HC Deb 09 May 1968 vol 764 cc596-8
12. Mr. Hunt

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what reductions in teaching staff he anticipates during 1968–69 as a result of recent cuts in Government grants to local education authorities.

Miss Bacon

Government grants to local authorities have not been cut for 1968–69. It is important that within the education service local authorities should give priority to the employment of teachers, and present indications are that the numbers will rise.

Mr. Hunt

But is it not a fact that at least 15 local education authorities are planning to reduce their teaching staffs, particularly part-time teachers, as a direct result of the Government's financial squeeze upon them? What on earth is the point of the Government's campaign to coax more married women back to teaching if, at the same time, they threaten them with redundancy in this way?

Miss Bacon

I have seen reports that a number of local authorities are contemplating cutting down on part-time teachers, but these have not been confirmed by the authorities. On the other hand, 39 local authorities have asked for increases in their 1968–69 quota. Some people are being a little too pessimistic about this: all the indications are that the numbers employed will rise.

Mr. R. C. Mitchell

Would my right hon. Friend assure us that all those who leave the colleges or institutes of education this coming July will be able to find employment?

Miss Bacon

Yes, I shall receive later this month a return for the October quota, which we shall increase, and I have every confidence that those leaving at the end of the summer term will find employment.

Sir E. Boyle

But can the right hon. Lady say how many authorities, since the January measures—including the curtailment of the rate support grant—are not recruiting up to their full quota, and how many are contemplating going slow on the recruitment of part-time teachers?

Miss Bacon

The cutting of the rate support grant is not for the current year. There will be an increase of 3 per cent. next year. These grants are not given to local education authorities but to local authorities, and the share of the education authorities must then be determined. I do not have the figures for the number who are not employing off-quota teachers, but the indications are that most local authorities would like an increase in their quotas.

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