§ Mr. PURCHASE
asked the President of the Board of Education whether he has formed any estimate of the extra charge which will be thrown upon the 245W Estimates for his Department for the continuation schools to be established under and by virtue of the provisions of the Education Act, 1918?
§ Mr. FISHER
In March, 1918, I roughly estimated at £8,750,000 a year the total cost of the continuation school provisions of the Education Bill to be borne by the Exchequer and the funds of local education authorities. At the time I made that estimate those provisions applied to all young persons between the ages of 14 and 18, but as the hon. Member will recall, their operation was at a later stage deferred for a period of seven years as regards young persons between 16 and 18, and this would, of course, as regards the next seven years, have involved a substantial modification of the figure which I mentioned. It must, however, be remembered that if the devaluation of money persists, earlier estimates of cost will need to be increased, though on the other hand the process of establishing a complete system of continuation schools will, I fear, inevitably be slower. These circumstances render it extremely difficult to anticipate the charges which will have to be met in the Estimates in the next few years. I shall, of course, have in the autumn to form an estimate of the expenditure likely to fall to be met from the Vote of the Board of Education next financial year.