HC Deb 02 January 1913 vol 46 cc525-6

asked the President of the Board of Education whether cookery is an elementary subject under the Elementary Education Acts, or can be included as such by virtue of a by law passed by the local education authority; if it is such a subject, whether it is accepted as a sufficient excuse for non-attendance that the absentee is receiving adequate instruction elsewhere; and whether a local education authority can compel a child to attend for instruction at a place other than the school at which such child is registered?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. J. A. Pease)

The Education Acts do not define elementary subjects of instruction nor confer any power on local authorities to define them by by-law, but Article 2 of the Code states that the older girls should receive a practical training in cookery, and instruction in this subject is encouraged by the Board by special Grants. The second part of the question is one for the magistrates, who would have to consider in any case of prosecution whether there is a sufficient excuse for non-attendance. With reference to the third part of the question, I may point out that under Article 44 of the Code, the giving of secular instruction to scholars elsewhere than at the school is expressly authorised so far as concerns compliance with the conditions of the Parliamentary Grant. I can express no opinion on the legal aspect of the question.


Has the opinion of the Law Officers been taken, and does it give any ground for the legal superstition, if I may so call it, that efficient elementary education can only be given by attending within a certain class at certain hours?


I cannot say what the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown is. If the hon. Member desires me to consult them, and will put a question on the Paper, I shall be glad to consider it with a view to consulting my right hon. and learned Friends.


asked (1) whether the Board propose to adopt forthwith all or any, and, if any, which, of the recommendations of the Departmental Committee which has recently reported upon the subject of playgrounds of public elementary schools; and (2) whether, in the Report of the Departmental Committee on Elementary School Playgrounds, the statement that a school which, although its playground was small had an abundant supply of open spaces near at hand would receive exceptional treatment will be deemed to apply to all schools situate in the open country?


I am considering the Report referred to, but I am not yet in a position to make any statement in answer to these questions.