HC Deb 15 March 1928 vol 214 c2088

asked the President of the Board of Education whether his attention has been called to the recent conviction of Henry Smith by the Tower Division Petty Sessions for letting his son, aged 15 years, continue in a situation instead of compelling him to go to a special school; and whether he will have the boy's alleged mental deficiency further investigated?


This case has not come before my Department and I am not acquainted with the details. Under the provisions of Section 56 (5) of the Education Act, 1921, the parent can claim to have the boy examined by the local authority with a view to ascertaining if he is still mentally defective, provided that he has not been so examined during the previous six months.


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that it is infinitely better both in mind and body for this boy to be mixing with normal people and earning his living than to be mixed up with other sub-normal boys? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware also that this boy was paying his mother 12s. a week out of his wages, and is it not a great hardship that a father with 10 children should be deprived of assistance from this source?


The answer is that I have no information, except such as I have seen in the Press. I think my hon. and learned Friend has got his information from the same source. I do not know whether those facts are correct.