HC Deb 27 April 1961 vol 639 cc603-4
11. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Minister of Education if he will state, approximately, the number of school classes in the County of Essex in which the pupils number over thirty; and by what date it is estimated that no classes over that number will exist in the county.

Sir D. Eccles

In January, 1960, there were 3,538 junior classes and 2,425 senior classes with over 30 pupils. The supply of teachers is going to improve during this decade, but I cannot forecast the date when classes of this size will be eliminated in any particular county.

Mr. Sorensen

Does not this look rather serious? Can the Minister say approximately how many classes have over forty pupils? Can he hold out no hope of a progressive reduction in the size of classes in the near future?

Sir D. Eccles

In the primary schools there are 1,518 with over forty. I do not know the figures for the secondary schools. Certainly, the number will be reduced, but, as the hon. Gentleman knows, Essex is a county in which the school population is growing very rapidly and it is impossible for me to make a forecast of any value.

Sir L. Plummer

As the school population in Essex is increasing rapidly, will the right hon. Gentleman have a word with the new county council to see that it does not revert to the old practice of making children walk three miles to school and back in the interests of economy?

Sir D. Eccles

I will certainly talk to the new council on a variety of topics.

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