HC Deb 21 July 1904 vol 138 cc753-4
MR. EVELYN CECIL (Aston Manor)

To ask the Secretary to the Board of Education whether, fresh school accommodation being necessary at Hayward's Heath, the Board of Education recently refused to sanction the building of a second Church school, although the urban district council three times passed a unanimous resolution in its favour, and a poll of the ratepayers of the district resulted in 565 voting for and eight against it; whether, as a matter of policy in single school areas containing only one denominational or one council school, the Board generally refuse to sanction the building of another of the same kind; and whether he can state, for the guidance of all areas, on what general principle such decisions of the Board proceed.

(Answered by Sir William Anson.) The hon. Member is incorrectly informed as to the unanimity of the urban district council; while, owing to the form in which the voting papers were drawn up for the purpose of the poll referred to, a considerable number were not returned or returned in blank. It is no doubt the case that there is a considerable majority of ratepayers in favour of a voluntary school, but there is also a substantial minority in favour of a council school. On a review of all the circumstances of the case, the Board decided that the deficiency of accommodation would best be met by the provision of a council school. The Board understand that the necessary steps are now being taken by the local education authority. It is impossible to lay down any general rule as to single-school areas, for besides the interests of secular instruction, the economy of the rates, and the wishes of the parents, it is often necessary to take into consideration the neighbourhood and the character of other schools, and the facilities, or otherwise, of communication. Each case must be dealt with separately on its merits.