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Education

Volume 463: debated on Thursday 7 April 1949

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Teachers (London Area Allowance)

34.

asked the Minister of Education whether he has considered the representations made to him by the staff of the Tiffin Girls' School, Kingston-upon-Thames, on the subject of their deprivation of London area allowance; and what steps he proposes to take.

41.

asked the Minister of Education whether he has now considered the claim of teachers living in the boroughs of Chingford, Woodford and Wanstead for inclusion in those areas receiving the London addition to the Burnham scales; and whether he will make a statement.

I have received various representations about the London area allowance, which it is the function of the Burnham Committee to consider in the first instance. The Committee gave it full consideration when preparing the present Report and, as I stated in the House on 20th January last, I do not find sufficient grounds for asking them to reconsider the position at present.

In view of the right hon. Gentleman's concluding observation, has he considered the representations made to him by the staff of the school referred to m my Question? The fact is that 35 per cent. of their membership actually live in areas in which the London allowance is paid to those who teach in those areas. Is it not time that the right hon. Gentleman took action in this very long delayed matter?

I know there are anomalies, but there always will be wherever a line is drawn. These teachers should approach the Burnham Committee through their association.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in the areas mentioned in my Question it is not a matter of drawing a line. These are little tongues of territory entirely surrounded by areas in which the London allowance is paid. Further, it is not the teachers who are agitating but parents' associations, who say that children are suffering because teachers in these school are constantly moving to other schools?

Whether they are surrounded by other areas or not, a line must be drawn; otherwise, they would be included. As I have said, representations should be made by the teachers to the Burnham Committee through their association, and not to the Minister.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the boroughs of Wan-stead and Woodford civil servants, local authority officers and members of the Police and Fire services receive, the London weighting allowance, as do clerical and domestic staffs in the schools? It is only the teachers who do not.

This was known to the Burnham Committee when the question was considered and decided upon.

In view of the Minister's statement that the teachers should approach the Burnham Committee through their association and not through the Minister, may I ask whether the Minister did not himself give the answer to this when he said that this was not a case in which he would take the initiative and invite the attention of the Committee? Is not this just the class of case in which the right hon. Gentleman's responsibility as Minister is directly involved?

In my original answer I said that I saw no reason, in what has been put to me, for asking the Committee to consider the matter again at this time. But this does not prevent the teachers' association from making representations_

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Burnham Committee agreed at one time, that where local authorities and teachers' associations in an area agreed about the additional payments, those payments should be made in that area? Has that arrangement been discontinued?

It might have been, at one time, but it was not so in the last Report, on which the salaries are now being paid.

Teachers (Medical Examination)

36.

asked the Minister of Education why prospective entrants into the teaching profession are expected to pay the costs of their medical examination.

I do not think it unreasonable that a person who wishes to be admitted to the teaching profession should be expected to provide the necessary evidence of his fitness for it.

Is it not usual for the employer to meet the cost of an examination to ensure than an employee is fit for his employment? Why is an exception made in the case of the Ministry of Education?

If a student is examined at the end of his training college course, no fee is charged. This is an examination before he is accepted as a candidate for the profession.

When there is anxiety to secure teachers, is it not reasonable that the people who are anxious to secure them should pay for the medical examination?

I will consider that suggestion, but I have not seen the necessity for adopting it as yet.

University Awards (Report)

37.

asked the Minister of Education if he will now make a statement as to his intentions regarding the recommendations of the Working Party upon University Awards.

I have now received the comments of most of the main bodies interested in the report of the Working Party and I am considering them. I am not yet in a position to make any statement as to the action to be taken on the recommendations of the report.

When is my right hon. Friend likely to be in a position to make a statement? Can he indicate the policy of the Government in connection with the recommendations?

Palestinian Arab Students

38.

asked the Minister of Education if he will now state what steps have been taken to enable a number of Palestinian Arab students whose families are no longer able to maintain them, to complete their courses in this country.

I hope that a settlement of this matter will be reached shortly, and I will write to my hon. Friend.

While thanking my right hon. Friend for what sounds like an encouraging answer, may I ask him whether he will be good enough to consider circulating a short statement in HANSARD, when the statement is ready, instead of writing to me, because there are a number of people who are interested in this matter?

Further Education, Wales

42.

asked the Minister of Education how many education authorities in Wales and Monmouth shire have now a full-time further education officer; and how many have not.

The appointment of education officers other than chief education officers and the allocation of duties to such officers, are matters for the discretion of individual local education authorities, and I have no complete information.

In view of the importance, particularly to Wales, of a full county college provision, will my right hon. Friend consider bringing a certain amount of pressure to bear upon the educational authorities to make a full-time appointment?

I have no evidence that the local authorities are not giving full consideration to this matter. The fact is that I have not full information as to the numbers actually employed.

Cinematograph Industry (Investigation)

45.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will consider setting up a Royal Commission to inquire into the cinematograph industry; and make recommendations as to its re-organisation.

In view of the fantastic discrepancy between the salaries of staffs and the wages of technicians, and in view of the further discrepancy between the profits of producers and those of the distributors, and because of the general mess in the industry, does not the right hon. Gentleman think that some form of investigation is needed?

Oh, yes, I entirely agree with the hon. and gallant Member. Some need for investigation is quite clear. That is why a special committee on film distribution and exhibition under Lord Portal is now actively at work. I am expecting the report shortly. There is also another committee working on the means of reducing film production costs.

When does the Prime Minister expect the report from the Portal Committee?