§ Mr. Win Griffiths (Bridgend)
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 20 for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,the escalating crisis in filling teaching posts in our schools.The House is well aware that we have recently had a debate on teacher shortages. The Select Committee on Education, Science and Arts, of which I am a member, is currently in the last stages of preparing a report on the matter. It is an important matter, requiring urgent consideration, because on this very day the six major teaching unions in this country have, for the first time, joined forces to produce a survey on teacher vacancies which shows that the number of vacancies is double that which those at the Department of Education and Science think it is on the basis of the evidence that they produced for the interim advisory committee on teachers' pay.
It could be argued that this matter could be left for the interim committee to discuss at its leisure in time for the pay award next April. However, instead of there being about 4,000 vacancies, the figure is closer to 8,000 and that affects between 200,000 and 300,000 pupils attending schools today. The Government should say that they are willing to accept this new survey, which is far bigger than previous ones, and, as a result, remove the restrictions limiting the interim advisory committee on the pay award, which is about £650 million. Therefore, instead of taking action next April, when another full academic year will have passed, the Government can consider this new evidence and announce an interim award this month, thereby enabling schools to attract teachers. There are 400,000 qualified teachers who are not teaching at the moment. An immediate impact could be made on the huge number of vacancies in our schools if the Department of Education and Science were to act immediately to deal with this problem.
Therefore, I sincerely hope that you, Mr. Speaker, will allow the Adjournment of the House so that this urgent matter, which is of importance to all schoolchildren, can be discussed this afternoon.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Bridgend (Mr. Griffiths) asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 20 for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely,the issue of teacher shortages.As the House knows, under Standing Order No. 20 I have to announce my decision without giving reasons to the House. I have listened with care to what the hon. Gentleman has said. I have to decide whether his application comes within this Standing Order and, if so, whether the debate should he given priority over the business already set down for today or tomorrow. The matter he has raised does not meet the requirements of the Standing Order and, therefore, I cannot submit his application to the House.