HC Deb 15 December 1926 vol 200 cc2940-1W

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his attention has been drawn to the statement made at the annual meeting of the Educational Institute that the minimum scale paid to Scottish teachers is less than that paid to teachers in England; if this statement be correct, can he state the reason; and will he take steps to remove this anomaly?


I am aware of the suggestion that the terms of the Scottish minimum national scales ought to be assimilated to those of the Burnham scales, which apply to England and Wales, and I am glad that the hon. Member has given me an opportunity of explaining the position. No comparison can fairly be made between the two. The Burnham scales fix the actual salaries to be paid, while the Scottish minimum national scales are merely minimum scales in the strictest sense of the term. In point of fact, there is no Scottish education authority which is not paying at least some of its teachers at a rate in excess of the national minimum, and there are areas where the majority of the teachers are in receipt of salaries considerably beyond it. Careful investigation of the figures shows that a very large number of Scottish teachers, possibly as many as 10,000, would suffer a more or less serious reduction in their emofuments if their salaries were to be based on the Burnham scales appropriate to their areas. The price to be paid for the removal of what the hon. Member describes as an "anomaly" would thus be very high, and, in the circumstances, it does not seem desirable, either on educational or on any other grounds, to impose upon Scottish authorities and Scottish teachers the rigidity of the Burnham scales in substitution for the liberty which they at present enjoy of making terms for themselves above the datum line.