I have been enjoying this immensely (the thread, obviously - I am also delighted that people are enjoying the book so much!) but wanted to put in here with a few points that I think people will find interesting (and which are all from Princess, so no spoilers here!):
It has been pointed out elsewhere that Webb was suddenly out of a job and yes. current employment legislation allows that. It should be be borne in mind that Matron Webb might have given up a job for this one - current employment legislation is that a "job contract" only exists once you start a job. If you hand in your notice in one job and the new job disappears - tough!
1) Matron Webb's former place of employment actually closes down. We are told that "at her last school [Matron Webb] had gained a great ascendancy over the headmistress, and when that lady had given up she had found it hard to get another, as her age was against her."
2) One of the early criticisms when the editing began on this book was that Matron Webb was such an extreme character who did almost ridiculously bad things. It was very amusing to me that all of her worst excesses were actually the things invented by EBD and not my own invention.
So why didn't Madge get rid of Matron before then? Was she giving Matron chances to redeem herself, as she often does for the girls? Was it for practical reasons -- the difficulty of obtaining a replacement?
These, and particularly the latter, seem to be the stated reasons. I doubt there was as much need for a paperwork trail as there is today and so felt no need to worry about that side of things. However there are a number of points during which Madge and Mademoiselle discussing the school doing without Matron.
I think Madge decided quite early on that she wouldn't keep Matron beyond that term, didn't she? Even under present day employment law in the UK, she wouldn't need a reason to sack her when she'd only been there such a short time.
3. She certainly does decide very early on! Even before term begins, Madge "was wondering whether it would be judicious to tell [Jo] that there was little likelihood of Matron’s staying after the one term" and after the reading-in-bed fiasco Madge "very nearly requested the woman to hand in her resignation then and there" but decides against it. After the girls imitate Matron's voice, Mademoiselle suggests "send[ing] her away at the half-term", to which Madge eventually agrees, but this is then overridden by the incident with locking Robin in.
Bring on your other points and questions, I'm happy to answer them! A spoiler warning is a good idea though (just colour your text white and then only people who want to read it can do so).