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Teachers (Dispute)

Volume 79: debated on Wednesday 22 May 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a further statement on the teachers' pay dispute.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the current teachers' pay dispute.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress has been made since 2nd May to resolve the current teachers' pay dispute.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will make a statement on the teachers' dispute.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the current dispute between teachers and their employers.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement about the progress of the teachers' pay talks.

[pursuant to his oral reply, 21 May 1985, c. 842]: I wrote yesterday evening to the employers' leaders on Burnham making clear the Government's present position in relation to both 1985–86 and 1986–87, in advance of the Burnham committee meeting fixed for 23 May. Because of the wide public interest in these matters I have made the text of the letter and its annex on teachers' duties publicly available. These are set out below.

Councillor P. D. Merridale
Chairman
Association of County Councils
Eaton House
66A Eaton Square
London SW1W 9BH21 May 1985

Dear Philip

Throughout the current round of negotiations in the Burnham Primary and Secondary Committee, and the associated salary structure talks, I have tried to ensure that the Government's position is understood by those concerned, particularly in relation to the possibility that some additional resources might in the Government's view be justified. I think it right to make the Government's present position clear in advance of the meeting of the Burnham Primary and Secondary Committee fixed for 23 May, in relation to both 1985–86 and 1986–87.

In the light of the position reached in this year's negotiations. the Government is not able to make any additional resources available for teachers' pay in 1985–86. The cost in 1985–86 of any settlement must therefore be within what local authorities can already afford to pay, however the settlement is reached.

There has been debate about what should be regarded as the extent of teachers' contractual responsibilities. The Government believes it would be helpful if there were a generally accepted view on this matter, and if the range of teachers' duties was clearly linked with their contracts of employment. I enclose a note setting out the Government's provisional view on these duties. The Government would welcome views on these as a step toward agreement being reached as part of the basis for negotiations about teachers' pay for 1986–87. In the Government's view that agreement could exclude mid-day supervision from the range of teachers' duties from 1986–87. The Government would then provide in the 1986–87 Rate Support Grant settlement some additional resources for mid-day supervision costs.

For 1986–87 the Government would be willing to provide some additional resources for teachers' pay in the Rate Support Grant settlement, if and only if an acceptable and firm agreement in principle can be reached by October 1985, which would ensure progress towards the Government's objectives. The Government envisages an agreement which would require employers to promote more teachers than under the existing system to the higher salary scales, exercising their discretion in doing so in the light of the quality of teachers' work and the demand for their skills and qualifications elsewhere. The Government believes that increased promotion could benefit a large number of teachers directly over a period and change pay prospects for all teachers.

Because of the wide public interest in these matters, I am making the text of this letter publicly available. I shall of course be glad to have an opportunity of discussing its contents with you at a convenient time, and I shall also let the teacher unions know that I should be happy to discuss its content with them.

I am writing in similar terms to Nicky Harrison.

Yours,

Keith.

ANNEX A