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Education. If the President of the Board is in the House of Lords, he is to have a Parliamentary Secretary in the House of Commons; but it is probable that, owing to the extent of the public expenditure involved, it will become customary for the Minister to sit in the Lower House.

There is to be a permanent Secretary of the Education Office with certain Principal Assistant Secretaries.

The following diagram will show the relative positions of the chief officials at present appointed under the Board of Education Act:

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The Board of Education Act, sweeping away as it does the old Committee of Council on Education, abolishes the VicePresidency of that Committee, but by special provision of the Act Sir John Gorst still enjoys the title and powers of VicePresident which, so soon as he leaves office, will become extinct. In consequence of this special provision the need for appointing a Parliamentary Secretary has not arisen.

The appointments indicated above do not constitute, it should be remarked, by any means an ideal arrangement, or even so good an arrangement as reasonably might have been expected from the assurances given on more than one occasion in the House of Lords by the Lord President of the Council

himself, who definitely promised to appoint three [not two] Principal Assistant Secretaries of equal status. These assurances, which had the effect of disarming hostility to the Board of Education Bill, have hitherto been disregarded in these official appointments, but as the existing arrangements are not prescribed by the Act they need not be regarded as an ultimate solution of the problem, and they may, at no distant date, give place to the arrangement contemplated immediately before the Act was passed.

3. There is to be attached to the Board of Education a Consultative Committee, composed, as to at least two-thirds, of persons "qualified to represent the views of Universities and other Bodies interested in education."

In June 1900, the first appointments to membership of the Consultative Committee under the Act were made by Her Majesty in Council, and no reasonable objection can be raised against the personnel of this educational Council of 18 as first constituted. As in the Bryce Commission, there are upon it three women-Mrs Bryant, Miss Manley, and Mrs Sidgwick -but the method of selection is not that recommended by the Bryce Commission, which suggested a representative Body nominated in part by educational institutions. The Government has preferred to keep the nomination of members in its own hands. The Committee is empowered to frame regulations for the registration of teachers, but, apart from this function, has no power of initiative; time alone can show how this limitation will work.

4. But the Act goes far beyond mere administrative action : it arranges for the Inspection of all such Secondary Schools as shall apply to be inspected, and it draws no line (as has hitherto been done by the Charity Commissioners) between administrative and educational inspection.

Further, the Board is required to regard Inspection by the Universities as equivalent to the official Inspection. This provision will serve to keep together the great and the lesser

Public Schools, and it need not snap (as the Bryce Commission would have done) the link of fellowship between them.

This Act fully illustrates what have been the prevailing characteristics of educational legislation during the century. It postpones decision on every thorny question, and leaves the decision to the Minister of the day and his advisers. Thus :I. The educational functions of the Charity Commissioners are to be absorbed-when it seems fit.


The Consultative Committee is to have, apart from the registration of teachers, only such duties as may be assigned to it.

3. Inspection is to be optional to all Secondary Schools, public and private alike, and, even then, alternatives [i.e. by the State or by a University] are offered.

As a result, however, though organisation on a national basis is not seriously taken in hand, yet Parliament has authorised a plan of which organisation is the slow but inevitable outcome.

Thus far we have been considering accomplished facts and legislative action, but it appears advisable not to conclude without some reference to the prospect of the early establishment of Local Education Authorities in England. An outline Bill for this purpose was introduced last session by the Lord President. It is in the main, and, so far as it goes, in harmony with the Recommendations of the Bryce Commission: the Authorities which it would constitute would administer a county or a county borough area, and the rating powers seem not unreasonable; but the Bill will need strengthening in more than one direction before it can be considered as satisfactory from an educational point of view: both the constitution and the functions of the Local Authority as proposed lack to some extent that definiteness which is necessary for an effective treatment of the problem.

This defect of indefiniteness is, it is true, shared by the Board of Education Act itself, and proceeds partly from our

national besetting sin of intellectual indolence, that is, shrinking from the trouble of deciding between competing principles of organisation, and partly from a fear of arousing opposition in Parliament.

This shirking of responsibilities does not in the long run attain its end. The administrative machine is set to work without adequate instructions, and the details are gradually filled in a haphazard manner and without any reference to a preconceived principle or plan. This has happened before in every branch of the Public Service in England, and, as regards education, it remains for some great statesman to inform himself on this national question and to interest the public in a policy which he initiates. Without this, nothing fully effective will be done.

We have been advised not to expect too much of the new Office: this is good advice: it is always wise not to expect too much of any institution or of any person. Yet in a matter of national importance one ought not to be content to pitch one's expectation low. To-day educationists and the nation desire to be able to give their confidence to the new Education Office, but confidence depends upon qualities within the Office which no mere Act of Parliament can ensure.

For this confidence there are three requisites:

1. The Office must show a knowledge of the facts with which it has to deal, and of similar facts in other countries.

Such information is being collected and disseminated by the Special Inquiries Section, of which I have no hesitation in saying that the publication of its singularly able Reports did more than any other consideration to quiet the apprehensions entertained by the Public Schools and the Universities as to the Education Department absorbing the other Departments. But the knowledge shown in these Reports needs to be digested and applied in the Education Office itself.

2. The Office must show wisdom in selecting and formulating principles and in applying them in detail. For though

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a symmetrical system, like that of Prussia, may be pronounced an impossibility for us, we still need some official sanction for educational ideals, and this depends on a right and full use of the knowledge and experience of the Consultative Committee whose members are in touch alike with Schools and with Universities.

3. The Office must encourage in its Inspectors and in its other officers both tact and insight in applying principles. The transition stage is always one of hardship to individuals, and the raising of the intellectual standard is bound to cause loss and distress to many estimable persons.

Thus the choice of a fit and adequate Inspectorate will be a crucial test of the degree to which the new Office is rising to the level of its opportunities. How high this level will be depends upon the nation, upon the tide of public opinion. The Central Authority, in whose hands our national fortunes are now placed, is like a great floating dock as the tide flows it rises unconsciously and automatically. It cannot be doubted that the tide of interest in education is rising, and has been rising, especially during the last twenty years. As I look round Cambridge and note the new College and University buildings, dating from 1880 and onwards, buildings for the most part raised by the self-denial of those responsible in College and University for the administration of a great trust, I cannot but feel that in Cambridge, as elsewhere, the somewhat selfish individualism of the last generation is giving place not so much to an impersonal collectivism as to a personal feeling of trusteeship-to a recognition that the educational advantages which we owe to the past ought to be repaid by anticipating the needs of the future in order that School and University may never fail to send forth a full supply of men qualified to serve God in Church and State.

S. M. L.


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