§ Mr. HENRY J. WILSON
asked the President of the Board of Education whether his consent has been given to the transfer of the Alderley Edge School to the Cheshire county authority; whether his attention has been called to the fact that the transfer involves the expenditure of nearly £5,000 from the local rates for the repayment of a mortgage and the improvement and extension of the school premises; whether he is aware that it is proposed, after this expenditure of public money, to give the incumbent of the parish full control and use of all the premises out of school hours and free of any rent charge; whether a petition against the transfer was received, signed by over 100 residents, protesting that the terms of transfer were inequitable, that the site of the school was unsatisfactory, and that the extension would not meet the needs of the district; and what reply was given?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. With reference to the second part of the question, the estimate submitted by the Local Education Authority of expenditure on alterations of and additions to the school premises, including the purchase of additional land, amounts to the sum of £4,503 1s. 6d. In addition to this the Local Education Authority take over a debt of £250 charged on the school premises. The statement in the third part of the question is not accurate. The provision of the Memorandum of Arrangement approved by the Board with reference to the use of the school premises reserved to the Trustees is as follows:—"The Trustees shall have the use of the school and premises (other than the two classrooms marked A and B on the plan hereto annexed) on Sundays and Saturdays, and on two evenings each week after five o'clock on paying the cost incurred in heating, lighting, and cleaning the school during such time, time to be allowed on these two evenings and Saturdays for the proper cleaning of the school. This right of usage shall not be interpreted to prevent the Local Education Authority from carrying out any duties which may be imposed upon it by Act of Parliament, as for example, maintaining an evening school on four or five nights per week. The trustees shall be entitled to the use on Sunday of the whole of the seats in the school premises, excluding the seats in the two classrooms416W A and B hereinbefore mentioned." With regard to the fourth paragraph, petitions were received against the transfer which, in effect, alleged the objections referred to in this part of the question. One of these petitions was signed by over one hundred residents. I may add that a petition in favour of the transfer was received from 270 ratepayers and voters in the Alderley Edge Urban district. The reply of the Board of Education to the petitioners against the transfer was that the Board have carefully considered the plans of the alterations and the memorandum of agreement, and that they "are of opinion that there is now no reason for them to decline to entertain this proposal, and they have, therefore, decided that, subject to the necessary conditions being complied with, the school may be transferred to the local education authority."