HC Deb 02 May 1911 vol 25 cc192-3
Captain FABER

asked the President of the Board of Education if he would state whether he adheres, as regards compulsory school attendance, to the judgment of Mr. Justice Stephen that to assist family necessities was reasonable excuse for not attending school; and whether this judgment is in addition to the three by-laws conferred on local authorities in s. 74 of the Education Act of 1870.


The framing and administration of by-laws made under Section 74 of the Elementary Education Act, 1870, rests, with Local Education Authorities and not with the Board of Education, and their interpretation rests with the Courts of Law. In the case to which the hon. Member refers the magistrates held that, under the circumstances, the parents of the child had a reasonable excuse for not causing the child to attend school, the excuse being that his earnings were necessary for the support of his family. This decision was upheld by the Court of Queen's Bench. By the three by-laws mentioned in the latter part of the question, it is presumed that the hon. Member refers to the three reasons given in Section 74 as constituting a reasonable excuse. The courts have held that these three reasons are illustrative, and not exhaustive, and that other reasons which would be a reasonable excuse might arise. The question is one in each case for the court to decide, having regard to the circumstances.

Captain FABER

Am I to understand that with addition to the three reasons already given, Mr. Justice Stephen's decision makes a fourth?


Each case has to be decided in court.

Captain FABER

So that the working man would have to go to court to decide his case.