Education Committee – Young Children and Gas Masks at School

September 1941

South Yorkshire Times, 20 September 1941

EDUCATION COMMITTEE

Conisbrough Education Sub Committee last Thursday went back on a previous decision not to allow children under the age of five years to attend school, and decided to admit in a local school a child aged three years.

Mrs. M. J. Wright, who pointed out that she had never been in favour of the former decision said she had been approached by a mother whose husband was in the Forces and who had a job to go to if her child could be accommodated in school. Coun. D. Sheldon said that the committee had decided against the admission of under-fives, and if they gave permission in this case there would inevitably be many more such applications; he added that it was not the duty of the education committee to look after such children, but there should be proper clinics for the purpose.

The committee decided to allow the child to attend school, it being stated that the mother’s employment would only be of a temporary nature. The Divisional Clerk (Mr. E. B. Stockdale) read a letter from the Clerk of the County Council which stated that although the authority had no power to compel children to bring gas masks in good condition to the schools, it was inadvisable to exclude children from school where the children failed to bring gas-masks in good condition. The Clerk of the County Council suggested that in cases where children attended school with inefficient masks the position of the authority should be made quite clear by a letter being sent to the parents in each case to the effect that the authority consider it essential that the child should attend school with an efficient gas mask and the letter should also state that the authority must carry out their duty to see that the children attend school, and if the parents fail to see that their children are provided with efficient gas masks, that cannot be held as an excuse for the child’s non-attendance at school, and accordingly a child must attend school whether or not his parents have taken steps to see that he has an efficient gas mask