§ 28. Mr. Geraint Howells
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the average class size and pupil-teacher ratio in (a) 1979 and (b) the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Chris Patten
The average size of classes taught by one teacher in maintained primary and secondary schools in England improved over the period 1979 to 1985; from 25.9 to 24.9 in primary schools and from 21.0 to 20.4 in secondary schools. Pupil to teacher ratios also improved: within primary schools from 23.1 to 22.2 and within the secondary schools from 16.7 to 16.1. The overall pupil to teacher ratio improved from 18.9 to 17.8. The Government recognise that their policies for better schools imply some further limited improvement in the overall pupil to teacher ratio but the extent and pace of this improvement will depend on future public expenditure plans, changes in the cost of employing staff, and the staffing decisions of individual local authorities.