§ 21. Captain SPENCER
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he is aware that five assistant masters at the Haverfordwest grammar school have recently been dismissed; that these dismissals are attributed by the headmaster and governors of the school to the reorganisation schemes of the county education committee, although that committee has repudiated responsibility for the dismissals; and whether, in view of these considerations, he will cause an inquiry to be made into the administration of the school and the circumstances of these dismissals?
§ 22. Major JESSON
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether, in view of the recent changes in the staff of the Haverfordwest grammar school, he will cause an inquiry to be made into the manner in which the school is at present being administered?
§ 23. Mr. STONES
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he is aware that five members of the teaching staff of the Haverfordwest grammar school have been dismissed on the ground of reorganisation; and, in view of the expressed policy of the Board that schemes of reorganisation shall be carried out without resort to dismissal, will he inquire further into the matter?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Ramsbotham)
My Noble Friend is aware that two assistant masters at the Haverfordwest grammar school have recently been dismissed and that three others are under notice of dismissal. He is also informed of the attendant circumstances. My Noble Friend understands that the governing body desired to give a more substantial place in the school curriculum to practical scientific and agricultural subjects, and for that reason decided to replace these five masters by others more suitably qualified to teach those subjects. The school in question is regulated by a scheme framed under the Endowed Schools Acts which gives the governors of the school absolute control over the appointment and dismissal of masters. Consequently, the Board have no power to intervene. If there is a remedy it would appear to be a legal one which can be sought only in the courts. In these circumstances my Noble Friend does not think that any inquiry into the administration of the school would serve any effective purpose.
§ Captain SPENCER
Is not this contrary to the principle of the expressed policy of the Board, that reorganisation and re-staffing should be carried out without recourse to dismissals?
§ Mr. SMEDLEY CROOKE
Is the hon. Member aware that these teachers are ex-service men, that their work was perfectly satisfactory, and that this dismissal may prejudice their right to pension?
§ Mr. RAMSBOTHAM
I am aware of the circumstances, and I have full sympathy with the men. As the hon. Member knows, the question of pensions is full of detail, and no two teachers are in the same position. In regard to reorganisation, the governors of this school have power respecting staff to take such action as they think fit for the efficiency of the school, and the Board has no power to intervene.
§ Mr. CROOKE
Has the Board not power to intervene seeing that the endowment only provides £800 per annum, while rates and taxes provide £5,200 per annum?
§ Mr. RAMSBOTHAM
The school is governed by a scheme under the Endowed Schools Act, and the Board has no power to intervene as regards the staff.