§ LORD NORTON
, in rising to move—That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty will be graciously pleased to direct that the Fourth Schedule be omitted from the new Code of Regulations issued by the Committee of the Privy Council on Education, and now lying on the Table of this House,said, the 4th Schedule was a table of specific subjects of instruction, including mathematics, mechanics, animal physiology, physical geography, botany, Latin, French, and German. In the words of the Code—For the continuous teaching throughout the year of one or two of those subjects public payment will be made.As the Code made this offer without any limitation of age, and they 265 knew the assumption and practice was to carry it on to 18, this was secondary education of the middle classes charged on rates and taxes of the whole community. But that was not within the scope of the elementary education for which Parliament had allowed public aid. It stood in the way of good middle-class education, answered to the School Commissioners' description as "essentially and necessarily superficial, pretentious, and unreal," and seriously injured the elementary education of the working classes. The Endowed Schools Commission in 1868 did not hesitate even to attribute the supposed deficiency of our artizans, as compared with those of other countries, to the want of a good basis of sound general education before special instruction began. This wretched assumption by Government of middle-class education under the name of elementary, which, after all, was a mere cramming the memory with the vocabulary of sciences and alphabets of un-mastered foreign languages for evanescent show and deceitful prizes on examination, entailed, by the Report of almost every Inspector, a very general neglect of ordinary reading, writing, and arithmetic. The reading in the highest standards was reported as unintelligent, though they were told the other day of the bilinguist children of Wales improving, they knew not from what zero, probably through the very difficulties they had to contend with. Some, of course, must pass in an examination; all could not be plucked, but the standard was extremely low. A good elementary lesson in reading might carry with it in its process more real communication of knowledge than pretence studies of science and languages under the 4th Schedule— an elementary knowledge of nature, for instance, and history and geography, which were all included among class subjects, if only the elementary reading-books were themselves less infected with the vicious aim at heterogeneous cramming. There was a clear line between general elementary and special scientific reading, which they would do well to observe. The Code omitted a limitation at the age of 14 of elementary education as its extreme period beyond which no public aid should be given. This limitation was proposed, not that children who could pass the elementary standard earlier should remain at school to 14 and waste 266 the interval in incipient science. The fewness of those who could do so was a strange argument for a costly training of teachers for them. Most would go out to work and gain the earliest handiness in industry and their share in keeping their home from poverty as soon as they could; and it were mischief to tax the whole community for machinery to force this class away from their apprenticeship and deprive their parents of their earnings to qualify them for other employment, which, after all, might offer no room for them. Those also who showed special aptitude for promotion to higher employment, and those who naturally continued longer at school, would not remain at elements to 14; but these, as soon as the elementary standard was passed, should enter on a higher grade. The best authorities pronounced it a mistake to suppose either such promotion or continuance to higher education required introduction to the higher subjects, or, rather, higher kind of study of subjects in the earlier stage. That should commence in the higher grade. Neither Government nor public money should be charged with this secondary education, except so far as by giving Exhibitions or Scholarships to help clever boys of the working classes unable otherwise to rise to it. Official control of the education of the middle classes would be repugnant to the spirit of this country; and he held that a tax on the working classes, in order to cheapen the education of their employers, was simply an inversion of the principles of our national education. There were middle schools springing up everywhere, to which the elementary schools were feeders, supplying the middle class at about £16 a-year for boarders, or 2s. a-week for day scholars, less than that class were formerly paying for worse education. There were also endowments in every county to aid and lighten this small charge on the middle classes. Under schemes of the Charity Commissioners, old foundations for education, now that elementary education was otherwise provided, were being so adapted. Technical instruction was being provided by the great corporations. At Rugby the whole ground of education was fully covered by elementary, middle, and classical schools, with free passage from one to the other. The President of the Council said he left the Code this year 267 untouched to avoid controversy; but as the late Government were committed to the improvement which he asked, he had only to adopt the same view to avoid controversy, which the retention of the 4th Schedule raised. The noble Lord concluded by moving his Resolution.
§ Moved, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty will be graciously pleased to direct that the Fourth Schedule be omitted from the new Code of Regulations issued by the Committee of the Privy Council on Education and now lying on the Table of this House.—(The Lord Norton.)
THE BISHOP OF EXETEE
supported the Motion. He shared in the opinion of the noble Lord as to the direction in which the Education Department was drifting. Indeed, he thought the noble Lord had not expressed that opinion as strongly as the occasion demanded; because, if Parliament did not interfere now, interference would be impossible in a short time more. The state of the case appeared to him to be this: At present there was no organized system of secondary education. No doubt there was a great deal of secondary education given, some very good and some very bad; but there was no system which held it together, or put it into relations with the education above or below it. As regarded the labouring classes, they had provided for them an education guaranteed by inspection, and they had no reason to complain. The same thing could not be said of the classes just above them. For middle-class education, there were, first, the endowed schools, and, next, private schools. The former were not connected with the elementary schools or with each other, and there was no guarantee for the quality of the education given in the latter. There was, consequently, a large and practically unoccupied field into which, if Parliament did not interfere, the work of the Education Department would inevitably drift; and before becoming aware of it that Department would be practically taking on itself a very large proportion of the secondary education of the country. As Governor of an endowed school, he had personal experience of the fact that the Education Department were enabling, by drafts on the public purse, a national school to compete with that higher class school, which was under the supervision of another public Depart- 268 ment. If Parliament did not interfere the £30,000 granted last year for these national schools might grow to £500,000, and then the vested interests which would have been created would effectually prevent any interference at all. The Code provided that children might be taught at the schools until they were 18; and if they were to keep children at school until they were 18 they might as well give up calling it elementary education. The manner in which the children in the national schools were allowed to present themselves for examination was something like what would be the going up of undergraduates at the Universities for their "great go" before they had been examined for "the little go." Those children might present themselves in mathematics, Latin, and animal physiology before they had been passed in elementary reading. He was not averse from the admission of history, geography, and grammar in the Revised Code; because in acquiring reading, which was the most important branch of elementary education, children must read something, and in the first two of those subjects they would use ordinary reading books, while grammar brought them to understand what they were reading. Therefore, he thought that in the introduction of those subjects there was no departure from the original intentions of the Legislature; but he was of opinion that the introduction of the subjects in the 4th Schedule was a serious injury to the imparting of elementary instruction. Such systematic smattering did not cultivate the intelligence of the child, but merely cultivated its memory in filling it with a knowledge which well deserved to be called "cram," because in a very little time afterwards it was entirely forgotten. Another evil arising from the introduction of those subjects was the demand for masters who could teach them in the elementary schools to the exclusion of masters who could not, but who might be very much better fitted to give elementary instruction, because elementary teachers were not improved by a superficial knowledge of such subjects. He was for having a provision by which children who exhibited superior ability in the elementary schools might have an opening through which they might rise to superior branches of education; but to secure that, there was not the least 269 occasion to enable such children to commence in the elementary schools those more advanced subjects which they ought to learn in the secondary schools. Such children were sure to be discovered, because they would be found to be at the head of their classes in the primary schools, and the masters of the secondary schools would rather receive such children before they had learnt any mathematics, Latin, or animal physiology. In conclusion, he had to express his opinion that it was the duty of the State to organize, as soon as possible, the secondary education of the country.
THE DUKE OF ARGYLL
said, he came down to the House for the purpose of listening, and with not the least intention of speaking, to see what objection any human being could have to the introduction into elementary schools, permissively (not compulsorily), of the list of subjects in the Minute. He had listened to the speeches of the noble Lord and his right rev. Friend with the most profound astonishment. In Scotland they had had some experience of the frightful dangers which had been hold out to frighten them by the noble Lord who made the Motion and by the right rev. Prelate. Scotchmen had some right to speak on this subject. In England elementary education, as conducted by the State, was a thing which was to be dated by some 10, 20, or 30 years back. In Scotland they had it for 800 years in active operation; and they knew what had been the effect of introducing, not merely slightly and permissively, but almost compulsorily, many of these higher subjects into the primary education of the country. That effect had been most admirable. By the consent of all the world, the primary education system of Scotland had been, until the population outran it, one of the most successful in the world. He would explain what that system was. At the time of the Reformation, the Reformers demanded three things of Parliament. They demanded that in every parish there should be an elementary school. They demanded that in every principal town there should be a secondary school; and they demanded that in all great cities of the Kingdom there should be Universities for the education of the people. The system of primary education was adopted by Parliament; but, unfortunately, the secondary education 270 remained much in the same position as in England. No system of secondary education was adopted. But in the elementary schools of the country it had been the custom from the Reformation to include the systematic teaching of those children whose parents applied for it, in Greek, Latin, geography, mathematics, and in other higher branches of education; and in the parish schools of Scotland they had almost all classes, omitting the highest of all. They had the children of paupers sitting on the same benches with the children of the parish minister, and of the medical practitioner. Those who wished to go no further were contented with the ordinary instruction; but those who wished to go further paid a higher fee and went on, and under the system some of the poorest men in Scotland had been able to rise to the highest positions both in the academical institutions of the country and in the service of the State. He was himself acquainted with many men who had risen to distinguished positions in the law, the Church, and the State, who derived the whole of their education at the beginning of their lives in the parish schools of Scotland. He would assure his right rev. Friend that none of the evils he feared had been experienced in Scotland. On the contrary, it had been recognized that the vitality of the country had been immensely improved by the fact that the teachers had been in the habit of instructing their classes in the higher subjects. There was another point to which he wished to direct attention, and that was the hard and sharp line which his right rev. Friend and the noble Lord opposite would place between the lower and the middle classes. There was in nature none, and there should be none in education. The classes in nature graduated into each other. If this Motion passed with regard to the elementary schools, a poor man would have no chance for even interesting his child in regard to any of these higher branches of education. It seemed to him that there would thus be a great hardship to the working classes. Let them look at the Schedule of Instruction that had been spoken of. There was English literature. Was it not possible to teach English literature in the course of school reading? There was mathematics, which 271 had long been a branch taught in the Scotch schools. Some of the poorer children rose in mathematics sufficiently high to enable them to enter the Scotch Universities. Greek was admitted here; but both Latin and Greek had long been taught in the parish schools. His noble Friend (Viscount Sherbrooke), who was so efficient in the learned languages, had in many recent speeches decried the utility of instruction in these languages as given in schools of this kind; and he (the Duke of Argyll) did not deny that they were of comparatively limited use, because it was most important that those parents who chose to have their children educated should have a little instruction given to them in French and German and other modern languages. They were simply taught, and were most useful in their application in the intercourse of life. As to the principles of mechanics, these might have a powerful application in after life, and as to animal physiology, botany, &c, these were permissive; but what more useful branches of knowledge could there be? In many of the parish schools of Scotland botany, which had only recently been introduced, excited the greatest interest. With regard to the effect upon the masters, he must say he could hardly understand how any intelligent man, or any man of education, could retain his reason if he was obliged to grind for ever at the three R's. He thoroughly believed it was immensely for the advantage of the teachers that they should have the intellectual relief, and the intellectual delight of occasionally going to the other subjects, and teaching some of the more intelligent and ambitious the higher branches. He maintained that in this Code his noble Friend was simply following at a long distance behind in the course which for 200 years had been taken in Scotland. In that country they had experienced none of the evils feared by his right rev. Friend. He agreed with the statement that it was impossible to conduct secondary education as it should be conducted in these schools, and that the money of the State should not be given, properly speaking, to the teaching of secondary education; but he thought the line could not be drawn so sharply either between the classes or the subjects as the right rev. Prelate and the noble Lord advocated. He did ear- 272 nestly hope that this House would not, as regarded the education of England, put a stop to an attempt to introduce some portion, at least, of the system of education which had been one of the great national blessings of Scotland.
§ THE DUKE OF SOMERSET
confessed that he was astonished at the speech of the noble Duke. If the system pointed out by him was to go on in England all classes would be obliged to be educated together; but the fact was the system now proposed by the Department had entirely outgrown the intentions of Parliament. Could anybody seriously contend that boys in the national schools should be taught to read by making them learn Latin? The noble Duke had told them that the subjects now objected to had been taught in Scotland for the last 300 years; but surely they did not teach geology and German in Scotland 300 years ago. Boys in the national schools ought to be taught what would be useful to them in their station in life, and not what made them unfit for their position. When the Colonies wanted emigrants from this country they said—"Don't send us any scholars; send us men with strong arms and legs." Under the present Code a child could be kept at school until 18 years of age, by which time he was too old for a trade. As to the engineers and other professional men who had risen from humble life, they had risen by their own energies, and such men would continue to rise by their own exertions, without such education as that in the 4th Schedule being provided in the elementary schools. If that Schedule should be insisted upon, and teachers with high salaries appointed to rural schools, there would be much discontent amongst the ratepayers of the country generally.
§ LORD ABERDARE
said, he was not astonished, like the noble Duke, at the speeches they had heard, because he had long been used to hear such distortions of the subject. He wished to bring the House to what was the real subject before the House. He was most anxious that justice should be done to those to whom it was due. He was most desirous that nothing should be done to impair the usefulness of the Revised Code. That Code had been highly useful as an instrument of education; but it was not intended to be the be-all and the end-all on the subject. It was 273 designed as a basis on which some additional structures might be built. But who had provided these additions to the present structure? Was it some enthusiasts in the cause of education? No, far from it. The proposal was made, not by himself, as suggested by the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Richmond and Gordon), but by the Conservative Government. As to those additional subjects—such as geography, history, &c—the introduction of which had been objected to by noble Lords opposite, it was not the Liberal Government, but the noble Duke opposite who was responsible for having made payments in respect of those subjects. Those innovations were not brought forward by him, but by his successor in Office. By whom was this further addition then before their Lordships introduced? By the noble Duke opposite. The noble Lord then read extracts from the Code of 1880 in which it appeared that it was thought desirable that some discretion in dealing with the additional subjects should be intrusted to the teachers in elementary schools. It seemed, therefore, that the noble Duke opposite was responsible for these additions, as they were found for the first time in the Code for 1880. His noble Friend the President of the Council naturally objected to be called upon to make a retrograde step. It seemed to him that after a measure of that sort had been carried by their political opponents it scarcely became the Liberal Government to go backwards in the cause of education. It was objected that the province of middle-class schools was being interfered with. But there was no satisfactory system of middle-class education in existence. And it must not be forgotten that the endowed schools were very unequally distributed as regarded the different parts of the country, and that schools originally intended for the poor had been appropriated to the use of the rich. Nor must it be imagined that the additional subjects were taught indiscriminately, and that the sons of rustics were made to attempt tasks in which they could not succeed. To whom, then, were the extra subjects taught? He thought it would be found that they were almost exclusively confined to those who intended to devote themselves to the profession of teaching, and who completed their education for that pur- 274 pose in Training Colleges. Nor could the cost of such further instruction be objected to on the ground of the additional burden to the rates, for the persons who availed themselves of it were, for the most part, ratepayers of the middle-class. This Resolution could not be passed without interfering with the perfected arrangements of years. He hoped they would not close down the hatches on the largest class of our population. There were three counties in Scotland — Aberdeen, Banff, and Moray—which had, owing to the Dick and other bequests, applied themselves to paying greater salaries to teachers of higher qualifications, and special advantages in regard to secondary teaching in the parish schools. He had attended these schools, and had seen children in them able to construe Latin and read German better than children of the same age of the higher classes in England. Could it be said that these counties had not been benefited by this? He hoped the House would not undo the work which had been initiated by the late Government, and that any retrograde step would be looked upon with great jealousy by their Lordships. He felt sure that much disappointment would be felt in the country if they did not go on in the course upon which they had entered.
§ EARL FORTESCUE
said, he felt surprised, after hearing the speech of his noble Friend the Lord Privy Seal, that the noble Duke could have been a Member of the Cabinet which passed the Endowed Schools Act of 1869, and the Elementary Education Act of 1870, both based on principles, not only different, but absolutely opposed, to those which he had just so eloquently defended. The Endowed Schools Act professed in its Preamble to be founded on the statesmanlike Report of the School Inquiry Commissioners, which was based upon a long and exhaustive investigation made by themselves, and by travelling Assistant Commissioners, into the state of secondary and middle-class education at home and abroad; and that Report most positively recommended the maintenance and extension, but improved and invigorated, of secondary as distinguished from elementary education in schools quite distinct from elementary schools. The Elementary Schools Act of 1870, to which the noble Duke was equally a party, professed to be intended 275 only to secure to all the children in the land instruction in the three R's, omitting', unfortunately, the fourth R—Religion. And that it was intended to do no more was conclusively proved by its movers announcing that the probable cost of education under it to the ratepayers would certainly not exceed 3d. in the pound. If the noble Duke's present views were then entertained by himself and other Members of that Cabinet, then it could not be denied that consciously or unconsciously they had induced Parliament to pass those two Acts under erroneous impressions resulting from their delusive professions. It was quite true that the difficulty in which the country was placed resulted, as he had Session after Session tried to impress upon the House, from Mr. Gladstone's Government, while professing to carry out the recommendations of Lord Taunton's Commission, having omitted the most important of them—that upon which, in the words of the Endowed Schools Commissioners, whom they appointed to carry out the Act, the plan of the Schools Inquiry Commission mainly rested. He meant the establishment of provincial authorities, who would have administered the £20,000,000 of educational endowments much more advantageously than, by their own confession, the Endowed or Charity Commissioners without their aid had been able to do; and would have supplied exactly that organization, for want of which secondary education in England was suffering in the way so vividly described by the right rev. Prelate. The secondary education of this country had remained unorganized; and now step by step, through the instrumentality of the last two centralizing Governments, followed by the present centralizing Government, an attempt was being made by the very able and earnest permanent officials of the Council Office to get into the hands of that Government Department the regulation and control of the whole of the secondary education, as they had already succeeded in getting that of the primary education of the country. The management would generally continue, as under successive chiefs of the Department it had practically been, in the hands of those permanent officials, conscientiously bureaucratic enthusiasts. But every now and then, upon some change of Government, some Minister might be placed at the head of the 276 Department, who would suddenly make enormous changes in the educational system of the country—secondary as well as elementary. They would have education in England assimilated, as regards State interference, to the education in France, and that quite needlessly. For with good local organization, our Universities, not unaffected by the deliberate tide of public opinion, though exempt from the direct action of the sudden revulsion of political feelings which so powerfully affect the Government of the day, might supply much of that useful guidance and influence to the secondary education which they had long so powerfully exerted over the highest education of the country. The noble Duke said that Scotland had had a complete system of education for 300 years of primary schools, secondary schools, and Universities. But of these the State only regulated the primary or elementary schools. Do not let it be supposed that the sum granted for those special subjects at all adequately represented the enormous additional expense which the system would entail. The grants under the 4th Schedule represented only a very small part of the extra expense which it entailed in the higher salaries reasonably required for masters competent to teach those subjects in the village schools throughout the country to an utterly insignificant number of children who might learn those subjects far better and cheaper in middle-class schools, if poor, with the aid of Exhibitions; if of the middle class, defraying the cost of their education. The consequence of the present system would be that they would find the self-reliant, self-supporting character of the middle class very much sapped by means of these educational grants—giving them an education out of the rates and taxes at very much less than the cost price; and this self-reliant spirit would be sapped in spite of all they heard of the strongly dis-pauperizing influences of this higher education. Do not let it be said that those who advocate some restrictions on the utterly unreasonable development recently given to the system, and now proposed to be continued by the present Government, were opposed to the upward progress of the children of the wage class. In the same admirable Report Lord Taunton's Commission specially recommended that a sufficient part 277 of the educational endowments, of which so much had been since so unfortunately misapplied to the foundation and revival of superfluous first and second grade schools throughout the land, should be devoted to Exhibitions to enable children of exceptional ability and industry in the elementary schools to pass into the middle-class schools; and, even sometimes successively, through them into the Universities. And it was to Exhibitions, and not to an unnecessarily highly paid, because unnecessarily highly qualified, body of elementary schoolmasters throughout the country, that ho had long looked, as not only the cheapest but best way of providing a higher education for the exceptionally deserving children of the wage class, whom he was as desirous of enabling to rise in the world according to their merits as any supporter of the 4th Schedule could be. Having, ever since he came to man's estate, worked hard for the promotion of education — and specially middle-class education — he earnestly supported the Motion proposed by his noble Friend.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, that the general subject was one of great interest; but he did not rise for the purpose of prolonging the discussion, after what had been said by his noble Friend behind him (the Duke of Argyll). But there appeared to be an impression, which he hoped was not correct, that the Members of the late Government would support the Motion of the noble Lord opposite against the present Code, which was only a slight variation on the Code under the late Government. It would be convenient if the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Richmond and Gordon) stated the course which those on the front Bench opposite proposed to take on the occasion. He trusted, if they did not intend to support the Motion, the noble Duke would come forward and say so.
THE DUKE OF RICHMOND AND GORDON
said, the conduct of the noble Earl was, in his opinion, rather remarkable. He was quite prepared, at the proper time, to state the views which ho and his former Colleagues in the late Government held on this question; but he waited for his noble Friend the Lord President to state the reasons why the present Government had so materially altered the Code. When the noble Earl 278 said that this was a slight alteration, it proved, to his mind, that the noble Earl could not have read the Code. He was sure, if the noble Earl had read it, he would not speak of the alterations as "slight." He should now state, in a few words, the reasons why they should support the Motion of the noble Lord behind him. The noble Earl had succeeded in making him speak before the Lord President. He had not the slightest notion why the Code had been altered in the manner in which it had been altered. He might have looked for an explanation from the Lord Privy Seal (the Duke of Argyll); but in place of giving information why the present Code was different from the Code of the last Government, the noble Duke, after some general remarks, gave their Lordships a history of education in Scotland for the last 300 years. But that had nothing whatever to do with the subject on which the House was engaged. The point was, whether the Code now before Parliament was the Code which ought to be adopted for the elementary education in this country, and that was the point on which he wished to address their Lordships. With regard to the statement of the noble Lord opposite (Lord Aberdare), formerly Lord President of the Council, that the alterations in the Code had been introduced by himself (the Duke of Richmond and Gordon) and his Colleagues, he would beg to remind the noble Lord that in 1871 Mr. Forster, in the Code of that day, so far altered the Code by introducing history, grammar, geography, and, if he stated it correctly, that subject on which so much ridicule had been cast—animal physiology. [Lord ABERDARE dissented.] The question now before the House was whether the 4th Schedule was a proper subject for elementary education. It was perfectly true that after the Elementary Education Act of 1870 was passed, the age of 18 years was fixed as the age beyond which the children should not remain as school. That age was fixed because there was then a great amount of ignorance prevalent; and it could not be expected that the children would master those subjects which it was desirable they should be taught at an early age when the system had only begun to operate. As time went on, the late Government found that there existed a great desire among all classes 279 that the education given under the Revised Code should be extended to other subjects than those then allowed; and accordingly, in 1875, the subjects now included in the 4th Schedule, or most of them, were put into the Revised Code with, he believed, the general consent of all Parties in both Houses of Parliament. The difficulty that one had to confront in this matter was to determine what was really elementary education; what was the period at which elementary education ceased; what was the age at which children ought not to continue to receive education under the elementary system of this country. If noble Lords turned to the Elementary Education Act itself, he thought they would see that it was not contemplated that that education should be given to any but absolute children; and, as time went on, and large numbers entered the schools and benefited by the education, it could hardly be maintained that it was intended by Parliament that young people of 18 should remain in elementary schools. Mr. Forster himself, speaking at Huddersfield in October, 1877, said they must teach the elements, and take care not to teach anything else until these were mastered; that they must consider the limited time during which the children were likely to continue at school; and he went on to describe the elementary stage as lasting up to 13 years of age, and in some circumstances up to 14. It was only in consequence of their seeing that the system of giving that education in those elementary schools was being abused that the late Government thought the best way to meet the requirements of the case was by fixing the age of 14 years as the limit for elementary education. The necessity for something of that kind was brought under their consideration by what was going on under the school boards in places such as Bradford, Barrow-in-Furness, Sheffield, and Manchester. They found, for example, that at Sheffield, in one of those elementary schools, they were proceeding and desiring to teach the children Moliére and Livy. By their Code the late Government prevented the teaching of the 4th Schedule to any of the children unless they had reached the 5th and 6th Standards. It was of little use their going on to the 4th Schedule when they were only in the 4th Standard. He could not 280 understand why his noble Friend opposite had made that alteration, and he should be glad to hear the explanation of the Lord President on the subject. He believed that neither Parliament nor the country had any intention whatever that the children should receive secondary education by means of the elementary schools. He should, therefore, vote on that occasion with his noble Friend behind him; and he regretted to have had to speak before his noble Friend opposite, because he should have liked to have listened to the explanation which his noble Friend might have to offer to their Lordships.
§ EARL SPENCER
said, he should have been quite content to have left the answer to noble Lords who had spoken in favour of the Motion in the hands of those who had addressed the House in opposition to that proposal. His noble Friend behind him (Lord Aberdare), who had once been Vice President of the Council, had explained very clearly the mischief that would arise if the Motion were carried. The debate had really turned on the question whether secondary education was taught in the primary schools which received the Parliamentary grant. Many noble Lords had said that secondary education was now taught in those schools. He entirely denied that proposition. The Code did not say that no higher education whatever was to be given in the primary schools. The Code—not a new one, but one which his noble Friend opposite had approved many years ago-— described an elementary school as a school, or a department of a school, in which elementary education was the principal part of the education given. He quite admitted that if they found that a very large number of children over a certain age were in the elementary schools, and that primary education was no longer being efficiently taught, but that a secondary education had been adopted in Board and other schools which received the Parliamentary grant, a change should at once be made. But he did not think that any such proposition could be maintained for a moment. There were in the schools in England and Wales only 40,000 children who were over 14 years of age, or but 1.3 per cent of all the children on the books. That showed that there was not a large proportion of children who were over the age which he thought, as a rule, should guide the 281 Department in defining what primary education was. He held in his hand a letter from one of the chief school boards in England, and one which had received the panegyrics and encomiums of a late Vice President of the Council (Lord George Hamilton). That letter said that of all the children in the primary schools at Sheffield only 15 were over 14 years of age. There was another test as to whether the primary schools were being diverted from their proper purpose. They had analyzed the occupations of the fathers of all the children who were in the higher grade schools, and by far the great majority of the children were children of artizans. He admitted that in Birmingham there was a different state of things, because there was a secondary school in the town which gave education to poor children; but, at the same time, the Birmingham School Board was one of the most influential in the country, and would not take into their schools children above a certain age. In that town there were 55 school departments, with an attendance of 21,947 children, and the total number of children over 14 years of age was only 150. The number of children in the schools of England above 14 years of age was exceedingly small. It was said that by encouraging secondary instruction in elementary schools they were increasing the expenses of the State. He thought they must not grudge an increased expenditure for giving sufficient and proper education to the children throughout the country. It had been said by the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Exeter) that the secondary education given in the schools was a systematic smattering of science; but he (Earl Spencer) on the other hand, contended that though many of the subjects comprised in the 4th Schedule had long names they were still very simple, and that some of them were of a character which would specially interest agricultural children. He would be the first to oppose these subjects being taught in the elementary schools if he considered the result would be simply "cram"; but if the regulations were carefully examined it would be found that every kind of condition and stipulation was put upon the grant to prevent the occurrence of such a result. A noble Duke (the Duke of Somerset) attacked geology. He would venture to correct his noble Friend by saying that geology was not one of the 282 subjects mentioned in the Schedule referred to. He would remind the noble Duke of what Dr. Johnson said. He said "that if they gave a child in a village a gold laced waistcoat they made him very conceited; but if they gave all the children in the village gold laced waistcoats he would no longer be conceited." If they gave education, as far as possible, to all children there would not be the danger to which the noble Duke referred. A very large proportion indeed of the children passed in reading. He maintained that he had made no alteration of any practical importance in the Code of 1879. He added certain subjects for class teaching apart from Schedule IV. in order to give more latitude to the teachers, who should not be bound to teach subjects in which they had no interest whatever. Since the last debate took place on this subject Her Majesty's Government had received 17 Memorials from important school boards against the limit of age to 14 years, and from six school boards against any alteration as to specific subjects in Standard IV. These were expressions of opinion from very important educational centres; and were they, he asked, to disregard them? The noble Duke (the Duke of Richmond and Gordon) had taken up a position which he found it difficult to understand. The noble Duke would vote for the omission of Schedule IV. from the Code. That Schedule had been first introduced into it when the noble Duke was Lord President. Why did he now propose to strike out these subjects, which had been for five years or more part of the education of the country? He surely ought rather to have moved an Amendment to put in the Resolutions, which in the Code now in the title had been omitted. It had been stated in the debate that Scholarships had been provided for the children of poor parents; but they were in very few instances available for lower class children, however deserving they might be, and these would be deprived of all chance of any high grade of education if the Government were to act on the advice given by the noble Duke. For his part, he protested against such a course being adopted. It would have an exceedingly bad effect on the country, and would place the labouring and manufacturing classes at a great disadvantage, not only as compared with 283 the Scotch, who, as his noble Friend (the Duke of Argyll) had said, had long ago enjoyed higher education in their primary schools, but also as compared with the working classes of other countries. He, therefore, implored their Lordships not to take to take the step to which they had been invited. He would take care to inquire fully into the subject, and might say that he did not at all disparage the opinions that had been expressed in the course of the debate; and if he should come to the conclusion that it was desirable to propose some condition in order to prevent our drifting into secondary education in elementary schools, he certainly should not shrink from doing so.
§ On Question? their Lordships divided: —Contents 98; Non-Contents 50: Majority 48.284
|Marlborough, D.||Clancarty, V. (E. Clancarty.)|
|Richmond, D.||Cranbrook, V.|
|Somerset, D.||Gough, V.|
|Abercorn, M. (D. Aber-corn.)||Hawarden, V.|
|Ailesbury, M.||Sherbrooke, V.|
|Bath, M.||Strathallan, V.|
|Salisbury, M.||Templetown, V.|
|Airlie, E.||Carlisle, L. Bp.|
|Ashburnham, E.||Exeter, L. Bp.|
|Bathurst, E.||Gloucester and Bristol, L. Bp.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Hereford, L. Bp.|
|Cawdor, E.||Airey, L.|
|Clonmell, E.||Amherst, L. (V. Holmes-dale.)|
|Denbigh, E.||Ashford, L. (V. Bury.)|
|Devon, E.||Aveland, L.|
|Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queens-berry.)||Bagot, L.|
|Dundonald, E.||Bolton, L.|
|Eldon, E.||Botreaux, L. (E. Loudoun.)|
|Fitzwilliam, E.||Braybrooke, L.|
|Fortescue, E.||Braye, L.|
|Harewood, E.||Clanwilliam, L. (E. Clanwilliam.)|
|Lathom, E. [Teller.]||Clinton, B.|
|Manvers, E.||Cottesloe, L.|
|Morton, E.||Delamere, B.|
|Mount Edgcumbe, E.||De L'Isle and Dudley, L.|
|Redesdale, E.||De Saumarez, L.|
|Rosse, E.||Digby, L.|
|Stanhope, E.||Foxford, L. (E. Limerick.)|
|Vane, E. (M. Londonderry.)||Gormanston, L. (V. Gormanston.)|
|Verulam, E.||Gwydir, L.|
|Haldon, L.||Saltersford, L. (E. Courtown.)|
|Lilford, L.||Shute, L. (V. Barring-ton.)|
|Lovel and Holland, L. (E. Egmont.)||Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)|
|Meldrum, B. (M. Huntly.)||Somerton, L. (E. Normanton.)|
|Norton, L. [Teller.]||Stanley of Alderley, L.|
|O'Neill, L.||Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)|
|Oranmore and Browne, L.||Tollemache, L.|
|Oriel, L. (V. Masse-reene.)||Trevor, L.|
|Plunket, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Raglan, L.||Wimborne, L.|
|Romilly, L.||Windsor, L.|
|Canterbury, B. Archp.||Breadalbane, L. (E. Breadalbane.)|
|Selborne, B. (L. Chancellor.)||Castletown, L.|
|Devonshire, D.||Congleton, B.|
|Westminster, D.||De Tabley, L.|
|Lansdowne, M.||Foley, L.|
|Camperdown, E.||Hare, B. (E. Listowel.)|
|Granville, E.||Houghton, L.|
|Kimberley, E.||Kenmare, L. (E. Ken-mare.)|
|Northbrook, E.||Leigh, L.|
|Spencer, E.||Methuen, L.|
|Sydney, E.||Monck, L. (V. Monck.)|
|Yarborough, E.||Monson, L. [Teller.]|
|Zetland, E.||Mostyn, L.|
|Mount Temple, L.|
|Canterbury, V.||Ribblesdale, L.|
|Gordon, V. (E. Aberdeen.)||Robartes, L|
|Save and Sele, L.|
|Halifax, V.||Sefton, L. (E. Sefton.)|
|Leinster, V. (D. Lein-ster.)||Skene, L. (E. Fife.)|
|Strafford, L. (V. Enfield.)|
|London, L. Bp.||Sudeley, L.|
|St. Asaph, L. Bp.||Suffield, L.|
|Sundridge, L. (D. Argyll.)|
|Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.) [Teller.]||Wolverton, L.|
§ Resolved in the Affirmative.
§ The said Address to be presented to Her Majesty by the Lords with White Staves.