HC Deb 13 November 1973 vol 864 cc239-40
21. Mr. Haselhurst

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what discussions she has had with leaders of the teachers' unions about the composition of the Burnham Committee; and if she will make a statement.

Mrs. Thatcher

I have discussed this question in recent months with representatives of several teacher associations. I have no statement to make at present.

Mr. Haselhurst

From such figures as are available, can it be inferred that the present representation does not accurately reflect the present size and variety of teachers' unions? May I ask my right hon. Friend whether she will take the initiative in negotiations for changes?

Mrs. Thatcher

It is not easy to get the precise proportions in which the unions represent the teachers, because I have no power to demand specific figures of numbers in the several unions, although the National Association of Schoolmasters voluntarily supplies them. I would agree with my hon. Friend that women are certainly very under-represented by women on the teachers' panel, but I hope to have a statement to make within the next few weeks or months.