HC Deb 16 February 1915 vol 69 cc1000-1
11. Mr. KING

asked the President of the Board of Education how many elementary schools in England and Wales, respectively, have been commandeered since 4th August, 1914, by the military authorities; how many scholars have been thus deprived of the means of education; and how many schools are still converted to the use of the military?

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

From returns received by the Board of Education, the number of public elementary schools (excluding special subjects centres and special schools) which had been occupied wholly or in part by the military authorities up to 1st November, 1914, was 738 in England and 12 in Wales. Since that date the Board's records show 221 cases of occupation; some of these, no doubt, are cases of reoccupation of premises already counted in the authorities' returns. It is not practicable to say how many scholars have at one time or another been temporarily out of school. In the majority of cases, either the occupation was for only a short period or temporary accommodation has been found for the scholars displaced. The number for whom at the present moment no provision exists is, approximately, 13,000, all in England. Of these, the great majority belong to infants of junior departments or classes. The number of schools still in whole or in part converted to the use of the military is 228 in England and 5 in Wales.


Can the right hon. Gentleman state the total number of schools, so that we may judge of the proportion?


I am speaking off-hand, but the number of public elementary schools is, I think, a little over 20,000.


Will Grants in respect to the attendance of scholars be materially reduced in a number of cases, and, if so, is there any proposal before the Government for alleviating the burden on the rates which will be thus caused?


The amount of reduction in Grants for every scholar who is deprived of school accommodation amounts to 2½d, per day, or in round figures 1s. per week per scholar deprived of school accommodation by War Office requirements.


Will that money be paid by the War Office to the local education authority, so that they will not have an increased rate to bear?


That is a matter that may require some consideration later on, but at the present moment no arrangement has been made in connection with this matter.


Who will be responsible for the renovation of the school when the soldiers leave?


I assume that if any expenditure is required to be made on the schools after the occupation of the military, that the War Office will be responsible.