HC Deb 18 July 1989 vol 157 cc231-79
Mr. Speaker

No fewer than 18 hon. Members wish to participate in this debate, so I appeal for short speeches. Before I call the Opposition Front Bench spokesman to move the motion, I must announce to the House that I have selected the amendment in the name of the Prime Minister.

4.5 pm

Mr. Jack Straw (Blackburn)

I beg to move, That this House condemns Her Majesty's Government for its education policies which have produced the worst teacher shortage crisis since the early seventies; and calls upon the Secretary of State to introduce an emergency programme of measures designed to halt the drain of teachers by improving their morale and rewarding them better, in order to guarantee that no child is without permanent properly qualified teaching this September. A popular, well-supported London secondary school loses eight heads of department this week. Three of those people—among the best paid in teaching—are taking jobs outside education, because the money and the conditions are better. One is to run a market stall with her husband.

At a south London primary school, the head and all the teaching staff but one have resigned. Only a deputy head has been recruited. In Tower Hamlets, 500 Bangladeshi children have no school. Barking and Dagenham are considering the closure of 16 nursery schools to release teachers for children of primary age who otherwise would be sent home. Islington has already warned that there may be part-time teaching in September. ILEA is short of 638 primary teachers and 100 nursery teachers.

This afternoon, in the House, the Prime Minister boasted that a bigger proportion of teachers to pupils exists today than hitherto. In many schools, the proportion of teachers to pupils is none, and there may be no teachers in those schools in September.

Nor are the problems remotely confined to Labour London, as Ministers no doubt would wish. According to a survey by The Times Educational Supplement last week, Conservative-controlled Essex has 260 primary and 330 secondary vacancies—an increase of 150 in the past year. In the Prime Minister's Barnet, the authority has had to launch a major recruitment campaign in Australia and Ireland advertising 25 vacancies in primary schools and 56 in secondary schools. Hampshire, Kent, Bromley, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Dorset and many other local authorities all report problems worse than last year.

Labour's own survey of 91 of the 104 local education authorities in England and Wales was among the most comprehensive yet. It showed that two thirds of local authorities faced serious concern about shortages—a figure compounded by the Daily Telegraph Gallup poll on 29 May, which reported that one third of teachers were trying to leave and the percentage among the best qualified teachers with the greatest experience—those with 20 years' experience or more—is 40 per cent.

The evidence of a more major teaching crisis than at any time since the early 1970s when the Prime Minister was Secretary of State for Education is overwhelming, and is undeniable to all except those who are responsible for the crisis—Ministers. Their response is simply to deny what everyone knows to exist.

The Secretary of State's deputy, the Minister of State, this morning accused me of scaremongering, and described teacher shortages as a myth. She told an incredulous audience at the annual conference of the National Association of Head Teachers: We really need to nail this myth that teaching has difficulty in securing recruits and in retaining them when it does secure them. In so far as the Minister thinks that there may be the odd local difficulty, or the odd blip, the fault lies with the local authorities. On 4 July she told the House of Commons: It is wrong to say that the responsibility for the planning and recruitment of teacher numbers lies with the Government; the local education authorities are the managers of the education service".—[Official Report, 4 July 1989; Vol. 156, c. 145.] She was ignoring her responsibility for the funding of the service and for the pay and morale of teachers.

The message from the Secretary of State may be more oleaginous, but it is essentially the same. In April, he told the Select Committee on Education: I am determined that the action we shall take will ensure that we have the teachers that we need, and I am confident that it will. But the confidence of Ministers is pure bluff.

Still less than they care do they know. Behind their claims is a black hole of ignorance and self-delusion. There is one basic piece of information needed to make a judgment on whether schools may be short of teachers in September and that is the number of teachers who have handed in their resignations to run from that date. Resignations to run from September have to be in by 31 May. Three weeks after that deadline, I asked the Secretary of State a simple question: how many teachers had submitted their resignation by 31 May? The answer was extraordinary. The Secretary of State said: The information is not available … The latest data are for the year ending March 1987."—[Official Report, 29 June 1989; Vol. 155, c. 536.] He then gave me the figures.

There are 2,565 staff in the Secretary of State's Department. There are 39 people in his press office. There are just 104 local education authorities. I suggested to the Secretary of State that he put just a few of those staff to the telephone. The Secretary of State obviously thinks that teacher shortages in other people's schools are a laughing matter. No wonder he wants to keep himself in ignorance.

Mr. James Pawsey (Rugby and Kenilworth)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it right for the hon. Gentleman to give us the stuff we are hearing this afternoon—[HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."]—when we have heard it all on the radio this morning? He did not have the courtesy to come to the House in the first place, but delivered his speech first on radio. [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. The whole House knows that I am not responsible for what is said in the Chamber, provided that it is in order.

Mr. Straw


Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman (Lancaster)

Does the hon. Gentleman not regret the fact that, since Labour came to office in Lancashire, the number of administrative staff in the education department at county hall has gone steadily up, whereas the number of teachers at the chalk face has gone steadily down?

Mr. Straw

Yes, I regret that. I regret that there have been so many impositions by central Government and so many circulars that Lancashire county council has had to increase the number of administrative staff. I also regret the fact that the Secretary of State has cut the capital building programme for Lancashire county council and that its rate support grant has been cut, so that the council has had no alternative but to cut the number of teachers.

The bluff and apparent ignorance of Ministers is now compounded by their surreptitious actions. They are afraid to admit to a crisis today, but they are desperate to avoid a worse one in September. Thus, the newspapers have been fed regularly with unattributable stories of ministerial action. On 7 July, The Times Educational Supplement wrote: Education Ministers have spent months seeking help from modern language experts to help tackle a growing teacher shortage which they publicly deny exists. On 3 July, The Independent reported: Baker may recruit teachers in Hong Kong. Scarcely a day passes without a report of another local authority having to send scavengers across Europe to Holland, Denmark or West Germany, on a near-fruitless hunt to entice their teachers to the United Kingdom to teach in an education service with the worst conditions and the worst pay in Europe. It will not be West Germany's best who come here, but West Germany's rejects.

Ministers have only themselves to blame for the crisis. They have been warned by local authorities, teachers' unions, parents and the Opposition, not least in the debate on teacher shortages on 2 May. What makes Ministers all the more culpable is that this crisis should never have happened. There is no absolute shortage of teachers in the United Kingdom. There are teachers everywhere except in our schools. For every teacher teaching, there is another, properly qualified, who is doing something else.

Why is there such famine among plenty, so great as to threaten the education of many children in September? Why do one in three new teachers fail to go into teaching the next year? Why do one in four of those who go into teaching leave within five years? The answer is simple: it is to do with morale and money. Without the high dedication of the teaching profession, the education system would have collapsed months ago, but Ministers trade on that dedication and disingenuously confuse it with morale. The Secretary of State told the Select Committee on Education, Science and Arts: I think, by definition, that someone who is dedicated has a high morale". The right hon. Gentleman knows that they are quite separate considerations, because his interim advisory committee and his inspectors have told him so. His specially appointed committee said: We continue to be impressed by teachers' commitment and high professional standards; but morale appears to have been as low as we judged it last year". In his report, the senior chief inspector of education has said that it is of great importance … that teachers are not used as convenient scapegoats for all society's problems. Too many teachers feel that their profession and its work are misjudged and seriously undervalued. No one has more sedulously fostered that misjudgment of teachers, that undervaluing of teachers, than Ministers. The early speeches in 1986 by the Secretary of State were full of sly attacks on the profession, such as his insinuation in August 1986 that teachers were contributing to a "yob society". A report in Today in August 1986 said: Education Secretary Kenneth Baker has attacked the poor quality of teaching in state schools … In some schools nearly one in three classes are taken by teachers who are not trained in the subject, he says. That proportion has got worse since then, not better, as the latest secondary schools staffing survey shows. It has got worse not least because of the cheap and easy denigration of the teaching profession—so easily rolled off the tongue to get a cheap cheer before any Conservative party audience.

Morale has been damaged, too, by the manner in which the needs of the maintained sector have been mocked by the meretricious policies of the Secretary of State. Private school fees, of up to £5,000 per child, are paid by the state under the assisted places scheme, whereas the Inner London education authority, like other local authorities, is rate-capped when it spends less than half that sum on its pupils.

The Department of Education and Science estimates that there is a £3 billion backlog of repairs in maintained schools. Her Majesty's inspectorate says that one quarter of children are educated in buildings whose condition is so bad that it affects their schooling, yet the cash on capital repairs in many counties has been cut. More public money £10 million—has been devoted to a single city technology college in Nottingham than to the capital repairs and improvements in all the 1,175 maintained schools in Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire and Bedfordshire put together.

There is a school down the road from my constituency, Crawshawbooth in the Rossendale valley, where one class has 45 children in it and another has 50. The Secretary of State knows about this, because I wrote to him after I visited that school in April. Its needs and the needs of hundreds of other such schools are ignored, while the budgets for assisted places and for CTCs are increased handsomely. In some areas, the Secretary of State has cynically and deliberately refused to agree to urgent repairs unless the school concerned becomes a city technology college.

That is the truth of what has happened to the Bacon's school in Southwark, where the Secretary of State and the CTC trust have effectively blackmailed the governors and the diocesan board into making the school a city technology college with the offer of £10 million of taxpayers' cash if it becomes a CTC, whereas the Secretary of State refused to agree to £2 million if it remained a maintained school.

The Secretary of State may tell us, as he usually does, how well endowed his schools now are. Perhaps he will explain why so many schools now have to raise funds, not for extras but for essentials.

Mr. Jeff Rooker (Birmingham, Perry Barr)

Before my hon. Friend moves on from the subject of CTCs, will he reflect on one of the visits that he made earlier in the year to the Sylvan high school in Croydon—in your constituency, Mr. Speaker—which has been wrecked by the local authority's proposals for a CTC? Teachers are leaving in droves, 97 per cent. of the parents have voted against and the Secretary of State still will not make a decision before the end of the school term. The parents will not know about the future of the school for the whole of the school holiday. What they do know is that there will not be the teachers to teach the children come September.

Mr. Straw

I confirm what my hon. Friend has said. In pursuit of a shoddy partisan policy, the Secretary of State has wilfully presided over the disintegration of what was a good school, backed by its parents.

The Secretary of State will tell us, as the Prime Minister tried to, that everything is lovely and that schools have resources like they never had before, but these days schools have to raise funds not for extras, but for essentials.

The headmistress of Balfour infant schools, Patters lane, Rochester in Kent, wrote recently to parents to seek support for an activities day. We read from her letter that the funds raised were not for extras. The money raised is to be used to purchase some large items of school equipment which we need to help us deliver the English and Science National Curriculum to the children. Flag days, sponsored activities, commercial advertising inside schools in Kent and charges for school lockers have had to fill the gaps—the gaping holes—left by the Government's neglect of the education service.

Let me warn the Secretary of State, if he needs warning, that the Education Reform Act 1988 contains 450 new powers of central state control, but powers mean duties on the Secretary of State and on the Government. The Government and the Law Officers had better beware that if there is an inadequate teaching force to deliver the national curriculum, Ministers, not local authorities, will face court action by parents for a breach of their ministerial duties and responsibilities to the children of this land.

Mr. Harry Greenway (Ealing, North)

What is the hon. Gentleman suggesting?

Mr. Straw

The hon. Gentleman might like to put that question to the Secretary of State and to ask whether he has already warned his colleagues of the possibility of legal action if there are no teachers in schools. My understanding is that he has.

Mr. Kenneth Hind (Lancashire, West)

The hon. Gentleman has answered my hon. friend the Member for Lancaster (Dame E. Kellet-Bowman) about Lancashire, where he and I both represent constituencies. This is an Oposition debate on teacher shortages. Conservative Members want to know what the hon. Member proposes to deal with the shortages. [Laughter.] Opposition Members laugh. They tell the public that they can do a better job than my right hon. Friend—

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

Mr. Speaker


Mr. Hind

Let them tell the people and Conservative Members what they would do about it.

Mr. Straw

I will tell the hon. Gentleman that when he has understood the extent of the damage done by the education policies for which he has voted.

Mr Harry Greenway

Answer the question.

Mr. Straw

I shall. The hon. Member for Lancashire, West (Mr. Hind) asks in whom people have confidence. He should bear in mind the results of the county council elections in Lancashire, where, especially in his constituency, the Conservative party got a pasting. On that result, he would not be in the House for a second longer.

Mr. Tony Baldry (Banbury)

The hon. Gentleman is in some difficulty with that line. The only thing we know about Labour party policy is what appeared in the policy review. The Times Educational Supplement described Labour policy as having a Conservative look. The truth of the matter is that every policy set out there is a mimic of policies introduced in the Education Reform Act 1988. A considerable amount of the froth that the hon. Gentleman is putting forward today is intended to disguise the fact that, in all the education initiatives of the past five or six years, the Conservative initiatives have set the pace.

Mr. Straw

The hon. Gentleman has not even read Labour's policy review or the response in The Times Educational Supplement, which was far more—

Mr. Baldry

I have it here.

Mr. Straw

No. The hon. Gentleman is looking at the wrong piece. He has been quoting from the news report; he should read the editorial that appeared the week we produced our document, which compared and contrasted our policies and those of the Government. One difference is that Labour Members' children attend state schools—[HON. MEMBERS: "So do ours."] I am talking not about the labourers but about the men and women in the Cabinet, all but one of whom have sent their children to private schools and who care little and know less about the condition of state schools.

In addition to the mocking of the education system by the Secretary of State, we have what the education editor of The Independent described yesterday as "system overload". There is one budget—[Interruption.]

Ms. Hilary Armstrong (Durham, North-West)

Oh, shut up.

Mr. Harry Greenway

You shut up.

Mr. Straw

There is one budget—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. Perhaps it would not be a bad idea if Back Benchers on both sides of the House did shut up.

Mr. Straw

There is one budget that has been subject to no constraint by the Secretary of State—the budget for his publicity, which has increased by 3,000 per cent. since 1980. Schools are knee-deep in glossy pamphlets and ring files all signifying the further half-baked hasty changes that they are expected to implement in too little time and with too little money. Local management of schools, the national curriculum, school governors, open admissions and opting out are just part of the burden; in London, considerable additional uncertainty has been created by the break-up of the Inner London education authority.

The Government's Interim Advisory Committee on School Teachers' Pay and Conditions said in its latest report that it believed pay to be a critical factor in morale, and in motivation. The committee was constrained before its work began by a pre-ordained cash limit on its recommendations, which led its members to doubt that the proposals that they could make within that straitjacket would secure the requisite degree of motivation among the generality of teachers at this crucial time. No doubt the Secretary of State will tell us that the crisis has been got up by his opponents—by the press. It has, indeed, been got up by the press—not just by The Guardian and The Independent but by the Sun and the Daily Mail. On Monday last, the Sun ran a so-called "special" on the crisis hitting our classrooms, with stories—far from untypical—of teachers who have doubled their salaries on leaving the profession. The Daily Mail said, rightly, that the pay rise that teachers were given earlier this year was less than the rate of inflation, and that, it said, "just isn't good enough". That view was expressed again in an editorial this morning.

Teachers' starting pay—especially for those in London and the south-east—is far from generous, but the gap grows after five and 10 years.

Mr. Pawsey

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Straw

No. I have given way enough.

The interim advisory committee pointed out last year that, after 10 years, the average good honours graduate teacher could expect a real-terms pay increase of only 56 per cent., whereas outside teaching the same person could expect a salary rise of twice that, or 110 per cent.

It will take some years following the departure of this Government before all the damage they have done to the education system can be repaired. "Children First", Labour's detailed policy document on education, spells out proposals for reforming teacher training, for providing new teachers with much greater support and in-service training, for a proper career structure for teaching assistants—

Mr. Pawsey

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Straw

I have given way enough.

We set out proposals for a general teachers' council.

Mr. Pawsey

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Straw


But a crisis requires crisis measures. First, the city technology colleges programme must be halted and the millions of pounds of public money—

Mr. Pawsey

Will the hon. Gentleman give way on this point—

Hon. Members

Sit down.

Mr. Straw

I have given way enough; I will not give way.

The city technology colleges programme must be halted and the millions of pounds of public money earmarked for CTCs must be directed to the immediate needs of state schools.

Secondly, an emergency programme to recruit and retain teachers must be introduced. That must mean an improved and nationally funded system of housing allowances for teachers in high-cost areas. It must also mean proper allowances for child care throughout the country to enable women—and some men—to go back to teaching when they have young children.

We need an interim pay increase across the country for all teachers, which I understand the Council of Local Educational Authorities is to consider tomorrow and for which Conservative-controlled Essex county council has already called. Thirdly, free collective bargaining should be restored as soon as possible.

Mr. Pawsey

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Straw

No, I will not. I am coming to the end of my speech.

Meanwhile, fourthly, there should be an absolute guarantee by the Secretary of State and the Treasury that no preconditions will be imposed—no cash limit—on the recommendations of the interim advisory committee.

Some of us know the anxiety caused to parents and children by the shortage of teachers, when parents cannot be told, just four days before term ends, who is to teach their child next term or even whether that child will have full-time schooling. The Secretary of State seeks to deny that there is a crisis. If there is no crisis, will the Secretary of State guarantee that, next term, no child will be without adequate, properly qualified, permanent teaching? There will be crisis enough in those children's lives if he cannot make that guarantee.

According to the newspapers, every Cabinet Minister is now looking to his future, but for this Secretary of State we should look to his past. The man who invented the poll tax and who suggested water privatisation is now hoping to clear off—cut and run—once again, to leave another Minister to sort out his mess, while Britain's children suffer from it.

Three years ago, in August 1986, just shortly after his appointment, the Secretary of State told Woman's Own magazine: of course, I can make it better—if I can't, I might as well throw in the towel and resign". It has not got better; it has got much worse. As one head teacher put it to me earlier this week, "It's far worse than when the strikes were on; there is now a real sense of hopelessness." Only for one group has it got better—the private schools. The Secretary of State has made himself the recruiting sergeant for the private schools. What makes his smug insufferable complacency all the worse is that he is ready to see the schooling of other people's children disrupted and put at risk in a way that he would never accept for his children.

In many schools, in many areas, the situation is now desperate. Britain's parents do not want to hear soft soap from the Secretary of State; they want action—an emergency programme of the kind that I have described. Britain's children deserve no less.

4.32 pm
The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Kenneth Baker)

I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: congratulates Her Majesty's Government for its coherent and energetic programme to tackle teacher shortages, notably licensed teachers and articled teachers; welcomes the increase in the number of initial teacher training places; notes the substantial improvement in teachers' pay in the lifetime of this Government which contrasts with the modest increase under the last Labour Government; and urges local education authorities to use the flexibility available to them to recruit and retain a sufficient and well-qualified number of teachers. This is yet another debate on the important matter of teacher supply. The House is now used to exchanges across the Dispatch Boxes between the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) and myself. I must say that I shall miss him when he is moved to other responsibilities on the Labour Front Bench. It is about time that the Labour Front Bench was reshuffled so that it could have an education spokesman with original and constructive ideas.

This is the second time in recent weeks that we have debated this matter. It is one that merits further debate and it also requires proper action. In our previous debate I set out the action that the Government were taking and which I propose to take. Obviously, Opposition Members have ears, but they hear not—they did not hear what I said on 2 May. Obviously, Opposition Members have eyes, but they see not—they did not read in Hansard what I said on 2 May. However, over the weekend I took the trouble to read the speech of the hon. Member for Blackburn in the 2 May debate. I spent 20 minutes reading it, and it was a completely wasted 20 minutes. The speech was negative. There were no new proposals in it, as there have been no real new proposals this afternoon.

Let me make it clear that teacher supply is a serious issue. We must get the teachers we need for our schools. We need good teachers, well qualified with the teaching skills to engage, excite and stimulate their pupils. I do not employ teachers.

Mr. Hind

Will my right hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Baker

If I could just get further launched into my speech, I shall be glad to give way to my hon. Friend, because he intervened in the speech of the hon. Member for Blackburn to make the point that that speech lacked originality and ideas.

Local education authorities and schools have responsibility for employing teachers. The Secretary of State's role is to ensure that sufficient numbers of qualified teachers come forward for recruitment by the LEAs and schools.

On 2 May 1 spelled out all the measures that the Government have taken in the past three or four years. They amount to a formidable list. If we had not taken the action that we took three years ago, the position would be infinitely worse today. For example, we have introduced bursaries. The hon. Member for Blackburn used to sneer about this, but he is not sneering now. The bursaries for maths, physics, chemistry and technology teachers have arrested the decline in applications for those posts. When I extended the bursaries to chemistry teachers earlier this year, the decline was arrested and applications to become chemistry teachers are up 13 per cent. compared with the same period last year. Of course, that is not sufficient and there will still be a shortage of chemistry teachers, but the bursaries have none the less arrested the decline.

In addition, I have increased the number of initial teacher training places by 2,000. I made that announcement only a fortnight or so ago. I have also announced an education support grant of £4 million over two years to make teacher recruitment packages attractive—

Mr. Rhodri Morgan (Cardiff, West)


Mr. Baker

I should like to get a little further into my speech, but I will give way to the hon. Gentleman in a moment. [Interruption.] Yes, I shall give way because I enjoy debate.

The question of teacher supply is vital. It is crucial. It is not helped by defeatism and talk of crisis. All that the hon. Member for Blackburn does is to seek to spread gloom and doom. He talks up the issue. If he is not careful he will turn a difficult situation into a crisis and I am sure that that is not what he wants. I do not believe for a moment that he objects to the various measures that I have announced or to the other measures that we have taken in the past three years. The hon. Gentleman owes the House a more effective way of putting forward his own ideas for dealing with the problem of teacher supply.

Ms. Harriet Harman (Peckham)


Mr. Baker

I will give way to the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. Morgan), who rose earlier.

Mr. Morgan

I am grateful to the Secretary of State for allowing me to comment on one of the claims that he has just made. He says that he has increased by 2,000 the number of teaching places available. If that is so, will he explain why, winging its way to University college, Cardiff today, as I understand it, is a letter rejecting its bid to be allowed to preserve initial teacher training there in spite of the fact that it is consistently over-subscribed and that this year it had to close its application list at Christmas because of the number of students wishing to join even though it had a death sentence hanging over it?

What guidance has the Secretary of State given to the Universities Funding Council about which institutions are to be given the 2,000 extra places? Can he explain how a place as popular as University college, Cardiff, which could make a major contribution to solving the teacher supply crisis, has been cut off and will be stone dead in a year's time?

Mr. Baker

I have increased the number of teacher training places by a net figure of 2,000. Within that 2,000 are some adjustments as regards teacher subjects. Some subjects are being expanded, such as those in the technology and science area, and others have to be reduced. I will check the exact figures and the position of University college, Cardiff, and perhaps return to that matter later.

Mr. Nigel Spearing (Newham, South)


Mr. Baker

Some courses are reduced, but overall there has been an increase of 2,000 teacher training places. We have to make adjustments because there is a surplus of teachers for some subjects and school courses and it would be absurd to continue to train people if there are surplus teachers in those subjects. We must be concerned about the areas in which there are shortages.

I shall now report to the House about where we stand today and give the overall position. I turn first to the pupil-teacher ratio, which the hon. Member for Blackburn mentioned and which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister also referred to at Question Time today when she scored yet another bull's-eye against the Leader of the Opposition. There are more teachers relative to pupils now than ever before. The overall pupil-teacher ratio is at its lowest ever, at 17:1. When we came into office—when the last Labour Government finished their period of office—the ratio was 19:1. This is having its effect on provision in schools. I remind the House that resources per pupil have increased in real terms by 37 per cent. since we took responsibility for education in 1979 when we came into office. That is good news and I am sure that hon. Members of all parties will welcome it.

Mr. Simon Hughes (Southwark and Bermondsey)


Mr. Baker

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me if I do not give way for a moment.

From the way in which the matter is presented by the hon. Member for Blackburn—and, I am sad to say, by some union leaders—one would think that nobody wanted to become a teacher. The plain fact is that about 27,000 people become teachers each year. That number of people find it a satisfying and rewarding profession.

Mr. Harry Greenway


Mr. Baker

I intend to give way as much as possible during my remarks.

Mr. Hind

My right hon. Friend will agree that what we have been offered by Opposition Members, in contrast to his own positive planning, are the banalities of a recruitment drive. Housing allowances are not a new idea. The concept of nursery allowances has been around for some time. As for no cash limits on teacher's pay, we have no idea how much the Opposition would spend or how they would target the money to produce recruits and better quality teachers.

Mr. Baker

That is true. The hon. Member for Blackburn has produced a vapid document containing his proposals for education policy, but he has not made the mistake of attempting to cost it because he knows that hidden in the document, along with various statements that have been made by his hon. Friends since it was published, are some extremely expensive commitments. Although the hon. Gentleman has not costed it, we are beginning to do so.

Mr. Straw


Mr. Baker

I was pointing out that 27,000 people entered the teaching profession each year.

Ms. Harman


Mr. Baker

I promise to give way to the hon. Lady later, perhaps when my remarks come closer to London.

There was a survey in The Financial Times last week of the attitudes of university and polytechnic students towards various professions. The most popular profession was the media, but after that came teaching, well before the law, medicine and financial services. So there is a great deal of interest and commitment among people wishing to go into teaching.

The figures for recruitment to initial teacher training courses were particularly good in 1988, with the recruitment of young people into initial teacher training up by 5 per cent. over the 1987 level. Nearly 20,200 students entered initial teacher training last year, 1,000 more than in 1987.

In the primary sector, the figures for recruitment to initial teacher training have been notably good. Nearly 11,400 students were recruited to primary courses last year. That was 9 per cent. above the target that we had set. I am glad to tell the House that this year applications by young people to go into initial teacher training this September and October are 11 per cent. up on last year. That represents 5,500 more. On the secondary side, applications are up by just over 1 per cent., and on the primary side, they are up by 15 per cent. That is good news which will be welcomed by hon. Members in all parts of the House.

Mr. Straw

As things are so good, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman to offer a guarantee to every parent that, come September, all children in Britain will have adequate and sufficient properly qualified teaching—yes or no?

Mr. Baker

My responsibility under education law is to ensure that there is a flow and good supply of well qualified teachers so that LEAs and governors can recruit and employ them. I am dischaging that responsibility under the legislation to ensure that the schools are staffed to supply the national curriculum. I have taken measures in respct of initial teacher training and in-service training to ensure that teacher training recruitment levels are higher than they have been for the last three years.

Ms. Harman


Mr. Baker

The hon. Member for Blackburn said on radio this morning, and repeated at the Dispatch Box, that there was no absolute shortage of teachers. That is the beginning of wisdom for him. It is only the beginning, and we live in hope.

Ms. Harman


Mr. Baker

I will give way to the hon. Lady in due course. At the moment I am dealing with the hon. Member for Blackburn, who was right to say that there was no shortage of teachers. Apart from making it attractive for young people to go into initial teacher training, we must also make it attractive for the many trained teachers—the 300,000 to 400,000 who have been trained as teachers, and particularly married women re-entrants—to return to the profession. In the last three years there has been a steady increase each year. This year, about 15,500 former teachers will be returning to teaching.

Mr. Straw


Mr. Baker

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me for not giving way to him again immediately. I must allow a few hon. Members other than himself to intervene. Indeed, I probably owe it to the hon. Member for Peckham (Ms. Harman) to allow her to intervene first.

Ms. Harman

Parents in Southwark will be shocked at the complacency with which the right hon. Gentleman appears to be treating the situation. Will he take this opportunity to guarantee to parents in Southwark that there will be sufficient teachers for all children intending to start school in September to have teachers in their classrooms, and that we shall not see next term what we have seen this term—junior school children being sent home for up to two days per week because there are not enough teachers? Will the right hon. Gentleman give that guarantee to parents in Southwark who are desperately concerned about this issue?

Mr. Baker

The hon. Lady should criticise ILEA for its complacency in inner London—[Interruption.]—and I will explain why. ILEA has responsibility for the recruitment of teachers in Southwark, as in other parts of inner London. Only in the last three months has ILEA produced a teacher recruitment package. ILEA has been in existence for 25 years. Only now has it produced a package covering, for example, creches—to which the hon. Member for Blackburn referred—and making it easier for married women to return to teaching with better training.

It makes it easier for them by giving them greater credit for the number of years they have been away looking after their families.

ILEA has got around to doing that only in the last three months, and as a result I have some good news for the hon. Member for Peckham about teacher shortages in London. I have been chided in the past by the hon. Member for Blackburn about vacancies and particularly about resignations. He has always claimed that the vacancy figures for teachers, which are published each January, do not give the latest position because the resignations relate to the end of May.

The figures that we produce each January show that the number of' vacancies in January this year in the primary sector for the country as a whole were just over 3,100 vacant posts nationwide. That is out of a total of 171,000 primary teachers, which means that the vacancy rate is under 2 per cent. It varies enormously. Even in London there were authorities with low numbers of vacant primary posts—for example, Bromley, Harrow, Kingston, Richmond and Sutton—whereas in London as a whole there were vacancies for 1,300 out of 24,600 teachers, and the problem is more grave in the east end of London.

In the secondary sector—I am dealing with January; I will come to May shortly—the number of vacancies rose by 400 between 1988 and 1989 to 2,400, but that is out of a total of 192,000 posts, the vacancies representing 1.3 per cent. of total teaching posts. That is not an alarming proportion. Again, the problems were far greater in London than elsewhere.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Blackburn runs its affairs so badly that DHSS recipients and the unemployed come crowding into Morecambe, crowding out the schools there, so that my right hon. Friend's constituents and mine are deprived of the chance of going to the schools that their parents attended?

Mr. Baker

There is further evidence why Blackburn is so bad.

I wish to deal with the question of vacancies, because the hon. Member for Blackburn has attacked me about vacancies and resignations, remembering that resignations come later in the year. Vacancies were not at alarming proportions in January, as I have pointed out. What has happened since?

The hon. Member for Blackburn made great play of the resignations position, and quoted from a reply that I gave showing that the Department's figures for resignations are two years out of date. That is correct, because the figures are provided by LEAs late in the day. The hon. Gentleman wrote asking if I would ask my officials to telephone the LEAs to discover the resignation position. Ever willing to be helpful to Jack, I asked my officials to telephone several LEAs, particularly in London. They found that several authorities were unable to say what the position on resignations was. They had not collated the figures but said that they would send the figures to us.

Ms. Harman

Tory authorities.

Mr. Baker

No, some were Labour authorities. The position was largely as expected in the other LEAs. In some the position was no worse than last year and in others it was worse. The picture was patchy.

We had figures from eight out of the 10 ILEA divisions. Last year there were 1,908 resignations and at the end of May this year there were 1,439. That was a reduction of nearly a quarter. A figure of about 1,400 resignations is unacceptably high, but I say to the hon. Member for Peckham that it is up to ILEA to put forward its package. The package that it has now put forward is beginning to attract more teachers to ILEA appointments.

Mr. Simon Hughes

A few moments ago the Secretary of State said that he accepted his responsibility under statute to ensure a good supply of teachers throughout his term of office. He has been in office for three years and the Government have been in office for 10 years. On his own admission, at the beginning of this year there were 5,400 vacancies. How is it that the Secretary of State has not been able to carry out his responsibilities?

Mr. Baker

In a teaching force of some 404,000, to have about 5,500 vacancies on any particular day is not a problem out of all proportion. A proportion of vacancies of about 1.3 per cent. in any large administration is a containable problem. We have put in hand a range of proposals which are attracting a record number of young people into the profession.

Mr. Harry Greenway

Will my right hon. Friend put on the record—this should be borne in mind, considering what the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) said—that whatever teachers could earn outside teaching, they are now better paid in real terms than ever and much better than when the Government came to office 10 years ago? Will he also correct the hon. Gentleman's persistent claim that the Government have cut spending on education as a percentage of GNP, when in reality it has risen from I I per cent. to 12 per cent.? It is about time that the hon. Gentleman learned the truth.

Mr. Baker

The figures on teachers' pay speak for themselves. Since we have been in office teachers' real pay has increased by about 30 per cent. When Labour was in office it increased by 6 per cent. The Labour party cannot possibly claim to be the friend of teachers.

The position in Tower Hamlets has been mentioned by the hon. Member for Blackburn and in many newspapers. I recognise that there is a problem and I want to do what I can to help. Recently I met a delegation fron ILEA led by the right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore), and my hon. Friend the Minister of State has held discussions with the London boroughs. I understand that 200 or 300 children are out of school because of a lack of teachers. Some dozen to 15 teachers are needed to teach 300 pupils. That is alongside the Tower Hamlets teaching force of about 1,500. The problem is not incapable of solution. ILEA can take measures to make good the deficit. It should have been taking such measures for some time, but it has been slow off the mark.

This is not a question of money. ILEA has the funds to pay for extra allowances for teachers and to put together attractive financial packages to attract more people to London. I am told that, according to the latest figures, ILEA is not likely to spend its entire budget this year. It is not short of funds.

Mr. Straw

ILEA will cease to exist from 1 April 1990. Does the Secretary of State offer the same guarantee to all the successor London borough authorities, that they will not be short of money?

Mr. Baker

The hon. Gentleman will have to wait for the rate support grant settlement, particularly for inner London.

In our talks with the new London borough education authorities, which are predominantly Labour-controlled, we have been impressed by their dynamic approach towards planning for education and teacher shortages. They have already developed their own schemes, which include attractive packages for teachers. Help with housing is particularly attractive. In the past, ILEA was distainful towards the London boroughs and was not prepared to talk to them about council housing and other such assistance for staff. Now the individual boroughs are putting together teacher recruitment packages involving council estates and housing support. That will be helpful.

The right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney is not in his place. I do not criticise him for that, because he takes a great interest in this. I wish to assure Tower Hamlets that I want to do what I can to help. The TASC unit in my Department deals with the promotion of teaching as a career and meets with ILEA to find solutions. Although it is late in the day, there is still time to tackle the problems of inner London. I shall do what I can to help. The Department will be willing, in partnership with Tower Hamlets or any other east end London boroughs, to support teacher recruitment campaigns and to advertise the new packages that have been devised.

Another measure will be of help to teachers in London. The hon. Member for Blackburn has been disdainful and attacked the introduction of licensed teachers in September. That scheme aims to attract people from other careers to come into teaching. I hope that the original criticism of that scheme by the hon. Gentleman and by the unions has now abated. It has been widely accepted not only by Conservative but by Labour authorities as a way of attracting more people into teaching. It means that people who have experience of higher education can be trained on the job. In addition, the articled teachers scheme will be introduced next year. I wish that the hon. Gentleman would welcome those schemes.

In recent years about 1,000 teachers from overseas have come each year to take up posts in our schools, throughout the country but principally in London. Their skills and expertise are welcome. In September, we shall be the first country in Europe to implement an EC directive requiring member states to recognise each other's teaching qualifications. Teachers from overseas will be able to gain qualified teacher status here on application. Some authorities have already begun to recruit in other EC countries. I was surprised at the hon. Gentleman's attitude to recruitment in Europe. He talked about sending "scavengers across Europe" and made an unwarranted attack on German teachers. A month ago the Labour party posed as the European party, yet it attacks the quality of teaching in our partner countries. Its first test in moving closer to 1992 has resulted in a disgraceful, shallow attack.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)


Mr. Baker

I ask the hon. Gentleman to forgive me, but I have given way many times.

From September we shall accept overseas qualifications of teachers from the Common Market and they will be given qualified teacher status.

We have some overseas trained teachers from outside the EC. It is a characteristic of many Australian and New Zealand teachers that they come to teach in inner London. They complain that although they are qualified back home, they are not qualified here. There have been protracted debates about qualified teacher status for them and I have considered how we can improve their position. Our proposal for the new scheme was originally that, provided they were qualified, licensed teachers would receive qualified teacher status if they underwent training for a year. In the light of our responses to the draft proposals I am happy to announce today that I plan to go further and allow LEAs and schools exceptionally to recommend experienced overseas trained teachers to become qualified in this country after only one term. That will be especially attractive to young Australian and New Zealand teachers.

I welcome this opportunity to outline once again the actions that I am taking to tackle the problem of teacher shortages. I hope that the House recognises that there has been a substantial increase in the numbers of young people going into teacher training. No profession receives as much in-service training as the teaching profession—about £300 million per year.

The hon. Member for Blackburn suggested that the Government had not put forward new ideas, whereas in fact during the past two or three years we have put forward a whole range of proposals. It is the hon. Gentleman who has failed to put forward any new ideas, and he has certainly given us none today. He merely asked for an interim pay award, but even that was not his idea—it was suggested by the National Union of Teachers. Like the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery), the hon. Member for Blackburn has become a spokesman for the NUT. By the hon. Gentleman's own definition, an interim pay award would not help the problem of teacher shortages. Any analysis of the problem clearly shows that it varies from one part of the country to another.

The hon. Gentleman did not quote the article in The Times Educational Supplement which said that there were no teacher shortages in areas such as North Yorkshire, Hereford and Worcester, the city of Liverpool and Walsall, which in particular has no shortage of maths teachers. We all recognise that there are shortages in the home counties and in London, but the hon. Gentleman did not put forward any ideas to deal with that.

The hon. Gentleman's response to our proposals has been simply to attack them. He attacked the plans for licensed teachers and articled teachers and wanted us to abandon them.

Mr. Derek Fatchett (Leeds, Central)


Mr. Baker

I am glad that the hon. Member for Blackburn has, at last, accepted the idea of licensed teachers—[Interruption.] His silence, I hope, conveys consent. As least the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett) supports our proposals.

Over the years, the hon. Member for Blackburn has adopted a policy of plagiarism of Government policies. He has followed a policy of destruction. Does he believe that that will improve the morale of the teaching profession? What are his proposals to improve the morale of the teaching profession, which he claims so concerns him? He wants to abolish the remaining grammar schools, grant-maintained schools and city technology colleges and to weaken the national curriculum. How will that improve teachers' morale? The hon. Gentleman has come up with a series of gimmicks—that is his stock in trade—the purpose of which is the exploitation of anxiety. Only the Government's proposals can deal with the problem.

5.2 pm

Mr. Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

Having listened to the Secretary of State many times, I know that the outstanding quality that he brings to our debates is his belief that no matter what is wrong, nothing is wrong. He speaks as though everything is wonderful in the best of all worlds. He pretends to have a grip of his subject and says that everything is all right. In fact, a large section of the press—not just the National Union of Teachers or the Opposition Front Bench—profoundly disagrees with him. Today's editorial in The Guardian said: Our crippling, intensifying teacher shortage takes centre stage in the Commons today. The right hon. Gentleman claims that there is no such shortage, yet he failed to answer the question of what will happen in September. He has given no guarantee that sufficient teachers will stand in front of the classes. The Guardian continued: These problems are exacerbated by the increased competition from industry for graduates, the erosion of teachers' pay compared to other graduates, and the manifest decline in the morale of the profession. The Minister of State is on record as saying that there is no low morale. Only a fortnight ago the Secretary of State, under questioning, also said that. Surely he is aware that, with one exception, every group that appeared before the Select Committee referred to the reasons for low morale in the profession and treated it as a fundamental problem. Only the group from the Department of Education and Science said that there is no low morale. The DES leading figure said that he had not noticed any low morale, and that view was endorsed by the Secretary of State.

Although endless warnings have been given to the Government, they have taken not the slightest notice. They are whistling in the dark and trying to bolster their courage by pretending that there is no problem. At the behest of the Opposition, the Select Committee decided to carry out research into the reason for teacher shortages. We had hoped to publish the report by the end of the Session but, unfortunately, that is not possible. Certain people do not want the report published that quickly. The Opposition want it published because it will confirm the serious problem of teacher shortages. Every member of the Select Committee is well aware of the problem.

Every time that the Secretary of State or his Ministers say that nothing is wrong, they get a great clap on the back from their young Turks—many of whom will be missing after the next election—because they are grovellers. Indeed, I see that three of them are sitting behind the Minister today. They never say a critical word to the Secretary of State, so nobody takes any notice of them anyway. All they do is grovel.

Many questions must be answered. Who created the teacher shortage? It is the fault of the Government, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of State before him. For years they have been launching vicious attacks on the teaching profession. They have demeaned it and said that all sorts of things are wrong with it. The many quotes over the years are on the record. The Secretary of State refuses to admit that anything is wrong and that morale is low. Is he not aware that morale is low because he has demeaned the profession? Students, some of whom may want to become teachers, read in the press of his constant demeaning of the profession. Does the right hon. Gentleman think that, following such attacks, those students will want to enter the profession?

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Flannery

The Secretary of State gave way many times, and on two occasions to the same person. The hon. Member for Lancaster (Dame E. Kellett-Bowman) has fled the Chamber now that she has intervened twice. There is only a short time available and many hon. Members wish to speak—[Interruption.] Where has the hon. Lady gone? I do not know. She seems able to intervene on the Secretary of State, but I am not so successful.

All the interested organisations agree that there is a crisis. We visited Warwick university, whose education department said that there was a major and developing crisis—a view endorsed by the university's students. The education department of Manchester polytechnic, all the teachers' unions—even the Professional Association of Teachers, which is tame enough—said that. The general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said that the problem of teacher shortages was a developing catastrophe. He was pulled up for saying such a naughty thing, but he repeated it anyway. Such statements from all the leading organisations make it clear that there will be a serious problem of teacher shortage next September.

In the primary sector, any number of teachers who have taught for many years are miserable and terrified by the number of documents and the bureaucracy. Under the new Education Reform Act 1988, which is an educational disaster for this country, our teachers are being made to teach subjects which they have not taught for a long time. They receive glossy documents from their local education authority which is made to send them out by the Secretary of State, who takes the authorities to task for not taking certain action. However, he knows that the Government have rate-capped the local authorities so that they do not have enough money to carry out the work.

The teaching profession is grossly overworked, under-paid and undervalued. The attack which is being launched against teachers to ensure that they are not paid properly and to deny them negotiating rights stems from the top of the Government. Meanwhile, the Baker city technology colleges, which were to be paid for privately, are not being funded in that way: 80 per cent. of the money for them comes from the public purse.

Mr. Bruce Grocott (The Wrekin)

Is my hon. Friend aware that Ministers are totally out of touch with their own Conservative councillors? When a quite stunning and outrageous proposal for a city technology college in Telford was recently made, to the amazement of everyone in the town who knew nothing about it, the reaction of the all-party county council was reported in the Shropshire Star. The report stated: County Councillors of all political colours today united to denounce the way plans for a city technology college at Telford were sprung on the county. An all-party resolution was passed, stating: no decision be made before the potential serious implications for education in Shropshire have been fully considered. Does my hon. Friend agree that, even if the Government do not agree with us, it is time they started to listen to their own councillors?

Mr. Flannery

I agree with my hon. Friend. There has been an all-round attack on comprehensive schools, which have brought more and better results in education than ever before in the history of this country. The Government hate that fact and have introduced the technology colleges which siphon off money from the state system and channel it to selected pupils. As was mentioned, the assisted places scheme takes about £70 million a year, and that amount is rising massively. That money is being taken from the state sector. The Government intend to build up the private sector which their children use and take money from our children. They are good at doing that.

As has been said, the Secretary of State has about 400 new powers which he uses as a diktat and lays down to the profession. Members of the teaching profession act as any reasonable professionals would after years of sustained attack, by voting with their feet and leaving the profession. The Secretary of State will find not teachers in Australia or Barbados, but from among the 400,000 teachers in the so-called pool of inactive teachers, which he has created in the profession.

It is utter nonsense for the Government to say that the teacher-pupil relationship is wonderful. No one believes that for a moment. The Government could make the position worse by sacking more teachers, but instead they tyrannise and demean them. The Education Reform Act is being severely questioned because of the lack of teachers, which is not admitted.

When a problem exists, the high road to its resolution is the recognition that it exists. The Government and the Secretary of State act as if there is no problem. If they do not act to set it right, they will have the educational state system round their necks. They will be on the fringes of a grave problem with which we shall be grappling long after the Secretary of State and the Government have gone. The Secretary of State should be sacked for what he has done to state education; and when he goes, he should take the Government with him.

5.14 pm
Mr. Andrew MacKay (Berkshire, East)

That was a sadly confused speech. If the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery) believes that teachers are grossly underpaid now, what position were they in when the Labour Government, of which he was a prominent and senior Back Bencher, were in power? Teachers' pay increased in real terms by only 6 per cent. under the last Labour Government. We are all well aware that it has increased by nearly 30 per cent. in real terms this time round. That is an indictment of the bad economic policy of the Government which he continually supported when he went through the Lobby night after night.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett (Pembroke)


Mr. MacKay

I shall not give way because one matter on which I agree with the hon. Member for Hillsborough, is that many people want to speak. We have had many interventions and I wish to get on with my speech so that as many Members as possible may make contributions.

This has been a disappointing debate, mainly because of the silly motion in the name of the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) and others. It has not answered any of the questions and is grossly overstated. The hon. Member for Blackburn has missed a good oportunity this afternoon to get to the heart of the problem which is worrying many of his constituents: teacher shortages and potential teacher shortages in areas in which house prices are very high.

I fundamentally disagree with Opposition Members who say that teachers' pay is low in this country, per se. That is not so; teachers' pay is fair and reasonable in most parts of the country. It is low where it is quite impossible for teachers to purchase a house. It is a regional problem. I shall illustrate the problems which we have in Thames valley, where a small, modest, family house fetches more than £100,000 and a single, one-bedroomed flat fetches between £75,000 and £80,000. One clearly needs to be on a high salary, and to have saved a considerable sum, to be able to purchase such a property and service the mortgage on it. There is no incentive for any man or woman in the teaching profession to move from other regions of the country to the south-east because they cannot afford to buy a house there.

The problem is exactly the same for nurses, postmen, medical secretaries and ancillary workers. Teachers and nurses receive the same job satisfaction no matter which school they teach in or hospital they nurse in. Therefore, if they have a choice of teaching or nursing in the north of England where, on their salary, they can own a home and also afford a holiday and one or two other luxuries, they will do that. With the high cost of housing in the south-east, they can ill afford a house or flat in the first place and, certainly, can ill afford any luxuries such as holidays. The problem is particularly bad in primary schools in my constituency. In the primary schools in my constituency which I regularly visit, I find no male teachers. The schools are almost entirely staffed by ex-housewives returning to work after their children have grown up. Their husbands are on a considerable salary so their joint salary enables the couple to take out a mortgage to buy a house.

I pay tribute to those ladies, who are excellent teachers, but I think that the House would agree that it would be much healthier for a school to have both male and female teachers in its common room and a good mix of ages as well as sexes. That would be in the schools' interests, but we should be concerned about a shortage of male teachers particularly in primary, but also in secondary, schools.

There are many multinational companies in my constituency and many companies that have units, offices and plants throughout the country. A director, salesman or secretary is paid differently in the Thames valley than in Carrickfergus or Hartlepool because of the different level of house prices. We have to grasp this problem and solve it, but how do we do that? I was interested to hear the suggestion—repeated by the hon. Member for Blackburn, so it appears now to be Labour party policy—that if we ever had the misfortune to have a Labour Government again, they would introduce a nationally funded housing allowance for teachers. If housing allowance means supplying teachers with rented accommodation or council housing, that would be unsatisfactory because teachers, like nurses and everybody else, have a considerable desire to be part of the property-owning democracy. We shall not attract teachers to the south-east if they own a house in the north and are offered only a council house in the south.

Mr. Andrew Smith (Oxford, East)

He did not say that.

Mr. MacKay

If the hon. Member for Oxford, East (Mr. Smith) is assuring us, as a Front Bench spokesman, that the hon. Member for Blackburn did not say that, we must assume that this nationally funded housing allowance will be a mortgage subsidy to help to pay for the cost of the house.

This is an interesting policy. I represent a relatively prosperous constituency in the south-east, and I would not sleep easy if I knew that the constituents of the hon. Members for Hartlepool (Mr. Leadbitter) and for Antrim, East (Mr. Beggs) were subsidising, through their taxes, education in my constituency. This is the one difficulty about regional pay in the public sector. Is it right and proper, where there is a need for higher salaries and mortgage subsidies in the public sector in the more prosperous areas, for these to be paid out of national taxation? If so, it means that people in the poorer parts of the country on lower salaries will fund my prosperous constituents. I hope that Labour Members would also not sleep easy if they thought that that way forward was to be taken.

Another way forward is to say that people should pay higher rates or a higher community charge in these areas. This has slightly more appeal. In areas with high house prices, it is reasonable to pay a higher rate or community charge so that teachers, nurses, postmen and other such people can get higher rates of pay. If we do not do that, we shall have second-rate schools in the south-east, compared with the regions. We already have inferior hospitals because wards are being closed and expensive equipment is not being used because we cannot get the nurses in the south-east for the same reason—they find it more agreeable to be nurses in hospitals in the regions, where they can buy their own homes.

Another way is better still—to ensure that there is not this great divide in house prices between the south-east and the rest of the country. I have been gratified, since I spoke on this subject some 18 months ago, to see the difference reduced, although it has gone nowhere near far enough. You will be aware, Madam Deputy Speaker, that in Sandwell in West Bromwich, one can still buy a house much more cheaply than in Bracknell, Ascot or Sunningdale. However, the move is in the right direction. While I feel deeply for those of my constituents who bought their houses when prices were at the top, before they started to fall, and who now have to service a high mortgage, I know that others of my constituents are breathing a sigh of relief because at last there is a possibility that their children will be able to own their own homes. Therefore, I welcome the fact that in my constituency prices have fallen by 20 per cent. in the past six months. That is one of the best pieces of news that we have had for a long time.

However, more private sector firms must be persuaded to move out of the south-east and into the regions, where houses are less expensive, there is a plentiful supply of labour, more skills in the labour force and cheaper office and factory spaces.

I was laughed at by my hon. Friends when, two and a half years ago, I said that in my constituency I was encouraging companies to get out. There were gasps about that, but I wanted it because our economy is overheated, we have negative unemployment, skill shortages, congestion on the roads, problems in the hospitals and the potential problems in the schools that I have just mentioned. For these companies to be at their most prosperous and efficient, they should not necessarily be operating out of the south-east, because there their unit labour costs are high and they are not competing properly in the world markets. I am delighted to say that a number of them—British Aerospace, Racal, Ferranti, BMW and others—are moving out of the constituency.

Far from unemployment being created as a result of this move, plenty of people are waiting to offer jobs to those who are made redundant. If there were a better balance between private sector industries in the north and south, house prices in the south-east would come more into line with those in the rest of the country. There would then be less of a problem with regional pay differences in the public sector.

This is a problem that my hon. Friend the Minister and her colleagues in the Departments of Health, Social Security and Trade and Industry will have to tackle. There are no easy solutions in the way suggested by the hon. Member for Blackburn. It is offensive to put the burden of increasing regional pay on those in the worst-off regions, so that they have to subsidise the pay increases of people in the best-off regions. I am loth to go down the road that I half suggested, of an increase in the community charge, but there must be some acknowledgement that it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract teachers to our part of the world. If that is not acknowledged and dealt with, I fear that the children of my constituents will get a worse education than the equivalent children in Wales, the midlands, the north, Northern Ireland. Scotland and elsewhere. As a Member representing the Thames valley, I could not stand by and let that happen.

5.28 pm
Mr. Simon Hughes (Southwark and Bermondsey)

If one had had no other evidence, listening to the Secretary of State, one would have been persuaded that there was no problem. He said that the problem was not alarming, but was "containable". He was extraordinarily selective about statistics. The pupil-teacher ratio has come down, that is true, but is it acceptable that it should go up if teachers are deployed elsewhere? He said that 27,000 teachers had entered the profession, but was silent about how many had left. He gave no estimate of the shortage of vacancies now, despite having promised them, although at last he gave us the figures of vacancies in January—5,400. With the pupil-teacher ratio of 17:1, that means that 100,000 pupils had no teacher last January. It is probable that today the numbers are more.

Mr. Kenneth Baker


Mr. Hughes

That is not rubbish. It is true that these figures relate to ILEA, which is one of the worst authorities, but the probability is that in September, not on resignations but on vacancies, 7,000 children will not be taught. If that is not a crisis, and if after three years in office the Secretary of State is not willing to admit that it is, we have indeed heard a complacent speech.

So complacent is the Secretary of State that The Independent was driven to put the education editor's viewpoint column on the front page yesterday. He said: Morale among teachers is so low that, according to one opinion poll, one in three is considering leaving the profession. Dealing with a point made by the Secretary of State and the hon. Member for Berkshire, East (Mr. MacKay), he said: Teachers' pay, which has fallen far behind comparable professional groups during the past 14 years and has clearly not risen in line with market demands, is the key to the problem. Pay has gone up, but pay in the private sector has gone up much more. The reality is that people who might return to teaching or stay in teaching do not do so because they can do far better for themselves and for their families elsewhere.

Perhaps the most commonly held view of all, repeated in the article, is: Mr. Baker's handling of teacher supply is not an aberration. It is symptomatic of his wider approach. Mr. Baker is strong on conception, weak on execution. He has a good eye for short-term publicity advantage, a poor one for underlying problems. It says something about the working of the Department of Education and Science that the first time that it thought about discovering the up-to-date position was in May 1989. It was not until there were abundant signs of a crisis, not just in inner-city Labour-controlled authorities but in Tory-controlled authorities as well, that it bothered to ring round to find out just how severe the problem is.

We have heard many statistics and I do not propose to adduce many more, but the reality is that many primary and secondary schools lose teachers not just to jobs outside teaching but to higher-paid jobs in other authorities. Some authorities are desperately pinching teachers, leaving others short of people at the last minute when they cannot recruit replacements.

Mr. David Evennett (Erith and Crayford)

I and my hon. Friends have listened with great interest to the picture that the hon. Gentleman has painted with the help of The Independent, but how would he deal with the problem that he has outlined?

Mr. Hughes

I shall deal with that, but first I should say that, if the Government have no ideas, they should not be the Government. The only new idea from the Secretary of State today, which I welcome and which the Minister of State will confirm that I was speaking with her about only this morning, was in relation to teachers from Australia and New Zealand and qualified teacher status. That was the only new idea, other than saying that the Department would help local authorities to recruit teachers. If it has not been doing that for the past 10 years, there is something wrong with it.

The consequences of the problem are practical, severe and immediate. The hon. Member for Peckham (Ms. Harman) intervened earlier. Many parents in boroughs such as ours in Southwark view with great alarm the prospect of what will happen to them and their children when the new term begins.

Those parents know that existing staff will come under additional pressure as they have to take on additional responsibilities. Some of them may receive a merit award, but many of them will not. Putting more stress on the teachers who are there, many of whom already cover to prevent classes from being sent home, means that they have the problems of looking after the classes of other teachers at the same time as the Secretary of State is requiring them to take on further responsibilities under the national curriculum by way of assessment and so on. I predict today that the number of teacher vacancies in primary and secondary schools will be greater at the end of this year than it is now.

Many authorities are desperately turning to new graduates to fill empty places. Many schools are now believed to be taking a far greater number of teachers in their probationary year than before. That is short-sighted, because a new teaching recruit will not benefit from the good supervision that will make him or her a committed teacher, able to remain in the profession. As the Minister will know, I was critical of that issue last year. If probationary teachers do not remain in the profession, we lose the very people whom we should be encouraging to remain. They should be given the support that they need and the pressure on them should be reduced.

A war is being waged against supply teachers who have traditionally filled the gaps in the teacher service. If local authorities continue to pay supply teachers only for the hours that they work rather than by the day, their supply will dry up and matters will be far worse.

My hon. Friend the Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Livsey) wants to point out that in Wales—I realise that this is not wholly the Secretary of State's responsibility—the problem is predictably acute. The Labour party is not blameless. More than 1,000 supply teachers in West Glamorgan have had their salaries cut by 36 per cent. in the past year, a reduction of £5,000 per annum, from point 11 to point 4 on the scale, and that has given rise to protests. Of those supply teachers, 92 per cent. are women. The problem is compounded because not only are they on low pay but they are being discriminated against. I hope that the Labour party will not say that everything in their garden is rosy.

Many schools have relied on temporary staff and, over many years, many of those in London have come from Australia and New Zealand. They come here to gain overseas experience. The Minister will confirm that a New Zealand teacher who attended a debate upstairs confirmed that she was leaving teaching because the salary of £105 per week was not sufficient to support her. It is welcome news that such teachers will at last be paid more, but the Secretary of State should have thought of that many months ago.

Perhaps what is most resented by many teachers is the suggestion that they are now enjoying a number of special offers and attractions. In reality, most of them are not. It is all very well having new incentives by way of one-off payments or help with the house to catch new recruits or having incentives to bring back into teaching those who had left to do something else, but the biggest group of teachers are those who have stayed. They are the ones whom we need to hang on to, and many of them resent the special tricks to attract others. We need to spend money on upgrading the status and pay of all teachers in order to recruit and retain those whom we need in our schools.

Mr. Bob Dunn (Dartford)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Hughes

I shall, although the hon. Gentleman has only just come in.

Mr. Dunn

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. I apologise profusely for not listening to the start of the hon. Gentleman's speech, but he has made some interesting points. Is he, like me, in favour of regional pay and local bargaining? I represent a constituency in the south-east and I fully understand the difficulty of attracting and retaining staff there, a problem which does not exist to the same extent north of Birmingham.

Mr. Hughes

I am not in favour of regional pay, because if the teaching profession is to be properly structured, teachers should be adequately remunerated not only when they enter it but in mid-career. Until people in public service are valued and adequately remunerated, we shall continue losing them to the private sector, whether or not there is regional pay. If more money is paid to teachers in the south-east, their salaries would still be below those paid in the private sector. Of course it depends on the market, but, region by region, those working in the public sector are paid substantially less than those in the private sector. The fundamental problem will not begin to be addressed until those in the public sector—above all, teachers—receive an adequate basic remuneration.

Today, on what might be the Secretary of State's last opportunity to prove that he has any ideas of substance, he must have come to the House aware that the Select Committee's report, which we already know is exceedingly critical, is waiting in the wings. It argues for a substantial increase in funding, asserts that the teacher shortage is likely to have been underestimated, and acknowledges that teachers deserve salary increases and mid-career incentives. The evidence given to the Select Committee is known to the Secretary of State; it is irresponsible of him to deny its existence and not respond to it today. It places the education of many children at direct risk in September.

All that the Secretary of State does is meet with the unions.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett

No, he meets the unions.

Mr. Hughes

The right hon. Gentleman, as I heard him explain on the radio this morning, meets with the unions and puts off democratic negotiations being re-established for another year. Although the Secretary of State argues that only one union pressed for an interim settlement, it is not enough to say that there cannot be such an arrangement. There should be an interim settlement, and there could be. If the right hon. Gentleman carries sufficient authority with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he should be able to persuade his right hon. Friend to provide the necessary money.

It is crucial that, in areas of obvious and acute shortage, additional money should be made available in the form of special merit awards.

Mr. Bennett

The hon. Gentleman means regional pay.

Mr. Hughes

No, I do not. It may be that there are shortages in central Birmingham, as in central London, or in other areas of the north-west and north-east, but there may be no shortages in adjacent areas, as the Secretary of State's figures tend to confirm. He cited the example of Liverpool, which does not have a shortage, although nearby areas obviously do.

The teachers' tune is an old one, but they sing it every day. It is that, unless they are properly remunerated from the start of their careers to the end of them, many will not be able to afford to stay in the profession. Unless we reward properly those whom we charge with the responsibility for our children's education at the most important time of their lives, we shall be failing in our responsibility as a nation. That is the failure of the Government after 10 years, and the failure of the Secretary of State after three years in office. They have only now begun to wake up to the problem, but still do not believe that it is anything other than containable or that it is anything to be alarmed about. That response is nothing but a disgrace.

Several Hon. Members


Madam Deputy Speaker (Miss Betty Boothroyd)

Order. Unless right hon. and hon. Members make briefer speeches, many others will be very disappointed by 7 o'clock.

5.43 pm
Mr. Mark Wolfson (Sevenoaks)

I welcome the acceptance by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State early in his speech that teacher supply is a serious matter. Earlier this year, I did not receive a similar response from other Ministers, and I am glad that the position has changed. Teacher shortage is not a new problem but one that has existed for many years, especially in respect of science, mathematics, technology and, in recent years, modern languages. However, problems are there to be overcome—and Ministers as well as the Government collectively are charged with that responsibility.

In 1988, 1.5 per cent. of all primary posts and 1 per cent. of all secondary posts were unfilled. That was an improvement on 1987, but those figures for actual vacancies do not include hidden shortages, where subjects are taught by teachers who have inadequate qualifications or who work in a temporary or part-time capacity when the job should preferably be filled permanently by a teacher in a full-time post.

The latest available statistics are unsatisfactorily out of date. The figures that I obtained are for 1984, and suggest that 13 per cent. of mathematics and 18 per cent. of physics teaching posts were filled by teachers having no higher education qualifications in those subjects.

I now turn to the example of Kent, in which I obviously have a particular interest, and for which I have up-to-date figures. Kent education committee's trawl of vacancies at the end of June revealed that 150 primary posts and 250 secondary posts were unfilled. Interviews are continuing and appointments are still being made, but that state of affairs, which is similar to that of last year, is still serious. I do not call it a crisis, but it is serious.

Of those vacancies, 34 are in mathematics, 39 in science, and 27 in modern languages. Such figures might be expected because there are shortages nationally of teachers in those subjects. More disturbing is that there are also 38 vacancies in English and 29 in physical education, which many people think are not shortage areas.

The situation in Kent is not as bad as it is in Essex, and it is comparable to that of one year ago, but I emphasise that it is still serious. I hope that that point is fully appreciated. The situation in Kent bears exactly on the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Berkshire, East (Mr. MacKay). House prices and other factors that bear on the cost of living create particular problems in the south-east and London.

The number of candidates interviewed for unfilled posts is markedly down. Sometimes they number only one or two for each vacancy at all levels—from the most junior to headships. It may be argued that this demonstrates that there are good career prospects for teachers, but it also reveals that education authorities have a limited choice of candidates for any particular vacancy.

Kent has taken several steps. It provides a range of mortgage packages and is flexible on removal allowances. It also provides creche facilities. Those initiatives are constructive and helpful but, against an overall shortage in certain subjects, such benefits represent only a short-term attraction, as surrounding education authorities rapidly offer the same incentives. My hon. Friend the Member for Berkshire, East made the point that salaries outside the profession, in commerce and industry, have a direct bearing on the shortage.

The recruitment of licensed or articled teachers would help. It is beyond belief that this practical step to attract people from outside the profession was vehemently opposed by the Opposition and by the trade unions. I am delighted that a different view now appears to prevail,—a practical view and one that can benefit our children. Licensed and articled teachers are not, however, a panacea; they may deal with only 5 or 10 per cent. of the identified shortfall.

Improved pay is necessary, and, at the right time, the restoration of the pay negotiating machinery—to which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is committed—will be helpful. Above all, teachers need to regain the standing of their own profession, and to an extent that is in their own hands. I am not critical of most of the profession; I hold teachers in high regard, considering that they perform a difficult and enormously worthwhile job, often in trying circumstances. Nevertheless, they have done appalling damage to their standing through strike action.

Perhaps most important is the need to give education authorities the opportunity to arrange for regional pay to reflect the different costs of living in various parts of the country. That is what the private sector does, and I think that the public sector must, increasingly, do the same.

5.51 pm
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham)

I could weep over what is happening to the teaching profession. I was a member of that profession for more than 20 years, and I only wish that the Government realised what they are doing to it, and have been doing to it for the past 10 years. Morale is at its lowest ebb; teachers are disillusioned and dejected. No doubt they will feel even more depressed in the morning, when they read what has been said today by the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State and other Conservative Members.

Why are teachers in this state? They have been rubbished by the Government to such an extent that they feel they are no longer in a worthwhile profession. Their pay is extremely low compared with that of others in the private sector, and pay, of course, is an important aspect of anyone's life. Dedication is all very well, but teachers who are not paid enough to eat and live properly cannot be expected to exist on dedication.

Moreover, teachers' work load has increased considerably over the past few years, and—especially in view of the enforcement of the Education Reform Act 1988—is still increasing daily. They are, however, receiving no further remuneration or other help.

We constantly hear the claptrap uttered by the Secretary of State and his officials. They claim that morale is high and that the problems are being exaggerated, but they are the only people to do so. Whom have they been talking to? Do they ever go into schools and talk to the teachers? Whichever schools I visit and whichever teachers I consult, I always hear the same story of low morale, deep depression and extreme anger at what the Government are doing. The Secretary of State would have to be a contortionist to do some of the things that teachers have told me to tell him to do.

Teachers are indeed dedicated, but dedication must not be mistaken for high morale. Clearly the Secretary of State does not understand, or rather, he refuses to do so. More and more teachers are leaving the profession, and that bastion of Socialism The Daily Telegraph tells us that nearly a third of those in the profession want to get out. That, of course, makes the current shortage even more serious. Between 35 and 40 per cent. of those who begin training do not enter the profession, and it is entirely unacceptable that 20 to 25 per cent. of those working for a postgraduate certificate of education do not even begin teaching.

The introduction of the national curriculum, which has received few extra resources, has led to more shortages—which, incidentally, will jeopardise the Secretary of State's dream of its success. As well as the general teacher shortage, there are glaring specific shortages in subjects such as maths, science, foreign languages, English, business studies and information technology. There are also regional shortages, particularly in London. The lack of teachers has meant no education at all for some, and partial education for others.

The shortage is having a knock-on effect on the recruitment of educational psychologists, who must be recruited solely from the teaching profession. If the implementation of the Education Act 1981 is to continue successfully, and if the 1988 Act is to function to the benefit of those with special educational needs, we must attract suitably qualified teachers into the psychology service. Recruitment is already low, for exactly the same reasons as the low recruitment in the teaching profession—poor pay and an increased work load.

The Government do not wish to accept that there is a major problem, because they know that if they did they would have to provide increased resources. The Secretary of State is being deliberately complacent, claiming that the problems of low morale and shortages have been exaggerated. If he really believes that, he should quit, because he obviously cannot see beyond the nose on his face. But the Secretary of State is not daft: we all know that. He knows the position as well as anyone. If he admits the truth, he will have to spend more money—and we all know what the Prime Minister would think of that, and the likely effect on the right hon. Gentleman's future career.

As a member of the Select Committee on Education, which has been considering teacher shortages, I regret the recent leaks in the press. I hope, however, that certain Conservative Members will not use them as an excuse to ensure that a report is not published very soon. Such a report, giving the facts about the shortage, would be politically sensitive and damning to the Government, but if that excuse is used it will he a disgrace—and the country will know very well why it has happened.

If the Government deny that low morale and staff shortages are causing major problems in the education system, they are alone in doing so. Their views are being rejected, not only by the National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Head Masters/Union of Women Teachers, but by organisations that support them, such as the Secondary Heads Association, the National Union of Head Teachers and even the HMIs.

Virtually every local education authority is facing teacher shortages. The problem is getting worse. Why is that so? More pupils are entering schools but the number of graduates who are leaving universities and polytechnics is declining. [HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."] Oh, yes, they are. The market for graduates is highly competitive. We should be tempting them into the teaching profession, but their salaries are far too low and their salary increases are well below the rate of inflation. How, therefore, can we expect graduates to enter the teaching profession? It cannot hope to compete. We cannot wait until there is a Labour Government. Action must be taken now.

What action ought we to take? A national monitoring body should be established, consisting of Government representatives and also of representatives of local authorities, teachers' organisations, parents, business interests and the community. Its task would be to advise on teacher supply and demand and also on initial and in-service training, taking into account developments in education—for example, the national curriculum. Action must be taken now to tackle the immediate shortages. The only readily available supply of teachers is the pool of inactive teachers. They should be encouraged to return to the profession. Many of them left it because of family commitments.

Local education authorities should be asked to provide creche, nursery and extended day-care facilities. Up-to-date refresher courses ought to be provided. Flexible hours should be introduced, which might involve job sharing. The only difficulty is that local authorities have not been provided with the resources to introduce these facilities. That is a central Government responsibility. They must provide the resources.

Conservative Members have referred to the introduction of regional pay awards. We reject that suggestion. The introduction of regional pay differentials would only lead to the shortages being shifted around. The flexibility to deal with teacher shortages already exists. They can be overcome by means of incentive allowances.

Initial teacher training will continue to be the main route into teaching. The first priority is to make a career in teaching sufficiently attractive to recruit a large number of graduates. That must involve a significant increase in teachers' pay and improvements in their career prospects, perhaps by means of changes to the incentive allowance structure. However, the local education authorities have not been provided with the money to bring about those changes. Central Government must provide the resources.

New routes into the profession must be opened up. We must provide for mid-career changes. However, we reject the Secretary of State's proposal for licensed teachers.

That would lead to a dilution of the profession. I accept that more graduates could be recruited locally. Family ties and other responsibilities mean that they are unlikely to be able to uproot themselves for a year in order to go to university, having been provided with a grant.

However, their practical teaching experience could be gained in a local school, which could be combined with regular release to a local college for professional training. They could be paid an unqualified teacher's salary. Their professional training would lead to a qualification that was equivalent to the postgraduate certificate of education. Their in-school practical experience could be supervised by a teacher in the classroom who would be with them all the time. They would be in addition to, not an alternative to, the school's normal complement of teachers.

Teachers' negotiating rights must be re-established in line with the International Labour Organisation's conventions, if a start is to be made on improving morale in the teaching profession. Teaching as a profession must be made more attractive by ensuring that adequate resources and equipment are available and also by ensuring that there is an attractive, high-quality environment. Only the Government can provide the money to pay for it. While the Government refuse to analyse the scale of the problem, they cannot hope to tackle it. Anything they do is likely to be inadequate.

Unless the Government listen to what is said in the debate and take notice, teacher shortages will remain and will increase. Teaching morale will grow even worse and state education will deteriorate. I hope that the Secretary of State does not want that to happen, but sometimes I wonder. I hope that the Secretary of State for Education and Science is moved from education in the reshuffle and that he will be given the chairmanship of the Tory party, where he will do to the Tory party what he has done to education.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Order. Before I call the next speaker, it may be convenient if I were to say that the winding-up speeches will begin at 6.35. If hon. Members were to speak for 10 minutes each, I should be able to call three of them. If they spoke for less than 10 minutes, I might be able to call even more.

6.5 pm

Mr. James Pawsey (Rugby and Kenilworth)

I was disappointed by the speech of the hon. Member for City of Durham (Mr. Steinberg). It lacked his usual constructive and positive approach. He seemed to talk down an honourable profession and to overstate his case. However, I agreed with him that most teachers are dedicated. That is entirely right.

The arguments of the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) reminded me of a bra for a teenager—small, unformed and with very little point. The real reason for this second debate on teacher shortages is that the first time around the Opposition made no impact at all. They are now coming back for a second bite at the cherry, but I suspect that they will be no luckier than they were last time. Their choice of subject tells us more about their lack of imagination in choosing subjects for Supply days than anything else.

I found it particularly significant that the hon. Member for Blackburn refused to give way on the question of teachers' pay. I give him the opportunity now, if he wishes to intervene, to tell the House precisely what are his party's intentions on teachers' pay. Would he increase teachers' pay by 10 per cent., 15 per cent. or 20 per cent.? As this is an Opposition Supply day, I feel that they have a duty to the House to answer that question. The teachers of this country are waiting to hear what the hon. Gentleman means when he talks about teachers' pay. If he wishes to intervene, I shall willingly give way.

Mr. Straw

I am glad to know that the hon. Gentleman expects there to be a Labour Government following the defeat of the present Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer the question."] The answer is that the decisions that we make then will depend on the economic mess that has been left by the present Government. Support for the Conservative party by teachers has fallen to an all-time low of 14 per cent. On education, Labour has a 10 per cent. lead among teachers, parents and others. They know that Labour has a far better approach to education than the Conservatives.

Mr. Pawsey

I suspect that when the teachers of this country read that answer they will realise that the hon. Gentleman was unable to come up with a positive figure on teachers' pay. When invited to do so, he positively refused to give a specific figure. The teachers will draw their own conclusions.

There is a slight difference between the two debates. When we last discussed the subject we took into account only teachers' pay. The debate has been broadened today to take into account teachers' morale. There is some evidence of disquiet. When we debated the matter 11 weeks ago I remember saying that the overwhelming majority of teachers are committed to their profession and to the young people in their charge and that their remuneration should be commensurate with their responsibilities. I agree with the hon. Member for City of Durham about that.

I have been saying for some years that the teaching profession plays a substantial part in the education, moulding and development of our young people. Their role is second only to that of parents, but I do not believe that their importance is fully recognised by society. Responsibility for violence and indiscipline can often be traced back to the home and school. We are now reaping the benefit of the free expression and empathy teaching of the 1960s and 1970s.

The strikes and disruption of two and more years ago seriously undermined the status of the teaching profession, a point that was well made by my hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks (Mr. Wolfson). The standing of teachers has been much reduced, particularly when on television parents could see members of the profession shambling through the streets, carrying placards which, frankly, were illiterate, taking industrial action organised by the trade unions. Parents were not impressed by teachers leaving classes and taking time off which resulted in schools being closed and pupils sent home.

Understandably, the reputation of the profession suffered, the esteem in which teachers were held has fallen, and with it their morale. One hopes that that is in the past and, as I said earlier, the majority of teachers are committed to their profession and to the children in their charge. Again I ask my right hon. Friend to persuade the Treasury to be more generous with a pay settlement this year than in the recent past.

I draw my right hon. Friend's attention to the amendment in his name and in the names of his ministerial colleagues. It is significant that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer put his name to that amendment. I hope that he understands and appreciates the need to increase the funding available for teachers. There is another reason why the Treasury should loosen the purse strings. Teachers are no longer able to negotiate pay or conditions. That option has been removed, so a pay settlement should be more generous. We should show teachers that they have not lost through the abolition of Burnham—rather they should be seen to have gained.

In regard to numbers of teachers, the pupil-teacher ratio of 17:1 is the best ever and there have been improvements in class size, with the number of pupils taught in classes of 31 or more having fallen by an average of more than 10 per cent. Having said that, local education authorities are increasingly able to help themselves. My own local education authority of Warwickshire is doing a great deal to keep in touch with inactive teachers and seeking to bring back to the profession those women who left it to have families. That point was made by my right hon. Friend in his opening speech. However, those returning to the profession need more support and training. When the Minister of State replies to the debate, she may wish to refer to that specific point.

Clearly, there is a substantial reservoir of teacher talent in society which should be brought back into the schools where it can do most good. But it is important to get teacher numbers into perspective. We should remember that last year only 1.5 per cent. of all primary posts and 1 per cent. of all secondary posts were unfilled. That is fewer than in 1987. I was interested that the Universities Funding Council said earlier this year: It is pleasing to note that in 1988, after a slight dip in 1987, the figure for qualified students known to have obtained a teaching post in the United Kingdom returned to its normal level (75.1 per cent.): this was despite the increase in output. The Opposition believe that they have discovered an issue out of which they might make some cheap political advantage. Not for the first time, they are wrong—they were wrong last time and they are wrong again today.

6.13 pm
Mr. Win Griffiths (Bridgend)

Having heard the Secretary of State's speech, once more we can give him 10 out of 10 for complacency, but when it came to recognising the nature of the problem, he attempted to brush it aside as something of little or no consequence. According to the Secretary of State, if there was a problem, the ultimate responsibility lay with the local education authorities. He told us grandly that he trained the teachers and it was up to the local authorities to employ them. Rather like the way in which the Secretary of State for Employment has reduced unemployment artificially, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer would dearly love to take mortgage calculations out of the retail price index, the Secretary of State for Education and Science is fiddling with the problem.

The problem first became serious in London, but there is plenty of evidence that it is spreading to other local authority areas. In Oxfordshire and Devon, local education authorities are experiencing serious shortages, although hon. Members might think that those places would have sufficient attraction for teachers. The city of Birmingham has more than 600 vacancies in September—350 in the primary sector and 264 in the secondary sector, of which more than 40 are for English. Those places probably will not be filled in September. There is a great likelihood that the problem in Tower Hamlets and Southwark, where pupils are not getting full-time education, will spread to other parts of the country.

The problem is not simply particular areas suffering teacher shortages; it is much more widespread in certain subjects. The Secretary of State boasted that it was his duty to provide training for teachers and that there were more teachers entering training than ever before. But he did not tell us that, in certain subjects, the DES targets in 1988 were well below the requirement for the subjects in which the shortages were most serious. For example, in mathematics there was a 27 per cent. shortage of students entering the PGCE course. In physics, the figure was 23 per cent., in chemistry 42 per cent., in craft, design and technology 22 per cent., and in modern languages 14 per cent. There may be more graduates entering teacher training but in certain critical subjects the DES targets are not being met, and, by definition, the existing problem is bound to become worse.

Mr. Dalyell

Figures from the Royal Society of Chemistry suggest that in July 1987 there were 669 applications and in July 1989 there were only 540. The Royal Society of Chemistry has every reason to be extremely concerned.

Mr. Griffiths

I thank my hon. Friend for those figures, which underline exactly what I have been saying about the failure of the DES to get teachers into training in certain critical subjects.

That is not the end of the story. More graduates and more students are taking the BEd route into teacher training, but a large number of them are not completing the courses. There is a 25 per cent. drop-out rate for the BEd. Thankfully it is lower for the PGCE—only 10 per cent.—but there is a drop-out rate. The Secretary of State expressed no concern about that and boldly trumpeted the fact that more men and women were entering teacher training of one sort or another. When those teachers are trained, one third of them in the first year do not go into teaching, so that is a further dampening of the glowing reports on those going into training by the Secretary of State. Let us not divert ourselves from the fact that, whatever figures the Department of Education and Science comes up with, the problem is getting worse.

The Secretary of State did not have a great deal to say either about pay in the profession. We need to examine that point specifically. After all, his Interim Advisory Committee on School Teachers' Pay and Conditions said in its last report, when it had been given a limit of £385 million: we have found the £385 million limit on the Committee's recommendations for 1989–90 to be gravely constraining. The committee realised the problem and knew then that the limit would cause problems in arriving at a settlement.

In its report last year, the Committee told the Secretary of State: We can do no more than urge the Secretary of State to consider further how much he is prepared to make available to secure the willing co-operation of all teachers. Conservative Members should not be asking us how much we shall pay the teachers. We are not able to pay them now. It is their own Secretary of State who has that role and duty, and he is the person who should be asked how much he is prepared to pay teachers in the coming year.

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

He has already done it.

Mr. Griffiths

Although the Minister says that the Secretary of State has already done it, I have heard no global figure or promise of a percentage. If there are such figures, I should be interested to learn of them afterwards.

We are told in glowing terms that teachers have received a 30 per cent. increase in real terms in the past few years. As my hon. Friend the Member for City of Durham (Mr. Steinberg) pointed out, it is not how much teachers have received, but the comparison with other graduates that counts. The Financial Times recently carried out a survey, dividing the professions and industry into 11 different sectors. In 1988, the starting pay for the public services, which included teachers, was at the bottom of the scale. At the end of the first year, it was still at the bottom, as it was at the end of the third year. At the end of the fifth year, graduates in the public service had, on average, managed to pull themselves up to eighth place in the league.

As for the development of salaries, a graduate in teaching after five years would expect his salary to he 40 per cent. higher, whereas a graduate outside teaching would expect his salary to be 70 per cent. higher. After 10 years, the salary of a graduate in teaching would be 56 per cent. higher, whereas a graduate outside teaching would have more than doubled his salary. Pay is critical and fundamental for such reasons.

The interim advisory committee said in its last report: We continue to be impressed by teachers' commitment and their high professional standards; but morale appears to be low as we judged it to be last year. We believe pay to be a critical factor in morale. The committee spelled out its views clearly, and I hope that the Secretary of State will respond.

I want to refer to my own local education authority, the county of Mid Glamorgan, and the problem of teacher shortages in the context of the introduction of the national curriculum. Although the Secretary of State has announced several initiatives which should make some small impression on the problem, there will still be significant problems in Wales in, for example, the introduction of the teaching of the Welsh language. My own local authority is well known in Wales as one of the foremost promoters of bilingual education. It found, in a survey of its schools, that almost 500 teachers were unable to teach Welsh, but many of them were willing to undertake training so that they could teach the language. However, the amount provided by the Welsh Office for in-service training for Welsh language teaching in the county of Mid Glamorgan was about one quarter of what the county hoped to receive. Obviously, there is a need for an increased commitment of resources for the challenges to be met.

The Minister of State, Welsh Office (Mr. Wyn Roberts)

We are spending some £233,000 this year on in-service teacher training in the Welsh language. We shall he spending a total of £1.2 million over the next three years.

Mr. Griffiths

I thank the Minister for that intervention. However, he will be aware that he provided me with those figures in a written answer only the other day. Despite the £233,000, and despite the £1.2 million over the next three years, there will be barely enough to touch the real problem. That problem is repeated throughout education in England and Wales. The resources do not meet the problems.

A survey of science teaching in Mid Glamorgan secondary schools showed that that one county alone needed about 80 more teachers. If that figure were repeated across the United Kingdom—the position in Mid Glamorgan is likely to be better than in most other places, because the problem of teacher shortages is not as severe in Wales—one would see that the Government are not providing sufficient resources to deal with the problem. I hope that the Minister of State will outline clearly what she considers the nature of the problem to be and how the Government's resources will deal with it.

6.27 pm
Mr. David Evennett (Erith and Crayford)

I am always delighted to follow the hon. Member for Bridgend (Mr. Griffiths), with whom I serve on the Select Committee on Education, Science and Arts; but, together with his hon. Friends the Members for City of Durham (Mr. Steinberg) and for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery), who also serve on the Select Committee, his analysis is wrong and his solutions, precious few though they are, are also wrong. I also want to correct the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes), who said that the Select Committee was about to publish a report. The report has not yet been agreed, so he can believe it to be critical only as a result of press speculation, not fact. Until the report has been agreed by the members of the Select Committee, it cannot be critical.

We can all agree that there is a problem of teacher supply. The reasons for that are many and varied and the blame cannot be put at any one door. The Opposition motion and the support for it are far too negative and simplistic. We know that there is a shortage of teachers in certain parts of Greater London and we know that there are shortages in certain key subjects. But emotive words such as "crisis" are not only untrue, but do not help. We are not numerically short of teachers. If one considers the number in the pool of inactive teachers, we would have no problem if we could bring them back into the profession. We should be exploring the possibilities of job sharing or part-time work. We should consider packages to encourage people to move into teaching shortage areas.

The reasons for the shortages are many and varied. We have discussed them at great length in the Select Committee and in the Chamber today. Morale, pay, career structure, professionalism, the constant re-organisation of schools in the 1970s and the decline in the value that the public give to education and the education service all play a part. The Government, especially my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, are to be congratulated on several important innovations during my right hon. Friend's term of office. He has put education back in the centre of national life. He has stressed its importance and brought about radical reforms to enhance education provision.

Mr. Robert Key (Salisbury)


Mr. Evennett

The national curriculum, local management at schools, opting-out proposals and CTCs are all important in improving the relevance of education, thereby enhancing the status of teachers. Such reforms should be welcomed, but Labour does not do so—it merely condemns and criticises.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State disbanded the Burnham system, an outdated and unworkable piece of machinery for determining teachers' salaries. Now he proposes new ideas to deal with the annual salary awards of teachers. A better negotiating machinery will enhance the status of teachers. The innovative proposals to increase the number of teachers by the articled and licensed teacher routes are to be welcomed. They offer opportunities for well-qualified people to go into the profession and ensure that there is more on-the-job training in schools rather than in the ivory towers of the colleges.

Merely increasing salaries will not encourage more people to be teachers. We must ensure that we get the right people for our children, for the taxpayer and the ratepayer, and for the future of the country. Children are our future and teachers have an important and special role to play. Most teachers do a good job in difficult circumstances, and Conservative Members praise them, but the profession and the trade unions must change some of their attitudes. More money is needed—not across the board, but selectively. I should like to highlight the position of the middle-range teachers, who have been in the profession for 10 to 15 years and who are aged between 35 and 45 and underpaid.

We need to consider housing for teachers in Greater London, where house prices are astronomical and a disincentive to teacher mobility. Teachers cannot move into Greater London and the home counties for promotion because they cannot afford to buy a house. When determining teachers' salaries, more emphasis should be placed on market forces with greater regional differences to take account of the different regional costs of living. Only then will there be greater staff mobility and an influx of people into the teaching profession. Local management of schools will be of great value, as will the other Government-sponsored reforms which are designed to increase value for money in education and provide a better quality education service. Better schools with better educational emphasis would generate more and better teachers and a vocation to teach could again be in vogue.

This has been an interesting debate. We have heard little from the Opposition about what they would do if they ever returned to power. They have no idea what to do, other than just throwing money at a particular problem. Putting in money across the board will not solve the problems in the shortage areas. Other measures are needed, and Conservative Members have made constructive suggestions.

There is a problem, and more action is needed—we all accept that. The Government are aware of the problem and are actively working to reduce the shortages. Teaching remains a fine career, which interests many young people, and also many older people. We have a duty to encourage more entrants to go into the profession and to ensure that they are well rewarded and have a good career structure. Much has been done, but there is more to be done, especially in the shortage subjects and in the home counties and Greater London. We look for a partnership of trade unions, teachers, Government and local education authorities to solve the problem. I believe that we can and will solve it.

6.35 pm
Mr. Derek Fatchett (Leeds, Central)

We have made substantial progress since the last debate on this subject on 2 May. In that debate, almost all the Conservative Members who spoke tried to argue that there was not a problem of teacher supply and teacher shortage. The ground has shifted substantially since then. The hon. Member for Berkshire, East (Mr. MacKay) made a number of references to the problems of teacher supply and shortage in his constituency. The hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Mr. Wolfson) made a telling contribution about the problems facing the Kent local education authority. He said that he noticed the differences between the earlier comments by Ministers and their comments now, and that point struck home. The hon. Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Evennett) said that there was now a problem of teacher supply and shortage.

The consensus is growing, and it is now so strong that we have taken the Secretary of State with us, although not all the way. Perhaps, if I were writing his end-of-term report, I would say that he had made some improvement in terms of understanding the problems of teacher supply and shortage. He admitted that there was a problem. He defined it as a regional problem and limited it to London and the home counties. He was right, but he told only half the tale. There is a more substantial problem, of which the right hon. Gentleman is fully aware and about which his Department provided great detail in its evidence to the Select Committee on teacher supply and teacher shortage.

It is worth reminding ourselves of the likely shortages by the mid-1990s, according to the Government's current projections. They predict shortages of 1,000 teachers out of a total demand for 20,000 in mathematics; 1,500 and 2,000 respectively out of a total demand for 11,000 teachers each in physics and chemistry; 6,000 out of a total demand for 22,000 in technology; 2,500 out of a total demand for 19,000 in modern languages; and 2,000 out of a total demand for 7,000 in music. It is not just a regional problem; it is also very much a subject problem, and the Secretary of State was wrong not to refer to that.

The Secretary of State was wrong also not to draw the attention of the House and the country—although parents already recognise this, as I am sure do teachers—to the substantial hidden shortages in terms of the delivery of the school curriculum. The most recent available figures are for 1984. The Department of Education and Science seems to be reluctant to collect figures on teacher supply and teacher shortage. According to the Department's evidence to the Select Committee, 13 per cent. of timetabled tuition in mathematics and 18 per cent. in physics were provided by teachers with no higher education qualification in those subjects. There is not only a regional shortage but a hidden subject shortage.

Mr. Harry Cohen (Leyton)

The Secretary of State said that east London is a particularly bad area for teacher shortages, and it has been confirmed by parents in my own constituency that there will be a big shortage. Does my hon. Friend agree that, apart from one small pilot project in Newham to get ethnic minority teachers, the Secretary of State has outlined no action to tackle that problem in east London?

Mr. Fatchett

My hon. Friend makes a telling point from his own experience. Perhaps I can refer back to it later in my speech.

Conservative Members have given a number of explanations of why we have a problem. The hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) made a speech that was unusually disloyal to the Government. Presumably it had not been vetted—for the first time ever—by the Whips. He said that he would like the Treasury to loosen the purse strings on teachers'pay. He is not alone in saying that. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman gets most of his political ideas from the Daily Mail—that would come as no great surprise to those of us who have watched his intellectual development over the years.

He will have noticed, no doubt, that there have recently been two articles on the subject in the Daily Mail. Last Tuesday, II July, its education correspondent made the important point that this year's pay rise will be less than the current rate of inflation. He added: That simply is not good enough. Today, a Daily Mail editorial says that a recent survey showed that many young graduates are drawn towards teaching as a career and concludes: it is only the poor pay that puts them off. The Government say that there have been increases in real pay for teachers since they came to office, and that that makes teaching more attractive as a profession but, as hon. Members on both sides of the House have said, it is the comparison with other graduate professions that is crucial. The growth of average earnings in other graduate professions is better than the growth of average earnings in teaching.

I shall illustrate that point with some figures. During the 10 years that the Government have been in office, average real earnings for teachers have increased at an annual rate of 3.9 per cent. We should compare that with the figure for accountancy—which must be dear to many Conservative Members—which is 4.1 per cent. For the financial, insurance and taxation sector, the figure is 6.4 per cent., for computer programmers it is 4 per cent, and for medical practitioners it is 4.8 per cent. Despite all the Government's claims about teachers' pay, it has grown more slowly than the comparable all-graduate professions that I have referred to.

Mr. George Walden (Buckingham)


Mr. Fatchett

I will not give way, because of the shortage of time. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will appreciate that.

The Government's argument on teachers' pay does not hold up. As the Daily Mail and many hon. Members have said, there is clearly a need to look again at teachers' pay.

There has been substantial reference to low morale in the teaching profession. The Secretary of State says that the Labour party does not like to make proposals on how to deal with the crisis of teacher shortage and supply. Let me offer him three or four points about morale that would have a very positive impact on teacher supply.

First, it is important for the Government, and any future Government, to restore to teachers the right to bargain over their pay and conditions. The loss of that right was a deep blow to morale in the teaching profession, and the longer the Government go on imposing their own pay increases on teachers, the further morale will collapse.

Secondly, is it not the case that, when the Government introduced the Education Reform Act 1988, and when the Secretary of State has talked about his reform of education, until recently, he has never thought it necessary to take the teachers, their professionalism and their experience with him in the process of change? Throughout, the Secretary of State has denigrated the teachers' contribution and their professionalism and tried to impose change without taking them with him.

Perhaps I visit more schools than the Secretary of State—that would not be a great achievement—but when I visited a secondary school in north Yorkshire the other day, the head teacher told me that the school's science teachers were training and offering advice, out of school and without pay, to primary teachers in feeder schools so that they had some feel for, knowledge of and involvement in the development of primary science and the national curriculum.

Mr. Key

Well done.

Mr. Fatchett

Yes, it is well done by those teachers, but how often are they criticised by Conservative Members, and how often is their commitment recognised by the Government? If the process of change under the Education Reform Act 1988 had taken teachers with the Government and with the reforms, we would have had a very different situation in relation to morale.

Thirdly, there are roughly 400,000 people in the pool of inactive, qualified teachers, yet we rarely hear any proposal from the Secretary of State or Conservative Members to try to attract them back into teaching. Why does he not find out more about that pool of inactive teachers and their child care needs, so that they can go back into the teaching profession? Why do the Government not provide more refresher courses so that some of those teachers can go back into the classroom, do the job that they trained for and make the contribution that they want to make?

The Government seem to have written off totally those inactive teachers, but they are an important pool of expertise and it is about time that the Government came forward with proposals for them.

One of the most notable elements of the debate was the Secretary of State's refusal to answer the question put to him by my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw). It was a simple, important and potent question for parents throughout the country. Will the Secretary of State give parents a guarantee that no child will be without a teacher, and so be sent home from school, this autumn? Will he give that guarantee? The Secretary of State refused to answer that question. He can fiddle with his papers now in embarrassment, but he knows that the answer is that he does not have the ability or the policies to deliver the duties that are placed upon him in the Education Reform Act 1988. Nor does he have the ability or the policies to deliver the moral responsibility placed upon him to ensure that all our children have equal access to education.

During the debate, every Conservative Member, in lines presumably provided by the Department of Education and Science, said that responsibility lies with the Labour Opposition, as they called the debate. I remind the Government that they have been in office for 10 years, and that they are the cause of the problem. The time will come, very shortly, when the Conservative party is out of office. Meanwhile, the Government have to stand up to their responsibilities. While they fail to stand up to those responsibilities, the education of thousands of children is being endangered and the standard of their education is being reduced. It is time that the Government stood up to those responsibilities and made sure that there is a real guarantee to parents and children that there will be teachers in our classrooms this September.

6.49 pm
The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Mrs. Angela Rumbold)

I have listened with care to the remarks of hon. Members on both sides of the House. I have accepted some of the points made by my hon. Friends and I congratulate them on making some sensible suggestions. I was saddened by the remarks of the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery), whose very tone served only to exacerbate the problem by reinforcing the views repeatedly expressed by the media and by Opposition Members about low teacher morale. One almost has the feeling that Opposition Members want that to continue—[HON. MEMBERS: "It is true."]—although I know that that cannot be true because many Opposition Members have the interests of children at heart.

Opposition Members should listen more often to speeches such as that made by my hon. Friend the Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Evennett). Instead of repeatedly endorsing low morale and referring to difficulties in teacher supply and so on, my hon. Friend rightly paid tribute to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the way in which, during his three years in office, he has raised the level of public interest in education to such an extent that teachers now begin to feel that they are appreciated as members of our society because of the job that they are doing in schools and for children.

Teachers also have much to achieve by implementing the national curriculum. In that regard, I was surprised to hear the hon. Member for Hillsborough attacking the national curriculum, which, after all, was a direct response to the long-standing debate about the standards of education in this country, that had been going on since 1977, when a Prime Minister of the hon. Gentleman's own political persuasion raised the subject.

Mr. Flannery

I did not make any formal attack on the national curriculum—I attacked the Secretary of State, and, indeed, the Minister, because they will not give us enough teachers to deliver the national curriculum.

Mrs. Rumbold

I am glad that the hon. Member for Hillsborough is a late convert to the idea of the national curriculum.

My hon. Friend the Member for Berkshire, East (Mr. MacKay) made a thoughtful speech. He started by saying that he was disappointed—rightly so, in my view—at the level of this debate. He rightly identified the serious problems which arises from high housing costs in some parts of the country. Ministers are fully aware of that problem. We take the point that it has a bearing not only on teachers but on all those who work in areas which have experienced astronomical increases in house prices over the past few years. I share my hon. Friend's view that it is a good thing that house prices in badly affected areas are now beginning to fall.

My hon. Friend also made the valid point that it is important to be able to attract men as well as women into our primary schools. We need the right balance of good men and women teachers in our primary and secondary schools and Ministers have some sympathy with the view that we should consider how to tackle the regional differences.

In parenthesis, I want to ask a question, to which I am sure I shall get an answer. The hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) referred to Labour's policy of a national housing allowance for teachers. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Berkshire, East, I have a little difficulty with, and certainly distaste for, the idea that taxpayers should subsidise such a policy. Perhaps the hon. Member for Blackburn will take this opportunity to tell us what Labour's national housing allowance means, how it will be applied and to whom and how much he would expect it to cost. That information would he most interesting.

Mr. Straw

I am delighted to accept the Minister's invitation. Almost every Conservative Member who spoke in the debate referred to the problems caused by high housing costs in some parts of the country. The answer to that problem is not regional pay—it is to deal with the high cost of housing through a nationally funded allowance which would vary from area to area according to variations in housing costs.

Mrs. Rumbold

I am afraid that the worst fears of my hon. Friend the Member for Berkshire, East have been realised. Not only do we not know how much the allowance would cost—we know that it is to be nationally funded and we must therefore assume that it will be financed from the taxpayer's pocket.

The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) was concerned about the Inner London education authority and the cost of teachers. Similar problems apply in many other high-cost housing areas. The hon. Gentleman welcomed my right hon. Friend's initiative to enable teachers from New Zealand and Australia to gain qualified teacher status after one term. As the hon. Gentleman knows, we discussed that this morning. It is an unfortunate condemnation of ILEA's policies that the young woman concerned is contemplating leaving its employ because she is not being paid as a qualified teacher although qualified teacher status has been granted to her by the Department of Education and Science. I should like an explanation from ILEA of its policies on employing teachers.

In my view, we need to take a hard look at the way in which some local authorities operate a ring-fence, no-redundancy policy, which means that good, well-qualified new teachers cannot find jobs. In the north, for example, some teachers trained in the secondary shortage subjects about which we have heard so much, and who have already received our £1,300 bursary, cannot find jobs locally. I am told that other authorities will not employ probationary teachers. People are being turned away from teaching because local education authorities are not interested in using their services.

In other parts of the country, early retirement is virtually an open door—

Mr. Straw

Will the Minister give way?

Mrs. Rumbold

No, I have too much to say.

The policy on early retirement is a crazy policy at a time when some schools and authorities cannot recruit teachers to take the place of those whom they are letting go. The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey will agree with me that it is extremely important that we should address ourselves to that problem.

It has also been suggested that under the present system teachers from overseas have to be paid as instructors, and at a lower rate, pending the successful outcome of their application for qualified teacher status. That is simply not true—under the present regime, and under the new licensed teacher regime starting in September, those people can be paid as qualified teachers. If London authorities have a real problem in that regard, the solution now lies in their hands.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks (Mr. Wolfson) for his thoughtful speech and I was interested to hear of his support for our licensed and articled teachers policy, about which we heard nothing from the Opposition.

The hon. Member for City of Durham (Mr. Steinberg) made a sad little speech largely based on inaccurate information. He claims, for example, that we have fewer graduates now than in 1979. In fact, we now have 200,000 more students coming into higher education than in 1979. The hon. Gentleman must be amazingly out of step to say such things.

I am delighted to support the excellent speech made by my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey), who made the very good point that local education authorities can be active in helping teacher recruitment. My hon. Friend said that the extra money granted by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State in the education support grant should be used to help recruit people back into teaching.

Mr. Straw

rose in his place, and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.

Question put accordingly, That the original words stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 220, Noes 302.

Division No. 306] [6.59 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Buckley, George J.
Allen, Graham Caborn, Richard
Alton, David Callaghan, Jim
Anderson, Donald Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)
Armstrong, Hilary Campbell-Savours, D. N.
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Canavan, Dennis
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)
Ashton, Joe Cartwright, John
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Clark, Dr David (S Shields)
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich) Clay, Bob
Barron, Kevin Clelland, David
Beckett, Margaret Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Beith, A. J. Cohen, Harry
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Coleman, Donald
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Bidwell, Sydney Cook, Robin (Livingston)
Blair, Tony Corbyn, Jeremy
Blunkett, David Cousins, Jim
Boateng, Paul Crowther, Stan
Boyes, Roland Cryer, Bob
Bradley, Keith Cummings, John
Bray, Dr Jeremy Cunliffe, Lawrence
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Cunningham, Dr John
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Dalyell, Tam
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Darling, Alistair
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) McWilliam, John
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Madden, Max
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) Mahon, Mrs Alice
Dewar, Donald Marek, Dr John
Dixon, Don Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Dobson, Frank Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Doran, Frank Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Douglas, Dick Martlew, Eric
Duffy, A. E. P. Maxton, John
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth Meacher, Michael
Eadie, Alexander Meale, Alan
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E) Michael, Alun
Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray) Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Fatchett, Derek Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)
Fearn, Ronald Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Moonie, Dr Lewis
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n) Morgan, Rhodri
Fisher, Mark Morley, Elliot
Flannery, Martin Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Flynn, Paul Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Foster, Derek Mullin, Chris
Fyfe, Maria Nellist, Dave
Galbraith, Sam Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Galloway, George O'Brien, William
Garrett, John (Norwich South) O'Neill, Martin
Garrett, Ted (Wallsend) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
George, Bruce Owen, Rt Hon Dr David
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Parry, Robert
Godman, Dr Norman A. Patchett, Terry
Golding, Mrs Llin Pendry, Tom
Gordon, Mildred Pike, Peter L.
Gould, Bryan Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Graham, Thomas Primarolo, Dawn
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham) Quin, Ms Joyce
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Radice, Giles
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Randall, Stuart
Grocott, Bruce Redmond, Martin
Hardy, Peter Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Harman, Ms Harriet Richardson, Jo
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Haynes, Frank Robertson, George
Healey, Rt Hon Denis Robinson, Geoffrey
Heffer, Eric S. Rogers, Allan
Hinchliffe, David Rooker, Jeff
Hoey, Ms Kate (Vauxhall) Rowlands, Ted
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Ruddock, Joan
Home Robertson, John Salmond, Alex
Hood, Jimmy Sedgemore, Brian
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Howells, Geraint Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Hoyle, Doug Short, Clare
Hughes, John (Coventry NE) Sillars, Jim
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Skinner, Dennis
Hughes, Roy (Newport E) Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Illsley, Eric Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
Ingram, Adam Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)
Janner, Greville Snape, Peter
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside) Soley, Clive
Jones, Ieuan (Ynys Môn) Spearing, Nigel
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W) Steel, Rt Hon David
Kennedy, Charles Steinberg, Gerry
Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil Stott, Roger
Kirkwood, Archy Straw, Jack
Lambie, David Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Lamond, James Thomas, Dr Dafydd Elis
Leadbitter, Ted Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Lewis, Terry Turner, Dennis
Litherland, Robert Vaz, Keith
Livsey, Richard Wall, Pat
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Wallace, James
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Walley, Joan
Loyden, Eddie Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
McAllion, John Wareing, Robert N.
McAvoy, Thomas Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)
Macdonald, Calum A. Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
McFall, John Williams, Rt Hon Alan
McKelvey, William Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
McLeish, Henry Wilson, Brian
McNamara, Kevin Winnick, David
Wise, Mrs Audrey
Worthington, Tony Tellers for the Ayes:
Wray, Jimmy Mr. Allen McKay and Mr. Jimmy Dunnachie.
Young, David (Bolton SE)
Adley, Robert Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Aitken, Jonathan Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey
Alexander, Richard Fishburn, John Dudley
Amess, David Fookes, Dame Janet
Arbuthnot, James Forman, Nigel
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Ashby, David Forth, Eric
Aspinwall, Jack Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Atkins, Robert Fox, Sir Marcus
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Franks, Cecil
Baldry, Tony Freeman, Roger
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony French, Douglas
Bellingham, Henry Gale, Roger
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Gardiner, George
Blackburn, Dr John G. Garel-Jones, Tristan
Boswell, Tim Gill, Christopher
Bottomley, Peter Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Glyn, Dr Alan
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n) Goodhart, Sir Philip
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Goodlad, Alastair
Bowis, John Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Gow, Ian
Bright, Graham Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Browne, John (Winchester) Gregory, Conal
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E')
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Buck, Sir Antony Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Budgen, Nicholas Hague, William
Burns, Simon Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)
Burt, Alistair Hampson, Dr Keith
Butcher, John Hanley, Jeremy
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Hannam, John
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
Carrington, Matthew Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Carttiss, Michael Harris, David
Cash, William Haselhurst, Alan
Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda Hayes, Jerry
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Hayward, Robert
Chapman, Sydney Heddle, John
Chope, Christopher Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Churchill, Mr Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Hill, James
Colvin, Michael Hind, Kenneth
Conway, Derek Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Hordern, Sir Peter
Cope, Rt Hon John Howard, Michael
Cormack, Patrick Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)
Couchman, James Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Cran, James Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)
Critchley, Julian Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Currie, Mrs Edwina Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Curry, David Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g) Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Davis, David (Boothferry) Hunter, Andrew
Day, Stephen Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Devlin, Tim Irvine, Michael
Dorrell, Stephen Irving, Charles
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Jack, Michael
Dover, Den Jackson, Robert
Dunn, Bob Jessel, Toby
Durant, Tony Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Dykes, Hugh Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Eggar, Tim Jones, Robert B (Herts W)
Emery, Sir Peter Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd) Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Evennett, David Key, Robert
Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas Kilfedder, James
Fallon, Michael King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Farr, Sir John Knapman, Roger
Favell, Tony Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston) Roe, Mrs Marion
Knowles, Michael Rossi, Sir Hugh
Knox, David Rost, Peter
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman Rowe, Andrew
Lang, Ian Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Latham, Michael Ryder, Richard
Lawrence, Ivan Sackville, Hon Tom
Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Lee, John (Pendle) Sayeed, Jonathan
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh) Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Shaw, David (Dover)
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe) Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Lightbown, David Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Lilley, Peter Shelton, Sir William
Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant) Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Lord, Michael Shersby, Michael
Luce, Rt Hon Richard Skeet, Sir Trevor
McCrindle, Robert Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Macfarlane, Sir Neil Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire) Speed, Keith
Maclean, David Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
McLoughlin, Patrick Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael Squire, Robin
McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick Stanbrook, Ivor
Malins, Humfrey Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Mans, Keith Steen, Anthony
Maples, John Stern, Michael
Marland, Paul Stevens, Lewis
Marlow, Tony Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Stewart, Rt Hon Ian (Herts N)
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Stokes, Sir John
Mates, Michael Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Summerson, Hugo
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Mellor, David Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Miller, Sir Hal Temple-Morris, Peter
Miscampbell, Norman Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Mitchell, Sir David Thorne, Neil
Monro, Sir Hector Thornton, Malcolm
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Thurnham, Peter
Moore, Rt Hon John Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Morrison, Sir Charles Tracey, Richard
Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester) Trippier, David
Moss, Malcolm Trotter, Neville
Moynihan, Hon Colin Twinn, Dr Ian
Mudd, David Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Neale, Gerrard Waddington, Rt Hon David
Nelson, Anthony Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Neubert, Michael Waldegrave, Hon William
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Walden, George
Nicholls, Patrick Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Waller, Gary
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Ward, John
Norris, Steve Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley Warren, Kenneth
Page, Richard Watts, John
Patnick, Irvine Wells, Bowen
Patten, John (Oxford W) Wheeler, John
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Whitney, Ray
Pawsey, James Widdecombe, Ann
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Wiggin, Jerry
Porter, Barry (Wirral S) Wilkinson, John
Porter, David (Waveney) Winterton, Mrs Ann
Portillo, Michael Winterton, Nicholas
Powell, William (Corby) Wolfson, Mark
Price, Sir David Wood, Timothy
Raffan, Keith Woodcock, Dr. Mike
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Yeo, Tim
Redwood, John Young, Sir George (Acton)
Renton, Tim Younger, Rt Hon George
Rhodes James, Robert
Riddick, Graham Tellers for the Noes:
Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas Mr. David Heathcoat-Amory and Mr. John D. Taylor.
Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)

Question accordingly negatived.

Question, That the proposed words be there added, put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 30 (Questions on amendments):

The House divided: Ayes 271, Noes 215.

Division No. 307] [7.14 pm
Adley, Robert Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Aitken, Jonathan Franks, Cecil
Amess, David French, Douglas
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Gale, Roger
Ashby, David Gardiner, George
Aspinwall, Jack Garel-Jones, Tristan
Atkins, Robert Gill, Christopher
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Baldry, Tony Glyn, Dr Alan
Bellingham, Henry Goodhart, Sir Philip
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Goodlad, Alastair
Boswell, Tim Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Bottomley, Peter Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Gow, Ian
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n) Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Bowis, John Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Gregory, Conal
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E')
Bright, Graham Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Browne, John (Winchester) Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Hague, William
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)
Buck, Sir Antony Hampson, Dr Keith
Budgen, Nicholas Hanley, Jeremy
Burns, Simon Hannam, John
Burt, Alistair Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
Butcher, John Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Harris, David
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Haselhurst, Alan
Carrington, Matthew Hayes, Jerry
Carttiss, Michael Hayward, Robert
Cash, William Heathcoat-Amory, David
Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda Heddle, John
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Chope, Christopher Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)
Churchill, Mr Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Hill, James
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Hind, Kenneth
Colvin, Michael Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Conway, Derek Hordern, Sir Peter
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Howard, Michael
Cope, Rt Hon John Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)
Cormack, Patrick Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Couchman, James Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Cran, James Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Critchley, Julian Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Currie, Mrs Edwina Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Curry, David Hunter, Andrew
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g) Irvine, Michael
Day, Stephen Irving, Charles
Devlin, Tim Jack, Michael
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Jessel, Toby
Dover, Den Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Dunn, Bob Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Durant, Tony Jones, Robert B (Herts W)
Eggar, Tim Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Emery, Sir Peter Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd) Key, Robert
Evennett, David Kilfedder, James
Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Fallon, Michael Knapman, Roger
Farr, Sir John Knowles, Michael
Favell, Tony Knox, David
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey Lang, Ian
Fishburn, John Dudley Latham, Michael
Fookes, Dame Janet Lawrence, Ivan
Forman, Nigel Lee, John (Pendle)
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Forth, Eric Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe) Sayeed, Jonathan
Lightbown, David Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Lilley, Peter Shaw, David (Dover)
Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant) Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Lord, Michael Shelton, Sir William
McCrindle, Robert Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Macfarlane, Sir Neil Shersby, Michael
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire) Skeet, Sir Trevor
Maclean, David Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
McLoughlin, Patrick Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael Speed, Keith
Malins, Humfrey Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
Mans, Keith Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Maples, John Squire, Robin
Marland, Paul Stanbrook, Ivor
Marlow, Tony Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Steen, Anthony
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Stern, Michael
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Stevens, Lewis
Mates, Michael Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick Stewart, Rt Hon Ian (Herts N)
Miller, Sir Hal Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Miscampbell, Norman Summerson, Hugo
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Mitchell, Sir David Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Monro, Sir Hector Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Morrison, Sir Charles Temple-Morris, Peter
Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester) Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Moss, Malcolm Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Moynihan, Hon Colin Thorne, Neil
Mudd, David Thornton, Malcolm
Neale, Gerrard Thurnham, Peter
Nelson, Anthony Tracey, Richard
Neubert, Michael Trotter, Neville
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Twinn, Dr Ian
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Waddington, Rt Hon David
Norris, Steve Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley Waldegrave, Hon William
Page, Richard Walden, George
Patnick, Irvine Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Waller, Gary
Pawsey, James Ward, John
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Porter, David (Waveney) Warren, Kenneth
Portillo, Michael Watts, John
Powell, William (Corby) Wells, Bowen
Price, Sir David Wheeler, John
Raffan, Keith Whitney, Ray
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Widdecombe, Ann
Redwood, John Wiggin, Jerry
Renton, Tim Wilkinson, John
Rhodes James, Robert Winterton, Mrs Ann
Riddick, Graham Wolfson, Mark
Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas Wood, Timothy
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Woodcock, Dr. Mike
Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm Yeo, Tim
Roe, Mrs Marion Young, Sir George (Acton)
Rossi, Sir Hugh Younger, Rt Hon George
Rowe, Andrew
Rumbold, Mrs Angela Tellers for the Ayes:
Ryder, Richard Mr. Stephen Dorrell and Mr. Sydney Chapman.
Sackville, Hon Tom
Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Abbott, Ms Diane Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich)
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Barron, Kevin
Allen, Graham Beckett, Margaret
Alton, David Beith, A. J.
Anderson, Donald Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)
Armstrong, Hilary Bidwell, Sydney
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Blair, Tony
Ashton, Joe Blunkett, David
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Boateng, Paul
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Boyes, Roland
Bradley, Keith Howells, Geraint
Bray, Dr Jeremy Hoyle, Doug
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Buckley, George J. Illsley, Eric
Caborn, Richard Ingram, Adam
Callaghan, Jim Janner, Greville
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Kennedy, Charles
Canavan, Dennis Kirkwood, Archy
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) Lambie, David
Cartwright, John Lamond, James
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Leadbitter, Ted
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Lewis, Terry
Clay, Bob Litherland, Robert
Clelland, David Livsey, Richard
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Cohen, Harry Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Coleman, Donald Loyden, Eddie
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) McAllion, John
Cook, Robin (Livingston) McAvoy, Thomas
Corbyn, Jeremy Macdonald, Calum A.
Cousins, Jim McFall, John
Crowther, Stan McKelvey, William
Cryer, Bob McLeish, Henry
Cummings, John McNamara, Kevin
Cunliffe, Lawrence McWilliam, John
Cunningham, Dr John Madden, Max
Dalyell, Tam Mahon, Mrs Alice
Darling, Alistair Marek, Dr John
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Dewar, Donald Martlew, Eric
Dixon, Don Maxton, John
Dobson, Frank Meacher, Michael
Doran, Frank Meale, Alan
Douglas, Dick Michael, Alun
Duffy, A. E. P. Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)
Eadie, Alexander Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E) Moonie, Dr Lewis
Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray) Morgan, Rhodri
Fatchett, Derek Morley, Elliott
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n) Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Fisher, Mark Mullin, Chris
Flannery, Martin Nellist, Dave
Flynn, Paul Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Foster, Derek O'Brien, William
Fyfe, Maria O'Neill, Martin
Galbraith, Sam Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Galloway, George Owen, Rt Hon Dr David
Garrett, John (Norwich South) Parry, Robert
Garrett, Ted (Wallsend) Patchett, Terry
George, Bruce Pendry, Tom
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Pike, Peter L.
Godman, Dr Norman A. Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Golding, Mrs Llin Primarolo, Dawn
Gordon, Mildred Quin, Ms Joyce
Gould, Bryan Radice, Giles
Graham, Thomas Randall, Stuart
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham) Redmond, Martin
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Richardson, Jo
Grocott, Bruce Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Hardy, Peter Robertson, George
Harman, Ms Harriet Robinson, Geoffrey
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Rogers, Allan
Haynes, Frank Rooker, Jeff
Healey, Rt Hon Denis Rowlands, Ted
Heffer, Eric S. Ruddock, Joan
Hinchliffe, David Salmond, Alex
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Sedgemore, Brian
Home Robertson, John Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Hood, Jimmy Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Short, Clare
Sillars, Jim Wallace, James
Skinner, Dennis Walley, Joan
Smith, Andrew (Oxford E) Warden, Gareth (Gower)
Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury) Wareing, Robert N.
Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E) Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)
Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam) Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Snape, Peter Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Soley, Clive Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Spearing, Nigel Wilson, Brian
Steel, Rt Hon David Winnick, David
Steinberg, Gerry Wise, Mrs Audrey
Stott, Roger Worthington, Tony
Straw, Jack Wray, Jimmy
Taylor, Matthew (Truro) Young, David (Bolton SE)
Thomas, Dr Dafydd Elis
Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck) Tellers for the Noes:
Turner, Dennis Mr. Allen McKay and Mr. Jimmy Dunnachie.
Vaz, Keith
Wall, Pat

Question accordingly agreed to.

MR. SPEAKER forthwith declared the main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.

Resolved, That this House congratulates Her Majesty's Government for its coherent and energetic programme to tackle teacher shortages, notably licensed teachers and articled teachers; welcomes the increase in the number of initial teacher training places; notes the substantial improvement in teachers' pay in the lifetime of this Government which contrasts with the modest increase under the last Labour Government; and urges local education authorities to use the flexibility available to them to recruit and retain a sufficient and well-qualified number of teachers.