HC Deb 21 February 1924 vol 169 cc1991-2W

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that it has recently been the practice of the Board of Education to insist that in the staffing of public elementary schools the head teachers should in many cases be counted as responsible for classes, as though they were able to devote a large part of their time to class teaching, and that this ruling has been applied in the case of some 700 head teachers; and whether, in view of the need for the head teachers' time to be given to the supervision of the whole school and administrative work as well as to occasional class teaching, he will adopt a different attitude in relation to the staffing of schools to that of the late Government?


The Code of 1922 provided that the head teacher of a public elementary school should take a definite and substantial share in the actual instruction, and added that the Local Education Authority should consider whether, in a school or department with an average attendance less than 250, it is not practicable to give the head teacher direct charge of a class. I think that the first part of this provision has met with general approval. But exception has been taken to the second part, on the ground that it is a financial and not an educational provision. I am reconsidering these provisions of the Code, but, generally speaking, I am clear that I am not justified on financial grounds in requiring or pressing Local Education Authorities to make head teachers responsible for classes. I must add, however, that the practice of head teachers taking charge of classes has for many years prevailed in come areas which are by no means unprogressive.