HC Deb 23 September 1943 vol 392 cc371-2
32. Mrs. Cazalet Keir

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he will see that before the introduction of the Education Bill the Committee presided over by Sir Arnold McNair will have reported?

The President of the Board of Education (Mr. Butler)

I cannot give any undertaking that this Committee, which is engaged with a review of the long-term policy for the training and supply of teachers, will report before the introduction of a Bill; though its findings will be made available directly they are completed. I can well understand that my hon. friend will desire to have as much information as possible on the subject of the future recruitment of teachers. No doubt opportunities will occur from time to time to give the House the latest news on this subject.

Mrs. Keir

In view of the fact that about 80,000 additional teachers will be required, does my right hon. Friend not think it would be far better to have the report of the McNair Committee on teachers before us before we start to discuss the question?

Mr. Butler

I do not think my hon. Friend quite appreciated the tenour of my reply. We do not depend on the McNair Committee alone for the supply of teachers. We depend on them chiefly for giving us long-term plans for the future recruitment, as well as the supply, of teachers. If I have additional information on Government policy for the recruitment of teachers, the importance of which is vital, I shall certainly give it to the House, and, if possible, before further steps are taken.

Mr. Shinwell

When will this long-awaited Bill be introduced?

Mr. Butler

There is a Question an the Paper about that.

Mr. Kenneth Lindsay

What machinery now exists to deal with the temporary, or emergency, situation, apart from the long-term policy? My right hon. Friend has dismissed that question, apart from the Committee's Report.

Mr. Butler

That is just what I did not do. I said that if there was additional information to be given on Government policy, apart from that contained in the Committee's Report, on immediate plans for swelling the teaching profession, as far as it can be done in wartime, I would certainly impart it to the House, because I realise the importance of the matter.

Mr. Lindsay

That is apart from the McNair's Committee Report?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Linstead

Should not the Committee be asked to present an interim Report, which would be available to the House for discussion?

Mr. Butler

No; I would rather do it in the way I have said, give separate information on the recruitment of teachers, and let the McNair Committee finish their job without being rushed to a certain date.