Sir Keith Joseph: I am grateful to my hon. Friend and agree with him. I am genuinely surprised that the hon. Member for Durham, North allows himself to reject the idea of the duties of teachers as part of the bargain.
Sir Keith Joseph: I am rather shocked that Opposition Members laugh so heartily at the penalisation of children in the schools. Surely it is not part of the philosophy of the traditional Labour party to take it out on children?
Sir Keith Joseph: I feel, despite the hon. Gentleman's point of view, that most people in this House desperately want better education for our children. That calls for the acceptance by teachers of their duties as well as a review of the career structure.
Sir Keith Joseph: I missed 40 minutes out of 140 minutes. I shall carefully read the speeches that I missed and I am quite sure that I shall find the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Stratford-on-Avon well worth reading.
Sir Keith Joseph: How many fewer children will there be?
Sir Keith Joseph: I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: 'welcomes Her Majesty's Government's policies to improve the standards and quality of school education for children of all abilities; notes that expenditure per pupil is at record levels; support the Government's efforts to secure better value for money from that expenditure in future; and urges...
Sir Keith Joseph: No, I am sorry; I must make progress to leave time for hon. Members to make their speeches. I should be grateful if Opposition Members would recognise from the same HMI report that there is scope for redeployment in many local education authorities through better management of resources. The hon. Member for Durham, North teased me with not fulfilling any of the tangible implications of my...
Sir Keith Joseph: We must all hope that the discussions that are being held under the auspices of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service are able to help the local education authorities and the teachers' unions to reach a satisfactory conclusion. ACAS, the employers and the teachers' unions know what is the Government's position. Many right hon. and hon. Members wish to take part in the debate. I...
Sir Keith Joseph: The teachers' panel of the Burnham committee met on 5 December and resolved to seek an early resumption of negotiations. The management panel met on 11 December and agreed to undertake further informal discussions with the teachers' side. Discussions are taking place today. I welcome any development which may help to achieve a settlement of this bitter, damaging and unnecessary dispute. But...
Sir Keith Joseph: Yes, and some of the teachers' unions could end the disruption today. The Government have taken an initiative in the conditional offer that they have made.
Sir Keith Joseph: If the Government sought to equip themselves with powers, I doubt whether that would immediately end the disruption.
Sir Keith Joseph: The hon. Gentleman should not believe everything that he reads in the newspapers. The Government have no new initiatives to put before the House.
Sir Keith Joseph: I agree with the latter part of my hon. Friend's question. To ensure the recruitment and retention of the right quality of persons as teachers and effective teaching, the Government see it as necessary to provide an adequate pay and career structure.
Sir Keith Joseph: The House will be aware that the Government have introduced a Bill to enable local education authorities to make alternative and effective arrangements for midday supervision.
Sir Keith Joseph: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I agree with my hon. and learned Friend. It is only a fraction worse than the general indifference to children's welfare shown by some teacher unions.
Sir Keith Joseph: Why does the hon. Gentleman persist in ignoring the fact that after a mere 20 minutes the National Union of Teachers and other teachers' unions rejected the Government's initiative when they offered substantial increases, conditionally, of pay for good teachers?
Sir Keith Joseph: The Government have taken an initiative which the teachers' unions could request the employers to pick up again tomorrow if they wished.
Sir Keith Joseph: No, Sir. The NUT walked out of negotiations in December 1984 which might have provided additional finance from taxpayers for the current year.
Sir Keith Joseph: It would be extremely satisfatory if some Opposition Members spoke up for the children.
Sir Keith Joseph: I agree with the first part of my hon. Friend's question. I am not convinced that an inquiry, however broad, would automatically bring this disruption immediately to an end.