§ 28. Mr. LECKIE
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he is aware of the desire of local authorities generally that the age of obligation to attend school should be raised to 15 years by Statute; and if he will explain why recent applications of authorities for the raising of the school age within their respective areas by bylaw are being refused or deferred?
§ Mr. RAMSBOTHAM
My Noble Friend is aware that a number of local education authorities are in favour of raising the school age to some higher age than 14. The grounds on which the Board have felt unable to approve certain recent proposals to raise the school age to 15 by by-law were, partly, that they were not satisfied as to the educational arrangements proposed and, partly, that they did not consider the areas in question sufficiently separated from the surrounding areas to prevent difficulties arising from the existence of different leaving ages for children residing inside and outside those areas. The applications which have been deferred were so deferred to enable the authorities concerned to consider various matters which required examination.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
Are we to understand from the Government that they will receive sympathetically any proposals from local areas for passing by-laws to raise the school-leaving age?
§ Mr. RAMSBOTHAM
The hon. Gentleman will have heard from my reply the kind of considerations which actuate the Board in giving their approval. Where these considerations are satisfied I have no reason to anticipate that the Board will necessarily raise objections.
§ Mr. TINKER
Seeing that there is a strong feeling in favour of raising the school-leaving age, could not the Board consider raising it all over the country, and thus obviate any question of trouble between one district and another?
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
Why cannot any boy stay at school as long as he wants? Is there any reason for conscription to be applied to these boys? They are able to make up their own minds.