HC Deb 16 December 1954 vol 535 cc1953-4
12. Mr. Short

asked the Minister of Education what percentage of the primary school population was being taught in classes of over 40 and, of the secondary school population, in classes of over 30, on 1st November, 1951, 1952, 1953 and 1954.

Sir D. Eccles

As the reply includes a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Short

Could the Minister say whether the percentage has gone up or down? Will he tackle vigorously the problem of large classes and not wait for the numbers of children in the classes to drop, which was apparently the policy of his predecessor?

Sir D. Eccles

It was not the policy of my predecessor My right hon. Friend had to deal with a very rapidly-increasing school population. In spite of that, the percentage of both juniors and seniors in oversize classes dropped between 1953 and 1954, and I think that from now onwards we ought to be able to make better progress.

Following is the answer:

The percentages of junior and senior children respectively in oversize classes on 1st January each year are the only figures available, and are as follows:—

Juniors Seniors
January, 1951 36.9 61.3
January, 1952 39.9 60.1
January, 1953 42.8 58.2
January, 1954 41.7 58.1