HL Deb 31 May 1889 vol 336 cc1518-43

Order of the day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, the Bill, which is now before the House, and to which I beg to ask your Lordships to give a Second Reading is, as your Lordships are all aware, founded upon the Report of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the general condition of reformatory and industrial schools. The Bill is essentially a Bill of consolidation, dealing with an enormous mass of details. No doubt these details can be better discussed on the Committee stage, but it is my duty to point out to the House certain changes of the law which the Bill proposes. The Bill is divided into three parts. I will dispose of the third part immediately by merely saying that it is a list of Acts which are amended by the Bill. The first part deals with certified industrial schools, and gives power to the County Councils or the Councils of county boroughs to institute and maintain those institutions wherever they deem them necessary. Contributory powers are also given to the same bodies. The second part of the Bill deals with truant schools and day industrial schools. For these schools the Bill makes the School Board the contributory authority, and they are given the power to institute and maintain such schools. Power is also given for the detention of children in the public elementary schools during the day, in order to insure their attendance during the whole of the school hours. The total number of schools affected by the Bill is as follows:—By the first part—in England 108 and in Scotland 32, or 140 in all, of which 124 has been established by voluntary agency; by the second part—ten truant schools in England, and none in Scotland (all the truant schools being in England) and 15 day industrial schools in England and two in Scotland. The first matter of importance which I have to point out in the Bill is in Clause 10. Clause 10 enacts that where a child is found to be habitually begging or receiving alms, or under improper guardianship, or wandering without any home or settled place of abode, or frequenting the company of any reputed thief or thieves, or of any common or reputed prostitute or prostitutes, or lodging or residing in a house frequented by any prostitute or prostitutes for the purpose of prostitution, or where a child not having been previously convicted of felony is charged before a Court of Summary Jurisdiction with an offence punishable by imprisonment, or a less punishment, if the Court is satisfied of either of these circumstances, and that the child is less than 14 years of age, it may order the child to be sent to a certified industrial school, or, if the child is less than 10 years of age and is not charged with felony, may order that he be placed in charge of a Boarding-out Committee as provided by the Act. Now, this power of handing over the child to a Boarding-out Committee is, for us, a new departure. I have every reason to believe that in this matter England has something to learn from her Colonies. The experiment of boarding-out has been tried to a very great extent in Australia, and with such signal success that the system of boarding-out is rapidly taking the place of industrial schools. I must say that I do not think for a moment that this will be the case in England. It appears to me that there is quite sufficient room both for industrial schools to do the excellent work they are doing, and for the Boarding-out Committees to do their excellent work. But I would point out to the House what children these are who are to be sent to Boarding-out Committees. They are only little children, under 10 years of age, many of them children who have been brought up under no guardianship at all, or—what is worse—under bad guardianship; children of tender age, who require all the comfort and supervision which can only be got in a home. It is for such children as these that this clause is introduced, and I believe that if the Bill is passed into law the system will meet here with the success which it has met with in our Colonies. The next point of importance is this: Clause 12 provides that where a child is charged before a Court of Summary Jurisdiction with an offence for which he may under the Act be detained in a certified industrial school, the Court may instead order the child, if a male, to be whipped; adjourn the case on the parent undertaking to punish the child; fine the parent any sum not exceeding£1; order the parent to give compensation not exceeding £5 for injuries inflicted; or order the parent to give security for the child's good behaviour. The manner in which the whipping is to be administered and the number of strokes to be ordered are carefully dealt with in another part of the Bill. I may say that all these provisions are strictly in accordance with the recommendations of the Royal Commission. In Clause 19 there is a provision of some importance. It provides that where a child is ordered to be detained in a certified industrial school, other than a truant school, the order shall be for his detention therein until he attains the age of eighteen years; but it is provided that when the child has attained the age of sixteen years he shall be discharged from the school either absolutely or conditionally. Where a child has been conditionally discharged from a certified industrial school and it is found that he is running into evil courses, or likely to lapse into crime, it is provided that the Secretary of State may revoke the order of discharge and order the child to return to the school, and there remain until he attains the age of eighteen years, or for any less period specified in the order, and if the child disobeys the order, he may be dealt with as if he had escaped from the school. The question of inspection has been most carefully considered. It was proposed at one time that there should be a dual inspection—partly under the Home Office and partly under the Education Department. That proposal raised such vast objections on the part of managers of industrial schools that it was abandoned altogether. On this point I can only repeat what I stated in introducing to your Lordships the companion measure—the Reformatories Bill—namely, that if in the course of the discussion of the Bill any suggestion can be made by which the inspection of the Home Office should not be interfered with or weakened in any way, and at the same time some other inspection should be introduced which is not disagreeable to the managers of industrial schools, the Government will be happy to give that proposal every consideration. Another important provision which I may mention in passing is, that the parents are to be primarily responsible for the cost of maintenance of their children in industrial schools. With regard to the principle of the Bill, this is, as I have said, entirely one of consolidation. There will be a number of questions of more or less important details, such as the age of the children, the exact sum to be contributed by the different contributory authorities, and so forth, which will crop up in Committee, and will, no doubt, have the best consideration of your Lordships at that stage, but at the present time I do not know that there is anything further that I need draw attention to that can be properly discussed on the Second Reading. I am perfectly aware that the question which I have introduced is a dry one. I can only say that I have done my best in as few words as possible to lay before the House the chief provisions of the Bill, and I have to thank your Lordships for the patience with which you have listened to me.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Earl Brownlow.)


My Lords, although the notice which I have put upon the Paper apparently challenges the principle of this Bill, I quite admit that the subject is of the greatest possible interest to everybody; and, if there is a fault in the principle of the Bill, now is the time, when these Acts are being consolidated, for your Lordships to consider it. What I ask your Lordships to do is to defer the Second Reading until the Bill has been so far corrected that it does not mix up in one common treatment merely destitute and criminal children. The Bill proposes to consolidate and amend the Industrial School Acts, pari passu with another Bill for reformatory schools. It proposes to maintain industrial schools for a distinct purpose and use, while checking their abuse. The abuse is, as everybody agrees who has looked into the subject, that many children are sent to these schools who ought not to be sent. I will refer to only one clause of the Report of the Royal Commission of which I had the honour to be a member, and which was presided over most ably for two or three years by the noble Lord opposite, Lord Aberdare. The Report says— "There is ample testimony to the fact that the power of committing children to industrial schools has been largely abused, often from benevolent motives, sometimes because of the facilities afforded by the law to parents to get rid of the burden of their children's support and education by throwing it upon the industrial school system. That is a very serious thing. After spending a whole year in London taking evidence, the Commissioners visited industrial schools in all parts of the kingdom. We found that throughout all Scotland the pauper schools had been emptied into the industrial school, so that neither in Edinburgh, or Glasgow, or Aberdeen, were there any pauper schools. Our extremely clever fellow countrymen, by emptying them into the industrial schools, got the charge thrown on the Treasury instead of on the local rates. Then in Ireland, where, if any advantage can be taken of an Act it is sure to be taken, we found, on looking round the industrial schools of Dublin, a very considerable proportion of the children did not come at all under the description of the Act. We sent to the Chief Magistrate of Dublin and pointed out that many of the children were not of the class described in the Act, and he said that they ought to be, but "he had never seen the Act." Now, if an Act is capable of such wholesale abuse, I think it is about time for us to look into it and correct it. The correction proposed by this Bill is to restrict the admission of children into schools of this kind, and the mode in which it proposes to do that is by drawing a line between what are called police cases and purely educational cases. My Amendment goes further, and suggests that all police cases should be removed from industrial schools altogether, and placed in some modified form of reformatories, which would, perhaps, more properly be done under the Reformatories Bill. I can give your Lordships, in a very few words, a sketch of the legislation upon this matter. The first Act was a Scotch Act only—the Scotch Industrial Schools Act of 1854—which provided these schools distinctly for "vagrant children" not convicted of any offence, who were to be put into schools established by Parochial Boards or by voluntary associations. The Act which followed in 1861 made a very material addition. It introduced children, not vagrant or destitute, but who had been charged with an offence before a Magistrate, although not convicted. The English Industrial Schools Act followed on exactly the same lines as the Scotch Act; and in 1866 came the Consolidating Act which is now in force. Under it the industrial schools are of a sort of hybrid description, partly for children who have been charged with offences but not convicted, and partly for destitute and neglected outcast children. In fact, to-day the industrial school is something between a mild reformatory and a refuge. Then the Elementary Education Act of 1870 introduced a totally new class of children into these schools, That Act established School Boards, and enabled them to maintain and even to set up industrial schools to which they could send children for non-attendance in the elementary schools. The Education Act of 1876 carried this still further, largely mutiplying the number of children sent, and establish- ing day industrial schools, extending practically the same system in another direction. That being the state of the law, this Bill proposes to check this large influx of children into these schools by severing the School Boards altogether from industrial schools, and placing all non-attendance cases in separate establishments called truant schools. This, then, is the principle of the Bill to which we are now asked to give a Second Reading—to separate purely educational cases from police cases. But, my Lords, the Bill does not do what it pretends to do. It continues to mix up the two classes. The whole point of my Amendment is to do away with the common treatment of children charged with offences and merely destitute children. If I understand the noble Earl rightly he really wishes the industrial school to be a sort of mild reformatory in which there shall be children charged with offences and sent by Magistrates, and also children who are simply destitute and who have been described as "probable criminals." I say that that phrase is altogether unknown to our English Law. There are criminals, and there are those who, however vicious, however likely to become criminals, are not criminals; but there is no state of "probable criminality" under our law. I might venture to say that there are some Members of this House who, if they had been brought up in the same way as these children, would have been not probable, but actual criminals. Of this I am certain—that our gaols would very soon be overflowing if to the criminals in them we added the "probable criminals" throughout the whole country. Now, to show the folly and wickedness of mixing up the criminal with the non-criminal cases, let me direct your Lordships' attention to one or two of the provisions of this Bill. Power is to be given to any Court of Summary Jurisdiction to order a male child to be whipped. Well, your Lordships know my opinion about flogging generally, but whoever heard of such a monstrous proceeding as whipping destitute children? The State positively in this Bill comes forward in loco parentis to undertake the guardianship of children left wholly without guardians, and it offers them education birch in hand, like the old caricatures of the schoolmaster abroad. Besides, consider the stigma that is cast upon these children whom you take up from the streets. Why should they be stigmatized as quasi-criminals or probable criminals, and sent to the same establishment and submitted to the same control and discipline as those actually charged with offences? It is, I say, most cruel and harsh, and it has, moreover, this mischief about it, that it actually impedes their getting the employment which their training in these schools is intended to fit them for. The proposition which I submit to your Lordships, and very earnestly press upon you to endorse, is that there should be absolutely distinct treatment of children who are criminal and those who are merely destitute and outcast. In support of that view, I can quote the Report of the Royal Commission, and the opinion of one who is recognized by all who take any interest in those institutions to speak with authority. The Report of the Commission suggests that Magistrates shall be authorized to hand over to the Guardians those children who really belong to the pauper class instead of sending them to reformatories. The principal memorandum upon which that recommendation is based quotes Mr. Sydney Turner as giving exactly that advice. There I have two very high authorities for the proposition which I ask your Lordships to affirm. I may observe that my Proposition, though very materially correcting the principle of the Bill, would involve only very slight verbal alterations in the Bill. The principal alteration would be to substitute the Local Government Board for the Secretary of State. Already, I notice, my noble Friend has done away with the phraseology of the Reformatory Acts. Instead of the phrase "committing children to school," we have "sending them to school"; "detention," which strikes one as a prison phrase, is omitted. But, above all, the most material Amendment which the Bill makes in the law is that on which my noble Friend very justly laid stress—namely, the power given to Magistrates to hand these children over to Boarding-out Committees. I thank the noble Lord for having introduced that most valuable Amendment. And, no doubt, the Act works itself out in the direction of Local Government rather than in the direction of police But I wish to see all the provisions affecting children charged with offences taken out of this Bill and put into the Reformatories Bill. That is, so far as mere phraseology goes, a very slight alteration, which can easily be effected in Committee. The proposition for which I am arguing is really no new one; it really embodies the recommendation of the Royal Commission that there should be senior and junior reformatories—one for children who had been convicted more than once, and also for adults, and the other for that class of children which is in the Bill as it now stands so jumbled up with merely destitute children. Let me say that there will be no new establishment required, for fortunately these institutions have been so successful that at this moment there are a great number of reformatories which are not full, and it has actually been proposed that some of them should be done away with. Under the Bill as I propose it should be altered, the Magistrates could commit destitute children picked up in the streets to schools where they could be fitted for service or emigration, or could send them to the Boarding-out Committees. I have heard it objected to my proposal that it would throw extra charges on the rates. I propose that the rates should be charged as they are now mainly on the Treasury, for this reason: These children are not ordinary paupers; they are not connected with thieves; they are waifs and strays thrown upon the charge of the State, and in fairness they should be educated at the expense of the National Treasury. The incidence of cost, then, would be the same, the private management would be the same, the inspection would be the same, and a very great advantage would be gained by securing a better class of education for these children, and there would be relief of the present confusion and multiplication of these institutions. My Lords, I beg to move the Amendment which stands in my name.

Amendment moved, To leave out all the words after 'that' and insert this House is unwilling to consent to the Second Reading of this Bill unless so far corrected in principle that schools to be provided by it for homeless children thrown on the streets be classed among schools for the poor under the Local Government Board, and not among schools under the Home Office for children convicted of crime, though in other respects to be specially provided and maintained as proposed in the Bill.'"—(The Lord Norton.)


My Lords, I do not wish to follow my noble Relative into all the arguments that he has advanced. I think the House generally will congratulate the noble Earl on the very valuable Bill which he has introduced to the House, especially that portion of it which alludes to the power to send children under ten to Boarding-out Committees. I would like, however, to point out to your Lordships two clauses in this Bill, which I must say I hope will be amended in Committee. The first I wish to allude to is a provision in Clause 12, Sub-section (B), which empowers the Court "to adjourn the case on the parent undertaking to punish the child to the satisfaction of the Court." Now, we know who are generally the parents or guardians of these children. In nineteen cases out of twenty they are drunken and reckless, and it would be most undesirable to place in the hands of such people the power to punish their children. Moreover, who is to be the judge of the punishment? I should be very sorry to see this provision retained in the Bill. The other clause which I object to very much, and which I hope will be amended, is Clause 23, which provides that if a child above twelve years of age refuses or wilfully neglects to conform to the rules of the school he shall be liable to be imprisoned with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding three months. Is there one of your Lordships who remembers his own career at school who would not hesitate very much indeed to say that a boy should be imprisoned for "not conforming to the rules of the school?" I call it very harsh, indeed, to give that power to Magistrates, and I trust that clause may also be amended. I have myself given notice to leave out all the words which refer to imprisonment, merely leaving power to the Court before whom the child is brought to order him to be whipped or to send him to a certified reformatory school. I have taken very great interest, indeed, during the last thirty or thirty-five years both in Reformatory and Industrial Schools, and I congratulate the noble Earl (Earl Brownlow) very much on the Bill he has introduced, and I trust that it may pass into law, with Amendments, among others, of the particular passages to which I have called attention.


My Lords, I join, and I am sure your Lordships, generally, will join with my noble Friend who last spoke in congratulating the noble Earl on the very valuable measure he has introduced to us, but there are one or two observations I would like to make upon it. I think that this is a better Bill than that of last year, although, as regards certain portions, I would have preferred the Bill of last year to this. I cannot quite assent to the proposition of the noble Earl that the Bill is simply an embodiment of the recommendations of the Royal Commission. What did the Royal Commission say on this subject? There was a belief, which has turned out to be a well-grounded belief, that a vast number of children are admitted to the industrial schools who ought not to be there, children who have already embarked on a criminal career, instead of those who are simply found destitute and without guardians. One object of this Bill is to take additional precautions for securing that the schools shall only be used for the class for which they are intended. In Scotland I remember one great objection was that any single Magistrate sitting in his back parlour could commit a child to an industrial school. I presume that the definition of the word "Court" in this Bill would prevent such procedure as that. Another great improvement effected by the Bill is that it enables representatives of County Councils and other authorities, who have to contribute towards the maintenance of the schools, to be present when any child is to be committed to one of the schools, and to state the objections, if any there be, to the particular child being so committed. This will go a great way to prevent the use of these schools by children for whom they are not intended. There is one most important provision introduced in this Bill for the first time, and that is the system of boarding-out for children under the age of ten years. I think that is a most admirable provision, and one which will meet many of the harsh cases to which the noble Lord (Lord Norton) referred in moving his Amendment. For my own part I attach the greatest value to this provision. In Scotland the boarding-out system has extended very widely, and with most beneficial effect. With reference to the powers given to School Boards to secure the committal of children to these schools, I think the provisions of very great advantage. There is no body of men who have a greater knowledge of the lower classes of this country than the School Board officers, and I believe that the children whose admission they will procure will be just the children for whom the schools were intended. It may be objected, and with some show of reason, that School Boards have to deal with education, whereas industrial schools are meant to be part of the police system of the country. That is true, but as a matter of practice there can be no doubt that the services of the School Board officers in finding out and sending into industrial schools not merely truants, but thoroughly vicious and vagrant children has been of inestimable value, and I should be very sorry, indeed, to see them altogether deprived of such powers. My noble Friend (Lord Norton) has said that the principle of this Bill is altogether bad, and that it involves the bringing up together in one establishment of children who belong to the criminal class and children who are merely destitute and homeless. What my noble Friend proposes is that there should be two descriptions of reformatories—a reformatory for junior offenders and a reformatory for elder ones, and he quotes the authority of the Committee over which I had the honour to preside as supporting him in that. Now, it is quite true that in Ireland, where there are so many charitable institutions and organizations for dealing with crime and criminal children, we discovered one school which dealt exclusively with these young criminal offenders, but that was an extreme case. It is said that it is harsh and cruel to mix together children of decidedly criminal character and children who are simply waifs and strays, who have not embarked on a criminal career. I do not think myself that there is much difference between such children. The children of the gutter are, after all, hardly distinguishable from those who are brought up for the first time charged with an offence and are sent to industrial schools. My noble Friend all through has been treating the admission of children into industrial schools as if it was a hardship to the children themselves. Against that supposition we have the fact that there is no difficulty in placing the children out at service on leaving the schools. A number of the boys receive special physical training and become members of the Naval and Military Forces. I do not believe that the children suffer from the fact that they have been educated in industrial schools. A "Reformatory" school may perhaps be said to imply some connection with guilt, but there is nothing in the name "Industrial" school which involves any sort of shame. Then there is another omission in the Bill which I will notice. When I was a Member of the other House, I introduced a Bill called the Prevention of Juvenile Crimes Bill, and it contained a clause which enabled children of a woman who had been more than once convicted, and who left her children under 14 years of age without any proper guardianship, to be committed to industrial schools. I cannot very well conceive any class of children who are more properly inmates of industrial schools, and I should have thought the present Bill might have contained a similar clause. When the Bill goes into Committee, these and other points can be dealt with, and I trust that the suggestions which may be made for the improvement of the Bill will have the favourable consideration of Her Majesty's Government. In the meantime, I believe the object of the appointment of the Royal Commission— which comprised many men of eminence, including some Members of the present Government—has been achieved, and its main recommendations will be carried into effect by this measure. The Bill will, I suppose, be referred to one of the Standing Committees, and I have no doubt that in the form in which it will ultimately pass into law, it will prove to be a great national advantage.


I think that the noble Lord who last spoke is rather in error as to the ease with which children on leaving industrial schools can get employment. Having had a good deal of experience in the management of industrial schools in Ireland, I can confidently assert that what the noble Lord said is not quite the case as far as that part of the kingdom is concerned. He has asserted that the public, as a general rule, do not consider that there is any shame attached to children who have been brought up in industrial schools. Now, I am afraid that the public do, as a matter of fact, so consider. They ought not to, and that is why I am anxious that Her Majesty's Government should not use their giant strength to crush any suggested alteration in the Bill. The Government will not permit children to go into Her Majesty's Navy from industrial schools. In the case of our schools in Ireland, we have attempted to get our children into the Navy, but the Government have declined to take them. It is said that there is difficulty in dealing with the junior class of reformatory cases; but this Bill has, as has the Reformatory Bill which is now before one of the Grand Committee's, clauses under which those cases can be dealt with summarily. I think your Lordships will agree that the Bill makes a great mistake in mixing up two classes of children—those who are simply brought before Magistrates from causes over which they have no control, such as destitution and poverty, and those who are charged with some criminal act. I perfectly agree with the noble Lord opposite, that it is iniquitous to whip a child because he is habitually begging, or under improper guardianship, or wandering about without any home, or frequenting the company of reputed thieves or prostitutes. All those cases, especially the last three, are quite beyond the control of the poor unfortunate child, and to whip that child is iniquitous. Then, I agree with the noble Lord (Lord Leigh) in his criticisms of Clause 12, Sub-section B, that it is perfectly monstrous to give back the child to the parent for the purpose of punishment. What are your Lordships doing if you pass this Bill? You are saying that when a child is under "improper guardianship" (these are the words) he may be brought before a Magistrate, and the Magistrate may give up the child to his improper guardian to be beaten perhaps within an inch of his life. It does not seem to me that it is common sense or justice to enact that a poor unfortunate child should be punished by an improper guardian, or even that he should be whipped because he happens to be without a home, or happens to be found in the house of a reputed thief or prostitute. Suppose a child whose father is in prison is sent to the house of some prostitute, how is he to know the character of the woman? I cannot think that Her Majesty's Government will pass such a Bill as this without more consideration than has yet apparently been given to it. I hope also that the remark which has fallen from the noble Lord behind me (Lord Aberdare) in regard to the omission from this Bill of any clause dealing with children of parents who are in prison may be well considered, and that some clause will be added; because I cannot help thinking that those industrial schools which are at this moment in existence for the purpose of rescuing the children of those who are in prison or convicted of crime, ought to be assisted. The noble Lord (Lord Aberdare) has stated that in Dublin a good many cases get into the industrial schools which ought not to have been sent there. I have no doubt whatever that the accusation is correct; but it is not the case in regard to all schools, for I know that, so far as regards the schools with which I have been connected, no cases have been sent there which ought not to have been. I think there can be no doubt that in Ireland we have certainly improved upon what has been done in England. We have not had sent to our industrial schools any children who have been convicted of crime; we have kept a complete distinction between the two, and we feel all the more hurt because in England you choose to mix up industrial and reformatory cases, that therefore our children who are not criminals should be branded as criminals because in this country there is a confusion of ideas. It has been stated that we ought not to call upon the ratepayers to support the very poor children. It is, however, singular, that the noble Lord who advanced that argument supported these very clauses by which we are called upon to support those who are habitually begging or receiving alms. Therefore I think that argument entirely falls to the ground.


My Lords although I do not happen to know anything about industrial schools it Ireland, I do know something of then in this country, and in answer to my noble Friend, Lord Meath, I may say that, as far as my experience goes, there is no shame attaching to the boys educated in these schools. I speak more especially as Chairman of the Kent County Industrial School at Ashford. We have obtained admission for some boys into the Royal Navy without difficulty, and also into the Army, as bandsmen. The discipline at that school is such as to give to boys who have had the misfortune to lose one or both parents the opportunity of starting well in life and becoming useful citizens. I entirely disagree with the arguments which have been put before us by the noble Lord, Lord Norton. He seems to think that this Bill applies to reformatories. It has little to do with reformatories; it only applies to industrial schools. Moreover, it is a consolidating Bill. Half the clauses it contains have long been the law of the land. In fact, the clause which met with such strong opposition from my noble Friend, Lord Leigh, that which relates to the punishment by imprisonment of boys who destroy the property of the school or who run away from school, simply embodies what has long been the law. As regards whipping, that is a different matter, It is really put as an alternative, at the discretion of the Magistrate, to sending the boy to an industrial school. Where a child is brought up for stealing apples, or for some minor offence of that description, the Magistrate is empowered, instead of sending him to prison or committing him to an industrial school, to order him to be whipped. My Lords, I regard the measure now before the House as a most useful one, and, from the support it has received from the noble Lord who was Chairman of the Royal Commission on Industrial Schools, I think we may trust that the Bill will not only obtain acceptance here but also in another place.


I would like to make an observation with regard to the supposed difficulty in obtaining the admission into the Navy of boys educated in industrial schools. I am connected with an industrial training ship, which is on the same lines as an industrial school, and there are regulations by which the transference of the boys from the ship to the Royal Navy is facilitated. In fact, a grant of £25 is given for each boy who is prepared and fitted to go into the Royal Navy. We also send many boys as bandsmen into the Army. In the cases where difficulties have been experienced, as referred to by the noble Lord the Earl of Meath, I should think the boys have been deficient in size or in age, or not properly qualified for the naval service.


In the few remarks I have to make I propose, my Lords, to address myself to the Amendment which has been moved by Lord Norton. Those of your Lordships who have had the advantage not only of hearing Lord Norton's speech, but of reading the very able paper which has been generally circulated, will have no difficulty in agreeing, without exception, to the principles he proposes as the basis of the treatment of the children who are the subjects of this Bill. I am sure no one can address your Lordships with greater authority on this matter than the noble Lord. As I had the honour of serving under him in the Department of the Education Committee some thirty years ago, I speak from my own knowledge when I say that it is to the noble Lord that a very great part of the immense improvement which has taken place in the treatment of unfortunate children is due. I venture, however, to think that in his Amendment he has somewhat confused two questions which are different, the one as to the character which industrial schools should bear, and the other as to the authority which should admit children into them. The authority at present which grants the license is the Secretary of State. But that was not always so, as would appear from the speech of the noble Lord and other speeches which we have heard this evening. Originally it was the Committee of Council on Education which granted the licenses, and it was only in view of the abuses which arose under that system that a change was made. The noble Lord was for many years a very strong advocate of restoring that power of licensing to the Committee of Council on Education, and I am exceedingly glad to see that in the Amendment which he has moved to this Bill he has not reverted to the earlier proposition, but merely urges the substitution of the Local Government Board for the Secretary of State as the Licensing Authority. I think your Lordships will all admit that a distinction must he made between the various classes of children with whose education the State concerns itself. There are the children of the independent labourers, there are the children of those against whom nothing is proved except their poverty, and there are the children of those against whom something more is either proved or may be reasonably presumed. The noble Lord's Amendment admits that the children of the independent workmen are to be separated from the rest, but he maintains that if you cease to make the Education Department the Licensing Authority you should not go to the Secretary of State, who represents to some extent the Criminal Law, but you should go to the Local Government Board, which represents poverty, and that you should treat the child in a reformatory as a pauper and not, even in any inchoate degree, as a criminal. With that as an object I entirely concur; but I should venture to say that it does not follow, because the Secretary of State is the Licensing Authority of these reformatory schools, that therefore they should be conducted on the footing of prisons. If your Lordships will look at Section 3 of this Bill, you will see that the greatest latitude is given to the Secretary of State in his power of classifying these reformatories and of prescribing the rules under which they are to be managed. In the same way, in Section 4 due provision is made for the inspection of them. I have heard one name mentioned in the noble Lord's speech which certainly ought never to be mentioned without honour in connection with this subject, and that is the name of the late Mr. Sydney Turner, who was the Inspector of Reformatory and Industrial Schools on their original reference to the Home Office. His inspection, I am sure, would compare with that of any Inspector whatever. My Lords, I only wish to press this one point upon your Lordships, that the manner of dealing with these children is not, I think, vitally concerned in the decision between the Homo Secretary and the Local Government Board. The Magistrates must, to a large extent, be the administrators of this law. The Magistrates are in connection with the Home Secretary much more than they are with the Local Government Board, and I think that in deciding upon this Amendment your Lordships would perhaps be well advised not without some strong reason to remove the ad- ministration of these schools from the authority which now controls them.


My Lords, the criticisms which we have heard of this Bill from all parts of the House have been confined within the scope of the measure, and I feel that it is rather difficult for me to invite the noble Lord who now asks us to give the Bill a Second Reading to extend its provisions; but I wish to say a few words on a class of schools which have not been fully considered, either in this Bill or in the legislation which is already in force. There are in this country a certain number of industrial schools which are maintained by voluntary effort, and these schools receive children, not perhaps coming exactly under the classes mentioned in Clause 10, but classes of quite as deserving a character. The classes I am thinking of most at the present moment is the class of pauper children, and especially girls educated in workhouse schools. These girls grow up in the not too innocent atmosphere of the workhouse school, and they are sent out into the world about the age of 13 or 14 without the slightest knowledge of the world, as shop girls or as maids-of-all-work, and the result is that very many of them come to grief. I want to impress upon the noble Lord that there should be some power of committing—or, if you do not like that word because it savours of penal discipline—there should be power to remit or detain these childern in industrial schools until they attain the age of at least fifteen. Then there is another difficulty, that under the present regulations it is impossible to certify such schools as I have mentioned, because in these schools elementary education is not given. I submit that the class of schools to which I am referring is one which is generally filled with children who have completed their elementary education, but who are admitted at an age when they require some training in manual labour, needlework, laundry work, and things of that kind, combined with religious and moral training to enable them to become respectable and independent. Surely it is possible to put some provision in this Bill by which schools such as these could be certified. The expense to the public would be nominal. There would only be the cost of inspection, and I believe no one who is acquainted with the subject can have any doubt that the advantages resulting to this class of children would be as great or greater than those which the Bill will confer upon children of a criminal or quasi-criminal class.


I would like to say one word upon the matter to which the noble Earl has just referred, because the subject came before a Committee over which I had the honour to preside. I understood the noble Earl to suggest that these industrial schools ought to be extended so as to include pauper girls generally. In the first place, I would point out that there are a number of very large schools indeed now existing to which girls are sent from the various Unions. There has been great controversy as to whether those schools are successful or not. This is not a fitting opportunity of discussing the question, but many people think that by the instruction that is given there the children are tot much removed from general society, if I may so call it, and when they go out from these schools they are unable to cope with the ordiary incidents of life. As against that system other systems have been strongly advocated. There is much to be said in favour of the boarding-out system. I do not think it would be possible to mix together schools which deal with children of undoubtedly the vagrant and street-arab class with the schools for children who may, through mere poverty, have to receive parish relief. I am certain that the population generally would not regard that with favour, and that the thing would not work. Neither do I think that it would be at all desirable to have schools in which girls were generally detained until the age of 16. Certainly, in the rural districts my personal experience is that it is most desirable that girls should go out to service long before that age. Remember it is not merely instruc- tion in reading and writing, and so forth, which is needed, but actual experience of domestic service by which the child can afterwards obtain a living, and if the child does not begin early it will be found extremely difficult subsequently to train it to proper habits. That seems to me to be a very important consideration indeed. At the same time I am far from being enamoured of the workhouse schools. Workhouse schools are a necessity, but in many respects I think they are institutions of which we have no reason to be proud. I merely wish to enter my protest against a proposition which, though at first sight it has some attractive features, will be found in practice, I think, not to work well—to mix up poor relief with the system of industrial schools.


Taken as a whole, I think this Bill is very satisfactory and reflects great credit upon the Government. I am glad that the present system of inspection is not to be interfered with. There is one clause I would like to call attention to, and that is Clause 18, which enables the Secretary of State to order that a child may be transferred from a certified reformatory school to a certified industrial school. The importance of keeping the two classes of schools absolutely separate is, I think, undeniable, and anything that tends at all to increase the suspicion which exists now as to industrial schools is open to very grave objections. I would ask whether it would not be possible to introduce a clause giving the County Councils power if they think fit to grant super-annuations to the officers of these schools. From all I have seen of the working of these schools I am convinced that this power is needed in the interests of the work itself. I thank my noble Friend for the great impetus he has given to the day industrial schools, and I rejoice that experience has shown that they are really valuable institutions. The noble Lord opposite (Lord Aberdare) will remember that when, in another place, he first proposed to introduce those schools, he met with very bitter opposition, and there was a severe fight before they were established. It is a source of satisfaction to see that they have turned out, as the supporters of them anticipated, of very great aid in coping with the difficulties which poverty casts in the way of education.


There can be no doubt after what has been said in the course of this debate of the very great importance of keeping up the distinction between Reformatory and Industrial Schools in the public mind, as well as in their working, in the interests of the children. As regards the prospect of finding the children respectable and independent occupation on their leaving schools, it seems to me that all the argument is on the side of my noble Friend Lord Norton, who introduced the Amendment, and against perpetuating this blending of the two classes of schools. How strong the confusion at present is is evident from some of the speeches that have been made this afternoon. The noble Lord opposite spoke again and again of Reformatory Schools in commenting upon the clauses of this, which is an Industrial Schools Bill, and when so experienced an official, as the noble Lord falls into that mistake, we may guess what the general impression of the public out-of-doors must be. I have no doubt that the fact that the person who is to inspect the Reformatory Schools is also appointed to inspect the Industrial Schools tends still more to blend the two classes of schools together in the general view of the public. I think it would be very hard to deal with the children, who, though they come from not the most respectable class of society, are not criminals, in such a way as to place them in a quasi-criminal aspect before the public; and what my noble Friend said upon the Royal Navy shows that one Department even of Her Majesty's Government rather shares that general impression. I think the fact that the Royal Navy will not take boys from Industrial Schools adds a strong argument in favour of the Amendment, which I intend to support. There are one or two clauses of the Bill which I think are likely to be very useful, but I-protest against the age of 16, which was advocated as being the age up to which it is desirable or reasonable to detain, as a rule, children of either sex in the workhouse. It has been very truly observed that by the age of thirteen and a half children of average strength and intelligence are capable of wholly, or almost wholly, earning or contribu- ting towards their livelihood. It is a great injustice to the ratepayers that they should have to maintain children for two or three years after they are capable of maintaining themselves, in order that they may ultimately be enabled to take situations superior to those which are open to the children of independent labourers. I quite agree with the noble Earl (the Earl of Kimberley) as to the immense importance of beginning practical training—not theoretical training, but training in the actual business of life, in service or in actual work—at an earlier ago than 16. The greatest care is requisite in the working of this boarding-out system. Nothing can work more satisfactorily in cases where there are good masters and good mistresses; but where under the name of parochial apprenticeship it prevailed, as it did in the Western Counties, till abolished with general approval by the new Poor Law, and the unwilling child of unwilling parents was bound to an unwilling master or mistress, it was often pretty much like white slavery. If it is true that children can earn their maintenance between 13 or 14, and you hand them over to people with whom they are boarded out till 16 years of age, those foster parents are given two years of very valuable service at the expense, in one way or another, of the public. Boarding out may be very desirable, but only up to an age certainly far below 16. That is a matter which can be considered in Committee. Then my noble Friend (Lord Leigh) found great fault with Clause 53, under which children who break the rules of the school are liable to be imprisoned. It seems to me that the clause authorizing whipping would be very advantageously applied to such cases. We do not want to make poor children, for minor offences of this kind, gaol birds at an early age. I do not know why the children of the most destitute, or least respectable, parents in the community should consider that such an indelible disgrace is inflicted upon them as it is suggested that the punishment of whipping is considered to be. My own strong conviction is that they would go out none the less fitted for good service because they had had a good whipping for some infringement of the rules of the school. On the whole, the Bill seems to me to introduce some valuable improvements upon the previous law, but it is unfortunate that it tends to keep up in the public mind the notion of the blending of reformatories, which are criminal schools, with industrial schools which are intended to be preventive.


As it has been suggested that it is cruel and even wicked that children under 14 should be whipped because they happen to be without a home or frequenting bad society, and as, according to my reading of the Bill, there is no power of whipping given in those cases, I would ask the noble Viscount opposite whether the noble Earl (the Earl of Meath) has not, in fact, confused two different parts of the Bill?


I should have dealt with that point even had not my noble Friend called my attention to it. It is quite obvious that the provisions as to whipping applies only to "offences," and not to the case of children found to be under improper guardianship, or homeless, and so forth. It should be noticed also with what precautions the whipping is guarded both as to instrument and number of strokes. The noble Earl (the Earl of Meath) was also in error when he stated that the Bill mixed up the case of destitute children and that of criminal children. It is quite clear that the two classes are kept distinct. In the first place, the destitute children are provided for by the Poor Law. Such children are either educated in the workhouse schools, or they are sent to an ordinary school by and at the cost of the Guardians. What these clauses are aimed at is the class of vicious children, or children whose parents are vicious. With regard to the proposal to remove these schools from the control of the Home Office and place them under the Local Government Board, I think such a change as this ought not to be made unless very good cause is shown, and this has not been done. The industrial schools under the Home Office have in the past performed their work most effectively, and there is no reason for making the change suggested. The administration of any Industrial Schools Act must necessarily involve the employment of Magistrates and police, and it thus comes more naturally under the supervision of the Home Office. I do not believe that children under the present law are in any way tainted by their training in the industrial schools. If their taint has been too deep before they get there, that is not the fault of the industrial schools, and, as a matter of fact, employers are quite willing to take children from industrial schools into their service. My Lords, this discussion has been mostly a criticism of the details of the Bill. I hope the House will now read it a second time, and in Committee the suggestions of noble Lords, several of whom have special knowledge on this subject, will be carefully listened to by my noble Friend who is in charge of the Bill.


The Amendment moved by my noble Friend (Lord Norton) deals first of all with the line to be drawn between children sent to reformatory schools and children sent to industrial schools. It is thought that it would be very undesirable to treat as criminals and send to a reformatory school young children guilty of merely trifling offences. The subject has been carefully considered. It has been. urged by Lord Norton that the industrial schools should be handed over to the Local Government Board. The noble Lord seems to have changed his views upon the subject, for some time ago it was his view that they should be handed over to the Education Department. There are great objections to. the course my noble Friend suggests. The industrial schools are intended to educate and train children who are in danger of falling into crime, so that they may become decent members of society, and it is not desirable to hand such schools over to a Department which has nothing to do with the prevention of crime. Again, the Local Government Board would either have to get a staff of Inspectors for this particular purpose, or otherwise they would hand over the inspection of these schools to their own Inspectors of Union Workhouse Schools, and I think it would be very undesirable to connect these schools, which are intended to prevent crime in the future, with Workhouse Schools. I may further point out that Lord Norton stood alone on the Royal Commission with regard to this matter. As to the question of whipping, the noble Viscount who last spoke has rightly expressed what is the intention of the Bill. If the wording is not sufficiently clear, the necessary Amendments can easily be made in Committee.

Amendment (by leave of the House) withdrawn.

Original motion agreed to.

Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to the Standing Committee for Bills relating to Law, &c.

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