HC Deb 28 June 1951 vol 489 cc1570-2
33. Sir T. Moore

asked the Minister of Education what is his short-term policy to overcome the present shortage of trained women teachers.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education (Mr. Hardman)

As a result of the measures taken since the end of the war recruitment of women teachers to the profession already exceeds wastage by some 2,500 a year. Further additional training college places have been made available for this autumn, and in order to secure suitable candidates for them my Department, with the co-operation of all concerned, has ensured a widespread distribution of information and advice about teaching as a career among young people at school and those who have left school.

Sir T. Moore

Does the Minister think that with existing staff he will be able to maintain the present school-leaving age? Further, when will he be able to dispense with non-graduate teachers?

Mr. Hardman

The second part of that supplementary question does not arise from the hon. and gallant Gentleman's original Question. The answer to the first part of his supplementary is in the affirmative.

Mr. Chetwynd

How many vacancies for women exist in the training colleges for the coming year?

Mr. Hardman

On 1st June there were 1,000 vacancies for women students to be admitted to training colleges in the autumn at the opening of the next academic year, or 200 fewer than on 1st May. Further vacancies are being taken up at the present time day by day.

Mr. George Thomas

In view of the alarming figure that my hon. Friend has just given, what has he done to encourage secondary school students to enter training colleges this year?

Mr. Hardman

I stated that we were doing everything we could to spread information and to suggest to young people that they should take up teaching as a career. There will be a review of the procedure and publicity in the early autumn.

Mr. James Johnson

Will my hon. Friend think of sending a personal letter, couched in his own language, to all those married teachers who have left the profession, asking them to go back, perhaps only in a temporary capacity, to help us out in these difficult times?

Mr. Hardman

I am not sure that my own prose or verse would help in this matter, but I assure my hon. Friend that the local authorities are constantly doing their very best to suggest to married women teachers who leave the profession that they should come back.

Mr. Harold Davies

Has my hon. Friend considered the possibility of encouraging married uncertificated and supplementary teachers to come back to the profession to teach in the infants' schools? Does he not also consider that it would help if the salaries of these teachers, some of whom have 20 years' experience, were made commensurate with their experience?

Mr. Hardman

All these matters are being taken into account.

Several Hon. Members rose—

Mr. Speaker

Apparently every ex-teacher in the House wishes to ask a supplementary question. We shall never get through Questions in this way.