19 MAY 1950, Page 18

A School for Climbers

SIR,—It is a pity that the Derbyshire Education*Committee has not taken advantage, of the opening, which Janus gave it a month ago, to justify its " singular proposal " to establish a school for climbers. I know no details of the project ; the " mansion " may be a bad buy at £17,000, though obviously a villa or prefab would not serve the stated purpose. But the case for fruitful expenditure from public funds by local education authorities exercising their responsibility for the physical and moral training of adolescents should not go by default. The Youth

Service is now part of the nation's educational system. Considerable expenditure is being incurred in supporting voluntary organisations for boys and girls and in maintaining clubs, &c., managed directly by education authorities. The facilities 'With which L.E.A.s provide the young people are too often merely recreational, demanding no effort from their members and leading them nowhere in particular ; in that aspect the Youth Service is open to criticism, and is in fact being widely criticised as purposeless pandering to pleasure. Whenever an L.E.A. takes a more positive and constructive view of its responsibilities, in the belief that its young people need opportunities for adventure and achievement, that face of Janus which look; forward should be benign !

Derbyshire has enviable opportunities for the training of manhood. The value of mountaineering for building of character and inculcating intelligent interests, to say nothing of developing physical strength and dexterity, is great ; the Outward Bound Trust has now established -a Mountain School in Cumberland in addition to its Sea School at Aber- dovey. Its purpose is to give a training holiday to boys employed in industry under conditions which challenge their, spiritual as well as their physical ambitions. There are discipline, effort and some measure of hardship in the four weeks' course, but there is no shortage of boys anxious to take it, and fortunately a number of employers, taking a fine view of their responsibility for their young employees, are sending boys to the Mountain School. This should be enough to indicate that there is much more in the Derbyshire project than at first meets the eye, and will, 1 hope, encourage the Derbyshire Education Committee to make As own case good against criticism from any quarter.-1 am, Sir, yours,