Classes (Size)

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22 January 1959.

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Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme 12:00, 22 January 1959

asked the Minister of Education what is the average size of classes in grammar schools, compared with secondary modern schools, at the latest date for which figures are available.

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

In January, 1958, the average size of classes was 28·4 in maintained and assisted grammar schools and 31·0; in modern schools.

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Does not this figure reveal the basic inequality which exists in the tripartite system? Is it now the Ministry's policy to aim at equality of teacher-pupil ratios between all types of schools? Is the hon. Member aware that many people have the opinion that the present Minister's policy is far too limited and far too slow to achieve this?

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

I do not think we had better debate what the hon. Member was old fashioned enough to call the tripartite system at this stage of the afternoon. One reason for the difference is surely that classes are smaller for older pupils taking advanced courses in grammar schools. The average size of grammar school classes, other than sixth form classes, was 29·7;. The comparison here, therefore, is a little misleading unless one takes all the facts into account.

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Will the hon. Member make further inquiries? Is he not aware that what he has stated is simply not so? Will he have a survey made in order to establish what are the facts, because the facts are that on average the classes of grammar schools are smaller than those of secondary modern schools, and the difference is not due merely to small classes at the top.

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

If the hon. Member puts down another Question on this subject to elicit further figures which could be of help to him, of course my right hon. Friend will try to answer it.