§ 60. Mr. KING
asked the President of the Board of Education whether, as indicated in recent speeches of Cabinet Ministers, it is the Government policy to bring to an end the system of half-time scholars in elementary schools; and, if so, whether those education authority districts in Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Cheshire, which will be most affected, will be warned in sufficient time for them to provide the additional school places which will be required?
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. J. Pease)
I am afraid I must ask the hon. Member once more to wait for the introduction of the Bill, but I can assure him that ample notice will be given to the local education authorities of any changes which are proposed.
§ 61. Mr. KING
asked whether, in order to provide nursery schools for the 300,000 children under five at present in school, and also the 275,000 children who have been excluded from infant schools in recent years, additional school accommodation will be required; if so, how many places will have to be provided when a beginning will be made to carry out this policy; and what is the estimated cost of providing the requisite accommodation?
§ 64. Mr. KING
asked the President of the Board of Education whether the reforms in infant instruction recommended by the special reports of His Majesty's inspectors in 1905, and by the consultative committee in 1908, will be entered on shortly; whether he is aware that each year of delay, during which fewer infant places are available in schools, adds to the difficulty and increases the expense of these reforms; and whether, in order to expedite this policy, special Grants will be made to selected local authorities conditional on their promise to carry out a scheme of approved infant instruction?
§ 65. Mr. KING
asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that the latest published figures show that in Bootle over 37 per cent. of the scholars are in overcrowded schools; that the average attendance exceeds the accommodation in thirteen departments of the Bootle schools, and that, especially in Christ Church, St. John's Church of England, and St. James's Roman Catholic schools, there is serious overcrowding; 527 whether he will say how long overcrowding has existed in Bootle schools; and whether any date can be given when it is to be remedied?
§ Mr. PEASE
For the school year ended 31st January, 1913, the average attendance exceeded the accommodation in three departments only in the area of the authority, and the excess amounted to ten units, five units, and five units, respectively. As a result of communication between the Board and the authority a new Council school providing for 1,020 children was opened in 1910, and another Council school providing a further 1,000 places has been erected and will be opened in August.
§ 66. Mr. KING
asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that the elementary school accommodation in the Strand Parliamentary Division formerly consisted of six Church of England schools, two Roman Catholic schools, and two small Council schools; whether the Board of Education are now allowing the London County Council to close Charing Cross Road Council school, thereby compelling children from the Council school to attend the denominational schools; whether the school closed is a modern building with playground; whether the adjoining Church of England school of St. Anne's, Soho, is an antiquated building, without a playground, and with certain of its class rooms already crowded, as shown by the last published figures; and whether he will give his reasons for closing modern Council schools in order to drive children into inadequate Church schools?
§ Mr. PEASE
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The 528 premises of the Charing Cross Road Council school were defective and unsuitable. They had been adapted for use as a school by the London School Board in 1890. There was no playground. In December of last year the number of scholars on the registers was only 40. The St. Anne's school has no playground, but there is a space of some 200 square yards in the churchyard available for physical exercises. During the school year 1910–11 there were vacant places in every department of this school, and there is accommodation in Council schools on the eastern and western sides of the Charing Cross Road Council school for the children displaced by its closure.
§ 67. Mr. KING
asked the President of the Board of Education whether the latest published figures show that in Dover over 37 per cent. of the elementary school children are in overcrowded schools; that the average attendance exceeds the accommodation in twelve departments, especially in Buckland Church of England, Charlton Church of England, Christ Church Church of England, St. Bartholomew's Church of England, St. James's Church of England, and St. Mary's Church of England schools; whether he has drawn the attention of the local education authority to the fact of this overcrowding, in spite of all children under five having been excluded, and the average of attendance being almost the lowest in England; whether correspondence has been passing on these subjects; and at what date the overcrowding may be expected to be remedied?
§ Mr. PEASE
For the school year ended 31st October, 1912, the average attendance exceeded the accommodation in four departments only in the area of the authority referred to. In one of them the excess amounted to one unit only. A new girls' department, providing 138 new places, has been opened at the Barton Road Council school, which has already relieved the overcrowding at that school, and is expected to relieve the overcrowding in the two remaining departments. There was no overcrowding in either the Buckland, Christ Church, St. James's, or St. Mary's Church of England schools.
§ 68. Lord NINIAN CRICHTON-STUART
asked whether the principal of each college sets the examination papers in the acting teachers' examination; whether this is conducive to the examination being equally easy or difficult for all those who sit for the examination; and how long this system has been in practice?
§ Mr. PEASE
The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative, and the questions in the second and third parts do not arise. I may say also that papers for the Board's final examination for students in training colleges are never set by the principals of the colleges, but some students are allowed to substitute for part or the whole of the Board's examination, examinations conducted by universities.
§ 69. Lord N. CRICHTON-STUART
asked the President of the Board of Education whether teachers who propose going in for their certificate examination are allowed time off duty for special study; whether this privilege is and has been granted to all who apply for it; and, if not, whether he will consider the advisability of making this concession a general privilege?
§ 70. Lord N. CRICHTON-STUART
asked whether the training college teachers' examination is a qualifying one, while the acting teachers' examination is competitive; and whether any complaints have arisen in consequence?