HC Deb 25 June 1984 vol 62 c670
3. Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent per pupil in secondary schools in Wales in the most recent year for which figures are available; and what was the figure in 1979–80, at constant prices.

Mr. John Stradling Thomas

At November 1982 prices the figures are £925 and £900 respectively.

Mr. Knox

Do not those figures show that there has been a satisfactory increase in the resources devoted to the education of each pupil in secondary schools in Wales since the Government took office? Is my hon. Friend satisfied that that fact is sufficiently well publicised?

Mr. Stradling Thomas

I am certainly not satisfied that the figures are well enough publicised. They make nonsense of the alarmist claims of Opposition Members that we have made heavy cuts in expenditure on schools.

Mr. Ron Davies

Are not the figures that we have been given being used as a cosmetic to hide the reduction in expenditure on education in Wales? Does the Minister accept that the apparent improvement of which he has told us comes about only because of falling rolls, and that we have tremendous problems in our secondary schools in Wales, where teachers are preparing their young people for life after school? The Government are following an economic policy which makes such a task that much more difficult, and does the Minister accept that if teachers and education authorities, who are struggling with a very difficult task, are to be successful they need many more resources than they have at present?

Mr. Stradling Thomas

The short answer to the hon. Gentleman's question is no, Sir. I accept none of his propositions. I am not saying that the position is not difficult, but with proper management of resources it will be possible to make adequate educational provision as well as to improve standards.