HC Deb 22 November 1951 vol 494 cc543-4
13. Mr. Edward Short

asked the Minister of Education whether she will ensure that all His Majesty's inspectors of schools have had adequate teaching experience in the types of schools they are called upon to inspect.

Miss Horsbrugh

No, Sir, it would impose an undesirable rigidity on the service to make such a requirement. His Majesty's inspectors are drawn from all parts of the teaching profession and may be called upon to inspect any type of school in which their advice is likely to be useful.

Mr. Short

Does not the right hon. Lady agree that since different types of school have different methods and pupils of different ages it is very unfair to the school teachers and everybody concerned that an inspector should be called upon to inspect a type of school of which he has no experience, especially in view of the fact that he will be inspecting the work of experienced teachers and their future professional prospects may well depend upon the reports given?

Miss Horsbrugh

No, Sir, I think it would make for too much rigidity. I am sure the hon. Gentleman will agree if someone who had perhaps been teaching art, but not in a primary school, was asked to give advice it would be very useful. If the hon. Gentleman's suggestion was adopted as a rule, we should not profit by it; it would be better to leave the matter as it is.

Mr. Edward Evans

Do the right hon. Lady's observations apply to specialised branches of teaching, such as the special schools branch for blind, deaf, epileptics and so on?

Miss Horsbrugh

I think it is better not to lay down a hard and fast rule but to try and see that His Majesty's inspectors can bring varied experience to their work; I think this would be of help to the teachers and to the schools.

Colonel Alan Gomme-Duncan

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that, as there is a desperate shortage of teachers in every grade of teaching, if we take teachers and make inspectors of them it will only lessen the number of teachers?