HC Deb 05 July 1983 vol 45 cc68-9W
27. Mr. Haselhurst

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what priority he accords to further improvement in the pupil-teacher ratio.

Sir Keith Joseph

In primary schools it should be possible, as diseconomies from falling rolls no longer arise, to deploy teachers more effectively and hence to maintain staffing standards even with a slight tightening of the pupil to teacher ratio. In order to sustain a broad and well-taught curriculum within schools of smaller size on average, and to allow for developments in accordance with Government policies, it will be desirable to moderate the reduction in the number of teachers in secondary schools, as compared with the fall in pupil numbers. But the pupil to teacher ratios actually achieved will also depend on the prospects for public expenditure, the priorities of local education authorities, and their success in containing their pay and other costs.

39. Sir William van Straubenzee

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what he expects the figure for the pupil-teacher ratio to be in the academic year 1983–84.

Mr. Dunn

In the expenditure plans published in February the Government projected an overall ratio of pupils to teachers of 18.2 in January 1984. It is for local education authorities to take their decisions about the number of teachers whom they can afford to employ next year in the light of all relevant factors, including the 1983 teachers' pay settlement.

45. Mr. Martin Stevens

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the current pupil-teacher ratio in schools in England; and how this compares with that in 1979 and 1975, respectively.

Mr. Dunn

The overall ratio of pupils to teachers employed by local education authorities for service in nursery, primary and secondary schools in England in January 1983 is estimated to be 18.1:1. Comparable ratios for 1979 and 1975 are 18.9 and 20, respectively.