HC Deb 27 July 1893 vol 15 cc662-3

I beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education whether the only prohibition of a charge for books in Public Elementary Schools is contained in Section 3 of the Education Act of 1891, and applies only to schools where the average rate charged and received in respect of fees and books and for other purposes was not, previously to that Act, in excess of 10s. per child in average attendance; whether in all other schools a charge for books is permissible; and upon what statutory authority the Education Department have recently declared that managers of all schools, whether they are free or not, are bound to provide books and apparatus, and cannot make any charge to the parent in respect of them?


No compulsory charge for books is permissible in any Public Elementary School. The statutory authority is that of Section 7 (4) of the Elementary Education Act of 1870, which provides that every Public Elementary School must be conducted in accordance with the conditions required in order to obtain an annual Parliamentary grant. The Code lays it down as one of these conditions that the school must be properly provided with books and other apparatus of elementary instruction. This Rule has nothing to do with the Act of 1891, though the working of the Act of 1891 has brought it into special prominence, and applies to all schools in receipt of annual grant, whether they have accepted fee-grant or not.


Was not the practice of the Department in an entirely opposite direction until the right hon. Gentleman took Office? Why did nor, the right hon. Gentleman act as directed in the Act of 1891, Section 3?


No; there is nothing in the Act of 1891 which supersedes the Act of 1870.


In consequence of the unsatisfactory reply of the right hon. Gentleman I shall call attention to this matter on the Estimates.