HC Deb 30 June 1914 vol 64 cc194-5

asked the President of the Board of Education whether the Board require systematic weighing and measuring of all children entering and leaving public elementary schools (apart from the frequent weighing of certain delicate children) as part of routine medical inspection; whether the practical results obtained justify the expenditure of time, energy, and money required for the fulfilment of this condition; whether the Board have refused to pay Grant at the maximum rate under the medical Grant regulations because any authority has not been convinced as to the necessity for such weighing and measuring; and whether, in view of the decision of this House when considering the Education (Administrative Provisions) Bill, 1907, not to impose by Statute upon the rates the burden of making provision for such periodic weighing and measuring, he will explain why the Board uses the power of the purse to compel an authority to make such provision?


The Board have not regarded the weighing and measuring of children as essential to the performance of the minimum statutory duty of a local education authority; but they have always included the child's height and weight in their "model" inspection schedule, since they hold that no child can be considered properly examined medically so long as the medical officer remains in ignorance of its height and weight. In assessing the Grant the Board have, therefore, felt bound to take this circumstance into consideration. As regards the second part of the question, experience justifies me in answering it in the affirmative. I assume that in the last question the hon. Baronet is referring to the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for the University of London on the 12th August, 1907, the purpose of which was to give authorities power to institute a system of periodic measurement mainly with a view to the collection of anthropometric data. The Board do not regard provision for the periodic weighing and measuring of children with the view to the collection of anthropometric data as an essential part of an efficient school medical service.


Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the establishment of a proper medical standard and medical inspection?


We are putting pressure in that direction, and I am endeavouring to do what I can to secure proper regard to the heights and weights of school children.