HC Deb 04 February 1971 vol 810 cc1900-1
25. Mr. Barry Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will introduce legislation akin to the Office, Shops and Railway Premises Act, 1963, to provide for teachers and pupils the same safeguards as are provided for office workers and others.

Mrs. Thatcher

Substantial safeguards for teachers and pupils are already provided under existing law and it would be premature to consider new legislation before the Committee on Safety and Health at Work has completed its task.

Mr. Jones

Does it please the right hon. Lady to hear of youngsters using archaic accommodation, such as outside toilets, and working in unhealthy out-of-date so-called classrooms which are really storage rooms, cloakrooms or corridors? Does not she agree that such shameful physical conditions in industry would result in walk-outs by those involved? Why should the long-suffering teachers have to put up with such conditions?

Mrs. Thatcher

I realise that I have been left a very considerable problem in this respect and I am trying to tackle it as rapidly as I can.

Mr. Pavitt

Will the right hon. Lady look at the appalling conditions in which speech therapists have to work in many schools? Is she aware that often they have to work in a room which is little more than a cupboard, It is not easy for them to do their very serious work in such conditions.

Mrs. Thatcher

I do not want anyone to work in appalling conditions. We are steadily doing all we can to increase the school improvements programme.