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Teacher Supply

Volume 901: debated on Thursday 20 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has completed his review of future teacher supply policy for England and Wales; and whether he will make a statement.

The Government have reviewed their policy in the light of the continuing fall in the birthrate and the prospective sustained decline in the school population after 1977, and have sought the advice of the Advisory Committee on the Supply and Training of Teachers. The Government aim to ensure that there should be enough teachers to permit the elimination of classes over 30 in the early 1980s, the continuing expansion of education for the under-fives, and programmes of induction and in-service training as recommended in the James Report.The prospective decline in the school population should enable staffing standards to be improved with fewer teachers than the previous calculations indicated. It also calls for the careful management of the future size of the teacher force so as to avoid a sudden swing from growth during the present decade to contraction during the 1980s, as pupil numbers continue to decline.With these considerations in mind, and following the advice they have received from the advisory committee, the Government now intend to plan for a teaching force in the maintained schools in England and Wales reaching an upper limit of 480,000 to 490,000 by 1981. These plans and the situation thereafter will need to be kept under regular review in the light of changing economic circumstances and later forecasts of the prospective school population.Since the need for newly qualified teachers will be reduced it will be necessary to restrict the output of newly qualified teachers. This means that our teacher training capacity outside the universities will have to be contracted to about 60,000 places. As a result, some 30 colleges will have to give up initial teacher training, though as many as possible will be used for other educational purposes. Within this total special attention will have to be given to the balance of training and particularly to the need for specialist teachers.My Department has today published a detailed account of the statistical projections and calculations which underlie the Government's policy, and copies of this document are available in the Vote Office.