13 JANUARY 1906, Page 16


SIR,—I have read with interest the correspondence on the Education question which has appeared in your columns, but none of the solutions suggested seem, in the present state of opinion, likely to solve the problem, or be capable of recon- ciliation with the principles of justice. The suggestion of a voluntary rate for the payment of denominational instruction which is made by my friend Dr. Hodgkin has much to commend it, but he omits one of the important factors which occasions much of the difficulty of the present problem,—viz., that the non-provided schools are the property of the denominations which have erected them, and that they have been built with money subscribed for the purpose of giving denominational instruction. Justice requires that if these schools are to pass under the absolute control of the local education authority, the rights of the present owners must be recognised. Why not recognise them by taking over the buildings at a fair rent, and, as the rent would be derived from property which is held in trust for the purpose of securing denominational religious instruction, require that it be spent in paying teachers, either on the staff of the school, or others, to impart religious instruction to children of the denomination to which the property belongs ? The option might be made even wider, and where thought desirable the rent received might be utilised for giving religious instruction out of school hours, and even outside the school buildings. This would recognise the rights of property, provide for denominational teaching for those who desire it, and at the same time take the cost of such teaching off the rates, and so satisfy the scruples of the "passive resister." It would also put an end to the existence of a dual system of schools, which is such a difficulty from the point of view of administration. The income derived from rent of denominational schools might be supplemented by subscrip- tions, and Nonconformists would have equal liberty with others to provide teachers to supplement such undenominational teaching as the local education authority might give.—I am,