HL Deb 15 July 1919 vol 35 cc622-4

LORD SHEFFIELD had the following Notice on the Paper—

To call attention to the statement of Mr. Fisher, Minister for Education, that the rule requiring secondary schools in receipt of Government grants to have a majority of representative governors ruled out certain excellent Roman Catholic, schools, and to ask the Earl of Crawford whether it is correct, as shown in List 60 of Secondary Schools recognised by tile Board of Education, that there are forty-six Roman Catholic schools so recognised with 9,376 pupils on the roll, and that of these only three with 161 pupils receive no grant? Whether these three schools at Northampton, Berwick-on-Tweed, and Newcastle differ in their character from the numerous schools, either convent schools or managed by a religious order, which receive full grants, and whether, since forty-three such schools with 9,215 pupils on the roll have complied with the conditions of the Board of Education and are receiving grants under them, there is any reason to think that these conditions are unreasonable or excessive, and whether the excellent schools that are, according to Mr. Fisher, ruled out are the three schools mentioned in List 60, and if not, what is the number of schools with their pupils which have desired to receive grants but are excluded by the conditions, and why they have not applied to be enrolled among schools recognised by the Board of Education? And what steps the Board of Education will take, after allowing a majority of the governors to be Roman Catholic, to secure that the regulation freeing all teachers from tests on religious discrimination shall have its proper effect? And to move for a Return of the recognised Roman Catholic schools that have applied for grants and have been refused, or that have intimated that the existing conditions prevent them from applying.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to put the Question which stands in my name, and as the facts are sufficiently set out I need not repeat them. I will only express the hope that the noble Earl will be able to grant the Return for which I ask.

Moved, That there be laid before the House a Return of the recognised Roman Catholic schools that have applied for grants and have been refused, or that have intimated that the existing conditions prevent them front applying.—(Lord Sheffield.)


My Lords: While I am afraid I cannot grant the Return for reasons which I will state, I think the reply, though somewhat technical in character, will fully satisfy the noble Lord. I wish in the first place to say that Mr. Fisher does not accept the reports of his interview with a deputation from the National Democratic Party in certain newspapers as complete or accurate. The number of Roman Catholic schools on List 60—that is the list of secondary schools recognised by the Board as efficient—is forty-seven, not forty-six as stated by the noble Lord, and the number of these which are also on the Grant List is forty-four. The three schools not in receipt of grants do not differ materially from the forty-four in the character of the education provided by them. The forty-four schools are divisible into three categories—(a) Five schools, which were already recognised for grants when the regulations of 1907 were introduced, and were retained on the grant list, but on the lower scale of payment because of their failure to comply with one or more of the conditions of full grant there laid down. Admission to this category from the first was confined to schools which were already in receipt of grant before 1907—


That is the lower grant?


Yes. (b) Thirty-seven schools, which receive the full grant in consequence of waiver granted in respect of requirements relating to religious tests and majority of representative governors. The application of this waiver to any schools which had not already obtained it was withdrawn in 1909. Schools receiving full grant under this head have all to comply with the regulation requiring free places in respect of which waiver was at no time given. (c) Two schools only have seen their way to comply with the full requirements of the Regulations.

It will be observed that owing to the fact that the categories (a) and (b) above are closed lists, there has been no way since 1909 in which any Roman Catholic school, not then already on the grant list, can qualify for any grant under the Regulations except by full compliance with those Regulations. It is not possible to say what number of schools have desired to receive grants but have been, or have regarded themselves as being, excluded by the conditions. The noble Lord is under a misapprehension as to the terms of Article 23 of the new Regulations. This Article, following in that respect the earlier form, merely provides that the instrument of government of the school must not require any of the teachers to belong or not to belong to ally particular denomination. The Board do not place any school on the Grant List until its instrument of government has been approved by them, and do not, of course, approve any instrument which does not comply with this Regulation. The recognised but non-grant-earning schools to which the last sentence of the noble Lord's Notice of Motion refers are the three schools named in the earlier part of his notice. It is improbable that any intimations which the Board have received of unwillingness to comply with the Regulations have been sufficiently formal to enable a Return to be made of them.


I thank the noble Earl for his reply, and ask leave to withdraw my Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.