HC Deb 06 December 1962 vol 668 cc1469-70
2. Mr. Boyden

asked the Minister of Education how many mixed training colleges, women's training colleges and men's training colleges are still without full-time lecturers in chemistry or physics.

The Minister of Education (Sir Edward Boyle)

Full-time lecturers in chemistry or physics are concentrated in 44 general colleges where considerable numbers of science teachers are being trained for secondary schools: of the remaining 79 colleges, 26 are mixed, 50 are for women and 3 for men. Some have lecturers taking chemistry or physics with another subject and almost all offer main courses in biology, rural science or general science and are staffed accordingly.

Mr. Boyden

The Minister is getting vaguer than his predecessor, but do not these figures worry him? How does he expect proper teaching of science in secondary modern schools, for example, if there are not far more specialist teachers in chemistry or physics in the training colleges?

Sir E. Boyle

Of course, many of these colleges, particularly the women's colleges, are making their main contribution on the primary side, and it is natural that their courses should be less specialised. Our policy has been to try to concentrate the valuable teaching equipment and specialist training staff on specialist training for secondary schools. I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman about the importance of science teachers being trained for science work in general secondary schools.

Mr. Willey

In view of that agreement, can the Minister say how many are being adequately trained in the training colleges for science teaching in the secondary schools?

Sir E. Boyle

I can say that, to reduce the shortage of science teachers, we are hoping for an enlarged graduate supply, especially as much of the university expansion has been on the science side. From the training colleges, the recent numbers entering high-level specialist courses in science certainly will help—and the number is about 385 entrants this year as against 350 last year—and so will the 500 or so students who enter for ordinary courses in chemistry and physics each year.