HC Deb 25 June 1974 vol 875 c1189
11. Mr. Spearing

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if the recently published survey of staff turnover in schools included temporary-terminal or supply teachers; and if, as part of his review of the weighting allowance, he will now investigate the incidence of teacher change for primary school classes in Greater London.

Mr. Prentice

My Department's survey related to all full-time qualified teachers in schools, however employed. The London weighting allowance has been studied by the Pay Board. I understand that the board has examined evidence of teacher turnover.

Mr. Spearing

I thank my right hon. Friend for answering the first part of the Question. Does he agree that it was high time that a survey was undertaken of the extent to which primary school teachers change schools? Does he appreciate that that factor is of great influence in the way in which primary school children take to learning and to literacy? If my right hon. Friend undertook such a survey or talked about it with Her Majesty's inspectors, we might get to the bottom of some of the difficulties that we now have.

Mr. Prentice

I agree that my hon. Friend has identified an important subject. The experience in different schools varies disturbingly. The total turnover in primary schools in Greater London, as shown in the survey, was about 30 per cent. That is a higher percentage than for secondary schools. There is an enormous variation between schools. For example, among the 500 schools which gave figures the range was as wide as it could be. There were three schools which lost all their teachers in the course of a year and there were 31 schools which lost no teachers. I recognise that the loss of a lot of teachers at individual schools can have a serious effect on primary school education. That is one of the reasons for the urgency of the present London weighting situation.