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Elementary Education

Volume 65: debated on Monday 20 July 1914

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asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that the Paul's Parochial School, Hampstead is held under a lease from the Provost and College of Eton by which the lessees covenant not to alter or add to the schoolhouse and buildings without the licence of the lessors, and that on 20th July, 1887, Eton College gave such licence to the trustees to erect a parish room on part of the site; whether he is aware that the Board of Education inspectors reported on 4th March, 1914 that none of the rooms are well lighted or ventilated, the difficulties being accentuated by the building of the parish room against a wall which should contain windows, and that the noises in this room disturb the work of the school; whether the Board of Education have decided that there are other substantial defects prejudicial to the efficient conduct of the school; and whether he will represent to the Provost and College of Eton the desirability of withdrawing the licence for the parish room and in other ways making the school suitable and worthy of the estate?

The facts are substantially as stated in the question. The Board have drawn attention to the defects of the school, which are now under the consideration of the local education authority and the managers. I do not think that it would be proper for me to interfere between the landlord and tenant or to make any such representations as are suggested.

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that Eton, the richest school in the world, is getting its money from the rent of a thoroughly ineffective school for the poor?

All I have to say at present is that the defects are engaging the attention of the local education authority, and the managers' attention will be drawn to them. At the moment I do not propose to take any further steps.


asked the President of the Board of Education, whether his attention has been called to a summons heard before the Feltham magistrates on Monday last, when the head mistress of the Woodthorpe Road School, Ashford, was charged with assaulting a thirteen year old girl named Ivy Cooper by severely punishing her with a ruler or pointer three feet in length and heating the child on the hands and legs; whether he is aware that the medical man who examined the girl deposed to finding a lump as large as a walnut on the back of the right hand, a livid mark five inches long across the throat, and marks on the left hand, knuckles, and left arm, and across the body down to the thigh; that the accused admitted that she had caned a boy from the workhouse with a sugar cane with knots in it; whether her punishment book recorded twelve corporal punishments on recent dates; what notice will be taken of this case; and how far does the Education Department exercise control over school punishments?

I gather from reports which have appeared in the Press that when the case was heard the magistrates were unable to agree. I understand that the parents are applying for a fresh summons, and as the case may become the subject of further legal proceedings it would obviously be improper for me to express any opinion on it at the present stage.

In regard to how far does the Board of Education exercise control over school punishments?

The Board of Education have the power to inspect the punishment book, and they have power in extreme cases to withdraw the teacher's certificate. The dismissal of the teacher is a matter for the local education authority, not for the Board of Education.

The local education authorities have the power to dismiss any of their servants if they think they have given excessive punishment. I am not aware of any precedent in regard to the withdrawal of a teacher's certificate for abuse of powers in connection with corporal punishment. I will look into the matter if the hon. Member desires.