§ House again in Committee (according to Order.)
§ [The EARL of ONSLOW in the Chair]
§ Clause 3:—
§ *LORD REAY
rose to resume the discussion of Lord Balfour's Amendment to provide that in the case of any public elementary school in which extended 1223 facilities were not afforded under the Act the parents of not less than twenty children might demand facilities for religious education. He said that on an educational question relating to Scotland he would find himself generally in accord with his noble friend Lord Balfour of Burleigh. The noble Lord last night said very distinctly that the Cowper-Temple Clause was sufficient for him, and on that point, fortunately, they were in complete agreement. But then the noble Lord stated that the restraints of the Cowper-Temple Clause were derogatory to public control. On that point he did not agree with him. He thought they simply regulated the exercise of the public control, but did not destroy it.
The noble Lord further said that the compromise of 1870 had worked well for a number of years, but had broken down. They must ascertain when it broke down. It certainly had not broken down when the Bill of 1902 was under discussion. The Cowper-Temple Clause in the provided schools was left untouched as it stood before. It would be in the memory of many of their Lordships that Lord Lytton proposed an Amendment very similar to the one submitted by Lord Balfour and which was now before the Committee, and it was important to bear in mind what the attitude of the Government of 1902 was towards that Amendment. The noble Marquess who was then at the head of the Board of Education opposed the Amendment and used these words—What I said was that it would not give satisfaction to all those denominations which it is intended to benefit. I said the Nonconformists would not like it, the clergy would not like it, and the managers would not like it.He asked whether since 1902 anything had occurred which would make that statement at the present time less relevant or true. The noble Duke the Leader of the House at the time also opposed the Amendment in these terms—This proposal does, therefore, amount to giving to the local authority in every county, and in every borough, the power, if it thinks fit, of abrogating to that extent the Cowper-Temple Clause, and our contention is that such a power cannot he given to a local authority without the certainty of raising prolonged, acrimonious, and probably interminable disputes upon 1224 the religious question, and it is on these grounds that we must object to this proposal.He asked whether noble Lords opposite could suppose that at this juncture, after all that had happened since 1902, they could accept a proposal which the Government of that day repudiated.
Was there any reason to suppose that since 1902 the country had been dissatisfied with the provision made for religious instruction in provided schools? He confessed that he saw no evidence of it. He did not think there were any symptoms that the country wanted a change made in that direction, and whatever opposition there was to this Bill, it was not on that ground. It was caused by other enactments in the Bill, and not by those which left the provided schools untouched as they were left in the Act of 1902. Had the parents who sent their children to the provided schools shown in any way that they wanted the facilities which the noble Lord proposed to give them? He had not seen any trace of it. His noble friend said he was desirous that, if this instruction which he proposed should be given was to be given, it should not be given by outsiders as a rule, but by the teachers. He was not surprised that the noble Lord, with his knowledge of the requirements of discipline in the schools, had made that reservation. But if the teachers of the school were to give this denominational instruction, then he did not see how that could be done without imposing the tests which it was the object of this Bill to abolish. The noble Lord also laid stress on the obligation that the teachers should only teach what they believed. He did not disagree with him, but he thought that the safeguards in the Bill exempting teachers who did not wish to give religious instruction were quite sufficient.
He thought that, for instance, in London there would be a considerable difficulty in making the necessary arrangements. The noble Lord had alluded to London, and he (Lord Reay) might perhaps be allowed, with his experience of London schools, to state that the religious instruction as it was given under the London School Board formerly, and is given now in the County Council schools, 1225 had never given rise to any difficulty. The parents in no way objected to that instruction or wished to receive at the hands of the public authority more than the definite instruction which can be given under the Cowper-Temple Clause. Neither had there ever been any difficulty in finding teachers to give that instruction. But if they were going to accept this proviso and impose these new duties on the teachers, he was more than doubtful whether the teachers in these schools would be prepared to give this more specific instruction. There was considerable danger that by accepting this Amendment they would imperil the smooth working of the present system of giving religious instruction.
During the time he (Lord Reay) was Chairman of the London School Board there were no difficulties, and he might remind the Committee that on the occasion of the Amendment to which he had alluded—Lord Lytton's Amendment— the most rev. Primate, then Lord Bishop of Winchester, stated that—He saw great difficulty in such a plan as this working in the great board schools of our large towns, and that personally, if he were a manager of one of those schools, he would be very loth to take advantage of this privilege.Therefore, the Committee would notice that, with regard to the difficulties, which he thought would be very great in provided schools, he could claim the most rev. Primate as being on his side. He would also remind the Committee that one of the most experienced educationists this country had ever known, and one of the fairest minded of men, Sir Joshua Fitch, had said of this proposal that—The effect of the adoption of such a plan on the general discipline of the school, and on the authority of the head teacher, would be disastrous.What would be the state of things which under this Bill would arise in London? Under the Bill the religious instruction given in the provided schools would remain what it was. In the transferred voluntary schools they would have either the facilities given under Clause 3 or the facilities given under Clause 4, and he trusted and believed that the local authority in London would certainly not be illiberal in conceding those privileges to transferred voluntary schools. Therefore, after the passing of this Bill, 1226 in the educational system of London there would be hardly any perceptible difference as regards the religious instruction in the different schools. But if they accepted the Amendment now before the Committee, then undoubtedly they created an element of friction with regard to the administration of the provided schools which was now absent.
He was quite prepared to admit that parents of children attending council schools, if they desired such supplemental and additional instruction as was contemplated in the Amendment, ought to have it, and he saw no objection whatever to such instruction being given out of school hours by the various Churches to which those parents belonged. There was no difficulty in giving opportunities out of school hours for the children in the council schools to get that education which already in many instances was given to them; and the excellent Biblical instruction which was imparted under the Cowper-Temple Clause in the London schools was an admirable foundation on which to build that further instruction which could be given on Saturday, or in Sunday-schools, or at other convenient hours. He was as anxious as his noble friend to meet the wishes of the parents and any conscientious scruples which might arise, but he was not convinced that the method proposed in this Amendment was the method most likely to attain that object. It was on this ground that he was not prepared to vote for the Amendment proposed by his noble friend.
§ *LORD AMPTHILL
rose to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, that the word "ten" be substituted for the word "twenty." He desired to say a few words on the general principle of the Amendment before the Committee, and incidentally to make some reply to the noble Lord who had just spoken. The noble Earl the Lord President of the Council was good enough to suggest that he should make the explanation which he had to make regarding the Amendments standing in his name on the Paper in the discussion on Clause 3, and he could do so most conveniently it this moment without bringing up 1227 his actual Amendments. Indeed, he could do so in a very simple manner by merely referring to the eloquent speech which was made last night by the former Secretary for Scotland. That speech reminded him of a story which must have been familiar to their Lordships in their childhood, of a man who, being unable to commit to memory the prayers which he desired to say daily to the Almighty, or else being incapable of the effort of that repetition, wrote his prayers out on a card and performed his duty by pointing to the card daily and saying "Them's my sentiments." He (Lord Ampthill) thought, when listening to the noble Lord last night, that Lord Balfour's speech in every way represented the sentiments which he himself held.
If the Committee would allow him to refer to his noble friend's arguments as the justification of the case which he had intended to put forward, he would be able to refrain from reiteration just as he should refrain from pressing proposals which he knew were not acceptable to the Committee. He thought, however, that his Amendments would have effected the object which the noble Lord had in view in a more direct and simple manner. They would have done away with the necessity for all the complicated provisions in Clauses 3 and 4 of the Bill. What were facilities unless they were exceptions to the rule? And when they made one rule for all by giving equal rights to all there could be no possible occasion for exceptions. He went further and claimed for the principle which had been advocated by the noble Lord that, so far from contravening the principle of the Bill, it only extended it to its logical conclusion. The Bill proposed that there should be facilities for some. The noble Lord's suggestion was that there should be facilities for all.
He agreed with the noble Lord that the Bill, however it might be amended, would not finally settle this question, and he could only share his noble friend's surprise that this Government, which boasted of being democratic, if it was nothing else, should not have put forward legislation more democratic in principle than that contained in this Bill. What, after all, was the object of the Bill? 1228 It was as well to keep that steadily in view. It was to assert a principle and to remove two grievances. The principle, that of popular control, had been fully asserted, but neither this Bill nor any Bill on similar lines would redress the grievances. What, then, were the grievances? As he understood, the grievances were simply these, that Nonconformists were obliged to pay for religious instruction of which they disapproved, and that Nonconformist teachers suffered from restricted opportunities of appointment and promotion. They could not fairly remove the first grievance by imposing it on Anglicans and Roman Catholics, nor the second by imposing even more painful and odious restrictions on teachers who were not Nonconformists, restrictions which disabled them from teaching in the manner in which they felt bound and obliged to teach, namely, in accordance with their own religious convictions and faith. As had been said by many, both in their Lordships' House and in another place, there were only two possible alternative solutions. The first was that the State should not provide religious instruction for anybody, and the second was that the State should provide for everybody the religious instructions desired. There was an overwhelming consensus of opinion in favour of the latter course, and that was why he had endeavoured to advocate that course in the simplest and most direct manner.
But he would ask their Lordships to follow him a step further. If it was agreed—and it was universally agreed, he thought—that religious instruction should form an integral and essential part of national education, why should the State not pay for it? Why, then, should it not be as compulsory as the secular part of education, and why should it be treated as a mere extra, like dancing, drawing, or deportment? He knew that the objection which would be made was the old one that they would have some ratepayers paying for religious instruction of which they did not approve; but, if they carried the principle of the Bill to its logical conclusion and gave to everybody the religious instruction that each man wanted, the natural and inevitable result would 1229 be that nobody would be paying for anybody else. As for the other objection, the tests for teachers, assuming that the numbers of teachers were in proportion to the numbers of their coreligionists, it followed, as a matter of course, that every teacher, with perhaps a negligible amount of exceptions, could be appointed to a school where his own creed was taught. He could not see any insuperable objections to this scheme, nor did he for one moment believe it would lead to that strife and difficulty which the noble Lord who spoke last had foreshadowed.
He would remind their Lordships that the principle which underlay State-provided compulsory pan-denominational religious instruction—the system which he was advocating and which he was convinced would eventually form the solution of this great question, already existed in the law of the land. It was asserted in the Industrial Schools Act, 1866, and in the Elementary Education (Schools for the Blind) Act, 1893, which was passed in the last year of Mr. Gladstone's Administration. He would quote the words from that Act, because they stated the principle in a most clear and unequivocal manner—Where a child is required, in pursuance of this Act, to attend any school, the child shall not be compelled to receive religious instruction contrary to the wishes of the parents, and shall as far as practicable have facilities for receiving religious instruction and attending religious services conducted in accordance with the parents' persuasion, which shall be duly registered on the child's admission to the school.He thought that was the way this system could be worked. There would be no necessity for calling meetings of parents and holding ballots. The religious persuasion of the parents, or the particular religion that the parents wished the child to be taught in the event of their not desiring it to receive instruction in the doctrines of their own religion, could be entered on the register on the child's entry to the school. The principle to which he had referred was also accepted and endorsed by the Unionist Party in putting forward their abortive Education Bill in 1906. He held that a system of State-provided denominational schools must sooner or later be the solution of this question; but he recognised the 1230 difficulty of introducing it in this Bill, and would not press the Amendment which stood in his name. In conclusion, he begged to move that the word "ten" be substituted for the word "twenty" in Lord Balfour's Amendment, for he considered it highly desirable that minorities should be protested. Ten was a good round number, and a minority of ten, he ventured to say, was not a negligible quantity.
Amendment moved to the proposed Amendment—To leave out the word 'twenty' and insert the word 'ten.' "—(Lord Ampthill.)
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
My Lords, the noble Lord who has just sat down has in his remarks travelled over a somewhat wider field than that which I think was covered by the Amendment of my noble friend Lord Balfour of Burleigh. I shall not, therefore, follow him, but I desire very briefly to state why I, at all events, am unable at this stage of the Bill to give my support to my noble friend. In speaking on the Second Reading of this Bill before the Recess I used a few words which briefly explained the position I take on the question which has been raised by my noble friend. I said on that occasion—I have no doubt Amendments will be moved in this House for obtaining facilities for denominational teaching in council schools. For myself, I desire to see as little disturbance as possible of our existing system, and I do not desire to commit myself to support such Amendments until I see what, if any, concession the Government are prepared to make in regard to giving real facilities for denominational teaching in the transferred schools; but if no concessions in that direction are to be made, then I am of opinion that there is a good deal to be said for a provision which will place all provided schools on the same footing in regard to religious as well as to secular instruction.I adhere to those words, and, although I cannot say that I see any very obvious signs that the Government are likely to make any concession which would secure what I should consider adequate facilities for religious instruction in the transferred schools, yet we have not yet disposed of either Clauses 3 or 4, which deal with these facilities. I think that, in pursuance of the pledge which I then 1231 gave, I should not be justified in supporting any interference with the Cowper-Temple Clause until I know whether we are fully possessed of the intentions of His Majesty's Government in regard to the facilities in the transferred schools. But even if those facilities offered by the Government are not so satisfactory as I might desire, still I should hesitate to give my support to an Amendment of so wide a character as that which was proposed last night by my noble friend. It is almost identical, I think, with that which has been placed on the Paper by the most rev. Primate. My noble friend is reported in The Times to have said last night that he did not propose to repeal the Cowper-Temple Clause. I do not recollect hearing my noble friend make that statement, but he is reported to have so spoken in The Times report of his speech.
*LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
I did use those words. My opinion is that, although my Amendment cuts deeply into the Cowper-Temple Clause, it is not technically a repeal of it.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
It appears to me that the Amendment is not only a repeal of the Cowper-Temple Clause, but an absolute reversal of its principle. The Cowper-Temple Clause, as has been pointed out in these discussions over and over again, is simply of a prohibitive character. It prohibits the giving of denominational instruction in any schools which have been built at the public expense. The Amendment of my noble friend would not only repeal this prohibition, but it would positively indicate that in certain specified cases denominational instruction of that character should be given in these schools.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
The Cowper-Temple Clause provides that denominational instruction shall not be given in those schools at all. My noble friend's Amendment provides that, under certain circumstances, such teaching shall be given in those schools. I cannot conceive a more absolute repeal, and not 1232 only repeal but reversal, of the principle of the Cowper-Temple Clause. I have no doubt there would be a great deal to be said for leaving greater liberty to the local authorities, and permitting them, in cases where they thought fit, to grant facilities in the schools under their control for denominational teaching for the children of those parents who desire it. But that Amendment is not the Amendment which is before the Committee at the present time, and it is no use to discuss it.
My unwillingness to support this Amendment does not rest on any special importance which I attach to what is spoken of as the compromise of 1870. I attach no particular sanctity to the Cowper-Temple Clause. As I said in my speech on the Second Reading of this Bill, I do not see that it possesses any very great attraction for any of us. I entirely agree with what was said by the noble Viscount Lord St. Aldwyn the other day, that the so-called compromise of 1870 has, partly by the Act of 1902 and partly by the present Bill, been effectually destroyed. It is not on those grounds, therefore, that I deprecate any Amendment of the Cowper-Temple Clause. I know that the present Government in this Bill do propose a partial repeal of the Cowper-Temple Clause. If I feel, as I do, a very strong reluctance to agree to any further inroad on the Cowper-Temple Clause or its principle, it arises from the doubts which I entertain as to the practical working of any such attempt to modify it, and because of the apprehension which I feel that any attempt to enforce a reversal or modification of the Cowper-Temple Clause would cause a disturbance of the existing organisation and arrangements of a great number of board schools which are at present working in a perfectly smooth and satisfactory manner.
My noble friend says that he is of opinion that it is on the lines of this Amendment that the settlement of the religious difficulty must ultimately be found. I do not know that I should be inclined in any degree to controvert the proposition of my noble friend if I saw the slightest probability that the solution which he indicates would be accepted, not only by all religious sects in this country, 1233 but by those who are engaged in the practical work of education, or by the teachers who are engaged in that work. But, my Lords, I see no probability of any such general acceptance on the part of those who are practically engaged in the work of education, and it seems to me that any attempt to force it either upon the managers or upon the teachers in our board schools, probably in many cases unwilling authorities and unwilling teaches, would only tend to give additional fuel to the flames of our religious controversy.
I do not see any necessary difficulty in the arrangement under which it is proposed by the Bill that facilities for special religious instruction shall be given in the schools which are transferred to the local education authority. Those arrangements and the mode in which they are to be carried out will have been laid down in formal agreements between the present trustees of the schools and the local education authorities who are to take them over. Local authorities will have made themselves parties to those agreements, and I have no doubt whatever that they will loyally carry them out. There may, I think, be some difficulty in carrying out the facilities proposed to be given in a certain class of schools in the Amendment which was placed on the Paper yesterday by my noble friend Lord St. Aldwyn—an Amendment which, I do not exactly know why, has entirely disappeared from the Paper—but I do not think there would have been any insuperable difficulty in carrying out the arrangement which it proposed, that certain facilities should be given in council schools for children who were deprived of religious facilities in schools which might not be taken over by the local education authority.
The present proposal is not in any degree related to the case of the transferred schools. It is a proposal to impose upon a class of schools which are not otherwise affected by this Bill a provision to which a large number of them will probably entertain the strongest objection. The proposal to place in the power of a certain number—a large or a small number—of parents the right to demand that special religious facili- 1234 ties shall be given in these schools is one which is perfectly certain to be resented and resisted by a very large number of local authorities—a resistance in which they will be backed by the teachers, who will, either honestly or for controversial purposes, plausibly at all events, assert that such an arrangement would be destructive of the discipline and proper organisation of their schools.
I entertain a very strong opinion that, whatever Parliament may enact, it will be impossible, in practice, to enforce any such provision against an unwilling body of managers. The Amendment does contain the words "so far as may reasonably be practicable." In my opinion those would be found to be the most operative words in the Amendment. The unwilling managers, the managers who did not wish to see any change introduced in the organisation of their schools, would say that the granting of these facilities was not reasonably practicable, and there the matter would end unless the Board of Education were prepared, either by the insertion of provisions in the Code or by laying down regulations for each particular school, to solve this difficulty. The task is one I should be very unwilling to impose on the Board of Education. For these reasons, and believing that the Amendment would go very far in the direction of the disturbance of a system which at all events in the board schools is now working satisfactorily and well, I cannot assent, at any rate at the present stage of the Bill, to vote for the Amendment.
§ THE UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (The Earl of PORTSMOUTH)
thought it would be well that he should say a few words to explain why it was impossible for those who sat on the Ministerial side to give their practical support to the Amendment of his noble friend. There would be general agreement that some religious teaching should be given to the young by teachers who believed in what they taught, but they were not discussing an abstract question of that kind. For himself, he confessed that, if it were acceptable to the general body of the people of this country, it would be an exceedingly desirable thing to make the 1235 State responsible for secular education only and leave religion to the various religious bodies, but the House of Commons had decided most emphatically in favour of religious education.
The main objection to the proposal of his noble friend was on administrative grounds. Such a system of pan-de-nominationalism would result in—as had been said in the House of Commons— something like pandemonium, and in most schools there was not the accommodation to allow of such teaching being given. He would like to recall their Lordships' attention to the Bill itself. As the Bill now stood, with the Amendments introduced by their Lordships, local authorities would be bound to take over all schools subject to an appeal to the Board of Education, who would have regard to the wishes of parents, and it seemed to him to be superfluous to go on to say that in all the schools there should be these facilities. Clause 4 provided the four-fifths facilities, but did his noble friend propose that in these denominational schools there should be this provision for special teaching? Let them take the Roman Catholic schools. Were Methodists and members of the Church of England to enter Catholic schools and there teach their own particular doctrines? Clause 4 was considered by many not only a very considerable concession, but a very remarkable excrescence on the Bill as it now stood. Were provided schools to be subject to these facilities and were the other schools to be exempt? If his noble friend's Amendment were carried he did not think it would be possible for the Government to maintain that the special schools under Clause 4 were not to fare exactly in the same way as the board schools, and he was quite sure that the introduction of the principle now proposed by his noble friend in regard to the schools affected by Clause 4 would be deeply and most thoroughly resented by them.
There were in this country differences of principle which did not arise in Scotland. Although a noble Marquess had said that he was in favour of religious instruction of one sort or another, he did not care which, there was an enormous 1236 number of people in this country who were very much concerned as to the kind of religious education given; and the difficulties confronting them in regard to this Bill had been encountered in the attempt to formulate any kind of general religious instruction which would be acceptable to a large number of people. He sincerely wished they could support the Amendment of his noble friend, but he did not think they could, for the reasons he had stated. Part of the proposal would infringe one of the main principles of the Bill, which was that there should be in no sense whatever, direct or indirect, any religious test for the teacher.
§ *THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I understand that my noble friend Lord Ampthill does not intend to press his Amendment, and he will, therefore, I am sure, acquit me of discourtesy if I do not attempt to discuss it. With some of the remarks which fell from him I am entirely in accord; but, speaking generally, I may say that his proposal went a good deal further than that embodied in my noble friend Lord Balfour's Amendment, and involved a much more considerable disturbance of the fabric of the Bill upon the Table. For that reason I am glad that he does not insist upon taking the opinion of your Lordships' House upon it.
With regard to the Amendment of Lord Balfour of Burleigh, my noble friend proposes that in transferred schools ordinary facilities should be given when they are stipulated for in the original bargain; and in the council schools he proposes that the same facilities should be given when they are demanded by a sufficient number of parents. I understand that it is to the second of those proposals that most of the objections which have been made this evening are directed. I observe that the noble Duke who spoke just now from the Table dwelt upon the fact that in the case of the transferred schools there would be an initial agreement which might be carried out without difficulty, and he pointed out that in the case of the council schools there would be no corresponding agreement. I take it that the way the thing would work would be this, that in the 1237 case of the council schools there would be an arrangement made subject to the approval of the Board of Education, and I cannot myself see that that distinction is very real, or that the difficulty is a very formidable one.
My noble friend Lord Balfour stipulates that these facilities should be given so far as is reasonably practicable. To me those are by no means meaningless or idle words. I regard them as meaning that the facilities should be given only when, after a full inquiry into all the facts of the case, it has been ascertained beyond doubt that the thing is possible without doing injustice or serious inconvenience to the parties concerned. These words, it is true, are somewhat vague words; but you must, in a Bill of this kind, however much you dislike it, leave a great deal of latitude to the authorities who will afterwards interpret it. You cannot possibly cover in an Act of Parliament of this sort all the minute points which are likely to arise in the administration of the law. In this case the local education authority and the Board of Education will have to decide in what manner effect can best be given to this provision. It may be desirable that we should add more directory words, or further safeguards. I am quite ready to discuss those if any noble Lord thinks fit to propose them, but upon the main principle of my noble friend's Amendment, that these facilities should be given in the case which I have supposed, I for one feel no doubt whatever.
While I say this, I deprecate as much as the noble Duke did any needless interference with these council schools. The noble Lord who spoke first this evening quoted some observations made by the noble Duke in the year 1902 as to the objections to interference with the council schools. But, my Lords, surely the noble Lord must remember that the situation to-day is not the situation with which we were face to face with in 1902. In that year we were considering how the voluntary schools could best be preserved. In 1906 we are considering a proposal which some of us think is intended 1238 to obliterate the voluntary schools. Therefore, I disregard all obiter dicta carrying us back to the condition of things in 1902. I say by all means, if in any of these council schools things are working so smoothly and satisfactorily that nobody wishes to have them altered, let these schools be left alone. But if things are working with absolute smooth-ness and in a satisfactory manner there will be no demand for a change. The proposal of my noble friend refers only to cases in which the demand for a change is put forward by a substantial minority of parents. I go further and say that if it is the pleasure of any of your Lordships to propose that in cases where these facilities are unnecessary owing to the fact that other schools affording the kind of religion desired by the I minority of the children are accessible, that would be clearly to my mind a circumstance which would have to be taken into consideration, and which might reasonably be held to remove the necessity for affording facilities in the school itself. If both those conditions are absent, if a substantial minority of the children really desire these facilities, and if they are unable to obtain them in another conveniently situated school, is it unreasonable to say that in this new departure which we are about to make it should be provided that those facilities should be given in the school itself? That seems to me only common sense and even-handed justice.
Then we have been warned of the immense administrative difficulties which attend this proposal. My Lords, we are confronted with considerable administrative difficulties in other parts of the Bill as it stands proposed by noble Lords opposite, and I do not gather that they are deterred by those administrative difficulties. Could anything be more complicated and difficult to administer than the provisions of Clause 4 as we find it in the Bill, and yet the Minister for Education declared only the other day that the mode of granting these facilities was in his mind a very small matter indeed. He could not conceive that dispute or discussion could ever arise. If it is so easy to deal with the administrative difficulties under Clause 4, why should it 1239 be so difficult to deal with the administrative difficulties which may or may not arise under the Amendment of my noble friend Lord Balfour of Burleigh? Reference has been made to the position of the teacher under this Amendment. A great deal will depend upon the teacher and upon the position in which we leave the teacher after we have completed the consideration of the Bill in your Lordships' House. The noble Duke spoke of forcing upon the teacher the duty of giving religious instruction of this sort. There is no proposal—it does not enter into our minds to propose—that the teacher should ever be forced to give religious instruction of which he conscientiously disapproved.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
But even the authority would not necessarily be compelled to give the instruction itself. What I do hope is that when this Bill leaves your Lordships' House the teacher will be allowed to give this instruction if he is willing and competent to give it, and I feel confident that if he is allowed to give it you will find in these council schools that he will be very glad to give it in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred. If he is capable of giving the Cowper-Temple instruction and is willing to give it, he probably will not be very reluctant to give special instruction to children who desire to obtain it; and I think he will certainly much prefer doing so to allowing teachers from outside to be imported into his school.
What has struck me throughout this argument is that His Majesty's Government are very easily deterred by the difficulties which are anticipated when our proposals are put forward, and that they are very cou ageous indeed when they have to face the difficulties which their measure must inevitably provoke. For is it not the case that His Majesty's Government are, under this Bill, going to put the 14,000 voluntary schools into the melting-pot, and yet are reluctant to allow any interference whatever with the 6,000 odd council schools which they are taking under their special care? In my view, if this Bill is to be made the 1240 foundation of anything which can be called a national settlement, the settlement must be on the basis of even-handed justice between the parties, and you will not get that even-handed justice unless, as a compensation for the far-reaching interference which is going to take place with the voluntary schools, you allow, subject to sufficient safeguards, these reasonable and moderate facilities in the council schools. We are asking you to act upon a principle upon which we are always in the habit of acting in the case of schools connected with the Army, with the Navy, and with our prisons; it is a principle which is accepted in Scotland; it is a principle which prevails in one at least of our great colonies; it is above all things, a Liberal principle; and it is because I believe that this Bill is predestined to failure unless that principle is accepted, and accepted upon the lines of Lord Balfour's Amendment, that if he goes to a division I shall very gladly follow him into the lobby.
*THE EARL OF JERSEY
said that on this Amendment he would not have the good fortune to follow his usual leader in the division which would take place. The action he proposed to take with regard to the Amendment of his noble friend Lord Balfour was not actuated by any indifference to religious teaching. Personally he was a denominationalist; but at the same time he recognised that it was impossible to carry out to the full under this Bill the proposal of Lord Balfour. What was their position at the present time? They were endeavouring to obtain the best possible terms for the schools which were to be transferred, and were anxious to retain in those schools religious teaching if possible. But the Amendment made a sort of raid on the compromise under the Act of 1870. It asked their Lordships to turn that arrangement inside out, and to obtain in the case of all schools free entry for religious instruction of any kind, no matter how small might be the number of children who required it in comparison with the total number of children in the school. He could not be a party to the tearing up of what was a compromise between two schools of thought under the Act of 1870, for he 1241 was convinced that if they succeeded in carrying the Amendment it wóuld but increase very largely feelings of religious discontent and animosity in the country.
*THE LORD BISHOP OF HEREFORD
said that as he had ventured to put down an Amendment of a somewhat different character from that now under discussion, he hoped he might be permitted to say one or two words by way of explanation. The noble Lord in his Amendment had carried them into very deep water, and his (the right rev. Prelate's) desire was that they should, if possible, steer a little closer to the safe shore in this matter. The noble Lord's Amendment amounted to a claim for universal entry into all schools, and he ventured to think that nearly all those persons who had practical experience of the administration of our elementary schools in great towns and cities would agree that the inevitable effect of the Amendment would be to introduce administrative confusion. Moreover, as had been pointed out that afternoon, if all the already existing denominational schools were to be preserved, why, then, in the great centres of population, where there would be as a rule abundant choice of schools, did such an Amendment become necessary?
As to confusion, he felt sure that noble Lords had only to concentrate their thoughts on the matter for a moment to realise what confusion might arise at any moment, and what local quarrels, differences, and antagonisms might be evoked by such a proposal. Any sect which could say they had twenty or thirty children attending a particular school could demand entry into that school. Even in the case of the Church they might have various forms of religious instruction demanded in the same school and in the same room. Therefore he sincerely hoped the noble Lord and his friends would agree to withdraw the Amendment. He ventured to think that his own proposal was of a more practical and reasonable kind. He did not know how far even his proposal would be accepted by the great mass of the supporters of council schools; he had his fears, and yet his hopes; but he was sure that the Amendment moved by the noble 1242 Lord would be so deeply resented in a great part of the country that it would become an absolutely Utopian proposal.
He thought that any difficulty which existed would be met by the Amendment that he had placed on the Paper to the effect that in rural areas where there was but one public elementary school, if a reasonable number of the parents required facilities those facilities should not be refused. He made this proposal entirely on account of his own personal experience. In the city of Hereford it was only within the last few months that they had had even one single council school, the inhabitants, whatever their denominational views, having had to content themselves with either Church or Roman Catholic schools. If Lord Balfour's Amendment were to become law even, this one school might be invaded by the denominations, and there would be a great deal of local resentment, to say nothing of administrative confusion. His own Amendment, he believed, would be sufficient for all reasonable requirements, since in schools in rural districts there was a reasonable claim for this kind of permission.
THE LORD BISHOP OF SALISBURY
said the reason why in country dioceses they felt so strongly was because they were asked to give up a very great deal indeed. They were giving up in 8,000 rural schools pretty nearly everything that had made the school question dear to them in past years. He did not think it was understood by noble Lords what enormous sacrifices they were asked to make. What they wanted was nothing for themselves specially, but something for the cause of religious education, in which they desired their Nonconformist brethren to have equal rights with themselves. Lord Balfour's Amendment was much more liberal than it had appeared to be—it gave facilities all round, and he might say that the Church as long ago as 1896 passed Resolutions in Convocation showing her perfect readiness to open her schools to Nonconformist teachers, provided facilities all round were granted.
§ VISCOUNT GOSCHEN
was glad the Bishop of Hereford proposed at least 1243 an Amendment which would do something for the rural districts. But if the same case could be shown to exist in urban districts he expected the right rev. Bishop would not discard the principle in that case. It was a principle which could not be disturbed by geography, but only by the existence of other opportunities for giving religious instruction. But they must look not only to the present but to the future, and see that those facilities would at a more distant date be given in transferred schools which they on that side desired. And in proportion as transferred schools might disappear, or might not be taken over at all, they should be anxious, he presumed, to secure facilities in council schools.
The Bishop of Hereford had spoken of the resentment that might be felt in regard to the council schools, 6,000 in number, but there were about 12,000 church schools, and was there no resentment on their side? Ought not the feelings of those who were responsible for those schools to be considered also? Let there be no talk about resentment, and let them endeavour to arrive at a fair compromise irrespective of any religious feeling on either side. Lord Jersey had objected to the compromise of 1870 being torn up. He was himself one of the authors of that compromise, and a greater tearing up of it he had never seen or imagined than this Bill, which supplanted those voluntary schools which were left and which were intended to be the chief educational resource of the country, and whose continued existence was to be encouraged. The tearing up argument could not hold good for a moment.
Noble Lords opposite were doubtless glad of the inroad which was made on the voluntary schools in 1902. He would not labour the point, but he must insist upon it, that that compromise was gone, that it could no longer be considered as existing. They must build a new structure altogether, and that new structure must be founded on justice to all denominations. It was said that the Amendment went too far. It might, perhaps, go too far for the moment, but they had got to look ahead, and why he was strongly in favour of the principle of 1244 the Amendment was that he foresaw that the number of voluntary schools, before they were transferred and after they were transferred, were going to be reduced more than noble Lords on the other side of the House had hitherto acknowledged was likely to be the case.
idea was that there would be few schools that would not be taken over—he contemplated that the majority would be taken over. He thought that view must have been exploded to a very considerable degree by the debates on Clause 2, and by no one more than by Lord Stanley of Alderley. It was the avowed policy of that noble Lord, and of the educational Party with whom he acted, to amalgamate, to concentrate schools as far as possible, and to diminish the number of the voluntary schools. Therefore, they must contemplate, partly from educational reform, partly from municipal ambition, and partly, possibly, from prejudice—he hoped not in many cases—that from all these causes acting together a number of voluntary schools would not be taken over, and if they were not to be taken over, surely simple justice required that, if large numbers disappeared, as they were bound to disappear, in the council schools which were to take their place and supersede them, there should, at all events, be facilities for those children who had had to leave the voluntary schools because they were extinguished by the action of the local authority.
He hailed the acknowledgment of that principle by the Bishop of Hereford. He wished he could had it on the part of the Government. Would the Government acknowledge that principle to a certain extent? Would they say "We disagree with your premise, but we recognise that, in proportion as the voluntary schools disappear, the parents who like denominational religion shall have facilities for their children in the council schools?" A declaration on the part of the Government that they thought that justice would go far to meet their views on this part of the subject. He felt strongly that it was the bounden duty of that House, as a matter of justice, to provide liberally for the children who were now in the 14,000 denominational schools, and to ensure that, in proportion 1245 as they came under county councils, denominational teaching should be afforded by the local authorities.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
My Lords, I think perhaps it is as well that I should intervene at this point in this important discussion. As the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Burleigh, whose Amendment we are considering, said last night, this is one of the great and important Amendments of the Bill, and I need not say that I have listened with the deepest interest to my noble friend's speech. If he will allow me to say so, I think he travelled somewhat unnecessarily beyond the actual terms of his Amendment. He devoted a very considerable portion of his speech to the question of tests for teachers. I have no doubt that the noble Lord considered it necessary to his argument to do so, but I am bound to say that while I was admiring the fervid eloquence of my noble friend, I could not help thinking what would have been the fate of a learned counsel appearing before one of those tribunals over which my noble friend presides with such distinction who attempted, in discussing Clause 3, to devote half his time to Clause 8.
The discussion to-night has not followed so wide a range. It was begun by my noble friend Lord Reay, who, as a former chairman of the London School Board, speaks with great authority on this question. I have no doubt that we shall later have the pleasure of hearing another ex-chairman of the London School Board opposite taking part in it. My noble friend Lord Balfour spoke last night of his Amendment as going a long way towards the establishment of a national system, approximating schools to one type. I do not mean to say that that is exactly what the noble Lord said, but it is evident that what is meant by a national system in this connection is a very great uniformity of type in our schools; and the noble Viscount who has just sat down said, I think, in very much the same sense, that no system could be said to be of a national character which was not fair all round and which did not deal out equal justice in this religious matter to all the different parties.
1246 There is one noble Lord who had an Amendment on the Paper—Lord Ampthill —who, I think, has had rather scant justice done to him in the course of this debate. I think that his Amendment approached far more nearly to the ideal of a national system than either the Amendment of my noble friend Lord Balfour or that of the most rev. Primate. What Lord Ampthill proposed was a really national system. He would sweep away Clauses 3, 4, and 5, all his schools are of one type, and every school in England and Wales would depend upon the existing conditions. That is a perfectly intelligible policy if you could carry it out in this country, and I am very far from saying that there is not a great deal to be said for it, but it is not the policy which is carried out by the Amendment of my noble friend Lord Balfour or by that of the most rev. Primate. Lord Balfour and the Archbishop of Canterbury in effect maintain a very large number of denominational schools, and give to a great many more schools a possible denominational character which they do not at present possess. Think what sort of schools might exist under Lord Balfour's Amendment. You have a transferred school in a small country village where the church atmosphere is strong. It gets five days a week facilities, the teacher is to be a Churchman, and he is to give the religious teaching.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
There is no reason why it should not be so under Lord Balfour's Amendment. The teacher, as I say, is a Churchman and is to give the religious teaching. Will anybody who knows what the atmosphere of the ordinary country village is say that that can be anything but a purely denominational school, for which the local authority will be paying the rent, for which it will be undertaking the cost of all the repairs? I have no doubt that the most rev. Primate will say that he would be delighted to offer any Nonconformist child in that parish facilities. What, again, to anybody who knows the conditions of life in a village of that kind is the use of offering facilities to a small number of Primitive Methodist children?
1247 In the first place, who is to give the teaching? Everybody knows that in these very poor churches those who would naturally give that teaching are, as a rule, working men, whose time would be taken up at the necessary hour. In these circumstances I am sure that the most admirable and fairly-intended reciprocal offer of facilities by the Church of England in these districts would be, and would be held to be by those for whom it was intended, nothing but illusory.
After all, facilities depend not merely on the offer of certain things, but on the power of using them. There are facilities for most things. If a poor curate earning £100 a year is ordered to take a long sea voyage for the benefit of his health, the facility exists for him the same as for any Member of your Lordships' House, but there are necessary also leisure and wealth, which I am glad to think your Lordships' possess, but which are lacking in the case of the unfortunate curate. What I desire your Lordships to consider in this connection is that there are two distinct possible systems, one dependent upon the past history of these denominational schools, and the other dependent upon the wishes of the parents and the circumstances of the moment. Those are two utterly different things, and, in many cases, very likely utterly incompatible things. After all, the trust represents the benevolence and money of some person or persons who is or are either dead or will be dead before very long. The trust coolly proceeds on its way year after year, through generations of children, insisting on a certain kind of teaching without any necessary reference to the wishes of the parents. The wishes of the parents, if they are paramount, depend upon some such plan as that proposed by my noble friend Lord Ampthill. What we complain of is that in these Amendments the Church of England is trying to have it both ways.
In all cases where there has been a trust, in all these ex-denominational schools as they are to be, you insist upon every possible care being taken for the preservation, so far as may be, of the denominational atmosphere. The most rev. 1248 Primate spoke the other day of some plan by which the managers of such schools should have some voice, at any rate, in the election of the teacher, even if they were not empowered to veto a particular teacher. No one can have listened to the discussions of the last few days without having seen that the desire of the majority of this House is that these transferred schools should retain as far as possible their Church character. Noble Lords opposite cheer; they do not wish to conceal it. Then it does seem to me a most astonishing thing that, besides enforcing in this House that claim, you also want to invade the schools of the country—the board schools—which have been hitherto free from all denominational teaching of any sort or kind.
If you are prepared utterly to resign and give up the denominational character of the transferred schools and go for the single system suggested by the noble Lord opposite, Lord Ampthill, I am bound to say that nobody could contend that that would be an unfair plan, but whether it is a practicable and possible plan in this country under existing circumstances is quite another matter. It would no doubt have a great many advantages from our point of view. We should get rid of practically all the trouble connected with the transfer of these schools, and we should get rid of the exceedingly complicated and, as we frankly admit, not entirely satisfactory conditions of Clauses 4 and 5. But I should like to hear some noble Lord who is able to speak for the Roman Catholic Church state what in his opinion the position of things would be if we had a system of schools which denied atmosphere and merely granted facilities.
I turn for one moment to the Amendment as it stands. I admit once more the great attractiveness of the idea. It undoubtedly would mean that instead of attempting to give a quid pro quo to the Church of England, as we do by means of the minor facilities in each parish and by way of rent, we should be offering to the Church a national quid pro quo pooled, so to speak, over the whole ecclesiastical system, and which therefore would avoid the countless details with which, undoubtedly, this present settlement will have to deal. I ask 1249 once more, Can that be done? The noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Devonshire) speaks with great experience and authority on this matter, and I cannot help thinking that your Lordships must have been greatly impressed by his inability to see how this proposal could work. This multiplication of facilities has, as it seems to me, this one fatal defect, that you cannot find any educational authority who will speak favourably of it.
It is not the case that the opposition to this proposal is mainly or essentially a Nonconformist opposition; there is, as a matter of fact, a considerable number of Nonconformists who are friendlily disposed towards it. I do not know whether some of your Lordships remember an attempt that was made by various leading citizens of Manchester representing the interests of the Church and of Nonconformity, who arrived at what was published at the time as the Manchester compromise, in which this granting of general facilities under certain circumstances had a place. It is an educational objection that is taken. I very much doubt whether you will find in this House, or out of it, for the matter of that, anyone qualified to speak with real authority as an educationist who will not express grave doubt as to whether this proposal can be carried through. I desire, therefore, to ask the noble Marquess opposite (Lord Londonderry) who has put to me many questions, all of which I am afraid I have not been able to answer, some because I did not think they were relevant, whether, with his considerable experience of the Board of Education, he would be able to approach this proposal in a perfectly light-hearted manner, and whether he believes that it could be carried out in the great towns, without very great difficulty.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
I will not trouble the noble Marquess to answer me at this stage. One assumption is sometimes made which seems to me to be rather a cool assumption. It is this, that when you grant these general facilities in a school of Nonconformists 1250 they will be content with one type of teaching. I cannot imagine why they should be. It may be perfectly true that Nonconformists as a rule are willing to accept as a matter of compromise undenominational teaching as the standard teaching for their children, but if you are going to allow Baptists and Methodists to give their special teaching by way of facilities in those schools I cannot see why they should refrain or be expected to refrain from doing so. I have not heard from Nonconformist bodies any intention expressed of treating extra facilities in the way it is conveniently supposed by noble Lords opposite and others they will be treated. It will not merely be a question of Cowper-Temple teaching on the one hand and Church teaching on the other.
There are two other Amendments on the Paper which deal in a diluted form with this question. The Amendment standing in the name of the Lord Bishop of Hereford deals only with council schools in rural areas where there is no other school. That proposal is, of course, not open to a great number of the objections which can be and are advanced against the wider proposal of the noble Lord opposite. At the same time I confess that I should look forward with some dread, even in these cases, to the alteration of the existing conditions, not because the actual giving of the teaching would be difficult in these cases, but because the disturbance of the system which has existed for a considerable number of years in these districts seems to me to carry with it certain dangers, though I frankly admit, of course, that the Amendment is not open to a great many of the objections which can be advanced against the Amendment of the noble Lord.
We have not had the advantage of hearing the noble Viscount opposite (Viscount St. Aldwyn) state his case for the different kind of facilities which he desires to give in the case of discontinued schools, but I mention the subject on this occasion because I am anxious to learn from the noble Viscount exactly what it is that he proposes to do. When a school is discontinued, I understand that he desires that the displaced Church children should have facilities 1251 elsewhere. When the noble Viscount speaks no doubt he will tell me whether that is intended to apply only to the children now attending the school, to the generation of children only, or whether it is intended to apply for all time to their successors, because the two things are of course, very different. If it is intended to apply to their successors, the result would be that, though the denominational school would be dead, its ghost would haunt the neighbourhood for all time. I confess I am rather puzzled to see in these circumstances in what schools the noble Viscount would propose that facilities should be offered.
Surely it would be hardly reasonable, if there were five council schools and one voluntary school in a district, that all the council schools should be subject to the facilities upon the discontinuance of the voluntary school. There are a considerable number of areas at the present moment in which there are only council schools, and there Church children get on very well with the Cowper-Temple teaching and their Sunday schools, and that is the answer I make to the noble Viscount. There is no reason to suppose that in those areas the Church is less popular or the children less religiously attached to the Church. I cannot help thinking that the noble Viscount's fears are illusory. Your Lordships will not be surprised, after the remarks I have made, when I say that, as it stands, we are entirely unable to accept the Amendment of my noble friend opposite. I can only assume that the other Amendments by the noble Viscount and the right rev. Prelate are not likely to come before the Committee, but, at any rate, we have had the advantage of discussing them, and are able to bear in our minds the alternative possibilities connected with this problem.
§ *VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN
said he had been reluctant to offer an explanation of a proposal not before the Committee. He had desired to deal with the case in which an educational authority refused to continue a denominational school on account of a desire to improve secular teaching by amalgamating schools, or by reason of the denominational school having really become not necessary for school accommodation. The discon- 1252 tinuance might be due to no fault of owners or managers. In such a case he proposed that the children who were attending, or who might attend, that school if it had remained open as a denominational school should be able to obtain the denominational teaching to which they had been accustomed in some other school in the district of the authority, possibly in a council school. Certainly he would have the facility continued, it would be unreasonable to confine it to the existing school generation.
The proposal of course differed materially from that which now occupied the attention of the Committee, and which, if carried, would make his Amendment impossible. His proposal was really automatic in its effect. If a local authority chose to continue a denominational school it would not come into effect; it would only be effective through the voluntary action of the authority, and since the Amendment of the Archbishop of Canterbury had been carried the cases in which it would operate would be few. The Amendment of Lord Balfour would open council schools all over the country to denominational teaching, a very wide proposal indeed. In the first place, was it really necessary? In a case where there was one council school and several denominational schools, was it reasonable that facilities should be granted in the council school? He listened with all attention to Lord Goschen, who seemed to apprehend a large discontinuance of denominational schools, but seemed to have forgotten the alteration made in the second clause. If that remained in the Bill his noble friend's fears would be groundless. The speech of the Undersecretary for War encouraged the hope that the alteration made in the second clause would become law, and nowadays they attached very great weight to observations made by Under-Secretaries. He had heard with great pleasure so high an authority as the noble Earl admit the possibility of the Amendment made last night becoming law.
§ THE EARL OF PORTSMOUTH
said he was showing how noble Lords opposite would stultify their own Amendments.
§ *VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN
understood the noble Earl to say there was no 1253 necessity for the Amendment after what had been done, and his argument fell to the ground unless it was supposed that what had been done would be effective. But he would refer to a higher authority still, the Lord President of the Council, who in effect said, "If you will give up the denominational character of your schools, making them all undenominational, then the proposal might be favourably considered."
§ *VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN
He went very far in that direction. But would the noble Earl take the converse? If they desired to maintain the denominational character of their schools, would he view with a favourable eye a later Amendment for preserving that denominational character? The present proposal went beyond the real necessities of the case. The practical administrative difficulties had been pointed out, and he would not refer to them beyond saying those difficulties might be removed if there were really a popular demand.
But was there such a demand? It was now thirty-six years since the Act of 1870 was passed, forbidding denominational teaching in board schools. Millions of children of Church of England parents had been taught in those schools, and had there been any real popular movement on the part of those parents to obtain denominational teaching? He ventured to say the matter had never been heard of until the present year. During all that time the greatest advocates of denominational teaching, the Church of England, the Catholics, the Jews, had done their best to secure denominational teaching. Where? In the board schools? No. To maintain their denominational schools intact, that had been their effort. It was their effort now, not in the country schools only. They wanted to make this Bill a fair Bill to the denominations. That was the object of the Amendments placed on the Paper to Clauses 3 and 4, and to those Amendments he would give his most hearty support.
There was something more which he was bound to say had a great influence on his own mind. Was this a practical 1254 proposal? Could any one of them say it really had a chance of becoming law? He did not allude to the opposition to it which had been declared by members of His Majesty's Government. They had been bound, and would be bound in the case of many other Amendments, to declare their opposition owing, no doubt, to the position taken up by their colleagues in the other House. But he hoped that some day they might change their minds on some of these points at all events. But was it likely that they would change their minds on this proposal? Was the House of Commons likely to accept such an Amendment as this?
He did not wish to stand up before their Lordships as suggesting for a moment that they should attach too great importance to the voice of the House of Commons. A majority of the House of Commons was a very fleeting majority, as some had found out in the last two or three years; and the majority of the present House of Commons might not really represent the opinion of the people on this Bill. But he had been much struck with an observation made by Lord Balfour in moving this Amendment, that it was based on a proposal actually made to the House of Commons in 1896 and which met with no favour at all. There never was a House of Commons more favourable to denominational education than the House of 1896. Was it likely that a proposal scouted then would receive approval now? He did not think so. He was anxious for a real settlement of this burning question. He believed that the longer this controversy went on the worse it was for religion and for education too. But of this he was quite certain, that it could only be settled by reason and moderation on both sides, and so far as his humble vote was concerned he would be no party to inserting in this Bill a proposal which he believed would have no popular support, because he thought that was not the way to ensure a real and lasting settlement.
*THE LORD BISHOP OF ST. ALBANS
said that, despite the able argument to which the Committee had just listened, he would venture to support the Amendment of Lord Balfour and to thank him for his noble utterance of the previous evening in a speech which would be long 1255 remembered in that House. This Bill must be considered as a whole and not only in relation to an Amendment which, although carried in that House, might be roughly treated elsewhere.
What did they give up under this Bill? The entire control as well as management of the voluntary schools was taken over; except under Clause 4 the teachers need not be denominational; all tests so called of teachers were to be removed; no religious teaching was provided in school hours except by the Amendment of their Lordships carried a day or two ago; where religious teaching was given there was no security that the teacher would really believe what he taught; the conditions in regard to the training of teachers which had been the main cause of the excellence even of the Cowper-Temple teaching would now be altered, as so many more would be raised in colleges which had not a definite religious basis, and the council schools would henceforth lack the stimulus of the healthy rivalry of the denominational schools. When they considered the quid pro quo offered in the Bill, all that was what the quo meant.
As to the quid, could the facilities given under Clauses 3 and 4, even coupled with the Amendment carried already in their Lordships' House, be deemed adequate by those who valued denominational education? It was because he believed the quid was not an equivalent for the quo that he looked for some root principle to help them in the national education of the future. Such a root principle he found in Lord Balfour's Amendment. He denied that the grievance affected only the country schools. He represented not merely a very large country district, but a part of what was called Greater London, with a population of 800,000 increasing at the rate of 30,000 a year. In this population a large number of parents desired denominational teaching for their children and had not been able to obtain it, because it had been wholly impossible for the building of schools to keep pace with the increase to which he referred. Was it unreasonable that those parents who directly or indirectly paid rates should ask for the facilities which would enable them 1256 to obtain for their children the education which they believed to be the best?
The noble Earl the Lord President of the Council had told them that the offer of facilities in the country villages was practically of no use, because there were no people besides those of the Church of England able to take advantage of such facilities. He questioned the facts. He knew of villages where facilities had been offered and accepted by Nonconformists. And even if the fact were as alleged, was that a fair reason for refusing to allow facilities to such as were willing to use them? There was no desire on the part of the Church of England managers to use their schools for the purpose of proselytism. They were perfectly ready to give to the children of other denominations attending their schools Biblical teaching which satisfied their parents, or else afford to these parents facilities for having their children taught the religion which they held dear. Equal justice all round could only be attained on the principle of equal facilities all round.
*LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
thought it would be hardly courteous on his part if he refrained from saying what had been the result on his mind of the discussion. He had laid before their Lordships a proposal which he still believed was the ideal solution of the education problem, and one to which he was convinced the logic of events would sooner or later force the country. He acknowledged at once that he had not a tithe of the right to speak upon English matters that many of those who had followed him in the debate had by long-continued association with administrative affairs. The system they all desired, or to which, at any rate, they gave lip service, was one that would be fair and equal all round, a national settlement which would last at least as long as the settlement of 1870; and he was convinced a settlement of that character would not be reached unless the Government were prepared to make great changes in their Bill. He admitted that his Amendment would make a great change in the Bill. He also admitted it had not received from his own side that measure of support 1257 which had been given to other proposals. He was ready, if necessary, to go into the division lobby for it as an assertion of what in the abstract he believed to be right and fair. But he was prepared to withdraw it if he got any indication from Ministers that when other Amendments came to be discussed they would receive them with a slightly more open mind than they had received Amendments hitherto. At any rate, before he withdrew the Amendment he should like to hear what the noble Marquess, who was the real leader of the forces on the Opposition side, and the most rev. Prelate had to say on the situation.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
said he shared to the full the difficulty which the noble Lord felt as to how they were really to understand their position in the present situation. At least two members of the Government had appealed to the fact that particular Amendments having been carried had qualified their action in regard to other Amendments that had been proposed. That was either a taunt which he thought undeserved, or else it was a recognition that the Amendments which had been carried were not to be, he did not say altered or modified, but to be treated hereafter as nothing at all. That argument showed that the position had been changed by the carrying of these Amendments, and if that meant anything it meant a great deal.
He thought the Government did not adequately recognise the difficulties of the situation in which those who adhered to denominational principles would be placed if no Amendment of the kind proposed by the noble Lord was made in the Bill. In that there was nothing unfair. All that he had asked for and striven for was absolute equality of treatment all round. The President of the Board of Education had on more than one occasion called attention to the fact that, as he put it, every Nonconformist in the land was now by this Bill to have access to the kind of teaching he wanted. He maintained that that carried with it a correlative on the other side. There were other people who did not find that teaching what they wanted, 1258 and so far as was practicable—and of course he admitted that in many cases there might be difficulties—some adequate security, apart from the mere desire of a friendly local authority or the like, ought to be promised them that that principle was going to be recognised. Once let them understand that the principle was going to be recognised that the man eagerly keen about denominational teaching for his children was so far as was in any way practicable to have access to that teaching, then he felt it came to a matter of degree how that was arranged. But unless that principle was recognised it was unfair to push them forwards and to maintain that fairness was being meted out all round.
§ *THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I rise only because my noble friend Lord Balfour made an appeal to me as well as to the noble Marquess opposite. I do not desire to prolong the discussion. As to the merits of the Amendment before the Committee, I have already expressed my own views, and those views remain unchanged. What I think we, on this side, have to consider is our position in regard to this Amendment after the debate which has taken place. To my mind what should weigh with us most is the question of the amount of authority with which this Amendment would go down to the House of Commons. Supposing we were to carry it this evening after the debate to which we have listened, we might carry the Amendment, but it is obvious that we should carry it by a much diminished majority in view of the opinions expressed by some of those with whom we are in the habit of acting, and for whose opinions we have the most sincere respect. In these circumstances it would be idle to expect that the vote of this House would ultimately prevail, and I for one should be sorry to encourage your Lordships to take part in what might prove to be a mere parade movement. In these circumstances, if my opinion is desired, it is that my noble friend would do well not to press his Amendment to a division. I say that, feeling that he has called the attention of the Committee to a very serious imperfection of the Bill, and with 1259 the hope that an attempt will be made, and that His Majesty's Government will assist us in the endeavour, at a future stage, to do something, at all events, to remedy that defect.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (The Marquess of RIPON)
My Lords, I think my noble friend who has just sat down has given very discreet advice to my noble friend Lord Balfour of Burleigh. The most rev. Primate has again appeared to me to have a fear in his mind that we shall take some debating objection to future Amendments. I beg to reassure the most rev. Primate that we shall do nothing of the kind. Nothing which you have done will be quoted against you in that respect; of that the most rev. Primate may be quite sure. Lord Balfour asked me whether His Majesty's Government thought this Bill a fair Bill. Yes, my Lords, we do think it a fair Bill. Then we are asked what we are going to do about future Amendments. We shall consider them when they are brought forward; we shall discuss them when they are brought forward; and they shall receive our consideration. I cannot give, and I do not give, any pledge as to the mode in which we will deal with them here or elsewhere, but we shall treat the Amendments with the respect and attention which is due to them.
§ Amendment to the proposed Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
*THE LORD BISHOP OF HEREFORD
said that in speaking on the Amendment of Lord Balfour of Burleigh he had explained why he could not agree to anything like a universal right of entry into all schools, whether in rural or in urban areas. At the beginning of this controversy his judgment was in favour of giving ordinary two-day facilities in all schools wherever situated, but on construing that into what he might call the language of administration he had been driven to the conclusion that it would be a practical 1260 impossibility, without a great deal of administrative confusion at all events, to claim facilities in all schools in all districts. He therefore desired to limit the claim to country districts in which, as a rule, there was only one school in each parish, and consequently only one school within reach of the children of the parish. Thus the Amendment he proposed to move was to insert after the word "schoolhouse" the words—Or if in any parish in a rural area there is only one public elementary school provided for the children of the parish, and the parents of a reasonable number of children have required such facilities, the local education.In rural parishes, as a rule, there was only one school within reach of the children of the parish. In some cases, although the schools had been denominational schools, they had, owing to local causes, been transferred to school boards, or a board school had been erected. Under the changed circumstances these schools would be in all educational respects exactly like the transferred schools; the parishes would be in exactly the same position and of the same character as the neighbouring parishes in which there would, be transferred schools with facilities, and he could see no reason why the two classes of schools should be treated differently in the future. No difficulty would arise in administration, and in most cases the gift of the facilities would be agreeable to all parties. He could not see any vital objection to the proposal, nor would the principle of equal justice be in any way interfered with, and it was desirable, wherever practicable, to give these facilities under the new system so as to provide equality of opportunity and to take away the sense of grievance to as large an extent as possible. In many matters of legislation the conditions of the towns overshadowed those of the country; the people in rural districts were sometimes overlooked, and their needs, conditions, and requirements not adequately considered. Wherever it could be shown that there was no opportunity for parents to obtain equal facilities with others, that good administration would not be interfered with, and that the concession would not cause confusion in the new system, he thought the principle for which his Amendment 1261 contended ought to be applied. He begged to move.
Amendment moved—In page 3, line 8, after the word 'school-house,' to insert the words 'or if in any parish in a rural area there is only one public elementary school provided for the children of the parish, and the parents of a reasonable number of children have required such facilities, the local.'"—(The Lord Bishop of Hereford.)
THE MARQUESS OF LONDON-DERRY
regretted that the Committee had not had the opportunity of seeing the Amendment in print before being asked to discuss it. As far as he understood it, the idea of the right rev. Prelate was to give the parents of the children in the schools, where difficulty arose, an opportunity of heaving that religious instruction which they desired. If it were clearly shown that the parents were to have the instruction they desired, independently of other difficulties, speaking for himself—he could not pledge his noble friends on the subject—he saw no reason why the Amendment should not be accepted.
*LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
said that everyone must be in sympathy with the idea underlying the Amendment. Doubtless all their Lordships would wish that in establishing a national system there should be as much consideration as possible shown for those who did not fit into it, so that provided the system were really national, there might be those alleviations to meet the real desires of any substantial section of the community. There was not much substance in the complaint that the Amendment was not in print, as it was substantially the same as an Amendment of which notice had been given, except that it was limited to rural areas, and instead of taking the area in general the definite expression of a "parish" was now used. On a previous occasion the Lord President of the Council had pointed out that there was no special area for school provision. Formerly the parish was prima facie the area, but since the county councils had had charge of the work the areas had been whatever the county councils thought suitable in their individual districts, and if the Amendment was to be adopted it would be much more convenient to 1262 have a definite term which did not leave the door open to disputes afterwards. In rural districts, as a rule, the parish corresponded very fairly with the local possibilities of attendance at school. In principle there was no more reason why a person in a rural district should have these facilities than a person in an urban district who had no school available. The object was to ask for a little, and not complicate the matter by wider difficulties.
He desired to refer to one or two practical difficulties in the way of giving effect to the proposal before the Committee. The proposal was that if the parents of a reasonable number of children in a rural district wished for facilities they should have a right to use the school on two mornings a week in the same way as if it were a transferred school. With the best intentions in the world very serious difficulties would be found in working the provision, even in the case of transferred schools. For instance, in many parishes in Lincolnshire, where a considerable majority of the population were Wesleyans, although the school was a Church school, there would be general Bible teaching given for the school as a whole, and there would be the difficulty of providing distinctive teaching on two mornings a week for perhaps less than one half of the children. Even in those village schools where a separate class room was provided for the infants it would be almost impossible to have two classes going on at the same time in the room devoted to the older children. Therefore, if this proposal was to be worked, whether for the transferred schools or on the extended scale now suggested, it could only be done with administrative comfort by putting the whole building, on the mornings set apart for facilities for teaching, at the disposal of those who desired that teaching, and making the school, so far as the rest of the scholars were concerned, a secular school, commencing at half-past nine. The effect would then be that the community would have the use of the school for general Bible teaching on three mornings in the week, while on two mornings the building would be entirely at the disposal of those for whom the facilities 1263 were granted. It was not likely that in a village there would be two competing sets of persons wanting denominational instruction. It should be remembered that when all the class rooms were occupied, the mere fact of withdrawing a few scholars from each class for special instruction did not make a classroom available, as the residue of each class would still be occupying the classroom, so that in practice the scheme would have to be carried out in some other way. It would be the invasion—he did not say the repeal—of the Cowper-Temple clause, carried one step further than the perfectly fair invasion made in effecting the transfer from schools which had been wholly denominational to schools which in future were to be under public management. It would, however, be better if the clause were made permissive instead of compulsory. Except where the Cowper-Temple clause was suspended in the case of transferred schools for those who had these rights on two mornings in the week, it was illegal for an authority to permit any religious instruction other than Cowper-Temple instruction during school hours. Parliament, of course, could permit it, and many local authorities, if a reasonable case were made out, would be willing to grant these facilities if they had the power and were able to look at all the circumstances, whereas if the clause were compulsory there might be great difficulties. He was trying to speak as far as possible in support of the idea of the right rev. Prelate, being anxious, provided there was a determination on the part of the Committee frankly to accept a national public system for all the schools, to do all that could consistently be done to make the transition easy and to meet the feelings and wishes of those who more or less stood out from the national system. But it was only fair on his part to say that that wish must go hand in hand with an honest and frank recognition on the other side of the municipal character of the teacher of the future and his absolute immunity from all tests. He had noticed once or twice an attempt to turn the immunity from all tests into a mere conscience clause for the teacher. If there was any attempt to make it prima facie the duty of the teacher to 1264 give this teaching, unless he pleaded conscientious objections, it would be very difficult, in fact impossible, for himself and others to try to meet the right rev. Prelate and his supporters in a friendly way.
§ *VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN
said that in asking far the sympathetic consideration of His Majesty's Government for this Amendment he naturally had a little parental prejudice in favour of his own proposal, but he did desire that some recognition should be given in the Bill of the extreme hardship that the suppression of facilities for denominational teaching might be to not a few parents in areas where there was only one school. He had attempted to meet the difficulty in one way, although his Amendment did not go so far as that of the right rev. Prelate, and he would be glad to hear the views of other right rev. Prelates who had intimate experience of these small country schools, and could, therefore, speak with real knowledge. Personally, he did not see why the Amendment should be confined to rural areas. The hardship would, generally speaking, undoubtedly be greater in the rural areas, but it might also occur in some districts in towns. His object in rising, however, was not to go into the subject at length, but to ask the noble Earl to afford reasonable consideration to the hard cases which might arise.
THE LORD BISHOP OF SALISBURY
agreed that the Amendment ought to go beyond what were called rural areas. Personally, he did not know what a rural area was technically, and would like to be officially informed. But there were a number of small country towns, of 1,000, 2,000, or 3,000 inhabitants, which certainly deserved the relief given by this clause, and if any relief were given at all they were just the places where it was wanted. They did not want a second school or rival schools, but they did desire fair conditions so that those who were really the bulk of the population could have access on week-days as well as on Sundays to the teaching they were anxious to receive. Reference had been made to the lack of class rooms and the word "pandemonium" had been used. He had never been able to see the force 1265 of that argument. Had noble Lords never heard of parish rooms and church rooms in the villages? Up to recently it was the constant habit of the clergy to take their children across to the church and give instruction, and there were plenty of places, dissenting chapels among them, where such teaching could be given. He hoped their Lordships would not allow that futile objection to be raised again.
§ *LORD COURTNEY
said they all must feel that there were difficulties to be surmounted in the transition about to be made, and unless they were fairly faced with a view to their solution Parliament might at the end discover that the administrative difficulties involved in the proposal of Lord Balfour of Burleigh would somehow or other have to be surmounted, and that, like many other men, the noble Lord had only been speaking a little before his time. The speeches which caused that Amendment to be withdrawn were eminently dilatory speeches, simply pleading the difficulties of the subject, and admitting that if circumstances compelled some similar recommendation would have to be faced. The present proposal was of a very simple character, and he would deprecate any attempt to extend it. The right rev. Prelate the Bishop of Salisbury thought the principle might be applied elsewhere. No doubt it might. The noble Lord Viscount St. Aldwyn had said there were many urban districts in which the same difficulty would arise, and that there was no reason why the principle should not be applied there. But surely this was a question of practical action, and the Committeee ought to regard what they could do on a modest scale. If they could get the principle involved in this proposal recognised they should hail it, even though it did not meet all the hard cases that might arise. The proposal was that in single school districts in rural areas facilities should be afforded to minorities in such schools. He was one of those who had voted with a perfectly clear conscience against the amendment of Lord Heneage, not because he was opposed to recognising the value of religious educaion, but because he thought it better to leave the local authority to determine, as in the past, 1266 what the character of the education should be. If it was desired that religious instruction should form part of the curriculum of the schools, the best way to secure that end was not to impose the duty upon the local authority, but to convert the electors, and so bring about a change in those few cases where religious instruction was not provided for. Although he strongly supported the undenominational principle as the normal principle, he would always have great tenderness for the schools of minorities, and, as far as possible, for the minorities in schools. The schools of minorities were protected in Clause 4; the minorities in the transferred schools were protected under Clause 3; but the minorities in the existing schools which would be side by side with the transferred schools, and which, in a few years, would cease to be distinguished from them, their separate origins being lost—the minorities in such schools in single school districts might be treated with the same regard as the minorities in the transferred schools, and without any greater administrative difficulty than was involved in the treatment proposed to be given to the transferred schools. In many parishes side by side in Wales, and as the right rev. Prelate of Hereford had shown, in the Marches of Wales, where the population was of exactly the same character, there were in some, board schools and in others not, the accidental action of the resident landed proprietor in many cases having caused the difference. In Cornwall the same thing occurred. The education demanded both by the majority and by the minority would be of exactly the same character in the different parishes, but they would be arbitrarily distinguished under the Bill as it stood. The exact words to be inserted might possibly require more consideration, but he thought the idea itself embodied in the Amendment might be fairly adopted as something which would satisfy many excited feelings in the rural districts, and as a recognition of the principle of just treatment all round which had been contended for, and which he, personally, gladly admitted ought to be conceded.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
thanked noble Lords for their interesting 1267 and conciliatory speeches, and reechoed their wish for the considerate treatment of minorities. Whatever the majority in a school might be, whether Cowper-Temple or Church, he held that the minority ought to be treated with great consideration, and he believed it would be found when they reached Clause 4 that noble Lords on that side would be anxious to treat with the utmost consideration in their power, limited only by what was feasible and practicable, the rights of Nonconformist minorities in denominational schools. His object in rising, however, was to intimate that those for whom he spoke would be willing to support the Amendment before the Committee, though he intended to move a slight addition to it. They would do so with the more confidence because it was clear that they had the sympathy, not only of such authorities as Lord Stanley of Alderley and Lord Courtney, but also of the Minister for Education himself. In October, 1903, Mr. Birrell, before he joined the Government—but, of course, that would make no difference —published in the Independent Review an article in which he discussed the possibility of arriving at some settlement of the education difficulty. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of the great obstacle presented by the existing prejudices— how on the one side there was the desire to maintain the Cowper-Temple clause, and on the other a desire to have specific denominational teaching—which was precisely to point the Committee had been discussing—and said that such an arrangement would be possible if all the schools were placed under local control and if facilities were granted. He then went on to say—There still remains the question as to the nature of the religion to be taught in all the schools. Here the parents really must, whether they like it or not, conquer their shyness and make their first appearance in this ancient and horrid controversy, and tell us, when they send Tom and Jane to school, whether they wish them to receive any, and, if any, what religious instruction.The Committee should note particularly the next words—There is no chance of the multiplication of strange parental religions. We are not an imaginative people, Jews, Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Dissenters in a lump, will usually 1268 exhaust the list. The great body of Dissenters will be found ready to accept the same broad simple Bible teaching which for the most part characterises board school Christianity.It was perfectly clear that Mr. Birrell contemplated only four distinct varieties —Jews, Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Dissenters—and even those four would not present themselves in every case; so that it was evidently the view of the right hon. Gentleman that the solution dd not present any real difficulty. Within the last few days he had received from a clergyman who had taken a great part in education in New South Wales, and who was under the impression that Lord Heneage's Amendment to Clause 1 was in the direction of facilities, a letter in these terms—The principle of this Amendment obtains in New South Wales, one of the most democratic and undenominational communities in the world. For twenty odd years, week in, week out, I have taught in the State schools there, and most of the time I have been on the Church Council which controls Church teaching in those schools. My own experience as a teacher, and as one of those who control such teaching, is that there had never been the slightest difficulty in working a proposal like Lord Heneage's. Its vagueness is its strength. At present the headmaster in the school in my parish is a Roman Catholic, and the second master is a Wesleyan; they both give excellent general religious teaching themselves, and they support my giving denominational teaching.That was an absolute confirmation of the forecast of the Minister for Education in the Independent Review, that these facilities in working would present no difficulties whatever. The present Amendment sought to apply the principle only in a particular and special case, namely, where a child had no alternative but to go to a particular school. All who supported Lord Balfour of Burleigh's Amendment and many who did not would support the present proposal, which dealt with the case of a child who was compelled to go to one school, and one school only, where if the religious teaching was not satisfactory to the parent the child had either to be withdrawn altogether from religious instruction or have instruction of which the parent did not approve. It was the single school area difficulty, and he frankly admitted that they on that side of the House had always felt that that from their point of view was the most difficult part of the education question with which 1269 they had to deal. Nothing could be more eminently fair than the right rev. Prelate's proposal, but it imposed a limitation by which its operation would be confined to rural districts. He did not think that the right rev. Prelate could really sustain the distinction between rural and urban, and therefore he (the Marquess of Salisbury) would move slightly to modify the Amendment by striking out the words "parish in a rural area" for the purpose of inserting the word "district," with a consequential Amendment substituting the word "district" for the word "parish" later on in the Amendment. The effect of the change would be, not to enlarge the Amendment beyond the single school areas, not to extend it beyond the cases where a child had no alternative, but so far to enlarge the Amendment that it would apply to urban as well as rural districts.
Amendment moved to the proposed Amendment—To leave out the words "parish in a rural area," and insert the word "district."—(The Marquess of Salisbury).
*LORD BELHAVEN AND STENTON
pointed out that there might be cases in which there were two schools of a similar kind—two church schools or two council schools—and the child would have no alternative but to go to one of those, and in neither case would the instruction be of the kind desired by its parents; he suggested, therefore, that instead of the words "one public elementary school" there should be substituted the words "schools of a single class."
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
I am sorry to have to suggest a further slight complication with regard to the wording of this Amendment, but the words "provided for the children of the parish" would probably not meet what is intended by the right rev. Prelate. If those words remain in the Amendment, somebody would have to find out whether the particular school was provided for the children of the parish, whereas what the right rev. Prelate means is that there is only one school for the children to attend. Without expressing any 1270 views as to the merits of the Amendment, I think the right rev. Prelate would be wise to omit those words.
This Amendment in its original form is no doubt free from many of the objections to which Lord Balfour of Burleigh's proposal was open. It is no doubt true that in a considerable number of cases a difficulty might arise, and as we think certainly would arise, in the possibility of several different kinds of religious teaching being required, whereas in the transferred schools only one kind of facilities would be demanded. In treating this proposal as the converse of the proposition in our Bill, Lord Courtney forgot that under the right rev. Prelate's Amendment there was nothing to prevent any number of different kinds of facilities being asked for. I quite admit that there is a good deal to be said for this Amendment, and if the right rev. Prelate were right in supposing that in all cases where it would be likely to apply it would be welcomed by the local authorities, criticism of it would, no doubt, be made much more difficult. But I am by no means convinced that that would be the case. The right rev. Prelate doubtless speaks with perfect knowledge of his own diocese, and he may know cases in which the matter could be arranged without friction. But, on the other hand, I was greatly impressed by what fell from the Duke of Devon-shire, in his speech on the general question, that, having regard to the fact that the denominational character of a great number of schools is going to be preserved, it is a very serious step indeed to tamper with the Cowper-Temple clause, and I confess that all the arguments which have been used have only convinced me that such a step should only be taken, if taken at all, with the most anxious consideration and also with a knowledge of what the practical effect would be.
The right rev. Prelate the Bishop of Salisbury, in speaking of the facilities, used a phrase which rather surprised me. Talking about the difficulty of accommodation in the school, he said that there was the parish room or a room at the church. But as I read the Bill, these facilities are to be given by teachers in school hours, and I see 1271 a series of Amendments on the Paper, with very formidable names attached, names which I imagine command a majority of your Lordship's House, making attendance at the school building during those hours compulsory. Therefore, I shall watch with interest to see what line the right rev. Prelate takes when we come to Clause 7, if he is in favour of facilities teaching being given outside the school house.
THE LORD BISHOP OF SALISBURY
I am quite in favour of it whenever it is desired by the local authority.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
The Marquess of Salisbury approaches the question from a somewhat different point of view. He has proposed an Amendment to strike out the words which confine the right rev. Prelate's proposition to council schools in single school areas.
THE MARQUESS OF SALSBURY
The only change I propose is in effect to include urban as well as rural; I do not propose to change the single school area.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
If the noble Marquess can tell me what are single school areas in urban districts I shall be very much obliged to him, because I honestly confess that I do not understand what he means. If he simply means the technical difference between an urban area and a rural area there may possibly be areas of urban district councils in which this state of things obtains. I very much doubt it, but there may be. If, however, the noble Marquess means that he wishes this provision to apply to all parts of large towns in which children may not have convenient access to denominational schools, I think he is undertaking an absolutely impossible task. This single school question has nothing to do with areas; it simply depends upon the point of view of the child. Everybody knows, particularly in these days of motor omnibuses, that the existence of 1272 a single crossing may make a school inaccessible to a particular child, and that child, if it is surrounded by such crossings, is in a single school area. If the noble Marquess imagines that by some machinery or other he can apply this provision to children so situated, I think he is undertaking a task beyond his powers or anybody else's powers of draughtmanship.
Consequently, I am sorry we are not able to accept the Amendment of the right rev. Prelate. We have listened with care and respect to the arguments in its favour, and we will certainly give the subject our careful consideration. But we are greatly impressed by the practical difficulty of touching the question at all, and if the right rev. Prelate presses his Amendment, although we are not disposed to put the Committee to the trouble of a division, I am afraid that we must challenge the decision of the Committee if it should be in his favour. As regards the proposed addition of the noble Marquess we should certainly have to divide the Committee against it.
§ *VISCOUNT HALIFAX
said there were two or three questions he would like to put to the noble Earl. Had the parent a right to have his child instructed in the religion in which he believed or had he not? Personally, he would have thought that liberty required that he should enjoy that right, but that right was exactly what the Bill refused, and so far as it went, the object of the Amendment was to secure that right. In the county council provided schools dealt with by this Amendment undenominational religion was being taught. If the parents demanded a right of entry to have their children taught the religion in which they themselves believed, not only was the right denied to them, but in what had been denominational schools undenominational religion was being forced upon them against their will. How could the noble Earl reconcile that kind of dealing with the ordinary principles of liberty and justice? That was all the advocates of this Amendment asked for, and unless it could be shown that it was consistent with liberty and justice to force a parent to send his child 1273 to a school to be taught a religion in which he did not believe, he did not see how the Government could refuse to accept the Amendment.
Then there was another question. From beginning to end in this discussion it had been laid down by Nonconformist organs that it was unjust to make a person pay for a religious teaching of which he did not approve. Nonconformists one and all had again and again affirmed that the State had nothing to do with religion, and their objection to the Acts of 1902 and 1870 and to some of the provisions of the present Bill was that the State was interfering in religious matters. The Bill took one form of religious instruction, namely undenominationalism; it imposed that on every school, and it made those who did not approve of it pay for it. Not only so, but it forbade the support from State money of any other form of religious teaching. It introduced undenominational teaching at the expense of the State, while it hampered, if it did not entirely forbid, any other form of religious teaching. He thought it was impossible to deny that statement. He quite agreed that this undenominational instruction was to all intents and purposes the religious instruction which Nonconformists desired. He was glad that they should have it, and he would help them to have it. But just as he was willing to help them to have what they wanted, on the same principle he asked that others should have what they wanted. Undenominational teaching was a form of religious instruction which did not suit the Church of England or the Roman Catholics. It no doubt was very inconvenient from the Nonconformist's point of view that that kind of instruction did not suit Anglicans and Roman Catholics, but the fact remained, and the only argument which justified the system supported by the present Bill would equally justify a Church of England majority in imposing the Church of England Catechism on all schools, or a Roman Catholic majority in imposing their own teaching in a similar manner. The Bill violated the most fundamental principles of religious liberty. It violated every principle for which Nonconformists had fought in the past. There was only one principle upon 1274 which the religious question could be solved, viz., an impartial attitude towards all religious opinions and denominations alike, which was exactly what this Bill did not set up. There might have been good reasons why Lord Balfour of Burleigh's Amendment should not be pressed at this stage of the Bill, though there were many schools in which children of Church of England parents were obliged to go to council schools, and it was extremely unjust that in those cases they should not be able to got such religious teaching as they required. When the Committee reached Clauses 4 and 5, he hoped their Lord ships would amend them in such a way as to secure denominational teaching for those who wished to have it, and also to preserve the atmosphere of the school; but if the religious question was to be solved to the satisfaction of the whole country it could be only by holding the balance oven between those who wished for denominational teaching and those who desired undenominational teaching. No one wished more devoutly than he did to get rid of the religious difficulty. He desired to see education made efficient, but he also wished real justice to be afforded in the matter of religious education, and unless their Lordships utilised the present Bill to do real justice and give equal treatment as between undenominational and denominational teaching, and much more if they forced upon the country a Bill which all those who cared for denominational teaching felt was doing them a most grievous injustice, they would be not promoting peace, but inaugurating a time of religious war of which we should not see the end for many a year. They would be doing in England exactly what had occurred in Holland, where there had been a most bitter warfare exactly on these lines, with the result that in the end the State had had to do justice to the denominational schools, and that was what, if justice were not done on the present occasion, Parliament would sooner or later be compelled to do.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
As the noble discount made a direct appeal to me I am obliged to answer him without delay. He asks me whether in our opinion parents have a right to have their children taught the religion in which they 1275 themselves believe. My reply is a very simple one. If it is a question of withdrawing children from religious instruction which their parents do not wish them to have, my answer is "yes." If it is a question of providing that instruction for them, my answer is "no."
§ *VISCOUNT HALIFAX
May I remind the noble Earl that in regard to these Amendments it has not been a question of providing, but of allowing the parents to provide for themselves?
*LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
desired to make an appeal to the right rev. Prelate and the noble Marquess. The Government could not at this moment accept the Amendment, but if it were put it would no doubt be carried by a large majority, and the noble Earl in charge of the Bill would simply record his dissent. Many Members on that side of the House were very anxious that something practical should come out of the discussion, and, in spite of the present disinclination of the Government to accept the Amendment on account of the difficulties involved, he thought something might be gained if the Amendment was withdrawn in order that the matter might be considered before the Report Stage. In logic doubtless the principle involved in the Amendment might be carried out so far as to cover the whole country, but everyone could see the difference between taking a small step to meet a grievance which was emphasised locally and applying the principle universally. If they had on the Paper carefully thought out words applying to rural districts, and if the proposal were supported largely, there would at any rate be a chance of getting something. If the clause were made permissive, it would overcome some of the objections and possibly abolish the hostility of the local authorities. In any case he felt that they had a chance of getting something if the matter were not pressed now and carried by a mere division with the dissent of the Government.
§ LORD HENEAGE
hoped the noble Marquess on the front Opposition Bench would withdraw the Amendment to the Amendment. They ought not to forget 1276 the side from which the Amendment had come, and if they could get it inserted in the Bill it would be of great advantage in single school areas.
*THE LORD BISHOP OF ST. ASAPH
said that coming from Wales, where out of 677 Church of England schools 553 were in rural areas, he thought he could make an appeal with some interest in the matter. The Marquess of Salisbury had quoted Mr. Birrell's opinion, and he could quote the not less influential testimony of the concordat to which the President of the Board of Trade, Mr. Lloyd-George, gave his assent in 1903, one of the terms of which was that there should be facilities in both provided and non-provided schools. The difficulty which had been feared with regard to introducing these facilities in provided schools and the disturbances it would cause had most distinctly not been experienced in Wales, and if they had not been felt in Wales he failed to see why they should be in England.
§ *THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I hope the right rev. Prelate will adhere to his Amendment as it stands; and my noble friend behind me is quite ready to withdraw his proposed addition. The important question is not so much the precise language in which the Amendment is couched as the principle which underlies it, and upon that principle we on this side are entirely agreed. Indeed, the noble Earl, the Lord President of the Council, has quite frankly admitted the grievance with which we desire to deal but, like many others, when he arrives at the Cowper-Temple clause he shudders on the brink and feels unable to move any further. But we have not that feeling on this side of the Committee. What we desire is the recognition of the principle for which we have contended through these discussions. That principle is that when a substantial minority of the parents of the children are dissatisfied with the religious instruction given in one of these schools, and those children are unable to obtain the desired kind of religious instruction at another easily accessible school, the facilities suggested should be given. The right rev. Prelate's Amendment seems to 1277 me to enforce that principle. If the question as between urban and rural areas should require further consideration it could be easily given to it hereafter. I hope the right rev. Prelate will take the sense of the Committee on what I conceive to be the principle underlying his Amendment.
§ Amendment to the proposed Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
*THE LORD BISHOP OF OXFORD
said the effect of the Amendment standing on the Paper in the name of Lord Balfour of Burleigh would extend the ordinary facilities from two days to five days in the week. He desired to make it quite clear that if the present Amendment were accepted the question whether the facilities should be for two days or for five would still be open for discussion.
§ LORD JOICEY
said it was the principle contained in the Amendment which induced the Government to oppose it, and he could quite understand their hesitation. The principle was for the first time to admit, in regard to council schools, the right of entry on the part of those who wished to have denominational teaching. If that principle were admitted much difficulty would be caused in those localities where hitherto they had always objected to it. He fully recognised the necessity for, and had always been in favour of, religious teaching, but he believed that by proceeding in the manner now proposed they would do great harm to the cause of religious education which they all desired to promote. He had had some experience, being a considerable owner of voluntary schools, but he had never had any difficulty at all in regard to the religious question. If, however, they were to attempt to force denominational teaching upon those schools where Cowper-Temple teaching had been given they would probably arouse a very strong feeling against religious education altogether. He appealed to the Government not to accept the Amendment, because he was convinced that the damage it would do to the cause of 1278 religious education was greater than any advantage that could be derived.
§ On Question, the House was cleared for a division, but the Amendment on being put a second time was agreed to.
§ Amendment moved—
In page 3, line 8, to leave out the word 'that.'"—(The Lord Bishop of Hereford.)
§ Amendment agreed to.
*THE LORD BISHOP OF BIRMINGHAM,
in moving to insert words securing that the religious instruction given should be for not less than a clear half-hour each morning, said it was lamentable that there should be any specific requirements made upon constituted authorities, but where they were made it was better that they should be such as would be effective. His own experience and the views of those whom he had consulted convinced him that if there was to be any effective religious instruction permanently given there must be sufficient time secured for the giving of that instruction, and there was a danger lest they should rest content with having in a nominal manner secured religious instruction, while at the same time they had left it possible so to scamp the time allotted to that instruction as to reduce it to something of no value at all. He feared that there was already a considerable body of opinion tending to show that religious instruction was in danger of being ousted, and his Amendment was simply to secure that where the giving of religious instruction was obligatory the allotting of adequate space to it should also be obligatory. His proposal that there should be a clear half-hour every day was based on the practice generally existing of marking the registers three-quarters of an hour after the opening of the school, and if it was provided that the space allotted should be not less than half an hour he thought they would secure what was necessary.
§ Amendment moved—
In page 3, line 11, after the word 'instruction,' to insert 'for not less than a clear half hour each morning.' "—(The Lord Bishop of Birmingham.)
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
We have always stated our desire that the facilities offered under our Bill should be of a genuine and real character, and if the right rev. Prelate thinks that the insertion of these words would ensure that to a greater extent than is done by the Bill as it stands we have no objection to their insertion. That is to say, that on each of the two mornings on which facilities are granted they should last for not less than a clear half-hour.
§ *VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN
took it that the provision meant that the instruction should be given on week day mornings. The words in the Bill did not say week day mornings, and he wished it to be perfecly clear, so that it should not be open to any authority to say that Sunday morning was one of the mornings on which facilities were given.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
The point put by the noble Viscount had not occurred to any of us, but I think on consideration he will see that it is exceedingly unlikely to happen. The whole matter is a question of arrangement between the two parties, and it is hardly conceivable that the managers of a denominational school would leave the point open.
*LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
pointed out that neither Saturday nor Sunday could count, because the school was under the management of the local authority only during proper school time.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
THE LORD BISHOP OF OXFORD
, in the absence of Lord Balfour of Burleigh, moved to leave out, from the word "instruction" to the end of sub-section (1.) He said the effect of the Amendment would be that where facilities were allowed they should not be restricted to two mornings in the week. The restriction was a survival from a state of things which had been modified or abolished by this Bill. It might have been reasonable to limit facilities so long as they, of necessity, brought any strain on the working of the school or involved any expenditure on the part of the local 1280 education authority. But when the facilities involved no cost, at all except to those who chose to avail themselves of them the reason for the limitation disappeared. Therefore, on the grounds of simplicity and consistency, and of getting rid of an irksome and unnecessary restriction, he urged the adoption of the Amendment. Moreover, there were many in the Church of England and among the Roman Catholics who would demur to the conception that religious instruction was capable of being divided into two parts, as though they could have religious instruction of one character on three days and of another character on two, and then regard the two parts put together as constituting such an organic and complete scheme as they believed to be embodied in the Christian faith. He begged to move.
§ Amendment moved—
In page 3, line 11, to leave out from the word 'instruction' to the end of sub-section (1).'"—(The Lord Bishop of Oxford.)
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
I hope the right rev. Prelate will not press this Amendment. It would obviously have the effect of turning a great number of these schools back into purely denominational schools, and on that ground it is impossible for us to accept it. What happens in a very large number of ordinarily conducted Church schools at the present time is that there are two days of distinctively Church teaching and three days of what is practically undenominational teaching, and it was on that practice that we largely founded our belief that the provision which we have made in Clause 3 would be acceptable to a great number of Churchmen. But if the right rev. Prelate and the Committee mean to turn these schools into something like "four-fifths" schools, they will really make such a breach in the Bill as to alter its whole character. Therefore, I hope the right rev. Prelate on consideration will be disposed not to press the Amendment. We have frankly admitted that we do not desire these schools to be distinctly denominational, and if they were to remain so there would be no object in including them in the Bill at all. Therefore it is utterly impossible for us to accept the Amendment.
§ LORD CLIFFORD OF CHUDLEIGH,
who had a similar Amendment on the Paper, pointed out that there were a large number of small schools which would come under this arrangement but were not included at present under Clause 4; and in these schools as a result of the restriction the religious instruction would be given on two days in the week, but on the other days the greater part of the children would be taken away altogether, because there would be a very small minority and in some cases none at all to whom Cowper-Temple teaching would be given. Therefore, if those schools were not included in Clause 4 the effect of the provision would be to restrict all religious education in those schools to two days in the week. On that ground he hoped the Amendment now before the Committee would be supported.
THE LORD BISHOP OF ST. DAVIDS
said there was a general impression that the concluding portion of this clause when first introduced did not confine the facilities to two mornings in the week as it now stood in the Bill. He directed special attention to the words—The mornings fixed by the local education authority shall be the name mornings in the week for all those children.He thought the introduction of those words in the other House was very unfortunate and restricted materially the very slight value which the ordinary facilities would, in any case, have. The Minister for Education had admitted that if it could be shown that there was any incongruity between the teaching on the three days in the week and the special teaching on the two days, there would be a serious grievance. There were many varieties of Cowper-Temple teaching. Some were good, some very good; some were bad, some very bad. Therefore, on the argument of the Minister for Education there would be a serious grievance if there was no protection against the introduction into transferred voluntary schools now belonging to the Church of that very bad type of Cowper-Temple teaching. He therefore hoped that the Committee would support the Amendment.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
I think the right rev. Prelate has misunderstood 1282 the meaning of the last line of the clause as it stands in the Bill. When the Bill was first introduced it was undoubtedly the case that two mornings a week would be set aside for this special religious instruction, and that it would not be given at all on the other three days. But it was pointed out in another place that it might not be possible for all the children to receive it on those two days, that there might be such a large number of children desirous of receiving this special instruction that it would be exceedingly difficult to take them all on two fixed days of the week. Therefore my right hon. friend introduced these words so as to secure that each child should receive instruction on two days if it was found that the limitation to two particular days caused such inconvenience. Then the right rev. Prelate expresses a fear that Cowper-Temple teaching of the bad kind, as he calls it, might be given on the other three days. I must call his attention to sub-section (5) of Clause 2 where he will see that one of the conditions which owners of schools to be transferred are able to make is that the authorities shall give an undertaking to give religious instruction which does not conflict with Section 14 of the Elementary Education Act, 1870. I am sure it will case the right rev. Prelate's mind to know that that section makes it possible for a transferring body of owners to insist upon a particular kind of Cowper-Temple instruction being given; that is to say, they can present a syllabus to the local authority and make its acceptance for the three days teaching part of their bargain.
*THE LORD BISHOP OF OXFORD
asked whether, at a later stage of the Bill, the Government would introduce words into sub-section (5) of Clause 2 to make the assurance which the noble Earl had just given quite clear.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
was much surprised that the noble Earl should say it was quite clear, because all that the sub-section said was that the owners might bargain that the local 1283 education authority should give Cowper-Temple teaching. There was no provision that the owners might bargain for a particular kind of Cowper-Temple teaching.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
said there was no mention of a syllabus. The sub-section simply provided that the owners might bargain with the local authority to have Cowper-Temple teaching of some sort. No doubt the noble Earl meant that it was the intention of the Government that it should be able to bargain for a syllabus.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
said it was very unfortunate that in these debates they were denied the assistance of the legal adviser of His Majesty's Government. One would have expected to see the Lord Chancellor present to give his views on these very difficult legal points, but doubtless the noble and learned Lord was absent for very good reasons. In his absence he ventured to suggest that the words did not go so far as the noble Earl had said, and he asked whether, if on inquiry he found that was the case, he would take care at a future stage to have words inserted to carry out that view.
The point with which the Committee had been dealing was the difficulty which arose from the fact that, if only two days were set apart for special religious instruction, there might be given on the other three days religious instruction inconsistent, with that which had been given on the other two. But there was also to be considered the fact that those who bargained with the local education authority were not free to arrange the classes and the times so as to suit the various children requiring the special instruction. The noble Earl had stated that the latter words of the clause were introduced to meet that difficulty, and that under these circumstances it would be perfectly possible, where schools were very large, for the two days to be so allotted that one class might be taken on one day and another class on another.
1284 No doubt that was the intention of the noble Earl, but if he looked at the words of the Clause he would see that the exception was—Unless the authority on account of the accommodation in the school or the number of classes in the school consider that the instruction cannot be efficiently given on the same mornings to all the children whose parents wish them to receive it.He submitted that accommodation and number of classes were not [...]only conditions which should be considered. The number of teachers available was another important fact. Under the Bill, so far as they had gone, none of the regular teachers were permitted to give religious instruction under Clause 3; some of them hoped that that would be altered, but at present the only teachers available would have to be introduced from outside. There might be very few of such teachers available. In most rural parishes there was nobody available for the work except the clergyman, and very often, if he might say so with great respect to the bench of Bishops, the clergyman was not at all fit to give that instruction, because the giving of instruction was a difficult matter, requiring very special training. Therefore, in schools of considerable size, even though there might be sufficient accommodation for all the children to receive the instruction on the same two days, and the number of classes might not present any great difficulty, yet the absence of teachers might present an insuperable obstacle. If the noble Earl wanted to make the clause really effective, he would have to introduce other conditions. The truth was that the limiting words were a mistake. The clause would have been much better if it had been left elastic and free in the form originally introduced, and the Government would do well to revert to their first mind in the matter.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
said he understood the noble Earl to say that under sub-section (5) of Clause 2, facilities could be required in the sense of being demanded and obtained. B sub-section (5) did nothing of the so[...] What it said was—.Nothing in this section shall prevent [...]granting or requiring of facilities.1285 It did not say they were to be given; it merely said that nothing was to prevent their being granted. One could require a thing but not get it; to ask was not the same thing as to receive, and that was all that sub-section (5) provided. Several times in the course of the discussion the right to bargain for a thing had been treated as being the same as getting it, but it was an entirely different matter.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
I think it is right that I should begin by explaining to the noble Marquess that the Lord Chancellor is, unfortunately, debarred from being present because the doctor forbids his leaving the house.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
To us on this side of the House it is a matter of the deepest regret that we should rose the benefit of his advice, and I am certain that noble Lords opposite are also sorry for his absence. In answer to the question of Earl Camperdown, it certainly was our opinion that the words at the end of sub-section (5) made it possible for a local authority to bargain in this respect with the transferring authority, and in spite of the view of the noble Marquess, we maintain that from a legal point of view the words were sufficient. That is simply a matter of legal opinion, and we were so advised by those competent to judge. But when I gave the answer to the noble Marquess I had not considered the fact that by the action of the Committee the transfer is made compulsory, and it is very possible that that fact may prevent its making a bargain in this respect. Therefore my expression was subject to the fact of a bargain being possible at all between the two parties. As regards the latter part of sub-section (1) of Clause 3, we will certainly take into full consideration the point which has been raised, but I am not at all holding out hopes that we should be able to add to the accommodation and the number of classes as conditions in reference to the granting of facilities on more than two days. The suggestion that the number of teachers 1286 available should be taken into account would introduce very marked complication and great difficulty.
§ *VISCOUNT HALIFAX
said it seemed to have been forgotten that under the present Bill some 12,000 Church schools with the addition of the Roman Catholic schools were to be handed over to the county councils. If the owners of those schools refused to mike the transfer the schools would practically be starved out of existence, while if they agreed to the transfer the owners were to acquiesce except on two days in the week in the giving of religious instruction of the very sort which those schools were built to prevent. The Amendment made a very moderate demand. How could the Government refuse to the minority—if it was a minority—to whom the schools originally belonged facilities on every day of the week for their own religious teaching?
§ LORD ASHBOURNE
thought the drafting was possibly open to question. The clause said: "not more than two mornings a week." That would be satisfied by having no morning at all or only one. He suggested it would be safer and wiser to put in the words, "not less than two mornings" or "two mornings and no more."
*LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
said there had been two or three important questions raised in the debate. In the case of a rural Roman Catholic school the children in which were practically all Roman Catholics, under the Bill the owners would get the right to use the school for religious teaching on two mornings in the week. But all the children would doubtless be told to take advantage of the conscience clause and refuse to accept religious teaching other than Catholic on the other three clays of the week. It would then be in the power of Catholic parents under Lord Londonderry's form of by-law to send their children to school only at the time when secular instruction began, and they could take advantage of the parish room or other premises outside the school for 1287 the purpose of having the children instructed in accordance with Roman Catholic principles. Therefore, they would suffer little material inconvenience. As to the five days proposal, the right rev. Prelate's argument seemed to proceed on the assumption that because a school had hitherto been a denominational school the children were mainly those desiring that particular kind of denominational education. But one of the grievances which had led to this Bill had been the fact that the character of the school had not depended on the wishes of the locality, but on the fact that a squire had chosen to establish a Church school. In the county in Wales with which he was connected he knew of one school with a Church foundation where not one of the children attending the school was a member of the Church of England. The schoolmaster and the managers were Church of England but every child was a Nonconformist. The object of this Bill was to secure that whatever definite teaching was reserved to the denomination on two days, there should be an opportunity for giving general Bible teaching on the other three. If all the five days were reserved to the denomination, those people who happened to live in a parish where the school was denominational would be the victims of the endowment of some ancient squire, and that was one of the evils the Bill was intended to prevent. His recollection was that it was contemplated that the two days would be definite days, and that as a concession to the denominational party, it was agreed that where, owing to the size of the school and the large number of scholars, all the children could not be taken at the same time, permission should be given to spread the facilities over more than two days. It was very possible that the general Bible teaching might conflict with the distinctively Anglican teaching, especially in a school which wanted teaching of a somewhat narrow view on sacraments and baptism; and the friends of definite teaching would not be protected by any syllabus, because such syllabus would only indicate the subjects and not the spirit and temper in which they should be taught. Therefore one could not ensure that the general Bible teaching 1288 would be in harmony with the teaching of a particular clergyman and they must take the risk. It was not at all evident, on the face of it, that the construction put by the Government upon the subsection which had been referred to was the right one, and he very much doubted whether the House of Commons appreciated it. The concession was a very serious one, and he supposed it had been made to enable managers of Church schools to feel sure that even if a local authority should become secular in the future, whatever their general policy might be, in these transferred schools at any rate, there should be some religious instruction given on every day of the week, and that that instruction would be in accordance with the Cowper-Temple clause. But if it was to be contended that there was to be an undertaking so long as the transfer held good to give Cowper-Temple teaching according to a particular syllabus, that the managers might say, "We will take all that part of our present diocesan syllabus which has to do with Bible teaching as distinct from Prayer Book and Catechism, and require that to be taught in the schools," it would be an intolerable burden, and he could not imagine any self-respecting great county authority taking over a school on those terms. It would be absolutely contrary to the whole spirit of legislation to allow a local authority elected for three years to bind its successors for all time and deprive the electors of their power over the syllabus.
*THE LORD BISHOP OF BIRMINGHAM
said that to a great number of persons on whose behalf he spoke this was a matter of vital principle. If a school which had been a Church school was to be transferred—a school in which there were a majority of children whose parents were not Church people, then in the name of everything sacred those children ought to receive not the instruction which Church parents would desire, but the instruction which their own parents wished according to the particular religious denomination to which they belonged. But it was quite as vital a matter that the Church people should not in any way be expected to admit that religious teaching could be split up into denominational and undenominational in the 1289 manner suggested, and that they ought to be content with that subdivision. It was not merely a matter of the particular subjects on the particular days; it was a matter of authority and spirit of the teaching. Supposing they had religious teaching given by the schoolmaster on the undenominational days, and by the representative of the Church (or of some other religious body) on the days set apart for denominational teaching, it was possible that they might work in harmony, but on the other hand it was possible they might not. What they claimed was there should not be imposed by the
§ State on children whose parents did not wish it, a particular kind of religious teaching instead of that which they did wish. Moreover it was much easier that the children should receive religious instruction in the same groups every day of the week than that they should be differently grouped for the purpose on two mornings and on three mornings a week.
§ On Question, whether the words proposed to be left out should stand part of the clause, their Lordships divided:— Contents, 49; Not-Contents, 141.1291
|York, L. Abp.||Chester, L. Bp.||Headley, L.|
|St. Asaph, L. Bp.||Hemphill, L.|
|Crewe, E. (L. President.)||Heneage, L.|
|Ripon, M. (L. Privy Seal.||Aberdare, L.||Joicey, L.|
|Winchester, M.||Burghclere, L.||Kinnaird, L.|
|Castletown, L.||Monk Bretton, L.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Colebrooke, L.||Monkswell, L.|
|Camperdown, E.||Coleridge, L.||Monson, L.|
|Carrington, E.||Courtney, of Penwith, L.||O'Hagan, L.|
|Chesterfield, E.||Denman, L. [Teller.]||Overtoun, L.|
|Chichester, E.||Eversley, L.||Reay, L.|
|Craven, E.||Fitzmaurice, L.||Rendel, L.|
|Durham, E.||Glantawe, L.||Ribblesdale, L.|
|Granville, E.||Granard, L. (E. Granard.) [Teller.]||Rosebery, L. (E. Rosebery.)|
|Russell, E.||Sandhurst, L.|
|Temple, E.||Grimthorpe, L.||Stanley of Alderley, L.|
|Hamilton, of Dalzell. L.||Tweedmouth, L.|
|Althorp, V. (L. Chamberlain.)||Harersham, L.||Wandsworth, L.|
|Canterbury, L. Abp.||Gainsborough, E.||Bridport, V.|
|Halsbury, E.||Churchill, V. [Teller.]|
|Norfolk, D. (E. Marshal.)||Ilchester, E.||Colville of Culross, V.|
|Grafton, D.||Kilmorey, E.||Falkland, V.|
|Newcastle, D.||Lathom, E.||Falmouth, V.|
|Portland, D.||Lindsey, E.||Goschen, V.|
|Richmond and Gordon, D.||Lucan, E.||Halifax, V.|
|Somerset, D.||Malmesbury, E.||Hill, V.|
|Wellington, D.||Mayo, E.||Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.)|
|Ailesbury, M.||Morton, E.||Iveagh, V.|
|Bath, M.||Northesk, E.||Llandaff, V.|
|Camden, M.||Onslow, E.||St. Aldwyn, V.|
|Hertford, M.||Pembroke and Montgomery, E.|
|Lansdowne, M.||Plymouth, E.||Bangor, L. Bp.|
|Salisbury, M.||Powis, E.||Bath and Wells, L. Bp.|
|Radnor, E.||Birmingham, L. Bp.|
|Albemarle, E.||Rosse, E.||Bristol, L. Bp.|
|Ashburnham, E.||Saint Germans, E.||Chichester, L. Bp.|
|Carnwath, E.||Shrewsbury, E.||Lincoln, L. Bp.|
|Cawdor, E.||Stamford, E.||London, L. Bp.|
|Clarendon, E.||Waldegrave, E. [Teller.]||Norwich, L. Bp.|
|Darnley, E.||Westmeath, E.||Oxford, L. Bp.|
|Dartrey, E.||Westmorland, E.||Exeter, L. Bp.|
|Denbigh, E.||Wharncliffe, E.||St. David's, L. Bp.|
|Devon, E.||Wicklow, E.||Salisbury, L. Bp.|
|Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.)||Winchelsea and Nottingham, E.||Southwark, L. Bp.|
|Wakefield, L. Bp.|
|Feversham, E.||Yarborough, E.||Winchester, L. Bp.|
|Abinger, L.||Dunleath, L.||Newton, L.|
|Addington, L.||Estcourt, L.||Oranmore and Browne, L.|
|Alverstone, L.||Fermanagh, L. (E. Erne.)||Ormonde, L. (M. Ormonde.)|
|Ampthill, L.||Fingall, L. (E. Fingall.)||Ponsonby, L. (E. Bess-borough.)|
|Atkinson, L.||Forester, L.|
|Barnard, L.||Gage, L. (V. Gage.)||Ramsay, L. (E. Dalhousie.)|
|Bateman, L.||Grey, de Ruthyn, L.||Ranfurly, L. (E. Ranjurly.)|
|Blythswood, L.||Harris, L.||Saltoun, L.|
|Braye, L.||Kenlis, L. (M. Headfort.)||Sanderson, L.|
|Burton, L.||Kenmare, L. (E. Kenmare.)||Sandys, L.|
|Carysfort, L. (E. Carysfort.)||Kenyon, L.||Seaton, L.|
|Chaworth, L. (E. Heath.)||Kilmarnock, L. (E. Erroll.)||Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)|
|Cheylesmore, L.||Kintore, L. (E. Kintore)||Southampton, L.|
|Clifford of Chudleigh, L.||Knaresborough, L.||Stalbridge, L.|
|Colchester, L.||Lawrence, L.||Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)|
|Dawnay, L. (V. Downe.)||Leith of Fyvie, L.|
|De Freyne, L.||Lovat, L.||Trevor, L.|
|De Mauley, L.||Methuen, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Deramore, L.||Montagu, of Beaulieu, L.||Waleran, L.|
|Digby, L.||Mostyn, L.||Willoughby De Broke, L.|
|Douglas, L. (E. Home.)||Mowbray, L.||Zouche, of Haryneworth, L.|
§ House resumed, and to be again in Committee on Monday next.