§ MR. PICTON (Leicester)
I beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education if he can say approximately in how many cases representations have been made to the Education Department, in accordance with 54 and 55 Vic, c. 56, s. 5, that free school accommodation is deficient; in what mode have such representations been made; what action the Department has taken; and what has been the result?
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Mr. ACLAND,) York, W.R., Rotherham
Representations have been made to the Education Department, in the mode prescribed under Section 5 of the Free Education Act, from 75 school districts. The number of children for whom free places have thus been claimed is estimated approximately at about 25,000, out of 1,125,000 who were still paying fees up to September 1 last; but it is impossible to give exact figures, as in some representations the number of children has not been given, and in others has been given inaccurately. In 25 of these cases sufficient free accommodation is now being provided without recourse having been had to the issue of notices. In six cases notices of deficiency have been issued as provided by the Act. In the remainder the local inquiries prescribed by the Act are still proceeding. As to the result of the working of this section of the Act up to the present time, it must be admitted that the process by which parents who desire it can obtain completely free education for their children is necessarily a tedious and difficult one in many cases, notwithstanding the efforts of the Department to make it as easy as possible. I fear that many parents do not yet know of their right to free education, and that even when they do know they discover in some cases that there are many difficulties in the way.
§ MR. ACLAND
The demand has been met to a considerable extent by the opening of several more free schools, but I am not prepared to say that it has been fully met.