Women Workers' Children (Care)

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Defence – in the House of Commons on 10th September 1942.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that in certain cases schoolchildren are suffering neglect through the absence of their mothers engaged in wartime industry; whether he is aware of the concern of schoolteachers in this matter; and whether any steps have been taken to deal with the problem or to recommend action by local education committees?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

In Circular 1573, a copy of which I am sending to the hon. Member, the Board urged local education authorities in industrial areas to make arrangements on play centre lines outside ordinary school hours, including, where necessary, the provision of breakfasts and teas, for children of mothers in employment. Up to 31st July, 321 play centres, accommodating 18,700 children, had been set up and a further 56 centres approved.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

While appreciating that reply, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether, in view of the complaints of teachers—in certain instances I have sent them on to him—he cannot take further action to see that the children of these war workers are not unduly affected by wartime conditions?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

This matter is in the care of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health and myself, and I guarantee to go on with the care we are taking of these children.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Does that mean that some particular circular or recommendation will be sent round to these various authorities?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

I think that at present we can continue energetically upon the lines we are already following.