HC Deb 15 July 1937 vol 326 cc1463-4
31. Mr. Edmund Harvey

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether the Board will take steps to provide guidance to local education authorities as to the meaning of the beneficial employment for which exemption from school attendance may be granted when the school-leaving age is raised?

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

Under Section 2 of the Education Act, 1936, the question of granting employment certificates for beneficial employment is to be considered by the local education authority in the light of the particular circumstances of each individual case, and the determination of the authority is to be final. The main considerations to be taken into account in each case are set out fully in the Act, and I do not think it would be feasible or proper for the Board to issue to local education authorities any indication of the meaning of beneficial employment which would be of general application. A memorandum is in preparation by the Board for circulation to local education authorities indicating the procedure which is suggested as being usually appropriate for considering applications, but this memorandum does not, for the reasons I have given, attempt to give any definition of beneficial employment.

Mr. Harvey

Has the Board considered the danger that will arise from a very different standard being adopted by various education authorities?

Mr. Lindsay

I think attention is drawn to that specific point in the memorandum.

Mr. H. G. Williams

Does the Minister not consider that it is probable that before the Act comes into operation they will all have had offers of beneficial employment?

Viscountess Astor

Will the hon. Member point out in the circular to the juvenile employment committees the devastating effect which certain mechanical processes in factories is having on the brains and characters of children between 14 and 15 years of age?

Mr. Lindsay

I think that point is covered by Section 2, and particularly by paragraph (d): the value, in relation to the future career of the child, of any training or other advantages afforded by the employment.

Sir Percy Harris

May we see a copy of that circular?

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