HC Deb 17 July 1969 vol 787 cc872-3
26. Mr. Michael

Shaw asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many qualified married women teachers he estimates are now out of the teaching service.

Miss Bacon

I cannot make any such estimate.

Mr. Shaw

Has there been any improvement in attracting these qualified teachers back into the profession where their services are so greatly needed?

Miss Bacon

In the year ending 1st February, 1969, the latest date for which figures are available, nearly 7,000 married women teachers returned to schools.

28. Sir E. Boyle

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many qualified married women teachers he estimates will return to full or part-time service in the year ending 1st February, 1970.

Mr. Edward Short

It is too early to assess this. Some interim figures will be available in November. I hope that the figure will continue to be substantial, because I am sure that these teachers have a long-term and valuable place in our schools.

Sir E. Boyle

What proposals has the right hon. Gentleman for a recruiting campaign during the coming years? Did not the recruiting campaigns between 1960 and 1967 make a very great deal of difference to the numbers of part-time returners? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his rather muted answers this afternoon will come as a great disappointment to those who know the enormous importance or the contribution made by the part-time married woman returner?

Mr. Short

I thought that my answers this afternoon had been anything but muted. The number of women returning is very satisfactory. We do not need a campaign. I have explained in the House before that we now have it established that it is the normal thing for a married woman teacher to return to teaching when she has had her children. I think that this is now firmly established, and the flow of married women back to teaching is satisfactory.

Mr. Moonman

Apart from the seriousness of our not having sufficient information to plan in advance, will not the success of any effort to persuade people to return to teaching depend on there being a proper backing service such as nursery accommodation for the children of the teachers concerned?

Mr. Short

I agree, and we are prepared to approve nursery schools where this would facilitate the return of married women teachers.