HC Deb 10 June 1971 vol 818 cc1218-9
25. Mr. Boyden

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is her estimate of the current shortage of teachers of mathematics in secondary schools.

Mrs. Thatcher

From a survey in 1969, we believe the shortage to be about 2,000. Another survey will be undertaken this year.

Mr. Boyden

I am sure that the right hon. Lady will agree that it is a very serious situation. Will she consider taking special steps, such as setting up a special college of education, or extending an existing college of education, so that special staff and facilities can be concentrated there, to train not only reasonably good mathematicians but those who are only of moderate quality, so that the supply can be increased?

Mrs. Thatcher

At present I would not encourage such concentration in the colleges of education, because the future of those colleges is one of the matters being considered by Lord James' inquiry. The Department encourages the provision of places in university departments of education and colleges for graduate and non-graduate mathematicians, but not their concentration.

Mr. Dalyell

Has there been any systematic follow-up in Curzon Street on the report on this subject, made under the chairmanship of Sir Nevill Mott, and the recommendations it made?

Mrs. Thatcher

We shall be conducting another survey on the shortage of mathematicians this year.