§ MR. C. DARLING (Deptford)
I beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education whether his attention has been called to the dismissal by the Bishop's Castle School Board of Mr. Louis Copson, head teacher; what is the reason assigned by the Board for the notice of dismissal given by them to Mr. Copson; and whether the Education Department can prevent the dismissal of Mr. Copson for the reasons alleged; if not, whether the Government will seek for legislative authority to control School Boards in such cases?
§ MR. ACLAND
I am informed by the clerk of the Bishop's Castle School Board that at the last meeting of the Board a resolution was passed giving Mr. Copson three months' notice to leave. It appears, however, that the requisite notice had not been given to the members of the Board in accordance with Schedule 3 of the Elementary Education Act of 1873, and that the resolution is, therefore, inoperative. The clerk of the Board further states that the resolution of the Board to dismiss Mr. Copson arose out of certain allegations brought against Mr. Copson at a Board meeting last year by a member of the Board. Mr. Copson brought an action for slander against the gentleman in question, which resulted in a verdict for the defendant on technical grounds of privilege, but the Judge in summing up said that the plaintiff had cleared his character, and it was admitted 1465 in the course of the trial that the allegations could not be substantiated. The Department have no power as the law stands to prevent any teacher from being dismissed for an insufficient reason, or without any reason at all. The question of legislation in the direction of giving teachers some sort of security against unwarrantable dismissal is under the careful consideration of the Government, but I cannot promise to introduce a Bill on the subject during this Session.