asked the President of the Board of Education whether he will state how many elementary schools, comprising how many school places, are still assessed on the 8 square feet per scholar basis; and whether, in view of the fact that overcrowded class-rooms predispose the children educated in them to tuberculosis, he will issue a circular fixing a date next year for assessing all schools on the 10 square feet basis?
In the Board's Annual Report for 1909–10 it was stated that outside London the reassessment of public elementary schools upon the basis of 10 square feet per head for older scholars, and 9 square feet for "infants" was practically completed. There are only a very few cases in which the reassessment has not come into force pending alterations to premises and the erection of new schools. In London the reassessment will be made as part of the scheme for reducing all classes to forty or forty-eight places for older children and infants respectively. I do not think the labour involved in ascertaining the precise number of cases still outstanding would be justified under the circumstances, nor does it appear to me necessary to issue a circular on the subject.
Private Schools Association
asked the President of the Board of Education whether he has recently received a deputation from the Private Schools Association; if so, what was the object of such a deputation; and whether he can indicate the substance of any reply given to this deputation?
I recently received a joint deputation from the College of Preceptors and the Private Schools Association, who desired to lay before me their views with regard to the relation of private schools to a national system of education. The principal subject of discussion was the State inspection of private schools, but as our discussion was in the nature of an informal exchange of views there is nothing which, at the moment, I can publish with advantage.
Was the attitude of the deputation one of protest or one of congratulation?
It was one of inquiry.
Association Or Teachers (London)
asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that an association of teachers in London has passed a resolution questioning the legality of and protesting against the demands which have been lately required of the London education authority as a result of the survey on non-provided schools; whether he has received a copy of this resolution; of so, what answer has been returned; and whether, in view of the admitted danger of tuberculosis to children in ill-ventilated and overcrowded schools, he will continue to press upon local education authorities and managers the need of proper school buildings?
An association of teachers in London have sent me a memorandum, which I have acknowledged. It expresses anxiety with regard to the reports made to the Board upon the premises of certain voluntary schools in those boroughs, and with regard to the interests of the teachers concerned. I think that the Board's procedure in London and elsewhere is sufficient evidence of their intention to secure an adequate supply of suitable school accommodation.
Lancashire Education Committee
asked the President of the Board of Education whether his attention has been drawn to a statement made on behalf of the Lancashire Education Committee, to the effect that they have adopted a time-table setting out the order and period in which applications for the erection of new council schools can be dealt with; whether he is aware that under this time-table any application now made could not be dealt with till 1917; and, seeing that the effect of this rule will be that all new accommodation urgently required must be met by the erection or extension of non-provided schools, and in view of the disabilities which this would impose, especially on Nonconformists in single school areas with expanding populations, whether he will communicate with the, county education committee on the matter?
The question apparently refers to a statement made at a public inquiry recently held by the Board into a proposal to provide a new voluntary school. In that case the local education authority had already informed the Board that they would be prepared to consider favourably a request for a council school whenever there is an effective demand for it. I presume that the time-table referred to is the building programme adopted by the authority which obviously cannot preclude the exceptional treatment of urgent cases.
asked the President of the Board of Education when the Report of the Departmental Committee on dental certificates will be issued?
The Report has been laid and copies will be available in a few days.
asked the President of the Board of Agriculture if he will state, in fixing the economic rent of cottages to be built under the Housing Bill, what rate of interest on the capital expended and what additional percentage for other regular charges will be demanded as rent?
I would refer the hon. and gallant Gentleman to the answer which I gave to a similar question on the 20th July.