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Approved Schools And Remand Homes

Volume 395: debated on Thursday 2 December 1943

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asked the Home Secretary what means are adopted by his Department to supervise the institutions to which delinquent and other children and juveniles may be sent by juvenile courts; are there any restrictions as to the hours to be worked by them and the form of punishments that may be imposed on them; are the persons responsible for their education or instruction qualified teachers; and what help is given to them on leaving the institution?

The institutions mainly used by juvenile courts are the schools which I approve for the purpose in accordance with the provisions of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933. These schools are subject to rules made by the Secretary of State and to close inspection by officers of my Department. The curriculum must be approved by the Chief Inspector of the Children's Branch of the Home Office and the only forms of punishment which may be used are clearly defined in the Rules. The teachers are appointed on the same qualifications as teachers in elementary schools, nearly all of them being certificated teachers, and the trade instructors have recognised technical qualifications. The managers are required to make every effort to find suitable employment, and suitable lodgings if necessary, for boys or girls leaving the schools, to provide them with a sufficient outfit and to make adequate arrangements for their aftercare. Remand Homes are provided by the local authorities and are also subject to rules made by the Secretary of State and to inspection by officers of my Department.

asked the Home Secretary "whether he will abolish the name approved school" now given to those schools to which child delinquents and children whose parents fail to effectively control them may be sent by the courts, as these children are frequently penalised in after life; will he consider calling these schools residential schools and, whilst maintaining disciplinary training, transfer the control of the schools from the Home Office to the Board of Education, thus minimising the stigma now attaching to children from approved schools and giving them a more fair chance in life?

The schools to which my hon. Friend refers used to be called "reformatory" and "industrial" schools. The term "school approved by the Secretary of State" was adopted for the purposes of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933, on the strong recommendation of the Departmental Committee which enquired into the whole subject and which had in mind the same considerations as my hon. Friend. Though a generic title is necessary for statutory purposes, each school has a separate name and the high standard of success reached by their pupils does not lead me to believe that they do in fact suffer from any stigma. I am unable to accept the implications of the latter part of the Question.