WHEN Mr McKenna was President of the Board of Education, he carried out his threat against denominational schools by introducing his “sword” policy into the regulations he framed for the secondary schools which desired to retain their distinctively religious character. With spiteful ingenuity he made it a condition for their receiving the full grant that they should give 25 per cent of school places free to children from the primary schools, appoint teachers free from all religious tests, and elect a majority of the governing body likewise free from religion tests. Adversely as Regulations 23 and 24 have worked in relation to denominational schools, however efficient, the balance against these schools will be still greater under Mr Fisher’s new Education Bill. For, while the regulations still stand, the fact that there is to be a large increase in the grant to schools that submit to the conditions we have named above will place the other type of schools at a proportionately increased disadvantage. They would cease to attract the best teachers, and in time would be forced out of the national system of education. That was Mr McKenna’s unconcealed intention, but we refuse to believe that it is his successor’s. We are glad to see that the Secondary Schools Association, which held a special meeting a few days ago, intends to work for a modification by the Education Minister of these arbitrary regulations. It was suggested at the meeting that it might be possible to concede the 25 per cent of the free places and the protection of the Conscience Clause in return for concessions on the part of the Board.
The full Church Times archive is available online free to subscribers here