HC Deb 25 October 2000 vol 355 cc286-333
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Lord)

We now come to the next Opposition debate, and I inform the House that Mr. Speaker has selected the amendment in the name of the Prime Minister.

7.27 pm
Mrs. Theresa May (Maidenhead)

I beg to move, That this House views with concern the growing crisis of teacher supply and recruitment which is affecting the quality of education in the country's schools; notes that there has been a net outflow of teachers from the profession since 1997; deplores the Government's complacency and failure to deal with the underlying problems leading to the decline of the teaching profession; recognises that, unless action is taken, education standards will fall in the future; and calls on the Government to set the schools free, give heads the power to exercise discipline policy in their schools, rid teachers of the excessive bureaucratic burdens they face and let teachers teach. I am sad that, despite all the warnings that the Government have been given over the past two years of the growing crisis in teacher supply and recruitment, today we face a worsening problem and a Government unable to recognise the damage that their policies are doing to the quality of education for children in our schools.

We should be absolutely clear. This is not just a debate about teachers; it is about children and the standard of education that they receive. That standard is falling and will continue to fall. [Interruption.] shows just how out of touch Ministers are with what is happening in our schools that they choose to laugh. However, the standard of education will continue to fall as long as the Government do nothing to improve recruitment and to stem the tide of teachers leaving our schools as a direct result of Government policy.

Conservative Members cannot debate this subject without first putting on record our recognition of the hard work and commitment of hundreds of thousands of teachers in our schools and our gratitude to those who carry on despite the burden of bureaucracy and in the face of Government interference. It is the children who matter, but their education is suffering. It suffers when there are not enough teachers in schools; it suffers when there are not enough specialist teachers; it suffers if schools have to rely on a constant supply of temporary supply teachers; it suffers when teachers are stressed out and have their non-contact time removed and have to work increasing hours to carry out their own teaching requirements and to cover for vacancies.

There is already evidence of the impact on standards. Professor Howson of Oxford Brookes university—when commenting a month or two ago on this year's key stage 2 maths results in London, in which a third of inner-London boroughs made little or no gains at all—said that the results might be an indication that teacher shortages in the capital were having an impact. Teacher shortages are severe. [Interruption.] Perhaps, instead of debating with the Liberal Democrats which party Professor Howson is a member of—an entirely academic debate between Labour and the Liberal Democrats these days, given their pact—the Secretary of State would have the courtesy to listen to what is being said.

Mr. Edward Garnier (Harborough)

One of the facts to which the Secretary of State might care to listen and which my hon. Friend can add to her magazine of ammunition to destroy the Government's credibility, is that, in the district of Harborough, three primary school heads are retiring early this year as a direct consequence of the Government's activities, and it is impossible to find replacements for them.

Mrs. May

I am grateful to my hon. and learned Friend for reminding the House of the reality of the Government's policies, which is that schools are being left without head teachers and children's education will suffer as a result. I have no doubt that the teachers in the schools in my hon. and learned Friend's constituency will work their hardest to ensure that children's education does not suffer, but, as a result of the Government's policies, too many schools find that their heads are leaving and that they cannot recruit replacements, and education and children will suffer.

In a report earlier this year, the London chief education officers group told Ministers that it was concerned that there was a potential crisis in the staffing in schools in London. Croydon was recruiting in Australia; Tower Hamlets reported a desperate situation in primary schools and was thinking of recruiting in New Zealand; Merton reported that the situation was worse than ever; Kensington and Chelsea spoke of pockets of despair in some primary schools, not related to the standards of the schools; and Southwark was concerned about the quality of applicants.

It is little wonder that the situation is so bad. The Government have failed to meet their target for recruitment into initial teacher training in each of the past three years. During the past three years, there has been a net outflow of teachers from the profession. Applications for maths and science postgraduate certificate of education courses, with the Government's golden hellos, have slumped below the levels that prompted the launch of the initiative in the first place. Last year, the intake for maths trainee teachers was less than half the required number, and for technology teachers it was two-thirds down on the target. Late last year, the Government even slashed the recruitment targets for technology teachers by a third and they still failed to meet the target.

Judy Mallaber (Amber Valley)

Will the hon. Lady therefore explain how come last year recruitment to initial teacher training for maths teachers rose for the first time since 1994 and for science teachers for the first time since 1996?

Mrs. May

The hon. Lady can quote what figures she likes, but the reality is that the Government are missing their targets. It is simple. There are not enough maths or technology teachers, and the Government are failing to address that particular problem.

To meet the targets for teacher training of graduates in modern languages and maths, about 40 per cent. of all graduates in those subjects would need to go into teaching every year. The number of teachers this year is 2,000 below the required number and during the past year there has been an increase in the gap between the supply of and demand for teachers, and that is on top of estimated vacancies of 17,000. House of Commons figures show that, if nothing changes in the teaching profession up to the year 2004, the overall gap between the number of teachers available and the number of teachers required could grow to 31,000. In other words, on that basis, in five years time, we would be 31,000 teachers short.

Dr. Evan Harris (Oxford, West and Abingdon)

The hon. Lady has done a good job of setting out the problem, but can she explain what she proposes to do about it? Surely she does not propose that simply the election of another Conservative Government will make a difference. Does not the solution have something to do with alternative salaries for some of these well-qualified graduates?

Mrs. May

I can well imagine the Liberal Democrats embarrassment when they hear the reality of the Government's policy being set out as clearly as it is today, but if the hon. Gentleman will have some patience, I shall come to his point. In the meantime, if he wants an instant answer, I suggest that he reads the motion.

Mr. Ian Bruce (South Dorset)

My hon. Friend is in danger of being unfair in simply criticising the Labour Government. We in Dorset have a Liberal Democrat-controlled county council running the education authority, which is failing time and again. When we have good Conservative policies getting the money down to the schools, we shall cut out those Liberal Democrats who are stopping teachers from being employed.

Mrs. May

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for reminding us of the iniquities of Liberal Democrat-controlled councils, from which my constituents suffered until May this year when, I am pleased to say, the royal borough of Maidenhead and Windsor returned to Conservative control.

The time bomb that is ticking away under our schools may be even more explosive than the figures that I have given suggest. More than 50 per cent. of the teacher work force is now over the age of 45, and how many of them, faced with the increasing pressures of life under the Government, will soon be looking for early retirement? We already have schools on a four-day working week—Beechwood school in Slough and Corby community college. As was clear when I spoke to the head teacher of Corby community college, that was done reluctantly, but it has happened. It is interesting that Corby community college has gone on to a four-day week, but the Labour-controlled local education authority could afford to send someone to stand around outside the school while I was meeting the head. That person was not doing anything, just standing around. That is how Labour spends money that should be going into our schools.

Mr. Phil Hope (Corby)

Would the hon. Lady care to take this opportunity to apologise to the House and the people of Corby for riding her Tory bandwagon into Corby, kicking Corby kids and making a political football out of Corby community college, something that has brought the Conservative party and the hon. Lady's reputation into severe disrepute?

Mrs. May

I make no apology for visiting schools in Britain. I make no apology for visiting schools such as Brooke Weston technology college outside Corby, which I was due to visit on the same day that I went to Corby community college, as the hon. Gentleman well knows. I make no apology for visiting Corby community college and hearing what is happening in schools. The problem today is that it is those on the Government Front Bench who fail to understand what is happening in our schools. It is to those on his Front Bench that the hon. Gentleman should direct his attack, not to those on the Opposition Front Bench.

We also know that more schools are likely to go to a four-day week. A school in Medway will be going on to a four-day week within a few days, and more are thinking of following suit. Whatever the statistics showing the size of the problem, they do not show the real impact on children and teachers. The head of a Roman Catholic school in St. Helen's described recruiting as trying to empty Lake Michigan with a dinner fork. The deputy head of East Sussex community college said: Trying to appoint a maths teacher…became the dance of the demons with schools phoning each other in desperation. In their recent report "Coping with Teacher Shortages", Alan Smithers and Pamela Robinson reported one head describing how, on hearing that a candidate had not been appointed in a neighbouring school, he immediately rang the head of that school and asked that she be bundled into a taxi so that she could be interviewed and recruited straight away.

The quality of candidates is falling, as reported last month by the head teacher of Chaucer school in the Secretary of State's constituency, which has lost a quarter of its staff in the past year. The lack of applicants for posts means that standards of appointments sometimes fall, as has been reported in the survey conducted recently by the National Union of Teachers. One head said: I was in great danger of losing the teachers of the other two classes due to stress and violence, so we took this lady on after a 20 minute interview on the phone to Australia. It was an act of faith. Another said: I had doubts about the references and offered it to her on a one year contract which she accepted. As the year wore on, I became more and more grateful that I'd listened to that small voice. People who are not up to scratch are gaining employment when they wouldn't if there were a reasonable choice. Sadly, another head said: When push comes to shove you've got to put a body in front of the class. So long as you know they are not going to kill a child or maim them—what choice do we have. That is the situation to which the Government have reduced our schools.

Sometimes the situation seems close to farce. Another head reports: We have got technologists who teach art. The PE staff teach a bit of maths, a bit of geography. The maths teachers, when we appointed the three, we had to say "You'll be teaching a bit of science, is that all right?" just hoping that they did not say "On your bike". Faced with an increasingly desperate situation, what attitude do the Government take? Last week, in another place, the Minister was asked about the crisis. What response did the noble Baroness Blackstone give? She said: My Lords, I think it is a little exaggerated to describe the overall national picture as a "crisis".—[Official Report, House of Lords, 17 October 2000; Vol. 617, c. 881.] "Crisis? What crisis?" seems to be the leitmotif of Labour Governments, and that complacency is all too clear to the schools.

Mr. Michael Fabricant (Lichfield)

Perhaps the Minister in the other place was referring to the private sector. Is my hon. Friend aware that Lichfield cathedral school tells me that preparatory schools in the private sector have no problem in recruiting, because there is now a drift away from the state sector? Teachers do not want to work in the state sector any more, because of the burden of forms and red tape imposed by the Government and the sheer lack of resources in the state sector.

Mrs. May

My hon. Friend is right. Sadly, teachers are leaving the state sector and going into the private sector precisely because of the problems created by the Government. The private sector has the freedom to deliver the packages for those teachers, and offers the freedom in the classroom that the teachers want.

Fiona Mactaggart (Slough)


Mrs. May

I will take one more intervention, then I must make progress.

Fiona Mactaggart

The hon. Lady referred to a school in my constituency that has gone on to short-time teaching. It is a secondary modern school, and one of the reasons for its difficulty in recruiting—not the only one—is the fact that it is a secondary modern school. She said that the same might be about to happen in Medway. Am I right in thinking that the school to which she referred is also a secondary modern school?

Mrs. May

I suggest that the hon. Lady look closely at what is happening in our teaching profession. It is not a question of whether a school is a secondary modern, or the type of school. The problem is caused by a leeching from the teaching profession because of her Government's policies. If she wants teachers to come into the profession, and if she wants to retain teachers in the profession, she should be talking to those on her Front Bench. She should remind them of the problems that they are causing in schools across the country, including in her own constituency.

Ministers have not listened to the problems that have been raised. One head teacher reported to the National Union of Teachers: There must be four or five schools in this authority with serious vacancies for teachers but we got a written reply from a minister saying there is not a recruitment problem. If there is not a recruitment problem, why have the Government made teaching in London a shortage occupation for immigration purposes? The statistics and the quotes show the same story all around—a story that the Government have refused to accept or understand.

On the one hand, Ministers say that there is no problem; on the other, they claim that they are solving it by throwing money at it. Ministers are fond of telling us how successful have been their incentive schemes—golden hellos, money for trainee teachers—and we even had the spectacle at the Labour party conference of the Prime Minister claiming that the new bursaries for student teachers had led to a 50 per cent. rise in graduate applications.

That is typical of the Government. They think that, if they spin a story long enough, it will become fact. The reality of graduate applications was set out in an answer to a written question from my hon. Friend the Member for Hertsmere (Mr. Clappison) from the Minister for School Standards, in which she showed that postgraduate applications have fallen since 1997.

There has been a small increase of 388 applications over the past year, according to the graduate teacher training registry. The Prime Minister said that applications were up by 50 per cent. Perhaps the Secretary of State could tell us under what part of the numeracy strategy 388 becomes 50 per cent. of 30,000. I should be happy to take a response from the Secretary of State, but it seems that none is forthcoming. In any case, the reports from universities, colleges and schools show that the Government are well missing their target, and that is even ignoring the 7 per cent. fall in undergraduate applications.

One of the factors with which the Government have never got to grips is that expressions of interest, or even applications, do not always turn into enrolment on courses. The advertisement about what makes a good teacher was supposed to lead to an increase in interest. Where did it end? The Government missed their targets for recruitment. In the case of the golden hellos, the target was also missed. Similarly, in the case of trainee salaries, "Teacher training misses its target" yet again, according to a headline in The Times Educational Supplement.

I received a letter earlier today from the Secretary of State about the debate this evening. He referred to my new-found concern for teacher recruitment— [HON. MEMBERS: "What a cheek!"] Yes, it was quite cheeky. I suggest that the Secretary of State look back, if not to my first year in the House, when I raised the issue as a member of the Select Committee on Education and Employment, then to 1998, when I joined the Front-Bench team and first started speaking about the problems that the Government were creating in teacher recruitment and supply. It is the Secretary of State who has lost credibility by not being interested in the problem, as teachers and governors will tell him.

In his letter, the Secretary of State goes on to refer to your party's plans for substantial spending cuts in education. That is yet another example of the Government clutching at straws and plucking figures from thin air, in a desperate attempt to make people forget the large sums of money that the right hon. Gentleman and his local government friends hold back from our schools year after year. We will increase the money received by schools. He might not like it, but we will do it.

Mr. Phil Willis (Harrogate and Knaresborough)

Will the hon. Lady give way?

Mrs. May

No, I shall finish dealing with the letter, if I may.

The Secretary of State claims that the Labour Government's introduction of teacher training salaries has already prevented the substantial reduction in recruitment to teaching which may be expected with a tight graduate labour market— just like that! When Ministers have been asked about the reports that they have missed their targets in respect of training salaries, they say that it is too early to tell, so how do they know that the problem of teacher recruitment has been solved? That is yet another complacent statement from the Secretary of State.

The right hon. Gentleman deals in his letter with the expansion of the graduate teacher programme and asks whether I will support that. I believe that we must consider different ways of bringing people into teaching at various stages of their life, but I want to see the whole of teacher training changed, with the emphasis on training in schools and learning the craft of teaching. I want to open up the recruitment market for teachers, getting rid of the rigidities in the system.

That will be a far more significant change of approach than tinkering at the edges, as the Government have done, because of their complacency. They offer a bit here and a bit there, but the problem remains.

The Secretary of State for Education and Employment (Mr. David Blunkett)

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for giving way. In the letter, I argued that the problem with her policy was that the Opposition cannot refuse to acknowledge that they will match our spending, and then undertake to spend money on teacher recruitment from the centre. Teacher recruitment funding does not come from delegated budgets to schools. It comes from the £180 million that we have allocated for the teacher recruitment and bursary programme and for the school-based graduate salaries that we introduced. I challenge the hon. Lady to say tonight whether she would match the £180 million by 2002 that we will be spending on that issue.

Mrs. May

I have already responded to the Secretary of State. It is not a question of one programme or another. We must consider the whole issue of teacher training and recruitment—the entire package that teachers are offered. We must ensure that teachers come forward because they want once again to do the job of encouraging children to learn in our schools. Sadly, teachers are turning away from that because of the bureaucracy and red tape coming from the Government.

Mr. Richard Allan (Sheffield, Hallam)

Will the hon. Lady give way?

Mrs. May

I shall give way just once more.

Mr. Allan

I am grateful to the hon. Lady. There is an important point for anyone who is at university and considering a career in teaching. If the Conservatives were re-elected to government, would they get rid of the golden hellos, the graduate salaries and so on, keep them or enhance them? We need to know that, and graduates need to know that when planning their careers.

Mrs. May

I make this promise to anyone who is considering teacher training: when they come into teacher training under the next Conservative Government in the near future, they will have a far better time in teaching and be able to exercise their professional judgment in the classroom in a way that they cannot do under the present Government.

That brings me to the overwhelming reasons that teachers give for leaving the profession. They are leaving in droves because of increased work load and stress through the growing burden of red tape and bureaucracy, and the problem of discipline in schools. The Government are doing nothing about it.

When Teresa Heys, a primary school teacher for more than 20 years, left to become a chauffeur, she said: I was faced with masses of paperwork every day, which was very time consuming and not what I became a teacher to do. She is not alone. A secondary school teacher in Shropshire said: I am leaving the profession early in order to move up to the Lake District and escape from ridiculous pressures of the current workload: a move in the interests of my prospects of longevity: the job is definitely detrimental to one's health at the moment.

Mr. Blunkett

Oh dear.

Mrs. May

Yet again, the Secretary of State shows that he does not care about what goes on in our schools and that he is out of touch with the reality of pressures that teachers face. Those pressures are driving them out of the profession. We are considering not only teachers, their longevity and health, but the quality of education for children.

The words of a teacher from a primary school in Yorkshire echo the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Lichfield (Mr. Fabricant) about Lichfield cathedral school: I will be leaving the profession to work in the private sector…I feel let down by this Government, whom I believe have done nothing to recognise or encourage experienced classroom teachers like myself. We could cite story after story, and quote after quote from teacher after teacher, all suffering because of the Government.

Mr. Bercow

Does my hon. Friend agree that if the Secretary of State felt an ounce of sympathy for head teachers such as Marjorie Evans and the predicament in which she recently found herself, he could have expressed it? He did not do that because he feels no sympathy.

Mr. Blunkett

Because it is a Welsh matter.

Mrs. May

The Secretary of State's response to teachers who are worried about the way in which malicious allegations can be made against them, and who find their names dragged through the press and their careers ruined, is that it is nothing to do with him if it happens in Wales. His attitude is, "It's a Welsh matter, so I wasn't going to say anything."

Mr. Patrick McLoughlin (West Derbyshire)

The Secretary of State's comment was revealing. Although the incident may have been a Welsh matter, it worries teachers throughout the land. The Secretary of State's complacency shows how out of touch he is.

Mrs. May

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Teachers across the country are worried about malicious allegations, and ministerial complacency is breathtaking. Teachers fear that they will be the subject of a malicious allegation, have their names dragged through the press, and have their careers ruined and lives shattered. More than 80 per cent. of such allegations are false. We are committed to providing teachers with the anonymity that they need until the police press charges. Teachers deserve our support in the face of malicious allegations from pupils. I hope that the Secretary of State will commit the Government to follow our lead and adopt such a policy of teacher anonymity.

Teachers are also worried about discipline. The Government amendment is complacent and claims that they have given head teachers, the powers to deal effectively with discipline for the first time. Teachers throughout the country know how hollow are those words. Until the Government give teachers real power to deal with disruptive pupils and get rid of the fines that are levied on schools that do not reach their targets to reduce exclusions and abolish those targets, teachers will not have the powers that they need to discipline disruptive pupils.

One of the key problems that face teachers is red tape and interference from the Government. Last year, one circular was issued by the Department for Education and Employment for every hour of a teacher's work. That robs teachers of time that should be spent in the classroom or preparing lessons. It saps them of energy and enthusiasm and takes away the ability to inspire children. Education should be about inspiring children. Teachers want to ignite the spark in all children, whatever their abilities, that creates a thirst for knowledge and understanding, and an interest in their subject. Exhausted teachers, desperately covering for vacancies that are not in their departments, barely have time and energy to prepare a lesson, let alone ignite the spark of inspiration.

Our teachers are working desperately hard to maintain standards, but the Labour Government have loaded the dice against them. They impose yet more targets and bureaucracy, they name and shame and they centralise. They sap the teaching profession's morale, which sinks lower and lower. The Government's approach, symbolised by the attitude of Government Front-Bench Members this evening, and their sedentary interventions, shows how out of touch they are and how little they care about what happens in our schools.

Unless the Government act now to cut red tape, and stop centralising and interfering in schools, the move out of teaching will continue. The Government will realise that all their tinkering constituted a mere pebble in the ocean. People who express an interest in applying to be teachers will not apply, those who train will not take up teaching posts and teachers will continue to leave. That is not simply a debating point; it is vital if we are to provide a decent standard of education for the country's children.

As one person who is closely involved said, the system is close to meltdown. I hope that the Secretary of State can turn his mind from dreams of becoming Home Secretary and focus on the problems in his Department. Tonight, if the Secretary of State merely promotes his incentives once more and fails to address the underlying problems, the message that he sends to teachers, parents and governors is that he is not interested in the problems that they face from day to day, and that he has closed his ears to their pleas and set his face against the necessary action to reverse the tide of decline. There is a desperate need to set schools free, give head teachers the power to exercise discipline, rid teachers of the red tape and bureaucracy that bedevils them and let teachers teach. The next Conservative Government will do that.

If the Government continue to centralise, interfere, tell teachers how to teach and increase red tape, they will let down not only teachers but children. Standards of education will fall and people will know where the blame lies: with an arrogant, complacent and out-of-touch Labour Government, and Labour will pay the price.

7.58 pm
The Secretary of State for Education and Employment (Mr. David Blunkett)

I beg to move, To leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof: welcomes the successful new measures introduced by the Government to support teacher recruitment, including training salaries, incentives for shortage subjects and an expanded graduate teacher programme; welcomes the fact that there has been a significant increase in applications and acceptances for teacher training as a result; further welcomes the support given by the School Teachers Review Body for the Government's plans to better reward good teaching; notes that there are nearly 7,000 more teachers in post now than in 1998; further notes that primary and infant class sizes have fallen after rising annually under the previous administration; recognises that headteachers have got both the resources and the powers to deal effectively with discipline for the first time; and commends the work of the Government in addressing specific recruitment difficulties in London and the positive and pro-active approach of this administration towards recruiting and rewarding teachers more generally. Can I say how good it was to experience the gems of wisdom that the hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May) presented, which took us so much further forward in finding solutions to problems? Of course I cannot. The hon. Lady did not come up with a single solution to the problems. She cannot match the spending to which we are committed for the next three years because her leader and shadow Chancellor will not help her to do that. She could not say whether she would retain and spend the £180 million on the recruitment programmes, the graduate teacher salaries, the bursaries, and the incentives in London to ensure that teachers are in the classroom. She could not give us an assurance that she would increase teachers' salaries and match the performance-related promotion because she cannot commit those on her Front Bench to matching our spending.

Tonight the hon. Member for Maidenhead has offered nothing but doom and gloom. I have some advice for her. I advise her not to pretend—to use words such as "crisis" when there is no crisis. There is a problem in specific parts of the country, including London and the south-east. That problem must be addressed. However, there is no universal problem or crisis, and to suggest that there is undermines the commitment of those, including teachers, who want to attract young and old alike back into the classroom. They want to encourage people to come into one of the best professions in the world.

Mr. Crispin Blunt (Reigate)

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us when a problem becomes a crisis?

Mr. Blunkett

The problem became a crisis when the Conservatives were elected in 1979, and started to cut spending on education and undermine the teaching profession.

It is important that we compare like with like. Our use of statistics must be understandable and deeply honest, and the hon. Member for Maidenhead has not used them in that way. It is also important to compare like with like in terms of the economic and labour market situation with which we are faced. We should reflect on what happened in the late 1980s, before the genuine crisis that was created—

Mr. Gerald Howarth (Aldershot)

What crisis?

Mr. Blunkett

It was a crisis. I think that everyone accepted that Black Wednesday was a crisis. It wasted £15 billion of our national reserves. That is the answer to the hon. Gentleman's question. I consider Black Wednesday to be a crisis.

We are talking this evening of a real challenge to us all to get things right. Let us compare like with like.

Mr. Andrew Robathan (Blaby)

Will the Secretary of State give way?

Mr. Blunkett

I will in a moment.

Let us compare full-time posts, not temporary and supply teacher posts. Let us ensure that when we make a comparison we get it right. Let us consider whether what has already been put in place is making a difference. In other words, have we recognised that there is a problem? Yes, we have. Have we done something about it? Yes, we have. Is it beginning to work? Yes, it is.

The problem should not be addressed only by the Department for Education and Employment and the Teacher Training Agency. They alone should not put measures in place to deal with it. It is one that should be considered across government. Conservative Members never recognised that when they were in government. That is why the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions is working with my Department on the start-up programme for attracting and encouraging young people to come to London by providing the scheme that my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister will be announcing shortly. We want to ensure that teachers can buy or rent a house. That is a significant difficulty in London at present. Indeed, it has been a problem in London over many years.

The hon. Member for Maidenhead, in her litany of local authorities having difficulties, mentioned Tower Hamlets. In 1989, there were 450 permanent vacancies in Tower Hamlets. It is reasonable to use 1989 as a comparison after the 1988 boom. The comparison includes the labour market, the rise in salaries and the competition for good graduates. If we compare 1989 and the present situation, we arrive at a reasonable view of what has been happening.

There were 5,500 vacancies in the teaching profession in 1989, and 3.7 per cent. of those were in London. There are now slightly fewer than 3,000 vacancies throughout the country, and 2.7 per cent. of those are in London. Vacancies throughout the country are slightly less than 1 per cent. That is comparing the figures that were available in 1989 with the figures that are now available.

Let us take the Library figures. They include part-time and supply teachers, which the Department does not include in its figures. The figure of 429,000 which the hon. Member for Maidenhead has put out to the press cannot be compared with the 404,600 which we acknowledge in terms of normal statistical arrangements.

I do not demur from the Library's statistics. Taking the exemplification that they make, I do not say that there would not be the sort of shortfall that the hon. Lady has outlined. I am sorry to disappoint her, but I will not go into statistical doublethink or doubletalk and suggest that the problem would not arise. The problem is that the Library statistics were based on the January count: 10 months ago—not now. At the beginning of the year we recognised that a major problem was afoot. We understood that if we did not take action there would be a genuine crisis. On 30 March—a fact that the hon. Lady seems to have ignored—we announced a package of measures, to which I have referred. The package was expensive, but necessary to ensure that we reversed the decline in teacher recruitment.

The package is working. To suggest otherwise is to undermine the efforts of the Teacher Training Agency and those of local authorities that are trying genuinely to recruit. Above all, it would undermine the efforts of head teachers, whose job it is to fill vacancies. It does not help to try to get smart 10 months later; to undermine the efforts that are being made to recruit; and to play down the measures that have been put in place. A failure to acknowledge that we have put measures in place to recruit and that there are nearly 7,000 extra teachers in the classroom compared with two years ago is similarly unhelpful. The 7,000 have been recruited to reduce class sizes and to relieve the pressure on teachers that the hon. Lady has described.

Yes, there is pressure. There will be pressure. There was pressure when I was a teacher. There needs to be pressure, and also mutual support. It is a difficult job. It will always be a challenging job. I will always be able to read letters from teachers who would prefer to leave the profession and live in the Lake district. There are times when I would like to go to live in the Lake district, and tonight is one of them. However, I shall have recovered by the morning. When I have recovered, I shall continue to take the pressure because it is worth it. Similarly, it is worth being a teacher.

Mrs. May

Given the right hon. Gentleman's comments, is he rejecting the figures that were sent to my hon. Friend the Member for Hertsmere (Mr. Clappison) not 10 months ago—not in March—but one month ago, by the Minister for School Standards, which show clearly that there is still a fall in applications for teacher training this year?

Mr. Blunkett

I am denying none of the statistics in terms of their severity or impact. I am suggesting that the take-up of places from the autumn has risen by 5 per cent. overall. There is still a problem when it comes to maths, but there has been a dramatic change in technology, to which my right hon. Friend the Minister for School Standards will refer when she replies.

Mr. Robathan

Will the Secretary of State give way?

Mr. Blunkett

I have just given way to the hon. Member for Maidenhead. If I give way constantly, I shall not be able to make a speech.

There is a 5 per cent. improvement overall in the take-up of places. Compared with two years ago, there is a 14 per cent. improvement in the take-up of secondary places, where the real problem arises because of the disparity of applications to vacancies in the sector.

Mr. Robathan

The right hon. Gentleman has quoted many statistics which may or may not be right. I am concerned about the retention of teachers. I shall be grateful if the right hon. Gentleman came to my constituency and to the school that I visited recently. I cannot swear to it, but I would judge that most of the teachers there voted Labour at the general election, believing that there was a brand new sunrise on the horizon. Instead, they found that it was a sunset. They have been hugely disappointed, and they laughed when I talked about what the Government were doing in schools. They could not wait to get out of teaching. Will the right hon. Gentleman explain to them why teaching is a good profession in which they should stay?

Mr. Blunkett

Yes. I invite them to send a delegation to meet me in my office—I shall be happy if the hon. Gentleman joins them. I shall then be able to tell them why it is worth being a teacher. I will be able to share with them what others are saying to us, which is why taking 450,000 youngsters from classes of more than 30 pupils is making things easier for the teaching profession. Eleven thousand schools are undergoing repairs and renewals. We are spending £1 billion on putting technology into schools. I refer to the computers that did not exist and the link to the internet that did not happen under the previous Government. These things are worth celebrating. These are successes that breed success.

Let us rejoice in what is working and let us be clear about what is not. Let us tackle the problems and have them solved. Let us not have rhetoric, backed up by letters read out in the Chamber, that demoralises the teaching profession rather than rejoicing in what is taking place. And yes, let us have discipline. This year, £174 million—which is a one-third increase—has been spent on ensuring that teachers and heads with disruptive children can get them out of the classroom and into support units where action can be taken, and do not dump them on the street to become drug addicts and drug pushers.

Mr. Simon Hughes (Southwark, North and Bermondsey)

Like the Secretary of State, I shall not say anything that will undermine the recruitment or the position of teachers. I want to ask a simple question as a London Member of Parliament who also chairs a school governing body. Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that many experienced teachers have difficulty coping with the level of bureaucracy? They perceive that it is increasing and that it takes more of their time, and it is a pressure that is driving some of them out of the profession or to think about leaving it. If the right hon. Gentleman does accept that, will he review seriously the frequency with which the Department for Education and Employment sends out circulars, issues paper and sends, either directly or through local education authorities, additional documents for teachers to consider? Surely we could reduce that to one or two occasions a year, so that for the rest of the year teachers and head teachers could concentrate on managing and teaching in their schools.

Mr. Blunkett

Yes, I accept that there is a problem with bureaucracy, paperwork and administration. That is why we have set up a panel of heads and teachers to monitor the commitment that we have made that, from this September, we will cut the number of documents issued by a third and the amount of paper by a half. We will send out material in batches, and we will use electronic communication when that is suitable for heads. We will take similar steps with other agencies, such as the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and Ofsted, and with local authorities, so that requests for information are not duplicated. Data collection can be simplified and we can lift unnecessary burdens from heads and teachers.

There is still a long way to go, but I take no lessons on this issue from the Conservatives. They made a complete backside—a complete mess—of the introduction of the national curriculum and the assessment tests, they introduced Ofsted, and they set up the system of data collection for the tables to which we are committed. Those four measures alone placed more administrative requirements on heads and teachers than any paperwork that I have introduced, trebled. The paperwork that I have required includes the literacy and numeracy framework, advice to teachers on the "terrible" forms they have to fill in to get a £2,000 uplift in their salary, and advice on safety that we sent out two years ago and which the Opposition consider a bureaucratic infringement. Some things have to be done; some things have to be sent; and some things are necessary for consultation. However, too much has been sent out; too much has been required; and too much has to be read by teachers and heads rather than appropriate extracts or information available on the web.

We will continue to take action to ensure that we lessen the burden. In the end, paying teachers well, increasing the number of teachers, creating buildings that are fit to teach in with equipment that is fit to use, ensuring smaller class sizes, ensuring that the money is available to pay teachers at an advanced level to retain as well as recruit them, ensuring that heads get backing through the new leadership centre, and the other measures that we have put in place will all make a difference.

We will work with the Teacher Training Agency and the General Teaching Council, and with heads and local authorities across the country, to ensure that vacancies are filled, and that children get teachers with the qualifications and experience to do the job. The problems cannot be resolved by glib answers in a debate. That can be done only by concrete action to recruit young and old alike, and to make it worth being in the teaching profession. We should sing about what is working and tell every young person we meet that the teaching profession is the best way of fulfilling themselves and of making the next generation fit to live in this country.

8.14 pm
Mr. Phil Willis (Harrogate and Knaresborough)

I congratulate the hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May) on choosing to raise such an important subject on a Supply day. I think that the whole House would whole-heartedly agree that without a supply of well qualified, well motivated, committed and well paid teachers we cannot expect standards to rise, social exclusion to diminish, underachievement to be tackled or society to have confidence in the education product.

There is a teacher shortage—a teacher crisis—in our schools, despite the protestations to the contrary by the Secretary of State this evening and by Baroness Blackstone in the other place last week. However, it is to the eternal credit of the teaching profession—and in particular, of the ingenuity of head teachers—that it has not made a drama out of a crisis.

The recent research by Alan Smithers and Pamela Robinson of the university of Liverpool, entitled "Coping with Teacher Shortages" and "Talking Heads", gives us a graphic insight into the coping strategies of many schools. Those reports should be compulsory reading for all MPs, and certainly for the Secretary of State. The research helps to explain the paradox between what the Department for Education and Employment reports about teacher shortage and the actuality of what head teachers and governors find in their schools.

The hon. Member for Maidenhead read out a number of lines from the report "Talking Heads". They make amusing reading and make a cheap byline in such a debate, but they send out a stark warning that there is a limit to what can be done in our schools to paper over the real problems of teacher recruitment and retention.

Mrs. May

I am sure that when the hon. Gentleman reads Hansard tomorrow he will regret his remark that those deeply felt comments from teachers about the problems that they face were just a cheap byline in a debate. Will he withdraw that remark?

Mr. Willis

I certainly will not. I never regret what I say in the House; I choose my words carefully. The comments made in the Smithers report "Talking Heads" were well made—they were from committed teachers and were not intended to be used to make cheap political jibes in the House. They highlighted a difficult problem, and those teachers expected the House to take the issues that they raised seriously.

It is sad that the hon. Lady has chosen to link the important issue of teacher shortages with the nonsense of the Tory proposals for free schools. That was the only solution she offered—that free schools would solve the problems. What the hon. Lady did not mention in her litany was that private schools have the freedom to charge fees. There is a great difference between what private schools can do and what the state sector can do. The policy of free schools has been thought up by those barmy 14-pints-a-day folk in Conservative central office, who care not one jot about the state sector. What we have seen tonight are crocodile tears.

Mr. Ian Bruce

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Willis

No, I will not.

It is sad that not once did the hon. Lady acknowledge that the problem of teacher recruitment and retention began with previous Tory Governments. Between 1985 and 1990, every target set by the Tories for secondary recruitment was missed by a margin of 10 per cent. That is the reality of what was happening in the 1980s. Between 1993 and 1997, with the exception of 1991–94, the target for the recruitment of maths teachers was missed—by a staggering 21 per cent. in 1995–96 and an even more staggering 34 per cent. in 1996–97. The only time the previous Government met their targets for teacher recruitment was when Norman Lamont engineered the biggest economic depression since the war. That is the reality. The only bonus of that policy was that at least teachers in London could afford to buy houses, because the housing market collapsed.

Mr. Nick St. Aubyn (Guildford)

Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that at a recent union-arranged conference, he was criticised by the union chair for devoting the whole of his speech to an attack on the Conservative party, rather than making any constructive observations about what the Liberal party might come up with?

Mr. Willis

I seem to remember being cheered from the rafters at all the teachers conferences for the sensible, constructive and proactive stance that I took on those occasions.

Let us consider what happened during the Tory years. I make no apology for attacking the Tories for their policy, and for what happened during those years. It is small wonder that the number of teacher vacancies increased in each of the last three years of that Government, beginning a trend that has, sadly, continued ever since. No wonder the hon. Member for Maidenhead did not dwell too much on the past: the roots of the present crisis were firmly planted by her former colleagues.

When we examine Tory education policy before 1997, it is easy to see why teacher recruitment became a problem. Just look at the Tory record on pay during the previous Parliament. In debates such as this, it is important for us to remind the public of what happened in those Tory years before 1997. Only in 1992 and 1993 did the Tories fully fund the teachers' pay award as recommended by the review body. In 1992—a general election year—there was a recommendation for a 7.5 per cent. award, which, oddly enough, was paid in full. In 1993 there was a recommendation for a 1 per cent. award, plus restructuring. That too was paid in full, but for the remaining years of the previous Administration teachers had to put up with an award topped up by local education authorities making cuts elsewhere. In 1996 and 1997 they had to put up with the appalling arrangement of staged pay rises introduced by the last Government. That shows how much that Government valued teachers, and how much they wanted to encourage the profession.

It was not just lack of pay that put people off joining or staying in the teaching profession. It was the lack of promotion and career prospects; it was the ever increasing bureaucratic load imposed by the disastrous launch of the national curriculum—mentioned earlier by the Secretary of State—under the previous Secretary of State, John Patten; it was the intensive use of Ofsted, whose first round of inspections drove many teachers out of the profession because of the stress caused; and it was the changes in early retirement and pension arrangements, introduced by the right hon. Member for South-West Norfolk (Mrs. Shephard), which caused a massive exodus from the profession before the September 1997 deadline.

Furthermore, there was a lack of investment in school buildings, equipment and books, a lack of investment in professional development, and continued blocking of the General Teaching Council. It is worth pointing out that when the GTC was launched in September, not one Tory Front Bencher turned up at the launch. Indeed, not one Tory Member of Parliament turned up. It was left to the Minister for School Standards and me to represent the House.

The deliberate concentration of policy on grant-maintained schools and assisted places sent a clear message to would-be teachers that they would be joining a two-tier education system, consisting of a tier that the Government valued and a tier that they did not value. It is sad that a Labour Government who were so critical of the last Administration should adopt almost the same complacent attitude to teacher recruitment and retention.

In 1997, the Select Committee report "Teacher Recruitment: What can be done?" identified the problems that needed to be tackled. The Committee's Chairman, the hon. Member for Barking (Ms Hodge)—who made a fleeting appearance this evening, and who is now a Minister—made it clear where the blame lay. On 18 February 1998 she said: The complacency shown by the previous Government about the problem of teacher supply is outrageous. They created a crisis in teacher recruitment. She promised, however, that the Labour Government would sort that out: The Tories may have caused the problem, but Labour must solve it.—[Official Report, 18 February 1998; Vol. 306, c. 1021–22.] The Government began solving it by imposing tuition fees on undergraduates.

Dr. Harris

And removing grants.

Mr. Willis

And removing grants. The net result was that BEd students had a minimum of £3,000 heaped on their shoulders, in addition to the average £10,000 debt that they incurred because of the removal of grants. I defy the Minister to explain how the introduction of tuition fees and the removal of benefits and grants could improve the supply of teachers.

The Government discouraged potential graduates from choosing a teaching career by introducing a culture of "name and shame", and a fear of failure. Imagine ICI or Arthur Andersen recruiting on that basis. They would be laughed out of court. This was also the Government who gave succour to Chris Woodhead when he launched his polemical attack on 15,000 failing teachers. He did not produce a shred of evidence, and not one Minister challenged his findings.

The Government have increasingly deprofessionalised teaching by telling teachers what to teach, when to teach and how to teach, and discouraging creativity in the classroom. They have created bureaucracy in schools with their target setting and central control, which send all the wrong messages to potential recruits. The net result has been an acceleration of the recruitment crisis in the past three years, and—equally significant—a dramatic increase in the desire to leave the profession.

I spent 34 years in the teaching profession. The Minister for School Standards spent 18 years in the profession. Such periods were not uncommon. According to an ICM poll this year, whose findings have been substantiated by various other polling organisations, half our teachers now want to leave within the next 10 years.

It is no surprise, therefore, that the average length of service is now only 15 years, and is dropping year after year. It is no surprise that the number of teachers leaving the profession within five years has increased each year since 1994, and now stands at a staggering 5,000 a year. It is no surprise, either, that in the last two years the number of teachers leaving the profession, but not retiring, has increased by 30 per cent.: more than 3,000 have simply packed their bags and gone. Nor is it any surprise that, according to the September submission to the Department by the review body, schools now have 2,666 vacancies—the largest number since 1991, when there were 5,222.

Both The Times Educational Supplement and the Secondary Heads Association surveys showed, in September, that the real number of vacancies is much higher than that—some 4,000 in secondary schools alone. The Government's complacency, however, is as staggering as the Opposition's hypocrisy. Replying to my noble Friend the Baroness Sharp of Guildford, Lady Blackstone claimed that the crisis had been exaggerated. She should tell that to parents in Southwark, where today there is a 7 per cent. vacancy rate. In Tower Hamlets, 97 teachers are needed. In Hackney some schools do not even advertise posts, because they receive no response to their advertisements.

London is approaching meltdown in terms of teacher recruitment. Without the support of teachers from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, many London schools would have to close their doors, never mind working a four-day week. The problem is not confined to London, however. In Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton, 186 vacancies are currently reported. That is a 100 per cent. increase on the number two years ago. Even in more affluent Buckingham and Milton Keynes, 59 teachers are urgently required.

The hon. Member for Maidenhead spoke of 30,000 vacancies by 2004. That, of course, included the assumption that all 17,000 supply teachers would need to be replaced by permanent teachers—a somewhat exaggerated claim, as I am sure the hon. Lady would agree. However, she highlighted the admirable way in which many of our teachers manage their schools to overcome the lack of permanent staff. In January 1997, one in 25 teachers was either a temporary teacher or an instructor; today the figure is one in 20. The ingenuity of heads and their staff has enabled the Department to be as complacent as it is.

It would be wrong to say that the Government have done nothing. There has been a Green Paper on the future of the teaching profession, but a bungled threshold payment scheme has devalued what was essentially a sound proposal to reward service in the classroom.

The Minister for School Standards (Ms Estelle Morris)

The hon. Gentleman has never said that before.

Mr. Willis

I have always argued that teachers in the classroom should be paid more and that the career structure should keep teachers in the classroom. I am very pleased that the Government have listened to those cries.

Pay awards since 1998 have been met in full. There are promises to reduce bureaucracy, and we have heard the Secretary of State make them. I certainly would not accuse either him or his Ministers of not being sincere in their desire to recognise the worth of our teachers, but it will take much more than that to resolve the teacher shortage. The Government took two years to respond to the decline in applications for teacher training with golden hellos for key shortage subjects.

Mr. John Bercow (Buckingham)

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way to me because so far, in a 16-minute contribution, he has said precisely nothing about the need for good order in schools. Given the rising tide of violence by pupils against teachers throughout the country, does he agree with the Conservative Opposition that new guidelines on the legitimate use of physical restraint are urgently needed and that they should be based on the common-sense instincts of the majority of the British people, not on the permissive prejudices of the liberal establishment?

Mr. Willis

As ever, I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. His interventions are always so interesting. However, he raises an important issue, and I shall treat it seriously. I do not share his jaundiced view of what happens in the vast majority of our schools. Of course, some students—I have met a few of them in my time—cause major problems for teaching staff and the rest of the school community, and of course it is right and proper that they should be treated properly. I am sure that the Minister recognises the folly of setting a target for the reduction of exclusions; it was nonsense. We must have a balanced programme, but the hon. Gentleman, with all his wisdom, does state schools no good by creating the impression that they are overrun with mindless thugs who do nothing but attack teachers, take drugs and burn down schools.

Mr. John Hayes (South Holland and The Deepings)

Further to the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow), does the hon. Gentleman agree that emotional and behavioural difficulties represent the fastest growing area of special needs in schools? Although one can parody the situation, he knows that that is certainly a major concern for many teachers, especially those in inner cities.

Mr. Willis

May I, too, congratulate the hon. Gentleman on taking up his place on the Conservative Front Bench? May his be a long and happy experience in opposition.

The hon. Gentleman, who has a genuine interest in special needs, is absolutely right to say that dealing with special needs children who also exhibit behavioural problems is a major problem. The Minister will agree that it is a sad statistic that those with a statement of special needs are seven times more likely to be excluded than those who have not, and that Afro-Caribbean youngsters are four times more likely to be excluded from schools. Those problems must be treated seriously, but that will not happen if we simply give heads a blanket excuse to get rid of such kids from their schools. We must create the sorts of innovative teaching and support mechanisms that allow youngsters with special needs to develop as productive members of society, rather than excluding them and making them outcasts. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would agree with those comments.

Mr. Mike Hancock (Portsmouth, South)

I share many of the Secretary of State's sentiments about the teaching profession and the glory of being a teacher, but does my hon. Friend agree that lifting the burden from teachers so that they can spend more time in the classroom with children who have serious behavioural problems—and a little less time filling in the forms that are part of the bureaucratic nightmare that now accompanies teaching jobs—will go a long way towards lifting the burden in cities such as Portsmouth, and towards getting teachers to return to the profession in such places? I hope that my hon. Friend agrees that it is no good the Secretary of State saying that he will do that in future, because the teaching profession needs it to happen now.

Mr. Willis

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that intervention—and I am sure that you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, would agree with him as well. In reality, there is not a jot between the three major political parties about the need to get rid of bureaucracy in schools and allow teachers to teach. We need to tackle the previous Government's legacy of bureaucracy, and as a party, we have made it absolutely clear how we would tackle it. We should accept that creating time for teachers to teach is also an issue, especially in primary schools. The sadness is that most primary school teachers are committed to a full-time teaching load five days a week. That makes it exceptionally difficult to spend time with disruptive children or those with special needs, and to do the work required to prepare the curriculum and the lessons.

Mr. Tony McWalter (Hemel Hempstead)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Willis

I should like to finish the point—and then we could stay until midnight.

The Liberal Democrats have asked the Secretary of State to ensure that all primary teachers timetables include the non-contact time to enable them to tackle some of those issues, and that each primary class has a classroom assistant. Those sensible proposals would do much to enable teachers to have more contact time with youngsters, bring teachers back into primary schools and give them the time to work with their pupils.

Mr. McWalter


Mr. Willis

I want to make progress, because I am conscious that other hon. Members wish to speak.

I have mentioned that the Government took two years to recognise the crisis and introduce golden hellos, and three years to introduce training grants—a proposal that my hon. Friend the Member for Bath (Mr. Foster) made in response to a Select Committee report about four years ago.

Dr. Harris

Will my hon. Friend give way on that point?

Mr. Willis

I have just said that I would not take an intervention; I should like to finish my speech.

It is important that we recognise that neither golden hellos nor the training grants have resolved the crisis, despite wildly optimistic claims. The DFEE rightly states that applications have increased, but the number of acceptances in the key shortage areas are down— 4 per cent. fewer for maths, 13 per cent. fewer for physics and no increase for chemistry. Those are crucial subjects in the curriculum. We should not simply refer to applications; we must consider those who were accepted.

Ad hoc policies do not tackle the shortages that exist elsewhere in the system. The primary sector crisis is especially acute in special needs, particularly in London, where one in 20 classes do not have a specialist teacher. That is unacceptable. Although Government policy has produced more trainees for science, there is a huge imbalance in favour of biologists. In 1997, the Select Committee urged the Government to operate a more comprehensive, transparent planning system for teacher supply. That simply has not happened. I hope that the Minister will commit herself to making that system possible. We have the same stop-go teacher recruitment policies that we had 10 or 15 years ago, and that is unacceptable. In the past it may have been possible simply to respond to economic cycles. Today it is not. We must recognise that education is in the marketplace for the best graduates. We must respond to that marketplace.

I urge the Government to look more imaginatively at solving teacher shortages and not to rely simply on importing skills from abroad. May we encourage universities to offer all undergraduates a teaching component in their degrees to encourage them to acquire and to use skills in schools and colleges? Let us rethink the package of incentives and create a £10,000 training salary for all postgraduate trainee teachers, with clear contractual safeguards. Let us encourage mature entrants into the profession with realistic financial support packages, so that they can make the transition from industry to the classroom.

Let us support teachers in deprived or high-cost areas such as London with a realistic package of housing and travel benefits, and can we recognise that we must have competitive staffing salaries if we are to attract teachers? Above all, let us make teaching the attractive career that I believe it is. The Minister and I spent many years in the teaching profession. It is a proud tradition, and it is at the root of our society. I trust that the Minister will give us assurances as to how we will meet our requirements for the future.

8.41 pm
Mr. Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield)

It is always a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough (Mr. Willis), not a near neighbour, but a neighbour of mine in Yorkshire. It is a pleasure to follow his speech because it ended with some constructive suggestions. As Chairman of the Education Sub-Committee of the Select Committee on Education and Employment, I am rather proud to look back at the early report that it published, not under my chairmanship, but under the Chairman before me, entitled, "Teacher Recruitment: What can be done?" It made some positive suggestions about a pathway for the future.

What is disappointing is that I was looking at the membership and it included the hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May). Unfortunately—I have to say this; I do not want to be too partisan—I heard her make very few constructive suggestions about why we have a problem with teacher recruitment and what we should do about it. I hope to look at some of the deeper reasons for problems and the reasons why we have not gone far or fast enough, given that good October 1997 report.

I re-read that report. I then read the Government's response to it. All of us would admit that Select Committees, which I am proud of, make very good reports and that Governments do not always give a 100 per cent. positive response to them. In the case of that report, the Government did not, but, to be fair, a very high percentage of the report's suggestions were acted on. Although "could do better" would be my judgment on overall performance, there were some significant, positive responses to the report.

I was trying to think about the underlying reasons for our problems in teacher selection, recruitment and retention. The hon. Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough and the Secretary of State for Education and Employment mentioned retention, which is so important—retention at every level. Why do many more men drop out of teacher training courses? Why, after five years, are only—estimates vary—between 60 and 70 per cent. of teachers still in the profession? We must look at that carefully.

What I started with is the awfulness of the political debate. If we had a bunch of teachers watching the debate—many will be watching us on television—what view will they have of the useless hyperbole that is used? What good does it do? My old friend the hon. Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough is guilty of it, too. Like the Leader of the Opposition, he talked about meltdown.

To be honest and fair about the present situation, there is a problem with teacher recruitment. It is not the worst that we have ever had. I have obtained figures from the House of Commons Library. Ten years ago, the position was more than twice as bad as it is today. I think that there was a 1.8 per cent. recruitment lag. The latest figures show that there is a 0.8 per cent. lag.

There was a significantly worse situation in 1989. Interestingly—we are all sensible people in the Chamber—that recruitment lag was also at a high point in the economic cycle. We all know that there is a high point in the economic cycle. We cannot walk past a shop without people advertising for people to work. Everywhere we look, there are advertisements in the newspapers. Graduate employment is a competitive market.

There are more and more jobs and more diverse careers than ever before. We have relied on women to be the backbone of our teaching force and have often taken them for granted. For many years until not that long ago, often, when a bright young woman was leaving school and going to university, the advice that she got was that there were only three careers for her to go into: nursing, teaching and becoming a secretary. Thank God—I have to admit that I have three daughters and a son—those days are in the past.

Only on Monday evening, I was talking to the head of a large girls school. She said that she had just come back from making a speech at another girls school, where she said, "You as women can do any job in the world that you are physically capable of and that you have the intellect for." A few years ago, people would have scoffed at the suggestion of a female astronaut, let alone females in every profession. Jobs are becoming more open and more challenging, and more attractive not only to young women graduating, but to men. There is a competitive marketplace.

I suppose that, if we are going to stay in the world of economic reality, one of the answers is that we must pay teachers competitive rates. I was digging out work by the 1953–55 royal commission on public service that considered the public sector and public sector pay. There was a serious attempt to work out what had to be paid in the public sector to attract and to retain talented people. It is about time that we as politicians and Governments looked more carefully at the realistic pay that we must give teachers to retain them. It must be seriously competitive. That is the reality.

Surely something could have come from the Opposition. They purport to be the experts on business, competitiveness and the real world of the private sector. Surely we should have heard some word about the reality of having to pay the price. In many areas, the Government have responded to that. I know that performance-related pay is controversial between the parties, but I believe that it is a significant change towards giving teachers the opportunity to increase their pay.

Dr. Harris

I always enjoy listening to the erudite hon. Gentleman who chairs the Select Committee on which I serve. What example does it set, for young women in particular looking for a career in teaching or academia, when the Government seem willing to tolerate a pay gap in academic salaries, which is surely unacceptable, year after year?

Mr. Sheerman

The hon. Gentleman knows that I agree with him and that I agree with the findings of the Bett report. We have to pay university teachers better and ensure that women get the same opportunities and pay as men. I will be campaigning shoulder to shoulder with the hon. Gentleman on that issue.

I must talk about the hyperbole used during the debate. Some hon. Members have talked about a meltdown. That term applies to a nuclear disaster and is inappropriate language in this context. We have also heard from another Back Bencher about the rising tide of violence. That is also inappropriate. It is not what I find that teachers believe to be the reality in schools up and down the country. When politicians use such cheap hyperbole they do no justice to the education system that we are trying to promote.

I have been in the House for a long time and I listened attentively over 18 years in Opposition as the Conservative Ministers made strong statements about the problems of public education. I listened a great deal more attentively when I knew that those Ministers sent their children to public sector state schools and not to schools in the private sector. For too long, too many Conservative Members talked about the problems in the state sector when they had no intention of ever sending their child anywhere near a public sector state school.

Mr. Bercow

Of course one should not use hyperbole, but neither should one ignore the facts as they are presented. Is the hon. Gentleman denying that violent assaults on teachers by pupils—it is only a minority of pupils—are on the increase? In Southampton, to give just one example, the rate doubled between 1998 and 1999. What a disservice the hon. Gentleman does to his constituents and the country by denying what everybody else knows to be the case.

Mr. Sheerman

My point is that if we put things into perspective, we do more justice to the electorate. I wanted to mention that one of the reasons for the problem in attracting teachers is providing them with a decent and safe environment in which to teach. That is important and in my previous speech during a debate such as this I mentioned the real problem of attracting men into teaching when spurious allegations about their relationship with pupils can destroy their lives. That is a real problem. The difference between the hon. Gentleman's approach and mine is the need to put matters into perspective.

We should not generalise and say that every school is a blackboard jungle—some of us recall the famous film—because that is not the case. There is a problem, which we should meet with sensible policies. We should ensure that the teaching environment is safe, modern, pleasant and secure so that teachers can get on with teaching.

There has been a great deal of talk about bureaucracy. The Select Committee report talks about bureaucracy and red tape. There is no doubt that the Government have not done as much as they should, as fast as they should. However, we should not hear about a "bureaucratic nightmare", which is what we heard from the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock). I visit schools all the time and I know that there are problems, but it is not a nightmare. It is hyperbole that upsets serious debate.

It would not be me if I did not say that one of the problems is the inspection system. It is not that there is not a good inspection system, which I applaud and want to see continue, but the style of inspection upsets teachers. We must have a genuine effort from Her Majesty's inspectorate to be seen to be more co-operative and working in partnership with schools, to help schools to meet and maintain high standards. It does no one any good if the inspectorate is misperceived. I think that the inspector has some work to do on that, and I shall be making that point to him when he appears before our Committee a week from today.

Violence and intimidation in the classroom cannot be tolerated. However, we have to get the exclusion balance right. There is no point in excluding students who consequently go into crime and drugs and cause tremendous problems in our society. There has to be a balance. My own preference—I have been involved in the issue in my own local schools—is to have special units within or very close to the school, rather than to exclude people from the school campus.

Therefore, although I agree that the problems are real, there is a measured response that goes beyond a school saying, "You are excluded", and having no further responsibility for that excluded student. The more successful schools and local education authorities have a very good and measured response to the problem of exclusion. If we could all reach the best standards in dealing with exclusion, we would all be doing very well indeed.

It is very easy to jump on bandwagons. In the past two or three years, I have seen a bandwagon—involving not only the Opposition, but other people—that seeks always to criticise and bash local education authorities. However, when I go round schools, one of the things that teachers and heads say to me is, "We have a very good local education authority here, and we value its support."

There are rather more people with special educational needs in state schools—in ordinary schools, which most British pupils attend—than in the private sector. State schools also have problems with disruptive pupils. Those problems, however—like the overall task of school management—are dealt with far better and more easily at the local education authority level.

There are long-term problems in recruiting teachers, and hon. Members would be foolish to ignore or deny that fact. There is, however, sensible action that we can be taking to solve those problems. Indeed, many of the problems were dealt with in the Select Committee report that we published three years ago and would be willing to update if necessary. Much has been done, but more needs to be done. We would serve Britain's great teaching profession and Britain's pupils far better if we cut the hyperbole and worked together on common-sense solutions.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. Before I call the next hon. Member to speak, may I say that many hon. Members are seeking to catch my eye, but that we are fast running out of time in this debate? Unless speeches are brief, very many hon. Members will be very disappointed.

8.58 pm
Mr. Tim Collins (Westmorland and Lonsdale)

In the light of your strictures, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I shall certainly seek to confine my remarks to less than 10 minutes.

Given that the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman), in a speech that was interesting overall, touched on both the importance of the teaching profession's historical reliance on women and the subject of teachers' pay, I should perhaps declare an interest. My wife is a teacher in a state secondary school, and has spent her entire teaching career in state schools.

The hon. Gentleman was right to say that we must avoid hyperbole. Equally, however, we must not disguise the genuine problems that are being faced by people in the teaching profession. Various hon. Members have said that it is very easy to describe problems and not to talk about solutions. I should like to discuss just one very important solution, and say that politicians of all parties should recognise that they have a role in achieving that solution.

I fully accept that my party in government was guilty of this to some extent and on some occasions, but politicians of all parties have found it rather too easy, rather too often to treat the teaching profession as a political punch-bag, to attack teachers in general and to give the impression that it is entirely legitimate and appropriate in seeking to root out the minority of teachers who are failures somehow to characterise all teachers as failures. We ought instead to take a leaf out of their book. Almost any teacher would say that children—this applies to adults, too—will flower far more if they are given a bit of praise than if they are admonished, punished and disciplined for failure.

Perhaps hon. Members on both sides of the House should give a little more praise to those who have the difficult and incredibly important task of teaching our children and recognise that we should take pride in teaching and the fact that so many people want to be involved in it. We should encourage teachers and make them feel wanted. I acknowledge that the Government have taken a few initiatives in that respect, but I believe that they too have fallen into the political trap of criticising the teaching profession or giving the impression of doing so. If we sent a more balanced message from this place, we would find that some of the problems of teacher recruitment and retention would begin to resolve themselves. Taking into account factors such as salaries and paperwork, we must let teachers feel that they are valued, supported and appreciated for what they do.

I also want to say a word about supply teachers. The Secretary of State did say something about this topic. Of course supply teachers play an important role and we should not denigrate some schools reliance on them, but I was disturbed to read a report in The Guardian on 5 September that pupils in one inner-city secondary school have been taught by 13 different maths teachers in one year. Teachers would agree that that is deeply disturbing for the obvious reason that it takes four or five weeks at the start of a term for a teacher to build up any sort of meaningful relationship with all the pupils in his or her class. A supply teacher cannot do that in one or two days. Teachers often find that pupils will not respond, however effective the teaching may be, unless they feel that the teacher has some sense of who they are and their individual interests and problems. Supply teachers often try extremely hard, but it is far better, wherever possible, for teachers to be full-term and full-time. I see that the Minister agrees.

Another problem—again I accept that it did not start in 1997, although I genuinely believe that it has got worse since then—is the pressure on teachers in respect of paperwork, as the hon. Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough (Mr. Willis) mentioned, and targets. I fully accept that targets did not start in May 1997, but they have expanded and become more onerous.

I do not know whether the Minister has seen an interesting and sobering report that appeared in The Guardian in July relating to what was described as the various games that teachers play in order to manipulate the statistics that are reported to LEAs or to the Department for Education and Employment. Let me say immediately that I am not seeking to fall into the trap of saying that teachers are devious, unreliable and try to fix things and that the inspectorate should come down on them like a ton of bricks. I am trying to make a rather different point. Let me quote one or two examples.

The Guardian reported on a class of 18 children who had three things in common: they were all studying "Macbeth" for GCSE English, they had all turned in essays for course work and not one of them had written a single word of that course work. It had all been done by the teacher, or in one case by the teacher and her husband. The teacher was quoted as saying: I do it for two reasons. First, you give the kid a chance and second, you don't get beaten over the head. Another example from the same article referred to the comments of an Ofsted inspector, who had been a teacher, in relation to SATs. He said that secondary heads usually knew which primary heads were fiddling because the children arrived and could not work to the level of their SATs results. He said that fiddling at key stage 2 was probably pretty widespread and that policing was very weak. He went on to talk about the same thing happening with GCSEs and further up the scale.

It is possible to interpret that as meaning that there is widespread fiddling, although I do not believe that that is happening. It is also possible to interpret it as meaning that we should crack down on teachers. I do not believe that that is the right answer either. Although I do not want the Minister to think I am claiming that we have an authoritarian Government, we are in danger of creating something analogous to what used to happen in the Soviet Union, where the standard joke was, "We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us"; or what happens in quantum physics, when one is told firmly that the act of measuring something changes what you are measuring; or the fundamental mistake that the Americans made in Vietnam, which was to try to fight a war according to statistics—they believed for years that they were winning because they kept getting statistics in the Pentagon about the number of Vietcong they had killed, when the reality was very different.

Is it not at least possible that in trying to constrain the teaching profession to a range of statistics and tests for a noble reason—to try to lever up standards for every child in the country, which is an objective I share—we are lowering standards by depriving teachers of the freedom they need to teach?

Ms Estelle Morris

I apologise to the hon. Gentleman. Normally, I would not intervene on a 10-minute speech. He is making a thoughtful speech and I particularly applaud him for the way he has tried to give a balanced view and to praise teachers. Can I confirm that he was not suggesting that widespread fiddling is going on at key stage 2 tests? I do not believe that he would want to give that impression, but I fear that when he comes to read Hansard he may find that he has.

Does the hon. Gentleman accept that there is a wide range of measures in place to ensure that tests are administered fairly? A group that looked at the quality of key stage 2 tests only last year—a group to which his own party made a nomination—said that, on the whole, tests are the standard that they have always been and are administered fairly. Not to stress that is to undermine teachers and pupils in the very way he has been seeking to avoid in his speech.

Mr. Collins

I will be happy to look back at what I said in Hansard. I quoted an Ofsted inspector who, in turn, was quoted in The Guardian as referring to widespread fiddling. I believe that I made it clear earlier—I am happy to confirm it again—that I do not believe that fiddling is widespread. However, I think that there is a genuine problem with the burdens placed on teachers. That is what I am asking the Minister to reflect on.

Earlier, the Secretary of State said that, at times, he contemplated following the example of a teacher and giving up to go to the Lake district. On behalf of the Lake district—part of which I am happy to represent—may I say that I hope he will not be seeking to bring his career to quite such a premature end? However, I issue an invitation to him or any other DFEE Minister to come to the Lake district and talk to some of the hard-working teachers in the excellent south Cumbrian secondary schools who would like to talk to a Minister about these points. I hope that it will be possible for Ministers to come soon to do that.

9.8 pm

Mr. Phil Hope (Corby)

I welcome the opportunity to debate the current problems of supply and recruitment of teachers. However, the speech from the Opposition Front Bench by the hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May) disappointed me enormously, as it seemed to be another excuse to lower the morale of teachers and make matters worse. It can take up to four years to train a qualified teacher, so many of the problems that we are experiencing now can be traced back directly to the failure of the previous Conservative Administration to provide the additional funding or to restructure initial training in the 1990s.

I have particular reason to speak in this debate as Corby community college in my constituency has had to establish a temporary four-day week as a result of the difficulties that it has recently experienced in recruiting permanent staff. I have met many parents in recent weeks and I share their deep concern about the impact of the four-day week on their children's education as well as the supervision of the children during study days at home. The school's head teacher and staff, along with the education authority and Corby's education action zone, neighbouring schools and, indeed, the Government are working hard together in this difficult period to provide a stable, well-balanced curriculum in the school and support for students who have to stay at home to study.

That fresh start school was created from the merger of two schools in Corby, both of which had falling standards and numbers as a result of Conservative underfunding and neglect in the 1990s. They were failing their children despite the best efforts of their staff. The decision to give those children a fresh start at a new school was therefore right, and we all look forward to the school moving to a new purpose-built site next September, for which it has received £3 million of Government expenditure. That launch will provide a real fresh start for the school.

In the past nine months, the local education authority and the school have worked vigorously to fill those posts with experienced, enthusiastic and committed teachers. Regrettably, however, the wider national shortage of teachers, which everyone in the Chamber acknowledges, has had a disproportionate impact on a school that, inevitably, is going through a difficult period. Right now, the school, the LEA, the education action zone and other schools are working together, with the support of the Government, to establish as quickly as possible a team of temporary teachers with the strength, quality and consistency to develop good relationships with the pupils.

I am pleased to say that the LEA has provided additional help through Northamptonshire's inclusion and pupil support service, and the inspectorate and advisory staff have worked with the staff and management of the school to develop and improve the curriculum. We all want the school to get back to normal as soon as possible, and if the interim measures are successful I hope that we can hit the target of 13 November or an even earlier date.

Of course, the key issue is recruiting permanent staff so that the school has a full complement of talented individuals committed to every child in it. I therefore hope that the new recruitment drive will be successful. The LEA has helped by seconding a personnel officer to work in the school, and additional recruitment and retention allowances for all staff are being discussed to ensure greater stability.

The recruitment campaign has already attracted 66 inquiries, and 22 applicants will be interviewed by the school in the next few days. The Government have helped by discussing with the Teacher Training Agency how the school can make the best use of the graduate training scheme. The Government, the LEA, the education action zone and the school are therefore working together to ensure that the permanent posts are filled by January.

That approach is in stark contrast to the divisive opportunism of the Conservative party. I am sad that the hon. Member for Maidenhead, the Opposition's education spokesperson, refused to apologise for the damage that she did when she parachuted into Corby on a campaigning trip. Corby people were not impressed by the hon. Lady's statements in the press that she was critical of giving Corby children a fresh start. She made no apology for the Tories' failure to recruit and train sufficient teachers when they were in office and called for the abolition of LEAs at the very time that the school was relying on the LEA for support, as I have described. She did not offer Corby a single constructive proposal to help the college in its present difficulties. Tonight's Opposition motion does not include a single constructive proposal, either.

Let us be clear: if the LEA had been abolished and the education action zone closed down as the Tories propose, Corby community college—which is doing its best, but is struggling—and every other school needing such support would have no one left to turn to. I am convinced that by working with others, and with Government support, the college will be a real success. We have come a long way in Corby in the three years since Labour came to office and, for the first time in many years, school standards are rising and young people are looking forward to new job prospects and future training. GCSE results are up, not falling as the Opposition said.

Lodge Park school in my constituency was not visited, but it is one of the most improved secondary schools in the country. Corby primary schools are showing rapid improvements in their SATs results. We are getting tremendous support, not just from the Government and the LEA but from local businesses, voluntary organisations and others, through the Corby-wide education action zone. That is worth £1 million a year in additional resources to deliver targeted projects and raise standards. Most important, it helps to create a different culture, in which schools work together and give each other mutual support.

That is an example of Labour delivering in Corby. Children and schools there are just beginning to emerge from the dark days of the previous Tory Government, when a few children benefited from extra resources but too many were left to struggle on in schools that were underfunded and left unsupported by an uncaring Conservative Government.

The Opposition's public services guarantee means that the Tories would have to cut 15,000 teachers and scrap the Government's class size policy. The 6,000 teachers who have been employed to reduce class sizes would go. As the debate this evening has shown, the Tories have no commitment to matching our spending on standards.

The Tories have said that they would abolish LEAs, so there would be no support, help or advice from that quarter for schools. They say that the free market should rule, but that would only create sink schools doomed to failure. In Corby, that would once more condemn children to wasted lives and missed opportunities. We would lose out on the £3 million investment in the Corby community college, there would be no support for an education action zone, and even the sure start programme helping younger children would go.

I stand here tonight on behalf of parents and students at Corby community college and of every family in Corby to tell the Government what we have achieved so far and to ask for more. We want 100 per cent. more. We are going places in Corby and we are beginning to see the real potential of Corby's children, but we have a lot more to do. We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past and let our children down again.

9.16 pm
Mr. Ian Bruce (South Dorset)

I shall gabble through my speech, as I hope that the next Labour Member called to speak will do the same and thereby give my hon. Friend the Member for Guildford (Mr. St. Aubyn) a chance to contribute to the debate.

I wish to declare an interest—even though the Chairman of the Select Committee on Standards and Privileges does not seem to think that it is necessary to do so any longer. Two of my three daughters are primary school teachers, and of course I want them to enjoy the best possible conditions. My eldest daughter has been teaching for two years, and the other two both finished four-year courses at university this year, although one took a year out beforehand. One has been working on teacher training for all four years of her course and has never been able to receive any salary, while the other did a business degree sandwich course that involved a year out in industry, for which she was paid. Both have now taken their first jobs.

My youngest daughter has gone into a marketing job and, needless to say, her salary is 25 per cent. higher than that commanded by teachers. Teachers' pay must be looked at carefully. As the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman) said, women now go into all sorts of jobs. We cannot expect them any more to be a cheap supply of employees for jobs such as teaching.

However, I want to be positive about what I say. It is important that more men should be encouraged to go into teaching, especially in primary schools, where there are not enough men to act as male role models. We must remember that many children belong to families in which there is no man to help care for them. That makes the goal of recruiting more male teachers doubly important.

Another matter that deserves careful consideration is how we can get more mature people to go into teaching. It is great that we can send people off on teacher-training courses lasting four years, but I am worried that the Government are encouraging people to do direct degrees, with an extra golden handshake to do a fourth year of teacher training. I fear that that might be divisive—that people going into teaching will do so by the least costly route and take advantage of the bonus in the fourth year. However, there is the danger that people who have spent three years on direct degrees will decide not to go into teaching after the fourth year. The policy might therefore turn out to have a negative effect.

In the primary sector in particular, mature men and women should be able to enter teaching or come back to it by taking shortened courses that give them a suitable qualification. There are many teaching assistants in schools who are frustrated at being in very low-paid jobs and would like to progress with their training to become teachers. Why not ensure that some of the schemes that have already started are expanded to allow them to do that?

Despite the massive shortage of teachers, many local education authorities are giving teachers temporary contracts. It will not encourage people who are looking for their first job to persevere if they know that, when they find it, conditions will not be ideal. Why, when there is such a shortage of teachers, do many schools give teachers temporary contracts when they start?

On the shortage of teachers in the inner cities and the expense of living there, the Government already give a much higher standard spending assessment for inner-city areas, particularly those with social problems and certainly in the centre of London. Yet that money is not translated into vastly increased salaries for the people who work in those areas. Teachers get a couple of thousand pounds extra for working in the middle of London, and that is frankly inadequate. We must tackle that problem.

We hear talk about getting all schools on to the internet, but people seem to have forgotten that information technology in schools can be used to teach children, particularly mathematics. Some wonderful computer programs are available that might make the limited number of teachers in those specialities more productive. They could supervise more, and IT technicians could help to ensure that the programs are working properly.

A constituent of mine told me that she loved her first teaching job but arrived home in tears a number of times because of the pressure of all the paperwork, and so on. Information overload is an extremely important factor.

Teachers tell me that they have one set of paperwork that they work to and another set that they keep in a drawer for when, in three or four years, Ofsted will come round. When a school is to be Ofsteded, for six months prior to that inspection—or for however long the notice period is—it changes whole way in which it teaches to get through the inspection. That seems bonkers. We must encourage schools to run themselves in the same way they always do when Ofsted inspectors are present.

Of course violence is not rife in schools. Dorset has peaceful schools. However, head teachers tell me that they lose a great deal of money if they properly exclude a pupil from school, because there is an incentive to keep children in school. If schools go over the Government target, they lose money that would have been paid as a bonus for keeping in school children who should perhaps have been excluded.

Finally, it is quite extraordinary that, while the Secretary of State has been trying to get more funds into schools and to bypass LEAs, the Liberal Democrats, who have controlled Dorset for the past seven years, are not passing the funds on to the schools. Dorset gets one of the lowest SSAs in the area and has the worst reputation of almost any LEA for not passing the money down. After all, we cannot pay teachers more money and put more resources into schools unless the money gets there.

I have gabbled through my speech, as I said that I would, and I hope that Labour Members will do the same.

9.24 pm
Mr. Vernon Coaker (Gedling)

I am immensely proud of what the Government have achieved in all aspects of education. In many respects, it has been the Government's greatest success.

This is an important debate about the future of teachers and the teaching profession. In the light of that, I was rather disappointed by the remarks of the shadow Secretary of State for Education and Employment, the hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May), who said that standards in schools were falling. That is not the case. We should celebrate the work of teachers, because teachers are improving standards in schools, despite the many problems with recruitment. We should congratulate teachers on their work, often in difficult circumstances—for example, in meeting the needs of bright pupils and those with special needs and in implementing the Government's numeracy and literacy strategies. We depend on our teachers to make all those policies work.

We should recognise the outstanding work of our teachers. If we repeat that constantly in this place, we shall change the climate for recruitment to the teaching profession. We shall get away from one of the most awful statements—one that I am sure we have all heard: "I wouldn't recommend that you go into teaching." It is essential in debates such as this that we celebrate the work of our teachers.

It is also important that we should set out our vision of what should be happening in teaching. That is another reason why I found the hon. Lady's remarks disappointing. Yes, we should applaud the fact that pupils succeed in obtaining five GCSEs at A to C grades, but, every time the grades improve, we should not tell teachers that the exams must have been easier. That undermines teachers.

Furthermore, we should sing loudly the praises of those teachers who work day in and day out to ensure that kids from difficult backgrounds obtain even one or two GCSEs, or that, after hard work, grades go up from F to E. It is incumbent on all of us to celebrate the achievement of all pupils—whether in primary or secondary schools—at all levels and that we recognise the work put in by their teachers.

Similarly, some teachers do an amazing job dealing with behavioural problems. They work with young people in very difficult circumstances, reducing the number of exclusions and the rate of truancy. We need to ensure that we acknowledge that work, as well as recognising achievement at the top. By doing that, we shall also change the climate in which teachers work.

Teacher recruitment is a difficult issue. The Government realised that and implemented various initiatives to try to tackle it. Other initiatives and policies will help the teaching profession in the long run. I passionately believe that the new pay and performance structure for teachers will produce a better profession in the long term and will give teachers an improved career progression.

The hon. Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough (Mr. Willis) seems to have moved slightly in his position on that point, as we all have. The crucial aspect of performance pay is that, for the first time, we reward teachers for being good teachers and do not tell them that, in order to get promoted, they have to take on management responsibilities outside the classroom. The Government have implemented that vital reform; it will make a great difference.

The reduction in class sizes will also make a real difference. Why are class sizes going down? Above all, it is because we are employing more teachers, but we are also employing more classroom assistants.

Poor behaviour has been mentioned. Yes, there are problems, but the Government have refused to turn their back on kids who are causing problems in schools. We will not just dump them; we will support them in learning support units in schools and in improved pupil referral units outside schools. I hope that Ministers will take on board the need to speak to those young people who are causing problems in schools about their experiences, to see what can be done to change the curriculum and the way that schools operate so as to help those youngsters to determine their future.

Finally, I fail to see how the Conservative policy advanced in some of the literature that is distributed— specifically, the idea of free schools, which will allow every school to set its own admissions policy, pay and conditions policy and discipline policy—will improve standards in school and raise teachers' morale. It is absolute nonsense. When teachers realise that the "set schools free" policy that the Conservatives are proposing will mean a return to selection and a smashing of the national pay and conditions for all teachers throughout the country, they will make a judgment on which policies they would prefer, especially when it comes to the next general election.

9.30 pm
Mr. Nick St. Aubyn (Guildford)

My family has been exposed to both the independent and the maintained sector in our schools, in common with many of my constituents and in common with many colleagues in my party and throughout the country. That is why, while the Labour class warriors want to build barriers between the independent and state sectors, we want to build bridges and, because we want to build bridges, we have achieved in the past few years new ideas that will take our education system forward. That is why the teaching unions—the professionals—are paying a new attention to the thoughts of the Conservatives in education today.

I pay credit to the Secretary of State. I do not think that he is as much of a class warrior as he used to be. He has tried to endorse the Conservative reforms of the 1980s and 1990s. His problem is that he shows all the zeal of a convert and takes all our ideas far too far, to the extent that he drives teachers away from the classroom and away from their schools, because he tries to tell them what to do every living moment of the day.

The key point behind free schools is that we believe that the head teachers, not the politicians, should be in charge of their schools. Teachers, not political correctness, should rule in the classroom. In contrast, the Secretary of State appears to want to be the head teacher in every school in the country, and that top-down direction is driving away teachers in droves.

I am aware of the need for flexibility over pay, Mr. Deputy Speaker—I apologise, Mr. Speaker, and I take the opportunity to congratulate you on your elevation.

The role of free schools will mean that flexibility over pay will be at the school level. It takes a peculiar sort of genius for a Government to come up with a £2,000 offer for teachers that teachers feel that they have to turn down because the terms and conditions are so convoluted, and so off-putting to the teaching profession. Many of them took the Government to court for the way that they are trying to implement their policy.

We have heard from the Minister for School Standards of a skills shortage in our economy causing a shortage of teachers. She has not mentioned in previous speeches—perhaps she will deal with it tonight—that the failure of her Government to follow the involvement of the private sector and further education colleges in putting more people through training is at the heart of the skills shortage throughout our economy today. The number of those passing through FE colleges in the past three years has now fallen a cumulative 500,000 short of the level that would have been achieved if she had maintained the productivity and output of the FE sector that she and her Government inherited from the Conservative Government in 1997. Because we have 500,000 fewer trained people in the economy, we now have more than 1 million vacancies.

Of course the teaching profession is suffering as potential teachers are drawn away by higher pay in the private sector, caused by that failure. In my constituency, that problem could not be more acute. Unless that shortage of teachers, and the high cost of living in places like Guildford, are addressed by the Government urgently, there will be an even more serious problem in some of the parts of the country that are the engine of the economy, in that it will be impossible to deliver the teaching that our country desperately needs.

9.35 pm
Mr. James Clappison (Hertsmere)

This has been a short but good debate on a subject of real concern to head teachers, teachers and, increasingly, to parents, too. We have heard some excellent speeches. My hon. Friend the Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Mr. Collins) made a sincere and appropriate appreciation of teachers. My hon. Friend the Member for South Dorset (Mr. Bruce) made several valuable points about mature entrants to the profession and my hon. Friend the Member for Guildford (Mr. St. Aubyn) made important points about teachers in schools in his constituency. We also heard an interesting and thoughtful speech from the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman), as well as contributions from the hon. Members for Corby (Mr. Hope) and for Gedling (Mr. Coaker).

In his introduction, the Secretary of State followed in the footsteps of Baroness Blackstone by, once again, raising the question of whether there was a crisis at all. "Crisis? What crisis?" neatly sums up the Secretary of State's attitude. The most potent evidence of that is that the only cheep of opposition that we heard from the Liberal Democrats was that the Secretary of State had been complacent. Everything else was a paeon of praise from the hon. Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough (Mr. Willis). We now know why the Liberal Democrats are so utterly feeble towards the Labour party; but if they describe the Government as complacent, that must be so.

It will not do for the Secretary of State somehow to suggest that the problem is localised in London. The problem takes its most severe form in London and we have heard stories of London authorities scouring the world for teachers. They have been searching for them in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia, Dubai and Namibia, to name but a few countries, and the London borough of Southwark is even reported to have sent recruiters to the Munich beer festival last month. That is not so much a golden as a liquid hello.

I have referred to the problems of the London authorities, but the general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association discussed the matter in The Guardian. I hope that the Secretary of State will not take too much offence at the general secretary's words, because he used the word "crisis" and said: The recruitment crisis is the worst we have seen. We are no longer talking about just London, but also Birmingham, Nottingham, Hull and Manchester. According to the website of The Times Educational Supplement nearly three out of four heads said that recruitment was getting worse. For example, the head of the beacon school in Banstead, Surrey described the situation as "catastrophic". The Secretary of State suggested that Cumbria was one area in which there may not be problems, but he should listen to the words of John Wilson head of Wyndham school in Egremont, Cumbria, who said: You don't recruit teachers now—you hunt them. All the evidence is that the position is getting worse with supply teachers being used for long periods, teachers having to teach subjects other than their own and teachers coming from overseas. A recent survey by Liverpool university of 923 schools found that half had recruitment problems. It revealed geographers teaching business studies, biologists teaching chemistry and religious studies staff teaching maths. Mr. Speaker, you and I are both great believers in the power of prayer but, in maths examinations, a little mathematical knowledge comes in useful too.

The problems are set to get even worse in the future. The Government made much of the introduction of golden hellos, which were introduced in September 1999, and earlier this year of the introduction of the training bursary. Therefore, let us consider what has happened to the number of graduates accepting places in teacher training colleges in the past few years. In the last two years—this will interest the hon. Member for Corby, who suggested that the whole problem was the result of the previous Conservative Government—the number of graduates recruited for teaching in secondary schools was below the number recruited in 1997 and way below the target set by the Government for the number of teachers required. In the academic year just commenced, it appears that the total number recruited is slightly up on last year, but still below the Government's target and below the numbers being recruited by the previous Government at the end of their period in office.

The hon. Member for Amber Valley (Judy Mallaber) made the worst contribution to the debate—she got her facts all wrong. In 1994, the then Government were recruiting more maths teachers than their target required. Recruitment has slumped since then and this Government are way below their target. In this academic year, the number of maths and physics graduates has fallen again. The Government are also way below their target for technology graduates.

We understand that the Minister for School Standards will give us some good news about technology, so perhaps she will tell us whether the Government are meeting their target and whether the numbers recruited are as high as they were in 1997. Last year, there was a 41 per cent. shortfall in the number of technology teachers recruited and a significant shortfall in the number of modern foreign language graduates recruited. You, Mr. Speaker, will be sad to learn that this year only one graduate has been recruited to teach Italian. It may be ciao for those who wish to learn Italian, but it is nil desperandum for others.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Employment (Jacqui Smith)

That is Latin.

Mr. Clappison

I congratulate the Under-Secretary. She spotted that well. The reason why it is Latin is because two of the few subjects in which the Government are succeeding in recruiting sufficient teachers and are meeting their targets, and in which the numbers are increasing each year, are classical studies and history.

Mr. Hayes


Mr. Clappison

My hon. Friend beats me to it. It may not be what the Government have in mind when they talk about modernising the teaching profession, and we doubt very much whether it will feature in the list of the Prime Minister's achievements in his speech to the Labour party conference, not least because he seems to show every bit as much of a wish to abolish history as to abolish verbs in his speeches.

The Government's policies have failed. Instead of the Government attracting the high-quality graduates that our schools need, the additional pressures that they have created for teachers have deterred them.

The Secretary of State spoke of lower class sizes under the Government as being an incentive for people to enter the teaching profession and an achievement, but in secondary schools, where the crisis is at its worst and it is proving the most difficult to attract graduates into teaching, class sizes have risen every year under the Government until there are now 36 per cent.—90,000—more pupils in secondary schools in classes of more than 30 than there were in 1997.

We have heard from Conservative Members just how much the Government have undermined the authority of teachers by preventing them from excluding children when it is necessary to do so. When my hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May) mentioned the case of the lady head teacher in Wales, the Secretary of State intervened to say that that was a matter relating to Wales and could not be commented on. However, that did not prevent the Minister for School Standards from commenting on it because she said that she was pleased for Mrs. Evans, and that it was a sensible decision. She was able to comment on that and our comment is that the Government have put far too many teachers' heads on the block and have undermined discipline and authority in schools.

The worst feature of all this is the ever-increasing burden of bureaucracy placed upon teachers by the Government. We hope that at long last the Government will take some positive steps to reduce that burden, other than by using their pathetic tool-cutting kit. However, we do not hold our breath because, since the beginning of this year alone, when the Government announced their intention to reduce bureaucracy, they have issued 142 new circulars to be read by teachers and heads.

The Prime Minister's proudest boast is that this year we have seen the best ever primary school test results. We applaud the success and achievement of pupils and teachers. However, both the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister failed to mention that those tests have shown an improvement each year since they were published under the previous Government. The Secretary of State will recall that he opposed the publication of those results. When the first set of results was published in 1995, showing a higher increase than for the present year, I think that the Secretary of State called it a searing indictment of the Tory Government—so much for the realism of his comments. Now it is an achievement under this Government. Likewise, the number of pupils obtaining five good GCSEs has increased every year since that examination began in 1988.

Yet today we have touched upon the greatest single threat to standards in our schools. The hopes of present and future generations are surely put at risk by the prospect of there simply being not enough teachers to teach them. Parents who find their children being taught by a succession of supply teachers—I agree with the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale, who quoted one case of 13 supply teachers—or parents who find their children being taught by someone who is not trained to teach the subject in question, or worst of all, as in Corby and Slough, who find their children being sent home because there is no one at all to teach them, are entitled to feel angry.

Those consequences flow inevitably from the Government's complacent attitude. We have heard no constructive response from the Government after the failure of their policies. All we have heard, as ever with this Government, is spin and propaganda. The anger of parents, teachers and heads will be all the greater when they confront the miserable consequences of the Government's failure to provide enough teachers in the future. When that happens, the Government's soundbite, "Education, education, education", will sound more than just a little hollow.

9.45 pm
The Minister for School Standards (Ms Estelle Morris)

First, Mr. Speaker, may I congratulate you on your election to the Chair? I also congratulate the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr. Hayes) on his appointment to the Front Bench. He made an intervention on his first appearance on the Front Bench, and I hope that he stays there for a long time.

This has been an important debate. With the exception of the opening and closing speeches from the Opposition, most of the Opposition speeches were sensitive and made a genuine contribution to a crucial issue. I acknowledge the sensitivity of the hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Mr. Collins), who has real feeling for the schools in his constituency and made a thoughtful contribution. Without wishing to sound patronising, may I say that the speech of the hon. Member for South Dorset (Mr. Bruce) was one of the best that I have heard him make? Again, it was thoughtful, and I particularly applaud his idea for coping with the shortage of maths teachers.

My hon. Friend the Member for Corby (Mr. Hope) has been a valiant advocate of schools in his area and has some personal responsibility for the success of the education action zone. In return for what he has done for the school that is in difficulty in his constituency, of course I pledge all the support that we can give and all the support that that school will need until it is back on track and all the children are back in full-time education.

There is widespread agreement that without good teachers, standards will not improve. Good teachers are the key. We have many excellent teachers, and many of them achieve against the odds. Their performance over recent years has been the best of any generation of teachers that have gone before them. I do not agree with the hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May) that the quality of education has gone down. The quality of teaching has gone up, and that is reflected in improved examination results.

Yes, teaching is demanding. We ask more of our teachers than we ever asked of any previous generation of teachers. We must do that because education is more important now than in any previous generation. Teachers meet that demand. They are the generation of teachers who have produced the most literate and numerate group of 11-year-olds, who have got the best GCSE and A-level results, and who teach the broadest curriculum.

Yes, we need more teachers, and yes, there is a problem. Nobody seeks to hide from that. We do need more teachers. Strangely enough, we need more teachers at the very time that we have more teachers in post than we have had for a decade. We have 10,000 more teachers in post than we had two years ago.

We need more teachers because times are changing and expectations are changing. We need more because we want class sizes to be smaller. The hon. Member for Hertsmere (Mr. Clappison) has had 123 extra teachers over the past three years to meet the primary school pledge in the local education authority where his constituency lies. We need more teachers because more parents want early years education and because more pupils are staying on at school.

The task has always been tough. It has never been easy to get as many teachers as we want into the school system. Compare what we have to do in our sector with what the private sector and other public sector employers have to do. We must attract 19,000 or 20,000 graduates each year into teaching if we are to meet the targets. PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the biggest of the private sector graduate recruiters, needs 1,300 graduates, KPMG needs 600, BT needs 500 and IBM needs 400. That is the enormity of the task. To reach the target for maths trainees next year, we must recruit 70 per cent. of those who leave university with a maths degree. That shows the difficulty that we face. No hon. Member should come to the House and pretend that glib statements about cutting paperwork will solve the problem. There is a long way to go, and we have made a start.

Conservative Members speak as though they discovered only recently that there was a crisis—[HON. MEMBERS: "There is no crisis."] Conservative Members believed that there was a crisis and that they had discovered it. If there was a crisis, it happened in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Let us consider the figures. In 1989, vacancies were 1.5 per cent.; the figure is now half that. A decade ago, vacancies in London were 3.7 per cent.; the figure is now less than half that. Fewer than 22,000 people were recruited for initial teacher training in 1989; the current figure is higher than 28,000. In 1989, 450 pupils on any one day were sent home from schools in Tower Hamlets because there were not enough teachers to staff the classrooms.

The key point is not whether we have always found it difficult to recruit teachers, but what successive Governments have done about it. The dividing line is there. The Conservative party did nothing during the long years of difficulty in recruiting teachers. They relied on waiting for an economic bust. Boom and bust in the economic cycle meant bust and boom in teacher recruitment. They mirrored each other. The Conservative party's best performance on recruitment was in 1992, when the economy was in deep decline. That cannot be right; it is a one-club approach to teacher recruitment. It involves no incentives, no investment, no extra money for training and no valuing of those who teach shortage subjects. Conservative Members displayed no anxiety about red tape and bureaucracy then. Their policy was, "Hang on a minute, just wait, we're a Tory Government and there's bound to be economic decline around the corner. Recruitment will then increase."

Mr. Tim Boswell (Daventry)

As one who was there, I wonder whether the Minister is suffering from selective amnesia. Twice she has said that the Conservative Government took no action to deal with teacher shortages. Does not she recall the scarce-subject bursaries, which, to some extent, were material in solving the problems in the specific subjects for which they were tailored? Has she forgotten them?

Ms Morris

I remember them, but they were not material in solving the problems. Where are they now? I tried to find out about the bursaries. [Interruption.] I tell hon. Members, they were not available for students who went into initial teacher training in 1997; like every other scheme, they faded with the previous Government's cutbacks.

Mr. Speaker

Order. The Minister is holding a conversation. She should not do that.

Ms Morris

If that is the only suggestion that the hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Boswell) can make about the way in which the previous Government dealt with the teacher crisis—as it was in their day—it is no wonder that we inherited a teacher recruitment problem, just as we inherited other problems such as crumbling schools, and literacy and numeracy levels. Just as we have acted on literacy and numeracy and standards have improved; just as we have acted on crumbling schools, which are being repaired, so we have acted on teacher recruitment.

Over three years, almost £200 million has been invested in teacher recruitment. There were no golden hellos under the previous Government, and there was no training salary. Tonight's debate has shown that there would be no training salary if the Tories ever returned to government. The Conservative Government provided no incentive for returners to the profession, no well-funded employment route into teaching, and no training for those who wanted to teach but did not have the subject qualification. They had a one-club approach: wait for the recession and teacher recruitment will improve. Teaching is more important than that. It is one of the most vital professions in the country. We cannot expect recruitment in teaching to improve only when the economic cycle is in decline.

The measures that we have put in place over the past three years are beginning to bear fruit. Since 1998, applications to secondary postgraduate courses have increased by 14 per cent. That is more than 2,500 extra graduates. There are an extra 500 for maths and an extra 850 for science. Since the beginning of training salaries at the start of April, applications for maths and science have increased. Applications for technology have increased by 23 per cent. and those for modern foreign languages by 20 per cent. Applications for secondary places, where traditionally there has been difficulty in recruitment, have increased by 45 per cent. compared with the same period last year.

For the first time, the Government have broken the link between recruitment and the economic cycle. We are the first Government who have managed to recruit more people, to have increased applications, to have increased acceptances and to have increased staff in the shortage subjects without attaching these achievements to an economic slump. That is the key point, and it is the great achievement of the past three years.

Mr. Clappison

Will the right hon. Lady give way?

Ms Morris

I will, if the intervention is very short.

Mr. Clappison

The right hon. Lady's case is that the problems were all at the end of the previous Government's term of office and that her policies have turned things round. Was graduate recruitment to secondary education higher or lower in 1997 than it is now?

Ms Morris

In 1989, it was low. In 1992–93 it increased. There was then a gradual decline. The hon. Gentleman has picked 1997, but recruitment was in decline from 1993 onwards. There was then economic recession and high teacher recruitment. Never once after 1997 did teacher recruitment increase. The first time that it increased after 1997 was last year, after the Government had taken a range of measures to improve teacher recruitment.

I agree with many Members that the issue is not only about money going into teacher recruitment. It is also about money for teacher retention and about all the other things that make the job worth doing. It is about making sure that teachers have places where children who do not behave and ruin other children's life chances of learning can be sent so as to free them to get on with teaching the rest of the school. It is about smaller classes. To take up the remarks of the hon. Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough (Mr. Willis), it is also about classroom assistants, which all primary schools have. Twenty thousand new classroom assistants are going into classes to help teachers and to make life easier for them. It is about the extra money that has gone to small schools so that they can employ staff to help them with their administration. It is also about creating an environment where teachers want to stay when they have completed their training and get into the classroom.

It is not only the Government who have responsibility for recruiting and ensuring that people stay in teaching. Every Member has a responsibility, as has every teacher who makes a recommendation to his or her sixth forms as to what to do thereafter. Every parent who talks to his or her child about worthwhile jobs in society also has a responsibility. My disappointment is that yet again, when the Tories have had a chance to bring the debate on education to the Floor of the Chamber, they have chosen to carp. Over the past three years they have used every chance available to them to knock the literacy strategy, to knock the numeracy strategy, to get rid of excellence in cities and to get rid of education action zones. Today, joining on all that, they wish to get rid of training salaries. It is about time that the hon. Member for Maidenhead took on her responsibility to support the profession and used her time in the House to talk about the achievements of teachers. She should take every opportunity to celebrate their success. It is an honourable profession, and one of the best. It is more exciting to go into the teaching profession today than it has ever been. We should all appeal to young and not-so-young people to join the 400,000 teachers in schools today who do an excellent job and who, over the years, will be joined by many more who will work with them to raise standards for students.

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

The House divided: Ayes 143, Noes 353.

Division No. 313] [9.59 pm
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) Fabricant, Michael
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Flight, Howard
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Fox, Dr Liam
Baldry, Tony Fraser, Christopher
Beggs, Roy Gale, Roger
Bercow, John Garnier, Edward
Beresford, Sir Paul Gibb, Nick
Blunt, Crispin Gill, Christopher
Body, Sir Richard Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Boswell, Tim Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Gray, James
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia Green, Damian
Brady, Graham Greenway, John
Brazier, Julian Grieve, Dominic
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Gummer, Rt Hon John
Browning, Mrs Angela Hague, Rt Hon William
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Butterfill, John Hammond, Philip
Cash, William Hayes, John
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet) Heald, Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Chope, Christopher Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Clappison, James Horam, John
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh) Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Collins, Tim Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Cormack, Sir Patrick Hunter, Andrew
Cran, James Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Curry, Rt Hon David Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham) Jenkin, Bernard
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice) Key, Robert
Day, Stephen King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Donaldson, Jeffrey Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Duncan, Alan Lansley, Andrew
Duncan Smith, Iain Leigh, Edward
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Letwin, Oliver
Evans, Nigel Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Faber, David Lidington, David
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham) Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Loughton, Tim Spring, Richard
McCrea, Rev William Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
McIntosh, Miss Anne Steen, Anthony
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew Streeter, Gary
Maclean, Rt Hon David Swayne, Desmond
McLoughlin, Patrick Syms, Robert
Madel, Sir David Tapsell, Sir Peter
Malins, Humfrey Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Maples, John Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Mates, Michael Taylor, Sir Teddy
Maude, Rt Hon Francis Thompson, William
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian Townend, John
May, Mrs Theresa Tredinnick, David
Moss, Malcolm Trend, Michael
Nicholls, Patrick Tyrie, Andrew
Norman, Archie Viggers, Peter
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury) Walter, Robert
Ottaway, Richard Wardle, Charles
Page, Richard Waterson, Nigel
Paice, James Wells, Bowen
Paterson, Owen Whitney, Sir Raymond
Pickles, Eric Whittingdale, John
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Prior, David Wilkinson, John
Randall, John Willetts, David
Redwood, Rt Hon John Wilshire, David
Robathan, Andrew Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E) Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham) Yeo, Tim
St Aubyn, Nick Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Shepherd, Richard
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk) Tellers for the Ayes:
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S) Mr. Peter Luff and
Soames, Nicholas Mr. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown.
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Browne, Desmond
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Alexander, Douglas Buck, Ms Karen
Allan, Richard Burden, Richard
Allen, Graham Burnett, John
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Butler, Mrs Christine
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife)
Ashton, Joe
Atkins, Charlotte Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Baker, Norman Campbell-Savours, Dale
Ballard, Jackie Caplin, Ivor
Banks, Tony Caton, Martin
Barnes, Harry Cawsey, Ian
Barron, Kevin Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Bayley, Hugh Chaytor, David
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret Chidgey, David
Begg, Miss Anne Clapham, Michael
Beith, Rt Hon A J Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Bell, Martin (Tatton) Clark, Dr Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Bennett, Andrew F Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Benton, Joe Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Bermingham, Gerald Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Berry, Roger Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Best, Harold Clelland, David
Blears, Ms Hazel Clwyd, Ann
Blizzard, Bob Coaker, Vernon
Blunkett, Rt Hon David Coffey, Ms Ann
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Colman, Tony
Borrow, David Connarty, Michael
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) Corbyn, Jeremy
Bradshaw, Ben Corston, Jean
Brake, Tom Cotter, Brian
Breed, Colin Cox, Tom
Brinton, Mrs Helen Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley) Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch) Howells, Dr Kim
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack (Copeland) Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S) Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair Humble, Mrs Joan
Darvill, Keith Hurst, Alan
Davey, Edward (Kingston) Hutton, John
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W) Iddon, Dr Brian
Davidson, Ian Illsley, Eric
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C) Jamieson, David
Dawson, Hilton Jenkins, Brian
Dean, Mrs Janet Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Denham, John Johnson, Miss Melanie(Welwyn Hatfield)
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Donohoe, Brian H Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Doran, Frank Jones, Ms Jenny (Wolverh'ton SW)
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey) Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston) Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Edwards, Huw Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa
Efford, Clive Keeble, Ms Sally
Ellman, Mrs Louise Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Ennis, Jeff Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Fearn, Ronnie Keetch, Paul
Field, Rt Hon Frank Kemp, Fraser
Fitzpatrick, Jim Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Flint, Caroline Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Follett, Barbara Khabra, Piara S
Foster, Rt Hon Derek Kilfoyle, Peter
Foster, Don (Bath) Kirkwood, Archy
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings) Kumar, Dr Ashok
Foster, Michael J (Worcester) Lammy, David
Gapes, Mike Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Gardiner, Barry Laxton, Bob
George, Andrew (St Ives) Lepper, David
George, Bruce (Walsall S) Leslie, Christopher
Gerrard, Neil Levitt, Tom
Gibson, Dr Ian Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Gidley, Sandra Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Gilroy, Mrs Linda Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen
Godman, Dr Norman A Linton, Martin
Goggins, Paul Livsey, Richard
Golding, Mrs Llin Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E) Llwyd, Elfyn
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Lock, David
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Love, Andrew
Grocott, Bruce McAvoy, Thomas
Grogan, John McCabe, Steve
Hain, Peter McCafferty, Ms Chris
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale) McDonagh, Siobhain
Hall, Patrick (Bedford) Macdonald, Calum
Hancock, Mike McDonnell, John
Hanson, David McFall, John
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet McIsaac, Shona
Harris, Dr Evan McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Harvey, Nick Mackinlay, Andrew
Heal, Mrs Sylvia McNamara, Kevin
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome) McNulty, Tony
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N) MacShane, Denis
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich) Mactaggart, Fiona
Hepburn, Stephen McWalter, Tony
Heppell, John McWilliam, John
Hewitt, Ms Patricia Mahon, Mrs Alice
Hill, Keith Mallaber, Judy
Hodge, Ms Margaret Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Hood, Jimmy Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Hoon, Rt Hon Geoffrey Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Hope, Phil Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Hopkins, Kelvin Martlew, Eric
Maxton, John Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael Skinner, Dennis
Meale, Alan Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Merron, Gillian Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Michael, Rt Hon Alun Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute) Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Miller, Andrew Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Mitchell, Austin Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Moffatt, Laura Soley, Clive
Moonie, Dr Lewis Spellar, John
Moore, Michael Squire, Ms Rachel
Moran, Ms Margaret Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway) Steinberg, Gerry
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N) Stevenson, George
Morley, Elliot Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley) Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Mountford, Kali Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Mudie, George Stuart, Ms Gisela
Mullin, Chris Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Norris, Dan Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Oaten, Mark Taylor, David (NW Leics)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton) Temple-Morris, Peter
O'Hara, Eddie Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Olner, Bill Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
O'Neill, Martin Timms, Stephen
Öpik, Lembit Tipping, Paddy
Organ, Mrs Diana Todd, Mark
Osborne, Ms Sandra Tonge, Dr Jenny
Palmer, Dr Nick Touhig, Don
Pearson, Ian Trickett, Jon
Perham, Ms Linda Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Pickthall, Colin Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Pike, Peter L Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Pond, Chris Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Pope, Greg Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Pound, Stephen Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Powell, Sir Raymond Tyler, Paul
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E) Tynan, Bill
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Walley, ms Joan
Prescott, Rt Hon John Ward, Ms Claire
Primarolo. Dawn Wareing, Robert N
Prosser, Gwyn Watts, David
Quin, Rt Hon Ms Joyce Webb, Steve
Quinn, Lawrie White, Brian
Raynsford, Nick Whitehead, Dr Alan
Reed. Andrew (Loughborough) Wicks, Malcolm
Rendel, David Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Rogers, Allan
Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Rowlands, Ted Willis, Phil
Ruane, Chris Wills, Michael
Ruddock, Joan Winnick, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester) Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester) Wood, Mike
Salter, Martin Woodward, Shaun
Sanders, Adrian Woolas, Phil
Sarwar, Mohammad Worthington, Tony
Savidge, Malcolm Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Sawford, Phil Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Shaw, Jonathan Wyatt, Derek
Sheerman, Barry
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert Tellers for the Noes:
Shipley, Ms Debra Mr. Gerry Sutcliffe and
Mrs. Anne McGuire.

Question accordingly negatived.

Question, That the proposed words be there added, put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 31 (Questions on amendments):—

The House divided: Ayes 306, Noes 176.

Division No. 314] [10.14 pm
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Darvill, Keith
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Alexander, Douglas Davidson, Ian
Allen, Graham Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Dawson, Hilton
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary Dean, Mrs Janet
Ashton, Joe Denham, John
Atkins, Charlotte Dismore, Andrew
Banks, Tony Dobbin, Jim
Barnes, Harry Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Barron, Kevin Donohoe, Brian H
Bayley, Hugh Doran, Frank
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret Dowd, Jim
Begg, Miss Anne Drew, David
Bell, Martin (Tatton) Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough) Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Edwards, Huw
Bennett, Andrew F Efford, Clive
Benton, Joe Ellman, Mrs Louise
Bermingham, Gerald Ennis, Jeff
Berry, Roger Field, Rt Hon Frank
Best, Harold Fitzpatrick, Jim
Blears, Ms Hazel Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Blizzard, Bob Flint, Caroline
Blunkett, Rt Hon David Follett, Barbara
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Borrow, David Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) Gapes, Mike
Bradshaw, Ben Gardiner, Barry
Brinton, Mrs Helen George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Browne, Desmond Gerrard, Neil
Buck, Ms Karen Gibson, Dr Ian
Butler, Mrs Christine Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Campbell. Alan (Tynemouth) Godman, Dr Norman A
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Goggins, Paul
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Golding, Mrs Llin
Campbell-Savours, Dale Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Caplin, Ivor Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Caton, Martin Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Cawsey, Ian Grocott, Bruce
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Grogan, John
Chaytor, David Hain, Peter
Clapham, Michael Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields) Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Clark, Dr Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands) Hanson, David
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Clark, Paul (Gillingham) Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S) Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge) Hepburn, Stephen
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S) Heppell, John
Clelland, David Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Clwyd, Ann Hill, Keith
Coaker, Vernon Hodge, Ms Margaret
Coffey, Ms Ann Hood, Jimmy
Colman, Tony Hoon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Connarty, Michael Hope, Phil
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Hopkins, Kelvin
Corbyn, Jeremy Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Corston, Jean Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Cox, Tom Howells, Dr Kim
Cranston, Ross Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Crausby, David Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley) Humble, Mrs Joan
Cryer, John (Hornchurch) Hurst, Alan
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack (Copeland) Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S) Illsley, Eric
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David Naysmith, Dr Doug
Jenkins, Brian Norris, Dan
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle) O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield) O'Hara, Eddie
Olner, Bill
Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn) O'Neill, Martin
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark) Organ, Mrs Diana
Jones, Helen (Warrington N) Osborne, Ms Sandra
Jones, Ms Jenny (Wolverh'ton SW) Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) Perham, Ms Linda
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak) Pickthall, Colin
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S) Pike, Peter L
Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa Pond, Chris
Keeble, Ms Sally Pope, Greg
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston) Pound, Stephen
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth) Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Kemp, Fraser Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree) Primarolo, Dawn
Khabra, Piara S Prosser, Gwyn
Kilfoyle, Peter Quin, Rt Hon Ms Joyce
Kumar, Dr Ashok Quinn, Lawrie
Lammy, David Raynsford, Nick
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Laxton, Bob Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Lepper, David Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Leslie, Christopher Rowlands, Ted
Levitt, Tom Ruane, Chris
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S) Ruddock, Joan
Lewis, Terry (Worsley) Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen Salter, Martin
Linton, Martin Sarwar, Mohammad
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C) Savidge, Malcolm
Lock, David Sawford, Phil
Love, Andrew Shaw, Jonathan
McAvoy, Thomas Sheerman, Barry
McCabe, Steve Shipley, Ms Debra
McCafferty, Ms Chris Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
McDonagh, Siobhain Skinner, Dennis
Macdonald, Calum Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
McDonnell, John Smith, Angela (Basildon)
McFall, John Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Mackinlay, Andrew Smith, John (Glamorgan)
McNamara, Kevin Soley, Clive
McNulty, Tony Spellar, John
MacShane, Denis Squire, Ms Rachel
Mactaggart, Fiona Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Mc Walter, Tony Steinberg, Gerry
McWilliam, John Stevenson, George
Mahon, Mrs Alice Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Mallaber, Judy Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter Stinchcombe, Paul
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S) Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury) Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Marshall-Andrews, Robert Stuart, Ms Gisela
Martlew, Eric Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Maxton, John
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Meale, Alan Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Merron, Gillian Temple-Morris, Peter
Michael, Rt Hon Alun Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley) Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Miller, Andrew Timms, Stephen
Mitchell, Austin Tipping, Paddy
Moffatt, Laura Todd, Mark
Moonie, Dr Lewis Touhig, Don
Moran, Ms Margaret Trickett, Jon
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N) Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Morley, Elliot Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley) Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Hatton)
Mountford, Kali Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Mudie, George Tynan, Bill
Mullin, Chris Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wareing, Robert N Wood, Mike
Watts, David Woodward, Shaun
White, Brian Woolas, Phil
Whitehead, Dr Alan Worthington, Tony
Wicks, Malcolm Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W) Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen) Tellers for the Ayes:
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy) Mrs. Anne McGuire and
Wills, Michael Mr. Gerry Sutcliffe.
Winnick, David
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) Gidley, Sandra
Allan, Richard Gill, Christopher
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Gray, James
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Green, Damian
Baker, Norman Greenway, John
Baldry, Tony Grieve, Dominic
Ballard, Jackie Gummer, Rt Hon John
Beggs, Roy Hague, Rt Hon William
Beith, Rt Hon A J Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Bercow, John Hammond, Philip
Beresford, Sir Paul Hancock, Mike
Blunt, Crispin Harris, Dr Evan
Boswell, Tim Harvey, Nick
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Hayes, John
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia Heald, Oliver
Brady, Graham Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Brake, Tom Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Brazier, Julian Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Breed, Colin Horam, John
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Browning, Mrs Angela Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Hunter, Andrew
Burnett, John Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Butterfill, John Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife) Jenkin, Bernard
Keetch, Paul
Cash, William Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Chidgey, David Kirkwood, Archy
Chope, Christopher Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Clappison, James Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Collins, Tim Lansley, Andrew
Cormack, Sir Patrick Leigh, Edward
Cotter, Brian Letwin, Oliver
Cran, James Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Curry, Rt Hon David Lidington, David
Davey, Edward (Kingston) Livsey, Richard
Davies, Quentin (Grantham) Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice) Llwyd, Elfyn
Day, Stephen Loughton, Tim
Donaldson, Jeffrey Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen McCrea, Rev William
Duncan, Alan McIntosh, Miss Anne
Duncan Smith, Iain MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Maclean, Rt Hon David
Evans, Nigel McLoughlin, Patrick
Faber, David Madel, Sir David
Fabricant, Michael Malins, Humfrey
Fearn, Ronnie Maples, John
Flight, Howard Mates, Michael
Forth, Rt Hon Eric Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Foster, Don (Bath) Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
Fox, Dr Liam May, Mrs Theresa
Fraser, Christopher Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Gale, Roger Moore, Michael
Garnier, Edward Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
George, Andrew (St Ives) Moss, Malcolm
Gibb, Nick Nicholls, Patrick
Norman, Archie Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Oaten, Mark Taylor, John M (Solihull)
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury) Taylor, Sir Teddy
Öpik, Lembit Thompson, William
Ottaway, Richard Tonge, Dr Jenny
Page, Richard Tredinnick, David
Paice, James Trend, Michael
Paterson, Owen Tyler, Paul
Pickles, Eric Tyrie, Andrew
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael Viggers, Peter
Prior, David Walter, Robert
Randall, John Waterson, Nigel
Redwood, Rt Hon John Webb, Steve
Robathan, Andrew Wells, Bowen
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E) Whitney, Sir Raymond
Russell, Bob (Colchester) Whittingdale, John
St Aubyn, Nick Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Sanders, Adrian Wilkinson, John
Shepherd, Richard Willetts, David
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk) Willis, Phil
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns) Wilshire, David
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S) Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Spelman, Mrs Caroline Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Spring, Richard Yeo, Tim
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary Tellers for the Noes:
Swayne, Desmond Mr. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
Syms, Robert and
Tapsell, Sir Peter Mr. Peter Luff.

Question accordingly agreed to.

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

Resolved, That this House welcomes the successful new measures introduced by the Government to support teacher recruitment, including training salaries, incentives for shortage subjects and an expanded graduate teacher programme; welcomes the fact that there has been a significant increase in applications and acceptances for teacher training as a result; further welcomes the support given by the School Teachers Review Body for the Government's plans to better reward good teaching; notes that there are nearly 7,000 more teachers in post now than in 1998; further notes that primary and infant class sizes have fallen after rising annually under the previous administration; recognises that headteachers have got both the resources and the powers to deal effectively with discipline for the first time; and commends the work of the Government in addressing specific recruitment difficulties in London and the positive and pro-active approach of this administration towards recruiting and rewarding teachers more generally.

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