HL Deb 07 March 1862 vol 165 cc1135-6

wished to ask his noble Friend the President of the Council for some information as to the operation of the second, third, and fourth articles on the third page of the Revised Code of Education which had given rise to some difficulty, and which he hoped the noble Earl would explain satisfactorily—though, if he read them rightly, they were of a very extraordinary character. The first of those articles provided that in the case of schools in which the next annual grant did not fall due until after the 31st of March, 1862, managers might, if they signified in writing their wish to that effect, have this payment made under the Revised Code. He should like to know how many of such applications his noble Friend had received; and, however numerous they might be, he was sure that they did not come from the poorer or more neglected districts. In Lord Byron's description of the shipwreck Some leap'd overboard with horrid yells, thus anticipating the fate which was about to overtake them; but he did not suppose that in this case the managers of many schools had been guilty of a similar act of self-immolation. The fourth article provided that no further grant after that which next falls due should be paid to schools except upon the terms of the Revised Code, or for the stipends and gratuities of current apprenticeships, where such existed—thus recognising the claims of pupil-teachers to be paid during their apprenticeships. The third article provided that no new apprenticeships should be agreed to accept upon the undertaking that during the remainder of current apprenticeships the managers should contribute the full stipends and gratuities which would otherwise have been payable by the public; thus saying to managers, "If you do not assume the payment of apprentices during the current terms which we are bound to pay, we will pay them; but in that case we will sanction no more apprenticeships in your school." And this responsibility the managers were bound to assume, not only under the penalty of losing their apprentices in the future, but also of suffering a forfeiture if they did not have them; because, if a school contained more than ninety children, the managers were liable to a penalty of £ 10 for having no pupil-teacher. This was so monstrous a provision that some persons thought that the Code could not be intended to have this effect. He should like to be informed by the noble Earl whether or not he had misconstrued these articles?


said, that under the Amendment of the Revised Code the first provision to which the noble Earl had referred would have no operation. The Minute would in all cases come into operation on the 1st of April next. Up to that time everything would go on under the existing Code, and after that time everything would be subject to the Revised Code. With regard to the pupil-teachers, he did not apprehend the great hardship which the noble Earl seemed to imagine would be caused by the new Code. The Government intended to keep up the pupil-teacher system, and therefore a penalty would be inflicted upon managers who had not pupil-teachers in a certain proportion to the scholars. The pupil-teachers apprenticed under the old system had a vested interest in their salaries for five years; and, during that period, the managers would be required to pay them according to the indentures. If the managers would not do so, the Government would, in their case, sanction no more indentures.


said, that practically the noble Earl admitted that the operation of these rules would be, that if managers declined to pay to the pupil-teachers during the term of their current apprenticeships, from their own funds, the sums of money which the Government had contracted and agreed to pay out of the Parliamentary grant, they would in future be deprived of the benefit of assistance from the grant.

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