HC Deb 24 June 1965 vol 714 cc1929-30
25. Mr. Russell Johnston

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether, in view of the teaching shortage, he will encourage local authorities who face difficulties in filling specific vacancies to make direct approaches to retired teachers with a view to their recruitment.

Mr. Crosland

Local education authorities generally, and particularly those in shortage areas, already seek to retain the services of suitable teachers after their retirement. This practice has my full support.

Mr. Johnston

While admitting that this is really a very narrow Question, would the right hon. Gentleman not agree that it would be desirable to have more push in this direction, not only to take account of teachers who are just retiring but also of teachers who have retired for three or four years and who might be susceptible to such a direct approach, which might enable them to fill, say, a particular science vacancy? Would the Minister not agree that an approach of this sort might help to mitigate the problem?

Mr. Crosland

I will consider the question whether any additional push on our part would be helpful. In general, local authorities are now fully seized of the seriousness of the teacher shortage problem. A great deal of pushing has been done by my Department in recent months and I am sure that the great majority of authorities now know the serious position they have on their hands.

Mr. Rankin

Would it not encourage more teachers to return to the profession after their retirement if my right hon. Friend paid them, on their return, the pension which they have already earned for teaching?

Mr. Crosland

The question of full pay, pensions and so on was raised in the debate on 30th April, when I said, as I have said on other occasions, that I have a great deal of sympathy with the teachers' case here. The trouble is that one cannot consider teachers in isolation. This matter raises the whole question of public service pensioners and it becomes a major question covering many Departments besides my own, ultimately becoming a matter for the Treasury.