asked the Minister of Education why a letter sent by a head master on 30th August, inquiring whether two additional days should be added to normal boarding school holidays on account of VJ celebrations was not answered by her department until 4th October, on account of which 300 boys were deprived of their VJ holidays; whether she is aware that letters addressed to her Department by headmasters rarely receive a reply under three or four weeks and that replies when received, are habitually couched in that circumlocutory style and doubtful grammar which other departments have abandoned; and if she will remedy this
:The inquiry to which my hon. Friend refers came from an independent school, and the question of additional holidays on account of VJ celebrations was a matter for determination by the Governors in the light of the Prime Minister's announcement. As the hon. Member is the headmaster concerned, he could have arranged his own holidays without sending a letter to an already overworked and understaffed Department.
While thanking the Minister for that reply, and for the advice for which a new Member is always grateful, may I ask whether she thinks five weeks is a reasonable time in which to reply to a letter, and whether, also, it is not due to the fact that the Ministry of Education has been something of a Cinderella under her predecessors, when personnel were taken away by other Departments? May I also say how confident we are on this side of the House that the right hon. Lady will improve these matters?