LORD SANDFORD moved—
That a humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty would withhold Her assent from the scheme for the management of the funds applicable out of the county rate, &c, to intermediate education in the County of Carnarvon, which had been laid before Parliament pursuant to the Intermediate Education (Wales) Act, 1889.
He said: The Motion might, perhaps, have been more appropriately made by some Member of the House directly connected with the County of Carnarvon, or, at all events, with the Principality, and the reluctance he had felt, in the first instance, to move in the matter had been naturally increased by the fact that the delay of 10 days in presenting the scheme to Parliament at the beginning of the Session, of 37 days in printing it, and the approaching Easter Recess, had left only six days for their Lordships to master the details of a very important scheme. The scheme was important, not merely because it affected the County of Carnarvon and served as a model for other counties in Wales, but more especially because it was pointed to by its promoters and likely to form an interesting precedent for future legislation in England. Proximus ardet Ucalegon, and the lighted match was already laid at our English doors. They had not had long to wait for attempts at legislation. A Bill for Secondary Education in England was presented by the Vice President of the Council at the end of last Session, and there was now another Bill ready for discussion in the House of Commons which bore on its back the names of Sir H. Roscoe and Sir J. Lubbock, and was drawn very much on the lines of the Welsh Act. He had no intention of attacking the clauses of the scheme which were pursuant to that Act, however objectionable they might be. He did not like the Act, but it was the law of the laud, and it had now so nearly run its course that it was too late either to mend or to end it. But he strongly
objected to some of the details of the scheme which were not imposed by the Act, but had been introduced into it quite outside of the Act, and were different from those in the schemes proposed by other Welsh counties. The County of Carnarvon contained a decreasing population of 117,258 souls. There were 26 School Boards with 56 schools, which educated on an average 8,400 children, and 64 voluntary religious schools with an average attendance of 6,971 children. Since 1870 the Church schools had increased by 18, and the scholars attending them had increased by 1,319, which showed that the Church of England had not been idle in those years. In the same time there had also been provided a Roman Catholic school educating 53 children. So that there were in the elementary schools about 15,000 children the source from which it was expected that the scholars for the new schools under the scheme would be very largely drawn. The scheme provided for 10 schools for secondary and technical studies to contain 865 scholars (560 of them boys and 305 girls), which amounted to 7.4 per 1,000 of the population. That was a very moderate demand, because the recommendations of the Departmental Committee were that 20 scholars per 1,000 (12 boys and 8 girls), should be provided for. The funds were £1,050 from ½d. rate, £1,050 from the Treasury, £1,100 from the endowments of the grammar schools, which were confiscated, and £2,100 under the Technical Instruction Act, amounting in all to £5,300, and in addition there were the fees from the scholars. As to the organisation, omitting the County Council, which consisted of 64 members, the scheme provided for a County Governing Body of 31 members, 9 Local Governing Bodies of 161 members, and a Central Governing Body for the whole of Wales, not yet constituted, but intended to consist of 60 to 70 members, with travelling expenses and allowances to be paid out of funds provided for educational purposes. That gave the extraordinary allowance of 250 Governors for 10 schools with, at the outside, 865 children. To the composition of the County Governing Body, who were the real masters of the situation, he had no objection to offer. It consisted of 16 members elected by the
County Council, a representative of one of each of nine Local Governing Bodies, two members from North Wales College, a member representing the School Boards, a representative of the voluntary school managers, and two co-optative members. The tenure of office of Governor was for three years, and as, under the scheme, one-third retired every year, there would, therefore, be one election every two years to keep this Body alive. The Local Governing Bodies were made up of 18 members elected by the County Council, two members elected by North Wales College, one member by the Dean and Chapter of Baugor, eight by Town Councils, seven by Boards of Guardians, 36 by mixed Electoral Bodies, 18 by School Boards, 9 by voluntary managers, 10 teachers, 10 by parents, 24 by subscribers, and 18 added by co-optation—in all 161. Of this number 73 were to be elected by 34 different Electoral Bodies, and, as the tenure of office was for three years, there would be 12 elections every year for 24 members, and provision was made in the scheme with regard to these elections. Nothing could be devised more likely to kill popular interest than all those elections. Everyone was aware of the apathy shown in School Board elections. People walking down the street would not take the trouble to turn into a building to sign and deposit their ballot papers. But in these Welsh elections, it was provided that every voting paper had to be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or a minister of religion, stamped he presumed with a 1d. stamp, and posted to the Returning Officer. He was sure that those persons who would otherwise take a special interest in those elections would be so heartily sick of the whole affair that the elections would fall into the hands of the wire-pullers. He believed also that "One Man, One Vote" was a leading item of the Radical programme, but it would not be so here. Take the elections in Bangor as an example. "One man" would have two indirect votes for County Council members, two for the City Council, one for the Guardians, and two for the School Board, making a total of seven indirect votes. But he might have, in addition, votes as a member of the School Board, and a voluntary manager, and the
parent of a boy scholar, the parent of a girl, and as a subscriber; that was to say, five additional direct votes in addition, or 12 votes in all. In variety of electioneering opportunities, therefore, the measure was certainly generous. He further contended that the Local Governing Bodies had no real power. The first thing to be done in a school was to appoint a good master, and then as far as possible to let him alone. Well, the selection of the masters was not left to the Local Bodies or the authorities of the school, but was retained in the hands of the County Governing Body, who advertised for, appointed, suspended, or dismissed the masters, while the Local Governing Bodies had little if anything to say in the matter. In fact, the County Governing Bodies had taken very good care to retain the complete mastery of the situation. On the other hand, the Local Governing Body may—unrestrained by reference to head-quarters—fix the capitation fees, give prizes, and, as their sole important duty, they may regulate that religions instruction. What necessity could there be for going through all these elaborate and costly details of elections, with the view of setting up nine Local Governing Bodies which were, as he had shown, to have no real power? Provision was made that religious instruction should be given in the schools "in accordance with the principles of the Christian religion," under regulations to be made from time to time by the Local Governing Body. He was thankful to find even that provision made, though it was rather vague, and would like to see it introduced into the elementary school programme. But it should be remembered that there were 200 sects in the country registering themselves as "Christians," by one or other of which every principle of the Christian faith was more or less denied. In the public elementary schools, of course, there was less necessity for definite religious instruction being given to the very young children; but in the schools under this scheme boys and girls might be retained to the age of 18 or 19. Surely they were able to receive, and ought to receive, some definite religious instruction! In Wales and Monmouth there were 50 School Boards which gave no religious instruction. But one purely secular School Board—so avowing itself—existed in Carnarvon.
Still, the measure of religious education allowed by those Boards professing to give it might be judged from the fact that in the Returns made to the late Education Commission, it was stated by 12 out of 24 of the School Boards in Carnarvon that in their schools they gave no religious teaching; by seven the Bible was not allowed to be read; by 11 it was, but without comment; by one the time devoted to religious teaching was from six to seven minutes; by another, for the dismissal of the scholars, a hymn, the Lord's Prayer, and Grace after Meat were allowed: in another 10 minutes were given; by another five minutes, for "reading without comment the historical books of the Old Testament;" and by another religious instruction was permitted to be given only to scholars in Standards IV. and upwards. What real religious education, therefore, could be expected to be given in the secondary schools under this scheme, which would be conducted according to the principles of the School Boards, whose representatives would have so large a voice in their control, and whose practice in existing schools was such as he had described? Again, why should this scheme deny such facilities for the religious instruction of boarders in the schools as were granted in Flint and Montgomery? This was a very serious question. A series of schools was to be established under this scheme to which no Roman Catholic could, and to which no Churchman ought, to send his children. In framing the scheme, so far as it provided for the religious education of the scholars, no consideration had been paid to the efforts of the Church in past years to promote either elementary or secondary education. One-third of the funds for Aberystwith College were provided by Churchmen; two-thirds of the scholars attending the intermediate schools, such as they were, in Wales were Church children; and the greater proportion of the funds for establishing the college recently set up in North Wales was provided by Churchmen. Yet no gratitude whatever was shown to them by this scheme; and, in speaking of the members of the Church, as affected by it, he might use the words of a letter written by the late Mr. Spurgeon about his coreligionists to a Welsh Radical in 1886, in
reference to the Home Rule Bill, "What have they done to be thus cast off? The whole scheme is as full of dangers and absurdities as that of a madman."
Moved, "That a humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty will withhold Her assent from the scheme for the management of the funds applicable out of the county rate, &c, to intermediate education in County of Carnarvon, which has been laid before Parliament pursuant to the Intermediate Education (Wales) Act, 1889."—(The Lord Sandford.)
§ VISCOUNT HALIFAX
said, he was anxious to emphasize what had been said by his noble Friend and to support the Motion before the House. He could not conceive a grosser act of injustice to the Church in Wales or a greater injury to the cause of Christian education than that contemplated by the proposed scheme, so far as it applied to the grammar school known as the Friars' School, in the City of Bangor, and the Bottwnog School, founded and endowed by Bishop Rowland, a former Bishop of Bangor and a native of the place. Both these schools were Church schools, founded by members of the Church with the object of supplying a sound Christian education. It was true that the Friars' School, which was governed by the Dean and Chapter of Bangor till 20 years ago, was then vested by the Charity Commissioners in a new Governing Body, on which, however, were three representatives of the Cathedral Chapter. The religious teaching of the school was left untouched, except that provision was made to exempt from such teaching any children whoso parents objected to it. The Bottwnog School, which was still administered under Bishop Rowland's will, was a purely Church school. These schools were now to be taken from the Church and placed under the control of a Governing Body, which was practically the Local Council, the members of which, it was expressly stated in the scheme, need have no religious belief or ever attend a place of worship. No religious teaching in the distinctive creeds of the Church, or, indeed, of any Religious Body, was to be given in future to day scholars attending such schools; while in the case of boarders instruction in the principles of the Christian religion was to be given under the regulations of the Governing Body, and family worship of an undenomina- 1010 tional character was to be held in such manner as this Governing Body, of all religious opinions—Sociniaus or Jews—or none at all, might direct. Why was the Church in Wales to be thus deprived of her educational establishments, and to have the control of them practically put into the hands of the County Councils, which in Wales were to a great extent elected on political and Nonconformist grounds? The effect of the scheme, if it was carried out, would be to throw the whole of the intermediate education in Wales into the hands of a particular Party—the Party who were now seeking to rob the Church in Wales of all her property. That Party bad already the three Welsh Government-aided colleges in their management; and if they succeeded in suppressing the voluntary schools which belonged to the Church, they would have the whole of the education of the country from top to bottom in their hands. He could not believe that Members of that House, or of any House that had any regard for justice, which had the cause of sound Christian education at heart, could desire such a result. As to the religious education which was contemplated by this scheme, it professed to be on the distinctive principles of the Christian Church, but did it deserve the name? They had only to turn to the proceedings of the London School Board within the last few weeks to be convinced that it did not. And vet it was in favour of a system of this sort, under which there was no security that even the Divinity of our Lord would be included in the teaching, but was to be left an open question, that they were to deprive the Church of her schools, and reduce the religious education given in them to something absolutely worthless. He begged to support the Resolution moved, and trusted their Lordships would give effect to it.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
My Lords, with regard to what has just been said by the noble Viscount, I would point out to him that possibly he is not aware that there is a section of the Act of 1869 under which the Charity Commissioners have always acted, and under which they are precluded from interfering with the special religious teaching in particular schools. There has been nothing done with regard to the particular schools referred to that has not been done with re- 1011 gard to many other schools in the country. The present system of religious teaching is the outcome of the violent and prolonged discussion in 1870—the year of the passing of the Education Act; and all I can say on this point is that I think those who attempt to disturb the compromise then entered into will see great reason to regret it. It is not because we do not respect the conscientious religious opinions of individuals and of societies, whether Church or otherwise, but because, when you have institutions maintained largely by public money—and look to the fact that there are such differences of religious opinion among us—one of two things you are in point of fact driven to do: either to make those institutions purely secular, or to have some system of religious instruction as can be given to all who may attend those schools. That has been the principle which has governed Parliament up to the present time, and it is one to which I hope they will adhere. I was rather disappointed that the noble Lord did not make some more specific objection to the scheme. His observations seemed to be hostile to the whole Act of 1889, though at the commencement of the speech he disclaimed that hostility. He seemed to be actuated by extreme hostility to that Act, and, I should say, to any real bonâ fide attempt to improve and extend the system of secondary schools. That Act was passed by the late Government. It is a very useful Act, and one which does the late Government great credit. This is the first scheme which has come before Parliament framed under the Act, and I believe it to be an exceedingly useful and wise scheme. And by whom was this scheme framed? Under the Act a Joint Committee has to be appointed, consisting of three members appointed by the County Council and two by the Privy Council. In this case, of course, the members of these various Joint Committees were appointed on the advice of Lord Cranbrook, who I very much wish was present on this occasion. Both the gentlemen appointed by the Privy Council, Principal Reichel and Mr. Davis, are deserving of the greatest confidence; they are members of the Church of England, and they were entirely in concurrence with the three members appointed by the County Council, who 1012 were unanimous in recommending the scheme.
THE BISHOP OF BANGOR
May I ask the noble Earl whether there was any evidence of unanimity on the part of the Committee?
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
I can only say that I make the statement as it was given to me, and I have no reason to suppose that it is incorrect. There may have been differences between the Committee on particular points, but I am told that they were practically agreed upon the scheme. The scheme was, of course, also considered by the Charity Commissioners, and by them has been passed, and it comes now before your Lordships. The noble Lord criticised the number of Bodies created under the scheme, but I fail to see anything in that objection. That might be done with regard to every Educational Body and county in the Kingdom. You naturally form different Local Bodies to carry out a number of duties, besides the General Superintending Committee who have to administer the Act, but I believe the real objection of the noble Lord is not so much to the number of Committees as to his horror of popular election. That is not the opinion of the Government; we regarded the principle of popular election as an extremely good one, and I see no reason why we should be more suspicious of these Bodies in Wales than of any other Bodies. I cannot help thinking that a good deal of the suspicion of these Bodies in Wales arises from the fact that they are composed mainly of Nonconformists; but there are among Nonconformists men just as pious, as intelligent, and as loyal as in the Church, and a greater mistake could not be made by this House, or anywhere else, than to impugn a scheme from a suspicion that some advantage will be given to the large Nonconformist communities in this country. The noble Lord has objected to the great powers given to the County Council under the scheme, and to the comparatively small powers given to the Local Bodies. To that criticism the plain and sufficient answer is that the funds for these schools are to be provided principally from public, and not from local, sources. The whole amount will be £5,342, and of that sum only £l,031comes from local endowments; the rest comes from the county rate, from the Treasury 1013 grant, and from the grants under local taxation. As the larger part of the funds, therefore, are not supplied by any particular school or Foundation, it is perfectly reasonable and necessary that the County Council should have a predominant power in the management of this scheme. That is, no doubt, the reason why they are given the appointment of the head masters, and a certain superior authority over all the schools. I ask the noble Lord to look at the matter as a whole, and to consider what is the object of the scheme. This is the first attempt made to organise a system of secondary education under the Act of 1889, and I believe it is a most valuable attempt in that direction. I agree with the noble Lord's criticism that it is possible this most dangerous and terrible system might extend from Wales into England. I think it is possible, and I certainly should not regret it. If there is one thing wanting more than another it is some system by which secondary schools may be organised. The Act proceeds upon the simple principle that the Joint Committee appointed should frame schemes to provide efficient | secondary education for counties, and that existing schools should be included in the schemes. I daresay that is the objection to this scheme, but that proposal seems to me to be one of the most valuable features of the scheme, because, if you are ever to have an efficient system of secondary education, you must take the existing schools into your scheme; otherwise you run this risk: that you will either have a deficient school supply or you will create a number of new secondary schools side by side with those which might perfectly well have served the purpose you have in view. It is complained that these particular schools have been treated unfairly by inclusion in the scheme; but I cannot see in what the unfairness consists. They will lose nothing in point of endowment. The present endowments of those schools will be fully met by the amounts they will receive from (he common fund, and I do not see that there is anything to place those schools in a less favourable position that that they now occupy. The only serious objection, I suppose, that can be taken to the arrangements is that taken by the noble Viscount, that the religious instruction is not sufficient; but the noble Lord 1014 opposite admitted that this question has not been loft out of sight; but that, on the contrary, distinct provision has been made for it. The religious difficulty in Wales is undoubtedly greater than in any other part of the country, looking at the number of denominations which exist there; but I think the scheme does not, deserve to be criticised otherwise than as a fair and reasonable attempt to provide such religious instruction in the schools as the circumstances permit, and further than that we cannot go. I should most deeply regret if the House wore persuaded to reject thus the first of a series of schemes under a most beneficial Act, and, in doing so, to interpose a serious check and rebuff to an attempt made by the late Government, concurred in by the present Government, and which we believe, if carried through, is likely to confer great benefit upon the people of Wales, because it will be followed by schemes in other counties; and though I believe noble Lords opposite will be greatly shocked when I say it, will probably lead the way to an improvement in the same direction of secondary education throughout the country.
§ LORD NORTON
said, the noble Lord opposite had rather sneered at Lord Sandford as being prompted by an objection to popular election, and had taken credit to his own Party that they were the monopolists of that principle; but there was a great deal of difference between popular election and popular electioneering, with manipulation of the people's votes by election agents; and he maintained that Lord Sandford's objection was a sound and solid one: that if education in Wales was to be made a topic of perpetual popular electioneering, there would be an end to the interests of education, however much the principle of popular election might be vindicated by it. The Government would not, he thought, gain much favour or many votes amongst the thinking part of the Welsh people by this scheme. It was so far based on the Welsh Intermediate Education Act that it followed the form of procedure therein laid down, but this had little or nothing to do with the spirit and intention of the scheme. The scheme itself was a mere embodiment of the notions of secondary education as held by the head of the Education Office, whence it emanated, and which was fons et 1015 origo mali? It was really Mr. Acland's scheme. It seemed to him that this was a singular illustration of the danger of leaving, as Parliament was getting into the habit of doing, great subjects of this sort in the hands of a Department, and, having done so, washing their hands of it. What could Parliament know about this scheme? He ventured to say that a great many of their Lordships had heard of it that evening for the first time, and it was really entirely in the breast of the Minister. It seemed to him that Wales was being made at the present time a field for experiments for introducing new principles, and afterwards getting them extended to the rest of the Kingdom. This scheme was, in relation to education, very much what the Suspensory Bill was in relation to the Church. It was a first step in setting up a principle of municipal secondary education, sub silentio, without Parliament being aware of it, which would be extended elsewhere. Mr. Acland, in a letter published in The Times of yesterday, referred to this scheme as if it were already passed, and said that "a very satisfactory solution of the matter had been arrived at." In fact, he assumed that it was already passed or safe. LORD KNUTSFORD: It is passed.
§ LORD NORTON
asked why, then, were they now discussing it? The scheme still lay on the Table of the House, and would not mature until April 9, when it would pass by an Order in Council. Mr. Acland was the educational Legislature, and Parliament had nothing to do with it. Whatever he chose to put on the Table in the form of a dummy became law.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
It is not a dummy; it is in print. There is no fault on the part of the Government.
§ LORD NORTON
said, he did not mean to blame anybody for it. The fault was with the system; and if they were to be so imposed upon, they were in extreme danger. Wales was already anticipating England by getting largo grants for colleges, and, like a spoilt child, following the example of Ireland, the more it had the more it wanted. There were no such grants for colleges, or whatever they might be called, for secondary education in England or Scotland. North Wales first got a Treasury grant of £4,000 a year for a college; South Wales followed, 1016 and then Mid-Wales, so that now Bangor, Cardiff, and Aberystwith, all had grants. No religious opinion was to be a qualification for the Governing Body in this scheme. The County Council would pay the schools, would control the schools, and would receive the grants and any further donations which might be made; but donations were hardly likely to be numerous after this scheme was passed. If it were to hand over the administration to County Councils, let them, at ail events, be the sole Governing Body, for, as the Duke of Wellington said, "One bad General was better than two good ones." There could hardly be worse Educational Bodies than the County Councils, but it would be better to have the educational system of the country concentrated in them, bad as they were, than scattered over half a dozen Departments. It really should all be concentrated at Whitehall. The scheme was, he contended, one for breaking up existing endowments, and such schemes would put an end to anything like consistency in our educational system.
THE BISHOP OF BANGOR
said that he did not, for his own part, go quite so far as the noble Lord who moved this Address. He had no objection to making the new schools to be created under the scheme subject to the Act of 1889; and if it had been in order—which he understood from the Lord Chancellor it was not—he would have been prepared to move an Amendment that the proposed Address should refer only to these endowed schools in the County of Carnarvon. He wished to know why they should not take advantage given by the Act of 1889 of moving an Address to Her Majesty to reject this scheme? Those who were opposed to the scheme had a perfect right to come to the House of Lords and to ask them to deal more fairly with these schools, and to prevent them from being brought under the operation of the scheme. The noble Lord said that they were opposed to the scheme because the majority of the people of Wales were Nonconformists and would elect Nonconformists upon the County Council. What the opposers of the scheme did object to was that the majority of the County Council should have the complete and sole control of the Church schools, and they based their objection on the fact that the Welsh County Councils were practi- 1017 cally Political Bodies, administered purely on political lines. For his own part, he had no desire to throw any obstacle in the way of this scheme; and, indeed, had he such a desire be had no power to do so; but he trusted that the operation of the scheme, which had been three and a half years in incubation, would not be allowed to affect the Church schools. It had been proposed some time ago to transfer one of these schools to a most magnificent site, but the Joint Committee had stopped that being done for the present, although he did not say that the change might not be effected in the future. If the Church schools were to be brought under the operation of the scheme it would be impossible for the parents of a child to secure for him definite religious instruction in those schools. It was proposed under the scheme to establish a Central Board of Education for Wales. That was a very important matter indeed, and in that case those who were opposed to the scheme were entitled to ask what exactly the constitution of that Board was to be. He believed that the schools established in the County of Carnarvon and re-organised by the Charity Commissioners 20 years ago for the purposes of secondary education would be reduced in grade under this scheme. It was unjust to the Governors and Trustees of those schools, who in the past had done their utmost for secondary education in the Principality, that they should be excluded from having a voice in the county Governing Body, and why should not the Treasury who gave a certain sum be represented on it? The scheme would not be in harmony with the spirit of free education, because poor boys in the district of Bottwnog would be unable to pay the fees that would be demanded in the new schools. The results would be that in future boys would be forced, in order to pass into the Universities, to go to one of these three so-called national colleges. He did not wish to say any thing against those colleges, but he was of opinion these schools should not be made subject to their needs. If these schools were included in the scheme, it would be the bounden duty of Churchmen to establish side by side with the new schools a system of free and independent schools of their own, and he should deeply deprecate this interference with their national system. It would be a strange 1018 irony of fate if, by means of a Bill of the Conservative Party, the schools were to be destroyed which had been built up by the voluntary gifts of the Welsh people. LORD ABERDARE said that, having long taken an interest in promoting education in Wales, and having had the honour of presiding over the Departmental Committee upon whose recommendations these schools had been founded, he could not be wholly silent in this Debate. Lord Sandford's imputations upon the County Councils reminded him of a conversation he once had with the late Lord Iddesleigh, when Sir Stafford Northcote, who had taken an active part in the preparation of the Report of the Endowed Schools Commission, and had, with the Bishop of London, contributed so much to the importance of that Commission. That Report recommended the establishment of free graded schools, and he had over and over again heard them lament that nobody had taken up the subject and provided schools suited to the various wants of the country. In discussing the subject, Lord Iddesleigh said that—Nothing would ever be possible in that direction until every county had a large popular administrative Body.Again, when a delay of seven or eight years took place in carrying the Bill, which was finally passed in 1889, when successive Ministers had failed in their endeavours to deal with the subject, he remembered the wise saying of Sir Stafford Northcote repeated again and again, that they "would never be able to carry a really Welsh Bill until they had County Councils." Owing to the praiseworthy efforts of the Conservative Government those Bodies had been formed, and now noble Lords were warning the House against giving them powers which it was urged would only be exercised against the interests of the Church, and against the higher interests of education. That argument they had heard over and over again, and he wished the late Lord Iddesleigh could have been present that noble Lords opposite might profit by his wisdom. His own experience of such prophecies was that, however possible they might appear, they invariably in the result broke down. The Act of 1889 itself was brought in in a very different form to that in which it was 1019 carried. Under a Conservative Government, as had naturally been expected, their two nominees on the Joint Committee, it turned out, were Conservatives, while the three representatives of the County Councils were levellers. Lord Cranbrook's judgment, in the exercise of a choice on behalf of the Government, was entitled to recognition, and the choice he had made in every instance had had a most useful influence in the framing of the present scheme. It had been prophesied that the majority of three would always over - rule the minority, and he confessed that he had himself felt some doubt as to how the matter would work out. He was proud to say that nothing of the kind had taken place, and that throughout Wales these discussions had been carried on with consideration for each other's opinions, and with the one desire to produce a good school system suited to the peculiar circumstances of the country. In Carnarvon the three representatives of the County Council on the one side, and on the other Principal Reichel, a most distinguished man and strong Churchman, and the Mayor of Carnarvon, also a Churchman and a Conservative, had had no differences on Party lines or on religious subjects; the only differences wore such as would naturally arise among five men of independent minds upon what was best to be done for educational purposes. He thought the County Council might be trusted to take a pride in seeing that these were good schools, and that they realised the anxious desires of those who framed the scheme. Lord Norton he had regretted to hear speak contemptuously of this movement in Wales. If that noble Lord knew as much as himself of the genuine honest feeling of Welshmen in this matter that it should no longer be allowed to remain as it had been in the past, he could give many instances of the sacrifices made to carry out this scheme. Churchmen had joined Nonconformists in the work, and he could entirely confirm Lord Sandford's statement that Churchmen's subscriptions to the College of Aberyst-with were one-third of the whole. That college was now presided over by a Baptist, and, among the children of Churchmen being educated, there were several sons of clergymen. One objection to these new schools was that they would absorb the 1020 Pupils of various schools throughout Wales, and the right rev. Prelate was especially anxious about the fate of the Friars' School, the character of which he had done so much to raise, and feared that it was likely to be degraded. But various concessions had been made in the scheme, and while under its provisions boys were to remain in the schools until 17, arrangements were made that at Friars' School they should remain until 18 or 19. What power could the Local Authority have over these schools? The only way in which they could attract boys into them was by securing the confidence of the people. He would challenge the right rev. Prelate on the point of the usefulness of the Welsh Colleges, and would venture to assert that three or four times as many men were going up to Oxford and Cambridge since their foundation and the establishment of such schools as these. He sincerely hoped this scheme would not be rejected. Lord Norton had said this scheme was entirely framed by the Vice President; but if he would wait, he would have the opportunity of seeing on the Table of the House some 13 or 14 schemes the broad lines of which were all the same. And why? Because, very wisely, the Councils throughout Wales had mot continually to consult as to the lines upon which these schools should be founded, and therefore with slight variations it would be found that these schemes greatly resembled each other. The Act had been passed for three and a half years, and these matters having been discussed in Wales, schemes were now on the point of being matured. If this one were thrown out who could say what fate awaited the remainder? But he could not believe that noble Lords opposite would so stultify the policy of the late Government and of Parliament, and so disappoint the feeling of the country by taking so strong, so retrograde, and so fatal a step.
§ LORD KNUTSFORD
My Lords, I hope the noble Lord who has brought, forward this Motion will now, after the Debate which has taken place, withdraw it. Her Majesty's late Government are of course not responsible for the scheme, but they are largely responsible for the Act under which it has been framed, and, as far as I can see, it in no way goes beyond the provisions in that Act. I need hardly say when I find 1021 myself differing from Lord Sandford, who has made education his special study, I feel some diffidence in expressing my opinion; but having listened attentively to the objections he raised to this scheme, with one exception they appeared to me to be objections of detail; as, for example, objections to the number of Bodies concerned, as to the number of elections which will take place, and questions of that kind, which I should venture to put aside, because the scheme has been thoroughly threshed out by the Joint Committee upon whom, under the Welsh Intermediate Education Act, the work of initiating and drawing up these schemes is placed, instead of upon the Charity Commissioners, as in the case of other endowed schools. It has been passed unanimously by them, and has been published and made known throughout the county. It is fair to say that in those circumstances it is not, as I think, the duty of the Charity Commissioners to deal with all the details which they themselves may not altogether approve of. They may have thought they would have been able to make a simpler scheme, but the real duty imposed upon them is to see that in the scheme no well-known principle is infringed. If such is the case, it is hardly for them to go too closely into special details. This scheme has passed their ordeal. But it is fair to say that many of the modifications which were desired by the Charity Commissioners were readily and fairly adopted by the Joint Committee, and some of these were important, especially with reference to the Bangor School. The object of the Charity Commissioners was to secure that that school should not be, as it has been called, "degraded"; and for that purpose they have made special regulations, both as to the age of the pupils, as to boarding, and making the teaching of Greek compulsory in the higher departments of the school. By these provisions they have placed the school on a different footing to the other new schools. Therefore, the charge that the Bangor School has been degraded by these modifications of the Charity Commissioners which have been accepted by the Joint Committee falls to the ground. I, of course, feel with Lord Sandford that the important point is the question of religious 1022 education; but I would venture to point out to him Clause 87, page 17, of the scheme, which says that—Religious instruction, in accordance with the principles of the Christian religion, shall be given in the school under such regulations as shall be made from time to time by the Local Governing Body.That paragraph is the common form in all schemes of this kind, and it is too late, I apprehend, for us now to go back and try to proceed on lines followed before the year 1870. The second and third paragraphs of Clause 87 are in the words of the Welsh Intermediate Act as required by the 4th section, Sub-section 3 of that Act. Upon the whole, then, I cannot attach the importance that the noble Lord does to the objections to this scheme. We may not altogether like it; there may be defects in it. But I do attach the highest importance to its not being rejected at this time, it being the first scheme, and, as Lord Aberdare has said, the probable forerunner of many other schemes under the Welsh Intermediate Education Act, which I believe will prove a great benefit to the country.
THE BISHOP OF SALISBURY
heartily thanked Lord Sandford for bringing forward this Motion. It was just because this was the first scheme under the Act that they ought to protest against it. It was clear this was an attempt to place secondary education in Wales in the hands of the Board School party. In the cases of Flint and Montgomery, bettor provisions had been made than in this Carnarvon scheme. Of the reason for that no explanation had been given; but it was quite certain that unless vigorous protest was made, secondary education in Wales would be reduced to a kind of Board school system, and it might be taken for granted that no grants from public funds would be given to the voluntary schools. That was a great shame, seeing the kind of education given in those schools to the children of parents who took a real interest in their religious teaching. The religious instruction they; would receive would not be of a distinctive-character, though they would, many of them, be boarders in these schools, and of an age to be confirmed. This Scheme was loaded with the Cowper-Temple Clause, and he earnestly besought the House to vote for Lord Sandford's Motion.
§ LORD SANDFORD,
after what had fallen from the noble Lord on the Front Bench (Lord Knutsford), begged leave to withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion (by leave of the House) withdrawn.