HC Deb 05 July 1951 vol 489 cc2474-6
17. Mr. Ralph Morley

asked the Minister of Education how many of the 8,000 places available for women students at the two-year training colleges have not yet been filled.

32. Mr. Hollis

asked the Minister of Education what number of women candidates are required for 1951 for the two-year training colleges; and whether present applications are as yet sufficient to fill that number this autumn.

Mr. Hardman

The general training colleges are likely to have room for the admission this autumn of very nearly 8,000 women students. Up to 1st July sufficient applicants had been selected to fill about 7,150 of these places, leaving nearly 850 still to be filled.

Mr. Morley

In view of the great shortage of women teachers in the profession, can my hon. Friend say what action his Department have taken to train more girls? Would not the application of the principle of equal pay be of assistance in this matter?

Mr. Hardman

I can give, very briefly, the steps we are taking. There is the all important one of the increase in grants for training college students by bringing the income scale for students' contributions into line with that used for State scholarships. We have been attempting to persuade children to enter the teaching profession through the Press and the B. B. C. Also, the Ministry of Labour have for some time been giving prominence to the opportunities for training teachers, and some training colleges have been making their own efforts.

Mr. Hollis

Can the hon. Gentleman tell us the exact relationship, if they are not quite the same, between the places available in the training colleges mentioned in the hon. Member's Question and the places required to fulfil the educational programme in my Question? Are there enough places available to fulfil the required educational programme?

Mr. Hardman

If all the places I mentioned in answer to the first Question ate filled, after allowing for recruitment from the men's colleges and universities, we expect to increase the total number of teachers at the rate of some 4,000 a year and that would meet, we hope. the 1950 staffing standards.

Mr. Angus Maude

Can the Minister tell us whether the main trouble is the lack of applicants or the lack of suitable applicants'? Is it that the standard of application has fallen or that there is an absolute deficiency in the numbers?

Mr. Hardman

It is, I think, three years ago since there was a general complaint that there was too large a pool of students waiting to get into these training colleges. We have so increased the accommodation of the colleges that that pool no longer exists, but we are still left with a gap to fill of some 850 between now and the beginning of the next Michaelmas term.

Mr. George Thomas

Will my hon. Friend give an assurance that there will be no reduction of the standard required of entrants in his efforts to fill these places?

Mr. Hardman

I can certainly give that assurance.