HC Deb 17 July 1924 vol 176 cc569-70

asked the President of the Board of Education the number of mentally defective and the number of physically defective children for whom grants are being paid to local education authorities, and how these numbers compare with 1914?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Trevelyan)

During the year ended the 31st March, 1923, grants were paid to local education authorities in respect of an average attendance of 12,907 mentally defective children and 9,793 physically defective children. The Board also paid grant in respect of that year to bodies other than local education authorities for an average attendance of 297 mentally defective children and 1,732 physically defective children. Thus they paid grant for a total average attendance of 13,204 mentally defective children and of 11,525 physically defective children. For the year ended the 31st March, 1914, the total average attendance of mentally defective children on whom the Board paid grant was 11,307, and of physically defective children 6,075.


In view of the large number of those children throughout the country, particularly in the small towns, who are not receiving any education at all, will the right hon. Gentleman now urge the local education authorities to put the Act of 1918 in operation respecting these little children?


We are continually encouraging local education authorities to do so.


Can the right ton. Gentleman say whether the Board is now, as a matter of fact, considering any proposals for increasing the provision for these defective children?

Viscountess ASTOR

In dealing with these defective children, could not the Board have the syllabus increased, telling the evils of alcohol, which is the cause of a great deal of the mental deficiency in these children?


In reply to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Combined Universities (Mr. Fisher), I shall be prepared to consider any proposals for encouraging local authorities.