HC Deb 12 July 1923 vol 166 cc1568-9

asked the President of the Board of Education whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Lowestoft Bench decided on Monday 2nd July that the parents summoned by the local education authority for the non-attendance of their children at certain public elementary schools provided by the local education authority had a reasonable excuse for not sending their children to those schools upon the evidence given to the Court as to the qualifications and characters of teachers appointed to the schools concerned; and what action the Board propose to take, having regard to the inability of the local education authority to enforce its attendance by-laws owing to its failure to maintain an adequate and suitable staff of teachers?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Edward Wood)

I am aware of the circumstances referred to in the first part of the question. On the 17th May the Board drew the attention of the authority to the provisions of Articles 10 and 27 of the Code, which require the provision of a suitable staff of teachers in each school and in the area as a whole, and expressed their doubt whether the selection of teachers had been so made as to afford a reasonable prospect that the school staffs would in all cases prove suitable. The Board will, in due course, satisfy themselves by inspection of the schools whether they are justified in paying grant without deduction, and in the meantime they are taking steps to inform themselves as to the working of the schools.

61. Mr. C. CROOK

asked the President of the Board of Education whether his attention has been called to the action of the Lowestoft Education Authority in dismissing their established teachers because of their refusal to assent to a breach of the national agreement as to the Burnham scale of salaries, which agreement has been ratified by the authority; and, if so, what steps he proposes to take to uphold the sanctity of such agreements?


I am well aware of the situation which has arisen in Lowestoft, and have been doing my best to promote a settlement of the dispute. As I have repeatedly stated, the position of the Board is that they will recognise for the calculation of grant the expenditure incurred by local education authorities in paying salaries in accordance with the appropriate Burnham scales, but the payment of such salaries is not a condition of the Board's grant. It is a condition of the Board's grant that the efficiency of the schools should be maintained.