§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—[Mr. Beechman.]
§ 12.46 p.m.
§ Mr. Kenneth Lindsay (Kilmarnock)
I would like to say at the outset of this Debate that those of us who are concerned with this subject are very grateful to the Government for setting aside a full measure of time for discussion of teachers' salaries. The last full Debate in this House took place in connection with the Education Bill. I think that the right hon. Gentleman would agree that while we then discussed the organisation of schools at great length and the organisation of the local education authorities, we seldom found time to discuss the content of education, but to-day it is quite impossible to discuss this question without considering what we mean by secondary education. There are two main items in this Debate which, although they are narrow in scope, raise principles of first-rate importance. The first principle is concerned with the whole future of educational standards in the secondary schools of England and Wales, and the second concerns the local rates of England and Wales.
The new Burnham scale represents a 48 per cent. increase in teachers' salaries, and the effect of this is to raise the education rate of the local authorities in England and Wales anything from 5d. to 25. I believe the average figure is about 9d. This, of course, has nothing to do with the financial estimates accompanying the recent Bill. It is over and above it. We ask in this Debate that the State shall pay a higher proportion of the total salary bill for teachers. Many of my friends thought that this might have been discussed more fully on the Bill, and, indeed, it was raised, but we do it now—or at any rate I do it now—because I think some of my friends are not so concerned with the graduate scale as with local rates because I see that this is the only 666 way in which we can get a better scale for the graduate teachers.
The House might well ask why all this should come to a head now. I think it would be convenient if I give the reasons for this sudden—because it is really sudden—decision. After Mr. Fisher's reign of office some 25 years ago the Burnham scale was constituted with three tiers. There was an elementary committee which I think had 22 members of the National Union of Teachers on it; there was a secondary tier which had some 21 members of the various secondary school associations and some five members of the N.U.T., and then there was a technical committee; but from 1st April next it is proposed to call all schools catering for children from the age of 11 by the name "secondary," and, therefore, the Burnham Committee has been reconstituted and one committee now deals with scales for primary, secondary and technical teachers.
We are dealing to-day with the first fruits of that new scale. In a word, the designation "secondary" will cease to carry in the eyes of the law a qualitative meaning after 1st April. I say "in the eyes of the law," because neither the buildings, the size of classes, the curriculum nor, above all, the staffing can change overnight. I do not wish to quarrel with this decision. Indeed I accepted it when the Bill went through the House with one or two qualifications to which I am coming in a minute. Before the war there were a whole series of anomalies in teachers' salaries and far too low minimum and maximum payments. It is to the credit of the Burnham Committee that they have ironed out a great many of the anomalies to which I need not refer to-day." I think we all welcome the simplified schemes with the basic minimum of £300 a year for all teachers. So far I can confidently say that all hon. Members walk in agreement. It was an underpaid profession. £300 a year as a basic minimum scale will, I think, attract men and women coming from the Services, and we at any rate who are interested in this Debate very strongly agree that that increase is overdue.
In order to adjust salaries to the new and if I may say so—and I am choosing my words—misleading nomenclature, because the word "secondary" at the moment is misleading, there has been 667 worked out a common scale for all teachers, primary and secondary, which in my opinion de-grades the graduate degree and thereby will discourage recruitment. It is the minimum which matters and which will matter to the young Service men and women coming back from the war. It is the minimum to which they will look, especially if the young man expects to get married, and it is to the minimum that the boys of 17 to 18 at school will look. Secondly, the scale slows down the rate of accretion of salaries. Thirdly, it diminishes the pecuniary reward of the majority of headmasters and headmistresses. Fourthly, it creates a series of new anomalies. It is for this reason that the joint four associations of the male and female assistants and heads of secondary schools have found it impossible to endorse this agreement. I think it does irreparable injury to secondary education, as it has been known in the past, and for this reason it might repay us to look at some of the schools which best exemplify its growth.
The right hon. Gentleman in a recent interview with a Sunday newspaper is reported as saying three things: First, that the feelings of class and intellectual inferiority will have to be abolished through national education; secondly, that he did not believe in abolishing public schools but that we should throw them open to all classes; thirdly, he believed that county secondary schools would eventually compete with and perhaps outstrip many public schools. I want to contest to-day the ideas which are underlining those three statements. First, the secondary and grammar schools of this country have very little to do with class at all, and when he says he hopes that public schools will be open to all, how does he justify it?—with 75 per cent. fee paid, and, say the abolition of Manchester and Bradford.
§ The Minister of Education (Mr. Butler)
Is this in Order in this Debate, as it is a matter which concerns secondary and direct grants, which we are not discussing to-day?
§ Mr. Lindsay
I do not want to trespass on ground which will be out of Order for the purposes of the right hon. Gentleman's reply, but it is impossible to dis- 668 cuss the question of salaries unless we discuss schools. Thirdly, what is this so-called competition between the county secondary schools and the public schools? What are these secondary schools and who are the teachers? There are some 1,100 maintained and aided secondary schools in this country, one-third of whose male staff is now in the Services. They are not privileged schools. Forty-six per cent. of their pupils pay no fees and 70 per cent. of their new entrants wilt have earned special places. They are the only schools in this country which for some years ahead will give full-time education up to and beyond the age of 16. They provide more than half the open scholarships and exhibitions to Oxford and Cambridge. Two-thirds of the winners of these scholarships have not paid fees and were previously educated at ordinary elementary schools. The majority of the boys and girls who take first and second-class degrees obtain half in science and mathematics. One-third or thereabouts of the men, and two-thirds of the women, become teachers. The remainder enter other professions—medicine, law, civil and local services, industry, commerce and research. Half the fellowships of Oxford and Cambridge are held by them.
In a word, this is the precious human cargo that passes through the portals of the ordinary secondary schools of this country. Unfortunately, their wings are very often clipped at the university stage. Few can afford to enter this House, otherwise there might be more interest in this Debate. Few see the inside of the Foreign Office or the chambers of a barrister, but their record, for those who care to go into it, in the R.A.F. and R.N.V.R., is written on immemorial tablets. These are, in fact, the schools for poor boys in this country. I am using no exaggerated language when I say that, for I have been through it. If there are high standards among our scientists and our scholars and our civil servants, to whom is this due? It is due to the devoted men and women, inspired scholars, who gave up a lifetime in and out of school, in long hours of correcting homework, in school societies and a score of outside activities, and it is these men and women who have trained themselves, who have sacrificed three or four years at the university, at Manchester, at Newcastle, at Bristol, who, in the future, are to receive £15—or £12 if they are women—for their trouble.
669 The London County Council in its evidence to the Departmental Committee on Higher Technological Education made this remark with which I agree:The advantage of a degree qualification is that it represents a standard rather jealously guarded throughout the world. It indicates the possession of a body of knowledge, a background of broad and continuous study and an intellectual capacity which are widely understood.The McNair Committee has made it clear, after sitting for two years, that a larger proportion of teachers should have gone through the universities. Sir Arnold McNair, along with other vice-chancellors, has made known his perturbation about this particular scale, and I am quite sure that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, after his welcome announcement last week of increased university finance, would agree also
There is evidence in my possession from men in the Services, holding university scholarships and with university qualifications, that they are turning down teaching. Remember there has been no Arts course in this country for five years, and the competition for university trained men after the war will be extremely severe. The competition will be no less serious among the technical staffs who, with a university background, will be whipped off into industry. Little wonder that a staff captain now in Italy, with a first-class Cambridge degree in modern lanuages, calls this—I use his own language—"a stab in the back." Only this weekend a headmaster told me of two boys in the Forces, holders of university scholarships, who decided that they would give up their intention to teach. Another school, which was about to appoint a headmaster, realising that they would have to appoint him on a lower scale, have, I understand, applied to my right hon. Friend to put the salary back to its earlier scale.
§ Mr. Lindsay
As they are quite entitled to do under the plan, as my right hon. Friend reminds me, but if this procedure is to be repeated, the heads of 60 per cent. of the boys' schools and 53 per cent. of the girls' schools, aided and maintained, will be writing to the Ministry. It is one thing for a few people who are on the borderline to write. My figures may be wrong, but I believe that as much as £170 less 670 salary will be given to headmasters under this scale than under the old scale and, as far as I can understand, the average loss is about £84 for men and about £76 for, women. If my right hon. Friend can prove to me that that is not so, I shall be very glad to withdraw what I have said, but I have analysed some of the actual schools and the loss is as much as £170 in a Grade II authority school and, in a Grade IV authority school with 350–500 children, the loss can be £158. I ask why should the posts of headmasters and headmistresses in efficient secondary schools be down-graded? What have they done wrong in Middlesex and West Riding, in Staffs and Warwickshire, in Kent and Croydon and Birmingham? Were they over-paid before? If anybody looks back on the history of secondary school salaries from 1920 onwards through the Reports of the Geddes and May Committees, he will be under no misapprehension that they were overpaid.
Then there is the question of the pension. Only this week-end I was asking some questions about an old classical master under whom I sat for three years. I do not know how many first-class scholars he produced, and. I was not a very good example, but for over 30 years he did this work and that man is living now in a penurious way on a very small pension. He is finished but I do think we ought to safeguard the coming generation of secondary schoolmasters. I do not think any hon. Member in this House would rise and say that they were oven paid, but may I make the position quite clear to hon. Members who may not have gone into this in very great detail, and say that the whole of this hangs on the McNair Report, from which I will quote a relevant passage:The White Paper reforms will in any case make hay of the present arrangements as fax as the future of secondary schools—that is, schools for children over 11 years of age—are concerned. We shall recommend changes which will not only accord with those reforms but will also aim at unifying the teaching profession as a whole.I would like to make it clear that I am in favour of, and have laboured for some years to see, a genuine secondary education for all children and, indeed, for the unity, as far as that can be attained in a proper way, of the teaching profession. In this connection it is usual to quote Scotland and America and I would like 671 to say at this point that there is more nonsense talked about American education in this connection than in any other. I can only say what the best friends of American education say, and that is, "Be warned back there in England not to do some of the silly things that we have done." That is the advice of Dr. Millikan, the Nobel Prize-winner of California, and of the best thought in America, Dr. Flixner among others. I cannot find any country in the world which has done what this Burnham scale does. I have looked into scales in Russia, in France, in America and in other countries which have tried to give secondary education for large numbers. What my hon. Friends must remember is that in Scotland there are 37 per cent. of graduates in the primary schools of Scotland, while in England the figure is about nine per cent. My hon. Friend the Member for East Stirling (Mr. Woodburn) will bear me out in this. Also, Scotland is not a very good example to quote at this moment, for there is very great concern in Scotland about the higher ranks of secondary education. The reason is that students from Scottish universities with honours degrees are not going into teaching. I will not go into the reasons for that but amongst them is that of salary.
§ Mr. Lindsay
Other comparable professions—medicine, law, business—and they are going abroad. They are coming to England, they are going all over the world.
I have the American figures here but perhaps I ought to point out that all teachers go through a four years State teachers' college in America, and it is the usual thing for a person with an M.A. degree to teach at a high school and for what is called a Ph.D. to teach at a university, but there is nothing to imitate in America on this particular point. There are very interesting things in America, but this is one thing where perhaps one ought to go a little more carefully, because the English secondary school is distinct; there is nothing like it so far as I can make out in the world. As for France, if we compare salaries, there was an article in a French newspaper last week, or the week before, mak- 672 ing it quite clear that salaries for comparable people—actually slightly more highly qualified—was £245 higher in the provinces and over £300 comparing Paris with London, so that this graduate scale is really not in accordance with any of the experience outside.
§ Mr. Lindsay
Yes, I have tried to convert this in accordance with the rate of exchange both in America and France. In Russia the distinction in the higher ranks is being definitely brought back after experiments the other way, so I would say that we are under-estimating the value of high honours degrees. But what have we done? My right hon. Friend will say to me, "Yes, but we have given £50-£100 for posts of special responsibility, and we have instituted a device for paying an extra £50 for every 30 children over the age of 15. May I say respectfully that is not an award for teaching; that is very largely an award for administrative ability because, while headmasters may get more, what I am considering are the scholars in the sixth and fifth forms who provide a nucleus of teachers. In future they must be properly paid. I wonder whether any of my hon. and right hon. Friends opposite would be prepared to apply this to the public schools of England? Would they be prepared to apply this to Marlborough or Rugby or Eton? I was talking to the headmaster of a public school last night and he told me of seven persons in his school who would be getting a higher salary than the assistant masters with maximum qualifications would get under this scale.
My position was clearly defined on Second Reading. I said I was in favour of abolishing fees and making secondary education universal if safeguards were forthcoming as regards school governments, salaries, amenities, and size of classes. I welcome what my right hon. Friend has done with regard to the articles of school governments, but the other conditions have not and, indeed, they could not be satisfied at this moment and I am not blaming him. The Government are faced with an unparalleled situation. A glaring shortage of teachers is staring us in the face. Primary classes are getting larger—I was going to say every month 673 but they certainly are not getting smaller—because there is not a sufficient new influx of teachers to make it so. I go so far as to say—and I think my hon. Friend who speaks very often for the London County Council would agree with me—that illiteracy is on the increase. In my opinion the growing troubles at the Home Office are not unconnected with the condition of the schools. Three years ago I warned the Government—and advocated what was merely a phrase, "a Ministry of childhood"—that there were three different Ministries dealing with one problem. I do not want to go into an alternative policy, because we are committed, as from 1st April, to the policy of universal secondary education. What. I am concerned about is what will be the effect of this policy when teachers and buildings are in short supply. One result is that private and independent schools have long waiting lists—
§ Mr. Butler
On a point of Order. The hon. Gentleman is making a general speech on the subject of educational policy, and I have prepared a lengthy speech on the subject of teachers' salaries. Shall I be expected, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to reply to this general Debate? Further, within the Rules of Order, is there any question as to the ability of hon. Members to traverse the whole subject of education?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Charles Williams)
The hon. Gentleman can go over any subject he likes, so long as he does not advocate legislation. So far as the Minister is concerned, I have no doubt that his ingenuity will enable him to give answers.
§ Mr. Butler
This raises an important point, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman's clear speech, but it makes it difficult for a Minister, if he is given notice only of one part of a subject on the Adjournment, and the Debate takes place over the whole subject. It makes his position difficult, as he would have to prepare an answer to cover the whole range of educational policy.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I quite see the difficulty, but that is one of the things which happens sometimes in an Adjournment Debate. I think, however, that the Minister will be able to answer some of the points.
§ Mr. Lindsay
I promise my right hon. Friend that I will keep, in future, strictly to the point, but I thought that what I was saying was particularly relevant. It may be said that there are 11,000 graduates in the present elementary schools, and I am told—this is not generally known—that if their collective voices could be heard to-day, they would be supporting, as some of the local branches have done, the stand we are making.
§ Mr. Lindsay
There are 11,000 graduates at the present moment in elementary schools, who would support a change on the lines I am advocating. They represent about a per cent. of the teachers in the ordinary primary schools, whereas the teachers we are thinking about represent about 80 per cent. Would it not be better to recognise facts and call the groups of schools we are dealing with, or shall be dealing with from 1st April, "junior secondary schools?" The Minister may say that that would not help. [An HON. MEMBER: "A change has been made."] In Scotland that may be so, but in my constituency, and elsewhere, we know what we mean when we are talking about schools below the age of 15, and schools which take children up to 17 and 18. The Minister has said that there will be posts of special responsibility. Will he elucidate precisely what the scale implies? The Burnham Committee have laid it down that there are to be 15 per cent. in each area and that, apparently, is equal to 20,000 posts, which will be given to people who perform special work. As I understand it, this is to compensate for not having what we had in the past—a graduate scale.
I would like to know how the posts are to be spread. Let us leave out the mom schools with under 100 pupils each. There are still 18,000 schools and 20,000 posts, which is about one post per school. I would like to know whether these posts of special responsibility will go to graduates in the secondary schools. Will they be spread through graduates and non-graduates through the 18,000 schools, because that makes a serious difference one way or the other? There is another point which has caused great 675 perturbation, and which has been mentioned in a letter to "The Times," signed by many members of the Fleming Committee. It is that while giving these allowances for special work with one hand, we are taking them away with the other. Although we may give £50 it is worth only £20. I do not know whether there will be any such cases, but there may be cases in which a non-graduate will get 50 and a graduate will get £20. Is that fair? Further, in the past, the award of such posts was arbitrary; they were not always given to the worthy person, but mare often to the self-advertiser. Any scale must induce recruiting, otherwise it will fail, and in the case of the graduate the measure of the inducement is, to my mind, a negative quantity. The teacher, before the war, had an assured minimum of £480. The cost of living has increased by 35 to 40 per cent. The maximum under this scale is about £655, that is, if there is a post of special reponsibility, but more often it will be £585 or £570.
The total increase of the salary bill is 48 per cent. We are asking to-day for another 2 per cent. to adjust this disequilibrium. I believe that if it could be done by my right hon. Friend—and I know he has the ingenuity to do it—it would leave harmony in the profession, and remove what must be clear to anyone, whether a university Member or a Member for an ordinary constituency, is the genuine grievance felt by secondary school teachers to-day. I do not want to go into total earnings, but the graduate teacher has to wait 22 years before his total earnings equal those of the person who has been to training college, or through an emergency course. It will be said that the local education authorities agree, but the taxpayer now contributes the largest share, and I submit that there is a national interest here, an interest which overweighs both the sectional and the teachers' interests as such. I hope the Exchequer will give 60 to 65 per cent. The Minister is a reasonable man. I cannot see that he would find any opposition to this. He may say later, "This is outside my jurisdiction. We have set up the Burnham Committee and I must either accept or reject their recommendations. If I reject them I cannot, as 1st April is so near, put my Act into operation." I appreciate that proposition. I believe that Sir Frederick Mander is a reasonable man, 676 and would wish to do so. If it is a question of money which is holding us back, surely the Minister can see that an extra sum is available so that local authorities can make this little extra contribution. I do not see present my hon. Friend the Member for Stourbridge (Mr. R. Morgan), who is a teachers' representative. I would beg him to read a letter in "The Times Educational Supplement," from some teachers at King Edward's School, Stourbridge, which is one of the strongest letters I have seen on this matter. As for my hon. Friend the Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove), surely he will appreciate the value and experience which his son has gained from going to a public school and a university—
§ Mr. Lindsay
That may be so, but he has had the benefit. There are members of the staff of this House whose boys have climbed from secondary school to university, and there are the sons of Press men in the Lobby who have done the same. There are scores of people who realise this position but who, at the moment, are powerless to make their voices known. My right hon. Friend the Minister, in an eloquent speech to the National Union of Teachers, early in the war, said he was strongly in favour of healing the breech between "The Two Nations." I ask that the blemishes of this scale be removed because in my opinion it is, in my sense of the word, anti-democratic. It will leave the higher salaries, the plums, out-side the State system. We want the Minister to do four things in connection with this scale which, after all, is extremely ingenious and has been worked out with the best will in the world. First, we want a revised formula for assessing the salaries of headmasters and headmistresses; second, we want a substantial increase for the graduate condition, payable to graduates wherever they are, irrespective of the school; third, we want a mandatory system of additional payment in respect of higher academic attainments, service of exceptional value and special responsibility, directly relating to the nature of the work and age of the pupil. At the moment it gives too high a premium for mere numbers and mediocrity. Fourth, we want the abolition of the merger clause. If the Minister can find his way to provide more money—
§ Mr. Lindsay
Yes, and that is before the Education Act starts to operate. We want the Minister to ask for modifications of this scale in order to give an appreciable increase to those who are going to carry the responsibility.
§ Mr. A. Bevan (Ebbw Vale)
Before the hon. Member concludes his interesting speech, may I ask him whether he approves of the difference of payment as between men and women graduates who are doing exactly the same work?
§ Mr. Lindsay
My vote is on record. I agree that teaching is the classical case for equality of payment. We want a higher contribution from the Exchequer to assist local authorities to carry out this scale which, in the main, is welcomed by all because of the basic increases to primary school teachers. We want the blemishes removed, so that the secondary schools of England may be preserved.
§ Mr. Colegate
How does my hon. Friend propose that this should be done, by sending the matter back to the Burnham Committee, or proposing that extra action should be taken by the Minister?
§ Mr. Lindsay
I think that is for the Minister. I do not want to put him into an unfair position, but it is for him to find a way through this. The Burnham scale has put him into an unfortunate predicament. I cannot suggest a way out. He has all the powers, and I hope he will try to do it.
§ 1.29 p.m.
§ Sir Arthur Salter (Oxford University)
My hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Lindsay) has covered the subject so completely—in certain respects, indeed more than completely—and so lucidly, and, as regards his main contention, so conclusively, that the task of all subsequent speakers in this Debate, with the exception of the Minister, has been greatly facilitated. He has said so many things which the rest of us wished to say that most of us will not detain the House as long as we should otherwise have done. I shall content myself with underlining and supplementing a few of his points.
The first question that I ask myself with regard to any proposal about educational reform is whether or not it will tend 678 to strengthen and broaden the ladder of education. I fear that some of the features of this scheme will tend to have the reverse effect. My hon. Friend has quoted the views of those in the profession—the views of the four secondary associations—but there is very great anxiety also among those who are not in the same way directly and personally interested, namely, in university circles, as to the effect of some of these features. The right hon. Gentleman will be aware of the views of the responsible authorities of the universities and will be able to judge how far the opinions which I and others may express carry weightier authority than our own. Certain features present very considerable dangers to the crucial part of our system of education which affects the ladder, namely the secondary schools. I think there has been too little positive effect in the scales to ensure that there shall be recognition both of special attainments and special responsibilities.
My hon. Friend has quoted the instance, for example, of the remuneration of head masters and mistresses and has pointed out that in some cases there will be a substantial reduction in the maximum pay for these posts, not indeed affecting existing holders but affecting later holders. He has argued, I think very strongly, that the recognition given to a university degree is insufficient, particularly in view of the fact that the whole of it may be lost by being merged into the remuneration for posts of special responsibility. I would ask the Minister if he would not consider whether, when he compares the remuneration now offered to teachers of the highest qualifications and in posts of special responsibility, with the opportunities presented by other professions, both inside and outside the public service, he is confident that the results will not be these: first to reduce the number of people with university attainments going into the scholastic profession; second, that those who do will not be the best qualified; third, that within the profession secondary schools will have an unduly low share in comparison with the independent and endowed schools. My hon. Friend pointed out that nothing could be more undesirable or more undemocratic than this last result.
I recognise the considerable difficulty of discussing the subject at so late a stage, after the Burnham proposals have reached the point that they have now reached. Nevertheless, there are surely 679 some provisions on which the Minister might consider it desirable to ask the Burnham Committee to reconsider their recommendations. The Minister indicates dissent. If that is not so, if there is no way in which any change can possibly be made, I do not know that this Debate is serving any useful purpose. But I suppose we must make our suggestions as if it were still practicable to make a change. If I were starting at an early stage and appearing before the Burnham Committee when they were starting their consideration, I should be prepared to make certain rather more radical proposals. For example, I think that supplementing the ordinary scale by some kind of family allowance would have had great advantages; we should in this way largely turn the flank of the difficulty of equal pay for men and women At this stage, however, I take it it is no use pressing that proposal. Dropping this proposal therefore at this time, I am in general sympathy with the proposals that my hon. Friend has made. I should, however, like to ask consideration of a proposal to increase the scales of remuneration in all schools which take boys and girls of 16 and over and give sixth form work. But in one way or another, I should like to ask my right hon. Friend whether it is not desirable to increase the inducements so as to remove the triple danger to which I have referred, namely that you will get fewer university trained people in the profession, that those who do enter will be the less qualified university graduates, and that secondary schools will get less than their proportion.
I think the future of the country depends enormously on our being able to tap more successfully than we have done in the past the rich sources of potential talent which are to be found in all classes, including those in which the development of talent has been handicapped by home environment or defects in our educational system. If it is possible to give greater inducements to better qualified people to go into the secondary schools by the scales adopted, a very real contribution to that important purpose will be made.
§ 1.39 p.m.
§ Mr. Linstead (Putney)
Listening to the speech of the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Lindsay), one could not help being reminded of our Debates on the Education 680 Bill and of the very high hopes with which we sent it to another place, and feeling a little regretful that, on this occasion, when the first step is being taken to implement that Bill, some cloud of suspicion should have come over the educational sky. Apparently, by this agreement it was hoped to secure one teaching profession without the artificial barrier which has sometimes resulted from putting too much emphasis on the mere possession of a piece of paper, which entitles a person to call himself a university graduate. That is a superficial view of what a university degree may mean. Nevertheless there is, possibly, sufficient in that very minor element, to justify some attempt to minimise the distinction by salary scales and to try to make one teaching service. I am sure that the danger when you are trying to do that, is that in attacking the superficialities you may be attacking the thing behind them, which is all that is implied by universiy training—the residence, the association with trained minds, the association with fellow students, and so on.
That is the danger which is implicit in the proposals which are shortly to come before the President of the Board. Those who are to take part in secondary education as teachers, should have not merely the label of a university degree, but four years' residence at a university. It is the course far more than the end point, which is the important thing, and the danger in these proposals seems to be that one or two years of a diploma course are going to be regarded as sufficient and as productive of something nearly as good as that which would be produced by a four years' university course. There is surely nothing unreasonable in expecting that a secondary school teacher should normally have had four years at a university in preparation for a whole life which is to be devoted to the training of the young generation.
What is happening at present? At a time when everyone connected with education ought to be devoting his energies to getting the new Act working, an internal stress has unfortunately been developed within the teaching profession. Statistics, proverbially, can be made to prove anything, but that stress is illustrated by two comparisons which can be very simply made. The Secretary of the National Union of Teachers in an article a few weeks ago made this statement: 681The pre-war commencing salaries varied from £180 to £249 a year. The new minima will range from £315 to £345, representing increases of 38 to 83 per cent. for men graduates outside London.A graduate teacher produces figures to me, by which he shows that, whereas elementary teachers will get approximately 60 per cent., secondary school graduates in the provinces will get only 18 and London graduates only 10 to 16 per cent. Those are the same figures interpreted by intelligent people who, presumably, are merely reading them as they see them, and it is that sort of evidence which enables one to understand why a stress is developing in the teaching profession. The graduates are certainly being given the impression that they are not wanted, and I have even heard it said, as the hon. Member for Kilmarnock has said, that there is, somewhere, a deliberate policy to cheapen the teachers in the secondary schools, in order to enable the independent schools to get the best teachers available. That was put to me by two experienced teachers as their view of something that might be behind these proposals. It is fantastic, but nevertheless it is being said. It seems that, at the very least, there has been a blunder here and some very bad public relations work.
Local education authorities are, presumably, anxious to do their best, but they seem to have been greatly concerned, not unnaturally, about the effects of these payments upon the rates. The gross addition—I say "gross" having in mind that it does not take account of the Treasury grant—may be 1s. or 9d. upon some of the education rates. One hopes that the Minister will be able to give some indication as to precisely what sort of assistance can be given to local authorities in connection with the salaries. Looking at it from their point of view, one would say that their representatives on the Burnham Committee have cut the cake in a rather clumsy way. Even if the total sum of money is to be the same, the allocation might be more fairly made. From the point of view of non-graduate teachers and the National Union of Teachers, one is bound to say that they have come very well out of this, and one welcomes it. It will help to raise the status of the teaching profession and will certainly encourage an influx of new teachers. One only hopes that they have not adopted a rather narrow "two-bites- 682 at-the-cherry" policy, thinking that, if they got substantial increases for non-graduate teachers, they could come back later on and do better for graduate teachers. One would say that that was scarcely worthy of a body of the importance of the National Union of Teachers.
It is when we come to the graduate teachers that we find ourselves faced with an-important group of the profession who are extremely perturbed about the effect of the scales upon their own future. They feel that the new scales will mean the disappearance gradually of the graduate teacher in State-aided schools and a general lowering of standards. It may be a groundless fear, but I think that the fear definitely resides with the graduate teachers. They can see the Civil Service and industry taking the best graduates instead of the teaching profession, and they believe, too, that with a shortage of trained teachers, we are in danger of having a shortage of trained technical personnel for industry later on. I do not think I can better summarise the feeling of the graduate teachers than by an extract from the letter of an experienced teach who wrote to me the other day:In many homes where 'going to college' involves a sacrifice, the decision between choosing a university career and a shorter term non-graduate training will be influenced by the ultimate benefit in salary that will accrue. In this way many potential scholars will be lost to the universities, and ultimately to the staffs of schools, and without men and women of university standing on the staffs the preparation of the coming generation for scholarship is impossible. Hence the nation will be impoverished in the intellectual field just at the time that there is not only increased opportunity but much leeway to be made up after the war.That is a fair summary of what the graduate teachers fear. These scales seem to me an untidy and hurried piece of work with a good many loose ends that want tying up. One feels that they should properly go back to the Burnham Committee for reconsideration if time permitted, but the responsibility, I think, is on the shoulders of the Minister to satisfy the House that he so badly needs these scales by 1st April that that cannot be done. It is a little difficult to accept that, without these scales on 1st April, education in this country will come to an end. I think the schools would still be there, and I suspect that the teachers and the scholars would still be there too. Never-the-less, the responsibility is clearly on 683 my right hon. Friend's shoulders, and he will have to indicate to the House whether or not, in his opinion, these scales are essential at the present time.
Reference has already been made to the provisions in Clause 5 of the proposals, which allow allowances to be paid to both assistant and head teachers over and above the scales. I wonder if my right hon. Friend can indicate whether he regards that not merely as provision for the wholly exceptional case, but as something which can be widely used by local authorities who have headmasters, headmistresses and assistant masters and mistresses whom they wish to reward adequately. I wish to ask a question, too, about the safeguarding Clause. Clause 10 guarantees that no teacher will receive a smaller rate of salary than he or she would have received had these new scales not come into operation. Does that mean that a teacher who could have looked to a headship at, perhaps, £1,250 at the end of his career, will be entitled to £1,250 should he reach a headship, even if for somebody newly coming into the scheme that headship is worth only £1,100 as a result of de-grading? There is in these scales an element of suspicion and unrest among an important, section of the teaching community, and I hope that my right hon. Friend will be able to do something to allay it.
§ 1.52 p.m.
§ Mr. Cove (Aberavon)
I welcome this Debate in one respect because it has shown that on all sides of the House there is an ever-deepening appreciation of the services which teachers render to the nation. My mind goes back over the years, and I realise that the status of the teaching profession is now very much higher than it ever was. I therefore welcome the Debate in that respect. I am sorry in another way that it has taken place, for, as one or two hon. Members have said, it has revealed some kind of division in the ranks of the teaching profession. There is, undoubtedly, in a section of the profession a feeling of grievance, but the speech of the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Lindsay) did not meet the situation at all. If I may say so without offence, he wandered round the world but he never came to the point at issue. The real point which the Minister has to decide is a simple one 684 —whether or not, under the powers that he has been given under the Education Act, he is prepared to accept or reject a national agreement. Let me take hon. Members into the workings of the Burnham Committee. I was once a member of it. In the Burnham Committee set up under the Act, we have representatives of the education authorities on one side and the teachers—
§ Mr. Cove
No, the teachers. I will take up the hon. Member's challenge. On the graduate issue, the Minister has not and never had to meet the slightest opposition, from the N.U.T. The hon. Member may laugh and sneer, but he knows nothing about it. I have read all the minutes, and on not one occasion has the Minister had to meet the opposition of the N.U.T. so far as the graduates are concerned. I want to emphasise that. The hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) thinks he knows about this, but he does not. What my right hon. Friend has to meet is the opposition of the education authorities. A solid phalanx of the education authorities, set its face to what was demanded for graduation. Not for a single moment did the N.U.T. offer any opposition. If the Minister says I am wrong, I am ready to be corrected. Normally, here is a panel representing the teachers, and there is a panel on the other side of the table representing the local authorities. Generally, one speaker is allowed to put the case on each side of the Committee. Hon. Members can easily imagine why that is. If there were a dozen or two on each side of the table, and everybody talked, no agreement could be arrived at until Doomsday. It has been generally agreed that one speaker shall speak on behalf of the authorities, after, of course, the authorities have come to a decision on what policy they are to pursue, and that one speaker shall represent the views of the teachers, after, of course, the teachers have decided their policy.
§ Sir Ernest Graham-Little (London University) rose—685
§ Mr. Cove
I will not give way. I am enlightening the hon. Member and teaching him something. I want to explain this matter. When it came to the discussion of increments for degrees, that rule of one speech on each side was broken down. Because the matter was of such exceptional importance, it was agreed that more than one speaker should speak from each side. I doubt whether in the history of the Burnham Committee that has ever happened before. In any case, it was exceptional.
§ Sir E. Graham-Little
May I rise to a point of Order? Is it in Order to refer to certain transactions which are entirely outside the inspection, or possibility of inspection, of the House?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I cannot see that there is any point of Order here. What the hon. Member is saying has nothing to do with any official Government document or anything of that kind, as far as I know.
§ Mr. Cove
Every speaker from the teachers' side argued for more money for a degree. Every speaker from the authorities' side took the contrary view. This is an amazing fact, but it is true. I am not arguing whether it is right or wrong, but the fact is that the Minister is faced with a decision by the local authorities. Who here will say that he knows more about the demands of education and the requirements of the schools than do members of education authorities?
Another fact is that more time was spent by the Burnham Committee in discussing this issue than upon any other issue. It was argued for three or four full sessions and there was complete and meticulous consideration, and here is the decision. The Minister has not power under the Act to alter it. He has power to accept or to reject. If he sends it back he does so in the teeth of two main facts. One is that the local authorities have said that this is their policy and the other is that there was complete agreement on the Committee, as there had to be. The Minister cannot send this back without the danger of smashing the Burnham Committee. I cannot see that men representing education authorities will be willing to sit round a table after they have given the matter such full consideration, and the Minister has referred it back to them. What would the local authorities do?
§ Sir Percy Harris (Bethnal Green, South-West)
I do not ask the question in a hostile way, but only for information. Are the minutes of the Burnham Committee available? Can we see what took place?
§ Mr. Cove
A lot of them have been published. Let me give a quotation from them. Let me say straight away that the organ of the National Union of Teachers shows that there was a difference of opinion. I think my right hon. Friend will agree that they are a somewhat responsible body. The personal representatives of the National Union of Teachers upon the Joint Board wanted to argue for more money and graded payment. The authorities said "No." Against that background, let me read out this paragraph—and I am sorry to have to do so:How did the representatives of the joint secondary association meet the situation"—That is to say, the situation of deadlock. In my view—and I would like to interpolate this—the Burnham Committee has been a magnificent organ of conciliation. It goes on:when asked whether they thought the local authorities could be persuaded"—I hope hon. Members will follow this, and especially the hon. and learned Member for London University (Sir E. Graham-Little).
§ Mr. Cove
I am sorry. I thought he was learned. The quotation goes on:to offer another 1d.? They replied in the negative. When asked whether they could hope for better terms by the Chairman's arbitration, the answer was the same. Moreover, they voted against arbitration when it was suggested. When asked whether they had any counter proposals to suggest, they again replied in the negative. When asked whether they saw any alternative to acceptance other than the abandonment of negotiations, there was no reply. When, in order to avoid a rupture in negotiations and to preserve the advantage they had already gained, a motion was proposed that the local authorities' proposal should be accepted with regret Every opportunity was given for an amendment to be moved, but no amendment was forthcoming.I do not want to exacerbate feeling but I can tell the House that, whether the decision is right or wrong, there was, in the first place, the fullest consideration given to the dispute that is at issue to-day, more money for graduation. That was fully discussed. More money for gradua- 687 tion had the fullest support of the National Union of Teachers.
§ Mr. Storey (Sunderland)
When the decision as to the money to be given to graduates was arrived at, and when the total sum was fixed, did the Committee discuss whether the cake might be cut up in a different way so that graduates got some more of it?
§ Mr. Cove
The Burnham Committee does not work in that way. The hon. Member is on the employers' side and I am on the other side. I am trying to get the most for the individual. The Burnham Committee do not sit round and say: "Will the Government give us £50,000,000?" and then share it out. They see what salaries can be advised for the individual teachers, and the total amount is arrived at after that. Then comes the Minister's function. After the Burnham Committee has decided certain scales of pay, he has to say: "Can I, or can I act, accept them for purposes of grant?" That is how the Burnham Committee always work. The right hon. Gentleman can turn things down on the score of cost. For how long have the Burnham Committee been sitting now? About a quarter of a century. It would be a complete departure from the practice of that quarter of a century for the right hon. Gentleman to interfere with its work on matters of principle.
I want to take the House back to a consideration of the original Clause in the original Education Bill. The Minister was there to be given dictatorial powers practically to decide salaries, but the House decided not to allow the right hon. Gentleman to have what I have called dictatorial and deciding powers, and the Clause was altered in another place. I have to be careful in case I should get out of Order in quoting from a Debate in another place. [An HON. MEMBER: "It was last Session."] The House decided last Session not to allow the Minister to have those dictatorial powers in regard to salaries, and an Amendment was moved in another place. The representative of the Government said that the objection to the Clause as then drafted was that ultimate responsibility for drawing up scales of salaries for the teachers was to rest with the Minister. He went on:I hope I shall have the support of the Noble Lord, on this, because I am suggesting 688 that the Minister's powers have been made too great. Such an arrangement would be at variance with the present position, whereby the Burnham Committee frame the scales and the Board of Education accept or reject them for the purposes of their grant. The proposed new wording continues the principle that it is for the Burnham Committee to frame the scales and for the Minister to approve or reject them, but it provides that, in so far as he approves them, he may, by Order, make them mandatory.Are we going to interfere and so smash the Burnham Committee? [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not?"] I want to ask hon. Members what really do they want?
§ Mr. Linstead
Is the hon. Member arguing that there are no circumstances in which the Minister can refuse to accept a recommendation of the Burnham Committee?
§ Mr. Cove
He may accept or reject a scale. Under the Act of Parliament we have set up a Committee to negotiate and arrive at scales of salary which he may reject, but the Minister cannot make scales off his own bat. He has to accept or reject those which have been negotiated. Are we going to ask him to reject scales which have been negotiated, when all the evidence shows that the Committee spent hours and hours upon them? Let me put the matter truly and definitely. I know a little bit about it—not very much; but I really would not put my judgment up against that of the local authorities and teachers, after they had been discussing a problem for hours. Frankly, we have thrown this matter over to people who know something about it. Do hon. Members trust or distrust the representatives of the local authorities? Do they accept the view that the local authorities know what they are about? They are by no means Socialist or Labour people. They are responsible people from county council education committees. [Laughter.] The hon. Member may laugh—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
This exchange of personalities must cease. I must also remind the hon. Member now on his feet that he must address the Chair.
§ Mr. Cove
Yes, very much attracted. The issue is, what is to be the result of having this national negotiating machinery? If the right hon. Gentleman rejected this award, one of two things would happen. One is, that it would either throw the negotiation of teachers' salaries back into the localities, each individual authority determining the scales in its area, or the Minister would have to come forward and amend the Education Act, 1944, and take powers such as were in the original Clause to which I have already referred. It would be a bad thing, in my opinion, for the success of the Act if the salaries were thrown back into the areas of the local authorities. If hon. Members follow the arguments of "Education," the organ of the education authorities, I think they will agree that it is made perfectly clear that, if this matter is rejected, it will be the rejection of the work of men who have been at it session after session, and who, therefore, could not continue the job. Let hon. Members look at the official organ. It must be perfectly clear that if the right hon. Gentleman rejected this, he would find that the local authorities and education authorities on the Burnham Committee could not function. They would say, "We have done our job, we have worked at it for hours." Therefore, I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman will take that line.
It would be a stupid and silly thing, would it not, if within a few months of having changed the law and taken the authority from the right hon. Gentleman and put it back on the Burnham Committee, we reversed it? It would be a very silly thing. In my opinion the right hon. Gentleman has to accept the findings, for the good of the Education Act, and for sweetness inside the teaching profession itself. I do not want to continue here the argument which was prolonged for hours in the Burnham Committee as to the value or worth of a degree, but I want to say to my university friends that, in 1931, a sub-committee of the Burnham Committee met in a conference the representatives of the Vice-Chancellors of the Uni- 690 versities on this point. May I quote just one or two Vice-Chancellors about it? Sir Michael Sadler, of Leeds, said, discussing the question of degree allowances, thatit was a wrong basis of remuneration to reward a man, not for what he was at present, but for what he did 20 years ago.'I am not subscribing to that; I am just giving evidence as to the feeling that existed. He thought, however, that rewards should be given to men and womenwho are in positions or real responsibility in schools more generously than is possible at present and still more to encourage men and women to show the power of growth and the power of self-sacrifice, combined with the power of discipline and personality in the discharge of a teacher's duties.He was not alone in his view. Sir Sydney Russell-Wells, London, agreed generally with him. He was inclined to agree that there should be some financial inducement to take the higher degrees,but such financial advantage should not continue throughout the teacher's career irrespective of all other considerations.Sir Henry Hadow, well known in the education world of Sheffield, also thought that a good Honours degree might reasonably attract additional remuneration, but such additional remuneration should not last throughout the teacher's career irrespective of other considerations. Doctor Adami, Liverpool, put forward the suggestion that any allowance should be reviewed after, say five years,and only continued after that period on the ground of general efficiency as a teacher.'Doctor Trow, Wales, agreed with him. Doctor Farnell, Oxford, agreed with Sir Henry Hadow that higher degrees should be recognised in some way. He was inclined to consider that appointments to secondary schools should be confined to Honours men. But he entirely agreed with Sir Michael Sadler thatafter a teacher had once started on his career promotion to a higher scale should depend on the measure of distinction obtained by a teacher in his profession.I do not want to make any comment on that, but evidently there is a great deal of university opinion that the degree should not carry extra remuneration for ever and ever, and I would beg hon. Members to believe quite definitely that the utmost consideration was given to this matter. I know there is a fear that there will be no recruitment, or insufficient recruitment, for the secondary and grammar schools. I do not know, but there are 691 one or two comments I should like to make about that. One is that there are, I believe the right hon. Gentleman will agree, already 12,000 teachers with degrees in elementary schools, who are getting nothing extra for those degrees. The other comment I would like to make is to point out, if there is a fear that the recruitment to the higher ranges will not be obtained, that the agreement only lasts for three years and then can be revised, when there will be an opportunity to deal with the whole situation. I cannot myself believe that the authorities, represented as they are on the Burnham Committee, would not be ready to alter their attitude if they knew that these scales were going to cause damage because of a lack of teachers with higher degrees. I am quite sure they would. I do not believe we can afford to throw this matter back into the turmoil again.
After all, there is something to be said, and I will say it quite briefly, on the positive side of these scales. First of all, and I hope hon. Members on the other side of the House who represent the Tory Reform Committee will agree with me—
§ Mr. Cove
—that these scales break down the artificial distinction between the elementary and secondary schools. They mean, and are intended to mean, unification of the education system. Is that or is that not a good thing? I say that to break down the artificial distinction between the two sections is a grand thing. I think hon. Members on the other side, who are outside the Tory Reform Committee, will agree with me now when I say that it breaks down the distinction between the rural school teacher and the town school teacher. Is that not a good thing? [Interruption] I thought even the Tories outside the Tory Reform Committee would put the rural teacher at least on an equal pedestal with the town teacher. These scales break down that barrier between the rural and the town teacher.
Here, as a matter of fact, as far as scales of salary are concerned, we have the beginning, I hope—I hope I have not hurt feelings—of a united teaching profession. The teachers do not want to 692 throw their differences here. They want to settle them for themselves. A united teaching profession is after all essential to a united education system. Taking these scales as a whole, taking them from the point of view of their main purpose and effect, they are an advance, and it would be retrogressive and reactionary, destructive of national agreement, national negotiation and national bargaining, and destructive of an attempt to unify the teaching service and to unify the education service, if this House this afternoon demanded that the right hon. Gentleman should take back these scales and radically review them.
§ 2.24 p.m.
§ Mr. Pickthorn (Cambridge University)
I throw myself upon the mercy of the House. I hope I shall be forgiven, it has not been my fault, but I did not hear all the earlier part of the Debate, and I am afraid I must apologise if I leave the Chamber almost as soon as I have finished speaking. Very rarely when I speak, do I fail to sit in the Chamber almost all the time, and I do apologise on this occasion for the fact that I shall not be able to do so.
The previous speaker seemed to me really to be almost excessive in his newfound Conservatism and authoritarianism. His two most absolute arguments were that you cannot do this or that because they have not been done for 25 years, and secondly, that you must not, on any account, criticise or even question the Burnham Committee. I cannot understand the contemporary Radical. He is apparently placidly prepared to abolish God and destroy nationality, deny his ancestors and expunge tradition, but he is horrified and thunderstruck that anyone should make any suggestion for the alteration of an act of the Burnham Committee. That is unusually silly even among new forms of clericalism. The hon. Gentleman was quite right when he said I did not know anything about it, "it" being apparently the internal organs of the Burnham Committee. I do not, and I am bound to say I think his quotation of that kind of evidence gets us no further. This sort of evidence, which cannot possibly be cross-examined, is really the feeblest of all sorts of arguments. Incidentally, the first sign of an educated man is that he recognises the nonsense of that kind of argument, and can distinguish between 693 propaganda and assumption on the one hand and argument and evidence on the other.
I have known something about the subject in general, I have taken a great deal of trouble to get up every representation from associations and individuals on this subject; almost innumerable constituents have written to me, and I have read all the various pamphlets put out by the various associations, etc.; last night I knew that pretty well, but now I do not want to try to go into the details but to give the general impression left on my mind of what the secondary—the grammar-school—masters feel to be the effect of this, because if they are not persuaded they are mistaken ill-effects will happen. There is no doubt at all what they feel. First of all they think these scales will seduce the maximum salaries of grammar-school headmasters, not the existing ones, who have a kind of vested interest, but those who have a prospective interest in the top grammar-school salaries; they think they are going to suffer. The second thing they fear is that secondary schoolmasters in general will have, I will not say lower salaries than before, because there are additions designed to meet the rise in the cost of living, etc., but certainly that compared with other kinds of schoolmasters they will have lower salaries than before these scales.
There is a kind of falsity in the kind of argument used by the hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove) towards the end of his speech about a unified profession. I have been a teacher for 30 years. I have never thought myself as performing a function superior, in any absolute sense, to the function performed by the young women who look after the little boys and girls of six or seven years of age. It really is a misuse of words to pretend it is all one profession in the sense which is necessary to the hon. Member's argument. He might even have asserted—though he spared us that, I have heard it argued—that it is harder to teach small stupid children than large and intelligent children, and therefore more ought to be paid to the teachers in the lower forms than to teachers in the higher forms. I have seen that put in what the hon. Member calls responsible education journals. It is not a single profession in the sense of that argument and cannot be made a single profession in that sense.
694 Education has this peculiarity which I think if I explain it clearly everbody will admit, and will think that they knew it all along. If I do not explain it clearly the fault will be mine. That peculiarity is that the more you want to democratise it the more you are compelled to aristocratise it. Let me explain what I mean. If you think that education is frightfully important—and I am bound to be frank, and say that in my view most Members think it more important than it is; I think the importance of education tends to be over-estimated, especially by the people in the trade; still I should be the last to deny that education is a matter of great importance—if you admit that education is a matter of very great importance, a fortiori the education of the people who are going to educate the educators, is much the most important part of it. You will not improve the teaching received by the people in the bottom forms of elementary schools 20 years hence unless you improve the teaching received by the cleverest boys in the top forms of grammar schools now. There is a great deal of cant talked about not bothering about the cleverest boys and concentrating on the others. So far as my experience goes, I am sure that is wrong and that is almost measurably wrong—even in a short range of experience: the more you concentrate intelligent care on the clever boys, the more you help both them and the stupid boys. The more you try to ignore the clever boys and go for the stupid boys, the less good you do for anybody.
If grammar school headmasters at this moment are inclined to feel that their salary scales are being reduced—and they certainly think that—then that impression ought to be removed, either by withdrawing these scales or in some other way. If they are mistaken in that impression, let that be explained by my right hon. Friend, so that they cannot be under that delusion any longer. If they continue to suffer from that delusion, the grammar school headmasters of the next 20 years who anyway almost certainly are going to be worse than in the past are going to be unnecessarily worse. That is why a great deal of this talk about more and better education for everybody immediately after the war is, in my opinion, fraudulent. You cannot suddenly improvise people fit to teach sixth-form boys in grammar schools. I understand that we are to have our own doctors after the 695 war, and those of us who, like the Prime Minister, like to be accompanied on our journeys by leading physicians are going to be accompanied by leading physicians. That means there are going to be a great many more leading physicians. That means many more people going into the medical world. More people are going to be attracted into that world. One way and another, I feel certain it is going to be more difficult to get good headmasters and good sixth-form masters in the grammar schools in the next twenty years than it has been in the last thirty years.
If these people, ex hypothesi intelligent and well-educated persons—because if they are not my right hon. Friend ought to have got rid of them long ago—if these people have any excuse for the opinion, from which almost all of them suffer, that this thing is going to lower the effective salary scales of their branch of the profession, that is the worst disservice you could do to education. Surely one safe rule of thumb if you are trying to reform and extend education is to see that so far as possible no one school should be made worse than it was before. Do not be seduced into thinking that by making one school worse you may make two other schools better. It should be a rigid rule that nothing shall be done that will make any school worse. These schools are running now mainly on rather elderly men, many of whom should have already retired, and who are, I will not say—if Mr. P. G. Wodehouse is not now too unfashionable to quote—actually disgruntled, but at least not positively gruntled. They are not going to put their sons and pupils into this trade if they have the understanding or misunderstanding of these scales which they certainly had yesterday, when the last dozen of them wrote to me. I suggest to my right hon. Friend that unless he is perfectly convinced that he can make it clear enough to any candid and competent grammar school master that his branch of his profession is not to suffer ender these scales, then the worst disservice he could do to education would be to confirm these scales.
§ 2.36 p.m.
§ Professor Gruffydd (University of Wales)
Since this is a Debate on the Adjournment I, like other speakers, have not had the opportunity of hearing the views of the Minister before I speak, but 696 I heard the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Lindsay), and although I had made a careful study of the relevant facts of this difficult question, I am not going to give them now since my hon. Friend has anticipated me, I am not going to repeat what he said, but I would like to refer to one or two things said by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove). He charged the hon. Member for Kilmarnock with not sticking to the point. His idea of sticking to the point was just to explain how the difficulty arose, and he thought that thereby he was dealing with the difficulty itself.
I am speaking with a due sense of seriousness, because what is at stake is nothing less than the whole educational system of this country. I do not mean the secondary system alone, but the whole system of the country, primary, secondary, and university. And when I say "secondary education," I mean secondary education, not the emasculated variety which has been introduced by the last Act, which has been described already in the country as "secondary education for all and secondary schools for none." I mean what this term secondary education has always connoted. I mean the kind of schooling which gave opportunities for the ordinary sons of the democracy to fit themselves to serve their country, opportunities that at long last were beginning to fall to their lot. I mean also the democratic system of the State schools, carrying on the splendid traditions of the old grammar schools, which were now beginning at last to compete with the public schools. I assert that what we have very much striven to do and almost achieved is now in very grave jeopardy. This is not a matter of money, it is not a matter of salaries, it is a matter of something very much more important to all of us.
There is no question here at all—and I want to make this quite clear—of setting the primary teacher against the secondary teacher or the secondary teacher against the primary teacher. I am sorry that one speech in this Debate rather gave colour to that supposition. All teachers of all grades have had their salaries revised. There has been a very welcome unification in the system of education, and I acclaim this change because I have been to an elementary school myself, and I am thankful for the recognition given to the 697 primary teachers of this country. They deserve every penny they have got. But this award, while recognising, perhaps in an inadequate way, the primary teacher, has treated the secondary teachers with incredible shabbiness—there is no other word for it. Some headmasterships and headmistress-ships will have the salaries attached to them lowered by the Burnham Award, in spite of the safeguarding Clause which has been quoted. In case the hardship has not been made quite clear by the hon. Member for Kilmarnock, I will quote these figures. Out of 258 English maintained and aided schools of which I am apprised, 59 per cent. lose an average of £84.
§ Mr. Colegate
Many of us were relying on Clause 10, the safeguarding Clause. How can it be that, if that Clause is operated, there will be a loss of salary?
§ Professor Gruffydd
I am referring to new head teachers who will come under these scales. Out of 23 direct grant schools 91 per cent. would lose an average of £237. Out of 32 Welsh—and here we in Wales are better oft—37 per cent. will lose an average of £54. Let me take the graduate assistant masters for a moment. If we reckon the figure for bonus at a rise of 58 per cent. on the cost of living since 1936 we get the following lamentable comparison. While primary teachers get an increase of 19 per cent. in their minimum and 2.5 per cent. in their maximum, graduates in secondary schools, with four years approved course as teachers, will get a decrease of 1 per cent. in their minimum and 12.9 per cent. in their maximum.
§ Professor Gruffydd
We are told that there will be posts of special responsibility, but, as has been pointed out by the hon. Member for Kilmarnock, any graduate allowance will be merged in this additional allowance, so that the graduate allowance will not then be operative at all. If a non-graduate held these posts, as he might—
§ Professor Gruffydd
My answer is that it does not make the least difference. I am talking about the effect of the award on the prospects of teachers in secondary schools, whoever made the award. If a non-graduate holds a post of special responsibility—and there will be posts of special responsibility for non-graduates in large primary schools—he will get on an average £50 extra, but the graduate will get only £20. That means that the holder of the post is mulcted to the extent of £30. This is really a Gilbert and Sullivan piece of fantasy. I think that any tribunal should be really ashamed, after all these years of popular education, to dare to put this before the country.
§ Mr. Colegate
is my hon. Friend advancing the thesis that, in no circumstances whatever is a non-graduate ever to get more than a graduate? Is the graduate invariably to be above him, whatever merit the other man may show?
§ Professor Gruffydd
Certainly not. I am not concerned about graduates, but about education. I agree with the hon. Member for Aberavon in thinking that the proper basis for rewards in secondary schools is not to give extra for a degree. But my hon. Friend was talking about Vice-Chancellors: perhaps he is not aware that all the Vice-Chancellors of this country, acting together, have already sent a protest against the scale. Have hon. Members really read the implication of these scales? This is a new principle altogether in the recognition of service in this country in any profession of any kind. Education, particularly secondary education, will be the only service in the world where there is no monetary reward for distinction or brilliance. What would be thought of a business in which the junior clerk, except for a few token allowances, got the same money as the managing director? How long would that business keep out of the bankruptcy court? What would be thought of the Civil Service in which, apart from a few token advantages, the latest clerical entrant gets the same basic pay as an Assistant Secretary? What would the medical profession or the legal profession think of it? What would any profession in the world think of this ridiculous system?
And indeed, what will be the result of this? There will be an incalculable lowering in the standard of the secondary school. There will be no inducement for 699 teachers to qualify themselves for these schools, and, not only will the schools of the future suffer, but the existing grammar schools, which have done marvellous work for the life of Britain, will be changed out of recognition. I would remind hon. Members opposite that it is not the new schools at all that are going to be threatened by these scales, but the old schools, in which most of them have been educated. What is going to happen to them? The gap between the democratic secondary schools and the public schools is going to be greater than it ever was before, and the material advantage of a public school over the democratic type will be very much greater than it ever was in the history of public education in this country.
I understand that the Labour Party, officially, have decided in favour of this award. I cannot think why they should have come to this decision because it is precisely their children and the children of those who sent them here to represent them and most certainly not the children of hon. Members opposite, who will suffer. If they like to support it, they will do so, but I hope they will do it with a full understanding of what they are doing. Disraeli said there were two nations in this country, latterly those two nations had showed signs of becoming one. Now, there is here an indication that these two nations will remain separate.
§ 3.50 p.m.
§ The Minister of Education (Mr. Butler)
I think that, after the patent exaggerations of the last few speakers, it is essential for the Government to present, in a rather calmer and more reasoned manner, its views on this important matter. I hope I shall accept the advice of the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) and speak as an educated man on this subject. Before I come to deal at some length with this scheme as set out before us, I must say, at the outset, that, if the hon. Members for Cambridge University and the University of Wales (Professor Gruffydd) are, in their zeal for dialectic, to indulge in such wild exaggerations as they have done, there is no wonder there is some alarm among the secondary school and grammar school teachers. The hon. Member for Cambridge University referred without hesitation to a period 20 years ahead, and made 700 no reference at all to the fact that these scales are to last for only three years. The hon. Member also referred to the ceiling for grammar school teachers being reduced and the upper limits brought down. The very reverse is the case in both instances. The hon. Member for the University of Wales indeed, in his anxiety, which I quite sympathise with him in feeling, also permitted himself to say that there would be no reward or inducement for those of higher merit in the teaching profession. These exaggerations are altogether beside the point, and it is time the Government stated its case, as it sees it at present.
The House will understand that it is somewhat unusual to have a Debate upon a matter such as this, and, when the question was put to me, I really was in some difficulty what answer to give. There has been no formal submission to me of these scales as finally approved by the Burnham Committee itself, and the House must appreciate that I, as Minister, am placed in a difficult position. If I had advised "the usual channels" that it would be unusual to hold a Debate on this subject, it might well have been that hon. Members on all sides of the House would have been unable to express their views on the Burnham proposals before I finally made up my mind. I thought, therefore, that it was better to face the position and have a Debate at this stage to give the House an opportunity of expressing its views before the date comes when I have to make up my mind about them. The House will, therefore, appreciate that the Debate has been so timed to give a full and frank opportunity, according to our best traditions, to hon. Members to state their views.
I must remind hon. Members that, though the scales have not been put to me officially by the Burnham Committee, the local authorities, that is, the constituent organisations and the L.C.C., have passed resolutions of acceptance, and that is an important fact. It might, perhaps, have been preferable to hold the Debate a few days later, but it so happened that the business of the House would not permit that, although I thought it would be better, and for this reason. There is one very important body, the County Councils Association's Executive Committee, which still has to give its opinion of the scales. I should have liked to have held the Debate after that meeting in the next 701 day or two, but it was not possible so to arrange Government business. The reason why it is legitimate for us to say that the authorities as a whole have given a general opinion is that the County Councils Education Committee has expressed its opinion and has approved the scales.
The position before the House is that we cannot discuss this matter in an irresponsible way. All the local authorities have now expressed their approval of the scales, with the one exception of the main body which I have mentioned. All make reference to finance, on which I shall be making an important statement, and the Welsh Federation of Education Committees have made their approval conditional upon increased Exchequer grants. Now, we see where we are. Though the day is awkward, it is time to have a discussion so that hon. Members can state their views and my final decision will not be made until those views have been given. I can only give an indication of the situation as I see it and of my general attitude, but the final decision will be taken after receiving the Burnham Committee's recommendation and after thinking over all the points of view expressed sincerely and anxiously by hon. Members in this debate to-day.
My first duty, I think, is to remind the House of the statutory position in which the Minister is placed. This has been referred to by more than one hon. Member, and is contained in Section 89 of the Act we passed last year. It was referred to quite clearly by the hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove), and there is really no need for me to add to it. My duty is to secure the establishment of a committee or committees consisting of representatives of local education authorities and teachers, whose duty it is to submit scales of remuneration for my consideration. These scales I can only approve or disapprove as a whole, and that is the law of the land as passed by this House only a few months ago. I cannot pick or choose or make modifications in the plans submitted to me. The hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Lindsay), in a very clear speech in which he put forward his points, used language perhaps by inadvertence, which was perhaps rather loose. These are scales made by the Burnham Committee, not made by me, nor by my hon. Friend nor even made by us, but by the Committee, and, in due 702 course, the scales will be submitted to me for my final determination.
§ Miss Rathbone (Combined English Universities)
Does my right hon. Friend mean that, when they have been submitted to him, my right hon. Friend cannot send them back and ask for a reconsideration of particular points?
§ Mr. Butler
No, I cannot pick and choose. I must either reject or accept. I hope to meet all the anxieties of hon. Members in one way or another in the course of my speech, and will do my best to meet the points put by the right hon. Member for Oxford University (Sir A. Salter). Section 89 continues a previous practice, which, as the hon. Member for Aberavon said, is a practice which has lasted for 25 years and gives complete freedom to the local education authorities and the teachers—that is, the employers and the employed—to frame scales of remuneration. I think we should just consider for a moment the position of Parliament. I think it would be very unwise for hon. Members to assume that Parliament itself should draft scales or fix wages. It is a well recognised thing that it does not do so for other occupations. Parliament has a perfect right to express its opinions, criticise the Minister, criticise the Minister's decision and take any action it likes. But I hope it will be widely accepted by the House that Parliament is not a suitable body for making or fixing scales for this or that profession or occupation. It is also important to remember the position of the Committee. If Parliament, or the Minister, were to attempt to usurp the responsibilities of the Burnham Committee, I feel sure that the Committee would find it very difficult to continue to function independently and might even find it impossible to do so.
The question has been put to me, What would be the result of my deciding to reject the scales? I think that, before I examine the whole position in detail and make a statement about the finances of the scheme, it is important for me to make quite clear what would be the result of light-hearted rejection of these scales. I was asked this question by the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Linstead). Scales for the remuneration of teachers have to be agreed upon and fixed by 1st April, and, in the event of no scales being agreed, the clear position is that the teachers and local 703 education authorities will be thrown back to the practice of private bargaining between individual authorities and individual teachers, which, in itself, is the very unsatisfactory position which caused the establishment of the Burnham machinery 25 years agod.
Therefore, in claiming that it is easier for me simply to reject the scales, hon. Members will see that they are putting me into a position into which no Minister would like to be put. It is also important to realise that those who have framed these scales—the distinguished and experienced chairman of a local education committee on the Employers' Panel, and the distinguished leader of the Teachers' Panel and all those who sat with them on the two sides, the authorities who are the employers of the teachers and the teachers who teach in the schools—are responsible people. I can think of many names and hon. Members can think of them too, and they have just the same sentiments in favour of high standards as hon. Members have expressed in this House to-day, and most of them have devoted their whole lives in this connection. The authorities have the responsibility of running the schools and employing the teachers and have as many anxieties about recruitment as we have in this House. It is as important for them to fill the schools with the best possible teachers as it is for us to recommend that the schools should be so filled.
There has been some reference to the establishment of the Burnham Committee and the nature of its structure. The long and the short of the position is, that in establishing the new machinery we found on advice—it was reported to me and I believed it to be the case—that the old divisions in the Burnham Committee were embarrassing. We found the general view that one committee should deal with primary and secondary schools of all types and that there should be a separate organisation dealing with the major technical and similar institutions. We could not accept the view of the grammar schools that the secondary world should be divided, because this House had just passed an Act from which I did not think we ought to attempt to escape and which I for one welcome as being now the law of the land. So much for the present position and the position in which I am 704 placed, and the establishment of machinery.
§ Mr. Lindsay
Was it ever suggested not that there should be a division in the secondary world, but that there should be a primary panel and a secondary?
§ Mr. Butler
Various suggestions were made and I hope to do justice to the grammar school teachers who did not like this, and that is why, after considering all the difficulties, we decided that this was not one which fitted into the new nomenclature of the Act passed by this House. Another question to which I should refer is that of finance. Should I be disposed when scales are submitted to me to reject them? I am not giving my final decision to-day.
Here I have to report that the Chancellor of the Exchequer finds himself sympathetic to the claims of teachers, but he has always taken the view up to now that I should make no statement on the method of financing these proposals until it became clear that all the bodies chiefly concerned had on their own responsibility accepted the scales as future employers and payers of the teachers. It now appears sufficiently clear that this general responsibility has been taken by the authorities and I am, therefore, ready to take up the point made by the hon. Member for Kilmarnock and make reference to the way in which I consider the State can take a greater proportion of this burden off the shoulders of local authorities. It is important for me to make this statement because authorities must know where they stand financially in view of the accounts which have been given in the country of rate rises due to the imposition of the new scales.
It is necessary also to make a statement in the light of the additional cost involved, which I estimate, on the basis of such data as are at present available to me, will amount to some £18,000,000. The authorities also have to precept rates almost immediately for the half year ahead, and that is why I welcome this Debate as enabling me to make a statement on the finance of the scheme, and so I hope to relieve their minds in some way. Provided that it is absolutely understood that my statement which follows depends entirely upon official decision and submission to me by the Burnham Committee of the scales, I am 705 ready to say that the Government will be prepared to ease the position for all authorities by adjusting the grant formula of the original Financial Memorandum attached to the Education Bill when published as a Bill, so as to proceed at once, as from 1st April, 1945, to the full rate of 55 per cent. grant over the whole field of the expenditure of authorities, other than milk and meals service, which attracts higher rates of grant.
Let me explain the significance of this announcement. Fifty-five per cent, allover average represents, it must be noted, wide variations in grant to individual authorities. It varies according to the ability of the public authority to pay. This concession the Government believe applies a generous relief to all authorities alike. I have had some extravagant proposals made to me, particularly by the Association of Education Committees, that 15 per cent. of the whole of the salaries expenditure of authorities should be aided by the Government. I examined this proposal against the tables which were in the original Financial Memorandum and I find that were I to accept so definite and large an increase as that, the Exchequer would bear the full cost of the whole of the reforms, including the increase in teachers' salaries, during the first four years.
My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Government have rightly taken the view that such an extreme proceeding would be a travesty of the respective responsibilities of local authorities and the Exchequer. It would not be one which the Government could seriously entertain. When you come to examine the concession which I have just announced, it is an all-round 55 per cent. as from 1st April, 1945. This will give the authorities all the effect of the full grant from the first year of the educational reforms instead of gradually stepping it up as did the Financial Memorandum attached to the Bill, over a period of years until it became 55 per cent. Lastly, the increased cost to the rates will be considerably reduced. For example, in the first year, in the Financial Memorandum the estimated cost to the rates, including their share of the increased cost of teachers' salaries, instead of being £7,400,000, will drop to £3,300,000. In the second year the figure will drop from £7,300,000 to £4,600,000, and in the third year from £8,700,000 to £7,300,000. But 706 that is not all the generosity of my right hon. Friend. These figures do not take into account the reduction of the cost of the reforms obtained for the schools by about £1,000,000 annually, as a result of the operation of the increased additional grant which I shall now explain and which I announced last April. It is particularly important for such places as Welsh counties and the Principality for which the hon. Member for the University of Wales recently spoke.
It is important to realise the extent of the Government help. The Exchequer contribution, compared with the figures I gave, shows in the first year £20,200,000, in the second year £21,700,000, and in third year £25,100,000. It will be seen that the Exchequer is making a really definite effort to help local authorities in the early part of this reform in a sincere desire to make the Act work as we all desire it should. The Government—and I hope that this will be appreciated—are determined to make the Act work; not only to pass it in war-time but to start this work despite the difficulties of labour and man-power and materials with which we are faced. Now the formula for additional grant to the poorer authorities is designed to meet the needs of more sparsely populated county areas as well as poorer authorities generally, It is necessary for me now to announce this in the form of a statement so that authorities may have the information and work out the incidence of this extra help upon each individual area. The additional grant falls under two heads. Authorities concerned may benefit under one or the other or both. Under the first, the grant will be related to the number of children to be educated in the area and the ability of the area to pay for their education. This grant will take the form of 6s. per child for every one penny or part of a penny by which the product of a penny rate per child falls short of 36d. Under the second, the grant will be related to sparsity of population, as measured by the number of children per mile of road in the area. It will be 3s. per child for every unit or part of a unit by which the number of children per mile of road falls short of 12.
The object of this perfectly simple and straightforward formula is to attempt to meet the difficulties put to me in the course of the Debates upon the Education Act and of which I have read in the 707 reports of local authorities' meetings up and down the country, especially in the poorer areas. The total grant payable under the first or second or both of these two alternatives will be adjusted to the extent that, in the first place, no additional grant will be payable so as to reduce the amount of rate-borne expenditure below the product of a rate of 45 pence after allowing for the main grant, and, in the second place, no additional grant will be payable so as to bring the total of the main and additional grants to an authority over 75 per cent. of their net expenditure. That is a desire to leave a portion of their expenditure to the authorities and share the burden of the scheme between us.
For the financial year 1945–46 it will be necessary to base the number of children on the figures for the last year for which firm and normal figures are aavilable, that is the the figures of 1938–39. Likewise, the number of children will be the number in average attendance at public elementary schools, as they were called, in those years. This factor of the number of pupils in average attendance at public elementary schools is a familiar one to authorities in calculating grant, and is accepted as a fair reflection of local circumstances. The factor of road mileage is also familiar to authorities in calculating grant; it is used in the General Exchequer Grant or Block Grant of the Minstry of Health. But though for the financial year 1945–46, grants are based on the last complete prewar year, grants for the subsequent financial years will be based on more up-to-date figures which we hope will then be available. I am sorry I cannot illustrate clearly to the House the exact effect in each county, each constituency, each town, of this rate formula.
§ Mr. Butler
There is a certain amount of time still this afternoon, but I would advise hon. Members to take the opportunity of studying this, because the object of the new 55 per cent., plus this help for poorer areas, is to help the operation of the Education Act, including the great burden of the proposed new teachers salary scales.
§ Mr. Lipson (Cheltenham)
May I ask a question? Has any estimate been made as to the cost to the Exchequer of these concessions which are being made in the first year 1945–46?
§ Mr. Butler
I gave the Exchequer figures in the course of my remarks just now and if the hon. Gentleman will study the report of my speech he will see that the incidence upon the Exchequer is included.
§ Mr. Colegate
The child population is to be taken as at 1938–39; is the road mileage to be taken for that period?
§ Mr. Butler
I took the precaution of saying that it might be necessary in future years to adapt our figures, but we have to take our present figures on the circumstances as we knew them at that date. Having dealt with this main problem of finance, which I particularly wanted to announce to this House instead of taking some other opportunity of announcing it, I think hon. Members will realise that the Government is in earnest in its desire to share with authorities, fairly and squarely, the burden of this great new reform. I am quite convinced, when hon. Members—particularly those representing the poorer areas—study the effect of these figures, and when ratepayers study their effect, we shall begin to see that some of this talk of the great extra burden is not perhaps quite so alarming as it seemed at the time. I think also that it is very important to attempt to give to the initial operation of the Education Act as much goodwill as we possibly can from this House and from the Exchequer.
I now want to come to points which have been raised, besides the question of finance, in this Debate by hon. Members, points which may be described as points of detail but which, nevertheless, are very important matters. I must think whether these points of detail on the scale, which in themselves constitute one of the greatest advances ever made by the teaching profession—and we must be in no doubt about that; there has been too little expression of that in the Debate—whether the points raised, which are important in themselves, are repugnant, and I will try to cover the various points of criticism raised by hon. Members. I think, however, that it is a bit exaggerated for the hon. Gentleman the Member for Putney to speak of these scales submitted to their 709 constituent bodies by the Burnham Committee as putting the whole of the education reforms under a cloud—that sort of exaggerated statement is, I think, one which the hon. Member, on wiser reflection, would wish to withdraw.
§ Mr. Linstead
Would the right hon. Gentleman allow me to say that when he reads the actual words I used I think he will find that was not the precise phrase I did use?
§ Mr. Butler
If I may take it that the hon. Member does not desire to give that impression, I am prepared to lift a cloud from his mind. I want to examine these scales again, reserving my final decision until I receive them officially, with the old. To take one example, and to try and restore a little the balance to the examination of these scales after the speeches I have listened to to-day, the new scales will do away with such an anomaly as this: before the war, a four-year trained graduate teacher employed in an elementary school received the scale of £204 rising by £12 to £366. The same teacher employed across the road in what was called a secondary school, under the old dispensation, under the same authority, teaching boys of approximately the same age-range, would receive a scale of £249 rising by £15 to £480. At the moment, to these figures should be added the war bonus of £52. Now I take that anomaly as one of the many which the new scales will entirely remove. Under the new proposals the scale for such a teacher, irrespective of his particular school, works out at £345 rising by £15 to £585. To say, as the hon. Member for Cambridge University said, that the ceilings have been lowered and the rewards have been lessened by this decision of the Burnham Committee submitted to their constituent associations, is really an abuse in terms. That is a definite improvement in every way upon the present conditions.
I want to take up the question of the difference between these rates and those for the two-year trained non-graduate, that is, the certificated teacher, and to take up the point that the difference between the two is not sufficient to encourage the graduate teacher. A graduate, if untrained—that is to say just with a degree but with no period of training—will receive £330 rising by £15 to £570; if trained, £345 rising by £15 to 710 £585. The certificated teacher will receive £300, rising by £15 a year, to £525. That is shortening the gap as between graduate and non-graduate teachers as we know it under the present dispensation, but that is not to say that the reward given to the graduate himself has not been increased—a point which has not been sufficiently emphasised. Our present experience does not show that graduates who enter the teaching profession do so entirely for the purposes of money. I think we should establish in this Debate, quite clearly, that this House does not desire that the only inducement to enter the teaching profession should be that of money. I trust that the present discussion will lead to no such unpleasant inference, because that would be quite unworthy of the high standard of the teaching profession. Under the present proposals between 11,000 and 12,000 graduates in elementary schools will get a rise of the type I have suggested—another point which has been rarely brought out by those who sponsor the graduates' case.
Nevertheless, I must examine what has been described as the grievance of the graduates and explain my personal belief in the value of quality in education and in the teaching profession. The Education Act would have no meaning at all if the quality of teaching and the individuality of performance were not given due prominence. The unification of the teaching profession is obviously desirable, but stratification of the intellect must never be permitted. It is true that you may find as good a teacher of children, young or old, in the ranks of the non-graduates as among the ranks of the graduates themselves. We want not to cast the apple of discord into the teaching profession but to know whether a man or woman of a high intellectual standard can receive a just reward, and be suitably encouraged. Therefore, I must now examine whether the device the Burnham Committee relied upon, that of providing special posts of special responsibility, enables a sufficient reward to be given for those of outstanding qualities. I think it is reasonable to assume that a high proportion of these posts will be filled by graduates, but I will take that point up later. The Burnham Committee, as I understand their proposals, have made allowances over and above the scale, offering as much as £50 711 to £100 per annum, less the graduate allowance of £15 at the minimum, or £30 at the maximum of the scale. Thus, the four-year trained graduate may, in respect of a post of special responsibility, receive as much as an additional £70 at the maximum, raising the maximum of his scale to £655, as compared with the maximum of £582 at present, which figure includes war bonus and an allowance for special responsibility. I regard that as a substantial rise, and a definite improvement for graduates who have the fortune to obtain one of these special posts.
I think that the proposal of the Committee, that there shall be special posts, representing 15 per cent. of the total number of qualified assistant teachers employed in the area, has been widely welcomed, but two main anxieties have been expressed in the course of this Debate by the hon. Member for Kilmarnock and others. They are: Will those who really deserve them receive these posts? My answer to this is that we must watch the operation of these allowances and have confidence that the authorities will grant them in the same equitable way they have done before. Under the proposals the number, value, and distribution of such posts is to be determined in agreement with the Minister. The second anxiety is a more serious and complicated one: will the merger proposals made in the Burnham scales, for example, that of merging the graduate allowance into the special post allowance, constitute sufficient reward to graduates? I have a two-fold answer to this question. I have been informed that this very question of merger was one of dispute between the two panels, who agreed to submit it to the arbitration of their chairman. It has been an invariable practice, in the history of the Burnham machinery, that when a decision is made both sides accept it in the same spirit as that in which they submit it to the chairman's decision. The teachers sought arbitration on this point and their Chairman, Lord Soulbury, arbitrated in the sense of the decision included in the scales as published. I consider that both sides, who consented to submit this matter to arbitration, should accept the arbitration as given.
Let me draw up a sort of balance sheet on the subject of this merger of the gradu- 712 ate allowance within the extra allowance. On the one side it may be said that the merger is unfortunate, and that it would be pleasant for the graduates to get their two allowances together. On the other side I have to point out that it is most likely that most of these allowances will go to graduates. Moreover, we have not yet considered allowances for high academic attainment, that is, allowances apart from those for posts of special responsibility or training increments. At present reither the training allowances nor the allowances for high academic attainment have been applied so as to increase the maximum of the scale, and the allowance for special responsibility is normally £50. What is the difference under the new proposals? I think this meets some of the apprehensions put forward. Under the new proposals, as I understand them, the four-year trained graduate will have added to his maximum the training increments—that is £30—and he may have up to £100 for special responsibility or high academic attainment, the precise thing about which my right hon. Friend the Member for Oxford University was anxious. Nor is it a small matter that these allowances for special posts, hitherto permissive, will, in future, become mandatory, and will be subject to the Minister's agreement. The House will say: "Is this a genuine thing for the graduate teacher or not?" I have shown that the present maximum scale cannot be increased in the way it can be increased under these proposals. If hon. Members have not understood the advantage I do not blame them because it takes all one's time to discover from this document what it means.
I want to take an acid test as to whether this method of the Burnham Committee for rewarding high quality in teachers is a genuine one. What is it going to cost? I understand that under the present special allowance arrangements the total amount paid in 1939–40 under the elementary and secondary regulations was about £306,000. I asked for figures to be taken out of what the cost of the new proposals was likely to amount to, that is to say, when it became mandatory upon local education authorities to pay allowances to 15 per cent, of their assistant teachers. We estimate that some 19,500 teachers will benefit. Putting the average amount at only £60, when the maximum can easily be £100 for men, and £48 for women, the 713 expenditure will be three times what it is under the present proposals and will be in our view over £1,000,000 for these posts of special responsibility alone. To say that this is not a method which can be regarded as effective in giving extra allowances to graduates is to exaggerate the position.
§ Mr. Butler
We anticipate that the same types of teacher will receive the posts, and we have no reason to think they will not. We do not exclude non-graduates, because that would be against the spirit of the House. If the non-graduates rise to the occasion, there is no reason why they should not receive them, but they will be more likely to go to graduates than to non-graduate teachers.
I come to my last point, the question of the position of head masters and mistresses. It has been said that the new method of calculating their rewards by fixing the maximum with regard to the size and educational scope of the school concerned, will be unfair to head masters and mistresses in small grammar schools, in which there is not a large number of pupils. I must accept, subject to correction, the remarks that have been made on this subject. The future holder of a post in many of these grammar schools will, under these scales, very likely get less money, but the main answer to those who are anxious on this score is that they should remind themselves of the present method of fixing the scales in secondary schools. When I say that they are likely to get less, I do not do justice to what is really inherent in these scales, namely the discretion left to the local education authority to make up the scales to a suitable amount.
§ Mr. Butler
It would be entitled to the grant. I will show the inwardness of this portion of the proposals, as I tried to show the inwardness of previous portions of the proposals. The authority is at present left to frame a scale for the salaries of head masters and mistresses in secondary schools above a certain minimum, which is laid down. The effect of the present position is that the scale 714 above a certain minimum is left to the authority to determine. Till these scales were published, there was no guarantee of maximum rates for head masters and mistresses. So far so good. In that respect the scale is an improvement on the present position. Now there is a guarantee of maximum scales for the head masters and mistresses of at least 40 or 50 per cent. of the schools in question which in the case of secondary schools will be increases on the present amount. To that extent the position of head masters and mistresses is improved. But in the case of the heads of the smaller schools, where the application of the scales would scan a reduction on new appointments, it will depend on the discretion of the authority how far the position is satisfactory. That is no worse than the present position. In respect of 40 or 50 per cent. it is better and in respect of the others it can be just as good. This is a matter in which it is necessary for the House and the Minister to be vigilant.
I have dealt with the various aspects of the scales to show the inwardness of some of the proposals and to show that they arc really not so bad, and in some cases a great deal better than hon. Members have tried to make out. The House will expect me now to sum up the position as I see it in the light of the financial statement that I have made, and of a review of the important points with which I have been dealing. All the great issues involved for the teaching profession, and in particular those affecting their remuneration, will want watching very carefully over the next year or two. Normally this plan has a guarantee of duration for three years. If I decide that this shall be the period, we shall have this time in which to examine whether the scales are going to result in the proper recruits being enlisted in the teaching profession, and as to the effect, particularly, upon graduates. All I can say at present is that the Government will review the position from time to time.
Hon. Members may ask what are we going to do about the points which are causing anxiety. I will give an undertaking that the whole question of entry into the teaching profession will be watched most carefully by the Minister, and, I am sure, by members of the Burnham panels. In order to meet the anxieties which have been expressed, we may well find it wise to remit further 715 points for consideration to the Burnham Committee which would influence the position of teachers in regard to their remuneration after the period of these scales has expired. There may be points which we may want to submit before the expiry of the scale. I have two examples of points in mind to submit probably in any case. One is the remuneration for maturer persons entering the profession, or rather the point on the scales at which maturer persons shall be permitted to enter. Another point that I have in mind to remit is the counting for purposes of increment time put in, in gaining experience outside the teaching profession. It is a point to which I have always attached importance that the teacher should be able to go away and that the time so employed shall be counted for purposes of increment.
I shall give very close attention to what is said to-day, and it may be possible during the duration of these scales, if we find any aspect of them working out unsatisfactorily, to put further questions to the Burnham Committee for their consideration. I have in mind particularly the operation of the scales in regard to the position of headmasters and mistresses in small grammar schools. But I ask the House to be reasonable. How can we start to show our anxieties, or talk about putting questions for consideration at the future date to the Committee, until time has shown whether, as we expect, authorities have exercised their discretion in the same enlightened way as they have exercised it hitherto, particularly since the authorities and the teachers together have suggested that the Minister shall be brought into the matter and he has given an undertaking that he will pay attention to the apprehensions of the House. I hope the House and the country and those many men and women who desire to enter the teaching profession will see that it is the intention of all concerned to see that the plan is worked out sensibly between all of us as partners in the most enlightened manner possible, and that hon. Members will now leave me to consider at leisure all aspects of the question, including their arguments to-day, before I give my final decision. It is our desire to see that the best possible terms are procured for entrants, whether graduates or non-graduates. It would be unwise to prejudice the greatest ad- 716 vance made in the teaching profession in a generation. It would be equally wise for authorities, teachers, the Minister and Parliament to exercise the utmost vigilance for the highest standards of a great profession.
§ 3.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Woodburn (Stirling and Clackmannan, Eastern)
The House will have listened with great interest to the statement made by my right hon. Friend, and especially to his important statement regarding the finances of this scheme. If that statement had been made at the beginning of the Debate, there might have been a temptation to forget a great many of the other points raised and to debate that particular item. I must confess, having listened carefully to it, that it is impossible, on the spur of the moment, to appreciate what exactly the effect will be on the local authorities of a change of that kind. Some of the smaller local authorities will certainly wonder how it will affect them in particular. I suggest that it would be desirable if a White Paper or some kind of statement could be prepared giving some examples as to how different local authorities will be affected. They will thus be in a position to appreciate in detail what has been done. This is a rather curious Debate because it deals with wage negotiations outside, similar to wage negotiations in joint councils in other forms of industry, and to have this discussion in the House is setting a precedent which might not be desirable on future occasions. Having read Section 89 of the Act, I came to the conclusion that it was not actually within the purview of the House to decide these matters, but in the circumstances perhaps, after the passing of a great Education Measure, it is advisable that some opinion should be expressed in the House to guide the Minister.
My hon. Friends on this side take the view that, all in all, this scheme and the decisions of the Burnham Committee should be accepted. While we may express opinions on the details of the scheme, we cannot say that the Minister should in any way reject these scales merely because there might be variations of opinion as to this or that item. The two main questions that have given rise to discussion among my hon. Friends are finance and whether in the new scales the graduates get a fair show. My hon. Friend the Member for Aberavon (Mr. 717 Cove) made clear that this was not an attempt on the part of the non-graduates among the teachers to do down the graduates among the teachers. Therefore, I think we can accept that the decision was come to as the result of the discussion between the local authorities' and the teachers' panels.
Some part of the discussion to-day has ranged round the question of the graduates and their qualifications. There seems to be a general assumption that the only qualification for distinction in the teaching profession is for a graduate to have academic honours. I was glad that the Minister dealt with the point, which I was going to raise, namely, that a great deal of experience may be gathered outside the academic sphere and that, if the holder of that experience can be recruited to the teaching profession, he might often be more valuable than some of the people who have academic qualifications. I have had experience of people who have gone into the chemical and other industries and then changed to the teaching profession. I am satisfied that the knowledge and experience they have brought with them were a valuable qualification in teaching. My French professor in the days when I was learning French had been all sorts of things before he started teaching French. I was asked by a director of studies whether I thought that this man, who was a Frenchman, was a good teacher. I said, "It all depends on what you are teaching people for. If it is merely a question of coaching somebody to pass examinations, I should say that he is a very bad teacher. If, however, you look at it from the point of view of giving the student a love for the subject and enabling him to know not only French but France and how Frenchmen think and live, and to know the nation as well as its language, he is the greatest teacher I have met."
In teaching we have to beware of thinking that a mere academic acquirement of knowledge is the only guide to what is a good teacher. I agree with the Minister that many non-graduates by nature and temperament are much better teachers than graduates. We have had experience of highly qualified graduates who, because of their temperament, have proved ineffective as teachers. We agree, however, that, given a person with the temperament and qualities to become a teacher, a person obviously ought to be a better 718 teacher if he has acquired more knowledge than if he has not acquired that knowledge. All that a university degree can do is to provide a certificate that a person has acquired a degree of knowledge, but whether he is able to impart that knowledge depends on training, temperament and many other factors. The Minister said that in three years' time this scheme would be reviewed to see whether it had succeeded. I wonder whether three years is long enough to show that. As far as I can judge, graduates to fill any posts will be scarce in the next three years. Most of the people are now in the Army and have not had the opportunity of graduating for high academic honours, and I do not think we shall be able to judge in three years' time whether this scheme is a proper attraction to graduates or not. I think a much longer period will be required.
What we have been discussing to-day has another aspect of a national kind. In the past year or two there has been a general tendency for everybody to ask for a bigger spoon with which to dip into the common honey-pot. The teachers have come along now and have asked for their bigger spoon, and it looks as if the doctors will be following suit very shortly. There are some industries where the spoon has been very small in the past, such as the railways and mining, and they claim that they ought to have a bigger spoon for the common honey-pot. It is important to keep in mind that, unless the size of the honey-pot and the quantity of honey are increased, the giving of a bigger spoon to one section must mean that other sections must have a smaller spoon. Therefore, the question of fairness arises in relation to the division of the national resources among the various sections of the population.
I think the House will agree that the teachers have not had a fair deal in the past. The right hon. Gentleman said that the teachers ought to be satisfied with a great deal of honour and perhaps not so much salary. The doctors have been more fortunate in that they get both honour and salary. If I were a teacher, I would think it more advisable to have both than to have only one. The nurses used to get paid with 75 per cent. honour and only 25 per cent. salary. In recent times we have made an improvement on that, but the teachers, compared with other occupations, have been getting unjust rates of 719 wages. Therefore, the community must admit that an improvement in their condition is overdue.
For some years it has been said that men have been driven out of the profession because of the disparity in reward, and that gradually teaching is becoming a woman's profession. Those who are best acquainted with the work of teaching know that that would be a great disadvantage. I hope the Minister will keep it in mind when considering these scales, and will see that they attract men into the profession and not teachers in general. There are certain aspects of education which are especially suitable for men.
Another point in regard to this general sharing of the honey-pot is that it must be linked with the Government's whole policy in regard to the future and in regard to finance. Looking at this matter it has struck me that the scales have been framed on the assumption that the cost of living in this country will be permanently, or relatively, increased by 35 per cent. Is it the decision of the Government that wages and salaries, now determined by the cost of living, have to calculate on a 35 per cent. increase in the cost of living? Or is it the Government's policy to get the cost of living down? If so, what arc the relationships of this scale to the cost-of-living-increase figure, and what is the policy of the Government in regard to prices after the war? Many other things, along with teachers' salaries, will be affected in that regard. We are framing great schemes for national insurance, old age pensions and benefits and allowances for soldiers and their dependants. Are we to consider that the cost of living is to be retained at a proper standard, or is it to go up and up until all the standards of certain classes are put into the melting-pot once again? This is a very important matter, and the Government ought to be balancing all those factors. It is no good framing scales, and the relationships of sections of the community one to another, unless some control is to be maintained over the balance and the cost of living.
Statements are made that we shall be a poorer nation after the war. If that is so, it means that the honey-pot is to be reduced in size and the honey in amount. That raises the question whether the spoons have to be reduced also in size, and in particular whose spoon is to be reduced. I can see a great many argu- 720 ments arising in that connection, in regard to teachers and other sections of the population. My view is that a great deal of nonsense is talked about the poverty of this nation after the war. This nation has developed energy and capacity for production, and if it turns them to the production of the things that we need, that is bound greatly to increase the national income. All this will hinge eventually on the Government's policy of full employment, and on whether the Government are able to make that so effective as to harness the energy that has been developed during the war and to produce an increased amount of wealth and an increased income for distribution.
Generally speaking, my hon. Friends welcome the improvement, so far as the teachers are concerned. We see that there may possibly be arguments from the graduates and other people, but the test will be how it works out in practice. I welcome the statement by the right hon. Gentleman explaining all these points. Until these have been tested and worked out in practice, it may be impossible to come to any final judgment on these scales.
§ 3.55 p.m.
§ Commander Sir Archibald Southby (Epsom)
It should not pass without remark that a Debate concerned with the Burnham scales, which have no relation whatever to Scotland, has brought to their feet the hon. Members for Kilmarnock (Mr. Lindsay) and East Stirling (Mr. Woodburn). When we have a Debate on Scottish matters and when a few of those who are what Queen Elizabeth described as "mere English" Members have the temerity to intervene, I hope we shall receive the same courtesy from hon. Members who sit for constituencies North of the Tweed as we have extended to them to-day.
§ Mr. Woodburn
English Members have never been lacking in courtesy, in making use of Scottish education when they thought it was of assistance to them.
§ Sir A. Southby
That may well be so. What the Minister said in his speech will go far to allay the fears which undoubtedly exist among some sections of the teaching profession, notably teachers in the grammar schools, that they were not getting exactly a square deal out of the Burnham scales. I hope that what 721 the Minister said will allay those fears and if it be found that they are not getting the deal we should like to see them have that then it will be possible to put matters right.
The Minister also said that people should not enter the teaching profession merely for the monetary reward. I have paraphrased what he said, and it is true; but I cannot help thinking that the words "the labourer is worthy of his hire" apply more almost in the teaching profession, than in any other, It is a most exacting profession. If there is financial or economic anxiety in the mind of a teacher, that cannot make for a happy school. The influence of that anxiety must, inevitably, be transmitted to the children who attend that school.
Having said that, I now want to devote my remarks to a particular problem. My constituency is in Surrey, the education committee of which we believe to be a model. I see the schools from time to time, and I do not think that any county has better schools better equipped. Indeed I am sometimes tempted to wonder when it is said that nothing has been forgotten, whether that does not include the pocket of the ratepayer. There is a point in regard to Surrey which I want to bring to the notice of the Minister. The Burnham scales fixed in 1921 were four. For the elementary school teachers of London, Middlesex and certain boroughs and county boroughs within the Metropolitan Police area Scale IV was allotted. Scale III was allotted to Surrey, Kent, Essex and several other counties, and to big county boroughs like Birmingham. There are what is called "additional payments" for the London area. I think the time has come to stop if possible, or to find a means to stop, special payments for special areas. Extra payments were made for the London area because of the presumed increased cost of living in London. That is not the case at the present time, since it is probably cheaper to live in London than in some parts of Kent or Surrey.
In 1936, the Surrey Education Committee were concerned with the fact that large portions, if not most, of Surrey lay outside the area where the additional scales were paid. In 1942 they raised the matter with the Burnham Commitee, but the Com- 722 mittee declined to consider the application. That was at the beginning of 1943. The application was again made to the Burnham Committee, and it now appears that representations are about to be made to the Minister to alter the incidence of this special payment. The Committee is not prepared to recommend that the whole of Surrey shall be paid the same as London, Middlesex and Croydon, the idea being that the existing London area, with the addition of Barnes, Merton, Morden and Mitcham, should receive the increased payment. I think the Minister should look into this, and if he can, make such communication as is possible to the Burnham Committee, before the final decision is made, because the position in Surrey is completely Gilbertian. A teacher teaching in Croydon, Middlesex or London is paid a higher rate than a teacher teaching in Sutton, or in Cheam, or in Epsom or in Kingston. If it is argued that it is more expensive to live in one area than another I can assure the House that that is completely untrue. In my view it would be much better to do away altogether with the additional payment, and pay all the teachers throughout the country a flat rate. But if there is to an extra rate for certain areas I think the area which comprises London should be extended at least to cover the Metropolitan Police area and Surrey, since to pay part of Surrey a different rate to that paid in Croydon just does not make sense.
The result of the proposals to bring in Barnes, Merton, Morden and Mitcham will produce a fantastic position. A teacher in Sutton or Cheam will be at a great disadvantage as compared with one teaching in Mitcham or Morden. As it is, in my constituency, in Epsom, which lies within the Metropolitan Police area, in certain cases other than teachers' salaries one scale of payment obtains, whereas at Ashtead, just a mile or two away, a totally different scale applies. As regards the teachers, I suggest that before this matter is finally dealt with, there should be some further consultation, to see whether it would not he possible either to do away with the extra payments altogether, or, alternatively, to consider the very fair and just case which the Surrey Education Committee have put, and include the whole of Surrey in the scale of payments now given to Middlesex, Croydon and London.
§ 4.3 p.m.
§ Miss Rathbone (Combined English Universities)
My right hon. Friend gave, as usual, a very lucid and persuasive reply to the criticisms that have been made from these benches. But it struck me that sometimes his very skill in persuasiveness made him inclined to claim a little too much. He seemed to wish to leave us with the impression, as still more did the argument of the hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove), that it was a case of taking or leaving, that "Here are these scales, prepared after prolonged discussion by the Burnham Committee, and if you reject them, then the responsibility is on your shoulders." The Minister said he could not send them back to the Burnham Committee with the request that they should reconsider them in particular respects. But did he really mean that, because he said later there were certain points, quite minor ones, which he meant to remit to the Burnham Committee and ask them to think upon again? He assured us that the scales had not actually been formally presented to him by the Committee. Surely then it must be within the power of the Committee to reconsider them, without throwing away the whole result of their previous decision—to reconsider them in the light of this discussion, and all the other criticisms they had heard.
They must have known, for the past two months, of the intense dissatisfaction which these proposals had aroused among secondary teachers, though they, of course, also warmly welcomed the increase in the basic scale. The Committee must also have known that the universities entertained grave fears as to the effect of these proposals on future recruitment to universities, both as to quantity and quality, of men and women who will want to take graduate courses for the purpose of teaching. If the Committee read HANSARD they will no doubt read this Debate and see what is the view of the House. I would point out that with one or two exceptions there has not been a single speech, except that of the Minister, which has not been highly critical of the proposals. Therefore, I think we cannot take the view that it was hardly worth our time discussing the matter because it was a chose jugée—that it cannot be altered without throwing over the whole thing.
When I first heard of the scales my own reaction was one of satisfaction. One wel- 724 comed the great improvement in the salary scales of the primary schools. I had a feeling as a lover of democracy that there was something good in proposals that brought more equal scales of remuneration and prospects to primary and secondary and grammar school teachers. As time has gone on my own doubts have grown. It is not merely that all of us who are Members for universities have been flooded with remonstrances from secondary school teachers and their bodies. I, as an old propagandist, think I know machine-made and artificial propaganda when I see it. I do not think this dissatisfaction can possibly be so described. I have been very struck by the quality of the letters and memoranda, which have used to some extent the same arguments, but have accompanied them by individual illustrations drawn from experiences in a particular group of schools in a particular county, sometimes from cases of particular individuals who sent the protest.
The feeling has grown that these people have a very strong case. Nearly all the points of their objections have been dealt with by one speaker or another, and I do not desire to take up the time of the House. I shall only go over them in the briefest possible way without going into details. The first point, to which several speakers have referred, is the actual reduction in the scale of salaries and pensions, not of the present holders of certain headships, but the future holders of headmasterships in those schools. I do not think the Minister has answered the point that for 59 per cent. of the schools, there will be among the men a lower maximum, as there will be in 53 per cent. in the case of women. The actual average reduction for men head teachers will be £85, and for women head teachers as much as £96. It is serious that a future headmaster of a particular school will get £85 less or, if a woman, as much as £96 less, than his or her predecessor.
Another point of objection, about which very little has been said to-day, is the annual fluctuation in salaries according to the number of pupils in a school over 15 years of age. The object of that provision is doubtless to take account of the fact that the head of a bigger school has a bigger responsibility, but that particular provision smells nasty to me. I do not think it would really bring out the best in a headmaster or a headmistress if they 725 had their eyes perpetually on numbers—the House knows what I mean—a kind of wanting to "suck up," to use a vulgarism, to the parents and children, so that the school might be popular, and boys and girls might be induced to remain on. I do not think that payment by numerical results of that kind is a good way of remuneration. Turning to the assistant teacher, there is a point which has been referred to—and I am glad not to have to deal with it, because I find these percentages much too puzzling—that the increases do not represent the real increase in the cost of living.
There there is the point whether this small increase given to the graduate, as against the non-graduate, is going to be compensated by the greater chances of headships and posts of special responsibility. When I first heard that reply I felt, "That sounds all right. It is perhaps better than payment because a man or a woman is a graduate, to have payment for those who climb to the top or get posts of special responsibilty." But when you look at the figures you find that, whereas in the primary schools the chances of a headship are about one in five, in the secondary modern schools they are only about one in seven, and in the grammar schools, where these complaints come from, the chances are only about one in 19. It is not much compensation to young men or women, who are thinking whether they or their parents can pay the extra cost of graduating, to find that they will have one chance in 19 of a headship.
In regard to posts of special responsibility, the argument is that anybody who is any good will probably get one of these posts, and that most of those who do will be graduates. But when we realise that there are only 20,000 of these posts of special responsibility, and that there are 29,000 schools of all types in the country, and that most of them have a senior assistant master or mistress who will have a special claim to these posts, it seems to me that the number of posts left to graduates will not be really substantial. I cannot see the logic of the argument that if there is to be payment for status at all the teacher who gets that payment, because he is a graduate and has had an expensive training, should lose it because he gets a post of special responsibility. It seems rather a mean device.
726 For the teacher who does not get a headship or a post of special responsibility, what does it all pan out to? If these figures are correct, for the ordinary teacher it will take 16 or 17 years before the graduate even gets the advantage of one year's extra increment, if he has had three years.' training, or two years' extra increment if he has had four years' training. But look at it in another way, and take the remuneration over the whole career. Take two men of 21. One begins teaching after a two years' training course. In 10 years, when he reaches the age of 31, he will have received £480 more than the graduate, who began to prepare at the same age, 21, got no salary for two years, and then began at the slightly higher—£15 higher—rate. That goes on. When the man is 60 years old, the amount he will have received over his whole career will be only £225 more than the earnings of his non-graduate contemporary. It is all very well to say that money is not everything, that the motive that attracts men and women into teaching is not only salaries. I quite agree that that is so, but we have to take the world as it is, and not as it ought to be.
I would remind the House that the choice of a profession does not depend only on the man or the woman: it is to a considerable extent the choice of the parents. The parents look at it this way: "Is it, on the whole, worth our while to send John or May to a university, where they will have to take a four years' course before earning anything at all, if it means that for 10 years or so they will be actually worse off, and if at the end of it all they will have very little financial advantage?" I feel that the effect on women is going to be particularly serious, because there is always the temptation to the parents to take short views in the case of a girl. They think with a boy that he will go ahead sooner or later, and at any rate it is a career for life; but with a girl she may marry, she may be in the profession only for a short time; and why should they bother to give her an expensive education? I am sorry that the last speaker from the Front Bench seemed to think it rather disastrous that teaching is so largely a woman's profession. But it is so, and if you are going to have a decline in the quantity and quality of the women going into the pro- 727 fession, it is a bad look-out for the teaching profession.
From the point of view of, not the individuals but the universities, and, which is what really matters, of the nation, it is a rather serious thing if these new scales are going to have the effect which not only the secondary teachers, who may be looked upon as not impartial—and of course they are not—but also the university authorities, anticipate, namely, that they will be a serious discouragement to able men and women entering the profession, because they contrast the salaries which really clever men or women may get as doctors, civil servants, lawyers, or in business with the salaries they would get in teaching, and they say, "Teaching, after all, is a rather poor job." We want the schools of the country to get the best.
One speaker talked about the honey-pot, and everybody wanting a bigger spoon. That is true: the amount you can take out of the honey-pot depends on the amount that is in it. And the amount that is going to be in it in post-war years, with the heavy competition there will be between the nations, will depend on the quality of the training you give to your young persons. If I am told that this is only a three years' matter, and that it can be changed after that, I say: Think what vital years those are going to be. During the next three years hundreds of thousands of the best young men and women in the country, who have had the terrible but wonderful experience of war, will be deciding what they are going to train for. It will be a great misfortune if the result of these scales is that they say, "Certainly not teaching."
§ 4.20 p.m.
§ Sir Ernest Graham-Little (London University)
I would like to touch upon one or two points which have not yet been mentioned. I think the way in which these scales have been received by the higher teachers in our schools, cannot be explained without consideration of another factor which I consider equally important. The late Headmaster of Harrow, in a very interesting letter to the Press, said that teachers were hanging back and not coming forward, for two reasons. One was the inferior status which they enjoyed, and the second was the remuneration being offered. I stress the fact that he 728 puts status first. I think the nation will be much more interested than is realised in the question of what kind of teacher is going to be attracted to the national schools in the future under the proposed circumstances.
Let me say—and I hope I shall not be out of Order in doing so—that one of the factors which, in my opinion, has made the greatest disturbance in the scholastic mind is the emergency scheme for training teachers which has just been announced by the Minister. That scheme proposes to introduce into the schools recruits derived principally, but not exclusively, from ex-Service men—recruits who are to be trained for one year in improvised emergency colleges, and, at the end of that year, launched upon the schools with the full status of the qualified teacher, differing in no respect from the status of a university graduate teacher, who has had three to four years' training. That has been described by the Headmaster of Harrow as meaning thedilution of skilled with unskilled or semi-skilled labour,and it is obviously a very great blow to the status of the university graduate, to be placed on an equality in that way, with such very inferior scholars. I am not a rabid advocate of the graduate teacher, but I do claim that a period of three to four years' training at a university, other things being equal, is an asset to the teacher, who is to train other teachers. What the McNair Committee thought on that subject, I think ought to be accepted. I really regret that the Minister has so largely scrapped the findings of the McNair Committee. It was an extraordinarily good Committee, and among its members were Sir Frederick Clarke, Professor of Education of London University, Sir Frederick Mander, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, and Mr. Morris, Director-General of Army Education. That trio contributed an extremely interesting and weighty argument, occupying five pages of the McNair Report, and I would like to read one or two extracts from it. They say:A major constitutional change is required in the organisation and administration of the education and training of teachers. It is as important for the teacher to be well educated as it is for the doctor or the lawyer.They end that five-page argument with this sentence: 729It is necessary to attract to the profession of teaching men and women of high quality; we believe that, in years to come, it will be considered disastrous if the National System for the training of teachers is found to be divorced from the work of the Universities.All the universities have had the same experience; they have had a progressive and rapidly declining entrance into the teaching profession, to which my own university probably makes the largest contribution of all. It so happens that one section of that university, with which I am principally concerned and have been concerned for something like 40 years, the External side of that university, trains an exceptionally large number of teachers, and it is found that the new scales would practically knock out the External graduate from these schools. That is how its affects my own university. The Minister himself in a letter to me a few weeks ago, admitted that the position of scarcity of teachers is much worse now than it was three or four years ago and it is becoming progressively worse. And it is at this moment when the whole profession has been exasperated by this dilution of its skilled labour that it has received a more serious blow in this award of salaries. The award has been made, and it has been asserted that there is "nothing to be done about it." I have a letter from a very distinguished teacher dealing with that claim, and, in it, he says that this is an illustrationof the result of taking the administration of education out of the hands of teachers and giving it to people who view all education as a matter of administrative organisation and whose contact with schools as living organisms is remote or non-existent.What will be the future position of the national schools? When all the post-primary schools are to rank as secondary schools, what will be the resultant position of the secondary schools? In the present secondary schools, the proportion of graduate teachers is 78 per cent., and in the elementary schools it is nine per cent. Is it going to be nine or 78 per cent. of graduate teachers in the fused schools in the future? I am open to bet that it will approach the nine per cent. very much more closely than the 78 per cent. The effect of these scales has been cumulative upon the discontent occasioned by the emergency measures. I have before me the recommendations which were made by the McNair Committee which I claim 730 to be the most expert Committee at the disposal of the Minister of Education, and these axe the principles which the Committee suggested ought to be followed in settling the scales of salaries. They should satisfy these four tests:A. A test of personal need; they should make possible the kind of life which teachers of the quality required ought to be able to live.B. Market test; they should bear a relationship to the earnings of other professions and occupations so that the necessary supply of teachers of the right quality will be forthcoming.C. A professional test; they should not give rise to anomalies or injustices within the teaching profession; andD. An educational test; they should not have consequences which damage the efficiency of the education provided in any particular type of school or area.What is the actual proposal with regard to these scales? Here I have it stated in a short formula: the non-graduate gets a minimum of £300 if he is a man and £270 if a woman. The maximum is £525 for a man and £420 for a woman. For the graduate the minimum is £315 for a man and £282 for a woman, and the maximum £565 for a man and £444 for a woman. I have here a letter from a graduate who is the senior classical master—Sixth-form—in a very famous and ancient grammar school. He took a double first in classics at Cambridge. He has won for his pupils perhaps more open scholarships at the universities, and in the executive branch of the Civil Service than anyone. He says "I shall get as a maximum salary, £585." He must have spent from £1,000 to £1,500 on his education at Cambridge.
§ Sir E. Graham-Little
He is a senior classics master. He says that if he served until 60 hen he would retire, he would have £990 more for the whole of that period as compared with the non-graduate teacher. He goes on to say:I shall feel it incumbent upon me not to recommend my scholarship boys in future to take up the profession of teaching. I shall take very good care to give them other advice.That is the reaction of a teacher of a very fine type. That is a concrete example of the position. I see the difficulty of the Minister but I would support my colleague from the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) and say "Are we in such a position that we are 731 completely humble and obedient to a Committee because it has been in office for 25 years?" Is that really a position which the nation should tolerate? It is the nation which must decide a matter of this kind. From all these points of view, I hope that there will be some means found of altering the present position.
§ 4.34 p.m.
§ Dr. Edith Summerskill (Fulham, West)
I join with those who welcome these new scales, which, I believe, will improve the status of this important body of workers, but having listened to many speakers, particularly the hon. Member for the Combined English Universities (Miss Rathbone), I admit that there is some substance in the criticism that the new scales will not encourage potential teachers to graduate.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education (Mr. Ede)
He was quite incorrect.
§ Dr. Summerskill
I was not talking about the hon. Member for London University (Sir E. Graham-Little), but about the hon. Lady the Member for the Combined English Universities (Miss Rathbone).
§ Dr. Summerskill
Judging by the right hon. Gentleman's interjections I am beginning to understand why he is not receptive to these new ideas. The Minister told us—and it is an old argument which has been advanced from that Bench year after year—that no worker must think of ultimate remuneration but of work for the joy of work. I have heard the Minister say that when the question of nurses' remuneration has been raised. Time after time it has been argued that a nurse should work because she has a vocation and Members of this House should not concern themselves with the matter. What is the result? Look at the nursing profession to-day. All potential nurses are in revolt. Although those sentiments are very noble and dignified and have great debating power, when a Member gets up and addresses himself to this point, they are not practical.
It is no good merely saying that no keen, earnest student will concern himself with his ultimate salary. I do not think 732 he will. He will be anxious to enter the teaching profession if he is keen on it. But it is not the student who will determine that, but the mother and father. They will ask, "Will it pay us to sacrifice ourselves for many years in order that our boy or girl should become a graduate?" And there is no doubt that these mothers and fathers will examine these scales very closely and will say, "You can do almost as well if you go into the teaching profession as a non-graduate, so why spend many years of hard work at the university?" I believe that is a short-sighted policy. It is wrong to deter anyone from obtaining the highest qualifications, and ultimately, I believe, the Minister will discover that the secondary schools are being starved of the best teachers.
There is another point I wish to make. I almost apologise to the House for having to make it because I am as tired of it as any of the hon. Members who have already raised it; it has become a little monotonous. It is that there should be equal pay for men and women teachers. It is really deplorable at this stage of woman's emancipation that we have not yet obtained common justice for our women teachers. I am very surprised that the men in the teaching profession do not realise that it does not enhance the prestige of their profession to have 70 per cent. of their workers paid at cut-price rates. We have heard from the Bench opposite unstinted praise of women, and it is a little ironical that to-day there should be this fresh failure to recognise women's work. I cannot help thinking that all this praise we have heard about women's work in war from Ministers in the Government is nothing but humbug and hypocrisy. [An HON. MEMBER: "Oh!"] It is all very well for the hon. Member to say, "Oh!" Here is an opportunity to prove that it is not humbug and hypocrisy. Here are the people undertaking the most important work—the care and instruction of our children. They are responsible, in great part, for the quality of our future citizens, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that work done by women, involving the care of human beings, whether it is in orphanages, hospitals, schools or remand homes, is consistently underpaid. The woman with a function and high ideals, is treated far worse than the individual who does a job simply for what she or he can get out of it.
733 I do not want to indulge in an appeal entirely on behalf of the teachers; I want to appeal on behalf of the children. There are 70 per cent. of the teachers—the women—who, in my opinion, to-day are suffering from a grievance. We cannot deny it. We women Members of Parliament, particularly, who are asked to address meetings of women teachers are amazed at the bitterness which is expressed. I sit there as a woman, as a member of a profession where equal pay has been recognised, and I am astonished at the short-sightedness of the authorities who allow the teaching profession to have in its midst women who are embittered, women who have a grievance. As has already been stated in this House, the person with a grievance is unfitted to teach small children. It is a source of irritation which must affect the quality of the teacher, and when one thinks of those large classes of 30, 40 or 50 children taught by women who have a grievance, who are feeling that they are unfairly treated, I cannot help thinking that the Government, saving as it does this comparatively small sum of money, is being very short-sighted.
I want to remind the House of the work of the teachers during the war, how they had heavy responsibility during the air-raids, how they were evacuated with the children, how they arranged billets, dealt with irate foster-mothers, dealt with the clothes question, with rationing, with feeding at school, how they wrote letters to the mothers of these children—all this work, equal to that done by any other woman war worker, unspectacular I agree, but of vital importance. Yet we are still allowing these women to suffer a sense of grievance. I want to emphasise the point—70 per cent. of the profession feeling irritated, and still those in charge think they are adopting the right policy in perpetuating this inequality. All of us have been children and I think most of us, looking back—and there are many here who have many years to look upon—will say that the sharpest impressions of our lives are those received when we were children. We know that a teacher can make learning a pleasure or a burden; she can determine the atmosphere of the classroom. There are many people I know whose whole future has been determined by their success or failure in an examination, and they can, on looking back, remember clearly those teachers 734 who have failed to supply that little extra encouragement. I go farther. I have often thought during the last few weeks when we have read these stories of unhappy children, how a kindly woman in a classroom can often be a substitute for an unsatisfactory home life.
Finally, I want to emphasise this one point I am making. I want the Minister, when the opportunity arises again, to consider whether he will continue to allow 70 per cent. of the teachers to suffer a grievance, to suffer from a sense of irritation. I believe that, on the ground of equity, these women should be paid at equal rates, and, in the interest of the children, we should realise that the time has arrived when the women employed in the teaching profession should be helped to have a happy, contented outlook on life.
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ Mr. R. Morgan (Stourbridge)
Unfortunately I have had to be out of the House during the last two or three speeches, but I welcome the opportunity of intervening for a few moments. I would like to follow the hon. Lady the Member for West Fulham (Dr. Summerskill) on the question of equal pay, whose quests on this point I have supported on other occasions, and got into very hot water for so doing. There is a great deal to be said for it because, after all is said and done, this Debate turns on one question: How are we to attract the best men and women to the teaching profession? When I first entered into what I call educational politics I had what is known as a slogan for the teaching profession and that was to put the Burnham Committee on a statutory basis. That was the great argument. We wanted to do away with those miserable wrangles that took place up and down the country between one education committee and one set of teachers. I think the establishment of the Burnham Committee put an end to a rather disgraceful proceeding. At any rate, for many long years now, I have never heard of such a disreputable thing as a strike between teachers and the education authorities. That was most lamentable. So I rejoiced greatly when I saw that the Burnham Committee was something more than a mere name and was really established on a statutory basis.
I am bound to say that I was very glad the Minister of Education intervened when he did, because if anything wanted 735 saying with authority it was to reply to certain speeches I heard in this House which, uncontradicted or unexplained, would give a very wrong and misleading impression to the outside public. I do not remember listening to speeches in this House for many years which stated more misleading facts than those made by certain university representatives who ought to know better. I thought particularly—I am sorry he is not in his place—that the hon. Member for the University of Wales (Professor Gruffydd) gave a most wrong impression of what these scales stand for, and I am sure that any lay-listener will have gone away with a very wrong impression indeed.
That is not to say that I, like many other Members of Parliament, have not had some rather adverse comments on the way these university graduates find themselves, as they say, penalised. One point they put forward in the many memoranda I have received was that it would prevent the best class of students going on for the four years' training. If I thought that was true it would be a very strong inducement to me to bring some pressure to bear on the Minister of Education to see that it should be rectified, but I am quite sure, when the scale is looked into closely, it will be seen that is not quite true. I have been in my time attached to a body of teachers of no mean reputation, but I have always thought it was very good practice, whatever union one belonged to—whether in the medical, legal or scholastic profession—to take care of what I call the under-dog. If you look after the under-dog, you will find the others will automatically move up. So I am not afraid that there will not be a rush of entrants into the teaching profession. As I came to the House, not expecting that this Debate would begin as soon as it did, I was reading one of our leading newspapers, in which it was said that there was one profession in this country which could not attract people, namely, teaching. It is true that it is not a very attractive profession for men or women, and has not been for many years, and, therefore, I am delighted to see that a more inviting scale of salaries has been offered to all concerned. If these scales will not attract them then we must look for still higher scales. The awards meted out to members of the teaching profession 736 compared with those of members of other professions are still rather meagre.
But let us go back to the point we are discussing. I am glad that the Minister has said, in effect, "I am not in a position at the moment, nor do I think I shall be, to turn down the recommendations of the Burnham Committee." That would be a very serious step to take. Those who have been advocating this extra scale of remuneration for graduate teachers seem to have overlooked the fan that it is in the power of any local authority to give extra payments of a rather considerable nature to certain selected graduate teachers. The hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove) quoted something which I had not heard, but which sounded so true. It does not necessarily follow that because a man—or a woman—has a special degree he is the only kind of teacher we want in our schools. I know from practical experience that some of those holding the highest qualifications and degrees have been utter failures as teachers. Do not let it be thought that because of that experience, here and there, I do not advocate university training. I am all for it. As a matter of fact, I hope that in due time there will be no teachers in our schools who have had less than four years' training. At present we all know how depleted school staffs have become, and the indecent haste there is to grab anybody and adopt him as a teacher irrespective of his training. What I fear in the teaching profession in the near future is dilution. The hon. Lady the Member for West Fulham and others would look askance, and rightly so, at any attempted dilution of the medical profession. They would think that that was the last straw, and we should all agree with them. So I hope the Minister will keep an eye on that point. However drastic the temptation may be for education committees to fill up posts with people of any sort of qualification I hope that will be resisted. After all is said and done this problem in our schools is one that cannot be pushed lightly aside. We here have a grave responsibility. The hon. Lady opposite spoke of classes of 30, and said that it was wrong, and so it is, but I could take her to places where there are classes of 50 or more being taught by people with varied experience, by people who have good womanly instincts and little else.
737 I commend the Minister to-day for taking the stand he has taken. Any other stand would lead to chaos. If I could find a way of appeasing our graduate friends I would be only too delighted to suggest it to the Minister, but I have to confess I do not know of any such way unless he gives special encouragement to the local authorities by saying to them: "Here are the scales which enable you to work within certain limits, but there is a loophole by which you can help up graduate teachers and encourage them." We have heard a lot about the Burnham Committee. I cannot imagine people who constitute that Committee, such as Sir Frederick Mander on the one side, and Alderman Byng Kenrick, chairman of the authorities' panel, ever being guilty of deliberately loading the dice against the graduate teachers. Anybody who knows anything about education knows that such men would not take such a course. It would be wrong if this Debate were misinterpreted to the public as showing that the House of Commons had been misled by some of the speeches which have been made to-day on behalf of the graduate cause. We are all enthusiastic to see that our teachers and graduates are properly looked after, and we know that the better qualified our teachers are the better it will be for our schools. We set up the Burnham Committee to prevent disputes between the authorities and the teachers, and I hope the Minister will stand firm and see that that Committee functions for the benefit of education as a whole.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Edmund Harvey (Combined English Universities)
Anyone who takes part in the Debate at this late hour is in the position of one who seeks to gather up the fragments that are left, after the feast of educational argument to which we have been listening. I will confine myself very largely to attempting to pick up a few crumbs, among them some crumbs of comfort perhaps, that fell from the table of the Minister. He regretted that in previous speeches there had not been a fuller recognition of the great advance that has been made in these scales in emphasising the unity of the teaching profession. I hope that will be realised by everyone. I am sure it is realised by many of those who regret some aspects of the present scales. I have been greatly struck by 738 the many letters that I have received from teachers, headmasters and head mistresses who again and again, while emphasising their sense of the danger that some aspects of these scales present to the future of secondary education, have said that they recognised thankfully the great advance that has been made in the position of the great mass of teachers and in the sense of the unity of the profession. I am sure that all good teachers in grammar or secondary schools are at one in that. It is a great thing that the unity of the profession should be realised, and that it should be carried out in a practical way in the scale of salaries.
I join with others who have spoken in regretting that greater encouragement is not given to enter upon a university training before undertaking the great work of teaching, and in the four points which have been mentioned, that more attention should be paid to quality than to quantity in calculating the salaries of headmasters and head mistresses, that the advantage that is given in the proposed scale to the university graduates should not be merged in the sum that is paid to one who has a post of special responsibility, and that special provision should be made for high academic qualifications. I still hope that the Minister will make use of the power that he has to get those points considered again at a suitably early date by the Burnham Committee. Under Clause 89 he can remit to them at any time questions for consideration.
Perhaps the largest crumb of comfort that I gathered from what the right hon. Gentleman said was his intention at an early date to submit one or two important points, and the avowal of his determination to watch the effect of these scales, if he gives his consent to them, upon entrants into the teaching profession, and upon the relationship between the profession and the universities. If he does that with the spirit and the outlook which we all know he possesses, we can be confident that he will not wait for three years to expire before he insists on those questions being reconsidered. I attach the greatest importance to that hope that he has given us, and I believe that up and down the country some who are very disappointed at present will get encouragement from it too. They are not just thinking of themselves, and they are certainly not thinking of this question in a narrow, selfish class spirit. I have had 739 letters from people who are about to retire from the teaching profession, or who will get no kind of advantage from any increment suggested, who are only thinking of the future of their school or of their profession, and when I read letters like these I am sure that there is no narrow or selfish outlook inspiring them.
We want ourselves to have such an outlook as a House in considering the effect of this great decision on the educational life of the nation. We have to think of the effect on the school, on the scholar who is about to leave school and to choose a profession, and who will be very largely advised by his parents in the choice of a profession, and on the life of the universities and all that depends on that. Surely we must do our utmost to encourage the best to undertake the fullest training they can get for the work that lies before them, and above all, we need to encourage the fullest training for teaching.
It has been said by one speaker to-day that a university degree is simply a paper certificate that so much knowledge has been acquired. It is, surely, something far deeper and wider than this that we have in mind. It is the contact with minds trained in science, in literature, in philosophy, the contact with different personalities that matters; the comradeship, the rubbing together with people of different training and different outlook that you get among the undergraduates in a university, the contact with the younger dons and the older dons, and occasionally a glimpse of some great teacher of world reputation who may be an inspiration for life—all that is something that we want to open out to the largest possible number of our future teachers. I hope that, with the wide vision that the Minister has, he will keep this clearly in view and make our teachers who are now feeling discouraged about their own schools and prospects have new hope. I am sure he is determined to open out this way—not a way for getting more money but a way of rendering the fullest service that a man or woman can give to his country and his generation.
§ 5.9 p.m.
§ Mr. Sexton (Barnard Castle)
Throughout most of this Debate the question of the graduate's salary has loomed very 740 large. It seems to me that that is a question of great urgency, which I know the Minister will take up almost at once. But what I have to say does not refer to graduates. I want to speak for 170,000 out of 200,000 teachers who are in primary schools. Eighty-five per cent. of the teachers engaged in this country are on primary school work. I am a product of the primary school. I did not, perhaps unfortunately for me, have a university education, but I had the great honour of being the headmaster of a school before I came to this House. I want to speak on behalf of these 170,000 teachers, and to say "Thank you" to the Ministry of Education. I can go a long way back, in the history of school teaching in my own personal experience. When I look back still further to a century ago, I find that we had schoolmasters and school-mistresses who werepassing rich on forty pounds a year.Fifty years ago—and this comes within my own experience—I had a headmaster who had £50 a year. Forty years ago it went up to£80, and 30 years ago, when I entered the field as head teacher, I received £120 a year.
As we look through the McNair Report we find it emphasised over and over again that primary education in this country had cheapness for its prime consideration. They point out that the Royal Commission of 1858 was set up to consider theextension of sound and cheap elementary instruction to all classes of people.In 1944, the McNair Report says:We can sum up the matter by saying that the atmosphere of the Poor Law and a trail of cheapness lay across the elementary schools right up to the end of the 19th century.The stinging sentences in the report of such a body as the McNair Committee must make us stop and think and realise that this new scale of salaries is doing something towards giving justice to the primary school teacher. The McNair Report further says thatthe elementary schools remain the cheap part of the education system.Again:The truth is that we have not yet emancipated ourselves from the tradition of educating our children on the cheap.The scale of salaries now brought forward shows that we are departing from that tradition, never to return, I hope. In 741 1919 the Burnham Committee was ordered to bring order out of the chaos that existed. The McNair Report says that up to 1919 teachers had been disgracefully exploited. I want these words to go on record to show how far we have travelled in the present scale of salaries from the things of the bygone days. It is recognised that the recruitment of teachers very largely depends on the remuneration they are given. The teachers are the same as everybody else; it is a question of earning bread and butter. They are no more high-flown than the ordinary working man; all they want is a decent livelihood, which has been denied them up to now.
The smaller classes that are envisaged in the new education reforms will demand more teachers. We must have a greater influx into the profession. The McNair Report sets out fully how this supply can be obtained. It points out that 12,000 teachers a year pass out of the profession because of age, disability, marriage, or other causes, but the output from the training colleges is only half that number. We, therefore, have to get teachers from somewhere, and something must be done at once to increase the flow of suitably trained people. I say "suitably trained," for I am not much impressed by the ersatz dominies of one year's training. The Ministry of Education will have to keep a watchful eye on admission into the teaching profession. Something will have to be done. I am realist enough to know that we want these reforms, but we want teachers as well, and want them at once. I emphasise again that cheapness must be gone entirely and for ever. On the question of the salaries of graduates, I am of opinion that it will right itself before very long because, if we mean anything in regard to educational progress, we mean that in the training of people we shall have a more uniform system, and instead of having two, three or four-year courses, we shall have, I hope in a time not far distant, courses which will be exactly alike for all. There will then be no difference between the salaries. On behalf of the primary teacher I welcome this scale of salaries and regard it as a first step towards the recognition of the hard work of a deserving part of the community, a profession to which this country owes a very great deal.
§ 5.17 p.m.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education (Mr. Ede)
The House has given considerable attention to this subject of teachers' salaries. My hon. Friend the Member for Barnard Castle (Mr. Sexton) was slightly autobiographical in the early part of his demands. I might follow him to the extent of saying that, in 1905, when I started my career as a certificated teacher, the scale of salaries under which I was appointed—and it was a good one for those days—was from £90 to £130 rising by £5 increments. After I had been employed by that authority for three years, they reduced the maximum to £125. I never reached the maximum. I gave the effort up as a disappointment, because although it was continually being brought nearer, it still seemed to be a great deal too far away. When we compare those figures with the figures we are discussing today, it shows a substantial advance in the attitude of public opinion toward the ordinary schools of the country has been made. That, after all, is a thing on which I hope all of us, whether we are university Members almost masquerading as dockyard Members in looking after the interests of our constituents, or other people, can take some consolation.
My hon. Friend the Member for East Clackmannan and Stirling (Mr. Woodburn) asked whether it would be possible to lay a White Paper for the elucidation of the very simple grant formula which my right hon. Friend announced. I am bound to say that I was astonished that anyone thought it was complicated, because all the factors are well known in every local government office in the country, and I would say that by this time, in the majority of the county council and county borough offices, they already know to the last penny exactly how much they are going to get out of it. For instance, to-morrow morning the finance committee of a local education authority of which I am a member will be meeting, and I know, from a calculation I have made since my right hon. Friend spoke, that it means £130,000 to them, or the equivalent of a rate of 2½d. I have sufficient respect for the members of the Institute of Municipal Treasurers and Accountants to believe that they will be able to work out every one of the factors that were mentioned by my right hon. Friend.
743 The hon. and gallant Member for Epsom (Sir A. Southby) raised the question of the exact incidence of the London scale. I happen to reside in his constituency, and I think he came nearer to representing me this afternoon than he has ever done before. The incidence of the London scale is another matter of some concern inside the teaching profession. It does appear rather anomalous that if you teach on the Middlesex side of Staines Bridge you get the London scale, and if you teach on the Surrey side of it, in the least salubrious parts of Egham, you get a lower scale.
§ Mr. Ede
So far no school has been built in the middle of Staines Bridge. If one were, it would probably depend on which class-room you taught in. No decision has been reached on this question of incidence by the Burnham Committee, and it may well be one of those matters to which attention will have to be directed during the duration of the first part of the scale.
After that, we had a speech by the hon. Lady who represents the Combined English Universities (Miss Rathbone), and from the hon. Member for the London University (Sir E. Graham-Little). The hon. Lady again raised the question of the headships. My right hon. Friend gave a most sympathetic answer on that issue, which indicated that he had regard to the possible effect of what would happen upon vacancies occurring in some of those headships. He indicated that this was one of the matters that gave him some anxiety, and that he was watching it, and would continue to watch it with very great care. There is no need, as I understand the matter, why a salary should be reduced, and consent would have to be obtained to a proposal to pay something above the scale salary. As my right hon. Friend indicated, it is not all loss and risk in the present arrangements. There is no guarantee at the moment to a head-teacher of a secondary school of any salary above the minimum. What is paid above that is a matter for the discretion of each local education authority. We should not shut our eyes to the fact that an effort has been made, first, to work out a scale for secondary school head teachers, and then to have regard to the peculiar circum- 744 stances of the secondary school, and to make arrangements whereby other factors are brought into the consideration of that salary than those which determine the salary in the primary school.
This is a first effort on the part of the Burnham Committee to work out a scale of salaries for secondary head teachers. I think my right hon. Friend indicated that they could have produced a scheme which would have secured higher marks from us, as well as from the secondary head teachers themselves, but we are aware that, in attracting young men and women of ambition, we must be certain that the headship is sufficiently attractive to make it worth while for them to enter the profession. I am bound to say that as I listened to the hon. Lady's statement of the proportions between the chances of promotion in primary, and secondary and other schools, I felt that she and I would be ill-advised to get into the business to being competitive prophets. She prophesied that the thing would work one way; I think it is quite likely to work another way. I imagine that during the next to or 15 years the majority of the headships in what we now call the modern schools, will go to people who have had experience in the grammar schools as assistant teachers.
§ Miss Rathbone
I should like to explain, as I do not want the right hon. Gentleman to misunderstand me, that I was not arguing that the majority of the head teachers would go to the grammar schools but, on the basis of figures submitted to me by the organisations, that a very large number of posts would go to non-graduates because they could claim that they were senior masters.
§ Mr. Ede
I am on another point altogether. The hon. Lady will recall that she gave a series of figures and wound up by saying that the chances of getting a headship in a secondary school were 1 in 19. As an ex-elementary school teacher I think if I were still in the profession I should regard with some misgiving the scales now proposed because, in the new set-up of education in England and Wales, there is a possibility that a number of headships of modern schools which, in the past, have been almost entirely confined to teachers with elementary experience only, will go to teachers who have had experience in the secondary schools.
§ Mr. Lindsay
That is exactly the point I was trying to make. My right hon. Friend realises that, by that very gesture, the number of graduates will be decreased who can take sixth and fifth forms.
§ Mr. Ede
They might not go forward for that kind of promotion. There, are plenty of men in the secondary school world who have no ambition to take sixth or fifth forms, and who are not suited for doing it, but who might make suitable headmasters for modern schools. It might be a very fitting crown for their career if they could go from the grammar school into the modern school, and I very much doubt whether the man who is fitted to take sixth and fifth forms, would regard the work which would fall to his lot as the head of a modern school, as being suited to his temperament.
We are all getting into the realm of prophecy. Some of us may be here in 10 years to claim that our prophecies were correct. My right hon. Friend has given an undertaking this afternoon that all the ways in which the scheme may work out will be very carefully watched, and if he sees anything going wrong, he will at once ask the Burnham Committee to give it consideration with a view to putting it right, in so far as it may be affected by the working out of the scale.
My hon. Friend the Member for London University has recently taken up his residence at Epsom, and it appears to have had a somewhat unfortunate effect upon him, because he offered to make a bet with me. He is not content with being merely a prophet; he wants to have a stake upon the result of his prophecy. I am not sure whether this is a place "within the meaning of the Act," so I propose to settle the further details of his bet in another place not quite so public. He quoted a letter which he had received from a senior classical master with regard to the effect of this scale. I am bound to say that I do not think the senior classical master could have discussed the situation with the senior mathematical master, before he wrote the letter because, according to the way in which we understand the scales, the senior classical master has underestimated his probable future remuneration by £70. I am sure it will be a relief to him to know, therefore, that his probable future maximum salary will be not £585 but 746 £655. In fact, in view of the very distinguished record which the hon. Member showed was possessed by that master, I do not think my right hon. Friend would be doing his duty, in supervising the arrangement for these additional allowances, if he did not insist that this man should receive the utmost that it was possible for the local education authority to pay him.
But the hon. Member for London University attacked the whole spirit of the Act of last year, and the arrangements that my right hon. Friend is making for implementing it. I am sorry the hon. Member is not here, but I think that in view of the attack he made it is desirable that I should say a few words. He attacked the emergency scheme for the training of teachers. He said that that was causing grave misgiving among university graduates, who felt that these teachers would be given the same status as they had. Let us be very careful about the use of this word "status" in the teaching profession. Surely it means the person who, by training, temperament, experience and contact with his pupils, proves himself to be the best teacher. I know of no other way in which it can be assessed, and that is something in which a graduate may fail and a non-graduate may fail. It is very largely a matter of personality. I know of some country school masters living in small villages, who occupy a place in the community second to no other person in the community, but I know many erudite men in the teaching profession who hold nothing like the same position in the community which they serve. On the other hand, I know some erudite men in the profession who have the same capacity for human contact as the persons I mentioned, and who are regarded as an ornament by the community, and as a friend by nearly every member of the community.
Some of these men in the emergency training colleges will be graduates, men who have graduated and who, as a result of their experience during the war, feel that they can usefully devote their future to work in the schools, I hope that a number of men who are graduates will feel that this is a suitable calling for them, but there will be many, who are not graduates, who, after four or five years in the Forces, or in some other form of national service, will have acquired a 747 width of human understanding that will make it extremely desirable that they should be given just the technical training that will enable them to go into the schools with a feeling of some confidence. But the one year's training is not the end of their professional training. We cannot make it too abundantly clear that they will only be accepted as teachers, subject, first of all, to a two years' period of probation, as opposed to the one year of the teacher who undergoes the ordinary training, and that during their professional period they will be expected to undertake further reading and further courses, to enable them to equip themselves properly to be members of the teaching profession.
My right hon. Friend, both while the Act was going through the House last year and in the course of his speech this afternoon, indicated that he desires to recruit into the teaching service, men and women who have had some knowledge of the world outside the cloister and the college; that men who have been in industry or in some other walk of life, and have acquired knowledge, and skill and an understanding of the world, and the way in which young people should be introduced to their future walks of life, should come into the teaching profession, and bring into the schools an air of reality and a knowledge of the world that have not always been there in the past. I hope, in fact I am quite sure, that the hon. Member for London University was not speaking for the teaching profession, when he indicated that the intrusion of such people into the schools was a matter which the teaching profession generally regretted
My hon. Friend the Member for West Fulham (Dr. Summerskill) raised the issue of equal pay, a subject with which the Section of the Act under which we are having this discussion this afternoon was not unconnected. There was a famous evening some ix months ago, when, all of a sudden, it produced something in the nature of a crisis. It is quite clear that the Government, while a Royal Commission is sitting, cannot make a pronouncement on this issue.
§ Dr. Edith Summerskill
In the event of the Royal Commission recommending equal pay, does that mean that these scales will be altered?
§ Mr. Ede
Surely the hon. Lady heard my right hon. Friend state that I could say a lot of words this evening, and surely she would not think me so discourteous as to dismiss her in one sentence. When the Commission reports, the whole question will have to be reviewed in the light of their recommendations. If they were to recommend any proposals for teachers, it might well be that legislation would be necessary. It might be that the subject would be so reported on, that it would not require legislation. Then my right hon. Friend would have to consider, in the light of the circumstances then existing, exactly how to put the matter again in front of the Burnham Committee. It would not have been possible for the Burnham Committee to have made this recommendation at the moment with any expectation that the Government could accept it while the whole matter is under the consideration of the Royal Commission.
The hon. Lady will have seen that already the teaching profession has given its evidence on this matter. The National Union of Teachers, the National Union of Women Teachers and the National Association of Schoolmasters, have all stated their views to the Royal Commission, and one must expect that there will be some reference to the matter in their report. As soon as the report is received my right hon. Friend will examine it, and will take any steps that may then prove to be necessary for seeing that the matter receives proper attention.
§ Miss Ward (Wallsend)
Is the right hon. Gentleman, in fact, expecting a specific recommendation either for or against equal pay for teachers?
§ Mr. Ede
I was brought up on the proverb "Blessed is he that expecteth little, for verily he shall not be disappointed." I cannot say whether there will be a specific recommendation or not, but I should have thought that it would be difficult for a Royal Commission to report on this subject without some reference being made to the incidence of any recommendation on the teaching profession, in view of the history of the past twelve months.
§ Dr. Summerskill
This is a very important point, about which women teachers feel strongly. Why could not the Burnham Committee, if they had approved of it, have recommended it to the Government, even if the Government had not accepted it?
§ Mr. Ede
It was quite clear that they were faced with this difficulty, which confronts us in the whole of this Debate. My right hon. Friend has either to accept or reject the Report. All the scales of salary—this leads up to a point which I was coming to in a little while—expire on 31st March next. New scales have to be made, so that teachers can be assured of a salary as from 1st April next. If no scales are then available, 146 local education authorities will be driven to individual bargaining with their teachers. I am sure no one desires to get into that position. It would pay the teachers in some areas for such a position to be reached—they would do better than under the Burnham scales—but I doubt if the majority of teachers would gain by it. That, I think, is probably why the Burnham Committee did not make a recommendation. I do not believe that the subject was ever considered specifically on this occasion by the Burnham Committee, because it was understood, they being ordinary men and women of business, that my right hon. Friend would not be accepting any pronouncement on the subject until the Royal Commission reported.
The hon. Gentleman the Member for the Combined Universities (Mr. E. Harvey) made a most eloquent speech, for which my right hon. Friend is very grateful, pointing out the substantial advantages that are gained, and, I think quite properly, setting out the ideals that should animate not merely the teachers but Parliament itself in approaching this subject of popular education. But he raised again this question of the merger. The merger falls into an entirely different position from nearly everything else that we have discussed to-day. The merger was a subject on which all the teachers felt very strongly, irrespective of their associations. The authorities also appear to have felt very strongly on it, but, unfortunately, their feelings were entirely the opposite of those of the teachers. Both sides agreed to go to the arbitration of the chairman, and I do not think the teachers are entitled to raise the issue 750 again, having gone to the umpire. I wonder what the secondary school masters would say to any small boy, who stood in the middle of the cricket pitch and denied that he had touched the ball, when the umpire said that he had been caught by the wicket-keeper. I am sure that he would desire to stand in the middle of the pitch, rather than to sit at the desk for the next few hours. We are bound to take into account the fact that the arbitrator was a noble Lord, who served for four years in the office I now hold and had been for some time President of the Board of Education. This was not a decision taken by someone who was unacquainted with the feelings of the teachers.
§ Mr. Harvey
While I recognise the force of what my right hon. Friend has said, surely that would not prevent the question being raised again by the teachers at a later date, just as other arbitrators' findings can be raised again after a time, when they have been found not to work.
§ Mr. Ede
I have no doubt that at every convenient opportunity it will be raised, and it may be that constant dripping of the water will wear away the stony hearts of the local education authorities. I make no prophecy on that point. Let us, considering all these questions of the allowances, recognise the one substantial gain that has been made on this issue. At the moment it is entirely within the discretion of any local education committee whether they make a single payment or not under this arrangement. Some local authorities do; others do not. In future, by this agreement, they are placed under the obligation of having 15 per cent. of their assistant teachers drawing a payment under this particular paragraph of the award. The amount and distribution are to be arranged in agreement with my right hon. Friend, and he has this afternoon told the House that he recognises his responsibility to see that that money is properly spent in the area of each local education authority. That should be, I think, some source of consolation to people who fear that too much of it may go to one type of school rather than another, that cases may be invented in order to make these payments to particular people who have no very strong claims. Certainly the fact that for every thousand assistant teachers employed by a local education authority, 150 must receive these payments, does mean a very 751 substantial improvement in the prospects of the young entrants to the teaching profession.
The Burnham Committee has managed during its existence to do a very great deal not merely to improve the pay of teachers, important as that is, but to improve the status of the teacher, and to relieve local education authorities from those perpetual discussions on teachers' salaries which between 1902 and 1920 were almost annual causes of disturbance. I have here a booklet that was issued by the National Federation of Class Teachers in 1917, in which is set out the scales paid by every local education authority in the country. There were 319 of them, with 319 separate scales, corning at last to the scale for the Soke of Peterborough, which paid a certificated man teacher £70 as an initial salary; and there were no increments. He started on £70, and if he wanted an increment he had to apply for it, and it was duly considered over a length of time by the county council before it was either granted or refused.
After all, the Burnham Committee has managed to raise the teaching profession above that kind of treatment, and has secured a certainty with regard to emoluments that has made the task of administering education in the country easier and more pleasant than it used to be. I hope that, as a result of the present Report, we shall find that ultimately the position both of the authorities and of the teachers has again been improved. But my right hon. Friend has assured the House—and everyone knows his keenness to see the Act for which he is responsible properly working—that he will watch all the points that may cause friction or uneasiness, and will use his endeavours to see that those causes of alarm and anxiety are removed. I hope the House will allow him to proceed, as he asks, in quietness to pursue that course.