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The Education Bill



    THE debate on clause 10, the most important feature of the Education Bill, was resumed in Committee of the whole House on Wednesday, June 5, and continued on June 10 and 11. Sir H. Hibbert submitted, at the instance of many Lancashire Members, an alternative scheme to that, of the Bill, whereby, at the option of the local authority, half-time between fourteen and sixteen years of age and thenceforward no compulsory scheme bf continued education might be substituted for the proposal in the Bill to require between the ages of fourteen and eighteen a maximum of 320 hours in each year to be included within the ordinary wqrking hours. Mr. Fisher opposed the amendment on the ground that it could not be made mandatory over the whole country, that it would seriously reduce wages, introduce confusion into administration, and would practically double the demand for- teachers and for school accommodation. To the great disappointmjent oi many friends of the measure, and especially of this important and vital feature of it, Mr. Fisher, in response to representations not only on behalf of the textile industry, but also in respect of agriculture and of coal-mining, submitted amendments to section i. of clause 10 reducing the compulsory hours in each of the four years from 320 to 280, if the local authority so resolve, and providing that the obligation to attend continuation schools shall not, within the period of seven years from the appointed day on which the provisions of clause 10 (i.) come into force, apply to young persons between the ages of sixteen and eighteen. The Lancashire Members thereupon withdrew their opposition, and Mr. Fisher's amendments were adopted, together with an amendment leaving the local authority free to deal with the times and seasons best suited to the circumstances of each locality. Difficulties of buildings, equipment, and the supply of teachers had doubtless something to do with this decision, but the great advantage gained by the concession is permanently to secure the educational oversight of the adolescent until he reaches the age of eighteen. On Monday Mr. Fisher accepted an amendment by which it was agreed to establish a national scheme for training boys who desire to enter the mercantile marine. Sir“Philip Magnus moved to amend subsection 2 in such a way that the recognition of a school as efficient by a British university, equally with such recognition by the Board of Education, should make full-time attendance in that school up to the age of sixteen years a ground of exemption from the obligation to attend continuation schools.

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