HC Deb 06 March 1899 vol 67 cc1363-4
MR. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)

I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education whether his attention has been called to the last balance-sheet and school le port for St. James's School, Northampton, just issued, in which it appears that the new Aid Grant under 'he Act of 1897 amounted to £104, and converted an adverse balance on the previous year of £285 into a balance in hand of £56; whether the debt of £285 thus paid off had been incurred in whole or part before the passing of the Voluntary Schools Act, 1897, and the paying of this debt has been in contravention of Circular 410, of 5th January 1898; whether during the year for which the balance-sheet is given there has been a profit made of £341, and what are the purposes to which this profit has been or is to be applied; whether he is aware that the school is understaffed, in the second standard one assistant teacher has to teach 87 children, while in the infants' school, though the numbers have increased, the staff has been diminished, and nearly all the classes have had numbers largely in excess of the number of which the teachers are qualified; and, whether he will insist on the managers bringing up the staff and equipment of the school to the proper standard, in pursuance of the recommendation of the inspector that the staff should at once be brought up to the standard required by Article 73 of the Code?


The Aid Grants for two years were paid within the limits of the school year referred to. The second, amounting to £217 7s. 2d., was received by the managers about a fortnight before the close of the school year, and had, of course, not been expended. It is assigned to the maintenance of an improved staff and increased salaries, and to the provision of new desks and apparatus. There has been no infringement of Circular 410. The number 87 is the number on the books, and not the number in attendance; but the managers have been very properly warned that the class is too large for one assistant teacher. The girls' and infants' departments are understaffed. In the case of the former, a reduction in Annual Grant has thus been incurred: in the case of the latter, a reduction will be incurred if the under-staffing continues.


But am I not right in supposing that the accounts now quoted are for the years 1897–98, and that the sum has been paid out of the Aid Grant for 1896–7. Does that not constitute an infringement of Circular 410?


I am informed that the honourable Member's information is incorrect.