HC Deb 21 March 1968 vol 761 cc571-3
11. Mr. van Straubenzee

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is his policy regarding the employment of part-time teachers in the light of the reduction from 6 per cent. to 31 per cent. per annum in the rate of growth of educational expenditure.

37. Mr. Arnold Shaw

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what evidence he has of local authorities cutting their requirements for part-time and full-time teachers for the coming financial year; which authorities are involved; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gordon Walker

I am aware that the Reading Education Authority has announced that it will not take its full quota of qualified teachers and that Hertfordshire, Surrey and the West Riding propose to employ fewer part-time teachers than they would otherwise have done. It is for local authorities to decide how they should spend the money available to them. I have made it plain that I should like them to preserve the training and recruitment of teachers at the expense, if necessary, of other parts of the service.

Mr. van Straubenzee

Dealing with part-time teachers, to which my Question refers, does not the Secretary of State feel that it is a most unhappy development that several authorities, as he has outlined, are proposing to reduce quotas for part-timers in view of their importance in specialised subjects and with immigrants?

Mr. Gordon Walker

Part-time teachers are off-quota teachers, but I agree that it is a great pity that a small number of authorities have acted in this way. The changes which they make will have only a marginal effect, but the importance of the recruitment of teachers should remain a top priority.

Sir E. Boyle

Is not this very disturbing news that the right hon. Gentleman has given, since any fall-off in recruitment could so easily affect the quality of entry into colleges of education? Will he do everything possible to publicise the advice that he has just given to the House?

Mr. Gordon Walker

Yes, Sir. I am happy to have this opportunity to publicise it again. I have told all local education authorities my views in this matter. If it were to spread it would indeed be serious, but I do not think that we have yet reached that stage. I am glad of this opportunity to reiterate my view that the recruitment of teachers should be a top priority.