§ MR. HUNT (Shropshire, Ludlow)
To ask the Secretary to the Board of Education whether, with a view to avoid the hardship and expense caused to working people by the practice of school attendance officers of making a rule that parents must either send every child to school or get a doctor's certificate, and in view of the cases of death of children sent to school, when ill, because the parents could not afford to obtain such a certificate, he will issue instructions to county councils showing that it rests entirely with the school attendance committees to decide on the merits of each case, and as to whether they will send a particular case to be prosecuted before a magistrate or not.
(Answered by Sir William Anson.) School attendance officers have no power to make rules on the subject referred to. Their practice should be governed by such directions as they may receive from the local education authority, who have full powers to deal with individual cases on their merits and to give such general instructions as to the evidence required for non-attendance at school as will promote the convenience of all parties concerned. The justice of the peace may also accept other evidence than a medical certificate as an excuse for non-attendance on the ground of illness. It seems, hardly necessary for the Board to issue instructions on the subject.