Blind And Deaf Children
asked the President of the Board of Education what his Department proposes to do in regard to the future education of blind and deaf children; will the proposed cuts in educational expenditure affect these children to their future training and development; and will these unfortunate children have special consideration from his Department?
I have had under my careful consideration the question of the education of blind and deaf children. I am glad to state that, notwithstanding the present financial difficulties, it will be possible to allow existing schools for such children to be utilised to the full extent of their accommodation.
Continuation Schools, London
asked the President of the Board of Education whether the Government has decided to bring in a Bill to relieve the London County Council of maintaining continuation schools; whether such a Bill will be introduced in the present Session; and, if so, whether the Council will be given notice of such a Bill so that they can make arrangements for the closing of the schools, providing for the teachers employed in the same, and disposing of all the buildings engaged for these schools in London?
A Bill will be introduced in the present Session which will enable the Board to relieve the London County Council from the duty of carrying on continuation schools on the basis of obligatory attendance. I see no reason why the Council should not make provisional arrangements in anticipation of the passing of the Measure. I understand that the Council are not, in fact, enforcing attendance at these schools.
asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that Professor Bompas Smith, Director of the Department of Education of the Manchester University, has issued a circular to persons taking up teaching as a profession warning them that there is a possibility of their not being able to obtain a suitable post at the conclusion of their course of training and giving them an opportunity of withdrawing their application to enter the training department, and that the number of males entering the profession in proportion to females has decreased during the last few years; and whether, in view of these facts, he can make a statement on these matters?
I have seen in the Press a copy of a letter addressed by the Director of the Manchester University Training Department to applicants for admission. The statement that the number of males entering the profession in proportion to females has decreased during the last few years does not agree with the Board's records as to the number of intending teachers recognised. The proportion of males has risen from 14-8 per cent in 1917–18 to 17·2 per cent in 1920–21.
Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate the hardship entailed on these young people who are informed by the professor of their future?
It is to avoid such cases of hardship arising that this notice has been issued by the Director of the University Training Department.
Is that letter by the permission or consent of the Board of Education?
No. The Director acted on his own responsibility, as he was fully entitled to do.