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Schoolmistresses

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 17 May 1949

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19.

asked the Secretary of State for War why the increases necessary to bring the rates of pension of Army schoolmistresses up to the revised Burnham Scale of 1948 have not yet been granted as promised; and, as the present pension rate of these schoolmistresses, namely, 3d. per day for each year's qualified service, is inadequate, if he will accelerate the grant of these increases.

The pension terms for Queen's Army schoolmistresses are under review, but I am not yet able to say what the result will be.

As these mistresses retire at the age of 50, which is much younger than the comparable age for civilian mistresses, will the right hon. Gentleman make an early announcement of new rates of pension, which should be comparable with those enjoyed by civilian mistresses?

We are having a review of the general position affecting Queen's Army schoolmistresses. I am not in a position to say when an announcement will be made.

20.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether Army schoolmistresses who, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, are to be retired on reaching the age of 50 years, will be given any guarantee of further employment; or whether assistance in obtaining employment as teachers under local educational authorities will be given to them.

I regret that I cannot give a guarantee of further employment elsewhere for Queen's Army schoolmistresses after their retirement, but I understand from my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education that suitably qualified teachers are experiencing no difficulty in obtaining further employment, although choice of locality cannot be guaranteed.

Has not the education given in Army children's schools always been of a very high order and ought not the Army in dispensing with the services of these excellent schoolmistresses, to ensure that they get further suitable employment?

I gladly pay a tribute to the work undertaken by the Queen's Army schoolmistresses in the past. We cannot, of course, guarantee suitable employment after their retirement. As I have said, the Minister of Education will do his best to assist.

In view of the excellent work that the Army school-mistresses do, will my right hon. Friend undertake to have a consultation with the Minister of Education about the transfer of these women, rather than that they should be expected to find posts for themselves? We are very short of women teachers and I am sure that such a transfer could be arranged.

I will take note of what my hon. Friend says. I think there is something in it.

Would the right hon. Gentleman also try to persuade the Secretary of State for Air to employ these schoolmistresses where the education of children is sadly lacking?

I have no doubt that the Ministers concerned will have taken note of these questions.