HC Deb 09 March 1972 vol 832 cc1630-1
9. Mr. Lane

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is her latest estimate of the trend in the pupil-teacher ratio in maintained schools between now and 1975.

Mrs. Thatcher

I estimate that for England and Wales the present figure of 22.1 will improve in successive years to 21.4, 21.3, and 20.7.

Mr. Lane

Without being complacent, is it not clear from that reply that in terms of human as well as material resources the Government are making steady improvements in this most crucial area of our educational system?

Mrs. Thatcher

Yes, Sir, and I am very pleased that it is so. As the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Edward Short) pointed out, he should take some share of the credit, and I hope that he will be sufficiently generous to give my right hon. Friend the noble Lord, Lord Boyle, his excellent share of the credit.

Mr. Marks

Does the right hon. Lady appreciate that if the James Report recommendations are accepted many more teachers will be needed as tutor teachers to allow for the fact that first-year teachers will work only 80 per cent. of the time and many teachers will be away on in-service training?

Mrs. Thatcher

Yes, I am well aware of that, but I think it a good thing that in-service training should steadily increase.