§ MR. GEOFFREY DRAGE (Derby)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether it is, or has recently been, the practice to employ children in the industrial schools as half-timers under age; and whether there have been cases of children of the tenderest age in such schools being put to work contrary to the provisions of the Education Act?
§ SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY
The employment of children in industrial schools cannot be compared with the employments of half-timers as regulated by the Factory and Education Acts. The provision of industrial training in these schools is authorised by the Industrial Schools Act of 1866, and, I am advised, is not affected by the Education Acts. On this point I may refer the hon. Member to Section 50 of the Education Act of 1876. I may assure him, however, that the inspectors pay special attention to the character of the employments to which young children are put, in order that, as far as possible, it may be suited to their age and physical condition, and that I have every reason to believe the system of mixed industrial and school training is working beneficially. The point is one to which the Committee which is now sitting will, doubtless, pay special attention.