Appendix Five: Recent Staff Adjustments, J.J. Dempsey’s Letter to Under-Secretary (7 November 1912)

Dear Sir,

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 16 October, intimating the retransfer of Miss E.R. Ingham A.T. III.1 from the State School at Dutton Park, in the room of Miss Sheahan (seconded to the Office of the Department). Miss Ingham’s transfer was quite unexpected by me. She began duty here on October 17th. I find that she is still not in strong health; when the weather is damp she suffers from a form of bronchial disorder. After a restless night she may or may not be at work at 9.30 a.m. In any case she cannot do justice to the work of a draft. The drafts here are large – each over 40 pupils – and the work is fairly strenuous. I have not assigned the charge of a draft to Miss Ingham, for the foregoing reasons; and also because, if I did, I should place a good senior pupil-teacher with her, in case she needs to be absent, or to be relieved for a longer or shorter period. In such a case, there is divided responsibility: the class is between two stools.

I have therefore judged it best to employ Miss Ingham in assisting in the preparation and teaching of needlework for other female teachers – for the present at all events – and, when not thus engaged, to let her work in some section where work is heavy or teachers weak.

My difficulty is that I have already four or five female A.Ts. whose physical strength and health are below the average; and it is not possible to allot light work to more than a limited number. But for numerically liberal staffing by the Department, I should often be perplexed as to how to have the work carried on effectively. It is not uncommon to find the school short of two or three teachers at the assembly at 9.30 a.m.

Miss Sheahan was able to face the work of a large draft in the upper school, and to give a very good account of it. Miss Ingham could not in my opinion do similar work. In the past, when I have endeavoured to afford her assistance by placing a strong teacher next to her, and in charge of the room, she resented the interference of that teacher in her draft, so strongly, that I had to alter the distribution of the staff in consequence.

Miss O’ Brien, A.T. II.1, has returned to duty this week; I have allotted her Miss Sheahan’s work and I know it will be well done.

Mr A. McPhail, now on leave, is an applicant for employment as an itinerant teacher. He is due to return here on 1.12.12; and the staff will then be numerically so strong that to employ them all I shall have to regrade some classes, increase the number of drafts, and thus reduce considerably the average per teacher.

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your obedient Servant,

J.J. Dempsey.

Hd Teacher of No. 514


Letter from Dempsey. 7 November 1912. QSA School Files (Correspondence) 15017 for Junction Park 1890-1919, NDB  Document No. 211-213