HC Deb 08 March 1886 vol 303 cc105-6

asked the Vice President of the Committee of Council, Whether his attention has been called to the refusal of the grant by the Education Department to the Dan-y-graig Catholic School at Swansea on the ground that it was an "unnecessary school;" whether he is aware that this school was in course of erection, with the knowledge and sanction of the Education Department, before the Swansea School Board made any application to extend their school; whether it was built and opened, and under notice for its first inspection, before the contract for the extension of the Board School was signed; whether it was built at a time when more accommodation was required; whether a deficiency existed of about 120 places, being about the number needed by the Catholic population of the district; whether, when the School Board carried out its extension, there was no deficency, as all the vacancies discovered by the Board had by that time already been supplied; whether there are at present several hundred places unoccupied in the Board School; and, whether this unnecessary extension has caused the ratepayers of Swansea upwards of £4,000?


My attention has been directed to the case of the school referred to. It was in course of erection with the knowledge of the Education Department before the School Board made application to extend their school. But the Department had given Canon Wilson direct and explicit notice that before sanctioning it they must take the opinion of the Board. The school was opened on August 11, 1884, and consent was given to the loan for the Board school in January, 1885. To the fourth and fifth Questions, I have to reply that more accommodation was required, and that there was a deficiency of about 120 places. The number of places needed by the Roman Catholic population was, according to the Board's Census, about 90. The carrying out of the extension of the Board school went on from the time at which it was approved by the Education Department on ground of the deficiency stated as above and of the Board's estimate of the probable increase of population. We have no knowledge of the number of places vacant in the Board school at present; the attendance seems to be rapidly increasing; but in June last year, at the day of the inspection, there were 382 vacant places. The loan granted by the Public Works Loan Commissioners was £3,850. A statement that the School Board object to a school as unnecessary, and that the Education Department see no reason for differing from the Board, has generally been held as equivalent to "reasons of the Education Department for refusing annual grant," as required by Section 98 of the Elementary Education Act of 1870. It is so in all the other cases, five in number, in the Report quoted. Individual cases are not submitted to the whole Committee of Council. The decision in this case was made by Lord Carlingford and Mr. Mundella in December 1884, and sustained by Viscount Cranbrook and Sir Henry Holland in January, 1886. If the hon. Member will move for the Correspondence in this case it will be given. The case has been repeatedly under the consideration of the Lord President and Vice President of the Council, and is now under that of the Royal Commission.