Vote to the Science and Art Department for 1898-99 was 600, 78U., including 270,800Z. for schools of science and art, grants in aid, &c. The Elementary Education Act of 1870 and subsequent amending Acts now regulate elementary education in England and Wales. The central administrative authority resides in the Education Department or Committee of Council on Education, consisting of Lords of the Privy Council with the President of the Privy Council as President, and a member of the Privy Council as Vice-President who represents the department in the House of Commons. Sufficient school accommodation must be provided in every district for all the resident children between the ages of 5 and 14. The boroughs and parishes are, unless the educational requirements are otherwise supplied, formed or grouped into school districts each with its elected school board which may compel parents to send their children to school. In boroughs and parishes where school boards are not required school attendance committees are appointed. On January 1, 1898, there were in England and Wales 2,502 school boards embracing a population of 19,918,110, and 785 school attend- ance committees embracing a population of 9,084,415. In board schools unsectarian religious instruction is given ; in voluntary schools sectarian doc- trines may be inculcated. There are 7 standards and each pupil should pass one standard every year. The minimum age for exemption from school attendance is 11. A "code" providing in detail for the regulation of schools is annually prepared by the department and submitted to Parliament. In 1891, by a fee grant of ten shillings for each child between 3 and 15 years of age in average attendance, education was rendered practically free in England and Wales. By the Voluntary Schools Act, 1897, an annual grant of five shillings per pupil in average attendance is available for necessitous voluntary schools, and provision is made for associations of such schools, the governing bodies of which will (subject to the approval of the Education Department) distribute this grant to the associated schools. An amending Elementary Education Act of the same year increases the amount of grant payable to school boards. The following table includes the total number of Voluntary and Board day-schools under inspection during the last 5 years ; —
Years ended August 31 Schools Inspected Accommodation Average Attendance Children on School Registers 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 19,577 19,709 19,739 19,848 19,958 5,762,617 5,832,944 5,937,288 6,072,374 6,215,199 4,100,030 4,225,834 4,325,030 4,422,911 4,488,543 5,126,373 5,198,741 5,299,469 5,422,989 5,507,039
On August 31, 1897, there were in England and Wales 5,539 Board Schools with average attendance of 2,023,850 pupils ; 11,831 National Society Schools with 1,869,393 pupils; 456 Wesleyan with 124,485 pupils; 1,018 Roman Catholic with 240,197 pupils; 1,131 British, Undenominational, and others with 231,118 pupils. In the same year there were 58,814 certificated teachers, 25,206 assistant teachers, 32,598 pupil teachers, and 14,155 addi- tional women teachers. In 1897 there were 44 residential training colleges with 3,629 students, and 14 day training colleges with 1,061 students. The School Inspectors are appointed by the Crown on the recommendation of the Education Department.