Teachers

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd November 1983.

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Photo of Mr John Powley Mr John Powley , Norwich South 12:00 am, 22nd November 1983

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will outline his plans for improving the quality of teachers; and how he intends to measure their performance.

Photo of Mr Bob Dunn Mr Bob Dunn , Dartford

My right hon. Friend's policies were outlined in the White Paper "Teaching Quality", Cmnd. 8836. It commends to those responsible for managing the teacher force a range of management options and strategies, including the systematic assessment of every teacher's performance.

Photo of Mr John Powley Mr John Powley , Norwich South

I thank my hon. Friend for his informative reply. Does he agree that a further way to improve the overall standard of teachers when the school population is falling is to urge local education authorities to weed out from our education system the less desirable and less proficient teachers who are bringing it into disrepute?

Photo of Mr Bob Dunn Mr Bob Dunn , Dartford

We expect local education authorities to meet the challenge of falling school rolls by adopting positive policies that maintain the inflow of able recruits to teaching and ensure that teachers are deployed where they can best serve the pupils. Most teachers do a good job. I hope that LEAs will act resolutely to deal with the minority who do not.

Photo of Mr Martin Flannery Mr Martin Flannery , Sheffield, Hillsborough

Is it not a fact that throughout the population there are doctors and engineers who are not as good as we would expect — [HON. MEMBERS: "What about MPs?"] Everyone knows about MPs. Therefore, is not this question an attack on a profession that is striving to the best of its ability to educate our children? Does it not come from a source that seems to rejoice in ignorance and fails to understand that a large number of young people in secondary education——

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. The hon. Member has asked a question.

Photo of Mr Martin Flannery Mr Martin Flannery , Sheffield, Hillsborough

May I finish my sentence, Mr. Speaker? A large number have attained high qualifications in the comprehensive schools but the University Grants Committee is not granting them sufficient money to enable them to go to university, even though they are entitled to do so?

Photo of Mr Bob Dunn Mr Bob Dunn , Dartford

In my experience, the people who are most concerned about poor quality teachers are teachers themselves.

Photo of Mr Spencer Batiste Mr Spencer Batiste , Elmet

Does my hon. Friend accept that the quality and development of teachers depends considerably on effective leadership from head teachers, and that effective leadership is undermined by political interference by some local education authorities? Will my hon. Friend condemn such practices?

Photo of Mr Bob Dunn Mr Bob Dunn , Dartford

I agree with my hon. Friend and I condemn such practices.