§ Mr. Gorrie
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which councils have been unable to provide supply teachers to schools on occasions when they were needed to provide cover because of sickness or absence of teachers on in-service training in the(a) last and (b) current session. 
§ Mrs. Liddell
The Scottish Office does not at present have the information requested. However, we are aware that some local authorities are having difficulty in maintaining adequate numbers of supply teachers to provide cover and will shortly be undertaking work to obtain information from authorities on the demand for and deployment of supply teachers. The Planning Group on Teacher Supply, which is chaired by the Scottish Office and includes representatives from the education authorities, teacher education institutions, General Teaching Council and the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council, will be considering how this information can best be taken into account in teacher work force planning.
From 1 July 1999, this will be a matter for the Scottish Parliament.