HC Deb 10 May 1923 vol 163 cc2564-5
56. Mr. FOOT

asked the President of the Board of Education the number of children in the special schools for teaching the deaf; and if there are any statistics to show the number of deaf children in to country for whom no educational provision is made?


The accommodation in the certified special schools for the deaf is 4,636. The latest returns from local education committees show that there are, approximately, 6,000 deaf and dumb and partially deaf children in the country. On the basis of these figures the provision for such children in special schools is deficient by about 1,400 places.


Is any provision made in the coming year for these unfortunate children, who have just as much claim on us as those who are actually in the schools?


Where are these children now? Are they outside the scope of the Board altogether, or are they in the ordinary schools with other children?


A great many, the majority—I should like notice of the question before answering definitely—are, I believe, in the ordinary schools. That is, of course, eminently unsatisfactory, and I hope in the course of this year to get a much larger proportion of them into the special schools.


Will the right hon. Gentleman allow education authorities which are willing to provide places to provide them; and will the Board of Education allow a percentage of the cost?


Obviously, I cannot answer a general question like that without notice. If the hon. Member has in his mind any case in which he thinks treatment has been unequal, I shall be pleased to consider it.

58. Mr. BRIANT

asked the President of the Board of Education if there has been an alteration in the method of grading special schools by which they are no longer graded in a class but on a numerical basis; if this is so, on what grounds has the grading which was approved by the Burnham Committee been amended; and, considering the special character of the teaching required for the type of scholars attending these schools, if he will consider the restoration of the original grading?


I am not sure that I understand the meaning of the hon. Member's question. The Burnham Committee, in paragraph 7 of their Report, recommended the grading of special schools on a numerical basis, and the Board have not departed from this principle.