Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

great, either in comparison with actual benefits to be attained, or the sums collected towards the same object by private charity. The surest test by which the operation of the present system could possibly be tried, was the proportion between Government grants and private charily, and the effect of every years increased Government grant had been to largely increase the amount given by private individuals. As to what was called the practical and real test, "Do we get the true article we want in return for our money?" that was proved by the delicate thermometer of the private purse; the subscriptions made in neighbourhoods whore the schools were known. He was prepared to admit that cramming of the few and neglect of the many, had been productive of injury in many instances; but ho doubted whether the provisions of the Revised Code would tend to any really improved result. On the contrary, he believed that while the inspector under the present system took a gauge of the moral, intellectual, and religious training of a school, generalizing with practised eye from innumerable little incidents which came under his observation, the new examination would simply substitute the lowest possible clou of results as a test of the deserts of each school. Mere mechanical drudgery—for such was reading to young children, who had not yet attained the fai-ulty of rapidly acquiring information through reading, gone through in a state of nervousness and fright before a worried and impatient inspector—would be substituted. Nothing could

be more fallacious than to call such a change "paying for results." Besides, whatever the deficiency in the elementary parts of education might be at present, he believed that the Revised Code would introduce new and far greater evils—so great, in fact, that he did not sec how they were to be met. For example, it was proposed that all payments of pupil teachers and masters were henceforth to be made by the managers on their own responsibility, and without any security whatever for their advance in case of an unfavourable report at the close of the year. This was intolerable, for it was notorious that in a very large number of schools, the deficiency was made up by the already overburdened clergyman, who could not possibly undertake the fresh responsibility laid on him. It would not even be honest for him to do so, for it was one the extent of which he could never tell. The right rev. prelate proceeded to assail, one by one, nearly all the remaining provisions of the Code, and concluded by beseeching their Lordships not to risk the evil results he had foretold, upon advice so hastily given and lightly retracted.

Lord Granville, having noticed the want of agreement between the opponents of the Revised Code, reverted to the economical view of the question, and said that the real question was, whether the education of the country could not be conducted more efficiently, and be brought more directly under Parliamentary control. He defended the new system of inspection, and the classification of children by age, against the attacks of the Bishop of Oxford; and, having pointed out that the evening-schools were not antagonistic, but in connection with the day-schools, denied that the Government had any intention of destroying them. Ho then answered in detail the various objections raised by the Bishop of Oxford, expressing his opinion that the proper time for discussing this question would bo when the resolutions, of which Lord Lyttelton had given notice, were brought forward; and, therefore, declining to go thoroughly into the question on the present occasion.

The Duke of Marlborough expressed an opinion decidedly adverse to the Revised Code.

The Earl of Derby returned his thanks to the Bishop of Oxford for his comprehensive speech, and expressed in strong terms his wish that the Revised Code had been embodied in a Bill, and submitted to Parliament. Such would have been the course of the Government had they been convinced that the scheme would have borne the discussion and had they not felt that it was innately weak. It was, however, a cause for congratulation that the measure would be duly sifted iii tho House of Commons. Ho concurred with the Bishop of Oxford, and trusted that Lord Lyttelton would not ask the House to pledge themselves to the Resolutions of which he had given notice.

The Duke of Argyll accused the Bishop of Oxford of mis-stating the arguments of his opponents, and of losing sight of the real purposes for which the Revised Code was framed—namely, to remedy the objection that nt present three-fourths of the chil

Vou CIV.

dren of the poor in these schools obtained no education. In reply to the remarks of the Earl of Derby, he vindicated the course of tho Government in not introducing a Bill embodying the details of the Code for the discussion of Parliament, as founded on precedent and custom.

The Earl of Derby said that, as the system had been so far experimental, the old mode of proceeding by Orders in Council had been acquiesced in, but now that a change was proposed which would materially alter the existing system, and which the Government had announced as a cessation of the tentative and the introduction of a permanent plan of education, he adhered to his opinion that Government would have acted more wisely had they embodied the proposed changes in a Bill.

The Bishop of Oxford, in a few words, repudiated the charge which had been made against him of mis-stating the arguments of his opponents; and the discussion terminated.

A few days later, Lord Lyttelton laid before their Lordships a series of Resolutions, inculpatory of certain parts of the Revised Code, of which he had given notice, and to which reference had been made in the preceding debate. The noble Lord's Resolutions took exception to the alleged breach of faith with the pupil-teachers, to tho exclusive application of the reading and writing test, and to the want of a more satisfactory explanation of the provisions for carrying out the principal objects of the scheme. The noble Lord stated at the outset, that he did not object to tho whole of the Revised Code. He [0]

thought that, after the Report of the Royal Commission on the subject, the Government could not have allowed that Report to fall to the ground, but were bound, as far as they could, to carry out its recommendations. The faults which he more particularly found with the new Code were—that the equitable claims of the certificated teachers and Queen's scholars were not sufficiently considered; that the giving of public aid to elementary schools according to their success in performing their work, although good in principle, was objectionable in the mode proposed; that the provisions according to which the capitation grant was to be paid in respect of the attainments of the children, and the provisions forbidding grants for children above 1 '-J years of age, were both unsatisfactory; and that the diary and logbook were not simply and fully explained. In addition to these defects, he considered it desirable, that any system of public aid should include some specific advantage to schools in which the branches of instruction above the elements were successfully taught, and that, in the event of the Government abandoning its direct connection with pupil and other assistant teachers in schools, the managers of schools ought to decide whether or not they would have such pupils as as-istants. It was, he thought, of importance that the House should give their opinion on these points, and he hoped that the substance of the above objections and recommendations, embodied in his Resolutions, would be adopted by their Lordships.

Earl Granville stated that, although the Revised Code had

been modified, no change from the original intention of the Government had been introduced, but only certain portions of the Code rendered more clear. He declined to follow Lord Lyttelton into the question of the Training Colleges, but assured him that, although the special certificates might carry no pecuniary advantage, yet the demand for the holders of such certificates would cause an augmentation of salaries to obtain their services. With regard to the equitable claims of certificated teachers and Queen's scholars, it had been decided by the Commissioners, after receiving evidence, that no such claims existed. Having premised that he thought the diary and logbook would be of the greatest use, he proceeded to explain certain misapprehensions which existed in regard to the inspection of the schools, and stated that there was not the slightest intention to alter the present system of inspection, as an examination into the moral was to precede the examination into the scholastic training of the scholars. Having dwelt upon the advantage of making elementary instruction the chief point, he explained the reasons why no grant for children above 12 years was to be mode, very briefly adverted to the other details of the Resolutions, and hoped, in conclusion, that the whole question would be discussed in the interest of the public.

Lord Belper thought the withdrawal of the grants from the teachers and pupils without a longer notice was harsh and unfair, and that it was unwise to discontinue the grants for children at so early an age as 11} years. He also objected to the placing of the day and night schools under the same teacher, as it was not physically possible for one man properly to manage the two.

Lord Lyttelton, after a few words in regard to the non-existence of any claims on the part of the pupil-teachers, asked leave to withdraw his Resolutions, which was accordingly done.

A further discussion in the House of Lords, on the 14th of March, originated with Lord St. Leonards, who, in calling the attention of the House to that part of the Revised Code which relates to the grouping of children for examination, premised that he approved of manyof the principles established by the Revised Code, although he objected to certain details for the carrying out of those principles. He especially attacked those arrangements which proposed to rank children in the schools, not by ability, but by age, and showed the injustice which would be thereby inflicted on the children, and indirectly on the masters. The noble and learned Lord dwelt at considerable length on the absurdity, as ho considered it, of this system.

The Bishop of London said that, although he agreed with the main principles of the Revised Code, he thought the suggestion

of the Commission of Inquiry, that there should be two grants instead of one, a very good one —the one grant for the result of the examination, the second for attendance. If Government made this concession, it would go far to effect a favourable change in regard to the Revised Code in the public mind.

Earl Granville, having deprecated objections being taken to the Revised Code without suggestions for a better system being made at the same time, admitted the evils of voluntary contributions, but did not see how they could be avoided without the whole expenses of the schools being assumed by the Government. He briefly adverted to some remarks made by Lord Kingsdown on the Chatham and Brompton schools, and proceeded to show why the suggestions made by the Bishop of London were inadmissible, and that it would be better to go back to the existing Minute than to make grants for attendance at schools. He then considered tho objections raised by Lord St. Leonards, vindicated the examination of children by age, and showed the various advantages which would follow its adoption, and, in conclusion, thanked the House for the very candid manner in which they had discussed the question.

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER II.

National Education.—The Revised Code.—Mr. Walpule lays on the Table of the House of Common* a series of Resolutions upon tl>( Goternment MinutesA prolonged Debate takes place upon the subject, on tits 24rt of MaySpceclies of Mr. Wafpole, Sir George Grey, Mr. Stanhope, Mr. Buxton, Lord R. Cecil, Mr. W. Forster, Mr. Puller, Mr. Leatham, Mr. Whiteside, Mr. Ilernal Osborne, Mr. Adderley, Mr. Baines, Sir J. Pakington, Mr. I^owe, and other members. The House goes into Committee on the ResolutionsThe Goeentmeut determine to modify the Revised Code- Earl Granville in the House of Lords, and Mr. Loire in House of Commons, state, previously to the Easier Recess, the concessions proposedFurther Debates in the House of Common*, on the Amended Code: Mr. Wulpole expresses his satis/action with the concessions offered- Remarks of Mr. Henley. Sir J. Pakington, Lord R. Cecil, and Mr. L,oircMr. Wuljiole withdraws his ResolutionsMr. Walter moces an Amendment against making the gran's of money conditional on the Employment of Certificated Teachers— Mr. Lore opposes the Motion on behalf of the Government, and it is rejected by 163 to 156 — Further Amendments are proposed by Mr. Baines and Mr. Bruce, but without success. Chtrch Kates—Sir Joint Trelawny again introduces his Bill for the Abolition of Church HatesOn the Second Heading of the Bill, Mr. Sotheron Estcourt mores an Amendment against immediate abolition Sir George Letcis, Mr. R. Mills and Mr. Bright sjteak in favour of the Bill, and Mr. Macdonogh, Sir John Pakington and Mr. Disraeli oppose it— On a division, the Bill is lost by a majority of one—Mr. S. Estcourt aflei wards proposes Resolutions for making other provisions in lieu of Church Hates—After a discussion, in which Mr. iialgkinton. Air. 1/ei.gafe, Mr. Disraeli and Sir George Grey take part, Mr. Estcourt's llnolulions are withdrawnMr. Newdegale introtluces a Bill for commuting Church Rates to a Rent Charge on land, payaUe by the ownerAfter some debate, Mr. Newdegate withdraws his Bill. Relief of Clergy of the Church of Englnnd desiring to secede therefrom—Mr. E. P. Uouverie brings in a Bill to rdiere seceding clergymen from penaltiesThe Bill is read a second time and referred to a Select Committee—Sir L. I'alk opposes the third reading, trhen the Bill is lost by a majority of 98 to 88. Act of Uniformity— Ijord Ebtiry introduces two Bills in the House of Lords, to relax the terms rf Subscription to the Articles, and to allow greater frect/om in the Celt brat ion of Divine ServiceThe Bishops of Lciidon and

« ForrigeFortsett »