« ElőzőTovább »
which, it need only be added, the Local Government Board takes no part directly or indirectly.
In other departments of Poor Law finance the central authority exercises strong control. It can compel or forbid the erection or extension of workhouses, and can in this way increase the burdens of the ratepayer. All the accounts of Boards of Guardians are subjected to the scrutiny of the district auditors, whose powers of allowance and surcharge have already been described in earlier chapters. Nor may the Guardians borrow without the Local Government Board's consent.
It only remains to summarise the "receipts-in-aid" of the poor-rates, which fall into two classes: (1) Grants out of taxes received from county and county borough councils; and (2) miscellaneous receipts from relatives of paupers, sales of work performed in the workhouses, etc. etc. In the year ending 31st March 1900, Poor Law Unions received from the Exchequer contribution accounts of counties and county boroughs the following sums, being aids to rates from taxes:
Costs of officers of Unions and of district schools
asylums, registered hospitals, and licensed
School fees of pauper children sent from workhouses
Remuneration of teachers in Poor Law schools
to public elementary schools
Remuneration of Poor Law medical officers, and cost
Maintenance of indoor paupers (London)
of drugs and medical appliances (London)
The other (miscellaneous) receipts in aid of the poor-rates
included the following items:
Altogether it was estimated that the sums received by guardians and overseers in aid of the poor-rates (including
some £428,000 drawn from the agricultural rates grant) amounted in the year ending 31st March 1900 to £3,196,978 -less than one-seventh of the total raised by poor-rates during the year. Thus, although central control of poor administration is more complete than over any other branch of local government, far the greater part of the cost of the service is still borne by the ratepayers in each Union.
THE LOCAL ORGANISATION OF EDUCATION 1
In order to understand the system of public education now existing, and the great changes introduced by the Education Act of 1902,-a measure which has aroused one of the most acute political controversies of modern times, it will be desirable to revert to the development of English education and to supplement in some respects the sketch previously given in one of our historical chapters. In so doing it will be impossible altogether to ignore the central authority, now called the Board of Education, though a later section in this volume is more particularly concerned with its work.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century there were in England and Wales no local authorities and no central authorities concerned with public instruction. Indeed, there was no such thing as public instruction. The children of the poor were only educated in places where endowed schools existed, or where schools were provided by charitable or
1 See vol. i. pp. 185-187, and vol. ii. pp. 316-319. Cf. Craik, The State in its Relation to Education: London, 1896. Holman's English National Education: London, 1898. Balfour's Educational Systems of Great Britain and Ireland: Oxford, 1898. The principal Acts of Parliament now in force and bearing upon the subject of this chapter are :
I. The Education Act 1902.
II. The Elementary Education Acts 1870 to 1900, with which should be included the Voluntary Schools Act 1897.
III. The Industrial and Reformatory Schools Acts 1866 to 1899.
IV. (For Wales only.) The Welsh Intermediate Education Act 1899.
A number of provisions in the earlier Acts are repealed and modified by the Education Act of 1902, which is entitled "An Act to make further provision with respect to education in England and Wales."
Early history of Voluntary Schools.
In 1807 Whitbread induced the House of Commons to pass a Bill modelled on the Scotch system, providing for the foundation of a school in every parish, the cost of which might be defrayed out of the rates. But the scheme was rejected by the House of Lords. In spite of the efforts of Brougham and other reformers no positive step was taken until 1833, when the House of Commons voted the first Education Grant of £20,000. This grant was administered and applied by the Treasury in accordance with the suggestions of two voluntary organisations which, between them, did most of the educational work then carried on in England among the children of the poor. The larger of these two societies was entitled, "The National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church." Its schools are still commonly called, for short, "National Schools," and the great majority of the voluntary or non-provided schools now existing in England and Wales are of this type.
Founded in 1811 to take up the educational part of the work of the Society for promoting Christian knowledge (which was itself founded in 1698), its schools were carried on in accordance with the ideas of Dr. Bell. The pupils were all obliged to receive instruction in the Liturgy and Catechism of the Established Church of England, and were required to attend its prayers and services.2
The smaller but earlier Association, founded in 1808, was called "The British and Foreign School Society," and went on the lines popularised by Joseph Lancaster. Bible lessons were given, but there was no denominational teaching. Children of all creeds were received; but the "Lancaster" schools were. supported mainly by the Nonconformists, who generally desire religious teaching, provided that no creeds or catechisms are used. Since the State began to interest itself in education, the religious conflict in regard to elementary schools has been between the champions of the Bible and the champions of the Creeds-between denominational and undenominational religion.
In 1839 a special Committee of the Privy Council, presided over by the Lord President, was established by Order in
1 Cf. Graham Balfour's Educational Systems of Great Britain and Ireland, p. 2. He observes that the grant being a vote in supply did not require the consent of the Lords.
Council (in order to avoid the opposition of the Peers) for the administration of the annual grant. The Committee appointed a permanent staff, including two inspectors, and from this time forward the work of educating the children of the poor began to acquire the character of a public service. The Government grants increased gradually until they reached a total of £842,000 in 1861. In that year Robert Lowe, then Vice-President of the Committee, formulated the system of payment by resultsthat is to say, he made the amount of the grant depend upon the efficiency of each school, and the test of efficiency was an examination by one of Her Majesty's inspectors. Lowe described the aim of the new system in an epigram: "If the system will not be cheap, it will be efficient; and if it will not be efficient, it will be cheap." Bad schools lost their subsidies, and in four years the annual grants fell to £636,000.1
All this time the voluntary principle had been preserved intact. "Attendance grants" had been given in order to encourage local managers to do their best to attract more children to school; but as yet Parliament had made no attempt to introduce a compulsory system. In 1853, indeed, Lord John Russell had brought in a Borough Bill to enable towns of more than 5000 inhabitants to give aid from the rates to local elementary schools; but the Bill, which might well have led to the municipalisation of education, was unfortunately abandoned. Until 1870 all elementary schools. remained upon a purely voluntary basis. No child need receive any instruction unless it happened to be a pauper, a criminal, or the child of a soldier, or at work in a factory. All that the State would do was to assist and encourage voluntary effort and local initiative in the building of new schools and the maintenance of old ones. Generally speaking, schools were religious trusts. The managing body was seldom representative, and most of the schools were controlled by the clergy. Teachers were required to submit to a religious test, and children who attended a school were not, as a rule, allowed to absent themselves from the religious instruction until after 1853, when a conscience clause was generally insisted on as a condition of the grants-in-aid.
When Mr. Gladstone's first Ministry determined to pro
1 Graham Balfour, op. cit. pp. 17-19.