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MANAGEMENT CLAUSES IN THE TRUST DEEDS OF CHURCH
OF ENGLAND SCHOOLS.
CORRESPONDENCE RELATING TO THE MINUTE OF THE COMMITTEE
or COUNCIL ON EDUCATION, DATED JUNE 28, 1847, ON THE “ MANAGEMENT CLAUSES."
(No. 1.) The Dean of Lichfield to the Committee of Council on Education. SIR,
Lichfield Close, November 17, 1847. The Lichfield Diocesan Board of Education have had their attention called to the Minute of the Committee of Council, dated June 28, 1847, in which it is ordered, “that “ the Secretary be instructed, in communicating with applicants “ for aid for school buildings for Church of England Schools, to
recommend the adoption in each case of such one of the above“ mentioned management clauses as may appear most suitable “ to the character and number of the population of the school “ district, as affording means for the selection of persons com“ petent and willing to act as school managers."
Representations have also been made to them, that, grants have been refused to applicants for aid who have declined to act on these recommendations.
In reference to the above, the Board, having met under their President the Lord Bishop of Lichfield, have appointed a committee, for the purpose of making inquiry into the meaning and application of the Minute.
And I am requested, as chairman of the committee, to obtain information from you, whether, the recommendation there spoken of is to be so interpreted, that, applicants for aid from the Committee of Council, who may decline to adopt it, will forfeit their claim to such aid from the public money? Or whether (to quote the words of his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, and of the National Society) “the promoters of education throughout the country have the same liberty of choice, as to the constitution of their schools, as has been hitherto conceded to them, both by the Committee of Council and by the National Society ?"
I have the honor to be, &c., (Signed) Henry E. J. HOWARD, Dean of Lichfield. The Secretary of the Committee of Council on Education,
ANSWER. The Committee of Council on Education to the Dean of Lichfield.
Committee of Council on Education, VERY REVEREND SIR, Council Office, Whitehall, November 24, 1847.
I HAVE submitted to the Lord President of the Council your letter, dated November 17, 1847, in which, as chairman of a committee appointed by the Lichfield Diocesan Board to inquire into the meaning and application of the Minute of the Committee of Council relative to the management clauses of school deeds, you ask, whether “ the promoters of education “ throughout the country have the same liberty of choice as “ to the constitution of their schools as has been hitherto con“ ceded to them, both by the Committee of Council and by “ the National Society ?”
In answer to this question, I am directed to inform though the Minute of the Committee of Council is dated June 28, 1847, the administration of their Lordships in relation to school deeds, as described in that Minute, has undergone no material practical change during the last two years and a half. You will find the circumstances in which the practice of this office originated described in the letter addressed to the Bristol Deanery Board, dated October 7, 1847, a copy of which I en. close for your information. The facts related in this letter appeared to their Lordships to require their interference, to secure the legal estate of parochial schools from the consequences of local mismanagement. The Committee of Council have not, either recently or for some years past, accepted the choice of the local promoters of National Schools, as in all respects determining the constitution of these schools; on the contrary, their Lordships have required, as a condition of their grants, not only security for the legal estate, but that the terms of union with the National Society should form the basis of the constitution of schools connected with that Society.
Their Lordships have accordingly embodied these terms of union in certain management clauses which are set forth in their Minute of June 28, 1847, and have declared, in that Minute, that they regard those clauses as essential for the constitution of Church of England Schools connected with that Society. Accordingly, in parishes in which there were literate and respectable lay men who were bonâ fide members of the Church of England, and who by their subscriptions and exertions had testified their zeal for the education of the poor, my Lords have felt it to be their duty to require that certain of these lay parishioners should, in strict accordance with the terms of union with the National Society, be associated with the clergyman in the management of the school.
Their Lordships have provided for the superintendence of the religious instruction by the parochial clergyman, and for the settlement of any question relative to such religious instruction by an appeal to the Diocesan, whose decision is to be final. The clergyman is ex-officio chairman of the Board of Managers, and has a casting vote; and he may also appoint his curate or curates members of the Board. Due provision is therefore made for his occupying a position of dignity and influence in the general management of the school, while the arrangements for the election of the committee confirm that influence, and afford him security against factious opposition.
Their Lordships have listened with attention to the suggestions of the local promoters of schools, upon all questions relative to the adaptation of any particular clause to the circumstances of a parish; and, wherever they could do so without the violation of some fundamental principle, they have been disposed to concur with such suggestions.
Î'he enclosed copy of a letter to the Bishop of Ripon on this subject will explain to you the course which their Lordships have adopted in large towns and populous districts. From this account you will readily infer what has been the course of administration in purely rural districts.
In those cases, however, in which the local promoters of schools connected with the National Society have proposed a departure from the obvious meaning and intention of the terms of union with that Society, their Lordships have felt it to be their duty to maintain the principles involved in those terms of union.
In the early period of their administration, before the necessity for such interference had become apparent, clauses of the most various and questionable character had been inserted in school deeds, forcibly illustrating the fact that the discretion of the local managers cannot be accepted in the stead of general rules.
As examples, I may enumerate arrangements by which the parochial character of the school was unnecessarily departed from, the management being confided to clergymen of several surrounding parishes and their successors, or even, though rarely, to the trustees of the church, though resident in different and remote parts of England, or to the patron of the benefice, even when the patronage was vested in a non-resident corporation, or, in rarer cases, to municipal or other officers, without any other provision as to their qualification ; or power was given to some person or persons to appoint managers, without any definition of their qualifications; or a school erected in one ecclesiastical district has been under the superintendence of a clergyman in another ecclesiastical district, who has resisted all interference with management by the parochial minister. In other cases, though the constitution was parochial, no
laymen (whatever might be their zeal, sacrifices, or exertions) were admissible to the management, which was vested exclusively in the clergymen. It is scarcely necessary to remark, that, except where no literate and respectable lay subscribers to the school are resident in the parish, such a constitution is not adapted either to conciliate general opinion, or to meet the views of Parliament in making provision towards the support of parochial schools out of public funds. The general adoption of such a constitution appeared to their Lordships to be likely to awaken the jealousy of the laity, as to the application of adequate funds from the public resources to the support of institutions from the management of which they were to be excluded. When, however, in any parish there are no literate and respectable lay subscribers to the school who are bonâ fide members of the Church of England, their Lordships have, by clause C, provided that the management of the school shall devolve on the clergyman alone, until the bishop shall direct that a committee of the subscribers be appointed.
In other cases, it was proposed to their Lordships to substitute for the rule of the National Society, which enables any member of the Committee of Management to submit any question relative to the religious instruction to the Diocesan, another rule, enabling any single member of the Committee to bring under the consideration of the Diocesan any question whatever relative to the management of the school, and giving the Diocesan power, on the appeal of this single member, to set aside any decision of the Committee, even though it should have been adopted by every member except the appellant. Their Lordships were of opinion, that there is no precedent in English institutions for so complete a subjection of a body of local managers to any central authority.
The definition of the qualification of the electors and managers has been the subject of another suggestion, differing from the terms of union with the National Society. It has been proposed to substitute for the words “ Members of the Church of England,” used in the terms of union with the National Society, the qualification “ Communicants of the Church of England," or the words “who shall have communicated three times at the least in the then current year in the parish church.”
Respecting these suggestions, their Lordships have to remark that they were seldom or never made until within the last year and a half. In almost all earlier deeds the term “Member of the Church of England” was inserted, as conveying a sufficient description of the qualification of the elector
To the use of the term communicant" (even when its want of a definite legal signification is in some degree removed by a specification of the times when, and the place where, the elector or manager is to communicate) their Lord
ships have entertained the grave objection, that, this word appears to revive the risk that the Holy Sacrament would be subject to desecration by those who had no better motive for partaking of it, than that of qualifying themselves for an office.
But, as it is their Lordships' wish and intention that the managers of Church of England schools should be bonâ fide members of that church, they would be prepared to adopt any other description of the qualifications of school managers which would insure this result, and which was not open to graver
objections than those which it removed.
But if the discretion of the local managers were to be accepted, as an absolute means of determining the constitution of parochial schools, instances could be found in the earlier deeds (for which their Lordships are only responsible in as far as they had not then conceived it to be their duty to interfere) in which all precautions as to the qualifications of the managers were neglected, and in which, consequently, schools erected by the funds of members of the Church of England have passed into the management of persons who will allow of no instruction from the Liturgy.
There is no example, so far as their Lordships are aware, of any school in which they have interfered to recommend the adoption of clauses resembling those contained in their Minute of June 28, 1847, in which such consequences have ensued. While, therefore, my Lords consider it to be their duty, as it has always been their practice, to listen with attention to the suggestions of the local managers, and to endeavour to concur with them in the modification of the clauses set forth in their Minute of June 28, 1847, I am to inform you that, as those clauses embody important general principles from which they are unwilling to depart, they cannot accept the discretion of the local promoters of schools as an absolute rule, determining in such matters their administration, respecting the constitution to be admitted in the deeds of National Schools. Their Lordships observe that a misconception prevails, that,
administrative procedure relative to school deeds, now embodied in the Minute of June 28, 1847, is a recent condition of their grants, adopted in violation of some supposed compact that the inspection of schools, as regulated by the Order in Council of August 10, 1840, was to be the only condition on which grants of public money would be made in aid of the erection and maintenance of parochial schools.
That this is a misconception will be apparent to you from the fact that, during the whole period of their Lordships' administration of the public grants, the terms of union with the National Society were virtually adopted by the promoters of National Schools, though the legal efficacy of that virtual adoption was very questionable, if not, in fact, valueless; and