HC Deb 22 November 1960 vol 630 cc945-6
3. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has now prepared a plan for dealing with the teacher shortage in Scottish schools.

Mr. Maclay

I propose to continue measures which have proved successful in recent years in encouraging recruitment to the teaching profession, and also to seek to attract more married women teachers back into service.

Mr. Rankin

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the widespread fear in Scotland that his new plan will be a retrograde step, as it proposes to replace quality with maturity as an entrance qualification for the teaching profession? If that be so, does he realise that it is bound to lower educational standards, to reduce the status of teachers and to do great harm to the nation at large? Can the right hon. Gentleman give any assurances to the contrary?

Mr. Maclay

I repeat what I have said about this—that I have not made any proposals at this stage. A review of the training regulations is overdue and I have circulated, as a basis for discussion with the bodies particularly concerned, a memorandum which raises the questions which must be considered in this comprehensive review, and I must await comments.

Mr. W. Hamilton

Before the right hon. Gentleman makes any firm decisions on this question, will he take care to read a report, which, we understand, will be issued this week, on recommendations to increase the strength of the police force? If he regards the teacher as a person as important in the community as a policeman, will he take steps to increase the numbers of teachers comparable to those it is contemplated taking to increase the number of policemen?

Mr. Maclay

Doubtless, I will read many things to be published later this week, but I point out and emphasise that the number entering training has increased substantially in recent years and by no less than 40 per cent. in the last four years.