Religious Instruction

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons on 26th November 1942.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

asked the President of the Board of Education from how many elementary, central and secondary schools for which county or borough authorities are responsible the scholars are withdrawn periodically for religious instruction in another building; and whether this procedure has been under consideration during recent discussions or negotiations?

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

My Department has no records which would enable me to answer the first part of the Question. As regards the second part, the provisions of Section 13 of the Education Act, 1936, for the withdrawal of children from public elementary schools for religious instruction of a kind not given in the school have been considered in recent discussions in common with the other statutory provisions relating to religious instruction.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Has the President no record of instances covered by the first part of the Question which have occurred in Sussex and Surrey, and could he not at least make inquiries to see whether this practice has spread to other parts?

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

I have answered Questions put by the hon. Member on the subject of a case in Sussex. We know of that one, and we know, I think, of one or two other cases not exactly similar, but I have no complete record such as would satisfy the hon. Member's request.

Photo of Mr Ian Hannah Mr Ian Hannah , Wolverhampton Bilston

Cannot this be left to the local education authorities?