HC Deb 23 July 1985 vol 83 cc857-8
15. Mr. Barron

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has any plans to meet the leaders of the National Union of Teachers.

Sir Keith Joseph

I had agreed to meet union leaders jointly with employer representatives on 9 May, but the National Union of Teachers declined. I have made plain my readiness to meet representatives of the teachers' side of the Burnham committee to discuss the proposals I made on 21 May.

Mr. Barron

When will there be such a meeting with representatives of the NUT? One is inevitable. Will the right hon. Gentleman explain to the NUT how the professionalism that he claims for teachers is reflected in his ideological statements about how teachers should teach and what salary they should get? In view of public opinion, much of it from behind the right hon. Gentleman, which we shall hear again later this week, the Secretary of State must be aware that there is a great contradiction between his treatment of members of the NUT and other people.

Sir Keith Joseph

The hon. Gentleman has made so many points that I do not know where to begin. I am willing to meet representatives of any of the teacher unions, including the NUT. It is they who are emphasising professionalism, not me. I repeat that the Top Salaries Review Body recommendation was supported by a Labour Government. Why was it right in 1978 and not now?

Mr. Fallon

Would the agenda for such a meeting include the second report of the National Council for Educational Standards? Would my right hon. Friend like to comment on that report's findings?

Sir Keith Joseph

I do not want to be tempted too far, but the findings of that report give plenty of ground for thought and analysis.