HC Deb 04 June 1913 vol 53 cc891-3

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the fact that boys of fifteen and sixteen who are sent to reformatories for four years are not seldom sufficiently advanced to be at once placed in Standard VII.; whether, under the rules and with the funds at their disposal, reformatory committees can offer such boys no further education, notwithstanding they possess exceptional intellect susceptible of much higher training; and, if he can hold out no hope of an additional Grant for this purpose, can be provide, by legislative or administrative Act, that reformatories should be put in touch with higher education authorities, so that picked boys may receive such higher education elsewhere and not, as at present, run to waste?


My right hon. Friend is informed by the acting chief inspector of reformatory and industrial schools that he has never heard of a boy whose education on his admission to a reformatory was sufficiently advanced to admit of his being placed in Standard VII. Usually the boys committed to these schools are very backward in education. For boys who, in the course of their detention, show exceptional ability, special instruction is usually provided. Recommendations on the subject of education and industrial training in these schools have been made by the Departmental Committee, whose Report will be in the hands of Members in a day or so.


asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been directed to the fact that under Home Office Regulations reformatory committees have now to determine the position of the parents of children under their care before allowing such children, on expiration of detention, to return to their homes; whether it constantly arises that the visitor reports that though the home is a good one he cannot advise the return of the boy because the housing accommodation is defective; and whether he will call for a report from existing reformatories as to the extent that defective housing is found to prevent the return of boys to their homes?


In deciding whether a child or young person shall be allowed to return to his home, the managers of certified schools have to take into consideration not only the accommodation available at the home, but also the character and circumstances of the parents, the employment available for the boy or girl, and the question whether association with bad companions is likely to recur. It does sometimes happen that, when other circumstances are favourable, the defective accommodation makes it very undesirable to send a boy or girl home, but the decision in each case depends on so many conditions and circumstances that it would be impracticable to obtain useful returns on this point. The Departmental Committee over which I have the honour of presiding, has made valuable recommendations with regard to the disposal and aftercare of reformatory school children in their Report, which will be in the hands of Members in a few days.