§ Mr. Moelwyn Hughes
I beg to move, in page 56, line 15, to leave out paragraph (b).
This Clause gives power to local education authorities to assist students by means of scholarships and in other ways. Included in the powers given them, subject to the Regulations of the Ministry, is a power to pay the fees of pupils attending fee-paying schools. I have to approach this Amendment having in mind the decision the Committer has made that fee-charging schools are a desirable part of our educational system, so desirable that public money is to be given to help them. We are dealing in this Clause not with a power, either to the State or the local education authority, to provide money to keep schools going. We are dealing with a power to give assistance to the school, or to the pupil, by providing the fees for the pupil. I do not imagine for a moment that the Regulations which the Minister will make will enable a local education authority to send a pupil to Eton. I do not suppose there will be any Regulation which will encourage a local education authority to provide £300 a year to send children to Harrow, or £400 to send them to Eton. These Regulations will provide for sending pupils to schools in the locality in which the live, and they have to be reviewed from two aspects, first of all the aspect of the school, which may be the only secondary grammar school in the area which, in the wisdom of this Committee, is still to continue to be allowed to charge fees.
1331 I can well imagine a local education authority which was alive to its duties saying, "The only secondary grammar school left in this area is a fee charging one." They ought to say "Very well, we will have a State secondary school here which shall be free of all fees whatever." The Board by its Regulations may very well encourage local education authorities not to embark on that democratic system of setting up a secondary grammar school free of all fee charging and to say instead of embarking on this expenditure, it would be much cheaper for the time being just to pay the fees for the pupils who could afford to go to this fee-paying school. The second danger from this paragraph arises where there are two schools. The Parliamentary Secretary knows the educational system better than I do, but I make this challenge. If a town has two secondary schools, one fee paying and the other a State school, which is not big enough to take all the pupils, and the fee-paying school cannot get enough fee-paying pupils in the ordinary way, it throws open some of its places, possibly at a reduced rate. It says, "We will take so many pupils but we will take the cream." The result is that the cream goes to the fee-paying school, leaving the school maintained by public funds to take what is left. It is happening now and, if this paragraph remains in, it will be encouraged in the future. Let the fee-paying schools go on, but I implore the Committee not to strengthen them at the expense of the democratic system which we are seeking to build up.
§ Mr. Ede
My hon. and learned Friend has made some assertions as to what would be the framework of the Regulations that will be drafted by the Board, and he asserted that no Regulations would be made which would enable a local education authority to send a boy to one of the great public schools. Even at present the Hampshire County Council, under the Board's Regulations, is paying the cost of sending boys to Winchester, and it is my right hon. Friend's determination that, where a lad proves himself to be suitable for education in a residential public school, nothing in the Regulations of the Board shall do other than encourage the local education authority to send him there. My own local education authority is now paying, in respect of one youth, the whole 1332 cost of sending him to Cambridge. He is a gardener's son and they thought it was better to relieve him of the necessity of going round pot-hunting for £30 or £40 scholarships. They thought he was worth the money and they decided to invest in him.
§ Mr. Hughes
My Amendment is to delete paragraph (b), which refers to schools. Is there any relevance in talking about sending them to universities?
§ Mr. Ede
I have already instanced Winchester. I gathered that the insinuation behind my hon. and learned Friend's speech was that only comparatively cheap schools, and a limited amount of money, would be available for this purpose. I wanted to prove that even now, with regard to senior pupils, education authorities are spending substantial sums, which would have been regarded as quite beyond the range of publicly supported education only a very few years ago. I was only using it as an illustration. I hope, therefore, that my hon. and learned Friend will feel that it is a part of my right hon. Friend's determination that, as far as we can arrange, the square pegs shall be fitted into square holes and the round pegs into the round holes of our educational system. I hope there will be a very substantial inflow of pupils through the machinery of this paragraph from the primary schools into the public schools, direct grant schools and any other schools that offer suitable, sound education.
Inside one small town occasionally the most extraordinary gradations between different schools occur. It by no means always follows that it is the school that charges the biggest fees that is regarded as the best in the district. It is very often fixed on other considerations than that. Again, generally speaking, in a small town, in the elementary system, which we are now discussing, you have a council school, a Church school and a school—which has become a council school —which used to be a British school. You will generally find that the ex-British school is regarded as the best of the three because, in the old days, before 1902, that was generally the school to which the small tradesmen sent their children, and it is astonishing how that kind of arrangement has continued. We have decided that fee paying schools are to remain. My right hon. Friend has said 1333 that that must always be accompanied by accessibility. One of the best ways of procuring accessibility, not merely to a local school but to a school which is far more than local, is the power given in this Paragraph So far from increasing the democratic nature of our educational system, by deleting this Paragraph, my hon. and learned Friend would considerably decrease the possibility of democracy using these schools. I appeal, with as much earnestness as my hon. and learned Friend, to the Committee to take the view that these words should remain in the Clause.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. Messer
I beg to move, in page 56, line 19, to leave out from "pupils" to "undergoing", in line 20.
This Clause deals with Regulations to be made by the Minister. If the Bill is passed in its present form before there is some parallel measure of social improvement, a large number of children will suffer in consequence. When the school-leaving age is raised to 15 allowances will only be made to children over the age of 15. At present when a child plus 11 gets into a secondary school it is possible when that child attains what is now the school-leaving age of 14, for the local education committee to make a grant. That means that there are now a large number of children getting the grants at 14. Under the Bill, if the words "over compulsory school age" are left in parents will not be entitled to a grant until the child reaches 15. It has been the policy of the party of which I am a member to press for a higher school-leaving age with allowances. There is something to be said for that, but whether it can be argued to-day or not, it is surely difficult for us to say, if children at the age of 14 are now getting grants, that under a Big which is to improve education they shall not get it until 15. If my Amendment is accepted the Board of Education will be able to make regulations without reference to this qualification and the local education committee will be able to make grants. I see no reason why a committee should be tied down to making grants of scholarships and bursaries and other allowances after the compulsory leaving-age. I see no reason why it should not be empowered to make grants under that age when it can be proved to be in the educational interests of the child. 1334 Why are the words "including pupils undergoing training as teachers" in the Clause? Why cannot we leave it so that these scholarships and bursaries can be used for training in other professions?
§ Mr. Lindsay
On a point of Order. Are we discussing the Amendment which the hon. Member has moved, or the question of the wider sphere of training over school-leaving age?
§ The Chairman (Major Milner)
We are discussing only the Amendment which the hon. Member for South Tottenham (Mr. Messer) has moved. We might have a short general Debate on the next Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Lindsay) on the question of grants for training for professions, but at the moment perhaps the hon. Member for South Tottenham will speak only on his Amendment.
§ Mr. Messer
My Amendment asks that we should exclude the words "including pupils undergoing training as teachers," and how can I argue that if I do not support the argument by saying that there should be scope for training for other things?
§ The Chairman
I thought the hon. Member's point was to bring in those pupils who are within the compulsory school-age. That is the only point of the Amendment.
§ Mr. Messer
Will it not be possible to have a general discussion on these Amendments? Otherwise it will be necessary for me to speak again on the Amendment of the hon. Member for Kilmarnock.
§ The Chairman
If it is the feeling of the Committee and it will facilitate the discussion, I have no objection.
§ Mr. Lindsay
I put down my Amendment to try to cover the specific range of profession and research. That is a different matter from the Amendment which has been moved.
§ The Chairman
Perhaps the hon. Member for South Tottenham will confine himself to his Amendment and we will have a general discussion on the next Amendment.
§ Mr. Messer
I do not want to curb the hon. Gentleman's style or prevent a wider discussion; I only wanted to avoid having to speak again. The point I want to emphasise is that a hardship will be done to those children who are now entitled to financial assistance but who will not be entitled to it unless my Amendment is accepted.
§ Mr. Ede
In my reply to my hon. Friend I will confine myself to the narrow point. He desires that it shall be possible to give to a child who has not yet reached the age at which compulsion ceases, a maintenance allowance while he remains at school. He instanced the child now over 14 who gets an allowance, but a child over 14 is not under any obligation to attend school. He can leave. Therefore, if the parent is willing for the child to remain at school and cannot afford to do so without a maintenance allowance, it is in the child's interest that an allowance should be paid. As from the appointed day, the age will be raised to 15, and every child will be under an obligation to remain at school until 15. Therefore, the child between 14 and 15 in the secondary schools will not be in the exceptional position that he now is. The whole of this matter is linked up with the question of family allowances, about which the Government's policy was stated 13 months ago. Under the Clause, when we raise the school age to 15, there will be an obligation on every child to stay until 15 and a maintenance grant may be payable for any child whose parent keeps it on after 15. When we raise the age to 16, the same thing will happen to children over 16. Every child under 16 will be under a statutory obligation to remain at school. I do not think that on that ground there is any reason for leaving out the words that my hon. Friend wishes to leave out. He may have noticed that on the Order Paper a new Amendment has appeared in the name of my right hon. Friend which covers a similar point raised in an Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Peckham (Mr. Silkin), which will allow existing contracts entered into to be fulfilled even if they should contravene the words that my hon. Friend proposes to leave out. That seems to be only reasonable and just. These are the people who might have a grievance, having entered into a contract, if they found themselves debarred from receiving the benefit of it.
§ Mr. Messer
I probably expressed myself very imperfectly. I really wanted to show that we are now making it law that grants cannot be made until after the compulsory school-leaving age. That is not the law at present, and I feel that unless something is done hardship will be created. At the present time, apart from the grants at 14 to which I have referred, it is customary, if a child who passes his entrance examination comes from a poor family, for clothing grants to be made. Under the Bill it will not be possible to make clothing grants. In fact, it will not be possible to make grants of any kind until the child is 15.
§ Mr. Messer
I was probably defective in expressing myself. As soon as you specify the particular things for which money can be spent, you exclude other things which used to be included. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. Lindsay
I beg to move, in page 56, line '20, to leave out from "age," to the end of the Clause, and to add:who undergo training for teaching or any other recognised profession at a suitable institution or who undertake investigations for the advancement of learning or research.
§ The Chairman
It would be for the convenience of the Committee if this Amendment were discussed together with the next four.
In line 21, at end, add:or studying for one of the professions, including the law and medicine or entrants to other recognised professions requiring further assistance.In line 21, at end, add:or for any other profession and including also officers of local authorities intending to undertake a course of study with the consent of the employing authority for the purpose of acquiring greater knowledge or experience in the discharge of their duties.In line 21, at end, add:and for other professions and students at universities.In line 21, at end, add:and(d) to pay maintenance grants to enable pupils to take advantage of the facilities granted in this section in all cases where the 1337 absence of such maintenance grants would result in the pupil being unable to accept the facilities offered.
§ Mr. Lindsay
I wanted to support my hon. Friend's last Amendment, but I saw that we could not get any further with it, and I hope he will support mine. I think that my Amendment covers the two weak spots in the Clause. The first was mentioned by my hon. Friend. Why put in "including pupils undergoing training as teachers"? Does not that mean that others are excluded? The second weak spot is the dropping out of research. I understand that a university student who is doing research at the university cannot be paid for. Why should not the Bill be more explicit? I mentioned in an earlier discussion to-day that this is a vital part of the process of clipping the wings of privilege. For the professions of solicitor, architect, surveyor and many others, the real difficulty is that the boy or parent cannot afford the premium or training after the secondary school stage. In this Clause we want to see that local education authorities can assist the training of pupils in any recognised profession at a suitable institution or those who undertake investigations for the advancement of learning or research. That covers the whole field. There were a number of letters in "The Times" a few years ago about the premium system, and evidence was brought from many headmasters, particularly with regard to surveying and the law, to show that there was no chance for the poor pupil to go ahead after perhaps winning several credits and being at the top of a secondary school. That is the weakness of this Bill, and I hope that as one of the methods of abolishing privilege the Bill will enable a child to go on to further education.
§ Mr. Lipson
I am glad to find myself supporting the hon. Member who has just spoken and I hope there will be unanimity in the Committee on this matter. My experience is that there may be some difference of opinion on whether all children should have a secondary education. Some people are doubtful whether it is, necessarily, an advantage, but everybody is agreed that children who have shown real ability should be given every possible help to get the education that they require for the full development of their powers. The hon. Member asked why the reference to grants for teachers was included. I think it is because that is the present 1338 practice, which exists not for a very good reason. It is intended to be used as a bribe to induce children, who, otherwise, could not get further education beyond their secondary school course, to enter the teaching profession. I suggest that that is not the way to bring about the recruitment of the teaching profession. People should go into the teaching profession for its own sake. If we want to attract people into the profession we must make the profession sufficiently attractive and not try to take advantage of the fact that some pupils are too poor at the end of their secondary education, and are not among the specially gifted few who have gained scholarships for the university by attempting to bribe them in this way.
The proposal of the Amendment is a logical consequence of the action we are taking in providing secondary education for all. It is most unsatisfactory to induce a child to go right to the top of the secondary school, only to reach the point where he or she cannot go any further. Girls are likely to be more affected than boys, because there are fewer scholarships for girls than for boys. They cannot train for the profession they would like, because the course is expensive. I believe that if the powers of the local authorities were extended in the way proposed, it would be a good thing. Nobody can say that teachers will not be required in the future, but we shall also require many more doctors. I can also imagine that, as civilisation becomes more complicated, the need for lawyers will increase.
§ Lieut.-Commander Tufnell (Cambridge)
This Amendment would open wide the door for students to go forward when they have come up to the university. It would give them a chance of extra time at the university, under these special grants. It would enable them to study for professions other than the teaching profession. We need to give them an opportunity to study law or medicine, which takes, I understand, something like four or five years, as against three years for teaching. The Amendment would open those professions to the poorer students.
§ Mr. R. Morgan (Stourbridge)
I am very keenly in favour of the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Lindsay). I could have wished for something definite to go 1339 on, in the way of a decision to raise the school leaving age to 16, before, say, 1970. It will be a very good thing to get our bright pupils up to the age of i6 and to let them see definitely that there is something other than the teaching profession, to which their talents could be directed. I have seen many promising doctors, lawyers and architects being perverted or turned away from their natural bent, simply because in front of them was dangled only the opportunity of going in for teaching. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to give us an assurance that promising students will have the opportunity of going in for professions other than teaching and that their natural ability will be given full scope. If we are to cater in the Bill in the fullest possible way, for all the abilities of our children, without let or hindrance, we must throw the gates open wide. The hon. Member for Kilmarnock has done a great service, and it will do something to redeem the rather gloomy picture which he presented during the week-end, when he said that there was no hope for the children of this country for the next five years.
§ Mr. Lindsay
The hon. Member must not say such a ridiculous thing. I said that the Bill gave no chance to adolescents within the next five years.
§ Mr. Messer
I should like to make a reference to the Amendment in my name, as it has something in common with that of the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. K. Lindsay), which I support wholeheartedly. I have seen children who would have had a brilliant future losing their opportunity just because the tendency of their aptitude was not towards the teaching profession. There was, for example, a boy brought up under the Gloucestershire County Council. He gained a place in the secondary school. He gained his school-leaving certificate and his matriculation certificate. He came down to London and obtained a post as a voluntary technician. It was seen that his bent was scientific, and opportunities were given to him for advancement in the things which he found interesting. It was necessary that he should have a further course of education 1340 if he was to pursue that line. I approached the county council of the area in which he was then resident, but they said that it was Gloucestershire's responsibility. I approached that county council on his behalf, and was told that, unfortunately, nothing could be done. As a result of influence in certain quarters he was given his opportunity. He is now in the medical school in Birmingham. That is an exception. Such matters ought not to be so difficult. Why should the community be denied the service of those who could do efficient work merely because we have closed the door of opportunity in their faces? That is one aspect of the matter. I suggest in my Amendment that the local education authority should be empowered to pay for the studies of other officers of the authorities. We have often had the experience of having a man doing his post-graduate course who needed an opportunity to follow a particular type of study, and we wanted to give him study leave, but could not pay his fees because we had not the authority.
§ Mr. Messer
I mean the county council. The student had not been a pupil so he could not be assisted out of the education fund. I will give the instance of a girl who showed very great promise. We wanted her to take a two-year course so that she could get her social science certificate and become a hospital almoner. We had not power under the Public Health Act, because she was not a pupil and had not been educated by the education committee of the county council. We feel that if the education committee of the county council is empowered to spend money on officers of the county council who can render good service to the community, it would be a good investment, besides providing the people in question with an opportunity of obtaining a position which otherwise they might not have been able to get.
§ Mr. E. Harvey
I support what was said by the hon. Member for South Tottenham (Mr. Messer). I hope that the Minister, if he is not able to accept the words of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Lindsay), may be willing to insert words which are as wide or wider. It is of the greatest 1341 importance that the Bill should not single out those who are training for the teaching profession for this exceptional position. It is very important, as has already been said by other hon. Members, that we should encourage the largest variety of choice of career, and that those who are going in for scholarships should not be tied down to a single profession, above all to the teaching profession. We have a reason for that, because the Board of Education have not set a good example in the past.
It puts a great strain on the conscience of a student if he undertakes, as a condition of being given a university course, that he will give a certain number of years' service to teaching, when, in his heart, he does not want to teach. He longs to get the university training that otherwise he could not possibly afford, and it is not fair to the poorer student to give him that crisis of conscience, as the only way in which he can get into a university. We ought to encourage the local authorities to give the widest opportunities to poor students who otherwise would be shut out from the great advantages that they ought to have. This view is taken not only by hon. Members who share them, but by the general body of students, represented, for instance, in the National Union of Students, who feel very strongly on this matter. I hope that we may have a definite assurance from the Government that they do not intend to tie to a particular profession students who receive these scholarships, but that local authorities shall be able to open the doors as widely as may be, to every avenue of service to the community for which children may be better fitted if they have the advantage of university training.
§ Mr. Ede
This Clause has been given, I think, far too narrow an interpretation by several of my hon. Friends who have spoken. I am bound to say that I cannot follow the examples that were given by my hon. Friend the Member for South Tottenham (Mr. Messer). Neither under the existing law nor in anything we propose here, is there any prohibition on a local education authority from giving assistance up to 100 per cent. to any student who desires to secure any particular form of study, whether it be technical or cultural. In my own experience I can recall making payments to people 1342 like sanitary inspectors and similar officers of local sanitary authorities in order to pay the fees to enable them to attend at courses in connection with various institutions that were engaged in the education of the people for their particular calling. I should very much like to have an opportunity of talking over with my hon. Friend the particular examples he has given. It seems to me that it may have been something in local regulations rather than in the Act of Parliament or in the Board's regulations that prevented assistance being given to the people he had in mind. We desire most earnestly that any course of instruction in an educational institution should be open to any pupil who is capable of profiting by it, irrespective of his particular means.
I have heard the case of medical students mentioned. May I say again that I have known from my own personal experience of scholarships that lasted six or seven years being granted to a young man or a young woman who went up to the university from a secondary school, that saw, them right through their career to the time when they walked the hospital. There is nothing in this Clause which restricts these powers from being exercised in the future, and the Board sincerely hope that they will continue to be exercised by the local education authority. What we do not cover in this Clause—I think it was the point raised more particularly by the hon. Member for Stourbridge (Mr. Morgan)—is the paying of certain fees to pupils who are articled to practitioners in a profession. This Clause does not cover the paying of the fees that I understand have to be paid by a pupil in, let us say, a solicitor's, architect's or accountant's office.
§ Mr. Lindsay
Does it mean that this cannot be allowed or that it is not the sort of thing that is likely to be allowed? Does the hon. Gentleman mean that he 1343 would rather it did not cover fees of those who are articled, or that, in fact, they are not covered?
§ Mr. Ede
I am advised, and I am careful to use these words when I am arguing with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies), that it does not cover, and we do not intend it to cover, the payment of the kind of fees I have just mentioned, but where an intending solicitor is studying at the university, whether it be as a student at a residential university or as an external student of London University, we do intend that it shall cover the cost of taking his LL.B. or any other examination he may have to take. Where the education is given in that way, we intend that this particular Clause shall cover it. I want to make it quite clear that we do not regard it as covering the case of fees that have to be paid by certain pupils when they are articled to certain professions, any more than we regard it as covering fees that may have to be paid for apprenticeship, by certain youths leaving school, to very skilled callings of a manual kind.
§ Mr. R. Morgan
We want to get one point quite clear. Obviously this last paragraph was put in for some reason. There is a danger, and since the Parliamentary Secretary has been speaking I have felt more and more alarmed. It looks as though allowances will be made only for those who are to be trained as teachers. Why was this paragraph put in?
§ Mr. Ede
I think my hon. Friend is doing me wrong in not allowing me to complete my speech before he assumes that I am not going to deal with the point he had in mind. It is not the first time he has done so in the course of the Committee discussion. If he would prefer that I should deal with that point next, let me say frankly we have had to put these words in, because the academic status and the professional training of teachers are often going on side by side, at the same time, in the same institution, or in connection with it. I hope that my hon. Friend will realise that we do not put this in in order to exclude anyone else, who is undergoing training at an institution, but again I want to make it clear that this does not give the local education authority power to pay the fees of a per- 1344 son who is being articled, whether the instruction is to be given in a barrister's Chambers or in a solicitor's office, or in the other offices to which I have alluded.
The hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Lindsay) did draw attention to what is a gap in the Clause. There is no provision in this Clause for research for enabling a person who has taken his degree at the university, to remain on for a year or two to conduct research in the university. We propose to remedy that in a new Clause which will be placed on the Order Paper later, so that there will be power for research students to be assisted by local education authorities. That was an omission and we frankly acknowledge it. I do not think it has been mentioned to-day, but at an earlier stage, some people, for instance, my hon. Friend the Member for Peckham (Mr. Silkin), expressed doubt whether this paragraph (c) was sufficient to cover the grant to a student studying at a university. I have had the most careful inquiries made into that. We are advised that it does. We hope that the wording is so wide as to make it quite clear that all the kinds of cases other than the articled pupils which have been mentioned to-day will be covered by the wording of this Clause. If my hon. Friend the Member for South Tottenham still has any doubts whether any of the types of people to whom he alluded are covered by the Clause, and will let me have the specific cases he has in mind, I will have them carefully examined. We are convinced that on all the points, except research, which have been raised by my various hon. Friends in this discussion, the Clause is wide enough to deal with them, and we do not regard the special mention of teachers as in any way excluding the persons qualifying for other professions who are getting their education at an institution.
§ Mr. C. Davies
I am sorry to have to intervene, but every one who has spoken so far says, "We want to open the door as widely as possible, not to limit this in any way." Then comes the Parliamentary Secretary, saying, "We intend certain things." May I point out that any words uttered at that Box, however helpful they may be to us, do not give the true construction or the true meaning of the Measure when it becomes an Act? What I feel has happened here is that, 1345 whereas every one has desired to expand this as widely as possible, they have then gone on to use words which defeat their own object. The Clause begins:Regulations shall be made by the Minister empowering local education authorities, for the purpose of enabling pupils to take advantage… of any educational facilities available to them—That is the governing principle. That is about as wide as you could possibly have it. If it had stopped there, we could no have had it any wider than "any educational facilities available to them." Then the Clause goes on with these paragraphs, and unfortunately such paragraphs cut down, as a general rule—in this case they certainly do—the general words. They limit "any educational facilities available to them" to these three matters which are set out in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c). Let us go to (c), which reads:to grant scholarships, exhibitions, bursaries, and other allowances in respect of pupils over compulsory school age…There the paragraph is cutting down the word "pupil" in the earlier part of the Clause, because that is "pupil" in general. Now it becomes, "pupils over compulsory school age." Having done that my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Lindsay) very rightly says "I want to open the door as widely as possible," and proposes to leave out the words "including pupils undergoing training as teachers." Thereupon, he opens the door as widely as he possibly can. Having done that he goes on to add words which cut down the Clause as it was.
Might I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that this is a matter for consideration between now and the Report stage, and that he should look into it and see what is to happen? I ask this because of two things. The suggestion has been made by the Parliamentary Secreary that these allowances in respect of pupils over compulsory school age will not apply, for example, to the fees that have to be paid by a young man who wants to be articled as a solicitor; that was the intention of the Government. I warn him now that it is most arguable, and I do not know what the argument to the contrary would be, that they will come within these words. If a young man says, "I want an allowance for educational facilities within the first meaning of the operative words," and adds "My edu- 1346 cational facilities are to enable me to become a solicitor; this is the allowance I require," he will come within that Clause. If you intend to cut him out, you will have to use better words than are now used. The same applies to a young barrister. Having been called to the Bar, he then has to spend a year in Chambers, or he should spend a year in Chambers, for which he usually pays 100 guineas. That is an allowance in respect of an educational facility, and I do not know what the argument to the contrary could be. If they want to limit it in the way suggested from that Box, the Government had better reconsider these words. It was said also that these words do not cover research. But the Clause says:Regulations shall be made by the Minister empowering local education authorities, for the purpose of enabling pupils to take advantage…of any educational facilities available to them…That might involve research. Let me call attention to the very next Clause, which says:A local authority may, with the approval of the Minister, make such provision for conducting or assisting the conduct of research "—If it stopped there that would be wide, but it goes on:As appears to the authority to be desirable for the purpose of improving the educational facilities provided for"—
§ The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Charles Williams)
I do not think we ought to go on discussing Clause 77 now.
§ Mr. Davies
I was only pointing out, Mr. Williams, that there was already in the Bill a partial answer to the hon. Gentleman's suggestion, and I suggest thin both these matters should be reconsidere before the Report stage.
§ Mr. Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
I could not gather, from the speech of my hon. and learned Friend, whether he was in sympathy with or hostile to the suggestion that such things as fees to solicitors for articled pupils should be included. I understood that such things would be included under the Clause, but my hon. and learned Friend seemed to be inviting the Government to do something to prevent that—an invitation which I gather from the Parliamentary Secretary's speech he would be quite ready to accept. I do not want the Parliamentary Secretary to accept it. I agree that it is probably 1347 covered, but if there is any doubt I would like the Government to alter the Clause so that it is covered. I say that for a reason the logic of which, I hope, will commend itself to my hon. Friend. Take the case of a boy who has won certain scholarships and has indicated an aptitude for the law. There can be no doubt that if that boy matriculated and went to a university and studied for a degree in the faculty of law, he would be entitled, if certain other conditions were satisfied, to the benefit of this Clause. If, on the other hand, he wanted to indulge his aptitude for the law by being articled to a solicitor or by reading in the chambers of a barrister, he would not be covered, and, in my hon. Friend's opinion, he ought not to be covered. That seems to me quite illogical.
Under either method he would be educated in the law. There are differences of opinion as to which is the better way. No doubt one method would have greater academic advantages, and the other would have greater practical advantages. I have had the benefit of both methods, and so, no doubt, I am in a position to know the advantages of each. But there is this important difference between them. If the boy gets a very good degree in law at the university, that by itself entitles him to nothing; it is purely an academic attainment. He cannot, on the strength of that degree, practise law in either branch of the profession. If, on the other hand, he reads in chambers with a barrister or is articled to a solicitor, and passes the professional examinations of the Inns of Court or of the Law Society, he is qualified. Be it remembered that, in either case, he is following very largely the same curriculum. Both curricula are designed to cover the ground set by the statutory examining bodies. There can be very little justification for saying that the State or the local authority shall be empowered to spend money on academic training, with no opportunity thereafter for putting to the advantage of the community whatever has been learned, and for refusing such assistance to that form of legal education which results in the admission or the call of the man to practise what he has learned, in the courts or in the office. I cannot see why that distinction should be drawn, or what benefit is gained, either by the community or by the student, from such an artificial distinction. I hope that my hon. and learned Friend is right in saying that 1348 the Clause, as drawn, does not create any such distinction, but if the Government, who have access to better advice than I can get, think that the Clause gives power to spend money on academic education which results in no ultimate benefit, as regards practising in the profession, but prevents the spending of money on exactly the same sort of education in such a form that benefit will result in the practice of the profession, I hope that they will put things right.
§ Mr. Ede
I remember that when I first sat on the bench at petty sessions, learned counsel for the prosecution opened and learned counsel for the defence followed later. When the second counsel had addressed the court, one of my colleagues said, "What a nuisance this fellow is: I understood the case until he started." In my encounters with hon. and learned Members, when those on both sides have been anxious to see that I was correctly informed, I have sometimes been in the same position as my colleague on the bench. I have listened very attentively to-day to what my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) has said. I will examine the words carefully in order to make sure that what ought to be done shall be done—perhaps that is a better way of putting it than the words I used a short time ago. I have also had the advantage of listening to my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) on one phase of the subject. I understand that he has been a victim of both methods of legal education; therefore, he can claim to speak as a great expert on the matter. We will very carefully examine his point of view. We intended that there should be nothing in this Clause in regard to educational research, but we are anxious that grants shall be made for scientific and cultural research, and we are going to endeavour to deal with that matter. I hope that, in view of this offer, we may now be allowed to dispose of this Amendment.
§ Mr. Lindsay
I am very grateful. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment, and thank my hon. Friend for what he has said about research.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. Ede
I beg to move, in page 56, line 21, at the end, to add:(d) to grant allowances in respect of any child in respect of whom any scholarship 1349 exhibition bursary or other allowance has been granted by a local education authority before the date of the commencement of this Part of this Act.This Amendment deals with the point which was raised by the Amendment of the hon. Member for Peckham (Mr. Silkin) and which was alluded to by the hon. Member for South Tottenham (Mr. Messer). Where these allowances have been paid prior to the commencement of this part of the Act, we desire them to continue; but, quite clearly, for the reasons I gave when discussing the Amendment of the hon. Member for South Tottenham, we do not intend that any new allowance of this particular kind shall be granted after that date.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.