HC Deb 19 November 1970 vol 806 cc1415-6
23. Mr. Ashton

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will seek powers to compel local authorities who have dismissed unqualified teachers with the equivalent of 10 years' service to pay compensation at least equivalent to redundancy pay.

Mrs. Thatcher

I know of the hon. Gentleman's interest in this but the answer is "No, Sir".

Mr. Ashton

Does the right hon. Lady not agree that a figure of over 500 teachers who have been dismissed without any form of compensation, pension or redundancy pay, many of them at the age of 58 or 59, when they cannot get other jobs or are too late to train for another job, is a national scandal which in private industry would have created strikes and a great outcry?

Mrs. Thatcher

These are the unqualified teachers who, it has been ruled, are not entitled to redundancy pay within the terms of the Redundancy Payments Act, 1965. I have made inquiries and find that local authorities already have powers to pay gratuities to employees who are not entitled to superannuation benefits. The powers are discretionary, but the amount of the gratuity may be up to two years' salary.

Mr. Marten

Was not the national scandal to which the hon. Member referred part of the policy of the Opposition? Can my right hon. Friend say approximately how many unqualified teachers have been kept on?

Mrs. Thatcher

No, Sir, I could not offhand, but I can assure my hon. Friend—I believe he knows this—that we tried to interpret the Regulations as sympathetically as possible, especially where the local education authorities recommended that an unqualified teacher be given qualified status.