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 Theresa May Theresa May Shadow Spokesperson (Education) 12:00 am, 14th January 1999

The Secretary of State for Health has managed to recognise the crisis in the health service caused by the lack of recruitment of nurses. It is a pity that the Secretary of State for Education and Employment is unwilling to recognise the growing crisis in our classrooms caused by a lack of teachers and problems of recruitment.

Whatever Government figures the Secretary of State gives, a recent survey by the National Union of Teachers shows that the real figure for teacher vacancies is—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I am fascinated to note that Labour Members greet mention of the NUT with such derision. Its survey shows that there are 10,000 vacancies—four times the number that the Government accept. Despite there being so many vacant posts, over Christmas the Secretary of State cut targets for teacher recruitment by 13 per cent. Does he believe that he can solve the problem of the lack of teachers in our classrooms by recruiting fewer of them, or is he just desperate to fiddle the figures to avoid failing to achieve yet another target?