asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland the number of first-class teachers at present in the service of the Commissioners who have had their salaries reduced owing to the average of their schools falling below thirty-five; if a fall in average from thirty-five to 34.4 is deemed sufficient reason for reducing the teachers' salary by 20 per cent., and for dismissing the junior assistant of the school in addition; and if he is prepared to recommend to the Treasury that a swing of ten in attendance be allowed in these cases as in the case of assistant teachers.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The information asked for in the first part of the question is not available. The hon. and gallant Member appears to me, and I do not wonder at it, to be confusing two different things—namely, the averages which determine the number of teachers in a school and the averages which determine the grading of individual teachers. The so-called swing conceded by the Treasury this summer relates solely to the number of teachers who can be recognised in a school, and has nothing to do with their grading. The only junior assistant in Irish national schools is a junior assistant mistress, who can be appointed to any school where there is an average attendance of thirty-five, and, once appointed, need not be withdrawn until the attendance falls below thirty. As regards grading, no teacher in a school in which the average attendance is under seventy is eligible for promotion to the first division of the first grade, and no teacher in a school where the average is under fifty is eligible for promotion to the second division of that grade. In either case an average attendance of thirty-five is necessary to warrant the continuance of first grade salary. In reckoning the average attendance no notice is taken of a drop of less than half a unit. No change in the rules appears to be required.