HL Deb 04 August 1903 vol 126 cc1421-7

Amendments reported (according to order.)


I have two Amendments to the first schedule standing in my name, and it may be as well that I should say a few words in explanation of the reason why they have been put down. Paragraph 9, of the first schedule was inserted in the House of Commons on the Motion of Mr. Haldane. The provision, however, in its present form is not quite complete, in as much as, it does not deal with the case where the number of the governing body of an institution is limited. In such a case it will probably be convenient that the members of the governing body appointed by the local education authority should be additional members. The Amendments will make this possible.

Amendments moved— In the first schedule, paragraph 9, page 4, line 16, to leave out the words 'qualifications required by' and to insert the words 'provisions of'; and in line 17, after the word 'institution' to insert the words 'imposing any limit on the number of the members of the governing body or requiring any qualification for those members'; and to leave out the word 'to' and insert the words 'as respects.'"—(The Marquess of Londonderry.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.


Sub-section 11 provides that the managers of all public elementary schools shall not be appointed for a longer period than three years, at the end of which period they shall be eligible for reappointment. The object of my Amendment is to limit the operation of the subsection to managers of public elementary schools provided by the local education authority. The provision should not apply to voluntary schools, whose managers should be left to be appointed under the Trust Deed or under Orders made under Section 11 of the Act of last year. The effect of the Amendment is to make the necessary limitation. I trust that this will meet an Amendment moved at an earlier stage by the Bishop of Hereford. The grammar of the paragraph as it originally stood was not very satisfactory, and consequently exception was taken to it by the right reverend Prelate. That matter is altered by the Amendment.

Amendment moved— In the first schedule, page 4, line 20, to leave out the words 'The managers of all public elementary schools,' and to insert the words 'A manager of a public elementary school provided by the local education authority'; and in line 21 to leave out from the word 'years' to the end of the paragraph, and to insert the words 'but may be re-appointed.'"—(The Marquess of Londonderry.)


said it seemed to him that the Amendment would strike out all limit as to the period of appointment of managers of non-provided schools. The sub-section would read— A manager of a public elementary school provided by the local education authority shall not be appointed for a longer period than three years, but may be re-appointed. The result of that would be that, so far as provided schools were concerned, all the managers would have to be appointed every three years, whereas in the case of non-provided schools there would be no limit whatever, whether the managers were foundation managers or managers appointed by local authorities. He did not think that could be the intention of the noble Marquess. In certain cases, where the manager was appointed ex officio, it might be well for him not to come under the three years limit; but surely the other managers whether chosen by the local education authority or the owners of the school, ought to be appointed for three years, it being perfectly open for the people who appointed them to re-appoint them at the end of their term.


failed to see where the injustice came in.


hoped the noble Marquess would not press his Amendment, which would have a very serious effect. Under it they would have in non-provided schools managers appointed for all time, and no change would be possible. He thought it desirable that there should be a change, and he trusted that the President of the Board of Education would not insist upon his Amendment.


hoped the noble Marquess would take the matter into consideration. What object could anyone have in wishing that a manager should be appointed for an unlimited time? He did not think that was in the interests either of non-provided school managers or of provided school managers. Surely there was nothing at all harsh in providing that every manager should be elected once in three years. It was a simple rule and a good one.


I understand there is no limit to the length of time for which voluntary school managers may be appointed in the country generally, and there seems to be no reason why a different rule should apply to London from that which applies to the rest of the country.


said he had understood that the noble Marquess's intention was to accept an Amendment which he had moved in order to make the schedule read grammatically, but in framing the Amendment now before the House a new condition had been introduced. He could not but feel that even the ungrammatical language would be preferable to the new clause. What the sub-section was intended to provide was, he imagined, this, that the managers of all public elementary schools should be appointed for a period not exceeding three years. That was the original intention, but it was illogically expressed.


confessed to having a great deal of sympathy with the arguments adduced as to the undesirability of permanent appointments of managers being made, either in provided or non-provided schools. But his difficulty arose from what was stated by the noble Duke with great force, that it was inconvenient to make a different arrangement in London from that which was applicable to the country, and he hoped rather that the Board of Education would use its authority to discountenance schemes which did not provide for a triennial election of all managers except those sitting ex officio.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


said that owing to the rapid transaction of business the other evening, he was precluded from moving an Amendment which stood in his name, and he now desired to bring it forward. It was a very modest Amendment, and its object was to give the local education authority power, by its by-laws dealing with school attendance, to require all children who left school before reaching the seventh standard, or such other standard as might be fixed by the bylaws, to attend continuation classes until they reached this standard, or, failing this, attained the age of sixteen years. The Amendment was of an urgent character, for it dealt with one of the greatest defects in our system of elementary education, and would check, to a large extent, the moral and intellectual waste that was now going on. As long ago as 1891 it was enacted in Germany that through the ordinance of a district council, or any wider communal body, attendance at a continuation school might be made obligatory for all male workers under the age of eighteen. Their Lordships would see how much more drastic this was than the proposal in his Amendment. The State law of Saxony, passed in 1873, enacted that all boys leaving the elementary schools should be required to attend a continuation school for three years, unless their further instruction was otherwise provided for by some approved means. As to the good results of these provisions there could be no question.

The Director of the Leipzic Continuation School had stated— Naturally boys of fourteen cannot be trusted by their own unaided intelligence to see the advantage or necessity of attending school. Therefore it is a good thing to have the rule. The great majority of the boys, if left alone, would never open a book or write a composition, or work a single sum after leaving school. But the most striking part of this teacher's testimony was as to the moral results of this system of continuation schools. He would like to see the principle of this Amendment applied to the whole country. A large number of persons interested in education, and many of the leading employers, were very anxious that attendance at this kind of continuation class should be made obligatory.

Amendment moved— In the first schedule, page, 4, after paragraph 11, to insert the following new paragraphs— '(a) The local education authority may, by its by-laws dealing with school attendance, require all children who leave school before reaching the seventh standard, or such other standard as may be fixed by the by-laws, to attend continuation classes until they reach this standard or, failing this, attain the age of sixteen years; and the minimum number of attendances required in each year shall be ninety of one hour each, it being provided that duly registered attendance at a Sunday school or Bible class shall, if the parents so desire, be reckoned for not more than thirty of the ninety attendances required. '(b) Parents and employers contravening such by-law shall be liable to a fine not exceeding forty shillings for each offence.'"—(The Lord Bishop of Hereford.)


said he was entirely in favour of the principle underlying the Amendment; but he believed that his right rev. brother would retard rather than promote the attainment of his object by putting this proposal in the schedule of a Bill dealing only with London education. He hoped that on a suitable opportunity legislation would be proposed giving effect to some proposal of this character and applying the principle to the country as a whole.


said the right rev. Prelate had struck the weakest point in our system of elementary education. It was essential that some such provision as this should be adopted if they were to have anything like true education for the children in elementary schools. When he was a parish clergyman he frequently found that in the course of two or three years lads who had left school at the ordinary period absolutely lost the power of reading intelligently.


The object of this Amendment is to enable the local education authority to make attendance at continuation schools compulsory beyond the age at which attendance at school is now compulsory. Such a provision is a wide-reaching and very important extension of the present law as to compulsory education. It was proposed last year as an Amendment to the general Act, and was resisted on the ground that any extension of the limits of compulsory education should be the subject of separate legislation, and should not be dealt with in a Bill which was dealing primarily with education machinery. These arguments are much stronger against the insertion of such a clause in the present Bill than they were against the insertion of the clause in last year's Act. There is no special reason from this point of view to differentiate London from the rest of the country, and such a provision should certainly not be made in a Bill which deals only with London. As a matter of fact, it is clearly not within the title of the Bill, which is only a Bill to extend last year's Act to London. I am bound, therefore, to ask the right rev. Prelate not to press his Amendment.


said he sympathised with the object which the right rev. Prelate had in view, but he agreed that it was not a subject that could be dealt with in this Bill.

Amendment, by leave of the House, withdrawn.

Bill to be read 3a to-morrow; and to be printed as amended. (No. 189.)