HL Deb 12 November 1906 vol 164 cc950-97

moved an Amendment to limit the application of the first subsection to the case of teachers who were "appointed after the passing of this Act." He was extremely sorry that he could not go the whole length that the most rev. Primate did, in suggesting that all teachers should be allowed to give denominational instruction. He thought there was a great deal to be said for that proposition. It appeared to him that it was far better, if possible, to avoid any outside influences being brought into the school. He entirely agreed with the noble Viscount Lord Halifax that it was extremely hard on the teachers to suggest that they should not be allowed to give denominational education when, as in many cases, then-whole heart was in it. Not only that, he felt that a great many of the teachers who had been in the habit of giving denominational instruction would naturally resent, any interference by outsiders in the school. He also agreed that persons from outside would probably not be able to give the religious instruction as well as the trained teacher. For all these reasons he wished he could vote with the most rev. Primate and his friends, but there were considerations on the other side.

There had been a general election, and the people of this country had said clearly and decidedly that as far as possible there should be no religious tests for teachers. What did the country understand by religious tests? The country understood something very different from that which was understood by noble Lords opposite. The country took a much broader view of what was; meant by religious tests. The country considered that denominational tests were imposed on teachers, not only when those tests were a necessary qualification for teaching, but when they were any qualification at all. The view of the country was that if they gave a teacher any sort of advantage over another because of his religious convictions they were imposing a religious test. If they took that to be the standard, it was perfectly clear that the only means of getting absolutely rid of religious tests was by preventing teachers giving denominational education at all. If two teachers, for instance, applied for a position in a denominational school and one could teach denominational religion and the other could not, it was perfectly clear that the former had an advantage over the latter. His Majesty's Government, however, had not gone the length of absolutely doing away with denominational tests for teachers to the extent that the country perhaps wished it. For instance, in Clause 4 there was an exception. By that clause teachers were allowed and. instructed to teach denominational religion.


Not instructed.


Well, at all events they are allowed to give denominational instruction. Noble Lords opposite had suggested that every teacher, both present and future, should be entitled, if he liked, to give denominational teaching in the school. His Amendment drew a clear distinction between teachers who were now giving denominational teaching and those who were not. He thought every noble Lord who had the slightest knowledge of platform oratory must be convinced that the most telling argument against religious tests heard in the country during the last five or six years was what he might call the argument of hypocrisy, that tests made hypocrites. There were hundreds of thousands of devoted Nonconformists who were satisfied that a most intolerable strain was placed on the conscience of Nonconformists by the temptation to say that they agreed with Church of England dogmas when they did not. Nonconformists were perfectly certain that a considerable number of teachers has succumbed to that temptation, and they were determined that the temptation should not, if they could avoid it, be present in the future.

They could not undo the past. If there were any persons now teaching denominational religion which they did not believe he was sorry for them. But his Amendment made no new hypocrites. By permitting those who were now giving religious instruction to continue to do so they could not be held to be imposing tests. It was a cruel and odious disability to prevent teachers from teaching a denominational religion in which they believed, and therefore he thought they ought not to carry this provision further than was absolutely necessary to fulfil the mandate of the people. He hoped that on the Ministerial side the Amendment would be accepted, and he ventured to suggest to noble Lords opposite that they might accept it instead of deleting subsection (1) of Clause 4. If they carried their views too far the Amendments they put into the Bill would be futile. Surely it was far better that they should insert an Amendment which the House of Commons might be induced to accept, rather than hazard any Amendment at all being agreed upon by excluding the sub-section.

Amendment moved— In page 6, line 36, after the word 'school' to insert the words 'appointed after the passing of this Act."—(Lord. Monkswell.)


believed that everyone on the Opposition side of the House was in favour of teachers being relieved from the obligation of giving religious teaching to which they objected. But what they did feel extremely hard was that teachers who wished to give religious instruction should not be allowed to do so. The question was not merely one affecting existing schools; it affected the character of all schools and the rights of all children in time to come. Why was what they considered a reasonable claim to be limited to existing teachers? It seemed to him that there was no kind of sense in that suggestion. He hoped the noble Lord who had moved the Amendment would see that, having gone so far, he might with great advantage and much logic go a little further. The subsection provided that a teacher employed in a public elementary school should not give any religious instruction of a special character not permitted under Section 14 of the Elementary Education Act, 1870. What was to happen in the case of religious teaching which was not of a special character? Was the teacher to be obliged to give it or not? He thought many teachers might object to give religious instruction of the Cowper-Temple nature. Would they be obliged to do so?


My Lords, I think it is evident from this discussion, so far as it has gone, that this is one of those cases whore we are not able to consider only the Amendment which is actually before the Committee. It is not possible to discuss the question of the limitations suggested by my noble friend Lord Monks well without going into the whole question of whether teachers should be allowed to give special teaching at all. Consequently, in what I have to say now I shall practically be addressing myself to the Amendments put down by Lord Heneage and others, as well as to that moved by my noble friend.

Clause 8 contains several provisions, all of which are intended for the protection of teachers, and it is by this apparent disability that we begin our scheme of protection for them. I do not know whether your Lordships have ever thought what an exceedingly interesting and important body the elementary teachers of this country have now become. There are 140,000 men and women, all of them educated, a great number of them very highly educated indeed, and they form a really new element in our national life. Forty or fifty years ago the teachers of this country were poorly trained in many cases, disorganised, and not forming, as they do now, a great body of public servants. This body demands, in my opinion, very high consideration. They are not people who come very much before the world. It is only here and there that the name of one who has been an elementary teacher becomes known, as a few names are now well known in Parliament, but we must not forget the great part they play in our national life; many of them are obscure people, but to them is committed the future of the great body of our race. They might say, in the well-known lines— Others I doubt not, if not we, The issue of our toil shall see; Young children gather as their own The harvest that the dead have sown, The dead forgotten and unknown. These people, as we believe, are by a very great majority in favour of having this undoubted disability laid upon them. That may seem to be a singular fact, and I note that it is contradicted from the right rev. Bench, but it has been stated by those who are entitled to speak for the teachers. I know, of course, that there is a considerable and important number who take an entirely different view, yet I believe I am right in saying that the majority would prefer to see this clause pass as it stands than to see subsection (1) struck out of the Bill.


Does the noble Earl say the majority of teachers in denominational schools desire that?


No, the majority of the whole number of teachers desire it.


Has the noble Earl any evidence of that?


I have no figures on the subject. I imagine that none exist. If any figures exist which prove the contrary, no doubt some noble Lord or right rev. Prelate will produce them. Now, my Lords, there is a disbility, but there are many disabilities of a similar kind existing in this country at this moment. It is a parallel disability which forbids, or at any rate precludes, Judges and officers in the Army from taking part in polemical politics. Of course, if you like, you may say that politics are on a lower plane, and that here you are dealing with loftier matters. I do not expect, however, to hear that argument used in this House, because I am quite sure that most of your Lordships would hold that a man's duty to his Sovereign and his country may be part of his religion. And I can quite believe that at a time of national crisis it might be a very serious disability for a distinguished Member of the Judicature who, perhaps, had taken an active part in public life, to be prevented from declaring views which he might hold very strongly as to the course that ought to be taken for the national safety and the national honour. But, my Lords, he has to give up the lesser freedom in order to preserve the greater freedom, and that, in a humble way, is what we ask the teachers of England to do in this matter, and what we believe in the main they would prefer to do.

It is a singular fact that this provision, harsh though it may seem to some, is not one of the provisions in the Bill that is specially, or, at any rate, by any means only, pressed by the more extreme advocates of undenominational education. There may be some in this House and possibly outside who imagine that the Nonconformist Churches are in main composed of gloomy and jealous fanatics, but it is by no means only fanatics who object to any change in this provision. I confess that in the survey which I have had to take of this matter I have been oven surprised at the extent to which men of quite moderate opinions attach the greatest importance to the retention of this subsection as being practically the only means of preventing the imposition of tests upon teachers. What they say is that if a teacher may give this special instruction it will happen, looking at the thing as practical men and rather on the question of principle, that in a great many cases he is appointed because he can give it and may give it. Consequently, by giving this permission you establish a test.

Your Lordships are perfectly well aware that a very considerable number of Nonconformists strongly object to Clause 4, and that the Government have passed through a pretty hot fire from many of their ordinary supporters in respect of it. One of the reasons for which that clause is objected to is that it is believed that some sort of indirect test is likely to be placed upon teachers in these Clause 4 schools. It is undoubtedly the case that if that permission were made universal, these gentlemen would very reasonably consider their objections multiplied tenfold, because while we have admitted all through that Clause 4 schools have a denominational character, we have protested with equal force that we intend the other transferred schools to take an undenominational position. Now, my Lords, what those who object to any departure from this subsection say is this. Take the case of a small rural school. You have a neighbourhood with an active clergyman and very likely a clerically-minded landowner. If you allow a teacher in such a case as that to give the facilities teaching—I am assuming, of course, that it is not a Clause 4 school—you will practically be reducing the school to the position in which it stands at this moment. Noble Lords opposite will say "And a very good thing too," only, of course, that is not compatible with the Bill. It would make the taking over of the school meaningless and the payment of rent absolutely offensive from the point of view of the people who have to pay it.

I must remind your Lordships of one further point in this connection. If you agree that it is a proper thing to appoint a teacher to such a school as this because he can, and will, give the facilities teaching, you cannot complain if the obverse also happens. If the willingness of a teacher to give this teaching is to become in some cases a test of his getting the appointment, you may be quite certain that people who are not in favour of denominational education will take very good care that a teacher is appointed who will not be prepared to give it. In such a case as I have described, you could not complain if the local authorities who were not in favour of keeping the denominational atmosphere in such a school carefully picked out a Nonconformist teacher, in order to prevent its completely losing its undenominational character. And, as I think, the most unfortunate result would be that, according to the particular opinions held by particular local authorities, you would have a sort of chess-board all over England and Wales in which friendly local authorities would appoint Church teachers to nominally undenominational schools in order to give Church teaching, and unfriendly authorities would appoint Nonconformists in order to keep the character of the schools undenominational.

I think it is a bad business if you are going to have a sort of fight for the body of the teacher according to his or her religious views. In the interests of the teaching profession quite as much as in the interests of the children we desire to keep all that sort of thing entirely out of the question of the selection of the teacher, or, at any rate, so far as it possibly can be kept out. I quite admit it is not possible to expel that element altogether, but we are determined, at any rate, to do nothing to encourage it. I might point out, although I am not sure that i t is really worth while to do so, that the practical effect of the acceptance of the Amendment of my noble friend opposite, or, in lesser degree, of that of my noble friend Lord Monkswell, in somewhat diminished by what you have done by your Amendments to Clause 7. If attendance at the school is made compulsory for all children it must obviously be the teacher's first duty to give, if required, Cowper-Temple instruction or secular instruction, and only in the third place the instruction which you now desire him or her to be allowed to give. It is perfectly evident that both those kinds of teaching must take precedence of the facilities teaching, and that possibly some of your Lordships might be disappointed to find that the actual effect in small schools is not quite so marked as you would at first sight be led to hope.

I pass for one moment to the Amendment of my noble friend. That stands on a somewhat different footing. He, in the early part of his speech, very forcibly set before us the general arguments which I have endeavoured to enforce in somewhat different terms. But his Amendment, as I understand it, is not on merits, but is an ad misericordiam plea for individuals, and that, of course, is a very different matter.


It is a little of both.


Then I am not sure that I quite followed my noble friend's point in confining it to these particular teachers. It is only fair to him to state that he set forward the objections to the omission of the subsection with great force, although perhaps he was not so much convinced by them as we are. I do feel—we must all feel—that the milk of human kindness flows freely in the veins of the Government, and we do feel that, in our general desire to make the transitions which must take place under this Bill as easy as possible, it is unfortunate to inflict what I am afraid in some cases may be a rather poignant disappointment upon people who have been in the habit of giving this teaching. I have no doubt their case will be set before the Committee by speakers on the other side, and consequently, although I am not in a position to accept the Amendment of my noble friend, yet I do not propose to divide the Committee against it. I do not want to put your Lordships to the trouble of two divisions, but I shall be obliged to say "Not content," and then when the other Amendment is brought forward we shall have to express our disagreement with noble Lords opposite by dividing against them.


said he would certainly not press his Amendment to a division if it was not liked on either side of the House. But the noble Earl had given no answer to the plain distinction between teachers who were now giving denominational education and future teachers. His Amendment was confined to teachers who were now giving religious instruction, and, therefore, the arguments against tests, so far as his Amendment was concerned, fell to the ground.


rose to speak.


Which Amendment are we on?


The Amendment moved by the noble Lord below the gangway (Lord Monks-well).


But I understand him to withdraw it.


I will withdraw it if noble Lords so desire.


said he accepted absolutely and unreservedly the general principle of the complete freedom of conscience for all teachers. Anything that concerned the consciences of the teachers ought to be handled with quite peculiar tenderness and care. No teacher ought, in his judgment, ever to be compelled, directly or indirectly, to give religious teaching of any sort whatever. On the other hand where religious teaching, whether denominational or undenominational could be given by a teacher without interference with the due conduct of the work of the school, it was, to his mind, an almost intolerable hardship to forbid trained men and women voluntarily to give that teaching. The only religious teaching worthy of the name was that which was given absolutely willingly, as the outcome of complete intellectual and moral conviction.

The very last thing that he wanted to do, directly or indirectly, was to impose upon anyone the compulsion to teach a single word that he did not honestly and fully believe. That principle alone gave reality to that part of education which did most to strengthen the will and to form character. It was not for the satisfaction of a sentiment, but for the assertion of a principle, that they cared about this matter. Lord Monkswell's proposal was valuable so far as it went, because it granted a privilege to existing teachers. But, while it admitted the principle on which that sanction ought to be giver, it practically barred the way for its future application. One was a question of consideration and fairness to individuals, but the other was a fundamental principle of common justice and of the satisfactory management of the whole system of elementary schools in England.

He found it hard to believe that anyone who knew the facts could impartially and in his heart desire to go against the proposal that had been made by Lord Monkswell. The proposal to apply to existing teachers this prohibition was a piece of simple religious tyranny. He knew no other words for it. It would inflict the cruellest possible hardship upon thousands of people who had a right to expect other treatment. It was impossible to exaggerate what the compulsory silencing of that for which they cared most would mean to thousands of devoted men and women working in the denominational schools to-day. It would be a direct violation of what these people had had a right to look for from the day they entered on their training for their great and noble career down to the present time. There were about 68,000 fully-certified teachers in England, and about one-third of them belonged to and were working in the Church schools. He spoke with intimate knowledge of them, and it was absolutely certain that no small number of them would never have entered that profession but for their firm confidence that they could pursue it on the lines on which they had entered it. Very many of them had deliberately remained in the denominational schools at a lower salary than they could have obtained in other schools, because they sad they would not give up the right to pass on to the children entrusted to their care the principles which were operative in a wide way on the whole issues of life, the principles which had made all the difference to themselves, and which they believed would make all the difference to the children.

A month or two ago he spent an after-j noon on one of the anniversary days at one of the largest and best of their training colleges for women teachers. There were gathered together many hundreds of teachers, and he took pains to converse with them on this subject. If their Lordships had been present and had heard what many of these devoted women said one after another as to how they valued the right to give this special teaching, he was certain they would have a unanimous vote on this subject. Scarcely any of those ladies had realised that a day might come, within the next year or two, upon which they should suddenly find that for the rest of their lives they were not to open their lips in these schools upon the things which mattered most to them in their religious life. It was not a mere question of teaching the Catechism and formularies. The Catechism and formularies were merely the expression of certain large and far-reaching doctrines as to the bearing of religion upon life; the corporate side of religion; what baptism meant, what it meant to be baptised members of the Church of Christ, communicant members of His Society upon earth. These were the ways, whether others liked them or not, which they had found by daily experience to be the best to build up character, to strengthen life, and to make pure and wholesome and bright the future years of the children they were teaching.

Knowing that these teachers started in life with the thought that having got these principles deep in their hearts they would devote themselves to passing them on to the children, were they going to say that on a particular day that was to come to an end? The thing to his mind was simply intolerable. There was an immense volume of opinion from teachers in all parts of the country as to the wrong which would be done to their deepest convictions if they were, after years of devoted service, to be compulsorily silenced as to all these topics which had meant so much to them in the non-provided or denominational schools. Last May a very crowded meeting of teachers was held in one of the great central halls in London, and they protested with all their might against this change which was threatened. They protested against the proposal to forbid the teachers to give denominational instruction, and they claimed emphatically on behalf of every elementary Church school teacher absolute freedom to give or to refrain from giving in accordance with their conscientious convictions any religious instruction, denominational or undenominational, which formed part of the curriculum of the school. Though the teachers were now told that such instruction was to form part of the curriculum, they were to stand aside in order to let other persons come in and give that teaching, and they were to be prevented from speaking on the subjects that were nearest to their hearts. Other meetings of teachers had been held in almost every part of England, and petitions had been presented in large numbers. A great memorial was addressed to the President of the Board of Education signed by 11,438 teachers in denominational Church schools. To the best of his belief it was everywhere true —it was certainly true in his own diocese—that these memorials were the spontaneous product of the teachers themselves. When asked whether he would help to promote the movement, he objected, and urged the clergy to keep out of it, pointing out that the movement, if made at all, must come from the teachers themselves; and this was what actually happened. In that memorial the teachers stated— We, being actual teachers of children actually attending public elementary schools desire to make known to you that we strongly object to being deprived of the liberty we Hare hitherto enjoyed of giving to the children whose parents desire it the full teaching of the Church of England. We assure you that we entered the profession with the conviction that we should never be required to abstain from teaching what we believe to be of vital importance. He found it difficult, therefore, to understand the position of those who said that these teachers were now to be debarred from doing that which had induced many of them to enter the profession, and which they prized more than any other part of their noble and sacred calling. He further pointed out that instead of a clear majority of teachers having declared themselves to be in favour of the change, as was sometimes urged, the true fact was that when the National Union of Teachers met in Scarborough last summer this question was not put to the vote. Until the Government could produce some figures showing the preponderance of opinion among the teaching body he hoped that nothing would be said as to the opinion held by teachers regarding their right to give denominational instruction where it could properly be given.

He accepted the general principle contained in Clauses 3 and 4 as a perfectly genuine effort on the part of the Government in the arrangement of a most complicated and difficult matter to safeguard the denominational principle where it could be suitably maintained. But he doubted whether the intention had in any way been carried out or could be given effect to by the provisions of the Bill as drawn; and he did not think that the hopes of safeguarding denominational education from wrong would be fulfilled by the clauses as they stood. In and out of Parliament they had been told, "You are making a most unnecessary fuss about this; your denominational principle is safeguarded to the full." He was certain that thousands of persons had had their apprehensions and anxieties removed as to the future of their schools by the assurance thus given. He was not prepared to say that this clause in some amended form might not give some measure of security to the denominational principle. But one of the Amendments which was absolutely essential was the Amendment now before the Committee to allow teachers in the Clause 3 schools to go on giving religious teaching where they wished to do so, and where the arrangements of the school made it possible. It was practically impossible to import men and women on a large scale from the outside to take advantage of the facilities in an effective and useful manner by superseding the trained teachers who were accustomed to give the teaching in the schools. The arrangement would be fatal to the discipline of the school and to the management of the entire system unless the imported teachers were as well trained as those whom they superseded in the work. Where were they to get these teachers? Every education expert in the kingdom would say that the arrangement was a mockery.

To go from little country to town schools, he was talking yesterday to the master of a school with which he was acquainted, an admirable Church school in London. It was impossible for this school to come in as a four-fifths school; it must come in under Clause 3. It was a school attended by some 400 boys, divided into seven classes varying from some forty-five to sixty-three each. In a school like that, to take the religious teaching out of the hands of the trained teachers and put it into the hands of somebody else was, in the words of the master, simply nonsense, even if it were possible to get people to come in and do it. This school was in a poor part of London, and it was really not arguable that they could find people ready to come in to such a school on two mornings a week to take the place of the trained teachers. There might be a few country schools, possibly a few town schools, which enjoyed an exceptional position, but for the vast majority of schools which would come in under Clause 3 they were asked to regard as a safeguard what in practice would be entirely useless. It was sometimes urged that the clergy should do it themselves. In small country parishes this would doubtless be possible—but in great town schools it was obviously out of the question, even if they had clergy everywhere who possessed that quite peculiar gift—wholly separate from theological attainment— of carefully teaching day by day great classes of little day-school children.

And surely a still greater hardship and wrong was done to the children in placing them on this one subject of religion under the guidance of people untrained in the technical duty of teaching little children. The instruction would be less effective and less efficient, and they would be placing a badge of inferiority on that one subject infinitely prejudicial to the child and with results in after years which he could not but contemplate with apprehension.


said it was absolutely essential to ensure that the teachers should be able to give religious teaching in ordinary facilities schools. The noble Earl the Lord President had spoken in terms of great praise of elementary school teachers, and they would all echo his remarks to the full. The noble Earl had gone on to say that the teachers deserved at their hands-very high consideration. He wished sincerely that he could trace in the remainder of the noble Earl's speech any evidence of that consideration. The noble Earl seemed to think that teachers in giving simple denominational teaching in elementary schools were dealing in political matters; at all events he likened the present proposal to the restriction which he said held good regard to Judges taking part in political matters. He knew of no such restriction that was legally binding on the Judges, but, even if there were a restriction of that nature, he saw no connection between the two things.


I simply quoted it as a parallel disability which forbids, or, at any rate, precludes Judges and officers in the Army from taking part in political matters.


held that it was no parallel at all. He wished to make it clear that the teacher should have an absolute right to give religious teaching in both classes of schools, and should not be excluded by the action of the local education authority. He suspected that what the Government meant was to establish undenominational religion and disestablish denominational religion in Clause 3 schools. If that was the explanation the country would understand it. The Government granted ordinary facilities under Clause 3, but, as the most rev. Primate had pointed out, unless the teacher was to give this teaching they were practically taking away nine-tenths of their value. If the facilities granted under the Bill as drawn by the Government were all that they could have, the owners of voluntary schools would be better off without the facilities. It was only in schools where facilities had been afforded that teachers were debarred from giving this instruction. If the owner arranged that the local education authority should have control of the school from nine-thirty to five o'clock he could retain the school from nine to half-past nine in the morning and the teachers might then give the instruction, because there were no facilities. It was really better for the owner and the teacher that they should do without the facilities at all. They had been told over and over again that the intention of Clause 4 was not alone that the atmosphere should be preserved, but that the teachers should remain the same as they were. Those words were used by a high authority. He asked in what part of the Bill, as drafted by the Government, that pledge was carried out.


May I ask the noble Earl from whom he is quoting?


said the words he had quoted appeared in Mr. Birrell's speech to the Jewish deputation. In that speech Mr. Birrell said— Of course Clause 4 may require strengthening, but the intention of the clause really is that the schools which come within its conditions should be carried on just as they are now; that is the plain English intention of the clause. The intention of the clause certainly is that the teachers should remain the same as they are, those who are most qualified to give the particular religious instruction which hitherto has been given in the school. He again asked why it was, in view of that pledge, that in the first subsection of the clause now under consideration no teacher was to give religious instruction in these special extended facilities schools unless with the approval of the local authority. He felt that this was too serious and too grave a matter to be left to the whim of any particular local authority, and he asked their Lordships to put in words which would make it beyond doubt that the teachers in the Clause 3 ordinary facilities schools should be allowed to give religious teaching if they wished to do so.


said he should not have trespassed upon the time of the House were it not that it seemed to him that at the point of the Bill they had now reached there were certain considerations which he felt it to be his duty to lay before their Lordships, and to ask them to give that attention to those considerations which he was sure they were always ready to give to the views even of those who seldom rose to address the House. In the first place, he would like to say at once that he believed that this clause had been framed for the very purpose of safeguarding the interests of those teachers who rightly thought that they ought not to be hindered in aspiring to the highest positions that they could properly obtain. He believed that that lay at the root of the clause. He recognised that the formation of the clause had been contributed to by those Nonconformists who thought that the teachers of their various persuasions had not a fair chance unless some such clause as this were passed. He could not help recognising that many of the teachers themselves, understanding that under the new condition of things there was less and less of a recognition by the State of any religious teaching— indeed, this had been the case as they all knew ever since the Act of 1870—thought the time had now come when they should have absolute freedom in this matter, because the teachers claimed to be more in the position of civil servants of the State than recognised teachers of schools. There were others who undoubtedly on account of the gradual development of freedom of thought had concluded that it would be unwise that they should be shackled in any way by having to declare what their opinions might be. He was sure their Lordships would gladly meet any difficulties felt by Nonconformists by some more simple means that might be contrived to get over possible difficulties. As the most rev. Primate had plainly stated, they all recognised that no teacher ought to be called upon to teach contrary to his convictions. But whilst such interests as those ought to be safeguarded, he felt very strongly that the clause went a great deal too far. Just after the passing of the Act of 1870 he was appointed as one of the diocesan inspectors of schools, and he had under his charge all the Church of England schools in the large diocese of York. He found himself confronted with very great difficulty that seemed to be caused by the beginning of a new set of circumstances. There were those who, to a large extent, said that the changes made by the operation of the Act ought to go a great deal further, that now was the time when the head teachers should cease to have the responsibility of training their pupil teachers, and possibly for even giving religious instruction to children in their schools. This was urged with a great deal of force by some people who thought that that was the special work of the clergy, that the clergy ought to take it off the shoulders of the teachers, and they thought it was a golden opportunity for such a change to be made. He was asked to meet a deputation from a body of some 600 head teachers round about Sheffield, and the teachers representing this large body met him with questions and expressed to him their opinions which before he had heard the Deputation had rather filled him with dismay. Those teachers distinctly laid before him their opinion that their calling would be fraught with the gravest possible difficulty and dissatisfaction if they were to be relieved in any way from the high responsibility of not only teaching their pupil teachers in religious subjects, but also of instructing the children as well. They said it was the giving of religious instruction that really gave them the authority they possessed, for it was in that way that they could best get at the hearts of the children, and best lead and instruct them and teach them how to live. He was living now in a very different part of England. He was living in what he was rather inclined to call Arcadia. In Somerset the teachers had charge of children of a different calibre, living among many different circumstances from those he had had to deal with in Sheffield. Not long ago he had to speak at a meeting of the National Union of Teachers assembled in Somerset. He found a very large number of teachers present, and in the course of their proceedings he was informed that that very day they had met, and although he was not privileged to be at that particular meeting he heard from them the overwhelming testimony against the operation of this particular clause. For some time he was in a part of Australia where the whole of the education was on what were commonly called secular lines. In South Australia no religion could be taught in the schools at all. It was true there was a pr -vision that if the parents of twenty children made a demand to that effect the teacher might read the Bible without note or comment to those children in school hours, but he never heard of a single case in the twelve years he was there where that provision was availed of, and he felt quite sure that if it had been applied for it would never have been used. It had been his duty to travel a great deal about the country, and he had had many opportunities of conversation with teachers and he was welcomed in their schools. He used to ask them whether they found it a matter of great difficulty or the contrary that they were not permitted to give religious instruction. He knew that those teachers felt that it was a very grave loss to them that they had no opportunity of speaking to the children on those things that touched the very mainspring of conduct, that influenced character, and really, as they believed, would have done more than anything else to form in them just the kind of life which their teachers wished to see reproduced. He could only say that while they were speaking under this clause of denominational school teachers, it seemed to him that to prevent the teachers from giving the full teaching which they were best fitted to give, which they understood, and which they believed to be of the greatest use in forming the minds and characters of the children, was to do an irreparable wrong to the teachers and a grave injustice to the children. He earnestly hoped that the Committee would not accept Clause 8, because he believed that they had to-day just a reflection of the condition of things which was experienced at the time of the passing of the Act of 1870.


said the speeches which had been delivered must have carried very great weight with their Lordships. He would deal first of all with the speech made by his noble friend behind him, who thought that there should be some explanation given with regard to the speeches delivered by Members of the Government and the details of the Bill which had not been dealt with. His noble friend had laid great stress on the speech in which the President of the Board of Education stated that the question of the teachers would remain entirely the same in the future as it had been in the past. That was a statement which Mr. Birrell made in answer to the Jewish deputation. He had in his mind another speech made by the President of the Board of Education in which on the 10th of May, referring to the Jewish deputation, he said— I said what I meant, and I meant what I said. The Government intended (the clause) to be a real and in no sense an illusory clause.….All I can say is that the intention was that in those four-fifths schools, after their character has been determined and ascertained in a public inquiry, which is compulsory, although the machinery may come out different from that which it now is, the result is intended to be the same with regard to religious teaching, which goes on and the teachers who give it. He thought under the circumstances considering the way in which this clause, if allowed to stand, entirely contradicted those two statements made by the President of the Board of Education, they had a right to ask that the speeches should be fully explained by the noble I or opposite. He had always held that the facilities so called under either Clause 3 or Clause 4 would be absolutely illusory and entirely different from what had been foreshadowed in the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman. In regard to Clause 7 they had seen one of the most remarkable incidents in the conduct of a Bill that had ever occurred either in their Lordships' House, or in another place. He had read with some amusement that in the division on Clause 7 the noble Marquess opposite, the representative of his Majesty's Government, voted for the deletion of a clause for which he was absolutely responsible. He knew that the noble Lord opposite had stated in reply to Lord Reay that the division was a go-as-you-please division, but had there ever before been a case of one of the leading Members of a Government voting against a clause for which he was responsible? He would be glad to be corrected if he were wrong, but it only proved how very necessary it was for their Lordships to inquire very closely into every detail of this measure when they found that even the second most important Member of the Government voted for the deletion of a clause for which he, as a Member of the Government, was naturally responsible., Then there" was the question of the teachers being permitted to give the religious instruction under subsection 1 of Clause 8. At present teachers were forbidden to give the facilities teaching under Clause 3, but under Clause 4 they might, if allowed by the local education authority, give this teaching where extended facilities were afforded. The object of the Opppsition at the present moment was to secure for the teachers who were willing permission to give religious instruction in all those schools, whether under Clause 3 or under Clause 4. To his mind the action of the Government was absolutely inconsistent. It was impossible to call their action anything but weak, inasmuch as their clause as it stood was open to many exceptions. If it was wrong for teachers to give religious instruction under Clause 3, why was it not wrong for them to give religious instruction under Clause 4? It was absolutely inconsistent that a teacher should be allowed to give religious instruction under one clause and forbidden to give it under another. Further, why did the Government permit religious instruction up to a certain date, and only up to that date? Either it was wrong that they should give religious instruction at all or else the action of the Government was inconsistent in permitting it only in certain places and only up to a certain date. There was another Question which he would like to ask the noble Lord. They were always being told on the Opposition side of the House that it was noble Lords opposite who were fighting for liberty. He asked if the Government were now fighting for the liberty of the teachers? He maintained that they were not. What he would like to see was liberty given to the teacher to give the kind of religious instruction which that teacher was willing to give. The most rev. Primate had dealt so fully with the desire of the teacher to be permitted to give religious instruction that it would be presumptuous on his part to endeavour to emphasise the point. Bearing in mind the memorial submitted to their Lordships' House by thousands of teachers, who desired to be allowed to continue to give religious instruction in the future, he was justified in asking whether liberty for the teachers was the policy of the Government. He remembered his noble friend Lord Lansdowne receiving a deputation of teachers whose views would entirely bear out the remarks that fallen from the most rev. Primate. It was not for him to say what the views of the teachers were, but it was clear that by this clause the Government were seeking to deprive thousands and thousands of teachers of the right to give the religious instruction which they loved to give, and thus to deprive a vast number of children of the benefit which that instruction would give. What had been the object of training colleges in this country? The object had been to instruct teachers of teach what they had been taught. He had had a certain amount of experience upon educational matters in connection with the London School Board and the Board of Education, and he had always found that the great difficulty was to get teachers who knew how to impart what they knew. If they brought in outsiders to give religious instruction, how were they to impart their knowledge to the children? Such instruction ought to be given only by persons who had been brought up to teach what they believed. How was a person going to inculcate what he knew into the minds of those he was called upon to teach when he had never been instructed how to impart his knowledge to others? That was a question which ought to come home to the minds of noble Lords opposite before they prevented teachers from taking advantage of the instruction they had had. After all, if they came to consider the matter carefully, it must be allowed, for reasons which he need not for the moment attempt to advance, that the teacher who had been accustomed to teach children was the best person to continue that instruction. What would the children think if they found their regular teachers eliminated for a short period during school hours and a stranger brought in to give them religious teaching? While it was possible and probable that a clergyman in a country school might be qualified to give religious instruction to the children, yet he had never been brought up, as the teachers had been, to inculcate into the minds of small boys and girls what he knew. Corroboration of that view, could be found in the words of the present Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education. Mr. Thomas Lough, who speaking in the House of Commons in May last said— It was the teachers who knew the way to a child's mind better than anybody else. He did not think anybody would contradict that. It was the teacher who had been accustomed to be with the children, and it was the teacher to whom the children looked for information of all kinds. Proceeding, Mr. Lough said— They might as well put aside humbug and admit that in a great many of what were called the homes of the country there was no facility whatever for giving religious instruction. He went a long way with those who said the State ought to come in and supply the gap if the parents failed to do it. They ought to look at this subject, not from the standpoint of the House of Commons, but from the standpoint of the child who now saw great palaces built for him where he met a friend in his teacher who loomed large in his mind. He thought that showed beyond doubt that at any rate the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education realised that there was only one person to teach the child whether in religious or secular matters, and that was the teacher to whom he had been accustomed in the school. Therefore, he endorsed most cordially all that had fallen from his noble friend behind him, and from the most rev. Primate on the subject, and he would like to know on what grounds the President of the Council objected to the teacher's being the person to whom these children were to look for instruction in the future.


asked how this clause stood in relation to the principles on which the Bill had been framed. This clause was an absolute contradiction of the principle of popular control, and therefore it was inconsistent with the first principle of the Bill. One distinguished critic had well said that this Bill was free where it ought to be compulsory and compulsory where it ought to be free. How did it stand in regard to the abolition of tests? If it was necessary to have this clause in order that tests might be abolished, how did they stand in regard to Clauses 4 and 5 in the Bill as introduced by the Government? Were tests abolished or were they not when, in Clause 4, the local authority was allowed to permit the teacher to give religious instruction? When asked that Question about the policy of Clause 4 before, the noble Lord said it was a Question that he could not answer "yes" or "no." The noble Marquess had put the Question in another way and he would press it upon the noble Earl. How did this Bill stand in relation to the abolition of tests? If it was necessary, in order that tests might be abolished, to have this outrage upon religious liberty, what about Clause 4? He was very much surprised to notice that the Minister for Education had said that this clause was absolutely necessary to the Bill His words were— It was impossible for the Government to accept the Amendment which would, in homely vernacular, knock the bottom out of their own Bill. He was very greatly perplexed as to how the omission of a clause which absolutely contradicted the principle of popular control could be said to 'knock the bottom out of the Bill.' When the motion in favour of all round facilities in all schools was moved by Lord Balfour of Burleigh, while it was admitted on all sides that the proposal was simply just, it was said to be impracticable because it would bring in outsiders to teach. But His Majesty's Government were going out of their way, in direct contradiction of the principle of popular control, to bring in outsiders to teach. They had been told with all sincerity that His Majesty's Government's position was that although undenominational teaching was to be the normal state of things in the land, nevertheless they desired within certain limits in transferred voluntary schools to tolerate denominational instruction, and they had said over and over again that not only in Clause 4 but in Clause 3 they intended that instruction to be real. But as had been said over and over again in the House of Commons as well as in their Lordships' House if that instruction was to be real it must be given by trained teachers. He wanted to ask how this direct prohibition of the members of the staff from giving, under any circumstances, facilities instruction was consistent with the pledge definitely given that the toleration of religious instruction in Clause 3 schools should be real. He was exceedingly anxious that they should come to some reasonable compromise on this very difficult question, but if the Government were going to go in for the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill, he did not think they would gain the confidence of the people of the country, who loved justice and also required efficiency in education.


said the noble Lord whose Amendment the Committee were discussing put forward a claim on his own behalf, and gave some advice to their Lordships. The claim of the noble Lord was that he was better able and had a better right to interpret the opinion of the people on this question than anyone on the Opposition side of the House; his advice was that the House ought not to pass anything which might not be approved by the House of Commons. He disputed the claim of the noble Lord no less than he resented his advice.


I never said that at all.


said that the noble Lord stated that it would not be wise to pass anything in their Lordships House in the way of Amendments which might not find acceptance in the House of Commons. He was sure that their Lordships would resent this thoroughly pusillammous advice. This House was accountable for its actions not to the House of Commons but to the nation alone, and when matters of high principle so vital as those which they were now discussing were under consideration they could have no other guide for their action than that which they deemed to be right. The opinion of the majority of the House of Commons, however strongly endorsed or influential it might seem to be to those who held the same views, could not and ought not to influence their Lordships in regard to questions of principle. He had proposed that this clause should be omitted, and the reason he had done so was that the clause as it stood involved a serious interference with personal liberty and religious freedom. Indeed, the sub-section as it stood actually imposed a religious disability, and he was bound to say that it seemed to him almost incredible that a Liberal Government should have come to such a pass as this in following the devious by-ways of expediency instead of adhering to the straight road of principle. The Lord President himself had admitted that the clause imposed a religious disability. He admired the candour of the Lord President, but he was astounded that he should have made that admission, and in so light and airy a fashion. The Lord President had minimised that disability and spoken of it as a poignant disappointment. He appeared to exaggerate what he declared to be the desire of the teachers of this country. It must be pretty evident to their Lordships that there was another opinion, and a very strong opinion, in the country to the effect that the disability which was admitted by His Majesty's Government was about as serious and vital a one as could possibly be inflicted on a citizen. What was it in fact? The subsection laid down that except in schools in which extended facilities were accorded no teacher was to be permitted to give any form of religious instruction except that jejune barren form known as Cowper-Temple teaching. He would be unnecessarily taking up their Lordships' time if he dwelt upon the arbitrary and tyrannical nature of this proposal, seeing how well it had been exposed and explained by the most rev. Primate. In his view the subsection was not only an anachronism, but a retrograde step in the direction of medieval religious intolerance and persecution and a lamentable departure from the liberal principles which had always characterised the Governments of this country. The meaning of the subsection was that men and women who were trained to instruct the young and were consequently best qualified to do so would be forbidden to speak to them of the faith which was in them, the faith that was the rule and the guide of all their thoughts and actions. It meant that the spiritual welfare of millions of children passing through the schools would be greatly injured and jeopardised. No doubt the noble Lord the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs would tell them that that was one of the "charms" of the Bill. He could well imagine that to those who saw in this Bill an opportunity for paying off old scores by doing an injury to the Church of England there might be i some charm in this clause. Revenge no doubt was sweet, but it was no part of the duty of Parliament to pander to the vindictive malevolence of any section of the community. Probably he would be asked how about the popular mandate of ''No tests for teachers." On no part of this intricate question had there been more confusion of thought or more pernicious nonsense talked than in regard to this very point of tests for teachers. While he did not put in any particular claim on his own behalf in this regard he might say that there were many noble Lords on that side of the House who were just as well qualified as noble Lords opposite to say what was thought and meant by the people when they said they would have no tests for teachers. What was this cry of no tests for teachers? It was an election cry, and he found no fault with it as such. Election cries had to be brief, and this expressed in a brief and convenient form the existence of a grievance amongst a particular section of the community and the consequent necessity for redress. That was what the cry of no tests for teachers meant. The people, he was certain, did not understand it, because it was not explained to them. and they did not know all that the cry connoted. He was equally certain that they would not approve of the particular mode of redress of the grievance which was now proposed in this Bill. They never dreamt that their acquiescence in the cry would be taken to mean that they were asking for the imposition of disabilities far more intolerable than those they desired to see removed. Let them clear their minds of cant on this subject and go to the root of the question. There was a grievance. What was it? It was simply this, that Nonconformist teachers had not the same chances of appointment and promotion as teachers who belonged to the Church of England. The proper remedy for that grievance would be a national system of education either wholly secular or wholly denominational. Under the latter system the number of teachers being in proportion to the number of their co-religionists, every teacher would, as a matter of course, find a place in a school of his own faith. But that was not the method of this particular Bill. They must, therefore, endeavour to remove the Nonconformist grievance without imposing unjust and even cruel disabilities upon those belonging to other denominations. In his opinion the Bill as it had already been amended went far in the direction of removing the difficulty without the insertion of special provisions, and since religious instruction was to form an essential and an integral part of public education and was to be in accordance with the wishes of the parents, it followed as a matter of course that wherever there were Nonconformist children to be taught a Nonconformist teacher would be required and would be appointed by the local education authority in consultation with the parents and the managers or in whatever manner the machinery of this Bill might provide. Similarly, where there were Church of England children, a Church teacher would be appointed, and where there were those who desired no form of religious instruction but preferred plain moral teaching it would be possible, supposing they were in sufficient numbers, to secure the appointment of a secular teacher. He agreed, however, that it was necessary to provide specifically that Nonconformist teachers should be appointed where there were Nonconformist children to be taught, and Church teachers where there were Anglican children. It was with that object in view that he had put down an Amendment on the Paper, in the sincere belief that he was offering and suggesting a compromise which might be accepted by reasonable men of all parties without any sacrifice of principle. He was of course open to conviction, and there might be better ways of amending the clause. When it came to the point perhaps he might be permitted to explain in very few words the purport of the subsection he had suggested, but it would be improper for him to do so at the present moment.


did not think it was convenient to discuss the whole of this clause on the first Amendment. What he understood was that they should discuss the permitting of the teachers to give religious instruction. The clause divided itself into two parts. It was one thing to concede to the teacher the right to give this instruction, but it was quite another and a different thing, which would arise later, whether there should be any tests or quasi-tests for teachers. There was an Amendment lower on the Paper which practically imposed tests for teachers, but that would be dealt with when they came to it. He proposed to address himself to the point before the Committee, whether not merely in the case of present but of future teachers permission should be granted in the ordinary Clause 3 schools for them to give definite religious instruction. He should like to say at once that if the offer of the noble Lord below the gangway had been accepted as a settlement he would have been very glad to support his proposal, not exactly for the reasons which he had given, but for other reasons which were satisfactory to himself. On the Second Reading of the Bill the noble Marquess on the front opposition bench illustrated from his own school at Seaham the great difficulty in connection with this question. If it would lead to a settlement he thought that the power of using the teachers who were now in the denominational schools would very much case the process. It would, however, be one thing to call upon those interested in definite denominational teaching to fill up gradually the gaps where there might be twenty teachers teaching, and where only one or two dropped out in the course of a year, and another thing to find at the present time twenty new teachers to go into a school. That was the reason for his saying that if it were accepted as a settlement he should be willing to support the proposal as to the teachers now in the schools. But he felt in reference to the future that it was quite a different matter. He had no doubt in what the noble Lord had foreshadowed that there would be an attempt on the part of some local authorities to define what the theological or ecclesiastical preferences of the parents of the children were, and they might try to make up a patch-work of teachers to match with the patchwork of children which they imagined existed in the schools. But that was not his idea of a national system of education. His idea of a national system of education was one under which the children of a schoolhouse should forget the theological differences which kept them apart on Sundays, and feel that they had come together to be taught the common duties of citizenship by teachers selected; for the responsible position they occupied because they were good citizens. He quite agreed with the most rev. Primate that the teachers who for years had been engaged in denominational schools, giving religious and moral teaching through the medium of the ecclesiastical formulae in which they were brought up, would be a little at a loss if they were thrown back upon the general methods which prevailed in council schools. Perhaps the most rev. Prelate was not aware that in the college which he visited fully half of the certificated teachers must have been engaged for some years teaching in board schools, and he would like the most rev. Prelate to have asked those excellent women who had been working most faithfully in the board schools of London and other large towns whether those moral and religious principles inculcated in their college days had been carried into practical effect in after life, and he would further remind the most rev. Prelate that these mistresses at the most impressionable period of their life, and when fresh from their college influences, had at least half of them sought the service of school boards where they would have to give undenominational teaching. He felt sure that when the noble Earl spoke of Cowper-Temple religion he was speaking in very great ignorance of that teaching as it was given in board schools. He quite agreed that the mass of the teachers in this country were glad to have religious teaching coupled with secular teaching. He agreed with the mass of thoughtful and earnest teachers that in the religious lesson they had a convenient opportunity for speaking seriously and thoughtfully to the scholars. But he undertook to say that an earnest teacher, wishful to influence the children, would find in the lessons of the Bible ample opportunity and scope for impressing upon them the highest and best of moral lessons. The essence of teaching was in the personality of the teacher. He had referred once or twice to Lord Cross' Commission, and perhaps of all the witnesses one of the most interesting was a mistress from a small village church school in Sussex, whose name was sent in by one of the Government inspectors who were asked to submit the names of some of the most thoughtful witnesses to represent different phases of character. Her name was Miss Castle, and she impressed the whole Commission with the earnestness and intensity of her character. She was teaching in a Church school, and when it was put to her whether she valued the help she got from Church teaching, she said that she valued religious teaching, but that an earnest teacher could give a good lesson from any noble life or noble character from anything that appealed to the emotions and feelings.

After all, it was the personality of the teacher that was effective, and what was of the greatest value was the personal contact of mind with mind and soul with soul. The machinery which set that in motion was comparatively unimportant. He would say to the most rev. Primate that in his conversations with the teachers he must have found many who might have told him that they had found ample opportunities in the Board Schools to impress their lessons upon the children. He would undertake to say that if they looked through the records they would find that of those teachers who were said to be yearning for religious teaching, half were serving in the Board Schools of this country. Under the School Board for London they had had Roman Catholic teachers, sounted by hundreds, who were conccientious and faithful in the discharge of their duties. Those teachers would value the opportunity of appealing to the forms and beliefs which distinguished their creed, when they were speaking to other members of their Church, but they had felt that in teaching a general class they might make effective appeals to the common Christianity of the children. They might easily exaggerate the necessity for these forms and formularies, and he did not believe that the training of a definitely ecclesiastical college was better than that of a broad and liberal college. He might put some reservations with regard to pedagogic efficiency, but for inspiring earnestness and enthusiasm and those qualities which were the very basis of usefulness and value to the teacher, they would get them quite independently of those ecclesiastical associations which they valued so much. They relied too much on forms and outside influences and machinery, and forgot that the living man and woman after all were the real forces.


said he had listened with great interest to the speech of Lord Stanley of Alderley. The noble Lord had said that their aim should be to teach the children to forget religious differences. For himself he thought their aim should be rather to teach them what was real and true. The burden of the noble Lord's speech was that they did not want formularies, and that formularies were quite unnecessary for the teaching of religion. He ventured to ask if the formularies were unnecessary, why were special facilities given in the Bill? The noble Lord also said that it all depended on the character of the teacher. When so much depended on the teacher, as they all agreed, why should they fetter the teacher with all these restrictions? Why fetter him with restrictions and make him an unworthy teacher?

They were told that this Bill was founded on the principles of public control and the abolition of tests for teachers. Personally, he most cordially accepted those principles, but the reason he quarrelled with the Bill was that it did not apply them fairly. It was public control fettered by a number of restrictions and qualifications. The same thing applied to the question of tests. They abolished a positive test and forthwith established a negative test. In his view this negative test proposed was harsher, if not a greater infringement of conscience, than the positive test. Personally, he desired to see the abolition of tests made complete. The honour of the teacher was, in his opinion, the best certificate they could have of the character of the religious instruction given in the schools. He hoped subsection (1) of the clause would be omitted, and that they would give the teachers perfect freedom. While he sympathised with the motive of the first Amendment moved to this clause he could not help feeling that it was rather nibbling at the principle. If it was right to protect the teachers already in the schools, he could not see why the principle should not be applied in its completeness. It seemed to him that everything was moving in this direction, that the only final solution of the question would be the establishment of all-round facilities. He regretted the withdrawal of the Amendment moved by Lord Balfour of Burleigh. He thought it would have been much better to have adopted the principle in that Amendment in its entirety. He hoped they would not be afraid of carrying out the principle of the abolition of tests completely, and that they would not insert anything in the Bill which would give a colour to the charge made against them that they were biassed on the side of trying to establish once more and by a side wind the imposition of tests.


My Lords, I am really ashamed of rising again to make a second speech on this clause, but it is not entirely my fault. I notice that when I delay rising to take part in the debate some noble Lord gets up from the bench opposite and expresses himself as shocked that I have not thought it necessary to attempt to reply to the unanswerable arguments addressed to me. On the other hand, if I take part in the debate almost immediately after the Amendment is moved I subsequently find myself, as I do now obliged to answer various questions which are put personally to me and with which, therefore, I have to deal. The consequence is, that I have to speak a great deal more than I like myself and I am afraid a great deal more than noble Lords opposite can like.

In the first place, I desire to say a word in reply to the challenge of the noble Earl opposite, Lord Cawdor. The noble Earl, as he had a right to do, and with the most absolute fairness, asked how we could explain the language of a certain speech, made by my right hon. friend Mr. Birrell in reply to a deputation, when we compared it with the Bill as it reached this House. I think the noble Earl must see that I am in fact one of the worst persons to whom he could have put that question, and for this reason, that when one knows what is at the back of a man's mind when he is using a particular phrase it is difficult for one, as it is difficult for me in this instance, to place oneself in the position of those who do not know what my right hon. friend was thinking of.

If I might I would use an illustration. Supposing somebody had asked the noble Earl before the Amendments to this Bill were placed on the Paper of your Lordships' House what their character was, he would have said that they were of a moderate and reasonable character, not at all incompatible with the main principles on which we were professing to act, and by no means inconsistent with the vote given for the Second Reading. When these Amendments were printed various people might have felt disappointment at the terms in which they were couched, although the noble Earl would have merely expressed the view that he took of them; and other noble Lords on that Bench who had also seen the Amendments, knowing what was in the noble Lord's mind, would have thought that he had given an exceedingly fair and proper description of the Amendments themselves. Consequently I can only say that when I read my right hon. friend's speech in reply to the Jewish deputation I did not take, it as involving a pledge that all denominational schools would go on for ever exactly in the manner in which they are going on at present without any kind of change whatever. Still less could I think so, knowing that the repairs to those schools were going to be handed over to the local authority.

What I conceived my right hon. friend meant, and what I still conceive he meant, knowing, as I did, of course, all the circumstances, was that he was describing what he believed in effect would be the operation of the clauses when they appeared in the Bill. I cannot help thinking that I was not alone in holding that belief, because if the denominations had supposed, as the noble Earl opposite appeals to have supposed, that these schools were going to be permanently preserved in exactly their present position, with full denominational teaching and appointment of teachers by the denomination and all the rest of it, my right hon. friend would have been the most popular man in the country with the Church of England and other denominations, and I think he might almost have entered into competition with the noble Viscount opposite for the Presidency of the English Church Union. Instead of that, after that speech, as before, we find that the various denominations who feared that they would be prejudicially affected by our Bill remained in a state of what I can only call rather sullen attentiveness, occasionally punctuated by prophecies of the monstrous things we were likely to do owing to our well-known bad character in these matters. Consequently, I really think the noble Earl is hardly fair to us, and is altogether overstating the case when he speaks of our having given a pledge for the permanent continuance of these schools in the manner in which they exist at the present time.


said the point with which they were dealing was that of the teachers. What he suggested to the noble Earl was that there was a pledge that the same teachers should be kept on, and he gave the noble Earl the exact words used by the right hon. Gentleman when he made that statement to the Jewish deputation. The words were— The intention of the clause certainly is that the teachers should remain the same as they are.


I quite agree, and, knowing as I do what my right hon. friend meant, it seems to me a very reasonable way of putting what he conceived would be the effect of the clause. He undoubtedly hopes and believes that the teachers will remain on. I think the speech which the noble Marquess Lord Londonderry quoted even more strongly confirms the view I have just stated, because there my right hon. friend spoke of the continuance of the teacher as a matter of expectation and not as one of a pledge or a promise.


I beg the noble Earl's pardon, The President of the Board of Education said, referring to his reply to the Jewish deputation— I said what I meant, and I meant what I said. The result is intended to be the same with regard to the religious teaching which goes on and the teachers who give it.


I entirely agree, but I am unable to put the same construction on the words as noble Lords opposite. In these circumstances I am afraid we are not likely to agree, and it is not much use for me to pursue the matter.


But does the noble Earl agree entirely with what we have said or with what the President of the Board of Education said?


I am afraid I must leave the noble Marquess holding a different opinion from that which we on this side of the House hold. Then the right rev. Prelate the Bishop of St. David's asked how it was, with our devotion to the principle of popular control, that we could break through that principle by not permitting local authorities to allow teachers to give this teaching if they chose. Well, my Lords, when we use the phrase "popular control" we frankly admit that we do not mean in every case unrestricted control by the local educa- tion authority. If we did we should clearly have to abolish the Cowper-Temple clause, which we have not, as noble Lords know, the faintest intention of doing; and I am surprised, I confess, to hear two right rev. Prelates from Wales, I will not say advocating, but suggesting, the possibility of complete control by the local education authority, because, if the Church schools were handed over to the unrestricted control of the local education authorities in Wales, I am afraid they would receive very much harsher treatment than they are receiving in this Bill.


I am extremely sorry to interrupt the noble Earl, but I should like to say that by local control I mean control by the people who are immediately interested in the school, and not control by the central county authority.


Not by the local education authority. The right rev. Prelate the Bishop of St. David's asked me another question with reference to tests for teachers, but I am in agreement with my noble friend behind me that it would be almost better to postpone the whole consideration of that question until we touch on subsection (2). Subsection (2) is the subsection which deals with this matter of tests for teachers, and I think it is almost better to confine the discussion on subsection (1), as far as possible, to the question of whether the teacher should be allowed to give this special instruction in the elementary schools.


My Lords, my noble friend Lord Ampthill observed just now that there appeared to be considerable confusion of thought with regard to the matter before the Committee. I think that was a very appropriate remark, and, if I may be permitted to say so, I do not think that we on this side of the House are entirely responsible for the confusion which has arisen.


I am unwilling to interrupt the noble Marquess, but I should like to say that when I spoke of confusion of thought I was referring to the general popular discussion of the question of tests for teachers and not exactly to what was going on in the Committee at that moment.


I did not in the least misunderstand the meaning of my noble friend, and I am sorry if I did not correctly describe it. We have in this Bill a clause which I think to most of those who read it must seem an ambiguous clause, and in the next place we have explanations of that clause which are more ambiguous still. We ask ourselves whether, under that clause, it is intended that the local education authority is to be free to satisfy itself whether the teacher is willing and able to give religious instruction of a particular kind, and we desire to know whether the authority is to be in a position to get rid of a teacher who has been appointed with the intention that he should give that instruction and who shows his unwillingness to give it. We have endeavoured to obtain explanations upon this point, and—


I am sorry to interrupt, but I did not understand that the last point had been raised. I understood that it would be left over to subsection (2).


Then I will confine myself to what fell from the noble Earl just now. He has undertaken, or attempted, to explain away the statements made by his colleagues and quoted with much effect by ray noble friend Lord Cawdor. He has told your Lordships that we have failed to understand the statements made by his colleagues because we did not exactly know what was at the back of their minds. Now I confess I should very much like to know what is at the back of the noble Earl's mind, because I do not think that in either of the speeches which he has delivered this evening he has made that quite evident to the Committee. Let me remind him, because we have a right to press this point, that we have been told categorically that, as far as the intentions of the Bill were concerned, it was not intended that any restraint should be placed on the local authority in satisfying itself that teachers who undertook to give religious instruction are not unqualified to give it. Let me also remind him again that it has been stated by the Minister for Education that the teachers in the Clause 4 schools were to remain the same as they are now —those, namely, who are, most qualified to give the particular religious instruction which has hitherto been given in the schools. Let me also remind him that a very much respected colleague of his, Sir Henry Fowler, stated that Clause 4 of the Bill completely saved the position of the denominational schools. We search the Bill in vain for the provisions which give effect to those categorical pledges. The noble Earl's statements upon the point are very far from reassuring. He has told us this evening that he never contemplated that these assurances gave any security to the denominational schools that they should retain these privileges for ever. That carries us back to the remarkable statement which he made last week when he told us it had always been the intention that this privilege might, after the expiration of five years, be withdrawn at the free will of the local education authority and without any appeal.

My Lords, could any of us when we read the statements to which I have just referred have believed that they pointed to a condition of things under which these schools, for which so much was promised, were only to have five years tenure of the advantages which were offered to them? The noble Earl himself falls back upon his own anticipations. "Great expectations" may be taken as his motto. He told us the other night that he expected, and "rather thought." that denominational teachers would be appointed to these schools by the local authority. That is not quite enough for us. We want something more than these pleasant anticipations. He went on to say it would be within the competence of the local authority to appoint teachers of this kind. It may be within their competence, but we want something a little more substantial than that. Surely, my Lords, the time has come when these ambiguities ought to be cleared up. The noble Earl has had an opportunity to-night and I regret to say he has not availed himself of it.

To my mind there is one view and one view only which is tenable with regard to this subject, and it is that it should be the duty of the persons who are responsible for the appointment of these teachers to satisfy themselves that they are competent and willing to give the kind of instruction which they will be expected to give. If that is not to be the case then I ask, What becomes of all these pledges to which I have just referred? What becomes of that parents' committee which was accepted the other evening by Eis Majesty's Government without making a wry face? Let me remind your Lordships that the parents' committee is to have the duty of controlling the religious instruction given in these denominational schools. How can it control the religious instruction given in the schools if it is to have no voice or part in the appointment of the teachers? Then there is the question of the removal of teachers. We have been told that, if a teacher is objected to and has to be deprived of his charge so far as religious instruction is concerned, he is to be replaced by another teacher. How is the local authority to satisfy itself that that teacher is competent unless it may address to him inquiries of the kind which we are now told are to be regarded as out of order? And, my Lords, in the Cowper-Temple schools themselves, are we to believe that where a syllabus of the kind which has been mentioned with approval in these debates is in use, the local authority is not to be at liberty to satisfy itself that the teacher is willing and competent to give the instruction contained in that syllabus?

Last of all, let me remind the Committee of that which is to be found in Clause 11 of this Bill. If your Lordships will look at Clause 11—it is the clause which deals with the temporary appointment of teachers—you will find that it is expressly enacted that the authority— Shall permit the religious instruction given in the school to be of the same character as that previously given, and shall also permit the teachers in the school to give that instruction as part of their duties, and if a vacancy arise in the office of teacher while the schoolhouse is used under this section, the local education authority shall, in choosing the teacher, appoint a teacher who is willing to give the religious instruction required under this section. I say, how can these things be done if we are to have nothing but a kind of vague anticipation that the local education authority may perhaps satisfy itself as to the willingness and the competence of the teacher? I will not travel again over a part of the subject which has been more than once treated to-night—I mean the grievous injustice done to the teachers as a class by these provisions of the Bill. I had the honour of receiving an influential deputation from a large number of Church of England teachers, and I carried away with me a lasting impression of the deep indignation felt by these gentlemen at the slight put upon them by this portion of the Bill.

The noble Earl expatiated upon the importance of the teaching profession and upon its numbers and the consideration to which teachers were entitled, and he said that these provisions were intended to afford the teachers protection against the kind of pressure to which he expected they would be subjected. My Lords, I remain firmly convinced that the teachers do not desire protection in the form in which it is offered to them by His Majesty's Government, and that, on the contrary, they resent, and resent justly and deeply, that they should find themselves in the position of being suddenly ordered to discontinue giving a particular form of instruction which in their mind is the most important of all, and the withdrawal of which diminishes their influence and their authority in giving all other portions of the education which they have to impart to their pupils. In my view, no settlement of this part of the case will be satisfactory unless it enables the local authority, even in Cowper-Temple schools, to satisfy themselves that the teacher is competent and willing to give the desired form of instruction, and provides that in Clause 4 schools, the denominational character of which you intend to preserve, special steps should be taken, preferably through the agency of the parents' committee, to render it beyond doubt that the teacher really is a person in every way qualified and willing to impart the particular form of religious instruction which is to be given in those schools.


My Lords, my noble friend who has just sat down commenced his observations by saying he thought there was a great deal of confusion on this subject. I quite agree with my noble friend. There has been a very great deal of confusion during this discussion, and one of the chief reasons for it has been that noble Lords opposite have applied language used by my right hon. friend Mr. Birrell and others with reference to Clause 4 as if it applied to Clause 3 and to the other clauses of the Bill. That is not so. The quotations which have been made from Mr. Birrell's speeches were all, or most of them, applicable to Clause 4, and to that clause they remain applicable; and I believe the pledges given in them, so far as they can be called pledges, have been fulfilled. We have travelled over a large space in the discussion of this clause, and I am not about at this hour to detain your Lordships long enough to follow the somewhat wandering discussion which has taken place in regard to it. But I must be pardoned if for a moment I do pass beyond the exact limits of the clause in order to say a word about some remarks of the noble Marquess opposite, Lord London-deny, which I confess filled me with surprise. The noble Marquess appeared to be very displeased with me—


No, surprised.


Well, surprised if you like. I have not the slightest objection to use the word "surprised" instead of "displeased," though I did think there was a slight flavour of acrimony about the tone of the noble Marquess. But my offence was this, that I voted with the noble, Marquess. No doubt I did vote against Clause 7. The noble Marquess thought it an extra-ordinary thing. He seemed never to have heard of open questions among the members of a Government. Did he never hear of Catholic Emancipation? Did he never hear of open questions on the Ballot Bill? All that I can do to remove the bad impression left on the mind of the noble Marquess by my proceeding is to assure him that I will use my utmost endeavours in the future never to vote in the same lobby as he does. I think there has been an inclination on the part of those who have spoken on this subject—one of which I thought I discovered a trace even in the able speech of the most rev. Primate—to speak as if my noble friend behind me, the Lord President of the Council, and those who sit beside him were out of sympathy with the teachers. That I beg to deny. My noble friend used very sympathetic language in regard to them. I certainly for myself feel great sympathy with them and a great desire to meet their wishes and their feelings as much as may be possible. But, my Lords, what I feel about the matter is this. I am afraid that if you remove the restriction which in this clause is placed upon the teachers giving denominational instruction in Cowper-Temple schools you will undoubtedly render the whole system of this Bill unworkable.

That system, except so far as it is contained in Clause 4, is founded, as your Lordships know, upon what is called Cowper-Temple teaching. I am not going to discuss that question now. It would take much too long. Indeed I will not touch upon it at all; but I do say this, that I am convinced that if you allow the teachers in these schools giving Cowper-Temple teaching also to give in the schools denominational instruction, you will, particularly in the country districts, create a state of feeling which will render it exceedingly difficult to work this Bill or any Bill like it. You may rely upon it that if that is done there will be constant difficulties arising and constant criticism of the teacher. I firmly believe—I regret to believe it, but I do believe it—that, particularly in country places, the irritation which has existed for some time and which lies very much at the bottom of the present feeling on this subject and all the difficulties which have been created by the unfortunate Act of 1902, will be greatly increased, and that, instead of making this Bill a means of settling a great and difficult question, you will only tend still further to aggravate the evils which at present exist.


My Lords, I must apologise most sincerely for intervening for a moment after the leaders have addressed the House. But those noble Lords having spoken, I presume we are on the eve of proceeding to a division, and I think it would be extremely convenient if we knew more clearly than I, at any rate know, on what we are going to divide. The Amendment before the Committee is, I believe, the Amendment moved by the noble Lord below the gangway, Lord Monkswell. But I understand that it is not his intention to press that Amendment. I do not know that it is the intention of the noble Lord Lord Ampthill to press his Amendment either. Then the next notices which appear on the Paper are in the names of a number of noble Lords for the omission of this subsection. But there is, below those notices, an Amendment in the name of my noble friend Lord Cawdor, proposing to amend the subsection, which I presume, if he moves it, would be put before the Amendment to omit the clause. I should like to know whether it is the intention of my noble friend Lord Cawdor, after the way has been cleared for him, to move his Amendment.




If so, I must point out that it is a very different question from that of the omission of the subsection. The Amendment of my noble friend only appeared on the Paper this morning.


On Saturday.


I only saw it this morning.


The noble Duke will find that it was delivered on Saturday morning.


Well, I was not in town on Saturday, and, as a matter of fact, I did not see it until just before I came to the House. This Amendment appears to me to raise some questions which, judging from the discussion which has taken place, very few noble Lords have con- sidered, or have thought it worth while to give expression to their opinions upon. I desire to point out, before we go to a division on that subsection, that this I Amendment of my noble friend raises an entirely different question from that which is raised by the Amendments to omit the subsection. If the subsection is omitted I presume that it would be within the competence of the local education authority to decide whether or not teachers should be allowed to give religious instruction under the ordinary facilities conceded by Clause 3 But my noble friend, by his extremely ingenious Amendment, would carry his object a great deal beyond that, and make it compulsory on the local authority to give that permission to the teachers.


Hear, hear.


Those are two different things, and as far as I have listened to this debate I have not observed that the slightest attention has been drawn to that distinction. Certainly with the short amount of consideration which I have been able to give to it, I should not be prepared to vote for the Amendment of my noble friend Lord Cawdor, principally for the reason that while I might sympathise with its object I do not believe that it could be carried into practice. These enactments would be unnecessary except in the case of unwilling local authorities, and, though you may enact whatever you like, I do not think it would be possible to force an unwilling authority to allow its teachers to give the religious instruction which is asked for. It is perfectly competent for an unwilling authority to say, "You may compel us to allow our teachers to give Church teaching, but we will take good care that Church teachers in future will never be appointed to give that instruction." Therefore it seems to me that the effect of this Amendment might be to impose a test which we are all most anxious not to do, which would act against the interests of the Church itself. I am not going into the further discussion of the subject now, but I think we ought at all events to know whether we are going to divide on the proposal of my noble friend Lord Cawdor or on the Amendment to omit the subsection.


said what he had meant by his Amendment was distinctly to make this an absolutely binding requirement on the local authority, and he believed he had made his intention clear. What they were endeavouring to do by this Amendment was to free the teachers, and not to put odious and undeserved restrictions upon them. They were not seeking to put on them tests of any sort or kind, but they were seeking to prevent the local authority putting on them restrictions which they thought were unjust.


The Amendment before the Committee is that moved by Lord Monkswell, which I understand the noble Lord does not intend to press.


I do not press the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


The question now is what Amendment your Lordships will be asked to divide upon. The usual practice is to take them in order on the Paper, but where it is pro-

posed to leave out the whole of a clause that Amendment naturally comes at the end after any Amendments proposed to the clause. I believe it is the practice of this House and also of the other House that when it is proposed to leave out a part of a clause, or even a whole subsection, such an Amendment that comes in the place where it is put down. Your Lordships are masters of your own procedure, and it is a question whether it would be more convenient for the Committee to consider the Amendment of the noble Earl on the front Opposition bench before proceeding to consider the question of the omission of the subsection. In all probability your Lordships will think that it would be better to take the Amendment of the noble Earl to the subsection before the question of the omission of the subsection. I gather that that is the general sense of the Committee, and I will proceed to put it in that form.

Amendment moved— In page 6, line 37, to leave out the first ' not,' and to insert ' be permitted by the local education authority to.' "—(Earl Cawdor.)

On Question, "That the word 'not' stand part of the clause," their Lordships divided:—Contents, 46; Not-Contents, 147.

Crewe, E. (L. President.) St. Asaph, L. Bp. Hempthill, L.
Kinnaird, L.
Ripon, M. (L. Privy Seal.) Boston, L. Lyveden, L.
Burghclere, L. Monkswell, L.
Devonshire, D. Castletown, L. Nunburnholme, L.
Manchester, D. Coleridge, L. O'Hagan, L.
Courteney of Penwith, L. Pirrie, L.
Beauchamp, E. Denman, L. [Teller.] Reay, L.
Carrington, E. Elgin, L. (E. Elgin and Kin Rendel, L.
Chesterfield, E. cardine.) Ribblesdale, L. [Teller.]
Chichester, E. Eversley, L. Sandhurst, L.
Craven, E. Farrer, E. Saye and Sele, L.
De La Warr, E. Fitzmaurice, L. Stanley of Alderley, L.
Durham, E. Glantawe, L. Tweedmouth, L.
Fortescue, E. Grimthorpe, L. Wandsworth, L.
Portsmouth, E. Haversham, L. Weardale, L.
Temple, E. Headley, L. Welby, L.
Canterbury, L. Abp. Richmond and Gordon, D. Winchester, M.
Wellington, D.
Norfolk, D. (E. Marshal.) Ashburnham, E.
Grafton, D. Bath, M. Camperdown, E.
Marlborough, D. Bute, M. Cathcart, E.
Newcastle, D. Camden, M. Cawdor, E.
Northumberland, D. Lansdowne, M. Dartrey, E.
Portland, D. Salisbury, M. Denbigh, E.
Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch Birmingham, L. Bp. Gormanston, L. (V. Gorman-
and Queensberry.) Bristol, L. Bp. ston.)
Feversham, E. Chichester, L. Bp. Harris, L.
Haddington, E. Exeter, L. Bp. Hastings, L.
Halsbury, E. Lichfield, L. Bp. Howard of Glossop
Hardwicke, E. Lincoln, L. Bp. Hylton, L.
Ilchester, E. Liverpool, L. Bp. Kenmare, L. (E. Kenmare.)
Jersey, E. London, L. Bp. Kenyon, L.
Lathom, E. Oxford, L. Bp. Kilmarnock, L. (E. Erroll.)
Londesborough, E. St. David's, L. Bp. Lawrence, L.
Lytton, E. Salisbury, L. Bp. Leith of Fyvie, L.
Malmesbury, E. Southwark, L. Bp. Lovat, L.
Mar and Kellie, E. Wakefield, L. Bp. Macnaghten, L.
Morley, E. Winchester, L. Bp. Manners, L.
Morton, E. Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.)
Nelson, E. Abinger, L. Methuen, L.
Northbrook, E. Addington, L. Monk Bretton, L.
Onslow, E. Alington, L. Mostyn, L.
Pembroke and Montgomery, E. Alverstone, L. Muncaster, L.
Plymouth, E. Ampthill, L. Napier, L.
Saint Germans, E. Ardilaun, L. Newton, L.
Shaftesbury, E. Ashbourne, L. North, L.
Stamford, E. Balfour, L. Northbourne, L.
Stanhope, E. Barnard, L. Ormathwaite, L.
Vane, E. (M. Londonderry.) Barrymore, L. Poltimore, L.
Waldegrave, E. [Teller.] Belhaven and Stenton E. Ranfurly, L. (E. Ranfurly.)
Wharncliffe, E. Borthwick, L. Ravensworth, L.
Yarborough, E. Braye, L. Redesdale, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Revelstoke, L.
Carysfort, L. (E. Carysfort.) Ritchie of Dundee, L.
Bridport, V. Cheylesmore, L. Robertson, L.
Churchill, V. [Teller.] Clements, L. (E. Leitrim.) Rothschild, L.
Coville of Culross, V. Clifford of Chudleigh, L. Sanderson, L.
Falkland, V. Clinton, L. Sandys, L.
Falmouth, V. Colchester, L. Seaton, L.
Halifax, V. Dawnay, L. (V. Downe.) Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.)
Hill, V. De Freyne, L. Stalbridge, L.
Hutchinson, V. (E. Donough- Digby, L. Stanmore, L.
more.) Ellenborough, L. Stewart of Garlies, L. (E.
Llandaff, V. Emly, L. Galloway.)
Ridley, V. Estcourt, L. Vaux of Harrowden, L.
St. Aldwyn, V. Fermanagh, L. (E. Erne.) Waleran, L.
Fingall, L. (E. Fingall.) Wolverton, L.
Bangor, L. Bp. Forester, L. Zouche of Haryngworth, L.
Bath and Wells, L. Bp. Gage, L. (V. Gage.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Proposed words inserted.

Amendment moved— In page 6, line 40, to leave out from 'Act' to the end of the subsection."—(Earl Cawdor.)

House resumed, and to be again in Committee on Wednesday next.

House adjourned at twenty minutes past Eleven o'clock, to Wednesday next, a quarter past Four o'clock.