§ 40. Mr. Rankin
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland for what reasons he is refusing to end the reference panel system in education and the employment of unqualified teachers; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Edward Taylor
Because there is still a shortage of qualified secondary teachers in some areas. In future, however, the approval of the panel will be required before an unqualified teacher starts work.
§ Mr. Rankin
Will the hon. Gentleman clear our minds on other answers which are contingent on this? Does he mean to lead us to believe that the number of unqualified teachers in Scotland is so great that it will bar educational progress in Scotland, and particularly the raising of the school-leaving age?
The hon. Gentleman consistently raises wider questions on matters relating to specific Questions. But in view of his interest in the matter, I can tell him that I certainly hope that the continuing improvement in secondary staffing will lead to a further fall in the number of unqualified teachers, which, at the last count, was only 380.