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Volume 885: debated on Tuesday 4 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many teachers were engaged in Bedfordshire schools in 1950, 1960 and 1970; what the figure will be for 1975; and what is the probable future trend.

The former Bedfordshire authority employed the equivalent of about 1,400 full-time teachers in 1950, 2,070 in 1960 and 3,400 in 1970. The present authority now employs 4,870 and this figure may increase to about 5,000 in September 1975. The authority will decide its own future recruitment but I have no reason to think it will not take an appropriate share of the teaching force in the future.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether the rate support grant allows for increases in teacher employment, at least to allow for expanding school populations, without effecting any deterioration in the local education authority pupil-teacher ratio, in areas of expanding school population, such as Leicestershire.

The rate support grant settlement provides for an increase in the national total number of teachers proportionately greater than the prospective rise in pupil numbers, and consequently for an improvement in the national pupil/teacher ratio. The teacher quota allocation, which takes account of estimates of individual local education authorities' school population, is related to the total number of teachers covered by the rate support grant. It is for individual authorities to determine their staffing policies in the light of their own circumstances.