HL Deb 30 March 1960 vol 222 cc498-522

3.55 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to add my thanks to those expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, to the noble Earl, Lord Aylcsford, for putting down this Motion for debate to-day. I hope there will be many other opportunities of hearing him speak in this House, for I greatly enjoyed his maiden speech. I should like to pay my tribute to Mr. Durand for the full and careful appreciation he made of the situation in the Carlton School, and for what he said about its history in present circumstances and its needs. I should like to add that I believe marked fairness and patience were shown to all who came forward to give evidence at this Inquiry.

I rise to speak in this debate because Carlton School is in the diocese of St. Albans. I cannot help feeling that if any of your Lordships, even using the M.1, were to reach Carlton School within an hour it would be exceptionally good fortune. I know the school; I know the buildings; I have visited them. I care for the place. I know some of the staff; I know some of the managers, and I am glad to count them among my personal friends. I value the Inquiry, but, my Lords, I regret that the terms of reference did not include the opportunity of considering the relationship between the Home Office and Carlton School. For this reason, I am grateful to the noble Lords who have already drawn attention to the responsibilities of the Home Office with respect to this school.

Relations between the managers and certain Home Office inspectors are cordial. During the disturbances the managers were aware of strong support from the Home Office, and considerate support. But, my Lords, may I make this suggestion? May I ask the department concerned in the Home Office to look at their correspondence files? If they would do so I should expect them to find that replies to letters from Carlton School have been at times dilatory, if not exasperatingly slow. I should expect them to see that weeks, at times, have passed without a reply to a letter, or even an acknowledgment. It is this lack of first-rate backing from the Home Office that has at times handicapped the managers in their work. In making that comment I would endorse what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham; I do not for a moment question the devotion of many in the Home Office to the cause of the approved schools. Nevertheless, there is an uneasy feeling in Carlton School, I understand, and in those who care for the school, that the Inquiry has not really revealed the root causes of the trouble, just because it was too limited.

When you visit Carlton School you are immediately struck by the handicap its buildings present. Admittedly it was built as a reformatory in 1855; admittedly it was designed for some 30 boys, and admittedly it now has just under 100. But when we look at the buildings we must be aware of the heavy demands made on the staff in meeting the needs of these boys, demands which are increased by the inadequacy of the buildings. I do not want to say much about the boys themselves. They may be, as the noble Earl, Lord Aylesford, said, first-class; they may be, as the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, said, no better than their fathers. What is a fact, however, I think, is that they are certainly richer than their fathers, and this adds to the difficulties which the staff inherit. The managers can only out their coat according to the cloth provided; and what they are well aware of is the fact that for years they have had just to "make do and mend". When there were 115 boys in this school they had hardly any indoor recreational facilities; no club room; no games room; a swimming pool unfiltered and unheated, and a gymnasium with a derelict floor.

When we read the Report we notice that there are comments on bullying, references to boredom and to the fact that the problems of leisure become acute. The boys' need, as this Report brings out, is to be loved and understood. But these buildings do not suggest that such is the aim of the authorities.

The managers, the headmaster and the staff have had, as I know a most trying time meeting harsh, damaging and unsympathetic publicity—not always so, but a good deal of it unsympathetic. I believe, my Lords, that the headmaster and staff have been subjected to rather unfair criticism, and I say that having in mind the success figures in this Report which have been referred to already. They have had to maintain order in the school among boys who have testified against them. I am told that a big improvement in discipline is already to be discerned, and I think that this speaks well for the headmaster and his staff. I welcome this chance to say a word of thanks to those ladies and gentlemen who serve on the management committees and on the staffs, not only of the Carlton School but of other approved schools, and to assure them of the great appreciation that many of us in this House have for their courageous devotion to their work.

My Lords, at the time of the Inquiry favourable comment was made on the work of the last chaplain. During the Inquiry there was no chaplain, because a neighbouring benefice was vacant. A chaplain has now been appointed, however, and I know that he finds the work extremely interesting and well worth while, and the headmaster and staff extremely co-operative. The boys attend services in Carlton Church each Sunday, and the chaplain sees the boys individually. He is at present preparing six of them for Confirmation. What a help it would be to him in his work, and what a great help to Carlton School, I submit, if the Home Office would consider providing some building which could serve as a chapel!

Reference has already been made to the duties of housemasters; and, from my own experience of championing boys who have been before the courts, I know the difference that a good housemaster can make. It is disquieting to learn the impossibility of securing the appointment of another housemaster for Carlton School. But, as the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, has said, when we consider the salary offered to a housemaster it is not surprising that the post cannot be filled. I hope that the Home Office will reconsider the salary offered to housemasters for the responsible duties they undertake.

May I add one word to what has already been said about licensing? I speak, I think, for some with first-hand experience of this work when I say that Rule 40 needs redefining. Granted that licensing should be effectively brought within the responsibility of the managers; nevertheless, there must surely be the closest consultation between managers and staff. Managers have not the same opportunity of knowing boys individually: they must rely on staff reports, and on the headmaster's recommendations. Recently, three boys were licensed from an approved school against the advice of the headmaster and staff, and all three have already appeared in court again.

Finally, one word about the future of the school. I am glad the Report recommends that the school should continue at Carlton. I consider that the school has good support locally, and I regard this as of great importance. I consider the school has been fortunate in its chairman of the managers. For years he has given great service to the County of Bedfordshire. His example at the time of the troubles, and the stand he made on behalf of the staff when he gave evidence at the Inquiry, have been greatly valued. I am told that, so far as the recommendations in the Report refer specifically to Carlton School, the managers have already intimated to the Home Office that they will implement every one—and I submit that that indicates the value of a closer accord between the managers and the Home Office. Prompt action has already been taken on these lines. The managers are prepared to show initiative, and they have, particularly since the Inquiry, shown this initiative. But if the premises are to be brought up to modern standards, the requisite authority for capital expenditure must come from the Home Office. I therefore hope that Her Majesty's Government will take prompt action on the lines of the recommendations set out in this Report, and particularly that they will attend to Recommendation (10): The adequacy of capital expenditure for bringing the older approved schools such as Carlton School up to modern standards should be considered as a matter of high priority.

4.6 p.m.


My Lords, we are all indebted to the noble Earl, Lord Aylesford, for having put down this Motion and for having introduced this debate to-day, and I join with my noble friend Lord Pakenham in congratulating him on his maiden speech. If it was a model of brevity, I would only say that perhaps we could have done with more of it; and I hope very much that we shall hear the noble Earl from time to time on this and on other subjects.

The Report before the House, although one does not agree with all of it, is, I think, on the whole, thoughtful and well done. Arising out of it, I think there are lessons which have to be taken note of and learned by everybody concerned. If I may say so, I thought that the right reverend Prelate who has just sat down was perhaps a little over-considerate to the school itself and to the managers, but he no doubt feels a paternal interest in it as it is in his diocese. That is understandable, and I should feel exactly the same if I were he. But they have all got to learn from this Report—the managers, the headmaster, the Children's Department at the Home Office, the Home Office as a whole, and the Secretary of State. They have a duty to investigate all matters which are within their jurisdiction, and to think carefully what improvements and what changes of a beneficial character can be made. That, indeed, is the purpose of such inquiries, and I hope very much that they will all do so.

I must say that I am not sure about the constitutional set-up of this school. I understand that it has done good work in its time, and that in this class of school many are very good, though probably some, like the rest of human effort, are not so good. I understand that this school was established about a hundred years ago by voluntary effort; that it is not part of any local government organisation; that managers have been more or less co-opted by the existing managers from time to time; and, therefore, that there is a lack of responsibility to public authority except the Home Office. The Home Office, among others, as I have said, must learn from this experience.

Now I do not want to be dogmatic, and I do not want to get into trouble by referring to what ought to happen to the religious approved schools—that would be "asking for it". But as to this type of school, which presumably started as some foundation a hundred years ago—probably somebody left some money, or gave some money towards it—it seems to me to be questionable that there should be this body of schools (even though I am assured that some of them are very good) which is not part of the public administration. I must say that it is news to me that this is so. Perhaps that is due in part to my London County Council experience, where the managers of approved schools were appointed by a committee of the Council; where there was a member of the Council in the chair; and where reports were forwarded to the appropriate committee of the Council from time to time—and, of course, the schools were inspected by Council inspectors as well as by inspectors from the Home Office. I ought to say that my noble friend Lord Silkin was for a long period responsible as chairman of the managers of an approved school of which I was a member earlier on—namely, Mile Oak, near Brighton. I think it is worth consideration by the Government whether this body of what might be called independent approved schools should not be passed to the county council or the county borough council, as the case may be.


I hesitate to interrupt the noble Lord, but I am not clear as to whether he was a member of the school or a member of the Board.


I was a member of the Board. I am not sure that the school existed when I was a boy, otherwise it is quite possible that I might have been a member of the school.

As I say, I think the Report as a whole is a good thing, investigating as it does an unhappy incident in connection with Carlton School, which no doubt the school feels is rather a blot on it for the moment. But if the school gets over this, and puts itself right, it may in the end have done good. We must not exaggerate the incident, serious though it undoubtedly was, when these boys got completely out of hand. There are revealed some possible criticisms of the headmaster, of whom, however, good things are also said. The Report reveals criticism of the management and some criticism, actual or implied, of the Home Office. One cannot help wondering whether the Home Office inspection was adequate; whether it found these weaknesses, and, if it did, what was done about them. I think that that is a matter which is worthy of inquiry by my old Department, for which I have an affection and for which everybody who has ever been at the Home Office seems to retain an affection over the years—I am sure that the noble Earl, Lord Winterton, had he been here, would have risen with valiant vigour in defence of the Home Office.

The Report itself, in the Summary of Recommendations, makes a number of proposals. I agree with my noble friend Lord Pakenham that to reduce the age of entry to Borstal institutions is a rather doubtful proposition. The crimes and offences of those who are inmates of Borstal institutions are more serious than of those at approved schools, and it might not do any good if that were done. Apart from this Borstal point, there may be something to be said for the idea that the courts should order residential training, and then, under the responsibility of the Secretary of State, for a decision to be reached as to where the boys should go.

Then there is the proposal which crops up every time there is criticism of something; that is, that the name should be changed. It is a strange thing how this repeatedly happens. I remember that when there was controversy about Public Assistance, when a number of people did not think they were getting enough relief—and sometimes it was true—and various politicians, Communists particularly, were running demonstrations against Public Assistance, in the course of a year or so people began to say that we ought to alter the name "Public Assistance" because it was a dreadful name. But there is nothing wrong with with it; it says what it means; and it is a good thing that Public Assistance should exist in a civilised State. I forget whether it was changed or not. I think the London County Council changed the name of the Committee to the Welfare Committee, which did not seem to be a particularly accurate description. But in order to put that right, along came the Government in due course and established the National Assistance Board, which we now call the Assistance Board, and therefore we are back where we were.

Another thing that happened was that public relations suddenly came into disrepute, largely as a result of political activity and denunciation of this service by the Conservative Party in another place. "Public relations" was looked on with disfavour. And yet it says what it means, and it is clear what it means: it is relations with the public which somebody ought to take care of. At that time I was in charge of this service and was responsible for getting these officers, called public relations officers, re-named information officers, which I thought was sensible and quiet and not sufficient to provoke anybody even in the House of Commons Now we have these approved schools. I do not know that there is anything wrong in the term "approved school". It is a school which is approved for a purpose. What are you to call it? It does not seem to me right to call it a registered school; that, if anything, sounds worse. I do not know that you could improve on the name, though I should be perfectly willing to consider any proposition that might come along. Maybe the name of Carlton School should be changed. That might lead to misunderstanding, as suggesting that it was a branch of the Carlton Club, which would be a little rough on the school, and might account for the naughtiness of some of the boys. I think we ought to beware, just because a bit of bother blows up, about changing the name, because it might be an excuse for not doing anything real about improving the situation. Therefore I do not think, on the face of it, that there is anything sensible about that.

There are other recommendations, but it is impossible to deal with all of them. I am inclined to think that the point about the housemaster is right; and, indeed, while not in general an advocate of putting up public expenditure for the fun of it and without good cause, I think a sympathetic view ought to be taken of the duties of the approved schools' staffs in general. They have a difficult job. They are living a somewhat isolated life, usually well away in the country, and spending many hours in the company of these boys. That in itself is not bad; in fact, much of it is pleasant and useful. Nevertheless, there ought to be times when they can get away from it and do something else and enjoy themselves. So that their hours ought to be considered: they should be adequate, but not overdone. I hope that their pay is appropriate. Mr. Durand thinks that it is enough except for the housemaster. But a sympathetic view ought to be taken of the job that these men have to do. It is, as I say, a difficult job, and it can be a depressing one.

The other point is that in appointing staff it is profoundly important to try to find the right people, not only educationally and in other ordinary ways. They should be people who can walk about with a cheerful face in the midst of trouble and can spread sweetness and light in the school as they go along; because if they spread darkness and misery, that will only add to the troubles of the school. Certainly the licensing of boys working outside the schools should be brought under proper examination and control; and I agree that the advice of the headmaster and staff should be taken into account on this matter, although the responsibility should rest with the managers. As I have said, there is a difficulty in placing the responsibility for all this. I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, who was inclined to want far more Home Office control over the management.


I did not say that.


Then it must have been another noble Lord, and I apologise if I have gone wrong. I thought one noble Lord suggested that there should be a greater degree of Home Office control, including control over the management committees, and I was not sure whether some noble Lords did not want the Home Office to appoint the managers. This is another possible danger—namely, the tendency to take control out of the hands of local people and put it in the hands of the State. I want the Home Office to have adequate powers, and I want them to use them sensibly. But if they take too much power, which means that being a member of a management committee will be nothing but a position in which you are taking orders from Whitehall, then I think that will be one of the best ways to get the worst type of manager on these bodies. There must be responsibility, and it must be impressed upon the managers that they have a great deal of responsibility. If you take too much power away from them and put it in Whitehall, I think it could have a bad effect.

The school of which my noble friend and I were managers does good work, and I should think that most of them do good work. It was claimed that 90 per cent. of these youngsters were reformed and became quite good citizens afterwards, which was a big achievement. It was a residential school, as they usually are, and, of course, they are very costly to run. I well remember that in the days of the Conservative majority on the London County Council, the chairman of the Committee was the Honourable Lady Lawrence. Every time we met, about half a dozen or eight of the new boys were brought up before her ladyship, as the Chairman, and the Committee. I must say that the bulk of them looked like little angels—you could not believe they would do anything wrong at all. There was one boy of nine who was positively sweet, and yet he was the leader of a gang. They all addressed her ladyship as "Miss"; they did not know any better, and there was no reason why they should. I think it is a good thing that the new arrivals should come before the Committee and be spoken to in a kindly and friendly way, to wish them luck and to advise them to take advantage of the opportunities of being there. Many of them were problem boys, but not all. I am not at all sure that all of them ought to have been there. I am glad that my noble friend agrees with me. At any rate, they did not look like it and did not sound like it. I am talking about only some of them. It was a bit doubtful whether they ought to have been there, with the consequent heavy cost to the ratepayers and taxpayers of the country.

When I was a boy at school we used to play cricket and football between lamp-posts in the streets at Stockwell. Nobody interfered with us, except one lady who was afraid that we would break her windows, and she criticised us very strongly. Unfortunately, one day we did break her window. Now and again a policeman would come up the road and, as is the way with policemen, he was on top of you before you knew he was anywhere in the vicinity. The policeman would come along and, with those heavy black woollen gloves, would give you a really good swipe on the ear, which you felt. It did not hurt you much. He would say, "Look here, my boys, you stop it. If I catch you doing that again, you will be in real trouble." It frightened us out of our lives, and we were good for at least a fortnight. I am not sure what would have happened to us in these days—whether we should be run round to the children's court, and eventually find ourselves in an approved school, though I should think not for that degree of offence.

It is possible that the kindly, well-meaning people who want to be helpful and good to the children have overdone it just a little in that way. I was once a stairs monitor at the elementary school, and my duty was to see that the boys did not slide down the stairs or banisters, or misbehave themselves. Unfortunately for me, I was caught sliding down the banisters while I was a monitor. I got six "handers", and it hurt. It taught me my lesson, and I never slid down the banisters again. We have now reached the point where, if a policeman hit a boy to-day, I rather think it would be a disciplinary offence and he might be before the disciplinary board. Headmasters and others have to be careful about using the stick and cane and, Heaven knows!, I do not want it used too much. But we really must be a little careful not to get too sloppy about things. In dealing with youngsters I have found that there is a lot to be said, in conversation with them and relations with them, for treating them almost as grown-up—assuming they are responsible young people—and, as a whole, they tend to respond to that kind of consideration.

Therefore, I think a little more patience with the youngsters before they are marked off as on the edge of the criminal classes must be to the good, and that other methods would help. Whether the psychiatrist would be an improvement, I do not know. As between the psychiatrist and the policeman, there is a lot to be said for the policeman. I believe many psychiatrists do very good work, although I am afraid that my late friend Ernest Bevin had a violent objection to the use of psychiatrists in the Army. He said that they ruined more soldiers than did any other single influence. That may be an exaggeration, because he could exaggerate now and again. But it is a thing to be careful about, and you want to be very careful in the choice of psychiatrists.

There was something wrong about this school, as the Report reveals. Things were not as they ought to have been. This is the way we British do things. Some trouble arises, and it causes a lot of excitement in newspapers and so on, as it ought. A person was appointed to inquire into this trouble, and that was right, too. The Report tells us all about it from the point of view of Mr. Durand. I trust, as I have said before, that everybody concerned will take his comments to heart, together with any other experiences they have had, and try to get the thing right. But let us have a little consideration for everybody—the Home Office, the managers, the staff and the youngsters themselves—and recognise that the running of these places is perhaps one of the most difficult jobs in public administration.

4.29 p.m.


My Lords, I, too, must add my congratulations on the most delightful maiden speech made by my noble friend Lord Aylesford. He has chosen for his maiden speech a subject about which he knows a great deal. He has chosen a subject upon which there are many experts in this House. And, as many experts as there are, each of them, it seems to me, has chosen a different line—in fact, different lines—from my noble friend. I believe that he is a brave man to have initiated this debate, but his courage has been rewarded is the success of the debate and the great and thoughtful speeches which have been made by your Lordships this arternoon. I am quite certain that when those speeches are read in your Lordships' Hansard we shall find we owe a great debt of gratitude to my noble friend Lord Aylesford.

My noble and learned friend who sits on the Woolsack has given me the honour of replying to this debate and he has also given me the great assistance of having his speech. Your Lordships well know that the noble and learned Viscount is a very great expert upon all affairs of juvenile delinquency and crime; no one has done more in the field of approved schools over a great many years of service than my noble and learned friend. Should I leave many "i's" undotted and "t's" uncrossed, I assure your Lordships I will bring those points to the attention of my noble and learned friend, and he will be only too willing to give your Lordships the answers to those points.

I, too, before I go further, want to add my words of praise to those already uttered in your Lordships' House to the managers and the headmasters and their staffs in approved schools. The noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, and the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, with his great experience, saw fit to put those remarks at the very beginning of their speeches. The noble Lord, Lord Raglan, too, with his vast experience, brought out this point.

As has been said, there are 117 schools, 82 for boys and 35 for girls. Out of that total, 41 are under the charitable trusts and 52 are run by independent committees, and I think that here we must agree with the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth; that, in view of these numbers, there seems to be very great scope for the voluntary work of school managers. I do not think it would be right to assume that "Whitehall knows best" in all cases, and I do not believe (and I am quite certain that the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, would agree with me) that waving a wand and installing as managers representatives of local authorities would make a Utopia in the approved schools. I should like to say to the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, as I am sure he knows, and as many of your Lordships are aware, that on the boards of these independent schools, of the type of that at Carlton, and the type mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, there are a great many local authority members, whether by chance or by invitation of the committees of management themselves. Really, that the system works at all in the approved schools, I believe, is thanks to this courageous work, often in difficult circumstances, such as the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, and the right reverend Prelate described. No thanks and admiration are great enough for those people who give such service. They are devoted to the cause which they are running.

That is not to say that everything is perfect, as indeed this Report of Mr. Victor Durand, Q.C., brings out. The noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, and the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, have shown that certainly the affairs at Carlton School at the time were not all that could be desired. I believe that the school will get over that, and that in a few months or years this sad episode will be no more. When the dust has settled, as indeed it is settling very fast, I believe that great good will have come out of it, as so many of your Lordships have already said. And one of the best things will be that your Lordships and others in the country will be able to take a greater interest in the problems of approved schools, and perhaps more people will be encouraged to take on boys as apprentices when they come out of the schools, often with great skills and abilities in their heads and in their hands. If any of your Lordships can help in any direction I am quite certain that that would be a fitting result to the great service which the noble Earl, Lord Aylesford, has done by bringing this Motion before your Lordships' House to-day.

There are certain points which various Members of your Lordships' House have brought forward, and I should like to clear them out of the way forthwith, as they do not enter into the main line of my speech. The noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, suggested that the Ministry of Education might be responsible for approved schools. I must remind the noble Lord, however, that we are reforming delinquents. The majority of these boys have been, at one time or another, delinquents. We are educating them also, but they are delinquents. We have to remember that the approved schools are part of the administration of the law. Also at the present time they are run under the, Children's Inspectorate of the Home Office. In fact, at the present time the Ministry of Education has all it can do without the extra burden of approved schools being added to it. I just throw these ideas out to the noble Lord in case he should have forgotten them.


May I say that if I had forgotten those points I should indeed have erred in my duty; and if I had made the suggestion I did make without having let those thoughts stray across my mind I should have fallen a long way below the required level. I hope that the noble Earl is not dismissing the suggestion, of which he has had little notice, but will take it up and have it examined by his colleagues.


I am quite certain the noble Lord's words will always be examined, but I just wanted to point out those factors which he did not mention. I am quite certain that he will consider those also.

The noble Lord also brought up the question of a handbook. There are rules, and so forth, available for the managers, and I do not think there should be any reason why a manager should not be able to know everything that is necessary with regard to running an approved school and the methods that should be employed. However, we agree that the position is not satisfactory and a small handbook is in fact being produced. The noble Lord also mentioned the five-year report and said he would like to see something on the lines of an annual report. I am advised that these reports are most complicated to compile. It is not only the figures which are important, but the trend over a number of years, and that is the main reason why a five-yearly period has been chosen. Towards the end of this year the next report will be published. I should, however, like to go into this aspect further, and I will write to the noble Lord about it.

The noble Lord and the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, talked about psychiatrists. My experience of psychiatrists was fitting little coloured squares together for their satisfaction; and apparently it did help one in the Army, or so the authorities considered. There must be one or two of your Lordships who have been subjected to that treatment. But really the difficulty of the psychiatrist, more especially at Carlton, as the noble Earl mentioned, is that there are not enough of the right men, apparently, in the area of Bedfordshire, which possibly does not hold so much with this particular profession. It is not just a psychiatrist who is needed; it is the right sort of man who can undertake the most exacting tasks in the approved schools. In fact 65.5 per cent. of the boys' schools already have psychiatrists. I should like to mention, too, that the psychiatrist in an approved school is really carrying on a process of "brain-washing"; it is a similar process to that publicised so much recently in a different connection. The most skilful handling is needed of every individual child to make contact with him and change his ways.

The noble Lord, Lord Raglan, asked if the grant for camp had been restored. I am glad to be able to tell him that it is being restored this year. I should like to draw your Lordships' attention to the fact that the Duke of Edinburgh's award scheme and the "Outward Bound" courses are considered most important in the approved schools. Already 75 silver awards and 54 bronze awards of the Duke of Edinburgh's pilot scheme have been gained by boys from approved schools, and there are twelve places which have been reserved for them in the "Outward Bound" courses for 1960. I am glad to be able to say that this most important part of approved school training is going ahead.

I noted what the right reverend Prelate said with regard to letters from the Home Office. If he will show those letters to me afterwards, I will do my best to take up the matter with my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack, to see what can be clone. I also noted what he said with regard to a chapel. The noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, and myself actually saw a chapel in the course of construction on Monday. In fact only the furniture had arrived, but apparently within a short time it was believed that a chapel would be built, largely by the boys' own work. Whether something like that could be done at Carlton, I do not know, but I will take up the matter with my right honourable friend.

My Lords, having got those points out of the way—there are many others which noble Lords have brought up—I come to the main facts to be put before your Lordships. Last year, at the Carlton School for senior boys, there occurred from the evening of the 28th until Sunday, 30th August, a series of outbreaks and disorders, which we have heard so aptly described by the right reverend Prelate. Order was eventually restored—and here we cannot admire too greatly the work of the chairman, the deputy master and others of the managers who stepped into what could have been a most dangerous situation. Although it is easy to criticise the actions of people in such moments, it is not always quite so easy to be as clever as apparently one would like to be, having seen the Report. Order was restored, and especially so by the help of the Bedfordshire police, who cooperated in every way possible. As a result of this outbreak my right honourable friend appointed Mr. Victor Durand, Q.C., to investigate and report, and he gave four headings upon which to report. They were: first, the state of discipline; second, the relations between the staff and the pupils at the school; third, all matters connected with conduct at the school which might throw light upon the circumstances which gave rise to the disturbances. Finally, Mr. Durand was asked to make recommendations.

I should like to pay tribute, as your Lordships have done, to the Report—a most considerate and detailed Report—that Mr. Durand has produced for my right honourable friend. He decided that there were two underlying causes of this disturbance: first, the existence of a number of defects in the personal relations within the school, which we have already mentioned, and to which the noble Lord, Lord Raglan particularly referred; and secondly, the deterioration of the type of boy coming to the school, with the consequent emergence of a hard core of trouble-makers. Reference to this group of trouble-makers appears right through the Report. Many of your Lordships have already mentioned this. I believe that we have to face this fact, and especially the rights and wrongs of the different methods of approach in regard to recommendations Nos. 1 and 2 and 11 and 12 between the views of the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, and my noble friend Lord Aylesford. What we must bear in mind all the time, according to the Report, is this core of trouble-makers.

The noble Lord, Lord Raglan, with all his vast experience, mentioned especially the deterioration of the type of boy who is going to an approved school. There may be many reasons for this. I understand that my noble friend Lord Aylesford sits in a children's court, or has a great deal to do with a juvenile court. Possibly he is some way responsible. Perhaps the noble Baroness, Lady Wootton of Abinger, who has such great experience, and to whom Lord Pakenham referred, is also in some way responsible. But it is certain that trouble-makers are turning up. One of the reasons, which I do not think has been brought forward, is that possibly the other child care services which are run by my right honourable friend are taking up the better sort of boy mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, so that he never finds his way to an approved school at all. I must say that I was surprised, in listening to the speech of the noble Lord, which we were delighted to do, as always. I thought I had misheard him for a second time, and that he was just the sort of boy who might have been a member of such a school. But I was glad to find out that that was not in fact so.

My Lords, the recommendations made by Mr. Durand are summarised in paragraph 181. As your Lordships have already mentioned, they are split up into three categories. I will not go over them in detail, but with regard to the individual recommendations of a general character, I think it would be helpful if I referred to those that are directed to the provision of more effective measures for dealing with these unruly and uncooperative boys whom I have just mentioned. Mr. Durand's Report says that the existence of such a number of boys in Carlton was a contributory factor, but not an overwhelming one by any means, in what happened there.

As we have heard, recommendations 1 and 2, 3 and 11 and 12 show up a gulf between the views of the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, and those of my noble friend, Lord Aylesford. Approved schools are institutions for boys in which the only security arrangements existing are the detention room in the four classifying schools and similar rooms at one of the intermediate training schools. The noble Lord, Lord Raglan, referred to that matter. As we have heard to-day, there are many ideas upon which is the best procedure, but I ask your Lordships to keep uppermost in your minds, when thinking of this problem, this hard core of unco-operative boys. Apart from the sanctions which are authorised by the approved school rules—corporal punishment, withdrawal of privileges and the temporary separation from other boys—the only powers that are available to the managers of an approved school in regard to a boy who acts in defiance are to ask the Secretary of State to transfer the boy to another school, or to bring him before the court, with the consent of the Secretary of State, if he either absconds from the school or is guilty of serious misconduct within the school. It is extremely difficult, as the noble Lord, Lord Raglan again said, to find out exactly what the misconduct is. No doubt for that reason Mr. Durand has made the contentious recommendation that there should be a power—not that it should necessarily be used—by which a court before which a boy is brought on this ground should be able either to return him to an approved school for a longer term or, if he has reached the age of sixteen, to send him to Borstal training.

Here we come to the contentious point of Lord Pakenham, that fifteen would be too young. I think it has been the tendency of all your Lordships to agree that boys are maturing earlier, and therefore that we get the problem of the sixteen year old at the age of fifteen. I have heard it said that this extends even to the fourteen year old. The boy may be a lovable-looking little boy, but in fact there is no reason why he should not be the sort of thug which the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth mentioned. Unfortunately, it is a fact that younger and younger boys are exhibiting these tendencies. It is for that reason that Mr. Durand makes the recommendation which my noble friend Lord Aylesford supports.


My Lords, I am sorry to interrupt the noble Earl, who, as always, has been most interesting and informative, but do I gather that Her Majesty's Government have not yet pronounced on these recommendations which the noble Earl is now discussing? He has not told us so, but perhaps that has not yet been decided.


My Lords, I have not yet come to that part, but in fact that has not yet been decided. I am trying to build up to the reasons why my right honourable friend, and no doubt my noble and learned friend who sits on the Woolsack, have not formulated this matter in their minds. All these expert opinions have been heard, and I assure the noble Lord that many others are available to them. Boys of sixteen, seventeen and eighteen can all be in approved schools or Borstal institutions. The number of boys aged sixteen in Borstal is small when compared with the number of older boys; and the number aged sixteen sent to approved schools are between three and four times the number of that age who are sent to Borstal. I believe that that is one consoling factor.

This situation may derive in part from the limitations of the power of juvenile courts who send to Borstal offenders who are under seventeen. That is another factor which helps to build up this hard core of offenders. Usually offenders in juvenile courts are in the fifteen-year age group. I believe I have made that point quite clear. The whole subject is within the terms of reference of a Departmental Committee, about which we have heard, which is now sitting under the chairmanship of my noble friend Lord Ingleby, who is not in his place to-day. The noble Earl, Lord Aylesford, the noble Lords, Lord Pakenham and Lord Morrison of Lambeth and my noble friend Lord Raglan have all pressed the urgency of this problem, and my right honourable friend is consulting with my noble friend Lord Ingleby to try, as a matter of urgency, to solve these problems on the lines of the recommendations 1, 2, 3 and 11 of Mr. Durand's Report.

My right honourable friend has indicated recently in another place that the recommendations involving legislation require consideration in relation to the treatment of young offenders which was foreshadowed in the Gracious Speech. He referred to the desirability of making comprehensive proposals for the treatment of young offenders, even if the implementing of these suggestions were to involve some delay in producing the Bill he has been preparing. Further suggestions which my right honourable friend is considering are those in the White Paper, Penal Practice in a Changing Society. That brings up a completely new set of problems which my right honourable friend has to balance. The noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, thought disturbed and disturbing boys should perhaps be sent to some closed institution—I believe that was his idea—


An institution with a considerable closed wing seemed to me to be the best idea.


—where it would be possible to concentrate psychiatrists, specialists and others, for the boys' treatment. That is very desirable, but I am quite certain the trouble is that these disturbed and disturbing boys, like the apparently nice little boys, can turn out to be no less than just true thugs. That is the problem that headmasters and managers are up against, and at present there is no way in which a boy can be taken out of an approved school and sent to such an establishment. If the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, wishes that, or believes that such a plan would be right, then recommendations Nos. 1 and 2, or some form of them, would have to be considered.


My Lords, I am sorry to interrupt the noble Earl, but it is still early in the evening and this is a most interesting subject. I do not quite follow the noble Earl here. Surely no special legislation would be required to transfer boys from an open institution to one with a closed wing. I do not see that that would involve transfer to Borstal or anything of the kind dealt with in the earlier recommendations to which the noble Earl has just alluded.


My Lords, the trouble is that at present there is no such institution to which to transfer them. It would be possible to make a school as such with a closed wing, but, as my noble friend, Lord Raglan, with his vast experience, has indicated, there are many experts who believe that that would be the wrong policy, and that possibly there should be a closed room in individual schools. That is one of the points which will be dealt with in the Ingleby Report which my right honourable friend is urgently considering.

My noble friend, Lord Aylesford, and Lord Morrison of Lambeth, were both inclined to reject the idea of changing the name. That suggestion is in recommendation No. 5, and I am not sure that the arguments which have been advanced in favour of a change of name are wholly convincing; but no doubt my right honourable friend will be considering that recommendation, and especially so in the light of what the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, with his great experience has said. I wonder whether the noble Lord was responsible for renaming rat catchers as "rodent operatives"?




My Lords, I was most interested to hear from my noble friend, Lord Raglan, that he so much disagreed with recommendation 7.


It is recommendation 6.


My Lords, the noble Lord does not really agree with recommendations 4, 6 or 7, but I understood that he especially disagreed with recommendation 7. I assure my noble friend that I will put his point of view, as that of one with great experience on this matter, before my right honourable friend, who is in fact examining those three recommendations.

I have covered the recommendations in the first group and we now come to the administrative proposals which form the second group. The noble Lords, Lord Pakenham and Lord Raglan, and the right reverend Prelate, specially referred to the question of housemasters' pay. That is in recommendation 8, section (1). That is a matter within the province of the national negotiating committee on which the Home Office are not represented, because the Home Office are not the direct employer—your Lordships must remember that—but I am sure the position will be fully considered by the Committee.

It is proposed that training facilities for approved school staff—a point referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, should be extended by the development of preliminary training courses for senior and supervisory staff, including special arrangements for the training of housemasters as suggested in recommendation 8 (2). While almost all the teachers and a large proportion of the trade instructors in approved schools service are qualified, the only special initial course for entrance to the service at present is a small experimental course for housemasters and housemothers; and I would point out that obviously if a teacher already in the Approved School Service is serving under the Burnham scale, having reached his qualification as a teacher, there is not a very great incentive to him to transfer to become a housemaster.

I believe that that is really the gist of the whole problem on which the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, and my noble friend, Lord Raglan, have been speaking—and the sooner the negotiating committee are able to arrange a different scale, or however they may decide, the sooner this problem of the housemaster which, I believe, has been endorsed by everybody in the Approved School Service, will be defeated. Hitherto, it has been possible only to spread the advantage of training as widely as possible among the existing staff of approved schools by means of short courses and part-time refresher courses; and about 15 per cent. of the teachers every year take part in some course or another.

As regards recommendation 9, it would seem to be inappropriate that the Home Office—this is a point I have just made to the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham—which is not the employer of approved school staff, should be represented at the meetings of the national negotiating bodies concerned with the settlement of the salaries of the approved school staff. But I am quite certain that we can rely upon these bodies to look into this whole situation, and it has already been referred to the national negotiating committee.

We have heard of the capital investment point, particularly from the right reverend Prelate, the Lord Bishop of St. Albans. I understand that one of the least of the problems that the managers and headmasters have to cope with is difficulty in obtaining sufficient capital. Now, of course, the restrictions have been relaxed. However, if the right reverend Prelate has any specific points to raise—he mentioned the chapel, of course, which he has in mind—I am sure I could bring those points before my right honourable friend.


My Lords, would the noble Earl give way? He has also referred to the importance of a gymnasium and games room. I understand that this school was overcrowded and that there were not the proper facilities, and the gymnasium was out of order. It is important that these matters should be put right. If this voluntary body have not any funds other than grants from the Home Office—because it is not a matter for local authorities—it is necessary that funds should be provided.


My Lords, those are some of the recommendations made first by the inspector to the managers in 1957. The noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, referred to that. It was partly because of capital restrictions at the time that many of those proposals were not fulfilled. However, those are the recommendations my right honourable friend has made to the managers, and I am glad to say that pretty well all are under way towards being met, as your Lordships will see in one moment. As to the recommendations in the third group—those are the recommendations specifically referred to by my noble friend—agreement has been reached regarding action to be taken upon them.

The Home Secretary has accepted the recommendation that the school should be continued subject to improvements of the kind indicated in the Report. They are the sort of improvements to which my noble friend was referring. Whether or not a chapel was included, I do not know, but I will find out and write to the right reverend Prelate later. The school managers have already given effect to a number of these recommendations and they may continue, I can assure your Lordships, to rely on the advice and assistance of the Home Office in the discharge of their responsibilities. In conclusion, I am certain that in the very near future this tragic situation which happened at Carlton School will be a thing of the past. My tight honourable friend and his Department will help the managers in every way that is possible to get back to the great success which has already been referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, and the right reverend Prelate—the most successful work which the Carlton School has undertaken.

5.4 p.m.


My Lords, in rising to beg leave to withdraw this Motion I should like once again to thank noble Lords who have taken part in such a very interesting debate. I would also thank them for the kind things they said about me. Then I should like to thank my noble friend Lord Bathurst for that most helpful speech. As he said, there have been many lines and points of view taken, and much has emerged. That more or less bears out, I think, that most of the recommendations are pretty fair. I shall not attempt to try to answer the points that have been made, for that I think would only confuse the issue. I beg leave to withdraw my Motion.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.