HL Deb 10 May 1889 vol 335 cc1657-98

, in rising to call attention to the Code of Regulations, with schedules, by the Committee of the Council of Education, 1889, said: My Lords, in calling your Lordships' attention to the new Code, it is in no spirit of hostility to that Code that I am acting, but at the request of a very large number of voluntary school managers and others interested in education, who are in considerable doubt as to the effect upon voluntary schools of several provisions in the Code, which, without more time for consideration, it is not very easy to fully understand. The object of calling the attention of the House to it in this manner is to suggest that further time should be given for consideration. Others who will very probably follow me may say what sort of time they think would be sufficient, or otherwise it may be left to the discretion of those to whom we are so much indebted. The Code, like other measures, lies upon the table for the purpose of its being considered, and in this instance the period is extended to two months to give more time for consideration. But it is a very important document. The changes recommended in it are very complicated, and the managers over the whole country feel that they really have not time to take them in or see what their working will be. It would be easy for the Lord President and the officers of his Department to say almost at a glance, with the great experience and great knowledge that they have what they conceive that the working would be, but it is not so easy for managers with their more limited range; and there is a real cry over the whole country from those managers—not an unfriendly cry at all, but just an anxious request for more time. It is the voice, not merely from what we should naturally call struggling schools, but it comes also from very large bodies of important schools, which cannot be said to be struggling, but which are properly anxious to give cool review to the circumstances, and especially the financial circumstances, in which they will be placed. Thus I hold in my hand a very important document from the Birkenhead School Attendance Committee, which has worked in this matter with all the School Managers of Birkenhead. Then I have another document from the Church Day Schools Association, a very important Association in Manchester and Salford. The Salisbury Diocesan Board of Education has just telegraphed to me that they unanimously beg for some delay. The Teachers' Guild of Great Britain and Ireland, whose list of Presidents, Vice Presidents, and Council contain a very large number of the best teachers of all ranks, from public school masters down to elementary school teachers, have also sent in an important criticism which certainly proves concern. Besides these bodies a number of the most experienced educationalists—perhaps that is a bad word—but I mean persons versed in all subjects connected with education, are of the same opinion that this Code requires more time to consider. I might mention, lastly, the great National Society which has held two meetings, presided over by the Bishop of London, who has perhaps had a wider experience of education of all kinds than any person in England, and certainly would not be unfavourable to the Code as the product of the Commission in which he took so much interest. Then, my Lords, I will quickly endeavour to state what are the grounds of anxiety which seem to me to make it reasonable to ask for time. I will ask your Lordships' attention first of all to Clause 72. That clause estimates what is the minimum school staff that will be required, and according to that estimate a smaller number of children are allowed a teacher of every kind, from the provisionally certificated teacher down to the pupil teacher. At first sight it would appear that there must every where be a great increase of staff, but a great many schools at present are staffed above their requirements. Those that are not staffed above their requirements, or up to their requirements, would consider it abstractedly a good suggestion, but they are, many of them, not clear how it would work out, nor how thsy are to pay for it. It is true enough that many schools have more than the number of teachers that are required, but the question for us at this moment is, what hope have those schools which are not properly staffed of getting assistance to enable them to increase their staff up to the right number. How is the additional staff to be provided if no relief at all is given? If these schools cannot meet the requirement, are they to be left to perish? That is the first ground upon which I feel it is not unreasonable to ask for time. The next point to which I will call your Lordships' attention is in Clause 100, by which the grants made to schools are 12s., 14s., or 15s. 6d. Now, as I said, it is a very simple matter for the Department to run through the necessary calculations, but I venture to say that it is almost impossible for a school which is only acquainted with its own working to see in a moment how this new mode of assessing the grant will affect it. School managers are really in a state of perplexity at this moment as to what their finance is under the new Code, and as to what means they will have for carrying on their schools. The point is this: That all the different items being merged together, it is not clear what schools will get the 12s., or the 14s., or the 15s. 6d. The school managers do not see how they themselves are to be quite sure on which scale of grant they are likely to receive help, and, of course, where every pound is of importance, this makes a very great difference to them. Then, if your Lordships would look at paragraph 4, under Clause 100, it will be seen that, If any general grant has once been made, it may be reduced to 12s., but shall not be wholly withdrawn on the ground of inefficiency until after warning that it may be withdrawn at the next annual inspection if the report then made is not satisfactory. Now what does that mean? It means that there is positively nothing between 12s. and no shillings at all. If they are unfortunate enough to fall below the 12s., they are then left without any resources from this general grant at all; there is nothing between that and starvation except a year's warning. That is a very great change indeed. But there is another point; the conditions, as I have said, are not laid down upon which the 12s, the 14s., or the 15s. 6d. grant may be made, and it is impossible for managers to foresee what the conditions will be. On the contrary, there is a new element of uncertainity introduced. Under paragraph A 1 of Clause 100 we read this;— Whether the school should receive any of these sums is determined by the Department after considering the report and recommendation of the Inspector. Hitherto the schools have felt safe in looking to the Inspector, and the Inspector could give them advice; they might act upon the recommendation of the Inspector, and bring their school or their teaching up to the point. But now, after all, when they have done their utmost, and the Report of the Inspector has gone into the Department, it still may be revised upon they do not know at all what principles. In the mysteries of the Department there may be a view taken of the school and of the Inspector's Report, and the edict may go forth that after a year's time they are not to receive even the 12s. a year. This produces a very important element of uncertainty, and the managers ask time to learn, in some way or other, what the conditions are on which they are to proceed. I will not detain your Lordships further upon that point. The third point is the creation by a stroke of the pen of day training colleges. Clause 108 says:— A training college is an institution either for boarding, lodging, and instructing, or merely instructing students who are preparing to become certificated teachers in elementary schools. The former are called 'residential,' the latter day training colleges.' The same college may be both a residential and a day college. So far as I can see, the day training colleges are called into existence by that definition. I thoroughly approve of the creation of day training colleges, but I do not at all approve—for reasons which I need not detain your Lordships with now, because that is not the point before us—of training colleges being made mixed—partly residential and partly day. I think there are very serious objections to that, but of the creation of day training colleges I thoroughly approve. I think it will be a great advance in all education. But the question arises, how are the day training colleges to be provided? How are the funds for them to be raised? when it is under the direction of School Boards, are they immediately to create What they want in the way of day training colleges out of the rates, and will the voluntary day training colleges be left without any such assistance? If so, of course the competition will be sufficient absolutely to destroy them. That is how it appears, and if it is not so, then here, too, both time and information are wanted. The fourth point is on Clause 85, and that is the last. It is the ambiguity which attends the definitions of what may be required as area and cubic space. By the definition in paragraph A, The school premises shall be constructed in general conformity with the rules for plan- ning and fitting up public elementary schools issued by the Department. This shall be the general rule, unless there are special circumstances. In every case the Department will endeavour to secure at least 100 cubic feet of internal space, and 10 square feet of internal area for each unit of average attendance. The area which has been hitherto required is 8 square feet, and the internal space 80 cubic feet. The question that arises upon this paragraph which increases the area to 10 feet and the cubic space to 100 feet is whether this is to be retrospective or prospective only; if it were retrospective, or if it were left possible that some day the literal interpretation might be acted upon, or acted upon with a short notice, then that would be absolute ruin and destruction to a very considerable number of schools. It is quite true that many schools have a great deal more area than is required for their average attendance; but on the other hand there are a great many that have not, and we do not know what consideration is to be shown them, if any. My Lord President was good enough to answer the question when it was put to him the other day in the very plainest terms, but I regret to say that his answer, which was all that anyone could expect, has not circulated through the country. For some reason it was not properly reported. Perhaps the full importance of it was not perceived, and it was put so shortly and so obscurely that I think the great majority of school managers are not much the wiser for it. I have no doubt the Lord President will again answer the question, and then I hope the information may be diffused in such a manner as to give satisfaction. If the rule were in any degree retrospective, great injustice would still be done, because there have been schools built on plans sanctioned by the Department, and which have complied with all the requirements of the Department. There, are, indeed, instances where at the time the school was built, the managers were willing to give 10 square feet of internal area, and 100 cubic feet of internal space, and the Department declined to grant permission on the ground that 8 feet and 80 feet were sufficient. Of course, it would be a gross injustice if any of those schools were now interfered with. We know that there is not the slightest intention on the part of the Department that any- thing of that kind should be done, but as the words stand they could at any future time be interpreted, and must be interpreted if taken literally, so as to effect that injustice. Therefore it is hoped by those who have commissioned me to speak to your lordships that an assurance on this head will be given in very clear and definite form. Then besides that there is the very earnest request on the part of school managers that they may be allowed time to ascertain their condition and their own prospects. The Manchester and Salford Committee, which is a very important one indeed, have sent a table showing what would happen to them. It appears by that table that a very large number of their schools, which are not likely to be inadequate in instruction or anything else, would have a reduction made in the number of children allowed to attend them, which would have very unhappy consequences in the carrying on of the schools. My Lords, I shall not detain the House further by entering into details, but I ask your lordships whether I have made out a case for granting the request that there may be more time given for consideration of the Code. There are only nine days now left.


My Lords, I join very heartily with the most reverend Primate in expressing a very strong hope that nothing that I should say should be considered disloyal to the President of the Council or to the Department over which he presides, because I am most heartily convinced that the President is desirous of improving education and of maintaining the voluntary schools in the position they hold as supplying a most important part of the education system of the country; and in what I have to say about this Code, I desire very much to follow in the lines which the right reverend Archbishop has marked out, and simply support his contention that sufficient time should be allowed thoroughly to apprehend how the working of this Code will affect the schools. The Code is founded upon what seems, at first sight, to be a most reasonable principle. After a large Commission had been appointed and worked for some years, and had made their Report or Reports, it appeared that on certain points they were unanmous and on certain points they were divided. Nothing seems more natural than to say, "Let us adopt the recommendations in which the Commission were unanimous, and let the recommendations upon which they were divided wait for further consideration." But the state of the case makes that principle work out very hardly to one of the two parties, because the Commission were thoroughly unanimous in one thing—they were unanimous (and every member of the Commission felt this very strongly) in the desire to improve education, and everything that seemed to them likely to make education more thorough and more complete and more suited to the purpose for which it was intended, received very warm support from both the majority and the minority. Further, there was in a certain sense a unanimous desire that the education should be a religious education. I say "in a certain sense," because there stepped in of necessity a considerable difference of opinion as to the proper means of providing that religious education; and when you go a step further and look to see what the Commission had to say about the supply of the necessary funds for the carrying out of all these improvements, then you see that the Commission were altogether at variance, because there can be no doubt that one side was very anxious indeed that the voluntary schools should still maintain their place, and the other side while tolerating the voluntary schools and not desiring altogether to sweep them away, indicated plainly enough that they would on the whole prefer that they should gradually die out. All the recommendations, therefore, that touched upon this question of how the schools were to be maintained fell under the head of not being unanimously recommended by the Commission, and therefore the very principle on which the Code is drawn, has a natural tendency to lean towards the views of the minority rather than the views of the majority with regard to this part of it. Now I have premised this as pointing out where it is, as it seems to me, that the very principle upon which the Bill is based cannot be entirely trusted to represent the aim of the Commissioners. It is not quite the case that the Commissioners made those recommendations in which they were unanimous absolutely without any relation to those recommendations in which they were divided. On the contrary, it was stated that the recommendations in which they were unanimous were made in the hope that the other recommendations would be adopted with them. It was intended that they should all go together as a whole, and that as a whole the propositions should be worked. This has a very important bearing upon the relation of the Code to voluntary schools. Now, my Lords, when I first read this Code I thought it embodied a very great advance, and that there would be very considerable advantages from it, but I confess that even at first I was rather startled at many of the details of it, which seemed to me to be somewhat dangerous. To come at once to the detail that is perhaps the most important of all, I will refer to Article 100 which effects a change in the nature Of the grant. The grant is to be 12s., 14s., or 15s. 6d. per child, and whether the school is to have 12s., 14s., or 15s. 6d is to be determined by the Department after considering the Report and the recommendation of the Inspector. No definition is here given—I do not suppose a definition could be very easily given—of the standard which would be required in order to bring the schools up to 14s. or 15s. 6d. Here I want to call your Lordships' attention to what, in my opinion, is the most important point. I desire to point out what, unconsciously perhaps, but very really is constantly influencing all the officials of the Department, namely, the feeling that they are the guardians of the public purse in a certain degree, and they must look to economy and see that no more money is spent than is really wanted to do the thing that is to be done. With that feeling in mind there is the tendency to make this amount of 12s., 14s., or 15s. 6d. a matter of competition, and you will observe it makes a very considerable difference. Here is a school which hopes to get 14s., and perhaps just succeeds in getting 14s., and another school which is a little way below it only gets the 12s. The 12s. school is immediately stirred up very much to a race with the 14s. school and tries to raise itself up to earn 14s. also. There is nothing objectionable in that, and if the result were that when the 12s. school got up to the 14s. level it got the 14s. that would be a very good thing; but if the result is that it gets the 14s., and the school which had the 14s. in order to make room for it is lowered down to 12s., then, I say, that such a course of proceeding must seriously impair the working of the schools. Yet the temptation to this will be very strong. There will be certainly a strong temptation to pull up the standard a little higher in order that the Department may not be obliged to give so many schools the 14s. grant for fear that there will be largely increased demands upon the Revenue of the country. It is a most natural thing, and it will certainly work in the way that I have described unless you are constantly on the watch against it. It is very easy to raise the standard without in any degree whatever seeming to do anything unfair, and sometimes the standard may be raised for the express purpose of not having to spend so much money. It would be very easy, for instance, to put harder questions in the arithmetic paper on the ground that so very many schools answered the questions that they really could not be hard enough, and that the fact that there were so few failures was sufficient to prove that the questions were a great deal too easy. I confess that I myself have always felt that the tendency is to make the questions too hard, and I think so still. I still think that the tendency is to ask questions rather for the purpose of finding out what the children do not know than of seeing that the children do know what they ought to know. And I think that this tendency is secretly but steadily encouraged by the desire to prevent anything like extravagance. In my view the Inspector should put his questions in such a way that if the school has been well taught the children will feel that the questions are such that they are able to handle—a good many of them would still make mistakes, but the questions should be such as to test the knowledge of the children. I am confident that the tendency of any Department which is honestly trying to serve the country by preventing extravagance will be in the direction I have indicated. I do not object to any attempt to save money by the Department, provided you do not save money in such a way as to damage the teach- ing. What I myself should very much prefer, instead of these 12s., 14s., and 15s. 6d. grants, would be that the Department should fix a certain grant, and say that is the normal grant; and, having fixed that as the normal grant, go on to say that there may be a shilling struck off from it, or even 2s. in cases where there is some grievous deficiency, as a warning, and if the warning be not taken, the time may come when no grant will be given at all; and in the same way I should not object to the Department having power to say to a school—"This is really a very remarkable and exceptional school, and it shall have, on that account, an extra grant, to be spent in whatever way the school managers think fit for the improvement of the school." But I should limit both the diminution on the one side and the merit grant on the other side to such clear circumstances as to leave the school, as a whole, in no doubt at all about the money they would get. A system of that kind, it is obvious, would work quite in another way from a system such as we have here, where there is—under the idea of improving education and raising the standard—a perpetual tendency to make the work of what is called "earning the money" more difficult. I do not at all mean to say that I do not think, as it stands, this is not a great improvement on the former system. I think it is a very considerable improvement. I only desire to point out, for the House and for the Government, a danger which I think of very grave importance. I do not desire to dwell further upon this, because I do not think it is necessary for the House or for the Department that it should go into minute details. There is, however, another point which has been impressed upon me a good deal, on which I have been asked a great many questions which I have not been able to answer, and that is with regard to the day training colleges. I have been asked over and over again who is to supply these day training colleges? Are they to be paid for out of the rates? Is there anything which would enable a School Board—say the School Board for London—to set up a day training college here in London? That would be a completely new departure. There is nothing said of that sort here, neither is there anything said as to when or where these training colleges are to be set up. It is left entirely in the air, and the authorities of training colleges and the members of voluntary schools are under a good deal of anxiety on this subject. If the matter is left as hitherto, and these day training colleges are to be set up by the efforts of private individuals, the Education Department merely recognizing them and giving them grants on this footing, I think it would be better that that should be distinctly stated; but I cannot find anything that clears up the point. For myself, I confess I do not consider that we ought to fear the competition of any of these day training colleges. I think they ought to be set up, and I think they will be a very useful addition to our educational system when they are set up; but it is another thing entirely if they are to be set up at the cost of the country to enter into competition with all those which have been set up at very great cost to private supporters, and to put them to considerable difficulties in maintaining their position. It is possible of course on these points there may be much clearer explanations given than I am able to give. I am only speaking as the mouth-piece of a very great many besides myself, and though I have said what I have said about Article 100 more fully on account of my own acquaintance with the matter, yet I think that is the only point upon which I, myself, very strongly feel the alarm which has been expressed all over the country. With regard to the other points, there are a great many criticisms which I might make on the Code, which I do not think I could urge upon the Government as grounds for delay; but I do feel very strongly, that in as far as this requires the schools to incur additional expense, it would be right that those measures of relief which were recommended for the schools should go pari passu with the demands that will be made upon them. We did very earnestly recommend that the schools should be exempted from the payment of rates, and we did recommend that the 17s. 6d. limit should be raised to at least 20s.; and I think those recommendations are of a nature that might very well go side by side with the recommendations which the new Code has adopted and embodied. I will conclude by saying for myself,— speaking only for myself—that I do look upon the Code as a real advance; I look upon it as a real gain; and if the choice be between having this Code now at once, and not having this Code at all, or anything in the nature of this Code, I for one would rather have it at once, I confess. But I cannot say that those who have asked me to take this matter up, would at all concur in this. They rather feel they would prefer that the whole thing should wait, at whatever cost or risk. I have ventured to put my criticisms before the House and the Government. There are other points which I should otherwise and in other circumstances have noticed. Particularly, for instance, I would rather wish that the provisions for evening schools were made more distinctly to bear upon our continuation schools, as we call them in our Report. I think that continuation schools are wanted in many cases to relieve voluntary schools from doing work for which they are not properly fitted, and on the other hand, in order to give boys who have left the elementary schools some chance of pushing their particular steps further on, without of necessity going through what would amount, if properly called, to a course of secondary education. Again, I think that amongst our recommendations, was one for the employment of organizing teachers to set to work upon various schools at once—to take a group, and to organize the teachers now at work among them. I do not see any distinct provisions for meeting that recommendation, and I think that is of very grave importance. On all grounds however, I concur with the desire of the members throughout the country, that there should be some delay before a Code effecting such important changes as does this, passes into actual law.


My Lords, I venture to say a few words upon this subject because I have been consulted by people in different parts of the country a good deal—perhaps naturally, having regard to the many years during which I was Vice President, and to my connection with the Royal Commission on Education. With regard to the Code itself, it is impossible not to see that the change, as I have said before in this House, is by far the largest one in the whole education system that has been proposed since Mr. Forster's time. Every education authority will agree with that—that the change is of the largest character, and will affect for good or for evil the schools in the strongest possible degree. We are put at a certain disadvantage in arguing this matter, because, unfortunately, the usual Returns from the Education Department as to the schools for the last year are not on the Table of Parliament. I exceedingly regret that my noble Friend did not take that step, and, before the Code was discussed, give us the latest details as to the condition of the schools. Anybody who has to do with education is aware that we discuss the Code under a great disadvantage. It is exceedingly difficult to estimate what the effect of the Code will be. At first I confess I was more in favour of the Code than I must acknowledge I am now. I see a marked change of opinion all over the country. I observe that one of the best education critics that we have—the gentleman, whoever he may be, who writes for the Times, and who wrote very enthusiastically at first, is beginning, from all I can find, to be now a little more doubtful as to the effect of the Code upon the future of voluntary schools. I see that his estimate is now that the cost of voluntary schools will clearly be increased by about 15 per cent. With regard to this Code, do let us remember that when changes such as are proposed by my noble Friend are made, they cannot be reversed. Certain of the changes proposed are absolutely irreversible when once made, so that we should be strictly careful to accompany them with all attendant safeguards which may be wise and good for the Education cause. Then I would ask the House to remember one other very important point as to the Royal Commission. That Royal Commission pressed nothing more strongly than. this: that frequent changes in the Code and in the Education System are disastrous to education. I confess I was somewhat guilty as to that very point when I was at the head of the Department, but the years that have passed have convinced me more and more that nothing is so mischievous for the children, as well as to the teachers and managers, as constant changes, even if they are good, in the Educational System. I would therefore press upon your Lord- ships, as this is probably the last word during the term of the present Parliament that we shall hear from the Government Benches upon the Education question, that very careful study should be given to the present proposals. As to the Royal Commission, everybody who knows what the recommendations of that Commission were, will see that a number of the most important ones have not been taken any notice of at all. I think it is a very significant fact that the under-current of the speeches of the two right reverend Prelates was undoubtedly one of very considerable alarm; and what makes the ground for alarm still greater, to my mind, is the total uncertainty in which we are as to the effect of the new provisions on the schools. Neither the most reverend Primate nor the right reverend Prelate could give us any opinion, experts as they are, how the Code would affect the existing schools. We have heard that instructions are to be issued which will explain to us how the Code will be worked, but until we have those instructions before us we are still in the dark. I would entreat noble Lords to remember that no assurances of a Minister are of any avail whatever, except during his own tenure of office. They do not bind his successor, nor do the instructions that he issues bind his successor; and, as showing the extreme uselessness of this sort of assurances, I would call attention to what the right rev. Primate mentioned—that the speech of my noble Friend, which was supposed to assure voluntary school managers upon a most important point, was hardly reported at all; so that if anybody in future years wishes to refer to it they will look in vain for any Report of what was said—


Except in Hansard.


Still, if it was in Hansard, everybody knows these assurances are absolutely waste paper when the Minister leaves his Department. I, therefore, hope that no friends of education will give too much force to any of these assurances. Hearty and absolutely genuine as we know they will be coming from him or any other Minister, they do not affect in any way whatever the future of the education system as soon as there is a change of Government. I own I regret very much that the very excellent precedent that was set by Mr. Mundella or by my noble Friend opposite, Lord Aberdare, was not followed, and that a Code involving such enormous changes should not have been allowed to remain before Parliament during the whole of one Session. I referred the other day to Mr. Mundella's speech upon that Code. He said— He could only say that the Code brought out categorically all the minute changes that he proposed to make in the following year, and during the Recess he would be very glad to receive suggestions on the subject, which would receive his most candid and most careful consideration during that period. His own object was to treat this thing as free from party, in order that the best possible system of National Education should be arrived at As I said before in this House, I think nothing gave such confidence to the administration of my noble Friend as giving that entire year for consideration of the large changes he proposed; and the changes proposed in this Code are tenfold larger than those that were proposed then. It was with some regret that I heard the explanation of the noble Lord the President of the Council, which he gave to the House the other day—that the reason for the incompleteness of the Code was that its aim was simply to effect those changes which the Royal Commission were unanimous in recommending. If your Lordships will remember that all the most conflicting opinions were represented upon that Commission, most rightly and wisely, I would ask whether it is possible to confine the changes which should be made in the Education system to those only which were agreed upon by all the members of that Commission. It is just as if you said that you would never legislate until you got the unanimous opinion of every Member on every side of the House of Commons. I would also ask your Lordships to remember that in the recommendations of that Commission a distinct reservation was made by those who drew up the Report, which was signed by 15 gentlemen of very different opinions, that the recomendations should only be taken as a whole and not separately. That, I think, is a very important point in considering this Code. If I were asked to say what I thought the leading features of this Code were, after carefully considering it I should say that I see first of all a most earnest desire to advance education. I most gladly say that, because I cannot so so generally approve of the Code. I am quite sure that my noble Friend below me, Viscount Cranbrook, was most anxious to do the very best on this great subject. I see also that there is a very excellent object kept in view — namely, to give more freedom to the teachers, which, I believe, is very important to the cause of education. But after saying what it seems to me are the leading features, it seems to me that the Code will lead to greater expense all round for every school. It is impossible not to see, however you may try to avoid the conclusion, that it does mean much more expense to all schools. Then, I do not think that you can say generally that the education in our schools as a whole will be raised by it. I am afraid that the effect of the monetary arrangement will be that the best schools will be heavily fined, and will, therefore, be discouraged from pursuing their higher operations. Then with regard to the rural schools, which the Commission were very anxious to put on a satisfactory footing, I confess I do not see that the curriculum will be improved in any way. But the leading features of all you cannot escape observing to be these: that the Inspectors will be more powerful than ever with regard to the schools—that the Inspectors will have the fate of schools to a very great extent in their hands; and more than that, the Department, which has hitherto been very powerful, will now become the absolute masters of the future of all schools under the clean sweeping clauses, whereby so much is left to the discretion of the Inspector and the Minister. That, my Lords, is, I venture to say, against the whole spirit of the Education Commission. The Education Commission wished rather to decentralize and to diminish the power of the Department, rather than to increase it. My own impression is that there is a very serious peril that the voluntary system will be unintentionally but certainly injured by the operation of the Code. With regard to the notions which are current in the country as to the Code, the right Rev. Prelates have spoken very fully. I would only ask your Lordships just to listen while I read an opinion to which I attach very great importance, not as to the educational effect, for it does not bear upon that; but as to the monetary effect of the new provisions. I casually saw this in the newspapers two days ago. It is from the annual report of the Home and Colonial School Society, one of the most excellent and advanced educational bodies that there are in the country. The recently issued Education Code proposed changes of greater importance and more sweeping operation than any that had been introduced since the passing of Mr. Forster's Act in 1870. … By the new Code … in no case whatever would the cost of maintenance be diminished. In all thoroughly well-staffed schools there would be little extra expense, but in the poorer schools the terms of the Code indicated very plainly much additional cost. Viewing this enhanced cost alone, both in the matter of staff and for improved premises and apparatus, the committee concluded that the smaller and poorer classes of voluntary schools unable to bear the increased pressure upon their resources would soon be put an end to. But this was by no means the design of the Education Department nor of the Government. … That I hold to be a very important and perfectly impartial testimony, coming from a body which is not connected especially with the Church, but is connected with all denominations. Then I would quote the opinion of a legal Member of the Commission, whom I will not name, but he is probably one of the best authorities on this subject. He writes:— I am very unhappy about the new Code. It is clearly framed in such a way as to destroy many many voluntary schools, at least that will be the result of it even in the present hands. I am afraid that the noble Lords and the Vice President hardly see this. It cannot, of course, be their aim or wish, but I am afraid that the result is absolutely certain. That opinion with me had very great weight. I confess. I will now ask your Lordships to observe not only what are the dangers of the working of the Code, but what to many is quite as important with regard to this Code—what are the serious omissions it makes with regard to the recommendations of the Royal Commission. I take it that many of these recommendations if they had been treated would have made the whole difference in the present Code with regard to its safety, and its educational advantages. The first serious omission which I notice is that with regard to the pupil teachers. The pupil teachers, as everybody knows, are the very basis and foundation of the teaching, and the Commissioners strongly pressed that every encouragement should be given to improve their teaching. We pressed strongly that some extra grant should be given to enable pupil teachers to have central instruction in the towns, and in the country to have certain groupings arranged, so as to secure better teaching for the pupil teachers. We recommended that provisions should be made to diminish their own labour in the schools, so that they might have more time for instruction. With regard to this most important point, I am sorry to say that I see no provision in the Code. So with regard to the curriculum, we strongly urged that the curriculum of all schools should be raised. I am afraid I miss any treatment of that very important subject. Then with regard to the moral training, I do not see any fresh provisions to enforce any more direct attention to the moral training and discipline of the schools, which the Commission were so anxious about. Also with regard to the teaching in the rural schools, we pressed strongly that more should be done in the way of elementary science, drawing, and cooking, and with regard to meeting the extreme difficulties in those cases in the country, we urged that contributions should be made to itinerant teachers. That is a point on which, I believe, the Commission were quite unanimous, and I am sorry to say that it is altogether omitted in the Code. Then with regard to the organizing masters, I believe nothing in my experience has proved to be more advantageous than an organizing master having charge of a large number of schools, and looking in upon them once or twice in a year, recommending improvements of every kind, educational and otherwise. In parts of Yorkshire, in South London, and in various other places, the benefit has been very great. We recommended a small grant for that purpose, and I am sorry to see that that recommendation has not been acted upon. Then with regard to the question of enlargement, the Department takes large powers of enforcing an increased size of schools. Well, there is a great deal to be said on both sides of that matter, but it should be remembered that in all our recommendations with regard to that we said that there ought to be some subvention to meet the increased expenses. Then, we strongly urged that the pressure upon the poor town schools should be met in some way. It is extremely difficult in some towns to get local assistance. The 17s. 6d. limit hits them very cruelly if they do well, and yet these poor towns schools are of the greatest possible advantage. If we are to choose between giving up the voluntary schools in the country and the voluntary schools in the towns, I should say, looking at the matter from a broad social point of view, it is more important to have these centres of friendly communication between class and class in the towns than it is in the country. The Commission were unanimous in saying the poor towns schools require further aid. I have looked carefully through the whole Code and I can find nothing that will help the poor towns schools, but on the contrary, a good deal that, I am afraid, will tend to harm them. There is, no doubt, a good intention pervading the Code throughout. There is the good intention to help the schools by extra grants, but when you look into the question you will see that by raising the educational demands all round, those extra grants will not only be no gain to them, but they will be worse off under them than they were before. Then with regard to evening schools, I cannot express how deeply I regret that that great subject has not been taken up. The Commission, of all shades of opinion, urged "the complete reorganization" (that was the phrase) of the evening school system, which has been spoken of as the "Evening continuation school system." Why did they do that? If there was one point upon which they were unanimous, it was in expressing the opinion that children in all parts of the country forget all they learn after leaving school; so that really, after spending all these millions upon education, the country does not get a quid pro quo for its money. We urged, therefore, that there should be a bold and comprehensive treatment of the evening school system. I am quite sure that the advantages educationally, socially, and morally of the effective working of the evening continuation school system would be perfectly untold; and upon that point I think the Commission were perfectly unanimous. I very much regret that that point has not been taken up. Now, with regard to day training colleges, I am one of those who are in favour of trying the experiment, but it must be remembered that all the conditions which the Commission recommended in the carrying out of the experiment are left out of the Code. This is, after all, an experiment, but it is of infinite importance that the teachers should not only be well trained intellectually but should be moral and well-conditioned people. With regard to the day training colleges, we said that if the experiment is made the serious attention of Parliament would have to be directed to these points—"To getting some security for the religious and moral instruction of the day scholars who were to be teachers." I see nothing of that. "That the constitution of a governing body like the managing committee of a training college should be responsible for the efficiency of education, and should also provide model schools for the teachers to teach in." I see no provision for that. "Some security that the students trained at the public cost should devote themselves to educational pursuits afterwards in elementary schools." That is a most important point, because otherwise, at the public cost, you will train a number of young people for ordinary commercial life. I see nothing about that in the Code. "Security that the supply of day training college teachers shall not exceed the demand"—in other words, that you do not artificially swell and swamp the teaching profession. I am afraid I cannot discover any security in the Code for that. Those are some of the important matters which do not find any place in the present Code. The answer may be that they will be embodied in a future Code. I say then you disturb again the Educational arrangements of the country. And remember that many of the fears and oppositions which are now raised regarding the present Code would not exist if the schools had got the advantages which are asked for in the Report of the Commissioners, particularly if the 17s. 6d. limit were removed, and if there were the exemption from rates, which is certainly very much called for. Those points require fresh legislation, but the other points that I have referred to involve only the Amendment of the new Code. As far as I see at the present moment, I am afraid that the Code will not secure the willing assent of any one of the parties interested in Education. I have been watching the subject very carefully, and I only find great alarm amongst those who are connected with voluntary schools, Church schools, and other schools. I do not see any warm reception on the part of those who were represented by the minority on the Royal Commission. I have looked at their latest utterances, and they say that the Code now proposed will be held in no way to settle the Education Question. I see, therefore, nothing but unsettlement before me. I know the Code is produced with the best possible intentions, and I exceedingly regret, at any time, to be in opposition to my noble Friend, or to the Government; but I feel certain that if my noble Friend will only consent to follow the precedent of the noble Lord opposite and Mr. Mundella, and will meet the wishes of the great majority of the schools and let the Code be before the country for such a period that it may be thoroughly considered, that next year he will be able to take up the omitted recommendations of the Royal Commission; he will be able to get rid of the evils which I am afraid do attach to the proposed Code, and he will then, with the willing consent, with the hearty approbation of all who are concerned in education, be able to carry a Code effecting a great educational change which will do infinite credit to himself and the Government, and put the whole educational system upon a permanent, satisfactory, and enlightened position. I trust my noble Friend will forgive me for criticising the Code so freely, but we have the same great objects in view, and in what I have said I have been actuated by the desire that my noble Friend and the Government should have the credit of effecting an educational improvement of great national importance.


My Lords, I have no prejudice against Board Schools at all. I have only lamented that so many managers of schools, in London especially, thought it their duty to carry on a continual struggle to maintain voluntary schools under desperate and hopeless circumstances, instead of acquiescing in what was found to be inevitable after a great expenditure of energy and money, and doing their best to turn the Board Schools to the best account. I will not continue the protest that has been so ably already made, against the hardship that would be inflicted upon the Managers of the voluntary schools, if the foundations upon which they were originally encouraged to build and to carry on those schools, were to be superseded by any ruinously onerous new conditions and requirements. It should be remembered that many of these Managers, at very heavy sacrifice and in the most generous manner, provided, to a great extent, for the education of the country before there was a question of Parliament enacting that education should be compulsory and universal, and made provision for the consequent expense, partly out of grants from the Treasury, and partly, where so found necessary, by imposing an entirely new rate upon the rate-payers of the country, that is, upon the owners and occupiers of real property only. I would only remind your Lordships that the hardships would be much the greater, because, as the right rev. Primate so truly said, the Department at one time besides insisting as it always has done, upon certain requirements as to accommodation and other points, actually refused grants, if it was proposed that schools should be built with (in their opinion), excessive accommodations or at an excessive expense. I remember well that to two schools that I was building I proposed to add a porch, quite as much for shelter as for ornament; but simply because the porches would have involved such additional expense as to forfeit the grant, they had to be abandoned. Whatever may be said of Board Schools, it is not denied either by their friends or opponents that they are carried on at a greater expense than voluntary schools, and these are not times when, whether in the shape of extra subscriptions or in the shape of extra rates, any sudden extra requirements can immediately be met without considerable hardship. It seems to me to be a reasonable case for something like a compromise—not on the one hand disregarding the conditions required by an improved standard of education, nor on the other hand insisting almost suddenly on changes and improvements which may involve almost ruinous expense. With regard to new requirements suggested on sanitary grounds, my labours for more than 40 years, and I may add some suffering, on behalf of that good cause should prevent my being suspected of indifference to sanitary considerations. But I think common sense will tell us that requirements which may be not only reasonable but almost essential for schools situated with their playgrounds in the centre of dense populations, and which children arrive at and return from through crowded streets and narrow alleys. Many of them to single rooms lived in by day and slept in at night by the whole family, as is too often the case in our large towns are not equally essential in the case of schools situate in open villages and attended by children coming to or returning through country lanes or paths from cottages, all with one separate day-room at least in addition to generally two or three bedrooms. My Lords, I will say that I do not regret a word of what I addressed to your Lordships the other day in speaking of the very real and valuable improvements which are to be found in this Code. I mentioned one that struck me very particularly, and with regard to which the Department has shown a practical good sense, which it has not always shown. For years and years the successive Codes insisted that if a child failed in, say, arithmetic one year it was not to be presented in the standard which it had been unable to pass last year, but it was to catch up its arrears and be examined in as high a standard as those who with facility and success passed the former standard in the year before. One of the great improvements of the Code is that return to common sense which enacts that children are to be examined in the classes which the teachers select for them. Up to the present time there had been a want of recognition of child nature in the provisions of the Code, and I am bound to say that in that respect this Code has made valuable improvements. The hereditary principle applies to mental qualities as well as bodily qualities. A number of your Lordships, like myself, count among your ancestors distinguished lawyers accustomed to abstract reasoning; as a rule, the higher and more cultivated classes, for generation after generation, have been accustomed to abstract reasoning and to the study of abstract principles. But it should be remembered that in the case of a very large proportion of the children who are now educated in our elementary schools, no one of their ancestors, perhaps for a thousand years, ever grappled with the difficulties of, say, grammar. Therefore, it is not surprising that we should find a good deal of over-pressure among children who have inherited from their parents a natural difficulty and disability in dealing with abstract principles and abstract reasoning. I observe, myself, a great improvement in the Code in several respects; but as the noble Lord has truly said, the changes made by it are indeed vast. It must be remembered that when a certain period has elapsed it obtains the force of Statute Law, and in the event of any change of President, still more of Government, it is still binding and imperative. Moreover, we have very good reason to deprecate frequent changes in the Code, so I do earnestly hope that the Government will consent to postpone the operation of the Code at a sacrifice, it may be, of the improvements in it for a while, and allow more time for its consideration and understanding by the country, and more time for the adoption of suggestions which I am quite sure the noble Lord President would not be at all above receiving from experts and friends of education throughout the country.


My Lords, I do not propose to detain the House very long, but I wish to take this opportunity of saying that I have had the means of learning what are the opinions of the Roman Catholic Bishops of England on the subject of this Code, and I am able to say that they are unanimous in the wish that it should be withdrawn this year. A short time ago I attended a meeting of the poor schools Committee, which is a Committee representative of every Roman Catholic Diocese in England and Scotland, consisting of two lay to one clerical member. This Committee came to a resolution almost unanimously to the same effect, that in their opinion the best course would be for the Government to withdraw the Code. My Lords, I cannot help saying that I am of opinion that these Codes coming so frequently and making such great alterations, and requiring often a great expenditure of money on the part of the managers, unsettle the conditions of our schools, and make the position of voluntary schools more difficult. I will quote to you an answer which was made by a great authority, the greatest authority perhaps in regard to this question. In Answer No. 608 made before the Royal Commission, with regard to the difference between the voluntary schools and the Board Schools, and the expenditure required upon them, Mr. Cumin said— Inasmuch as the rates are an inexhaustible resource to go upon as compared with voluntary contributions, there is no doubt that the requirements of voluntary schools might be much more severely felt than the same requirements by the Board Schools. After which he assented to the proposition that— A continuance of minutes of that character might entirely exhaust the help of the voluntary schools. The question is whether the result of Codes of this sort making greater demands upon the voluntary subscriptions of the people may not in the end make it impossible for the small voluntary schools to exist at all. That is a question which will come before us before very long. Now, in criticising the Code which has been brought before us to-night, I should like to say a few words in support of the criticism of the right reverend Prelate of Clause 72, which refers to the increase of staff. Additional certificated teachers are required in future for an average attendance of 60 instead of 70. That in some cases may necessitate a great expenditure—so great that it may be the means of shutting up some of the smaller schools altogether. Then there are other questions. There is the question of school accommodation which is a very serious matter. It affects not only the denominational schools but all the smaller schools throughout the country. The difference between 100 cubic feet of internal space to each unit of average attendance and 80 feet is very great. It is all very well in large towns, where you require the extra space, but in the rural districts where the air is good it is not necessary to have such a large amount of internal space as in the overcrowded towns. But that is left entirely to the Inspectors, and throughout the Code a great deal too much seems to be left to the Inspectors. After all the Inspectors are human; they may be subject to bilious attacks, or fits of bad temper, and, going into the school, may be dissatisfied with everything, and may come away and make a Report to the Department, the result of which is that the grant is withdrawn altogether. Is it lair that the result of that few hours' inspection of the school should be the means of depriving the school of the grant? I hope that the noble Lord the President of the Council will really take these matters into consideration. I quite agree with what has fallen from the right reverend and noble Lords who have preceded me as to the great interest which the noble Lord President takes in voluntary education, and I hope he will give us a practical proof of it by, if possible, postponing this Code for another year.


My Lords, the outcry that has been made all over the country against the new Code which has been lying for some time on your Lordship's table, has, to a certain extent, taken me by surprise, because it is founded on the Report of the Royal Commission. The Royal Commission was issued because people were dissatisfied with the existing state of things, and thought that some alteration should be made. I venture to say that if I had met Parliament this year without having made alterations in the Code, the outcry would have been ten times as great as it has been upon the Code that is now before us. My Lords, I myself think that a great number of those who have taken up this question, have been rather influenced by what they have heard than by what they have examined; and that it will be found that this Code so far from being hostile to the voluntary schools is fair and just alike to the voluntary schools and to other schools; for I do not suppose there is any one of your Lordships, however much he may be interested in -voluntary schools who would wish that because they are voluntary they should be treated with such laxity that their management would become careless; nor, on the other hand, that if they do their best they should want that support which the Parliamentary grant would give them. Now with regard to some of the points on which the right reverend Prelate and my noble Friend behind me have touched. There are some of them, as they themselves are well aware, which refer only to questions that must be settled by legislation and not by the Code at all. I admit that the Royal Commission made recommendations with respect to that legislation, but all those recommendations were strongly contested by the minority; and when it is suggested that we might have brought forward legislative measures simultaneously with the Code, it must be remembered that the minority is very strongly represented in the other House of Parliament, not only by those who may be said to be in opposition to the Government, but by large numbers of persons in that House who are generally supporters of the Government, but who would not be upon a matter of this kind. I think it only right and fair to say that because my noble Friends have seemed to take it for granted that anyone of those recommendations would be at once carried and that, however much I might be disposed to put them off I have no right to do so on the ground that they would be strongly opposed. Now, my Lords, with regard to some of those recommendations which I think might probably be carried easily, there is one which I think might fairly be dealt with. Though I am not in favour generally of exemption from rates, I think in the special case of voluntary schools which find it difficult to pay their way it is hardly fair to add the rates; and while the Board Schools pay rates out of rates it would be only just to give relief to those who, doing the same work, are so encumbered. But it was not possible to include that subject in the Code. I will, as far as possible, avoid taking up your Lordship's time by going into details, but I thank the right rev. Prelate the Lord Bishop of London for the words he has used finally, that if he had to choose between the withdrawal of this Code and its immediate enactment he would choose its immediate enactment; and I think I shall be able to show your Lordships that the passing of this Code must be a great advantage to schools throughout the country. First of all I will refer to the question of space. It is by many supposed and it is industriously circulated throughout the country that the requirements as to space would destroy thousands of voluntary schools. Anything so monstrous and so absurd as that statement cannot possibly be conceived. At page 537 of the Report of the Committee of Council of last year particulars are given of the accommodation and the average attendance of all the schools that come for the Parliamentary grant—I mean voluntary schools—and anyone studying the figures and noting the enormous amount of room which there is available must come to the conclusion that this clause in the Code will hardly be operative in any single case. In the new Code 10ft. of internal area and 100 cubic feet of space are made the general rule instead of 8ft. and 80ft. as before. When the right rev. Prelate asked some days ago whether this was intended to apply to existing schools, I said certainly not, and that it was not a hard and fast rule. And nothing would have been more unjust if it had been. The schools which existed were sanctioned by the Department on their present dimensions, and a certain number of children were allowed, and I say nothing would be more unjust than to press such schools now. The noble Lord who spoke just now (Lord Fortescue) seemed to be under the impression that a great deal of mischief might ensue if this law were to be put into operation upon all the schools which now exist. Now, even supposing that that were done upon a hard and fast scale, as he seems to think it will be, there has been an examination of 1,715 schools in the counties of Lincoln, Somerset, and the North Riding of Yorkshire, and it is found that, with the exception of 199, every school has the 100 ft. and the 10 ft., and that the others are such as will not be interfered with under the Code. The same is the case in a number of large towns. I know, however, that there is such a strong feeling on this subject that I think it will be advisable to put words in the Code to show what is meant. I would call your lordships' attention to these words The Rule is— The Department must be satisfied that the school premises are healthy, well-lighted, warmed, drained, and ventilated, properly furnished and supplied with suitable offices, and contain sufficient accommodation for the scholars attending the school. That is large and liberal, and what is really required; and I am not sure that, after all, any extension of the terms, or any laying down of special rules is required, because very often there might be the full amount of space and yet from the mode in which the premises are constructed, they would not be suitable for the teaching of the average attendance of children. What has to be mainly looked to is the seat accommodation; and that which is most important for the children is that they have elbow room, and be enabled to go through their lessons without irksomeness or trouble of any kind. Therefore I have, in the note to the rule, inserted the word "henceforth," and the note will run— The school premises should henceforth be constructed in general conformity with the rules for planning and fitting up public elementary schools issued by the Department. And— The existing schools sanctioned by the Department, while they have the seat accommodation for the average attendance of children so sanctioned, will not be interfered with. I am very much obliged to the right rev. Prelates and noble Lords who have expressed themselves so well satisfied as to my intentions; but it occurs to me that there may be respect for one's moral intentions, and at the same time a not very high estimation of one's intelligence; and it really seems to me that the supposition that I, an advocate of voluntary schools, should have set up a scheme the effect of which would be to destroy voluntary schools, does not reflect very much upon the intelligence which has been concerned in framing it. It is said that my successors may put an unfavourable interpretation upon the Code. My Lords, if my successor disagrees with the Code, he will alter, not strain it, and do openly what he thinks right, not by perverting the meaning put on the Code by the Department. Now, what did the Royal Commission want? The Royal Commission, as far as I can make out—taking the whole thing together—wanted to improve the efficiency of the schools, and they wanted also to bring about economy in the expendi- ture. Now, that has been entirely left out of consideration by my noble Friend who has spoken, and by the right rev. Prelate. And when I am told that the recommendations of the Commission should be taken as a whole, let me make this observation. The majority of the Commission recommend that voluntary schools should be supported by the rates; but as soon as the sittings of the Commission were finished, and the Commissioners began to get into conflict with one another, they threw that over. [The Earl HARROWBY: No.] I do not say my noble Friend did, but these were, undoubtedly, the views expressed by various bodies of importance connected with denominational schools since the Report was issued; and a great number of persons, are persuaded that, if you once admit support by the rates, it would mean destruction to voluntary schools. Let me also say, with respect to voluntary schools, what the Royal Commission did. The Royal Commission saw the importance of voluntary schools in enlisting enthusiasm, vigour, and religious feeling. That has been the force and meaning of the voluntary schools, and therefore they called upon their supporters to show by their subscriptions that they meant to support voluntary education. And, deeply concerned as we all are for the interests of voluntary schools, they cannot help the observation that they cannot expect that everything should be done for them and nothing by themselves. The Report says— It is just, that the supporters of voluntary schools should retain the management on the condition of bearing some substantial share of the cost in subscriptions. It was no doubt with a view to assist the voluntary schools that a fixed grant of 10s. was recommended. My right rev. Friend the Bishop of London made some very curious remarks about the way in which the Inspectors and the Department might play fast and loose with the monetary position of these schools. Yet it should be remembered that my right rev. Friend himself signed this Report, in which the 10s. grant was recommended. Just let me read what the recommendation was:— We cannot recommend so substantial an addition to the fixed grant without at the same time laying stress on the necessity of increased facilities for the removal of incompetent teachers. Where such incompetence has been proved, and after due notice has been given, it should be in the power of the Department to declare the school in default, and thereupon,— not to do what my right rev. Friend says, diminish, but "to suspend the payment to it of any grant." Great alarm is supposed to exist on the ground that if you allow these grants of 12s., 14s., and 15s. 6d. there is first of all great risk that the Department with a view to saving money, will practically cheat the best schools and give the smallest grants they can. Let us see what the Department is likely to do under the circumstances. They have provided by this Code that the Inspectors' Report shall be public. The Inspector himself will have to give the reasons for which he invites censure, or recommends a particular grant; and he will have to give full accounts of the schools he has examined. My noble Friend (Lord Harrowby) says he sees nothing about the moral training being reported on by the Inspector. There is, however, in the Code a general direction, under 9,100, which is much in conformity with the recommendation of the Royal Commission at p. 221, who-desire that the Inspector should report on (1) Moral Training; (2) Cleanliness of school and scholars; (3) Quietness; (4) Attention; (5) Obedience; (6) Accuracy; (7) General intelligence; (8) Classification; (9) Instruction of Pupil Teachers. The general conditions of this kind under the new Code become real objects of inspection and reward. I have been asked as to day-training colleges. These day-training colleges will be on the same footing as the residential training colleges—that is to say, those who wish for them will have to go to the expense of getting them, and there will be just the same control over them by the Department, and there will be just the same examination by the Inspector as there is in the residential colleges. Therefore you have the same guarantees for morality and for proper teaching that you have in the residential colleges. I am rather surprised that so highly moral a country as Scotland, which has got day training colleges should be supposed to have institutions in which there is no guarantee for the moral training. At all events, I may say, with regard to these day training colleges that we have adopted that which has the unanimous recommendation of the Royal Commission, and I do not think we have run a very great risk in doing so, inasmuch as it is only by voluntary efforts that these colleges can be brought into existence. School Boards are prohibited by Statute from founding them. My noble Friends are very much alarmed at the provisions as to staff which are contained in Article 72 of the Code. Now, how much staff have the different denominations in their voluntary schools? The Church of England has an excess of 45 per cent; the Roman Catholic, 45 per cent; the Wesleyans, 37 per cent; the British Schools, 44 per cent; and the Board Schools, 57 per cent. The Minority Report asks a larger addition than we have called for. The Majority for a "considerable "increase. Considerable is a dubious word, and for that reason was odious to the great Duke of Wellington. Now, how have we interpreted it in this new regulation which is to "ruin thousands of schools"? We add 12 per cent. My noble Friend (Lord Herries) called attention to the case of very small schools in rural districts, but there will be no sort of pressure on those schools. And no notice appears to be taken of the very excellent aid which those smaller schools will get under Clauses 101, 102, and 103 of the Code. They will all of them be able to earn at least the 17s. 6d. which they did not many of them attain before. Surely it cannot be said that we are neglecting the interests of the smaller schools when we make that provision. Then my noble Friend says, "Yes, but you take away something from the pupil teachers." It is quite true we do, partly with a view to economy, and partly because those particular grants of 40s. and £3 really never went into the pockets of the pupil teachers at all. Altogether there is about £37,760 given under that grant, but in the schools under an average attendance of 100 where the pressure really is, the whole deduction is only about £2,000, and therefore it will be seen that whereas in large schools this sum is of really no importance or advantage, we are enabled to give to the smaller schools considerable relief in order to better their condition, and if they want an increase of staff, they will be provided with the means of getting it. I am astounded that anybody, whether with regard to the matter of space or to the increase of staff. should hold so lightly the power and strength of the voluntary schools as to suppose that they will go to pieces under these small, infinitesimal touches which we give them by the Code. The Royal Commission itself made the recommendations on those two subjects which we have followed. My Lords, I do not believe that anything in the Code will damage voluntary schools; on the contrary, taking the Code as a whole, it will be found that the voluntary schools will gain considerably, and the certainty is in itself a boon. I may just remark, with regard to the alteration we have made in the grant to rural schools, that the recommendation will be found in the Report of the Royal Commission at page 271. Now I will add one or two words upon the question of economy. What is it that the Royal Commission say on this subject? They say that the outlay which is already made is too great for the results—that "the results are not commensurate with the outlay"—and they say, as I understand it, that there should be, not an increase, but a redistribution. That I think justifies the course we have adopted in taking something from the pupil teachers which is not really of service to them, and giving it to the smaller schools in order that they may be in a better position. It has been supposed that the merit grants given in Mr. Mundella's Code were decided entirely by individual passes. That is not the case. They were decided also upon the condition of the schools, and you will find instances of schools which have got a great number of passes, but which did not receive the merit grants. We have acted upon the recommendation of the Royal Commission that the grant should depend on the good character of the school as a whole, and on the quality of the acquirements of the great majority of the scholars, rather than on the exact number of children who obtain the minimum standard required. I am afraid I am taking up too much of your Lordship's time, but I must of course endeavour to show that this action which we have taken both in regard to economy and in regard to efficiency is based upon the recommendations of the Royal Commission. Nothing has been said by those who have spoken to-night of what the teachers think of this matter. I believe that so far as the teachers have indicated any opinion it has been one of approval of the Code. There was a meeting of teachers the other day, and the gentleman who presided, Mr. Wilde, went through a number of the points touched in the Code. I am afraid it will always be the case that everybody wants something more than he can get. And Mr. Wilde was not satisfied; but so far as the Code went, he thought it was a great advantage to the teachers. He approved as to space, staff, publication of accounts, variation of class subjects, English not being essential, non-endowment of certificates, examination for certificates, more money to small poor schools, and especially freedom of classification which is grateful to all the teaching body. All these the Code secures. With reference to the fear that has been expressed that schools may lose their grants on insufficient grounds, what will be the course of procedure? The final step of withdrawing the grant altogether would not be done merely on the Report of the first Inspector. The Department would, as is its wont in grave cases, send down one of its highest officers, one of the Chief Inspectors, to test the accuracy of the first Report, and I would venture to say that nobody would think of depriving a school which resisted, or appealed, or expressed any doubt about the propriety of what was done, unless there was some thoroughly fair and impartial examination into the circumstances of the case. Behind all is Parliament, which would secure justice being done. I may point out that the First Lord of the Treasury, having promised the other House an opportunity of discussing the Code, will not obtain validity until then, and it cannot come into operation before October. My noble Friend says "Do not let us have perpetual changes of the Educational Code." Suppose this Code were postponed for a year, and we have the criticisms of various people upon it up to next Session, are they to make no changes or am I to make no changes—and then would not people again say "This is a new Code, let us have a year to consider it." Reference has been made to the course pursued by Mr. Mundella with regard to his Code. But what Mr. Mundella did was this; in August or the end of the Session, he put upon the table his proposals for the Code of the following year. What has been the case now? The Report of the Royal Commission was in your Lordships' hands last year, and what we have done is to embody in the Code those recommendations which the Commission were unanimous in making. If I thought that there was any reality in the grievances that have been suggested I would not be here to advocate the Code, because I should be perfectly willing to be influenced by those who have quite as much information as I have and a great many who have given their lives to education, and therefore are in a position to know what might be the effect of these changes. But they wanted a fixed grant; they get a fixed grant. They have got, beyond that, the means of earning grants on special subjects which will bring up the amount to that which Parliament has hitherto sanctioned. I should call your Lordships attention to this fact; that these are not questions which involve only tens or hundreds of pounds; they involve thousands and almost millions. If to-morrow you added 2s. 6d. to the 17s. 6d. grant that would represent £250,000. These things sound very small in shillings, but they become very serious amounts. There is a curious point to which my attention was called by the remarks of the noble Lard who spoke for the Roman Catholics (Lord Herries). The Roman Catholics, I know, have made most admirable efforts for education; have had great struggles and great difficulties to contend with; they have had a very poor population to deal with, and they have, at great self-sacrifice, acted as volunteers—and it is only as volunteers that they have a right to their voluntary schools—and as managers they have brought about great results. Now, how much of what they spend comes out of the public funds? They have 50.6 per cent of their expenditure out of the Parliamentary grant. The Wesleyans in their voluntary schools have 48 per cent; the Church of England have 46 per cent; the Board Schools have 34.5 per cent. When you consider these things and know the difficulties which you would have to encounter in increasing grants of this description, I do not think I am wrong in calling attention to this point, so strongly put by the Commission itself. It is idle to suppose that any Department dare lay its hand on an efficient school. It would be impossible for any Minister to stand against the indignation of the country if he took any such step as that hinted at by the right rev. Prelate. Now, let me say one word with respect to the Department over which I have the honour to preside. There seems to be a suspicion that in the Education Department there is among permanent officials an intention to defeat the great measure which Mr. Forster carried, and to exalt the Board Schools at the expense of the voluntary schools. I have had experience of Civil Servants in many Departments and of their invaluable aid, and I know that such suspicions are unfounded. Is it a fact that the voluntary schools have been going down? On the contrary, they have been increasing, and in the course of a few years volunteers have spent £6,000,000 on additional schools, and yet the supporters of the system are so timid and apprehensive that they seem to think that if the space is enlarged or if the staff is increased by 12 per cent the voluntary schools of England will be destroyed. The Commissioners felt that there was a necessity behind the voluntary schools of the voluntary exercise of local effort. I cannot conceal from myself that there are cases in England which, if looked into, may do more harm than good to the system of voluntary schools. There are some voluntary schools with regard to which there are practically no voluntary subscriptions, and which are supported by the pence of the children, aided in some instances by small endowments. The voluntary efforts have gone down since the time when the 17s. 6d. was given. Therefore, if we lavish funds without, by means of hard and fast lines, or in some way or other securing efficiency, our money will go to the relief of the pockets of the contributors and not to the efficiency of the schools. With respect to the pupil teachers I do not see that there is any obstacle thrown in the way of central instruction to them, and I believe that that is cheaper than the instruction they would receive in separate schools. Many suggestions have been made concerning evening or continuation schools, but they must be dealt with by legislation, and cannot he dealt with in all their bearings hand-over-hand by anybody in the position which I occupy at present. The great advantage of the voluntary school system to my mind, is that it enlists the religious enthusiasm of the community. It enlists the services of teachers who go to work with a hearty desire to bring about a religious and moral training to those who are subjected to it. I myself have the strongest feeling in favour of definite religious teaching, as against what I might call vague and undefined religion. Therefore as far as I am personally concerned, I have a great admiration for the efforts made up to 1870 by volunteers. By religious volunteers the system of education in England was founded, and that system has held its own, and more than its own since 1870. I would do nothing to interfere with its fair and just progress, but it should be borne in mind that I am an Administrator, that I act under Acts of Parliament, and that I have to do justice to the Board schools as well as to the voluntary schools. With a clear conscience I can say that in dealing with the Measure now before your Lordships, for their consideration, I have neither been influenced by personal feeling of liking on the one side, or dislike on the other, but that I have endeavoured to hold the balance even between the two great school systems which at present prevail in this country.


My Lords, the noble Viscount told us in part of his speech that this is not a question of hundreds or thousands, but of millions of pounds. My Lords, there is a great deal more than hundreds or thousands, or millions of pounds at stake—there is at stake the future education of this country, and all the religious and moral interests and considerations that are bound up with it. I decline to discuss the matter in that way, or to treat a question of high policy as a mere question of finance. I say you ought not to limit yourselves to considerations of hundreds or thousands of pounds when you are dealing with interests so important as those involved in the education of this country, though the State ought, of course, to take guarantees that every penny of the money shall be wisely expended. I do not say that Her Majesty's Ministers ought to have embodied all the recommendations of the majority of the Commission in a Bill under existing Parliamentary difficulties, but I do say that if they desire to take to themselves credit for anything done by means of their Code, a Bill would have been some earnest of their desire to consider the moral difficulties of giving effect to it, and we might have treated their policy as a consistent whole. My Lords, the point to which I desire to call your Lordships' attention is a very simple one. The noble Lord, in reply to the appeal from my noble Friend who sits behind me, in reference to the recommendations of the majority of the Commission, that questions of moral training and discipline and matters of that sort ought to be attended to, thought he gave a satisfactory answer by reading out certain paragraphs which, as it happens, had appeared in the Code for a considerable number of years. My Lords, those words attracted my attention, and during the whole progress of the Commission. I asked almost every witness about them. The almost unanimous opinion of every one of them, whether school-masters or school-managers, or authorities of the Department, was that if those provisions were dropped out of the Code no difference would be felt, for those provisions were absolutely useless and not worth the paper they were written upon. If they are leaning on those provisions, I say they are trusting to a broken reed; therefore I decline to accept the position of the noble Viscount when he relies upon those words, which have been made ridiculous by their non-application. My Lords, the Inspectors not having been called upon to report upon these matters passed them over; they did not appear to know of the existence of those words, and no Inspector attached the slightest value to them whatever. For these reasons the Education Commission recommended that a formal Report should be made, and this at least is a matter of administration and not of legislation. Therefore I say it is idle to try to induce your Lordships to believe that the retention of those paragraphs in the Code which the noble Viscount referred to, is any adequate security or guarantee for the teaching of moral training and religious discipline in the schools. My Lords, I think it is rather strange that the noble Viscount in expressing an optimistic view of the effect of this Code, has been unable to produce any educational authority whatever in defence of the Code. It is very easy to draw rosy pictures of the future, but all those who are practically conversant with the work of education, whether schoolmasters or voluntary school managers, look upon these proposals with dismay; even managers under School Boards look upon them with no approach to enthusiasm. My Lords, I do not know that anybody has found occasion to express satisfaction on behalf of those provisions in the Code. So far as I understand the noble Lord, it does nothing for the voluntary schools in the poor urban districts, which have been carried on under circumstances of very great difficulty and very great strain, and which deserve attention. When we know that the voluntary system has done so much within the last few years, your Lordships will not, I think, impose still further burdens upon the financial managers of those voluntary schools. The opinion of the majority of Her Majesty's Commissioners was in favour of the improvement of education, coupled with the adoption of adequate means to carry out that improvement of education. The Code imposes new burdens on education; it enforces requirements greater than are necessary for meeting the contingency, but it does not provide adequate resources to meet the further demands made on the managers of these schools. I do not want, my Lords, to make any comparison between voluntary schools and Board Schools, but I think that if better argument can be adduced than the argument on behalf of the moral and religious training which is to be given under this system which I have shown to be wholly illusory and not of the slightest value I, for one, must decline to believe in the predictions which have been made on such inadequate materials. A further examination of the provisions of this Code will show that it is fraught with the most serious consequences to this country. The noble Viscount, as far as I understand, notwithstanding his claim to have considered with the utmost care the interests of voluntary schools in framing his Code, admits that his recommendations regarding space require alteration of a more or less material character. My Lords, I do not quite understand where we are at this moment or how the question stands now. Is the Code to be withdrawn and another embodying the alterations substituted? Does he intend to propose it with the words standing as part of the original Code, or is it to be amended upon the new documents which now lie upon your Lordship's Table? I really do not know how the question stands before us now. Are we to have further time for the consideration of a new document? If a new Code is introduced we shall have all the time allowed by Parliament. If a merely verbal change is to be made in the Code laid on the Table, the position is a different one, and we should have only a few days. My Lords, I earnestly hope that Her Majesty's Government will, notwithstanding the speech of the noble Lord, attend to the representations which have been made to him from all parts of the kingdom in behalf of delay. If this measure is a good one, he will have no difficulty; if on the other hand it is found to be necessary to modify it, I think your Lordships will consider that those who have studied the matter have a full right to insist upon the demands which have been made being listened to.


My Lords, I do not intend to enlarge upon this very important subject which has given rise to the debate to which we have listened; but I should like to allude to one matter to which the noble Lord who has just sat down has referred, and that is what the intention is with regard to this Code. I think it has been stated by the Lord President of the Council that it is not desirable to change the Code. I quite endorse the statement that it is necessary to be most careful that the Code should not be too often changed, but at the same time it is necessary, as the country is prepared for it and requires, it that the standard of education should be raised. I think after the Report of the Royal Commission it is necessary that a standard of higher education should be adopted and introduced into the Code, and I therefore entirely approve of a change in the Code with that object. But as that change can only be made after the very fullest consideration, it is necessary that discussion should take place on the subject. The discussion of this evening has been very useful, and the criticisms of the noble Lords who are authorities on this subject will be very valuable. I am glad, therefore, to hear that the noble Viscount intends to give more time for the consideration of the new Code. If I understand rightly the discussion which has taken place, the new Code will come into effect some time in the autumn. The subject requires every consideration, and I should welcome other changes in the Code besides that which has been foreshadowed, the changes intended to carry out some of the other important recommendations of the Royal Commissioners. My Lords, I should like to make a further reference to this subject. Allusion has been made to the method in which the Code which so appropriately is connected with the name of Mr. Mundella, who was Vice-President when I filled the post now held by the noble Viscount, was carried out. The noble Viscount correctly stated how the alterations then made were brought into operation. I do not desire him now to follow exactly that course, for that will put off too long improvements in education which I think this new Code will effect. But, My Lords, I should like to know whether it would not be possible for the new Code amended after discussion as it probably may be, and the old Code to run together for a time. If that were possible it would be a much better mode of dealing with the question. It would displace illusions, and it would be preferable to withdrawing the new Code altogether. I merely throw out that suggestion, and I hope the noble Viscount will consider what I press upon him, and that he will not postpone altogether for a year the consideration of a new Code embodying improvements founded in great part on the recommendations of the Royal Commission.