HC Deb 24 March 1884 vol 286 cc600-1

asked the Vice President of the Council, Whether it is a fact that, on the 11th August 1883, the Education Department refused to receive a deputation from Gravesend on the subject of the erection of new board schools in that town, on the ground that it would be premature to do so, as proposals on the subject had been referred to Her Majesty's Inspector for report; and that, on the 10th October, the Department declined to receive a deputation from the same place and on the same subject, on the ground that, the matter having been settled, the proposed interview could serve no useful purpose; and, whether such refusal to hear local objections to the erection of schools is in accordance with the practice of the Department?


Yes, Sir; the facts are as stated in the Question of the hon. Gentleman; but there is an important omission—namely, that on the 31st of July I received an important deputation from Gravesend, which was introduced by the hon. Baronet the Member for the borough (Sir Sydney Waterlow), at which both the supporters and the opponents of the proposed site for the board school laid the whole case fully before me; and I have received a letter from the hon. Baronet since this Question was put upon the Paper, acknowledging the great patience and fairness with which I listened to the different opinions of the two parties to the controversy. After this deputation, the question was referred to Her Majesty's Inspector, and his Report recommended the site selected by the School Board, which was accordingly sanctioned by the Department. In reply to the last part of the Question of the hon. Member, the Department never refuses to consider local objections. I have endeavoured as much as possible, by personal interviews and deputations, to arrive at the views and opinions of parties locally interested. I prefer this method, whenever practicable, to a long correspondence, and I believed I had disarmed objections by adopting it in the present case.