YOXALL
It might facilitate the smooth passing of this Bill into law if the right hon. Gentleman, having said that he will not accept the Amendment which expressly precludes military teaching in schools, would also say that he would not accept the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Peto), which expressly provides for military teaching in schools. If we could balance the one Amendment against the other, the mind of the Committee probably would be set at rest.
§ Sir J. YOXALL
It would be quite as awkward to place the words of the first Amendment in the Bill on the one hand as it would be to place the words of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Devizes on the other hand, and I would submit two or three reasons for leaving the question as it stands without any Amendment on the point at all. If you put in an Amendment expressly saying that there shall be no military instruction in the schools you may invite the opposition of those who are in favour of military instruction; and, on the other hand, if you put in an Amendment expressly saying that there shall be military instruction, you may invite the opposition of those who are opposed to military instruction. In either case you would probably have a 2206 stormy passage for the Bill, and you might have it bandied about from one House to the other on this very question. If you make no reference in the Bill to the subject at all, you will probably ensure the passage of the Bill into a safe harbour at the end. I would like to, say one or two words with reference to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for St. George's (Sir G. Reid), whom we are all glad to see amongst us once more. He did not quite do justice to the spirit of the children in the schools of this country. It is true that in the elementary schools, in particular, and in some of the secondary schools there have been no Cadet Corps in the past; but to that accusation he added that there was no discipline in those schools, and that is a charge which I feel bound, on behalf of the schools, to repudiate. Why was it, when the youth of this country were called upon in 1914 and they went up in their millions, and when they were called up under the Derby scheme and by compulsion, that they quickly obtained the elements of drill and qualified themselves for military service with a rapidity never seen before in the military history of the whole world? It was because there had been this discipline and drill and all those forms of hard drill and playground marching, and so forth, to which my hon. Friend opposite (Sir E. Jones) has referred. But it was flexible, voluntary, happy, acquiescent. The duties of life and the duties of citizenship had been recognised in all these schools, and the result was seen in the gallant bearing of our men in the Armies in every field. Therefore I am bound to repudiate the suggestion which came from the hon. Member for one of the Divisions of Scotland that there had been a lack of discipline, and also the suggestion, which came later, that there had been no preparation and that the want of preparation in the schools of this country had been one of the causes of the War.
This is not the first occasion on which this subject has been discussed. The minds of some of us go back to the time when a Vice-President of the Committee of the Council, Sir John Gorst, because he thought the spirit of the country demanded this kind of thing, brought into the elementary schools a form of training called military training and drill. It was compiled by military men from the Soldiers' Red Book, and it was brought into the schools under happy auspices, with the authority of the Board of Educa- 2207 tion. A distinguished officer was placed in charge of the whole concern, and was directed to inspect. It was tried in every school, and it was expelled from the schools, not because of any anti-military wave of opinion—the country was enjoying a prolonged period of peace—but because it was discovered that this military drill did not give the physical training that the children required. It was discovered that methods that might be suitable to men of nineteen, twenty, and twenty-one on the barrack parade ground were totally unfitted to the work in the schools and the age of the children. My hon. Friend (Sir G. Greenwood) referred to what he saw at Eton not long ago. I myself saw marching through the streets of Winchester the other day the whole of the cadets of the officers training corps, who were youths of eighteen and nineteen years of age, tall, upstanding, bearing the burden of their long march and the weight of their equipment very well. My hon. Friend spoke of lads of thirteen and fourteen stooping, bowing, worn out, and breaking down. All lads of from thirteen to sixteen in any of these schools will suffer in that way. The great objection I have to this Amendment and the equally severe objection I have to the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Peto) is that neither gives the physical training that is required. It will disgust the children with the whole thing, it will not make them into soldiers later on, and it will not develop in them discipline and those other qualities which these proposals are intended to do.
§ Sir R. ADKINS
I desire to support with the utmost heartiness the whole of the argument which has been addressed to the Committee by the hon. Member for West Nottingham (Sir J. Yoxall). I should leave the subject with the arguments of his admirable speech were it not that I wanted, from the point of view of a member of a local education authority, to support what he has said, which comes from one who knows so well the duties and responsibilities of the teaching profession. I quite agree that the only way in which this matter can be left properly is by not having an Amendment put in on either side. We want the authorities and the teachers themselves to direct their minds purely and simply to the one question of what physical training is most appropriate to lads of these ages, and not 2208 to be embarrassed or worried by meticulous inquiries as to whether it is the sort or training which will or will not help national defence later on. If you put in on either side a reference to military training, you at once import controversy into every education authority, if not into every school, whereas if there is nothing said about military training in the Bill itself, the onus of trying to get it rests with persons who want to alter and extend the simple term "physical training." I support the Government in putting in "physical training" here. It is of great consequence. The specific experience of the case in which military training was found unwise and unsuitable will not be forgotten by the Board of Education or the local education authorities. The great and terrible problem of national defence which trust arise after the War is one to be settled then according to the way the War ends and according to the international position. Let us do everything we can to help to bring about such a position that there will be the least possible demand for military training.
§ Mr. FISHER
May I express the hope that the Committee will come to a decision on this Amendment? This is a very important Bill. There is an immense amount of interest in it in the country, and it would be a great disaster if the passage of the Bill were endangered by excessive delay.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I am extremely sorry to differ from the President of the Board of Education. I agree with him in thinking that this is a very important Bill, but this is a most inopportune time to bring in an important Bill like this, and I am not sure it is to our advantage to facilitate its passage into law by unduly curtailing discussion on such an important Clause as this. I am quite aware that we have discussed this question of military training for the last two hours, but there is one feature of it which I do not think has yet been touched upon. It is only right that the people of this country should see the point of view which is becoming increasingly obvious. The discussion has gone on as if we were considering the question of military training for boys of fourteen to eighteen, coupled with Conscription for boys over eighteen. It is a problem which the Board of Education has not previously had to face, how to fit in all education with military training subsequent to the children leaving continuation 2209 schools. The point I want to make is that the people who advocate military training in these continuation schools for boys between fourteen and eighteen, and who are particularly vociferous at the present time, are not frankly facing the music. They call for compulsory military training with a view to saving the country from German invasion, although if they ask military advice they will know perfectly well that the military authorities prefer to begin the training at eighteen. What the people, like the hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir G. Greenwood), who clamour for military instruction in these continuation schools—
§ Sir G. GREENWOOD
I must really protest. I have not clamoured for military instruction. I only say that this Amendment is an injudicious one, and that a certain amount of drill in schools is a very good thing for the boys. I entirely dissociate myself from the argument which the hon. and gallant Gentleman is trying to put into my mouth.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I am glad to have that disclaimer because I have always regarded my hon. Friend as a good Liberal—
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
—except on the question of contagious diseases. Although he, with his ingrained Liberalism, is not one of the Mansion House orators in favour of military training in continuation schools, at the same time there are many, not so much in this House but outside, who are advocating it not really from a military point of view but instinctively, because they feel that the working classes drilled, disciplined and obedient will be better material for them when they leave schools. Everybody knows that is so. If you are at the private dinner table with manufacturers and others, they all say they want more discipline, that the factories ought to be more disciplined, and that then there would be less of the shop-steward business, fewer strikes and lockouts, and less trouble with the working classes. It is quite natural that they should want to put an end to that trouble as much as possible, but it is not our duty to allow that sort of opinion throughout the country to inflict its ideas upon the young people of this country between the ages of fourteen and sixteen. We want to see that they have the very best physical 2210 training. By all means let them have drilling and forming fours. By all means let them have any form of drilling in which the teachers can give them instruction. But the line should be drawn hard and fast between such instruction and physical training as can be given by the teacher and the drill-sergeant coming into the school ground and giving them instruction as if they were Volunteers or Territorial troops. The teacher has, at any rate, the training to know that it is his duty to develop the children both mentally and physically. The drill-sergeant often has the training which inspires him to assert his authority and inspire obedience, rather than to develop the physical and mental side of child-life. What we who support the Amendment want to do is to keep the drill-sergeant out of the continuation schools. I do not see any way of doing it except by carrying this Amendment. It is true that the Board of Education have not bowed the knee to Baal in the past. The physical training given in the elementary, schools, as was pointed out by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Sir E. Jones), is an enormous improvement on the old system, under which there was no physical development. But when you get to the older boys, although I agree that physical training should be carried on, yet I contend that the drill-sergeant, with his instigation to swift obedience to discipline, should be kept out of the schools, so that, as I said last night, we should have boys and girls turned out who will be thinking individuals and not merely blindly obedient. I hope the Board of Education will see their way to accept the Amendment as the only means open to this Committee of preventing the infliction of the semi-militaristic idea on these schools.
§ Sir J. D. REES
As a private Member, may I say a few words? Without incurring any responsibility for bringing a subject like education before the House at a time like this, and without incurring any responsibility for increasing expenditure at a time when the country is already over-burdened beyond belief, I beg the right hon. Gentleman not to accept this Amendment. He is now, with the burning zeal of the educationist, rather impatient, and wants to get on to the other Amendments. The fact is that we should never get beyond this Amendment. We ought not to get further than the military aspect of this Bill. At a moment like this it is beyond everything 2211 the chief subject for the House to consider, if the House should, indeed, consider any such question at all as regards children at a time like this, when the country is in the gravest peril. When I listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Haggerston (Mr. Chancellor) it occurred to me, what had never occurred to me before, that he resembled the monarchical, absolute, and tyrannical family of the Bourbons, if it be a fact that their chief characteristic was that they never learned anything and never forgot anything. That any hon. Members at a time like this should object to anything like military instruction in any circumstances whatever, that they should forget that the spirit in which the hon. Member spoke is that which rendered the country so unprepared for the present peril, which almost everybody knew was coming, seems to be an amazing thing. That any impatience should be displayed at the discussion of such an Amendment seems equally amazing. I remember that when Lord Haldane brought in his Education Bill and proposed only physical training at that time, the same interests that are now opposing this Amendment opposed that physical training, and actually tradesmen who allowed time to their assistants to pursue military training in any circumstances were gibbeted as being militarists and possessed with the dangerous spirit of militarism. The hon. Member for Haggerston said that young people could learn all this drill easier later on. I do not know whether the hon. Member has spent much of his time in learning to form fours. The fact is that to form fours and do any military drill is a much more difficult thing than anybody would suppose. I beg the Committee to accept the word of a full private in the Volunteers on a subject like this, on which he, as an exceedingly inefficient private, is thoroughly competent to express an opinion. You cannot begin this too early. It is like riding, which no one can learn properly unless he begins young. Why is a hard and fast line to be drawn between physical and military drill? Is there anything unworthy in what is military any more than physical? My hon. Friend and colleague in the representation of Nottingham very properly urged that the Clause might be allowed to go through without any of these qualifications. To that I am prepared to agree, as the Bill is here and one must let it through. But 2212 why we should be hurried over the matter, which is the most important of all the aspects, the only one which should be considered at this time, I cannot understand, and to it I will not for a moment subscribe. There is not a Member listening to me who has not seen bent, crooked, unkempt, untidy, unsatisfactory-looking yokels transformed by military drill into fine, upstanding Englishmen, a credit to their country. What is this fear of military instruction? What harm does it do? It is amazing that any such fear should be expressed at the present moment. I utterly repudiate any such feeling, and beg the right hon. Gentleman in the first place, not to be impatient with any discussion of the subject, and, in the second place, to repudiate and renounce the Amendment laid before him, and everything else of the same character proceeding from the same quarter of the House.
§ Mr. D. MASON
The hon. Gentleman apparently considers this a War measure. I might remind him that it is an Education Bill, and I do not think I need say anything further as to his remarks. But I wish to say something with regard to the very fair proposal which is made by the hon. Member for Nottingham. He is opposed to any training in the shape of militarism, but ho says that as the Minister for Education had very courteously, in response to him, given a pledge that the Amendment of the hon. Member (Mr. Peto) would not be accepted he thought we might allow this Clause to go without the Amendment proposed by my hon. Friend. That, on the surface, appears to me a very fair proposal, but I do not think it takes much studying of the Bill, even on the admission of the right hon. Gentleman himself to see that the power to impose militarism is in the Bill, and the Amendment of my hon. Friend is to prevent that enforcement. Everyone believes, after that very courteous and frank statement, that the right hon. Gentleman had no intention of bringing pressure to bear on local authorities to carry out training with a military bias. We have every confidence in him, but, although we may desire it, he may not continue to adorn his present position, and we have to regard the Bill, not from the point of view of his pledge, but of the possibility of some successor of his who would not carry it out. It is nonsense to say that military training does not tend to give a bias towards militarism. Of course it does. Whether it is 2213 a good thing or not is another matter. It may be that it is a very admirable thing to have Officers' Training Corps. I do not regret having had a certain amount of training in a public school, but I think those who have gone through it are bound to confess that it tends to make a boy turn towards soldiering. After this War is over we do not wish to increase the spirit of militarism, and we wish to avoid training with a bias towards militarism. We do not object to field sports or gymnastics or physical drill, but it is to avoid training which has a bias towards militarism that the Amendment is proposed.
The right hon. Gentleman (Sir G. Reid) asked whether we had not better be prepared, by having our youth trained for military exercises, to defend our country in the event of invasion or aggression, and I think that is a very fair way of putting the problem. It resolves itself into this: Are we prepared to take the risk of still maintaining an adequate defence, but not, as it were, giving too great a bias towards militarism by introducing it in our schools, or are we prepared to believe that the risk would be too great and therefore that we ought to have it? Let us take even the present War. I do not think hon. Members would wish to see it introduced as any reason to complain of the way in which our youth have acquitted themselves in the field. Distinguished soldiers have said that the men who came to Kitchener's Army acquitted themselves with a valour, a bravery, and a distinction which quite equalled any trained army. The supreme advantage, therefore, of avoiding what unquestionably leads to an extension of the military spirit, and therefore of aggression, seems to me to outweigh the risk, if there is a risk, in not having military defence always available. That seems to me to be the problem, whether you are prepared to go in for becoming a military nation. You cannot contain this spirit within borders. Youngsters get keen on soldiering as the result of training with a military bias, and in the nature of things desire to put their experience into practice, and you are bound to have increased aggression if you have military training. That is a self-evident proposition. You cannot train full-blooded youngsters to the use of arms, either of rifle shooting or the bayonet, without the desire to use those instruments. It seems to me we have to face that problem and we 2214 have to consider whether the other is not a much better method, namely, to avoid the encouragement of this spirit. The spirit of militarism unquestionably leads to aggression. We see it in Germany. The German has been trained in this very spirit, and the German mentality is the result of this very training in the school. The youth are trained up from their very youngest years to think in terms of militarism, and the result is this military and aggressive spirit. This country and the free countries of the world have shown, and will continue to show, that they are the masters even of the Prussian military spirit when it comes to a fight. While we may be slower in coming into the field, in the long run the moral effect of your spirit will carry greater weight. I hope my hon. Friend will adhere to his Amendment. His desire to avoid anything likely to lead towards militarism and to prevent another President succeeding this President who may be tempted to enforce it, or to support local authorities in introducing it, is the main reason for moving the Amendment, and I hope he will go to a Division.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. KING
I can assure my hon. Friend that there certainly will toe a Division on this unless it is accepted. I have been about an hour and a half trying to get an opportunity to bring forward some facts and an argument which I think afford a complete answer to the speech of the President of the Board of Education. Now that I have had the good fortune to catch his eye, the President has vanished. I propose, therefore, in the interim before he returns to give some other facts which I should not otherwise have troubled the Committee with at this hour—very important and very apposite facts. In the first place, I wish to call attention to the real educational object of Mr. Brockington's book. Mr. Brockington is the Director of Education for Leicestershire, and those of us who have worked on local education authorities know that in many cases the Director of Education twiddles the whole committee round his thumb, and if there are any people who fear him more than the Education Committee it is the Board of Education. It fears the Directors of Education throughout the country much more than it fears the public or the Press or anyone else. I can give my right hon. Friend an instance of it. Why did he not publish the Report of the inquiry into the Leeds Training 2215 College? Because the one man who was blamed was the Director of Leeds Education, and to make an enemy of the Director of Leeds Education was beyond the courage of the President of the Board of Education. Mr. Brockington, having shown the importance of his position and the greatness of his influence, writes a book for cadets, that is, for boys between fifteen and eighteen, which is the very age at which they are to come into the continuation schools. Therefore, anything that he writes for their instruction is applicable to continuation schools. This is what he says:The teaching of geography is definitely improved by attention to military requirements.So that he is going to teach geography from the military point of view. It is going to be part of military training.The same applies to applied science—English, mechanics, chemistry, hygiene, mathematics, and handicraft.He is going to teach everything from the military point of view, because he thinks it is better educationally. In face of that we really do want some definite words in the Bill to prevent that view being accepted by the Board of Education and the education authorities. I now come to the point which I wish particularly to bring to the attention of the right hon. Gentleman. Can we trust any assurance given by the Board of Education? I do not think we can. The Board of Education has not proved in the past strong at keeping its promises. I could give many instances. I will give one which is definitely applicable. The whole question of military training was raised after the Boer War fifteen years ago, and I am surprised that nobody has cited what was a Parliamentary occurrence of great importance at the time.
§ Mr. KING
We are in a very similar position. We are getting to the finish of another war. After the Boer War we had not a friend in Europe, and there was a great cry for military training and Conscription. The notorious Colonel Repington wrote in the "Times" urging that, though it was impossible to get Conscription and training up to eighteen and twenty, if they could get the two last years of a boy's education, from twelve to 2216 fourteen, by military training in school, that would impose an influence and an impression upon them which would last and would be very good. There was a. proposal in the House and in the country to introduce military training into the schools. It was put down by popular pressure, and pressure in this House, when, suddenly, and for the first time in the history of the Board of Education, directions for physical training were brought out by the Board and a whole syllabus of direction as to training and drill in the playground was produced. They only called it physical training, but if you look at it, a people did look at it at once, in relation to the Army drill book, you find that whole paragraphs and passages had been taken bodily from the Army drill book and put into the syllabus of the Board of Education. That was after they had given a definite promise that there should be no military training in the schools. What was the result? On a famous occasion the present right hon. Member for Camberwell, who is now Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (Dr. Macnamara) came down to this House and tore the thing to atoms, and the whole of this Instruction for physical training had to be withdrawn. The right hon. Gentleman was then more representative of the schoolmaster class than the Admiralty. At any rate, he tore the thing to tatters. Does that give us any confidence in the promises or professions of the Board of Education? Not at all. Those were the days of Sir John Gorst, a very clever and very able man, in some ways comparable to the right hon. Gentleman, both very sincere reformers and both men better than their parties. What Sir John Gorst could do one day I am not at all sure that the right hon. Gentleman will not be forced to do in a year or two. I appeal to him even at the eleventh hour to save us the time of a Division, to save further controversy, to save discussion on the Report stage, and to give confidence to those Members like myself who want to support him and would like to restrain their speeches and dare not do so lest he go wrong, by accepting this Amendment. We shall then get on much more quickly and he will have more support in the days that are before him.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 44; Noes, 2012219
|Division No. 37.]||AYES.||[6.6 p.m.|
|Arnold, Sydney||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Baker, J. A. (Finsbury, E.)||Hinds, John||Richardson, Arthur (Rotherham)|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Holt, Richard Durning||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Hudson, Walter||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||John, Edward Thomas||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Buxton, Noel||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Snowden, Philip|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Jowett, Frederick William||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Collins, Sir W. (Derby)||King, Joseph||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Tootill, Robert|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Maden, Sir John Henry||Wedgwood, Commander Josiah C.|
|Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Finney, Samuel||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Morrell, Philip||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Whitehouse and Mr. Anderson.|
|Glanville, Harold James||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Goldstone, Frank||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Duncan, Sir J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Marriott, J. A. R.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Du Pre, Major W. Baring||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Elverston, Sir Harold||Middlebrook, Sir William|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred|
|Archdale, Lieut. E. M.||Falle, Sir Bertram Godfray||Morgan, George Hay|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Col. M.||Fell, Sir Arthur||Morison, Hector (Hackney, S.)|
|Armitage, Robert||Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L. (Hallam)||Morison, Thomas B. (Inverness)|
|Astor, Hon. Waldorf||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes (Fulham)||Morton, Sir Alpheus Cleophas|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Mount, William Arthur|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Foster, Philip Staveley||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir F. G.||Gibbs, Col. George Abraham||Newman, Major John R. P.|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Gilbert, J. D.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Barlow, Sir Montague (Salford, South)||Glimour, Lieut.-Col. John||Nield, Sir Herbert|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. George N.||Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Barnett, Captain R. W.||Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Greenwood, Sir Hamar (Sunderland)||Parker, Rt. Hon. Sir G. (Gravesend)|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick Burghs)||Greig, Colonel J. W.||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc. E.)||Gretton, John||Partington, Hon. Oswald|
|Bathurst, Capt. Sir C. (Wilts, Wilton)||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir Fredk. (Dulwich)||Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Pearce, Sir William (Limehouse)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Hamerslay, Lieut.-Col, Alfred St. George||Peal, Major Hon. G. (Spalding)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Bellairs, Commander C. W.||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord C. J. (Kens.S.)||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Bigland, Alfred||Hardy, Rt. Hen. Laurence||Philipps, Maj.-Gen. Sir I. (S'hampton)|
|Bird, Alfred||Harmood-Banner, Sir J. S.||Pratt, J. W.|
|Blair, Reginald||Harris, Sir H. P. (Paddington, S.)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Harris, Percy A. (Leicester, S.)||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Haslam, Lewis||Quilter, Major Sir Cuthbert|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Randles, Sir John S.|
|Boyton, Sir James||Henderson, John M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Brassey, H. L. C.||Henry, Sir Charles||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, E.)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Reid, Rt. Hon. Sir George H.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Randall, Athelstan|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hibbert, Sir Henry F.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. Gee H. (Norwich)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Higham, John Sharp||Roberts, Sir H. (Denbighs)|
|Butcher, John George||Hills, John Waller||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Carew, C. R. S.||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Robinson, Sidney|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Royds, Major Edmund|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Rutherford, Sir Watson (W., Derby)|
|Cator, John||Hope, Lt.-Col. J. A. (Midlothian)||Sanders, Col. Robert Arthur|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Clynes, John R.||Hunt, Major Rowland||Somervell, William Henry|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Hunter, Major Sir Charles Rodk.||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon)||Illingworth, Rt. Hon. Albert H.||Stanler, Capt. Sir Seville|
|Colvin, Col. Richard Beale||Jackson, Lt.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York)||Stanton, Charles Butt|
|Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Jacobson, Thomas Owen||Stewart, Gershom|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Jones, Sir Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Stirling, Lt.-Col. Archibald|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John (St. Ives)||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Stoker, R. B.|
|Cory, James H. (Cardiff)||Jones, William Kennedy (Hornsey)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Cowan, Sir W. H.||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Sykes, Col. Sir Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, E.)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Levy, Sir Maurice||Tickler, T. G.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Henry Page||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Tillett, B.|
|Dalrymple, Hon. H. H.||Lindsay, William Arthur||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Dalziel, Davidson (Brixton)||Lonsdale, James R.||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||M'Calmont, Brig.-Gen. Robert C. A.||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||MacCaw, William G. MacGeagh||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Dixon, C. H.||Mackinder, H. J.||Weston, J. W.|
|Dougherty, Rt. Hon. Sir J. B.||McMicking, Major Gilbert||Wheler, Major Granville C. H.|
|Whiteley, Sir Herbert J.||Williams, Thomas J. (Swansea)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.||Willoughby, Lt.-Col. Hon. Claud||Wood, Sir John (Stalybridge)|
|Wiles Rt. Hon. Thomas||Wilson, Capt. A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)||Younger, Sir George|
|Wilkie, Alexander||Wilson, Colonel Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)||Winfrey, Sir Richard||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Lord Edmund Talbot and Capt. Guest.|
|Williams, Col. Sir Robert (Dorset, W.)||Wing, Thomas Edward|
§ Mr. PETO
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), after the word "instruction," to insert the words "military drill."
This Amendment is the exact opposite to that on which the Committee has just voted. We have heard from the President of the Board of Education that it is not the intention of the Board at present to authorise or approve of any system of physical training which definitely includes military drill. I want by this Amendment definitely to include military drill for boys between the ages of fourteen and eighteen who are attending these continuation schools. Frankly, the Board of Education has not got the complete confidence of those people in the country who believe that it is of the utmost importance to instill into young children who will be our future citizens sentiments of patriotism and, above all, a sense of the duties of citizenship. I have no doubt that the Board of Education and the local authorities and the various schools are doing a great deal to instill a sense of the rights of citizenship, but there is nothing better for these young persons than to have to take part in definite drill with a military purpose, with a view to instilling ideas of discipline and co-ordinated action during part of the time in which they are attending these continuation schools. The President of the Board of Education told us that it was not intended by this Bill to change the military system of the country, and that the military authorities made no demand for military drill before the age of eighteen, and if universal military training is necessary after the War it would begin at eighteen. Though it may not be necessary in an Education Bill to attempt to alter the military system of the country, it is not inappropriate to try to change the average moral physique and outlook of the children of the country and to instill the idea that they have got some definite duties which they owe to the State. Physical training, of course, is part of military training. All these Swedish exercises, and the like, tend to develop the bodies of our present recruits, and are constantly used. The President of the Board of Education approve of all those kinds of exercise which are not essentially military, though they form part of the military training, but if the scholars in a 2220 continuation class in order to attend some ocular demonstration had to walk for a mile in a certain direction, it would be quite improper for them to walk in military formation.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Sir Donald Maclean)
The hon. Member must not repeat the arguments that have been advanced already, though he can ask the opinion of the Committee on the Amendment now before us.
§ Mr. PETO
I do not want to take up the time of the Committee, but I am not satisfied to leave the matter where it is now. I understand that anything in the nature of military drill will not be approved of by the present Board of Education under this scheme. I think that it ought to be. If young persons are to take a real interest in the physical exercises that are contemplated they should be something real, and should have a purpose, and this cannot be the case unless the young people understand that the training is part of a definite training for the future defence of their country. The President of the Board of Education told us that he could not contemplate this, because the education authorities would not care to deal with the question of conscientious objectors. I am very anxious that our schools should not be manufactories of conscientious objectors. That is why I want this definite military drill to be made part of the scheme which it will be the duty of the local authorities to carry into effect.
§ Mr. FISHER
I am afraid that I am unable to accept the Amendment of my hon. Friend. I think that he is under some misapprehension as to an observation which I made in an earlier part of the Debate. I said that the Board of 2221 Education would not sanction any scheme of military training. I did not mean by that to imply that the Board of Education would be so foolish as to forbid any form of drill which might be carried on in connection with physical exercises in the schools. Of course it is quite obvious that, where you have to march boys and girls from one place to another, they must be marched in some kind of military formation, and obviously this, must occur in various degrees in the physical training which will be provided in the schools. But it does not fall within the province of the Board of Education to supply rifles. That is a matter for the War Office. I wish to draw, therefore, a distinction between the kind of drill which may enter into physical training in our schools and military training of a professional character.
§ Mr. FISHER
I was merely addressing myself to an observation which my hon. Friend made with respect to an observation which I made in an earlier part of the Debate. I quite realise his intention. My objection to accepting his Amendment is, briefly, this: As I understand it, his desire is to secure a certain reasonable amount of drill in connection with physical training. This will be secured, and consequently there is no particular object in the Amendment. The Amendment, on the other band, will no doubt excite among very large numbers of people a rather damaging impression as to the type of education which the Bill is proposing. While it is quite true that voluntary organisations of a military character, such as Cadet Corps and Officers' Training Corps, are organised very frequently in our secondary schools, and will continue to exist there, there is a difference between voluntary military training in schools and compulsory military training in schools. It would be unfortunate if the impression got abroad that the Government were taking this opportunity of attempting to introduce anything like compulsory professional military training in schools. For that reason, I should be very much obliged if my hon. Friend would see fit to withdraw his Amendment.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I hope that the Government will reconsider this matter. We are dealing here with continuation schools for boys up to the age of eighteen on which we are going to spend a lot of money. What my hon. Friend wants is that some part of the time spent in the continuation school should deal definitely with drill of a military nature. There can be no objection to that. It is certainly good for the individual. Different witnesses who came before the Committee admitted that. Take the case of a young miner who spends some part of his time at physical drill. Undoubtedly it is a good thing for him. It makes him smarter and able to stand up and answer a word of command. Just before the War I pressed the President of the Board of Education in reference to elementary schools, and suggested that drill of a military nature should be allowed, as I think it was in some schools, with dummy rifles. He said with the greatest indignation that nothing of the kind would ever occur in any school with which the Board of Education had anything to do. That was thoroughly behind the times. In another year we were at war, and yet the Board of Education said that it would be a wrong thing for these young persons to be taught to defend themselves and their country. I press the right hon. Gentleman very strongly to accept this Amendment It is a step in the right direction.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
Surely there is no objection to boys learning drill between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. It is most useful from the physical and disciplinary point of view. In secondary schools you have got Cadet Corps, and it is only right that in these continuation schools portion of the time should be devoted to military training.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The Committee debated this subject from four o'clock until six, and I suppose that, strictly speaking, all that the Committee is entitled to do now, the subject having been fully discussed, is to give its opinion on this Amendment by way of Division after a very short statement. We are now opening the whole question again, and I do not think I can allow any more general discussion.
§ Mr. L. JONES
I was going to say that my hon. and learned Friend was not in the House during the Debate—
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
My right hon. Friend is quite wrong. I was here during a very large portion of the Debate, and when I went away it was to look after his interests on the Kitchen Committee.
§ Mr. JONES
I am not finding fault with the hon. and learned Gentleman, but, as a matter of fact, the President of the Board of Education did deal with the two Amendments together, and practically gave his decision upon both, so that both might be rejected, and the matter left to the Board of Education to decide. It was
§ his statement which in part prevented my going into the Division Lobby on the previous Amendment. The whole question has been argued out already, and I think we ought to be allowed to get on with the Bill.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
This Amendment has been discussed for some time, and if it goes to a Division I attach so much importance to it that, without giving my reasons, I shall support my hon. Friend in the Division Lobby.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 43; Noes, 176.2225
|Division No. 38.]||AYES.||[6.32 p.m.|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir F. G||Dalrymple, Hon. H. H.||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh|
|Barnett, Capt. R. W.||Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Fell, Sir Arthur||Mount, William Arthur|
|Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.)||Gretton, John||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hall, Lt.-Col. Sir Fred (Dulwich)||Quilter, Major Sir Cuthbert|
|Bellairs, Commander C. W.||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord C. J.||Stanier, Captain Sir Beville|
|Boland, John Pius||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Stewart, Gershom|
|Boyton, Sir James||Harris, Sir Henry (Paddington, S.)||Swift, Rigby|
|Brassey, H. L. C.||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Terrell, G. (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)||Wheler, Major Granville C. H.|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Houston, Robert Paterson||Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon)||Hunter, Major Sir Charles Rodk.||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Colvin, Col. Richard Beale||Jackson, Lieut.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York)|
|Cowan, Sir W. H.||Lindsay, William Arthur||TELLERS FOR THE AYES. —Mr. Peto and Mr. Marriott.|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Adamson, William||Daniel, Davison (Brixton)||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Hohler, G. F.|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Holt, Richard Darning|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Dougherty, Rt. Hon. Sir J. B.||Hudson, Walter|
|Archdale, Lieut. Edward M.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Hughes, Spencer Leigh|
|Armitage, Robert||Duncan, Sir J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Illingworth, Rt. Hon. Albert H.|
|Arnold, Sidney||Edwards, Clement, (Glamorgan, E.)||Jacobsen, Thomas Owen|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid.)||John, Edward Thomas|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Ferone, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Finney, Samuel||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)|
|Barlow, Sir Montague (Salford, South)||Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L. (Hallam)||Jones, Rt. Hon. L. (Rushcliffe)|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. George N.||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes (Fulham)||Jones, W. Kennedy (Hornsey)|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick Burghs)||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)|
|Bentham, G. J,||Galbraith, Samuel||Jowett, Frederick William|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish||Gibbs, Col. George Abraham||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H.||Gilbert, J. D.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Gilmour, Lieut.-Col. John||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Bird, Alfred||Glanville, Harold James||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Goddard, Rt. Hon. Sir Daniel Ford||Lonsdale, James R.|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Goldstone, Frank||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith||Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred||Macdonald, J Ramsay (Leicester)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough)||McMicking, Major Gilbert|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Greenwood, Sir Hamar (Sunderland)||Macpherson, James Ian|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Greig, Col. James William||Maden, Sir John Henry|
|Bull, Sir William James||Harmood-Banner, Sir J. S.||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Buxton, Noel||Harris, Percy A. (Leicester, S.)||Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
|Carew, C. R. S.||Harvey, T. E. Leeds, West)||Middlebrook, Sir William|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Haslam, Lewis||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred|
|Clynes, John R.||Henderson, John M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Morison, Thomas B. (Inverness)|
|Collins, Sir W. (Derby)||Henry, Sir Charles (Shropshire)||Morrell, Philip|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Morton, Sir Alpheus Cleophas|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John (St. Ives)||Hibbert, Sir Henry F.||Needham, Christopher T.|
|Cory, James Herbert (Cardiff)||Higham, John Sharp||Newman, Sir Robert (Exeter)|
|Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, E.)||Hinds, John||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Roch, Walter F.||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Parker, Rt. Hon. Sir G. (Gravesend)||Rowlands, James||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Rowntree, Arnold||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Parrott, Sir James Edward||Rutherford, Sir W. (L'pool, W. Derby)||Watson, John B. (Stockton)|
|Partington, Hon. Oswald||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Sanders, Col, Robert Arthur||Wedgwood, Commander Josiah C.|
|Pearce, Sir William (Limehouse)||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Peel, Major Hon. G. (Spalding)||Smallwood, Edward||Whiteley, Sir H. J.|
|Philipps, Maj.-Gen. Sir Ivor (S'hampton)||Somervell, William Henry||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||Wiles, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Pratt, J. W.||Spear, Sir John Ward||Williams, Aneurin (Durham)|
|Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Stanton, Charles Butt||Williams, Col. Sir Robert (Dorset, W.)|
|Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Stoker, R. B.||Wilton, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Raffan, Peter Wilson||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|Randles, Sir John S.||Taylor, John W (Durham)||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Taylor, Theodora C. (Radcliffe)||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Richardson, Arthur (Rotherham)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnan (Glasgow)|
|Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Roberts, Rt. Hon. George H. (Norwich)||Tickler, T. G.|
|Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Tootill, Robert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Captain F. Guest and Lord Edmund Talbot.|
|Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Robertson, Rt. Hon. John M.||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
§ Mr. LESLIE SCOTT
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "resident in their area."
This Amendment hardly tells its own story upon its face. It is merely to omit those words "resident in their area," but it is one of a series of Amendments which raise an extremely important question, namely, the education of boys over the age of fourteen who desire to take up the sea service as their vocation in life. In my view, the Amendment is important even to this extent, that, unless some such scheme as is suggested in this series of Amendments is adopted, or, conversely, if the Bill is left as it stands, the supply of boys for the mercantile marine in this country will be so cut off as to cause grave injury to our mercantile marine. The Committee will perhaps bear with me if I deal for a moment—before I deal with the particular proposal of this series of Amendments—with the position at the present time in regard to the supply of boys to the mercantile marine. In the year 1906 the Merchant Shipping Act of that year for the first time provided that a knowledge of the English language should be essential to the engagement of a seaman in a British ship. Members will remember that at that time there was a great deal of discussion as to the extent to which the mercantile marine was manned by foreign seamen. The House took a strong view that we should do all we could to encourage a higher proportion of British sailors in our ships. Consequently this proposal was inserted in the Merchant Shipping Bill of that year, and the result of it has been gradually, slowly, and surely to diminish the number of foreign sailors in our mercantile marine, and make it more dependent on a supply of British 2226 boys from the British Isles. To-day the number that are wanted by the British mercantile marine and sea-fishing fleets varies from year to year between the figures of 5,000 and 9,000 boys coming fresh to the service of the sea. A very large number is wanted. For brevity, I will refer in the course of my remarks to the sea service as including both the mercantile marine and the sea-faring industry. I have a definition Clause, in which I propose to make the words "sea-service" have that meaning in the Bill. One of the first things I want the Committee to realise is that the proposal in the Bill for compulsory continuation schools down to the age of eighteen is absolutely inconsistent with the supply of boys for the mercantile marine that is absolutely essential. Boys elect to go to sea, usually, round about the age of fifteen. If they are kept in continuation schools till the age of eighteen, they will necessarily start a trade of some sort during that time. Once having started a trade, the number who will give up their trade on shore and take to the sea will be infinitely less than it would be if they were in a position to start their sea service with the commencement of their economic life. That is a fundamental reason why some special treatment must be applied to boys who want to take up the sea service as their career.
The second point I want the Committee to appreciate is this. The proposal put forward on behalf of the shipping industry—owners, masters and men are included altogether in the industry—is not one of those proposals in relation to education that this House, in the course of the last half-century or more, has often heard from particular trades or industry. 2227 It is not a case of an industry wanting to have child labour for the purpose of the industry. The shipowners of the country, and their shipmasters and officers prefer men to boys. Boys are no advantage, as such, on board ship. On the other hand, they are a considerable disadvantage. It is only on certain types of ship that it is easy to carry boys. You cannot carry them easily on small ships. It is very difficult to provide suitable accommodation and make suitable arrangements for carrying boys. The shipping industry does not want a large number of boys. It only wants the hoys, not because they are boys, but because unless it gets them as boys, it will not get them at all. Once a boy has started another trade, he will not go back to the sea, in nine cases out of tea. Indeed, so much is it the case that the industry is not asking for boys for the sake of having boys, that the experience of the last few years of the Shipping Federation, which has made serious and persistent endeavours to get boys taken as apprentices by shipowners, has shown how difficult it is to persuade shipowners to take the boys. The Shipping Federation has an income which depends upon a call of so much a ton from its members. There is a large proportion of British tonnage in the Shipping Federation, and the proportion of shipowners that have been willing to take boys has been considerably less than half, and in spite of this, that the Federation has remitted, in respect of any ship, half the call upon the tonnage of that ship which would otherwise have been made, if the owner has been willing to take one or two apprentices according to a certain scale. In spite of that financial inducement to shipowners to take boys, it has been only possible to put some 500 boys a year as apprentices on the ships. The Committee will agree that that is conclusive that there is no great anxiety on the part of the industry to have boys as boys. The Committee is familiar, in a general way, with what the shipping trade means, but hon. Members will bear in mind how difficult it would be to fit in the shipping trade with any system of continuation schools. Some ships are away from this country for as much as four years, and many are away for as much as two years on end. Even the regular liners, coming to this port frequently, are turned round as quickly as they can be and sent off, so that the crew are never in this country for more than a week or two 2228 at most between their voyages. That fact is fundamental, and you cannot fit in any system of continuation schools in a trade that has conditions like that. It is a sheer impossibility.
That being so, I submit that the question of the right method of education for boys who want to take up the sea service has got to be approached by this Committee on the footing that the proposal in the Bill for part-time continuation schools for four years will not do; and, secondly, that the maintenance of the British mercantile marine is a national object of primary importance, and that no system of education must be allowed, by its machinery, to interfere with the maintenance and development of our mercantile marine. On that footing I submit that a conclusive case is made for providing some other system, method, or machinery for giving boys the education which we all want them to have if they desire to take up the sea service. The proposal which I have put before the Committee in the series of Amendments to Clauses 3, 6, 10, and 42 which stand in my name, and in the name of several others interested in the subject is, roughly speaking, based upon this idea, that a shorter period of whole-tune education is as good, from the educational point of view—or nearly so from all the points of view, and perhaps better from some points of view—as a longer period of part-time education. The gist of the proposal is to allow boys who want to take up the sea service to go to a whole-time school for such a period as may be determined, as equivalent to having met all the needs of the case of the four years of eight hours a week, or 320 hours a year.
The country has a little experience already of whole-time schools, more or less of that character, in some of the sea-training schools that now exist, and I would remind the Committee that since 1913 the Board of Education has made a grant of £10 per annum for each pupil at one of these approved sea-training schools. At these schools the boys learn mostly seamanship and various matters connected with their profession. Although, under the Bill, we contemplate that the work of the continuation schools should be, to a great extent, general education, yet there is no reason why the existing system of sea-training schools should not be fitted in perfectly with the framework of the Bill if you extend it in area and extend the number of schools, and give in those 2229 schools the necessary amount of general education combined with special education. One of the best of the sea-training schools is the National Sea Training Institution, at Liscard, on the Mersey. That is a school approved by the Board of Education, where the Board gives £10 a year grant. In addition, local education authorities—and I would ask the Committee especially to mark this—from all over the country, including inland authorities, send boys from their areas to the school with scholarships, taking upon their own shoulders, therefore, the burden of the expense of keeping the boys at the school so far as the Government Grant does not cover the expense. So that you have, in that system, a precedent of a twofold character. Firstly, as it were, the local school at a port in the neighbourhood of the sea service; and, on the other hand, local authorities from, all over the country, having nothing to do with the sea, sending those boys from their area who want to go to sea to that school. If the Committee will permit me, I should just like to read a short testimonal from some dozen leading steamship lines in this country as to the character of the education given at that school to boys between the ages of thirteen and a half and sixteen, or thereabouts. I will give a list of the lines who have expressed their approval, just to show the type of education that has been given. It is as follows: the Atlantic and Ocean Steamship Company. Bibbey Brothers, the Booth Steamship Company, the Canadian Pacific, the Cunard, the Elder Dempster, the White Star, and two or three of the coasting lines—tramps, liners, and coasting lines— all expressing their approval. I need not read the terms in which the approval is expressed, perhaps, but you have it there that the shipowners of the country have found that boys educated in this school between, roughly, the ages of fourteen and sixteen, have turned out admirable sailors, quick, alert, competent, with their mental faculties sharpened and their moral qualities improved. It is that type of system which, I suggest, should be worked into the framework of this Bill. And, because schools of that type are essentially vocational, I do not want the Committee to imagine for a moment that the shipowners desire, by a side wind, to have a system of schools brought in under this Bill—which is primarily intended for general education—for their particular purpose, so as to relieve them from their 2230 duties of training their seamen. They say —and I am satisfied this is their opinion— that all they want is educated boys, and that they, are perfectly prepared to see to their technical training themselves, though I should like to express my own view of the matter. It is this: that general education is infinitely better given if combined with some degree of practical education. There are certain things boys ought to learn early—swimming, boat drill, and so on—if they are going to sea, and certain types of practical education connected with seamanship which have a very valuable moral and physical effect on them.
So that the basis of the proposal which I put before the Committee is this: that the type and standard of education to be given at these whole-time schools, which, I suggest, should be identical with the half-time education to be given under the Bill in a general way at the continuation schools. It is essential that the Committee should appreciate that I am not asking for any deviation whatever from the type of education that is contemplated. I must say, for my own part, that I do not think the Bill is quite as clear as it might be—perhaps designedly so—as to what is intended to be the character of the education at the continuation schools. Hitherto, before this Bill was introduced, we heard of elementary education, higher elementary education, secondary education, university education, and technical education, but we never heard of continuation education. I hope the President of the Board of Education may see his way to inform the Committee whether he does contemplate a form of what we usually know as higher education being given at these continuation schools. Those are the reasons, and that is the object of this series of Amendments. Now, how to work it into the Bill. Clause 10 of the Bill provides two things—first, continuation education for four years on a part-time basis; secondly, in Sub-section (2) that two years' whole-time education shall be equivalent to four years' part-time education, because it provides that when a boy has reached the age of sixteen, if he has up to then been at a full-time school, he shall be exempt from the obligation to attend a continuation school from sixteen to eighteen, and that is the framework, so to speak, into which we put this scheme All we have to do is to say that a sea 2231 training school, where a boy spends his whole time for a given period, it may be up to sixteen or fifteen and a half, shall be deemed to be equivalent to the four years' continuation schooling under the Bill. But there is a difficulty in the framework of this Bill on this particular Amendment.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I had better warn the hon. and learned Member that he must not travel too much over Clause 10 and the other Clauses. That point is raised specifically in two or three different ways when we come to that Clause. Really the locus he has on this Clause is confined to residence in that area. There are boys who are rightly sent out of their area for the purpose of continuation education.
§ Mr. SCOTT
I anticipated that point of Order, and have almost said all that I wanted to say about Clause 10, and was coming to this particular point of the Amendment. The difficulty of fitting the framework of the scheme I have suggested into this Bill is that under Clause 3 the education to be given in continuation schools by Part II. authorities is limited to young persons resident within their area. The essence of the scheme I propose is not that there should be sea-training schools within the area of every education authority for the purposes of Part II. of the Act of 1902 throughout the country, but only that we should have sea-training schools at certain selected spots round our coasts, mainly at the big ports and the big rivers near the big ports, and, in order to achieve that, I submit it is essential to delete the restriction of Clause 3, which is involved in the words "resident in their area," and allow Part II. authorities under Clause 3 to discharge the duties of Clause 3 by sending boys from within their area to a sea-training school outside their area, and be deemed to be fulfilling their duties under the Act by doing so, and therefore, of course, coming within the financial provisions of the Bill, so that they would defray half the expenses, and they would get from the Government a Grant for the other half of the expenses. It is obvious you cannot put upon the local authority that has the sea-training school within its area, and the obligation of maintaining it, any expense in respect of young persons received from outside its area, and for that reason you have to make this adjustment in the Bill. If that 2232 be done, I see no difficulty at all in the general scheme I put forward for carrying that out. All you want is an adequate number of sea-training schools in certain local authorities' areas, a general statutory provision that there shall be a power given to every local education authority to send boys who want to go to the sea to these training schools, and that that shall be a due performance of their statutory duties.
Now, as to the machinery for carrying it out. I will not, of course, go into any details, because that question arises on Clauses 6 and 10, but I would just remind the Committee, so that they may follow the scheme, that in Clause 6 there is a provision that the Board of Education may make a scheme federating a number of local authorities, and enabling that federation, so to speak, as agents for the individual constituent authorities, to carry out the duties of those particular authorities. There you have the mechanism by which you can do it. All you want to say is that, for the purpose of this sea-training system, you shall make it obligatory on the Board of Education to make such a scheme of all the Part II. education authorities of all the coastal districts of the country—that is to say, all the districts which border upon the sea—and, lest Manchester and Salford should feel left out in the cold, which I do not intend, I include local authorities having a Customs port within their area. I hope Manchester and Salford will not think themselves affronted by the suggestion that they are not yet on the sea. But if you have a federation of all those authorities, you have got then what you call a national sea-training authority. All you want is to call in aid the provisions of Clause 6, which allow representatives of other bodies to be put upon your federation, and I would suggest one-third of the members of the federation should be drawn from the shipping industry in equal and fair proportions from the shipowners, the shipmasters, and the seamen; that there should be representatives of the Chamber of Shipping, the Liverpool Steamship Owners' Association, for the owners; the Mercantile Marine Association and the Merchant Service Guild, for the shipmasters and officers; and the Firemen's and Seafarers' Union, for the men. You have there an authority which can carry it out, and then all you want to do is to arrange that any boy on approaching the age of fourteen who says, "I want 2233 to go to the sea service," wherever he is in the country, if he happens to be in the education area of one of the authorities that has a sea-training school, he goes to that school, and, if outside, he gets sent to that school.
That is the general scheme, and all I have to say to the Committee in conclusion is this, that some sort of scheme of the kind I submit is essential. If this particular scheme, which is framed for the purpose of utilising the framework of the Bill as much as possible, is found not to fit into the framework of the Bill, then I conceive that the only alternative to an authority composed mainly of local authorities would be a national scheme of some sort run from the Board of Education. One feels 10th not to utilise the local authorities over the country for the purpose, and I, for one, would prefer to see the scheme worked by the local authorities through a federation such as I am suggesting; but, after all, there is a way of finding out whether it can be or cannot be so worked, and what I suggest to the President of the Board of Education is that he should at once—I mean within a few days—convene a conference at his Ministry of representatives of all the Part II. education authorities bordering upon the sea and the Manchester Ship Canal, and also representatives of the trade, the shipowners, the shipmasters, and the seamen, and discuss the thing, and see whether a federation on those lines would be the best method of carrying out these proposals. If it is, then all that has to be done under the Amendments that I am suggesting is to draw up a scheme, working it up in detail within the framework of the Bill, and in my Amendments I have suggested that that scheme should not become operative until it had been laid before, and approved by, Parliament.
The only other point that I suggest is this, that till a system which will be suitable for boys wanting to go to the sea service, and which will not choke off the supply of boys for that service, has been framed and approved by Parliament, the continuation system proposed by the Bill should not be allowed to come into force in regard to boys who want to go to sea. It is only keeping it back for a short time, but, in order to make sure that we do give a system which will be consistent with the national interests with regard to the sea service, I suggest very strongly that the power conferred by the Bill to appoint a 2234 particular day for the Bill, or any part of it, to come into effect for a particular class, should be so exercised that Clause 10 provisions shall not apply to boys wanting to go to sea until a system has been made for continuation schooling on a whole-time basis, which will be really consonant with the needs of the sea service.
§ Mr. FISHER
I think it would be impossible to leave out the words "resident in their area," because it is clear that somebody has got to be responsible for young persons resident in a particular area, and that that responsibility must rest with the local education authority for that area. The words "resident in their area," of course, will not preclude a local education authority, if it thinks fit, from sending a particular young person to receive his or her training in a school outside the limits of that area.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
I read the Clause from that point of view, and I wondered whether it would mean that, because the Clause says "to establish and maintain or secure the establishment and maintenance under their control and direction." How can it be said, when they send boys out of their area to a school with which they have nothing to do, except the payment possibly of some fees, that it is in any sense under their control and direction?
§ Mr. FISHER
They are asked to maintain and secure the establishment and maintenance of a sufficient supply of continuation schools under their control. The schools are to be under that control, but the hon. and learned Member for the Exchange Division was arguing that it should be within the cognisance of a local education authority to send a young person to a marine school for full-time education in lieu of continuation education. The second point I should like to make is that I think this is not quite the best place for the Amendment. Clause 3 deals with the establishment of continuation schools. They are created for part-time education, whilst the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Exchange Division was arguing in favour of his plan towards the provision of full-time education. That is not continuation education within the meaning of the Bill, but full-time education for young persons intending to enter the marine service. I therefore submit, with all respect, that this is not perhaps the place to introduce this particular Amendment.
§ Mr. SCOTT
May I understand that the right hon. Gentleman, in making his suggestion, has his eye on the later Amendment standing in the name of several hon. Members and myself—to insert the wordsand who
- (a) are resident in their area; or
- (b) not being resident in their area are received from some other authority," etc.
§ Mr. PETO
I am sorry the President has only dealt, by way of somewhat meticulous objection, to the form in which it is proposed to introduce the Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Exchange Division of Liverpool. The hon. and learned Gentleman, in moving his Amendment, was endeavouring to save the time of the Committee. He made perfectly clear what he desired—I think with extraordinary clearness. The whole basis of his argument was that we must have a scheme definitely in this Bill, fitting in with the general scheme of the Bill, which will make it perfectly clear that boys about the age of fourteen who desire to go to sea, to take up the sea as their career, shall have a suitable form of education provided for them, that form of education to be accepted by the local educational authorities and by the Board of Education as a satisfactory equivalent to the continuation schools which are provided in Clause 3. The Committee will notice that Clause 10—and I think, Mr. Whitley, that that will be the only allusion I shall have to make to Clause 10—Subsection (2) paragraph (b), says:—(b) is shown to the satisfaction to the local education authority to have been up to the age of sixteen under full-time instruction in a school recognised by the Board of Education as efficient, or under suitable and efficient full-time instruction in some other manner.What the hon. and learned Gentleman wants to do is to widen the Bill; he asks it to be made quite clear that the President of the Board is going to incorporate other Amendments which he is proposing which constitute a complete scheme for sea-service training, or that he has already in his mind some other form which will be put into the Bill. That matter was just touched upon yesterday. The President then told us that several things were possibilities under the Bill. He, however, admitted that possibilities were not good enough. I understand that he has agreed that the sea-service should not be left a matter of chance. If we are going to deal 2236 with an education scheme which is to be in any way complete it must include the provision of proper education for the sea. Half the boys that go to our training ships and schools now come from inland, and therefore it is absolutely necessary, if you are going to keep up the supply of boys for the sea, and not to be satisfied with the mere wastage of our youthful population—thinking that anybody is good enough for the sea—if you are going to provide for an adequate supply of boys of the right quality, properly trained for the sea, you must have such a scheme as the hon. and learned Member has proposed to the Committee. You must have a complete system of suitable education which is the accepted equivalent for that which takes place in the continuation schools, which operates only up to a certain age and which enables the education authority in any part of the country to transfer the boys to outside its area—that is the purpose of this Amendment—into the area of another education authority, there to receive a proper training. It must, also go a step further and deal with the financial aspect of the case. All that has been laid before the Committee by my hon. and learned Friend in moving his Amendment. The President has not thought fit to touch upon that matter at all. He has satisfied himself with arguing that it is not possible to accept the omission of the words "resident in their area," although the hon. and learned Gentleman proposes to put those words in at the end of the Sub-section with which we are dealing, and in a place which enables him by these paragraphs (a) and (b) to do what is absolutely necessary in regard to the boys who are to be admitted from outside the area.
Clause (3) contemplates and deals only with the provision of continuation schools inside an area. We say you cannot train boys for the sea, and you cannot get your supply of boys from all over the country for the sea, unless you have a more elastic method by which every education authority will send the boys concerned to the appropriate place for training. May I say just one or two words in support of what I think is really the important matter here, whether the President realises the importance of the proper training of boys for the sea service, whether he realises—as I am sure he must—that the part-time continuation school education up to eighteen on shore is not a pos- 2237 sible method of training boys for the sea? The proper training, I suppose, of boys of over fifteen and a Half for sea service is on board ship. From fourteen to fifteen and a half they are very much better trained on shore, or in a training ship, where they learn all sorts of branches of useful knowledge, knowledge of a varied kind as well as special knowledge, specially useful in the career that they have chosen. Above all what the hon. and learned Gentleman mentioned: there are two or three most important matters which are very difficult to learn on board ship, and that is sailing a boat, swimming, and the general work of sailing and sailing ships. A seaman is not a seaman without that knowledge, which he cannot possibly acquire elsewhere. He cannot learn it if he is put as a boy with the cook in the galley on board a tramp steamer.
In the scheme which he has proposed my hon. and learned Friend—and this is, I think, essential—proposes to utilise all the existing admirable institutions for training boys and making them efficient, so as to be easier to put into force the complete scheme of training boys for the sea. I do not think any member of the Committee can think, with our experience in this War, that the training of boys for sea in a country like this can properly be left to haphazard methods and the charitable generosity of a certain number of people interested in the matter, and who help to support these training ships and the like, I agree, Government supports them to a certain extent by making contributions of £10 per head, as referred to by the hon. and gallant Gentleman. It is quite clear, I think, if it is appropriate at all to deal with national education in the middle of a war, that the one thing we ought to deal with is that part of national education which does something to strengthen our sea service and supply British seamen for our shipping. I want to point out further to the Committee that it is not even confined to that, for we have proved in this War that the mercantile marine is, and must be, the reservoir for the expansion of our Navy in time of stress. Therefore, if this Education Bill has any relation whatever to the War we ought to look specially, I think, to the Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman as the most important thing which we have yet discussed—that is, the training of boys for the sea.
2238 I suggested just now that it must be whole-time training between fourteen and fifteen and a half. I entirely agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman that you cannot leave boys on shore till they are eighteen, and then expect them in any number to take up the sea. The boy will generally express his preference at an earlier age, at the expanding time of youth, somewhere between fourteen and fifteen, or thirteen and sixteen, for what appears to him as the freedom, and even the adventure of the life of the sea. We cannot afford to check that disposition. We must in some way or other encourage it by not making it the application of the bad old rule that we used to read in the stories of the unruly boy who did not like the restraint of home and ran away to sea. We do not want the odds and ends of the population put to sea service. We want to make it accessible to all who desire it, and there ought to be proper educational facilities and all training of the right kind, so as to attract the best boys that we can possibly get. I ask the Committee to look at it from another point of view—the point of view of the parent. The half-time education between fourteen and eighteen contemplated in this Clause leaves to the individual boy a good deal of time in which, frankly, he can earn money. In view of taking the wage-earning capacity from the parents by the whole-time education we contemplate necessary for the sea, it is only right that we should exhibit to the parents of the boy who chooses the sea, the view that it is worth their while making the sacrifice, which must in many cases occur, of the earnings the boy would otherwise get. If it does cost a little more you will get magnificent value for your money.
I urge the President, therefore, to see that this is put into the Bill. I am particularly anxious for this, because I think it will make the Bill very much less unpopular with those people—and there are a great many in the country—who do not think it is very appropriate at the present time to spend time discussing a matter of this sort. It is very desirable that they should feel that we have, at any rate, a President of the Board of Education who realises that one thing he has to do—if he leaves undone everything else—is to see that our sea service is provided with the best boys we can send to it. By the mercantile sea service we provide for our future naval safety. Therefore this 2239 Bill has a very real relation to the War. Let the people see that we have a President of the Board of Education who realises that, so far as education consists in building up our national strength and our national defence, he is not going to leave out that part of the Bill, whatever else he may leave out. I hope, before we leave this subject—which will have to be referred to, I am sure, on several Subsections in detail—that the President will give us some more generally satisfactory answer to this vital question than the answer he has given as to the appropriateness or inappropriateness of a particular Amendment.
§ Mr. FISHER
With almost everything that fell from the lips of my hon. Friend I am in entire agreement. I am sorry that he thought I intended or desired to be somewhat less frank than I should be on this subject. I listened to the hon. Member for the Exchange Division (Mr. Leslie Scott) with the greatest possible interest and sympathy. He has raised a point of very great importance, and if I did not reply at length it was because I had made a very extended statement yesterday upon the whole position of the mercantile marine service to this Bill. My position is briefly this: I acknowledge very fully, after having very carefully considered the question, that it is impossible to apply the provision relating to part-time education to boys who must spend the greater part of their time at sea, and consequently, if these boys are to come within the operation of the Bill, they must receive that form of exemption from attending continuation schools which is provided under Clause 10—that is to say, some form of alternative for full-time instruction—and the problem before us is in what way can that alternative form of full-time instruction be most conveniently supplied to boys intending to take up the sea as a profession. I pointed out yesterday that this Bill does go a long way to help in this matter. I very much dislike quoting my own ill-chosen words, but if I may do so I would remind the hon. Member of what I said yesterday. I said that:It will be not only possible, but normal, for the Board of Education to require of certain authorities—those in the great seaports of the country—that they should provide an adequate supply of education suitable to the needs of boys entering the seafaring profession. It is also possible under the provisions of the Bill for authorities to federate together 2240 in the execution of some common purpose, and one of those purposes might be the consideration of a scheme for a profession of this kind. It is also possible, under the provisions of the Bill, for boarding operations to be made, so that boys coming from inland towns might be boarded in schools in seaport towns, where they would receive this particular kind of education—Then I went on to say:But although all these things are possible under the Bill, I am not satisfied that they are adequate, and I believe, if a really adequate form of education is to be given to the lads desiring to enter into the seafaring profession, it should be given on some national plan."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th May, 1918, 2039.]
§ Mr. FISHER
The position of our educational system in this country is this, that it is worked with the co-operation of the Board of Education on the one hand, and the local education authorities on the other. That co-operation may give us a great deal of what we want, but I am not satisfied that it will give us everything. For instance, you cannot compel a local education authority necessarily to provide out of the rates an expensive residential school fully equipped with maintenance and allowances and the necessary accommodation for boys between the ages of fourteen and sixteen who desire to enter the merchant service. Why should this great burden be placed upon the ratepayers of those particular areas? It would be very difficult to say to these education authorities, "Your ratepayers must bear this charge not only for the boys belonging to your own area, but for the boys drawn from areas in other parts of the country." I think the ratepayers of that particular area might very well object.
§ Mr. SCOTT
My proposal does not put upon the authority that has the training school in its area any of the cost of boys coming from outside areas. The boys coming from outside should be fully paid for by the education authority that sends them, and that authority should look to the Government for its proportion of the Grant.
§ Mr. FISHER
I think my hon. Friend will admit that it may be very difficult to obtain everything he wants within the normal operation of our local system of education. It may be necessary, therefore, for further steps to be taken, and, as I pointed out yesterday, I am fully alive to 2241 the necessity for making adequate provision for boys who desire to enter the mercantile marine. You cannot, however, work a system, of full time in a local boarding school with a system of full time continuation school. A number of authorities can now give opportunities for boys going to training schools, and they can contribute to the cost of that education. If a boy goes to such a school he ceases to be under an obligation to attend the continuation school, and he is outside the system of continuation schools altogether, so long as he stays there. That is my reason for pointing out that this is an inappropriate place for introducing the particular proposals the hon. Member has in view. I hope I have satisfied the Committee that I am not at all blind to the necessity of providing some adequate form of education for this particular class of boy, and that I am, in fact, very earnestly considering the best way of meeting the wishes to which my hon. Friend has given general expression.
§ Mr. L. JONES
After what the President has said, it seems to me that the appropriate and effective way to raise this question would be an Amendment to Clause 10, excluding from the operation of that Clause seafaring boys, and making alternative provision for them. I think that would be the best way to do it.
§ Mr. SCOTT
I understand that the right hon. Gentleman invites me to withdraw this Amendment because it is inconvenient here, but before I agree to take that course perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will give me an assurance on the point. We have raised the whole question now, and I think the Committee are rather anxious to dispose of it now, so as not to go through it all over again at a later stage. I should be very 10th to withdraw my Amendment unless the President is in a position to say that before we get to Clause 10 he will table Amendments putting in definite form the general statement he has been good enough to make both yesterday and to-day. What the Committee wants is to see exactly what is the Government proposal. It is recognised by the Government that their present proposals are inadequate. We are told that they are going to put further proposals before us, and my submission is that those proposals should come before us quite early in the Committee stage, so that we can consider them in their relation to the rest of the Bill in Committee. 2242 We do not want this question postponed to be brought up as a mere new Clause at the end of the discussion, after the rest of the Bill has been dealt with in Committee. If the right hon. Gentleman can give me an assurance that he will at an early date table Amendments so that we can see them, I shall be happy to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Mr. JONES
Those of us who are concerned about the education of boys for the mercantile marine are not so much concerned as to where and in what particular place in the Bill the Amendment is inserted. The President has recognised the importance of making special provision applying to boys who are going to sea. It is certain that unless special provision is made for these boys before they are sixteen it will not be possible to get them for this purpose. Under the scheme of continuation education which is made compulsory the sea service is going to be deprived of the supply of boys unless the Committee makes provision for the special education of boys for the sea. There may be considerable difficulty in fitting a scheme of this kind into the Bill, but I think the set of Amendments moved by the hon. and learned Member opposite is really a water-tight scheme provided the Government will come forward and do its part. This scheme as presented under these Amendments does provide that any boy, not only in seaports but all over the country, who desires to go to sea should have the opportunity, and you have to meet that desire before the boy reaches the age of sixteen.
You have in some of our seaports—you might easily have more of them—excellent schools dealing specially with boys intended for the sea. I do not think there would be great difficulty in establishing more schools of that kind in seaport towns if it be so desired by the Board of Education. There is the difficulty which the right hon. Gentleman pointed out just now of the expense of those boys who are to be maintained in those schools for two years away from their own home. The right hon. Gentleman says it is not fair to throw upon the local education authority in those towns the expense of maintaining boys from outside areas at the seaport schools. I agree it is not fair to ask the education authority in that county to pay more than the boy would have cost if he had been 2243 educated at home, but it is fair that that local authority should continue to contribute the same amount as he would have cost if the boy had remained in their district. That is the first contribution towards the cost of maintenance of the boy at the seaport town. It is equally not fair that a seaport town which sets up a school to train boys in this special work for the nation should have the burden of educating boys which do not come from their own area. That would be an unreasonable thing to ask for. To whom do we look for providing these boys for the necessary service? We must look to the Government. The Government already recognise this form of education by contributing £10 a year for the boys who go to special schools. If the right hon. Gentleman would say that he would contribute on behalf of the country the difference between the cost of the boy in his own district and the cost at the special school where he would receive the special training, that would meet the difficulty. That is really the scheme presented by the hon. and learned Member opposite, which is a watertight scheme, and I think the whole House will be behind the right hon. Gentleman in providing this special education for those boys.
This is perhaps the most necessary thing in education that he has to provide, and it is surprising that we have not done more in this direction. Now you are going to interfere with the supply of boys for the mercantile marine unless you modify the Bill as it stands. Under these circumstances I think we are entitled to ask the President before we pass from this Clause that he will formulate a scheme which will secure from the moment this Bill becomes law, and I hope it will be passed before many days are over, that there will be no interference with the supply of boys for the mercantile marine, and that the whole scheme will be in working order along with the rest of the Bill. If the President can give us that assurance there will be no difficulty in dropping this Amendment, but the real wish of the House and the Committee is that alongside the general education of the mass of boys between fourteen and eighteen we should provide that special form of education which is necessary to keep up the supply of boys in the mercantile marine.
§ Mr. FISHER
I feel it is difficult to commit myself with respect to the finance 2244 of a national scheme of sea training with out some consultation with the Treasury. The whole question is being explored by a Committee of the Admiralty, and, under these circumstances, it is difficult either to table Amendments or to pledge myself to the outline of any scheme. The position is very simple. When Clause 10 comes to be considered we shall have to discuss how far the provisions of that Clause are applicable to boys who intend to take up life at sea, and I think it may be found impossible to ask of them attendance at school for 320 hours a year between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. We shall consequently have to consider whether we can secure for the mercantile marine of the country a sufficient supply of boys who will satisfy the conditions imposed by Clause 10 and will have undergone full-time education up to sixteen. The question, therefore, narrows itself down to this —in what way can we most easily secure a sufficient supply of boys who will satisfy the condition imposed by Clause 10 and will have under gone full-time education up to sixteen. The question, therefore, narrows itself down to this—in what way can we most easily secure a sufficient supply of schools adapted to fit boys for a seafaring life to be attended by them between the ages of fourteen and sixteen. That is a problem which is largely financial. It may involve the provision of residential schools. It is true that under the normal operation of the Bill we may get many of these schools without any further trouble—indeed, in one Clause the Exchequer undertakes to pay half the expenditure on higher elementary education in these cases—that is to say, half of any expenditure which may be incurred by the local authority. Consequently the Board will put pressure on the local education authorities in seaport towns to provide instruction of this kind, part of the cost to be defrayed from the rates and part from the Exchequer.
Furthermore, if the Committee accept Clause 6 we hope to see a federation of local education authorities established all over the country, and we hope, too, that this federation will fall in with the suggestions made by the Board to contribute to the support of schools giving this special training. It is possible the Committee may not see its way to providing that this federation shall be compulsory. I think there will be a great objection on the part of local education authorities, so far as I have explored their opinion, to 2245 any such plan, but no doubt we can call on those local education authorities to supply what is needed. We can rely on them to do that, and that is why I said yesterday that I thought it would be desirable or necessary some very special steps should be taken involving, of course, fresh charges on the Exchequer, to meet the needs of which my hon. Friend has drawn attention.
§ Mr. L. SCOTT
Will the President inform the Committee when hon. Members will be in possession of the proposals of the Government on this point. We have here a watertight scheme which we believe will achieve the object we have in view, and, naturally, we are very 10th to with draw one of our proposals which is an integral part of the scheme until we are aware of what the Government proposals are. Indeed, I feel rather disposed to move the Adjournment of the Debate unless the President is able to tell us here and now about when he will be able to put his proposals on the Amendment Paper. I am a hearty supporter of the Bill. I want to see it carried, but we do want to know where we are before we withdraw an Amendment which is essential to our scheme.
§ Mr. FISHER
I am afraid I do not consider that the hon. Member has produced a watertight scheme, and one of my reasons for so thinking is that much of the hon. Member's scheme depends on the existence of a federation of authorities. To that I believe we shall find considerable opposition in Committee from Members who represent local education authorities in this country and who will not be willing to make federation compulsory on those authorities. That is why I do not consider, the scheme to be watertight. The hon. Member has asked me for a pledge as to the time and date at which my Amendments will be tabled—
§ Mr. FISHER
An approximate date at which I shall be able to produce an alternative scheme. I will undertake to see that the position of the mercantile marine is not prejudiced by anything under Clause 10—that is to say, if Clause 10 should pass in its present form, and if by that stage it should appear clear that boys entering the mercantile marine cannot satisfy the alternative of full time up to sixteen, then I shall be prepared to consider Amendments which will enable these boys to be trained.
§ Mr. L. JONES
Will the right hon. Gentleman undertake that we shall not be asked to part with the Bill until the position of these boys has been safeguarded? Will he give a pledge that the position of the boys shall not be prejudiced by the passing of this Bill?
§ Major HILLS
Let us understand where we are. We are now discussing a scheme which was very carefully prepared and which hon. Members who have put their names down to the Amendments think is a watertight scheme. The President does not agree with them that it is watertight. I want to know this: If we are to part with this Amendment, If the Amendment is withdrawn or negatived, do we part with the whole scheme or can we raise the scheme again on a subsequent Amendment? My own belief, after some consideration, is that unless these words are moved out we shall be precluded in the future from raising this particular scheme, and unless this particular scheme is inserted I do not see how you can secure a full-time marine education to fit in with the scheme of this Bill as a substitute for the education it proposes. I want to know exactly where the Committee stand. If we accept the suggestion of the President of the Board and allow this Amendment to be withdrawn, shall we be precluded from raising the question at a subsequent period?
§ Major HILLS
Yes. I want to know if we shall be precluded, when a more suitable occasion arises, from again raising this points I believe it would be for the convenience of the Committee to discuss it now.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Some time ago I indicated that the proper place would be on Clause 10, but the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Leslie Scott) preferred to take it on this, the first of the series of Amendments, and my understanding was that it would clear the whole matter away. But I can say this, that if the matter is not pressed further now I will undertake that at least in the form of exempting seafaring boys from the operation of Clause 10 the matter may again be raised, and then, of course, the question would follow of other provision being made for them.
§ Mr. L. JONES
That is so far satisfactory, and I hope the President will understand that our object in securing the exemption of these boys from this particular provision is that we may get proper education for them.
§ Major HILLS
And on Clause 10 can we insert a provision for the education of these exempted boys in schools outside their own area?
§ The CHAIRMAN
Clause 10 is the Clause which contains a provision for attendance at continuation schools, and on that I suggest it would be competent to propose—inasmuch as the Clause itself provides for such a number of hours as the local education authority, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, may consider reasonable—if there is no provision for those exempted over the age of sixteen it seems to me it will be quite possible to bring up your point there.
Do I understand the right hon. Gentleman does not propose to proceed with Clause 10 before Whitsuntide?
§ Mr. SCOTT
May I venture to make one more appeal to the right hon. Gentleman? If I withdraw my Amendment now—and I am anxious to do all in my power to facilitate the business of the Committee—and if I am to understand that the right hon. Gentleman is with us in principle, will he tell me if he will be able to table his Amendments before we come to discuss Clause 10? I think it is very important, especially in view of the fact that Clause 6, which contains the federation proposals, may have a bearing on the matter, and we ought to see, therefore, what the consequences of those proposals may be on Clause 10. Cannot the right hon. Gentleman give the Committee an assurance that we shall have the Government proposals with regard to the mercantile marine before we get to Clause 10?
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Commander BELLAIRS
The right hon. Gentleman spoke just now of the institution of an Admiralty Committee, and I understand there is a possibility of the Admiralty taking over all the training ships. Could the right hon. Gentleman arrange that when Clause 10 comes up for discussion we shall have some guidance from the Admiralty as to their wishes?
§ Mr. PETO
Before the right hon. Gentleman answers, may I make this suggestion? It has been suggested to me that perhaps we could solve this question by getting an understanding on the lines of such an Amendment as mine to Clause 10, leaving the boys in the sea service out of the scheme altogether, unless the right hon. Gentleman has been able to show us a practical scheme of his own for giving them suitable training. I think it would be possible to put them back on Report if the right hon. Gentleman has not time before Clause 10 to put forward his scheme. So far as I am concerned, as one of the supporters of the Amendment, I should be quite willing to consent to its withdrawal, provided the right hon. Gentleman agrees to accept the Amendment leaving these boys out altogether, because I am quite sure we can do that under Clause 10, but I am not convinced that under Clause 10 alone it will be possible to provide for this scheme.
§ Mr. FISHER
The question, as I view it, is largely a question of finance. I have consulted with leading shipowners on this subject, and they all agree that the provisions of the Bill as drafted are applicable to the mercantile marine on one condition, namely, that there should be a sufficient supply of residential schools of a marine character, and that the boys in those schools should be supported between the ages of fourteen and sixteen, and enabled to complete their training in that way. It is, there fore, a question of finance, and we have to consider, in consequence, how these schools can be most conveniently started, most conveniently organised, and most conveniently financed. That is really rather a big proposition. You have to take into consultation the leaders of the shipping industry, the Board of Trade, and the Admiralty. I am in consultation with them, but obviously if you are to have a really effective national scheme for the mercantile marine, you cannot rush it through quickly, and what I have promised is that when we come to Clause 10 I will see, so far as I can, that the Government assents to no Amendments which are inconsistent with the interests of the mercantile marine, as we all understand them to be. I have already told the Committee that I realise to the full that it is impossible to ask all boys who spend the greater part of their time 2249 at sea to attend half-time continuation classes. Some alternative form of education must be devised, and the Bill does make provision for that. It exempts from obligation to attend these part-time classes—
§ Mr. FISHER
I beg the hon. Gentleman's pardon. It exempts from the obligation of attending part-time continuation classes all boys who have attended full-time education up to sixteen. My friends in the shipping industry tell me that they do not want boys before sixteen, and, so far as they are concerned, if we can provide them with schools and finance the schools, and get a sufficient flow of boys into the schools, what would be most satisfactory for them would be that the terms of the Bill should be observed in respect of that industry. Their only apprehension is that there will be an insufficient amount of financial support of these schools, and until such support is forthcoming there will consequently be an insufficient supply of scholars in those schools. As I have said before, therefore, the whole question is a question of finance and organisation. It is really not a question of power under the Bill. Under the Bill there is sufficient power, at any rate, to go some way in the direction which the hon. Member desires. I do not say wholly, because I think it quite impossible to get local authorities to consent to compulsory federation, and, unless you get compulsory federation, I do no think you can get security for an adequate supply of schools for sea-going boys all over the country. Consequently I feel that something extra has to be done.
§ Mr. STEWART
Has the right hon. Gentleman any estimate of what the acceptance of this Amendment would cost? I would like to support what has been said as to its being by no means confined to boys who live on the shore. I should be glad if he could give a figure, because we are all very economical, and, although we do not want to waste money, still this is a very exceptional thing, and I hope he will see his way to accept the proposal.
§ Mr. KING
I should like to speak as a simple taxpayer and a simple citizen. 2250 This has been conducted too much as a shipowners' or shipping industry question. I think the real solution is that the shipowners and the shipping industry, which has made enormous profits during this War—bigger profits than anybody else—ought to supply the schools. They could do it themselves if they showed a little enterprise, a little co-operation, and a little public spirit. But to ask the President of the Board to put up schools for them is preposterous !
§ Commander BELLAIRS
Can the right hon. Gentleman give any answer to my question about the Admiralty taking over these training ships, and as to whether we shall have the guidance of a representative of the Admiralty as to what the views of the Admiralty are?
§ Amendment negatived.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member (Mr. King) has blocked his own next Amendment, which has been handed in in manuscript.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Amendment in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) is, I think, an Amendment to anticipate Clause 10.
§ Mr. PETO
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (1), to insert the words(2) In all rural areas the continuation schools provided shall afford facilities for teaching practical subjects connected with agriculture, and all scholars who intend to take up any branch of agriculture as a career shall be given instruction in these subjects.I have put down this Amendment in order to raise a question which is really somewhat analogous to the one to which we have just been devoting some time. The continuation schools under this Clause 3 have now been admitted by the President of the Board of Education to be incompatible with the sea service. It 2251 seems to me and many of my friends who are particularly interested in agriculture that these continuation schools providing for a few hours a week for forty weeks in the year for four years in succession are really quite incompatible with boys who are going to take up agriculture. Looking at it merely from the geographical point of view, in a sparsely populated rural district I hold it will not be possible to get these continuation schools near enough to the boy, involving to a boy a perfectly intolerable waste of time in going backwards and forwards. I noticed in the Debate last night that the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. R. Macdonald) praised very much—
§ Mr. PETO
I do not really know to what remark of mine you were taking objection, Mr. Whitley. I wish to point out that it is absolutely necessary that we should have continuation schools that provide an education not only of a character suitable to agriculture but provided in such a form that the boys can get at it to benefit by it. The education that I am advocating is not strictly and only the vocational education that we heard so much about yesterday, and to a certain extent to-day, but I do hold that the education that ought to be given in these special schools and rural areas should have some relation to the career of agriculture. There are, of course, various subjects which are not mechanical subjects. I am not referring at all to instruction such as the hon. Member for Wilton (Captain Sir C. Bathurst) referred to yesterday, valuable as it is in elementary schools —practical gardening and the like. The sort of subjects I mean are such as a knowledge of veterinary science, a knowledge of the chemistry of the soil, how plant life is affected under different conditions, and what are the real meaning and use of the various agricultural operations that the scholars in the future will have to perform. All this sort of thing will tend to make a rural population more fit to carry out the higher and intenser cultivation that we shall have to have in the future. I do not want to de- 2252 pend on myself on an Amendment of this kind, and I find much attention as has been given to this subject by the Farmers' Union, and by such a body as the North-Eastern Agricultural Federation, which is a very large federated body of agricultural associations in the North, they are all agreed that we must have not the continuation schools contemplated under this Clause 3, but continuation schools that will deal specifically with the agricultural problem and the rural population and will provide them with a suitable education to make them more efficient agriculturists. May I read to the Committee the resolution, to one line of which I referred last night, passed by the North-Eastern Agricultural Federation?This meeting is of the opinion that in the new Education Bill the system of continuation schools should be more clearly defined, and that instruction on farms in agricultural subjects should be recognised as coming within the scope of the scheme. …That is the purpose of my Amendment.Also that the period of instruction should be whole time for a definite number of weeks during the winter session and not spread over the whole year, and, further, that the Minister of Education should be requested to receive a. deputation from the Central Chamber of Agriculture.I have no doubt that the Minister of Agriculture has received representations from the Central Chamber of Agriculture and other agricultural bodies. I want specially to call attention to the fact that these continuation schools are left far too vaguely defined. We do not see in the Bill any provision for their being specialised, so to speak, either as to time or as to what they teach, in order that the average scholar in the country district may get some benefit from the education. I notice that Professor Gilchrist, the Professor of Agriculture at the Armstrong College, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in. a memorandum which he sends to me, puts this in the forefront of his objections to the BillThere is no indication in the Bill as to how the continuation schools are to be organised and conducted in the rural districts. Young per sons engaged on farms in isolated positions must attend such schools, or receive satisfactory instruction in some other manner. The foundation of such schools must present great difficulties in rural districts, where, unless exceptional provisions are made, it may be practically impossible for farmers to engage young persons who must attend such schools.Then he goes on to point out that instruction in agriculture has made considerable progress in the country, especially since 2253 the time when so many county councils took the matter in hand, from 1889 onwards:Instruction in scientific subjects has developed to a considerably greater extent than that on the economic and practical side of agriculture.He further points out that as long ago as in the Eighteenth Century, 1770-80, a great deal of attention was given to agriculture, and instruction was given in such matters — for instance, as to how the mere simple operation of ploughing really affects the horse that is doing the ploughing, what is exactly the best line of draught, and the like. Such things as that are never taught now. He speaks of a very valuable book by Youatt, published in 1831, on "The Horse," which gave the most useful treatise on draught:Few attempts have been made recently to give systematic instruction on this most important subject.He goes on to mention that the President of the Board of Agriculture the other day, speaking at Newcastle, said that we had been drinking to the toast of "God speed the plough" for years in every country but our own, and Professor Gilchrist expresses the hope that we are not going to add the toast "God instruct the plough man in everything but ploughing." That is what I wish to bring home in this Amendment. I want to know what these continuation schools mean, how they are going to be applied to our rural areas, and how they are going to toe made compatible with rural life and the profession of agriculture? I want to know that the education that is going to be provided from the age of fourteen, or whatever age it may be —I have a later Amendment limiting the age and dealing with the question of concentrating the education —is going to be practical to the extent that it is going to widen the minds of the people and give them additional interest, power, and knowledge with reference to the career and the work that they will have to follow in life. I quite agree that general education in all kinds of subjects is very desirable, but the education which is most desirable is the kind which will make people better able not only to earn their living, but to be useful members of society, and, above all, where there is a vital industry like agriculture, to be better agriculturists. That is the sort of education that we want in these continuation schools, and I should like to hear that it is going to be given.
§ Captain Sir C. BATHURST
I feel in some small difficulty in regard to this Amendment. I am entirely in sympathy with the general spirit and scope of it, and I rather fear, unless it is made perfectly clear within the four corners of this Bill that the continuation instruction provided in rural areas will be of a definitely practical character, that there will be considerable opposition to the passage of this Bill in its later stages, both in this place and in another place, and that there will be also considerable difficulty in the actual administration of the Act; but I do feel some doubt whether it is quite fair to the local education authorities, who I think must have a considerable measure of discretion in these matters, for the Board of Education to issue a mandate in the form of a Section of an Act of Parliament to the effect, whether they like it or not, that the instruction in the schools within their area shall be of a particular kind. However this Amendment may be worded, I see considerable difficulties about it. I am afraid it will be argued against it that here is something of a compulsorily vocational character being inserted in the Bill with the approval of the Board of Education, and it is not left, as obviously this Bill intends in its general scope to leave these matters, to a scheme prepared and initiated by the local education authority itself. I also feel some difficulty in assessing who are the scholars who intend to take up any branch of agriculture as a career. There will be a considerable number of scholars at these continuation schools who are actually engaged in agriculture and no doubt other industries at the time, and there will be a considerable number of others who, because the occupation of their parents is of an agricultural character, have in mind that they will themselves follow an agricultural career; and yet, if the Government of this country treats agriculture in the future as badly as Governments have to treated it in the past, it may turn out not to be to their best interests in life to adopt so unprofitable a career. In any case, I should not like to see these young people definitely tied, as it were, as a result of their training to an agricultural career if, in fact, their capacity and aptitude and their transference to another sphere of action should enable them to take up a career more profitable or ultimately more suitable.
With the general idea of the Amendment I am entirely in accord, not so much for 2255 the boys as for the girls. From the educational standpoint, I do not know any more helpless individual than the average woman in our country cottages to-day. I say from an educational standpoint, because I do not consider that one out of a hundred of them has been properly prepared for what has proved to be the work of their lives. That is one of the main reasons why our so-called small-holding system has very largely broken down in this country. In all countries where small holdings are a success and where through small holdings the agricultural labourer is able to realise his best self, the practical education of the women is of enormous importance as having a great influence. I refer particularly to Belgium. If we could imitate in this country the Ecole Agricole et Menagere of Belgium, where women between fourteen and eighteen are trained at the same time in their domestic duties and simple womanly agricultural processes, such as milking cows, dairy processes, including cheese making, bee keeping and poultry keeping, the feeding of stock, particularly of pigs. What an awful hash is being made at the present time in this country with the feeding of pigs in consequence of the insufficient supply of feeding-stuffs ! That is the sort of work admirably done in Belgium, thereby fitting these young women to be the wives of small holders and, indeed, wives of large farmers. In fact, they carry on at least 40 per cent. of the most profitable work of their rural industries and thereby are real helpmates to the men they marry. We do not make any such provision in this country. It is only in their interests that I advocate some strong assurance being given, and, if possible, something being incorporated in this Bill in order to provide for the more practical training of our girls as well as our boys in the rural areas of this country. I only saw the Amendment ten minutes ago, and hardly know what is the best way of incorporating this idea in the Bill. I would ask my hon. Friend to realise that in all these matters, as in others, the local education authorities should be given some discretion as to the preparation of their schemes.
§ Mr. MOUNT
I agree with a great deal that has fallen from the last speaker, but I think he has read into this Amendment a little more than it is intended to convey. As I read it, all that is proposed is that 2256 facilities should be given for such instruction in continuation schools in all rural areas. It is not suggested that the only instruction given in those schools should be agricultural instruction. I feel very strongly that it would be advisable that it should be definitely stated that in rural districts agricultural instruction shall be provided for the children attending them. Personally, I prefer the Amendment with the last part left out. I agree it is difficult to say who are the scholars who in tend to take up any branch of agriculture as a career. If my hon. Friend (Mr. Peto) would be prepared to let the Amendment read,In all rural areas the continuation schools provided shall afford facilities for teaching practical subjects connected with agriculture"—I should support him more heartily than I do at present. I would urge the Parliamentary Secretary to give a favourable ear to this proposal. I would remind him that we are now dealing with continuation schools. We have passed a Clause in the Bill which deals with the central schools, and what is called the practical instruction given in these schools. That practical instruction is definitely stated in the Interpretation Clause to include dairy work. Dairy work is part of agricultural education. It is not too much to ask, if you are going to provide in the Bill definitely for dairy work as part of the practical instruction which is to be given in the central school, that in the continuation school also definite agricultural instruction should be given. Perhaps we shall be met with the statement that it is not fair to teach children only agriculture and so confine them to that. It is not proposed, as I read this Amendment, that the children in rural districts should have an opportunity of learning agriculture only. I feel very strongly, especially now, when with the increase of wages, which, personally, I am glad to see is taking place throughout the country, it is quite clear that there is now open to the agricultural labourer a career of far greater promise than any he has had before, that if any thing can be done in this Bill, which is a big national Education Bill, to show that we are supplying the advantages of agricultural instruction to these people, a good work will have been done. The hon. and gallant Member for Wilton (Sir C. Bathurst) referred to the difficulties which are likely to be raised in some rural districts in regard to the proposals of this 2257 Bill. You would ease the wheels a little if you made provision for agricultural instruction in these continuation schools. The burden of the rates, which will be increased by the proposals of this Bill, falls with extra severity upon the farming class, who pay rates upon their land as well as upon their houses. For all these reasons I urge that the Parliamentary Secretary should give a favourable consideration to this Amendment.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD Of EDUCATION (Mr. H. Lewis)
I regret, after the appeals which have been made to me to assent to the addition of this Amendment to the Bill, that I feel wholly unable to accede to the request of hon. Members. The Mover complained that the Bill was too vague in certain respects, and that it did not indicate with sufficient precision the kind of education which should be given in these continuation schools. That vagueness is intentional. If we were once to commence to define particular classes of education as being suitable for particular parts of the country, we should never come to an end. For example, if I were to accept this Amendment, I have not the least doubt that we should have hon. Member after hon. Member pressing upon the Board of Education the importance of this or that or the other form of education, and insisting upon having some special reference made to it in the Bill. That would be opening a very wide door indeed, and on that ground alone I think it quite impossible for me to accept this Amendment. But there is the further reason that the Amendment unquestionably insists upon the schools imparting instruction of a directly vocational character to such an extent that they will really become vocational schools. Seventy-five per cent. of the young people who are brought up in the elementary schools of the country go to the towns in course of time, and it is wholly impracticable to force vocational instruction upon the generality of the pupils. That is absolutely out of the question. But, after all, there is really no foundation whatever for any of the apprehensions which have been expressed. There can be no doubt that agriculture will be one of the leading subjects to be taught in the continuation schools. If a scheme including a rural area were to come before the Board of Education with out proper and adequate provision being made for teaching with an agricultural 2258 bias it would undoubtedly be returned to the local education authority that sent it in. I am sure I need give no assurance whatever upon a point of that kind. The Board of Education will do all in its power to encourage the provision of agricultural teaching in every part of the country that requires it, but for the reasons I have given it is wholly impossible for us to accept an Amendment which would convert these schools into almost entirely vocational schools and would, moreover, open the door to a large number of Amendments relating to a variety of trades and industries.
§ Sir J. SPEAR
I am very disappointed to hear the decision of the right hon. Gentleman. I do not think the arguments on which he as grounded his opposition are quite logical. We have been discussing for an hour and a half the provision in the continuation schools of instruction qualifying lads for the mercantile marine. I agree entirely as to the importance of that branch of education, and from the same point of view we are urging the importance in rural areas of encouraging lads and providing an opportunity for girls and young men to become efficient in the science of the cultivation of the soil. The right hon. Gentleman said that if any local education authority neglected to provide suitable instruction on agriculture in a rural area the Board of Education would at once interfere and insist on its being done. That surely shows that he sees that there is a danger in some of these rural areas that suitable provision will not be made for young people who intend to follow the pursuit of agriculture, and therefore we who are helping to frame this Bill feel that it is most important that no mistake should occur, but that it should be stated in the Bill that in rural districts suitable provision should be made to enable those who intend to follow agricultural pursuits to become thoroughly efficient in that line of life. My hon. Friend (Sir C. Bathurst) seemed rather to fear that the wording of the Amendment meant coercion. Nothing of the kind. It merely means that where these young people are desirous of following the pursuit of agriculture they shall be afforded every possible opportunity of becoming efficient in that line of life. Even now I would urge the right hon. Gentleman not to close the door, but to make some provision of the character suggested in the Amendment. Many children attending continuation schools in rural districts will 2259 be actually engaged in agricultural pursuits, therefore surely they should be instructed in matters appertaining to soil composition, plant life, the management of agricultural machinery, and the care of stock —and indeed we are anxious, not wishing to put any limit to the ambitions of any boy or girl in rural districts to pursue the line of life they prefer, to inculcate into their minds the importance and the dignity of the cultivation of the soil and the provision of food. Many of these lads will be taken from the farms at convenient times to receive this instruction, and it seems only reasonable that it should be of a character which will afford them the greatest profit.
We rejoice to think there is a prospect of a brighter and more remunerative career for agricultural people in the rural districts, and it is important that every opportunity should be given to provide them with the means of becoming thoroughly skilful and efficient. There is an idea, too often encouraged, that anyone can be an agricultural labourer. It is a great mistake. It requires as much skill and intelligence to fulfil the duties of the cultivation of the soil as it does to follow any other manual pursuit. I agree that some of these lads are wanted for the mercantile marine, but we want to keep some of them on the soil. It is most important that we should develop rural life. The towns would die out in a few generations if they were not replenished with new blood from the rural districts. Therefore we feel that it is more than a mere question concerning agriculture. It is a matter of national importance that everything should be done to induce lads who wish to remain in the rural districts to be thoroughly fitted for the purpose. In the district in which I lived twenty-five years ago there was a schoolmaster with advanced views who became convinced that he ought to provide plots for the children to cultivate. The county council provided the seeds, and the profits of the crop were shared by the children. He tells me that while he has found lads who were very indifferent scholars and had no interest whatever in book learning, they delighted in the cultivation of their crop, and ultimately became excellent gardeners, thereby fulfilling a purpose in life equally as important and equally as necessary as quill-driving or any other pursuit of that kind. We are not raising this in any sectional sense, but only 2260 because, seeing that a good deal of expense will have to be paid by the local ratepayers, it is important that the education of these continuation schools should be of a character that will contribute to the intelligence and advantage of the district. I think the right hon. Gentleman can only make that completely secure by accepting this Amendment. He said that if the local authorities fail to provide such instruction as we have been asking for, the Board of Education will see that they are compelled to do so. We want to avoid that danger and to have it clearly defined in the Bill, so that no education authorities can fail to supply suitable education for the children in the rural districts.
§ Mr. ELLIS DAVIES
The latter part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech rather disappointed me. I think the right hon. Gentleman will agree with me that the farm labourer can no longer be looked upon, as in the past, as an unskilled labourer. Any experience which he has is not only necessary, but almost vital for the purpose of his duties. I think there is also another misapprehension, and that is that the farm labourer has no interest in education and is not very intelligent. I think the farm labourers are very wide awake and have very wide and varied interests. I listened last night to the speech of the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald), and I agree that these schools should give something more than mere teaching to enable a man to do his work in the particular trade or business in which he is engaged, and should give an education which enables him to take a more complete view of life. I am sure that that kind of education would be of advantage and would also appeal to the farm labourer, but there is another and more practical side to be considered, and that is that these men will have to earn their living, and consequently any proper educational scheme should endeavour to fit them for their particular trade or business. There are some figures in connection with agriculture, the significance of which we do not realise. I drew attention some time ago to the fact that the year before last no less than 5,000 small holders had disappeared. The same tale appears in the report for last year. In other words, 10,000 small holders have ceased to farm during the last two years. The old argument against that always was that the land was being taken up for building purposes. That argument no 2261 longer applies. For some reason or other these farmers have disappeared, and I submit that it is owing to competition, owing to the lack of scientific knowledge which is necessary to make farming, particularly on a small scale, pay. I appeal to the Government to reconsider this matter, because the schemes which are to be provided for the Education Department will be the schemes of the county council. I am not sure that a farmer, as a rule, is a gentleman who carries very much influence on the county council, and particularly on educational matters.
§ Mr. DAVIES
If that be so, then there is all the more reason why the teaching of agriculture should be made compulsory under the Bill, and we should not leave it to a retrograde education authority, such as my hon. Friend seems to suggest. I am quite sure that if the rural districts are to benefit by this Clause and by a scheme which enables children to go to continuation schools between fourteen and eighteen, strong powers must be taken by the Department, and they should be in a position to exercise those powers and compel the local education authority, or whoever is in charge, to pro vide instruction not only in the practical work of a farm but also in the science which is necessary for a successful farmer to obtain.
§ Sir E. JONES
I hope the Government is going to stand firm upon this matter, particularly after the warning of the Parliamentary Secretary that this is the beginning of all sorts of things. Claims of this kind will be put up by every industry in the country. There is an Amendment lower down of the right hon. Member for Aston (Mr. Evelyn Cecil) suggesting consultation with persons connected with local industries and crafts, and having general regard to the circum stances. I am sure that those are the lines upon which the hon. Member for Devizes might get a kind of declaratory Amendment in the Bill. If he examines his own Amendment he will see that we cannot press it, because it is impossible in its present form. You are only making this compulsory in rural areas. In that case your county town is outside.
§ Sir E. JONES
Of course it is. You are not imposing this upon your county town, 2262 which is the hub and centre, where the bulk of this instruction will be given and the town in which the continuation schools will be. Therefore, the Amendment cannot possibly achieve its object in that respect. By putting in this, you are inferentially excluding it from other districts and from other areas. The hon. Member for Devizes mentioned some things which he would like taught. He mentioned the chemistry of the soil, and the effect on horses of the drawing of a plough. That is the kind of thing that is going on in most urban schools. Every teacher who is seeking an opportunity of giving object lessons is doing that for two-thirds of the time.
§ Sir E. JONES
And in elementary schools. In will be more so in the elementary schools. They are always seeking opportunities for nature study, and they almost invariably go to the soil or to animals for their illustrations because they are much more interesting. We do not want to exclude anything of that kind. Therefore, I hope the hon. Member will agree to take something on the lines suggested by the right hon. Member for Aston in the shape of a declaratory provision, leaving it to the Board of Education to safeguard the position. I am not afraid that the county council will leave agriculture out of account; on the contrary, I think the Board of Education will find nothing but agriculture, and no general education. They will stuff it cram full with agriculture. That is the danger which we ought to avoid. The boot is on the other leg and not on the one that has been trotting about here for the last hour. I hope we can agree to have something of a declaratory character.
§ Sir R. ADKINS
It appears to be a very legitimate desire that practical instruction in agriculture shall be included in suitable areas. But the object of my hon. Friend opposite is sufficiently secured by the words "schools in which suitable courses of study and instruction in physical training are given." Who is to interpret what "suitable" means? The local authority on the one hand, and the Board of Education on the other. The influence of agriculture is great and growing, and one welcomes it, but I am quite certain that there is no danger of this aspect of education not being adequately presented under the wide scope of the word "suit- 2263 able." If you put in this particular Amendment it may work by implication the exclusion of other things equally important with limited geographical operations, and what it is intended to help will, in fact, be hindered.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I regret that the Mover of this Amendment did not explain its terms. Every one of the dozen Members who now grace the Chamber by their presence would, I believe, put a different interpretation upon the words "in all rural areas." What the hon. Member means I do not know. There are a great many rural areas which are only mining villages. One of them in the north of England was able lately to turn out 1,600 school children in a school procession, and only 2 or 3 per cent. of these belonged to the agricultural population. The rest were the children of miners. The mere fact that a district is under a rural district council in the north of England does not at all mean that agriculture is a thing that should be taught in its schools. I quite understand that in the south and west of England and in East Anglia they have not this problem, but in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and to a certain extent in Derbyshire, you would find that a very large proportion of the so called rural population is wholly industrial. Take the mining villages which have sprung up around Doncaster. They are in rural areas, under a rural council. Will the hon. Member suggest that these new model villages containing, perhaps, six or eight farms and a thousand houses of miners, and a new coal shaft should be compelled to give agricultural facilities for scholars?
If the hon. Member had said something about suitable areas, and given an indication that there would be an option for some discretion to be exercised I would have a good deal of sympathy with the Amendment, but it would not do to impose it upon districts with which we are familiar in the north of England. My hon. Friend (Sir R. Adkins) who represents a Division of Lancashire has got rural areas in his constituency which are simply teeming with urban districts. Once they were, I dare say, farming districts. Now they are on the watershed, over which comes the water from the Yorkshire hills that supplies the mill dams, and consequently they are a hive of industry, and I am certain that parents there would choose for 2264 their children industrial pursuits with higher wages. The hon. Member for Tavistock (Sir J. Spear), who holds a distinguished position in local government, has tried to impress upon the Committee that agricultural labourers are skilled artisans. Why do they not get the wages of skilled artisans? It is a new departure which I welcome very much, on the part of the farming and agricultural class, and if proper wages were given to the labourers as well as to the teachers, it might have some steadying effect in the rural areas, but the chief tendency in those areas is to keep down the cost, and that is applied not merely to the labourers but to the teachers in the schools. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education said that 75 per cent. of these children went into towns. I do not think that that is a real answer to this Amendment. Why should not those 75 per cent. who go from villages into towns go with a knowledge of agriculture? They should take allotments on the outskirts of the town. A large proportion of them go to the coal mines.
§ Mr. BOOTH
If the right hon. Gentle man does not want to press that point too far I will not make too much of it. It has been a very great blessing in those model colliery towns which are springing up in that way that a number of men from the country who have gone into the coal mines insist on having allotments, and have taught their neighbours, and now we are getting the benefit. Now we find that allotments are springing up, but we have the unfortunate result to which the hon. Member for Carnarvonshire has referred, that rural districts arc being depleted of the small farmers. I am thankful to the hon. Member for giving us the statistics, which are very striking, but that is going on with a marvellous extension of the allotments system. Thousands of allotments are springing up on the outskirts of towns, and the movement is one which is a great encouragement at the present time. But, generally speaking, it would seem that the agricultural interests as represented here think that they will not get value for their money under this Bill. I have no doubt that the hon. Member for Devizes, if he were candid with the Committee, would say that he is very much 2265 troubled with the idea that while we are imposing large expenditure on the rural districts, particularly on the agricultural classes, they will not get a full return for that expenditure. I am afraid that they will not under this Bill. It is possible that the teachers will get a great step forward, which I do not begrudge them, as I think that it has been too long delayed. It is quite possible that some industries may get better trained service, and there may be an improvement there. But I am not at all convinced that there is under this Bill any proper scheme whereby the agricultural districts will get value for their increased expenditure, and if they do not you will have the trouble indicated by the hon. and gallant Member for Wilton. Once farmers through the country get seised with the idea that this Education Bill is not brought in for them, but is intended chiefly for the towns, and that they are not getting a proper return for their money, it will defeat the purpose of the Bill one way or another. They are a very canny class, and always on the spot if the inspector arrives, or the Education Board writes, or a telegram is sent, or a special messenger, and altogether I think that something should be done for the farming class to reconcile them to this Bill, and that would make for its success afterwards.
It is quite true that this Clause starts upon the large project of vocational instruction. I am not one who rides that hobby, and upon that point I have no doubt my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme will disagree with me, but I think that a case could be made out for a sympathetic consideration of what should be done for agriculture. There can be no doubt that
§ it has been a most neglected interest, and at the present time we are feeling in tensely the result of that neglect. I do not blame anybody in particular. Perhaps it is because the English people of late years have turned more to the commercial point of view than to the agricultural point of view, but whatever may be the cause, whether it be systems or persons, I do think that agricultural districts which are remote from the life and activities of large centres of population and industry should have a little more consideration than they receive from the Education Department. I should be very sorry to appear to be throwing cold water on the Amendment, and I feel sufficiently aware of that to say that I think that I shall vote for it if it goes to a Division, although it does not commend itself to me in the form in which it appears on the Paper. What I want to see is something which will produce definite benefit to the farmers for the money they will have to fork out under this Bill, and if anything of a substantial character is proposed to achieve that object, it will receive my support.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
"(2) In all rural areas the continuation schools provided shall afford facilities for teaching practical subjects connected with agriculture."
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided; Ayes, 31; Noes, 121.2267
|Division No. 39.]||AYES.||[9.9 p.m.|
|Agg Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Fell, Sir Arthur||Mount, William Arthur|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Foster, Philip Staveley||Newman, Sir Robert (Exeter)|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Gretton, John||Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Harvey T. E. (Leeds, West)||Stanier, Capt. Sir Beville|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Hinds, John||Weston, J. W.|
|Boyton, Sir James||Hope, Lieut.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)||Wheler, Major Granville C. H.|
|Carew, C. R. S.||Jackson, Lt.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York)||Wood, Sir John (Stalybridge)|
|Cator, John||Mackinder, Halford J.|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||Marks, Sir George Croydon||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Peto and Sir J. Spear.|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome|
|Dixon, C. H|
|Adamson, William||Baldwin, Stanley||Brace, Rt. Hon. William|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Barnett, Captain R. W.||Brunner, John F. L.|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Beck, Arthur Cecil||Bryce, J. Annan|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Bentham, George Jackson||Butcher, John George|
|Archdale, Lieut. Edward M.||Bowerman, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Alton Maner)|
|Cheyne, Sir W. W.||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Clynes, John R.||Jacobsen, Thomas Owen||Randles, Sir John S.|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, E.)|
|Colvin, Col. Richard Beale||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Richardson, Arthur (Rotherham)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Jones, W. Kennedy (Hornsey)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, E.)||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Jowett, Frederick William||Rowlands, James|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Klley, James Daniel||Sanders, Col. Robert Arthur|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||King, Joseph||Somervell, William Henry|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Lambert, Richard (Cricklade)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.||Larmor, Sir J.||Snowden, Philip|
|Dougherty, Rt. Hon. Sir J. B.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Stanton, Charles Butt|
|Duncan, Sir J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Stewart, Gershom|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Stoker, R. B.|
|Finney, Samuel||Lonsdale, James R.||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L. (Hallam)||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Swift, Rigby|
|Fletcher, John Samuel||Macpherson, James Ian||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Galbraith, Samuel||MacVeagh. Jeremiah||Thorne, G. R. (Wolvechampton)|
|Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Maden, Sir John Henry||Tootill, Robert|
|Gilmour, Lieut.-Col. John||Magnus, Sir Philip||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Goldstone Frank||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Watson, John Bertrand (Stockton)|
|Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough)||Middlebrook, Sir William||Wedgwood, Lt.-Commander Josiah|
|Gulland, Rt. Hon. John William||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Morison, Thomas B. (Inverness)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Morrell, Philip||Williams, Aneuria (Durham, N.W.)|
|Harris, Sir Henry P. (Paddington, S.)||Needham, Christopher T.||Williams, Col. Sir Robert (Dorset, W.)|
|Harris, Percy A. (Leicester, S,)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wilson, Colonel Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Parrott, Sir James Edward||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Wing Thomas Edward|
|Higham, John Sharp||Perkins, Walter Frank||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Pratt, J. W.|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Lord Edmund Talbot and Captain Guest.|
|Howard, John Geoffrey||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. FISHER
There are four Amendments on the Paper—one standing in the name of the right hon. Member for Aston Manor (Mr. E. Cecil); another in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood); another in the name of the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. G. Terrell); and another in the name of the hon. Member for North Somerset (Mr. King)—all dealing with the subject of the obligation of the local education authority to consult persons and interests concerned with education. All these Amendments have reference to Clause 3. Their scope is accordingly con fined to the continuation schools which are to be set up under Clause 3. I think, on the whole, it would be more convenient if some Clause were inserted in the Bill which would deal with the consultation not only in respect of the continuation school, but also of other forms of education comprised within the schemes to be submitted by the local education authorities. Accordingly, I propose to move an Amendment on Clause 4 which will, I hope, meet the views of the four Members concerned, and will, at the same time, give a wider scope to the suggestions in their Amendments.
In the first instance, in order to pave the way, I beg to move, in Clause 3, Sub- 2268 section (2), after the word ''authority" ["local education authority"], to leave out the words "after such consultation with persons or bodies interested as they consider desirable."
I shall propose later to add, on Clause 4, at the end, the following words,Before submitting a scheme under this Act, a local educational authority shall consider any representations made to them by parents, or other persons or bodies interested, and shall adopt such measures to ascertain their views as they consider desirable; and the authority shall take such steps to give publicity to their proposals as they consider suitable, or as the Board of Education may require.The question of the extent to which this Amendment of Clause 4 will be accepted by the four Members concerned will come up on that Clause.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
It is a little difficult to remember exactly what the Amendment was which the President pro posed to add to the end of Clause 4, but, so far as I recollect it, I think it meets my point of view, in that the parents will be consulted. So far as I am concerned, that meets my point. It is rather difficult to be quite certain until one sees it on the Order Paper, but I think we can safely leave out these words here and consider the new Amendment, which the right hon. Gentleman has promised, when we see it to-morrow on the Paper.
§ Sir R. ADKINS
I rather wish to echo what my hon. and gallant Friend has said. A Clause of this kind, which deals with the necessary inquiry and consultation, is one of great importance to local education authorities, because, on the one hand, they desire to know the legitimate currents of opinion, and, on the other hand, they do not want to be unduly embarrassed in the none too easy work of preparing schemes.
§ Sir R. ADKINS
If my hon. and gallant Friend will restrain himself for a second or two he will hear in a moment that I thoroughly agree with what he says. I think those of us who, for want of better people, have to speak here on behalf of local autorities for the time being, will be disposed to accept the Amendment adumbrated by my right hon. Friend. It is common knowledge that he has been good enough to discuss certain aspects of the Bill with local authorities. One would like to see these words in print and embodied in the Bill. Possibly, on the Report stage, one might have verbal alterations to suggest, but purely with the desire of improving the Amendment. In the meantime I join with the hon. and gallant Member in supporting this alteration. I hope the Amendment will be embodied in the Bill and if, on Report, any verbal alterations are suggested, that the right hon. Gentleman will quite understand that they are only put forward from the point of view of trying to promote efficiency.
§ Sir J. D. REES
I agree entirely with my hon. and gallant Friend as to the importance of this Amendment. As I understand it, the whole of the words "after such consultation with persons or bodies interested as they consider desirable" come out. Is that so?
§ Mr. E. CECIL
So far as I can judge, from a cursory consideration of my right hon. Friend's suggestion, I think it meets the object I have in view. My object in putting down my Amendment was to widen the effect of the proposal in order to ensure that the local education authority should consult not merely with persons or bodies interested, as they may consider desirable, but with persons or bodies interested who have a real status in the matter. It was. I think, the general sense of the Committee yesterday that one of the 2270 straightest paths to liberal and sound education was to provide a. certain amount of technical instruction. For instance, in gardening, I think, it is very necessary that some technical instruction should be provided as part of the general education, and many other similar instances might be given. From what I gathered when my right hon. Friend the Minister for Education read his Amendment, it enlarges upon the text of the present Bill both in a mandatory direction on the local education authority that they shall not merely consult with bodies of persons whom they consider desirable, but that they shall consult with them, if they have a status in the matter, and in another respect my right hon. Friend's Amendment goes a good deal further than the Bill because it ensures publicity for the results of the consultation.
§ Mr. BOOTH
On a point of Order. May I ask whether you are going to take the discussion now on the manuscript Amendment which was read out, or whether you will confine the Committee to what you put, namely, the deletion of these words? I think it would be a little inconvenient if we tried to discuss my right hon. Friend's Amendment, which we have not before us, and unfortunate if we lost our right before seeing it in print. It would be equally unfortunate to have two discussions.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
Having two discussions is a misfortune certainly, but I do not quite see how the Committee can come to a decision as to whether those words should be left out without hearing the reasons for it, and I see no occasion, therefore, to stop the right hon. Member who is now addressing the Committee.
§ Mr. CECIL
I was merely illustrating the reason why I thought that the Government Amendment would practically cover the ground which I desired to cover, and I have really little else to say except to observe that I think it probably will cover that ground. Therefore, I shall have much pleasure in withdrawing my Amendment.
Mr. T. WILSON
I think the right hon. Gentleman is well advised to move to delete these words. It would not in any shape or form weaken Clause 3, and I believe, so far as Clause 4 is concerned, it would meet with the approval of a good many people. Therefore I think I am 2271 expressing the view of the party with whom I am associated when I say that we very much appreciate the Amendment the right hon. Gentleman has moved.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I can assure the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. E. Cecil) that it was not with a view of interrupting his speech, but rather to get it established from the Chair that by listening to him we should not lose our rights later on, that I raised the point of Order. I think we are entitled to ask the Government not to go beyond the point where the suggested Amendment is to be inserted until we have seen it in print. Perhaps I am more anxious than some to push this Bill along, but I would like the Government to report Progress when they come to the point in question, so that we may see the actual text of the Amendment in print and submit it to the parties concerned.
Mr. E. DAVIS
I do not know whether, in Clause 4, the right hon. Gentleman could not put in some words, not merely to ask the local education authorities to consult the parents, but also to require the Board, if necessary, to enforce schemes, particularly in rural areas, on the authorities. I think it is very important in rural areas that we should realise not only that we want general education, but also that we want teaching of particular industries in particular areas. There is some tendency to ignore the fact that there are other industries besides agriculture in the rural districts. What I desire for one, as representing a rural district with more than one industry, is that whatever scheme is submitted by the local education authority, they should not only be compelled to consult the wishes of the parents, but if there is a demand for teaching, particularly of those boys between fourteen and eighteen, in an industry in a district, power should be taken by the Board of Education to make that teaching compulsory, because I am quite sure if that is not done we shall have education on a wide number of subjects, and I am rather afraid the right hon. Gentleman may be inclined to forget that the real need of a boy between fourteen and eighteen is not to get what he ought to have in the elementary school, but additional knowledge and additional teaching.
§ Mr. KING
I congratulate the President of the Board of Education on his Amendment, and on the solution which he has 2272 got of the problem of consultation and publicity The Bill, as drafted, contains most inadequate solutions of both those questions; in fact, as the scheme is drafted, there is to be no publicity. I called attention to this on Second Reading, and I thick the very first day after the Second Reading was passed, I put Amendments down and brought the points before the President. At the very last moment, just before we reached those points, the President capitulates, but he capitulates with only a manuscript Amendment. I would like to suggest to him as a very young Parliamentary hand, that if he is going to give way to his critics, let him do so beforehand or not at all. If he had had this on the Paper to-day it would have been much easier. I think this is really a very satisfactory solution. Let me point out the weak points, for there are weak points in this Amendment. I have been favoured with a manuscript copy of it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]
§ Mr. KING
Not at all.Before submitting a scheme under this Act the local education authority shall consider any representations made to them by parents or other persons or bodies interested.That is mandatory. "They must consider representations made." That, I have no doubt, is a very good thing. I observed that it is before submitting schemes not only for continuation schools, but any scheme that may be submitted under the whole Act. The next is:They shall adopt such measures to ascertain their views as they consider dėsirable.That is more or less permissive, but it implies that they must take some measures to ascertain the views of the parents. The third part of the Amendment is mandatory, and it relates not to consultation but to publicity. There was no publicity at all provided for in the Bill as it stood. A scheme might have been passed by the Education Committee, adopted by the Council, adopted by the Board of Education, and put into force, all in a very few hours, without the public knowing anything about it. Now there is to be publicity:The authorities shall take such steps to give publicity to their proposals as they consider suitable, and as the Board of Education may require.2273 That still leaves a good deal to the Board of Education, but I believe they will more and more consult the general wishes of the public—and their own ultimate convenience—and ascertain those wishes, having given ample publicity to all these schemes, with a certain time for delay for suggestions and for modifications. I hope a wise and generous interpretation will be made by the Board of Education of these powers, and in connection with the drawing up of the Rules necessary under the Clause. I believe we shall get in this way a very satisfactory scheme. I congratulate the President, and I hope we shall now get on quicker.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. KING
I beg to move, at end of Sub-section (2), to add the words,(3) The buildings, equipment, teaching staff, and conditions of teaching in continuation schools shall be in accordance with Regulations. which shall be part of the Education Code laid before Parliament.I daresay this falls in with the views of the President of the Board of Education. I suggest in my Amendment that the things specified shall be part of the code laid before Parliament. That is rather different from laying Regulations. The matter will then be laid before Parliament in such a way that there is still Parliamentary control. I know the Board of Education more and more likes to get its own way, apart from any possibility of control by Parliament, though Parliament is very generous to the Board of Education.
§ Mr. FISHER
While I appreciate the motive that underlies the Amendment, I submit that it is not really necessary. It may, too, be inconvenient. The hon. Member for North Somerset has selected four subjects—buildings, equipment, teaching staff, and conditions of teaching. I need not point out to the hon. Member it is impossible for continuation schools to be provided without the assistance of Parliamentary Grants. Clause 38 of the Bill provides for the payment to local authorities out of moneys provided by Parliament of annual Grants in aid of education of such amount, subject to such conditions as may be prescribed in the Regulations. If the hon. Member will refer to Clause 38 he will see that it is there provided:(6) Any Regulations made by the Board of Education for the payment of grants shall be laid before Parliament as soon as may be after they are made.2274 It is partly a question of convenience, as to whether Regulations relating to the continuation schools shall form a separate document or shall be bound up with Regulations relating to other matters. I would suggest to my hon. Friend that it would be rather undesirable to enumerate the special matters which shall be the subject of Regulations. The result will be that all Regulations will be carefully scrutinised in order to see whether they fall within one of the four corners mentioned in the Amendment. It is quite clear that the Board of Education has the general power to make Regulations as to matters affecting the continuation schools and not Regulations only upon these four points. I hope, therefore, in view of that consideration, the hon. Gentleman will withdraw his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. GOLDSTONE
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (2), to add the words:(3) The council of any county shall, if practicable, provide for the inclusion of representatives of educational authorities for the purposes of Part III. of the Education Act of 1902 in the body of managers of continuation schools within the area of those authorities.The effect of the Amendment would be that white the county authority will be the paramount authority controlling continuation education in the small urban areas within their own area there would be provision made for including the representatives of the smaller authorities in directing the organisation of the general scheme of continued education which centred around the smaller urban area contained within the larger county council area. I think it is very desirable—and I said so yesterday on an earlier Clause—that there should not be a large number of authorities for higher and for continued education, but I think also it is very desirable that the authority which will provide a considerable number of young persons for this continued education at what might be called the nucleus of the area of the county council's work, should be directly associated with the county council representative managers in controlling the continued education which shall be given. If the President is prepared to accept this the point need not be elaborated. I think it will generally commend itself.
§ Sir R. ADKINS
These areas under Part III. are part of the administrative county. They are represented on the council of that county, and I have never heard yet of any county education committee which does not often have more than one representative of any such area. What is asked here is to make this proposal not quite compulsory, but as near as it possibly can be. It provides that some of the managers of the elementary schools in that area shall be placed on the body of managers of continuation schools in that area. There is already every power of consultation and making representation, not only to the county authority, but to the Board of Education before the scheme is approved. I agree that in a very large number of cases it would be helpful that something of this kind should happen, but I think my hon. Friend will agree that when you are increasing the number of authorities and mixing them up in this way the onus should be on those who seek to do it. I ask my right hon. Friend not to accept this proposal without some further explanation, and the committee should be satisfied with the full powers of making representations.
§ Captain A. SMITH
This discussion brings us back to two or three years ago, when so much discontent was exhibited by the smaller authorities at their unfair treatment at the hands of the county council. I recognise that nobody is willing to do more than the hon. Member for Middleton in regard to education, but I think he rather overweighs the authority of the council in this matter. The reason I approve of this Amendment is that it will do away with a great amount of inconsistency which county councils exhibited at certain times by the very subtle method of appointing committees of members of their education committees as they have done hitherto, and the more interest the smaller authorities can take in this matter of education, and particularly of higher education, the better it will be for the people and the country. I heartily support in every degree the words which have been spoken by the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Goldstone), and I hope that the President of the Board of Education will stick to his promise to accept this Amendment. If anything can give pleasure to the rural areas, it is the facilities they will have under this 2276 Amendment to be represented on the authority governing the education of their own children.
§ Sir E. JONES
I think this Amendment is a small step in the direction some of us would like to go, and it is one which we were pressing for yesterday in the absence of the President. I hope the President does not think that this concession satisfies the matter so far as the larger districts of over 50,000 population are concerned. I think those large urban authorities must be given the actual running of the continuation schools. I am not going to give again the reasons which I pressed last night, but we cannot regard this Amendment, which is very suitable for the smaller areas, as applicable to the very large urban areas in the country. One word to allay any fears on the part of the representatives of the county councils. This Amendment is sound, and they need not be very much concerned about it for one obvious reason. It is clear that the bulk of the continuation schools will have to be run in the school buildings, which are the property of the local education authority, and that is a thing which must be kept in mind. Really, it is a very small thing for all those local authorities merely to be represented on the local bodies who will be managing the continuation classes. If you are not going to give them that much, the friction and bad feeling, and the occasion for conflict, would hinder the establishment of some continuation schools, and the difficulties would be very much increased in the future. I therefore suggest that this is really a very mild concession, and instead of being in any degree dangerous to the county councils, it is bound to help them to achieve some kind of co-ordination between them and the local authorities using the same buildings.
§ Sir C. BATHURST
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not accept this Amendment at the Committee stage without giving some of us connected with county education committees some opportunity of exploring its effect on the administration of those committees. This Amendment is practically worthless from the point of view of the lesser education committees, or else it is impracticable. Who is going to decide whether it is practicable for a county authority to include these persona upon 2277 the management committee? Is it going to be for them to decide or for the Board of Education in the last resort? This does not specify that there shall be an ample and sufficient representation as will meet their own desires and requirements. There might be a dozen members of the management committee and one only under this Amendment would be necessary for the county authority to include amongst the number as representing the lesser education authority. If that is so, it seems to me the Amendment is hardly worth the while of those who propose it. In any case it is a matter which must seriously affect the administration of the authorities who are going to be responsible for this type of education. It is, therefore, only fair that they should have an opportunity of exploring it from their point of view, as they must be responsible for the executive work of the schools. I therefore hope the right hon. Gentleman will not be in a hurry to accept the Amendment, but rather defer the matter until the Report stage.
§ Mr. RAFFAN
I am in entire agreement with the desire that the minor authorities should have every opportunity of contributing assistance in the administration of the continuation schools within their area. It is always difficult to deal with manuscript Amendments, and it may be that I have not fully apprehended the proposal contained in this new Amendment. Is the suggestion that on the county education committee which deals with continuation schools there shall be placed a representative of every minor authority concerned, or is it suggested that the county committee should be bound in any way to have every group represented? If the proposal is entirely limited to the representation of each group, I cannot see any reasonable objection to it. Naturally, with regard to the management of elementary schools, such representation is provided for by Act of Parliament, and if this proposal does not go further than the provision already made in the case of elementary schools, I would suggest to the hon. and learned Member for Middleton, who is always so very vigilant in the interests of county councils, that he might allow the Amendment to pass to-night on the understanding that if, on further exploration, it is desired to modify it in any way on the Report stage there shall be liberty to make any alteration.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Mr. FISHER
I am perfectly ready to accept the suggestion of my hon. Friend that the Amendment should be agreed to now, on the clear understanding that it can, if necessary, be brought up again on the Report stage. The Amendment as it stands embodies what, I believe, would be the general practice all over the country. The Clause is one which will give a considerable amount of satisfaction to the authorities, and, from that point of view, I think it is desirable to have something of the kind in the Bill. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Middleton who speaks with great experience as chairman of acounty council, and who has done valuable work in that capacity, should have time to examine this. He is one of the people who has to deal with the administration of education in the county, and I should naturally pay great attention to his opinion on a matter of this kind.
§ Sir R. ADKINS
I do not want to oppose the suggestion which has been made, but I would like to call the attention of the Committee to the manner in which conditions vary in different parts of England, and perhaps it would be desirable to have a different form of words which will satisfy the legitimate aspirations of the districts in the North without making the rule so universally applicable that it might embarrass other parts of the Kingdom where the conditions are quite different. In the light of those observations, I propose to reconsider the matter.
§ Captain SMITH
I fear that if any material amendment is made to this proposition it will not be acceptable in all parts of the House. We desire that every area shall be represented on the authority which is responsible for the management of these continuation schools. That is all we require, and I think it is absolutely necessary.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. MARRIOTT
I beg to move, at the end, to add the words,(3) The courses of instruction provided in continuation schools may include lectures and classes given under the supervision of a university of the United Kingdom.This is really a small Amendment. I hope it will prove to be entirely uncontroversial. I am sure it will be sympathetically considered by the President of the Board of Education, and I hope it will be accepted by him in substance, if not in actual form. I can explain in a very few words the 2279 reasons which impel me to move this Amendment. I want, in a sentence, to give to the continuation schools of the relatively poor the continuation schools which under this Bill you are about to establish the advantages which have for many years been enjoyed by many of the secondary schools that are attended by children of the comparatively well-to-do. That is, in brief, the object which I have in proposing this Amendment. I am very anxious indeed that it should be brought prominently to the notice of the local education authorities, who will have the administration of this Act, that they should make further use—they have made a great deal of use in the past, but I hope they may be induced to make still greater use in the future—of the extra-mural teaching which is provided now by almost all the universities in the United Kingdom. I imagine most members of the Committee are perfectly familiar with the main features of the system of extra-mural teaching which the universities have elaborated during the last thirty or forty years. It is a very complete system; it includes lectures of a university character, class teaching, the tuition of individual students of a similar character to the tuition which is a special feature of university teaching itself, voluntary examinations, and the provision of libraries and books with advice as to the use of them. I imagine that all members of the Committee are more or less familiar with these features, and I do not propose, therefore, to enlarge upon that point. There is, however, one very obvious question which I can imagine members of the Committee should put to themselves before accepting this Amendment, and it is this: Is this system of extra-mural university teaching really suitable for those who will be attending these continuation classes? I want to make it quite clear that, in my opinion, it is not suited for the younger children attending those classes. It is not suitable for the younger children attending our public schools or the boys and girls attending our secondary schools. For them it is not suited, but where it has been found of very great value and advantage has been for the young persons who are approaching but have not yet reached university age, who have attained the age of sixteen or seventeen. On this matter I speak from a very considerable experience of the adaptation of the kind of work to the secondary schools of the country. 2280 I want to explain in a sentence or two why these secondary schools have found the assistance valuable for their own purposes, and why I think that it will be found valuable for the young persons of sixteen, and still more of seventeen, years of age—that is to say, who are in their last year, or possibly their last two years, of attendance at continuation schools. I think it will be found valuable because towards the end of their regular school life the pupils are brought under the influence of a type of teacher different from and other than the type with which during their school curriculum they have been accustomed. They are brought under a fresh type of teacher. They are introduced to a new method of teaching, and the teacher brings to their instruction a very new point of view. Therefore it is, to my thinking, of very great importance for the last year or two, while the pupils are actually attending the secondary or the continuation classes.
I have another and much stronger reason for desiring to bring the pupils of our continuation schools under the influence of the extra-mural university teaching. My reason is this: If you can catch the young person at the age of seventeen and bring him or her at that age within the influence of this new type of teaching you are very likely indeed to carry the pupil on for another ten years, or it may be for another twenty years, in your ordinary and regular courses of extra-mural teaching. You can convert him, if you catch him at the age of seventeen or so, into a lifelong student, and that seems to me a point of very great importance. Finally—and this is the last word I have to say—I may be asked, and, indeed, I think I very likely shall be asked, Why not leave this matter to administrative action; why attempt to insert it on the face of this Bill? Like many others—in fact, I think like most other hon. Members who have spoken in the course of this Debate—I have the greatest possible confidence in my right hon. Friend who now presides over the Board of Education, and the greatest possible confidence in the permanent officials of that Board. I am certain that as long as they are respectively in their present positions this matter will be sympathetically regarded, and that all I have in view will probably be carried out by administrative action. Over and over again, however, we have been reminded in the course of this Debate that neither my right hon. 2281 Friend nor even the permanent officials are permanent in anything more than a technical sense, and it is for that reason that I am very anxious indeed to get this upon the face of the Bill. Besides, we have always to remember that the initiative in these matters rests with the local education authority, and what I want is that there shall be some words inserted in the Bill to suggest to the local education authorities the advisability of adopting that system which I am venturing in my Amendment to suggest.
§ Sir P. MAGNUS
I think anybody in the House who has had any experience of this extra-mural teaching of universities will recognise the great value of such teaching, particularly of young persons between the ages of seventeen and eighteen. If it is possible, therefore, to arrange to include in the curriculum of these continuation classes certain lectures that will be given by the extra-mural teachers belonging to the universities, I cannot help feeling that it would have all the advantages ascribed to it by the hon. Member who has moved this Amendment. I certainly would attach very great value to the fact that at this age, between seventeen and eighteen, say, the pupils of these classes should be brought in some way into connection with the universities, and that the lectures or courses of instruction which they would there receive might be distinctly continuation classes or continuation lectures, preparing for higher instruction such as they might afterwards obtain. Of course, very much would depend on the character of the lectures which would be given. My own experience of the variety of courses of instruction given under the direction of the University Extension movement in my own university even goes to show that there would be no difficulty, so far as I can see, in adapting these particular lectures to the abilities, capacities, and even the requirements of the pupils in the continuation schools.
I was very glad indeed to find that the hon. Member who has moved this Amendment distinctly stated that he did not expect that such instruction would be valuable or serviceable to the pupils during the ages of fourteen to sixteen I take it myself—so far as one understands what the curriculum in these new continuation classes will be—that there must be a properly organised system of instruction for pupils of the younger age, very similar 2282 to the instruction given in the lower classes of the ordinary secondary school, and I think it would be difficult, if not impossible, to add to that course of instruction lectures such as the mover of this Amendment has proposed. Having my own views as regard the kind of instruction to be given in these continuation schools, which I have not yet had a full opportunity of expressing, I personally cannot see that there would be any grave difficulty in allowing universities to send their lecturers to continuation schools to give special instruction either in literature, science, or even applied science adapted to the particular industries in which these young persons were engaged. Taken from the higher technological point of view, I do not think that there would be any difficulty in arranging such courses of lectures. I do not think that there would be any difficulty in arranging such courses of lectures, and, therefore, unless the President has any great reason to object, and seeing that it is purely permissive, I shall be glad to support it.
§ Sir J. D. REES
My hon. Friend opposite, in his speech, has rather destroyed the illusion of a lifetime, and has shown that not only distinguished men of the younger universities, but also distinguished men from the sacrosanct atmosphere of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge are in favour of the wholesale popularisation of education. There was one thing to which my hon. Friend did not refer at all. He said nothing about the cost of this proposal. Money, apparently, is no object. This may not cost anything—I really do not know, and it is in order to ask that I rise—but it is for "classes given under the supervision of a university of the United Kingdom." What does it mean? Does any professor supervise, or does it simply mean classes in which instruction is given of a certain character? I do not understand what the supervision means. If it means a supervisor, the super visor, apparently, will cost something. How much of the cost will fall upon the county council—namely, the ratepayer, and how much upon the State—namely, the taxpayers? My hon. Friend, in his eloquent speech, contemplated catching boys of seventeen and going on for ten years—
§ Sir J. D. REES
He said that in this way we should get a lifelong student. Would we want to create a vast class of 2283 lifelong students at the cost of the ratepayers or taxpayers? If that is the proposal, let the Committee clearly understand that is the meaning of the Amendment. It may mean nothing of the sort, but let it be made clear if that really is my hon. Friend's intention. If it is, then I am wholly out of sympathy with him. If he means that you are to catch a youth at seventeen, when, according to my views, he ought to be thinking about starting his career in life, and make of him a lifelong student, I want to know what it will cost in order that he may have this prolonged and pleasant life of exclusive study at the expense of the rates or the taxes?
§ Captain SMITH
The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken need have no alarm as to the extent of the life of studentship. Every man, from an educational point of view, is a student all his life. The hon. Member opposite (Mr. Marriott) did not intend that he should be a student all his life at the public expense, but that he should be given an appetite for education which would last as long as he lived. If we are to set up these continuation classes, then let us have the best teaching that we can get. I do not want us to set up this class of schools and then introduce a form of education which will bring into them an army of teachers of a particular class and a particular kind, who will come in conflict with the teachers brought up and trained for this particular purpose, and thus create a great deal of friction. I do not know whether the, hon. Member for West Nottingham (Sir J. Yoxall) will agree with me, but I foresee some little trouble in that direction. Rather than that we should make any mistake and have a lot of lecturers going from one school to another who are not acceptable to either the teachers or the authorities, we had better leave the matter alone. Again, this instruction is to be under the supervision of the university authority. I am rather afraid that that may cause a little bit of conflict with the education authorities. But if the proposal can be carried out and these lecturers, with special aptitude for giving this instruction to the children can come in, then, I say, let them come. If the President of the Board of Education can see his way to avoid any unnecessary friction and expense in. this connection, I shall be as glad as anybody to see such instruction given.
§ Sir J. YOXALL
My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Clitheroe (Captain A. Smith) can rest assured that on the part of the ordinary teachers in the continuation schools there could be no jealousy whatever of the university lecturers who come into the schools for these special classes. As a matter of fact, the difficulty with regard to the working of this system will consist chiefly in the paucity of teachers. The great difficulty of the Board of Education will be to get together a staff of people which can cope with the work. I assume that when they have obtained teachers who are qualified for this work, they will be employed for children above fourteen, fifteen and sixteen. Nothing better could happen than that children of seventeen and eighteen should come into the schools and hear a course of lectures of the university extension type from men and women who now deliver those lectures on behalf of the universities. I gather that the supervision of the university merely means that they shall be lecturers established under the authority of the university.
§ Sir J. YOXALL
And that the supervision will be confined to the selection of the lecturers and the type of lectures they deliver. That is how I read the Amendment. If that is so, there could be no friction between the local education authority and the university. The hon. Member for East Nottingham (Sir J. D. Rees) did not appreciate the full meaning of the proposer of this Amendment. I was at Oxford last year attending the summer meeting of the University Extension Movement. I then saw men and women students of twenty-seven, thirty-seven, and forty-seven, who, year after year, for the last twenty years, and even more than that, entirely at their own expense, and as a way of spending their holiday, and as an interlude to their other occupation—whether they be grocers or clerks, or what not—have pursued, not at the cost of the rates of the taxpayer, the education in which they were initiated first of all by a course of university extension lectures. That, I think, is what my hon. Friend meant by his suggestion that if they were caught at seventeen they would be held for twenty years. The hon. Gentleman (Sir J. D. Rees) naturally assumed, from the concise way in which it was stated, that 2285 it might be at the cost of the rates and taxes, but, as far as I can see, he need have no fear on that point. I am not sure whether it would be wise to insert these words in the terms of the Act, but perhaps it might alternatively be arranged that they should become part of the Regulations laid down by the Board of Education. As far as I can judge there will be no danger whatever, and I hope the Amendment in one form or other will be adopted.
§ Mr. FISHER
My hon. Friend (Mr. Marriott) has drawn attention to a possible supply of teaching for the highest stages of the continuation work and has indicated that a great deal of it might be enriched and developed if we could secure the co-operation of the universities in the work. With his general aim I am in very full sympathy, but I am rather inclined to agree with the hon. Member (Sir J. Yoxall) that this object will probably best be obtained through the Regulations of the Board. In any case. I feel that the Amendment is a little difficult to accept in its present form, because it would not make ample provision for the control of the local education authorities, and, after all, the basis of our system is the control of the local education authority, and consequently, if the hon. Member will see eye-to-eye with me in the matter, I will suggest that he should withdraw his Amendment, and I will give an undertaking to consider more fully, and at my leisure, whether it would be possible to introduce words which will give a distinctive part to the universities in the work of the continuation schools on the face of the Bill. If I find any difficulties in doing that, I may assure the hon. Member that the very valuable point to which he has drawn attention shall not be lost sight of in the Regulations of the Board.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
Is there anything in the Bill or in existing legislation at present which would prevent any local authority from doing precisely what is expressed in the terms of the Amendment?
§ Sir R. ADKINS
Subject to certain words being inserted which would not so much safeguard the rights of local authorities as indicate that their relations to 2286 these lectures may be similar to their relations to other teachers, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will see his way, between now and Report, to consent to put it on the face of the Bill. We want to indicate to the local education authorities and to the public that we want to bring universities and their extra-mural teaching into ever-closer contact with the continuation schools and with the higher education of as many people as possible. For that reason I hope, as the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to consider it, subject to a modification of words, he will be favourably disposed to put it on the face of the Bill.
Mr. E. HARVEY
I wish to support the plea of my hon. Friend (Sir R. Adkins). I feel that the value of inserting words of this purport in the Bill will be exceedingly great, because they will emphasise the humanistic character which it is desired there should be in all continuation classes. However technical many of them may be, we desire that they should be also humanistic. If this can be inserted on the face of the Bill, it would be of great value to the education authorities. I hope in any words that are inserted the right hon. Gentleman may have in view not merely the classes held in the school, but such courses as are held in connection with the summer meetings at Oxford, Cambridge, and elsewhere. The attendance at such classes in university centres would come as a fitting crown to the course held in the school. I think an indication of this kind on the face of the Bill would be of very great service.
§ Sir J. D. REES
If the right hon. Gentleman brings the matter up on the Report stage, will he deal to some extent with the charge involved?
§ Mr. WILSON-FOX
I should like to associate myself with the desire that these words or something similar should be on the face of the Bill. The most vivid instance in my mind was when, as a boy of sixteen. I came under the influence of a great lecturer like the late Henry Morley, and such impressive lecturers as Professor Ray Lankester and others. The personal influence on my mind at that time was very great, for those men are able to make boys and girls who in their earlier ages regarded their lessons as a task, enthusiastic upon the subjects which they are being taught. I well remember at that time how I became interested in comparative anatomy. The professors and 2287 teachers who can give those lectures to people of that age are the teachers whom we desire should teach all classes of the community. I entirely associate myself with the desire that these facilities should be given to rich and poor alike. The speech of the hon. Member for Nottingham (Sir J. D. Rees) brought us down, I will not say from the sublime to the ridiculous, but to the depressing. There is, of course, the question of finance, but I think that can be got over. I think the universities will be so anxious to provide these facilities that the question of finance will as far as possible be put in the background. I think these words should be on the face of the Bill, and I should like it to leave this House almost in the light of an instruction from this House that this mode of teaching at that age should be provided, and that the local authorities should not allow small difficulties to stand in the way, but should place these facilities at the disposal of the children and youths for whose education they are responsible.
§ Mr. MACKINDER
It is of extreme importance that these words, or something similar, should be on the face of the Bill. We want these continuation schools to be something more than elementary schools. I feel strongly that if you are simply going to continue—and your local education authority will very likely consider that that is the object of the continuation school—into adolescence the same kind of teaching, carried a little further, that you give in the elementary school, not only will you fail to achieve your object, but you will do absolute harm. You will repel your young students. You must recognise that they have to play their part as citizens. We are committed to a great experiment of democracy. No nation in the world has experimented in the way we are about to experiment, and the only chance you can have of making it successful is that you should make your education humanistic: not merely that they should be able to read tit-bits or anything else that does not carry them far, but that they should understand the things that matter from the citizen point of view. You must give some lead to your local authority and some lead as regards the intention of Parliament, and not merely leave it to the regulations of a Department. There must be some indication that the objects of the continuation school is different from that of the elemen- 2288 tary school. For that reason I do press upon the President that he will, between now and the Report stage, find words not merely for Regulations, but to be inserted in the Act of Parliament itself which shall give a lead to the local authorities. I would press this all the more strongly in the conditions which exist at the present time. You are going to have great difficulties in equipping your schools with teachers for half-a-dozen years to come. You have had a shortage of teachers. That shortage will be emphasised. If you are going to have anything like an early effect from these continuation classes you will have to enlist into your teaching strength all the teachers you can get from whatever source you can get them. Therefore, because this Act of Parliament is not in terms of an ordinary Act, because it simply says in general terms that it shall be the duty of the local authorities to do this, and lays down a general principle, for that very reason it seems to me that this kind of wording is pertinent and suitable to this Act, and what we have to do at the present time is not to lay down an ordinary law, but to give a lead to the local authorities who alone can do this thing for us. I most strongly support what has been said by the last three speakers.
§ Mr. MARRIOTT
I hope that the Committee will feel that the Debate which has taken place at least justifies me in having proposed this Amendment. We have had an extraordinarily interesting, though brief, Debate. The way in which the President of the Board of Education has met us has been exceedingly sympathetic, and in face of what he has said, I shall withdraw the Amendment. I have got the whole substance which I desired to get, only it is understood perfectly clearly that between now and the Report stage the President will himself reconsider the matter very carefully, and that we shall on the Report stage have an opportunity of raising this question again.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Before this Amendment is withdrawn I should like to say one or two words. My opposition to this Clause would be very largely modified if I thought that this Amendment could be adopted. This is real education. What the hon. Member for Warwickshire said about the effect on him of these great lecturers must necessarily be ten times as great upon workers who have never had the opportunity of mixing with the same 2289 people as we have had. It may make all the difference in the future careers of these children to have contact with great minds on great subjects in this way. I have often on this Bill attacked the Conservative party because I thought that they had ulterior motives, and I still think that many of them may have ulterior motives in connection with this Bill, but so far as hon. Members who have addressed the House on the Amendment are concerned, I withdraw everything of the kind. Honestly, I did not know that the Conservative party had the interests of true liberal education so much at heart. Apart altogether from the interests of the working-class children, I think that we shall all find that the presence of the working-class children at our universities will have a very good effect upon our own children in those universities. This War has been a great rounder off of corners and caste and that sort of thing. We are now entering on a world in which there is no class and no caste, and the mixture at the universities will do nothing but unlimited good to all the people who go there.
§ Mr. BOOTH
My great objection to the Amendment is that it is exclusive. To insert this proposal would be tantamount to excluding others. There is no necessity for these words. Everybody knows that university extension lectures are welcomed, but to talk of having professors lecturing in villages all over the country is to dream dreams. Far be it from me to oppose this if it can be done, but why should you exclude other matters of instruction which would not be impracticable, but practicable? Instruction might be given as to insurance principles, and there are other subjects which could be dealt with. The present proposal goes far beyond the education to be given to those who are to be brought into the continuation schools. There is a shortage of teachers now, and there will be a greater shortage after the War, and this might not be put into operation until years after. There has been an hour and a half of fine talk over this Amendment; but, after all, you have to consider what is the character of these continuation schools. They are going to be largely elementary schools, and they will only be established because the elementary school system has proved a costly failure. That is the only reason for this Bill, and these continuation schools will, in fact, only afford education which should have been 2290 given in the elementary schools. If we come down to practical considerations I am quite certain that the whole of the speaking to which we have been listening, for the last hour will be found to be immature.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.