HC Deb 19 December 1963 vol 686 cc1415-6
12. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Minister of Education if he will make a statement on the working of the quota system for teachers; and to what extent authorities are employing unqualified teachers.

Sir E. Boyle

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) of 13th December. With regard to the last part of the Question, in October, 1963, there were nearly 5,000 unqualified full-time temporary and occasional teachers in service, representing 1.7 per cent of all full-time teachers.

Mr. Allaun

Does the Minister think it fair to children that they should be taught by boys and girls who themselves have just left school and have no qualifications? Is he aware that in some of the industrial working-class areas the authorities are actually having to increase substantially the number of completely unqualified and untrained teachers?

Sir E. Boyle

As the hon. Member knows, we are expanding the training colleges more rapidly than any other part of our higher education system. There are some areas where the authorities need helps to assist in the schools and where this arrangement works extremely well. I would not like to take too dogmatic a stand on this point.

Mr. Willey

When can we expect a further report from the National Advisory Council on the supply and training of teachers?

Sir E. Boyle

I should not, at this stage, like to say when the next report can be expected. As the hon. Member knows, the Advisory Council is fully at work.

Dr. King

Is the Minister aware that while the quota system has some defects, which he himself is endeavouring to remedy, as long as teachers are in short supply the quota system secures for places like Birmingham their fair ration of teachers, and will he resist any attempts to scrap the system?

Sir E. Boyle

As a Birmingham Member, as well as Minister, I am obliged to the hon. Member for what he has said. Since the quota was introduced, the difference in staffing standards between the best and the worst placed areas has been nearly halved. The quotas for January, 1965, which I shall announce tomorrow in a circular, should enable all local authorities to make a small improvement in staffing standards. The circular will show that I have decided to extend to two years the period of exemption from the quota of married women returning to teaching after a break. That is a reasonable concession.