§ LORD COLCHESTER,
in moving for a Return of the Regulations upon this subject, said similar Returns had been conceded on several previous occasions, once or twice upon his own Motion, and once or twice moved for by Lord Harrow by. That was now some years ago, and in some respects the matter had become of more importance than formerly, having regard to the increase of Board schools, and to the fact that the education of the country now mainly depended upon the action of the School Boards. He was not raising the question at all with reference to the action taken by the London School Board. They had adopted their own course, and no doubt each Board was influenced by the circumstances of its own neighbourhood in using the liberty now given them in the matter. Their Lordships knew that under the Cowper-Temple Clause the powers were very large with regard to the giving or omission of religious teaching in these schools. He was informed that, in a large number of schools in England and Wales, Bible instruction was not given, and in some cases it had been found very difficult to carry on the instruction in the schools. Much dissatisfaction existed with the existing state of affairs under the Act, and the House was aware that a Bill brought in by a right rev. Prelate was passed by that House last year, proposing some alteration in reference to religious teaching. He was not concerned with the 1507 terms of any measure of that kind; but he thought it was desirable to have the fullest information as to what the School Boards in the country were doing, and he therefore trusted the Government would see their way to granting this Return.
Return of the regulations with regard to religious instruction of the School Boards for England and Wales."—(The Lord Colchester.)
§ LORD PLAYFAIR
said, there had been two Returns of the kind granted: one moved for by the noble Lord himself in 1883, and the other by Lord Harrow by in 1888. Both contained copious Returns, and he did not know that there was much to add to them, but the Government had no objection to give the Return in the form asked for by the noble Lord.
§ Motion agreed to: Ordered to be laid before the House.