HC Deb 17 October 1918 vol 110 cc375-94

5. In the Education (Scotland) Act, 1908(b) The expenses which may be sanctioned by minutes of the Department under paragraph (7) of Section three shall include the travelling and personal expenses of the members of the education authority of a county necessarily incurred in attending meetings of the authority or any committee thereof, and also contributions by any education authority to any association of such authorities concerned in the consideration of educational questions.


I beg to move, in paragraph (b), to omit the words, The travelling and personal expenses of the members of the education authority of a county necessarily incurred in attending meetings of the authority or any committee thereof, and also. and to insert instead thereof the words,

  1. "(i) Travelling expenses necessarily incurred in attending meetings of an education authority or any committee thereof;
  2. (ii) an allowance at uniform rates to be prescribed by the Department in respect or other personal expenses necessarily incurred and time necessarily lost from ordinary employment in attending such meetings, and
  3. (iii)"
When this Bill was upstairs my right hon. Friend the Member for West Fife (Mr. Adamson) moved an Amendment to this Schedule to the effect that Members of the education authorities should be compensated for time lost from remunerative employment, I expressed sympathy with the views of the right hon. Gentleman and undertook before the Report stage to endeavour to meet his point. I indicated at that stage that I thought it could best be met by a flat-rate applicable to all the members of the education authorities. After consideration of the matter with my advisers I have come to the conclusion, as I said last night, that this Amendment is best calculated to meet the wishes of my right hon. Friend. The Amendment is really based upon Subsection (7) of Section 3 of the Act of 1908—a Section which is already in full operation in Scotland—and I would like to add that the principle of this Amendment has been already adopted both in England and in Scotland in the matter of attendance of pensions committeemen. There is compensation for lost time on the part of members who attend these committees. The Amendment proposes, first of all, to provide for travelling expenses necessarily incurred and further an allowance at uni- form rates prescribed by the Department in respect of other personal expenses necessarily incurred. I think perhaps the House will agree with me that it would be impossible, as regards time necessarily lost, to take into account the circumstances of individual cases. As I said last evening, it would be very difficult, for example, to deal in one way with the case of a miner or any other man who works with his hands and who might lose a few shillings or possibly a pound by attending such a meeting, and to deal in another way with the case of a distinguished doctor or barrister who might lose a very large fee by attending the same meeting. Accordingly it seemed to me that a solution, if it was to be found, must be found along the lines of a flat rate. What is proposed in this Amendment is that a Minute of the Department should be laid, regulating this matter and prescribing a standard allowance in consideration of time lost from remunerative employment, fixed at such a figure as would, let us say, include the case of a well-paid artisan, and that this allowance should be claimed by all who had necessarily lost time by reason of attending the meetings, whether their loss is above or below the standard fixed by the Minute. What I want to impress on the Committee is that the exact figure, which will be a matter for subsequent consideration, will, of course, be included in a Minute which will be laid upon the Table of the House and which will lie on the Table for a month. Therefore there will be the fullest Parliamentary control over the amount which is proposed, and if Parliament disapproves of the amount the usual facilities are open to it to express that disapproval. I have endeavoured as best I can to meet the case which my right hon. Friend put upstairs, as I think it was a reasonable case. My strong desire is to secure the co-operation in the working of this Act of all classes in the community, and certainly not less than others of the labouring classes. This Act will undoubtedly very closely affect Labour, and I am very anxious that no man who is appointed to represent the community upon the education authority should be debarred from doing so by paucity of means or otherwise. I desire that there should be a full and equal opportunity for all classes to perform the duties which are laid upon education authorities by this Bill, and in these circumstances I move the Amendment, which I hope will commend itself to the good sense of the Committee.


As the Mover of the Amendment which raised the question which the Amendment of the Secretary for Scotland deals with, I desire to say that I am satisfied with the Amendment as now proposed. I also desire to take advantage of this opportunity of thanking the Secretary for Scotland for meeting me on this point—more particularly in view of the fact that in meeting me he has had to undertake a considerable amount of extra duty. As he well points out, if this Act is to be administered with the help and co-operation of the working classes, it can only be done on the conditions provided for in the Amendment which is before the Committee. Unless we had had some such Amendment put in the Bill it would have been impossible to have had working-class representation in the larger areas that are arranged for in this Bill. I am certain that the fact that the Secretary for Scotland has agreed to accept this and to embody it in the Bill will be much appreciated by the working classes in Scotland, and on their behalf and my own I thank him very much for the concession that he has made and for the extra trouble that he has had to undertake in order to give effect to the promise that he made during the Committee stage upstairs.


I quite agree with what my right hon. Friend says, but I would like to give a word of caution to my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Scotland. I have some experience in regard to these payments in respect of certain committee meetings which have been held in connection with pensions and Labour Exchanges, and I want him to guard against abuses which have certainly taken place. There are first-class tickets which have been given to men to come to London, and they came third-class and pocketed the difference; and he must be on his guard in drawing up his table of fees to prevent anything in the way of profit-making out of these sums. There is no doubt whatever that this will be a very serious addition to the rates, and it therefore behoves us, while quite willingly granting expenses, to take care that there is no temptation put into the scale.

Amendment agreed to.

Bill reported.

As amended (on recommittal), considered.


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

My voice has been heard so much on the Second Heading of this Bill, and subsequently during ten days in the Scottish Grand Committee upstairs, as well as on the Report stage yesterday, that I should be well content, apart from one consideration, to remain silent at this stage. That consideration is that I feel hound, as a matter of courtesy and of gratitude, to tender my acknowledgment of the co-operation which I have been fortunate enough to secure, both inside the House and outside the House, in connection with the Bill, without which, indeed, it would have been impossible that a measure of this kind, which is, as the House well-knows, a difficult measure, should have reached the stage which it has reached to-day. I am well aware that some of its provisions, both administrative and educational, did not commend themselves to all my Scottish colleagues, but if differences were disclosed, so also I think was disclosed essential agreement in making the Bill perfectly safe. I want to express my gratitude to my Scottish colleagues in particular, and to the House as a whole, for the rare magnanimity—if I may say so—with which personal predilections were subordinated in order to secure the safety of the measure on its way to the Statute Book. In this connection I would like, if I may, to pay a tribute to one of our colleagues who has passed away since this Bill was first introduced and who took part in the first discussion which took place upon it—I mean Mr. Sutherland, the Member for the Elgin Burghs, whose educational distinction we all recognise and whose death we all mourn.

6.0 P.M.

On the question of the transferred schools I acknowledged last night the extreme moderation and reasonableness with which I was met by my Nationalist colleagues. I should like to add to that, if I may, that on the part of my Protestant friends in dealing with that particular Clause, which, as the House will readily recognise, contained some difficult provisions, I received precisely the same fair and reasonable treatment which I experienced in the quarter to which I have just alluded. I should like also to make special acknowledgment of the attitude adopted by the Church Education Committees upon the vexed question of religious instruction. I quite appreciated their concern with regard to that matter, and it was my intention and desire to allay it if I could. They met me half way in a very fair manner, and so solved a problem which was very difficult and essentially debateable, and which would have occupied a great deal of time in this House, apart from the very generous attitude which was adopted by the Churches with regard to it. One of my Friends upstairs was good enough to predict when we separated at the end of the Grand Committee that I should have what he termed a hectic recess. The prophecy turned out to be ill-founded, but the events of these months which have intervened between the two stages of the Bill have at least exploded the myth which was credited in some quarters that this Bill was insufficiently considered in the country and might slip through without observation. I am quite sure that no recent measure in Scotland was more talked about, written about, and even preached about, during the Recess, than this particular Bill, the Third Reading of which I am about to move. I do not in the least deprecate the discussion which took place. It was entirely valuable, and I am glad that it occurred. One further expression of thanks, and I am done. I think I am bound to acknowledge the assistance which I have received throughout from the Educational Institute of Scotland who represent teachers in the matter. This has been called a teachers' Bill. If that means that it has been instigated and dictated by the teaching profession, I can only say that that, too, is a myth, but if, on the other hand, it is meant that I recognise, and the Bill recognises, that a contented teacher, reasonably secure in his position and reasonably remunerated for his work, is an essential feature of successful education, then this is a teachers' Bill. I prefer, however, to think of it, and to describe it, as a children's Bill. I think that the needs of the children of Scotland, in view of the actual necessities of the present time and of the necessities of the future, early and remote, is the key-note of every Clause of this Bill, and has supplied the driving force which has ensured its progress to the present stage. In these circumstances, I beg to move the Third Reading of the Bill.


I think I may speak, in the absence of my two colleagues who have been Secretaries for Scotland, the feelings of every Scottish Member in the House, that we heartily congratulate the Secretary for Scotland on having reached this stage of the Bill in such an amicable mood. We also thank him most heartily for his uniform courtesy, fairness, and reasonableness to us. He has not accepted all our Amendments, but he has accepted quite a large number, and some of great importance, and I am quite sure that all the Scottish Members, and indeed everyone interested in education in Scot land, will be very willing, when the Bill receives the Royal Assent, to work most heartily to bring it into effective use, because, after all, we are merely sketching a plan The plan has to be worked out in Scotland by all the people interested in education, and it is of the greatest moment that this new era should be entered upon in the heartiest possible way. I should like to join with the right hon. Gentleman in what he said about our colleague, the late Member for the Elgin Burghs. It was my melancholy duty to-day to move the writ for the vacancy caused by his death. I am quite sure we all feel that he was one of the men who really knew education in Scotland. He was anxious, you will remember, on the Second Reading Debate, that there should be an inquiry into education in Scotland, and it was only because of his intense interest in the problem that he wished that this settlement should be as full as possible, and should be as advanced as possible, so that Scottish education might retain its position of pre-eminence in the world.

A little while ago I was casting my eye over the Second Reading Debate, and the points that I myself brought out. Now, I cannot say that all these have been met. The Secretary for Scotland maintained his position of creating his authority and then devolving upon school management committees. That is a new idea in Scotland, and I can only say I do hope that it will work well. The next point to which I would like to refer is this: He has, in his Clause about secondary education and the desire for assisting and making provision for children of promise, many alternatives of how those children can best be assisted, and I am sure Scottish Members will watch with great interest how these alternatives are utilised. I, for one, feel that you will not merely do it by sending a lot of country children into towns to attend big schools. For instance, the word "hostel" is mentioned there, but during the passage of the Bill the right hon. Gentleman has done nothing at all to provide money for the policy of building or equipping hostels for these country children, and I do urge upon him once again—I have done it several times, and I think the people of Scotland, when they realise, will come to the same conclusion—that he really must put his back into the matter, and make arrangements whereby these country children shall he properly attended to when they leave home and go into the towns for their secondary education. Then, with regard to the continuation schools, the Bill has gone back rather there, because three years has been allowed before the system comes into operation.


It is four years in front of England.


Yes; but the Bill has receded three years from the appointed day. I do not want to be controversial at all, but that means that the right hon. Gentleman has got three years to popularise compulsory continuation schools in Scotland, and public opinion has got to be educated about it. Quite a large number of people in Scotland are not keen about this, and I think a good deal of educational work has to be undertaken to popularise the idea of compulsory continuation schools during the three years that must elapse before they come into operation. I am very glad the Bill has been improved by quite a large number of what one might call small reforms, all, however, very important in their own way—the provision of nursery schools, the question of the employment of children, the raising of the age for street trading, and a number of other points of that nature.

There are only two other points to which I wish to refer. One is about the expenditure. We have really not had any definite undertaking as to what proportion of the very large cost involved in this Bill will be borne by Government Grants. We are still dependent on the money that goes to England, and I think the education authorities will not be very long before they come to the right hon. Gentleman and want to know exactly how much money they are going to get. I think he told us on Second Reading that it was to be a fixed proportion of the expendi- ture He has not yet told us what proportion. The education authorities, I think, are asking 75 per cent. I do not know whether, as he has got his Bill through now, he will be prepared to tell us exactly what proportion he will give, but perhaps before the Bill reaches its final stage that proportion may be given. Then another similar point is as to the new provisions for inspection. The right hon. Gentleman told us that the old idea of payment by grants is abolished, and with it, of course, the existing system of inspection, but, notwithstanding many enquiries on the subject, we have not yet got any detailed account of what the new inspection is to be, or how the reports of the inspectors are to be given in to enable the school to get the maximum grant. I do not, know whether he can now give us any information about that, but it really is of great importance for the actual working of the Bill. I sincerely trust that this new legislation will work out for the benefit, not only of the teachers, not only of the parents, but of the children in Scotland.


I want to join in congratulating the Secretary for Scotland, on behalf of my colleagues and myself, on the stage that he has reached with the present Bill. Like the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, I also want to thank him for the courtesy and consideration that he has displayed towards Members in the course of the various stages through which this Bill has passed. This Bill is a great advance on the present position, and I believe will be of considerable advantage educationally to the people of Scotland. Like other Members, I have not got everything that I wanted during the course of the consideration of this Bill, and there are just one or two points to which I wish to attract the attention of the Secretary for Scotland and the House, where I think that the absence of the things that I tried to secure will weaken the Bill and will make its administration more difficult than it would otherwise be. As the House and the Secretary for Scotland know, both in Committee and on Report I made a serious effort to get the principle of the maintenance grant carried to a much wider extent than is provided for here. My failure to get this principle in the broad general manner in which I desired to pet it will, to a considerable degree, I think, increase the difficulty of administering this Bill when it becomes an Act. At the same time, I readily grant that the provision contained in Clause 5 is a considerable advancement on the present position, and I have no doubt that some of the advanced local authorities in Scotland will not be long in testing the exact powers which Clause 5 gives to them with regard to the question of maintenance, travelling expenses, school fees, and that sort of thing. What I would like to do at this moment for those authorities, who, I am certain, in the near future will be bold enough, and I think wise enough, is to bespeak for them the favourable consideration of the Secretary for Scotland and the Board of Education itself.

The next point in which, I think, the Bill is weaker in consequence of the want of some of the Amendments which I suggested, is in regard to a matter which has been already referred to by the right hon. Gentleman who has just addressed the House. I think that the Secretary for Scotland would have been well advised to have accepted my Amendment providing for 75 per cent. of the costs being met from Imperial sources, instead of the present arrangement which he has embodied in this Bill. I think that the future will reveal the fact that the cost of education, and consequently the local school rates, will be largely increased. That is a serious matter, and one that may cripple the effective administration of this Bill. That danger would have been removed if the right hon. Gentleman had accepted the Amendment which I proposed in the Committee stage dealing with the matter. Not only was it the general wish of the school boards of Scotland that 75 per cent. of the cost should be borne from Imperial sources, but it was the universal wish of the working classes that that should be the case. One other point that I brought to the attention of the right hon. Gentleman was the question of the size of the classes. There, again, he could not see his way to deal with the matter along the lines I suggested: I think, as a consequence, the Bill may not be as successful as it otherwise would be. At the same time I want frankly to say that I believe this is a great advance on the present position, and I take this opportunity of congratulating the right hon. Gentleman on the passage, through its various stages, of a Bill that I look upon as the biggest measure he has had the privilege of piloting through this House since he filled the office of Secretary for Scotland.


I do not intend at this stage to put forward any criticism of the Bill, I only rise to offer, in a very few words, my most sincere congratulations on the part my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Scotland has played in a subject which has occupied the country for so long. I remember long ago sitting under the Gallery there, where I played a very subordinate part in the arrangements for drafting the Act of 1870. It is very pleasant for me now to be able to congratulate my right hon. Friend on the fact that he has put the great coping stone upon the work that was then begun. I do not want to indulge in reminiscences, nor to admire too much the past times, for I am convinced of this, that this is an immense advance, and none know that better than those who took a part in the earlier building up of the structure upon which my right hon. Friend has now placed the coping stone. We tried experimental plans in 1872. No one is more rejoiced than I am who took a humble part in that earlier building. No one is more rejoiced than that now a new and larger structure has been built by the exertions of my hon. Friend. A new land of promise is opening up to my countrymen. It is, as he says, not merely in the interests of any one class. No one is more thankful than I am to think of the benefit which may now come to that most deserving of all classes amongst us—the teachers of this country. But it is not their interest only which I have sought to push forward. I have struggled for them only because I believed in my heart that their interests were identical with those of the children of the schools, and, what is more, with the prosperity of the country to which we belong. I am certain that in the larger authorities that the Bill of my right hon. Friend will establish we will have new opportunities for education; that these will open new pathways. I am not concerned to point out this or that defect in the Bill. I am quite certain, however, that when these larger authorities enter upon their powers they will so justify their creation that they will exercise a larger measure of authority, and I believe they will press upon the Government—and successfully—the requirements of education. I have not the least fear that these new educational authorities will rise to their duties and make proper representations to the Government, or to this House; and that they will obtain adequte means of carrying on their great work. I say, "God-speed," to those who have the carrying out of this new scheme. I can believe that their action in the future will be worthy of the past, and that our country has a great advantage in the prospect opening out by this new Bill.


I desire, with my colleague the hon. Member for North Sligo (Mr. Scanlan), to associate myself with the congratulations offered to the Secretary for Scotland. At the same time I would say that I appreciate, on behalf of my colleague and myself, the references to our action during the passage of this Bill. Whilst representing the Irish party, and looking after the interests of the Catholic schools in Scotland, we were strengthened very materially by the assistance we obtained from outside. We had the advantage of being in close touch with the Catholic hierarchy in Scotland and the Catholic Education Council. The assistance which we obtained from the Secretary to the Education Council, and more particularly from Monseigneur Brown, the Apostolic Visitor for Scotland, was invaluable. His assistance, not merely when the Bill was passing, but in the delegate negotiations my colleague and myself had with the Secretary for Scotland, proved him absolutely indispensable. I cannot help saying that the safeguards we have succeeded in obtaining for the Catholic schools are to a large extent due to his invaluable advice and assistance. I cannot before sitting down refrain from expressing the hope that on one or two points something may be done which has not yet been done in the Bill. I refer especially to the position of the teachers during the period before the schools are transferred. I believe it will be in the power of the Treasury to meet the increasing demands which the teachers of Scotland require to have satisfied before they are in a sound financial position. If I might, I would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to use his influence with the Treasury before the schools are transferred, so that something may be done to enable the teachers of these schools to get some increase of salary in the intervening period. I believe it will be of value to the whole settlement, because the quicker the schools are transferred the better, naturally, it will be.

The other matter is one to which I referred yesterday with regard to the register. I still hope that, though a great number of the men will not be able to vote in the near future, that steps will be taken as soon as possible, to enable everyone, whether they are in the forces or not to vote on the Education Bill. In conclusion, I cannot help feeling that, so far as the denominational schools in Scotland are concerned, and especially the Catholic schools, for which my colleague and myself have been working in this matter, a very important era has opened. They have now come within the national system. I know the sacrifices that our people in Scotland have made for many years in maintaining the Catholic schools at their own expense. Now that they have come within the national system, I believe it will be to the good, and that the Scottish people will find that when the Catholic schools are so brought within the national system it will be good for the education of the country. I am sure of this: Owing to the very fair and courteous way in which the Secretary for Scotland has mot our representations, he has laid the foundation of that good feeling which is the best foundation for a good educational system.


The speakers who have addressed the House on this occasion have spoken of the courtesy, consideration, tact, and ability with which the Secretary for Scotland has piloted this Bill through all its stages. I am quite sure that those views expressed the feeling of every Member of this House, and I shall not occupy the time of the House by repeating them. Perhaps, however, I may be allowed to say in reference to the speech just delivered by the hon. Member for Glasgow University (Sir H. Craik), that though he belongs to a different political party to mine I am quite sure that, however much others of us may disagree from him on ordinary political questions and other questions, there is not one of us who would not desire to pay tribute to the disinterested service he has always rendered to the cause of education, and the high ideals with which in this matter he is inspired.

In the Bill we are now discussing there is a matter which I think is vital to the future of the Bill. It at last gives us in Scotland a common unified system. I well know what the right hon. Gentleman knows, and I am sure he thinks the people of Scotland will soon realise that this Bill is an advance on the English Education Bill. It gives Scotland a unified system under which elementary education is no longer the education of certain classes of the people. It gives rich and poor alike a new system of secondary education. Having that unified system will mean an increasingly greater influence in the communal and civic spirit of Scotland. It is in accord with the best traditions of the village schools of Scotland, which so often have been the common schools of all classes of the people. That is what I hope, and what I rise chiefly to say is that I trust the lesson will be learnt by the English democracy, and that they will not long be content with the educational system which is so infinitely behind the system adumbrated in this Bill for the democracy of Scotland. There is one other point I desire to put forward. I want to make an appeal, even at this stage of the Bill, to the Secretary for Scotland. He and his advisers will agree, I think, that the greatest influence in the lives of the children of the schools is the personality of the men and the women who surround them and have charge of their education. The tragedy of education in both countries has been that the teaching profession has so often been starved. I regret that it is not possible under the Rules of Order in this House to raise the one question which I think is responsible for the operation of this evil to-day—I refer to the unjust discrimination that takes place in regard to the salaries of the women and men teachers for the same class of work. I hope that the Secretary for Scotland will throw all his influence—and it is great—in encouraging the local authorities throughout Scotland to make a more just provision respecting the salaries of the women teachers, and to realise that they should be treated as fairly and as generously as the men teachers. Although a provision to this effect is not in the Bill, and it was not possible to insert it in the Bill, yet I hope that the same result in a great measure may be attained through the administrative influence of the right hon. Gentleman.


Now that the Secretary for Scotland has passed safely through the barrage of congratulations to which he has been subjected to-day, I hope he will go forth from the House bearing his blush- ing honours with the dourness of a Scot and the suavity of a lawyer. During the Grand Committee stage he was subjected to a barrage of a somewhat different kind. I am sure we shall all re-echo the tribute paid to the right hon. Gentleman yesterday by the hon. Member for East Edinburgh for the courtesy and patience which he has maintained throughout all the proceedings upon this Bill. I should like to especially thank the Lord Advocate for the very fair way he treated us with regard to a number of very complicated matters with which he dealt. The school management committees have been given real and definite powers, and proper representation has been secured upon them. In many respects these committees will take the place of the school boards, and many of us hope that the best of the personnel of the existing school boards will gravitate on to the school management committees. I know that the Secretary for Scotland does not care for tributes from those who have opposed him at every stage of the Bill, and a great many of his Scottish colleagues are in that category. Many of us, although we think we could have had a much better Bill, will never agree that we could have had a better Secretary for Scotland.


I think this measure sets up an important landmark in the history of education in Scotland. During the Committee stage the Secretary for Scotland introduced two very important Amendments, one dealing with religious instruction, and a very wise change was brought in. There is no subject which has brought about so much unanimity in Scotland for a very long time as that of religious instruction. The other important Amendment is that which provides more flexibility with regard to continuation schools. The agricultural interest is very strong, and they have been unanimous in recommending that flexibility is required in order to make a success of continuation schools. I think if some amendment had not been made the measure would have operated very badly indeed, and it might have defeated the main object of the authors of the Bill if the continuation schools had been left in a hard, cast-iron manner. By the Amendment which the right hon. Gentleman has put into the Bill I think the country districts are placed in a better position, and if we give flexibility to the administration of the continuation schools work, that will be to their advantage and according to their desires. Those two changes have made a great improvement in the Bill and I am very thankful the right hon. Gentleman has seen fit to make them.


Perhaps I may be pardoned for saying a word or two in this Debate. The Secretary for Scotland is an old colleague with whom I worked in great harmony for a long time in the Scottish Office. I was rather struck with the remark made by the hon. and learned Member opposite who spoke of the suavity of the lawyer. As an outsider and a person who hopes that he may not be cross-examined in the dock, but who is always liable to be cross-examined as a witness, I think the compliment as to the suavity of lawyers admits of some qualification. I am glad that this Bill has passed into law. I think it is a good measure and it is a hopeful augury that in a period of political truce the Government should have passed through the House of Commons Bills dealing with education in England and in Scotland. That is a subject which will have a great deal to do with the lasting stability of this country in the years which are before us, when we shall be passing through a period in which a nation with weaker resources would have to face a greater task.

I am very glad that we have strengthened the position of education in both parts of the country. It would have been a matter of deep personal regret to me if England had obtained her Bill and Scotland had been behindhand. I am particularly glad perhaps from a little different point of view to my hon. Friends below the Gangway that a large proportion of the children of the city which I have the honour to represent are to have the advantage of a fuller education. It has always been a sad thing to think that something like one-fifth of the children of Glasgow were being educated in starved schools by starved teachers. Now that state of things has passed away, and I am very glad my right hon. Friend has been able to perform the very difficult task of settling an ancient controversy which it was absolutely necessary should not go unsettled any longer. That is one feature of the Bill which gives me the deepest satisfaction. The other teature is that the young lads and girls of Scotland will have fuller opportunities of education than they have enjoyed in thy past. I think one must also feel that it is a good thing that there will be a higher and a better recognition of the teaching profession.

One of the things that has always struck me, and it is true not only of this but of many other countries, is that the rewards of learning are extremely inadequate. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not legal learning!"] That is suavity and it produces large rewards. I think it is a good thing that we should recognise fully the profession upon which the future of the country so much depends, and that profession must not only be adequately rewarded but it must have a higher status than it has had in the past. I congratulate my two right hon. Friends upon their conduct of this Bill. We have managed to get through it with a great deal of concord, and I think it would have been a most improper thing if Scotsmen in considering great questions did not argue about them. I entirely differ from my right hon. Friend in regard to the Debate this afternoon about rating. The only consolation I have upon that subject is that the thing is left in such an impossible position that I hope it will bring about what I have longed for and urgently desired, namely, a thorough reform of the basis of rating in this country. I am very glad that we have been able at a time when legislation has been almost impossible to present to Scotland this great measure of social advancement.


I desire to say a word or two on the Third Reading of this Bill, in which I have taken very deep interest. I wish to pay a tribute to the right hon. Gentleman on the Treasury Bench who has piloted this measure through. I believe I am the only member of the Irish National party who has had experience of Scottish life and of Scottish Universities, and I feel I ought to pay a tribute to the generosity of the people of Scotland for the way they have made provision for education. With regard to the teachers, as there is an admission from the Lord Advocate and the Secretary for Scotland that the teachers in transferred schools in some instances will be subjected to injustice, I am going to ask that those who have supported this measure should make a recommendation to the Government to alleviate the condition of those teachers. It is very easy to do this during the interval between the passing of the Bill and the transfer of the schools, because those teachers will be subject to a very real and serious grievance. I am sure the Secretary for Scotland and the Lord Advocate realise that if all who have supported the Amendment for the grading of teachers and the proper payment of them will support a submission to the Government for doing justice immediately to those people, they will be doing something to do justice to those people, and they will be remedying a grievance which is acutely felt in Scotland. I offer my congratulations to the Secretary for Scotland upon the passing of this Bill.


I desire to add my praise to the right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench who have successfully piloted this Bill through to the Third Reading, for it is a great Bill. There is only one thing I regret, and it is the extraordinary powers that have been handed over to the Department. We know that the Department is really a single individual. The three first Clauses of the Bill give powers to the Secretary for Scotland to do certain things, but in the rest of the Bill the powers are handed over to the Department. These are not days for the setting up or the increase of the powers of autocrats, for they are days when autocrats are being set down, and in that respect I regret that this measure is not up to the spirit of the age—indeed, it is increasing the powers of an autocratic Department and rendering it even more powerful than it is at the present time. That is my only objection. I should have been more pleased if the Secretary for Scotland had retained the powers he has given over to that Department. At the beginning, when framing this measure, the right hon. Gentleman took the powers to himself, and then the autocracy got hold of him, and after the first three Clauses the Department got all the powers. Notwithstanding that defect, however, I think the measure is one of which Scotland will be proud, and the two right hon. Gentlemen who had charge of this measure deserve the greatest credit.


I think, before the Bill finally disappears, an English Member may be pardoned for protesting against the two-faced attitude of the Government upon the education question. The arguments which have been used about this Bill, if they are true, as I think one must submit that they are, seeing that they commend themselves even to a critic like my hon. Friend (Mr. Watt), show the English Bill to be thoroughly bad. I am the only English Member who has tried to sit through the whole of the Debates on the Second Reading, the Report stage, and the Third Reading, and I admit that my impression is that the Scottish Bill is much better than the English Bill. The Bills are alike in one respect, and perhaps two. They give great powers and freedom to the authority, and they apply compulsion and even compulsory robbery to the poor. In that respect the two Bills are alike. You compulsorily deprive the poor people of the earnings of their children. You may be justified to send the children to school, but you do not make the parents any recompense. This Bill, therefore, will be exceedingly unpopular, and you will need an amending Bill. You have no right either in England or Scotland, however learned or professorial and adroit Ministers may be, to use an accidental authority derived from the War to dragoon people in the way that these Bills do, and you will find out your mistake before very long. A warning was given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dumfries (Mr. Gulland), and I have no doubt that he has his finger upon the pulse of the constituencies. He gave a hint that the compulsory continuation classes were not understood or popular in Scotland and that a great educative work was needed. I again appeal to the Government, before they bring in this advanced legislation, to do some educative work and to convince the country. The Education Minister (Mr. Herbert Fisher) has done some in England, I do not know to what extent my two right hon. Friends are going to do any in Scotland, but unless they do some really pioneer and educative work they will be obstructed very greatly by possibly mistaken sentiment.

The chief feature of this Bill, as I understand from the Secretary for Scotland, is that it retains the ad hoc authorities. A conspicuous feature of the English system is that you have thrown them over. I was talking lately to one or two Lord Mayors in this country, and they say that since the English system was adopted there has been very much less interest taken in education than there was when there were special authorities. You are sticking to them in Scotland. Fortunately, the Ministerial Bench is occupied on these two Education Bills by totally different tenants. I do not know that any of the Scottish Members had the courage to come in during the English Education Debates, I think that they were wise. Their Bill being of an entirely different character, they would have felt very much inclined to vote against their English colleagues if they had heard the speeches. It was much easier to vote with them if they kept in their offices and just came and marched through the Lobbies. How can the Government justify this Bill and the English Bill? No one with any sense of logic can do it. I myself think that the system in Scotland is the better one. I am not one of those who regret that it cannot come into force for three years. It would probably be better if it were postponed beyond that. We have had more than one example of passing Bills in advance of public opinion in this country. There was the great Insurance Act. Perhaps I am making a needless appeal to the Scottish Minister, but I made it on the English Bill and I make it now to him. A great deal of the unpopularity and the difficulties which will surround this measure can be met if the subject is boldly tackled by the Government, and if Members of Parliament and the nation are convinced that these great sacrifices are necessary in the future interests of the children. I made that appeal to the English Minister, though I do not suppose that there will be any great response, but in Scotland, at any rate, education has never been the subject of party controversy as it has been in England, and I hope it never may. The Debate has convinced me that it is not possible in the lifetime of the present Members.

I do not protest against the Government sending out whips and compelling this House to vote black one day and white another day on this subject of education. There is no earthly reason, if an ad hoc authority is a proper thing in Glasgow, why it should not exist in Manchester. The climate is very similar, and the industry or thrift of the people and even the dialect are very similar. No attempt has ever been made, either on the English Bill, or on this Bill, to give the slightest justification for this double-faced attitude of the Government. I am quite sure that it will bring disaster in the future. I cannot see either this Bill or the English Bill coming into operation without an amending Bill. I am perfectly sure that they will have to amend the rating Clause in the Scottish Bill. I came this afternoon with a leaning rather to the plan of the Bill, but for two hours I heard a discussion of apparently three bad systems of Scottish rating. They all seemed to me atrocious and I hardly liked to vote for any of them, but I singled out the one which seemed to make most for unity in the counties. I was thoroughly convinced, however, that we only had a choice between three very evil systems so that I think there will be an amending Bill with regard to that matter. Perhaps my criticisms are not of very much advantage, but I attach most importance to my appeal that some educative steps should be taken so that public opinion, public sympathy, and the support of all the local authorities may go up with this great measure of reform.

Bill accordingly read the third time, and passed.

The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.