§ MR. CONWAY (Leitrim, N.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to that part of the Report of the District Inspector of Schools of Omagh, County Tyrone, published in the last Report of the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland, in reference to school-houses, in which the following passage occurs:—One is situated in the middle of a field, half a mile from a road, with no path leading to it; two are placed in farmyards surrounded by manure heaps and stagnant pools, poisoning the atmosphere, and injurious to the health of teachers and pupils; and one is in a backyard off a street, where the atmosphere is stifling and pestilential";whether his attention has been called to cases of overcrowding of schools as fruitful sources of epidemics; and whether the Local Sanitary Authority takes cognisance of these things, or whether there is any authority to grapple with admitted evils, and see that the necessary accommodation and 194 convenience are provided for each child in attendance at school?
§ MR. JACKSON
The Commissioners of National Education report that they have made representations from time to time to the manager of the first school referred to. They understand that it is his intention to have a school provided in a more suitable place as soon as possible. As regards the two houses placed in farmyards, the manager has, at the instance of the Commissioners, been making efforts to secure another site, while, in regard to both houses, the objectionable features are reported by the Inspector to be much diminished. With respect to the last school referred to, steps have been taken to provide a new school, as explained in the context following the passage quoted by the hon. Member. As regards the overcrowding, every effort has been made by the managers to provide ample accommodation, and while the accommodation provided by the National Schools throughout Ireland is at present in round numbers 778,000, the average daily attendance of pupils is only 490,000. It is believed that on the Sanitary Authorities becoming aware of any arrangements of a school prejudicial to the health of the pupils, they would bring the matter under the notice of the managers.
§ MR. CONWAY
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware when quoting those figures that, according to the last Report, the number of children who attended school during 1890 was over a million?
§ MR. JACKSON
I think the hon. Gentleman is giving the figures of the number on the school rolls. My impression is that the average number on the rolls is about 800,000 odd. I do not think it possible that the figures of the hon. Gentleman are correct.
§ MR. CONWAY
I will quote the exact figures from the Report in the coming Debate on the Irish Education Bill.
§ MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
As regards the attendance, I should like to ask if it is not a fact that children are left on the rolls long after they have ceased to attend school?
§ MR. JACKSON
I am not aware that there is any case where they were allowed to remain on the roll for a long time.
§ MR. SEALE - HAYNE (Devon, Ashburton)
I beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education why no school accommodation has been provided at Milton, in the Parish of Buckland Monachorum, in the County of Devon; whether he is aware that there are ninety-four children at Milton residing from one to three and a quarter miles distant from the Buckland Monachorum school; whether he is aware that a landowner has offered to find a site for a school at Milton; and whether the school at Buckland Monachorum is in a satisfactory state?
§ *SIR W. HART DYKE
On a careful review of all the circumstances of the case, it has been decided to acquire a school at the hamlet of Milton for fifty children up to nine years of age, and the elder children will, as heretofore, attend the school at Buckland, by which arrangement the district will derive greater educational benefit than by the establishment of a second school for children of all ages within its limits. The school at Buckland received a very satisfactory report at the inspection last month.