HC Deb 23 July 1970 vol 804 cc729-30
5. Mr. Marks

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will change the basis of a class size of 40 in the building of new primary schools and the conversion of old ones.

Mrs. Thatcher

Nothing in the Department's Regulations or practice requires new or remodelled primary schools to be designed for classes of 40 pupils.

Mr. Marks

Is the Secretary of State aware that local authorities having conversions and mergers of schools are working on a basis of 40 children per classroom? Will she instruct local authorities to reduce this number so that more classrooms will be needed for the same number of children?

Mrs. Thatcher

We are constantly remodelling schools. The building regulations are based on the number of places in the school and nothing in the Regulations requires authorities to design those spaces for a particular number of children in the class. Indeed, they usually have very open plans in these days.

Mr. Edward Short

What is the right hon. Lady's target for class size? Does she accept the target which I set out at Swansea on 12th March this year, or does she still adhere to the 1965 National Advisory Council target?

Mrs. Thatcher

I noticed that the right hon. Gentleman set out a target, but, as usual, he did not provide the money for achieving it.

Mr. Short

Is the right hon. Lady aware that the previous Government increased the number of teachers in training by 86 per cent.? By what percentage will she increase the number of teachers?

Mrs. Thatcher

The limiting factor on class size now is not so much that of teacher supply as of capital resources for the extra space required.