HC Deb 13 November 1973 vol 864 cc228-9
7. Mr. O'Halloran

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what further plans she has for a meeting with the leader of the Inner London Education Authority.

Mrs. Thatcher

I have no immediate plans for such a meeting.

Mr. O'Halloran

That is a very disappointing reply. Is the right hon. Lady aware that hundreds of children in London are receiving part-time education because of a shortage of teachers? When will she do something about the London allowance, salaries and housing for teachers, because, instead of part-time education, some children will shortly have no education at all?

Mrs. Thatcher

Many other education authorities have far less generous staffing than ILEA compared with the number of children receiving full-time education. It is somewhat ironic that the authority with the most generous staffing should have the largest number of schools on part time. Increases in the London allowance, based on the Labour Government's formula in 1967, are payable outside the pay limit and there is a general reference to the Pay Board about the future of the London allowance and its geographical basis.

Captain W. Elliot

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the trouble in London is not the overall shortage of teachers but the shortage in various specialised subjects?

Mrs. Thatcher

That is correct, particularly in mathematics, science subjects and handicrafts.

Mr. Hattersley

The right hon. Lady has said four times in this House that the Inner London Education Authority has what she described as a generous teacher/pupil ratio. Is she saying that ILEA has all the teachers it needs? If not, what is she saying when she makes that comparison with other authorities?

Mrs. Thatcher

That is exactly what it means. ILEA has a more generous proportion of teachers to pupils than other authorities. Perhaps it would be as well if in future the quota was set to bring other authorities up to ILEA.