HC Deb 29 May 1930 vol 239 cc1513-640

Order for Second Reading read.

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Sir Charles Trevelyan)

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

This is a Bill to raise the school age by one year. It is a short Bill to do a big thing. We are going to give another year's education to 400,000 of our children in England and consequentially to put into operation powers which already exist in Scotland in order to enable 62,000 children over the Border to have the same advantage. At present five-sevenths of the children in the country leave school at the age of 14. In most cases that is the end of their education and I say that it is a big thing to add another year to the school life of all those children. I should like to think that in the House there is not much opposition to the main object in view, and to the real end which we are out to achieve. It is a disastrous national waste to allow half a million children to leave school just at the most vital educational year, just at the moment when their education is burgeoning and blossoming, just when their minds are becoming individual and supremely receptive, and just at the moment when one year more of education is worth two or three years when they are younger.

I cannot see how opposition to the main purpose of this Bill can be other than rather ungracious. Of all Members of the House, in whatever part of it they may sit, who are so circumstanced that they can give their children all the education they please, there is not one who would think of condemning their sons and daughters to leave school at 14. When well-to-do people talk of the places to which they send their children for education, they mention only the places where children do not go until they are 14. They mention Harrow or Winchester, or Clifton, or Marlborough, because they know that the vital period of education begins just at the moment when the working-class children have to end their education. I do not believe, therefore, that we shall find in our discussions that there is substantial disagreement as to the desirability of raising the school age. Differences as to method and time there may be. The date which we have chosen for raising the school age is important, but, after all, it is a detail. Maintenance allowances are important, but even they are secondary. Even to arrive at a partial national accommodation in regard to voluntary schools might be a particular triumph of the British spirit of compromise, but it is a far lesser thing than the national determination to strike a whole year off life's handicap for most of our children, and I want to ask the House, in discussing this Bill, to keep in mind, in the first instance, that the main thing which we are going to do, with all its difficulties, is to give the children a bigger chance.

I have spoken of the educational motives so far, but there is another motive and intention stirring many of us to press this Measure at the present time. It is our deliberate and avowed purpose to reduce the competition of children in the labour market. We want to keep 500,000 children in school rather than that, at this time of critical unemployment, they should continue to flood the already overcrowded labour market. I was very glad to listen to a speech by the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) yesterday. He was saying how much he agreed with a good deal of our opinions, and he said: At any rate what I am asking the Government is, first that they should carry out the definite pledges which they gave before the Election. If they carry out the proposals embodied in the Prime Minister's speeches and in 'Labour and the Nation' with regard to unemployment, in so far as we are concerned, we shall be only too happy to support them—so that at any rate the right hon. Gentleman cannot complain that there would be no majority in this House."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th May, 1930; col. 1383, Vol. 239.] Labour and the Nation" has a prominent place dealing with unemployment, and the third item in the unemployment programme is to withdraw from the labour market children under 15, with necessary provision for maintenance allowances.


In Carnarvonshire we have already done that.


That is why I am appealing to the right hon. Gentleman with the greater confidence. It is not possible to find out with any accuracy the number of children who are now employed between the ages of 14 and 15. We know the general facts; we know that in some towns, such as Leicester, almost every child can get employment as soon as he leaves school. We know, on the other hand, that there are many parts of the country, such as mining areas, where very little employment is to be obtained by children. Perhaps, however, we may get some indication as to the average from those authorities, to one of which the right hon. Gentleman has just alluded, which have raised the school age to 15. There are four of them, and they have given a very lavish power of exemption. It seems that about half the children get exemption during the year; that is to say, they get exemption for employment. That will indicate that in those districts half the children can get employment. Probably it would not be unreasonable to say that of the 400,000 children leaving school at 14 years of age, 250,000 get employment of an effective sort during the year.

If these children cease to be available for the labour market, other people must take their place in almost all cases, and it is not unreasonable to suppose that there would be something like 100,000 or 150,000 older people employed in place of the children who would be in school under this Bill. That would mean that there would be 100,000 people off the "dole," which would mean a saving in unemployment benefit of something like £3,000,000. The expenditure on raising the school age, therefore, is not a net expenditure. If the expenditure is £5,500,000, we have to deduct the expenditure which is now spent on keeping older people in unprofitable inactivity. There are two other smaller considerations affecting unemployment to which I must allude. The gigantic reorganisation which is going on in education at the present time is providing, firstly, that there will be several thousand more teachers necessarily employed every year, and secondly, an enormous increase, about which I shall have to speak in a few minutes, in the building of schools—all giving employment. The effect upon un- 4.0pm

employment of raising the school age has been one of the greatest considerations leading the Government to choose so early a date as April next year. They have asked the local authorities to prepare for that date, and, generally speaking, they have sprung to the task with readiness, but, quite rightly, they say that if the school age is to be raised the Bill ought to be passed soon. I want the House to realise that, if it decides either to reject the Bill or materially to postpone the date, it will be deliberately refusing to relieve the difficulty of unemployment. [An HON. MEMBER: "Threats!"] I know very well that objection is taken, especially on the other side of the House, to the date which has been chosen. It is said, even by many who would be as willing as myself to raise the school age in due course, that the date from the educational point of view is too early, that the schools are not ready, and that the local authorities cannot be prepared. I make no objection whatever to the spirit of that criticism. It is a respectable and commendable anxiety. There are two quite separate questions in this connection. The first and most important is: Will the schools during next year be able to accommodate the children of the new school year as it goes on to the full new number in the schools and to give at least as good an education as is being given at present to the older children? The other question is: Will the schools be ready to give that special, improved education to senior children which the present reorganisation almost universally going on is designed to provide?

I have never said, in arguing this question, that next year the reorganisation will be complete all over England. What I have said is that we shall be ready for the extra school year. I want to put the House in possession of the information at my disposal about what is going on in the country. I think probably not many Members have a conception of the extent to which England hums to-day with educational activity. The increased educational production is as definite a phenomenon to-day as the industrial stagnation of many of our trades. I must, first, inform the House of the widespread response of practically all local educa- tion authorities to the request of the Government to put their house systematically in order and provide programmes of expansion. Let the House remember that this educational development, this making of programmes and working on programmes, is not a partisan enterprise. It is the finest flower of the efforts of my predecessor in office. His initiative has been responded to by local education authorities irrespective of their political colour, geographical position, and social or industrial character. There are 317 local education authorities in England and Wales, and all, except 55, have sent in programmes on which they are working hard. Several of those 55 have practically got programmes ready and are working on them although they have not yet sent them in. Hardly any have declined to submit programmes; so far as I know there are only five, and these on the ground that the Bill has not become law. Their attitude may be expected to change the moment we have carried through this Measure.

I have not the slightest reason to think that the majority of these authorities do not intend to carry out the programmes which they have sent forward. Most of them provide for full reorganisation of the great mass of their schools. The extent of the activity is shown in the increase in the expenditure on elementary schools. In seven months from 1st October, 1929, to 30th April, 1930, the capital expenditure has amounted to £3,695,000 compared with £2,466,000 for the corresponding months of the previous year, which shows an increase of 50 per cent. although the year before was the biggest school building year up to that date. I have been making an inquiry to-day. There are 100 new schools actually being built at this moment and 350 enlargements going on. That will give the House some idea of the tremendous educational activity going on all over the country. As showing the reality of this astonishing advance of building activity, many local authorities have been increasing their skilled staffs in connection with building. Staffordshire has increased its school architects, Plymouth has added three, Devon six, and so on throughout the country.


These figures, I take it, are for elementary schools?


Yes, elementary schools only. The House may be assured that these programmes for a new system of senior schools throughout the country for advanced education are a reality, and in a few years the whole educational features of England and Wales will be changed. All parts are equally responsive. This Bill is only a part of reorganisation, though it is an essential part. It is not only designed to keep children at school for another year, but the country is being reorganised, so that they will not be in any part of the country marking time as they have done hitherto. The extra year is the coping stone of the whole scheme of reorganisation and is vital to the Hadow recommendations. It will revolutionise the education of the older children. The essence of what we are doing is no longer to treat children of 13, 14 and 15 as if they were in an elementary school. We are creating a system in which the older children will go into senior schools and get an effective education.

I do not adopt, and I shall ask the House not to adopt, the attitude of the Noble Lord the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy). So far as I understand him, he will say: "Do not let us get the extra year until we have the full measure of education that we shall have when our system is perfect." Let me say, quite definitely, that there are already many parts of the country in which they will get next year the full effective improved education if the school age is raised. For all practical purposes, the reorganisation will be substantially complete in an enormous list of local authorities which I have here. I made very careful inquiries of my Department about this, and I have here the names of 140 local authorities which I am told will have substantially reorganised most of their area in time for the new school year that will be coming in. I will not trouble the House with the names of the districts, because they are all over the country. It is quite true that it will be some time before a good many of the other authorities reach the point which both the Noble Lord and myself want when the certainty of a highly effective education may be brought into every village and city. What I can tell the House now is that, if we raise the school age at once, the opportunity for education for the new year children throughout the country will be greater in many cases than it is to-day for those who attend school only up to 14, and at least as good everywhere as it is for those children now.

One of the chief features upon which we are insisting in our reorganisation is a drastic reduction in the size of all senior classes. In our new senior classes 40 in a class is a strict limit. I consulted the other day the leading inspectors in my Department and asked them if they were ready for the new school year. They told me with one accord that there is not going to be any serious difficulty in any part of England in providing accommodation for the new school year. There are just a few very crowded towns where it may be necessary to hire a hall or two for a year or two, but there are very few places where classes of older children will rise even for a time as high as 50, and, when they are over 40, they will generally be far nearer 40 than 50. Under these conditions the House has to decide whether it is better for children to be in school or in the labour market. Even if everything is not perfectly ready there are schools for them and moderately-sized classes for them, and they will have as good a chance as they now have from 13 to 14, and in many cases a better chance.

I have every reason to think that there will be enough teachers. I have been asked to give figures. I did not wish to give figures before, because, as the programmes came in, we began to see more accurately what the real demand will be. If I had attempted to give figures and make an average from the first early programmes, I should have given a wrong impression, and the impression I am now able to give will be much more correct than I could have given earlier. I will give the House an estimate of the additional teachers required, based on the estimates sent in by the local authorities in their programmes. It is evident from those programmes that the authorities, in addition to the actual needs arising out of the raising of the school age, contemplate employing large numbers of additional teachers in order to meet the needs arising from reorganisation. These are the figures. In 1930–31 there will be a normal expansion of 1,750 teachers required. In 1931–32 there will be a normal expansion of 3,500, and an expansion of 5,000 due to the raising of the school age. In 1932–33 the normal expansion will have reached 5,000 in the three years; and 8,000 teachers will be required for the raising of the school age, 13,000 new teachers in all, a very formidable increase.

I first take the figures of the normal expansion. In the three years ending March, 1930, the numbers of certificated and special subject teachers employed in the schools increased by about 5,000. The normal expansion of the profession met those needs. There seems to be no reason at all to suppose that the normal expansion of the profession will not meet the normal increase in the next three years. There remain the 8,000 additional teachers required arising from the raising of the school age and reorganisation. I am expecting the following special output from training colleges; and that is without calculating on any further steps which it may be possible to take to meet the present emergency. In 1930–31 the expected increased output will be 1,250; in 1931–32, 950; and in 1932–33, 1,800, or 4,000 in all. This leaves 4,000 teachers to be provided from other sources by 1933. There are 4,000 women teachers who have, or will have, retired by that time. There are 1,000 teachers who might be retained after reaching the pensionable age. We can draw from both those sources. There are 500 young teachers unemployed after first leaving college; and it is no exaggeration to say that 500 specialists with high qualifications might be obtained during that period from the universities. These figures give a total possible reserve of 6,000 teachers to meet a requirement of 4,000.

Of course these are estimates; in this sort of thing you cannot deal exactly with the position, but so likely are my figures to be correct that this is a fact: in 1928–29 over 4,000 casual teachers were employed for periods of at least a month who were not employed regularly in the schools. There is a big reservoir of unemployed but employable teachers upon which we can fall back, who can be appealed to and who are, in fact, appealed to even as things are. If there is a national emergency these teachers will be available. The more I have gone into the question the less I believe that a shortage of teachers is the danger before us. It is curious that hardly any single local authority should be expressing any anxiety on that point.


Would the right hon. Gentleman say whether he is referring to certificated teachers?


I am talking of certificated teachers. I am glad the hon. Member has raised the question, because there is one thing I certainly am not going to do. In order to meet an emergency, if an emergency arises, I am not going to encourage the use of un-certificated or supplementary teachers. The House will have noticed that the last category I mentioned was composed of men of high education from the Universities. Technically they may not belong to the teaching profession, but that is the kind of source to which we ought to look for teachers in an emergency, and not to people of no qualifications and no standing. I am afraid I am being rather long, but these questions are of great importance, and what I want hon. Members to get into their minds is that we are trying to do a big thing. It may be a difficult thing to do. Supposing it creates a national emergency. Is it not worth while taking special means to meet that emergency? Even though it is a big thing to do, do not let us be afraid of it. I will grant to hon. Members opposite that there is going to be no perfect system for the next few years, but however long you waited to raise the school age there would be a large number of local authorities who never would be ready.

I come to a feature of this Bill about which there is bound to be considerable discussion and, I understand, difference of opinion. We are proposing to provide maintenance allowances for children of families in poorer circumstances when they stay in school for the extra year. Some people are apt to say, "If no consideration is paid to the economic condition of the families of children up to the age of 14, why should such consideration be paid in cases where children stay in school beyond the age of 14?" The answer does not, as it appears to me, lie in logic; it lies in the poverty of so many of our people. The possible wage which can be earned by the children of poorer families becomes more important every year, and in our view in many cases the breaking point has come. It is quite true, as I have said, that to keep children in school is bound to increase employment somewhere, but not necessarily in the family where children are ceasing to be allowed to be employed. It is no consolation to a family with a small wage, or living on unemployment benefit, to be told that other family bread-winners will be employed when their Tommy or Mollie ceases to earn wages.

We propose to deal by maintenance allowances with all the severer cases of hardship and need. That is not, as some people have represented it, an absolute innovation in education. Allowances are given under the existing law, in many cases, for the poorer children in secondary schools; it is given in London and other places in the case of selected central schools; and in Carnarvonshire it is given in cases of need; and no one has alleged that it has resulted in disastrous pauperisation. It makes the conditions of poorer families easier. I want to put it in another way. We intend the raising of the school age to 15 to be a reality for all the children and not for some of the children. There are a number of countries in our Empire where the school age has been raised to 15 but all of them have got very large exemptions for employment purposes. That means that the very children who most likely want education most, the children of poorer families, are compelled by their economic circumstances to leave school, and that is what we want to avoid. That is the basic reason why we say that we ought in cases of need to give maintenance allowances in order to make it economically possible for us to be able to say, "We will not give exemptions to half the children; we will give them all a chance."


Why should not all have maintenance allowances?


Of course, I know quite well I stand to be shot at by some of my hon. Friends.


Hear, hear!


Many of my hon. Friends would like maintenance allowances to be universal. I hope I have no personal prejudice in the matter. I am not opposed on principle to universal maintenance allowances—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]—May I be allowed to say what I want to say?—and I do not quarrel with anyone who thinks that family allowances on a wider scale is a good way of redistributing the national income. I have myself given evidence of that belief by giving maintenance allowances, irrespective of incomes, to my own workmen. But neither do I see anything objectionable or degrading, if you do not happen to have enormous sums of national money, in helping those who need help most. I cannot see that there is any question of principle in it; there may be a question of expediency. It is argued that to make distinctions is invidious and would cause irritating inquisition. Frankly, I do not believe it. I ask the House to read the passage in the report which is in everybody's hands which was presented to me by a representative committee of local authorities, men deeply experienced in administration: It is sometimes urged that such inquiries are resented and tend to keep some people from applying for assistance, although they are in need. Our experience is contrary to this view. We have found that such inquiries, often of a detailed nature, are increasingly used before financial assistance is given. They give some cases of it, and go on: Throughout the whole of educational administration the making and verifying of financial inquiries is generally accepted by applicants for assistance, who now regard this procedure as not only legitimate but necessary. In any case, I tell my friends that I have not got the money. I do not believe that every Department in the State can for all its purposes get all the money that it wants. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in regard to this matter happens to have been very generous. He is never ungenerous when it is a matter of education. I might amplify that statement by saying that, when I last held this office for a few months, the Chancellor of the Exchequer found, at the end of our administration, that he had £300,000 going—a windfall. He gave it to me. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has given 50 per cent. instead of 20 per cent. for the building grants. He has given 60 per cent. of the maintenance grants. If the House will study the Financial Memorandum of the Bill they will see that the State is going to pay 70 per cent. of the whole bill for the raising of the school age, as arranged. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has not been ungenerous to the children. Some of my hon. Friends say that we ought to be able to afford £2,000,000 more, in order to give universal maintenance grants. I can only express, quite definitely, my own opinion. There are a great many other things in education which I believe are more worth spending money upon than giving these maintenance grants to families where any very great need does not exist. I will fight for maintenance grants under the present circumstances as hard as I can where real need exists, but if it is a question of spending another £2,000,000, as I have said to some of my hon. Friends already, I would far rather give it to free secondary education than for this purpose.

I am proposing to utilise the report presented by the representatives of the local education authorities. I am very grateful to the representatives of the local education authorities who have given me that report, which is a very able one. I propose to frame the regulations generally on the lines suggested by those experienced administrators, although I have some doubt whether it would not be very much better to take the parental wage income rather than the all-in income, as they suggest. If we work, first of all, on the basis of these regulations and if, after experience, we find that the plan and the scales are not working satisfactorily, if it can be proved that it is clear that it is operating harshly, and not meeting need in a great many cases, it will be perfectly open to us to revise the scales and to alter the plan. That is the basis upon which I propose to begin.

I would ask the House to turn its attention to another, and very important, matter. I refer to Clause 2 and the proposals put forward for the purpose of dealing with the position of dealing with voluntary schools. Some people have said that I am a bold man, an over-bold man, to dare to deal with this subject, which has baffled better men than I am, and that I am not likely to succeed where several of my predecessors have tried and failed. I do not think that what I am doing is really an evidence of supreme audacity on my part. Has nothing happened since they tried? Is the atmosphere the same? There is a profound difference. There has been the War, which has shaken the world and has shaken men's minds. Dusty old controversies have been left behind, and a younger generation is facing new realities. It is a different atmosphere. In the realm of education, let us consider what is going on in the churches. The relation of the churches to one another and the relation of the local education authorities to the churches have suffered a profound change.

For instance, agreed syllabuses, drawn up by consultative committees, representative of the Church of England, Nonconformists, teachers and local education authorities, are now coming into operation over large parts of the country and being used not only in Council schools but in a great many voluntary schools, by agreement. What has impressed me most of all is my own personal experience in the last few months; the extraordinarily cordial efforts among all interests to help me, if possible, in finding accommodation. I cannot imagine greater good will than has been shown by the Cardinal, by the leaders of Nonconformity and by the teachers, who have shown the greatest anxiety to come to a settlement. Last of all, it has been a pleasure to come in contact with the mellowed wisdom of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The fact that characterises the situation is that there is to-day no desire to raise religious controversies, but there is an overriding desire to do something for the children. When I was young in politics, education meant a religious wrangle; now, it is consideration of the interests of the children.

What is the origin of the necessity which I am trying to meet by these proposals? There are large areas of our country districts and there are many parts of our cities where re-organisation can only be really effective if the voluntary schools can be properly utilised. For instance, there are many parts of rural districts where there are groups of four or five voluntary schools waiting for an appropriate re-organisation. One of these must become a senior school. The voluntary managers are totally unable to find the necessary funds to build a new classroom, to provide a new playground, or to add a new science-room. Either the local authority must build them, or the children must go without. In many cases the local authority, humanly, cannot be expected to erect a big new school at the public expense, when at one-third of the cost a voluntary school could be easily reconditioned. Therefore, it comes to this, that we have this alternative, that we must in some way enable the voluntary schools to be reconditioned in a good many cases, or in many parts of the country thousands of children will be left without the proper chance which we are trying to give to all.

In trying to get a national agreement out of a rather intractable situation, I have started with several axioms:

  1. (1) That it is no use expecting voluntary schools to disappear, or that any Parliament will be found to extinguish them or purchase them out of existence;
  2. (2) That there is no use giving public money for building improvements to voluntary schools without the concession of a valuable and definite increase in public control;
  3. (3) That it is no use trying to force local authorities or managers to make arrangements. They must agree voluntarily to do so with one another.
Therefore, the arrangement which is embodied in Clause 2 is a strictly voluntary agreement between the local education authorities and the managers. This agreement will enable grants to be given to voluntary schools which require enlargement or serious improvement where they came within the programmes of reorganisation of the local education authority. It is not proposed to make the contribution to the managers a compulsory condition, as that might in many cases render nugatory the object of the whole arrangement, which is to get satisfactory schools where voluntary money is not forthcoming. It is clear that if it were known that sums of money were really available, which could be used and ought to be used for school improvements, it would be open to the local education authority to insist, before coming to an agreement, that the managers ought to take a share in the expenses. In this Clause, therefore, grants may be given for reconditioning voluntary schools, provided that their improvement or enlargement are part of the plans of reorganisation of the local education authorities.

There remains, in the first place, for the managers the obligation which exists at present to look after landlord repairs. There is, next, the new over-riding condition that the teachers in such schools shall hereafter become public servants of the local education authority, who shall have the power to appoint them and dismiss them. That is the central factor, and it is a great and formidable change in the situation. From whatever angle we view it, the teachers henceforward are to be public servants. In order, however, to secure the denominational quality of the teachers, the managers can insist, under the agreement, on the right to be satisfied that some, or all, of the teachers, to an extent to be settled by the agreement, must be able to teach religion to their satisfaction, according to the character of the school.

There is one further condition that I must mention. There may be few cases where the managers do not wish to continue the existence of a school which has been so aided. As time goes on there may be a few such cases. We have to reckon on the possibility of such cases arising. Therefore, that school will have to be carried on, and sanctions are provided to enable the local education authority to continue it, if necessary.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

May I put a question to the right hon. Gentleman at this point?


I would rather continue. The arrangement proposed does not to the full satisfy any opinion in this House. It is of the nature of a compromise between two hitherto warring opposites, but I believe that there is a powerful influence which is ready to give compromise and conciliation a chance. There is no use any opinion in this House thinking that it can get its full realisation. We must all take less than our ideal, and we must take it for the sake of the children. May I be allowed to begin by stating my own opinions, because I know that they are representative of the opinions of large numbers of people. One of the first political contests in which I took part in this House, as a young man, was over the Education Bill of 1902, behind the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs, when he made his reputation by advocating public control, and no tests for teachers. That is where my sympathies still lie. Some of my Free Church friends, with whom I largely agree, declare that they will take nothing less than the whole. They say to me, "Let us wait until the voluntary school system is ended." For how many generations must I wait? In 1870 my father as a young man, his hair being then the blackest in the House of Commons, resigned from a small post in Mr. Gladstone's Government because he thought the voluntary schools were being given a needlessly large share in the new national system. Now his son, grey-haired, is trying to deal with the same problem. Again, I say for how many generations are we to wait?

I say to those who believe in popular control, "see what these proposals do." They let the managers still require some or all of the teachers to belong to their denomination, it is true, but the teachers become servants of the public authority. No teacher will any longer be dismissed or appointed by the denominational managers. He is a public servant. Surely that is a great thing. Then I turn to the churchmen, who care for their church schools. "I know that you do not keep all that you would like to keep. The parson and the managers can no longer choose or dismiss a teacher. On the other hand, your church school has the chance of playing its part in the reorganisation schemes throughout the country, and you keep the security for the religious teaching you want, but you have to give up the appointment of your teachers to the public. To gain something you have to accept something which perhaps you would rather not accept." I turn to the Catholics. I know perfectly well they are not satisfied. They have asked for public grants unconditionally for the improvement of all their schools. I have to say, in the first place, that we cannot deal with all the problem, and, if public grants are to be given, there must be conditions. After all, the Catholic community, under these proposals, does retain what it wants most, that is security for Catholic teaching in Catholic schools.

I say again, nobody gets all he asks. For the sake of the children, I ask the House to exercise its responsibility and sense of accommodation to the uttermost. Let us have a great triumph of reasonableness for the sake of the children. I have every reason to believe that the majority of local authorities are anxious to utilise the opportunity if they can, and to work this scheme satisfactorily. Observe, it cannot be put into operation unless there is good will on both sides locally, as well as in this Parliament. Agreements cannot otherwise be made, but, given these preliminary agreements, I cannot imagine otherwise than that the scheme will work with very little friction; that the local authorities will want to send to the schools teachers who would be suitable and acceptable to the managers, and whom the managers would be desirous of having. It is a system, which, believing as I do in the essential reasonableness of Englishmen in working any scheme, I am sure is likely to work. I ask the House to consider it carefully, and I sincerely hope that the House will not allow any sectional influence or any ancient prejudice to trick the children.

Finally, I must say this. As the arrangement is strictly in the nature of a compromise, we must decide on the whole whether we accept it or reject it. It represents a balance which would easily be upset. Concessions in one direction might arouse irreconcilable opposition in another, and we must deal with it as a whole. I have made rather a large claim on the time of the House, especially for a Bill which is textually so short. I ask the House to pass this Bill by a large majority. We are rather apt in England to speak modestly of our national successes in education. We feel that Scotland had the start of us by 300 years, thanks to the statesmanship of John Knox. We are apt to say that in Germany they have a scientific efficiency which we cannot rival; that in America education has a popularity which makes advanced education almost the right of the people, and which makes rich men endow learning as they endowed religion in the Middle Ages. At last, here is a chance where in one great respect we can, if we choose to make the decision for this Bill, assume the lead of the world by securing for the English child a better chance and a longer education than any other children get practically over the face of the world. I have said that in a great many of our Colonies the age is 15, but it is 15 with large exceptions. In America in many States it is the same, 15, but with large exceptions, and in a great many States of Europe it is 15 with large exceptions. I want to see England leading among the great nations. There are few Cantons in Switzerland that really insist on education up to 15. What I would like to see is England the first nation—[Interruption.] Well, I will say Britain. I have been talking about England because that is my business as Minister, but we intend as a Government to do it for Scotland as well, and for Wales. What I hope is that next year in the matter of this absolute chance for all children, England, Wales and Scotland are going to lead the world.


I beg to move, to leave out the word "now," and, at the end of the Question, to add the words, "upon this day six months."

I am sure the right hon. Gentleman need not apologise to the House for the length of time he has taken. We fully appreciate his speech, and I hope that, nothing I say will disturb the very friendly atmosphere that prevails. Before I come to the main theme of my remarks, I should like to say a word on that part of the Bill with which the right hon. Gentleman dealt last, Clauses 2 and 3, what may be called the concordat Clauses. These Clauses have been attached to the Bill originally introduced, and, of course, we cannot allow them to prevent us from moving the rejection of the Bill, as it was originally introduced, raising the school-leaving age by compulsion to 15. But these Clauses, in our view, stand on a very different footing from Clause 1. The concordat Clauses are, in effect, the conclusion of the long course of negotiations which have been going on for at least five years, and even further back into the days of Mr. Fisher. The conclusion of these negotiations which the right hon. Gentleman has effected does not, as he said, attain all that the late Government in their negotiations had hoped to attain, and believed to be attainable. I am not seeking to deprive the right hon. Gentleman of any of the credit which is justly and entirely due to him for what he has achieved, but he will agree that he has hatched an egg which I was, to the best of any ability, incubating, and the shell of which I thought showed signs of cracking a year ago. The fowl which has emerged is not quite the animal I thought I had a right to expect, and I cannot help thinking that if the right hon. Gentleman had maintained a more even temperature in the incubator the fowl would have been a better bird.

In these circumstances, we on this side of the House must retain our right to examine these provisions very carefully in Committee, especially Sub-section (2) of Clause 2 about the appointment of teachers. But I think I should be expressing the views of my hon. Friends behind me if I said that our examination in Committee will be guided by three considerations—in the first place, the consideration that most of us are pledged to vote for any measure of relief to voluntary schools, and this is certainly a measure of relief; in the second place, by the consideration that, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, this is a balanced agreement, and anything which seriously disturbs it might, and probably would, destroy it; and, thirdly, by the consideration which the right hon. Gentleman did not put, that this does not pretend to be a permanent settlement and does not commit anyone to any view as to what the terms of a permanent settlement should be. I shall have something more to say, especially on the financial aspect of these Clauses, to-morrow, but for the purpose of this debate on Second Reading, what I have said will suffice.

5.0 p.m.

Now I come to my main theme. No one who listens to the right hon. Gentleman when he speaks on this subject will fail to be struck by his enthusiasm and sincerity, but I am afraid that the speech which he made this afternoon will have served only to confirm the impression on this side of the House that, if he will allow me to say so, he and the Government of which he is a member are running in blinkers. They really do not seem to have grasped the problem with which they are dealing, or to have made any real attempt to view that problem as a whole; and it is on that ground rather than on any ground of detailed administration that we move this Motion, and that we desire the rejection of this Bill. Let us consider what the problem is with which we are faced. It is the problem of the education, training and employment of children between the ages of about 14 and 16, when they are passing from school into life—that critical transition period. We are dealing with the gateway from school into life, and we have got to see that that transition is as smooth as possible.

At the present moment that problem is not a very serious one. We are fairly comfortable. There never was a time when there were fewer children in the senior classes of our schools than to-day, when those classes were smaller, and when, consequently, we were better able to give a good education to our senior children. There has never been a time, either, in the history of this country when, taking the country as a whole, there was so little juvenile unemployment, when children leaving school found employment, and permanent employment, so quickly and so easily. But in a very few years a change will come over the spirit of the dream; and this is the immediate point: Think of the child born between the years 1920 and 1922. For every 100 senior children who were in school in 1929, there will be 113 in 1933. Our schools will have to bear a great strain, and, apart from any question of raising the school-leaving age, we shall find it more and more difficult to give as good an education to those children as their elders had. Secondly, the child who leaves school in those days will have far greater difficulty in finding employment. For every 100 children between the ages of 14 and 17 who will be leaving school and seeking employment in 1933, there will be 125 in 1937, an influx into the labour market which will be most serious; and at the same time as we have these abnormal difficulties to cope with, we are entering upon a new industrial era.

Every advanced industrial country in the world save, perhaps, France, has made a definite effort to treat the problem of the children between those years of 14 and 16 as a whole; America Germany, Canada—all the countries who are our greatest competitors have made that effort. We have hitherto been content to rub along as best we could, but the time has come, and these few years of good juvenile employment are our opportunity when we must consider and work out a coherent policy for those years. I am not going to spoil the harmony of this Debate by making party capital; I simply want to say that the last Government, at any rate, attempted to make two contributions to the solution of that problem. One was to ensure, by a reorganisation of our educational system and by that great building programme which is now going on, that there shall be not only sufficient school accommodation in those critical years for the large number of children who will be seeking education, but also a new kind of school accommodation, giving a real higher education to children between the ages of 11 and 14, and accommodation sufficient to accommodate all children up to the age of 15 years who desire to stay at school. The second contribution which we attempted to make was a survey of the whole relations between education and employment, especially at this critical age—a survey which was carried out by the Malcolm Committee, which produced two very valuable reports.

At this stage the present Government took over the work, and almost immediately, after a short period of expectation when we thought that this was going to be one of the subjects which the Lord Privy Seal was going to co-ordinate, about which he was going to produce a co-ordinated social policy, about which he was going to appoint a committee and so on—after a brief flutter of expectation, the whole of the consideration of this problem crumbled into a wrangle, if I may call it so—for it was a wrangle a year ago—about the one point of compulsorily extending school life by one year. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Education decided, and announced his decision, to raise the school-leaving age. He did it without consulting the local education authorities; and he announced his intention of raising the age as from a moment 2½ years before the local education authorities had already said they could be ready for the change. He had then belatedly to consult the local education authorities; he had then still more belatedly to consult the voluntary schools; and the consequence was that he had to take five months after his decision to prepare and introduce into the House of Commons a Bill, and five more months to reconsider and withdraw that Bill and introduce a new Bill. Meanwhile the Minister of Labour was left quite separately to do her end of the job—to consider what effect this raising of the school-leaving age was to have on the question of juvenile employment, to lower the insurance age to 15, and to consider how she was going to deal with the flooding of the juvenile labour market three or four years hence. There has been no pretence of common co-ordinated action; each Department has proceeded in its own watertight compartment; and the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Education has, if I may say so, been rather inclined to treat with a slightly impatient nonchalance the questions which we have put to him from time to time as to whether the country could possibly be ready, and to what extent it could be ready, by 1931, or indeed by 1933. He has made such ample amends for that earlier nonchalance this afternoon that, perhaps, I should not have referred to it; but this, we think, is really not the temper in which, nor are these the methods by which you ought to approach the task of imposing further compulsion upon your citizens. It is not in that temper or by those methods that you can institute a great reform.

What, after all, is the result of all this narrow and blinkered activity? What will be the result of it on the child born in the years 1920 to 1922? The right hon. Gentleman spoke much of reorganisation, and spoke much of lengthening school life and improving education; but let us consider what this Bill does, so far as Clause 1 is concerned. It has nothing to do with the reorganisation of education; it has nothing to do with the building programme; it has nothing to do with increasing the number of teachers. It does not lay a single brick; it does not make a single teacher. All that it does is to compel parents to keep their children at school one year longer; and it is really vain for the right hon. Gentleman to invite us to consider what we do with our own children. That is relevant to the argument that you should provide every parent with the oportunity to keep his child at school—the opportunity, because you give him the schools and because (which I am quite prepared to discuss) you give him a maintenance allowance and assure him free education. It is relevant to that policy; it is entirely irrelevant to the policy of compelling that parent to take advantage of the opportunities which you offer him; and that, and that alone, is what you are doing by Clause 1 of this Bill. It is purely compulsion, and nothing else but compulsion.


It is extending the limits of compulsion.


It extends the limits of compulsion. What is going to be the effect of that policy on the child born in the years from 1920 to 1922? In the first place, to accentuate greatly for the next few years the shortage of juvenile labour in the labour market, and therefore to accustom industry to get on with a much smaller amount of juvenile labour than it had before, a most desirable thing to do, but a thing which could be done by other methods, as I shall show at another time. I think the annual output of juvenile labour, so to speak, will fall in those years by about 700,000; and then what happens? At that point you are going to throw on the labour market out of the school a tremendously increased amount of juvenile labour. For every 100 children between the ages of 15 and 18 who will be seeking employment in 1934, you will have 122 in 1936, 134 in 1937, 127 in 1938, and after that it falls away again.

Think what you are doing. Children born in the years 1920 to 1922 find next year, when the school-leaving age is raised, that their progress up the educational ladder is blocked by congestion above them. That will, in fact, be the effect of keeping your highest class in most of these schools one year longer; and from that time on, year after year, so long as the child stays at school his state will become worse. These figures which I am about to give are, I think, entirely unaffected by anything that the right hon. Gentleman has said. On the programme which the local authorities are at present working, for every 100 senior places in the country as a whole, there will be 115 senior children in 1933, 120 in 1934, 118 in 1935, and 112 in 1936. During that period these children will be taught in more or less crowded classes, in fact they will be marking time. What the right hon. Gentleman has put forward does not deal at all with what is known as the bulge period, or the child born in 1920 and 1922. The right hon. Gentleman did say that next year the country would be ready in this sense, that children staying at school between the ages of 14 and 15 would not be worse taught than children at school between the ages of 13 and 14 to-day. Of course, you do not want children between 14 and 15 to mark time with the same kind of education as children between 13 and 14.

The right hon. Gentleman said quite frankly that there is no chance of the reorganised school being ready in the country as a whole in 1931 except in 140 areas. I wonder what are those areas? I do not ask the right hon. Gentleman to read them out, but I think I know the sort of areas to which he has referred. They are areas like my own constituency of Hastings, Bath and so on, areas which dealt with reorganisation years ago. They are small and manageable areas. Is Manchester in that list? Because Manchester until a year ago openly said that they had not decided to adopt a policy of central school organisation. Are Liverpool, London, Newcastle or Birmingham included in those areas? What proportion of the children, and what proportion of the school population of this country are included in the list of authorities which will have reorganised their schools by 1931? Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will answer that question at a later stage. We know that Lndon, which has one-seventh of the child population of this country, is not in the list.

Because of the influx of children, your schools will be inadequate, and you will not have the required number of teachers. The President of the Board of Education said a good deal about the supply of teachers, but it seemed to me that he was counting some of his factors twice over. The right hon. Gentleman talked about the normal increase of teachers in the profession during the last few years, and then he proceeded to attribute to the special abnormal increase in the future the whole of the increased output of the training colleges during the next few years. It is the gradual increase of the training colleges which meets the normal increase, and that has nothing to do with the 8,000 extra teachers which are required because of this Bill. There will be a large number of senior classes as large as 50 in each class, an evil which I thought we had almost eliminated.

One question which the right hon. Gentleman did not mention was the prac- tical instruction teacher who is admitted to be so essential to the raising of the age and the whole scheme of senior education. We all know that the practical instruction teacher for these children is not even in sight. The child has to pick up the best education he can under these conditions, and then some time between 1935 and 1937 he is shot out of the school on to the labour market, which is already too overcrowded to receive him. I have already given the figures. Taking the country as a whole, those children will find difficulty in obtaining work such as no juvenile has experienced for some years back. It will be found almost as difficult for them to get further education as to get employment. The result of raising the school age by one year will be to disorganise the whole system of continuation school education. Those continuation schools provide evening classes for a large number of children between the ages of 14 and 16, which is a very critical age; they perform for those children services which cannot be over-estimated, and they are doing some of the best educational work in this country. You are going to disorganise those schools by lopping a year off from the bottom. What are you going to do with those schools? That is something which we have not been told. You are going to starve those schools of money in order to afford more money for the big reorganisation which will be necessitated by the compulsory raising of the school age. If there is one thing which is absolutely necessary it is the development of evening and day continuation education, but by this Bill you will arrest that work because of the pressure on the local authorities to get ready for the raising of the school age.

I come to the question of the unfilled gap between the school and the insurance age, a question which has been talked about so much in the past. Is that gap filled to-day under the policy of the Government? The child leaves school and finds it difficult to get work and further education. Does that child fall into the beneficent hands of the Minister of Labour under the Insurance Fund? He does not until he has paid his 30 contributions, and he will be lucky if he succeeds in crossing this gap before he reaches the age of 16. [An HON. MEMBER: "This Bill bridges the gap!"] That is not so, because the gap is still there. You have not bridged the gap, and when you are dealing with gaps it is no good constructing a bridge which extends half way over the gap. The gap must be bridged all the way, or it is not bridged at all.

The policy of the Government does not meet what is admittedly the greatest need of adolescence, that is, a smooth passage between the school and work On the contrary, by reason of the way the raising of the school age is to be done, the gateway from school into employment, instead of being made lighter and easier for the child born between 1920 and 1922, is to be made darker and more difficult. We are told that these children are to be compensated, or that their parents are to be compensated, by a maximum payment of 5s. a week provided that they are prepared to undergo the same kind of inquisition into their means as used to shock hon. Members opposite so much when applied to old age pensions. [Interruption.] I really have not the patience to deal with such irrational and humiliating proposals. You must have in your legislation some reasonable ground of principle. If you are going to pay a parent compensation for keeping a child at school, why do you reach that at the mysterious age of 14?


The other will come later.


The right hon. Gentleman in his illogical proposal is really proposing that from birth every parent shall be paid for having a child. That is a proposal which I am prepared to discuss, but it has nothing to do with this proposal. If Parliament says it is wrong and undesirable that a child of this age shall earn wages, on what basis are you going to pay compensation? The right hon. Gentleman may consult local education authorities and publish White Papers, but he canot get sense out of such nonsense as that. At the present moment maintenance allowances of all kinds from secondary schools right up to the university are given, and given freely, for one purpose, that is, to enable the meritorious student to complete his education. Hitherto the principle has been that where there is compulsion there is no maintenance allowance, except to the extent that a child may go to a more expensive kind of school, and the moment you depart from that principle you involve yourselves in a wholly irrational system which costs the State a great deal, and subjects the person who is to receive the compensation to all sorts of illogical conditions of inquisition. You do not really satisfy anybody, and you open the door to further extensions in all directions. This is the effect of the right hon. Gentleman's policy on these children who were born at that time, and we say that you have no right to impose compulsion unless at any rate you can give the child that is compelled approximately as good an education as you are giving to your own children, comparing like with like, day school with day school. Secondly, we say what I know the right hon. Gentleman will not agree with, that, just because the age of 14 to 15 is a critical age, you may do more harm by bad education, by inadequate education, by education under bad conditions, between the ages of 14 and 15, than you could do by any amount of employment in a good factory at that age.

I suppose I shall be challenged from the other side with the question, "What is your alternative?" I will try and say it very briefly. At the outset, we must recognise that we cannot deal with the needs of adolescence in the new industrial era by the same methods which were employed to deal with the problems of childhood in the old industrial era, 100 years ago. The problem is different, and the times are different. The problem is different because, while 14 to 15 may be a critical age, it does not cover the whole crisis of adolescence. Anyone who has had to deal with young persons knows that probably the years from 15½ to 17 are more critical, and you are dealing there with a crisis of adolescence which you cannot conceivably cover merely by compulsory full-time school attendance.

The times are different because—and this, I think, is what the right hon. Gentleman and the Government do not realise—to-day your great chance of lengthened school life is in the rationalisation of industry's demand for labour. Have hon. Gentlemen opposite who complain of rationalisation causing unemployment ever considered that, in exact proportion as rationalisation diminishes the demand for heavy, unskilled labour, so it diminishes the demand for juvenile labour? It is by that means that they have raised the school age and lengthened school life in the United States of America and in Canada. It is true, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, that exemptions, and liberal exemptions, have been given in those countries, between the ages of 14 and 16, although, as a matter of fact, in the Province of Ontario education is practically compulsory up to 16, and there are very few exemptions indeed. There have, however, been ample exemptions between the ages of 14 and 16, but one finds that between the ages of 15 and 18 more than half the population of the United States is in the high schools, because of the demand for a more highly educated type of labour, because of the rationalisation of the demand for labour; and that is the great force with which you have to ally yourselves. That is the foundation of any policy for lengthening school life and dealing with the needs of children during the crisis of adolescence. Accommodate yourself to that process, assist it, but throw aside the old, outworn conception that industry is a wild beast that you ought to keep behind the bars of cast-iron school attendance laws.

If you look at the matter from that point of view, you will see that your real policy must be to eliminate the search for employment after leaving school, so that every child goes straight from school to work—to convince the parents that the child will stand a better chance of good and regular employment if he stays at school until the position is got for him, instead of going round searching for work after he has left school. That is the first step. The second is the good central and senior school, with a leaving certificate at 15, recognised by employers, so that the employer will want to wait until that age because of the soundness of the education. The third step is the development of part-time education. There is a tremendous opportunity at the present moment, in co-operation with industry, to supply part-time education to practically the whole of our industrial juvenile population. Along these three lines, before you have considered compulsion at all, lies your real path of progress to a solution of the problem.

The right hon. Gentleman has said, "I will not wait for compulsion until my system is complete," but he himself called compulsion the coping stone, and he is putting on the coping stone before the structure is built. I want to proceed by a more orderly method. If I am asked, "Would you not have compulsion in any circumstances?" I would say this: Compulsion itself is hateful. It is, perhaps, particularly dangerous in education, and particularly dangerous in adolescent education. The whole atmosphere of higher education has always rested on the obligation of the teacher to attract the student. The whole of that atmosphere tends to go as you get more compulsion. The other atmosphere, that the parent is responsible for the guidance of his child, tends to go also. But if you find, in the progress of your reform, in the development of this scheme, that compulsion is necessary, I would say, "Use it to close the gaps in the structure of your scheme, but do not use it as the foundation of that structure. Limit it to bringing a minority into line with accepted practice." That has not been done. You have not commended your central and senior schools to the judgment of the parents of this country. You have not proved to the parent and to the employer your capacity to give a really good education. You have taken the short cut of premature compulsion, just because it is easier to produce a uniform, indiscriminate system by the application of compulsion.

There are many grounds on which, as I have tried to explain, we move the rejection of this Bill. We consider it unjust to compel parents to keep their children at school years before you can secure a good education for them. We consider that you are wasting the national resources, not in carrying out a great reform, but in creating confusion, in making the task of teachers and educational administrators more difficult. But the greatest reason why this Bill deserves condemnation is that it is a piece of arrant medievalism. It has in it very little of educational reform; it proceeds wholly upon the reminiscence of what it was desirable to do in the nineteenth century; and it shows no faintest tinge of that industrial statesmanship which is our only hope.


In ordinary circumstances, if this Bill had been confined to its first Clause, I should have been quite content to give a silent vote, because, so far as I am concerned, and so far as the community for whom I am to a large extent speaking this afternoon is concerned, we welcome the raising of the school age. We feel that this, despite the comments which we have heard from the Noble Lord, is a real educational reform. On account, however, of the other proposals in the Bill, I think it is necessary to make perfectly clear the attitude of the Catholic community in this country towards those proposals.

I quite agree, of course, with the idea that maintenance allowances ought to be given to parents whose children will be attending school for the extra year, but I am very doubtful, speaking personally, of the precise wisdom of the proposals that are in the Bill. I certainly think, myself, that it is doubtful wisdom to throw a portion of the burden upon local authorities, and I also think that the means limit is one of these things which we ought not to be contemplating at this stage. There may, however, be practical reasons which the President of the Board of Education will put forward when the time comes in Committee, and which may, perhaps, over-rule objections of that kind. The Bill also contains the Clause which was described by the Noble Lord opposite as the concordat Clause.

So far as we of the Catholic community are concerned, we do not approach this problem with a non possumus attitude, with an idea that we say to the State, "That is our demand, and, unless you grant our demand to the full, we will have nothing more to do with you in any circumstances, but will still be crying out that you are unjust to us." We quite recognise that the whole art of government in this country depends very largely on reasonable compromise between opposite opinions; but, when an offer is made to us, it must be such an offer as, while justly recognising the claims of the community as represented by the State, also recognises justly the claims which we put forward. So far as our community is concerned, by the resolution which has been passed by the hierarchy of the Church in this country, we are quite prepared to recognise that there must be a very considerable extension of public control in regard to the appointment of teachers if there is to be a distinct and permanent national settlement of the whole problem. I venture to suggest that no attempt is made in this Bill to come forward with any settlement on a national basis.

For the benefit of some Members of this House who may not thoroughly realise the Catholic position, and who may wonder why we are not able to accept the proposals put forward at the present time, I want to make it perfectly clear that mere facilities for the imparting of religious instruction, no matter how dogmatic that religious instruction might be, do not meet our claims at all. We regard the school as an extension of the home. We regard it as the duty of the parent to see that the child is properly educated. We regard our faith as part and parcel of the everyday life of the individual, not as something in a separate compartment. Therefore, it becomes absolutely necessary that Catholic children should be brought up in a Catholic atmosphere, and that, our schools being regarded as an extension of the home, the teachers in those schools must be imbued with exactly the same ideas, in order that that atmosphere may be maintained.

If it were only a matter of imparting a catechism, or imparting some religious instruction, we should deal with the difficulty as a matter of course. Our community has been, and is still, prepared to make considerable sacrifices in order to carry this idea into practice. I am not speaking on behalf of a rich community. Very few members of the Catholic community belong to the well to do classes. The overwhelming mass belong to the working class, and very often the poorer section of the working class. In the great towns men and women, large numbers of them belonging to the ranks of casual and poorly paid labour, are prepared to make sacrifices out of their meagre means for the provision of schools in order that the faith to which they attach so much importance shall be taught to their children. We have faithfully observed the contract made in 1902 but, since 1902, there have been considerable changes which were not contemplated when that Act was passed.

There has been a great increase in the price of building materials. For example, a new Catholic school in South London erected just before the War cost about £12 per place. In the same area a new school built a couple of years ago cost over £30 per place. Someone may say that that is London, and London is exceptional. A school in the county of Durham erected in 1914–15 cost just over £10 a place, whereas a similar school built in 1925 cost over £22 per place. In North Shields, in 1910, a school cost £10 per place, and in 1926 another school cost £23 10s. per place. We calculate that if the buildings that are on what is called the black list in the North of England were put into thorough order, it would cost the Catholic community £500,000, and before the War it would have cost under £250,000. We claim that, when we have been prepared to make sacrifices to that extent in the past, there ought to be on behalf of the community a recognition of that sacrifice and something done to meet our just claims, and we ought to have larger grants made so that we may be able to carry on this work. It is not that we have in any circumstances neglected our obligations.

May I point out what we have been doing in London in the last two or three years in regard to the provision of new accommodation? We have provided a new central school with 100 places in Baker Street, Stepney, an addition of 180 places to a school at Poplar, together with a new adjoining school for 300 children, a boys' school for 400, a new school with 200 places at Bethnal Green, an addition of 40 places at Wapping, and an addition of 160 places in the Catholic Central School at Chelsea, a new school with 200 places at Finchley, and 200 children at Wembley. I draw attention to the last name because that is one of the great problems that have been thrown upon us by reason of the shifting of population. Our community has moved out and new schools have to be provided for them. A new school will have to be provided on the London County Council Housing Estate at Becontree.

The proposals that are put forward in this Bill are admittedly proposals dealing only with a temporary question. We are faced with the great higher cost of building. We are also faced, of course, with the higher costs of proposals which will follow as the result of the adoption of the Hadow Report. We are in no sense opposed to those proposals. The Catholic community has always been most anxious about having the best education possible for its children, and welcomes every step forward which might make their education better, but, after all, poor people cannot contribute tremendous sums in order that this may be carried out. It is not as if we were saying, "You have to educate our children in our way without us making any contribution at all." We say, "You ought to meet us and make a fair contribution for the services we are rendering." It is even admitted in the White Paper that we are saving the community, because if these Catholic schools were not erected, the local authorities would have to provide schools in order to accommodate the children. Actually we are saving the community, and we, therefore, ask the community to face that burden.

These claims deal simply with the temporary position which has arisen, namely, the conditions produced by the Hadow Report. But, in return for that, the right hon. Gentleman is asking us to give up a very valuable right, not for a period while this reorganisation goes on, but for all time. We all admit the great importance of the character of the teachers in our schools. He lays down the proposition that these teachers should be in the employ of the local authorities. We are prepared to consider that favourably if there is a national settlement, but we cannot be expected to consider it in every sense of the word satisfactory to ask us to make a sacrifice for the sake of a mere temporary advantage, an advantage only for a short period of years while this reconstruction is going on, when it is doubtful if it is even going to carry out what the right hon. Gentleman intends, because it seems to me that there is a conflict between the proposals of the White Paper and the proposals in the Bill. In Clause 2 (1) the words are: for improving the organisation of education in their area. That is the local education authorities' area. In the White Paper it says: in accordance with what the Board of Education desires. I am confirmed in this view by an article that appears in the "Schoolmaster" this week, which says: The new Clauses are concerned exclusively with non-provided schools and only those that are required by local education authorities for the scheme of reorganisation. Catholic schools cannot enter into the scheme of reorganisation with non-Catholic schools. Therefore again this proposal, if it is only going to be the plan of the local education authorities which they desire to carry out, is in every sense of the word unsatisfactory to us. I think it will be possible to do something to make this Bill into a Measure which would be less objectionable to our community, which might perhaps enable us to work the Bill and to lay the foundations of a more permanent and a fairer settlement in the future.

When we get into Committee, we shall put forward certain Amendments which we hope the right hon. Gentleman, recognising the volume of public opinion that is behind it, will accept, and under which these proposals in regard to the appointment of teachers shall be as permissive as the other Clauses of the Bill. Then we should be able to give it more favourable consideration. Members of this party who are also Catholics are prepared to support the Second Beading, but we shall seek to amend the Bill in Committee and, if we are unable to carry our Amendments, we shall very seriously have to consider our position on the Third Reading, and may possibly have to go to the point of voting against it. I should not have intervened if it had only been a question of raising the school age, but I thought it important that I should make this statement on behalf of the community which I represent, and say that we welcome everything that would improve the educational system of the country, but we cannot accept Clause 2 and the Clauses that follow as in any sense a just recognition of the claims that we put forward.


There are so many who wish to take part in the debate that it is only by keeping speeches extremely short that it will be possible for them all to join in. Apart from my desire to keep my speech short, I shall also be compelled to do so, because I must admit that, compared with some other Members, if we are going to discuss?

6.0 p.m.

the question as we have discussed educational questions before, merely on the basis of statistics and figures and questions of organisation, I have no claim to address the House. It is true that for four years I was private secretary to my Noble Friend who was then Minister of Education. I was the doorkeeper at the Board of Education until the arrival of the new tenant but, unlike some other Members, and I am sure unlike the hon. Member who now occupies the position, I am afraid I did not acquire the information, the knowledge and the authority which they have been able to do. The right hon. Baronet said that on the question of principle he believed he would find the great majority of the House in sympathy with him. I do not belong to that majority. If he had said he would find the great majority agreeing with the principle of the State providing further and further education and the children taking further and further advantage of the educational facilities provided, I should have been entirely with him. From the purely material point of view, the whole of our industrial future is going to be concerned with the elimination of the unskilled, and the elimination of the unskilled means, of course, the introduction of the skilled. From that point of view alone, further education is necessary. I go a great deal beyond that. I have had the privilege for a long time now of being connected with the Adult Educational Movement in which I have had the honour of being associated with several hon. Members opposite. I realise to the full the importance of education, not to the age of 14 or 15, but through life, to the man as an individual and not merely as a workman, to the man, not only as an individual, but as a member of a social community which by its development is making greater and greater claims upon the individual. But the importance of education of that kind does not depend upon whether you keep a child in whole time education to the age of 14 or the age of 15. It depends upon the twist that you can enable educational life to give to his daily life. I cannot agree that education of that kind is dependent upon compelling a child to attend for whole time education for a further year.

A great many points will be raised in this Debate. There is the question of economy and of the expenditure which is going to be entailed. There are many hon. Members who will deal with that question. There is one Member, the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) whom I expected to be here to-day to deal with it, and whose absence I deplore. [An HON. MEMBER: "He has been here !"] He has not spoken. I think that probably he is not going to speak. The right hon. Gentleman spoke yesterday and made a most impressive reference to the subject. [Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman is away, but I hope that some other right hon. Gentleman is going to observe the condition which he laid down in his speech yesterday as to the way in which members of his party will regard proposals of this kind. He said that we must not be carried away by the intrinsic merits of a particular proposal which may be put before us. We must not say that it is such a good thing that we cannot possibly refuse £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 to carry it out, but we must look at the whole great picture and see if by piling up the burden we are not bringing State expenditure to a point which this country cannot contemplate. I had hoped that the right hon. Gentleman, although unavoidably prevented from speaking on this Measure, would go into the Division Lobby against it, but I understand that we are to be deprived of that pleasure as well.

It may seem, even from the educational point of view, impossible to discuss economy and expenditure in a case of this kind. You may say, "How can you weigh the expenditure, not of £4,000,000 but even of £10,000,000, against the education of the child?" That is true if you believe that this expenditure is simply at the expense of the luxuries or the comforts of certain sections of the taxpayers. You have no right whatever to put those luxuries against the provision of better education for the masses of the children, but if you believe, as many hon. Members sincerely believe, that this expenditure is not merely at the expense of the luxuries of the few, but that it is at the expense of the well-being of the whole community, it is surely a con- sideration which you must allow to enter into your calculations. If this expenditure was, in fact, to add that one extra burden which the right hon. Gentleman says will sooner or later bring our whole industrial structure crashing to the ground, surely you would be entitled to ask yourselves whether you were really helping the child by providing him with one more year at school at the expense perhaps of 10 years less employment afterwards.

The question has been raised as to whether this is an unemployment Measure. The hon. Member for Smethwiek (Sir O. Mosley) yesterday spoke frankly of this Measure as one of his ways of dealing with unemployment. I do not want to deal with a Measure of this kind from that point of view. It may be that it does help unemployment and that it is a very good thing from the point of view of the State to keep these children out of employment and to put some of them on a maintenance allowance of 5s. a week, and to hope that their places will be filled by people who are entitled to an unemployment benefit of 17s. It may be very good economy from the point of view of the State, but is it essential, even if the Government desire to do that, from the point of view of unemployment, to incorporate it in the educational system of our country? If you want to do this, cannot you do it by the extension of training centres? Must you call in the services of the whole of our educational administration and the school teacher to deal with the problem? I do not want to deal with what should be a great educational Measure merely from the point of view of what effect it is going to have on the unemployment situation in this country.

My great objection to the proposals in this Bill is that it is one further instance of the rigidity which is creeping over the educational system of this country and which, I am afraid, is going to end by crushing all the educational value of that system. As private secretary to the Noble Lord the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy), I had the privilege in the last House of Commons of sitting through all the debates on education. It was a privilege which was shared, of course, by all other Members of the House of Commons, but it was not a privilege, I noticed, of which many availed themselves. I sat through those debates, and in the whole course of them I heard nothing but statistics about the number of teachers, the amount of money that was being spent on education, the number of children to a class and the number of new buildings—figures, figures, administration, routine, the whole consideration. I did not hear a discussion on what education was doing and whether it was fulfilling the purpose for which we believe education to exist.

I remember when I was at the Bar there was an old story of a well-known member of the Bar who, during the conduct of a case, introduced some evidence which was clearly inadmissible. His opponent rose immediately and said that in his submission it entitled him to claim a re-trial, but the man of whom I am speaking said to the judge: "My Lord, I have considered this matter most carefully, and I have come to the conclusion that this does not entitle the plaintiff to a new trial. It was merely a gross breach of professional etiquette." I believe that if for a few minutes I speak to the House, not about educational administration, but about education, it will, even if a breach, of etiquette in an educational debate, at least be within the Rules of the House. What are the purposes of education? Education is not an end in itself; it is only the means to an end. We do not become men so that we can be educated; we are educated so that we can become men. No system of education, however, perfect and comprehensive, is any good at all unless it enables us, as education is intended to do, to live our lives better and happier than we should do without it. It has to have a side which fits a man better for the ordinary material struggles of life. It has to have a side which makes a man able to find an intellectual satisfaction in his life. It has to have a side which fits him to take his full part as a citizen of a self-governing community.

I represent an agricultural community, a rural district of extremely wide spaces, a district in which agriculture is practically the only industry, where large towns are unknown and where agriculture must remain the only industry. What ought education to mean to a district like that? If it is to have any use at all, it ought to mean, first of all, that it fits the man who normally, almost certainly, has to earn his livelihood in agriculture, to earn his living better, and, secondly, and far more important, it has to fit him to get more enjoyment out of the life which he has normally to lead. Do we in fact, in the agricultural districts and the rural areas of this country, find education fulfilling its purpose?

I know it is the fashion that if you combine the words "education" and "farmer" in the same sentence, it will cause laughter. The farmer is supposed to be a man who is opposed to innovation, including education. Are we right in blaming the farmer for that? What has been his experience of education? Take my county, a county of small farms and a large number of freeholders, where son succeeds father on the farm. You have the farmer loving his life, loving the country and his surroundings and his farm, hoping that his son will take to and enjoy, and make a success of, the life that he has led. What does be very often find has been the result of education? Not that it has made him a better farmer and made him take a keener and a greater interest in agricultural life, but that it has made him discontented with rural life altogether. It has made him think that the aim and object and the hope of every man is a black-coated existence in an industrial town. If that has been the experience of the farmer, can you really blame him for not being as enthusiastic about education as are some people? Must you not also attach a certain amount of blame to education?


To the narrow outlook of the farmer.


I think that a narrow outlook is not entirely confined to the farmer.


It takes more to keep him there when he extends his outlook.


The hon. Member, as a keen Socialist, comes back immediately to economic values, to the question of money. He cannot get away from that. After all, the agricultural community is largely composed of people of the economic tenets of Members opposite. That is more their misfortune than their fault. They are a very large community and one which we want to extend.


A very dense community.


Really, is the remark of the hon. Member a helpful contribution to the debate? I do not want to raise controversy. I want to see the farmer, whether it is his own fault or our fault, enthusiastic about education, and I want, if there is any need of it, to alter that education so as to get his enthusiastic co-operation. This Bill, if it is passed, stabilises for ever up to the age of 15 the method of education as one of whole-time attendance at school. If at any time the country should decide to make any advance upon that age and to raise it to 16 it is likely to follow exactly the same lines as this, and you may in future find whole time education stabilised at the age of 16. I wonder whether from the point of view of the agricultural community this whole-time education is the best way? Other agricultural nations, which hon. Members opposite often hold up to us as an example of agricultural organisation, find that their educational system, which is just as successful as ours, is better suited by other methods.

I am very much in favour in agricultural districts of the system of continuation schools, because I believe they enable a child to get a practical education during the summer from actual work upon the farm and during the winter allows him to get that general and scientific education which he must have if he is to be a successful man or a successful farmer. I am very much afraid that we are imposing upon everybody, irrespective of conditions and interests, one universal system of education as the one which has got to suit everybody instead of trying to find different types which will, in fact, suit the people for whom they are intended. With regard to the more practical aspects of this Bill, I confess that I can only speak from my limited experience as a member of my own local education committee, a very small county, covering a small population with peculiar problems of its own, but yet of extreme importance to the 60,000 people who live in the county. It is no good telling those people that Manchester can do it, that Liverpool or London, or Hastings, can do it, all they know is that they cannot do it and as far as they can see the educational system imposed upon them by this Bill is going to be nothing less than a farce for the next two, three or four years.

We were one of the districts which was given an opportunity of trying to carry out reorganisation in the existing schools, making the break at 11, not concentration in the senior schools but in the schools as they now exist. That was because of the immense distances and the great difficulties in the way of any reorganisation on senior school lines. That experiment has become impossible under present conditions. It may have been difficult to have made it a success up to the age of 14 but, obviously, it is impossible to make it a success up to the age of 15. We are faced now not only with the provision of accommodation and teaching for the extra year but with the necessity of providing before April next a system for the complete reorganisation of the school system in our county, which we have not yet started.


Time lost.


Really, the hon. Member is not very helpful. I am trying to explain that we tried an experiment which might have been possible up to the age of 14. That experiment is put an end to by this Bill. We have to start entirely afresh, and it is only by the end of our three year programme that we can possibly provide the accommodation which will be required by the new senior schools under this Bill. The President of the Board of Education said that after all that is only marking time; it may be that the children from 14 to 15 will not be any the better for it, no better educated, but that at any rate they will not be any the worse. That may be true as regards the particular children themselves. They may not be any the worse, but the education of the other children in the school will be very much worse during these three years in these small schools. If you are going to keep the children up to the age of 15 obviously marking time, not learning but simply complying with the requirements of an Act of Parliament, the effect will be very bad. It may not be bad on the particular children but it will obviously be bad on the children with whom they are working and on the parents who will see this waste of time going on. In a district such as mine, where this marking time is unavoidable and must go on for a considerable period, it will have a disastrous effect upon the respect and enthusiasm felt for education.

There is one other result of this system which, although it may be quite inevitable, is certainly very sad. In a static district such as mine, with its small population and small schools, the inevitable result of senior concentration is junior concentration as well. As you take the older children out of the school and put them into senior schools you are going to leave too small a school population to carry on the junior school, and senior concentration will be followed by junior concentration and the closing down of large numbers of schools in the neighbourhood. Hon. Members who are acquainted with the conditions of rural life know that these little communities, by the closing of the school, will lose the centre of their social activities, and perhaps the only educated person in the parish. The hon. Member opposite shakes his head. That may be because it cannot be avoided, but does he suggest that the closing of these small schools is not going to mean a loss to the social life of the place?


I only nodded my head because I was thinking of the children in these extremely small country schools and I could not see how it would be a loss to them to put them into bigger and better schools and give them a better education.


The hon. Member forgets that you organise them in these new schools for one year, but they have to live in these communities from the age of 15 until the time they die. To put them for one year in school may not counteract the loss they will suffer during the rest of their lives. Let me refer to one of the most important provisions in this Bill, the question of the arrangements to be made with regard to the non-provided schools. A certain disagreement is obvious from the speech of the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Scurr), yet the way in which the hon. Member tackled the problem was a symptom of the changed attitude of people to this problem. That change is a most hopeful symptom. It shows that we can approach it without that intolerance which marred this controversy 20 and 30 years ago. There is one point I should like to put to the President of the Board of Education. It is rather a point of detail, but one to which certain people attach a great deal of importance. Under the new system it will be for the manager to complain to the local authority if the teacher fails to give religious instruction. The possibility of individual complaints by the managers of one locality, influenced perhaps by their own particular view, may be the cause of a good deal of confusion in administration, and it is the view of a good many people that it would be much better if complaints of this kind were not made by the individual manager, but should come through the responsible religious body of the particular denomination, who could first of all sift the complaint and then themselves bring it before the local authority.


Do I understand the hon. Member to suggest that instead of the provision in the Bill, that the manager should state the allegation, he suggests that the local denomination should formulate the complaint?


Yes, I am suggesting that that is better than allowing the manager to make the complaint to the local authority. The complaint should be made by the responsible denominational body, not in a particular district, but covering the diocesan body in the case of the Church of England and the appropriate body in the case of other denominations.


The hon. Member's plan is that the complaint as to the teacher not giving religious instruction should be made by somebody in the parish to the diocesan authority, who is to send it to the local education authority?


By the local manager to the particular denomination, who should investigate it and if they thought it necessary report it to the local education authority. I hope the House will reject this Bill. It does not represent any educational advance. I am not opposed to education, but I am opposed to this Bill because if it is passed, if this rigid system is extended and imposed upon the people of this country, it will, in fact, be no advance but a hindrance to the development of that education upon which the well being of this country is founded—namely, the development of an educated people living educated lives.


We have listened to the usual charming and effective speech from the hon. Member for Westmorland (Mr. O. Stanley). His point of view is very much akin to that of the Noble Lord who opened the case for the opposition against this Bill. The Noble Lord used a very significant word; the word "mediaevalism" That is the spirit which has inspired both speeches from above the Gangway. They are nervous at this large extension of education. The same arguments, the same points, have been made against every other advance in education. The hon. Member for Westmorland said that he was in favour of the system of continuation schools. That is now, I understand, the official policy of the Conservative party. Since 1918 local authorities have had the power to organise continuation schools. There have been great opportunities for experiments in that direction. The experiment was made in London, but for various reasons it was abandoned. At any rate, it is quite clear that there is very little chance now of a general system of compulsory continuation schools. The only alternative is an advance in the direction of this Bill.

Are we to understand that the right hon. Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) is against ever increasing the age of compulsory school attendance? He elaborated a very lengthy argument on the increase in the number of children that are likely to be at school in 1936. He seemed nervous lest provision should not be ample for that date. Are we to understand that his case is that because there may possibly not be sufficient school places in 1936, and because there are enough school places now, we must not raise the school age? Speaking on behalf of my party, I say that we are in favour of the principle of raising the school age. Resolutions have been passed on several occasions in favour of that principle. As to when the organisation is likely to be ready to carry on this great advance, that must be the responsibility of the Government of the day and of the President of the Board of Education in particular. It is possible that difficulties will be found in various parts of the country in providing these school places, but who is to blame? I think some of the responsibility must be with the ex-President of the Board of Education. In 1927 we had the Hadow Report, which stated: The course of wisdom it appears to us would be to pass legislation fixing the age of 15 as that up to which attendance at school will become obligatory, after the lapse of five years from the date of this Report—that is to say at the beginning of the school year 1932. But the Noble Lord would do nothing. He refused to introduce the necessary legislation then although that Report was adopted by local education authorities by large majorities. To make this advance successful I agree that foresight is essential and preparation is necessary, and in the early days of this Parliament I ventured to press the President of the Board of Education as to his policy. I was surprised that there was no mention in the King's Speech of proposals for an educational advance and I used every opportunity to find out whether the right hon. Gentleman was going to do anything in education, and when he announced his intention to do something, to find out when his scheme would be brought before us. I think it unfortunate that there has been this delay. I think it would have been better had this Bill appeared at an earlier stage of the Session. I think it might have taken precedence of the Road Traffic Bill. That is a very controversial Measure but not so urgent as this, if we are going to put this advance into operation at an early date. If the Bill had appeared and had been passed through all its stages five or six months ago many difficulties would have been overcome. The local education authorities would have been forced to make preparations and some of the difficulties anticipated by the Noble Lord would have been avoided. I am conscious that some local authorities are deliberately taking no steps to prepare. The London County Council, for instance, refused months ago to do anything, although, in the London area, the problem is a comparatively simple one owing to the large number of school places and the number of empty schools. But some other authorities, perhaps inspired by the ex-President of the Board of Education, have taken the same course and that will make the success of this advance more difficult. But that does not say that we ought to oppose this Bill. On the contrary the sooner it is passed the better.


Will the hon. Gentleman name the authorities who have been inspired by my Noble Friend in the way he suggests? He is making a specific personal charge against my Noble Friend and he ought to substantiate it.


I did not make any personal charge. The Noble Lord's eloquence and its great influence on many persons are matters of common knowledge. If the Noble Lord had come forward and said that this step was necessary, and if he had urged the local authorities in 1927 to make ready for it there would be a very different spirit among those authorities to-day. [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw!"] I withdraw nothing, I have a great respect for the power and influence of the Noble Lord and he has, I know, many friends and admirers on the London County Council and they are following his example in regard to this matter. I think that is a perfectly reasonable statement. I admit that it is necessary if this machinery is to be worked successfully to make elaborate preparations. It would never do, I agree, simply to have "marking time" in the top class and repeating the work of the previous year. I visualize something quite different. I anticipate reorganisation and I understand from the hon. Member for Westmorland that reorganisation is going on even in his county as it is going on throughout the country. I understand that the machinery is being set going for a new era in education. The Hadow Report puts the position extraordinarily well: We regard the general recognition that the aim of educational policy must be, not merely to select a minority of children for the second stage, but to secure that that second stage is sufficiently elastic and contains schools of sufficient variety of type to meet the needs of all children, as one of the most notable advances made since the establishment of a system of public education. What it means is that the second stage in education succeeds the first because children have reached a phase of their development when they are ripe for it, not merely because their parents have the means to pay for it, or because they are of such unusual capacity that the community thinks it worth while to provide it for them. It means, of course, a more elastic and varied syllabus. If you are going to keep all children at school for another year, you have to recognise that aptitudes are different and that some children can get their education and training far better through manipulating materials, through handicrafts and metal work and through all those new experiments which have been so successfully applied in the central schools. That, of course, requires a new type of man in the teaching profession and it also requires better buildings and what perhaps is as important as anything else, better equipment. All this entails preparation and the sooner we make it clear to local authorities that they will have the responsibility of dealing with this new age in education and that we intend to provide them with a more elastic system of education, the sooner that preparation will be made. If it can be shown in our debates that local authorities will not be ready by the appointed day, 1st April, 1931, then it would be quite reasonable to move a postponement, say, until April, 1932, but it is on the critics to prove that the authorities are not prepared for this step.

I am not going to suggest that this advance is extremely popular in the country. On the contrary, I think no advance in education has been called for by the voice of the population as a whole. Children obviously are never anxious to stay at school. There is something wrong with a child which prefers to be at school rather than out in the streets at play. [Interruption.] The normal child, it is reasonable to say, is not screaming to stay at school and I think any father or anybody who has been a schoolmaster knows that. Who ever heard of a great outcry from the children that they should be compelled to stay at school? There never will be any such outcry from the children, and, as for the parents, they are faced with the alternative that they have either to take away their children from school, or they have to be deprived of the very helpful contributions to the family budget which children now-a-days can earn. Common sense seems to say that if you require children to stay at school longer, the obligation ought to be general and ought to be imposed on all families throughout the country. I hear hon. Members arguing persuasively about how much happier children are out of school at the age of 15, in the factory, or the workshop, or the farms. The proper answer to that argument is that the persons who can afford to do so, keep their children at school until the age of 17 and later, and afterwards send them to universities, because they find that is the best thing to do. Therefore I suggest that we ought to deprive parents of the temptation to take children away from school because of pressure on the family budget.

I know that the proposal of maintenance allowance is looked upon by some as revolutionary, and as a new Socialist experiment. It is not unreasonable to say that it dates back to 1907 because the Measure of that year enabled local authorities to give the equivalent of maintenance allowances to parents who kept children at secondary or central schools at the ages of 15 and 16. In that Bill there was a provision for feeding necessitous children. I remember the outcry about how demoralising such a thing would be, and how parents would be pauperised by it, and how every mother would take advantage of it in order that children might be fed at the expense of the State. The exact contrary has been the case. Very little use has been made of this provision as time has gone on, and it has only been utilised in cases of necessity where the children really required it because, otherwise, they could not take advantage of their education.

It is suggested that this small allowance of five shillings a week is going to demoralise both the parent and the child. Well, the London County Council for many years has been giving maintenance allowances in respect of children attending central schools and the amount has been £15 a year in that case. Careful inquiry has shown that it has been used mainly to defray the cost of clothing and boots and it just about covers the items while the child is at school. I suggest that is the way in which this money will probably go. It may be asked, why confine it to the ages of 14 and 15? Why not 13 and 14? That is the case of the Noble Lord; but it is not unfair to say that the older a child becomes the more expensive he is to clothe. As children grow older they wear out their clothes more quickly and often have larger appetites. At any rate, at a time like this, of great economic pressure, when there is a large amount of unemployment and short time if we feel it necessary in the public interest why should we not ease the strain on the family budget by making a small contribution from the State?

I would make one criticism. The terms of the maintenance allowances should appear in a Schedule to the Bill, and should not be left entirely to the President of the Board of Education. I do not like nowadays too great powers vested in Ministers; it is unsatisfactory to the House, and unfair to the local authorities. It is not fair to put on the local authorities the obligation to have to face at election times the question of the conditions under which they will give maintenance allowances. It ought to be in the Bill where it can be criticised, altered or amended, so that the local authorities may be relieved of the responsibility of having to organise a scheme. If the right hon. Gentleman does not make the alteration, I hope that when the Bill reaches the Committee stage, an Amendment will be moved.

We can never deal with education without raising in some form or other the religious controversy. I had hoped that the President would steer his ship successfully, and avoid all these dangerous rocks. The first Bill was a short, simple Measure, and if he had stuck to it, it would have gone through all its stages very rapidly. He found himself, however, up against certain criticisms which he has attempted to meet. I congratulate him on his courage; he is a bold man to attempt to succeed where so many men have failed. The best that I can say about these proposals is that they are not popular in any quarter; nobody seems in love with them, but I am inclined to agree with the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Scurr) that sooner or later we shall have to find a national settlement. We cannot avoid it indefinitely. I suggest that we might get some inspiration from Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman brushed Scotland aside; he was very proud that we were stealing a march on Scotland, and getting our Bill in first. There are many things, however, to be learned from Scotland, which has arrived at a national settlement and got over all the difficulties of the religious controversy by boldly, taking over all the schools and setting up a real national educational organisation. I suggest to the President that that might be a better solution of the, problem.

In the meantime, we have this makeshift proposal. I agree with the hon. Member for Mile End that the proposals in the Bill are very different from the proposals in the White Paper, and even different from the Memorandum which accompanies the Bill. We were led to believe that they were temporary proposals to meet an emergency, and that assistance was to be given to schools where necessary to help the reorganisation. The words in the Bill rather suggest that these are permanent proposals. If that were so, it would be unfortunate for all interests, because it would satisfy none. If we let these proposals go through, it must be made clear to the House and to the country that they are only temporary to meet an emergency, in order to carry out a great scheme of educational advance. I agree with the President that it is impossible to advance the school age without the co-operation of the non-provided schools. For every two children in provided schools, there is one in non-provided schools, and it would be beyond the building power of the country to provide the necessary places without the co-operation of the education authorities.

I do not want to revive old religious controversies, but the right hon. Gentleman will remember the feeling of teachers against any test being imposed on men and women who are public servants, and that principle still holds good. I do not believe that it is beyond the wit of man so to amend these proposals as to preserve that principle. The Bill provides that when teachers are appointed by the local education authorities, regard should be had for the condition of the trust deeds, and sufficient teachers should be appointed to enable the necessary religious instruction to be given. A certain number of teachers in addition will be appointed, and does it not seem fair that the additional teachers outside the requirements of the trust deeds should not be subject to a religious test, or, at any rate, should be allowed to have a conscience clause giving them the right to refuse to give religious instruction? I visualise in the new educational organisation a much more varied type of men and women in the teaching profession. The old idea was that education was the work of the literary man, the book worm, the scholar, and the intellectual, but into this new organisation we shall draw craftsmen, electricians, mechanics, and such men, who will give a much broader basis to our education system. In one school which I have in mind, there is a staff of 10, and four of the teachers come under the category of craftsmen. They may be very religious men, but quite incapable or unwilling to give religious instruction. Is the State to be deprived of men of this character because they are unwilling to give religious education? It is not unfair to ask that in these cases there should be a conscience clause, so that their capacities should be preserved to the State for the education of the children.

That does not mean the rejection of the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman, but I do not see why something of that kind cannot be introduced in order to strengthen the proposals for dealing with the non-provided schools. The last thing we want is to have a sense of grievance in the educational profession, because on the teachers depends the whole success of an educational advance of this kind. Nothing would be more unfortunate if, because of any unheard-of conditions or unreasonable questions, the kind of men and women whom we want to draw into the teaching profession were prevented from joining it. I hope that this Bill will get on the Statute Book. The people most concerned are the children. We now require every man and woman to use the right of citizenship. It is sometimes suggested that they do not exercise their franchise seriously and well. If they are to act up to their responsibilities, let them have a full opportunity of a generous and large education. Let there be no stinting of it; let it be on the right scale, and let them not be able to say that, because of the lack of foresight of the State, they were forced into the labour market at 14 and deprived of that valuable 12 months which every educationist says is necessary for a full system of education.


In supporting the Second Reading of this Bill, I would like to congratulate my right hon. Friend on the extraordinarily able and enthusiastic speech with which he moved the Second Reading. I have never heard him to better advantage, and I believe that his enthusiasm is due to the fact that he has a sincere belief in education, and in education for the children of the workers. The late President of the Board did not strike me as being his usual self. He seemed to be very unhappy in doing his job, and I had a feeling that he was engaging in a task with which he was not in whole-hearted agreement; an intelligent, enlightened administrator from the Board of Education was struggling in a sea of party darkness. I think that if the right hon. Gentleman could only tell us his real mind about this matter, he would be found to be in favour of raising the school age to 15. He enunciated in his speech some very curious principles and doctrines. I could not quite follow him in his discussion on what he called the voluntary side of children attending school. For the right hon. Gentleman to come to this House with a Cobdenite and laissez-faire attitude about extending the principles of complete liberty to the children was entirely contradictory for a right hon. Gentleman who belongs to a party which believes in Protection and State action. He must realise that the whole essence of the Bill, apart from the administrative difficulties and technicalities into which he went at great length, lies in the fact that it will make possible a better quality of education from the age of 11 upwards.

7.0 p.m.

This Bill is essential if we are to make a real attempt towards secondary education in our educational system. It is no use for hon. Members opposite to say, as the hon. Member for Westmorland (Mr. Stanley) said, that there would be a wasting of time. One of the reasons for raising the school age is that it will prevent that marking of time which has taken place in the upper part of our elementary schools in the past. It will give us conditions which will allow of a secondary system of education being put into force for the ordinary workers of the country. I am glad to support this Bill, because it will give an educational opportunity for the normal child. The Noble Lord, in a speech in his constituency, said that it was rather remarkable that we had made provision for clever children and for backward children, but that we had not made provision for the ordinary normal child. This Bill will make provision for the ordinary normal child. I would like to deal with one or two points raised by the hon. Member for Westmorland. He said that education in the rural areas seemed to cause the children to turn towards black-coated professions. I am one of those who think that the real cause for that—if it is true—is due not to the education but to the conditions that obtain in the rural areas. He pleaded—and to this I have no objection—for close relationship of education to life and the vocations of life. Educationists have no objection to life being related to all the vocations of life. What we object to is that you should predestine a child to a particular vocation too early in life. He pleaded for greater variety of education. If you are to get that variety and a breaking away from the old academic tradition in education, then this Bill is absolutely necessary. The late President of the Board of Trade, like the present President, not only envisaged a variety of type but also seemed to be in favour at times of raising the school age up to 15. I can quote from certain speeches of his which seemed to show that as an educationist, apart from certain political conditions, he was in favour of raising the school age up to 15.


As the hon. Member says that, will he quote one statement of mine which was in favour of compulsorily compelling children to remain at school until 15?


The Noble Lord said he was not in favour of doing it compulsory. That is one of the things I cannot understand about it. He said on two or three occasions that education up to 15 is a good thing. If it is a good thing, why not compel the child? Why should he run away from a good thing? If I might apply it personally, the Noble Lord and the Members opposite send their own children to school and universities until they are 21 or 22, or even 25. I doubt whether there is a Member opposite who sends his children into the factory or workshop at the age of 14. Why do they do this? Because education in itself is a good thing and it is good for the children to have it. They believe in education up to 21 for their own children. Why, then, oppose compulsory education even up to 15 for the workers' children? What is good for children of the more fortunate classes is surely good, and compulsorily good, for the more unfortunate children of the community. Since he asked me to do so, I shall read what the Noble Lord said in an article he wrote in the "Empire Review." I know his educational ideals and aims are often struggling with his political attachments, and this afternoon I want to give him credit for his educational aims and ideals. He wrote: Everyone knows that it is good for most children to stay continuously at school until 15"— I will not read it all— provided the school gives them an education suited to their age and to the life they will have to lead on leaving school.


Read the next sentence.


The Noble Lord need not fear I am trying to do him any injustice. I am trying to show that he has said it is a good thing for children to be in school until they are 15. He does not dispute it. He lays down certain conditions, that the education up to 15 should be an education which will help the children to live their vocational lives, and so on. He also says that the school should be in such a condition that the quality of education given should be satisfactory. The point is that the Noble Lord will not say that it is not good for children to be at school until they are 15. He will not say that it is good for his own children not to be at school beyond 15. I am certain that, as far as their own children are concerned, hon. Members opposite say it is a good thing, and show it by putting them at school beyond the age of 15. We talk about discovering and cultivating talent and developing intelligence. How can you discover talent and develop intelligence with children up to the age of 14? It is far too young, and it cannot be done. If you are going to discover and develop intelligence, and give the child in this modern industrial life of ours anything like an equal opportunity and an equal chance, there must be provision for the ordinary normal child to receive an education at least up to the age of 15.

The hon. Member for Westmorland, and, I believe, the right hon. Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) talked about education in the new industrial life in which we live. What are some of the facts about the new industrial world? One is that in industry to-day the children are receiving no education. Tens of thousands are engaged in mere repetition work, in occupations which have no educative value. The reaction from that dull monotony on our civic life is not what we would desire in many cases. The reaction is often dissipation in the leisure time of these children. We say, as educationists, that one of the great benefits of the school is to bring back into modern life the educative purpose which has gone out of industry and work. There was a time in Welling-borough, the constituency which I formerly represented, when a man in the boot industry made a boot practically right through. It developed his capacities in making a boot. He put his mind, his personality and his craftsmanship into it, and his talents were developed in making a boot. What happens to-day? A machine has stepped in and robbed bootmaking of its educative effect on the capacity of the young. We wish to bring into school life that craftsmanship and the chances and conditions which will allow the personalities of the children to develop this way and that way, with as many experiences as life can give them. We have no objection to relating the education of our children to the countryside. We have no objection to relating the education of our children even to farming if you will. If the hon. Member for Westmorland wants that variety, that interest in a varied life, that varied capacity in our people, then the best thing he can do is to vote for this Bill, because you can get that only through the raising of the school age.

There are one or two other points with which I want to deal. While the hon. Member for Westmorland was speaking about the farming industry in relation to education, there came to my mind a conversation I had a year or two ago with a principal of a high school in Denmark. He told me that one of the main causes of the agricultural revival and the relatively sustained prosperity of education in Denmark was due to an educational revival led and inspired by Grundvig. That educational revival was not a revival in the sense of merely showing the children how to sow the seeds and how to reap the harvest. It was not an educational revival of a specific vocational kind. It was a revival of an education which was even literary in its character, which had folk dances in it, and which had life and verve and vigour, and gave a new atmosphere to the minds of those in the schools in Denmark. The hon. Member for Westmorland said he was going to try to deal with what was real education. I know he will not misunderstand me if I say that he should not be too dogmatic as to the real results of specific narrow vocational education. There are many reactions even upon vocations from a wider educational point of view, and a child responds to a wider curriculum of education in a variety of ways. In our schools we shall get this variety by raising the school age. He said that there was a danger of marking time. I ask him not to be too afraid of that. The local education authority is there; the Director of Education is there. I see the Noble Lord smiling, and I hope he will not smile at this. His Majesty's inspector will be there. Has he discussed that with His Majesty's inspector? The Noble Lord has not faith in anything.


I do not know if the hon. Member was addressing me. Is not the educational system in Denmark as applied to farms a part-time education and exactly what I was recommending here?


That is true, but it does not destroy my point. I heartily support the Second Reading of this Bill on educational grounds, and I would like to devote the remainder of my speech to the very delicate and difficult subject of the religious Clauses of this Bill. Like the hon. Member who spoke below me earlier in the debate, I hope to try to represent, as far as I can, in this part of my speech the views of the National Union of Teachers. I will do my best to convey those views as correctly as I can I know the President of the Board of Education has had rather great diffi- culties over this matter, and I would like to congratulate him on the patience and courage he has shown in various directions during the negotiations. If there is to be an agreement at all, it is quite Obvious that it has to be an agreement by compromise.

I agree with what the President said that there has to be compromise by all of us. I notice that certain sections are stating certain claims, but I say in all seriousness that if there is to be no compromise, if the demands of this section or that are to be pressed very far beyond this Bill, then I believe that those who sincerely desire religious teaching in the schools will raise an issue of first-class importance, no lees than the secular issue, as far as the schools are concerned. The battle will not merely range itself around the question whether there shall be denominational religious instruction but round whether we are to have religious teaching at all in State schools. Those religious bodies which over-press, I am saying this very respectfully, for more denominational privileges than are accorded in this Bill will, I am afraid, invite the whole question of religious teaching in the public schools of this country to be discussed. I am just putting my point of view.


Is that the National Union of Teachers' point of view?




Well, that does not matter much.


We believe the President of the Board of Education has gone as far as is practicable in this Bill in meeting the claims of voluntary schools, under the conditions which obtain. I believe myself, and I think there are grounds for the belief, that if in Committee there is pressure to concede more to those who demand greater denominational privileges, that by the time this Bill comes out of Committee the President will find a strong volume of opinion supporting those who desire more public control. I believe he will agree with me when I say we have helped as far as we can in arriving at agreement. I myself have done all I can, and the National Union of Teachers has shown a spirit which I believe he will recognise as a spirit which was meant to meet the situation as generously as it possibly could be met under the existing conditions.

Let me say what we stand for. The National Union of Teachers has always stood for the complete single unification of our educational system. Throughout its existence it has held that the efficiency and economy of education will be better secured under single and undivided public control. It has believed, and still believes, in public control of public money. If there are to be further grants in aid of voluntary schools, then those grants must be accompanied by an extension of public control over those schools. The Union in particular is vitally interested in the method of the appointment and dismissal of teachers, and it has declared unequivocally that the appointment and dismissal of teachers should be in the power of the local education authorities. Do the proposals of the Government meet this demand? Does Clause 2 of the Bill provide for the full unfettered right of the authority, in return for public money, to appoint and dismiss teachers? The answer quite clearly is that the Clause does not provide for the full unfettered right of the authority in the appointment and dismissal of teachers. It is true that paragraph (a) of Sub-section (2) of Section 2 says that teachers shall be under the control of the local education authority and that the authority shall have the exclusive power of appointing and dismissing them, but paragraph (c) provides for a definite specific personal and absolute denominational veto on the appointment.

The legal power of appointment is given to the authority, but a legal veto is vested in the managers. This veto is not one that will ensure merely that the trustees are satisfied, not one that will ensure in a general way, as it were, that denominational teaching is given, but it is one much more powerful and personal. It is worded in such a way as will still give the managers the right to inquire personally into particulars of the religious faith—even the shades of religious faith—which these teachers may hold. It will still allow them, in the exercise of their individual choice, to take into account other factors than the efficiency either of the secular or religious education in the schools.

The National Union of Teachers is prepared to say quite definitely that the trust deeds should be honoured, but it is not prepared to welcome the precise manner and the precise mode provided in Clause 2 of this Bill. The words, "willingness and competence" will need very careful consideration in Committee. In particular the word "competence" is full of dangerous reactions which we shall use our best endeavours to remove. If the managers are to be satisfied as to competency, we are afraid there may be some machinery, some method of ascertaining it. The Bill provides that in the appointment of teachers the "No" of the managers is final and absolute, but when it comes to dismissal the "No" of the authority is not final and absolute. In the first case there is no appeal, in the second case that of the dismissal, there is, I believe, an apeal to the Board of Education. If the managers say "No" to the appointment of the teachers on religious grounds, then it appears from the Bill—if I am wrong I shall be glad to have it elucidated—that that "No" is a final and absolute veto. I am sure my right hon. Friend will not mistake me. It is evident that we are quite full of goodwill towards this Bill, but just as my hon. Friend who represents the Catholic bodies will put down Amendments, we too, perhaps from a slightly different angle, will have to put down Amendments in Committee. We hope to, and I am sure that we shall, arrive at an agreement which will carry this Bill to the Statute Book.

I am very glad the President of the Board of Education has not included the right of entry to give denominational religious instruction. We should oppose the right of entry. He has wisely decided to adopt a modified form of the Anson by-law. Teachers accept the principle of Clause 3, and welcome it as opposed to any right of entry. We shall, however, endeavour to remove certain dangers which we believe to remain in some of those provisions. We are afraid that the Clause will impose upon teachers the duty of seeing that the children get denominational religious instruction. Are the teachers to be used to see that the children comply with the arrangements which have been made for denominational religious instruction? We say that it is no part of any teacher's duty to participate in any such arrangements. If the child is withdrawn from school for denominational religious instruction he is withdrawn at the request of the parent, and the parent should shoulder the responsibility of seeing that the arrangement is kept. We are very jealous of keeping council school teachers entirely free from any duty even remotely connected with giving denominational religious teaching to the children. We hope the President will agree to meet us in Committee, when we shall endeavour to secure such an amendment of Clause 3 as would keep council teachers free from any duties connected with denominational religious teaching. We welcome the principle of Clause 3, but we desire to make it afford protection for teachers from denominational duties.

Finally, I am sorry the President of the Board of Education has not included in the Bill a conscience clause for teachers. The hon. Member for Bethnal Green raised this issue, and I hope the President will seriously consider the possibility of including a conscience clause for teachers. After all, teaching in our council schools is a public service. It is a State service, because council schools are instruments of the State. The certificate which the teacher has is the licence which the State gives him to teach. That certificate does not include any religious qualification at all, but is an entirely secular document.

I think it is right to say that since 1870 the State, as a State, has been neutral as far as religious education is concerned. It has allowed education authorities to give a prescribed religious education, but it has not, as a State, itself prescribed religious education. I believe it is true that there have been occasions when the Board of Education have refused to accept by-laws with respect to religious education in council schools. The service to the State is a secular service. The certificate given by the State is a secular instrument, allowing these teachers to teach in the schools. We are very jealous that the teaching in the council schools should still remain completely and wholly a public service, free from all denominational religious tests, and therefore we ask the President to accept a conscience clause.

But we have a greater and more practical argument than this. It has been my duty to look at a number of the agreed syllabuses in regard to religious instruction which have been accepted up and down the country as part and parcel of reorganisation. I think it would not be impossible to prove that some of those syllabuses have in them a great deal of creed and dogma; they are very different from the old syllabuses. The simple Bible teaching of Cowper-Templeism no longer obtains in many areas, and I am afraid that it is correct to say that in and through the agreed syllabuses there has come into the council schools creed and dogma in the religious education of the children. That provides an overwhelming and powerful argument for a conscience clause to protect our teachers, even from the agreed syllabuses if they contain dogma or matters of special doctrine. We shall hope to amend some of the Clauses. Finally, I want to say that the National Union of Teachers welcomes this Bill and gives it its whole-hearted support. I shall go into the Lobby to vote for the Second Reading, expressing both the gratitude and the thanks of teachers and educationists up and down the country for the courage which the right hon. Gentleman has shown in introducing this Bill.


The hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove) speaks on this matter out of a special knowledge to which I can make no claim. But I should like to be permitted to offer a few observations upon the Measure as a University Member, to whom education must be a major interest. I have always thought that the duty of a University Member in education questions is to view them as independently as possible, and as free as possible from party bias. This Measure bristles with controversial matters, which must be most carefully discussed in Committee, and I only propose to make a few observations upon the most general lines.

The first, and main, provision is, of course, the raising of the upper limit of the school age to 15. I think it may be said that, as an ideal in some form or other, that proposal has found very general acceptance. I propose to look at it purely on educational grounds. There may be subsidiary advantages. No doubt, by moving a large number of children from industry you may open posts for some men at present unemployed. There is some justification for that view in past history, for any raising of the school age has usually meant the up-grading of jobs. But I confess that I am deeply sceptical as to whether this Measure will be followed by any very large and general relief of unemployment, at any rate in any reasonable time. I think the figures given on this matter by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Education, and by the late Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster yesterday, are purely illusory.

This Measure must stand or fall by its educational value. On that point, the Hadow Report contains one or two sentences which I should like to quote, because they seem to contain the heart of the matter: Such a step would do far more than merely add 12 months to the school life of the great majority of the children. Its effects would be, not merely quantitive, but qualitative, and would be felt in the years before 14 as well as in the years after it. For the extending from three to four years of the period available for post-primary education would not only make it easier for such education to be planned as a coherent and progressive course with a character and quality of its own, but would also (and this is of much more importance) ensure that it continued sufficiently long to act as a permanent influence for good in the lives of those who pass through it. Those are weighty words and I believe that they are justified. The trouble about our education system to-day and, indeed, about many other educational systems, is that it stops short just when the child's mind is beginning to awaken. That is the most critical time in adolescence, and if at that time the child's mind is given the right kind of instruction and the right kind of discipline, the child has a far better chance of becoming a good citizen and of achieving success in whatever calling he follows. It is generally agreed, I think, by students of child psychology, that the year 14 to 15 is a, key year in a child's life, and on the way that year is used depends the whole success of the scheme of education before 14. From that point of view this reform may be regarded as the halfpennyworth of tar without which the ship is in danger of being spoiled. Upon the proper handling of the child in adolescence even more than the proper handling of it in childhood depends the success of any system of education.

Upon that principle I think there is a very general agreement, but the attempt to exemplify that principle in this Measure is another matter. My hon. Friend the Member for Westmorland (Mr. Stanley), in a most interesting speech, gave us a philosophic disquisition upon the fundamental values of education, with which I largely agree. The Noble Lord, the late President of the Board of Education, objects to the particular scheme in this Bill. He desires the same kind of extended education only on a better plan, a better co-ordinated and more elastic plan and one more in touch with the life and conditions of industry. On that point I think I should agree with him. But there is no alternative system now before the House or the country. Moreover, I cannot see why this provision in the Bill should be regarded as disqualifying us from advancing later to a more comprehensive and elastic solution.

The really effective arguments against the Measure are the arguments of machinery. Can it be done in the time? Is it possible to fix April, 1931, as the date, without putting too great a strain upon the education authorities. Are we not in danger, too, since in three or four years there will be a drop in the number of children attending school, of creating an apparatus too grandiose for our purpose? That is the kind of technical question on which the decision of this Measure really rests. We have had figures and arguments, authoritative figures and arguments, adduced by my Noble Friend, whose knowledge of education is as wide as his interest in it is real, and also by the President of the Board of Education, who, of course, is an expert and has all the resources of the Department behind him. It seems to me that on this technical question there is a genuine conflict of authoritative evidence.

That being so, if the ideal is desirable, I should prefer to take the more optimistic survey. I would put before the House the general consideration that in any great enterprise it is never possible to settle beforehand, perfectly, every detail. There must be a certain amount of taking risks. If the ideal is worth following, then it is well, as soon as possible, to make a beginning, and, as far as I can judge, it will be possible to make a real beginning by the 1st April of next year. I do not for one moment desire to deny, and the President of the Board of Education did not deny, that there will be flaws and hitches, that we may have to put up with makeshift expedients and with emergency palliatives, and that there will be here and there temporary congestion. But I believe the risk is worth running. I would remind hon. Members that if you are building a house you do not wait, before entering, until every detail is finished and the last door handle is perfect. If you are wise, you will go in while the workmen are still there, because that is probably the only way of expediting completion and the only way of hurrying on the laggard workmen.

With the second proposal of the Bill I will deal in a few words. It is the proposal connected with the non-provided schools, and enables the local education authorities, on certain terms, to make provision for the improvement and enlargement of the schools. The question there, is the question of the terms. These seem to me to be fair and reasonable and to constitute a just eirenicon which I hope will be accepted by all the parties concerned. I am sorry to say that I am old enough to remember the bitter strife over the Balfour Act, at the beginning of the century, when honest men were driven into passive resistance because their consciences, while they permitted the payment of taxes towards denominational schools, forbade the payment of rates. Hon. Members may recollect Mr. Balfour's famous phrase: Can we seriously believe in a pre-established correspondence between the frontier which eternally separates right from wrong, and the transient line which technically distinguishes local from national taxation. I am glad to believe that that kind of dogmatic narrowness has gone, and I welcome the spirit of moderation which the hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove) and the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Scurr) displayed in the House to-night, which seems a very good omen for our being able to come to a satisfactory conclusion.

There is one last provision in the Measure which my Noble Friend has condemned in unequivocal words—the grant of maintenance allowances. That is one of the most expensive parts of the whole scheme, and it seems to me that it needs to be most carefully and critically examined. The principle is not new. I think it is as old as the year 1902. The local authorities for some time have been permitted, in special cases, to make grants in circumstances of need to children above 14 years. But this Act makes a very large extension. It makes the practice general between 14 and 15 years in all cases where need can be proved, and it provides that 60 per cent. of the cost shall be met by the Exchequer and 40 per cent. by the local authorities. If that provision is right then, clearly, it is right to divide the cost between the Exchequer and the local authorities, since, if the Exchequer paid the whole there would be a temptation for authorities, popularly elected, not to discriminate between claims and to let the whole calculus of need to go by the board.

But I confess that I dislike the whole principle extremely. It has the ugly look of being a sop to that section of the public which declares that education, except in the most elementary degree, is of no value and a waste of time and money. It has the ugly look of being a bribe to parents to do for their offspring what any civilised country would expect them to do as a matter of duty. Is the argument that these maintenance grants are compensation for parents for problematical loss of a child's earnings? If so, I cannot understand what an Educational Act has to do with a novel form of unemployment grant. I must say I feel very strongly the objections which have been urged against this part of the Measure by my Noble Friend.

There is one consideration that I find it difficult to get over and which prevents me offering this scheme the wholehearted opposition which he has offered it and that consideration, put shortly, is this. The season of adolescence is an extraordinarily difficult season in any household and not least in the household of the wage earner. Take a household where the oldest child is between 14 and 15 years of age and there are several other children and the total wages coming in are something like £3 a week. However good the intention of the parents, the position of the child must be extraordinarily difficult. He is more of an expense to his parents than when he was younger and at the same time he is bringing no grist to the household mill. Looking at it from that point of view I feel that it might be reasonably argued, on purely educational grounds, that where a child, by being kept at school, is adding nothing to the house-hold budget it would be only fair and right to attach some small income to his further term of pupilship. The Minister of Education proposes to work on the suggestions in the White Paper. I think they are sound in the main. If the rules are wisely made and honestly administered I put it to my Noble Friend that there is something to be said, purely for the child's sake and on educational grounds, for giving the child a chance of being the vehicle of a contribution to the household exchequer, in order to ease the difficulty of his position and to maintain his self respect.

The hon. Member for Westmorland (Mr. O. Stanley) raised very properly the question of cost. This is a costly scheme and at a time like this we cannot pass any item of expenditure without the most careful scrutiny. But it seems to me that this expenditure on education is, in the strictest sense of the word, reproductive expenditure. In fact, I think the proper way to regard it is as expenditure upon the conservation of assets. To-day we have none too many assets, and we must guard jealously whatever we have got. There may be some dispute about the nature of those assets, but about one there can be no dispute and that is our youth.

One final point. There will be raised to this Measure, and to all similar Measures, an objection which we certainly did not hear from my Noble Friend but which I have no doubt we shall hear before the debate is over, and which is writ large in the Press of the country. That objection is that the Bill is unpopular, that it is bad electioneering and that the people do not want it. In a sense that is true. Every educational Bill is unpopular. Education will never be a popular subject with the mass of mankind. Every educational advance has been won only after a hard struggle with the forces of apathy. But it seems to me that to-day that apathy is on the wane. It seems to me that there is a growing sense in every class, even the poorest, of the immense importance of education in this difficult world in which we live to-day. If, therefore, we take the long view, and this House is bound to take the long view, it must seem that whatever criticism attaches temporarily to a bold educational policy will be short lived; but that an inert educational policy, a policy which clutches at any excuse to call a halt in educational progress, will not be readily forgotten or readily forgiven.


I have never heard a speech from the Conservative benches which I have enjoyed so much as the one we have just heard. Everyone on these benches will agree entirely with every word that the hon. Member said. When I listened to the Noble Lord I felt that he was a Conservative of Conservatives. He simply gave us a rehash of Conservative arguments which we have heard on every occasion that education has been discussed in this House. Their attitude has always been: This Education Bill is a bad Bill, or else, it is a good Bill but at the wrong time. The President of the Board of Education referred to the fact that his father in 1870, when his hair was very black, took definite action against certain proposals. I have looked up the Report of Parliamentary Debates for 1870 and, strange to say, two Conservative speakers spoke then on this question of education in dealing with Mr. Forster's great Bill. Lord Robert Montagu, speaking on 17th February, 1870, said: He now came to the last point in the proposed Measure on which he would touch. He meant compulsory education. This would be found very hard and oppressive on the labourer in towns, and also in the rural districts there would be a great many children who were sent to work in order to keep their parents out of the poor house. A few shillings a week which a poor man received for the labour of his children often proved just sufficient to keep him from destitution. A widow often depended on the work of her boys. The sick and infirm had no one else to look to. When compulsory education became universal, it would then reach all, and the poor would suffer. That is the argument of Conservatives always. Another Conservative, Mr. Winterbotham, speaking on the Second Reading, used the same words as those used by the Noble Lord. He said: For all these reasons, I regret that the Government has not allowed the question to rest this year. Why they did not I cannot say. A year is not a long time in a nation's life. There we have it; the Noble Lord is true to type. I have heard no one to-night say that he does not think 14 is rather young to cease attending school. That is generally agreed. What the Noble Lord says is that it should not be compulsory to attend until 15; it is a good thing to go voluntarily, but there must be no compulsion. What we say is, that if it is a good thing to attend to 15, then it is up to the House, the Government and the nation to see that that is made possible for every child. Surely it ought to be made possible for every child to attend until 15 years of age, without it being too heavy a burden for the child's parents to bear. The President of the Board of Education has given sound educational reasons. He has also given very sound economic reasons. The Division which I represent is a mining area, coupled with some cotton, iron and steel. At the present time it is a depressed area. We have in the mines of that Division hundreds of boys of 14 working underground. Those boys are working underground, with their brothers, and sometimes their fathers, unemployed. We feel it is entirely wrong to condemn a child to go underground in a mine at 14. We think that 15 is certainly early enough. To bring this child out of the mine between 14 and 15 will create employment for elder boys and adults. That is one great reason why we as a mining community have felt the need for such a Bill as this one.

The educational grounds for the Bill are indisputable and so also are the economic grounds. As a contribution towards the solution of the unemployment problem, if it would make it possible to get 100,000 back to work, it is worth doing. With regard to the burdens that will naturally fall on the parents, I agree that a 5s. maintenance grant is fairly reasonable. But that will mean a heavy burden on parents. It leaves a heavier burden on a parent than is borne by the State and local authorities together. That is a very important consideration for the poor working class. I should have liked to see a figure substantially higher than 5s. I know that the President of the Board of Education, and also the Chancellor of the Exchequer, would like to see it higher. I am sorry they could not provide for more than 5s. in many of these cases. One consoling feature is this. The right hon. Gentleman said that the Bill was open to reconstruction after some experience. We hope the result will be an increase in that figure.

As regards the means test, I am surprised that the Government have found it necessary to impose such a test in the way they have done. I do not say I am opposed to a means test if it is a generous one. I would ask, therefore, that the President of the Board of Education, in applying the Regulations governing this means test, should not follow the White Paper, which says: Apart from the inclusion or exclusion of rent, there is a further variety of practice in calculating the income per head. In some cases the income of all the members of the household is added together, and the total is then divided by the number of such persons; in other cases, the income of the non-dependent members of the family is excluded from the family income and the number of such non-dependents is omitted when dividing it. We have reached the view that the former or all-in system is to be preferred, and should be the system applicable to the country as a whole. 8.0 p.m.

I sincerely hope that the President of the Board of Education will not agree to that. Let me just show the House how in one case it worked. This is an actual case in my own division. There were a father and mother with four children—a son and a daughter working, a child of 14, and a child younger, the son and daughter each earning £1 a week and the father, working underground as a labourer, earning on an average 35s. a week. You have there £3 15s. for six persons, and, if you deduct 10s. for rent and rates, you have £3 5s. left for six persons, which gives them almost 11s. per person. They are at once in the danger zone; it is doubtful whether they will receive any grant or not. But do not forget the £1 earned by the son does not provide for all the needs of that son, and the £1 earned by the daughter does not keep that daughter. Nevertheless that £1 earned in each case is going to be used to penalise the parents of that child of 14 or 15 years of age. We say, exclude the son and daughter, exclude the £2, take only the 35s., divide that by four, and you then have less than 9s., and they are entitled to the full advantage of the 5s. I sincerely hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not consider for a single moment the adoption of this all-in system; otherwise, you are going to penalise parents simply because the sons and daughters are earning money without at the same time earning sufficient to maintain themselves. If this means test has to be applied, I do hope that the investigation which will have to take place to ascertain the income of the family is going to be as far removed as possible from all Poor Law methods. It is very important for us in this House to realise that we ought not to impose upon the working-classes of this country something which makes them appear to be receiving charity—to be receiving something to which they are not entitled. I know it is possible to devise a means, and I think that the form suggested in the White Paper is a good form, subject to it being improved in certain directions. I hope that the President of the Board of Education will insist that the method of investigation into the qualification for maintenance grants shall be as humane and as reasonable as possible.

There is one other point I want to make on the question of the Exchequer grants. I agree that a 50 per cent. grant for buildings is reasonable, and that the 60 per cent. grant to augment the maintenance allowance is also substantial. Nevertheless, those grants wilt leave certain areas in this country in a very dire position. While certain areas can raise 40 per cent. of the cost of the maintenance allowances, in their present depressed condition it is asking rather much in many areas. I appreciate very much the amount that has been offered, but I do want the President of the Board of Education to consider whether it is not possible in areas of certain types to make it still more. I have half-a-dozen urban district councils in my own division, every one governed by a very progressive local education authority. Every one of them desires to do all that it can to assist in making these maintenance grants, but in many of those cases their conditions are so distressed that they have a job to raise the 40 per cent. necessary in order to pay the allowances. Therefore, I do hope that the President of the Board of Education will consider whether it is not possible to do something which will enable all local education authorities to achieve the object at which this Bill aims, namely, to assist in every case of need; and, to do that, it will be necessary sooner or later to make more adequate grants.

I now come to the last point which I want to make, and it is relative to the non-provided schools. That is a very thorny question. Hon. Members of this House receive many communications on Bills which are to be considered, urging them to take different points of view, and they will have received many on this Bill. We are told by one section that the Bill concedes too much to managers of non-provided schools; we are told by another section that the conditions attached to the concessions are far too generous, and we are told by a further section that they are far too stringent and far too drastic. I do hope that we shall appreciate the mighty effort put forth by the Minister of Education to settle the question which is dealt with by the Bill. After all, that section of the Bill is intended to deal only with the consequences of the Bill to non-provided schools; it is not intended to deal with the general question. Clause 1 affects simply non-provided schools, and is intended to deal only with them. I submit that no one could have done more than has been done by the President of the Board of Education to arrive at a reasonable settlement of the question of the consequences of this Bill on non-provided schools, and I hope that religious bodies, and especially the leaders of religion, will remember that the greatest religion in this world is to provide for the welfare of the children. To try to divide religion from child welfare is in my opinion most unreasonable.

It is all very well for religious leaders to tell us that we ought not to grant this because it violates this principle, nor to grant that, because it violates the other principle. We in this House have to consider this question: If we do agree to raise the school-leaving age, does this Bill deal in a reasonable way with non-provided schools? I agree that it may be possible to suggest, and perhaps possible to accept, minor Amendments during the Committee stage, but I do hope that the religious leaders of any denomination in this country will not be guilty of doing anything which may endanger the welfare of our children in the educational sphere. This is a matter upon which feelings are very strong. The number of deputations one had to receive during the campaign preceding the last election at once made it clear that there were very strong feelings on this question. All I want to submit is that the proposals contained in the Bill are a real, genuine and earnest effort to deal with a very thorny question, and I hope that all sections of religious interest and all interests of every kind will look upon this as a serious effort, and will not do anything to minimise the effort, and that any suggestions which are put forward for Amendments will be put forward, not for the purpose of wrecking the Bill, but for the purpose of safeguarding the children of this country.


I think anybody who has had experience of young people just attaining the age of 14 years, whether boys or girls, must have come to the conclusion that they fall naturally into two classes: first, there is the very great majority of boys and girls who would benefit very greatly by continuing their education, and, secondly, there is a very small minority, but still a considerable number of boys and girls of all classes, who cannot usefully continue at school in the ordinary sense. I need hardly say that that rule applies to all classes, but, as a distinction has been drawn between boys and girls in the upper classes and those in the lower classes, let me point out what happens in the upper classes. In those classes, we find a very considerable number of cases in which the boys, instead of being sent to public schools in the ordinary way, and the girls, instead of being sent to school, are found by their parents to be capable of being better educated either by private tuition or by being sent abroad to learn foreign languages or something of that kind.

This particular problem has in the past been treated by offering facilities to children permissively, and this permissive system has been very good up to a point, because it has enabled certain children who are very specially fit to have secondary education, and ultimately to go through even a university education; but I have seen this system very badly misused. I have seen children who would be benefited very greatly by continuing with their education prevented from going on by the refusal of their parents to let them go on either for reasons of their own, or, possibly, for want of means; and, therefore, without any hesitation at all, I support the idea of compulsorily raising the age to 15 years, with proper safeguards. As one of those safeguards, to my mind there ought to be very considerable power of exemption by somebody. I do not know who would be the proper authority, but I certainly think there ought to be that power; and all those children whom it might not be wise to continue at school might quite properly be allowed to work, not because of financial pressure or anything of that kind, but because it is better for them. This Bill, I am sorry to see, allows no exemptions. I think that is a very great flaw, and I sincerely hope that if the Second Reading of this Bill is carried, the President of the Board of Education will insert some form of exemption in proper cases.

The second point to which I have very great objection is the system of maintenance allowances. I suppose I am a back number, but I do feel very strongly indeed that this goes entirely beyond all economic rules. I think that if people have children they certainly ought to be in a position to maintain them as long as they are offered free education. These maintenance allowances cannot possibly maintain the children; they are simply and solely a bribe to the parents to allow this Bill to go through.

Another point which has been raised is the impossibility of postponement. There, again, I do sincerely hope that if this Bill passes on Second Reading, the local education authorities will be given power to postpone. Great attention has been drawn to the fact that the schools will in many cases be overcrowded. It is surely not reasonable to omit a proper mode of postponing the coming into operation of this Bill in particular districts where the Minister is satisfied that the children cannot be accommodated to the reasonable satisfaction of his Department.

As regards the non-provided schools, I, too, remember the serious discussions in the past, and I certainly congratulate the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Education on the way in which this matter has been approached, and hope most sincerely that the same spirit will enable the Bill to be carried through to a conclusion in Committee, if it passes on Second Reading. Apparently, the only persons who are at the present time seriously contesting the matter are the Roman Catholics, and I very greatly trust that, by dealing with them tactfully and with a reasonable consideration of any proper Amendments which they put forward, it will be possible to pass this part of the Bill into law. I therefore wish to close by saying that, generally, I support the idea of raising the school-leaving age compulsorily, as is only right and proper, but I think there are certain definite flaws in the Bill which must be rectified.


I have always been in favour of the raising of the school age, and I am glad to have an opportunity of dealing with a Bill which seeks to put that policy into operation. But there is a right way and a wrong way of carrying out that principle, and I think the Government have adopted the wrong way. I say that because the Government have linked up with the policy of raising the school age another matter which is not germane, and which is preventing a definite opinion being expressed upon the policy as a whole. There are two things to which I wish to draw attention. One is the question of the maintenance allowance provided by the Bill and the other is the raising of the school age. I come from a country where the parents have made great sacrifices in order to give their children education. My hon. Friend the Member for the Scottish Universities (Mr. Buchan) said that at one time there used to be a good deal of apathy in regard to education, but he thought that it was disappearing. That has been my experience. I think the parents of this country would have been prepared to make great sacrifices in order to give their children better educational facilities than they themselves have enjoyed and the importance of which they fully appreciate.

I regret very much indeed that it has been thought necessary, by a substantial body of opinion, that the granting of maintenance allowances is necessary to put the policy of raising the school age into operation. Many sacrifices have been made in the past for the cause of education, but, if the Government say that maintenance allowances are necessary, then I am prepared to accept that as the price of putting into operation the raising of the school age. The question does not end there. If there are to be maintenance allowances, then let us know what they are to be. Under this Bill, the whole question of maintenance allowances is subjected to all kinds of regulations by the Board of Education. We should not forget that there may be an election this year or next year, or it may not come about for two or three years, but when it does come the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Sir C. Trevelyan) may not be the next President of the Board of Education, and there may be somebody there holding different views in regard to maintenance allowances. For that reason, as well as for the constitutional reason, Parliament ought to declare the terms upon which maintenance allowances should be given; they should be included in the Bill, and not left to the regulations to be issued by any Department.

There is another important matter raised by Clause 2 which deals with the improvement of non-provided schools. I am the last person in this House who wishes to raise the religious controversy in regard to education, but there are certain principles involved in this question of the denominational schools which we cannot forget. The President of the Board of Education says that this is a necessary part of the Bill. I do not agree that it is a necessary part of the Bill, and, if it be a necessary part, then the necessity arises from the right hon. Gentleman's own failure and not from any other cause, because the right hon. Gentleman and his party have been pledged for years to the policy of raising the school age. The carrying out of that principle is one of the first things which the present Government ought to have done. Up to quite recently the local education authorities were very doubtful about this principle being put into operation at all, and they should have been given ample notice that it was intended to put the policy of raising the school age into operation. They should have received longer notice than has been given between the introduction of this Bill and April next year, and, if that had been done, we should not have been faced with this problem of utilising denominational schools for providing the facilities that will be necessary by the adoption of this principle.

This part of the Bill is really panic legislation to save the face of the Government for failing to deal with this question soon after they came into office. It is not contended that the various religious denominations are satisfied with these proposals, and the Bill will have the lamentable effect of once again introducing into local elections the religious question. It will perpetuate the dual system which has been universally condemned, and which has been condemned by members of the present Government as emphatically as by anybody else. Clause 2 will raise an intolerable position. Paragraph (c) of Sub-section (2) of that Clause provides that: (c) before appointing any person to be one of the teachers required by the last foregoing paragraph to be employed in the school, the local education authority shall consult the managers and shall not appoint him unless the managers are satisfied as to his willingness and competence to give the religious instruction aforesaid. In other words, while we are told that the State is getting a great thing by having these schools under public control, you are, in fact, telling the managers that they can effectively object to any one of the teachers whom the local education authority may appoint. At the present time, the position is that the local education authorities are only too anxious to secure applicants for posts who have good qualifications, but the proposal I have just read will mean that the appointments will be deferred until the local education authority has had an opportunity of consulting the managers, with the result that many of them will lose their best friends. Paragraph (d) of the same Sub-section is an even worse provision. It says: If the managers are of opinion that any of the teachers so required as aforesaid have failed to give the religious instruction efficiently and suitably. What does "suitably" mean? What does "to give the religious instruction efficiently" mean?" What is "suitable" religious instruction? Under this provision, the managers can call upon the local education authority to dismiss a man, and then what is to happen? In the end, the question has to be determined by the Board of Education. Can you imagine anything more fantastic than the Board of Education being put into the position of sending down an inspector to make local inquiries as to whether a teacher has given religious instruction "efficiently and suitably"? The whole thing is fantastic. We have a national system of education; our teachers are public servants, and I think they are the most valuable public servants in the country. In their case you are imposing an obligation or test which is not applied to any other public servant in any other service in the country.


They are no more subject to religious tests than any other public servants.


The right hon. Gentleman is making it worse, because by this Clause he is giving to the managers of these schools the power to veto appointments, which means that they will be entitled to inquire of every applicant for a post what his religious views are.


In every voluntary school they do that now.


I know, but these are not voluntary schools.


Yes, they are, every one of them.


Everyone knows that they do it in voluntary schools now, but under this Bill those voluntary schools are going to have a new relationship with the State. The State is going to become responsible for them, and that is one of the great arguments which have been used in support of this Bill—that the State will now have a greater use of these schools than it had before. In other words, in so far as voluntary schools come under this scheme, they will be for all practical purposes State-aided schools.

The Financial Memorandum is most unsatisfactory. Paragraph 1 says: It is not practicable to make a close estimate of the extra cost involved in rates and taxes. Paragraph 2 says: The cost of this proposal is not susceptible of close alteration; while Paragraph 4 says: There are … no data upon which it would be practicable to form any reasonable estimate of cost. I think it is most unsatisfactory that the House of Commons should be asked to pass a Bill of this character, when the only guidance we have in regard to the financial obligations involved is an admittedly rough guess, and when, with regard to details, we are told that there are no data available at the moment.

The proposal to raise the school age is one which I have advocated for many years. I have heard it said this afternoon that we cannot afford it. I agree as much as anyone else in this House as to the heaviness of the financial burdens which rest upon the country at the present time, but there is another aspect of this question, and I would ask, can we afford to neglect the education of our children? It is no use looking upon life in its commercial, industrial or any other aspect without realising that the country which neglects the education of its youth is bound to suffer in the long run. All that we are asking is that the children shall have the opportunity of getting education for another year, and that the educational facilities provided shall be much more effective and efficient than they are at the present time. That, if I may say so, is a question of economics, as my hon. Friend the Member for the Scottish Universities said just now.

Apart from that, however, there is a higher point of view. I do not suppose that there is any Member of this House who does not do all in his power to provide the best educational facilities possible for his own children. He does that because he wants to give his own children a fair chance in life. If we who are Members of this House and can afford to pay for the education of our children attach sufficient importance to this matter to do that, surely we are not going to be mean enough to deny similar opportunities to the children of parents who are not so fortunately situated. As a matter of fair play, as a matter of sportsmanship, if for no other reason, we should do all that is in our power to create these educational facilities for the children, and by so doing we shall, I am sure, be serving the best interests of the country, because we shall be producing a generation of men and women who will be better equipped to face the battle of life, and who will be better qualified to contribute to the social and economic prosperity of the nation.


I intervene in this discussion as one of a group of Members of the Church of England who belong to the Labour party. That group has given some attention to this Bill, and it gives it its blessing. The Bill must necessarily affect very seriously the Anglican Church. The Roman Catholic members of the Labour party are justly concerned as to its effect upon their community, but the number of children in the Roman Catholic schools is only 300,000, while the number in Anglican schools is 1,300,000. We welcome the Bill as a step forward, as a means of increasing prosperity and of increasing the welfare of the nation.

With regard to Clause 1, the raising of the school age is long overdue. It is a long time since the age of 14 was fixed as the leaving age. This Measure proposes to raise the age to 15, and I hope that the next step of raising the age to 16 will be taken in very much less time. One need not dwell upon the blunder of taking children away from school just when they begin to understand the fascination of knowledge. This country has to make up a heavy leeway in education. Reference was made by the President of the Board of Education to Scotland and to Germany. The progress of Germany as the result of education has ben remarkable. I remember reading that 100 years ago the Duke of Wellington said that Prussia, which at that time was poor and downtrodden and oppressed, would be one of the greatest nations of the world, because, while pinched and saving in everything else, she was lavish in education.

We require every ounce of talent and intelligence that we can procure at the present time. Our life has become so complex, our civilisation is so multifarious, the amount of work that has to be done in the world is so enormous, that we should secure by education all the intelligence and all the talent that it is possible for the nation to produce. When I was an undergraduate of Trinity College, Cambridge—where, by the way, I was a contemporary of the late Prime Minister—one of the most distinguished members of the University was Dr. Creighton, who was one of the professors of history, and afterwards was Bishop of London, and I remember him saying that one of the reasons why the Roman Empire broke down was because it ceased to produce sufficient men of ability to carry it on. I do not suggest that the British Empire has reached that stage, or anything like it, but at all events it is very important, if our Empire is to attain those heights of which we dream, that the largest possible supply of intelligent and able sons and daughters of the Empire should be procured.

We approve of Clause 2 of the Bill. We accept the dual system as the system established in this country. We recognise that a great debt of gratitude is due to the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches for the work they have done in education. We believe that that dual system should be continued, and Clause 2 permits it to be continued with proper safeguards for the rights of Nonconformists. I very earnestly hope that we shall not see any revival of the religious struggles of the early years of this century. At that time, I was a member of a local education authority in Wales, and I have a vivid recollection of the bad feeling and the unhappy results of the struggle over the Education Act of 1902. Men ordinarily wise and kind and charitable became transformed by indignation and resentment over that Bill. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) was the leader in the struggle against it. He traversed the country, carrying a fiery torch with which he set light to opposition to the Bill in all parts of the country. I cannot believe he would dream of anything of the kind now. The men who took an active part in the struggles of those days, men like Dr. Clifford, were men whose memories went back to the time when the Church of England adopted towards Nonconformity an attitude which has long disappeared. On every side we see evidence of the disappearance of religious enmity. We have just seen the union of two Churches in Scotland which I remember as very hostile to one another. We see the union of Churches in Canada and India and all over the Empire. I trust that that feeling will be found in the discussions over this Bill. Every opportunity will have to be given for thoroughly discussing it and allowing the freest expression of opinion on all sides of the House, and I earnestly hope the discussions will be free from religious bitterness. I believe the cost of the whole Measure will be slightly over half the cost of a battleship. There can be no objection to it on the ground of expense and, on behalf of myself and my Anglican friends in the Labour party, I earnestly hope it may be placed on the Statute Book and will afford opportunities to the children of the working class which have hitherto been denied them.


The President of the Board of Education introduced this Bill in a very impassioned and eloquent speech, and I was immensely struck by the tremendous feeling of optimism which he displayed. He seemed to be bubbling over with optimism and was so very optimistic that the Bill was going to receive the hearty approval of all sections of the House that I really began to be a little uneasy because, if there is one symptom that a medical man knows to be a danger in a patient, it is excessive optimism without real cause. We have since heard speeches from two of his followers, the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Scurr) and the hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove), which I imagine will have a very serious effect upon the fortunes of the Bill. Since that time we have had an orgy of educationalism, and the impression one gets is that there are a large number of Members who think education is the one thing in life. It is not. It is a very subsidiary thing in life. To say that we are brought into this world for the sake of education is simply taking a wrong perspective. [HON. MEMBERS "Who said that?"] The impression that has been given throughout the debate is that the one aim and object of everyone should be to give children education because education per se must of necessity be a good thing. Some of the very best and wisest men the world has ever seen have been men of poor education, and some of the biggest scoundrels and scamps the world has ever seen have been men of the highest intellectual attainments. The fact of giving a child an education is not of necessity going to improve the child's future and make it a desirable citizen.

I am opposed to the Bill in every respect. I am, perhaps, in a small minority, but I am going to do all that lies in my power to prevent it becoming law, first of all because I am convinced that it is a bad Bill, and, secondly, because I have the hearty co-operation and support of a huge number of my constituents. During the last Election I made it a plank in my programme, and I pledged myself at every meeting to fight the compulsory raising of the school age to 15 in every possible way, and at no single meeting during the whole election was hand or voice raised against me. On the other hand, I received overwhelming approval. Everyone agreed with me, and I am certain that it was a very vital factor in my being returned to the House.


Wait till next time.


Next time I shall have a very much bigger majority, if only on account of my attitude here to-night. I am not opposed to education per se. I am a great believer in the advantages of education. What I am opposed to is the compulsory education of all children over the age of 14, whether they are likely to benefit or not. It seems to me such a peculiar idea that you are simply putting the goal of your educational attainment at the period of 15 years of age and do not determine it by the intellectual knowledge of the child. You say the child has become 15, therefore it has now become educated and is, therefore, all the better fitted to carry on in this world of ours. But because a child is 15 it does not of necessity mean that he has a better education than the next child, perhaps of 12. If you simply said, "We are out for the education of our children to see that they reach a definite educational standard," you would be in a logical position, but you say, "All we are asking is that the child shall go to school until it is 15, and at that magic age it is to be let loose on the world and is fit and competent to look after itself."


At what age did you leave?


That is a personal question which has no relevance to the point at issue. Perhaps it would be well if hon. Members brought themselves down from idealism to the hard facts of life. What really is the function of education? First of all, in a civilised community, it is the duty of the State to see that every child has a certain standard of education to enable it to live in a civilised society. By the age of 14 most children of average intelligence have reached that standard. But a second and more important point is that the function of education is to teach a child how to learn, and not to cram it with facts and statistics. The amount of knowledge that a child can get up to the age of 15 is very limited. Even if you continue the education till 21, it is still very limited. We learn throughout the whole of our existence by observation and by reading. If you are simply going for the actual value of the education that you are going to get in the next 12 months, the result is negligible.

We have to recognise that, in the present state of civilised society, manual workers are necessary. We are an exporting country. The day that we lose our position as an exporting country the country is dead. We have to depend upon the skill of our workers in order to be able to pay for our raw materials and the food we require. Therefore, it you are going to do anything to hamper industry and prevent children from going into manufacturing industries, it will have a detrimental effect upon the future of this country. I recognise that the advent of machinery makes a great difference and that manual labour perhaps is not so important now as it was in the last generation, but even to-day we require manual labour in our basic industry of agriculture, and we also require it in some of our industries where machinery will never oust the human hand. In some of our chemical trades, the textile trade, cotton spinning, house construction, ship-building, etc., there are certain things in regard to which manual labour is always necessary. We have to come to this conclusion. This country must produce a certain number of people who will go into industry to work if we are to continue as a commercial country.

The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Education, in his opening speech, referred to certain things which he called axioms, and, following his example, I wish to place three fundamental points before the House which I will call axioms. The first one is, that all children are not equal, either physically or mentally. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] That seems to meet with such general approval that I need not argue the matter further, except that I would like to put this point before hon. Members. You may have a father and mother with three or four children. You may find one child perhaps clever at mathematics and a fool at classics, another clever at classics and a fool at mathematics, and a third neither good at classics nor mathematics, but with undoubted talents for the arts and music. You may have children of the same parents with an enormous variety of mentality and intelligence—[Interruption.]

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Robert Young)

May I appeal to hon. Members. Many hon. Members wish to speak in this debate and interruptions only protract the proceedings.


Therefore, granted this variety of mentality and genius for particular kinds of work, I would venture to say, as my second axiom, that no child should be compelled to remain at school after 14 years of age unless it is likely to benefit by such extended education. Do hon. Members object to that? Do they say that they will compel such a child to stay at school for an extra year whether it receives benefit or not?


At what age do you take away your children?


I am appalled at some of the observations. I have here a letter from some assistant masters of a school. They wrote to me because they saw in the Press that I was going to object to this Bill, and they wish me luck in my campaign. They say: There are many grounds on which we object to the proposal, among them being the wastefulness and futility of attempting to force education on children, some of whom are mentally incapable of profiting by it.


I do not wish to interrupt the hon. Member for more than a moment, but what he has read is fairly important. Will he give us the status, the names, or the authority of those who have written that letter?


I think that the hon. Member can hardly ask me to do that. I will give him my word of honour that this letter is signed by three assistant masters in an elementary school in this country. They do not want their names mentioned of necessity. A child should not be compelled to remain in school for another year unless it is likely to benefit. If you keep such child at school for another 12 months, knowing it is not going to benefit, what are you doing? You are adding an increased cost to the State and wasting 12 months of the life of the child when it might be better and more usefully employed. [An HON. MEMBER: "How do you know?"] My third axiom is that extended education is not of necessity an advantage to the manual worker. [Interruption.] I do not expect hon. Members opposite to agree with me. That is not my object at all, but I hope they will have the courtesy to allow me to state another point of view from that which they hold. I am trying to argue in as rational a manner as I can. I believe in my statements, and I believe that I am right; and surely hon. Members opposite will give me credit for trying to put this point of view on behalf of myself and my constituents and on behalf of industry. Whether hon. Members agree with me or not can be shown in the Division Lobby afterwards. It is not necessary and advisable to interrupt me at every moment and try to throw me off my argument.

Education is not always an advantage to the manual worker. We recognise in certain industries that the occupational success of the worker depends upon his manual skill and dexterity, and in no case is this more important than in certain sections of the cotton industry, in the spinning room, in what they call piecing up. A delay of 12 months in a child going into a mill may mean that the hands of the child are less supple. It takes longer for the child to learn a particular job, and it is possible that the child may never become as expert in that job as it would have done if it had started at the age of 14. [An HON. MEMBER: "You do not know what you are talking about!"] In reply to the hon. Member, I wish to say that I was a factory surgeon for 23 years and that I know these children intimately, and have watched them closely from the time they have passed into the mill. [An HON. MEMBER: "Bosh!"] Are educationists opposite not even prepared to listen to the actual experiences of other men and of medical men? I am astonished that my hon. Friend who is beyond the Bar of the House should have interjected with that very vulgar word when he knows that I am speaking from my actual experience. I really expected more courtesy from him. Would hon. Members on the opposite side who object to manual work and to children going to work at the age of 14 say that no child should learn the piano or violin until 15 years of age?


Is the hon. Member entitled to assume that Members on this side of the House object to manual work?


The hon. Member is entitled to assume that if he likes. I have already pointed out the undesirability of these interruptions and I must assume that interrupters are making their speeches without being called upon.


Hon. Members would not object to a child learning the violin or piano at an age very much below the age of 15, if that child was going to make music a profession. They recognise that up to a certain point the earlier a child starts to learn music the better chance it will have of becoming efficient. If a child is likely to learn music at an earlier age in order, eventually, to earn a living, why is it wrong for a child of 14 to go into industry to use its hands and to learn to play its proper rôle in life. We must recognise that industry must have a certain number of entrants. There is another aspect of education. Education reacts to the ordinary laws of supply and demand as in every other sphere of life, and if you are going to produce an excess of highly educated individuals in this country, a supply larger than the demand, what is going to be the result? You are bound to get a lowering of the standard of life and of the wages of all educated people. We have evidence of that at the present time. Take our clergy. Would any hon. Member say that the clergy of this country are getting an adequate financial return for their scholastic attainments, and for the great amount of time and money they put into their education? The same thing applies to some schoolmasters, and to many graduates. There is only a certain market for highly-educated people, and, although that market is bound to expand, if you overload it you are bound to get lower wages.


If the hon. Member will inquire of the hon. Member who sits beside him, he will find that there is a shortage of clergy.


The hon. Member knows that the clergy of this country receive a shocking salary.


I do.


Let me give a personal experience of a part of the Empire to which I went a few years ago. Being a doctor I was introduced to everybody. Dr. This and Dr. That, until I began to think that the place was absolutely full of doctors, indeed, so full that I asked whether everybody there was a doctor. I was told that there were a large number of doctors, but that they were not all doctors of medicine, many of them were doctors of law. What was the result? I was told that I could be taken into a grocer's shop where I would be served by a doctor of law. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"]


The hon. Member must be allowed to state his case.


After a remark like that from hon. Members the position is simply hopeless. The idea of hon. Members opposite is that our industries shall be filled by graduates from our universities. [HON. MEMBERS "Hear, hear!"] That is not going to make them either better or worse workers, but they certainly are not going to get full advantage of their education. And what about the parents of the child? Very little has been said about them so far in this debate. The early married life of people in the industrial world is a time of great self-denial in order to see that their children may have all the benefits possible, both physical and mental. They deny themselves for their children. Can anyone wonder that when the eldest child reaches the age of 14 the parents look forward to the time when the boy will go into industry and earn a small wage.

Do hon. Members opposite blame the parents? Is it wrong for a child to help his parents and try to pay for those 14 years of self-denial—[Interruption.] Is it not a good thing that the boy should be trained in the virtue of helping others and return to his parents some of the love and affection they have given to him? Is it not a good thing for the boy to feel that he is only carrying out his duty towards his parents at the earliest possible moment? Is it wrong for parents to receive money in this way from their children? Some hon. Members opposite take the view that it is absolutely wrong for parents to take money from a child at the age of 14—[Interruption.] If the hon. Member opposite is so upset, there is no reason why he should remain in the House.

Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

On a point of Order. I should like to point out to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, the many occasions upon which the hon. Member has been interrupted. Surely he should be allowed to state his case without these constant interruptions.


I agree with the hon. and gallant Member that the hon. Member for Royton (Dr. Davies) should not be interrupted in this way. It does not lead to a proper conduct of the debate, and it is a waste of time for hon. Members to continue to interrupt.

9.0 p.m.


I am trying to put my point of view, and I strongly object to being compelled to accept the views and theories of hon. Members opposite. I am not asking them to accept my views. A further point is that the time during which a child in the industrial classes can help its parents is very limited. They get married very soon and take on the responsibility of the marriage state themselves. For only a few years are these children able to repay to their parents some of the time and trouble and expense which they have expended upon them. Therefore, I say that we should encourage every child whose benefit it is to go into industry to go in at the age of 14 and do something to help his parents, at the same time knowing that he is benefiting himself by becoming more proficient.

Let me deal with the effect of this Bill upon industry. Industry is in a very harassed and difficult position. Unemployment is advancing by leaps and bounds. The country is overburdened with taxation. Rates in many cases are very high. Where is all this money to come from? Hon. Members have talked about £2,000,000 or £20,000,000 as if it was the easiest thing in the world to get. The bulk of the money will come from industry, which will have to bear the load of taxation recently imposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Now it is to get another load under this Bill. Have hon. Members forgotten that the cost of education to local authorities has increased from £26,000,000 in 1914 to over £60,000,000 in 1928? Have they forgotten that the cost of a child at school is from £12 to £13 per head per annum? That is a terrific sum of money, and this Bill will put an extra amount of burden upon industry at a time when it can ill afford to bear it.

The right hon. Gentleman has given us some idea of the cost of some of the provisions of the Bill, but what about the cost of new buildings? He made no effort there. I have seen it stated that the estimated cost of new buildings will be £50,000,000. That will have to come from taxes. It is a terrific amount, and I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that there are many districts in Lancashire that cannot meet this extra cost for new buildings and more teachers. You may say they will have to do it. The right hon. Gentleman without a mandate from the country at the last Election is going to coerce the parents of these children to keep them at school for another year, whether they like it or not, and force local authorities to provide the accommodation. He is a veritable Mussolini, with all the faults and few of the virtues of that eminent statesman. You have no right to compel the parents of this country to do a thing which they do not want to do, and I am quite certain that no Member of the party opposite would dare to fight an election upon this issue. I have here a quotation from an article in the "Schoolmaster" written by the hon. Member for Aberavon who is the spokesman of the National Union of Teachers: No party in Parliament is prepared to risk its electoral fortunes on this issue. I am sure the hon. Member knows that no hon. Member would dare to fight an election purely on this issue, and yet the Minister, without a mandate from the country and simply because of his zeal for education, is compelling industry to put up with this terrible load.


May I point out that this question of the raising of the school age was mentioned twice in the Labour manifesto and that it was the only subject which was mentioned more than once.


I recognise that it was mentioned in the Labour programme—in "Labour and the Nation"—but it was not made a vital issue at the Election. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Well, it was not in my constituency.


It will be next time.


Another point which I wish to present is the need of industry for labour. The ex-President of the Board of Education gave statistics and drew attention to the need for juvenile labour and the shortage which will arise from the raising of the school age. The returns of juvenile labour which, I think, contains the last important figures relating to the prospective employment position, show that the shortage of boys and girls under 18, available for employment, is likely to be 316,000 in 1931 and 731,500 in 1934, then gradually diminishing again. Thus industry is to be short of that amount of labour as a result of the raising of the school age, and what will be the result? Is that going to benefit labour or to deal with unemployment? I have here the notes of an article written by Sir Robert Blair, formerly Education Officer to the London County Council, in which, having referred to the fact of the proposed change in the school-leaving age withholding 400,000 boys and girls from industry, he concludes: It seems just as likely that raising the age to 15 may effect the transfer to industry of juveniles not now normally employed, more than the substitution of adults. The right hon. Gentleman probably does not agree with that view, but Sir Robert Blair is a man of experience and authority and he takes a very definite point of view as to what may happen and the raising of the school age may, as he points out, not have the effect desired by hon. Members opposite. I wish to refer to this issue as it affects the Lancashire spinning industry. There is a shortage of juvenile labour in Lancashire. One of the conclusions of the Hadow report was that the last year of the child at school should be spent in more or less technical education or training to fit the child for its position in industry, and junior technical schools were adumbrated. I suggest that these are not at all necessary in this particular connection because we have our mills, where children can be taught their trade—the trade of cotton spinning—while at the same time getting an adequate wage, which is what they are not going to get under the proposal for the 5s. maintenance. That would not keep a child, and if the Measure is to be proceeded with exemption ought to be given as regards any district where a child can learn its trade at the industry itself instead of in a technical school, and where the child will be paid for learning its trade. There should be no objection to a child being allowed to go to that industry in such circumstances.

The Bill is going to penalise industry unnecessarily at a time of very great stress, but the educationists do not take the slightest notice of whether the country can afford it or not. The idea of the Bill is unsound. Mr. Richards, the Board's chief inspector, addressing the National Union of Teachers at Bournemouth said: No European nation had ever attempted what they were going to do, namely, to attempt to give real further education to every child irrespective of ability.


Hear, hear!


My right hon. Friend apparently agrees with that. That is to say, "Educate the child whether it is likely to receive benefit or not." It only shows to what an extent educationists will go. In their zeal for education they surmount all obstacles—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"]—and it does not matter in the slightest whether the child is going to benefit or not.

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for AIR (Mr. Montague)

You do not take your children away from school.


That is the class point of view, which has been put over and over again from the other side. They say to us, "You keep your children at school until they are 18 or 20." [An HON. MEMBER: "Irrespective of ability!"] It is the custom of people who can afford it, to keep their children at school until the age of 18 and then, perhaps, to send them to a university, but I would ask hon. Members opposite to go through the lists of any of our great public schools—Eton, Harrow, Winchester, Marlborough, all of them—and see what percentage of those boys make good. Then compare them with the elementary schools in this country and see what proportion of the boys in the elementary schools make good and you are not going to find a very great difference. [An HON. MEMBER: "What do you deduce from that?"] I deduce from that the fact that educating a boy up to the age of 18 or 19 is not of necessity an advantage to that boy. I know of more than one public schoolboy who would have been just as well off if he had never gone to a public school. Therefore, I ask hon. Members opposite to get rid of the class bias which they have in their minds.

I am not opposed to the education of children who are likely to benefit from the education. I put in that proviso every time. Why should not the working-class child be educated up to the age of 18 if that child will get a benefit, or a commensurate return for the money which is spent upon him? I observe that hon. Members opposite are looking at the clock but I would point out to them that for about two-thirds of my speech I have been occupied in replying to interruptions from the opposite side. I have a few more remarks to make, and the more I am interrupted the longer I will take. I have asked myself over and over again why this Bill has been introduced at the present time. It is contrary to all expert opinion. It is definitely contrary to the Hadow Report recommendations; it is definitely contrary to the education authorities, and I can only decide that it has been introduced because of a perhaps very laudable sense of personal vanity on the part of the Minister. He is President of the Board of Education, and he is anxious that this Measure of his should go upon the Statute Book because he knows that he will not be here next year.

Another reason given for introducing the Bill was that it would reduce the unemployment figure. That is a disgraceful thing to do—to prostitute the sacred cause of education for the purpose of getting rid of an unemployment which you cannot manage in any other way.

The third reason for the Bill, probably, is a certain amount of pressure from the National Union of Teachers and the educationists of this country who are so keen on having the children of this country educated willy-nilly—as if there were some mysterious virtue in education which was going to do the children an immense amount of good. It will do good in certain cases but not necessarily in every case. The true reason is the inferiority complex in the Socialist party. They say, "If your children can go to school until they are 18, why Should not ours? We are every bit as good as you are." I do not dispute that, but cannot hon. Members see that by constantly saying that they are recognising their own inferiority? They say, "Why are you so much better? The reason is that you were longer at school, and we want to be equal with you and to have our children go to school as long as yours do." It is a ridiculous reason, but I am certain that it is at the back of the minds of hon. Members opposite. The Bill is a bad Bill. It was conceived in error, it was prematurely born, and if it lives it will grow up a sickly, anæmic infant of which its parent will become increasingly ashamed. The right hon. Gentleman thinks that by this Bill he is putting the coping stone on to his career as an educationist. I venture to say that, instead of a coping stone, he will find that it will be a tombstone and, if this Bill reaches the Statute Book, I predict that in years to come it will not be referred to as the Education Act of 1931, but by the far more appropriate name of "Trevelyan's Folly."


It is difficult to speak in moderate and temperate terms of the insulting speech of the hon. Member for Royton (Dr. Davies) to which we have listened for the last 30 or 40 minutes. I hope that those who oppose this Bill are proud of speeches like that. If it is indicative of the frame of mind of those who oppose it, there is truth in what the hon. Gentleman says, that a good deal of money has been wasted in education. I have sometimes criticised the Lord Privy Seal's too much biased concentration on the export trade. I shall begin to change my views about that, and to think that it is highly advisable that certain parts of the export trade which have not been concentrated on in the past should be concentrated on now. The hon. Gentleman talks on the one hand of education and on the other hand of learning to play the violin, as if one was in contradistinction to the other, so muddled is he in his mind as to what education is. I agree that we ought not to spend money unnecessarily on children who may not be able to derive any benefit from it, but, speaking as a headmaster of a school for 15 or 16 years, I can say that it has been with profound feelings of emotion that I have seen my lads and lasses leave school year after year to go into industry—boys and girls who would have been as capable as any man and woman in this House if they had been given the opportunity. The overwhelming mass of the elementary school children to-day would be as capable as any man and woman in this House if they were given the opportunity, and it is almost a libel to suggest that, because they are children of the working class, money is wasted on them by extending their education. I hope that those for whom the hon. Gentleman speaks are proud of him and his speech.


I did not say that; I said that I believed in extending education, provided the child can benefit by it. I only object to it when they cannot benefit by it.


If the hon. Gentleman had been allowed to go on, he would have contradicted, as he mostly does, most of the things that he said. I want to speak from a point of view which has not been expressed so far, and I hope that it will not be thought, when I am making some criticisms of the Bill, that I do not wholly support the extension of education to the working classes. I speak with knowledge, for I left school when I was 14, and, after working before a furnace during the day, I sat up until 2 o'clock in the night studying, and got up at 5 o'clock in the morning in order to go to work. I did that for several years, and I who knew the need of education and desired it, know what a great scandal it is to prevent boys and girls receiving that full physical, mental and spiritual development to which they have a divine right. Whatever I say in regard to the Bill, it must be understood that I am in entire agreement with the general principle.


Why compulsion?


I want to deal only with the maintenance allowances. I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on being the Minister to introduce this Bill, and on the spirit and able way in which he introduced it. He suggested that maintenance allowances are secondary, but we cannot in raising the school age from 14 to 15 put the one proposal first and the other second; the two go abreast. If the age has to be raised at all, it must be done by maintenance allowances, and there can be no secondary position for one or the other of the proposals. The right hon. Gentleman said that he had not enough money to do what he would have liked, but I will show shortly whether it was necessary to have the amount of money that he assumed that he would need. There are two main motives for this Bill, first education, and second, as a corollary, its help towards employment.


That is the wrong way round.


The hon. Member has complained of interruptions, but he is an authority on interrupting. The right hon. Gentleman said the Bill would prevent boys and girls from flooding the labour market. If the State in doing this will derive that benefit from it, it ought obviously to consider seriously whether in doing it, it will seriously penalise some of the children. Have hon. Members realised the corollary to the raising of the school age? If a boy leaves school at 14, he may start at 6s., 7s. or 8s. a week. When he leaves school at 15, after having received 5s. as maintenance allowance, is he going to get at 15 the wage which he would have got at 14 if he had left then? If he is to receive a larger wage, by what machinery and method will it be insisted on that there shall not be a general scaling down of wages because of this? The moral is to increase the maintenance allowances.

I want to analyse some of the proposals, and I should like the attention of the House, because I shall have to deal with some of the figures. The Minister said that in the first two years, roughly, 400,000 children would be retained at school. I want to point out that next year will not be a full year, and in 1931 there will be only 157,000 children retained at school, or less than half the 400,000. Therefore, the cost of the maintenance allowances will be less than half the figure the Minister gave. He stated that the allowances would cost £3,000,000 with the means test. Next year, therefore, it will cost less than half that sum. When he was asked how much it would take to abolish the means test altogether, he said it would cost £2,000,000. Next year, therefore, it would take half that sum, or £1,000,000, so that if the Minister cared next year to establish the maintenance allowances—I will deal with the question of whether he ought to do so or not later—and if all the children were to be at school next year, it would be less than £2,500,000. It will not do to say that he has not got enough money for this revolutionary step forward, seeing that it would be only £2,500,000 for the first year.

I want to emphasise this point. Ought the maintenance allowance to be given next year without a means test at all? I have no hesitation whatever in saying that I am profoundly disturbed about this, because the Minister has decided, presumably, to accept the suggestions in the White Paper and to adopt the means test. That means, as a matter of fact, that the principles of the Poor Law are going to be applied to education. Can anyone doubt that? I will read the summary of the conclusions of the Committee as reported in the White Paper. They say: Parents desiring maintenance allowances for their children should be desired to apply for them. Who will apply first, and who will apply last of all? The people who are the least deserving will, as a rule, apply first, and those who are most deserving will be the last to apply, if they do in these circumstances. But will they apply? Then as to the means test, it is said: Adequate scrutiny and verification of the means of applicants are essential. An adequate scrutiny and verification! Those words conjure up a picture of what is likely to happen. The rural areas will understand it. The type of man that, as a rule, dominates the village will, no doubt, fill up the forms for these parents, and will expect, when an election or something of a similar type comes along, a reward for what he has done for them. It will introduce into the schools what is, in effect, a class distinction, by a definition of what are working-class people—for all people whose children attend elementary schools are by the definition "working-class" people. They are not working-class people if they send them to a place, apparently, such as that which the hon. Member for Royton attended. At any rate, it is fundamentally unsound, because it is introducing into education, and into the schools of all places, a class distinction. The late Mr. John Wheatley once made an ironical reference, on the subject of the Housing and Slum Clearance Bill, to the new aristocracy of the slums—those who obtained the new benefits would, in later years, walk down the streets and be the envy of others, because they were so well-to-do. We shall have a similar type of thing here. Those who are on the right side of the line are to get the maintenance allowance, and will be the new aristocracy and the people to be envied.

Someone has said, "Yes, but the children will never know it." Will they not? Go to the streets in which the mothers live. Wherever there is a mother who is not getting it, and living in the midst of those who are, you can imagine what a source of anger, discontent and irritation that will be for every one of the 52 weeks of the year. When the mother knows it, the children will know it and will be carried to the schools. I hope that before this Bill becomes an Act steps will be taken to remove entirely the whole of the means test. There is not a family, broadly speaking, whose children attend an elementary school, which to-day is in a position that demands an adequate scrutiny and verification. I hope that when we put down certain Amendments, as we shall be compelled to do, to get it removed, the Minister will meet us, particularly in view of the fact that next year—I hope that the Minister will understand that I mean next year, and am not referring to the following year—it will cost only £2,500,000 altogether on the figures which he himself has given.

Turning to the Amendment, the Minister says he has accepted the figure recommended in the White Paper, namely, 5s. Here we have the usual difficulty as to the interpretation of a word. Our view was that we should have adequate maintenance allowances. It is a very singular thing that if punishment has to be meted out, and it has to be adequate punishment, there is never any doubt at all as to what is an adequate punishment, but if any rewards are to be meted out, there is infinite trouble as to what is an adequate amount. I have no hesitation in saying that, in my opinion, 5s. is not enough for a revolutionary advance in education like this. I am so keen on education for our people, that I do not want reaction against education because the means test and the paucity of the amount offered will, in themselves, tend to make people irritated against this great measure of education. I want to get their sympathy, and have them with us. Is the amount adequate? If that question is difficult, I would ask is it liberal? I do not think that anyone here would argue that it is liberal. Is it most liberal? I am perfectly certain no one will say it is most liberal. Let me read out what the Minister himself has written on the subject of a maintenance allowance: This raising of the school age cannot be effective in a nation impoverished by the present economic system without providing most liberal maintenance grants to parents whose position has hitherto compelled them to send their children into industry. I want to ask the Minister if this is his definition, and if 5s. is his idea of a most liberal maintanence allowance? It certainly is not mine, and I hope that before that part also is authorised we shall get the amount increased.

I will finish by saying this. To-day our working class people are seriously haunted by the fear of want. There is no man or woman working who is secure in his or her job. There is no man or woman of the working class to-day who does not count as valuable every shilling that goes into the house, and I want to ensure that these people are not to be penalised so that the State may, if I may express it so, make a net profit on the total transaction as between the saving on unemployment benefit and the cost of this Bill. When the Committee stage comes, I hope that the Minister will do his best to meet us, because there is a considerable body of opinion here for whom I am speaking. I am in entire agreement with the whole spirit of the Bill. I am in entire agreement with our children getting infinitely better opportunities in the future than they have had in the past, but I hope that when this great step forward is being taken—for which I give the Minister full credit—he will not mar it by resorting to what are nothing else than the methods of Bumbledom.


I do not propose to examine this Bill from the economic aspect but solely from the educational aspect, and my quarrel with the Bill is on an entirely different ground from those which have hitherto been mentioned tonight. From the educational aspect I say that the Bill is particularly inopportune at this moment for two reasons. The first, a financial reason is that the population returns are such that the number of children coming forward requiring increased school buildings in the future is a diminishing not a rising figure. I have that statement on the authority of the Chairman of the Education Committee of the London County Council. The buildings may be finished but they may be empty when they are finished. That is point number one. The second point is that the teachers are not forthcoming, and the only way in which a supply of new teachers can be obtained is to take them from the ranks of unqualified persons. I speak of what I know, because the training colleges in London were informed long in advance of the requirements which would have to be met, and they have done their best to meet them, but the material is exceedingly inadequate.

Let me give an illustration from one branch of my own profession. The Dental Board found themselves confronted with what seemed to be a scarcity of dentists, and they put upon the register a very large number of imperfectly qualified persons. That action has been a millstone round the necks of the Dental Board ever since. That is what I fear in the case of the teachers. What we want is not a perpetuation, and still less an extension, of what I regard as an entirely mischievous system of teaching; we want a radical change. Earlier in the debate the Member for the Scottish Universities (Mr. Buchan) said that the important year for the child in the matter of teaching was the finishing year, the year from 14 to 15. I think his psychology is a little antiquated. Modern psychology places the important period very much earlier. The first decade of life is probably the most important for the child. When the State compels every boy and girl to attend school I submit that it ought to provide the very best education possible in the schools, but what is the character of the teaching given in the elementary and secondary schools? Is it of such a nature that all classes of the community would like to attend those schools? The State schools in America are of such a quality that all classes of the community are very willing that their children should attend them. One of my own friends, the head of a great publishing house, attended one of those State schools in America. They are very much better than our schools here and the education is very much superior.




I cannot think the former President of the Board of Education would wish to send his children to our State schools, until those State schools can compete in quality, as I hope they will eventually, with the best public schools. That is what we ought to aim at. Let me give the House a few illustrations of the position of teachers. The elementary school teacher begins at a salary of £160 a year, that is, two-thirds of the wages that are paid to the street cleaners in the district in which I live. The commencing salary at secondary schools is £276. In the elementary schools only about 3 per cent. of the teachers have had university training or education. In the secondary schools the percentage is higher—about 82 per cent.—but the highest prize which the secondary school teacher can hope to get is £500 a year. That is a system which I think this Bill will perpetuate, but which I wish to see altered. The size of classes, also, is one of the most important faults of our present system, and it will not be diminished by this Bill. The average of students per class in the elementary schools is from 40 to 50. There are 85 schools in London with classes of more than 60 pupils. Such large classes are perfectly useless for teaching; it is a system of make-believe which I want to destroy.

Again, I contend that it is unscientific to apply the same method to all children at the age of 14. In most cases the career of the child is predictable at 14, if its capacities are not. There are large sections of children who will not benefit by staying at school beyond that year, and still more so because the scheme of things has not been sufficiently well thought out to make that last year at school a profitable one. What is to be done in the extra year? If there were some special provision to teach the child what he was going to do in after life, there would be much less objection to his staying on, but we cannot get that vocational teaching because it is too expensive. In most occupations of importance in life we cannot get experts for teaching at salaries of £300 to £400 a year. That is particularly the case in subjects such as science, where the competition of commerce is so great at the present time. You cannot hope to get anyone decently qualified to teach science in schools at the salary that is going to be offered to them. The report of the Board of Education states that 10 per cent. of pupils go on beyond the school age now, and that is made possible by the efforts of the parents. Surely, that is a better way of achieving what we want to achieve, namely, the selection of those who are fit to profit by further education.

I would suggest that a much better way of husbanding our resources, both in money and in mental capacity, is to encourage the boy or girl who have good promise to carry on that promise by further education from which they can profit. Take, for example, the secondary school pupils who pass to the universities. At the present time the number of secondary pupils who go to universities is something under 5 per cent. That is a particularly unhappy state of affairs, because there has never been a time when more pupils wish to obtain university education than to-day. There are something like 45,000 university students in Great Britain. That number could be very properly increased if a wider system of scholarships and bursaries were instituted, to make the passage from school to university more frequent and more remunerative to the State, because the pupils would be likely to benefit by that higher education. It is from the point of view of the urgent necessity at the present time of making the best of our materials in money and in children that I oppose this Bill.


Many reasons have been given, from different parts of the House, why hon. Members frankly dislike one or other aspect of this Bill. Although the right hon. Gentleman, in introducing the Bill, made a speech in a very conciliatory manner, supported by zealous arguments, I do not think that he can congratulate himself on the reception given to it. It is perfectly clear that we are threatened with very considerable difficulties when we come to the Committee stage of the Bill. Among the many reasons why one or other Clause of this Bill has been objected to, the outstanding reason is the fact that by merely passing an Act to raise the school age, you are not in fact advancing education, because you have not made and are not making the necessary provision for school places or teachers for the time when the Act is to come into operation. You are crowing the already crowded schools and the already crowded classes with boys and girls who for a long time, you admit, will be marking time, educationally.

Is it not a fact that we are led away nowadays in so many political things by headlines and catch lines, and it would seem that by the mere headline "Raising the school age" you imagine that you are securing educational progress. My belief is that by passing this Bill, so far from securing educational progress, you are going to undo some of the good work that has been done in the last two or three years in the direction of the radical and very necessary reorganisation of our elementary and secondary school system. Before you bring in the 400,000 children or, rather, keep them, on the top of the existing children in the schools, it is necessary that you should have carried your reorganisation of education a good deal further. To attempt to keep children from 5 to 14 years of age in the same school, and in many cases in the same classroom, is not education, or anything like it. If you keep in still older children, you are simply making it impossible for the new developments in the technique of real juvenile education to take place.

I have my own opinions on this subject, and I think that the concentration on reducing the size of the higher classes which has been going on—I am not sure that that has not begun at the wrong end—and the good that has been done in reducing the classes in the higher standards will be undone by this Bill, because you have not the teachers to provide for the classes, particularly in the higher grades. You are going to undo the good which, admittedly, has been done in the reducing of the size of the higher classes. The vital thing nowadays, and we have proved it by experiment and technique in educational progress—real educational progress and not these paper statistics—is in the early standards. The advance in education in dealing with the smaller children has been immense, and the whole secret of that has been the smaller classes, because the younger the child the more personal attention it needs, whereas when the child gets older it can do more for itself. The lower and the smaller class is the right direction in education, and this Bill is going to upset that, particularly in every rural district.

Where is this Bill most unpopular? In the rural districts. Why? Not because they do not like education. They love education, if you would give them the education that they can admire and that they can believe is education. It is because we have been urbanising and cramming merely clerical, bookish, nineteenth century dogmatic education into the heads of the rural people of this country, that the reaction has come, and it is going to increase under this Bill. Give them the modern stuff in rural schools. Give them teachers who are sympathetic to rural surroundings and they will take the education and you will not have the opposition that you are having to-day.


Why did you not tell that to the late President?


I have been working on this matter for years. I have been endeavouring to get teachers and others sympathetic to some of these modern ideas. I have been chairman of education committees and have gone round doing propaganda work. I am repeating those views now as my own personal opinions in support of my contention that in this Bill you are putting the cart before the horse, and that, instead of proceeding as we have been proceeding with the reorganisation and modernisation of our educational system, you are merely cramming in at the top of an existing sealed pattern, at a most inappropriate moment when you have this bulge in the population, owing to the sudden rise of the birth-rate immediately after the War, a system which is going to paralyse the progressive administrative activities of the local education authorities. The hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Mr. Harris) accused the local education authorities of wilful obstruction. I believe that is a most unfair allegation. He quoted the London County Council as having obstructed the preparation of the Bill. I have before me the report of their education committee, dated 27th May. Why are they opposing the Bill? They say: The raising of the school-leaving age will, of course, considerably increase the number of senior (that is, 11 plus children), with the result that in spite of a continuous fall in the roll of junior (under 11) children from the present year onwards, the total roll will rise about 20,000 above the figure of April, 1929. This 'bulge' in the roll will remain for about three years. The raising of the school age in 1931 at the commencement of the 'bulge' period will undoubtedly cause difficulty in regard to the provision of accommodation. Our preliminary estimate of the necessary additional accommodation showed that 5,000 to 10,000 additional school places would be necessary, but the mere provision of these places will not solve the accommodation problem. The heavy increase in the number of senior children, coupled with the decline in the number of junior children will necessitate considerable rearrangement of the existing school accommodation. After the passing of the bulge period, such rearrangement will require to be considered anew. Further, it will be necessary to give prolonged consideration to the adequate equipment of the schools to meet the educational needs of the new age group, both with regard to reorganisation and syllabus and teaching methods. If such an important educational development is initiated under unsatisfactory conditions, we think that the public, and especially the parents of the children compelled to remain at school, will be prejudiced against the proposal. Our conclusion is, therefore, that fixing the appointed day before the period of the 'bulge' will undoubtedly result either in considerable expenditure not ultimately necessary or in serious handicap to effective instruction owing to overcrowding. We stated that approximately 650 additional teachers will be required during 1931–32. That is a serious argument.


The London County Council could quite easily meet its shortage of teachers.


Is that going to solve the problem of getting the teachers who are to deal with a new age group, with a new syllabus, and with a new curriculum of a higher standard? This Bill requires between 8,500 and 10,000 new teachers. The main case against the Bill is that, in order to satisfy an Election pledge, and I admit it was an Election pledge, before you have prepared your administrative arrangements, you are forcing it upon the country and upon local education authorities, and forcing them in a manner which so far from advancing the progress of education is going to put the clock back.

10.0 p.m.

It is obvious that the reorganisation of elementary schools which has been proceeding up and down the country during the last few years must be allowed to proceed further before you can effectively introduce children of the higher age group into these elementary schools. Parents will not have to be bribed with special maintenance grants if they think that they are going to get value for their children from the education. They do not think to-day, particularly of the higher classes in many parts of this country and especially in the rural areas, that they are getting value from the public expenditure or from the time of their children. I went into one of these schools recently, and saw written on a blackboard, for the whole school to see, "Electricity is a fluid." It is not. I asked what the lesson was, and I was told that for the lower standard it was writing, for the middle standard sketching, and for the top standard natural science.

I know that in any education debate the last thing you should mention is saving money on education. It must be saved on other Departments. The hon. Member for Walsall (Mr. McShane) was going to move an Amendment for higher maintenance allowances and no means limit, and of course there he was following the election pledge, because in "Labour and the Nation" it was stated that there would be no means limit and that the maintenance allowances would be found wholly out of taxes. In your Bill you go back on that, and put 40 per cent. on the rates. It is not the millions you have persuaded the Chancellor of the Exchequer to give for the carrying out of this Bill, it is the millions you are putting on the rates that are going to tell in the country.

Those of us who do care for educational progress are very shy of putting further burdens on the education rates in many of these over-burdened areas. I am certain that even had the right hon. Gentleman gone to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and said, "in order to show that I am worthy of being President of the Board of Education, I must have so many more millions of money to spend on education," he could have spent those millions much better by any other means than those proposed in this Bill. Take the speech of the hon. Member for Walsall. There are still many cases of children who ought to go to the secondary schools and on from the secondary schools. It is far more worth while spending money on that than by crowding into your elementary schools children to mark time for another year because it is part of a thoroughly unscientific unemployment relief process. I do not believe that this is an Education Bill. It is not really thought out by modern scientific educationists. It is the result of the hopeless tie-up of the Labour party in regard to unemployment, and the interests of true educational progress have been side-tracked in order to give the illusion of yet one more method of tinkering with the problem of unemployment relief and employment in industry generally.

On this question of maintenance, even more remarkable than the promise of the hon. Member for Walsall to move, if he is in order, in Committee for the abolition of all means tests, for the full carrying out of the "Labour and the Nation" programme, which is not in this Bill, was his interruption. He said, "This is only a beginning, and we want maintenance allowances, not from 14 to 15, but from 13 to 14, and from 12 to 13"; but once this principle in this form is granted, where can you stop, short of adopting the full Socialist theory that parents have no responsibility for their children, and that the children are virtually the property of the State—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"]—which is the logical conclusion, cheered by some hon. Members opposite? That, I believe, is the most unpopular and resented thing throughout the length and breadth of this country.

It may be that a few Socialists in this House are convinced that they are right in that view, but that is not the type of view that you find in the ordinary cottage and small house, and I have visited them again and again. They loathe the idea of the State taking over the management of their children. There is still a strong family feeling, and thank Heaven there is. It is only a very small percentage of families who do not want a child to get a chance in life to progress, and who do not make sacrifices for them. There are reactionary parents, but the vast bulk do not take that view, and what is the whole tendency of this type of legislation, of this view that if you raise the school age you cannot do it without giving a bribe to selected parents, to parents selected by the local education authority in accordance with ever varying regulations of the Board of Education? The hon. Member for Walsall said that the first people to get these maintenance allowances would be the undeserving, who knew the ropes, and that the people who were really deserving and who had pride would not get them. He is perfectly right. That is one of the things which condemns this kind of legislation.

There are many reasons why this is a most unfortunate Bill. It is unfortunate that the opportunity has not been taken to make better use of any money available for improving the quality, and above all the diversified character, of our education, because that is one of the main troubles to-day—the lack of flexibility in our system, the lack of variety, particularly after the age of 11. The whole tendency of this Bill will be to nip in the bud those experiments that have just been started, of the junior technical schools and all those feelings towards a greater variety of higher education. I know that one is still regarded as the enemy of education if one ventures to suggest that anything is needed beyond the old training college method, the old bookish education, the old 19th century tradition. We got on very well with it up to a point, but in the post-War world that method, the merely logical raising of the school age in the existing hierarchy of ordinary public elementary schools, is utterly unwarranted, utterly unscientific, and fails to realise the urgent needs of the country to-day.

One word about the temporary religious settlement. I hope that that settlement can become permanent, because until it is clearly shown to be permanent there will be the kind of speech that we had from the hon. Member for the University of Wales (Mr. E. Evans). I cannot say how much I regretted that speech. It was the one speech in this debate that struck the old quarrelling note, the one speech that brought up again the old fear of "Rome on the rates," and all that kind of nonsense. We want to get away from that, and not temporarily but permanently. I have a very strong feeling that the Roman Catholics in particular, and the two denominational bodies which are obviously of a special character, namely, the Roman Catholics and the Jews, for whom the teaching in public elementary schools and the ordinary sort of religious teaching in the ordinary Church of England schools are out of the question, require special treatment; and if the right hon. Gentleman, with good will, could do something more than he has done for those two, I do not believe it would be resented by Anglicans or even by Nonconformists, except the hon. Member for the University of Wales.

After all, with them it is not so much a matter of the religious instruction of one hour in the morning. The Roman Catholics may disagree with it. I disagree with it most profoundly, but if we believe in religious equality and religious tolerance, they are a great community here, and their point of view, their philosophy of life, ought to be recognised, and recognised frankly, by the State. I see no reason why attempts should not be made in Committee to implement many of the pledges given by hon. Members on the other side of the House, and by hon. Members on this side also, to see if we cannot remove the Roman Catholic community's fears as to what may be their treatment by particular local education authorities, particularly if that spirit that we heard so unfortunately this afternoon comes up again. That is all that I would say on that aspect of the Bill.

A great many things are left out of these Clauses. I think it is essential—and I agree with some of the Liberal speakers in this—that there should be far more in this Bill about these maintenance allowances, if the principle is once conceded. I shall vote against the principle, but if the principle is carried, it is vital that Parliament, which is going to pay three-fifths of the maintenance allowances, should make it perfectly clear in this Bill what exactly is to be the scope and the limit of those maintenance allowances. I think that is absolutely vital. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to support any Bill which I thought would really make for educational advancement and progress in this country, but I am perfectly certain that by this Measure the Government are taking a step which is administratively impractical, and which is going to plunge into chaos the educational organisation of this country and the whole efforts of the last few years towards a better rationalising of the educational system. This is being done at a time of great inconvenience, and it will cause a reaction against education on the part of those who have been anxiously waiting for a more scientific development of education, and who believe that the large sum of money which will be involved under this Bill might have been very much better expended in other educational directions.


The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stafford (Mr. Ormsby-Gore), as a Member of the last Administration, was very much preoccupied with Colonial affairs, and that probably accounts for the fact that he seems to have heard very little of the work of his right hon. Friend the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) at the Board of Education. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stafford has spoken as if very little had been happening in educational organisation in the lifetime of his right hon. Friend. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that in point of fact he does his right hon. Friend the Member for Hastings less than justice in making a reflection of that kind upon the present position of educational work in the schools of this country. I am sure that, the President of the Board of Education is very desirous at this time of acknowledging very heartily and with great gratitude the wonderful educational spirit which has been disclosed by all those who have participated in this debate. Although it is true that there has been some measure of opposition it has been offered more in sorrow than in anger, and certainly, in regard to some parts of the Bill it has been offered in a spirit which is entirely acceptable to those who sit on the Treasury Bench.

Might I remind the House of the interesting fact that, if you review the history of education in this country for the last 130 years or so, you will find that, at the beginning of every generation or thereabouts, this country has attempted something in the nature of educational reorganisation. Round about the year 1830, this nation made its first grant from public funds towards the schools of the country. Everyone is acquainted with the Measure of 1870. Passing on for another 30 years or so, we come to the Act of 1902—the Balfour Act. Immediately after the War, we had the great Fisher Act; and now we are discussing a new Bill which I venture to think will be regarded in the coming years as no small contribution to the task of educational reorganisation in our country. Three main ideas are dealt with in the Bill, namely, the raising of the school age, the question of maintenance allowances, and, lastly, reorganisation and the denominational schools. If the House will allow me, I will make reference to the criticisms of a more general character that have been advanced against the Bill as I discuss these items seriatim.

The Bill can be defended, and has been defended, on two main grounds. It can be defended on economic grounds, and it can be defended on educational grounds. I do not feel called upon at this juncture to enter in detail into the economic arguments which can be adduced in support of the Bill, but I think it is beyond disputation that to retain at school something like 400,000 children who have arrived at the age of 14, and thus to keep them out of the labour market, is bound to have an effect, whether it be great or small, upon our grave economic issues. I care not what figure may be acceptable to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite; whether it be 50,000, or 100,000 or 150,000 who may be favourably affected in respect of unemployment by the retention of 400,000 children at school for an extra year, it is beyond dispute that this Bill, by retaining 400,000 children or thereabouts at school for an extra 12 months, is bound to have an effect upon the economic condition of our country.

I would direct the attention of the House to another element in this matter. There is not a social reformer or social worker in any town or city who would deny that, among the children who have left school, there is quite a large number who are unable to enter into permanent occupations, but who enter what are called blind-alley occupations, and the deleterious effect upon the moral character which these blind-alley occupations have is a subject of constant comment on the part of social investigators. I submit to the House that, whatever merits or demerits may be attached to this Bill on other grounds—and I will discuss those in a moment—it is much more worth while to enable these children to retain their acquaintance with books than that they should commence a professional acquaintance with "bookies."

I should like to advance an argument which I have not heard advanced to-night concerning this matter. I think it was the ex-Minister of Health who not so long ago made this interesting point, that in the course of the last half century or so, by dint of certain ameliorative legislation of various types, we have added to the average length of life by about 12 years. That has been done, in effect, by the application of science to our various sanitation laws and so on. Consequential upon this increased longevity, we have repercussions upon the labour market. While we have increased longevity in that way, we have not increased in that half century the average life of the school child at school by more than about four years. It seems to me that it is a material point to make that if, by dint of this new scientific development, and its effect upon our social life, we are adding to the handicap of children within the realm of industry, we ought to equip them with at least one extra year at school in order to meet that additional handicap.

The Noble Lord has advanced against the Bill, on behalf of himself and hon. Members opposite, a very lengthy argument on the question of the raising of the school age. However great may be the economic advantage to the nation of raising the school age, and its effect upon unemployment in particular, I should feel that the real and final justification for the raising of the school age as an educational measure must be an educational justification. I am fortified in my submission to the House that this is a good educational measure by inviting the right hon. Gentleman opposite to read once again the quotation which was commenced by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Scottish Universities (Mr. Buchan), whose speech we all so much enjoyed. It is from the Hadow Report: In Education, as in industry, there is a law of increasing as well as of diminishing returns. Too often it is the sad experience of the teacher to lose his pupils at the very moment when his earlier efforts are about to bear fruit and when powers which have seemed for long to lie dormant are on the eve of bursting into life. The addition even of a few months to the present school life may not seldom enable him to kindle into flame the spark which, but for them, would have been extinguished.… If their school life lasts till 15, they will enter industry straight from school with intellects more sharpened and characters more fortified and their physique more fit to bear the burden of the work which life will lay upon them. That is not the judgment of any party committee. It is not even taken from "Labour and the Nation." It is a quotation from a committee which was set up by the Board of Education itself, and which was asked to inquire specifically into the question of education and the adolescent. That is their judgment. What is the reply of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) on behalf of his party? It is not a reasoned Amendment which he put forward. It is a plain, simple, blunt negative. The Noble Lord was kind enough to tell us to-night in his speech—and we were very much obliged to him for his condescension in telling us—that we have not yet understood the problem. We have not grasped it. We have not realised that there is a new industrial era. We have not heard that there is a big change coming. Therefore, the Noble Lord, having been to America to discover it, has come back to inform us. The Noble Lord has been giving the country the benefit of his opinions upon this point, and he referred to it to-night. May I say, in passing, that I heartily and entirely agree with the reflections which the Noble Lord makes in regard to some aspects of American educational organisation. In a speech at Harrogate the week before last, the Noble Lord used these words. I quote from the Press report: Lord Eustace spoke of the large proportion of American children between 15 and 18"— Note the ages— who were receiving instruction. The percentage rose from 28 in 1918 to 53 in 1926, and was now probably 66"— and then says the Noble Lord: Whether we liked it or not, the reorganisation of industry was calling for recruits who had received an extended education. How does the Noble Lord propose to extend education for English children? He admired it in America, but in England how? Clearly, he is not prepared to accept the method of this Bill. What is the alternative? We say, "Let us carry a law by which all children will be retained at school for an extra year." That, says the Noble Lord, is the wrong method. What is the right method? Is it voluntaryism? Very well, let us see what voluntaryism has done. We have had some experience of voluntaryism and the Noble Lord knows about it. There are five local authorities in this country who have availed themselves of the power to implement a by-law and under that by-law they retain within the confines of their territory children between 14 and 15. That is the voluntary method in operation, but the Noble Lord will not deny, I am sure, that in regard to four of them—Plymouth, Cornwall, East Suffolk and Caernarvonshire—the number of children who remain at school, who do not ask for exemption, is not much more than 16 per cent. In other words, 84 per cent. in these areas asked for exemption.

It is quite understandable why that voluntary system breaks down. Local option in this matter breaks down for this reason; the children in one area are retained at school until 15, while the children in the contiguous area are allowed to leave school. The result is that the parents in the area where the by-law applies are in constant fear lest the children in the area where the by-law does not apply will come over the border and take the jobs of those children who are compulsorily retained at school. The only way, if you are raising the school age at all, is to make it universal; and that is what the Bill proposes.

The Noble Lord may have another suggestion to make, and perhaps I know what is in his mind. Here I entirely agree with him. He is constantly emphasising, and quite rightly, that the supreme need of this country in education at this moment is more sustained attention to technical education. He is working extremely hard upon this point on the platform, but I am sure he will not overlook this fact, that in our technical schools at the moment one year, if not two, of the first years is spent largely in recapitulation in order to bring the children who go from the elementary school into a condition in which they can make the best use of the education in the technical school. I submit to the Noble Lord that our method is the logical way of making technical education most helpful and fruitful. You will be able to have a slightly lower age in these institutions and, if you raise the age in the elementary schools there will be a constant progression from the elementary schools to the technical schools.

There is another controversy between the Noble Lord and ourselves. Are we to understand that the position of the Opposition is that we are never to raise the school age? Surely, they must agree that this country cannot go on facing the challenging economic industrial and social problems of the future with the same sort of educational equipment for our children as we have had in the past. If it is fair by various expedients to endow children who pass through the secondary schools with the ability to meet these various problems, it is equally fair to equip the children of the elementary schools by giving them other educational opportunities.


There are the secondary schools.


That does not meet my argument at all. I suggest that sooner or later we shall be compelled to raise the school age and, therefore, it is better it should be done in one operation rather than in two—in reorganising now and then later on disturbing local authorities by raising the school age. I put this further point to the Noble Lord, and I hope I am arguing quite fairly. If you raise the school age now, with your reorganisation, you give to all children the chance of a four years post-primary course. If you only reorganise now, the most they can get is a three years' post-primary course with a gap, after that course has been completed, before they pass into some form of further education. I think I have covered some of the points which the Noble Lord advanced on the general principle. He made a great fuss about the question of "marking time." I was very much interested in that problem because I remembered that the Noble Lord is the person—and he is entitled to full credit for it—who has been responsible in the last few years for developing reorganisation schemes.

When the Hadow Report was presented, he was asked what he proposed to do. He said that the best thing to do was to go ahead with reorganisation, and he has done supreme work, superb work, in that direction. But how can he talk about "marking time" when he knows full well that throughout the country local education authorities are, in some cases, proceeding with and in other cases putting forward programmes of educational reorganisation? No child over 11 years need "mark time." Indeed, every educationist knows that the chances of a child in the future having to "mark time" are reduced to a minimum.

I turn to another argument advanced by the Noble Lord—and I give some attention to him because other have followed his example. Both he and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stafford challenged us as to whether all the education authorities were keeping pace with the demand for reorganisation. They asked, "What about Manchester?" Does the Noble Lord's anxiety for information persist?


Hear, hear!


Good! I asked that question because his colleague in the late Ministry, the Noble Lady the Member for Perth and Kinross (Duchess of Atholl), has used the same statement. She said that the Manchester education authority had told the Board of Education that it was possible, by the end of 1933, to raise the school-leaving age in only half the schools in their area, and she asked, if they could only hope to reorganise half the schools in Manchester by 1933, how could the rest of the country be expected to be ready for such a change? I quote for the Noble Lord what the chairman of the education committee of Manchester said about that very statement: As a matter of fact, there is an excess of school places which would more than accommodate the extra children, and the Manchester authorities would welcome the raising of the school age immediately.… No one knows better than the Duchess of Atholl the complications and difficulties arising from the dual system, the incubus of block-listed schools, the bulge in the school population, the diverse problems involved in re-organisation. But none of these factors becomes easier of solution by delay. On the contrary, every single one of them is aggravated by procrastination and delay. Whenever and whatever the day fixed for raising the school age, local authorities will be found more or less ready, and the surest way to speed up adequate provision is to pass the School Age Bill.


I ask the hon. Gentleman to answer the question which I put to him. The President of the Board of Education produced a list of 146 authorities who would be reorganised by April, 1931, and I asked if Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham, Liverpool or London were on that list.


I have not quite finished yet. In the meantime the policy of the Manchester Education Authority is clearly set out in its 118-page Programme of Educational Development, approved in principle by the city council and the Board of Education. In that programme there is no plea for delay, no word of doubt about raising the age, but only a demand that Manchester shall be allowed to get on with the job of providing all types of educational facility up to 15 years of age and beyond.


The hon. Gentleman has not answered the question. Is Manchester on that list? [Interruption.]


I answer the Noble Lord categorically that the Manchester Education Authority are ready to get ahead with their job. I pass now to another point which hon. Gentlemen opposite and on this side have raised, namely, the question of maintenance grants. We shall be able to resume our argument on the point raised by the Noble Lord at a later stage. Two schools of thought have been clearly expressed in this debate on the question of the maintenance grants. There is the group of opinion which says that no maintenance grant should be allowed whatever; that opinion is expressed on the other side of the House. On the other hand, there is the school of thought, represented by my hon. Friends on this side, which says that maintenance grants must be given without any means test whatever. I would like to say a word in reply to those who are arguing solely against maintenance grants. The Hadow Committee examined this question, and I will quote their report, because the Committee were an entirely non-party body. They said: The question of the scale upon which such allowances should be given on any general plan to pupils in modern schools and senior classes, and of the terms upon which they should be awarded, is not one upon which we feel qualified to make definite recommendations, but public opinion would, we believe, regard favourably some extension of expenditure in those cases where serious hardship would be involved if no financial assistance were forthcoming. That is the judgment of a Committee which was entirely non-partisan, and it is their judgment that public opinion would support the granting of maintenance allowances, at any rate, in certain cases. To my hon. Friends on this side I would like to say that if it were merely a question of finding money, let us say, for one item of Government policy, then probably the difficulties would not be so apparent, but I would invite those who are supporting the proposition that there should be no means test to bear in mind that in regard to education itself, through the medium of the Board of Education, very substantial grants have been given in more than one direction by the present Government. For instance, we have increased by 50 per cent. the number of State grants for State scholarships. That costs money. We have offered local authorities to raise the grants in respect of building operations from 30 to 50 per cent. That, again, costs money. We have encouraged in every direction educational advance and progress. The difficulty, I assure my hon. Friends, in this matter is not a question of will, but merely of finance.

I do ask my hon. Friends to bear in mind that they must not exaggerate the principle involved in a means test, however much they may object to it. There are innumerable forms of educational activity at this moment in respect of which a means test is universally applied. You find it in regard to secondary school children, medical services, spectacles. The principle of maintenance grants has already been in operation in regard to innumerable services, even within the aegis of the Board of Education itself. That means that the local education authorities have a vast experience in this matter. I would invite my hon. Friends behind me to note this fact. They are very much concerned, as I am, with the incidence of this business upon necessitous areas. There is not a Member of this House who is more rightly concerned about the future of these areas than those of us who come from South Wales, and yet on this Committee, which inquired into this matter, there were at least three members representing South Wales areas. My hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr. Jenkins) who has had vast experience of local administration in South Wales, signed this report. However much my hon. Friends may object to the means test, and I can understand their point of view, they should remember that there is in this unanimous proposal from these authorities a recognition of the principle that the maintenance grant shall be paid for 52 weeks in the year—not merely for the school weeks, but for all weeks of the year, which is a very important concession. I hope that hon. Gentlemen will agree with me, however strongly they may object to the principle as a principle, that the Government have tried and propose to continue to try to meet as far as possible some of the difficulties which they apprehend.

Finally, I wish to say a word upon the question of the religious settlement. I beg hon. Members to keep clearly in mind this simple fact. There is no feeling anywhere; indeed, one can almost say there is an obvious yearning to avoid rekindling the controversial fires of 1902. Everybody who has spoken to-night, with one possible exception, has indicated a keen desire to avoid controversy; and there is no subject in regard to which it is more easy to beat up violent antipathies than religious difficulties and differences. We appreciate enormously the kindly and indulgent spirit displayed by all parties to-night, and we recognise to the full, also, that in the negotiations, or discussions rather, that have taken place on this matter even denominational people on all sides have displayed the same generous spirit. All I ask is that the House will bear in mind that this is

mainly an educational issue rather than a religious one. We are concerned mainly with the child, and if we keep the child clearly before our minds in these discussions, if we set the child in our midst, we shall find that that child will ultimately lead us along the road of educational progress in an atmosphere of denominational good will.

Question put, "That the word "now" stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 280; Noes, 223.

Division No. 323.] AYES. [11.0 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Dickson, T. Kennedy, Thomas
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Dudgeon, Major C. R. Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher Dukes, C. Kinley, J.
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M. Duncan, Charles Kirkwood, D.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro') Ede, James Chuter Knight, Holford
Alpass, J. H. Edmunds, J. E. Lang, Gordon
Ammon, Charles George Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George
Arnott, John Edwards, E. (Morpeth) Lathan, G.
Aske, Sir Robert Egan, W. H. Law, Albert (Bolton)
Attlee, Clement Richard Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) Law, A. (Rosendale)
Ayles, Walter Foot, Isaac Lawrence, Susan
Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Forgan, Dr. Robert Lawson, John James
Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley) Freeman, Peter Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)
Barnes, Alfred John Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton) Leach, W.
Barr, James Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.) Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)
Batey, Joseph Gibbins, Joseph Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)
Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham) Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley) Lees, J.
Bellamy, Albert Gill, T. H. Lewis, T. (Southampton)
Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood Gillett, George M. Lindley, Fred W.
Bennett, Captain E. N. (Cardiff, Central) Glassey, A. E. Lloyd, C. Ellis
Bentham, Dr. Ethel Gossling, A. G. Logan, David Gilbert
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Gould, F. Longbottom, A. W.
Birkett, W. Norman Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Longden, F.
Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Lovat-Fraser, J. A.
Bowen, J. W. Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.) Lowth, Thomas
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Lunn, William
Broad, Francis Alfred Groves, Thomas E. Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)
Brockway, A. Fenner Grundy, Thomas W. MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)
Bromfield, William Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)
Bromley, J. Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn) McElwee, A.
Brooke, W. Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland) McEntee, V. L.
Brothers, M. Hardie, George D. McKinlay, A.
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield) Harris, Percy A. MacLaren, Andrew
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)
Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West) Hastings, Dr. Somerville MacNeill-Weir, L.
Burgess, F. G. Haycock, A. W. McShane, John James
Burgin, Dr. E. L. Hayday, Arthur Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)
Buxton, C. R. (Yorks, W. R. Elland) Hayes, John Henry Mander, Geoffrey le M.
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel (Norfolk, N.) Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley) Mansfield, W.
Caine, Derwent Hall- Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.) Markham, S. F.
Cameron, A. G. Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow) Marley, J.
Cape, Thomas Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield) Marshall, Fred
Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.) Herriotts, J. Mathers, George
Charieton, H. C. Hlrst, W. (Bradford, South) Matters, L. W.
Chater, Daniel Hoffman, P. C. Melville, Sir James
Church, Major A. G. Hollins, A. Messer, Fred
Clarke, J. S. Hopkin, Daniel Middleton, G.
Cluse, W. S. Horrabin, J. F. Mills, J. E.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield) Milner, Major J.
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Hunter, Dr. Joseph Montague, Frederick
Compton, Joseph Isaacs, George Morgan, Dr. H. B.
Cove, William G. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Morley, Ralph
Cowan, D. M. John, William (Rhondda, West) Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South)
Daggar, George Johnston, Thomas Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)
Dallas, George Jones, F. Llewellyn- (Flint) Mort, D. L.
Dalton, Hugh Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Moses, J. J. H.
Davies, E. C. (Montgomery) Jones, Rt. Hon. Left (Camborne) Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick)
Day, Harry Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Muff, G.
Denman, Hon. R. D. Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. Nathan, Major H. L.
Naylor, T. E. Sandham, E. Tinker, John Joseph
Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Sawyer, G. F. Toole, Joseph
Noel Baker, P. J. Scurr, John Townend, A. E.
Oldfield, J. R. Sexton, James Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston) Shepherd, Arthur Lewis Vaughan, D. J.
Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley) Sherwood, G. H. Viant, S. P.
Palin, John Henry Shield, George William Walkden, A. G.
Paling, Wilfrid Shillaker, J. F. Walker, J.
Palmer, E. T. Shinwell, E. Wallace, H. W.
Perry, S. F. Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Wallhead, Richard C.
Peters, Dr. Sidney John Simmons, C. J. Watkins, F. C.
Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Simon, E. D. (Manch'ter, Withington) Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Phillips, Dr. Marion Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness) Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Picton-Turbervill, Edith Sinkinson, George Wellock, Wilfred
Pole, Major D. G. Sltch, Charles H. Welsh, James (Paisley)
Potts, John S. Smith, Alfred (Sunderland) Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)
Price, M. P. Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe) West, F. R.
Pybus, Percy John Smith, Frank (Nuneaton) Westwood, Joseph
Quibell, D. J. K. Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley) White, H. G.
Ramsay, T. B Wilson Smith, Rennie (Penistone) Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)
Rathbone, Eleanor Smith, Tom (Pontefract) Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Richards, R. Smith, W. R. (Norwich) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Snell, Harry Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Riley, Ben (Dewsbury) Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees) Sorensen, R. Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Ritson, J. Stamford, Thomas W. Wilson, J. (Oldham)
Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich) Stewart, J. (St. Rollox) Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Romeril, H. G. Strachey, E. J. St. Loe Wise, E. F.
Rosbotham, D. S. T. Strains, G. R. Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)
Rowson, Guy Sullivan, J. Young, R. S. (Islington, North)
Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Sutton, J. E.
Salter, Dr. Alfred Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen) Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.) Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.
Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West) Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby) William Whiteley.
Sanders, W. S. Tillett, Ben
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles Cobb, Sir Cyril Greene, W. P. Crawford
Albery, Irving James Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l) Cohen, Major J. Brunel Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.) Colman, N. C. D. Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh) Colville, Major D. J. Gunston, Captain D. W.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L. Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Cranborne, Viscount Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)
Astor, Maj. Hon. John J. (Kent, Dover) Crichton-Stuart, Lord C. Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)
Atkinson, C. Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Hammersley, S. S.
Baillie-Hamilton, Hon. Charles W. Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) Hanbury, C.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley) Croom-Johnson, R. P. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet) Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West) Hartington, Marquess of
Balniel, Lord Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Dalkeith, Earl of Haslam, Henry C.
Beaumont, M. W. Dalrymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley>
Berry, Sir George Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford) Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.
Betterton, Sir Henry B. Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)
Bevan, S. J. (Holborn) Davies, Dr. Vernon Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.
Bird, Ernest Roy Dawson, Sir Philip Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft. Dixey, A. C. Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Duckworth, G. A. V. Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.
Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W. Dugdale, Capt. T. L. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)
Boyce, H. L. Eden, Captain Anthony Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer
Bracken, B. Edmondson, Major A. J. Hurd, Percy A.
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Elliot, Major Walter E. Hurst, Sir Gerald B.
Brass, Captain Sir William Ersklne, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.) Iveagh, Countess of
Briscoe, Richard George Everard, W. Lindsay James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Fade, Sir Bertram G. Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)
Buckingham, Sir H. Ferguson, Sir John Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)
Bullock, Captain Malcolm Fermoy, Lord Kindersley, Major G. M.
Burton, Colonel H. W. Fielden, E. B. King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D.
Butler, R. A. Fison, F. G. Clavering Knox, Sir Alfred
Butt, Sir Alfred Ford, Sir P. J. Lamb, Sir J. O.
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton)
Carver, Major W. H. Frece, Sir Walter de Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Galbraith, J. F. W. Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Ganzoni, Sir John Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)
Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton Leighton, Major B. E. P.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.) Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley) Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)
Chadwick, Capt. Sir Robert Burton Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Little, Dr. E. Graham
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.) Glyn, Major R. G. C. Llewellin, Major J. J.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston) Gower, Sir Robert Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey
Chapman, Sir S. Grace, John Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)
Christie, J. A. Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Long, Major Eric
Lymington, Viscount Preston, Sir Walter Rueben Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
McConnell, Sir Joseph Ramsbotham, H. Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)
Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Rawson, Sir Cooper Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Macquisten, F. A. Reid, David D. (County Down) Stewart, W. J. (Belfast South)
MacRobert, Rt. Hon. Alexander M. Remer, John R. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham) Rentoul, Sir Gervals S. Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.
Makins, Brigadier-General E. Reynolds, Col. Sir James Thomson, Sir F.
Margesson, Captain H. D. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y) Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Marjoribanks, E. C. Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall) Todd, Capt. A. J.
Mason, Colonel Glyn K. Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell Train, J.
Meller, R. J. Ross, Major Ronald D. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Turton, Robert Hugh
Mond, Hon. Henry Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury) Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B. Salmon, Major I. Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)
Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert
Morden, Col. W. Grant Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) Wardlaw-Milne, J. S.
Muirhead, A. J. Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D. Warrender, Sir Victor
Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Savery, S. S. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Nicholson, O. (Westminster) Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome Wells, Sydney R.
Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld) Simms, Major-General J. Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfst) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
O'Connor, T. J. Skelton, A. N. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Oman, Sir Charles William C. Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam) Withers, Sir John James
O'Neill, Sir H. Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, C.) Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount
Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William Smith-Carington, Neville W. Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Peake, Capt. Osbert Smithers, Waldron Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Somerset, Thomas
Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Power, Sir John Cecil Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East) Major Sir George Hennessy and
Pownall, Sir Assheton Southby, Commander A. R. J. Sir George Penny.

Bill read a Second time.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Bill be committed to Committee

of the Whole House."—[Sir C. Trevelyan.]

The House divided: Ayes 269; Noes, 219.

Division No. 324.] AYES. [11.12 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Clarke, J. S. Hardle, George D.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Cluse, W. S. Harris, Percy A.
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M. Cocks, Frederick Seymour Hastings, Dr. Somerville
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro') Compton, Joseph Haycock, A. W.
Alpass, J. H. Cove, William G. Hayday, Arthur
Ammon, Charles George Cowan, D. M. Hayes, John Henry
Arnott, John Daggar, George Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)
Aske, Sir Robert Dallas, George Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)
Attlee, Clement Richard Dalton, Hugh Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)
Ayles, Walter Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)
Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Day, Harry Herriotts, J.
Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley) Denman, Hon. R. D. Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)
Barnes, Alfred John Dickson, T. Hoffman, P. C.
Barr, James Dudgeon, Major C. R. Hollins, A.
Batey, Joseph Duncan, Charles Hopkin, Daniel
Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham) Ede, James Chuter Horrabin, J. F.
Bellamy, Albert Edmunds, J. E. Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)
Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Hunter, Dr. Joseph
Bennett, Captain E. N. (Cardiff, Central) Edwards, E. (Morpeth) Isaacs, George
Bentham, Dr. Ethel Egan, W. H. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) John, William (Rhondda, West)
Birkett, W. Norman Foot, Isaac Johnston, Thomas
Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret Forgan, Dr. Robert Jones, F. Llewellyn- (Flint)
Bowen, J. W. Freeman, Peter Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton) Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)
Broad, Francis Alfred Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Brockway, A. Fenner Gibbins, Joseph Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)
Bromfield, William Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley) Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.
Bromley, J. Gill, T. H. Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.
Brooke, W. Gillett, George M. Kennedy, Thomas
Brothers, M. Glassey, A. E. Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield) Gossling, A. G. Kinley, J.
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Gould, F. Kirkwood, D.
Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West) Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Lang, Gordon
Burgess, F. G. Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George
Burgin, Dr. E. L. Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.) Lathan, G.
Caine, Derwent Hall- Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Law, Albert (Bolton)
Cameron, A. G. Groves, Thomas E. Law, A. (Rosendale)
Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.) Grundy, Thomas W. Lawrence, Susan
Charieton, H. C. Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Lawson, John James
Chater, Daniel Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.) Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)
Church, Major A. G. Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn) Leach, W.
Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern) Palin, John Henry Smith, Tom (Pontefract)
Lees, J. Paling, Wilfrid Smith, W. R. (Norwich)
Lewis, T. (Southampton) Palmer, E. T. Snell, Harry
Lindley, Fred W. Perry, S. F. Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Lloyd, C. Ellis Peters, Dr. Sidney John Sorensen, R.
Logan, David Gilbert Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Stamford, Thomas W.
Longbottom, A. W. Phillips, Dr. Marion Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Longden, F. Picton-Tubervill, Edith Strachey, E. J. St. Loe
Lovat-Frasor, J. A. Pole, Major D. G. Strauss, G. R.
Lunn, William Potts, John S. Sullivan, J.
Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) Price, M. P. Sutton, J. E.
MacDonald, Ht. Hon. J. R. (Seaham) Pybus, Percy John Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)
MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Quibell, D. J. K. Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)
McElwee, A. Ramsay, T. B. Wilson Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)
McEntee, V. L. Rathbone, Eleanor Tinker, John Joseph
McKinlay, A. Richards, R. Toole, Joseph
MacLaren, Andrew Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Townend, A. E.
Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.) Riley, Ben (Dewsbury) Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
MacNeill-Weir, L. Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees) Vaughan, D. J.
McShane, John James Ritson, J. Viant, S. P.
Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton) Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich) Walkden, A. G.
Mander, Geoffrey le M. Romeril, H. G. Walker, J.
Mansfield, W. Rosbotham, D. S. T. Wallace, H. W.
Markham, S. F. Rowson, Guy Wallhead, Richard C.
Marley, J. Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Watkins, F. C.
Marshall, Fred Salter, Dr. Alfred Watson, W. M. (Dunfarmline)
Mathers, George Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen) Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Matters, L. W. Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West) Wellock, Wilfred
Melville, Sir James Sanders, W. S. Welsh, James (Paisley)
Messer, Fred Sandham, E. Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)
Middleton, G. Sawyer, G. F. West, F. R.
Mills, J. E. Scurr, John Westwood, Joseph
Milner, Major J. Sexton, James White, H. G.
Morgan, Dr. H. B. Sherwood, G. H. Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)
Morley, Ralph Shield, George William Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South) Shillaker, J. F. Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.) Shinwell, E. Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Mort, D. L. Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Moses, J. J. H. Simmons, C. J. Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent) Simon, E. D. (Manch'ter, Withington) Wilson, J. (Oldham)
Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick) Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness) Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Muff, G. Sinkinson, George Wise, E. F.
Nathan, Major H. L. Sitch, Charles H. Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)
Naylor, T. E. Smith, Alfred (Sunderland) Young, R. S. (Islington, North)
Noel Baker, P. J. Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Oldfield, J. R. Smith, Frank (Nuneaton) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston) Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley) Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.
Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley) Smith, Rennie (Penistone) William Whiteley.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Butler, R. A. Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles Butt, Sir Alfred Dawsan, Sir Philip
Albery, Irving James Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Duckworth, G. A. V.
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l) Carver, Major W. H. Dugdale, Capt. T. L.
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.) Cautley, Sir Henry S. Eden, Captain Anthony
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh) Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Edmondson, Major A. J.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Elliot, Major Walter E.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.) Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover) Chadwick, Capt. Sir Robert Burton Everard, W. Lindsay
Atkinson, C. Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.) Fade, Sir Bertram G.
Baillie-Hamilton, Hon. Charles W. Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston) Ferguson, Sir John
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley) Chapman, Sir S. Fermoy, Lord
Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet) Christie, J. A. Fielden, E. B.
Balniel, Lord Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Fison, F. G. Clavering
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Cobb, Sir Cyril Ford, Sir P. J.
Beaumont, M. W. Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George Forestler-Walker, Sir L.
Berry, Sir George Cohen, Major J. Brunel Frece, Sir Walter de
Betterton, Sir Henry B. Colman, N. C. D. Galbraith, J. F. W.
Bevan, S. J. (Holborn) Colville, Major D. J. Ganzoni, Sir John
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L. Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton
Bird, Ernest Roy Cranborne, Viscount Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Crichton-Stuart, Lord C. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Glyn, Major R. G. C.
Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W. Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) Gower, Sir Robert
Boyce, H. L. Croom-Johnson, R. P. Grace, John
Bracken, B. Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West) Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter
Brass, Captain Sir William Dalkeith, Earl of Greene, W. P. Crawford
Briscoe, Richard George Dalrymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford) Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John
Buckingham, Sir H. Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.
Bullock, Captain Malcolm Davies, Dr. Vernon Gunston, Captain D. W.
Burton, Colonel H. W. Davies, E. C. (Montgomery) Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.
Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Macquisten, F. A. Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.
Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) MacRobert, Rt. Hon. Alexander M. Savery, S. S.
Hammersley, S. S. Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham) Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome
Hanbury, C. Makins, Brigadier-General E. Simms, Major-General J.
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Marjoribanks, E. C. Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfst)
Hartington, Marquess of Mason, Colonel Glyn K. Skelton, A. N.
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Meller, R. J. Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Haslam, Henry C. Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, C.)
Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley) Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B. Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Smithers, Waldron
Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Morden, Col. W. Grant Somerset, Thomas
Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford) Muirhead, A. J. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Nicholson, O. (Westminster) Southby, Commander A. R. J.
Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar) Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld) Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S. Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)
Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K. O'Connor, T. J. Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Oman, Sir Charles William C. Stewart, W. J. (Belfast, South)
Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer O'Neill, Sir H. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Hurd, Percy A. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.
Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Peake, Captain Osbert Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Iveagh, Countess of Penny, Sir George Todd, Capt. A. J.
Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Train, J.
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Kedward R. M. (Kent, Ashford) Power, Sir John Cecil Turton, Robert Hugh
Kindersley, Major G. M. Pownall, Sir Assheton Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D. Preston, Sir Walter Rueben Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)
Knox, Sir Alfred Ramsbotham, H. Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert
Lamb, Sir J. O. Rawson, Sir Cooper Wardlaw-Milne, J. S.
Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton) Reid, David D. (County Down) Warrender, Sir Victor
Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R. Remer, John R. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Leigh, Sir John (Clapham) Rentoul, Sir Gervals S. Wells, Sydney R.
Leighton, Major B. E. P. Reynolds, Col. Sir James Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Lewis, Oswald (Colchester) Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'te'y) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Little, Dr. E. Graham Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Llewellin, Major J. J. Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell Withers, Sir John James
Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount
Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th) Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury) Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Long, Major Eric Salmon, Major I.
Lymington, Viscount Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) Sir Frederick Thomson and Captain

Bill accordingly committed to a Committee of the Whole House for Monday next, 2nd June.

The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.

  1. ADJOURNMENT. 17 words
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