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Volume 155: debated on Monday 19 June 1922

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asked the President of the Board of Education if his attention has been called to the series of resolutions adopted at the annual meeting of the Association of Educational Committees regarding the growth of central bureaucratic control and its effect in discouraging local educational initiative and efficiency; whether he is aware that a local authority cannot put an additional radiator into a class room at a cost of about £3 without submitting plans to London, and that more money is at times spent on unnecessary deputations to Whitehall than would have done the job over and over again; and what steps he is taking in the way of reform?

I have seen a newspaper report of the proceedings at the Sheffield meeting of the Association of Education Committees. I am not aware that plans are required by the Board for £3 radiators, or that there is any justification for sending deputations to London to obtain sanction for such minor improvements. The Board have found it necessary, in view of the conditions, to scrutinise very closely local expenditure which they will be asked to recognise for the calculation of grant, and I believe that in this respect they have taken the course which is most in the interests of education and its future development.

Are not these local people, who have the handling of education, likely to know best how local efficiency in education is to be attained?

Where it is the case, will the right hon. Gentleman give encouragement to local people to show their capacity?