§ 12.5 p.m.
§ Mr. H. A. Marquand (Middlesbrough, East)
I am very grateful for the opportunity given to me this morning to draw attention to the omission from the Government's White Paper on Technical Education, Cmd. 9703, of any reference to the need for special development of technical education on Tees-side. I hope that I shall be able to confine my remarks to such a short time that other hon. Members from Tees-side will have the opportunity to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker. I particularly regret that my hon. Friend the Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Chetwynd) is prevented by other duties from being here this morning, because it was he who first drew attention in this House to the omission of any reference to Tees-side from the White Paper.
I have worked in various capacities in many Government Departments, and I cannot help feeling, in consequence of that experience, that in Whitehall there is some ignorance about Tees-side. There is a practice of referring to the North-East Coast and of assuming that if something be done for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, it may be, or Sunderland, or some other town on the North-East Coast, it therefore applies to the whole of that region. Tees-side is undoubtedly on the North-East Coast, but I do wish to emphasise that it is a distinct industrial area.
There are three great rivers running into the North Sea there, the Tyne, the Wear and the Tees, and each of them has its own distinct industrial area. The fact that something may be done, for example, at Newcastle, where there is a famous college of engineering, or at Sunderland, where there is a very efficient technical college, does not necessarily mean it satisfies the needs of Tees-side.
It is the latest of those three industrial areas to develop, and just because of that it is now the most rapidly expanding of them all. It is, I think we can truly say, the most rapidly expanding industrial area in the whole of Great Britain at the present time. It stretches from the County Borough of Darlington on the west to the County Borough of West Hartlepool on the east and from Stockton-on-Tees in the north to Guisborough 2353 in the south, and contains a population numbered by the census at 555,000 in 1951, and estimated to be today nearly 562,000. Therefore, the population of this area is expanding very rapidly indeed.
This is in part due to the make up of the population, which, fortunately, contains a comparatively large proportion of young and vigorous people, but it is also due to the attraction of population to the area from other regions by the rapid growth of industry. Already, it contains the largest centre of the chemical industry in this country.
§ Mr. Marquand
That may well be, but I do not wish to say anything I have not evidence to prove.
Billingham was largely developed by Imperial Chemical Industries during the days of the depression, and I.C.I. has started and is rapidly expanding another immense area called Wilton, to the south of the River Tees. I shall say little about that because Wilton lies in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Cleveland (Mr. Palmer), who, if he were fortunate enough to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, no doubt could tell us more about the immense investment now going on in that area.
The area of Tees-side as a whole is perhaps chiefly famous for its steel industry. Here again, though the steel industry may be about seventy or eighty years old in that part of the country, it is now being rapidly modernised. Both the Dorman Long combine and the South Durham combine have in recent years carried out enormous expansions and have brought their works very much up to date. Recently they have obtained very substantial and important export orders which have pleased the whole country.
Associated with iron and steel is structural engineering and general engineering. For example, there is the famous firm of Head, Wrightson of Thornaby, not to speak of the Tees-side Bridge and other structural engineering concerns in Middlesbrough itself. Not only in the case of steel and in these other sections of industry do we have some of the most rapidly expanding concerns in the 2354 country, but also—and this, I am afraid, is sometimes little realised in the rest of the country—we have two very important ship building yards, in which recently there have been constructed the largest oil tankers ever made in the world.
So rapid is this industrial expansion that the needs for technical manpower are not being met even now. One has only to look at the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette to see every single day large advertisements for technically skilled manpower, very large advertisements indeed, not the usual small advertisements for labour wanted. The fact that these advertisements are inserted by I.C.I. and other firms shows that the scarcity of technically qualified men is already becoming something approaching a limiting factor to the expansion of these vital, basic exporting industries.
The need for labour of this kind is felt acutely all over the country, and can only be met by training more people. The people who are to work in the industries of Middlesbrough, Thornaby, Stockton, and other parts of this area can only be trained we submit, within the area itself.
I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary, who I am pleased to see, is to reply to what we have to say, will not suggest that the fact that this is admittedly the most rapidly expanding industrial area in the country is irrelevant to the question I have raised. The Minister of Education himself said on 8th March:The quality of the industry there is not the point. The point is whether there is any college which merits this particular grading. If there is, naturally I will consider h."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th March, 1956; Vol. 346, c. 2299.]The Government White Paper says that there is a five-year plan for the expansion of technical education, likely to develop later into a longer and wider plan, we hope; the aim is to increase by 50 per cent, the output of highly trained technologists and technicians, and this is to be based principally on twenty-four colleges. Yet eleven of these colleges we find, to our great astonishment, are in London or in the London area, going out to West Ham, whereas only four are in the North of England.
Those figures do seem to indicate a somewhat unreal proportion. While admitting quite gladly, as one must, of course, the excellence of the technical 2355 education provided by the County Borough of West Ham or the London County Council—whoever it may be—in this part of the country, we submit it none the less remains true, after all, that a very large proportion of the total industry of Great Britain is to be found in the North of England, a proportion very much greater than that indicated by the ratio of four to eleven.
The White Paper lays great emphasis on what is called the sandwich course, providing an opportunity for men and women to learn these technological sciences not only in college but while they are at work, and to pass from work to college and college to work throughout a period of three years or so. Surely, more attention might have been paid to the location of industry, and more attention might have been paid in the selection of places upon which to base this programme of expansion, to whether or not such places had already developed sandwich courses.
We hope that the sentence at the end of paragraph 69 of the White Paper will enable the Minister, when he has the facts before him, to reconsider the omission of Tees-side from this list of colleges. The last sentence of paragraph 69 reads:In addition, there may be a few other colleges which, because of developments now in train or the movement of industry, may qualify for 75 per cent. grant.We feel that there is a college on Teesside which qualifies under those two conditions; there are new developments now in train and, as I have already said, there are movements of industry going on there which make this area so important that special provision ought to be made.
We base our claim partly on the existence of these great new developments in industry and partly on the existence already of a college of good quality satisfying, we think, almost all the requirements which any other of these colleges can have satisfied. The name of that college is Constantine College. It happens to be in my constituency, but there is, I am sure, general agreement among hon. Members from the area that this is the college upon which the Minister's plans ought to be based.
Middlesbrough is the focal point of the region I described, and the county 2356 borough has provided this college and sustained it over many years. It will obviously need a 75 per cent. grant from the central Government if it is adequately to carry out what it wants to do to serve the whole of this large region in its need for more highly trained men.
The college had 2,200 students before the war, including its art department. Today, it has 4,700, excluding its art department which is now a separate undertaking. It fully anticipates and is budgeting for, as far as it can, in all its plans, having 7,000 students by 1962, excluding its art department. Its achievement has really been quite considerable between 1945 and 1953. Seventy-five students gained London external degrees, 36 in engineering, 36 in B.Sc. special, and 3 in B.Sc. general. Its courses include, for degree standard, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, chemistry, physics, and metallurgy.
In 1952, 17 per cent. of Higher National Diplomas awarded in the whole of England and Wales were awarded to Constantine College students; in 1953, 22 per cent.; in 1954, 18 per cent.; in 1955, 17 per cent. The population of the area served is less than 2 per cent. of that in all England and Wales; yet the proportion of Higher National Diplomas runs on an average at 17 to 19 per cent. during the last few years. Surely, this is evidence that the college is well administered and is able to draw upon a sufficiently large number of highly intelligent men and women to do the kind of work which is now required.
Great emphasis is laid in the White Paper on sandwich courses. Since 1938 Constantine College has had a steadily increasing number of students taking these courses, the present number being 169. The Minister said on 8th November last that there were 1,522 such students in England and Wales. Again, therefore, Constantine College, serving Tees-side, has 11 per cent. of all students in England and Wales taking sandwich courses.
It seems that failure to qualify for the full 75 per cent. grant two years ago when an inspection was made by Her Majesty's inspectors for this purpose must really have been a very narrow failure indeed in view of what I have said. Certainly, the Middlesbrough education authority is mystified and cannot quite understand 2357 how it was that the college failed to qualify. I do not know. I can only guess. If it was in any way due to inadequacy of staff, the education authority would be only too glad to undertake to strengthen the staff.
Was it, and I hope it was not, because the college is admittedly cramped in its present surroundings? It is not large enough at present to contain all the students who use it. It has to operate in all kinds of extensions and annexes for some of its courses, but the college and the education authority have plans for expansion. They are somewhat complicated because they require the pulling down of existing high schools which will then have to be provided in another part of the town, but adequate plans have already been prepared and submitted for this purpose. I understand that, at the official level at any rate, substantial agreement about the validity and usefulness of these plans has been reached and that permission has been given to the authority to go ahead with architectural plans for this development.
I believe that I am not divulging any confidential information in saying that the Middlesbrough authority knows exactly what it has to do and has a reasonable plan to go ahead and make this new construction in a comparatively short period of time. It is anxious and ready to do this in order to serve the needs of this wide area. I believe that it has a very strong case indeed for assistance from the Government to the extent of a 75 per cent. grant for that purpose. In any case, I feel that the local needs are so great that it would be a shame and a grave error not to provide in the immediate future for higher technological education for this rapidly expanding area.
§ 12.23 p.m.
§ Mr. J. E. S. Simon (Middlesbrough, West)
The whole House will be most grateful to the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) for what seemed to me, if I may say so with respect, a masterly and completely convincing exposition of the problem of providing a college of advanced technology at Tees-side. I say that as one who is not automatically or inevitably convinced by everything the right hon. Gentleman generally says.
2358 The provision of a college of advanced technology in any area must depend upon a number of factors. The first is that there should be a reasonable balance in the country. The right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East has drawn attention to the astonishing fact that of the 22 colleges proposed for England alone, no fewer than 12 are in the South and no fewer than 11 in the area of Greater London. In view of the general planning policy which the Government and the London County Council have in mind for the removal of industry from London, that seems to me a most astonishing situation. Twelve of the colleges are in the South, of which 11 are in Greater London, and five are in the Midlands and only five in the North. The great industrial area of Tees-side, which the right hon. Member described so well, is left entirely unprovided.
In that area there is the greatest chemical works in the British Commonwealth at Billingham, a vast new development at Wilton, a new steel mills and new rolling mills and further extensions envisaged at Lackenby, shipbuilding and engineering, with a great engineering works at Thornaby and constructional engineering works on the banks of the Tees. It is exactly the kind of area that needs a college of advanced technology.
Several things count in deciding where to put a college of advanced technology. There is, first, a tradition of craftsmanship, which we certainly find on Teesside. Secondly, there is the attitude of the local authorities, which is most cooperative in that area. They have made great sacrifices to provide advanced technical education. Thirdly, there is the attitude of enlightened employers. Any hon. Member representing any Tees-side constituency will say with pride that it is an area singularly free from any industrial trouble and, indeed, that the employers have made very great and interesting innovations in providing schemes for training technicians and technologists for local industry.
The hon. Member for Cleveland (Mr. Palmer) will no doubt be able to speak of I.C.I. schemes for taking boys from grammar schools, which is a most fruitful avenue of approach to the problem. That attitude of the employers is particularly 2359 important in view of the fact that paragraph 99 of the White Paper on Technical Education says that it is industry and commerce which must provide the bulk of the teachers in the colleges of advanced technology.
I mentioned the attitude of employers. Equally important is the attitude of trade union leaders. There again, I will not say that Tees-side is unique, but it is certainly second to none in the en-enlightened attitude of trade union leaders in this respect. I remember going to see the opening of an apprentices' school by the Head, Wrightson. Company. Every single one of the trade union leaders was there to support it and to offer his co-operation and help.
Finally, there must be an existing technical college which has proved itself efficient and is capable of expansion. The right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East has described the Constantine College, of which Middlesbrough is justly proud. It is not necessary for me to cover the ground which the right hon. Member has covered so admirably, but I should like to ask my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education some specific questions.
As the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East said, 11 per cent. of the total sandwich courses provided by technical colleges in 1955 were provided by Constantine College. I should be grateful if my hon. Friend would say which of the colleges mentioned in paragraph 68 of the White Paper on Technical Education exceeded that proportion. Did any have a smaller proportion? If so, why was Constantine College omitted from the list and those colleges chosen? Constantine College had 169 out of the 1,522 sandwich course students at 36 colleges at that time.
The right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East also gave figures for the Higher National Diploma, to which the White Paper rightly pays particular attention. The figures for Constantine College varied between 17 per cent. and 22 per cent. of the total for the country over the last four years. Did any of the colleges mentioned in paragraph 68 of the White Paper have better figures and, if so, which? Did any of them do worse, and, if so, which? If they did worse, 2360 why were they chosen and Constantine not chosen?
The House will be anxious to hear the hon. Members for The Hartlepools (Mr. D. Jones) and Cleveland, if they are fortunate enough to catch your eye, Sir, because, by their training, they can speak with special authority on this matter. However, I shall refer, as the right hon. Gentleman did, to paragraph 69 of the White Paper, which states:There may be a few other colleges which, because of developments now in train or the movement of industry, may qualify for 75 per cent. grant.I support the right hon. Gentleman as strongly as I can in saying that, because of the developments in training on Teesside and at Constantine, and because of the movement of industry there, this institute certainly qualifies, and can take its valuable part in providing a college of advanced technology for an area which badly needs it.
§ 12.31 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Palmer (Cleveland)
I want briefly to support the able speeches made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) and the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Middlesbrough, West (Mr. Simon). My right hon. Friend was quite right to say that there is ignorance in the South of England about the geography of the North although in a sense I speak as a Southerner. It is sometimes felt by people living in the South that the Tees and the Tyne are almost one river but, of course, that is not the case. Also I know that the hon. and learned Member for Middlesbrough, West will agree with me when I say that although Middlesbrough may be the focal point of Teesside, and perhaps the hub of industrial Tees-side, it is by no means the whole of it. I know that my hon. Friend the Member for The Hartlepools (Mr. D. Jones) will be with me 100 per cent. in that view.
Because much of the new industrial development to which reference has been made is to be found outside Middlesbrough, and some of it to the east in Cleveland, although the area is beautiful in the physical sense, having much fine agricultural country, along the banks of the Tees we have shipbuilding, and much steel working. Some of the steelmaking is fairly old, much of it new. I 2361 need hardly say that we also now have chemicals. Since 1946 there has been developed in Cleveland the amazing bright, new, shining plant of the Imperial Chemical Industries, at Wilton. Although, politically, in the spring last year it may have caused me a little trouble—I regard that as a passing squall—I am proud to think that in my constituency we have the home of the great new Wilton I.C.I. plant.
I have a few figures here about the size of the development, which may interest the House. The board of I.C.I. has authorised capital expenditure on that one site to the ex tent of £75 million. Over £50 million has been spent already, and expenditure is now running at the astonishing rate of £1 million a month. In the coming development programme five new plants are to be built. Because this work is of vital importance to the country, and to our national existence as an exporting and trading nation, ancillary actions of all kinds need to be undertaken by the company to kep pace with the gigantic growth of manufacturing processes.
Among these, not the least important is the training and the education of the necessary technicians and technologists. The hon. and learned Member for Middlesbrough, West was quite right in saying that I.C.I. is one of the most progressive companies in the country as regards training schemes. Some years ago I had the honour and privilege to pay a visit to the United States when I was temporarily out of the House. I went as a member of one of the British productivity teams studying education and training in that country. We had with us some representatives of I.C.I. Through my personal contact and friendship with them at that time I felt that there was not much which, in many senses, United States industry could teach such a managerially progressive concern as I.C.I. about industrial trading and education.
Of course, for this work to be effective it must be supported by great activity at a local educational level; the public education authorities and the firms in question must work closely hand in hand. For this reason I feel that because of the nature of the Tees-side chemical development, particularly in my constituency, 2362 plus the expansion of the other industries, especially steel-making, it cannot be argued seriously that Tees-side does not deserve a technological institute of the very highest standard, recognised not only locally but throughout the United Kingdom, for its scientific reputation. I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East that we have already the makings of such a high standard technological institute in the Constantine College, at Middlesbrough, which is well situated to meet the needs of the area because it is central and at a point in the river which can be easily crossed.
Finally, may I say that I speak in this matter not just as the Member of Parliament for Cleveland or as a Tees-side Member of Parliament, but as an engineer with some small knowledge of industry. It is a commonplace to argue these days that our national future depends on industrial productivity, and that productivity, in turn, depends on the proper supply of the most highly trained and qualified technologists and engineers of all kinds. If we are to have them, we must have them educated everywhere, not just in some parts of the country, but spread evenly throughout it. Therefore, I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that the claims of Teesside should be looked at as a matter of extreme urgency and that Constantine College be granted its proper status.
§ 12.38 p.m.
§ Mr. David Jones (The Hartlepools)
This morning, at any rate, there is complete political harmony on Tees-side. Indeed, there is geographical harmony, too. I do not dissent from anything said by my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) or by the hon. and learned Member for Middlesbrough, West (Mr. Simon) about Constantine College. There is no jealousy on Tees-side about this matter, although in my own constituency, The Hartlepools, there is a very fine technical college which has a long history and has done much good work. However, we are not staking a separate claim for that college this morning.
We feel that Tees-side is a developing area. I ventured to say in the House some weeks ago that there is not as much industrial development in similar geographical territory in this country as there 2363 is on Tees-side at present. Not only are the new industries calling for technicians of the highest order, but one must pay tribute to the owners of the older industries.
The other day I had the privilege, with my hon. Friend the Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Chetwynd), to be present at Stockton when a new pipe works was opened by the South Durham Steel and Iron Company. This company had secured an order for a large supply of steel pipes for a contract in Canada, so it undertook the tremendous task of establishing a new works. I think that that can be matched by the large number of other industrialists on Tees-side who are prepared to be up to date in the development of their industries.
I have no doubt that the Parliamentary Secretary will recognise the name Great-ham, and will know that Tees-side and the whole of the hon. Members for Teesside have been trying to press for facilities to develop the airport there, largely because we believe that it is necessary in these days to get people quickly to and from Tees-side. Ships are frequently built on the Tees, which was described by the late Ernest Bevin as the finest river that the country possesses.
We have to bring ships' crews quickly to Tees-side in order that they may sail away the vessels that have been built there. We also have mining in the vicinity of Tees-side, engineering and many other kinds of developments, but if they are to progress and to be manned up with modern technologists an opportunity ought to be afforded for technicians and technologists to be trained on Teesside.
After all, it is no answer to young men who are seeking to get the necessary knowledge to tell them that they must travel 20 or 25 miles there and a similar distance back in order to attend the necessary courses. If we are to encourage the young people in an area such as this, with its diversified industry, we ought to place these facilities at their disposal. I think it was the Prime Minister, who, speaking at Bradford a short time ago, said:The prizes will not go to the countries with the largest populations. Those with the best systems of education will win.2364 I suggest that the best systems of education are those that are provided in the vicinity of the places where people live and work. If, at the end of a day's work, young men have to travel 15 or 20 miles to obtain this education and a similar distance home, there will not be the encouragement to young people to attend these courses that one would wish to see.
I therefore conclude by asking the Parliamentary Secretary again to urge his right hon. Friend to have another look at this question. The Minister knows Tees-side. I do not know whether the Parliamentary Secretary does, but I know quite well that his right hon. Friend knows Tees-side and appreciates it, because he came there for other purposes, though we will not argue about that this morning. I ask the hon. Gentleman to urge the Minister to encourage the technicians and industries of Tees-side to do the best they can for the country.
§ 12.42 p.m.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education (Mr. Dennis Vosper)
I should like to begin, as did the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) by associating with this debate the hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Chetwynd) because it was he who gave notice that this matter would be raised on the Adjournment. I assure the hon. Member for The Hartlepools (Mr. D. Jones) that I shall not in any way upset the political harmony which has been evidenced during this debate.
In giving notice of the debate, I think the right hon. Member for Middlesborough, East referred to the provision of a college for higher technological education on Tees-side, so the first point that I want to make is that Tees-side already has such provision in the shape of the Constantine College, a college of which, as the hon. Members who have spoken have said, the district can be proud, and which has given very good service both to the neighbourhood and to the country. The White Paper on Technical Education does not in any way seek to reduce the standard of this college; indeed, the whole emphasis of this White Paper is that all technical colleges must be further developed.
The right hon. Gentleman said that he hoped I would not regard these matters 2365 as irrelevant to the industrial development of Tees-side. Indeed, I think that they are most relevant. I have some knowledge of Tees-side, because I have in my constituency a number of industries, including Imperial Chemical Industries, Ltd., and I am constantly finding my most promising constituents drafted to Tees-side. As the hon. Member for The Hartlepools has said, my right hon. Friend is even more closely interested—though his interest is personal rather than political—in that area, and he is taking a great interest in this debate. He is only sorry that he cannot actually attend the debate. He most certainly agrees that the achievements of Tees-side in recent years have contributed considerably to the prosperity of the country.
The White Paper, however, mentions for the first time, colleges of advanced technology, and it is this, of course, that hon. Members have in mind. If it is not already clear from the White Paper, and perhaps it is not to some people, a college of advanced technology is envisaged as being one which concentrates on advanced technological courses, and, if anything, the emphasis should be on the word "concentrates." Despite many suggestions to the contrary—not in debates in this House, but in the Press and elsewhere during the last few weeks—no list of colleges of advanced technology is given in the White Paper.
In paragraph 68, to which reference has been made, there are the names of 24 colleges which at present receive a 75 per cent. grant for certain parts of their work, resulting from an earlier decision of the Government to approve and encourage certain courses of advanced work. The Government wish to see the proportion of advanced work in these colleges vigorously increased, so that as many of them as possible—and this should be the answer to the reference by the right hon. Gentleman to London—may develop speedily as colleges of advanced technology.
The White Paper goes on to say, as I think most hon. Members have mentioned, that there may be a few other colleges which may qualify for the 75 per cent. grant, and this, of course, means, although I admit that the White Paper itself does not say so, that other colleges 2366 may become colleges of advanced technology, and that the list of 24 colleges is not exclusive. I fully admit that there has been some difficulty on this point, and I am glad to have the opportunity of clearing it up in advance of the general debate in this House, and to say that the list is not exclusive.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to the application of the Constantine College for 75 per cent. grant and to the reason why it did not appear in the White Paper, which is that it was unsuccessful in its application for 75 per cent. grant. The application was made in respect of courses in the science group, and not in mechanical engineering. It was made in 1953, and reasons are not given for the acceptance or rejection of applications, but I think I can say—indeed, it was said at the time—that approval was not given because the volume of advanced work, both full-time and part-time, did not measure up to what was expected in colleges which are recognised for this higher rate of grant. The application was reconsidered in the light of the latest available statistics, which were, I think, for 1952–53, but, as there appeared to be no appreciable increase in the proportion of full time work, this decision could not be reversed. Since that date, at the latter end of 1953, no further application for the college has been received from the local authority.
§ Mr. Marquand
The hon. Gentleman has talked about the proportion. Does he not take account of the increase in the number of full-time students? After all, it would be possible to get a better proportion simply by reducing the number of students in the lower grades.
§ Mr. Vosper
Certainly. Of course, the increase in the total volume of work and of advanced work is taken into account and 75 per cent. grant is paid to those colleges or schools which have a high proportion of advanced work. I will, however, take up that point later in my speech.
§ Mr. Vosper
There may be some slight confusion here, because the application was made only in respect of the science courses and not the mechanical engineering courses which my hon. and learned Friend has in mind. I hope we shall not make too much about what happened in the past, but the events just referred to are the only reasons why this college does not feature in paragraph 68 of the White Paper. As I have said, and perhaps should repeat, that list is not exclusive.
During the few years which have elapsed since the application was made there has been a considerable expansion in the work of the college and in the work at advanced level, but I doubt whether, even now, the volume of advanced work has shown an increase fully comparable with the overall increase. I appreciate the point made by the right hon. Gentleman; they could, of course, run down the less advanced work and thereby increase the proportion of the more advanced work. I have that point in mind.
I do not want to weary the House with too many figures, but I would point out that there has been an increase in the total work of the college between 1948–49 and 1955–56 of about 70 per cent., which is a splendid achievement. But during that time the proportion of advanced full-time work increased only from 18 per cent. to 31 per cent. and there was a decrease from 14 per cent. to 11 per cent. in the part-time work. I do not want these figures to be misleading because all the work, including advanced work, has increased and I am merely speaking of the proportion of advanced work. The 75 per cent. grant was introduced particularly for advanced work and in the White Paper we had that proportion especially in mind. Moreover, the advanced work, I think, is still of small proportions at Constantine compared with some other colleges.
My hon. and learned Friend asked me two questions, the first relating to sandwich courses. Sandwich courses are, of course, a very important feature of the development of technological education and the Constantine College is playing an important part in that respect. I do not want to make too much of the point or to dispute his figures but, although the 11 per cent. is correct, there are two 2368 qualifications. First, one of the college's sandwich courses is not an advanced course and, secondly, since those figures were produced there have been quite a number of sandwich courses developed elsewhere in the country, which should be taken into account in considering my right hon. Friend's answer, to which reference has been made. The proportion referred to by my hon. and learned Friend is probably less now than 11 per cent.
My hon. and learned Friend also referred to the Higher National Diploma in mechanical engineering. This is only one course and it was not the subject of the application for the 75 per cent. grant; and there has been a slight reduction of the proportion to 17 or 18 per cent. since that figure was produced. There again, however, the results are very creditable and I do not want to denigrate the work which is being done. This is a consideration which we must bear in mind.
I have so far made it clear that, in the first place, the list of colleges named in the White Paper is not exclusive or final and, secondly, that this college does not feature in the list simply because at the time of the application for the 75 per cent. grant the proportion of advanced work was not sufficient. The purpose of the debate, however, is that hon. Members who have taken part in it are anxious that the cause of this college shall not go by default when we make additions to the list. It is only natural that Teesside, in common with other important areas, should feel that it should have a college of advanced technology.
Perhaps I should say that there is a responsible group of individuals, including many right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House, who have felt all along that there should be an even more limited number of colleges of advanced technology, and we must consider that view when adding to the list in paragraph 68. But, of course, the immense developments on Tees-side are a very important consideration which my right hon. Friend will bear in mind when deciding which additional colleges will be recognised as colleges of advanced technology.
I am sure that right hon. and hon. Members will agree that in addition to local and industrial considerations there 2369 are sometimes even wider regional and national considerations which must be taken into account, as the White Paper makes clear. In considering what will be a very limited number of colleges, regard will be paid not only to the conditions which have been advanced today; we have also to ensure that the limited resources—and I have particularly in mind the teaching staff—are not spread too thinly.
It will not be easy in the initial period to get enough highly qualified teachers for the advanced work, and these, therefore, must be used to the best advantage by building up units which are of a reasonable size and by not trying to provide too many or too varied courses in any particular place. I do not think that anybody will dissent from that view. Physical conditions, the quality of the staff, support from industry and potential student demand must all be taken into account before reaching a decision. There is also another consideration which has not been mentioned in the debate! refer to what has come to be known as the Hives Council for the award of diplomas of technology. These are all considerations which my right hon. Friend will have to have in mind when adding to or subtracting from the list of colleges which have been named. Those in the list have been named only because they receive the 75 per cent. grant at present.
Those are the general considerations which will be taken into account, and it is against this background that the position of Constantine College will be considered. In any such consideration, my right hon. Friend will have the assistance of the report of the full inspection of the college which was carried out at the end of January and which, I hope, will be available to the local authority within a few weeks. I am advised that we are shortly to debate in full the White Paper on Technical Education, and on that occasion my right hon. Friend hopes 2370 to elaborate still further the position of colleges of advanced technology. In addition, there will no doubt be an opportunity for the position of the Constantine College to be discussed between my right hon. Friend's Department, the local authority and the governors.
Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen have advanced their case with clarity and conviction and I am sorry that my reply at this stage cannot be more definite, although I think the reason for that is fully understood. Perhaps I may repeat what I said at the beginning: it is my right hon. Friend's firm view that the Constantine College is doing excellent work and that it would continue to do so even if it were not recognised as a college of advanced technology. It is important, in this respect, to bear in mind paragraph 70 of the White Paper, which makes it clear that the existence of a college of technology will not prevent the development elsewhere of advanced work. There is nothing to stop Constantine College from continuing and developing the advanced work which it is doing at the moment, even if it is not recognised as a college of advanced technology.
§ Mr. Vosper
It is clear from the White Paper that every one of the 500 technical colleges in the country needs, and will get, more money during the next few years, even if it is not in the advanced category.
I hope I have made it clear that the door is not shut and that consideration will be given to the inclusion of this college, but that in coming to his decisions my right hon. Friend must consider the wider national interest, to which Tees-side makes a considerable contribution, as well as to those local considerations which have been so well argued today.