Orders of the Day — Teachers

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th July 1962.

Alert me about debates like this

9.57 p.m.

Photo of Mrs Harriet Slater Mrs Harriet Slater , Stoke-on-Trent North

I desire to raise the problem of the supply of teachers. I believe that this question of the supply of teachers is of great importance. It affects the interest of our children and is fundamental to the whole of the economic future of the country. Unless our children have the right education from the start it means that this country is not making proper provision for the future. This problem has been raised repeatedly during the last six or seven years. In the Ministry's report for 1961 it states that the future staffing prospects in schools causes anxiety. The National Advisory Council on the Training and Supply of Teachers referred to the same problem in its report and says that the shortage of teachers is seen to be not merely a present but a chronic disability.

The Ministry has been repeatedly warned and advised by all kinds of or- ganisations and people interested in education, including the Advisory Council, the National Union of Teachers and local education authorities. It has been advised that the estimate for the supply of teachers was totally inadequate. When the three-year course was first discussed the Ministry was again warned that the estimated number of teachers fell far below what was considered adequate.

I should like to congratulate the new Minister of Education on his appointment, and I hope that we shall see a change of policy at the Ministry. At the time when the Present Minister was Parliamentary Secretary, I asked whether he had made a proper estimate of the number of teachers required for the three-year training course and the number placed in the training colleges. The answer that the right hon. Gentleman gave me on that occasion was that it was not quantity we were concerned about but quality. I hope that we have always been concerned about the quality of our teachers. I, too, am concerned, but one of our concerns is also quality and quantity. Those estimates have been inadequate because some of the warnings which have been given have not been properly taken notice of. Over the last two months we have had panic measures at the Ministry. We have urged local education authorities to set up day training colleges. There have been auxiliary helpers in our schools. We have appealed to married women to come back. All this may be very necessary, but I maintain that the action taken has been sadly belated.

What is the problem? The Ministry's Report states on page 8 that in January, 1961, we had almost 7 million pupils, actually 6,951,517 pupils on the registers in our day schools. This excludes all nursery schools and all special schools. This means that in infant, junior and secondary modern schools there are 37,236 more than in 1960. As the Minister's Report states, the infant position remains practically unchanged. The junior situation shows a decrease by 52,000 last year, compared with 101,000 in 1959. The seniors on the register rose by 90,000 pupils. The number of pupils in 6th forms increased by 112,530, which was 13,316 more than in 1960. Not only have we the position of an increase of pupils in our ordinary schools but the tendency of more pupils to stay on longer at school. What is the result of that position?

Again, according to the 1961 Report, we still have 19·7 per cent. of our junior children in classes of over 40, which means that we have 19·7 per cent. of our children in junior schools in over-sized classes on the basis of the regulations under the 1944 Act. That means we have 18,456 classes over-sized and 125,000 children in those classes. I maintain that because of that situation we have 125,000 children in our junior schools who are not having their first real opportunity of a good education. That is the seriousness of this whole problem of teacher supply. If we had been doing our job in 1961 we should have considered that 40 children in an infant school were too many and at no time should we have more than 30. I have recently been told that in September many junior and infant schools in Stoke will start with classes of over forty.

In secondary modern schools 61·6 per cent. of children are in over-sized classes —that is, classes of over thirty. This is serious in 1961. The Ministry Report, "Secondary Education for all. A new drive", published in December, 1958, ended by saying this: The programme set out in this White Paper is therefore part of a concerted drive to create an educational system adequate to meet both national and individual needs in the modern world. In a situation where large numbers of children are in over-sized classes we do not begin to provide the education which is adequate to meet the needs of the present and the future modern world.

What is the position about teachers? In the year ending March, 1961, we recruited 17,100 women and 7,600 men, a total of 24,700. In the same year 15,700 women and 3,800 men left. We all recognise that the wastage of women teachers is a very real problem. Women get married younger. They have their children younger. Therefore, we lose many women in the early years after training. However, much more can be done to attract these women back into teaching when their families have got out of the very young age. We are told by those who make estimates that the net increase in teachers for this year will be 4,200 compared with 5,200 last year.

There is, however, one pleasant feature about the recruitment of teachers. More graduates—unfortunately, from my point of view, more men graduates—go into teaching than they did previously. Between 1951 and 1961 there was an increase in the number of graduates going into teaching. Unfortunately, last year there was the lowest increase in the number of graduates going into teaching for the last ten years. We cannot afford to let this develop into a trend.

The Council which advises the Minister makes these estimates. In 1960 there were 264,000 teachers, whereas the demand was 329,000, a shortage of 65,000. For 1965, which will soon be upon us, the figures are 284,000 and 355,000, which will leave us with a 51,000 shortage. For 1970 the figures are 314,000 and 363,000, a deficiency of 49,000, although the Morris Report Investment for National Survival, which is a very good title, puts this higher. For 1980—if we are to face this problem correctly, we must not think that 1980 is too far ahead—the figures are 372,000 and 412,000, a deficiency of 40,000. Therefore, even twenty years hence we shall still be 40,000 teachers short of our demand, even with the present policy of a school leaving age of 15 and classes of forty for juniors and thirty for secondary moderns. The school population is increasing, and it is estimated that in twenty years the school population, because of the increasing birth rate, will have grown from 6·9 million to 8·6 million—a 25 per cent. increase by 1980. Again these figures take no account of the raising of the school-leaving age.

In Investment for National Survival it is estimated that by 1970 we shall need an average recruitment of 31,000 teachers per year over a long period if we are to take account of the rising birth rate and the wastage in men and women teachers, and this document concludes with these words: We conclude, therefore, that if the rising child population is to be taught, if people's needs are to be met, and if all the reforms that most educationists and informed observers regard as essential are to be carried out, then in the next ten years we shall have to maintain an average annual rate of recruitment of teachers from 30.000 to 35,000 a year. It goes on to say that able and ambitious men and women must be encouraged to go into the teaching profession.

So far I have been talking only of the problem as it affects our ordinary schools, but we have to realise—and this is pointed out in the Report of the Advisory Council—that there is also the recruitment of teachers for our further education departments to be considered. My own local authority is finding that we cannot get some of the lecturers that are needed for our further education departments. They can claim higher salaries outside, and, in addition, the attraction of coming into these departments is not so great as some of us would have hoped. We have to consider the needs of further education, higher education, training colleges, universities and youth work. We have a young man as Parliamentary Secretary who, we are told, will deal with the requirements for youth work. He has got a large problem on his hands to recruit active leaders and lecturers for the youth and adult services.

As for the size of classes, the story is the same everywhere. My own local authority has published a very good book on education in Stoke-on-Trent in 1961. It reports that even in Stoke we shall have 138 classes of juniors with over 40 in them, six with over 50— which makes me shudder—and 161 secondary modern classes with over 35 and 39 classes with over 40. What equality of opportunity have these children got? What real attempt are we making to see that these children have at the very beginning the right opportunity and the correct foundations for a decent education? What chance have some of them got to go on to further education if they are forced to be educated in oversized classes?

I have no proof, but I am told that in some parts of South Staffordshire emergency plans are being made for a four-day week for children's education. In today's Guardian it is seriously suggested that the school starting age should be increased to six years of age. I hope that the Minister will not agree to that. I believe in nursery education, never mind putting up the starting age to six.

I come now to the uneven working of the quota system. I know that I am on dangerous ground here. We have a quota system whereby so many teachers are allocated to various localities, but the quota system never works properly either in the localities or nationally because the distribution of pupils makes it extremely difficult to apply. I am told by my own chief education officer—the Minister may say that he is having an argument about this—that, if the quota system remains as it is, in 1963, when the first lot of teachers comes out, Stoke-on-Trent will not be able to employ a single girl or boy who has gone from Stoke-on-Trent to be trained as a teacher. Every one of them will have to work outside their own area. This is a great problem for some of these young folk who feel that they have a responsibility to their parents to stay at home and be a help after having spent three years at college.

There must be greater training college provision. The previous Minister urged a doubling-up in some of our colleges, and some of our colleges were quite good at it. When an estimate of 12,000 more places was made, we said then that it was inadequate. Later, the Minister increased the estimate to 16,000 more places. He was as much as one-third out in his estimate. We still say that this greater estimate is too small. The previous Minister urged local education authorities to start day training colleges as a sort of temporary measure. I understand that it is estimated that 10,000 more places would give us 3,000 more teachers per year.

Has the Ministry considered other possible places where training college facilities could be started? I have been told about some former naval premises in Pembrokeshire. I have not seen them, and I do not know how suitable they are. We may be told that such premises would create difficulties. Of course they would, but difficulties of that kind are made to be overcome when we have a great problem before us, and they must be overcome.

In my view, the Ministry should look, especially now that we have a three-year course, at the possibility of training colleges being able to award an internal degree of their own to give the teachers who go through the colleges an increased status.

More effort should be made to persuade our young folk who are going through our further education departments to go into teaching. We have a women's college in Stoke-on-Trent which was started originally to train nursery assistants and give a pre-nursing course, but each year now we regularly have young girls in that college who get an urge to go on for teaching. They are encouraged by the principal to take up the teaching profession and not just to stay at the women's technical college but to go through training college. More of this sort of thing could be done in all kinds of technical and commercial colleges.

We must encourage more graduates to go in for teaching. I hope that not all such graduates will think that they are suited only to go in for secondary modern school teaching or grammar school teaching but that some of them will think of going into our junior schools. Very much more could be done to persuade those students in our universities who are uncommitted for any particular profession to go into the teaching profession. Even at that age they have not all made up their minds what they want to do. The Ministry could do more to bring about co-ordination between training colleges and universities. I agree that we should attract more married women into the teaching profession, but much more must be done before many of them will come back. There are all kinds of problems. There is, for instance, the problem of tax which is a very real problem for some of these women.

I have enough faith in the Minister to know that he will not succumb to the idea that it is a waste of money to train women to become teachers because the wastage is so great, just as some people think that it is a waste of money to educate a girl because the chances are that she will get married and merely cook and do general household chores. It is worthwhile training women to be teachers even though they may leave the profession after a year or two because if they return to the profession their experience in the home and as mothers will have made them very much better teachers.

Part-time teachers must be encouraged in certain subjects. I am not fond of people doing sessional duties, but, in view of the present difficulties, much should be done to encourage people to return part-time to teach science or mathematics or those subjects in which there are real teaching difficulties.

I wish to mention in passing teaching machines. I watched a television programme in which a maker of these teaching machines was being interviewed by Huw Wheldon, and I became literally scared stiff as the interview progressed. It was claimed that one could train a child of 7½ years to use the machine and to do without a teacher. Let us use machines and visual aids of this kind as aids only, because education means teaching a person not only how to acquire knowledge but to have a soul and to become a useful citizen. Unless education does that, a knowledgeable person can become a very great danger to the country and to the world. We have had glorious examples of that. I hope that during the present desperate shortage of teachers no one will say that we should buy more teaching machines of this character and pump material and knowledge into people and gradually do away with the need for the human contact of the teacher with the child, which to me is of the very greatest importance.

I should like to say a few words about auxiliaries. I have not been happy about this matter since the former Parliamentary Secretary introduced it in a debate a few weeks ago. I have been really worried about it because I do not know what the Ministry intends these auxiliaries to do. Stoke-on-Trent is employing numerous auxiliaries. We have our meals helpers, people who ensure that the children wash before they take their meal and that they have their meal under decent conditions and supervisors. We have our nursery assistants in infant schools who have been trained in our women's college for that work. We have employed secretaries not only in our secondary modern schools but also in our junior schools so that the humdrum work of taking money for milk and school meals is lifted from the backs of the teachers in order that they can do the job which they are trained to do.

If that is what we mean by auxiliaries, well and good, but for goodness sake let us make it clear as quickly as we can that we do not intend to give these people twelve weeks' training and then put them in a class to teach. Unless the Minister does something about this quickly, he will have the serious position arising that directors of education in their desperation will ask these auxiliary helpers to go in front of a class and teach. I think far too much of our children for them to be made the victims of that kind of work. I hope that the Minister will tell the teaching profession, local education authorities and this House what the auxiliaries are for and what kind of jobs they will do.

Above all, the Minister must give the teaching profession much greater confidence in the Government and in education generally than it has had during the last twelve months. The profession must know, as other professions must know, that the Government do not intend to go on treating them shabbily. Unless this fear is taken from them, unless they know that as men and women who have been trained for a noble profession they will receive a proper salary and status and will be given not only the buildings of which we boasted last week, but the material and the opportunities to use the abilities of the children properly, the teachers will have no faith in us and we shall not be able to recruit the greater numbers of teachers that we ought to recruit.

Every profession needs confidence that the Government believe in it. If the Minister can do one job only and do it very well, it is within the next few weeks to restore the confidence which teachers have been lacking in the Ministry of Education over the last twelve months and to give them new hope for the future. Therefore, I call on the Minister to bring to his present office a new drive, new initiative and planning in the Department, not only for the immediate needs, but for the country's long-term educational programme.

Let us begin at long last to take note of the numerous Committees and their Reports. We remember the Anderson Committee because it suited the Government to implement some of its proposals. Let us remember the Crowther Committee. Let the Parliamentary Secretary apply the recommendations of the Albemarle Report. Let us take note of the Robbins and other Committees as they report, Committees which have gone to a lot of trouble to consider the whole problem of education. Do not let us do with some of those Committees what we have done over the years with other Committees which have been set up—have a debate on them, push them away and forget about them until five or ten years afterwards, or sometimes for ever.

I am an ex-teacher and proud of the fact. I am proud of our present teachers. I am proud of our local education authorities and the work which they endeavour to do in difficult circumstances. Having said that, however, I am also concerned about the ordinary child. The clever child will find its level. There will be opportunities for most of the clever children. But what is good enough for the well-to-do children, and nothing less, must be good enough for the average child.

Smaller classes, better facilities and the question of teacher supply are vital and fundamental to an adequate, forward-looking education service which, in the words of the 1958 White Paper, can provide us with an education suitable for present and for future needs in the modern world.

10.30 p.m.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

I think we must recognise that basically this problem is financial and political. It depends on what share of the national income we are prepared to devote to education and the place which we are prepared to give education in the nineteen-sixties. One realises that finance must be limited, but the first thing which the new Minister must do is to lower the incremental period of the young teachers, because this is the time, particularly when they are married and have children, when they need the money. So point No. 1 is, please, please, please lower the incremental period as soon as possible.

In any discussion of the supply of teachers surely also the whole question of the supply of trained manpower arises, and this means not going into the problem of new universities halfheartedly but looking at it in a bold and imaginative way, as I am sure the new Minister would wish to do. Instead of arguing, for instance, whether Scotland should have one university or whether she should not, the Minister ought to persuade his Ministerial colleagues to lay down now four new universities preferably in areas where there is a persistently high rate of unemployment, because we have to look ahead into the 'seventies and 'eighties when men will be saying that if a boy or a girl does not go to a university that boy or that girl will not be properly educated. So please let the Minister look ahead.

There are, too, several less important matters which the Minister can get stuck into straight away, and one is the question of helping the child who is backward, possibly through sickness, possibly because the penny has not dropped in the academic sense. It is up to the Minister not only to lower the size of classes, but to provide special help for those pupils who particularly need it. I suggest, therefore, that he considers the problem of retired teachers, because many of them, while not able to tackle, at 65, 66 or 67 years of age, classes of from 35 to 40, would certainly be very willing to tackle pupils in groups of three or four. They would welcome it, because there is nothing sadder than to see teachers in their sixty-seventh or sixty-eighth year withering away—I cannot think of any other expression for it —because they feel that the world no longer wants them. I know men who have enjoyed the first two, three or four months of retirement, but after that they gradually have become more and more bored, and this affects their health, and in education we certainly could make use of them. We could make use of them in that most difficult of all the teacher's problems, helping the youngster in a class of 40 who has fallen behind.

My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mrs. Slater) has raised the question of the auxiliaries. I hope that the Minister will tell us exactly what the function, in his idea, of these auxiliaries will be. I would like to tell him what many of us on this side of the House think the function of auxiliaries ought to be. They ought to be competent, efficient secretaries who can help with that mammoth task of mechanical correcting. The Minister may say that if a teacher is worth his salt he will do his own correcting. I certainly know few colleagues who would wish to shirk this responsibility, but surely there is a difference in doing correction requiring the mature judgment of the expert, and mechanical correction which can be done by anybody of moderate education.

The sort of on-the-spot situation which occurs is this: one has to correct the work of 30 or 35 or 40 15-year-olds. How long does it take to correct the English essay of such a class? I will tell the Minister. It takes seven hours at least. I defy anybody to do it properly in under seven hours.

Suppose the teacher has a third-year class. That is 14 hours' work. Add to that the hours of correction, possibly 19 hours' work. Add to that 10 hours of specialist work, and we get to 30 hours' correction altogether if the job is to be done correctly. Hon. Members may say that I am exaggerating. But education cannot be conducted properly without this long laborious, even tedious, work going on. It is on this ground that we should provide people who will deal with the simple one-word answers and correct the fairly simple sums. That would relieve the staff of many of the chores in the first and second year.

What is important is not that mature judgment should be employed all the time on correction of every piece of work that is done but that the youngsters should know that someone is taking trouble, because unless they get it into their heads that the corrections are properly done they cease to take trouble. That is why the services of the auxiliaries should be devoted to correction.

There are also the difficulties of setting papers. It is important not that the youngsters should have two examinations a year but that they should get used to the technique of examination. It may be suggested that we should get rid of as many examinations as possible, but, after all, diplomas, certificates and examination results have become badges of success in the second half of the twentieth century. Whether we like that oar not, it is a fact.

It is only fair to the youngsters, therefore, that they should be trained in the technique. Too often pupils fail in examinations not because they have not done the work, are not clever enough or have not the knowledge but simply because they have not the technique or knack of doing examinations. The methodology requires practice. Here the auxiliary could help by the simple physical, laborious process of churning out suitable question papers on the work that has been done in class.

It is a question not only of getting more teachers but of improving the quality of our present teachers. What worries me is the process whereby the 17-year-old leaves school, goes straight to a training college or university and then becomes a teacher. That jump from one side of the teacher's desk to the other is unsatisfactory. It may be said that it has always happened. It has not. I am the last to defend National Service on the ground that it did people good, but taking people away and giving them a different experience for two years made them very much more effective teachers. I am the last to say that the Second World War did people good, but I am certain that many teachers in their 30s and 40s are much the better for having gone through a number of gruelling experiences. It is on these grounds that I think the Government ought to provide some alien experience for teachers before they settle down for a long time behind the teacher's desk.

The Government ought to look again at the £10 million which is to be provided by the taxpayers for compensation for breach of contract in the case of troopships "Oxfordshire" and "Nevasa" which might be used to take young teachers to other countries. There are other uses for great ships, but the Government's mind ought to be working on this sort of thing. One suggestion may be relevant in view of the appointment of the new Parliamentary Secretary. Why should not many young potential teachers who will be taking gym classes be taken to the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964 on one of these ships, for which the Government will have to pay anyway?

This is the way in which the Minister's mind should be working, because if we merely taken a person from school, put him in a training course and then send him back to school, we will not get the type of teacher we all want.

10.40 p.m.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

As this is the first education debate we have had since the sackings, and as the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. K. Thompson) is still a Member of this House, I am sure I speak for hon. Members on both sides when I say that he has everyone's sympathy. I do not regard a Parliamentary Secretary as being responsible for policy, as the right hon. Gentleman will no doubt be glad to know, but we appreciated the way in which the hon. Member stood up for his Department over the past years. I would not like to miss this opportunity of paying tribute to him.

We now welcome the right hon. Gentleman as Minister of Education. He is an eloquent and persuasive debater. I have had doubts, however. He was described as an intellectual, but I have carried out some research and I find that charge to be baseless, and I am very relieved to know it.

Although, as I have said, a Parliamentary Secretary is not responsible for the policy of his Department, the right hon. Gentleman, if he looks up his speeches made while he was Parliamentary Secretary, will find that they gravely misled us and the nation. He was at the Ministry at a critical time, when steps should have been taken to avoid the crisis in which we now find ourselves. Although he recognised that the second bulge was coming, unfortunately neither he nor his Minister did anything about it.

More recently the hon. Gentleman also spoke with great vigour and eloquence in defending the Government's policy towards the universities, but that again is a disastrous policy. Unless something is done, we shall find ourselves in an even more serious position.

I welcome the appointment of the hon. Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. Chataway) as Parliamentary Secretary rather cursorily, because the latest information I have is from "Private Eye", which might be misleading. We look forward to hearing him during the next few months and we hope when we do that he will tell us of a change in Government policy. I say "few months" because no one expects the Government to last much longer than that.

We are obliged to my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mrs. Slater) for raising this subject, which is perhaps one of the most serious problems facing us. We should be enjoying our good fortune instead of feeling miserable about it. The country is fortunate in that for many years it has been enjoying an increasing birth rate. But apparently no one at the Ministry of Education realised that an increasing birth rate meant that an increasing number of children would be going to school.

Photo of Mr Peter Walker Mr Peter Walker , Worcester

Mr. Peter Walker (Worcester) indicated dissent.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

It is no good the hon. Member looking dissatisfied about that statement. We debated this issue a year ago and Sir David Eccles did not even deign to reply.

The other thing equally significant and important and encouraging is the "trend", which is the desire of more and more parents that their children should stay on at school after the statutory leaving age. But while more and more children are at school and are staying on, we need more teachers.

We should equally welcome another development. Teachers nowadays look forward to a happy married life. We no longer think of women entering the teaching profession and remaining spinsters. We now expect that most of them will marry.

We have known about all this for many years. However, because of the coincidence of these three things about which we ought to be extremely happy and rejoice, we are in fact in awful difficulties. We have not got the teachers that we need because the Government have not faced their responsibilities and taken the necessary steps to provide them. This would be a difficult enough situation to face in any circumstances, but unfortunately for us we are about the only country in the world which has not taken steps in time in the face of such difficulties.

These phenomena are not peculiar to this country, but what is peculiar to this country is that we have done so little about them. We face a world in which the intense competition and the struggle for survival has, fortunately, been expressed largely in terms of education. It is those countries which spend adequate resources on their people which will be the best qualified and most powerful nations in the world. In this situation, I warn the right hon. Gentleman, because I know his tactical approach to this, that it is a waste of time to talk about spending more on education this year than we did last year. The question is, are we spending sufficient in the light of the world in which we live? If we are not, we are failing our people. We are not only failing the people of today, but those of the next generation. That is why I said that my hon. Friend had raised one of the most important issues which face the Government, and for which they are responsible.

I do not want to repeat the figures given by my hon. Friend, but the situation is particularly grave when we remember that during the next few years the schools will be facing a crisis of teacher supply against which the Government have taken no steps to safeguard them. We crossed the Rubicon before the right hon. Gentleman took up his present appointment. That was done with the Report of the National Advisory Council on the Demand and Supply of Teachers. Before that Report was published, although we deployed before the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor all the facts and figures, and although every distinguished educationalist did the same, the staff in Curzon Street remained immune to our arguments.

More than twelve months ago there was a debate in the House on the supply of teachers. We got no response from the Government. This year, however. we received the Report of the National Advisory Council and Mr. Fulton in his preface to the Report called the attention of the Government to "the grave shortage" of teachers. It is interesting to note that on the day of our debate on education—and this shows that Parliamentary debates serve some purpose —the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor wrote to Mr. Fulton agreeing that there is "a grave shortage of teachers."

We therefore have at last the position that the Government have recorded that we are facing a grave shortage of teachers. They admit that if we continue to do what we are doing now, that if we carry out no educational reforms between now and 1970, in that year there will be a shortage of 50,000 teachers. It is, I suppose, something that we now have a clear admission of the difficulties that we are facing, and this acute crisis caused by the shortage of teachers. We now want to know what the Government are going to do about it. That is what the right hon. Gentleman has to tell us tonight. He must assure us that steps are being taken to deal with the situation before the next academic year.

The National Advisory Council says that there must be "a massive expansion of the base of higher education from which many more teachers can be drawn." Now will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider the speech that he made on the cuts in the grants to the University Grants Committee? Will he renounce his policy? Will he say that he was wrong? We now have information from all the universities that they cannot carry out even the Government's programme, but here is the National Advisory Council itself saying that there must be "a massive expansion" if this teacher crisis is to be overcome.

The right hon. Gentleman cannot provide for that massive expansion unless he drastically alters the present programme for university expansion. He can do nothing about the present training colleges because, to use his Ministry's own elegant phraseology, the training colleges are at the present time crowded up to one-third more than their normal accommodation. What is the right hon. Gentleman going to do? We now have a further report. The Ministry was not forthcoming about this when I questioned the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor. Everyone except the right hon. Gentleman knew what the Council had recommended. He was going to find out from the Chairman on the Wednesday following the weekend when he lost his office. But we knew what the Council had recommended. Why did not the Ministry publish it? Why did not we get it until last Thursday? We want immediate action.

The Council has said that we must provide 10,000 additional teacher training places. Is the right hon. Gentleman going to provide them? Has he started making provision for them? Again, we want some action before the next academic year. It is interesting to note what the Advisory Council says about this. It says that it is not for the moment reporting upon auxiliaries. After all the flapdoodle we heard from the Parliamentary Secretary in the last debate on education, the National Advisory Council says that we must immediately have 10,000 additional places in training colleges. It is upon this urgent and emergency recommendation that we want a statement from the right hon. Gentleman about Governmental action in the immediate future.

I want to deal with a few other points rather briefly. I agree with what my hon. Friends said about further education; in the various phases of further education we may well recruit people for teaching if we go about it properly. The right hon. Gentleman might look at the possibility. We ought also to look at the importance of keeping children at school in the sixth form, so as not to lose those of them who might well be attracted into teaching.

The right hon. Gentleman should therefore be seriously considering the complete revision of maintenance allowances for children in the sixth form staying on after school-leaving age. That is particularly important now, because we do not want to lose children who ought to stay an extra year in the sixth form because they have not had admission to universities and who might nevertheless make successful recruits to the teaching profession.

I lightened the heart of the Parliamentary Secretary's predecessor when we had the last debate on education, because I called for improvisation. But I did not call for it joyfully; I called for it because we are facing a situation in which we must improvise if we are to get more teachers. The right hon. Gentleman ought to do more about getting more day students at the training colleges. He ought to do more about temporary colleges for day students.

We never had any real response from the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor about the Trent Park-Southend scheme. That is the sort of thing that might set a precedent. In that sort of way we might garner more people into the teaching profession.

I should like the right hon. Gentleman to look at the possibility of sandwich courses at the teacher training colleges. Although this is not a particularly desirable project, it would result in greater use being made of the existing staffs and premises, and the provision of more teachers. I agree with what was said by my hon. Friend about part-time teachers. We know that there are 50,000 married women who are qualified to teach. I pay tribute to what has been done in the last twelve months to attract them back to the teaching profession, but I am not satisfied that sufficient has been done. A more individual appeal should be made. It has been suggested that it might be better if the husbands were approached rather Chan the wives. We cannot be satisfied that sufficient has been done to get enough teachers back into the schools to avoid a crisis in some parts of the country. A deficiency in the South and in Wales means that there is a serious shortage in parts of the Midlands and the North.

I am aware that a dilemma arises from the fact that there are more possible part-time teachers in the areas where there are a sufficient number of teachers already. We must try to persuade part-time teachers to go to schools in less desirable areas. The Minister must face the need for crash programmes at the universities. We must tell the university authorities that the money needed will be provided if they play their part. The authorities are not irresponsible people, they are not altogether enthusiastic about expansion. But the Government must ensure that there is no impediment. There is a desperate shortage of graduate teachers and especially teachers of science and mathematics.

We cannot wait for the Report of the Rabbins Committee. To use the words of the advisory committee, we know that it will recommend a massive expansion of higher education. But we have to take action now to meet the urgent problems which ace immediate. We cannot avoid the fact that this will cost a great deal of money. We must face the question of the status and pay of teachers. The fact remains that the greatest single obstacle to educational advance is the shortage of teachers, and that "log jamb" must be broken as quickly as possible. If the right hon. Gentleman is not prepared to renounce the views he held while he was at the Treasury, the sooner he leaves the Ministry the better. But I hope that now he has returned to Education he will recognise his responsibilities to education and at last see that something is done.

10.59 p.m.

Photo of Mr Peter Walker Mr Peter Walker , Worcester

I am provoked to take part in this debate because I wish to support what was said by the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) in his concluding sentences, and because I was appalled at what was said by the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey). It is surprising for someone on the Opposition Front Bench to suggest that this Government have taken no note of the increase in the birth irate and the need to spend and provide more education. In 1951, in the last period of a Labour Government, the amount spent on education worked out at about 11s. per week per family of four. Today it has reached the level of about 32s. a week for a family of four. Even accounting fox any rise in the cost of living and increased school-building costs, this is a very substantial increase in the amount spent on education. This has been shown in an increase in the number of schools built and completed, in a substantial increase in the number of places provided at universities, and in a substantial increase in the number of teachers. I believe that this Government have coped exceedingly well. I hope that they cope even better in the future.

I take great delight at the appointment of my right hon. Friend the new Minister of Education. Of all the past Parliamentary Secretaries to the Ministry of Education he was probably the most popular with the profession and with circles within education. I believe that in that sense the profession and all those interested in furthering education take delight in his appointment. I believe that they also take delight in the appointment of his Parliamentary Secretary. This is a very powerful team which will aid the further development of education.

I want to say a few words in support of the hon. Member for West Lothian. It is important that we should ensure that teachers, not only prior to taking up their appointments but thereafter, are given the opportunity to have a general wide view of the problems of the world in order to impart to those whom they teach the facets of the changing world in which we live. Ordinary teachers, because of their restricted financial resources, are limited in the amount of travel they can undertake and in the facilities at their disposal to keep abreast of the changing world and economic events. I ask my right hon. Friend to give very serious consideration to ways by which teachers at later stages in their career—say, in their 30s or 40s—can travel and see something of the world and perhaps see something of factories and industries in this country. They would become all the better teachers for this experience.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

Would not the horn. Gentleman agree that it might be useful to institute some sort of scheme, not perhaps of sabbatical years, which would take too long, but certainly sabbatical terms, in the light of experiments pioneered at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge?

Photo of Mr Peter Walker Mr Peter Walker , Worcester

I am very much in favour of all such ideas and hope that my right hon. Friend will give them serious consideration.

The Ministry of Labour has failed completely to give children a clear conception of the extent of the opportunities available to them on leaving school. Many children from grammar, secondary modern and technical schools have little conception of the wide range of opportunities available to them on leaving school. Although I strongly commend the efforts of individual officers of the Youth Employment Service, I do not think that the Service has managed yet to put across to the average child that he has the good fortune to live in this country and have available to him a wide range of opportunities. I should like the Service to co-operate with the Ministry so that far more is done to put over the availability of careers to the individual schoolchild. At present this has been left to careers masters. They have practical knowledge of one career only, teaching. In any case, they have all the burdens of their ordinary teaching duties. In all probability, they do very little of a positive nature to be acquainted with the type of careers avaliable to his students. Far more could be done to ensure that industry and commerce enter schools to put before the children the availability of careers.

I should like to say a word on the topic of management education. This is a sphere in which, as a nation, we are far behind our competitors in the world of industry and trade. There is tremendous scope for a substantial improvement in the facilities for management education in this country. I believe that my right hon. Friend's predecessor did a great deal, as yet unrecognised, towards this end, and the manner in which he has introduced the various new certificates and diplomas in management studies is a useful step forward.

I am encouraged by recent replies from my right hon. Friend as to the increased availability of teachers trained in advanced business studies. But even with this encouragement we are still a long way behind Western Germany and the United States. I hope that in the coming Parliamentary year we shall see far greater interest in this topic than previously. It is not enough for studies to be under way to see whether or not Oxford or Cambridge are willing to provide more facilities to this end. This is an urgent necessity for a commercial nation such as our own, and I hope that one of the spheres in which my right hon. Friend will be particularly enthusiastic will be that of improving the facilities for management education.

11.6 p.m.

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

I should first like to thank the hon. Lady the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mrs. Slater) and the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) for the welcome which they gave me tonight in my first debate as Minister of Education.

If the House will permit me to say so, it is not without certain emotion that I rise to speak at this moment. I follow someone in Sir David Eccles who, I think, was recognised on all sides in the teaching profession, in the educational world and in this House as a man of broad and constructive ideas on the sort of society we wish to see in this country. [Interruption.] I do not wish to be controversial tonight, but I am echoing very many tributes to him that were paid in the educational press a fortnight ago. Certainly he is a right hon. Gentleman who fought extremely hard in the cause of education and to ensure that it got its full share of the nation's resources.

I am also glad that the hon. Member for Sunderland, North paid tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool. Walton (Mr. K. Thompson). My hon. Friend has been a member of the Government for some years. I think that in all the offices he has held he was a most efficient Parliamentary Secretary, and I was particularly glad to hear a tribute paid to him tonight.

First, I want to say two things. It will be my job—and I shall discharge it to the best of my ability—to see that education has a proper share of the total resources that we can devote to the social services. When one looks at the figures at the present time—both the total amount that we devote to education and the total share of the Budget that goes to the social services—I think the Government's record is not one to be ashamed of.

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor, winding up the debate the other night, pointed out very properly that in Britain at present we are spending a greater percentage of our national income on education than any European country, except Sweden. I quote this figure from memory, but I am pretty sure that it is correct. If one looks this year at the total amount that has been spent on education in England, Wales and Scotland, including the universities, we find that the total sum is, I think, £1,143 million.

Another statistic that is worth bearing in mind is this. When we came to power in 1951 the total proportion of supply and expenditure devoted to social and communal services was about 33 per cent., and it has now gone up to 43½ per cent. Without in any way wishing to sound complacent, I believe the Government have done a good job over social service expenditure as a whole, and I do not think we have anything to be ashamed of in the total amount of the nation's resources which are devoted to education.

I want to add to that a personal word. I certainly look on the years that I have spent as Parliamentary Secretary as among the happiest I can remember, and to me the most worth while part of any job at the Ministry of Education is the opportunity that it gives one of firsthand personal contact with those who are doing the work in the sphere of education in this country. The core of our educational system, of course, is the ordinary teacher, teaching perhaps under very difficult circumstances and doing his or her best with ordinary children who started life with no particular advantages.

I always think that it is perhaps not very useful to quote Bernard Levin from this side of the House, but in his introduction to one of Wesker's plays he says Chat one of the delights of Wesker is his passion for portraying the lives of the ordinary family not because they are saints but because they are not. That is how I feel now about the work of the teacher in his or her great task of teaching children to live their lives in our community, lives which, if they are not ideal, are better for the training which the children have received.

I can fully agree with hon. Members who have spoken that there is no greater problem today which faces our educational system than this question of teacher supply, and it is especially interesting to me, coming back to the Ministry after three years, to see how this subject has developed in the interval. I do not want to be discourteous to those waiting for the next debate, and I will not be long, but I also do not want to be discourteous to those hon. Members who have taken part in this debate which I should be if I did not reply to some of the points which have been raised by the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) and others.

There are two reasons why this problem of teacher supply has got more serious since I was last in the Ministry of Education. The first is the unexpected increase in the school population. It is fair to say that in 1957— and I mention this because I was twitted about something which I then said—the wastage among teachers had not become so drastic; it has become more acute than we then thought. What has caused the change? First, the prospective increase in the child population from an actual figure of 6·9 millions in 1960, rising to 7·8 millions in 1970, and to 8·6 millions in 1980, or an increase of about 25 per cent in twenty years.

The other important factor which we have to face is the wastage of women teachers. I readily agree that the actual phrase is not an ideal term, but it is a term which we commonly use. Assuming a continuation of present trends by 1970 only about 40 out of every 100 women entering service will still be in post four years later compared with 50 now. The cause is earlier marriages and earlier child bearing, and although I am no expert on demography, I understand that people are tending to marry sooner and are hawing families earlier. That has the same effect for the schools as a rise in the birth rate, although whether there is a net rise in substitution—I think that that is the correct phrase—is another matter.

Coming back to the situation in the Ministry, one thing which strikes me is the very much higher figure which, quite rightly, we are spending today on teacher training. The hon. Lady the Member or Stoke-on-Trent, North and the hon. Member for Sunderland, North both spoke of this, but I am not sure that the hon. Lady got it quite right. She left out one important development.

In 1958 we took the decision to create 12,000 new places, and in 1959 an additional 4,000 places. After that there was the decision to add a further 8,000 places —a substantial total. This expansion is very much reflected in the figures of expenditure on teacher training as well as in the numbers of teacher training colleges.

The intake to training colleges has risen from 12,518 in 1957 to 16,461 in 1961–62, and it looks to me, from the latest information I have, that, despite all the problems caused by the year of intermission and the fact that, for the first time, in 1962–63 the colleges will have to accommodate three intakes simultaneously, the colleges this year are likely to admit over 16,450 new students. This is very close to the record intakes of the last two years, and, in the peculiarly difficult circumstances of this year, it is an extremely creditable figure.

In 1956–57, the total cost to public funds of teacher training was just over £14 million. Last year, the last year for which I have figures, it was just under £35 million. A small proportion of that is represented, I think, by the capital contribution by the voluntary bodies, but the overwhelming majority of it comes directly out of public funds of one kind or another. I mention this because I am not sure that these figures are always known. During recent years, there has been a substantial increase in the capacity of our teacher training colleges and a very considerable increase in the cost to public funds for teacher training.

As the House knows, we have a continuing expansion programme. We shall have a further expansion programme for 1963 and 1964 and a continuing expansion programme beyond that. Next year, we shall have places from the expansion programme and redundant premises kept on and some temporary day provision coming into us. I can tell the House that in 1963–64 the training colleges will be able to take an intake of well over 17,000.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

Does the Minister agree that the really critical statistics are for the intakes of those who are going to be graduates in mathematics and science? Has he those figures available?

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

I have not the figures for graduates tonight, but I will gladly send the latest figures we have to the hon. Gentleman. Incidentally, the hon. Gentleman referred to my speech in the university debate and said that if I still held those views I ought to leave office. I do not think that I should be drawn on that subject tonight, partly because I am no longer responsible for answering in the House on the universities and partly because I think that even the Press might agree that a fresh reshuffle just now would be more exciting than people generally want.

I come now to the temporary day colleges. On 17th May, my predecessor in office wrote to local education authorities saying that the short-term implications of our teacher supply situation were being considered at that time but the Minister had decided to initiate straightaway certain emergency measures. In the first place, authorities were invited to submit proposals for the establishment of temporary day colleges in suitable existing premises in populated areas; secondly, authorities were asked to keep on for the time being, if they could, premises which were scheduled to be abandoned and replaced.

As regards the temporary day colleges, there is no doubt about the readiness of local education authorities to help in the well populated areas. There are difficulties, of course, in finding suitable plaices, but quite a number of authorities have found, or are expected to find, suitable premises. I hope that in the end we may manage to secure the establishment of as many as ten temporary colleges.

As regards redundant premises, under the expansion programme a number of existing colleges are being replaced by new and larger colleges on different sites, but we are carrying on discussions with authorities about means whereby we can retain some redundant accommodation in use for the time being in an effective way. It looks as though something like 1,500 places may be secured by the retention of premises of that kind.

I am glad that a number of hon. Members have spoken of means to improve the training college output. Obviously, looking at the supply situation, there are a number of ways in which to effect improvement. I shall say presently something on the subject of married women and part-time teachers. The hon. Member referred to the recommendation of the National Advisory Council for extending still further the plant. I cannot give an answer on that tonight, but it is important to get this aspect into perspective, because even if we had those 10,000 places, they would not yield teachers until 1968. Even by 1970, the proposal would make a difference of only well under 6,000 teachers out of a total shortage of 49,000. I do not say that to underrate the importance of the proposal, but simply to point out that we must in any event consider what further short- or medium-term measures we can take to improve the situation during the years immediately ahead.

The means to improve the output from the training colleges are extremely important and there are a number of possibilities. So far, we have had recourse to overcrowding—I must be frank about it—and we have achieved a good deal by this means. It may well be that a bit more can yet be done by day and lodging students. As a whole, however, colleges are near their limit in crowding up.

The sort of alternatives that we are considering involve various measures to double-bank the use of accommodation or to accelerate the course so that at least by far the greater part of the content of the course can be covered in less than the three calendar years. This method involves greater use of college premises, which are, on an average, used for initial training on 34–35 weeks of the year. There are considerable possibilities here. As to making greater use of our existing investment, this is the sort of matter on which I hope, over the months to come, to have as fruitful discussion as I possibly can, because it is of great importance.

Another possibility, but I do not think that it can lead to very large results, is for colleges to make use of other existing institutions, particularly technical colleges. This is already done to some extent, for example, by the attendance of training college students at neighbouring technical colleges for certain academic courses like science. It is clearly sensible that we should explore the possibilities of establishing such links, although I realise—this is a matter which, naturally, causes me considerable concern—that the technical colleges tend to have little spare capacity owing to the rapidly-growing demand for further education courses.

The "bulge," which has gone through the secondary schools, has now reached the regional technical colleges as well as the institutions of more advanced learning. However often we debate the universities and the institutions of higher learning, I hope that we shall never forget the importance of the general run of technical colleges, which contribute so much to our national life.

I want to say a word about Trent Park, to which reference has been made, because one form of co-operation which has attracted special attention has been the link achieved between the Middlesex authority's college at Trent Park, near Barnet, and the training college at Southend, under which a small group of first-year teacher training students spent a year out-stationed in Southend, where they were able to receive instruction in art, music and drama at the technical college. I am told that the arrangements have worked due to everyone's enthusiasm, and they have been extended. At the same time, however, I do not pretend that the conditions are ideal and we have not thought it right positively to press this example on other colleges.

A certain amount has been said, rightly, concerning married women and part-time teachers. When one considers closing the gap between supply and demand, of which the hon. Lady the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North rightly spoke, this is a field of particular importance. As the House knows, the Ministry launched a campaign early last year to attract married women to return to the schools. The immediate aim of this was to alleviate the difficulties arising this year, because it was the year of intermission when students were not coming out of the training colleges because of the start of the three-year course.

The Ministry looked on this as only the first stage in a continuing drive to recruit married women to compensate for the factor of wastage. The national campaign was intended to provide an initial impetus from the centre for the recruiting drives undertaken by individual authorities. The recruitment of married women teachers will always depend largely on local efforts because these teachers are generally available for employment only in their own neighbourhood. When I speak of local authorities, I hope that we shall not forget bodies like the divisional executives which have a considerable responsibility in this field, the more local bodies who know the local circumstances.

In the first year of the campaign, 4,660 married women were recruited, of whom 2,750 returned to full time and 1,910 to part time teaching. As I told the hon. Member for Sunderland, North in an Answer only last week, between 1st February and 1st June this year 2,485 married women were recruited, which represented an increase of 30 per cent. over the corresponding period of last year.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

I have not asked this before, but can the hon. Gentleman say what the wastage is among the married women recruited back to schools? Is there yet any evidence of how stable this employment is?

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

No, I am informed that as yet we have no figures on that. I agree with the hon. Member that this is an important matter. I shall keep a close eye on it. It may be that it is a subject that we could discuss in an Adjournment debate. I venture to express to the House the hope that we may be able to go back to the good practice of the last Parliament of having Private Members' Fridays on which such topics as this could be discussed.

Photo of Mrs Harriet Slater Mrs Harriet Slater , Stoke-on-Trent North

How far are these married women included in the quota? I am not sure about the quota.

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

Nor am I after only a fortnight at the Ministry. I am sorry that I am not doing so well tonight, but the hon. Lady will recognise the difficulties. I shall certainly make a point of communicating with her on the matter.

Photo of Mrs Harriet Slater Mrs Harriet Slater , Stoke-on-Trent North

This is important because, as the hon. Gentleman has just said, these women can be recruited only in the areas in which they live. Therefore, a local authority which is energetic enough to attract them back to school ought not to have them reckoned in its quota and so reduce its other staff.

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

I understand how much feeling there is about the quota. On the other hand, as a Birmingham Member of Parliament I know how necesary it was a year or two ago to have a method of this bind. In my first fortnight as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry I was asked by Sir John Crowder why the cost of school places was going up each year, and I told him that he was being pessimistic. I hope that I have learnt a great deal more since and that I have not got rusty.

The number of part-time teachers has increased pretty rapidly in recent years, from 8,750 in January, 1957, to about 22,000 in January, 1962. This increase largely reflects the growing employment of married women returning to teaching. On the most optimistic assumption about the rate of increase of part-time teachers, I hope that they could reduce the gap of 50,000 teachers—the gap usually referred to between supply and demand— to between 20,000 and 30,000. They have a very important part to play. The Ministry is ready to consider all kinds of ways to find how we can get more full-time married women and part-time teachers in the schools. I look on this as one of the most important single tasks. This is a matter where more inquiry might prove fruitful.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

Will the Minister ensure that the part-time teachers do their share of the home work which has to be done by the teacher in his or her home, on the ground that they are not only part-time teachers but share the responsibility which is given naturally to full-time teachers?

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

I took careful note of the hon. Member's comments on the point about correcting work, and of the many types of work which fall to teachers in the schools. Of course, the employment of part-time teachers does give rise to problems of organisation, devising the timetable, the allocation of responsibilities in the schools, and I know that part-time teachers have been accepted with more enthusiasm in some schools and areas than in others, but the National Advisory Council has recognised that they must be relied on to make a major contribution to filling the gap between supply and demand; and it is going to conduct a survey of how these teachers are used, on what problems have arisen, how they have been solved, and what are the deterrents to the return to part-time employment of former teachers. It is a field in which a further survey is very important indeed for the future of the primary schools.

I want to reply to two other points. The hon. Lady gave me notice kindly that she was going to raise the question of the auxiliaries. I have not much to add to the famous speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton on this subject. The proposal was intended to help teachers in the infants' schools by recruiting to those schools staff to work in the classrooms under the direction of qualified teachers. The idea was this would enable the skill and experience of the qualified teachers to be deployed to the best advantage during the period of shortage. I think the idea has been that we would recruit auxiliaries mainly from girls leaving school after a full secondary course and from older married women. I can assure the hon. Lady that no decisions will be taken either on the principle of this scheme or on particular aspects of its operation till I have received—I almost said, till my right hon. Friend has received: till I myself have received—the advice of the National Advisory Council on this subject.

Finally, on teaching machines, to which the hon. Lady referred. I confess I have not seen these at work. I have not had first-hand experience of them myself, but I quite agree that we must bear in mind very closely what these are for. They are not alternatives to the teacher so much as means whereby the work of the teacher can be rendered more efficient in the schools. We must be clear in our minds just what these machines can achieve and what they cannot.

I do not want to continue further because I have spoken for some time and there are other debates to come. I should only like to say, having had this debate tonight, that this is the subject which, naturally, I think I can say, will occupy more of my time than any other so far as the work is the Ministry is concerned. There are an enormous number of problems which have to be faced today, but I am glad to think that in the educational field there are many opportunities also. I notice that under Sir David Eccles the work of the Ministry has broadened. That is perfectly right when one considers the greater sums of public money which are allocated to it. Certainly it will be my hope during the time, be it long or short, in which I am in my present office, to make such first-hand contact as I can with those doing the work in the schools, and with those who are helping to administer our education system. In coming back to the Ministry I am very well aware that I have much to learn, and I only hope that it will be my lot to contribute something to the development of our education system.

Photo of Mr Robert Grimston Mr Robert Grimston , Westbury

Order. The hon. Member has exhausted his right to speak on this Question. Mr. Mellish.