HL Deb 16 December 1970 vol 313 cc1504-6WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What arrangements are proposed to assimilate into the staffing structure of the Education Service the teachers of mentally handicapped children who will be transferred on April 1, 1971, as a result of the Education (Handicapped Children) Act 1970.


Because we shared the misgivings which some of the staff had expressed about certain of our predecessors' plans, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science established after the Election a small working group of officials of the associations concerned, including those representing the existing staff. The working group's agreed recommendations about the status and the pay of the transferred staff have now been sent to the associations. My right honourable friend has every reason to expect that they will agree that these recommendations shall be taken as the basis for future policy and decisions. In this expectation she proposes to amend the regulations to implement the recommendations about the status of the teachers. Those about pay are made to The Burnham Primary and Secondary Committee and will be the subject of further examination and negotiation there. The Act already protects the transferred staff against loss of pay. The essence of the recommendations is as follows.

Under the Health Service, the nationally recognised qualification for teachers of mentally handicapped children is the Diploma in the Teaching of Mentally Handicapped Children awarded by the Training Council for Teachers of the Mentally Handicapped. Holders of the Diploma will continue to be recognised as fully qualified to teach mentally handicapped children. They will be able to teach in any maintained special school and will be paid on the Burnham qualified teacher scale. On completion of five years' satisfactory post-Diploma service, they will become eligible for qualified teacher (QT) status in the technical sense of the term used in the education service and will then be able to serve in any maintained school; those who continue in maintained special schools will become entitled to the salary addition paid to QTs serving in such schools (at present £137).

Some hundreds of Diploma holders who will already have completed the five-year period on the date of transfer will of course then be eligible straight away for QT status and pay, including the special schools addition. My right honourable friend expects normally to waive the usual probationary period for Diploma holders who satisfactorily complete the five years post-Diploma service. Diploma holders who, on transfer, are heads of junior training centres, or of schools in hospitals for the mentally handicapped which have become special schools, will receive the appropriate Burnham qualified head teacher scale, reduced, in the case of those who have not completed the 5 years, by the amount of the special schools addition.

Holders of the Training Council's Declaration of Recognition will become eligible for QT status when they have completed live years teaching in maintained special schools. Until then, while on teaching duties they will receive the Burnham QT scale without the special schools addition. In addition, my right honourable friend will be ready to consider individually under existing procedures special recommendations for QT status submitted by employers and based on individuals' qualifications or long and competent service.

A special salary scale is being recommended to the Burnham Committee for other transferred teaching staff who will not be QTs. The scale would run from £855 to £1,370, but it would be subject to revision in the light of the next Burnham settlement now under negotiation. The local education authority will have discretion as to the point at which individuals enter the scale. There will be discretionary increments above the scale for special qualifications, and an allowance for head teachers based on the Burnham allowance for non-QT heads of special schools.

House adjourned at twenty-six minutes before ten o'clock.