HC Deb 25 November 1908 vol 197 cc400-1
MR. JAMES HOPE (Sheffield, Central)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education whether he can say what amount per head of children in average attendance would be received by associations of Jewish, Wesleyan, Roman Catholic, and Church of England schools respectively, on the assumption that the managers of all these schools, other than schools which are the only schools in rural parishes, are able and willing to avail themselves of the provisions of Clause 3 of the Education Bill now before the House.


At the same time may I ask the President of the Board of Education whether his Board has computed what will be the average grant payable to Catholic and Jewish schools, respectively under the scale provided for by the firs, Schedule to the Elementary Education (England and Wales) (No. 2) Bill, calculated upon the present attendance of children at these two sections of schools.


If it were assumed that every existing Jewish school and Roman Catholic school (except those in the single school parishes) became a contracted-out school, and further that each such school still retained the full number of children now attending it, the total sums then payable in respect of the twelve Jewish schools after applying the scales of grant given in the Schedule, would represent an average grant of 47s. 6d. per child, because more than half of the 10,000 children in Jewish schools are congregated in two schools of very large size, thus involving the application of the lowest rate on the scale to more than half of the whole average attendance. The same figure in the case of the Roman Catholic schools would represent an average grant per child of 49s. 8d., there being but very few large schools of that denomination. But it is probable, especially in the case of Roman Catholic schools, that many of the children now attending those schools will take advantage of the freedom in future to be given by the Bill to demand an undenominational school; and this diminution of the attendance would, by altering the size of many of the schools, increase the rate of grant under the scale, whether the second paragraph of the Schedule were applied or not. For these and similar reasons the average figures above given, for Jewish and Roman Catholic schools, are no more than approximately true, even given the large assumptions made in arriving at them. As regards Church of England schools, the assumptions referred to at the commencement of my reply cannot be made; indeed, the policy of the Government's educational proposals is based on the opposite assumptions, viz., that contracting-out will be the exception and not the rule as regards Church of England schools. Until it is known which of the Church of England schools will contract out, and the respective sizes of the Church of England contracting-out schools are thus known, it is impossible to know what will be the scales of grant in each case, and, therefore, impossible to make even an approximate estimate as to either the total grant or the average grant per child.