§ 17 and 20. Sir B. PETO
asked the President of the Board of Education (1) whether his attention has been called to the activities of the Teachers' Labour League in promoting the spread of Socialism among children attending the elementary schools; and what steps he proposes to take to prevent party politics being taught to school children;
(2) whether he intends to introduce legislation for the purpose of preventing the propagation of disloyal and seditious doctrines among school children, such as described in his speech at Liverpool on 6th January?
§ 25. Major Sir GRANVILLE WHELER
asked the President of the Board of Education whether his attention has been drawn to the Teachers' Labour League; and, if so, whether he will take steps to secure that no teacher shall in school 1085 hours r[...] on school premises teach or influence the scholars in favour of the policy of any political party?
§ Lord E. PERCY
I am aware of the activities of the Teachers' Labour League, but it would be easy to exaggerate the importance of this particular body. Its membership is insignificant, and it includes a number of teachers who are not now teaching in any school under public control. I believe the House can confidently rely upon the strong opinion of the teaching profession as a whole to counteract such propaganda. The standards of the teaching profession itself are the only sure protection against evils of this kind; but I am, of course, prepared to deal effectively with any teacher who can be shown to have abused his position in this way. I do not think new legislation on the subject is required.
§ Mr. TREVELYAN
One of the questions refers to "promoting the spread of Socialism among children," and asks what steps the Noble Lord proposes to take to prevent party politics being taught to school children. I ask how many cases have come to the Noble Lord's notice of any teachers teaching any kind of politics in the schools?
§ Lord E. PERCY
The question on the Paper is whether the Teacher's Labour League exists in order to encourage such teaching being given in schools, and to enable such teaching to be given. In view of the declared objects of the Teachers' Labour League, and in view of the declarations at the last conference of the Labour party in regard to the use of the schools for that purpose, I think the question is fully justified.
§ Mr. SOMERVILLE
Is it a fact that prominent Members on the Front Opposition Bench are still members of this Teachers' Labour League?
§ Mr. J. HUDSON
Can the Noble Lord say if the general opinion and good sense of the teachers of the country can be depended on to deal with this matter? [HON. MEMBERS: "He has said so!"] If that be so, will the Noble Lord give the House a guarantee that he will refrain from making speeches such as he made on 6th January?
§ Sir B. PETO
Is it a fact that the ex-President of the Board of Education supports the policy of the Teachers' Labour League?
§ Lord E. PERCY
In reply to the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. J. Hudson) I confidently rely on the teaching profession, as I said to-day, and as I said in the speech to which the hon. Member has referred, but I think public attention should be called to the activities of those who are trying to put pressure on the teaching profession.