§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if in 1911 a memorial signed by eight signatories, representing 111 schools of the Belfast circuit, came before the National Board, praying that an inquiry should be held on the lowering of reports throughout Belfast; what was the result of that memorial; was any inquiry held into the cause of the death of Mr. Hull, national teacher, Lisburn, and what was the result; was Mr. "Welply promoted over the heads of older candidates to the position of senior inspector, and on what grounds; and what is the money loss consequent on lowering of reports since his appointment?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Commissioners of National Education inform me that the memorial referred to was received. A deputation from the Belfast Teachers' Association waited upon the Commissioners, when the statements in the memorial were fully considered and discussed. The Commissioners, after inquiry, decided that there was no evidence to show that the standard of marking was unduly high in the Belfast circuit, but that, on the contrary, for some years subsequent to 1900 the standard of marking in the County Down was unduly low as compared with other parts of Ireland. No inquiry was held by the Commissioners into the circumstances attending the death of Mr. Hull. Mr. Welply was promoted to the position of senior inspector because the Commissioners considered that he was the most eligible candidate. The information asked for in the last paragraph of the question could not be obtained without an exhaustive and prolonged investigation of the reports and school records for several years.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) whether he can state the amount expended by the Department in the financial year 1911–12 upon inspection of secondary and technical instruction, inspection of agricultural instruction, administration, and all other purposes, respectively?
§ Mr. RUSSELL
The amount expended by the Department in 1911–12 on inspection of secondary and technical instruction was approximately £7,625, and on inspection of agricultural instruction £7,375. It would not be possible to state the amount expended on administration and all other56W purposes, respectively, within the limits of a reply to a Parliamentary question, but the latest Appropriation Account (that for the year 1910–11, pages 179 to 187) shows the exact expenditure and the respective services on which the expenditure was incurred.
§ Sir THOMAS ESMONDE
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland on what grounds the assistant teacher in School No. 14,668, county Wexford, is threatened with dismissal in December next; what experience in teaching Messrs. Alexander and Dickie had prior to their appointment as inspectors under the National Board; and if the Commissioners of National Education will take steps to secure that in the South Dublin district teachers who have given long and faithful service shall not be threatened with compulsory retirement before they have reached the maximum age for retirement?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Commissioners of National Education inform me that the assistant mistress referred to was very unfavourably reported on by the senior inspector in July last, and she was accordingly informed that a special report on the standards under her charge would be furnished by the inspector next December, and that if the report was unfavourable the question of her continuance in the service would be considered. Dr. Alexander has thirty-six years' experience as an inspector, and Mr. Dickie twenty-four years. The Commissioners are unable to state what teaching experience either had before appointment as inspector, but before confirming their appointments the Commissioners satisfied themselves that these officers were fully competent to discharge their duties. In the interests of the pupils the Commissioners cannot sanction the continuance in the service of any teacher who notwithstanding warnings and reprimands, and after sufficient time for improvement, remains inefficient.