HC Deb 05 December 1989 vol 163 cc263-87 10.33 pm
The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. John MacGregor)

I beg to move, That the draft Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act 1987 (Continuation) Order 1989, which was laid before this House on 7th November, in the last Session of Parliament, be approved. Section 6 of the Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act 1987 provides that the Act shall expire on 31 March 1990 unless it is continued by force for a further year by an order laid before and approved by resolution of each House. The order now before the House provides for the Act to continue in force for a further year, until 31 March 1991. This is necessary to enable me in due course to give effect to the teachers' pay settlement for 1990–91, following the report of the interim advisory committee, due next January, and consultation on its recommendations. If the life of the Act is not extended in the way proposed, it will not be possible to deal with the 1990–91 pay settlement.

My predecessor had always hoped to be able to put new pay determination arrangements in place in time for the 1990–91 settlement, but we never expected that it would be easy to devise new pay determination arrangements which, to be worth while, would need to be permanent, stable and effective.

The deep differences of opinion between the six competing teacher unions, the employers and the Government, which were very evident during the events which culminated in the failure of Burnham, the passage of the Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act 1987 and the establishment of the interim advisory committee made that only too clear. The problem is not to obtain complete agreement on new pay determination arrangements—I suspect that that could never be achieved—but enough to ensure that they can operate successfully and are likely to endure. We need more time to achieve that, so it is necessary for the present arrangements to be in place for one more year. That is why the order has been laid before the House.

In 1987, the Government's immediate concerns were to bring pay and conditions together and to establish a proper career structure for teachers. That was achieved in the 1987 settlement, which gave teachers a 16–4 per cent. pay increase. Aspects of that settlement which were controversial at the time are widely welcomed now. Incentive allowances have proved their worth, and following the recommendations of the interim advisory committee, their introduction has been speeded up so that there are now some 170,000 available in schools. The effectiveness of the interim advisory committee itself has been widely praised, and rightly so, and I would like to pay tribute to the committee today for all the hard work that it has put in and which it is doing now.

In October 1987 the Government published a Green Paper discussing the question of new permanent teachers' pay machinery. We stated three key principles relevant to the establishment of new teachers' pay determination machinery which are in the interests of the education service and the nation as a whole.

The principles were that it should be designed to provide that settlements have due regard to the need to recruit, retain and motivate sufficient teachers of the right quality. Secondly, it must ensure that settlements support effective management of the schools and provide for proper career-long development and incentives for teachers. Finally, it should be designed to ensure that settlements have due regard to affordability and to the needs of the national economy.

The Green Paper discussed a number of different possible future pay determination arrangements and proposed the establishment of a teachers' negotiating group with the Government in a majority on the management side and with an ability for the management side to break deadlock by imposing its proposals subject to the approval of Parliament.

It became clear from the written responses to the Green Paper from the interested parties and from the views expressed during meetings with my predecessor in the autumn of 1988 that there continued to be widely differing views about the best way forward. In particular, there was no basis of agreement on such fundamental features as the role and powers of the Government, how to deal with a breakdown in negotiations and how to cover the interests of heads and deputies.

There was no prospect of meeting our original aspiration of having new permanent machinery in time for the 1990 settlement, and no advantage in trying to rush things to this end. The subject is too important and too much hangs on our getting things right for it to be sensible to do that.

It was against that background that my right hon. Friend the present Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster told the House in July that he was arranging a further series of meetings with the teacher unions and employers, at which he saw the discussions as ranging more widely than the proposal for a teachers' negotiating group set out in the October 1987 Green Paper.

Mr. Conal Gregory (York)

I am most grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way at such an early stage. Will he confirm that the negotiations took place against a background in which it was clear that teachers' salaries increased under the Labour Government by an average of 6 per cent., while they have increased in real terms by 35 per cent. under the Conservative Government?

Mr. MacGregor

My hon. Friend is absolutely right about the relativities, but he has not got the figure absolutely right. Under the Conservatives, the figure is 30 per cent. However, the relativities are quite correct and his point is absolutely right.

I was referring to what my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster told the House in July. He recognised then that it would not be easy to find a solution which was acceptable to all parties, but he reaffirmed the importance of getting the new arrangements right. He recognised that this would take time and said that he was accordingly asking the interim advisory committee to sit for a further year to give that time. He also said that he would in due course ask the House to approve a consequential one-year extension of the Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act 1987. That is what we are considering today.

The remit which I have set the IAC is challenging. In addition to considering what the permanent pay increase for 1990–91 should be, I have asked it to make recommendations for the further expansion of incentive allowances to help local education authorities to tackle their particular teacher shortage problems; to look at the situation in London, where there are particular problems in some inner-London boroughs; and to review the pay of heads and deputies.

In recognition of the task which I have set the committee, I have provided for the teachers' pay bill for 1990–91 to increase by the fair and substantial sum of £600 million—55 per cent. more than this year's remit and twice that of last year. I look forward to seeing the committee's report in January. I am sure that it will match the high standards set by its two previous reports.

Mr. Simon Hughes (Southwark and Bermondsey)

Since the Act was passed, as the Secretary of State well knows, the International Labour Organisation has ruled that this method of settling teachers' pay is in breach of the convention to which we are a signatory. How on earth does the Secretary of State justify coming back to the House with not only an extension of what, in international law, has been ruled an unacceptable procedure but restrictions, even if they were more generous than they were before, on the amount available for settling the teachers' pay claim?

Mr. MacGregor

The ILO is well aware that we intend to establish a permanent new pay machinery, and it is content with that. [HON. MEMBERS: "When?"] I have just been talking about that, and I will talk about it again right now. [Interruption.] If Opposition Members will allow me, I will refer to the point right now.

The House will rightly be concerned whether the extension I am seeking today will enable me to bring forward legislation to establish new permanent machinery in the next Session. Obviously, I cannot commit the Government in advance of the next Queen's Speech—any Queen's Speech—but let me tell the House tonight that that is my aim. At the meetings held in July, my predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, outlined three new options for consideration: negotiations between employers and unions, with necessary safeguards for the Government's interests; a permanent IAC-type body, possibly linked to a no-strike agreement; and a movement towards greater local flexibility, which might lead to individual LEAs or schools opting out of national negotiations.

I have just completed a helpful and constructive round of meetings with the teacher unions and employees at which I have heard their views on each of these options.

Mr. Jack Straw (Blackburn)

The Secretary of State has just spoken about provision for local authorities to opt out of national negotiations. Leaving aside other arguments, does he understand that that will lead to a significant increase in the teachers' pay bill? Is he willing to ensure that the Government will support that increase through the poll tax?

Mr. MacGregor

I must make it quite clear that we have been looking at all the options with all the organisations concerned. We have been receiving a wide variety of views in response. My position is quite clear: I need to consider the position, taking into account the responses that I am receiving, not only from those whom I have met formally but from others who are putting views forward.

Mr. Michael Stern (Bristol, North-West)

My right hon. Friend has said that he is considering all the views from the organisations he has consulted. Does he agree that there is one particularly difficult body of people whom he cannot consult? I refer to teachers who are either not members of trade unions or would welcome the opportunity, if my right hon. Friend were only to signal it, to leave in droves the unions which they regard as useless but in which they remain only because they can otherwise have no influence on their pay and conditions?

Mr. MacGregor

I have had formal meetings and received representations from all six teacher unions. I am, or course, prepared to receive views from any quarter during the consultation period.

I do not under-estimate the difficulties, but I believe that there is a strong desire on all sides to make progress, and I intend to pursue this matter vigorously. In the meantime, we need this order to pay teachers an increase next year. I commend the order to the House and ask that it be approved.

10.44 pm
Mr. Jack Straw (Blackburn)

We oppose the order. It breaks clear undertakings to restore negotiating machinery by March 1990 and is part of a policy approach that has collapsed teacher morale and constricted teachers' pay and is leading to a mounting teacher shortage crisis.

Although the history of the principal Act involved in the order is well known and need not be repeated, there have been the clearest undertakings that negotiating machinery would be restored by 1990. That point was made in January this year in response to a question from the hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. Key) when the previous Secretary of State said: The Government hope to introduce new permanent machinery in time for the 1990 settlement".—[Official Report, 31 January 1989; Vol. 146, c. 159.] On 27 July 1988, in response to a question from the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown), the Minister of State said: it is not possible to have negotiations in 1990 with a negotiating body unless such a body has been thought through and some conclusions have been reached by the end of 1989."—[Official Report, 27 July 1989; Vol. 138, c. 483.] But the Government have already given that commitment. In other words, if there are to be negotiations on pay and conditions, there must be negotiating machinery.

In breach of those undertakings, however, we are being asked to continue with imposed settlements for another year. Those imposed settlements are in clear breach of the convention of the International Labour Organisation. Imposed settlements have already produced a wholly unsatisfactory situation for teachers and teachers' pay. The Government have not even allowed the interim advisory committee the freedom to arrive at its own recommendations, as is allowed to a review body, before the Government then make a decision on those recommendations. Instead, the interim advisory committee has been put in the straitjacket of a prior cash limit.

The IAC has protested about that, saying that that limit has forced it to recommend lower pay increases than it would have wished and than would otherwise have been the case. It has also meant that part of the increase last year—and, no doubt, part of the increase this year—will be borne entirely by local ratepayers and subsequently by poll tax payers without the benefit of any rate support grant.

The Secretary of State said that this year he set the interim advisory committee "a challenging task". He has not set it a challenging task—he has set it an impossible task. It is impossible to make compatible the requirement on the IAC to bring forward salary recommendations which can solve the mounting crisis of teacher shortages within the cash limits that the Secretary of State has imposed on the IAC in advance of its considerations.

The consequence of those imposed settlements has been a collapse in morale, which has led to a flight from the profession and a grave reduction in the attractiveness of teaching. It is time that the Secretary of State faced up to the scale of the crisis over which he is now presiding.

In the loans debate earlier, I mentioned that in the past eight years the proportion of graduates entering teaching had halved—from 8 per cent. in 1980 to 4 per cent. in 1988. More graduates are entering the law than are entering teaching. Of those who qualify as teachers, three in 10 do not enter the profession the following year, and of those who do, four out of 10 leave teaching within five years. There are as many people with teaching qualifications who are not teaching as there are with teaching qualifications who are teaching. There are teachers everywhere—except in schools. I am surprised that the Secretary of State does not understand just what a serious effect the collapse of morale has had.

Mr. Max Madden (Bradford, West)

Does my hon. Friend agree that apart from low pay and the denial of negotiating rights, one reason for the collapse of morale among many teachers in places such as Bradford is the determination of local education authorities and the Government to push ahead with doctrinaire education policies in the face of public opposition? Is he aware, for instance, that the Minister of State revealed today that even though Bradford education authority had given an undertaking that it would postpone the magnet schools programme, it has put in bids for nearly £3 million for the development of such magnet schools in Bradford and has had secret meetings with the Minister of State to further that programme? Does he agree that that sort of deceit and duplicity is doing much to damage morale among teachers and to alienate parents from these unpopular and doctrinaire policies?

Mr. Straw

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. It is surprising that the Secretary of State does not understand what effect a collapse of morale has upon the recruitment and retention of teachers.

In June 1976, a newish Conservative Back Bencher complained to the then Secretary of State for Social Services about near-record wastage in a profession. He said that, because of the low state of morale in the profession, the poor terms and conditions and the poor salary prospects, there had been a flight of individuals from it. That Back Bencher is now Secretary of State for Education and Science. He was referring to the medical profession, but the case that he made then applies equally to the teaching profession now.

Mr. James Pawsey (Rugby and Kenilworth)

Medicine is an old and long established profession.

Mr. Straw

The point is exactly the same. In June 1976, the Secretary of State, then a Back Bencher, said that low morale and low pay had led to a flight of people fom the profession. Exactly those circumstances are now leading to a flight from the teaching profession and to problems of retaining teachers.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett (Pembroke)


Mr. Straw

I shall not give way, as I am about to conclude.

In his first three and a half months in office, this Secretary of State managed to visit just one school outside his constituency but did not manage to speak to any of the pupils about the effects of Government policy upon their school. Only someone who has kept himself holed up in Elizabeth house could possibly introduce this order or come out with the complacent claptrap that he and the Minister of State peddle about there being no serious problem in terms of a teacher shortage or teachers' pay.

Educational standards depend critically on the number and quality of teachers in our schools. Those requirements and teacher motivation will be maintained and increased only if negotiations are restored and teachers are better rewarded. We therefore oppose the order.

10.52 pm
Mr. David Madel (Bedfordshire, South-West)

I welcome what my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said about the cash increase for next year's financial settlement for teachers' pay. In common with my right hon. Friend, I hope that this will be the last occasion on which we must debate such an order. I hope that we shall have some form of new negotiating body in place next year. I also welcome what he said in his remit to the interim advisory committee about its need to extend local flexibility for teachers' salaries in 1990–91.

I hope that the IAC will pay exceptional attention to the high housing costs and the high travel-to-work costs in certain parts of the country. I hope that it will also remember the extra costs of implementing the national curriculum and all the extra work involved.

There is a move towards a common recognition of educational qualifications within the European Community. People hope that that policy goal will be achieved by 1993. To attain that goal, the highest educational standards and the best teaching must be achieved throughout the EC. It also demands the full implementation of the national curriculum in Britain. I hope that the Government will consider whether there are some areas where the European social fund could be used to tide us over when we run into difficulties about the payment of teachers' costs and salaries.

Educational reform has gone ahead at a tremendous speed and my right hon. Friend has already said that the implementation of that reform should not go ahead at such breakneck speed. The introduction of the important reforms relating to the national curriculum should be introduced at a slower pace. For 1990–91, the IAC should pay particular attention to the rates of pay for supply teachers and remember that different aptitudes are needed for being a supply teacher in a secondary school as opposed to a primary school.

Another point which I welcome, and to which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has referred, is that he wants the education services and local authorities to consult widely with industry about how industry can help to alleviate teacher shortages. When we look at what industry already does in education, with the technical and vocational education initiative and city technology colleges, it seems that industry is almost subsidising teachers' salaries. When the interim advisory committee is asked next year to consider the modification of selective payments in relation to teacher shortages in some subjects, it should also consider whether industry can temporarily directly subsidise teachers' salaries in some parts of the country for a certain period.

The impact of greater local flexibility in pay scales has an effect on the looming community charge. Local education authorities must be compensated properly from central Government if they have to bring in a host of local additional pay scales to ensure not only that the national curriculum is met, but that shortages elsewhere are overcome.

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has already given warnings about what inflation may do in the next financial year, and certainly in the next calendar year. Therefore, what the IAC recommends for 1990–91 could have an effect on the community charge and how it works out in relation to Government and the revenue support grant. Therefore, all I ask is that the Government do not contradict themselves. They must push ahead, quite rightly, with the national curriculum and solving teacher shortages, but they must not load the extra financial burden on areas which, through no fault of their own, have to grapple with teacher shortages.

With regard to the new negotiating machinery, I hope that we can reach a new teachers' incomes forum, call it what we will. However, three factors must be right before we can do so: first, the trade unions must work out a common position and speak with a single voice in any such forum; secondly, if we are to have a forum which has direct talks with employers, we must have a fallback position —a board of mediation which intervenes to overcome difficulties—rather than having teachers resorting to industrial action in the classroom. Built into the system there must be an automatic form of conciliation and mediation so that we do not slide into the classroom disruption that we experienced earlier this decade. Thirdly, if employers are to agree to this they must have a system which ensures that the settlements they make are met with the resources necessary to implement them.

I hope that my right hon. Friend will succeed in bringing forward new negotiating machinery, but if he fails we must accept that we cannot have a new negotiating system which takes local authorities into account. In that case we would have to pay teachers centrally, and grasp the financial nettle which that would entail.

10.58 pm
Ms. Harriet Harman (Peckham)

I am glad of the opportunity to speak in this debate because I, like many parents in So,uthwark, am concerned about the teacher shortage in the borough. I shall give some examples of how the teacher shortage is hitting schools in Southwark and say how the Government should respond to it.

Some children at primary schools in my borough turn up at school not knowing whether they will be sent home or who their teacher will be. They may be in the same classroom as usual but with a different teacher. It may be that their class and the children with whom they are used to working are divided into two and placed into other already overcrowded classrooms.

At one school in my constituency, children had been prepared by their parents during the summer holidays to begin school in September. But the school had to tell parents not to bring their children for the first day because there was no teacher for the reception class. Imagine the feelings of the parents and children, the children having talked to brothers and sisters about starting school and the parents having prepared them for the occasion. Because parents in that situation cannot tell their children when they are likely to start school, a great feeling of insecurity is created among parents and children. However secure and stable the home background, an insecure and unstable school situation creates a feeling of insecurity in the child.

A high percentage of probationers teach in my area, and there is a terrible dearth of experience. Heads and deputy heads cannot do the important work in school that they should be doing, because they are having to cover classes. Section 11 teachers are having to be in the classroom instead of doing the valuable work that they should be doing. Supply teachers are filling permanent vacancies instead of being available to cover for teachers on maternity and sick leave.

All that has a terrible effect on standards. Schools must hang on to their teachers and, when there are vacancies, there is no question of selecting from a mixed group of qualified teachers. Heads must take anybody who offers himself or herself for teaching. That, too, creates a feeling of insecurity among parents. The teacher may be perfectly adequate, but if it is known that there was no competition for the vacancy and no choice, morale is undermined. So, in addition to the problem of children being sent home, we have the insidious undermining effects of insufficient teachers and the result of that on the quality of education in primary schools.

The Government can do something to improve the situation. They are constantly talking about market forces. They cannot be paying teachers enough when we canot obtain sufficient teachers to teach in Southwark's primary schools. But it is also a question of the value that the Government place on teachers.

When attending the Labour party conference Brighton, I stayed with a friend who is a primary school teacher there. She was always awake at 6 o'clock in the morning preparing for the day's work and, however late I arrived home after conference fringe meetings, she was doing her papers and preparing for the following day's classes. Although she has two children, she assured me that the hard work and insufficient pay to meet her increased mortgage payments were not the only problem. Being committed to her work, she feels that the job is not given enough public recognition and value. The Government have an important role to play in that context.

Housing is another problem in that people cannot afford on a teacher's salary to buy or rent housing in Southwark. The Government must consider that problem if we are to resolve the teacher shortage.

In speaking of primary school teachers, we are referring to a largely female work force. If they are to return to teaching after maternity leave, they must be able to combine their working and family life, and that means more flexible hours, with the Government encouraging the provision of high quality child care for teachers, with after-school and school holiday provision. With female teachers being expected to work to a male employment pattern, we must not be surprised if they do not return to teaching at the end of their maternity leave. It is not only a question of leaving this to the local education authority. The Government should take a lead in financing the provision and in highlighting and fostering good practice.

A child's first term and years at school are vital. The teacher shortage is jeopardising that start for the children of Southwark. The Secretary of State has a clear duty, and he must act.

11.5 pm

Mr. Robert Key (Salisbury)

I declare an interest as a long-time member of the Assistant Masters and Mistresses Association. Like the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes), I am a parliamentary adviser to that association.

I congratulate the Secretary of State on his comments of recent months, in which he has fully acknowledged the commitment, dedication and professionalism of teachers in this country. Those qualities are widely recognised. There is certainly a problem of low morale in the teaching profession, but, like the president of the AMMA, I must say that too often teachers talk themselves down. That is a major problem, and it is not helped by some of the comments that have been made here this evening. I very much hope that problems of morale will start to be tackled by the teachers themselves.

I do not doubt that there is a strong case for better pay and conditions and for a better career structure for teachers. There are new and serious problems. There are teacher shortages, for instance, but as my right hon. Friend said, they represent about 1 per cent. of the work force. In many other professions, that would not be regarded as exceptional, and the problem is unevenly spread throughout teaching; it is uneven geographically and by specialty.

Attracting people back into the teaching profession will be a succsssful answer, I believe. As the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) said, there are as many graduate teachers outside as inside the profession. We should surely welcome them back with open arms. I advocate bringing into the classroom well qualified graduates who can be trained on the job.

I received an unsolicited letter from a constituent about this only this week. She says: Having seen, on South To-Day last night, Jack Straw pontificating on the question of employing graduates in schools without training except in school, I felt constrained to write to BBC South to point out that graduates could be employed in state schools without any further training in teaching until the 1970's. My constituent graduated in modern languages. In 1965 she decided to teach and answered an advertisement placed by the Labour-controlled ILEA for graduates to teach in primary schools: I was then appointed as a qualified teacher, with no experience or training whatsoever, to a London Primary School. I learnt on the job with help from another untrained graduate! This was Labour Party policy when they were in office to overcome the shortage of teachers in London. After moving to Salisbury I was employed in Secondary Schools both by Wiltshire and Hampshire County Councils as a qualified teacher… It seems disgraceful that the BBC gives such prominence to Labour Party propaganda in suggesting that this is simply Conservative policy and therefore to be denigrated. I must concur with that.

There is now in the teaching profession, particularly among its professional organisations, a welcome feeling of glasnost which I do not wish to upset. It must be recognised that there is a great deal of disquiet about the financial constraints—£600 million—on the interim advisory committee. They are widely resented, largely because they are misunderstood. I have tried as a former economics teacher to explain the nature of public spending rounds and the way in which we run the financial affairs of this country, but I must be rusty as I have not got very far. I invite my right hon. Friend to explain these constraints.

As my right hon. Friend said, we must move towards a permanent pay system. I hope that it will include a full and open role for Government. I do not want a return to the Burnham system, which led to breakdown. There is a spirit of realism in the teaching associations now, and the AMMA has written to me as follows: We hope that proposals will now evolve…towards a system where the Government has a full and open role, where the evidence and reasoning of particular cash figures can be debated sensibly. It adds: We regret the continuation of the Act's provisions for another year, although we fully recognise that there is no better alternative yet available. That is important, and that is why I shall support my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State this evening.

I have for a long time agreed with my hon. Friend the Member for Bedfordshire, South-West (Mr. Madel) that we must face the issue of teachers being paid centrally. A few years ago, with the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery), I visited Germany and became acquainted with the interesting system of mixed funding that prevails there. Teachers' salaries are paid centrally, but local communities have great autonomy over the extent to which they support their local schools. That is important, and with the advent of the community charge it will become more important. The system provides for parental support, and local taxation is accepted by the community, which recognises needs and wishes to meet them. That sort of flexibility would be allowed under the system which I have in mind.

We all want to see a well motivated, well paid, fully trained and effective teaching service. I believe that that is the aspiration, too, of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State.

11.11 pm
Mr. Simon Hughes (Southwark and Bermondsey)

We live in a strange world—one in which teachers are asking to be allowed to negotiate but being told in effect that the matter will be arbitrated for them, while ambulance workers are asking for arbitration and being told that they must resume negotiations.

I am happy to take up the remarks of the hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. Key) who, like the hon. Member for Dewsbury (Mrs. Taylor) and me, is parliamentary adviser to one of the six leading teaching unions. One of the interesting pieces of background to the debate is that there is unanimity among the unions in opposing the idea of an imposed cash limit, which the Secretary of State has introduced. That idea effectively predetermines the outcome of the decisions of the interim advisory committee in January.

My right hon. and hon. Friends will vote against the order unless the Secretary of State or the Minister of State pulls something out of the fire. I think that the teaching profession would accept only two courses. One would be a commitment that the day when negotiating rights are reinstated will never again be postponed, especially in the light of the ILO ruling. Secondly, there would have to be a commitment that the Secretary of State would lift the announced £600 million limit. If the right hon. Gentleman fails to take that action, we shall oppose the implementation of the order for strong reasons of principle as well as of practice, and I hope that some Conservative Members will take the same course.

It was my right hon. Friend the Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown) who elicited a response from the Minister of State to the effect that it was the Government's intention that a negotiating procedure should be in place by now. It is not as though the planning for that has taken place only in recent months. The Secretary of State gave us a date, and the Green Paper was submitted for consultation two years and two months ago. Yet there is still no sign of a conclusion to the deliberations on the Government's proposals. Clear undertakings were given by the then Secretary of State and the Minister of State, but they have been breached.

We are in clear breach of our undertakings as signatories to the ILO convention. Article 4 makes it clear that the Government are obliged to offer voluntary negotiations between employers and employees with independence of negotiating bodies, and that that is the way to regulate the terms and conditions. When the Government argued against that in their submissions to the ILO they were told that submissions to the IAC did not constitute voluntary negotiations, so commitments made both in the House and internationally have been broken.

A further constraint on the £600 million limit is not acceptable. It represents approximately a 7.4 per cent. increase across the board. The Secretary of State will know that to restore the morale of the profession and to reverse the trend of people leaving, we shall need a greater increase in many areas. It is paradoxical that, although the limit is fixed, the teachers have been asked in recent weeks to give their views on what the pay settlement should be. That is like appointing a judge and telling him or her to reach a judgment before hearing the evidence.

It is noticeable that the differences between the unions have faded away. The Secretary of State will have seen the letter which has been sent to all schools by the salaries campaign 1990. It bears the signatures of the general secretaries of the six unions. They are in agreement and state that they are in "unanimous opposition" to a predetermined constraint. They say that they have made that point to the current and previous Secretaries of State and they ask, even at this late stage, for the constraint to be lifted.

That is the prelude to tonight's debate. The hon. Member for Peckham, (Ms. Harman) mentioned the experience of people in one of the areas of acute teacher shortage and crisis. I am her parliamentary neighbour. On a practical basis, as I told the Minister of State a few days ago when she was good enough to see me, there is neither sufficient action nor sufficiently urgent action. That shows a lack of commitment. Teachers do not believe that the Government are committed to them, to their profession or to education. Because they do not believe that, they are not staying. Heads and teachers who have been in the profession for 10 years or more are leaving because they do not feel sufficiently valued. Teachers are not applying to schools in high-stress areas, and some of the advertisements are going unanswered in areas which are in desperate need of teachers. That is taking place at the same time as reception and nursery classes are sent home and teachers are doubling up, covering for each other and coming under increasing stress.

Mr. Richard Livsey (Brecon and Radnor)

Does my hon. Friend agree that the loss of status implied by the award is having a severe impact on morale when teachers are working harder than ever to bring into play local management schemes and the national curriculum? That is putting a great strain on them, and they are not being rewarded adequately.

Mr. Hughes

My hon. Friend is right. It is the same in rural areas of Wales as in urban areas of England. As a result of the Education Reform Act 1988, teachers have been charged by the Government with considerably greater responsibility. They are being asked to take on the consequences of recent legislation, but they are finding it difficult to sustain the additional level of commitment when there is no recognition of their right to negotiate or any prospect of adequate remuneration. I wish that the Secretary of State and Ministers were more aware of the profession's concern. People in the profession want to convince the Government of that but, sadly, the Government do not seem to have been convinced. For that reason, we shall vote against the order.

11.18 pm
Mr. Ken Hargreaves (Hyndburn)

I listened with interest and reassurance to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. Hon. Members on both sides of the House will agree that the withdrawal of the right to negotiate one's wage or salary is a serious step. I supported that step for teachers' salaries in 1987 because at that time, once the majority of those involved in the teaching profession agreed that the Burnham arrangements were unworkable, there seemed to be no alternative. However, we are now two and a half years on. During that time it should have been possible to set up new negotiating machinery.

The Government may blame the unions for the failure to reach agreement, and the unions will undoubtedly blame the Government. I am not interested in allocating blame. My concern is for the teachers. Whoever is to blame, the Government had the overriding responsibility to ensure that the new body was set up in the time scale allowed in 1987. Their failure to do that and the resultant need to extend the order are difficult to accept, especially at present.

I could not in any way support the industrial action taken by some teachers in the mid-1980s, but since then teachers have coped admirably with the education reforms introduced. Change is never easy. For teachers, the changes in education have coincided with changes in society which have resulted in less respect for people in authority. Teachers come face to face with the results of that change every day.

The cumulative effect of all that, the trauma of the reforms, the changes in behaviour of pupils, the reductions in teachers' standing in the community and their inability to negotiate their pay are responsible for so many long-serving, dedicated, experienced, excellent teachers leaving the profession. That is extremely worrying. Applications for entry into teacher training may well have increased by 15 per cent. this year, but we must stop the loss of teachers with years of experience.

The Government can do little about changes in society, but they can show their support for teachers and show that they understand the problems, first, by constantly recognising publicly the excellent work that the vast majority of teachers do—I am pleased that the Secretary of State does that—and, secondly, by paying teachers at a level which compensates for the additional problems that they face and which improves their standing in the community.

That cannot be done while this order is in place. It is a matter of regret that the order must be renewed, and I hope that this is the first and last time that the Government will seek to renew it. I hope that the establishment of the new negotiating body will be dealt with as a matter of the utmost urgency, as the Secretary of State promised. Otherwise, there will be a further loss of morale and of experienced teachers.

11.22 pm
Ms. Mildred Gordon (Bow and Poplar)

The Government's refusal to negotiate pay and conditions with the teachers' unions causes great resentment and makes our teachers feel that they are enslaved—in worse conditions than teachers anywhere in Europe.

In Tower Hamlets the position is critical. Hundreds of children cannot be placed in schools and hundreds more are in the hands of supply teachers—sometimes as many as 15 different teachers a year. That is child-minding, not teaching. When the matter was mentioned in the House the other day, the Prime Minister's reply was, in effect, "What a pity that they cannot come to my constituency where they would get the best education." What a solution. It would be nice if children could all be removed from the east end to a leafy suburb. However, a couple of days later I read in the Hendon Times, which covers the Prime Minister's constituency, that the London borough of Barnet was taking on licensed teachers—I nearly said unlicensed teachers, because that is what we used to call unqualified teachers—so the position cannot be so happy there either, although it is probably easier than in Tower Hamlets.

Teachers cannot come to Tower Hamlets because of the housing shortage, the high cost and difficulty of travel and because they cannot afford a place to live. The worse the shortage of staff, the more reluctant teachers are to come. In some areas teachers will not even apply for a post as head or deputy head because the task is impossible.

Recently the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teacherscarried out a survey which revealed the degree of stress on teachers. Sixty-six per cent. of serving teachers said that they would leave if they had the chance. There is a great increase in mental illness among teachers who are suffering from severe stress. Throughout the country there are people who have left teaching who have no intention of ever returning, whatever is offered. When the Government ask women who have left teaching to start a family to come back to teaching at the same time as the number of evening meetings is being increased, they are being ridiculous, as such meetings make it quite impossible for mothers to take on a teaching job when, increasingly, they have to stay behind at school when their children have come home.

All teachers worthy of their salt keep good records and know how important good recording is, but the Government's new measures have introduced an entirely unbalanced situation of recording, with yearly profiles and formative and summative reports. Teachers are having to keep their classes quiet while they sit in front of them ticking boxes. They cannot find time to teach or prepare work because of the amount of recording and ticking of boxes that is required. They do not have enough free time to do their recording. Their task is becoming impossible.

Teachers bitterly resent the Baker days. They bitterly resent the fact that, throughout the country, in other professions, people are getting longer holidays, but five days of their holidays have been stolen. That rankles very much.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett

They have 12 weeks.

Ms. Gordon

They do not do nothing in those 12 weeks. They take children on trips, they prepare their work for the coming year, and they need a restorative period because teaching is a profession of great physical and mental stress. If the hon. Gentleman has never taught, he should come and try it for a day or two in one of our local schools—he will see why teachers need a restorative period.

Hon. Members

He used to be a teacher.

Mr. Roy Beggs (Antrim, East)

I have been a teacher. Does the hon. Lady agree that Conservative Members appreciate teachers taking their children away for holidays and educational experiences, but that they need a holiday themselves when they come back?

Ms. Gordon

Yes, indeed, because they are working a 24-hour day on such holidays.

Another form of stress on teachers is the introduction of the national curriculum without sufficient teachers and without sufficient money. Teachers have marked the fact that the national curriculum is not being forced upon private schools. We have the worst working conditions in Europe. I hold my surgery in a sixth form centre. The women's toilet is partitioned off a room where there is a butler sink and a gas ring. It looks like something out of the 1930s, not the 1980s. That is where teachers are expected to prepare their lunch. The conditions in many schools are a crying disgrace.

We are scouring the world for teachers. We cannot get our own teachers to come back because of the appalling conditions. Yet when we get teachers from abroad, we treat them in a very uneven fashion. Teachers from New Zealand, for instance, sometimes have to spend years, waiting for their qualifications to be recognised. Teachers from Bangladesh with 14 years' experience who speak the mother tongue of the children in the schools are considered unqualified, but teachers from European countries, who often cannot understand the children, are considered qualified.

Teachers in our schools are watching the money that is being poured into the city technology colleges while their own schools are being starved of money. This order is just another nail in the coffin of state education. It will increase resentment and the seepage away from the teaching profession of well qualified, experienced, good teachers.

11.28 pm
Mr. Michael Carttiss (Great Yarmouth)

I declare an interest in that some years ago I was a member of the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers, but I do not advise it. I believe that free advice is a waste of time and that paid advice is a waste of money. I speak simply as someone who has been in the classroom as a teacher. When I left teaching, I eventually became chairman of an education committee. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science and I met many times in Norfolk to discuss education before he reached the office which I know that he will adorn with great success and to the great benefit of the education service nationally.

I welcome the fact that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said that this is an interim order for one more year. My hon. Friend the Member for Hyndburn (Mr. Hargreaves) said that he hoped that this was the first and last time that such an order would come before the House. In fact, it is the third time that we have been asked to continue the life of the interim advisory committee.

I understand all the points that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made in advancing the case for our supporting the measure today and I will have no difficulty in doing so because I know my right hon. Friend to be a man of his word. He was cautious in saying that it would be his aim to have the new negotiating machinery in existence in time for the next round of pay awards. I am sure that he will do his best to meet that aim, but we have to tell him that he must meet it.

I have strongly supported the Government's employment legislation because it is important that in a free society everyone should have the right not to belong to a union. I also believe, however, subject to the obvious constraints of national security and the public interest which apply to some occupations, that people should equally have the right to belong to a union and that that union should be able to represent them. I regret that the teachers' unions are denied the opportunity to engage in negotiations on their pay. I do not blame the Government for that. Teachers must accept a large measure of responsibility. I cannot understand why the teachers' organisations have never been able to sink their differences and get together to approach the Government with a clear-cut idea of how they would like their salaries and conditions to be dealt with. They never come along.

The hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) quoted my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State talking about a shortage of doctors in 1966, as though that had anything to do with us now. The power of the British Medical Association, lately abused in its idiotic approach to the National Health Service reforms, has nevertheless enabled that profession to achieve a great deal for its members, which teachers, too, should be able to obtain if they were united in their approach to their problems.

I would not go along with my hon. Friend the Member for Bedfordshire, South-West (Mr. Madel) in all that he said, but he made one of the most powerful speeches that we have heard on this subject. Everyone has spoken extraordinarily well, but my hon. Friend encapsulated succinctly many of the concerns that inform all of us who are keen to see a successful education service.

Teacher shortages go in cycles. I do not want to minimise the problems that the education service is experiencing today. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will know that on the schools sub-committee agenda for Norfolk county council tomorrow for the first time ever there is an item dealing with teacher shortages. We have never had difficulties recruiting teachers in Norfolk, but we are beginning to do so—and if we are beginning to have problems in Norfolk, whatever must it be like in other parts of the country?

It is no good my right hon. Friend pretending that the problem does not exist. It is no use pretending that, while money will not solve everything, we can expect a highly motivated teaching profession if we do not reward teachers accordingly.

Many teachers do not deserve as much as they get. I deeply regret that in the one reform with which the Government should have gone ahead rapidly—teacher appraisal—they have backed off because they are not prepared to fund the additional teachers who would be necessary to introduce the properly run teacher appraisal scheme that many teachers would like to see. If I am wrong on that and my hon. Friend the Minister of State can reassure me when she replies, I will take back what I have said. Nevertheless, I am still worried about the attitude on some of these issues.

The teacher shortage is cyclical. The year 1966 has been quoted, but I started teaching in 1959, as a student with no qualifications. We were so short of teachers that we were appointing people on the basis that they had A-levels and the offer of a place at college. We were also appointing teachers with just one year's mature training, straight out of the services. I trained with some of those people and they were first class, but let us not pretend that it is good for the teaching profession to solve shortages in that way.

The Government must get their act together on teacher negotiations. There must be a body to deal with conditions. Teachers must also stop bleating about low morale. There have always been teachers who do not like their jobs. I know that they are required to do more, but the more they tell us about their suffering and their breakdowns, and how difficult their job is, the more one wonders whether they are the right people to be in those jobs. If they are not the right people, the negotiating body must be the right mechanism to attract more of the right people into the profession.

11.36 pm
Mr. Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

The hon. Member for Great Yarmouth (Mr. Carttiss) ended on a sad note. Nobody hearing that ungracious remark would ever think that he had taught.

The last negotiated pay settlement for teachers was in April 1986. In 1987, the then Secretary of State imposed the interim advisory council and settlements for 1988 and 1989. The year 1990 is now coming, and if this continues for a year after, it will mean that, for five years, the democratic machinery of trade unionism will have been abandoned by the Government. As my hon. Friends have said, the Government were denounced for violating the International Labour Organisation convention, which has existed for a long time. The ILO is a United Nations body, so the Government have contravened international law. No other nation has done this. it is disgraceful that that should have been imposed on the teachers when at the same time the Secretary of State was attacking the teaching profession and trying to split its ranks. Instead, they have been united because the Government have driven them into such a corner that they have decided to get together.

The Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act became law early in 1987, and the Government said that it was only a temporary measure. They needed such a draconian measure because they could not get what they wanted to impose on the teachers through free democratic negotiation, because the teachers were resisting them. Therefore, they imposed their diktat and destroyed the negotiating machinery, saying that it would be for only a year.

It is sad to see how easily Tory Members go along with violations of democracy when they are done by their Government, but denounce everybody else. I would never have thought to hear from the hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. Key) some of the things that he said today. He jollied us along with a heap of anti-democratic proposals under the guise that they came from the Assistant Masters and Mistresses Association. It is one of the bodies that have written to the Secretary of State demanding the right to a negotiating machinery. The letter says: We are equally agreed that teachers should have genuine participation in the determination of teachers' pay and conditions whatever the nature of the machinery. If I read the whole letter, it would strengthen what I said. Five other bodies, including the Professional Association of Teachers, signed that letter.

During the period of consultation on the Education Reform Bill, head teachers drew attention to the teacher shortages, and in his evidence to the Select Committee, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers pointed out that the shortage was becoming "a catastrophe". Conservative Members who have cited the figure of 1 per cent. grossly under-estimate the problem. It is as though they do not want to solve it and will not face reality.

Now that the Government have imposed this draconian measure, they are in such an economic mess that they cannot find their way out. They have decided once again to hold down teachers' pay and conditions and imperil the education of our children. Let me make it clear that it is not the education of their children—

Mr. Key

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Flannery

No, I do not have time to give way to the hon. Gentleman, although I would if he had spoken more briefly.

All the members of the Cabinet—with perhaps one exception—went to public and preparatory schools. Conservative Members criticise a Health Service that they do not use and an education service into which they do not send their children. [Interruption.] One of them may have done, but the reality is as I have explained.

The Government were condemned by the ILO in May 1988 for denying teachers their negotiating rights and breaking a convention to which they themselves were a signatory. We appeal to the Minister to fulfil his promise, although if the Government can remove negotiating rights for five years, there is no reason to have any faith whatever that they will restore them at the end of the fifth year. They are eminently capable of imposing the conditions once more. They have got themselves into an impasse by their actions, their leadership election and all the other nonsense that they are crying about, and they are ready once again to impose the conditions on teachers. It is the Government who are the cause of the low morale in the teaching profession and of the shortage of teachers, about which the Select Committee is trying—against the Tory party's wishes—to publish an important report. It is vital to show the real picture.

Mr. Beggs

Does the hon. Gentleman agree with me, as a long-standing teacher, that since the early 1970s, when teachers had their morale restored and were given a decent salary increase arising from the Houghton report, teachers' morale, the conditions in which they work and the rewards that the Government make available to them have continued to deteriorate, and that the responsibility now lies with the Government to put matters right?

Mr. Flannery

The hon. Member for Antrim, East (Mr. Beggs) is absolutely right that things have gone downhill since 1974—[HoN. MEMBERS: "1974?"] In 1974, the Houghton report gave teachers the lift to which the hon. Member for Antrim, East referred. Did not Conservative Members know that? But in the past 10 years, things have gone steeply downhill, to the plaudits of Conservative Members. It is up to the Government to set matters right. Otherwise, the education of our children will be as ruined as the British economy now is.

11.43 pm
Mr. David Evennett (Erith and Crayford)

As a former teacher and also a member of the Select Committee on Education, Science and the Arts, I was appalled at the speech made by the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery). He finds it easy to criticise and condemn, but his speech lacked any constructive suggestion. Opposition Members generally have had nothing constructive to say about teachers' pay and conditions; their remarks have been appalling.

Conservative Members believe that teachers are a vital part of our education service and our nation and that they should be paid a decent salary for the important job that they have to do. The education of our children is vital, both for individual children and for the future of our country. Historically, Opposition Members seem to have forgotten how the Burnham committee worked. It was a total and complete failure. It did not work effectively, because the whole aspect of teachers' pay and conditions was not considered. It considered only the annual pay review. In the past few years, the interim advisory committee has been quite successful at formulating teachers' pay. However, it is interim and temporary. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said earlier, we are looking for a permanent structure to determine teachers' pay in the future.

We have heard many reasons why no permanent structure has been created to date. One of the most important of those reasons must be that the teachers' unions are not united in their approach. It has been very difficult to achieve agreement across the teachers' unions. We have heard that the teachers want more money, but there has been no general agreement about the machinery to formulate teachers' pay negotiations in future. The IAC has therefore been necessary.

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said, there are already shortages of teachers in key subjects and in certain regions. However, we must not overstate the problem. It is easy to talk about the problems and make them worse. There are limited problems but that does not mean that they are not serious, because they are.

As a Member of Parliament representing an area in greater London, I believe that the problems are greater in London than elsewhere. The London allowance is totally inadequate for teachers working and living in London today. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State told the House today, as he told the Select Committee on Education, Science and Arts last week, that the IAC is considering that, and we look forward to the Select Committee's comments.

I should like to see more emphasis on supply and demand in teaching recruitment and pay, more local bargaining and more regional agreements. I believe most passionately that living costs in greater London are different from those elsewhere in the country. That factor must be considered when we are looking at teachers' pay.

We obviously need a well trained, well paid professional teaching force. We owe teachers a great deal. The hon. Member for Bow and Poplar (Ms. Gordon) was wrong to say that Conservative Members do not appreciate the difficult job that teachers have to do. We want them to be paid a decent salary, but we must look at the whole problem and not just at specific parts of it.

We need a new body to negotiate teachers' pay and conditions, and we look to next year with great interest. Conservative Members hope that this is the last time that we have to debate and discuss an interim advisory award and an extension of the Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act 1987. Under my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, we shall get there, and we shall have a good new negotiating body which will do the best for the teaching profession.

11.48 pm
Mr. Derek Fatchett (Leeds, Central)

Two main themes have run through the debate—the quality of education, and the democratic rights of teachers. It was very interesting to note that every hon. Member who spoke was prepared to accept that we are now facing a crisis in the supply of teachers and that we have a teacher shortage. The hon. Member for Great Yarmouth (Mr. Carttiss) even went so far as to say that, if the problems had come to Norfolk, they must be deep elsewhere.

I suspect that one discordant voice will not recognise the problem of teacher shortage, and it will be that of the Minister of State. At the beginning of this term, when she was presented with the figures on teacher shortages and vacancies, she said that they were "very encouraging". They do not seem to encourage Conservative Members, nor do they encourage parents. As my hon. Friends the Members for Peckham (Ms. Harman) and for Bow and Poplar (Ms. Gordon) and others have said, parents are concerned about the quality of education. They are concerned in London and in the inner-London boroughs because there may not be a teacher in front of the class. Parents in many parts of the country are concerned because there are hidden shortages and because a teacher in front of a class may not be qualified to teach the subject on the timetable. They are concerned because they know that the problem of the supply teacher may get worse.

The Minister may have recourse to the Prime Minister's response to me during the debate on the Queen's Speech. The answer, she said, for all parents and children in inner London is to live in Barnet. Does that not show total contempt and disregard for the children and parents of this country and for the quality of our children's education?

Conservative Members talk about teacher supply and say that they are now concerned about teachers. I am pleased that Central Office has now supplied them with a new script and that they are talking to it. In the early years of this Government, every Conservative Member used to denigrate the teaching profession and run down teachers' contributions.

Mr. Key


Mr. Fatchett

I cannot give way.

That is why there has been such a collapse in teacher morale. The Secretary of State shakes his head and says that that is not true. Let me pose two more questions to him about teacher supply and morale. First, I refer to the £600 million envelope on the interim advisory committee recommendations for this year. The right hon. Gentleman knows, as every Conservative Member knows, that that figure will lead to a reduction in teachers' real living standards. How will we attract people into the teaching profession if we are to run from paying teachers what they need and what they deserve? This country should value their contribution to our society and economic well-being.

My second question is about democratic rights. How are we to restore teachers' morale when we hear from the Minister of State that teachers' democratic rights are still not to be restored and there is still no definite promise from the Secretary of State? As the hon. Member for Great Yarmouth said, the Secretary of State chose his words very deliberately. It is his aim to restore collective bargaining machinery. We heard those words from the previous Secretary of State in 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1989, and we have heard them from the Minister of State. When will the Government act and turn that promise into reality?

The Government are quickly turning an interim, temporary arrangement into a permanent arrangement. I suspect that teachers will simply not believe the Secretary of State and the Minister of State when they say that this year is the final year for the interim advisory committee. Teachers have good reasons for that. The previous Secretary of State, backed up by Conservative Members, at a stroke wrote away teachers' democratic rights to bargain with their employer, so why should they believe the Government now? Why should they believe a Government who, under section 222 of the Education Reform Act 1988, challenged the employment rights of teachers and others in the teaching professions? Why should they believe a Government who take away from workers at GCHQ the right to belong to a trade union? Why should they believe a Government who, in consecutive Employment Acts, have taken away from workers rights that are enjoyed throughout the rest of western Europe? Why should they believe a Government who so passionately and dogmatically resist the social charter? This is a Government whose record on employment rights stinks, and that is why teachers simply do not believe them.

What we want to hear from the Minister of State is not just a name or an objective but what the hon. Member for Hyndburn (Mr. Hargreaves) said, a real commitment and a real promise that this is the last occasion on which teachers will have their pay fixed by the Secretary of State. We want to hear a real commitment to the restoration of collective bargaining.

We shall oppose the order in the Division tonight and make one final promise to the teachers: in two years, when there is a Labour Government, we shall restore collective bargaining to teachers.

12.56 am
The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Mrs. Angela Rumbold)

We have had an interesting debate and I have noted with pleasure the number of hon. Members who have made a contribution this evening. It has been interesting not only because we have heard from several hon. Members who represent London constituencies and who have expressed their concerns about the situation of teacher supply, recruitment and retention in the London area, but because we have also heard from colleagues of all parties who have been teachers in the past.

At the outset, I should say that I hope that all hon. Members will vote for the order, if for no other reason, for the very good reason that without a clear vote for the order, the recommendations that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will receive from the interim advisory committee will not be able to pass through the House and into teachers' salaries next year, which would be a great mistake. Of course, many teachers throughout the country will note those hon. Members who did not wish to give them the rewards to which we believe they are entitled.

Several hon. Members have spoken about teacher morale and have made their points in various ways. Some have said that teacher morale is low because of the circumstances in which they find themselves, especially in inner cities and in London—[HoN. MEMBERS: "Everywhere."] It is particularly important to realise that there are difficulties for hon. Members representing London. We have been talking with the London education authorities-to-be following the abolition of the Inner London education authority. A number of those authorities are taking the retention and recruitment of teachers extremely seriously and are making intelligent plans, such as those to which the hon. Member for Peckham (Ms. Harman) referred, including recruiting married women back into the profession.

Like several of my ministerial colleagues, I spend a considerable amount of time in schools talking to teachers about their conditions and about the new national curriculum and many of the things coming into schools at present. When one discusses with teachers the introduction of the national curriculum and of local management schemes, one finds a great deal of enthusiasm for the new ways in which the schemes are going to be taken on in their schools. They recognise the great improvements for the children of this country from the introduction of the national curriculum and the ability to run their own schools with their own budgets. They see possibilities in that for the schools to achieve better value for their budgets and for better resourcing, because they are managing their schools as governors and teachers.

When it comes to considering the interim advisory committee and the discussions that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and his predecessor have had with the teacher unions, it has been said that we have not been moving very fast. I must point out to the Opposition that discussions have taken place for a number of months about, for example, the Green Paper published for discussion with the unions. That document made important proposals for a teacher negotiating group that gave some rights to the Government to intervene should that group not reach satisfactory conclusions.

After extensive discussions with the teacher unions over a considerable time, it was not possible for the unions to agree. For that reason, a new set of proposals were put to the teacher unions and to the local education authority employers earlier this year. My right hon. Friend has already said that those proposals included the possibility of a new negotiating body composed of the unions and local education authority representatives, which might also include Government participation. Another proposal related to local negotiations. I note that my hon. Friend the Member for Bedfordshire, South-West (Mr. Madel) warmly welcomed the possibility of introducing some form of local negotiation. My hon. Friend and others have recognised the difficulties encountered in the home counties and in London in recruiting as successfully as other less costly parts of the country. The third possibility related to some form of review body.

Those various proposals are currently under discussion by the unions and the employers, and they are showing considerable interest in them. My right hon. Friend wants those talks to reach a satisfactory conclusion. Although he has been in office for only a relatively short time, he has already managed to conclude a complete round of discussions with the interested parties. That shows conclusively that he is extremely interested in making progress on this matter. Hon. Members must therefore accept the good faith that he has demonstrated.

My right hon. Friend, other Ministers and myself have been accused tonight of under-estimating and undervaluing teachers. My right hon. Friend has gone to great lengths to demonstrate his genuine belief that teachers are doing an excellent job.

My hon. Friend the Member for Great Yarmouth (Mr. Carttiss) asked about appraisal. My right hon. Friend asked the teachers if they would postpone the introduction of appraisal because he understands the pressures to which our teachers are now subject with the introduction of the national curriculum and local management schemes. That request was not made because my right hon. Friend does not want appraisal to be introduced—he knows full well that the teachers are anxious for such appraisal to be introduced. As soon as the national curriculum and the local management schemes are operating, it will be possible to introduce the appraisal scheme. I believe that all hon. Members want that.

The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) noted the letter that had been signed by the six leaders of the teacher unions. We are glad that those unions have agreed on at least three points in that joint letter. That letter is significantly briefer than the individual representations from those unions to my right hon. Friend. Therefore, we must continue to have discussions. We shall have those discussions in good faith, and I hope that the House will vote for the order.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 221, Noes 181.

Division No. 9] [12.3 am
Adley, Robert Gardiner, George
Aitken, Jonathan Garel-Jones, Tristan
Alexander, Richard Gill, Christopher
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Goodlad, Alastair
Amess, David Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Amos, Alan Gow, Ian
Arbuthnot, James Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Ashby, David Gregory, Conal
Aspinwall, Jack Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Atkins, Robert Hague, William
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Baldry, Tony Hanley, Jeremy
Batiste, Spencer Hannam, John
Bendall, Vivian Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Harris, David
Bevan, David Gilroy Hayward, Robert
Biffen, Rt Hon John Heathcoat-Amory, David
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Heddle, John
Body, Sir Richard Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Hind, Kenneth
Boswell, Tim Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Bottomley, Peter Howard, Michael
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Brazier, Julian Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Bright, Graham Hunter, Andrew
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Irvine, Michael
Browne, John (Winchester) Jack, Michael
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Jackson, Robert
Buck, Sir Antony Janman, Tim
Budgen, Nicholas Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Burns, Simon Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Burt, Alistair Jones, Robert B (Herts W)
Butler, Chris Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Butterfill, John Key, Robert
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Carrington, Matthew Kirkhope, Timothy
Carttiss, Michael Knapman, Roger
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Chope, Christopher Knowles, Michael
Churchill, Mr Knox, David
Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n) Lang, Ian
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Latham, Michael
Colvin, Michael Lawrence, Ivan
Conway, Derek Lee, John (Pendle)
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Lightbown, David
Couchman, James Lilley, Peter
cran, James Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Currie, Mrs Edwina Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g) Lyell, Sir Nicholas
Davis, David (Boothferry) Macfarlane, Sir Neil
Day, Stephen MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Dorrell, Stephen MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Maclean, David
Dover, Den McLoughlin, Patrick
Dunn, Bob McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael
Durant, Tony McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Dykes, Hugh Madel, David
Eggar, Tim Malins, Humfrey
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd) Mans, Keith
Evennett, David Maples, John
Fallon, Michael Marland, Paul
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Marlow, Tony
Fishburn, John Dudley Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Fookes, Dame Janet Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Forman, Nigel Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Maude, Hon Francis
Forth, Eric Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Fox, Sir Marcus Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Freeman, Roger Miller, Sir Hal
French, Douglas Mills, Iain
Gale, Roger Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Mitchell, Sir David Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Moate, Roger Shelton, Sir William
Monro, Sir Hector Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Morrison, Sir Charles Shersby, Michael
Moss, Malcolm Skeet, Sir Trevor
Moynihan, Hon Colin Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Neale, Gerrard Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
Nelson, Anthony Squire, Robin
Neubert, Michael Stanbrook, Ivor
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Nicholls, Patrick Steen, Anthony
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Stern, Michael
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Stevens, Lewis
Norris, Steve Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Page, Richard Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Patnick, Irvine Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Patten, John (Oxford W) Sumberg, David
Pawsey, James Summerson, Hugo
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Porter, David (Waveney) Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Portillo, Michael Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Price, Sir David Thurnham, Peter
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Trippier, David
Renton, Rt Hon Tim Twinn, Dr Ian
Riddick, Graham Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas Wheeler, John
Rost, Peter Widdecombe, Ann
Rowe, Andrew Wiggin, Jerry
Rumbold, Mrs Angela Wood, Timothy
Ryder, Richard
Sackville, Hon Tom Tellers for the Ayes:
Sayeed, Jonathan Mr. Sydney Chapman and
Shaw, David (Dover) Mr. Greg Knight.
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Abbott, Ms Diane Crowther, Stan
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Cryer, Bob
Allen, Graham Cummings, John
Alton, David Cunliffe, Lawrence
Anderson, Donald Cunningham, Dr John
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Dalyell, Tam
Armstrong, Hilary Darling, Alistair
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Ashton, Joe Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'I)
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich) Dewar, Donald
Barron, Kevin Dixon, Don
Battle, John Dobson, Frank
Beckett, Margaret Doran, Frank
Beggs, Roy Douglas, Dick
Beith, A. J. Dunnachie, Jimmy
Bell, Stuart Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Eadie, Alexander
Bermingham, Gerald Evans, John (St Helens N)
Bidwell, Sydney Fatchett, Derek
Blair, Tony Faulds, Andrew
Blunkett, David Fisher, Mark
Boyes, Roland Flannery, Martin
Bray, Dr Jeremy Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Foster, Derek
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Foulkes, George
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Fraser, John
Buckley, George J. Fyfe, Maria
Caborn, Richard Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Callaghan, Jim Golding, Mrs Llin
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Gordon, Mildred
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Gould, Bryan
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Canavan, Dennis Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Grocott, Bruce
Clay, Bob Harman, Ms Harriet
Clelland, David Henderson, Doug
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Hinchliffe, David
Cohen, Harry Home Robertson, John
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Hood, Jimmy
Corbett, Robin Howells, Geraint
Cousins, Jim Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)
Hoyle, Doug Pendry, Tom
Hughes, John (Coventry NE) Pike, Peter L.
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Hughes, Roy (Newport E) Prescott, John
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Quin, Ms Joyce
Ingram, Adam Radice, Giles
Janner, Greville Randall, Stuart
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside) Reid, Dr John
Jones, leuan (Ynys Môn) Robertson, George
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W) Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Lamond, James Ross, William (Londonderry E)
Leadbitter, Ted Rowlands, Ted
Lestor, Joan (Eccles) Sedgemore, Brian
Lewis, Terry Sheerman, Barry
Livingstone, Ken Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Livsey, Richard Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Lloyd, Tony (Stratford) Short, Clare
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Skinner, Dennis
McAllion, John Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
McAvoy, Thomas Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
McCrea, Rev William Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)
Macdonald, Calum A. Soley, Clive
McFall, John Spearing, Nigel
McKay, Allen (Barnsley West) Steinberg, Gerry
McLeish, Henry Stott, Roger
McNamara, Kevin Strang, Gavin
Madden, Max Straw, Jack
Mahon, Mrs Alice Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Marek, Dr John Taylor, Rt Hon J. D. (S'ford)
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Turner, Dennis
Maxton, John Vaz, Keith
Meacher, Michael Wall, Pat
Meale, Alan Wallace, James
Michael, Alun Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Wareing, Robert N.
Moonie, Dr Lewis Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)
Morgan, Rhodri Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Morley, Elliot Wigley, Dafydd
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe) Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Mowlam, Marjorie Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Mullin, Chris Winnick, David
Murphy, Paul Worthington, Tony
Nellist, Dave Wray, Jimmy
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Young, David (Bolton SE)
O'Brien, William
O'Neill, Martin Tellers for the Noes:
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Mr. Frank Haynes and
Paisley, Rev Ian Mr. Frank Cook.
Patchett, Terry

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That the draft Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act 1987 (Continuation) Order 1989, which was laid before this House on 7th November, in the last Session of Parliament, be approved.

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