HC Deb 05 August 1907 vol 179 c1515
MR. O'SHAUGHNESSY (Limerick, W.)

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he can say by whom is the amalgamation of small schools considered a pressing necessity; whether a pair of schools in which there are in daily attendance over 100 children, sixty-two and thirty-nine, as in the case of the Kilmeedy schools, are included in those which it is considered a pressing necessity to amalgamate; and whether he can say how many pairs of separate schools in Ireland have an average attendance of loss than 100.

(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The view that the amalgamation of many small schools in Ireland is desirable and necessary is held by the Irish Government and by the Commissioners of National Education themselves, and is strongly put forward in Mr. Dale's Report on Primary Education (Cd. 1981, of 1904). The Commissioners have not pressed for the amalgamation of the existing schools at Kilmeedy, but they cannot make building grants for separate new schools to supersede the existing schools. It may not be possible in many cases to effect the amalgamation of existing small schools, however proper that may be, but it is quite another thing to perpetuate the present undesirable system by building new separate schools in such cases. There are about 1,000 pairs of adjoining boys' and girls' schools in which the combined average attendance is less than 100.