§ This Amendment is intended to correct a drafting error.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. C. Davies
I beg to move, in page 32, line 1, after "in," to insert "professional."
In the absence of my hon. Friend the hon. Member for South Tottenham (Mr. Messer) I beg to move this Amendment, because "technical, commercial and art" may not cover all the subjects that ought to be taught.
§ Mr. Lindsay
I should like to support the Amendment. Later on in the Bill, when we come to the provisions for local authorities to make grants to aid various things, a number of Amendments put down will deal with that provision. I will not enlarge on it now, but it is a question which should be discussed very fully on that Clause.
§ Mr. Edmond Harvey (Combined English Universities)
I hope the President will accept this Amendment. It is surely desirable that the widest opportunity of education should be given in these schools. As it is drafted, the Clause is soewhat narrow, and it would be a great pity if local authorities were confined to the narrowest of activities. We want to have the widest opportunities and I hope very much that this revision may be accepted.
§ Mr. Woodburn
When the Minister replies would he explain why it is desired to limit them, by the specific mention of three subjects, excluding others?
§ Mr. Ede
I do not think it is desirable to do that at all, and may I say that in regard to the use of the word "professional," I understand that the point of view that animates my hon. and gallant Friend who moved it, I should have thought myself that it was covered by the present wording, and it is a fact that professional education of this type is at 792 present given in a great many technological colleges and similar places with success. I should not have thought that it was necessary to add the word. May I say that we have had representations from the Law Society that they would desire that some such word as this should be included? Personally, I am not anxious to increase the linguistic difficulties betwen the trades and professions in this country, because the borderline is very narrow. I do not know whether the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) would regard the Clause, as drawn, as applicable to the Pharmaceutical Society's examination, as being technical or professional. Personally, I should have thought it should be regarded as professional, although I may not carry all the doctors with me on that. This examination has been taken with great success for many years in these technical colleges. We will examine the wording of this Sub-section to see if it would be used in the exclusive sense that my hon. and learned Friend fears, and if so we will take the necessary steps to correct it on the next stage.
§ Mr. E. Harvey
Before the hon. Member withdraws the Amendment, if he is going to do so, will the Minister go a little further and consider the possibility of a rather wider scope? It is rather a pity that technical colleges should be limited in any way, and it is desirable that some humane subject should be added to the technical subjects to make a really satisfactory course, and the Clause, as worded, would appear to exclude that.
§ Mr. Ede
May I say that the hon. Member for the Combined English Universities (Mr. Harvey) as he so often does, expressed very clearly what the Government have in mind? We should deplore anything which will confine these institutions to the purely technical and professional aspects of education. We would desire that those people studying a long and very narrow course, and compelled by circumstances to do that, should have opportunities of participating, inside the same institution, in the broad cultural education, and it would be our desire that that should be done. We will very carefully examine the Clause and make sure that these words will not exclude that. I am sure the hon. Member for the Combined English Universities, who knows the work that is being done by 793 some of the technical colleges, for instance, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, at the moment, will agree that they do give a very broad general education in addition to the technical education they provide.
§ Mr. Linstead (Putney)
The Parliamentary Secretary has referred to the examination of the Pharmaceutical Society and indicated that, in his view, it would be classified as professional, with which opinion I respectfully agree. Would he give me an assurance, which I think was implied in what he said, though I am not quite clear, that he does regard it as a case of the duty of the local education authorities to provide full-time education for those taking this examination?
§ Mr. Woodburn
May I suggest to the Minister that the specification should be left out and that it should be full-time and part-time education for persons above the compulsory school age of the widest scope?
§ Mr. C. Davies
I hope that the intention of the Government was expressed in the second speech of the Parliamentary Secretary; and may I commend for his consideration paragraph (c), because that really refers to the very humanities which the Member for the Combined English Universities (Mr. E. Harvey) had in mind. It is expressed this way:(c) leisure-time occupation, in such organized cultural training and recreative activities as are suited to their requirements," etc.Why be so specific? I ought to add "professional," because I do not know at the moment what is the definition of a profession, nor do I know what is the definition of "technical" or "commercial." I remember that in my own little town, where I was brought up and received such education as I have, there was a local barber who came into the town, and after he had been barbering for some time, I went one day for a haircut. He said "I want you to congratulate me. I have just been appointed a collector for the Prudential Insurance Company, so that I have now both a profession and a trade." I asked him which was which, and on that point he would not say, so that I have not really been able to know what is the definition of a profession and of a trade. However, I know that it is the desire of the Government to make 794 this as wide as possible and with that assurance I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
The next Amendment which I call is that standing in the name of the hon. Member for the Abbey Division (Sir H. Webbe), and I would point out that his Amendment covers the point raised later in the Amendment of the hon. Member for The Wrekin (Mr. Colegate)—Clause 41, page 33, line 23, leave out "young people's," and insert "county."
§ Sir Harold Webbe (Westminster, Abbey)
I beg to move, in page 32, line 12, to leave out "young people's colleges," and to insert:national, colleges for part-time education as provided in paragraph (a) hereof.The purpose of this Amendment and of consequential Amendments which I have put down is to get rid of that completely odious term "young people's." I appreciate the great difficulty of finding a suitable name for a new institution, and particularly for one of such importance as these new colleges are to be. I have no doubt that my right hon. Friend has given a great deal of thought to this before making his choice, but I submit that the choice which he has actually made is just about as bad as it could possibly be. The phrase "young people" is such as must infuriate any boy or girl who has just left school. It is patronising and, what is worse, it is sanctimonious, and in the mind of almost everybody it is associated with the worst type of pale young curate with strong glasses and a weak chin, a receding forehead and a prominent Adam's apple. In the name of common decency I say that this detestable phrase should be withdrawn.
I want, however, to give some serious reasons why this name is quite inappropriate and very unfortunate. These new continuation colleges will not be easy places to run. We shall be making a great mistake if we think that all the boys and girls who leave school and are obliged to attend them will welcome the opportunity and will be keen to do their work in them-The teachers will have a difficult time, and any success they may have will depend very largely on how far they can persuade their pupils that the work they 795 are doing in these continuation colleges is part of their entry into manhood and not a continuation of their schooldays. It is a psychological fact that after boys and girls leave school, for the first couple of years at any rate, the one thing they want above all others is to be regarded as grown-ups and they resent bitterly any suggestion that they are still children. For that reason it is most unfortunate that we should give to these part-time colleges the title "young people's," which definitely marks them as having something to do with childhood rather than with manhood.
There is another reason. It is my hope personally, as I said in the Debate on the, White Paper, that these part-time continuation colleges will become the centres round which the great developments of adult education may take place. The premises themselves will be built and equipped for full-size people. They will be eminently suitable for the use for which they are required by those between 16 and 18, as establishments for adult education and I hope they will be so used. Obviously, the title "young people's colleges" is entirely inappropriate, and, from the psychological point of view, it is most important that the boys and girls who attend these schools under compulsion should see their elders—their fathers and mothers, their uncles and aunts—attending the same places voluntarily because they think them worth while. Experience in the Cambridge village colleges has shown that there is a tremendous psychological value in the association of the adolescent and the adult not only in their education but also in social activities. I hope, therefore, that we can get rid of the word "young" or of any word in the title of these institutions which connotes childhood rather than manhood.
When one asks to have any title erased one is obviously in duty bound to suggest an alternative. I would be willing to drop the word "young" and call these institutions "people's colleges." It is dignified, it is English and it is simple. I shall be told by certain people that the word "people's" in this connection might be held to imply some kind of social inferiority. Why it should I do not know, but I would be content if they were called people's colleges. I have also considered the suggestion which was made by my hon. Friend the Member for The Wrekin (Mr. Colegate) that they should be called 796 county colleges. My only criticism of that name is that there are already established and well-known county schools, and I want to get away, if I can, from anything which implies that these are schools in the sense in which the young people have always known them. I suggest they should be called national colleges. There are two possible objections. One is that there still exist a certain number of national schools founded by the old National Society. Thirty years ago, when I was inspector at the Board, there were a very few schools known locally as national schools, and there will presumably be less now. They are mostly known as Church schools. Therefore, I do not think that that is a valid addition to the suggestion I have made. The other objection is as to whether national colleges is rather a too noble and too dignified a title. If they are to remain simply part-time schools for boys and girls between 16 and 18, that might be true, but I hope that they will develop into institutions which will also be very largely concerned with adult education. It is for these reasons that I move the Amendment, and I ask the President of the Board to consider whether he cannot find some title which will be free from the objection which I have tried to make.
§ Mr. Colegate
I support my hon. Friend in his abjections to the title "young people's colleges" which this new Bill sets up. We differ slightly but not very seriously about the new name. In a moment I will give my reasons for liking the term "county colleges" but I would very seriously urge that the name "young people's colleges" will not help to give these institutions the send-off we want them to have. If we are to be successful with adult education, we have to attach prestige to the institution in which it is carried out, and I am looking at if from many points of view. May; give one instance? Many people coming from these young people's colleges will be applying for employment and will be able to say, "I got my school certificate at so and so, and then I got another certificate for some technical or professional subject at the so-and-so college." Now to suggest it is a "young people's college" in that respect, is rather lessening the value which the education given there ought to receive, because, if we are to be successful in this, the youth schools are going to be only a beginning. We want 797 to see them developed into institutions which give a wide, broad, cultural education as well as the merely specific technical or professional instruction which is set out in the Clause. Particularly I think it urgent that these colleges should give, in every case, whatever the subject taught, a course in English in addition, because there is no doubt that a good knowledge of English is one of the things most urgently required by the people who are going to use these colleges.
As to the actual phrase to be used, I do not like "national" because, to start with, it is not sufficiently local and would imply people coming from any part of the United Kingdom. Just as we like our county cricket teams so, in the same way, if you want to build up loyalty and prestige for these colleges, you have to associate them geographically with the counties in which they are situated. A man may be proud of his school, and he will be proud of the fact that he went to the Shropshire county college, or the Yorkshire, or the West Riding county college. I believe in that way you would build up the kind of prestige which we must get if we are to make a success of these colleges. I think the objection to "county" because there are county schools is not a serious one. There is a Bedford School and a Bedford College, which I think has a very considerable reputation and, in the same way, I believe that if you attach the name county—or joint counties as they may be in certain cases—to these schools you will encourage an enormous amount of local interest, which we want. I hope these county colleges will very often run football and cricket teams and, although I cannot support the Amendment fully, I support the reason of my hon. Friend. I hope the word "county" may be substituted for "national."
§ Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)
My only reason for intervening is that for years I have been chairman of a Welsh Youth Advisory Committee and have worked with young people. I am very glad the word "school" has been kept out of the name, because young people object to going back to school. The old evening school from the beginning was found to fail because a young fellow hates to go back. Here is a new institution, and one in which the name is important. If 798 in the minds of the young people we make a wrong choice we shall make a fatal mistake from the beginning. I have worked with the youth movement and I am beginning to sense a revolt against it, because it has become associated with what old people want to do for the young. I think it is very important that this shall be an institution in which the young people do the ruling themselves. That is very important psychologically, and I am therefore going to make a suggestion. I reject the word "national" because it is associated, in so many places, with the national school, and it would be fatal for these institutions to be associated with the school to which the boy has gone and to which he hopes never to have to go back. I reject "county" too.
What are we doing under this Bill? We are removing them from local educational committees. For example, as far as I know, subject to what happens in the Bill later on, my own town ceases to have an educational committee and the name "Llanelly" goes out. I think there is something very vital in local patriotism which is very often the most enduring and the finest type, and which I would like to see preserved in education. I have discovered that in 1842 a minister from my town, giving evidence before a Commission discussing the employment of young people, suggested then that the school-leaving age should be raised to 15. I am glad to say that this Government in 1944 is willing to do what was suggested in 1842. What about the title, "community college"? That keeps the terms "young," "national," and "county" out. The one place in the world where this experiment has been most successful is in Denmark, where they have the Danish High Volk School. I think there is something in the word "Volk"; the sustaining and the building up of real democratic culture. I would suggest, therefore, "community college." There is a word I am going to suggest to my own people in Wales—it is much better in Welsh—"Coleg Gwerin." I support the idea, and I think there is much to be said for keeping the word "young" out of it anyhow.
§ Mr. Lindsay
I have given this matter a lot of thought and I have come to the conclusion that the title "young people's" is hopeless. I have asked 799 scores of people in the last three or four weeks and I cannot find anyone who really likes it. When we were starting youth committees, we had to reject "juvenile," "adolescent" and all the other words. We did not like "youth" but it was short. These colleges are primarily for those between 15 and 18. I agree they ought to look upwards, and I throw out the suggestion which is contained in the Scottish Report and which I think is pretty sensible, and that is, not to call them anything at all, but to use the name of the place. In other words, it becomes the "something college." This is part of further education and the only differentiating factor from the rest of further education, is that it is compulsory and in the day time. Someone suggested "junior colleges," but 15 to 18 is the senior part of technical work, and that would not do. Somebody suggested "junior technical schools," and that would not do. Somebody else suggested "day college." That seems to me rather dull. However, I can see that "Windsor College" would be a great challenge to rival institutions there, and gradually, all over the country, the word "college" which is a good ancient word, would come to be synonymous with this particular field. I entirely agree with the hon. Member who said that it must be more like what Mr. Kitchen at Rugby has conclusively proved in his book, part of the community and not just segregation of youth. It is only a name, but the more it is part of the community, and obviously not a return to school, the better. Therefore, I suggest we give it the name of the place and let people have a little responsibility themselves.
§ Mr. Butler
It is quite clear that the Government could not accept the Amendment, because if we included the word "national" we should alienate the majority of the Committee. I am sorry that the hon. Member who has had such experience of education should not be able to have his way, but he has done a service in clearing the air. I cannot accept his definition of some members of the Established Church, which he described so eloquently. I think the general feeling of the Committee is that we cannot use the word "school," and that therefore we come down on the side of "college." We will not hurry to decide a name but those who have framed this Bill have been all through this discussion before, and no 800 idea I have heard put forward to-day has been an idea that we have not considered ourselves. We think that "community" may get mixed up with community centres, which are new organisations with which the Board will be intimately connected and that that might lead to confusion. I would like to pay a tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), for the work he has done in the past, especially in connection with the Welsh Youth Advisory Council. I will pay attention to what he has said. I only wish that our expressions in English were as beautiful as some of the Welsh expressions. My hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Lindsay) is right: many of these colleges, when they are set up, will be called by the names of their own localities. But what we want is a working name for the purpose of this Bill. It is difficult to accept any of the suggestions which have been put forward—"national," because it is associated with past words, "community," for the reason I have given and, "county," because it has a certain snob significance, which might perhaps lead the colleges not to have the right tone.
§ Mr. Butler
I do not have the same objection to the word "young" as some hon. Members. Youth is the most priceless possession of the inmates of these colleges and we have no violent objection to this name. I originally gave a prize to my advisers for the best name for these colleges and this is the name which won that prize. I now offer a prize to the Committee. If anybody can suggest a better name before the Report stage we will accept it. At present, the prize I have given to one of my advisers holds the field.
§ Mr. Tinker (Leigh)
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not think of changing the name "young people's colleges." It seems that everyone wants the name of his own choice and, therefore, we cannot come to agreement. What is this Bill for? It is for young people. Objection is raised to the term "young people" being used. But is this Bill for old people? No, it is to help to build up the young mind and unless somebody can bring forward a better name—which I think is impossible—I hope the Minister will stick to the name in the Bill.
§ Mr. Pickthorn
This Debate is great fun and I see no reason why it should not go on for ever. There is high authority for the view that the strictest and highest test of literary ability is to christen a kitten. I have always found it very difficult myself. It is a great test of literary ability to be able to name these educational institutions. The whole attention of the Committee has been directed to half the proposed name and I draw attention to that fact and to this other fact: that the second half of the name, to which no attention has been paid, is the using of the word in a sense which it does not bear. It seems to be rather a dismal reflection upon our educational progress, and the situation we have now reached, that one of our favourite ways of making things better is by baptising them with the name of something which is supposed to be slightly superior and at the same time laying hands upon our hearts and saying, "Of course, the evil is snobbery." So long as that is to be the procedure of this Assembly on these matters it seems a little difficult to see how we are to get on.
My hon. Friend the Member for The Wrekin (Mr. Colegate) said he was concerned about conferring prestige upon these institutions. Well, with all respect to him I should have thought that a properly educated man would have said that prestige is one of the few things which cannot be conferred. You can confer a title, a coronet, or a medal, but you really cannot confer prestige. My hon. Friend the Member for the Abbey Division of Westminster (Sir H. Webbe) told us that he foresaw two objections to the name "national colleges." I have forgotten what they were, but they were not the two objections which I expected—first, that they were not national and, second, that they were not colleges. These are not colleges. "College" is a technical term: it means a corporate body and the name is used particularly in connection with the corporate bodies which endeavour to confer higher education, and most particularly in connection with those bodies which are independent of the Government, and, so to speak, their own customers, because they are in their own right sufficiently well off to be able not to give a damn for either. These proposed institutions have none of these characteristics at all. I do not mind a bit if the Board of Education, the House 802 of Commons and everyone else thinks that the best thing to do is to call these institutions by a name which has hitherto been used for other purposes. That is O.K. by me, but do let us all know what we are all at. Let us all call each other "right hon. Gentlemen," or "learned," or "gallant," or anything you please, but if we are to discuss the names of these institutions we ought to pay attention not only to the epithets but also to the substantive which, beyond dispute, is inappropriate.
§ Mr. Maxton (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
I should have thought that the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pick-thorn) would have given more thought to this matter before he delivered that speech. He is objecting to these young people's establishments because already the name, "college," has been adopted as a bit of private property by a certain institution with which he is associated.
§ Mr. Maxton
I will not attempt to meet the hon. Gentleman on his own ground of history, but I rather imagine his institution pinched the name from the Romans. The hon. Member's predecessors saw the honour and prestige that attached to the colleges of the cardinals and said, "There is prestige to be got from Rome by the use of the term, 'college.' We will take it, plank it down in Cambridge and retain it as our own private property."
§ Mr. Driberg (Maldon)
If I may waste a moment or two more of the time of the Commitee, I would like to say that if these institutions are not to be called "colleges" I suppose they will have to be called "academies." Then they will become known as "Mr. Butler's Select Academies for Young People." But, seriously, the only suggestion the right hon. Gentleman did not deal with was the one made incidentally by one hon. Member, of dropping the word "young" and simply referring to them as "People's colleges." I do not think there is the valid objection to that which the hon. Member thought there was. Although it is true, as my hon. Friend the Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker) said, that "young people's'" is perfectly descriptive of the contents of the Bill and the work of the colleges, at the same time I think it is also true that young people themselves would 803 find the phrase a little patronising and condescending. It is not a nice phrase to them.
§ Sir Stanley Reed (Aylesbury)
As my right hon. Friend has thrown this open to competition, will he make the reward ample, in view of the approach of Income Tax time? They cannot take the name of Butler's Colleges because it would mix them up with. Butlin's camps. It is hoped to make these new institutions places where English is taught. I have hoped all my life to see that done. I have lived a good many years hoping that a little English might be taught in our public schools. But I have never found it. I pin 'my faith to these new institutions.
§ Sir H. Webbe
I should like to enter a new horse for the competition my right hon. Friend has initiated, and to scrap my previous entry by asking leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ The Chairman (Major Milner)
I am a little doubtful whether the next Amendment is in the right place, or is in Order. Perhaps the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) will move it and we will see how we get on.
§ Mr. Maxton
I beg to move, in page 32, line 13, at the end, to add:Provided that the Minister shall be directly responsible for the provision of facilities for, and for stimulating interest in, general cultural education among the adult population, in conjunction with universities, technical colleges, music and art institutions, and voluntary organisations interested in education.This is my one ewe lamb and I hope the wind will be tempered to it. The point that I am trying to make is that, in the Bill, we are imposing duties on local authorities to carry on educational work at every stage, with the Minister having a general supervision over what the local authorities are going to do. When we get to the branch of adult education, I want the Minister to have direct responsibility imposed upon him, because I do not think you can, or want to, impose on every county in England the duty of making provision for adult education on a large scale. I think the Ministry of Education itself should take direct responsibility for stimulating interest in adult education and 804 for providing certain facilities. I do not think they should be asked to do the teaching. I do not think they should be asked to lay down the curriculum. I do not suggest that they should be asked to provide the teachers, but I do suggest that they should see that, in certain areas, there are establishments to which adults can go from all corners of the country, for a limited period of time and that in placing everything on to the county, even up to the highest range of education, you are being parochial. People in Glamorgan will always associate with people from Glamorgan, and people in Yorkshire with Yorkshire people. I am sure that in councils, trade unions and organisations of one kind or another a whole lot of the difficulties that arise in getting common decisions arise, not because of differences in the general approach but are due to differences arising out of local characteristics. Scotsmen fighting Welshmen, and Welshmen fighting Yorkshire men and, of all, Lancastrians are the most difficult people to deal with because they have always been so self-contained and so self-satisfied—generally speaking, with good reason for being self-satisfied.
I have a very keen interest in adult education. It is the only education about which I really get enthusiastic. Up to 19 or 20, people get drilled, trained and messed about. It is only at the 19 and 20 and 21 stage that the average person really knows what he is interested in. It is only then that he begins to want to know something. Before that he may have wanted to get an education, or be trained for some profession, business or trade, but when he is about 21 years of age a man begins to find that he has an interest in something. Generally it is just at that age, when he is trying to establish himself in some way of earning a living, that he has the greatest difficulty in getting access to the means of education in the thing in which he has found he is really interested. In a locality there are frequently far too few people to make the running of a local class in certain things a worth-while proposition. I can recall my own home town in Scotland where there were two men whom I knew, both manual workers, one a tin smith and the other a marble cutter. One was an enthusiastic, and very well informed geologist. His literary education was of a most indifferent kind but his knowledge of geology was on a high level. 805 The other was interested in biology, botany, zoology and the flora and fauna of the district. These men had not any one with whom to exchange ideas. Everybody is keen on something periodically, whether it is fishing or golf or playing the fiddle, and he wants to meet like and interested people and to exchange experiences. If you scoured the whole county you would not have got a better zoologist and geologist than those two men. They came to me because they thought I was a little better educated than they were, just to talk about their subjects. I am thinking of ways and means by which men of that kind, who are interested in a limited field, can get among people who are similarly enthusiastic.
I have a strong feeling on this subject. My hon. Friend the Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker) referred to education as something we do for the younger folk. When a person has reached my age, he is reckoned to be all that he is going to be; he is fixed for life. Somebody defined education as what is left to a man after he has forgotten all he learned. It is true that education makes the essential man, but that essential man is always capable of modification throughout an extended life. It is the duty of the community to give fairly easy access to adults for opportunities to improve their mental contacts or their cultural interests. I do not know that there is anyone on a lower level than the Minister, who can take full responsibility for that. The most interesting and notable bit of educational work I ever did was to teach in an evening continuation school some 20 adults who were absolutely illiterate when I got them. They were all older than me, their ages ranging from 25 to 49. I had to start on the level of the infants' room. They were not mentally deficient but illiterate. They had come from the West of Ireland, and had escaped ordinary educational training. It was an eye-opener to me to find it was possible to give a man of 49 the equipment to enable him to read the newspaper and to write a simple letter. That experience always made me indignant at the view that, if you do not learn things young you do not learn them at all.
§ Mr. Maxton
When Irish intelligence is set going toy Scottish guidance, you cannot 806 get a finer combination. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will bear with me. Perhaps I am riding a hobby-horse, but I think the Committee may be interested in my experiences. For over 30 years, under the auspices of my party, for admittedly party ends in view, we have carried on summer schools in the first fortnight of August in various parts of the country which were congenial holiday neighbourhoods. We have had schools of students from all parts of the country, ranging up to 200, and in pre-war days we attracted students from various parts of the Continent. I have seen Germans, Czechs, Frenchmen, and so on. I see you looking at me, Major Milner,
§ Mr. Maxton
I am trying to make my point that the things I want done by this Amendment are things that we cannot rightly ask local authorities to do, but that we can, rightly, ask the Minister himself to do. Similar work has been done by the Co-operative Society, the Fabian Society, and the National Council of Labour Colleges. I understand that the Conservative Party does something on these lines. There is also the work of Workers' Educational Association. I have been amazed at the results that have been achieved by even a fortnight's school, any people from the extreme ends of these Islands getting together and living together. The results that have come from rubbing shoulders against one another and bringing their minds into contact with each other, and by hearing lectures and speaking to people whose names they have heard about in one national connection and another, are tremendous.
The Minister can do two things. We have always been dependent on the good will of some boarding school or college that was prepared to let their place during their holiday period. We have to find a person who is willing to let a school at a certain rent, and to leave their domestic staff working when they wanted to be on holiday. I am suggesting that the Minister should, in, say, half a dozen places, experimentally set apart establishments of that sort to meet the needs of adults. He should be little more than a landlord, letting these places to these bodies that carry on adult education.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
May I point out to my hon. Friend that in many areas there will 807 be available to the nation large numbers of buildings, built for war purposes, but admirably suited for the very thing he is suggesting.
§ Mr. Maxton
I am prepared to accept that as a valuable idea for a temporary' period, but I do not want anything secondhand. I want places designed from the start by an architect, who is told what the idea is, and what is required in the way of grounds, outdoor recreation, and indoor facilities like lecture rooms, concert rooms, music room, laboratory, etc.
§ Mr. Maxton
The point is that I want the Minister to be responsible, and not the local education authority. The Minister can have a list available of qualified persons, or people running such a school may come forward. I would ask the Minister to take the matter upon his own shoulders, perhaps working in the. friendliest co-operation with national organisations like the Workers' Educational Association. That is the one that comes to the tip of my tongue, although I do not want the idea to be dominated by one organisation. It is a well-established institution which has shown real enthusiasm, and I suggest the Minister should stimulate it.
So far as colleges are concerned, for about two months in the year that sort of thing may be reasonably successful in July and August, when people normally get their holidays, and it would be uneconomic to build colleges that are convenient only for a couple of months. In the years immediately succeeding the war, a lot of work will have to be done which is not exactly educational and certain Government Departments can get their civil servants in to cope with the work. I know there are business organisations who may call in their own people from different parts of the country to train them. One can hardly call that education, but it adds to the total volume in improving the general efficiency of the nation. I should think that full-time use could be made of residential colleges for 12 months in the year, if the Minister were prepared to take the responsibility.
If the Minister says that he cannot be responsible for that sort of thing, I shall reply that there are wonderful schools in 808 the country being run by another Government Department, the Home Office. The schools start with the great disadvantage of being approved schools for delinquents, and have a nasty mark on them to begin with, but they are run by a local department which is not primarily a local education authority, and I am told that some of them are doing wonderful work. If the Home Office can do educational things without passing them over to the local authority, the President of the Board of Education can do it also. I thank the Committee, you Major Milner, and the Minister for being very patient with me. I hope that the Minister will be able to give me a favourable reply.
§ Mr. Butler
I am sure that the Committee will have been very much impressed by the sincerity of the hon. Member. I have profited, in the course of the preparation of the Bill, by frequent conversations with him in this—House, in which he is one of the best-known Members. I am sure that we are obliged to him for his observations, but I think we shall have some little difficulty in having a Debate on this Amendment, because I shall find myself in a difficulty with you, Major Milner, since the Clause relates solely to the general duties of local education authorities. Therefore, I am in some difficulty about giving a full reply to the hon. Member. If he really wishes to have a more detailed reply than I shall give in a few minutes, I would point out that the grant provisions, Clause 93 (1, b) are those under which the Minister can give grants to personsother than local education authorities…in respect of expenditure incurred or to be incurred for the purposes of educational services provided by them or on their behalf or under their management or for the purposes of educational research.So there is power in the Bill, under a Clause to which we have yet to come, which would give us all the necessary power for carrying out what the hon. Member has in' mind. From the point of view of further Government statement, his position is therefore saved. The other occasion when I would be right in describing what the Minister can do directly would be on Clause 1 of the Bill.
§ Mr. Maxton
Would the Minister allow me? Clause 1 gives the education authority general duties, but there is no provision, as I see it, for the general powers of the Bill to be applied to the Minister un- 809 less he tells me that he can do all these things implicitly, by, reason of his position.
§ Mr. Maxton
I cannot find in the financial part of the Bill instructions as to whom he can pay money directly on education matters.
§ Mr. Butler
The powers referred to in Clause 93, are in relation to persons other than local education authorities, and I think that would mean an organisation to which the Minister paid grants was under his control. The hon. Gentleman is really looking more for a college or school directly in the Minister's control. I will certainly examine the financial implications of that suggestion, but there is no doubt that Clause 1 is so widely drawn that the Minister, under his powersto promote the education of the people of England and Wales and the progressive development of institutions devoted to that purpose,has not got his wings clipped. That is the reason why Clause 1 was drawn so much more broadly than any previous Clauses have been drawn in an Education Bill.
The main answer to the hon. Gentleman, however, is that our idea, when we come to consider Clause 40, is that further education shall be organised in collaboration with various institutions. Again, this would be easier for me to discuss on another Clause, for instance, on Sub-section (5) of Clause 40, where definite allusion is made touniversities, educational associations, and other bodies.I believe that the point put by the hon. Member would best be met by collaboration between various bodies, and not solely by the direct impact of the State upon an organisation. Clause 40 gives ample opportunity for variations of combinations of different agencies in adult education.
I will give an example. There is an organisation in North Staffordshire, where there is an association between the University, the local education authority, and a variety of local authorities whose work impinges on the area. The Minister there comes in as a deus ex machina for arranging the general co-ordination and approving the scheme. I believe the hon. Mem- 810 ber will find that direct Ministerial influence alone, is not enough and that the Minister will either have to work with the bodies which are non-educational, referred to in Clause 93, or some organisation like the Workers' Educational Association, or some other adult body, or university, or, as I hope, the local authority, and it is very seldom he will work absolutely alone. It would be rather a sad idea if he were to send down simply some representative of his own office to start up some local effort.
§ Mr. Butler
Under Clause 1 he could assist new forms of organisation to further the educational effort. Therefore nothing of that sort is ruled out. The hon. Member who has spoken so movingly about education for grown-ups, will find that the Minister has to collaborate with somebody, and one of these combinations will be possible under Clause 1, Clause 39 or Clause 93. If he wants the Minister to have purely departmental control of education, that would be rather a major departure from the principles of British education, because British education has always run in partnership between the Board and the local authority. I am no dictator. I have to work with the local authorities and with voluntary bodies, with the churches and many other agencies. In the same way I believe that education would be better developed of we retained a certain amount of partnership. If he will concede me that, I will give him this—that it is high time the Minister and his office became more keen on taking the educational initiative themselves. I will give two examples of how we are trying to do that. The first relates to power of research. Up to the introduction of this Bill, the President of the Board of Education had no power to promote research at all. That is included in this Bill. Similarly we have not at the centre any council such as we are setting up under this Bill, to advise us on the content of education. I hope that in these two ways we are becoming more educationally-minded than before. I will examine the implications of the Amendment with pleasure on the understanding that it would be out of place to put it in this Clause which relates only to local authorities. I will examine how the hon. Member's worthy ideas can be paid attention to by the Government, and I 811 hope that he will study the various Clauses to which I have referred.
§ The Chairman
I hope the Committee will not pursue the discussion. I expressed doubt as to whether the Amendment was in Order and the Minister has made clear that it is in the wrong place. I hope hon. Members will permit it to be withdrawn, and perhaps it can be discussed on the other occasion referred to by the Minister.
§ Sir George Schuster (Walsall)
The Minister told us that his wings were not clipped. I think it is pretty clear from the Bill that his wings are by no means clipped. If I understand my hon. Friend's Amendment, he wants to make sure that the Minister, with those unclipped wings, will fly in a particular direction. I would like to ask the Minister whether, in considering these Clauses in relation to which he has told us this question has been brought up, he thinks it will be possible to incorporate in them some expression of the opinion of this Committee that they attach immense importance to adult education.
§ Mr. Edmund Harvey
I do not want to delay the Committee but I want to ask whether the President, in view of his most sympathetic reply, would not be willing to consider the possibility of introducing a new Clause covering the ground of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton). It is of immense importance and it would be of the greatest help if in the Bill we could have guidance given. Could my right hon. Friend promise he would be willing to consider that? I do not ask him for a definite assurance now as I think that Members on all sides who are deeply interested in adult education have heard him with very great satisfaction.
§ Mr. Butler
The idea certainly crossed my mind, but I was advised that Clause 1 was so drawn that it would be a pity to put any gloss on it, and that it would be better if I could give to the hon. Member and those interested, an indication of the powers implicit in Clause 1, which would indicate that no other Clause was necessary. They could then decide whether it was necessary to ask for anything further.
§ The Chairman
Hon. Members will put the Chair in a difficulty if they persist in this discussion on this occasion.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Rear-Admiral Beamish (Lewes)
I beg to move, in page 32, line 13, at the end, to add:(2) In fulfilling their duties under this Section every local education authority shall secure that part-time education is provided for all male persons over compulsory school age in the essential work and duty of the Armed Forces of the Crown and the Civil Defence services.I regret to have to do so after such a long Sitting but that does not happen to be any fault of mine. It is on the subject of further education, and if I may say so, it deals with a very important point, because, as I understand it, Clause 39, when we have passed it, will bear the meaning assigned to it under the Interpretation Clause 103, which says that further education is defined in Clause 39. Therefore, I am anxious to define it with as much precision as possible, and the fundamental rights and duties of citizenship in relation to the State. I, therefore, want to try to do what I can on this possibly controversial subject to direct my remarks on to the highest possible plane of national well-being because I believe it is only on those lines that the Minister or the Government can accept the idea. I would ask, Can it truly be said that further education, as we understand it, can ever be provided or be complete, without at least some elementary knowledge of the subjects mentioned in the Amendment?
I would ask the Committee to cast their minds back, to think of the present and foresee the future, because all these things to my mind have a close relationship with the Bill and with the future of our country and the training of its youth. So I move this Amendment with a deep sense of responsibility and without any ulterior motives of militarism or Fascism or any of the other unpleasant things which are so closely concerned with aggression. I think that something of this kind is a simple test of national duty and citizenship, and I think I am in order in reminding the Committee that in the Bill we have the words concerning young people and others:prepare them the responsibilities of citizenship.813 I say that is of supreme significance. I say that the lack of such further education as we are now in process of defining in this Clause, is certainly a potent cause of the calculated aggression, from which at the moment the world is suffering, and I cannot help thinking that if our further education, as I am now hoping to define it in the Clause, makes it clear to the world that we are as much determined to resist aggression as we are determined not to inflict it, we shall be safe. I think many lives, much misery, much treasure, and also humiliation, will be saved if we pursue such a policy. I have mentioned, at the end of the Amendment, the Civil Defence Services. They are put in deliberately, because I cannot help feeling that we now find ourselves in a position when it is difficult to look forward to any time when it will be safe to dispense with some, and never perhaps all, of the Civil Defence services which we now have. I would mention the National Fire Service and Air Raid Precautions; several others must spring to the minds of Members. I feel it would be wholly wrong to relieve the education authorities of responsibility for providing part-time training in citizenship. I have tried to indicate, in the Amendment, the elementary lines of such training. I have no idea of marching bands of boys, musketry practice, and things of that kind. It is perfectly possible to provide the necessary training without going on those lines. I would like to quote from a pamphlet, which I think is relevant. Before I am challenged, I had better say that it is a Board of Education pamphlet, of June, 1940:It is upon local genius and local patriotism that the foundations of democracy rest. Opportunities for service must, therefore, be offered to young people, as well as opportunities to equip themselves for that service. At a time like the present, when the nation is fighting for its life, the preparation of our youth for their full participation in the life of the nation, assumes a new significance. In the days which lie immediately before us the demands on our energies to deal with other tasks will be very insistent, yet we cannot afford to negelct the youth for whose future the struggle is being waged.If we can introduce something of this kind, with the compulsion, perhaps, which is necessary for other forms of education, as quite clearly laid down in the Bill, we shall produce a better youth than we have ever produced in the past, which reminds me of what was said long ago: 814He stopped the fliers, and, by his rare example, made the coward turn terror into sport.
§ Mr. Butler
This is an important point. It is the last Amendment on Clause 39. The Government will be satisfied if we can get this Clause to-day, and that we can then move to report Progress. We are much obliged for the patience which hon. Members have shown to-day. We shall be very near our programme, and it is creditable that we have got so far on a voluntary basis. I do not think it can be said that the discussion has been in any way curtailed. We have now a further request made to the Government, on a perfectly legitimate point, in order that we shall, if the country again faces an emergency, find our young people fully prepared for the defence of our country and the civil defence of our shores. That is a perfectly legitimate request, but I am certain it is not a suitable matter to put in this Clause. I am sure my hon. and gallant Friend realises that nobody wishes to impugn his motives, because, heaven knows, there was quite enough lack of preparation on the last occasion, and we must be fully prepared if there is another.
What is the way to achieve the aim which my hon. and gallant Friend has in mind? The best way is to continue on the voluntary basis of associating boys in out-of-school hours with cadet corps and such organisations. I use the term "school hours" in the proper sense—I mean a college hours. I have been to schools, colleges, and other places, which have their contingents of the A.T.C. or whatever it may be, in war-time, and, provided that my right hon. Friends the Service Ministers take a sensible view about training in peace-time, I trust that there will be, under the general aegis and atmosphere of these colleges, opportunities outside hours for proper training in the service of the country. But I think it would be wrong, and not in the sense which the Committee desire, to make training compulsory within hours. If we are to do that, we shall be asking industry and the general occupations of life to release young people to be trained actually within college hours. I think that that would be impossible. But it would not be impossible to say that these young people shall be banded together, and that, in their spare time, with guidance from older people and with proper 815 authority, so that there is no abuse, they shall learn to serve their country. If my hon. and gallant Friend will accept my reply in the spirit in which I approach his Amendment, he will not press to have such training included in the Bill, in the way he suggests.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—[Mr. Beechman.]
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon the next Sitting Day.