HC Deb 12 July 1883 vol 281 cc1220-1

asked the Vice President of the Council, If it is true as stated in the evidence at the recent inquest at Sunderland that the tickets for the fatal entertainment in the Victoria Hall were in certain cases distributed through elementary school teachers; whether any other similar cases have ever been brought under his notice; and, if he can take any steps to prevent a repetition of such a practice, by requesting managers to prohibit the circulation of tickets in elementary schools for entertainments where admission is only made by payment?


I have inquired respecting the distribution of tickets for the entertainment at the Victoria Hall, Sunderland, and I find that advertisements—not admission tickets—wore distributed by teachers in public elementary schools to the children under their charge. I regret to find that this practice has prevailed in the district for many years. I entirely concur in the censure conveyed in the presentment of the Jury at the Coroner's Inquest— That the masters of the various schools were not justified in allowing the children under their charge to be canvassed by Fay or their teachers, and the attendance of the children in effect secured, by free tickets being given to teachers, without some arrangement being made for the proper supervision and control of the children by teachers when at the entertainment. This seems to me a scandal and a breach of good order and discipline that our schools should be made the recruiting ground of itinerant conjurers, or the purveyors of any description of public entertainment. It is impossible to lay down rules for the guidance of local authorities, school managers, and teachers that shall be applicable in all circumstances and in every contingency. Moreover, there is great danger in attempting to do so, as it might be argued that what was not prohibited was permissible. I propose, however, to send a Circular to Her Majesty's Inspectors calling their attention to what has happened in this case and to the verdict of the Jury, and instructing them to let it be known at the forthcoming inspections that any such invasion of the schools as I have referred to will be regarded as an infraction of the Code as it relates to discipline, and will be considered in the merit grant, and that children attending any school treat or entertainment of any description promoted by teachers or managers must do so under the care and guidance of their teachers.