HC Deb 19 April 1905 vol 145 cc605-6

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether his attention has been called to a special report on the 438 London voluntary schools submitted to the London County Council yesterday, in the course of which 92 of these schools have been condemned outright and 314 reported upon as unsatisfactory in the matter of drainage; whether he is aware that the estimated result of this report is that 50,000 new school places will have to be provided at a cost of at least £1,500,000, that in the event of denominational trustees being unable to supply these places the same will have to be furnished by the London ratepayers, and that the maintenance charge upon the London County Council in any event will henceforward be on account of these schools over £500,000 annually; and whether, in view of these facts, he will undertake to propose during the present session of Parliament such amendment of the Education Acts of 1902 and 1903 as shall give the London County Council, together with the borough councils, the right to nominate as their representatives a larger number than two managers out of each six of the managers who constitute the committee of management of each of these schools.


In answer to the hon. Gentleman, I have to say that I have not seen the report, and I understand it is not available for general use at present. I am told, however, that the estimates are for the most part very conjectural, and err, if they do err, very much on the side of excess. As regards the conclusion which the hon. Gentleman attempts to draw from the facts he states on the Paper, I cannot agree with it. It seems to me that recent events have conclusively shown two things—in the first place, that the local authority has complete control over all the schools in its district as far as these matters are concerned; and, in the second place, that the voluntary schools are an enormous saving to the ratepayers.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in view of the great expenditure on the schools, he will give the County Council and the borough councils the right to nominate as their representatives in control of a school a larger number than two managers out of six.


I do not follow the argument of the hon. Gentleman. It seems to me that what has happened. shows that the control is adequate as it is, and I see no reason to alter it.