HC Deb 22 December 1916 vol 88 cc1843-4W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education, whether he can state the total number of school places in elementary schools which have been taken for military purposes since 4th August, 1914, and the total number of places now occupied for military purposes; and whether satisfactory educa- tional facilities have been in all cases provided for the children displaced?


To obtain the information asked for in the first part of the question would involve an amount of clerical labour, which I do not think would be justifiable in present circumstances. As regards the second part of the question, the total number of school places in public elementary schools now occupied for military purposes is 186,277, or less than 3 per cent. of the total public elementary school accommodation. Arrangements which are reasonably satisfactory in the circumstances have been made for the continuance of the education of all the children displaced, except in the case of one small department.


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether school buildings are available in the London district as playrooms for children under supervision from, say, five o'clock to seven; whether the schools for such purpose are being provided, rent, heating and lighting free, or on what conditions are they being provided; and, in view of the number of children at the present time whose parents and guardians are at work and are consequently unable properly to look after them, will he take steps to encourage the increase of such play centres during the dark-evenings in populous urban districts throughout the country?


The Board understand that the free use of public elementary schools has been granted by the London County Council to voluntary organisations for the purpose of evening play centres, of which some twenty-two are now open in London. The Board fully appreciate the value of these centres and the desirability of extending the valuable work which they are doing, and have the matter under their consideration.