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Women Teachers

Volume 640: debated on Thursday 11 May 1961

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asked the Minister of Education what the response has been to his Come Back to Teaching campaign for married women teachers; and if he will make a statement.

Reports from authorities show that over 1,300 married women answered my appeal in the two months between the launching of the campaign and 31st March. Of these, 840 have already been appointed and the applications of another 500 are being considered. It is to early yet to say what the full response to the campaign will be, since many authorities have only recently begun their own local publicity campaigns to follow up the national campaign.

While thanking the Minister for that reply, may I ask him how long he envisages carrying on this campaign? Has he in view any target figure which he would like to achieve?

The campaign will be a permanent feature of recruiting married women to the teachers' force I have no target figure.

Did not the right hon. Gentleman say at one point that he had a target figure? Did he not say that there were 50,000 married women teachers at an age at which they might still be able to teach in this country and that he hoped to obtain at least 5,000 of these for his service?

It would be a very good thing if we could get 5,000 over a period, but I have no time limit for such a task.

Would not my right hon. Friend get many more of these married women back into teaching if he could induce the Chancellor to allow their earnings to be separately assessed, for tax purposes, from those of their husbands? Would not that be a price worth paying, from the educational point of view?

My right hon. Friend has gone some way to meet the case of those married women whose incomes, taken together with those of their husbands, bring them into the Surtax class.