HC Deb 04 May 1909 vol 4 cc884-5

asked the President of the Board of Education in regard to the Circular Letter No. 709, addressed to local education authorities relating to the revision of the regulations affecting the staffing of public elementary schools and the size of classes, if a communication has been received from the education committee of the county borough of Sunderland in which it is pointed out that the changes contemplated will involve an annual additional charge for teaching staff of £2,240 as also a further yearly sum of £670 for principal and interest for additional class rooms for 30 years, and further points out that until the State is prepared to make annual grants such increased requirements ought not to be sought to be enforced; and, if so, can he state what action, if any, it is proposed to take in regard to this and similar requests with a view to relieving the financial pressure or delaying the putting into operation of such regulations.

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Runciman)

In the estitimate referred to the provisions of Circular 709 have been seriously misunderstood. It has been assumed, for example, that the class assigned to an uncertificated teacher must in no case exceed 35 children, and head teachers have been entirely excluded. When the authority have revised their estimates in the light of an explanatory communication which the Board have addressed to them I have no doubt their original figures will be largely reduced.


Is it the fact that full information has been sent in regard to every school of each class?


Yes; a further communication has been sent to the Sunderland authorities in order that they may have fuller information on which to revise their estimates.


Can this useful information be circulated to all local authorities in view of the obscurity of the order?


Every local authority which has communicated with the Board of Education has received a similar communication of the nature referred to, but one communication cannot dispose of the whole matter in every case.


Has the right hon. Gentleman received a similar communication from the Sheffield Education Committee, in which they state that the ratepayers will have to pay an additional £10,000 a year to conform with the regulation?


I must have notice of that question.