§ Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(The Earl of Lytton.)
§ VISCOUNT BRYCE
My Lords, I desire to take the opportunity which this stage of the Bill affords of making a few observations, as I understand there are several others of your Lordships who wish to say something which they had not time to say on the Second Reading stage of the Bill. The Bill certainly does, as has been admitted on all sides, represent a very real advance, and it does not at all detract from the credit which belongs to the present Minister of Education that he should have 144 availed himself of the valuable material which he found to hand in the office to which he succeeded; one of the great merits of the Bill is that it regards education as a whole. We have been accustomed for many years to separate primary or elementary from secondary education and to consider them as different things, and here, perhaps for the first time, we find them treated as one whole.
I wish to call attention to two results which ought to follow from this treatment of education as one whole. An immense deal depends upon the way in which the Bill is carried out by the Board of Education and the local authorities. It is an excellent result to be hoped for from treating elementary and secondary education as one thing that we shall very much increase the methods and facilitate the process of discovering the best boys that can be found in the elementary schools, and enabling them to get onwards, and, by way of a higher branch in the school or of a secondary school, to get the education which will fit them to be most useful to the country. I do not for a moment depreciate the importance of endeavouring to raise the average of education. We owe a debt to every child in a school to do the best we can for him. But I do put it to your Lordships that at all times, and especially now when we are called upon to repair the frightful losses which this war has inflicted, it becomes more important than ever to get the best talents and to turn them to the best account. What we want is to keep the country, not only with respect to trade and commerce but with respect to thought and intention, in the van of progress, and for that purpose we must get all the best talent that the country affords and give that talent the highest possible training.
What every country wants is leadership. A nation advances not by the average man, but by the exceptional man—that is, by the leaders. The leaders are few. They are all precious, and no pains are too great to try to find them. I gather from this Bill that these ideas are present to the Education Department and to the framers of the Bill, who are trying to attain them by the following methods which I shall enumerate. In the first place, by developing the system of continuation schools; and in the second place by creating a higher department in elementary schools. That is a thing which has been too little regarded 145 in England. We have done it far more effectively and successfully for a long time in Scotland, and those of your Lordships who are familiar with the results of the system in the north-eastern counties of Scotland especially Aberdeen, Banff, and Moray—where there exists a large special endowment for that purpose, enabling the education of promising boys to be carried to a higher point than the ordinary elementary schools provide for—will know how much the north of Scotland has profited by that and how many men of great distinction and service to the country have been brought forward by that method. I am glad to say that this is one of the methods which this Bill contemplates.
Thirdly, there is a provision for scholarships and for making what is called an upward ladder by which boys can rise, from the humblest position and the smallest means, to continue their education until they are fit to enter a University. I am glad to see that the Bill contemplates that that method should be strengthened by allowing a maintenance allowance in cases where the temptations to a boy or to his parents to send him to work at an early age would have prevented him taking advantage of the scholarship. That really is a provision that seems to be needed to give the scholarship plan a fuller chance of success.
I should like to advert to one further method that can be used, to which I do not find any reference in the Bill, although it was included in the Bill of 1906 and may, for all I can tell, have been in other Bills. That is to turn to better account a good many of the old local endowments in the country which are not at present educational but which would be far more usefully applied to educational purposes than the way in which they are applied at present. Of course, it is always difficult and delicate in any parish to disturb an endowment, and I would not suggest that anything should be done which would create active local opposition or the idea that any class was being robbed. Still, I think there are a number of endowments at present which are so obviously wasted, from which nobody draws any benefit, and which are no good to any soul in the parish, which might, with a little tact on the part of the education and charity authorities, be applied to educational purposes, and be made to serve those purposes very effectively.
146 I see with pleasure that there is a reference to and an extension of the power for education authorities to unite for certain common purposes. That was suggested as far back as the Commission of 1865, but too little use has been made of it. There are a great many cases in which a borough council and a county council and also councils of contiguous counties might unite to provide schools or technical institutions, for which there would not be a sufficient demand in the area of one particular council but which would be very useful for the areas of two or three councils. I am glad to see that provision in the Bill. This power to unite is one in which councils might usefully be stirred up a little by the Board of Education, because there are sometimes unnecessary jealousies, and a little tactful action, to mediate and to suggest, by the Board of Education would probably bring them together.
Here I will advert to a question which has been discussed ever since the Commission of 1865. That is the provision of different kinds of secondary schools. The Commission contemplated three kinds of secondary schools—the first grade, the second grade, the third grade. Fortunately, the last grade has now become practically superfluous. There is no better evidence of the extent to which our elementary education has advanced than the fact that this grade of secondary school has become almost unnecessary, owing to the improvement in the elementary schools. The other two classes still remain, and it has become a very important problem to supply more secondary schools of the highest class.
I am afraid the local authorities have not always been quite sufficiently alive to that necessity. I think they sometimes consider that a sort of superior commercial school is good enough as a secondary school, and are not sufficiently alive to the fact that there are many boys who are fit for a kind of education and instruction which the second-class secondary school does not provide, and for which you must have a first-class secondary school. That is just one of those cases in which counties, and especially small counties such as are the Welsh counties, might unite. I do not refer specially to Wales, because Wales, of course, has an Act of its own, but there are similar cases in England where councils can usefully combine to provide a first-class secondary school. Often, of 147 course, they can do that best by selecting an existing endowed school, helping it by a grant, and undertaking a share in the management of it so as to raise it to a higher efficiency than it could attain by means of its endowment only.
It is also an excellent feature of the Bill that it contemplates close relations between schools and Universities. That is a thing which is good for both. It is certainly an excellent thing for schools that they should have the sympathy and support of the Universities, and it is an excellent thing for the Universities that they should be interested in the schools, by appointing, as they now sometimes do, members to sit upon the school committees and otherwise by showing their interest in them. Here, perhaps, may I digress for a moment to express the hope to the Board of Education that they will hold their hand before proceeding to create any more local Universities in this country. Some people suppose that as soon as you set up an institution and call it a University you have thereby conferred a benefit upon education. But all depends on whether the institution you create is strong enough, by its endowments, by its staff and by the local support it can count upon, to give what is truly University education, and you are not doing a service to the country, but a disservice, if you are leading students to go to an institution which, though called a University is far below the level which British Universities have hitherto held as seats of learning and research. Several of the new Universities have certainly made good their claim. It would be invidious to make an enumeration of them because that would involve omissions, but there are certainly some colleges which have recently received the title of university about which a question of fitness might well be raised, and I hope that the Board of Education, or whatever Department controls these matters, will not go any further at present, and will not take any action which would lower the high conception we have hitherto held of what a University is, and what it ought to be.
With regard to the continuation schools I should like to make one observation. It was well said in the debate on the Second Reading that the rural continuation school has serious difficulties to face. That is true. Any one who knows our rural population knows that the difficulties are far greater 148 than in the town. I should like to suggest to the Board of Education that they might do a great deal to develop the usefulness and popularity of the continuation schools in rural areas if they would give more attention to the teaching of natural history. It is a branch of the sciences of nature excellently fitted for educational purposes, and it is now comparatively little used for those purposes. It is a great deal easier to interest children in external nature than it is in physics and chemistry; and especially so in rural areas, where one can connect this study with agriculture, geography, and the environment in which the children live. I should say that of the branches of natural history that which is most valuable for teaching is botany; then zoology and geology. All these, in their separate ways, can be made extremely useful as educational methods for stimulating classification, the habit of acute, careful observation, and also for touching the imagination. There is in these sciences means of appealing to the imagination of the child, and giving him an interest in the nature in which he lives, that we have not turned at all to proper account, and which I hope the Board of Education will more and more impress on those local authorities with which it is in contact.
One other point was mentioned in the debate on the Second Reading on which I wish to say one word, and it is the danger of giving a militaristic character to boys in schools by teaching them drill, and by exercises of a military nature. I do not believe there is the slightest danger of that kind. I am sure there is no one in this House who is less of a militarist than I, and I can give you my own experience. When I was a volunteer in the Oxford University Volunteers, about sixty years ago, neither I nor, as far as I could see, any of my friends ever derived any militaristic habits of thought, or predisposition to a military life, from our experience there. We learnt a great deal which was valuable to us; but we did not learn to love war, or to have any desire to promote it, and I believe this sort of training in drill and exercises may be given with great advantage by schools.
Just two or three words about the teachers. Of course, everything depends, as your Lordships know, on the quality of the teachers. Now the task I have 149 referred to of trying to find the best boys and bring them on will be greatly facilitated by every improvement in the quality of the teachers. The method of selection by examination, as was observed by Lord Haldane, is very unsatisfactory, and you will do far better by looking at the boy's record and what the teacher knows about the boy. The teacher is the best judge as to whether the boy is likely to profit by higher education in the secondary schools and the Universities. The more you improve the teacher the more you facilitate this vital process of bringing the best boys up to the top. How are you to improve the teacher? In the first place of course by raising his salary. We know that the Board of Education in the estimates which it presents to the other House of Parliament has been doing all it can, and proposes to go further in the way of improving the position of the teacher as regards payment. It will be more necessary now than ever, because I am afraid there is a good deal of evidence as to the difficulty there will be of getting teachers after the war.
There is another way in which you may improve the status of the teachers, and that is by drawing more and more from those who have had a University training. In Scotland a very large proportion of the teachers in elementary schools have taken their degree at a Scottish University. Of course Scottish Universities have been much cheaper than Oxford and Cambridge, but they are not substantially cheaper than the new Universities, and even at Oxford and Cambridge changes have been made which reduce expense. I should like to convey to your Lordships how much we feel in Scotland our schools owe to the fact that so large a proportion of the teachers have had a University education, not merely in respect of the instruction they have received but because they have been brought into contact with the best minds, have formed acquaintances there with those who are about to enter other professions and have been got out of the narrow professional groove into which the teacher who comes from the ordinary training college is apt to find himself. It is with pleasure that I see there is a clause in the Bill which recognises that teachers may usefully be employed in promoting research. It is Clause 23, and I hope use will be made of the clause. In adverting to the Universities may I be permitted to bear wit- 150 ness to what was said by the most rev. Primate, and also by the Archbishop of York, as to the services which the clergy have rendered in the schools of England. They spoke of the elementary schools. I do not speak of them, but fifty years ago as an Assistant Commissioner I visited the endowed schools of England for the Royal Commission of 1865–8, and it was quite remarkable to find that in rural parishes very often the only person among the trustees who took the slightest interest in education, was the clergyman. In that way English education does owe a debt to the clergy of the Church of England. This service could not have been rendered by them if they had not been University men; it was because they had been University men, and had there acquired a love for learning, that they were able to render it.
In working this Bill the Board of Education will find that it has a good deal to do in time way of educating local authorities. Happy relations have it is said so far existed up to the present between the Board of Education and local authorities, and we must hope they will take gratefully the advice which the Board of Education will give them. We stand now at the beginning of what is called the process of reconstruction. The greatest possible asset we can have in the process of rebuilding and repairing that which has been broken and lost is in the minds and wills of our people, and no organisation that we can have is comparable with what can be done by getting the best men to the front, and making the most of them. It is not a matter so much of what is taught as of the way in which teaching is given. Too much stress may be laid on the teaching of practical subjects. It is not so much the subject you teach as the man who teaches; the spirit in which he teaches; the spirit of curiosity for learning he knows how to inspire, and the extent to which he can make pupils enjoy learning. The greatest mistake is to neglect to give people a love of knowledge, and to make them feel that the acquisition of knowledge is a joy and a pleasure for life. If that was better done our schools would have a far greater hold upon the minds of our people. It is in this respect that I look upon the Bill with much satisfaction, and I most earnestly hope that it will be carried out by the Board of Education in the liberal and comprehensive spirit in which it has been framed.
LORD ORANMORE AND BROWNE
My Lords, I was unfortunately unable to be present in the house during the Second Reading of this Bill, but I have very carefully read all the speeches which were made on that occasion, and it appears to me that, however skilful may have been the camouflage that was used, they were all based upon the text of the saying which is attributed to the late Lord Beaconsfield, that we must educate our masters. I am afraid that in some respects my view with regard to the education of the masses of the people is very retrograde. I therefore do not propose to trouble your Lordships with it at any length, but I may be permitted to say that I believe the saying in Holy Writ "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread" is as true now as it has been in the past. And for the vast majority of mankind the sweat of the brow must be derived from manual and not from mental exertion. The ploughman who can construe the Iliad and is familiar with the Æncid is a very pretty feature in fiction, but not in real life, and I think that there are very few of your Lordships who would wish to employ him on your land. Of course I am quite aware that the days are past when it was thought to be sufficient for the labourer to read the Bible and touch his hat to the Squire. But I think we ought to be very careful, in the education we give, that it should be of such a practical nature as will enable the pupils to make use of it in the sphere of life in which they will most probably find themselves afterwards.
I was very much struck by a quotation which was made by the most rev. Prelate the Archbishop of York from a saying of the late Bishop Creighton, in the course of the speech that he made on the Second Reading. He said that the great object of education was not only to enable a man to get on, but to enable him to use the time in which he was not engaged in getting on. I think that we ought to be careful that the education which we give him is not such as to tempt him to misuse his time by vain regrets that he can only get on by using his hands as well as his brain. I should not like it to be supposed for one moment that I am opposed to education, but I think that I am rather in favour of the principle of selection to which the noble Marquess, Lord Crewe, referred in his speech, as being that to which this Bill was opposed. The noble Marquess said that he was inclined to 152 agree that the principle of this Bill was the better one, and that amongst many of his contemporaries he had known boys of fourteen who had not at that time shown any sign of development of the talents for which they were remarkable in later life. Of course this may be true in some cases. The classic instance of the famous Puke of Wellington, who is supposed to have been the dunce of the family, is often quoted, but I believe that in the vast majority of cases you can generally detect cleverness in boys and girls at the age of fourteen, and under the principle of selection, if they had not shown ability at that time, though we might have to regret some "mute inglorious Miltons," we should at any rate be able to console ourselves by having buried many Cromwells "guiltless of their country's blood."
I should like to say a few words with respect to an important matter; that is, the cost of this measure—a subject to which the noble Earl in charge of the Bill did not refer in his opening speech, and to which he said only a very few words in reply to criticism at the end of the debate. I do not think that what he said then—if he will permit me to say so—gave your Lordships very much information on the subject. If we want to know what the estimated cost of this Bill is likely to be we have to refer to the speech of the President of the Board of Education in another place where he estimated that the cost would probably be £10,000,000 a year. The noble Marquess the Leader of the Opposition in his speech—a most interesting speech if he will permit me to say so—referred to the time when he was President of the Board of Education when, I think, he had a Report made on the subject, and was informed that the cost would probably be precisely the same, £10,000,000. If that is the case, when we take into consideration the enormous increase in the cost of everything since that date—the increase in the cost of material, of labour, of salaries, of pensions—I think that your Lordships will agree that the right hon. gentleman must be very sanguine when he expects that his Bill will cost no more than it was estimated to do a good many years ago.
We must remember also that when Mr. Fisher spoke of the cost of the Bill he did not include in it any expenditure which 153 might be incurred under Clauses 17 and 37, and it appears to me that the expenditure which may be justified under those clauses is limitless. Under Clause 17, so far as I can see, there is nothing to prevent a local authority from engaging Madame Melba, or any other prima donna. for the purpose of showing what the training of the voice can do; and under Clause 37, if the sanction of the Board of Education is obtained, there will be nothing to prevent a hundred people or more being sent for a joy-trip at the expense of the country to Rome or to San Francisco for the purpose of taking part in an Educational Conference.
I have been at some trouble to discover what is the actual cost of primary and secondary education at the present time. It is rather difficult to do so, because the full details are not obtainable after the year 1916. But I have made as close a calculation as I can, and my noble friend will correct me if I am wrong when I say that it is estimated that the cost of these two branches of education in taxation and rates for the present year will be about £40,000,000. That is a very large sum, and it w ill be said that it is perhaps not too large if we secure a contented, prosperous, and learned, or even well-educated, democracy.
LORD ORANMORE AND BROWNE
Secondary and elementary. It struck me the other day when looking over a servants' weekly book that we had not attained that democrary yet, for the word 'bus in "'bus-fare" was spelt with two "ss" in exactly the same way that it used to be thirty years ago. We are so inclined to think in hundreds or thousands of millions at the present time that we regard with great calmness the certainty of an addition of £10,000,000 a year, and the possibility of £20,000,000 or £30,000,000 a year, though the noble Marquess told us that some of his colleagues—some of them advanced radicals—were rather alarmed at the idea.
What I hope will be done in Committee is to place some restraint on this expenditure. I cannot look upon the provision of the Board of Education considering a request of what is proposed to be done by the local authority as any restraint. On the contrary, I believe that the Board of Education will urge the local authorities 154 to still greater expense. Their whole thought will be for the improvement of education, and they will not consider what the cost will be to the country. It will in fact be an appeal from "Philip sober to Philip drunk." It is said that the estimates are to be submitted to Parliament, and of course that is quite true, but your Lordships must not forget that the estimates to be submitted are estimates after the works have been completed by the local authorities for the purposes of maintenance, and the President of the Board of Education will go to Parliament and say, "I have agreed to all these things under the authority you have given me by Act of Parliament. It will be a breach of good faith if they are not carried out." Parliament will find it extremely difficult to disagree.
I wonder if the House considers what a peculiar position the President of the Board of Education occupies. There is no other official, I believe, in this position, that with a stroke of his pen he can order vast sums to be expended. Every other Department is obliged to go hat in hand to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and ask for the money to be granted. What I am anxious about is that if possible some provision should be made in this Bill that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should have a voice before this vast expenditure is incurred. Otherwise, as it stands at present, it seems to be absolutely left in the hands of bureaucracy. I am glad to see that Amendments in this sense have been put on the Notice Paper. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has, as we know, to provide for the payment of the vast burden of the war debt which hangs over the nation, and if all this additional expenditure can be incurred without referring to him I think it will be extremely dangerous. If, on the other hand, some words are inserted which oblige reference to the Treasury before these expenses are incurred it will, at any rate, enable a safeguard to be placed against foolish or reckless extravagance, and we shall be able to see that the money which is spent on this great scheme is spent to the best advantage.
§ LORD MORRIS
My Lords, I desire to take advantage of the present opportunity of making a very few observations in relation to this very important measure. I do not find myself in accordance with the remarks of the noble Lord who has just sat down. I do not think there is anything in the Bill which could even suggest any 155 of the dangers that he has pointed out, and if there is a possibility that the clauses are so wide as to encourage the teaching of Homer's "Iliad" or the "Æneid" of Virgil to farmers, or the retention of the services of Madame Melba or Harry Lauder or some other theatrical stars in aid of education, a special provision can be inserted in the Bill to prevent that danger.
I take issue entirely with the noble Lord who spoke last on the question of education. I lay it down as a principle that you cannot over-educate the people of any country, if you educate them along the proper lines, and we have abundant examples in our own country of the dangers and difficulties into which we have fallen by reason of our not being properly educated. It is only a year ago, I think, that a Report was presented to both Houses of Parliament by the President of the Board of Agriculture, compiled and prepared by Mr. Middleton at the request of the President of the Board. He was asked specially to explain the relative positions of Germany and this country in relation to agriculture. This expert pointed out in that Report that we have a better country than Germany both in climate and soil for agricultural purposes, and yet in every product raised by Germany they are ahead of this country. The facts and the reasons are there given, and any one who reads between the lines will see that it is because our farmers are not educated as they are in Germany to get every possible pound of produce out of their land. I submit that this has a bearing on the Bill that we are now discussing. I only hope that the time will come when the continuation schools provided for in this Bill will go still further than the age now fixed, and that technical schools will be provided in the nature of continuation schools, by which all classes in the country until they have settled down in life, and even then, will be taught those various branches of knowledge which will make it easier for them to pursue their callings.
It would be very interesting for this House to know what is being done in other countries in relation to continuation schools—in Norway, Sweden, and Germany, and other countries. I should like to have a Report on those lines, showing what has been done in the last twenty years in the continuation schools of Denmark and Sweden in relation to agriculture, and what has been done for the fishermen in Norway, where they are being taught in continuation schools between the ages of 156 eighteen and twenty-five, and sometimes as old as thirty, being taught everything which is likely to assist them in the carrying on of their calling.
There was a Bill introduced here yesterday by the Lord Chancellor relating to the Income Tax. That represented a consolidation of the whole law relating to the question for, I think, the past seventy or eighty years. My only regret about this Bill is that it does not contain a complete codification and consolidation of the law regarding education. I am not finding fault with the noble Earl who introduced this Bill, indeed I should like to take this opportunity of adding my congratulations to those extended to him by other speakers on the interesting way in which he put this matter before the House. But there are many in this Chamber, and, I have no doubt, in the other Chamber and in the country generally who to-day have no proper appreciation of what the law relating to education is, for the simple reason that we have no consolidation or codification of the education law. It would be necessary to take up a dozen or more Education Acts, and even then it would only be by a careful comparison and study of the amending enactments made from time to time that you would get a real understanding of what the law is to-day. We have also nothing before us to-night as to the educational system.
The noble Lord who spoke last pointed out that it was with great difficulty that anyone could ascertain what we are spending on education. It has been stated in the debate that this Bill will add something like £10,000,000 to our expenditure on education. Is that £10,000,000 added to £50,000,000 or £40,000,000, or is it £10,000,000 added to £60,000,000? No statement has been made up to the present moment as to what the educational system of this country is costing. It appears to me that no matter that could come before this Chamber is in any way so important as this question of education, and I should be prepared, if necessary, to double the Education Vote in order to bring the proper and necessary education within the grasp of the rising generation. But in order to awaken the interest that has been referred to by the noble Viscount, Lord Bryce this afternoon, in order to awaken a thorough interest in the country amongst all classes, you want to have proper facts and proper 157 Statistics properly tabulated and put before the country in an interesting way.
Now, what is the per capita expenditure in this country for education? Some will tell you it is about £45,000,000; that is about £1 per head of the population. That may be too small or it may be too large; but until there is some authoritative statement as to the exact amount spent today on education in this country we can really give no opinion as to its relative value. How does it compare with Germany? How does it compare with the United States? How does it compare with what is being expended in Canada, in Australia, and in other countries? What is the number of teachers? What are their salaries? What are they being paid in comparison with other countries? It is only when we have all these facts, when we have all these tables and statistics put before the country in an interesting and effective way, that the country will really rise to an appreciation of the seriousness and of the importance of this measure. I agree with other speakers that there never was a time in the history of the country when it was more important to educate the people. Never in the history of this Empire was it more important that the working classes—those who produce anything, call them producers if you like; but these are the people upon whom we have to rely and upon whom we have to depend for the sources of taxation to pay the very heavy annual cost of the war in which we are now engaged.
Four years ago the total cost of the Public Services in this country amounted to something like £200,000,000—I am speaking without the exact figures before me. To-day we are getting very near to the figure of £7,000,000,000 as the cost of this war; and if the war stopped to-morrow that would probably be somewhere near its cost. That is £350,000,000 a year; add to that £200,000,000 for pensions and you get a total of £500,000,000 a year, or more than double the costs of our total expenditure before the war. Now, whence is that money to be obtained? I think it can be obtained, every dollar of it; but we shall have to teach the people who produce the wealth from which we shall obtain these taxes. I agree with those who have preceded me in this debate that the true policy for this country to-day is not to be considering what it will cost, but to recognise that, like a dose 158 of medicine, no matter what the cost, it has to be obtained. The country requires it more now than at any other time in its history. I am not afraid of the suggestion of the last speaker that we are going to over-educate the masses. I think that an educated farmer, an educated labourer, an educated mechanic, or an educated man in any other class, is more likely to produce better results for himself and to do better work all round. What is the history of the United States of America? One need only go to the large cities like Chicago, New York, awl Boston, and see the splendid schools and colleges there, where, no matter what your age, you can go in and perfect and improve yourself in any department of learning or science.
The noble Viscount, Lord Bryce, referred to education in Scotland. Within the last year or so I have had an opportunity of visiting a great many schools in Banffshire, in Aberdeenshire, and in other places in Scotland, and I can corroborate everything that the noble Viscount has said. You can go up to Banff to-day and into one of their elementary schools, and you can pick out a dozen pupils and bring them to London—the very heart of the Empire—without the slightest fear that, in any given examination of the same class, they could not successfully compete with the scholars here. There is this further advantage about education in Scotland that every boy and girl can, if he or she comes up to the required standard, receive education in any of the Universities of Scotland. That is what we want in this country. We do not want the idea to prevail that we are going too far. We cannot go too far. I make bold to say—and I have no hesitation whatever in putting myself on record—that if we had pursued during the last fifty or sixty years the policy which we are pursuing to-day, and if we had educated the people in this country up to the proper appreciation of their responsibilities of citizenship, we should not be in the mess we are in to-day in connection with the war.
There was altogether too much said about cheap foods, cheap dress, and cheap clothing, by Tariff Reformers on the one side and by Free Traders on the other. I can afford to say that, because I am not interested in either side. But the question of the safety of the Realm and of the Empire was too often left aside. "Vote for Free Trade because it will give you cheap food and cheap clothes"; and "Vote for 159 Tariff Reform because it will give you high wages and cheap food and cheap clothes." But what about the safety of the Realm? What about the safety of the country? Now we have learned the lesson that it is not the production of cheap ribbon and cheap shoes, or the manufacture of lace and underclothing that will save us in the struggle, but it is steel and food and leather, and many other important products that have to be looked after. We shall have to learn this additional lesson, that there are certain essential products which, no matter what they cost, will have to be produced in this country if it is desirous to make the country absolutely safe.
I did not intend to occupy the time of the House by any lengthy observations. I merely want to say that I entirely concur in this measure, and that I entirely approve of every word in it. There will probably be certain Amendments made, upon which we shall have something to say as they come along. Certain of them go to the point of restricting the powers of the Education Department by the Treasury. As regards that proposal I am at total variance. I do not think there should be any restriction. I think the proper policy is this: let this House, let this Parliament vote a certain sum for education and hand that over to the proper authority to spend, and let the Treasury have nothing whatever to say and nothing whatever to do with it. The trouble now is that you have got to go to too many Departments. You cannot finalise any matter really without going to half a dozen Departments. Now, we do not want to mix the Treasury up whatever with this Bill. Let us vote £50,000,000 or £100,000,000, and hand that over to the proper Department and then we will have no difficulty.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I am sure that your Lordships are much indebted to the noble Lords who have addressed us this evening for the speeches they have delivered. The speech to which we have just listened is, perhaps, almost unique in the history of your Lordships' House. This is the first time, I believe, that a noble Lord who has been Prime Minister of one of the Britains beyond the Seas has spoken in the House of Lords, and I am sure, if he will allow me, I may be permitted in the name of your Lordships' House to congratulate the noble Lord on having for the first time taken part in our debates, and to express 160 our respectful hope that it will not by any means be the last occasion on which he will help us to solve the many and difficult problems which have to be decided in your Lordships' House.
The noble Lord spoke with a vigour and zeal which we would expect from a man who had lived for so many years in the New World. We share, many of us, in much of his enthusiasm. Perhaps, however, in some respects we cannot go quite so far as he was inclined to go. In one respect I go the full length—namely, in sharing with him the feeling of regret at the profound difficulty in so much of British legislation to know exactly where we are. He complained, at the beginning of his remarks, that no general statement had been made to your Lordships as to the total amount of expenditure which was being incurred on behalf of education as a preliminary to the enactment of this present Bill. Well, it is not a singular case. We generally find ourselves very misty as to the precise limits of the expenditure on the projects which are put before us. I think he probably underrated the amount of expense which will be incurred by this Bill, because he took into account no doubt the actual expenditure of the Bill, but when he was thinking or the whole total expenditure to which this country was put, he did not think, perhaps, of all the private schools, Universities, and other great institutions of education which exist alongside.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
Nor in Scotland nor in Ireland. The noble Lord was inclined to go to great lengths in the matter of expenditure. I myself very respectfully share in the approval of the main provisions of this Bill, but I cannot say I think it would be wise for us to say that there should be no limit to the expenditure which ought to be incurred under it.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
The noble Lord himself called attention to the enormous burden which this country has to bear now in consequence of the war. He spoke in fitting language of the very large figures with which the taxpayer had to deal. My Lords, I think that will make 161 most of us a little cautious in saying there should be no limit to the expenditure on education. That matter no doubt will be discussed in Committee, but I should be sorry if it should be thought that in that respect we shared the views of the noble Lord.
I have said—and I do not intend to trouble your Lordships for more than a few minutes this evening—that I am one of those who welcome this Bill. I believe the Bill is absolutely called for, for two reasons. In the first place, because unless there are these additions made to the educational equipment of the country it has become convincingly clear to us that a large part of the expenditure which we already incur is being wasted. That is the first businesslike reason. The other reason is that there is undoubtedly a sentiment, a sentiment which we all welcome and approve, amongst the working classes of this country that they desire a higher standard of education. There is an aspiration after education. My Lords, I think that this is a very welcome sign. I think it marks the beginning of a great epoch in this country, and we ought to be forward to help and promote the fulfilment of such an aspiration.
When I leave, however, the main principle of the Bill, and contemplate the details, I am bound to say for my own part, that I shall be compelled to take a great many of them on trust. It is quite impossible, absolutely impossible in my humble judgment, at such a time—I do not mean merely in the particular time of the session, but in such a time of urgency—for us really to consider, as they ought to be considered, the very far-reaching provisions of this Bill. Some of them go immense lengths. I am not prepared to say that there are not many of them quite justified; but to believe that your Lordships' House can go through this Bill as it ought to be gone through, touching as it does not merely education but a vast number of topics more or less associated with education, like the employment of children, cruelty to children, and so on, and really give it that attention which in proper circumstances the House of Lords would have been bound to give it, seems to me to be quite absurd.
But the responsibility for that state of things does not rest upon us. I think, myself, that the Government undertook a great responsibility in producing such a Bill as this while the war was going on. I confess that if there is one subject on which 162 I would have stretched a point it would have been this subject of education. But I still cannot feel that we are really fulfilling the trust that is imposed on us when we pass, as we shall have to pass, an enormous number of these provisions, uncanvassed and unamended, and trust to good fortune and the wisdom of the Ministers who have framed the Bill that no disastrous consequences will follow.
Now, my Lords, I should like to say one word, and one word only, upon the main provision of the Bill—namely, the provision for the establishment of continuation schools. In one sense I think this provision goes too far. In another sense I do not think it goes far enough. I should have been prepared to see a much more considerable amount of education given to children up to the age of sixteen, and to have freed them after that period. I am afraid that the 280 hours provided under Clause 6 will be found to be of comparatively little value, and if it had been possible I should have liked to see a good half-time education given to children up to sixteen, and to have left them free afterwards. I say so for an additional reason. My noble friend Lord Bryce, in a most interesting speech, which I am sure we should have been very sorry if he had not had an opportunity of delivering, spoke of military t raining. Now, my Lords, some time will have to be found for military training. It is all very well, but we must not shut our eyes to that fact. The day has gone by when we could afford to gratify any pacific tendencies which there were before the war. It is abundantly clear that if our children must be taught to read and write, and the elements of education, so they must be taught also the elements of national defence. Some time will have to be found for it, and I should have thought that that time would have to be found between the ages of sixteen and eighteen. I should, therefore, have been glad to have seen that period, as it were, set apart for so much of the time as they can spare from industrial occupations to be devoted to something like compulsory cadet training.
I have only one word further to add, and it is to say how greatly I agree in saying that everything depends—the success of this measure depends—upon how it is going to be worked, how the teachers are to be appointed, and how the Board of Education is going to administer the law. It is quite true that a great deal of good can be done by education, but we must never 163 forget that a great deal of harm also can be done by education, and no one who has thought deeply on the causes of the present German public opinion but must be aware what fatal effects can be produced by an evil course of education, upon the youth of a country. The whole sentiment of the country may be utterly perverted, and though I do not for a moment think that the most distinguished Minister who now presides over the Board of Education would be guilty of any such error of judgment as I have indicated, yet he will not be there for ever and other Ministers may succeed him who may be misled into allowing a course of education which, though not as pernicious as the German system of education, may yet have the effect of some permanent perversion of the proper sentiments which children should have and which they should profess when they become electors and citizens of the country. I welcome the Bill in its main outlines and hope that your Lordships will be allowed to amend it in certain particulars as it goes through committee. I can only repeat for my own part, and I believe I am speaking the sentiments of many noble Lords, that in many respects we cannot accept full responsibility for a Bill which we have no time and opportunity of examining as it ought to be examined.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON
Before the noble Earl rises to reply, I should like to make one suggestion which may tend to shorten and facilitate discussion in Committee. Lord Salisbury has just observed that this Bill is very wide and confers extremely wide powers, and is not at present subject to any financial control of any description. Now a large number of the matters which are extraneous almost to education, and which I think from the speeches that have been made are viewed with great interest and sympathy in this House, must be subject to our being assured that the money spent upon them will not be wasted, and indeed that it can be obtained. I shall have the authority of a great educationalist like Lord Bryce when I say that a great deal of money has been wasted in the past.
I would ask your Lordships in the fewest sentences I can to consider what is the present position as laid down by the Bill. There is no financial control of any description, and yet the widest possible powers are placed in the hands of the municipal authorities. It does not follow 164 that they may be willing to exercise those powers, but if they are not willing they can be forced by the Education Minister to present a scheme or to magnify the scheme which they put forward. Therefore on the Education Minister—an official who, however great may be the respect which we have for the present occupant of the post, may find himself out of office even before this Bill is put into operation—on the Education Minister depends without exaggeration the whole future of the finance of the country.
The present expenditure on education is something like £50,000,000. It is not at all impossible that under this Bill—we have had no estimate—expenditure may go up by another £20,000,000 or £25,000,000 and look what is the authority for that. There is absolutely no popular control. The Bill is undemocratic in the largest degree in that respect. The ratepayers are not the men who return the members even of the county council. A large proportion of the ratepayers pay no rates whatever, and in the last few years the presumption that the rates rise if the rents rise has not been correct. Parliament has had in the last few years to stop the raising of rents; therefore no matter what the rates may amount to the voter who is going to register his vote for the county councils does not have brought home to him the great expenditure which may have to be met. What is the position of the taxpayer? Schemes under this Bill are considered by the county council. They are then approved or enlarged by the President of the Board of Education. It is in his power to do that to the extent of £5,000,000 or £10,000,000 a year, and Parliament has no remedy whatever. By Clause 43 of the Bill, I think, any scheme so agreed to by the Board of Education ipso facto carries with it a contribution by the tax-payer of half the cost of maintenance. Therefore half the cost of maintenance may in the next few years rise by 5, 10 or even 15,000,000 of money.
There is no other official who is in that position. I wish only to make two more remarks. In the first place it is sometimes argued that municipal finance has not been under the control of Parliament. That is too wide a statement and is to a large extent erroneous. At this moment there is no municipal authority in the country which can raise any loan for drainage or such purposes of health without the consent 165 of the Local Government Board. Further than that, the London County Council, which as a spending authority is second only to the National Exchequer, if it desires to raise a loan must have the consent of the Treasury, which is not always to be got. The assumption in this Bill is that the one man, the Education Minister, who is not the guardian of the public purse but, is the one man who by his profession is bound to make the largest inroads on the public purse—the assumption is that he is to be the sole judge of whether the country car beat this additional expenditure.
I have made a suggestion that very early in the Bill the Government should assure us they have reconsidered this point and will give some control to the Treasury. I wonder whether it occurs to people that we are spending £40,000,000 each week on the war, that the interest on this money amounts to £2,000,000 a week, and that that represents to the taxpayer an extra 1d. per week, a sum which up to even a year before the war created a considerable amount of consideration if not disturbance. Yet while we are really groping in the dark as to what our position may be after the war and while we absolutely fail to secure economy in any one of the Departments carrying on the war, and while resolutions which your Lordships' House have passed and which have been succeeded by Commit tees whose recommendations I could show, if allowed to discuss them, would completely alter the position of the Treasury so that instead of being given the go by in a Bill of this character it would be put in the forefront of the battle—I say that while the war is going on this is not a moment for any Government to lay in the hands of perhaps an impetuous, certainly enthusiastic and well-meaning, Minister the entire responsibility of adding a burden to the public purse which it may be Quite impossible for the public purse to bear. Even those who have not taken that view will, I am sure, go so far with me as to say that there are numerous great experiments which are going to be made under the Bill, and those experiments ought to be made economically and not wastefully. They involve enormous programmes of building, enormous increases of staff, and an enormous change in the whole attitude of Parliament to what has been called education in the past. I do not grudge these. I only wish to see them brought within limits. I do venture to 166 suggest to His Majesty's Government that, if we are to discuss every clause of this Bill with the feeling that these great powers are to be used entirely without trammels, our discussion will be far longer than if we know that some independent authority will be there, at all events at the outset, to see that undue scope is not given to the enthusiasm of those who care for education alone and who have not got to consider the public purse.
§ VISCOUNT ST. DAVIDS
My Lords, I do not wish to criticise this Bill in any hostile way, but I should like to say a word on the financial problem. The noble Viscount who has just spoken has taken a very honourable part from the beginning of the war, in trying to keep down expenditure in military as well as other matters. I have tried myself to do it as far as one can do it by remarks in this House; but the financial position of this country is a serious one.
§ VISCOUNT ST. DAVIDS
Another noble Lord—I do not see him in his place—a noble Lord of great authority in finance, Lord Inchcape, has put down a Notice on the Paper to raise a debate on this subject. I venture to say this, that this country ought not to spend money on anything with too lavish a hand. We do not know where we stand. There is nobody in this country who knows where we stand. My own opinion—I have done my best to urge it privately on those having influence—is that we ought to have very quickly a Royal Commission appointed to consider the financial state of the country, to tell us what the assets of the country are worth, what the income of the country is—I do not mean the income of the Government, but of the country, of all the inhabitants—and how it is built up; and then to report to us from time to time, say every six months, from now to the end of the war, what our approximate liabilities are. These are very difficult to reckon, because you do know—without an accountant you cannot get an idea—what the liabilities of the country under the head of pensions may be.
But I do say that nobody who looks at our financial position, however confident he may be that we can raise money to carry on the war successfully—of that I am quite 167 confident; I believe we are all confident that we can raise money to carry the war to a successful issue—can doubt that the financial position is a serious one. I should like to spend a great deal of money on education, but when I hear the noble Lord Lord Morris (whom again I welcome to the debates in this House from Newfoundland) tell us lightly that he would spend £50,000,000 or £100,000,000 as if it was nothing, I do say this—that those of us who have studied the financial position ought to say just one word of warning to the effect that £50,000,000 and £100,000,000 are not going to be very readily found when this war is over by any country.
I do not want to say one word in criticism of this Bill on its merits, but I would press this very earnestly on the Government. I believe this is the first time that Treasury control has been altogether withdrawn from the expenditure of an enormous sum of money, not only an enormous lump sum but an enormous annual sum, an annual sum the amount of which nobody is in position to estimate in advance. Whether it is going to be £5,000,000 or £15,000,000 or £25,000,000, it is going to be an enormous sum. I say most emphatically that that is not one of the things from which at this time Treasury control ought to be withdrawn, and I would beg the Government to consider most seriously whether they cannot accept that as an Amendment to this Bill. The Government ought to be gratified at the reception with which this Bill has met as a whole from the House, but on the financial point I do think that criticism has a great deal of substance in it, and I would beg the Government most earnestly to take this matter into their consideration and to see whether they cannot come to the conclusion that this is a point on which they might meet the views of noble Lords opposite who have spoken.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
My Lords, the very interesting discussion to which we have listened calls, I think, for a reply from this Bench upon one point, and upon one point only. I have no wish to forestall arguments which may be brought up on points when we get to clauses in Committee; nor have I any wish to refer again to matters which were dealt with on the Second Reading. But it has been pointed out and quite rightly pointed out—that there was an omission from the statement I made to your Lordships on Second Reading, in that I made no reference to the cost of this Bill and to the financial arrangements 168 under it. I desire, therefore, in the shortest possible way to refer to that point.
As I explained to the noble Viscount on the second day of our discussion on the Second Reading of the Bill, it really is impossible to give an accurate estimate of what this Bill is going to cost. It must depend entirely upon the use which is made of it, and on the action taken by various local authorities. But when we speak of what this Bill is to cost, I should like your Lordships to remember that whether this Bill is passed or not the administrative expenses of education must inevitably increase with years, and that a great deal, therefore, of the increase of expenditure on education in future will have no reference to this Bill at all. As the population grows, as new schools have to be provided, as higher standards of teaching come to be adopted, so greater expenditure will also be incurred.
But the really big item of increased expenditure, which this Bill may be said to involve, is the expenditure upon continuation schools. The noble Lord, Lord Morris, dealt with the question of the necessity for providing fresh funds for education and he asked whether any information could be given as to the expenditure upon higher education in, for instance, the United States of America or Germany. I have some figures here in which I think your Lordships may be interested. I propose to quote them as an illustration of what other countries are doing in this matter. In this country—that is, England and Wales, with a population of 36,000,000—our expenditure for secondary and higher education is £6,500,000. Upon these same subjects the expenditure in Prussia, with a population of 40,000,000, is £10,000,000, as against £6,500,000 in this country. In the United States, with a population of 91,000,000, the expenditure upon higher education has grown from nearly £38,000,000 in 1913 to £44,000,000 in 1916.
I put it to your Lordships, in face of these figures and considering what other countries are doing in this matter, can we possibly afford to neglect further provision for higher education? The point was very well put by the noble Marquess who spoke from the Front Bench just now. He said that this was an expenditure which was necessary in order that we may reap the full value of the expenditure we had already incurred. We spend, roughly, £30,000,000 a year on 169 our elementary education. We are not getting the full value from that expenditure; therefore the problem before the Government is precisely the problem with which ordinary business firms are constantly confronted. It constantly becomes necessary in business firms to incur additional expense to reap the full value of that which you have already incurred. If we are to get the benefit from our expenditure of £30,000,000 upon elementary education it is absolutely necessary we should supplement it by further provision for higher education. That is the justification for my claim for what is the really large item of increased expenditure provided in the Bill.
Now I come to the point raised by the noble Viscount, Lord Midleton. He is anxious that any expenditure which may result from this Bill should be wisely and economically spent, and that is a matter with which all your Lordships must cordially agree. No one who at this moment considers the present financial commitments of this country, what our burden of taxation for years to come must inevitably be, can fail to sympathise entirely with the remarks of the noble Viscount as to the necessity for the most rigid supervision of any expenditure upon this or any other matter.
But I really think those of your Lordships who have spoken on this point have drawn a wholly fallacious picture of what this Bill does. We have been told that it is wholly unprecedented in authorising expenditure without Treasury control. Tile noble Lord, Lord Oranmore and Browne, said the President of the Board of Education was in an entirely different position from that of any other Minister of the Crown, and that by a stroke of the pen he could sanction millions of money, whereas every other Department had to come cap in hand to the Treasury. I do not want to forestall a particular discussion, but I hope I shall be able to show when we come to Committee that that description is really quiet inaccurate. There was no limit to the expenditure which School Boards were authorised to spend under the Act of 1870, and there was no limit put on the expenditure which local authorities might make upon elementary education in the Act of 1902.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON
But that did not impose a corresponding charge on the 170 Exchequer. In regard to elementary education the Exchequer could give what grants it pleased, but the fact that the local authority said, "We will spend £500,000" did not mean that the Exchequer was bound to spend another £500,000.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
But the authority which the President of the Board of Education has to make a grant supplementing local expenditure is an authority granted to him by Parliament. I want to point out to your Lordships that, far from the President of the Board of Education being in any different position from any other Minister, he is in precisely the same position. The money which the President of the Board of Education will spend, by way of a grant supplementing expenditure out of the rates by the local education authority, will, of course, be placed on the Estimates submitted to the Treasury and to Parliament, precisely as are the Estimates of every other Government Department. I fail to understand what is meant when I am told that this Bill is wholly unprecedented, and puts the President of the Board of Education in a different position from that of any other Minister.
When the noble Viscount asks whether I am prepared to do a thing which is wholly unprecedented, and to insert in this Bill clauses which will give power to the Treasury of exercising control, not only over the expenditure of local authorities and Government Departments, but also over the administrative functions of Government Departments, I am afraid I am unable to give him any assurance that we could accept an Amendment of that kind. I entirely sympathise with the desire of the noble Viscount that we should provide adequate safeguards for the control by local authorities over their expenditure, and by Parliament over the expenditure incurred by a Government Department, and while I hope I shall be able to convince your Lordships that this Bill does not correspond to the descriptions that have been given of it, I cannot hold out any hope that we could consent to an Amendment which, I think, would introduce an entirely novel constitutional procedure and set up a system of Treasury control, not only upon local expenditure, but also upon the administrative action of a Government Department.
My Lords, I do not wish to occupy much time, as I am very 171 anxious that we should get into Committee, but I wish to say one or two words on this financial question. I quite agree that this Bill, when carried into law, will very largely increase expenditure on education. Of that there is no doubt, and I think this must be faced. Parliament, both House of Parliament, are prepared to spend a great deal of money. I agree with the noble Viscount, Lord St. Davids, that, involved as we are in immense liabilities, we ought to be careful what further liabilities we incur. That is very good as a general proposition. I notice when you come to any particular expenditure that any section of the community desire this disappears. In the words of Swift's advice—Every servant should try to spend in his own department the whole of his master's income.We have the proposal for housing the poor. We are told that we must build a million cottages, which are to cost about £400 each, and which are to be let at the uneconomical rent of 2s. per week. We have gigantic schemes for acquiring land for our returned soldiers, and the amount which would cost for each family is about £1,000. It would be far cheaper to give them an annuity. In every direction you have immense demands for vast expenditure. I only wish those people who put forward schemes would bear in mind economy.
I wish to remind the House a little of what the history has been, and the relation of Parliament and central authority over local finance in education. When the Act of 1870 was passed Mr. Gladstone put, what he hoped would be, a very stringent provision for keeping all Parliamentary subsidies in some relation to local expenditure. All local expenditure would be felt by the locality, and in that way the drain upon the Treasury would be less, and he made a concession. The grant by the 1870 Act was calculated roughly on the basis that the cost per child was 30s., and the Parliamentary grant had been about 10s. Mr. Gladstone declined to put the voluntary schools on the rates, and proposed that there should be a grant not exceeding half instead of one-third. He put stringent provisions in the Act that every set of managers from local sources were to raise one-half.
From that moment we had persistent opposition from the voluntary schools on account of the burden of raising that half, and the first thing that broke it down was the Act passed in 1876 by a Conservative 172 Government which provided for a 17s. 6d. limit. It was provided that so long as a grant did not exceed 17s. 6d. the local managers should be entitled to receive up to that amount irrespective of their own contribution. From that time we had systematic attacks, always proceeding from the advocates of the voluntary schools, and supported by the Conservative Party, to break down the Statutory security that the whole grant should not exceed the local effort. We had most ingenious devices to evade it. For instance the drawing grant was at one time paid by the Science and Art Department. Then it was put on the ordinary education grant. The voluntary people then said, "We have no fund to meet this 2s." "Very well" they were told "we will put it back upon the Science and Art Department, and that 2s., so far from your having to meet it, shall be acknowledged as local income." The local people therefore were credited with that 2s. from the Science and Art Department to justify their getting more than 17s. 6d. from the Education Department.
When free education was established under Mr. Chamberlain's influence in the Conservative Party, the average fee was 10s., but the voluntary schools which levied rather higher fees, were entitled to receive not only the 10s. but a balance from extra payments. The Conservative Government, in their Bill of 1902, finally swept away the obligation to find the half. I would remind my noble friend below me that Parliament has complete control over this, and that Parliament can regulate the grants as it pleases. Hitherto the pressure to break down the obligation on local effort and to swell the amount of Parliamentary aid has come inevitably from his Party and from those with whom he is associated. I am strongly in favour of keeping up the local obligation in relation to the Parliamentary grant, for that I believe is a great security for economy, and I am happy to say that this Bill has a clause in that direction, because while Mr. Fisher has undertaken that as far as salaries of teachers go he will pay three-fifths of the cost, yet as to the other part of expenditure he cuts it down to, I think, two-fifths. That check of only guaranteeing to the local authority a certain portion appears in this Bill. I do not think that you could go much further than that. You cannot interfere with local people in spending their own money, and you cannot do more than leave Parliament as it is, free, in future 173 and indefinitely, to exercise its own control over its own contribution. I do not expect that you will find a Parliament in future very grudging in spending the amounts that it will give to public education. I think that, when you have the great force that will come with the new constituencies and the new electorates in favour of a liberal education for the masses of the people, it is childish to hope for a material reduction, or that there will not be a material increase in the estimates that are now made.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1:
§ Progressive and comprehensive organisation of education.
§ 1. With a view to the establishment of a national system of public education available for all persons capable of profiting thereby, it shall be the duty of the council of every county and county borough, so far as their powers extend, to contribute thereto by providing for the progressive development and comprehensive organisation of education in respect of their area, and with that object any such council from time to time may, and shall when required by the Board of Education, submit to the Board schemes showing the mode in which their duties and powers under the Education Acts are to be performed and exercised, whether separately or in co-operation with other authorities.
§ LORD SYDENHAM moved to omit the words "available for all persons capable of profiting thereby," and to insert "from the elementary schools to the University." The noble Lord said: I think that it is very difficult to interpret the meaning in any particular case of the words which I propose to delete. It must be almost impossible to say when any individual is incapable of profiting from education. In the case of a congenital idiot there must be some form of education provided. Therefore I think that these words do not fit into the spirit of the Bill. The words that I propose to insert are "from the elementary school to the University." I take it that the main purpose of this Bill, and the one to which perhaps we attach as much importance as to any other, is that no really poor children shall be prevented by poverty from obtaining such a measure of education as will enable them to be fitted for the higher stations in life. But if that be the object of the Bill, as has been said by the noble Viscount, I think that it 174 would be well expressed by the words that I propose to put in. They define, I think, national education better than do the words in the clause as it now stands.
Page 1, lines 7 and 8, leave out ("available for all persons capable of profiting thereby") and insert ("from the elementary school to the University").—(Lord Sydenham.)
THE EARL of LYTTON
As the noble Lord has pointed out, the words of the clause are of a very general character. They are, I think, in the nature of a Title to the Bill. They describe, so to speak, the flag under which we are prepared to sail. The noble Lord has objected to these words, and says that they are not in accordance with the spirit of the Bill. I am afraid that I cannot agree with him. I think that the words of the clause really do express better than those which he proposes to insert the aim and object of the educational system which we propose to set up. When we are asked what it is that we propose to do, I do not think that we can reply better than by saying we intend to provide "a complete national system of public education available for all persons capable of profiting thereby." When the noble Lord suggests that instead of that we should say that we are going to supply "a system of education from the elementary school to the University" I cannot admit that those words are a better description of the scheme of the Bill, because in the case of a great many persons their education will neither begin at the elementary schools nor end at the University. I submit therefore, that the words of the clause are better as they stand.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ LORD PARMOOR moved to omit the words "and shall when required by the Board of Education." The noble and learned Lord said: In order to explain the purport of my Amendment I must draw attention quite shortly to the words in the clause. By Clause 1 there is a duty on the council of every county and county borough, as far as their powers extend, "to contribute thereto by providing for the progressive development and comprehensive organisation of education in respect to their area." I find no fault whatever with that part of the clause. On the contrary, I think that the duty is thrown on the proper bodies, and the duties no doubt will be 175 carried out by the local education authorities. The clause goes on to say that "such Council may and shall when required by the Board of Education submit to the Board schemes, etc." The effect of the words "shall when required by the Board of Education" is to supersede the discretion and powers of the local authority in whose discretion I wish the matter to be left, and to supersede them by a purely bureaucratic action; in other words, you take away the whole responsibility and duty from the local county councils and county boroughs, and put in place of them the Board of Education.
§ My objection to this bureaucratic action is very much connected with a discussion which went on in your Lordships House before we went into Committee on the Bill—I mean the question of expenditure. The result of these words is to place the amount of expenditure outside the discretion of the ratepayers who are immediately interested in a matter of this kind, and to put it upon the Board of Education who for this purpose are merely an official body. Consider what this means. I will take the position of a particular county. You may take on the one hand the county of Lancashire or on the other a purely agricultural county. The authority in the county is the county council, and they think that a scheme should be prepared of a certain character, or perhaps they may think that no scheme at all is necessary. Whatever their discretion may be—and the responsibility ought to be on them—you allow the Board of Education to step in and to say ex mero motu, on their own authority, that they are to incur a very large expenditure which the local authorities think is not necessary.
§ So far as the Schemes are concerned, if they are brought forward on the discretion of the local authorities, there are ample powers in Clauses 4 and 5 for the Board of Education to supervise them and consider them. But what I think ought not to be allowed is this. By the words which I seek to cut out of the clause you supersede entirely for all practical purposes the local authority by the central authority of Whitehall. It has been pointed out that the central authority at Whitehall as regards its expenditure will have to be subject to the ordinary control of Parliament. I will not go back to that matter, although I hoped that the control might have been more 176 rigid than it is under this Bill. But there is no control whatever as regards the other side of the expenditure. The proper persons to guard the rate expenditure are the ratepayer and the local authority, but instead of the local authority, as representing the ratepayer, having control of the rate expenditure, it will pass out of their hands to the central body. What possible justification is there for a scheme of that character?
§ I want to put forward one other factor which necessarily arises in connection with my Amendment. We know perfectly well that various Royal Commissions, I think three now, have pointed out that education is a national matter and ought to be paid for out of the national Exchequer. I think that really cannot be questioned. I happened to see to-day in the paper that at a meeting of textile workers in Yorkshire they passed a resolution that all expenditure in connection with education ought to be national expenditure and ought not to be thrown on the ratepayers. But, at any rate, if expenditure of this kind is thrown on the ratepayer he ought to have some control of the amount, and I cannot see any justification for throwing that expenditure upon him, and at the same time taking away from him all discretion and responsibility as to the amount of expenditure which may be incurred. That is really inconsistent with the whole principle of local government and local responsibility. It is putting the apparent discretion one authority and the real power in the hands of another.
§ I cannot shut my eyes to the fact, and I think it is a great misfortune, that the powers of local authorities are constantly being interfered with now by bureaucratic central action. I think it is one of the worst features of what is called the reconstruction for which schemes are being prepared at the present moment. I recollect very well the discussions on the Bill of 1902 in the other House, and I took my part in them. One of the great matters discussed was as to the division and limitation of authority between the local education authority, as representing the county council and the borough council, and Whitehall. The solution in that Bill was on the whole in favour of time local authorities and against a power of intervention from Whitehall. Of course that raised certain friction, as it would in certain circumstances. Not only so, but it resulted 177 in certain litigation proceedings, which ultimately came to your Lordships' House, and which did not redound in any way to the credit of the central education authority. It is known very well in the Swansea case. But here under this provision you have a complete reversal of that policy in the sense that the control really and in truth is entirely in the hands of the central authority.
§ Supposing the central authorities have power to demand a scheme, and supposing when it is demanded the local authority is bound to comply, where do you get the discretion and responsibility? And it has been pointed out that these schemes involve expenditure in every direction. I do not grudge expenditure on education, but the whole of this Bill really means increased expenditure in every direction. Why are you to throw that expenditure on the rates at the same time that you take away from the ratepayer all responsibility and discretion as regards the amount of expenditure? I entirely agree with what the noble Viscount says as regards the difficulty of controlling central expenditure, but you have a far worse scheme here. Not only have you no proper control of the local expenditure, but you have an outside official body who can raise that expenditure to any limit they like without any limitation of any kind in any part of the Bill.
§ Before sitting down I should like to point out that in the words "it shall be the duty of the council of every country" you impose upon them a duty which can be enforced in the ordinary way, and by the ordinary methods by which you enforce a duty imposed upon a local or any other authority. I look upon this as a very important matter both as regards the relationship between the local authority and the central authority, and also as regards the expense, which may be a huge expense, under this Bill thrown upon the ratepayer—an expense which he cannot control and which ought to come from other sources.
Page 1, line 13, leave out ("and shall when required by the Board of Education").—Lord Parmoor.)
§ LORD GAINFORD
I hope this Amendment will not be considered in the light in which it has been presented. The whole assumption of the noble Lord's speech is that the Board of Education has nothing to do but control local education 178 authorities, whereas in actual practice the reverse takes place. The local education authorities have ample powers the present time and the Board of Education really have very little power, and I submit that under the provisions of this Bill the local education authorities will still retain the initiative in connection with all their schemes. All that these words are inserted for is to enable a non-progressive education authority which has no scheme of education in its county to produce a scheme. There must be some pressure of some kind. But it is the duty of the Board of Education to work smoothly and without friction with all these education authorities and to make suggestions to them of a helpful character rather than to endeavour to control and direct them. They will have local autonomy under the principles of this Bill, and it is really beside the point to suggest, as the noble Lord did, that under the provisions of this Bill and under these powers which are given it in connection with being asked to submit schemes when necessary the Board of Education will be able to raise their expenditure to any limit on direct education in any direction. They will not have that power. They will have to go to the Treasury in exactly the same way as at the present time, with the one alteration that, if the State is not giving 50 per cent. Of the contribution of the total expenditure, then the amount will be brought up to the 50 per cent.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON
There is a degree of theory in the noble Lord's reply to Lord Parmoor of which I should like to dispose by a little fact. My noble friend has filled the office of Education Minister, but I hope it was not in his time that the incident took place which I am about to relate. If it is supposed that this power is put in but not to be used, or if those who have suffered under the Education Department in the past for a moment think that they will get through without the most hectoring cross-examination by, and orders from the Education Department, I assure your Lordships that this is an entire delusion.
What took place a few years ago when I was a member of the London County Council is a case in point. The Education Department desired, very rightly, to reduce the numbers in each class from forty-five or fifty to forty, and gradually lower. The principle was accepted by the London County Council. The education authorities threw 179 themselves into these reductions as well as they possibly could, but, as your Lordships will see, in the majority of cases it involved building on to the schools, and, in the case of certain schools, it was impossible to do that without acquiring neighbouring property at an enormous cost. What was the result? The London County Council were warned by the Board of Education much in the same way as a troublesome boy is warned by a schoolmaster. We protested that we were doing all we could, and that we hoped to carry out within two years what was desired. It had not the smallest effect. The Board of Education said, "If you do not do this within the time laid down by us we will withhold grants from you to the extent of £10,000"; and a fine to the extent of £10,000, by way of grants withheld was put upon us without appeal, and even without the power of Parliament to alter it.
With great respect to Lord Gainford, I do not trust the Education Department in the slightest degree in connection with this business. I believe that this Department will be a curse to the education authorities, especially in the districts where they are unable to meet what may be a legitimate standard for the Education Department to lay down but which will be a standard to which it is impossible for these authorities to conform. If my noble and learned friend goes to a Division I shall certainly vote with him. In my opinion it is too dangerous to give to a Department the extreme powers which it is proposed to give to the Board of Education.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP CANTERBURY
I think the noble Viscount has made his speech under a misapprehension. As I understand it, this clause merely proposes to make an arrangement whereby a scheme may, and if necessary shall, be submitted to the education authority. It does not speak of the expense or of anything else, but merely that a plan shall be put forward, and that a laggard authority which has no scheme or plan ready will be compelled by the authority to make one. No doubt what the noble Viscount said will come in on the subsequent clauses, but it does not affect this particular Amendment. We want to prevent from standing still an authority which will not move. We give the Government power to make a scheme, and then the 180 whole process about the checks on the scheme follows afterwards. To my mind that is merely to what it comes.
§ VISCOUNT CHAPLIN
When the noble Lord followed my noble friend just now, he said that the Board of Education would make a helpful suggestion to the local authority. What does that mean? It simply means that the Board of Education would make a suggestion to the local authority, which would allow the Board of Education to spend their rates as fast as they pleased. In my opinion that is the plain meaning of the suggestion made by the noble and learned Lord.
§ VISCOUNT HALDANE
What has been said shows what a vitally important question is raised by this Amendment. It seems to be thought that education is a luxury to be provided by the local authorities if, in their discretion, they think fit. But if there is one principle clearly underlying this Bill it is that education is a national necessity, and that if we do not improve the national system of education we shall be a ruined and bankrupt nation before many years are out. We are legislating for the future; therefore it is a national concern which is being executed, as is often the case, through the local authorities; and it is none the less a national concern that the local authorities have a national duty; and that they should be allowed to produce whatever scheme they like in the localities, and should be left free because they are contributing out of the rates for that purpose, would be to go back on the very purpose for which this Bill is brought before Parliament.
There are 319 local authorities, some of whom are very backward. The noble Viscount, Lord Midleton, alluded to the case of that very progressive body, the London County Council; and he took an illustration of the case in which the schoolrooms were unduly filled with pupils. That happened several years ago; and everybody knows that there were some scandalous cases of overcrowding; and the Board of Education, not under any power like this but under a general power—not to ask Parliament for money when they thought the body was not doing its duty—put pressure on the Loudon County Council in that way. They were absolutely right to do so. The system was monstrous under which an attempt was made to give education in 181 classes numbering not forty, but in many cases, fifty, sixty, and even seventy. Here we have the whole principle brought out in its nakedness; it is to be left to the discretion of the local authorities whether they shall give what is really a national necessity. I hope that the Government will stick to their proposition.
The noble and learned Viscount does not propose to strike out the obligatory duty, as I understand?
He has not proposed to make the provision of secondary education subject to the discretion of the local authority. He said that, when there is a duty imposed, you have your remedy. But does he submit that to get your remedy you should go for a mandamus? To my mind that would be taking a roundabout remedy instead of a simple one. Does he want to make education in the secondary stage merely optional for the local authority? If so, he had better put down an Amendment to that effect. If education is to be provided for by the community beyond the elementary stage, and if it is the duty of the local authority to provide education in the secondary stage, then we must have some efficient means of making them do their duty. If they and the Board of Education cannot agree on a scheme after a long amount of wrangling, it would come finally, I think, to Parliament.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
As the noble and learned Viscount opposite pointed out, this is an Amendment which goes to the whole root of the principle of Clause 1, and for that reason I cannot, of course, accept it. If this Amendment were passed, it would make waste paper of the whole of Clauses 4 and 5, and of a great deal of Clause 43 of the Bill, because the only duty, under this clause, on the education authority is to provide education in accordance with a scheme which is to be submitted for the approval of the Board of Education. If there is no scheme there is no duty, and the whole purpose of Clause 1 and Clause 2 is to enact that local education authorities shall carry out the powers that have been entrusted to them by Parliament in providing education. The effect of the Amendment would be that 182 there would be no obligation on any local education authority to provide a scheme at all and, as the noble and learned Viscount has pointed out, a backward and reluctant authority would be relieved of the necessity of doing anything which this Bill calls on all authorities to do.
There is another reason why I urge still further upon your Lordships the impossibility of accepting this Amendment, and that is this. At the present moment the Bill provides that the Board shall be able to accept interim schemes submitted to them by the local authorities, and it is very desirable that that should be done, because those authorities may wish to make provisional arrangements, and the Board may certainly desire to accept those provisional arrangements subject to more complete provision hereafter. But, if you are to take away from the Board all the power that they now have of compelling the production of a complete scheme they would never be willing to pass an interim provision, which it is very desirable they should do. With the knowledge that they have the power under the Act to compel a complete scheme in the course of time they would, of course, be ready to accept an interim scheme laid before them.
What is it that the clause does? It says that the local education authority shall submit a scheme, and must submit a scheme if required to do so by the Board of Education. The Board then may agree with the scheme or disagree. If the Board disagrees with the scheme, what is the procedure? A public inquiry is to be held. The whole of the case on both sides is gone into and then, if there is still a difference between the local education authority and the Board, the matter is to be submitted to Parliament, and the reason for declining to accept the scheme submitted by the education authority is then laid before Parliament. That seems to me to be an extremely reasonable arrangement, providing for all interests. It has been suggested that this clause is something which would place an intolerable burden upon local education authorities which they are not willing to undertake. But this scheme, scheme procedure, far from being objected to by local education authorities, is unanimously and very enthusiastically approved by them. It is entirely supported by them, and really, I think, there is no case for the noble and learned Lord's Amendment.
§ LORD PARMOOR
I should like to answer one or two matters, particularly what has been put forward by the noble Earl, before we go to a division on this Amendment. In the first place, there is no interference whatever, so far as my Amendment is concerned, with the principle of interim schemes. It does not affect the question one way or the other.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
It will, in fact, affect it very considerably. It does not affect it in the Bill, but it will affect it because, if the obligation which now rests upon the local authority to provide a complete scheme is removed, which it would be by the noble and learned Lord's Amendment, then the Board would not be willing to accept an interim scheme.
§ LORD PARMOOR
I will not now go further into the practical question. It appears to me whatever may be the practical working out, and perhaps the noble Earl may be right in that, that so far as my Amendment is concerned it does not touch that point directly at all, and is not intended to touch it. Secondly, as regards what was said by the noble and learned Viscount (Lord Haldane) I, for one, do not question for one moment what he calls the national necessity of this educational question, and I want to point out that that action is not involved in any way in the Amendment which I propose.
Will your Lordships just allow me once more to explain exactly what the Amendment is. As the Bill stands, there is a duty on the council of every county and county borough. It is a very common matter in our legislation to put a duty on a local authority, or an official body, and what I pointed out, and I think I was quite right in pointing it out, was that that duty could be enforced if necessary—fortunately it is not often necessary to have proceedings of that kind—in the ordinary legal manner. No one can question that at all. Therefore, so far as the duty on the local authority is concerned, I do not affect it one way or the other. What we have to look at is the subsequent procedure. Of course, I agree with the noble Earl that it is very easy for any official body to say, "Let us interfere, and if the opportunity comes let us take a short cut to getting what we want." That is the essence of every bureaucratic plea ever made, and how easy it is for a bureaucratic body to have that power. My object is to prevent that. I think it ought to be 184 prevented. I think here that the initiative ought to be left with the local authority, the duty being thrown on them as regards education. That is how matters stand at the present moment, and I say it is right, and that there is no reason for altering what the noble Earl said was the prevailing law which exists at present. There is no reason for altering it, and no case has been put forward.
The suggestion is that you may have a backward local authority. There, again, that is a common form of argument in favour of bureaucratic action. The answer is, if there is a backward local authority, and it did not perform its duty, you have the ordinary constitutional method of obliging it to do it, which is the proper method and the proper way. Are you to trust the local education authority or to bring in a bureaucratic element? That is the question for your Lordships to determine.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I am afraid I am not one of those who have complete confidence in the Education Department, and after many years of struggle in connection with the National Society I have many reasons to complain, and very seriously to complain, of the bureaucratic action, and I think the unfair action, of the Board of Education in the past. But, notwithstanding that feeling, I have some difficulty in supporting the Amendment which is now before your your Lordships' House.
It appears to me that there is really no question raised on either side that there is to be a duty thrown upon the local education authority to produce a scheme. That is admitted. Therefore the only question which is now to be discussed is what methods are legitimate for forcing a local education authority which does not do its duty, to do that which it should do. That is the only question. It is not a question that a duty is to be laid on them, but how to enforce that duty. That is no longer a question of the autonomy, if I may so speak, of the local education authority, that is continued, but there is to be a duty thrown on the local education authority. My noble and learned friend says it ought not to be enforced by the Board of Education. But what is proposed to be enforced? Not a particular scheme; that is not dealt with in this Clause, but only the fact 185 that there should be a scheme of some sort. It appears to be certainly necessary, from the obligation to produce a scheme, that somebody should enforce it if it is not produced, and I do not see that any great harm can arise if the Board of Education compels a reluctant local authority to produce a scheme.
When you come to consider what the scheme should be, that it is quite another matter, but that does not arise on this clause. It arises on Clauses 4 and 5, and I should have thought, although it seems almost impertinent of me to say so to the noble and learned Lord, that his argument would have been much more relevant on those clauses than on this. The noble Earl in charge of the Bill has pointed out the procedure under Clause 4. I cannot say that the procedure is quite perfect, it does provide a great deal but not hardly sufficient. It would not be proper for me to go into that now. As it stands, on the Amendment actually before your Lordships, I feel that I cannot support the noble and learned Lord.
§ LORD MORRIS
I should like to ask the noble Earl in charge of the Bill what provision there is in time measure for forcing the local authority. Supposing a local authority is requested by the Board of Education to do this, and they decline, is there any provision in the Bill to enforce it?
THE EARL OF LYTTON
If the local education authority either fails to produce a scheme or to satisfy the Board of Education with the scheme which it produces, the remedy in the hands of the Board is to stop the payment of grants to the local authority.
§ LORD PARMOOR
I think, having regard to what was said by the noble Marquess, that the same points may be raised more effectively on Clauses 4 and 5, with the permission of the House I will withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 1 agreed to.
§ Clause 2:
§ Development of education in public elementary schools.
§ 2.—(1) It shall be the duty of a local education authority for the purposes of Part III of the Education Act, 1902, to make adequate and suitable provision in order that full benefit may 186 be derived from the system of public elementary schools, and for that purpose, amongst other matters—
- (a) to make adequate and suitable provision by means of central schools, central or special classes, or otherwise—
- (i) for including in the curriculum of public elementary schools, at appropriate stages, practical instruction suitable to the ages, abilities, and requirements of the children; and
- (ii) for organising in public elementary schools courses of advanced instruction for the older or more intelligent children in attendance at such schools including children who stay at such schools beyond the age of fourteen;
- (b) to make adequate and suitable arrangements under the provisions of paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section thirteen of the Education (Administrative Provisions) Act, 1907, for attending to the health and physical condition of children educated in public elementary schools; and
- (c) to make adequate and suitable arrangements for co-operating with local education authorities for the purposes of Part II. of the Education Act, 1902, in matters of common interest, and particularly in respect of—
- (i) the preparation of children for further education in schools other than elementary, and their transference at suitable ages to such schools; and
- (ii) the supply and training of teachers; and any such authority from time to time may, and shall when required by the Board of Education, submit to the Board schemes for the purposes aforesaid.
§ (2) So much of the definition of the term "elementary school" in section three of the Elementary Education Act, 1870, as requires that elementary education shall be the principal part of the education there given, shall not apply to such courses of advanced instruction as aforesaid.
§ LORD SUMNER
The object of the Amendments which I have ventured to put down to Clause 2 is one which I think I can explain in a few words by taking them all together. Your Lordships will notice that Clause 2 deals peremptorily with the duty of a local education authority for the purpose of Part III, and your Lordships will see that this clause, which laysdown the duty, is the key clause of a series which follows it, because subsequent clauses deal with the mode in which that duty, whatever it may be, is to be performed. My anxiety is that there shall be no ambiguity or doubt as to the nature of the duty thus laid down by Parliament, and I cannot help thinking that in the way in which the clause has 187 been drafted, by inadvertence, words have been put in as part of the definition of the duty, which really are appropriate to the object which it is hoped to attain by the performance of that duty, and in doing that unfortunately words of considerable vagueness and indefinite scope have been put in, which will at any rate provide. I fear, a fertile ground for dispute between local authorities and those interested in voluntary effort.
As it stands it shall be the duty of the local education authority to make adequate and suitable provision in order that full benefit may be derived from the system of public elementary schools. Those words are wide enough not only to empower but to make it the duty of the local authority to do almost anything that can reasonably be supposed to promote and bring about the full benefit to be derived from the system of public elementary schools, and to make it still more a matter of anxiety the specific things (a), (b) and (c), subsequently dealt with, are only particular things amongst other matters. Therefore as it stands it really seems to amount to this, that it shall be the duty of the local education authority to do anything of any kind that will promote the benefit to be derived from the system of public elementary schools, and amongst other things to make this provision for central schools and so forth. I will put the question to the noble Earl in the form of a dilemma. Is it, or is it not, intended by these general words to create a wider duty and a wider power than is indicated by paragraphs (a), (b) and (c)? If it is we have never been told, and nothing whatever in the Bill does tell us what this wider duty is, and it is of a larger scope.
I will not at this stage say anything in addition to what has been said about the burden on the rates, but it is alarming to anybody who thinks of the unwisdom of introducing unnecessarily wide words which are not really intended to lay down a duty. If on the other hand nothing is intended except a pious hope, or a counsel of perfection, then I think the Amendments which I have ventured to suggest will remedy that by substituting for the wide and indefinite definition of the duty words which show for what purpose and with what object the duty is to be performed. I will put it in this way. It shall be the duty, in order to make adequate and suitable provision that full benefit may be derived from the system: (a) to make, (b) to make, and 188 (c) to make. Thus you get rid of these general vague words which I cannot believe are intended to add vague and enormous power. You indicate the object with which these duties are conferred upon them—namely, the provision of adequate and suitable means for obtaining full benefit; and you eliminate all those possibilities of friction, which have done in the past so much harm—whether they arise from misunderstanding or bad faith—between the local authority and persons engaged in voluntary effort, who do not want to have their efforts brought to nought, and the ratepayers, who do not want to see an expenditure of money which they do not think the section was intended to cover.
Perhaps, to save time, I might be allowed to mention other words which I want to insert. I want to put in after the word "make" both in (a) (b) and (c) the words "or otherwise to secure." Very similar words are already to be found in Clause 3, and the object is this. If a local authority says, "What is our duty," and then turns to the section and says "our duty is to make provision," a strict construction of those words would lead to the conclusion that they had to make provision and not to let somebody else make it. Take, for example, the supply and training of teachers. Supposing they were to say to themselves, "It is our duty to make adequate and suitable arrangements for the supply and training of teachers. It is quite true that there is in this locality a voluntary effort which is training teachers already and doing it very well, and we should be very glad to pay some attention to them; but the section says we are obliged to make the provision ourselves"; then they will feel bound, and reasonably so, to put into their scheme a demand by which new provision may be made by the local authority.
I am well aware that under Clause 4 you will find they are placed under the duty of consulting such persons interested in voluntary effort, and giving them an opportunity of being heard, but it is one thing to define a duty in the terms "you shall make provision and afterwards consult others who are already making such provision," and quite another thing to do what I think ought to be the intention of the Bill—namely, to make it their duty to see that provision is made. If others are doing it already, then let them be empowered to avail themselves of what others are doing. If others are not doing 189 it, then it should become their duty to make provision for thesmelves. I think your Lordships will see that if the words "or otherwise to secure" were inserted in the three places after the word "make" no harm could be done; and because I think it is the intention of the Bill not to go beyond what I have suggested, I beg, without further explanation, to move the Amendment which stands in my name.
§ Amendment moved—
§ Page 1, line 19, after ("1902") insert ("in order")
§ Page 1, line 20, leave out ("in order")
§ Page 1, lines 21 and 22, leave out ("and for that purpose, amongst other matters")
§ Page 1, line 23, after ("make") insert ("or otherwise to secure").—(Lord Sumner.)
THE EARL OF LYTTON
The noble and learned Lord always makes himself perfectly clear, and I think I have understood the object of his Amendments. They are not really consequential, but two quite distinct points are raised by them. The first object of the noble and learned Lord's Amendment is to confine the obligation imposed on Part III authorities by Clause 2 to making provision for the three specific matters which are mentioned in the paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of the clause. As the clause stands it is said that it shall be the duty of those Part III authorities which deal only with elementary education to make adequate and suitable provision in order that full benefit may be derived from the system of public elementary schools—amongst other matters with these three specific points. The noble and learned Lord asks whether it is intended by this clause to give any wider duties or powers to those authorities than those indicated in the three paragraphs.
The clause does not, in fact, give the local education authority any new powers at all. It merely imposes upon them a new duty. Up to the present it has been their duty under the Education Act to provide adequate school buildings for the provision of elementary education. This clause states that it shall, in future, be their duty to Provide a certain kind of education in those schools, and the nature of that education is indicated by the three matters which are contained in the paragraphs (a), (b), (c). It is not, however, intended that these shall be the only matters to which they are to give their attention. I may point out, for instance, a very obvious omission. There is nothing mentioned in the paragraphs 190 with relation to the provision of buildings; yet, obviously, it is one of their duties under existing powers to make suitable provision for buildings.
If, therefore, the noble Lord's Amendment were carried it would confine the obligation of these authorities in much too narrow limits. It would reduce their duty to the making of provision for these matters, and these matters only. The second part of the noble Lord's Amendment seeks to add, after the words "to make" the words "or otherwise to secure." I have no objection in principle to that part of his Amendment. I want to point out to him, however, that the insertion of the words would, in fact, have no effect, because all the powers which are referred to in these three paragraphs are powers which only the education authority can exercise. Nobody but the education authority can provide for the inclusion of practical instruction in the curriculum of a school. Nobody but the local education authority can provide courses of advanced instruction for older children. Nobody but the local education authority can provide for the health and physical condition of the children in the schools. Nobody but the local education authority can make arrangements for co-operating with other authorities for purposes contained in (i) and (ii) of (c).
Here I would point out to the noble and learned Lord that the reference to the supply and training of teachers is not a duty imposed by this clause on the Part III authorities, who in fact have no powers whatever to provide for the supply and training of teachers. All it says is that they shall make adequate and suitable arrangements for co-operating with other local education authorities—that is to say, Part II authorities, which have wider powers, for either preparing children for further education or for providing for the supply and training of teachers. Therefore, all the matters contained in these three paragraphs are matters which only the education authority can deal with. I should add, however, that there is nothing in this clause which takes away existing obligation of a local education authority to maintain buildings which are provided by voluntary bodies. That is an obligation which exists under the present law and is not affected by these words. If the noble If the noble Lord asks me 191 if there is any objection to adding the words he proposes, I say that there is an objection to put in words which can have no meaning. When the clause comes to be read people will ask what was the object of inserting the words; they will say they must have been put there for a purpose; and I maintain that, as the clause at present reads, there is no other body except the local education authority which can actually do these things. Therefore, the words "otherwise to secure" would have no meaning, and it would be undesirable to add them.
May I put it to the noble and learned Lord—it is a pity we should discuss this if we are in substantial agreement—that the first part seems to me to be a matter of drafting, the shifting of the words "in order," which does not make any difference in the sense? When we come to strike out "and for that purpose among other matters," I would submit to the noble Earl in charge of the Bill that I do not know that these words are really necessary; for this reason—every school in the charge of the local education authorities must be a public elementary school, and the usual obligations of a local authority and of a public elementary school still subsist and are not repealed because you put some other duties on the local authority.
There is a duty to provide public elementary schools and to carry on these schools as public elementary schools—which, by the definition, are schools that comply with the requirements of the Code for the time being; and, therefore, any duty which the Board of Education thought proper, and which Parliament did not object to, which was put into the Code would bind the school as a public elementary school. But this clause creates in one sense a new duty, which was not the duty of the local education authority before. I think the words "to secure" would be sufficient. There is no real difference as between saying "to make" and "to secure." Elementary schools are all schools under the local education authorities, which will have the same power to arrange that scholars shall attend their neighbouring schools as central schools, whether church schools or council schools, and will have the same powers to prescribe a curriculum in all their schools. Therefore, subject to the opinion of the noble Earl, unless he thinks it is embarrassing to makealterations which are of no real importance, I would submit that nothing would be sacrificed 192 by striking out "among other matters"—the schools would not be altered—and to say "to secure" instead of "to make."
As to the supply and training of teachers, that has nothing to do with the training of teachers, but it has to do with a material thing, that the local authority wants power to direct in particular schools that young people shall be taken in as pupil teachers, and, since Part III authorities have control over the elementary school, it is desirable for the Part II authority to be able to say to these people "You must take the necessary preliminary steps with a view to their future training when they get beyond your purview." I do not think that what the noble Lord seeks to attain is not covered by the clause as it is, nor do I think one or two of his Amendments would prejudice the clause.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I venture to think that this Amendment requires rather more consideration than it has received. In the first place, my noble riend, the noble Earl opposite, did not accept the view of the noble and learned Lord that the words in the first paragraph of the clause are too wide. Will your Lordships just see what the words say as they stand? "To make adequate and suitable provision in order that full benefit may be derived from the system of public elementary schools." There is absolutely no limit to the provision which might be made under those words.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
They are all within the powers of the existing Acts. The provision does not give any new power.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I question that. It is a new Act of Parliament, and will supersede, where it differs from them, all previous Acts. I think the noble Earl is quite wrong. I think these words are quite general and I am not surprised at seeing them there, because that is the style of the Bill. Everything is most general. Clause I which we have just discussed is absolutely general. There is the widest possible provision for education of all sorts and kinds and the same spirit enters into Clause 2, and we are asked to enact that the local education authority "to make adequate and suitable provision in order that full benefit may be derived from the system of public elementary schools." That opens the 193 whole field of education; there is no limit whatever, It may be said, why not?
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I beg pardon. In order to get the full benefit of elementary education brings in every other kind of education.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
We are only dealing with Part III authorities whose powers are limited to elementary education.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
All I know is "that it shall be the duty of the local education authority"—
THE EARL OF LYTTON
Yes, for the purposes of Part III. The authorities, for the purposes of Part III of the Education Act of 1902, have only power over elementary education. Their powers are limited by that Act to that subject.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My noble friend may be able to say that, but I submit the words are much too general. There is great ambiguity if he reads into it "for the purposes of Part III of the Education Act, 1902." I have not looked up the exact purpose of Part III, but I would suspect that you would easily find some general words on which this would be hitched, and you would make it possible for a local education authority, who were so disposed, to go into great extravagance. As was said in respect of the last clause every local education authority is not an admirable one: they vary. Some are likely to be a little slack, some are likely to be over zealous in certain respects, and some are likely to be very hostile to certain interests. I know a certain local education authority who took a very strong and hostile view on denominational education, and all which had to do with it. There are not many such authorities now, and as the years go by they become fewer, but they are there, and you have to provide against them. If you place this obligation on a local education authority to make provision, will the Board of Education, when the scheme comes to be considered, be able to check the authority? The local education authority will say, "We have only carried out the obligation 194 which was actually thrown upon us by Act of Parliament. We have done no more than our duty, and you have no right to place any check upon our scheme and say we have gone too far."
I think the words are much too wide, and that when you are dealing with a local education authority you ought to say precisely, in a series of paragraphs, the kind of provision that is to be made. My noble friend opposite says they will be of the nature suggested in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c). What right has he to say that? He says he hopes it will be so, but there is nothing in the Bill which limits them in this way. On the contrary, the words are, "amongst other matters," and it clearly is intended to be much wider than I he described it. These seem to me very strong reasons why we should make it clear that the words are not general. My noble friend said that any rate the noble and learned Lord was wrong in saying there was any necessity to recognise any other provisions than what is actually made by the local education authority, and he said that none of the things under paragraphs (a), (b) and (c), can be done except by the local education authority. What I have already said disposes of that argument. The operation of the clause is not confined to paragraphs (a), (b) and (c), and unless the noble and learned Lord's Amendment in the earlier part of the Bill is accepted the whole of the noble Lord's argument falls to the ground. Even if it were true that paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) are only what the local education authority can do, will not the general words I have used go much beyond them?
It can be shown that the clause will require amendment. I should rather hesitate, even in respect of paragraphs (a), (b) and (c), to accept the dictum of my noble friend that they are the only things which can be done by the local education authority. I can conceive it would be possible for a non-provided school, the managers of a non-provided school, to establish special classes. I am not quite sure what system prevails in Lancashire, where education is in a very forward state, but I should think it was quite possible. I have shown that the clause does require amendment, and I hope the Government will reconsider their decision and either accept the Amendment, or propose an Amendment of their own to cover the difficulty.
§ LORD GAINFORD
May I suggest words which will limit the clause, and which will meet the point of the noble Marquess. He is naturally apprehensive that this Bill is going to secure other powers than those already possessed at the present time under the existing Statutes. I understand that Paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) do not cover all the points which it was desirable to cover, because there are certain other powers which are not named which local education authorities could be called upon to deal with, and I therefore suggest for the consideration of the Committee that we might qualify the words "amongst other matters" by inserting suck words as "in the exercise of powers under the Education Acts." I throw that out as a suggestion, and I hope it may meet with general approval.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
I am anxious, if possible, to meet the wishes of noble Lords opposite, and I will make a suggestion which I hope they will be willing to accept. I have stated that the clause is confined to Part III authorities, and I am quite willing, if there is any doubt about that, to add some words which will make it absolutely clear. I would not commit myself, at the moment, to the precise words, but they would be in this form, "in the exercise of their powers under that Act," or whatever words may be found necessary to ensure that these words only refer to the exercise of powers in respect of elementary education by authorities under Part III of that Act. With regard to the second point made by the noble and learned Lord, the addition of the word "secure" would only affect matters in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) and those are, I think, matters which only a local education authority can deal with. The addition of the word "secure" would not affect other matters which come before it. Again, if there is any doubt about it, and if noble Lords think the Bill would be better for the insertion of the word "secure," I have no objection in principle, and I offer no objection to its insertion.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
Do I understand that my noble friend accepts the Amendment of my noble and learned friend.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
Not the whole of it. I accept that part which refers to adding the word "secure." I undertake while not accepting the first part of the 196 Amendment to submit words at a later stage which will confine the operation of this Clause to Part III authorities in the exercise of their powers under the Act of 1902.
§ LORD SUMNER
I cannot say that what the noble Earl has just suggested quite meets all my points; at the same time I perfectly recognise his desire to meet me, and if he will bring on at a later stage words of the character he suggests I am quite willing to withdraw nix Amendment in so far as it relates to leaving out the words "and for that purpose amongst other matters." I am sure that time will remove the noble Earl's unwillingness to accept my words about (a), (b) and (c).
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ EARL CURZON OF KEDLESTON
I believe that it is in contemplation to stop the discussion on this Bill at about a quarter to eleven, and then to take the further business that is upon the Paper.
§ [The sitting was suspended at a quarter past eight, and resumed at a quarter past nine o'clock.]
§ Clause 2 under discussion.
§ THE EARL OF LYTTON moved, after "make" in line 23, to insert "or otherwise to secure."
Page 1, line 23, after ("make") insert ("or otherwise to secure").—(The Earl of Lytton.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ LORD SYDENHAM had on the Paper an Amendment, after "instruction" in subsection (1) (a) (ii), to insert "including instruction in science and training in citizenship, such as is provided by the Boy Scouts, the Girl Guides, the Boys' Brigades, and other approved bodies."
§ The noble Lord said: The object of my Amendment is to introduce two new words into this Bill—the word "science" and the word "citizenship." I think that in any Education Bill of the twentieth century it is rather remarkable that neither of these words should appear. May I take them separately, because perhaps the noble Earl may concede one, though he would not concede the other? Dealing first with 197 science, it has been pointed out over and over again that the general lack of science in this country was handicapping us in various ways both before and during the war, and yet in inventive power and resourcefulness we held our own with every other nation. But what is wanted in this country is a greater diffusion of the knowledge of scientific conceptions and of scientific methods. That is a want which is felt in Parliament, in Government Departments, and among our people generally, and it is that want which I believe has been a heavy drag upon us in the past. Only the other day Sir Joseph Thomson's Committee published a most important Report upon the teaching of science through the grades of education from the school up to the University, and if the recommendations of that committee were taken, in conjunction with this Bill, I am perfectly certain that we should have in a few years time a far greater realisation of the power of science and a great impetus to our industries, and also more methodical methods and better systems in our Government. I beg to move that the words "including instruction in science," may be added.
Page 1, line 30, after ("instruction") insert ("including instruction in science").—(Lord Sydenham.)
THE EARL OF LYTTON
I am, of course, wholly in sympathy with the wish of the noble Lord, that special attention should be paid to the teaching of science, and I entirely agree with him that it is of the utmost importance that attention should be given to this very important feature in education. I am also wholly in sympathy with him in saving that we should teach citizenship, but whatever I have to say on that I will reserve till he moves the second part of his Amendment. I feel sure the noble Lord will recognise, if he looks at the matter, that there is really an objection to inserting in an Act of Parliament any one specific item to be incorporated in the curriculum which is to be adopted in a school. He may say that we do, in this clause refer to certain specific matters, but they are not with regard to the curriculum, but with regard to the kind of education which is to be given in the school. If once we were to accept the proposal to insert any particular subject in the curriculum we should lay ourselves open to innumerable other proposals with which it would be difficult to deal.
198 I submit that matters of curriculum are really better dealt with by regulation than they are by a clause in an Act. Not only should we render ourselves open to many other proposals, but also the fact of inserting one particular item might tend to the ignoring of many other matters which are equally important. It is for these reasons, although I quite sympathise with the noble Lord's object, that I think it will be really undesirable to insert the words at all.
§ LORD SYDENHAM
I am sorry the noble Earl cannot make this concession to me. I think he rather underrates what is meant, by science when he compares it to a sort of item in the system of education. It is much more than an item. It is the spirit imparted to education which I had in view. The noble Earl points out that there are some details in this Bill such as housewifery and other things. Yet science, which is a great, part, perhaps the most important part in modern education, must not be alluded to in the Bill. I am very sorry he would not make the concession. I ask leave to withdraw.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ LORD SYDENHAM
The second word I want to introduce is "citizenship." I am quite sure your Lordships feel that the great moral lesson of this war has been the disastrous results of the perversion of a great State system of education. But if that perversion has been as great as we see it has been, it also teaches us what a tremendous influence State education could exercise in developing a sense of truth, justice, duty, discipline and honour, in fact all that we know goes to the making up of character. Have we any guarantee in this Bill that there will be any effort to build up character? The noble Earl himself, in his most admirable speech, in which the only fault was that he was much too optimistic., said that character-building would form a great part of this new system of education, and he told us of the use made of the system of boy scouts, and girl guides, and organisations of that kind. These movements have done an immense amount to create character in this country, and to remedy the patent defects which existed in our system of education before this Bill came in. But in this Bill I do not see one single guarantee, or even the hope held out that the kind of education which produces character will form a part 199 of the education of the future. If that is not so I do think that this Bill will fail in one of its most vital objects. It may succeed in developing a kind of education which, if not associated with the development of character, may in itself be absolutely harmful. That is why I beg that instruction in citizenship may be included in the Bill. I included the allusion to the Boy Scouts, the Girl Guides, and the Boys' Brigades merely as an illustration of the kind of training which such institutions have given in the past, and as a sort of guide to such training as will be given in the reformed schools in the future.
Page 1, line 30, after ("instruction") insert ("including training in citizenship, such as is provided by the Boy Scouts, the Girl Guides, the Boys' Brigades, and other approved bodies").—(Lord Sydenham.)
THE EARL OF LYTTON
My remarks on this point are really in the same sense as those which I made on the noble Lord's earlier Amendment, except this, that whereas science is perhaps only one item of a curriculum, to my mind training in citizenship is an inherent part of all education from the cradle to the University. I cannot conceive anything being accepted as efficient education which is not training in citizenship. There are, however, obvious technical objections to this Amendment, because the noble Lord is not only saying we should include training in citizenship but he says that the training in citizenship shall be of a kind provided by certain outside bodies. The effect of that would be that if at any time in the future the Boy Scouts or Girl Guides organisations were to alter their particular method of training in citizenship, that would necessitate a corresponding alteration in the methods of teaching in all the schools, if it were the case that they had founded their training in citizenship upon the practice of those outside bodies. Moreover, the noble Lord does not limit it to the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, with which we are familiar, but extends it to other approved bodies about which we know nothing at all.
I have a great admiration for the work done by the Boy Scouts, and I agree with what the noble Lord has said about them, but he will notice that in a later part of the Bill we do give local authorities power to give definite encouragement to organisations of this kind outside the school, but to say 200 that the teaching in all our advanced instruction shall include training in citizenship such as is provided by the Boy Scouts and other approved bodies would, I think, lead to endless difficulties. For these reasons I very much regret that I am unable to accept the Amendment.
§ LORD BERESFORD
I had hoped that my noble friend would agree to this Amendment. There is no institution in this country which has done more to make good citizens than the Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides. Those organisations have taught the boys and girls to give self-sacrifice, to be good comrades, to be honourable, chivalrous and really good citizens, and I should very much like to see this Amendment inserted in the Bill. I do not think it would create the difficulties which my noble friend sees. I do not think there is any chance in the world of these organisations altering their system of training. Their whole system of training is to make the members good citizens, and I very much regret my noble friend will not accept it. If the noble Lord goes to a Division on his Amendment, I shall certainly support, him.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
I hope the noble and gallant Lord will not press this Amendment. If the Amendment be passed as it stands, it means that citizenship in the great City of London has got to be modelled on the citizenship as laid down by the Girl Guides. That is not business. It is not practical politics. Citizenship is a far greater thing, as Lord Lytton pointed out, and a standard cannot be laid down, upon a huge responsible education authority, by one or two thoroughly valuable, practical, and public-spirited bodies like the Girl Guides or the Boy Scouts. I really do not think it is a reasonable Amendment to lay down. If it were passed it would exclude from the category of citizenship a variety of most important things which are entirely outside the scope of the Girl Guides or Boy Scouts. It would, therefore, limit citizenship instead of extending it.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I think it is quite clear, from what has been said by the Lord Privy Seal, that there would be great difficulty in stipulating that citizenship was to conform to a kind of sealed pattern as provided by the Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, and so on. I think that 201 is a fatal objection to the noble Lord's Amendment as it stands. I would like to ask my noble friend in charge of the Bill whether, if those words were left out, and it was merely "instruction and training in citizenship" without specifying what particular brand of citizenship, it would be admissible.
§ LORD GAINFORD
Would not the difficulty be that, if you begin to name any particular direction in which effort ought to be made, you have to try to secure a very exhaustive list? It seems to me there are a large number of things, such as that to which Lord Bryce alluded this afternoon—the importance of securing teaching in natural history—and other subjects which also occur to me, manual instruction and others, which could be enumerated. I think we ought to preserve the elasticity which at present exists. I am quite sure the Board of Education is in full sympathy with everything which tends to the teaching of citizenship, as well as with all those excellent qualities promoted by Boy Scouts and other institutions.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
What the noble Lord says is perfectly true. There are many other objects which must necessarily form part of a system of education. For instance, the teaching of manners, personal cleanliness, or other things which are equally necessary with the training in citizenship, and I think there is very great objection to inserting any particular part of education to the exclusion of others. There is obviously nothing to exclude the teaching of citizenship at present, and, as I have already pointed out, it is fundamental to any education. If you proceed to specify one thing you thereby exclude others, and, for that reason, I think there is rather serious objection to admitting these words.
§ LORD SYDENHAM
I dare say the words I originally proposed were faulty. I did not mean for a moment to imply what the Lord Privy Seal seemed to think. I meant such kind of training as is given by these particular bodies. If there is any objection to using the names of these bodies, as tying the hands of the directors of education in any way, I should be very glad to leave them out and accept the proposed Amendment which the noble Marquess has mentioned. May I change my Amendment, therefore, to leave 202 out these words and merely say "training in citizenship"?
§ LORD MUIR MACKENZIE
I should like to say one word in support of the clause as it stands. The question is one of organising in public elementary schools courses of advanced instruction. I think you want the general proposition, and not to put in individual cases.
§ On Question, That the words "training in citizenship" be inserted, Amendment negatived.
§ Amendments moved—
§ Page 2, line 3, after ("make") insert ("or otherwise to secure")
§ Page 2, line 9, after ("make") insert ("or otherwise to secure").—(Lord Sumner.)
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
§ THE MARQUESS OF HUNTLY moved, after the words "(ii) and supply and training of teachers," to insert "for which an adequate contribution will be made by the Board of Education."
§ The noble Marquess said: Under this sub-section it is open to the local authorities to provide adequate arrangement for the training and supply of teachers. I have no intention of making a Second Reading speech but I was much struck on the first night of the debate by the fact that none of the three speakers alluded to the question of teachers. The noble Earl who moved the Second Reading in one sentence alluded to the great necessity of providing teachers, and it remained for Lord Gainford to call attention to this important subject. As I understood him he suspected that of the twenty thousand teachers who had joined the Army very few would ever return to be teachers. I can speak as chairman of a local education authority that at the present moment the dearth of teachers is such that it is impossible to forecast where the supply is coming from; a very serious state of things. You have an agitation for increased salaries, publish a new scale in a county, and there are petitions for the alteration of the scale. There is also, as we see in the papers, an extra million to be paid to the teachers under the London Education Authority. The Bill, as it stands, leaves the whole onus of the supply and training of these teachers to the local 203 authority, and says nothing of the responsibility of the Board of Education to assist them in the matter. Surely, this being the crux of the whole Bill, if you have not some central authority to assist the local authority not only in the supply, but in the training of teachers, it seems to me you will arrive at a deadlock, and the Bill may be written down as unworkable.
§ The Board of Education has lately issued a circular to local authorities asking them what they are doing towards the training of teachers. I have no doubt that the "pigeon holes" of the Board of Education within the last few days are full of replies that have been returned. I can forecast those replies from the reply which we gave. We gave a long list of the schemes for the training of monitors in schools, encouraging them to become pupil teachers; giving them bursaries to go into the secondary schools, scholarships to pass on to the training colleges and to carry them even to the Universities. We have in Huntingdonshire been doing that for the last ten years and encouraging in every way we can the training of these teachers in our schools. The numbers we get, and the supply we get, is something which only touches the fringe of this question. There is a deficiency at this moment of 1,000, to 1,500 teachers annually. In the Secondary schools, at this moment, if you have a vacancy of science master, it is almost impossible to have duly qualified teachers as applicants who are able to impart the necessary instruction properly.
§ Under the Bill you propose to have advanced instruction in every elementary school. Do you think that your present teachers are qualified to give this advanced instruction? I give a perfectly candid opinion when I say that I do not believe that 25 per cent. Of the teachers in the rural schools are capable at the present moment of giving the advanced instruction in the elementary schools which is intended in this Bill. I do not blame them. They have not been trained for it. You have to get a new supply of teachers, and as I read the Bill the onus of the supply and training of those teachers is to be thrown upon the education authority. I framed the Amendment in these words—"to which an adequate contribution should be given by the Board of Education." I could not raise the Question in any other way. I have been told that my Amendment is a privilege, and that I cannot put 204 it in that way. I would be satisfied if I was assured that the Board of Education is realising that this is not the duty of the local authorities, but is a national duty incumbent upon the State if a national system of education is to be founded. It follows that it is the duty of the State at once to found this system of training teachers. There are, as your Lordships are aware, in many parts of the country efficient and good training colleges especially in the north of England. I am sorry that in the Midlands and the South of England there is a very great deficiency of training colleges. I do not believe that you ever will obtain an adequate supply of teachers unless you establish in each district central training colleges to which you will be able to send your skilled pupil teachers in order to train them.
§ Are you going to put upon the local authorities the duty of erecting these provincial training colleges? If you do, it seems to me that you are putting an onus upon the local authorities that they will be unable to bear. I would suggest that the first duty of the Board of Education should be to appoint a Commission which should find out where there is a deficiency of training facilities for the teachers, and that that deficiency should be made good by the Government. The erection of the colleges and the provision for the training of the teachers should be done by the State. At present local authorities can only reply, as they have done, that they are doing their utmost in a very small way to train up through the schools teachers who will go to the training colleges and get certificates. That is totally inadequate. Under this Bill you will require from three to four thousand more skilled teachers, and yet you are making no provision whatever for their training.
Page 2, line 33, after ("schools") insert ("either in buildings provided for the purpose or in existing secondary schools").—(The Marquess of Huntly.)
THE EARL OF LYTTON
it is not quite clear from the wording of the noble Marquess's Amendment whether he is merely expressing a pious opinion that inadequate contributions will be made by the Board of Education, or whether he is seeking to impose an obligation on the Board. I gather, however, from his speech that he is desirous 205 of imposing an obligation on the State to provide adequate contributions. The noble Marquess realises that that would directly raise the question of privilege in the other House. It is open to your Lordships to pass it, though it will not be in your power to insist upon it.
I think, however, that I can give the noble Marquess the assurance that he wishes. He pointed out very truly that there is at the present moment a great deficiency of teachers. He has also pointed out that when this Bill passes there will be a fresh demand upon teachers. We shall require fresh teachers in order to give the instruction that will be required in these higher classes, and he wishes to be assured that the Board of Education will regard that not only as a pressing matter but as a matter which they will be under an obligation to promote by every possible means. I think the best assurance I can give the noble Marquess in this sense is to tell him that at the present moment as much as 95 per cent. Of the expense of training teachers is borne by the Board of Education. I could enter into greater details if the noble Marquess wishes, but I do not think it is really necessary if he would take it front me that it is so. I do not think it would make very much difference if the whole of the expenditure of the training of teachers were placed on the Board of Education. I give him that assurance so that he will see that it is a matter which very directly concerns the Board of Education, and to which they do at the present moment make a most liberal contribution.
§ LORD GAINFORD
I do not know whether the noble Earl would be prepared to say anything with regard to a subject which had my attention three or four years ago, because I realised the great gravity of the position of the shortage of teachers even before the war. I am afraid the position has been growing rapidly worse during the war. What seems to me to be required, even in addition to the maintenance by the State of the training colleges, is that those whose capacity fits them for service in the teaching profession should have an increased inducement to come forward, even though they may be of humble means. The idea I had three or four years ago was that in addition to grants given to the training colleges, which would nearly cover the cost of the maintenance of the training college, there might be some sub- 206 sistence grant given to those who are coming forward in the teaching profession, provided they are prepared to go into the profession. The great difficulty undoubtedly is to secure continuous employment in the teaching profession if the State has advanced money in educating teachers. But inasmuch as it takes about four or five years between the time when an individual leaves a secondary school and the time when he becomes a certificated teacher in either an elementary or secondary school it means that a great sacrifice is made if those persons are of humble origin.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
I do not know whether the noble Lord wishes me to tell him what is done with regard to that at the present time, or to give him some assurance that the matter will be further considered. At the present moment local education authorities do pay maintenance allowance to students desirous of entering the teaching profession, and the Board of Education do make grants to that expenditure. That is being done at the present time. I feel sure that what the noble Lord has just said will be considered by the Board of Education, and certainly it is quite impossible to exaggerate the extreme importance both of the dearth of teachers at this moment and the necessity of taking every step to encourage persons who are likely to attain a high intellectual standard to enter that profession. That is being done at the present moment, and I feel sure it will be still further encouraged in future.
THE MARQUESS OF HUNTLY
The noble Earl is perfectly right that when we do give these bursaries and scholarships we get back from the grant an equivalent probably of 95 per cent. of the amount that is advanced, but he has missed the point of Lord Gainford. After a student has gone to the training college a hiatus in his life comes where he does not carry his scholarship with him before he becomes duly qualified as a master. He has to complete his training and he cannot get from his local authority any permanent scholarship. It is there that the Board of Education might come forward and assist. I should like to make sure of another point. I hope it is not to be considered that the whole onus of this adequate arrangement in the Bill is to fall upon the local authorities. I should like it to be made quite clear that 207 it does not rest entirely with the local education authorities to make these adequate arrangements. I do not want it to go out that we are entirely responsible not only for the supply but for the training of the teachers in the future.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
All that this clause does is to enable the authorities to enter into co-operation and communication with other Part II authorities for the supply and training of teachers. At the present moment these authorities have no control and power over the supply of teachers. This clause gives them power to enter into negotiations with Part II authorities for this purpose. That is all that is contained in this clause.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 3:
§ Establishment of continuation schools.
§ 3.—(1) With a view to continuing the education of young persons and helping them to prepare for the freedom and responsibilities of adult life, it shall be the duty of the local education authority for the purposes of Part III of the Education Act, 1902, either separately or in co-operation with other local education authorities, to establish and maintain or secure the establishment and maintenance under their control and direction of a sufficient supply of continuation schools in which suitable courses of study, instruction, and physical training are provided without payment of fees for all young persons resident in their area who are, under this Act, under an obligation to attend such schools.
§ (2) For the purposes aforesaid the local education authority from time to time may, and shall when required by the Board of Education, submit to the Board schemes for the progressive organisation of a system of continuation schools and for the purpose of securing general and regular attendance thereat, and in preparing schemes under this section the local education authority shall have regard to the desirability of including therein arrangements for the co-operation with universities in the provisions of lectures and classes for scholars for whom instruction by such means is suitable.
§ (3) The council of any county shall, if practicable, provide for the inclusion of representatives of education authorities for the purposes of Part III of the Education Act, 1902, in any body of managers of continuation schools within the area of these authorities.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON
I appeal to the Government to take out the first two lines of Clause 3—"With a view to continuing the education of young persons 208 and helping them to prepare for the freedom and responsibilities of adult life." I cannot imagine anything more absurd than the clause beginning by stating that one of the objects is to prepare young persons for the freedom and responsibilities of adult life. What is the freedom of adult life? It suggest all sorts of ideas, quite foreign to the minds of your Lordships and of the education authorities. This attempt to put into the Bill a lot of verbiose expressions which have really nothing to do with the enactment is absolutely novel. If they were struck out your Lordships would get a reputation for good sense and good drafting.
Clause 3, line 26, omit the words from the beginning of the clause down to "adult life" in line 28.—(Viscount Midleton.)
THE EARL OF LYTTON
I confess I heard with very great regret, almost with pain, the desire of the noble Viscount to strike out from this clause words of which I am bound to say we were extremely proud. I confess they are not the usual style of drafting of an Act of Parliament, but I do not think they are either useless or superfluous. I should be very sorry if the House agreed to strike them out. It is quite true they are not matters of principle, but they do, I think, indicate the spirit in which it is hoped the local authorities will undertake the duties imposed upon them by this Bill. As such I think the words have value, and I should certainly desire they should be retained and not struck out.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON
I hope we shall not go on the spirit of the education authorities, but on the letter of the Bill. I must press my Amendment.
I hope the words will be struck out, because they are really a sermon put into the middle of an Act of Parliament. In the old days it was the fashion to have a very rhetorical preamble to Bills. People have now got rid of rhetorical preambles and go straight to the point. The more simple and direct an Act of Parliament is the better.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ LORD SHEFFIELD had on the paper an Amendment in subsection (1), after "with other local education authorities," to insert 209 "including authorities under Part III of the Education Act, 1902." The noble Lord said: I think it is a desirable thing that there should be this consultation with authorities under Part III, and I should like to know the opinion of the noble Earl who is in charge of the Bill.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
I hope the noble Lord will not press this matter. Of course, it is quite true that as a general rule it will be the business of the county authority to consult with the minor authority for the purposes of elementary education with regard to this matter. In fact, it really will be almost necessary, in order to link up elementary schools with the work of the continuation schools.
§ THE MARQUESS OF HUNTLY moved, in sub-section (1), after the words "sufficient supply of continuation schools," to insert "either in buildings provided for the purpose or in existing secondary schools." The noble Marquess said: The object of my Amendment is to allow authorities to propose an addition to the secondary schools rather than to have new continuation schools in the rural districts. I do not know whether the Board of Education realises the difficulty that local authorities in rural districts will have if they are bound to build or erect continuation schools in sparsely populated rural districts. It would be almost impossible. There would be the difficulty of acquiring land and a very great burden would be put upon the ratepayers. It would be almost impossible to carry it out. If, however, we were allowed to propose in our scheme that continuation classes should be held in a wing of the present secondary schools the difficulty would be met. The object of my amendment is to give an option to the authorities not to build fresh schools if they can meet the requirements by arranging for continuation classes to be carried out in the secondary schools of the country.
Page 2, line 33, after ("schools") insert ("either in buildings provided for the purpose or in existing secondary schools").—(The Marquess of Huntly.)
THE EARL OF LYTTON
I do not think the noble Marquess realises that these words, far from being an addition to the powers enjoyed by local authorities, will, in fact, limit them, because he only mentions secondary schools. It will also be possible under the Bill as it stands for the local education authority, in certain circumstances, to make use of elementary school buildings for its continuation schools. There is no obligation in the Bill to provide new buildings if existing ones will serve, and, at the present moment, the authorities have ample power to make use of any buildings of any kind that may be available. I am sure that in the circumstances the noble Marquess will not press his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ LORD SYDENHAM
It would be no use for me to press the next Amendment which stands in my name, which is to insert the words "including instruction in science" after the words "suitable courses of study, instruction" in subsection (1). It has already been rejected at an earlier stage, but I would like to emphasise this, that this Bill defines cookery as one of the things it is proper to mention in a Bill, whereas the vast world of modern science, on which the whole future prosperity of the country rests, must not be mentioned. The reason for that, I take it, is—as was explained by Sir Robert Hadfield the other day—that a recent careful examination showed that in the Education Office, out of eleven principal secretaries all are classical, and out of thirty officers who are secretaries or senior examiners twenty-one are classical, two are mathematical, and one mathematical and scientific. That shows, I think, that unless there is considerable change in the personnel of the Education Office science will never come by its own in this country.
I will, however, move the succeeding Amendment, which is to insert, at the end of subsection (1) the words "physical training to occupy not less than one-fourth of the time allotted to those courses." The object of that Amendment is that some proportion of time shall be allotted compulsorily to physical training. I think there would be a danger that in some places physical training might be exalted and in 211 others it might be based. Therefore, I think that if a limit of not less than one-fourth of the time allotted to those courses was given to physical training, it would be a good thing. I attach immense importance to physical training which the Bill proposes to give, and, therefore, I beg to move.
Page 2, line 37, at end insert ("physical training to occupy not less than one-fourth of the time allotted to those courses").—(Lord Sydenham.)
THE EARL OF LYTTON
I agree with the noble Lord in attaching importance to physical training. He will see that this is provided for in the continuation schools. There are, however, objections to imposing a definite limit of time. The objections are of two kinds. First of all, there is always a tendency, if you put in a minimum, that it may in practice tend to become a maximum, and that would be undesirable. There is also a more cogent reason against introducing these words, and that is that you must leave to the local authorities a great deal of latitude to meet the varying conditions of children coming front different parts of the country. I feel sure the noble Lord will agree that children front agricultural districts, who, in their normal life live in healthy surroundings and do in fact have a good deal of physical exercise, will not require the same amount of attention to their physical training in the schools as children coming from the crowded districts of large towns. Therefore, if you were to insert a particular limit it might be excessive in the case of some children and not sufficient in the case of others. For these reasons, I think it is really better to leave the words as they stand. They say that physical training shall be provided, without imposing on the authority any definite limit of time.
§ LORD BERESFORD
May I ask my noble friend if it is certain that the physical training will be given? We know that a healthy body makes a healthy mind, and all the men who have been athletes and are physically fit are better men than those who are not. Can the noble Lord assure the House that physical training will be compulsory in all these schools, without putting in the actual time employed?
§ LORD GAINFORD
As the noble and gallant Lord perhaps knows, in elementary schools physical training is practically compulsory at the present time. There is a 212 code, in addition to the Act of Parliament, which compels this, and it has to be obeyed, and there is a syllabus issued by the Board of Education which directs that a certain period must be given in every elementary school for the teaching of physical training, physical exercises and drill. It is based on a very scientific system—the Swedish system. Even as that course is secured in the elementary schools, so, I think, the noble Lord may be able to assure the House it can be secured in the continuation schools. However important it is in the elementary schools I think it is still more important in the continuation schools.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
If the noble Lord will look at the words of the clause he will see it is stated that it shall be the duty of the local education authority to establish a sufficient supply of continuation schools, in which a suitable course of physical training is to be provided. The clause requires that provision shall be made for physical training in the schools.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ THE EARL OF LYTTON moved to omit from subsection (2) the words "the purpose of".
Page 2, lines 41 and 42, leave out ("the purpose of").—(The Earl of Lytton.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 3, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 4:
§ Preparation and submission of schemes.
§ 4.(1) The council of any county, before submitting a scheme under this Act, shall consult the other authorities within their county (if any) who are authorities for the purposes of Part III. of the Education Act, 1902, with reference to the mode in which and the extent to which any such authority will co-operate with the council in carrying out their scheme, and when submitting their scheme shall make a report to the Board of Education as to the co-operation which is to be anticipated from any such authority, and any such authority may, if they so desire, submit to the board as well as to the Council of the county any proposals or representations relating to the provision or organisation of education in the area of that authority for consideration in connection with the scheme of the county.
§ (2) Before submitting schemes under this Act a local education authority shall consider any representations made to them by parents or other persons or bodies of persons interested, and shall adopt such measures to ascertain their views as they consider desirable, and the authority shall take such steps to give publicity to their proposals as they consider suitable, or as the Board of Education may require.213
§ (3) A council in preparing schemes under this Act shall have regard to any existing supply of efficient and suitable schools or colleges not provided by local education authorities, and to any proposals to provide such schools or colleges.
§ (4) In schemes under this Act, adequate provision shall be made in order to secure that children and young persons shall not be debarred front receiving the benefits of any form of education by which they are capable of profiting through inability to pay fees.
§ THE EARL OF LYTTON moved, in subsection (3), to leave out "a council," and to insert "a local education authority." The noble Earl said: This Amendment is moved in order to make the language of subsection (3) harmonise with the language in subsection (2). It does not alter the sense.
Page 3, line 30, leave out ("council") and insert ("local education authority.").—(The Earl of Lytton.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 5:
§ Approval of schemes by Board of Education.
§ 5,—(1) The Board of Education may approve any scheme (which term shall include an interim provisional or amending scheme) submitted to them under this Act by a local education authority, and thereupon it shall be the duty of the local education authority to give effect to the scheme.
§ (2) If the Board of Education are of opinion that a scheme does not make adequate provision in respect of all or any of the purposes to which the scheme relates, and the Board are unable to agree with the authority as to what amendments should be made in the scheme, they shall offer to hold a conference with the representatives of the authority and, if requested by the authority, shall hold a public inquiry in the matter.
§ (3) If thereafter the Board of Education disapprove a scheme, they shall notify the authority, and, if within one month thereafter an agreement is not reached, they shall lay before Parliament the report of the public inquiry (if any) together with a report stating their reasons for such disapproval and any action which they intend to take in consequence thereof by way of withholding or reducing any grants payable to the authority.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON moved, in subsection (1), after "The Board of Education," to insert "with the assent of the Treasury." The noble Viscount said: We now return to the subject which I and other noble Lords brought before your Lordships earlier in the evening. I really must try to impress the noble Earl in charge of the Bill with the fact that this is really of more 214 far-reaching importance than he has apparently appreciated up to now. Of course it is the business of the noble Earl, having got into the strong position and succeeded in getting through the House of Commons, at a time when the House of Commons has long past its normal period, at a time when nearly one hundred members of that I House are members of the Government, and when a great number are engaged in the business of the country abroad and at home, to abrogate its first function of looking after finance, to try and make out that this is only pursuing the normal course.
§ I am not going to repeat any of the arguments I used earlier, and in Which I had the support of several individual Peers, but I would point out that there is no precedent for placing the Board of Education, when it becomes the largest spending Department in the State, in the position of umpire in respect to its own case. Take the War Office in normal times. The Secretary of State for War is responsible for the whole expenditure, but he cannot add a man, a horse, a gun, or ammunition, or buildings, without the previous assent of the Treasury before his Estimate is laid. The very fact that if you add one hundred men you must have housing for them prevents you being allowed to enlist one hundred more men because of the cost which would naturally fall on the public Exchequer. Take the Admiralty. The Board of Admiralty cannot spend £50 in sending a man to look after a piece of ground in ordinary times unless he is one of their normally employed staff without the consent of the Treasury. Take the Home Office. The Home Office has immense functions laid upon it by Act of Parliament for factory inspection and the like. It cannot add a factory inspector without the consent of the Treasury. In carrying out the duties laid upon it by Act of Parliament it has to go to the Treasury, and has the check of the Chancellor of the Exchequer upon it at each stage. But all that is to be dispensed with here. Under Clause 17 every function almost that every other public office has to fulfil is laid upon the Education Department. I am not in the least quarrelling with the spirit of the proposal, nor am I endeavouring to secure that these proposals should not be carried out in the most generous and reasonable manner, but I do ask particularly that your Lordships will 215 realise that every one in this House will have to face the difficulties that are coming after the war. We are to have great expenditure; it must be reasonable expenditure and well-weighed expenditure—expenditure, too, in which the person who wants to spend the money is not to be the arbiter of the way in which it should be spent.
§ These schemes which under Clause 5 the Board of Education may approve are schemes which involve the establishment of holiday camps. These may be most desirable objects it may be for a million individuals, or for many more. These holiday camps may involve great expenditure or moderate expenditure. I have had some experience at the War Office, and I know well that the difference between camps and camps is the difference between 150 and 300 per cent. But the whole of the question as to whether the expenditure should be incurred at all, and on what scale it is to be incurred, is left to the head of the Education Department who has had no experience in it whatever. Again, in the next sub-clause, there is provision for centres and equipment for physical training Physical training is the widest possible term. Physical training is a most desirable object, but you may have it carried on in one place at a cost ten times greater than its cost in another place. In one place you may have buildings of the most massive description for physical training and in another you may have only sufficient covering for the purpose in view. Again, there is provision for school swimming baths—most desirable but capable of unlimited expansion. Then there are facilities for social and physical training and the like I do not object to a school having dancing in the evening. Dances have been prevalent at the public expense in certain schools. But if they are to be carried out at any cost, we know that a ball-room may cost anything that you like. You must in all these things have some reasonable consideration for whether the public at the moment is able to meet the expense of things which may be desirable, and sometimes even necessary, yet which you do not want to have at the extreme expense which some enthusiastic individual may desire to incur.
§ In all these matters there is no limit, and I want your Lordships to consider what the cost will be. It was decided without a 216 Division that the Head of the Board of Education should have the power to force every local authority to provide a scheme for carrying out this Act. The scheme in a very large county may be a most difficult thing to carry out. Opportunities for physical education and continuation schools in a large county may require an immense diffusion of buildings, and if the President of the Board of Education happens to take the view that at all hazards facilities must be provided for everybody within a reasonable distance immense expense may be involved. He weighs these schemes, he increases them or he orders them, where the local authority does not desire to carry them out, but by his ipse dixit, signed at his table without the interposition of any authority of any description he is to order that millions of public money should be spent. You have the two extremes to guard against.
§ Naturally, I am not going so to intrude on the delicacy of our discussions as to suggest names, but it will not be difficult to think within a reasonable period of years of Presidents of the Board of Education who have gone there, on the one hand with the immense reputation of the distinguished present head of the Board of Education, and on the other of gentlemen otherwise famed in political life who have no knowledge of education whatever before they step into the office. Both are equally dangerous to the public purse, because the one may find himself impelled by his experience to think that, whatever the state of the public finances, education, as the noble Lord, Lord Morris, rather hinted tonight, was the one means of repairing them, and that therefore there must be no limit to expenditure. Or you may have the other, who may say, "I know nothing of education, I put myself in the hands of Mr. A., a distinguished permanent official at the head of the office," and the fiat of Mr. A. without going to the Cabinet or the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or without going at any time to the House of Commons can be put in force. When once the Education Minister has given approval to the scheme the buildings will be put up and the first occasion on which anybody except the Education Minister will know anything about it is two or three years afterwards, when the maintenance charge will be due—a maintenance charge, be it observed, that the local ratepayers have perhaps not wished for, and have even voted against, 217 but which has been put upon them by the orders of the Education Minister, or as in the case which moved the noble Viscount, Lord Haldane, to such cheerful approval, when the Education Minister simply says to the local authorities "You may not be able to do it, but I will fine you £10,000 if you do not."
Nobody therefore has been responsible except the Education Minister in some of these cases. In others a certain number of people have been responsible who elected Members on a totally different platform two years before. But the House of Commons only come in when they find that the Education Minister has on their behalf under the Bill pledged the Government to this scheme, and all that they have got to do is to take the Education Estimate for the year, two years after the building was put up or begun, and decide that they will then refuse to back the honourable undertaking—I should call it a distinct breach of faith—involved in Clause 43 of the Bill by refusing to pay a half share, which under Clause 43 they have undertaken to pay. Clause 43 distinctly says that—
Nothing in any Act of Parliament shall prevent the Board of Education from paying grants to an authority in respect of any expenditure which the authorities may lawfully incur.
and subject to the regulations made under that subsection the total sums paid shall be one-half whatever the net expenditure of the authority recognised by the Board of Education amounts to.
Can anybody believe that the House of Commons would, under that Clause, go back and say "It is quite true that our estimates this year are £2,000,000 in advance of the previous year; they have been made under that Clause by the authority of the Education Minister, but we intend to disavow them and reduce them by £1,000,000." The thing is impossible. You really come to this, that whereas on every item of public expenditure you have first the decision of the Department, secondly, application to the Treasury for approval, and thirdly the submission of the estimates to the House of Commons, in this case you dispense altogether with the application to the Treasury for approval and you make the presentation of the Estimates to the House of Commons an absolute farce; a thing on which no man of honour would ever get up and say that the action of the Education Minister should be disavowed.
218 The noble Earl seemed to be under the impression that this sort of thing had taken place before with regard to grants. I think he is entirely under an incorrect view in that respect. With regard to the grants the first thing that Parliament agreed was that every child should be educated. Each grant made by the taxpayer was agreed by the Treasury before it was made. If they said that every child educated should be given 5s. a year, or whatever it might be, that 5s. or £5 or anything else had to be agreed to by the Treasury before it was done. On this point there is no agreement at all. The Board of Education say "we must educate our people, give them higher education and get every authority to move in that direction as quickly as possible. We must force the authorities who do not move. There is to be no check except ourselves as to whether the building should be £50,000 or £100,000; whether teachers should be paid £200 or £300 a year, or whether there should be ten or fifteen teachers. We alone settle that. All the taxpayers has to do is to back half the bill as soon as the estimate is put before him." That estimate will come before the Chancellor of the Exchequer very likely in the new Government as a result of the decision of the Board of Education two or three years before, which nobody can check, and at a moment when the Chancellor of the Exchequer is unable to find, after this disastrous expenditure of money during the war, even the money for the war, let alone sinking fund, without imposing taxes which must be extraordinarily oppressive on some classes of the community.
I am sorry to have to go again into this subject, but I really feel that, long after the advantages of this Education Bill, which we all anticipate, have been discounted, the awful waste of money which must follow from turning loose any Department of the State at this moment without proper control will be felt.
Page 3, line 39, after ("Education") insert ("with the assent of the Treasury").—(Viscount Midleton.)
§ VISCOUNT HALDANE
Before the noble Earl replies, there are two or three words I should like to say. The noble Viscount has referred to me, and I do not rise to renew the controversy between him and 219 myself. He thinks we may go on in the old-fashioned way, and he is justly concerned about the enormous burden that the country may have put upon it. I take so grave a view of that burden that I think we are a ruined nation unless we meet it; and you cannot meet it by sitting still and lapsing into your old sloth. We have to effect increased production. The key to that is increased knowledge, and the beginning of that knowledge is in this Bill. But I did not rise to raise that point, but to point out that really the object of the noble Viscount is founded on a complete misunderstanding of the clause.
§ VISCOUNT HALDANE
If he had waited until Clause 43 of the Bill was reached he would have found that the Board of Education can do nothing and dare not approve any scheme or take any step unless it has made sure of Parliament voting the money. We all know how that is done. This clause has nothing whatever to do with it.
Clause 5 is a clause which gives effect to the particular form of public assistance which has been committed to the Board of Education for the service of education. The service of education is of course an expert service and the duty which Clause 5 casts upon the Board is that it should be in a position to approve or disapprove in its educational details any scheme which is brought up by a local authority. Now, my Lords, suppose the Amendment of the noble Viscount were carried, what would happen? It is Lord Sydenham's wish that science should be taught in the school. You would have to have some one in the Treasury who took a sympathetic view of science, or who took an enlightened view of the Scandinavian languages, or of Spanish or French, or whatever language is going to be taught after the war. In all our educational developments you would have to submit the judgment of the Board of Education to the judgment of the Treasury. I have a great admiration of the Treasury, but I have never found it progressive in its view of new things, and nothing is more likely to stultify and reduce to folly what we are endeavouring to do in this Bill than to introduce the Treasury as an expert in educational matters. Therefore I hope that the noble Earl opposite will oppose a front of brass to this Amendment.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
The noble Viscount (Lord Midleton), in his speech, said I had been reduced to innumerable shifts in order to defend the procedure of this Bill. I cannot help thinking that if there is any shifting it is really on the part of those who are endeavouring to prove that there is something wholly unprecedented and criminal in the procedure of the Bill. I agree with the noble and learned Lord who has just spoken that the noble Viscount. Lord Midleton, entirely ignores the whole of the machinery set up by this very Clause 5, which he is seeking to amend. Lord Midleton referred to a number of Government Departments and said they could none of them spend any money without submitting first of all estimates for the approval of the Treasury and afterwards of Parliament. Neither can the Board of Education spend any money, either under this Bill or in any other way, without submitting estimates to the Treasury and afterwards to Parliament in exactly the same way as any other Government Department. The noble Viscount said there was absolutely no limit to what might be spent under this Bill. He said that by the mere ipse dixit of the Minister of Education the Board could compel the expenditure of millions of money, and that is what he represents to your Lordships as the operation of this clause. That is entirely erroneous. All that the Board of Education is empowered to do is to call upon the local authority to present a scheme, and then it is empowered by this clause which we are now discussing either to approve or to object to the scheme as presented. Supposing the scheme presented to the Board of Education is in their opinion inadequate, the Board then it is true can bring pressure to bear upon a reluctant authority to amend its scheme and that amendment may compel the expenditure of a great deal of money. To that extent, therefore, it is perfectly true the Board of Education has power to bring pressure upon a local authority to increase its expenditure upon education, but, supposing the pressure brought by the Board of Education is held by that authority to be unreasonable, then there is no question of the mere ipse dixit of the Minister of Education. What is it the Bill requires to be done? The Bill requires that, first of all, there shall be a public inquiry before which the local authority will submit its case and before which also the Board of Education will be heard. If there 221 is anything unreasonable in the attitude adopted by the local authority all that will come out before the public inquiry. Then, supposing that the public inquiry fails to convince the local authority that the Minister of Education has behaved in a reasonable manner, there is a still further safeguard. Then the Report of that inquiry and the opinion of the Board of Education is to be submitted to Parliament—they have to lay it upon the Table of Parliament—which gives the opportunity—
THE EARL OF LYTTON
If the noble Viscount will allow me to continue my argument I will endeavour to show what the safeguard is. The reasons for the attitude of the Board of Education have to be submitted to Parliament, and it will be open to any Member of Parliament to raise the question, and if he considers that the Board of Education, on the showing of the inquiry, has acted wholly unreasonably and has brought undue pressure to bear on the local authority, he can move the House of Commons to object to the attitude which the Minister of Education has taken and support the education authority.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON
Would the noble Earl refer me to the passage of the Bill in which that is shown?
THE EARL OF LYTTON
Clause 5, subsection (3)—If thereafter the Board of Education disapprove a scheme, they shall notify the authority, and, if within one month thereafter an agreement is not reached, they shall lay before Parliament the report of the public inquiry (if any) together with a report stating their reasons for such disapproval and any action which they intend to take in consequence thereof by way or withholding or reducing any grants payable to the authority.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON
There is nothing about confirmation by Parliament. I beg the noble Earl's pardon, but it is one of the most simple things—that it shall lie on the Table for forty days in case either House of Parliament disagrees with it.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
I never stated that it required the confirmation of Parliament. I said the whole circumstances 222 of the inquiry will be submitted to Parliament, and then it is open to Parliament, if it disapproves of the action of the Minister of Education, to take the necessary action. Therefore, I say first of all, if there is a difference of opinion between the local authority and the Minister, you have a public inquiry. The first thing you do is to appeal to the opinion of the local public, then the result of the proceedings of the inquiry, and the opinion expressed by it, is referred to Parliament, and it is open to Parliament to take any action it may think fit upon it. If the Board of Education in this matter has at any stage acted without the public opinion either of the locality or of the public generally its action can be called to account. When the noble Lord says that there is wholly different procedure from that of any other Government Department I would remind him once more what is the procedure here. He says that, with regard to any other Department, you have, first of all, the opinion of the Minister, than you have submission of the proposal to the Treasury in Estimates, and, finally, you have the submission of the matter to Parliament. But, my Lords, that is precisely what you have here. You have, first, the decision of the Minister—an administrative Act—then the submission of the Estimates to the Treasury. Any money which will be expended by way of grants to a local authority under the Bill will have to be incorporated in the Estimates every year, and submitted, first of all, to the Treasury and then to the House of Commons; and, finally, you have the control of Parliament. I would ask your Lordships to consider what it is that the noble Viscount has asked to substitute for that form of procedure. Will your Lordships look at this clause? The clause begins by stating that "The Board of Education may approve any scheme." That is an administrative act undertaken by the Minister in charge of the Department in his administrative capacity.
What is it the noble Viscount asks your Lordships to do? To say that he shall not make that administrative act without the approval of the Treasury. That is to say, he is trying to substitute for the responsibility of the President of the Board of Education the responsibility of the Treasury. It would in future be the case, if this Amendment is accepted, that it would be no longer the head of the Department who would be responsible to Parliament for the policy 223 of the Department, or the expenditure of money in connection with it. That responsibility would be taken away from him and placed on the Treasury. That is a wholly novel procedure. It is a procedure, I think, quite unknown to our constitution, and it is a procedure which would not commend itself for a moment either to the local education authorities who are concerned, certainly not to the House of Commons, and I very much hope it will not commend itself to your Lordships. As the noble and learned Viscount said, the effect of this would be that, at the time you are introducing a Bill giving very new and wide responsibilities to local education authorities to provide efficient education, you are to say that those duties (given them under the Bill) should not be carried out except with the consent of whom: not the Department who knows all about education and who can judge of the value of the schemes submitted to them, but of the Treasury, a Department which has no knowledge whatever, and has never professed to have any knowledge, of education or the details of educational schemes. The effect of this Amendment would be to destroy the whole purpose of this Bill, and I hope your Lordships will not accept it.
§ THE EARL OF SELBORNE
My noble friend is always lucid and interesting. I confess, quite frankly, that I do not understand his explanation on this occasion. He has made a distinction between two sorts of Treasury control and the distinction is quite unfamiliar to me. When I was First Lord of the Admiralty I was responsible for the state of the Navy, and the only people in this country who had any authority and responsibility for its administration were the Board of Admiralty. But I always had to go to the Treasury for consent to any proposal for fresh expenditure I had to make. Does my noble friend mean to suggest this differentiation between the Minister of Education and all other Ministers. The Minister of Education will be no more responsible for the carrying out of the policy of this Bill than the First Lord of the Admiralty is for keeping the Navy in an efficient condition. The two things are in exactly a similar position. If the noble Earl is able to assure us that the Minister of Education will, in respect of this expenditure, be in exactly the same position with the Treasury as every other 224 Secretary of State or Ministers, or as he is now as regards the educational expenditure, I understand him, but if he suggests that by this Bill the Minister of Education is to be in a different position of responsibility from what he is already as regards the education estimates, or than any other Minister is at the present moment as regard his Department, then, I think, it certainly is an extraordinary proposition and one which requires a more fuller defence then my noble friend has yet given.
The first question I ask is, if this clause passes without Amendment will the Minister of Education be in a different position as regards the policy for which he is responsible under this Bill, from that in which any other Minister is as regards the policy for which he is responsible, with the Treasury? The second question is with regard to the Parliamentary safeguard to which my noble friend has referred. He never attempts to mislead us, and he told us quite definitely that there is no provision in the Bill that parliamentary consent is required or may be withheld by the ordinary process of laying Regulations or schemes on the Table for forty days. But he has suggested that there is an opportunity open to an ordinary member of Parliament to raise objection to a scheme if he thinks that objection ought to be raised What is that opportunity? I know that my noble friend never had the advantage of being in the House of Commons as I did, but I assure him that opportunities for private members are not of very frequent occurrence in the House of Commons, and they only exist under certain definite Rules and Standing Orders. I want to know under what Parliamentary procedure a private member can get a question raised in the House of Commons unless the Government are prepared to give him time for his Motion, and the Government is not likely to give him time for a Motion in respect of one of their schemes.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
I am sorry that I did not make myself clear. Your Lordships will understand that we are engaged here on two matters. One is the expenditure of a local authority, that is to say the expenditure involved in the scheme for which the local authority is responsible and which will be defrayed out of the rates. For that matter of course the local authority 225 is responsible to its own electors. But the Minister of Education is responsible for this and for this only—the grant out of public money to the extent of at least one-half the expenditure of the local authority which is to be defrayed out of the public funds. I can assure the noble Earl that with respect to the President's responsibility for that expenditure—that is to say the grant which is made from his Department—the President of the Board of Education is in precisely the same position as any other Minister who is responsible for the expenditure of his Department. Have I made that clear?
THE EARL OF LYTTON
With regard to the second point, I do not think that I ever conveyed the impression that the clause as it stood required the confirmation of Parliament in the case of a disputed scheme. All I said was that the clause provided that in the event of a dispute the result of the Inquiry and the opinions of the Board of Education should be submitted to Parliament. Then, I am asked, what opportunity would there be for any Member of Parliament or for the House of Commons of expressing dissent from the action taken? As the noble Earl has reminded me, I have never sat in the House of Commons, and I am unable to give an opinion as to how the procedure of that House would provide for such an occasion. It obviously could be raised upon the Vote of the Department.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
I am only giving what I believe to be possibilities. It is a matter which could be raised upon the Board of Education Vote.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
It is a matter which could be raised I imagine, also upon the motion for the adjournment of the House. The noble Earl shakes his head. I think that perhaps it would be better if I were to let some noble Lord who has sat in the House of Commons give an explanation of what the opportunities are.
§ LORD GAINFORD:
Perhaps I may intervene, knowing the procedure in the House of Commons. Opportunities are always conceded, and must be conceded, by the Government when there is any substantial opinion in favour of the discussion of any Estimate. It is the practice in the House of Commons for the Patronage Secretary to the Treasury to put down an Estimate, which is demanded by the Opposition or by any substantial number of the Opposition, on the Order Paper for discussion. Of course, it does not apply necessarily if there are only one or two Members who desire to raise a question of little importance, but if there is any substantial opinion in favour of any Estimate being put forward in the House of Commons it is always put forward and a discussion can be raised upon it.
There is also a procedure in the other House, if there is a matter of urgent public importance, which enables the House of Commons to be adjourned, and there can be a discussion any evening between quarter past 8 and 11 o'clock on such a matter. In this way the matter can be raised directly and at once if there is any strong feeling and forty members are in favour of a discussion of that kind. I therefore do submit that this matter can be dealt with adequately by Parliament if it so desires.
In regard to the other point, I should only like to say that the position of a Minister is exactly the same at the Board of Education as at any other spending Department. He has to submit his Estimates to the Treasury, they have to be approved, they have to be within the Regulations and the various Acts of Parliament, and it is the duty of the Treasury to check all the expenditure and to see that it is absolutely in accordance not only with the law but with the Code which has Parliament's approval. Therefore it is impossible for a Minister to spend millions in the way that has been described, and there is an ample check by the Treasury just as it exists in the case of other Departments.
§ LORD STRACHIE
I entirely differ from my two noble friends behind me with whom I usually act. I was brought up in the traditions of Mr. Gladstone, who considered that the Treasury ought to be 227 the watch-dog of finance. I cannot understand why the noble Earl is so afraid of any Treasury control. If there is that control already why should he want to waste an hour and half of the time of the House in refusing to accept words which according to him are absolutely unnecessary. My experience of another place was that if the words really made no difference the Government were only too glad to accept them and put them in. On the other hand one cannot help feeling the suspicion that the noble Earl objects to these words being put in because he feels that there would be real Treasury control in the matter. As an old Member of the House of Commons I can tell him that there is a great deal of difficulty in bringing this matter before the House of Commons. I very much doubt what my noble friend behind we said that an opportunity would be found on the adjournment of the House, because there was always the greatest difficulty in persuading Mr. Speaker that it was a matter of urgent public importance that had to be dealt with at once, and I do not think it would be very likely that Mr. Speaker would consider that questions of expenditure in a large number of counties time after time should be brought up, and the whole business of the House of Commons delayed in order that the adjournment of the House should be moved to consider whether it is right that an expenditure of £10,000 should be made by some particular county council. The noble Earl admitted that he had no experience of another place, otherwise he would not have suggested that the schemes would be laid on the Table of the House of Commons. For all practical purposes it is very little use these days laying them on the Table of the House of Commons, because the Government has practically the entire control of the business of the House, and no private Member has a chance of raising any question. The noble Lord said it might be raised on the adjournment of the House. What does that mean? Thirty or forty minutes, and the Minister takes great care that the question is talked out.
I am sure the Lord Privy Seal will admit that very often when there is an inconvenient question upon the Estimates the Estimates are talked out and they simply come in at the end of a long list of other Votes in Supply, which are guillotined at the end of the Session, and the oppor- 228 tunity for any effective curtailment of the expenditure of the Board of Education is perfectly useless. Because what does the Government care for criticism? What they care is whether there may be a hostile Vote. I expect the Lord Privy Seal recollects how awkward Votes have been talked out in that way, and they have come under the guillotine at the end of the Session.
Then I cannot help thinking that it is a good thing to have Treasury control because the Board of Education upon the principle, very naturally, that there is nothing like leather, would encourage the local authority to make a large expenditure and when the local authority has done so they are permitted under the provisions of the Bill to give an equivalent amount to the local authority. Now if the Treasury had some voice in that, I think there is little doubt that they would discourage this large expenditure by the county councils, involving an equivalent expenditure by the Treasury. At the present time, as has already been stated, we have to be very careful of the future both as regards our Imperial and local expenditure, because our local taxation is going up by leaps and bounds exactly in the same way as expenditure for Imperial matters is going up.
I wonder whether the noble Earl, when he spoke of the control of Parliament, remembered that in this Bill he has done everything he can to take the control of Parliament out. In the Schedule to the Bill he provides that the provision under the Act of 1870, which provided that these schemes should be laid on the Table of Parliament for thirty days, should be repealed, the object apparently being to take away from the control and criticism of Parliament any proposal whatever. I hoped when he was laying such emphasis on the control of Parliament and of the House of Commons, that he would say he was ready to lay these schemes before Parliament. Apparently he is not willing to do so, because by his very act he repeals the very useful provision by which all these schemes ought to be laid before Parliament for thirty days. Of course, in the old days in 1870, there was full and free debate in both Houses on any question which came before Parliament, but now the desire of the Government is that Parliament should not be informed of any schemes to be made. Otherwise what is the object 229 of repealing this particular clause in the Schedule. If Lord Midleton goes to a Division I shall support him on the old Liberal principle that there ought to be Treasury control.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
I think the noble Lord exaggerated the difficulty there is going to be in bringing to book the Board of Education if it proves to be either arrogant or unfair. So far as the House of Commons is concerned you begin on the Motion for an Address to the Crown. The second stage is the Committee stage of the Vote on Account; the third stage is the Report stage of the Vote on Account. There is an opportunity on the Vote on the Board of Education; then on the Report of the Vote of the Board of Education, and on the Motions for adjournment before the recesses, which arise once, twice, or three, and sometimes four, times during the session. Then there is the daily Motion on the adjournment of the sitting. It is true the debate lasts only half an hour, but you get your opportunity, and Lord Strachie is quite wrong in thinking that useful work cannot be done in half an hour. Very useful work can be done. After that, you get the Consolidated Fund Bill, which admits of the discussion of the conduct of the Board of Education. In many sessions you get Consolidated Fund Bills, certainly twice and sometimes more than twice. Finally, there is the Motion for the adjournment of the House which, if the matter be sufficiently urgent, the Speaker will grant to the House of Commons any night in the week. I submit that the House of Commons cannot be precluded from discussing any wrongful action on the part of one of the great Departments of the State. Even if the House of Commons were precluded, your Lordships' House enjoys still greater privileges under this clause than the House of Commons, because you do not have to find an opportunity to discuss it; you put down a Motion and the matter can be discussed. In these circumstances is it reasonable to say that this scheme, outlined by my noble friend, cannot go through because Parliament is unable to discuss any foolish thing the Board of Education may do? Lord Midleton wants the Treasury to be put in supreme control, and Lord Selborne, to my great surprise, supported him.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
I propose to amplify the answer of Lord Lytton. When Lord Selborne was at the Admiralty he settled his ship-building policy. He said he wanted five or eight millions of money, or whatever it was. He took it to the Cabinet and the Treasury, and got his money. Lord Selborne is not going to tell your Lordships that he submitted the design of every ship to the Treasury for their consideration; not at all.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
The money he did get the noble Earl spent on shipbuilding. He did not go to the Treasury and say "May I have a 15,000 h.p. destroyer" and the Treasury said "You may only have a 14,000 h.p. boat." Not at all. Lord Strachie is asking that every scheme that is submitted to the Board of Education shall be revised by the Treasury. The Treasury cannot do it. It is not the function of the Treasury. The Treasury does not know the differing requirements of Lancashire and Northumberland or of Cornwall and Norfolk. They are quite different things and if the Treasury is to have control the Treasury has got to set up a new educational staff and in doing so you are going to derogate from the authority of the President of the Board of Education, who is going to become a sort of head clerk in educational matters to the Treasury. I submit that that really is not possible. The Treasury is never 10th to check expenditure whenever it can; but the Treasury does not ask and does not desire control in this particular matter. It does not feel that it is entitled to exercise this authority, otherwise it would have been in the Bill. There is one further point. The local authorities do not want it. They are going to spend a great deal of money under the Bill. In the debate most hostile speeches have been made which I should have thought might have been carried to a much more logical conclusion by dividing against the Bill on Second Reading. The local authorities, are going to spend gigantic sums under the Bill. They approve of it. They are not frightened. It is largely their money which they are going to spend and the whole tendency of the local authorities is to give ardent support to this proposal. One further word in conclusion. I know one 231 great group of education authorities well—namely the Lancashire education authorities. I say that the Lancashire education authorities would view not merely with concern but with positive alarm any idea that their great powerful and progressive schemes should be submitted not to the Board of Education but to the Treasury.
§ VISCOUNT HALDANE
It is with reluctance that I ask your Lordships to allow me to intervene again even for a single moment to mention a material fact in supplement of what has been said which I think should be known. When my noble friend Lord Midleton was Secretary of State for War he submitted his own Estimates to Parliament and signed them, and so did I, but I think he has forgotten other Departments in a different position. One of them is the Board of Education. The Minister of Education does not present his own estimates. They are signed by the Secretary to the Treasury who lays them on the Table of the House of Commons, and sees that the House of Commons discusses them. Every penny of this money involved in the scheme, therefore, comes under the cognisance and within the scrutiny of the Treasury. That is right enough when you are dealing with the Estimates themselves, but it is a different proposition to say that, when you have not yet got to that stage and are only considering the validity of the scheme, you should go to the Treasury. The business of the Minister of Education is to consider what money the scheme will involve, and whether he can face the Secretary to the Treasury and the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the time comes. That is what he does. If your Lordships will turn to a clause which we have not yet reached—Clause 43—you will see that not a penny of money can be provided unless it is provided by and with the sanction of Parliament. There is no provision in the Bill for putting anything on the Consolidated Fund. It has all got to be voted in Estimates, and Estimates have to be presented by the Secretary to the Treasury. A more academic and misplaced discussion, with a real confusion of issues, it has not been my misfortune to listen to.
Is it the case, as the noble Viscount has said, that not a penny can be spent under any scheme until the sanction of the Treasury is obtained? What is to prevent an autocratic Education 232 Minister, having approved of a scheme from directing a local authority to go on with the expenditure, and then for Parliament subsequently to refuse its proportion? I honestly confess I conceive a danger for the ratepayers throughout this Bill. You may depend upon this—that there is going to be a violent swing back of the pendulum as to expenditure after the war. You have only to recall the tone of the country after the Boer War—the noble Viscount will remember it as well as I do—as to military expenditure; and there is going to be, as regards expenditure generally after this war, a violent swing back of the pendulum. I can conceive it possible that Parliament might refuse a vote on the Education Estimates after the local authority had been directed by the Education Department to proceed with the expenditure on some scheme.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON
I would desire to point out that the noble Earl Lord Crawford, with the utmost dexterity, has introduced a sort of camouflage as to what may happen in the rare case—as he hopes and as most of us hope—of the Board of Education forcing a particular course on a local authority. He proceeded to explain a number of cases in which the unfortunate Member, whose constituency is affected, would be able to bring up the matter in the House of Commons. Nobody knows better than the noble Earl, who is an absolute past master in the art of marshalling his forces, how he would provide for the wretched individual who is aggrieved an opportunity at eleven o'clock at night of explaining his case, he having brought up a few Members, and the noble Lord with his legions would vote him down in the Lobby, and the Board of Education would go on for ten months. It is camouflage.
Everybody knows that unless the thing has obtained the authority of Parliament the chance of a Member in the Lower House of bringing it up is very small, and when the noble Viscount proceeds to emphasise it by saying that he and I signed our Estimates while the President of the Board of Education does not, that is one of those forms which absolutely does not affect the issue in the smallest degree. The fact remains that under this Bill as proposed there is a determination that the Treasury shall have no say in the matter at all.
When the noble Earl tells us that the Treasury did not ask for it, I venture to say 233 that that is a condemnation of the Treasury. I ask the noble Earl to be good enough to publish, if he will, the Report of the Committee appointed by the Prime Minister last year on the establishment which the Treasury have admitted, and he will then be able to show Parliament what the opinion of the Committee was as to the way in which the Treasury have left the whole of their functions during this war. They are so occupied with infinitely greater matters that they are not able to give the ordinary control to the Estimates of the Departments.
Your Lordships induced an examination three years ago into this question, and hardly one single point of that investigation was carried out by the Treasury, although the
§ Clause 5 agreed to.
§ EARL CURZON OF KEDLESTON
My Lords, in pursuance of the agreement arrived at earlier in the day, that this discussion should be suspended at a quarter to eleven—an understanding that we do not seem to have been very successful in implementing—I now beg to move that the House be resumed. In doing so, I would also move that the Committee have precedence to-morrow of other Notices and Orders of the Day. This is to enable an undertaking which I gave to your Lordships' House about ten days or a fortnight ago to be fulfilled—that the Committee stage of this Bill should be taken on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. At the same time I realise that this may cause some disappointment to those who
§ Chancellor of the Exchequer was a member of it. I wish I had the power of the late Lord St. Aldwyn; if I had I have no doubt I should carry the Division against the Government, and insist that there should be a control which has not hitherto been given. I hope I may succeed in inducing your Lordships to make an effective protest as the subject is too important to be carried off on the side issue into which it has been dragged by the noble Earl opposite.
§ On Question, whether the words proposed to be inserted shall stand part of the clause?
§ Their Lordships divided—Contents, 7; Not-Contents, 38.233
|Northbrook, E.||Lamington, L.||Sydenham, L.|
|Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.)[Teller.]||Muir Mackenzie, L.||Willoughby de Broke, L.|
|Strachie, L. [Teller.]|
|Canterbury, L. Abp.||Haldane, V.||Gainford, L.|
|Finlay, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.)||Gorell, L.|
|Curzon of Kedleston, E. (L. President.)||Harris, L.|
|Peel, V.||Hylton, L.|
|Wigan, L. (E. Crawford.) (L. Privy Seal.)||Islington, L.|
|Norwich, L. Bp.||Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.)|
|Lansdowne, M.||Wakefield, L. Bp.||Morris, L.|
|Chesterfield, E.||Annesley, L.||Rotherham, L.|
|Lytton, E||Armaghdale, L.||Somerleyton, L. [Teller.]|
|Nelson, E.||Balfour, L.||Stanley of Alderley, L. (L. Sheffield).|
|Stanhope, E.||Carmichael, L.|
|Clinton, L.||Stanmore, L. [Teller.]|
|Farquhar, V. (L. Steward.)||Colebrooke, L.||Stuart of Wortley, L.|
|Sandhurst, V. (L. Chamberlain.)||Elphinstone, L.||Weardale, L.|
Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ desire to take part in the Bill which at present stands first on the Paper for tomorrow—namely, the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Bill—which some noble Lords, I believe, are coming to London with a view of discussing in your Lordships' House. I would therefore propose, as that Bill will lose its priority of place, with your Lordships' approval, to make a similar Motion to-morrow with regard to that measure as I am moving to-day in reference to the continuance of the Committee stage of this Bill. In other words, I shall move to-morrow that on Friday precedence be given over all other Government business to the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Bill. I hope that this will satisfy the advocates of both measures.235
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I am obliged to my noble friend for his announcement. I quite understand the reasons why the Government have thought it right to put forward this Motion so that this Bill may have precedence tomorrow, but my noble friend is quite right that this will be a matter of very considerable disappointment to a large number of noble Lords who were under the impression that the Aliens Bill would be taken to-morrow. I hope that the misunderstanding will be set right in the public Press so that there will be as little inconvenience as possible.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.