HC Deb 14 May 1957 vol 570 cc191-2
8. Mr. Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the shortage of teachers in Fife and the likelihood of the situation worsening in the next few years; and what steps he is taking to overcome what threatens to become a serious national problem.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Niall Macpherson)

My right hon. Friend is aware that in Fife, as elsewhere, the number of teachers is not yet increasing fast enough to meet the demand. Recent improvements in salaries should attract more recruits and the new superannuation benefits should induce teachers to stay on. Publicity has been given to teaching as a career in all the Scottish universities, and leaflets and posters are this week being issued to all senior secondary schools. The Advisory Council on Education is considering what further measures may be necessary, with particular reference to the staffing of secondary schools.

Mr. Hamilton

Does not the Minister agree that it is of special importance that endeavours should be made to get teachers to the areas which are developing economically and on which the future of the country so much depends? Will he give an assurance that whatever steps are taken to increase the number of teachers, no steps will be taken that will have the effect of diluting the profession, which would meet with the opposition of most teachers in Scotland?

Mr. Macpherson

In regard to the first part of the question, so far as Fife is concerned, there has in fact since 1951 been a greater increase in teachers than there has been in pupils, and we are keeping that side of the matter very carefully under review. With regard to the second point, that is one of the matters which the Advisory Council on Education has under review, and I think it would be as well to await its report before we take any definite stand on the matter.