§ 4.15 p.m.
§ LORD HUGHES
My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Hughes.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [The EARL OF LISTOWEL in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1 [Functions of education authorities]:
LORD HUGHES moved Amendment No. 1:
Page 1, line 24, after ("suitable") insert ("in the ordinary case").
§ The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 1. This Amendment makes it clear that children of school age; that is, those who have reached the statutory age for commencing compulsory education, five years, may attend or continue to attend a nursery school. The whole trend in educational thinking is towards blurring the division between nursery education and education in infant classes in primary schools. The Amendment makes it clear that the section is not intended to mean that nursery school activities are unsuitable for all children over five or that children must necessarily be expected to leave nursery schools immediately on attaining the age of five.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
LORD DRUMALBYN moved Amendment No. 2:
Page 2, line 2, after ("areas") insert ("and to children in other areas whose parents speak Gaelic")
§ The noble Lord said: The purpose of this Amendment (and it is odd that it should come immediately after the National Mod Bill) is to ensure that Gaelic-speaking children—children whose parents speak Gaelic and who therefore hear and speak Gaelic in their homes—should, like children in other ordinary cases, receive education in their own language. I suppose it might be flippantly said that if this applies to Gaelic it should also apply to Italian, Pakistani, Yiddish or any other language. I hope that it will not be said, for those do not happen to be Scottish languages. If we really want racial integration it would be highly undesirable to lay such an obligation on education authorities.
§ There are two native Scottish languages, English and Gaelic. It cannot be denied that the teaching of one's own native language is appropriate to one's educational requirements. This Amendment would simply emphasise that. At a time when efforts are being made to repopulate the Highlands and Islands it is surely desirable to draw back to the Islands children whose parents have moved out of Gaelic-speaking areas to other parts of Scotland. Such children will be more likely to want to return if they study Gaelic at schools. And I should have thought that if they come from Gaelic-speaking homes they have a right to study their native tongue. There are, of course, many such homes in the four cities, and in such places as Greenock and Paisley—and, indeed, even in the town which I used to represent, Dumfries. There is no difficulty in these places in providing children with tuition in Gaelic.
§ I recognise that there may be Gaelic-speaking homes in areas where it would be difficult, if not impossible, to provide such tuition, and it may be that this Amendment should be re-drafted to include the words, "where possible", or "where practicable", or some similar provision. But I have deliberately drawn it in the broadest terms because I think it is the principle that we ought to discuss. In any case, I would point out to anyone who wishes or wants to be particularly purist or pernickety about this that there are probably areas in which it is not possible to provide for other forms of education appropriate to the requirements of every child so that, if one wants to be 483 absolutely precise and pernickety, this clause, even as it stands, goes too far; its provisions cannot be carried out in practice.
§ This Amendment has been put down to consider the principle of teaching Gaelic to children coming from Gaelic-speaking homes in Scotland, wherever they may be, and where it is possible to do so. I hope that the noble Lord will direct his reply to that principle. After all, many children brought up in non-Gaelic-speaking homes will go back to the Highlands—just as many children from Gaelic-speaking homes will go back—as doctors, ministers, teachers, local government officers and so on, and it would be desirable that they should have not only a colloquial knowledge but also a correct knowledge of their language. Moreover, if the teaching of Gaelic is made available other children from non-Gaelic-speaking homes may take advantage of it and so equip themselves to enjoy and understand the Highlands and Islands more fully; and perhaps also to contribute to the re-development and revival of the Highlands. I hope very much that we shall take the opportunity provided by this Bill to do for children from Gaelic-speaking homes outside Gaelic-speaking areas what has already been done for them within the areas. I beg to move.
§ LORD HUGHES
The noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, has rather simplified my task, because he has gone out of his way to point out the difficulty of implementing the Amendment which he has moved. I readily give him the assurance that I do not wish to "paint the lily" by adding the difficulty of teaching Arabic, Pakistani, Italian or any other minority languages which cannot yet be regarded as one of the languages of Scotland. It is simply because of the difficulties to which the noble Lord himself referred that I cannot advise your Lordships to accept the Amendment.
The new Section 1(1) which appears in Clause 1 of this Bill states:It shall be the duty of every education authority to secure that there is made for their area adequate and efficient provision of school education …So a duty is already laid on authorities in Clause 1 as drafted to secure 484 adequate and efficient provision of the teaching of Gaelic in Gaelic-speaking areas. The Amendment would put a duty on the authorities to secure the adequate and efficient provision of teaching Gaelic to children in non-Gaelic-speaking areas whose parents speak Gaelic. The presence of one set of such parents would be sufficient to require an authority to attempt to comply with this duty.
It is true that Gaelic-speaking areas are not defined in the Bill, but, as my honourable friend the Joint Parliamentary Under-Secretary said in another place, one recognises a Gaelic-speaking area when one sees one. Therefore I agree with the noble Lord that the Amendment imposes on authorities in non-Gaelic-speaking areas what might be a difficult duty. I would go further and say that in many cases it would impose a duty which it would be impossible for them to carry out. Irrespective of the number of children whose parents spoke Gaelic, and how many different schools the pupils attended, the authority would have a duty to teach the children Gaelic.
Moreover, the Amendment presupposes that all parents who speak Gaelic but who live in non-Gaelic-speaking areas want their children to learn Gaelic. This may be a perfectly correct assumption, but it is, to say the least, rather unusual to make assumptions in Acts of Parliament about individual subjects which parents may or may not want their children to learn. I think it is much better to leave the Bill as it stands. There is no reason why authorities in non-Gaelic-speaking areas should not arrange for Gaelic to be taught. They have power to do so, and some of them exercise it, as the noble Lord himself has pointed out, by naming areas which cannot possibly be regarded as Gaelic-speaking areas where the language is being taught. In this case we think it is better that the teaching of Gaelic should rest on a power to teach it rather than on a duty to do so.
I do not want it to be thought for a moment that the Government are unsympathetic to the future of Gaelic. As the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, has pointed out, it is rather a coincidence that we should be discussing this so soon after giving a Second Reading to the National Mod Bill. I mentioned earlier the tremendous increase in financial support 485 which the Government are giving, and I would draw attention to the Annual Report for 1968 of the Scottish Education Department which, on page 16, contains this paragraph:Determined efforts are being made to stimulate the learning of Gaelic. In Inverness-shire over 2.000 non-native speakers have been receiving instruction in that language. The annual Gaelic camps were attended by pupils from all over Scotland. Three schools in Ross and Cromarty prepared experimental broadcasts dealing respectively with a local Gaelic hard, lobster fishing in Bernera and the wartime experiences of a Shawbost villager now employed in the school meals department. These programmes were transmitted from Rosemarkie in September.The authorities in the Gaelic-speaking areas agreed, on the suggestion of the Secretary of State, that they should form a joint committee which would be concerned primarily with the production of textbooks in Gaelic. This committee was set up some two or three years ago and has done some very useful work. Apart altogether from progress in the schools, the Secretary of State has increased very substantially the grant, which will reach the figure of £7,000 in the current financial year. In addition to that, the Secretary of State is paying an annual grant of £5,000 to Glasgow University to promote the publication of new and original works in the Gaelic language.
I hope that I have said sufficient to persuade the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, that the Government are at one with him in wishing to see as widespread a teaching of the language as is desired, but that this may better be accomplished by resting on the willingness of interested local authorities—and he and I are agreed that there are a number of these—to exercise the powers which they have, rather than by seeking to impose on them a duty which in many cases it would be impossible for them to fulfil.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
I am grateful to the noble Lord for his reply, which shows that the Government are taking an interest in this matter. I may trouble him by putting down a Question before long asking in how many local authorities outside Gaelic-speaking areas Gaelic is being taught, and in how many schools. I recognise the drafting difficulty of this Amendment, which, as I indicated, I do not intend to press. It is an exploratory Amendment. In view of what the noble 486 Lord has said, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 4.40 p.m.
LORD DRUMALBYN moved Amendment No. 3:
Page 2, line 24, after first ("of") insert ("school education in public schools at which fees were being charged on the 25th November 1968 and of").
§ The noble Lord said: This is an important Amendment, even if it now affects only a comparatively small proportion of the pupils in the country. It now affects only our two main cities and only some 6,000 pupils in them—something of that kind. The purpose of the Amendment is to permit education authorities, if they wish, to continue in existence fee-paying schools belonging to them. It does not give them power to establish new ones. Your Lordships will be aware that the power to charge for school education in England and Wales was revoked by the 1944 Act, but it was not revoked in the corresponding Scottish legislation, because it was then recognised that circumstances in Scotland were not—and they are still not—the same as in England. I doubt if anyone will have the temerity to suggest that what is good in education for England is necessarily good for Scotland. Indeed, if we were to equate education in Scotland with education in England, even in the matter of fee-paying schools, the logic of that would be to abolish the Department of Education in Scotland, and that, indeed, would raise a great outcry.
§ It is true that from that time the number of education authority schools in which fees are charged has declined considerably, and in the last two or three years, under pressure from the Government, the rate of decline has increased. At such schools as Greenock Academy, Leith Academy, Paisley Grammar School and Dundee High School, fees have either ceased or will shortly cease to be charged, but they are still charged at five schools in Glasgow and three in Edinburgh. When I say "are", I mean that they will be after this session. The Government have brought great pressure to bear on Glasgow and Edinburgh to bring them into line, or perhaps I should say, to toe the line, but Glasgow and Edinburgh, as they have a perfect right to do under existing legislation, have declined to surrender.487
Perhaps the shortest way of indicating to your Lordships why, is to read the preamble to the motion which the Glasgow Education Authority carried by a large majority for the retention of their five fee-paying schools, after discussing the matter with the Secretary of State. This was the wording of the preamble:
That having had consultations with the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow and head teachers of fee-paying and selective schools, and having ascertained:
(1) that the Secretary of State had not advanced any argument in support of the contention that the abolition of these schools would significantly benefit the Authority's whole comprehensive system;
(2) that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese held the view that it was the wish of the Catholic parents, expressed by the Church authority, that the status quo be retained;
(3) that head teachers of these schools supported the retention of the school and refuted the Secretary of State's view that selection was incompatible with comprehensive education".
§ I think that that preamble puts the controversy in a nutshell. In Edinburgh a similar motion for the retention of their three fee-paying schools was carried by the Education Authority by a majority of 42 to 16, reversing a recommendation for their abolition from Edinburgh Education Committee, which does not consist only of elected members.
§ There are grant-aided schools and independent schools as well as fee-paying education authority schools in these two cities, but there is a great demand for places in the fee-paying schools already and they would not be able to accommodate all the children of parents in Edinburgh and Glasgow who want to continue to send their children to fee-paying schools, not to mention those parents who come to live in these cities in order to be able to educate their children in these schools, which have a deservedly high reputation. Perhaps it is relevant to point out to your Lordships that while the number of children, as a proportion of the total number of pupils in England and Wales, who attend grant-aided and independent schools is 7.3 per cent., the number of children attending grant-aided and independent schools in Scotland is only 4.1 per cent. of the school population.
§ There is no marked difference in character between the leading fee-paying 488 education authority schools and grant-aided schools, whether they are under the control of the education authority or not. Among the characteristics which they share are not only that while they are fee-paying bursaries are available in them and some parents pay nothing at all, but also that they are selective. The reasons they are selective are twofold. First and more important, it is because the demand for places exceeds the available number, in many cases threefold or fivefold. Secondly, it is because one of the ways in which a school maintains its standard is frankly by excluding pupils it does not want. Schools at which there is selection are fee-paying, but fee-paying schools are not necessarily selective. If they cease to be selective, standards are likely to decline.
§ The complaint against the education authority fee-paying schools is that they are selective. It is the selection which, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, does not fit in with the comprehensive system. That, to say the least of it, is odd. The comprehensive school controversy is of English origin. It does not apply to Scotland because a high proportion of our schools has always been comprehensive. I maintain that we ought not to worship conformity or uniformity for their own sakes. The current fashion for comprehensive schools may last for ten years or even for a century, but one thing is absolutely certain, and that is that the fashion will change, because human needs and methods to meet them are always changing. That is one important reason why it would be mad to destroy or to change beyond recognition institutions which have stood the test of time, adapting themselves to changing circumstances, keeping their individuality, as any institution must, if it is to survive and prosper.
Even if fee-paying schools in an education authority system constitute an anomaly, surely it is wrong to destroy them or alter them. I do not believe it is possible to defend either course. To change their character would be quite wrong, if they are serving the community well, as they are, adapting all the time as circumstances change. If they are good, then keep them and improve them, while preserving their own character and virtues. It is not claimed that they are not good. Indeed, all the evidence is
that it is because they are good, because they attract better pupils and better teachers, that some desire to destroy them. This I believe to be unworthy. It certainly will not raise the standard of those who are at the schools now or would go to them in future, nor will it enhance either the quality or reputation of education in Scotland. I conclude with the advice which St. Paul gave to the Thessalonians:
Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good.
§ The value of fee-paying schools has been proved. Let us hold fast to them. I beg to move.
§ LORD STRATHCLYDE
I rise to support the Amendment which my noble friend Lord Drumalbyn has just moved. I confess that I do not understand what benefit is to be derived from doing away with the system of fee-paying schools. Some, at least, of these schools have a long history and a great tradition, and the education they provide is of a very high standard. They have served and they continue to serve the country well. They produce not only men who attain the highest of academic distinctions, but also men of character and ability, many of whom rise high in the professions, in industry, in trade and in commerce. I wonder, then, why Her Majesty's present Government wish to get rid of them. The noble Lord, Lord Hughes, told us in his opening speech on Second Reading that it was to remove an anachronistic practice. If the view is that it is an anachronistic practice for parents to pay towards the cost of their children's education, I think it is to be deplored; for I believe that it is something which has existed almost from the days of John Knox and helped to provide in Scotland an educational system which we were proud to claim, and to claim with justification, was probably the best in the world.
It is my experience that when you buy something, and particularly when you have to make sacrifices to enable you to do so, you are inclined to value it and care for it to a greater extent than if it is given to you for nothing. I know from my own personal experience that parents paying for their children's education do much to help them in their studies and take an interest in their school activities; and they do this to 490 ensure that full use is made of the money which they have paid in fees.
Then the noble Lord said that the object was to further equality of educational opportunity, and to make it possible for the present fee-paying selective secondary schools to be included within the comprehensive system. I would ask the noble Lord whether he would be good enough to enlarge on that and to say how it is proposed that these schools should be improved. He went on to claim that the Government have made tremendous advances in the introduction of comprehensive secondary education in Scotland. I would ask the noble Lord again, when he comes to reply, whether he would be good enough to tell the Committee what this wonderful comprehensive system really is, and how it betters education, as such. I understand that we still have primary education, and we still have secondary education—both now, of course, coming under the heading of school education. Does the word "comprehensive" merely mean that everyone goes from primary to secondary education?
The noble Lord also dealt with equality of opportunity. He said that there could be no equality where selection is made at 5 or 12 years of age. But his argument seemed to me to lead to it being unfair to deny children of that age the opportunity of going to a fee-paying secondary school: in other words, that they were losing the opportunity of getting a better education than they would get at a non-fee-paying education authority school. But why, I would ask, do away with the better? Why not hold the fee-paying schools up to the others as a target at which they should aim, and thus give them additional incentive?
With regard to selection, is it not still unfair to some to select those who are to go on for a university education at 18 years of age or so? Those not selected might profit greatly by going to a university. Indeed, I have known of many late developers who have found great difficulty in passing an examination at 18 years of age, but who at 20 years of age have been right at the top of their year. Be that as it may, the system of entry to fee-paying schools, while it may have denied entry to a number, did not deny them the benefits of secondary education it only stopped them from obtaining 491 it at a fee-paying school. In this imperfect world it is extremely difficult to be entirely fair to everyone, but I would claim that, by and large, the system of selection has worked very well.
The noble Lord, Lord Hughes, also held that parental choice hardly entered into the matter. Of course it does. It was the parents who presented their child to the school; they were prepared to pay the cost of the child's education, or part of it; they chose the school to which they wanted him to go; and it was only then that the school was able to choose whether or not to have him.
I would ask the noble Lord to tell your Lordships about the comprehensive system, and why it demands the destruction of the fee-paying schools. What is it that prevents the fee-paying schools from being part of our educational system in the future; and why must they be dispensed with? I have always believed that when you have a good thing you should not lightly discard it. The great fee-paying schools have proved themselves up to the hilt. They have a great record, and a great tradition, which is of the utmost value both to our country and to the individual. The comprehensive schools (of which I pray the noble Lord to tell us more) are still on trial, and until they have proved themselves I would advise your Lordships to hold on to what we have, of proved worth and of real merit.
There is one other thing I wish to say. As the economic level of our people rises the demand for places at the fee-paying schools increases by leaps and bounds. Should that demand not be catered for? Is it not the duty of the Government to provide for it rather than to deny it? I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, may yet be able to obtain from his right honourable friend an assurance that, even at this late hour, he will think again.
§ BARONESS HORSBRUGH
This is a difficult problem and one which we knew we should have to face when we came to this Bill, because to-day many people say that one cannot possibly allow parents to pay for any form of their children's education in the local authority schools; that it is all wrong. Some of us wonder why it is wrong. Some of us wonder sometimes whether the amount they pay 492 has been looked into; and some of us wonder sometimes whether everybody must be exactly the same in a comprehensive school (and we have always had what are practically comprehensive schools in Scotland), or whether we think we must have something different now.
A great many schools that had fee-paying pupils have been given up, but some are still continuing to operate. In many cases the amount of fee they pay is quite small. I am thinking now of a school for girls in Edinburgh, where a fee of just over £30 a year is paid by the parents. But they know that the standard there is very high, and it does not matter if you go there with £30, or a proportion of it for that term, you will not get your child into the school unless the child has ability. It is a case not only of paying, but of being of a high standard. The strange thing is that although nowadays we have schools for people with subnormal capabilities, we do not have schools for people with greater ability than the normal. Other countries have them. I am told that Russia is one country with such schools, and at least two other European countries have them. But we say that children must all be in the same type of school.
The point of the comprehensive school is that it gathers the children all from one neighbourhood. It may be thought to be a good plan that all the children in a neighbourhood should go to that particular school. But I wonder whether it is a good plan. I wonder whether it is not a better plan to mix children with other children of the city or town, instead of just being with those next door, or down the street, as the case may be. The idea of the neighbourhood school, the comprehensive school, where all the children will go from the particular neighbourhood makes a pretty pattern when you work it out on paper as your scheme for education, and a great many people have thought it is very much the best way of doing it. This idea of anybody going to a fee-paying school crashes in on that. The child may come some distance and meet other children from another part of the city or town. But do we really think that the child is going to benefit? After all, that is the one point we have to consider: is it of benefit to the child, and to the child's education, to do away with the schools we know to-day and to have everybody 493 in the same type of school in the same neighbourhood? Many people may think this is not the best plan.
We are making a quite definite change in Scottish education. I should be the last person to say that Scottish education to-day is perfect—I am not sure that it was not very much better a certain number of years ago. But are we going to make it better now by the changes we are making? That is the only criterion by which we have to judge. It is no use saying that it is simply better for a particular scheme or plan; what we want to know is whether it is really better education for the children; are they going to be able to learn better and more easily? What effect is it going to have upon them, and the whole social life of Scotland? I would ask the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, whether those things have been considered, and also why the Government have come to this conclusion.
§ 4.53 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LAUDERDALE
Rising to support this Amendment, I should like to begin by making several general points. I would plead with the Government to take another look at this matter. If the object is suppression of fees in the interests of equality of opportunity and non-selectivity, I submit that it is an unreal exercise altogether. If you suppress the payment of fees one way or another they will come in somewhere else. There will always be a black market in learning. Both history and contemporary experience proves this.
To go back a bit in British history, when the Roman Catholics suffered under the penal laws they went abroad and set up their own schools; they did not conform. In at least one Communist country of which I have personal knowledge, and fairly frequent experience, because I used to work there—I refer to Yugoslavia—the result of a State system to create uniformity is that the newspapers are filled with advertisements for people offering tuition. Those who are determined to grow up and resist dictatorship feel that they are making their best contribution to that effort by seeing their children work hard, by scrimping and saving and buying extra tuition out of school. The same thing will happen, too, in our own country. If the best that can be had is not to be had from a State system, people will scrimp, save, 494 sweat and slog to buy it round the corner, by means, if you like, of private tuition—and bang goes the idea of equality of opportunity! This black market in education will always be there. People will demand it.
I go further. During the past ten years I have been much concerned with the whole problem of trying to attract industry to Scotland. I have spoken to the managing director or the chairman of company after company about this or that place in Scotland in which I was trying to interest them. Among the very first questions I was asked was, "What facilities for fee-paying education are there, so that our junior executives who are coming up, and will be on the board, can get their children well trained and into the university?" Not every successful businessman has a brilliant child, but certainly if he is any good he wants to push that child. The significance of that particular point is borne out by none other body than the Scottish Council (Development and Industry) which is, indeed, partly supported by the Government. I have in my hands now one of their brochures, called Moving into Scotland, in which an educational system is one of the assets set out as a lure to industry to come to Scotland. The same Scottish Council publish and distribute another brochure, called Living in Scotland, compiled by Magnus Magnusson and Jessie Anderson. I will not weary your Lordships by quoting from it.
The fact that the Council give attention to this matter shows that, where industry is concerned in seeking to come to Scotland, the availability of fee-paying and selective education, and various grades of this from, we will say, the school like Fettes down to the ones we are talking about now, is a real factor. It is no good the Scottish Office saying, as I believe they have said in the past, "There is no evidence of this in Scotland." The firms that do not come to Scotland are not going to give the Scottish Office the evidence which those of us who have talked to them have from experience, that this is a serious factor. We know very well that if Scotland is to produce the material for her higher business school, for her higher management; if Scotland is to provide the technologists, the scientists and, may I add, the administrators who are needed—and administrators possibly 495 of a higher calibre than we have known hitherto—in an increasingly complex society, we simply cannot skimp or invite parents to submit to what amounts to a skimping and a levelling down.
What about the attitudes of the local authorities concerned? There is Glasgow, which has been the focus and home of a radical approach to every trend of thinking since Glasgow University was founded in, if I remember correctly, the fourteenth century. Glasgow, which has been the great home of radicalism, has opposed this particular proposition. Glasgow Education Committee voted by a large majority, as the noble Lord knows, to oppose this particular provision, and my noble friend Lord Drumalbyn has already referred to Edinburgh. It has been said, perhaps with the overtones of Clydeside exaggeration which we all enjoy, that this flouting of local authority wishes is something like an interference with local democracy. I would not go so far as to say that. I should like to echo what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde. He recalled something which was said to me years ago by the late and great Walter Elliot. He said, "If you want somebody to read a book, make them go and buy it; don't give it to them". My shelves are full of books which have been given to me, and I have never read them. There are also books on my shelves which I have gone without lunch to buy, and I have read every line of them.
Where parents pay, no matter how little, they appreciate what they get. Furthermore, that appreciation seeps through to the children, quite apart from the direct incentive that the parents may give in making the children do their homework at night, and all the rest of it. Surely we shall agree—for the figures seem to bear it out—that the non-comprehensive environment is conducive to children staying on at school after fifteen and sixteen years of age, and on to the sixth form. I was very interested to see some figures, in percentages, of children who chose to stay on the previous year, as between the comprehensives and the fee-paying schools. When one gets to the fifth form the figure is 32 per cent. with the comprehensives, and 85 per cent. with the fee-payers. That is the point at which most of the children will 496 want to go on to university. With regard to examination passes—this may be old ground, well tilled in another place, but for the Record these things must be said again—the proportion of examination passes is manifestly higher in the fee-paying schools than in the comprehensives. I think the difference is something like 10 per cent. or 15 per cent. in Glasgow.
What about the right of parents to choose? In the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, for which we know we can expect full support from the other side when it is a matter of colour, what about this particular right, the parents' prior right to choose the kind of education their children shall have? Stop the fee-paying and you reduce that choice you reduce that right. It is sometimes said that if fee-paying in local authority schools is permitted, somehow or other taxpayers are then subsidising some privilege. I am not personally greatly concerned with the railway, but many people who live in my part of Scotland are, and the withdrawal of the railway means that they are subsidising those who are still able to enjoy it.
Ever since the 1918 Act, more than fifty years ago, fee-paying has been thought fully consistent with the provision of free education for all. The fees in question are low, between (what is it?) £12 and £44 a term at Edinburgh, £10 and £23 a term in Glasgow—so low indeed that these schools in many cases may be said to fulfil the role otherwise provided by the direct grant schools. What do the educationists say? The Scottish Schoolmasters' Association—I am quoting from their journal, The Scottish Schoolmaster, of December, 1968—express the view that fee-paying could well co-exist with the comprehensive system. The Education Institute for Scotland says that it is… vital that the resources of schools with exceptionally well-equipped premises, highly efficient staff and a long tradition of academic attainment should be preserved intact".I quote from the Glasgow Herald of November 14 of last year.
The fact is that the Government—I submit that this is a fact—are determined to deal with the fee-paying schools willy-nilly; otherwise they would surely have found ways of including them within the 497 purview of the Public Schools Commission. In seeking to compress the brilliant children to conform with the mean, one is bound surely to lead to the mean distribution curve having its centre of gravity moved back so that the performance of the average will suffer also. From this abolition of fee-paying there will result not less, but more social division. It will polarise the educational pattern completely between the all-inclusive comprehensives, at one end of the scale, and the fully independent and direct grant schools, at the other.
My noble friend Lord Drumalbyn suggested that the theme of the Bill in this respect was unworthy. With the greatest respect, and not wishing to be offensive, but seriously endeavouring to plead with the Government, I should like to suggest that the competitive economics of an élite meritocracy of service and skill are now being frustrated by the intentions of the economics of envy and debasement of standards. During the war, it was said that we fought for four freedoms. I submit that those four freedoms have now grown to five. What then is the fifth freedom? That is one reserved, I regret to say, for the Government: it is freedom from fact.
§ LORD SOMERS
As one who has spent a considerable part of his life teaching in schools, I feel I must say just one word. There is no doubt that the Government's intention is to provide a good education for all, but unfortunately they have apparently closed their eyes to the fact that that cannot be done with one type of education. They are not taking into consideration the fact that the particularly talented child will need a much more specialised type of tuition, and therefore, of course, one must get particularly trained staff. Trained staff must feel, first, that their services are not being wasted on untalented children, and secondly, that they are being paid an adequate salary. That is the crucial point.
The staff who will go to what I might call the public school type of school are naturally those who have made teaching their living and who have given a great deal of their life to securing the ability to teach really talented children. I am not suggesting for a moment that in a single class one can have children of exactly the same level. On the other 498 hand, there is no doubt that if we want to get really good education for the talented we must pay for it. Therefore, the payment must come in at the other end, from the parents. That is why I support this Amendment.
§ 5.8 p.m.
§ LORD HUGHES
I did not for one moment expect that the debate on this Amendment would be one in which there would be much opportunity for anyone to persuade anyone else to a point of view which was not already held on coming into the Chamber. If there had been a wish for genuine debate and for the possibility of being convinced, one would at least have thought that I should have been encouraged to speak early, and then other speakers would have weighed what the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, and I had said, one against the other, and would have come down in support of one of us—it may well have been in favour of what Lord Drumalbyn had said. But speaker after speaker has risen to make it perfectly clear that his or her mind is made up before I utter a single word. I think, nevertheless, the duty is laid upon me to make quite clear why the Government are still of the opinion which was expressed in another place; and that I intend to do. But I will answer some of the points which have been made during the speeches we have heard.
I am not interested in making just debating points because, if I were, I should be content to rest on replying only to what the noble Earl, Lord Lauderdale, has said, because much of what he said epitomises the very worst of what the Government believe to be wrong in thinking about education. If I were to quote some of the things he said I think that that contention would be illustrated. The noble Earl was good enough to say that he did not wish to be offensive to the Government. I hope it is not my lot to be here when he is deliberately trying to be offensive, because it is going to be pretty difficult to sit through it, if he ever sets his mind thoroughly to the task.
Let us look at some of the things he said. In speaking, he revealed, quite subconsciously, his whole attitude to the subject of fee-paying schools, because while the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, in speaking of these schools, and particularly schools in Glasgow, set them on a very high pedestal indeed—and I have 499 not the slightest doubt that in Lord Strathclyde's mind these are among the best schools that can be found anywhere in the United Kingdom—what was the attitude of the noble Earl, Lord Lauderdale? He said, "When we think of schools like Fettes, and then coming down to the ones we are talking about". So, if his words mean anything, the fee-paying schools in Glasgow and Edinburgh are on a much lower strata.
§ THE EARL OF LAUDERDALE
If I may interrupt the noble Lord, I was referring only to coming down in scale of the fees.
§ LORD HUGHES
If the noble Earl will look at his remarks he will find that they were not made at that stage in relation to fees. The noble Earl was clearly regarding these fee-paying schools in Glasgow as coming down to the ones we are talking about.
§ THE EARL OF LAUDERDALE
That was an Amendment about fees and about fee-paying schools, and it was in that context that I was speaking. I appreciate the point which the noble Lord is making, but I can assure him that was my intention and I apologise to him and to the Committee if I did not make that clear.
§ LORD HUGHES
Obviously I must accept what the noble Earl has said, but I think that when he reads his words he will find that it was a perfectly reasonable mistake for me to make in the context of his remarks. This was the kind of theme, not peculiar to the noble Earl because he was expressing the idea that many people have, either deliberately or subconsciously. The noble Earl then spoke about industry coming into Scotland and quoted someone as saying, referring to fee-paying schools of the type we are talking about in Edinburgh and Glasgow, that these are the schools to which their junior executives—not their senior executives, but their junior executives—can send their children. Where do the senior executives send their children? To the English fee-paying schools, or to the comprehensive schools?
§ THE EARL OF LAUDERDALE
I am sorry to keep on interrupting, but what I had in mind was that usually the senior executive is a man of about forty-five or fifty whose children are past school- 500 leaving age, but the junior executives are people of, say, twenty-five to thirty years of age who have children of school age. I am sorry if, unintentionally, I have again misled the noble Lord.
§ LORD HUGHES
The noble Earl shows himself to be very much out of touch with the trend in industry if he now thinks that all senior executives are men who have left the thirties behind them. In fact, in modern industry some of the senior executives have reached that position before they have left the twenties, so while I will allow the noble Earl to get away with the other one, I am not going to let him ride out of this particular difficulty in that way.
With regard to the question of industry coming into Scotland, if the noble Earl was right in saying that this matter of the kind of education available was so important, how is it that we have succeeded in bringing in so much English and American industry into areas where the children cannot go to these fee-paying schools? Why are there so many English and American companies in the East of Scotland and in the central belt, where the children are not going to these schools? It may well be that people bringing an industry into a particular area regard the fact that certain schools are there as an advantage—that I do not deny—but I would also claim that in coming to other areas the fact that there are no such schools does not seem to be regarded as a disadvantage. So we cannot argue that the existence of new industry in a particular area can be tied to the existence or to the absence of fee-paying schools.
The noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, repeated something to-day, and I have never found myself so much in disagreement with someone who, but for the traditions of this House, I should call "my noble friend". But some of the things which he said—really! he is "off his eggs". I am sorry—I do not think that is a Parliamentary expression, but it sums up what I think. He said, "Why are we doing away with existing fee-paying schools?" But of course we are not doing away with existing fee-paying schools; we are only doing away with fee-paying. The schools will be there; the teachers will be there, and the pupils will be there—we are not doing away with them.
501 Then the noble Lord went on to eulogise these schools and to say, following on the Biblical theme of the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, that these schools have existed since the day of John Knox. There are many things that existed in the time of John Knox that we have had to get rid of. Poor Law was there, even before John Knox, but it took us until well into the twentieth century to get rid of it; and I have never heard it put forward as an argument for the continuation of the Poor Law that because it was there when John Knox was alive there was something desirable about it. It may be that something which existed when John Knox was alive may still be good in the twentieth century. All I am suggesting is that the fact that something has been there for 400 years does not necessarily make it still appropriate in the twentieth century. On the other hand, I do not necessarily say that it must be inappropriate just because it has been there for 400 years. All I am saying is that what the noble Lord has put forward is not necessarily a reason for the course of action which he is advocating.
The noble Lord has asked me to do something which I will take up on some future occasion in the Library. It would he quite unfair to your Lordships if I were to venture, in this Committee stage, on a debate on a definition of comprehensive education that would satisfy the noble Lord. At this stage I will be content to leave it to the definition which has already been given by the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, and by the noble Baroness, Lady Horsbrugh. They both had things to say about comprehensive education in its existing form and the part which it has played in Scotland with which I do not wish to quarrel, and if, after reading what they have said, the noble Lord still wants further elucidation of my ideas on comprehensive education I shall be quite happy that we should spend an hour in the Library some afternoon when neither he nor I have anything better to do.
§ LORD STRATHCLYDE
I am grateful to the noble Lord for saying that and for undertaking to make me wise on the subject. But I would ask him whether he would he so good as to tell us why, if we are to have this comprehensive system, we cannot have the other system alongside it.
§ LORD HUGHES
I shall probably come on to that—and, incidentally, I did not undertake to make the noble Lord wiser: I undertook only to let him know what I thought about it. It depends on my ability to impart it to him and his ability to take it in, and it may well be that my ability to impart is even more deficient than his ability to take in. I do not give any guarantee one way or the other.
I thought that in introducing his Amendment, the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, in part at any rate, was a little unfair to the Government—not intentionally, because I do not think the noble Lord is ever intentionally unfair. But he quoted from the preamble to the Glasgow motion, and it is perfectly true, as he said, that the abolition of fee-paying in Glasgow was opposed by the head teachers of the fee-paying school. But what he did not say (because it was not in the memorandum; because the Glasgow people kept it out of the memorandum) was that the views of the headmasters of the non-fee-paying schools were totally different. There was no reference in the preamble to the views of the vast majority of schools in Glasgow. So that what is put forward as if it were an expression of educational opinion in Glasgow is in fact only a partial expression of educational opinion. The noble Lord misquoted nobody because he quoted only from what was there; but I am pointing out that not the whole story was there.
The noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, asked why selection at 18 was all right while selection at 12 was wrong. It would be impossible for anyone to say that selection at any age is right. All the Government are saying is that it is better to defer selection until the latest possible age. After a common course period of orientation it will be possible to make a more accurate assessment of which courses will suit which pupils, but it will be only a more accurate assessment: no one can ever guarantee that in every case it will be right. We have argued, therefore, that it is better to select at an age later than 12, rather than at 11 or 12. But the fact will remain that sometimes, as the noble Lord said, selection will still be difficult at 18.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
May I interrupt the noble Lord merely to say that 503 if this is the argument being put forward, the Government cannot also argue that the number of pupils who go into the fee-paying schools at 12 is too small? The Government have put forward the argument that they are too small a proportion.
§ LORD HUGHES
One of the advantages or disadvantages of an argument of this kind is that people can select points for or against their point of view. It does not necessarily follow that either the Opposition or the Government will be consistent in their argument, otherwise it would be difficult for the noble Lord to get his English colleagues to follow him into the Division Lobby, because they will be seeking to do something for Scotland that they do not do for themselves.
The noble Lord asked me not to say that what was good for England was necessarily good for Scotland. He will be glad to hear that I have no intention of saying that. It is not because fee-paying is abolished in England that we want it abolished in Scotland. What we say is that what has been proved to be good for the majority in Scotland should not be denied to the minority in Scotland. The noble Lord has not put forward an Amendment to enable fee-paying throughout Scotland. He is seeking only to stop the clock at a particular point. This is not an Amendment to make it possible to have fee-paying throughout Scotland; effectively, the Amendment is intended to cover three fee-paying and selective secondary schools in Edinburgh and five similar schools in Glasgow. It does not seem to me that there is any argument on principle: Other people do not have it; but the Amendment does not let it go any further; they will have it; nobody else is going to have it extended to them, but these are not going to have it taken away.
I cannot see very much principle at stake in an Amendment of this kind. If fee-paying and selection have the many qualities attributed to them by noble Lords opposite and by their friends in another place, it seems odd that they should only seek to allow the authorities which charged fees in 1968 to continue to do so. I am not sure whether noble Lords opposite think that fee-paying and selection are wrong in some parts of Scotland and right in others. In our 504 view, they are wrong in all parts of the public system of education in Scotland. I could understand it if the point of view were being put forward that it is right to have it in all parts of the public system of education in Scotland, but that is not what we are being asked to do. At least the Government's view is consistent in that they are seeking to do away with fee-paying throughout and putting Glasgow and Edinburgh on the same basis as the others. I accept that noble Lords may think that that is the wrong thing to do, but I cannot see why they should only think it wrong in this limited context.
I explained during Second Reading that our reason for abolishing fee-paying was to further equality of educational opportunity and to make it possible for the fee-paying selective schools to be included within a comprehensive system. One doubt about the abolition of fee-paying and selective schools is the fear expressed by some noble Lords about what happens to able pupils in comprehensive schools. If it could be demonstrated that they would suffer, this would be a serious argument against comprehensive education. I do not know what noble Lords think is happening to very able pupils at present in areas where there are no fee-paying and selective schools, but I am assured that the results of research on comprehensive education do not suggest that able pupils are penalised. After all, some of the schools which are not fee-paying now but were formerly fee-paying are still ranking amongst the schools with the highest reputation in Scotland, a clear indication that it is not the continuation of fee-paying which is necessary to maintain their standards.
It is difficult to accept the view that the abolition of fee-paying and selective schools in Edinburgh and Glasgow is going to cause the dire consequences predicted by the Opposition in another place. Let us consider some simple facts. The number of 15-year olds remaining at education authority schools after the compulsory leaving age, expressed in terms of percentage of the equivalent 13-year old school age group, has risen from 31.6 per cent. in 1963 to 47.6 per cent. in 1968. The number of 16-year olds remaining at education authority schools, expressed in terms of a percentage of the equivalent 13-year old age group, has risen from 17.6 per cent. 505 in 1963 to 25.7 per cent. in 1968. In 1963, the number of presentations from these schools on the Ordinary grade in the Scottish Certificate of Education was 166,925; by 1968 the figure had risen to 215,998. In 1963, the number of presentations from schools on the Higher grade in the Scottish Certificate of Education was 50,774; by 1968 it was 83,285. In 1963, the number of pupils leaving schools with five or more Higher grade passes was 2,060; in 1968 the number had more than doubled to 4,600.
All these figures are encouraging, and they can be taken as evidence in a very broad sense—I put it no higher than that—in support of the view that the elimination of a system of almost permanent selection at 12 is having an overall beneficial effect on schools in Scotland. That is the answer which I would give to the noble Lord, Lord Somers, about the need for fee-paying schools in order to encourage the child with ability.
May I turn to some of the more detailed arguments against selection. Ability is not genetically fixed for all time, but it can be modified by the nature and the quality of the environment. Equality of opportunity means that all pupils, and not merely a selected few, should have a chance of being influenced by the same environment and the same motivation. Interim assessments of ability at the age of 12 are unreliable. For example, in the past a number of Scottish pupils who were not originally allocated to certificate courses subsequently passed on the Ordinary and even the Higher grade of the Scottish Certificate of Education.
With regard to the argument of the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, about the late developing 18-year old, it may interest him to know how the comprehensive system has helped some of those pupils who under the old system would have been damned for all time at the age of 12. Doubts have been expressed about the concept of general ability, and it has even been suggested that there are only a number of specific abilities which. of course, may be combined in particular individuals. These doubts about the nature of general ability merely strengthen the arguments against a system of selection which is intended to assess it.
506 Finally, one of the most important arguments against selection is that pupils develop at different rates. It is important to ensure that late developers are not excluded from academic courses. This in turn makes it desirable to postpone differentiation. Indeed, one of the main objects of comprehensive education is to ensure that so far as possible the individual abilities and aptitudes of all pupils, not merely those who show clearly at an early age that they are bright, have a chance to reveal themselves in the right kind of environment. This is what the so called "common course" is about—it is a way of ensuring that all pupils have a chance to try themselves out in the same broad range of subjects to see where their real interests and aptitudes lie. But this does not mean that while the common course lasts all pupils will be doing the same work at the same pace, or will have their progress assessed on a common standard of attainment. Differences in ability in particular subjects will emerge, and in some cases fairly quickly: and the schools have the job of watching this situation as it develops and taking action to prevent loss of momentum or interest.
There is much misunderstanding about this, and I should like to re-emphasise the point that comprehensive education, far from disregarding ability and aptitude, aims to cater for these more adequately than was done in the past. I think that those who support the view that few schools should be concerned with the education of an élite must also face up to the fact that this theory of better education also implies one of worse education. There may well be some agitation in the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow for the preservation of fee-paying and selective schools, but I have never heard any plea for the preservation of junior secondary schools. That is the other side of the coin. I have never heard of any parents clamouring to pay fees to send their children to these schools.
I have spoken for much longer than I intended, but I doubt whether I have spoken for as long as all those put together who have spoken about fee-paying. But I want to make it perfectly clear that I do not for one moment believe that I have persuaded a single noble Lord opposite who came into the Chamber determined to vote for the retention of 507 fee-paying, to change his mind. I think this is a subject on which probably all of us have our minds so firmly made up that it is exceedingly doubtful whether anything said in your Lordships' House on this subject serves any useful purpose other than to get the conflicting views set down on paper for other people to read in due course.
§ LORD STRATHCLYDE
Before the noble Lord sits down, may I ask him a question? I said at the opening of my remarks that I did not understand why fee-paying schools were being done away with. The noble Lord said in reply that they were not doing away with them: what they were doing away with was the payment of fees. The noble Lord said that these schools will still continue. But how are they going to continue? Are they going to continue merely as district schools, and not be permitted to serve a much wider area, as they do to-day?
§ LORD HUGHES
For a limited time at any rate they will be permitted to serve as wide an area as they do to-day if an Amendment which I have down later is accepted. But I come back to the point which I made earlier, which was for the benefit of the noble Lord as well as others, that schools such as the Glasgow and Edinburgh schools of which we are talking exist in other parts of the country. They have been non-fee-paying schools now for many years without their standards diminishing in the slightest. One calls to mind the Morgan Academy in Dundee, the Harris Academy in Dundee, schools in Fife and in other parts of the country where the fee-paying element was abolished but the high grade of the schools has remained unchanged.
§ 5.34 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
I do not know whether it will mollify the noble Lord if I tell him that I have been waiting to hear what he said first; he complained that nobody else would. I hope that his last remark is not true, that the only point in coming here to speak in your Lordships' House is to have conflicting points of view reported on paper though without persuading anybody.
§ LORD HUGHES
I should like to make it clear that I am not stating that as a general principle, because I hope 508 to be a little successful a little later on in the afternoon. I was stating it on this particular subject of fee-paying in schools, and I confine it to that subject.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
I know that the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, is one of the most reasonable of men, and I also know that it is particularly difficult for him to be reasonable on this particular question because of the rigid attitudes which have been taken up in another place.
But I would just put it to your Lordships that the Scottish Labour Party has not always been in favour of this educational principle. When I was a Minister at the Scottish Office, we proposed in about 1937 or 1938 to diminish the independence in certain ways of a school called the Madras College in Fife, in St. Andrews. That school happens to be at the moment the only fee-paying school which is left in Fife, and it will soon cease to be one because Fife is one of the authorities that has decided to abolish fee-paying schools. But at that time it had more autonomy, and our strongest opponent was the leader of the Scottish Labour Party in the House of Commons, the late Tom Johnston. He was vigorous against us, because he took the view, quite strongly, that if you are going to change things you ought to improve them in an upward direction, and not make them worse in an effort to obtain equality or uniformity.
When he became Secretary of State for Scotland in 1943, the Town Council of Glasgow in that year passed by a large majority a resolution in favour of abolishing fee-paying; and this Tom Johnston, who was Secretary of State, refused to accept. He was doing exactly the opposite to what the Scottish Office is doing now in relation to Glasgow. And immediately after the war, when the Education (Scotland) Bill was brought in, and he was then Secretary of State for Scotland in a purely Labour Government, no longer in a Coalition, he again refused to interfere with the fee-paying schools of Scotland, partly because he did not want to inconvenience local authorities by giving them the difficult task of reorganising all their pupils, and 509 partly because he was in favour not only of equality of opportunity but also of quality of opportunity—whether it had an "e" before it or not, he recognised what was good and wanted to preserve what was good, whether it fitted in with a certain pattern of uniformity or not.
§ LORD HUGHES
Would the noble Earl permit me to intervene, before he departs from this part of his argument? In view of the fact that what is being urged on the Government is the acceptance of the democratic point of view expressed by the Glasgow Corporation, it is rather interesting to think that if Tom Johnston had been similarly impressed by the democratic point of view of the Glasgow Corporation some twenty or thirty years ago we should not be discussing this matter this afternoon.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
Exactly. Tom Johnston was so much in favour of preserving variety, which he thought was a good thing in education, that he did not accept the view at that time of the Glasgow Town Council, and I think he was right. But we do not believe that all of these schools which are going to have taken away from them the right to contain fee-paying pupils will necessarily continue to be exactly the same kind of school afterwards. Take a school like the Hillhead High School in Glasgow, which is in the residential area of Kelvinside; if that is made into a comprehensive school for the area, it may have the same good accommodation and, for a time, the same good teachers, but in the course of years it will cease to have children sent to it—nearly 1,000—from all over Glasgow, as it does now. Its pupils will be confined to the same area, which happens to be a residential one, so there will be less social variety among the children than there is now, and I do not believe that necessarily it will be so good.
§ Then one might take the Glasgow High School. My noble friend said that it existed at the time of John Knox. I think he was understating the matter; I think it has existed since the 11th century and is one of the oldest schools in Europe, and one of the best in Europe. I do not think that its high quality is altogether unrelated to its long history and its high traditions, which are now, I think, likely to be undermined by this Act. We are not asking the Government to do what Tom Johnston did; we are not asking them to prohibit those local authorities who say it is convenient for them to abolish fee paying from abolishing it; we are only asking them not to insist on their doing so against what I believe to be the better judgment of these local authorities in Edinburgh and Glasgow who say that to do this thing now will be inconvenient to their problems of staffing and school management, and that it will to some extent reduce the general quality of education. Because very often having a few very good, specially efficient schools with a high reputation, helps the general standard, whereas if you try to reduce everything to one pattern of dull uniformity you are apt to get a lower, instead of a higher, average standard.
§ The reason why I think we must insist on this Amendment is not only that the Government's purpose is unwise, but that it is wanton, it is unnecessary, it is mischievous and it is expensive; and although it affects only a small number of schools, I think it is one of the most retrograde steps that have been taken for some time in regard to Scottish education.
§ 5.42 p.m.
§ On Question, whether the said Amendment (No. 3) shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents 63; Not-Contents 36.511
|Albemarle, E.||Craigavon, V.||Dundonald, E.|
|Allerton, L.||Craigmyle, L.||Effingham, E.|
|Ampthill, L.||Cranbrook, E.||Emmet of Amberley, Bs.|
|Ashbourne, L.||Croft, L.||Erroll of Hale, L.|
|Bessborough, E.||Cromartie, E.||Fortescue, E.|
|Birdwood, L.||Daventry, V.||Gisborough, L.|
|Bridgeman, V.||Denham, L. [Teller.]||Goschen, V. [Teller.]|
|Burton, L.||Derwent, L.||Gray, L.|
|Colyton, L.||Drumalbyn, L.||Grenfell, L.|
|Conesford, L.||Dudley, L.||Gridley. L.|
|Cork and Orrery, E.||Dundee, E.||Grimston of Westbury, L.|
|Headfort, M.||Massereene and Ferrard, V.||Sandford, L.|
|Horsbrugh, Bs.||Merrivale, L.||Sandys, L.|
|Inglewood, L.||Morrison, L.||Selkirk, E.|
|Kilmany, L.||Mowbray and Stourton, L.||Sempill, Ly.|
|Latymer, L.||Newton, L.||Somers, L.|
|Lauderdale, E.||Nugent of Guildford, L.||Strange of Knokin, Bs.|
|Lothian, M.||Rankeillour, L.||Strathclyde, L.|
|MacAndrew, L||Redesdale, L.||Thurlow, L.|
|Mansfield, E.||St. Helens, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Margadale, L.||St. Oswald, L.||Wrottesley, L.|
|Addison, V.||Hughes, L.||Royle, L.|
|Blyton, L.||Jacques, L.||St. Davids, V.|
|Brockway, L.||Kennet, L.||Serota, Bs.|
|Burden, L.||Kirkwood, L.||Sorensen, L.|
|Crook, L.||Lindgren, L.||Stocks. Bs.|
|Delacourt-Smith, L.||Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, Bs. [Teller.]||Stonham, L.|
|Faringdon, L.||Stow Hill, L.|
|Garnsworthy, L.||McLeavy, L.||Taylor of Mansfield, L.|
|Geddes of Epsom, L.||Milner of Leeds, L.||Wade, L.|
|Greenway, L.||Mitchison, L.||Wells-Pestell, L.|
|Henderson, L.||Raglan, L.||Wilson of Langside, L.|
|Hill of Wivenhoe, L.||Ritchie-Calder, L.||Winterbottom, L.|
|Hilton of Upton, L. [Teller.]|
On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.
§ LORD HUGHES
I beg to move Amendment No. 4. This drafting amendment adds the words "or classes" to "schools or departments" to ensure that in future references to primary classes and secondary classes, which occur for example in educational provision schemes, will be read in the context of the new definitions of primary and secondary education.
Page 3, line 14, after ("departments") insert ("or classes").
§ 5.48 p.m.
§ LORD HUGHES moved Amendment No. 6:
Page 3, line 16, leave out subsection (3) and insert—
("(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 3 of the principal Act (as set out in subsection (1) above)—
Provided that the education authority shall not have power under this paragraph to charge fees in respect of education provided by them for any pupil if a contribution in respect of such provision is payable to them by another education authority.
In this subsection "outwith-area pupil" means, in relation to any education authority, a pupil who is not deemed to belong for the purposes of section 24 of the principal Act to the area of that authority.")
§ The noble Lord said: This Amendment substitutes a new subsection (3) for subsection (3) of Clause 1. It is a transitional provision. As the Bill stands—or rather as the Bill nearly stood—fee paying in primary and secondary schools will cease without any exception on August 1, 1970. If that becomes the case again, then we have to make some exception, because in session 1969–70 the only secondary fee-paying schools managed by education authorities will be eight in number—five in Glasgow and three in Edinburgh. In Glasgow there are this session about 680 pupils who travel to the fee-paying schools from outside the city and whose parents pay fees.513
§ This arrangement is entirely separate from the payments made by some education authorities for pupils sponsored by their "home" authority to attend schools in the city. The corresponding figure for pupils travelling to fee-paying schools in Edinburgh whose parents pay the fees is 90.
§ The parties interested in the educational future of these children after August 1, 1970, will be the authority hitherto providing education, the authority in whose area the pupil lives and the parents. The providing authority—Edinburgh or Glasgow—would, of course, have power to continue to provide education for pupils from other areas, but if this were to be done on a non fee-paying basis they might reasonably be reluctant to incur the expenditure involved. If the authority of the place of residence were willing to contribute to the cost by making an inter-authority payment, it would be possible for them to do so. But an authority in these circumstances might be unwilling to make such a payment on the grounds, again reasonable enough, that they already make available education for all the pupils in their area and there is no reason why they should be put to this additional expense for pupils whose parents have chosen not to take advantage of the facilities available in their area of residence.
§ It may well be that in many cases the authorities concerned will be able to reach agreement over the future educational responsibility for these children. The point was not raised as a problem arising from the abolition of fee-paying when consultation took place with the local authority associations. None the less, we think that in order to reduce the risk that the difficulties I have just described might lead to interruption of a pupil's secondary education, it is right to include a transitional provision reserving the power of authorities to charge fees for a limited period in certain well defined circumstances.
§ The effect of the Amendment is to allow an education authority to charge fees in respect of secondary school education after August 1, 1970, in respect of any pupil from outside the area concerned who attended school in the authority's area in 1969–70 as a fee-paying pupil and who is attending a 514 secondary school in the authority's area on October 1, 1970. The Amendment thus covers pupils in secondary education from 1970–71 onwards, including those whose last year of primary education was 1969–70. It does not include younger pupils in similar circumstances in primary schools in the year 1969–70. The parents of those outwith area pupils, and the respective authorities concerned, will have an opportunity in the year 1969–70 to discuss the arrangements that might be made for these pupils.
§ The date, October 1, 1970, is chosen for the purpose of defining the pupils in respect of whom authorities can continue to charge fees. The register of admission and withdrawal kept at the school under the School (Scotland) (Code) 1956 will be made up by that time, and any pupil who was in Primary VII or in a secondary class in the previous academic year will have had time to register his readmission to the school. This seems to us to be a reasonable temporary departure from the principle which we seek to obtain, because it is important that there ought not to be any interruption in the secondary education of the child, if this can be avoided. So we think it better that we should make these exceptional arrangements in this limited number of cases, rather than have the interruption which would otherwise arise. I beg to move.
§ 5.57 p.m.
LORD DRUMALBYN moved Amendment No. 7 as an Amendment to the Amendment:
Leave out paragraph (a).
§ The noble Lord said: I am grateful to the noble Lord for the Amendment which he has moved, except, of course, for the first part of it, and may I first say a word about it? Owing to the Amendment which we have just passed it would be virtually inoperative, since different circumstances now apply. I am therefore moving to leave out paragraph (a), and I hope the noble Lord will agree that it would be logical to accept it. The position then will be that we shall have this new paragraph (b), which was intended to temper the wind to the shorn lamb, although the wind has now ceased to glow for the time being. However, I suppose we must contemplate the possibility of the wind blowing again from a different direction and, that being so, we 515 are bound to discuss this clause, since, if we were not to do so and the other place changed the Bill back to what it was, the pupils might be deprived of the facility which the Government are prepared to provide for them.
§ I entirely agree that if fee-paying schools are to be abolished, then those outwith area pupils who are attending such schools should be able to complete their studies at their present schools, and, as I understand the Amendment, they can do so on two conditions. The first is if they continue to pay fees—and they will be able to continue to pay lees under the paragraph—and the second is if a contribution is made in respect of them by the education authority in whose area they live.
§ There is one minor question which I should like to ask here. It is conceivable that the education authority in whose area they live may say, "All right, we will pay the balance of the total cost of the education", because I imagine that if a contribution is to be paid it will not be a contribution equating to the fees; it will be a contribution representing the entire cost of the education of a pupil at a secondary school—say, £150 or £160. It may be, of course, that the education authority from which they come will say, "We will pay the balance"—that the parent can go on paying the fees and the education authority in the area where the child lives will pay the balance. But that is prevented under the clause as it is now drafted.
§ I merely draw attention to this in case the noble Lord may wish to consider whether this would not be a facility which it would be reasonable to provide. I know there are certain illogicalities in it, but one does not go by logic entirely in these matters, so I mention this as a possibility. So far as that is concerned, I am sure that my noble friends would be willing and indeed anxious to accept paragraph (b) of the Amendment which the noble Lord is proposing provided the noble Lord will agree to omit paragraph (a). I beg to move this Amendment to Amendment No. 6.
§ LORD HUGHES
I must make it quite clear that I think the purpose of Amendment No. 7 is quite wrong, but that is only because I think Amendment No. 3, which has been carried, is wrong. As 516 the noble Lord said, this Amendment would be strictly unnecessary in the Bill as it otherwise would be, but if we do not make it and another place, when they come to consider what your Lordships' Committee has done to this Bill, decide to adhere to their original decision, we should then be in the position that the attendance of these children from the outwith areas would come to an end in circumstances where we should not wish it to happen. I therefore accept what the noble Lord has said: that we should be a little illogical at this stage, in the knowledge that, one way or another, the Bill will finally appear in a form which is completely logical. So, while I think that leaving out paragraph (a) is not a good thing, it is at least consistent with the Bill as it stands that it should come out at this stage, and I certainly would not advise your Lordships to object to Amendment No. 7 at this stage.
§ Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 2 [Provision of museums by education authorities]:
§ LORD DRUMALBYN moved Amendment No. 8:
Page 4, line 23, at end insert—
("Provided that the governing body of the museum to whom an object has been transferred may at any time require the education authority which transferred it to resume that object if for any reason that object is not, in their opinion, required for retention in any collection in that musuem.")
The noble Lord said: This is a minor Amendment. We are here dealing with the provision of museums by education authorities. The point I had in mind was simply that subsection (1)(c) gives an education authority power
subject to subsection (3) … to transfer any object vested in them and comprised in any such collection to the governing body of a museum maintained by a person other than the education authority, for the purpose of being included …
Subsection (1)(d) gives power to the education authority to
give away or otherwise dispose of any object vested in them …
This power must not be exercised in a manner inconsistent with the trust or condition under which the object, which might be an object of art, a mechanical model or anything of the kind, is given to them in the first place.
§ It seemed to me, then, that if an object were transferred to another museum, that museum might be prevented from disposing of it, should it no longer be required, if there was a condition to that effect in the trust, the deed of gift or in whatever form it was given to the education authority in the first place. So it seemed to me that the right course would be for that other museum, being unable to dispose of it, to return it to the education authority. It would seem to me to be wrong for an education authority to off-load an object it did not want on to another museum if it meant imposing on that museum an obligation to keep it for ever, unless, of course, that other museum was prepared to accept that obligation from the start.
§ I agree that if the museum had notice of the trust or condition—and this is always essential in trusts or conditions—it would be open to it to refuse to accept the object, but it might be desirable for the object to be exhibited in another museum rather than being stored away. There should therefore be provision for it to be transferred, subject to the condition that it must be returned to the education authority if it is no longer required. It is this point of the notice of trust or condition on which the object is given to the education authority that I would ask the noble Lord to look at particularly. I beg to move.
§ LORD HUGHES
While I am to advise the noble Lord not to proceed with this Amendment, I think I can satisfy him that his point will be made. Obviously, it would be wrong for an education authority to be able to compel a museum to accept something which might turn out to be an absolute liability to it a few years ahead or many years ahead, and for that museum to be unable to divest itself of that liability. But it would be equally wrong for a museum willingly to accept such an object and then, when it found these years later that it was an intolerable liability, to be able to thrust it back to the education authority which had the wisdom to get rid of it in the first place. The essence, therefore is that these 518 things should be done only by agreement. The Bill does not give power to an education authority to compel any museum to accept any such object. The transfer, therefore, can be made only with the agreement of the museum to which it is transferred. The conditions of transfer would be negotiated between the authority and the receiving museum, and these could cover the period of the transfer, if it was to be limited, or the conditions, if any, under which it would be returned to the authority.
It would seem to me fairly obvious that if it was some very bulky object the interest of which might have completely disappeared at some time in the future the museum would accept it only under a condition that it would have the right to return it at some time in the future if it no longer wished to have it. Obviously, if the education authority were not prepared to part with it under these conditions then it would have to hang on to it, because the museum would then not have it. If, on the other hand, the receiving museum agreed to accept the object in perpetuity and the ownership was vested in it, there is no reason why, if it turns out in the course of years to have made a mistake, it should have a one-sided right to opt out of its bargain. I would not imagine that it would be impossible, even in these circumstances, for a museum and an education authority to do a deal; but, again, it would have to be voluntary.
If, in good faith, a museum decided to take a thing for all time and then found that, for instance, it was going to frustrate the museum in carrying out its activities in a way which would perhaps be in the best interests of the education authority, the education authority might in those circumstances be willing to re-accept the burden although it was under no legal obligation to do so. The desirable thing is that in the beginning the agreement should be made in a way which the museum thinks is going to be in its long-term interests, and if it is not in its long-term interests then it ought not to be so foolish as to make an agreement. I hope that with that explanation the noble. Lord will feel that only the most foolish, of museum authorities, if there is such a body of people—and I doubt it—are ever going to find themselves in any difficulty with the Bill as it stands.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
I am grateful for that explanation. I see that the noble Lord the Lord Advocate is here. He will be able to tell us all the legal aspects of this matter. I imagine that in extreme cases one could apply to the courts for alteration of the trust or condition. The point that I have in mind—and I could have drafted the Amendment more simply—is that it will be equally easy to achieve this purpose under subsection 3(a), which reads:that object shall, on being transferred under subsection (1)(c) above, be subject to the like trust or condition in the hands of the transferee"—provided that the transferee has notice of the trust or condition. Otherwise, it seems to me that we shall get into a muddle. I commend this point to the noble Lord and I should be grateful if he would look at it. I know he will consider it. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 2 agreed to.
§ Clauses 3 to 5 agreed to:
§ Clause 6 [Power of education authorities to make payments to persons providing education, etc.]:
LORD DRUMALBYN moved Amendment No. 9:
Page 7, line 14, after ("representation") insert ("or additional representation").
§ The noble Lord said: This Amendment also concerns a small point, but it may be important. We are here considering the case where an education authority negotiates with the managers of schools and an agreement is reached that a certain number of places will be available in that school to the education authority and that the education authority will pay for those places. It is not unreasonable in those circumstances that the education authority should have representation on the governing body concerned—let us call it the managers' governing board. I recall one such case where the education authority has a representative on the governing body. But if such an arrangement as is contemplated in this clause were to be made, I doubt whether that representation would be considered sufficient. Therefore it seems to me reasonable that in such cases, the Secretary of State should be empowered, on the application of the managers of the 520 schools, to alter the trust deed or other instrument so as to provide for additional representation. This is the purpose of Amendments Nos. 9, 10 and 11. I beg to move No. 9.
§ LORD HUGHES
I think it is obviously right that an authority making increased payments to an educational establishment should be able, as a condition of the increase, to add to their representation on the governing body. But I am advised that this can already be achieved under the present drafting. On the other hand, I agree that the Amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, makes it abundantly clear that this is so. In the circumstances I am prepared to recommend that your Lordships accept the Amendment, and I am grateful to the noble Lord for proposing this useful change.
Page 7, line 20, after ("representation") insert ("or additional representation")—(Lord Drumalbyn.)
Page 7, line 26, after ("representation") insert ("or additional representation, as the case may be").—(Lord Drumalbyn.)
§ Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 6 and 7 agreed to.
§ Clause 8 [Power of Secretary of State to require education authority to fix a single school commencement or leaving date]:
§ 6.15 p.m.
LORD DRUMALBYN moved Amendment No. 12:
Page 8, line 16, leave out ("either of his own accord or").
§ The noble Lord said: This is an Amendent of rather more consequence. The proviso to be added to Section 33(1) of the 1962 Act empowers the Secretary of State to fix a single date for commencing school attendance and a single school leaving date, in place of the two 521 or more which are provided for in that section; and this proviso empowers him to do so for the area of any education authority. He is empowered to do so either on his own initiative or on the application of the education authority for the area.
§ To have a single commencing date would affect pupils and parents very seriously. It would mean that many children might be nearly six before they went to school. The advantage of two dates is that the date of birth can be spread throughout the year. With three dates in each term it spreads it even further. This is a matter that requires very careful consideration. By the same token, to have a single school leaving date is not—and I say this very strongly—purely an educational matter. It affects the supply of labour It makes it much more difficult to absorb school-leavers. I think there may be particular circumstances in a particular area which make it desirable to have a single date for commencing school attendance or for school leaving; although I am bound to say that I find it difficult to envisage any such circumstances. But in such circumstances it is surely for the education authority to make a case for it. It seems to me highly undesirable to give the Secretary of State the power to impose it, on his own initiative, in a particular area. It is quite different if the Secretary of State decides to impose it in general, or even to enable any local authority to introduce it without an approach to him or something of that kind. But if the Secretary of State decided that this should be imposed in general, I think there is no doubt that he should come to Parliament for such powers.
§ The same applies to his imposing it in any particular area if the education authority does not want it. I think it would be much wiser to leave out the power of the Secretary of State to do this of his own volition, and on his own initiative, area by area. If circumstances change so much, it seems to me that this is a sufficiently important matter to come back to Parliament and obtain power in a Bill. I do not like this idea of a Secretary of State taking these powers which I imagine he would be able to exercise without coming to Parliament at all. I may be wrong; but it looks to me from 522 the way the clause is drafted as if that is the intention. I think that that would be wholly wrong. I beg to move.
§ LORD HUGHES
The effect of the Amendment which the noble Lord has moved would be to prevent the Secretary of State from taking the initiative in fixing a single commencing or single leaving date for any authority. I think it would be convenient if we considered the commencing and leaving dates separately, because different problems arise. The Secretary of State has no intention of imposing a single commencing date on every education authority in Scotland. We know, however, that some authorities will wish to have a single commencing date when this becomes legally permissible. Peebles and Glasgow, to take one of the smallest and also the largest of our authorities, are both interested in the possibility and any proposals they make will have to be considered very carefully on their merits.
In matters like this one must look to the future. If the Secretary of State's powers were limited to approving or disapproving proposals made by education authorities, and if, in the future—a future in which, we hope, pre-school education will be more widely available than it has been—the majority of education authorities decide, with the Secretary of State's approval, to avail themselves of the organisational and perhaps educational advantages offered by a single commencing date, parents in the areas of other authorities would be unable to appeal effectively to the Secretary of State to overrule what might seem to them an unjustifiable refusal by the education authority, despite the wishes of parents and perhaps also of teachers, to introduce a single commencing date. I can say that no representations against the proposed assumption of this power by the Secretary of State have been received from education authorities or teachers' associations—or indeed from parents, although there was opposition among parents to Glasgow's proposal to introduce a single commencing date.
A single leaving date, on the other hand, raises different issues altogether. Again, there is at present no intention that the Secretary of State should impose such an arrangement on all authorities, as indeed my right honourable friend made 523 clear on Second Reading in another place. But here again one must look to the future. Some time after the school-leaving age has been raised it may well be accepted as desirable that there should be a move to one leaving date, which would ensure that all pupils finished the school year and the courses on which they had embarked.
If a single school-leaving date is to be introduced in Scotland on any significant scale, there is a case—a stronger case, in fact, than the corresponding case for school commencing dates—for saying that it should be introduced uniformly throughout the country. The educational case for a single leaving date—courses "rounded off" more fully and a closer dovetailing with courses for further education—is essentially a case for taking this step for Scotland as a whole; and for that reason it is desirable that the Secretary of State should have power to require any authority to fix a single leaving date. Also, it could be argued that the introduction of a single leaving date in piecemeal fashion, at the instance of particular authorities, would lead in certain cases to injustice and anomalies as regards access to employment opportunities for school-leavers in different areas. On the other hand, it should at least be open to authorities to seek approval where they considered they had a good case for introducing a single leaving date.
When the possibility of legislation in this sense was discussed with the associations of local authorities and of teachers none of them raised any objection to the proposal that both the Secretary of State and the education authorities should have the power to take the initiative on commencing and leaving dates. Nor have they raised any objections since the Bill was introduced. The Scottish Trades Union Congress, who were consulted separately, also raised no objection.
It seems to me, therefore, that the position is this: that normally these single dates would commence on the initiative of local authorities, and it might well be that the Secretary of State would give approval to this happening in such authorities as sought it. But there might come a point at which the best interests of education in Scotland required that the initiative should be taken by the Secretary 524 of State to apply it to Scotland as a whole. It may be that this will not arise for a very long time. It is impossible to forecast, because at this stage there is no great evidence of any desire on the part of many authorities to have either a single commencing date or a single leaving date. The situation might change very slowly or it might change very quickly; but one thing I can assure your Lordships is that it is exceedingly unlikely that any Secretary of State would wish to move in this matter in advance of what proved to be the opinion of the majority of authorities in Scotland; and he would in fact seek to move only where it was quite obvious that the advantage for the pupils was in favour of his taking the initiative.
It is tempting to accept the advice which the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, has put forward: that if this situation should arise the Secretary of State should come to Parliament and seek another Bill. Unfortunately, as we know only too well, in these matters it so often happens that when the case for legislation becomes abundantly clear the place in the Parliamentary timetable for the legislation is not nearly so obvious; and that instead of doing it when it is necessary one does it one, two, three, four or five years after the time when one would have wished to do it. This is essentially a matter where no Secretary of State could abuse the power which this Bill would give to him—and I say that irrespective of Party. The local authorities and the teaching organisations have raised no objection to these proposals and they do not feel that there is any danger of arbitrary or unjust action being taken either by the present Secretary of State or by any future Secretary of State. I hope, therefore, that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his Amendment.
§ 6.27 p.m.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hughes—as I am sure we all are—for his explanation of this matter. I find myself in some difficulty about this because, frankly, I cannot recall ever having seen a provision of this magnitude left entirely to the discretion of the Secretary of State without any requirement for prior consultation with education, industry, local authorities or anyone else. I find this very remarkable. However, it seems that another place has been quite content to 525 leave it as it is; and I think that we are bound to concede that the Secretary of State is likely to carry out these consultations—he would be exceedingly foolish if he did not do so. All the same, it is the sort of thing that Parliament likes to have in legislation, just to make certain that it is done.
If the noble Lord will think of this to see whether, from the point of view of the initiative of the Secretary of State, words could be put into this clause requiring such consultation, I think we should be happy. But if the noble Lord feels that this is something which could be left to the Secretary of State in the end without such consultation, I am sure that we would be prepared to take the risk—let me put it that way—and agree that the Secretary of State would be likely to carry out the requisite consultation.
Before we agree to this, I should like to get from the noble Lord the very fullest assurance that consultation will take place in every case where the Secretary of State proposes to act on his own initiative, with an individual authority or with whoever it may be—employers, trade unions, industry as a whole—in individual cases or on a national scale. I think it very important that this should be done both in the case of the school leaving age, which is a matter concerning a very wide range of interests, and in the matter of the commencing age, which concerns parents and children and which, as the noble Lord says, is very largely an organisational matter. I did not quite understand the distinction between an organisational matter and an educational matter. It seems to me that this is purely organisational. For some children you have to decide on which side of the balance they fall. I should have though that this was a purely organisational problem, and it is difficult to make out that it is an educational problem except in the context of organisation. However, I hope that the noble Lord will be able to give this assurance, though I would feel more confident still if he were to put it into the Bill at the next stage.
§ LORD HUGHES
I do not want to elaborate on organisational and educational needs. Let me put it this way. Organisation for the benefit of education is one thing, provided we do not twist education for the benefit of organisation. We think that educational advantages 526 must take precedence over organisational advantages in matters of this kind. The noble Lord said that the Secretary of State would be foolish if he embarked on something of this kind without the fullest consultation. With this remark I am in complete agreement. I will go further and say that I know perfectly well that the present Secretary of State will not embark on anything of that nature, because he is not a foolish Secretary of State. I regard it as inconceivable that any future Prime Minister would deliberately appoint a man who he believed would he a foolish Secretary of State, but I admit that Prime Ministers being no more infallible than other men, it may be that we could land with a foolish Secretary of State. Therefore, I undertake that we shall look at the question to see, without prejudice to the powers, whether anything can be inserted at the next stage. I do not think that the next stage may be very far away, so I will do this quickly and consult with the noble Lord as speedily as possible.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 8 agreed to.
§ Clause 9 agreed to.
§ Clause 10 [Handicapped children]:
§ 6.32 p.m.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN moved Amendment No. 13:
Page 11, line 14, at end insert:
("(6) An education authority may reimburse a parent for any expenses that he may reasonably have incurred in complying with an invitation issued under paragraph (a) or a notice served under paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this section.")
§ The noble Lord said: I apologise for taking up so much time, but some of these matters are of considerable importance. Here we turn to a totally different question, the treatment of handicapped children. Under this long clause, which brings in a number of new sections to replace sections in the 1962 Act, a duty is placed upon parents to submit children for both medical and psychological examination. Under the present Act a parent has to submit a child only for medical examination. Under the clause, there is a duty on the education 527 authority first to invite the parent to do so, and if the parent fails to do so, then the authority has the duty to serve a notice on him requiring him to do so.
§ Because the Bill provides for a psychological examination, it seems all the more necessary to ensure that an education authority has power to reimburse the parent for expenses he might reasonably have incurred in complying with an invitation or notice served to submit a child for examination. I do not know what the proceedings are, but I can conceive that a doctor could be sent out to conduct a medical examination on the spot even in remote parts of the country, or else the parent could submit the child to the local medical practitioner. I suspect that for a more complete medical examination, a child would have to be brought in to the clinic, and I am sure this would have to be done for a psychological examination. Where we are dealing with remote parts of the country, if parents have to bring children from, for example, the Islands or parts of the Highlands for medical and psychological examination, it is only right that provision should be made for them to be reimbursed. The Amendment would leave the education authority with discretion as to reimbursing the parent or not. That is normal in the case of providing free ambulances and so forth. I have no doubt that the Secretary of State could secure by administrative action that the parents should be reimbursed only in appropriate circumstances. I hope that the Amendment will commend itself to the Government. I beg to move.
§ LORD HUGHES
Although I cannot recommend that your Lordships accept these Amendments, I confess that I like the purpose behind them. In practice education authorities have for many years reimbursed parents who incurred substantial expenditure in presenting a child for ascertainment. It may be that authorities treat these expenses as expenditure incurred incidentally in the performance of their functions of ascertainment, but it is difficult to point to any specific authority for this, and the Government accept that there might be advantage in putting this practice on a more secure legal basis. The unfortunate thing is that these Amendments as they stand do not give us the right answer. This will not surprise the noble Lord, because no one 528 appreciates more than he does the difficulty of following up the consequentials of anything of this kind. If specific powers are spelt out in the new Sections 64 and 66, this would throw doubt on the authorities' powers to incur similar expenditure in the case of compulsory medical and dental inspections held under Sections 58 and 58A. In addition, these Amendments deal only with examinations held in connection with original ascertainments and the reviews of decisions that pupils require special education. Corresponding Amendments at page 19, line 6, and page 21, line 45, would be required to cover examinations in connection with the review of children ascertained as unsuitable for education and cases of young people who may benefit by local authority services after leaving a special school. This can be seen in the new Sections 66C and 66E.
In the Government's view, the best way of dealing with this general problem would probably be to make regulations under Section 91(1) of the Act of 1962, which empowers the Secretary of State to make regulations sanctioning the payment by an education authority of reasonable expenses which are incidental to the proper discharge of their duties. We have been looking at this but, unfortunately, at this stage I cannot say whether it is feasible to do so under the regulations as they stand. However, in asking the noble Lord not to press these Amendments, I would give the undertaking that if it does not prove to be feasible to make regulations to accomplish what he has in mind under Section 91(1) as it stands, the Government will table a suitable Amendment at the next stage to make possible the action which the noble Lord wishes.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
I am obliged to the noble Lord once again, and beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
LORD DRUMALBYN moved Amendment No. 15:
Page 13, line 35, leave out from ("case") to end of line 42.
§ The noble Lord said: This is a rather different point. Under subsection (4) of this new clause, if an education authority determine not to revoke a previous decision that a child requires special education, after having revised that decision 529 in accordance with the provisions of the clause, the authority are then obliged to give notice of their determination in accordance with subsection (5) of the clause. That subsection requires notice to be in writing and to be accompanied by and to include information about the parents' right to require the authority to state their reasons for their determination. As I read line 28, the education authority are not obliged to give notice of their determination if a parent had failed to respond to an invitation to submit a child for medical and psychological examination and had had to be required by notice to submit it.
§ This to me seems very arbitrary. Whether the parent has had to be required to submit the child for examination or not, there surely ought to be a right of appeal against the determination; and if there is, the parent surely has a right to be told about it. Equally, the parent has a right to be told of the outcome of the review on his own child. I may have completely misunderstood this paragraph, but as it is drafted it does not seem to me to be justifiable to distinguish in this way between the case where the parent submits his child voluntarily and the case where the parent is required to do it. I feel that the same rights ought to be vouchsafed to the parent in both cases. I beg to move.
§ LORD HUGHES
I think there is a certain amount of misunderstanding here. Under the Bill as it is drafted, the parent would have to be told of the result of the review only in those cases where the parent has himself requested the review under Section 66(1)(b), or where the child has had to be submitted for a fresh medical and psychological examination in connection with the review under Section 66(2)(a).
The effect of the Amendment would require a parent to have to be told of the result of every review that took place. The reasons why I cannot recommend the Amendment to your Lordships are these. In some cases the parent will not know that a review has taken place if he himself has not asked for it, or if he has not been involved by having to present his child for examination. To give a parent who does not know that a review has taken place written notice that his child's condition has not improved, and that special education is 530 still necessary, would, it seems to us, merely have the effect of causing the parent unnecessary distress. But in the circumstances where he has knowledge—where he has asked for a review, or the child has had to attend for examination, which the parent also knows—the parent will be told what the position is. But, as I have said, it seems to be inflicting unnecessary grief on a parent just to say: "We have had a review of your child's circumstances, and they have not improved."
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
I think the proposition which the noble Lord has put forward is arguable. I feel that some parents would be strong-minded enough to want to know the result of an irregular review, especially if they know that regular reviews are being carried out. I was not so much concerned with that, although I take the point the noble Lord has made. I should have thought that it was desirable to give information to the parent in every case. What I was particularly concerned about was to make certain that there was not a distinction between paragraph (a) and paragraph (b) in subsection (2). If the noble Lord will look at line 29, the parent is invited under paragraph (a) of subsection (2) to submit the child. Why not "also", or "was required under paragraph (b)", to submit the child for medical and psychological examination; or easier still just to say, "under subsection (2) above", and leave out both the invitation and the submission? That is the point with which I was mainly concerned. I do not understand the treatment of the parent in these two cases.
§ LORD HUGHES
I will certainly have a look at this point, but, as I understand it and have been informed, the position is that where the parent has requested the review, or where the child has had to be submitted for a fresh examination in connection with the review (and that need not be at the request of the parent) the parent will be informed. I have just been given a note which says that if the child has been required he must have first been invited. So I think the point which the noble Lord is seeking to prevent will not arise.
However, in the light of what he has said, I will discuss this with my advisers and find out whether there is anything which needs to be done. I want to make 531 it quite clear that we wish to withhold information from parents only in circumstances where it is more in their interests that this should be done. We want, in fact, to be certain in all the circumstances where a parent would wish to have the information that he will get it. This would certainly be the kind of case which we both have in mind, and I will try to make sure that that is what the Bill will do.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
I am grateful to the noble Lord. I gather that there is really no difference of intention here, but I would still query whether head (ii) covers the point that I have in mind. In the case that I have in mind, it is not on the invitation that the child has been submitted; it has been on the notice of requirement. I think this would be likely to be interpreted by many people in the way that I have interpreted it, and it would be better to get it clear.
§ LORD HUGHES
My final point before the noble Lord withdraws the Amendment would be that one of the unfortunate things about drafting is that what the legal meaning of particular words is, and the way in which the noble Lord and I as laymen would interpret them, is so frequently quite different. There is no doubt that we are in agreement as to what should be done, and if in due course I can assure him that the words in the Bill meet the point that he wishes to make, I am sure he will be as content as I am to leave them as they are
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ LORD HUGHES moved Amendment No. 16:
Page 16, line 31, at end insert—
("( ) if within the said period the parent requires them, under subsection (4) below, to issue to him a statement of the reasons for their decision in relation to the child, earlier than the expiry of the period of twenty-eight days from the date on which that statement was issued,").
§ The noble Lord said: Amendments Nos. 16, 17, 18 and 19 all cover the same point. The first Amendment extends the 28-day period for appeal by a parent 532 (against an authority's decision to issue a report to the local authority that the child is unsuitable for education) in the case where the parent has asked the education authority for a statement of reasons. The other three Amendments are consequential.
§ As drafted, the new Section 66B(3) in Clause 10 provides that where as a result of an original ascertainment or of the review of a child receiving special education the education authority decide that he is unsuitable for education and accordingly decide to report him to the local authority—so that his special needs can be suitably catered for in a care centre—the report must not be issued earlier than 28 days from the issue to the parents of the notice intimating the education authority's decision. Under Section 66B(4), the parents may appeal to the Secretary of State within the 28-day period, whether or not they have asked for and obtained from the education authority a statement of reasons for their decision.
§ While the 28-day period for appeal is in any event an improvement on the period of 21 days prescribed in the Act of 1962, we feel that an even longer period should be allowed where the parents have sought and obtained a statement of reasons. In such a case, particularly where the statement is not obtained till the 28-day period has almost expired, the parents may well wish and need an extension of the period, after obtaining the statement of reasons, in which to take advice and consider whether they should appeal to the Secretary of State. The Amendments accordingly allow them an extra 28 days in the circumstances to do this.
§ The Government's intention in Clause 10, and the Bill as a whole, is that parents should be able to participate to the fullest possible extent in decisions affecting the future of their children, and because of that underlying reason we think that this is a case where an additional 28 days is a reasonable thing to allow. I beg to move.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
I am sure that the whole House will agree that this is a very reasonable Amendment, and I strongly support it.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to,533
Page 16, line 32, leave out ("the said period") and insert ("either of the said periods").—(Lord Hughes.)
Page 16, line 41, leave out ("whether or not such a statement is so required").—(Lord Hughes.)
§ Amendment moved
§ Page 16, line 43, leave out from ("decision") to end of line 44 and insert—
- ("(a) where such a statement has been so required, within the period of twenty-eight days from the date on which that statement was issued,
- (b) where such a statement has not been so required, within the period of twenty-eight days from the date on which the said notice was served.
LORD DRUMALBYN rose to move Amendment No. 20:
Page 21, line 22, after ("provide") insert ("or secure the provision of")
§ LORD HUGHES
It may help the noble Lord if I intimate to him I am prepared to accept this Amendment.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
Perhaps for for the benefit of other Members of the Committee I might explain that the Amendment is designed to bring the wording of the Bill into line with Section 12 of the Social Work (Scotland) Act. I beg to move.
§ Clause 10, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 11 agreed to.
§ Clause 12 [Power of Secretary of State to make grants to education authorities and others]:
§ 6.53 p.m.
The noble Lord said: This Amendment is really consequential, somewhat indirectly, on Amendment No. 3. The Amendment restores words which are in the 1962 Act but not in this Bill. Section 75(3) of the 1962 Act gives the Secretary of State power to apply, in accordance with regulations made by him, such sums out of monies provided by Parliament as he thinks necessary to a number of purposes specified in Section 75(4). One is:
payment of sums by way of scholarships, bursaries and other allowances to persons attending courses of education
Now that we have restored the right to retain fee-paying schools, such bursaries and scholarships, as well as allowances, seem to be required because they are provided in fee-paying schools, and it is provided also in Section 11 that where the bursaries, scholarships or allowances are not less than the fees, the pupil is to to be deemed to be given free education, and so to be entitled to have books, writing materials, stationery, mathematical instruments, practice material and so on, provided free as well. I am not sure whether the words in my Amendment are necessary, but they are in the 1962 Act and I think we should know why they have been left out in the context especially of the provision that we have already made in the Bill by amending it. I hope the noble Lord will be able to tell us that. I beg to move.
§ LORD HUGHES
I can assure your Lordships that the Amendment is unnecessary, even if the Bill remains in the form in which it now stands. It is true that Section 75(4)(g) includes the words to which the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn referred, "scholarships, bursaries and other allowances". When we were rewriting Section 75 of the Act we took the opportunity of modernising and simplifying the terminology. In the first place, the term "scholarships" nowadays connotes competition, and I would mention that the scholarships are not paid by the Secretary of State. Secondly, the word "bursaries" is generally restricted to education authority awards. It is therefore appropriate to Section 49(1), but not to Section 75. "Allowances" on the other hand, is a generic term covering all these awards, and it is convenient to use the term in Section 75 535 since all awards from central funds tend to be called "allowances", to distinguish them from education authority "bursaries". The redefinition has nothing at all to do with the abolition or retention of the payment of fees, but is a recognition of the changed use that is being applied to these particular words, and it seemed reasonable to bring the section into line with the usage to which authorities, and everybody concerned with education, are putting these words nowadays.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
I am grateful for the explanation. I think this is something we shall all be glad to have. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 12 agreed to.
§ Clauses 13 to 15 agreed to.
§ Clause 16 [Age of retirement of teachers]:
LORD DRUMALBYN moved Amendment No. 22:
Page 25, line 30, at beginning insert ("it he attains the age of sixty-five years in the course of a school year, at the end of that year, and in any other case")
The noble Lord said: I will explain the point of this Amendment by reading the clause. Subsection (1) says:
(1) Except where his employer otherwise determines, every teacher to whom this section applies and who holds a post of special responsibility shall retire from that post
(a) on the date on which he attains the age of sixty-five years, or …
In place of this I am proposing to make the clause read that he shall retire from that post
if he attains the age of sixty-five years in the course of the school year, at the end of the year, and in any other case on the date on which he attains the age of sixty-five years.
This was intended to mean, and I hope does mean, that if he attains the age of sixty-five years during the summer holiday before the school year commences he will automatically retire then, except where the employer otherwise determines. So if he started to commence the school year he would carry through the school year and retire at the end of it. This seems to me to be sense. For one thing it is a truism that some people are old at fifty, while others retain their full
faculties until their eighties. Therefore any rigid retirement provision has to be looked at very carefully, and looked at in the interests not so much of the individual or his profession as in the interest of those whom the profession serves.
§ It can hardly be denied that retirement in the middle of the session—more particularly in the middle of a term—is disruptive of the work of a class or department. If the head of a department is also coaching pupils, say for their Highers, and has to give up his post of special responsibility in the middle of the session, he may well not want to carry on in a junior role and may retire from teaching entirely. It seems much more sensible, I should have thought, that the education authority should not employ him at all for the session in which he reaches sixty-five than that he should retire in the course of the school year, or not employ him in the post of responsibility in this case. If he retires at what might be described as a "natural break" in the school year, for example at Christmas, he will have to be replaced, and that will have repercussions on other schools from which a replacement, or a replacement for the teacher promoted to his post, is recruited.
§ At times when there is a shortage of teachers it seems rather absurd to have a rule of the kind there is in this clause. But the main point is that the pupils must come first, and it seems to me to be wrong to take any avoidable action which may disrupt their work during a school session. I have long felt that this was right, and I should dearly like to see this Amendment carried. I beg to move.
§ LORD HUGHES
I am in complete agreement with the noble Lord on this matter, but I cannot for the life of me understand why he is moving the Amendment. Obviously, there could be very considerable inconvenience to a school, and to the pupils, if a teacher in a post of special responsibility had to retire on his 65th birthday in the course of the school year. It might cause considerable hardship to pupils studying for examination; it could cause disruption to the school timetable, quite apart from any hardship to the teacher himself.
The subsection, however, does not require immediate retirement on the age of 65, because the opening words of the 537 subsection—this is why I do not understand why the noble Lord is moving this Amendment, because he has made it quite clear that he has read these words—areExcept where his employer otherwise determines".These words leave it open to employing authorities to arrange for retirals from posts of special responsibility on a date which suits the interests of all concerned. I should he most surprised, and equally disappointed, if I thought that local authorities were automatically retiring people on their 65th birthday without regard to the effect it had on these matters. It seems to me that in most cases what will happen is that the teacher will carry on to what is generally agreed to be a suitable date.
Nevertheless, the noble Lord may say, "Why then do we not put it in the Bill in this way?". The noble Lord has pointed out that not everybody ceases to possess his full faculties at the same age. We must also accept that not everybody remains equally acceptable for all time. There could well be circumstances where an authority did not wish to dismiss a teacher who was approaching the age of 65 but where it was in the interests of all concerned that he should not be allowed to stay in the school a day after his 65th birthday. It might well be that it was in the best interests of everybody, except the teacher concerned, that he should be got out of the school at the earliest opportunity.
If in fact we laid it down that such a person had to continue until the end of the session, there might be circumstances in which the local authority would then be forced into the rather unpleasant alternative of seeking to get rid of somebody when it became obvious that they were not going to be able to get rid of him, say, three or four months before the end of the session. In these matters, obviously, the local authorities are the ones best able to determine where the balance of advantage lies: getting a teacher to retire on his 65th birthday if they think that that is the most desirable course, or continuing his services until the end of the session. Either way, the Bill as it stands leaves the matter entirely in the hands of the local authority. They exercise their discretion to let him go or to let him stay; 538 and that, I submit, is the way it ought to be. I therefore invite the noble Lord to let well alone.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
I am not quite certain that it always has been well. From time to time I have met teachers who have told me that in the middle of the session they are leaving, and in circumstances where I had no reason to believe they were leaving under any kind of cloud whatsoever; and it seemed to me highly unsound. I hope that this situation has improved since the days when I was more closely associated with it. In view of what the noble Lord has said—and I must say I am much reassured by what he has said—I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
THE EARL OF SELKIRK
May I ask a question on the first line of this subsection, which says:Except where his employer otherwise determines"?May the employer determine on a date prior to the age of 65, or do those words refer only to an extension after 65? In other words, is the employer able to retire a man before he reaches the age of 65?
§ LORD HUGHES
He can be required to retire before the age of 65 only in certain circumstances. It would probably be as an alternative to dismissal. The man concerned would be allowed to retire on health grounds, and so on. But otherwise I do not think that the authority can require a man to retire below the age of 65 against his will.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 16 agreed to.
§ Clause 17 agreed to.
§ Clause 18 [Amendment of section 85 of Education (Scotland) Act 1962]:
§ On Question, Whether Clause 18 shall stand part of the Bill?
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
I had been intending to say something about this clause, but I have a feeling that in present circumstances, and at this late hour, it would be better to say nothing at all rather than to have a somewhat incomplete debate on what is a very thorny problem.
§ Clause 18 agreed to.539
§ Clause 19 [Schemes for reorganisation of educational endowments: procedure, appeal, making and effect]:
§ 7.7 p.m.
LORD DRUMALBYN moved Amendment No. 23:
Page 27, line 40, leave out ("one month") and insert ("sixty days").
The noble Lord said: I do not know that this Amendment concerns only a small point. It has to do with the handling of endowment schemes. Subsection (4) of the clause says:
If the Secretary of State frames a scheme under subsection (3) above, he shall as soon as practicable thereafter—
and so on. Then, in line 40, having framed the scheme, he shall cause to be published a notice:
stating that, unless not later than the expiry of the period of one month from the first publication of the scheme a petition or appeal is presented to the Court of Session in accordance with the following provisions of this section, the Secretary of State proposes by statutory instrument to make the scheme in the terms in which it has been published".
§ In most cases those affected will have had a chance to see this before, but even so, one month seems to me a very short time in which to prepare a petition to the Court of Session. This is always a highly technical matter. It will often involve getting a decision from the governors. They then have to obtain legal opinion, draft the proceedings and so forth. My noble friend Lord Selkirk will be able to say more about this matter, but I should have thought that in this particular connection one month is too short a period. After all, it takes such a very long time altogether to frame these endowment schemes that one month here or there really does not matter very much. In these circumstances, I should have thought it would be fairer to give a rather longer time in order that those who are concerned and want to present a petition or appeal to the Court of Session would have an adequate time to draft that petition or appeal and to lodge it. I beg to move.
§ LORD HUGHES
The effect of the first Amendment is to extend from one month to 60 days the period after the framing of a scheme for the reorganisa- 540 tion of an educational endowment by the Secretary of State during which a petition on the merits or an appeal against the legality of the scheme to the Court of Session, or a petition to the Secretary of State may be presented. The second Amendment makes an identical change in the period after the framing of a scheme by the Scottish Universities Committee of the Privy Council; in this case the period exists to allow only an appeal, and not a petition, to the Court of Session.
It may be for your Lordships' convienience if I begin by saying a word or two to clarify these rather complicated provisions in order to explain our opposition to these Amendments. The main purpose of the new Sections 125, 126 and 127 is to streamline and shorten the statutory procedures for schemes for the reorganisation of educational endowments. The present procedure is costly, cumbersome and time-consuming. Under the Act as it stands, a draft scheme is published and, thereafter, one month elapses during which any public bodies or persons interested may make written representation; thereafter, a framed scheme is published and there is a further month for objections and representations. Then, the Secretary of State confirms the scheme and one month must pass before it is presented to the Privy Council for approval. During this time, the governing body may petition the Court of Session for amendment of the scheme, or the governing body and persons having a vested interest in the scheme may appeal to the Court on questions of law, or the governing body, and certain other parties, may petition the Secretary of State to lay the scheme before Parliament.
In the new procedure, provided for in Clause 19, the second period of one month for public representation is eliminated. A draft scheme will be published; there will be a period of one month for the public to make representations; the scheme will then he framed and, in the following period of one month, the governing body will have an opportunity to petition the Court of Session, and the governing body and persons with a vested interest will be able to appeal to the Court of Session, or the governing body and the same parties, as are specified in the 1962 Act, may petition the Secretary of State to lay the scheme before Parliament. Thus, the public interest is still safeguarded and the period of one month, 541 during which petitions may be presented, is the same as in the 1962 Act.
The practice of allowing a period of one month for the formulation of petitions of this kind has been followed since 1945. At no time have we received any representation from a governing body or from any other source that this period is too short a time in which to prepare a petition, and to our knowledge no body with power to make such a petition has been inhibited from doing so because of the period of time involved. There is no evidence therefore of any hardship to any interested party in this connection.
Further, the purpose of the amending legislation is to shorten procedure since there is general agreement that present procedures are clumsy and excessively long. The extension of a one month period to 60 days therefore contradicts the main purpose of the clause. What the Bill does is to substitute two periods of one month in two phases for the present three periods of one month in three phases. What the Amendment would do would be to substitute two periods of two months, so that we would be allowing up to four months for what at the present time we are allowing three months.
§ LORD HUGHES
I apologise to the noble Lord; I thought the 60 days was in two periods. Anyway, this is a minor amendment of my remarks. It is keeping the period as it is at the present time by adding to one of the stages another 30 days where up to the present there has been no demand for that to be done. Everyone concerned has found that the period of one month has been quite satisfactory. In these circumstances, while generally I must admit that I incline to the view that we should give more rather than less time, and in the Amendment which I moved some time back, adding 28 days to the periods which parents might have in certain circumstances, I think it is shown that the Government are not trying to keep things down to the minimum. But in this case the purpose of the clause is to get things through more speedily and it does not seem to me that any useful purpose is served by giving people 60 days in which to take action when all the ex- 542 perience is that the present period of one month is perfectly adequate.
THE EARL OF SELKIRK
I do not quite follow the noble Lord. Does it mean that in the period of something like three months from the time that the trustees or the people concerned have in which to frame a petition there are three stages? I took it that the petition could be framed almost up to the time of its presentation to the Privy Council. I may be wrong about this. In about 1925 I was sitting on a Committee on the organisation of endowments, and I am slightly surprised that this has not been completed. I do not know whether it will be completed in the future, but I cannot believe that there are many more which require reorganisation.
§ LORD HUGHES
I cannot say what the position is. I know that when I was on an education authority it seemed to go with the most unconscionable slowness. We were constantly being told that our turn would probably come along either two years from now or three years from now.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
I really think it is absurd that we should be talking about streamlining the procedure when it takes such an unconscionable time to get these endowment schemes under way. From the point of view of the Scottish Office, no doubt this seems all right; people do not complain so long as they succeed in getting the thing done in the end. But it has required a lot of scrambling to get some of these things in—of that I am absolutely certain—and now that we have this little additional scope I should have thought one could have eased the burden and been given this extra time. I do not think it is too much to ask. There are many people involved. The governors (or whatever the body is) have to get together, discuss the matter with their lawyers, and they have to brief counsel—and all in 28 days. That seems to be a great deal for them to do in the time. These cases arise very rarely. There was the case of Madras College in my own time, which went to the Court of Session. Although they arise only rarely, these cases do take time. It is absurd to hasten it in this way when it has taken so long to get to that point.
§ LORD HUGHES
It is said that distance lends enchantment to the view and 543 it is some time now since the noble Lord was a Minister at the Scottish Office. He seems to have forgotten what I think is a principle which any man who is a Minister at the Scottish Office at any given time must know quite clearly; that is, that if nobody in Scotland represents against something at any time it means that they are satisfied with it. Our experience is that the slightest possible cause for discontent brings in hordes of representations, so that when I say that nobody has expressed any discontent with the period of one month it is the clearest possible evidence that the period of one month is adequate.
I agree that having regard to the time it takes to work through these proposals, the actual time that may be spent in between these stages may be the smallest part of it, but the fact is that it happens to be one of the parts which it is within our control to speed up. Sometimes, when everything has got to this stage, the most intolerable part of the annoyance is that you have to wait for lengthy periods which are quite unnecessary and people say, "Why on earth can we not proceed for another two months?" Even if there had been a minimum amount of representation that the month was inadequate, I should have been quite willing to say, "Very well then, if it only happens in one case the point is made". But it has not happened in any case. So why go out of our way to lengthen the procedure, even by a month, when it is unnecessary?
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
I deprecate the last three words, because I would say that that is not proven. However, I do not want to press this Amendment, and I beg leave to withdraw it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 19 agreed to.
§ Clauses 20 to 26 agreed to.
§ Clause 27 [Amendments and repeals]:
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
The Amendment No. 25 is consequential on the main Amendment we have already passed. I beg to move.
Page 35, line 14, leave out from beginning to ("Part") in line 15 and insert ("Paragraph 7(2) of").—(Lord Drumalbyn.)
LORD DRUMALBYN: I beg to move Amendment No. 26.
Page 35, line 24, leave out paragraph (a).—(Lord Drumalbyn.)
§ Clause 27, as amended, agreed to.
§ Remaining clauses agreed to.
§ Schedule 1 agreed to.
§ Schedule 2 [Minor and Consequential amendments]:
Page 38, line 44, leave out from beginning to end of line 5 on page 39.—(Lord Drumalbyn.)
§ LORD HUGHES moved Amendment No. 28:
Page 41, line 10, at end insert—
(". In section 49 (power of education authorities to assist persons to take advantage of educational facilities)—
§ The noble Lord said: The purpose of this Amendment is to remove from Section 49 of the 1962 Act references to "primary and secondary education". The Amendment is consequential on the introduction of the expression "school education" in Clause 1 of the Bill and is one of a series of Amendments made by Schedule 2 replacing the words "primary and secondary education" by the words "school education". The substitution is effected by paragraph (a). Paragraph (b) substitutes "Scotland" for "Great Britain". Since the expression "school education" is not used in England and Wales, the section would have been incorrect and inaccurate if it had referred to courses inside or outside Great Britain which are not comparable to school education in Great Britain. The change from "Great Britain" to "Scotland" means that the section now refers to "courses comparable to school education in Scotland" and so makes the section consistent with the remainder of the Act, 545 as amended by the Bill, without changing its meaning or effect. I beg to move.
§ LORD HUGHES
Amendment No. 29 is a minor drafting Amendment which tills a gap in the 1962 Act by providing a definition in common form of "enactment". I beg to move.
§ Amendment moved—
Page 45, line 2, at end insert—
("( ) after paragraph (19) there shall be inserted the following paragraph—
(19A) 'Enactment' includes an order, regulation, rule or other instrument having effect by virtue of an Act;";")—(Lord Hughes.)
§ Schedule 2, as amended, agreed to.
§ Schedule 3 [Enactments repealed]:
Page 48, leave out line 10.—(Lord Drumalbyn.)
§ Schedule 3, as amended, agreed to.
§ Remaining Schedule agreed to.
§ House resumed: Bill reported, with the Amendments.