HC Deb 22 June 1927 vol 207 cc1840-2
54. Mr. GROVES

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that the secretary of the Royal Air Force display committee has addressed a letter to the West Ham Education Department inviting organised parties of school children to attend the rehearsal of the aerial display at Hendon on Friday, 1st July, 10.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.; whether he will state whether this invitation is issued generally to the schools of London and Essex: whether such has his consent as part of the educational training of the children; and whether he will take steps to revoke any order of approval on the grounds that attendance at such displays can be of no educational value?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Lord Eustace Percy)

I am aware that such invitations have been issued to local authorities in the Metropolitan area. I agree with the view of the committee that the display may be both of interest and of educational value to the children, and I am not prepared to interfere in any way with their attendance at it.


Is the Noble Lord aware of the widespread indignation, as expressed in various newspapers, resulting from the resolutions passed by education authorities in the Metropolis; and, further, is he aware that of recent years there has been in our schools a cessation of this militant patriotism, and does he not think, in view of the desire of the peoples of the world for peace, that this is a retrograde step?

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is the Noble Lord aware that the last item on the programme will be a scene representing the bombing of a native village, and could he meet the indignation specified by my hon. Friend by advising the authorities that children should leave before this last scene?


Does not the Noble Lord consider that nothing is more likely to deter the young people of this country from admiration for war than to see the horrors of it, and the possibilities of horrors, as shown in this display?


Would the Noble Lord tell us what educational value he considers there may be in sending school children to Russia?


That does not arise; hon. Members are giving their own views.


In reply to the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy), I am not aware of the conclusion of the Air Force display which he mentioned. I am certainly not aware that there is any indignation at all among local authorities, and I really think that when children have a chance of seeing a display of this kind, neither the Board of Education nor Parliament ought to take up the attitude of a crotchety maiden aunt.


Is the Noble Lord aware that the railings are put round the schools in such a manner as to familiarise the children with the idea of spikes—bayonets?