HC Deb 02 May 1989 vol 152 cc81-122 7.19 pm
Mr. Jack Straw (Blackburn)

I beg to move, That this House, noting the widespread evidence from Her Majesty's Inspectorate, local education authorities, and many others, of severe and ever growing teacher shortages in many parts of the country, and in many subjects, and a low teacher morale across the country, condemns Her Majesty's Government for its complacency and its failure to take effective measures to reduce teacher shortages, or to raise the morale of the teaching profession, without which the delivery of the national curriculum educational standards and the provision of greater opportunities for children may be put at grave risk. The quality of education that children receive can only be as good as the teachers who provide it. That has been true at all times, but the need for teachers to be of the highest quality has never been greater than it is today.

After 10 years of the present Government standards of education have faltered, as last year's Select Committee report showed. We are losing out internationally: Britain now spends a lower proportion of its national wealth on education than it did a decade ago. Capital spending dropped by 27 per cent. between 1981 and 1988. Central Government current investment in education has been cut by 18 per cent. in real terms, leaving local authorities and ratepayers to make up the difference. There is a £3 billion backlog of repairs. Half our children are educated in sub-standard accommodation, a quarter in classrooms so bad that the physical conditions are affecting their education. Fewer than one in three of our 16-year-olds stay on in full-time education, compared with two in three in France, Japan and the United States.

After 10 years of neglect by the Government there is an overwhelming need to raise standards of education and achievement, especially for the 80 per cent. of pupils who do not follow the A-level route to university or to a first degree. That is challenge enough for our teaching force, but on top of that challenge—and the challenge that teachers have already had to meet with GCSE—come the new demands for even greater skill and dedication: the demands requiring teachers to cope with the local management of schools, which will alter fundamentally the way in which schools are administered, and the demands on them to cope with the national curriculum and the associated systems of assessment and testing.

That is the challenge; what is the reality? The reality today is a teacher supply crisis. In many areas and many subjects, there are not enough properly qualified teachers in post. In some areas there are not even enough teachers, and children are having to be sent home. With the present policies, the crisis will become worse as the demographic time bomb explodes. The age group from which new young teachers are recruited will decline by 25 per cent. between now and 1995. On some estimates, the percentage of new graduates needed in teaching would have to rise from 11 per cent. today to 30 per cent. in five years' time just to meet the demand for new teachers. While the available pool of new teachers shrinks, the school population will rise.

No one, I believe, disagrees with the claim that teacher supply is in crisis. Wastage is so high that, as the interim advisory committee on teachers' pay has commented, 3,000 newly qualified teachers do not go into teaching at all; and, on the Minister of State's own figures, 28 per cent. of those who do—nearly three in 10—leave within five years and stay out of teaching altogether.

Evidence of the teacher supply crisis comes—yes—from the Government's opponents. It comes from the teaching unions, from Labour local authorities and from the parliamentary Labour party, which conducted its own survey of teacher shortages. But it also comes from those whose job is to advise the Government—from the interim advisory committee on teachers' pay, under the chairmanship of Lord Chilver, from Her Majesty's inspectorate and from Conservative local education authorities. It also comes from those who represent a group that the Government claim to be empowering—parents—and from the daily experience of any of us who visit state schools and talk to those in them who are responsible for delivering the curriculum.

The evidence is overwhelming. The interim advisory committee report said that recruitment was worryingly below the Secretary of State's own target for secondary courses in mathematics, science, technology and (to a lesser extent) modern languages…We recognise that there are currently a range of initiatives underway to tackle these difficulties, but the task remains enormous…We continue to be impressed by teachers' commitment and their high professional standards; but morale appears to he as low as we judged it to be last year. Then there is the evidence of Her Majesty's inspectorate in the report "Standards in Education". The report says: primary education is critically short of teachers with expertise in science, technology and mathematics. On secondary schools, the report says: In areas where the cost of living is highest, such as the inner and outer London Boroughs and the home counties, recruiting teachers is an ever-growing problem and some schools are becoming more and more dependent on probationary and temporary teachers. Specialist teacher shortages are most severe in mathematics, science and craft, design and technology (CDT). The Elton report made a similar point about the problems of low motivation and shortages.

And so it goes on. I understand that no one has told the Select Committee in its recent inquiry that teacher shortages are not causing a problem: no one, that is, except the Government. The response of the Minister of State to all that evidence arid more has been to describe it as a myth. Speaking to the Secondary Heads Association conference two weeks ago, the Minister said: We really do need…to nail this myth that teaching has difficulty in securing recruits and in retaining them when it does secure them. Let me ask the Minister a few questions about that myth. Did Her Majesty's inspectorate and the interim advisory committee invent their conclusions? Why—as a withering editorial in last week's Times Educational Supplement asked—are there 20 per cent. more job advertisements in the TES Than there were at this time last year? As the paper commented: If there is no shortage, there is certainly a remarkably energetic hunt for teachers to make good the shortage which doesn't exist. What about the evidence from the Prime Minister's London borough of Barnet? A report from the chief education officer shows a near trebling of resignations in the past seven years. In secondary education the number of teachers resigning has risen from 7 per cent. six years ago to 18 per cent. last year, and in primary education it has risen from 5 per cent. six years ago to 14 per cent. last year.

Mr. James Pawsey (Rugby and Kenilworth)

If the position is as the hon. Gentleman describes, will he come out firmly in favour of licensed teachers in his speech?

Mr. Straw

No. I shall explain to the hon. Gentleman exactly why I do not believe that lowering standards for teachers will solve the problems.

The report from the Prime Minister's own Conservative authority spells out just what great strains the shortages are imposing on teachers in the borough, and how they are reflected in shortages in other Conservative boroughs such as Harrow, Havering and Redbridge—shortages that in many instances are as bad as, or worse than, those in Labour authorities.

What about the figures that show consistently that the Government have failed to hit the targets that they have set for recruitment to training in shortage subjects? According to the interim advisory committee, the number of applicants for mathematics courses last year was down to 27 per cent. below the target. For physics the figure was 23 per cent., for CDT 21 per cent., for modern languages 13 per cent. and for chemistry 42 per cent. Yet the Minister of State tells us that the shortages are all a myth.

Let me quote the latest figures from the graduate teacher training registry comparing this year's applicants with last year's. They show a 2 per cent. decline in applicants for biology, a 17 per cent. decline for mathematics and a 24 per cent. decline for physics.

Mr. Ian Taylor (Esher)

Does the hon. Gentlemen agree that the shortages to which he has referred are essentially a regional problem, as is shown by the written answer reported in column 326 of Hansard on 20 January 1989? As they are a regional problem, does the hon. Gentleman agree with regional pay bargaining?

Mr. Straw

No, I do not. If Conservative Members read the IAC reports for this year and last year, they will see that the committee, under the chairmanship of the Conservative Lord Chilver, considered that question and came down against regional pay for reasons which they set out.

If there is no problem—if it is all a myth—why are private schools now facing teacher shortages for the first time? Why is the Secretary of State agreeing that city technology colleges should pay their teachers 5 per cent. more than national pay scales, simply to recruit teachers?

The Minister of State says that it is all a myth. However, the Secretary of State is not that crude; his line has been different. He says that there has been a slight problem. However, in another orgy of self-congratulation, he claims to be tackling the problem with vigorous and effective measures. As ever, these measures are principally cosmetic. Of course, we should expect no more than cosmetics from a man who once worked as a consultant to Avon Cosmetics Limited. The hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) looks embarrassed, but it is a fact that the Secretary of State once worked for Avon Cosmetics. That occupation fits the man, because most of the measures that he has brought forward are cosmetic and will not solve the problem.

There are major shortages of teachers in many parts of the country and in many subjects, and the position will get worse. On the best assumptions of the Secretary of State's own Department there will be a shortfall of 1,000 maths teachers, 1,500 physics teachers, 2,000 chemistry teachers, 2,000 music teachers, 2,500 modern language teachers, and 6,000 teachers of craft, design and technology. Since those shortages will not be evenly spread, but will be concentrated, in some respects randomly, in particular schools and particular areas, the figures from the Secretary of State's own Department mean that in some schools there will not be sufficient teachers to deliver key subjects of the national curriculum.

Mr. Tony Lloyd (Stretford)

The hon. Member for Esher (Mr. Taylor) intervened about shortages. Does the experience of my hon. Friend confirm my own, which is that inevitably, in inner city areas, even outside the south-east—and we accept that there is a particular shortage problem in the south-east—because teaching is more difficult and demoralising, shortages are beginning to appear at a high level in Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and so on?

Mr. Straw

I accept what my hon. Friend says, but I also make the point that shortages, as the Labour party's survey showed, are spreading across subjects and across the country. The figures I have quoted from the Department's evidence to the Select Committee on Education, Science and Arts are almost certainly an underestimate of the likely shortages by 1995, based, as they are, on unsupportable assumptions, such as a 20 per cent. increase in target levels in training for physics, maths, technology, and modern languages, when the existing targets of 20 per cent. below that have never been reached except in one subject in one year in the past three years.

To all these problems, the Secretary of State has no effective policy response for his proposal for licensed teachers. That proposal raises the greatest suspicion that the Government will solve the problem of teacher shortages by bringing in sub-standard teachers on the cheap. I have made it clear that we favour a number of methods of entry to teacher training. None of us believes that the present structure of B Eds and postgraduate certificates of education should last for ever. If it is accepted that a high quality profession is needed to meet the challenges of the 1990s, it is madness to depress the standards and level of qualification below the graduate standard which has so painstakingly been reached for entry into the profession.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett (Pembroke)

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that for many years local education authorities have employed instructors who have not had the same academic qualifications as qualified teachers? They have employed instructors in CDT, home economics and other spheres who have been excellent teachers. As a result of using these people, we have been able to staff many departments. Will the hon. Gentleman not insult these people?

Mr. Straw

Of course, I am aware that the local authorities have had instructors, but no one has pretended, least of all the instructors, that they are qualified graduate teachers. What is now proposed is that people who are instructors, as it were, should become qualified graduate teachers without training. We have not had from this Government proposals for licensed doctors or nurses, but apparently the education—not of the children of the Secretary of State or of Cabinet members—of our children is to be left to people who are underqualified or unqualified.

I ask the Secretary of State whether the licensed teacher system will produce teachers of graduate status and standard. If so, will the teachers get a degree, and who will validate it? How will the system operate? This afternoon, I asked the Parliamentary Under-Secretary, "Since the Secretary of State has said that all that is needed to go on to this licensed teacher scheme is a two-year experience of higher education, does that not mean that someone who has been in college for two years, following a Bachelor of Education or a PGCE but has failed his teaching practice, may be admitted to a licensed teacher scheme?" The Minister could not answer the question this afternoon, but perhaps the Secretary of State can answer it this evening.

Mr. George Howarth (Knowsley, North)

Does my hon. Friend agree that, instead of looking at this licensing system, perhaps the Secretary of State might look at a suggestion made by one of my constituents who is a teacher-trainer and who suggests that, instead of having one intake on PGCE courses in a year, there should be two intakes, one in the summer and one midway through the year, so that the supply of trained teachers could be increased considerably within any given year?

Mr. Straw

That is the kind of suggestion which the Government should examine to introduce greater flexibility, with different entry routes into teaching but the same graduate exit route. Reference has been made to licensed teacher status. I will quote the favourite teacher trade union of the Secretary of State—not the National Union of Teachers, the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers or the Assistant Masters and Mistresses Association, but the Professional Association of Teachers whose general secretary, Mr. Peter Dawson, wrote to me about the licensed teacher scheme and authorised me to quote from his letter. He wrote: My comment concerns the introduction of licensed teachers. We think the proposals might very well help to overcome teacher shortages, if only we knew what they were. Time and time again, we have raised with Kenneth Baker the question of where the training is actually to come in on-the-job training arrangements. No kind of answer that makes any sense has yet been received. One is left with the impression that it is not so much on-the-job training that we are going to get but on-the-job sinking or swimming. Writing government policy on the back of a menu over dinner is all very well, but it does call for further thought next morning … We are still waiting for Kenneth Baker to complete his licensed teacher proposals. Perhaps he has forgotten. I hope that the Secretary of State will provide us with a bit more detail about how the licensed teacher scheme will operate and whether it will produce teachers of a graduate standard. If they are to be graduates, will they get degrees and how will they be validated?

For about four months, I have been pressing the Secretary of State to publish the secondary schools staffing survey. After a number of parliamentary questions, he promised that it would be made available at the end of April. It was made available at 6.15 this evening. I am not surprised that the Secretary of State has done his best to sit on it, because the secondary staffing survey of 1988 shows that the situation, compared with 1974, is worsening. It shows that the proportion of teachers teaching their particular subjects who do not have a post A-level qualification in that subject has increased since 1984 from 51 to 53 per cent. In details about long-term absences, it shows that, in the survey week, 55 per cent. of schools were affected by long-term teacher absences, on top of 96 per cent. affected by short-term teacher absence. Of those absences the principal cause was not, as Conservative Members have pretended, that teachers were undertaking in-service training courses, which accounted for only 32 per cent. In fact, 70 per cent. were absent for other reasons. The other reasons are not given, and perhaps the Secretary of State has more details, but I suggest that the other reasons have to do with teacher shortages. The survey also shows that, in the survey week, 52 per cent. of schools were affected by vacancies.

The Government's record on teachers has been one of complacency, neglect and abuse. Pay is by no means everything but, as the interim advisory committee said, it is doubtful whether the pay level it recommended, constrained as it was by the Treasury, would secure the requisite degree of motivation among the generality of teachers at this crucial time. The dedication of teachers is high, but morale is low and has not been helped by the Secretary of State's refusal so far to restore collective bargaining rights to teacher unions.

There is, however, a central problem that goes beyond pay and conditions. It lies at the heart of the teacher shortage crisis. Teachers are not valued by the Government. Instead, teachers have been used as an easy butt. They have been used and abused by the Conservative Right as a convenient excuse for explaining away the Government's failure to invest in our children.

Take, for example, the now notorious letter to local education authorities from the Department of Education and Science, giving them advice on who should be invited to the Buckingham palace reception and garden party to celebrate 150 years of state education. The letter said: They must be people likely to behave properly and bring credit to their particular aspect of the education service. When all this came out—but not before—the Secretary of State said that he had not written the letter but that he regretted it. He did not say that he was sorry; he said that he regretted it.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett

Are they not the same thing?

Mr. Straw

No, they are not.

The Secretary of State is responsible for the generation of the climate in which, to quote the report of his own chief inspector: too many teachers feel that their profession and its work are misjudged and seriously undervalued. The Secretary of State says that teacher shortages are a myth and that his measures are effective.

Let me read finally from a letter that I received last week from a constituent. It says: Dear Mr. Straw, I thought that you might be interested to learn that my husband and I will be taking up teaching posts abroad from 1st September 1989. We are both regarded as valuable and experienced members of staff in our respective schools, but have found the deteriorating conditions, the increasing workloads and paltry pay rises unacceptable. Between us we have almost thirty years experience, but can see no way forward … We are not moving for the money but our conditions of service will be far superior and we think that our efforts will be better appreciated. At least we will not have to listen to Baker constantly telling us how incompetent and inadequate we are!

Mr. Nicholas Bennett

Where are they going?

Mr. Straw

They are going to teach in the Third world —in the Dominican Republic. They happen to believe that their conditions in the Dominican Republic will be better than they are in Bradford.

There are serious teacher shortages. There is a crisis of recruitment, retention and morale of good quality teachers. That crisis can and will only get worse until we have a Government who are committed to our state education service and who are willing properly to invest in this nation's children—our future.

7.42 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: `notes the importance of recruiting sufficient well qualified teachers, in particular for the implementation of the national curriculum; welcomes the vigorous measures which the Government has introduced to this end; welcomes the clear indication of the success of these measures; welcomes the measures the Government is taking to make teacher training more rigorous, more practical and more responsive to the needs of schools; and commends the Government's intention to continue to take whatever action is needed to ensure a continuing supply of high quality teachers.'. I welcome this debate. I am glad to have this opportunity to put on record what we have done, what we are doing and what we intend to do to counter the problem of teacher shortages.

First, I should like to pay tribute to the teaching profession and to the many good teachers that we have in our schools. Theirs is a responsible and challenging job. Teaching is not easy. Not everybody can do it. However, teaching is an attractive and rewarding career. That is why people are coming forward in increasing numbers to train as teachers. That is why we have many first-class teachers in our schools. I am confident that all hon. Members will want to join me in paying tribute to them.

I listened carefully to the speech of the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw), but, as far as I am aware, he made no concrete suggestion for dealing with the shortage that he delineated. I shall therefore start with a few facts. There are more teachers relative to pupils than ever before. The overall pupil to teacher ratio, at 17:1, is at its lowest ever. The proportion of large classes has come down over the last 10 years. The proportion of pupils taught in classes of 31 or more has fallen by nearly 12 percentage points in primary schools and by nearly 9 percentage points in secondary schools. Some 25,000 teachers enter or re-enter the profession each year. Less than 1 per cent. of teachers leave the profession for other paid employment.

Recruitment to initial teacher training was a record in 1988—up by 5 per cent. over 1987. In primary, it was particularly good—12 per cent. up. The level of applications for initial training, starting in September of this year, is even higher. In primary it is up by 14 per cent. over the same time in 1988. In secondary, it is also up—by 1 per cent. Another indication of the popularity of teaching is that 10 per cent. of all graduates qualify as teachers.

The background—the overall picture—is encouraging. There is no shortage of people wanting to be teachers, yet there are teacher shortages in certain areas and in certain subjects, particularly maths and science. I must tell the House that there has never been a sufficient number of good, well-qualified teachers of maths and science. Even 10 years ago, when there were some 9,000 unemployed teachers, there were not enough maths and science teachers.

The problem is not, however, confined to teaching. The engineering and electronics industries complain of shortages of people with maths and science qualifications. As fast as the education system can produce such people, they are snapped up. We need to increase the number of young people leaving school who are educated to advanced level in maths and science subjects. Anybody who has read Corelli Barnett's "The Audit of War" will know that that is a long-term and enduring problem that has affected our country for the better part of this century. It is something to which I know all hon. Members will wish to give the highest priority.

That is why the national curriculum is so important. In future, every youngster will have to take science—which will include physics and chemistry, not just biology—and technology up to the age of 16. Many more youngsters than now will have the opportunity to go on to A-levels and AS-levels, which makes it even more important to ensure that our schools get the teachers that they need.

I hope the House recognises from what I have said that the question of teacher supply is a complex one. It is also of fundamental importance.

Of course I realise that the overall figures that I have given—the global picture—are of little comfort when a particular school cannot find a particular teacher to teach a particular subject. I accept that. Three years ago, therefore, I set out my proposals for an action programme. The hon. Member for Blackburn asked me whether I am tackling the problem of teacher shortages. Clearly it does not suit his purpose to take yes for an answer. I remind the House that I have backed up the action programme that I set up over three years ago with expenditure, so far, of over £50 million.

Since I launched the action programme, the regional dimension of teacher shortages has changed. I think that hon. Members in all parts of the House now recognise that fact. It was recognised during the interventions in the speech of the hon. Member for Blackburn. There are particular problems in recruiting both secondary and primary teachers in London and the south-east. In my memorandum to the Select Committee, I showed how I was taking action to counter the problems as they developed.

Mr. Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

The right hon. Gentleman has just told us about an action programme that he set up three years ago. I am on the Select Committee to which he referred. Why is it that every group that gave evidence to the Select Committee here and every group that gave evidence to us when we made visits described the shortage as a looming crisis? Will he explain why there is such a crisis after putting in hand an action programme? In three years it ought surely to have borne some fruit.

Mr. Baker

May I ask the hon. Gentleman to wait for a few moments? I shall answer his question when I deal with the action programmes that I have put in hand and with the ones that I intend to put in hand.

This is a serious issue. I am sometimes accused of being complacent, of doing nothing. That is an uncharacteristic accusation to level against me. I am not known for doing nothing. I brought the issue on to the public agenda, I am taking action, and I shall continue to take action.

May I deal with the five specific areas where I have taken action, or where I shall be taking action? The first relates to the number of new places for initial teacher training. Last Friday, I announced that the intake numbers to initial teacher training courses for 1990–91 in England and Wales would be increased. There will be an extra 2,000 places in 1990 over and above 1989.

As regards the spread of those increases, there is an overall increase of 9½ per cent. above the 1989 target, 34 per cent. in modern languages, 15 per cent. in science, 10 per cent. in craft, design and technology and 11 per cent. in maths. This means the teacher training institutions will have the money to recruit and train more students in these subjects. We have also set aside 450 places for new ideas for types of courses in modern languages, music and chemistry. We did this in 1987 and 1988 for new courses in science and maths, which has led to some new good ideas for courses aimed at new target groups of students.

The first need, as I think is recognised, is to attract new young people into the teaching profession. Apart from increasing the number of teaching places in 1990, to reinforce the attractions of teaching in the shortage subjects I introduced the bursary scheme. The bursary is tax-free, non-means-tested and is now worth £1,300. It is available for those students who wish to take a postgraduate certificate of education course—that is, one year extra at college—after they have graduated. The scheme was originally for trainees in maths, physics and CDT, and it has been successful in reversing the declining trend of recruitment to these declining subjects.

In 1985, there was a clear decline in CDT, and there were just 452 people coming forward for PGCE. That is now up to 764. The total in these three subjects—maths, physics and CDT—was about 1,685; it is now 2,400 a year. This shows that these bursaries are attractive, as one would expect.

Mr. Simon Hughes (Southwark and Bermondsey)

Does the Secretary of State not accept, however, that the bursary scheme has been of minimal impact, not least because in some of the areas where it was intended to act as a remedy—for example, physics—it has fallen far below its target of achievement, as the Secretary of State and his Ministers have accepted across the Dispatch Box in this House?

Mr. Baker

It arrested a decline. There was a rapid decline in these three subjects. Taking physics, the figure in 1985 was 273; in 1988, it was 456. I am not satisfied with that figure. We need more teachers in these areas, so earlier this year I extended the scheme to chemistry. When I made my announcement on 27 January applications for chemistry were 27 per cent. down over the same time last year. The House, I know, will welcome the news that applications are now 5 per cent. up over this time last year. This is a considerable improvement. It shows that my bursary scheme is working, and there is little doubt that without it there would be far fewer students in shortage areas.

I turn now to mismatch, which I know is recognised by members of the Select Committee. By that I mean teachers trained in one subject teaching another—teachers of biology, for example, teaching physics or perhaps teachers of maths taking computer studies. Some examples of mismatch are more serious than others. However, there is no doubt that there arc too many teachers of some subjects and not enough of others. This is brought out well in the staffing survey which I published this evening, from which the hon. Member for Blackburn quoted, and he is quite right that mismatch has increased slightly between 1984 and 1988.

However, the survey indicates that the increase was not due to an aggregate shortfall in teacher supply, or to a fall in teachers with qualifications in shortage subjects; figures for physics, chemistry and CDT all increased, and percentages in maths have barely changed. Rather, the mismatch has arisen probably because of difficulties of deployment, which are greater during a period of falling rolls. Shortage subjects were not particularly affected; indeed, mismatch was unchanged in maths and clown in CDT.

There is no doubt, as I said, that there are too many teachers of some subjects and not enough of others. The situation can be improved considerably by means of in-service training. I have devoted £35.5 million over two years to support in-service training in shortage subjects. That is a substantial sum of money. I have placed in the Library today the key results of the secondary staffing survey. These show that mismatch continues to be a problem. I urge authorities and schools to continue to make use of in-service training support to counter mismatch.

An interesting finding of the staffing survey shows that the implementation of the national curriculum for a reasonable time in September in secondary schools from years one to three will not greatly change the pattern of curriculum provision in those schools. That is, of course, only to be expected, as the national curriculum builds on existing best practice.

Mr. Straw

The Secretary of State spoke about the relatively limited impact of the national curriculum in years one to three. What about years four and five?

Mr. Baker

The hon. Gentleman picked up the cue from his hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett). I heard it myself. The position on years four and five is certainly more complex, because we will then require more young people to take science, modern languages and CDT up to the age of 16. This is a problem we are trying to address.

I find it staggering that Opposition Front Bench Members have no ideas whatsoever. As the ventriloquist was cued by the hon. Member who will wind up, I hope we will have a stunning list of proposals and ideas as to how teacher supply can be increased.

I next deal with the other important source of recruitment to the teaching profession, which is re-entrants —former teachers seeking to come back into the profession. I emphasise the importance of former teachers already returning to teaching in considerable numbers: over half of new teaching appointments are taken by returning teachers. We must try to maintain and, if we can, increase this important source of recruits to teaching. There are some excellent and effective examples of measures aimed at returners: the "keep in touch" schemes, which help teachers out of service to keep abreast of changes in schools; career break schemes, which guarantee a post when a teacher returns; refresher training courses, for which a grant is available under the training grants scheme; part-time work and job sharing; and the provision of creche and nursery places. The solution lies in the hands of the local education authority and school employers, but much more can be done than at present, and I intend to do much to publicise the best practice so other authorities can follow it.

Mr. Harry Cohen (Leyton)


Mr. Baker

If the hon. Gentleman will forgive me, I know that many Members want to speak in what is a short debate.

Teaching is an attractive career for many mature entrants, both those looking for a career change and those seeking to re-enter the employment market. Four thousand five hundred mature entrants enter teaching each year for the first time. It is an important source of recruitment to the teaching profession. This is in addition to those who have re-entered teaching after a career break. With their experience and expertise, they have a great deal to offer schools and pupils.

I have offered assistance to this group. I have initiated the development of new courses in the shortage subjects: a shortened, two-year B Ed course and a part-time PGCE course. I have also funded a programme of 11 short taster courses. These give the mature entrants a feel for teaching and individual counselling and advice before they make the decision to become a teacher. I am also trying to encourage more mature people to enter teaching from the ethnic minorities. Across the country, 11 new initial courses aimed at the ethnic minorities have been set up with my support, providing some 200 training places. I am also supporting, at a cost of £30,000, a pilot project in Newham, which is helping men and women from these communities to enter teaching. Please wake up the hon. Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) and tell him that.

I turn to licensed teachers, a policy also aimed at mature entrants. This scheme is designed to replace the range of existing routes by which teachers can be awarded qualified status without completing a standard course of initial training. It will be more rigorous than the existing system because it will ensure, as the existing system does not, that unqualified teachers receive the training they need and demonstrate their competence in the classroom before being granted qualified teacher status. It should also make it easier for mature people to enter teaching. I make no apology for that; I have already explained the importance of mature entrants.

But let me repeat: licensed teachers will be trained. They must be over 26. They must have had two years or more in higher education. That hardly adds up to a soft touch or a second-rate route into teaching.

The hon. Member for Blackburn asked me about the two years in higher education. In the consultation document that I shall be putting out and consulting widely on, we envisage two years to cover graduates and those with HNCs and HNDs. The hon. Gentleman asked me whether someone who had been sacked from two courses would be eligible. We do not intend to include such persons, but there might be cases in which someone has taken two years of a course—not necessarily a B Ed but perhaps a graduate course—and perhaps for family reasons has left and done something else and then wishes to enter teaching in their 30s. At the moment, they can do that and I would not want to exclude them, but the suggestion of two years is not a loophole to include anyone who has not been trained in higher education.

Mr. Straw

I am glad to have that assurance. I also asked the Secretary of State whether the qualification that those people attain will be a graduate qualification. Will it be a degree, and how will it be validated?

Mr. Baker

They will be given qualified teacher status. They will not be studying for a PGCE, so they will not achieve graduate status, but in virtually all cases they will be graduates in another subject. But I shall move on to that point in my proposal for articled teachers, which are quite separate from licensed teachers.

In all respects the new route is more rigorous than the present arrangements whereby an LEA can recommend anyone for qualified teacher status, without a minimum level of education being stipulated and without any further training being provided. The advantage is that someone who wishes to make a career change will not have to go back to college for a year—which can be very off-putting. They will be trained in post, but the training will be explicit and rigorous.

Licensed teachers will bring with them valuable experience from outside the profession. It is quite wrong to suggest that they will dilute the quality of the profession, as I hear was said at the teacher union conferences. That is an insult to people with important skills to offer whom we need to attract. It is also quite wrong to describe them as teachers on the cheap. In fact, licensed teachers will not come cheap, since to provide training in post while paying a salary and providing cover where needed will require a commitment of resources. We recognise that. The training of licensed teachers is already eligible for grant under the LEA training grants scheme, and I am considering what more is required.

We know that we need to increase the number of good teachers. We know that there are people out there who want to be teachers—good people with valuable experience. We also know that it is hard to insist that someone in mid-career should return to college for a year. The licensed teacher scheme squares that circle. It is one small but important measure towards ensuring that we obtain a sufficient number of high-quality, well trained and well qualified teachers, and I invite the Opposition to support it.

I now turn to the proposal for articled teachers, which has developed from a series of proposals that were put to me when I visited teacher training colleges, universities and polytechnics. I want to do more to attract into teaching graduates who want to train in schools but do not want to spend another year in college taking a PGCE. It is aimed at young graduates of 20, 21 or 22 who have studied three years of physics, French, history or English and do not wish to take a PGCE course in college, although that option will continue to be available.

We have been discussing with teacher trainers, chief education officers and heads a new experimental type of course for what my senior chief inspector has called "articled" teachers. Those students will do two years of school-based training. They will be doing actual teaching for much of the time. The money they get will reflect that. They will also enrol at a teacher training college which will award them a PGCE when they complete their training. I shall be inviting bids from LEAs and teacher training colleges jointly for pilot schemes to start in September 1990.

The students will get a balance of practical experience and training in teaching methods. Most of their training will be done by teachers in the school. I shall be monitoring the scheme closely. LEAs and teacher trainers have welcomed the scheme. They agree with me that new forms of teacher training are needed and that we must be flexible in considering them.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman (Lancaster)

I am sure that my right hon. Friend has read the quite outstanding report by HMI on St. Martin's teacher training college. That college always gets an outstanding report. If it were to apply for the scheme, I trust that it would stand a good chance of getting it.

Mr. Baker

I know where it is, and it is a very good teacher training college. We would envisage that the young graduates in other subjects would be taken on in schools and paid a salary. They would also enrol at a college so that they could do some of the theoretical and background work of a teacher training course. That would last for two years, and would attract many people into the profession.

I now turn to the question of the quality and rigour of initial teacher training. All courses of initial teacher training have to be approved by the holder of my office. Courses are approved against specified criteria. The Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education—CATE—advises me on whether courses satisfy the criteria.

I have reviewed the criteria and the machinery for applying them. I propose to reconstitute the council with effect from 1 January 1990 with a wider remit and new, tougher criteria. I shall ask it not only to scrutinise new courses but to monitor those it has already seen.

The new criteria will take account of recent developments, including in particular the national curriculum. For example, all new primary teachers will have to have studied English, maths, science and design and technology. The criteria will also, as far as possible, be expressed in terms of competencies. In approving a course, I want to be clear about what the student can do when he or she completes the course. For example, all new teachers will have to be able to teach and assess the subjects they have specialised in, to the level appropriate to the top of the age range for which they have trained.

I shall be issuing a consultation document tomorrow. It will set out my proposals in detail and contain the text of the new criteria. I am asking for comments by 30 June. Initial teacher training is now becoming more rigorous and practical. But we can and shall do more.

I have set out the action which the Government have taken. We accept that there is a serious problem that must be addressed.

Mr. Cohen

Will the Secretary of State give way?

Mr. Baker

No, if the hon. Gentleman will forgive me.

I have set out the actions we are taking to attract more people into the profession, our action on bursaries, licensed teachers and articled teachers, the criteria for teacher training courses and the increase in the number of teacher training courses in 1990. It is a positive programme for action to deal with the problem. We have been faced with a complete absence of ideas and total negation from the Opposition. The hon. Member for Blackburn has not produced any new ideas since he was appointed as my shadow. He is a perfect shadow; he is totally shadowy. We have heard no new ideas. The ideas that were supposed to be new were a recycling of my ideas. I understand that he is to make a great speech this week on something—on what, I do not know.

The Opposition should apply themselves more rigorously to deciding what should be done about teacher shortages instead of analysing the problem. They have been in opposition long enough to come up with some ideas. The fact that they have not produced any ideas means that they will be in opposition for even longer.

8.7 pm

Mr. Peter Shore (Bethnal Green and Stepney)

The Secretary of State has rehearsed the various measures that he has taken or proposes to take to help ease the shortage of teachers. But he has not attempted to tell the House his estimate of the net contribution that those measures will make to the overall shortage of teachers. He has not explained why, after his three years at the Department of Education and Science and after 10 years of the rule of his party, Britain is experiencing a far more serious problem of teacher supply in 1989 than existed in 1979.

When my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) described the position as a crisis in teacher supply, the Secretary of State was playing with words when he said that he would not quite go along with that, but teacher shortages in certain areas and certain subjects are a matter of major concern. Let us settle for there being a crisis in the shortage of teachers in certain subjects and certain areas. That is different from what the Minister of State was reported to have said when she wanted to nail the myth of teacher shortage. I shall speak not just of a crisis in teacher supply. In my own area of London, and especially in the borough of Tower Hamlets, it is more a calamity and catastrophe.

In Tower Hamlets, the basic and most necessary of all the obligations on local education authorities—the obligation to supply schooling for children of school age —is not being met. It is a question not of children being sent home from school, but of children not being able to get into school. Throughout the past year. 400 to 500 children have been counted who were of school age, but were unable to find a place in school. Many were Bengali children and for them the deprivation of education was even more serious because of the linguistic and other cultural problems than it was for the ordinary residents of the area. After heroic efforts over the past six months, the number still stands at about 286. That is the number known. I fear, as do most people in the area, that there is a considerable additional number of uncounted children who have been unable to obtain a school place.

I am not describing a case in which the education authority—in this case, the Inner London education authority—has failed to provide schools. In the past 12 to 18 months, about five new schools have been built. The difficulty is that we have the schools, but not the teachers to man them. The last three schools completed in the borough have a capacity of more than 300 children, but have been able to accommodate only half that number as a result of the teacher shortage.

The problem is at its most vivid and most intolerable when one can cite children who cannot find places in school, who are out of school and should be in school. But that does not measure the dimensions of what is a major crisis in teacher supply in London and the south-east and what is a catastrophe in the case of inner London. I shall describe the vacancy position for full-time posts in the borough of Tower Hamlets. In nursery schools, 95 posts have been approved and there are 17 vacancies. In primary schools, there are 868 posts and 118 vacancies. In secondary schools, there are 742 posts and 122 vacancies. Those vacancies are met substantially, although not completely, by supply teachers. Without supply teachers, there would be a complete breakdown of education in the borough of Tower Hamlets.

In addition, the borough has a shocking turnover of permanent staff. In the last year for which there are figures, 1987–88, 33 per cent. of permanent staff in nursery and primary schools left. In secondary schools, the figure was 27 per cent. There is hardly a teacher to be found who has more than three years' experience in the borough.

Ms. Mildred Gordon (Bow and Poplar)

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the case that permanent vacancies are filled by supply teachers is worse than it seems in view of the fact that in one school in Tower Hamlets there were 10 different supply teachers in the first 15 weeks of the year? That is not teaching; it is just child-minding.

Mr. Shore

My hon. Friend is correct. I was going to say some additional words about the role of temporary teachers. Many temporary teachers are drawn from Australia and New Zealand. As the Secretary of State knows, they come over for a year or two. Schools are lucky if they stay for a full year, but at least they may stay for six months. I shall read the House a letter I received earlier this year from the education officer for division 5 of ILEA, which is Tower Hamlets. He said: the Division has only managed in the past 3/4 years to keep schools open by the use of casual cover teachers mainly from New Zealand and Australia. These teachers have for some time been experiencing considerable delays in getting their qualifications recognised by the D.E.S. This has meant that they have had to be employed, and paid initially at unqualified teacher rates, pending receipt of recognition. This often takes many months". That has been a major problem, which I have pursued with the Secretary of State.

I cannot see any sign that matters will improve, even if all the schemes mentioned by the Secretary of State produce additional teachers. Unless different action is taken, I very much doubt that those teachers will find their way into the inner cities, where the teacher shortage is at its worst. I have two reasons for that belief. First, in division 5 we know from our own demographic records that we need 1,800 new places and the teachers required to look after those children by 1990. A further 1,000 places will be needed by 1992 and an estimated additional 500 by 1994.

The second reason for my pessimism is that it is at least possible at present, under ILEA, to target teachers and efforts to recruit them on the boroughs where there are the most grievous shortages. Tower Hamlets and Hackney, the adjacent borough, are receiving most of ILEA's attention. But by next April, there will be no ILEA and we shall all be fighting for teachers with our own resources. There will be appalling competition—an auction—for scarce teachers throughout London and the most deprived boroughs will come out worst.

ILEA is doing a great deal. The Secretary of State mentioned returning teachers, who are crucial. ILEA has been spending a considerable amount on a campaign to attract teachers back into the profession and it has also agreed to introduce an allowance for so-called non-qualified teachers—that is, qualified teachers from Australia and New Zealand whose qualifications are not recognised by the Department of Education and Science—to encourage them to stay in the authority. In addition, ILEA is trying to give increments for experience and is paying many to assist teachers with travel. But what ILEA has done is unlikely to solve the problem. The problem is too serious, especially in London where teachers have to face the appalling problems of finding accommodation.

When I considered the rather self-congratulatory speech of the Secretary of State, I could not help but think about some of the actions he has taken that have been anything but helpful. Why did he have to rate-cap ILEA when he knows that the payment of teachers and money for facilities could help to ease the teacher shortage? Why has he ignored all the evidence that teachers' pay is a major factor in creating a shortage of teachers? It is not only the Department of Education and Science which could help to ease those problems. The Home Office and the Department of Employment, when considering applications for work permits, do not recognise primary teachers as one of the priority categories. Teachers with primary teaching skills from Canada or elsewhere are not registered as a priority category and, therefore, are not given a permit to work in the United Kingdom.

It is a peculiarly had situation. It is difficult to understand why, when the Select Committee on Home Affairs reported specifically on the borough of Tower Hamlets in its "Bangladeshis in Britain" report at the end of 1986 and pointed out that they were under-achieving educationally and not getting the quality, quantity or kind of education that they needed, the Minister has done nothing to help to alleviate what is basically a disgrace and a shame to the whole of our education system. That is extraordinary.

In conclusion, I remind the Secretary of State that he is a Minister in a Government whose Prime Minister started her third term with a pledge to take on, to help and to ameliorate the problems of the inner cities.

8.20 pm
Mr. James Pawsey (Rugby and Kenilworth)

I listened with interest to the elegant and eloquent speech of the right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore). I can understand even more than previously why he is held in such respect and affection in his constituency. He spoke with clear knowledge about London and I am sure that he will forgive me if I do not follow him down the road that he has signposted.

Like many of my hon. Friends, I welcome and enjoy Opposition Supply days. I am not certain who, on the Opposition side, is responsible for the selection of subjects, but whoever suggested this one on teacher shortages must be working for us. I am tempted to say that to initiate a debate on this subject is the equivalent, if not of shooting oneself in the foot, then of shooting up the blackboard. But then that is the increasing tendency of the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw). Witness his exhibition last week when he sought, on a completely bogus point of order, to attack my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the production of the consultation document on higher education.

However, even the hon. Gentleman is not all bad. I welcomed his comments in The Sunday Times about the suggestion for a "Queen's award for education for good schools". I welcome his conversion to that point because some years ago I suggested it to my right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State, now Lord Joseph, but he did not feel inclined to take it on board. I have also suggested it to my right hon. Friend the present Secretary of State, except I ventured to suggest that it might be termed, "The Secretary of State's award for schools". I hope that now that there is some unity between the hon. Member for Blackburn and me on this, he might advance the case—

Mr. Nicholas Bennett

What about "The Baker prize for excellence"?

Mr. Pawsey

Yes, as my hon. Friend has said, "The Baker prize for excellence," would be a good title for it.

Today's Opposition topic is teacher shortages and, like so many others, it is wide of the mark. The facts are that last year 1.5 per cent. of all primary and 1 per cent. of all secondary posts were unfilled—that is actually fewer than in 1987. The shortages, not surprisingly, were most felt in the south-east—Particularly London which was the point made by the right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney. But it is fair to say that there is no overall significant shortage of teachers. Indeed, I was pleased to read that the Universities' Council for the Education of Teachers, reporting on the first destination survey of students completing university courses of initial training for the teaching profession in 1988, said: 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 UK returned to its normal level (75.1 per cent.); this was despite the increase in output. That last phrase should surely be the key to teacher shortages. There is an increase in the number of people joining the profession. That suggests that this debate, like so many others initiated by the Opposition, is out of date.

That is par for the Opposition course and once more they have chosen to debate a subject that is showing signs of improving. It seems that Opposition Members are deliberately deciding to select subjects that show Government policies in an improving light.

Despite what the Opposition say, young people are increasingly seeing teaching as an attractive and worthwhile profession. There is little truth, if any, in the allegation that teaching is an underrated profession with morale at rock bottom. Indeed, the evidence suggests the opposite.

Like my hon. Friends, I am certainly not complacent and, although there may be sufficient teachers overall, there are shortages in certain subjects and recruitment difficulties in some regions. These points have been recognised by the Government for some years, and clearly the Government's action is now bearing fruit.

I welcome the more flexible use of starting salaries and incentive allowances. I welcome the more active local recruitment of teachers. I welcome more part-time working and, above all, I welcome the active encouragement to former teachers to return to the profession. That point was hammered home by my right hon. Friend.

In fact, 1988 was an excellent recruitment year for teachers, but, that having been said, the training for teachers must be right. Social theory is OK but it may be thought to be a poor substitute for actual classroom practice. Education best takes place in a disciplined environment and in some cases, and in some schools, that necessary discipline is lacking. I hope that when my hon. Friend the Minister of State replies, she will give some thought to how the subject of teaching is taught in our colleges. I hope that she might persuade those who produce the syllabus in those colleges to build in more classroom practice.

I am absolutely convinced that the overwhelming majority of teachers are committed to their work and to the young people in their charge, and I should like to see their remuneration reflect both the importance of their work and the commitment which the majority of them bring to it.

Mr. Flannery

The hon. Gentleman has never said that before to his right hon. Friend.

Mr. Pawsey

With respect, that is what I am saying to my right hon. Friend who is listening to this debate in the same intent way as Opposition Members.

I should like to see good teachers getting more money and greater differentials in the profession, with those who are the best getting the best pay.

My right hon. Friend has already sought to persuade the Treasury to make available additional funds for teachers. I wish him well when the new round starts and hope that he is successful in obtaining better funding. I found it significant that the Chancellor is a signatory to the Government's amendment to the motion and I am certain that, when my right hon. and hon. Friends in the Treasury read the report of the debate, they will study with care the references to increased pay for teachers. I hope that when they do so they will recognise the importance of having a reasonably remunerated profession and that they will ensure that the necessary funds are made available.

Earlier I referred to the fact that in some areas and in some subjects there are difficulties and I very much hope that my right hon. Friend will not let a vocal, if shortsighted, opposition to licensed teachers prevent him from going forward with this idea. Good teachers are those who have the knowledge and qualifications, and the ability and willingness to communicate that knowledge to children and young people in the classroom.

I support the concept of licensed teachers and look forward to reading, in due course, the detailed proposals, but I believe that the trailed plans might be inadequate in one respect. It seems that present ideas make provision for local education authorities to supervise schemes for licensed teachers. I believe that that may not work as well as it should, because some local education authorities remain heavily union oriented and we are all well aware of the views of certain unions regarding the concept of licensed teachers. It would, therefore, seem to me preferable if responsibility for supervision of licensed teachers were to lie with the individual school. Let it be their decision. Schools and heads will enjoy a greater discretion under the Education Reform Act 1988 and that discretion should operate in this area as well as others.

I was pleased to hear my right hon. Friend say that licensed teachers should be supervised by experienced teachers for a period of, say, two years.

Mr. Roy Beggs (Antrim, East)

Having had a lot of experience in schools for many years, I should like the hon. Member to tell the House how schools that are understaffed will find the manpower to supervise and train the licensed teacher.

Mr. Pawsey

I have already said that it will be on-the-job training. I believe that experienced teachers have a great deal of knowledge to impart to those who are eager to learn, and those who are coming forward to take advantage of the licensed teacher scheme will be anxious to learn and, in turn, to impart their knowledge to the young people in their charge.

Mr. Flannery

Answer the question.

Mr. Pawsey

I have answered the question and if the hon. Gentleman was not listening, as usual, that is his hard luck.

I believe that at the end of two years and only after the satisfactory completion of that period the licensed teacher would be fully qualified. If that idea is regarded, as it clearly is by certain Opposition Members, as being revolutionary, let me say that the right already exists in grant-maintained schools and, if we trust those schools to supervise licensed teachers, why should not other schools have a similar right?

Licensed teachers would enable genuinely committed men and women to enter the profession, would constitute an additional source of experience and expertise and should be welcomed by all who are genuinely concerned about teacher numbers. Licensed teachers would not dilute the quality of the profession. That point has been well hammered home by my right hon. Friend. The word he used in this context was "rigorous", and he was right. Clearly, this route to the profession will be a difficult one, but I am certain that many will wish to take advantage of it. It is unfair and unjust to suggest that licensed teachers will dilute the profession. Licensed teachers, in my view, will help to ensure an adequate supply of intelligent and gifted people who want to teach and to work with the country's youngsters. They should be encouraged to come forward, for they will do much to improve the quality and standard of state education.

8.32 pm
Mr. Simon Hughes (Southwark and Bermondsey)

The honest seeker after truth might have been slightly surprised by the different interpretations put upon the same facts in this debate. The debate opened with the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) arguing factually matters that were not contradicted by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State was then asked implicitly to accept or deny the comment made by his colleague the Minister of State that the teacher shortage was a myth. There was no denial of that, yet the Secretary of State admitted that there clearly was a problem. He announced that the Government had taken measures, were taking measures and would take measures—all of which is welcome—but did not suggest—and he was specifically asked that question from these Benches—that even all those measures together would ensure that we had the number of teachers we needed.

The right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore) then confirmed the facts and showed that in inner London particularly—it is worse here than elsewhere—there is not just a problem but a fundamental, deep-rooted and long-lasting crisis. He used stronger words than those, "catastrophe" and others. I have a constituency which, except for the river in between, is next door to his, and we in Southwark share many of the same desperate week-by-week problems and concerns about shortage of teachers that he has argued apply to Tower Hamlets. Southwark, Tower Hamlets and other inner London boroughs have all had terrible recruitment problems over many years.

Then we had the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) saying that some of the proposals are good but, reading between his lines, arguing, and possibly for the first time, that nothing will solve the fundamental problem unless there is more money for teachers and more fundamental ways of improving their morale.

The reality is confirmed in the recently published annual report of Her Majesty's senior chief inspector of schools, entitled "Standards in Education", which makes the case extremely clearly. At the end of that report, from paragraph 67 onwards, the senior inspector points the way forward in the light of the Education Reform Act 1988 and says: In addition there are a number of sphinxes along the route whose riddles will need to be solved if the education service is to respond effectively to the many changes it is called upon to make. The first of those centres on that most important component of an effective education service namely, ensuring a sufficient supply of suitably qualified and competent teachers trained and willing to set about doing all that needs to be done. He concludes that section with these words: Standards of learning are never improved by poor teachers and there are no cheap, high quality routes into teaching. He then goes on to make it clear that the need for teachers will grow because of the demands that the new educational format places on the education system The national curriculum, the new responsibilities for schools that follow from the GCSE and, as increasing numbers of hon. Members know, the practical implications for teachers' time of more and more assessment and more and more non-contact work, mean that we shall need more and more teachers. Nothing that the Secretary of State has said today suggests that we will catch up and supply our education service with those numbers of teachers as a result of the sorts of small, limited-effect remedies that he has proposed.

Lastly, the senior chief inspector makes the point that, in addition to the general problem and the growing problem because of new demands, there are, of course, the specific problems which we all know have now been identified in specific subjects to complement the specific geographical areas of difficulty. Then we have his recommendation: In seeking to ensure that is what happens"— that is, that we manage to meet the demands of the educational future— teachers' pay, conditions of service and the nature of the changes intended will all have a part to play. But of great importance to most teachers is that the work they do is seen to be valued and rated highly by society; that its difficulties are understood and that teachers and education are not used as convenient scapegoats for all society's problems. Currently"— and this is his finding; not a party political finding— too many teachers feel that their profession and its work are misjudged and seriously undervalued. That is this year's report on the teaching profession and that is why, when it comes to voting on the motion at the end of the debate, it would be wrong to vote for the amendment in the name of the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State, the Chancellor and others,which welcomes the clear indication of the success of the measures so far taken. Although of course there have been some successes, after 10 years in office the Government are complacent if they say that what they have done has been successful. What they have done so far has not succeeded. We do not have the teachers in place. We do not have teachers with morale in place. We do not have teachers as a profession paid adequately to ensure adequate supply in the weeks, months and years to come.

In inner London one feels that as strongly as anywhere. We are short of over 650 teachers in London alone. It is two and a half times worse in the capital city than the average across the country.

It makes me reflect that, perhaps, there is above all one simple question that the Secretary of State and his colleagues must answer: what is a teacher worth? If we imagine that teachers are in a free market, good performance and high productivity would lead to improving salaries. As the Secretary of State has acknowledged that teachers during the past year have put on a good performance and increased their productivity —given all the other demands on them▀×surely market forces should prevail, at least to some extent, and teachers should be awarded a substantial pay increase. However, they have received an increase of 6 per cent., which is below the current inflation rate. That is derisory. It does not recognise the teachers' hard work during the past year, let alone the other demands we make of them. It is about time▀×and the Secretary of State ducked this issue from the beginning to the end of his speech—that teachers were offered salaries comparable with those that could be earned by graduates in careers such as accountancy, management or industry. One will not get people to stay in teaching if they are not paid the same as they would receive if they sold their skills elsewhere.

I find it ridiculous that one police force in England and Wales—the Metropolitan police—spends more on recruitment in a year than the Department of Education and Science does on recruiting teachers as a career. Last year, the Metropolitan police spent £1.1 million. The Department of Education and Science's teaching as a career unit spent £0.9 million. We should learn from the Metropolitan police. Perhaps we should have a "wanted" notice, such as the police have, to make people aware of the drama and the danger of the present position in words such as Missing teachers. Do you know one? Have you seen one? Can you help? It is about lime that the Department of Education and Science made people aware of the nature, the urgency and depth of the problem which it is not investing sufficient money to redress, even from its departmental budget.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett

The hon. Gentleman muddles up like with unlike. If he wants to compare the recruitment of the police and the recruitment of teachers, the comparison should be between what the Home Office spends on recruiting police and issuing general advertisements and what the Department of Education and Science spends. The Metropolitan police, as a direct employer, is like a local education authority. The hon. Gentleman should look at the local education authorities' budgets for recruitment. That is the analogy.

Mr. Hughes

I shall deal exactly with that point. When there have been shortages in recruits to the police or armed forces in the decade that the Government have been in office, the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Secretary of State for Defence have said that we must pay more because we need people to work in the front line. We have heard no such response from the Treasury to help the Department of Education and Science to a similar job. Of course, the front-line responsibility for recruiting comes from the education authorities, which are the direct employers. However, we all know from where they get their money. They obtain their money from the Department of Education and Science; most of their money comes from grant. The Government need to give a lead, which in 10 years we have not seen.

It is a disgrace that we are asking people who go into teaching to stay at a regularly lower level of income and with lower levels of career prospects than they would elsewhere in the professional world. I intervened to ask the Secretary of State about the bursary schemes. There have been some improvements in the sense that bursaries may have reversed the decline of those going into shortage subjects. However, many of the targets have not been achieved. The Secretary of State has admitted that in the House.

The licensed teacher scheme still has the sort of problems mentioned in the intervention by the hon. Member for Antrim, East (Mr. Beggs) during the speech of the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey). In order for licensed teachers to be trained by full-time, long-term teachers, the teachers already in post need the time to do the training, in addition to their other responsibilities. That means there would need to be more teachers to cover the same amount of teaching time. That means more money will be needed, because one must supply the resources. Of course, it is a good idea for those already in the profession to train others in the classroom, but they cannot do that without more money being given to those education authorities, because training is an additional function and teachers are already hard pressed and overworked.

What about the pool of inactive teachers? We need to look more closely at recruiting from that supply. There are more than 400,000 people currently in that pool. I am sure that many of them would come back if they thought that their careers would be well rewarded and worth returning to.

It is, of course, welcome to have new ideas put forward. We heard, but only in shadowy terms, the idea of articled teachers, although it appears to have a potential. I shall not reject it as a possible idea, but other approaches are needed too. Many ideas currently being put to the Select Committee by the employers, the Association of County Councils, are practical ways of recruiting people, of holding people and of assisting those who have family commitments and otherwise might not be able to return to teaching.

The regional difficulties will not be solved by differential pay, which appears to be rejected by all the best evidence. If we are to tackle teacher shortage, the Government's housing policy needs to change to ensure that teachers in areas of high housing cost can find somewhere to live, that they have the ability to travel to work and that they can move to where the jobs are.

One of the difficulties is that the consequence of shortages is that not only does morale go down and reliance on supply teachers go up, but we ask teachers regularly to cover for colleagues as well. That means that more and more teachers are teaching subjects with which they are not familiar. The difficulties not only concern recruiting teachers from Australia and New Zealand, but regularly there has been pressure for Irish teachers, for example, to be accepted as qualified and allowed to teach here. It has taken a long time to persuade the Department of Education and Science to allow many of them to come to help.

In the months to come, with the national curriculum, teachers will have substantial new pressures on them. I say to the Secretary of State and his Ministers that we need to restore free bargaining between employer and employee, with the almost certain result that teachers will be paid more. More money must not just go to the teachers who go to the Government's favoured institutions such as the CTCs. Why should people be paid more to teach in a CTC than in any other school in a hard-pressed city front-line environment? The reality is that they are being paid more because it is one of the only ways in which the Secretary of State can be sure that he will get teachers into those colleges. That is another form of distortion in favour of his latest scheme.

We need to improve the range of senior grades. An enormous number of teachers are held at a top grade without any prospect of improving their lot thereafter. We need to develop secondment schemes and increasingly to put more money into in-service training. We need to widen the bonus schemes too.

I have put five specific ideas to the Secretary of State, but I end with this. Unless we increase substantially the funding for schools and for teachers from the Department of Education and Science budget, we shall not deal with the continuing problem of teacher shortages. The latest public expenditure figures show that the increase in the schools budget will be less than 4 per cent. between this financial year and the next. Unless the Secretary of State or his Minister of State give an assurance tonight that planned spending on teachers will at least keep pace with inflation, we shall end the next decade with the same problems as we have ended this. Now is the time for investment for the future. The Government have the ability to spend money. They must now do so.

8.48 pm
Mr. George Walden (Buckingham)

The hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) predictably accused my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State of complacency. That appears to be a rather surprising suggestion, because, if my right hon. Friend had been complacent about teachers, they would have had a much easier time than they have had in the past few years.

I believe that my right hon. Friend knows well that we face a potentially serious problem. What he has not been able to underline—I imagine for reasons of state—is that it is a problem not only of quantity but of quality. My right hon. Friend will face a very serious problem as we get up to the demographic dip in 1995. On the one hand, he will be competing more and more intensively with other employers outside who will be in a position—because they will be private enterprise firms—to improve the package of attractions that they offer to young graduates and, on the other, he will need to do two things at once in his general strategy on education.

My right hon. Friend is trying to raise the standards in schools at the same time as he is trying to expand the number of people in higher education—incidentally, I congratulate him on his consultation paper on that subject. If my right hon. Friend does not succeed in recruiting not only the right number but the right quality of teachers, we shall see an expansion in higher education, but also a dilution of higher education. That would be a catastrophe. There are some universities where quality is not all that it should be now. Because of the failure to recruit sufficient teachers of sufficient quality, there is the stark possibility of a failure to deliver the national curriculum in schools and a simultaneous watering down of British higher education. That is a fearful prospect.

I am glad that my right hon. Friend announced tonight —I shall look at the details tomorrow—that he will tighten up the conditions and criteria in teacher-training colleges, because, as I have already said, my right hon. Friend has two problems: he must get more teachers and better ones. I hope that he will do whatever he can to demystify some of the pseudo-professionalism that arises in those institutions. I hope that he will continue to support and encourage best practice because he will do a great service to the profession as well as to parents.

Recently I read a study by an academic—my right hon. Friend probably paid for it—which came, as such educational studies often do, to conclusions of a stunning banality. The problem posed was why it was difficult to recruit teachers and there were three parts to the answer: first pay, secondly status, and thirdly the children—that is especially important.

My hon. Friend the Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) is wrong to say that teachers must be reasonably paid. Given our current situation, teachers should be well paid, provided that the pressures on them to improve the quality of their profession in the ways hinted at by my right hon. Friend are maintained and provided that the profession accepts the desirability and inevitability of differential pay according to merit as far as possible.

My right hon. Friend must make it clear to the Chancellor of the Exchequer—I am sure that he will—that we must not think in terms of paying teachers what we can get away with, but paying them well, because a potential crisis is looming in the mid-1990s. If he is short of arguments for convincing the Chancellor, he could point out that if the Chancellor cannot afford to pay for education, he cannot afford an economy. It is education that will produce the highly trained technicians that will be needed and they will decide whether his economy sinks or swims. If we cannot afford to pay for education, we cannot afford a civilised country. I do not need to give any illustrations to the House of the yobbishness and the loutishness with which our society is infested and which has a lot to do with basic problems of education. I hope that my right hon. Friend will succeed in not only getting whatever crumbs he can from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but in making clear to him that we need a forward-looking strategy that will deal with the growing crisis rather than waiting until it is upon us.

The second problem regarding the recruitment of teachers, as suggested by our expensive academic study, was that of teacher status. When the average person is watching the television and wondering what to do with his life and he happens to see NUT representatives' behaviour at their conference, he may not be automatically attracted into the profession by that rather dissolute image. Teachers could do a lot to help themselves regarding status. Teachers must also look at their own teaching methods. I do not believe that parents or children will respect teachers if the schoolmaster timidly flatters his pupils and the pupils make light of their masters as well as their attendants. Generally speaking the young copy their elders, argue with them and will not do as they are told; while the old, anxious not to be thought disagreeable tyrants, imitate the young and condescend to enter into their jokes and amusements. That is not the view of some reactionary frump—it is not even my view; it comes from Plato. The problem has been with us for some time, but the image that teachers project to parents and to children will not improve the status of the profession if it is still based on the old-fashioned ideas of the 1960s. However, as I have just illustrated, the problem has been with us for many years.

The third part of the answer given in the academic study related to children. We must be imaginative when considering this aspect of the problem. We are living in a country with the highest divorce rate in Europe. I listened with interest and with respect to the points made by the right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore). I do not represent a constituency with social and economic problems that are remotely like those faced by the right hon. Gentleman's constituency, but problems exist.

When I visit schools in my area I ask how the reading is coming along. That is a pointed question because in some of my schools there is a tendency to talk about damp patches on the wall. I am more interested in the quality of education. When I ask that question, some teachers say to me with a laugh, "Reading, Mr. Walden? Some of our children cannot even talk properly." They tell me that their first problem as teachers is not what to teach that day, but whether to comfort the mother who is crying around the corner because the marriage has just broken up or the partner has gone away for the nth time, or the child who has come into the classroom crying because his father or mother has disappeared for the nth time.

The social problems faced in this country that occur to a greater degree here than elsewhere in Europe—remember our divorce rate—are immediately impacting on the teacher and making teaching a less attractive profession. I am not known for being particularly soft-hearted to teachers, but when such problems arise in my socially privileged constituency, it does not take much imagination to consider what is happening in others, mainly Labour-held, although I accept that a few of my hon. Friends also face similar problems.

My final point—I raise it with perhaps tedious predictability from the point of view of my right hon. Friend—is that teachers also face children who come to school in the morning, often, although not exclusively, from broken homes having stayed up late at night. They have spent the night not doing directly educational things, but a thing that tends to de-educate and cretinise children —watching four or five hours of television. What are the Government going to do about that? They have a curious strategy. On the one hand, my right hon. Friend is trying to fill the heads of children with something worthwhile, but on the other my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary seems to want to fill them with cretinising rubbish from Mr. Murdoch. One could present this as a rational division of labour—a sort of Champs de Mars by which one digs a hole and another fills it up. But it seems not a particularly intelligent approach to what is a fundamental problem.

I was struck the other day to note that the Secretary of State, with impressive educational idealism, was teaching "A Tale of Two Cities." I do not think I am being too hard on the children of today when I suggest that few children in this country have read or will ever read "A Tale of Two Cities" because it is full of long words and they are not taught to read difficult books. So if what the Home Secretary plans in his broadcasting White Paper goes ahead, not only will children not read Dickens; they will be lucky if they can get their minds round Adrian Mole.

All of this has a direct impact on the problem that we are discussing because, with about a third of British marriages breaking up, teachers face all the problems that arise from such a large incidence of broken families. They also face the dismal prospect of being confronted by the telly-tired child in the morning. If the Home Secretary has his way, that child will be cretinised even more.

These are serious matters. They may sound tangential, but they are central to the whole problem of boosting the profession, qualitatively and quantitatively, because we do not want to get into the situation in which we found ourselves in the 1960s—which everyone, including Opposition Members, must recall—when we had to take whoever we could get to teach. Many people would not touch the profession with a barge pole today.

The Secretary of State knows my views on pay; we must pay as much as possible to good teachers simply to obtain them. I earnestly appeal to him to take an even closer hand than I am sure he has been taking already in the question of the broadcasting White Paper. I repeat that British children spend as much time watching TV as they spend in the classroom.

To solve the problem of teacher shortage, two things are necessary. One is the need for imagination, and my right hon. Friend has a lot of that. The other is cash. I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will see the force in the arguments that are being adduced, not only by me—mine may sound rather predictable—but by my hon. Friends and by some Opposition Members. Their remarks cannot all be dismissed as party political boosterism. Consider, for example, the speech, to which I referred, of the right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney.

9.2 pm

Mr. Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

The hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Walden) made a thoughtful contribution, and my hon. Friends and I could agree with a good deal of it. He quoted Plato. I remind him that Plato never had to contend with the present Prime Minister and her Secretary of State for Education and Science. The hon. Gentleman will accept that Plato lived in a vastly different world. However, the hon. Gentleman came to the fundamental point in the end, which is that we are discussing teacher shortages and not, for example, what is happening in broadcasting. We live in a get-rich-quick society in which children are taught things that we thought they should never learn.

It must be remembered that this debate was initiated by the Opposition. Had that not been the case, the debate would not be taking place. A characteristic of the speeches of Conservative Members has been their attempt to defend, as though it had never occurred, a crime over which they have presided. The nation's education system has been forced to the point where the Government are having to take steps which we thought, indeed hoped, would never be needed again. I refer to the problem which faced Britain after the second world war.

At that time we had to consider allowing people who had never taught to stand before our children and teach them. We refused to allow that to happen. Instead, we created an emergency scheme by which we put people through college and taught them how to teach.

Although the hon. Member for Buckingham was reasonable in the statements that he made, he knows only too well that it is unfair to attack the teachers when the real problem is the shortage of teachers. That shortage has been brought about by the actions of the Government. Conservative Members cannot escape the responsibility they share in those actions.

I will not go into the question of licensed teachers. The vast majority of the teaching profession is totally against that concept. We got rid of licensed teachers years ago. The idea of licensed teachers is not a revolutionary one. Indeed, it is counter-revolutionary. We never want them again, and the fact that the Government will foist them on us shows how desperate they are to push people in front of our children—not their children—when such people have never taught before. That will not be tolerated, especially when there are available people who are properly qualified to teach.

Teacher training colleges have been closed all over the country. The Government know that they have created the problem that we face, and they are not prepared to admit it or even talk about it. In 1979, the discussion was about how to educate our children. There was no crisis over a shortage of teachers. As I say, not since the end of the war has such a crisis existed.

Conservative Members refuse to admit what has been done in their name. They have no humility about it. Indeed, they adopt an appalling arrogance, talking and laughing about a problem that is causing great difficulty. Some Conservative Back Benchers are happy to talk and giggle. Indeed, one of them, the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey), accused me earlier of not listening, yet he is not even in his place to listen to my remarks.

To my knowledge, when the hon. Gentleman has been in the Chamber he has never said a naughty word against the leadership of his party, even though he knows how wrong they have been on this issue. After all, was he not a teacher? He is in line to be chief groveller to the Prime Minister and to the Secretary of State, who is running the state system of education. The right hon. Gentleman also sits there smiling in his usual way, despite all that he has done.

The members of the Select Committee on Education, Science and Arts became profoundly conscious of the fact that we were facing a crisis in education and particularly in the shortage of teachers. As I look at the Conservative Benches, I wonder whether any of the Members sitting there have been, please put up their hands? It is clear that they are not here, but I am here to explain why we on the the Select Committee are studying this issue.

We are well aware of the crisis in education, and I must report that only one person who appeared before the Select Committee—I refer not to the Secretary of State but to his chief functionary in the Department, Mr. Clive Savine—asked us what crisis we were talking about. He had not noticed any crisis, he told us. Nor had he noticed that morale in the teaching profession was low.

The Minister of State has claimed that there is no crisis and that it is all a myth. Even the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth—with a great private school such as Rugby in his constituency—has not noticed that a crisis exists. Indeed, if an elephant walked through the Chamber and the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State told him not to see it, he would say there was no elephant. [Interruption.] Conservative Members grin like Cheshire cats, despite the crimes that they have committed against our children.

I have with me the embarrassing last report of the HMI —embarrassing for the Government—which spoke of that most important component of an effective education service, namely ensuring a sufficient supply of suitably qualified teachers … Without that, the rest falls. If the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth, who accused me of not listening, will listen to me, I advise him to read that paragraph. Nearly all the teachers say that there is a crisis in education.

The general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, usually a great friend of the Government, used the word "catastrophe", as my right hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore) did in his great speech. He was attacked for using an emotive word. We have made it plain that there is an approaching catastrophe. At the same time the Government say that it does not exist. Teacher training establishments, both colleges and universities, say that there is a problem. They also say that morale in the staff room is putting young people off teaching. The Secretary of State should not boast about how many say that they are going into teaching. A massive number of young people who have said that do not take it up. The right hon. Gentleman has said that they all come back, but that is not true. The Government are underplaying a serious problem.

Why is there a shortage and a developing crisis? It is because of the failure of the Government to realise the extent of the problem. I sat through the three months of the Committee stage of the Education Reform Act 1988. Ministers never agreed that there was a teacher shortage, created by the Government. They attack teachers and talk about the lowering of teacher morale. Anyone who is honourable in the Chamber knows that, previously, if any hon. Member mentioned teachers or the teachers' unions, there was a howl of abuse from the Conservative Benches, led by the Secretary of State, his predecessor and the Prime Minister. Now there is a slight change. The Secretary of State began his speech by praising teachers; that is new. Some Tory Members asked for more cash for teachers; that is new. The hon. Member for Buckingham asked for a wage that was not just satisfactory but much bigger; he has not said that before.

Even the mention of teachers used to cause trouble, but now hon. Members on the Government Benches are beginning to praise teachers. Let us have the praise translated into cash to encourage people into the profession which the Government have belittled for so long. They know that they must be realistic about the profession now if they are to get more teachers in. We want teachers who are trained, not licensed teachers.

Mr. John Bowis (Battersea)


Mr. Flannery

Time is getting on, but the hon. Gentleman sat with me on the Select Committee. I agreed with him at least twice, so I shall give way.

Mr. Bowis

Perhaps we can make it a third time. As the son and nephew of a teacher, may I invite the hon. Gentleman to question in his mind whether teachers had their morale raised all that much by the Labour Government who cut their pay in real terms by 12 per cent.?

Mr. Flannery

At that time I was one of the hon. Members who, from those Benches, attacked my Government in a way that none of the Conservative Back Benchers will ever attack this Government. I was struggling for education. No Labour Government ever did to education what this Government are doing to it. Because of their arrogance, they do not even admit it.

I should like to say much more but time is getting on. If the Government want to recruit teachers, they cannot do so without putting a large amount of money into teachers' pockets. They must also give them back their negotiating rights. The Government were condemned by the International Labour Organisation, part of the United Nations, for taking away the negotiating power of teachers. Time will show what will happen if it is all blah that we are told about the recruitment of teachers. I am worried that chaos will result from the Education Reform Act, so-called.

9.14 pm
Mr. Tony Baldry (Banbury)

Listening to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery) reminded me of a recent speech by the president of the National Union of Teachers, Mrs. June Fisher. I thought that with suitable amendments to her speech one could adapt it to the Opposition. She said: Teachers should stop moaning and take pride in making a success of the Government's education reforms. We should ask the Opposition to stop moaning and take a pride in the success of the Government's education reforms, and to brush up their professional image or risk losing the support of parents. The president of the NUT said: The whingeing teachers are not in the business of caring for children. I do not think that the Opposition are either, because they constantly live in a world of trying to make a crisis of every situation in education.

I have heard the hon. Member for Hillsborough make exactly the same speech on education every year for the six years that I have been in the House. Every time he makes the same speech about the Government denigrating teachers. If the hon. Gentleman can find for me any quotes where the Secretary of State for Education has denigrated teachers I will give £10 to a charity of his choice for each one. I say that in the knowledge that I will not be a penny worse off because I do not believe that he will find any such quotations. It suits him to maintain that myth.

The only people who can send the teaching profession into a deeper depression are teachers themselves, as my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (Mr. Walden) said. As Mrs. Fisher commented: If somebody goes on long enough about everything being doom and gloom, then that becomes the reality. Teachers have to project a much more positive image. I entirely agree.

It will do all of us well to get the debate into perspective. Yes, there are difficulties with teacher recruitment—[Interruption.] If the hon. Member for Durham, North-West (Ms. Armstrong) wishes to intervene, I shall gladly give way, rather than have subliminal chatter. There are difficulties but we have to get them into perspective.

The other day The Oxford Times had a headline: Cash plea as education crisis looms". I had a meeting of all the secondary teachers in my patch; I asked what teacher shortages there were. They told me that they were short of one half of a physics teacher and one half of a physical education teacher. Because it has become an accepted norm that there is a crisis in teacher recruitment, that is projected by all the newspapers and the media, but it is not real. When there are real difficulties, because the Treasury and everyone else has heard people crying "wolf" for so long, it is an accepted part of the political scene and no one responds in the proper way.

In 1988, 1.5 per cent. of all primary posts and 1 per cent. of all secondary posts were unfilled. That is a problem but it is not the sort of problem that the Opposition have sought to make it out to be. Indeed, the Government have reversed the declining trend in applications to initial teacher training. Between 1987 and 1988 vacant posts in shortage subjects in secondary schools fell significantly; they fell by 33 per cent. in mathematics, by 39 per cent. in craft design and technology and by 48 per cent. in physics. There are regional variations. Obviously it will be more difficult to recruit teachers in inner city areas and in some of the prosperous home counties. That is the same for any occupation or profession. The greatest concern of employers in my constituency is skill shortages and recruitment. It is the same across the board, whether in teaching or in other spheres. That is not unique to teaching.

As opportunities for graduates substantially increase, so too will competition for graduates. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham that we must look at the situation that will confront Britain. With the changing demography, school-leavers and those going to university will become fewer and recruiting sufficient numbers into the teaching profession will obviously become more difficult. Not only must we ensure that good teachers are well paid but we must start to consider the possibility of regional pay differentials for teachers so that those areas that need to recruit teachers more can pay premium rates to do so.

We must also recognise that some 400,000 qualified teachers are not teaching at present. My young son goes to a state school not two miles away from the House. A short while ago a teacher vacancy arose at that school. I happened to be talking to other parents in the school playground and I was staggered by the number of parents with teaching qualifications who would like the opportunity to return to the profession.

It is also a myth to maintain that all inner London schools have difficulty recruiting teachers. When my son's school advertised for a deputy head teacher it had five good applicants. There are large numbers of qualified teachers who should be able, and should be encouraged, to return to the profession.

That is a matter for local education authorities. It is not good enough for the Opposition to come to debates such as this every time with the two words "more money". If that is all they intend to say we could have a much shorter debate. Local education authorities must use some imagination in exploring the possibilities of job sharing, more part-time work for teachers and maintaining more contact with former teachers.

Teachers often complain that they are worried about returning to the profession because they may be rusty and need to brush up their professional skills. Local education authorities may find it worthwhile to pay teachers an honorarium each year on condition that they attend a one or two-week refresher course each year while they are out of the profession, having children or whatever, so that when they return to teaching they do not feel that they have lost touch with it.

Local authorities could also do more by way of flexible starting salaries and incentive allowances to encourage teachers to take difficult posts. Thanks to the various pay awards made over the past two or three years, an increasing number of incentive allowances are available to local education authorities to reward teachers. There are a host of initiatives for local education authorities to take. I suspect that some boroughs and local education authorities are having difficulty in recruiting teachers because of the image that they have projected for far too long.

The truth is that many inner-city schools in Britain are as good as those elsewhere. For example, many of those in the borough of Lambeth are as good as many of those in Oxfordshire. Many children have reached the same standard. But the image that is constantly projected by boroughs such as Lambeth is not conducive to persuading teachers to go there to teach. If local education authorities had a more positive image of themselves and what can be achieved in their schools, they would probably find people more forthcoming.

It is wrong to pretend that the Government are not responding to the real difficulties that exist. Teachers in surplus subjects are being retrained in shortage subjects. The teaching as a career unit has made enormous strides in attracting individuals to return to the profession. That unit has contacted thousands of people. There is the bursary scheme and the new courses for initial teacher training on shortage subjects. All those are worthwhile initiatives. The Government have come forward with a host of initiatives to tackle the problem.

The Opposition have not made one positive suggestion this evening. As Opposition Front Bench spokesmen go, they are fairly talented, but it is disappointing that they should spend half of a precious Opposition Supply day simply saying that there is a problem. The Government are addressing that problem and it is depressing that the Opposition do not acknowledge that. They do not recognise that, nor join with us in positively promoting teaching and winning people into the profession. Instead, there is constant unnecessary doom and gloom simply to score a few brownie points in the local government elections. Always seeking to make out that the situation in our schools is worse than it is is unlikely to encourage people into teaching and to give parents confidence in what is happening in our state schools. All that does British education a grave disservice.

The Opposition and some of the teachers' unions are foolish to reject out of hand the concept of licensed teachers. I hope that they noted that when the London borough of Croydon recently had a shortage of science teachers it advertised for untrained science graduates, attracting more than 200 replies, from which it recruited 12 good honours graduates who are now making a considerable contribution to that borough.

The truth of the matter is that on the issue of ensuring that we have sufficient well-paid, well-motivated, good teachers in our schools, as in every other education initiative in Britain, it is the Conservative party, the Government and Conservative Members who are coming forward with the ideas and initiatives and demonstrating a commitment to Britain's state schools. All the Opposition can do is to shout for more money and simply seek to make out that everything is always far worse than it is. It is only by creating such a manic depressive state that they believe they can win any votes in education.

9.26 pm
Mr. Win Griffiths (Bridgend)

My hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery) pointed out that during his speech no Conservative member of the Select Committee which investigated the shortage of teachers was present. Not only were they not present while he was speaking, but not one has been present throughout the debate. Given the expertise that they gathered during the Committee's many sessions, they may have been commanded to stay away in case the facts got in the way of the propaganda that we have been fed this evening. Despite the Government's initiatives, the problem of teacher shortages will be with us for as long as we can see, because those initiatives do not deal with the problem in any significant way.

The background to this debate must be the high quality of the teaching profession. Let me quote from one paragraph of the second report of the interim advisory committee: As last year the Committee has been impressed by the commitment and dedication of teachers in all types of schools visited. Despite some of the public criticism aimed at teachers over recent years—which, happily, Government spokesmen are now going some way"— not all the way— to redress—we found a high degree of professionalism in support of the education of the nation's young people. Paragraphs 3.39 and 3.19 give more detail on the quality that our teachers provide, despite the difficulties that they face.

In his opening speech, the Secretary of State pointed to a number of his initiatives. We should look at one or two of them at least. He said that this year there would be 2,000 extra places in initial teacher training. Will all those places be filled? Will the majority of them be filled by graduates in those subjects with the greatest shortages? Even with those 2,000 extra places, and even if they were restricted to the subjects with teacher shortages, there would still be insufficient teachers to meet the shortages that will occur in the years ahead.

Only today, members of the Select Committee were provided with a memorandum from the Institute of Physics which says that, using the available figures, and making varied and realistic assumptions about both the demand for physics in schools and the supply of teachers to meet this demand in the next decade the alarming fact is that in constructing demand-supply graphs we did not find it possible to make the supply and the demand lines cross for any year in the decade. That means that, throughout the 1990s, according to all the current information available, there will not be a sufficent supply of physics teachers.

The bursary scheme has played a small part in arresting the decline, but not in settling the problem of obtaining the extra teachers needed to match supply and demand. At least 25 per cent. of physics teachers have not entered teaching after completing their bursary period.

The Secretary of State mentioned with pride that an extra 5 per cent. of chemistry teachers were being recruited because of the bursary scheme. He omitted to mention that in 1988 there was a 42 per cent. shortage of chemistry teachers. Therefore, we have hardly begun to tackle the problem. Despite all the Government's initiatives, that remains the fundamental problem: they are nowhere near meeting the extra demands being placed on our schools and teachers by the national curriculum, the Elton report, the need for more INSET because of the need for more teachers in subjects in which teachers are in short supply, and the new forms of teacher training which will make demands on teachers in post and take them out of the classroom. I presume that teachers will receive such training in schools. Many more demands are being made on teachers' time, which means that many teachers will be unable to teach as much as they have in the past.

The Secretary of State was proud to mention the retraining. However, the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals has made it clear that It is not possible to obtain the needed high-quality specialist teachers of A-level mathematics, physics, chemistry and modern languages by hastily retraining surplus numbers of, for example, biology, home economics and physical education teachers. I wish to raise a number of points relating to Wales. First, on secondary science, in a survey to which 80 per cent. of schools replied, 46 per cent. of those schools identified the need for extra science staff, and 46 of those schools specified that they would need 53 teachers. Extrapolating that information on a national scale, at a conservative estimate, a further 900 teachers would be needed immediately. I say a conservative estimate, because, in Wales, we are relatively well off compared to many other areas.

In Mid-Glamorgan, only 14 per cent. of pupils in the fourth and fifth years take GCSE Welsh as a second language and 15 per cent. take French. We can imagine the number of extra teachers that will be needed when everyone has to learn those two subjects. In that county, 1,931 teachers were surveyed on the question of teaching Welsh in primary schools. Of those, 362 were fluent Welsh speakers and 161 were Welsh learners, yet 1,144 were teaching Welsh and relying on their ability to read the language and follow basic language courses. A total of 493 were unable to teach Welsh at all, and more than 600 said that they would be prepared to go on beginners' learning courses.

The county council applied for £120,000, with a package of schemes to enable Welsh to be taught throughout the county. The Welsh Office provided £30,000. Lip service that is paid to the extension of the Welsh language is not being implemented, because the money is not being provided. It is the same throughout the education system. We badly need more money, because without it our education system is doomed to failure.

9.35 pm
Mr. Derek Fatchett (Leeds, Central)

We have heard an important admission from the Secretary of State tonight. He made two comments that verified all our assertions that there are teacher shortages: he actually used that phrase, and he also said that there were serious problems in our schools. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Stamford and Spalding (Mr. Davies), in his Trappist role, has decided that he knows more about the subject than the Secretary of State. Perhaps he is not alone in that: it appears that the Minister of State also feels that she knows more about it than her boss. She denies the Secretary of State's admission, which provides verification of our assumptions. When she replies to the debate, the Minister will also be replying to her own contribution at the annual conference of the Secondary Heads Association, which caused so much disquiet not just immediately to SHA but much more generally.

The Secretary of State was good enough to recognise the extent of the current shortages and the mounting evidence to support our assertions: for instance, the report of the interim advisory committee, the substantial work of Her Majesty's inspectorate—pointing yet again to shortages in science, maths, CDT and modern languages and the HMI's important point that those shortages now extend beyond secondary schools into the primary sector, and challenge the ability to teach science as part of the national curriculum in the primary sector.

In a powerful contribution, my right hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore) talked about what the shortages meant for children in his constituency, who, in being denied access to a teacher, were being denied education. There are those absolute shortages, but there are also the hidden, suppressed shortages that are part of schools up and down the land, and part of the nature of our education. Too often, subjects are taught by non-specialist teachers. We know from figures given earlier from the secondary schools staffing survey that the problem has increased between 1984 and 1987. The Secretary of State has called himself Action Man, but some of that period fell during his stewardship, and there was still an increase in non-specialist staff teaching specialist subjects.

Another problem is the shift in curriculum that goes on in too many of our schools because they simply cannot staff themselves with the right sort of teachers for the curriculum that is necessary for the children. It is interesting to note that when, only two weeks ago, we debated the Education (National Curriculum) (Attainment Targets and Programmes of Study in Science) Order 1989, the right hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Raison), to justify 12.5 per cent. rather than 20 per cent. of the curriculum being devoted to science, said that the Government had to cut their cloth according to the acute shortage of teachers in science subjects.

All that is substantial evidence, and leads to a reduction in opportunities for our children and to a reduction of standards. All of those matters have been noticed by virtually everyone with any experience or knowledge of the education system. The only person who has missed out on this truth is the Minister of State. According to the Times Educational Supplement editorial of 21 April, the Minister of State came up with comforting knowledge for all those schools suffering from teacher shortages. To the Minister of State it was simply a myth. The editorial stated that schools which had difficulty in recruiting good physicists, computing experts or modern linguists could now rest in peace. Their troubles were non-existent—just a myth, according to the Minister of State.

Of course, there were reactions to that statement. I do not know whether this is sanitised in the Department of Education and Science, but its press release at that conference from the Minister of State did not refer at all to the Minister's assertion that teacher shortages were simply a myth. [Interruption.] The Minister of State says that she did not say it. That is interesting, since the whole debate of the Secondary Heads Association centred on the use of her word "myth". The TES reporter also heard the word "myth".

Since she has denied saying this, the Minister of State may want to have a word, for instance, with Mrs. Averil Burgess, who chairs the Girls Schools Association and is headmistress of South Hampstead high school for girls. She was at the conference and heard the Minister of State speak. Although I do not want to do Mrs. Burgess an injustice, I suspect that she is not a subscribed and paid-up member of the Labour party, but she said that to suggest there were no shortages flew in the face of the facts. As reported in yesterday's Times she went on to give evidence to the Minister of State that her school was advertising a religious education post. Mrs. Burgess said that a few years ago such a job would have attracted 10 or more applicants, but at the moment there was only one applicant.

According to the Minister of State, it is a myth to talk about teacher shortages, but according to virtually everyone else with some knowledge of education and of the problems confronting teachers it is not a myth.

The Secretary of State has said that he will bring forward a set of proposals and a series of actions. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney said that this statement should be quantified by considering the number of additional teachers as a result of these measures. So far, those figures have not been given. Perhaps the Minister of State can give them at a later stage. However, we do know that, in its submission to the Select Committee on Education, Science and Arts, the DES admitted that, in the middle of the 1990s, we will face an acute teacher shortage. The submission states that the teacher shortages will be in maths, physics, technology and modern languages, they will all be deep and they will all affect the ability to teach the national curriculum.

The figures given to the Select Committee were based on an increase of 20 per cent. recruitment into teaching. The Minister of State and the DES know that, in those specialised subjects, the Government has not been able to hit that target. Thus, the information given to the Select Committee was wrong, and will prove even more inaccurate as time goes on. We are facing an acute shortage of teachers and an acute shortage in certain subjects. The problem will grow and make it more difficult to deliver the national curriculum—[Interruption.] I find the chorus from Conservative Members well orchestrated but, as usual, typically empty.

Earlier today, the Secretary of State said that this was a week of national celebration. Some of my hon. Friends and I wondered whether that was because the Secretary of State's rating in the opinion polls had increased from 2 per cent. to 4 per cent., or whether it was because this Government had been in power for 10 years. The crucial point is that the Government have had the stewardship of education in this country for the last 10 years and are responsible for the decline in teacher numbers and for the inability to deliver.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Fatchett

No, I shall not give way.

The Secretary of State referred to the amount of money that he had spent on promoting teaching as a profession. It would have been extremely useful if the Government and Conservative Back Benchers had thought about the damage that they have inflicted on teacher morale and teacher professionalism. During the early life of this Government, all their actions were systemically designed to undermine teacher professionalism. There was an attack on teacher professionalism on every possible occasion at Question Time. The hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Walden) got it right tonight when he referred to the stresses and the problems faced by members of the teaching profession. I hope that he will educate a few of his fellow Back Benchers, although I realise that there are difficulties in doing so.

It is typical of the way the Government have treated teachers that at all times they have refused to take teachers into their confidence and to plan with teachers the delivery of the Education Reform Act and the national curriculum. They have adopted at all times a stand-off relationship with teachers. At all times, they have undermined the professionalism of teachers. The facts demonstrate that this country is suffering from a teacher shortage. The facts suggest, moreover, that we are damaging educational opportunities and standards.

In its editorial of 21 April the Times Educational Supplement said: It is hardly odd in the circumstances that, in their polite way, the secondary heads gave Mrs. Rumbold the bird. The House is too polite to give the Minister of State the bird. However, on this occasion, as on every other, her response will be inadequate and will not address the problems and challenges that face the country. We want to hear the Minister say that she recognises the problems and will act. We do not want to hear her congratulating herself and pretending that teacher shortages are a myth. The evidence clearly supports the opposite view.

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

It has been an interesting and, at times, a thoughtful debate. Teacher supply is an important issue to which we must all accord the highest priority. More than that, it is an issue which the Department is handling in the most constructive and vigorous fashion.

We start from the foundation of what teaching is and what it is seen to be—a demanding, creative, professional and rewarding occupation. It is already a popular career option. There can be no doubt about that. The myth that teaching is not attractive is given the lie by the fact that 25,000 people enter or re-enter the teaching profession each year. There is a substantially lower wastage rate in the teaching profession than in any other profession.

I listened with great interest to what the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett) had to say. I waited for his suggestions for meeting teacher shortages. Not a sausage, not an idea came from the hon. Gentleman. He is as barren of ideas on this subject as he is on many subjects. Since he put so much credibility on the Times Educational Supplement, perhaps he read the article this week, which described how a mature man, who had been an engineer and had been made redundant, spent six years training as a maths teacher with computer studies. He has sought work with a local authority which ring fences its applications for jobs. His local authority will not employ him. It has strange ways of employing teachers. He has tried to get employment up and down the country but he has had no success. He has been offered only voluntary work. This is a man trained to teach maths. We have acknowledged shortages in teachers of maths, amongst other subjects, in this country. What do the hon. Gentlemen say about that?

I say thank you to my right hon. and hon. Friends for their contributions. My hon. Friend the Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) mentioned the report by the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers on the quality of teachers for the future and I was glad of that, because it is important, of course, that it has some encouraging messages. As one might have expected following particularly good recruitment in 1987, the output of university-trained teachers increased over 1987, with an above average increase in the science shortage subjects and maths. Increases have not been at the expense of student quality, which continues to improve, and that is very good news indeed.

I also noted with approbation my hon. Friend's emphasis on the importance of changing what happens in initial teacher training so that the colleges match the training needed by people gaining experience in the classroom as well as outside, besides having good subject qualifications.

My hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (Mr. Walden) talked of quality, and he will, I am sure, be glad to see the proposals for the initial teacher training for new young entrants which my right hon. Friend has just published. He is right to emphasise the importance of people who not only know their subject but have an ability to transmit that knowledge to children in the classroom. I noted also that he talked of teachers' pay, saying that teachers should be well paid. This is not something which the Government disagree with, especially as teachers over the past three years have had a 40 per cent. increase in pay. He makes a good point also in saying status is important.

Mr. Straw

Will the Minister clear up what she said to the Secondary Heads Association, because I understand that she said she was misreported? The report of her speech quotes her as saying that we really need to nail this myth that teaching has difficulty in securing recruits and in retaining them when it does secure them. Was that report accurate? If not, what did she say?

Mrs. Rumbold

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman did not hear what I said at the beginning. What I said to the Secondary Heads Association was that the myth that teaching is not an attractive option was something that I wanted to nail. That is what I actually said. I cannot help it if the reporters do not hear me. I cannot help it if the secondary heads heard something else. Sometimes it is impossible to have discussions with people who do not wish to hear the messages one is putting across, and that includes, I have to say, Opposition Members.

I return to what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham. He made a very good point on the issue of the status of teachers, because it is important that the image of teachers is improved in the eyes of the parents and the employers, as well as those of the children. I have some sympathy with his views of children who watch too much television. My hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Baldry) was right to say that my right hon. Friend has admiration for and offers congratulations on the efforts and dedication of the teaching profession. I am sad that the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery) does not recognise this and complains that Ministers frequently do not congratulate or offer kind words to teachers. Sometimes I fear that it is like having a dialogue with the deaf to tell him what we are saying.

My hon. Friend the Member for Banbury was right to say there has been a reversal in some of the shortage subjects. As I have just said, the Times Educational Supplement last week mentioned a maths teacher who cannot get a job and my hon. Friend mentioned the shortage of teachers at his son's school, saying that when he discussed the matter with other parents many people came forward. I congratulate him on his interesting example of the London borough of Croydon which managed to recruit 12 good honours graduates for teaching science. That emphasises the point we have been making for several months that local education authorities that take trouble and are determined can recruit high-quality teachers who can make good contributions.

The right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore) talked of teacher shortages in Tower Hamlets. I acknowledge that there has been a problem and we are certainly discussing the matter with Tower Hamlets and considering proposals to tackle the problem in April 1990 when in becomes a local education authority. As the right hon. Gentleman pointed out, the local authority has managed to improve the numbers of children not in school from a regrettable 450 to about 250. Of course, I fully acknowledge that the new local education authorities will do everything to improve greatly that situation, which must be tackled properly.

The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) talked about the new challenges for teachers. He was absolutely correct to say that many teachers face a great deal of new work and new challenges in the classroom and in the management of their schools. But I do not accept the hon. Gentleman's view of the difficulties that that will present to teachers' morale. The GCSE demonstrated that teachers' morale was improved because they felt that together with the pupils, the parents and the employers, the effort that they put in to making that examination a great success was rewarded by the general public's approbation, by the parents' approbation and by the children's view that it was worth working hard at school. The new challenges that will be part of the teaching profession in future will be the teaching of national curriculum subjects, and the management of schools. All those matters will be undertaken in training and in-service training, but, most importantly, in talking to teachers so that they feel that it will be part of a morale-raising operation.

Mr. Simon Hughes

I do not doubt what the Minister of State said. I was arguing not that those challenges are damaging to morale, but that because of those challenges the rewards need to be greater and that because such challenges demand time, effort and activity there must be some compensation or teachers will not feel they can do all that we ask of them.

Mrs. Rumbold

I understand what the hon. Gentleman is saying. No doubt that will be part and parcel of the outcome of the extra effort that is made. However, I have to say to the hon. Gentleman and to the hon. Member for Hillsborough that their objections to licensed teachers are rather sad. I believe that my right hon. Friend's suggestions for licensed teachers will improve the quality of people who enter the classroom at qualified teacher status. Instead of people coming to the classroom and receiving qualified teacher status without any experience, licensed teachers will be graduates or have higher education qualifications and will receive at least two years' training within the classroom. That is extremely important. We currently employ people who are not able to receive such training and who take up posts in schools without any teaching experience.

The opposition to my right hon. Friend's many initiatives to combat teacher shortages is quite incomprehensible. It cannot make sense to highlight areas where there are shortages of specialist teachers but then to rubbish every single idea to help alleviate the problem. The bursary scheme has helped to tackle teacher shortages in special subjects and the teaching as a career team in the Department of Education and Science has had considerable success in its roadshows and its advertising campaign to make sure that people come forward to be new teachers.

Many of the other proposals my right hon. Friend has outlined today prove that our Department is working hard to improve the supply of teachers. I ask the House to support the amendment.

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

The House divided: Ayes 181, Noes 262.

Division No. 183] [10 pm.
Abbott, Ms Diane Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)
Anderson, Donald Campbell-Savours, D. N.
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Cartwright, John
Armstrong, Hilary Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Clay, Bob
Ashton, Joe Cohen, Harry
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Cook, Robin (Livingston)
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Corbett, Robin
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich) Corbyn, Jeremy
Barron, Kevin Cousins, Jim
Battle, John Crowther, Stan
Beckett, Margaret Cryer, Bob
Beggs, Roy Cummings, John
Bell, Stuart Cunliffe, Lawrence
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Dalyell, Tam
Bermingham, Gerald Darling, Alistair
Bidwell, Sydney Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Blunkett, David Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'I)
Boateng, Paul Dewar, Donald
Bray, Dr Jeremy Dixon, Don
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Dobson, Frank
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Doran, Frank
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Douglas, Dick
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Dunnachie, Jimmy
Buchan, Norman Eadie, Alexander
Buckley, George J. Eastham, Ken
Caborn, Richard Evans, John (St Helens N)
Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray) Meacher, Michael
Fatchett, Derek Meale, Alan
Faulds, Andrew Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Fearn, Ronald Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n) Morley, Elliott
Fisher, Mark Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Flannery, Martin Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Mowlam, Marjorie
Foster, Derek Mullin, Chris
Fraser, John Murphy, Paul
Fyfe, Maria Nellist, Dave
Galbraith, Sam Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Galloway, George O'Neill, Martin
Garrett, John (Norwich South) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Garrett, Ted (Wallsend) Patchett, Terry
Godman, Dr Norman A. Pike, Peter L.
Golding, Mrs Llin Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Gordon, Mildred Prescott, John
Gould, Bryan Primarolo, Dawn
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Quin, Ms Joyce
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Radice, Giles
Grocott, Bruce Randall, Stuart
Hardy, Peter Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Harman, Ms Harriet Richardson, Jo
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Henderson, Doug Robertson, George
Hinchliffe, David Robinson, Geoffrey
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Rogers, Allan
Holland, Stuart Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Home Robertson, John Ruddock, Joan
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Sedgemore, Brian
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd) Sheerman, Barry
Hughes, John (Coventry NE) Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S) Short, Clare
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Skinner, Dennis
Hume, John Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Ingram, Adam Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
Janner, Greville Soley, Clive
Jones, leuan (Ynys Môn) Spearing, Nigel
Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil Steel, Rt Hon David
Kirkwood, Archy Stott, Roger
Lambie, David Strang, Gavin
Lamond, James Straw, Jack
Leighton, Ron Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Lestor, Joan (Eccles) Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Lewis, Terry Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Litherland, Robert Turner, Dennis
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Vaz, Keith
McAllion, John Wall, Pat
McAvoy, Thomas Wallace, James
Macdonald, Calum A. Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
McFall, John Wareing, Robert N.
McKay, Allen (Barnsley West) Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
McKelvey, William Wigley, Dafydd
McLeish, Henry Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Maclennan, Robert Wilson, Brian
McNamara, Kevin Winnick, David
McWilliam, John Worthington, Tony
Madden, Max Wray, Jimmy
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Marek, Dr John Tellers for the Ayes:
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Mr. Frank Haynes and
Martin, Michael J. (Springburn) Mr. Martyn Jones.
Martlew, Eric
Aitken, Jonathan Baldry, Tony
Alexander, Richard Banks, Robert (Harrogate)
Allason, Rupert Batiste, Spencer
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Beaumont-Dark, Anthony
Amess, David Bellingham, Henry
Amos, Alan Bendall, Vivian
Arbuthnot, James Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Benyon, W.
Ashby, David Blackburn, Dr John G.
Atkins, Robert Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Body, Sir Richard
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Bonsor, Sir Nicholas
Boscawen, Hon Robert Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Boswell, Tim Grist, Ian
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n) Grylls, Michael
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Bowis, John Hague, William
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Brazier, Julian Hanley, Jeremy
Bright, Graham Harris, David
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Haselhurst, Alan
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Hawkins, Christopher
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick Hayward, Robert
Budgen, Nicholas Hill, James
Burns, Simon Hind, Kenneth
Burt, Alistair Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)
Butler, Chris Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Butterfill, John Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Carrington, Matthew Irvine, Michael
Carttiss, Michael Irving, Charles
Cash, William Jack, Michael
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Janman, Tim
Chapman, Sydney Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Chope, Christopher Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Kirkhope, Timothy
Colvin, Michael Knapman, Roger
Conway, Derek Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Knowles, Michael
Cope, Rt Hon John Knox, David
Cormack, Patrick Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Couchman, James Lang, Ian
Cran, James Latham, Michael
Currie, Mrs Edwina Lawrence, Ivan
Curry, David Lee, John (Pendle)
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g) Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Davis, David (Boothferry) Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)
Dorrell, Stephen Lightbown, David
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Lilley, Peter
Dover, Den Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Durant, Tony Lord, Michael
Dykes, Hugh Luce, Rt Hon Richard
Eggar, Tim Lyell, Sir Nicholas
Evennett, David McCrindle, Robert
Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas Macfarlane, Sir Neil
Fallon, Michael MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Favell, Tony MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
Fenner, Dame Peggy Maclean, David
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) McLoughlin, Patrick
Fishburn, John Dudley McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael
Fookes, Dame Janet McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)
Forman, Nigel Major, Rt Hon John
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Malins, Humfrey
Forth, Eric Mans, Keith
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Marlow, Tony
Fox, Sir Marcus Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Freeman, Roger Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
French, Douglas Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Gale, Roger Mates, Michael
Gardiner, George Maude, Hon Francis
Garel-Jones, Tristan Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Gill, Christopher Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian Mellor, David
Glyn, Dr Alan Meyer, Sir Anthony
Goodhart, Sir Philip Miller, Sir Hal
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Mills, Iain
Gow, Ian Miscampbell, Norman
Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW) Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Mitchell, Sir David
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Moate, Roger
Gregory, Conal Monro, Sir Hector
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Stern, Michael
Moore, Rt Hon John Stevens, Lewis
Morris, M (N'hampton S) Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Morrison, Sir Charles Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Moynihan, Hon Colin Stokes, Sir John
Neale, Gerrard Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Nelson, Anthony Sumberg, David
Neubert, Michael Summerson, Hugo
Nicholls, Patrick Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Oppenheim, Phillip Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Paice, James Temple-Morris, Peter
Patten, John (Oxford W) Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Pawsey, James Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Thorne, Neil
Porter, Barry (Wirral S) Thornton, Malcolm
Porter, David (Waveney) Thurnham, Peter
Portillo, Michael Townend, John (Bridlington)
Powell, William (Corby) Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Price, Sir David Tracey, Richard
Raffan, Keith Trippier, David
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Twinn, Dr Ian
Rathbone, Tim Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Redwood, John Waddington, Rt Hon David
Renton, Tim Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Riddick, Graham Waldegrave, Hon William
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Walden, George
Roberts, Wyn (Conwy) Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Rossi, Sir Hugh Waller, Gary
Rowe, Andrew Ward, John
Rumbold, Mrs Angela Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Ryder, Richard Warren, Kenneth
Sackville, Hon Tom Watts, John
Sayeed, Jonathan Wells, Bowen
Shaw, David (Dover) Wheeler, John
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb') Whitney, Ray
Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW) Widdecombe, Ann
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge) Wiggin, Jerry
Shersby, Michael Wilshire, David
Sims, Roger Winterton, Mrs Ann
Skeet, Sir Trevor Wolfson, Mark
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Wood, Timothy
Soames, Hon Nicholas Woodcock, Mike
Speller, Tony Young, Sir George (Acton)
Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W) Younger, Rt Hon George
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Squire, Robin Tellers for the Noes:
Stanbrook, Ivor Mr. Kenneth Carlisle and
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John Mr. David Heathcoat-Amory.

Question accordingly negatived.

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

Mr. Speaker forthwith declared the main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.

Resolved, That this House notes the importance of recruiting sufficient well qualified teachers, in particular for the implementation of the national curriculum; welcomes the vigorous measures which the Government has introduced to this end; welcomes the clear indication of the success of these measures; welcomes the measures the Government is taking to make teacher training more rigorous, more practical and more responsive to the needs of schools; and commends the Government's intention to continue to take whatever action is needed to ensure a continuing supply of high quality teachers.