HC Deb 09 March 1961 vol 636 cc658-61
10. Mr. Boyden

asked the Minister of Education if he will list those local education authorities with no special schools: and what arrangements exist in those areas for the special education of educationally sub-normal children.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education (Mr. Kenneth Thompson)

As the Answer contains a number of figures I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Boyden

Is the Minister aware of the very considerable concern that exists about the state of special schools, the difficulties about ascertainment, the fact that probably not enough children are being ascertained, and the fact that there are not enough facilities to deal with them? Will he look into the matter?

Mr. Thompson

The next Question on the Order Paper relates to the general question. If the hon. Member will look at the table I propose to circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT he will see that his Question is answered. The infor

—— In Special schools of other authorities In non maintained special Schools In independent schools Tuition other-wise than at school Total
Day Boarding Day Boarding Boarding Day Day Boarding
Authorities with no special schools:
Isle of Wight (b) 2 3 1 4 4 6
Isles of Scilly 1 1
Peterborough 17 7 13 17 20
Rutland 1 1
Suffolk West 4 13 1 1 1 18
Burton-on-Trent 5 5
Canterbury 8 5 13
Chester 3 10 6 1 1 19
Wigan 8 2 10
Carmarthenshire 42 1 1 42
Flintshire 4 3 7
Merionethshire 8 8
Authorities with no schools for educationally sub normal pupils:
Westmorland 9 4 13 2 2 26
Barnsley (b) 42 12 1 42 13
Exeter(b) 1 11 1 11 1 23
Great Yarmouth 1 1 2
Southport 1 2 3 6
Worcester C.B. (b) 6 13 4 6 17
Breconshire 1 7 3 1 10
Radnorshire 6 6
Merthyr Tydfil
TOTALS 67 144 66 43 9 76 253


(a)Some of these authorities are too small to have enough handicapped pupils to justify a special school; others have projects for special schools in approved building programmes.

They provide for their educationally sub-normal children by sending them to special schools maintained by other authorities, to non-maintained special schools or independent schools, or by providing special classes for them in ordinary schools.

(b)Barnsley and the Isle of Wight have new day schools for educationally sub-normal children included in the 1960–61 Building Programme; Worcester County Borough and Exeter have new day schools for educationally sub-normal included in the 1962–63 programme.

11. Mr. Willey

asked the Minister of Education what is the number of children awaiting places in special schools.

Mr. K. Thompson

According to the the annual returns of local education authorities there were 15,309 children awaiting places in special schools in January, 1960. Nearly 12,000 of these children were educationally sub-normal.

Mr. Willey

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that that is a very disappointing

mation I am about to give the House may be of some help him

Following is the information:

Answer? Very little progress has been made compared with the previous year. Will he ensure that the attention of his Department is directed to this very real social problem so that we make much more rapid progress in the current year?

Mr. Thompson

We are aware of the size of the problem and are very concerned about it. I draw the attention of the House to the fact that there are now twice as many places for educationally sub-normal children as there were ten years ago and there is provision in the building programmes already announced for a large proportion of the places referred to in my principal Answer.

Mrs. Slater

Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that this very large figure is alarming? Not only is it important educationally that these children should be at school. It is also socially important that they should be receiving some training. Will he look again at this matter to see how much further the building programme for these schools can be speeded up?

Mr. Thompson

I have assured the House of our concern about this matter. We are doing what we can to speed up the building programme in the way the hon. Lady suggests.

Mr. Willey

What are the factors which prevented us from making the same progress as we made last year?

Mr. Thompson

If the hon. Gentleman cares to study the detailed figures he will see that we are making consistent progress in this field.