HC Deb 09 March 1925 vol 181 cc955-6W

asked the President of the Board of Education the number of defective children of school age under the heads of blind, deaf and dumb, feebleminded, tuberculosis (pulmonary), cripples (tubercular), cripples (other than tubercular), and other physical defectives, together with the special school accommodation available for each class of case?


I can only give the figures based upon the classification adopted for the purpose of the returns made to the Board. On this basis the figures are as follow:

(1) Number her of children. (2) Accommodation in Special Schools, 31st March, 1923.
1. Blind children 5,401† 3,787
2. Deaf children 5,491† 4,582
3. Mentally Defective children. 29,278 16,392
4. Physically Defective children‡:
(i) Non-tubercular crippled children. 34.591 Hospital Schools. 2,759§
Cripple Schools. 6,386
(ii) Delicate children. 49,358 Open Air Schools. 4,690‖
*The figures in column (1) are an estimate based on the returns from Local Education Authorities for 1023, which are the. latest complete figures available.
†These figures include large numbers of children who are only partially blind or deaf.
‡There are also 14,747 children suffering from active or infectious pulmonary or glandular tuberculosis and 7,142 suffering from active non-pulmonary tuberculosis, about 2,000 of whom are in sanatoria which are also recognised as Special Schools. Generally speaking, however, these children fall to be dealt with by the Public Health Committee acting in relation to the Ministry of Health.
§The whole of the accommodation at Hospital Schools is not available for non-tubercular crippled children, as part of it is reserved for other types of case.
‖Supplemented by Open-Air Classes held in connection with ordinary Public Elementary Schools.

It will be readily understood that it is extremely difficult to give really accurate figures of the number of defective children. The whole matter is considered in detail in Section VI of the Report of the Board's Chief Medical Officer for 1923, to which I would refer the hon. Member.