§ House again in Committee (according to Order.
§ [The Earl of ONSLOW in the Chair.]
§ Clause 17:—
§ LORD BARNARD (on behalf of the Earl of HARROWBY) moved an Amendment to insert at the end of the clause this provision, "Notwithstanding anything contained in Section 69 of the Local Government Act, 1888, a county council may borrow by way of mortgage for the purposes of the Education Act for the whole or part of any period authorised by the Local Government Board." He explained that Section 69 of the Local Government Act, 1888, precluded county councils which had borrowed money by raising stock from also obtaining money by way of loan. He had attempted to ascertain from county council officials and others experienced in these matters what the reason of that provision was, but had not so far been able to obtain any information. He had, however, found out that it was in practice extremely inconvenient that a county council should be precluded by that provision from raising money on the cheapest terms on which it could be had at the particular moment. He did not know that a large number of county councils had raised money on stock, but the county council of Stafford, which his noble friend Lord Harrowby represented, had done so, with the result that it was impossible for them to borrow money upon mortgage for a period of more than five years. This Bill proposed that the period of repayment might be extended to sixty years, and the county council authority of Stafford had pointed out that if it should happen to be more convenient and suitable for them to raise money by way of loan instead of stock, they would be put to the expense and trouble of renewing the loan every five years, which he could hardly think was intended. He did not think there would be any serious opposition to the proposal contained in the Amendment. In evidence of that he referred to the fact that a Bill had been promoted by the County Council of Middlesex and passed by Parliament this year, Section 46 of which provided that in its application to the council sub-section (9), of 731 Section 69 of the Local Government Act, 1888, should be read and construed as if the period of thirty years had been referred to instead of five years. That extended the period for which money could be borrowed in that case from five years to thirty years, and he was informed by the Middlesex County Council that there was no opposition on the part of the Local Government Board to that extension.
In page 16, line 30, after the word 'fix' to insert the words 'notwithstanding anything contained in section 69 of the Local Government Act, 1888, a county council may borrow by way of mortgage for the purposes of the Education Act for the whole or part of any period authorised by the Local Government Board.'"—(Lord Barnard.)
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (The Earl of CREWE)
My Lords, when I saw my noble friend rise I confess I felt a momentary tremor that there might be some point connected with charitable trusts which we had forgotten but which had not escaped him, and I was relieved to find that the matter was only one of finance, with which I must say the noble Lord seemed to deal with equal mastery. What is desired by the Amendment is to get rid of the provision of Section 69 of the Local Government Act, 1888, which forbids county councils who have borrowed by means of stock from raising money by way of mortgage except for a period not exceeding five years. That provision was inserted in the Act of 1888, with a view to stimulating borrowing by the issue of stock, because it was considered that that was, on the whole, the best way that these borrowings could be carried out; but there is no doubt that the existence of the provision has created considerable difficulty in a good many cases. As your Lordships are well aware, it often happens that the money market is unfavourable to the issue of stock, and, speaking generally, there does not seem to be any good reason whatever for limiting the powers of borrowing by mortgage in the manner in which they are limited in the Act. Therefore neither the Local Government Board nor myself have any opposition to raise to the repeal of that section. But there is this objection, that it is not a satisfactory way to legislate to repeal a portion of 732 one Act by a portion of another Act. Therefore we think it might be wiser to let the matter stand over for the present until some alteration can be made in the general law and the section repealed altogether. In that case, perhaps the noble Lord will not press his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 17 agreed to.
§ Clause 18:—
*LORD AVEBURY moved an Amendment to the provision that the limit on the amount which might be raised by the county council for the purposes of education other than elementary under Section 2 of the Education Act of 1902 should cease to operate. He proposed to add these words—"but before any increase is made to the existing rate, or any loan is raised for the purposes of education other than elementary in any county borough, borough, or district, it shall be ascertained by a poll of the ratepayers within the said county borough, borough, or district that a majority of such ratepayers are in favour of the increase or loan." He commended this Amendment to their Lordships on two grounds—firstly, that of economy; and, secondly, that of educational efficiency. It was evident that if the clause passed in its present form it would in many places add greatly to the rates. By degrees, and with the exception of the great old establishments such as Eton and Harrow, the whole secondary education of the country would pass into the hands of the municipal voters. He said municipal voters, and not ratepayers, because, unfortunately, the two things were not by any means synonymous; the largest ratepayers, as a rule, had no votes, and a large number of voters paid no rates. As long as the limit of 2d. was maintained the establishment of rate-supported secondary schools was confined to large centres. They, and they alone, could support excellent secondary schools without exceeding the limit of 2d. Perhaps he would be asked, why should such schools be limited to populous areas? The
reason was that while every child, with comparatively few exceptions, should go to a primary school, much fewer passed on to the higher schools, and, moreover, being older they could go further distances to the school. Again, young children required similar subjects, which constituted the ground work of education; but as they grew older a greater differentiation of subjects was required. This clause as it stood was a direct invitation to every rating area to establish its own secondary school. In small places that would require a considerable rate. Moreover, under the clause there would be a multiplicity of second-rate secondary schools. A temporary, and, perhaps, small majority might incur an expenditure which would burden the rates for many years. He could not say that the clause seemed wise even with the addition, which, however, would do something to mitigate the expenditure and promote, if it could not secure, prudence and economy. He commended the addition in the second place on the ground of educational efficiency. The Secondary Education Commission of 1894, in their able and unanimous Report, stated that in their opinion—
Education is a tiling too intimately concerned with individual preference and private life for it to be desirable to throw the whole of it under Government control. It needs organisation, but it would be destroyed by uniformity; it is stimulated by inspection, but it could be crushed by a Code. Every good teacher is a discoverer, and, in order to make discoveries, he must have liberty of experiment.
At present there were at least 10,000 private secondary schools. As the Com- missioners pointed out—
There is a large amount of capital invested in them, and the livelihood of many thousand persons depends upon them.
To sweep these away, without compensation, by a general system of rate-supported education would be a great hardship. Such a course could only be justified, if at all, on grounds of necessity. It would, however, not only be an injustice, but a grave national misfortune. The Commissioners expressed their conviction that the control of the whole of secondary education by Government was incompatible with—
the freedom, variety, and elasticity which are and have been the merits which go far to redeem the defects in English education and which must at all hazards be preserved.
The work they assigned to the local authority was the work not of superseding, but of focussing voluntary effort. In most districts they thought that the present supply of private proprietary and endowed schools would be sufficient, and advised that the local authority should only start now schools "in the last resort" and "to supply distinct deficiencies." They pointed to the State systems of France and Germany as lamentable instances of the evils inseparable from State control, and advised in the most emphatic way that in England the State should—
modestly supplement but avoid superseding private enterprise.
John Stuart Mill, in the essay on Liberty, said—
That the whole or any large part of the education of the people should be in State hands, I go as far as anyone in deprecating. All that has been said of the importance of individuality of character and diversity in opinions and modes of conduct involves, as of the most unspeakable importance, diversity of education. A general State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another; in proportion as it. is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by natural tendency to one over the body. An education established and controlled by the State should only exist, if it exists at all, as one among many competing experiments, carried on for the purpose of example and stimulus, to keep the others up to a certain standard of excellence.
In this Mill expressed the views of our greatest educational authorities. Huxley said that—
as to intermediate education, I have never favoured the notion of State intervention in this direction.
Edward Thring protested against having—
the dead hand of outside power thrust into the heart strings of a living work.
Dr. Westcott, the late Bishop of Durham, said that—
any regulations which impair the freedom and individuality of the teacher will just so far prove to be destructive of that force which has hitherto been most effective in forming English character.
What they said of State schools applied with equal, or almost equal, force to those under municipalities. In fact, the Commissioners stated that there was—
an almost universal agreement among our witnesses that it would be a misfortune it good private and proprietary schools were to cease to exist, that they are doing much good work, that they fill a place which cannot be altogether
taken by public schools, and that they ought therefore to be reckoned as part of the educational supply of the country.…So far from desiring to displace, or even to weaken, such schools as these, we trust that some of the measures we recommend may tend to stimulate and improve them.
They pointed out that educational progress had come mainly from private teachers, and the very features which "must at all hazards be preserved," they declared to be "the distinctive advantage of the private school." He submitted, then, to their Lordships that these municipal secondary schools should only be formed after careful consideration and with the full consent of the municipal voter; and in order to secure this he begged to move the Amendment which stood in his name.
In page 16, line 34, after the word 'operate' to insert the words 'but before any increase is made to the existing rate, or any loan is raised for the purposes of education other than elementary in any county borough, borough, or district, it shall be ascertained by a poll of the ratepayers within the said county borough, borough or district that a majority of such ratepayers are in favour of the increase or loan.'"—(Lord Avebury.)
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
My Lords, the effect of the noble Lord's Amendment, of course, is to make any provision for higher education in excess of the 2d. limit the subject of a poll of the ratepayers within a county, county borough, borough, or district. I do not quite understand why the noble Lord includes a county borough, because it was not thought necessary in the Act of 1902 to include county boroughs, which are able, as a matter of fact, to exceed the limit of 2d. A precisely similar proposition was made in the course of the debates in another place. It was introduced by a Liberal Member, but in a full House it only received the support of ninety. I think that shows that a great many of those who are in the habit of opposing His Majesty's Government there were not prepared to dispute the policy of this Clause 18. A referendum of this kind, of course, is not by any means unknown. There are cases, such as those under the Free Libraries Acts and the Borough Funds Acts, where before expenditure can be incurred it is necessary to take a poll of the ratepayers; but in all those cases the 736 issue which is presented to the ratepayers is a perfectly clear and simple one. When it comes simply to saying, "Before any increase is made to the existing rate or any loan is raised for the purpose of education other than elementary," it appears to me that it would be exceedingly difficult to put anything like a direct issue before the ratepayers on which they would be able to form a distinct opinion of any value. But we go on the ground that, after all, the county councils are responsible for expenditure of this kind to their constituents, and if they exceed in that expenditure a reasonable limit it is by their constituents that they must be brought to book. They are elected, after all, for a short term, and they presumably and necessarily have to bear in mind the effect at the next election of anything like extravagant expenditure. It was only yesterday, on the question of delegation, that the noble Lord opposite, Lord Belper, urged that the council should have a free hand in this matter. We are certainly disposed to give them a free hand, knowing, as we do, that their circumstances vary very greatly indeed. We are not disposed, therefore, to accept this proposition. I am able to pray in aid, as the phrase is, the noble Marquess opposite, Lord Londonderry. In the course of the discussion in this House on the Act of 1902 a proposition was made by Lord Wemyss for an Amendment to the effect that no important steps should be taken for the promotion of higher education without the ratepayers being directly consulted, and on that occasion the noble Marquess said that any judgment of the ratepayers would necessarily be inferior to that which the council and their finance committee could make. The noble Marquess added—The financial interests of the ratepayers are surely sufficiently safe in the hands of their elected representatives.That is the attitude which we adopt on this occasion, and which prevents us from accepting the Amendment. It is not necessary, I think, to dwell at all upon the importance of secondary education in the counties, because I am sure the noble Lord is quite as well aware of that as we are, and attaches quite as much importance to it. What we want to see, of course, is that there shall be this series of links which shall enable the boy or girl who is competent to do so to pass from 737 the elementary school right up to the University, as we know takes place so often in Scotland, and also to some extent in Wales, and the extension of which we should be very glad to sec in this country.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY
was certain that the easing of the present excessive burden on the ratepayers was an object which would commend itself to their Lordships, but the Amendment appeared to him to be of too far-reaching a character. He did not know how it would be possible to take a poll with regard to a question of this kind, or how it could be considered to be of any practical use.
* THE UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Lord FITZMAURICE)
was glad the noble Marquess had brought the full weight of his authority to bear against the proposition, however desirable the object might be. The machinery proposed was quite impracticable. How, he ventured to ask, could anybody seriously suggest that it would be possible in a large county to obtain the real opinion of the scattered inhabitants in regard to some particular loan by moans of a poll?
§ LORD BELPER
asked whether it was not the fact that his noble friend Lord Avebury had deleted the word "county"?
* LORD FITZMAURICE
said that made but little difference. The tendency of opinion among persons experienced in local affairs was against special polls of this kind of the ratepayers, because of the difficulty of ascertaining the real matured opinion of the district by reason of the small number of people who came forward to vote oven in towns. The more such appeals were multiplied the more the difficulty of local administration was accentuated. There were already too many cases where provisions suitable possibly to urban administration had been transported by law into the rural districts, and were an absolute farce. He protested against multiplying them. Why was he five times a year to be directed to sign a 738 notice to be affixed to a door in the county town, giving notice of the council meeting, on the assumption that it would be read by the dwellers on Salisbury Plain, and the ratepayers in the Thames Valley? That was an instance of what he meant.
* LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
said he could not even give that general benediction to the purpose of the Amendment which noble Lords had given while censuring it in detail. It seemed to him that the Amendment would hopelessly confuse the daily administration of affairs in the counties. The noble Lord who moved the Amendment seemed to have a terror of the extinction of private schools. He (Lord Stanley) would remind the Committee that at this moment the 2d. rate, which was the maximum in districts other than county boroughs or in London, was largely absorbed by what was practically compulsory elementary work. Nearly the whole training of pupil teachers had now been made secondary work, and the necessary scholarships which had to be found in elementary schools also fell upon the rate other than elementary. The whole of the evening continuation schools fell on the rate which was not elementary, and practically the 2d. rate was mortgaged to purposes which were essentially connected with elementary education, and the great difficulty with county authorities was to find any moans to help secondary or higher education and the training of teachers owing to the lack of money As the noble Lord had worded his Amendment it did not provide only that the 2d. rate should not be exceeded without taking a plebiscite. As the Amendment stood it would fetter the existing rights of those authorities, and would prevent an authority which was levying 1d. rate from raising it to 1½d. next year without a plebiscite. The Amendment would not work at all. It meant an appeal to the ignorance of the county from the knowledge and experience of the council. The noble Lord had spoken as if it were intolerable that these local authorities should spend money on secondary education, and had referred to these schools as if they ought to be mainly in large towns. He (Lord Stanley) thought that one of the most hopeful signs of the times was that an endeavour was now being made to bring secondary schools at moderate fees within the reach of those 739 in country districts. There was a general feeling through the country in favour of bridging over the gap between the elementary school and the secondary school; but if ridiculous and vexatious injunctions, such as the Amendment proposed, were imposed upon the local authorities, their good work in that direction would become impossible.
§ VISCOUNT CROSS
said he was strongly in favour of any suggestion that would tend to the reduction of the rates; but, as a practical matter, he could not see his way to support the Amendment. It would be impossible to work the Bill without some increase in the rates; and to say that there should not be an increase in the rates without a poll was practically to say that the Bill should not be put into operation at all.
§ * LORD AVEBURY
said that a good deal of the objection raised to his Amendment was founded on a misconception. Nearly the whole of the observations of Lord Stanley of Alderley and of Lord Fitzmaurice were devoted to counties, whereas the Amendment did not deal with counties. Noble Lords frequently said they were in favour of economy, but when an economical proposition was brought forward they found some reason for opposing it. The reference to a poll of the voters had in many cases led to economy, and showed that the councils did not always represent the views of the electors.
§ On Question, Amendment negatived.
§ Clause 18 agreed to.
§ Clauses 19 to 23 agreed to.
§ Clause 24:—
§ *THE EARL OF JERSEY (in the absence of Earl CADOGAN) moved to add to the subsection empowering the local education authority to provide the children with play centres and means of recreation the proviso that in the exercise of those powers the local authority might assist voluntary agencies, or associate with itself representatives of such agencies, for these purposes. He said that Lord Stanley of Alderley had very kindly pointed out to him that the words as they stood on the Paper might limit the operation of the 740 proviso to associations which were now in existence, and, therefore, acting on his suggestion, he proposed, after the words "encourage and assist the," to add "establishment or." The, proviso did not attack any principle in the Bill, and he was given to understand that it would receive favourable consideration at the hands of the noble Earl the Lord President. The Children's Happy Evenings Association, with which a great many people in London were connected, had worked for the last seventeen years in the greatest harmony with the London School Board and the present local education authority for London, and during that time they had been able to bring means of recreation and pleasant evenings to upwards of 22,000 children. He thought this fact would show that there was no fear that these associations would not work harmoniously with the local authorities.
In page 18, line 28, after the word 'place,' to insert the words, 'provided that in any exercise of powers under this section the local education authority may encourage and assist the establishment or continuance of voluntary agencies, and associate with itself representatives of voluntary associations for the purpose.'"—(The Earl of Jersey.)
§ THE MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY
, in supporting the Amendment, said that, while Chairman of the London School Board, he had much experience of the good work done in the way of providing the children with entertainment by such agencies as the Children's Happy Evenings Association. There were something like 134 branches in forty-three districts, enabling benefits to be conferred on some 22,000 children without expense to the ratepayers. It was exceedingly unfortunate that there should be any possibility of the efforts of these associations, which had been so successful in the past, being in any way injured by this Bill. It had been stated in the House of Commons that the wider interpretation of the clause would tend to kill voluntary associations, and the statement was made that the local education authorities might, if they chose, provide salaried teachers to do the work which was now done free of charge. Mr. Trevelyan had estimated that the cost, for London alone, would be £20,000 a year, whereas the association 741 could do the work at its own cost for something like £35 per 1,000 children. Therefore, in the cause of economy, as well as on other grounds, he hoped the noble Karl would be able to state that there was no intention to interfere with the present arrangement.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
My Lords, I have no opposition to offer to the Amendment of my noble friend opposite. We fully recognise the value of the work which has been done by these admirable agencies. There is something, I think, inexpressibly pathetic in the undoubted fact that there are a number of children of the very poor who simply do not know how to play, because they have never had the chance of playing anywhere, except, perhaps, in the gutter; and no praise can be too high for those people who have devoted their time and money to this excellent work. I think that as a matter of fact the clause as it stands would have allowed the encouragement and assistance of these and all future agencies. The power to provide during holidays and at other times would have included a power to utilise, and, if necessary, subsidise, these agencies without the words which the noble Lord proposes to insert; but, as he desires to have them in, we offer no opposition, and perhaps they will make the matter more clear.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
LORD BELPER moved the omission of that part of the clause which laid on the local education authority "the duty to provide for the medical inspection of children before or at the time of their admission to a public elementary school." This Amendment was, he said, one of very considerable importance, and he might state that he was proposing it at the wish of the County Councils Association. Many of the representatives of councils and those who had the management of education in the counties felt very great alarm at the expense, not to
speak of the trouble, which would probably be involved with regard to this matter. He would state shortly how the words to which they objected came into the clause. As the clause was originally introduced in the other House, sub-section (b) gave the power to provide for the medical inspection of children. In Committee it was altered to the duty to provide. He did not know what discussion took place upon it, but the Committee would at once see that, as far, at all events, as counties and large agricultural districts went, it was a very important alteration indeed in the clause. What would be the effect of the clause if it was enforced as it now stood? It would be necessary that in every country school there should be medical inspection of children immediately before or at the time of their admission. Therefore, one of two things must happen. Either they must have a very large staff of inspectors to inspect the children who came to the schools on different dates and at different times, or they would have to limit the power of taking in children and lay down certain times at the beginning of the month or the beginning of the term when they might be admitted. That would be a very objectional course to pursue, and one which no education authority would recommend. He had taken some trouble to inquire what this medical inspection would entail. The duty being imposed on the authority, it obviously could not be done by any but properly qualified people. It could not be done by nurses, and it would be very undesirable that it should be done by small country practitioners who had not the experience and knowledge necessary for thorough inspection. If the inspection was to be carried out thoroughly, if it was to be really efficient, it ought to be done by men who were fully qualified and who thoroughly understood mental and nervous disorders, because, if the classification was to be of any use whatever, it would be necessary to ascertain, when a child first came to the school, whether or not he was in a fit state to go through a full course of study. He thought this duty might be carried out by the medical officers of health to some extent, though they could not cover the whole county. It might also be done by giving a small grant to practitioners, but he did not think that sort of inspection would be sufficient
to carry out the object of the Bill. They would have to engage properly qualified persons, a very great part of whose time would be taken up in this inspection, and who would have to be paid a substantial salary if they were to carry out their duties in an efficient manner. This was a novel proposal. He did not in the least object to it for that reason, nor did he wish to take any exception to encouraging proper inspection as to the health and physical condition of the children; but he ventured to suggest that this obligatory clause was not suitable in counties and large scattered districts, and that if they wished to have the inspection done satisfactorily, it would be wiser that in the first instance it should be voluntary. As he proposed to amend the sub section it would read that the powers and duties of a local education authority under Part III. of the Education Act, 1902, should include—
(b) The power to make such arrangements as may be sanctioned by the Board of Education for attending to the health and physical condition of the children educated in public elementary schools.
§ That, at all events, would be a large step in the right direction; and he thought it would be more satisfactory in the long run to begin the inspection in a tentative way.
In page 18, line 29, to leave out from the beginning of paragraph (b) to the second 'the' in line 32."—(Lord Belper.)
* LORD HARRIS
added his support to what Lord Belper had said. His noble friend had dealt principally with the duty of providing medical inspection for children before or at the time of their admission to the school, but he thought it was obvious that by degrees, if not at first, the Board of Education would demand a much, more constant medical supervision. That was excellent so far as it went, but obviously, if there was to be any value about the medical inspection, it would have to be far more constant and not confined to those few occasions when fresh children entered the school. The Board of Education would, as time went on, be forced to press for more constant examination, and he submitted that if the noble Earl would go into the question of the number of children who would have to be 744 inspected, the journeys that the doctors would have to take in country districts, and the amount of remuneration necessary, he would see the enormous cost that was going to be thrown on the ratepayers. He submitted that if the country wished the children in the schools to be medically inspected and medically treated, some further assistance from the State should be given, and the whole cost should not be thrown on real property.
§ LORD FARRER
regretted that his noble friend had felt it necessary to bring forward this Amendment, and referred to an incident which had occurred in a rural district in his own county this year. It was found at the beginning of the summer that a child was attending school in a half starved condition. It was extremely difficult to know how to deal with a case of that sort in a small village, where everybody was known and marked. In old days, before the Act of 1902, they would, of course, have dealt with the case by having a medical inspection of their own. What they decided to do was to ask the county council to send their medical officer to inspect the whole school, and in that case the child naturally could be singled out if he was not in a fit state. That he, was glad to say, was done, but it took six weeks to do it, and the medical officer practically stated that he did not feel that proceedings could be taken. He thought everybody who had had experience of country schools would agree that if this duty were placed on county authorities the health of the nation would be greatly improved.
* THE LORD BISHOP OF RIPON
said the Amendment he had on the Paper, and which he would move later, was designed to strengthen rather than weaken a clause which asserted the necessity of medical inspection. They were committed, by the history of their past policy, to some action of the kind. What they were asked to do could not be described as merely the suggestion of enthusiastic ignoramuses; it was founded on the very best experience and the counsel of the best experts they could command. He could not help feeling that the noble Lord who had proposed this Amendment had greatly exaggerated the probable cost to the country. In 745 point of fact, he thought it could be shown that, so far from this being an extravagance on the part of the nation, it would prove to be a real economy. Before compulsory education came into force the position of a parent was a very simple one. If a child was unwell it was kept from school, and many a child who in the present day had to attend school compulsorily would formerly have been withheld from school on the ground that it was not physically fit to attend. The consequence was that in those days our schools were filled with healthy children and the unhealthy remained without education at all. They had altered all that and had made education compulsory, and the consequence was that the children in our schools now comprised all classes—the fit and the unfit, the weak and feeble as well as the strong. In those circumstances it seemed to him that they were almost forced to the conclusion that it would be a righteous act on their part to take care that the weak children, who would not have been in the school but for the compulsory provision, should be protected against undue strain by some careful medical examination. The country had taken upon itself very large burdens in the matter of education, and the reason it had done so was that it was convinced that it was worth while to pay the price, because it reaped the reward later on. He was prepared to believe that those who had taken any interest in education at all were ready to accept the maxim that there was an economic value in education as such. If that were so, why should not they complete their work by taking care to reap the full reward of that value by not sending children out into the world under conditions which would make their progress and success in life more difficult? This was not simply a question in which a number of enthusiasts were speaking. What was asked for in this clause was simply that the recommendations of three Royal Commissions should be carried into effect. A Royal Commission was issued for the examination of the condition of things in Scotland, and that Commission called attention in their Report to what they described as a serious defect in our system of education—namely, the lack of systematic medical inspection of the children. The Royal Commission on Physical Deterioration also recommended that sys- 746 tematised medical inspection should be carried on, and that this duty should be imposed on the local authorities. The third Commission to which he referred expressed the opinion that the structure of our educational system would never be complete until it was made possible for a teacher to refer all doubtful cases to distinct medical inspection. In other words, the three Royal Commissions that had reported on this subject had all reported in favour of medical inspection, and in doing so they were largely sup ported by the experience of medical men who had devoted much study to the subject. It was impossible for a teacher to detect many diseases which were in the system of the child but were not obviously manifest in themselves. The value of medical inspection was not simply to prevent the disease of the individual child, but to protect the other children from contagion. In Boston a complete system of medical inspection prevailed, and in one year 17,000 children were referred by the teachers to the medical inspectors. Of those, 2,500 were sent home, and of those sent home it was discovered that between 400 and 500 were suffering from contagious diseases. Their Lordships could picture what an economy this was in the health of a great city. They wore asking for something which in other countries had been accepted and which he was glad to say had been adopted also in a few cases in this country. It might be said that this was all a question of expense, but in Boston, where the system was carried out with a great deal of care, the city was mapped out in fifty districts and the medical officer in each district received £40 a year, so that £2,000 a year covered the whole cost of the inspection. In West Sussex the expenditure on this matter was just £200, which amounted to one-sixteenth of a penny rate in the pound. Surrey was another instance where the expenditure was under £500, and the cost to the rates was one-twentieth of a penny in the pound. And at Eastbourne the expenditure on this matter was no higher than one-thirtieth of a penny in the pound. The results where medical inspection had been adopted had been entirely encouraging and the expense was not heavy. But it would be a transcendent mistake to measure such a thing by the mere expense. Medical inspection, by reducin 747 the number of the unfit, would ultimately reduce the rates. Even if the expense were heavier, would it not be worth while to incur it for such a result? Would it not be a wise policy of national insurance? He desired that the inspection should take place at the time of the children's leaving school as well as the time of their entering it.
§ LORD HENEAGE
said that if the right rev. Prelate's suggestion was to be carried out properly it would mean that there must be regular inspection every month. If so, it should be paid for by the State. The question was whether it was worth while having inspection only when children entered the school, and the more practical part of the issue was by whom was that inspection to be made He ventured to say that one half of the medical officers of the country were not qualified to make this inspection, and it would be most invidious to place the duty upon small country practitioners, because they would be inspecting the children of the people they were constantly attending and would get into hot water. If the inspection was to be carried out logically, as proposed by the right rev Prelate, it must be done a great deal, more systematically, and if that was so, it could only be done by medical men appointed for the purpose and paid by the State.
* THE EARL OF MEATH
hoped that, as he had the privilege of being the humble instrument, through their Lordships' House, of obtaining the appointment of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration of 1904, he might be allowed to say a few words in support of the right rev. Prelate. He rejoiced exceedingly when he saw that His Majesty's Government, in Clause 24, had stated their intention that one of the duties of the local education authority should be to provide for the medical inspection of children, but he was sorry that they limited it to before or at the time of admission to the public elementary school. He thought it was of the greatest importance that children should be examined not only when they entered the school, but also when they left the school. One of the recommendations of the Royal Commission was that there should be an anthropometric survey instituted. It 748 was impossible that those measurements could be of any use unless they were taken when the child entered the school and when he left. Other countries had adopted this method, and the time had come when we should do the same. It was of the most vital importance to this country that our children should be strong and full of vitality, and money could not be spent better than in raising a healthy and Imperial race which should carry on the traditions of this great Empire. He hoped no question of small extra expense would enter into the consideration of His Majesty's Government in this matter. They were spending money lavishly on many departments which needed it less than this one, and he hoped His Majesty's Government would not only be firm in regard to obtaining what they had on the Paper, but that they would add the Amendment of the right rev. Prelate.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
My Lords, we have had even so far a discussion of great interest on this extremely important subject. Nobody, I think, can complain that my noble friend opposite, Lord Belper, has felt it his duty to draw the attention of the Committee to one aspect of the question which, in the general enthusiasm which surrounds a matter of this kind, no doubt runs some risk of being forgotten—I mean the question of the possible expense as applied to rural areas; and I think we must all agree that the noble Lord stated with great moderation his case on behalf of the councils for which he speaks. I think that due weight certainly ought to be given to these considerations, but, after giving that weight—and we have very carefully considered the matter—we are not able to agree to the suggestion of the noble Lord. This fear of cost has been to some extent dealt with, and I think in some degree exposed, in the speech of the right rev. Prelate the Bishop of Ripon. After all, admitting that a certain charge must necessarily be put on the rates, think of the credit side of the ledger. Think, my Lords, merely from an economic point of view what a waste it is to teach a great many of these children at all in the condition in which they are. If a child is slightly deaf and cannot possibly hear what the teacher says, if he is very shortsighted and cannot see the blackboard, or if for some general 749 constitutional reason he is in such a state that, although he may hear or see, what is told him passes out of his mind immediately—what an utter waste it is to teach such a child at all while in such a condition; and I think that in considering the economic point of view we are bound to attach the greatest possible weight also to that consideration. The right rev. Prelate has told us that other countries are ahead of us in this matter, and that is so. I think I am right in saying that in Germany, in Switzerland, and in the United States, compulsion in this matter is the rule. The right rev. Prelate also dwelt on the considerations which I think must weigh greatly with us, namely, the Reports of the different Royal Commissions who have considered this matter. Many of your Lordships, I am sure, read the very interesting Report on Physical Deterioration, and I am sure you will remember the extremely certain terms in which the Commission declared their belief in the necessity of some such regular inspection as this.
The question raised by Lord Belper is this, Is compulsion necessary in this matter? On the whole we think it is. The power exists at present and is exercised in some cases, but we do not believe that, taking the country as a whole, the necessity for this kind of inspection is sufficiently realised, and it must be brought home to public bodies in the country by inserting the word "duty" and thus placing compulsion upon them. The noble Lord has said that this would be a very difficult matter in rural areas. The answer to that is that it has been done, as the right rev. Prelate told us, in certain rural areas, and not at very great expense. As it is, a considerable number of county councils have medical officers of their own, and I should have thought it might not be difficult for them in other cases to work in with the local sanitary authorities in organising some system of inspection. I confess I do not appreciate the point made by my noble friend Lord Heneage as to the difficult burden that would be thrown on small country practitioners by this work. I think a great many small country practitioners would be rather pleased and proud to be employed by the public authority, and that it should be supposed that a country 750 practitioner would get into hot water with the parents for pointing out that a child was not well I confess passes my comprehension. It must be remembered that it is not medical treatment that is intended by this clause, but periodical ordinary inspection.
I think perhaps I had better not deal with the special point raised by the right rev. Prelate until he moves his Amendment. Therefore I will say nothing at this stage about his desire to insert the words "on leaving." I do not know whether many of your Lordships have read the debate in the other House on this question. The unanimity in favour of this principle was really surprising. From all quarters of the House, from Mr. Balfour, and from a great number of gentleman who are as a rule opposed to the Government, there came the strongest appreciation of the principle; and not only that, there was only one voice raised in that debate against the insertion of the clause in its present form including the word "duty" and thus making it compulsory. We, therefore, are bound to adhere to the clause as it stands, and cannot accept the noble Lord's Amendment.
§ * THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I must say that after listening to the statement of the noble Earl the Lord President of the Council I feel that I for one shall not be able to vote with my noble friend Lord Belper. It is no doubt true that this experiment may be one of a costly character and one not very easy to carry out in rural districts. On the other hand, I cannot conceal from myself that there is a very great weight of authority in favour of inspection of the kind suggested in the Bill, and I think the noble Earl opposite is right when he says that the economic arguments certainly do not all make the same way. Even assuming the operation to be a costly one, we may fairly set on the other side of the account the advantage of a careful examination of these children, an examination which will render it easier to adapt to their condition, whatever it is, the education which they are afterwards to receive. At any rate the proposal seems to me to be one which your Lordships' House should hesitate to oppose, and, therefore, if the noble Lord goes to a division, I shall reluctantly vote against him.
§ LORD BELPER
, in reply, said that it was unnecessary, so far as he was concerned, to expatiate on the advantages of this inspection. He was fully aware of them and had never said a single word in opposition to inspection so long as it was carried out in a reasonable way, and with due regard to economy. But, after listening to the remarks of the right rev. Prelate and other noble Lords, it seemed to him that it was a case where there ought to be some differentiation between crowded cities and scattered communities. The economic advantages had been laid before the House. He admitted that there must be economic advantages, but those advantages would be in the boroughs where the deterioration of the Imperial race to which his noble friend on the cross benches had alluded was going on rapidly. It was not in the scattered agricultural districts in the country that the same economic advantages would be reaped. But while the economic advantages would be reaped in the boroughs, the cost in the boroughs would be infinitesimal compared with what it would be in the scattered districts in the country. The noble Earl the Lord President of the Council had suggested that the medical officers of health should undertake this work. He could not think that the noble Earl had considered what the duties of these medical officers were at present, or how it was possible for them to visit all parts of the county. This matter had been discussed by the medical officers of health themselves, and many of the leading medical officers were very strong on the point that they should have nothing to do with inspection in schools. The point was, he believed, being discussed at the present moment. After the appeal which had been made to him, it was difficult to divide the Committee on his Amendment, but he urged the Committee and the Government to consider whether this was not a case in which the burden ought to be borne by the taxpayer and not by the overburdened ratepayer. If some assurance was forthcoming that a special grant would be given to country districts if it was found that the expense involved was heavy, it would remove the greater part of the objection he had to the clause as it stood.
* LORD FITZMAURICE
said the noble Lord had made another appeal in regard to the question of the expense involved in this clause. He very much wished that it were possible for the Government, who fully recognised the great authority with which his noble friend spoke upon all these questions, to give him greater information in detail about the finance of the Bill, but he really did not think it would be possible upon the financial question to go beyond what was said yesterday evening. It was then stated that the Government felt that this and many other questions were all matters the raising of which at this time was premature because they touched questions of detail which could only come up for treatment when rather more was known of the exact operation in practice of some of the clauses of the Bill. As his noble friend was not going to divide he did not desire to take up their Lordships' time on this question. But there was one point which, speaking as he felt he did from a common standpoint with his noble friend, he would ask leave to put forward. The Committee, in discussing this question, ought to bear in mind that there were already in a very considerable number of counties in England medical officers of health who had to give their whole time to their work. There were other counties, no doubt, with medical officers who did not give the whole of their time. He was not thinking about them. Some also had no county officer at all. But a great number of counties had appointed whole-time officers, of which his own county was one, and he did not anticipate that there would be any unwillingness on the part of these gentlemen to undertake this work. Of course the Lord President did not mean to suggest, nor did anyone else, that the medical officers of the county should undertake the work alone. This matter would work by a system of what might be called delegation. There were a great many duties connected, for example, with isolation hospitals which medical officers of the counties had to discharge and in which they naturally worked with the local officers of the urban and rural district councils. He took it that if this duty were placed on county councils the first thing that would happen would be that nearly all the counties in England which had been backward would have to come into line and appoint 753 whole-time medical officers of health. If that was the indirect effect he thought it alone would be a justification for standing by the clause. And when that had been done, no doubt the county medical officer of health, under the direction of the county council, would be called upon to organise a service of inspection through the local medical officers of the various urban and rural districts of the country. He was not alarmed at the prospect. In county life they had surmounted far greater difficulties than this, and if they passed this clause they would have struck a real blow on behalf of the improvement of the health of the people and the better sanitation of the country.
§ VISCOUNT GOSCHEN
said he rose to make one observation, an observation which he ought not to make as an old Chancellor of the Exchequer. His noble friend had said that they could not again go into the question of finance, and that it was impossible now to foresee what the expense would be. But he thought they were all agreed in this, that whatever medical officers might be entrusted with these important duties they would have to be paid, and that Tory considerable expense would have to be incurred. What he suggested to His Majesty's Government was that in order to ease the minds of the county councils and of the ratepayers in the rural districts they should give some sort of promise, if it could be done, that this particular expense should be earmarked as an Imperial expense and be paid from the Imperial Exchequer. Other contributions had been made to local authorities for special purposes out of the Imperial taxes. It was a system to which he had been opposed, but this was so special a case that he thought the argument was strongly in favour of its being made an Imperial expense. No Amendment could be moved in the House of Commons or in their Lordships' House in this direction; it rested entirely with the Government. County ratepayers would not feel that an indulgent view of their position had been taken by His Majesty's Government if they could not elicit some promise that the question of earmarking this expense and allowing it to be paid out of the Imperial funds would be taken into consideration.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ *THE LORD BISHOP OF RIPON moved an Amendment to make it the duty of the local education authority to have the children inspected at the time of their leaving school. He thought inspection on leaving school would be of great advantage in determining the future occupation of the child. It was also an indirect safeguard to the national well-being, because the certainty that a child would be put only to such occupation as it had physical power to undertake was a protection against an ultimate burden on the rates.
In page 18, line 30, after the word 'to, to insert the words' and of their leaving.'"—(The Lord Bishop of Ripon.)
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
We think that on the whole it would be better not to insert the right rev. Prelate's words. The sub-section runs—The duty to provide for the medical inspection of children before or at the time of their admission to a public elementary school.and the reason for that is obvious. The sub-section goes on to say—and on such other occasions us the Board of Education direct.If it is found to be desirable to inspect children on leaving, the Board of Education have power to order it. I do not think that it is necessary to make it a matter of rule, and I am afraid I cannot therefore accept the Amennment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ *THE LORD BISHOP OF RIPON moved to amend sub-section (b) by substituting "duty" for "power" in the latter half. He explained that he moved this Amendment to bring both halves of the sub-section into line.
In page 18, line 32, to leave out 'power' and to insert 'duty.'"—[The Lord Bishop of Ripon.)
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
I am afraid we cannot accept the Amendment. The word "power" was put in after great deliberation.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.755
* THE LORD BISHOP OF RIPON
then moved to substitute "supervising" for "attending to" in that portion of the sub-section which gave power to make such arrangements as might be sanctioned by the Board of Education for "attending to" the health and physical condition of the children. "Attending to" was, he said, a technical phrase which might be taken to mean medical attention, and he did not think His Majesty's Government proposed that the children should be medically attended. He took it that the sole idea of the sub-section was that there should be medical inspection, and medical inspection could be carried out by a general supervision. It was not intended that there should be distinct medical treatment, as this would not be dealing fairly by the local practitioners.
In page 18, line 34, to leave out the words 'attending to' and insert the word 'supervising.'"—(The Lord Bishop of Ripon.)
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
The words "attending to" are perhaps rather wider in their application than the word "supervising," but medical treatment is not included as the term is ordinarily understood. We prefer the words as they stand, and therefore cannot accept the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ On Question, That Clause 24, as amended, stand part of the Bill,
THE LORD BISHOP OF BATH AND WELLS
referred with satisfaction to the power given in sub-section (c) to aid by scholarships or bursaries the instruction in public elementary schools of scholars from the age of twelve up to the limit of age for the provision of instruction in a public elementary school fixed by Section 22, sub-section (2) of the Education Act, 1902. He asked if it was not possible to allow the bursaries to be available in secondary schools as well.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
I think the right rev. Prelate will find that that power exists already. This clause only applies to public elementary schools.
§ On Question, Clause 24, as amended, agreed to.756
§ LORD BELPER moved to insert a new clause, after Clause 24, to the effect that when a local education authority provided means of conveyance for a child between a reasonable distance of its home and a public elementary school, it should not be a reasonable excuse for the purposes of Section 74 of the Elementary Education Act, 1870, that there was no public elementary school open which such child could attend within three miles of its residence. He hoped the extreme innocence of this clause would ensure for it a better reception than had been accorded to some of the Amendments he had brought forward. This Amendment was moved in the other House, and, although it seemed to be somewhat of a novelty to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education, yet some hope was held out that it would be further considered in their Lordships' House. It had been found that where a school was very small, and where there were very few children in the parish, the most efficient and most economical way of providing education was to cart them over to a neighbouring school a small distance away, and so prevent having two small schools, both of which would not be so efficient as where they could get a larger number of children to go to one. In these cases it seamed necessary to make an exception from the rule which allowed the local education authority, where a child was three miles distant from a school, not to prosecute when the child refused to go to the school. If they were carried, there would, of course, be no difficulty. This was being pretty largely adopted by county schools. He himself in his own two small parishes, adopted this system more than twenty years ago. He found it to act extremely well as long as there was a sufficient number of children in one of the schools. He carted over about twenty in a covered cart for a very considerable period, with the result that one school became more efficient and able to show up the other one. He hoped the noble Lord would be able to accept the Amendment moved by him on behalf of the County Councils Association. There were a great many counties making use of this method, and their hands ought to be strengthened to enable them to prosecute where children did not attend school.
To insert the following new clause:—'When a local education authority provides
means of conveyance for a child between a reasonable distance of its home and a public elementary school, it shall not be a reasonable excuse for the purposes of Section 74 of the Elementary Education Act, 1870, that there is no public elementary school open which such child can attend within three miles of its residence.'"—(Lord Belper.)
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
I am very glad, as the noble Lord foreshadowed, to be able to give a better reception to this Amendment than I have been able to give to some others of his. It is true that it has been found a great convenience to transport children on wheels to schools at some distance. It has been found very often in the case of quite small children, that oven within legal distance it was desirable sometimes to take them in some form of conveyance. The actual form of the noble Lord's Amendment does not, I think, quite meet his wishes. He deals with the reasonable excuse under Section 74 of the Act of 1870, but it is also desirable to deal with the clauses of the Act of 1876, to deal with the excuse for employment, and I understand that my noble friend, therefore, will accept the Amendment in this form which I have no doubt will be generally accepted: "When a local education authority provides means for conveyance for a child between a reasonable distance of its home and a public elementary school it shall not be a reasonable excuse for the purposes of Section 74 of the Elementary Education Act of 1870, or Section 11 of the Act of 1876 or, the grant of exemption for the purposes of Section 9 of the latter Act, that there is no public elementary school open which such child can attend within the distance of its residence prescribed by these sections or by any by-law made under Section 74 of the Education Act of 1870."
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
To insert as a new clause: 'When a local education authority provides means for conveyance for a child between a reasonable
distance of its home and a public elementary school it shall not be a reasonable excuse for the purposes of Section 74 of the Elementary Education Act of 1870, or Section 11 of the Act of 1876, or, the grant of exemption for the purposes of Section 9 of the latter Act, that there is no public elementary school open which such child can attend within the distance of its residence prescribed by these sections or by any by-law made under Section 74 of the Education Act of 1870.'"—(The Earl of Crewe.)
§ On Question, new clause agreed to.
§ LORD MONTAGU OF BEAULIEU
said he wished to move a new clause which had for its object the flying of the national flag from every national school in the country. Some people might think that he had put this new clause on the Paper in a light manner. He had put it down in a very serious manner, because he thought that if the Government saw their way to accept its principle, it might introduce a very valuable precedent, and bring the schools of the country into conformity with the schools of other countries which were among the most progressive and intelligent of the nations. Already over the national schools of the United States, of Germany, and of our ally Japan, the flag was always thus hoisted during the time education was proceeding, and he could not help thinking that, though it might be a matter of sentiment, this practice tended to give the young a reverence for the flag of the country and inculcated, to a certain extent, an idea of what they owed to it. In Sweden, also, the most intelligently-governed country in Europe in regard to education, the national flag was displayed in this manner. It might be argued that this new clause would encourage what His Majesty's Government or their supporters thought was an undue amount of Jingoism, but he was inclined to think that that was a somewhat hollow argument. When noble Lords remembered how at different festivals the Royal Standard was very often flown from a ten pound villa, suspended by the wrong end, they would admit that the knowledge in this country of the national flag was not so general as it might be. He would remind noble Lords that in another place it was decided a few years ago that whenever the House of Commons and also their Lordships' House were sitting the 759 Union Jack should fly from the top of the Victoria Tower. It was also flown on all public buildings in time of holiday, and he could not help thinking that it would certainly do good if on the national schools the flag were also flown. It would teach the young idea something of the history of the country. The experiment had already been made in the schools of Hertfordshire. He had had a great amount of correspondence on this question since he took the matter up, and one of the education authorities in the county wrote to say that the flag was hoisted above the schools of the town when the attendance reached the maximum or nearly the maximum figure. Last year in one of the schools it was hoisted on every occasion, showing that the attendance was excellent. He felt strongly on this point. He thought they might very properly follow the example of the United States, Germany and Japan in the matter. The Committee would observe that the Amendment was neither sectarian nor political in character and he desired to move it in that spirit. He hoped the Lord President of the Council would be able to give him some comfort and to assure him that the Government would accede in spirit if not in the letter to the suggestion he had made.
To insert the following new clause: 'Every public elementary school shall, after the passing of this Act, fly the Union Jack during school hours.'"—(Lord Montagu of Beaulieu.)
* THE EARL OF MEATH
said he rose to support the Amendment of the noble Lord who had just sat down, and he did so because he was perfectly confident that he had approached the subject in no Jingoistic or flag-wagging spirit. If he had the smallest doubt on this point he would not be supporting the proposal. The noble Lord recognised that the national flag represented the honour and the majesty of the Empire. He had shown what dynamic power for good was to be found in sentiment, and that sentiment, especially in these days, could not be ignored. They saw on all hands that sentiment ruled nations, and if they could raise the proper feeling they could make a great deal of use out of sentiment. Some years ago he had the honour of requesting His Majesty's 760 Government in that House to ask the permission of Her late Majesty that the national flag should be flown from the summit of the tower which overshadowed their House. Her late Majesty graciously permitted that flag to be flown there, and it now flew as their Lordships were aware during their sittings. He was not aware that their debates had become more Jingoistic than they were before, and he saw no reason, therefore, to dread that the feelings of school children would become Jingoistic because they learned their lessons under the same flag as that under which their Lordships spoke. Lord Montagu of Beaulieu had told them that in Sweden the flag was hoisted over the schools during school hours, but there were many other countries in which this was done. In France the tricolour has always flown, and in the United States of America not only was the flag of that country flown over the schools, but they had daily a most elaborate ceremonial of saluting the flag, such a ceremonial as he would not venture to recommend to the people of this country who were not given to ceremonial. But there was a great democratic republic who thought that there was some power in such a ceremonial. One of the provinces of the old Colony of Canada—the province of Manitoba—had enacted quite recently that the Union Jack should be flown over every school in the province, and that unless the flag was flown no grant should be given to the school. He was not perfectly certain of it, but he believed that in some states of Australia something similar had occurred. Anyhow, he thought the time had arrived when the national flag should be flown over the schools of this country. He asked their Lordships to think what would be the different outlook in life of the millions who now worked and played without a thought for their country or of any higher claim upon them. Let them be given a sense of responsibility to the nation and a sense of personal dignity and of worth instilled into them, and they would rise to the occasion. They would look beyond their private interests to the higher interests of the nation.
asked the noble Lord who had moved the new clause why if the flag was to be flown it should be only during school hours? If it were 761 only flown during school hours no punctual child would ever see the flag at all.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
My Lords, I have no doubt whatever that the noble Lord opposite approached this matter in a perfectly serious spirit, and that both he and the noble Earl who spoke last but one have in their minds that the honour which we all desire to pay to the national emblem would in some way be added to by the acceptance of this proposition. I cannot help thinking that the noble Lord looks at this matter too much from his point of view and not enough from that of the children. I can quite believe that he, as he speeds from one village to another in a motor-car, might derive a glow of satisfaction from thinking that under the shadow of the national flag were being taught the future soldiers and sailors and workers of the Empire. But there is also the children's point of view to be considered. Apart from the fact, which was so pertinently pointed out by my noble friend Lord Monkswell, that when in school the children could not see the flag, I should be inclined to ask, "Is it altogether prudent to associate the national emblem in their minds with school hours? Is it altogether likely to make them love and respect the national emblem more if, when it is flown, it means in effect that "England expects every child to do its lessons"? I do not know what sort of boy the noble Lord may have been—I am sure he was a very good little boy—but most of us when at school, if we had known that the hoisting of the Union Jack was the signal that we should go and do Euclid, and that its being hauled down was the signal that we might play cricket, would have asked that during those lamentable hours it should, at any rate, be hoisted at half-mast. No, my Lords, I am bound to say, speaking quite seriously, that we do not think those sentiments which we wish everybody to feel at the sight of the national flag—love of their country, loyalty to their sovereign, and the sense of national discipline—those sentiments which we could wish to see implanted in the minds of children by the whole of their school education—we do not think that they will be stimulated by such merely mechanical means as these. It is all very well to quote the example of other countries—other countries, no doubt, know their 762 own business best—but I think we must all of us feel that there would be something, from our rather reserved national point of view, a little forced and unnatural and extravagant in this display of the national flag, and I cannot admit that there is any comparison between the flying of the Union Jack on the Victoria Tower and its display on every public school in England.
* LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
asked if he might give a little chapter of autobiography in connection with the London School Board which would, he thought, illustrate why the proposal had better not be accepted. The noble Lord on the cross benches, who had always been full of zeal for all good works and had supported it by practical proofs, in December, 1902, wrote a letter to Mr. Diggle, who was then chairman of the school board, offering £50 for the purpose of buying Union Jacks for the schools and proposing practically the adoption of the American ceremonial of best boy in the school carrying the flag round, the whole school saluting it and singing patriotic songs meanwhile.
THE EARL OF MEATH
I am sorry to interrupt the noble Lord, but I did not recommend the American ceremonial, which is a great deal more elaborate.
* LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
said that no doubt it was a reformed use, but still it was based upon the American ceremonial, and, in fact, was illustrated in his letter. That letter was referred to the school management committee, and immediately it had a provocative effect, for it brought up a furious, and, he thought, a very unbecoming letter from the Gasworkers' Union, who protested in the usual terms that their Lordships could imagine a democratic society would protest. They protested against the undemocratic spirit of the proposal, the worship of a national fetish, and jingoism, and used other strong language. When the matter came before the Board there was a proposal to accept the noble Earl's offer of £50, but without any of the conditions as to the ritual. He agreed with the noble Earl—he thought it might very well be part of the education of the children of a country to know something of their national flag—and therefore he proposed, 763 as an Amendment, that as it would be discourteous to decline the noble Earl's offer, they should accept it, but that, as the £50 would not go very far, the Board should undertake, at the expense of the ratepapers, to supply a flag to the managers of any school who applied for it. They further explained to the noble Lord in the letter they sent to him that the school management committee was considering how far the intelligent study of English history, and the use, both for reading and recitations, of passages of high literary merit which set forth deeds of heroism, would help in the formation of character, and strengthen the sense of civic duty. But they felt that if this teaching was to be effective, more would depend on the spirit in which it was imparted than on the form it might assume, and it was to the teacher's sense of public duty that they must mainly look if this important branch of national education was to be adequately given in the schools. He found, from a subsequent letter from the noble Earl, that he had in his speech stated that it was beneath the dignity of a great board to supply patriotism by subscription, and he therefore proposed that this should be charged upon the rates. His motion was carried after a division in which all his opponents were members of the Conservative Party, who objected to their buying the national nag because it would impose a charge upon the rates. However, with the help of the Progressives, and a certain section of the Moderates, he carried his proposal, and from that day onwards most persons who had visited the board schools would have seen the Union Jack in a conspicuous place. A very useful card had been circulated, which folded over and showed gradually the history of the flag of England before any of the unions and as it was now. If the flag should fly over any of our schools, it should fly over all of them. He appealed to the noble Lords who had made this proposal to say if it would conduce to harmony to insist on flying the Union Jack over all the schools of Connemara and Kerry. He was very much afraid that if they tried to push these things, which were matters of sentiment, into the region of law they would make a singular mistake. He entirely sympathised with the patriotic idea of the noble Lord's pro- 764 posal. The history of the growth of the nation might be very properly taught, but they ought to avoid theatrical displays, which would falsify rather than help their object.
§ LORD MONTAGU OF BEAULIEU
said he quite agreed with the point which had been raised by Lord Monkswell. He did not intend to confine the hoisting of the flag solely to the time the children were in school. Obviously it should be kept flying during play time. He would suggest a way out of the difficulty which he was sure the noble Earl on the cross benches would not object to. If the noble Earl the Lord President of the Council could assure him that he would in the next education code or syllabus add some special section which would make the teaching of the national symbols-obligatory in some way on the various education authorities, his object would have been achieved. He held it to be a question of principle, and unless the Lord, President of the Council could give him some assurance he would have to press his Amendment to a division.
§ * VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN
hoped his noble friend would not do that, but would be content with having called attention to the matter, which had been admirably dealt with in the speech of Lord Stanley of Alderley. Everybody, he supposed, desired that the history of the nation should be included in the curriculum of our schools, and national sentiment should be encouraged, but he thought his noble friend would see that, although agreeing in that, some of them might differ from him as to the advisability of flying the national flag, even at the cost of the ratepayers, outside a school when the children were inside.
§ LORD MONTAGU OF BEAULIEU
asked the Lord President of the Council if he would kindly inform the Committee what action the Government now Proposed to take in the matter.
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL
I will convey the desires of the noble Lord to my right hon. friend the President of the Board. I can do no more.
§ On Question, Amendment negatived.765
§ Clause 25:—
*THE LORD BISHOP OF HEREFORD moved an Amendment to Clause 25 having reference to the registration of teachers. He claimed their Lordships' attention for a few minutes while he endeavoured to direct their attention to what he described as a comparatively dry subject. His Amendment dealt with a subject which was purely educational. It did not touch upon any of the many extraneous matters to which they had given a good deal of attention during these debates. The object of the Amendment was to secure that the teachers employed in our schools should be as good as possible, and he ventured to think that their Lordships would agree with him that the teacher was far and away the most important factor in this measure of legislation. In their school days they obeyed one teacher and disobeyed another, because the latter could not maintain order or discipline. Again, one teacher wasted their time because he was tedious, confused and futile, while another interested and instructed and inspired. It was memories of this kind which they all carried with them through life that brought them to the root of this matter, because they reminded them that the great necessity in connection with their education was that they should have a good teacher. This brought them to the primary duty of taking care that in their legislation they did all they possibly could to encourage the provision of the best teachers. That, he ventured to feel, would best explain the object which he had in view in moving this Amendment. Before actually doing so he would venture to remind them of the present position of the matter. In the Board of Education Act of 1899 it was provided that it should be lawful for Her Majesty in Council to establish a consultative committee consisting, as to not less than two-thirds, of persons qualified to represent the views of Universities and other bodies interested in education for the purpose of framing, with the approval of the Board of Education, regulations for a register of teachers, which should be formed and kept in manner to be decided by Order in Council, provided that the register so formed should contain the names of the registered teachers arranged in alpha-
betical order with an entry in respect to each teacher, showing the date of his registration, and giving a brief record of his qualifications. Under that enactment the Registration Council or Committee was set up in subordinate relationship to the Consultative Committee of the Board of Education, and that Registration Committee kept a register of teachers, which unfortunately was drawn up in such a form as to give anything but satisfaction to the teaching profession. The register was drawn up in two columns, one, Column A., containing as he understood it, all certificated elementary school teachers, and the other, Column B., containing the names, of all other teachers who were registered; and, not unnaturally, he ventured to think their Lordships would agree, the great body of elementary school teachers felt that this separation into two columns was not likely to conduce to the unification of teaching, and inflicted a stigma on a large number of teachers. Certainly, if he had belonged to the elementary school teachers he would have felt that they were a little hardly treated in being thus relegated to a separate column, and moreover, as he read the Act of 1899, seeing that it laid upon the Registration Council the duty of drawing up a register consisting of names in alphabetical order, he thought that the two column, register could hardly be considered a legal register. Instead of carrying out the instruction to make one register consisting of names in alphabetical order, in excess of zeal the council seemed to have made two, and the natural result was a general unpopularity of this two-column register. Thus, he supposed, the Minister for Education, finding himself in this position, was led to think that the most desirable thing to do under the circumstances was to drop altogether the obligation to keep a register. He ventured to think that in coming to this conclusion His Majesty's Government came to a wrong conclusion. Those who were interested in education were generally agreed that the registration in two columns was not a good thing, but they were equally agreed that a register of teachers was of the greatest possible value. Therefore, he thought that the right method to adopt was not to drop the obligation to keep a register, but to drop the existing register and take measures to form a new one, and that was
the gist of his Amendment. The proposal to remove the obligation to keep a register had caused almost universal alarm among teachers throughout secondary and higher schools. It had also inflicted a very real hardship upon a large number of the teachers, who had, in some cases, undergone training with a view to qualifying for the register, and in other cases had registered themselves and paid the fee. He might possibly bring this more forcibly to their Lordships' attention by one or two quotations than by any words of his own. He had received, especially from those who were interested in the education of women, and in the training of women teachers—and we relied more and more in our education on the work of good women teachers—he had received from almost all quarters protests against the proposal to drop this register. In particular he had certain objections very urgently pressed from his own University of Oxford. He had reason to believe that the objections were quite as strong in the sister University of Cambridge, but he proposed not to deal with those because he had the advantage of leaving them in the more competent hands of his right rev. brother the Bishop of Bristol, who, during the greater part of his life, had been so intimately connected with all the various forms of education in the University of Cambridge. But at Oxford there was a delegacy charged with the duties of the training of teachers which was closely connected with this question of keeping a register, and he held in his hands a letter from a very active and influential Member of that delegacy, who said—
I may venture to point out to your lordship that a very serious set-back to the movement for the training of secondary teachers has been caused by the proposed abolition of the register.
Then he went on to say that they were certainly beginning to impress their undergraduates with the belief that it was right to learn to be teachers before they began themselves to teach. He added—
Now the whole thing is crumbling away before our eyes. There were thirty-seven good men last year at Oxford studying and practising; now there are only eleven.
And he went on to speak further in the same strain. He had an even more emphatic objection than that which he
ventured to put before their Lordships. It was a letter forwarded to him by the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford, and written by a very competent instructor or professor who had charge of the training of teachers in the University, to the Vice-Chancellor, whose own views he did not know that it expressed in every respect. Asked for a brief statement as to the effect on the training of secondary teachers in Oxford of the proposal to abolish the register the writer said it was only too easy to make it. He wrote—
At this time last year there were thirty-seven men taking his course and there were a number of men on his books for the coming term. This term he had only eleven men working under him. He had only one entry for next term and he was receiving no inquiries.
He added that as compared with the last four or five years the number of women taking the course was also much smaller, though not to the same degree as the men. The success that had attended their training work in that University would have been impossible without the register, and in particular without the knowledge on the part of intending schoolmasters that unless they were on the register they would be ineligible for the head-mastership of a large number of schools. Six or seven years ago men went through a training course because it was a matter of common knowledge that a register would shortly be started. For the last four years they had trained because the register was in existence. The register was now virtually abolished and the whole movement discredited, and it was therefore useless to expect that any young graduates, who were generally low in funds and could obtain fairly remunerative posts with care, would subject themselves to an arduous and costly course of professional training. So far, therefore, the nett result of this clause in the Bill had been to destroy a movement which might reasonably be called the most important of the movements in education other than elementary during the last ten years, and to render useless his (the letter writer's) own efforts and the enormous amount of work expended in this University on the subject. He went on to say that he understood the other centres for the training of secondary teachers had suffered in the same war, but as Oxford was practically the only centre at which
the work had been on a largo scale—they had had nearly 300 men in nine years—it was at Oxford that the effects were most disastrous. He (the Bishop of Hereford) hoped that testimony of this kind, which came from many other quarters also, might convince their Lordships that it was a wrong policy to drop the obligation to keep a register. He observed that Lord Monkswell had another Amendment on the paper. As he understood the matter, that Amendment covered practically the same ground that was covered by sub-sections (a) and (b) of his own Amendment. He would therefore ask their Lordships' permission to move sub-section (a) of his Amendment first and to take the other sub-sections as they came. Sub-section (a) simply amounted to the requirement that a new general register—a one-column register—should be established in place of the two-column register now existing. He thought he was right in saying that every section of the profession of education was in favour of sub-section (a). He had not heard a single objection to it from anyone engaged or interested in the profession of education. He would ask their Lordships' attention for a moment to subsection (b). In sub-section (b) he proposed that there should be not only a general register in alphabetical order but that the Registration Council charged with this business should have the power—
THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES
, interposing, asked the right rev. Prelate whether, as he was going to deal with sub-section (b), he intended to move both the sub-sections?
* THE LORD BISHOP OF HEREFORD
said in that case he would be glad to move sub-section (a) first, merely saying that his aim and purpose in doing so might be defined in very simple terms as, first of all, to unify the whole profession of teaching, to make the whole one body. He held that it was not right that they should separate a body of teachers into elementary teachers and 770 teachers of what were called higher schools. There was no such real difference. There should be distinction between individuals, and not between classes, if there was to be any distinction at all. He ventured to hope that by adopting his Amendment a step might be taken towards the unification of the teaching profession. Then he desired to have the register regulated by a professional council, and, in the third place, he desired to supply the stimulus to all young teachers to go forward, from the time when they entered their profession, in adding fresh qualifications, so as to make themselves hotter teachers than they otherwise would be. He desired also to protect the public by providing such a register. He begged to move sub-section (a) of his Amendment.
In page 19, line 3, after the word 'cease' to insert the words 'provided that within a reasonable period, (a) there shall be constituted by Order in Council a teachers' Registration Council representative of the teaching profession, charged with the duty of forming and keeping a register of teachers qualified to teach in schools and other similar institutions.'"—(The Lord Bishop of Hereford.)
* THE LORD BISHOP OF BRISTOL
said he had spent thirty-five years, nearly half his life, in teaching and in the management of large educational machinery, and this fact he thought possibly gave him some sort of right to speak on this particular matter. He proposed to approach the question not quite from the point of view of his right rev. brother, and must not be taken as exactly seconding or supporting his precise Resolution. He did not know that their Lordships' House had any right to issue any such mandate to the Privy Council as his right rev. brother suggested. He wished to take them back a little further than the Bishop of Hereford. Some fifty years ago, soon after he took his degree, a number of persons realised that much as we might be behind competing nations in other respects, as far as education was concerned, the lower secondary schools of England were probably further behind competing nations—competing in brains and commerce—than any other part of our education, and the Universities took it in hand to improve this state of things so far as they could. They established local examinations, in which he had a 771 very considerable share, and for twenty-five years they went on distinctly improving the education in the lower and higher secondary schools. Then they realised that, after all, attacking the pupils was an indirect means only of the real attack, and they determined to institute a system of training the teachers, and twenty-five years ago in Cambridge University they established a University body for that purpose, and that body had very great success indeed. Their figures were immensely larger than those which his right rev. brother had quoted with regard to Oxford and the numbers went on growing. They found that even an ordinary degree was accepted as quite sufficient qualification for a teacher in a large number of these schools, and in the higher schools a fair degree without any sort of training was universally accepted. He confessed to having himself begun life in that way, and there was more than one Member of their Lordships' House—one important Member present then—who, he feared, must remember that his old master would have been much less incompetent if he had had some sort of training. They determined to stem this, and they introduced their system of training teachers. When in 1902 this register of teachers was established an enormous impulse was given—a stimulus that was very far-reaching indeed—to this essential work of the training of teachers. For instance, in Cambridge they sprang up from 145 graduates and under-graduates undergoing a careful series of instruction and training in the history, theory, and practice of education, to 225 in one year—an immense progress. And that went on. In three years they reached 262. The same was found in the women's colleges, in regard to which also he had a right to speak if any Member of their Lordships' House had. The two great colleges of Newnham and Girton entered between them on the average about 100 in each year, and of those entered more than half on the average passed over from Cambridge to the teaching profession. They found that the stimulus given by the creation of the register was worth everything to them. In Newnham for the two years previous to the establishment of the register no single student had come forward to train for teaching; the change made on the face of affairs by the creation of the 772 register was quite marvellous. What had happened through the mere suggestion to abolish the register? The number fell, as far as graduates and under-graduates were concerned, from 262 to 238, and the fall in the Women's Training College was larger than that, and the fall in proportion at Newnham and Girton was larger still. All that was done by the mere proposal to abolish the register, because it removed the stimulus, and a sort of despair came over the students in the sense that a blunder of abnormal proportions had been committed by those who were in charge of the education of the country. He had received complaints of a detailed character which were very strong indeed from Cheltenham Ladies College, the Association of Irish Schoolmistresses, the Association of English Schoolmistresses, the Association of Headmasters, the Association of Assistant Mistresses, the Association of Assistant Masters, the Teachers' Guild, the College of Preceptors, and last, but not least, the Headmasters' Conference. Without going into the details into which his right rev. brother had gone, there were, without the slightest question, serious defects in the register, and a proposal to remedy them would have had his very warmest approval. But, unfortunately, the policy was followed not of mending but of ending, and that was the policy of revolution. He trusted that His Majesty's Government and their Lordships as a. whole would take part in saving secondary education from this disastrous policy, which he really thought had only to be looked into to be condemned. He hoped the Lord President of the Council would be able to give them an assurance, not that "the" register would be continued, but that "a" register would be continued, and that promptly, so that there should be no breach of continuity. Even if the Government were good enough to do that, he must say, and he said it with very great regret in the presence of the courtesy and skill with which this Bill had been conducted through Committee, that in spite of all that the Government could now do it would be years before the mischief would be really remedied.
said he understood there was no question of abolishing the register—the Government had given 773 way on that point—the only real matter before the House on which there might be controversy being whether his Amendment or that of the right rev. Prelate should be taken. His Amendment seemed to be pretty much on the same lines as the right rev. Prelates, but there were differences. His own Amendment had a great deal of authority behind it. He went on the previous day to a conference of schoolmasters which was attended by Mr. Gray, Mr. Butcher, and Mr. Yoxall, and he had seen Dr. Macnamara and Sir William Anson, whose Amendment practically he was now moving. They all agreed that his form of words was better than that of the right rev. Prelate, and there was really some considerable difference between the two. In the first place, they unanimously objected to the words "within a reasonable period." They thought that if there was any difficulty in setting up a. new form of amended register and a considerable period elapsed, some person who did not want it to be set up might say the power had lapsed. Another vital distinction between the two Amendments had reference to the words "register of teachers qualified to teach in schools and other similar institutions." The schoolmasters were unanimously of opinion that that provision was too vague and might lead to a great deal of difficulty. If they gave a right to everybody who was qualified to teach to be on the register they would have mandamuses and all kinds of legal devices resorted to by teachers not on the register. Therefore, the proposal in his Amendment was was that the register should be a register only of such teachers as satisfied the condition of registration established by the Council for the time being. It was not necessary to say any more on that subject. His Amendment had been very carefully considered indeed. It was drafted in a rather different form on the previous day. Sir William Anson took it in hand on the night before and the the Amendment on the Paper contained the united wisdom of that gentleman, Dr. Macnamara, and others.
In page 19, line 3, after the word 'cease' to insert the words 'provided that it shall be lawful for His Majesty by Order in Council to constitute a Registration Council representative of the teaching profession, to whom shall be assigned the duty of forming and keeping a
register of such teachers as satisfy the conditions of registration established by the Council for the time being, and who apply to be registered. The register shall contain the names and addresses of all registered teachers in alphabetical order in one column, together with the date of their registration, and such further statement as regards their attainments, training, and experience as the Council may from time to time determine that it is desirable to set forth.'"—(Lord Monkswell.)
§ LORD ASHBOURNE
said it was obvious from the closing words of the noble Lord that his Amendment came before their Lordships with a great mass of consideration, as well as a great mass of authority, to commend it, and anyone who read the debates in the other House would bear in mind that this topic excited a great deal of interest there. The speeches which had just been made indicated that that interest had been carried very strongly into their Lordships' House. He shared the views expressed in reference to this matter. He could see reasons which induced the Government to desire a change in the register as it stood, but he thought it would be a catastrophe to kill the existing register and put nothing in its place. He gathered from the noble Lord who had just spoken that his Amendment, which was stronger than that of the right rev. Prelate, commended itself to many who were extremely interested. It read very clearly and well, and seemed to put everything very concisely, and it was an Amendment which, under the circumstances, he trusted their Lordships would see their way to adopt.
§ LORD CLIFFORD OF CHUDLEIGH
said he had on the Paper a Motion to leave out Clause 25, and he wished to say that it was only put down because he and those who were interested in secondary education felt that the abandonment of a register of any kind was a step backwards which would have a very prejudicial effect on secondary education. The Amendment introduced by Lord Monkswell was one which entirely met with his approval, and he believed with that of those for whom he was entitled to speak. He would, therefore, give it his support.
§ * LORD REAY
rose to ask the right rev. Prelate the Bishop of Hereford whether, under the circumstances, he would not withdraw his Amendment, so 775 that they might have the issue plainly put before them in the Amendment of Lord Monkswell, which he supported very strongly. This matter of the register was a very serious one indeed, as had already been pointed out by the right rev. Prelate the Bishop of Bristol. For the future of our secondary education it was of the utmost importance that the qualifications of the teachers, both as regards scholarship and training, and scientific attainment, should be ascertained. The elementary teachers had their certificate—for them there was an organisation—but as regards the secondary teachers the register was required to secure a proper selection by the heads of secondary schools. The difficulty had hitherto been that by the separation of Columns A and B in the register, some of those in Column A, who felt that they were by no means inferior, but in some cases even superior, to those in Column B, had felt aggrieved by this double register. He believed it would be found quite easy for the council of registration which, under the Amendment of Lord Monks-well, would be created, to bridge over the difficulty and to establish a single alphabetical register with qualifications of a higher kind, both as regards scholarship and training, which would include a certain number of teachers who were now in Column A. This was a matter of very serious importance to 11,000 men and women who were already on the register. If the register were abolished, even if they returned the registration fee which had boon paid, it was quite clear that to a certain extent these teachers would be disfranchised. In addition, a great injury would be done to those who in recent years had been preparing in order to qualify for the register. He endorsed we it had been so well stated by the right rev. Prelate the Bishop of Bristol, than whom no one could speak with greater authority on this subject. By the abolition of the register they imperilled the attendance at training colleges, to which it was of the utmost importance for secondary education that they should give every encouragement. He therefore hoped the noble Earl the Lord President of the Council would accept Lord Monkswell's Amendment.
* THE LORD BISHOP OF HEREFORD
said he would be perfectly ready to accept the noble Lord's Amendment in place of his own sub-section (a), but he would desire-to draw their Lordships' attention to the fact that his sub-section (b) contained a very important provision with regard to sub-registers, which were entirely passed over in the noble Lord's Amendment. It also contained a provision safeguarding the interests of those who were on the existing register. If he were left in a position to move a rider he was quite prepared to withdraw his Amendment. The rider he would desire to move was to this effect, supposing the noble Lord's Amendment was accepted, "the Register shall also include such supplemental sub-registers as the Council may from time to time form." If he were permitted to move that he would be prepared later to give his reasons for it.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
This subject, as my noble friend has already stated, is one which has caused a great deal of interest and has also presented no small difficulty. I think it is not necessary to go at any length into the history of the register, which is the fruit of the Board of Education Act of 1899, because both the right rev. Prelates in their very interesting speeches have stated fully and fairly all the circumstances of the case, but I think it would be unbecoming in me as representing the Education Department here not to bear some testimony to the work done by the Consultative Committee whose work has been very laborious and has been carried out in the most encouraging way. The defect of the register, which is admitted by every body, consisted to a great extent in the fact of the two columns; the first column consisted, as many of your Lordships know, of a very large number—I think over 80,000—elementary school; teachers who were simply placed on it mechanically by information already in the possession of the Board of Education—placed there without any desire of their own, and without paying any fee. In fact, the register, as far as they were concerned, was really a bogus register. Then, as regards the secondary teachers, I daresay a good many of your Lordships read a Paper presented to Parliament in 777 which the views of the Education Department are stated, and which also states the conclusions at which the Consultative Committee have arrived. Apart from the undesirable fact that elementary and secondary teachers, between whom no difference of competence or merit, as the noble Lord has pointed out, necessarily exists, were placed on two separate lists, the B. list was not a satisfactory one in itself as representing the claims or merits of secondary teachers. That was very largely due, as is pointed out in the memorandum, to the fact that the recognition implied in that list was a recognition of schools rather than of individuals. That, naturally, detracted very largely from the value of the list as a register. We certainly came to the conclusion that the register, as carried out, hart failed to fulfil both the expectations and the intentions of Parliament, and, therefore, we decided that it would be better under the circumstances to drop it altogether. But we were quite aware that, at any rate, a certain amount of hardship, though less than is sometimes represented, would thereby be inflicted on a great many people who had gone to the expense and had taken the trouble of training in order to get their names on the register; the right rev. Prelate the Bishop of Hereford alluded to the great number of women who had been at this trouble and expense, and it is a remarkable fact that the women teachers seem to have i taken much greater interest in this particular matter than the men. We were unwilling to abandon the register because there was some difficulty in putting anything in its place. However, here we have the possibility of a new departure, as expressed in the Amendment of my noble friend Lord Monkswell, and that Amendment we are happy to accept. As regards the Amendment of the right, rev. Prelate the Bishop of Hereford, I may say, in the first place, that I think the other right rev. Prelate, the Bishop of Bristol, was right in pointing out that the form in relation to the Order in Council is an unusual one and one which probably could not be admitted into an Act of Parliament. What the right rev. Prelate asks Parliament to do is, in fact, to command the Sovereign to issue an Order in Council in certain terms. That is clearly not the proper form for such a recommendation to take. On 778 the point mentioned by my noble friend Lord Monkswell, there is no doubt that the phrase "teachers qualified to teach," might give rise to very considerable difficulty and complication. We greatly prefer the phrase in my noble friend Lord Monkswell's Amendment "such teachers as satisfy the conditions of registration." As to the further Amendments of the right rev. Prelate, I am afraid we cannot accept them. It seems to us that as things are at this moment, and in the doubt which, to some extent, rests over the whole matter, the broader and somewhat vague terms of Lord Monkswell's Amendment are in themselves an advantage. We do not feel able to accept the idea of the sub-registers as suggested in the right rev. Prelate's Amendment, and we prefer that the registration council should, when formed, have the chance of looking more closely into the whole matter and arriving after consideration and consultation at a settled scheme which will be satisfactory to all parties. I hope, therefore, that the right rev. Prelate will not insist upon pressing the rest of his Amendment.
* THE LORD BISHOP OF HEREFORD
said that perhaps in self-defence as regards the actual wording of his Amendment he might say that it was phrased not on his own responsibility but after consultation with almost the identical persons that his noble friend Lord Monks-well had quoted, and the very words-specially objected to were, if he remembered rightly, the words of Sir William Anson. He disclaimed any special responsibility with regard to the actual wording or to the exact amount of authority which attached to this form. If he might be permitted one word on his supplementary Amendment that the register should also include such supplemental sub-registers as the council might from time to time form, he would say that his object was to make the register as valuable as possible—to make it a practical business, and not a. merely nominal business. He was glad to gather from the noble Earl the Lord President of the Council that Lord Monkswell's Amendment was to be accepted.. That practically gave them one alphabetical arrangement of all teachers. This would naturally include all those who were on the register at this moment, to 779 begin with. He ventured to assume that, otherwise he would ask leave to move the other Amendments. That meant that they would have a register consisting at the outset, of about 100,000 names, with all their qualifications. That would be a very difficult volume to make use of on all kinds of educational occasions and all over the country. It would be very valuable in itself as a general register and as embodying the unity of the profession, but when they came to look at the matter from the practical side, surely it would become a necessity to make a variety of sub-registers. There ought, for instance, to be a sub-register containing the well-qualified kindergarten teachers. And what of the other branches of education—drawing, music, foreign languages, the various branches of science, history, geography, and so forth? Were they to wade through this enormous register before they could find the best possible candidates for these particular subjects? Surely they required something like an analytical register at the back of the big register. He was afraid the suspicion engendered by the two column register had had some influence in preventing the adoption of a sensible course. However, he could only hope when the registration council got to work they would find that if their work was to have any practical effect they must do what he was asking their Lordships to do at that moment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ On Question, Lord Monkswell's Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 25, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 26:—
§ EARL CAWDOR
, in moving to omit Cause 26, said he must ask their Lordships' indulgence for a rather longer time than he should like to give to a clause in a Bill before Committee, but he thought their Lordships would appreciate that this was not an ordinary clause. It was a matter which raised a very definite 780 and broad issue, and therefore he wished to draw attention to the points in the clause to which he thought it was necessary to ask their Lordships' attention. The clause had passed through so many and such strange vicissitudes, and had taken such different forms, that it was impossible to understand it without considering separately each passing phase. When the Bill was introduced in another place early in April last it provided for the establishment of a council for Wales by Order in Council, consisting of members appointed by the county councils, county boroughs, and boroughs and urban districts of above a certain population. This council was to "have power to supply and to aid the supply of education of all kinds in Wales." It was to have transferred to it:—(a) the powers and duties of the Board of Education with certain exceptions; (b) certain powers of the Board of Agriculture, and (c) the powers and duties of the Central Welsh Board for Intermediate Education. It was to have paid over to it at least some £700,000 to £800,000 of Imperial funds as grants for elementary schools to deal with as it pleased without a vestige of Parliamentary control. But on July 16th, more than three months after the introduction of the Bill, when the Committee stage was reached, the President of the Board of Education in another place used these words—He admitted that there was no indication in Part IV. as it had stood in the Bill all these weeks, of what Parliamentary control there would be over the Welsh Council, or of what his position, as President of the Board of Education, would be with regard to the money that was to be allocated. The subject had given him considerable personal anxiety, and it was a mistake to suppose that it had not received the careful consideration of the Government, though he thought, quite frankly, that it was unfortunate that it was left to the Amendments on the Paper to bring out the concessions which the Government proposed to make.….At that stage, after three months consideration, His Majesty's Government, though recognising the difficulties in the Bill, had not thought fit apparently to follow the practice in this House, and in another place, to put a single Amendment on the Paper. The right hon. Gentleman then continued—And Part IV. left the Board of Education in, he thought, an improper and dangerous position. He had never been happy under it, and, accordingly, he spent plenty of time in 781 endeavouring to secure that there should be proper Parliamentary control. He did not think there would be any difficulty whatever in having a Minister in the House who should he able to respond to questions, and who would make himself responsible, and be responsible for the Code and the regulations, and be able to exercise as much control over various local authorities as the President of the Hoard of Education could. He really thought that the Amendments which had been adumbrated by his right hon. friend would be a great improvement. Although he did not say it would be the most workmanlike piece of work the House ever did, he said it would be a good piece of work and one likely in the future to redound to the cause of good education in Wales.The Amendment adumbrated by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade was as follows:—The Older in Council shall provide for the appointment by His Majesty of a Member of Parliament whether a Member holding office under the Crown or not who shall be responsible to Parliament for any act of the Council of of Wales done in the exercise of any of the powers of the Board of Education delegated to the Council under this section and shall have full control over the Council in respect of the exercise of such powers.That was the Amendment approved by the President of the Board of Education, who was responsible for the Bill, in order to obviate "an improper and dangerous position" which had been allowed to remain in the Bill from 9th April until 16th July. That Amendment gave absolute control over the proceedings of the Welsh Council to a Minister responsible to Parliament, and it was approved and accepted by the President of the Board of Education in order to obviate what he had stated to be the improper and dangerous position in which the Bill would be without such a safeguard. He begged their Lordships to note what was considered necessary at that time by the President of the Board of Education to safeguard "an improper and dangerous position." But, what took place on Report only three days afterwards? This safeguard—considered absolutely necessary by the President of the Board of Education in Committee to get rid of, to him, an intolerably "improper and dangerous position," was swept away without discussion or explanation—the Minister "responsible to Parliament with full control over the council in respect of the exercise of its powers" disappeared—and in its place they had the clause as it was before their Lordships. The clause 782 as it now stood in thy Bill provided that—In the exercise of any powers, or in the performance of any duties transferred under this provision, the Council of Wales shall be subject to the control of the Treasury.What could be this control of the Treasury? What means had the Treasury of exercising this control? They had no staff for the purpose. They had no inspectors. They had no knowledge which would enable them to check the action of the council. They wore practically landed back to where they were before the committee stage, with a Welsh Council absolutely in-dependent of Parliamentary control, and with this fraud of Treasury control put in. Was he wrong when he said on the Second Reading of this Bill,This clause was thrown on the Table of the House of Commons without any thoughts as to the details—without any knowledge of what it was intended to do?He had been told that the Treasury control was perfectly efficient, but that was not so. As to the Treasury control over intermediate schools, the Treasury made the regulations for the Imperial Grant. But the Board of Education (formerly the Charity Commission) made their recommendation to the Treasury—and the Treasury acted accordingly. A special report of the Board of Education on the Welsh Intermediate Education Act, published in 1898, had the following passages at pages 28 and 29—An annual examination and inspection of the schools claiming the grant is required; and such examination and inspection may be conducted by the Welsh Board.…but the Board is to report to the Charity Commission (now the Board of Education) who by virtue of their ordinary jurisdiction have the necessary powers for testing the sufficiency of the Board's work, or for supplementing it where necessary. The Treasury finally award their Grants on the Report of the Charity Commissioners.That was the sum total of the powers of the Treasury as to Intermediate Schools. There was no signs of their having anything in the nature of a general control. The whole of their control came through the Board of Education. Now he passed to another point. He might be told that, even if that was true, there was surely a precedent for what was being asked for in what had been done in the 783 past. They had for this clause the precedent of the Welsh Board for Intermediate Education. He entirely denied that that was any precedent whatever. Although it seemed wearisome he must ask their Lordships to let him go through the steps with respect to that proceeding. First of all he would give a quotation from the highest source—again from the President of the Board of Education. The right hon. Gentleman was reported in Hansard to have said on 18th June—He did not see how they could refuse to Wales the complete control of elementary education, provided she was willing to undertake it and was equal to the task, just in the same was as the late Government conferred upon Wales complete control of intermediate education.By the 16th of July the President of the Board of Education had discovered that to do what he proposed in the Bill in order—to give this complete control to Wales would be to have the Board of Education in an improper and dangerous position.It was indeed difficult to keep pace with the many changes of Mr. Birrell's mind. He wanted to compare the powers asked for this Welsh Council under the Bill with the powers of the Welsh Central Board, so far as intermediate education was concerned. It was stated that Wales had absolute control in intermediate education. Let them see what had been done. He need not repeat the proposals with regard to the council for Wales. They were wide enough. It was to be independent of Parliamentary control, and it was to deal with large sums of public money free from all departmental control. The Welsh Board was an entirely different thing. It was largely academic in its character. Out of eighty members twenty-seven were appointed by academic institutions, and six were co-opted. There were therefore thirty-three members out of eighty who were not representative of local authorities. This central board was established under the Act of 1889, by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners. He would say one or two words in regard to the Welsh Intermediate Education Act, because he thought a great deal of misapprehension had taken possession of certain people who had considered the subject artificially. The Welsh Intermediate Education Act was substantially, not a municipal or con- 784 situtional change, but a purely educational measure primarily dealing with charitable trusts. In form the Act was almost entirely an Endowed Schools Act. It was enacted that—It may he cited together with the 'Endowed Schools Act' as the 'Endowed Schools Acts, 1869–1889.'The Act did not establish any municipal bodies for intermediate education. Directly, it established no permanent bodies at all, but enabled temporary Joint Committees to meet and submit schemes to the Charity Commission, for the organisation of intermediate education in the Welsh counties. The permanent bodies which resulted were not, legally, municipal bodies at all, but bodies of trustees established under schemes of the Charity Commission. The Charity Commission reported annually to Parliament on the working of the Intermediate Education Act for Wales, and as to the work done by the central board. The payment of the grant was kept entirely in the hands of the central department. The Board of Education made their recommendations to the Treasury as to the payment or reduction of the grant, and the Treasury acted accordingly. It was true that some of the inspection for the purposes of the Inperial grant was conducted by the Central Welsh Board, but the Education Department inspected the schools. They checked, as well, everything the central board might bring to them before making their report to the Treasury. He might mention that the Board of Education inspectors inspected no less than eighty-nine out of ninety-five schools concerned. This central body, however, had no control whatever over the schools. It did not handle the the Imperial grants, which passed straight to the school authority from the Treasury. These were the facts as to the position of the central board for Wales. They could be found by any of their Lordships who looked into the documents dealing with the matter. Was it anything less than a gross mis-statement of them to describe these provisions of the Welsh Intermediate Education Act as "conferring upon Wales complete control of intermediate education?" He suggested to their Lordships that Treasury control as provided in this clause was an absolutely inefficient control, and that the Welsh Intermediate 785 Education Act and the Central Welsh Board established no precedent whatever for the proposals for a Welsh Council in this Bill, but rather a precedent in the opposite direction.
As to what was proposed by the Bill there were one or two points which, perhaps, ought to be dealt with. The first one was the allegation that there was unanimity in Wales upon this question. The noble Earl, in speaking very shortly upon the Welsh part of the Bill, had said there was unanimity in Wales on the subject. He took some pains to reply to the noble Lord in the course of the debate. He did not complain that the noble Lord did not answer him, but if he did not repeat his arguments now, it was not because there was nothing to be said. If the subject was raised again to-night, he was perfectly prepared to go through the same story. There was no unanimity in Wales on the subject.
The other question was with reference to the consideration which was alleged to have been given by the late Government to the question of a central board for elementary education. It was alleged that the late Government were considering a general transfer of powers to a central board for elementary education. That had been denied over and over again. His friend, Sir William Anson, in another place had denied it. All that was done with regard to that was to consider whether certain powers exercised by local authorities should be transferred from those local authorities to a central authority. It was merely a suggestion as to exercising the local authorities' powers by a central board instead of by the local authorities themselves. There was never, so far as he had heard, any suggestion whatever that there should be a delegation in any shape or form of the central powers from the central government, or from the central department, to this central board. He did not wish to delay their Lordships over this point unless he was challenged, and, if so, he would do his best to take up the challenge. It was enough to say that the only question considered by the late Government was the delegation to a central body under Clause 17 of the Act of 1902 of such powers as could be administered by any single authority.
There was another subject with which he must deal. Those who came to 786 Parliament asking for such wide powers ought to conic with clean hands. They should come to this discussion and bring up their request, able to show to Parliament that, in the powers they had had delegated to them, as far as local government was concerned, they had held a fair, right, and just course with regard to all those interests with which they had had to deal. What was the history of those who were pressing forward this claim I For three or four years past these persons had carried on an agitation throughout Wales to prevent the national schools from being fairly treated. They had underpaid the teachers, they had stinted the stationery of the schools, they had refused even the necessary fuel and coal for the fires in the schools. There was nothing too mean for them to stoop to if they could only strike at those whom they disliked—the denominational schools in Wales. He would not labour too many cases. There were many cases that might be quoted with respect to the action that had been taken at the beck and call of those persons under what had been called the Welsh revolt. He must give their Lordships one or two cases, otherwise he would be told that he had none to give. He quoted first the case of the county of Carmarthen. He took it because he could speak of it from personal knowledge. In that county the local education authority determined that they would properly enforce the Act of 1902, that they would treat all schools alike, that they would pay salaries to the teachers on the same level, and that they would not stint the schools and starve the children by refusing coal because they happened to be denominational schools. What happened? An agitation was at once taken in hand, headed by the President of the Board of Trade. The agitation took place at the instigation of that right hon. Gentleman in every parish in Carmarthenshire. Those who were the advocates of this clause coerced the local education committees, and threatened them with the loss of their seats if they did not join in what had been called the Welsh revolt. The county was flooded with intimidation, and he was in the hall and saw the gentlemen who were serving on the local education committees, who had been subjected to this coercion, come, one by one, and recant 787 the promise they had made fairly to administer the Act. Under the coercion of this outside agitation they turned round and joined in the Welsh revolt. They had heard a great deal about trusting the local authorities. This was a nice way of trusting the local authorities. The leader of the party and those who worked with him came down, he deliberately said, and coerced the authorities into disobeying the law. The President of the Board of Trade had, perhaps, received his reward, and now they had the rest of his party coming and asking Parliament to give them their reward, assuming, he supposed, they had made it clear that fair dealing between different classes of children, parents, teachers, and schools could safely be left in their generous and kindly hands.
He would also instance the notable case of Swansea. In Swansea for something like eighteen months or more the local education authority had declined to treat the teachers fairly in denominational schools. They had refused to pay them what the Education Department had said was a proper and fair salary. They had succeeded in hanging up this matter for months, and some persons wondered how it was that they wore so astute in the way they managed to evade the issue. He would tell their Lordships how that was done. What happened with regard to that was, he thought, pretty clear. In the year 1903 the present President of the Board of Trade made a speech in the country in which he described how easy it was to get round and evade the Act of 1902. He described how, when the local managers wanted something, the local education authority could put them off, and how when the Board of Education pressed them to carry out their duty they could act. The right hon. Gentleman used words something like these: "quite true they can send down a minute of a subject to be discussed, but there is nothing to compel the local education authority to put it first on the agenda of business, and his advice to them was to put it at the bottom, and possibly they would not reach it that day. They could treat it in the same way on another occasion." So the right hon. Gentleman described the process of dawdling, and the local authorities worked it out to perfection. Swansea local authority learned the 788 lesson well. Let them remember who inculcated it. That went on not only in the time of the late Government, but also in the time of Mr. Birrell himself, who, to his credit be it said, pursued the same course that his predecessor had taken and insisted upon the local education authority earning out their duty. Then there came about one of the strangest things which, in his short Parliamentary experience, he had ever come across. Just at the time when the President of the Board of Education was insisting on the local authority of Swansea doing its duty, the President of the Board of Trade went down to Cardiff and presided over a gathering at which the position of Swansea as between the local education authority and the Board of Education was discussed. A resolution was proposed urging the local authority to keep up its rebellion against the Board of Education. The President of the Board of Trade said he did not think he could quite second the motion, but, as chairman, he put it as against his colleague in the Cabinet. And that resolution, he was informed, was carried unanimously. Comment was needless. He did not trouble himself about the affairs of the happy family in the Cabinet. He had no doubt they would settle them themselves. What the result of this had been educationally, so far as the Board of Education was concerned, he could not say, but it was hardly credible that in face of an operation of that kind the steps taken by the Board of Education, through its President, could be revoked, though a rumour had reached him that that was net improbable. This was not a case of ignorant people not knowing what they were doing, and therefore evading the law. It was a deliberate attempt at encouraging, by forcing illegal operations on unwilling local authorities, a breach of duty, not by ignorant persons, but by a Cabinet Minister. Was it possible to suppose that, under these conditions they who lived in Wales could look for a moment and contemplate with any satisfaction and comfort to themselves, the prospect of elementary education being handed over, free from Parliamentary control, free of Ministerial responsibility, free of any iota of control by a Department of the State, and to say that, under those conditions, the children, the parents, the teachers, and the schools in South 789 Wales could ever hope for an atom of fair play?
He apologised for having kept their Lordships so long, but the story had to he told right through. He had endeavoured to condense it as far as he could. He objected to this clause because if it were passed he believed they would have taken an irretrievable step in the direction of Home Rule That had always been the view of the President of the Board of Trade, who had never concealed that view, except when it chanced to suit his convenience. He would read an extract from a speech made by the right hon. Gentleman in 1895. The right hon. Gentleman said—The only chance of accomplishing their legislative desires was by obtaining a measure of self-government for the four nationalities which constituted the United Kingdom. His argument, therefore, of placing self-government for Wales in the forefront of their programme was strengthened from day to day. In his humble opinion it was the duty of the Welsh leaders henceforth to force this policy into greater prominence.Those were the words of the right hon. Gentleman in 1895. In January last, however, the President of the Board of Trade, oppressed no doubt with the cares and responsibilities of office, said—he (Lord Cawdor) spoke from memory—with reference to this clause—Oh, get this clause in the Bill, get these powers for education, and then we shall get something more; we shall get an addition to the powers of complete control of elementary education; we shall get powers delegated to us from the Home Office, from the Board of Trade, and from the Local Government Board.Did not this show that the right hon. Gentleman's speech of 1895 told a different tale from that told by the speeches of the same right hon. Gentleman to-day? The President of the Board of Trade was aiming by this clause, simply and solely, as he had told them frankly, at gaining a step in the direction of Home Rule for Wales. He (Earl Cawdor) opposed the clause because he was opposed to Home Rule. He was as much opposed to Home Rule by instalments as he was to the bringing of it forward openly and honestly before the country. He opposed the clause because he was certain that it was contrary to the best interests of education in Wales, contrary to the best interests of the people of Wales, and, therefore, without 790 the slightest doubt and hesitation he asked their Lordships to reject this clause.
To leave out Clause 26."—(Earl Cawdor.)
§ LORD RENDEL
supported the retention of the clause because he believed it to be in the best interests of education in Wales. He thought it would be hardly becoming in him to take up the defence of the President of the Board of Trade. All he would venture to say was that he regretted that the noble Earl with his great influence in this House, and holding the position he did in Wales and the hearty respect of the great body of people there, should have concentrated his attack upon a Cabinet Minister, and had urged it as a reason for turning this clause ignominiously out of doors. He did not desire in any way to raise on this occasion any point that might lead to recrimination, but in justice to the people for whom he had so long laboured he was almost forced by the noble Earl to say something on that head. He would first refer to that which did not so immediately concern himself, but which, perhaps, their lordships would allow him to say a few words about. The objection of the noble Earl on this occasion, as on the Second Reading, was ostensibly, and no doubt sincerely, directed against what he alleged to be the ill-considered character of the clause; but surely something might be said, not merely for the amending powers of this House, which had been displayed in a very remarkable manner during the past three weeks, but also for the nature of the clause. It was not a clause which presented to this House a formulated scheme for the creation of a council of education in Wales; it was a clause which provided for an Order in Council for the establishment of such a scheme. Surely there was some difference between the two things. The House would have, and was entitled to have, an opportunity of considering the scheme when it was laid before the House. Though it was not his business to answer for Ministers, it was his business to speak for the people of Wales who were concerned in this clause, and he said it would be extremely hard on them if this House should refuse to accept the clause, or refuse to make an attempt to amend it, simply on the 791 ground that it was an ill-considered clause.
§ LORD RENDEL
said the noble Earl gave his reasons. The noble Earl stated that he found no adequate Treasury control. No doubt there might be room for some further definition as to the way in which Parliament was to reserve control over the expenditure of the council, but there was one form of control given in this clause, which was an exceptional form, and that was that all expenditure of the council was to be regarded as part of the public accounts. That was evidence of sincerity, at any rate, on the part of the framers of the clause to bring the expenditure of the Welsh Council well within the purview of Parliament itself. The clause was regarded evidently by the noble Earl as though it were something like an instalment of Home Rule. Did mot the noble Earl take a rather exaggerated view of the character of the clause? The noble Earl had spoken of the work of the Central Welsh Board with warm approbation, and he had denied that that Board furnished any precedent for the Council. That might be so, but this Council which was to be formed would be nothing more than a purely administrative educational body. It would have no political character. Its duties would be simply administrative. Though the Central Board might furnish no exact precedent, and the Council was to be formed on a more democratic basis, he ventured to suggest to their Lordships that to deal with this clause as though it was going to create anything like a political body, or anything more than an educational body, was not fairly to describe the clause. If it were understood in Wales how strictly and purely administrative this clause was, the effect would be perhaps to create some disappointment, especially after the speech of the noble Earl. The denominational schools, in respect of which the noble Earl spoke so warmly, wore entirely safeguarded by this clause. He could see nothing in it on which they could base the objection that the clause was playing into the hands of a fire-brand-party in Wales, or seeking to capture the Church schools, or, in fact, going to do injustice to anybody. He suggested that the clause was nothing more than a fair 792 development of the action of a Conservative Government, when it carried the Intermediate Education Bill for Wales in 1889. It fell to his lot to introduce that Bill into the other House, and he had charge of it through all its stages. When it passed the other House he placed it in the hands of the Conservative Government of the day, partly out of gratitude for the immense support given to the Bill not only by the Conservative Members for Wales, but by Sir William Hart-Dyke, Vice-President of the Council. The Cabinet of that time accepted the Bill, and passed it through this House, claiming credit for it in the Royal Speech on the adjournment. He asked noble Lords whether there was anything in the present clause which involved so great a departure as that to which the Conservative Government committed themselves in 1889 and rendered it reasonable that the clause should he Hogged out of the House without any fair hearing, and after a speech of considerable passion which would not find an echo in Wales? He admitted the noble Earl had done justice to the Central Board, but he did not think he had done it quite in the sense in which it had been done by other distinguished Conservative Churchmen in Wales. He would only venture to detain their Lordships by one quotation. In an address on "Education, Primary and Secondary" at the Church Congress at Brighton in 1901, Mr. Pennant, a well-known Conservative Churchman in North Wales, and a Member of the Canterbury House of Laymen, said—Education must not be made either the plaything or the bone of contention of political or religious bodies. What I have to tell you to-day is that the experiment in Wales has thoroughly answered in this respect, and has shown how harmonious co-operation may be effected. Then, I say, let it be extended to England with all reasonable speed.The Intermediate Education Act was, to his mind, a measure harder upon the Churchmen of Wales than this measure would be. He saw no possibility of injustice being done to the Churchmen of Wales; but the Intermediate Education Act was undoubtedly a dis-endowment, and was therefore very unpalatable to the Church in Wales. The Welsh people had been set before the House as a people clamouring for Home Rule. He did not think anyone who knew the Welsh people would put that in the forefront. They had 793 three distinct political aims—to release religion from State control, to establish a national and free system of education, and to carry temperance legislation. If they wore to speak of Home Rule there was a recognition of it in the sense in which the noble Earl spoke of it in the treatment of Wales in 1889 in respect of education by a Conservative Government. They had something very like it in regard to temperance, and it would be a profound disappointment to them if for no visible reason, unless it were possibly that they were within measurable distance of disestablishment in Wales, they wore to be flouted with ignominy in their desire for an extension of this power of coordinating their education. Welsh education in general was not on the footing that education was too often in England. It was pursued by the people as their own affair. There was no class in the matter. It could not be said of education in Wales that the elementary part was for the working folk, that secondary education was for the middle class, and that higher education was for a higher class. There was but one class in Wales with regard to education, and what the people above all things desired was to unify their education so as to build what they called an educational ladder. They had carried that so far as to have proof in abundance of the correctness of their instinct when they determined that the most valuable asset in Wales was the intelligence of the people, and that the greatest benefit to Wales was to give the opportunity of cultivating that intelligence. Next to their passionate regard for religion there was this passionate regard for education. The noble Earl has been very much affected by instances that had come to his personal knowledge of what he regarded as extremely unfair conduct in reference to elementary education and elementary teachers and to the local bodies in charge of denominational schools. But had the noble Earl praised where he could praise? The noble Earl had praised the Central Board, would he also not praise the colleges? It was a fact well known to the noble Earl that the higher education of Wales was started in 1872 by the humble people themselves. The money out of which was founded the college over which he had the honour to preside was raised from 60,000 sub- 794 scribers at the start, and before the college was well in working order no less than 100,000 had subscribed to it. What had been the feature of higher education in Wales? Since it had been started by the people themselves, the first men they had asked to preside over their colleges had been in most cases distinguished Churchmen. The present president of the college of Bangor, Lord Kenyon, he was extremely sorry not to see in his place this evening. He was sure if Lord Kenyon wore present he would testify to the absence of all party and sectarian feeling in the conduct of higher education in Wales. He was sure, too, Lord Plymouth would say nothing but praise of higher education in Wales. If they had in higher and intermediate education evidence that when Wales was ready to manage her own affairs party and sectarian differences disappeared, was it not reasonable that the Welsh people should hope that if allowed a further and larger power of administration in regard to elementary education, in a similiar way sectarian and party differences might disappear? He was not going into any question involving recrimination, but the noble Karl had mentioned cases which struck him deeply of injustice with regard to Church schools in Wales. He would describe to their Lordships the position of the Church schools in Wales. In the first place they all knew that the Welsh people had been called, not unreasonably, a nation of Nonconformists. The upper classes were, no doubt, very largely Church of England, but certainly of the people who sent their children to elementary schools the vast majority wore Nonconformists. Lord Stanley, in the course of the debate some days ago, mentioned a Church school within his own knowledge where every child was the child of Nonconformist parents. That school, no doubt, was only protected by the conscience clause, not a very strong protection. How stood the case with regard to Church schools in Wales? There were 677 Church schools, but what was singular about it was that 553 of this number were in rural areas, and, still more strange, 307 were in single school areas. It was hardly necessary to say that the great majority of the children in those single school areas were of Nonconformist parents, yet they wore compelled to go to Church 795 schools. Was it not a little hard upon Wales? Wales, he thought, had a considerable grievance in this matter. A great deal of the debate had, of late, turned on the sacred right of parents. How were they to reconcile a state of things under which there were hundreds of schools in Wales, even in single school areas, where the majority of the children were of Nonconformist parents and yet the State compelled them to go to Church schools? He did not wish to recriminate at all, but he wished to say that these grievances had entered into the souls of many thousands of honest men and women in Wales, as he well knew, but they were willing to put those grievances aside and come to terms, because all that they desired was peace. They undoubtedly had looked to this Council as a means of providing that peace. The noble Earl had referred to the President of the Board of Trade with unusual warmth; but when the proposal of the Government to give Wales a Council for unifying education was first known, the Conservative Lord Mayor of Cardiff, with the Conservative Town Council behind him, summoned a meeting which was not only attended by the President of the Board of Trade, but also by three of the Welsh Bishops. There was a deliberate and sincere attempt to come to some kind of agreement, and if his experience of the feeling of the Welsh people—he admitted it was somewhat obsolete, but it was close and strong for many years—was worth anything it came to this, that just as he handled the Intermediate Education Bill, brought Conservatives to help him, and gladly gave it over to a Conservative Government, so that spirit animated Wales to this day; and if their Lordships would only allow this clause to appear in some form in the Bill they would, he believed, go very far towards removing a difference which otherwise would be accentuated, and just at the most unfortunate moment when they had before them a measure for Welsh disestablishment.
THE LORD BISHOP OF ST. DAVID'S
said he had listened with great satisfaction and sympathy to the warm and just praise which the noble Lord who had just sat down had given to the Welsh people for their passionate devotion to education, and in response to what he had said, he, as a Welsh Bishop, 796 expressed his sincerely appreciation of the excellent work done by the Welsh University Colleges, and not less by the rest of the colleges, over one of which the noble Lord so ably and generously presided. The noble Lord had referred to it as a singular thing that there were so many Church schools in Wales. He would have thought that the noble Lord, in the course of his inquiries, might have discovered that the reason was that the Church in Wales had been the pioneer of education, and had built schools before the State considered the elementary education of the poor to be worth a brass farthing. As regarded the noble Lord's statistics, he remembered very well that the hon. Member for East Carmarthenshire, not very long ago, was under the impression that there were only 10 per cent. of children of Anglican parents in Church schools in Wales, but he had made careful inquiries and could assure their Lordships that the percentage was over 40. This was rather wide, he thought, of the particular proposition before their Lordships at present. He desired to support the proposition of the noble Earl, to whom he tendered his sincere thanks for the able and frank manner in which he had handled this matter. The noble Lord who followed him had spoken rather from the point of view of Welsh education, and he also desired mainly to criticise this clause from that point of view. The noble Lord had referred to a certain conference held last March at Cardiff, convened by the partriotic Lord Mayor of that city, and at which he had the honour of being present. It was not without considerable hesitation that he accepted the invitation to attend, for he could not forget what had happened in Wales during the previous three years, and that the promoters of this Council were also the promoters of what was called the Welsh revolt. On the other hand, he had to consider carefully and respectfully a remarkable and eloquent speech which had been made by the President of the Board of Trade at the banquet given in his honour by the Mayor of Cardiff, where the suggestion that this conference should be held was first made. On that occasion the right hon. Gentleman spoke with great significance of the character of the Education Bill now before Parliament. Of course the Bill had not then been introduced. The right hon. 797 Gentleman said that he thought it was going to be a better Bill than either party feared. He had studied very closely the admirable utterances of the Minister for Education, and he was rather disposed to hope that the reference of the President of the Board of Trade meant that he agreed with the Minister for Education that the Bill to be brought forward was to be founded on justice. On that occasion the President of the Board of Trade went on to refer to the proposed Council for Wales, and he said—He was not referring to anything controversial but to something which they could get, which would not, in the slightest degree, impinge upon the concience of anybody, would not interfere with the controversies which were filling the air and which were confronting them at the present moment.As he was sincerely desirous to do anything he could to promote the goodwill all round in Wales he felt he could not decline the invitation of the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, and so he attended the conference. A resolution was unanimously passed at that conference which he was glad to support. It said—That this Conference is of opinion that it is expedient to create a council in Wales representing Welsh education authorities which shall have power to supply, or aid the supply of, education of all kinds in Wales and Monmouthshire.The expression "Council in Wales" was an ambiguous term, and he construed it then, as he thought he was perfectly entitled to do, as it had been construed in connection with the Welsh Intermediate Education Act. It was true he thought the wording of the resolution rather wide, and that it might take them a long way; but Mr. Brynmor Jones, the learned and able official interpreter of the resolution before that meeting, had assured them that by these words it was intended to mean the establishment of additional training colleges and matters of that kind. Therefore he came to the conclusion that he ought to go, so far as he possibly could, with the members of the conference, who had impressed him very much by their conciliatory language. When he read an article in the Contemporary Review by Lord Stanley of Alderley, he did not think he could have supported that resolution, for the noble Lord, with his unique authority, put a very different construction upon the words "power to supply, or aid the supply of, education of all 798 kinds in Wales." He thought so far as the conference in Cardiff was concerned he was correct in saying that the kind of unanimity displayed was most happily and wittily described by the President of the Board of Trade upon that occasion. The right hon. Gentleman said—So long as they talked of general principles and talked in the air it was wonderful how they agreed. It was when they came to reduce their agreements to practical form that criticism came from every point of view.He was sorry to say that when the Bill appeared and was discussed on Second Reading in another place, he came to the conclusion that he had been much too sanguine in his interpretation of the patriotic words which the right hon. Gentleman had used at the Lord Mayor's banquet at Cardiff. Reference had been made in another place to a subsequent meeting at Llandudno. The latter meeting was not a conference. It was a drafting committee appointed by the Cardiff conference in March. The Lord Mayor of Cardiff did him the honour to ask him to take steps to get Members of their Lordships' House connected with Wales to appoint, as had been arranged, three representatives upon that drafting committee, but he was sorry to say the character of the Bill, and particularly the speech delivered by the President of the Board of Trade on the Second Reading, in which he used the unfortunate phrase "Clericalism is the enemy," stood in the way of the suggestion being carried out. Two arguments had been urged in favour of this clause as it stood. The first argument was the unanimity of the people of Wales, or, he should say, the supposed unanimity of the people of Wales, and the next was the success of the Central Welsh Board. He endorsed most cordially what had been said as to the excellent work of the Central Welsh Board. He did so with especial satisfaction because he had a good deal to do with the foundation of that Board. He had the honour of serving on the committee which drafted the scheme, and he was never sorry for the part he had taken in the matter, and was very glad when anyone spoke well of the Central Welsh Board. He was surprised, however, when the success of the Central Welsh Board was made an argument in favour of this particular clause, because he would 799 have thought that the success of that Board was an argument in favour of allowing it to succeed further, but this clause summarily knocked the Central Welsh Board on the head. Instead of enlarging its functions and continuing the policy which founded the Board, the clause destroyed it and started a new thing altogether without any particular connection with it. He had asked himself why this proposal for a Council in Wales should take this particular form. He was not speaking now from the constitutional standpoint, but from the point of view of Welsh education in regard to this revolutionary proposal. The Welsh Board at present had the great advantage of having as its chairman a Welsh Nonconformist Liberal, in whom everyone, including himself, had confidence, and it had for its vice-chairman the noble Lord whose assistance in this debate had been of such service to the House, Lord Stanley of Alderley. He would have thought that with such a chairman and vice-chairman it would have been far the wisest thing in the interests of Welsh education, pure and simple, to have taken that board as a basis and made the necessary modifications, instead of starting this brand new constitution. He did not think that the promoters of this Welsh Council had done justice enough to the great work done by the Central Welsh Board. On the Central Welsh Board there was a large academic element. There were five representatives of elementary teachers, five representatives of intermediate teachers, and representatives of each of the colleges and the University Court. Welsh education was deeply indebted to the solid work done by these members of the Central Welsh Board. There was no provision in the clause now before their Lordships for the proper recognition of specialists upon education. In this scheme, which was the correlative of the clause before their Lordships, a consultative committee was provided for, but he did not think it was the way to obtain the best specialised advisers. He was pleased to hear the noble Lord the other might state that the proper proportion of experts should be one in three, he thought that was a very wise suggestion. In the present Welsh Board the academic element was overweighted, while the councillor element was underweighted, but by adding another twenty councillors the proper 800 proportion would be obtained. There were to be forty-seven representatives of Welsh councils, and as far as he could make out eighteen of them represented the two great populous and industrial counties of Glamorganshire and Monmouthshire. He thought that was rather too small a proportion for those two very important counties, in which he believed more than half the population of Wales lived. In the scheme which was now before their Lordships an actual majority was given to those two counties. Therefore he desired to associate himself entirely with Lord Stanley of Alderley when he said—I am not prepared to assent to the whole of the powers of the existing county councils being held on sufferance by a new council in which the populous districts of South Wales will outvote overwhelmingly the sparse rural population of North Wales, where difficulties of access will make it hard for representatives to attend the council meetings.He had two broad criticisms to make which cut deep into the proposed constitution of this council. In the first place, the representation of the county councils was so arranged as to make it impossible, in his humble opinion, for the new council to be in any real sense a Welsh national council. In the second place, as one who had taken great interest in education in Wales, and as one who would yield to no man in his sincere desire for the progress of Welsh education, he objected to the position of the experts under this scheme. Two criticisms had been made in regard to the functions of the proposed council. If they looked at the clause they would find that the control of the Treasury was provided for. Earl Cawdor had already pointed out how ineffective that control was from a financial point of view. In his opinion it was even more ineffective and utterly absurd from an educational point of view. He was glad to find from what had been said by Mr. Birrell that the Board of Education were showing more and more sympathy with regard to the special needs of education in Wales. Only yesterday Mr. Birrell gave a very sympathetic answer to a deputation with regard to the teaching of the Welsh language in the schools. He had yet to learn that there was any difficulty in such matters under the control of the Board of Education. The main part of education in Wales was common, and in order to pay more attention to the special side 801 of Welsh education, they did not need to deprive themselves of the large benefits which they now derived from the great educational experience, the information, and he would also add the high tone of administration of the present Board of Education. In the Contemporary Review Lord Stanley of Alderley severely criticised these proposals from the point of view of the local education authorities. He went so far as to say that the powers of many of the county councils of Wales would be held under this clause on sufferance, and he said—This clause is too wide and indefinite. It is not wise to give unlimited powers merely in the hope that they will not be abused. No doubt the new authority will not take all the powers conferred upon it, but it will have the existing counties at its mercy and those counties will probably lose all control over the secondary schools.He was intensely amazed that so weighty a criticism passed publicly by one of the ablest supporters of His Majesty's Government upon this clause in the Contemporary Review for May last did not seem to have made any impression upon those in charge of the Bill. He was not aware that any modification in this clause had been made on account of that weighty criticism. He objected to the constitution of this council on the two grounds he had specified, and in the interests of Welsh education he should support the proposal made by the noble Lord. He would no doubt be asked, "Will the people of Wales not be disappointed by the rejection of this clause, and will you not be doing more harm than good?" He thought not. He had not come to that conclusion hurriedly. The worst of this clause was that it really had never been properly considered, and the real difficulties and problems had never been properly faced. He wished to take their Lordships back for one moment. In 1905, when this question had been before the country for a year, the Board of Education put some very important questions to the local authorities in Wales, and after waiting for six months only one of those authorities answered the questions. Therefore he was justified in saying that the proposals contained in this clause had never been considered in a business-like way by the councils of Wales. The clause had not been considered by a single Welsh council. The proposal had not been considered by the Central Welsh Board, by the council of any 802 University college or University court. If the clause were passed it would not do good but harm to education in Wales, and in expressing that opinion he claimed to speak, not merely as a Churchman, but also in the name of many faithful Liberal Nonconformists. The clause would bring secondary education in Wales into the sphere of controversy, and they would spoil it by mixing it up with elementary education. The meeting at Cardiff which had been referred to showed that it would be wise to wait a little longer before they set up such a council in Wales. Speaking sincerely, and looking at the question impartially, he had no hositation in saying that if this clause passed their Lordship's House it would do not good but harm to education in Wales.
THE EARL OF DUNRAVEN
wished to explain why he was not able to support his noble friend who had moved the rejection of this clause. He rose to some extent to ask for information. His noble friend passed over the question of unanimity of opinion in Wales upon this question, probably because it had been dealt with before on the Second Reading of the Bill. He did not think that anybody had ever claimed that there was absolute unanimity of opinion in Wales upon the matter. The right rev. Prelate who had just sat down appeared to have voted for a resolution at Cardiff of which he did not quite approve or of which he had since disapproved.
THE LORD BISHOP OF ST. DAVID'S
said he approved of the resolution, but not the interpretation put upon it by Lord Stanley of Alderley.
THE EARL OF DUNRAVEN
said that, at any rate, there was a very strong expression of opinion at the Cardiff conference, and it would be admitted that the meeting was of a representative character. It was composed of representative men of both political Parties, Churchmen and representative Nonconformists attended the conference, and they passed unanimously a resolution to the effect that it was expedient that a council should be established for Wales representative of the educational authorities, and then it went on with the exact words of the Bill, that it "should have power to 803 supply and to aid the supply of education of all kinds in Wales." In view of that resolution he did not think it would be denied by anybody that there was a very strong expression of opinion on the part of representative men of both political Parties in favour of what appeared to him to be the very principle embodied in this clause. He confessed that he did not share the terror which Lord Cawdor entertained as to what the effect of the action of this new council would be. He did not set himself up as an authority competing with his noble friend as to public feeling in Wales, but the noble Lord was not the only man who lived in Wales, and he confessed that he would not entertain such very vivid fears even if this clause was not overburdened with all kinds of safeguards. Nobody had mentioned what those safeguards were. Certain powers were proposed to be handed over to the new council by the Board of Education, but at the same time the Board of Education kept certain very important matters in its own hands. Here were some of the powers reserved to the Board of Education:—(a) Any appeal to the Hoard of Education, and the determination of any question under this Act, except where the contrary is specially provided in this Act;(b) The power of determining whether any transferred voluntary school shall be discontinued or not;(c) The regulation and control of State-aided schools; and(d) All powers and duties of the Hoard of Education under the Charitable Trusts Acts, 1883 to 1894, and the Endowed Schools Acts, 1869 to 1889.Those were very important reservations, and if the fears which his noble friend entertained as to the sort of action the council would take were well-founded, it seemed to him that in the most important matters dealt with in the Bill the Board of Education reserved controlling power to itself. Then his noble friend objected to the clause because there was no control over the actions of the Council by the Treasury.
THE EARL OF DUNRAVEN
said his experience of the Treasury was that even when it was not specially authorised it did exercise an extraordinary amount of control. Certain administrative powers 804 were to be given to this new Council, but they were to be exercised subject to the control of the Treasury. As a matter of fact the control of the Treasury would prove to be exceedingly effective. Besides that, the accounts of the council had to be audited by the Auditor-General, and whether the expenditure was made up of grants from Parliament or any other public money he would have to audit the accounts, and he presumed that they would have to come before the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons in the ordinary way. Under those circumstances he thought it was rather an exaggeration to say that the powers to be handed over to the Council were completely free from any effective control by the Treasury and were removed from the purview of Parliament. He did not set himself up as an educational expert, but the educational advantages to be gained in Wales by tightening the links of the chain connecting lower with higher education, and bringing it all under one body capable of dealing as a whole with the subject of education from primary to University, seemed to him to be enormous, and he was bound to say that he could not see anything in this clause of a character so objectionable as to render him blind to those great advantages. He could not help thinking that perhaps the most important part of his noble friend's speech lay in the postscript in which he alluded to Home Rule. He said that this clause was the first step towards Home Rule. He did not know what his noble friend's definition of Home Rule might be, but the ordinary definition of Home Rule, as applied to Ireland, was the setting up of an independent Parliament. Were their Lordships being seriously asked to reject this clause because it contained anything approximating to Home Rule in the remotest degree? He was not going to argue the question of Home Rule, because the only power which this Council was to have was in reference to the expenditure of £700,000 or £800,000 a year subject to the control of the Treasury. It had absolutely no legislative functions whatever, and vet their Lordships were asked to reject the clause because it was the same thing as setting up an independent Parliament for Ireland. He hoped their Lordships would judge this proposal on its own merits, and not be 805 led away by such arguments as had been put forward in support of the rejection of this clause.
§ House resumed, and to be again in Committee to-morrow.