HC Deb 22 March 1923 vol 161 cc2739-40

asked the President of the Board of Education whether his attention has been called to the case of James Hodgson, a postal servant, who was summoned before the Willesden Second Court, on 8th March, on account of the non-attendance of his child at school, the reason for her non- attendance being that she had been absent through illness, and the school authorities refused to readmit her, although she had a certificate from a registered medical practitioner, on the ground that her father was not willing to send her for further examination to a clinic a mile-and-a-half distant; whether he is aware that, whereas the magistrates dismissed the summons, the education authority has threatened to take the case before the High Court; and whether he will issue instructions to education authorities not to take such action in cases of this nature?


My attention has been called to this case. The enforcement of the law of school attendance rests with the local education authorities. I am not prepared to issue instructions to such authorities as to the steps which they should take in carrying out their duties in the matter, and I should certainly not feel justified in urging authorities not to seek decisions of the High Court as to the extent of their powers.


In view of the vexatious way in which these duties are exercised, is it not advisable, in the interests of economy, to interfere, so that the authority may act in a more reasonable manner?


I cannot admit the first part of the hon. Gentleman's question. Therefore, perhaps he will allow me to say that the second part does not arise.