HC Deb 14 July 1942 vol 381 cc1084-5
68. Mr. Edmund Harvey

asked the President of the Board of Education the number of men and women students, respectively, who entered the training colleges in England and Wales in each of the last three years?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education (Mr. Ede)

As the answer consists of a tabular statement, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

69. Mr. Harvey

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is able to give an estimate of the number of additional teachers who will be required to make effective the raising of the school-leaving age to 15 years; and whether he is taking steps to secure an increase in the entries to training colleges?

Mr. Ede

It is not possible to give the estimate asked for while so many factors remain uncertain, such as the date appointed for raising the age to 15, the maximum size of classes prescribed for older children, the number of vacant places in individual schools, and any redundancy of teachers in individual areas. The Board have taken such steps as they could to stimulate entries to training colleges, but, in view of the urgent demand of other forms of national service, an increase in the number of such entries is not to be expected in present circumstances. Dr. McNair's Committee is considering the questions of the future supply and training of teachers.

Mr. Harvey

Will there not, in any case, be a very large increase in the number of teachers required? Is it not true that unless steps are taken soon to get those teachers the result will be an indefinite postponement of the raising of the school-leaving age?

Mr. Ede

The answer to the first part of that question is in the affirmative and to the second part in the negative.

Mr. Stokes

Does not this mean that the Government have given up all idea of raising the school-leaving age?

Miss Rathbone

Is the Minister not aware that the training of a large number of women for teaching is already proving a serious obstacle to getting the right number of women capable of leadership in the Women's Auxiliary Services?

Viscountess Astor

Is there anything in the world more important than the education of our young people after the war?