HC Deb 15 March 1894 vol 22 cc336-8
MR. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)

I beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education whether, after holding a public inquiry last April, the Education Department issued to the borough of Eastbourne on 24th June a final notice for 1,311 places, which expired on 24th July; whether on 10th August last the only proposals before the Department for supplying this deficiency were for 968 places, or 343 less than the expired final notice demanded; whether the Commissioners who held the public inquiry reported that an annual increase of 140 places would be necessary to meet the growth of population, and whether a Wesleyan school for 365 children has been lately closed; whether at this moment the only school provision made or undertaken is for 464 places at Norway, 496 at Up-wick, and 540 at Whitley Road, or 1,500 in all, leaving a present deficiency, including the 140 and the 365 places, of 516 places, even if these schools wore all open; whether he is aware that the Upwick School is not yet finished, and the Whitley Road School not begun; whether the Department received from the School Attendance Committee of Eastbourne a Resolution declaring that the Whitley Road site was eminently unsuitable; whether all the proposed schools comply with the Rules of planning of the Department; whether he can state the contract price for each school; why the Department did not give effect to the procedure provisions of the Act of 1870 in July last in the case of Eastbourne; and whether they will now proceed to enforce those provisions without further delay?


The public inquiry held at Eastbourne last year settled 1,311 places as the deficiency to be supplied. Since then a further deficiency of 365 places (making a total deficiency of 1,676) has been caused by the closure of the Wesleyan School last month. The final notice expired on the 5th of August, 1893. A committee of voluntary managers undertook to supply the deficiency, and submitted plans for three schools: (1) At Norway Hamlet for 464 children; (2) at Upwick for 496 children, and (3) at Whitley Road for 761 children, or 1,721 places in all to meet the deficiency of 1,676. The sites of all three schools were approved as suitable. The first of the three new schools is finished and open, and the building of both the others is now well advanced. After the Whitley Road site had been approved, and the contract for the building signed, an objection to the sire was raised by the Eastbourne School Attendance Committee, but the Department did not see any reason to alter their decision. The contract prices of the three schools are £1,989 10s., £2,180, and £3,530 respectively. In view of complaints made as to the new schools, the Department sent an architect to Eastbourne a few days ago to make a special inquiry. He reports that due despatch is being used in the work; that the building, both in the school already built, which is certainly very unornamental, and in the two now in progress, is in conformity with the plans sanctioned by the Department: and that the latter will be completed by the 15th of May as regards the Upwick School, 15th of June as regards the boys' and girls' departments of the Whitley Road School, and July 16th as regards the infants' department of that school. It is the duty of the Department under the Act, in the case of an ascertained deficiency, to order the formation of a School Board if it appears that, after due notice, the deficiency is not in course of being supplied with due despatch. So far due despatch seems to have been used, and the Department will continue to exercise all vigilance to see that it is maintained, both in respect of completing the work now in progress and of meeting such further deficiency as arises from time to time owing to growth of population.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if the architect he sent down satisfied himself as to the substantial character of the schools, as well as with their compliance as to space requirements?


Yes; I asked him that myself. The schools come within the Rules as to new buildings.


Then, in spite of all the irritation, the people of Eastbourne have complied with the Act in every respect?


I do not know what the hon. Gentleman means by "in spite of all the irritation." They have raised a good round sum of money, and are building the schools.