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Teachers (Supply)

Volume 387: debated on Thursday 25 March 1943

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asked the President of the Board of Education whether he has formed any estimate of the number of elementary and secondary men and women teachers, respectively, who will be available during the next three years; the total number required; and how many are likely to be received into training colleges and have finished their training during the next three years if hostilities have not ended?

As the answer is necessarily somewhat long, and contains a number of figures, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that an adequate supply of teachers will be available in the next three or four years?

The answer goes into that question in considerable detail and shows that that will be the case, but that does not mean that I underestimate the difficulties or the wisdom of the hon. Member in putting this Question.

Is it possible for the Board to take any steps to bring back to the schools some of those teachers of very low medical category who are now in the Forces? Surely they could be much better employed in the schools than upon some of the jobs they are now doing?

I am in touch with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service about the call-up and about the question of demobilisation of teachers at the end of the war.

Following is the answer:

According to the latest returns received from local education authorities (December, 1942) the number of public elementary school children was 4,602,559 and the number of teachers in these schools was 151,651, of whom 29,322 were men. The ratio of one teacher to just over 30 children is practically the same as it was in the years before the war. In Secondary Schools the number of pupils in October, 1942, was 512,545 and the number of teachers was 24,972, of whom 10,400 were men. At present the ratio of one teacher to just over 20 pupils is roughly the same as in the last year before the war.

I hope that local education authorities will be able to maintain this position by the various means, such as the recall or retention of teachers who have married or reached retiring age, which have served hitherto during the war, but this must depend upon circumstances which I am not in a position to forecast but shall continue to watch closely.

I anticipate that the number of men and women who will complete their courses of training in 1943, 1944 and 1945 will be approximately 500 men and between 4,000 and 4,500 women in each year. The figures for 1944 cannot at this stage be given with any accuracy owing to the claims of other forms of National Service on those admitted in 1942 over the age entry below which entitled students to the completion of a full course of training; and the figures for 1945 are necessarily conjectural since it is not yet known how many students will be admitted to two year Colleges in 1943. It is not possible to give any estimate of output in 1946 in the absence of any decision as to what the conditions of admission will be in 1944. The men students proceed to the Forces on completion of their training: the women go straight into the schools; and something under one-tenth of them serve in the secondary schools.