asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has as to the incidence of the practice of schoolchildren, some of whose teachers are on strike, being sent off school premises during periods in school hours when their teachers are not available; and if he will make a statement.
I have seen many reports of children being sent home or otherwise excluded from school premises because their teachers are taking disruptive action. Detailed information is however not available. I deplore any interruption of pupils' education arising from industrial action; apart from its effect on pupils' education and the deplorable example it sets, it results in inconvenience to both pupils and parents; harms relationships, behaviour and discipline; and risks children's safety and well-being. I look to local education authorities and schools to continue taking all possible measures to fulfil their responsibilities to the children in their care.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is his response to the letter which he has received from the general secretary of the Professional Association of Teachers urging him to take measures to end the present teachers' dispute.
I am considering the letter which I have received from Mr. Peter Dawson, the general secretary of the Professional Association of Teachers, dated 20 November. I hope to reply shortly and the hon. Member may then wish to approach Mr. Dawson to see whether he is willing to release the content of my reply.