HC Deb 28 March 1893 vol 10 cc1300-1

I beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education whether the Education Department has received from Cleator Moor, Cumberland, an application on behalf of 239 children of Protestants for free education; whether, with reference to the statement of the Department that there are 874 free places in two Roman Catholic Schools, and 151 in a British school, such schools being within an easy distance of nearly all the applicants, he is aware that the British school is, in fact, a mile and a quarter from whore the children reside; and that, if all the places in that school were filled, there would be 88 Protestant children who, to obtain free education, must attend Roman Catholic schools; and whether, in view of the fact that the Department has, in the case of Portsmouth (20th May, 1892) and elsewhere, recognised the need for Roman Catholic schools, notwithstanding a sufficiency of school places in Protestant schools, he will now, on a reconsideration of the facts, take steps to provide the required free-school accommodation at Cleator Moor?


The facts of this case are as stated in the hon. Member's question, except that the Department are not officially informed that all the 239 children in question are Protestants, though from the facts as to the existing accommodation in the Roman Catholic schools it may be assumed that they are. As I have already explained more than once in the House, the Department have no power under the law as it stands to compel additional provision in such a case, though they would not be precluded from accepting, and as a matter of fact have accepted, such additional provision if offered, either by a Board where a, Board existed, or by voluntary managers. In the Portsmouth case to which the hon. Member refers there was a large existing deficiency, which would not have been wholly supplied even by the additional provision which the School Board was prepared to make. I have no power to take such steps as the hon. Member suggests.