HC Deb 17 July 1879 vol 248 c617

asked the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education, Whether he is aware that on the 16th of June the School Board of Horley, Surrey, at the instance of the Rev. E. J. Peckover, the chairman, refused to appoint Ada Thomas as a pupil teacher solely on the ground that she was a Nonconformist, though her character and qualifications were otherwise unexceptional, and no other candidate appeared for the office; and, whether steps will he taken to prevent a repetition on the part of the Board of a similar proceeding?


Sir, I have seen in the newspapers the statement referred to by the hon. Gentleman. I have also received a letter from the Rev. E. J. Peckover, in which he states that it is not true that the Board of which he is chairman rejected Ada Thomas as pupil teacher solely on the ground that she was a Nonconformist. There were other reasons why Miss Thomas was not appointed, one reason being that the master of the school had deterred other candidates from coming forward who might have been eligible. The letter also showed that the previous pupil teacher who was appointed was a Nonconformist. Much as I object personally to any exhibition of religious intolerance, I am bound to say that I find it pretty evenly distributed, and that if any regulation were made by the Education Department interfering with the discretion of managers and dictating to them whom they might or might not employ, the Education Act in this country would be very difficult to work.