HL Deb 02 May 1933 vol 87 cc647-9

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.


My Lords, I beg to move that this House do resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That this House do now resolve itself into Committee on the said Bill.—(Lord Irwin.)


My Lords, on this Motion I desire to say a few words, because I was not in a position to do so on the Second Reading. My noble friend in charge of the Bill will remember that on that occasion the most rev. Primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury, foreshadowed that probably there would be serious heartburnings with reference to this Bill. I feel bound to tell my noble friend below me that, speaking as I am at the moment on behalf of the clergy, managers and teachers of the Catholic schools in this country, they do not give anything like a welcome to this Bill. I of course recognise that there are certain safeguards in the Bill. There is one very important safeguard indeed, for which I wish to thank my noble friend, and that is the safeguard that no school can be closed unless the displaced children can find accommodation in another school of the same creed. Without that safeguard I need hardly say that we should have to offer most strenuous opposition to the Bill. Things being as they are, so far as I am concerned, I support it, because I realise that it has been introduced more on economic grounds than as an educational measure. Therefore I am not going to oppose the Bill. There is one point about which I should like to ask my noble friend. He will remember that on the Second Reading he intimated that two schools on what I think we were agreed in calling the border line could be amalgamated if the two local authorities concerned agreed to do so. I understand that that is the case, but I also understand that no such agreement can be come to unless the managers of the schools concerned are also agreed about it. I would like to ask whether that is so.


My Lords, with reference to what has fallen from the noble Viscount I want to say only one word. I cannot say that I welcome the Bill, because I know there are many schools which may be declared unnecessary but which are necessary for reasons other than a really administrative kind. But having regard to the considerations put before the House on the Second Reading by my noble friend the President of the Board of Education I think this is a Bill which ought to go through. I am not prepared to put forward any Amendments, nor am I prepared to say that Amendments may not be moved elsewhere. I should merely like the Bill to go through its Committee stage now on the understanding that possibly Amendments may be moved in another place after the authorities representing non-provided schools have had an opportunity of considering the Bill.


My Lords, I think that I can answer quite briefly both the points that have been raised by my noble friend behind me and by the most rev. Primate. I recognise, of course, that my noble friend, as indeed the Primate on the last occasion, exhibits no particular enthusiasm for this Bill for reasons which will be readily appreciated by us all. At the same time it is gratifying to me, as the Minister in charge of the Bill, to have their assurance that, though enthusiasm is lacking, opposition is not forthcoming. I think that I can set my noble friend's mind at rest in regard to the point that he raised as to border-line cases. I think that he stated the position quite correctly. There is, as he knows, no provision in the existing Education Act of 1921 permitting of the amalgamation of two non-provided schools, one in each of adjoining areas of separate authorities, without the consent of the managers, and that safeguard for schools is still provided by the Bill, although, if the consent of the managers is forthcoming, there is nothing to prevent local authorities, if they so choose, making agreements between themselves. But they cannot make those agreements without the managers' consent. With regard to what fell from the most rev. Primate, I entirely recognise the fact that those for whom he speaks may wish to suggest and move Amendments in another place. That is obviously within their power at all stages to do, and I need hardly assure him that, if those Amendments are moved, they will receive very full consideration.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly (the Earl of Onslow in the Chair): Bill re ported without amendment.