School Holidays

July 1942

South Yorkshire Times – Saturday 25 July 1942

School Holidays

At a special meeting of the Education Sub-Committee last week it was decided that the schools should be closed during the holidays.

The head teachers were present at the meeting to report the result of their investigations to ascertain if there was a desire on the part of the parents for the schools to remain open.

Mr. W. Gledhill, speaking for the teachers, said they appreciated the gesture of the committee in asking the teachers to be represented at the meeting.

Mr. E. B. Stockdale (clerk) reported that there were 3,068 children on roll and of these only 374 (12.2 per cent.) had expressed a desire for the schools to be kept open, and of these, 53 would require dinners and 84 milk.

A curious feature which was endorsed by all the teachers present was that in many cases the children who asked for the schools to be kept open, were those who were the worst attenders, and who had in some cases been prosecuted for non-attendance.

Mr. Platt recalled that when the experiment was tried two years ago, the numbers and the individuals varied each day, and it was thus difficult to operate any scheme of organised activities. Expressing the considered views of the teaching staffs, Mr. Gledhill said that all the teachers were willing to take their share of the work Involved In keeping the schools open, but it was thought that the circular on the matter issued by the County Council was too general to apply to any particular district. Although one of the objects of the scheme was to look after the children of the mothers who were working, these children were the worst attenders during ordinary school times. The feeling of the few who would come would be costly and wasteful, and home rationing difficulties were no worse. The occupations suggested by the authorities did not appeal last time, and many of the teachers were also married and required the holiday; some had made arrangements to attend summer schools.

Speaking of his d own school, Mr. Gledhill mentioned that in one form he had 23 boys who had a 100 per cent. attendance record and really required a holiday; some had arranged to go farming. Generally speaking, the best attenders had given the least response to the idea of keeping the schools open.

The Chairman (Coun. H. Gommersall) thanked the teachers for their assistance in the matter and was of the opinion that, after the information given, there was no justification for the schools being kept open. He was sure that the numbers attending would dwindle, and even if all those who had promised did come it would not be worth while. The position two years ago was rather different. Then there were no shelters at home and the Battle of Britain was won, and there was a definite need for the children to be looked after.

The motion to close the schools was proposed by Coun. G. Cheshire and seconded by Mrs. Wright and carried unanimously.