§ MR. BARTLEY
I beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education whether he can state the number of children in England and Wales of school ages (i.e., between 5 and 14) who were estimated on the 31st August, 1892, to be of the class usually found in elementary schools; how many of these were on the school registers on that day, and the increase since the adoption of free education; and whether he can supply a Return similar to that at the bottom of pages 8 and 9 of Return C. 6,984, lately presented to both Houses of Parliament, showing the increase in the number and percentage of scholars on the school registers at the different ages since the introduction of free education?
§ MR. ACLAND
With regard to the hon. Member's first question, I cannot give any other information than that which is to be found on page 41 of the Return C. 6,984 The estimated number of children between 5 and 15 of the class usually found in public elementary schools at the middle of 1892 is there put down as 5,750,146. It is impossible to say how many scholars were on the school registers on any particular day, because the Returns are made up at the end of the school year for each school. The Returns for the schools inspected during the year ended 31st August, 1892, show that there were 4,489,041 scholars over five years of age on the registers, being an increase during the year of 126,913. If 50,000 of this is taken as due to normal increase of population, it, may be assumed that the effect of the Free Education Act had then been to bring between 70,000 and 80,000 children of school age on to the school registers. I shall be happy to supply a Return which will practically give the information as to increase in number and percentage of scholars which the hon. Member desires.