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Teachers (Emergency Training)

Volume 415: debated on Thursday 8 November 1945

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asked the Minister of Education if she will give particulars of the measures taken to speed up emergency training of teachers in order to secure the additional teachers necessary to implement the Education Act of 1944.

Five emergency training colleges for teachers are now open which, with two small groups in permanent colleges, provide for some 830 students. A sixth college for 200 women students will open next week. Premises have now been secured for a further 14 colleges to be opened early next year, bringing the total up to the 20 which were promised by the end of January. I am making every effort to secure that further colleges shall be opened as rapidly as possible thereafter.

May I ask the right hon. Lady if she is aware that it will require at least 30,000 additional teachers in three years'time in order to raise the school-leaving age and reduce the size of classes, and whether she will have the 150 emergency training colleges, with an average of 200 students each, ready by the end of the year?

:I think my hon. Friend, with the best will in the world, has got his figures wrong. I have never suggested that 30,000 teachers should go through the emergency training colleges. There are at least 20,000 teachers to come back from the Forces, and it was never intended, nor have I made any promise, that more than 13,000 should be trained by the emergency training colleges.

Is the right hon. Lady satisfied that the arrangements made will provide sufficient teachers to enable the school-leaving age to be raised this time next year?


asked the Minister of Education what is the main factor militating against the opening of emergency training colleges for teachers.

:The chief difficulty is the supply of buildings. New building is out of the question, and most of the existing suitable buildings are already in Government occupation of one kind or another. In determining whether they can give up such buildings, the Government Departments concerned have to bear in mind the demand for surrendering other premises which they are occupying such as dwelling houses and hotels.

May I say that, as this matter is being raised tomorrow, I will not pursue it now?


asked the Minister of Education, in view of the shortage of teachers, if she will take steps to acquire requisitioning powers for the purpose of acquiring suitable properties for use as emergency training colleges

:I already have requisitioning powers and the possibility of using such powers for this purpose in suitable cases is not being overlooked.

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether those powers will be used in the acquisition of The Mansion, Gunnersbury Park, W.3 as an emergency day training college for Teachers, to which proposal a small number of residents in the immediate locality have raised objection?

I am afraid that this is a very complicated question, because it involves a lot of legal difficulties. We are taking the matter fully into consideration, but we are not quite sure how far our powers extend in that matter.


asked the Minister of Education the number of students enrolled for training under the Teachers'Emergency Training Scheme who are waiting to begin their training.

:On 6th November, 1945, the number of candidates who had been notified of acceptance and who were known to be available for training but had not yet been placed in a college, was 2,584. Of these some 200 will begin training next week.

:Is the right hon. Lady aware that considerable inconvenience is being caused to many persons who have been accepted for training under the scheme but who are given no indication as to when it is likely to commence?

:I am sorry for the inconvenience, which I recognise, but every candidate is told at the time of acceptance that it is not possible to say when he will enter any particular college, as that depends on the colleges being made available as quickly as we can possibly get them.