§ MR. VESEY KNOX
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) whether the rules of the National Board of Education prevent children over eight years of age being retained in an infant school, even when backward or deficient and under, the special orders of the manager; (2) whether, if there is any latitude allowed in the application of the rule to special cases, the teacher may with the permission of the manager use his own discretion in the matter; (3) whether teachers have been allowed to use such discretion in the case of the Belfast Model Infant School, and other schools in Belfast; and (4) will he explain on what, grounds the teacher of St. Brigid's Infant School, in Belfast, has been punished for exercising her discretion in the same way under the orders of the manager?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The Regulation of the Commissioners to which reference is made in the first paragraph is in the following terms—As a rule pupils should be removed from infants' schools or departments immediately after the results examination next following the completion of their eighth year of age, and the same rule applies to boys attending girls' schools.To this Regulation there may be exceptions to meet cases of an unusual character, but such cases cannot be determined by the manager, or teacher, without the previous sanction of the Commissioners. Neither in the Belfast Model Infant School, nor in the cases of the several other infant schools in Belfast (except St. Brigid's Infant School), has such discretion been allowed. In the case of the teacher of St. Brigid's School the rule was not only set aside without any authority from the Commissioners, but the accounts were falsified by the teacher to make pupils who were over age appear younger than they really were.