HC Deb 18 January 1940 vol 356 cc215-6
43. Mr. Rhys Davies

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he will take all steps within his power to prevent children of school age not attending school owing to the emergency from entering employment?

Mr. Buchan-Hepburn

The situation to which the hon. Member refers would be remedied if the law of school attendance were operative in the evacuation areas. This is a matter which the Government have under active consideration.

Mr. Davies

Will the hon. Gentleman be good enough to call the attention of his hon. Friend to the fact that, in evacuation areas, where boys and girls have not attended school for four or five months, it is quite possible for a number of them to be in employment by this time; and also, is it possible for the Board to issue a circular to local authorities calling attention to this possibility?

Mr. Buchan-Hepburn

I will explain to my hon. Friend what the hon. Gentleman says.

Sir H. Williams

Would my hon. Friend represent to his hon. Friend the importance of opening the schools at the earliest possible moment in order to bring to an end the present scandal of boys running adrift in the streets?

Mr. Ede

Will the hon. Member draw the attention of his hon. Friend to the fact that it is not only in evacuation areas where the problem is acute, and that in some of the neutral areas affairs are almost as bad?

Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

What about the position in the reception areas?