HC Deb 05 August 1941 vol 373 cc1763-4
1. Mr. McNeil

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, since there are 160,200 Scottish school children receiving only half-time education and 3,600 receiving none at all, he will urge upon local authorities the necessity to use churches, church halls, cinemas and public halls, as temporary schools during the oncoming winter?

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. T. Johnston)

Every effort is already being made to ensure that deficiencies in school accommodation are made good as far as possible by the temporary use of any premises that are available and are reasonably suitable for school purposes. The figures given in the Question have already been substantially reduced. The possibility of using churches and cinemas is not being overlooked but the provision of adequate lighting, sanitation and air-raid shelter protection for such buildings in many cases makes their use for school purposes impracticable

Mr. McNeil

Are not these cinemas, particularly in the provinces, which are suitable for use at night for air-raid purposes equally suitable for use during the day?

Mr. Johnston

It is difficult to specify any particular case, but the figures have already been reduced by one-third, and they are steadily being reduced in other directions. We are very anxious, if we can, to reopen the school buildings for educational purposes.

Mr. Buchanan

Could not my right hon. Friend take up with the authorities concerned the question of reopening for educational purposes schools which are not now being used for the purpose for which they were erected?

Mr. Johnston

That has been done steadily for over a year, but there are difficulties of the requirements of the Service Departments.