MR. GATHORNE HARDY
asked the Vice President of the Council, If he will state the grounds upon which he has in the Revised Code increased the number of attendances of School Children from two hundred per annum to two hundred and fifty; and whether he can lay the data upon which he has acted before Parliament; the grounds upon which he has made the changes with reference to Evening Schools; and if he will lay the data upon which he has made them before Parliament; and, whether as by the Act relating to Print-works now in force children there employed are only required to attend one hundred and twenty times, and one hundred attendances qualify for examination, the New Code, which requires one hundred and fifty attendances to qualify for examination, will during this year be put in force?
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
had to state, in reply to the first part of the right hon. Gentleman's Question, that the grounds upon which the compulsory attendances of the children had been increased from 200 to 250 were because it was felt that the amount of attendance required from children under the old system was too small; that there could be no greater evil than a want of due attendance at school on their part; and, lastly, because it appeared from the statistics that this additional stimulus could be safely applied. It appeared from statistics obtained from the manufacturing, the sea-ports, the metropolitan, and the rural districts, that 80 per cent of the children hitherto presented for examination had attended 250 times. If the right hon. Gentleman would move for further information upon the point, he 935 should be happy to give it to him. With regard to the night schools, several alterations had been made in the Code. Perhaps the House would permit him to explain how those schools had been dealt with. The Council of Education had come to the conclusion that the night-school system required careful revision. There were many night schools which, although doubtless of much advantage in a social point of view, were almost valueless in an educational point of view, and the Council had come to the conclusion that it would not be right to ask the House for money unless they gave substantial educational results. Under these circumstances, it had been determined to alter the mode of examinations, which, in future, would be conducted either by the Inspectors or by other officials, and not left in the hands of the managers solely. It had also been determined to allow Government aid to night schools not connected with day schools, and the amount of the grant had been considerably increased. At present all that was required was that the schools should be open on 40 evenings in the year, and that those who were presented for examination should have been present on 24 evenings, and it was felt that it was desirable that the number of evenings on which the schools should be open should be increased to 80, and the attendance required to 50. With respect to the last part of the right hon. Gentleman's Question he had to state that there were now only about 1,000 children under the operation of the Act, and probably the new regulations would be put into force with regard to them at the beginning of next year.