HC Deb 11 November 1948 vol 457 cc1708-9
28. Major Sir Thomas Dugdale

asked the Minister of Education if he is aware of the need of the North Riding local education authority to purchase land adjacent to the Northallerton Grammar School for the extension of the school and for the establishment of a new primary school for infant and junior pupils; that the Ministry of Works are seeking to acquire land which will be adjacent to these two schools for the exercise of prisoners from Northallerton gaol; and what steps he is taking to stop this acquisition for a purpose unsuitable to the environment of a school for young children.

Mr. Tomlinson

I am aware that the North Riding local education authority wish to acquire this land for educational purposes and that certain difficulties have arisen. I am in communication with the other departments concerned, and will write to the hon. and gallant Member as soon as possible.

Sir T. Dugdale

Will the Minister agree in principle that it is a very bad thing as a permanent practice to have prisoners cheek by jowl with young children, and will he give an assurance that he will find some way of getting over this difficulty?

Mr. Tomlinson

I hesitate to give an assurance, because this has been in operation for many years and if it is now detrimental, it must have been detrimental all along. However, I am looking into it with a view to meeting the hon. and gallant Gentleman's request.

Sir T. Dugdale

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the point is that there is now a question of undertaking very large new constructional works, and before the works are started is it not essential that this problem should be dealt with?

Mr, Tomlinson

I think that is true, but as it will be 1953 before there is a question of this work starting there is plenty of time to look into it.

Mr. Chetwynd

Will my right hon. Friend agree that the subjects which these boys could learn from the prisoners next door, although they must be instructive, would not be suitable for a school curriculum? Does he not agree that it is undesirable that the prisoners and the boys should be in close proximity?