§ Mr. KINGasked the President of the Board of Education what is the total number of children in public elementary schools on which Grant was paid in each year from 1905–6 to the present date, including the Estimates now before the House for 1913–14; what would have been 374W the number in each year if the rate of increase in the eight years ending in 1906 had been maintained; and what is the aggregate sum saved on the Parliamentary Grant from 1906 to 1914 by reason of it being paid on the lower of the above totals instead of the higher one?

§ Mr. J. A. PEASEDifferent Grants are paid upon different figures of average attendance; but taking annual Grant as the most important, and taking the financial year as the period to which the question is intended to relate, the average attendance of the public elementary schools on which annual Grant was paid from 1907–8 onwards are as follows:—

I have no figures for 1905–6 and 1906–7 which can be exactly compared with the figures from 1907–8 onwards, and I have, therefore, omitted these two years. The figures given above are not the figures on which payment was actually made within the year. Those could be given if required, but for the purpose of comparing the number of children in the succession of years it will probably be more convenient to the hon. Member to have the figures as I have given them, since by this method of arrangement every school appears once, and once only, in the figures of each year. I have no returns of the children at school for a later date than 31st March, 1913; I have estimated for a stationary average attendance for the year 1913–14. The basis on which Grants based on average attendance are paid by the Board has undergone some change during the period to which the question relates, but their total may be taken roughly as amounting to not less than £2 0s. 1d., and not more than £2 0s. 6½d. per child. I cannot undertake to answer the hypothetical question contained in the second part of the question, or the question based upon the answer to it contained in the last part.

1907–8 … … … 5,302,579 1908–9 … … … 5,330,817 1909–10 … … … 5,378,584 1910–11 … … … 5,391,169 1911–12 … … … 5,382,627 1912–13 … … … 5,375,002

§ Mr. KINGasked the President of the Board of Education whether the terms of the reference to the consultative committee on the exclusion from school of children under five years of age stated that any proposals to discourage the attendance of such children at school were to be on the assumption that the moneys then payable in grants for such children would still be payable to local authorities 375W in greater relief of other expenditure; what is the total sum saved, from 1905 to the Estimates for 1913–14, by the reduction in the number of the children under five following the discouragement aforesaid; what sums have been paid out of this total to local authorities as suggested; and what portion of the total saving has gone to the Treasury?

§ Mr. PEASEThe answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. Any sums by which the expenditure of the Board fell short of the amount voted have, in the ordinary course, been surrendered year by year to the Treasury, but I am not aware of any sums which have been returned for the reason suggested by the hon. Member. I am unable to answer the last two parts of the question.