HC Deb 12 March 1896 vol 38 cc768-70
MR. D. MACALEESE (Monaghan N.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, (1) if Ireland's portion of the Budget surplus which was applied under the Education (Ireland) Act of 1892 to free education in the National schools, has been applied in such a way as to make all the schools really free; (2) has his attention been drawn to the fact that, while 10s. per pupil is paid in lieu of school fees for every child in average attendance at an ordinary English school, only 4s., or a little over, is paid for every child attending an Irish school, and that, while the average income of an English principal teacher is £137, that of an Irish principal teacher is only £97; (3) whether the salaries paid to the teachers of small schools in Ireland (previously paid from the ordinary Education Grant), the bonuses paid to certain assistant teachers, and other special payments, are made out of the Parliamentary School Grant under the Act, and is it the intention of the Government in the present Session to make these payments a charge on the ordinary Education Estimates, and pay the money now given for those purposes as an increased residual Capitation Grant; and, (4) what other steps do the Government intend to take to raise the incomes of Irish teachers to an equality with those of English teachers?


As to the first paragraph, the Act of 1892 provided that in any school receiving aid from the School Grant where the average rate of fees received in 1891 was in excess of 6s. for each child, fees may be charged, but so that the average rate of fees shall not exceed the amount of such excess. Thus, if 10s. was the average rate in 1891, fees may still be charged, but so that the average rate shall not exceed 4s. per pupil. About 1,000 schools are authorised to charge "excess fees" under the Act of 1892. In answer to the second part of the Question, I have to say that the School Grant for Ireland for the current financial year if distributed on the principle of capitation, as in England, would yield about 9s. 9d. per pupil. No proper comparison can be drawn between the incomes of teachers in England and Ireland, as 34 per cent. of the incomes of the former and only 7 per cent. of the latter are derivable from local sources, and the fixed salaries of Irish teachers vary according to their class. The public grants, moreover, are paid to Irish teachers individually and directly, whereas in England the funds are at the disposal of school managers. The answer to the third Question is that the salaries of the teachers of small schools are still paid from the ordinary Education Grant, the only change being that these schools share also in the benefits of the School Grant, which makes provision for bonuses to assistants quite independently of what is termed in the question "the ordinary Education Estimates."