HC Deb 01 March 1962 vol 654 cc1513-4
17. Mrs. White

asked the Minister of Education what is the present average teacher-pupil ratio in maintained secondary schools and primary schools, respectively.

Sir D. Eccles

The pupil-teacher ratios in January, 1961, were 28.6 in maintained primary—including all-age—schools and 20.4 in maintained secondary schools. These ratios take account of full-time equivalent of part-time teachers.

Mrs. White

Is the Minister not aware that in the independent secondary schools the ratio is said to be thirteen or thereabouts? With the acute shortage of teachers, has he considered suggesting a voluntary quota for the independent schools?

Sir D. Eccles

No, Sir. I think that the independent schools are what they say they are—independent.

Mr. Holland

In view of the very wide range of intellectual ability, which is much wider in primary classes than in later classes, cannot the Minister take steps to bring down the size of primary classes into better relationship with those of secondary classes? There is a much wider range of ability in primary than in secondary classes.

Sir D. Eccles

It is my aim to bring down this ratio, but we are in great difficulties owing to the exceptional wastage of women teachers from the primary schools.