Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - National School Hours.

asked the Minister for Education if he will amend the hours in national schools in the winter months, to enable the children to return to their homes before nightfall in view of the fact that many children in country districts have to leave home early in the morning in the winter months and possibly spend many hours in wet or damp clothes without a substantial meal to sustain them till they get home late in the evening.

The regulations require that provision be made for secular instruction for a period of not less than four hours after roll call. This period may include a half an hour for recreation. The period of attendance must commence not later than 10.30 a.m. Subject to these conditions, the time table arrangements for national schools are made by or with the approval of the local manager.

The normal time for the conclusion of school work is 3 p.m. This arrangement should enable children, even those residing at a distance from the school, to reach their homes before nightfall.

I do not consider that any alteration in the existing arrangements is necessary.