HC Deb 16 December 1937 vol 330 cc1323-5
41 and 42. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education (1) whether he will reconsider Circular 1457 with particular reference to paragraphs 15 and 16, having regard to the opinions expressed by many industrial and educational organisations in regard to the Education Act, 1936?

(2) whether he will make a statement on the Circular 1457 of 9th August, 1937, with particular reference to the procedure whereby local education authorities will deal with applications for employment certificates under Section 2 of the Education Act, 1936?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education (Mr. Kenneth Lindsay)

Circular 1457 was considered very carefully in consultation with representatives of the local education authorities before it was issued, and my Noble Friend does not consider that anything has occurred which makes it desirable to modify or supplement it.

Mr. Smith

Is it a fact that the Board's policy is to encourage exemptions, and, if so, will not this lead to preferential treatment for children living in the South of England, as compared with those living in the North, and has the Board considered the memorandum prepared on this question by the Trades Union Congress?

Mr. Lindsay

I would refer the hon. Member to the exact paragraph, which says that it would be contrary to the intention of the Act for the local committee actively to encourage applications for employment by children who have not reached the age of 15.

Mr. Smith

Does the circular correctly interpret the spirit of the Act in that way?

Mr. Lindsay

It not only interprets the spirit of the Act, but I think it is by far the best method of ensuring proper selection of posts, from the point of view of both the parent and the boy.

Sir Percy Harris

Is the hon. Member satisfied that there is likely to be uniformity of administration and interpretation between the authorities in Greater London, inside the county and outside the county, and is he aware that last time we had a similar experience with the continuation schools there was difference of interpretation, which led to chaos?

Mr. Lindsay

Perhaps my hon. Friend will await my reply to the next question.

43. Mr. E. Smith

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education what steps he proposes to take with a view to securing the maximum uniformity in interpretation and administration throughout the country of Section 2 of the Education Act, 1936, and of the Circular 1457 of the 9th August, 1937?

Mr. Lindsay

In the circular to which the hon. Member refers the Board drew attention to the desirability of avoiding a situation in which adjoining authorities took different views as to the beneficial character of the same types of employment, and discussions between authorities are at present proceeding with this object in view.