HC Deb 16 November 1949 vol 469 cc2004-5
15. Air-Commodore Harvey

asked the Secretary of State for Air how many entrants sat for the recent entrance examination for the Royal Air Force Cadet College, Cranwell how many candidates were successful and how many failed to pass the examination; what number of cadets there are at present at Cranwell; and how this number compares with the total number that can be accepted at the college.

Mr. A. Henderson

One hundred and nine candidates sat for the written examination: 48 passed, 50 failed, while 11 withdrew or were rejected on medical grounds. In addition there were 200 candidates, mainly from the R.A.F., the Apprentice Schools and the A.T.C., who were excused the written examination. Entrants to the R.A.F. College are selected from all these categories, and for the next entry there were 44 vacancies, all of which have been filled. The capacity of the R.A.F. College is 400. The present strength is 331.

Air-Commodore Harvey

Does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise that the information he has given is most unsatisfactory and will in time have a direct bearing on the Royal Air Force itself, and can he say what steps he is taking with his Ministry to try to rectify the position?

Mr. Henderson

On the contrary, I think that the information that I have given to the hon. and gallant Gentleman is satisfactory. He will remember that the last time he raised this matter I told him that only 60 per cent. of the capacity was filled. Now the figure is 80 per cent. and I am informed that within the next two or three terms it will be up to 100 per cent. That is as a result of the action which I and the Air Ministry have taken through the intensive effort we have made with the help of the Headmasters' Conference and of the special school liaison officers' teams which we have set up.

Mr. George Ward

Is it not the case that a great deal of the reluctance of people to go to Cranwell now is because cadets are given so little flying there, and will the Minister take steps to see that they are given at least as much flying as men were given before the war?

Mr. Henderson

I will certainly look into that point. I can only repeat that the position is getting better all the time. Eighty per cent. of the capacity is now filled, whereas six months ago 60 per cent. was filled, and I hope that the figure will be 100 per cent. within the next few months.