§ 21. Mr. Tim Renton
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received regarding the optimum number of pupils in secondary school classes.
§ Mr. Mulley
None. The average class size in maintained secondary schools in January 1975 was 22.4.
Mr. Renton: In his forward planning, when there are necessary cuts in public 1132 expenditure, will the Secretary of State tell us by how much he expects the average number of pupils in secondary school classes to rise, and what will be the effect of phasing out the direct grant?
§ Mr. Mulley
I do not think that there should be any effect from phasing out the direct grant. I am hoping that a great number of the direct grant schools will join the maintained system. In the next year we are hoping to make arrangements, within the rate support grant system, which will avoid any deterioration in the staff-pupil ratio, although we shall not be able to make any improvements. Whether the staff-pupil ratio is maintained will depend largely on the local authorities. Although we calculate the national total of rate support grant system on the assumption that expenditure on education by local authorities will reach a certain level, we have no means of ensuring that the local authorities spend the money on education.