HC Deb 10 March 1955 vol 538 cc596-7
21. Mr. Chetwynd

asked the Minister of Education whether he will now make a statement on the training, salaries, and recruitment of teachers of scientific subjects.

22. Mr. Marlowe

asked the Minister of Education whether he will make a statement on the Burnham Committee's recommendation for increased allowances for teachers of advanced work.

Sir D. Eccles

I have today told the Burnham Committee that I approve their recommendations. I expect them to be fully carried out by all local authorities. The proposed increases in pay will greatly improve the career prospects for these teachers. No distinction is drawn between teachers of different subjects, but, as the House knows, the greatest anxiety is in the field of science and mathematics. The Government are therefore reviewing the whole question of scientists in the public service, so as to ensure that the best and most economical use is made of them in the national interest. Meanwhile, the Federation of British Industries is asking all its members to refrain from raising salaries in competition with the Burnham proposals, and to review the use they make of science graduates.

I understand that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland is dealing with the position in Scotland in answer to the Question on the Order Paper in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, West (Sir I. Clark Hutchison).

Mr. Chetwynd

Whilst welcoming that answer, may I ask the Minister whether he expects those steps to meet the acute shortage in the near future? Can he say what action he will take to see that graduates in industry can give part-time service in the field of science education?

Sir D. Eccles

I can assure the hon. Member that that is one of the questions which the Federation of British Industries is bringing to the notice of its members. Undoubtedly it is very necessary that we should get as many part-time teachers from industry as we can.

Mr. Marlowe

In view of the reference of my right hon. Friend to science and mathematics, is he satisfied that boys are staying long enough at secondary schools to avail themselves of further education in order to qualify in those subjects and, thereby, fulfil the demands both of industry and the teaching profession?

Sir D. Eccles

No, Sir, I am not satisfied, and that is one of the reasons I am considering additional maintenance allowances for secondary school children.

Mr. M. Stewart

In connection with the last supplementary question, has the Minister noticed a recent publication from which it appears that at comprehensive schools there is a tendency for pupils to stay longer at school than at non-comprehensive schools?

Sir D. Eccles

I think I know the publication to which the hon. Member refers, and I read it with great interest. I do not think the samples taken are of sufficient range to give very reliable information.