HL Deb 29 June 1888 vol 327 cc1674-7

in rising to call attention to the urgent necessity of consolidating and amending the enactments relating to reformatory and industrial schools, and to present a Bill, said, that lately, in answer to his noble Friend (Lord Aberdare), the Government promised a Bill before long, embodying the Report of the Royal Commission on Reformatory and Industrial Schools issued four years ago, and that it should be introduced in time to correspond with any treatment of the subject in the Local Government Bill. There was a Bill just now brought up from the other House dealing partially with the subject. He asked for a first reading of the Bill which he introduced in their Lordships' House soon after the Report, which there had been no opportunity of pressing forward. He was anxious that the three Bills should be considered together. The Bill he now introduced claimed to be a consolidation of all existing Acts, which he maintained was most desirable. But it also involved amendments in the law which, to his mind, were quite as desirable. Principally it proposed to place such schools and their teachers and their special inspectorate under the School Department, taking them from the control of the Home Office, and making the punishment of juvenile convicts distinct from their education, which, while under police and magisterial treatment, kept up a criminal character in the children, and hindered their getting the employment they were trained for. Youths convicted of crime should be appropriately and adequately punished, and afterwards disconnected from all criminal associations and educated in reformatory schools as schools. The neglected children who were sent to industrial schools should certainly have no penal or police character connected with their education at all. That was a mischievous folly, and greatly frustrated the object of the State, in loco parentis, sending such children to school. The language of the Acts showed that this was not fully recognized when they were passed, as it was in the Commission's Report. The schooling was made part of the penal sentence, and the assigned term of education which was in the nature of an apprenticeship to a trade was called "a detention in custody." There was really no possible distinction of actual treatment in these schools from that in other national schools, excepting that they were boarding schools and gave an industrial training. But they were damaged by their police character. His Bill enabled any interval between punishment and sending to school to be spent in proper care, and provided that children should never be sent to common gaols. It also facilitated the recovery of payments from parents, and adjusted the at present wasteful Treasury contributions. At the same time, it encouraged philanthropic management and private subscriptions. He hoped that their Lordships would give the Bill a first reading in order that it might be considered with the other Bills. Bill to consolidate and amend the enactments relating to Reformatory and Industrial Schools in England and Wales.—Presented (The Lord NORTON).


said, that on the part of the Government he should not offer any opposition to the first reading of the Bill, but at a later stage it would be his duty to point out the great difficulty that would arise in carrying out the idea of the noble Lord of transferring the management of these schools from the Home Office to the Education Department. Of the very strong Commission which was appointed to inquire into the subject, the majority held different views from those of the noble Lord. He understood the noble Lord to propose that the Bill should be read a first time and printed and allowed to lie upon the Table in order that it might be taken with the other Bills dealing with the subject. That being so, he had no wish to oppose the introduction of the Bill.


said, that any opinions of his noble Friend on this subject were, of course, worthy of attention and respect, but he was bound to say that his recommendations were entirely opposed to the views of the other Members of the Commission. His noble Friend entered upon the Royal Commission with his opinions made up, and he did his utmost during the course of a very long inquiry to induce his Colleagues to adopt them—but at the end of the discussion, in spite of the respect they all entertained for his noble Friend, not one single Member of that Commission was, he believed, won over to his side. There was a Bill now before the House dealing with a small fraction of this question, and he hoped that the House would have an opportunity of considering the several Bills together.


appealed to the noble Lord, as Chairman of the Commission, to say whether the Commission did not recommend that these schools, so far as education was concerned, should be placed under the Education Department; that their separation was of the greatest disadvantage to the teachers; and that, at all events, day industrial schools were wrongly placed in the Home Department.


said, it was quite true that the Commission recommended that the appointment of the masters and the direction of the education should be placed in the hands of the Education Department, but not the general management.


said, that as Chairman of the County Industrial Schools in Kent, he should like to see the recommendation of the Commission carried out as to the Education Department being given the control of education, while discipline and general management were left with the Home Office. It was likely that they would have to establish a sort of special department of the Education Office to deal with industrial schools, as the education given there was of an inferior kind, the children being drawn from the least educated classes.

Bill read 1a. (No. 194.)