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Volume 229: debated on Thursday 25 May 1876

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asked the Vice President of the Council, Whether he has, before the drawing and consideration of his Education Bill, prepared a Return (from the blue-book "Parishes," No. 114, of 1868, or from other sources) of all the civil parishes or school districts where a rate of three pence in the pound will not produce six shillings per head of one-sixth of the population of the parish, showing the number of schools in such parish, and distinguishing the schools as "Church of England," "Non-conformist," "Roman Catholic," and "Board schools;" and, whether he will endeavour to send such a Return out to the Members of the House previous to the Second Reading of his Bill?

We carefully inquired into the effect of our proposals respecting poor districts before we laid the Bill upon the Table of the House, and the valuable Returns which the noble Lord obtained in 1868 were of considerable service to us in considering this matter. We have not, however, the complete Return of the whole of the parishes and districts to which he alludes, nor have we considered the character of the schools in each parish, distinguishing them as Church of England, Nonconformist, Roman Catholic, or board schools. This part of the question we did not enter into at all, as we treated the matter of extra assistance to the poor districts as one which was needed to remedy a general injustice to the poor districts, both in town and country, whether under school boards or not; and we have not made any inquiry as to the respective numbers of board schools, Roman Catholic, Nonconformist, and Church of England, in these poor districts. I shall be happy to do my best to get printed a Return as to the first part of the noble Lord's Question before the second reading of the Bill. With regard to the other part, respecting the character of the schools to be affected, it would be a most laborious Return, and would take a long time and much tact to prepare, and there would be no chance of having it ready for the discussions on this Bill. I am sorry, therefore, I cannot comply with the second part of the noble Lord's request.

inquired whether the noble Lord would have any objection to furnish a Return of the number of poor districts in boroughs?

replied that a Return could be furnished of the number of poor districts, but not of the number of schools in those districts.