HL Deb 16 March 1883 vol 277 cc654-70

in rising, pursuant to Notice, to move— That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the working of the higher schools now being established by several school boards in England, said, he asked their Lordships to inquire how the interests and advancement of National Education were concerned in the establishment of higher schools by boards in many towns in England. All he asked was inquiry; and as those schools were avowedly a new departure foreign to the legislation on the subject—whatever might be the Parliamentary sanction to Code modifications—of vital national importance for good or evil, and a course on which the highest authorities disagreed, it would be a strong measure if the Government set themselves against information, and held themselves aloof from any inquiry. The facts of the case were these. Board schools, called higher or advanced elementary schools, were being set up, or proposed, in the Metropolis and great manufacturing towns. At Bradford the first attempt of the kind was made. Whatever its intention was, it had practically turned out to be simply an aristocratic duplicate of the elementary board schools. It took children from the same age—seven—in the lower Standards, and only kept its pupils longer within the highest Standards, which the Code defined to be elementary; and by charging the highest fee within Government subsidy, 9d. a-week, or about half the cost, it enabled a higher class to get State-aided education without their children coming in contact with the poorer class for whom it was chiefly intended. The question raised by this kind of higher board school was as to the waste of the duplicate teaching power and process; and whether the instructions of Parliament would not be better carried out by sounder education in the same higher subjects being had by all requiring it in independent middle schools, if such schools were unimpeded in adapting themselves to the present requirement by this public bounty; while private resources, readily forthcoming for exhibitions and scholar- ships, could help poorer children of exceptional ability to avail themselves of such middle schools freely. At Manchester, an old charitable foundation was, three years ago, bought up and adopted by the Board for a higher rate-aided school affecting to give the working classes all the literary and science studies called elementary in the Code, and it was about to be enlarged to add classics to its programme. In the girls' department, they not only recited, but were acting Shakespeare, at the cost of the rates, being engaged possibly quite as usefully as the boys in their empirical science lectures Several exhibitions of £25 a-year admitted children exclusively to this higher board school, which might suffice for clever children to get better education at the magnificent grammar school close by, where even non-exhibitioners in the highest department only paid a £5 yearly fee, or 2s. a-week. In this higher board school children were only admitted after passing the 4th Standard, which was a mode of cutting from the elementary schools the few advanced pupils in each of them fit for higher studies to be profitably pursued at all. The question here raised was, whether the entire charge on the rates and Treasury for such a higher board school was not both superfluous and mischievous interference with schools ready at hand. At Liverpool there were no such separate higher board schools for children above the 4th Standard; but the so-called elementary schools undersold and starved the lower departments—exactly suited for such children—of several well-endowed middle schools, in spite of their scholarships and prizes for poor children of exceptional ability; the rate and Treasury grants giving them the enormous advantage of plant, scientific apparatus, and trained teachers, over the schools whose resources for implements and salaries they served to supersede. The Sheepshanks voluntary middle school in Liverpool called itself self-supporting, living on 9d. fees and Treasury grants without burdening the local rates, showing how we had come to consider institutions free which only taxed the Treasury. But there were three great middle-class schools or institutes close to offering the same education without any public aid. The Leeds Board reported of their higher schools that The term means nothing more than schools in which higher fees are paid and a better class so led to attend, and as they are able to stay longer, the teaching is productive of superior results; but neither in quality of teachers nor in subjects of instruction, is there any difference between the ordinary and higher schools. They feel considerable difficulty in further extending the instruction as to the power and duty of school boards to trespass on the province of middle or grammar schools, but the time has arrived to push forward. They quote the August Circular of the Council Office as their guide in avoiding to encroach on secondary education, limiting the age of their scholars to 14, and the subjects of instruction to the ample definition of the Code, and deprecating severely all attempts at anything higher. They deal with two classes of children—those of skilled artizans and of exceptional natural ability—the latter they would enable to compete for exhibitions; and here, they say— The work of the school board should end and that of middle and grammar schools begin. They deplore that so few rise to the higher standards in elementary schools that it is impossible to give higher education in them. The question here was, whether they and others like them were really doing what they so wisely professed, or avoiding what they so severely deprecated—so illusory was the Code definition of elementary teaching, and so mistaken the notion of employing public taxation to force every child artificially up to an intellectual standard. At Sheffield there was a central higher board school, professing to collect in sufficient numbers boys and girls of exceptional ability from elementary schools, a very few coming from each. They confessed it was ground not trodden before, and a step only to be justified because there was no other provision for such children, enabling them to apply the little science they had acquired in elementary schools to the manual work they were destined for in the manufactories of the town. There were, however, many middle schools in Sheffield for this purpose wholly supported by fees—in the case of the grammar school only four guineas a-year, or 2s. a-week; and there was a private scholarship fund, freeing an ample number of poor children even from this small charge. The large sum of £52,000 expended out of the rates in establishing this competing board school would have furnished these independent schools with every requisite, and avoided the great irritation of a large number of ratepayers. Lastly, in the London School Board Office, there was a scheme ready drafted by the late managing committee, to collect similarly in a few higher board schools advanced children, calculated in number at about 3 per cent, from all the elementary schools. The weekly fee was proposed to be lower than 9d., in order to check the aristocracy from coming; betraying the fact that the payment which was proposed as a limit to the working class had been taken by the higher class as a means of social exclusiveness and aristocratic, though eleemosynary, distinction. This scheme was proposed, not because of deficiency of independent higher schools, which in many parts of London abounded more than was generally known, and which probably were prevented increasing by the Board's proposal; but simply to get hold of higher schools as a re-arrangement of their present work, culling the few elementary scholars who could go in for higher education into sufficient numbers. The question here raised was, whether independent schools did not provide more suitably for these picked boys, and for the upper artizan class, on terms within their easy and willing reach. From the samples he had given, it appeared that there was great variety in the plans and views of the different towns, which had set up higher board schools, on the subject. All, however, agreed in wishing to limit their higher board schools to the upper artizan class and poor children of exceptional ability from the elementary schools, and in deprecating all trespass on the province of independent middle schools, or going beyond what the Code had called elementary studies. But were such schools likely to keep to that lower class, and was the Code definition of elementary studies true, either to common sense, or to the plain legislative intention of Parliament, from which it had annually wandered further and further? Were not such schools sure to be made use of by a higher class, who would natural by engross to themselves the chief attention, to the detriment of the first claimants, and to the overriding, by their unlimited command of public money, of independent middle-class schools, which would give higher education better? So, also, had not the Code been losing sight of its first claimants—namely, the working classes up to the age of going to work, when education took the form of apprenticeship, and when technical education must begin? Their Lordships expressed a very decided opinion two years ago, by a majority of 2 to 1, that the specific subjects enumerated in the Code did not come within elementary instruction. He wished, therefore, to inquire, whether those higher board schools were doing what they pretended to do, and avoiding what they deprecated? He confessed to misgivings whether they were not being rather led astray by in-appreciation of what was really needed as elementary instruction in a too eager anticipation of technical study which, to be of any use, must come after. There was a blind fear of foreign competition in art and trade. But the Fourth Schedule in elementary schools, even if pupils were collected in higher schools, would not improve the competition of our working classes with their rivals in other countries, who put technology in its proper educational place after elementary instruction was completed. The varieties of special technology could not be taught among general subjects in elementary schools. The attempt only wasted the time due to elementary instruction, and the working child's education was not wholly in school, but much more in applied industry. The superior intelligence of Americans, for instance, was not the result of special primary schools. It was a mistake to suppose these higher elementary schools an imitation of them. Their Reports were always repeating the principle that general national education was to fit the nation for every kind of citizenship, not to aim at any particularly high standard of literature for all sorts and conditions of life. There was but one higher school on the school rate in all Pennyslvania, with 1,000,000 population, and the higher class did not send their children to State schools at all. There was more sense in American practice than in our supposed imitation. The inquiry would be (1) as to the higher board schools already established, at what age they admitted, and to what age they retained children, and what were the Standards in which they were examined at leaving; (2) at what age, and to what extent, advanced ele- mentary teaching took the form of experimental science and foreign languages, and the class of children so entering on such studies, and what became of them; (3) what independent, middle, grammar, or proprietary schools there were in towns where higher board schools were being set up or proposed, at what fees, and whether with any exhibitions to them, and whether such schools provided the sort of education required by the upper artizan class; (4) how far it might appear that the undertaking or proposal of State-aided higher schools had impeded in any towns the development of independent middle schools in their neighbourhood; (5) whether parents of the upper artizan class seemed willing to pay more for schools independent of boards, of non-eleemosynary character, with higher association, and with religious freedom? For such an inquiry the witnesses would be (1) Council Office officials and Inspectors; (2) Endowed Schools Commissioners; (3) chairmen of school boards; (4) managers and masters of middle, grammar, and proprietary schools; (5) principals of training colleges; (6) manufacturers and artizans, and recognized authorities on the subject. He asked for inquiry now, for soon it must be too late. The course of national education should at least be reconciled with the Education Acts—the Acts brought up to it, or it reduced to the Acts. What he feared was that the poorer classes were being left out by the ambition of higher work; that elementary training was being sacrificed to superficial show induced by prizes of public money on results got up; that better means of higher instruction for the artizan class were hindered from meeting supply to demand by a mischievous use of public bounties; and that the Government supply was not so suited to the middle classes of this country as the independent supply would be, and that there was a fatal error in premature anticipation of technical instruction in elementary schools. That error was perhaps the very reason why, in spite of our schools, foreign workmen were found as much as ever in our manufactories. Whether these fears were just or not information was wanted. Possibly, the Board schemes might be reconcilable with the claims of other schools, if not unfairly handicapped in competition. He defied any- one to show that the inquiry was unnecessary or uncalled for, and he did not think it could be for a moment urged against it that the question was in any sense a Party one. He might say that the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Exeter) took generally the views he (Lord Norton) had attempted to express; and he was sure many others on the opposite side of the House were with him. Both sides in Parliament were equally and impartially interested in testing a new departure from its educational enactments. But the Government must accept the inquiry, or it could not be usefully carried out. In his opinion they would incur a grave responsibilty if they decided that no inquiry was needed. The noble Lord concluded by making his Motion.

Moved, "That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the working of the higher schools now being established by several school boards in England."—(The lord Norton.)


said, that no one was better qualified than his noble Friend (Lord Norton) to bring educational questions of this kind before the House; and he (Lord Carlingford) could assure him that he approached the Motion without the smallest disinclination to agree to the institution of an inquiry, if it could be shown that it was necessary, or likely to be of use to the cause of education. As many of their Lordships were aware, the credit for the introduction of the system of permitting and encouraging the teaching of certain higher subjects in a higher class of board schools separate from the general system, was due to the late Government. The system also of permitting, and within certain limits of encouraging, the teaching of the so-called higher subjects, over and above and alongside the three E's, in ordinary elementary schools, was mainly the work of the noble Duke—whom he did not see in his place—(the Duke of Richmond and Gordon) and Lord Sandon, and was introduced in the Code of 1875. When the subject was under discussion in the House of Commons, Lord Sandon stated that the Government had permitted and encouraged the teaching of certain higher subjects in ordinary schools, in the belief that it would be of enormous benefit to a limited number of the best children in those schools, and would not interfere with the efficiency of the schools as regarded the teaching of the ordinary elementary subjects. It was considered, on the contrary, that it would give more life and intelligence to schools in general. On almost all sides of the House of Commons the proposals of the Government were well received, and with especial favour and thankfulness by Lord Sandon's Predecessor in Office, Mr. Forster. He (Lord Carlingford) could not but think that his noble Friend entertained needless alarm with reference to the teaching of higher subjects in elementary schools, and especially with regard to the training of elementary school children in so-called higher board schools, to which his Motion was in terms confined. He understood the noble Lord to say that the establishment of the schools to which he referred was foreign to the purpose of Parliament, that they were bad secondary schools, and that, somehow or other, they led to the neglect of the essential elementary teaching in the ordinary schools of the country. He disputed both those propositions. He was not aware that anyone had ever been able to define where elementary education left off and secondary education began. He did not say that there might not be a certain number of scholars who found their way into these higher board schools who might be described as belonging to the middle class or lower middle class; but the great majority of the children in these schools belonged to the same class as that which furnished the children who attended the primary schools in the towns in which these higher schools had been established. The schools in question were simply advanced elementary schools strictly and literally so called, organized with the object of effecting a division of labour, and they complied, in all respects, with every requirement of the Code. The fee generally paid was the highest permitted by the Code—namely, 9d.; but care was taken that any promising child who, in the opinion of the Board, could not afford to pay that fee, should not, in consequence of that inability, be debarred from admission into the school. The greater number of the questions which had been put by the noble Lord he would find answered in the Code itself. He (Lord Carlingford) would not dogmatize about the propriety of teaching higher subjects in the ordi- nary schools, or about the merits of this or that subject recognized by the Code. He was, however, satisfied on the whole that the changes introduced into the Code of 1875 by the Duke of Richmond and Lord Sandon had been successful, although there had been a great deal of criticism as to the various specific subjects that the children were allowed to learn. He wished their Lordships to understand that the amount of money paid on account of special subjects was very limited indeed. Out of more than 4,000,000 of children who attended our primary schools the number taking up special subjects last year was somewhere between 150,000 and 170,000, and the grants made on account of those subjects amounted to £33,000, of which sum £15,000 only went to board schools, more than half going to the voluntary schools of the country. His noble Friend seemed to think that the Education Department was pushing on the teaching of special subjects with dangerous zeal. As a matter of fact, the exact contrary was the case, and he was bound to say that the policy of the present Education Department, while continuing that of their Predecessors, was more restrictive and cautious The Code of last year limited the teaching of those subjects in such a way as to prevent the possibility of the expenditure of public money to a greater extent than was contemplated by Parliament, and to insure the teaching of the essential elements of education. The New Code, for example, did not allow a special subject to be paid for unless the child learning it had passed Standard IV. It also limited the number of special subjects, and laid down that no school should teach them, unless 70 per cent of the children attending it should have passed the examination in the three "R's" during the previous year. These and other changes would come into force in the month of May. That being so, he held that the present was not a convenient time in which to institute an inquiry such as the noble Lord proposed. An inquiry of that kind would, under present circumstances, be inopportune and ineffectual. He would now read to the House the Instructions issued by the Education Department to their Inspectors with regard to the question of specific subjects. The following Circular was addressed to the Inspectors in August, 1882:— In ordinary circumstances, the scheme of elementary education, as now laid down by the Code, may be considered complete, without the addition of special subjects.…In largo schools, however, and those which are in favourable circumstances, the scholars of Standard V. and upwards may be encouraged to attempt one or more of such subjects which the managers may deem most appropriate to the industrial and other needs of the district. It is not the intention of my Lords to encourage a pretentious or unreal pursuit of higher studies, or to encroach in any way on the province of secondary education. Under the conditions referred to in that Circular, the teaching of a certain number of higher subjects would be continued in our ordinary schools. It was very difficult to understand why his noble Friend should quarrel with the higher schools to which he had drawn attention. If it was admitted that the Code of 1875 ought to continue in force, the objection of his noble Friend was unintelligible. The noble Lord, in fact, was falling foul of institutions which he ought to look upon with favour. These higher schools added nothing to the teaching which could be and was given to a certain number of children in ordinary schools. They were confined absolutely to teaching within the limits of the Code. It was a mere matter of organization that some of the subjects should be taught in separate schools; it had been found that the teaching of the higher subjects was better carried on and with better advantage to elementary teaching in one school in a large town rather than in all the schools. To show their Lordships the nature of these schools, he would read a letter, sent by the Education Department of the late Government in March, 1880, to the Sheffield School Board. It said— My Lords entirely concur with your Board in the desirability of providing in a single school for the instruction of the more promising scholars in the higher subjects at a higher fee than is charged in other schools, as a course tending to secure greater economy and efficiency than the attempt to provide such instruction in each of the public elementary schools under the Board. In their answer, the School Board said— There is absolutely no educational provision of the kind contemplated open in Sheffield to children of the class for whom this school is intended. The foes charged at the Collegiate School, Wesley College, and the High School for Girls place those institutions beyond the reach of children ordinarily passing through the public elementary schools. The Board have no desire to usurp the functions of these institutions, and they believe the higher departments of the central schools will be easily filled by children from the public schools of the town. In a letter from Mr. Hanson, Chairman of the School Management Committee of the Bradford School Board to the Department in November, 1880, he said— The better schools under our Board are called 'higher board schools.' They are not intended to be schools for the middle classes, or schools of secondary education. They are simply advanced elementary schools. As public elementary schools, they are conducted according to the regulations of the Code—instruction is given in all the ordinary Standards—they earn grants exactly as the ordinary schools. Under those circumstances, he submitted that there was no real ground for alarm. He believed that the schools were strictly within the limits of the Code, and, judging by the Code, of the intention of Parliament. In his opinion they provided a good education for a certain number of children who were too advanced in many cases to be properly taught in ordinary schools, and whose presence there might absorb too much of the teacher's time and lead to some sacrifice of the ordinary and essential business of the schools. Moreover, he was satisfied that, in the great majority of cases, the children attending the board schools would not be able to afford to pay the fee at middle-class schools. While he had no objection on general grounds to such an inquiry as was asked for, he submitted that the noble Lord had not shown any sufficient reason for a Parliamentary Inquiry as regarded this subject, especially at a time when a New Code was coming into operation and the provisions of that Code bore so essentially upon the points in question. Under the circumstances, he did not think that to undertake an inquiry, at all events at the present time, would be a useful work; and he could not, therefore, support the Motion for a Committee.


said, that he did not consider the school boards the best bodies to be intrusted with secondary education. Moreover, he was not sure that the Education Acts intended that the public rates should be applied to the teaching of anything other than elementary education. As it was now, the result of the step that had been taken was that the expenses of the higher schools of the school boards created considerable difficulty in the reorganization of endowed schools. The Schools Inquiry Commission, presided over by Lord Taunton, expressed their opinion that the want of the country was third-grade schools immediately above the level of elementary schools. In a great many parts of the country, it had been attempted to apply endowments to the purposes of higher grade education, sometimes very much against the will of those administering them. Those endowments had formerly been applied in a wasteful manner to elementary education; but they had now to a great extent been applied to the maintenance of schools one degree higher, in which there were opportunities for obtaining scholarships. These schools were within the reach of the poorer classes; but it had been found that the schools were destroyed by the establishment of the higher class board schools, with lower fees. He thought an inquiry of the kind proposed was desirable for several reasons; and, especially, because it would make clear the evils of the competition that now went on between the various schools, and would probably be able to suggest a remedy for them. Besides, it would be well to know how far the education imparted at the higher board schools was given to the children of parents who could afford to pay the full price for it elsewhere. He had no wish to lay down the law one way or the other on any of these questions; but he held that there was a clear case for an inquiry, and trusted that the Government would allow a Committee to investigate the subject.


My Lords, the noble Lord opposite the Lord Privy Seal appears to me to have overlooked the fact that we are asking, not for a Vote of Censure on the present policy of the Council of Education, but only for an inquiry into its results; and, therefore, the allusions which besprinkled his speech to the action of the late Government have not much argumentative value. It cannot, I think, be argued that because both Parties have sanctioned the establishment of our present administrative system, its results ought to be withdrawn from the view of Parliament. No doubt, the late Government gave their sanction, to the principle to a limited extent, being guided by the reports they received, and by the opinions of those whose opinions were best worth having; but it does not follow that, if they had continued in Office, they would have thought that the system, so newly introduced, should have been continued for any length of time without the supervision of Parliament. The very interesting speech of my noble Friend who has just sat down (Lord Colchester) indicates one part of the subject as to which an inquiry is very seriously wanted—namely, the extent to which this new system may be an encroachment on the arrangements which the Endowed Schools Commissioners are making out of materials at their disposal, and the possibility of finding two Departments of the Government competing with each other, and making the performance of the work more difficult for both. Another reason for watching the operation of the new system is the interest of that very much neglected person, the ratepayer. We should never lose sight of the fact, that this educational system, whatever its merits, and whatever the benefits it confers, is still a system of educating the children of parents too poor to educate them themselves, and of taking money from the pockets of other people for the purpose. It is founded on precisely the same principles as those which justify the existence of the Poor Law in this country; but directly you go beyond the primary necessities of education, for the most necessitous class, you are on very dangerous ground. You must ask yourselves whether you are not sacrificing the interests of the ratepayer to a greater extent than the necessities of the case justify. Indeed, the thing in itself savours of injustice. You may be bound to take rates to furnish what is necessary, but have you the right to furnish, at the public cost, what is superfluous? If you thus part from your logical principles, you will enter upon a limitless field of expense, and the overburdened ratepayer may have to furnish education to classes who are very well able to supply it for themselves. On these grounds, I think it very desirable that, as regards this system, which I do not desire to censure so far as it has gone, Parliament should very carefully watch the proceedings of the school boards; but there is also another general ground for an inquiry. It is the inevitable law of affairs, that whenever you establish educational facilities for the poorest classes, gradually richer classes take possession of them. This is not the first time in our history that efforts have been made to educate the people. Efforts were made centuries ago to do this by means of endowments. We have had public schools, Universities, and grammar schools, all of them representing the efforts of benevolent persons to educate the poorer classes; but, in each case, the richer classes stepped in and appropriated what was meant for the poor. It is a very natural process, and in the present day we see this same process at work before our eyes. Those who conduct schools, being responsible for the educational results produced therein, naturally like the class of pupils who can pay best, and whose proficiency reflects the greatest credit on the school, and that motive affects the Education Office as well as the schoolmaster. The constant, if slow, action of this principle tends to shoulder out of the school the lowest, most necessitous, and most indigent of the children, and to provide the education needed by a wealthier class, and paid for at a greater cost. This process we see in operation every day, and I, therefore, join my noble Friend in regretting that the Government have expressed their objections to an inquiry. At the same time, I am not prepared to say that the matter is so imminent that the House should force the Government into an inquiry against their will. There is a great deal in what the noble Lord the Lord Privy Seal advances, that a great change has been made by the present Code in the conditions of the new system. I should, therefore, advise my noble Friend (Lord Norton) to be content with the effect his speech has produced, and that he should reserve for another year his proposal for an inquiry into the matter.


said, he thought that noble Lords opposite ought not to complain if effect were now given to the concessions made, with the full concurrence of both sides of the House, by the late Government. When the subject was discussed some time ago, there was a very general desire that the education given by these schools should be improved, and the only question now, as it seemed to him, was whether the right class of children were being benefited by what had been done. He had found, in the course of an extensive and lengthy examination into the state of education throughout Wales, in which he had taken part, that there were a very large number of those whom he might call the working class, and small tradesmen, who were unable to avail themselves of the grammar schools, and it would be a great advantage if these higher schools could be extended to those districts where this occurred. He was not aware that there was any great increase in the age at which children remained at school. At Birmingham, out of 11,447 children on the rolls, there were only 60 above the age of 14, and these were not in the advanced classes, but they were mostly ignorant and backward boys. In Scotland, which had long had a much wider scheme of education than England, none of the suggested objections were made. The elementary subjects were best taught where the higher subjects were taught, and there had been a very great increase in the numbers learning mathematics and Latin in order to qualify themselves for Professions. There had been no corresponding increase in England and Wales; and the question naturally arose, why should not English boys have the same opportunity of qualifying themselves for the professions as Scotch boys? In the populous districts of Glamorganshire and in Methyr Tydvil, notwithstanding the decrease of population, there was an increase in the numbers in the upper Standards. He knew there was an idea that a class of persons used these schools for whose benefit they were not intended. He thought, however, that it was now too late to go back. Having once sanctioned this system, it was not right to interfere the moment that the school boards had determined to extend the advantages of elementary education to a large number of the working class. They could not, therefore, recede; and it was unnecessary, and would be a great pity, to interfere because the board schools were only realizing what had been hoped for from them. No amount of evidence would carry conviction so well as attendance at the schools themselves, and the noble Lord who had raised the question (Lord Norton) would be surprised if he know the thorough- ness of the teaching in the superior subjects. In Scotland there did not exist the slightest disposition to object to this education being paid for out of the rates; and it would seem cruel to deprive small tradesmen and others of the advantages of this higher education for their children. There was a general demand in the lower middle class for these higher board schools, for endowments were very unevenly distributed, and many large populations were without them. To interfere with what was going on for the sake of a third-grade school here and there would be to sacrifice a general good for partial and uncertain benefits, and he was therefore glad the Government did not see their way to accede to the inquiry. For himself, he could only say that he should distrust very much the working of such a Committee as the one proposed.


said, he did not complain of too much zeal on the part of these higher board schools, but of zeal without discretion; for they would interfere, he thought, with institutions much better fitted to perform the function they assumed. The work would be better done by others if only the school boards stood out of the way; but private enterprize, however superior, could not compete with unlimited command of the public purse. It was not much defence to say that the Code had been so far altered in its last Edition, that special subjects could no longer be taught until Elementary Standards were passed. It certainly was an improvement to secure the bottom before the top; but the question was whether the elementary was not the sole subject in the possible scope of the Code. The time when the departure was being taken, and when these higher board schools were few, was the only time for any inquiry, which would evidently be too late when such schools were generally established all over the country, even although, as at Sheffield, they were established in spite of the opposition of a large minority of the ratepayers. He thought the step which was being taken was adverse to the interests of national education. However, he quite allowed that if the Government would not consent to assist the inquiry he proposed, that inquiry would be valueless. He must, therefore, throw on the Government the entire responsibility of refusing it, although, in his judgment, it was most urgently needed. He should, however, do his utmost to procure any information otherwise by moving for a Return on certain points, and he hoped the Government would not refuse such a Return. At present, he would ask leave to withdraw his Motion.

Motion (by leave of the House) withdrawn.