HC Deb 24 July 1973 vol 860 cc1397-8
21. Mr. Deakins

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is her policy regarding the provision of additional teaching resources for schools in areas of social deprivation.

Mrs. Thatcher

Authorities can apply for an increase in their quota of teachers to meet the needs of these areas.

Teachers in schools designated as of exceptional difficulty receive special additions to pay.

Capital programmes for the replacement or improvement of primary and secondary schools give some preference to deprived areas and a degree of priority will also be given in the new nursery programme for bids in respect of these areas.

Mr. Deakins

Is the right hon. Lady aware that one of the major difficulties facing London local education authorities is the worsening housing situation which affects their ability to attract and retain younger teachers? Is there anything further she can do to help local authorities like mine in this respect?

Mrs. Thatcher

As regards the housing problem, local authorities themselves have the best means to make houses available to teachers if they wish to do so. The initiative lies with them.

Mr. Meacher

Is the Minister aware that the latest Schools Council survey shows that no fewer than one-fifth of those leaving school at the age of 16 are judged to be capable of GCE A-level and that most of them are the children of semi-skilled and unskilled parents? Cannot she provide more precise information about how she intends to stop this continuing massive wastage of ability in our education system?

Mrs. Thatcher

We have taken the major step of raising the school leaving age. It has been raised for only a term and it is too soon to judge the effects. If young pupils wish to do so, they can stay on voluntarily after the school leaving age, or alternatively, go into the further education system.