asked the Minister of Education whether he has noted that the number of pupils in maintained and assisted schools will reach a peak of 6,946,000 in 1961 and will be 6,937,000 in 1968; and what steps he has taken to increase the output of teachers from training colleges and university education departments and from other sources.
Yes, Sir. My right hon. Friend has recently considered policy on the training of teachers taking into account not only these estimates, but also the number of teachers likely to be leaving the profession and the introduction of the three-year course of training. As a result, he has asked the training colleges to take emergency measures to admit as many extra students as they can in 1958 and 1959. He has also put in hand the first instalment of a permanent expansion of the colleges and is considering what further expansion is needed.
asked the Minister of Education what tentative estimates he has made of the increases in the number of full-time teachers in maintained and assisted schools likely to result in the years 1958 to 1963, inclusive; and to what extent there is likely to be a deficiency of teachers to maintain existing standards and to secure the abolition of oversize classes, respectively.
On the assumption that the three-year course of training is introduced in 1960, my right hon. Friend estimates that there will be a net increase of some 15,000 to 20,000 teachers between January, 1958, and January, 1963, inclusive. This would produce some improvement in existing staffing standards, but not nearly enough to reduce all classes to regulation size.
Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the assumption that he made in April, 1957, of an annual increase of 6,000 in the 1960s—that is ignoring the three-year course introduced in 1960—still holds?
The estimate which I have just given assumes an average net increase each year of between 5,000 and 6,000 teachers until January, 1962, but I would like to say that we realise that this is a point of the greatest importance and that we are considering it most urgently at the moment.
Can the Minister state, first, what is the total shortage of teachers in these areas, and secondly, what proposals he has to remedy what even he, with his usual optimism, must admit is a very serious situation?
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will put down his first question. As to the second question, I know that West Bromwich in particular has had great difficulty in finding teachers for next autumn, but we are still watching this position very carefully and we are, as he knows, keeping on the quota system to ensure that other local authorities do not get more than their fair share of teachers.
asked the Minister of Education whether he now has anything further to report in respect of accepting demobilised Service officers, with special training in mathematics and science, as teachers; and what special arrangements have been made for their acceptance and teacher training.
Yes, Sir. By the middle of July about 85 former regular members of the Services of all ranks had been accepted for teacher training courses starting in 1958, and nearly 50 more for 1959. Those with suitable qualifications are being accepted for shortened, one-year courses. I do not know how many have had special training in mathematics and science, but colleges have been asked to give preference, other things being equal, to applicants of this kind.
Is it possible during the period of very great shortage to engage these people for administrative duties so that staff who are greatly overburdened with administrative work, particularly headmasters, may be relieved for teaching duties in the schools which are big enough to benefit from such treatment?
Certainly, I will consider that point and mention it to my right hon. Friend. The figures which I have given seem to show that the normal machinery is working fairly well and that there is no need for special measures.