§ Question again proposed, That this House do now adjourn.
§ 5.44 p.m.
§ Mr. Carmichael
When the House was interrupted by Black Rod, I was dealing with slum schools in Glasgow. Many of them are almost 100 years old. That is admitted by the education authority of Glasgow. I would like to reinforce the claim made by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) by reading something that was said by the Director of Education of Glasgow in his progress report. He said:There are few schools in the built-up parts of the city that do not require attention in some important respect; many are urgently in need of major reconstruction and a substantial number are completely obsolete and quite unsuited to meet present-day requirements. Many of these schools are situated in congested areas on very restricted sites with limited or no playground space, inadequate and unsatisfactory cloakroom, washing and lavatory facilities, poor ventilation and heating, no place where children can assemble as a school, and staff-room conditions quite unworthy of the teaching profession. There is great need for a progressive and systematic scheme of reconstruction of the older schools in the city.Having read the report issued a few days ago by the Chancellor and the Secretary of State, I see no possibility of any change in the condition of those schools. Conditions are much more severe for the children, because they are living in overcrowded slum dwellings and have to go 889 to schools where there is no possibility of their getting decent facilities because the schools are also overcrowded. In many of the primary schools of Glasgow classes range from 40 to 54 pupils. It is obvious that a teacher must be very painstaking in those circumstances.
Many of these schools have sound exteriors, although the classrooms are the same as they were more than 60 years ago. The school to which I went in Bridgeton has a very sound exterior, but the classrooms are just as they were when I was a boy. It should be possible for the Education Department of Scotland to make a study of the schools which are being built in the new towns, and try to reconstruct classrooms in the congested areas on similar lines. The desks in the old schools are just the same as they were when I was a boy. In the new town of East Kilbride one will find a perfect school. If a little effort were made there could he some reconstruction of the schools in these slum areas.
I admire the teachers in these slum schools, who, although they do their work with great enthusiasm, are bound to be dissatisfied with their lives because of the depressing conditions in which they have to work. The problem of their salaries could easily be adjusted if the Government adopted a more generous attitude, in view of the job which these teachers do.
My hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. Thomson) referred to the problem of the fee-paying schools. In political warfare it is often said that hon. Members on this side are the people who are associated with class antagonism. Take it from me—the fee-paying school is a school of snobbery. In 1941 Glasgow Corporation decided to abolish fee-paying schools. It went to the then Secretary of State for Scotland—I do not require to mention his name—and he refused to agree to the corporation's proposal. Many of the people who go to fee-paying schools in Glasgow come from outwith the city. The amount of money they pay in fees meets less than three months of their education.
It is strange that an ordinary child in Bridgeton has no chance of getting into Kelvinside Academy while the child of a person who happens to be in a profession, 890 although he is outside the city, can be taken there to be educated. I have been at Kelvinside Academy, Glasgow High School and the Glasgow Academy when the pupils have been going in. I have watched the fathers coming up with their cars, taking their sons to school. I never yet saw a miner taking his child to Kelvinside Academy or a shipbuilding labourer taking his child there in a motor car, or a street sweeper in Glasgow taking his child to the Glasgow Academy. Despite all the legislation we have had upon education, there seems no possibility even today or for generations to come for the miner, shipbuilding worker or street sweeper to send their sons to those fee-paying schools.
If we want a properly educated community, every child born in this land is entitled to the same opportunity, but the people of the East End of Glasgow, in Gorbals or Maryhill, are denied that opportunity from the day they are born. Hillhead High School has to advertise for pupils although some of the primary schools in the East End of Glasgow are on short time because of overcrowding. Sound education gives a child a good background. He must become a member of the community and play his part whatever his profession. Likewise, he must be an individual with his own characteristics. Therefore, I say that the whole system of education has a class bias because people without wealth are denied the right to give their children a decent education.
Who built the engineering shops, and even the schools? I do not mind professional people like lawyers, doctors and technicians giving their children the best education they can get. They are entitled to it, but they have no right to close the door to the children of the shipyard workers and the miners. Hopes are a bit blighted in this direction because of the tone of the recent Budget, and the possibilities are somewhat remote. I hope that in some Parliament and some local authority the opportunity will arise so that a child born in the East End of Glasgow or any other East End will have the same opportunity of education and of making his talents suitable to the community while retaining his own individuality.
§ 5.55 p.m.
§ Colonel Alan Gomme-Duncan (Perth and East Perthshire)
Following the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Carmichael) and the hon. Member for Dundee East (Mr. G. M. Thomson), I can safely say that every hon. Member agrees that the widening of educational opportunity for children of all classes is an aim and object worthy of the highest effort, The methods will be disputed, but the principle is accepted by us all.
I heard a rumour and saw it mentioned in a newspaper—I forget which newspaper—that it is proposed to raise the compulsory school-leaving age to 16. Without qualification, that would be a disaster. This does not mean that I think there are not children in our schools well worth keeping at school until they are 16. There are, and they should have the opportunity. When we raised the school-leaving age to 15 the principle was sound, but the way in which it was done was deplorable and has led to many troubles since in the educational world.
I do not profess to be an expert in this matter, but I think we must find a method whereby those for whom it will be worth while contributing the country's money on education for a further year should have the opportunity and should be given every possible chance, while those who cannot benefit from further education of that type should not clutter up our schools and increase the size of classes, and so on.
§ Mr. G. M. Thomson
I am most interested in what the hon. and gallant Member is saying. Would he apply the same principle to the great independent public schools of the country?
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
Having been removed from public school at 15 because I was considered to be not making any progress, I can say "Yes."
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
I was removed by my governor, and that was much more terrifying. Fathers in those days were fathers, believe me. I do not want it to be thought that I am against the widening of educational opportunity, but a cut-and-dried order that everybody is to stay at school is not the best way to do it. without careful preparation 892 beforehand. I will not go further than that.
I want to mention what I still believe to be an unhappy feature in education, and that is the bias against agriculture. Many children, many parents and many teachers think that there is something superior about being in a garage, or having something to do with electricity, to working on the land. That is a great pity, and is a tendency that ought to be countered and discouraged whenever possible. The agricultural worker can be as great an expert as any shipbuilder; what is more, the shipyard worker depends upon him for livelihood. Anything which tends to make children and their parents think there is something derogatory about going on the land must be countered by any means in our power. I hope that people in all walks of life, particularly in towns, will recognise this as a very dangerous trend which ought to be stopped.
I am not at all satisfied with the teaching of Scottish history. I was talking to an educated woman the other day—she is supposed to be educated, but it is always rather doubtful what that term means—and she said, "Oh, but English history is so much longer than Scottish history." That struck me as being at about the bottom level of stupidity, but it was an attitude of mind not, I suppose, confined to that particular woman. I am not satisfied that in Scottish schools Scottish history is being sufficiently gone into. We have a great and wonderful history and, up to the time of the Act of Union, the two histories should be taught separately. We have, of course, the person who says, "When I talk about England I include Scotland," but one does not get very far with that in history.
I hope that Scottish history will, quite automatically, be made an item of the curriculum in Scottish schools. No Scottish child should be brought up without a grounding in the history of his or her country. It is, after all, a very creditable one, with a few discreditable incidents.
§ 6.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Malcolm MacPherson (Stirling and Falkirk Burghs)
I have a few points which have been brought to my notice by constituents. First, there is a group of pensioners who left the teaching profession before 1945, and these people are suffering badly now from the decline in 893 the value of money. The ten years of fairly steady inflation since the war have put them in an extremely difficult position, and I would ask the Government to pay some attention to them as an individual class. They do need a little more help.
I have also had a number of representations on equal pay. All the arguments that have been advanced against equal pay by the men's side of the profession seem to be predicated on the assumption that teachers' salaries will, in any case, remain extremely low. If teachers' salaries were all not at their present level, but at that of their contemporaries at the universities who are now in other callings, I do not think that that argument would have any validity at all. It starts from the assumption that teachers' salaries will remain extremely small, so the real substance of the case is a hidden plea for better salaries all round. There is no doubt that if those salaries were made comparable to those paid in other professions, a good deal of the complaint would be removed from the minds of men teachers.
I have had a number of letters about the new scale of salaries in further education. I welcome the establishment of a scale—it is an extremely good thing—but there have proved to be a number of anomalies in the scale suggested. As every one of my correspondents say "I have sent this statement to the Secretary of State giving all the details," the hon. Gentleman will be fully aware of them and I shall not, therefore, pursue it further.
Had there been less pressure on the time at our disposal—and had I, myself, not felt that I should repay the brevity which has been shown by more brevity on my own part—I should have liked to have commented more fully on the Appleton Report. One of the recommendations of that Report was the deferment of the National Service of scientists who were willing to teach in the schools. I am sorry that the Secretary of State took so long to make up his mind on that, but I am glad that he did make the decision eventually.
There is, however, one thing that shakes me to the core—and it is something to lay not at the door of the Joint Under-Secretary but at that of some of his colleagues. The high-powered Appleton Committee 894 made this recommendation without thinking it even necessary to call representatives of the Service Ministries before it to ask what these men were doing while in the Services. In itself, that is an extraordinary reflection on the attitude which an intelligent section of the public adopts to what is happening to people going into the Forces.
Furthermore, since the recommendation was made, and accepted, no evidence whatever has been produced, and no attempt made to produce it, that so far the Services have been using those men well and will miss them. I do not think that they have been using the men well, and it will be good if, as a result of that recommendation and the policy following it, they go into the schools. That is, perhaps, a side-issue, but it is the sort of issue one cannot evade when discussing education. So much of educational policy depends on the availability of the kind of manpower we want.
Even if the new policy, based on the recommendations of the Appleton Committee, brings more scientists into the schools there will be a good deal still to do. In particular, we need to adopt the policy outlined by my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson)—it has, of course, been put forward in earlier debates—of increasing the number of students who stay on at school. But this point arises there. People assume that because, to use my hon. Friend's phrase, we are to double the number of people having school-leaving certificates we will double the pool from which we can draw staff for the schools. By hypothesis, those who will stay on at school after 15 years of age are the intelligent people who, when nowadays they go into industry, are promoted to the executive positions and, in time, run industry.
I hope that we shall not assume that industry, losing these recruits at 15, will simply say "Goodbye" to them. Of course it will not. That increased pool of those of higher intelligence will be increasingly raided by industry at a later stage; otherwise, industry would not have the intelligence in its ranks to run its own show. While I am all in favour of the policy—and one good thing will be that it will increase the supply of teachers—it must be realised that nothing like all of those going on to higher education will be recruits for the schools.
895 Judging by the lines on which industry is now running we shall indeed be lucky if we get from the new pool as many as we did from the old.
One hon. Member opposite mentioned this morning's news about an industrial fund being raised for the teaching of science. I welcome that. I think it is a very good thing. But I notice, also, one or two other points about it. For a long time some of the larger and more progressive industrial firms have shown a great interest in this question of the maintenance of a continuing supply of science teachers. In many cases they have taken a greater and more intelligent interest in this question than have the teachers' organisations themselves. I am very glad that they are doing something practical in the matter.
My hon. Friends the Members for Dundee, East, and for Bridgeton (Mr. Carmichael) have referred to the different types of schools which cater for different sections of the population. The fund to which I have referred is restricted entirely to public schools and direct grant schools. It is fortunate that we have this fund and that science teaching should be encouraged, but it is to be noted that of the small proportion of science graduates who now decide to teach the great majority are attracted to the public schools and to the direct grant schools.
This will merely increase the attraction of this type of school for these people and, unless modifying influences set in, will therefore tend to increase the difference, educationally more than socially perhaps, between these different types of schools. A profession of this sort evidently has its disadvantages as well as its advantages. The advantage is obvious—£1,500,000 to improve science teaching. But there are difficulties as well.
I am sorry that what I have said has been so scrappy. I should have preferred to have prepared a lengthy oration with a massive train of thought running through it and reaching a final conclusion, but I was not in a position to do that, and I hope I have not detained the House too long.
§ 6.12 p.m.
§ Mr. C. N. Thornton-Kemsley (North Angus and Mearns)
Before I come to my main theme, may I, as one representing 896 a rural area in Angus and the Mearns, say how much we have appreciated again the availability of the schoolchildren in gathering the potato harvest. I say that because we really do appreciate it and because it is clear that without the help of children we could not possibly have got in the potato harvest. It is obvious that we shall need them again until we can find the kind of machine which will gather in the potatoes and reject the stones. I hope that we shall find that machine soon.
I was talking to several schoolmasters on this subject during the Recess. I was on the land with the potato gatherers, and I met one schoolmaster who said to me, "It is no good denying that the potato holidays upset our educational programme, but as against that I like to set this factor: after the potato holidays are over, the children come back with new wellington boots and mackintoshes, better shod and better clad to face the inclement weather of the winter than they would have done if there had not been that additional money going into the homes." Those were the words of a schoolmaster of a large school. He said that in nearly every case, in the decent homes, the money that goes to the families is spent upon the children. I was very glad to hear that.
In the old days before we were so centralised, we used to arrange with the local schools when they should close. There was a complete local option about it. Now we have centralised everything and we have to have the same holidays over the whole of Scotland. This year the potato holidays were arranged for a certain date and then, because of the weather, they had to be put forward by a week. That leads to considerable losses and great difficulty, no doubt for the schools but also for the farmers.
I cannot see why we should not get back to a certain degree of local option by counties. It cannot be expected that the potatoes will be ready to be gathered in Midlothian at the same time as they are in Kincardine or Angus. I cannot see why we should not allow the county education committees, in consultation with the local farmers, through their organised channels, to decide by counties when the holidays should be. I believe that a committee has been set up to look into all the aspects of this question of 897 school labour for the potato harvest, and I hope that this committee will give attention to this matter of potato holidays.
§ Miss Herbison
Since the hon. Gentleman is so loud in his praise of potato gathering and the fine influences that come from it, may I ask whether he has tried to use his influence in any way so that pupils in the great public schools and in our select secondary schools may have the benefits which he evidently thinks flow from potato gathering?
§ Mr. Thornton-Kemsley
Yes, perhaps that subject will be considered by the Appleton Committee.
My time is limited and I wish to deal with one aspect of the shortage of teachers which is of so much concern to us all. The staff position in Scotland is better than it was before the war. Comparing 1954 with 1939, and despite the increase in the school-leaving age, the number of pupils in our Scottish schools has increased by 8 per cent. while the number of teachers has increased by 11 per cent. Moreover, there are more teachers entering the training colleges—25 per cent. to 30 per cent. more than there were before the war—which is the more remarkable since the age groups from which the teachers are drawn are lower than they were between the wars. Nevertheless, in spite of these facts, not sufficient teachers are coming forward to teach in our Scottish schools.
This is especially the case with the specialist teachers of mathematics and science in our secondary schools where, we are told, the shortage is likely to reach about 600 by 1961, and where by 1957 recruitment, if it goes on at the present rate, will total only 30 per annum as against an annual wastage of 50. This is a very serious situation, because in the scientific revolution in which we in these islands are playing a leading part it is essential that if we are to stay in the forefront we should have the teachers and the facilities to train the engineers and the scientists to handle the new machines in the electronic factories of the future.
Many references have been made, as one would expect, to the findings of the Appleton Committee. The Report of the Committee analysed the causes of those shortages, and one of the reasons it gave 898 was the competing demands for mathematicians and scientists in industry. In conditions of full employment the young graduates seem to prefer research to teaching.
The Report makes certain recommendations. Some of them require Government action and, together with the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Malcolm MacPherson), although perhaps with more enthusiasm than he showed, I welcome the answer given on the last day before the Recess to my right hon. Friend the Member for Kelvin-grove (Mr. Elliot), who was told by the Minister of Labour and National Service that favourable consideration would be given to the indefinite deferment from National Service of first and second class honours graduates in science and mathematics who intended to take up teaching. Other recommendations of the Committee require action and study by the universities, and I want to ask my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary whether he has any information to give the House about those aspects of the Report.
In the old days we used to speak about the three R's of education—reading, writing and arithmetic. I am sure that we shall have done much to solve the problem of the shortage of teachers, not only among specialist teachers of mathematics and science, when we have given proper attention to the three S's—salaries, superannuation and status.
Many of my hon. Friends have spoken about salaries this afternoon, including my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Renfrew, East (Sir G. Lloyd), my hon. Friend the Member for Scotstoun (Mr. J. R. H. Hutchison) and my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Nairn), and I do not want to add to what they have said. There is much which could be said on superannuation, but perhaps we are wiser to defer our comments until we have seen the Government's proposals in the Teachers (Superannuation) Bill, which we all await with interest and which some of us await with anxiety.
There is one comment about superannuation which I want to make before passing to the question of status. I want to urge that in that legislation, or administratively as soon as possible, arrangements should be made to pay the superannuation of retired teachers by monthly instead of 899 quarterly instalments. I have been trying for years to get this done and I am getting rather tired of the excuses which are always made. It is said that it would require a large increase in the Paymaster-General's staff and that there would be an additional charge in the year of the change-over. I find it difficult to believe that a Government Department cannot devise methods for making monthly instead of quarterly payments of pensions without having a large increase in staff.
Dealing with the other excuse, it is true that more will have to be paid to teachers in the twelve months of the change-over. I am told that in Scotland it is no more than £1½ million. Of course, it is only an accounting matter which would be made up in due course. In my view it cannot be a valid reason for rejecting a humanitarian plea. In many cases the gap of three months is causing distress, and I know from my own personal contacts that there are real difficulties. For my part, I shall not cease to urge that the administrative change should be made as soon as possible, for it means so much to many who deserve so greatly of all of us.
On the question of status, the right hon. Member for East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn) spoke wisely about the great honour it is to be a teacher. We all remember examples of the Scottish dominie who was so greatly respected as a leader of the local community. We can think of women teachers in the Sunday schools, leaders of the W.R.I. and of the girl guides. When this sort of leadership happens, it happens because these men and women have attained positions of respect and leadership through their wide range of interests and because they are willing to take a lead in public and local affairs.
This may be regarded as a small point, but I think it is important: I should like to see more of the honours for public service going to school teachers—such honours as the B.E.M. and the M.B.E. I should like to see men and women school teachers named in every honours list. It would do something to let them see that their status is important and that they are respected throughout the land.
I join with my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Renfrew, East in saying that teachers ought to have more say in the formation of policy. I know it is a 900 difficult question and that they would have to have locally elected representatives beside them, but I should like to see arrangements made whereby the local education authority could co-opt to its education committees advisers from the teaching profession who would sit in as assessors and advisers without having voting rights.
As one of the long-term remedies for making good the shortage of school teachers, the Appleton Committee noted with satisfaction the increase in the number of bursaries made possible by the education authorities under the Bursaries Regulations of 1953. Many of us, on both sides of the House, were privileged during the summer to meet representatives of the Scottish Union of Students who discussed with us the final form of Amendment No. 1, 1955, to those Regulations, which is about to be promulgated.
When we consider students' grants, two questions come to mind: first of all, are the grants themselves sufficient to prevent individual cases of hardship—and the students told us that they were not sufficient in all cases and, secondly, are the grants fair when compared with those in England and Wales—and the students say that they are not. We were informed that Scottish students who are entirely dependent upon grants will each receive £65 a year less than their English counterparts if they live at home and £90 less if they live away from home. I want to ask my hon. Friend whether that is so and, if it is, why it should be so.
The Regulations, which many of us have studied, are a great improvement upon the original draft. They are an improvement, for example, because the level of parents' incomes above which contributions are required from parents has been raised. Moreover, I am informed that the Scottish Education Department, in its Circular 313, urges local education authorities to give individual consideration in deciding upon allowances for books and materials and deciding upon vacational allowances. I believe that few in this House would disagree with the Circular, which saysIt is highly desirable that students should be free to devote to reading and study a reasonable proportion of the vacation…and that they should also have time for relaxation.There has been, some would think advisedly, a great deal of discretion allowed to local authorities in these 901 matters, but that local discretion has given rise to a considerable lack of uniformity. I think we must watch the application of discretion very closely indeed. It may be necessary to press for an advisory committee to advise upon the distribution of these student grants. That may not be necessary but, on the other hand, unless we can get something like uniformity and fair dealing as between one authority and another, it may be advisable for us to press for an advisory committee of that kind. We have to consider this item, this one facet of the problem, in its relation to the paramount need for an adequate supply of graduates both for industry and, as is our particular concern today, for the teaching profession.
§ 6.32 p.m.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
We are discussing today the Scottish Education Report. I think it would be rather a waste of time for me to use the very short time at my disposal to go into questions of salary, students' grants and other things which are still to come before the House in the form of regulations. I think it is symptomatic of the state of affairs in the teaching profession that we have this controversy over salaries and division of opinion regarding the merits of equal pay coming particularly from hon. Members opposite. The Government had better face the fact that there never was a time when there was more disgruntlement and frustration in the teaching profession than at present.
What we should be concerned about is the effect that that will have on education and on the recruitment of teachers. We all know how short we are of teachers. There is the question of shortage of teachers and conditions of employment. Not only are the children affected by overcrowded classes, but the effect on the teacher trying to do his best under those conditions is such that it leads to frustration. There is the question of salaries and status. May I say to the hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley) that if he offered the teacher today, in recognition of the status of his profession, an increase of salary or an M.B.E. the teacher would take the increase in salary. That would certainly be much more of an incentive to recruitment than the M.B.E.
902 There is the question of technical education. We are short of teachers everywhere for technical education, not only of men teachers but women teachers. The only thing on which we could agree with the hon. Member is that he was the only hon. Member opposite who had a good word to say about women teachers. What women teachers will think about the remarks of the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Nairn) I do not know, but I can see his majority of 167 already melting because of the speech he made today.
When teachers see what happens to retired members of the profession who want an increase in superannuation they are not given any confidence in the Government. The crux of the matter is that if the salaries to which women are being raised by equal pay were adequate and in keeping with those paid in other professions there would be no controversy over equal pay. I regret very much, considering the effect that has on recruitment and also on the state of mind of existing male teachers, that the Government dealt so quickly with the suggestions put forward by the E.I.S. on salaries.
What is to be the effect of the recent White Paper on buildings? We have been told that education authorities are to keep their capital estimates down to what they were last year and even new works already authorised cannot begin unless there is special need and urgency.
Take the position of Kilmarnock. I asked a Question some time ago and the Joint Under Secretary of State told me that he had had no complaints about Kilmarnock. If I were given to unparliamentary language, there is one short word I could use in response. The fact is that the education committee for Ayrshire saw the Department in the summer and set up a special working committee to speed up what was required in Ayrshire. In the county we require 33 new schools and seven extensions. On the basis of the progress of last year it will take fifteen to twenty years to get that development. The people concerned in administration have no idea of what will be the outcome of that programme—not the ultimate completion, but what is to happen next year to that programme—in view of the recent announcements by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State.
903 In Kilmarnock, we have a new housing area and children have to travel right across to the other side of the town to be educated. The Government have failed properly to plan educational development with housing development. In Shortlees, Kilmarnock, we built a school but in five years there has been no educational development and that school is already overcrowded. There is continuing discontent among the people of Kilmarnock and elsewhere at the inadequacy of school buildings, while in another part of Ayrshire there is the frustration of having a new school with 14 teachers only five of whom are qualified. Is that not a shocking position? There is nothing to be proud of in that.
I am certain that the Scottish Education Department knows the problem and is willing, as far as it can, to get on with it and to get on with the greater problem—the whole question of educational progress and development in Scotland. It cannot do so because it is bogged down with the shortage of teachers, the controversy over salaries, the question of qualification, the over-sized classes, and so on. There are fewer in the secondary schools this year because there are more in the primary schools. The Department cannot get on to the actual question which should be concerning Scottish education at present.
This is high-lighted by the fact that of 72,860 leavers from the secondary schools—50,281 on the three-year course—only 43 per cent. completed their three-year course. That educational potential is being wasted. If we take the five-year course we find that of 22,579 who left last year only 6,174 embarked on the course offered. This is the course for which there is so much competition and dividing up and segregation of pupils, and in which 73 per cent. of the people who started to get into this competition for places wasted their opportunity.
I am not going into the reasons for that, because I have not got the time, but these are the things we should properly be discussing, and half a day s not nearly enough time in which to discuss them. On the basis of what is happening and of the schooling that we need, we ought to be developing our educational system today.
904 The administration is so beset with physical and material problems that it never gets down to relating education as such to the changing world—to the world of nuclear and scientific advance and of automation. Obviously, given the right type of administration here and the right kind of leadership throughout the world, we shall have far more leisure. I do not believe that schools and education exist merely for turning out either skilled or unskilled craftsmen. We need to judge schools not by the number of teachers that are turned out, not by the number of geniuses or the number of dunces. I would rather say that they should be judged more by the number of social misfits and the number of "Teddy boys" than anything else.
To my mind, there is no dual purpose in education. The soul and centre of education is the child itself, and its future life in the sense of its work in the community, not just as an individual making a living, but also in the greatly extended sense of living in leisure in its own time and with the ability to use it. I think we should be developing and making the best of our junior secondary schools. I have not the time to go into all the difficulties there, but this is still the Cinderella, though it is still the main hope of Scottish education. The development of the junior secondary schools, since we have got the chance, is the main hope of getting a really comprehensive secondary school system.
Scotland has a great tradition for education, a tradition which is not entirely justified. It was a tradition of the 5 per cent. of scholastic achievement possible, but of the 95 per cent. who were forgotten, who left school in the old days at the ages of 12 and 13 and now leave at 15, we should not be quite so proud. We are in danger today of getting into an educational backwater, and I urge the Government to awake to the fact and to put forward proposals which will make us lead once again in the world of education.
§ 6.43 p.m.
§ Mr. William Hannan (Glasgow, Maryhill)
It is indicative of the importance that we in Scotland attach to the subject of education that, in every year since 1945, in the Estimates debates, we have chosen, either as the Government or as the Opposition, to include the topic of 905 education. As has already been pointed out, the difficulty has been to find time for a debate because of the inability of the Government to make up their minds in the earlier part of the year whether or not a crisis was prevailing in the country.
Since this is the first occasion on which I have had the privilege and the honour of trying to take up the main points of criticism made from this side of the House, I hope that, as is usual, I shall have some sympathy and consideration from the House itself.
My hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) mentioned earlier today that, while attitudes to education differ, education itself is related to economic conditions and to the society in which we live. I am afraid that many of our good friends in the teaching profession itself are inclined to forget, as so many other people are inclined to forget, that the social services, of which education is one, will either progress, be static or regress according to the progress which we make in the economic field and the eagerness with which the Government of the day take up the main problems.
It has been evident since last December that the Scottish Education Department itself has been a victim of the blowing hot and cold economic policy, the acceleration and braking policy, pursued by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. There has been a lack of continued progress in this matter of the development of education, whether it be in the schools, in the enlistment of teachers or in any other of the main problems. In the circular of 4th December, 1954, the Secretary of State for Scotland indicated that at that time additional economic resources were being made available for unsatisfactory schools. He made it clear that this was in addition to the allocation, and that while priority had to be given to the new building, the schools of which my hon. Friend who was then the Member for Tradeston (Mr. Rankin) spoke two years ago could then be tackled.
In February we had the increase in the Bank Rate, and the action of the Chancellor in using the Bank Rate, which is indiscriminate in its effect, which again threw up the problems and, indeed, had an effect on projects irrespective of 906 whether they were desirable or not. Then, six weeks later, the Chancellor again indicated that by this time we could speak of the liberation of the human spirit, but in the circulars issued subsequently, the most recent of which is the most damaging, local authorities were, in fact, discouraged from going ahead with the building of schools.
We on this side of the House urge the Secretary of State for Scotland not to follow the words of the popular song and say, "Anything you can do we can do better." There is a growing volume of opinion in Scotland which believes that Scottish education is now in a crisis, and we think it would be apposite if the Joint Under-Secretary would indicate that there is an overall plan which will provide for what we think are the priorities.
First, not in the sense of importance, there are new buildings and the demolition of old ones; secondly, the enlistment of more qualified teachers and a reduction in the size of classes. Reference has been made by my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East and also by my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) today to the comprehensive school, and that means a re-examination of the 11-plus examination, which separates children after seven years of comprehensive education.
If I may now deal with some of these headings, I would point out that the Educational Institute of Scotland, which is a very important body, made this statement during the last Election:A greater proportion of the national expenditure should be allocated to the needs of education. The nation is devoting a smaller proportion of the national expenditure to education than it did before the war.I hope that the Joint Under-Secretary will examine this matter and endeavour to assure us that, if this is so—a responsible body of this character would not make such a statement without a real grievance —the Government will take action about it at the earliest possible moment and ensure that Scotland gets her fair proportion of the total capital investment in new buildings.
My right hon. Friend the Member for East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn) referred to schools. I ask the Joint Under-Secretary to make a plain, categorical statement so that out of this order, counter-order and disorder local authorities may be able to plan for some time 907 ahead and, in that way, use their resources to the best possible advantage. I am encouraged to ask the Joint Under-Secretary to do this because the speech of the Prime Minister at the Conservative Party Conference recently indicated that he had received an assurance from the Chancellor of the Exchequer that if there was one thing which would not suffer, come what might, it would be education designed to increase our available scientific manpower. If the Joint Under-Secretary can say that there will be no interference with the momentum of school building, that will be one of the best things that will have been done for Scottish education.
Answers have been given by the Secretary of State to Questions by hon. Friends of mine which have indicated that whereas in 1951—it was the present Government which cut the capital allocations in 1951, and that has had a most serious consequence for Scottish education since that time—the value of what was put in hand was about £7 million, it fell the following year to £3¾ million, and it was only in 1954 that we got back to the figure which obtained in 1951.
One of the most pressing problems is the provision of new places. I know that part of the Government's case is that they have provided more school places than was previously done. Indeed, in replying to an inspired Question by the hon. Member for Rutherglen (Mr. Brooman-White), the Joint Under-Secretary gave information to that effect. However, what he did not say was that about 19,800 of the 34,000 places were included in projects begun before 31st October, 1951. That information was supplied in an Answer given by the Secretary of State on 3rd May, 1955.
If I may turn to the shortage of teachers, which is a most complex question and certainly the most important one in the educational world, neither I nor any of my right hon. and hon. Friends pretend that there is an easy answer. The truth is, as hon. Members on both sides of the House have said, that the whole future of Scottish education turns on this question. It is not merely the future supply of teachers; it is also a matter of the increasing and cumulative effect of ineffective and unqualified teachers. If we are to accept unqualified and inefficient 908 teachers to take classes, we can surely only expect that what they produce will deteriorate and continue to do so until the standard crashes.
In the past, Scotland has been an economically poor country, and education has been looked upon by many families as a means of escaping from hard, cramping conditions. To be a doctor or teacher or a member of one of the other professions had its attractions. The Joint Under-Secretary has made his contribution in Advisory Council Reports. He made a speech in 1950 which I will not quote in full because of the pressure of time, but I should like to make a brief reference to it.
When he was leading the huge number of National Liberals in the House—all six of them—he made an astounding attack on the Government of that day because of their lack of action with regard to teachers. He said:It is the kind of strain that can be borne for a time, and cheerfully—as I know it is—but which, if it is allowed to continue indefinitely or for too long, may bring down the whole edifice of education in Scotland."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th July, 1950; Vol. 477, c. 2489.]He went on to say that the pride and glory of Scottish education in the old days was based mainly on the high attainments of the senior teachers, that our duty was fearlessly to inquire into the status, amenities and emoluments of the profession. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman still holds those opinions. He has now been in office in this Government for four years, and it is high time that education had some results from the policy which he advocated then, but it has not been implemented since he took office.
My hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock was right. There can have been few occasions in the past when the teaching profession was so disgruntled and—we must add another word—cynical about its conditions and about the efforts which are being made by the Government.
One thing about which I am profoundly sorry—I am sure the whole House will agree with me—is that the teachers themselves are the worst propagandists for their profession. A word of caution must be uttered about this, because pupils are reading and listening to the comments which the teachers are 909 making about their profession. If we can enlist the aid of the teachers—we must provide proper conditions for them—they can make the greatest contribution towards increasing their own strength.
One of the anomalies about the recruitment of teachers is that, whereas every other profession is raising its standard of entry, only the teaching profession has had its lowered, and that has been done by the Joint Under-Secretary and the present Government. One change which has come about in the profession is that the children of teachers are not now following their parents' profession to the same degree as in the past. If the Government can do something to increase the number of teachers and will retract the aggravating Amendment No. 7 made to the Regulations, they will have done one of the best things that can be done to help to assuage the feelings of teachers throughout Scotland.
The qualifications of the teachers have been lowered, the teachers are insufficient in number, they have become disaffected, and it appears to them that their once highly-qualified profession has been reduced to going cap in hand to the Government and asking for something which they believe to be their due. Scotland needs 3,000 certificated teachers now and by 1957 she will need 3,300 and this, it should be remembered, on the basis of 45 pupils to a class in the primary schools whereas in England the basis is 40. On that basis a huge number of classes are already overcrowded in Scotland.
It was said from this side of the House that we have 900 teachers who are without any teaching certificates whatsoever, but only today I was informed that that number has increased and that there are now over 1,000 teachers in Scotland who have no certificates at all. I wonder whether the Joint Under-Secretary knows that men who are without certificates and who have not completed their educational studies in other professions are being accepted to teach temporarily in our schools. We should be very grateful indeed for some information on that subject from the hon. Gentleman.
I do not know whether the House knows how near the educational system came to complete breakdown during last winter, which was severe. There were so many illnesses among teachers, both male 910 and female, and the pool of part-time teachers was not functioning as it had done hitherto because some teachers felt that they had not the same responsibility to turn out in the severe weather. Classes were bedevilled and class rooms were hung round with wet clothes and boots—a background which is not helpful in trying to increase the numbers in the teaching profession.
How are we to deal with the whole problem? My hon. Friend the Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Malcolm MacPherson) made a very valuable contribution to the debate, although he was so modest about it, when he spoke of the effect of industry in attracting possible recruits to the teaching profession away from teaching into industrial posts. Is it proposed to have consultations with industrial leaders to ask them to restrain the rapacity with which they go to the universities and use their talent scouts to attract possible recruits away from teaching?
I call in aid a report in the "Glasgow Herald" of 12th October of a meeting of the Convocation of the University of London at whichDr. A. J. Richmond, chairman of a subcommittee which reported on the shortage of science teachers, referring to the increasing practice of industrial firms of sending talent scouts into universities offering employment to prospective graduates in science and engineering, said, 'The implication is not that we are opposed to proper guidance being given to undergraduates on future careers, but are merely disturbed at certain practices which appear to have certain undesirable consequences. The attractions of a teaching career are not usually put forward with the same vigour'.The Appleton Committee also refers to this matter. We ask the Joint Under-Secretary to tell us what steps the Department is taking to deal with the problem at that stage.
Another matter which we must ask the Joint Under-Secretary to look at is the question of bursaries for pupils at senior secondary schools who are in their fourth and fifth year. All of us are aware that it is at this stage, when the child is 15, that the attractions of an outside job at £4 a week, which is not an unusual offer, make their appeal. I regret very much to say that many parents stand in the way of further education while the child is quite willing to remain in school. If bursaries of £40 for a child in its fourth year and £50 in the fifth year were 911 offered, subject, of course, to the parents' income, it might help to blunt the avidity with which children or parents look upon the attractive wages which await school children.
Several of my hon. Friends have referred to the question of the wastage of pupils in senior secondary schools. I agree that we can make too much of it, but the 1953 Report of the Education Department indicated that 25 per cent. to 30 per cent. of those who were leaving senior secondary schools were capable of qualifying for many of the professions. In that year about 15,000 pupils left school, and 25 per cent. of that would have meant about 3,000 to 4,000 extra coming into the professional pool.
I want to refer to the size of classes in emphasis of the need for teachers. The Scottish maximum is 45 for a primary school, 40 for a junior secondary school and 30 for a senior secondary school. In England, the figures are respectively 40, 30 and 30. On the basis of that standard, 27 per cent. of all our primary schools and 41 per cent. of our junior secondary schools are over-crowded. In Glasgow alone 550 classes are over-sized which, I am informed, means that 10 per cent. to 12 per cent. of the total school population are in over-crowded classes.
I should also like to say something about the promotion tests which decide whether, having completed the primary stage, a child goes to a junior secondary school or to a senior secondary school.
The "Report on Education in Scotland in 1954" states:A disturbing feature in some areas is the excessive and unnecessary pre-occupation both of teachers and of pupils with the promotion tests: there is evidence that pupils in classes PVI and PVII are being specially prepared for these tests and that this practice is leading to neglect of such subjects as history, geography and nature study, which are not covered by the testsI believe this to be one of the most wicked things that is going on in the sphere of education.
One of the main difficulties of the junior secondary schools is the meagre provision to meet the needs of those who have no pronounced academic ability. Yet those cover 80 per cent. of the school population. I agree with the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) and some of my hon. Friends in stressing 912 that far too much emphasis is placed on intellectual needs and requirements instead of trying to relate education in the junior secondary schools to the pursuits which our young people intend to follow in the future.
I am not minimising the very valuable work which many junior secondary schools do. The education provided there is both wide and liberalising, but I think that the effect on children of this calibration test—this promotion test—at 11-plus, segregating them after seven years of comprehensive education—because that is what it is—is indefensible on educational, social or any other grounds. It is creating great harm in some families during the children's most informative and impressionable years.
If education were a matter of the mind alone, there might be a cogent case for segregation, but if we really believe that education is concerned with the physical, emotional, social and spiritual development of the child, it is wrong to segregate children on the single criterion of their ability to pass a test confined to English and arithmetic. These aspects of personality are not always related to ability; the capacities and needs of children are as wide as life itself.
This examination is leaving many of them quite resentful, concluding that they are inferior to their own brothers and sisters, and making others objectionably superior. I think that we must reexamine this, and consider the effect, not only on the children, but on those parents who consider it a slur on their social prestige that their child should go to a junior secondary school rather than to a senior secondary school.
The real answer to this is comprehensive schools. I think that the Joint Under-Secretary will find that there is a growing volume of opinion, if it is not already the majority opinion in Scotland, that that is so.
I hope that the Joint Under-Secretary will say something about improved conditions for teachers and their superannuation. I asked him a Question today. I think he knows the point, and I hope he will explain tonight how it comes about that although there is a growing credit surplus, which is now 50 per cent. greater than it was in 1948, there is, nevertheless, a deficiency in the fund, and that teachers are being asked 913 to pay increased contributions. It would also go a long way in allaying their fears if the Joint Under-Secretary would say what are the Government's views on including a provision in the superannuation scheme for a widows' and dependants' fund.
To sum up, I want to say that we accept the Report and express our appreciation to those engaged in the administration of education and in the schoolroom. We believe that in the light of changing world conditions, education, in its widest sense, must play a more positive part in a national plan for Scotland's future, that it should not be a by-product of our activities, that it should be planned and linked up with our intellectual, industrial and commercial interests and help us to achieve, in the technical sense, higher material standards in the future.
We think that three principles should govern whatever plan which we hope the Government will produce. First, there should be equal opportunity for all children, irrespective of their social status; secondly, provision of basic education for all children, so that they may grow up into responsible citizens, able and willing to take their part in the general community life; and, thirdly—a point stressed so forcibly today—provision of skilled scientists, technicians, administrators and craftsmen on whom our economic well-being depends.
§ 7.16 p.m.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. J. Henderson Stewart)
I should like on behalf of my hon. Friends on this side of the House to join with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn) in the tribute he paid to the memory of our late colleague, Hector McNeil, whose death we all greatly regret.
I am in a little difficulty, because I understand the arrangement was that this debate should finish at 7.30.
§ Mr. Woodburn
I think it should be put on record that there have been two interruptions to that arrangement by the Division which took a quarter of an hour and the intimation from Black Rod. Therefore, it would be a fair division of time if a quarter of an hour were taken by each side for the debate.
§ Mr. Stewart
I do not mind. I would be grateful, Mr. Speaker, if you would 914 advise me whether I should stop exactly at 7.30 or whether you feel, as the right hon. Gentleman has suggested, that we should go on to 7.45. We have not had a Government speaker at all so far.
§ Mr. Speaker
The Question is, "That this House do now adjourn," and the right hon. Gentleman is entitled to speak as long as he feels disposed to. It is a matter for the convenience of the House, but he should not, I think, scamp his speech unduly.
§ Mr. Stewart
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We have had, of course, as usual, a very interesting debate, covering a great variety of topics, and even if I were to speak the whole half-hour—I hope to be able to make it less—I could not possibly cover all that ground. Therefore, I must try to pick out the main topics of our discussion rather than deal with each Member's speech, as one sometimes does.
The right hon. Member for East Stirlingshire mentioned one or two matters on which I may perhaps say just a word. I agree with him about the necessity for improving what he called the "hygiene" of the schools. In answering him, I can also answer the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Carmichael) and one or two others.
Hon. Members will recall that last December we announced to the local authorities that further moneys would be made available to them for the purpose of improvement in the hygiene of these schools—for example, the lavatories. The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) raised the matter of staff rooms for teachers and that kind of thing, and I very much hope that we shall be able to make progress along those lines. We are entirely with the right hon. Gentleman in that.
He also referred to good manners. Here, again, he was talking language which we would all wish to talk. We should like our Scottish children to be the best mannered possible. We should like them to be a little more fluent in their talking. It is true that they are sometimes too restricted. All that is set out in the Report of the inspectors who deal with junior education. I may have time to deal with it a little more fully. It is also very much in our minds.
Like the right hon. Gentleman, I should like to see nursery schools established, 915 but, in the present circumstances, which everyone understands, I do not think that it would be right to divert the limited resources which we have in the way of building and all the rest of it to the problem of nursery schools until we have other schools built, or at any rate well on the way to being built.
My hon. Friend the Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley) spoke about potato-lifting. I must remind him that we have set up a committee to examine this rather difficult problem. We have always been confronted with the dilemma that there are the potatoes to be gathered and there seems no other way of getting them up except by the employment of children; and in so doing we interrupt their school course. It is a dilemma which all Governments have had to face, and we hope that the expert committee we have set up may be able to guide us.
I am moving rapidly from one topic to another. The hon. Member for Maryhill (Mr. Hannan) asked about bursaries. They affect two sets of people the children still at school and the boys and girls leaving school to go to a university. The hon. Member pleaded for a higher bursary for the boys and girls in the senior school so that they may be persuaded to stay on. Everyone agrees that one of the biggest tasks we have in Scottish education is to keep the clever children at school and prevent them from going out to dead-end jobs.
That proposal was examined by the headmasters whom we consulted about this problem of what we called wastage. It was the view of most of those headmasters, and their number was very representative, that money was not the main attraction. It was one attraction, but merely to increase this grant to senior schoolchildren would not solve the problem. As hon. Members know, we have twice increased the grant in the last year or two. The senior school grant in Scotland is higher than in England and, to that extent, we are ahead of England. We give our senior schoolchildren more and higher grants than those in the South receive, and I do not think that we should be wise to go any further at this stage. As to bursaries for the universities—
§ Mr. Woodburn
There is a point I did not put to the hon. Gentleman which 916 is rather important. The Government have made several announcements that they propose to make family allowances available for children remaining at school until they are eighteen. I am not clear about the position. There was nothing in the Budget last week. Has the hon. Gentleman any information about what is the intention of the Government in this matter?
§ Mr. Stewart
I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman; I had forgotten that point myself. Last night the Prime Minister said in the most emphatic terms that this proposal as contained in the Gracious Speech is going through.
§ Mr. Speaker
If the proposal involves legislation it would be out of order to discuss it on the Motion before the House.
§ Mr. Stewart
At all events, the news for the right hon. Gentleman is good.
Regarding bursaries for students at universities, it is true that the bursaries we give are somewhat less than those given in England for a similar purpose. We have had this out before and the hon. Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) took the same view as I take, that it is not right to compare the two figures or to say that we must have exactly the same in Scotland as in England. I think that the hon. Lady shares my view that on the whole our bursaries are not very far wrong in size. They are based on careful inquiries at the universities about what the students have to pay for lodgings, fees, books and so on. The figures on the latest Regulations, the House will notice, again indicate a rise, and I think we have twice increased those bursaries. Those figures are not unreasonable, in my opinion, and I do not think we should be wise to go further.
Not many months ago I met the students and we had a very friendly discussion. They put certain suggestions to me regarding the administration of bursaries, for which I was grateful. Hon. Members may have observed that one or two of the proposals in the new regulations are administrative, and they are the result of the talk which I had with the students. We shall be glad if the students will keep in touch with us, and we shall always be most sympathetic and ready to do what we can.
§ Miss Herbison
On the question of bursaries for senior pupils at school, may we take it that the hon. Gentleman's answer means that, from the information received from headmasters and from other sources, the Government are not considering any increase; because it does not seem to me good enough to say in these circumstances that ours are better than those in England and that therefore we should keep them as they are? The bursaries in England are pitifully small, and I believe that we should examine this matter from the point of view of the needs of our own people. I urge the Minister to give further consideration to this serious matter.
§ Mr. Stewart
We are always ready to look at it again, but at present our intention is to make no further advance.
I believe I am right in saying that the new regulations for students' bursaries are so new that they may still be prayed against. They make an increase, and, I think that we have gone far enough at present.
I was asked about superannuation by the hon. Member for Maryhill. I think that his was the only one reference to it, although I was expecting many more. The difficulty of the hon. Member, or rather the difficulty of those who correspond with him, is that there is in Scotland today a credit balance to the teachers' superannuation scheme of about £38 million or £39 million. On the other hand, the actuary has pointed out that there is a substantial deficit on the fund, and correspondents of both the hon. Member and myself cannot understand that.
Actually, it is quite easy to understand. This is a long-term pension scheme. It happens that at the moment the amount of money paid in is in excess of the amount to be paid out and there is a credit balance of £39 million. But looking to the years ahead, and to the time when the teachers now in service will have to be paid their pensions, the actuary has certified, and the Scottish working party of teachers and employers accepted his advice, that the scheme is in fact in deficit as an insurance scheme. I do not think that there should be any difficulty about understanding that. The House will know that we have been in close touch with the teachers and the local authorities on this superannuation scheme, and it may well be that further opportunities to discuss it will arise.
918 Some of my hon. Friends raised the question of equal pay—I am sorry if I appear to be rushing, but the House will understand why. We must face the fact that, rightly or wrongly, this House and both parties in it, and this Government, have accepted the principle of equal pay. There has been no vote against it or objection to it. It is now applied to the Civil Service. It is now applied to the English teachers and, by the action of my right hon. Friend, it is now applied to the Scottish teachers. There has been no vote against that and, so far as I know, there has been no criticism. My hon. Friends have been approached by a group of teachers in Scotland whose purpose in life—perfectly legitimately—is to fight for the men in opposition to what they think is the advance of the women.
There are a small number of them, the figure is very small indeed in comparison. I can assure my hon. Friends that there are many times more teachers in the E.I.S. than in the Scottish Schoolmasters' Association. I met the Scottish Schoolmasters' Association and had a talk about this topic. They presented their case which was largely an expression of anxiety about the future, and they did so with great force. There is no doubt that there is something in their case, and it was fully considered by my right hon. Friend and myself, but we came to the conclusion, taking everything into account, that we had to go forward with this equal pay arrangement.
It is not for me to look into the future. I have not sufficient authority to answer my hon. Friends and say that they have no need to fear. I cannot say that, but from all the information which I have, I do not believe that there are grounds for the extreme anxiety which is now expressed by these men teachers. I think that most of the higher posts in teaching in the senior schools will ultimately, as indeed they are now, be held by men. However, that is for the future to decide. I really do not think that I can go back upon this, and I hope that my hon. Friends, whose anxieties I fully understand, will not feel over concerned about the matter.
§ Miss Herbison
The Minister has just said that he met the Scottish Schoolmasters' Association. Is that the first time that any Scottish Minister has met any teaching body apart from the Educational Institute of Scotland?
§ Mr. Stewart
We are on a rather technical matter of procedure now, but the hon. Lady will know that the equivalent body in England to that of the Scottish Schoolmasters' Association is consulted by the English Ministry of Education on such matters. I am only stating the facts as they were in the hon. Lady's time and as they still are. Nothing has been altered in the matter since this Government came to power. The English Ministry of Education has always consulted the equivalent body in England on this kind of matter. It was consulted in this case. We thought it only right, since the S.S.A. is now associated and officially linked with the English body, that, as one half of it was consulted in England, we had to consult the other half in Scotland. That is why we did it.
§ Mr. Stewart
There is no difficulty about that. I should be very pleased to write to the hon. Lady and to other hon. Members concerned, or to meet them and to give a full explanation of that. However, I must ask the House not to expect me to use up my time on this point when there are more important matters to discuss.
§ Mr. Woodburn
It has always been and still is the principle of the Government in the bigger trade union field only to meet in negotiation bodies which represent a substantial proportion of the people who wish to discuss wages. My understanding of the body in question is that it represents only a small minority, not only of the profession, but of the men themselves. Up till now the general principle of Government negotiation has been only to negotiate with those bodies which represent a very substantial proportion of a profession or trade. The Minister has now altered that principle. I hope that he has consulted his right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour, because this is going to introduce great difficulties into the National Joint Council and other bodies from which certain trade unions are excluded because they cannot qualify under that principle.
§ Mr. Stewart
It is a great pity that hon. Members have raised this matter now, because I would ask them to believe 920 that it is a very tricky matter. I should be only too glad to give a complete account of our actions in this matter on another occasion. It has given both my right hon. Friend and myself a great deal of anxiety. I repeat that only in this restricted matter have we thought it right to accord to the Scottish Schoolmasters' Association a right of interview in the same way as that right has all along been accorded to its opposite number in England by the English Minister of Education. As I have said, I will gladly give a full account of our actions on another occasion when, I have no doubt, the right hon. Member for East Stirling-shire will think that we have done the right thing.
I have been asked a number of questions about the Appleton recommendations. The Appleton Committee made three recommendations. The first was that teachers with first and second class honours in mathematics, physics and chemistry should be deferred from National Service. The House now knows that action along those lines has been taken. The second recommendation was that retired mathematics and science teachers might remain in or return to service if given full pay and full pensions. That question was asked today by an hon. Member opposite. The answer is that we are now in the process of examining that proposal. The third recommendation was that student teachers of mathematics and science should receive generous allowances, without the imposition of a means test, during their training college year. That also is being examined at the present time.
The Appleton Committee made a number of long-term proposals, connected largely with salaries, and on that matter I am glad to be able to make the following announcement to the House. The Appleton Committee's proposals on salary changes were passed to the National Joint Council on 31st March, the date of publication of the Appleton Report. The Council discussed these proposals fully and carefully, and it has now informed us that at its meeting on Friday last, 28th October, the two sides of the Council reached broad agreement, though the details have still to be worked out.
Under the agreement, certain salary increases will be recommended for the teachers in secondary schools, but they 921 will not be confined to teachers of mathematics and science. The Council hopes to submit its detailed recommendations to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State by the end of November. I can, of course, assure the House that we shall act upon these recommendations as quickly as possible.
The Appleton Committee, as I say, made a number of long-term recommendations. It wanted the better deployment of teachers among schools. We are taking action on that matter. It wanted to encourage more pupils to stay on at school, and we are taking steps in that direction. I remember that in one of our recent debates, the hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North urged me to take further steps by way of propaganda—posters, lectures, broadcasts, and so on—to encourage people to become teachers. All that we are planning to do. We have already sent pamphlets round to the schools and universities, and, more recently, we have got the assent of the universities to our sending one or two teachers to the universities to meet the students and to talk to them. So that we, too, like industrial leaders, will send our representatives there. I am glad to see that I have the support of the hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North on that matter.
I had wanted to say a lot about junior and senior secondary schools, because, after all, it is the schools and the children about whom we are concerned, and I should very much have liked to tell the House of the improvements and developments that we have in mind for junior and senior secondary schools. As the House knows, the report by the inspectors, which is a very interesting document, has had a very wide circulation for a document of its kind. Indeed, I am told that it has had almost an exceptionally wide circulation. It has been followed by the production of a film, which I shall be glad to arrange to have shown in the House of Commons if hon. Members would like to see it. It is a fascinating film, and we are taking steps to make it known throughout the country. Our inspectors will meet the teachers, and we shall do everything we can to follow the broad liberal ideas set out in this film.
We are not satisfied with the junior secondary school as it is today. It has got to be developed in many directions, as 922 was said by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland. I have time only to say that that is our firm intention. The terms of development in which we are thinking in regard to senior secondary schools will include the introduction of a new kind of examination. Again, I would have liked to have time to develop that point. There may be a future opportunity to do so.
By those and similar means we are trying to take away from our Scottish schools the old academic bias that on many occasions has kept us from advancing as the schools of other countries have advanced. There is a place for the academic subject—I had academic training myself—but in these modern times it is not everything, and we have plans to go much further ahead.
I now turn to the subject of building. It is quite clear that all the future work which we would like to do cannot be advanced with any hope of success unless and until we increase the supply of teachers, and until the already great and steadily growing building programme is carried through to completion. These two tasks—the finding of an adequate number of teachers, and the building of enough schools—together form the crucial problem facing local education authorities now and in the years immediately ahead.
With regard to the former, I have been asked about uncertificated teachers. I have not the latest figures in my mind, but there are too many of these teachers in our schools. The House knows that we are doing everything humanly possible to recruit more teachers. We are trying to get children to remain longer at school, so that more will be able to go to the universities. I think that in the matter of education we are getting a very fair crack of the whip. The House will have noticed that the P.E.P. report issued the other day mentioned that 23.4 per cent. of university graduates go into teaching and the same percentage into industry. That is a great deal better than I had expected, but we must try to improve upon it, by making teaching more attractive, and improving the staff rooms and the rest of the conditions.
I agree that we should regard teachers as members of a very high profession, and I also agree that teachers are not always their own best friends in this matter. We should like to increase their 923 salaries. Indeed, they have been increased in recent years. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Renfrew, East (Sir G. Lloyd) said that there had been only a 5 per cent. increase since 1951. That was a slip of the tongue; there has been a 40 per cent. increase since January, 1951, in the salaries of teachers. I have here the list, year by year, of these salary increases.
The matter in which I take a little satisfaction—I will say pride—is that in the last two changes upwards special emphasis has been laid upon increased responsibility payments. I took the view, as did my right hon. Friend, that even if we have not vast sums to play with we should at least try to compensate, as much as possible, those men and women who are holding positions of high responsibility. We are doing all we can at present, and we shall do more in the future, to increase the numbers of teachers. My right hon. Friend and I will be grateful for any help which is given to us in this matter.
As hon. Members will recall, there is also the problem of building. Last night the Prime Minister said, in simple, plain words, that the educational building programme stands—I am now answering the hon. Member for Maryhill—and there appeared in the Press this morning a statement in the same sense by the Minister of Education as regards England and Wales. My right hon. Friend has not issued such a statement, and does not intend to do so. The reason is that the statement issued by the Minister of Education refers to the educational programme, "as announced" by him during the summer. As I understand it, it covered practically all the projects which education authorities in England and Wales intend to carry out between now and March, 1957, and—I would like to ask the House to note this—the projects and programmes to which the Minister had, by the summer of this year, given formal approval. Those programmes amounted to no less than £80 million for 1956–57 in England and Wales.
Our conditions, and the drill about the submission of programmes and projects, are somewhat different. My right hon. Friend has been able to approve a considerable number of projects submitted to him by authorities for work to be done 924 over the next two years, but the greater part of their programmes—although it is well known to us and is in accordance with our wishes—has not yet been submitted to him for formal approval. In Scotland, therefore, we are unable to say, as the English Minister of Education has said, that "the educational building programme, as announced, is being maintained." I wish to make it abundantly plain, however—and I hope that this is a completely clear answer to the hon. Member's question—that our intention in this matter is no less firm than that of the Minister of Education for England and Wales.
My right hon. Friend desires that education authorities in Scotland shall, subject to the observance of strict economy in all their projects, proceed with approved projects with all speed, expedite the submission of other projects ripe for approval, and push forward as quickly as possible in all the planning stages of whatever further projects they regard as essential for the performance of their statutory duties. In the words of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his Budget speech:…we have to do all we can to meet imperative needs—in the case of education of the rising school population."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th October, 1955; Vol. 545, c. 211.]Do not let the House ever forget that the figures for the rising school population in Scotland are, in many ways, terrifying, as they are in England. In the case of primary schools the bulge is going down, but in secondary and senior schools the rise in the next 4, 5 and 6 years is going to be as much as we can possibly meet. It is a most serious matter, and that is why we must do all we can to meet the imperative needs of a rising school population.
It is for this reason that the Government are according special treatment for education, but I wish to emphasise again that in present financial circumstances this special treatment lays upon the authorities a special responsibility to practise strict economy in the carrying out of their programmes. That the Government are ready to support all essential work in this field is proved by the fact that we have already provided for a total educational building programme—including technical building—of at least £11 million in 1956–57, compared with £6 million last year.
925 I should like to develop this point further, but I trust that I have said enough to indicate that we mean to go ahead in all the many fields with a forward, progressive policy of education. My hope is that by the end of this Parliament we shall all be proud to say that Scotland has stepped briskly forward to this great object.
§ Mr. Martin Redmayne (Lord Commissioner of the Treasury)
I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.