HC Deb 06 February 1969 vol 777 cc560-1
11. Mr. Lane

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether it is his policy in 1969 to continue his campaign to attract married women back into teaching.

Mr. Edward Short

There will be a continuing and valued place in the schools for married women returning to teaching, but I see no need for the present to continue advertising on a national scale, as the number of full-time teachers this year will increase by 15,000.

Mr. Lane

Will the Minister bear in mind that the temporary stoppage of this advertising has caused concern among teachers, in spite of the optimistic annoucements that he has made in recent months? In view of the psychological importance of it, will he undertake to resume advertising at the first possible opportunity?

Mr. Short

I think that it is overstating the position to say that it has caused concern. It was never intended that advertising should be a permanent feature. We have tried to get it regarded as natural that married women teachers should return to teaching. I think that it is accepted now. If we feel that it is necessary to resume advertising, we shall do so.

Mr. Gwilym Roberts

Will my right hon. Friend accept that the changing conditions about making grants to mature students are acting as a disincentive to married women to take up teacher training? Is he further aware that, in Luton, these grants have been taken back from students retrospectively which means that, for this term, many are getting hardly any grant at all?

Mr. Short

My hon. Friend is mistaken. The grants for mature students have been improved, not worsened. Some of our most valuable entrants to teaching are from the ranks of mature students.

Sir E. Boyle

Is the Minister aware that his Answer will be widely regarded as unsatisfactory and even disturbing, especially since married women returners stay in schools when they come back to teaching? Is he further aware that we on this side of the House will seek an occasion to debate this matter before very long?

Mr. Short

I have no doubt that the right hon. Gentleman will try to make it cause concern, but I doubt whether it will. I want it to be regarded as natural for a married woman, once her children are sufficiently grown up, to return to teaching. I think that this is now accepted. We do not have to advertise to get it across. It has been got across already.

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