43. Mr. W. Joseph Stewart
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he is aware that, at a recent conference of the national organisers of physical training, it was stated that in the elementary schools there is a general shortage of suitable clothing such as shorts and shoes, storage and facilities for changing and washing; that until such deficiencies are removed physical training cannot reach a satisfactory standard of efficiency; that a number of teachers of physical training have reported that lack of proper nutrition in the case of a proportion of the children is an obstacle to the proper development 514 of this course; and will he, at an early date, take whatever action is necessary with a view to having food and clothing supplied to schools where required?
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education (Mr. Kenneth Lindsay)
My Noble Friend is aware that the subjects referred to by the hon. Member were discussed in an address given at a recent conference. In Circular 1450 the Board have emphasised the importance of suitable clothing and shoes for physical training and of a shower bath or rub down, and my Noble Friend is glad to say that an increasing number of local education authorities are using their powers to provide such clothing and facilities. As regards nutrition, local education authorities have power to provide meals and milk for all children who are unable by reason of lack of food to take full advantage of their education, including physical education. Teachers can exclude from the physical training course children who are unlikely to benefit from it or they can adapt the work to suit their needs and capabilities.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many local authorities cannot do what they would like in the interests of the children owing to the heavy burden of rates, and will he see that increased grants are given to these authorities with a view to meeting the situation?
§ Mr. Lindsay
Local authorities have comprehensive powers as regards nutrition, and I have stated several times that we desire to see them fully and generously used.
§ 44. Mr. Sexton
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education how many physical instructors have been appointed since the national fitness campaign was instituted, and the number of such instructors who are pensioned and retired from the services; and also the number who are certificated teachers who had not received appointments in their profession?
§ Mr. Lindsay
The Board have no detailed information on the subject of such appointments except in the case of full-time instructor-leaders. Appointments of instructor-leaders require the approval of the Board and, if grant at the special rate of 75 per cent. is desired, have to be submitted through the area committees. Certain authorities are known to be considering such full-time appointments and one proposal has been put forward by a voluntary organisation, but so far they have not reached the stage of final approval.
§ Mr. Sexton
Will the Parliamentary Secretary see that unemployed teachers receive due consideration when making these appointments?