HC Deb 27 July 1894 vol 27 cc1137-8

I beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education whether it is proposed to establish a School Board in Cleckheaton owing to the closing of the Westgate School; whether he is aware that a large part of the accommodation thus required could be furnished by the St. Luke's School close by, and that the National School and British School, which could furnish accommodation for the remainder, are within three-quarters of a mile from the Westgate School, and an even less distance from the homes of all the children for whom accommodation not furnished by St. Luke's will be required; whether, in view of the fact that the special reason for rejecting this arrangement has been stated by the Department to be the distance of these two schools from the mills at which the half-timers work, he is aware that there are only 41 half-timers at Westgate School, and that half-timers always go home before going to school; whether before coming to a decision the Department held a public inquiry; and, if not, what means they took to get information; and whether he is aware that a large majority of the people are opposed to the establishment of a School Board?


A final notice is about to be issued in respect of the additional school provision required at Cleckheaton. The noble Lord is doubtless aware that, after the publication of the first notice in March last, a public inquiry might have been demanded by the managers of any elementary school in the district, or by any 10 ratepayers. No such demand, however, was made, and no public inquiry has been held. The places available at St. Luke's School were taken into account in estimating the deficiency; but the Department were satisfied from the Reports made by Her Majesty's Inspector that none of the other schools in the town were near enough the Westgate School to supply the deficiency caused by its closure, especially in view of the half-time children, in whose case it is important that their school should be near both their homes and the mills at which they work. I do not know whether a majority of the people are opposed to the establishment of a School Board; but, if so, it will be still open to them after the publication of the filial notice to avoid one by submitting plans for supplying the deficiency by voluntary effort.