§ LORD REAY
My Lords, in rising to move the resolution standing in my name disapproving of the Minute of the Board of Education, dated 3rd July, 1901, establishing regulations for evening schools and classes, I wish first of all to make a preliminary observation with regard to the judgment which has created such a stir. It is generally thought that that judgment convicted school boards of breaking the law. Now, what really did happen was that the interpretation given to the law by the Local Government Board was set aside by the judges. On two occasions the matter which has now been decided came before the Local Government Board, and on both occasions the Local Government Board reversed the decision of the district auditor, and ordered that the school board should have the money disallowed by the auditor placed to their credit. The first decision in what is known as the Tot-ten ham School Board case was given by Sir Henry Fowler on 2nd February, 1893, and the second by Mr. Chaplin on 6th November, 1895. As long as those decisions were not set aside it was clear that school boards were absolutely warranted in incurring expenditure for the purpose of earning science and art grants. It was only after the judges had set aside those decisions that a new situation arose. With regard to the instruction given to adults in evening continuation schools, it was fully justified by the Code of regulations issued by the Board of Education. No objections were ever raised by the Education Department to this instruction, and in this respect also the judgment was directed not against school boards but against the Government Department which is responsible for the proceedings of school boards. My objections to the Minute are that it introduces alterations in the existing regulations for evening continuation schools, 379 which are not required by the Cocker-ton judgment, and that in some respects it runs counter to the expressed opinions of the judges. The Master of the Rolls, in his judgment, says—No objection in this case is taken to the teaching by the school board with ratepayers' money of those things which appear in the Code.And further on he says—And for the purposes of this case, but only for this case, it is to be taken by the admission of the Attorney General that the education prescribed by the Whitehall Code is elementary education within the meaning of the Act of 1870.Therefore, so long as what is taught in a public elementary school—and an evening continuation school hitherto was a public elementary school—appears in the Code, it is held by the judges to be legal. The Minute shirks the duty of clearly indicating what may be taught in a public elementary school, and simply states in Article 21 that "the instruction given in the school must be in accordance with the provisions of the Elementary Education Acts." And in the memorandum also it is stated that grants will be paid "for such part of the instruction specified in this Minute as may legally be given in such schools." The judgment, on the other hand, states definitely that it is legal to teach whatever is embraced in the Whitehall Code. Whereas the judges draw a clear line of demarcation between the instruction to be given under the Whitehall Code and under the Directory, the Minute perpetuates the confusion and creates a fresh source of complications by mixing up what the judges very clearly indicate should be separated. Then, as regards the limit of age, which in Article 21 (iii.) is taken at fifteen, there is nothing in the judgment to show that the line should be drawn there. Mr. Justice Wills said—Practically, I suppose that, at somewhere between sixteen and seventeen, at the highest, an age has been arrived at which no one would ordinarily call 'childhood.'It is true that the London School Board obtained legal advice in favor of not going beyond the limit of fifteen, but it is quite clear that this does not prevent the Board of Education from accepting the higher limit of Mr. Justice Wills—somewhere between sixteen and seven- 380 teen years. The effect of the fifteen years limit will, in London alone, result in the disqualification of 125,000 out of 153,000 scholars in board schools, and in the ultimate extinction of the greater part of the schools.
Why the subjects mentioned in Articles 2 and 3 of the Code for 1900 have been altered as they have been in this Minute it is not easy to explain. As regards physical exercises, we were told that they were taken out because they might lead to abuses. Surely, such abuses could easily be put down by His Majesty's inspectors. I am all the more surprised at this omission, because in a memorandum recently issued by the Scottish Education Department it is stated that "certain subjects, such as physical exercises, military drill and music, which, taken concurrently with other subjects of this Code, may be expected to enlarge and raise the physical, moral, and mental equipment of those who come within their influence." Why in England this physical, moral, and mental equipment should be withdrawn I cannot conceive. In the Scotch Code these subjects are placed in a separate division. Whereas the Code of regulations for continuation classes in Scotland is a very distinct step in advance, this Minute is a deliberate retrograde step.
The regulations for evening continuation schools hitherto were the same for all schools; they had all to be public elementary schools in order to obtain the grant. This Minute creates a new category of schools not carried on under the Elementary Education Acts, and at the same time it is proposed to give them a Parliamentary grant under Article 17. There are two grants—the Parliamentary grant and the science and art grant. With the latter I am not concerned. I am dealing with the former only, which is earmarked for elementary education. It is the grant mentioned in Section 2 of the Elementary Education Act of 1870. Mr. Justice Wills stated distinctly that—A Parliamentary grant means (by Section 2) a grant made in aid of an elementary school out of moneys provided by Parliament for the Civil Service, entitled 'for public education in Great Britain,' which, as I have shown, is always a distinct thing from the grant to the Science and Art Department, and is the fund 381 which from its establishment has been administered by the Whitehall or Education Department.Now, by this Minute, we get a new class of evening continuation schools, which are not carried on under the Elementary Education Acts, but which may give elementary education, and which will get the Parliamentary grant of Article 17 as well as the grant in the Directory of Article 20. To apply the Parliamentary grant for elementary instruction given in a school which is not a public elementary school within the meaning of the Act of 1870, is certainly not in conformity with the judgment and with the Act of 1870. Section 96 of the Elementary Education Act, 1870, distinctly lays down that—After the 31st day of March, 1871, no Parliamentary grant shall be made to any elementary school which is not a public elementary school within the meaning of this Act.The Master of the Rolls stated very clearly which voluntary schools could claim the Parliamentary grant. These are his words—The object and meaning of the definition clause 'of an elementary school in Section 3 of the Education Act of 1870,' in my judgment, is that inasmuch as all kinds of education were then being taught in these voluntary schools, those outside schools (I call them), only should come within the Act and derive the benefits, by way of grants and otherwise, conferred by the Act, at which elementary education was the principal part of the education therein given, and, in addition, that only those outside voluntary schools should come within the Act if they were schools at which the ordinary payments therein in respect of the instruction from each scholar did not exceed 9d. a week apiece. That voluntary schools are referred to in the Act of 1870 as elementary schools, in my opinion, is apparent from, amongst others, Section 23, Section 12 (2), Section 9 (2), and Section 7. The object, meaning, and scope of the definition was to select out of these voluntary schools those which had these two attributes—namely, if the principal part of its education was elementary, and also was a school in which the scholars paid no more than 9d. a piece a week. If there was not this definition I do not see why all voluntary schools could not have claimed the benefit of the Act, no matter what was their teaching, if they conformed to the requirements of the Act as regards religious teaching and other wise. This definition, in my judgment, instead of being a statutory enactment that the highest education prescribed by the directory should be taught by a board school at the expense of the ratepayers, is a definition whereby a limit 382 is placed as to those voluntary schools which should become public elementary schools within the Act of 1870, and obtain its benefits, and in my opinion this definition has no such effect as that contended for on behalf of the school board.According to these words of the judgment of the Master of the Rolls, the Parliamentary grant of the Education Act of 1870 can only be given to voluntary schools which are public elementary schools under that Act, and you cannot create another category of elementary schools, Voluntary or other, and give them the Parliamentary grant. If elementary education can be given in schools which are not under the Act of 1870, and if a Parliamentary grant can be earned by a school which is not a public elementary school, there is nothing to prevent the recognition of day schools on the same footing. The distribution of the grant may then be so manipulated that the Act of 1870 will cease to apply to voluntary schools. There may be doubts as to whether my interpretation of the Minute is the right one; but the interpretation given to it in a communication addressed to Mr. E. Flower, Member for West Bradford, by the private secretary of the Vice-President of the Council on July 8, Seems to me to prove clearly what is intended and to confirm my apprehension. The writer states that—Under the new regulations the Board of Education will give its grants, as specified in the Minute, to all evening schools fulfilling the conditions laid down in the first twenty articles, whether for elementary subjects or for advanced work, without any age limit. Article 21 has no application to them.Then occurs this remarkable passage—I may point out that the fact that evening schools may thus in future receive grants without being in the legal sense public elementary schools will bring two additional advantages—namely, (1) It will relieve them from the operation of the 17s. 6d. limit of grant, which, it is believed, has frequently retarded their development in the past; and (2) it will greatly facilitate in counties their organization on comprehensive bases, over a large area, on a properly co-ordinating system.It will do more than that, for it will relieve these schools absolutely from all the limits which are placed on the giving of religious instruction, and on the payment of fees, and from the obligation contained in Section 20 of the Elemen- 383 tary Education Act of 1876, "that the income of the schools shall be applied only for the purpose of public elementary schools." The letter goes on—It was necessary to add Article 21 to the regulations in order to preserve to school boards the power of carrying on evening schools at the expense of the school fund, so far as the judgment in 'Rex v. Cocker ton' allows, with the aid of grants from the ExchequerThen follow these words—Sir J. Gorst does not anticipate that there will be many such schools hereafter.Neither do I, my Lords. The letter concludes—The restrictions of Article 21 are the unavoidable outcome of the recent decision of the courts of law as to the limits necessarily attaching to the functions and powers of school boards in this regard.I may remind your Lordships that the only authority for issuing this Minute is Section 97 of the Act of 1870, as is stated at the head of the Minute. That section expressly provides that the conditions laid down in any such Minute—shall not give any preference or advantage to any school on the ground that it is, or is not, provided by a school board.This Minute clearly violates this essential principle and ought not, if only for that reason, to be approved. The Minute ignores the Act of 1870 as interpreted quite recently by the courts of law. We on this side of the House can only enter a protest, but we are bound to oppose this Minute because we take our stand on the principles of the Act of 1870, because it creates a privileged position for voluntary schools, and because it deprives a large part of the population of schools which they require.
Moved, to resolve "That this House disapproves of the Minute of the Board of Education, dated 3rd July, 1901, establishing regulations for evening schools and classes."—(Lord Reay.)
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (The Duke of DEVONSHIRE)
My Lords, I do not think the House would desire that I should attempt to follow the noble Lord in the discussion of his legal arguments, which were supported by copious extracts from a judgment of the Master of the Rolls, not one word of which reached my ears. I will leave the legal part of the noble Lord's speech, there- 384 fore, to be dealt with by some one more competent to undertake the task, and will make, as shortly as I can, a statement, which will not be legal, but which I trust will be clear, of the present position of these evening schools and of the reasons which have made it necessary to issue this Minute. These evening classes were originally conducted under the same managers, by the same teachers, and in the same buildings as elementary schools. The instruction which was given in them was entirely elementary, and the age of the scholars in them was between the years of twelve and twenty-one. In 1893 a very great revolution took place—the Evening School Code was issued, which removed altogether the age limit, and opened schools to all forms of higher education. That Code was taken as an invitation from the Education Department to school boards to enter upon a considerable invasion of the sphere of secondary education. Though they were potentially in all their schools, and actually in a great many of them, secondary schools, they were still called public elementary schools, and this Code was accepted by school boards as an invitation to enter upon the work never contemplated under the Elementary Education Act. The income of a voluntary school consists of grants from the Board of Education, grants from the county council, fees from the scholars, and voluntary contributions. The income of a board school is the same, except that that part of its income which is derived from fees and from county council grants is much smaller, and there are no voluntary contributions, and the deficit is made up from the school rate. In many of our large towns, acting on the invitation in the Code, evening schools managed by school boards and maintained by the rates have come into competition with technical schools conducted by the town council, with polytechnics, schools of art, and other institutions. In some places the evils of overlapping have been mitigated by arrangements made between the local authorities and the school board, but in other places this competition for scholars which has arisen has had the natural consequences of deterioration in the quality of the instruction given, and great waste of funds, central and local.
385 This was a state of things with which Parliament would have had to deal under any circumstances, and Parliament no doubt would have been asked to deal with it as soon as a secondary educational authority could be established. But before Parliament arrived at any decision on the point the Cocker ton judgment intervened, and produced a situation which made dealing with it at once absolutely necessary, not waiting for future action by Parliament. That situation, whatever may be the merits or demerits of the evening school Code, made it impossible to continue a great deal of the work that had been carried on. The judgment, of course, did not interfere with that part of the work carried on in voluntary schools, Because the sources of income in their case, in addition to the income derived from fees and voluntary contributions, were either grants from the Board of Education or subventions from county councils from funds legally applicable to secondary education. But in the case of the evening schools carried on by the school boards a great part of the instruction could not have been given but for the rate, which was their principal source of income, and which, according to the legal judgment, cannot be applied to secondary education or the education of adults. Under these circumstances, it was impossible for the Board of Education to reissue the evening school Code. To reissue it would have had the effect of inviting school boards to break the law as decided by the courts. But, although some of these schools may have, as it is thought by some, only a slight educational value, while some of them may be superfluous and others actually mischievous, still the Board of Education had no desire summarily to suppress and put an end to a very large number of schools, many of which undoubtedly do excellent work, which certainly were established with the best intentions, and in accordance with an invitation from the Board of Education, but, unfortunately, Established and conducted under a certain misapprehension as to the state of the existing law. The Board therefore proposes to deal with the difficulty partly by the Minute which is now under consideration and partly by legislation. This Minute divides evening 386 schools into proper categories—those which are elementary schools and those which are not elementary but secondary schools. Now, the number of the first is not large, as the noble Lord has said, but such schools of the first class as have existed may exist still, and may be managed by school boards without infringement of the law, and can receive grants under Article 21. But as to the second category, those that are really secondary schools, in this will be included all those under voluntary management, to which I have referred, which are not affected by the Cocker ton judgment, and also all those board schools in which the instruction given has been declared illegal by a court of law; and it was proposed to legalize these by Clause 8 of the Education Bill first introduced, and it is now proposed to legalize these for the present year by the Education (No. 2) Bill. As to both these last-mentioned classes of schools—voluntary schools which are not affected and board schools to be temporarily continued—the Minute greatly simplifies the regulations under which they may be conducted, and, as was stated in the letter of the Vice-President referred to, it will facilitate their organization on a wide basis over a wide area.
What the future of these schools will be is decided neither by the Minute nor the Bill; it must come under the future consideration of Parliament. The chief objection, so far as I understand, taken by the noble Lord is that in regard to these elementary schools still legally managed by board schools the limit of age is fixed at fifteen years, and the instruction in them must be of a purely elementary character. Of course, the age limit is arguable, but the Department has acted on the advice of experts and have adopted fifteen as the limit. But this limitation will apply only to a small class of schools which will still be conducted under Article 21. In all the remainder—all those to which the authority of the county council is given—the same education can continue to be given. The disability which attaches to a certain class of evening schools now conducted by school boards is not through the action of the Minute; it is due to the Cocker ton judgment; the Minute has done nothing but to bring the regulations of the 387 Department into conformity with what has been declared to be the law. I think this statement covers most of the points of the speech of the noble Lord, excepting his legal argument. He has referred to the omission in the Minute of some subjects of instruction which formerly found their place in the Evening School Code. Grants can no longer be earned for physical exercises. This has been very carefully considered, and we are advised that the grant for physical exercises should be omitted because of a certain amount of abuse to which the subject has been considered liable, and in some, Perhaps not in numerous, schools grants are said to have been earned by holding dancing parties. The noble Lord also referred to the omission of the grant for nursing, Ambulance work, and one other, but I would point out that those are not necessarily excluded by the Minute. Those are what are considered to be technological subjects, and he will see under Group A in the appendix of the Minute, that "any other subject approved by the Board of Education as of educational value can be taught and can receive the grant." It will only be necessary for the managers of schools to satisfy the Board of Education that a certain course of instruction which they propose to give is of educational value and it will still be eligible for the grant. I am quite aware that the Minute has not found, and is not likely to find, favor with Lord Reay or the school boards. They would have preferred a Minute which would have perpetuated the fiction that these secondary schools were still public elementary schools. What they would have preferred would have been a Bill which would have given to all these schools a like protection from the existing law. What they would really have desired is that the law should have been altered altogether. We were not prepared to take that course. If we had taken that course, and had proposed, even temporarily, to legalize these schools without the intervention of any other authority, when we came to propose legislation in another year we should have been told that by our legislation we had made the admission that these schools were rightly, if not legally, in possession of the field, and no doubt, during the interval which may have 388 elapsed before further legislation was proposed, many, if not all, of the school boards would have taken the opportunity of making still further steps in the direction of secondary education. I do not desire to minimize the importance of the Minute or the Bill. Combined, they, in my opinion, assert, as strongly as the Bill which was first introduced, the negative side of our position. We have not succeeded, Unfortunately, in the present year in constituting a new authority for secondary education. But this Minute and the Bill combined indicate clearly the policy of His Majesty's Government that in the future the secondary authority is not to be the school board.
I am not sorry that the school boards should have realized, as clearly as they seem to have done, the actual position and importance of the principle to which Parliament is now asked to give its assent. This is not a new controversy. It broke out, certainly in a Jess acute form, not more than twelve years ago. Precisely the same sort of opposition, emanating from the same quarter as this Minute and Bill are opposed by, was offered to the Technical Instruction Bill twelve years ago. That Bill had its origin in a purely educational body with which I was associated—the National Association for the Promotion of Technical and Secondary Education. It was brought in without any political object and taken up by the Government and passed. But it was opposed by some of the school boards and their champions on exactly the same ground as the present Bill and Minute, because it was said that it narrowed the power of the school boards in the future to provide higher education. This controversy has continued from then up to the present time. It is a controversy to which Parliament has not given much attention, but it has fought out in the great towns and centers of population in this country to the great detriment of the real cause of education, and accompanied by a large waste of public funds. The decision which Parliament will have to give on this Bill and this Minute will, I trust, go far to establish a principle on which this controversy may, in a future Parliament, be definitely and finally settled, and I hope your Lordships will not be induced by the motion of the noble Lord to withhold your sanction.
§ THE EARL OF PORTSMOUTH
My Lords, I do not wish to say anything disrespectful of, or derogatory to, Voluntary schools, of which I am a strong supporter; but I think the noble Duke has concealed—I do not say intentionally—the real injustice of this Minute. The Minute proposes one scheme for voluntary schools and another for board schools. If your Lordships will look at the terms of the Minute, you will find that voluntary schools will be under no limits as to the age of their scholars, Whereas in board schools the age is limited to fifteen, and at the same time voluntary schools will be free to give elementary or advanced instruction, according to the needs of the locality or the wants of individual students. The noble Duke said in the course of his remarks that one thing he wished to make clear was the intention of the Government that secondary education should not remain in the hands of school boards. But that does not seem to me to justify the action of this Minute, which says to voluntary schools: "You may either conduct these evening continuation schools for elementary instruction or secondary instruction; you may practically have a free hand in the matter, but the board schools may not." I do not understand precisely what the prejudice in the mind of the Board of Education is to board schools. The noble Duke said the opposition to this Minute was confined to a certain number of Radical educationists.
§ THE EARL OF PORTSMOUTH
What I wish to remind the noble Duke of is that opposition to the Minute is not confined to the body of men my noble friend Lord Reay represents, but that there is a very large body of opinion on the Conservative side against this treatment of board schools. Sir W. Hart Dyke, neither an extreme nor inexperienced 390 Man, said a few days ago that, Although a strong supporter of voluntary schools, he had never failed to recognize the necessity for board schools throughout the country, and he saw no reason to regret his action, for he could not doubt that the system was a good one. And he went on to say that he could not help feeling that the present phase of the question was owing to the want of appreciation of the importance of education on the part of His Majesty's Government, and to deprecate the derogatory statements relating to school boards which were made by the Vice-President of the Council in another place. In this matter it is well to remember that this Minute is intended to commit the country and the public to a policy and a principle hereafter. Therefore the Minute assumes an importance which it would not otherwise have. This is the view taken by another Conservative Member of Parliament, Major Banes, Member for South-West Ham, who made use of this very strong language—I cannot but express my surprise and disgust at the unworthy and undeserved sneers and remarks made by the Vice-President of the Council against the members of school boards and their work. The teachers and even the electors, and I am confident the people, will not forget them, and I regret the Government and the Unionists have in their ignorance been so misled as to support instead of disclaiming any part in these misleading and cowardly attacks made under the shelter of town councils.These are not the words of an opponent of His Majesty's Government. They are the outspoken expression of opinion of a Conservative member. I should very much regret if, by such language as the Vice-President of the Council indulged in when he introduced his Bill, any weight should be given to the belief, which I am bound to say does not appear to me to be unfounded, that it is the covert and the real intention of the Government, by means of this legislation, to put an end, as far as possible, to the development of the work of school boards. I say that, not in behalf of the towns, because I believe that, whatever line is taken by the Board of Education as regards the towns, the great towns value the work of the school boards and the spirit in which that work has been done. But why are the country districts, by a Minute of this kind, to be 391 prevented from making use of the machinery of the school boards? The Minute starts by throwing cold water upon any evening school. It says—In order to obtain these grants it must be decided by the Board of Education that the school is not unnecessary.I do not think, my Lords, there is that great interest in education in the country districts that there is any likelihood that schools that are unnecessary will be started. My experience is that it is extremely difficult in country districts to get any interest taken in secondary education. There is another condition of the grant—that the school must have adequate local support. I should like to know what is the meaning of the words "adequate local support." I shall vote for my noble friend's motion because I do not see why voluntary schools should fee placed in a privileged position in this matter. In doing this the Government are giving credence to the belief that they are striking, not merely at a system of efficient education, but also at the conscience clause, because in this Minute, as it stands, there is nothing to prevent sectarian education from being given in these evening continuation schools.
THE LORD BISHOP OF HEREFORD
My Lords, I desire, very briefly, to support the motion of the noble Lord opposite. I had hoped that it would have commended itself to the judgment of the House, and that the Minute would have been referred back to the Board of Education for further consideration. We must all agree with the noble Duke that it is desirable that some Minute should be issued, but, reading it from a strictly educational point of view, I am bound to say that it would be very difficult to frame a Minute less likely to give general satisfaction. Though I was not able entirely to follow the argument of the noble Lord (Lord Reay), he seemed to establish a pretty strong prima facie case that the Board of Education has in this instance assumed powers which it does not possess, and proposes to give grants of public money to a new type of schools to which it has not yet been authorized to give grants. I cannot but feel that the House may very well pause before it sanctions the 392 issue of such a Minute. This is an unfortunate Minute, because it tends to discourage, hamper, and thwart the efforts of those who have been really doing the good work of continuation schools hitherto, and I cannot help feeling that those who framed the Minute have not yet risen to a due appreciation of our system of continuation schools. At present our elementary education in many parts of the country ends in an immense amount of cruel waste; for this reason that it stops at such an early age. In a few years those who leave the elementary schools are practically uneducated, and are left outside of nearly all educational influences during the most critical period of their lives. If we are to amend that state of things I do not see how it can be done except by instituting a system of compulsory attendance at continuation schools. That, as your Lordships know, has been done in Germany; and in Saxony a boy from an elementary school has to attend continuation classes twice a week for three years after the age of fourteen. All over the German Empire the municipalities are empowered to make technical education compulsory from, I believe, fourteen to eighteen years of age. I cannot but feel that it is high time we faced the question in a similar fashion. But until that is done I venture to hope the Government will do nothing to discourage those who are doing their best to encourage voluntary attendance at continuation schools. It is absolutely necessary that we should make these schools attractive, and also that we should give as frees a hand as possible to those managers of schools, school boards, and others who have done the work hitherto, and done it well. The noble Lord who introduced this motion reminded the House what the effect of the Minute would probably be upon London. I will quote the case of the city of Manchester, which has a system of evening continuation schools at least as good as that of any other town in the country. In Manchester, under the action of Mr. Acland's Code, and by combination between the school board and the voluntary managers, the school board has built up an admirable system of con- 393 tinuation schools. There are something like 9,000 pupils attending them, and I do not suppose anyone knowing the work of these schools would be able to speak of the results in any terms but of praise and respect. There are in Manchester at the present time 118 of these schools, and the advantage of having them in the hands of the school board is that the school board is able so to regulate the work done that it is really continuation work.
THE LORD BISHOP OF HEREFORD
But the Minute will apparently involve taking them out of the hands of the present managing body. [The Duke of DEVONSHIRE dissented.] At any rate, the present managing bodies have interpreted the Minute in that way. I now understand that the Minute is to be interpreted by a Bill which is still to be passed. The Minute, to begin with, will bind the present managers of schools hand and foot. Again, it introduces the fifteen years limit. I do not know why this limit should be introduced in England, while Scotland is left free in the matter. The advantages given to Scotland are so obvious that we could not do better than imitate a great many of the points in the Scottish Code. Again, we are told that the elementary classes containing pupils up to fifteen years of age must not be conducted in the same building in which the school for senior scholars is conducted. How will that affect country districts where only one building is available? There is also a very ambiguous reference to school fees. Are school fees to be required of all students in these continuation classes in the future, or are the local authorities to be free to demand them or not, according to circumstances? Hitherto the practice has varied in different localities according to the circumstances of the locality. Is that freedom to be taken away?
THE LORD BISHOP OF HEREFORD
I am glad to hear that, because if it were taken away it would tend to 394 lessen the number of pupils. I hope that the centralizing process indicated by the Minute will not go on too much, because I have seen nothing in the action of the Board of Education since it was reconstructed that tends to give me confidence that it is in a position to undertake these additional duties. Therefore, I sincerely trust that this Minute will be referred back to the Department for further consideration.
§ EARL SPENCER
My Lords, the noble Duke the Lord President of the Council, in the observations he made, answered a speech which my noble friend behind me did not deliver, and did not answer the speech which he did deliver.
§ EARL SPENCER
I estimate that, According to the figures for the year 1899, at least 83,880 children in board schools will be affected by Article 21 of the Minute. The right rev. Prelate alluded just now to the very important continuation schools in Manchester, and the noble Duke said there was no reason why these schools should not go on, but they cannot go on with any children over fifteen years of age.
§ EARL SPENCER
They will for this year, but after that they will not be able to receive Parliamentary grants if the pupils are over fifteen years of age.
§ EARL SPENCER
That is the only consolatory remark I have heard from the noble Duke, and I sincerely hope that when Parliament comes to deal with the matter it will not adopt the policy laid down by the noble Duke. 395 The reason why we feel strongly on this subject is this, that those who have been receiving money, if you may so call it, illegally under the Cockerton judgment, will be allowed to continue receiving that money if they come to terms with the county council. The Bill and this Minute lay down really the policy for the future, and we think it necessary to at once protest against the policy which these measures propound. I should deprecate altogether depriving school boards of the power of dealing with these continuation schools for pupils over fifteen years of age. They are very competent to do it, and they do it better almost than any other body. I cannot agree with what has been said elsewhere, that the education given in board schools has been bad—I think the noble Duke said it was mischievous.
§ EARL SPENCER
I think the noble Duke was referring to cases where physical exercises took the form of dancing; but, as I understand, those cases only numbered twenty, and they received the permission and sanction of the inspectors. I will not dwell more on this question, owing to the lateness of the hour, but I should like to press this on my noble friend—that this Minute runs counter to important clauses in the Education Act of 1870. Nothing could be clearer than the clauses which my noble friend behind me quoted, and which provide that the Parliamentary grant distributed by the Education Department must be given to a public elementary school. Further than that, Clause 97 provides that the grants must
§ be made without giving any preference to any school on the ground that it is, or is not, provided by a school board. Under this Minute the Education Department can, although refusing to give to school boards power to continue the education beyond the age of fifteen, allow voluntary schools to go on without some of the most binding conditions imposed by the Act of 1870. One of those conditions is the Conscience Clause. We certainly think it is of the utmost importance that that should be maintained, but under the Minute we believe—we may not be interpreting it correctly—that voluntary schools may set up evening continuation schools without any of the conditions laid down in Clauses 96 and 97 of the Act of 1870. That is a very important matter. It is said that the giving of the Parliamentary grant to voluntary schools is justified under the new clauses of the Appropriation Act. I should like some information on that point. This Minute, in our opinion, extends a favouritism' to voluntary schools which is denied to school boards, for the noble Duke cannot deny that, under the Minute, voluntary schools can establish these evening continuation schools without coming under any of the stringent conditions imposed by Clauses 96 and 97 of the Act of 1870. It is because we feel that this is apparently the foundation of a policy which is to deteriorate the position of school boards, to diminish their influence, and in other ways to evade the great Act of 1870 to which the noble Duke was a party, that we strongly oppose the Minute now before the House.
§ On Question, their Lordships divided: Contents, 18; Not-Contents, 69.397
|Carrington, E.||Hereford, L. Bp.||Kinnaird, L.|
|Chesterfield, E. [Teller.]||Leigh, L.|
|Portsmouth, E.||Battersea, L.||Lingen, L.|
|Spencer, E.||Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)||Reay, L.|
|Burghclere, L.||Ribblesdale, L. [Teller.]|
|Gordon, V. (E. Aberdeen.)||Davey, L.||Tweedmouth, L.|
|Hobhouse, L.||Welby, L.|
|Halsbury, E. (L. Chancellor.)||Abercorn, M. (D. Abercorn.)||Carnwath, E.|
|Devonshire, D. (L. President.)||Bath, M.||Denbigh, E.|
|Salisbury, M. (L. Privy Seal.)||Bristol, M.||Derby, E.|
|Portland, D.||Pembroke and Montgomery, E. (L. Steward.)||Mar and Kellie, E.|
|Wellington, D.||Mayo, E|
|Morley, E.||Addington, L.||Macnaghten, L.|
|Mount Edgcumbe, E.||Ashbourne, L.||Manners, L.|
|Onslow, E.||Belper, L.||Manners of Haddon, L. (M. Granby.)|
|Powis, E.||Carysfort, L. (E. Carysfort.)|
|Selborne, E.||Chelmsford, L.||Monckton, L. (V. Galway.)|
|Shaftesbury, E.||Churchill, L. [Teller.]||Monk Bretton, L.|
|Vane, E. (M. Londonderry.)||Colchester, L.||Montagu of Beaulieu, L.|
|Waldegrave, E. [Teller.]||De Mauley, L.||Norton, L.|
|Westmeath, E.||Farquhar, L.||Pirbright, L.|
|Glanusk, L.||Ponsonby, L.(E. Bessborough.)|
|Cross, V.||Glenesk, L.||Raglan, L.|
|Falkland, V.||Grey de Ruthyn, L.||Robertson, L.|
|Frankfort Be Montmorency, V.||Harris, L.||Rowton, L.|
|James, L.||Saltoun, L.|
|Goschen, V.||Kenyon, L.||Savile, L.|
|Llandaff, V.||Kintore, L. (E. Kintore.)||Sherborne, L.|
|Portman, V.||Langford, L.||Southampton, L.|
|Ridley, V.||Lawrence, L.||Tredegar, L.|
|Sidmouth, V.||Ludlow, L.||Windsor, L.|