HC Deb 30 July 1908 vol 193 cc1710-1
MR. WALTER LONG (Dublin, S.)

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he is aware that the rules made by the Intermediate Education Board with the approval of the Lord-Lieutenant under the authority of the Intermediate Education Act of 1900, contemplated the introduction, as part of the system of intermediate education in Ireland, of a scheme providing for the appointment of a staff of permanent inspectors; that the late Government in November, 1905, came to the conclusion that the time had arrived for a reconsideration of the reasons which were previously urged against the adoption of the scheme; that with a view to such reconsideration as well as to place the Government in possession of expert opinion on the question of affecting a much needed co-ordination of the systems of intermediate, primary, and technical education, so far as co-ordination is practicable within the limits of existing powers, a committee representative of the three educational systems was appointed, with instructions to make a Report to the Government on the matters mentioned; whether he will state the names of the representatives who formed this committee; what was the date of its Report; what were the committee's recommendations; whether any action has since been taken on its recommendations; and whether he will now consent to lay upon the Table of the House a copy of the Report of the committee the appointment of which so strongly commended itself to the departments concerned.

(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The rules of the Intermediate Education Board made in 1902 prescribed bonuses for schools which on inspection should be reported as satisfactory or highly satisfactory. In November, 1905, the Government suggested that the question of the appointment of a staff of permanent inspectors might be usefully reconsidered in the light of, and in conjunction with, the suggestions for co-ordination of the systems of primary and intermediate education made by Messrs. Dale and Stephens in their then recently published Report on Intermediate Education. As a result the matter was considered by a committee consisting of the Right Reverend Dr. Archdall, Bishop of Killaloe and Dr. Starkie, nominated by the Board of National Education, Mr. Justice Madden and the Reverend T. A. Finlay, nominated by the Intermediate Education Board, and Mr. Gill and Mr. Fletcher, nominated by the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction. The Report of the Committee, which is marked private and confidential, is dated January, 1906. Its principal recommendation is the appointment of permanent inspectors under the Intermediate Education Board. My predecessor informed the right hon. Gentleman in 1906 that he could not undertake to present the Report in question to Parliament, and I am not prepared to depart from his ruling. I may say, however, that the Government are at present considering a scheme for the appointment of permanent inspectors, and I have reason to hope that a settlement may be arrived at in the near future.