HC Deb 06 February 1969 vol 777 c568
20. Mr. Ridley

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what estimate he has made of the number of children who do not attend secondary schools at all.

Mr. Edward Short

In January, 1968, about 26,000 children of compulsory school age for attendance at secondary schools were not in fact in school. The majority of these were children suffering from severe mental or physical handicaps who were in hospital or in training centres provided by local health authorities.

Mr. Ridley

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a growing amount of informed opinion thinks that many children are not attending school simply because their parents would rather they did not? Will the Minister carry out an investigation into this problem? It is thought that large schools make it very difficult to check who is attending school and who is not.

Mr. Short

I do not know what the hon. Gentleman is talking about. If he gives me any evidence of that, I shall look into it.