HC Deb 26 July 1990 vol 177 cc453-4W
Ms. Armstrong

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) when he last reviewed circular 1/88, "Physical and Mental Fitness to Teach of Teachers and of Entrants to Teacher Training";

(2) what consideration he has given to amending the guidelines in circular 1/88 to include clear guidance on (a) the entry of disabled people to teacher training courses and (b) the methods for retaining newly disabled teachers and thoe with severe disabilities such as diabetes or epilepsy; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Fallon

My right hon. Friend is satisfied that circular 1/88, which was the subject of extensive consultation before it was issued, contains clear guidance on these matters. Appendix 2 of the circular explains that a candidate's disability or illness is not of itself a bar to entry to initial teacher training. A training institution's decision on whether a candidate with a disability is medically fit should take into account the nature and extent of the individual's condition and the age range and subject or subjects he or she intends to teach.

Section 3 of the circular, in conjunction with regulation 9 of the Education (Teachers) Regulations 1989, gives clear guidance to teachers' employers on the action to be taken if a teacher becomes medically unfit while in service. Specific advice is offered on the circumstances in which the employment of teachers with epilepsy should be suspended or terminated.