HC Deb 23 November 1920 vol 135 cc261-2W

asked the President of the Board of Education if his attention has been drawn to the recent prosecution of men and women, in poor circumstances, en whom fines were inflicted at Brierley Hill, Staffs, Police Court, on account of their children's non-attendance at elementary schools through being with their parents who were engaged in the hop-picking districts; whether he is aware that this seasonal occupation results in much-needed augmentation of domestic financial resources, in addition to healthful ' pleasures to the children themselves; and whether, seeing that the demands for adult services in this occupation will recur so long as hops are cultivated in this country, he can see his way to request the local education authority to submit for his consideration before next season arrives proposals to meet the situation by some adjustment of school summer holidays or a scheme of conditional exemption of the children in one or more groups during the hop-picking season, so that parents may be at liberty to take their children with them to the country without fear of hardship or untoward, especially legal, consequences?


The arrangements for school holidays are not made by the Board of Education, but are in the discretion of the Local Education Authority. It is obviously impossible to fix school holidays so as to suit the convenience of all parents, and in this district I understand that the month of August is much more convenient to the great majority of the workers than the month of September for a general closure of the public elementary schools. I believe that the Local Education Authority have carefully considered their policy in this matter, and are convinced that the disadvantages of trying to arrange special holidays for small groups of children far outweigh the advantages. Only about 100 children out of 8,500 attending the schools in this district are affected.