HC Deb 01 March 1971 vol 812 cc1196-7
4. Mr. Barry Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is his policy towards consultation with teachers in Wales.

Mr. Peter Thomas

I have stressed the importance of close consultation between local education authorities and teachers on matters affecting an authority's teachers and the needs of the children in its schools. I attach equal importance to the close contact which exists between my Department and the teachers' associations in Wales.

Mr. Barry Jones

Does the Secretary of State propose to visit conferences of teachers in Wales in the near future? Would he consider making a tour of schools in Wales, and particularly visiting staff rooms and talking to teachers, say, over a cup of tea, about their problems? Why did it take the Secretary of State four months to make his first visit to a Welsh school?

Mr. Peter Thomas

I am already planning visits to schools in Wales. I hope to meet as many teachers as I can. On my instructions, my officials have already had discussions with the National Union of Teachers and the Assistant Masters Association, and they have reported the outcome to me. There are to be discussions on 4th March with the Welsh Federation of Head Teachers. If there would be advantage in meeting these associations, I should be pleased to do so. I hope to meet many teachers as I go around the schools, which I shall be doing shortly.

Mr. Alec Jones

In his rather strange reply, does the Secretary of State mean that he is prepared to consult teachers organisations in Wales, that those consultations will be genuine, and that he will be influenced by and will take into account the expressed views of those organisations before coming to any final decision on educational matters?

Mr. Peter Thomas

As I have said, there exists already very close contact between my Department and the teachers' associations in Wales.