HC Deb 13 March 1956 vol 550 cc213-4
8. Mr. Timmons

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will implement the promise made by his Department to the students at Jordanhill Training College in 1951–52, to limit the period of training to two terms for certain students.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

The concession of a reduced course of training for ex-Service men was still in force when the students concerned entered the Special Recruitment Scheme in 1951 and 1952. The form originally sent to them by the National Committee for the Training of Teachers, therefore, specified the grant they would receive for a university course and for a training course of two terms. The National Committee ended the concession from 1953–54 in order to restore normal training standards. It was made clear to the students concerned before they entered the training college in 1955 that they would be required to complete a full course, and they all accepted this without protest. I can see no justification for exempting them from this requirement.

Mr. Timmons

Has not the hon. Gentleman given thought to the question of a contract? I have here a copy of a contract. Has the Minister taken legal advice about this contract? It is not the time to do so after these people have signed. Is not 1955 rather late in the day for the officers of his Department to change the terms of a contract which these people entered into in 1951–52.

Mr. Stewart

The hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension. As I explained to him when he was good enough to see me the other day, there is no contract here at all.

Miss Herbison

Is not the Minister aware that these young men were attracted to the university by grants which meant that they could be teachers only, and that when they were attracted to take this course they were informed that they would have only two sessions to do'? Whether that is technically a contract or not is a matter of opinion, but does not he agree that, because of this change in circumstances, there has indeed been a breach of faith with these people?

Mr. Stewart

No, with respect. If the hon. Lady would be kind enough to look at the papers which I will gladly present to her, she will see that throughout the years a change was made and the men ought to have noticed it. I made all that plain to the hon. Member.

Mr. Timmons

I wish to give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.