HC Deb 08 May 1924 vol 173 cc607-8
24. Mr. F. GOULD

asked the President of the Board of Education what are the present regulations of the Board regarding the provision of free places in secondary schools?


As I have already announced in this House, I think that the time has come for reconsideration of the provisions which govern the system of free places, regard being had to the recommendations of the Departmental Committee which reported in 1920. This reconsideration is now proceeding. At present in all fee-charging schools free places must be offered at the beginning of each school year to pupils entering from public elementary schools. The number to be offered is ordinarily 25 per cent. of the total number of pupils admitted to the school in the previous year, but hitherto this minimum percentage has been reducible in the case of a particular school. I think that, as a rule, schools applying for admission to the grant list in future should be required to offer the full 25 per cent. of free places. The restriction on any increase of the percentage of free places above the percentage awarded in the school year ending 31st July, 1922, which the Board's Regulations imposed is being removed, and school authorities have been informed that they will be at liberty to raise the percentage of free places to 40 per cent. The regulations also provide that fees must not be abolished without previous sanction of the Board. I have announced my readiness to consider on their merits applications from local education authorities for such sanction, and some applications from local authorities in Wales have already been granted.


What are the conditions governing the grants for free places in secondary schools? Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that school managers complain that large numbers who come to the secondary schools do not complete the full time, but leave after six or eight months?


That is a matter that can only be dealt with by Debate in this House