§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(The Duke of Devonshire.)
§ * LORD NORTON
My Lords, I should like to call your Lordships' attention to a feature in this Bill, and one that has appeared in every proposition which has lately been made for the purpose of secondary education, which seems to me of the gravest importance and fraught with mischief to this country. I hope we are not entering now upon a course of free secondary education for all classes in the country. The Bill, if extended and developed, as I have no doubt it will be next session, seems to me to be a most satisfactory mode of dealing with this important subject, but it must be borne in mind that the Bill cannot be all one would wish, because it has to deal with a subject which is already very much complicated. It has not a free field. The field is already largely occupied and is being more occupied every year, so that the Bill cannot propose the best scheme in the abstract, but the scheme which will least conflict with what is going on already. It cannot organise, as it pretends to do, a system of local authorities for secondary education throughout the country, but has to co-organise with what is largely existing at 797 present with as little conflict as possible. It will be observed that there is no attempt in this Bill to draw any line of demarcation between secondary and elementary education. The whole is handed over to the central authority, which we constituted last year, with a principal secretary at the head and two principal assistant secretaries under him, who are stated to be for two branches—one for elementary education and the other for secondary education. But there is no attempt whatever made in the Bill to draw the distinction between the one and the other. The nearest thing to a definition is in the title of the Bill which calls everything secondary that is not elementary, but that does not give a very distinct idea of what the intention of the Bill is. The Bill proposes to hand over all public money hitherto devoted to secondary education to county councils and other local authorities. What is known as the "beer-money," amounting to nearly a million a year, and the local rate for technical instruction are handed over, and a public seizure of private endowments. But it is not proposed to ask the rich manufacturers and the tradesmen, who will make use of this Bill for the education of their sons for lucrative employments, for one penny by way of fees. I do not think it is right or safe that we should undertake in this country to give rich manufacturers and well-to-do tradesmen the apprenticeship of their sons to remunerative employments at the public expense, for that is what the Bill amounts to. The pros and cons of free secondary education were amply discussed in the Report of the Royal Commission, who rightly came to a conclusion against it. Though there is no line drawn between elementary and secondary education, yet we must all understand what elementary and secondary education broadly mean as distinguished one from the other. Secondary education is in the nature of higher scientific instruction, and, in fact, when you consider the class to whom it applies, it is practically an apprenticeship to industrial and skilled employments. Technical instruction is included in secondary education generally, and I observed that, when the noble Duke said that, there was a murmur of approval, showing that the House approved of the merging of technical instruction into secondary education generally. But if secondary education is 798 a higher class of instruction for a higher class of society, who are perfectly capable of paying for their own sons' education, I maintain that it is a matter for serious consideration whether the State should undertake it for them, and relieve them of their primary and most important natural responsibility. I think that we have gone too far already in the way of gratuitous education, in the elementary schools of this country. I attribute the lax attendance in elementary schools, complained of in all the recent reports of inspectors, to the depreciation in the estimate of parents of that education of their children which is forced upon them as a public gift. A thing that is offered for nothing is supposed to be worth nothing. If we extend gratuitous education where there is no excuse of poverty at all we shall strike a blow at the spirit of independence and self administration in the people. It is a minor consideration that taxpayers who have no use of the schools will resent having to pay for those who have. For secondary education which is of a higher kind, the whole expense in the schools so provided should be covered by the fees of the well-to-do parents who take advantage of them. I am for an unlimited number of free scholarships for the poorer classes where there is any case of exceptional aptitude shown for higher scientific education; but I would make wealthy parents defray the cost of the education of their children. The idea of the doctrinaires who are pushing us on in this ideal scheme is, a free State education which should include Eton and Harrow up to the Universities—they are really trying to force upon this country a Prussian State system of education for all classes. They are always quoting foreign schools as inferior to ours, and advising us to imitate them, but I am quite certain England has not the slightest wish to do so. The feeling in this country I am sure is very much more in favour of the independent education of their children by capable parents. They have no wish to introduce the Prussian system here. I do not believe there is an Englishman who does not think an English youth is preferable to a German student. I fear that the present private enterprise and municipal ambition in promoting secondary education will be stopped if such education is to be paid for by public money 799 for all classes; and when the Bill is brought up next year I will move that the cost shall be generally met by fees, and public money which is devoted to secondary education shall be spent in providing free scholarships for the poorer classes. To define poorer classes may be somewhat difficult, but it is done by their limit of income, or by their belonging to the wage-earning classes.
§ * EARL SPENCER
My Lords, I was very glad to give way to my noble friend Lord Norton when he rose to speak on this subject, for he has a much longer experience than I have of these matters, and his opinion ought to be heard with attention by your Lordships. I shall not follow my noble friend through the arguments he has used. I, for one, am not likely to approve of any system which is to introduce what he calls the Prussian system into this country. I value extremely the peculiar, perhaps, but independent education given in this country, and I should be the last to approve of trying to found a new system on the lines of those we see abroad. I shall not follow the noble Lord even on the subject of free education. I shall leave that to the noble Duke who will reply, but I am at a loss to see the danger there is in this Bill on that subject. Certainly, if the noble Lord urges his view against free primary education as well as this I should not agree with him. The discussion to-night must be somewhat academic, as the noble Duke has announced that he does not intend to carry the Bill beyond the Second Reading this year, but he challenges those of us in this House who are interested in the subject to discuss the measure. I confess that I was somewhat surprised when my noble friend the noble Duke made his speech in introducing the Bill to find that three parts of that speech was confined to a description of the reorganisation of the Education Department, and only a small portion of it, in comparison, to a description of the Bill itself. When I had the Bill in my hands, however, I was not surprised at the importance which the noble Duke attached to the reorganisation of the Education Department, for I will venture to say that very large, I think too large, powers have been given to the Education Board without Parliamentary restrictions, and therefore it is of more consequence 800 than even that the Board shall be placed on such a footing that the country will repose confidence in it. I do not, myself, object to the proposals which the noble Duke has made for rearranging the system of dividing the work of the Education Department. I do not materially differ from that course, for I have always held that all parts of education should be bound together. They are co-ordinate one with the other—primary, secondary, and technical. Each must depend and have: a direct influence on the other, and I therefore do not seriously object to the noble Duke's change of attitude in having only two principal assistant secretaries, one for primary education and the other for both secondary and technical education. But I am bound to say that, very properly, a good deal of notice outside. Parliament has been taken of the manner in which the noble Duke has made these appointments. At the head of secondary and technical education the noble Duke has placed a very able man—Sir William Abney. I for one shall not say a word against Sir William Abney. I know him to be a man of first class ability, and I should say of liberal and broad views; but he has been entirely, so far as education is concerned, connected with science and art, and there is a fear outside that if he is placed at the head of the proposed double Department he may lay too much stress on science and art, and not deal as broadly and as liberally as he ought with secondary education. That view is somewhat strengthened when it is seen what has been done as regards the assistant secretaries There are two assistant secretaries already, and two more have been added. The two present assistant secretaries are old South Kensington men, entirely devoted to the Science and Art Department, and one of the new assistant secretaries, whom the noble Duke did not name the other day., is to be connected with the technological system. Therefore, three out of the four assistant secretaries are directly connected with technical education. The fourth assistant secretary, Mr. Bruce, a man of whom I speak with the highest possible admiration, is to deal with the secondary part of education. He possesses all the qualifications for dealing with the subject, and was Secretary to the Secondary Education Commission, which brought so many important facts to bear on this subject, and whose Report is of 801 such great value. There are many persons of influence interested in education who feel that Mr. Bruce ought to have been a joint principal secretary with Sir William Abney, instead of being placed under him. I wish for a moment to refer to what the noble Duke said in moving the First Reading of this Bill,✶ and which, I think, may have been misunderstood in the country. The noble Duke—I am quoting from The Parliamentary Debates— said—We hope and intend that the idea of the future education branch of the office will be to make science and art instruction a part of general education in addition to those clerical and literary studies which have hitherto formed its main portion.With that I entirely agree; but the Lord President went on to say—In the schools and institutions directly assisted by the Board of Education the teaching of science and of art, with the addition, perhaps, of some commercial subjects, will probably remain the principal object.The noble Duke went on to refer to the older secondary schools, and said—We hope that the scientific resources of the Board will be. placed at their disposal if they desire, as many of them do desire, to develop the more modern sides of instruction and education…. As I have said, it probably will be the case that any interposition of the Board in-regard to secondary education will be in the direction of endeavouring to substitute more modern for the older studies; but it ought not to be difficult to find administrators of sufficiently wide knowledge and experience to make the latter result impossible.Those sentences of the noble Duke seem to imply that the new development is almost entirely to be in science and art, and he ends in this remarkable way, referring to Mr. Bruce —Under him (Sir William Abney) the assistant secretary, who will be chiefly concerned with the literary side of instruction, will be Mr. Bruce.With regard to that, I think the noble Duke has suffered some injustice, because in the report of his speech in the public press, which has been circulated throughout the country, a very important word is left out. In The Times the noble Duke is reported to have said—Under him the assistant secretary, who will be concerned with the literary side of instruction, will be Mr. Bruce.The important word "chiefly" is omitted, and I think it is only fair to the noble Duke* See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxxxiw, page 1031.802 that I should mention this, as the insertion of the word makes all the difference. I am afraid that the speech of the noble Duke in introducing the Bill will create the impression in the country that the new Education Board will lean a great deal more to the old Science and Art modes of action than to a genuine and sound system of secondary education, which is so much wanted. I hope the noble Duke will be able to be more explicit than he was on that occasion as to his views when he replies to the debate to-night. If he leaves the case as it now stands I am afraid there will be a considerable chance of the Department losing the confidence of those interested in education. I now come to the Bill itself. I am afraid there will be some disappointment in regard to it. The Bill is not as far-reaching as it might be, and I am afraid it will not establish in the country the means of secondary education which are so much wanted. When I say that I am not for a moment wishing that in every locality, quite irrespective of its requirements, a new secondary school should be erected; but I think secondary education should be within the reach of every clever boy or girl in the country by means of scholarships or otherwise. What do we find elsewhere? In other countries and in the colonies we find such a system in existence. You will find in almost every district in the colonies an admirable secondary school, established sometimes with free education, which my noble friend Lord Norton dislikes so very much, and sometimes with low fees. Not many years ago I had the pleasure of visiting a fine set of schools at Winnipeg, in Manitoba. I found there an admirable primary school, and there was in the same building a secondary school, admirably furnished and admirably equipped for giving secondary education to all within reach of that school. I think the people of this country may really have a serious complaint to make of Parliaments and Governments if they put the young men and women of this country at a serious disadvantage as compared with those in the colonies. I at once admit that there are certain parts of the Bill to which I can give my hearty approval, such as the provision which makes it compulsory on local authorities to use the whole of the "whisky money," or, as the noble Lord opposite called it, the "beer money," for education. I do not 803 know that that will reach very far, for I am happy to think there are very few districts in which the money is devoted to the relief of rates or for any other purpose than education. I welcome also the alteration in the rate. It is not altogether an increase of a penny in the £, as I think the noble Duke explained, for in some places urban authorities can raise a penny in the £, and in the same county the county authority may do the same; but in the arrangement proposed in this Bill the county authorities will have the whole distribution and control of this twopence in the £. I think there will be considerable gain by doing away with the fiction which now exists in the definition of technical and secondary education in many places. The county authorities, believing that it is absolutely necessary that there should be a system of sound secondary education before trying to engraft into it technical education, have strained that principle and there has been considerable fiction in what has been done with regard to this point. In my opinion the method by which the Bill proposes to raise the new authorities for secondary education is much too vague. A great deal too much is left to the Department without any control, or very little control, by Parliament. In a matter of such great national importance, Parliament ought to lay down very precisely certain conditions on which these bodies are to be formed. The noble Duke has probably taken the machinery for this to some extent from the Welsh Intermediate Education Act, but he has not followed the precedent of that Act very closely. In that Act there was a special joint Committee for proposing schemes created before the final authority was made. I do not know that the difference is very great, but the present Bill leaves it to the county council to form the scheme and submit it to the Education Board. I think the other plan would be more preferable, and would bring more local interest to bear. I recognise that a certain amount of elasticity must be introduced for the formation of these schemes. Speaking roughly, there are two bodies, or two kinds of bodies that have to be considered. There are urban bodies and rural bodies. The urban bodies are in a very different position from the rural bodies, for they cover what are called the non-county towns. I know that raises a 804 very difficult question, but at some time or other it will have to be faced. Possibly the noble Duke will say it will be faced by the schemes which will be submitted to the Department by the county councils. I for one should like very much to see certain elected bodies represented on these Committees for managing secondary education. There are a great many references in the Bill, and it is not quite clear whether certain matters are included in it or not. I do not know whether when a council aids a school they are entitled to place on the management of that school representatives in proportion to the grant made. This is to my mind most essential. I think county councils ought in every case to have a majority on the Committees, and in the towns I should like to see the school boards represent the minority. It is essential, particularly in towns, that near connection should be maintained between primary and secondary education. There are difficulties, such as those to which the noble Duke alluded, as to higher grade schools which will be removed to a large extent by having representatives of the school boards who have to deal with these higher grade schools on the committees for managing secondary education. In rural districts, I know, this will be impossible, for there are not school boards all over the country. I deeply regret this. I am not against Voluntary schools, and I do not wish to see them all turned into Board schools, but I do wish to see throughout the country school boards established through which the sums voted by Parliament or the rates should pass. At present no such bodies exist in many rural districts; and, therefore, it is impossible to lay down that the rural county councils should have representatives of school boards on their committees. It seems, therefore, probable that with regard to these rural county councils some system of co-optation will have to be agreed to, but I should be opposed to Government nomination. Universities and colleges are named. That may be all very well in certain places where colleges or universities are placed in the midst of counties, but there are many counties where this could not take place. I now come to certain other difficulties which I see in the Bill. To those who have followed the education debates and discussions throughout the country it must be a matter of deep sorrow that such bitter 805 feuds should exist with regard to matters connected with the religious question in primary schools. I believe that the very fact of the existence of these feuds prevents the spread and the management in the best way of education throughout the country. Happily, up to this moment technical education has not had any difficulty of this sort. I wish I could think that this Bill would not introduce any difficulty in the future, but I confess that I fear that some clauses of the Bill may bring the religious feud into questions connected with secondary education. The noble Duke may be able to explain the clauses better than they are under-stood elsewhere, but there are many people who believe—and there is reason for thinking they are right in their belief —that you will be able under this Bill, with hardly any restriction on the management, to what is called bolster up purely denominational schools by the large grants made to them for apparatus and various other matters. I must say I should deeply regret that, and I am quite certain there will be throughout the country very strong opposition to anything which might be regarded as indirect endowments to denominational secondary schools without any representative control. I should be content, and I know a great many of those with whom I have been spoken would be content, if the noble Duke introduced into the Bill some such restrictions or conditions with regard to religious instruction, as are to be found in the Welsh Intermediate Education Act, and I hope that if the Bill comes before Parliament again it will be modified in this respect. I come now to the question of private schools. No doubt there are a great many private schools in the country which give very good secondary education. I should be very sorry to see those schools deprived, under certain conditions, of the benefits which would arise under inspection, or to prevent clever boys from them winning scholarships under these schemes; but I confess I have a strong opinion that private schools for secondary education should not directly receive aid under this Bill. I have admitted that there are very excellent private schools, but private schools depend on the skill of the man who is at the head of them. He is often a very clever man, and makes the school succeed and become a great financial success; but, should death un- 806 fortunately remove him, would it be right to go on with his successor, who might be a perfectly incompetent person? If you once get committed to aids to a particular school it is very difficult, on the first change of the headmaster, to give up making your grant. It is quite different in the case of public companies, who manage their schools on a broad and liberal basis. I should be quite ready to agree to exceptional treatment being allowed to some of these private schools which are under public companies not making a large profit. Unless something of this kind is done, I am afraid that there will be a race on the part of private schools to obtain grants under the Bill, and there will be a chance, in certain districts, at all events, of a great many incompetent schools, giving secondary education, receiving these grants. I therefore do not like the third section of Clause 3. There are certain omissions from the Bill, some of which are of considerable importance. I do not find a clause throwing upon the local authority the duty of satisfying public demands for secondary education in their district. I have in vain searched for it. I have looked back at some of the other Acts which are to be read with this Bill; and I am afraid I do not see anything which will meet the difficulty. It seems to mo absolutely necessary, if you are to provide sufficient secondary education for every child all over the country, that the duty should be thrown on the authority managing secondary education to provide such education as the demands of the district require. There is another omission. There is no clause in this Bill like the seventeenth clause of the Bill of 1896.
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (The Duke of DEVONSHIRE)
The Bill of 1896?
§ EARL SPENCER
I mean the Bill that did not pass. That clause is of great importance for this reason. Ever since this subject has been dealt with it has always been urged that the endowments which exist in different parts of the country should be used for the purpose for which they were originally intended—namely, secondary education. We all know that in many districts numbers of these grammar schools have fallen into a hopeless state of decrepitude. Their 807 funds are absolutely useless for the purpose of education, and the money is being wasted. I know, from my own experience, that in some parts of the country old grammar schools have been revived and put under new schemes, with the result that they are doing exceedingly well. In Wales the power of approaching the body who have the granting of new schemes— the Charity Commission—was placed in the hands of the secondary education bodies, and I am told that in Wales, owing to their influence in the localities, those bodies have been in many instances successful in getting old grammar schools put on a better footing and in utilising their endowments for the public good. If that is so I consider this is a matter of very great importance, and I regret that the noble Duke has not included some such provision in this Bill. On two points explanation is necessary to satisfy the fears of some highly intelligent persons outside Parliament, who are not, perhaps, so versed in dealing with Bills as members of your Lordships' House, and who have read the clauses of the Bill as enabling the authorities under it to make grants to any other form of education. That expression appears at the end of the first section of Clause 1, and it appears again at the end of the first section of Clause 2. An idea has been created that this might place primary education under the control of local councils. I confess myself that I do not share that idea, because the clauses are governed by the title of the Bill, which declares the Act to be—An Act to make better provision for enabling county councils and other local authorities to aid forms of education not being elementary.If it were intended that the Bill should go to Committee, I should move that these words be added to the first sub-section of Clauses 1 and 2 in order to make this point clear. The noble Duke will no doubt be able to say something which will explain how this matter stands, for the benefit of those who are exceedingly anxious about it outside Parliament. Another matter I press upon the noble Duke is that he should not hastily draw a line of demarcation between secondary and primary schools. I quite agree with the noble Duke that there is very considerable difficulty in so doing, and I rejoice to see that he is not, at all events, in a hurry to draw that line. I think it 808 would be a very great loss to education if the line were so drawn as to take the higher grade schools away from the management of the school boards. I am aware that the noble Duke has issued an Order regulating what are to be the higher grade schools still remaining under the Board of Education, but I am afraid, from what I hear, that the Order will throw a good many schools into very great difficulty, cause great dissatisfaction, and stop their admirable educational work in many parts of the country. I believe that these higher grade schools have become almost a necessity in many places. I will quote the opinion of a gentleman who was very well known to the noble Duke and myself when we were both at Cambridge—the late Chief Inspector of the Education Board, Mr. Sharpe. In his general Report for 1897 Mr. Sharpe said—But if a good system of secondary schools should in the distant future be established, I do not think that even then a hard-and-fast line can be drawn between primary and secondary schools, and there must be of necessity some overlapping of subjects; it would be unjust to deprive the higher primary schools of the liberty of taking some part of the subjects which might be held to belong to secondary schools. Unless a system of County Council or other scholarships can be devised, which would remove all the more clever boys to a secondary school at an age that would leave three or four years of subsequent study, boys who have only two years longer of school life would be better left in the higher primary school, with whose methods and teachers they are familiar.I think these are very wise words, and I venture again to press on the noble Duke that he should not be in too great a hurry to draw this line of demarcation, though at some future day it will have to be drawn. I am afraid I have detained your Lordships at considerable length, but my excuse must be the great importance of the subject. It is one in which the country takes the deepest possible interest. In my opinion this Bill is hardly adequate, and in some respects I am afraid it opens dangerous topics. If I am mistaken in this I shall be glad, for I am certain that the sooner a sound, good system of secondary education in the country is established, the better. We talk a great deal of the absolute necessity, in these days of keen competion in commerce with other nations, of giving a wide and good technical education, but I venture to say that we must include secondary with technical educa- 809 tion, for without a good grounding in secondary education it is vain and futile to impart technical instruction to pupils.
* THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My Lords, I think it is quite true that the proposals in the first clause of the Bill are too vague, and that we ought to have a more distinct statement of the principle on which these educational committees are to be formed. It is a very marked thing, and I do not think it is a right thing, that for the first time in legislation of this sort, so far as I can remember, these schemes are not to be submitted to Parliament. Parliamentary control over them is altogether gone. Hitherto it has been the practice, when schemes are made for endowed schools, for instance, that every such scheme should be submitted to Parliament and discussed either in this House or in the other House. I think it is rather a misfortune that Parliament is not called upon in the same way to deal with such schemes as are proposed under Clause 1 of this Bill, because there can be no question at all that the discussions in Parliament have a great effect not only upon the scheme under discussion, but upon the general course of public opinion on those matters. As to the proposals with regard to religious education, the noble Earl seems to think that denominational religious education is something bad in itself.
* THE LORD ARCHBTSHOP OF CANTERBURY
I think it is a mistake to say it should not come within secondary education. That is the place where, indeed, it is most wanted. The experience of the working of schools since 1870 has very distinctly brought before us this fact, that the undenominational education given does not roach the religious instruction desired by religious people to be given. Those who are anxious that religious education should be given mean not only that the learners should be taught particular doctrines but that they should be trained to apply all religious doctrines to their ordinary life, and you do not get that training from any teacher who is not very much in earnest about the religious instruction which he gives. There 810 are teachers, I have no doubt, who are very much in earnest and who would do good work of that kind, although restricted from handling the religious instruction which they give quite freely. I have no doubt there are such teachers, but they do not abound. As a rule, if you leave a man free he will teach such religious education as he himself believes in, and he will teach it tolerably well in proportion to that belief; but you will not get a man who is very much in earnest in these matters to give a thorough - going religious education if you say to him he must leave out a large part of that which, in his own eyes, is of very great importance as an ingredient in all such education. Denominational education has this merit about it, that it always tends to carry with it, not merely religious knowledge, but religious training in a sense in which I do not believe that you would get it from teachers who are hampered by the undenominational system. I do not mean to say that I have any fault to find with the undenominational system if you can get teachers who are really able to give true religious instruction under that form, but I do say that the number of teachers who can do it is extremely limited, and that whilst you can get a few to do it, and to do it well, you do not get a very great number. Therefore, I think that anything which damages denominational education in this part of the educational system would be a very serious mischief. I do not wish to find fault with the proposals that are in the Bill, but I should like, if possible, to secure for denominational teaching what was allowed by the Department a little while ago in a training college that was established for mistresses. In that case it was provided that the residential part of the training college should be denominational, but that it should have also a non-residential part, and there the conscience clause came in. There was a fair compromise between the two systems, and I think the application of that principle in the provision of schools for secondary education might very well be allowed, and would got rid of all the difficulty on this subject with greater ease than any other proposal that I have yet heard of. That in day schools there should be a conscience clause is fair enough. The teaching in day schools can be managed in such a way that the with- 811 drawal of certain children is not a very serious difficulty; but when you come from day schools to boarding schools the thing is different, and I hold that, where these boarding-houses are in the hands of denominational managers, religious instruction should be given to all who are living within those houses. It would be a difficult thing to provide anything of this sort in elementary schools, because there, from the nature of the case, you have not got boarding-houses at all. But in secondary education it is certain that a very large proportion of the pupils will be living in boarding-houses, and to impose a conscience clause in such cases would be doing nobody any good whatever, but would impose on a good many a great burden, because it is so very difficult to manage a home in which you have different religious persuasions present. The students ought to be treated as if they were in their own homes. I venture to put this before the House and before the noble Duke, the Lord President, because it is consistent with the principle that has been already adopted, and will, I think, make a very great difference in the working of a Bill such as this. I should be very sorry if the result should be to bring denominational religious instruction into any place where it ought not to come, but I venture to think you ought to be very careful indeed before you decide that secondary education is such a thing that into the homes which I have described denominational religious education ought never to enter. Those are the only remarks I wish to make at this point on Clause 3; but I desire also to say a word with regard to Clause 4. In that clause it is stated that—Every council shall, in the exercise of their powers of establishing and aiding schools under the said Acts," etc.I think it would be a help to us all when this Bill reaches Committee if in the margin a reference was made to the places in those Acts where this power of establishing schools is given. The power of aiding schools is given plainly enough, but I have not boon able to find where there is power given in the Technical Instruction Acts to establish schools. I think it would be as well that that matter should be cleared up. In conclusion, I wish to add that while I have not the slightest desire to prevent the Bill from becoming law, I think it comes twenty years too late.
§ LORD REAY
My Lords, after the careful analysis of the Bill which has been made by my noble friend behind me, I do not intend to go into the details of the measure, but I wish to call the attention of the House to the general aspect of the question of secondary education. What is the great need of the country with regard to secondary education at the present time? The answer is, a proper distribution of the time which is available for education. The great danger at the present moment is the overloaded curriculum, because insufficient allowance is made for the great variety of existing demands. Where a boy's education ends at fifteen, it is quite clear that he will have to distribute his time differently than if he ends his education at eighteen; and the next question which arises is, what kind of education will be required in view of the profession or career on which the boy will enter? A sailor must have a different education from that of a soldier, and a doctor must have a different education from that of an engineer. We must therefore provide for two things, and keep them very distinct—general secondary education, and special secondary education, taking into account the leaving ago and the profession on which the scholars intend to enter. I am very thankful that no attempt has been made in this Bill to draw the line of demarcation between primary, secondary, and higher education. It is a very remarkable fact that quite lately two very eminent statesmen in France—MM. Poincaré and Bourgeois— in giving evidence before a Secondary Education Commission, both agreed that it was quite impossible to draw the line between primary, secondary, and higher education. That is all the more remarkable, because in the organisation of the French Ministry of Public Education there is a director for primary education, a director for secondary education, and a director for higher education. If, therefore, the demarcation has failed in Franco, we may conclude that we should not be more successful in a similar attempt. There are so many openings for English boys that we must necessarily have a great variety of curricula. However limited the time may be at the disposal of those who have to teach the boy, a sound general education must be given as a solid foundation. It is on that point that I wish to enter into some detail, because my impression is that the 813 ideas of the Board of Education of what constitutes a general education are not very clear. The longer you can defer the period of specialisation the better. When I received the Minute on Higher Elementary Schools, I thought that these principles were recognised, and that it was intended to give a general education up to the ago of fifteen—the limit of the Free Education Act—to all those who would be qualified and prepared to make good use of it. The Minute contemplated "suitability of instruction to the circumstances of the scholars and the neighbourhood." That was exactly what was wanted, and it could not mean anything but a differentiation of the curricula of higher elementary schools. Under these circumstances the School Board for London asked for the recognition of forty-three separate schools for boys and girls in seventy - nine departments. That sounds a very large figure, but when I tell your Lordships that it only means one higher elementary school per 100,000 inhabitants, and that in the small kingdom of Saxony there are forty-four commercial schools, you will at once see that it was by no means an exaggerated demand. What was the answer of the Department? It was that—The Board of Education will be ready to entertain a proposal for the conversion of the schools of science provided by the school board, into higher elementary schools, and in localities where additional schools of science might, so far as educational reasons are concerned, be recognised, the Board of Education will consider an application for the recognition of a higher elementary school.The decision of the Board of Education is in direct contradiction with the words I have quoted from the Minute, for the simple reason that in London the education wanted by far the greater number of boys is not that of a school of science, and that as regards girls it is absolutely unsuitable. We have seventy-nine higher grade departments in connection with the London School Board, and only four schools of science. If the higher elementary school is to be a school for general education, it cannot be a school of science. Science may be one of the subjects taught, but it cannot be the preponderant element. In order to justify what I am saying, I shall appeal from the Board of Education to the late Education Department. On November 3rd, 1898, the Science and Art Department forwarded a 814 suggestion by their Inspector that Chelsea "would benefit by the provision of a suitably equipped School of Science." The Education Department, however, sent a Report from their Inspector strongly urging that the school should be designed "also for the teaching of modern languages and commercial training." On March 2nd, 1899, the Education Department forwarded to us a further Memorandum from Her Majesty's Inspector for the Chelsea Division, in which he alludes to "the lack of commercial training and utterly inadequate time given to the only modern language taken "in the higher grade schools in Chelsea. This led to a conference with representatives of the Education Department, Hen Majesty's Chief Inspector in his annual Report for 1899 refers to this conference as follows—There was general agreement that in these [higher grade] schools there is a tendency to neglect what may be called the humanities, and to make practical subjects unduly prominent. That this neglect of literary' subjects is injudicious is shown by the instance of Scotland, where literary subjects have always been considered of first importance, and yet no one can accuse the Scotch of being imperfectly equipped for the practical work of their lives, or can deny their success. in every branch of it—mechanical, commercial, or intellectual.It is not a Scotsman who says that, but Her Majesty's Chief Inspector in London. A sub-committee of the Technical Education Board of the London County Council came to the same conclusion, after having instituted an inquiry into the needs of commercial education in London. They reported as follows—We are of opinion that it is a question, which concerns the citizens of. London more than any other British subjects, for London stands alone, as the greatest commercial centre in the world, and as the heart of the British Empire. London has not only a larger proportion of clerks than any other city in the world, it has probably also a larger proportion of clerks to the whole population than most other cities. Everything which affects British trade must affect London in a special degree; and it is only fitting that any measures which are to be taken for the defence of our commercial supremacy should be put forward in the first instance by the merchants and citizens of London.Therefore in the case of London there is a perfect agreement as to the necessities of general secondary education between Her Majesty's Inspectors, the Technical. Education Board, and the London School Board. But, though the London School 815 Board, complying with the demand of the late Education Department, have established higher elementary schools for instruction in modern languages and commercial subjects, the present Board of Education have limited us to the development of a very scanty number conducted on pure science lines. I cannot understand the educational reason for this action on the part of the Board of Education. What the business houses in London want are clerks who can at least speak fluently one foreign language. If only you begin at an early age this is quite feasible, but this decision of the Board of Education upsets all the measures taken by the London School Board in compliance with the instructions of the Education Department. It does more. It throws the whole burden of our higher grade departments on the rates, in so far as the payment of a block grant constitutes a reduction on the grant we obtained for those schools under the former Code. It virtually cancels the Minute to which I have referred, and instead of giving us higher elementary schools, which we want, forces us to be satisfied with a ridiculously small number of schools, which are only required by a minority of the inhabitants of London. The case of London illustrates that of other centres similarly situated. It discloses, however, a very important misconception, to which the noble Earl behind me has already alluded, which may injuriously affect not only our higher elementary schools, but also our secondary schools. It proceeds from the same mistaken notion which turned technical education committees into secondary education committees under Clause 7 of the Directory of the Science and Art Department. The assumption that the literary side of elementary and of secondary education is less important than its scientific side, and that if you introduce a few literary subjects in a school of science you have satisfied educational demands, is entirely erroneous. It is the result of the neglect of scientific studies in former days and the monopoly enjoyed by classical studies. One side of secondary education is covered by classics. The question at once arises, how much benefit is derived from these studies? If they are pursued with the real aim to master the best thoughts of the Romans and Greeks,as expressed in their language, no 816 one will deny their educational value; but in how many instances is this the case? I asked a classical master this question, and he stated that out of every four classical scholars throe derived absolutely no benefit from such training, and he was not prepared to grant that of the remaining fourth more than a small proportion were really the better for the time they had spent on Latin and Greek. What is the alternative? That the time wasted on Latin and Greek should be given to English literature and history. There is not to my mind a finer educational instrument than English literature, and that history should be studied in all its ramifications will, I think, need no argument in this House. The result will be chat you will give a real education to the large majority of boys who at present get a mere superficial knowledge of the classics, and that they will have been taught subjects which they will assimilate, and which will stimulate them to further exertion. In both eases the education will proceed on literary lines, and in both cases you may add other subjects, but you will have brought these young minds in contact with the best thoughts of superior minds. The neglect of English literature and history may lead to this curious result, that an Englishman meeting a German may find that the latter knows more of English literature and of English history than he knows himself. This question of the relative value of a classical and a modern literary education has been most carefully investigated in in France and in Germany. In a recent volume of evidence given before a commission of secondary education, presided over by M. Ribot, a former Premier, in France, such eminent witnesses as M. Poincaré and M. Bourgeois, ex-Ministers of Public Instruction, and M. Gréard and M. Lavirre, stated that modern literature should be placed on the same footing as the classics. The German Emperor put this very forcibly when he said— "I don't want Romans and Greeks; I want Germans." By far the greater number of professions on which young Englishmen enter require a knowledge of modern subjects. You want a general education on modern lines running parallel with a general education on classical lines, and you can include science in either. It would be disastrous to make classics the main feature of a literary education, and science the main 817 feature of a modern education. Although I have laid great stress on the necessity for a general education because I consider that it is in danger of being overlooked, I am quite aware of the legitimate demand for special instruction, and of the wise impulse given to technical instruction by the noble Duke. We cannot sufficiently develop the higher branches of technical education. The country is, I believe, thoroughly alive to the fact that it has to meet the rivalry of other nations who are constantly adapting their education to ever-varying needs. It is a vital question for our industries and our trade, which depend upon the excellence of our secondary education. It is an Imperial question. What is wanted at the Education Office above.all is "the open window," in order to see what is going on elsewhere. In Germany the Emperor is giving to the development of secondary education his constant attention. The expansion of German trade, of Gorman industries, is directly due to the unremitting efforts of the German Government to improve their secondary education. And it is to the general, not to the special education, that their success is mainly due. In France we have the interesting Report of the Commission to which I have alluded. The Report and the evidence show a clear appreciation of all the difficulties of the problem and of the urgent need for reform. Your Lordships are aware of the results of American technological institutes, and how they affect the competition we have to meet. The battle of our trade, of our industries, has to be fought in our schools, in our workshops, and in our scientific laboratories. Will this Bill give us the institutions for general and special secondary education, and for the highest developments of technology? I doubt it. I trust that the Bill will be reintroduced on broader lines, and that it will secure to every part of the country, after a careful survey of the needs of every district —an omission in this Bill which seems to me inexplicable—at least as many opportunities for secondary education as Scotland, Wales, and some of our Colonies enjoy. Indeed, I cannot make out why the Board of Education is not more alive to the necessity of levelling up the English system of education towards that of Scotland. In the next edition of this 818 Bill I hope to find the grants made dependent on approved schemes of general or special instruction; the formation of secondary education committees on lines thoroughly representative of all the educational interests concerned in the various localities; representation secured on the governing bodies of schools which receive public aid; provision for the better use of our educational endowments; the absorption of the educational duties exercised by the Charity Commissioners; the application of the science and art grants to the purposes of the Bill; provision for the training of secondary education teachers, especially in regard to foreign languages; and effect given —which, for some reason or other I cannot fathom, the Bill does not do—to the admirable recommendations of the Royal Commission on Secondary Education. I am deeply convinced that this question of secondary education is one of Imperial importance, a question which bears very closely on our position in the world, and I do not think that in this Bill, which merely touches the fringe of a great question, the Government give satisfaction to what the country asks for and to what the country needs in order to cope with the over-increasing competition of foreign countries and their increasing efforts to satisfy the demand for improved education.
* THE LORD BISHOP OF HEREFORD
My Lords, after the various interesting speeches to which we have listened I am afraid the House may feel that the subject has been almost sufficiently discussed, and yet, having devoted a large portion of my life to secondary education, I desire to ask the indulgence of the House for a few minutes while I venture to make two or three observations upon the Bill. In the first place, like some of the speakers who have preceded mo, I am bound to confess that I feel the Bill to be a somewhat disappointing one, because it is such a very little measure when the urgency of the occasion and the greatness of the subject and of our national needs are considered. Those of us who have occupied ourselves with secondary education have felt for the last thirty years or more how some of the Continental nations were forging ahead of us, and this fact has been brought home more forcibly by reason of the reports which have recently been presented. Whatever this Bill is 819 called, we have to take it as all that Her Majesty's Government have to offer for the reorganisation of our secondary education system, and, like the noble Lord who has just sat down, I am bound to acknowledge that I cannot understand why the excellent Report of the Royal Commission has been to such a large extent ignored. Before I had the privilege of listening to the debates in this House I was under the impression that it was the habit to take account of the Reports of Royal Commissions, but in the few brief weeks during which I have been a Member of the House I think this is the third Commission's Report which I have seen almost entirely disregarded. When I look at this Bill I am disappointed, in the first place, by the omission of many things which all of us who have been working in secondary education had hoped to boo included. Most of those omissions have been already alluded to, but I could not but feel, with the noble Lord, some surprise that nothing is said in this Bill of the use, or the better use, of our educational endowments, and that no sort of power is given to deal with these endowments. From my own practical observation I do not know how any educational committee is to deal thoroughly with this matter in rural or other districts without some such powers. Then again, I must confess a feeling of disappointment that nothing has been done to settle the relations between our elementary and secondary education. I do not mean that I should be prepared to delimit either one or the other, but it is impossible to deal with the practical work of education without feeling that one of the burning questions which must be settled before we can get rid of friction and make real progress is the relation of the higher grade schools to secondary education. But the great omission is the one which was referred to by the noble Lord who Las just sat down—namely, that there seems to be no obligation laid on either the local authority or the Central Board even to inquire into the needs of any district. Surely the very first step to be taken, if we are to do any real service in this matter, is to find out the actual needs of this and that comity throughout the country. Turning to the provisions of the Bill, I will confine my criticisms to two fundamental clauses. The first of these is Clause 1, the third sec- 820 tion of which constitutes the county council the local authority. Here we have one element in the Bill which seems to me, so far as I can judge from my experience, to deserve our unqualified approval, inasmuch as it makes the county the administrative unit. I cannot, however, go along with the clause in handing over the whole of the administration of secondary education to the county councils themselves, subject only to the check of the Central Board. County councils are excellent bodies for many purposes, but I do not suppose they themselves would claim to be educational bodies. If the local authorities are the county councils pure and simple there will be all sorts of variations between one county and another, and I fear there may be some counties in which there will be very little educational work done. I cannot say from my experience, my Lords, that there is a great deal of zeal in the cause of education up and down our rural districts. A good many of our county councils are by no means anxious to spend public money to a large extent on educational work, and so far I cannot feel that they are the proper authorities to be left absolutely paramount and independent in the matter. Something like ten counties which have the administration of what is called the whisky money have not spent by any means the whole of that money on education; and I believe there are about half as many councils of county boroughs which have only spent part of the money on education. I am not blaming those bodies for exorcising their legitimate rights, but I cannot but feel that this fact shows that county councils need leavening if we are to form the best sort of education committee for the purpose of this Bill. Therefore I must express my regret that in framing the clause the noble Duke did not take the recommendation of the Royal Commission and say that while the county council should have a bare majority on the education committee the rest should be so elected as to represent the various educational interests and to secure that there should be on every educational Committee men who are really in earnest about the progress of education and who have some real knowledge of the matter. At present, as I understand this clause, there is no sort of guarantee that the education committee of any particular county will have either any interest in 821 or any real knowledge of education. The only other clause to which I would refer is the one which was alluded to by his grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. Section 2 of Clause 3 is, as your Lordships are aware, an attempt to solve what is known as the religious difficulty, but I am bound to acknowledge that I do not think it is an attempt which is likely to be very successful. I have the deepest desire to see this religious difficulty got out of the arena of public discussion. I have felt for many years that it has been one of the greatest obstacles to our real educational progress, and now I fear that unless some bettor clause can be framed than the present one we may import the same difficulty into secondary education. The clause to which I am referring declares that:A council in the performance of their duties with respect to education shall not give any preference or advantage to any school on the ground that it does or does not belong to, or is or is not in connection with or under the management of any particular church, sect, or denomination, or that religious instruction is or is not given in the school. Provided that aid shall not be given under this Act to any school in respect of religious instruction.Now, my Lords, what does that amount to? So far as I can understand the meaning of the clause, it simply amounts to a declaration by which you propose to earmark, so to speak, the aid that is given for this or that school. I am always a little shy of anything in the nature of earmarking in the giving of public grants, and this attempt to earmark aids as only for secular instruction, ignoring the whole question of religious instruction, will be absolutely futile. At any rate, if it is considered sufficient to declare that the public aid given to a public school is given solely for secular instruction, and if that is expected to satisfy public sentiment, I cannot but feel that it should be applied at once to elementary education also. If it is to satisfy public sentiment in regard to secondary education, why should we not be satisfied with it in regard to elementary education, and yet there is no one who will propose it as a settlement of the religious difficulty in our elementary schools. It may be asked, What have I to suggest in place of this? I suggest that the county council, or educational committee of the county council, shall have no power to aid any school on the 822 management of which it is not adequately represented. That I hold to be a fundamental principle which we ought to endeavour to establish through the whole system of our education, and I believe it could be established both with regard to secondary and primary schools without any great amount of difficulty. Having granted this principle, that no aid shall be given to any school on which the county council or the local authority is not adequately represented, I would then be content to say that schools in connection with any particular church or sect or denomination shall be held to be suitable for those pupils who are likely to make use of them, provided, first, that due regard is had to the religious belief of the parents; secondly, that the educational needs of the neighbourhood are duly considered; and, thirdly, that due care is taken that the fees are suitable. I believe that then no further difficulty would be found. I wish to say one word with reference to the clause dealing with private schools under private management. Section 3 of Clause 3 provides that public aid may be given to a school conducted for private profit. I cannot but think that that is a proposal which will require to be carefully watched, to secure that public aid shall not; go to increase the dividends of a company. I do not make this criticism as in any way opposed to private schools. My belief is that we should give every encouragement to private enterprise in education as in other matters. My experience has shown that in some cases the very best schools are private schools, and for the reason that a really good private school is generally under the guidance and inspiration of a remarkable man; but my feeling on the whole matter is that, if the private school cannot be so managed as to be on the whole self-supporting, it would be better, in the public interest, that the education should be taken over by the public. In conclusion, I would venture to appeal to the noble Duke to give us a more adequate Bill at the earliest possible opportunity. Having discussed this little Bill, and having decently buried it, I hope that before next session is very old the noble Duke will come forward with such a Bill as he himself would approve. I cannot suppose for a moment that this Bill satisfies the noble Duke. I have had many opportunities of feeling grateful to the noble Duke for the support and assistance he 823 has given to educational matters. I cannot but express my profound conviction of the urgency of this question. We have been so busy during the last few years in opening up new markets, expanding our Empire, and taking possession of new territories, some of which, I fear, are likely to be hornets' nests, that we have, I am afraid, somewhat overlooked the plain fact—plain to everyone who studies the question—that prosperity in the future will be with the best educated people, and that, if we do not press the question of education more earnestly and more actively, one of the consequences of our extension of Empire will be that the main benefits will be enjoyed by those who belong to better educated countries. I therefore again express the hope that the noble Duke will bring forward a more adequate Bill on the earliest possible occasion next session.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
My Lords, after the discussion which has taken place I will not trouble your lordships with many words, but will confine myself to one or two points. In the first place, I must say that I entirely share with the right rev. Prelate who has just sat down, regret that this is so small a measure; it is, in point of fact, very little more than a sketch of a measure which is to be filled in by the Education Department afterwards. I wish to say a word upon the very important question as to the authority which is to administer this Bill. I do not like, as it stands, the clause which deals with the local authorities which are to be set up. While I think it quite right that the county councils should be the bodies to whom this work should be entrusted, yet I agree with the right rev. Prelate that it is essential that there I should be on the committees which are to manage the affairs of secondary education, men who are educational experts as well as common-sense business men. I should deprecate nothing more than that you should have a committee consisting solely of men of business, or solely of educational experts. Both elements are wanted, the one to correct the other, and I do not by any means give more weight to one than the other. You want common-sense business men, but you also want men who have had long experience of educational questions, for I do not know a subject on which it is 824 move difficult to come to a perfectly clear and satisfactory conclusion. I feel, also, some jealousy of the very extended powers given to the Education Board. It seems to me that in cases where, after full discussion between the county council and the Education Board, no agreement can be come to, it is rather a doubtful matter —though I do not wish to commit myself absolutely to an opinion—that the Education Board should be able to deal with the question and promulgate a scheme without any power of correction by Parliament. I have watched educational discussions through many years, and I know that it is necessary to be extremely careful not to trust absolutely to the Government of the day the settlement of certain questions beyond appeal. You do want, as it were, some power to finally decide a dispute between the Government and the local authorities. It may be that that would be too cumbrous, but in principle I think it would be found to be sound. I feel very strongly with the right rev. Prelate that before a new educational authority is set up in any locality there should be a thorough examination of what the position in that part of the country is. Many of the grammar schools which have done good work in the past are now completely useless, and have ceased to be of any value, the only thing which perpetuates them being the village jealousy not to part with their grammar school. There should be some power to unite these very small schools with some larger school, and so render them more efficient. The mere fact that means of communication are now so much greater than they were has altered the whole aspect of the question. I deeply regret that after years of discussion we are about to take, as far as I can see, no effectual step to make use of the foundations we have already got. I must say a word upon what seems to me to be the most difficult question in this Bill—the question to which the right rev. Prelate referred at the close of his speech. I see in the provisions of this Bill, with the utmost dissatisfaction and even alarm, the repeal of the clause which was in the Technical Education Act giving complete protection to all those who went to denominational schools where the technical grant was applied to aid such schools. That is a stop directly backward, a step in the teeth of the old policy of what was 825 called the Cowper-Temple Clause. I feel the deepest distrust of those opposite to whom I sit on this question, and I see in this an attempt to bring again into discussion the point whether the rates of the country are to be applied, directly or indirectly, to the support of denominational schools, a point on which we know that a strong and bitter feeling exists on both sides. I am not one of those who think that, in the present condition of opinion in the country, we could dispense with denominational schools. Personally, I should like to see them all disappear to-morrow; but, looking at it as a practical man, I must say that that would be a measure fully unjustifiable in the present state of opinion in the country. Many of the denominational schools are excellent educational establishments, and we have to take care that we do not interfere with them in such a way as to destroy their efficiency. I admit that they must take a place in our sys tem, and therefore it is our duty to make them efficient. To stir up this controversy in uch a way as to raise a debate on the religious question throughout the country may be useful or not, but it certainly will nottend to the promotion of the object we all have in view—namely, the establishment of an efficient system of secondary education throughout the country. I will put aside the clause which is now about to be repealed, and ask your Lordships whether you have ever considered what the clause is which is in the Welsh Intermediate Education Act. In that Act, which was brought in by the members of the party opposite, what was by no means an unreasonable compromise was adopted. It will be found in the third section of Clause 4 of that Act. It does not interfere with the religious education of boarders in schools, and I do not think you could with propriety interfere in that way with these secondary education schools, many of which are closely connected with some denomination, and whore it would be almost impossible to carry on the education as before if you applied a stringent clause to boarders. What the Welsh Intermediate Education Act did was this. It said that "such scheme shall, in addition to the—"
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
I will read the whole of it. The section is as follows:—Where a scheme under this Act does not relate to a school maintained out of the endowment, or forming part of the foundation, of any cathedral or collegiate church, or where a scheme under this Act does not relate to any other educational endowment which by Section 19 of the Endowed Schools Act, 1869, is excepted from the foregoing provisions of that Act therein mentioned"—
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
Then I will give up that argument, which is merely an argument ad hominem, and apply myself to the remainder of the section, which, to my mind, suggests a very reasonable solution of the difficulty. The section continues——such scheme shall, in addition to the provisions of Section 15 of the said Act, provide that no religion-; catechism or religious formulary which is distinctive of any particular denomination shall be taught to a scholar attending as a day scholar at the school established or regulated by the scheme, and that the times for prayer or religious worship, or for any lesson or series of lessons on a religious subject, shall be conveniently arranged for the purpose of allowing the withdrawal of a day scholar there from in accordance with the said Section 15.do not think that would be by any means an unreasonable provision—namely, to exempt the day scholars from any interference as regards religious instruction, leaving the boarders to be under the provisions of the scheme which was in force for the management of the school before it was taken over under the present Act. I think that would very likely be acceptable; but in any case I am perfectly sure there must be some kind of compromise if you are to go forward at all. I quite admit the strength of the feeling concerning denominational schools, and I take account of it, but I say you are going backward in this Bill, you are striking out provisions of the Technical Education Act of 1899, and I am not the only person who sees beneath the surface of this Bill a deliberate attempt to pave the way for dealing in a similar manner with elementary education, and any such 827 attempt will meet with strenuous resistance from the Party to which I belong. Throw down this apple of discord before the country, and you will find there are plenty of people willing to take it up in a manner which would greatly obstruct and hinder the operation of the Bill now before us, which, though a small Bill, may lay the foundation of a larger and wider scheme.
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (The Duke of DEVONSHIRE)
My Lords, I have no right to complain that this discussion has turned upon a very large number of questions, most of which are questions of detail, because I quite admit what has been said by several noble Lords that this Bill is by no means a large one; that it does very little but extend to a certain degree institutions and provisions which already exist, and cannot be regarded as more than a step— an additional step—in the direction of the organisation of secondary education. But the course which the discussion has necessarily taken has had the effect of raising such a very large number of questions of detail, some of them I think rather small details, that I am afraid it will be quite impossible—within any limits which I dare inflict upon your Lordships—to deal with very many of those points which have been raised. My noble friend who began the discussion was very much alarmed that this Bill contemplates the introduction of free secondary as well as elementary education. I do not know where my noble friend finds that in the Bill. He complains that it does not contain any mention of fees to be paid by those who are to receive the education in those schools receiving public aid, but if my noble friend will consider what are the resources at the disposal of the local authorities I think he will see that it is quite impossible that they will be sufficient to meet the cost of any secondary education without considerable assistance in the shape of fees from those who receive it. Those resources are limited to what is sometimes called the drink money, sometimes the whisky money, but what I think I have generally called the local taxation money. That is a considerable but not a very large sum. In addition to that the new authorities will have the disposal of a rate not to exceed 2d. in the pound; and in addition they 828 will have the advantage of endowments of such schools as choose voluntarily to come within their educational schemes. Those resources are not so magnificent as to justify my noble friend in being in the least afraid that any proposal is made under this Bill which will be in the nature of free secondary education. Both my noble friend opposite (Earl Spencer) and the most rev. Prelate who spoke lately complained that this was a very small Bill, and the most rev. Prelate complained that the recommendations of the Report of the Commission had been entirely neglected. My Lords, I have admitted that this neither is nor professes to be a large Bill, but I cannot admit that the recommendations of the Royal Commission have been entirely neglected. I do admit that the Bill does not deal with all the matters which the Secondary Education Commission included in its full and exhaustive Report, but the proposals contained in this Bill are the very steps which were recommended by the Royal Commission, and are in my opinion the necessary preliminary steps to going any further in the direction of carrying out the recommendations of the Secondary Education Commission. The most rev. Prelate and Lord Spencer, and just now Lord Kimberley, complained that the Bill contains no power which will enable the new authorities to deal with educational endowments within their areas. I was under the impression that, under first the Secondary Education Commissioners and then under the Charity Commissioners, a very large number of the educational endowments of the country had already been dealt with.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
By new schemes, and I cannot imagine anything which is more likely to stimulate action in the same direction, dealing with remaining endowments which have not yet been dealt with, than the constitution in every locality of an educational authority charged with the duty of providing secondary education within their area. But, my Lords, it seems to me, knowing the extreme jealousy with which any interference with local endowments of this kind is met, that we should not have been justified in attempting in 829 this Bill, the main object of which is to create a new educational authority, to enlarge and make of a far more drastic character those powers which the Charity Commissioners have already felt considerable difficulty in exercising with success. It was suggested that these authorities would have no power even to make inquiry as to the educational provision within their areas. That is entirely a misconception, because these authorities will have power to make all the enquiries which they may think necessary in order to enable them to carry out their duties. Then, my Lords, exception has been taken to the vague manner in which the constitution of the educational authority is provided for, and to the large powers which are reserved to the Board of Education. After a great deal of consideration we came to the conclusion that the difficulties of dealing with the constitution of those authorities in any other manner were almost insuperable. In introducing this Bill I called attention to the fact, that the circumstances of different parts of this country differ so much that it is almost impossible to lay down within the limits of a clause the principle upon which these committees should be constituted. It has been admitted, I think, in the discussion to-night that the constitution of a committee must differ in a county from the constitution of that which will be formed in a county borough—that there is an enormous difference between the circumstances of one county and another. One county is mainly agricultural, with one or two large towns in its centre. Other counties are almost entirely consisting of large towns. I only wish that in the interval between this and the next session my noble friends opposite and the most rev. Primate who took exception to the vagueness of this clause will exercise their ingenuity and see whether it is possible for them to draft a clause providing for the constitution of an authority which will not be vehemently resisted by some interest which may consider itself to be ignored or neglected or badly treated. The initiative in framing those schemes will proceed from the county council or the county borough council, but on the Board of Education the responsibility will rest to see that those schemes make proper provision for the adequate representation of interests, educational or otherwise, which, in our judg- 830 ment, ought to be represented on such a body. Lord Spencer, I think, used the word co-optation. It would be entirely a mistake to suppose that we intended to rely upon co-optation only for the proper constitution of these bodies. The scheme will have to provide, in addition to the appointment of a certain proportion of councillors, for the nomination upon the body of such educational institutions or such non-county boroughs or such districts as upon inquiry we think ought to be represented, and while I am extremely sorry that it should have been found necessary to cast so heavy a responsibility upon the Board of Education, I do not believe that there is any other way in which it would be possible to arrive at a satisfactory mode of their appointment. It was suggested by the most rev. Prelate that there was no power of interference by Parliament with these schemes. Well, I do not see that it would be impossible to provide that these schemes should be laid before both Houses of Parliament, but I admit that I think such a course would probably be attended with very great practical inconvenience. Imagine schemes laid upon the Tables of both Houses providing for the constitution of educational committees for all the counties in England, for all the county boroughs in England, and conceive the opportunities which would be given to every county, every borough, every urban district, every educational authority, which did not consider that it had received sufficient recognition, to bring through their representatives their grievances before one or the other House of Parliament. I am afraid that if this course were adopted the time of both Houses of Parliament would for some time after the passing of this Act be chiefly occupied in the discussion of these questions.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
If the noble Duke will pardon my interrupting him for one moment, I should like to hear his answer to a question which I am afraid I did not express very clearly. I only suggested that where the Education Department and the County Council could not agree, then perhaps there might be an appeal; which, of course, would not involve all the cases.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
I was not dealing with that. I was answering the most rev. Prelate the Archbishop of 831 Canterbury, who suggested that the whole of the schemes ought to be laid before Parliament. It seems to me that the suggestion of the noble Earl opposite in those cases, which no doubt will be extremely exceptional, is one which will be well worthy of consideration.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
Now, my Lords, I feel a great deal of difficulty in addressing a very few words to your Lordships upon a subject which unfortunately is almost always introduced into these education discussions, namely, the denominational question. The noble Earl who spoke last said that this was distinctly a retrograde proposal. I think if he will examine the facts he will see that in one sense at all events his own proposal is a retrograde one. He recommended the adoption for day scholars of a universal Cowper-Temple clause. Well, such a provision would exclude the receipt of aid from the county authorities by institutions which are receiving it at present. The noble Earl regrets the disappearance of a certain section of the Technical Instruction Act, but if the noble Earl will refer to a Return which has recently been laid on the Table of the House showing the manner in which local authorities are applying their funds to the purpose of technical education, that Return shows that institutions of a most strictly denominational character are in fact aided out of the rates. Among the institutions so aided are, at Liverpool the St. Francis Xaviers' College, the Catholic Institute, the Convent of Notre Dame at Everton, the Convent of Notre Dame at Mount Pleasant, and the Catholic Male Pupil Teachers' Class.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
Is it supposed that institutions of that character would accept a universally applied Cowper-Temple Clause?
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
This is a Return showing the application of the 832 funds at their disposal by the county council.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
Yes. Therefore the principle of my noble friend may be a very right and very excellent one, but certainly in regard to liberality of treatment in denominational schools it is a retrograde one. On the other hand, I understand the most rev. Prelate to object to the provision of a conscience clause in the case of boarding schools Well, I cannot help thinking that the most rev. Prelate is rather unreasonable in making this demand. He refers to the case of a training college which was recently sanctioned by the Board of Education where, although they were permitted to be without a conscience clause as regards boarders, they were recognised on the condition of making certain provision for day scholars under a conscience clause. In my opinion the case of a trail ing college is altogether distinct from that of such secondary schools as would be aided under this Bill. A denominational training college is maintained by the denomination to which it belongs for the education of the teachers who are to be employed in their own schools. They do-not wish—naturally they do not wish—to admit to the college any others but teachers of their own denomination. That is the object for which the training college is established. But no such exclusion prevails in the case of our great secondary schools. I believe that in the case of Eton and Harrow and our other great public schools Roman Catholics, Nonconformists, and Jews are admitted to those schools, and no difficulty is found in the management of Eton and Harrow and other public schools in making provision for absolutely respecting the consciences of those boys of other denominations, while not interfering in the least degree with their own freedom in religious instruction as regards those of their own denomination. And I do not see why it should be considered any hardship in the case of schools desiring to come under educational schemes supported and aided by the county councils, to impose upon them conditions which in practice are not found difficult of observance in such schools as Eton and Harrow. My Lords, no doubt this question will be debated at very great 833 length and with some warmth in the country. I cannot help, however, expressing my own belief that any such provision as has been suggested by the noble Earl opposite, that is to say the imposition of a Cowper-Temple Clause upon any school desiring to receive aid from this scheme, would exclude from cooperation a very large number of admirable denominational schools, the services of which the educational authority will probably be most anxious to obtain, and that therefore we should be for perfectly unnecessary reasons excluding ourselves from one of the best and most fruitful sources of educational supply. My noble friend Lord Reay made a speech in which I am afraid it is quite impossible for me on the present occasion to follow him. The substance of that speech was to invite me to give a reply to a very long letter on a very important subject which had been addressed by the London School Board to the Board of Education. That letter I had not seen until by the courtesy of the noble Lord I received notice of the question which he proposed to raise upon this occasion. Of course I have not yet had the opportunity of consulting my advisers in the Education Board, and the subject is one of much too great importance to make it possible for me to give an answer either to the noble Lord's speech or to that letter without a great deal of further consideration. The working, the administration, of the new higher elementary school grant is a matter of very great importance, and probably will be one of very considerable difficulty, and I think it would be extremely undesirable that on an occasion of this kind I should commit myself prematurely either in support or in rejection of the views which have been urged upon us by the London School Board. On the denominational question perhaps I ought to add that while I consider the objection of the most rev. Prelate to the conscience clause to be somewhat unreasonable, and one which I do not think can be entertained, while I believe that the suggestion of the noble Earl opposite would most unfortunately limit the educational resources to which it would be in our power to look, I must leave to both the noble Earl opposite and the most rev. Prelate the duty of determining whether the solution of this difficult question which was proposed by the Bishop of Hereford will meet the views of either 834 of them. I am afraid that there are a very largo number of excellent denominational schools which would resent a legislative provision which would compel them, to accept the representation of a public authority upon their governing body, although I have no doubt that it will not be difficulty in the great majority of cases, to make voluntary arrangements with the council by which the educational authority will be represented on such governing-bodies. On the other hand, I doubt very much whether the anti-denominational friends of the noble Earl opposite would be satisfied with merely that provision enabling the county authority to aid; whatever denominational schools it chose, provided they had representation upon, the governing body. I am afraid, my Lords, that this is a subject which is a great deal too difficult, and which has in times past aroused too much controversy, to make it capable of very easy solution in any of the ways which have been suggested to-night. The Government have produced what they thought to be a reasonable solution, and I hope that when it comes to be further considered it will not meet with the embittered opposition of which I have heard for the first time from the noble Earl opposite to-night.
§ On Question, agreed to.
§ Bill read 2a accordingly.