HC Deb 01 July 1959 vol 608 cc52-3W
Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he is now in a position to make a statement in regard to the future of the Education Branch of the Royal Air Force, having particular regard to the promotion prospects of squadron leaders.

Mr. Ward

A new career structure is being introduced in order to increase substantially the permanent content of the branch while continuing to provide a good career. In future permanent commissions will be available on entry to those who want them and are considered suitable. For other entrants, there will be medium service commissions for ten years with options to leave after four or seven years and with a good opportunity of transferring to a permanent commission.

Promotion up to squadron leader will continue to be by time. Thereafter there will be two avenues of advancement: one as at present and a second, which is an important new feature, for teachers having specialist knowledge, experience and aptitude mainly in scientific or technical subjects. For these there will be a separate promotion ladder up to group captain rank.

To make it easier for officers who leave the Service in the middle ranks to fit themselves into civilian teaching, and to maintain a reasonable flow of promotion, we are reducing the normal retiring ages of squadron leaders from 53 to 48, and of wing commanders from 55 to 50. The retiring age for group captains will be reduced from 57 to 55.

The first promotions under the new career will be announced within the next few weeks.