Teachers' Pay

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th January 1999.

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Photo of David Blunkett David Blunkett Secretary of State for Education and Employment 12:00 am, 14th January 1999

I hope that the proposals—not merely in the review body's report but in the Green Paper—will make a substantial difference in recruitment in the years to come. However, we have to get the matter into some sort of perspective. I do not want there to be talk of crisis in the education service when, across the United Kingdom, there are only 2,600 teaching vacancies—which is 0.8 per cent.—240 of which are for head teachers. It is important to remember that, although I accept that the position has worsened in recent years. That is why my hon. Friend the Minister for School Standards has announced a package of measures with the Teacher Training Agency, including £5,000 bonuses for maths and science graduates to come into the profession. We are also proposing radical changes for the teaching profession in our Green Paper—an issue that the Conservatives neglected for the two decades they were in office.