HC Deb 05 December 1968 vol 774 cc1824-5
23. Mr. Sheldon

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science it he will make a statement about the process of raising the school-leaving age in 1972–73.

Mr. Edward Short

As I informed the House on 1st November, I hope to make an announcement before long on the special building programme allocation for raising the school-leaving age.

Mr. Sheldon

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that there will be no hindrance to the commitment to raise the school-leaving age in 1972–73 either by the building programme or by the supply of teachers?

Mr. Short

When I make my statement on the building programme, which will be a generous programme, I shall also make a statement about other related matters concerned with raising the school-leaving age.

Mr. Lane

In view of the current uneasiness in the teaching profession, may I press the Minister further? What further steps does he contemplate to keep up the level of teacher recruitment between now and the 1970s?

Mr. Short

I take it that the hon. Gentleman has seen the figures for intake to colleges of education. I am also publishing in the next few days some projections into the future, which I hope will give him all the information he requires

Sir E. Boyle

Is the Minister aware that it is not the intake that bothers us but the cutting down, as announced by some authorities, of the take-up of part-time teachers? When does he hope to make a statement on this subject? We feel that it is very urgent that one should be made.

Mr. Short

I think that the right hon. Gentleman means on teacher supply, and not the raising of the school-leaving age. The number of part-time teachers this year is 1,000 up on last year in full-time equivalents, so there has been no overall cutting down but considerable building up. As I said just now, I shall be publishing before Christmas projections of teacher supply and demand stretching well into the future.