HC Deb 05 May 1971 vol 816 cc1371-2
34. Mr. MacArthur

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his latest estimate of the secondary teacher shortage in those areas of Scotland where the pupil-teacher ratio is higher than the average.

Mr. Edward Taylor

We have not made separate estimates for education authority areas, but the bulk of the estimated shortage of 1,000 teachers given in the reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Sproat) on 23rd April is accounted for by three authorities: Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire.—[Vol. 815, c. 481.]

Mr. MacArthur

In view of the grave position in those areas of Scotland, does my hon. Friend intend to raise the school-leaving age throughout Scotland in 1972–73? Is there not a danger that the raising of the leaving age in areas of grave teacher shortage will depress the standard of secondary education rather than elevate it?

Mr. Taylor

On the general question of the school-leaving age, I have nothing to add to the replies that I gave to my hon. Friend on 3rd and 24th February and 7th April. We are closely studying the situation in places where there is a serious teacher shortage, and we will make every possible endeavour to attract teachers to these areas.

Mr. Rankin

As we have not so far heard, at least not in my hearing, that there is a grave teacher shortage in Scotland, does the Minister stand by the description given by the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. MacArthur)? Does the Minister intend to use something that he has never declared existed as a reason for evading his solemn duty to raise the school-leaving age?

Mr. Taylor

My right hon. Friend, in his reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South on 23rd April, indicated that the present shortage of teachers was estimated at about 1,000. As the hon. Gentleman knows from a previous answer that I gave him, the number of graduates entering the profession has been increasing, and we hope that that improvement will continue.