Bill considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
Clauses 15 and 16 agreed to.
Clause 17 (Fees of children).
said, he rose to move an Amendment, that children should be "admitted free of payment." He did not expect much support for his proposal then—but he believed that before long the wisdom of it would be generally recognized, and it would be carried out. He assumed that education would in future be compulsory, especially in large towns; and what would be the effect of that if the clause under consideration were adopted? He did not think the Government could be at all aware of the number of children for whom free admission would be claimed. Some time ago the Birmingham Education Aid Society distributed free orders to all children whose parents, without being in the receipt of parish relief, had so small an income as to be below the condition of paupers in the workhouse. Six thousand orders were distributed within a few months; and it was ascertained that there were about 2,000 children whose parents were actually in the receipt of out-door relief, making a total of 8,000. Moreover, the society, on account of the limited character of its funds, did not issue as large a number of orders as a school Board would probably have done under similar circumstances; and he had reason to believe that, under a Board, 10,000 children, at least, would have been admitted free. Let the Committee take into consideration the enormous amount of labour and cost involved in the distribution of 10,000 orders, if there were the requisite care and discrimination. That, however, was not all. There were, no doubt, a large number of additional parents whose circumstances were precisely similar to those of the parents whose children were admitted free; and there must be a sense of injustice pervading the minds of such persons. In the State of New York the system of free admission and the system of school fees had been tried simultaneously; and the result was that in districts where parents had been called upon to pay a certain proportion of the cost of schooling, there had been great dissatisfaction; and that, after considerable inquiry on the subject, education had been made entirely free. A great deal had been said about the magnificent results which had attended the working of the educational system of Prussia, where the parents paid school fees. The amount of the school-pence in Prussia was extremely small, varying from 1s. 6d. per annum in the agricultural districts to 5s. in the towns. There had been an agitation going on in Prussia for some time for the remission even of that small payment. In a pamphlet published by Professor Geist, of Berlin, who was very well acquainted with the whole subject, it was stated that the sum paid by the parents of the children in the parish schools was about one-third of the whole cost, which was the same proportion as that in England; and it was further remarked that in Berlin 40 per cent of the school-pence was already remitted by the school authorities. It appeared that 13 persons were employed in Berlin in issuing about 30,000 orders for free admission; and that the expense of collecting the 60 per cent of school-fees amounted to one-seventh of the whole sum applied for education. The consequence was that a Commission was appointed to consider the whole question, and it came to a unanimous conclusion that it was advisable entirely to abolish the system of fees. In France some schools were entirely free—but generally school fees were charged to those children whose parents were supposed able to pay them. Some years ago the Minister of Public Instruction was instructed to make inquiries on the subject; and in the report which he presented to the Emperor he met the same arguments as had been urged lately in this country against free education. It having been argued that, if schooling were free, parents would not value it—he said that in France experience had proved the reverse of that, and that it had been found that in schools where education was free the attendance was better than in other schools. The present system in this; country was based on no principle whatever. They had heard a great deal about the opposition of free schools to the principle of parental responsibility; and they had also heard it continually remarked that if parents did not pay for the schooling of their children they would not care for it. But what was the present state of things? The schooling of children was believed to cost about 6d. per head per week; but parents were only required to pay one-third of the cost; and therefore the principle of parental responsibility, which had been so much dwelt upon, was not carried out—and it could not be, unless parents paid the en- tire cost of education. What weighed with parents in that matter was not so much the school-pence as the question of the loss of the wages or earnings of their children. If education were free, the poorer classes would no longer be the recipients of the charity of the rich, as regarded education. A great parade had been made during the last twelve months of the fact that the wealthy in this country paid £500,000 a year to assist the education of the poor. But what did that mean? It meant that there were no children in this country who were educated as free citizens of the State—that in that respect the children of the working-classes were the object of the charity of their neighbours, and that they were trained in early life to look upon charity as a matter of course.
Amendment proposed, in page 6, line 12, to leave out from the word "shall" to the end of the Clause, in order to insert the words "be admitted free of payment."—( Mr. Dixon.)
said, the object which the hon. Member (Mr. Dixon) professed to have in view was that those who were stricken by poverty should not be the recipients of the charity of the rich. Well, but the effect of the Amendment, if carried, would be that not only the children of those afflicted with poverty, but all the other children—the children of affluent parents who resorted to these schools, would be the recipients of aid out of the rates. The first effect of this would be that the rates, which pressed heavily on the poor, would immediately be trebled. He was rather inclined to congratulate the hon. Member on his recent conversion. Until now it had been supposed that they (the Opposition) alone were trying to favour the denominational schools; but, if this Amendment were carried, which school, he should like to ask, would be the most popular in a parish?—the school whose expenses were partly covered by grants and partly by subscriptions from the rich and in small part only by school fees; or the school, half the expense of which was to be met by a Parliamentary Grant and the other half to be paid out of the rates? He had spoken to working men on this subject, and he was convinced that the proposal of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) was one which would not be acceptable to the working classes throughout the country. They were sensible enough to value their independence, and would be ashamed to be paid out of the rates for the performance of their paternal duties. The Bill as it stood proposed to give the local Boards power to remit the school fees in the case of children whose parents were stricken with poverty; and those who were not too poor to pay the school fees did not like to have those fees paid for them. The working man already saw that the one thing necessary for his children and for their advancement in life was education; but to give education gratuitously would only degrade the education so given in the estimation of the parents.
said, he would support the Amendment, because where there was plenty of school accommodation it was impossible to secure the attendance of children without compulsion, and he did not see how you could compel attendance if fees were to be paid. Mr. Cobden was an advocate of free secular education. He believed, if all the poor and neglected children were gathered into the schools, the better class of artizans would send their children to the voluntary schools, and pay for them rather than have them brought up with the poorer children. He should have no hesitation in voting for the proposition of his hon. Friend; but he was strongly in favour of compulsion.
said, he was sorry his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not been present during the able speech of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon)—he certainly would have been delighted to learn what he ought to do with the overflowing resources of the State—and that there were people in the kingdom who did not know what to do with their money. He (Mr. W. E. Forster) could not understand the grounds upon which the hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. E. Potter) who, he had supposed was not in favour of denominational teaching in voluntary schools, supported the Motion, seeing that his argument was that the rate-supported schools would be filled by the children of the poorest of the population, and that the better class of artizans would pay for the education of their children at the voluntary schools. There was a fallacy under- lying the argument of his hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, when he stated that if the education was paid for out of the taxes, the parents would still pay the whole cost of the education of their children. In this matter they ought strictly to abide by facts; and he was convinced that when they had taken into account the whole sum to which working men would be liable under an education rate it would be found that they contributed a very small proportion indeed of the cost of the education of their children. He did not complain of this; but he thought the House should understand the facts. One word as to the principle upon which the Government had made the proposition as it stood. The opinion of the Government was that it would be a very dangerous thing for them to begin, at any rate, by establishing the principle that they took upon themselves, as the State, the burden of the education of the children of any portion of the population. If they were broadly to lay down the principle that the State ought to pay the cost of the education, they would, in effect, say to the great body of parents throughout the country—"We think it our business rather than yours to educate your children;" and he did not think they would be serving the cause of education by allowing such a belief to be spread abroad. If the State undertook such a task the cost would be enormous. Nor would it be confined to primary education; secondary education must also be provided free. Looking to the history of other countries, he did not think the facts bore out his hon. Friend; he could not, therefore, adopt his Amendment.
said, he did not think the question had yet been placed on the right ground. The first duty of every parent was to see that his child had a proper education, and to contribute, as far as his means would allow, towards the cost of such education. It struck him forcibly that this was only another blow aimed at the existence of denominational schools. ["No, no!"] That was his impression. For what was proposed? It was that every child attending a rate-supported school should pay nothing, while the children attending the denominational schools would have to pay the school-pence. The denominational schools would consequently be deserted. He was glad to be able to infer from the remarks of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) that he would support the proposition in favour of throwing the burden of educating the children of the country on the Imperial Exchequer instead of upon the local rates; and he would only further say that if the hon. Member would use his influence to get the League's £50,000 expended in building 50 elementary schools in large towns he would be doing more service than by preventing the passing of this Bill.
said, he believed the proposal of the hon. Member (Mr. Dixon) would raise the standard of education and he was sure that none who had stood in an American free school and noticed how the children of all classes mingled in them would speak of the system with disrespect. As for the cost, there was not the least need to trouble the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the ratepayers, when the country could command the hundreds of thousands of pounds which swelled the revenues of our great Universities. The yearly revenue of Oxford was £300,000; of Cambridge he could not speak so precisely; and, besides this, the country had various charitable endowments at its disposal, and another large fund which in the hands of the Church was not fulfilling the wants and wishes of the people.
said, the hon. Member's (Mr. Auberon Herbert's) statement as to the manner in which children of different social stations attended the free schools of America did not agree with the reports of other hon. Members; the opinion had been expressed more than once that the well-to-do labouring classes would not send their children to the free schools. His own belief, and that of the majority of school managers in England was, that parents slighted education that was perfectly free, but learned to value and take an interest in the instruction of their children, when some small payment was demanded from them.
said, the proposal of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) would cast the expense of educating the children of the poorer classes upon those who chose to bear the expense of educating their own children. Many a parent in the middle class had to struggle hard—to pinch and deny him- self, in order to provide education for his children. The double burden would fall also upon all those of the labouring class who preferred to send their children to schools where fees were paid in preference to free schools. This would create a feeling of injustice, and on that account he was obliged to vote against the Amendment. In countries where education was free, all the schools were on the same footing. As a Member of the Duke of Newcastle's Commission, he might state that the whole of the evidence produced before the Commission upon the subject of free schools went to show that they were the worst possible schools—that parents who had to pay something for the education of their children valued the instruction thus given much more, and that by casting education down before the people as an alms, they would degrade rather than elevate it in their eyes.
Question put, "That the words 'pay such weekly fee as may be prescribed by the School Board' stand part of the Clause."
The Committee divided:—Ayes 257; Noes 32: Majority 225.
said, he rose to move another Amendment, the effect of which would be to limit the power of the school Boards in one direction and greatly to widen it in another. He now proposed to omit the words which allowed school Boards to remit the school fees if, in their opinion, the parents of the children were unable to pay; and he should afterwards propose to omit the power of the school Boards to establish entirely free schools. The reason for his Amendment was obvious; he thought that the conditions attaching to the granting of free tickets tended to affix the stigma of pauperism, and that this, together with the right of the Boards to establish free schools, would not only tend to demoralize the parents, but would react upon school Boards themselves and lower them to the level of a second Board of Guardians—a position which would seriously interfere with the efficiency of the school Boards and the advantages they might otherwise confer on the country. The principle of the Bill was that they should give large discretionary powers to the school Boards. He had objected from the first to the giving of that power; but as it had now been affirmed by the House, the best thing they could do was to make it as good and as consistent with the other principles of the Bill as possible. He thought, therefore, it would be better that all school Boards should be left free to consider the circumstances of their respective districts and the peculiar feelings of the inhabitants. He thought it would be better, therefore, not to tie their hands, as was done by the words that they were empowered to remit the fees where the parents, in their judgment, were unable to pay. These words he proposed to omit, leaving the school Boards free to act in each matter as they thought fit. He begged to move, in page 6, line 14, to leave out from "fee" to end of Clause.
said, he thought the Government must adhere to the ground they had already taken up on this matter. He did not see why poverty should be accounted a stigma in itself when it was made the ground for remitting the school fees. He doubted if in legislation anything was gained by not stating facts fairly and just as they were. The way in which the Government proposed to meet the case was this—they thought that the parent ought not to be relieved of the education of his children, but still the school Board was not to allow the non-payment of fees to stand in the way of education. It was proposed, therefore, to allow the school Boards to remit the fees, if they were satisfied that the family was prevented by poverty from paying. If the compulsory clauses were brought into operation—and he was delighted to hear the hon. Member (Mr. Dixon) say there was no doubt they would be brought into operation in Birmingham—then any parent who refused to pay for the education of his child because he preferred to spend his earnings on drink or other indulgences, would be made to pay in the same way as if the child were sent to a reformatory. It was no use blinking the real state of the facts—that was the right thing to do. He also thought the school Boards ought to have authority to create free schools on certain conditions, for he believed that what he might call a well-managed ragged school might be of great benefit. On the whole, therefore, the Government must advise the Committee to adhere to the clause as it stood.
said, he was sorry the Government had come to that deter- mination, for he felt sure that in the rural districts this system of free tickets would affix the stigma of poverty upon those children whose parents availed themselves of it. The Bill was founded upon two principles, which were entirely antagonistic to each other. There was, first, the principle of direct compulsion; and, next, there was the principle of the children's pence. Now, the school Boards might be able to compel attendance, but they would never be able to enforce payment for that which they were compelled to attend. This system of free tickets would have no other effect than to demoralize and pauperize the class which they were all striving to elevate. The Amendment would, at all events, have the good effect of giving more discretion to the local Boards in a matter in which they might be regarded as the best judges. He should suggest that between the ages of five and six a free education should be offered to children, at the option of the parents, and that after that age a graduated scale of fees should be imposed, regulating the fees so that a certain number of attendances in any past year or years should constitute a claim to a remission, or reduction of fees. This system would not have the effect of pauperizing any class; would be a premium on early attendance, and would have the effect of making those who attended irregularly pay for the education of those children who were noted for regularity of attendance. It was probable that only those parents to whom the fee would be an object would take advantage of the plan, and they would feel that their children were honestly earning the remission of fees.
said, he hoped that the Government would maintain the clause as it stood. It went upon the principle that where the parents did not from culpable negligence send their children to school they ought to be made to pay, while those who were really unable to pay ought to receive assistance. It was done in a thousand instances now, where benevolent persons gave free tickets for the education of the children, and the cases were never, and need never be known except as between parent and the teacher.
said, he also hoped that the Government would adhere to the clause. In order to render the measure successful, it was desirable that the burden thrown upon the ratepayers should be as small as possible.
said, he would not trouble the Committee to divide.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 18 (Maintenance by school Board of schools and sufficient school accommodation).
MR. CAWLEY moved, in page 6, line 19, after "time," to insert "with the sanction of the Education Department."
said, he did not think a school Board should always be asking the sanction of the Department.
said, the control might be needed to prevent the possible vagaries of a Board, elected by a political or sectarian party, which might unnecessarily elect a school for their own purposes. He, therefore, trusted the point would be considered.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 19 (Powers of school Board for providing schools).
said, he had several Amendments on this clause, which all hung together, and he would shortly explain their purport to the Committee. He was glad that his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council had introduced a new clause into the Bill, in accordance with the suggestion he (Lord Sandon) had thrown out when the Bill was introduced, giving to school Boards compulsory powers to procure sites for new schools. Now, the point of all his Amendments was this—that he wanted to obtain the same powers for the managers of voluntary schools as this clause conferred upon school Boards. It was in accordance with the principles of the Bill that the voluntary and the rate-founded schools should be put on the same footing, and he believed his scheme, if adopted, would be regarded as a great aid to the ratepayers themselves, for it would be an advantage to them if the voluntary schools should be increased, and the pressure of the rates, especially in poor and populous districts, thus lightened. He would, hardly trouble the House further, except to assure them that he proposed by an Amendment on the 20th clause to provide that the sites so acquired should never cease to be used for the purposes of public elementary schools, as it would, of course, be wrong to give compulsory powers to acquire land which might be used for a private school or some other purpose hereafter. He begged to move, in page 6, line 40, to leave out "Every school Board."
said, he thought the Government were bound to accept the proposition of the noble Lord (Viscount Sandon), or else they would depart from the main principle of the Bill, which was that in everything the rate-founded schools and the voluntary schools should be put upon the same footing; and it would not be fair to give the school Board compulsory powers to take sites while those powers were withheld from the managers of the voluntary schools.
said, he did not agree that the Government were in any way pledged to the principle of the Amendment, which contemplated a great increase in the number of voluntary schools. To that policy a large party in the House objected. The Bill agreed to give six months, in order that schools, now in course of erection, might be completed; but to give them facilities in the way of buying land, in order to increase their number, was a very different matter, and he must resist the Amendment.
said, he thought that the principle contained in the Amendment would be good, both for the school Boards and for the managers of the voluntary schools, particularly in those poor and populous districts where a rate would be high, and consequently unpopular. In such places it was often difficult to obtain a site for a school, either because a landowner would not part with valuable building land, or because small owners asked too much for their house property. It was true that, as the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council said that if a school were not erected in a district within six months, the Government would order a school Board to be formed and a school built out of the rates. He (Lord Robert Montagu) could conceive nothing that would be more likely to make the Government and the whole educational system unpopular in such districts as he had referred to. He was therefore of opinion that this Amendment should be agreed to in order to afford to associations of philanthropic persons, facilities for erecting schools out of their own funds. For the last 30 years this plan had been adopted by every Government; and the result had been that schools had been spread throughout the country through the efforts of religious zeal, and now the noble Lord (Viscount Sandon) was opening up anew a platform on which that religious zeal and fervour could work in furthering the spread of education.
said, he did not wish to entertain the question of competition between voluntary and rate-schools. His object was to provide education for children as quickly as possible; but he did not think this was a matter in respect of which they were bound to put the two systems on an equality. Common justice required that the Boards should have power to acquire land, the possession of which was necessary to enable them to discharge the duty imposed upon them; but in England, such power had never been given to a voluntary body. The Government had fully considered the matter, and they felt that they could not ask the House to assent to such a principle. He was aware that in different parts of the country, and especially in the metropolis, the existence of such a power might be advantageous for the purpose of education; but the principle was so novel that he was afraid he could not ask the House to adopt it.
said, that in several country districts the existence of this power would be as useful as in the metropolis. There were many estates in the kingdom where the owners, having a limited interest, were unable to part with land for building schools.
said, he would remind the Committee that by an Act called the School Sites Act limited owners were enabled to part with land in perpetuity for the erection of schools. He would also point out that the Amendment did not require that the persons desiring to take land for schools should have any connection with the district where the land was situated, and it would enable the National Society in London to acquire sites all over the kingdom.
said, he regarded the Bill as being intended to lay the foundation of a national system of education, and he trusted nothing would be done to encourage the multiplication of voluntary schools.
said, he would not divide the Committee, though he thought it only fair that voluntary schools should be put on the same footing as rate-aided schools.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause agreed to.
Clause A. (Compulsory purchase of sites. Regulations as to the purchase of land compulsorily. Publication of Notices. Service of Notices. Petition to Education Department. No order valid until confirmed by Parliament. Costs how to be defrayed.)
said, that as the clause was drawn no land could be obtained under compulsory action except by the consent of Parliament, and he would move an Amendment which would enable the Privy Council, without the sanction of Parliament, to effect the purchase of sites—namely, in page 8, line 35, to leave out sub-Section 6.
said, that the Privy Council had already taken so much power under the Bill that he did not like to support a proposal to give that body more power, though, unquestionably, the powers now proposed to be conferred on the Privy Council would be a convenience, if the Committee thought proper to grant them. He would recommend that the Amendment should be withdrawn and brought up on the Report.
said, he had no objection to adopt the suggestion.
said, the question was whether such an extraordinary power should be given to a Department as would enable it to make compulsory orders independently of Parliamentary sanction, for hitherto Provisional Orders had always required the sanction of Parliament.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
said, in the absence of his hon. Friend (Mr. G. B. Gregory), he would propose an Amendment providing for the case of frivolous claims for sites, putting the owners to needless expenses. He moved, in page 8, after line 40, to insert—
"The Education Department, in case of their refusing or modifying such order, may make such order as they think fit for the allowance of the costs, charges, and expenses of any person whose land is proposed to be taken of and incident to such application and inquiry respectively."
said, he was willing to accept the Amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
said, he objected to the rate of interest proposed to be charged on advances. Government could not desire to make money by such means. He begged to move, in page 9, line 5, to leave out "five" and insert "four."
said, he could not accept the Amendment without consulting the Treasury. He would look to this matter on the Report.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Clause 21 agreed to.
Clause 22 (Managers may transfer school to school Board).
MR. CAWLEY moved, in page 9, line 20, before "managers," to insert "trustees and."
said, he did not think it necessary to require the assent of the trustees, who were very often very difficult to be found. But he was prepared to adopt the Amendment of the hon. Member for Lambeth (Mr. M'Arthur), in line 24, and insert—
"Acting in such manner and with such consent, if any, as is defined by the instrument declaring the trust."
said, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would insert the word "trustee." The consent of "trustees" was necessary as well as that of the "managers." The trustees were a permanent body, invested by a legal deed with the necessary power and responsibility to secure the welfare of the school. The managers were an ephemeral body, elected every year according to conditions prescribed in the trust deed of the school. The managers therefore had little at stake, and as they were an ephemeral body, they could not have the permanent interests of the school at heart. Besides, did it not seem unreasonable to ignore the trustees, who were made parties to the trust deed, because they were especially interested in the school, and to give the whole power of transfer to persons whose position as managers was accidentally and temporarily derived from the trust deed, and whose only interest might be to get rid of the trouble and expense of the school? He supposed this was done because that the Government thought that all schools would thereby be brought completely into the Government system. Yet such a plan was utterly contrary to the principles of the law; for it permitted certain persons to give away the property of others. The schools were legally vested in the trustees, and were the property of the trustees, and yet the managers were to be allowed to divert this property to other uses.
said, that in many cases the trustees were quite independent of the managers and had nothing to do with them.
said, that the managers being responsible for the expense, would be glad to get rid of the responsibility and throw it on other parties, who might not be the best parties to hand it over to.
said, that the power exercised by the managers was a kind of voluntary power. Trustees were enrolled in the Court of Chancery and took no part in the management. It was the duty of the trustees to see that the school was used for the purposes denned in the deed.
said, he believed the words he had mentioned would meet the difficulty.
said, that as one object of hon. Members was to promote the cause of education we ought to consult those who were actively engaged in educational work.
said, it often happened that the managers were merely subscribers of a guinea or so a year, who could not be supposed to take so deep an interest in the schools as the trustees or original donors. Therefore, the words proposed by the right hon. Gentleman would hardly meet the views of hon. Members on that side of the House.
said, that in the majority of cases the managers were responsible for keeping up the schools, because, unless they did so, they did not receive the Parliamentary Grant. The clause, as he proposed to amend it, would practically meet the difficulty. From the number of letters he had received on the subject, he believed it would meet the wishes of the public.
said, he wished to ask whether the right hon. Gentleman was prepared to accept the further Amendment about to be proposed by the right hon. Member for South Hampshire (Mr. Cowper-Temple) to insert—"and with the assent of a majority of the annual subscribers to such school, given at a meeting specially convened for the purpose." If the right hon. Gentleman accepted that principle the words now proposed would probably be sufficient; but, if not, it might be very dangerous to let the clause pass in its present shape.
said, he was prepared to accept the proposal of his right hon. Friend the Member for South Hampshire. It would be necessary, however, to modify the wording of the Amendment, so as to make it clear that the assent of the majority of the managers attending the meeting would be sufficient.
said, he did not see how the persons who had only the management of the schools could be authorized to transfer the property which was vested in the trustees.
said, he would put his own case. He built his school at his own expense, and received no aid whatever from the Government. No trust deed had ever been executed, but when he was required to appoint managers, he made two gentlemen nominal managers of the school. If, in his absence, they were disposed to hand the school over, there was nothing in the Bill to prevent them. He apprehended the school was his own private property, and that no one had a right to interfere with it. What he wanted was the introduction of words into the clause which would prevent anything being done by surprise.
said, he would accept the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. E. Forster) on the understanding that his own Amendment would be fully considered hereafter.
said, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would withdraw the clause, and bring it up amended on the Report.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
then proposed an Amendment to the effect that the managers of a school may transfer it to a school Board with the assent of such number of their body as under their constitution is binding on them, acting in such manner and with such consent, if any, as is required by the terms of the trust of the school.
said, that this only provided for a supposed case where the trust deed already provided for the mode of transfer of the school; but he did not believe that in all the 16,000 schools there was a single trust deed, which set out any mode of transfer; or if it did, then such a clause as this would be superfluous, or rather would introduce an element of confusion into the powers and trusts of the school.
said, if he rightly caught the words which had been proposed, they seemed to be based on a right principle. They simply affirmed that where a trust existed its terms ought to be followed.
said, he thought that full notice—say of two or three months—ought to be given of every intended transfer, so that the parties really interested might, if they chose, come forward to dispute the right of those who proposed to make the transfer. He would suggest that the best course to pursue would be to bring the clause up again on the Report.
said, he concurred in his right hon. Friend's suggestion. It appeared to him that the words of the clause would invest mere managers of schools with rights which appertained only to the owners of the property. The words suggested by the right hon. Gentleman really did not touch the difficulty; they evaded it with great ingenuity.
said, he would point out that if no Amendments were made in the clause it might be postponed and brought up in an amended form at the end of the Committee.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clauses 23 to 25, inclusive, agreed to.
Clause 26 (Establishment of industrial schools).
said, he would suggest that they should also be authorized to establish industrial school ships.
said, he thought the Amendment was unnecessary, inas- much as an industrial school ship, if certified, would come within the operation of the clause.
MR. CORRANCE moved, in line 80, after "1866," to insert—
"And an Act—namely, twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth Victoria, chapter forty-three, section one, referring to pauper children, all provisions of section fifteen of the former Act notwithstanding."
said, the Bill was intended to promote the objects of education, and it would not do to put the school Boards in the place of the Poor Law Guardians, which would be the effect of the hon. Gentleman's proposal. In reply to Mr. HIBBERT,
said, he had already stated that the result of passing an Education Bill would be to render it necessary to revise the Industrial Schools Act.
said, the clause would make the industrial schools established under the school Boards a very important part of the new school machinery of the kingdom, and yet the Proviso at the end of the clause left them subject to the Home Secretary, and so kept the children for whom the Bill was chiefly intended out of the new national system, and placed them in a special category of police treatment. He proposed that school Boards should not only be able to contribute to industrial schools and to establish them, but also to make use of all the powers of the Industrial Schools Act, thus constituting them a competent authority to provide education—compulsorily if necessary—for all poor children. The Proviso placed the children most worthy of such provision among the criminal class, though they were not in any sense criminals. The only objection he had heard to transferring industrial schools from the Secretary of State to the Education Department, was that destitute children should be treated as a separate class, but that, in his opinion, had no force. Industrial schools were meant for the most neglected children, not criminals; they might be, and they were practically used as day schools as well as boarding schools, and there was no reason whatever to treat them as distinct institutions foreign to the Education Department. The tendency of the present time was to making one great Educational Minister preside over all the State-aided schools of the country. Moreover, when the Education Estimates were brought before the House it was impossible to check them when one class of schools came under one Department and another class was placed under a different Department. The real reason why the change proposed in his Amendment was opposed by the managers of industrial schools was the unpopularity of the Education Department, though the present Vice President would have redeemed it from this unpopularity had it been possible to do so. But if there was objection of this kind, it ought to be got over by altering the Department, instead of allowing certain schools to escape the school Minister in another Department, with which education had nothing to do. There was also a natural wish felt by those who had got industrial schools under their separate management not to let them merge in the general Department. The school Boards and the Education Department, and not the Home Office should stand in loco parentis to destitute children, who should not be regarded and stigmatized as a degraded class, and industrial schools ought to be supported out of the same rates and come before the House in the same Estimates as other elementary schools. On these grounds he begged to move, in page 10, line 33, leave out from "Provided" to end, and insert—
"And every school Board where there is an Industrial School established shall, if necessary, by an officer of their own, put in force the fourteenth section of the Industrial Schools Act, twenty-ninth and thirtieth Victoria, chapter one hundred and eighteen, and cause children under fourteen years of age found begging or wandering, with no settled abode or proper guardianship, or visible means of subsistence, or found destitute, to be brought before a magistrate, in order that they may be sent to such Industrial School, if possible, and kept there under the terms of that Act. Children found so begging or wandering, having a parent or guardian, may be sent to such schools, for instruction only, during such hours in the day as the magistrate committing them may think fit. Whenever in the said Industrial Schools Act the Secretary of State is named the Education Department shall be understood; and the Inspector of Industrial Schools shall be such Inspector as the Education Department shall appoint."
said, he had no objection to the first part of the Amendment, but he had the strongest possible objection to the latter parts The system pursued in respect to industrial schools was to take children from vicious parents and teach them morality and religion; but if a number of children were admitted into them from off the street for instruction only during the day the whole discipline of the schools would be destroyed.
said, he concurred in what had just fallen from the hon. Member (Mr. Liddell). Rather than support the Amendment he would ask the Vice President of the Council to withdraw the clause altogether. He held that school Boards would have quite enough to deal with without meddling with the industrial schools.
said, he hoped his right hon. Friend the Vice President would not accede to the suggestion of the hon. Member for Stoke. At Birmingham there was an industrial school which was maintained by the Town Council; but they were in this difficulty—that they were deficient in any authority to take care that the children of the streets should be sent there. The result was that a society had been formed to do that which might be done by a school Board. He hoped his right hon. Friend would accept the first part of the Amendment.
said, while agreeing that the whole of the provisions of the Industrial School Acts should be revised, he did not think that the Amendment would carry out the object contemplated.
said, that the Industrial Schools Act required great revision. In many cases it had proved a great failure, and rather an encouragement to crime than anything else.
said, he hoped the Committee would not strike the clauses out. The first had already passed, and the power was merely permissive. The Government had considered whether they could include in the present measure a revised Industrial Schools Act; but they had reluctantly come to the conclusion that that could not be done. The main object of the Industrial Schools Act was to take entire possession of the child; whereas, all that they attempted to do in this Bill was to see after the daily education of the child. It might be a question whether the Department should in future superintend by their Inspectors the education given in those schools; but that need not be entertained in this Bill, because the Indus- trial Schools Act would soon have to come before Parliament for revision. He could not state whether it would be advisable to adopt any portion of that Amendment; but there might be an advantage in retaining the first part of it. He would suggest that the right hon. Baronet (Sir Charles Adderley) should withdraw his Amendment, subject to the first part being considered on the Report.
said, he hoped that school Boards would be enabled to devote a portion of the rates to the education of the blind, who formed the most destitute class in society, and of whom only 1 in 15 had been taught to read. If a special gratuity of, say, £5 a-year, were given to schoolmasters of ordinary schools for each blind child who should be taught to read, all blind children might in this way easily be taught to read from embossed characters, and the Vice President could not confer a greater benefit than by so enlarging the clause as to give to local Boards the power of making such payments. The industrial training of the blind he would leave to the voluntary efforts of those societies which were formed for that purpose; but as to teaching them to read, and especially to read the Scriptures, the Committee owed a duty to the blind more than to any other class of society. He entreated the right hon. Gentleman to recollect the hopes he excited when a deputation waited on him some months ago on that subject.
said, the Vice President of the Council, in remarking that the Education Department did not undertake to maintain the children, overlooked the fact that by Clause 26 he undertook to establish the schools. He would, however, accept the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion and withdraw the Amendment, subject to the first part of it being brought up again.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
said, he would beg to move, in Clause 26, at end, to add—
"Provided always, That if the school Board of a borough not having a prison belonging to it, and which is assessed to the county rate of the county within which it is situate, exercise the power given by this or the last preceding section, the rating authority of that borough shall be recouped by the justices of the county out of the county rate the proportionate amount contributed by such borough towards the expenses incurred by the prison authority under and for the purposes of "The Industrial Schools Act, 1866."
said, it was impossible to accept that proposition. This was not an imposed duty, but something undertaken. There was no reason to exonerate people from a self-imposed duty.
said, that the clause was objectionable. It would be a hardship on boroughs to be called upon to pay twice over.
said, every borough had the power to make arrangements with the county before undertaking the liability.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 27 (School Board).
MR. DIXON moved that Progress should be reported. ["Go on!"]
said, he was ready to go on; but as his Amendment was in some degree connected with that of the noble Lord the Member for the Northern Division of the West Riding of Yorkshire (Lord Frederick Cavendish) the discussion might be affected thereby.
said, he thought it hardly reasonable to go into a new subject at that stage.
said, it would be quite hopeless to think that the discussion on the next clause could be finished, and he therefore would consent to Progress being reported.
said, he hoped his right hon. Friend (Mr. W. E. Forster) would, on some suitable occasion, be rewarded for the liberal concession he had just made. It might be convenient to the Committee to know what the Government thought should be the order of Public Business next week. They proposed that the Report of the University Tests Bill should be taken first on Monday; immediately after which, the Committee on this Bill would be resumed.
Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.