HC Deb 30 June 1938 vol 337 cc2109-10
38. Mr. Lipson

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he will give sympathetic consideration to establishment schemes of staffing submitted by local education authorities designed to effect continuous progress in the reduction in the sizes of classes?

Mr. Lindsay

Local education authorities' proposals for teaching establishments designed to effect a reduction in the size of classes will, as hitherto, be sympathetically considered by the board, but for reasons which I have previously given in the House, drastic or precipitate reductions cannot be contemplated at the present time.

Viscountess Astor

In the meantime, will it be possible to have supplementary teachers to help with these large classes?

Mr. Lindsay

I should like to point out that during the last five years the number of classes of over 40 children has dropped by nearly 28 per cent., and that every year the classes are getting smaller and smaller.

Viscountess Astor

Is it not true that there are thousands of children in classes that are so large that it is impossible for them to get proper education?

Mr. Lipson

Will my hon. Friend explain what he means by "drastic reduction"?

Mr. Lindsay

As stated in a reply given by my Noble Friend to a delegation the other day, drastic reduction meant reducing the size of classes to 30 or 35, and that would mean an expenditure of something like £26,000,000.

Mr. G. Griffiths

Is it not a fact that the classes at Clivedon at the week-end are over 40?

Mr. Tomlinson

Would the Parliamentary Secretary be prepared to recommend to the President the possibility of removing smaller rural classes and the small classes due to reorganisation from the establishment scheme?

Mr. Lindsay

I should like notice of that question.