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OABINET & SCHOOLS COMPROMISE. St. Asaph Scheme as a Basis of Settlement. MR McKENNA'S MEASURE. SECOND READING DEBATE. In the House of Commons on Monday. Mr McKENNA, in moving the second read- ing of the Elementary Education (England and Wales) Bill said since he introduced the Bill there had been occurrences which gave occasion for a preliminary statement by him, though there had been no change in the policy of the Government. What he had in mind was the introduction in another place of the Bill of Bishop of St. Asaph which received the Countenance of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Stetch a proposal must be taken into grave con- sideration by the Government in relation to their own proposals. It would be found that in essentials the Bishop's Bill followed very closely the line of the Government measure, and the very fact of the introduction of that Bill gave great encouragement to those who supported the Government in their earnest desire to obtain a lasting settlement of this controversy. (Ministerial cheers.) The Government by the Bill embodied two cardinal principles in our educational system. The first was that all public elementary schools should be placed under public control, and the second was that there was to be no religious tests on the appointment of the teachers. Those were the principles upon which the Government insisted —(Ministerial cheers)—and they could admit of no modification of the Bill which would destroy those principles or which by whittling them away would turn fundamental principles into false pre- tences. The method proposed by the Govern- ment for establishing those principles was a simple one. It was proposed that only one type of public school should be recognised in the future. Such school would receive both State and rate aid. It would be placed entirely under the control and the management of the local representative authority. The teachers in those schools would be appointed without religious tests—(hear, hear)—and no child would be compelled to attend any school except the public elementary school of the kind he had described. The religious instruc- tion given in such schools would be of the kind to which We had been accustomed in this country ever since Mr Forster's Act of 1870. Such were the provisions of the Bill, and so far the Bill of the Bishop of St. Asaph had been textually copied from the Government measure. It was obvious, therefore, that if The Bishop's Bill could receive tbe same amount of support on the other side of the House as the Government measure would receive on his side there was ground for hope that a satisfactory settlement might be obtained on lines agreeable to all sections of the House. (Hear, hear.) It was in dealing with the existing denominational schools that the St. Asaph Bill diverged from that of the Government. The Government proposed to deal with the denominational schools in three different ways. In the single school areas it was proposed that the managers of existing de- nominational schools might make it a condi- tion of transfer of their buildings to the local authority that Cowper-Temple instruction of a definite kind should always be given in their schools, and that facilities for giving de- nominational instruction should be allowed. The second method of dealing with de- nominational schools was that Parliamentary grants, though not rate-aid, might be given to Schools not in single school areas which con- formed to all the requirements of the Board of Education as regarded educational efficiency, and the management of which did not desire to bring their schools under the conditions governing public .elementary schools; The third provision was applicable to schools in other than single school areas, according to which the managers of denominational schools might make it a condition of the trans- fer of their schools that Cowper-Temple in- struction of a definite kind should continue to be given in the schools. In the Bishop's Bill facilities on a more extended scale were pro- posed for all schools' and there was no pro- VÍsion for allowin any school to receive the Parliamentary grant without rate aid. The only real point of difference between the two measures was How Much Facilities were to be allowed in the public elementary Bchools and how much contracting out was to be allowed. He (Mr McKenna) could not help thinking that if a spirit of partisan con- troversy could be allayed and a single eye be kept on the efficiency of education it ought not to be impossible for that House to come to an agreement to procure a lasting settlement. (Ministerial cheers.) On educational grounds the Government had no partiality for con- tracting out—(hear, hear)—but he saw no other practical method of .dealing with those AC400 in which it was proposed to submit the teachers to a religious test upon their appoint- ment. The Government would rather pro- ceed by means of. facilities than by contracting out, provided that such procedure was accept- able to the denominationalists, and providing the facilities were of a kind which were prac- tical, and provided they should not be so used as to constitutB a religious test to the teachers. Public control was impossible so long as the appointment of teachers was to be limited to those persons who were connected with the religious faith of the trusteesorthe founders of the schools. He could not see how equal justice could be done to the teachers and the public unless they followed the plan of 1870, and which was continued in the Act of 1902, where- by the supporters of denominational schools were bound to contribute specially to the maintenance of those schools, whilst the special grant was confined to meeting only so much of the cost of maintenance as might be directly due to the giving of secular in- struction in those schools. For those who desired a settlement, he believed it could be found in the present Bill. He believed the majority of the members of that House were Anxious for Peace, and if a spirit of tractability and commonsense was allowed to have its way, a satisfactory settlement might be obtained. Every sugges- tion would be fairly considered on its merits, and such proposals as were generally accept- able could, and would, be grafted on the frame- work of the Bill if evidence was forthcoming that the acceptance of such suggestions would lead to lasting peace. (Cheers.), The argument as to the rights of the parent had a beautiful and seductive simplicity, but it was not so easy in practice. If peace could be obtained he thought religious instruction in the schools would be secured, but failing .feat peace he felt that they would be driving the nation directly to secular instruction. (Ministerial cheers.) No doubt it would be alleged against him that in what he had said he had not given a clear definition of the policy of the Government. (Ministerial cheers.) With regard to the ques- tion that he had not given a precise outline of the Government's policy he could at once say this, the Government proposed to ask the House to give a second reading to the Bill. If after the second reading an agreement could be come to satisfactory to the House in general and that agreement could be incorporated in amendments to the Bill, those amendments would be most carefully considered, and so far as possible they would be erected on the frame- work of the measure, but failing such agree- ment-and he was sure they had ground for hope that an adjustment of their difficulties was not impossible—the Government pro- posed to proceed with their existing Bill as it stood. (Ministerial cheers and Opposition counter cheers.) Rejection Moved. Lord B ALCARRES (C., Lancashire), in rising to move the rejection of the Bill, charged Mr McKenna with making no attempt to defend the measurre. He added that a religious difficulty existed in single school areas, but when all was said and done every practical man knew that this difficulty existed more upon the platform than in the school itself. In the vast majority of the sChools the diffi- culty was practically unknown. Accompanied as it was, by a tax upon the training colleges, and very harsh administrative measures by the Board of Education, the Bill was not going to solve the single school area difficulty. Con- trary to the general movement in' educational affairs from small to large areas of adminis- tration, the Bill was based from the educa- tional point of view on the parish as the unit in stringency and severity. The Bill far ex- ceeded the Bill of 1902. Under it the Board of Education made a gift of property it did not possess. It constituted itself judge, jury, and beneficiary as well. Property worth millions of monev was confiscated and the nature of trusts was determined by the Board; of Education without appeal — a Board' which in the last eighteen months had not been impartial either in administra- tive or judicial duties. (Opposition cheers.) Finally, the facilities for denominational reli- gious instruction were wholly illusory. As to contracting out," the Government had declared itself pledged to public control, but the more successful contracting out under the Bill proved to be the greater would be the reduction-hf public control. The second great principle was declared to be no tests for teachers." But how about the position of the teachers in the contracted out schools ? With the Bill as it stood and with the grant as deter- mined, nothing could guarantee a teacher that if he lost his place he would get an alternative one. Nothing could prevent managers from reducing his salary and imposing fresh duties upon him on terminating his engagement. He was sorTy for the teachers—he looked upon them as the most effective instruments in edu- cation, and he thought they had deserved better things—the whole difficulty was caused by the madcap scheme of universal contract- ing out. Contracting out was the mainspring of the measure, put in to satisfy certain classes of the community. It dodged the diffi- cu ties. and was a reactionary proposal. Roman Catholic Position. Mr JOHN REDMOND (Nat.) said the con- clusion at which he would arrive would be exactly the same as that of LordBalcarres, but he hoped to adopt a more conciliatory tone They were anxious for a settlement, an. greatly regretted that the Bill of 1906 in id final form was not carried, for though it dts not give all thej asked it was a compromid J which would keep their schools in a national system oi education. The view's of the Catho- lics in regard to religious education in the schools was quite divergent from those of the majority af Liberal members, and there was an impassable gulf between the Catholic posi- tion and that of the Church of England. What was to the latter a matter of degree was to the Roman Catholics a matter of principle. (Irish cheers.) They would take up no atti- tude of irreconcilability so long as a settlement was proposed which had this one saving condition, that it would preserve the Catholic schools from destruction. They objected to a Cowper-Temple teaching. They objected to the principle of contracting out. That system meant the creation of two different classes of schools, one class inferior to the other. (Hear, hear.) Their claim had always been for equality. It was a monstrous injustice that Catholics, who paid school rates the same as everyone else, should not be entitled to their share of the rates for their schools. Contracting out must lead to the lowering of the status of the schools and the standard of teaching. This Bill did not provide an adequate Imperial grant to enable the Catholic schools to continue in existence under that system, for it was impossible for Catholics to provide the necessary money which would be needed. He gave figures for the various Catholic dioceses of the country showing that with the limit of 47s per child the Catholics of the country Stood to Lose £154,244 a year under the Bill. That, he said, meant starvation and destruction to a large number of their schools, and was a monstrous injustice to inflict on the whole Catholic body. He objected to the Bill on two grounds—because the princi- ple of contracting out meant putting Catholic schools into an inferior class, and would mean the degradation and deterioration of educa- tion in those schools. If he was driven by force of circumstances to consider contracting out at all he said the 47s per child was a ridiculous and inadequate limit which would have to be greatly increased before there was any prob- ability of the system continuing in existence at all. These being his views he must vote against the second reading. He did not know why the Government had brought on the Bill at this stage, although he wished them God speed in their efforts to arrive at a compromise, and he would say nothing intentionally to hinder a compromise so long as Catholics could live under it. But they would fight every sug- gested compromise as bitterly as they would fight the Bill if they saw there was in it an element of destruction of the Catholic schools. He could not discuss this compromise because so far as he knew it would leave Catholics on the broad of their backs outside the compro- mise. Much as he regretted it he would be compelled at the present stage to support the amendment of the noble Lord. Mr PERKS (L., Louth) regretted that the Roman Catholics in this country did not see their way to come into line with their fellow- countrymen in adopting the national system of education, because he felt sure that no local authority would dream of appointing a Protestant teacher to a Catholic school. The Methodist Church had never asked for pre- ferential treatment. Their policy was to abandon sectarian schools and place them under control of a public authority. He would advise the Anglican Church do the same. ThSr schools would thereby grow in efficiency, and their financial burdens would be relieved. He had little doubt that the Methodist churches, when the question came to be con- sidered in a few weeks' time at their church assemblies, would do their best to arrive at some conciliatory basis of agreement with the dignitaries of the Church of England who had held out the olive branch. Manchester ..fireworks.. Mr JOYNSON HICKS (C., Manchester), in a maiden speech, speaking for Lancashire, said they would have nothing whatever to do with the Bill. (Opposition cheers) Referring to the contention that the Bill gave popular Con- trol, he remarked that it was control which woul d all ow the representatives of the rate- payers to turn in the direction of Noncon- formity, but not in the direction of the Church of England. (Opposition cheers and Minis- terial dissent.) It was not for members of the Opposition to offer compromise. They were not an Episcopal-ridden body. They were elected by the parents of the children, and to the parents they would go to find out the sort of compromise they desired. (Hear, hear.) Mr AUSTIN TAYLOR (L., Liverpool) re- marked that the Government would be guilty almost of dishonour if they went out of power without dealing with the education problem. In this matter he would advise them to trust rather to the enthusiasm of their friends than to the forbearance of their enemies. (Minis- terial cheers.) A Voice from Wales. Mr LLEWELYN WILLIAMS (1. Carmar- then District) said the tone of the debate showed they were within reach of a compro- mise, for they were discussiug not so much the second reading as whether the Bill could form the basis of settlement of a controversy which ought to have been settled long ago. The passions of three or five years ago had burnt down. The firebrands had become olive branches, and Dr. Clifford and the Archbishop of Canterbury were contending who should find a way out of the difficulty. He thought it would be a reproach to Parliament if in these circumstances they could not find some way of settling this much vexed question. The first thing to do was to try and appreciate the standpoint.of the other side, and to see that in removing the grievances of Nonconformists they should not create grievances as real on the part of Churchmen. (Opposition cheers.) A defect of the Bill, which he thought must be remedied in the negotiations which were going on, was that it failed to give owners of Church schools anything in return for the surrender of their schools to the State since 1870. the position of Nonconfor- formists as regarded State teaching of religion had undergone a revolutionary and disastrous change from their former impregnable position, that no religious teachin should be paid for out of public money. They had been lured by a desire for compromise, and had asserted that simple Bible teaching could be given at the State's expense in school hours by State paid teachers. Bitterly they rued that change to-day, for they had never ceased to be taunted by the other side of having sold their principles, and they had made the solu- tion of the great difficulty much more difficult than it would otherwise have been. It was found now almost as impossible to re- concile the position of giving Cowper-Temple instruction within school hours by State paid teachers as the position of giving other denominational instruction at the expense of the State. So long as there were members of great religious communities in this' country who told them that they could not accept Cowper-Temple teaching as an essential part of ther religious teaching, then it followed that by endowing Cowper-Templeism they endowed a religion with which these people were at vari- ance, and had, therefore, as citizens of this country, a right to come to Parlia and 1'I1Y "You have endowed a religion which, al- though it may not be Nonconformist religion, is not inconsistent with it, and, therefore, you must endow our religion in the same way. He Agreed With Mr Chamberlain when he said that the only way out of the difficulty was that they should recognise that the State had nothing to do with religious teaching at all, that State-paid teachers as such should not be required to do any religious teaching of any sort, and that there should be the universal right of entry into schools. On those lines alone would it be possible to arrive at anything like a permanent settlement of the controversy. All elementary schools of the land should be looked upon as State schools, and there should be a national system of education so far as secular teaching was concerned, and no religious teaching of any sort should be given within school hours at the public expense. There was an attempt a few years ago in Wales to come to an agree- ment on the education question and the Bishop of St. Asaph and Mr Lloyd George met together and formulated a real concordat which was accepted by every one of the Welsh County Councils and by the majority of the leading laymen throughout the Principality. The basis of the agreement was that religious teaching was to be given before school hours. It had been a real concordat, and he was only sorry that it was never put into operation. The fault was due neither to the parties nor his right hon. friend. If it had been put into operation they would have had a very valuable object lesson to place before the House of Commons of the ease and facility with which the question could be solved by exercising a little common sense and the sense of fair play. Lord EDMUND TALBOT (C.. Sussex) skid it was a startling fact that this Bui repealed the Free Education Act of 1891. and destroyed that great charter. It was true that under this Bill free education could still be obtained, but only if parents were content to acquiesce in one form of religious education. In his opinion the Bill was nothing less than an insult to the poorest of the Catholics in this country. Labour's Attitude. Mr RAMSAY MACDONALD (Lab., Leices- ter) said the Labour party would support the second reading of the Bill, but with mental reservations. The two points of the Bill which commended themselves most of all. to the Labour party were the increased Government grant of 47s per child to local education authorities and the clause dealing with the one school areas. If the right of entry were given outside school hours and the whole of the national system was based upon secular instruction, that would be a perfectly satisfactory solution. The Govern- ment would have been wise to have faced the education problem in the country by a unified national system on a secular basis, allowing denominational teachers to go in before or after school hours. The Labour party were strongly, definitely, decisively opposed to this contracting out system, and they would divide against it on every possible occasion. He and his colleagues were in favour of a secular solu- tion. It was said that the country would not accept it. He was not so sure, for the country was thoroughly sick of this un-Christian and disgraceful quarrel which had- retarded pur educational progress during the last century. (Ministerial and Labour cheers.) The debate was adjourned.

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