HC Deb 18 June 1912 vol 39 cc1481-3
42. Mr. TOUCHE

asked the President of the Board of Education if he is aware that a large body of non-collegiate certificated teachers view with continued and increasing concern the announcement in paragraph 9 of Circular 709 reserving to the Board at some future time the power of requiring that any teacher, whether he became certificated before or after 1st August, 1910, must have had a college training in order to be a head teacher, especially of a large school; that his predecessor in office stated that it would be unfair to enforce a division debarring teachers from head-teacherships in the circumstances mentioned in the circular, especially in view of the fact that, amongst other reasons, many teachers obtained their certificates at a time when the training college accommodation was insufficient; that he assured the National Association of Non-Collegiate Certificated Teachers that they need feel no apprehension as to the effects of the circular, or fear that, in consequence of it, they will suffer any deprivation by the action of. any local education authority of the recognition that the Board accorded them, and promised that, so far as he was concerned, no steps would be taken to give effect to the very tentative warning in paragraph 9 of Circular 709, and has his attention been drawn to the Board of Education Report on the schools of Yeovil, which, notwithstanding the assurances of his predecessor, draws attention to what is alleged to be a serious deficiency of trained certificated teachers and, in substance, invites the local education authority, in making new appointments, to discriminate against non-collegiate teachers; will he say whether this apparent departure from his predecessor's policy of safeguarding the interests of non-collegiate certificated teachers has been made with his approval; and will he use the opportunity afforded by the new Code to withdraw definitely a statement which operates detrimentally to a large body of teachers of proved ability, or, if he is unable to withdraw the circular by means of the new Code, will he issue a separate memorandum to the education authorities to safeguard the interests of the 45,000 non-collegiate trained teachers, as desired by the National Union of Teachers at their conference in a resolution passed by them at Hull, and since forwarded to the Board of Education?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. J. A. Pease)

I adopt, without qualification, the answer given by my predecessor to the hon. Member on this subject on 14th June last year. I cannot think that there can be any grounds for the apprehensions referred to in the question in view of the statement which has been repeatedly made that the Board have no immediate intention of giving effect to the very tentative warning contained in Circular 709. I will, however, refer to it in the Prefatory Memorandum to this year's Code so as to remove any remaining doubt. I am sending to the hon. Member, with this answer, a copy of that part of the Board's letter to the Yeovil Local Education Authority which refers to certificated teachers. It does not, I think, bear the interpretation put upon it by the hon. Member. There are twenty-seven certificated teachers in the schools of Yeovil. The authority's attention is called to the fact that out of the twenty-seven only nine are trained certificated teachers, and that except in one school, there is no trained teacher in any girls' or infants' school, and it is suggested to the Yeovil Authority, with a view to redressing the balance between trained and untrained teachers, that in making new appointments they should keep these facts in view.


Are we to understand that it is the intention of the Board in the next Code to withdraw paragraph 9?


It practically amounts to that.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, having regard to the great pain and distress this report has caused to non-collegiate teachers at Yeovil and elsewhere, he will do more than he has done in his answer to satisfy them that an alteration in the Board's policy was not intended, and whether he can in some way through an instruction to the inspectors, prevent a repetition of the expression of opinions contrary to the Board's stated policy in future reports?


I will certainly look into the matter.