HC Deb 19 July 1978 vol 954 c528
17. Mr. Galbraith

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement as to the future status of those teaching business studies in Scottish schools if the present three-year diploma in commerce course is replaced by a new four-year degree course.

Mr. McElhone

The Scottish teachers' salaries memorandum 1976 recognises teachers holding the diploma in commerce awarded by the board for the diploma in commerce as equivalent for salary purposes to graduate teachers. Those holding the diploma with honours are recognised as equivalent to honours graduates. Any change in this arrangement would be a matter for the Scottish Teachers' Salaries Committee.

Mr. Galbraith

Will the hon. Gentleman give a little more thought to this matter? A great deal of concern has been caused, and I have had many letters from constituents. Surely, if the qualification is to be changed those who have been teaching under the old qualification should not be placed in an inferior status.

Mr. McElhone

I agree with what the hon. Gentleman said. He will appreciate that various bodies are involved, as there are in all aspects of education. There are the Council for National Academic Awards, which is an independent body, the General Teaching Council, which is also an independent body, and the Scottish Teachers Salaries Committee, which has an independent chairman. Discussions are still going on. So far as I am aware, no action will be taken which will jeopardise the salary position of those who at present hold this award.