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Grants For Secondary Schools

Volume 180: debated on Thursday 8 August 1907

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I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education whether his attention has been called to the fact that the Government Grant to English secondary schools is £5 per head of the scholars over twelve years of age, and a grant per head of the scholars below that age equivalent in amount to what it would have been if they had remained in the elementary schools; that the grant to Welsh secondary schools is confined to the four years course, and is apportioned as follows:—First year, 75s.; second year, 85s.; third year, 95s.; fourth year, 100s.; whether the restriction as to the four years course has been removed in the case of English Secondary schools and applies now only to those of Wales; whether restrictions as to the division of time amongst the various subjects have been removed from the English regulations, while they have been retained in Welsh regulations; and, if so, will he say why these distinctions, all of which are to the disadvantage of the Welsh as compared with the English secondary schools, have been made or retained; and whether he can hold out any hope that they shall be forthwith removed.

My hon. friend is mistaken in his statement of the grants to English Secondary Schools. While it is true that in certain of those schools the grant will be £5 per head of the scholars over twelve, and a grant of £2 per head will be paid on some of the scholars between ten and twelve years of age, in other schools the grant will be, only 50s., with no grant for scholars under twelve. My hon. friend has correctly stated the scale of grants for the Welsh Secondary Schools, but it must be noted that, except two, all of the Welsh Schools will be paid on the scale he names. He will observe that the Welsh scale is intermediate between the two English scales, and in the actual working out of the figures on the respective scales it will be found that the total contribution to Wales out of the new money granted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer is exactly the same proportion of the sum paid to England as has been paid in the last three years. The restriction as to a four years course has not been removed, but with a view to next year's regulations the Department is carefully considering whether having regard to the different conditions prevailing in Wales the restriction can be removed without detriment to Welsh education. With regard to the division of time amongst the various subjects, my hon. friend appears to have overlooked Article 6 of the Welsh regulations, which provides for the modification of the ordinary curriculum where necessary.

May I ask if a differentiation in the grant has been made for the first time this year between Welsh and English secondary schools, and were the head officials of the Welsh Department of the Board of Education consulted before the differentiation was made?

Certainly. My hon friend must understand that the English regulations differentiate between two types of schools in England, whereas in Wales with the exception of two schools they are all of one type. Had Wales been united with England in this matter the Welsh schools would not have been able to get the higher rate of grant.