§ MR. SALT
asked the Vice President of the Council, Whether it is held to be in accordance with the intentions of the Elementary Education Act (1870) that Ratepayers in School Board districts, where the school accommodation already largely exceeds the average attendance of children, should be compelled to provide additional accommodation for children between the ages of three and five, seeing that there is no power under the Act for compelling the attendance at school of children below five years of age, and no Government Grant is made for children under four years of age?
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER,
in reply, said, that by the 5th section of the Education Act, it was enacted that accommodation should be provided not for the present average attendance, but for all the children resident in the district. If that provision were not carried out, we should be in this position that while no school Board could enforce attendance unless Public Elementary Schools be provided for all the children, it would also be unable to provide such school accommodation, we should therefore get into a deadlock and not be able to get on. With respect to children under four years of age, the Grant was made on the average attendance and not on the age. They found by Returns that 23 per cent of the population were between 3 and 13, and 18 per cent between 5 and 13. They had therefore asked for school accommodation for about 20 per cent of the class likely to attend elementary schools. General rules were not always strictly applied in each case.