§ GENERAL SIR GEORGE BALFOUR
asked the Secretary of State for War, To explain whether any and what changes have been made in the rules regarding age for the admission of boys into the Royal Military Asylum, and as regards their selection from the sons of men after their fathers have left the Army, also in the cubic space for dormi- 1439 tories, which was accepted on the recommendation of the Royal Commission of 1870 on Military Education; and, whether he would lay upon the Table of the House the documents which will show on whose advice, and for what objects or reasons, these changes have been made?
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
The minimum age for the admission of boys into the Royal Military Asylum has been raised from seven to ten years of age. When boys were admitted at the earlier age a large proportion remained at the school from six to eight years, to the prejudice of many deserving cases, excluded owing to the slow rate at which vacancies occurred. No change has been made in the rules regarding the selection of boys; but, as the result of the change in age above referred to, the Commissioners have been able to extend the area of selection. The cubic space afforded to boys in the dormitories is as follows:-120 boys, 590 cubic feet each; 364 boys, 468 cubic feet each. Certain alterations in the system of school management having admitted of large reductions in the working expenses, I deemed it advisable to utilize the savings in enlarging the scope of the institution, without imposing any additional burden on the Exchequer. Want of sleeping accommodation has hitherto prevented the proposal being carried out in its entirety; but the Commissioners having inspected the dormitories and satisfied themselves that they were well ventilated with louvre panes and air-shafts, sanctioned the addition of one bed in each room of 13 boys, whereby an increase of 26 boys was effected without alteration of the buildings, raising the total strength from 458 to 484. The object of these changes is clear—namely, to educate at the public expense, without exceeding the Parliamentary grant, as many children of deserving soldiers as possible; and they have been effected with the knowledge and concurrence of the Commandant of the Asylum and of the Commissioners, under my sanction. I do not propose to lay any documents on the Table of the House.