Imatges de pÓgina

before the financial year ends. The aggregate expenditure upon them in 1908-9 is 750,0001., while the total cost when completed is estimated at 74 millions. In this respect the precedents of previous years are closely followed, and Mr. Robertson had ng difficulty in disposing of criticisms of small progress to be made in the coming year. He foreshadowed this cruiser programme in July last, when the Shipbuilding Vote for 1907–8 was considered by the House of Commons. The most interesting feature in the proposals is the start to be made with cruisers of small size. If the conditions mentioned by Lord Tweedmouth are fulfilled, these cruisers will have to be of the protected' type, as they cannot possibly carry side-armour even of moderate thickness. Three years ago the protected cruiser class was treated in official statements as of little worth ; many vessels of that class were 'scrapped,' although they were capable of further and useful service, and were well adapted for work in the North Sea and Baltic. Great differences of opinion still prevail as to the value of enormous cruisers like the Invincible class, but all are agreed that smaller cruisers are requisite, and Germany has steadily advanced their construction while we stood still. Lord Tweedmouth was advised to describe the Invincibles as capable of taking part with battleships in fleet-actions, Grave difficulties obviously exist in the way of making such an association effective, seeing that the Invincibles are of considerably greater length and are likely to be inferior in mancuvring power to battleships. Their armour protection is also distinctly inferior to that in true battleships. Not a few recognised authorities would much prefer that the money required to produce another Invincible, even with improvements, should be spent on the construction of five or six cruisers of moderate size and armament, with good speed and large coal-endurance, capable of acting as the

eyes' of a fleet. The teachings of history and the lessons of the last naval war would thus be utilised. No fleet can exist long which has not all its component parts Well proportioned. Sea-keeping cruisers capable of independent action and possessing large coal-endurance are essential to the operations of war. The so-called Scouts are weak in armament and deficient in coal-supply for scouting services; the Boadicea has similar limitations. The second-class cruisers designed in 1888 are growing old, and many have been scrapped.' What is wanted is clearly a development of the Amethyst class of the Royal Navy, which grew out of the Pelorus class designed in 1893-4. The Germans took the Pelorus class as their model for a small-cruiser type, at which they have worked consistently for ten years. Since 1902 the construction of small sea-keeping cruisers for the Royal Navy has been practically stopped; the Scouts do not belong to that category. Energy and expenditure have been bestowed on the construction of vessels possessing high speed but very limited radius of action and weak armaments

. It



is satisfactory to find that wiser counsels have now prevailed, and arrears should be wiped off speedily if the fleet is to be made fully efficient.

This review of recent naval debates and the new Estimates has been necessarily limited in scope. Many points of interest have been omitted. One cannot fail to be impressed, however, by the frankness and sincerity of the Parliamentary representatives of the Admiralty throughout the discussion. There has been no attempt at evasion or concealment: the actual position of affairs has been disclosed ; honest attempts have been made to set right matters which are in an unsatisfactory condition-particularly in regard to repairs, stocks of naval stores, and the construction of cruisers. As to future naval policy a definite pronouncement has been made ; the world has been told once more, in language that admits of no misunderstanding, that the British Government and people are resolved to maintain, at all costs, that command of the sea without which the Empire cannot exist.


Vol. LXIII-No. 374




The Education Bill introduced by Mr. McKenna contemplates establishing one national system of education under public local representative management, supported by the rates and by the taxes.

It contemplates by the side of this system setting up another set of privately managed and presumably denominational schools, which shall be aided by the State, and which, with some important variations, will resume the place of Voluntary schools before 1902.

It is contemplated that the public system will be the prevalent system available for all who desire it, and that the private system will supply the wants of a relatively small minority who desire these schools.

It may be assumed that after the years of controversy through which we have gone the nation desires that the question of the organisation and maintenance of our elementary school system should be settled, and apart from religious controversies the public recognise that a rate-supported system should be managed by the ratepayers.

There are, however, two opposing difficulties. There is a powerful, active and zealous body of persons interested in the management of schools now receiving public support who desire that their schools shall be connected as closely as possible with Church organisations, and largely under their control and management. If these schools are to be supported by the rates, the conflict between the ratepayers and the private managers will continue so long as dual management is allowed to continue.

On the other hand, if these schools lose the aid of the rates and yet are still recognised, there are many who fear that the education given in these schools will fall off in quality, for lack of funds, and that if they exist in any great numbers the unity of our national system will be impaired.

Let us consider how the Bill attempts to deal with this matter.

In the first place it recognises that the public system is to be the dominant system which is to cover the country, and the other system

is to meet the exceptional case of those parents who prefer a private and denominational organisation.

In order to secure this it begins by practically compelling the transfer of most schools in 'single-school parishes '—that is, in all rural parishes where there is but one school. If the Bill becomes law no Voluntary school in a single-school parish will obtain any State aid. About three-fourths of these are held in trust, and will have to be transferred to the Local Authority;the remainder where the buildings are private property may be bought or hired by the Local Authority, but in no case can the owners obtain public support for them, and therefore they will probably nearly all be acquired in some way or other. Here it may at oncebe observed that the defini. tion of a single school does not, even in rural districts, cover the case apparently intended to be provided for of a neighbourhood where there is but one school within reasonable reach of all.

There are no less than eighty urban districts, often little more than Villages, which have but one school (a Voluntary one, and in nearly every case a Church of England school.

In these districts there are 24,000 children in average attendance, in what are absolutely 'single-school' areas.

Again, there are many rural parishes where there are more than one school, but in many cases the schools are all Church of England or denominational, and in a very large number of cases there is no school under public management. Clearly these parishes also should be provided with a school under public management.

Again, there are many large rural parishes where there are more than one school, but these are situated a mile, or it may be two or three miles, apart, and serve separate hamlets. The accident of a parish being in the North or South of England may determine the transfer or non-transfer of a Voluntary school. In Northumberland, Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire and some other counties, the town. ships which make up the old ecclesiastical parish have been recognised as separate parishes, and therefore the separate village schools will be ineligible for State aid. In the South there are many large parishes, but the hamlets which compose them have never obtained recognition as civil parishes. The real test of whether a school should be eligible for State aid should be whether there are other schools which are under public management, and which are reasonably near and accessible to the population.

A few general figures will show what is the state of things in our administrative counties, leaving out urban districts, boroughs and London.

There are in the administrative counties of England and Wales about 1,270,000 scholars in average attendance in Voluntary schools (Board of Education Statistics, 1908, p. 32).

Of these there are approximately about 510,000 in single-school

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areas as defined by the Bill, nearly 500,000 in urban areas which are under the county authority, and the remainder in rural parishes having more than one school. It is difficult to make an exact calculation of the single-school districts, as often two neighbouring parishes have nearly the same name, and we cannot in each case be sure whether two schools are in one or more than one parish.

Thus in Bedfordshire, Chalgrave and Chalgrave Hockliffe are probably two parishes. Houghton Conquest is probably not the same parish as Houghton Regis. Northill and Northill Upper Caldecote may or may not be one parish. Still, allowing for errors, I do not believe that the single-school parishes contain more than at most 550,000 children.

But under any proper definition of a single-school area there are probably quite 200,000 more children in our administrative counties who should be recognised as entitled at once to the provision of a public school. The Bill, however, fails to provide the proper machinery for securing an adequate supply of public school places before allowing the creation of a large number of privately managed schools.

The Bill apparently contemplates that, except in rural areas specially defined, the existing Voluntary schools may go forward and receive the State grant if only they can show thirty children in attend. ance; and apparently before a public school will be provided, or even ordered to be provided, there must be a specific demand from parents.

This is not satisfactory. When the Act of 1870 was passed it was provided that there should be a thorough examination of the school provision of the country, and orders were issued to supply the school places found to be needed, based as a rule on school places for one-sixth of the population.

To suppose that in rural districts the parents will come forward and demand places is not in accordance with our knowledge of what takes place. The thing was proved after the enactment of free education.

The proper course to pursue would be immediately on the passing of the Act to call on all those who desire to continue their Voluntary schools as State-aided schools to ascertain by a signed petition the number of parents (and scholars) desiring to continue in the school, and as the managers of these schools will be allowed to charge fees they should make known before getting signatures what fee it is proposed to charge, for clearly the desire to send a child to Little Peddlington existing Church school with no fee is not the same as desiring to send it with a fee of a penny or twopence.

Mr. McKenna said in his speech on the first reading that no pressure could be put on parents in our rural hamlets to prevent them from making a demand for a public school, because practically the school would necessarily be transferred. But that is not the case. Take Dorsetshire : we have the small parish of West Lulworth, with forty

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