HC Deb 23 June 1882 vol 271 cc192-3

asked the Vice President of the Council, Whether his attention has been called to the case of Louisa Butler, a pupil in the Elementary School at Ramsden in Oxfordshire; whether, having regard to the decision of the School Attendance Committee at Witney that James Butler of Ramsden, in consequence of the fact that his earnings are very much in excess of those of an ordinary agricultural laborer, has no claim to have his children educated in the National School on the same terms as laborers' children; and, moreover, as the magistrates have several times confirmed this decision, the Education Department will withdraw their order that the child shall be admitted at the lower fee; and, whether, in spite of the decision of the local authorities, who have given much consideration to the case, the threatened withdrawal of the grant by the Education Department will be carried out if the child in question is not admitted to the school on the lowest terms?


Two children of James Butler, of Ramsden, were admitted to the Ramsden National School, the only efficient school in the parish, at the ordinary fee of 3d. per week. Because the parent objected to his children cleaning out the school, out of school hours, the fees were doubled, and the children were repeatedly refused admission unless they brought double fees, or consented to clean the school. The parent has been twice summoned for neglecting to send his children to school; in the first instance the magistrates dismissed the case, and in the second adjudged him to send the children to school and pay the 6d. fee. The Education Department holds that the children cannot be compelled to do other than educational work out of school hours, and that the doubling of the fees as a penalty for not cleaning the school cannot be admitted. We have, therefore, decided that these children were wrongfully dismissed, and must be readmitted at the original fee. It must be remembered that there are thousands of parishes in which, as in this case, there is only one efficient school, at which all children resident in the district have the right to attend, and unless the schools are open to all on just and reasonable conditions, compulsion becomes impossible. The only effect of persistence in such requirements as were made in this case would be to bring a school board on the district.


gave Notice next week he would put his Question in a somewhat different form.