§ THE MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY
rose to draw attention to the recent action of the Government, and to ask:—(1) Whether the Board of Education will have any legal power to distribute to local authorities any part of the sum of 1100,000, recently voted for providing new public elementary schools, until Section 96 of the Elementary Education Act, 1870, has been repealed; and (2) Upon what grounds, educational or otherwise, the Board of Education have reversed their policy of neutrality in religious matters in the sphere of secondary education by their recent regulations for secondary schools and training colleges. The noble Marquess said: I rise to ask His Majesty's Government the Questions standing in my name, and in doing so I think it is hardly necessary for me to impress upon your Lordships the great 18 importance that I lay on the two Questions of which I have given notice, because the Board of Education have recently taken action on totally new and novel lines. As these lines were, as far as I have been able to ascertain, entirely without precedent, I considered it to be my duty as a past Minister for Education to take the first opportunity of raising this important question in your Lordships' House, and thereby not only to endeavour to extract some explanation from His Majesty's Government, but also to draw the attention of the country to what I think is a most remarkable course of action. Your Lordships will have noticed that I have put down my two Questions under one heading. I have done that because the session was drawing to a close, and I thought that we might be limited with regard to time, and that consequently it might better suit your Lordships to discuss the two Questions on the same day. I trust, however, that those who reply to my Questions will deal with them fully and clearly and separately, as they are not in any way connected one with the other except by the fact that they are both associated with the Board of Education. I trust, therefore, that it will be fully explained to us on what principle the Board of Education have acted in these matters, whether they are acting with perfect legality, and. what will be the method of the administration of these new rules and regulations.
I will take first the question of. the proposed sum of money which is to be given for the building of public elementary schools. I at once say that I do not cavil at that proposal in the least. I am one of those—and I believe I speak for others on this side of the House—who recognise that in single school areas—whether the single school is denominational or undenominational—there is a certain amount of hardship. We recognise that fully; we do not disguise it. But what I wish to ask His Majesty's Government is how they propose to spend this £100,000. Ts it to be given fairly and impartially to denominational single school areas and undenominational single school areas, or is it to be kept simply to erect council schools in denominational single schools areas for the purpose of 19 squeezing out the denominational school? That is a question which the noble Lord opposite will not wonder at my asking, and it is one to which I think I have a right to expect a full reply.
Then I turn to the manner in which this £100,000 has been obtained. I say that the manner in which this money has been obtained is without precedent and unconstitutional, and, in my opinion the distribution of the money as the law at present stands will be illegal. This is a point I would particularly put to the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack. I commence by saying that the procedure in obtaining this £100,000 is unconstitutional. I remember well—I was not a member of the Government—but in 1897 when the Parliamentary grants were given there were two Bills, one to assist necessitous voluntary schools and the other to assist necessitous board schools. On each of those measures the question was discussed at great length—I believe, speaking from memory, that the discussion occupied something like twenty-two days. The question of obtaining £100,000 for this purpose would not have taken that length of time, and I want to know why this unconstitutional method was adopted instead of bringing the matter before Parliament and obtaining the money in the ordinary way.
I say, further, that I doubt the legality of the proceeding of the House of Commons. Section 96 of the Education Act of 1870 lays it down that no Parliamentary grant shall be made in aid of building, enlarging, improving, or fitting up any elementary school. In March last, when this question was raised in the House of Commons, this was pointed out very strongly to the President of the Board of Education, and it was declared that the Vote was illegal until that section had been repealed. In the course of the debate Mr. McKenna, and also the Attorney-General, expressed considerable doubt as to whether they were acting legally in thus obtaining the money. I have epitomised what I gather from their speeches, and I think they admitted that the mere Vote would not by itself entitle money to be paid to any local authority, but at the same time they mooted the theory that the 20 matter would be put right by the Appropriation Act, which would provide that the money voted should be appropriated to the purpose for which it was voted. Later in the debate Mr. McKenna seems to have resolved definitely to take up the position that the expenditure would be legal, thanks to the Appropriation Act, but the legality only applies to the particular sum voted, and the section of the Act of 1870 remains in force. That is a question I put to the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack. I venture to say that the Appropriation Act has never before been used for any such purpose, and what I wish to ask is, if the Appropriation Act enables Mr. McKenna to obtain this £100,000 from the Consolidated Fund to the Treasury and from the Treasury to the Board of Education, and if the clause to which I have referred holds good, are the Board of Education justified in distributing that £100,000 to the local authorities exactly as they think fit? When we have this difference of opinion and this uncertainty as to the legality of the action of the Board, I think I have a right to ask the question, and the noble and learned Lord would be the last to deny it.
I now turn to what I think is the more important and serious part of my question, and that is the new principle involved in the regulations recently issued by the Board of Education. In the first place, what I find fault with chiefly in the proposed change is that for the first time in our educational history there is introduced into colleges and schools other than elementary, the principle of religious strife. We have all regretted for many years past that there has been considerable religious strife in elementary education; but I am thankful to think that up to the present there has never been any religious strife in the secondary schools and training colleges. On what grounds then is this new element to be introduced into these other spheres of education? I have frequently heard different classes of the community uttering expressions of hope that the religious controversy would be brought to an end. No one has more cordially concurred in this hope than I have, but I want to point out that so far from bringing the religious trouble to an end the action of 21 the Government under these regulations will introduce this controversial spirit in regard to religion into the training colleges and secondary schools. On this point I would ask the noble Earl the Lord President of the Council, who—I know he will not repudiate it—with his colleagues is responsible for the action of the President of the Board of Education, upon whose advice did the right hon. Gentleman act when he submitted these proposed changes to his colleagues? Whom did he consult? Having myself been President of the Board of Education, I know full well that many sources of advice of a most valuable character are always open to the President of the Board of Education. There is the Consultative Committee, a most able body, composed of people fully qualified and occupying responsible positions, who devote their time, energy, and convenience to the consideration of any question that may be submitted to them by the President of the Board of Education. I speak from experience on that point. Did the President of the Board consult the Consultative Committee before he made his alteration in the regulations? In dealing with the secondary schools, it would have been perfectly possible, and I think it would be his duty, to consult the headmasters of the various grammar schools in the country. There is such a body who could have given him most useful advice. Did the right hon. Gentleman consult that body? Again, the right hon. Gentleman has many experts whom he can consult on these points. I ask, did he consult any of them, because innovations such as these in our system of education should not have been made without the greatest care being taken, and every possible opinion of value on the points at issue collected.
Now, my Lords, what do the new regulations do to the secondary schools? In this I speak subject to correction, as it is somewhat difficult to arrive at an accurate figure. There are something like 600 secondary schools in the country; and I believe that out of those about 450 will be affected by the new regulations. A large number of those schools owe their existence to the generosity of those who endowed them and others who have helped to maintain them. 22 For many years past these schools have been and are now doing a great and good I work, which has always been recognised by the State. The State has been glad to assist and to subsidise these schools; the State has encouraged people to spend i money on them, and on account of that encouragement many people have done i a great deal to assist the schools in the course of instruction in which they most firmly believe. It has been recognised, very justly no doubt, by the Board of Education that higher grants are necessary for promoting or maintaining the efficiency of these schools. Of that nobody will complain at all. It is absolutely necessary to assist these schools to maintain a high state of efficiency. But are these higher grants to be given for the promotion of efficiency in education and nothing else? I deny it entirely. They are not, at the present moment, proposed to be given for the promotion of efficiency in education. To my mind they are offered on totally different grounds. I believe—and, I think, not unjustly—that they are proposed to be given purely for political purposes.
What are the grounds on which these extra grants will be given? In order to receive an extra grant the school must accept local control, altering entirely its former representation. This alteration is an entire departure from the expert opinion and the opinion of those who have studied the subject in years past. It has always been considered by expert opinion that secondary schools should be carried on, if I may use the expression, in an elastic manner. It has to be remembered that secondary schools are different from elementary schools, for this reason: there is no compulsory attendance, and by giving elasticity to the government of these schools it is made easier for them to meet the requirements which are considered adequate by the parents, and consequently to make the school more attractive to them. This was the line carried out by the Bryce Commission in 1894. This is the principle which underlay the Report of that Commission, and the subsequent development of the secondary school system has been based upon the idea that the State should welcome and encourage every secondary 23 school, no matter how founded or controlled. The scheme adopted by the President of the Board of Education has been brought forward, to my mind, because it will introduce into these schools for the first time an undenominational atmosphere by making the majority of the governors representative. It is a deliberate attack on these schools to make them alter their system of religious education which has been in force up to the present time.
Now, my Lords, let me give an illustration of what I mean—a concrete case showing how a secondary school has been treated by the Board of Education. It is only this morning I had the case put into my hands, though I read a short account of it yesterday in The Times. The school to which I refer is the Ranelagh foundation. Lord Ranelagh's school was founded in the 18th century as a school for boys and girls. From time to time regulations have been framed by the Charity Commissioners for the application of the money, but it has always been recognised that the endowment is of an ecclesiastical character. The governors applied a few years ago for a new scheme in order to utilise the endowment for a secondary school which was urgently needed in the locality of East Berkshire. A scheme to enable the capital of the endowment to be utilised in building such a school was sealed on 21st December, 1905, after the present Government had come into power—I ask your Lordships to notice that. A clause in this scheme provided that religious instruction in accordance with the doctrine of the Church of England should be given in the school, subject to a conscience clause. In accordance with the scheme plans have been prepared, which have received the sanction of the Board of Education and the County Council of Berkshire, for the erection of a school, which is now being built; the county council aiding by a grant of £2,000 and the Ranelagh governors contributing £6,000. By the new regulations respecting secondary education no grants will be receivable for the maintenance of this school when completed unless the denominational character is abandoned. It was on the faith of this character being maintained that the governors accepted the scheme 24 of 1905, and unless it had been put into the scheme they would certainly have strenuously and unanimously opposed it. The matter was brought up before the Berkshire Education Committee on Saturday last, and, according to The Times, Alderman Ferard said—Then came the new order which swept away the whole understanding between the trustees, the council, and the Board of Education. The result was that the old trustees had been deliberately defrauded of their capital. They hoped when they parted with their funds that there was some reasonable chance of finality, but the result was that an important district around Windsor had been robbed for some political reason. If education was to be conducted with variations from time to time, owing to the political opinions of the Government for the time being, he did not know what was to become of it, for it was of the very essence of educational schemes that there should be finality.I have ventured to read that extract because I think it is a practical illustration of what is being done at the present time and most undoubtedly will be done in the future.
Another step of a most extraordinary character taken with regard to secondary schools in these new regulations is that where Parliamentary grants are increased only Cowper-Temple teaching is to be given. I think this is a most extraordinary departure. Not only does it show the animus of the Board of Education against denominational teaching, but it is an entirely new departure from the manner in which Parliamentary and local grants have been distributed hitherto. Up till now in the distribution of Parliamentary grants no consideration has ever been given to the question of religious instruction. They have always been given on the ground of efficiency. Now the Board of Education propose to make Parliamentary grants a question of religion. A more dangerous proposal than to bring the religious controversy into this question cannot be imagined. Local grants are now given entirely irrespective of religious considerations. This was a factor very carefully laid down in the Act of 1902, but from that the present Government propose to depart. In Clause 4 of the Act of 1902, it was stated that—A council in the application of money under this part of the Act shall not require that any particular form of religious instruction or worship or any religious catechism or formulary 25 which is distinctive of any particular denomination shall or shall not be taught, used, on practised in any school, college, or hostel, aided but not provided by the council, and no pupil shall on the ground of religious belief be excluded, etc.Therefore I ask the noble Earl, on what grounds have His Majesty's Government by their action and their regulations repealed that section which we consider of such importance in the Act of 1902.
Then, my Lords, there is a still further danger with regard to the future of secondary schools. I have heard it-rumoured—I have no authority for the statement—that it is quite possible that some local authorities may insist that if secondary schools do not earn the fullest grant obtainable they shall not continue to receive contributions from the local authority. What does that mean? It means that if they are to earn the fullest- possible grant they must give up their present system of teaching, and give only Cowper-Temple teaching. I think this is a danger—I do not say it is before us at the present moment; I do not, say it is in force; but I like to look at possibilities even more than probabilities—and,. that being the case, I think it is well we should have before our minds the danger that may arise of a double penalty being paid by secondary schools, should they refuse to be restricted to Cowper-Temple teaching, and thereby be precluded from receiving the fullest possible grant.
To my mind the position of the Board of Education on this subject of secondary schools is a most remarkable one. The Board of Education at the present-moment are the Charity Commissioners, whose duty it is to watch over and preserve the interests of the endowed schools and closely to guard their trusts. That is the duty of the Charity Commissioners who are the Board of Education. But what are the Board of Education doing? They are ignoring their position of trustees as Charity Commissioners, and in their capacity as Board of Education are offering bribes to the secondary schools to break their trusts: they are encouraging them to do so by making the conditions so much easier for them if they do. What would be said of the trustee of any property if he took up this dual position? I had 26 hoped that Lord Barnard, who is an expert in this matter, would have been present to go fully into the question; I merely raise it as one which might escape attention. It may be said that the matter is very simple; that the secondary schools are in a very good position, that they have a way out, that they can contract themselves out by doing certain things. What are those things—If as regards the conditions set out in Articles 5, 18 (b), 23, and 24 (but not as regards the conditions set out in Article 20) of these regulations, the local education authority pass a resolution informing the Board of Education that the school is in their view required as part of the secondary school provision in their area, and that one or more of these conditions may be waived with advantage in view of the educational needs of the area, the Board of Education may, if they see fit, pay the grants in full under Articles 36 to 41 of this chapter.What does that mean? It means that there must be a discussion of the individual case before the whole of the council—a discussion which will be not only full, but open to the Press and to everybody to criticise, and it will raise contention in the education body on a subject in regard to which it has never been raised before. I believe there are on these education committees a great many Nonconformists holding views of a fair character who would have no objection whatever to assisting the maintenance of these schools in the condition in which they were, but if their names are to be published and the line they take advertised they will feel that there is a hard and fast line drawn between Nonconformists and denominationalists which has not been drawn before, and the result will be most injurious and unjust to these schools.
Now with regard to the effect of these regulations on training colleges. For the training college, unlike the secondary school, there is no way out whatever—there is no contracting out clause. I am not going to deal with this question at length, because your Lordships will, I hope, have read the great speech delivered on Saturday last by the most rev. Prelate the Archbishop of Canterbury on the occasion of the deputation to the Prime Minister. It would be pressumption on my part if, after that speech, I were to attempt to say anything in 27 defence of the training colleges; and I am also in hopes that the most rev. Prelate will himself deal with the subject to-night. Therefore I propose to say only one or two words in regard to the manner in which training colleges are to be treated. I cannot but think that the line taken in the regulations of proposing to fine gentlemen of the calibre and ability of heads of training colleges £100, or to withdraw the grant from them should they not conform entirely to the wishes of the Board of Education, is an insult to those gentlemen. I see that even Mr. McKenna later on seemed to have some hesitation as to whether he had been wise in introducing this paragraph into the regulations.
But there is another point in regard to the training colleges on which I would like to touch. Nonconformists complain that their teachers are handicapped all through their career because they have to forego training and consequently do not command the highest salaries that are obtainable. I have gone into the figures with regard to the numbers of students who attend the various training colleges, and I cannot but think that the complaint of the Nonconformists is not justified. I take the total number of denominational and undenominational residential training colleges, day training colleges, and hostels, and I find that for students who take a two years' course there are vacant each year 2,110 denominational places and 2,581 undenominational places. In addition to this, ten local authorities actually have schemes for the provision of training colleges, all undenominational, and seven other local authorities have the matter under consideration. Therefore, I think I am justified in saying that the complaint of Nonconformists that their teachers have not the same advantages as denominationalists, and that consequently these regulations are necessary in their favour, falls to the ground.
In conclusion, I may say that in these remarks I have endeavoured not to go into detail, but to deal with the question of principle. To my mind the principle running through the action of His Majesty's Government is to endeavour by every possible means in their power 28 to conciliate their extreme Nonconformist supporters, and to wreak vengeance on the Church supporters of denominational religious education because of their refusal to accept the Education Bill of the noble Earl last year. It may be asked why I make such a statement. I cannot forget the threat held out by the noble Earl on the last stage of that Bill in your Lordships' House, when he said—During the coming months a great many harsh things will be said on both sides, and I am afraid some harsh things will be done.The President of the Board of Education went further, for on the 1st of this month, at Pontypool, he said—The Government went to the House of Lords with a peace-offering in their hands; but the next time they went, it would be with a sword.We know now what the sword is: it is an endeavour on the part of the Government to crush denominational education under foot, and to hand over religious education entirely to undenominational ideas. We know now exactly what we have to expect. I say that the introduction of these changes in the regulations by the Government to please their Nonconformist supporters is a policy of vindictive spite. That may be said to be a strong expression for a past Minister for Education to use. Gladly would I withdraw and apologise for it if I could receive such a full explanation from the Lord President of the Council as would prove to me that the charge was false. But unless I receive such an explanation, full and complete, I shall adhere to the expression, which I believe will be endorsed not only by every Churchman in the country, but by every fairminded man, no matter to what sect or denomination he may belong.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My Lords, the noble Marquess, speaking with all the weight of an ex-President of the Board of Education, has dealt at large with the greater part of the subject now in controversy, and the noble Earl who is now the Lord President must have felt that some at least of the difficulties which have been raised are difficulties which require an answer—that some of these points are very real, and that they press with 29 unexpected harshness and unfairness, possibly through inadvertence, on a great number of those interested in education. I do not propose to follow the noble Marquess into the constitutional questions which he has raised. I shall deal entirely with the second part of the question on the Paper, and especially with that part which relates to training colleges and hostels. The noble Marquess has referred to a speech—if it may be called a speech; it was more or less of a conversational character—which I made on the occasion of a deputation to the Prime Minister on Saturday last. That speech was reproduced at most unexpected length as far as I was concerned, and I hope your Lordships have not done what the noble Marquess trusted you had, namely, read that speech, as I must to some extent traverse the same ground to-day. I am most anxious to avoid in this matter mere technicalities. The subject is a very intricate one; I do not know that I have ever known a question in which it was more difficult to place the issues quite simply and clearly before those who are of necessity unfamiliar with the practical working of our training college system. The details are most important, but I desire as far as possible to leave them on one side, and to deal with one or two large principles which seem to me to underlie some of the proposed changes, and to be eminently worthy of the attention of the House and of the country.
May I first restate in outline some of the facts as to the system of which our training colleges are a part? There are now seventy-four training colleges in England, besides one—a college for the blind—which I need not touch upon; fifty-two of these are residential and twenty-two non -residential. Of the residential colleges, thirty-three belong to the Church of England, seven to the Roman Catholics, two to the Wesleyans, and ten are quite undenominational. The twenty-two non-residential colleges are all undenominational The students in the resident colleges are 5,363, of whom, roughly speaking, 3,300 belong to the Church of England and 1,100 are undenominational. The Church of England has thus about three times as many places in residential colleges as there are undenominational places. There are 269 30 Wesleyan places and 629 Roman Catholic places. Nearly all the residential colleges were originally provided from voluntary funds, although of course there were considerable building grants in their aid some forty years ago. All the day colleges, I think, are provided from public funds. Without troubling you with more figures, I may say that if your Lordships will add up the details you will find that there are at this moment 2,000 more places in the undenominational colleges, including residential and non residential, than there are in those which are confined to members of the Church of England. It is well to mention that fact, because people sometimes speak as though there were no openings now for undenominationalists in the training colleges of the country.
Now, my Lords, who go to these training colleges, and how do they qualify to get there? Until a few years ago nearly all those who applied for admission to our training colleges had been pupil-teachers, having gone through the ordinary course of four or five years training, and, having finished that course, were qualified to sit for what was then known as the King's Scholarship examination. They were arranged in order of merit and in classes when the examination lists were published, and from them the selection was made of those who were to go into the training colleges. But now the position has become much more complicated, because, most rightly and properly, in recent years men and women have been allowed to qualify for admission to training colleges by many other, processes than passing through the stage of pupil-teachership; they may, for instance, matriculate at London University or pass the Oxford or Cambridge higher local examinations. The conditions which must be satisfied by candidates are set out in these Regulations, and it will be seen how varied they are, and how extraordinarily difficult it is to choose from among the applicants those who ought to be admitted, to decide between the relative merits of those who have qualified in different ways—for instance, between those who have matriculated and those who have passed through the pupil-teacher system—and to place them in order of merit. A large power of choice must necessarily rest somewhere, if 31 persons qualified in such a variety of ways are ultimately to be selected to be placed in the colleges to which they aspire to enter. The rule hitherto has been that among those thus qualified the training college authorities have had to make a choice, and in making it they have, as far as I know, always tried to look to the general fitness of each man or woman to receive the full good which the college offers, both in secular and in religious matters; they have had to consider all the facts belonging to the training and life of the particular candidates, and to judge which would be best fitted to become really competent teachers at the end of two or three years training in the college. Until recently they were very greatly helped in doing that; indeed, half the work was done for them by the class list, which showed what the position was of the various candidates. But recently that has been entirely abolished, and the whole list of names—some 10,000 in the women's department—is now published alphabetically, without any order. Anyone who will consider what that must mean in the endeavour to make a selection by rule of thumb out of the candidates who may apply, in the order of their application, will see that it is practically an impossible task. There is a hint given in these regulations that some change may be necessary in the mode of making the results of that examination public, in order to facilitate the ultimate choice for entrance to the training colleges. That is a mere hint, not a promise, and at this moment the list is literally such that the persons who have to make a choice in regard to particular applicants have to grope their way without any guidance. What it was announced a little while ago that a change was to take place the training college authorities were warned that the list would be published without the classes, and told that this would throw on them a greater responsibility in the way of finding out for themselves the relative merits of applicants. That happened, I think, eighteen months ago, and the training college authorities are perfectly ready to accept that responsibility, and to make their choice, with the additional help of examination or otherwise. I should add that in the colleges belonging to the Church of England the accepted applicants must be mainly—not entirely, because there is at least one exception, 32 and there may be more—members of the Church of England. There, of course, lies a large part of the gravamen in regard to these changes, and on that a great deal necessarily turns.
Then, my Lords, I must ask your attention to another point, which is really a vital one as regards the question of fairness or unfairness. During the last few years a new development has taken place. We were asked informally whether our training colleges would be prepared to admit students from outside who need not be members of the Church, of England, and who might take advantage of everything the college offers, except the religious side, which they did not want. That is to say, they might be resident in a hostel or other establishment outside our training college and come to it day by day and take all its advantages, social, recreative, or educational, with the one exception of the religious side, which they did not want. I was able a year ago to inform the President of the Hoard of Education that all our colleges were prepared—not at once, for it would take a little time to make such arrangements—so far as it was locally and topographically possible—to enlarge their buildings adequately to receive students who should thus come into them. We set to work to do that and have spent money in doing it. We have been preparing our colleges for those who would come in from outside, and to meet, as I think, the difficulty which the Nonconformists feel by giving them in the residential training colleges all the advantages the colleges offer except the religious instruction. We intend to do that; of course it has not been done to any great extent yet, we are waiting for the influx. It will take a little time to arrange about the change in our buildings, and large sums have been expended in the endeavour to do it. About ten years ago a great college was founded in South London, St. Gabriel's, Kennington; there it was arranged with the Board of Education from the first that half the students should belong to the category I have described, those living outside coming in for everything except the religious teaching and worship. The whole college has been started, and built at a cost of £60,000, on those lines, and the whole of the 33 arrangements have been calculated on the theory that that will be continued. That is an extremely important element in regard to the allegation we make that what is now proposed will press upon us with undue harshness. But look at it quite apart from how it presses on us. Remember that every one of those places thus acquired for non-Church people within our walls would have been new and would make some addition to the present deficient supply of training college places, whereas, as the regulations are now drawn, there is no addition whatever made to the number of places for students; there is merely a shifting of the grievance, if there be a grievance, from one set of shoulders to another. Not a single additional place is provided by the regulations laid down. And moreover, all those new places connected with our colleges would have been undenominational.
Now, my Lords, coming to the new rules published a few days ago, I will state their purport, leaving details aside, not because they are unimportant, not because I am unfamiliar with them, but because I want to state the case in the most general way. For the colleges now in existence the rules and management are allowed to remain as before —denominational in character as regards authorities, teachers, chapel services, and the rest. But the following new restrictions are laid down:— In entering a -college no religious question is allowed to be raised as regards the candidate coming in, and anybody may come in, be his or her attitude towards religious life what it may. In the second place, there is to be no consideration of what are called "social antecedents or the like." Now, my Lords, although I have had the benefit of the kind endeavours of the President of the Board of Education and the Prime Minister, upon whom we waited the other day, I still find the greatest difficulty in knowing how, if I were the principal of a training college and had to make the choice, I should know what is meant by "social antecedents and the like." A great many of us have been trying for some time past to make our training college work such as to facilitate the entrance of those whose general knowledge apart 34 from the mere examination was of a higher kind than was customary before. We have tried to get those who come from the more cultured surroundings, surroundings which have enabled them from childhood onwards to have a larger knowledge of the facts of life and education in all its different branches, so that they are better fitted to exercise that kind of influence which we want exercised upon the little children in our schools than would be even some of the cleverest and best if they came from a different atmosphere and had not had these advantages. Do not suppose for a moment that I or anyone on whose behalf I speak desire to make it difficult for the clever and capable child from the humblest ranks of society who is able to rise to the dignity and splendid position of a teacher by sheer force of character and merit. We shall always find places for those; we welcome them and regard them as some of the best ingredients we could possibly have, but at the same time we do not want rules laid down for the guidance of those who have to make the selection which will force them to exclude altogether any consideration of the more general attributes, powers, and attainments of the candidates apart from the mere examination test. But that is one of the rules here laid down—that there shall be "no consideration of social antecedents and the like." I hope we shall hear from the Government to-night that it is to be so interpreted that we are not to rule out altogether these considerations.
Then we are told that no examination of any sort or kind, written or oral, may be imposed by the authorities of a college in order to test the relative merits of those who have passed the qualifying examination. There is a hint that we arc to have the aid for the future of a classified list as formerly instead of a non-classified list as at present of those who have passed the usual examination. But we have still the difficulty that the authorities of the training colleges will have to form an estimate of the relative attainments of people trained in totally different surroundings, by totally different processes, and arriving at the ultimate goal—the presentation of their credentials such as they arc. Without the power of applying some 35 test as to their relative merits, how can anyone say which of two men or two women would be the better?
Then we are told that great attention is to be paid to the order of the applications as they come in. If it is to be a mere question of rule of thumb as to the order in which applications come in, your Lordships can at once see what the difficulties will be. Another new rule is that all information as to the qualifications of candidates which has been received by the college authorities, either prior or subsequent to the application, must be forthcoming to the Board of Education. Are those words to be taken literally? The head of a training college is generally an educationist in touch with a number of other educationists, and receiving private information, exactly as the head of a college receives information as to candidates who may be coming up to matriculate at Oxford or Cambridge. If these words mean that the ultimate rejection of a candidate must not turn upon information which cannot be produced, I can perfectly understand the rule, and would not be prepared to dispute it; but if it means that any letter or message or any information of any sort or kind which reaches the college authorities, either directly or indirectly, respecting a candidate, must be handed over or made or produced to the Board of Education, then it is one of the most perplexing directions ever given to a person who is in the habit of receiving confidential and private as well as public communications in such matters.
Then, we are told that, should the head of the college, in making his or her choice, unfortunately make a mistake, and should the grounds upon which a candidate has been rejected be, in the view of the Board of Education, unreasonable—the college or hostel concerned will be liable to a reduction of its total grant for the year, not exceeding £100 on the first occasion, and to its removal from the list of recognised colleges receiving grants on a second occasion.["Shame!"] I say without fear of contradiction that no rule ought to have been so worded for application to people of the highest culture and attainments who are giving their lives to this work. At all events, if it be really necessary to prescribe financial penalties, the rule might have been worded in a somewhat different tone.
36 I have endeavoured to avoid technicalities, but I think your Lordships will have seen how exteremely difficult will be the task imposed upon the training college authorities in making choice amongst the candidates. What I wish to contend is this—and I say it with the deepest seriousness and with a full sense of responsibility—that these changes, if carried out as they stand, would gravely imperil the religious character of the elementary education throughout the country; and further, that they would imperil our educational life and progress in the schools by lowering the probable type of teacher whom we are likely ultimately to obtain. Feeling that, I am bound to warn the House of Lords, and, so far as one's voice extends, to warn the country, of a peril, which is not a question of denomination, but which concerns all those who have at heart the religious life of England, and who care about educational progress in our elementary schools.
I will give my reasons for those two contentions to which attach such importance. We have heard again and again—and I have always been thankful for the assurances we have had from the Government—that our schools are to remain schools in which a religious education may be given, and that the secular system has not been adopted—that it has been, as one member of the Government said, smashed. The secular system has been rejected by the Government deliberately, and our elementary schools are to retain a religious character. But on whom is it to depend whether or not that religious character is given? On whom is instruction in the Bible, putting aside for the moment the denominational question, to depend? It must rest upon the teachers who are to be put into the schools. Who are these teachers going to be? They must be those who come out of our training colleges. Once let a training college cease to have a religious character impressed upon it, and cease to give within its walls the training in that most difficult art of all—the imparting of religious knowledge to little children— how can you maintain that religious character in your schools which in all your educational projects you rightly—and I am thankful for it—boast that you have [maintained. It cannot be. 37 denied that with the increase of day training colleges there will be an increase of places in which it is practically impossible that religious education can be given, or, to say the least, in which it is exceedingly unlikely that religious education with any definiteness at all will be given. As a matter of fact, in the day training colleges now being established by county councils there is no religious training at all; they are, I think, largely of necessity, secular training places pure and simple. If you are going to prevent throughout England the security of the existence of a certain number of training colleges in which from beginning to end there will be a religious basis to the education given, and if you further prevent religious hostels being attached to undenominational colleges, then you are taking away just that security which was offered by these means against the purely secular training which would otherwise be prevalent throughout our training colleges.
I certainly understood that we were encouraged to establish these hostels, and I was not surprised, because I recognise to the full the difficulty there must be in the Government's—either through the Board of Education at the centre or through the local authorities throughout the land—undertaking the extraneous task of training teachers to give religious instruction. When we offered, to put down hostels of a religious kind which should be boarding houses in connection with undenominational training colleges, when we offered to look after the religious life of their inmates, and see that those who came into them were those who wanted to profit by the religious opportunities provided, then not merely were we helping the teachers themselves, but we were doing the very thing which the Government ought specially to thank us for doing. We offered to do something which could be done by voluntary effort but which cannot be done so well by any State authority, and now we are told that all these denominational hostels which we desired to establish around the undenominational training colleges are to be forbidden. Those which have been established are to be allowed in a sense to go on, but their doors are to be open to everybody, and there will be no reason why the inmates should 38 care the least about the religious teaching offered, while for the future we are not to be allowed to found any such places at all. We shall doubtless be told by the noble Earl that we may not call them hostels, but that we may call them lodgings. If your Lordships will look at the rules in detail you will find that whereas the inmates of hostels are to be allowed to have a certain sum paid for them by grant to the hostel, those who are in lodgings are to be allowed a much smaller sum. The difference is £15 between the sum paid for a man in a hostel and the sum paid for a man in a lodging. Why is every man who comes into the place which has a religious stamp upon it to be fined that £15? It may sound a very small matter to those who are dealing with huge sums at the centre. But our plan is that each of these hostels should give accommodation for thirty candidates—that is to say, we shall have to pay an additional £450 a year for each such hostel because we are doing something which, instead of being censured, ought to be received with gratitude—because it is the very thing which the Government find it difficult to do for themselves, and have to look to voluntary bodies to do for them. But, instead of being encouraged, we are being hampered and set back by the manner in which difficulties are placed in our way. I do not honestly believe that the country wants that at all; I do not believe they want these hostels to be made so expensive that we shall practically be unable to go forward with the work for which they were intended. So much for what I have contended, that these regulations, if they are passed, will impair the religious character of our elementary education.
Now I pass from the religious side of the Regulations altogether, to their effect upon educational efficiency. Is it really to be the case that we are to act virtually by rule of thumb, or by chance, with regard to the candidates whom we are to choose to go into the training college and get the coping-stone set upon the education that they have had in the schools or in their preparation for matriculation? I honestly do not see at present how any other method can be followed than that which will virtually be the order of application, which is more or less a matter of 39 chance. That method will cripple immensely the power of the authorities of the training colleges to judge whether or not a man or woman who offers himself or herself is qualified to get the full advantage of the college. We heard a great deal last year, and I agree with it to the the full, about everything depending upon personality of the teacher. That personality is not a thing that begins at twenty-five; it begins much earlier than that, and it is a thing which the skilled judgment of the authorities is able to test and understand when candidates come forward. Are we to be debarred from looking at that question of personality, or from considering whether or not he or she seems to be the kind of person who will make the sort of teacher the country really wants? We are to be debarred from doing that, because we are not to be allowed to make any choice except in accordance with the order of delivery of applications in the post. I do not believe that a rule of thumb of that kind will ever select the kind of teachers required by the authorities, or by the country.
It has been said, and I have no doubt we shall be told again, that, after all, we must remember that we are dealing with public money. "There is the real difficulty," we shall be told, "of the whole question It is not as if it was a question of private money: you are dealing with public money and practically nothing else." It is not fair, because the actual maintenance of the college work day by day is largely mainly met from public sources, to forget the enormous expenditure which we have been voluntarily put to in providing these colleges to do the work which you are now going to impair or even prohibit. There was a letter the other day in The Times from no less a person than Dr. Macnamara, who, if anybody in England does, really understands this subject. He called attention to the fact that our colleges had received grants sixty or seventy years ago towards their building, and that we always ought to remember that that grant gave the public a great right over them; but the fact that we had built up the rest of the building, beyond the Government grant—which, after all, was even then less than one-third of the whole—a long time ago could not be allowed now to 40 give us any claim for particular rights in this matter. Here are his words—Is the proposition, then, this, that because the Church partly built these colleges fifty or sixty years ago it is for ever to put a ringed fence round places now, at any rate, and for a long time past almost entirely maintained from Government grants and students' fees?To an expert the deceptiveness of that sentence lurks in the word "maintained." It is true that as regards the maintenance of the college day by day the Government grant goes far to do it. But has Dr. Macnamara not forgotten—I will not say he is ignorant, it would be insulting— has he not accidentally omitted to state that, in addition to our expenditure of sixty or seventy years ago, a similar expenditure is still going on, and that the co t has been enormous down to the present time? Take the college of St. Gabriel, Kennington. Sixty thousand pounds was spent a few years ago in founding that college, and we have been enlarging in any of our colleges even more recently. Within the last few months one of these hostels has been finished by the National Society. It cost between £5,000 and £6,000. It was built to take in denominational students who are attending a day training college close by. It is placed near other hostels, built by the County Councils of Kent and Surrey, which are quite undenominational, and in regard to entrance it will hence forth stand in exactly the same position. Does anyone suppose that we should have spent £5,000 or £6,000 to put a hostel there unless we thought it would have this character and that we should be able to ask applicants for admission whether they cared to profit by the religious training we offered, as well as the secular training? I am not able to give the complete sum of our recent expenditure, but I have some figures for the last twelve years, and there is no difficulty in arriving at something like £250,000 which we have spent purely voluntarily during these years on the part of the Church of England alone, for setting forward this particular cause. Are we, then, to be told by a gentleman whose name as an expert carries weight throughout the country that, although fifty or sixty years ago we bore more than two-thirds of the cost of building these colleges, and although we have kept up the buildings and rebuilt them, and have been spending during the last 41 few years very large sums, you are now by und to debar us from doing this work? At the very least I can give an account showing that in the last twelve years we have spent £210,000 for setting forward this kind of education, which will now be made ten times more difficult than before. This is not a mere question of money. We spent the money gladly, and we would do so again, but why did we spend it? We spent in order that the religious side should be secure. You find great difficulty, and you will find increasing difficulty, in the new day colleges in giving religious training. We spent that money in order that we might be able to do that which you would have found it difficult to get done without our voluntary effort. We paid that money to secure the inmates who would make the best use for the common good of the opportunity which the residential college affords.
Now, my Lords, why was it that these regulations were so suddenly sprung upon us at such brief notice? A fortnight ago, when our colleges had broken up or were breaking up, and the principals were going or had gone abroad, when it was impossible to summon the college council, these regulations were issued, and to some extent they come into operation on 1st August next—that is next week. Was there any reason in the nature of things why we should not have had a few months notice that this was going to be done? Is there any reason now why the operation of these regulations should not be postponed? It may be said, "You have not got to do anything very practical on 1st August next." But I have been in daily intercourse with principals of our colleges, and I find they are in a condition of utter perplexity as to what, practically, they are to do. I was present yesterday at a long meeting of all the principals of training colleges who could be got together at such short notice and in such circumstances, and I was struck by their loyalty to the public good, by their anxiety for educational progress, and by the way in which they subordinated all petty considerations to the principles of educational progress, secular and religious. They, one after another, told us of. the great difficulty they had of knowing what to do with these regulations, which come into operation to a certain extent next week. 42 There is, naturally, in their minds for the reasons I have stated, an intense depression as to the educational outlook, even apart from its religious side, but they care intensely, primarily perhaps, for the religious side, in the large sense of the term, and they are tempted to say there is something very like a breach of faith, when, having, in response to the encouragement given, extended our colleges in order that these people outside might come in, we find that the hostel will not be differentiated in any way from the college itself. They feel it still more as a hardship with regard to our denominational hostels in connection with secular colleges. They feel it on educational grounds, because it will be practically impossible on the lines now suggested to secure those best qualified to take advantage of the training the college offers. As a mere matter of administration, they are indeed nonplussed. There is the whole question of trust deeds. I am not prepared to say what exactly is the effect of each trust deed upon this particular question. It may turn out that some of our trust deeds will not be violated by carrying out these regulations. But we think there are trust deeds that will be violated by what it is proposed to do. What are the principals to do when the applications begin to come in? Are they to consider this question as a practical one? Are they merely to return an answer that it is impossible to give any reply at all? Is it possible to consider these trust deeds before 1st. August? Why were we not given a few months notice in order that we could understand what we were to do?
But I pass from this minor matter to the bigger question. Mr. McKenna toll us the other day that all these regulations obliged us to do was to buy a register. I was sorry for that expression, because it seemed to miss the real feeling which is at the bottom of this matter. These people cannot be guided by what they set down in a register, they must be guided by the principles they were set there to promote, to get the men and women best qualified to take advantage of the college. The inconsiderateness of the whole modus operandi is one of the worst symptoms of the spirit which would seem to 43 lie behind it. Do not let it be said we are against the new regulations as a whole, either as regards training colleges or secondary schools. I could easily point out some which seem to me to be a great gain. I am one of those who are for progress in educational matters all along the line. Wherever the regulations give us help towards educational progress, towards making our educational system extend wider and deeper into our common life, I am thankful for that help. Wherever they promote educational gain, these regulations will be welcome, but we feel that the new departure, both as regards secondary schools and as regards training colleges, is not educationally helpful, either secularly or on the religious side. The administrators are discouraged and depressed in what they do, the educationists—not the denominationalists alone—are everywhere puzzled. I think it is an open secret that the county councils are already finding themselves in the greatest difficulty as to how they are to work the new regulations. Is there to be any local choice allowed as regards the applicants? Is a county council which has a training college in Essex or Sussex to be obliged to accept candidates from Yorkshire, or, if in other respects they are of equal merit, are they merely to take the candidate whose letter arrives first by the post, showing no preference to candidates for their own county? It is quite possible that that kind of difficulty might be overcome, but we ought to have had time to do it. But we have not been allowed time and the whole thing has been sprung upon us in such a way as to render it intolerably difficult to make it work. If, in face of all that, we were to be silent now, we should be told afterwards, why did you not speak out at the time? Therefore, we protest now against that anti-religious trend—I fear I must use the phrase—which extends throughout the regulations both in regard to the colleges themselves and to the hostels and against the disastrous educational result which we believe must follow. I believe, with regard to the religious side, we should have with us, if this thing were only better understood, a vast number of the keenest and warmest-hearted of our Nonconformist brethen. What you are damaging is not so much denomina- 44 tionalism as religion. It is the religious side which we have all been thankful to feel was going to be preserved in our schools, which it will be impossible to preserve adequately if these regulations are maintained in the form in which they now stand, and we believe that the protest that we make against some of them will have a wide and far-reaching echo amongst the English people generally.
*THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (The Earl of CREWE)
My Lords, His Majesty's Government have certainly no complaint to make of the fact that this debate has been initiated by the questions of the noble Marquess opposite. On the contrary, feeling, as we do, that the general effect of these regulations has been, to some extent misunderstood, and, to some extent, exaggerated—and I am bound to say that in the speech of the noble Marquess it was impossible to avoid noting sign of the latter defect—we are very glad that the matter should be fully discussed in your Lordships' House. I am quite certain we all, on whichever side of the House we sit, admire not only the singularly lucid manner in which the most rev. Primate stated all the facts of the case, but also the general moderation which characterised his remarks.
I desire first to deal with the question of the noble Marquess as to the £100,000 grant. I think the noble Marquess first asked me what were the conditions, and what was the manner in which that grant would be distributed. In the first place this grant of £100,000 will only be payable, perhaps, almost as a matter of course, to local authorities who desire to erect schools. In the second place, it will only be payable in cases where the Board of Education have completely satisfied themselves that the proposed new school is needed to meet the existing demand; that is to say, that where the ordinary duty falls on the local authority of supplying a school as, for instance, in some cases where there is a numerical deficiency the Board of Education would not think proper to allocate any part of this £100,000 for that purpose; that is to say, it must be proved that this school 45 is needed over and above the ordinary numerical sufficiency of places in order to meet the very special state of things which I need not now describe, because the condition of affairs in certain districts was so fully gone into by the House during the Education Bill discussion of last year.
I may remind your Lordships that the period during which this money will be available for expenditure will be a very short one. The money will only be payable up to 31st March next and it will not be payable yet, because three months notice from the time of the passing of the Appropriation Bill of this year will be required under the existing Education Acts. Therefore your Lordships will see clearly that the time during which this particular sum of £100,000. or any part of it, can be spent, is not long. The noble Marquess then went on to speak of the general principle involved, and he asked the question whether the Board of Education have any legal power to distribute to local authorities any part of this £100,000. The legal position was, I think, very fairly stated by Mr. Speaker in another place, when the matter was raised there as regards the competence of the House of Commons to deal with the matter in this particular way.
§ *THE EARL OF CREWE
I do not remember whether Mr. Speaker used that particular phrase. The view which is taken by His Majesty's Government and I assume would be taken by others outside, of the transaction is simply this. A certain sum is placed in the Estimates, but, of course, does not become available until an Act of Parliament is passed. The effect of that Act of Parliament is to suspend during one year a certain section of an existing Act of Parliament—Section 9(3 of the Act of 1870. That may or may not be a desirable proceeding, and upon that, of course, difference of opinion is perfectly legitimate. I do not profess to speak as a lawyer, but, speaking as a Member of one of the Houses of Parliament, I do not see anything strange 46 or unconstitutional in passing a second Act of Parliament which repeals the provisions of a former Act. As we all know, the thing is continually done. The peculiar thing in this case is that the annulling is only temporary, but in other respects it is exactly on all fours with what is done in every session—that is to say, annulling the provisions of former Acts by passing a new one. I have no doubt that my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack will respond to the appeal which was made to him by the noble Marquess, and state his opinion on the purely legal aspect of the case. Of course, as I have said, the propriety of what everybody admits is an unusual proceeding is and must be a pure matter of opinion. We admit that the proceeding is unusual, but we also maintain that the circumstances are of such a character, and the urgency of the case is sufficiently great to warrant a departure from the usual proceeding. The noble Marquess asked why we did not proceed by Bill. Perhaps if we could have had an assurance from noble Lords opposite that such a Bill would have passed we might have taken that course, but we shall await any such assurance before admitting that we are in any sense wrong in taking the course that we have taken.
The most rev. Primate dealt very fully and in a most instructive manner with the whole question of training colleges. I should like to say one word upon a matter which he mentioned, and which has also been mentioned very often in this and in similar connections, as to the claim made by those who have either entirely or in part erected buildings for certain denominational purposes, to retain the perpetual management of the institutions carried on in those buildings. We are told that buildings of this kind were erected on the faith that the kind of teaching that existed in them would be allowed to go on permanently, and that they were encouraged by Government grants. That, if you come to think of it, lands you in a singular paradox, because I suppose the greater the grant the greater the encouragement; and you find yourself at last in this position that a building almost entirely erected by the Government grant receives 47 so much encouragement that it ought to remain permanently denominational.
§ *THE EARL OF CREWE
Oh, certainly not. But I said it is a paradox into which the people who hold that view might easily find themselves landed. The fact is that the argument is precisely that with which we are so familiar in the case of the elementary schools. Certain people, at some time or another, erected buildings for a particular purpose. They have, in some cases, added to and repaired them. In consequence, however large the share of public money which is applied now to the maintenance—and, of course, an increasing share has been in almost all cases so applied—however great that share, the purely denominational character of the training college, or school, or whatever it may be is to remain until the world's end. That is an issue on which, I admit, we are sharply divided, and it is one on which I am afraid, from all my experience in the past, we are not likely to arrive at any agreement. The main grievance, in the case of training colleges, arises out of the application of the Conscience Clause to them. Here, again, we are sharply divided. Noble Lords will certainly not convince us, and, I am afraid we are not likely to convince them. The fact, which we hold to be a fact, that the application of large sums of public money compels the application of a conscience clause, and that by supplying the money the State is entitled to impose a conscience clause as a condition, is one to which we most strongly hold; but it is one which, as I have said, I am afraid noble Lords opposite will not be disposed to admit. Then the noble Marquess complained that, whereas neutrality had reigned in the past in these cases, we have introduced religious strife, both in the training colleges and in the secondary schools. It is easy enough to avoid religious strife if you give the preference which noble Lords would like to give to any one particular denomination. You avoid religious strife if you limit your school or college to people of one denomi- 48 nation, on the principle of the Spanish Minister, who, when asked on his death bed if he desired to forgive his enemies, replied that he had none, as he had shot them all. If you have no boy or girl or no student who differs from the religious views of the school or training college, it is perfectly obvious that you do avoid religious strife, but, as we think, at a very great cost.
The grievance with regard to training colleges consists, in the first place, in what the most rev. Primate would consider the enforced admission of outsiders. That is, I know, an objection which is held, if possible, more strongly by those who are entitled to speak for the Roman Catholic Church. I had the honour this morning of being present at a deputation at which the noble Duke opposite, the Duke of Norfolk, was also present in the company of those best entitled to speak for the Roman Catholic community in England, and, from what they said, it is quite evident that they do regard the introduction into the training colleges of those who do not hold their faith as a very serious matter.
It has been suggested that, after 1st August, the denominational training colleges might be flooded by applications from all parts of England, and that serious inconvenience and great difficulty might be caused in dealing with a large number of applicants as to whom nothing was known. My right hon. friend has recognised that difficulty, and he proposes that every student who applies for admission to a training college should accompany that application with the payment of a small fee—I think 10s. was the sum which he suggested as reasonable. That fee could be returned if the applicant entered the college, but, in other cases, the college would retain it. The effect of that, as your Lordships will see, would be to prevent an applicant from sowing letters broadcast to a great number of colleges in the hope of being taken in at one.
We do not for a moment believe that the consequence of these regulations will be to flood denominational colleges with students who desire to exercise the conscience clause. In the first place, as regards the case of those who might go to a denominational college with a 49 directly hostile intention, which has been suggested as a possibility, it would, in our opinion, very easily be dealt with, because it would not be a case of religious distinction, but such a person could always be excluded—excluded beforehand, if his intentions were known—excluded, after he is there, if his action proved his sentiments, simply and solely on grounds of discipline. He would not be turned out merely because he is a Nonconformist or Agnostic, but because he was an aggressive person whose action was destructive of the discipline of the college.
In fact, it certainly seems to me that, where students of another faith enter a residential denominational college, the prospect will be infinitely more in the direction of the college being likely to convert them than of their in any way damaging the college. Everybody admits, I think, the great charm of the religious teaching, enforced, as it is, by the high character of those who give it, which obtains in denominational colleges, and I think it exceedingly likely that the student who had gone there belonging to a different faith, and, possibly, with a prejudice against the faith of the college, might find his prejudices melt away, and, before his or her course was over, would be admitted into the faith of the religious body to whom the college belonged.
The noble Marquess Lord Londonderry spoke in somewhat hard terms of what he described as the fining of denominational colleges which declined to exercise the conscience clause. The most rev. Primate did not go so far. He objected rather to the tone than to the substance of the regulations. The noble Marquess, having himself been at the Board of Education must know, and I am astonished at his forgetfulness in not noting, that to diminish the grant where a college or school declines to enforce the conscience clause is simply what has always been done under the Act of 1870 and under the Act of 1902. It is, in fact, the sole weapon which the Board of Education has at its command, and all that this regulation does is instead of doing what would be done in the case of an elementary school, which might be immediately struck off the grant- 50 receiving list, to warn the college in the first place by a fine, which is not to exceed the sum named in the regulations, and, then, on the second occasion, if the college offends again, to strike it off the grant-receiving list.
Then the most rev. Primate dealt with the question of hostels. Like him, I am very anxious not to wade through a number of technical details to the weariness of your Lordships, but I do just wish to say a word on the regulation which he mentioned—No. 57, I think it is, in the Training College Regulations—which allows hostels which are to be treated as lodgings to receive the lower scale of grants. The most rev. Primate stated that in the case of men this would mean to them a difference of £15 The most rev. Primate is taking part in a debate, and is, therefore, of course, entitled to put his case in its strongest form, but he did not mention that, in the case of women, the difference is only £5,. and I believe it to be the fact that a great many more women teachers are, and will be, inmates of these hostels than men.
Then on the question of social antecedents, the most rev. Primate very frankly expressed a desire—I hope I am not misrepresenting him—to be able to some extent to choose for the training colleges those who had had opportunities of acquiring a somewhat wider culture than would be possible for those with a certain kind of social antecedents. If it was a case of leaving it to the most rev. Primate, we should all be glad, I am sure, to trust his acumen and conscientiousness in such a case, but I confess that, applied by ordinary people, it does seem to me to be a somewhat dangerous practice. It does open the door to what one can only call a certain amount of social snobbery. I know, of course, that the most rev. Primate stated, and stated what everybody would have expected, that he for one would not place the slightest bar in the way of the intelligent poor child who, to his or her credit, had risen to the possibility of entering such a college. Yet, as I say, I am not quite so certain that all people who might be concerned in the matter would hold that view with entirely the same strength, or that they could, be 51 entrusted to exercise a perfectly sound and fair discretion in the matter.
The most rev. Primate also complained that these regulations had been suddenly sprung on the training colleges. I will admit that at first sight it does look as though little time were given for preparation, but my right hon. friend, in saying what he did about the register, did so, I am certain, simply and solely with the idea of reassuring the most rev. Primate and those on whose behalf he speaks, and it was very far indeed from his mind to subject them to any undue amount of haste in this matter. It is my right hon. friend's opinion, on the best advice he can get, that when the time really comes, the difficulties will not be found nearly so great as is anticipated. We are familiar with the sort of panic—not always quite of a reasonable character—which sometimes overtakes those responsible for the management of an institution when any change is threatened. I hope that the difficulties referred to by the most rev. Primate will prove to be far less serious than he anticipates.
One word with regard to the position of secondary schools. I am very glad, that so far no complaints have been made with regard to the provision of free places. The regulation states that 25 per cent. of free places should be given in schools receiving the grant, but it adds that that proportion may be reduced in particular places. I think it is a wise discretion, and one which ought to relieve the anxiety of some schools which have been concerned as to the possibility of their providing the full number of free places. It must be remembered, also, that these free places have only to be offered; they have not to be kept empty. If it is found, as it undoubtedly will be in some districts, that the full proportion of the free places are not being filled, then they may be filled up in the ordinary way. As regards the provision of schools, the noble Marquess admitted that the regulations were not quite so stringent as might be inferred, because all the conditions which affect religious teaching, although not those which affect free places, may be waived if the local authorities agree. Our hope is that that regulation will meet all the hardest cases.
52 There are, of course, a certain number of very valuable schools which are unable or unwilling to come under the regulations requiring full public control. There are others which cannot entirely divest themselves of their denominational character, or even to the extent required by the regulations. In those cases it is practically certain that the local authorities, knowing the good work they have done, will consent to waive the regulations, and consequently the very far-reaching effects which the noble Marquess thought would follow for those schools will be averted. The noble Marquess said that the denominational character of the schools would have to be abandoned. That is, surely, a considerable over-statement. First, there is this power of waiver, and then the kind of regulations which are applied to the elementary schools do not apply to these schools in important points affect-ting the denominational character. It is not unfair to say that the general effect of the application of these provisions will be to make these secondary schools rather nearer in character to the great public schools in which so many of your Lordships have been educated. They, as we know, are almost exclusively undenominational in character.
I should like to say in conclusion, that I do not think it is quite fair of the most rev. Primate to describe these regulations as being anti-religious. They are certainly not so in intention, and, as we think, not in effect. I can only say that His Majesty's Government have no desire or intention to imperil religious teaching, nor, as far as it is consistent with their views of what is demanded by the fact that these institutions are so largely supported by public money, to interfere with their religious character. It is perfectly true that His Majesty's Government rejected a secular system as applicable to elementary schools; and they did so in the belief that the country rejected it also. Both the noble Marquesses on the Front Bench opposite (The Marquess of Londonderry and the Marquess of Salisbury) cheer. I believe that that is the case; but whether it will always be the case is another matter. If the country wants a secular system, the individuals who compose His Majesty's present Administration may or may not grant it. 53 But if not it will be easy for the country to put other people in their place who will. I only say that because I feel strongly that if it is attempted, either in relation to elementary or secondary education, to insist too strongly on denominational needs, or even to press too hardly what may be considered the just claims of denominationalism for consideration, the time may come when those who, like myself, do not desire to see a secular system may be powerless to prevent it—a circumstance which, I believe, the whole of your Lordships' House would sincerely deplore.
THE DUKE OF NORFOLK
My Lords, the most rev. Primate complained that those connected with training colleges had not had time enough given to them to prepare the action which they might think necessary to take in regard to these regulations. After listening to the speech of the noble Earl the Lord President it is evident that the Government have not given themselves time to prepare any defence for these extraordinary regulations. The groping perplexity with which we have approached this question has not been repudiated, but I venture to think is evidently fully shared by the noble Earl. In reply to the noble Marquess Lord Londonderry the Lord President said it was unfair to state that these regulations were introducing religious strife into training college administration and secondary education, and he said it was always very easy to avoid religious strife if those who might be expected to Indulge in it were given all they wanted and were amply supported by public funds.
§ *THE EARL OF CREWE
That is not what I said. I said it was very easy to avoid religious strife in any institution if you ensured that all those who studied i in the institution were of the same religious faith.
THE DUKE OF NORFOLK
I am glad to hear the noble. Earl admit that if a training college is confined to one religion, strife will be eliminated from that institution. I venture to think that precisely what these regulations do is to bring about religious strife. Indeed, 54 they have already done so. Hitherto these training colleges have been provided almost entirely out of the funds of those bodies who are zealous for religious education. Those who have failed to make these sacrifices are now not only to have training colleges provided for them by the State, but are to have the doors of other people's colleges opened to them. That is what we feel to be a very great grievance. A letter by Dr. Macnamara has been read suggesting that, after all, the foundation of these colleges was no very heavy drain on voluntary sources, and that from that date forward they have been maintained from public funds.
As regards our own training colleges, I cannot state the full amount we have spent upon them. But in the case of one college alone, in Liverpool, £69,000 of voluntary contributions has been expended, and within I think the last four or five years £30,000 has been expended on the purchase of site and buildings for another, and £5,000 has been laid out upon it to make it more suitable for the requirements. In the last few years we have founded four or five training colleges, and throughout all those efforts a sum which, I believe, at the utmost amounts to £6,000 is the only help we have had from public funds. Moreover, as regards the maintenance and upkeep of these colleges we have ourselves found year by year an average of over 20 per cent. of the cost. That, I may say, without wishing in any way to blow our own trumpet, is considerably higher than the percentage found by any other body. While we spend 20 per cent. on maintenance and upkeep, those who desire what is commonly called Cowper-Temple religion, that religion which I maintain His Majesty's Government is now about to put upon a specially favoured basis "at the cost of other religious denominations, expend only 6 per cent., which is a very distinct difference.
We are sometimes told that we must not regard financial help as encouragement, but we have in many ways had great encouragement in our endeavour to carry on a great and important part of the educational work of the country. I admit it with gratitude; claim it as a justification for what we 55 have done, and for what we have a right to expect. We understand that those who maintain the charms and advantages of Cowper-Templeism are now to have colleges provided for them. I am very glad indeed to hear it; it is high time that was done. We have been making this provision all these years and they have not been doing so, but now it is going to be done for them out of the public moneys to which we ourselves contribute. We make no grievance of that. Let it be done by all means; let those who have not in the past shown the zeal which we have shown have at the eleventh hour their colleges. But why on that account should we, who have been foremost in the fight, and who have been encouraged to spend vast sums of money, be told that we are to open our doors to those whom we do not want? Why is this cuckoo policy to be pursued? We have built our nests for a special object; why are these cuckoo eggs to be laid in them by those who have built no nests at all? I should like that question carefully answered.
This is a practical grievance at the moment because we have not sufficient room in our training colleges for our own students. I would instance the case of our training college at Hull, which only holds ninety students and to which there were the other day 300 applicants. As j I understand these regulations, their Catholic students clamouring at our doors are to be set aside for non-Catholic students if the post happens to bring the application of the non-Catholic student before that of the Catholic student. We are to have no means of discrimination. When there are so many Catholic applicants why should any be set aside for non-Catholic students? It is a question which must be asked in the name of common honesty and decency, for if such a thing were to be done it would be a most monstrous breach of common decency and a gross injustice.
The noble Earl the Lord President mentioned the deputation, of which I had the honour of forming one, which waited upon the Prime Minister to-day. The Minister for Education was present as well as the noble Earl the Lord President. We had not the advantage of 56 hearing the noble Earl, but we did hear the Prime Minister and the President of the Board of Education. The Minister for Education assured us that our fears were really groundless, that non-Catholic students would not come to our colleges, and that we need not be afraid; but the Prime Minister, on the other hand, seemed to take some satisfaction in thinking they would come, for he told us what a lot of good they would do us when they did come. That shows that the Government have not made up their minds as to what may be expected to happen—a perplexity which is shared by others. It was stated by a member of the deputation that someone imbued with an intense hatred of our religion might come into one of our colleges, and it has been said that in such a case we might convert him. I fear the annals of our education will not show that that is a general result. In my opinion it is unlikely that men who feel intense hatred of our religion will come to our colleges, but those superior individuals who sneer at the religion of those about them are more dangerous than the outward blasphemer, and the presence of a very few such would quickly break up the harmonious religious character which we wish to maintain in our training colleges.
It has been my lot for more than thirty years constantly to meet, on Committees of your Lordships' House, His Majesty's inspectors, and to hear their reports on our training colleges. I do not in the least wish to quote them as saving that what the Government suggests would be hostile to the good work done by training colleges; but those inspectors have year after year paid a tribute to the good work that has been done for culture and refinement in training colleges under nuns. The most rev. Primate spoke of the desirability of bringing to this work of education persons of refinement and culture. In our training colleges we have had to take many who were uncultured and not in the worldly sense highly-refined, and to bring culture and refinement to them, and report after report of inspectors of the Board of Education has shown that in that great work we have done excellently and well. This has been due to the fact that in these institutions 57 there is a harmony of religious belief and a fellowship in religious worship, a daily guiding by those in charge of the institution of the students under their care, a family life based upon religion; and we feel that this may be materially jeopardised and cruelly broken into if others who do not share these religious beliefs are allowed to come within our walls. I do not speak of them as individuals. If they are admitted on proper conditions, if they come with the request to be allowed to enter and agree to accept the discipline they find there, that is one thing; but if they have a right to demand admission and come there knowing that no one can say them nay, it is not taking a narrow and circumscribed view to say that that must have a deleterious effect upon the character of our colleges.
I will not now go into the question of secondary schools, but I may say that we have just over forty such institutions. We are a body who have had great difficulties to contend with, but we do believe that in our secondary schools we have taken not an ignoble share in the educational work of the country; yet the effect of the present proposals will be most harmful to those schools. The head of the Roman Catholic communion in this country felt obliged at to-day's deputation, in gentle terms, but with great firmness, to say distinctly to the Prime Minister that Roman Catholics felt these proposals to be an encroachment in the domain of conscience, and that we should be obliged to disregard some of these regulations. This determination has also been expressed in the strongest and most unequivocal terms by a largely-attended meeting of Catholic laymen, held in connection with the deputation and including many ardent supporters of the Liberal Party, who feel that a great wrong is being done.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (Lord LOREBURN)
My Lords, the noble Marquess who opened this debate asked my opinion upon a legal question. He wished to know whether the Board of Education will have any legal power to distribute to local authorities any part of the sum of £100,000 recently voted for providing new public elementary 58 schools, until Section 96 of the Elementary Education Act, 1870, has been repealed. There is no doubt that the Act and section to which he refers does provide that no Parliamentary grant shall be made in aid of the building, or enlarging, or improving, or fitting up any elementary school. That is a direction in an Act of Parliament in regard to what shall be done hereafter.
But it is an acknowledged maxim of law that this being what is called a sovereign Parliament, it can pass any law, or qualify or alter any law if it thinks fit. No section of an Act of Parliament can prevent subsequent Parliaments from doing what they think it right to do. Under these circumstances, an estimate is put down, and I believe a Resolution has been passed in the House of Commons for a sum of £100,000 for the building of new public elementary schools. This has not yet, I think, found its way into an Act of Parliament or a Bill. When it does, it will, I presume, follow the usual course of Appropriation Bills, and it will read—That the sums granted by the Act are appropriated and shall be deemed to have been appropriated ass from the date of the passing of the Act as mentioned in Schedule A for the services and purposes expressed in Schedule B annexed hereto.That means that with the assent of both Houses of Parliament there will then be a direction to appropriate £100,000 to this particular purpose. As a matter of law—I am not speaking now of the constitutional question—any Court below will acknowledge and obey that as an Act of Parliament. It seems to me that that is plain.
Then comes the constitutional question. The noble Marquess asks me whether it would be constitutional, as apart from the strictly legal aspect. For my part I speak with all deference on these subjects and with some misgiving, because a few weeks ago I had the misfortune to state my opinion on a question of constitutional law, and I was mortified to find my noble friend Lord Halsbury took a different view. I regretted such a proceeding very much, for I do not like discord of that kind to appear. I do not think this can be called unconstitutional. It is a matter of opinion 59 whether it is improper or not—that is a question of propriety. I do not think there is anything unconstitutional or irregular in it, and for my part I do not think it is improper. The only precedent or analogous case that I can recall was a case in which, in the early years of the eighties, there was an Act which prescribed the maximum salary of magistrates in Ireland, and notwithstanding that Act, after a discussion in Parliament about 1883, Governments on both sides have passed and sanctioned by Appropriation Acts larger salaries than the maximum laid down in the earlier Act. That is the only precedent I can recall now. I did not know this question would be asked, and I have not had time to look the matter up.
§ LORD ASHBOURNE
My Lords, I do not desire to intervene in the general debate, but merely to say a word with reference to the constitutional and legal aspects of the case. Of course we all recognise that Parliament has power to do almost anything by Act of Parliament, but I do not think that is quite the question. It is certainly only part of the question. Here is a great change suddenly sprung by the Minister for Education, without notice or warning, dealing not with a petty thing such as the addition of an extra £200 to the salaries of four of the magistrates of Ireland, but with a large sum of money and a large question of policy, and it is done by the Minister for Education with the knowledge that it is right in the teeth of the Act of Parliament. My noble friend on the Woolsack, who, I am sure, would never, in interpreting our laws, say anything which did not commend itself to his legal judgment, and for whose opinion I have the highest respect, did not, it was obvious, feel at all so strong as to the omnipotence of Parliament when he came to the constitutional aspect of the question. All that my noble and learned friend could bring himself to say with reference to that was that he would not say it was unconstitutional. That is a different thing from saying, "I am of opinion that, in constitutional law, this is constitutional." The Lord Chancellor has not said that.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I certainly never trimmed my language in that way. What I said I mean—that this is not in violation of anything that is constitutional in the full sense of the word.
§ LORD ASHBOURNE
I at once accept that statement. What is the meaning of "constitutional?" It means that a thing is in accordance with fixed usage and settled practice. I say that this is not in accordance with fixed usage and settled practice. The sudden statement of a great change in the educational policy of the country, and involving the expenditure of a great sum of money, deliberately, in the teeth of an Act of Parliament still on the Statute-book, cannot be said to be in strict accordance with fixed usage, and cannot possibly be called constitutional. In all the history of this country my noble and learned friend was only able to give one precedent. And what was that? Poor Ireland! It is always appealed to for precedents. The only precedent the Lord Chancellor could recall was that twenty-three or twenty-four years ago-four magistrates in Ireland were allotted extra duties and were given £200 extra salary. I maintain that that instance of a trifling payment is a very different thing from this. I contend that this cannot be fitly described as a constitutional proceeding.
*LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
My Lords, I must apologise for rising so near the dinner hour, but I have a special reason for asking your Lordships to grant me your indulgence now. I do not pretend for a moment to discuss the legal question, but I think, after what the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack has said, everyone will feel that the action proposed by the Government is strictly legal. I also think it is bringing in a very big word to appeal to the constitution in connection with a Parliamentary practice which we happen not to like. It is very difficult to say what is constitutional. But to a certain extent I associate myself with the criticisms of those who do not like this method of amending an Act of Parliament by means of the 61 Appropriation Bill. I put it oil the ground of Parliamentary practice. I feel that if we are to amend a clause in a general Act that has gone through Parliament with full discussion, it is only fair that the other House—it does not affect your Lordships' House, which is not concerned with money matters— should have the same full control by power of debate at all stages. Therefore I, personally, regret the introduction of a practice which may constitute a very evil precedent in future years. In my opinion the course adopted is injurious to the efficiency of Parliamentary debate. But I do think if there was one person in this House who had no right to give expression to the very lofty language which ho used in condemning the action of the Government it was the noble Marquess opposite, Lord Londonderry. Here, in order to get over a difficulty, a method has been adopted of a peculiar character; but, at any rate, the method, if successful, does get out of the difficulty in accordance with law. But I would remind the noble Marquess of the line he took when he was Lord President of the Council in October, 1902, just on the eve of the Act of that year becoming law. When that Act became law it had the effect of exempting managers of voluntary schools from every financial liability except that of keeping their buildings in order. What did the noble Marquess do on that occasion? He called together a formal conference of all his inspectors and addressed to them an allocution as to the way in which they should discharge their duties; and in addressing the inspectors whose duty it would be to draw attention to structural deficiency and to support the action of the local authorities who called for structural improvements the noble Marquess told them that, without in any way wishing to lay down a hard-and-fast rule, he would deprecate a too rigid application of building rules and playground regulations. The noble Marquess called his staff together, and said that here was an Act under which voluntary managers would have to put their buildings in order, but he did not wish the rules to be rigidly enforced. I therefore maintain that the noble Marquess has put himself out of court in regard to complaining of the action now taken by the Government in this matter.
62 The important point in the debate has been the question of secondary schools and training colleges, and the position in regard to both is in many respects the same. The Government have provided, in the case of secondary schools, that in future there shall only be one type of school aided with public money—the type of school which is either under public management, or, at any rate, in which the majority of the governors are appointed by a public body; it shall also be a type of school in which what I may call the official religious instruction, if any, shall be of an undenominational character. Henceforward new schools may be established by denominations, and six out of thirteen of the governors may be denominational. I do not think that if Roman Catholics were to start a college in, say, Liverpool, and were to provide that there should be a governing body of thirteen, of whom six should be appointed by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Liverpool and seven by the Liverpool Education Authority, they would have much trouble, and I have very little doubt that that new school would be worked on the lines that Catholic schools are worked on now. The only difference would be that, instead of everyone receiving Catholic instruction in the school who did not withdraw, the parents would have to make application for definite Catholic instruction. Curiously enough, that, from the passing of the Act of 1870, has been the practice in the board schools of Liverpool, that is, parents have applied for their children to receive religious instruction, not to be exempted from it. I do not think myself that persons who want to start denominational schools will find any practical difficulty. The secondary schools which receive Parliamentary grants are not the great residential public schools, but schools of a humbler character—day schools mainly. No one disputes the propriety of a conscience clause in a day school. I do not think that with regard to secondary schools these regulations will make a material alteration. The old schools will continue to receive the old grants from Parliament; the new and enlarged grants will be paid to new schools which conform to the new type.
I turn to the training colleges, in connection with which much more feeling 63 has been aroused among friends of de nominationalism than in connection with secondary schools. If the most rev Primate will excuse me, I will say that though he two or three times disclaimed the wish to deal with technicalities and ex-pressed the desire to deal with the broad aspects of the case, yet I think in fact his speech was too much occupied with technicalities, and he failed adequately to grapple with the broad aspects. The real question is, Are you prepared in the existing denominational training colleges frankly to accept students who do not belong to your denomination? That is the essential question. I read with very great interest the full report in The Times of the audience which the Archbishop and those who went with him received from the Prime Minister and the Minister for Education, and I noticed that the leading representative of training colleges, Canon Morley Stevenson (Principal of Warring-ton Training College), who is this year Chairman of the Association of Training Colleges, was more liberal than the great bulk of the speakers. He said—They recognised that the time had come when some place must be found within their colleges for those who belonged to other denominations, and they accepted the spirit of the conscience clause.I wish that the most rev. Primate could have spoken to us in the same words. If he had said that, we should have got much further on the way to agreement.
*THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
I venture to think I did in substance urge the very same thing, and I not only expressed a desire for it, but contended that by our supplementary hostels it was being actually done.
*LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
I will tell the most rev. Primate why I think his profession fell short of what we desire. He limits his willingness to accept students to day students. There was no such reservation in the speech of Canon Morley Stevenson. The essential thing is that its should be recognised that in colleges largely maintained by public money meritorious students should be able to come in without being limited by the denominational character of the college. There is nothing very terrible in 64 that. Experience has shown that the conscience clause works very smoothly and quietly when it is once introduced. Will any right rev. Prelate familiar with the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge say that since the residential colleges were thrown open, without limitation of creed and sect, the life of those colleges has no been sweetened and the spiritual life improved? I have not looked up any quotations to justify myself in this, but I remember seven or eight years ago at a Church Congress an older don at Oxford than I was—the Rev. Mr. Ince—who was a pillar of the Conservative Party and opposed the reforms which threw open the University, making a speech in which he admitted that the abolition of the wrangles that existed at Oxford while tests were in force had been salutary and beneficial to the spiritual as well as the social life of the place.
The British and Foreign Colleges have lived perfectly happily, and have had as good a home lift among students of various religious belief as Church colleges. Good work has also been done by the Home and Colonial College, which has always admitted Nonconformists within its walls. One might multiply examples, and say that this conscience clause, which is to you such a bug-bear before you experience it, will, as a matter of fact, work very smoothly when you have it. Roman Catholics do undoubtedly stand a little outside the general pale of English life and English society. They are suffering because they have pooled their cause with the Established Church of England. Ten or twelve years ago if people had combined upon a national system of education free from ecclesiastical interference, terms for special groups of the population, like Catholics and Jews would have been willingly recognised; but if people will fight to the last with dangerous allies the time will come when they will go down with the allies with whom they have been associated.
The most rev. Primate talked of the large sums which have been spent, and which are now being spent, upon the colleges. We know, of course, the case of Kennington. We have heard it very often, and it is a very creditable instance of public spirit. But the great mass 65 of these Church training colleges were founded between 1840 and 1851, and does the House know what the state was as to public aid and private contributions at the time they were founded and after? In 1851, Canon Moseley, the inspector, reported that in regard to Church colleges for men the Government paid 10 per cent., the students 30 per cent., and voluntary subscriptions covered more than 50 per cent.; and at that time an official letter was written to Canon Moseley by Mr. Lingen, afterwards Lord Lingen, conveying the warning to Church colleges that they had no right to suppose that the grants they were then receiving were to be a vested interest, or that they could go on indefinitely relying upon State aid, while they were exclusively denominational in their character. That letter will be found on pages 213 and 214 of the Education Report, 1851–2.
The Established Church has never failed to get, never by year, better and better terms from the State. The Church has been what I may call the spoilt child of the State in matters of Parliamentary aid. In 1857, they had brought down their share of contributions from over 50 per cent. to 26 per cent., and the then inspector of Church training colleges for women, after giving the figures, wrote as follows—These returns corroborate the opinion I expressed last year. On the whole, the institutions arc prosperous. Doubtless some difficulty is experienced in keeping up the annual subscriptions, but the amount now received ought to not be diminished. It is a small contribution considering that these institutions belong to the diocese in which they stand, and are entirely managed by local authorities.Suppose the Church had to find 25 per cent. from voluntary contributions. Why, they could not. subsist for a moment.
Every existing Church college is left practically undisturbed. The Church has the whole of the appointments of the staff, the whole of the domestic arrangements, and all that they are called upon to do is to accept students by merit without regard to faith. I agree with the most rev. Primate that if this were a Committee discussion on the details of this Code there are many points worthy of consideration. I agree with him that most serious difficulty is thrown on the 66 heads of training colleges by the abolition of all the old guides by which they were able to determine who were the best qualified of the students. Those things have greatly increased the difficulty of the authorities. Now it is suggested that we should go back to the class system. It is essential that that should be done, but if the most rev. Primate and those who act with him would come forward and say: "We will accept your principle, we will in good faith not have regard to the fact whether the applicant is a Churchman or a Nonconformist, but whether he or she is of good character, ability, and disposition for the teaching profession, and we will take them on those terms," then I feel certain that they could be met with all sorts of reasonable regulation is as to admission.
But it is no use dealing with these difficulties of detail when we are at a question of principle. I will make a further concession to the most rev. Primate. The Code contemplates that hostels will continue to exist, not under the name of hostel, but under the name of lodging-house. There are two words which I should like to see disappear from this Code—that women living in lodgings will be recognised "at present." I think that to put in the words "at present" with reference to a particular part of the Code is a sort of note of warning, a sort of threat of the possibility of withdrawal which does not apply to other parts of the Code; and I am anxious that every facility shall be given to these denominations to establish what in fact will be hostels, and if they are willing to establish hostels I should like to see the wording of the Code show complete impartiality in that matter. I think it is not unfair for the Board of Education to say that if you want to have your special atmosphere in your hostels you must not expect the Government to pay the whole of the cost; yet I think the difference which applies in the case of women of £5 is reasonable, and I should be glad if the same small sum were applied in the case of men. I have no objection to hostels if young people prefer to go into them. While I think that those who advocate this special advantage for the denomination should not expect the community to bear the 67 whole cost, yet I think if a very moderate difference were introduced that might meet the position. There are other things I would have said but for the fact that your Lordships are desirous of suspending the sitting for dinner.
Before sitting down I would emphasise the fact that it must be recognised at the present day that public opinion demands two things. It demands that the institutions for the public training of our nation shall be as far as possible under public management. The community is determined to assume control of its own education, and not to delegate it to ecclesiastical societies. And, secondly, the community is determined that, as far as possible, the career of the teacher shall be open to the most meritorious on equal terms. So long as there is a scarcity of accommodation in the training colleges the nation has a right to demand that the fittest shall have the first choice. Let us endeavour to secure a sufficient number of training colleges, and then have the most absolute belief that the natural disposition of the students will lead them to the institutions most congenial to them.
*THE LORD BISHOP OF ST. ALBANS
said he would like, in beginning what he had to say, to ac-knowledge the very conciliatory tone of the noble Lord who had just spoken. He could not help feeling as he heard him that if they had to deal with him as the Minister for Education instead of with Mr. McKenna they would really have a better chance of coming to terms. There were many things which he said with which he entirely agreed in spirit, and therefore, while he was obliged to criticise the main conclusion at which the noble Lord had arrived, he desired to express a great deal of agreement with various points he had brought out in his speech. The main point which it appeared to him had been raised on behalf of the Government was the supposed obligation in reference to public; money of applying the conscience clause to the training colleges. He took the word "oblige" from the President of the Council, who said they felt obliged to apply the conscience clause to the training colleges and in that way, he (the rev. Prelate) would not say wholly to 68 undenominationalise them, but certainly with regard to the new colleges to insist upon their being undenominational. When did this argument of public money really begin to be realised? He ventured to say it was not realised at all last year. When did the Government wake up to the supposed obligation of imposing a conscience clause on the training colleges? Last year the President of the Board of Education in many ways gave encouragement to the training colleges. He explained that there was great misconception on the part of Nonconformists with reference to the position of the training college grants. He defended these grants as being grants not really made to the colleges, and not really to subsidise the religious bodies which provided them, but as grants given in the nature of scholarships which it would be wrong to prevent the owners taking to this or that college they chose to adopt. He ventured to say that the President of the Council went even further. He did not merely defend the training colleges, but he gave them every sort of encouragement in the policy they had suggested, which they were prepared to carry out, and had to a certain extent already carried out, and which he would call the hostel policy. They opened hostels in connection with their denominational colleges in which they might admit others than those of their own religious body, and in connection with the new training colleges which were wholly of an undenominational character they had been asked by the parents of a large number of students to open hostels of a religious and distinctly denominational character. Last year the Government had not come to a conclusion adverse to the training colleges, and he would ask their Lordships to notice that last year was after the General Election, when, surely if they had come to the conclusion that they had any mandate from the country at all, they must have come to it then. He maintained, therefore, that last year after the General Election, they had not come to any decision to undenominationalise the training colleges or to impugn the policy of their grants. What had caused this change of policy? Was it the failure of the Government to carry their Education Bill through the House? 69 Was it a general feeling in the country that had so stirred the Government as to induce them to adopt this new and revolutionary policy? He could only say for himself that he had never witnessed such an extraordinary feeling as pervaded and permeated the whole country last year in connection with that Bill, and he wholly failed to understand what had happened since to make it necessary to impose this new policy upon the training colleges at large. The policy of the Government, as was so well expounded by a Member of the Government last year, was not to subsidise the colleges as colleges, but to give scholarships to men and women who had earned them. What the Government required was the finished product. They were not able to produce it, and they wanted a teacher who had undergone a long training, who had been under discipline, who had learned to teach, and who had the morale which would enable him to give the necessary training and influence. When they had obtained that finished product; when he or she had received his or her parchment, then, and not till then, was the payment made by the Government. That was the policy on which hitherto the grants had been made, and it was, he ventured to say, a sound policy. Successive Governments had acknowledged that it was not in their power to produce this result themselves. They offered every inducement to other bodies to found colleges from which that product might issue, and, if the Church of England had to a large extent taken advantage of the requests of successive Governments to open colleges under the offers made to them and others had not, did she deserve to be mulcted in the way she was mulcted now, and was the Government justified in taking her colleges in order that they might do the work which the Government acknowledged they themselves could not do? When he came to the equity of the situation it seemed to him there were certain things which ought to be said. He was, first of all, entitled to say that there had been ever since 1839 a consecutive policy on the part of successive Governments in reference to the training college grants. He believed the first Order in Council was dated 1839, and that by it authority was given to give £10,000 to certain train- 70 ing colleges. Ever since that decision there had been Orders in Council and grants made, and there had been various codes formed with reference to the training colleges. Never, however, between 1839 and 1907 had there been any sort of variation in the policy under which Governments had administered the grants; and he submitted that on the grounds of equity they were entitled to ask why that confirmed policy, which had elicited from the religious bodies such large sums of money which would not have been given except upon the faith of it, had been abandoned, and what was the equity of the revolution they had in the regulations this year.
He wished to say a word with reference to the trust deeds. When the Government promised grants to training colleges in earlier years for building and in late years for maintenance, the one thing which they required was some satisfactory trust deeds. Those trust deeds were various, and they would all have to be very carefully scanned and examined. The Governments of the day, however, had given their grants upon the faith of those trust deeds, knowing perfectly well what they contained; and now by the regulations of the Government—not by any statute—the training colleges were to be asked to do things which were contrary to their trust deeds, on the faith of which the colleges were built, and on the faith of which the grants were originally given. He wanted to come to the question of the money itself. The noble Lord who preceded him made some capital out of the admission, an admission which he perfectly conceded, that in late years the contributions towards the maintenance of the training colleges had been gradually less. He said that they had become more and more dependent upon the Government for their maintenance. He (the Lord Bishop) conceded the fact that in reference to maintenance the ordinary subscriptions had been less than they were some years ago; but it was remarkable that it was just that period which had witnessed some reduction of the contributions given by the religious bodies to the maintenance of the 71 training college that had been marked by the most extraordinary advance in the subscriptions for plant. The most rev. Prelate referred to the sum, he thought, of £200,000 which had been subscribed in the last twelve years. He had tried to go into it as far as he could, and he noticed the following results. The sum of £92,613 was given by grants from the Government for the building of Church of England training colleges before 1870, and he found upon evidence given before the Education Commission of 1886 by a former Secretary of the Board of Education that the sum subscribed was three times the amount of the Government grant; giving the sum of £277,839. St. Gabriel's, Kennington, had been built at a cost of £60,000. It accommodated 160 students; and besides St. Gabriel's they had provided 1,390 other places since 1870 in their various training colleges. St. Gabriel's thus cost more than £300 per place, and the other 1,390 places could not possibly have been provided at less than £200 per place. He was speaking the other day to the superintendent of a lunatic asylum, who said they could not provide a place for a lunatic Under £200, and they were putting it very low for a training college if they put it at £200 per place. At £200 per place for 1,390 students they had the sum of £278,000, and this added to the other items made a total of £615,839, of which £338,000 had been given since 1870, the larger part in the last twelve years. When they were calculating what the Church of England had given for religious training colleges, it was not fair simply to say that only a small proportion had been given towards maintenance and that a decreasing proportion. They were bound to take into consideration the enormous sums spent upon plant; sums larger apparently as the ordinary subscriptions for the maintenance of the colleges had diminished. He ventured to say that on the grounds of the very large expenditure not only of the Church of England but of the Roman Catholics and other religious bodies the question of equity was one which pressed and that the revolution in policy was not equitable considering all the circumstances of the past.
72 He wanted now to say a word on what he might call the variety of type that was absolutely desirable whether in the training of teachers or of children. A policy of dead monotony was very bad. He believed it was a very bad thing to have only one type of school in the country. He was quite certain that the more they could vary their education and the more types they could have the better it would be for the country at large. There were two main types in reference to religious education. There was the denominational and the undenominational. He wanted to do justice to both. Out of the undenominational type as represented by the board schools they had had—and he gladly acknowledged it—very good results. He was not the man to decry what had been done by the board schools of the country or to decry what had come out of the undenominational type of school; but he did say that to crush the denominational type and exalt the undenominational was from an educational point of view absolutely unsound. They wanted a variety of types and not a dull monotony, and he believed the best kind of type came not from the undenominational but from the denominational side. Whether it was better or worse, however, he claimed that at any rate on the ground of the evil of monotony it was an absolutely bad thing to crush one kind of type in favour of another. This change of policy had interrupted real progress in filling up places and supplying fresh places for teachers. They were all entirely conscious of the desire, not only on the part of the teachers, but of all educationists that every kind of teacher should have the opportunity of being trained. He did not for one moment yield to Lord Stanley in the desire that every teacher, whatever his religious belief, should have the opportunity of being trained and of becoming as good a teacher as it was possible for him to be. Last year they were all bent upon the policy of providing hostels all over the country. They had, to a large extent, already begun in the college with which he was connected at Bishops Stortford. They had built a hostel for twenty young women; it was working extremely well, and they were prepared to enlarge it.
73 Other colleges had done the same, and last year they had every encouragement from the Board of Education itself to persevere not only in this policy but in founding denominational hostels in connection with undenominational colleges. If this had gone on, in a few years time they would have had a large accession to the training colleges and hostels, and would have had this want greatly supplied. The Government had now given them regulations which really provided no new places at all, which simply provided for a shifting of places, and would not add permanently to the educational efficiency of the country.
He wanted to say something on what he must call character. The regulations on this ground were very much to be lamented. They wanted not merely clever teachers, but teachers of brain and character, teachers who would be able to influence others, not merely by the way in which they taught religion, but by being religious teachers in everything. When they sent their own sons and relations to public schools, they looked out for schools where there were men who were able to inspire them, men who had character and were likely to mould the character of their sons as they would desire to see them moulded. Character was a very delicate thing indeed. It was far more than religious teaching. It came out in everything. A good teacher of high character showed his character in everything, in the way he did his work, in the consideration he showed for the child, in the way in which he gave a natural history lecture, and in countless ways, and that was what they wanted. If they were going to do anything to weaken character and to weaken the influences that made character, they would not be doing anything good for the country at large. If this was so, then by discouraging the denominational training colleges they were really inflicting a blow upon the character which was so delicate and of such untold value. He believed it to be absolutely certain that the highest and best character depended upon religious conviction, and, when they had religious conviction on the part of those who were concerned with the training colleges and yet a real liberality and desire to show every consideration to others who might be of a different form 74 of belief, he believed they had the best guarantee of the character they wanted to see planted in their children. From this point of view the regulations were singularly unfortunate. They really struck a blow at character, and for that reason they would take, in his judgment, a very retrograde step in the history of education. He gave credit to the Government for a real desire to do what they believed for the best of the country. He gave as much credit to them for their motives in the matter as he claimed for those with whom he more particularly agreed; but it was to them a matter so sacred and so essential, that the Government must pardon them if they protested against regulations which violated every policy that was sound and good, and which certainly in their judgment boded ill for the country at large.
§ LORD HERRIES
wished to refer to the fact that under the regulations it would be necessary that 25 per cent. of the students in secondary schools must have free places. He had heard several authorities on the subject of secondary education, and they one and all condemned the necessity of having 25 per cent. of the places free in every school. It appeared to him quite possible, if not probable, that men who were well able to pay for the secondary education of their children would send them to a primary school in order to get them into a secondary school free afterwards. The result would be that the country would pay for the education of boys and girls whose parents were well able to pay for them themselves. He could not but think that that consideration had not been brought before those who had drawn up the regulations. It was an instance of the careless manner in which they had been drawn up. He was quite certain that if the country found out that they were paying for the secondary education of the children of those who could well afford to pay they would turn round on the county councils and say, "Why are we obliged to pay for the education of the children of those who can afford to pay?" All the county councils would be able to answer would be, "We are forced by the regulations of the Government." The regulations had been sprung upon the 75 country, and they were forced to accept them without any opportunity of refusing them. The fact was the Government was prepared to wage war against all denominational education, and, having been defeated in their direct attack upon primary education, they were now prepared by a flank attack to cut oft supplies. By undenominationalising the teachers, they were endeavouring to prevent denominational education being given in the country. If teachers were not brought up in denominational schools they would not be able to give in denominational schools that religious teaching which was naturally expected of them. Of course, it was quite right that there should be a conscience clause in day schools. No one had any objection to that. Would any member of the Government, however, be prepared to send his sons to a residential school, frequented by people of every denomination, if it was not necessary for them to attend any religious exercises whatever? He thought he would not, but would require that wherever he sent them they should be obliged to attend some religious services. When it came, however, to the question upon which the future of the country depended, they were told that they were going to any denominational college and could absent themselves from any religious exercises whatever. He was not sure they could not absent themselves from grace before meals. They might say it was a religious exercise. It was quite possible they would be students who were atheists or Mohamedans, or Jews, forcing themselves upon denominational schools and training colleges. How were they going to prevent them? If they applied first, they must under the Regulations be, accepted, providing in other ways they had a good moral character. They would perhaps have Mohamedans going about advocating polygamy, and the Jew objecting when he got pork or ham for dinner. These sort of things would go on in residential schools. There must be some religious bond to keep them together. He could not understand how anyone who believed in religious education could insist that people of all denominations should go to the residential training schools where they could get no benefit 76 whatever from the religious training and where it was quite possible they might do harm to those, around them. They were told that the teachers, even in all the public schools, would teach the Cowper-Temple clause. How would they be able to teach that amount of Christianity found in the Cowper-Temple clause if they received no religious training themselves? He would suggest that the. Government next year should insist that those who attended the training colleges should attend some place of worship where they could acquire some belief in a future life. The whole of our civilisation depended upon religion; it was the foundation of our morals, and, if they were going to have teachers in the schools of the future who would ignore this fact, how could they expect that the future generations would be worthy of the country they inherited, and able to transmit to their descendants that civilisation of which Englishmen were so proud, and to maintain that opinion which England had so well deserved in the world for the moral behaviour of her citizens? No one was more anxious than himself that the position we had in the world should be handed down to those who came after us, and when he saw the result of secular education in foreign countries, how crime increased and how life was no longer as sacred as it used to be, he was more impressed than ever with the necessity for having religion inculcated in the schools. He did not confine himself to his own religion but spoke of that religious spirit which he was happy to say existed throughout the country. He for one would be sorry to think it would ever diminish; he hoped it would always continue, but it could only do so through the medium of the schools of the country.
*THE LORD BISHOP OF SOUTHWARK
said that it was satisfactory that the debate had shown that this was not a matter merely of administrative detail, but that it went deep into those principles upon which, whatever their different views, they thought that the national system of education should be based. He hoped that it had been sufficiently brought out that they were not in any way standing upon merely a property 77 claim or a historical claim. There was one remark of Lord Stanley which appeared to imply that it was because the Church of England and other bodies had done great things in the past that they were making this claim that night. The noble Lord seemed to impute that rather to the most rev. prelate. He thought everyone who had listened to the most rev. prelate's speech would agree that there was nothing upon which he insisted so little as that. He did indeed insist, as other speakers had insisted, on what had been done more recently and was being done at this very hour for the extension of church training colleges; but it was in no sense a cleaving to the past. It seemed to him that they might very fairly and boldy claim that the system upon which they had been working was an open system, and the system upon which they desired to work was an open system. The State insisted upon the training of the teacher. It made the training of the teacher possible by giving a grant to every teacher trained, but it left it to those who would to provide institutions in which the training should be given. Of course, there was a period up to a certain date when the State not only felt free and able to allow that to be done, but to help in the doing of it. That ended in 1870, and so far that was a change of policy, but since then it had been left free to everyone to provide teaching. They were going now to impair that system. It was quite true that if they described the existing system as an open system they would be met by.some rather sharp and ironical criticism. They would be asked: "Do you mean to say that the Nonconformist has hitherto had the same chance of getting a good residential training as a Churchman? Have you never heard that a better qualified more capable Nonconformist was unable to find a place when a less capable and less qualified Churchman found one? Have you never heard it said that the Nonconformist was exposed to a temptation of adopting in a temporary and shallow way the character of a Churchman? And you are responsible for putting that stumbling block in the Nonconformist's path." He did not think the case could be more strongly put than that. Were they justified, nevertheless, in saying 78 that the system was an open one? It seemed to him that they were. The field was open, only it was in great part unoccupied, and it had always been to him a matter of great regret that whilst the Church of England, and as they had heard the Roman Catholics, had done their part so effectually in the training colleges, so small an area comparatively was occupied by good men of other convictions. They did occupy an area certainly, for there were some excellent colleges of an undenominational character, but they formed only a small part of the whole system. He always felt inclined to put the question: Who was to blame for that? Was the Church of England or we e the Roman Catholics to blame for it? It seemed to him most unreasonable to blame them for doing their bit when the chance was given to people of all sorts of doing their bit also. He would not willingly say one provocative word on the subject: and certainly he would not wish to say any pharisaical word, and therefore as regarded the failure of Nonconformists to take an equal part, he would only say that they at any rate owed the Church the justice of acknowledging the part she had played. He could not himself but think that the Nonconformists might, if they would, have done and might do more in this direction. But he would go a step further. The Government was not encumbered by scruples which would entangle some of them in discriminating between one form of religious teaching and another. The Government, therefore, would have no difficulty, if they thought it right, in making a grant towards building undenominational colleges. In fact a grant was now made of as much as 75 per cent. to the building of new undenominational day training colleges. They would have no difficulty in going further, if they thought well, and undertaking the whole cost of building an open or undenominational or neutral re idential training colleges. If this residential accommodation were so much desired and if by the agreement of all it was valued so highly, the real remedy would be to increase the amount of it on various lines and not to harass those who, with an earnest conviction which, he thought, ought to command respect, 79 with a great deal of sacrifice, and with efforts which were fresh and living to-day, had provided their own part in their own way. It seemed to him it was hardly a fair way of dealing with the matter. Let them help in whatever they could to encourage the enlargement of the system, but let them not lay mauling hands on what other people had provided. That was not quite all they had to say. He thought there was a very reasonable field for difference of opinion as to the exact effect of a conscience clause in a residential college. The conscience clause was sometimes said to date back to 1870. He thought it dated back further than that. He remembered that in the recommendations of the Endowed Schools Commission of 1868 a strong distinction was drawn between a conscience clause in a day school and a conscience clause in a place of residence, where the admission of others who were not in harmony and sympathy with the spirit of the system made such a difference and hindered the full putting out by the authorities of these powers of training and help which they possessed. He therefore thought there was a strong case for saying it was no narrowness, but a lack of real efficiency in the higher kinds of training, which made them want not to see the residential system watered down. They had been given, he was bound to say, not much argument, but a certain number of consolatory anticipations. Among the pious hopes held out to them was one that after all there would not be very many from outside who would come into the colleges and that the system would go on very much is it was, and so forth. These were all mere speculations, and one objection they had was that the way in which the matter had been brought in had not given them time to think about it and had not-given the Government time to think whether the change could be made more considerate in this or that respect. Were they not bound to look at the change with regard to the conscience clause in the light of what lay behind it? Why, if they really wanted to maintain the equity of the system, if they really wanted to maintain, preserve, and continue the open system, had the Government issued these regulations? They 80 might have pressed upon them the conscience clause for the colleges of the future as it was pressed upon them with regard to the colleges they had now, but that was not the policy of the Government. They forbade any extension of the old system, those who desired denominational colleges would have no opportunity of acting upon their convictions in the matter. He felt that that was a great encroachment upon freedom. He would put it in two ways. An individual, not a child but an adult, say a Roman Catholic, wanted to be trained. The Government said: "We want to see you trained and we give you some money by which you shall be trained for the service of the State and education." The teacher wanted to go where he could find the training in the form he preferred. The Government said: "No, there have been Roman Catholic colleges in the past, but there are not to be any more." They there conflicted with the liberty of the individual. But further, he was not in the least ashamed to claim liberty for religious bodies. It seemed to him that a wise and tolerant State would give liberty to the religious bodies to do their work if it was a wholesome work. The building of St. Gabriel's, Kennington. was a task which was on a par with the work of some of the cathedral builders of the past in the amount which had been lavished upon it. It was not an easy thing to do. If, however, they had a Roman Catholic or a Church community willing to do it, why in the name of equity should they not allow them to do it? He felt that they were interfering with liberty. He wished they had an opportunity of speaking to Nonconformists. He would very much prefer to speak to those who held the strings than to those whose strings were pulled. Certainly, speaking of Nonconformists behind their backs, they should be very careful not to say one ungenerous or unjust word. He should like so much the opportunity of asking Nonconformists what they really hoped to gain by this policy. They had an admittedly valuable thing in the residential training colleges. If they (the Nonconformists) forced their sons and their daughters into them one of two things must happen. Either they would find that the influences there 81 were so warm, so strong, and so appealing that their sons and daughters might perhaps be drawn away from the principles they held dear; or (as the other alternative) they would damage that united sort of family life of which the noble Duke (the Duke of Norfolk) had spoken, and which they valued so much. He should very much like to ask them to consider that. They all agreed that the working of the educational system depended upon the teachers, but the teaching of one who would teach and the training of one who would train was an operation of the highest delicacy. They wanted to bring to bear upon it the noblest forces by which men and women were moved, they wanted to set up ideals to which they could aspire, and they wanted to bring to bear those influences which made discipline easy because submission was willing. They wanted teachers so trained not only, speaking as a Churchman, for their own schools, but for all the schools of the country, for the undenominational schools, and even if they were to have schools without a religious system they would still want such teachers if they knew their business as educators. They wanted people in whom the deepest springs had been touched and in whom the highest motives had been trained. He would therefore plead with them not to tamper with a system which had confessedly done such great things in the past. They had been told what the London School Board and the other great school boards in the past had done, and it was a matter of knowledge that whilst of course the undenominational colleges had contributed their contingent, a great deal of the best of that work had been done by teachers trained in Church colleges. It was not, he thought, a great step to add that they acquired a great deal of their excellence by that system which was congenial and normal in the colleges. When he had said these things to his Nonconformist friends, he should go further and say that if they could not agree with him in what he had said, could they not at least respect the feelings and the convictions of so large a body of their fellow-citizens as they knew the colleges represented? They represented great efforts in the past, and— 82 he wished strongly to emphasise this— they represented an amount of conciliatory action in the recent past which he thought was a very creditable achievement in the educational field. He thought the movement initiated by the Duke of Devonshire as Minister for Education, welcomed by Archbishop Temple and readily agreed to by all who represented the Church as a thing which they could and would do, ought to be recognised and accepted as a really great piece of conciliatory action. He would put it concretely by one more reference to St. Gabriel's College. They built it out of Church money, with lecture or public rooms capable of taking twice as many students as the resident Church students, who were the primary object of the college: and then those who built the college took pains and spent money in equipping an hostel outside it which was made entirely open and undenominational. He doubted whether there was any parallel to this. They had before them this conciliatory action, and he would very much like to ask why it was necessary to make changes which would not add to the number of places, which would admit Nonconformists to a doubtful share in advantages that they might damage by sharing them, and which would cause such infinite discomfort and distress to their fellow-citizens and fellow-Christians.
*THE LORD BISHOP OF SALISBURY
said he did not think he would have intervened in the debate had it not been that he represented a diocese which had recently done its very best to meet all the requirements of successive Governments. At Salisbury they had built a second training college a little distance from the original one for the very purpose of meeting the difficulty of the conscience clause for Nonconformist students. There was another instance of conciliatory action. They had done their very best, and now they were thrown into such confusion that the principal of their college did not know in the least what he was to do. It was with regard to the secondary schools, however, that he was most personally concerned. Quite recently, under the direction of the county council and the Board of Education, he was party to a scheme for 83 a secondary school, and it had lately received the sanction of the Board of Education acting as Charity Commissioners. They did everything they thought could possibly conciliate those with whom they wished to work. They had no tests for teachers or scholars, but they had two safeguards. One was that the doctrine and worship of the Church of England should be taught every day in the school to those who desired to profit by them, and the other was that the elected governors and the governors appointed under the trust should be equal in number. Now they were told that that was to be changed, and that those two safeguards were to be swept away, Was it likely that he would have spent the considerable sum of money which he had spent in founding that school, if he had had the smallest idea that there would have been such a change so suddenly imposed upon this class of schools? It was really a very sad thing to perceive that it was no longer possible to trust His Majesty's Government to administer the law with fairness and equality. They were, as Churchmen, being almost forced to ally themselves with one political Party. He thought nothing could be worse for the Church or the country than that the Liberal Party should alienate the Church of England, and make it absolutely necessary that every good Churchman should be one of the opposite Party. He had never been a Party man, and he had done his best to discourage the clergy taking part in Party contests, but he really did not know that this would be possible in the future.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
said they had waited for some time for the Government to reply, and it was with some astonishment that he noticed the reluctance of the Government to take part in the debate. Since the noble and learned Lord upon the Woolsack spoke before dinner they had listened to three speeches against the Government and not one word of reply had been made. He was not altogether surprised at the reluctance of the Government, but the House and country would observe that they were afraid of allowing the last word to those who spoke on that side of the House. The noble Lord who no 84 doubt would follow him would prefer to make his speech without any reply being made to him. He thought the country would form a just estimate of the strength of the case which could only be supported by methods of that description. There were two parts of the question which was put to the Government by his noble friend Lord Londonderry. He had very little to say with regard to the earlier part—the procedure of the Government in respect of the £100,000 grant. That had already been dealt with, being a legal question, by those in whose presence he should speak with the very greatest diffidence. If the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack delivered an opinion which he had had ample time to consider, he for one should not dream even of commenting upon it; but when the noble Lord left as it were the Judicial Bench and spoke of the propriety of the proceedings of the Government, then he was sure he would allow him to say with great respect that he did not speak as the highest Judge in the country, but as a partisan member of a partisan Government. The noble and learned Lord hardly dared to say it was a proper proceeding. There was just one cursory parenthesis in which he gave a verbal adherence to the propriety of the action of his colleagues.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said he would tell their Lordships the reason he did not enter upon it. He came and sat judicially at 10.30, and he had been fourteen hours at work. He had not had a minute to look into the question beyond the general approbation he gave some time ago. That was the only reason why he did not enter upon it. Otherwise, he would willingly have done his best to support his colleagues.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
said he was very familiar with the difficulty of a Minister speaking under great pressure, and he was not surprised at the observation made by the noble Lord. He noticed that Lord Stanley of Alderley, who spoke without any official responsibility, frankly repudiated the proceeding of the Government, saying he thought it an improper proceeding and one which offered a precedent he was very sorry the Government had set up. The noble Earl the Lord 85 President referred to what Mr. Speaker had said in another place. He ventured to interrupt him to point out what Mr. Speaker had said. He was afraid he did not quote Mr. Speaker quite accurately. He had since referred to the statement and he found that Mr. Speaker said it was in the power of the House of Commons not to break the law but to disobey an Act of Parliament. The difference was not very great. Mr. Speaker went on to say that whether that was a proper proceeding he left to the conscience of the House of Commons. It would not be courteous to make any reflections on that organ of the House of Commons, he meant its conscience, but he had no doubt of the great respect every Member of that House paid to Mr. Speaker's opinion, and if anything would raise that conscience it would.
He had with regard to the other part of his noble friend's question noticed two tendencies about the Government. There had been, as it were, a hot fit and then there had been a cold fit. The action of the President of the Board of Education had, generally speaking, been an example of the hot fit; and the very stringent alterations in the position of the secondary schools from a denominational point of view no doubt emanated from him. The noble Earl the Lord President was very anxious to minimise the change which had been imported into the system of secondary schools, and he spoke with enthusiasm of the sort of dispensing power which would be left to the local education authority. Under the new regulations it was in the power of the local educational authority, by saying that a secondary school even with all its naked denominational character was essential for the due provision of secondary education in the district to save the school as it stood without the religious modifications, which the regulations would otherwise introduce. The Lord President said he thought that would be the common case. He wished to point out how absurdly the Government treated the law of the country. Under Section 4 of the Act of 1902 the local educational authority were not allowed to administer the rates which were in their power by making any distinction between school and school on account of religious considerations, but notwithstanding this the 86 Government were putting it in their power to make a complete distinction and differentiation in the administration of education in regard to the taxpayers' money. They left the local authority to say whether a school was or was not to receive money, to withhold it from one denominational school and to give it to another. In the matter of the taxes it was within their complete discretion, but in the matter of the rates it was not. Could there be any greater satire upon the administration of the law than that the Government should permit such a difference between the administration of rates and taxes by the same authority. Lord Stanley had made a most interesting speech, and he wished to make one observation in respect of one point in it. Lord Stanley had tried to make the distinction, with which they were very familiar last year, between the position of the Roman Catholics and of the Church of England. He knew that would be a point very interesting to Lord Fitzmaurice, because he recollected that last year he reproved him (the Marquess of Salisbury) in the most solemn manner because he accused the Government of making a distinction, which Lord Stanley, the only supporter of the Government on the back benches, said ought to be made in respect of secondary schools. Lord Stanley had told the Duke of Norfolk that the only mistake the Catholics had made was in throwing in their lot with the Church of England, thus coming in for the same condemnation. They had it now in the most positive manner from the mouth of one of the principal supporters of the Government, and from one who, above all others, understood and spoke with authority upon the education question, that, in his opinion, there ought to be a distinction made between the treatment of Roman Catholics and the treatment of the Church of England; that the Roman Catholics ought to have privileges in respect of denomination in secondary schools which they would be quite ready to deny to the Church of England. He hoped the country would take note that the Liberal Government thought that in these matters the Roman Catholics ought to have better treatment than the Church of England.
He must say one word about the treatment of trusts by the Government. 87 His noble friend Lord Londonderry pressed upon the Government the extraordinary róle which the Board of Education was playing in the matter of trusts; but he did not notice that the noble Earl said one word about it in reply. It was a very astonishing admission. The Board of Education, in respect of educational trusts, were the successors of the Charity Commissioners, who were the successors of the Court of Chancery. They always hoped, though some of them hardly believed, that when the transfer took place in 1899 of the powers of the Charity Commissioners in respect of educational endowments to the Board of Education they would be administered in the same spirit. It was a gloomy satisfaction to him that he was always a pessimist in this respect, and that when he had the honour of a seat in another place he, with a very small minority of Members, did his utmost to prevent the possibility of the Board of Education using their administrative powers for a purely partisan purpose. There was a great discussion at the time whether these powers were judicial, semi-judicial, or only administrative. It was more or less a verbal discussion, but he thought what was urged by the defenders of the new system was that at any rate those powers would be used fairly and equitably and not for partisan purposes. Yet they had in these regulations the Government offering what his noble friend called a bribe to trustees, who were bound by every rule which applied to trustees to administer their trust according to its terms, to go to the Board of Education for the purpose of having their trust deeds altered in a vital particular for the return of a sum of money, not, of course, to go into their own pockets, but for the schools of which they were the trustees. That appeared to him a most discreditable performance, and he would like to hear what possible defence the Government had for using the powers which the Board of Education had inherited from the Charity Commissioners for such a partisan purpose. Those schemes when they were altered had to be laid upon the Tables of both Houses of Parliament, and the Government must not complaint if. having regard to the origin of the alterations and the extraordinary indifer- 88 ence which the Government had shown to proper fairness in the matter, they were to scrutinise them with great care, and, if they saw fit, decline to give their consent thereto. He wondered whom the Government consulted about the changes in regard to secondary schools. He had been looking at the Act of 1899. It not only provided that the powers of the Charity Commissioners in respect of educational endowments were to pass to the Board of Education, but it also provided for the establishment of a Consultative Committee. That was one of the principal clauses of the Act of Parliament, and to the Consultative Committee were to be referred any matters of educational interest which the Board of Education chose to refer to them. Had they chosen to refer this question to the Consultative Committee? It was a statutory committee, not a private committee, and he would like to ask what was its opinion on the new policy of the Government. He would turn now for a moment or two to the subject of the training colleges. It was really hardly necessary to discuss it in detail, because the case had been stated with such unexampled force in the brilliant speech of the most rev. Prelate. The difficulties of applying the regulations in regard to the training colleges, however, were not worked out at all by the President of the Council. He believed the noble Lord the President of the Council was one of the officials of the Education Department. He was not quite sure whether in all the great changes that had been made the President of the Council still retained his locus standi in that Department. If he did, it was astonishing that he should not be in a position to deal with the administrative difficulties which the most rev. Prelate had pointed out; the immense difficulty, that was to say, of the method which the Government had prepared for selecting the particular students who were to go to training colleges. Their Lordships would recollect that the most rev. Prelate had pointed out that they came from a great variety of sources, that some had passed the ordinary examination, that others had matriculated at the London University, and so on. How were they to be 89 this one selected, and that one rejected, unless the authorities of the training colleges were allowed to have some selective power? There was an amazing list to be found in the register which Mr. McKenna told them they were to buy, in which the names were to be put precisely in accordance with the punctuality of the postman, and on no other ground whatever. That was the method which Mr. McKenna seemed to suggest they ought to adopt for selecting one candidate rather than another. This particular administrative difficulty was put before the Lord President by the most rev. Prelate, and yet they had not had a word in reply. Apparently the Lord President could not deal with it. He wondered whether the noble Lord who would follow him would be able to deal with it. He had his doubts. The regulations were the most absurd things that had ever been seen, and the expert who sat behind the Government had said so. Lord Stanley had said, not in such terms as he was using, but in terms sufficiently clear as coming from a friend of the Government, that these difficulties were perfectly real, and that the regulations as they stood could not be defended. There were some differences in the phases of the Government's mind, which he had called the hot fit and the cold fit in the matter of the training colleges. Mr. McKenna had approached the subject in a frame of mind of profound suspicion of the Church of England and other denominational authorities. No examination of any kind was to be allowed, for fear, he presumed, that an undue preference might be imported into an examination as between one candidate and another. Mr. McKenna's original intention, he thought, was that not even an interview should be permitted. At the deputation to the Prime Minister the President of the Board of Education defended this probable absence of examinations on the ground of the expenditure to which it would put the counties. When it was suggested to him that perhaps the denominations would be prepared to pay their fares to the place of examinaton, he roundly accused the denominations and the Church of England of not playing fair in the matter. If they were allowed anything of that kind, he said, there 90 was no doubt that injustice might creep in. The Lord President, representing the cold fit, approached the subject in a very different frame of mind. Speaking of the danger of the denominations not playing the game, he said that no aggressive member of any denomination was to be turned out neck and crop. He now went further and suggested that probably the atmosphere of the Church Training Colleges would induce the student to change his religious opinions. He was so astonished when he heard the noble Earl make that observation that he hardly knew what to do. His mind went back to the discussions of last year when the great charge brought against Church schools was that the atmosphere was of such a penetrating character that the children of other denominations would be proselytised. if they went there. Now, however, the noble Earl held it out as a desideratum in the case of the training colleges. He did not admit for a moment that they did proselytise in the elementary schools, but in the case of the training colleges the noble Earl had held out that very element of proselytising as a remedy for the injustice of the regulations. The extravagance of the argument showed what a weak case the noble Earl must have The truth was that Mr. McKenna was so terrified at the possibility of undue influence that he was hardly willing there should be any process of selection at all. He asked then what it mattered whether they got the better or the worse candidate; they all, he said, had to be educated. He went such lengths that he was positively reproved there and then by the Prime Minister himself. The Prime Minister did not know the pit falls so well as Mr. McKenna, and he, relying only upon his well-known Scottish shrewdness and common-sense, got up and said that what Mr. McKenna had said was perfectly absurd; it was eminently desirable that the best men should be selected. Lord Stanley, confirming the Prime Minister, said that that was the great object, as indeed any sensible man would say. The question was who were the best men. Evidently the best men were the most qualified or those likely to become most qualified to do the work they would be called upon to do. They were going to be called 91 upon to teach, not only a great number of secular subjects, but also religion. That was admitted. The noble Earl the Lord President had reiterated upon behalf of the Government the statement that they were opposed to what was called the secular system, and he went so far as to imply that if the secular system were carried out it would have to be carried out by a different Government from that to which he belonged. It was therefore part of the policy of the Government that the teachers should teach religion, and the Prime Minister said they were to select the best men, the men most qualified to do the work they would be called upon to do. It was consequently impossible to resist the conclusion which was absolutely exacted by the process of argument to which he had called their Lordships' attention, that some regard ought be to had to religious efficiency, or rather, as he should put it, to the probability of the students being able to give good religious instruction when they were selected. He saw no escape from that conclusion, and, if that was so, who would provide the religious training and who was to judge whether the students were so far grounded in religious knowledge that they were likely to make good teachers of religion? Would the State do it? Everybody knew that the State refused to do it. He would not enter into the question whether the State ought to do it. It was sufficient for him that every single member of the Government who had spoken agreed in repudiating the notion that the State could investigate the religious competence of a particular student. If the State would not do it, why did they refuse to allow other people who could and would do it to do so? How could that possibly be defended? Why did the Government resist the inevitable conclusion that the denominational authorities ought and must be allowed to make themselves responsible for investigations as to whether the student was qualified, and afterwards, when he had been admitted to the College, to give him that instruction in religion which was necessary to the due performance of his work hereafter? He had tried to state the case again because it was part of his duty, as it were, to sum 92 up the debate, and it now remained for the Government to give some answer to the argument. No answer had yet been given. They were perfectly willing to meet the Nonconformist grievance, and they had always shown themselves perfectly willing to meet it by the method of the hostels. Where there was a training college, either denominational or undenominational in character, it should be permitted to establish around it hostels either denominational or undenominational, as the case might be, to give that variety of religious training which was necessary in order to be fair to every religious persuasion in the community. That seemed to be a perfectly fair offer. It was a perfectly sound solution of the difficulty. Why would the Government do their best to interefere with it? Why did they lay it down that no future hostel on such lines was to be permitted? It passed the wit of man to understand how the Government could defend such a course as that. The Government perhaps, thought that by yielding to Nonconformist pressure in this matter they were out of their difficulties. Let them be at once undeceived. They had probably already realised, after listening to that debate, that that is only the letting out of the waters—that it was only the beginning of trouble.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
said it was precisely in the quarter from which he heard that cheer that the storm was likely in the first instance to arise. The noble Duke spoke for a body of men who were never afraid of their convictions, and he had told their Lordships in perfectly courteous language, but in perfectly distinct language, that if these regulations were enforced the Catholic body were determined to defy the law. What were they going to do then?
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
said the noble Duke's language was always moderate, but his conclusions were always very firm. When the noble Duke treated the regulations in the way he had described, what were the Government going 93 to do? Were they going to shut up all the Roman Catholic training colleges? Were they really going to do that? Of course not. They would no more dare to shut up all the Roman Catholic training colleges than they would fly. No, no; the main motive in the Government's action in these matters was not courage. He need not be more precise as to what the particular quality was that generally governed them in matters of this kind. Undoubtedly the Roman Catholic colleges would not be shut up. Some device would be found, some method, some arrangement would be come to, and the example of the Roman Catholics might be catching. He would not be surprised. Let the Government, then, consider before they committed themselves too far. Let them realise that to oppress the conscience of the people never had succeeded, and never would succeed, in this country, and, whether it was some petty tyranny towards some Church school in a Midland town, or whether it concerned some training college, they would find that convictions were hard to deal with, and, while there was time, let them think better of it, and have respect for the religious convictions and consciences of the people of the country.
*THE UNDER - SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Lord FITZMAURICE)
Before I enter upon the various points, some of principle and some of detail, which various speakers have touched in this debate, I deem it my duty in the first place to explain the reasons which induced me just now not to rise before the noble Marquess, because he has made some complaint that nobody rose to reply to him before he closed the debate. [Murmurs of dissent.] Yes, he claimed the right to close the debate. I have only very recently had the honour of becoming a Member of your Lordships' House and, therefore, I have no claim whatever to address your Lordships upon a question of procedure and practice; but I am informed by those who sit near me and have had a very long experience of this House—and quite as long an experience as the noble Marquess—that, in the days of the late Government it was the invariable practice of that Government to claim the right of reply in a debate of this kind. Of course, I would desire to add that I regret that the task 94 of closing the debate on the Government side of the House should not have fallen to one who has a greater claim than I have perhaps to address your Lordships, as I only hold a subordinate post in His Majesty's Government; but in matters of this kind those are called upon to speak whom their Leaders desire should speak, and as the task has been deputed to me for better or for worse to say what is to be said on behalf of the Government at the closing stage of this debate, I hope I shall not be prejudiced in your hearing merely because I did not just now rise before the noble Marquess.
It is always the fortune of the Liberal Party in either House of Parliament in an education debate to hear hard things said of themselves, and this debate has been no exception. At a very early stage of the debate the noble Marquess who introduced the subject, and who is not adverse to the use of metaphorical language, accused the Government of having armed themselves with the sword in order to trample the people of this country under foot.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY
I am sorry to interrupt, but I was merely quoting the words of Mr. McKenna when I used the word "sword."
I only wish to observe, expressing an individual opinion of my own, I am not in the least objecting to the noble Marquess's metaphor; but if I had a desire, which I have not, to trample the liberties of the people under foot, I think I should not have selected the sword with that particular object. That being so, I was rather relieved that the noble Duke who spoke with almost equal indignation did not himself adopt some metaphor to crush the Liberal Party, because, I remember that some years ago I was travelling in Italy, and I read an Encyclical from a very great and worthy man with strong convictions, Pope Pius IX., which was directed against the Liberal Party in Italy on the question of education; he compared the Liberal Party in various ways to many things, and finally he said, alluding to them—That a viper had come out of the sea, and threatened to swallow St. Peter's barque.I was rather relieved that the noble Duke did not use that metaphor 95 against my noble friends and myself, all the more so that as his speech proceeded it became perfectly clear to me that, although he said nothing about the barque, he had a perfectly clear opinion that we were a set of vipers.
This debate, my Lords, has ranged over three topics. The noble Marquess just now, rather to my astonishment, returned to the question of the sum of £100,000. I had rather hoped, after what had fallen from the noble Lord who sits on the Woolsack, that the consciences of noble Lords opposite might have been quieted, but that appears not to have been the ease. I can only say for myself that it strikes me as a very extraordinary thins; that the members of the Government, whether in this House or in the other, should have been called upon to prove what, I thought, was a universally accepted proposition, namely, that in every country there must be somewhere a supreme legislative power, and that in this country it resides in Parliament, and that where finance is concerned the real responsibility is not here but in the House of Commons. We do not require to bring down from our shelves the dusty volumes of Blackstone and Delolme, or the more modern volumes of Professor Dicey and Sir William Anson to prove that. These are things which we were taught in our schools of jurisprudence in our early days, and when I am told that Mr Speaker—and I as an old member of the House of Commons desire to express the greatest respect for every word that falls from his lips—said, as is alleged, that the House of Commons could disobey the law, he was simply stating the fact that although there may be an Act on the Statute-book, the House of Commons, by a Bill or Resolution in Supply, can lay the foundations of a change, which afterwards can be incorporated in an Act of Parliament. In so saying it appears to me that Mr. Speaker was only uttering what, I may almost venture to say, without any disrespect to his high office, is a platitude, which I should have thought everybody knew by this time.
Upon the constitutional aspect of this question I wish here to be allowed to say a very few words. As was said by the noble Lord, Lord Ashbourne, whether a question is a grave matter of the Constitution or not depends very much upon 96 the size, importance, and magnitude of the legislative act or other act which is proposed, and he argued, evidently with perfect sincerity, that this was a tremendous new departure, and that we were doing something by this temporary Act of Parliament which constituted a grave and permanent infringement of the Constitution of the country. Now, my Lords, I cannot help thinking, and I say so with great respect, that if Lord Ashbourne had been as familiar with the working of English administration and of the English Education Acts as he undoubtedly is with the working of things in Ireland, he would not have committed himself to so rash a proposition, because, as a matter of fact, all that this change purports to do and can accomplish is to give effect to a very humble clause of the Act of 1902, for which we are not responsible, but for which noble Lords opposite are responsible. I claim that here we are really upon common ground with noble Lords opposite, and that this has a very great bearing upon constitutional questions, because clearly if it can be shown that some particular act or set of acts are really done upon common ground, and that the forms of the Constitution are not being used to override the views of one Party by the other, it is very difficult indeed in a case of that kind to support an indictment of anybody for unconstitutional action.
Now, what is this proposal? In the Act of 1902 there was a clause to which Mr. Balfour attached the greatest importance, as doing justice to the Nonconformist views upon this subject. He believed, and no doubt quite sincerely, that the ninth clause in the Act of 1902 would be of very great value to the Nonconformists. What was that clause? It was a clause under which even where there was a complete supply of school places in the district, and the borough council or county council would therefore be under no obligation to supply another school or school places, nevertheless, in order to do justice to the claims of an educational minority, presumably a Roman Catholic or a Nonconformist minority, it was to be within the power of the county council to set up another school, in most cases, no doubt, a rather small school, in order to meet the views of that religious minority. Mr. Balfour, as I have said, no doubt spoke with 97 perfect sincerity when he said that that clause would be used in practice, and would be of very great value. As a matter of fact, that clause has never proved of the smallest value, because there are conditions attached to its working which majorities have always been able to defeat. Sometimes the cry has been raised that the minority is not a sufficient minority, and other reasons have been given; but the great obstacle has been that the clause says that with regard to the working of it regard is to be had to the interests of economy, and the ratepayer has invariably come forward to say that on the ground of economy he objects to it. Now, what this clause will do is to give some chance to Mr. Balfour's clause. ["No, no!"] It is all very well to say "No, no," but perhaps the noble Lord will allow me to conclude my argument. This clause of ours will give some chance, perhaps not a very large one, to Mr. Balfour's clause to become a reality, because when a small school of that kind is asked for by a Roman Catholic or Nonconformist majority, or it might be a Church majority — although I admit that is not likely—it will then be possible for the ratepayers to apply to the Board of Education to ease the burden of the ratepayer. These are the only cases in which this money can be used. I think the noble Lord opposite who said "No, no !" is probably under the common and mistaken apprehension that this money is to be used in a general way by the county council to build new schools wherever it desires to do so. That is not the case. The Lord President has already explained this, and I wish to say it again, that this money is not to be used to case off the burdens of the county councils in any case where they have a statutory obligation to supply a new school—that is to say, where the population may have increased and new school places may be required, but only in the cases which I have described. I now pass to what I quite admit are larger and more controversial issues. There is, I know, an idea, and not at all an unnatural idea—it was propagated in the first few days after these regulations came out—that this was an attempt to sweep completely out of existence all secondary schools which are not entirely managed by the representatives of local bodies. That is not the case. I hope that by this time it is fairly generally understood that what is pro- 98 vided for is that there is to be a majority on these bodies of the representatives of public bodies, and the reason why the Board of Education has come forward with these proposals—I shall state it quite frankly, and without any desire to make any concealment about it—is the desire to prevent in regard to secondary education that state of things growing up such as has been, and still is, such a terrible obstacle to the solution of the public elementary education question—Imean a monopoly of secondary education growing up in the hands of some particular religious body. They do not in the least desire to exclude any religious body. It is desired to prevent a monopoly of power becoming gradually vested, owing to the superior wealth, power, and influence, in some one denomination in secondary education, such as we tried to remedy last year, although we failed, in regard to elementary education. But, on the other hand, the Government equally desire to invite, and to have the co-operation of those men, to whatever religion or denomination they belong—and many of the noblest of them have been amongst members of the Church of England and the Roman Catholic body—who are anxious to promote education for the sake of education. My Lords, I listened with all that regard which I feel, and which every Member of your Lordships' House feels, to the right rev. Prelate the Bishop of Salisbury, and I listened to-him with peculiar respect because he is the Bishop of my diocese. He spoke of a school with which he is connected and with the fortunes of which I have in a way been connected, because in those negotiations to which he alluded and which he took as typical of the injustice which he said might occur, he and I wore both concerned. But I think I can remind the right rev. Prelate that in this scheme which we have before us there are clauses specially inserted, although some noble Lords seem to have entirely overlooked them, to meet the class of case which he described, and although I know nothing is so rash as prophecy even in regard to the associations of those with whom one is connected politically or locally, I would not be very much afraid to prophesy that that which has been inserted in Clause 43 to meet the case of schools of this kind, will be used by 99 the county council of which at one time I was chairman, and as chairman of which I negotiated with the right rev Prelate in regard to that school. I am quite aware that the success of those negotiations was mainly due to the conciliatory spirit of the right rev. Prelate, and he would grant, as he has publicly acknowledged, that he was met in a very willing spirit by the county council which at the time had a Liberal majority. If what I know from my own experience is possible in regard to a school in my own county, why am I to believe it is impossible everywhere else? Why are we to assume that everybody is to act in an unreasonable spirit? I, on the contrary, have arrived at the pleasant conclusion that, on the whole, in these matters there is a spirit of reason, and that Englishmen generally—I do not mind to what body they belong—when they meet together round a table to discuss this kind of question as practical men in local administration, find the difficulties which loom so large in the House of Commons and here, very largely disappear.
What will be the general view of the secondary education of a county when these regulations come into force? What will happen when the regulations have been at work for a certain number of years? It is, I think, tolerably easy to say that the majority of the schools would be schools with a large representative element upon them, but many of them will, no doubt, also have a very considerable minority representing the older interests of the founders, some dating from a remote past, and some, as in the case of the Bishop's School at Salisbury, of a more recent date. Then there would be some schools which I daresay will; have a distinctly denominational character and which will be brought in by way of exception. These last-named schools, no doubt, will have generous treatment under Section 43 passed with that object and to which I ask your Lordships' attention, because I think it has not received sufficient attention in these debates. Lastly there would be the schools, which so far as I know have not been mentioned in this debate, which will come into being—some have come already into being—under Chapter 8, that is to say, those schools which would not be receiving grants at all from the Government, and, perhaps, not even from the 100 county council, because they will be charging possibly very high fees, and these regulations deal chiefly with schools with comparatively low fees. They will probably be schools of a more directly denominational character; because some of the religious bodies will desire to keep up schools of this kind. Nevertheless, as Chapter 8 shows, they will all count towards the educational supply of the county, and there is nothing in these regulations, so far as I am aware, to prevent county councils doing what is done now in regard to schools of this kind. They may not subsidise them directly,; and the schools will receive no Government grant, but, nevertheless, scholarships are allowed to be held at the schools, and in that way they are brought in a very clear and direct manner within the purview of a county scheme. I will go back to the illustration of the school of the light rev. Prelate. Even if the Wiltshire County Council and the Government had never paid the school one shilling in grants, as both have done, there would have been nothing whatever to prevent the Wiltshire County Council saying that scholarships should be held at that school. There is the case of a Wesleyan school in the county to which the county council has always refused a grant for varied reasons. That school has, however, always been allowed to hold our county council scholarships, and in that way we have obtained a hold on it. Therefore, I say, there would be three classes of schools. If anyone wants a denominational school there will be the denominational schools, which I have described, under Chapter 8, no doubt not receiving a grant, but open to the public inasmuch as county council scholarships may be held there; there will be the schools under purely public management; and there will be the schools where there will only be a majority of public managers. I ask the noble Lord himself, does he see anything illiberal or unjust in the plan I have described? I cannot help thinking that if he does, he will find it hard to carry the same conviction to the minds of the great majority of the people of this country.
Now I come to that part of the question which I admit has attracted most attention this evening. I mean the training colleges. Here again 101 I am obliged to pursue what may be called a rather minimising line of argument. This is necessary because there has really been all through this debate a note of alarm and exaggeration which I think upon calmer reflection many noble Lords and right rev. Prelates will say has hardly been justified. If anybody had come into this debate as a listener, unaware of the main facts, and had simply tried to pick them up, while the discussion went along, he would, I am convinced, have gone away, if he had listened only to right rev. Prelates and to noble Lords opposite, with the belief that His Majesty's Government had issued a sort of ukase giving a date when all denominational training colleges in the country should be closed. But nothing of the kind has happened. All that has been done in regard to the existing colleges is to establish a conscience clause, such as has already been established in so many other educational institutions in the country. When we come to analyse carefully the able speech of the most rev. Prelate, what really does it come to? It reduces itself really to a very considerable number of criticisms of detail which my noble friend, Lord Stanley of Alderley, who speaks with so much knowledge and authority on this subject, has pointed out were matters which might fairly be described as arising rather at the Committee stage if we were on a Bill.
They were matters, therefore, capable, after discussion, of adjustment, and possibly in some cases of improvement.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
Will His Majesty's Government provide a Committee stage to enable us to discuss these matters?
It is not, I would remind you, in my power to alter the forms of your Lordships' House. I was only pursuing the analogy of the speech of Lord Stanley of Alderley for which the noble Lord opposite has expressed such admiration. It has always been the practice when regulations in regard to education, whether elementary or secondary, have had to be considered to take the discussion of them as 102 a whole. No doubt from time to time alterations of detail are introduced and points of practice are cleared up. I quite sympathise with what we have been told about the feelings of the heads of some training colleges in being called upon at rather short notice to administer a system not entirely new, but new in some important respects. I quite sympathise also with the governors and managers of those training colleges. But what I would venture to ask them is: Are they really in a more difficult position at this moment of transition—and I admit that it is a moment of transition, attended necessarily with some difficulties—than any other public body which is called upon to administer a new and important Act of Parliament? Let me give your Lordships an illustration. Are they for example in a more difficult position than county councils were when they found themselves suddenly, in the early days of 1903, called upon to take up an entirely new duty—to administer one of the worst drawn Acts of Parliament which has ever been placed on the Statute Book of this country—the Education Act of 1903?.Again, I would ask, are they in a more difficult position than Courts of Quarter Sessions when in the following year—that is to say in 1904—they were called upon suddenly to undertake the administration of a new, though I admit a far more carefully drawn, Act on licensing? They are not, I am convinced, in a more difficult position. They are simply having those troubles which every person who undertakes to carry out legislation is compelled sooner or later to face. The task of taking over the work which I have described was an overwhelming task, which in many cases broke down the health as well as the patience of those who had to do it. Solvitar ambulando was the answer given to those who complained. As Lord Stanley of Alderley said, these points of detail which loom so large at the present moment will gradually settle themselves.
Far be it from me to say, however, that there is nothing in connection with these matters which cannot be slightly improved or possibly explained. My right hon. friend Mr. McKenna pointed out when he received a deputation the other day that nothing will be required for several months to come except to 103 purchase a register and have it in the hands of the wardens of the colleges on the 1st of August this year. He stated that no active steps would he taken until after the next examination, which I believe he said would not be until the beginning of December or January. It means, therefore, that the governors of these schools have a period of very nearly five months, if not more, to deal with all these questions. Accordingly, I venture in a spirit of perfect sympathy to say to them, "You have simply got to cope with those difficulties which invariably arise when you are dealing with what in an Act of Parliament are called transitory provisions." I know from my own experience that those provisions which often run through Parliament in a short time— sometimes with almost alarming rapidity —often excite little interest in the minds of Members. Every man, however, who is concerned with local administration is aware that those are the clauses which the local administrators look at with the greatest anxiety. I know that there are what may be called transitory provisions here; therefore, I say it is not unnatural that some complaint should be made and some anxiety expressed. But I would also venture to say that right reverend Prelates may have perfect confidence that those gentlemen of great experience and ability who are at the head of the training colleges will be well able to deal with the difficulties, and that they will not find them the terrific obstacles in their path which they imagine. And here, my Lords, I would have terminated the observations I have ventured at this late hour to make to you, had it not been for one particular question which I think I ought to answer before I sit down. I refer to the point that was raised, I think by the most reverend Prelate, in regard to the use of the words "for the present" in Subhead K, on page 4, of the definitions and conditions. He seemed to draw the conclusion that because those words had, as he said, been suddenly inserted there was some intention to take steps in regard to women day students, depriving them of rights and liberties which he considered it was very desirable to keep up. I understood that he was specifically alluding to the idea that it was the intention of the Board of Education to deprive these lady students of those payments made either to them 104 or on their behalf which would practically enable them to continue their studies by living in lodgings and receiving a grant and at the same time taking the lodging grant into the funds of a denominational hostel. In the first place I understand that the most rev. or right rev. Prelate, whichever it was, is mistaken in imagining that those words "for the present" are in any way a new insertion. I understand that they are a survival from the previous rules and regulations, and the reason they have been put in is one with which I think the right rev. Prelate will himself sympathise. The Board of Education, I am informed, consider that on the whole it is far better that these lady students should live with their parents or other relatives, if they have any, in the town where the training college is situated, and that failing them they should go into a hostel. These words were put in to show that the arrangement of going into lodgings must be a temporary one and was not the final solution of the question, or at any rate the solution the Board of Education looked on with the most favour. The words have nothing to do with any dark or villainous scheme, such as was adumbrated, on the part of the Government or the Board of Education, to deprive the hostels by an indirect blow of those grants which they now receive, if not in a direct at least in an indirect manner.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP of CANTERBURY
I am sorry to interrupt the noble Lord, but I must point out that the most reverend or right reverend Prelate to whom he refers was Lord Stanley of Alderley.
I think the most reverend Prelate is mistaken; but I do not bring up the point in a controversial spirit. I have not claimed at all that Lord Stanley of Alderley supported the whole of these regulations, and I was bringing forward arguments on the merits of the proposals. It is quite unimportant for the purposes of my argument whether the criticism was made by Lord Stanley of Alderley or by the right reverend Prelate. All I am anxious to do is to relieve the apprehension by whomsoever it is felt. I know from personal conversations I have had that the regulation does excite considerable apprehension in the minds of those who represent the Church 105 of England in these debates, and therefore I am anxious to take this opportunity of relieving the minds of right reverend Prelates on the subject. I can assure your Lordships that I am anxious to find grounds of agreement where I can, being conscious that there are unfortunately plenty of grounds of disagreement. have only now to thank your Lordships for having listened to these rather prolonged observations. There have been undoubtedly many other incidental points raised, but I do not think it is necessary or desirable that I should plunge into a great number of them. Some of those points were, I thought, raised rather unnecessarily by the noble Lord, and partook a little of a form of argument of which I am not very fond myself, namely, trying to make out what may be called a series of tu quoque cases on some points. I desire to take these regulations as representing a larger educational policy. What I have been anxious to do—even if I have not succeeded—was to convince noble Lords opposite that these regulations represent a large and broad scheme. I have also desired to show that this is not a scheme intended to promote Nonconformity at the expense of the Church or of the nation. What we on this side of the House desire is national education, and, as last year, we absolutely decline to regard the whole of the education of this country as merely a set of petty quarrels between Nonconformity and the Church.
THE DUKE OF NORFOLK
I must crave for an answer to the question which I asked. That question is: Are we to understand that the children of a denomination which has provided a college especially for them arc to be shut out in order to make room for students of another denomination which has not provided a college, and which has every opportunity of having a college provided out of the public funds?
That is an argumentative question founded on Subsection (d).That point was fully gone into by my noble friend the Lord President of the Council. It was fully gone into by the Prime Minister and Mr. McKenna last Saturday, and also, I believe, to-day at a deputation at which the noble Duke himself was present. Tinder these circumstances I cannot imagine that any further interpretation 106 that I can place on those words or on the explanations which have been given by Cabinet Ministers would do more to satisfy the noble Duke than anything he has already heard.