HC Deb 13 December 1960 vol 632 cc211-2
45. Mr. W. Hamilton

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the continuing shortage of teachers, and its effect upon the increase in juvenile delinquency, he will recommend the appointment of a Royal Commission to consider the problem.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. The Government will, of course, continue to give their attention to all aspects of the supply of teachers, bearing in mind the advice already received from important bodies specially concerned with the problem.

Mr. Hamilton

Is the Prime Minister aware that the shortage of teachers is at least as serious as the shortage of policemen, and that the social effects of such a shortage are very much more serious than the shortage of policemen?

Whilst the House as a whole welcomes the recently announced increases for the police, does not he recognise that this means that a teacher, after several years in a grammar school and two years' study at a teacher training college, will start at a basic rate of £520 a year, whereas a raw recruit into the police will start, at the age of 19, at £600 a year? In view of the evident priorities of the Government in regarding the police as more important than teachers, will he not now take steps to remedy this very grave deficiency in our social life?

The Prime Minister

One of the disadvantages, as well as one of the advantages, of a period of full employment and a generally high standard of living and consumption and production is that there is a shortage of everything. On the other hand, that is much better than a surplus of people looking for jobs, which is what I can remember many years ago. Of course there are difficulties. All the same, the number of teachers training in England and Wales and Scotland has increased in recent years by just over one-third. In England and Wales the number of places will be doubled by 1966, and 2,000 additional places are being provided in Scotland. We are making every effort to increase the training of teachers and, on the whole, looking around it is remarkable what success there has been.