HC Deb 06 April 1950 vol 473 cc1336-7
8. Brigadier Smyth

asked the Minister of Education what long-term plans he is making to reduce the size of classes, particularly in primary schools.

Mr. Tomlinson

A reduction in the size of classes depends on the availability of an adequate supply of teachers and of school accommodation. For some years to come our main efforts must be directed to providing sufficient accommodation and teachers to meet the needs of the rising school population, but I am constantly seeking to improve the ratio of pupils to teachers. In fact, in January, 1950, this was estimated to be 27.1 compared with 29.4 just before the war.

Brigadier Smyth

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that the problem will almost certainly get worse during the next three years?

Mr. Tomlinson

No, Sir. I would not.

Mr. Chetwynd

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the difficulty is now more one of shortage of accommodation than of shortage of teachers?

Mr. Tomlinson

We are attempting to match the provision of teachers with the provision of accommodation, and up to now we are meeting the requirements.

Mr. Derek Walker-Smith

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how much the problem has been aggravated by the cuts in the capital investment programme last autumn?

Mr. Tomlinson

The cuts in the capital investment programme have not yet affected the situation one iota.

Mr. George Thomas

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that he will have a sufficient inflow into the teaching profession during the next three years to meet the rising school population?

Mr. Tomlinson

Yes, Sir. I think so.