HC Deb 24 February 1960 vol 618 cc473-532

8.30 p.m.

Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)

I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Teachers' Salaries (Scotland) Regulations, 1959 (S I 1959, No. 2150), dated 15th December, 1959, a copy of which was laid before this House on 30th December, be annulled. I rise to put before the House one matter, and one only. It is a matter which could arise in connection with any Ministry, and I believe it is of general interest. The Select Committee on Statutory Instruments called the attention of the House to these Regulations on the ground the at they made unexpected use of the powers conferred by the Statute under which it was made. The Select Committee did this after asking questions of the Secretary of State for Scotland and receiving quite a long reply, and, while I hope to deal with the matter as shortly as I can, I must mention the history.

The Education (Scotland) Act, 1946, re-enacting in this respect a provision in the Act of the previous year, laid down in Section 79: It shall be the duty of every education authority to pay to the teachers appointed by them salaries in accordance with such scales as may from time to time be prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State … Accordingly, under that Act, as I read it, the Secretary of State had power to make regulations about scales and no more. He could prescribe scales. In fact, he seems to have gone a long way beyond that, and no doubt as a consequence—I think that appears from his reply—an amendment was introduced in the 1956 Act by way of an additional subsection: Regulations made under this section may include provisions as to the application of any scales prescribed therein to the salaries of teachers"— I should have thought that might have followed from the previous subsection— and may make such consequential, ancillary and incidental provisions as appear to the Secretary of State to be necessary or desirable. The point I want to emphasise is that those last words have been so widely interpreted and used that the Regulations go far beyond the ordinary meaning of the word and the intention of the House at the time. They are described quite generally by the Secretary of State himself in his reply: … the powers of modification taken in"— a part of the Regulations to which I shall refer in a minute— are not designed to enable the Secretary of State to make prescriptions of a kind which could and should be made in the Regulations themselves. They are intended to enable him to deal with a small number of special cases each of which must be considered on its own merits and none of which is necessarily an exact precedent for other cases. If that is the intention of the powers of modification, I find it rather difficult to see how they can be brought within the language of a provision which simply allowed for consequential, ancillary and incidental provisions. I want to make it clear, especially to the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland and Scots Members present, that I make no comment whatever on the merit of these provisions. They may be much the best way of dealing with the situation. They may be perfectly sensible and wise; I do not know. My hon. Friends for Scottish constituencies will, no doubt, have something to say on the merits of the matter. As I see it, they are nothing to do with the Regulations but with the power that is given to the Secretary of State in the Statute, as amended.

If this is the right and best way of dealing with these matters—and it may well be, and I can see a very strong case for it being the best way—I hope that the Minister who replies will agree with me that it must anyhow be authorised by Statute. If the Select Committee is right in calling the attention of the House to the matter in the way it has, it may well be that another Statute ought to be introduced or a further amendment made to the powers of the Secretary of State. That is the point that I want to make.

I must give an instance or two. Part VI of the Regulations, which are long and detailed, consists of modifications of the Regulations in special circumstances. I think that it is sufficient for my purpose if I point out that some of these modifications have been very considerable. There is an instance given where about 700 directions were in operation at one time by way of modifying Regulations and exercising the powers given by one of the Regulations authorising modification.

Let me give one instance where a far smaller number of people was concerned. I quote from the Secretary of State's reply. Regulation 32 enables a direction to be given prescribing the salary of a certificated teacher who is also a minister of religion and is employed wholly or mainly in or in connection with the provision of religious instruction. He then goes on to explain why this is advisable and says that at present about nine cases are known. There is no salary scale, as I understand it, in these cases.

The salary there is dictated—I do not use the word in any offensive sense, so shall I say decided—at the discretion of the Secretary of State, and one of the reasons for doing it is that there has not yet been sufficient experience to enable appropriate salaries to be prescribed in advance. That may be so. The power under the Act is to prescribe salaries and to do what is necessary and incidental to that, and not, as I understand it, to direct even in a limited number of cases salaries which have no connection with any scale.

Moreover, there is more to it than that. When one looks at the original Section of the 1946 Act, to which I have referred, one finds at the end the proviso, which I will summarise, that no education authority must pay more than the prescribed scale and if there is not a prescribed scale the education authority can pay such salary as it thinks fit. Who is the person who thinks fit in the case of minister teachers? Is it the Secretary of State who has taken power to direct that they be given such and such salaries in each individual case, or is it the education authority which appears to have been left with discretion under the Statute?

Again, to take the case to which I referred where there were 700 directions in operation, I quote again from the Secretary of State's summary of what is in fact an extremely complicated Regulation: Regulation 37 enables direction to be given where the application of the Regulations would result in the whole or a particular part of a teacher's salary being smaller than it would otherwise have been because of some action by the education authority for which the teacher had no responsibility and which was not due to any fault of the teacher's. That seems to be a perfectly proper provision to make and I am not complaining of it in that respect— The facts of the cases differ so much that it has not been considered practicable to prescribe any general rules in the Regulations"— and, accordingly, the Secretary of State takes powers to deal with them. I do not say that, on the merits, he ought not to have them. I repeat that, I think, for the third time, but the question here is whether under the Statute he has the power or whether he ought to seek statutory sanction for what he is doing.

The other defence, if I may use the word in, I hope, a kindly spirit, is that "We have often done it before". It is not, as a rule, a very good defence. We heard it two evenings ago, I think, in connection with the laying of a certain Order before Parliament. The only question we have really to consider is—aye or no, is the Select Committee of the House, which, after all, has considerable experience in these matters, justified in saying, as it does, that the Regulations make unexpected use of the powers conferred by the Statute under which they were made"? That is, I agree, not quite a lawyer's way of putting it, perhaps, but it is surely the common sense of the matter, and it is what we ought to consider in the House.

Having made my point and put before the House the point which was made by the Select Committee, I shall not for one moment go into the merits of these Regulations or even into the merits of the modifying part of them. That I am bound to leave to my hon. Friends from Scotland, trusting that I have not taken up too much time and being very careful not to tread across the Border on any question of substance or merit.

8.42 p.m.

Mr. Bruce Milan (Glasgow, Craigton)

I beg to second the Motion.

The House will understand if I do not follow the remarks which have been made by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison). The usual criticism of the Secretary of State for Scotland from this side of the House is that he does not do enough; it comes almost as a pleasant change to find him being accused of doing too much or something which he has no power to do.

I turn to the content of the Regulations themselves. It is not, of course, the function of the House to Act as a kind of super-negotiating body for teachers' salaries, and I do not, therefore, propose to deal with particular complaints which any category of teachers may have about the present Regulations, although I think most of us within the last week of two have received letters from constituents pointing out how inadequate the increases under the Regulations have proved to be. I imagine that we have all had quoted to us cases of teachers who have had what amounted to only two or three shillings or even, in some cases, two or three pence a week increase under the new Regulations.

Our main purpose is not so much to consider what the Regulations do for particular categories of teachers but to consider the Regulations in the light of what they do to attract teachers of the right calibre to the profession in Scotland. If we ask the question, "Are the new salary Regulations likely to attract sufficient teachers of the quality we need?", the answer must be an unqualified "No". We have seen the reaction of the profession itself, and we know that there is a tremendous amount of dissatisfaction among teachers about their present salaries and status. Our main criticism is that these Regulations do not provide the basis for attracting teachers of the right quality in sufficient numbers.

One of the things which strikes anyone who tries to read the Regulations—I use the phrase advisedly—is their tremendous complexity. This cannot be a good thing, and in itself it is significant. Obviously, it is something which has grown up over the years, but I think that it represents the attempt of particular classes of teacher to ameliorate their general dissatisfaction by getting concessions made to them. I think that it also represents an attempt by the Secretary of State to give additional payments, such as responsibility payments and payments for qualification, to particular categories of teacher simply to assuage their criticisms and bitterness about the general level of their salaries. The complexity of the Regulations seems to be a sign of the general dissatisfaction about the level of salaries.

I have said that the real question we have to consider is whether present salaries will attract teachers of the right kind in sufficient numbers, in particular young graduates, in competition with commerce and industry. It does not necessarily follow that teachers' salaries should be bound by any rigid formula to the salaries which might be expected by graduates in industry and commerce. As was seen from the Report on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration, in the professions salary scales vary tremendously from one profession to another. It is not by any means true to say that teachers' salaries must be related to any particular profession or professions, but, obviously, as we are attempting to attract graduates in competition with industry and commerce, the salaries must be likely to attract graduates.

There seem to be three main considerations in this matter: first, the level of starting salaries; secondly, the question of prospects and salary; and, thirdly, promotion. I would say that the major criticism of the present salaries is their very low starting point. It is here that industry and commerce can compete so successfully. When we ally to that the circumstance that the incremental period runs from eighteen to twenty years, we realise the difficulty in attracting teachers.

It seems to me that an incremental period of from eighteen to twenty years is completely indefensible. There cannot be another profession which has an incremental period of such length. The Knox Committee, which reported reported recently, advocated that this period should be substantially reduced. I had hoped that the new Regulations would go part of the way to bringing down this very long period, which, allied with the low starting salary, is the main reason for the dissatisfaction of teachers with their present salaries.

There is also the matter of promotion. The teaching profession, by necessity, has limited promotion prospects. They are people who, by definition, ought to be superior in intelligence to the ordinary individual. We are taking graduates. We ought to be taking the best graduates. We are taking them into a profession where the promotion prospects are limited. It is particularly serious in the case of local education authorities who determine promotion largely on the basis of seniority, which means that a young teacher has very little prospect of improving his salary for a considerable number of years.

Taken together, these factors—the low starting salary, the long incremental period and uncertainty about promotion—show that the present salary regulations are not adequate to do the job which they ought to be doing.

I should like now to say something about the shortage of teachers, particularly in Glasgow, in relation to the Regulations. It is not by any means true that Glasgow is the only city or the only education authority in Scotland with a shortage of teachers. The problem affects all local education authorities to some extent. Glasgow, however, is the major city in Scotland and we have a serious shortage of something like 1,000 teachers.

For Scotland as a whole, the increase in qualified teachers since 1939 is about 20 per cent., but the figure for Glasgow is less than half that, only about 9 per cent. This means that Glasgow is not getting its share of new teachers who become available. Consequently, despite the amalgamations of schools which have taken place, twenty-one schools in Glasgow are working on short time and something like 2,200 secondary pupils and 1,200 primary pupils in Glasgow are getting part-time education.

We all recognise the supreme importance of education and it is tragic that in 1960 there should be this substantial number of secondary and primary pupils in Glasgow who are receiving only part-time education.

Glasgow's problem is more than just a problem for the city. It amounts to a national problem. I am not sure that I would carry all my hon. Friends with me, because, obviously, they have their own local education authorities to think about. There are, however, certain disadvantages from the viewpoint of teachers in Glasgow. Because of the size of the city, there are rather fewer promotion prospects because of the larger schools, in addition to difficulties with housing and all the other facilities.

There is already provision in the Regulations to make additional payments to teachers who teach in remote areas. In other words, the principle has been conceded that teachers who work at a disadvantage in comparison with their colleagues generally should get additional payments. I should like the Secretary of State for Scotland seriously to consider whether there is not a strong case for making additional payments also to teachers in Glasgow. I notice that the right hon. Gentleman has been trying to get the other local authorities to co-operate by asking them to keep down their recruitment, so that as teachers become available, Glasgow will get more than her fair share. Not unnaturally, the other local authorities are not willing to co-operate in any voluntary scheme of this nature. Again, therefore, I ask the Secretary of State to consider the question of additional payments for Glasgow teachers.

This is almost a constituency point rather than a national matter. Quite apart from that, however, we and the teachers certainly feel that the existing Regulations do not provide anything like the kind of salaries that are needed if we are to get a properly qualified add sufficient teaching profession in Scotland.

8.55 p.m.

Mr. Graham Page (Crosby)

I rise to follow the point which the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) made in moving the Prayer and I apologise to Scottish Members that this is a kind of double debate. There are these two points which arise, one on the merits and the other on the form of the Regulations. As the House knows, the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments is charged with a duty to look at all Statutory Instruments laid before the House and to report to the House if it sees fit if any Statutory Instrument is not in accordance with the Statute authorising it, or if it is an unusual exercise of power. Hon. Members will see from the last two pages of the Second Report of the Select Committee which deals with this Instrument the sort of work undertaken by that Committee in looking through a great number of Instruments at every one of its meetings.

It is very seldom that the Committee reports on an Instrument to the House. That is all that the Committee is empowered to do. It can only leave it to hon. and right hon. Members to raise the matter in the House. It seldom does report on an Instrument, but it is right that when it reports an Instrument the matter should be raised in the House. Normally, the Committee would first ask for an explanation from the Department concerned. Indeed, that is what the Committee did in relation to an earlier Instrument concerning teachers' salaries in Scotland. It is said in the Report that the Committee drew attention to similar Regulations in 1956 and a memorandum was received from the Department at that time. It might perhaps have been right for the Committee to have reported to the House then, but it did not feel justified in taking the matter so far at that stage.

Now the Regulations come forward again in a form similar to that which the Committee felt was not justified by the Statute. Under the Education (Scotland) Act, 1946, the Secretary of State was empowered by Section 79 (1) in the following words: It shall be the duty of every education authority to pay to the teachers appointed by them salaries in accordance with such scales as may from time to time be prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State. The scales—and I am quoting the 1946 Act—had to be laid down by regulation made by the Secretary of State.

The Scottish Education Department in commenting upon that 1946 Act says: The only power expressly given by the section was a power to prescribe scales by regulations. It is the duty of the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments to see that an Instrument does not further delegate legislation. The Instrument itself is delegated legislation. If it then goes on to give somebody else power to make some orders or prescribe something, one must look very carefully at the enabling Statute to see whether that sub-delegated legislation is permitted.

The Regulations now before the House undoubtedly provide for what I call sub-delegation. They provide that the Secretary of State may prescribe certain modifications to regulations themselves. Therefore, one looks very carefully at the Statute to see whether the right hon. Gentleman is empowered to do that. He certainly was not under the 1946 Act. I think that his Department fully recognised that in the report which it made to the Select Committee, for it said: Since the view had always been taken that the section could not be effective unless it could be held also to authorise the inclusion in the regulations of provisions as to how the scales were to be applied to the calculation of the salaries of individual teachers and as to how exceptional cases should be dealt with, the section was interpreted as conferring by necessary implication wider powers than were expressly conferred. That is really a rather shocking thing to tell the Select Committee—that the Department, having found that a Section did not give it the right to do what it hoped to do, had put a very wide interpretation on that Section and had done that very act.

Like the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Kettering, I am not complaining about the merits. Frankly, I think it was a sensible thing for the Department to do, but there is a difference between common sense and the power which Parliament has given to a Minister. The Minister must act within the powers given to him. No doubt it is reasonable to think that in individual cases the Secretary of State may modify the scales to suit the individual concerned. That is reasonable if one is considering it from the point of the individual, but we must realise that public money is being dealt with here. The taxpayer and the ratepayer are on the other side of the picture and their money should be used only in accordance with the powers given to the Secretary of State by Statute.

Having found that the 1946 Act, although widely interpreted by the Department, was not really sufficient, a Section 79 (1A) was added by the Education (Scotland) Act, 1956, to the following effect: 79.—(1A) Regulations made under this section may include provisions as to the application of any scales prescribed therein to the salaries of teachers, and may make such consequential ancillary and incidental provisions as appear to the Secretary of State to be necessary or desirable. Again, those have to be made by Regulations, not by a Regulation authorising the Secretary of State to modify the Regulations, I presume by a letter or something else from the Department. It certainly did not authorise the Secretary of State to legislate by anything other than Regulation.

Now I will refer to the Regulations about which the complaint is made. They occur in Part VI of the Statutory Instrument. They are those numbered 31 to 37 and all are cases in which the individual teacher does not quite fit into the scale. In Regulation 31 there is an intention to deal with the exceptional headmaster of a secondary school. Everyone would wish to give him a greater salary, but the Regulation does not say so. It says that the Secretary of State may modify the Regulations which are now before the House. In fact this is a repetition of a previous Regulation under the 1946 Act and thirty-seven teachers are already affected by a modification of this kind.

So one could go on through the various Regulations. For example, the next one deals with the minister of religion whose teaching qualifications do not come up to the scale. The Secretary of State can modify the scale to suit such a person. Regulation 33 deals with the responsibility element when there is a new school opening or a school expanding. Regulation 34 deals with another special responsibility of an exceptional kind. In all these cases the Secretary of State is given power by these Regulations to modify the scales laid down in the Regulations.

It must be obvious to right hon. and hon. Members that it would not be possible to deal with individual cases in a scale and that this has been the only way to deal with them. If this is the only way to deal with them, the Statute should have authorised the Secretary of State to deal with them in this way, and the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments could do nothing other than report to the House that, however good these Regulations may be from the merit point of view, it is not within the Statute to empower the Secretary of State to pay a teacher anything but a scale laid down in the Regulations. Therefore, I think the Secretary of State should seek new statutory powers to put himself in order if he wishes to make a Regulation of the sort which has been mentioned.

9.5 p.m.

Mr. Harry Gourlay (Kirkcaldy Burghs)

I propose to follow the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan). He spoke of a tremendous shortage of teachers and thought that it was perhaps a constituency point. Hon. Members representing Scottish constituencies who are present this evening will recognise that we have a similar problem in Fife, and since Fife is a kingdom it is obviously a national problem.

It may well be that the Joint Under-Secretary will tell us that the Regulations are the result of negotiations agreed between the employing authorities and the various teacher organisations, but when one considers the tremendous number of letters which every Scottish Member has received from his constituents, not only the teaching profession, pointing to the anomalies in the Regulations, one has to have some doubts whether the present method of negotiating teachers' salaries in Scotland is correct and advisable.

In supporting the Motion, I want to focus attention on the present critical situation in Scottish education. The tremendous shortage of teachers has not just arrived as a bolt from the blue. It has been creeping up on us for a number of years, but now we are racing along at the speed of a guided missile towards inevitable disaster unless the Government take speedy action.

More and more parents are becoming actively interested in education, particularly when their children reach the age of promotion from primary to secondary education. Parents of children who are not admitted to the high schools in Scotland frequently blame this fact on the staffing position in the primary schools. They sometimes say that their children have been to schools where there have been far too many changes of teachers or too many uncertificated teachers, and they can be very strong in their condemnation of the education authorities, which can do little to alleviate the position.

At present in Scotland we have about 1,600 uncertificated teachers. While I hasten to add that many of them are capable of doing good work, there are grounds for serious dissatisfaction with the present situation. The price to be paid for this state of affairs may be very costly to the nation, but it is even more important to the individual pupils whose entire future could be marred by lack of sound basic education. In the County of Fife, out of approximately 2,000 teachers 10 per cent. are uncertificated, and there are about 80 over-sized classes. Were it not for the assistance of the married certificated teachers, we should indeed be in a very sorry plight.

When we look at the salary regulations, therefore, we have to ask whether they will help to overcome the staffing problem. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Craigton, I regret to say that the answer is an unqualfied no.

The Government Circular on the Report of the Working Party on the Curriculum of the Senior Secondary School states: The Secretary of State recognises that the success of an educational system depends ultimately on the adequacy, in number and in qualifications, of the school staffs. He appreciates, therefore, that the problem of staffing is the most important—as it is also the most difficult and most obstinate—of the problems to be overcome in securing the advances in secondary education which the Working Party and he alike desire. The recent Report of the Advisory Council shows that, over the next ten years, Scotland will require to recruit to the profession some 930 honours and ordinary graduates a year. The recently improved recruitment—from about 650 to over 800 in the last three years—is encouraging, but there is a special need to increase the supply of honours graduate teachers. The Circular goes on: While the figures for recent years give some reason for hope, further increase in recruitment is essential; and the supply position in regard to mathematics and physical science remains critical. In paragraph 37 we read: Whatever may be done, the essential fact remains that the vital claims on the services of graduates and other highly qualified persons are so great in relation to supply that a difficult period for the schools undoubtedly lies ahead. The Secretary of State hopes that with increased output from the higher institutions, with such changes as he can bring about and with the slowly declining school population from 1961, staffing—however difficult it may remain for some time—will not prove an insuperable obstacle. … Has the Secretary of State, therefore, made sufficient changes in the Regulations? Again, the answer is quite definitely, "No." The Advisory Council recommended, as my hon. Friend the Member for Craigton said, a reduction in the scale from some 18 to 10 years—that is in the incremental scale—in order that teachers could reach their maximum salaries a little sooner. It is fatuous to tell men of 23 that they will be all right when they reach the age of 40, and it is because of this very point that industry is able to induce so many graduates to go into other professions.

The second recommendation from the Council which the Secretary of State should have adopted was to give graduates, in their year at the training school, an award on the same scale as those given by the Department for Scientific and Industrial Research, or, alternatively, a payment approaching that of a first-year teacher.

The third improvement suggested by the Council was the provision of housing. At present, education authorities are allowed to build houses for head teachers and janitors but not for ordinary teachers. Some local authorities are quite generous in their allocation of houses for teachers, but the education authorities should be on the same basis as police and fire authorities, who own a very large percentage of the houses occupied by their staff.

To implement these Recommendations would cost a good deal of money, but the position is so serious that the consequences of not providing the money could be catastrophic, especially as we as a country are dependent on the export of "know-how". The Regulations as they stand will not effectively assist in the recruitment of teachers. The changes are not of sufficient weight to induce more graduates to enter the profession. The increase in the number of graduates in secondary schools is encouraging too large a proportion of teachers to drift from primary to secondary schools. It is an expedient which is, in effect, robbing Peter to pay Paul. The system must be based on a sound primary education. A system which is starved at the roots will obviously end in dismal failure.

We must maintain our Scottish tradition in education on a sure foundation and increase the pool of ability from which we draw teachers, scientists and technologists. That is the challenge facing the Secretary of State and one which he has dismally failed to meet in the Regulations.

9.14 p.m.

Mr. Forbes Hendry (Aberdeenshire, West)

At the outset I think we all want to congratulate the Secretary of State for Scotland on producing a most comprehensive and masterly document. It is such a masterly document and so long that I have found it extremely obscure, and apparently it is intelligible only to schoolmasters. I always understood that lawyers were the people who produced incomprehensible documents, and perhaps I am as guilty of this as any other, but this document is so obscure that I had to seek advice from various schoolmaster friends of mine, asking them to explain it to me. I found that between schoolmasters and schoolmistresses there was a sharp difference of opinion on this subject. Before we consider salary scales in any detail we should ask the schoolteachers themselves to make up their minds what they want.

I welcome, as I think every hon. Member must welcome, the fact that at long last we are within sight of equal pay for equal work and that in about two years men and women teachers will be paid on the same scale. Although we all recognise the fairness of that, however, I suggest that the Secretary of State should consider what he can do to avoid any hardship to married schoolmasters. In Scotland there has been a breakaway from the Educational Institute of Scotland to the Scottish Schoolmasters' Association, which has this point very much in mind. Will the Secretary of State consider whether he could begin to pay some allowance to married schoolmasters in the same way as the Army has paid allowances for many years? In the Army there are marriage allowances and children's allowances to prevent hardship. There are real hardships amongst schoolmasters in Scotland.

Miss Margaret Herbison (Lanarkshire, North)

I take it that when the hon. Member advocates marriage allowances and allowances for dependants, he will take into account the many women teachers who, equally, have dependants.

Mr. Hendry

The hon. Lady has made an excellent point, and I hope that the Secretary of State will pay attention to that as well as to the point which I have made.

One frequently sees in Scotland young women in furs driving about in motor cars. Probably their fathers have private means, but, nevertheless, they seem to be doing extremely well for themselves. On the other hand, we often find the poor old schoolmaster, a pillar of the community, walking about down at heel, in many cases almost as down at heel as the parish minister. I appeal to my right hon. Friend to give some consideration to that situation in dealing with teachers' salaries in the future.

I mentioned parish ministers, and I welcome that part of the Regulations which provides for payment to ministers of religion who are teaching. I suggest very sincerely to the Joint Under-Secretary of State that, especially where there is a shortage of teachers, part-time employment might be give to ministers. They are men of good education and in many cases they are natural teachers, although they may not be certificated. It might be possible for a minister to obtain some subsidiary qualification which would enable him to act as a part-time teacher and thus make a valuable contribution to meet the existing shortage of teachers.

As I expected, we have heard about the shortage of teachers in Glasgow. I thought that we should have heard about the shortage in Lanarkshire, although we have not.

Mr. James Dempsey (Coatbridge and Airdrie)

It is still to come.

Mr. Hendry

We have heard about the shortage of teachers in Fife. I agree that there is a serious shortage in Glasgow and Fife. On the other hand, I should be surprised to hear that there is a shortage of teachers in Edinburgh. My hon. Friends who represent Edinburgh constituencies tell me that this shortage does not exist in Edinburgh. I suggest very respectfully to hon. Members opposite that it might be a good thing if the the local authorities in Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Fife sought to put their own houses in order and treated their teachers a little better. All local authorities which employ teachers are empowered to build houses. Certain local authorities, as housing authorities, provide houses for teachers and manage to attract teachers when other local authorities cannot. It is not for this House to tell local authorities what they should do, but I suggest that hon. Members opposite might well advise their local authorities along these lines.

Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)

Does Edinburgh Corporation build houses for teachers? If it does, then teachers are the only folk for which the corporation is building houses.

Mr. Hendry

The point is that Edinburgh Corporation can attract teachers and has not shortage, whereas Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Fife have a shortage.

We have heard a lot about teachers in Glasgow. I want to deal with the rural areas where great difficulty is experienced. The difficulty in those areas is due not only to a shortage of teachers but to conditions. As my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary knows, my constituency is noted for the large number of little schools—secondary schools at that—which are widely spread and where the headmaster and teachers have a tremendous responsibility, far greater than the responsibility which falls on a teacher in Glasgow. The teachers, and the children attending these schools, live and work in conditions which would appal any teacher or pupil in Glasgow.

In my constituency it is not uncommon for children to cycle six miles each day to school. In these little village schools they get a better education than many children get in Glasgow. This is due to the high standard and devotion to duty of the teachers in these schools.

I welcome the Regulation, which my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) criticised, which provides for special payment in remote schools, but I regret that there has been a retrograde step in the definition of a remote school. In the old Regulations a remote school was one which had not more than two teachers and was at least five miles away from a railway station or a passenger service. To be regarded as a remote school now, a school has to be fifteen miles from a centre of population, and a centre of population is defined as a place where, in the primary schools, there are at least three teachers. Hon. Members representing Glasgow and Edinburgh constituencies would be horrified if they were asked to regard a place which had three teachers in a primary school as a centre of population. Under these Regulations, unless the school is fifteen miles from a centre of population a teacher will not receive special responsibility payment. I appeal to my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary to look at that point again to encourage teachers to work in these schools.

Only the other day I was discussing a school in my constituency with the Joint Under-Secretary. It is a secondary school, and the head teacher teaches not only the three top primary classes, but also the over twelve secondary pupils. I had, with regret, to agree with my hon. Friend that it would be proper to close that school. No teacher can possibly handle classes like that. These children will have to go to the nearest secondary school which is six miles away. If more encouragement were given to teachers in the small rural schools a great problem would be overcome.

I want to pay tribute to these teachers, especially the head teachers, because they literally run the village or parish. The parish minister, who is a natural leader, may have a double charge, and live miles away from the area, and everything devolves on the head teacher. He runs every charity. He is probably the secretary of the local football club. Everything devolves on him. The success of the whole village depends on him.

There are Regulations which enable the Secretary of State for Scotland to make special provisions to deal with such cases Regulation 31 is, unfortunately, too narrow because it applies only to teachers in secondary schools. When the Secretary of State for Scotland decides to make Regulations of this sort again I hope that he will make them applicable to primary school teachers.

Regulation 34, which my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby also criticised, enables the Secretary of State for Scotland to give special responsibility payments where teachers have responsibilities of an exceptional kind.

Mr. Gourlay

I did not criticise that part at all. I was referring to the general £100 grant being given to teachers who go from primary to secondary schools. As for building houses, the authorities may do so, with the approval of the Secretary of State, but so far he has refused to approve the building of such houses.

Mr. Hendry

I apologise for my diction. The hon. Member misheard me. I referred to my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby who criticised these Regulations from a legal point of view. I appeal to my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary to shut his ears to anything suggested to him by my hon. Friend and to make the best use he can of Regulation 34.

Mr. Mitchison

I hope that the hon. Member does not mean that. This is a complete dictatorship. According to the hon. Member, the Secretary of State should be given certain powers and then encouraged to exceed them.

Mr. Hendry

The House is being asked to approve these Regulations, including Regulation 34, and I am asking my hon. Friend to make the best use of that Regulation in order to ensure that country teachers, who are giving a tremendous service to Scotland, should receive recognition. This will ensure the continuity of first-class education in country districts.

I have great pleasure in commending these Regulations to the House. They are open to criticism in various respects, but they represent a tremendous step forward, and all hon. Members should support them. I would merely ask my hon. Friend to consider the point to which I have referred, with a view to improving them even further when the time comes to rewrite them.

9.27 p.m.

Mrs. Judith Hart (Lanark)

I shall not attempt to follow the remarks of the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. Hendry), except to say that when he mentioned young women in fur coats and motor cars he could not have been referring to young women newly qualified as teachers, because their starting salaries are not sufficient to support either a fur coat or a motor car; nor are the salaries of most women teachers in Scotland. He may have been referring to the daughters of some of the business men who have been treated so generously by his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I hope he will mention that point to his right hon. Friend in anticipation of his Budget statement.

I want to refer to the point made by my hon. Friends concerning the general dissatisfaction which the whole Scottish teaching profession feels about these new Regulations. I do not wish to refer to particular groups who feel a special sense of injustice, but it is clear to all who have been receiving correspondence from them that in this profession the sense of dissatisfaction strikes very deeply. Before coming here this evening I was discussing with some of my hon. Friends the question of the extent to which we can believe many of the things said by members of various professions about the injustice of their salary scales. We can distinguish between those grievances which are raised as a matter of routine, in order to pave the way for the next salary increases, and those grievances which are so frequently reiterated, with such bitterness, that it is quite clear that the whole profession feels that it is unjustly treated. I believe that this is the case with the teachers.

This is a matter of great importance, first, because we cannot have a good teaching profession unless it is feeling satisfied with its conditions of work, and so, for its own sake, it is advisable that the profession should have salaries which satisfy it, and secondly, because we cannot hope to stimulate recruitment to the profession unless we have an already happy profession for recruits to enter.

Mention has been made of Glasgow, Fife and other parts of Scotland. I support my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan) in the plea he made for Glasgow. All of us who represent constituencies in Scotland must share the view he puts that, however great are the needs for teachers in our constituencies, Glasgow presents an acute problem. Since it is vital to the basic life of Scotland, Glasgow's needs must receive the most urgent attention of the Secretary of State.

I make mention of my constituency and of Lanarkshire in general. I am sure my hon. Friend the Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mr. Dempsey) would support every remark I make on this subject. The needs in Lanarkshire are, above all, to reduce the size of classes, to enable the provision of specialised staff and to ensure that uncertificated teachers need no longer be employed. I give one or two examples, not the most recent, but the most recently available. They show that in Lanarkshire there were 23 primary school classes with over 50 in a class and 143 with between 46 and 50, giving altogether a total of 166 classes with over 45 children in each. I turn to secondary school classes and, without giving the details, I find there were 422 secondary school classes with over 30 in a class. At the same time, there were 288 uncertificated teachers and 91 retired teachers who had been brought back into service.

This applies generally all over the country. In my constituency it applies in village schools in country areas as much as in schools in the new town of East Kilbride, where thousands of children are growing up and will attend the new schools being built there. We are greatly alarmed in the new town of East Kilbride about where teachers are to come from to start those new schools.

In reply to a Question the other day, the Secretary of State for Scotland said that recruitment to the teaching profession was improving and there had been many more recruits in the last two or three years than several years ago. To him that seemed a good sign. Of course it is, and we all must welcome it, but two or three years ago I attempted to look at the age structure of the teaching profession in Scotland in comparison with that of similar professions which derive their recruits from university graduates.

I discovered with dismay that in the teaching profession there was a far higher proportion of present members who were over 50 years of age than in any of the other professions in Scotland. A very much greater stepping-up of new recruits is needed to counterbalance the ageing in the profession. Coupled with the higher birthrate which Scotland has seen in the last few years, it shows that we are faced with a problem which is not temporary. It is going on and will intensify as the over-50s reach retiring age and are replaced by the much smaller numbers who entered the profession twenty years ago.

I suggest to the Minister that it would be a good thing if we could have a much more comprehensive inquiry into the salaries of professional workers in Scotland than we have had up to now. Comments have been made about the complexity of the existing salary Regulations and the impossibility of anyone outside the profession understanding them. We find a barbed-wire network of confusion. This arises because of pressures from various small groups in the profession, understandable pressure groups which have been formed. It means that there is now no rational salary structure in the teaching profession, or in any of the professional salary scales in Scotland.

I make one comparison. In the Report of the Royal Commission on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration one discovers that a civil servant just entering the grade of principal—which is the second grade of administrative civil servants, reached I believe when a man or woman is 33 to 35 years of age—is getting £200 to £300 a year more than a fully-trained Scottish honours graduate at the top of the scale.

That seems to be a lamentable comment on the disparity between the salaries paid to graduates entering one form of employment and another. If one takes the graduate in industry—who, in some cases, has had less training than the honours graduate in the teaching profession—the same Report shows him to be earning, on the average, £300 a year more than the fully-trained honours graduate teacher at the top of his basic scale.

That is a revelation of the irrationality of Government salaries paid to professional workers. I support the idea of setting up a committee of some kind to look at professional workers, at their salary scales, at their conditions of work. It could examine one or two of the matters mentioned this evening, such as the case for and against the provision of family allowances, the provision of houses, and the Income Tax regulations that govern allowances of one kind and another made to various professions. It could look at the need for further recruitment, and look for the best possible sources of human material from which the professions can be recruited.

It is not only in the teaching profession that we have this shortage. As emerged from the recent Second Reading debate on the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill, there is a tremendous shortage of social workers, and of many other professional workers in the educational and medical services. I suggest that we would do well, in order to give satisfaction to the teachers, to examine in a much more fundamental way the present structure of their salaries and the improvements that might be made in relating their remuneration more fairly to that received in other professions.

We cannot hope to achieve the kind of education we all want for our children in Scotland unless we firmly tackle this question of dissatisfaction amongst teachers. I hope that the Secretary of State will be prepared to look again at the salary Regulations and at least give us some assurance that in the very near future he will make a much more fundamental investigation of our problem than has been made up to now.

9.37 p.m.

Mr. James Dempsey (Coatbridge and Airdrie)

Unlike the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. Hendry) I want to criticise the Secretary of State, and not to compliment him, on the inadequate salary scales offered to teachers in Scotland. The teaching shortage is a very grave problem, and when one reads the document on salaries one wonders whether it is likely to relieve the problem of the teacher-supply position in Scotland generally, or merely continue the shortage.

One cannot help but reflect on the number of Scottish authorities that are suffering from a serious shortage at present. My hon. Friend the Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart) has spoken of the shortage in her own constituency. In the county as a whole we are short or over 300 teachers, and I am quite convinced that if we added the other parts of Scotland we should find a shortage of several thousands.

The Secretary of State should have regard to the resultant difficulties confronting authorities, and to the fact that from time to time they have had to employ people who would not normally be employed were the appropriate supply of certificated teachers available. I could give many instances of the type of teacher that we have been forced to engage in Scotland over the past few years. I am told that in one case a lady holding the Scottish leaving certificate was taken from her shop and put in charge of a class. The Secretary of State should bear such instances in mind, and at least try to appreciate the vexed situation which obtains. It is not confined to one part of the country. These occurrences are general. Quite apart from the shortage, we must bear in mind the important consideration of quality. If we intend to produce the proper type of citizen we must have regard to the quality of the teachers who are employed for this purpose.

I do not intend to refer in great detail to the aspect of overcrowding. My hon. Friend the Member for Lanark has dealt with this subject very fully. I would only say to the Joint Under-Secretary that it is not unusual to enter the first and second rooms in the infant departments of schools in Scotland—the most difficult stage of a child's educational career—and find sixty or seventy children in a class. If there are any classes the size of which should be reduced to a minimum, it is these early classes. Yet we find in some cases that they are the top-heavy classes, all due to the shortage of teachers. Surely, therefore, if we intend to make a serious effort to overcome this problem we are duty bound to have another look at the proposed salary scales.

Mr. John Brewis (Galloway)

The hon. Gentleman says that far too many poor quality people are entering the teaching profession. Would he not agree that we should try to raise the status of the teaching profession? Merely to increase teachers' salaries may draw even more undesirable people into the profession for the sake of the money.

Mr. Dempsey

What I was saying was that in view of the shortages, education authorities were compelled to employ as a temporary expedient persons who would not otherwise be employed to teach children, and I took the trouble to cite one simple instance. One of the most important considerations in dealing with this problem is the type of child whom we are going to equip mentally and physically to play his or her part in the life of this country; we have a responsibility to ensure that we have the teachers capable of producing that type of citizen from the quantitative as well as from the qualitative point of view. I am very much concerned at the gradual loss in prestige which Scottish education is suffering in general. Scottish education is world-renowned for its system, its administration, its achievements and products. But if the teaching situation deteriorates any further one cannot but feel rather sad at this tragic deterioration in our standards.

I was intrigued by the explanatory note to the Memorandum which refers to Part II of the Second Schedule dealing with the salaries of teachers. It prescribes eight basic scales for men and corresponding scales for women which seeks to give effect to the policy of equating in seven stages women's scales to those for men. The hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West, if I may say so, has read it incorrectly. In fact, we are not equating. We still have a category of teacher who is not receiving equal pay for equal work and equal responsibility.

It was not my intention this evening to interfere with the prerogative of the Education Institute for Scotland, but I feel it is my duty to refer to the category of teachers trained between 1920 and 1926 whom the Secretary of State suggests did not make themselves available for training in the university due to prejudice. This is a biased approach to the problem and is an unfair attitude to adopt. The real reason why they were not trained was that, lacking private means, there were not sufficient Government grants and local authority bursaries to enable them to enter the universities and take up that additional training. There is no question of equating their salaries with this prescribed scale of salaries for teachers, according to my reading of the document.

The salary scales reveal very interesting reading. Those coming within the jurisdiction of Scale VIII—and I am referring to men—start with a salary of £520 a year, or £10 a week. When superannuation and other incidentals are deducted, there is little more than £9 a week. Does the Secretary of State for Scotland sincerely believe that he will induce people to take the Scottish leaving certificate and enter training colleges for a further three years when they know that at the end of their studies they will be offered little more than £9 a week? I do not think it is a feasible proposition.

The scale for women coming within the jurisdiction of Scale XVI shows that they start with £500, or less than £10 a week, as a gross salary. Indeed, after they have spent several years—I believe it is ten years—they will have a gross salary of approximately only £12 a week. Frankly, I do not think that is the way to encourage persons to enter the teaching profession, especially when much more lucrative salaries are being offered in commerce and industry. If the Joint Under-Secretary has had any experience of visiting universities and training colleges when these students are leaving those training establishments, he will find that the visitors include industrialists as well as local authority officials. He will find that administrative representatives and executives are all competing for this type of student.

If we intend to staff our schools and succeed in our efforts, we shall require to make these salaries much more attractive. If it were possible to give the Secretary of State for Scotland any advice—and I doubt whether it is possible—I would ask him to look at the salary ladder of the professional people of this country pre-war and post-war and examine the placing of the teaching profession on that salary ladder. He will find that teachers' salaries have progressively deteriorated in Scotland over the past twenty years.

I believe from my own experience that the main influence is salary. If we are offering salaries such as I have quoted, it is fair to say that not only craftsmen but even manual labourers have more wages per week than some of the persons we engage as professional teachers. Let us be realistic and take an objective view of this situation so that we can deal with the problem where it warrants desirable action.

In my opinion, it is the salary that matters. Perhaps housing is a contributory factor. Perhaps travelling allowances are a contributory factor. My authority is willing to provide houses in certain parts of the county where there is a shortage of teachers, but this provision did not contribute in any way towards the solution of the problem in Lanarkshire. The main solution lies in the salary. That is the principal argument. Promotion may be a contributory factor, but it does not provide the complete answer.

Teachers are professional people and, like other professional people and workers in general, they are selling their professional services to the highest bidder. Apparently, that is the natural law. If we intend to bid, we must offer salaries which will make it possible for our schools to be staffed adequately in order to produce the quality of citizens we wish to see.

One of the main difficulties facing those who wish to offer better salaries is the attitude of the Government towards their contribution to teachers' salaries. Until a larger and more adequate global sum is forthcoming from the present Government, we shall never be able to deal with the matter effectively. Most local authorities in Scotland, two years ago, were placed in the invidious position of having to round off the proposed salaries of teachers by making a grant from the rates, fully rate-borne without any Government contribution towards it.

If the Under-Secretary of State is anxious to make an effective contribution towards the solution of Scotland's serious teaching shortage, he must prevail upon his right hon. Friend and the Cabinet to make larger sums of money available for the purpose. With those larger sums of money, we could enter the market and offer teachers proper salaries. We could man our schools with an adequate supply of competent teachers and overcome this grave shortage once and for all, if not in the interests of the Government of the day, at any rate in the interests of posterity and the United Kingdom.

9.53 p.m.

Mr. G. M. Thomson (Dundee, East)

My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) said that he had an understandable reluctance to enter the unknown territory of Scottish education. I have an equal reluctance to plunge into the legal undergrowth which he explored with such skill, but there is one legal matter which I wish to raise. I refer to the timing of the Regulations. I notice that the timing is dealt with by the Select Committee in relation to another set of Regulations to which it refers in its Second Report. I think the Committee might equally have applied its remarks to these.

I doubt very much that it is a good idea for the House of Commons to have a responsibility for going into the intricacies of salary regulations in teaching at all. This is, I think, the only body of public service salaries which we deal with in this way, and I consider that it would be very desirable in many ways to arrange to stop it. However, if the duty is laid upon the House of Commons, and if hon. Members are to receive detailed representations from groups of their constituents, then the Government owe it to the House to arrange the timing of these matters so that we can debate the Regulations at least near the time when they are to come into operation.

The House will notice that these particular Regulations were laid before Parliament on 30th December, 1959. Perhaps the Scottish Office thought that it might be indecent actually to lay them on Hogmanay. They were laid during a fairly long Parliamentary recess and came into operation just two days after they were laid, on 1st January. We are put in the farcical position of having to debate them some time after the teaching profession and our constituents have known that the whole matter was decided and finished. I do not think that it is consonant with the dignity of this House. It has happened with other Regulations. I hope, therefore, that the Government will say that they will make a better effort to arrange the timing of these matters in future.

I have mentioned, like other hon. Members, that we have received many representations from different sections of the teaching profession. I have no desire to go into details, but I want to say this about the general representations that have been made. Many people have based their arguments on very elaborate comparisons between teachers' salaries in Scotland and those in England. I sympathise with people who feel that the salaries in the teaching profession are inadequate, but I feel that this is the wrong argument to use. If one wishes to make comparisons between Scotland and England, as far as I can make out Scottish teachers are proportionately getting a bigger salary award than English teachers. In Scotland, more teachers do better than their English counterparts under the present Regulations than suffer a disadvantage from them.

I think that that the comparison with England is an unfortunate argument to put forward in relation to this problem for two reasons. First, it is basically rather humiliating that we should argue about Scottish teaching and the salaries of teachers in Scotland in relation to what has been decided in the different circumstances and against the different traditions of the English teaching profession. Secondly, it is a rather dangerous argument. Its implication is that we should simply arrange teachers' salaries in Scotland by reference to what has been arranged under the English negotiating machinery. I am sure that the result might be to do more harm than good to members of the Scottish teaching profession.

Other hon. Members have said that the main reason why this debate is taking place is that those of us on this side feel very strongly that these Regulations are quite inadequate to meet the real need of Scottish education. The greatest and most urgent problem is the shortage of teachers. Various hon. Members have vividly described the shortages that exist in their own areas. I will content myself simply with this example. Within the last week or two, we have opened the Kirkton High School in my constituency, a magnificent new comprehensive school of which we are very proud and of which I think the Minister has reason to be proud because his Department did a good deal about the designing of the school which is unique in many respects. However, I understand that the problem that the school is likely to face is the shortage of specialist teachers to teach in the beautiful new classrooms. If we are to have splendid new schools, it is most unfortunate that there should be a lack of teachers to teach in them.

This salary award totals about £2,460,000. It will bring the total Scottish salary bill up to, I think, £54 million. It is a very modest increase, and, in our view, quite inadequate in relation to the need. This is the time of year when we are presented with the Estimates of spending in other Departments of the Government, particularly the various Defence Departments. We are faced with increases in expenditure in those Departments of scores of millions of pounds. From time to time we have had examples of many millions of pounds being wasted because equipment has become obsolete. The argument that is always used is that we cannot take risks with the security of our country.

I think it is time that we became aware that our educational system is, in some ways, equally vital to the general security of our country and to its whole future as the military defences. It is as important to have teachers as it is to have soldiers and scientists to serve the military Departments. Indeed, that is true from the most direct and immediate viewpoint. The defence Departments themselves will not be able to get the scientists and technicians that they require in our space age if we do not get the teachers of mathematics and science for our schools.

But it is even more important in a more fundamental sense. If we are to have a decent and secure future for our country, it is tremendously important not only that we maintain our living standards in step with other countries, but also that we try to accompany these living standards by a rich quality of life for the people. Again, that depends upon having an adequate number of teachers in the schools.

I listened with great interest yesterday to the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland making an excellent speech about the need for Scotland playing her part in providing teachers for the underdeveloped countries of the Commonwealth. We simply will not be able to play that part unless we can provide the teachers, and we will not get enough teachers under these Regulations. We need much more generous regulations and much bigger expenditure of public funds on teachers.

The Knox Committee pointed out that the increased expenditure on salaries under the Regulations would raise the percentage of national income devoted to education only from 2.9 to 3 per cent. Indeed, taking into account the increase in national income which has occurred since the Knox Committee reported, it is doubtful whether this increase would raise the proportion or whether, at the end of the day, we shall not be spending less of our national income on education.

My hon. Friend the Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart) mentioned the importance of the planning of professional salaries. I would put the matter in an even wider perspective. Today, we get this matter completely unbalanced in our country, which is more prosperous and wealthy than ever. In the advertisement columns of today's Scotsman for instance, I discovered that in my constituency there is a vacancy for a Grade I lecturer for the Dundee College of Art, a post requiring high qualifications. The candidate must be a member of the R.I.B.A. and a degree in town planning would be an advantage. The commencing salary is £850.

There is an advertisement also for the Minister's constituency. The Locharbriggs primary school is looking for an infant mistress. We cannot tell from the advertisement exactly what salary the Dumfries-shire County Council will pay, because it will depend upon the number of years' experience that the lady has had. If, however, the Dumfries-shire County Council is enterprising and go-ahead and offers the post to a reasonably young teacher, it is likely that her salary also will be between £800 and £850.

In an adjoining column, however, we find the type of figure which is characteristic of our civilisation. There is a whole series of advertisements for salesmen with limited experience, who are offered salaries of £2,000 a year. A company marketing an up-to-date food service offers a salary in excess of £2,000. A speciality salesman for a fuel efficiency firm is offered a salary of £1,000 to £3,000 per annum, with only three weeks' training. This is getting things completely cock-eyed in our society today. We are wealthy and prosperous and I hope that in the years that lie ahead, we will make a serious effort to show the world that we can use our prosperity in a civilised manner.

The most affluent society in the world today is the United States. There, the major activity, unfortunately, is not education. It has some of the worst schools in the Western world. Its major activity is advertising and the creation of artificial wants. Before we get our next regulations, let us try to alter this lack of balance and show the world that we do not behave in that way or encourage the manufacture of more and more artificial wants. Let us try to use our resources to meet the real needs of the community, the need that everybody in the community has for getting a chance to lead a full and rich life. That can only come if the community is willing to give much higher priority to educational expenditure than is indicated in the Regulations.

10.5 p.m.

Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)

It is a little casual of the Government to have placed us in a position where some weeks, getting on now to over a month, have elapsed since the salary scales were actually brought into operation and we are afforded an opportunity as a result of action by the Opposition to debate these salaries and decide tonight whether or not the House agrees to pay them, and yet they have been paid since 1st January.

I wonder whether the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland will give us an explanation of this kind of thing. These new salary scales should not come as a surprise to him. This is the kind of thing which we in the House have to bear every three years—it is the result of the ordinary triennial review. Like my hon. Friends, I deplore very much the fact that we would appear to be a sort of last court of appeal in respect of dissatisfied teachers. I do not think it is right to place us in this position. Indeed, sometimes I think it is quite wrong to place the Secretary of State in the position of being able to amend scales after they have been agreed between the two main parties. In that respect the position differs in Scotland from that in England.

Nevertheless, as Members of Parliament we have to take note that, despite the fact that the E.I.S., which is the main negotiating body—though certain people in Scotland feel that it should not be negotiating for them—agreed to these scales, there are people who are aggrieved, and to my mind quite justly. When they write to me I have to put their case to the Secretary of State. The Joint Under-Secretary will appreciate this because he has had from me almost 40 letters in relation to particular aspects of these scales.

I certainly have no desire to underline this matter tonight. These constituents of mine have as much right to have me speaking about their cases as anyone else, but I will not go into details; I am sure that other hon. Members will also have sent letters to the Secretary of State and have asked him to reply and give his reasons. I assure the Joint Under-Secretary that the ladies who write to me are far from satisfied with his replies, and I am sure that if he were sitting on this side of the House he would be making the kind of speech which I am now making.

I was quite fascinated by one of his hon. Friends talking about using ministers as teachers, because the last person that I heard making that speech was the hon. Gentleman himself. I hope he is quite satisfied that justice is being done to non-graduate women teachers trained between 1919 and 1926. The E.I.S. says that their case is unanswerable, but they have not had an answer yet from the Scottish Office.

When my hon. Friend the Member for Motherwell (Mr. Lawson) raised this matter in 1956, the Joint Under-Secretary at the time, the hon. Baronet the Member for Fife, East (Sir J. Henderson-Stewart), said that these people had a case. They still feel that their case has not been answered. There is no doubt that in the matter of increases in salary scales some teachers—admittedly those who recently entered the profession—discover that they have had no increase at all. Some calculate that they are making a loss. It is difficult for them to know at present. They have had an Income Tax rebate in respect of E.I.S. payments and therefore they will not know what their position is until they receive their salary for February. The chances are that the increase at the moment is quite negligible and that in some cases there is a net loss. It is difficult to justify that.

The 62 pages of the Regulations governing this matter make a fascinating document, and just by the luck of the events of Parliamentary life we have extra time tonight to debate it. They are fascinating Regulations and some seem quite outwith the powers of the Secretary of State. Yet normally we would be expected to deal with this in an hour or an hour and a half, so it is a good thing we have the advantage of extra time.

There are now fewer than sixty-one tables of scales. There are cases of different types of teachers with different qualifications. One hon. Gentleman opposite spoke about equal pay for equal work. He was wrong. The one thing we have not got in the teaching profession is that. We have equal pay between men and women who may be doing the same job, but there are people with different qualifications doing the same job and being paid different scales. So we have not got equal pay for equal work and that is one of the complaints made by some of the women.

Anyone with experience of the primary schools in Glasgow knows, as I do, that those who came into teaching between 1920 and 1930 are the backbone of the primary schools. They are far better than many others with all those qualifications. Qualifications do not make a teacher but ability, personality and training do so. One of the great weaknesses of the teaching structure is that the qualification which starts on the first day follows through to the last day, with a widening separation not in relation to teaching ability, to work that is done, but in relation to an initial qualification whose value disappears over the years.

What we are bound to come to in the light of the numerous scales and intricacies and cross-currents is an inquiry into the relation of teaching qualifications and entry into the teaching profession and training. I do not agree that all we have to do is to put up the scales in order to get more teachers. The Government and the local authorities with their restricted resources—probably more particularly so in respect of the local authorities—will never be able to keep up with the others who want the same people, namely, the industrialists, We must face the fact that the only solution lies in creating a greater reservoir of people coming from the schools, the universities and the training colleges from which to draw, so that there will be enough both for industry and for education.

I want to ask the Minister one or two questions, because I was interested in a speech made by his hon. Friend. I shall not refer to Part I of the voluminous Regulations because the Explanatory Note says nothing about it. Part II prescribes without material change how previous teaching service, war service, national service and certain other employments are to determine the position of a teacher on the salary scales. Part IV has eight Schedules which continue without material change the system for calculating the salaries of teachers in further education centres. Part V continues without change—not without material change this time—the provision for supplements to the salaries of teachers employed in remote schools.

I understood the Minister's hon. Friend to say that there had been a change in the interpretation of remote schools. Is his hon. Friend right or wrong? We are entitled to an explanation. I admit that this is not included in the Regulations but it was given by way of explanation of the Regulations. If what his hon. Friend says is true, the Government are misleading the House.

I wonder whether the Joint Under-Secretary could give me an explanation on another point. I do not want to speak too long, although I am tempted. I am tempted, because as a former teacher I am interested in one of the Regulations which says that in respect of a teacher who has left his profession and gone to do other work that period can be counted in respect of service if he returns to teaching because it is something which is likely to be of value to him after his return to teaching. I wonder whether if I returned to teaching the work which I have done while a Member of the House of Commons would be reckoned to be of value to me in my later work in the teaching profession. However, I will not directly question the Joint Under-Secretary in respect of that. I will not raise his hopes. I am not thinking at the moment of returning to the teaching profession.

I was also concerned about the question of remote areas. If it is difficult to secure teachers in Glasgow, how much more difficult it must be in the remote areas. Is the Joint Under-Secretary satisfied that the sums of £50 and, in an extended definition, £90 are enough? Can he tell us what the experience has been since those payments were introduced in 1954? I feel that in such circumstances the amounts are inadequate.

I feel the same way about teachers in special schools. They are doing very specialised work which is certainly not recompensed by the permitted supplement. I wonder whether E.I.S. has been sufficiently concerned with what is needed to attract teachers into that type of school. If we require teachers in ordinary schools, we require them even more in special schools dealing with backward and handicapped children. This is something that we shall be discussing later in connection with another Bill.

I was interested in a delightful definition that I came across. I learnt for the first time what a "teacher-meeting" meant. I am surprised that the Scottish Office has not taken the oppor tunity to clear up the use of terms. In Regulation 20 we find: 'Teacher-meeting' means, in the case of an assistant teacher, a period during which he teaches one or more classes or is required by the education authority to be present at the further education centre in which he is employed, and, in the case of a teacher in a post of special responsibility, a period during which he teaches, supervises, organises or otherwise performs the duty of his post, including any period during which a teacher-meeting for which he has responsibility, directly or indirectly, is held by another teacher; and, 'morning meeting', 'afternoon meeting' and 'evening meeting' mean respectively a teacher-meeting beginning before noon, a teacher-meeting beginning between noon and 4 p.m. and a teacher-meeting beginning after 4 p.m. In other words, a teacher-meeting is not a meeting at all. I gather that it is when the teacher is actually with his class in the morning, the afternoon or the evening. I feel that this could be made clearer.

I wonder whether the Joint Under-Secretary would look at Regulation 43 in the general and administrative provisions. The local authority is given power, if it is not satisfied with a teacher, to postpone his annual increment. It is stated that: If a teacher is not performing his duties to the satisfaction of the education authority, it shall be in the power of the authority, notwithstanding anything in these Regulations,"— these are the words in which I am interested— notwithstanding anything in these Regulations, to postpone for one salary year after the date of the adoption of the resolution for the said postponement the increment paid to him in accordance with the basic scale applicable to the calculation of the basic element of his salary. … That means that if a local authority is dissatisfied with a teacher in respect of anything, it can, notwithstanding anything in the Regulations, stop his increment. I am interested in this because the next paragraph deals with the right of the teacher to pray for an inquiry and the power of the Secretary of State to make them withdraw the resolution. How is this affected by the words I have quoted— … it shall be in the power of the authority, notwithstanding anything in these Regulations, … Has the Secretary of State really got the power, in the light of these words, to intervene between the local authority and the teacher in respect of this postponed increment? This is important.

If there is anything a Secretary of State can quickly do that would make any impact at all on the recruitment of teachers, it should be done, because we are getting in a mess. The position of Glasgow has been stated, and the same thing is true of Ayrshire. We open a new school and as a result we find more overcrowding. Classes get bigger and we have to get teachers from other schools. We should have opened a new school at Kilmarnock, but it is now not being opened until March because we have not got teachers. We are remoulding the whole secondary education in Ayrshire today. I wonder how much it is related to theories about secondary education. I can assure the Joint Under-Secretary of State that he will probably be questioned about this. He has already had questions from Lanarkshire.

How much is this reorganisation related to the scarcity of specialised personnel in our senior secondary schools? In order to try to safeguard that little part of our educational work the Secretary of State is making sweeping changes in respect of junior secondary education and senior secondary education which looks to me like a reduction, on the face of it, of the opportunity for children to get into senior secondary schools. How much is that due to the Government's continuing failure to deal with the question of recruitment of teachers?

One important factor, as was pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart) and my hon. Friend the Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mr. Dempsey)—who, I think, was actually on one of the committees which hammered out the scales—is starting salaries. These put people off when they see what they will get after staying on at school for five or six years, spending three years at a university, and then one at the training college. A girl going through three years at a teachers' training college starts at a salary for a non-graduate woman of £9 a week. For a man the figure is £630, without deductions for superannuation and other deductions. Will that attract graduates? Certainly not. If the right hon. Gentleman wants a quick improvement in the situation, let him reduce the eighteen years now needed for a teacher to reach his maximum salary, and let him do this by allowing teachers to start very much higher up the scale—in other words, let him raise the minimum.

10.25 p.m.

Mr. Malcolm MacMillan (Western Isles)

Like my hon. Friends, I am sorry that the timing of this debate puts us in our present position, which is rather like the position the House finds itself in when considering an appeal for the reprieve of a condemned man. It has to wait until the hanging is over before the House of Commons can debate the matter in detail. The timing of the Teachers' Salaries Regulations puts us in the same position. Indeed, we do not have even the notorious four minutes warning about which we were told the other day in the announcement about the guided missile early warning system. There is, therefore, an unreality about discussing these Regulations now, after they have taken effect. Fortunately, we had an opportunity to make certain representations to Ministers some weeks or months ago, and these has been some very minor result, I think, from the pressure of representations made.

I am concerned principally about two points. The first is quite local—local, at least, to the remoter areas of the country and the islands. I refer to payments to teachers in remote schools and distant islands. I had a very interesting letter from the Secretary of State in reply to representations made by the Lewis branch of the Educational Institute of Scotland. On 15th December he gave me an assurance, in effect, that complete justice was being done in the spreading of the injustice about which complaint was made by the remote and distant school teachers and the special school teachers. What the Secretary of State told me was that, in general, the Regulations had followed fairly exactly the recommendations of the National Joint Council. That is probably true. He said: The Council did not include among their recommendations any proposal for an increase in the remote payments. He added: All representations, however, are noted for discussion with the Council. The sentences which arrested my attention most of all were these: I might add, however, that the Lewis local association are mistaken in thinking that the remote payments are the only items in which no change is proposed. No change has been made in the payment of teachers at special schools. That is most assuring for both those categories. They will have noted the equal justice with which the Secretary of State spread the injustice.

They were not, however, greatly reassured by the Secretary of State's letter, and the pressure was imposed much more heavily after that letter had been sent to them. I acknowledge that something has been done. I see that there is an extension of responsibility payment to the special schools; but I had hoped that generous adjustments might have been made in respect of remote schools.

I wish that the right hon. Gentleman would simplify some of the definitions and requirements in Part V—about such things as "exposed" and "sheltered" waters and the other references to the general topography and geography of the areas affected. After all, fifteen miles in one part of the country is nothing like fifteen miles in another part of the country. For example, fifteen miles by sea and land in the Outer Hebrides is very different from fifteen miles between Glasgow and Edinburgh. There is always a tendency at the centre to think in terms of fifteen miles simply as fifteen normal miles.

A number of years ago a petition was forwarded from a Highland constituency to the officials in Edinburgh and to one of the Ministers. It was concerned with the licensing of a local public house. In the petition it was stated that on their way to this public house for their refreshment the inhabitants travelled a distance of three miles. On the way home the distance, they said, was nearly four miles. The officials, all-knowing people, said this was quite absurd. But what they had forgotten was that the tide came in between the time the pub opened and the time the pub closed, and the customers had to make a long detour homeward which made the three miles four by the time they went home.

There are all these curious little considerations which just do not average out flatly for the convenience of the bureaucrats, and at the same time cause a great deal of confusion when interpretation is being made of provisions of this kind.

I have drawn attention to Part V and the changes the island teachers proposed; but apart altogether from that, I suggest that it is time that the special difficulties of areas of this kind, the remote areas—"distant islands"—in attracting suitable teachers, teachers as highly qualified as those employed anywhere else in Britain, were recognised. That recognition must be frankly in financial terms. I do not know what other inducements we could offer in some of those places. We might offer them something better in housing, perhaps, or in special provision for easier access to the larger local centres of population which offer a change of surroundings and a little livelier general interest than perhaps can be found in the remote school villages. Basically, however, this distant school question becomes a matter of special financial inducement, as, indeed, it is, despite some of the nonsense talked about it, throughout the whole of the profession. Primarily the problem of recruitment to the teaching profession is tied up with salaries. People can talk about recruiting by stimulating a sense of vocation and various other things which can and, I am sure, do to some extent draw people into the profession, but there is great competition, particularly for the science people, and that missionary zeal and sense of avocation nowadays is under considerable pressures to direct itself elsewhere.

It is not only that we are failing to attract highly qualified teachers into some of the remoter areas. We are failing more and more to hold teachers of the right type in those places, and they are losing their populations partly because of the sense of the inadequacy, in some places, of educational standards, facilities, buildings, equipment and all the rest of it. The smaller the place, the more remote the school, the less attention the very physical condition of the school is likely to get, and the worse the environment will become year by year for teacher and school.

This is true in the Outer Isles and in some of the remote coastal districts of the Highlands. There was a long period of maintenance neglect—during the war and the years afterwards, and again because of soaring costs in the more recent years since then. That has meant further neglect of the physical conditions of those schools, and while the new schools, admittedly, have been excellent, the old schools have become correspondingly worse and worse through the years of neglect.

Ministers surely cannot consider themselves to have satisfied the needs of the Scottish teachers or Scottish education with just these financial adjustments. They will really have to offer to people going to those more distant and expensive areas—and even to people who belong there—inducement not only to go there but to stay there, and they will have to do it against the increasingly competitive inducements of other more central places. I have had correspondence from time to time with a shepherd or an estate worker or a crofter in outlying parts of the Western Isles and other islands on the replacement of teachers.

I think, with great respect to the editorial staff, that the Scottish Educational Journal is chiefly read there for its advertisements. They are extremely tempting to a teacher who has been there three or four years—even for three of four months in the most isolated estates—and has not much to look at in the evenings except the wide, bleak moors or the Atlantic or, perhaps, St. Kilda in clear weather. It is a great understandable temptation to look at the advertisement columns, after a few months, and to contemplate going elsewhere. We simply have to offer them adequate inducement if we are to keep them there. We can quite generally get someone initially to go to these places, a young person who is just starting his or her career and who is eager to get a job. The problem is too keep him there. I doubt whether the present financial conditions will prove effective in getting them to stay.

I now take up the point made by my hon. Friend the Member far Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross), that the whole range of salary increases are not a sufficient inducement to recruitment in general. They may be in some places, but they are not in others. The Government and the public have to realise that we must pay adequately and that we cannot expect to make up recruitment through appeals to what I referred to a moment ago when talking of the smaller schools as the sense of missionery zeal or sense of vocation among students. We shall get a very small percentage of dedicated people who are prepared to go into teaching against all the allures and inducements of industry which are and must be higher than the financial inducements that education committees are ready to pay.

I do not think that even getting a bigger flow of students into the universities or into teaching training colleges is necessarily going to increase proportionately, or anything like proportionately, the number of specialist teachers of mathematics and science. I have been in trouble with people who are much more knowledgeable than I am—I am a consumer of education rather than an expert on education—for always insisting that we cannot for long by mere financial competition alone, or any other form of competition, compete successfully with industry in this field. In a highly competitive technological world struggle, industry must have and will pay for scientists.

Industry is desperate for people who have a capacity for the understanding of mathematics, chemistry and physics. A desperate competition for these people has gone on in years past and that competition will go on even more intensely in the years to come. We must, of course, have regard as a nation for the needs of industry if we are to survive. But the education committees are going to find it increasingly difficult to compete with industry in this matter of financial inducements.

What other inducements can be offered on the teaching side, it is sometimes difficult to see. There are important, if intangible, things which should, perhaps, have more attention paid to them, such as the status and prestige of the profession of teaching. But how that problem is to be handled is much more difficult to define.

The short-term financial problem, however, must be the one to which we should address ourselves on the recruiting for the schools. It is one of the practical part-solutions of the problem which we can tackle. After all, we are facing one basic fact from which, I doubt, there is little chance of escape by any swift synthetic or artificial means. We cannot mass produce people with a capacity for the understanding of mathematics. I think that is perfectly true in the experience of most countries. The Americans recently came to that conclusion after a long and thorough investigation of the problem, and we are facing it now. I am sure that the Russians are as well.

The supply and numbers of teachers of mathematics and its derivatives of physics and chemistry are bound, by very reason of this natural limit to the number of people with a capacity to understand mathematics, to be restricted by that natural limit. Along with that we have the other difficulty I have mentioned which is the competition with great, wealthy undertakings such as Unilever, English Electric, I.C.I. and all the rest who simply must have these people and who must pay for their scientists.

I always feel sorry for the local education authorities and local authorities who attempt to compete with such powerful interests which cannot afford to be beaten in that race. On the other hand, we cannot afford to be beaten on the educational side. We must go as far as we possibly can along financial lines to make teaching more attractive to people of this kind who are in such great demand in the expanding fields of science and industry.

There must be created a more direct contact with industry about this problem. I do not know the reason why this is not done. I have never heard any convincing proof that it is done from the Box opposite or in our discussions on the Education Estimates. Yet it seems to me that the solution must, in part at least, eventually come from close consultation and co-operation with those industries with which the schools are in competition for those teachers who are particularly in short supply. Something like that will have to be worked out. Some day we shall have to come round to the idea of having a national pool or regional pools of people who are prepared to make a part-time contribution in the educational field and a part-time contribution to industry. This is better than dilution of quality and lowering standards. Perhaps there should be some system of mutual seconding. It is a complicated and difficult matter, but experiment has not been tried nearly enough. People have talked about it for a long time, but while competition goes on, with I.C.I. and Unilever offering all the financial inducements they can afford to offer, together with facilities for laboratories to carry on post-graduate research, with which offer no local authority can compete, this see-saw of financial inducement and salary inducements continues, solving nothing as yet.

I am afraid that the salary scales as revised two months ago are not going to make a very great contribution even towards partially solving the problem, which is all that financial inducements can hope to do against the fierce competition with industry.

10.40 p.m.

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

We have been exceptionally fortunate tonight in that we have been able to start this debate on the Teachers' Salaries (Scotland) Regulations at an earlier hour than usual, and we have had a number of most interesting speeches, with which I hope to deal in some detail. At the moment, I cannot hope to claim that time presses so much that I shall not be able to answer all the questions.

I would start by saying that the debate, as usual, has evinced the general interest that is always taken in matters concerning education in Scotland. There has been the recurrent theme, which is not unnatural: are the salaries enough? We have had a kind word from the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross), who recognises at least that they are an improvement. I was grateful for what the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) said, and for the way in which the House treated the Regulations. It would have been a mistake for us to go into the details and all the intricacies of the Regulations, and the House has not done so. It has debated the salaries on the broad plane, which is the way in which they should be debated.

I want to deal straight away with the criticism about timing. The National Joint Council intimated its recommendations in late September, and the draft Regulations, which involved a lot of drafting and printing, as can be imagined, were issued on 20th October. Forty days then had to elapse for representations to be made on the draft, and those representations had then to be considered before the final Regulations could be made.

What most concerns the teachers about the timing is that the increases should come as quickly as possible. Although the triennium is not due to end until 31st March, we got to work and managed to get them into effect just in time for 1st January. The House could have debated them a little sooner, although there was no compulsion upon it to do so.

I should deal with the question of the validity of the Regulations, raised by the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison). Unless the Regulations are treated as valid, there is not much point in debating them. He dealt with the Second Report of the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments, which drew the attention of the House to these Regulations on the ground that they make unexpected use of the powers conferred by the Statute under which they were made. My hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Page), who was a Member of the Committee, also dealt with the matter.

Perhaps the House will allow me to leave the legal position out of account for the moment. I think the House agreed generally that some flexibility in salary Regulations was necessary, for however elaborate those Regulations may be—and they are very complicated—they clearly cannot cover every possible contingency. Part VI, which is the Part called in question, defines closely the circumstances in which some modifications of the Regulations may be made in relation to the salary of a particular teacher.

The House recognised, I think, that it would be quite impracticable to prescribe precisely the salaries to be paid in every exceptional case that may exist now, or which may arise during the next three years of the triennium. I am sure it is only by providing for the exceptions to be made from the normal provisions that we can ensure that equitable salaries are paid to every teacher whose circumstances are exceptional.

I know that it is never a good excuse for any aberration, but I want to emphasise that the number affected by this provision is small. There are 37,000 certificated teachers in Scotland, and the salaries of only 137 were modified under the provisions of Regulations 31 to 36 inclusive of the Regulations of 1956. In addition, about 700 benefited from the provisions of Regulation 37, which is concerned with the conservation of the salaries of teachers who would otherwise suffer by some action by the education authority for which the teacher had no responsibility, and which was due to no fault of his. An instance is the case referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. Hendry) where the junior secondary department of a school is closed, the numbers are lost and, in consequence, the responsibility element might otherwise be reduced.

I should like now to turn to the legal position—

Mr. Page

I hope that my hon. Friend will forgive me interrupting him, but he will notice from the Report that it is not quite the small number that he mentions. In the case of Regulation 37, the Report states that about 700 directions are in operation at any one time. Therefore, under that Regulation, it is quite extensive.

Mr. Macpherson

Yes, but that is probably a floating number—700 being in operation at any one time. I agree that more directions may have been made, but they may not necessarily have been made during the triennium. I do not know whether that is the correct explanation, but I think that, up to a point, it may be.

I turn now to the legal position. As my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby said, the 1956 Regulations were also called in question by the Select Committee on the score that they seemed to go rather beyond the powers conferred by the Statute under which they were made. In the presence of lawyers, I naturally enter on this explanation of the reason for our acting as we have been with great diffidence, but I think it right to give the explanation.

At that time, the power of the Secretary of State to make salary recommendations rested on subsection (1) of section 79 of the Education (Scotland) Act, 1946, which has been quoted. The view had always been taken, by Governments of both parties, that this Section could not be effective unless it could be held to authorise the inclusion in the Regulations of provisions as to how the scales were to be applied to the calculation of the salaries of individual teachers, and as to how exceptional cases should be dealt with.

Accordingly, the Section was interpreted as conferring, by necessary implication, powers wider than were expressly conferred, because I think that it is always natural to interpret powers given by an Act as being powers that are intended to be workable. The 1956 Regulations—

Mr. Mitchison

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. I know that my hon. Friends have some questions about the merits that they badly want to have answered, so I wonder whether I could help the Under-Secretary by making a suggestion. These statutory powers were enlarged by amendment in 1959. The Select Committee has found—and both his hon. Friend the Member for Crosby and I have said, for what our opinions are worth—that it regards these Regulations as outwith the powers. Surely, it should be possible for the hon. Gentleman to undertake to look at the question in the light of the Report of the House's Statutory Committee, of the speech made by his hon. Friend and even, if he likes, of what I have to say. If he finds that there is a possibility that the powers have been exceeded, surely the House would be willing to help him to enlarge the powers. No one wishes him to take these Regulations back. We want to save him getting into trouble if somebody questions in court what is obviously, at the lowest, a moot point. Will he give an undertaking that he will look again at the question and that if he thinks there is doubt about it he will come back with a short Bill for new powers? After all, the Government are not so busy as all that. He could then deal with the merits and satisfy my hon. Friends—a much more difficult matter.

Mr. Macpherson

I hope the hon. and learned Gentleman will not think me discourteous if I say that in the time that he has taken to say that I think I could have disposed of the point. I think it necessary to deal with the circumstances that arose after 1956. The Regulations then were the fifth set of Regulations to be made with that interpretation, and they were the first to be called in question by the Committee. It was felt that it was less than satisfactory then to base Regulations of such importance solely on a wide interpretation of that Section, and the opportunity was taken in the Education (Scotland) Act, 1956, to amend the Section and to provide cover for the kind of provisions which are now called in question. We were advised that this amendment, which I need not read to the House, would remove all doubt as to the power of the Secretary of State to modify the scales or to permit departures from them in individual cases.

In 1956, we drew the attention of the Select Committee to the amendment to the Act which had come into operation on 5th December, 1956, a month after we had made the Salaries Regulations of that year. Their Report did not appear to suggest that that amendment did not do all that we had intended. I may say that in those circumstances we did not expect the same provisions to be questioned this year. Let me say this with the very greatest of respect to the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments, and to the three hon. Members who delivered this opinion. Considering that the powers used are the powers which have been used ever since 1945 and that we legislated in 1956 to ensure that they would not be criticised again, may I say with the utmost diffidence that for us the criticism that the use of the powers was unexpected was unexpected?

At least, it did not say that the use of the powers was ultra vires, and so I hope we can proceed with the Regulations. But since they have been questioned, I readily agree to the suggestion of the hon. and learned Member for Kettering and I can assure the House that we will look at them again. But I thought I owed it to the House, in view of the criticism by the Select Committee, to give a full explanation to the House on that matter.

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan), in a very interesting speech, raised the whole question whether the Salaries Regulations will attract into the profession people of sufficient number and quality. Of course, it is very difficult to say what the effect will be, especially as we have a rising trend of recruitment already. The House would wish to know that the number of special certificate graduates recruited to the colleges of education this year amount to 327, including 50 third-class honours graduates, as compared with 177, excluding third-class graduates. On the teacher's general certificate, 1956–57, the numbers are 569, excluding third-class honours graduates, compared with 493; and non-graduates are 1,089 compared with 832. For the technical certificate, it is 534 compared with 438. That is a notable improvement, and I thought it right to tell the House about it, at any rate as background.

On the general question of the extent to which the Secretary of State can make it possible to attract teachers, I think it is right to remind the House of the situation. Teachers' salaries in Scotland are negotiated in the National Joint Council, which is composed, under a neutral chairman, of representatives of education authorities, the employers, and of teachers. The Secretary of State is required by Statute to inform the Council of his intention to make salary Regulations, and to have regard to any recommendations which the Council may make to him.

Although the Secretary of State has the final responsibility for a salary settlement, successive Secretaries of State, of both parties, have, normally, accepted the Council's recommendations on all major matters. My right hon. Friend did so on this occasion. I am sure that the House will agree that these very intricate matters should be left as far as possible to experts on each side to thrash out, subject, of course, to the Secretary of State's custodianship of the national interest and the final right of veto which the House has. Indeed, I will remind the hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) that she has herself said on more than one occasion that teachers' salaries should be taken out of politics altogether.

The first important point is that the award under discussion was the result of the agreed recommendations of the Council. The aim has been to give the largest increases to the teachers with the highest qualifications. In arriving at its recommendations, the National Joint Council had before it the report of the Advisory Council on Measures to improve the Supply of Teachers in Scotland. That Report dealt only with secondary teachers and contained outline recommendations only. In translating those recommendations into a detailed comprehensive structure, the National Joint Council accepted some and went a considerable way towards others.

As a result, taking the interim increase in 1958 into account and comparing the salaries now with what they were at the last triennial review, honours graduates now receive 16.7 per cent. more at their maximum than they did at the beginning of the last triennium in 1956. Ordinary graduates in secondary schools receive 13.4 per cent. more, and in primary schools they receive 11.7 per cent. more. The corresponding increase for women, including the effect of the progressive introduction of equal pay, was 24.9 per cent. for honours graduates, 22.9 per cent. for ordinary graduates in secondary schools, and 21.5 per cent. for ordinary graduates in primary schools. For honours graduate women with three years' training, the increase over the 1956 minimum is 10.6 per cent. and over the maximum it is 21.2 per cent.

Mr. Millan

The hon. Gentleman has mentioned the percentage increases at the maximum except for the honours graduate primary teacher. Will he give the percentage increase at the minimum scale? For an ordinary graduate who has only an increase from £575 to £630, that is a little less than 10 per cent. One of the complaints we make is that the minimum scales are too low.

Mr. Macpherson

I appreciate that, but the hon. Member will realise that these were the result of negotiations. Perhaps I should add that there have also been substantial increases, on the average of about 20 per cent., to the additional allowances paid to holders of posts of special responsibility, for example, to a head teacher of a large senior secondary school, £2,750 compared with £2,285, a head teacher of a large primary school, £1,700 compared with £1,474, and the principal teacher of a subject in a large senior secondary shcool, £1,790 compared with £1,545. All these changes are precisely as recommended by the National Joint Council, except that we extended slightly the number of head teachers who could obtain the maximum. I think that the House would agree that, as the hon. Member for Kilmarnock said, this is a notable improvement.

Miss Herbison

How many headmasters receive the maximum?

Mr. Millan

One in Scotland.

Mr. Macpherson

The hon. Member for Craigton dealt with the question of the shortening of scales. This, as he said, was suggested by the Advisory Council, but it was rejected by the National Joint Council. I should say that whenever this proposal is put up and the cost is estimated, there is obviously a maximum amount that can be given away at any one time and the teachers themselves prefer that the additional money should be spent otherwise—in raising the maximum or in a general increase which would be of benefit to all teachers. The hon. Member will realise that it is difficult to do everything at the same time, but at any rate we have made a very substantial increase.

Several hon. Members have raised the question of equal pay for non-graduate women who entered training between 1920 and 1926. The hon. Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mr. Dempsey) was among those who made the point. Let us admit that this is a difficult problem. There are always anomalies, of course, but anomalies like beauty tend to be in the eye of the beholder.

There has been a great deal of controversy about the matter. The essence of the claim is that because men who trained with this class of teachers as non-graduates under the same conditions are paid on the graduate scale, these ladies also ought to be paid on the graduate scale, so that they may have the same pay as these men when equal pay is fully implemented. This, I think, was the claim. It was fully debated in 1956 and undoubtedly there is a point of view, or as my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, East (Sir J. Henderson-Stewart) said at the time, there is a case.

Since then there has been no change in the Regulations or the circumstances generally which might affect the claim. In the further consideration given to it since 1956, neither the National Joint Council nor the Secretary of State has felt able to agree that it should be met. The ladies concerned recognise that the men teachers are being granted a concession in being paid on the graduate scale. They claim that the same concession should be given to them, but the concession was given to the men for a particular reason, and the reason does not apply to the women teachers. The reason was that before 1926 men teachers of general subjects could choose whether to graduate or not, and since 1926 all men teachers of general subjects have normally had to graduate.

When the standard national scales were first introduced in Scotland in 1945, it was felt, rightly or wrongly, to be unfair to penalise those men who before 1926 had chosen not to graduate, and it was decided that they should be paid as graduates. But there was no parallel change in 1926 for women teachers. They have continued to be able to choose whether or not to graduate. Therefore, although these women teachers compare themselves with men who trained at the same time and who for a particular reason have been given a concession, they might equally well be compared with women who since 1926 received precisely the same training under precisely the same entrance conditions as themselves.

In short, if the claim were met, there would be no logical reason for not permitting all non-graduate women to reach the maximum of the graduate scale, and to carry that out would be to reverse the decision taken in 1951 by the National Joint Council and the then Secretary of State, the late Mr. Hector McNeil, that there should be a differential payment for graduation, a decision which we still think is right.

The hon. Member for Craigton raised the question of staffing in Glasgow. Perhaps I might deal with the claim that Glasgow should receive special treatment. It has been suggested that the difficulties there would be relieved—indeed, some say they would be cured—if the education authority were able to pay higher salaries to teachers in its service than are paid elsewhere. Before the war there were national minimum scales of salaries for teachers, and authorities were free to pay more than the minimum salaries laid down. Glasgow was one of the authorities which chose to do so, paying in general an extra £50 a year to its teachers. At that time the supply of teachers throughout the country tended to exceed the demand, and authorities could be selective in the staff that they employed.

After the war, at the request of both the authorities and the teachers, standard national scales were introduced. On more than one occasion in recent years, because of its shortage of teachers, Glasgow education authority has proposed that it should have power to pay higher salaries than are paid elsewhere. This is a matter within the purview of the National Joint Council, which has considered it more than once, but on no occasion has the proposal found favour with either the authorities or the teachers on the Council. Both sides would prefer that there should be standard scales nationally negotiated for all authorities.

If we were to return to minimum scales, the result would be, at a time of shortage of teachers, that authorities would bid among themselves for teachers' services, and it cannot be taken for granted that the authorities whose need is greatest would necessarily outbid those whose need is least. Moreover, I understand that the teachers themselves consider that relationships between teachers and their employers are much better when they are both bound by national scales.

The hon. Member for Craigton said that there had already been a departure from standard scales in that teachers in very remote schools and distant islands received additional allowances. But these allowances—I say this to the hon. Member for the Western Isles (Mr. Malcolm MacMillan) also—are not paid as incentives. They are intended to compensate the teachers concerned for the extra expenses that arise in those places. The cost of food, fuel and the like is high. So is, above all, the cost of visits to the nearest centre of population. Distances are great, as the hon. Member made clear. Visits to the dentist and to shops may be very costly. One may have to incur hotel expenses in order to go and buy a pair of shoes.

There are no similar readily identifiable costs falling on teachers in Glasgow which do not also fall on teachers in other cities or industrial areas. So I do not think it would be possible to make out a case for Glasgow without making out at the same time a case for other areas, and that is not a suggestion that has commended itself in the past to the National Joint Council.

The hon. Member for Kilmarnock asked why there had been no increase in the allowance for teachers in special schools. This was carefully considered, and it was felt that the allowance of £25 was no more than a stepping stone towards the allowance of £75 which can be obtained by taking training. All teachers who want to work in special schools would normally wish to take training, and authorities make it possible for them to do so whenever they can. It was, therefore, not considered necessary to make any change in that Regulation.

In a fighting speech, the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs (Mr. Gourlay) urged a shortening of the scales. He seemed to have two differing ideas in his mind. He recognised the special need to increase the supply of honours graduate teachers but at the same time he complained that too many teachers were being drawn away from primary to secondary schools. The recommendation of the Advisory Council was directed towards increasing the differential, which is bound to have the effect, I think, of doing just that; and as the bulge passes from the primary to the secondary schools, that is one of the changes which we wish to see.

I can tell my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, West that the definition of remoteness is the same as that in the 1956 Regulations. The Regulations were altered then but have remained the same since.

I thought that the hon. Lady the Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart) went a little too far when she said that there was general dissatisfaction on the part of the whole of the teaching profession. Of course, hon. Members, including Joint Under-Secretaries of State, are bound to receive a large number of letters of complaint from those who, so to speak, lose a little in the differential rates, but that is not to say that the scales are irrational. The scales are made as rational as posible. Every possible reason is put forward on all sides. I suppose that only by having a committee of one could we have a completely rational scale, and I doubt whether even that would be rational in the eyes of anyone other than that one person.

Mrs. Hart

I said rational in relation to other professions, not within the profession.

Mr. Macpherson

The hon. Lady made a comparison with the salaries paid to the administrative grade of the Civil Service. That grade is open to all who wish to compete. As she knows, it is necessary to pass quite a tricky examination to get into the Civil Service. It is always difficult and unprofitable to compare one profession with another in that way.

I thought that the hon. Member for Kilmarnock embarked on rather a dangerous argument when he said that initial qualifications ought not to determine pay for ever. In fact, they do not determine it, for responsibility payments are made in addition to salary. But it would be difficult to base scales on anything other than qualifications.

Mr. Ross

Where two people with different qualifications are doing the same job over twenty or thirty years, the qualifications aspect fades into the background in relation to experience and ability.

Mr. Macpherson

That is exactly what happens with third-class honours graduates. They start with a slight handicap, so to speak—two years behind in the scale—but ultimately they reach the same maximum.

One reason for the fact that no change has been made for remote schools is that there is no serious staff shortage in remote schools compared with the general staffing position in Scotland. That does not mean that there are no difficulties, especially in country schools, but not all country schools are remote schools.

I have tried to deal with as many of the questions that have been raised as I possibly can, and I know that the hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North wants to say a few words before we conclude this debate, so I shall not delay the House any longer. There is just the one point which the hon. Member for Coatbridge raised. The scale to which he referred is that applying to a few uncertificated teachers, which hardly arises on scales concerned with certificated teachers. I hope that he will appreciate my point.

To sum up, these scales do represent a very considerable improvement, as I have been able to show from the figures, compared with the scales payable three years ago. These payments are an earnest of the appreciation of the country, and this House, of the need for an upgrading of the teaching profession as a whole; an upgrading which I am sure we are all glad to see.

11.16 p.m.

Miss Margaret Herbison (Lanarkshire, North)

This has been an excellent debate and I am very glad that we were able to start it earlier than ten o'clock. One of the reasons why it has been so good is that, with a very few exceptions, most of the hon. Members who have spoken have not dealt with the separate categories of teachers, but have tried to relate the whole of the salary scales to the problems facing us in Scotland with shortage of teachers and the other difficulties we are experiencing.

There was only one hon. Member who felt—and I use his own words—that these scales represented "a tremendous step forward". That was the hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. Hendry), but I do not think that anybody on this side of the House would agree that they represented anything like "a tremendous step forward". Certainly, there are increases. There are improvements on the previous scales, but not by any stretch of the imagination can one say that they are "a tremendous step forward".

I have been interested in the reply of the Joint Under-Secretary of State. He has insisted on a number of occasions that, after all, these scales were decided by the National Joint Council on which there are representatives of the Educational Institute of Scotland and of the local authorities. But the real complaint from this side of the House is that the increases have not been sufficiently great. In other words, when the National Joint Council began these negotiations, it had a very good idea of what amount of money would be available to divide between the teachers. Before we had the block grant, there was the percentage grant, and they were well aware that, whatever was given—and we dealt with this only last week—would apply to the same degree as was given previously under the percentage grant. Indeed, there might have been a fear that it might have been even less; so the Secretary of State has a great responsibility in what will ultimately be the decisions of the National Joint Council.

The Joint Under-Secretary must accept that responsibility—that whatever is going to come from the central department covers very much every single negotiation which is carried through by the National Joint Council. I am going to make a proposal again this evening to the Joint Under-Secretary to try to get the Educational Institute of Scotland, and the local authorities there, to accept the same procedure for Regulations for teachers' salaries as are accepted by the National Union of Teachers and the local authorities in England and Wales. Every single hon. Member on this side of the House has had many letters in this last month or so since the Regulations were made, each category putting forward the reasons they think that they ought to be doing better under the Regulations. Life would become intolerable for Members of Parliament if, say, the policemen or all those people employed through the Whitley Council had to make the same type of representations as are made to us by the teachers.

Mr. N. Macpherson

Of course, there is one great difference, and that is that we have a tremendous variety of qualifications of teachers and a huge variety of scale. This represents a great safeguard for the teachers themselves, because under the draft Regulations they are able to send their representations to the Secretary of State, and the National Joint Council looks at every one of those representations. They are all grouped, and the representations are considered. It is an additional safeguard, and, of course, the changes were made upwards, increasing the scales, on this occasion, after the draft Regulations had been made.

Miss Herbison

The Joint Under-Secretary of State, in replying to the debate tonight, said that the Regulations with which we are dealing were almost as they came from the National Joint Council. He must realise that this very safeguard he has tried to stress may be there in theory but in practice it is not there. I speak from my own experience of having been in the position which he now occupies. I shall not labour this further, however; but I would again ask him to ask his right hon. Friend to try to have further negotiations.

I have very little time, but there are just one or two points I want to stress. My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan) asked that additional payments should be made for Glasgow teachers. I am glad that the Joint Under-Secretary of State gave the reply he did. Additional payments to teachers in Glasgow would not produce one extra teacher in Scotland. Lanarkshire is short of teachers. Fife-shire is short of teachers. Indeed, I should like to know what local authority is not. We are often told that Edinburgh has no shortage of teachers, but has Edinburgh the size of classes which we should like any other place in Scotland to have? I feel that that is not the way to deal with the problem. Glasgow's problem, all Scotland's problem, is in examining the conditions of teachers and examining the adequacy of the salaries which are given to them.

The Joint Under-Secretary said—I intervened but did not get any information—that the number of the headmasters who could receive the top salary had been increased. I want to know by how much it has been increased, because originally only one headmaster in the whole of Scotland—and that was at Hamilton Academy in Lanarkshire—could get the top grade of salary. If the hon. Gentleman has information I will gladly give way now.

Mr. N. Macpherson

Six or seven.

Miss Herbison

Even six or seven is a very small number compared with the number of headmasters in Scotland.

I want to make two suggestions. The National Joint Council has completed its negotiations under the triennial examination. My hon. Friend the Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart) suggested that there should be an examination of teachers' salaries as compared with the salaries of professional workers. I want to add something to that. If one looks at the complexity of these Regulations, and one has some knowledge of the negotiations which took place between the Educational Institute of Scotland and the local authorities, one realises the very great difficulty indeed of getting salaries which are reasonable, salaries which can be understood even by some of the teachers.

There are many anomalies, and it seems to me that if the National Joint Council would start now it would have three years in which to get rid of the anomalies and to devise a much better system of remuneration for the teaching profession in Scotland. I hope that the Joint Under-Secretary will do his best to bring that about.

Regarding the proposal made by my hon. Friend the Member for Lanark, great interest has been aroused by the Report on the salaries of doctors and dentists. A great deal of useful information is contained in that Report. It might be a very good thing if in Scotland we were to carry out the important exercise of comparing the salaries of teachers—instead of those of doctors and dentists—with the salaries earned by other professional workers and by workers in industry. Such a report might produce some very great surprises. I think that such an investigation should be carried out.

One final point. In answer to a Question which I asked yesterday I was given certain figures. The Joint Under-Secretary of State has tonight given us the increase in the numbers in the colleges of education in Scotland. He will realise, however, that the greatest increase is that in non-graduate women. I am glad to hear about all the increases, but I am sorry that the greatest increase should be among non-graduate women, because we need many more honours graduates and ordinary graduates.

The children who are suffering worst from the shortage of teachers are the under-privileged children in the junior secondary schools. We see from the figures for Lanarkshire, for Glasgow and for almost every other local authority in Scotland that the children who are faring worst are those who leave school at the age of 15. I want the Joint Under-Secretary of State to examine that position in order to see what he can do to improve the lot of many of those unfortunate children.

Mr. Mitchison

In view of the undertaking given by the Minister, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.