Teacher Supply — 18 Jan 2001

Oliver Letwin MP, West Dorset voted in the minority (Aye).

That this House views with deep concern the crisis of teacher shortages which is hitting schools across the country and which has led to some schools operating a four day week, children being sent home early, increased class sizes and the use of non-specialist and unqualified staff; deplores the Government's complacency in the face of this crisis; notes that many teachers are leaving the profession because of the increased red tape and bureaucratic burdens imposed by this Government; recognises that the teacher shortages are damaging standards in schools; and calls on the Government to revive the teaching profession by getting rid of the excessive bureaucratic burdens faced by teachers, setting schools free and letting teachers teach.

There is a problem, but not a crisis.--[ Official Report , 11 January 2001; Vol. 360, c. 1220.]

in the vast bulk of this country, this is not the great problem.

The threat of sending home pupils because staff are not available to teach them is imminent. We are facing a crisis.

We are facing a crisis of huge proportion in staffing.

The teacher supply crisis is having a substantial effect on the education of thousands of pupils in secondary schools. Shortages exist across the country.

This is serious, and we are in for a long-term national crisis.

England and Wales are facing the prospect of the worst shortage in teacher supply for many years.

The Committee chose this as its first report because teacher supply is an issue that goes right to the heart of education policy. Sufficient high quality teachers are essential if we are to raise standards in our schools. In our report we conclude that there is a crisis in teacher recruitment.

Schools have expressed concern about the current definition of a vacancy used by your Department, where any vacant post covered by a contract of one term or less is not counted. This definition does not show the true extent of the problems facing schools.

the situation is getting desperate; the Government is living in cloud cuckoo land if it says that there is no crisis.

As from Thursday 18th January 2001, it has been possible for all students at St. Mary's High School to return to school for their lessons.

We are grateful to those supply teachers and non-teaching staff, who are making this possible . . . We thank . . . our own staff for their dedication and commitment to our students.

We thank the local authority and the DfEE for working with us at this difficult time . . .

It is becoming increasingly difficult to even get shortlists of suitable candidates for teaching positions. We are having to use every means to fill jobs.

there is only so much extra work that we can ask our staff to do.

Teachers are being asked to teach subjects for which they are not qualified; teachers who would not normally have been first, or even in some cases second, choice are being employed simply because there are not enough applicants for posts. Children are being taught in larger classes and subject areas are being dropped . . . Children's education is suffering because they are being taught by teachers who are being overstretched, stressed and in some cases not qualified to teach the subject for which they have been employed.

approach has simply been too prescriptive and over-the-top . . .

We don't seem to be able to do anything in schools these days without filling out forms . . . We are now living in a bureaucratic nightmare.

unnecessarily complex and . . . de-motivating for candidates and for schools.

to reflect the recruitment difficulties experienced in places other than central London,

allocations need to reflect the full range of teacher shortages and not focus almost exclusively on secondary shortage subjects.

I beg to move, To leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:

"welcomes the enormous strides taken over the last three years to make teaching a more attractive profession; particularly welcomes the introduction of a new career structure and performance-related pay to assist retention, a greater emphasis on continuing professional development and the development of golden hellos in shortage subjects and teacher training salaries, which mean that there are more people training to be teachers now than at any time in the last eight years; further welcomes the practical steps taken by the Government to assist headteachers facing recruitment problems in some areas and the measures which have been taken to reduce needless bureaucracy in schools; applauds the improved achievement levels by both primary and secondary pupils, the big reduction in infant class sizes since 1997 and the substantial increase in teaching assistants and learning mentors to offer practical support to pupils and teachers; and notes that the number of teachers in post is higher than at any time in the last decade as a direct result of greater investment in education by the Government, and that the School Teachers' Review Body will report soon."

standards are seriously at risk;

senior management are just firefighting;

the situation is only getting worse.

people are being appointed who would not normally have been appointed.

Hertfordshire's children are often taught by short-term, daily supply teachers or are covered by non-specialists.

Yes, there is a serious problem and had we not acted at the end of March I think we'd have been very close to meltdown.

These figures indicate encouraging progress in recruitment to teacher training. We have started to make a difference . . . The outlook for teacher recruitment is better than it has been for some time.

The measures that we have taken over the past few weeks have led to a dramatic improvement in the number of people seeking information or registering . . . Our measures have led to a massive increase in those registering an interest.--[ Official Report , 11 January 2001; Vol. 360, c. 1220.]

the Government seems to have thrown in the towel--

substituting adults with unspecified qualifications for teachers is a policy of despair.

Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:--

The House divided: Ayes 128, Noes 309.

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Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 125 (+2 tell)280.6%
Independent1 0050.0%
Lab283 (+2 tell) 0068.3%
LDem22 0046.8%
UUP0 1011.1%
Total:306 126269.0%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

NameConstituencyPartyVote
Julie KirkbrideBromsgroveConboth
Sir Peter LloydFarehamConboth

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