HC Deb 15 May 1973 vol 856 cc1230-1
14. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the average size of classes in primary schools in England and Wales and in Walsall, respectively; and what is the programme for providing more modern primary school places in Walsall.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

In January 1972, the latest date for which figures are available, the average size of primary classes was 31.3 in England and Wales and 33.5 in Walsall. Ten major primary school projects providing 2,400 places at a cost of nearly £1 million have been included in Walsall's building programmes for the next three years.

Mr. Stonehouse

I accept that some progress has been made. Does not the hon. Gentleman acknowledge that in the older industrial areas, such as Walsall, there is a very serious problem of out-of-date school conditions and over-size classes? Will he ask his right hon. Friend to give every encouragement to the school building programme in such localities?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

We are already doing that. The Walsall authority, in addition to the places which I have mentioned, has been allocated £115,000 and £90,000 to spend on minor works during 1973–74 and 1974–75 respectively. A start will be made in 1973–74 on new buildings for the St. Thomas of Canterbury Roman Catholic School.