42. Mr. PRICE
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education if he will give figures at the latest convenient date of the number of grant-aided secondary schools and pupils, distinguishing schools in receipt of direct grant, and the number of free-place pupils at these schools; what number of schools were required to offer free places to 25 per cent. of the previous year's admissions and the percentages offered by the remaining schools; whether any schools offered less than the minimum 25 per cent.; and if so, for what reason?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Ramsbotham)
As the answer is very long and complicated, and contains a large number of figures, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Following is the answer:
§ On 1st October, 1931, there were in England and Wales 1,378 grant-aided secondary schools with 438,576 pupils. Of these, 240 schools with 78,825 pupils were in receipt of direct grant, and the number of free-place pupils included in the last-mentioned figure was 21,547. One hundred and twenty-four of the direct grant schools were required to offer not less than 25 per cent. of free places, and in the case of the remainder, excluding three schools which are in receipt of a lower rate of grant and are not required to offer free places, the free-place requirement varied between 10 and 20 per cent. The permision given to the last category of schools to offer less than 25 per cent. dates back to the inception of the free-place system in 1907, and was generally given on one or more of the following grounds:
- (a) The financial burden which would be imposed on the school by the full requirement.
- (b) The fact that there was a provision of free places adequate to meet local needs in neighbouring schools.
- (c) The existence of a large non-local element of boarders in the school.