HC Deb 20 April 2004 vol 420 c483W
Mr. Andrew Hunter

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, if he will take measures to ensure that only local education authority-approved teachers can be employed by schools as supply teachers. [166412]

Mr. Miliband

My right hon. Friend has no present plans to take such measures. However, the Government has already taken action to improve the quality and reliability of supply teachers. A package of self-study materials was launched in June 2002 specifically for supply teachers. In addition, my Department's Quality mark scheme requires that teachers being offered to schools by agencies and Local Education Authorities have been interviewed and their references checked. I plan to write to schools soon recommending that they use Quality Mark holders for fulfilling their supply needs wherever possible.

1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
English—no.of pupils1665708757772797819767
Mathematics—no. of pupils1633633727723742774733
English—%of pupils76768183868484
Mathematics—%of pupils72687878807980
1 The number of eligible pupils for the Key Stage 2 tests varies slightly from year to year.

Mr. Ben Chapman

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many teacher vacancies there were in Wirral South on the latest date for which figures are available; and what steps he is taking to reduce them. [166626]

Mr. Miliband

Teacher vacancy information is collected at local authority level. There were 18 vacancies for full-time teachers in maintained schools in the Wirral local education authority (LEA) area, which includes Wirral South.

Like other areas, since 1997 Wirral has benefited from the initiatives that the Government has put in place to recruit and retain teachers and to increase the number of staff supporting them in schools. Since 1997, the number of full-time equivalent regular teachers in maintained schools in Wirral LEA has risen by 150, from 2,930 to 3,080 in 2003. Over the same period, the number of full-time equivalent school support staff in the LEA has grown by 690, from 680 to 1,370.