The Liberal education bills: conflict and compromise in religious issues and Liberal Party educational policies 1906-1908

Treasure, Ian Clements (1994). The Liberal education bills: conflict and compromise in religious issues and Liberal Party educational policies 1906-1908. PhD thesis The Open University.



This study follows the religious and educational issues which formed the background to the Education Bills of the Liberal Government in the period 1906-08. The role of the churches and their place in society in the 19th and early 20th Centuries is outlined. The problems of educational provision and lack of resources through the voluntary agencies is reviewed and the impact of the Education Act of 1870 during the period of the School Board era is considered.

The position of the Church of England is outlined alongside the provisions of the Education Act of 1902 and an assessment is made of the working of that Act. The claims and grievances of the Nonconformists are reviewed.

The political consequences of the Conservative Government's defeat and the return of a Liberal Government to power in 1906 is outlined together with a review of that Election. The role of the newspapers and the demands of the various bodies with a declared interest in religion and education are considered.

A detailed examination of the negotiations undertaken between the Liberal Government and the various denominational interests in their attempts to remedy the Nonconformist grievances over the 1902 Education Act during the period 1906-08 is included. The work of the Archbishop of Canterbury on behalf of the Established Church is closely followed to draw the distinction between those working at the highest level of negotiation and those at grass roots level.

The Liberal Government's social reforms and the decline in popularity of the Liberal Party as a vehicle for political Nonconformism is reviewed alongside the stalemate in educational legislation affecting religious issues. The growth of that Government's intervention into the field of social welfare and the lessening impact of religion in the overall life of the Nation is also considered together with a review of changes in attitudes towards religion and its part in educational provision in more recent times.

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