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Dartmouth And Manadon Colleges

Volume 640: debated on Wednesday 17 May 1961

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4.

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty if he will state the number of cadets under instruction as against each member of the teaching staff, proportionately, at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, and the Royal Naval Engineering College, Manadon, respectively.

5.

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what is the present ratio of teaching staff to students at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, and the Royal Naval Engineering College, Manadon.

Approximately 1 to 5½ at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, and 1 to 3 at the Royal Naval Engineering College, Manadon. The ratios are based on an average figure for staff and students in the current financial year. The teaching staff include all the General List and Instructor officers, civilian lecturers, ratings, and skilled non-industrial employees, who take part in the wide variety of academic, professional, seamanship and other practical instruction at the two colleges.

Are not the figures my hon. Friend has just given rather different from what was said by the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) in his speech on the Budget?

I am afraid that the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) was completely erroneous. His figures were 550 per cent. out.

In view of my hon. Friend's reply, and referring to column 983 of the OFFICIAL REPORT for 18th April, I presume that the other remarks about admiral-warship coefficient were equally inaccurate?

Should not even Socialist Privy Councillors check their facts before holding themselves up to ridicule by making stupid and assinine statements?

On a point of order. May I ask if it is not the usual custom for notice to be given when matters of this kind are raised? May I ask if notice has been given to my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson)?

The hon. Member cannot ask me if notice was given, because I would not know anyhow. The other matter he raised is not, I think, one for the Chair.

Further to that point of order. Did the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) give notice to those interested in Navy matters that he was going to raise this question in his original Budget speech?

That has no appearance of being a matter for the Chair. Do not let us waste time on matters which are not points of order.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker, may I ask in exactly what way the Minister now answering Questions becomes responsible for statements made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) so that he may be asked questions about what my right hon. Friend said?

I think the Minister might be asked about the substance of the matter to which the statements are alleged to be related.

When we hear comments in percentages we are always a little inclined to wonder what percentage of what. Are not the figures which the hon. Member has given us surprising enough in themselves? They reveal ratios of 5½ to 1 and 3 to 1. What is the ratio in other schools run by the Government? Is it not nearer 30 to 1?

There is a later Question on this very issue. The teaching staff-student ratio at Dartmouth does not compare unfavourably, on the information available to us, with other colleges within the Services and outside them. I have checked this point as carefully as I can, and they are about the same.

6.

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what steps he is taking to reduce the cost per student at Dartmouth and Manadon.

We have announced that we are concentrating officer training at Dartmouth, and this will lead to more economic use of staff and facilities. We are building up the numbers of cadets under training at Manadon from 224 to 460: this development should reduce the training cost markedly.

As I told the House on 14th February, my Finance Committee has called for detailed costings at many training establishments in order to see what administrative savings can be achieved without reducing the high standard required. Dartmouth and Manadon are both included in this review.

I fully realise that it is exceedingly difficult to have the ordinary staff-student ratio in these cases, but is this not a ludicrously high staff ratio? Instead of spending time on criticising my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson), would it not be better to see if something can be done to alter these very extraordinary figures?

I said in my original Answer that we are not complacent about them. We are reviewing them. I point out to the right hon. Gentleman that it was the same ratio when he was in my job in 1950.

Is the Civil Lord aware that I took very great care to look this up? He is incorrect. It is not the same. The figures now are 490 staff to 478 students, as against 414 staff to 542 students when I was there.

I can also give the figures, but perhaps it would be better if the right hon. Gentleman and I compared notes outside the Chamber. In early 1950 there were 460 students under training at Dartmouth and just over 400 naval and civilian staff, so the ratio is very much the same as it is today.

8.

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty if the pay scales of lecturers at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, are now related to the scientific officer class; and if he will make a statement.

Since 1956, the salary scales of lecturers at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, have been related to the scientific officer class. This relationship has recently been under review. The review is not yet complete but in the meantime the lecturers will be given an interim increase in salary similar to that awarded to the scientific officer class.

Is my hon. Friend aware that his Answer will give great satisfaction to those concerned and will help to reduce any friction caused by his Answer to Question No. 6, because we want as efficient an establishment as possible?