§ SIR CHARLES LEWIS (Antrim, N.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he can explain why the children attending the Ballymoney Model School who live in Ballymoney have been prevented going to their homes during the play hour for meals, although this advantage has been enjoyed by the children for at least 20 years; whether he is aware that the parents unanimously memorialised the Commissioners of National Education, as also the Town Commissioners of Ballymoney, to permit the continuance of this practice, and that the prayer of the Memorial was granted to the extent of only two months, which expired at the end of last year, and that, though a second largely-signed Memorial wsa forwarded to the Commissioners expressing dissatisfaction with their reply to the first, praying for this benefit to be con- 489 tinued to their children without interruption, this Memorial has been entirely ignored; will he have the Inspector's Report, on which the action of the Commissioners of National Education was based, together with the Memorials referred to laid upon the Table; and will he request the Commissioners to re-consider the matter, with the view of meeting the wishes of the parents and Local Authorities?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The Commissioners of National Education report that the practice referred to at Ballymoney Model School was unauthorised, and contrary to the universal practice in regard to National Schools in Ireland, which is to have an unbroken school-day, including, where it is desired, an interval of half an hour for recreation and luncheon, under supervision of the teacher. The Commissioners, to prevent any inconvenience to the parents by a sudden change, did consent to a continuance of the irregular proceeding to the end of last year. The second Memorial referred to did not, as a matter of fact, reach the Commissioners Office; but a communication from the Town Clerk of Ballymoney was received. The Reports of the Commissioners' Inspectors are treated as confidential. The Commissioners consider the rule of having an unbroken school-day to be one necessary for the efficiency of their school system, and they are unable to sanction its non-observance.