HC Deb 05 July 1937 vol 326 cc26-7
50. Mr. E. Smith

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he will give consideration to the need for the organisation of parties from elementary schools to visit the science museums and the Royal Botanic Gardens; and will he arrange for each county to be allocated certain months each year to enable the children to visit in organised school parties?

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

The organisation of educational visits for children attending public elementary schools is a matter for the local education authorities for the schools concerned, but the authorities of the museums and gardens to which the hon. Member refers are glad at all times to facilitate such visits in every way possible to them. In this connection I would call the hon. Member's attention to the board's pamphlet "Museums and the Schools," of which I am sending him a copy. I should certainly be glad if still more could be done by local education authorities to familiarise school children with the nation's treasures housed in the various museums. I must point out, however, that considerations of distance and expense render visits to institutions in London difficult, if not impossible, for children from the more distant parts of England and Wales, and that there are very many admirable local museums scattered up and down the country. As regards the second part of the hon. Member's question, the allocation of fixed periods to particular areas would not be likely to serve any useful purpose, since visits of children to museums, to be of educational value, need to fit in with the curriculum of the schools concerned.

Mr. Smith

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that there are no science museums in the country to be compared with the national museums in London, and is he aware of the education which could be derived from visits to these museums? In view of that, will he issue a circular to education authorities recommending that their scholars should be put on the same basis as the London scholars?

Mr. Lindsay

That is rather a big question.

Mr. Macquisten

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that taking children to museums gives them very bad headaches?

Mr. McEntee

Will it be possible to make arrangements for parties of older school children to visit picture galleries on days other than public days?