§ MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)
To ask the President of the Board of Education if the pupil teachers' centre at Oxford has been condemned because of the lack of laboratories and deficiency of accommodation; was a scheme for the center 430 to work in connection with higher elementary schools prepared by the chairman of the Oxford Education Committee, but discouraged by His Majesty's inspector, on the ground that the policy of the Board was the abolition of centres not directly connected with secondary schools; is he aware that in one of the schools to which the pupil teachers are to be sent there is no laboratory accommodation whatever; and whether, in pressing for the closing of the centre, the Board of Education has taken any steps to see that suitable employment for the displaced staff has been supplied.
(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) In answer to the first paragraph of the Question, the two reasons named were the principal reasons involved, and to the second paragraph, the scheme there referred to was criticised as being in certain respects not the best that could be devised, and in particular that it failed to bring the pupil teachers and intending pupil teachers into secondary schools. Regarding the third paragraph of the Question, the Board have not yet definitely recognised any particular schools for the purpose, but have discussed with the Education Committee the new proposals which have now, I understand, been adopted by the City Council. Laboratory accommodation is being provided in the only one of the proposed schools which, so far as I know, possessed none. In answer to the fourth query, it was impossible for the Board to do otherwise than require the discontinuance of the central classes, conducted as they were in a manner ineffective for the growing needs of the city, in three class rooms in a public elementary school, wholly inadequate for the purpose and without any provision for science, except certain unsuitable and overcrowded laboratories some distance away in another building. I should greatly regret it if the local authority were unable to find alternative employment for any efficient teachers unavoidably displaced through changes that were unquestionably rendered necessary by the need for improving the education of the future teachers of the city.