HC Deb 05 March 1940 vol 358 cc173-4
2. Mr. Gallacher

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many children in Scotland are receiving education on the same basis as prior to the outbreak of war; how many are receiving some modified form of education; how many of school age are not receiving education at all; and what steps are being taken to ensure that all children of school age shall receive full and normal education?

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Colville)

In the sending and neutral areas under the Government evacuation scheme 104,000 children are receiving full-time education, 234,900 a modified form, and 75,700 are not attending school. This last figure is being steadily reduced. In the remaining areas, out of 2,960 schools all but 109 are working full-time. In all these 109 schools a half-time system at least is in operation. As regards the last part of the Question, constant attention is being given to making provision for children who are not presently attending school, and in a circular issued on 6th February, a copy of which I am sending to the hon. Member, I have made suggestions to this end to the education authorities concerned.

Mr. Gallacher

Could not the Minister bring forward special measures so as to get the schools which are operating on half time to operate on full time? In Fife the schools are closed in the forenoon; is it not possible to get these schools operating on full time?

Mr. Colville

I am anxious to get them operating on full time wherever it is possible; I know the difficulty in certain areas. With co-operation from the authorities, it may be possible.

Mr. Thorne

When does the Minister intend to have compulsory education in Scotland as in England?

Mr. Colville

We have it already.

Mr. Kirkwood

What does the Secretary of State propose to do with regard to schools which have been taken over by the Army—

Mr. J. J. Davidson

Or the A.R.P.

Mr. Kirkwood

—and are still occupied by them?

Mr. Colville

I am now in consultation with the authorities concerned about the release of several of these schools, and I am obtaining the release of those which can possibly be given up.

Mr. Stephen

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that some infant schools in Scotland have been taken over, and will he make a special effort in those cases to get them returned?

Mr. Colville

I know of those cases, and I am looking into them.