HC Deb 11 December 1969 vol 793 cc628-30
25. Mr. Christopher Ward

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is his estimate of the numbers of school-leavers with two or more General Certificate of Education A levels in 1970, 1975 and 1980; what is his estimate of the proportion of the age group obtaining these qualifications; and how these estimates compare with those made in the Robbins Report on Higher Education.

Mr. Edward Short

As the answer contains a number of figures, I will with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Ward

Do not the figures show that many more young people will be qualifying for university education than was previously supposed? Does the Secretary of State plan to increase the n umber of places at universities and other institutions of higher education accordingly?

Mr. Short

The hon. Gentleman is right in his reference to an increase. This is one of the results of reorganising our secondary schools. For example, for 1980 the Robbins estimate was 12.1 per cent. of the age group attaining two or more A levels, and it now looks as though the proportion will be 20.2 per cent. This is a direct result of reorganising our schools. The Labour Government in the middle of the 1970s will provide places for all of them.

Mr. R. C. Mitchell

Does my right hon. Friend expect the G.C.E. A level to be in existence in 1975, in the light of recent reports?

Mr. Short

The report to which my hon. Friend refers, which was published yesterday, is a report not to me but to the Schools Council. We shall all have to study it during the next few months.

Mr. van Straubenzee

Before the Secretary of State waxes too glibe in taking the credit, would it not be as well to recall that this is the result of the work of the teaching profession? When does he expect to receive replies to his circular to the universities designed to deal with the situation raised in my hon. Friend's Question?

Mr. Short

The party opposite has had a lot of bad news, what with the trade figures and the announcements which I have made. Of course, it is the result of the work of the teachers in the reorganised secondary schools. On the second point, perhaps the hon. Gentleman will give the facts correctly. He knows that the circular was not a Government circular; it was drawn up and sent out by the vice-chancellors themselves, not by me.

Following is the information:

Thousands Percentage of age group
Boys Girls Total Boys Girls Total
Latest Estimates Percent. Percent. Percent.
1970 50.4 35.8 86.2 14.8 11.0 12.9
1975 66.6 50.1 116.7 18.6 14.7 16.7
1980 91.7 70.5 162.2 22.3 18.0 20.2

Source: Statistics of Education, 1968, Volume 2 to be published.

Rabbins Report Estimates
1970 38.4 21.0 59.4 11.6 6.6 9.2
1975 48.0 25.9 73.9 13.5 7.6 10.6
1980 64.5 34.5 99.0 13.5 8.6 12.1

Source: Robbins Report, Appendix One, Part IV; Tables 5 and 6.