HC Deb 04 February 1971 vol 810 cc1897-8
20. Mr. Hardy

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many qualified teachers are expected to be trained by the colleges of education and university departments in the years 1975 and 1980.

Mr. van Straubenzee

About 43,000 students are expected to complete initial courses of training in colleges and departments of education in 1975. It is too early to make a realistic forecast for 1980.

Mr. Hardy

I am grateful for that reply but does not the hon. Gentleman agree that recent pronouncements by the Secretary of State suggest that there will not be an adequate increase in the number of teachers to be produced by 1980? Does not he agree that this will become increasingly inadequate in the light of the increasing demand which will be experienced in the next ten years, and that this will give rise to grave and growing disappointment among educationists and parents during the 1970s?

Mr. van Straubenzee

I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman. I thought that there was widespread understanding of the point of view which was admirably expressed by my right hon. Friend—that we need not concentrate solely on numbers in this field. I thought it was a valuable thing to have said.

Mr. Lane

Does my hon. Friend expect to see a continuing steady improvement in the pupil-teacher ratio in the early 1970s?

Mr. van Straubenzee

Yes, Sir, although there may be a temporary check in the year in which the raising of the school-leaving age takes effect. With that reservation, I confirm what my hon. Friend says.

Mr. Alan Williams

The right hon. Lady indicated in a speech that she envisaged a restriction in the rate of increase of the number of entrants to education colleges in the mid-1970s. Will the hon. Gentleman spell out in some detail precisely what she meant?

Mr. van Straubenzee

I shall not attempt to spell out in detail a matter which, as the hon. Gentleman knows, is under close and professional scrutiny at present. My right hon. Friend was charting a course, and I have found widespread agreement with what she said.