§ LORD NORTON
I beg to ask the noble Duke the Lord President of the Council whether the Board of Education Act of last session comes into force on the 1st of April; when the Departmental Committee appointed to consider the consequent changes of staff and of organisation is likely to report; and when he hopes to introduce the Bill for constituting the local authorities to carry out the new system. My object in asking these questions is to let your Lordships be thoroughly informed of the present position with regard to national education. We may hope, now that daylight has come upon our great war perplexities, that great questions of domestic legislation will go forward, and there is certainly no domestic question more important than that of national education. The time is short, even now, for the long debates which are likely to take place on the Bill to which I have referred, especially in the other House. The subject has been already half dealt with by the Board of Education Act passed last session. What are now wanted are the local authorities to carry out the new system. The law will be in a state of complete confusion if a Bill constituting them is not passed in the course of this session. I am glad the subject is in such good hands as those of the noble Duke, and I am also glad that the question should come first before this House, where it will be discussed dispassionately and free from any of those rival claims for a share in these local authorities which embarrassed former attempts at legislation on this subject.
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OE THE COUNCIL (The Duke of DEVONSHIRE)
My Lords, in reply to the question of my noble friend, I have to state, in the first place, that the Board of Education Act of last session will come into force on April 1st next. The Departmental Committee which was appointed to consider the consequent changes in staff and 773 organisation have already made two Reports which have been to a certain extent acted upon, and the recommendations are being carried into effect. The Committee are now engaged in considering their third and probably final Report, and I expect that that Report will be presented very shortly. In reply to the third question of the noble Lord, I am afraid I am not in a position to say when the Bill for constituting the local authorities will be brought in. It is, and has been for some time, under very careful consideration, but I think it is very probable that I shall not be in a position to bring it in before the Board of Education Act has come into operation.