asked the President of the Board of Education whether he will take an early opportunity of inviting representatives of the school teachers to meet him with a view to discussing the possibility at this stage of securing the voluntary co-operation of the teachers in relief of the taxpayer?
I am always open to discuss with representatives of the teachers any matters affecting the teaching profession on which I think discussion is likely to be valuable and teachers already have ample opportunities, either through membership of education committees or in other ways, of bringing to the notice of local education authorities any suggestions which they consider practicable for reducing the expenditure of the authorities on the administration or maintenance of the schools under their control. If, however, what the hon. and gallant. Member has in mind is a diminution this year of the cost to the taxpayer of teachers' superannuation, I am afraid that, in view of their declared attitude on the. Measure which was recently discussed in this House, such a discussion as is suggested would not at present be likely to lead to any useful results.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that runny of us who voted for the Adjournment on the Superannuation Bill did so because we believed that if the Government would negotiate with the teachers at this stage, they would be able to secure relief in taxes without either breaking a pledge of the Government or creating discontent among the teachers?
I need hardly say that I would welcome very much any approach from the teachers in that direction.
asked the President of the Board of Education whether any deductions have yet been made from the salaries of teachers in respect of the 5 per cent. levy for superannuation as recommended in the Geddes Report?
I am not aware that any such deductions have been made by local education authorities.
Pensions (Continuation Schools)
asked the President of the Board of Education whether the time spent by members of the teaching profession in the Selfridge and similar continuation schools will be included for pension purposes?
The service of teachers in the continuation school formerly conducted by Messrs. Selfridge was not service in a grant-aided school, and therefore is not within the definition of recognised service "under the School Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1918; but if it was full-time service it can be treated as qualifying service.
Oath Of Allegiance
asked the President of the Board of Education whether, in view of the fact that school teachers are paid public servants and are pensioned by the State, he will consider the desirability of arranging that they take the oath of allegiance upon appointment?
The teachers are the employés of the local education authorities and managers and governing bodies of schools. I do not know of any facts which would justify the adoption of the hon. Member's suggestion.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are certain teachers who take every opportunity to undermine the patriotism and good will towards the King and the British Constitution of the children whom they teach, and in view of such doctrines being taught in schools which are maintained out of rates and taxes—
The hon. Member cannot make a speech when asking questions.
County School, Isleworth
asked the President of the Board of Education whether his attention has been drawn to the conduct of a county school teacher, Mr. H. Moore, of the Isleworth County School; whether he is aware that Mr. Moore walks out of the room when the National Anthem is played; that he will not permit the boys to use capital letters for King, Empire, etc., and asks them whether they are Socialists; and whether, in view of the fact that this school is maintained by the local rates paid by all classes of the community, and that such conduct is repellant to many of the ratepayers supporting this school and to the parents of the children attending the school, he will take steps to bring the matter to the attention of the Middlesex education authority with a view to preventing in future such conduct on the part of the teacher or replacing him?
I have no information on the matter, but I will send a copy of the hon. Member's question to the local education authority.
On a point of Order. Is it in order for an hon. Member of this House to lay an accusation of this kind against a person who has no opportunity whatsoever of defending himself? And are you aware, Sir, that this is the second occasion on which a similar accusation has been made against a member of the teaching profession, and do you know that in this case—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speech!"]
I assume, with regard to this question that when the hon. Member put it on the Paper, he satisfied himself as to the facts. If he did not do so, it would be reprehensible.
May I say, Sir, that I had certain evidence. Otherwise I would not have put it down.
I must trust hon. Members, for the credit of the House, to be careful in accepting statements, unless they be satisfied as to their origin before they put them on the Paper.
Local Authorities (Grants)
asked the President of the Board of Education if he is aware that there is some doubt in the minds of certain local education authorities as to the amount of grants they will receive this year; and whether it will be possible to give some indication to local education authorities on this point in order that they may be able to make their plans for expenditure?
I hope shortly to be in a position to issue a statement on the subject.