Teachers' Pay and Conditions

– in the House of Commons at 8:59 pm on 26th October 1993.

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Photo of Mr Win Griffiths Mr Win Griffiths , Bridgend 8:59 pm, 26th October 1993

I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Education (School Teachers' Pay and Conditions) (No. 2) Order 1993 (S.I., 1993, No. 1755), dated 15th July 1993, a copy of which was laid before this House on 16th July, be annulled. At the start of the debate, I declare an interest as a paid parliamentary consultant to the National Union of Teachers. However, I want to point out that, in common with Conservative Members who have similar interests, I will not be speaking in a partisan way this evening.

The pay of teachers is yet another example of the Government's cavalier attitude towards teachers and the education of children in local authority and voluntary schools. The order which we prayed against in July and which we are debating this evening represents a further betrayal of teachers and is part of a death-by-a-thousand-cuts policy which the Government have had towards taxpayer-funded education services and those involved in providing them.

The House will recall the winsome words elaborating the Government's clear commitment by the former Secretary of State for Education and Science, the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Clarke), in the debates on the Second Reading and the Third Reading of the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Bill on 29 April and 6 June 1991. I should like to remind the House of some of those words. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said: I also realise that, to get the high quality, well motivated and professional group of teachers that we require, teachers need a fair level of remuneration to reward ability and good performance ….With the establishment of a review body to determine the pay and conditions of teachers, the Bill will pave the way for that aim."—[Official Report, 29 April 1991; Vol. 190, c. 34.] The right hon. and learned Gentleman also said that it was the essence of this machinery that the Government were setting up an independent body that would give advice to the Government in the light of all the evidence that it received. He said that the Government would implement the recommendations unless there were clear and compelling reasons why they should not. He said, "To repeat what I said before, the Government will not be giving to the review body a financial remit of the type that the interim advisory committee had. We shall reject recommendations only for clear and compelling reasons."

The right hon. and learned Gentleman also said that one of the principal differences between the interim advisory committee and the review body was that the new body would not operate within a predetermined financial envelope. He said that the Government were submitting themselves to the objective judgment of a body which would recommend the right pay, terms and conditions for teachers. What a sick joke. However, that is par for the course for a Government prepared to say anything to win votes and raise hopes which so quickly and so often turn to dust.

Unfortunately, the pay review body has proved to be a spineless quango only too willing to straitjacket itself within the Government's own recommendations. When it has shown an air of independence, the Secretary of State has moved quickly to quash its recommendations, as he did this year over the review body's 1·5 per cent. increase for teachers which would have raised the total bill a further 0·3 per cent. because of a rounding-up exercise for teachers affected by the reduction of 243 salary combinations to 17. It is therefore not a curious coincidence that last year the pay review body's recommendations were accepted unchanged in the run-up to the general election. During the previous two years, the Interim Advisory Committee on School Teachers' Pay and Conditions recommended reducing the overall pay bill by 1·5 per cent. in 1980 and 1·7 per cent. in 1991. Of course, that pay is permanently lost to teachers. Remarkably, as my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) mentioned on Second Reading of the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Bill, there had been no real-terms increase in teachers' pay since 1987, another election year. However, in paragraph 120 of its report, the pay review body, in making its recommendations for 1993, said: This is less than is needed in respect of recruitment, retention and motivation considerations taken as a whole". Those are the very things that that body should have regard to—recruitment, retention and motivation. The pay review body is plainly in self-confessed dereliction of its duty in making recommendations which do not advance the cause of high-quality teaching and learning in our schools. Even its modest, inadequate pay recommendation was rejected by the Government, who forced their own deal on to teachers.

What price the independence of the pay review body? None whatsoever. Why should teachers' unions bother to submit evidence to a body which is not prepared to make recommendations in the best interests of teachers, children and schools and whose timid terms for teachers' pay in 1993 are rejected in any event by the Government in this order?

Photo of Mr Harry Greenway Mr Harry Greenway , Ealing North

I take a very close interest in such matters. A few days ago, in my constituency I held a conference with all heads, chairmen of governors, and representatives of teachers, parents and children, with Sir Ron Dearing present. I was interested to hear what the hon. Gentleman appeared to predict—that is, by implication, unless teachers were paid at a level which he, by implication again, said that they are not being paid at, teaching would deteriorate. The evidence is to the contrary. Standards are rising for GCSE, A-levels and so on. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that teachers are teaching as well as and as conscientiously as ever?

Photo of Mr Win Griffiths Mr Win Griffiths , Bridgend

Yes, teachers make every effort to be conscientious, but the Government's treatment of them does not help their morale. They are conscientious in spite of the Government's best efforts to undermine them. Their morale is certainly low.

A body which is not prepared to make recommendations in the best interests of teachers is hardly worth keeping in place. What are the clear and compelling reasons that force the Government to reject the pay review body's rather modest pay deal? Classroom teachers at every level of remuneration were worse off in April than they were last year by between £83 and £137. The hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Boswell), the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Further and Higher Education, provided those figures to my hon. Friend the Member for Peckham (Ms Harman) in May. They are to be found in columns 497 and 498 of Hansard, if the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education would like to read them.

Do the Government believe that the bad old days of reducing the value of teachers' pay will herald the dawn of a new age of high-achieving pupils and schools inspired by poorly paid but somehow highly motivated teachers? Most people would answer that question with a resounding "No". But there is a horrible chance that a Government who believed that their election victory in April 1992 would see the recovery begin the next day actually believe that this teachers' pay order will raise the rock-bottom morale of teachers. It will not. There is more in the order to undermine any possible threads of confidence that teachers might have had in the Government's pay policy for them.

The proposal on performance-related pay is a disaster, although it is typical of the arrogance in power that has marked the regime of the Secretary of State for Education. The document on teachers' pay deliberately ignores the views of the pay review body which were expressed in its report last year. The review body believed that the best approach would be to conduct a consultative exercise based on the whole school approach to performance with additional funding to implement it.

In this year's report, a pilot scheme to examine performance-related pay for heads and deputy heads was announced. The Secretary of State has well and truly elbowed the pay review body out of the way with his performance-related pilot pay scheme, which is outlined in the 1993 school teachers' pay and conditions document. His scheme will be based on individual performance. Surely individual performance is already covered by part III, paragraphs 6 and 7, on responsibility and excellence where up to five points and three points respectively can be gained, with the latter being available especially for classroom teaching.

What clear and compelling reasons caused the Secretary of State to ignore the pilot scheme of the pay review body and set up a scheme of his own? Incidentally, some heads have demanded to withdraw from his pilot scheme because they were misled by him about its establishment. I look forward to receiving an explanation from the Minister.

I am concerned that the pay review body seems to have had virtually no impact on the Government's action over the huge shortfall of incentive allowances in primary schools.

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans , Ribble Valley

Since 1979, teachers' pay has increased by 57 per cent. in real terms, after allowing for inflation. Does the hon. Gentleman believe that the fact that teachers' pay has increased so markedly is one of the reasons why standards have increased, more pupils are getting better GCSE results and more pupils are going on to further and higher education? The number of pupils going on to further and higher education has increased from 1:8 in 1979 to 1:4 now.

Photo of Mr Win Griffiths Mr Win Griffiths , Bridgend

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman did not hear what I said earlier. I pointed out that teachers are paid less today in real terms than they were last year. The figures were provided by the hon. Member for Daventry. We might as well say that, since 1702, teachers' pay has increased in real terms. It is totally irrelevant to the fact that teachers' pay went down last year.

To return to the issue of the plight of primary school teachers, last year's report of the pay review body stated: … despite the Government's acceptance of our recommendation for 26,000 extra incentive allowances in primary schools, only 4,000 such allowances were being paid. What are the clear and compelling reasons for such a shortfall? When do the Government expect to honour their acceptance of the recommendation made by the pay review body last year?

Finally, I turn to the extremely important issue of remuneration for teachers who wholly or mainly teach children with special educational needs. About 2 per cent. of children with special educational needs have statements and about 18 per cent. of them have not. Under part III, paragraph 9, of the pay document that we are debating tonight, teachers of the 18 per cent. of children with special educational needs but no statements are excluded from any additional award. The recommendation of the pay review body in paragraph 99, appendix D, paragraphs 16–19, refers to an extra entitlement for teachers who wholly or mainly teach children with special educational needs without any reference to the specific need for the children to have received a statement.

Often the borderline between children who are with or without statements is thin. The Government's provisions in paragraph 9, limiting that extra point to teachers of children with statements only, is an extremely restrictive view of special educational needs. I hope that the Minister will explain why that straitjacket circumscribes the award to teachers of children with such needs when no such limits were mentioned in the pay review body's recommendations.

I know that it would be a miracle if the Minister were to respond positively to any of my requests. If he had the well-being of all teachers and children at heart, he would respond positively to all of them. Let him dare to be a Daniel and stand alone against the eccentric educational views of the Department in which he serves and thus win the praise of parents, pupils and teachers.

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch 9:15 pm, 26th October 1993

With the permission of the House, I shall refer later to the questions raised by the hon. Member for Bridgend (Mr. Griffiths) and will then seek to deal with each of them.

I must say immediately that, based on a significant number of visits that I have made to many schools, I refute utterly his allegation that teacher morale is at rock bottom.

Photo of Mr Win Griffiths Mr Win Griffiths , Bridgend

I was being polite.

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch

If that is being polite, I am enormously relieved that the hon. Gentleman was not being rude.

In all sincerity, having spoken to many teachers I can say that they are being let down by Opposition Members, who are spreading the word that morale is at rock bottom. That is not what I have found in the schools that I have visited, and that is important.

On 12 February 1993, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State published the second report of the school teachers' pay review body. As is now well known, that report was a watershed. It made recommendations about the level of pay increase for the coming year and how it should be distributed, as review body reports customarily do. However, it did far more than that; it recommended far-reaching changes to the pay structure for classroom teachers.

Let me remind the House what the recommendations were. The previous 10-point standard scale, incentive allowances, incremental enhancements and discretionary scale points were to be replaced from 1 September by a common 18-point pay spine for all classroom teachers. Teachers would move up the spine by earning points for experience, qualifications, responsibility and excellence —especially in the classroom. Extra points would also be awarded to teachers of children with special educational needs, and to those holding posts that were difficult to fill. Teachers' points scores would be reviewed every year.

Photo of Mrs Elaine Kellett Mrs Elaine Kellett , Lancaster

When they are reviewed at the end of the year, is a ratchet in place, or can teachers slide back down the spine?

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch

A safeguard is built into the initial spine to ensure that no teacher has lost out as a result of its adoption. Clearly, I cannot forecast the procedure for future years at this stage, but I think that I have dealt with my hon. Friend's query.

Photo of Stephen Byers Stephen Byers , Wallsend

Can the Minister confirm that the order mentions a new pay spine of 18 points, with a difference of about 6 per cent. between them, whereas his Department's evidence for the pay review body recommends for next year a spine of 35 points with a difference of 3 per cent. between each? Can the Minister tell the House why his Department has recommended a totally different spine for next year?

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch

One of the problems with debates in this place is that we can sometimes be a little behind the action. I am unable, and for that matter unwilling, to speculate about any aspect of the settlements for next year, not least because neither the hon. Gentleman nor I is aware what resources may be available.

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch

Hold on, let me finish. The order relates to the first year of the 18-point scale. I cannot say what the circumstances will be next year, any more than the hon. Gentleman can. It would be foolish to speculate.

Photo of Stephen Byers Stephen Byers , Wallsend

The cavalry may be coming over the hill. The Department's evidence, which has already been submitted to the pay review body for next year, talks about a 35-point scale because such a scale will be workable and flexible. By implication, the scale that the Minister proposes this evening is unworkable and inflexible.

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch

I resent that completely. The hon. Gentleman must be living in another world. We are talking about a new scale. We expect there to be further changes as it develops over the years. Of course, there will be changes. The suggestion that it is possible with such a revolutionary change to get everything right first time is strictly for the birds.

As recommended by the STRB, adjustments were to be made in two stages, on 1 April and 1 September. My right hon. Friend accordingly made two pay and conditions orders. The first, simpler, order gave effect to the changes in salary rates from 1 April; the second brought in the new pay structure from 1 September. It is this second order to which the Opposition have objected. I believe that they are wrong to do so. Let us look at what the order actually does.

First, the order maintains teachers' pay at a very competitive level. Average teachers' pay is now nearly £21,000. Good honours graduates now have starting salaries of at least £12,600. In inner London their salaries could be more than £15,000. A typical department head in a London secondary school now earns more than £26,400. Forty-five per cent. of teachers will be on or above point 11 of the spine, earning at least £21,400.

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch

I will not give way too often as I know that other colleagues wish to speak.

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans , Ribble Valley

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. He has just given the figures for the average pay of teachers. Does he agree that these are the very people whom the Labour party would soak through higher taxation if ever it got back into government?

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch

My hon. Friend reminds us of last year's discussions.

It is true that the overall increase in teachers' pay in 1993 was limited to 1·5 per cent., and that this will slightly reduce teachers' pay compared with the average pay of non-manual workers. But it will remove only a small amount of the relative increase of some 12 per cent. over the years 1990 to 1992. Teachers have done very well under this Government.

The order also brings in a pay structure which opens up new possibilities for the best classroom teachers. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State described the STRB's proposals last February as "imaginative and far reaching". He went on to welcome the emphasis the STRB has placed on identifying and rewarding good classroom teaching". He was right to do so. Prospects for those promoted to headships or deputy headships have always been good. The head of a typical primary school will now earn about £30,000, and the head of a typical secondary school outside London about £40,000. The salaries of the highest paid head teachers outside London will be well over £50,000, while heads of large secondary schools in London could earn £53,000, or even more if their responsibilities or performance are exceptional.

Similar opportunities now exist for high achievers in the classroom. The new pay spine which we introduced last month has 18 points. Experience and qualifications on their own will take teachers automatically to point 9 on the spine, £19,062, but they need not stop there. For those prepared to take on extra responsibilities, those who demonstrate excellence in their work, notably their classroom teaching, or those whom the school particularly wants to recruit or retain, there are further points available on the spine—18 in all, the highest of which brings a salary of £30,441.

I can think of no better way to bring about the improvements which we all want to see in our schools than by giving teachers a real incentive to improve their performance. I believe that the new structure will give governing bodies ample opportunities to exercise their discretion and reward good classroom performance.

Local education authorities will also have their part to play, by ensuring that enough funds are made available to schools. [Laughter.] It is interesting to detect a note of humour from the Opposition Front Bench. All hon. Members know—this does not divide the parties—that LEAs could make more rapid progress on the elimination of surplus places. On the basis of a survey carried out by the Department in 1991, it is estimated that there were then about 1·3 million surplus places in England. I am told that the cost of maintaining those places is about £255 million a year. To put that in context, the review body has estimated that the pay bill for 1993–94 will be about £10·63 billion.

Photo of Stephen Byers Stephen Byers , Wallsend

Will the Minister confirm that the local education authority with the highest number of surplus places is Essex? Will he also confirm that the LEA with the most pupils in grant-maintained schools is Essex? How can he reconcile those two facts?

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch

Without notice, I am reluctant to confirm any such figures, but I can certainly confirm that Essex has a very large number of GM schools. As the hon. Gentleman knows, from 1 April the Funding Agency for Schools will have the power to review those schools and make recommendations about removing surplus places. I expected the hon. Gentleman to point out that what has happened in his own authority in the past few weeks provides the answer to those who ask about schools opting out and surplus places. The Ralph Gardner school, with the agreement of North Tyneside LEA, is to close, despite its application for GM status. I should have liked the hon. Gentleman to make that clear, if only to calm some of the more nervous brethren sitting near him.

Photo of Mrs Elaine Kellett Mrs Elaine Kellett , Lancaster

Is my hon. Friend aware that Lancashire county council always funks taking away surplus places in Labour areas and does its best to imagine them in Conservative-controlled areas, thus attacking our outstanding good village schools and doing its best to close them?

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch

If Lancashire LEA is prepared to take on the ire of my hon. Friend, it is a strong LEA indeed. But I can assure her that any proposals from LEAs, including Lancashire's, are given the greatest study by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. If they are not reasonable in all the circumstances, closure proposals will be resisted.

The cost of maintaining surplus places at the moment is roughly 2 per cent. of the whole pay bill. If even a fraction of that were made available by LEAs, it would be extremely good news for teachers.

Most teachers in our schools are working extremely hard to ensure that their pupils receive the best possible education. Theirs is a difficult and challenging job, and I believe that they are worthy of the highest respect and praise. I have been very impressed by the teachers whom I have met and by the exciting things happening in our schools. I want to support teachers; I want the pay structure to be reformed to provide better rewards for the good teacher in the classroom. That is what I believe the new structure will achieve.

We now need to give schools time and space to learn to use the new structure. It may not be perfect in every detail and it will surely need refining in the light of experience, but we have taken an important step forward—

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch

I am coming to the end.

The Government are immensely grateful to the STRB and to its founding chairman, Sir Graham Day, for its imaginative approach. We are also grateful for the thoughtful and constructive approach of the local authorities and teaching unions to the fundamental revision that was needed to the statutory school teachers' pay and conditions document.

I commend the order to the House and I resist this prayer.

Photo of Mr Gerry Steinberg Mr Gerry Steinberg , City of Durham 9:29 pm, 26th October 1993

Having listened to the Minister, I am sure that many schoolteachers will not be impressed by his arguments when they read the debate. On 6 June 1991, during discussions on the Third Reading of the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Bill, I predicted to the House and warned the teaching profession of the consequences of trusting the Government and the then Secretary of State, the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Clarke), who had already, when Secretary of State for Health, betrayed the health workers.

With the order, my worst fears have been realised. In the Secretary of State's summing up of that debate on 6 June 1991, he accused Labour Members of showing their true colours by voting against one of the most welcome and important Bills that the education service has seen in a generation."—[Official Report, 6 June 1991; Vol. 192, c. 463.] The Government showed their true colours that day when they attempted to deceive the teaching profession into believing that they were getting the only statutory truly independent pay review body.

Typically, the Government have broken their word, as they have done on many other occasions in the past 14 years. The pay review body, like its predecessor the interim advisory committee which was set up in 1987, is anything but an independent body. It is purely a front created by Governmnent to ensure that the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State could determine teachers' pay and conditions.

In the debate on 6 June 1991, I told the House that the Bill allowed the Secretary of State to choose the chairman and members of the review body and decide what it discussed, and also enabled him to amend its recommendations or to ignore them completely and implement his own. The review body is anything but independent. In a radio interview earlier that day, the Secretary of State denied that he had such powers. In the debate he said: if the Secretary of State wishes to make a substantial modification to the review body's recommendations, he can do so only by obtaining Parliament's consent so to act."—[Official Report, 6 June 1991; Vol. 192, c. 454.] I would argue that he has failed to do that, or even bothered to attempt to do that. On Second Reading, the then Education Minister, the hon. Member for Enfield, North (Mr. Eggar), said: The review body has to have regard to whatever directions the Secretary of State gives, but it does not have to abide by them."—[Official Report, 29 April 1991; Vol. 190, c. 112.] The order makes a mockery of that statement.

Who is telling the truth and predicting the consequences accurately? I leave that for hon. Members to decide, but the pay review body's recommendations were ignored by the Government and today's debate is at the insistence of the Labour party. So much for the promises and words of the then Secretary of State and his Ministers of the time.

On that fateful day, teachers' negotiating rights were finally stripped away, with the expected consequences. Only our demands to debate the order can bring the Secretary of State to account for his decision to ignore his review body's recommendations and impose his misguided dogma, as we predicted at the time. He has imposed a derisory pay increase of half a penny in the pound for teachers. Having encouraged the review body to develop one method of performance-related pay, he rejected its recommendations and imposed his own system through the designation of pilot schools for performance-related pay.

Interestingly, the Secretary of State said on Third Reading: one of the principal differences between the interim advisory committee and the new review body is that the new body will not operate within a predetermined financial envelope. He also said: The Government are submitting themselves to the objective judgment of a body which will recommend the right pay, terms and conditions for teachers."—[Official Report, 6 June 1991; Vol. 192, c. 433–34.]—[Interruption.] I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgend (Mr. Griffiths) said that that was a joke. When I prepared my speech, I wrote down the same words. What a joke—the words could have been said by a comedian, and they probably were. The Government never had any intention of allowing a truly independent pay review body. The teachers' pay increase of 1·5 per cent. in 1993 was imposed dictatorially by the Government on the pay review body, which did not have the guts to oppose the Government. That is not surprising because its members —every one of them—are appointed by the Government. Even the pay review body's recommendation, which would have meant a mind-boggling increase of 1·8 per cent., was overruled.

All the Government's fine words of 1991 have meant nothing, and the review body has proved to be just a puppet of the Government. Teachers' pay continues to be eroded. The hon. Member for Ribble Valley (Mr. Evans) gave statistics about pay increases in real terms since 1979. I can tell the hon. Gentleman that in 1974 the average pay for teachers was 136 per cent. of non-manual earnings. At the end of the interim advisory committee era in 1990, it had dropped to 104 per cent. of non-manual earnings. By the time the next increase is due, it is projected that teachers' pay will have declined to 102 per cent. of non-manual earnings. In other words, teachers have seen their pay eroded over the last 10 to 15 years under the Government.

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans , Ribble Valley

Can the hon. Gentleman explain why it was that between 1974 and 1979, under the last Labour Government—let us hope that it was indeed the last— teachers' pay increased by 6 per cent. in real terms, while between 1979 and today it has increased by 57 per cent.?

Photo of Mr Gerry Steinberg Mr Gerry Steinberg , City of Durham

Teachers' pay has increased during the period of the Government's misrule of the economy, but their pay has not risen by as much as that of other non-manual earnings.

Photo of Mr Gerry Steinberg Mr Gerry Steinberg , City of Durham

The hon. Lady has been on her feet about three times tonight—she might as well make a speech.

So much for the Government's so-called commitment to teachers and education. The sad facts are that, while teachers become more and more undervalued by the Government, standards cannot hope to be raised.

We are told that more teachers have been recruited into the profession. However, I will give a warning and I give it with great sincerity. There is no doubt that the recession has acted as a recruiting agent, but once the recession has ended—we are told by this hapless Government that it is ending now—many of the recruits will leave to get better paid, less stressful jobs and teacher shortages will again become a major problem.

Even now we have unqualified temporaries from overseas being used as teachers in our schools. We still have teacher shortages, and the situation will get worse. On the whole, teachers have taken on more work and had their pay and conditions worsened by the latest reforms. Having shown great commitment in their attempts to make the Government changes successful, they are then stabbed in the back by the Government. Teachers suffer from the underfunding of education, but so do our children who are penalised by the Government's hypocritical approach to education.

I wish to comment next on performance-related pay. Again, the pay review body's recommendations—that only deputy heads and heads should be considered for performance-related pay—were overruled. The Secretary of State has dictatorially ignored the recommendations and designated 14 schools as performance-related pay pilot schools. Incidentally, I understand that some of those schools have asked to be withdrawn from the scheme as they feel that they have been deceived.

I strongly oppose performance-related pay in any shape or form for teachers. Performance-related pay is divisive, it de-motivates and it demoralises. Against the advice of professionals and of the review body, the Government have arbitrarily enforced their dogmatic and bigoted beliefs which will further demoralise the teaching profession. Whatever one's opinion may be about performance-related pay, it is clear that the pay review body did not see it as the answer to teachers' pay. It was not an option that the pay review body favoured, even given its recommended rise, which it admitted was less than is needed in respect of recruitment, retention and motivation". Contrary to what the previous Secretary of State said, a Secretary of State can impose pay settlements and working conditions for teachers which do not result from the pay review body recommendation.

Today's order proves that the Secretary of State has dictatorial power over pay levels, pay structure and conditions of service for teachers. It proves conclusively once and for all that the pay review body is a sham and no substitute for free collective bargaining and agreements. The order should be vigorously opposed.

Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Shadow Spokesperson (Education) 9:39 pm, 26th October 1993

I begin by declaring an interest as a consultant to both the National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. Although I do not speak for them, I suspect that members of those unions and of all other teacher unions would have been surprised to hear the Minister's comments about the state of morale in the profession. I have met many teachers in the past 18 months. I assure the Minister that morale within the profession is at a low ebb.

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch

I wish to add a coda, to which the hon. Gentleman may be coming. There has been a significant sea change of opinion in the past few months, for reasons of which the whole House will be aware, with the interim report of Sir Ron Dearing. I was referring to that when I spoke about morale.

Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

I am more than willing to acknowledge that there has been a change in attitude as a result of what Sir Ron Dearing has done. That is because Sir Ron has demonstrated the great benefits of consultation—something which the Secretary of State and the Government Front-Bench team have been unwilling to do.

Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald , Hertfordshire North

Who set up the Dearing committee? What the hon. Gentleman says is absolute poppycock. [Interruption.]

Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

These comments backwards and forwards across the Chamber are of no great benefit. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is well aware that the reason it was necessary to set up the Dearing review was the strife that had been created in our education service as a result of the proposals and actions of the Government and, in particular, the Secretary of State. Many people in the teaching profession still feel at a low ebb despite what Sir Ron Dearing has done.

I entirely agree with the Minister on one thing: he said that teachers deserved the "highest respect and praise". I am sure that the whole House agrees with that. It has to be said that the excellent work that we still see in our schools occurs despite the Secretary of State's and the Government's proposals, not because of them.

The order is about the pay-round proposals. The comments that were made when the proposals were first announced were very critical. I did a trawl of the newspapers. "Derisory", "a con", "abysmal", "a recipe for conflict" and "an insult" were just some of the reactions that were reported. Why were people so worried? One of the reasons, as other hon. Members have said, was that the announcement demonstrated the complete lack of independence of the review body. It is interesting to note that the Public Finance Foundation, a branch of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, pointed out that teachers had fared worse than other professions with review bodies. It concluded that the review body's work to address the problems—this is worth hearing—of low teacher morale and the need for a pay structure in line with the changing needs of the profession had been "nipped in the bud".

One of the most obvious demonstrations of the lack of independence of that pay review body is in paragraph v. of the summary of its report, which says: Inevitably, our review has been coloured by the Government's announcement in November that public sector pay increases over the coming year should be in the range zero to 1·5 per cent. The review had been coloured. The same paragraph refers to the body's likely constraint by the Government's policy.

As other hon. Members have mentioned, one of the major problems for teachers at present, and one of the obvious reasons for low morale, is the work load. It is interesting that before this debate we discussed education in Northern Ireland. The Minister, the hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Ancram), acknowledged the problems of the heavy work load for teachers. Only yesterday he was quoted in an interview in the Belfast Telegraph as referring to that very subject. He said: Overload is a very serious problem because it is very debilitating to teachers and teaching. I would like to have a resolution to this problem… within a reasonable timescale. I hope that, for the sake of the people teaching in Northern Ireland, he is successful.

The order will actually increase the work load for teachers in England, because even the review body acknowledged that the implementation of its recommendations would lead, as a result of the already overstretched budgets of local education authorities, to a deterioration in staffing levels". That obviously has implications for the remaining staff in the profession.

The award gives the wrong signals to those working in the education service. It does nothing to restore morale or to enhance motivation. For that reason, it is especially important that the Minister makes it clear to the House tonight that neither he nor the Secretary of State has in any way pre-empted the review body's recommendations for 1994. I am sure that the whole House will wish to hear that assurance.

I hope that the Minister will also assure us that in future he will take more notice of the review body's other recommendations. Reference has already been made to the lack of acknowledgement of the recommendations about performance-related pay. Like other hon. Members, I am concerned about performance-related pay, especially as I acknowledge that teaching is a co-operative venture. It is about partnership among teachers, not competition between them.

The review body said, in effect, that one should not divert current appraisal work towards PRP, that one should not even think of going ahead before much more work had been done on developing acceptable indicators and that one should not think of introducing a scheme unless one were willing to make extra money available to fund it.

In spite of those three key warnings, the Government have gone ahead and, as we notice in paragraph 7 of the document, the Secretary of State ignored that advice and went ahead with 14 pilot schools. Other hon. Members have referred to the fact that some of those 14 schools have already dropped out, but I think that the House would like to know how many of those 14 schools have dropped out. My understanding—I look for confirmation from the Minister—is that five out of 14 schools have dropped out. [Interruption.] The Minister is saying two from a sedentary position. I am sure that the way in which he was indicating two will not be recorded.

It will be interesting to know whether the Minister agrees with the opinion that was expressed by the chairman of the governors of a school in Berkshire, who said that they had been conned into joining those trials and that The Government well and truly stepped over the mark. I wonder whether the Minister agrees that that is what they have done.

I also accept that the Government have given themselves—sadly, I believe—the right to ignore or amend the review body's recommendations, but if they do so in future I hope that they will consult more widely first. The hon. Member for Bridgend (Mr. Griffiths) referred to the worries, for instance, about teachers for pupils with special educational needs. I wish that he had looked more closely at the advice from the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf.

I hope that the Department will recognise the difficulties that are imposed on schools by the implementation of major changes. That may seem obvious, but it is worth reflecting that the notification that was given to heads and governors to implement the changes and assimilations by 1 September last year was sent out in a letter dated 15 July. That allowed very little time to do all the necessary work. The order shows a lack of regard for the review body and for heads, teachers and governors of our schools.

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans , Ribble Valley 9:51 pm, 26th October 1993

I hope that the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster) is not on performance-related pay from the teachers' unions that he represents. If he is, heaven help his income.

Time and again, we hear from the hon. Member for Bridgend (Mr. Griffiths) about low teacher morale or about how teachers were much better off under the last Labour Government. That is not true. One has only to look at teachers' pay between 1974 and 1979 to see that they were far more poorly paid than they are now.

Photo of Mrs Elaine Kellett Mrs Elaine Kellett , Lancaster

I was fascinated by the highly selective statistics given by the hon. Member for City of Durham (Mr. Steinberg)—I cannot see him in his place now. Like most members of the Labour party, he is behind the times. He drew his conclusions from statistics up to 1990 when the relative pay of teachers compared to non-manual workers was 105. He omitted to mention, not surprisingly, that in 1991 the relative pay was 112 and in 1992 it was 118—as compared with 106 when we took office.

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans , Ribble Valley

That does not surprise me. I am sure that the hon. Member was burning the midnight oil trying to work out some statistics to make the Labour party's shabby little case look better.

We have seen teachers' pay rise remarkably in real terms since 1979 and, at the same time, we have seen standards in our schools improve. Far too often we look at the input in education as opposed to the output. We have seen GCSE results improve and far more of our youngsters are staying on for A-levels, either in their own school or in further and higher education. Many of them have done extremely well and have gone on to university. The number going to university has risen from one in eight to one in four and the Government are determined that, by the end of the century, we will see one in three of our youngsters going to university. That is superb.

Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that as more and more students go into higher education—and that is worth supporting—one in eight is dropping out because of a lack of funding?

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans , Ribble Valley

All I can say is that we are seeing more of our youngsters going on to further and higher education and benefiting from it. We want to ensure that our youngsters are taking relevant courses that will benefit them. Perhaps in too many cases our youngsters take courses that are not right for them and drop out because of that. We need to pay more attention to that.

Photo of Ms Estelle Morris Ms Estelle Morris , Birmingham, Yardley

The hon. Gentleman's speech so far seems to have been about comparative wage rates for teachers between now and some time in the past. Has not the hon. Gentleman realised that we are concerned because of the Government's attitude to the review body and because in three of the past four years the Government have ignored the recommendations from the pay review body? It is the breaking of the pledge that the Government made to accept the recommendations from the review body that is causing a downward trend in morale.

In the rest of his speech, will the hon. Gentleman give us fewer statistics comparing one year with another and address the real concern of Labour Members, which is that his Government and Ministers have proved that they are not prepared to accept the recommendations of the review body? It was the Government's pledge to accept such recommendations that enabled teachers to go along with the idea in the first place.

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans , Ribble Valley

Of course, I do not accept what the hon. Lady says about morale in our schools.

Before I became a Member of Parliament for Ribble Valley, I was a county councillor in West Glamorgan. I was the chairman of a governing body for a couple of years and a member of many other governing bodies, as was the practice in Labour-controlled county councils in those days. During those six years as a governor, I witnessed an absolute sea change when we, through Government policy, depoliticised those governing bodies. If the Opposition want to talk about low morale in the teaching profession, they need only remember when Labour councillors were sitting on the governing bodies of schools and dictating to them exactly what their policies should be. That is when there was low morale.

The mood has changed since then, because we have taken power away from the politicians on the governing bodies and given it to those to whom it belongs—the parents, teachers and the professionals in the teaching profession. We have taken it away from the politicians, and the Opposition do not like it.

The pay of teachers has increased by 57 per cent. in real terms between 1979 and 1993. The Minister also stated some of the amounts that teachers are currently earning. At one stage, I intervened to say that the average pay of some of our teachers is not what we would call extremely high, but, had the Opposition won the election, teachers would have been in the very sector of society that would be caught by the higher taxes that the Opposition would have introduced.

During the period that the Conservatives have been in government, we have seen the tax on teachers' pay come down remarkably, because, since 1979, the basic rate of tax has dropped from 33 per cent. to 25 per cent., and, in certain sectors, to 20 per cent. Teachers are the very people who would have seen their taxes increase if Labour had won the general election.

Photo of Mr Derek Enright Mr Derek Enright , Hemsworth

Will the hon. Gentleman speculate on what pay rise the teachers should have if the Chancellor of the Exchequer puts VAT on books? Does he agree that it should be considerable and will he promise to fight for such a rise if VAT is slapped on books?

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans , Ribble Valley

The hon. Gentleman is mistaken if he thinks I will speculate about what will be in the Budget on 30 November. I will speculate about what would happen if there were a return of a Labour Government. I do not really need to speculate, because one has only to remember what the shadow Chancellor said during the general election campaign, when he made the great mistake that many people feel caused Labour to lose the general election. What did the Labour party then do? It promoted him to be its leader. That is what happens in the Labour party; it promotes failures rather than gets rid of them.

Opposition Members are concentrating on one narrow aspect of teachers' pay and incentives when they should be looking at their gamut. We have seen an increase in standards and incentives. We want to drive standards up, and time and again that is what we are seeing in education in our schools.

We have seen the introduction of grant-maintained schools, and 1,000 schools have opted for that status. The Opposition would take the rights of the parents away from those schools and they would be trawled back into local authority control, which would be an absolute disgrace. They should listen to parents on that issue, but they will not do so.

Through the local management of schools, governing bodies now have more control over their budgets so that they can spend the money on those items that they think will be of benefit to their youngsters. When Opposition Members talk about performance-related pay and comparisons with the private sector, is not it amazing that they want the teaching profession—which we believe is doing a superb job—to have the rewards of the private sector but not the demands?

Photo of Mr Timothy Devlin Mr Timothy Devlin , Stockton South

My hon. Friend may be aware that I am the governor of a private school in my constituency which is one of the highest performing newly formed private schools in the past few years and gets a high percentage of boys into Oxford, Cambridge and other universities. Is he aware that I find it extraordinary that the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster) suggested earlier that performance-related pay is inimical to the co-operative nature of teaching children? In our school, which out-performs nearly all of the state sector, there is performance-related pay and the teachers work extremely well together. The value of the Secretary of State's work is of great benefit to the future of the teaching profession.

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans , Ribble Valley

I can only accept everything that my hon. Friend has said on that subject. I am sure that he makes an extremely good governor who contributes well to that governing body.

The Government have seen many changes over their period in office. During the time that I was a governor of a school in my area, I saw some of those changes coming in and it is right that we are determined to continue with the process of ensuring that youngsters in our schools get the best education.

Money has been invested in the technical and vocational educational initiative to ensure that youngsters with a more vocational aspect of their education will get the sort of education that they deserve. General national vocational qualifications have been introduced alongside those initiatives to ensure that youngsters who are not academic are able to concentrate on those lessons that will be of benefit to them when they leave school.

Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

I share the hon. Gentleman's pleasure at success of the initiatives to which he has just referred. He will be aware that those initiatives were available for pupils in all state schools. Does he agree that, in the further development of that process through the new technology initiative, it is therefore right for the Secretary of State to make the money available only for children in grant-maintained or voluntary-aided schools?

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch

There is now flexibility.

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans , Ribble Valley

As the Minister has said, there is now flexibility and that is what we want to see in our schools.

Photo of Mr Matthew Banks Mr Matthew Banks , Southport

If I might briefly take my hon. Friend back to something that he mentioned earlier, does he agree that it is of paramount importance, when discussing matters relating to conditions of service and pay, that we constantly state that under this Government teachers' pay has risen dramatically in real terms and that, no matter what Opposition Members say, teachers' pay under the last Labour Government barely rose at all?

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans , Ribble Valley

That is one of the reasons why my hon. Friend the Member for Southport (Mr. Banks) was elected and why the Liberal Democrats lost that seat.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins , Blackpool South

My hon. Friend the Member for Ribble Valley (Mr. Evans) has just mentioned the technical and vocational educational initiative. Opposition Members should recognise that many of their colleagues in local government, especially in the Kirklees local authority, bitterly opposed the introduction of TVEI in the teeth of the support for TVEI consistently made clear by many Labour-supporting teachers and head teachers throughout the middle and late 1980s.

I was heavily involved in a number of those battles when I was the parliamentary candidate for Huddersfield. Many socialists in west Yorkshire opposed TVEI tooth and nail and continued to do so against all educational common sense.

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans , Ribble Valley

It would not be the first time that Opposition Members have done a U-turn on a policy that was introduced by the Government and in which they now see some merit.

I shall bring my comments to a close, as many other hon. Members wish to speak. The Government are absolutely committed to the teaching profession and are proud of the work that they are doing and we will ensure that that work carries on in the future.

Photo of Stephen Byers Stephen Byers , Wallsend 10:03 pm, 26th October 1993

I am grateful to have the opportunity to make a contribution to this debate, because, before my election in April last year, I had the pleasure of serving as chairman of the national employers' organisation for school teachers, which is the body that represents the local authority employers. Before that, I was a member of the Burnham committee which was later abolished by the Conservative Government.

I shall make one comment about the need to restore negotiating rights to the 400,000 teachers in England and Wales and I shall then make some detailed comments about the order. It must be a matter of great regret to the House that we have such a large body of workers who are unable to enjoy the basic democratic right of negotiating their own pay and conditions of service. It is a right which many in the House argued should be enjoyed in other countries when it was denied to people there. I am thinking especially of Solidarity in Poland. Many Conservative Members were keen to extol the virtues of that trade union and to give it the ability to negotiate freely with the Polish Government of the day. Many of us feel that the time has come to give teachers the right to negotiate freely with their local authority employers.

Photo of Mr Timothy Devlin Mr Timothy Devlin , Stockton South

Does the hon. Gentleman consider that the Burnham machinery was successful? It was clear that, year after year, the employers and unions agreed a pay increase that they then expected someone else—the Government —to fund. That position was clearly unsatisfactory. Either the Government had to have some role in the negotiating procedure, because they were footing the bill, or the whole machinery had to be changed. That is why the machinery was scrapped.

The value of the present system is that the Secretary of State at least has some say in the way in which the negotiations are carried out and he is doing a great deal through the order and the proposals that will come forward for next year to enable good teachers to stay in the classroom.

Photo of Stephen Byers Stephen Byers , Wallsend

To say that the Secretary of State now has some say in the matter is rather an understatement. He appoints all the members of the review body. He gives them the remit under which they have to operate and, once the report has been received, he modifies it by order so that it cannot be identified as the original submission from the review body.

The Burnham committee had the benefit of, for example, the negotiators being people with practical experience who would know the practical difficulties to which certain proposals would give rise. One of the reasons why teachers had a fair deal throughout the 1980s was precisely that for seven of the 10 years pay was determined by the Burnham committee. The teachers' present difficulty is that in three of the past four years, the Government have changed the review body's recommendations, not for the better, but by reducing or delaying the amount that teachers would have got as a result of the review body's recommendations.

There is a democratic principle at stake when considering free nogotiations. There are also practical reasons why negotiations are important. There are people with expertise and with day-to-day experience who can bring those qualities to bear on the proposals that come forward.

Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald , Hertfordshire North

Does the hon. Gentleman propose bringing back the Burnham committee? Is it not right to say that in three out of the last four years of its operation it could not agree?

Photo of Stephen Byers Stephen Byers , Wallsend

I agreed with the Burnham committee's recommendations to the then Secretary of State. It is a matter of regret that the Secretary of State chose to ignore them. The Burnham made two main proposals. The first was that the size of both sides of the committee should be reduced. The second was that there should be a deadline by which the committee would have to make recommendations which it would then put to the Secretary of State. The committee would then not have had the difficulties that it experienced in the previous three to four years. Its proposals to the Secretary of State were practical. If he had looked at them rationally and less dogmatically, he would have been able to agree to them. For political reasons, the then Secretary of State decided that he wanted to remove negotiating rights from teachers. That is a matter of deep regret and that is why we are now dealing with the order.

The order does not reflect the recommendations that came from the schoolteachers' pay review body. It modifies it substantially, as the memorandum before us clearly demonstrates.

The schoolteachers' pay review body, even though it had been given a remit by the Secretary of State, proposed an end-loaded settlement that would have cost 1·8 per cent. in a full year on the total pay bill for teachers. That was unacceptable to the Government because they had to bring it within the 1·5 per cent. public pay policy envelope. It is because of the Government's need to achieve that overriding political objective that we have some of the difficulties that are created by the order.

What is even worse, though—to add insult to injury —is that even though only 1·5 per cent. is being made available to teachers pay overall, the Government are not even funding the 1·5 per cent. increase. The Minister will be aware that the increase in the education standard spending assessment for local education authorities is only 0·25 per cent. in 1993–94, compared with the actual spend on education last year.

The Minister may live in a never-never land where actual spend does not mean much. It clearly means that it is money that was spent in the previous financial year. That, of course, is ignored by the Government because they see it as Labour local authorities committing the cardinal sin of overspending on education. The Government ignore that and are only prepared to increase the education standard spending assessment by the amount that they believe should have been spent, which is substantially less than what Labour local authorities are spending.

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch

The hon. Gentleman is taking me back to a previous role, which is always a dangerous trip to make. My memory is that the increase year on year—a legitimate comparison for the adjusted services of education—is approximately 3 per cent. If that is not so, I shall make that clear elsewhere. Against the background of inflation conditions that we had, I think that that is a reasonable settlement.

Photo of Stephen Byers Stephen Byers , Wallsend

Because of his previous portfolio, I think that the Minister knows full well that that does not compare with what is happening in reality. That may be all right as far as the Treasury is concerned—we know that the Treasury dominates exactly what his Department can now do—but in terms of what is being spent in our schools, which must concern the House, there has been an increase of only 0·25 per cent. year to year as a result of the decisions that the Government have made. Financial difficulties will be experienced by local education authorities and individual schools as a result of the paltry increase that teachers will get. We should have had a reasonable and responsible increase properly funded by the Government.

On the question of structure, the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster) said that the document was not published until 15 July, which, in practice, has meant that governing bodies, which will implement many of the structural changes, have simply not had the time to put those changes in place. If we experience the same procedure next year, there will be a strong argument—I suggest this in a constructive way—for the document to be published earlier so that governing bodies in the summer term can consider the modifications to which the order will give rise.

The order allows the Secretary of State to designate individual schools to introduce performance-related pay on a pilot basis. We understand that, originally, 14 schools volunteered. Were they really volunteers or had they merely expressed an interest in a letter at some stage and found themselves, in the full glare of publicity, described as having volunteered? Can the Minister confirm that, of those 14, five have indicated that they do not want to proceed? It would be interesting to hear the Minister say whether it is five or fewer.

When he chaired the review body, Sir Graham Day heard much evidence about PRP. Because of his industrial background, he was a man of great experience of the benefits, in certain sectors, that can come from the introduction of PRP. Sir Graham Day knew very well that it was almost impossible to introduce performance-related pay into the schools sector. That is why he wanted to proceed with caution, and why the review body was prepared to do no more than start some feasibility studies of how performance-related pay could work; it was not prepared to go any further than that, because it realised the difficulties that were involved and the need to proceed with caution. There is great concern that, by introducing the order, the Government are moving towards a system under which pilot projects can be set up through designation by the Secretary of State.

Many of us disagree fundamentally with the whole idea of performance-related pay in schools. Who is to judge? Who is it to be awarded to? Is it to be awarded to the whole school, an individual department, a group of teachers or individual teachers? Those are difficult issues, which need to be tackled sensibly and sympathetically. As I said, Sir Graham Day, a highly experienced industrialist, was not prepared to embark on pilot projects because of the difficulties that he envisaged. The order represents the triumph of political dogma over education reason.

I have questions about two specific points that arise from the order, the first of which concerns the 18-point pay spine for qualified teachers. As I told the Minister, I should be interested to hear why it is that, in his Department's own evidence, which has now been submitted to the pay review body for next year, a 35-point pay scale is recommended for qualified teachers. The reason given is that, in the Department's view, such a scale will be workable and flexible. By implication, that means that the 18-point spine proposed in the order is unworkable and inflexible. I shall be interested to hear why the Minister's own Department has made such a substantial change.

My second specific point concerning the structure changes before us relates to the windfall earnings that will come to certain individual teachers. I hope that the Minister will consider that matter. The provision affects those teachers who were in service under the old Burnham structure, which was abolished in 1987. The order states that they are to receive one spine point for each year of service, in the same way as all other teachers. But it will give a windfall gain to teachers who have had a break in service since 1987 and have not yet reached the top of the standard scale.

We are not talking about small amounts. The sums will be substantial, and the employers have calculated that, for some local education authorities, the provision will mean an additional 0·25 per cent. on the salary bill. That may not seem much to hon. Members, but it is the equivalent of 1,000 teachers, so the issue is crucial.

What does the Minister intend to do about those windfall earnings? They will be random in nature: they will turn up in individual schools—perhaps more than one teacher in a particular school will be eligible for them. What will the Minister do to help schools one or two of whose teachers experience a windfall increase as a result of the order? Will there be additional support? How will the arrangements operate under the scheme of delegation under local management of schools, bearing in mind the fact that it is not the actual salary that is covered under the local management arrangements but the average salary for the local authority as a whole? How does the Minister intend to tackle that point?

The order represents the worst of all possible worlds. It will create financial difficulties for' individual local education authorities and schools because of the chronic underfunding of the education service by this Government. It will do nothing to raise morale among our teachers. It will not retain, recruit and motivate any of our teachers. We need an order that will reward and ensure that we keep high-quality teachers and so invest in high-quality education for our children. It is because the order fails to achieve those objectives that it should be opposed.

Photo of Mr Win Griffiths Mr Win Griffiths , Bridgend 10:18 pm, 26th October 1993

It is worth reminding the Minister of the point with which my hon. Friend the Member for Wallsend (Mr. Byers) finished, because, in setting out the Government's stall, the Minister emphasised what he felt were the positive aspects of the award—the 18-point spine, the opportunities for extra points based on excellence and responsibility, and so on. He gave the impression that any successful school, with teachers diligently carrying out responsibilities and performing excellently in the classroom, would be able to claim up to five extra points for responsibility and up to three points for excellence. He suggested that a headmaster would recommend teachers for points because of the excellence of their performance. The truth is that everything depends on the resources that are made available through the national pay award, which percolate down to local authorities and then to schools.

There is a severe limit on any flexibility in the system. Will any head teacher have total carte blanche to reward a member of staff in exactly the way in which he or she would want? The truth is that the money is not there.

I do not want the Minister to advance well-rehearsed arguments about the history of pay increases since the year dot, but as the pay review body is likely to be in existence for some time, I should like him to consider its independence. Unfortunately, it has been rather supine in accepting the financial limits that have been placed on it by the Government, even though in previous debates Ministers and the Secretary of State made it quite clear that no financial limit would be placed on its consideration of teachers' pay. It has admitted, however, that its recommendations are less than is necessary to ensure a well-motivated profession of teachers who want to stay in schools or to attract others with good qualifications to the profession.

None of those issues has been tackled by the Minister. Is he prepared to say that the pay review body will be directed not to pay heed to any financial limit placed on it by the Government but to respond honestly with the recommendations that it believes to be necessary to ensure a well-paid and well-motivated teaching force, providing our young people with a quality education? One of the great disappointments this year has been the way in which the pay review body has meekly accepted the financial limits that the Government have placed on it.

I hope, too, that the Minister will explain clearly why even the modest recommendations of the pay review body have not been accepted, why the special educational needs sector is limited only to teachers who are teaching with statements and exactly when primary schools will get all the allowances that were recommended by the pay review body. We look forward to the answers and hope that there will be a positive response to the needs outlined by the pay review body which were, unfortunately, rejected by the Government.

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch 10:26 pm, 26th October 1993

This has been an enjoyable if short debate to which hon. Members from both parties have made important contributions. I am sure that they will accept that if I cannot deal with every issue raised now, I shall write to them about any outstanding matters.

I listened carefully to see whether I could learn why Labour Members think that it would be right to annul the order and create administrative chaos in schools and local education authorities which have made good progress by putting it into effect. I listened, but I confess that I have not found the answer.

A variety of reasons were advanced. I do not think that it is too much of a caricature to summarise them as follows: Labour Members object to the independent review body system; they object to the Government adjusting the recommendations so that all public sector employees were this year affected in the same way by the Government's approach to pay—in other words, they object to fair treatment; they object to the notion that good teachers might be paid more than bad; and they object to schools that have developed their own arrangements for rewarding good performance being permitted to continue to do so.

I deal now with specific questions. The background to the 1993–94 settlement was mentioned by the hon. Members for Bridgend (Mr. Griffiths) and for City of Durham (Mr. Steinberg), among others. The Government did not put a financial constraint on the schoolteachers pay review body, which was directed to have regard to the 0 to 1·5 per cent. overall limit. I remind the House that the pay restraint policy applied to all public sector groups without exception. The 0·35 per cent., to which the hon. Member for Bridgend referred, did not affect the salary settlement for 1993–94, but it would have affected the settlement for 1994–95. In fairness to all other public sector workers, the Secretary of State saw no reason to depart from the practice which was affecting every other public sector employee. I think that most hon. Members would agree with that.

In answer to the hon. Members for Bath (Mr. Foster) and for Bridgend, I confirm that there is no specific financial constraint or percentage limit on pay settlements for 1994–95. We have, of course, consistently said that we shall accept the recommendations of the review bodies unless there are clear and compelling reasons to the contrary, but the review bodies will have to be realistic about the context in which they operate, which will not be clear until after the forthcoming Budget statement.

My hon. Friend the Member for Stockton, South (Mr. Devlin) helpfully wondered about an alternative. I suspect that a number of Labour Members would like to return to what they term "collective bargaining". Many people would argue that the performance of collective bargaining in the 20 years up to the 1986 settlement, which produced only thre negotiated settlements for teachers, has done more than almost anything else to downplay teachers' reputations in the eyes of the public. I submit that teachers are better off with the body that they now have.

As for performance-related pay, our view is that across all public services, regular and direct links should be established between a person's contribution to the standards of service provided and his or her reward. We are determined to raise standards in the public sector.

On the issue of schools dropping out, I can confirm that two have dropped out and that one further school rumoured to have dropped out is carrying on, as are all the other schools.

Time does not allow me to deal with every issue, but I shall use the balance of the time available to answer the hon. Member for Bridgend. The important comparison to bear in mind is that the Opposition presided over an unparalleled decline in teachers' salaries until 1979. They do not like being reminded of it, but it happens to be true. The average pay of schoolteachers, as my hon. Friends the Members for Ribble Valley (Mr. Evans) and for Southport (Mr. Banks) reminded us—

It being one and a half hours after commencement of proceedings on the motion, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to Order [22 October]:

The House divided: Ayes 175, Noes 237.

Division No.370][10.29
AYES
Adams, Mrs IreneDenham, John
Ainger, NickDixon, Don
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)Donohoe, Brian H.
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)Dowd, Jim
Ashton, JoeDunnachie, Jimmy
Austin-Walker, JohnEagle, Ms Angela
Barnes, HarryEastham, Ken
Battle, JohnEnright, Derek
Bayley, HughEtherington, Bill
Beckett, Rt Hon MargaretEvans, John (St Helens N)
Bell, StuartFatchett, Derek
Bennett, Andrew F.Fisher, Mark
Benton, JoeFlynn, Paul
Bermingham, GeraldFoster, Rt Hon Derek
Berry, Dr. RogerFoster, Don (Bath)
Betts, CliveFoulkes, George
Boyce, JimmyFyfe, Maria
Boyes, RolandGapes, Mike
Bradley, KeithGerrard, Neil
Byers, StephenGodman, Dr Norman A.
Caborn, RichardGodsiff, Roger
Callaghan, JimGolding, Mrs Llin
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)Gordon, Mildred
Campbell-Savours, D. N.Graham, Thomas
Canavan, DennisGrant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Cann, JamieGriffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Chisholm, MalcolmGriffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Clapham, MichaelGunnell, John
Clark, Dr David (South Shields)Hanson, David
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)Hardy, Peter
Clelland, DavidHarman, Ms Harriet
Clwyd, Mrs AnnHeppell, John
Coffey, AnnHill, Keith (Streatham)
Connarty, MichaelHome Robertson, John
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)Hood, Jimmy
Corbyn, JeremyHoon, Geoffrey
Corston, Ms JeanHughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Cousins, JimHughes, Simon (Southwark)
Cryer, BobIllslay, Eric
Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)
Darling, AlistairJamieson, David
Davidson, IanJones, Barry (Alyn and D'side)
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'l)Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)
Jowell, TessaPowell, Ray (Ogmore)
Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn)Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lew'm E)
Khabra, Piara S.Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Kilfoyle, PeterPrescott, John
Kirkwood, ArchyPrimarolo, Dawn
Lestor, Joan (Eccles)Purchase, Ken
Lewis, TerryQuin, Ms Joyce
Livingstone, KenRaynsford, Nick
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)Redmond, Martin
Loyden, EddieRoche, Mrs. Barbara
Lynne, Ms LizRooker, Jeff
McAllion, JohnRooney, Terry
McAvoy, ThomasRoss, Ernie (Dundee W)
McCrea, Rev WilliamRowlands, Ted
Macdonald, CalumSedgemore, Brian
McFall, JohnShort, Clare
Mackinlay, AndrewSimpson, Alan
McMaster, GordonSkinner, Dennis
McWilliam, JohnSmith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Madden, MaxSmith, C. (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)
Maddock, Mrs DianaSmith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Mahon, AliceSoley, Clive
Marshall, David (Shettleston)Spearing, Nigel
Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)Spellar, John
Martlew, EricSquire, Rachel (Dunfermline W)
Maxton, JohnSteel, Rt Hon Sir David
Meale, AlanSteinberg, Gerry
Michael, AlunStevenson, George
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)Stott, Roger
Milburn, AlanTaylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Moonie, Dr LewisTipping, Paddy
Morgan, RhodriTyler, Paul
Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley)Wallace, James
Mudie, GeorgeWalley, Joan
Mullin, ChrisWareing, Robert N
Murphy, PaulWatson, Mike
Oakes, Rt Hon GordonWicks, Malcolm
O'Brien, Michael (N W'kshire)Wise, Audrey
O'Brien, William (Normanton)Worthington, Tony
O'Hara, EdwardWray, Jimmy
Paisley, Rev IanYoung, David (Bolton SE)
Parry, Robert
Patchett, TerryTellers for the Ayes:
Pickthall, ColinMr. Jack Thompson and
Pike, Peter L.Mr. Dennis Turner.
Pope, Greg
NOES
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)Butterfill, John
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)Carlisle, John (Luton North)
Allason, Rupert (Torbay)Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Amess, DavidCarrington, Matthew
Ancram, MichaelCarttiss, Michael
Arbuthnot, JamesChannon, Rt Hon Paul
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Clappison, James
Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv)Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Aspinwall, JackCoe, Sebastian
Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E)Colvin, Michael
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)Congdon, David
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North)Conway, Derek
Baldry, TonyCoombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)
Banks, Matthew (Southport)Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Bates, MichaelCope, Rt Hon Sir John
Bellingham, HenryCouchman, James
Beresford, Sir PaulCran, James
Blackburn, Dr John G.Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)
Bonsor, Sir NicholasCurry, David (Skipton & Ripon)
Booth, HartleyDavies, Quentin (Stamford)
Boswell, TimDay, Stephen
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)Devlin, Tim
Bowis, JohnDicks, Terry
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir RhodesDouglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Brandreth, GylesDover, Den
Brazier, JulianDuncan, Alan
Bright, GrahamDuncan-Smith, Iain
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)Dunn, Bob
Browning, Mrs. AngelaDurant, Sir Anthony
Burns, SimonDykes, Hugh
Burt, AlistairEggar, Tim
Butler, PeterElletson, Harold
Emery, Rt Hon Sir PeterHowell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)Hunter, Andrew
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)Jack, Michael
Evans, Roger (Monmouth)Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Evennett, DavidJenkin, Bernard
Faber, DavidJessel, Toby
Fabricant, MichaelJones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Fenner, Dame PeggyJones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr)
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Fishburn, DudleyKey, Robert
Forman, NigelKilfedder, Sir James
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)King, Rt Hon Tom
Forth, EricKirkhope, Timothy
Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)Knapman, Roger
Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Freeman, Rt Hon RogerKnight, Greg (Derby N)
French, DouglasKnox, Sir David
Gale, RogerLait, Mrs Jacqui
Gallie, PhilLang, Rt Hon Ian
Gardiner, Sir GeorgeLawrence, Sir Ivan
Gill, ChristopherLegg, Barry
Gorman, Mrs TeresaLeigh, Edward
Gorst, JohnLidington, David
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)Lightbown, David
Greenway, John (Ryedale)Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)Lord, Michael
Grylls, Sir MichaelLuff, Peter
Hague, WilliamLyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Hamilton, Rt Hon Archie (Epsom)MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)MacKay, Andrew
Hannam, Sir JohnMcNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Hargreaves, AndrewMadel, David
Harris, DavidMaitland, Lady Olga
Haselhurst, AlanMalone, Gerald
Hawkins, NickMans, Keith
Hawksley, WarrenMarland, Paul
Hayes, JerryMarlow, Tony
Heald, OliverMartin, David (Portsmouth S)
Hendry, CharlesMates, Michael
Hill, James (Southampton Test)Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Horam, JohnMellor, Rt Hon David
Hordem, Rt Hon Sir PeterMerchant, Piers
Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)Milligan, Stephen
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)Mills, Iain
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)Sproat, Iain
Mitchell, Sir David (Hants NW)Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Monro, Sir HectorStanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Montgomery, Sir FergusSteen, Anthony
Moss, MalcolmStephen, Michael
Neubert, Sir MichaelStreeter, Gary
Nicholls, PatrickSumberg, David
Nicholson, David (Taunton)Sykes, John
Norris, SteveTaylor, Ian (Esher)
Onslow, Rt Hon Sir CranleyTaylor, Rt Hon John D. (Strgfd)
Oppenheim, PhillipTaylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)
Page, RichardTemple-Morris, Peter
Paice, JamesThomason, Roy
Patnick, IrvineThompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyThompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Pawsey, JamesThomton, Sir Malcolm
Peacock, Mrs ElizabethThumham, Peter
Pickles, EricTownend, John (Bridlington)
Porter, David (Waveney)Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)
Redwood, Rt Hon JohnTredinnick, David
Richards, RodTrend, Michael
Riddick, GrahamTwinn, Dr Ian
Robathan, AndrewViggers, Peter
Roberts, Rt Hon Sir WynWalker, Bill (N Tayside)
Robinson, Mark (Somerton)Waller, Gary
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)Ward, John
Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame AngelaWardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Sackville, TomWaterson, Nigel
Scott, Rt Hon NicholasWatts, John
Shaw, David (Dover)Whitney, Ray
Shephard, Rt Hon GillianWhtttingdale, John
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)Widdecombe, Ann
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Shersby, MichaelWilkinson, John
Sims, RogerWilletts, David
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)Wolfson, Mark
Soames, NicholasWood, Timothy
Speed, Sir KeithYeo, Tim
Spencer, Sir Derek
Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset)Tellers for the Noes:
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)Mr. Sydney Chapman and
Spink, Dr RobertMr. Robert G Hughes

Question accordingly negatived.