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Elementary Education Act—Attendance At Schools—Question

Volume 229: debated on Monday 22 May 1876

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asked the Vice President of the Council, Whether, in the half-year ending Christmas 1875, the number of children in average attendance at the voluntary schools of the Tower Hamlets and Marylebone Divisions of the London School Board did not show a decrease of 1,082 and 714 respectively, whilst in the same period the increase in the Board Schools amounted only to 716 and 128 respectively; what amount of accommodation has been provided by the London School Board in the Tower Hamlets Division; whether, in the half-year ending at Christmas 1875, there was not accommodation for 412,259 children in "efficient"schools in London, and whether the average attendance for the same period was not 288,497 only; whether, in spite of the compulsory bye-laws and the opening of several large Board Schools during the period above mentioned, the general result has not been a reduction in the average attendance of children in the voluntary schools of 5,310, whilst the increase in the Board Schools has only amounted to 6,774, leaving a nett increase for all the "efficient"schools in London (both voluntary and Board) of 1,464 only; and, how many schools were opened by the Board during the same period, and what was the amount of additional accommodation thus provided?

I have referred my hon. Friend's Question to the London School Board, and will now give him their reply. It is true that in the half-year ending Christmas, 1875, the number of children in average attendance at the voluntary schools in the Tower Hamlets and Marylebone divisions showed a decrease of 1,082 and 715 respectively, and that in the same period the increase in the Board schools in these divisions amounted only to 716, and 128 respectively. The London School Board has provided, accommodation for 19,758 children in the Tower Hamlets division, of which accommodation for 955 children has been added during the half-year above mentioned. It is also true that in the half-year ending Christmas, 1875, there was accommodation for 412,259 children in efficient schools in London, and that the average attendance for the same period was 288,497. During the half-year ending Christmas, 1875, it is true that there has been a reduction in the average attendance of children in voluntary schools of 5,310, the increase in Board schools amounting only to 6,774, leaving a nett increase upon the efficient schools of London of 1,464. I am, however, bound, as a matter of justice to mention to the House that the School Board has informed me that the half-year which ended last Christmas was exceptionally bad, owing to the severity of the weather and the sickness which prevailed; also that the half-year which my hon Friend has taken includes the holidays, and that the winter quarter is, as a rule, the worst for attendance. I must also mention that if you compare the last half-year which my hon. Friend has taken with the corresponding half of the preceding year, instead of comparing it with that ending in June, it will be found that in the Marylebone schools there was an increase in average attendance of 716 in the Board schools and 268 in the voluntary schools, and in the Tower Hamlets of 1,932 in the Board schools and 406 in the voluntary. In fairness, also, it should be added, as the question is a very important one, that the Board informs me that if you compare the average attendance for the whole of the metropolis between 1875 and 1871 the increase in the average attendance in Board schools has been 78,645, and in the voluntary schools 35,551.