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Education

Volume 395: debated on Thursday 2 December 1943

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Mentally Defective Children (Occupation Centres)

14.

asked the President of the Board of Education whether it is intended to take over the occupation centres for the training of mentally retarded children and so make them a part of the regular educational system of the kingdom?

No, Sir. These occupation centres are intended for lower-grade defective children who are unable to benefit by any kind of school training.

Mcnair Committee (Report)

15.

asked the President of the Board of Education when he expects the Report of the McNair Committee will be available?

I hope to receive the Report of the McNair Committee during the first quarter of next year.

Teachers (Recruitment)

16.

asked the President of the Board of Education what progress he has met with in regard to the recruitment of teachers?

The first in the series of conferences referred to in my answers of 21st October and 11th November last has been held. The programme of meetings will, I hope, be completed by the middle of January. The correspondence courses for members of the Services are expected to be available early in the new year, thus every practicable step is being taken pending the release of men and women from the Forces.

Will my right hon. Friend consider issuing a White Paper setting out the short-term policy far the training of teachers?

I will certainly take any steps which commend themselves, in order that hon. Members may know about it, but I think the scheme was, in general, set out in the answer given to the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) on. 21st October. If my hon. Friend wants any further information, I will certainly consider her request.

Will the Minister confer with the Minister of Labour in order to ensure a reasonable priority of demobilisation, so that these men may be returned in order to train for their avocation?

Teachers' Salaries

17.

asked the President of the Board of Education what is the present state of discussions between the National Union of Teachers and the Burnham Committee on the question of teachers' salaries?

I understand that the teachers' panel of the Burnham Elementary Committee, the members of which are appointed by the National Union of Teachers, have given notice to terminate as from 1st April, 1944, the salary scales contained in the Committee's current Report of 1938. I have not been informed of the stage at present reached in the discussions between the two sides of the Committee.

In view of the fact that the present agreement is due to run out shortly, is it not apparent that the discussions should be conducted sufficiently rapidly to ensure that we shall not find ourselves without a new agreement, at the end of the present agreement?

Yes, Sir, I am aware of all those difficulties, but I think that I had better receive the Report to which I referred at the end of my statement.

Is the Minister not aware that if he waits until then he will be waiting until the present agreement has expired?

We usually move in very good time at the Board of Education, and my hon. Friend had better rely on our usual perspicacity.