HC Deb 29 June 1955 vol 543 cc370-1
3. Mr. John Hall

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if he is aware that the problem of educating the children of those serving in the Royal Air Force both at home and abroad is becoming a matter of increasing concern and often of heavy expense to the parents; and what proposals he has to deal with this problem.

Mr. Ward

Yes, Sir. My noble Friend is discussing this problem with the other Ministers concerned, but I regret that it is not yet possible to make a statement.

Mr. Hall

Is my hon. Friend aware that, in addition to the problem facing those serving overseas, the children of officers and men at home face a very considerable handicap by reason of the constant change of station when they are posted, and that very often they are additionally handicapped also by being absorbed into local village schools which are already overcrowded? Will he, with his colleagues, regard it as a matter of the greatest urgency?

Mr. Ward

I well understand the problem, and I have the greatest sympathy with my hon. Friend, but I am afraid that I cannot say more at present. The matter concerns a number of Departments besides the Air Ministry and the Government will announce their decision as soon as possible.

Mr. A. Henderson

Is it not a fact that the Select Committee on the Army and Air Force Act, which reported last year, drew attention to this very urgent problem? May we take it that the consideration which the Under-Secretary says is now being given has followed the recommendations of that Select Committee?

Mr. Ward

Yes, Sir. We are giving it all the urgency that the Select Committee gave it.

Brigadier Prior-Palmer

Is my hon. Friend aware that I raised this matter at great length two years ago on the Army Estimates and that an Inter-Departmental Committee was set up from the Ministry of Education and the War Office but that nothing whatever seems to have been done about it?

Mr. Lewis

Will the Minister take special note of an article in last Sunday's issue of "The People," in page 15, which, I think, he will find of interest?

Mr. Ward

I will look it up.