HC Deb 17 April 1893 vol 11 cc426-7
MR. CHARLES ROUNDELL (York, W. R., Skipton)

I beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education whether his attention has been called to the report in The Clitheroe Times of 7th April of a meeting of the managers of the Guisburn National School, at which an application by Mr. Duckworth for a free place for his son in the school was considered, from which it appears that the Rev. R. Wright said that the managers of the school were not compelled to find free places for any children.… If Mr. Duckworth really required one owing to his circumstances then they would give him one; but he strongly objected to anyone in Mr. Duckworth's position having a free place given to him. If Mr. Duckworth wanted a free school there were two in the parish, one at Newsholme and one at Rimington.… He found the children did not attend near so well when they could have their education free as they did when they had to pay the usual fee, and that it was unanimously decided that they should reply to Mr. Duckworth refusing his application, unless he could show that his circumstances required them to give him such assistance; and whether the managers were justified in making any such assertions or in coming to such a conclusion?


The Guisburn National School is the only public elementary school in the school district, the other two schools referred to (one of which is free, and the other apparently charges fees) being in two other school districts. If, therefore, Mr. Duckworth, or any other parent in Guisburn, fails to obtain free education at the Guisburn National School, he has only to make a repre- sentation to the Department, who will cause free accommodation to be provided in accordance with the Act. The managers of a school which, as is the case here, retains the right to charge fees are not compelled to provide any free places for applicants; but if they do not, and there is no other free school available in the district, the Department must proceed to order the formation of a School Board, and the provision by the Board of a free school. The Department discountenance, in the" strongest way, the imposition of any poverty test, or inquiry into the circumstances of the parent, in connection with applications for free education.