§ MR. LEA (Londonderry, S.)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether the teachers of the model schools in Ireland are appointed and dismissed by the Commissioners of National Education; whether the appointments of these teachers are made after competitive examinations; and whether they are thus virtually civil servants; whether it has been the custom hitherto not to dismiss these teachers, unless when they have committed some breach of rule, or have become unfit for service; whether the Commissioners have dismissed five of the female teachers of the Bailieborough Model School, in County Cavan, after giving them three months' notice; whether these teachers have been guilty of any dereliction of duty, or have they been 464 dismissed, after 30 years' service in the case of two of them, because the attendance of pupils at the school has been diminished, through circumstances over which they could not have had any control; and, will the Government grant these teachers compensation for this summary dismissal?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
I have to reply to the first parapraph in the affirmative. Since 1872 appointments of these teachers have been made after competitive examination; but no national teacher is recognized either actually or virtually, as a civil servant. They do not come under the Superannuation Act, nor are they examined by the Civil Service Commissioners. It has been the custom not to dismiss teachers unless for some breach of rule, or through becoming unfit for service; because, hitherto, when a teacher's services became unnecessary in a particular model school owing to the diminution in the attendance of pupils the Commissioners were able to provide for such teachers by transferring them to other model schools. As regarded Bailieborough Model School, it appears that the attendance had fallen off to such an extent as barely to warrant the recognition of two departments and two teachers. The Commissioners have, therefore, been constrained by their Rules to give notice to the teachers whose services are no longer required. They have been informed, however, that should vacancies occur in other model schools the Commissioners will be glad to consider their claims for re-employment. The services of these teachers are to be dispensed with solely because of the great diminution of the attendance. One of them has had nearly 30 years' service distributed over four or five different schools. The Government cannot undertake to adopt the suggestion contained in the last paragraph of the Question.