HC Deb 19 January 1967 vol 739 cc637-8
26. Mr. Charles Morrison

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he is satisfied with the proportion of women to men students entering colleges of education in 1966; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Goronwy Roberts

I would like to see the proportion of men students in the colleges rise to about 35 per cent. by 1970. In fact the number of men entrants was 50 per cent. greater this year than it was three years ago, but the equally rapid increase in women students meant that the proportion of men remained at 28 per cent.

Mr. Morrison

Bearing in mind that the Plowden Report says that in 1965 there were only 97 men out of 33,000 infant teachers and that 40 per cent. of all primary schools had no men teachers, what further steps is the Department taking to encourage recruitment of men teachers, particularly in the light of the Plowden recommendations on middle schools?

Mr. Roberts

I agree that an increase in the proportion of men entering training would help the overall starting position in more ways than one. We have sent to the heads of schools urging them and their staffs to draw the attention of boy pupils in sixth forms to the value of the higher education which colleges of education can provide and also the preparation which they give for a valuable career in teaching. It is perhaps too soon to evaluate the results of this special appeal, but it is encouraging to note that the number of men applicants—[Interruption.] May I join the general welcome given by the House to the hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe). It is encouraging to note that the number of new entrants—[Laughter.]—currently registered with the clearing house—[Laughter.]—is about 750 more than at the same time last year.