HL Deb 15 February 1850 vol 108 cc813-5

wished to put a question with regard to a portion of the proceedings of the Committee of Council on Education, which was regarded with considerable interest, especially by clergymen of the Church of England. He would not enter into a discussion of the merits of the Committee itself, or of any part of its proceedings; but there was one point upon which there appeared to be a general misunderstanding and doubt, as to a matter of fact, and, as it led to a controversy between the National Society and the Government, it ought at once to be set right. He, therefore, took the liberty of referring to that one point. It would be in their Lordships' recollection, that up to the year 1846, or during the early period of the existence of the Committee, the Parliamentary grants which were disbursed by them were exclusively for the erection and building of schools, and all negotations before the years 1839 and 1840, had reference to grants for building purposes. Subsequently, the objects of the Committee, with the means at its disposal, were much extended, and the grants for building purposes became subsidiary, and, during the last two years, wholly secondary objects; and a great portion of the funds was given for the maintenance of certain schools, and for supplying, upon the reports of Government inspectors, premiums to teachers and pupils. Ultimately, the management clauses were introduced, and their adoption was made a necessary preliminary to the acceptance of aid from the public funds. Those management clauses were objectionable to the Church schools, and, in consequence, they had been debarred from any participation in the grant. However, within the last few days he had seen a pamphlet which, although not written from authority, evidently showed the author was well acquainted with the subject; and, in the postscript at the end of the pamphlet, there was a statement to the effect that the requiring of the adoption of the management clauses, as a condition for obtaining Government pecuniary assistance, did not apply to those subsequent objects—the maintenance of the schools, and the premiums to pupils and teachers, but was applicable only to the case of schools hereafter to be erected, and then, in their case, only as far as regarded the building of them; that schools already erected, or hereafter to be erected, whether they adopted the management clauses or not, would be entitled to the aid of Government in other respects, on the condition of submitting to Government inspection. It was important to know whether that statement was correct or not; whether, according to the pamphlet, schools, independent of the adoption or otherwise of the management clauses, should participate in the advantages of the public grant?


would follow the noble Lord's example in not entering upon any discussion of the general subject. In reply to the noble Lord, he must be allowed to say that the pamphlet, though written with ability, was the production of an individual clergyman, published without any sort of authority whatever. The appearance, however, of that pamphlet would naturally suggest to the noble Lord the inquiry as to the matter of fact; and, in answer, he had to inform him that the statement applied to a state of things which had not yet actually arisen. He could not find that any case of an application for an annual allowance, on the part of schools submitting to the Government inspection, and not receiving a grant, had occurred. He could not find either that any case bearing the least analogy had occurred; therefore, all he could say was, that the rules and regulations relating to the management clauses had been adopted, after much deliberation, and after strong recommendations, with some modifications, with a view to giving satisfaction to the members of the Church of England; but there was no reason why they should not receive applications from schools which had been erected without any assistance from the public funds. At the same time, as it was obvious that schools erected before those management clauses were adopted, had received aid, there was no rule adopted which should prevent the Committee from considering any application that should be made by schools which had not been erected by assistance from Government, for further assistance administered in the shape of an allowance for premiums to teachers and pupils.