HC Deb 28 June 1956 vol 555 cc674-5
15. Mr. V. Yates

asked the Minister of Education how many classes there are in Birmingham with more than 40 and 50 children in each class, respectively; what will be the effect upon the present overcrowded conditions at the commencement of the autumn terms if the present rate of recruitment is not improved; and what will be the result upon the academic standards of children.

Sir D. Eccles

In January, 1956, there were 2,280 classes with more than 40 pupils, including 50 classes with more than 50 pupils, in primary and secondary schools maintained by the Birmingham local education authority. Naturally, if the number of teachers in post declines the situation will get worse. The solution is to make Birmingham a place where teachers want to go and want to stay.

Mr. Yates

Is the Minister not aware that the local education authority estimates that by the end of the year they will be more than 1,100 teachers short, and that many secondary school pupils will be on short time, as well as their fathers? Will the Minister, therefore, address himself to the question whether, apart from housing, which in my opinion cannot affect the situation, he can take emergency action which would help to relieve the teachers of having to teach in conditions such as this, which are an outrage on their profession?

Sir D. Eccles

I am asking the local authority to substantiate the estimates to which the hon. Member has referred; I am awaiting its report. The one way in which I think Birmingham can help itself in the immediate future is by preventing the wastage from being so large.