§ MAJOR SAUNDERSON (Armagh, N.)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether it is true that the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland have ordered that some of their smaller model schools should be amalgamated and the head mistresses in them reduced to the rank and salary of assistants; whether the Commissioners have complied with the Petition of the Roman Catholic priests and people of Clonmel, on behalf of the head mistress of the girls' department of the model school in that town, who is a Roman Catholic; whether petitions signed by the Protestants of all denominations in the town and vicinity of Athy had been forwarded to the Board of National Education, in behalf of the head mistress of the combined girls' and infants' department of the Athy Model School, who is a member of the Church of Ireland; whether only a very small proportion of the children attending the girls' department of the Clonmel Model School are Roman Catholics, while two-thirds of those in the girls' and infants' departments of the Athy Model School are members of the Church of Ireland; whether, during the four years that the present head mistress has been in charge of the Athy Model School, over 96 per cent. of her pupils have succeeded in passing at the annual results' examinations; whether the head mistresses in model schools are appointed by open competitive examination; and, whether Her Majesty's Government would advise the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland to comply with the petitions from Athy and to leave their reforms in abeyance until they can 101 be carried out without interfering with the vested interests of the teachers?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY (Mr. JOHN MORLEY) (Newcastle-on-Tyne)
It appears that until recently there were two model schools in Athy, one for boys and the other for girls and infants. The attendance at the former having fallen below the standard, it was resolved to? amalgamate the two schools; and as there could not be two principals, it was thought advisable to make the master, who is resident in the school house, the principal of the new school, the mistress remaining as assistant there until an opening could be found for her as principal in some other model school. No question of religion arose, as both were Protestants. I am informed that the Commissioners have now before them a proposal under which it may be possible to revert to the old arrangement of having two schools. What happened with regard to Clonmel was this. There was a Petition, not of the Catholic priest and people, for no priest signed it, but of the Mayor and other persons, and its prayer exactly tallied with the course resolved upon by the Board.