HC Deb 26 June 1973 vol 858 cc1298-9
5. Mr. Duffy

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will seek powers to make herself responsible for the recruitment and training of teachers.

Mrs. Thatcher

No, Sir. Under Section 62 of the Education Act 1944 I have a duty to secure that sufficient facilities are available for the training of teachers. Recruitment and deployment in the schools is essentially a matter for the local education authorities.

Mr. Duffy

Does the Secretary of State recall her Folkestone speech last month in which she argued for a more economic deployment of the present teaching force? This is simply not borne out by the experience of Sheffield where the teacher/pupil ratio in sixth forms is half the national average. Is she aware that it has been revealed that the teacher/ pupil ratio in the primary schools for the coming year will be considerably higher than was originally planned and that this seems entirely to falsify her Folkestone argument?

Mrs. Thatcher

I do not think so. That argument was put as a result of a number of surveys in the schools by Her Majesty's Inspectorate when it was revealed that the increase in the number of teachers in schools was not wholly reflected in the reduction in the size of classes. Of course, arrangements made by different education authorities vary. Where good practice exists we naturally wish to see that it is maintained and that difficulties are drawn to the attention of the authorities.

Mr. Hattersley

Does the Secretary of State's speech to the AEC last week mean that she is prepared to revise upwards the teacher training figure which appeared in her White Paper?

Mrs. Thatcher

The speech pointed out that we have taken an initial step to reduce the numbers going into the colleges of education in view of the forecasts of 10 years ahead. It also pointed out that after two or three years we may need to have another look.

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