In the current session (1956–57), there are 219 students, including 97 in their first year; 125 new students are expected next year and 96 in the following year. In the last session (1955–56), the total number was 238, of whom 134 were in their first year; in the session 1954–55, the figures were 235 and 121, respectively.
The intake is regulated to fit the number of junior vacancies which are estimated to become available over the next year or two. I am sure the hon. Gentleman will agree that it would be a mistake to encourage these men to go through the training if there were not jobs either in private forestry or under the Forestry Commission when they have finished their training. I am glad to say that there is a waiting list at present for young men to enter this training, and the activities of the Forestry Commission are certainly not being curtailed.
Would my right hon. Friend say whether he is, in his reply, limiting his figures to the universities or including also forestry schools for foresters as opposed to what the Forestry Commission calls forestry officers under the control of the Forestry Commission? Does my right hon. Friend's answer cover all forestry education in this country?
These figures I have given relate to the forester schools which train young men for the junior position of assistant forester, or the equivalent in private forests.