HC Deb 03 August 1976 vol 916 cc1421-2
11. Mr. Beith

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will issue a circular to education authorities advising them to avoid the proliferation in schools of posts and special allowances related to administrative duties rather than teaching responsibilities, particularly in the context of secondary reorganisation.

Mr. Mulley

No. It is for local education authorities to decide, within the limits prescribed by the Burnham Committee, the number of promoted posts in schools and the duties attached to them.

Mr. Beith

Does not the Burnham Committee have a lot to answer for in this respect? Does the Secretary of State recognise that dedicated teachers find that it is to their financial disadvantage to concentrate their efforts in the classroom? They find that it is more rewarding to be year tutors, the person in charge of the resources centre or the person in charge of the library. Will he accept that teaching is being downgraded financially in favour of administration?

Mr. Mulley

There is a good deal in what the hon. Member says. However, he is inviting me to make a far more radical change in the relationship between central and local government than I have so far contemplated.

Mr. Cryer

Is it not a fact that the present promotion system has the effect of taking teachers out of the classroom and putting them into the administrative section? Is it not the duty of the Department to negotiate a better system with the unions concerned so that much greater emphasis is placed on teaching and there is some form of democratic administration in schools, with a diminution in the headmaster's powers and a greater emphasis on those of the teachers?

Mr. Mulley

All these problems should be the first concern of the teachers' unions and those who are party to the arrangements. I am not party to them and I do not employ teachers. However, I shall convey my hon. Friend's views to those who are concerned with this matter.