HC Deb 06 January 1913 vol 46 cc839-40W

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that the Rev. S. H. Marchall, Roman Catholic priest at Hebden Bridge, wrote on 20th November, 1912, in the name of the parents of the Roman Catholic children attending the council school at Luddendenfoot, requesting that those children should be permitted to learn their own catechism between 9 and 9.30 a.m. in one of the council school classrooms, and that in consequence of that request being refused those children do not now attend school until 9.30 a.m., and have informed the teachers that if they are penalised for coming late they are to walk out of the school in a body and march to the Catholic Church school to be entertained by a cinematograph show; whether he is aware that twenty-four Roman Catholic children in the mixed department of the Luddendenfoot council school now attend the Luddendenfoot Church of England school at 9 a.m., and are there taught in the Roman Catholic faith, by means of catechisms and other literature until 9.25 a.m.; and whether any distinctive denominational teaching is allowed to be given in any council school, and if any Roman Catholic teaching may be given in any Church of Eng- land school?


I have seen a newspaper report containing a print of the letter referred to in the first part of the question, together with a statement that the children affected were going to the council school at 9.30, and have informed the teachers that if they received any penalty they had to walk out of the school and go to the Catholic church school, where they would be shown a cinematograph show. I have no information with regard to the facts alleged in the second part of the question. With regard to the third part of the question, Section 14, Sub-section (2), of the Elementary Education Act, 1870, provides that no religious catechism or religious formulary which is distinctive of any particular denomination shall bo taught in a school provided by a local education authority, and Section 7, Sub-section (6), of the Education Act, 1902, provides that religious instruction given in a public elementary school not provided by a local education authority shall, as regards its character, be in accordance with the provisions (if any) of the trust deed relating thereto, and shall be under the control of the managers.