HC Deb 24 July 1911 vol 28 cc1442-3

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that, in consequence of the Memorandum issued by the Board in September, 1909, local education authorities have caused to be excluded from school all children coming from infected homes, or suspected of being infectious, with the result that a serious loss in the Government grant has been incurred in consequence of the diminution in the average attendance at the schools thereby affected; whether it is proposed that local education authorities should suffer financially in consequence of action taken in the best interests of their schools and of public health; and, if not, whether the Board will take steps to ensure that in such cases no loss of grant shall be incurred?


The object of the exclusion from school of children from infected or suspected homes is to prevent a greater number of children from becoming affected. The achievement of this object will avert a further loss of grant on children who would otherwise in all probability have required to be excluded for actual sickness. I am unable to hold out any prospect of any new grant regulations pending the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on the relations between Imperial and local finance.


asked the right hon. Gentleman, whether he is aware of the effect of the system of basing the Government grant for elementary education upon the average attendance at individual schools upon education authorities and their ratepayers in all areas where the produce of a penny rate for children in. average attendance is comparatively small owing to the poverty of such area, and also upon progressive authorities which expend considerable sums in the provision of instruction in handicraft, gardening, domestic science, and other like subjects, or in a more liberal staffing of their schools; and, if so, whether he will consider the advisability of substituting an arrangement for the appropriation of Government grants under which an estimate of the total expenditure of such authorities shall be made by such authorities and submitted to and approved by the Board at the beginning of each school year, and the annual expenditure of the authority as shown, by such estimate shall, subject to the imposition of a county rate of 9d. in the £, be borne as to the balance in equal shares by the Exchequer and the rates?


I think a very strong case can be made out for a reconstruction of the present system of distributing grants for elementary education, and I hope it may be practicable to take such a reconstruction into consideration after the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on the relations between Imperial and Local Taxation. It is not clear whether the scheme outlined in paragraph (2) of the question is intended to apply to all local education authorities, but, if so, it would apparently involve a reduction in the Exchequer Grants-in-Aid of elementary education by some three and a-half million pounds. I am afraid, therefore, that the proposal, which would no doubt be received with acclamation by the Treasury, would be likely to meet with a hostile reception in the country.