HC Deb 21 October 1918 vol 110 cc471-518

Order for Second Reading read.

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Herbert Fisher)

I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time."

I think I owe the House some apology for the fact that copies of this Bill, the Second Reading of which I now rise to move, were not available in the Vote Office before last Saturday. Owing to alterations of drafting which were found necessary at the last moment, there were certain delays in printing, but I can assure hon. Members who have not had an opportunity of studying the text of the Bill that in all its main parts it has been correctly summarised in the White Paper issued on 8th August. In these circumstances, I hope the House will pardon the short interval which has elapsed between the publication of the Bill and the Second Reading Debate.

Everyone who has the interests of national education at heart will welcome the determination of the Government to provide a generous scheme of pensions for teachers in Grant-aided schools. We have, of course, a system of superannuation allowances for teachers in our elementary schools, supplemented in their case by an annuity formed out of their own contributions; but this provision of pensions for elementary teachers is altogether too meagre to meet the requirements of the case. It is notorious that it has become increasingly difficult to find recruits for teaching work in our elementary schools, and if the Education Act which has recently been placed upon the Statute Book is to be effectively worked, it is clear that something should be done, and done promptly, to render the position of the teacher in an elementary school in this country more attractive than it has hitherto been. When I inform the House that a male assistant certificated teacher in an elementary school becomes entitled, after 'forty years' service, and at the age of sixty-five, to a pension which will amount in the year 1930 to a sum equal to about 30s. a week, and that the female certificated teacher who has served for the same period of forty years and has retired at the age of sixty-five will become entitled at the same date to a pension of about £1 a week, it is quite clear that the inducements in respect of pensions are not altogether brilliant. I suggest that if the State accepts the principle of granting pensions to teachers it should grant adequate pensions. It should grant pensions which would enable the teachers to retire before the age of sixty-five, and it should grant pensions upon such a scale as to give the teachers that sense of elasticity and freedom from care which is essential to the proper discharge of their duties.

4.0 P.M.

I have spoken of the pensions granted to elementary teachers, and I have urged that they are insufficient. If we turn our eyes from the elementary schools to the secondary schools of this country, and there are something like 1,050 secondary schools in receipt of Government Grants, we shall find the situation even worse. The salaries in the secondary schools, as I have already pointed out to the House, are altogether upon too low a scale. Although it is true that the liberal Grant to secondary schools made in 1917 have enabled improvements to be adopted, still the salaries are not yet adequate to attract the kind of ability and quality which it is desirable to attract to this form of service. The lowness of salary is not the only disability under which the secondary schools suffer. There is no form of pensions whatever for teachers in secondary schools, although here and there there are local pension schemes. The absence of such systems led to the appointment in 1912 of a Departmental Committee to Report upon the best system by which provision can be made for the superannuation of teachers in secondary and technical schools and institutions, schools of art, colleges and schools for the training of teachers, pupil teacher centres, and other schools and institutions not being universities or university colleges aided by Grants from the Board of Education. This Departmental Committee reported in favour of a system of insurance for full-time teachers in secondary school, resembling the system adopted by the Federation of Universities and supported by contributions from the teachers themselves and from the employers, to be supplemented by assistance from the State in the shape of superannuation and disablement allowances. The Report of this Committee was published, and although widely commented upon at the time, has never been given effect to. The War supervened, and the hopes which had been created by the publication of the Report have not yet been realised. In these circumstances, and in view of the great development of education which we expect to ensue from the recently-passed Education Act, the Government has come to the conclusion that it is essential at the earliest possible moment to bring under one State pension scheme all qualified teachers in aided schools of all kinds below those of university rank.

Let me say, in the first instance, that the scheme proposed in this Bill is no niggardly scheme. Its generosity has been widely and freely acknowledged by all who have studied the White Paper and who are interested in the welfare of the teaching profession. I think the House will realise that if the pension scheme for teachers is to err it should err on the side of generosity. Teaching is one of those professions which demand the preservation of a buoyant temper and of a fresh outlook under conditions which too often make for deadly monotony. Since the State has undertaken to make provision for the teaching profession it is for the State to find some means of relieving those school teachers who have reached that period of life when vitality is lower and when the spirit tending to usefulness is almost gone. Seeing that the salaries of teachers generally are on a modest scale, this affords additional reason why the pension should bear a high ratio to salary. The scheme, generous in its terms, is non-contributory. I gathered from some observations from my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Glasgow and Aberdeen University (Sir H. Craik) while the Financial Resolution was being discussed, that he was inclined to prefer a scheme under which contributions should be demanded from the teachers and from their employers. I do not wish in any way to disparage the value of contributory schemes. They have their place in the national system. But a contributory scheme to which the State makes a contribution is open to certain objections, the force of which is increased in direct ratio to the size and complexity of the scheme. If you have a contributory scheme it may be worked by an insurance company, and if it is worked through an insurance company you are at once confronted with the objection that public money is going in dividends to the shareholders of those companies. You are also confronted with the objection that the Minister of Education will be beseiged by different insurance companies pressing on his notice the advantages which they are enabled to offer to their clients. You will be confronted with the objection that the State is subsidising and guaranteeing a private company, and these objections become, of course, seriously aggravated when the sums involved are large.

If you do not go to the insurance company, and if you compel the teachers and the employers of teachers to make their contributions to the fund, then you are open to another set of objections. Teachers know that such a fund earns a comparatively low rate of interest, and they know that the benefits to be obtained from such a fund compare unfavourably both as to amount, elasticity and variety of options with the benefits which may be obtained from an insurance company. The teacher will say with some reason that if he is to be asked to contribute his money—to make a contribution from his modest salary in order to secure provision for his old age—he should at least be allowed to take that money to the quarter in which it will earn the best rate of profit. There is another objection. If you have a fund, then that fund must be subjected to periodical valuation. I have a very great respect for the sombre science of the actuary. But the science of the actuary is not an exact science, and whenever a fund of this kind comes up for revaluation there will always be disputes as to the rate of mortality, and there will also be disputes as to the rate of interest. Again, I say, the larger the operation the more complex it becomes. We have decided that this scheme of superannuation shall be non-contributory, and we have also decided to bring under our scheme qualified teachers in aided schools of all kinds below those of university rank, whether they are certificated or uncertificated, whether they are teachers in special subjects, whether they are teachers in elementary, secondary or technical schools, or in teaching centres, or training colleges, or other aided institutions which are neither universities nor departments of universities under university colleges.

In the discussion on the Financial Resolution some preliminary objection was taken to what was called the bureaucratic tendency of this Bill. It is apparently bureaucratic to grant a good system of pensions to teachers in State-aided schools, because by so doing you are providing an official inducement to schools which at present stands outside the State system to come to the Board of Education for Grants. I think it was urged also that one of the results of this Bill would be to extinguish enterprise and suppress experiment in a number of public and private schools which are at present working in this direction. I am convinced that all this talk about the bureaucratic tyranny of the Board is a little exaggerated. Of course some people will watch with suspicion any sign of activity on the part of a Government Department and describe it as bureaucratic tyranny. I agree, of course, that any attempt to suppress or regulate the private enterprise that represents the university method or university curriculum, things it is desired to maintain, should be carefully watched and, if necessary, put down. But I remind the House that there is at least as much difference of variety of experiment in the schools which are at present receiving Grants from the Board as in the schools which stand outside State aid, and if any hon. Member of this House would study the list of schools at present in receipt of Grants from the Board he would at once realise that it comprises an extraordinary variety of schools. Moreover, as regards the present Bill, I do not see that the determination to grant pensions to teachers in State-aided schools will affect the variety of curriculum in those schools. We have always to remember that our present educational system is administered upon the lines of the Department by the local education authorities. It is probable that one of the effects of the passing of this Bill will be to bring more schools on to the Grant. It may also make it difficult for some schools that do not at present see their way to accept a Grant from the Board to maintain themselves without raising their fees.

But do not let us exaggerate the influence of these disadvantages, if disadvantages they be. I have had a good deal of experience in advising young men at the Universities as to their future career, and my impression is that when young university men are making up their minds as to the kind of school in which they wish to take up work, they are affected by a large number of considerations of a non-prudential character. The personality of the head master, the social status of the school, its record in scholarships and athletics, the general amenities of its surroundings—all these factors weigh very much more in a young man's mind than the purely prudential factor. But even if we put the prudential factor as high as possible, what is our alternative? It is, I think, quite clear that if the State grants pensions to teachers, it must have some guarantees as to the quality and efficiency of the school in which those teachers exercise their calling. It is difficult to see how the State can grant pensions to teachers in schools run for private profit. Again, it is very difficult to see how the State can grant pensions to teachers in schools which, although they may be subjected to the inspection of the Board, and although they may be reported as efficient, still do not see their way to comply with the conditions which the Board has attached to the receipt of moneys from the State. The secondary school regulations of the Board may be reasonable or unreasonable. I am not concerned to discuss that point here. But although I should like to be in a position to recommend the House to grant pen- sions to teachers in any good school in the country, I feel, as a taxpayer and a representative of taxpayers, that such an enlargement of our patronage would be very difficult to justify to the House and to the country.

Now, let me describe the benefits provided by the Bill. These consist not only of annuities to those who reach the age of sixty, and to those who, after ten years' service, are disabled, but also of lump sums, which are payable to the teacher on retirement, and death annuities, which are payable to his representatives if he dies after five years in the service. Furthermore, there are gratuities for those who become disabled after less than ten years' service, and there is provision for a death gratuity in the case of pensioners who die before they have received, in the form of pension, a lump sum as much as the amount of the average salary from which their pension is calculated. In these respects the benefits are wider than those provided by the existing system of pensions for elementary teachers. The terms upon which these benefits are calculated closely resemble those of the Civil Service pension system. They may be proportioned to salary, and may be assessed on the average salary the teacher receives during the last five years of service. Under the Bill a teacher may receive by way of annual superannuation allowance, as many eightieths of that average salary as the years of his service amount to, and by way of lump sum as many thirtieths of the average salary. The maximum limit of these benefits will be, as in the Civil Service, forty-eightieths of the annual superannuation allowance, and forty-five-thirtieths of the lump sum. Thus, a teacher who has an average salary of £400 a year during the last five years of his teaching service will, upon his retirement at the age of sixty, receive a superannuation allowance of £200 a year, and in addition thereto a single lump sum of £533. The hon. Member (Mr. King), in his speech upon the Financial Resolution, raised a point of very considerable interest. He urged that to defer pensionable rights to the age of sixty, at any rate, in the case of women teachers, is to defer those rights to too late a period in life. He urged that women teachers are often worn out at fifty-five, and that it would be a benefit both for them and for the children in their schools if they were able to receive a pension at the age of fifty-five. I quite agree that many women teachers would be the better for a rest at the age of fifty-five, but I am informed that a pension at fifty-five would be only half the amount of a pension at sixty, and it is a pity for the State to grant insufficient pensions. Further, the Board has always encouraged school authorities to grant teachers a grace year during the later period of their teaching life, and although under the Bill no pension can be drawn before the age of sixty, the teacher is entitled to a pension after thirty years of service, so that a woman teacher who feels that she has outlived her interests and her powers can retire at fifty-five with the knowledge that she will be entitled to a full pension at sixty.

I will pass to another point to which the House will naturally attach very great importance. It is clear that no system of pensions for teachers can be regarded satisfactorily unless it provides for the free passage of teachers from one type of grant-aided school to another, and from grant-aided schools to non-grant-aided schools and vice versâ, and in this respect I think the Bill will satisfy the House. Of course it places no obstacle in the way of migration from one kind of grant-aided school to another. The teacher who has taught in an elementary school will carry his or her interest in life into the secondary school if he or she passes into a secondary school. But the Bill goes further than that. It allows migration from grant-aided schools to schools which are not aided and for re-migration—and, indeed, it allows the teacher the privilege of interrupting his teaching service altogether, though, of course, if a teacher does go out of the teaching profession for a period, that period will be altogether ignored for pension purposes. Here I may take the occasion to explain the difference between what the Bill calls qualifying service and what it calls recognised service. No service in future will be pensioned except that which is rendered in grant-aided schools, with an exception in favour of schools which come upon the Grant list within the next five years. In order to get a pension at all, therefore, a teacher must have rendered ten years' service in a grant-aided school, and that service is described in the Bill as recognised service. He must have rendered a minimum of ten years' recognised service in a grant-aided school. But he must also, if he is to receive a pension in respect of that period of recognised service, have rendered a minimum period of thirty years' qualifying service, and thus it is possible to qualify in a non-grant-aided school. A teacher, for instance, who spends thirty years' teaching service in a school outside the State system, and who then spends ten years of recognised service in a school in receipt of a Grant, would be able to qualify for his pension in respect of the thirty years' service in the non-aided school, although he would only have received a pension on the ten years of recognised service.


Will the right hon. Gentleman explain what happens in the case of a teacher who goes from a rate-aided school to a non-aided school?


In that case he must, to draw a pension, be in an aided school. These provisions are calculated to secure an object which I am sure the House will regard as one of very great value—that is, mobility within the teaching profession itself—and the provisions of the Bill with respect to existing pension schemes are informed by the same principle. Many of the great urban authorities, such as London, Liverpool, and Manchester, have pension schemes of their own which are no doubt much appreciated by the beneficiaries under them, but which certainly exert a restrictive influence over the movements of teachers. Once under the London pensions scheme, a teacher is naturally unwilling to transfer his service to another authority under which he loses his pension rights. Accordingly we think it desirable that these separate pension schemes should be wound up eventually, and no further schemes of the kind shall be created, and provisions are inserted in the Bill to give effect to this intention. Teachers under these local pensions schemes are, however, given the option either of coming under the Bill or of remaining in those schemes. The Bill institutes only one differentiation between the sexes, and this is a difference in favour of women who leave the profession in consequence of marriage and afterwards return to it. For such teachers it is proposed that twenty years should be substituted for thirty years as the qualifying period. At present the pensions scheme for elementary school teachers is differentiated against women. Their contributions bring them smaller annuities than the contributions of the men, and when a woman breaks down, her disablement is calcu- lated upon a rate lower than that of men. In future the benefits of men and women will be proportionate to their salary.

Many schemes for pensions are framed for the benefit of future beneficiaries, bat this Bill makes provision not only for future entrants to the teaching profession but also for existing teachers, and although service in a Grant-aided school is the only service which in future will be pensionable, it admits as pensionable all the services rendered before the commencement of the Act in a school which though not now on the Grant List comes on the Grant List within five years within the passing of the Act, and it treats existing teachers with exceptional generosity, because it allows them to count for pension service in a school which, though not Grant-aided at the time of the service, become aided before it expires. It further empowers the Board of Education to frame rules under which service rendered in any such schools before the commencement of the Act may, up to a maximum of ten years, be counted, even though those schools are not granted aid within five years. It is not intended, under this section, to make past services in non-aided schools generally pensionable. This special provision is intended to meet hard cases which might otherwise arise in assessing the pensions of existing teachers of the kind for whom the Bill generally is intended to provide. No one can frame a Pensions Bill without being conscious of the great difficulty of distinguishing between pensionable and non-pensionable cases. This is a Bill for the relief of teachers in Grant-aided schools, and it is natural, especially in view of the generous provision that teachers outside the charmed zone, and officials connected with the administration of education, should desire to be included within the scope of the Bill. Representations particularly had been made to me on behalf of officials engaged in local administrative Services of education, and it has been pointed out with some force that if local authorities were to find it difficult to obtain experienced teachers for the work of inspection or the work of administration then the educational system of the country would suffer. This is a Bill for the superannuation of teachers, and I am advised that it would be impossible to bring within the scope of the Bill or within the scope of the Financial Resolution administrative officials not engaged in teaching, in respect of their administrative service, and I would remind the House that only to-day my right hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board published the names of a committee which he has set up to consider a scheme of superannuation for just this class of officials to which I have alluded.

I feel however that it is most important that inspectors should be drawn from the ranks, of teachers. I think it at any rate desirable in many cases that that course should be pursued, but I would like to remind the House of the steps taken under this Bill to satisfy that very reasonable demand. Under the pension system, which exists at present, no provision is made to meet the case of the man or woman who serves as a teacher and then becomes an inspector of schools. The existing law on the subject is that unless he serves, as a teacher, the whole time necessary to qualify him for a pension under the Superannuation Act, 1893, he cannot obtain a pension in respect of his teaching service. Now I think that it will be generally agreed that it ought not to be necessary that a man, before becoming an inspector, should have served as a teacher for the full time necessary to qualify him for a teachers' pension. You may get many good inspectors who have had ten or fifteen years service as teachers, but, under the system as it exists at present, local authorities cannot offer such men posts as local inspectors without asking them to forgo all pensionable rights which have accrued to them in respect of their teaching service. Now we are proposing in future that it shall be possible for teachers, who have completed ten years' service as teachers, to become inspectors without any loss of pensionable rights which have accrued through their ten years of service in an aided school.


Could the right hon. Gentleman say which Clause in the Bill provides that?


I am afraid that I have not got the Clause by me at the moment.

Sir J. D. REES

Does this apply to other officials under local education authorities or to inspectors only?


To inspectors only. Then, again, there are some persons who are serving as inspectors to local education authorises and have been allowed to reckon their service as pensionable under the name of organising teachers. The vested rights of those organising teachers under the Superannuation Act of 1898 will be preserved; and further, teachers who have gained their pensions as teachers before becoming inspectors will now have the pension to which their service as teachers entitles thorn calculated under the terms of this Bill instead of under the less favourable terms of the existing Act. In all these respects I think that the House will recognise that the Bill is amply generous towards those teachers who enter the inspectorate. I have already drawn the attention of the House to the provision in respect to local pension schemes contained in Clause 14 of the Bill. There is perhaps one other Clause which deserves a little explanation. In Clause 12 we make provision for the winding up of the deferred annuity fund. The deferred annuity is granted to teachers in elementary schools under the Act of 1898, and is derived entirely from teachers' contributions. It gives them a pension of a certain amount on a purely actuarial basis at the age of sixty-five. In the past these contributions have been paid into two funds—one for men and one for women—and the Act of 1898 prescribes that tables shall from time to time be constructed showing the benefit that may be paid out of the funds without exposing the fund to any loss. The effect of the present Bill is that teachers who accept the arrangement—and it is anticipated that these teachers will be the the great majority—will cease to make any further contribution to this deferred annuity fund, which will accordingly become modified, and it is proposed that the Treasury shall take over both the assets and liabilities of the fund and pay the teachers the annuity to which they are entitled upon the basis of the present table.

It may, I imagine, be objected that this proposal is unfavourable to the teachers, and that they would gain, or that they might gain, by some such subsequent valuation of the fund. But that, of course, is a purely speculative opinion. It is really impossible to say whether the proposal is favourable to the teachers or not, because that depends largely on the rate of interest which the fund may be able to earn in the future. This step is taken, not with the idea either of benefiting or prejudicing the teacher. It is taken because it is practically necessary. I am not so sanguine as to suppose that a Pensions Bill of this magnitude and complexity will be perfect in all its details, even after it has received all the improvements which the acumen of this House may be able to supply. The casuistry of life is so infinite that it is almost inevitable that unforeseen cases of hardship should occur, and that amendment of detail should be rendered necessary. A few years' experience of the working of the Act is almost certain to reveal a number of minor defects calling for amendment, but making allowance for this contingency, I am confident that the passage of this Bill will achieve three objects of great educational reform. It will promote the unity of the teaching profession. It will improve the quality of the instruction given in the school, and it will secure for the great educational developments which are bound to ensue under the operations of the Education Act an army of men and women teachers who will be attracted to that calling not only by the additional material benefit which the Bill will give them, but still more by the sense that for the first time the State has been giving adequate recognition to the teaching profession.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say what the cost will be?


We anticipate that in ten years' time the additional cost—that is, the cost over and above the cost of the present pensions scheme, when it has developed in ten years' time—will be about £2,000,000 per annum. The total cost will be about £2,428,000.


Before the right hon. Gentleman concludes, will he make some statement with reference to that last Clause, which does not apply to Ireland or Scotland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man?


As the hon. Member is aware, the President of the Board of Education has no jurisdiction over Scotland or Ireland.


I desire to say a few words, and they will be very few, on the Second Reading of the Bill, which has been introduced by the President of the Board of Trade. I say that I shall be brief, for two reasons. One is that I do not wish to do anything that might delay, even by a day or an hour, the passage of this Bill through the House; and, secondly, because it is only within the last half-hour that I have had an opportunity of reading the Bill, and of considering its Clauses. It will be at once admitted, as has been stated by the President, that the Bill is one of considerable magnitude, and, at the same time, of some complexity, and I could have wished that those who had drafted the Bill would have been able to draft it in some simpler terms than those in which the Clauses are now worded. But that may be due, perhaps, to my want of legal knowledge; at any rate, it will be admitted that those of us who have only had a few minutes really for consideration of the Bill will not be able to criticise it in any detail, and all I can do is to thank the President very heartily indeed for the clear exposition which he has given to the House of the main provisions of this important measure. I have said that I am very desirous of seeing this Bill placed on the Statute Book at as early a period as possible. I do not know any measure that is more necessary to the interests of education in this country than the measure which has now been brought to our notice, and, speaking on behalf of the very large numbers of teachers in our Grant-aided schools, I desire to thank the Board of Education and the President for having introduced at this time a measure which, in his own words, can only be described as very generous in all its conditions.

Having said so much, as regards the Bill as it is before us, perhaps I may be allowed to refer very briefly indeed to those parts of the Bill which seem to me to be, perhaps, less satisfactory than the general principle which dictates it. Let me here say just one additional word of thanks to the President for having included in his scheme teachers of special subjects. This is a very important part of the Bill. Personally, not long ago I had the privilege of introducing a deputation of manual training teachers to the President, requesting that some such measure as this might be introduced, and I am very glad to see that teachers of special subjects will, provided that they give their whole time to school work, be included in the scheme. The President has told us that the scheme will apply to 1,050 secondary schools. That, of course, is a very large number, but at the same time, as you will readily admit, it does not include, I will not say an equally large number, but certainly a very large number of important and efficient schools in this country. Certainly, no apology was needed from the President for introducing at the present time a Bill of this description, for unless we are able to attract to our elementary schools, and equally to our secondary schools, competent teachers, the Education Act which has already been passed will prove inoperative. I refer therefore to this Bill as the necessary sequel of the Education Act already passed.

The President referred to some other classes of schools that are not included in this scheme, and he also stated in his concluding words that one of the effects of this Bill would be to unite the teaching profession. I very much wish that the President had taken a wider view of what we understand by the teaching profession. Surely, he would not exclude from the teaching profession teachers who are engaged in schools not receiving Grants from the State. Therefore, as regards this Bill being a measure which will unite the teaching profession by giving to those who are engaged in it the opportunity of obtaining these pensions, I am sure, if he will allow me to say so, he fell into a fault which he had ascribed to others, by somewhat exaggerating his own case. The question whether other classes of teachers can be included in this scheme or not is not one that ought to be dealt with on the Second Beading, and personally I do not want at the present time to say one single word which would indicate that I am not favourable to the Bill, for I am very anxious that it should pass. If it does not do all I want for the general teachers of the country, it gives more than I expected, and I am very glad that all should be given that is given to a very large number of teachers. But an opportunity will be given to us to discuss certain Amendments which may have the effect of enlarging the scope of the Bill, and by so doing will increase its value as a great measure of educational reform.

I was very pleased to see in to-day's "Times" the matter to which the right hon Gentleman referred, namely, that the President of the Local Government Board has appointed a Committee to consider under what conditions, and whether, pensions can be granted to those who are engaged by the local authorities in various occupations, and, with regard to this Bill, particularly inspectors and directors of education. The fact that such a Committee has been appointed will render unnecessary what has been urged by certain Members, that the Bill should be so far extended. I hope that when we are in Committee we shall have an opportunity of expressing more forcibly the desire of large numbers of schools throughout the country that the teachers in those schools may be included. The President was unable at times to avoid saying that pensions would be provided for the teachers of all efficient schools, and that the country required a guarantee that no pensions shall be given to schools which are not efficient. I need hardly say that I am entirely at one with him there. No one would for a moment suggest that pensions should be given to teachers in any school which was not pronounced thoroughly efficient. I have no desire to argue that question at the present time. I would only say that, speaking on Tuesday last, I did state that it was possible that this Bill might have the effect, which I did not desire to see, of bringing all schools under the control of the Board of Education, and of making our educational system more bureaucratic than it has been up to the present. I do not think I was the one who used the phrase "bureaucratic tyranny." At any rate, at the present time, I do not think it would be advisable to go into a discussion which would be better taken on Amendments that may be introduced in Committee, and therefore I shall conclude by giving the Second Reading of the Bill my hearty support.

5.0 P.M.


I am glad to say that I was able to give more time to the consideration of this Bill than the hon. Member for London University, having been fortunate enough to get a copy of it last Saturday morning. Therefore I shall make a few comments, and they shall be very few, after a careful study of this Bill. I make these observations from the point of view of one who has been closely connected with education, and with the administration of education in London, for the past nine years. It has been said that there is no one so ignorant of education as those engaged in its administration. I shall risk that imputation, and I shall venture to put one or two suggestions before the right hon. Gentleman. I should like, first of all, to say that I, in common with the hon. Member for London University, heartily welcome this Bill, and I desire most warmly to congratulate the President of the Board upon its introduction. I was very glad to hear him say that in giving pensions one should err on the side of generosity, and there is no question about it that the scheme is of a most large-minded and liberal character. Surely, therefore, that is all the more reason why it should not be unduly restricted in its operation. While the scheme apparently treats all teachers affected on the same footing, yet great inequalities exist. Take, for instance, the case of the poorly paid teachers in small rural schools. Those teachers, however highly qualified, will fare much worse under this scheme than some of the highly paid teachers in urban areas. I would put it to the right hon. Gentleman, why not meet this by fixing a minimum pension of at least £52 a year? The next point that occurs to me is that of earlier optional retirement period of qualification. Very many are bound to complete their period of qualification before they reach the pensionable age of sixty. I should like to ask the President to consider the suggestion that he should fix the age at fifty-five instead of sixty. What is the good of telling a man or woman, who retires at the age of fifty-five, that he or she is going to get a pension at the age of sixty? It may give the man or woman something to exist for, but after all it does not give them what they want—something in hand—and it is not much consolation to explain to them, "You just go on living for five years, and you will then be all right." I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that the additional expense to the State involved by fixing the pensionable age at fifty-five instead of sixty will be more than compensated for by the character and volume of the recruits he will get. The more attractive he makes the profession the better will be the recruitment. That is the great difficulty which all of us who are engaged in the administration of education are finding. We want to do all we can to encourage the volume and the quality of the recruits. Let me now refer to three very important classes who are left un-provided for in this Bill. First of all, there is the question of the teachers who have become inspectors under the Board of Education. In the year 1913 the Board instituted a new class of assistant inspectors, and those who offered themselves for the appointment were required to be certificated teachers of at least eight years' training experience, and below the age of forty-five. The average age of appointment would be about forty. What happened? All the teachers who were so appointed and who had served as certificated teachers for less than half the possible period between the date of certification and the date of reaching sixty-five have forfeited their rights under the Teachers' Superannuation Scheme which was then in force. Although I asked the right hon. Gentleman to point out to me the Clause on this important point when he mentioned the subject, he was not able then to do so. There was not, of course, any grievance at that time on the part of those teachers who accepted those appointments under the Board of Education, because they were compensated then by improved status and by a prospect that when they reached the age of sixty they would qualify for a Civil Service pension based on the average value of one-fourth of the final salary.

The position now is wholly altered. I should like to put a concrete case. A man of forty earning £275 per annum as head teacher, became an assistant inspector at £250 per annum. He did not mind at the time abandoning the extra £25 per annum because he was assured of a retiring allowance of £100 per annum at sixty, and of course as well had the prospect of a higher salary. The school of which that particular man was head master is now, as far as the present head teacher is concerned, graded with the salary of £320 instead of £275—that is to say, if this man instead of becoming an assistant inspector had remained on in his school, he would have £320 instead of £275, and he would be able to retire on a pension of £160. Therefore you will arrive at the strange position that the people who you will send out to inspect the schools will be inferior in financial status and inferior in financial prospects to the teachers upon whose work they report, and you will further find, I venture to suggest, that the next time you try and obtain teachers to accept appointments as assistant inspectors under the Board, you will not get many applications. I am quite sure the right hon. Gentleman will agree that those who he has already obtained as assistant inspectors from the ranks of the teachers have been very good indeed-I think, if I may say so, that everyone who have had experience of their work will agree as to that. The position he is going to create is a very anomalous one. I find on examining the Bill that on page 11 it is stated that the expression "qualifying service" means any employment whether in the capacity of teacher or otherwise which the Treasury, on the recommendation of the Board, may declare to be qualifying service for the purpose of calculating the period qualifying for a superannuation allowance. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman may be able to give us some sort of assurance that the Board will make a recommendation under that definition to meet the case of the teachers who have become inspectors.

I come now to the case of those teachers who have already retired. The number cannot be large since they retire at the age of sixty-five, and is bound to decrease rapidly. In a number of cases where no local schemes prevail, teachers have retired on pensions of less than £40 per year. The London County Council is endeavouring to help the case of the teachers who are on the point of retiring by extending their engagements until 1st April next. That is the arrangement for London teachers, whose time would normally be terminated before the appointed day. That will only take in a few. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to give consideration to the case of these retired teachers. As I have said, their number is small and is bound to decrease rapidly. To exclude them is only to create a feeling of injustice and of irritation. After all, a man may have to retire two days, or five or six days, before the appointed day. Is he to be excluded, and what is going to be the result of exclusion of that kind? I suggest that the new scale ought to apply to all teachers under existing Acts, and I submit further, if you are going to do this thing at all, that it is far better, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, to do it in a large way and so as to leave behind as little feeling of grievance among any section of the teaching profession as possible.

There is next the case of the supplementary teacher. We have not, I am glad to say, got this problem at all in London, but of course it exists in the country districts and is a very urgent question there. Take a small village school of ninety children under the scale of the Board there is a head master allowed for sixty and an assistant for the other thirty. What happens in practice? It is easy enough to get the head master, but it is not so easy to get the assistant. There for what happens is that the head master has two, or perhaps three, supplementary teachers. With regard to them, the only qualification is that they must be women of respectability and above the age of eighteen. It is no fault of theirs, very often, that they have not got the necessary technical qualification. What is their position? They have got absolutely nothing to look forward to, and yet you cannot do without them as things now are in the village schools. They have got absolutely no prospects and must go on working to the day of their death. I do not envy the inspector who has to go round the village schools, and make a report with regard to the retention of a supplementary teacher. He knows that if he makes an adverse report it means practically the workhouse for her, because on the salary she receives it is absolutely impossible for her to put by anything for her old age. It does seem to me that the case of the supplementary teacher is a very hard one indeed, and I had hoped that the right hon. Gentleman, in his speech, might have had something to say with regard to them. Why not include all supplementary teachers who are actually at work on the appointed day? There is no question about it that in all schemes of this kind it is very difficult to draw the line, but I do suggest that the classes whose case I have mentioned to the right hon. Gentleman are extremely hard cases and cases that are deserving of consideration. I hope very much, when the Committee stage comes on, that he will find himself in the position to lend his assistance and co-operation to some of the suggestions I have ventured to put forward.

Sir J. D. REES

I do not pretend to any knowledge of the administration of education such as that possessed by my hon. Friend (Mr. Cotton), who, while he addressed the House, seemed to me to recall with extraordinary exactitude the voice and manner of his honoured and lamented father, once familiar in this House. I rose for the purpose of asking the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade to endeavour to extend the concession he has made, since the deputation of the 11th of October, to other officials who then begged that they might be brought under this scheme. I am not sufficiently acquainted with the details of educational technology to know whether or not the concession made to inspectors applies to-directors, secretaries, organisers, or other educational officers under local educational authorities, and as those officers have quite rightly called upon me to represent this matter, and are, I am sure, well fitted to present their case. I will now, on Second Reading, only express the hope that the right hon. Gentleman will benevolently deal with an Amendment which, in Committee, will be brought before him on this subject. It seems to me it is very difficult to separate the administrative from the teaching staff. They are a pair of noble brothers whose energies must be combined to bring about the desired result, and I understand that the cost of including them would be extremely small. It is usual when one says, "He does not count the cost," to impute an unrestrained extravagance. I do not impute it to my right hon. Friend, but I do suggest it is very characteristic, if not of himself, of this time of unrestrained and fantastic expenditure, that he should not mention the amount of the expenditure until when he sat down my right hon. Friend the Member for the City (Sir F. Banbury) and I got up simultaneously to point out what appeared to us a large omission.


May I explain that I dealt with the cost on the Financial Resolution, and made a speech on the cost on that occasion?

Sir J. D. REES

I heard that, but it did seem to me as this was the field day of this Bill, the Second Reading, when all the points of importance were to be dealt with, that the question whether there was money to do what was wanted was a question to be touched upon on this occasion amongst others. It seems somewhat inconsistent in me to be urging that these officers should be included, because that would, I confess, increase—as my information is—by 1 per cent. the cost of this measure. I am 10th to say more, because I have not got up in the character of an expert on this subject. My experience of education has been more subjective than objective in character, though, indeed, I have examined others as much as any Member of this House. It seems to me more natural that the officials on whose behalf I speak should be grouped with the teachers than with the officials of other Departments, such as the tramways, the electric lighting and the parks. I think it necessary to make these remarks because there are those in my own Constituency who will be adversely affected if, when the time comes, the President and the House do not give a favourable hearing to their representations.


I intend to detain the House for a very few minutes, and certainly will not do what my hon. Friend the Member for London University (Sir P. Magnus) deprecated, delay the Bill by a day, or even an hour. I confess I am indebted chiefly for my own knowledge of the Bill to the very lucid explanation of my right hon. Friend. This Bill is the natural sequel to the great education measure my right hon. Friend carried a short time ago. We are all deeply impressed with the fact that if that measure is to be effective—and we all appreciate its importance to the country—you must, as a necessary consequence of it, raise the status of the teacher, and I am quite prepared to admit that this is a very admirable method of raising the status of the teacher. One point of my right hon. Friend's speech, however, was not quite convincing to me, and it is entirely to deal with that point that I have risen. We are dealing with a very large class of State-aided schools, but there is a class, very much smaller, but still important, of public schools which do not receive Government Grants. I do think it is a defect in this Bill that it does not deal with the teachers in those schools. Of course, I should be the very last person to suggest that these benefits could be conferred on teachers unless the Board of Education had means of satisfying itself absolutely that the schools were effective, and the education given in them all that was required, but I do not think my right hon. Friend put up a convincing case for omitting those teachers. It is obvious that it must place those schools at a very great disadvantage. The teacher in those schools, serving perhaps for a very long number of years becomes entitled to no pension. Some of the richer of these foundations may be able to provide pensions for the teachers themselves, but there are a number of schools doing most admirable educational work as good as, and perhaps even better than, that of the more famous foundations, which are not able to afford any further drain on their resources. They will be seriously handicapped in the competition for teachers.

No private Member of the House will be able to carry an Amendment to deal with this subject in Committee, because it would raise the cost, but we shall have, I think, to make an appeal to my right hon. Friend to give this matter further consideration before we come to the Committee stage, because I think it would be a great thing if he could claim for this Bill that it embraced the whole of the teachers in all the really efficient public schools in the country, even though they are not State-aided schools. I have been connected with the Board of Education, but I have always maintained the view very strongly that it was undesirable that we should follow the example of Germany and really bring all education under the control of the State. I have always felt it was a great thing to have some independent education, and I could not understand my right hon. Friend's argument. I agree with him in so far as he said he was entitled to see the education was effective, but why the fact that a school obtained the Government Grant should be any security to the public I do not understand. What I mean is this—I am not putting that quite right—is it necessary, in order to give the benefit of pensions to teachers in a school, to insist that the school should take other Government money? It does not seem to me a very economical proposition, nor, if I may say so without offence, an entirely logical proposition, and if it is intended (I do not think it is, I think probably my right hon. Friend Trill agree with me that it is desirable to have some free education outside the control of the Education Department), why should you adopt a proceeding that will drive a great many schools into the State-aided ranks? That is a subject to which, I think, nearly every speaker has referred, and I think it is well my right hon. Friend should appreciate that there is a widespread opinion on the subject.


In the very few words I shall address to the House, I desire to associate myself almost completely with what has fallen from my right hon. Friend in regard to the limitation of the scope of the Bill to State-aided schools. Yon cannot bring into this House a Bill of the importance of this one without regard to the indirect results on education as well as the direct benefit it gives to the very deserving section of the community who will benefit by it. I shall not take up the time of the House by saying what has been said with great force and precision by my right hon. Friend, but I desire to associate myself with his argument, and I would like to say this, that surely the right line to go upon in regard to superannuation is to aim at providing superannuation for all the members of the profession rather than for those who are employed here and there in this type of school or that. It is really an endowment from State funds of a great profession, the conditions of whose work are such as not to allow them to obtain that wealth that is open to men of no greater attainments in other walks of intellectual activity. From the point of view of the profession which has special claims on the State, I have no doubt this Bill will be supported and will become law. If that view be taken it will strengthen, I think, the argument we have already heard, to make it extend to persons in that profession in whatever schools they are serving, provided such schools are undeniably efficient by such test as may reasonably be applied. In supporting this Bill we are also making a precedent for a very far-reaching principle of finance, for we are now supporting a measure which proposes to give State superannuation to persons who are locally engaged, in local employ, and to a large extent under the control of local authorities or local boards of governors. If these were times in which we had time and opportunity to think out first principles, this very important first departure might deserve far more close and careful analysis than it has had either in the Debate on the First Reading or the Debate to-night. But in this country, after all, we take most steps forward not from theory or argument in itself, but according to what in practice is necessary, and anyone who has had experience of the great problem of dealing with teachers, their salaries, and their conditions cannot doubt that this Bill is necessary or refrain from thanking my right hon. Friend for bringing it in.

The other point that has been raised is the point of the administrative services. I quite realise it is impossible within the limits of this Bill to deal with pensions for persons in local administrative services, many of whom, at any rate in the less important positions, are interchangeable between the Education Office of the town or county council and other offices. But I hope my right hon. Friend will make an effort to secure what I respectfully venture to say is not now secured, that no person who has become an administrative official after years of teaching experience shall be in any worse position than if he or she had remained a teacher. It seems to me that would not be incon- sistent with the Financial Resolution on which this Bill is based, and it is of the greatest importance to the proper carrying out of education in the various parts of the country that there should be no hindrance to moving people with teaching experience to posts where that experience is of the greatest value. Otherwise it means you cannot ask a teacher to become an inspector because it removes or limits the chances of superannuation, and thereby limits the proper administration of education. You are limiting the field of choice, and putting on such a person a most difficult and invidious choice. Therefore I would urge my right hon. Friend—while leaving the case of administrative officials who have not been teachers where it is now, because however much we wish to remedy it, that cannot be done within the scope of the Bill—to say that those who have been teachers, and are now administrative officials, shall be treated as those who are teachers at the present time; and in future, if a person passes from teaching to administrative posts, the time he or she was a teacher shall count for superannuation purposes, even though it does not fulfil the conditions of the Bill, as would have been the case if the person had remained a teacher until the time of retiring. These are the points I desire to submit to the House as a supporter of the Bill, a strong supporter, who desires it to be as complete as it can be made, and to leave as little as possible to be done in years to come.


There is only one small point that I wish to mention, and I have been asked to raise it on this occasion, because although it is somewhat of a Committee point, it is probable that I could not raise it on the Committee stage. It is with reference to teachers in schools for the mentally defective. The Board of Control have, I believe, approached the Board of Education with the request that the system of superannuation should be made applicable to the teachers in the schools which are certified institutions and supervised by the Board of Control, and also in receipt of Government Grants. I understand that this Bill would not extend pensions to teachers in those particular schools, whereas there is a provision in Clause 16 by which schools that are almost exactly similar, namely, reformatory industrial schools, which are also more or less under private manage- ment, but are certified by the Home office and supported by State Grants, will be such as will bring the teachers in the class of recognised service which entitles them to count the years employed in those schools for the purpose of pension. It seems to me that those schools stand precisely in the same position as the certified institutions in which the feeble-minded children are being taught at the present moment, and of course it stands to reason that it is, very important that teachers in those institutions should not be in a worse position than they would be if they stayed in ordinary employment. Therefore I would ask the right hon. Gentleman, if he can meet this point, to meet it himself between now and the Committee stage because I rather anticipate that it would not be open to us to move an Amendment in this sense.

Commander BELLAIRS

I should like to support the plea which has been made by several Members of this House in favour of extending the scope of this Bill to other teachers and to members of the administrative staff. The right hon. Gentleman, in introducing the Bill, I think used the phrase "comprehensive" in regard to the Bill. I do not think that that phrase can apply so long as we leave those members of the teaching profession outside the scope of the Bill. I am unable to appreciate why this Bill cannot include the administrative staffs. The administrative staff to the extent of 70 per cent., I believe, are recruited from the teaching profession, and if you do not extend this Bill to them you will inevitably create a divorce between the teaching profession and the administrative staff. You will cease to recruit to the same extent from the teaching profession, and that intimate connection between the two will be lost. I believe that just as much harm will be done to education if there is a divorce from the administrative staff as would be created as if we had a divorce between the administrative staff of the Navy and the Navy itself, or between the administrative staff of the Army and the Army itself.


I think my right hon. Friend must be well satisfied with the welcome that this Bill has received at the hands of the House. There are criticisms in detail, it may be, but with the general objects of the Bill there is no inclination to quarrel, and I think the House feels that this money is well spent. The teaching profession has always been badly paid, and does not expect the same salaries as can easily be earned by men of equal ability in commercial or other enterprises. Even when this Bill is passed it will still remain a badly paid profession. It has its other attractions, and those attractions have hitherto sufficed for the necessary recruits. But the stream of recruits is obviously failing, and it is really necessary that something of this kind should be done in order to maintain the stream of recruits which we must got in order to have the educated nation we hope to have in the future. So it may not be merely a good investment but absolutely necessary expenditure. That, I think, is understood, and we all hope most heartily that my right hon. Friend will succeed in passing this Bill as rapidly as possible through the House. I also, however, have my doubts on points of detail, and the point which really sums it up in my mind is this: It is quite true that we are going to have a Committee to deal with the cases of the officials who may be regarded as being under the Local Government Board. That has been talked about for a very large number of years, and it has not prevented considerable bodies of officials of different kinds getting their Superannuation Acts independently of a general scheme. When the Committee has worked out all the details of a general scheme, it will be, no doubt, a very expensive and burdensome scheme for the country, and it may well be that it will fall to the days when some regard is paid to economy, and Governments may shy at it, and a considerable interval of time may elapse before the scheme of the Committee, when it is elaborated, is accepted by the country. Therefore, if any class of teachers or officials can be fairly included in this Bill, I think they will not be deterred from pr easing their claims by the prospect of some eventual dealing with their case under conditions which we cannot exactly describe at the present time.

The point which I think sums up my criticism is this. I am not quite clear that I understood the exact provisions of the Bill. I gave the best attention I could to the very clear speech of my right hon. Friend, but the matter is very technical, and I am not quite certain that I followed him. Still, I think it is clear that no one will get any advantage under this Bill unless, after the passing of this Act, he is in recognised service, that is, in the different categories of the teaching profession recognised under the Act, and unless he is for a period prescribed by the rules in recognised service. I do not know whether my right hon. Friend would be prepared to extend his Bill so as to make that provision include both qualifying service and recognised service. I think that might meet both classes of cases which have been put forward to-day. There is the class of those teachers in the non-grant-aided schools. There is a good deal to be said in favour of the case made out by my right hon. Friend. After all, if the State is paying this considerable sum of money it is entitled to the advantages which it will get thereby, and if any non-grant-aided school chooses not to come into the State system, then it must meet the competition of the State system by having some scheme of its own, and it will not be much to the disadvantage of society as a whole, or of the teaching profesion, if the reaction of this Bill forces secondary schools, who sometimes do not pay very adequate salaries to their masters, to raise the scale of salaries which they propose, or the scale of pensions, in order to meet the competition of the State scheme. After all, the State scheme is one by which the State should benefit, and I do not think really that the State is called upon to do more than to allow for ability of transfer between State-aided and non-State-aided schools. If a teacher has done service for the State in a school which comes into the State scheme, I think, if he has given the ten years' service which is the minimum qualifying period, it would be unfair to deprive him of that amount of service which, subject to the other conditions laid down in the Act, might be regarded as pensionable service, even if he were at the conclusion of his service in a school outside the State scheme. That, I think, is about as far as I would wish to go. I do not think the State is bound to regard service in a school which, for reasons of its own, stands outside the State system as service which it need recognise for pension, but I think you might fairly say that a teacher who is qualified in other respects, and has done a minimum of ten years' pensionable service, should not lose the advantage of that service under this scheme. That would be a sort of halfway house, which, if I have made myself clear, I would like to suggest to my right hon. Friend.

Similarly, in the case of the officials who are engaged in organising, I agree with my right hon. Friend that you could not, in a Bill which grants superannuation to teachers, allow service in organising to count for pension, but I think it is hard for a teacher who has done good work in the teaching profession, and then changes over to the administrative side, and has really done his thirty years' service to the State in connection with the teaching profession, to lose the advantage of the pensionable service which he has performed and which would have reckoned for pension if he had remained in the teaching profession. I understand that the case of the inspector is met because he is an official of the Board of Education. The case of the official of the county council is not met, because he is regarded as under the control of the Local Government Board, and is therefore relegated to be dealt with at some future date. But is it not fair that in such cases he should be able, if he has given his thirty years of recognised qualifying service, to count for pension those years of service—a minimum of ten years in the teaching profession—which would have ranked for pension if he had remained in the teaching profession? I should have thought that my right hon. Friend might have regarded his service in the administrative capacity as part of the qualifying period, and in virtue of that given him the benefit of the years of teaching which he might then be allowed to reckon for purposes of pension. I think individual private Members of Parliament are under some difficulty in this matter. I am not quite certain whether any Amendment to increase the charge of the Bill would he in order. I am clear that we could not under the terms of the Financial Resolution go outside the categories of teachers, but I hope that if we, by reason of Rules of Order, are prevented from moving these Amendments, my right hon. Friend will see his way to put forward Amendments on these lines for himself. I know quite well the difficulty which any Minister has to face who comes forward with a Bill of this kind. We all welcome it, and then we begin to improve it, and we begin to improve it by pressing one point after another, until the Minister perhaps has great difficulty in getting through a Bill, the objects of which we all have at heart. Without pressing the right hon. Gentleman too far—we understand the limits under which he labours at the present time, and no doubt he has to secure the assent of the Treasury—I think he might make this Bill rather more satisfactory by some Amendment, and I hope he has not closed his mind against further consideration of this case.


I think the hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension as to one point in the Bill. He seemed to assume that the inspector of a local education authority in future would not be entitled to count his minimum period of recognised service in the school for pension. That is not so. He will be enabled to count his minimum period of recognised service, and, of course, a fortiori, any longer period as minimum recognised service in a school, even though he passes to the inspectorate. That will apply not only to the inspector engaged by the local education authority, but the inspector engaged by the Board of Education. That does not apply to existing inspectors, but to the future.


How is it possible for that to be the case if it is laid down that, in order to obtain the pension, a man must be of the age of sixty years, and must have been employed for thirty years in recognised or qualifying service, and for not less than the prescribed period after the commencement of the Act in recognised service? Acting as an inspector would surely not be recognised service. If the right hon. Gentleman would say "recognised or qualifying service," I think my point would be met, but I think (1) (c) does rule out the case, so far as I can understand, at the present time. This is purely a Committee point, and I hope my right hon. Friend will look into it.


The mere fact that a Bill receives the friendly criticism of a few does not necessarily mean that it is to be accepted in the form in which it is introduced. I wish very much to press upon the Minister the claims of those at least who have had teaching experience and have passed into higher places in connection with a local education authority. I have in my mind several men who occupy highly responsible positions who are now the servants of borough or county councils, and who are to be deprived of their opportunity of sharing in this superannuation because they have passed out of the teaching profession and have become directors in large areas. That would be a great injustice. I am given to understand that their inclusion in the Bill, as at present proposed, would only represent an addition of 1 per cent. to the persons benefited. I cannot conceive a Financial Resolution can be so tight in its terms as to prevent the addition of a class which represents only 1 per cent. of those intended to be covered by the Bill. I should like to see the whole of the administrative officers doing educational work included in this Bill, because it seems very unsatisfactory for us to continue to make these differences. A large number of men have given up opportunities of making very much larger incomes because they prefer to be associated with the bringing up of the young in this country. Those men, who have given up opportunities of going into the City and making big incomes, are to be deprived of the benefit of a measure of this sort.

I hope before the Committee stage is reached at any rate the 1 per cent. will be included, and that, if possible, it will embrace the more important officers wholly giving their time to educational work even though they might not serve any period of their life as teachers. I view somewhat suspiciously the announcement made in the papers this morning of a Committee or Commission to deal with the broader question of pensions for municipal officers. One knows what those Committees and Commissions very often mean, especially in difficult times like the present. There is no reasonable anticipation of such a Commission being able to complete its labour and make a Report to this House which would enable legislation to take place so as to give those servants any opportunity of getting their reward. I am sorry to think that the Bill is drawn so as to exclude those men who are engaged in education but who are not under the Education Department, but under the borough, county, or district council. I hope if the Commission is appointed it will not deter the Government from reconsidering the matter, and, if necessary, amending the Financial Resolution.


The turn which this Debate has taken makes it perhaps desirable to point out that the distinction between the teachers, who are under the Board of Education, and the officials of the local education authorities, who are servants of the county council. I myself would be glad if the terms of the Bill and the Resolution would permit of the inclusion of those teachers who, ceasing to teach as schoolmasters and schoolmistresses, become inspectors of schools and continue for some time to do teaching work. But when you go on further to suggest that the whole of the administrative staff of a local education authority should be brought under a school teachers' pension system, I think it is desirable to point out that the teachers—as to 100,000 of them, at any rate—are examined, tested, and certificated by the Board of Education, and that the clerks and directors of local education authorities are not; that, more or less, year by year, the work of the teachers done in the schools, whether elementary or secondary, is visited, inspected, tested, and reported upon by agents of the Board of Education, and that the work done by the staff of local education authorities is not; that the teachers are all through their career directly associated with the Board of Education, and more or less throughout their career under the control of the Board of Education, and that these big staffs of the local education authorities are not. Therefore, while I should be very glad to see the scope of this Bill extended as far as possible to cover those teachers who become inspectors and directors of education authorities, I do ask the House to remember that the main purpose of this Bill, and the main justification of it, surely, is to provide a superannuation system for 150,000 people who, as teachers, have all their lives long, from the date of adolescence, been under the control of, the guidance of, the fate of the Board of Education.

If I may be allowed to bring the Debate back to that sound point from which it seems to me sometimes to go astray, I would ask the House to consider what this means to the education of the country and the teachers of the country. There are many points about this Bill which one would like to see extended. I would like to propose, if I dared, and if I had any chance of success, that the new system should apply to all those teachers who have retired on past conditions. How sore it must be to them to have this better system just outside their reach! After all, what is the justification for this Bill? What is the justification for the spending of this money? Surely it is to obtain what cannot be obtained in any other way in this country—a proper supply of teachers for the future. This I understand to be a business arrangement between the Board of Education, representing the Government, and the nation. The Board of Education say to this parent or the other parent, "Give your son or daughter to us as a teacher and we will guarantee on retirement at a certain age that your son or daughter will receive not less than a certain proportion of the salary earned at that date." The Civil Service basis is adopted. I have never known that there is any difficulty whatever in getting entrants for the Civil Service, whether in the lower branch or the higher branch. Applicants for the Civil Service are always numerous enough. They have ceased to be numerous in the teaching profession Here, I understand, is an endeavour to give to the teaching service that attraction which exists with regard to the Civil Service, and, so far as I know the mind of the 150,000 teachers in the country on this matter—and I have taken some pains to discover their mind—they are anxious that this Bill should pass. They would like to see it improved so as to refer to the teachers who have retired, if it can be done, and also improved so as to provide the minimum of service of ex-teachers doing teaching work with the local education authorities, if that can be done. There are other Amendments they would approve if they could be accepted, but they are anxious that this Bill should pass, and they would be ready to accept this Bill without Amendment at all. So far as I understand their mind, it is this, that in the past they felt that the circumstances of their work were so untoward, their stipends so small, their superannuation prospects so limited, if existing at all, they could not themselves recommend to any parent as a wise procedure with regard to the child that that child should enter this profession. Now with this prospect before them, if it be realised, they will see that the teaching profession is become one that is worth while for the young person to enter, and they will endeavour, to the best of their ability, to keep a full supply of entrants.

6.0 P.M.


I only rise for a few moments to ask the right hon. Gentleman if he can see his way to extend this Bill to Ireland. In making that suggestion I have the strong support of the Chief Secretary. My hon. Friends and myself who represent the Divisions of Dublin have been very strongly impressed by certain classes of Irish teachers as to the necessity to have this Bill extended to include them. I refer to the teachers under the technical education scheme governed by the Agricultural Departments in Ireland. Would it be possible so to modify the Bill in Committee as to embrace these teachers? Perhaps in no part of the United Kingdom is technical education of greater value than in Ireland, and I am bound to say that in most parts of Ireland technical education, I think, is being pursued with a very great success. I do not speak without some personal knowledge of the manner in which this work is carried on in the city and county of Dublin, and I know, from that knowledge, the very valuable work that has been done. I have but glanced at the Bill itself, and therefore cannot say, but I should be glad if it is possible to alter it in Committee so as to embrace Ireland. It may be possible, having regard to the preamble of the Bill, namely: to make provision with respect to the grant of superannuation allowances to teachers, and of gratuities to their legal personal representatives. I shall be very much disappointed if the right hon. Gentleman does not see his way to take the view I have expressed, and extend the Bill to Ireland.


I wish in a sentence to express the feeling of Wales in regard to this Bill. There is no portion of the country in which a greater interest is taken in Education than in Wales, and I am glad, therefore, to think that all concerned welcome the Bill, not only on account of the personal benefits that will accrue to those engaged in the teaching profession in Wales, but on account of the higher interests of education, and, therefore, the higher interests of the country. We look upon this Bill as a measure of justice to the teaching profession, also a recognition by the State of the vital importance of teaching in the economy of the State. Very cordially and heartily, therefore, in view of the urgent importance of this matter, do I welcome the Bill, and I propose to give it my support.


The House is placed in rather an awkward dilemma at the present moment. This Bill was not published in time for the local authorities to obtain copies, and send to us, their Members, their views in regard to the matters in question. As a rule that would not have mattered so much, because in Committee we would have been able to represent the views of our local education authorities. We hear, however, to-night that practically no Amendment by way of widening, enlarging, or altering the scheme of the Bill will, in Committee, be permissible and, therefore, the criticisms that would otherwise have been directed will be impossible in Committee. I would rather suggest to the House that the right hon. Gentleman should not take the vote in regard to the Second Reading to-night, but postpone it. For this reason. I know local authorities are exceedingly anxious to see the actual wording of this Bill and to send to those of us who represent them here their Amendments. I myself received a deputation last evening from the local Education Committee of Birkenhead. They are most anxious to have a copy of the Bill and to send up for the Committee stage suggestions as to alteration and enlargement. I quite see that touching the financial side that all these Amendments will be ruled by you, Sir, out of order, because they will increase the cost. Therefore, we shall not be able to move the Amendments that we would wish to move.

On the other hand, I should like to say, as one who has taken the deepest interest in elementary education for many years, that I welcome this Bill from one or two very fundamental standpoints. When I was chairman of the finance committee of the education authority in Birkenhead, ten or fifteen years ago, we were faced with this difficulty: that the salaries provided and the position and status of the; teacher was such that we utterly failed to obtain young men for the profession. In the large towns and in the thickly populated areas young men of ability were always able to obtain more money than they could get by becoming teachers. Therefore, I welcome this Bill because it raises the whole status of the teaching profession, and it provides a future for the teacher which teachers in the past have never enjoyed. Some hon. Members have spoken of the miserable pensions that are now allowed to the teacher after thirty years' service—an amount upon which the teacher is utterly unable to live. At the same time there are difficulties in regard to this Bill. One criticism I should like to make, if I understand the Bill aright—and those of us who only received the Bill to-day find some difficulty in speaking with anything like definite conviction as to whether or not our opinions are right— as I understand the Bill the teacher to-day in a public school receiving £300 a year, which school is not a State-aided school, will be to the bad to the extent of £60 a year as compared with his confrere in the State-aided school. I should like to point out to the House that in my opinion the managers and governors of these large schools which receive no State aid at all will be in a very difficult state. I do not think it is right for the Government to put through a Bill which will increase the competition in this way and force the governors of these schools to raise their teachers' salary by £60 on a salary of £300 in order to keep their teachers in their own schools. That is the kind of competition the State, I think, never desired to set up.

I am not sure that I am right in the conclusion I have come to, but as I read it, on superannuation, a teacher receiving £300 a year who is inside the Bill compared with the teacher receiving £300 a year who is outside the Bill will be £60 per year better; or conversely, the teacher outside the Bill is £60 a year worse off than the man inside the Bill. This, therefore, will create an unfair competition between the school that is State-aided and the school that is not. One speaker has already suggested the widening of this Bill, so that the superannuation should embrace the profession of teaching, apart from whether or not the teacher has served his thirty years in a State-aided school, or in a school outside, recognised by the Board of Education for its ability and reckoned as thoroughly efficient. I do hope that there will not be this unfair competition—this endeavour to draw to the State-aided schools those teachers in our secondary schools that receive no Government Grant—for that must be the effect of it. It must tend to draw every good teacher from the position that he now occupies to get into a position where he will enjoy this very liberal and generous superannuation after his service of thirty years. I sincerely trust my right hon. Friend will consider this point, and see, if I am right, and seeing that no criticism or suggestion in the way of enlarging the scope of the Bill can be introduced in the Committee stage, whether it will not be his sense of his duty to the House to postpone the Second Reading Vote in order that the local authorities all over the country may send to their representatives in this their views and criticisms. These should be, and would have been, offered on the Second Reading if this Bill had not been so different to the ordinary, so that nearly all Amendments will be ruled out of order in the Committee stage owing to the financial nature of the Bill.


I trust the right hon. Gentleman will not accede to the request made by the last speaker to postpone the Second Beading of this Bill. I think the House is generally agreed, not only on the Bill, but on the extreme urgency of passing it into law. For my part, I rise to give the Bill my unqualified support. In a sentence or two I wish to refer to an appeal that has been made to the President by hon. Members in every part of the House to enlarge the scope of the Bill in order to include the teachers and masters in private and public schools that do not receive any State aid. To my mind that is a request addressed to the President that he could not possibly accede to. In view of the large number of appeals that have been made on this question to the Government, I think the problem ought to be examined with a little care, because the proposal is nothing less than that schools over which the Board has no control whatever should receive the same pension rights as the others—schools, too, without any regard to their financial position, and quite apart from their financial needs. My hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Rawlinson) behind me, whose speeches I always listen to with great interest and profit, suggested that in his plan Harrow School should be included. Is it seriously contended that schools like Harrow, Rugby, Eton, and other public schools, which are in no way controlled by the Government and are in no financial need, should receive the same pension rights? The position of the President would be quite intolerable if the right hon. Gentleman attempted to carry out any such idea.

Consider further the difficulties. Many of the private schools not controlled by the Board of Education are schools run for private profit. Is it generally contended that the headmaster of a private school who may have been making a considerable personal profit out of the school is to be eligible, whenever he has attained a certain age, for a pension based upon his annual profits? The moment you leave the State schools the whole subject is full of difficulties. Again, many of the public schools—my hon. and learned Friend referred to schools of the type of Harrow—are extremely wealthy foundations. The house-masters in these schools receive salaries which in some cases reach £2,000 per annum. These foundations are very wealthy. These schools cater for an extremely wealthy class of the community. They are in no financial need whatever. They are quite able to provide, not only magnificent salaries but pensions for the masters, and is it, therefore, seriously contended that the provisions of this Bill should be extended to any such cases? The appeal having been made, however, from many quarters the right hon. Gentleman will require to examine it with some care. All the same, I say that I hope nothing in my remarks will suggest that I am not wholly sympathetic with those pioneers of education outside the State system. I venture to make one suggestion to the President in connection with this matter in order to remove what I think is an obvious injustice in his present proposals. Take a teacher in a State-aided school who has served twenty or thirty years and a year before becoming eligible for a pension he goes to a non-State-aided school. That teacher loses all pension rights. If for thirty years the teacher has been qualified for a pension I cannot see why that teacher should not receive the pension for his years of service.


He does.


The President says differently. If a teacher leaves a State-aided school before he is eligible for a pension and goes to a non-State-aided school, he loses his pension. I think that is unfair and he should not lose those rights. This concession could be made upon the principle upon which the President has based this Bill. If a teacher begins service in a non-State-aided school the years served there count as years of qualification towards a pension if he leaves that school to go to a State-aided school. I should like to suggest to the President that there should be a minimum pension, and I say this especially in connection with the position of women teachers. I have pleaded in this House again and again for equality of payment as between men and women teachers and the abolition of the sex distinction. This is very relevant to this issue because the pensions for men in rural districts, although they are very small, those for women would be smaller still. In the interests mainly of women teachers I think there should be a minimum amount for the pension. I submit these points for the consideration of the President.


I wish to say at the outset that I heartily welcome this Bill, and nothing I shall say, I hope, will delay its progress into law. I think the sooner this Bill gets through the better. Those of us who have fought hard on Pensions Committees, as I have done for over six years, know the difficulty of getting money for this purpose, and I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman upon the success he has achieved in this respect. With regard to what has been said by those who have been pressing the right hon. Gentleman to extend his Bill to other than State-aided schools, may I point out that the injury done in this respect is obvious. I assume that you desire to encourage schools other than State-aided schools. It is desirable to have strong and hardy schools doing good work outside the limits of those receiving State-aid and Grants. I think that is a most desirable state of affairs. This Bill does a large number of things to injure such schools, and quite unnecessarily injures them. You begin by making it a condition that if these schools come in within five years of the passing of this Bill and receive State aid, then all their masters shall be open to receive pensions, and if they do not come in within that period they will not receive them. That is a direct incentive to leave the independent schools and to come into State-aided schools. Is that sound economically? Certainly not, because you have to pay more for pensions.

Is it sound educationally? I have my own opinion, and I do not think that educationally it is sound. You will get the glaring anomaly that a man who is in a non-State-aided school, if he transfers to a State-aided school, gets the benefit of the years he has served in that non-State-aided school, but vice, versâ he does not get any benefit at all. On the other hand, a man in a State-aided school for twenty years, if he goes into a non-State-aided school for the last year of his teaching life, gets no benefit. That is a very serious matter for education, and it is obviously so unjust that I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will look into this point before the Committee stage arises. The result would undoubtedly be a great hardship upon the teacher and upon the schools. I do not, however, put it so much on the ground of the schools, but on the ground of the State generally, because from that point of view it is desirable that these schools should be kept up, and if you take away the good teachers from them or prevent good teachers going to them, then you are doing an injury to education as a whole.

The service has to be done in a school inspected by the Board of Education, and that would exclude Eton and Winchester, and most of the schools which had been mentioned. It is not likely that an exceptional school like Harrow would take advantage of this proposal, but it applies to all the first-rate schools which are doing such excellent educational work at the present time, and who have got good masters. Undoubtedly, the effect will be to do a considerable injury to a class of school, and on educational grounds that is what we wish to avoid. I have no interest in the matter either one way or the other, financially or otherwise, but I have seen the work these schools do. I have seen the work done in these smaller schools, and it is very good pioneer work. Nevertheless, I would not oppose this Bill on any account, but I do feel that in leaving out the smaller schools, which are doing such good work, you are not acting quite fairly, because the extra expense involved would be very small indeed.

With regard to this Bill, there are a lot of things which scarcely carry out what appears in the White Paper. We were told that if a man had been doing work in some good inspected school in the country and afterwards came to a State-aided school, the time he had served would be counted in the qualifying period in regard to his pension, but I do not find a word about that in the Bill. According to the definitions given in the Bill, the expression "qualifying service" means any employment, whether in the capacity of a teacher or otherwise, which the Treasury, on the recommendation of the Board, may declare to be qualifying service for the purpose of calculating the period qualifying for a superannuation allowance. I raised a point about certain inspectors, and I was told that they were outside the scope of the Bill. The definition I have just quoted defines the qualifying service as "any employment, whether in the capacity of a teacher or otherwise." That would include any persons engaged in the administrative duties of the local education authorities or any other authority you like, and even a Cabinet Minister would almost come within that definition. The qualifying service will be in the entire discretion of the Board of Education, subject to Treasury sanction. I know these are all minor questions, but the reason I am raising them is in order that the right hon. Gentleman may look into them in order to see whether the intention he has expressed is carried out by the words of the Bill. There is another point I wish to raise on Clause 1, which provides superannuation to any teacher who (a) has attained the age of sixty years and has either— (i) been employed—

  1. (a) for not less than thirty years in recognised or qualifying service; and
  2. (b) for not less than ten years, or, if he was employed in recognised service at the commencement of this Act, for not less than the prescribed number of years, in a Grant-aided school."
That means only what is prescribed there. The prescribed period is not put into the Bill at all; it is left to the Board of Education to say whatever they like. Surely, when dealing with public money, you ought to say clearly and definitely, in the Bill who has the right to the pension, but you have left it entirely to the Board of Education to say what the prescribed period shall be. I also think that Clause 6 should be looked into. You really by this Bill mean to give these people certain right, but in Clause 6 you say Nothing in this Act shall give any person an absolute right to any superannuation allowance or gratuity, and, except as in this Act provided, the decision of the Board on any question which may arise as to, or which may affect, the application of this Act to any person, or the qualification for any superannuation allowance or gratuity, or the amount of any superannuation allowance or gratuity, or on any question which may arise as to the amount of the average salary of any teacher, shall be final. It seems to me, if you give a man a pension, that you ought to give it definitely as a right, and that it should not be liable to be taken away or reduced or altered in any way according to the mood of the President of the Board of Education For the time being. The right should be given absolutely. This is an important Bill, very much needed and overdue, and I heartily appreciate it and am deeply grateful for it, but I hope the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to give consideration to the teachers in schools other than State-aided schools. I also think that the Bill requires a good deal of consideration so far as its drafting is concerned. Such things as the qualifying service require to be defined and not left to the discretion of varying Boards of Education from time to time.


I should not be doing my duty as a Scottish Member if I did not join with my hon. Friend the Member for Dublin (Mr. Brady) in protesting against Clause 18, Sub-section (1), which excludes Scotland and Ireland from the benefits of the measure, while the Department at the same time and by the same Clause take power to extend them to other parts of the Realm over which the right hon. Gentleman has no jurisdiction. He has told us by the way of interpolation that he has not put Scotland and Ireland into the Bill because he has no jurisdiction over Scotland and Ireland, but that argument is entirely overruled by the fact that the Department take power to extend the advantages of the Bill to parts of the Realm over which he has no jurisdiction. This is a great scheme and of great advantage to the teaching profession. It extends to them the benefits of State superannuation. Why the teachers in England and Wales should get that great advantage, when it is denied to the teachers in Scotland and Ireland is very difficult to understand. If the right hon. Gentleman had been able to tell the Scottish and Irish Members that he had consulted with the Education Ministers for both those parts of the Realm and that they were making their arrangements to bring about a similar result, then there would be no need for my observations at the present time, but he has not done so, and I am therefore driven to the belief that the English and Welsh teachers are to have this great advantage given to them, while it is withheld from the teachers of the nationalities that I have named. Of course, it may be said that the more that is taken from the State at the present time the less there is for the teachers of other nationalities. It stands to reason that so much money having already been given to English and Welsh people there is less for the Scottish and Irish teachers. This is the kind of scheme, however, which should embrace all parts of the Realm, and therefore at this stage along with my hon. Friend the Member for Dublin enter my protest against the exclusion of Scotland and Ireland.


The protest to which we have just listened is hardly well timed, because as a matter of fact Scotland has had a very good pension scheme for many years, and if any protest is to be made it ought to be made on behalf of England which in many respects is more than four years behind Scotland in education. I so seldom disagree with my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow (Mr. Watt) that I trust he will pardon me for having corrected his point of view on this occasion. I feel that we ought to join with the teaching profession and all interested in education in welcoming this Bill which is really magnificent in certain respects, the amount of money which it gives was a few years ago beyond the dreams of avarice, and the fact that the Bill is non-contributory and brings in thousands more teachers than ever came under any pensions scheme before is most admirable. I, for one, cannot adequately express to the President of the Board of Education my gratitude and admiration for this achievement. When I come to consider the form in which the Bill has been brought forward, however, I have something to say. First of all, it is really too bad that the text of the Bill, which I suppose was drafted two or three months ago and was ready in August, was only put into our hands this morning. We know that there are printing and stationery difficulties, but if we had been allowed to see the text of the Bill before to-day we should have much clearer ideas about it, and it would have saved time.

There are certain points in the Bill which ought to be seriously considered, and I therefore hope that the Committee stage will not be put down for this week, or, if it is, that it will not be before Thursday, and that when it is taken it will be the first Order, so that we may have a really adequate discussion on some of the points that have already been raised. I had already noted the point raised by the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Rawlinson) and had intended raising it myself. It seems to me that to make the right to the pension dependent upon the autocratic power of the President of the Board of Education without any appeal is really Prussian bureaucracy. It is not liberty, and it is not justice, and I hope the President of the Board of Education will drop that Clause altogether. I do not think that would in any way weaken the Bill or make its working more difficult or more expensive. I referred on the Financial Resolution to the need for modifying the pen- sions scheme by giving an alternative to teachers at fifty-five, or even fifty, and the right hon. Gentleman referred to the point in his opening remarks. Elementary school teachers, especially female teachers, ought not to be teaching up to the age of sixty years. The President in his speech used a very remarkable phrase. He said that it was necessary that teachers should maintain buoyant temper and fresh outlook. Does he really imagine that women teachers who have been teaching in elementary schools from twenty to past fifty-five—forty years—can maintain a buoyant temper and fresh outlook? They may be healthy in mind and body, but in most cases, in nine cases out of ten, you cannot expect teachers to go on teaching thirty or forty years and to have that spring, resiliency of mind and buoyancy which will enable them to cope with a class of young children. I therefore most earnestly ask the right hon. Gentleman to get into touch with the Treasury officials and to see whether some alternative system is not possible by which this difficulty could be met and a pension, possibly a smaller pension, could be given at an earlier age.

There is another point with regard to bringing in inspectors and administrative officials. I did not quite understand when the right hon. Gentleman just now read out some words whether they were actually in the Bill or were intended as an Amendment, but it is desirable, and he recognised it, to have teachers and inspectors and administrative officials working together and not as separate classes or castes. Men and women ought to be able to pass from teacher to inspector, and from inspector to administrative posts. It is to the advantage of education to have these classes interchangeable, and fitting one into another. I think, therefore, the difficulty of having separate pension schemes for officials and teachers ought to be and could be got over. I cannot quite see why either the Bill, or even the title of the Bill, should be a difficulty in meeting the object we have in view, to give pensions to all those who under an education authority are engaged in giving education in the schools. There may be some things to raise in Committee, and I hope we shall have plenty of time, and that the points that have been raised will be sympathetically treated by the President of the Board of Education. The Session is far advanced, and we must have the Bill through in a short time, but there is no reason why, with goodwill and co-operation between the various elements of the House, we should not materially improve the Bill, good though it be.


I rise to repeat my request for an explanation of Clause 18. The President of the Board of Education indicated that his jurisdiction did not extend to Scotland or Ireland, and that that is the reason why they are not included in the Bill. I was rather wishing him to say why the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands were included. I intend to ask in Committee for a ruling from the Chair with regard to the power of this House to legislate for the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The Education Department here is going further than it has ever gone. I do not know whether it has anything whatever to do with the Isle of Man now, but it is connected, I believe, with Jersey, because Jersey adopted a previous Act.


So did the Isle of Man.


But Guernsey, I know, did not, and that includes Alderney and Sark, so that, I take it, the purview of the President at present is rather stretched. But I am not at all clear, and we ought to have a definition from the Law Officers of the Crown as to what right we have to legislate for islands which are not represented in this House. I was not allowed to move to extend the Insurance Act to the Isle of Man, although I thought it advisable in the interests of Lancashire societies, and I certainly think that the Chair on that occasion gave a correct ruling, although it was against me. What more right have we to apply this scheme to the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands than we had to apply the Insurance Act? The Bill contemplates a contribution from those islands, but there the President is not following out the idea he has been advocating this afternoon with regard to these extra and non-State-aided schools. He has rather been laying down that where schools are not within the State system they cannot come into this pension scheme. If there is any logic in that argument, if these islands are not under our taxation system, why should they have the bonus which it is the apparent design of the Clause to give them? I have not made up my mind on the point, and I am not wishing to indicate that I differ from the attitude of the Department. I am putting it rather more in the form of raising the question in order to have it specifically cleared up. But I am not at all sure that this Clause is not going too far. I believe the Home Office claims to have jurisdiction in these matters. I dare say it is more properly a question for the Committee stage. I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman will be quite competent to pilot the Clause through the House, but it seems to me that if we increase the remuneration so much as this Bill does for teachers in the United Kingdom, it would be exceedingly difficult for the Channel Islands to get any teachers at all, and if these pensions are to apply to the teachers of Jersey and not to the teachers of Guernsey, I foresee a deadlock in the educational administration of the Channel Islands. I do not know how that point is to be got over, but undoubtedly the teachers in the Channel Islands will look upon it with a great deal of concern if all the teachers in one island are to have these handsome pensions while the teachers in others are not qualified. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman has a good answer. Perhaps it would be better if at this early stage he could tell us exactly what he proposes to do with regard to these unrepresented islands.


I should like to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on the very generous Bill he has introduced, and particularly on the large number of extra teachers who are brought within its scope, but I should like to emphasise a point which has been brought to his notice with regard to teachers who are at present in schools under the Board of Control. That is really going to be a very serious question. It is true that at present there are not many of these educational institutions under the Board of Control but it is hoped that after the War considerably more work will be done under the Act in question than has been done in the past, and the number of these schools will undoubtedly increase very largely. It will be impossible for these institutions to get certificated teachers if on going into the schools they have to give up their claims to superannuation. I was told only to-day of an institution which quite recently lost its chance of getting a certificated teacher because the certificated teacher was unwilling to give up his chance of a pension. Seeing the large number who have been brought under this Bill, it ought to be possible to make some provision for teachers who are at present under the Board of Control. It can be said that these teachers are not in schools which are receiving grants from the Board of Education, but that is not a very sound argument, because at present all teachers in reformatories and industrial schools are within the Teachers' Pension Superannuation Scheme, and they equally are in schools in which there is no Grant from the Board of Education. It seems to me that teachers in these schools under the Board of Control are really practically on all fours, and teachers at present in reformatory and industrial schools which are certified not by the Board of Education, but by the Home Office, and seeing the difficulty that there is in any case in getting teachers to go into these institutions under the Board of Control, and seeing the great increase there will be in these schools as soon as the War is over and local authorities are able to take action under the Mental Deficiency Act, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give consideration to these points and will be prepared to give favourable consideration to any Amendment which may be moved in Committee.

Colonel YATE

I should like to say how disappointed I feel that no pension is obtainable until the age of sixty. Sixty seems to me to be too great an age for a man to remain in charge of a school, and especially of young children. He should be able to get his pension at fifty-five, and I hope the Bill will be altered in this particular. You cannot expect to have much camaraderie or a bond of union between an old man of sixty years of age and a lot of young boys. You want younger and better men. Another question is that of pensions for teachers in schools which do not receive Grants-in-Aid. The question has been referred to in Clause 18 as regards the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, but would it not be possible to make some similar provision as regards teachers serving in other than Grant-aided schools? I think a teacher who has served a certain time in a Grant-aided school and has qualified for a pension ought to be eligible to carry it on to a non-aided school if some provision were made for him in that school. The second paragraph of Sub-section (2) of Clause 18 could be applied part passu to non-Grant-aided schools. I do not see how it is possible for any school which does not have a Grant to obtain masters unless some provision of that sort is made.

7.0 P.M.


The valuable suggestions which have been made during the Debate will have my very careful consideration before the Committee stage is reached. I rise now to deal with two points only. The first is that raised by the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Rawlinson) with respect to Clause 6, which provides that nothing in the Act shall give any person any absolute right to any superannuation allowance. This Clause is common form in most pension schemes, and it governs Civil Service pensions. The object is twofold. In the first place, it is desirable that pensions should be forfeited in cases of grave misconduct, and, in the second place, it is desirable that aggrieved pensioners should not be able to take the Government into Court over disputes as to the amount of pension. The other question was raised by the hon. Member (Mr. Brady). He asked whether Ireland was included in the Bill? I have considered this with my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary, and we have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to include Ireland. Ireland and Scotland have their pension systems and they stand outside the orbit of the Board of Education for England and Wales. Jersey and the Isle of Man stand on a somewhat different footing. They have adopted the Superannuation Act of 1898, and are expressly referred to in the Superannuation Act of 1912. I need hardly point out to the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth) that, in the event of this Act laying any charge on the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man some enactment will have to be passed in the local legislatures. I think everybody is agreed that, at any rate, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands should have an opportunity of enjoying the benefits of this Superannuation Act in view of the very great difficulties which they would otherwise experience in obtaining suitable teaching staffs.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House for To-morrow.—[Mr. Herbert Fisher.]