Educational Service (Commissions)

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Air Force – in the House of Commons on 14th April 1943.

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Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that experienced teachers, who are doing good work in the education branch of the Royal Air Force, are debarred from holding commissions unless they are university graduates; and if he will consider removing this disqualification?

Photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair Sir Archibald Sinclair , Caithness and Sutherland

Airmen are employed to assist education officers but only in clerical and minor administrative duties or as occasional part-time teachers. A number of these airmen have had teaching experience in civil life, and some have been appointed to the R.A.F. Educational Service and given commissions in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Such appointments normally depend upon the possession of a university degree or equivalent qualification, and I am satisfied that this standard should be maintained in the interests of efficiency. There is, of course, nothing to prevent an airman who does not possess such a qualification from being considered for commissioning for other duties in the Royal Air Force.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

When the right hon. Gentleman says "normally," may we take it to mean that he does make exceptions to this rule in the case of exceptionally talented teachers?

Photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair Sir Archibald Sinclair , Caithness and Sutherland

It is possible to make such exceptions, but at the present moment there is a sufficient supply of airmen with the university qualification and I rather doubt whether any exceptions will be made.

Photo of Mr Robert Morgan Mr Robert Morgan , Stourbridge

Is the Secretary of State aware that the term "commission" is a misleading one when applied to the R.A.F. Educational Service as they have to work under certain conditions and are not accorded the rights and privileges of other commissioned officers?

Photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair Sir Archibald Sinclair , Caithness and Sutherland

I would ask my hon. Friend to put down that Question.