§ MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether he is aware that Lenzie Academy, termed in the prospectus as "a new higher grade public school," is in reality a Board school supported by the local rates and in receipt of Government grant; whether complaints have reached him that the school fees charged in class 4 of the junior department for "scripture, reading, recitation, writing, dictation, arithmetic, grammar, history, geography, drawing, singing, needlework, and cookery," are 15s. per quarter, or £3 per annum per pupil, which are practically prohibitory to the children of the working classes in Lenzie, and that there are Close on 100 children resident in Lenzie district who have to travel to other Board schools at a distance of from one to two miles further from their homes than Lenzie Academy; whether, when the wants of Lenzie district to School Board accommodation were originally sot forth, all the children in Lenzie district were included in the number of children for whose accommodation a Board school was required at Lenzie; what is the school accommodation of Lanzie Academy, and what is the average attendance; and whether the Scotch. Education Department will take steps to secure that the children in Lenzie district, for whose accommodation Lenzie Board school (termed "Lenzie Academy") was built, shall receive the benefit of the Probate Duty grant for free education in 1004 the compulsory standards in the school specially built for their accommodation?
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. P. B. ROBERTSON,) Bute
I understand that Lenzie Academy is termed in the prospectus a higher grade public school. As that name would import, it is under School Board management, and it receives support from the School Rate and the Parliamentary grant. A complaint was received by the Department in October last referring in general terms to the fees as being beyond the reach of the working classes. A reply was sent stating that sanction had been given to this as a fee-paying school, only upon the assurance of the two School Boards interested in the school, with whom the primary responsibility rested, that there was a supply sufficient for all who desired them of schools suitably situated in which free places were provided. Neither in the original letter of complaint, nor subsequently, have any such particulars been received as regards fees and number of children as are given in the hon. Member's question. The Department is unable to say what lines were followed by the School Boards interested in estimating the number of children for whom the school should be built, but it is presumed that, in the circumstances of the locality, the School Boards allowed for an incrense of population. The school is sufficient for 560 children, and the average attendance for the year ended May last was 201. Any statistics showing that hardship exists will receive the consideration of the Department, but until the reasons upon which the proposals of the School Boards under the minute of 26th August last were based can be shown to be unfounded the sanction already given to these proposals cannot be withdrawn.