§ *LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH rose to "call attention to the Minute of the Committee of Council on Education in Scotland, of date January 30th, 1905, providing for the establishment of committees for the training of teachers; and to ask the Vice-President of the Committee whether the transference of training colleges indicated in Article IX. will, in all cases, be permanent and irrevocable; and, if so, what is to be the 399 guarantee for the permanence of the policy outlined in the Minute; whether any more definite indication of the principles by which payment for purchase or rent of premises dealt with in Article IX. will be determined than is set forth in that article can be given; whether, under Article XII., the representatives will be chosen by the constituent body described as a 'church or denomination' or by the committee, and what relative proportion they will bear to the total number of the committee; whether the regulations indicated in Article XVII. of the Minute have been drafted and have received the sanction of the Government, and whether they can be laid on the Table of this House; and to ask whether, under all the circumstances, the Government will agree to suspend any action under the Minute until the Scotch Education Bill has become law. "He said, My Lords, I do not think any apology is needed on my part for bringing this matter before the House, because I think I shall be able to convince your Lordships before I sit down that very important issues are involved, or at any rate may be involved, in the policy of the Scotch Education Department which is outlined in this Minute. I have put down a series of Questions on the Paper which look somewhat formidable, but I can assure your Lordships that they cover the whole of the ground which I shall traverse to-night, and that there is nothing in my mind which is not shown by the Questions on the Paper. Before I actually say a few words in explanation of them I would like to observe that I am not quite certain whether your Lordships really understand the technical position in which the House is placed by the presentation of this Minute. As I understand, it is the claim of the Scotch Education Department that over the policy outlined in this Minute Parliament has no power, except what may be given by the financial control of the other House; in other words, I do not suppose that any vote on the part of this House would have the slightest effect in changing the policy outlined in the Minute.
§ As I understand, the Minute is not laid on the Table of this House in pursuance of any statute or of any obligation whatever imposed on the Scotch Edu- 400 cation Department either by direct enactment or even by custom. The Minute is laid on the Table solely as an act of grace on the part of the Department, and simply to inform Parliament and the public of the policy they desire to pursue. If I am correctly informed in that, it seems to be a very large demand indeed on the part of the Department, and very greatly to accentuate the importance of the new departure which is being made in this way; because it follows, if the Department as now constituted can outline this new policy of its own motion, that Parliament, or at any rate this House, has no real guarantee that the policy which is laid down now for the first time in this Minute will be of a permanent or even of any enduring effect at all. So far as the general policy of the Minute is concerned, I have no fault to find with it in so far as it is intended to improve the facilities for the training of teachers, and to bring that training in even more close connection with the Universities than it at present is. It not only has my hearty support, but I claim that it is only in that respect developing and strengthening and, perhaps, improving the policy which I myself had the privilege of laying down and acting upon during the years that I was in control of the Department itself.
I venture to say also that probably very few of your Lordships are really aware how far this connection between the Universities and the training of teachers has already gone in Scotland. I believe I am not wrong in saying that of those who are passing through the curriculum to fit them for the training of teachers, both male and female, a very large proportion are now receiving part of their training in University classes—I believe so far as the males are concerned, not fewer than 75 per cent. In the past that has been done in connection with the training colleges, as they are maintained by the various churches interested in religious education, and, therefore, under their control and with their guarantee for the fitness of the religious training which is given to those teachers. Now I come to the Minute itself. So far as the first eight Articles are concerned, they deal with the University side of the training of teachers. From Articles No. IX.
to No. XI. the question of religious instruction is dealt with, and from No. XII. onwards there is nothing but the machinery for carrying out the previous Articles of the Minute. It is in connection with Article No. IX. that I raise the point of the permanent security which we have for the continuance of the policy outlined. Let me read that Article. It is as follows—
In the event of the body of management of any existing training college or colleges revolving to demit its powers of management in favour of any of the committees constituted under this Minute, and to transfer to the said committee the college premises and equipment, the committee shall have power to receive the same, and to pay therefor such purchase money or annual rent as may be agreed upon, provided always that no payment shall be made for the purchase or rent of any premises which are held in trust by the said body of management for the purpose of training teachers.
§ Now, my Lords, you may apparently transfer the training college on one of two conditions—either once for all on payment of such lump sum as may be agreed upon, or on the payment of an annual rent. The first Question which I desire to be informed upon is whether it is intended that the transference when once made, whether by the payment of a lump sum or an annual rent, will in all cases be a permanent and final transference. In the first of these alternatives it must obviously be so, but is the payment of an annual rent to convey the idea of a lease under which, if the policy is not successful, the, church may hereafter resume its control over the training college?
§ The second Question which I put deals with funds. The Article I have quoted states at the end that no payment shall be made for the purchase or rent of any premises which are held in trust by the said body of management for the purpose of training teachers. On the face of it that looks perfectly reasonable and fair, but I think we require some further definition of what is really in the mind of the Department than is given here. I am anxious to know whether the rules which are contemplated in one of the later Articles of the Minute have as yet been drafted, and whether before the Department acts upon this Minute we shall have an opportunity of seeing what those rules are. The 402 funds for the provision of training colleges come, so far as I know, from one of three sources. They have either been provided during a long series of years by church collections or donations from individual members of those churches, or they have been provided by savings out of the fees or the grants paid by the Government to the churches. So far as the first of these sources is concerned, it is perfectly clear that the church is entitled to full payment for all that it has paid out for these colleges. In regard to the second source, if any savings have been accumulated it seems equally clear to me that the church would not be entitled to expect repayment for money which had been given by Government for the very purpose for which ostensibly these buildings are still to be used. But, my Lords, with regard to the third source, that of legacies, it seems to me that the words of the Minute are not perfectly distinct and clear, and that you will have, at any rate—and I wish to know whether this is the idea of the Department—to go into an exhaustive inquiry into the terms of the will of the man or woman who has left the legacy in every case in order that you may see whether the legacy in general terms to the church has been devoted to this purpose, or whether the money has been particularly destined to the training of teachers apart and distinct from the religious training of those teachers. I am very anxious to know what is said about that important matter in the rules which are promised, and I think we ought to see the rules before the Department acts upon this Minute.
There is one small Question I would ask with regard to the terms of Article XII. The phraseology seems to me peculiar. The Article speaks of a "Church or denomination." I want to know what is the difference between a church and denomination. I think the word "denomination" is strange in a Scottish Minute. I hope I should not be misunderstood by your Lordships when I say that if the word denomination is right I do not understand why, in contradistinction to the word Church, it should be spelt with a small "d." I do not wish to develop that further, and I
might be misunderstood it I were to do so, but I do not understand what is intended in Scottish matters by the word denomination. I know all the churches that have training colleges. There is the Church of Scotland, to which I belong, which has three colleges, which I suppose is allowed to be a Church; there is the Roman Catholic Church, which has a training college in Glasgow, only, I think, for female students; then there is the Scottish Episcopal Church, which has a college in Edinburgh for both sexes. Those, I presume, are Churches. The only other body which has colleges is one of those two bodies who were brought prominently before your Lordships' notice in the appeal case heard in your Lordships' House last session. I suppose these colleges now belong to the Free Church, but whether or not, I do not understand the use of the word denomination in this connection as regards Scotland. It seems to me a borrowing of a phraseology which I do not at all approve of—a sort of ecclesiastical slang—from south of the Tweed. Article XII. provides that—
Where a training college is transferred as set forth in the preceding section, the accepting committee shall co-opt, as fully privileged members, representatives of the said Church or denomination, as provided in the annexed schedule.
§ What I want to know is whether the Church is to be allowed to elect its representatives, or whether the committee at its own sweet will is to take gentlemen or ladies who are members of the Church. There are varying degrees of confidence placed in various members of the different churches, and I for one shall be extremely dissatisfied if the committee—perhaps a hostile committee—are to be those who are to decide who are to be the so-called representatives of the Church. It seems to me that the churches themselves should be entitled to select representatives in whom they themselves have confidence, and I hope that that matter will be made perfectly clear before we leave the subject.
§ I come to one other matter, and this is really the kernel of the whole question. I am not sure whether under this Minute we have any guarantee that those to whom is committed the duty of training 404 the teachers will be always thoroughly qualified to give the instruction in those sacred subjects with which they will have to deal. Of course, I may be told that the whole question of religious instruction in our public schools depends upon the will of the people of Scotland. That is absolutely and perfectly true, and with that guarantee I for one am perfectly satisfied. I have confidence that the people of Scotland will not depart from their traditional policy, but in that respect we have got statutory security. The preamble of the Act of 1872 recites the fact that religious instruction shall always be given in Scottish schools, but there are in the clauses of that Act provisions securing to the majority in any district power to decree what religious instruction, if any, shall be given in the schools. With all that I am perfectly satisfied.
§ The question I am raising is this, What security is there for the fitness of the teachers who are in the future to give that instruction? It is no use to say that there shall be religious instruction if the people want it, if there is a monopoly in the training of teachers on the part of the State, the State in its accepted policy for many years having said it will have nothing whatever to do with the religious side of education. I believe that to be a settled policy, and whether I agree with it or not is not the question. The point is that is a settled question, and concurrently with the promise that the people of Scotland shall have a continuance of religious instruction in their schools. Hitherto the different churches have been allowed to train their teachers, and it is because I am not sure of the security given by this Minute for religious instruction that I have placed this Question on the Paper. Your Lordships will see that this is an important matter. We have in Scotland no real quarrel in this matter. The great majority of us agree that the two churches that are in the minority have in the main their own schools, and are able to train their own teachers under conditions which heretofore have been, if not absolutely fair, at any rate as fair as I believe it is possible to make them. If there is any loss of security for this religious instruction we are, I 405 think, cutting very deep into the policy which has been pursued in Scotland in this matter for many years past.
§ I am entitled, I think, to rely upon agreement with the main lines of what I have been saying on the part of His Majesty's Government, because I noticed that in his speech at Manchester the other day the Prime Minister said that the principle that parents were entitled to the full control of the religious education given to their children was the fundamental principle which ruled all education. The right of the State to see that children are educated is undeniable, but it is a right which seems to me universally admitted to be exercised by the State only on behalf of the parent, and in accordance with the wishes of the parent. I believe it to be the desire of the overwhelming majority of the people of Scotland to have adequate security for religious instruction. I do not like to think that by this side wind there is a risk of this principle being cut into so deeply as I think it may be under this Minute. I regret to have detained your Lordships so long, but I am sure you will agree with me that the importance of the subject and the insidious way in which this policy is put before us justifies my bringing the matter forward. The only other Question I have to ask is whether in all the circumstances, and having regard to the fact that there is a Scottish Education Bill before the other House of Parliament, it would not be wise on the part of the Government to agree to postpone action on this Minute until that Bill has passed into law, and until we have an opportunity of securing some statutory guarantee for the permanence of the policy which I believe is outlined and intended to be carried out in this Minute. I beg to put the Questions standing in my name.
§ *LORD REAY
My Lords, through the courtesy of the noble Marquess the Secretary for Scotland, I am allowed to put certain Questions of which I have given him private notice, but before doing so I wish to express my approval of the policy embodied in this Minute. I believe it is a wise step in advance, and that it secures the training on national 406 lines of teachers in Scotland, for elementary as well as for secondary education. I cannot share the anxiety of my noble friend opposite, whose administration of education in Scotland has been so beneficial that by this Minute the religious training of teachers will be in danger. I believe that the various churches are quite capable of ensuring the religious training in the transferred colleges of their adherents, and I do not think that any large body of students educated in those colleges will desire to withdraw from the facilities which certainly will be given by the Government for religious instruction. The people of Scotland attach importance to the religious instruction given in their schools, and no difficulty arises with regard to this instruction. I endorse the regret which the noble Lord expressed at the appearance in this Minute of a word around which such great controversies have centred in England, and of which fortunately in Scotland we have heard hitherto very little. My noble friend the Secretary for Scotland will be well advised in future not to introduce the expressions "denomination" and "denominational" into the educational vocabulary North of the Tweed, as they do not indicate any existing cleavage in the character of the Board schools.
I now come to the Questions of which I have given the noble Marquess private notice. In the first place, I wish to ask him whether the purchase money mentioned in Article IV. of the Minute, and the capital expenditure mentioned in Article XV., will be raised by loan or be provided from the balance of the grant mentioned in Article XIV. A distinction is made in Clause 32 of the Bill which has just been introduced between grants-in-aid of capital expenditure and of other thin capital expenditure. My second Question is, Has the committee power to erect premises if no suitable premises can be acquired by purchase or lease? I am glad to see in the Minute that the establishment of a training centre at Inverness is contemplated as a possible contingency. In that case it might be deemed opportune to erect a training college instead of acquiring one by purchase or by lease. The third Question I wish to ask is, Are the maintenance 407 allowances and the fees mentioned in Articles IV. and V. subject to the approval of the Department? My fourth Question is whether the courses mentioned in Article 91 (d) of the Code are to come under the control of the committees created by the Minute. Those are the courses given by county councils or other local authorities, and it will require careful consideration whether county councils and school boards can be placed under the control of these committees. My fifth Question, which I suppose my noble friend will answer in the affirmative, is, Will a training college which does not "demit its powers of management" receive grants under the Code? My sixth Question, of which the importance will not be denied, is, Where the training college is held in trust and is transferred by the trustees to the committee, is the accepting committee bound by the trust deed, and can no legal objection be raised to such transfer by members of the church—I do not add or denomination—whose representatives hold the training college in trust? My seventh Question is, Are the representatives of the church or denomination mentioned in Article XII. fully privileged as regards all matters to be dealt with by the accepting committee, or only as regards those relating to the transferred training colleges? My final Question is, Will the funds mentioned in Article XIV. and the fees mentioned in Article V. be sufficient to provide for the training of teachers for secondary and elementary schools as regards capital and other expenditure, and, if not, are there any other sources of income which can be made available?
§ *THE SECRETARY FOR SCOTLAND (The Marquess of LINLITHGOW)
My Lords, I think it would best meet your Lordships' convenience if I give categorical replies to the somewhat long list of Questions put to me by the noble Lord behind me and the noble Lord on the front Opposition Bench. I will first deal with the Questions asked by Lord Bal-four of Burleigh. In reply to his first Question, I have to say that the transference of a training college under Article IX. of the Minute is a voluntary transaction. A church or religious denomination 408 may therefore (1) retain the property in any training college in which it is vested and conduct exactly as at present; or (2) while retaining its property and providing for religious instruction therein, according to its own views and under its own direction, it may grant the use of the college buildings to the committee for all other purposes of the training of teachers; or (3) it may divest itself of all rights in the property in favour of the accepting committee upon the conditions, inter alia, that the stipulations of Articles XI. and XII. of the Minute are observed. In the last case the conditions of transference would presumably be embodied in a legal instrument, and would have all the permanency that can be given to them by a legal contract, whether the present Minute remained in force or was superseded.
In reply to the second Question, I have to say that for buildings erected by funds received from the State or from profits on the management of training colleges arising directly or indirectly from the proceeds of Government grants or from sums specifically given for training of teachers there could be no compensation granted. But a claim for payment of a money consideration in respect of contributions from general church funds or other sources not expressly destined for the training of teachers would be considered. The noble Lord next asked whether, under Article XII., the representatives will be chosen by the constituent body described as a "Church or denomination," or by the committee, and what relative proportion they will bear to the total number of the committee. The use of the word "representatives" in this Article, in the opinion of the Department f sufficiently indicates that the persons so designated must be chosen by the transferring church, and not by the accepting committee. What the number of these representatives in any particular case shall be must be a matter of agreement between the transferring church and the accepting committee, and it is not possible to say what proportion they will bear to the whole number. The terms of the Minute secure that there shall be at least two. I have to say, in 409 reply to the fourth Question, that the regulations have not yet been drafted. They will deal with the whole question of the training and certification of teachers as in Chapter IV. of the Code and in the existing special regulations of the Department on the subject. When drafted they will be laid before Parliament. With reference to the last Question which my noble friend asks, I regret that I cannot give a reply in the affirmative. His Majesty's Government cannot undertake that the operation of the Minute shall be indefinitely postponed, but it will be observed that under Article XV. of the Minute no expenditure can be incurred by any committee until an estimate of their expenditure has been submitted to and approved by the Department, and I undertake that no such expenditure shall be authorised until the subject has been discussed in both Houses of Parliament.
I now come to the Questions put to me by the noble Lord on the Front Bench opposite, and of which he gave me private notice. He asked, in the first place, whether the purchase money mentioned in Article IV. and the capital expenditure mentioned in Article XV. will be raised by loan or be provided from the balance of the grant mentioned in Article XIV. I would inform the noble Lord, in reply, that any sums necessary will be found by the Department, provided they have been included in the estimate to be submitted to and approved by the Department in terms of Article XV. In reply to his second Question, in which he inquired whether the committee have power to erect premises if no suitable premises can be acquired by purchase or lease, I have to state that it is not considered that the erection of new premises will be necessary for the present. Should the necessity arise, the terms of the Minute may be altered as provided for by Article XVIII. The noble Lord next asked whether the maintenance allowances and the fees mentioned in Articles IV. and V. were subject to the approval of the Department. These items will naturally be included in the estimate of expenditure to be approved by the Department under Article XV.
410 In reply to the noble Lord's fourth Question, in which he asked whether the courses mentioned in Article 91 (d) of the Code are to come under the control of the committees created by the Minute, I have to reply that it is proposed that courses for the further instruction of teachers already in employment should ultimately be conducted by the committees instituted under this Minute. But so long as county councils have power to conduct classes under Article 91 (d) of the Code, their conduct of these classes will not be directly controlled by the committees. The noble Lord next asked whether a training college which did not demit its powers of management would receive grants under the Code. My answer to this is, certainly. Next, the noble Lord inquired whether where a training college is held in trust and is transferred by the trustees to the committee, the accepting committee is bound by the trust deed, and whether no legal objection could be raised to such transfer by members of the Church or denomination whose representatives hold the training college in trust. No trustees could act in breach of a trust deed, but it is impossible to give a more definite answer without having the precise terms of such a trust deed before one. The noble Lord also inquired whether the representatives of the Church or denomination mentioned in Article XII. are fully privileged as regards all matters to be dealt with by the accepting committee or only as regards those relating to the transferred training colleges. When representatives of a church are added to a committee in accordance with the terms of Article XII., these representatives become members of the committee, and will be entitled to take part in any business thereof.
Finally, the noble Lord asked whether the funds mentioned in Article XIV. and the fees mentioned in Article V. will be sufficient to provide for the training of teachers for secondary and elementary schools as regards capital and other expenditure; and, if not, whether there are any other sources of income which can be made available. My answer to that Question is that it is believed that the funds mentioned will be sufficient for the present 411 for the purposes specified. My noble friends behind me and my noble friend opposite raised an objection to the term "Church or denomination." Of course it must be known to your Lordships that this Minute is not a child of mine, but I accept full responsibility for it now. I have looked up the Education Act of 1872, and I find that the term "denomination" is a good term in educational matters. Section 68 of the Act of 1872 refers to "children of all denominations." I should be very sorry indeed if a mere term imported into a Minute of this kind were to drag us into any of those difficulties which I fear have been not unknown on this side of the Tweed. I thank your Lordships for the patience with which you have listened to me, and I trust that the answers I have given will prove satisfactory.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
My Lords, I venture to join in the approval of this Minute which has been expressed by my noble friend on the front Opposition Bench. I merely rise to make one remark with regard to the first Question asked by the noble Lord opposite, Lord Balfour—namely, whether the transference of training colleges indicated in Article IX. will in all cases be permanent and irrevocable, and, if so, what is to be the guarantee for the maintenance of the policy outlined in the Minute. I do not think that the Department could possibly have gone further than it has gone with regard to the colleges which may be transferred. Your Lordships might suppose, from what was said, that this was an absorption of the colleges by the University committees, and that the transfer was not being made at the will and desire of the churches to which the colleges now belonged. If your Lordships will look at the Minute you will see that it is only in the event of a body of management resolving to demit its powers of management and transfer to the committee the college premises that any transfer can take place; and, moreover, when you look at the terms of the Minute and at Article XI., you will see that any church which may choose to act in pursuance of this Minute will have 412 made a remarkable bargain for itself. The Minute provides that—When a training college so transferred is the property of, or is held in trust by, the representatives of any Church or religious denomination, it shall be a condition of such transference that provision shall be made therein for religious instruction in accordance with the views of the said Church or denomination, to an extent not less than that which is at present customary in the college so transferred.That means that when a college which has hitherto belonged to a Church is transferred to a University Committee it will be supported out of public funds, and will receive the same amount of religious instruction which it is receiving at the present time. It seems to me that nothing further can be desired.
On behalf of the church it is asked, What guarantee have we for the permanence of this? Well, in the first place, it would be impossible for Parliament or the Department to bind its successors. We know that at the present time the church is treated very liberally from the religious point of view, and there is an obvious way in which the church may protect itself. It is perfectly within the power of any church which desires to transfer its college to insert in the deed of transfer a condition that should at any time less religious instruction be given than had been given hitherto or than is bargained for under Article XL., then the college and all its property shall revert to the church. It seems to me that in a safeguard of that sort the church has a most satisfactory security. Those who know anything about this question in Scotland are aware that the reason for a church's possible desire to transfer these colleges is that if the University Committees were to establish training colleges in competition with those of the churches, the larger number of the teachers in training would probably go to the national training colleges; but, anyhow, there would be very considerable difficulty in keeping up the training colleges connected with the churches. It is for that reason that the churches, very wisely, I think, have entered into a sort of arrangement with the Department to transfer their colleges. That is a very wise and sensible thing, so far as my judgment goes, for them to do; but to go further and ask for a guarantee 413 that the same amount of religious instruction is always to be continued is to ask something which is not reasonable, and which it would not be in the power of Parliament or the Department to concede. Therefore, I think the policy laid down in the Minute is as favourable to the churches as it possibly could be.
*THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My Lords, I hope I shall not be intruding if I venture to say a few words on this subject. Although I have no personal connection with education matters north of the Tweed, yet the subject with which this Minute deals concerns in an indirect way English as well as Scottish interests. I associate myself entirely with the position taken by my noble friend Lord Balfour of Burleigh in the speech with which he introduced this question to your Lordships. Like my noble friend I desire to express complete sympathy with the general policy which so far as I understand it underlies the Minute in question. I do not think we have real ground for regarding the interests which we care for most as being imperilled by this Minute; but, at the same time, I for one am grateful to my noble friend for having introduced this subject and emphasised the need for caution and the provision of safeguards against the peril that such a transfer as is now proposed might weaken the religious basis upon which the training colleges have from the first rested. It is perfectly true, as the noble Bad opposite (Lord Camperdown) said, that no training college is under compulsion to transfer itself; but there are other processes besides direct compulsion which may practically produce the same result. It is easy to see how an establishment endowed with all the resources of the State may practically bring about the decease of the colleges by under-cutting the existing religiously-grounded institutions and so compelling them to close their doors. But I see no reason at present to apprehend anything of the kind.
What has fallen from the noble Marquess the Secretary for Scotland and from the noble Lord on the front bench opposite (Lord Reay) reassures us all as 414 to there being practically no difference of opinion on this subject amongst those who have really at heart the interests of educational matters in Scotland, and the control, directly or indirectly, of the policy that is to be pursued. I am anxious merely to say how cordially we emphasise, from the English standpoint, the position taken by Lord Balfour of Burleigh as to the care that is necessary in this matter lest we allow the principle to drop upon which the training colleges were started—a principle which we believe to be inherent to their health today, namely, that religious teaching shall form an essential part of what goes on there. We feel that that needs to be safeguarded by those who are concerned in any such transfer as is at present contemplated. It is true to say that the initial stimulus in educational matters as regards training colleges must be assigned, not to the State, but to the bodies which had specially at heart the religious teaching which was to accompany secular teaching. Gradually the State has dissociated itself further and further from the religious side of the instruction given either in the training colleges or in the schools to which those who are there trained go as teachers, and in proportion as the State dissociates itself from the supervision of religious teaching in any form, it becomes the more essential that those of us who care for the religious as well as for the secular side of education shall see that the religious side is not forgotten or impaired. It is because we believe that that branch of education will be considered and remembered by those who are responsible in Scotland for the transfers that are about to take place under this Minute that we can express our general approval of the policy which seems to be foreshadowed.
We care, first, that the teacher who is being educated in the training college shall learn himself or herself that religious knowledge which is afterwards to be imparted; and, secondly, that he or she should adequately learn to impart that knowledge to little children. The two things are not identical, and there is no branch of educational science more difficult to acquire than the power of imparting to little children that religious knowledge which we believe 415 practically all the parents on both sides of the Tweed desire should be imparted to the children in the schools to which those teachers thus trained are to go, It is just because we care for that so greatly that we are anxious to remind those who are at this moment responsible, and those who may hereafter be responsible, that it is in consequence of the assurance which has been fairly given to us that such is the intention of those who are promoting the change that we feel able now, as I for one cordially do, to support the policy here laid down, and to say that we wish it all success.
§ LORD TWEEDMOUTH
My Lords, I should like to add a few words on this subject. It is notorious that our system of training in Scotland has been very defective in the past, and that those colleges which have been essentially denominational colleges, have failed to supply a sufficient number of teachers, or to teach them satisfactorily. There are one or two points in this proposal to which I should like to draw your Lordships' attention. It has not been distinctly stated how far in these new colleges, when they were transferred, religious or denominational Instruction is to be given to the teachers. It does seem to me that there is a great deal of danger in not defining this clearly, for there is no doubt that heretofore the colleges have given religious instruction in accordance with the views of the particular denomination to which the training college belonged. When these colleges are transferred to the Universities they will practically become national training colleges, and it does seem to me that in national training colleges denominational teaching should not be given. The only safe way to deal with the question would be to let the teaching in such colleges be secular teaching, and leave the training of the teachers, so far as religious views are concerned, to the churches themselves.
There is another point. As I understand, the noble Marquess the Secretary for Scotland pointed out that this is in a large measure an optional arrangement. There is no compulsion on the training colleges to come in under this system; they are quite at liberty to stay out and 416 continue as in the past. I trunk that is a little unfortunate, because what we really want to see is a national system of training teachers established in Scotland. It should be done in connection with the Universities in a national way. When it is a question of a considerable transfer of property of this sort it is doubtful whether it is competent for the Department to carry it out by a Departmental Minute. It appears to me to be a matter much more suited for an Act of Parliament, and I should like to put it to the noble Marquess whether to give full effect to the objects of the Minute the proposals should not be put into a Bill and have the authority of an Act of Parliament. I think it will be difficult to find a precedent in which so great a transfer of property has been proposed to be made by a mere Minute of a Department.
I should like to say a word upon the last Question put to the noble Marquess by Lord Balfour of Burleigh. I would urge that delay is desirable, first, because we have not sufficiently full information with regard to the method in which, and how far, religious teaching is to be given; and, secondly, because I think it is almost a stretch of power to deal with so large a transfer of property by means of a Minute. Moreover, it does seem to me that the fact that there is now before Parliament a proposal to deal with education in Scotland which must largely affect this question is a further argument in favour of delay. As I understand, under the new-proposals provincial councils are to be set up throughout Scotland. It does seem to me that the question of the training of teachers is essentially one which ought to be brought within the work of the provincial councils, and I think it will be found that these councils, when they are set up, will more and more be entrusted with work of this sort. That being the case, is it advisable to set up a system of committees, which at best can last but a few months, when there are certainly many open points yet to be discussed and decided. I would urge that in the meantime it would be desirable to postpone any further action in this matter.
*THE LORD PEESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL AND PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION (The Marquess of LONDONDERRY)
My Lords, 417 I do not think I shall be contradicted when I say that no Member of your Lord-ships' House is more qualified to speak on Scottish matters than my noble friend Lord Balfour of Burleigh, who for s many years occupied the position of Secretary for Scotland with credit to himself and to the admiration of all classes o the community in Scotland. Consequently, when he raised this very important question to-day your Lordship, naturally listened to him with the greatest interest, and I think the noble Marques; who replied on behalf of the Scottish Office clearly and explicitly answered in detail the Questions put to him. The great fear which Lord Balfour entertains as to the effect of the Minute is that religious education in Scotland will be weakened. Occupying the position I do I am bound to be, so far as that is possible, strictly impartial, but no one has a greater respect for religious instruction in schools than I have, and if I thought for one moment that the Minute was likely to weaken religious instruction in Scotland I should not be standing here to-night to defend that Minute. I cannot believe for one moment that the Minute will have that effect.
The most rev. Primate and my noble friend laid great stress on the fact that teachers ought to be absolutely imbued with the views that they have to impart to the children under their care, and I agree entirely with all that was said on that point. I do not think that education of any kind can be properly imparted to children unless the teacher is specially trained to impart that knowledge, and I cannot, for one moment, believe that the change which is proposed will result in the teachers receiving less religious instruction. The change undoubtedly is to a certain extent a great one, but, whatever takes place under it, there is no compulsion of any sort or kind on denominational colleges, nor need they have the least fear that they will have to abandon their present position if such a course is contrary to their wishes. It is possible for them, if they choose, to remain absolutely independent, and not only that, but to receive in the future those grants from the State which they have received in the past.
418 Apart from the position of the exist in training colleges each committee is empowered to provide, whether in University classes or otherwise, courses of instruction suitable for the training of teachers, and it is especially laid down that these courses may include, if the committee so determine, instruction in religious subjects. It may be said, "Yes but that ought to be compulsory. It ought not to be left in the power of the committee to decide whether it should or should not be given." I honestly confess that I do not think there is any need for apprehension on that point. Religious instruction of a denominational character has always been given in Scotland in the past, and I cannot see why there should be any fear that it will not be given in the future.
My noble friend Lord Balfour of Butleigh alluded to a speech made by the Prime Minister at Manchester, in which my right hon. friend rightly declared that the religious instruction given to children should be in accordance with the wishes of their parents. That is what we have tried to do both in England and in Scotland. The committees which will be appointed will comprise members who have occupied prominent places on the local authorities in various districts, and if religious instruction of a denominational character has been given in the past in the schools over which they have had control, I do not see why any fear should be entertained on that score in the future. In England denominational instruction cannot be given in the provided schools, but in Scotland no such difference exists. That being so, I cannot see why there should be any apprehension on account of the proposed change.
The rights and privileges of the colleges that may be transferred are thoroughly safeguarded in the Minute. Article XI. provides that when a training college so transferred is the property of, or is held in trust by, the representatives of any Church or religious denomination, it shall be a condition of such transference that provision shall be made therein for religious instruction in accordance with the views of the said Church or denomination to in extent not less than that which is at 419 present customary in the college so transferred, which instruction may either be provided by the accepting committee or the transferring Church or denomination, as may be agreed between them. And Article XI. goes on to say that where the accepting committee undertake to provide such instruction on their own behalf, it shall be a condition that they also undertake to afford adequate facilities for the periodical inspection of the said instruction by duly accredited representatives of the transferring Church or denomination under conditions to be determined by the Department. That being the case, I really do not see how there can be any apprehension as regards the future of religious education in these colleges should they be transferred to the committee.
My noble friend opposite, Lord Tweed-mouth, suggested that the matter should be more fully threshed out before the Minute became operative. My noble friend the Secretary for Scotland has permitted me to say that he has no objection to the question being discussed as often as your Lordships choose. But I do not think my noble friend Lord Balfour will have any cause to complain of the categorical answers so clearly given to his Questions by the noble Marquess.
§ *THE MARQUESS OF RIPON
My Lords, I am very well aware that those who dwell on the other side of the Tweed do not like the interference of Englishmen in Scottish questions, and it is a very reasonable feeling on their part. Your Lordships, therefore, will not be surprised when I say that I do not rise for the purpose of discussing the details of this matter at all; but I do think that the suggestion of my noble friend Lord Balfour of Burleigh, which has been supported by my noble friend Lord Tweedmouth, that this Minute should not be brought into operation until after both Houses have had an opportunity of discussing the Education Bill which we understand is shortly to be introduced, is one deserving of the serious consideration of His Majesty's Government. There are some portions of this Minute which, as suggested by Lord Tweedmouth, seem to me to require legislation, and I do not think they 'can be carried out by a mere Minute. But, 420 apart from that question, as we are going to have a Scottish Education Bill this year, I would press on His Majesty's Government that they should not deal with the question partly by Minute before the Bill is brought in, and partly by Bill, but should deal with the subject as a whole and by Bill as being the best means of securing complete discussion by Parliament.