HC Deb 11 December 1969 vol 793 cc623-5
17. Mr. Wright

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the number of graduate teachers in mathematics, physics and chemistry entered maintained secondary schools in each of the last five years.

Miss Bacon

The numbers of graduate teachers in mathematics and science who entered maintained secondary schools in England and Wales in the years 1963–64 to 1967–68 respectively were:

  • 1,626
  • 1,648
  • 1,907
  • 1,947
  • 2,109
Of the 2,109, 566 were graduates in mathematics and 1,543 in science.

Mr. Wright

I congratulate the right hon. Lady on having some statistics available in reply to this Question. Does she not share the concern of the House at this very small increase over this quinquennial period? What is she doing to increase the supply of these teachers at a time when the schools are beginning to bulge and the pressure on sixth forms is increasing?

Miss Bacon

We cannot win with hon. Members opposite. If we have not got figures, they grumble. If we have figures and they look rather good, hon. Members opposite say that they are not good enough. The figures I have given show that the annual intake increased by over 8 per cent. in the last year I quoted. With growing numbers in the schools we need even more of these teachers, and we are trying, by advertisement and other means, to improve recruitment. I do not accept that the increase has not been a good one.

Mr. Rankin

Can my right hon. Friend give us the figures for honours graduates in those subjects?

Miss Bacon

I could not do that without notice.

Mrs. Thatcher

To enable us to judge how good the figures are, can the right hon. Lady also tell us the number of pupils and the number of science graduates leaving in the same year, because what is important is the teacher-pupil ratio?

Miss Bacon

That is another question. If the hon. Lady cares to table a Question seeking that information, I shall be happy to answer it.