HC Deb 31 May 1937 vol 324 cc671-2
51. Mr. Parker

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he will obtain from the local authorities the total acreage and total number of playing-fields and of school playgrounds, respectively, available for State-aided elementary schools, and the provision which is made for the upkeep of these playing-fields and of those of the State-aided secondary schools?

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

I do not think the results of such an investigation would justify the very large expenditure of labour which it would involve. The Board fully realise the importance of this question, and they endeavour, wherever possible, to secure the improvement and extension of existing facilities where these are inadequate.

Mr. Noel-Baker

In view of the great importance of this matter in connection with the present campaign for improving the fitness of the nation, will the hon. Gentleman consider the matter again in his Department and see whether he cannot make such an inquiry?

Mr. Lindsay

I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman, but it would entail very great labour to measure out in detail every school playground in the country, but, short of that, I think that the board is fully aware of the main facts, and, if there is anything further that can be done, I am sure that the board will be only too glad to do it.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will not the facts be in the possession of the local authorities, and will it not simply be a matter of collecting them and putting them together?

Mr. Lindsay

I am afraid that that is not so. If it were, it would be a very simple matter to collect them; it would mean a great deal of extra labour in getting them from the authorities and putting them together.

Mr. Morģan Jones

Has not the Board of Education already in its possession the details as to the acreage of playgrounds and playing fields which it has approved in connection with schools?

Mr. Sexton

Is it not the fact that many elementary schools have no playing fields at all and that, therefore, the information would not need much collection?

Mr. J. J. Davidson

Will not the Department ask the local authorities for this information in order to see what it really amounts to?

Mr. Lindsay

If the matter were as simple as that, it could be done to-morrow, but I would like the hon. Gentleman to realise that it would mean a great deal more Labour than simply asking for facts.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is it riot essential for the local authorities to have such information?

Sir Percy Harris

Could not information be obtained as to playing fields as such, and school playgrounds?

Mr. Lindsay

That information is not only available but it has been sent in detail to the hon. Gentleman who asked the question.

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