§ 21. Mr. KING
asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that the last published figures of schools in Kingston-on-Thames show that 14 in four departments the average attendance exceeds the accommodation, and that in other departments the margin of accommodation over attendance must result in occasional overcrowding; and whether any steps are being taken to ensure that the children of Kingston-on-Thames will not be taught in overcrowded schools?
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Pease)
The returns for the last school year show that the average attendance exceeded the recognised accommodation in two departments by one and two units respectively. In several other departments there was only a small margin of accommodation. The Board have warned the authority against infringement of Article 19 of the code, and have pressed them to take steps to provide a new council school.
§ 22. Mr. KING
asked the President of the Board of Education whether he has sanctioned alterations proposed for the Church of England School at Shotter Mill, Surrey; whether a proposal has been made for a new voluntary school at Shotter Mill; and will he state how long a period has elapsed since the present school accommodation there was declared to be inadequate?
§ Mr. PEASE
The answer to the first part of the hon. Member's question is in the negative, and to the second part of the question in the affirmative. The local education authority have also issued notices of a proposal to provide a new council school. The present Church school premises have been regarded by the Board as unsatisfactory for a considerable time past, but it does not appear that the accommodation is actually inadequate.
§ 23. Mr. KING
asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that the latest published figures of schools in York show that in nine departments the average attendance exceeds the accommodation; whether the provided school for 800 scholars promised a year ago is now opened; whether, if so, it is 15 fall; and whether efforts are being urged on the local education authority to prevent overcrowding?
§ Mr. PEASE
The returns for the last school year show that the average attendance exceeded the recognised accommodation in seven departments, in four of which the excess was very small. Plans for the new council school have been discussed between the Board and the authority, and revised proposals are now before the Board. The answer to the last part of the hon. Member's question is in the affirmative.
§ 24. Mr. KING
asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that the average attendance of scholars in elementary schools where fees are charged is as a rule 10 to 20 per cent. lower than in similar schools where no fees are charged; and whether he will urge on all local authorities that schools enjoying the fee Grant should be made free of school fees?
§ Mr. PEASE
The answer to the first part of the hon. Member's question is in the negative. The information in the possession of the Board affords no ground for supposing that the payment of fees causes a reduction of the average attendance of children. As regards the second part of the question, Section 2 of the Elementary Education Act, 1891, enables fees to be charged in certain schools receiving the fee Grant. I may, however, point out that under Schedule III. (5) of the Act of 1002 all local education authorities must provide a sufficient amount of public school accommodation without payment of fees in every part of their area.