HC Deb 04 July 1944 vol 401 cc1085-115

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £5,768,609, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum neceessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1945, for public education in Scotland, including grants in aid of the Education (Scotland) Fund: for the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh; and for grants to approved associations and other expenses in connection with youth service."—[NOTE: £,850,000 has been voted on account.]

Mr. Buchanan (Glasgow, Gorbals)

We have two hours left for the discussion on this subject. The feeling among Scottish Members is that this is an important subject, which should not be scamped. Is there no means of getting more time to discuss Scottish education?

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. T. Johnston)

I am not skilled in the technical difficulties in the way of the Committee. That is a matter which must be discussed through the usual channels, but, as far as I am concerned, I shall not——

Mr. Buchanan rose——

Mr. Johnston

Now that we have only two hours, let me go on.

Mr. Buchanan

I want the right hon. Gentleman to realise that he is the Secretary of State for Scotland, dealing with one of the most important subjects that we have to consider. I hope he is not going to scamp it.

Mr. Johnston

We cannot have it both ways; we have got two hours.

Mr. McNeil (Greenock)

The Government have the power to arrange the hours of sitting. None of us wants to see the Secretary of State scamping his remarks. We have already made representations to have this Sitting extended, and I am disappointed that the Government, of which my right hon. Friend is a member, have not seen fit to do that.

The Chairman (Major Milner)

It is, of course, not possible, at this stage, for the Government to extend the time without losing the Allotted Day. But I suggest that if hon. Members would exercise the self-denying ordinance that Scottish Members have exercised in the past, that would help. It should be possible in that way to get through the Debate, to the satisfaction of all concerned.

Major Lloyd (Renfrew, Eastern)

May I add my own quota to the opinions already expressed, that my right hon. Friend should not cut down his speech, to which we, as well as Scotland generally, are looking forward, simply because other Members are waiting to speak?

Mr. Maxton (Glasgow, Bridgeton)

I do not want my right hon. Friend, with all my regard for him, to be in the position of an uncriticised Fuehrer.

Mr. Johnston

As the hon. Member will clearly recognise, I am in some difficulty here. We have two hours, and I propose to meet the maximum number of points of view in this Committee. The arrangements that may be made in future cannot be discussed here to-day.

It will be observed that there is an increase in the Estimate, amounting to £436,000. Of this sum £398,000 will go to the education authorities, and the balance to technical colleges and central institutions generally. The increase of £398,000 to the local authorities is made up, for the most part, of, first, a grant in respect of the war bonus and teachers' salaries, amounting to £176,000; secondly, meals and milk in schools, amounting to £184,000, and an increase in the teacher grant amounting to £145,000. There are offsets to these increases. For example, there are deductions on A.R.P. works, amounting to over £100,000. But the net increase to education authorities is £398,000. School feeding grants have risen from £471,000 to £655,000. This campaign for feeding in schools, which was launched in the autumn of 1941 on a big scale, has been pursued with vigour. Canteen equipment has been provided for schools, and, from 1st April, 1943, no charge has fallen on the education authorities for the building, adaptation, or equipment of kitchens or dining rooms. Capital costs were met from the central fund. The number of children receiving dinners at school has increased from 50,000 in De- cember, 1941, to 175,000 in February, 1944, and during the year the numbers receiving dinners have increased by 50,000 and lunches by almost 2,000. The percentage receiving meals at school is now over 25 per cent. of all the children on the register—an increase of 6 per cent. on the figure for 1943, and of 14 per cent. on the figure for 1942.

The number of pupils receiving milk at school, as apart from meals, has increased by 14,000 during the past 12 months, and has now reached the very considerable figure of 69 per cent. of the entire school population of Scotland. In West Lothian 85 per cent. of the children are receiving milk at school, in Mid Lothian 82 per cent., in Glasgow 83 per cent., in Edinburgh 8o per cent. So far as midday meals are concerned, the best figure, curiously enough, is reached by Peebles County, with almost 43 per cent. It is closely followed by Lanark County, with 38 per cent., and by Dumbarton County, with 36 per cent. The cities of Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh are practically running neck and neck, Edinburgh with 23 per cent., Glasgow and Dundee with 22 per cent., and Aberdeen with 21 per cent. While the school medical examinations have been restricted in most parts of the country, owing to war conditions, all the evidence there is in the continuing examinations goes to show that the health of the school child is steadily improving, and, as I announced the other day, on the Health Estimates, in Glasgow, in particular, the height and weight of the school child, both at entry to the registers and at the school-leaving date at 13, are materially improving over the figures for the last pre-war years.

During the year, the Advisory Council on Education, which is a statutory body, and which was reconstituted by Order in Council on 5th November, 1942, has bent itself steadily to the task of preparing blueprints for a better educational system in Scotland. The Council has, as its chairman, the Principal of Aberdeen University, and, as its vice-chairman, the Lord Provost of Dundee, Sir Garnet Wilson, and there are three hon. Members of this House on it. Teachers' representatives are there, local authority representatives are there and we believe we have got a first-class Advisory Council. We have given this Council seven separate remits up to now, and we have get three of them back, reported upon. The seven remits were these: First, questions of citizenship teaching in the school. Second, the provision of education from the nursery school to the completion or primary education, and arrangements for promotion from primary to secondary education. Third remit to consider what educational provision should be made for young persons who have completed their primary education and have not yet reached the age of 18. This covers the subject of day continuation classes. The fourth remit—a most important one, upon which I shall have a word to say in a moment—was on the recruitment and supply of teachers. The fifth was to consider whether grants should be made to voluntary organisations making provision for the education of adults of 18 years of age and over. The sixth was to inquire into the provision made for the training of teachers in Scotland. The seventh was on technical education.

The three reports we have got back are on citizenship, on day continuation classes and on the recruitment and supply of teachers. On the subject of the compulsory day continuation classes, I can say little in view of the legislation which I hope to introduce this year. I can say little beyond this—that I am in substantial agreement with the recommendations of the Advisory Council, which have been published in pamphlet form and are available to hon. Members. On citizenship, a memorandum is being prepared now by the Department of Education, and, indeed, I believe it has been- completed, dealing, point by point, with the recommendations made by the Advisory Council. When this memorandum is received, and I have had time to consider it, I hope to enlist the aid of the local authorities in making considerable experiments of the sort that are proposed by the Advisory Council. The basis, the essential feature, of that report was that there should be widespread experiments, and I hope to see that effect is given to that recommendation.

But it is on the third report which the Council has given us, on the existing arrangements for the recruitment and supply of teachers in Scotland, that I should like to say a word. I believe this is the keystone of the whole educational arch. If we cannot recruit in adequate numbers, the right type of teacher, then all our schemes and programmes for a better education of our children will be in vain. The Advisory Council has reported to us, and the Government accepts its figures, that, by and large, we shall require to look for an additional 4,000 teachers. That is on the basis, and on the assumption, that 2,500 married women teachers will remain in the service. On that basis, we require 4,000 additional, and, to the extent that married women teachers leave their employment, we must add to the number of 4,000 that we require.

Major Lloyd

A very conservative estimate.

Mr. Johnston

Well, I am taking their figure, which I understood is a unanimous figure. It is a unanimous report, and I take their figure that we are 4,000 teachers short on the basis that existing employees and personnel remain in the profession, but, to the extent that this existing personnel is diminished, you would require to add to the 4,000. The Advisory Council say that, if the school-leaving age is raised to 15 in the first post-war year, we shall require to get the services of this additional 4,000 teachers by exceptional means. These exceptional means are specified under four headings. The first is by improving conditions and salaries to attract from schools an increasing number of first class personnel who will make the teaching profession their life work. I am happy to say that the newly constituted National Joint Council of local authorities and teachers' organisations, under the chairmanship of a late Member of this House, Lord Teviot, has now started work upon this great problem.

Secondly, the Advisory Council proposes a Selection Board. This Selection Board should be constituted by the Central Executive Committee for the training of teachers, and should consist of five persons from their number, one representative from the Directors of Education, the Directors of Studies of the four training centres and the Executive Officer of the National Committee. This Selection Board would have power to deal with applications from men and women now being released from the Services. Applicants without the necessary qualifications for admission to chapters 4 and 6, should be required to sit for a special examination, but the Board may, in exceptional circumstances, waive this provision. Candidates admitted to training should be on probation for one term. Arrangements should be made for proper tutorial courses, and prescribed conditions would be laid down. Modifications of entrance requirements may be necessary for skilled craftsmen required for day schools and day continuation classes. Correspondence classes would be instituted and tutorial arrangements made.

Mr. Buchanan

I am uncertain whether the right hon. Gentleman is giving us the report, or his views on the report.

Mr. Johnston

No, this is the report of the Advisory Council on Education, and I understand it is a unanimous one. I want to add that Departmental action is being taken forthwith to give effect to these recommendations. Every step that can usefully be taken to augment the supply of teachers, based upon these recommendations, will be taken.

Here I should like to pay a tribute to the great body of headmasters in our Scottish schools. They, too, are key men in this profession, and I have noticed with appreciation the strenuous efforts many of them are making, under exceptionally difficult conditions as to staff, black-out and so on, not only to maintain their school traditions but to create an esprit de corps among their pupils which will have far-reaching effects upon those pupils in their later lives. Both the headmasters and headmistresses, and the Directors of Education, are doing everything they can to instil the spirit of good citizenship into our school administration, and I am duly grateful to them for their efforts in that direction. May I also express the Government's appreciation of and thanks to the teaching staff and administrative staff for the voluntary services they have rendered in school feeding and youth welfare arrangements, which are now an integral and prominent part of the normal school curriculum? The Advisory Council on Education has given us three reports. I have indicated what steps we propose to take forthwith upon these Reports and I hope and trust that, as this Council adds further reports to those already given us, we shall be able to continue to give effect to the careful recommendations which they have so far provided us, and that, between us, we shall be able to build up an educational policy which will be a credit to our country and a credit to the Advisory Council, to whose energies and endeavours I pay my utmost respects.

Mr. Buchanan (Glasgow, Gorbals)

Education is one of the most important subjects that this Committee and indeed Scottish Members can discuss. The right hon. Gentleman in introducing his Estimates has confined himself in the main to the report of his Advisory Council. He dealt at the beginning with certain facts and figures as to school feeding and the supply of milk to children, but he was not able to deal with the present position, in the time he allocated to himself, in regard to the wider sense of education and its progress in regard to the child. I would like to have heard how the education of the child is now progressing. Is it satisfactory, what steps are being taken, and what are the conditions under which education is now proceeding? I do not know whether I am impatient or too moderate, but I often feel that on these issues we discuss what is expected to happen years ahead and rarely discuss what is happening at the present time in regard to the children attending our schools. We must always remember on every Scottish Estimate, whether it be for agriculture, education or public health, that the problem of the housing of our population is always closely related to educational subjects, and that you cannot do all you can or would like to do in education when the great housing problem remains as it is.

I was surprised when the right hon. Gentleman dealt with that section of the report on the future of the training of teachers and told us he needed, on a conservative estimate, something like 4,000 teachers, provided married teachers remained in the schools. But even if one puts the estimate at 6,000 or 7,000 teachers, the problem would not appear to me to be staggering. In any other walk of life, 6,000 or 7,000 would not be an impossible figure, provided certain conditions were fulfilled. Teaching is not an unattractive profession, but what is lacking is that great masses of very poor people are debarred from entering the profession because of poverty and the difficulties of parents in maintaining children and providing for their education. There would not be the slightest difficulty in any other trade, for example, the build- ing trade, offering the same terms and security as teaching, in getting 7,000 additional people. The difficulty in this matter is the fact that masses of poor people cannot afford to have their children educated for the profession.

I would have liked the right hon. Gentleman to deal with what I regard as one of the most reactionary steps ever taken in education in Scotland. In these days, with greater demands for teachers and doctors, facilities should be made as free as possible, and yet at a time when we should have been making the entrance into these professions free and open, there has been an increase in the fees of university students. Just at a time when the fields of science, medicine and teaching should be open to the humblest people there has been one of the most reactionary steps ever known in Scotland. One would have thought that the reverse would have been the case and that there would have been a reduction in fees. If it was necessary to increase university fees and so penalise those students who were about to enter, the Secretary of State for Scotland and those responsible for running the universities should have come to the Treasury and asked for increased funds. The Government can pour out subsidies for hill sheep farming, and I have not heard anyone complain. Surely, it is one of the most important things in the training of teachers that the universities should be available to those who wish to enter the profession. I come from a family members of which have entered the university, and it was a terrible struggle. I look back grimly, but the difficulties to some extent have been increased. They talk of the new world. One would have thought that at least, in making an approach to the new world, education and equality of treatment, for which every good democrat has asked, would have been one of the first steps to be taken. I am surprised that no mention was made of this question by the right hon. Gentleman.

I do not often intervene in educational matters. In places that have been poverty stricken through many years, education does not always play a part. When you are thinking of food and shelter, you are apt to let the beauties and culture of life pass you by. But I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to look at another matter. One is at a loss to know why, particularly in the City of Glasgow, and indeed throughout Scotland, in the middle of 1944, we have still schools being used by the A.R.P. Let me take one school, Kinning Park School, with which I have family connections. It is in a very poor working-class district near the docks, and while it is vital in peace it is more vital than ever in war. Yet, after four and a half years of war, that school, in a poverty-stricken district, is still occupied by the A.R.P. I should have thought that by this time the local authorities and the Scottish Education Department would have taken steps to deal with it. For a long time it was a feeding centre as well, and on feeding day the children had to queue up in a Glasgow street in the rain with no shelter in order to get into the feeding centre. After correspondence with the right hon. Gentleman that was altered, but the A.R.P. are still there, and I feel that in a well-to-do district that just does' not happen. I ask my right hon. Friend and his Under-Secretary to tell me in what school in Langside or Queen's Park this would happen.

Major Lloyd

I could mention half a dozen in East Renfrewshire.

Mr. Buchanan

I do not deal with East Renfrewshire, I am asking about my district of Glasgow. I should have thought the poorer districts would have had first preference; for this reason, that in tenement dwellings, where people are poorly housed, the school is of value not only for education but for looking after the children. I am really aghast at the way in which what has happened in the case of this school has been tolerated.

I thought the right hon. Gentleman might have devoted a sentence to how he is dealing with buildings, and have given us some kind of a picture of the future of the school buildings in Scotland. Merely to increase teachers, to put them into some of the schools in my Division and throughout the West of Scotland, will not solve the teaching problem. They are practically slum schools. It irritates me at times that the people who live in the poor districts have to put up with them, while those who are fortunate enough to be moved into good houses have the good schools. The poor unfortunates that cannot move out are left with things as they were, in a backwater. I know the right hon. Gentleman will tell me of the difficulties in war-time, but what steps are being taken in the future to plan school dwellings in working class districts?

I want to raise a question which is not of very great national importance but concerns my own city, and to some extent its administration. Great numbers of parents want to send their children to what we call the higher grade schools, such as Queen's Park and Albert Road. I do not know the process of selection that goes on, but I do know that none of my people ever get near them except in isolated cases. It is not altogether snobbery that prompts people to send their children to what we call good schools. I think there are two other reasons: one is that the school is better, and the other is that the standard of teaching is better, or held to be better. In these days, when we are supposed to be building up a democratic system, I think the time has arrived to see that the standard of teaching in the humblest school should be at least as high as in the others.

With regard to the feeding of the children, it is true that the right hon. Gentleman has quoted figures—particularly in regard to milk—to show the vast increase in the extension of school feeding. My own view is that much of that could be extended further still. There are too many restrictive inquiries even yet. It is just a source of annoyance when you examine people's incomes. I think the stage has now been reached when school feeding and school milk should be free to any child who wants it. I would advocate an educational supply. One of the best things ever done for education was when the majority of the Glasgow Town Council decided to supply books free. It was an excellent step, and part of the educational system. I think the supply of milk and food now ought to be free without any restrictive measures at all, but if children do not want to take it then there need be no compulsion.

The Committee to which the right hon. Gentleman referred has dealt with citizenship, the raising of the school age and the training of school teachers. There is a great field in Scotland for education if we care to devote our time to it, but education cannot be divorced from the wide problems of housing and economic policy within Scotland itself. Whatever other steps he takes, I hope he will see that the children who are not well-placed economically, who have the ill-fortune to come from poor homes, have the gates of education thrown wide and freely open to them. It is sometimes said that they can sit for bursaries, but that is not always a satisfactory method. I have seen the bursary scheme at work in my own family, children sitting up at nights and becoming stultified. It takes too much out of the child, it throws the onus of responsibility on the child, which is not fair, and to a child of that age it is too much of a strain. There is, however, a second reason. If you fail in the bursary you fail for all time; no other chance is given to you. If you have an income and you fail in a bursary you can still go on trying. I would suggest making the field of education free, sweeping away instead of extending university fees. Make education a national charge, make it an "on cost" to the community, throw every field open. I want to see in Scotland not merely education, not only slums abolished in a country where ill-housing abounds, but education so used that our folk may know much of the beauty they have lost, a little of culture, of music, of art, and I think through education that might yet come to them.

Sir John Graham Kerr (Scottish Universities)

I am sure that the whole Committee listened with extraordinary appreciation to the great speech of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. I do not propose to criticise it, nor do I propose to criticise the machinery of education in Scotland. I would only say that I have great admiration for those who have to carry it out, for those hard-worked and not too well-remunerated officials, whether they be teaching or administrative. I would rather offer a few remarks on education itself, and on what my right hon. Friend called the system of education in Scotland. I think I have some qualification ns for expressing opinions about it. There is an old English proverb: The proof of a pudding is in the eating of it. So it is with education; the proof of education is in the results that it produces. For a long part of my professional life I happened to be head of a great teaching department, in one of our great Scottish universities. Through that department passed a continuous stream of students, numbering not hundreds but thousands, and my contact with those students, who came from all kinds of schools, was not the mere contact of a lecturer from his rostrum but the far more intimate relations of a teacher in the laboratory. Watching these people at their practical work, guiding and, discussing, one had an extraordinarily favourable opportunity for judging how Scottish education does its work.

There were various things which impressed me in my experience. One was the extraordinary training in the process of absorption of information. There was the most avid appetite for any sort of information; they gulped down, bolted, as much as was laid before them. But with this extraordinary power of absorption there was not joined anything in the way of discrimination. I remember how some of my students seemed quite mystified when they first came to the department and I told them that, whenever they had the chance, they must test the accuracy of what had been put to them by their teachers. It seemed quite a new idea to them, that they should ever have to check what had been told to them. They had been trained to accept what had been told to them. If you showed them a specimen, you would find that they simply projected into it the mental picture they had got from lecture or textbook; it might include details that happened to be absent in the particular specimen. There seemed to be a lack of flexibility; they were unable to switch over to new sets of ideas which came to them. But, as I said before, one has to remember that they had been taught the power of absorbing information and that they were really industrious. When I took up my post in Glasgow I used to be sceptical that students would ever kill themselves with overwork. I soon changed that idea. I found that there was a real danger in students working too hard. They were tremendously keen and interested in their work.

Of course, we all know how important observation is in life, and important it is in a trade or business of any kind, or in handicrafts, or in a profession like medicine. The power to observe and interpret your observations is of the most tremendous importance. We also know that most of our adult fellow citizens are not so devoid of that power to observe or think about what they have observed. Where have they got that training? They got it, in the first place, in what is the greatest of all educational periods when, as small children, they were taught by their parents, when they experimented and observed, often with painful results to themselves. They pursued the scientific method of learning and later, when they became handcraftsmen or business men, or anything else, they trained themselves to observe numbers of things concerned with their trade or profession. But in the intervening period when they were immured in an ordinary day school, that process of training and observation practically ceased.

We teach the child to memorise and to absorb, but we never train it to observe and think. It was not always so. In the far back ages, when our ancestors pursued the primitive mode of life, it was not so, as I observed for myself when living among primitive people in a remote corner of the world. I watched their system of education. The whole education of the boy was what it is fashionable to call nowadays, "citizenship," that is to say, training to play his part well in. the community in which he lives. The small boy was given his bow and arrow. With that he pursued birds and small game. He learnt to use that weapon, but he learnt something far more than that. He learnt to observe. His senses of sight and hearing were worked up to the highest pitch of acuity. He was trained in perceiving the slightest abnormal thing that happened. He learned far more than that, too. He learned to interpret what these things were and to react to them in the proper way. He learned more than that still. He learned to keep his mind absolutely flexible, to keep his wits about him the whole time and to be prepared for any emergency that might come his way.

I wish we could do something to get back these old factors in education, observation and mental flexibility. How is it that they have disappeared? It is a paradoxical thing. They have disappeared through one of the most beneficent inventions ever made by mankind, the invention of the printed book, that invention by which we can gain access to the stored up knowledge of the rest of the world; that invention which has given us a new kind of heredity, by which we of one generation can pass on our knowledge to the next and in that way safeguard our civilisation from falling away and disappearing as has been the fate of many civilisations in the past; that invention which enables us to flit away from the sordid world of workaday affairs into other worlds where everything interests and nothing annoys. That invention it was which made mass education possible and which has squeezed observation, training and thinking into an imperceptibly small bulk as compared with the mere accumulation of information, good or bad. In this new world our minds are bombarded by books, magazines and newspapers, cinemas and wireless—bombarded with all sorts of ideas, true and false. Surely, if there was ever a time, the time is now when we should learn, not to absorb unthinkingly, but to be critical and to ponder well before we accept anything at all.

I should like to go on for an hour. I must not do that, but there are just one or two things more that I might say. I wonder if my right hon. Friend ever notices the tremendous mental expansion that comes to a small boy when he is allowed to play about with tools in a workshop. It is quite phenomenal. It is a thing we ought to remember. While I am on that, may I allude to this other point? I wonder when we, the great British people, will realise not to talk as we do of work with the hand and work with the brain as if they were totally different things. Of course, it is the brain that works every little movement. The skilled artificer when he is making some beautiful piece of work, the artist in the painting of a picture—whatever it is that he is doing with his muscles, he is working his brain. A man who produces some beautiful piece of handiwork is not doing less but more real brainwork than a philosopher sitting in his study writing a book on philosophy or a poem, and yet—what nonsense it is—we think of only a literary man as a man who is well educated. I often think of a talk that I had many years ago with an old friend in Glasgow who was a great authority on the Clyde steamships. I happened to mention the old "Iona." He remarked darkly, "She is held together by the paint." I sometimes wonder whether we are not rather apt to think of our civilisation as being held together by the paint of literary culture and to forget the great steel fabric that lies underneath.

Mr. McLean Watson (Dunfermline)

We have all listened with great interest to the hon. Member's contribution to the Debate but I want to come back to one or two matters which have already been touched upon. My hon. Friend the Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) said that he has in his constituency schools which have been occupied during the whole period of the war. I have tried to get a school restored to its proper function for the past few years but it is occupied to this day. I wish it could be restored to its proper use, because it is not to the educational advantage of the children in the area that they should be scattered in halls in various parts of that little township. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the work undertaken by headmasters and teachers in connection with the feeding of school children. I hope he is going to view the matter from another angle. It is all very well for teachers to take an interest in this, but I hear from those who are actually doing the work that a very considerable amount of their time is taken up with duties which are not strictly theirs. It may be due to the exigencies of war, but the teachers have to take a bigger share in helping with the feeding of the children than was the case before. During the period of the war, even during the last two years, there has been a very considerable increase in the number of children who are being fed. A good part of the time of headmasters and teachers is still being taken up with this work, and I hope, if we are going to have an extension of school meals, we shall have it properly organised and persons who are capable of doing that sort of work engaged for it. It is a good thing for the teachers to be there while the children are fed, even though outsiders should be engaged for the work, but to ask them to undertake a very large part of it is asking too much of them. The teachers should be confined more to the work for which they are engaged, and the feeding should be done by women who are capable of doing that sort of work.

I am pleased to see in the Estimates for this year an increase in the amount allocated to technical education. Technical education has been the Cinderella of education in Scotland, and I hope that in future more attention will be paid to its development by education authorities and the Scottish Education Department. We require more technical education now than we have had in bygone years. In bygone years we had certain trades that were looked upon as skilled trades, and boys had to serve an apprenticeship to enter them. After a boy had served his apprenticeship he came out a journeyman and a fully fledged craftsman. Those occupations still exist and training is still being given, but during the war inroads have been made into the type of training that we have known in the past. There are certain occupations where no apprenticeship is asked of those who enter. We have mining schools in various mining areas in Scotland, and my view is that the best use is not being made of them. Training for entering the mines will be far more important in the future than it has been in the past. When I entered the mines there was no need for technical education or anything of that kind. I went along with a skilled miner and was taught the trade.

Conditions have now completely changed. We now have highly mechanised mines, and even the colliery companies recognise that boys who are to enter them require more training than they have received in the past. Before the war one of the colliery companies in my county, the Fife Coal Company, undertook the training of boys who wanted to enter their mines and they made it a condition of entering the mines that the boys went through a course of training. I am not surprised at that, because the Fife Coal Company is one of the most highly mechanised companies in Great Britain. One of their collieries is the last word in mechanisation. If that is to be the type of mine we are to have in the future, the boys require to be properly instructed before they enter them. It is not now so much a question of doing hard physical work as of having a knowledge of how to manage and handle machinery and of the dangers associated with the type of machinery used in the mines. I believe that the mining schools could do a great deal in preparing boys to enter the mines, especially the mines of Scotland. The mining schools in England are much ahead of those in Scotland, and I hope that the Department of Education will give more attention to them.

We have been discussing another industry where no apprenticeship is asked. Anyone can enter the agricultural industry provided he is prepared to adapt himself to the work, just as a young man can enter the mines provided he is prepared to adapt himself to the conditions of the work. In that industry more technical education is required than has been needed up to now, and I hope that this question will receive the attention of the Scottish Education Department. A great deal more can be and ought to be done by our technical colleges and schools. A great deal more should be made of them than has been made up to now if we are to have efficient men in these industries. Unless we have efficiency, and unless we are to be able to increase our production, we shall not hold our own in the markets of the world. If we are to hold our own in the markets of the world, our technical colleges, mining schools and other institutions which prepare young men and women for their future avocations must not be starved or half-starved as they have been up to now. More money requires to be spent on them and a great deal more attention given to them.

The hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Sir J. Graham Kerr) asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he had ever observed how interested a boy was when he got some tools to work with. I believe that a great deal of the difficulty we have experienced recently in getting boys into the mines is due to the fact that they started at too old an age. They should have attended school in preparation for the work before they were called upon to enter the mines instead of having only three or four months' training. That is not sufficient to prepare boys for either mining or agriculture. These are the two most important industries, and I hope that the increase in the grant given this year for technical education will go towards bringing the technical schools, and particularly the mining schools, up to a higher state of efficiency than has been the case in the past.

Major Lloyd (Renfrew, Eastern)

I think that most, if not all, Members of the Committee would agree that it is a tragedy that this vitally important discussion should have been confined to two short hours. However, I realise that we must make the best of a bad business and give others an adequate chance to speak. It does not matter that we have to sacrifice by omitting things that we should like to have said, but it does matter that full justice to this vitally important subject cannot be done in two hours, and I wish to protest with all the vigour that I can, against having to discuss it in that limited time. I presume that we shall never have another chance to discuss this immensely important subject until such time as the legislation which has been predicted is brought before us. Then we shall have an opportunity of threshing out that legislation to the full.

I want to make some reference, in the very few minutes that are at my disposal, to the very cordial remarks made by my right hon. Friend about the Advisory Council. I am one of the humblest members of that Council, and I am sure that his words of congratulation and thanks for the work that has been done up to date will be enormously appreciated by my colleagues, who have deserved it a very great deal more than I have done myself. They have worked hard, and I think they will be delighted to know that the Secretary of State and his advisers are apparently satisfied with so many of their recommendations. One of the great achievements of the Advisory Council is that their conclusions and recommendations have, hitherto, been completely unanimous. That is not very easy on such a difficult subject, with so many controversial issues that might well arise on the far-reaching questions covered by the omnibus word "education." It is a remarkable achievement for a number of men and women, from every walk of life and from all political schools of thought, that they should be able to produce substantial reports with great unanimity and absolute harmony and good will. I can assure the Committee that that harmony and good will will unquestionably be continued until the work of the Advisory Committee has been concluded.

To my mind, my right hon. Friend put his finger right on the major difficulty with which we have all to contend in looking ahead to the future of education in Scotland, and that is the immense difficulty of providing enough teachers. The question of buildings is immensely difficult in itself, yet sooner or later that will be solved; but the question of teachers is not merely a matter of numbers. I think it is a question of quality also. I have no doubt that we can produce, in time, 4,000 individuals, in trousers or skirts, who could be put into schools and called teachers, in addition to those who are doing the work at the present time, but what we need, and what everybody who is interested in Scotland knows that we need, is the highest possible quality. We spend enormous sums of money on education. The bulk of the sums goes in payments to the teachers in salaries. I feel that it is of the utmost importance that we should ensure quality.

Therefore, short as we shall be in the years immediately succeeding the war, I would rather go short for a time, and delay these vital reforms in which I am as keen and as interested as any Member of the Committee, than rush into the teaching profession, men and women who may not have been properly trained or who may not be properly qualified, and who may not, above all, have the vocation which is almost as essential for the teaching profession as it is for the calling of the Church. Teaching is not a profession in the ordinary sense of the word; it is a vocation. It is not something which one does just to earn a salary, and a pension, and to rear a family, and if one is going into it only for those reasons one had better not go into it at all. We should do our very utmost to get the best possible types of teacher.

I am interested in one or two subjects which my right hon. Friend, naturally, had not time to cover in his report. I would like to ask the Joint Under-Secretary of State, who is to reply, whether there will be time for me to have an answer on one or two further points I would like to raise. I am deeply interested, as I think most other Members of the Committee are, in the youth services, a new, war-time development -to a very large extent and one with immense potentialities. I have been following with the keenest interest the start of that great movement although I recognise that it is to some extent handicapped by war-time disabilities. I look to it for a very great future.

I would ask my right hon. Friend whether he is satisfied that local authorities in Scotland, as a whole, are taking up that movement with real enthusiasm, and if there are local authorities who are not, will he do his utmost to stimulate and encourage them to take up this cause to the very best of their ability during the war, so that we may have an active and a live youth organisation in every county and area in Scotland? Then, when the war is over and labour difficulties and other disabilities of accommodation have been overcome, we may be able to go forward with this great movement for the education of our youth, upon the start of which Scotland is to be congratulated. I congratulate the organisers of the movement upon the enthusiasm with which it has been started.

I am also particularly interested in the courses which have been started to train young people, in the building apprenticeship scheme. That is a scheme in which the Committee might well take the deepest interest, but why should it be confined to the building industry? It is true that in the immediate months and years after the war the most prior urgency will be for the training and improvement of those who are to work in the building industry, and so for many months ahead we should be trying to stimulate and interest our young people to enter the building industry. That is the major object of the scheme. I would like my right hon. Friend to tell the Committee how that scheme is going. Are the lads corning forward? Are they keen? Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that local authorities are everywhere supporting this venture so that, as and when opportunity occurs, boys may enter the building industry with some interest and knowledge of what they are going into, in order to help to solve the great housing problem, probably the greatest problem that Scotland will face in the post-war years?

Another subject in which I am deeply interested and which has inevitably not been mentioned is education by film. That is a modern development and one of the things which inevitably move slowly in war-time. Probably, facilities are not as great for making documentary films, of educational value to children, as they were in peace-time, but something has been done, and I should be glad if my right hon. Friend could say a word as to whether anything more can be done than has already been achieved in connection with education by film. I know it would be appreciated by those who are particularly interested in education.

One word more, on the subject of the curriculum. Oh, the curriculum needs an awful lot of reform and revising. It is too full of a lot of stuff which is largely lumber. I want to see it revitalised. I want to see more interest taken by those who administer our education in the opinions of those who have been thinking out reforms of the curriculum. It is so easy for the administrator to follow the line of least resistance, and never to move forward with new schools of thought. Today there are many societies and organisaions, and many minds who are thinking out reforms of the curriculum of a more practical character. That is where education as a whole has to move forward—the reform and revitalising of the curriculum and interesting boys and girls in the jobs they are doing so as to make them feel that there is something in life as a result of what they have been taught at school.

That brings me to my final word and my last half minute. I am sure that my right hon. Friend knows well that nothing like enough money is being spent in Scotland upon research in education—nothing like. We have only a certain amount of money to spend, it is true, and much of it is earmarked for what would be considered essential services in education, but all who are interested in education unanimously agree that nothing like enough money is being spent on research. Any more that can be earmarked for research, or any encouragement that can be given to research and education and to new methods, ideas and developments, let it be given. I am sure that the whole of the Committee will agree that it could not be given to a better cause.

Mr. Maxton (Glasgow, Bridgeton)

The Debate that has taken place so far fully justifies the protests that such a short time is being allotted to it. I myself have got past the stage when I enjoy oratorical sprinting. I like to meander along in the more leisurely fashion that was favoured by Socrates and the wise men of the past, rather than to proceed with the rush of modern times, which is the way in which the Scottish Grand Committee must proceed if a reasonable number of us are to get in and a reasonable number of points are to be raised. The hon. and gallant Member for East Renfrew (Major Lloyd) said a number of things that raised points which I would like to discuss with him. The hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Sir J. Graham Kerr), who speaks so seldom but always raises something of interest, raised the question of the uncritical quality of the student who came to Glasgow University. I should have thought that Glasgow people were the most critical people in the whole of Great Britain. I never had the good fortune to be in his biological course, but I would ask him to consider this: that when I was an undergraduate we were told, if we wanted to do well in our examinations, to accept everything the professor said as being the absolute truth, and when we were answering questions to put down on paper precisely what he told us, not to put down any independent ideas—to have them if we liked but not to let him know that we had them or he would be on top of us. I would ask him to consider whether it was not that the students and undergraduates of Glasgow lacked the critical faculty but that they were too astute to let him see they had that aspect of their minds fully developed.

I want to raise three points which have been forced on my attention. One was referred to by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan). It is a shocking thing that while this House was discussing the English Education Bill, and while from the Government Front Bench and all quarters of the House there came the demand for making the avenues of education wide and free, with access for the poorest person in the land to the highest form of education, at that very point the Scottish Universities announced to the world that they were raising the fees in Scottish Universities in all faculties, except the medical faculty. I know that the Scottish Universities are autonomous, self-governing bodies, that their statutory position is defined in legislation, and that even Ministers have not the right to interfere with their internal affairs. I would like the Scottish Universities to be independent, self-governing autonomous bodies, but the State can only grant powers of that description if the bodies concerned are to operate with some regard to the broad trend of the public opinion of the country in which they are living.

It was a gesture of derisive contempt to the whole of educational thought for the Scottish Universities to make that announcement to the world—that while the House was struggling to make access to a higher education easier, they were going to take steps to make it more difficult. I put questions on the subject to the right hon. Gentleman. He has no statutory rights of interference. I was passed on to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer has no right of interference, no right to be consulted. I went to each of the three Members for the Scottish Universities; not one of them had been consulted, not one of them had been informed. They got their information about this, as I got it, from the columns of the Scottish daily Press. I think that is gross impertinence. Also, this other consideration has to be borne in mind; when we allow our universities to be self-governing autonomous bodies, that means that Glasgow University rules itself, St. Andrew's rules itself, Aberdeen rules itself and Edinburgh rules itself. What do we get here? Not four independent, self-governing bodies but a combine, a cartel, a selling price agreement by the four of them in combination. I cannot believe that the needs of St. Andrew's, for instance, financially are the same as the needs of Glasgow, nor do I believe that the needs of Aberdeen are the same as those of Edinburgh. This is like the Imperial Tobacco Company saying that whether you are at Land's End or John o' Groats you will pay 2s. 4d. for your Gold Flake. The Scottish universities are aping big business, saying, "Wherever you are, whether on the Borders or in the Orkneys or Shetlands, we, the great combine, say the price to be paid. No competition in university education." I do not think we can tolerate that.

They will turn round and say, "Yes, but the poorer people can always get grants from the local education authority. Carnegie gives munificent sums to necessitous students." But not everybody, even in the ranks of the manual workers in Scotland, wants to plead poverty before they can get their sons or daughters to universities. The tradition of the Scottish Universities was such in the old days that the session was compressed into five and a half months of the year, a very compact university session. It was a tradition of the Scottish Universities that a fellow pulled himself through the university by doing that five and a half months' compressed study, and the other six and a half months he spent getting the wherewithal to enable him to have that five and a half months. That has all gone since the right hon. Gentleman and myself were at the university. I would say that it is 50 per cent. more difficult for a poor man, or the son of a poor man, to get through a Scotch University and acquire a degree. I do not want the Scottish Universities to be starved for finance, but I do say that they ought to have made approaches to the appropriate quarter to get the necessary finance from the coffers of the State, instead of going to those least able to defend themselves, the undergraduate population, and saying to them, "You are the people who are going to pay and make good any deficiencies there are in our coffers."

That is one thing I want to say. The second thing is this. Several people have referred to the necessity of getting 4,000 extra teachers after the war. I want the right hon. Gentleman to look at what is happening now in the four training colleges for teachers, where the Minister of Labour is calling up girls who have already done a certain proportion of their period of training for teachers. I do not think that these girls are being taken into the Services now, but they are being shoved into all sorts of jobs of third-rate national importance. I understand that if girls could do about nine or 12 months' training, and start again with their training on the completion of their service, it would not be so bad, but to be taken when they have done just a fraction of their training, and turned to sweeping the floors in canteens, seems to be an awful waste of the national effort, particularly when there is such a shortage of teachers. I would like the right hon. Gentleman to ask the Minister of Labour if the time has not now arrived when girl students, at least, errtering the training colleges should be allowed to complete their courses.

I want to refer to a matter in the locality which is represented by the hon. and gallant Member for East Renfrew, who will excuse me, I hope, for butting in, because it is the area of my own upbringing. My right hon. Friend knows that, during the year, there arose in Barrhead a serious dispute between the parents and the county council over the rearrangement of the school accommodation. The parents refused to accept the rearrangements which the county council imposed upon them, and for, I think, the best part of a month withheld their children from day-school attendance. The county council put the case into the hands of the judiciary, and the people were summoned for failure to educate their children. These were as decent citizens, as keen about the education of their youngsters, as you could find anywhere. The county education committee, looking at the statistics, said that it would be more economical to shift these children from one school to another school, in another part of the town. No consideration was given to the desires of the parents, the habits of the parents, or the traditions of the area—and remember that it is not only in the Etons and the Harrows that you have traditions: ordinary folk have their traditions—prejudices if you like—about the schools in their own neighbourhoods. The right hon. Gentleman knows this problem. It is the problem of the small borough in relation to the county authority. I know that, when the original legislation was passed, the right hon. Gentleman was as big a critic of it as anybody. The county authority has to find some method by which it can get the advantages of a general system of education by raising the maximum amount of local interest and local say in the way that the education is being carried an. That is all the time I have.

Mr. McNeil (Greenock)

I wish to protest, also, against the mean procedure which thrusts Scottish education into two hours. I suggest that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, who had to confine himself sadly, and my right hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, who also, doubtless, will condense his remarks, have a partial responsibility in fixing the Business of this House. Is it suggested that if the right hon. Gentleman had said, "We want the Sitting extended," when some of us made representations from here, the Government would not have given it—especially, I hope when the Chief Whip sits for a Scottish seat? I want to support the protests which have been made about the raising of the university fees. I take a slightly different line from that of my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton). I think that the universities have not hurried to raise their fees. They took four years to do it. I think also that they could show an extremely good case for increasing their revenue in some way. There are, as my hon. Friend knows, men and women from these universities who are loaned to Government Departments now at twice and three times the salaries they get from the Scottish universities. They will go back to the universities, because they are people with a keen sense of public duty, and zealous for education.

I think that the Scottish universities have some case for increasing their revenue, but it is an empty and miserable fable to pretend that the right hon. Gentleman has no control over these universities—no one believes it. A considerable factor in the revenue of these universities and of others, is the contribution from the University Grants Committee. That is a deciding factor. I believe that the basis of the refusal to increase the contribution to the Scottish universities—of course, it is a complicated business—is that it can be claimed that, in some ways, the Scottish universities have been more favourably treated in regard to grants than the provincial universities. At the risk of being howled at, I am going to say that we have earned a title to more generous treatment. We send proportionately two of our boys and girls to universities for every English boy or girl who goes to these provincial universities. My hon. Friend looks at me rather hard—I am not making a case; I am just stating a fact. I am afraid that it is just a simple arithmetical fact; and, that being so, we are in a position to demand somewhat disproportionate treatment from the University Grants Committee. I hope that when the Government are talking about the extension of educational avenues, when my right hon. Friend concerns himself with the many problems which confront Scotland, we are not going to shut out any Scottish boy or girl from the training they so urgently need to make their contribution to Scotland.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bridgeton and my hon. Friend the Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) both concentrated on the poorest class, who are going to be shut out, or, if they get in at all, will do so by an increased contribution being put on the local authorities. Another class are affected—the lower middle class, who are just outside the Carnegie grant, and just above the level for grant from the local authorities. The increase in the fees is a very big factor in a family of, perhaps, two or three or four, who shape their ways, and, perhaps, semi-starve themselves, to see that one of their number gets, by this traditional Scottish way, an opportunity of going to a Scottish university. I hope that we shall not have any pushing aside of responsibility. It is primarily the concern of the Exchequer, and if my right hon. Friend was prepared to make representations to the Scottish universities, and say that their revenue difficulties would be met, there would be no need to raise fees.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Westwood)

I only wish there had been more time to deal with the many points raised, but I will take—[Interruption.] If I get many interventions, I will have even less chance of dealing with those points. The hon. Members for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) and Greenock (Mr. McNeil) have dealt with something that directly affects the educational progress, in many instances, of those who are going to our universities—the question of fees. I want to make it perfectly clear—and I could not make it any more clear than the hon. Member for Bridgeton did—that, so far as the Scottish Office, the Scottish Education Department, and the Secretary of State are concerned, while we definitely have an interest, we have no powers whatever in the matter. We are entitled to take an interest in anything that affects the progress of the students in our universities, but the hon. Member for Bridgeton made it clear, and I entirely agree, that, by long tradition, the universities have enjoyed freedom in the management of their educational and financial affairs, and we have no power to interfere. I will give the Committee this guarantee. Tomorrow, or as early as possible, the Secretary of State will convey to the Chancellor of the Exchequer the views expressed in this Committee in connection with the raising of the fees. That is the guarantee and promise which I give on this particular point.

Mr. Maxton

While I know that the right hon. Gentleman cannot interfere, cannot he tell the four Scottish Universities what he thinks of this move?

Mr. Westwood

I want it to be perfectly clear, and I think it is within the knowledge of the Committee, that we were never consulted in connection with this matter. Nobody seems to have been consulted, because these are ad hoc bodies, with power to do as they like.

Mr. Barr (Coatbridge)

May I recall certain incidents of history in the Scottish universities, when there was a raising of the fees for the professions, and larger grants were given by the Government?

Mr. Westwood

I am not going to enter into competition to prove that my knowledge about universities is greater than that of my hon. Friend, because I am perfectly sure that, in a competition of that kind, I would lose. His knowledge is greater than mine. All I am trying to make clear is that, as was pointed out by the hon. Member for Bridgeton, by long tradition, the universities have enjoyed freedom in the management of their educational and financial affairs. Again, I give a guarantee to the Committee that, this matter having been raised, the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—after all, it is a question of finance—will be drawn to the views of this Committee to see if he can help in this particular problem.

Many other points have been raised in this Debate. The hon. Member for Gorbals wanted to know if we could give any indication that any progress has been made in connection with education during past years. The hon. Member also raised the point of the use of our schools for A.R.P., military and fire service purposes. It is a fact that one of the casualties in the war happened to be education. I do not think that can be denied. We required premises for first-aid posts, and for the military, and so on, and it was really unfortunate that the best premises and those most suited for these purposes were, in the main, our school buildings, with the result that they were taken over by the local authorities and by the military, and lost to educational use. We have been, gradually, overcoming that difficulty. We have not completely surmounted the obstacle, yet I am pleased to be able to tell the Committee that, to-day, 99.2 per cent. of the children in the Scottish schools are getting full-time education.

Mr. Buchanan

Can the Minister say how many schools are still occupied?

Mr. Westwood

Yes, I can give this figure to my hon. Friend. I will be willing, after this Debate, as I promised before, to communicate with hon. Members on any point with which I have not time to deal. I can give my hon. Friend comparative figures to show the progress we have made. The number of schools wholly occupied in December, 1942, was 74. The number wholly occupied in June, 1944, had been reduced to 62. The number partly occupied in December, 1942, was 271. The number partly occupied in June, 1944, had been reduced to 141. The number of schools wholly or partly occupied for non-educational purposes has decreased by 12 and 130 since December, 1942. This continued downward trend represents, I submit to the Committee, a substantial improvement, though not all that we desire, because, schools having been built for educational purposes, none of us will be satisfied until they are restored to their original use. There are now only three county education areas—Angus, Ross and Cromarty and Stirling—and two burghs—Aberdeen and Glasgow—in which the occupation of schools by other services is given as the reason for the failure to restore full time education.

Mr. Buchanan

It shows that the problem exists.

Mr. Westwood

But it also shows that we are trying to overcome the difficulties in the education of our children. It is a fact also that we are making real progress in connection with education, in that the secondary school roll is up by 1,773. Even our nursery school classes have increased during the year, the roll being up by 576. As I have already indicated, whole-time education is now being provided for 99.2 per cent. of our children, which is an improvement by 1.2 per cent. Half-time education is down by 1.2 to 8 per cent. of those on the roll. Incidentally, the number of exemptions granted, even in the midst of war, has actually decreased The permanent exemptions are down by 1,586. It would be of interest to the Committee, as evidence of educational progress, to point out that the number of senior leaving certificates is up by 247. The point was raised by the hon. Member for Dunfermline (Mr. Watson) on the question of improvement in the numbers taking technical education. This matter has been receiving the attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, and one of the remits to the Advisory Committee is to inquire into and report upon the improvement necessary with regard to technical education outwith the universities, having regard to the provision made for technical education in universities. We are now awaiting their report and recommendations as to what improvements should be made towards still further advances in technical education. It is of interest to note that under the course of technical subjects for the school leaving certificate there were 169 candidates this year as compared with 40 in the year 1939, that again being progress and improvement in technical education.

A point was raised about the prevocational classes. These pre-vocational or pre-apprenticeship classes are not confined to the building industry. We recommend starting pre-apprenticeship classes in connection with the engineering industry and we are going to carry them to other spheres of industry because of the need for, and improvement in, technical education, which is necessary if we are to be in the forefront of the work that lies ahead of us. Another point was raised as to the exact position with regard to the pre-apprenticeship courses in the building industry. The scheme has been in operation for two years. It was set up in accordance with recommendations of a Committee appointed for the purpose of dealing with the intake into the building industry. They recommended that the education authorities should give encouragement to young persons to take advantage of pre-vocational education in the building industry. We have approximately 700 who have taken advantage of this pre-vocational course.

Major Lloyd

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied with the way local authorities have taken it up?

Mr. Westwood

I am never satisfied with something that I am anxious to see made perfect, and we have not yet reached perfection. Eight authorities have taken advantage of the scheme and some are doing very well in regard to it. The bursaries that some are providing are really substantial. I take the case of Aberdeen, where they are providing bursaries under the scheme of £28 per annum; then there is Dundee, £36; Edinburgh, £30 plus travelling expenses; Glasgow, £15 plus travelling expenses; Inverness, for boys at home £20, and for those in lodgings £60; the county of Lanark, from £4 to £20 according to parents' needs; and in the county of Ayr the ordinary secondary bursary with a maximum of £7. I hope, in my desire to see success with these courses, all seven will try to emulate the best so as to get as large as possible an intake for these particular courses and that the other authorities who have not yet pulled their weight will now fall into line. We sent out a circular in which we really gave them a quota at which to aim, so that they would be able to get from 1,000 to 1,500 taking advantage of the pre-apprenticeship courses with a view to their being trained to enter the building industry. That was for the purpose of giving us at least 50,000 building trade apprentices trained for the building industry as far as Great Britain is concerned. The position is that approximately 700 in Scotland have now taken advantage of these schemes which are now established in eight centres.

We are planning pre-apprenticeship courses for the engineering industry in five centres and also proposing a course of training for hotel management. If we are to have a proper tourist industry in Scotland we have to be prepared for that after the war. Special reference was made in connection with school meals and milk and I entirely agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan). I hope that I shall live to have the honour of being able to announce at this Box that we are not merely going to provide meals. We have increased the number provided from 6.7 per cent., in three years, until now it is approximately 25 per cent. I hope to see the time when as part of the school curriculum there will be a well-balanced mid-day meal provided free, without the necessity for inquiries. The scale in connection with means is laid down by the local authority and not by the Department, and I know of no case that has come up for approval.

I am sorry that I have not the time to deal with every point that has been raised but I will give a guarantee that on any points not dealt with—and we will go through HANSARD to-morrow—a proper and a full reply is sent in regard to the points raised in this Debate.

Ordered: That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—[Captain McEwen.]

Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.

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