§ MR. COURTNEY KENNY (York, W.R., Barnsley)
asked the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education, Whether he is aware that in the elementary public school at Sheepwash, North Devon, the vicar, when giving religious instruction to the children, is in the habit of teaching them that it is a sin to attend public worship elsewhere than in the Established Church, that Nonconformist ministers have no right to preach, and that baptisms by such ministers are invalid; whether, owing to there being no other school within reach of the village, the vicar has been requested by the parents of some of the children to discontinue such teaching, but has declined to do so; whether such teaching is permitted by the Education Department in a village school which the children of Nonconformists are compelled by law to attend; and, whether the Education Department will inquire into the circumstances of this case?
THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. STUART WORTLEY)(who replied) (Sheffield, Hallam)
said: My right hon. Friend the Vice President desires me to say that it is expressly laid down in the Statute that it is no part of the duty of the Department to inquire into any instruction in religious subjects; but every parent has the right of withdrawing a child from such instruction, and if any infringement of that right is reported to the Department it will be dealt with at once.