HC Deb 09 March 1966 vol 725 cc2087-9
18. Lady Tweedsmuir

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many more teachers will be required in Scotland by 1970–71.

6. Mr. George Y. Mackie

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will make a statement on the progress towards getting enough teachers in Scotland to raise the school-leaving age in 1970.

Mrs. Hart

About 4,500 additional teachers will be needed for the raising of the school-leaving age in 1970–71. I esimate that a further 8,400 more than were in employment in 1964 would be needed if we were at the same time to get rid of oversized classes, to end the employment of uncertificated teachers and to fill all vacancies. The number available should have increased substantially by then, and I would refer the hon. Lady to my right hon. Friend's reply of 2nd February to my hon. Friend, the Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton).

Lady Tweedsmuir

Will the hon. Lady say whether she is satisfied that she will be able to recruit enough teachers to keep to the decision to raise the school-leaving age in 1970? Can she further say whether any new proposals are being made to attract more teachers?

Mrs. Hart

As I believe the noble Lady knows, I have been engaged in what we call open-ended discussions with the teachers' organisations. In the five meetings that we have had these have been largely concerned with exploring their attitudes to new courses of the kind recommended to us by the Scottish Council for the Training of Teachers. It is a very complex problem. It is clear that we can meet almost all the deficiencies in many ways by the stimulus that we are giving to recruitment and the expansion of colleges of education, but if we want to meet the requirements fully there is no double that new sources of supply are needed.

Mr. MacArthur

Is the hon. Lady aware of the very serious damage that was done to the confidence of teachers in Scotland by the action of her right hon. Friend in recent weeks? Will she and her right hon. Friend take the most urgent action in order to try to regain some of the confidence of the teachers in the future of the teaching profession in Scotland? Is she aware that if she does not succeed in doing this there is no possibility of meeting educational needs in 1970?

Mrs. Hart

This is one subject that ought not to be treated as a matter of party politics or electioneering. I agree that the teachers were disturbed by the reference to the National Board for Prices and Incomes, but there are two things which should be fully understood by the teaching profession. One is that my right hon. Friend has awarded it 13 per cent., and the Board is considering what else may be required. The other is that there has never been a Government who have so gone out of their way, during their short period in office, to consult and discuss with the teaching profession the many problems facing Scottish education. This is a new development, and the teachers recognise it.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Order. Our productivity rate is declining.