HC Deb 08 July 1952 vol 503 cc1079-80
25. Mr. Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland for an estimate of the number of schoolchildren who will be employed in the gathering of potatoes during the coming harvest; and what measures he intends to take to ensure adequate teacher supervision of these children.

Mr. J. Stuart

About 50,000. I have again asked education authorities to ensure that every facility is given to teachers to offer their services.

Mr. Hamilton

Is the Minister aware that the response last year, according to the Report, was not very encouraging and that non-teacher supervisors had therefore to be employed? Will the Minister give an assurance that whoever is employed in the supervisory capacity, it will be full and complete supervision so as to ensure that no farmer exploits the position and that every farmer fully observes all the conditions of the scheme?

Mr. Stuart

I quite agree with the hon. Gentleman. We certainly agree that farmers should not be allowed to exploit the position.

Mr. Woodburn

Would the right hon. Gentleman make a further appeal to teachers? For some reason or another there seems to be an effort to discourage teachers from taking part in this work. There is a great deal of educational opportunity in the field, apart altogether from the time spent on potato lifting, for nature and natural things can be taught to children in a way which is not possible in the schools. I think teachers are missing a great opportunity of helping children when they do not take full part in this work.

Mr. Stuart

I agree entirely with the right hon. Gentleman's remarks, and I may say that the education authorities have been asked to ensure that every facility is given to teachers who are willing to take part.