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Volume 463: debated on Thursday 14 April 1949

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Students (Loans)


asked the Minister of Education what action has he taken to abolish the practice of certain local education authorities of making loans to students instead of giving assistance by way of grant.

Local education authorities are fully aware from a Circular issued in 1945 of my Department's objections to the practice of making loans, and the number of authorities doing so has greatly diminished. I have refused to approve new arrangements for initiating or extending the practice. If as I expect there is in the near future a general review of local authorities arrangements this will give me an opportunity to press for the practice to be abandoned.

But is my right hon. Friend satisfied that those local authorities still carrying on this practice are paying adequate attention to his circular?

Independent Schools (Inspection)


asked the Minister of Education if his attention has been directed to the proceedings which took place before the magistrates at Eccleshall, on 7th April, at which two male persons, without academic or other qualification, were found to be unfit to have care of pupils; and what action he proposes to take.


asked the Minister of Education whether his attention has been drawn to the conditions prevailing at a private school known as Horsley Hall in the county of Stafford, owned and managed by Mr. Copping, recently convicted at Eccleshall in the same county, of being an unfit person to have the care of children; and what instructions as to the use of powers of inspection or supervision have been issued with a view to the prevention of similar cases.

I have recently made arrangements, of which particulars are given in a circular which I am sending the hon. Members, for the inspection of all independent schools under Section 77 of the Education Act, 1944. I understand that there is an appeal pending on the particular case mentioned in the Question, and I would therefore prefer not to make a statement at present.

May I ask this of the Minister, notwithstanding the appeal, that he will take such measures as are possible in the Ministry of Education to prevent any schools operating in similar circumstances in the future?

Will my right hon. Friend take steps to ensure that the information contained in the circular which he is sending to the hon. Member becomes available to other hon. Members of this House?

Has the right hon. Gentleman any reason to suppose that there are any other cases at all similar to this, or is this unique?

I would not like to say. I have only just taken the power to inspect, and we are inspecting all independent schools. It is a very big job. My object would be that those which are brought to my notice of which there is any suspicion at all, should be taken first.

Is this inquiry also to be conducted into schools like Eton and Harrow, where there are undesirable cases of corporal punishment?