Sir Keith Joseph: I admire my hon. Friend's ingenious supplementary question.
Sir Keith Joseph: That is a grossly distorted point of view. It is the Government's intention to bring about improved quality of teaching for children of all abilities in our schools. For that purpose, we judge it necessary to open up possibilities for many more promotions, a much more promising career structure for teachers, a satisfactory pay structure for teachers and appraisal and more in-service training...
Sir Keith Joseph: Talks covering both pay and conditions of service continue at ACAS between the management side and the five unions which signed the ACAS agreement in January. The National Union of Teachers has excluded itself from the talks by refusing to abide by the agreement and end its disruption of schools. The National Union of Teachers has requisitioned a meeting of the Burnham primary and secondary...
Sir Keith Joseph: The National Union of Teachers could return to the talks quite easily by ending disruption and abiding by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service agreement. I wish that it would do so.
Sir Keith Joseph: The hon. Gentleman should be wary before announcing exactly the flow of teachers to union membership. The duties of teachers have long included activities outside the classroom. It is the definition of duties that is being sought by the five teacher unions and the local education authorities under the ACAS umbrella.
Sir Keith Joseph: It is precisely for that reason that the Government regard the definition of duties, as well as the definition of pay and career structure, as important. That is why we are glad that the ACAS negotiations are taking place.
Sir Keith Joseph: The NUT should consider the interests of children. It professes to be concerned about education, yet it promotes the disruption of the educational process. The NUT has urged its members to refuse to carry out activities which have long been recognised as part of a teacher's work. I support the view of the local authority employers that the NUT should return to the talks only if it ends the...
Sir Keith Joseph: My hon. and learned Friend's proposition is entirely correct. I cannot be expected to defend the National Union of Teachers' behaviour.
Sir Keith Joseph: I accept that last year was a miserable year for education. Will the hon. Gentleman answer a question from me?—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Very well.
Sir Keith Joseph: I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. The Government's objective is to raise standards and, for that reason, to offer teachers much more effective in-service training, coupled with appraisal.
Sir Keith Joseph: The Government's decision will be announced as soon as possible in the light of all the views expressed about measures to be taken against indoctrination, including those in another place about the possibility of legislation in the Education Bill.
Sir Keith Joseph: I agree with my hon. Friend. I think that that method is widely practised.
Sir Keith Joseph: My hon. Friend must realise that, outside the direct teaching of politics, a small minority of teachers introduce politicisation and indoctrination into lessons. Many parents are, alas, deterred from making complaints, but no responsible holder of my office should ignore the widespread anxiety about possible indoctrination.
Sir Keith Joseph: I have received 230 representations, all urging more public spending on basic scientific research.
Sir Keith Joseph: If my hon. Friend's suggestion would mean an improvement, it would deserve careful consideration. The Government delegate to the research councils and the universities the decisions about how to spend the allocation of taxpayers' money. That is a continuing process. We do not need a Minister especially devoted to science to achieve that.
Sir Keith Joseph: I would see the chairman of any research council who asked to see me. Normally, I receive advice through the chairman of the Advisory Board on the Research Councils. There has been almost an explosion of research possibilities in almost every area. It would be almost impossible for any Government to fund the complete implementation of them all.
Sir Keith Joseph: I am aware of the widespread sense of dissatisfaction, but the hon. Gentleman must accept that one difference between us and our neighbours in northwest Europe is that industry here contributes far less than it does in neighbouring countries to scientific research. That is another factor that must be borne in mind.
Sir Keith Joseph: Separate information technology and architects and building branches have been established this year on 1 January and 1 February respectively. I have no plans for any further changes in the organisation of my Department.
Sir Keith Joseph: I commend to the hon. Gentleman the policies set out and which are being implemented in "Better Schools". Such policies can be perfectly carried through by the Department of which presently I am the head. There is no need on account of those policies to make any changes.
Sir Keith Joseph: I have to say to my hon. Friend that the report in The Times this morning about a decided cut in polytechnic places is rubbish. There is no need to change the organisation of the Department, of which I am presently the head, in the light of any decisions about binary or non-binary division in higher education.