HC Deb 31 May 1951 vol 488 cc373-4
1. Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport

asked the Minister of Education whether he is aware of the great educational handicap to children of many members of the Regular Forces when these men are continually being moved from one district to another; whether he is aware that some children go to as many as eight schools; and whether, in view of the handicap to intelligent children who may be undergoing higher education, he will grant special boarding school facilities for them if the parents so desire.

The Minister of Education (Mr. Tomlinson)

I am well aware of these difficulties. Local education authorities are empowered to assist with boarding education in suitable cases and I have already suggested that these could include children whose parents' occupation involves constant change of home. Any special assistance to Service parents over and above that available under local education authorities' general arrangements would, however, be the concern of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence and his Service colleagues.

Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport

Cannot some permanent solution be found to this urgent problem? Is this not just another reason why it is so hard to get Regular troops, who realise what a dog's life their families have to lead in following the drum?

Mr. Tomlinson

The arrangement that is made between the local authorities could be permanent. The question of whether or not that could be applied to all and sundry is one for the Service Departments.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Would not the right hon. Gentleman consider consulting with his right hon. Friends the Minister of Defence and the Secretary of State for Scotland with a view to introducing a workable plan for children of Regular soldiers and to letting the people concerned know all about it because, at the moment, they do not?

Mr. Tomlinson

The possibility of any further help for Service parents is now being studied.