HC Deb 22 April 1937 vol 322 cc1905-6
33. Viscountess Astor

asked the President of the Board of Education whether in view of the growing realisation of the importance of nutrition, and particularly of the fact that children who undergo physical exercises should be properly fed, he will take measures to ensure that no new school, whether for juniors or seniors, is built without provision being made for a canteen?

The Minister of Education (Mr. Oliver Stanley)

I have already drawn the attention of local authorities to the desirability of providing school canteens at schools where children come from a distance, and in the consideration of plans for new senior schools this point is always borne in mind. I am also prepared to consider any proposals by local authorities to make arrangements for school dinners in schools where children do not come from a distance, but I am not prepared to require the provision of canteens in all new senior and junior schools.

Viscountess Astor

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that drawing the attention of local authorities to this is not good enough? In view of this serious problem, does he not think that this would be the time to enforce this provision in the case of any new schools?

Mr. Stanley

In the case of new senior schools where children come from a distance, I do more than call the attention of the local authorities to the matter; but when it comes to a question of making this compulsory for all schools, whatever their size or situation, and whatever the distances from which the children come, I consider that is a matter in which the local authorities must have a say, although if they do in any case put up a proposal I shall consider it most sympathetically.

Mr. Jenkins

Does the Minister advise local authorities in all cases where children do come from a distance that a canteen should be provided?

Mr. Stanley

Yes, Sir; most strongly.