HC Deb 12 July 1904 vol 137 cc1353-4

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland what is the number of assistant teachers employed in Irish national schools; how many of those have been trained; what is the highest grade and salary they can reach as assistants; how many years must elapse under most favourably circumstances before they can reach the maximum; why it is that the spirit of the recent rules, which gives promotion and increase of salary to all others, is denied only to the assistants; whether, under those circumstances, steps will be taken to enable assistants of ten years service and classed under old rules as second-class to be promoted to second grade.

(Answered by Mr. Wyndham.) The number of assistant teachers employed in the year 1903 was 3,787, of whom 1,590 were trained. Assistants, as a rule, can only rank in the third grade, but may, under exceptional circumstances and by special order of the Board, be promoted above third grade (Rule 195f). So long as assistants are in the third grade, the maximum salary for men is £86 per annum, and for women £72 10s. per annum, in both cases exclusive of capitation fees, out of the school grant under the Irish Education Act of 1902. An assistant entering the service at the minimum salary would reach the maximum of the third grade under ordinary circumstances, if his service was good, in nine years. Under special and exceptional circumstances he might reach the maximum of the third grade, or even of a higher grade, in a much shorter time, but there is no fixed time limit. The new rules provide for increases of salary to assistants' under ordinary circumstances, and for promotions of assistants under exceptional circumstances, but it was never contemplated, and it would not be desirable, to give assistants the same rights as principals in regard to promotion. The Commissioners desire that principals should, as a rule, be recruited from experienced assistants, but few assistants would be willing to take principalships with the corresponding increased responsibilites if they could, from the monetary point of view, do as well by remaining assistants. In reply to the concluding inquiry, I have nothing to add to my reply to the hon. Member's previous Question of the 29th of June † on the same subject.