§ 10.23 p.m.
§ Miss Margaret Herbison (Lanarkshire, North)
I beg to move,That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Training of Teachers (Scotland) (Amendment No. 7) Regulations, 1953 (S.I., 1953, No. 1121), dated 21st July, 1953, a copy of which was laid before this House on 22nd July, be annulled.In the debate on the Estimates in the Scottish Grand Committee I and some of my hon. Friends asked the Secretary of State to withdraw the draft Regulations on the training of teachers. Since that time opposition has poured into his Department from many educational bodies in Scotland. But in spite of the representations that were strongly made in the Scottish Grand Committee, and in spite of these very strong representations that have since come to the Secretary of State, he has decided to present these Regulations to the House, Regulations which lower the standards and qualifications of persons who desire to enter the training colleges. It is true that the representations have had little effect. The Secretary of State has now decided that one of the subjects to be passed on the higher standard must be English. That is an improvement.
The right hon. Gentleman has also decided that these Regulations should apply only to women entrants. Originally they applied to some categories of men entrants. This again shows very clearly that the representations have had some effect. But the Regulations and what they contain are still a great danger to our country. The present position is that anyone wishing to enter a training college must have passed in two subjects on the higher standard and three subjects on the lower standard. These Regulations make it possible for a young woman to enter the training college with one pass on the higher grade, which must be English, and three on the lower, or two on the higher and two on the lower.
For a very long time in Scotland it has been the considered opinion of those interested in education that the present qualifications for non-graduate women are too low. The policy, particularly of the Educational Institute of Scotland has been graduation for every woman in the profession. These low qualifications the 1031 Secretary of State is now making even lower. The Joint Under-Secretary of State who is responsible for the Department of Education has had a Press conference in the last few days. I am not sure whether he has had two Press conferences——
§ Miss Herbison
On Friday there was in the "Glasgow Herald" a statement he made about these Regulations, and in the "Glasgow Herald" of Saturday the statement he made about the new bursary Regulations. In the case of each of these it seems that some members of the Press asked him how those things included in the Regulations compared with the position in England. On Friday we find that he says:I admit that our standards"—that is the standards asked of Scottish students—have hitherto been higher. The English will now be able to claim that in this narrow respect they are no worse than we are.On Saturday, when he was dealing with the bursary Regulations he said,Why should we have to drag ourselves at England's coat tails? We have our own traditions and surroundings and we think that within the Scottish conditions these are pretty adequate bursaries.There are two very different statements—one saying that these Regulations for entrants to training colleges bring us side by side with England and the other saying "Why should we drag behind England?" I would say that in the Regulations we are discussing tonight we are following England in a way that Scotsmen would not wish to do.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
May I correct the hon. Member? Actually the position in England is that their Regulations provide that the earlier training organisations, which correspond to our training authority, may at their discretion accept a person whose passes do not strictly fulfil the requirements of the Regulations, provided he or she is deemed likely to become a good teacher. That is all we are suggesting should be done here.
§ Miss Herbison
I am making no complaint that that is the position in England. I have known that for a long time. I am complaining of the fact that the Joint 1032 Under-Secretary wishes to hide behind England when it suits him and does not want to follow England when it does not suit him. That is the whole gravamen of my complaint. I would say indeed that these two statements of the Joint Under-Secretary show great vacillation on his part and are an excellent example of opportunism. I would say how typical this is of those who at present are responsible in this House for the well-being of Scotland.
What do hon. Members opposite know about the Scottish educational system? From my inquiries, I would say precious little. The hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Sir W. Darling), who I see about to interrupt, is among the nine Scottish Members on the Government side who were educated wholly in Scotland. Out of the 35 Scottish Members on the Government side, 21 were educated wholly in England. I find that four of them began their education in Scotland, but their parents did not seem to think it was good enough and they finished it across the border. Only nine of them had the whole of their education in Scotland.
Where are the children of hon. Members opposite being educated at present? Are their children being educated in our primary schools in Scotland? I should be surprised indeed if that applied to many, if any, children of hon. Members opposite. What moral right have they to try to foist on our children in the primary schools teachers with qualifications lower than those for which they would ask in teachers for their own children?
§ Mr. H. R. Spence (Aberdeenshire. West) rose——
§ Miss Herbison
I am sorry; I cannot give way. There are many who wish to speak and I must finish soon. I have been very good at giving way, and perhaps if the hon. Gentleman catches Mr. Deputy-Speaker's eye he will be able to make his point later.
When we were responsible for education in Scotland we were faced with exactly the same problem, but we tackled it in a very different way from the way in which the present Government are tackling it. We introduced a special recruitment scheme for teachers which required the normal qualifications from those wishing to enter the profession. In 1033 a little over two years that special recruitment scheme has brought in 1,069 recruits, of whom only 50 per cent. will be graduate teachers when their training is finished. Would it not have been much better for the Secretary of State and his Department to have tried to improve on that scheme, to have made that scheme more attractive and by so doing bring in more teachers while in no way lowering the qualifications asked for? If that is what they are doing, why this unseemly rush to lower the qualifications?
Perhaps in reply the Joint Under-Secretary will be able to tell me whether these figures are correct. He was reported as saying that in five years' time this lowering of the qualifications will produce 400 extra teachers for Scotland. I would say that was perhaps the maximum. It may even be fewer than 400 with the lower qualifications. Is he quite certain that as against that, at the most, 400, he will not lose many honours graduate teachers from the profession?
At present we are having the greatest difficulty in attracting teachers for mathematics and science. I pointed out in a previous debate that in almost every other profession in the country the qualifications are being raised. Qualifications required of doctors, dentists and other professional men and women are being raised and by so doing the status of those professions is being raised. By lowering the qualifications for teachers we shall obtain 400 non-graduate teachers in a little less than five years' time, possibly at the expense of honours graduates of whom we are very short indeed in the teaching of certain subjects
We on this side of the House are not the only people who oppose these Regulations. As the Joint Under-Secretary of State knows full well, many local authorities oppose them. The biggest two in Scotland, Glasgow and Lanarkshire, have protested to the Secretary of State.
§ Miss Herbison
I am coming to those reactionary local authorities who are ready to accept anything at all.
Glasgow and Lanarkshire are joined by Aberdeen, which has always been famous for its interest in education, and 1034 by Dumfries, Kincardine and Renfrewshire. They are all completely opposed to these new Regulations. As the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Sir W. Darling) has said, we find that Edinburgh is supporting the Regulations. One should not be surprised at anything reactionary that might come from Edinburgh City Council. Moray, Nairn and Sutherland education authorities completely oppose the Government's proposals.
It is evident that the education authorities in Scotland who are responsible for the education of the overwhelming number of Scottish children are opposed to the lowering of these entrance qualifications. The Joint Under-Secretary appears to be indicating dissent, but on examination I think it will be found that the overwhelming number of the children are under the care of local education authorities who are opposed to this scheme. The members of the local education authorities are the men and women who are on the spot and who face this problem of shortage of teachers every day. They are the men and women upon whom the Government have imposed the duty of providing facilities for education. Yet these same men and women are those who, in their wisdom, oppose the lowering of the entrance qualifications.
It is true that the National Committee support this proposal, but let us consider the views of those who are nearer the problem and those who know what qualifications should be required. There are four provincial committees on the training of teachers in Scotland. Three out of the four—the Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen committees—are opposed to this lowering of the entrance qualifications. I do not know whether the fourth—Dundee—have made any representations at all, whether they have told the Secretary of State that they support these proposals or whether they have kept silent. These men and women who are responsible for the training of teachers in Scotland realise what a retrograde step the Government are proposing. The Educational Institute of Scotland oppose this scheme completely.
Even at this late date the Joint Under-Secretary should reconsider the decision that he and his right hon. Friend have made. I should very much like to know 1035 from where this suggestion has come. I have my own suspicions, but I should very much like to know, because it means that if these Regulations become law tonight Scotland, who was always so proud of the fact that she demanded certain qualifications, is now going to be in a position of knowing that this Government—these Tories who are in control of us—have as little hope of dealing with educational problems as they had when I left training college, when it was not a question of a shortage but a surplus of teachers.
At that time teachers in Glasgow were teaching anything up to 50 children in one class, and I and hundreds of other graduate and fully trained teachers were going about the streets of Scotland, idle. The Tories of that day could not or would not deal with that problem, and they are saying today that they cannot deal with the present one.
I have never made an attack without proposing some other means of meeting the shortage. I ask the Joint Under-Secretary to read—if he has not already done so—what I said in the Scottish Grand Committee. The problem today is a shortage of educated men and women in all professions, and we are not going to cure that shortage if we do nothing to ensure that more of our children stay at school after they are 15 years of age. I beg him to bend all his energies to getting these children to stay at school after they are 15. Then, in five years' time, he would have many more students for the teaching and other professions than he has now, and without lowering standards in any way.
§ 10.42 p.m.
§ Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Tradeston)
I beg to second the Motion. In view of the fact that my hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) has covered a great deal of the ground in her able speech, I do not propose to follow her by repeating many of the points she made. I should like, however, to put one or two points, to which the Joint Under-Secretary referred in our debate on the Scottish Estimates.
When he was speaking then he said:Supposing there is a girl who, instead of getting 51 per cent. in French, gets only 49 per cent. but, on personal examination"—1036 a peculiar sort of phrase—is found to be well-qualified so far as all the attributes of teaching are concerned, the proposal is that the training authorities shall have the right to say, 'Yes, we will accept that exceptional case.'"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Scottish Standing Committee, 30th June, 1953; c. 89–90.]There are some unusual phrases in that statement by the hon. Gentleman, but I leave them to him. I should have thought that one of the attributes of education was a cultural background.
I simply cannot imagine a teacher in the proper sense of the word who was deficient in that respect. I should apply that yardstick not merely to one particular stage of education, but to all its stages. I think that cultural background is just as necessary at the infant stage of teaching as at the secondary stage, and, furthermore, to teach the pupil at the secondary stage is no more difficult than teaching at the primary stage or the infant stage. Teaching at the secondary stage is no more difficult than it is when dealing with the younger children; and time and time again we have heard complaints from secondary schoolteachers of the weakness of the material that comes to them from the primary schools. The various stages are interdependent.
If we are, by these Regulations, to lower the cultural background of those engaged in the early stages of education, then we shall weaken performances throughout the whole school. We shall hinder the pupil at every stage, and that is one reason why it is so important that we should maintain the standard of qualification of the teachers at all stages if we wish to maintain the standard of the output which comes from our schools today.
That is one of the chief criticisms that can be laid against this proposal by the Government. The Government are admitting to teacher training those who just fail in the leaving certificate examination. Is there any logical reason why they should not, at some future date, admit to teaching those who just fail at the training college? The second step could quite easily be a logical consequence of the step proposed tonight and that, to me, is one reason, and a very important reason, why we should oppose these Regulations in the Division Lobby tonight.
During the course of the debate on the Estimates stage when mention was made 1037 of this subject, I pointed out that we were dealing with an old type of solution which had been tried before in the teaching profession; that is, the lowering of the standard of entry; lowering the attainments necessary and, thereby, providing more necessary personnel for the schools. That method has failed in the past. It has been tried before without success. I have pointed out on a previous occasion that these Regulations were to apply principally to women. That is because it has unfortunately always been found easy in this matter to divide the teaching profession.
So long as we have these two different types of qualification, so long as the Government can say to the men, "This is something which does not affect you," so long will they find it easy to put the Regulations through, because they will have divided the teaching community. The Joint Under-Secretary of State met the objection about lower qualification by saying that the Regulations would not apply to men and that the qualifications necessary for entry to the training colleges would be preserved for them although it would be lowered for women. We welcome that little concession, but it is a qualified concession because it means that the Government have made the separation complete, which is a dangerous thing.
They are separating the women engaged in certain phases of teaching from the remainder of the teaching profession. They are applying more clearly than ever the old policy of dividing the profession in order to try to get part of it to carry out Government policy. That is a dangerous thing to do, for we cannot degrade one part of the profession, we cannot attack the foundations, without finding by and by a creeping paralysis affecting the entire profession. Gresham's law will operate here just as surely as it operates in other parts of our economy.
There is another reason why I oppose the Regulations. The attempt to lower the status of women, which is inherent in the Regulations, is in direct conflict with every trend in life today. The claim which women are making today is for a status and salary equivalent to that of men. We recognise that here; there is no discrimination within Parliament such as we are seeking to impose on the teaching profession. There is no discrimination in other professions—the medical 1038 profession. The claim for equality is being recognised more and more widely throughout every profession and business in the country, yet in these Regulations the Government are taking the retrograde step of moving in the opposite direction. That is wrong for the profession, for the children of the nation and for the nation itself, and because of that I hope the House, even at this late hour, will reject the Regulations.
§ 10.55 p.m.
§ Sir William Darling (Edinburgh, South)
I am pleased to enter this debate because the hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) was good enough to say that I was one of those qualified to take part in it. I understand that she went on to say that she thought I had a broad outlook. She went on in the language of exaggeration when she said that these Regulations were a great danger to our country. I must say that when I hear my country is in danger it is a call I am unable to resist. When I heard those words I had to look at these Regulations and the kind of problem we are discussing. It is to get more teachers. That is what we want.
That is the position, and the desire of the Secretary of State is to get more teachers. Is that not a laudable object which we may well commend to the House, although it may be that the method by which he proposes to do it may not commend itself to the hon. Lady and her hon. Friends; but the hon. Lady is prejudiced because she speaks from a very narrow point of view—the class of persons she represents.
§ Miss Herbison
The hon. Gentleman is quite wrong. I do not represent the Educational Institute of Scotland or any teachers in this House. I represent all the people of North Lanark.
§ Sir W. Darling
The hon. Lady entered this House as a representative of the profession she chose and in which she showed much distinction, and she still speaks from that point of view.
§ Sir W. Darling
The hon. Lady is by profession a teacher, and she is proud to be a teacher. She was a teacher of the very highest quality, and she speaks for a limited class quite effectively. I am not a teacher, I have never been one, I am 1039 not qualified, I am not one of those, but I am one of those of whom the teachers ought to be ashamed. They failed to make anything of me. They could do nothing for me, but the common people of South Edinburgh have shown on many occasions a high appreciation of my talents.
The object is to get more teachers ultimately in schools in Scotland, but immediately we have to do something about the present situation. We find we are not getting sufficient applicants to enter this extremely important calling. and if I understand the proposals, my right hon. Friend proposes to take special steps to get more teachers, more persons to enter the training colleges. In order to do that he has looked at the number of people coming forward and has found that a large number of persons, particularly girls, want to be teachers but have not the full qualifications to enter the training colleges.
§ Sir W. Darling
The number is unimportant. I do not think we want to deny to any clever young girl, who feels teaching to be her calling, the right to become a teacher. If she wants to do this I do not want to be the one to keep her out of it. I am not like the trade unionists who want to keep everything for people of their own class. If there is a girl in Edinburgh who wants to become a teacher, I do not want to discourage her. I am going to give her a job, particularly when I learn what the Regulation is.
This is what is happening. Here is a clever girl who has qualified in four subjects out of five, English, geography, history and mathematics, but who is not very good at Latin. She gets 100 per cent. in the first four subjects, but is not good enough at Latin. She is mad keen to be a teacher. On a Saturday she sets ups her little dolls and teaches them, she goes to Sunday school, but she has only four qualifications out of the necessary five subjects. But she has a feeling about teaching, she wants to impart knowledge, she has ideals and is anxious to be a teacher. This girl does not want to be a shop assistant, a nurse, or even an M.P., but under the present arrangement she is not allowed to enter the training college.
1040 A girl who qualifies in four subjects but fails in another may show personality and keenness at the interview. My right hon. Friend's proposal is that such a person should be allowed to enter a training college with a view to becoming a teacher. That is all the proposal is. There is to be no lowering of the standard upon leaving the training college. If the girl does not reach the required standard as a result of the course, she does not become a qualified teacher. We are pleading not for the qualifications to be lowered but for the right to enter the college. Should a keen girl with four qualifications, although not four and a half or five, be denied the opportunity of entering? My right hon. Friend says that she could get a chance.
I speak for a constituency which is in no way inferior to others in education. It is in no way behind Glasgow, nor does it humble itself before Dundee. The City of Edinburgh takes the view that it has a lot of bright girls to whom it would like to give the opportunity of becoming teachers. The hon. Lady and the hon. Member for Tradeston (Mr. Rankin) say that they are not to have it. The two hon. Members represent a trade union whose desire has been to keep a narrow class limitation in the interests of the profession. All trade unions act in that way. The hon. Members are acting true to form. They are narrowing down the area of choice of free citizens, and I object to it.
§ Mr. Rankin
On a point of order, I should like to make it clear, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that it is not true that I represent a trade union.
§ Sir W. Darling
It is not a very good tribute to the clarity of mind which the profession confers upon those who follow it that the hon. Member does not know what a point of order is. I believe I am right in saying that both he and the hon. Lady represent the teaching profession in the sense that they were at one time teachers and have not lost the taste for the profession. I suggest that they are trying to make their profession more exclusive, maybe for good reasons, like the engineers and other trades seek to do. They want to make it more difficult for people to join the profession. It may be 1041 a reasonable point of view, but I do not agree with it. I speak for Edinburgh, whose girls who want to become teachers are at present denied the opportunity.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
Who was it tried to keep certain people from opening shops in Princes Street?
Any discussion about shops in Princes Street on this Motion would be very much out of order.
§ Sir W. Darling
The hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) was as much out of order in that intervention as was the hon. Member for Tradeston just now.
Those who oppose the Motion are, intentionally or otherwise, restrictionists. They are hindering the opportunity of people to follow a certain calling. I should be in agreement with hon. Members opposite if the standards on leaving the training colleges were being lowered, but that is not so. People who are anxious to follow the profession are to be allowed to enter; if they qualify they will be allowed to become teachers, but if they do not qualify they will be forbidden to become teachers.
A young girl who is anxious to become a teacher takes her courage in her hands and enters a training college. She knows that if she fails to pass the required standard she will be discarded and will not become a teacher. She knows that her life will be broken. Yet, because she is to be given this opportunity, hon. Gentlemen opposite are against it. I do not think that by hindering and limiting the choice for the citizen to make a mess of his or her life it will improve education.
I would go further and say to the teachers and those who represent the teaching profession that this quandary in which we find ourselves is not a reflection on the Government, or its predecessor, but on the teachers themselves. We are not getting boys and girls coming forward with the necessary qualifications because the primary and secondary school teachers have failed in their duty and, having failed, now turn round and say, "Because you are not fit we are excluding you by law." That is most unfair and unjust. Here is a profession which has failed entirely to do its duty and, having failed to do its duty, attaches a penalty on 1042 children who are victims of its incompetence and ineptitude.
I hope these Regulations, put forward in such grandiose terms, it is "a calamity" said one member, "a disaster" said another, will be approved. Let it be quite clear that it is no calamity or disaster, but a worth while decision and a serious plan to increase the number of students into the teaching profession.
§ 11.12 p.m.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Henderson Stewart)
I think the Opposition were perfectly right to initiate this debate, and the Government welcome the opportunity to explain and justify the measures that are before us. It was to be expected that the hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) and the hon. Member for Tradeston (Mr. Rankin) would oppose these Regulations. They said that they would do so, and we know that in any matter affecting teachers they have a natural interest. In the present case their language has been almost as strong as their feelings.
Mr. A. Woodbum (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)
There is going to be a lot of misunderstanding if my hon. Friends are held to be speaking for teachers. Their interest in putting forward this Prayer is the interest of the children and not of the teachers.
§ Mr. Stewart
I did not say anything to the contrary, but it is clear that the hon. Members who have spoken feel very deeply about this matter. It does not necessarily follow in a problem of this nature that to feel deeply is the same thing as to think rightly. Deep feelings, particularly in this case, may very well lead one to quite wrong conclusions and to a completely distorted judgment of the situation. This is what we have witnessed tonight from the other side.
§ Mr. Stewart
According to hon. Members opposite, by introducing these revised Regulations we are taking what they call a retrograde step, a degrading step, which is a danger to our country. I must say that these phrases do not strike me as an expression of mature thought or sober judgment. Their language is rather biased and prejudiced; it is the 1043 language of political controversy rather than of impartial consideration. It really does not serve any good purpose for hon. Members to get so worked up about this matter. We have here certain plain, indisputable facts confronting us, facts which demand not only lip service—the hon. Lady gave them lip service—but action, if we are to safeguard the education of our children next year, the year after and for the next few years.
§ Miss Herbison
The hon. Gentleman has referred to me and says I have given lip service to the facts. I think that my time in his office showed clearly that my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenock (Mr. McNeil) and myself gave a great deal more than lip service to it. I would also draw to the attention of the hon. Gentleman that it is not only my hon. Friend the Member for Tradeston and myself who are opposing these Regulations, but provincial committees for training teachers and the education committees—ordinary men and women who are responsible for education in Scotland.
§ Mr. Stewart
I am sorry if I have upset the hon. Lady; I did not mean in the slightest that she did not do a good job when occupying my position. But I say that it is no good in the face of the existing facts to pay lip service to them; we have to take action on them. That is what I am concerned with now and I want to recite those facts for the benefit of the House. When the present Government took office this is what we found, and it is because of the situation in which we found ourselves that we are obliged to take the action we propose tonight, and for no other reason.
The year before we took office the hon. Lady and her hon. Friends had become very much concerned about the shortage of teachers and set up a Departmental Committee to ascertain the existing and prospective vacancies in the schools. The Committee reported early in 1951. It said that the staffing outlook was far from satisfactory; in October, 1949, the number of teachers required to replace uncertificated teachers, retired teachers and married women wishing to be replaced, and to fill vacancies was 2,300; and added:According to our estimates the figures will fall to about 1,250 by the end of 1952 but 1044 thereafter the occupation of new buildings, the rise in the school population and the virtual cessation of output from the Emergency Scheme will together bring about a deteriorating position, and, if the present trends continue, the total assessed as above will be at least 3,000"—that is to say, deficiencies—by 1956. The above figures minimise the gravity of the situation as several important factors such as the reduction in the size of classes have so far been excluded from the statistics.By any test, those were serious figures, and it was to the credit of the hon. Lady and her colleagues that they introduced the Special Recruitment Scheme, designed to attract to the teaching profession men and women who had gone into other walks of life. Successful candidates, as she quite properly said, had to pass the usual tests and have the usual training before being awarded a certificate as a teacher. On more than one occasion I have complimented the hon. Lady on that scheme and I do so again now. It brought in 1,069 effective students to the training colleges, of whom already 292 have completed their courses.
It may interest the House to know that of the total just over half have been accepted for graduate courses, just under a quarter for non-graduate courses and under one-tenth for technical courses. This is the point on which I want the House to concentrate. Good though that scheme was in theory, valuable though it has turned out as an instrument for additional recruitment, it was and still is attacked and denounced by many of the same people who are attacking this Measure we are considering tonight.
The hon. Lady was the object of criticism, even abuse, for her scheme, just as we are for the step we are taking. Let me recall to the hon. Lady some of the things that were said about her attitude and her scheme. The Educational Institute, in their journal of 19th October, 1951, just before the General Election, said,The present proposals … merely touch the fringe of the problem and are unworthy of a great profession.Later on, when the Secretary of State published draft Regulations to continue the scheme, the E.I.S. wrote to us on 29th February, 1952, to say,The Executive … have instructed me to intimate to you their opposition to the Secretary 1045 of State's proposal to continue the special scheme of recruitment.And one other example. In their journal, that is to say, the Scottish Schoolmaster's journal—
§ Mr. Stewart
The "Scottish Schoolmaster," the journal of the Schoolmasters' Association, in October, 1951, said this of the recruiting scheme,The constant dilution of the teaching profession by the entrance of individuals through emergency channels "—there they were referring to both the Emergency Scheme and the Special Recruitment Scheme—gives a feeling of instability regarding the qualifications which a teacher should possess.I could give other quotations of the same kind.
§ Mr. G. M. Thomson (Dundee, East)
Would the hon. Gentleman agree that the point he has just made disposes of the point made by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Sir W. Darling), and which I understand was imputed by the hon. Gentleman, that my hon. Friends are speaking tonight for the teaching profession? They were speaking for myself and other hon. Friends who are not members of the profession.
§ Miss Herbison
The hon. Gentleman has quoted what the Educational Institute has said. In the Estimates debate I took up the points they made and I also quoted the provincial committees of educational authorities who criticised the special arrangements scheme.
§ Mr. Stewart
The hon. Lady is quite right, and if she will be patient I will come to all these matters. The same sort of criticisms from the same people have been levelled against the scheme we are discussing tonight. I want the House to know that. We now know there was no justification for the fears expressed to the hon. Lady in 1951. She was right about it from the start. She said there was no justification for any qualms about dilution. I am just as confident tonight that similar fears arising from the present proposals will equally prove to be groundless.
Let me continue with the little bit of history I must offer to the House. Despite the success of the Special Recruitment Scheme—and it was a marked success, for 1046 the hon. Lady secured a large number of applicants—the problem of teacher-shortage remained and the hon. Lady realised that something additional had to be done. She spoke on the wireless and elsewhere most eloquently, making earnest appeals for more teachers. But there was a continued shortage which I think increased in her time.
When the second report of the Departmental Committee was presented to my right hon. Friend some months after we took office, the position was demonstrated to be more disturbing than ever. After making full allowance for the potential increase of entrants to the Training Colleges from the Special Recruitment Scheme and for other factors such as the new Code, this revised report found this:
First of all they found that the deficiency of teachers in October, 1951, was no fewer than 2,300. That is when we took office. Secondly, they found that, while normal recruitment, plus the output of the new scheme of the hon. Lady and of its predecessor, the Emergency Training Scheme, would safely cover wastage up to 1957, after that date, when the flow from these exceptional measures was likely—and I think the hon. Lady will agree may very well be likely—to diminish, the output from normal training courses would be insufficient unless more students entered the Training Colleges in the next few years. The conclusion of that second report, which was given to us a few months after taking office, was that unless something substantial was done, and done quickly, to stimulate recruitment, by 1957 the deficiency would rise to 3,300. That was the grim situation which the hon. Lady's Government left us to face and, somehow, to deal with.
When we examined the details and analysed the total figures we discovered three particularly dangerous features in that situation. First of all, the shortage of mathematics and science teachers was acute when we took office and had been worsening every year since the end of the war, and this Departmental Committee forecast that by 1957 the shortage of these highly specialised trained men and women would be as much as 26 per cent. of the total strength required.
I should perhaps tell the House that there are at present 1,550 teachers of 1047 mathematics and science in Scotland, that we are short of 280, and that the deficiencies are increasing at the rate of 50 per annum. The potential effect of that situation upon industry and upon the production of future scholars of these two supremely important subjects gave my right hon. Friend the gravest concern.
Next we discovered that in October. 1951, the shortage of women domestic teachers was 220 and by 1957 would rise to something over 300. Lastly we discovered that by far the largest deficiency of all was among teachers in primary schools, which accounted for almost half the total. In 1951 it amounted to 1,000. and we were advised by the Committee that by 1957 the figure would rise to at least 1,500.
The House is, I think, aware of the particularly difficult phase into which Scottish—and English—education has moved, and is moving in the course of the next few years. Partly because of the peak birth-rate in the years 1947–50, partly because of the continued drive for smaller classes, but not least as a result of the growing number of new schools in new housing areas, we shall in the course of the next few years be faced with a substantially larger school population. In primary schools it will mean an increase of 25,000 over this year's figure, and in secondary schools an increase of 52,000 on this year's figure. In consequence, we shall find an acute, an increasingly acute, demand for teachers.
Now, it is the combination of those conditions, concentrated as they are into a relatively limited period, and coming upon us almost at once—indeed, it has started already—that makes this problem so anxious and so urgent. That was the inheritance which we took over, and it was a pretty bleak inheritance. We had to do something swiftly and effectively, and since the problem is so many sided we had to consider not one remedy but many. I will tell the House what we propose to do. On the shortage of teachers of mathematics and science, my right hon. Friend has already indicated that he proposes to set up a committee to advise him. Tomorrow he will have——
§ Mr. Speaker
I think that the Regulations are of a much narrower scope than will enable the Joint Under-Secretary or anybody else to survey the whole educational field.
§ Mr. Stewart
I was replying to the hon. Lady, who dealt with the shortage of teachers of science and mathematics. She asked what we were going to do and I was about to say to the House that tomorrow my right hon. Friend has an interesting statement to make on this very matter. I leave it at that. Again answering the hon. Lady who asked what we were doing, we are proposing a propaganda campaign by leaflets, talks, speeches, and broadcasts, just as she suggested.
§ Mr. Speaker
These Regulations really deal mainly with the admission of women teachers, and all these other things are out of order. I do not think that the debate can go as wide as this.
§ Mr. Stewart
I am bound by your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, but when one is attacked and criticised by the mover and seconder of the Motion for not doing certain things, it is very difficult when one is refused the opportunity to reply.
§ Mr. Speaker
I suggest that the hon. Gentleman makes a general statement denying what has been said, if he feels so inclined, but that thereafter he should confine himself to the Regulations, for we really must get on with the business.
§ Mr. Stewart
I will content myself with saying that we are taking those measures, for which the hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North asks, to encourage more people to become teachers and to encourage particularly gifted children to stay on at school. We are doing exactly as she asked. We have increased bursaries by as much as 60 per cent. with that end in view, and soon we shall be undertaking an inquiry to find out whether there is anything that prevents people who otherwise would do so from becoming teachers. Teachers' organisations, and the hon. Lady, have said, "That is not enough. What you want to do is to give us bigger salaries." It would be out of order, however, to deal with that.
§ Mr. Stewart
Well, the teachers are saying that, and it would be out of order for me to deal with it.
1049 I think that the plans which I have outlined will commend themselves to the House. Many of them arise from suggestions made, among others, by the hon. Lady. We shall carry on with those plans with all the strength we have. But that demands good will from everybody concerned and, as every experienced person will know, these plans will take time to develop and fructify. Meanwhile—and that is the reason for this measure—the "bulge," that perplexing, educational monster advances upon us inexorably, and may overcome us unless we take special steps—immediately—to increase the flow of recruits into the Training Colleges.
The Regulations with which we are concerned, in the opinion of the Government, are an essential step towards increasing the flow of recruits. We have not taken this step of issuing these Regulations lightly, nor without seeking the best advice available to us in Scotland. I am satisfied, despite what the hon. Lady has said, that the bulk of responsible educational opinion supports us. It is true that a number of bodies and organisations have declared against these Regulations; but if the House would care to add up all the bodies who have pronounced they would find that just as many have come down in their favour as against them.
I could give the hon. Lady details of them if she asked me. For example, six education authorities have criticised them, but six are for them, in view of the changes we have made in the draft Regulations. The Association of Headmasters are against them, but the Association of Headmistresses are for them. One university senatus is against them, but the directors of education are for them. Three Provincial Committees are against them, but the National Training Committee—the central authority for training teachers in Scotland—pronounce in favour of them. Teachers' organisations are against them, but they were also against the hon. Lady's recommendations. When we recollect that the great majority of Scottish education authorities have not commented at all, it is safe to assume that the majority of them take our view, and that is certainly the impression I formed when I met the local authority associations some weeks ago.
1050 What does this scheme amount to? If the Regulations are carried into effect, what changes will take place? The answer is quite simple. Eighty or so additional girls each year will be given the chance to enter the Training Colleges and become certificated teachers of young children, but apart from that virtually no change will occur. It has been suggested that this is dilution. I ask, dilution of what? It is not dilution, in any sense, of the demands of the training colleges. Indeed, the tendency may be quite the reverse. The girl who enters the college with 48 per cent. instead of 51 per cent. in, say, Higher History will have no easy passage. She will be required to go through exactly the same training as others, to meet the same exacting tests, and pass the same examinations.
The very fact that she goes in with a mark or two less than her class-mates will make it incumbent upon her—and her instructors—to pick up the difference before the end of the course. If she fails to satisfy her instructors within the first few months of her course—within what is called the probationary period—out she will go. If, at the end, she falls short of the standards demanded by the College, again she will be failed, and will not become a teacher. Only those students who meet the normal, full requirements of the Training Colleges will be awarded certificates as qualified teachers.
That being so, I cannot understand how this can be described as dilution. It is a complete myth. There is no dilution. That is the situation, and I feel that the House should not be unduly moved by the spate of specious propaganda which has descended upon us. The situation with which my right hon. Friend is now confronted, is that at this moment we have a crisis on our hands. It is nothing less than a crisis. Present methods are insufficient to meet the country's educational needs. Others have to be found—and found at once.
I have searched earnestly for alternatives to those proposals which the House has discussed tonight. I have waited anxiously for constructive suggestions from the Opposition, but I have heard none. In fact there are no practical alternatives. None have been offered by anybody in the discussion tonight, nor have any been offered by anybody outside; and, since there are no practical 1051 alternatives, my right hon. Friend has had to take a decision. But, he is conscious of the many fine traditions of Scottish teaching, and he desires that we shall maintain our high standards. He is resolved that the children of this generation shall by adequate education, with classes of proper size, and with adequate teachers; and, in the interests of the children—which must be our overwhelming order that they may have
§ sufficient teachers, he has come to the conclusion, reluctantly, but confidently, that this change must be made.
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Training of Teachers (Scotland) (Amendment No. 7) Regulations, 1953 (S.I., 1953, No. 1121), dated 21st July, 1953, a copy of which was laid before this House on 22nd July, be annulled.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 148; Noes, 164.1053
|Division No. 224.]||AYES||[11.36 a.m.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crowe)||Hamilton, W. W.||Parker, J.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Hannan, W.||Peart, T. F.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hargreaves, A.||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Balfour, A.||Hayman, F. H,||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)|
|Bartley, P.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Price, Phillips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Bance, C. R||Herbison, Miss M.||Proctor, W. T.|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Hobson, C. R.||Pryde, D. J.|
|Benson, G.||Holman, P.||Rankin, John|
|Beswick, F.||Houghton, Douglas||Rhodes, H.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Hoy, J. H.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Blackburn, F.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Ross, William|
|Blenkinsop, A||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Short, E. W.|
|Boardman, H.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Bowden, H. W.||Janner, B.||Simmons, C. J. (Brlerley Hill)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Sosklce, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Burke, W. A.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Keenan, W.||Steele, T.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Kenyon, C.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Champion, A. J.||King, Dr. H. M.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Clunie, J.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Coldrick, W||Lindgren, G. S.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Colliok, P. H.||MacColl, J. E.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||McGhee, H. G.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Cove, W. G.||McInnes, J.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Wallace, H. W.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Manuel, A. C.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Deer, G.||Mayhew, C. P.||West, D. G.|
|Delargy, H. J.||Mikardo, Ian||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Mitchison, G. R.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)||Monslow, W.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Moody, A. S.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Morley, R.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Fletcher, Erie (Islington, E.)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Foot, M M.||Nally, W.||Willey, F. T.|
|Forman, J. C.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||O'Brien, T.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Orbach, M.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Oswald, T.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Grey, C. F.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Pargiter, G. A.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Royle and Mr. Horace Holmes.|
|Aitten, W. T.||Boll, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Butcher, Sir Herbert|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Bennett, William (Woodside)||Campbell, Sir David|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Carr, Robert|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Birch, Nigel||Cary, Sir Robert|
|Arbuthnot, John||Bishop, F. P.||Channon, H.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Bowen, E. R.||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grlnstead)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Boyd-Carpenter J. A.||Cole, Norman|
|Banks, Col. C.||Boyle, Sir Edward||Cooper-Key, E. M.|
|Barber, Anthony||Braine, B. R.||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Browne, Jack (Govan)||Crouch, R. F.|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Bullard, D. G.||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Llewellyn, D. T.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Donaldson., Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Scott, R. Donald|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm||Lookwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Shepherd, William|
|Drayson, G. B.||Longden, Gilbert||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Fell, A.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Speir, R. M.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||McKibbin, A. J||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stem)||Mackle, J. H. (Galloway)||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Gomme-Duncan, Cal. A.||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Cower, H. R.||Maclean, Fitzroy||Stoddart-Soott, Col. M.|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Studholme, H. G.|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E||Summers, G. S.|
|Harden, J. R. E.||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydan, N.)||Maude, Angus||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C||Teeling, W.|
|Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Medllcott, Brig. F.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Mellor, Sir John||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Heath, Edward||Molson, A. H. E.||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Neave, A. M. S.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenehawe)||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Turton, R. H|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.||Vane, W. M F.|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Nugent, G. R. H.||Vosper, D. F.|
|Holland-Martin, C. J||Oakshott, H. D.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Hollis, M. C.||O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Walker-Smith, D. C|
|Hope, Lord John||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Horobin, I. M.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N)||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Osborne, C.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Partridge, E.||Wellwood, W|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Peyton, J. W. W.||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Pitt, Mist E. M.||Wills, G.|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Powell, J. Enoch||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Kaberry, D.||Rayner, Brig. R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Kerr, H. W.||Redmayne, M,||Major Conant and|
|Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Remnant, Hon. P.||Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith.|
Question put, and agreed to.