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Volume 245: debated on Thursday 20 November 1930

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Conveyance Of Children


asked the President of the Board of Education whether, in view of the additional expenditure involved and of the representations made to him respecting the increased expenditure by local education authorities in connection with the conveyance of children to senior schools consequent upon the adoption of reorganisation schemes, he proposes materially to increase the present grant of 20 per cent.?

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave, a fortnight ago, to the Noble Lord the Member for Dorset South (Viscount Cranborne), of which I am sending him a copy.

Is it the policy of the Board of Education to make an extra grant to rural authorities, in view of the fact that they are called upon to spend large sums of money that the urban authorities are not called upon to spend?

University Scholarships And Exhibitions


asked the President of the Board of Education whether he has any information as to the proportion of scholarships and exhibitions secured in open competition by children whose education began in the primary schools at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge?

I regret that I have no information as to open scholarships awarded at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

School Attendance Bill


asked the President of the Board of Education how the estimated figure of £5 per head or thereabouts mentioned in the White Paper as likely to be incurred under the Education (School Attendance) Bill upon the education of children aged 14 to 15 years, is allocated as between teachers' salaries, loan charges, administrative expenses, and other items of expenditure?

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the estimate of £2,500,000, given in the Financial Memorandum of the Bill, for the extra provision for educating the additional age group. This sum is allocated as follows:

Salaries of teachers1,800,000
Loan charges, maintenance of buildings, provision of books, and allowance for overhead charges700,000


asked the President of the Board of Education which education authorities within the boundaries of Greater London have notified him that they will be ready to deal with the increased number of children necessitated by the Education Bill by the date mentioned therein, and which have failed to do so up to the present date?

Local education authorities have not been asked to notify the Board whether they will be ready to deal with the additional children to be retained in the schools under the Bill now before the House. All the authorities in Greater London, except the London County Council, Hornsey, and Wimbledon, have submitted complete or partial programmes for the three years 1930–33, which take account of the provision necessary for the additional children. These programmes suggest that, generally speaking, the necessary accommodation will be available, though it may not be possible to avoid temporary pressure in a few districts, particularly where extensive housing developments are taking place. It cannot be assumed that the authorities which have not submitted programmes making the necessary provision will, in fact, be unable to do so if the Bill become law.

Is it still the intention of the Government to launch this Bill when they know that numerous authorities are not ready with the accommodation required or with the teachers?

Is it not a fact that the greater part of the County of London has ample accommodation?

Is it not the case that the right hon. Gentleman sent a letter to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Brighton (Major Tryon) in Which he said that only 50 local authorities, which included none of the large authorities and no county authorities, will be ready or have said that they will be ready by 1st April next—


asked the President of the Board of Education the estimated amount of the burden falling upon the rates in England to meet the expenditure which would be incurred through the raising of the school age and in the provision of maintenance grants on the scale proposed; and whether he can supply the estimated figures for each county and city area in England?

In the Financial Memorandum on the Education (School Attendance) Bill I have given an estimate of the eventual additional charge on the rates in England and Wales. I am unable, however, to supply separate figures for England or for individual areas.


asked the President of the Board of Education the substance of any representations made to him by the County Councils' Association in regard to the date of operation of the Education (School Attendance) Bill and any other provisions of the Bill?

I have been informed by the Education Committee of the County Councils' Association that the earliest date for raising the school age should be 1st September, 1933, and that, in regard to maintenance allowances, they see no reason for a departure from the recommendations of the committee representing the local authorities.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that unless pressure comes from above some of the county councils referred to in this question will not be ready by 1973?

Commercial Training


asked the President of the Board of Education in how many elementary day schools special commercial training over a period of more than one year is given; and whether he will consider making arrangements which will enable suitable scholars to obtain at least two years' commercial instruction prior to reaching the age of 14?

I regret that I have not the necessary information to enable me to answer the first part of the hon. Member's question. As regards the second part of the question, the type of instruction to be provided for older children is, generally speaking, left to the discretion of the local education authorities. I have, however, already drawn the attention of the authorities to the importance of providing facilities for varying types of instruction for these older children, and, as one of the results of reorganisation now going on, there is a continued increase in the number of schools in which such facilities are, in fact, provided.

Has the right hon. Gentleman drawn the attention of the local authorities to the necessity of providing special instruction in rural areas?

Secondary Schools


asked the President of the Board of Education how many secondary schools which are both rate-and grant-aided have equipment enabling them to give mechanical and practical courses at least the equivalent of the courses provided in junior technical schools?

I regret that 1 am unable to give the desired information. A certain number of secondary schools include engineering courses in their curriculum and possess the necessary equipment for this purpose, and if my hon. Friend so desires, I shall be glad to give him any information I can in regard to them. But I am afraid that I have not found it possible to apply the standards obtaining in junior technical schools so as to make the comparison suggested in the question.

In considering the plans of new secondary schools, will the right hon. Gentleman try to see that provision is made for adequate courses of practical instruction suitable to the ages of the boys and girls there?

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that, without that, the extra year will be a waste of time?

Maintenance Allowances


asked the President of the Board of Education the name of any county in which children are obliged to attend school beyond the age of 14 where maintenance allowances are granted to such children to enable them to attend school after that age?

The education authority for the County of Carnarvonshire has adopted a byelaw requiring attendance at school up to the age of 15, and has also in operation a scheme of maintenance allowances for children over the age of 14.

Will the right hon. Gentleman take note that the question was meant to refer to "country" and not "county"?

Are all the maintenance allowances given by Carnarvonshire on a flat rate?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a flat rate in Carnarvonshire of 3s. a week?

School-Leaving Age


asked the President of the Board of Education what Foreign States or provinces of the Dominions have raised the school-leaving age above 14 years; and which of these states or provinces, if any, have both a school year consisting of as many hours' attendance as are required in this country, and a system under which no exemptions are permitted below the school-leaving age?

As regard the first part of the question, the countries concerned are:


Fourteen of the cantons of Switzerland;

Forty-three of the 48 States of the United States of America and the District of Columbia;

The provinces of Nova. Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Alberta in Canada;

All four provinces of the Union of South Africa (as regards children of European descent).

As regards the second part of the question, the only country which appears both to require as much attendance per annum as is required in this country and to make no provision for exemption is Norway, as regards its urban schools.

Is it not a fact that in Norway a very short school year is required in the rural schools?