§ Colonel WOODCOCK
asked the Secretary of State for Air, if he is satisfied with the results of the training of the boys at the Royal Air Force school at Halton; that whereas the Report admits the standard of entry in school work is a high one there were no less than 72 boys dismissed the service as complete failures out of a total of 569 boys after three years' continuous training; and, considering the annual expense of each boy to the country, will he take steps to ensure that more efficient instructors are available, add that boys likely to be classed as complete failures should be dismissed the service as early as possible, thus giving them an opportunity to find a new career?
§ Sir S. HOARE
I am satisfied with the quality of the training given at Halton, and my view is borne out by independent reports which I have received as a result of inspections by the Board of Education, and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Results must of course depend largely on the quality of the pupils and, inasmuch as the airmen now passing out of the school entered in the initial stages of the Aircraft apprentice scheme, it would be misleading to draw unfavourable deductions from the proportion of failures among these early 1775W entries. As the quality of the entrants improves through a wider appreciation of the advantages of the scheme I am confident that there will he a steady improvement; indeed, I look forward to a time when a large proportion of the apprentices will pass out, as they are all eligible to do, as leading aircraftsmen and when the number of failures will be reduced to very small dimensions. As regards the last part of the question the regulations provide that apprentices unlikely to succeed shall be discharged at an early stage, and in point of fact a certain number of pupils were so discharged during the course referred to by my hon. and gallant Friend. I may add that the statement that 72 boys were dismissed the service as complete failures at the termination of that course is incorrect the number actually so discharged was nine.
§ Colonel WOODCOCK
asked the Secretary of State for Air the comparison of the net cost of a cadet per annum at Cranwell with that of Sandhurst; if he can explain the disparity in such cost; and what steps he is taking to reduce the annual amount required for Air Force cadets?
§ Sir S. HOARE
I would refer toy hon. and gallant Friend to the answers given to the hon. Members for Rusholme (Mr. Merriman) and Thanet (Mr. Harms-worth) on the 24th February and 17th March last respectively. The disparity of cost per cadet as between Cranwell and Sandhurst is not in any way ex cessive if proper allowance is made for the different circumstances and in par' ticular, the far more specialised and technical character of the training at the former and the smaller number of cadets. I should add that, as previously stated, if a comparison is desired, that with Woolwich would be more appropriate, though, even here, owing to the quite different requirements of the two services, there is a wide divergence in the character of the instruction given and the two establishments are not strictly comparable. The possibility of reducing the cost anti especially the overheads of the station is, however, constantly under review.