HC Deb 15 February 1951 vol 484 cc590-1
8 and 9. Mr. George Thomas

asked the Minister of Education (1) if he will make a statement on the progress made by the Joint Education Committee for Wales with regard to the provision of special schools for handicapped children;

(2) what progress has been made in the provision of a special school in Wales for spastic children.

Mr. Tomlinson

Last October the Joint Education Committee opened a school for the deaf and partially deaf to take children from all parts of Wales: Three schools for educationally sub-normal and one for maladjusted children have also recently been opened by individual Welsh authorities, and work on providing eight further special schools in Wales is in progress or expected to begin within the next year. I understand that the Joint Education Committee have been considering what further provision is needed in Wales for handicapped children, including spastics. I have suggested to the Committee that a full discussion between their representatives and my officers would be helpful, and I hope to arrange a meeting shortly.

Mr. Thomas

While thanking the Minister for that most encouraging reply concerning educational development in Wales, may I ask him if he will speed up this consultation because the problem of spastic children is very distressing and urgent?

Mr. Tomlinson

Yes, Sir, I will certainly do that.

Sir Waldron Smithers

Is it because of the presence of a Socialist Government for five or six years in this country that there are so many children in Wales with spasms that special schools have to be provided for them?

Mr. Tomlinson

For the benefit of the rest of the House, I would explain there is no connection between "spasms" and "spastic."

Sir W. Smithers

But I have just looked it up in the dictionary.

Mr. Peter Smithers

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the shortage in Wales is only part of a wider shortage of accommodation for spastic children?

Mr. Tomlinson

There is a general shortage of accommodation in England and Wales, which we have been seeking to remedy.