HC Deb 01 July 1875 vol 225 cc792-4

rose to move— That the case of the Teachers now serving in inspected Elementary Schools in England and Wales, and who were employed as recognised Teachers under Government inspection from the 21st December 1846, to the 6th of August 1851, and of those who were so employed from the latter date to the issue of the Revised Code in 1861, claims the consideration of the House of Commons, not only with regard to the Teachers themselves, but also in the interests of education. In bringing the subject before the House he admitted that the Government had taken it into careful consideration, and had made some improvements in the position of the teachers to which his Motion referred. But there were still some points to which he thought the attention of the noble Lord (Viscount Sandon) might be usefully directed. According to the Minute which had been placed in the hands of members that morning various changes were being introduced that would impose on the teachers serious restrictions. One had reference to the number of years during which a teacher must have been engaged in an elementary school to entitle him to participate in the advantages of the Minute; whilst another excluded from consideration the claims of teachers whose salary had for seven years been £120 per annum. He trusted that such alterations would be made as would entitle these persons to have their claims for pensions considered. All that he wanted was that teachers who were fairly entitled from length of service should have their claims to pensions considered in competition with those of others. There were many teachers with salaries just above £120 per annum who would wish to retire from age and ill-health, and the managers of the schools were ready to supplement their pensions if the Government would only grant them £20 a-year each.


said, he was extremely glad to find from a Paper on the Table that the Government had done nearly all that was desired. He joined in asking the Vice President of the Council to re-consider that part of the new Minute which limited pensions to those male teachers whose salaries did not amount to £120 per annum, and female teachers whose salaries did not exceed £60 per annum. He suggested that every case should be taken upon its merits, and that a hard-and-fast line should not be drawn.


said, he was glad to receive the new Minute that morning, because it was one that the late Government would have issued if they had remained in office. The Select Committee who considered this subject came to the conclusion that these teachers had no legal claim, but that it was one deserving of consideration. Since then fresh evidence had come out; strong speeches were made in both Houses of Parliament at the time the original Minutes were passed, and it was impossible to read them without feeling that the teachers might fairly have inferred there was an expectation that pensions would be granted. A small pension might meet the justice of the case in many hard and deserving instances. He supported the appeal of the hon. Members for Kendal and Marylebone that the Vice President would not fetter himself by the restrictions laid down in this Minute, and feel that by the letter of the Minute he was precluded by a technical difficulty from meeting deserving cases.


thanked the noble Lord the Vice President for doing this substantial act of justice. If these persons had not a legal claim, they certainly had a strong moral claim on the Government.


, while expressing his satisfaction at the course taken by the Government, thought that the Minute on the subject was somewhat too restricted, and might be extended with advantage.