Monday, November 12, 2007

Reg Neal

R.P. Neal was a popular local teacher at Yeading Junior School. Neal was secretary of the Hayes Left Book Club which he established in October 1937.

Active in local Aid to Spain movement in the late 1930's and based at the Hayes Labour Hall.

He became Chairman of the local ward Labour Party in the late 1930’s.

Reg Neal joined the Communist Party just prior to the start of the war.

During the war he served in the Royal Air Force in North Africa, rising to the rank of Flying Officer.

His prominent role in local campaigns, war record (he campaigned in his RAF uniform) and good looks (according to Joyce Mansfield) contributed to him being the most successful candidate in the local elections of 1946, missing a seat by less than 100 votes.

He was involved in the establishment of Hayes Workers Education Association in 1946.

His appointment in October 1950 to the Headship of Bounds Green School, led to Conservative controlled Middlesex County Council refusing to endorse his appointment, and then imposing a blanket ban on the appointment of Communists

In October 1950, Middlesex County Council Tory dominated Education Committee refused to endorse the appointment of Reg Neal of Yeading Junior School, Hayes to the Headship of Bounds Green School, and then imposed a blanket ban on appointment of Communists Headships in the County.

The leading opponent of the Communists was the Conservative Chairman of the Education Committee, Alderman Archer Hoare, a supporter of the anti-Communist campaigning group, 'Common Cause'

The attack on Reg Neal was a direct result of the activities of the famous Acton CommunistG.C.T Giles was a committed Communist party member and headmaster of Acton County School from 1926 to 1956. He became a member of the Executive of the National Union of Teachers and eventually its national President

Alderman Hoare regularly attacked G.C.T Giles accusing him of Communist indoctrination in the school.

The ban in Middlesex dragged on for seven years. National Union of Teachers blacklisting of posts proved ineffective, and it was not until Labour won control of Middlesex County Council in 1958 that ban was overturned

In May 1958 the Uxbridge Advertiser & Gazette reported that the seven year ban on Communist's being appointed head teachers was to be rescinded by the incoming Labour administration at Middlesex County council

At a meeting of the Middlesex County Council Education Committee on Monday 12th May 1958 recommended that the County Council remove the ban.

The resolution was moved by County alderman J. Barrow, Leader of the Labour Group on the Education committee. He stated that Middlesex Countuy Council was the only education authority to the country to apply the ban which served no useful purpose and was condemned by all the teachers associations (unions).

It was reported that for many years teachers in Middlesex had passed resolutions deploring the ban, which was imposed seven years ago at a time when Hayes teacher, known as a communist had been selected for a head teacher post.

The Conservatives opposed, Sir Archer Hoare stating "it would be an error of judgement to remove this resolution which had worked smoothly for seven years"

The teacher was Reg Neal of Yeading Junior School, who was selected for headship of a Wood Green School but owing to the ban Middlesex County was subsequently rescinded the appointment
Mr Reg Neal eventually resigned from his post under Middlesex County Council and obtained a headship in Sheffield.

When the resolution to rescind the ban on Communist Party head teachers was moved by Councillor J. Barrow and put to the vote by Alderman (woman) Mrs M.R. Forbes it was carried by 36 votes to 17

Report from Uxbridge Advertiser & Gazette Friday May 16th, 1958

URGENT REQUEST Any further information on this highly regarded, popular teacher and communist most welcome