HL Deb 28 July 1902 vol 111 cc1336-7


Order of the day for the Second Reading read.


The object of this Bill is to extend the "Cockerton" Act, making legal the instruction in evening continuation schools for a further period of twelve months. It is a Bill of only one Clause, and it passed without opposition through the other House.

"Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Earl of Northbrook.)


I do not rise to oppose the Second Reading; it is essential that the Bill should be passed. But an assurance has been given in the other House on the part of the Government that where a school in a particular locality is transferred to a neighbouring locality this will be allowed. I understand, however, that when the Bill came to be examined it was found that there was no real power to do so, and I am anxious to hear that there is no intention to diminish the influence of the schools stopped by the Cockerton judgment, and that there will not be a deliberate interference with those schools in the event of their being carried on in another place.


I was not aware that any such assurance as the noble Earl refers to was given in another place last year. But it certainly is the fact, as the noble Earl has suggested, that the Act of last year has been administered in practice with considerable strictness by the Education Department, and it is not their intention during the next year to administer it with any unnecessary strictness. The reasons which made the Board administer the Act with some degree of strictness have entirely disappeared, and we believe that there will not be the slightest difficulty in enabling a school which is substantially the same school, but which may for reasons of convenience be transferred to another locality, to receive the grant and to continue its operation under the Act. That is the intention, not only of the Education Department, but also of the Local Government Board; and I am able to give the noble Earl the fullest assurance that it is the intention of these two Departments to administer the Act in the most liberal spirit possible.


I suppose the noble Duke will not be willing to introduce an Amendment to carry out that intention?


The noble Earl must be perfectly aware that, in the present condition of business, it would be very dangerous to send the Bill back to another place with any Amendments in it.

On Question, agreed to. Bill read 2a accordingly; Committee negatived. Then Standing Orders Nos. xxxix. and xlv. considered (according to order) and dispensed with. Bill read 3a and passed.