HC Deb 25 October 1972 vol 843 cc1174-5
12. Mr. Dempsey

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the shortage of secondary teachers up to the most recent convenient date.

19. Mr. Edward Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the current shortage of secondary teachers; and what were the comparable figures in each of the previous three years.

Mr. Monro

I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT the numbers of pupils and teachers for the years requested and the pupil-teacher ratios. Whilst there are shortages of teachers in certain subjects, particularly mathematics and physics, these are diminishing and there has been a marked improvement over the past four years in staffing overall. My right hon. Friend hopes to publish proposals for staffing standards in the next two or three months.

Mr. Dempsey

Has the hon. Gentleman been informed that at 1st September there was a shortage of 175 secondary teachers in Lanarkshire—teachers of mathematics, the sciences, technology, English, art, modern languages and so on? Is he aware that school pupils are studying at evening classes as well as through the day in order to obtain passes in certificate subjects? What concrete proposals has he to end this most unsatisfactory state of affairs?

Mr. Monro

My right hon. Friend and I have never hidden the fact that in special areas, such as Lanarkshire there is a shortage of teachers. The general improvement in the situation will certainly help those areas. The special recruitment scheme is still in force.

Mr. Taylor

While the general improvement is greatly welcomed, can my hon. Friend say whether it has been possible to eliminate part-time education in secondary schools in Scotland?

Mr. Monro

I hope that we shall eliminate it as soon as possible. If my hon. Friend has particular cases in mind, I hope that he will let me know of them.

Mr. John Smith

Although the hon. Gentleman says that there may be a general improvement in Scotland, there is continuing difficulty in certain areas such as Lanarkshire. Will he undertake to consider increasing the number of designated places in schools to try to deal with the problem in such areas?

Mr. Monro

I am always prepared to consider any constructive proposal, and that is what I will do.

Following are the figures:

Session Pupils Teachers teacher ratio
000s 000s
1968–69 294.3 17.9 16.5:1
1969–70 304.0 18.5 16.4:1
1970–71 314.4 19.5 16.1:1
1971–72 324.3 20.7 15.7:1