HC Deb 27 October 1884 vol 293 cc252-3

asked the Vice President of the Committee of Council, Whether he is aware that the following advertisement appeared in The School Board Chronicle of the 27th September last:— North Mundham, Hunstan, and Merston U. D. School Board. Wanted an Assistant Mistress. Churchwoman. Salary £35 per annum. Apply, with testimonials, to Oliver Lloyd, Clerk to the Board, West Street, Chichester; and, whether he will take any steps to prevent the disqualification of Nonconformists as teachers in Board Schools by the imposition of ecclesiastical tests?


My attention had not been called to the advertisement in question until my hon. Friend placed his Notice on the Paper. I find that counsel's opinion was taken on this point in 1876, and that he advised that the Act of 1870 gave the Department no power to interfere. Such an advertisement appears to me to savour of intolerance, and is entirely foreign to the spirit and intention of the Act. I am, however, glad to say that it is the only case of the kind brought before me during the last four years, and I hope it is one which will not recur. I think hon. Members will see how unfair and inconvenient it would be for School Boards with alternating majorities of Churchmen and Nonconformists to restrict their choice of teachers to those of their own religious faith, and to introduce considerations which are alien to the purposes of the Education Act.