Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th May 1959.
asked the Minister of Education what are his estimates of the size of the school population in 1965 and the average annual recruitment, wastage, and supply of trained teachers, respectively, between now and 1965, which would enable him to enforce universally the reduction in the size of classes below the maxima of 40 for primary and 30 for secondary schools in that year.
About 6,900,000 in the school year 1965–66. To eliminate oversize classes by that time we should need to increase the number of teachers by about 10,000 in each of the intervening years, other than the year when a slight decrease is likely as a result of the introduction of the three-year course.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that these figures will be scrutinised and examined very carefully indeed? While we welcome the statement which he made the other night about the possibility of reducing the size of classes by the middle 1960s, is he aware that his Department has a very long history of under-estimating the magnitude of this problem and of under-estimating the numbers of teachers required, and that these figures will be scrutinised, therefore, with due care?
I hope that we will not under-estimate the magnitude of this problem, which is by far the biggest we have in education at present. The only thing I add is that in my statement the other night, for reasons which I gave, I was careful not to commit myself to a particular year, which is what the hon. Member has quoted in his Question.