HC Deb 06 November 1958 vol 594 cc1079-81
1. Mr. Brockway

asked the Minister of Education how many new places in the teachers' training colleges it is proposed to provide by 1962.

The Minister of Education (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)

Twelve thousand.

Mr. Brockway

In view of the fact that Sir Philip Morris, Chairman of the National Advisory Committee on the Training and Supply of Teachers, advised the right hon. Gentleman that 16,000 new places would be necessary by 1962, and the right hon. Gentleman has based it on only 12,000 new places, and as we shall lose 10,000 teachers because of the introduction of the three-year training course, is not the Minister running this very thin, and very close to the need?

Mr. Lloyd

There are many points that could be made, but one short answer is that Sir Philip Morris designed his proposals to get an output of 12,000 teachers a year. With my proposal, and by asking the colleges to take as many as they reasonably can, we hope, in fact, to get 12,000 teachers a year.

5. Mr. M. Stewart

asked the Minister of Education how many applicants for places at training colleges were accepted for October, 1958; and how many were rejected.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

The Answer is that 14,431 were accepted. I cannot say how many candidates were unsuccessful, since there is no central register covering all the colleges.

Mr. Stewart

Does not each college know how many candidates it has accepted and how many it has rejected, and is it impossible to add them up?

Mr. Lloyd

No. The difficulty is that there is, of course, a number of double applications. As I am advised at the moment, it would not seem right to incur the expenditure of having a central register right from the beginning; although, as the hon. Gentleman knows, there is a clearing house for those who are not accepted by the first college to which they apply.

Mr. Stewart

Is not it really important that the nation should have some idea of how many potential teachers it is throwing away owing to the fact that training colleges are not large enough at present, which, in itself, is due to the refusal of the right hon. Gentleman's predecessors to expand them in time?

Mr. Lloyd

I do not think that it would be right to say that. We must also realise that some candidates are rejected because they do not reach the necessary standard.

8. Mr. Moss

asked the Minister of Education whether he is satisfied that his proposal to increase the capacity of teachers' training colleges by 12,000 places will secure the abolition of oversize classes by 1968.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

The Government's aim is to secure the most rapid reduction possible in the size of classes, but it is impracticable to forecast the exact effect of this policy in particular years.

Mr. Moss

While I do not wish to detract from the advantage of the Minister's present decision, may I ask whether he is aware that his decision to increase training college capacity by 12,000 has been criticised as being good but not good enough, as cutting it very fine and as a grievous mistake? Can the Minister give an assurance that this is an immediate programme which is decided upon and which he is prepared to revise as information becomes available to him?

Mr. Lloyd

I think that it is a good thing that there are elements in the education world who think that any increase in the teacher training colleges is not sufficient. The fact remains that this is the largest permanent increase in the colleges that has ever taken place.

Dr. King

Is the Minister aware that every training college this autumn has rejected young men and women of calibre who, in normal times, would have gone into the teaching profession and made good teachers? Will he treat his expansion programme as one of utter urgency?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes. We think that the expansion of 50 per cent. is as much as the teacher training colleges can manage in the time available.