§ MR. ASHTON (Bedfordshire, Luton)
I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education whether he is aware that notice was given in December last to close six elementary schools in the Borough of Hyde, in Cheshire, on 31st March; that the deficiency in school accommodation in Hyde on the closing of these schools will be 1,800 places; that, while the managers offer to keep these schools open temporarily till the Board have had time to make good the deficiency, they do not desire them to remain open indefinitely; whether the schools will receive Government grants pro rata for the period during which they remain open after the 879 close of their respective completed school years; whether the Board will sanction the payment of the Aid Grant by the Cheshire British Schools Association, while the schools are under notice to close; and what steps the Board is taking to make good the deficiency within a reasonable time.
§ MR. GRANT LAWSON (for Sir J. GORST)
It is true that six voluntary schools in Hyde have given notice that they will close on March 31st. The Board of Education are ready to enter into a reasonable agreement with the managers to keep these schools open while the prospective deficiency is supplied; but they cannot bind themselves in advance by such pledges as are asked for in the question. As soon as the amount of deficiency has been correctly ascertained, the Board of Education will issue a notice under Section 9 of the Elementary Education Act, 1870.