HC Deb 30 October 1945 vol 415 cc221-3
21. Mr. Sidney Marshall

asked the Secretary of State for War why the release of all sergeants working in the War Office Selection Boards has been suspended in spite of the fact that amongst them are a number of teachers who had already accepted release under Class B and are now forced to remain in the Service; and whether he will take steps to see that these men are immediately released at the earliest possible moment for return to the teaching profession.

87. Mr. Bowden

asked the Secretary of State for War why Class B releases, offered and accepted by teachers serving in the ranks, have been frozen until the end of this year, particularly in the case of men serving at 25 W.O.S.B., R.T.C.

Mr. Lawson

Release has not been suspended, but owing to the very large number of Class B releases already approved, in addition to normal Class A releases, there is now a. shortage of men for this highly specialised work. This is being made good as quickly as possible, but, in the meantime, applications for Class B release must be considered individually and it has been necessary to hold up a few cases pending the provision of replacements. It is expected that all ex-teachers on the Personnel Selection Staff who desire Class B release will have left by the end of the year; the deferred cases will naturally be the first to go.

Mr. Marshall

In view of the very urgent necessity of teachers being returned to the schools, will the Minister see that applications for release under Class B are granted without interminable delay?

Mrs. Manning

Did Iunderstand the Minister to say that a very large number of people had been released under Class B? If so, can he give the number, and can he say that it is anything like the 10 per cent. which are expected to be released to keep pace with the Class A releases?

Mr. Lawson

I could not, offhand, give the figures upon this matter. It is very difficult, but I should be pleased to answer a Question, if it is put down upon the Paper.

Mr. Scollan

I would like the Minister to explain why he has made a statement of that kind when recently I have had occasion to write to him on the case of a young man who had graduated, but was not allowed to claim release under Class B?

Mr. Lawson

Some are being retained for Army educational purposes.

Mr. Kenneth Lindsay

In view of this trouble about teachers, I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter at the earliest possible moment.

33. Lieut.-Colonel Byers

asked the Secretary of State for War why the A.E.C. drafts containing schoolmasters who have been applied forunder Class B, are at present being dispatched from the Army School of Education at Wakefield to India; and whether, in conjunction with the Minister of Education, he will issue orders that this shall be cancelled immediately, in view of the shortage of teachers.

Mr. Lawson

No, Sir. As I have explained to the House on previous occasions, it is not always possible to spare members of the A.E.C. who have been applied for under Class B. A sufficient number of A.E.C. personnel must be retained to operate the Army Education Scheme. The fact that members of the Corps have been posted overseas does not affect their entitlement to release under Class A, at the appropriate time and under the usual rules.

Lieut.-Colonel Byers

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that some of these men are headmasters of schools, that they are being sent to India to teach English to the Indians, and that they have no knowledge whatever of any Indian language or dialects? Does he not think, in view of the shortage of teachers here, thatthat is most inept?

Mr. Lawson

No, Sir, and I am not aware of the facts as stated by the hon. Gentleman. If they are facts, I should like some more information on a matter of that kind. I am aware that members of the Army Educational Corps have to be retained in some cases. Hon. Mem- bers have criticised the Army authorities for not carrying on educational schemes, but if those schemes are to be carried on we must have some help from the proper quarter.

Lieut.-Colonel Byers

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that in certain cases it is not a matter of the Army educational scheme? Will he undertake to inquire into the drafts which are now at Wakefield?

Mr. Lawson

I would be very pleased to inquire into this particular case and to write to hon. Member when he gives me the facts.