LAY EXPERT WOULD LIKE INQUIRY INTO EDUCATION ACT ADMINISTRATION
Support for the protest, published in the CATuome HERALD, against the unwieldy administrative machine which has been erected on the Education Act comes from a Director of Education, who asks for a respite from the flow of proposals, recommendations and requirements.
Mr F. A. Hughes, the Director of Education for Staffordshire, also asked for a suspension of judgment on the Hadow Report, and suggested that it might require modification as a result of experience.
The repressive effect of recent schemes on religious schools is shown by the proposal of Lord Sankey to the Church of England Education Council that some of the schools might have to be surrendered.
From Our Educational Correspondent
Mgr. W. F. Brown, Bishop of Pella, told me this week that it would not be right to single out objects of criticism at this time. "Both the Board of Education and the local education authorities," he said, "have to work within the limits of an Act of Parliament, which must inevitably affect the position of the former all-age smaller school. " The whole conception of the change was introduced in the Act of 1918 which laid down the changes in the grades and methods which should follow when the children reached a certain age."
Asked his views as to the demand for an inquiry into the administrative machinery which has been erected on the Education Acts, he replied: " Ah I That is another matter."
RIG SUPPORT Support for this demand came last week from Mr F. A. Hughes, the Director of Education for Staffordshire and President of the Association of Directors and Secretaries of Education.
In his presidential address to the Association he pleaded for a respite from the spate of administrative demands. He complained that " during recent years there had come from the central authority a flow, in almost overwhelming amount, of proposals, recommendations, and requirements of a purely educational character which had placed upon local authorities a burden which they could efficiently bear only with great difficulty."
BURDEN ON MANAGERS It may be reasonable to ask if local authorities can bear the administrative burden " only with great. difficulty," how can our school managers bear it and the additional burden of further unforeseen demands?
Mr Hughes gave it as his opinion that the reorganised schools demanded unhurried opportunities for experiment, and said that it would be foolish to assume that the aims of the Hadow Report had been reached, or even that they might not require modification as a result of experience.
This suggested doubt of the complete infallibility of the Hadow Scheme is of considerable interest coming from so prominent a Director of Education, and it parallels the very complaint made by the Very Rev. Canon J. Newton in the Interview published in the CATHOLIC HERALD last week.
FURTHER OBJECTIONS Other objections to the administrative scheme made by Mr Hughes were that the arrangements were " chaotic," and the vesting of powers of two different kinds on local authorities made for confusion.
He said further, that there is urgent need for a comprehensive and critical examination of the whole adminestrafive aspect of the educational sy.stem of the country, and demanded a complete statutory reorganisation.
Mr Hughes was, of course, dealing with the administrative demands and proposals of the Board of Education, and while one may agree with him to that extent there appears to be strong ground for extending the proposed inquiry to include the local powers under which unsympathetic authorities can wreck the development of Catholic education, while authorities which are neither unsympathetic nor sympathetic can impose an unreasonably heavy burden.
PRIMATE'S OPTIMISM It is not only Catholic schools which' suffer from these heavy administrative handicaps. Church of England schools are likewise suffering. Lord Sankey last week, as chairman of the National Society, addressed the Consultative Committee of the Central Council of the Church of England for Religious Education, and gave a grave view of the situation.
He went so far as to declare that the Church of England might have to surrender some of its schools because of the growing demands of the Board of Education.
The Archbishop of Canterbury opposed this suggestion because he did not think local education authorities were at all likely to " impose further difficulties upon Church schools." Lord Sankey was less optimistic.