§ MR. L. HASLAM
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education what are the hours during which scholars attend elementary schools in Berlin and other parts of Germany; what are the intervals between the school hours for meals and recreation; are meals, if provided at the schools, free of charge or paid for by parents or guardians; if free of charge 645 are the expenses of the meals defrayed by the municipality or the State.
§ MR. BIRRELL
In Berlin and other large towns the public elementary schools meet for a morning session of 5 hours, on every week-day, beginning at 8 o'clock in the winter and at 7 o'clock in the summer. In rural districts there is generally a morning session of 4 hours on every week-day and an afternoon session of 2 hours, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. four days of the week. Lessons usually begin at 8 in the winter and at 7 in the summer. In some parts, however, they begin at 8 all the year round, though occasionally, during the more severe winter months, the school does not open till 8.30. In all cases there is an interval of from fifteen to twenty minutes between the second and third lessons, during which the children have lunch (zwetie Frühstück) and a break of from five to ten minutes between each lesson. With regard to the provision of meals to children, there is very considerable divergence in local practice. The school buildings are very often used as distributing stations, and the meals are provided free of charge to necessitous children. The municipality frequently contributes to the cost, but in no case is any part of the expense borne by the State or the Empire, nor, as far as I am aware, is any attempt made to recover the cost from the parents.