HC Deb 03 July 1918 vol 107 c1796

In the event of any parent or guardian of any child of school-going age failing to send such child to school, and in the event of any local education authority taking proceedings against such parent or guardian, such parent or guardian shall be entitled to plead any special circumstances, and if the Court is satisfied that such parent or guardian's defence to such proceedings is reasonable, it shall be competent to such Court to excuse the attendance of such child.—[Sir J. D. Rees.]

Brought up, and read the first time.

Sir J. D. REES

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a second time."

A parent or guardian might have an extremely good case for not sending a child to school. Suppose the child were the child of Catholic parents. There might be some religious occasion which, in the eyes of the parents, required absence from school, but of which the local education authority would take little or no account. In such cases the parent or guardian should be entitled to plead special circumstances. It might appear at first sight that this Clause might have been lumped with the last one, but I think that it should not, because this Clause deals solely with cases before a Court. As I understand, if this Clause is not passed, it will not be competent to a parent when any proceedings are taken to plead special circumstances, whereas there may be innumerable circumstances in which the action of the child is perfectly justifiable.


I am advised that the hon. Member's Amendment is quite unnecessary, because in the existing state of the law the object which he desires to attain is already attained.

Question put, and negatived.