HC Deb 18 October 1945 vol 414 cc1468-507

9.17 p.m.

Mr. Kenneth Lindsay (Combined English Universities)

I beg to move, That the Primary and Secondary Schools (Grant-Conditions) Regulations, 1945 (S.R. & O., 1945, No. 636), dated 6th March, 1945, made under Section 100 of the Education Act, 1944, a copy of which Regulations was presented on 7th June in the last Session of the last Parliament, be annulled. This Prayer is supported by many hon. Members belonging to all parties. I am grateful to the Minister of Education for being in her place this evening to deal with what some of us regard as a very important educational issue. I do not wish to make too heavy weather of this particular item in the Regulations, or indeed of the Regulations themselves, compared with some much more important issues, such as the lack of emergency training colleges and the lack of school buildings, but I think it is now evident that the Education Act, 1944, which was unanimously approved in a former Parliament, depends entirely on the spirit of its administration and on the Regulations made under the various Sections. We all gave more than lip-service to the general principles as they were enunciated by the Coalition Government and finally confirmed in the Act. Among the most important Regulations must be reckoned Primary and Secondary Schools (Grant-Conditions), which contain 67 Regulations and three Schedules. I wish to concentrate the greater part of my attention on Regulation 23 and to a minor extent on Regulations 8 and 56. My hon. Friend the Member for the University of Wales (Professor Gruffydd) wishes to raise many other of these Regulations. Clearly this is no party question; otherwise the present Regulations would not be supported as I understand they are going to be—though I hope not—by the present Minister of Education, and also by the ex-Minister of Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. R. A. Butler). We had a little evidence of a party question the other night, when, for the first time, we ceased discussing things which were general and vague, and got down to the realities of the actual implementation of the Act by the local education authorities.

A compromise was made between the Churches and the National Union of Teachers on the subject matter of the Regulations to which I wish to direct attention. That compromise was made by my right hon. Friend when he was in office and most of us supported it because it was the only way of getting an agreed Measure through this House. In its original form, the Regulation like so many others is a carry-over of the old elementary code into the new and widened secondary school field. Let me remind the House that before this Act only about 10 per cent. of the nation's children attended secondary schools. Now 100 per cent. attend schools which are called secondary. We are attempting to extend to something like 3,000,000, what previously belonged to about 450,000 children. It will take many years to accomplish this great end, but we have set our hands to it, and I do not believe that there is any hon. Member in any part of the House who wishes to draw back. If, however, in this process we are going to set up arbitrary denominational distinctions, if we are going to reduce standards and lose the ground which has been so gallantly won for 40 years by the grammar schools, aided and maintained, then, in fact, we are going to widen the division between "the two nations," to which my right hon. Friend referred when he was Minister of Education. We forfeit the unique and distinctive qualities of variety, freedom and standards, which, with all our deficiencies, are the envy of European and, I would add, American and Dominion systems of education.

These Regulations will be attacked from many angles by different speakers. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Devizes (Squardon-Leader Hollis), who delighted us the other evening, and is to second this Prayer, will do what I have not time to do—recall to us something of the history of this Regulation. It will be dealt with by others, not only because they care about religious education, but because they care about the precise religious issue which this Regulation contains, and by some who care about differentiation between types of secondary school. My sole purpose in raising the question is the one of freedom. I led the minority during the Education Bill Debates against compulsory worship in schools. I protested against the Anglican domination in single-school areas. To-day I protest against the disqualification of the teacher, not because he is incompetent or immoral, but solely because he has the extra qualification of being either a clerk in Holy Orders or a minister possibly in my own faith—the Presbyterian faith. It may be that, if he is a Methodist, he can get through because of specific differences in that denomination. I cannot do better on this point than quote the words of Sir Percival Sharp as they were written in the "Teacher's World," because he happens to be one who, as my right hon. Friend knows, resented very much the bitter attacks made against the national schools of this country, when they were described as "godless," and he has a very wide experience. Chiefly, however, I want to quote him because of his concise statement: By Departmental Regulations, the teacher who is duly qualified to teach, by satisfying all the criteria necessary for recognition as a qualified teacher, who is willing to give religious instruction, who believes in what he is expected to teach and is especially qualified to give that teaching, is to be barred from teaching, simply because he is specially qualified to do so. No wonder the Association of Education Committees, on 12th July, 1945, passed a resolution unanimously condemning this Regulation. I noticed that, earlier, when I said this was a compromise arrived at between the Churches and the teachers' organisations, there was some shaking of heads among a few hon. Members on the other side of the House. My experience at the old Board of Education, was that when you were either framing Regulations or dealing with new problems, it was a normal routine to consult that great body the National Union of Teachers, or, in the case of secondary schools, the Joint Committee of the four secondary school associations, and the Association of Education Committees. These were the three parties concerned. At any rate, the Association of Education Committees unanimously passed a resolution condemning this Regulation.

Among other things, this Regulation deprives the local education authorities and the governing bodies of the right to exercise their own judgment in selecting their staffs. It places in the hands of the Minister of the day arbitrary powers. To my mind, it smacks of prejudice; in fact, it merely re-enacts an ancient code some 85 years old, and originally introduced for entirely different reasons as my hon. and gallant Friend who is to second the Motion will make clear. What is behind this fear among the teachers? I have been for many years a friend of the primary and secondary school teachers, and I certainly would not wish to do anything which was going to saddle clericalism on them, or introduce something which is alien. When one looks at the Act, one finds that there are scores of safeguards, on which, during the passage of the Bill, many of us spoke, and which, I think, completely safeguard not only the conscience of the teacher but the parent and the child. I particularly mention Section 28. If this is interference, what is the justification for the fear? I sometimes wonder whether we are not, at the moment, going through the growing pains of a new order in education. If so, I think one ought to have patience, for in such a case there are bound to be anomalies. But I have come to the conclusion that that is not so. I have come to the conclusion that we are whittling down standards, and degrading secondary and grammar schools to a level which is quite unnecessary. If I may quote what I said in the Debate on Second Reading: Fees ought to be abolished in the genuine secondary school system, but fees are linked with freedom, with religious teaching, with, the ratio of masters to boys. In some cases, at the present moment, in areas not very far from this House, there is a tendency for parents to send their children, not to the old grammar schools, but to the independent and direct grant schools." As I said then: Would it not be rather a tragedy if the very purpose of this Bill, which was to universalise and democratise secondary education should be defeated."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th January, 1944; Vol. 396, c. 446] We are in desperate need of teachers, especially teachers with a sense of vocation. In the Debate on the Education Bill, nobody condemned the public and secondary schools on the grounds that they had a religious background. They might be condemned for their exclusiveness, but they were not condemned on that score.

May I give three examples which have come to my notice in the last few weeks. Recently, some friends of mine, all of them enlightened and progressive school masters, have elected to take Holy Orders. If they were in any modern school they would have to apply to the right hon. Lady the Minister in order to continue their teaching. They happen to be in independent schools, and, therefore, no problem arises. Another friend of mine, I found in the course of my electioneering, in the North of England, in a State secondary school, a born teacher with a certificate from the old Board of Education, a diploma, with distinctions in theory and practice, and a good record, again a schoolmaster before he was a clerk in Holy Orders, and by that very act he puts himself in the position of a special case and he would need to ask if he could continue to teach in a modern secondary school. Why should he have to do that? Have we arrived at the day when a man may set to qualify himself as an assistant in many other spheres, in politics, in law or anything else, and remain a schoolmaster, but not if he becomes a minister? Actually, as I said before, there is a further discrimination with regard to the ministerial function, because there is a differentiation between denominations. I admit that the Minister of Education has to approve, if the special circumstances of the case justify the approval. But what do special circumstances mean, and why should this person have to submit to what may very well be the arbitrary decision of a Minister of the Crown?

I will give a third example which came to me only the day before yesterday. My own nephew, who is in the Army, happened to win a very high distinction at Oxford, an open scholarship in mathematics, and the very highest degree in physics. He rang me up about demobilisation, but he said, incidentally, "Good luck to your Prayer." I asked him what in the world he knew about it, and he said, "It just happens that the man who taught me mathematics is a clerk in Holy Orders, and I would not have attained the standard I have to-day, if it had not been for him." This was in a school which catered for sons of doctors, not a rich man's school. I do not quote that instance for any other reason than to illustrate the possibility of combining mathematics with theology, and that is how things have been done for hundreds of years. Indeed, for 930 out of 1,000 years in our history, the State had nothing to do with education. There is a long history behind this story. The man to whom I have referred was, of course, in an independent school, and he is going to get value for his university degree, which has already been denied in the Burnham Scales. He is going to get a reasonable holiday to enable him to keep up his intellectual standards—and the standards of a man teaching at that level need those holidays.

There is, of course, another of those Regulations which divides the year into four terms with holidays which are liberal enough as a maximum, but even London within the last few months has decreased the holidays in grammar schools by two weeks. My hon. Friend the Member for the University of Wales hopes to mention that point later.

There are other Regulations which show the same tendency to level down. I want to refer to one small point while I am on this question. It deals with the question of keeping a school register. That might seem to hon. Members a very small thing. I have a copy here of this elaborate document which now has to be kept. Actually, its precise form has been taken from the old elementary code, and, side by side with it, I have the simple register now in vogue in secondary schools. This is not what I say. Mr. Salter Davies, who is one of the most experienced directors of education in this country, has said: It was to be expected that with the passing of the new Education Act uniform rules for the keeping of registers and records would be laid down for all types of secondary schools. The Ministry had in fact an excellent opportunity for a thorough revision and simplification of the rules required by the old elementary code, which was based on the assumption that children would seek to evade attendance at school and which for years has been a burden and petty irritation to teachers in elementary schools. The whole of this system has been based on education for the labouring poor, and it has been taken over from the elementary into the secondary pretty well intact. Many of my hon. Friends were hoping that the effect of this Act would be to level up throughout the whole sphere of secondary education, and bring the senior schools into line with some of the freer and, I must admit, greater opportunities for education which have prevailed in the grammar schools over the last 40 years. Mr. Salter Davies ends: The Ministry's inspectors are likely to hear more of this memorandum. It is to be hoped that it will be soon withdrawn. —that is, the circular which has been drawn up under these regulations. Here is another quotation from a very experienced schoolmaster which was in the "Times Educational Supplement" of 8th September. He writes: What is the purpose behind these destructive regulations? There are several disquieting possibilities. First, they are consistent with the cynical disbelief that the Act can never be implemented and a scepticism about parity of esteem. I will not read the whole, but simply the last sentence: A condition of success is the removal of these restrictive regulations and the granting to all forms of secondary education at least that degree of freedom which has been enjoyed by the grammar schools in the past. I do not want to enlarge on that, although I could give many other quotations. All I want to say is this. When we were discussing this question the other night, I said that secondary schools were in a parlous condition. The hon. Member for Cheltenham (Mr. Lipson) thought that was an exaggeration. I want to tell him this, and I can only speak from my experience in my own constituency. I went to twelve big cities, eight of them university cities, and I found something approaching an unofficial strike going on in the secondary schools of this country. It is no good my right hon. Friend (Mr. Butler) smiling at this; it does not alter the facts. We have for too long been dealing with generalities. The teachers feel that this accumulation of grievances—the Burnham Scale, this disqualification, the petty restrictions dealing with registers, with holidays and the rest—are not calculated to improve the schools from which alone the poor child in this country can get to a university. The only avenue by which a poor child can get to a university in this country is through the grammar schools of England, through which 90 per cent. of them go. Therefore, anything which brings down the level is only widening the gap we have had between these schools and the direct grant and independent schools—the very gap which the Education Act sought to bridge. It is turning out the other way round.

In all these cities I was told the same thing. I have here a memorandum from the headmasters of every maintained school in Liverpool signed by the whole lot. I have a memorandum here from the whole of the Derbyshire secondary schools, and 150 letters which have come in since the Education Act was passed.

One cannot just say that these are the idle views of an individual Member; they are the views of a large number of people throughout the country. In last week's "Times Educational Supplement," a writer, unknown to me, said: The situation remains lamentable. The present policy is madness. It is the result of a policy based on pretence and confusion. Schools which rival the best independent schools are now threatened. I end with these words to the Minister. My conception is a. first-class system of public education, with every variety and quality so that no parents will be compelled to spend £100 or £200 on their children's education. For this principle I have fought for 25 years. England has a unique chance now of showing the world how this can be done. It has not been done in any other country. Equality of access, to an agreed standard of physical provisions—we can all agree upon; cubic space of class rooms, the ratio of pupils to teachers, yes, but after that the freedom of the headteacher and his assistants, so that the school can become a spiritual community—otherwise, it is nothing. Schools with their own governing bodies—that again is not being adhered to. There must be a reduction of clerical work to the minimum, freedom in all those details which constitute the personality of a school, instead of a dull and bleached uniformity.

I ask the Minister, who has never lacked courage, originality and resilience, to take back these Regulations. They were not framed by this Government, and there is no reason why they should accept them in their present form, even though the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary played such a great part in the passing of the Education Act. I ask her to give us a new set, based on modern thought and the 20th century. I ask her to make that her first contribution to the very great Act which received the unanimous assent of this House.

9.43 p.m.

Squadron-Leader Hollis (Devizes)

I beg to second the Motion.

We have been assured many times during the last few days from every quarter of the House that it is a gross libel to suggest that any of us believe in control for control's sake. I suggest that we could not have a better opportunity of proving our sincerity in that opposition to control for control's sake, than that which is presented by this Motion. By it, we are not seeking to upset in any way the delicate compromise about what degree of religious instruction is to be permitted in Government schools. Nobody, as a result of this Motion, will receive one iota more or less of religious instruction. We are asking for no sort of privilege for clergymen, for no sort of increased right of entry for clergymen. We are simply asking that when a gentleman happens to be qualified, and is willing to become a teacher, in a period of great shortage of teachers, he should not be prevented from becoming one simply through the accident that he may have committed the indiscretion of taking Holy Orders. If we have any devotion to liberty at all, we must surely admit that the whole burden of proof rests upon anyone who is so foolhardy as to oppose freedom. Supposing that in reading the rules of cricket, I suddenly came across a rule which said "No greengrocer shall be allowed to keep wicket," surely there would be no obligation on me to search through the records of cricket to discover if, on balance, greengrocers had proved themselves better wicket-keepers than other people. And so our contention is not that clergymen, on balance, are either better school masters or worse schoolmasters than other people, but simply that there is no reason at all for this interference with liberty.

As I understand it, this Regulation has been defended solely on two grounds. The first is this: We are told that certain parents have an objection to their chidren being taught by clergymen because they imagine that clergymen are sometimes biased. There is, of course, a possibility that you will find clergymen, teaching certain periods of history and discoursing on certain authors in English literature who might take an improper opportunity to give a twist to their lessons. If so, the individual clergyman would be behaving very improperly, and deserving of reprimand, and, if necessary, of dismissal; but no one surely is going to ask the House to believe that this is a vice confined to clergymen. Members of the Primrose League, supporters of the Douglas credit scheme, and all sorts of people have bees in their bonnets without having dog collars round their necks. To take an example from our own profession. Here are we as politicians who have to make speeches inside this House and outside this House. Sometimes we make speeches in which it is perfectly proper for us to border on party arguments. At other times we make speeches in which it would be highly improper to introduce party arguments. Do we not think ourselves possessed of sufficient public spirit and common sense to know, without direction, when we can make speeches of the first sort and speeches of the second? Should we not think it highly insulting if, for instance, the Home Secretary issued a regulation saying "No Member of Parliament is to speak to anybody on a bus, because if he does he will almost certainly talk politics and possibly biased politics at that"? So with this highly esteemed clerical profession the, assumption is to be made a priori that Christian clergymen are the only people in the country not capable of behaving like Christian gentlemen.

The second point on which this Regulation is defended is that it is merely a continuance of the existing system. In the first place that is not wholly true because it is an extension of the existing system. This ban which has hitherto reigned in a certain number of schools is now to be extended to further schools, as is the custom with Government Regulations. What previously was a ban existing in certain schools is to be extended. That I suppose is how Freedom slowly broadens down From precedent to precedent. I should be very surprised if to Members of the present Government, including the right hon. Lady, it should be sufficient evidence in support of a Regulation that it is merely a continuation of an existing system. I have been told by hon. Members opposite that they have not been sent here merely to continue the existing system. Let every Member understand what is the existing system which these Regulations are seeking to continue. What is the original Regulation from which these Regulations derive their comparatively illegitimate consent? These Regulations derive from the original Regulations of 1860. What are those Regulations and why were they passed? The world of 1860 [Hon. Members: "1870"]—I am subject to correction, but certain Regulations were passed by Mr. Robert Lowe in 1860.

What was the world of 1860? In 1868 the second Reform Bill was passed, by which the franchise was extended to the working classes. That franchise was vigorously opposed by Mr. Robert Lowe. In 1860 he was still optimistic about the working classes being barred from the franchise and from education. However, he said that if they must be educated at all, it was essential that Government education should be of an inferior type to that at paid schools, and that therefore they should be taught nothing but what were called the "three Rs."—reading, writing and arithmetic. At the same time, he regarded it as necessary to degrade the status of the teachers, and to bar clergymen from teaching in schools, not particularly through any anti-clerical prejudice, but because there was an off-chance that they might be able to teach, that they might raise the tone of the school and put ideas into the pupils' heads.

This Regulation is, I fancy, the only one which exists whereby people are forbidden to do a thing solely on the ground that they are capable of doing it. I remember—it has been in my mind for 20 years since my school days—a ditty written by the Junior Burgess for Oxford University (Sir A. Herbert): And as my father used to say, In eighteen sixty-three. When once you start On all this art, Goodbye, moralitee. And what my father used to say Is good enough for me. I am surprised to find that this excellent ditty should have been erected into the theme song of the D-day of the new England. It is perfectly true that there was another motive behind these Regulations; that was, the opposition to clerical teaching, teaching by clergymen of the Church of England—opposition which at that time came from members; of the Nonconformist bodies. On that I will simply say that that world has gone. It is not our business to-night to pass any judgment on anybody's religious views. The Nonconformist world of 1860 was a very different place from the world of 1945. People then did think with great sincerity that the whole destiny of the immortal soul rested upon belonging to exactly the right form of sect. Therefore, with their eyes open they opposed the cause of education in the cause of sectarian orthodoxy. I am not passing any judgment, but hon. Members who are students of Matthew Arnold will remember in his "Culture and Anarchy" he made that the basis of his attack. Rightly or wrongly Nonconformists to-day have come to a different point of view. There are to-day very few among them who think that the whole future and destiny of the immortal soul depends upon the particular sect to which one belongs. On the other hand, they are, naturally and rightly, a great deal more afraid than their grandfathers used to be that the whole Christian heritage will be lost, if religion plays no part in the educational system. Therefore, as we all know, the Nonconformists have to-day taken a very different attitude towards religious education, and have agreed to co-operate in agreed syllabuses and to insist that religion should form an essential part of the education of the country.

In that new atmosphere, I suggest that this Regulation has become entirely irrelevant. I noticed the other day that the Methodist Union of North Lancashire passed a resolution exactly to that effect. It would, therefore, be impossible to defend this Regulation by sheltering oneself behind the prejudice of the Nonconformists, because the Nonconformists are no longer able to defend it. In the name of liberty we are entitled to ask by what reason can an interference of liberty be justified, and we are entitled to say of this Regulation that it cannot be justified.

I remember that last time I had the great honour of debating before the right hon. Lady, who has been kind enough to come down and hear us to-night, was shortly before the war at the Oxford Union. My hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Major Fraser), as it were, in a previous incarnation, presided over our deliberations. I remember well an eloquent speech by the right hon. Lady in which she denounced the palsied hand of reaction—a flattering role for which I myself was cast. I appeal to her in all sincerity to take this opportunity again to show herself the unwavering foe of the palsied hand of reaction, and to bring honour to the great office, upon which we all gladly congratulate her, by making one of her first acts in it the abolition of this fantastically reactionary Regulation.

10 p.m.

Mr. Cove (Aberavon)

I have had some difficulty in trying to size up what the mover and seconder of the Motion really want. The hon. Member for the Combined Universities (Mr. K. Lindsay) roamed widely over the Regulations. The hon. and gallant Member for Devizes (Squadron-Leader Hollis) came a little nearer to what he desires. I ask the hon. Member for the Combined Universities whether he wants to break down the negotiations which took place on the 1944 Act.

Mr. Lindsay

The answer is, "No, nor do I think it necessary."

Mr. Cove

But if the hon. Member's Motion is carried, that, in effect, is what it will mean. [Hon. Members: "Why?"] It is very difficult in a short speech to get this over clearly; it is so full of technicalities. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. R. A. Butler) will agree with me. I have read the propaganda which has been put out on this business and what does it say? That the right hon. Gentleman's Act gives a free play for atheism to be taught in the schools of Britain. As a matter of fact, the House did not then realise, as the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) and some of us did, that that Act was a complete revolution as far as English education is concerned. For the first time in British history, the right hon. Gentleman made it compulsory that religious teaching and a collective act of worship should take place in every school throughout the country. That is a revolution from the position of 1870. The State kept out of it before. The right hon. Gentleman made it the substance of his Act; in fact, there was more religion than education in it. There was statutory compulsion for religious teaching throughout the schools. I want to say bluntly in a broad way that the Churches made a bigger intrusion into State schemes through the Act than they had ever done before. The Archbishop of Canterbury of that time said—I do not think I am paraphrasing him too widely—that if these proposals of the right hon. Gentleman, brought forward in 1944, had been brought forward ten years ago, they would have been absolutely staggered at the progress they had made. By that Act religion was firmly established in the State schools. The State has come actively into the schools on the religious side.

I want the hon. Member for the Combined Universities to deny this if I am wrong: If these Regulations are annulled and he gets what he and his friends want, is it not true to say that you will open the flood-gates of denominational strife throughout the State schools? In the Act passed in the last Parliament, the basis of the religious agreement, throughout the State schools above the primary schools, was the agreed syllabus. That Act made certain that the dual system would last, that the Church schools would remain, even in single-school areas. The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery and I tried to persuade the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Saffron Walden otherwise. The right hon. Gentleman's Act has preserved the dual system. His Act brought into the State system not only compulsory religious teaching, but what is technically known as controlled schools. It even brought in denominational teaching at the expense of the State. What more does the Church want? All that the Church can now demand is the abolition of the State and complete Church control of the schools. Why on earth the Church should be dissatisfied, I do not know. If these Regulations are annulled, you will let the Church parson come into one school, you will let a Nonconformist minister come into another school, but will you let a Unitarian come into another school? Will you let an atheist come in? [An Hon. Member: "They are there."] That is not true. As far as statutory provision can make it certain, the Act has made certain that there shall be Christian teaching throughout the schools and that the State shall inspect that religious teaching. That is a revolution. It is a complete reversal of the position we have taken up since 1870.

Professor Gruffydd (University of Wales)

Does the hon. Member contend that atheists are barred from schools because they are atheists?

Mr. Cove

What I say is that even if the hon. Member were an atheist—

Professor Gruffydd

But I am not.

Mr. Cove

—he would have no State sanction behind him to teach atheism in schools. Under the Act there is State sanction to teach the Christian religion, Hon. Members must realise that. I know that some of the Members of my own party did not realise it when the Act was passed. What happened under the Act was that the State came in and said that the Christian religion must be taught to every child in the country. If more than that is demanded and obtained, it will mean throwing into the schools a feeling of contending sects. If these Regulations are annulled, it will open the floodgates to denominational pressure. Therefore, I hope the right hon. Lady will reject the Prayer that these Regulations be annulled. I hope we shall stand by the agreement that was made in the Act that was passed in the last Parliament.

Mr. Hopkin Morris (Carmarthen)

Will the hon. Member enlighten me on one point? I am one of the persons described by the hon. and gallant Member for Devizes (Squadron-Leader Hollis) as a Nonconformist of the old type, who does not believe that the State has any business to be engaged in religious instruction. That is one thing. I understand that is what the hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove) is challenging. This is a totally different Prayer. This Prayer is to prevent discrimination.

Mr. Speaker

Is the hon. Member asking a question or making a speech? I did not call upon him to make a speech.

Mr. Hopkin Morris

This is the question I wish to put, Sir. The purpose of the Prayer is to remove discrimination as against a particular class. How does the hon. Member, who is in favour of liberty in the schools, as I am, object to the discrimination being removed against a specific class?

Mr. Cove

If this is removed, it will simply allow in every denominational person that you can think of.

10.13 p.m.

Mr. Michael Astor (Surrey, Eastern)

It is difficult enough to make a maiden speech in any circumstances, but when I have to follow from this side my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Devizes (Squadron-Leader Hollis), I feel rather like saying to the House, "Please assume the status quo, go on talking to one another, and let me get on with my speech." The only confidence I have in addressing the House for the first time, comes from my feeling that the matter under discussion is in no way controversial. I maintain that the principles involved go beyond the realm of politics, let alone party politics. I maintain that these principles were accepted by our country even before our present political system was devised. I can see a very strong case for preventing clergymen from teaching their own particular denominational doctrine in schools. I feel that if this came into effect, it would only be slightly less dangerous than the introduction by the State of party political doctrine for the young. If that happened we would say not that our liberties were endangered, but that for the most part they had disappeared. To judge or even to regard this Prayer in that light, is completely to misinterpret the function of the clergy in the teaching profession. The function of the clergy is primarily to increase the knowledge and the practice of the Christian ethics. That comes first and is above any particular denominational creed to which they may belong.

All young men who enter Holy Orders do so because they have behind them a certain urge and belief that in that way they can best serve not only their own community, but the whole of mankind. Very often—and I think quite understandingly—a clergyman finds that in his ordinary routine life as a clergyman he has inadequate scope for his particular talents; in fact, he appreciates that the job is not exactly what he himself wants and he turns very often to the teaching profession not in any revocation of the principles to which he was originally dedicated, but rather to find wider fields in which to practise his calling. Furthermore, almost all of these what I would call displaced clergy are fully qualified, quite apart from anything else, to teach any of the curriculum in our schools. Take the case of history, a very important matter in our curriculum. It is a very generally accepted fact that anyone who claims to have had a general education must have acquired a background knowledge of history. If that particular subject is taught rather as a time table, with a series of facts and dates which are in no way correlated by human developments and human emotions, I believe that the study of history is of very little value. Under these conditions I believe it is little more than a mental exercise. Those of us who are possibly more philosophically inclined, may take the view that the whole of history is really the history of the struggle of good against evil. We may ask ourselves often which side is winning, but I maintain that, if we take that view, the clergy have peculiar qualifications for teaching the subject in relation to mankind—the struggle for liberty, justice and progress of one kind or another. So in my opinion Regulation 23B is depriving the teaching profession of a very considerable number of certified teachers, and consequently depriving the children themselves of people particularly qualified to be in their midst to instruct them.

There is another point with which hon. Members may not agree, but I believe it is a good thing for the clergy themselves to get down from their pulpit now and again and mix with the common folk. I put it this way. Surely, an intelligent discourse on history, which really comprises all the essential striving and aspirations and, possibly, failures, of mankind, is really of more use in teaching than, possibly, the rather dull sermons which we too often hear from the pulpit. Yet in supporting this Prayer, I feel it is also very important to point out that the clergy, as I think everyone will agree, are men of peculiarly high moral standing. I feel that, for young people to have as their teachers people who set themselves up as examples in this matter, is very essential. I think there is one new danger creeping into our educational system, and, indeed, possibly pervading the whole of our national life. The danger is that the more the State takes a hand in the matter of education—while it brings certain benefits—the more teaching tends to become too doctrinaire. The formula for teaching becomes altogether over-simplified, the curriculum becomes too confined, and the qualification for the teacher becomes too narrow. I maintain that the introduction of people who have the peculiar qualifications which a great many of the clergy possess would be a very large enrichment of the ordinary lay teaching in schools. I am in no way referring to denominational religious teaching.

I think that, in the same way, undue importance is always given to the matter of examinations in the minds of those dealing with young people or even people seeking a job. I believe I am right in saying that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition was peculiarly bad at examinations, and, surely, he is a very good example of the undue importance that can be attached to that matter. Hon. Members who may have studied educational matters in France, will appreciate that, there, the educational system is essentially rigid. As a matter of fact, the boys and girls in school work far harder than we do, but I think that any enlightened Frenchman would agree that our system is preferable to theirs because it allows us more latitude in the curriculum, and it gives more attention to the development of character, and, if you like, to citizenship than the mere acquisition of knowledge, and, surely, the point of education is not to stuff people with a lot of facts but to bring out the best talents in those people. I think this is very relevant to the question of introducing clergy to teach lay matters in schools. I believe we won the war, for instance, not on our superior knowledge entirely, but on the character of our people and, together with that, an implicit belief that our own cause, closely associated with the Christian cause, was the right one.

I believe that most people today, possibly sub-consciously, seek a practical faith. The Germans adopted National Socialism as their faith, and, fortunately for the rest of mankind, it crumbled and decayed. The Russians have adopted Communism as their faith. I am quite sure that Communism, as a faith, in itself is totally insufficient to act as even a sop to the troubles of mankind. I believe that any doctrine based entirely on materialism is doomed to failure. If we believe that the Christian faith is the best faith in this respect, I should have thought—and I submit it to the House—that the most practical way of introducing the matter in an attractive form, would be to allow clergymen who are well qualified to teach in the first place, to practise education in lay matters in the schools of this country.

10.26 p.m.

Mr. Skinnard (Harrow, East)

In one way, Mr. Speaker, I would have preferred it, had my maiden speech been on any subject other than education, because I came direct to this House from more than 20 years' service in local-authority schools, the elementary school, the modern senior school, and the secondary school established by the 1944 Act. In addition, I was the elected representative of many of my fellow teachers on national and local bodies. I feel, therefore, that my judgment on matters which so recently were subjects of deep personal and professional concern to me, may appear to lack perspective, but I hope the House will bear with me because I believe it is my duty to try to reflect here the attitude of thousands of my former colleagues and many of the parents of the children whom I taught.

My colleagues, in the main, I regret to say, regarded the Education Bill of 1944 with scepticism, and they have seen no reason since to alter their attitude. As the hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove) said, many of us thought there were 14 ozs. of religion and 2 ozs. of education in that Bill. In fact, it was crudely perhaps described to me by an experienced headmaster as an Act to make England safe for the Archbishops. Whether that criticism was right or not, I must say that that suspicion which motivated it remains, and this Prayer before the House to-night will, in no way, serve to diminish that suspicion.

I regard some of the things that have been said as a reflection on the many thousands of devoted men and women who have entered education primarily with the idea that the job of education is the formation of character. And I unhesitatingly deny that the great majority of the teachers of England are anti-Christian. Indeed, they are Christian in a very true sense. I have been very much impressed with our way of commencing the daily business in this House with an act of worship, and I may say, without fear of contradiction, that in every school which I have served, a similar act of worship opened every day's work, and, in some cases, closed it every evening, with just as reverent an attitude, and, perhaps—if I may venture a criticism—with the pupils and the masters and mistresses taking a rather more individual share in it. This can be proved to this House by the attitude of returning soldiers and serving women. Very often their first act after going back to their homes is to come to their school, and they ask to be allowed to stay for the service and to stand in the master's line in order to recapture something the memory of which was very dear to them in Burma, in Germany, or elsewhere, during the war.

That is the spirit which I have found among my colleagues for more than 20 years with regard to having clergymen, whose training is primarily in theological exposition, coming to teach us who are trained in the psychology of childhood, and are training pupils to be good men and women in the world in which they are growing up. It is a very bad reflection on my very good friends still happily in the teaching profession.

I may have already wearied the House with my maiden speech, but I must go on, because there are one or two other points which may not have occurred to hon. Members opposite. First, the Act has not been entirely welcomed, to put it mildly, by the main body of those of us who have served in what used to be the schools under the elementary code. I for one was sorry to see the old Part III authorities disappear. We have been impatient about appointed days, but we do not in the main object to the insistence upon a daily act of worship, because it was a normal thing in the vast majority of schools under local authorities, in the elementary, senior, modern and secondary schools that I know, and I have had a pretty wide experience up and down the country. Schools have also had, over a much longer time than appeared, an agreed syllabus. In many large areas there has been an agreed syllabus for many years. What is more the teachers themselves know that the visiting clergy whose habit it was to visit us once a year in order to see whether we had done the job, gave enthusiastic reports, as a general rule, not only on the fact that the Scriptures were known, but that the pupils had gained a reverent attitude through the teaching in the schools. No clergyman could give us more than we have had already from teachers of all denominations.

Clergymen who came in for the examinations proved themselves rather poor at understanding the minds of the children. I have writhed time and again as some young clergyman or Nonconformist parson—and I speak quite fairly, because I am a Nonconformist—would ask one of the boys of 13 to explain the chronology of the Pentateuch, to put in order of sequence the Messianic prophecies of some obscure New Testament prophet, to explain the pessimism of Jeremiah. I am quoting actual cases in my own experience. Believe me, the pessimism of Jeremiah was nothing to the pessimism of my classes when questioned like that by learned clergymen, who, hon. Members opposite tell us, will be very good additions to the teaching profession.

There has been much clouding of the issues to-night, I am afraid. I have a document on Regulation 23, issued by the Church Education League. We are asked not to exclude from the schools men of high academic qualifications for the teaching of history, geography and what you will, but this brochure of the Church Education League says: Clergy and ministers are liable to the same tests as other teachers and by their special training are particularly qualified for the work of religious instruction. What is wrong is that many of my colleagues in the teaching profession would feel themselves deprived of a large part of their work if they were to be ousted from teaching during the little periods of worship because someone "more qualified" had come on the staff. I am a trifle suspicious that it is because we have a new order in education that the clergy want to come in. I have noticed that they have not been so anxious to assist in training with classes of 50 or 60 in the primary schools. I ask the Minister to stand firm on the reasonable compromise in Regulation 23 and to remember that, while a very eloquent case has been made out for the unfortunate clergymen—who appear to have mistaken their vocation and must come into the schools as a consolation prize—there are the men and women with a true vocation who have stuck to the schools and formed the characters which have helped to win this war.

10.38 p.m.

Major Boyd-Carpenter (Kingston-on-Thames)

As the hon. member has just said, there has been considerable clouding of the issue in this Debate. There is no disposition on the part of the supporters of the Prayer to raise any difficulty or any question with respect to the religious settlement set out in the Act which will always be associated with my right hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Butler). The issue raised on this Prayer is very short and very simple. It does not, as the hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove) suggested, raise any question as to religious instruction or syllabus. It merely raises the question of whether, in the national schools of this country, one class of man alone shall be disqualified from acting as teachers and that they shall be disqualified for no other and no better reason than that they belong to a calling which for more than half our history was alone responsible for the education of the poorer classes. Therefore I invite attention to the fact that that, and that alone, is the issue raised.

One matter has been touched upon which I should be very grateful if the Minister, when she replies to the Debate, would deal with. As I understand it, one of her many anxieties is centred round the question whether she will be able to provide enough teachers to implement, fully and adequately, the Act of 1944. One would appreciate it if she would assure the House that even with clerical teachers banned she is in a position, without any difficulty, to supply an adequate number of teachers. If she is not and this historic Measure is to be held up through lack of teachers it seems rather strange that she is going to deprive herself of a source of trained teachers. The exclusion in the Regulation covers not only Clerks in Holy Orders but regular ministers of other denominations. I do not know if the right hon. Lady will enlighten the House on the precise distinction between regular and irregular ministers. At any rate, the fact is that a Clerk in Holy Orders who desires to make himself employable in the national schools has only, as the Regulation now stands, to commit an act of such gross impropriety as to cause himself to be unfrocked to become immediately a suitable person to be employed in the national schools—a provision which would have enabled a certain notorious character formerly in Holy Orders, who in later life resided in a barrel in Blackpool, to become employable as a teacher in the schools.—[Mr. EDE: "No."]—The prohibition is precise—Clerks in Holy Orders. If he is unfrocked he ceases to be a Clerk in Holy Orders. Therefore, as I see it, a Clerk in Holy Orders who has never given cause for any trouble is debarred, whereas the occasional black sheep is given the freedom to be employed in the schools.

It does appear that this legislative discrimination against one and only one class in the community is contrary to the spirit of broad-minded toleration which is expressed in Section 30 of the Act itself. It is in the light of that consideration that I would ask the right hon. Lady to consider whether she really feels that this discrimination, for which, as has been pointed out, she herself is not responsible, is really to be maintained. The hon. Member for Aberavon asked what the supporters of the Prayer really wanted. May I, as one of them, answer that in one sentence. What we ask is this: that the clergyman, the Clerk in Holy Orders, the minister of a regular denomination should be placed neither in a better nor a worse position than anybody else; but that those responsible bodies that have the duty of selecting teachers for our schools should be free, if they wish, to employ such a person equally with anybody else. I do not think that to support this Prayer it is necessary to go as far as the hon. Member for East Surrey (Mr. Astor) went, and to suggest that clergymen make the best teachers. All that it is necessary to do is to submit to the House that they have the right to be considered jointly with other people for employment in our national schools.

May I make, with great respect, an appeal to the right hon. Lady and to the House. Hon. Members are only too well aware that in these days the darkness of pagan materialism is to be found all over the world—[Interruption.]—and hon. Members opposite are themselves often very eloquent in their denunciation of it. It is a fact that the light of Christian culture, which is of the very heart of European civilisation, has been put out in many countries. Against that background, would it not be a very proper and fitting thing for this House to-night to make it abundantly and blindingly clear that it will neither permit nor tolerate any discrimination or prejudice against those faiths and freedoms which have guided for centuries the footsteps of our race?

10.45 p.m.

Professor Gruffydd (University of Wales)

I did intend at first to speak against the regulations as a whole, not only this particular Regulation 23, but other regulations which are contained in this paper. That is not because they are wholly bad, but because they have made a new jumble of the old collection of servile restrictions which at one time applied only to primary schools, but are now laid as a burden on the shoulders of the secondary schools as well. I have no basic objection to having the same regulations for the secondary as for the primary school, but I do object to a continuation of the bad features of the old regulations, and especially to giving them a new life by fastening them on to the secondary schools as well.

I now come to Regulation 23, which, I prophesy, cannot possibly work, and I will briefly show why. I belong to a religious denomination called Congregationalist and I know something about the congregational theory of the ministry and the Baptist as well. The Baptist or Congregational minister is technically only a minister when in charge of a church; in other words the ministry is purely functional and not sacerdotal. The moment he ceases to be in charge of a church he is not a minister, and I am certain that it would be established in a court of law, therefore, that that very person under Regulation 23 could, if he is not in charge of a church, be a teacher, but no Presbyterian or Anglican, owing to the nature of his ordination, could be. Is that fair? I ask the Minister, is it fair? It seems clear to me that the Regulation will break down on that very point.

Does it not look really ridiculous to discuss a Regulation which, out of the whole of the population of this country, picks out the Anglican or Presbyterian or Wesleyan clergyman and not, shall we say, the greengrocer, or the journalist, or publican or bookmaker, or even the public hangman? They can all be teachers on one condition, that they are full-time officers during the period they are at the school. That is all we ask here for the parsons. We do not ask that any clergyman or minister shall be a teacher in a school, so long as he is in charge of a church. We are only asking that a man who happens to be a Clerk in Holy Orders should be allowed to carry on his work as a teacher, and not be deprived of what is possibly his main interest in life.

By the way, there is an important point here for those interested in grammar schools. As we know, unfortunately classical learning is getting less and less in this country. Even in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge the amount of Latin and Greek required is less and less, and I can see the time coming when it will be almost impossible in England for a person to get an adequate training in Latin or Greek except from some person who has taken up Latin or Greek professionally as a subject and the only person who does that is the clergyman or minister.

As I have already said, this is not the only ill-considered Regulation. Now 14D provides that there shall be no more than 40 pupils in every primary class. I say to the House that it is impossible that any teacher in a primary school, or any other school, could do justice to a class of 40 pupils, and the number 40 is a ridiculous maximum.

The next point is in Regulation 15, which seems to me to be very obscure, and I would ask the right hon. Lady, the Minister of Education, for an explanation of it. Up to now it has been possible for a teacher in a secondary school on account of special qualifications to enter the teaching profession in what were then called secondary schools and are now called grammar schools, without having undergone what is technically called training. I ought, I suppose, being a university professor, to stand up for universal compulsory training. But I do not. Many people who have not been trained in the past have been first-class teachers, and made great reputations for themselves in the public schools of England, which are all staffed with people who were not "trained," and there are no better schoolmasters in the world. Now this new Regulation, as far as I understand it, makes it necessary under 15 (2) that all teachers, whether secondary or any other, must have gone through the training department before they can become teachers. Well, if the training is good, they will benefit by it, but if it happens to be, as it sometimes is, bad it may take them a long time to unlearn the absurdities of their "training."

There is another point, to which I would like to call attention in the new Regulations. Though I am in favour of the same just treatment for primary and secondary schools, there is one point on which they cannot be treated alike; and that is in the matter of holidays. In accordance with this document, they will in future have the same holidays. But the holidays which are adequate for teachers in the primary schools are entirely inadequate for teachers in the secondary schools. The secondary school teacher every night has to take home a large pile of copy books and correct exercises; and if a sixth or even fifth form teacher wishes to keep up with his work he has to devote a large part of his holidays to making himself more efficient in his own subject by research and study or even by going to the Continent, or in other ways.

The last Regulation to which I would refer is the rule about misconduct. I would like to ask the right hon. Lady here, because the matter has been raised many times among my constituents, whether the divorce of teachers is going to be regarded as misconduct subjecting them to dismissal. If so, it is a grave reflection on our honesty as administrators. I can see the possibility of divorced legislators (of whom there is a considerable number) requiring of those for whom they legislate a stricter morality than they are able to practise themselves.

10.59 p.m.

Mr. R. A. Butler (Saffron Walden)

I am opposed to this Motion, and I stand by the Regulations as originally drafted, and as they have been presented by the right hon. Lady the Minister of Education. The first impression I gain from this Debate is that the new House of Commons is experiencing, perhaps for the first time as a corporate body, something of those problems which we discussed on the Education Act, at any rate in its preliminaries. I hope that the one lesson which the new House of Commons has learned on the subject of education is that logic is not a virtue in politics. I am quite certain that if we were to approach this question from the purely logical angle, we should come to the conclusion that it was quite natural that clerks in Holy Orders, or recognised ministers of any denomination, if they were to be allowed in one type of secondary school, should be allowed in all. That is the logical approach and that is the approach which appeals, quite honourably, to many of my hon. Friends on this side of the House, particularly those who do not, I think, agree with me on this occasion.

I repeat, that logic in these matters, especially in educational history of this island, is not a sure guide. If I had followed that purely logical course in drafting not only the religious settlement, as it has been called, but the Act as a whole, with the aid of the Home Secretary and others involved—had we followed that path we should not have been successful. The fact that we have been illogical, and have been guided by the intimate desires and personal beliefs of those who were associated in this, has, I am sure, been the reason for our success. There is no doubt that the course of the history of English education has been beset by the religious difficulties. This is, I am sure, the only occasion in which an Education Act has been passed through Parliament and has not left behind it a trail of religious bitterness and intolerance. That fact is one which this country should not be in a hurry to erase from the pages of its history.

The witty, able and in many ways delightful speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Devizes (Squadron-Leader Hollis) was however contrary to that faith and belief which I and the others associated with me in that Act hold. I am definitely of the opinion that if I were to depart to-day from the terms of Regulation 23 and of the Regulations as a whole, I would be prejudicing the religious settlement. I agree that the religious settlement happens to have come before this House after the passage of the Education Act, but I confess that when I originally drafted these Regulations and redrafted them in the light of discussions with the leaders of the denominations—and that should be realised by the House to-day—I did it in the same spirit and in the same atmosphere as that in which the religious settlement was originally made. I feel certain that if we were to decide this issue as a separate one, we should prejudice the spirit of the whole.

At this stage, having referred to some of the arguments made, it is my pleasing duty to congratulate the hon. Members for East Surrey (Mr. Astor), East Harrow (Mr. Skinnard) and Kingston-upon-Thames (Major Boyd-Carpenter) on the quality of their maiden speeches. They were, in each case, inspired with sincerity and each speaker approached the question not only with a passionate belief in his opinions but expression of his own ideals. I am sure we are very grateful to them. I think in reply to the hon. Member for East Surrey and the hon. and gallant Member for Kingston-upon-Thames I must say that I recommend a study of the politics of education in the past. All Ministers of Education, including the right hon. Lady opposite, probably get haughty and cultural in the course of their tenure of office, and I am sure that the Secretary of State for the Colonies and also the former President of the Board of Education would not disagree with me about that. I am going to maintain that reputation by recommending what is, I think, one of the most learned works on religious history of this country, one written by Halévy, the French historian. If these hon. Gentlemen who spoke with such sincerity would read that history they would realise the invidious task of anyone who undertakes educational reforms and will learn that the clergyman—to use the longest term—is as a red rag to a bull when he enters the ordinary State school. That is why his entry has always been regarded as one of the most difficult problems in the whole question of educational history in this country.

I use this expression on purpose, in order to direct the attention of the House to the fact. I entirely endorse the views of the hon. Member for East Surrey that a clergyman or a regular minister of any denomination is a man of the highest moral character and very often brings to the art of teaching very special gifts. But that does not take away from the simple political fact that the past history of education shows that there is associated with the clergy not only of the Anglican Church but of all denominations a certain political taint, which it is impossible to remove from any settlement or any consideration of the educational problem. I am stating this matter quite bluntly in order that the House may be in possession of the whole facts as they were before me when I came to my decision. The advance that we made involved the giving of religious education, and special arrangements whereby denominational instruction can be given in schools of various types, and, in effect, the qualified right of entry for the most important thing of all, the giving of religious instruction itself.

When I came to discuss with the partners in education—the same partners that the right hon. Lady has—the teachers and the authorities, I found that were we to abrogate the original regulation which prohibited the clergy and ministers of denominations from acting as teachers in ordinary schools we should immediately begin to create a lack of confidence. When I came up against that fact I decided that we had got so far in avoiding religious bitterness and in solving some of these problems in the past that it really would be wrong of me in drafting the Regulations to go any further and that was the unanimous view of the partners in education with whom I have discussed the matter. I know that it is the case now that certain of the authorities do not take the view that they did at that time and are now taking a more lenient view. Certain of the local authorities are taking that view, but, in my opinion, the teachers, as a whole, have not altered their view and therefore the balance should remain as it was originally struck and we should retain the Regulations as they stand.

I must draw the attention of the House to the fact that this Regulation is an improvement on the past draft. Take the hypothetical case of a man teaching in a modern school who has done useful service, and still is prevented by these Regulations from continuing if he becomes a clerk in Holy Orders. That would be a very hard case. But it would be possible under the terms of the Regulation to provide for the Minister, if he or she is satisfied that the special circumstances of the case justify it, to permit that man to continue teaching in the modern school or in the technical school, or in any secondary school where a parson was not previously permitted to teach. I believe that is a distinct advance on the Regulation as originally drafted, to which the hon. and gallant Member for Devizes referred. Therefore, the House may feel that there has been an advance made. In logic, it would have been natural for a complete advance to be made and for clergymen to be permitted to teach in all secondary schools. That has not proved to be possible, and I would conclude by borrowing the words "La politique, c'est l'art du possible", which, as a former Minister of Education, I will translate as "Politics is the art of what is possible." Let us then make a sensible decision and accept the Regulations and see that they are passed here to-night.

11.7 p.m.

The Minister of Education (Miss Ellen Wilkinson)

To-night I have been in rather an unusual position for a Minister, because I feel in a way as though I am an arbitrator in a very fierce and most entertaining discussion. As the previous speaker has said, I had no part in framing these Regulations. They were framed by my predecessor, the right hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Butler), with the help of my colleague, the present Home Secretary, so that I have no maternal pride in them at all. But one thing has struck me as curious. Passionate protests have been uttered, saying how terrible it is to discriminate against one set of people, those unfortunate beings, the clerks in Holy Orders. It is over twenty years since I was first elected to this House, and in the whole course of that time I have never once heard any speech passionately protesting against this House making exactly the same discrimination in refusing to have clerks in Holy Orders as Members of this House. If this House will not have these unfortunate clergymen as Members, I do not see why they should be more extensively admitted to the schools. Really, charity begins at home in this matter. I am sorry Members do not seem aware of this fact but, as I say, for the sake of younger Members here, that is nevertheless the fact. Many speakers have urged me to re-draft this Regulation because they say there is a very great shortage of teachers, but I am equally overwhelmed by letters and resolutions pointing out that there is a very great shortage of clergymen. Really, I cannot understand why these gentlemen who are highly trained to do their own particular job—the most responsible post that anyone can aspire to, I am told, the cure of souls—do not get on with the work for which they have been trained. The hon. and gallant Member for Devizes (Squadron-Leader Hollis) made the joke, which sounded so funny when it was made, that it would be absurd to say in the rules of cricket that no greengrocer should keep wicket. How easy and cheap to make an argument like that. Surely the answer is that there is no area that I know of, entirely dominated by one greengrocer, and by a greengrocer with a firm conviction that you cannot go to Heaven unless you buy from his shop.

And that is really the distinction, as far as I can see it. It seems to me that there is a distinction between a greengrocer and a clerk in Holy Orders. There is this point, too. One of the speakers—I think it was the same hon. and gallant Member for Devizes—said we could not trust a clergyman to be a Christian gentleman and play the game as regards his teaching and his particular denomination. Surely the whole point is that if the gentleman is a Christian, is a pastor, he does passionately believe in what he is teaching. If not, then he cannot fully believe in the very things he professes. Why is he a member of that particular denomination then? It seems to me that that is the obvious logic of the case. We have large numbers of areas in this country where the only school to which the Nonconformist or even the Catholic can send his children—I am using Nonconformist and Catholic on the one side and Church of England on the other, but you can turn it round for argument—Ithink it is not fair that the parents should be forced to send their children to a denominational school where the clergyman of that denomination can be a teacher in that school and very possibly, in those circumstances, the Headmaster.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson (Farnham)

The right hon. Lady could carry it a stage further. If she put herself for a moment in the position of a Conservative who had to send her child—

Miss Wilkinson

There are very large numbers of Socialist parents who have to send their children to schools which are dominated by Conservatives. They are in exactly the same position.

Mr. Nicholson

The logical thing to do is to prevent anyone teaching belief in anything at all?

Miss Wilkinson

The thing is a little different, I think, when you come to beliefs which are classed under the heading of religious beliefs. Very largely that same thing would be regarded, I think, by one of our gallant Allies in whose country they take their politics more or less as a religion—we do not—as Marxism versus Capitalism. It has not arisen in that form in this country. I would urge that this point should be kept in mind—I think it was put by the present Minister of Health: that the religious tolerance which exists in this country at the present day is very largely the happy result of denominations not pressing their claims too hard. I urge hon. Members who clearly and very honestly feel very passionate about this matter that they would really be doing a grave disservice to the cause they advocate if they pressed their claims too hard and this whole issue had to be reopened. I ask them to face up to what, really, all this fuss is about. My predecessor very carefully balanced the issue as far as possible: that is to say, to allow clergymen in grammar schools, which had never had the ban, and in technical schools. It has always applied in elementary schools and will continue to do so. Therefore the issue narrows down to that section of schools which were previously known as senior elementary schools.

Mr. Lindsay

The right hon. Lady will realise that that is a conservative estimate. Something like 60 per cent. of the total secondary schools are under the Act.

Miss Wilkinson

I will not quarrel with that. It is certainly not the total of the school-going pupils of this country. I am now talking not about adding the primary schools to the modern schools but just taking the number of children in the modern schools.

Mr. Lindsay

So am I. That is the issue where these particular schools have always been under the difficulty of not having denominational teaching and that situation is going to be continued.

Miss Wilkinson

I really think the issue is not one which ranges over the whole school population but is restricted to this particular section of schools. I want to issue one word of warning on this. These Regulations are not my Regulations—and I do not mean me as an individual. They are not Regulations which have been put forward by the majority party in this House. They were put forward in the Coalition Government by a Member who represented the majority party in that Coalition Government. They were accepted by my hon. Friends in that Government.

Lieut.-Commander Joynson Hicks (Chichester)

Will the right hon. Lady, in the interests of accuracy, note that I have objected to all these Regulations and my right hon. Friend in front will confirm that I put my objections to him.

Miss Wilkinson

It was my party I was alluding to as having accepted, not the hon. Gentleman. I said the right hon. Gentleman put them forward as Conservative Minister of Education. In the discussions that followed with the Labour Party, as far as we were concerned, they were accepted. I think that will clear away any misunderstanding. But the point I want to clear up is that it is not possible for this House to vote this Regulation 23 out of the other Regulations. The Prayer is against all the Regulations. Therefore, if the Prayer is carried then all the Regulations fall to the ground. I ask hon. Members whether they fully realise what that means.

The Regulations, once made, must lie on the Table for 40 days. Of course they could be changed if the House turned them down. But if they were annulled the first thing that would happen would be that the primary or secondary schools would be thrown into chaos, because there would be no Regulations under the Act under which they could work. [Interruption.]

No, the House will have to listen to me a little longer and I will not give way. We really have to get the Act going, to get the Act to work, to get some life into it. That is the difficulty I have experienced since I have been Minister, to get the Act going, and really Members should realise that it would be a very serious matter if all these Regulations were thrown into the melting pot. But if the House decides to do that, well, we will face up to it, and I shall be more than glad to put before the House a set of Regulations which would alter the old ones in many considerable ways, ways which I do not think will be liked by hon. Members opposite, ways which they would not welcome anything like as well as the ones they have got.

Several Hon. Members rose

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Whiteley) rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided: Ayes, 199; Noes, 80.

Division No. 7.] AYES. [11.23 p.m.
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South) Daines, P. House, G.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. Davies, A. E. (Burslem) Hoy, J.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Davies, Ernest (Enfield) Hubbard, T.
Alpass, J. H. Davies, Harold (Leek) Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)
Anderson, A. (Motherwell) Deer, G. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Awbery, S. S. de Freitas, Sqn.-Ldr. G. Hushes, H. D. (Wolverhampton, W.)
Bacon, Miss A. Dobbie, W. Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme)
Baird, Capt. J. Douglas, F. C. R. Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)
Barton, C. Dye, S. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.
Battley, J. R. Ede, Rt. hon. J. C. Jeger, Capt. G. (Winchester)
Belcher, J. W. Fairhurst, F. Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)
Bellenger, F. J. Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.) Jones, Maj. P. Asterley (Hitchin)
Beswick, Flt.-Lieut. F. Foot, M. M. Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)
Bing, Capt. G. H. C. Foster, W. (Wigan) Jones, J. H. (Bolton)
Blenkinsop, Capt. A. Fraser, T. (Hamilton) Keenan, W.
Blyton, W. R. Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford) Kinley, J.
Bottomley, A. G. Ganley, Mrs. C. S. Lavers, S.
Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W. Gibbins, J. Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge) Gibson, C. W. Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)
Brook, D. (Halifax) Glanville, J. E. Leonard, W.
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell) Cordon-Walker, P. G. Levy, Lt. B. W.
Brown, George (Belper) Grenfell, D. R. Lewis, T. (Southampton)
Brown, T. J. (Ince) Grey, C. F. Lindgren, G. S.
Burden, T. W. Grierson, E. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.
Burke, W. A. Griffiths, D. (Rather Valley) Longden, F.
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.) Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) McAllister, G.
Callaghan, James Griffiths, Capt. W. D. (Moss Side) McKay, J. (Wallsend)
Champion, A. J. Gunter, Capt. R. J. McLeavy, F.
Cobb, F. A. Guy, W. H. MacMillan, M. K.
Cocks, F. S. Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley) Macpherson, T. (Romford)
Coldrick, W. Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R. Mallalieu, J. P. W.
Collick, P. Hannan, W. (Maryhill) Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)
Collindridge, F. Hardman, D. R. Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)
Colman, Miss G. M. Hardy, E. A. Mayhew, Maj. C. P.
Comyns, Dr. L. Haworth, J. Middleton, Mrs. L.
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.) Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Mitchison, Maj. G. R.
Corlett, Dr. J. Hewitson, Captain M. Montague, F.
Cove, W. G. Hobson, C. R. Morgan, Dr. H. B.
Daggar, G. Holman, P. Morley, R.
Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) Roberts, G. O. (Caernarvonshire) Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.
Mort, D. L. Royle, C. Turner-Samuels, M.
Moyle, A. Sargood, R. Turton, R. H.
Murray, J. D. Scott-Elliot, W. Usborne, H. C.
Nally, W. Silverman, J. (Erdington) Walkden, E.
Neal, H. (Claycross) Simmons, C. J. Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.) Skeffington, A. M. Warbey, W. N.
Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford) Skinnard, F. W. Watkins, T. E.
Oldfield, W. H. Smith, Ellis (Stoke) Weitzman, D.
Oliver, G. H. Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.) Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Orbach, M. Snow, Capt. J. W. Wells, Maj. W. T. (Walsall)
Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth) Sparks, J. A. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Stamford, W. Whittaker, J. E.
Palmer, A. M. F. Steele, T. Wigg, G. E. C.
Pargiter, G. A. Stewart, Capt. M. (Fulham) Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.
Parkin, Ft.-Lieut. B. T. Strachey, J. Wilkinson, Rt. Hon. Ellen
Pearl, Capt. T. F. Strauss, G. R. Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Perrins, W. Summerskill, Dr. Edith Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Pitman, I. J. Sunderland, J. W. Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Popplewell, E. Swingler, Capt. S. Williamson, T.
Porter, E. (Warrington) Symonds, Maj. A. L. Willis, E.
Pritt, D. N. Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield) Wilmot, Rt. Hon. J.
Pryde, D. J. Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin) Wilson, J. H.
Pursey, Cmdr. H. Thomas, Ivor (Keighley Yates, V. F.
Randall, H. E. Thomas, George (Cardiff) Younger, Maj. The Hon. K. G.
Rees-Williams, Lt.-Col. D. R. Thomson, Rt. Hon. G. R. (E'b'gh, E.) Zilliacus, K.
Reid, T. (Swindon) Tiffany, S.
Ridealgh, Mrs. M. Titterington, M. F. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:—
Mr. R. J. Taylor and Mr. Pearson.
Amory, Lt.-Col. D. H. Herbert, Sir A. P. Nicholson, G.
Astor, The Hon. M. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.
Baldwin, A. E. Hollis, Sqn.-Ldr. M. C. Orr-Ewing, I. L.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H. Howard, The Hon. A. Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Bowen, Capt. R. Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport) Poole, Col. O. B. S. (Oswestry)
Bower, N. Hurd, A. Raikes, H. V.
Boyd-Carpenter, Maj. J. A. Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Cr. The Hn. L. W. Renton, Maj. D.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. Keeling, E. H. Roberts, Sqn.-Ldr. E. O. (Merioneth)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Spearman, A. C. M.
Bullock, Capt. M. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Stanley, Col. Rt. Hon. O.
Clarke, Col. R. S. Lindsay, K. M. (Comb'd. Eng. Univ.) Stoddart-Scott, Lt.-Col. M.
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G. Linstead, H. N. Studholme, Maj. H. G.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Low, Brig. A. R. W. Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Cooper-Key, Maj. E. M. Lucas, Major Sir J. Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow) Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R. Touche, G. C.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Maclean, Brig. F. H. R. (Lancaster) Vane, Lt.-Col. W. M. T.
Crowder, Capt. J. F. E. Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries) Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Dodds-Parker, Col. A. D. Maitland, Comdr, J. W. Walker-Smith, Lt.-Col. D.
Donner, Sqn.-Ldr. P. W. Marsden, Comdr. A. Ward, Group-Capt. The Hon. G. R.
Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith) Marshall, Comdr. D. (Bodmin) Wheatley, Lt.-Col. M. J.
Drayson, Capt. G. B. Maude, J. C. White, Maj. J. B. (Canterbury)
Fletcher, W. (Bury) Medlicott, Brig. F. Williams, Lt.-Cdr. G. W. (T'nbr'ge)
Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone) Mellor, Sir J. York, C.
Gammans, Capt. L. D. Molson, A. H. E.
Grimston, R. V. Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:—
Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley) Mott-Radclyffe, Maj. C. E. Commander Agnew and Mr. Drewe.
Harris, H. Wilson Neven-Spence, Major Sir B.

Question put accordingly,

That the Primary and Secondary Schools (Grant-Conditions) Regulations, 1945 (S.R. & O.amp;, 1945, No. 636), dated 29th May, 1945, made under Section 100 of the Education Act, 1944, a copy of which Regulations was presented on 7th June in the last Session of the last Parliament, be annulled.

The House proceeded to a Division.

Sir Alan Herbert (Oxford University)

(seated and covered). On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. Is it not the case that the mover of a Prayer has the right of reply, and that the Question was put at a point that prevented the mover of this Prayer having the right to reply?

Mr. Speaker

It is perfectly true that the mover has the right of reply, but the hon. Member did not rise to exercise it.

The House divided: Ayes, 81; Noes, 194.

Division No. 8. AYES. [11.31 p.m.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley) Neven-Spence, Major Sir B.
Amory, Lt.-Col. D. H. Harris, H. Wilson Nicholson, G.
Astor, The Hon. M. Herbert, Sir A. P. Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.
Baldwin, A. E. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Orr-Ewing, I. L.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H. Horabin, T. L. Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Bowen, Capt. R. Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport) Raikes, H. V.
Bower, N, Hurd, A. Renton, Maj. D.
Boyd-Carpenter, Maj. J. A. Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Cdr. The Hn. L. W. Roberts, Sqn.-Ldr. E. O. (Merioneth)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt-Col. W. Keeling, Sqn.-Ldr. E. H. Spearman, A. C. M.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Stanley, Col. Rt. Hon. O.
Bullock, Capt. M. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Stoddart-Scott, Lt.-Col. M.
Byers, Lt.-Col. F. Linstead, H. N. Studholme, Maj. H. G.
Clarke, Col. R. S. Low, Brig. A. R. W. Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G. Lucas, Major Sir J. Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
Cooper-Key, Maj. E. M. Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow) Macdonald, Capt. Sir P. (I. of Wight) Touche, G. C.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R. Turton, R. H.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Maclean, Brig. F. H. R. (Lancaster) Vane, Lt.-Col. W. M. T.
Crowder, Capt. J. F. E. Maitland, Cmdr. J. W. Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Davies, Clement (Montgomery) Marsden, Comdr. A. Walker-Smith, Lt.-Col. D.
Donner, Sqn.-Ldr. P. W. Marshall, Comdr. D. (Bodmin) Ward, Group-Capt. The Hon. G. R.
Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith) Maude, J. C. Wheatley, Lt.-Col. M. J.
Drayson, Capt. G. B. Medlicott, Brig. F. White, Maj. J. B. (Canterbury)
Drewe, C. Mellor, Sir J. Williams, Lt.-Cdr. G. W. (T'nbr'ge)
Fletcher, W. (Bury) Molson, A. H. E. York, C.
Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone) Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:—
Gammans, Capt. L. D. Morrison, Rt. Hn. W. S. (Cirencester) Mr. Kenneth Lindsay and
Grimston, R. V. Mott-Radclyffe, Maj. C. E. Squadron-Leader Hollis.
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South) Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.) McAllister, G.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. Fool, M. M. McLeavy, F.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Foster, W. (Wigan) MacMillan, M. K.
Alpass, J. H. Fraser, T. (Hamilton) Macpherson, T. (Romford)
Anderson, A. (Motherwell) Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford) Mallalieu, J. P. W.
Awbery, S. S. Ganley, Mrs. C. S. Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)
Bacon, Miss A. Gibbins, J. Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)
Baird, Capt. J. Gibson, C. W. Middleton, Mrs. L.
Barton, C. Glanville, J. E. Mitchison, Maj. G. R.
Battley, J. R. Gordon-Walker, P. G. Montague, F.
Belcher, J. W. Grenfell, D. R. Morley, R.
Ballanger, F. J. Grey, C. F. Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)
Beswick, Rt.-Lieut. F. Grierson, E. Mort, D. L.
Bing, Capt. G. H. C. Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Moyle, A.
Blackburn, A. R. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) Murray, J. D.
Blenkinsop, Capt. A. Griffiths, Capt. W. D. (Moss Side) Nally, W.
Blyton, W. R. Gunter, Capt. R. J. Neal, H. (Claycross)
Bottomley, A. G. Guy, W. H. Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W. Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley) Oldfield, W. H.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge) Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R. Oliver, G. H.
Brook, D. (Halifax) Hannan, W. (Maryhill) Orbach, M.
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell) Hardy, E. A. Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)
Brown, George (Belper) Haworth, J. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Brown, T. J. (Ince) Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Palmer, A. M. F.
Burden, T. W. Hewitson, Captain M. Pargiter, G. A.
Burke, W. A. Hobson, C. R. Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T.
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.) Holman, P. Peart, Capt. T. F.
Butler, Rt. Hon. H. A. (S'ffr'n W'ld'n) House, G. Perrins, W.
Callaghan, James Howard, The Hon. A. Pitman, I. J.
Champion, A. J. Hoy, J. Popplewell, E.
Cobb, F. A. Hubbard, T. Porter, E. (Warrington)
Cocks, F. S. Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.) Pritt, D. N.
Coldrick, W. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Pryde, D. J.
Collick, P. Hughes, H. D. (Wolverhampton, W.) Pursey, Cmdr. H.
Collindridge, F. Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme) Randall, H. E.
Colman, Miss G. M. Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.) Rees-Williams, Lt.-Col. D. R.
Comyns, Dr. L. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Reid, T. (Swindon)
Corbet, Mrs. F K. (Camb'well, N.W.) Jeger, Capt. G. (Winchester) Ridealgh, Mrs. M.
Corlett, Dr. J. Jeser, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.) Roberts, G. O. (Caernarvonshire)
Cove, W. G. Jones, Maj. P. Asterley (Hitchin) Sargood, R.
Daggar, G. Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools) Scott-Elliot, W.
Daines, P. Jones, J. H. (Bolton) Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Davies, A. E. (Burslem) Keenan, W. Simmons, C. J.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield) Kinley, J. Skeffington, A. M.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Lavers, S. Skinnard, F. W.
Deer, G. Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J. Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
de Freitas, Sqn.-Ldr. G. Lee, Miss J. (Cannock) Smith, T. (Normanton)
Dobbie, W. Leonard, W. Snow, Capt. J. W.
Douglas, F. C. R. Lewis, T. (Southampton) Sparks, J. A.
Dye, S. Lindgren, G. S. Stamford, W.
Ede. Rt. Hon. J. C. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Steele, T.
Fairhurst, F. Longden, F. Stewart, Capt. M. (Fulham)
Strachey, J. Turner-Samuels, M. Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Strauss, G. R. Usborne, H. C. Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Summerskill, Dr. Edith Walkden, E. Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Sunderland, J. W. Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.) Williamson, T.
Swingler, Capt. S. Warbey, W. N. Willis, E.
Symonds, Maj. A. L. Watkins, T. E. Wilmot, Rt. Hon. J.
Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield) Weitzman, D. Wilson, J. H.
Thomas, George (Cardiff) Wells, P. L. (Faversham) Yates, V. F.
Thomas, Ivor (Keighley) Wells, Maj. W. T. (Walsall) Younger, Maj. The Hon. K. G.
Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W. Zilliacus, K.
Thomson, Rt. Hon. G. R. (E'b'gh, E.) Whittaker, J. E.
Tiffany, S. Wigg, G. E. C. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:—
Titterington, M. F. Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B. Mr. Pearson and Mr. Robert Taylor.
Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G. Wilkinson, Rt. Hon. Ellen
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