HC Deb 24 November 1958 vol 596 cc160-80

9.59 p.m.

Mr. G. M. Thomson (Dundee, East)

I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Teachers' (Training Authorities) (Scotland) Regulations, 1958 (S.I. 1958, No. 1634), dated 30th September, 1958, a copy of which was laid before this House on 21st October, in the last Session of Parliament, be annulled. The Opposition has no need to apologise for placing this Prayer upon the Order Paper. We do so in order that the House may have an opportunity to discuss this important question of the reorganisation of the system of teacher training colleges in Scotland. The last time that it came before the House was in 1931. Thus, this is the first time in a generation that we have had an opportunity to consider this important aspect of educational policy. Indeed, it is a rather unfortunate feature of our legislative machinery that such an important change as this should have to be done by Regulations, when the opportunity to debate and consider them in detail is necessarily limited.

We have just concluded an important debate on recruitment to the defence forces. Important though that subject is, it is quite likely that in comparison with the Soviet Union, for example, our capacity to recruit teachers, both on a good scale and of good quality, is equally vital. It is for that reason that we have tabled this Motion tonight. If we are to have teachers on the scale and of the quality that we all desire, nobody plays a more important part in that function than the staffs of training colleges.

I do not wish to take up too much time, and I turn at once to four specific points in the Regulations on which I should like to have the views of the Minister. First, I am concerned that in the alterations in the governing bodies of the training colleges made in the Regulations, the central institutions—the technical colleges of Scotland—are no longer to have a place. Under the old arrangements, they occupied throughout Scotland nine places in the provincial committees. This representation has been wiped out altogether and this omission has been lost in argument over what are in some ways, less important matters.

Today, it is generally agreed that one of the most important categories of teachers is the teacher of technical subjects, either in schools or in the technical or trades colleges. It is tremendously important that these people in particular should have a thoroughly good professional training. Therefore, those concerned with the central institutions should themselves play a full part in administering the new colleges of education.

I made representations about this during our debate last July and I had hoped that although my representations were, perhaps, of a somewhat unconstitutional character, coming across the Floor of the House, they might have had consideration by the Government. This has not proved to be so. I can only repeat what I said in July, that I hope the Secretary of State, in making the appointments that lie within his discretion, will ensure that there is adequate representation for the central institutions on the new governing bodies. I press the Minister, in replying tonight, to give us a definite assurance on that score.

The second matter I want to raise is, perhaps, less important against the whole scale of the Regulations, but attention should be paid to it. I notice that in Regulation 33 provision is made in connection with the demonstration schools attached to the colleges of education that these demonstration schools shall be able to charge fees if they wish. This is a most unfortunate provision at this time in new Regulations which may last for another generation. I hoped that we were moving away from imposing charges of this kind on education. I would have thought that whatever the arguments for charging fees in ordinary schools, in the case of demonstration schools the argument was wholly the other way.

I take it that the function of these important schools is to provide both the students and the research workers and lecturers at the colleges with practical experience in classroom techniques. It is important, therefore, that the pupils in these demonstration schools should be representative pupils and should come from all sections of the community. The imposition of fees merely ensures that those who practise in these demonstration schools will have a body of pupils who will be different in some respects from the kind of pupils they finally face when they arrive in the classroom to do their job as qualified teachers. Therefore, I hope the Minister will give me an assurance that this matter can be looked at again.

Now I come to the two main objections that have been raised to these Regulations in the course of the representations upon them. First, there have been representations from certain teachers in Scotland that the Regulation's will permit wholesale dilution of the teaching profession. Secondly, the universities have been complaining that their advice to the Secretary of State on the Regulations has been rejected.

With regard to the teachers, the Minister is aware that I have had a number of petitions from teachers and schools in my constituency expressing fear that the Regulations mean large-scale dilution of the teaching profession. Indeed, I have had eighteen petitions, which indicate that these fears are widespread. I have no doubt that the situation in Dundee must be duplicated in other schools in other parts of the country, though the teachers there may not have given written expression of their fears to hon. Members of this House.

What is the position in regard to the fears held by a large number of teachers? As far as I can find out—and I must pay tribute to the assistance I have had in this matter in correspondence with the Minister—the fears are exaggerated, to say the least of it. Teachers fear that the provisions in the Regulations for special entry into the training colleges or for the special award of qualifications will lead to large numbers of unqualified people being allowed to become teachers in our schools.

There is already provision in existing Regulations for exceptional entry, both into the training colleges and into the schools themselves, and there is bound to be such provision because there are aways cases of people coming from Scotland or overseas wishing to teach in our schools. We have no wish to turn such people away, so there are always exceptional cases to be dealt with.

As far as I can see, the new Regulations make no basic change in that arrangement. The only change they make seems to me to be an advantage to the teaching profession. As I understand it, at the moment the Secretary of State is the person who has to say whether a person who does not have the normal qualifications gains entry into the teaching profession, and under the new arrangements the proposed Scottish Council will exercise this function. There is a greater autonomy given to the training colleges themselves.

I think the teachers are right to be vigilant about dilution of the teaching profession, and about the problem of unqualified teachers in the schools, and I do not complain about them having made representations to me on such a considerable scale. Yet it is a little disturbing to find that there has been such widespread misunderstanding of the implications of the Regulations amongst the general body of teachers. The Regulations have been published for some time. The E. I. S. Journal has given information about them and still this misunderstanding persists. I hope that if this debate does nothing else it will give the Minister an opportunity to clarify the position so that the teachers may be reassured upon it.

On this point there are two ways in which the Minister might help the teachers to feel thoroughly reassured. The first is in regard to the rules that have to be laid down for exceptional entrants. As I have said, the Scottish Council will do this job. I hope that when it formulates the rules, as it is required to do under the Regulations, it will not simply present the teaching profession with a fait accompli. I hope that the drafts of the rules will be circulated to the various bodies interested in education so that they may have an opportunity to read and consider them and make representations upon them before they come into operation. The Minister will save himself considerable trouble subsequently if he takes that precaution.

The other point is this. What is important to the teachers themselves is the question of who is to decide on the Scottish Council what the rules are. The Scottish Council as a general body must take responsibilty for it, but the actual work of drafting the rules will be delegated to a sub-committee. There is provision for this in the Regulations. It would be helpful if the Scottish Committee delegated it to a sub-committee in which professional educationists were very strongly represented. That would help to give teachers greater reassurance on the question of unqualified people in schools.

I now come to the final point on which there have been representations. This is the question of the universities' views. I understand that the universities are still in dispute with the Secretary of State over the Regulations. Indeed, I believe that they held a meeting today and are seeking an interview with the Secretary of State for further consultations. This is very much a last-minute effort on the part of the universities. The proposals for the reorganisation of teachers' training have been before the general body of educationists in Scotland for twelve years, and it is a little odd that at this late stage the dispute should still be in operation.

One is bound to ask what the nature of the dispute is. Is it an argument between the Secretary of State and the universities over some basic issue, such as whether the training colleges are to be run as part of the State system of education or as part of the universities? The answer is that this is not the case. These are big issues, issues on which argument is possible.

There is, for instance, the question whether Scotland might have been wiser to have had a look at the system advocated by the McNair Committee for England and Wales, and now generally in operation throughout England and Wales, in which teachers' training is very much under the wing of the universities rather than under the general control of the Ministry of Education. But the Advisory Committee, whose Report is being implemented in these Regulations, came down very decisively against that form of organisation. Indeed, it points out that the vast weight of the evidence that was given to it by witnesses was against that kind of system.

The other proposition which is some-times canvassed is that at least the departments of education in the universities should themselves look after the teachers' training for the graduates coming from the universities. This proposition is not in dispute, as I understand it, because the universities themselves in their representations to the Secretary of State have said that they do not wish to see the professional training of teachers divided in this way I am sure they are right about that. So the issues in dispute here are not these fundamental issues. They are narrow issues relating to the present form of the regulations. I have no doubt that they seem very important to the people concerned, but they are over a much narrower field.

I have no wish to say anything in the course of this discussion which would make more difficult the consultations which I hope may take place between the universities and the Secretary of State. I would merely emphasise that it is most unfortunate that there should still be this kind of dispute. It is most unfortunate that the new system for the training colleges should be launched under the shadow of this kind of difference of opinion. If there are difficulties between the universities and the training colleges, that will have a harmful effect on the recruiting of teachers. Therefore, I hope that in these consultations there will be some room for compromise and that the universities will enter these consultations in that spirit.

I noticed that at the meeting of the General Council of Edinburgh University, at which strong representations were made against the present regulations, the Vice-Chancellor, Sir Edward Appleton, referred to another and even more important matter. He told the Council that this year, for the first time in the university's history, the faculty of arts had to turn away qualified applicants. He regretted that the number of acceptances should be limited, and said that it was a situation which, unfortunately, was not likely to improve over the next few years.

That is relevant to the recruitment of sufficient teachers. The universities are to make representations to the Secretary of State. I hope that it will he in order for the Secretary of State at the same time to make representations to the universities and to suggest that they might make a special effort in the years immediately ahead to provide the maximum accommodation for students and not to turn away anybody who is qualified for entrance to a university, unless it is absolutely physically impossible to do otherwise. I can understand the difficulties in the case of science students, where laboratories and equipment are needed, but it is difficult to see why qualified arts students should be turned away from the universities. I hope that the universities, whose need for greater Government funds and help we all understand, will, in the meantime, do everything they can to meet the national need by providing educational opportunities for those who are qualified to enter the universities.

The primary argument between the universities and the Secretary of State has been about the letter of the regulations. I do not wish to deal with these detailed points. The important question which faces us in this discussion is not the letter of the regulations, but the fulfilment of the spirit of the Advisory Council's Report of 1946, especially the kind of vision of the function of colleges of education which that Report on the Training of Teachers had in its first chapters and in Chapter XXIII.

I quote merely one sentence from paragraph 217 in which the Report says: The training institution should be a resort for teachers, and the focal point of the educational activities of the province. Anybody reading that Report is bound to be inspired by the vision of the function which the colleges of education can fulfil. Much depends on encouragement and co-operation from everybody concerned.

Unfortunately, it is still true that for many university graduates training colleges are disincentives rather than incentives to becoming teachers. Many improvements have been made and are being made, but there is still much room for improvement. If we are to get the improvement, we need the maximum amount of co-operation between the universities and the training colleges.

To summarise the points I have put to the Minister, first, he must do everything he can to give educationists—by which I mean teachers, lecturers in training colleges and professors in the universities—as much control as possible over the entrance qualifications to colleges and schools. Secondly, he should speed up the Training Regulations, because it is this second instalment of the regulations which is so important and which will fill in the administrative framework which we now have before us. Thirdly, he should seek the maximum co-operation between colleges and universities.

In doing that, those who are responsible for teachers' training have the advantage of a much more widespread recognition than was the case, even in 1946, of how vital it is in the national interest that we should have many more teachers, and teachers as highly qualified as possible, if we are to get the higher living standards we hope to have and, perhaps equally important, to know how to enjoy the richer and fuller leisure which technology can give us.

Mr. Malcolm MacPherson (Stirling and Falkirk Burghs)

I beg to second the Motion.

10.21 p.m.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Niall Macpherson)

I am quite certain that no one, certainly no one in Scotland, would underestimate the importance of these Regulations, and I an, very much obliged to the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) for having taken the opportunity to have them discussed in the House.

The hon. Member said that it is a very long time indeed since last we had an opportunity of considering the form of the training of teachers in Scotland, and, for that reason, if for no other, apart from the intrinsic contents of the Regulations, we on this side of the House very much welcome the opportunity of discussing them.

May I say a word or two about the origin of these Regulations? They are concerned—and I think the hon. Member for Dundee, East made this point very clearly—only with the introduction of a new system of administration and management of the teacher training colleges, or colleges of education, as they are now to be called. They are not concerned with the content of the training to be given in the colleges, nor with the standards required for admission or for certification.

The hon. Gentleman urged that we should get on with this, but this is dealt with in quite separate existing Regulations, which are themselves due for review and revision. Indeed, we are about to engage in a further series of consultations with a view to bringing these up to dare for this task, and in the course of them I hope that we shall be greatly helped by the new training authorities, and especially by the new Scottish Council which these Regulations set up.

I think that we should look for a moment into the need for these Regulations. Why do we need them? It has long been felt that the present system has two main defects. The system is over-centralised, and the balance of representation is not as good as it might be. Particularly, the teachers are under-represented. The body which in theory exercises control under the general guidance of the Secretary of State is the National Committee on the Training of Teachers. That body is composed entirely of representatives of education authorities, represented according to their size. In practice, it meets only once a year to hear the report of its Central Executive Committee and to appoint members to that Committee.

It is the Central Executive Committee which, in reality, exercises control over the provincial committees from which its membership is largely drawn. In fact, of its members, generally about two-thirds are education authority representatives. The governing bodies of the four main colleges are the provincial committees, and the three remaining colleges are committees of management—the two Roman Catholic colleges for women in Edinburgh and Glasgow and the Dunfermline College of Physical Education for Women.

The Advisory Council on Education was given a remit in 1943 to inquire into the provision made for the training of teachers and to make recommendations. It reported in 1946. The keynote of its recommendations, so far as administration was concerned, was that— there should be an all-round process of delegation of powers and duties. The Council recommended the establishment of four institutes of education to take the place of the existing colleges, and to be the focal points of the educational activities of each province. Each institute was to be presided over by the principal of one of its component colleges, of which there were to be two or more for each institute.

While accepting the spirit of that recommendation, we have not been able to accept the letter, since we felt it would not work. Nor did we find any support for the recommendation in the course of our consultations. The colleges value their separate identity, and it would have been anomalous to reduce their independence in the course of a reform designed to give increased independence. Nor did the insertion of an extra tier in the structure commend itself as having any value.

That part of the Report which dealt with the kind of training to be given was accepted by the Government of the day with the exception of the recommendations as to the length of courses. Many of those recommendations have already been put into effect. The hon. Member would like to see still more of them put into effect, but we hope that this process will be progressive. In 1955, the Scottish Education Department sent the various interested bodies a paper stating the problems in the field of administration, drawing attention to the views of the Advisory Council and to the current practice in England on these matters and, without expressing any preferences, inviting the views of the bodies. After written observations were received, all the bodies were interviewed, and the problem was discussed at considerable length. All had their own points of view, on many issues widely divergent or even directly opposed.

On certain of the main recommendations of the Advisory Council, however, there was general agreement; to those recommendations we have given effect in the Regulations. The draft Regulations, prepared in the light of the opinions expressed by the various bodies were issued in February. Many representations were received on the draft. On the whole, the draft was given a favourable reception, with one or two notable exceptions. Many bodies explicitly welcomed the main provisions of the Regulations and the general system of administration which they proposed. Others tacitly accepted the main provisions and confined their representations to points of detail affecting their own particular interests.

Very few bodies objected to the main provisions of the Regulations, or made representations which contained major criticism of the general structure. As I shall show, we were able to go a long way towards meeting the major criticisms. The representations received very careful consideration, and in many cases Ministers saw the bodies concerned. In the light of them we have made the regulations which are before the House tonight. They contain a great many changes from the draft—changes which we hope will be generally regarded as improvements. We have done our best to meet the representations, but the House will realise that since many of them were conflicting, it has been quite impossible to meet them all.

In short, far from seeking to impose his own views, the Secretary of State has done everything possible to take account of the wishes of all concerned and to establish a system which will be sound in itself and, at the same time, as acceptable all round as can possibly be expected.

I do not think that I should part with the old system without saying a word about the present training authorities who will demit office. The National Committee for the Training of Teachers, its Central Executive Committee, and the provincial committees, and committees of management have had the administration of teacher training in their hands for many years. Their work has been unspectacular and seldom in the public eye, but the training system which has evolved under their care is second to none in its efficiency and its high standards, and it is in large measure due to them that Scottish teachers and Scottish training are held in such high regard abroad and, unlike prophets, in their own land, too.

That the training system is being altered and the present committee being replaced is no criticism of them; far from it. In fact, it is because the system has developed under their wise administration to such an extent in efficiency and responsibility that we have felt able to make the change in the direction of devolving authority to the local committees and colleges. The main features of the Regulations are these. They simplify the training system and provide for considerable devolution of responsibility. The governors of the individual colleges are given more independence. The principals are given considerable powers in their own right. The teaching staffs are given a large say in all academic and other matters falling within their responsibilities, and also they are given an important part to play in the making of new appointments.

The National Committee for the Training of Teachers and its Central Executive Committee are abolished and are replaced by a single new central body, the Scottish Council for the Training of Teachers. This new body is built up from the members of the individual governing bodies which manage the colleges. Unlike its predecessors, it will not be concerned with detailed administration and finance, but will be an advisory and co-ordinating body playing a most important part in formulating national policy on the training of teachers.

The third important feature is that the representation of serving teachers on the various training authorities, local and national, is substantially increased, while at the same time the total number on the governing bodies have in the main been reduced. Inevitably that has meant that representation of other bodies has had to be somewhat reduced. But these features of the Regulations, and, as I say, these are the main provisions, follow closely the recommendations of the Advisory Council and have gained a large measure of agreement among the bodies whom we have consulted.

The hon. Member for Dundee, East asked about the representation of the central institutions. I can assure him that we gave most careful consideration to this question, but there are four reasons why we felt it impossible to include representation of the central institutions on the governing bodies. The first is that the central institutions are very diverse in type. Some of them deal with technology, art, commerce, domestic science, music and so forth, and it would be difficult to get one or two or even three people to deal with all these matters. The second reason is that the principals of the central institutions could hardly be in the position of governors on governing bodies on which the principals of the colleges are sitting only as assessors. Thirdly, the teachers of this group are already well represented; indeed, the head of a further education centre is one of the teachers to be elected to the governing body under the Regulations.

In making his appointments, the Secretary of State will pay heed to the necessity of giving representation to the central institutions, and we appreciate the desirability of having some representation not only from the central institutions, but also from industry and commerce in order to ensure that those who are trained as teachers of technical subjects and the like are properly represented, and that their problems are fully considered on the governing bodies of the colleges of education.

The second point raised by the hon. Member related to the question of demonstration schools. The reason why we had to include the provision about charging fees was that two of these schools already charge fees. One started as an ordinary Roman Catholic school before it became a demonstration school and the other is situated in a well-to-do area where the residents are well able to pay fees and are accustomed to doing so. Therefore, there is no big question of principle involved; it is merely not changing the practice which already exists.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

What the Minister is saying is very unsatisfactory. He is carrying out a major reorganisation or the teacher training system for the first time in twenty-five years. He is changing all sorts of things and is now advancing as an argument for not changing this that it exists and must go on existing. Is that the argument for not reconsidering this matter of principle?

Mr. Macpherson

The purpose of these Regulations is to give more power to the governing bodies themselves, and if we were not to make this provision we should be taking away a power they already have. I know how the hon. Gentleman regards this matter, but I think the right thing to do under the circumstances is to leave the governing bodies with the option, if they think fit, to charge fees.

The hon. Member for Dundee, East dealt with the charge that one of the intentions of the Secretary of State in introducing the Regulations is to pave the way for wholesale dilution. I should say a word or two about this because, as the hon. Member said, there has been very widespread misunderstanding on the matter and I should like to clear up the misunderstanding once and for all. The existing Training Regulations, which are separate and distinct from the Training Authorities Regulations that we are discussing tonight, naturally lay down conditions for the award of teachers' certificates in Scottish terms.

Clearly there must be provision for exceptional cases where the persons concerned, often from England, Ireland or from more distant parts, rest their claims on non-Scottish qualifications and experience obtained furth of Scotland. This is what is meant by exceptional admission and exceptional awards. Provision for them is written into the existing Training Regulations and they have operated for many years. Under the existing arrangements for cases of exceptional admission the colleges make recommendations to the Secretary of State, and for cases of exceptional recognition as teachers the governing bodies of the colleges make recommendations to the Secretary of State.

It seemed to us that these arrangements have three unsatisfactory features. In the first place, they deprive the training authorities of the right to make these decisions for themselves, which does nothing to enhance their status. In the second place, in considering the applications and making recommendations, each of the four main colleges work independently and without knowledge of all the precedents. It is only the control which has been exercised by the Secretary of State that has avoided inconsistent decisions between one college and another.

In the third case the cases have all been considered twice, first by the training authority concerned and then by the Secretary of State's officers. This duplication of effort has been serious, as the applications are numerous and some of these involve quite heavy work, for example, when Poles base their applications on qualifications obtained before the war in Poland.

We have sought to remedy these defects in the Regulations, which lay upon the Scottish Council the task of formulating principles and rules which are to govern decisions on individual applications. The principles relating to exceptional admission are to be applied in particular cases by the colleges, and the principles and rules relating to applications for the exceptional award of a teacher's certificate are to be applied by a special committee of the Scottish Council.

The hon. Member for Dundee, East asked what would be the composition of that special committee. If he turns to paragraph 17 (2) of the Regulations, he will see that that function is remitted to a standing committee of the Scottish Council which will carry out the function in Regulation 42 by which the Council is to formulate principles.

I come now to a particular point of criticism. Under Regulation 42, it is in accordance with these principles and rules that an application for the exceptional award of a teacher's certificate must be decided. Where an applicant represents that because of qualifications obtained furth of Scotland, or of practical, experience of teaching, or for any other reasons a particular qualification should be granted to him, those principles and such of the rules as may be relevant must apply. It has been suggested that this means that people can be admitted to the profession and to the status of certificated teacher not because they have proper qualifications but solely because they have done some teaching, or, indeed, for any other reason. I understand that the allegation has been carried even further. It has been suggested that it is indeed the intention of the Scottish Education Department to dilute the profession.

This is a complete misconception. These Regulations which we are discussing tonight do not deal with educational or teaching standards. They deal with matters of administration and administrative procedure. The Regulations which I have quoted relate to the considerations which an applicant is entitled to bring forward in support of his claim. When the applicant has made his claim, it will then be for the Scottish Council, in the light of the principles and rules which the Council has itself laid down and published—it must publish them—to determine whether a candidate's application should be granted or not.

I am quite certain that an independent and responsible body such as the Scottish Council, or, indeed, any training authority composed of representatives of education authorities, the universities, the teaching profession and the Churches, will fulfil its duty in these matters with the utmost regard for what is right in the interests of the profession and the interests of Scottish education. I can certainly state quite categorically that we have not inserted this provision in the Regulations in order to dilute the profession. Indeed, if the Secretary of State had had that aim in view he would hardly have sought to achieve it by delegating authority in these very matters from himself to the Scottish Council; or, if he did so, he would have been careful to retain full control over the appointment of members of the Council. In fact, my right hon. Friend is to appoint only three out of twenty-five members.

The hon. Gentleman suggested that it would be well if the Scottish Council circulated its rules before it published them. That, of course, will be a matter for the Scottish Council, but I feel certain that the Scottish Council will take due note of what he said. For our part, we shall be glad to draw his suggestion to the attention of the Council. It will be a matter for the Council itself and, of course, any representations on the matter will be to the Scottish Council and not to the Secretary of State.

The hon. Gentleman raised a very important point about the attitude of the Scottish universities. Hon. Members will have had an opportunity of reading the universities' memorandum on the draft which I placed in the Library. I see from the Press that this memorandum—which, I repeat, was on the draft and not or the final Regulations—has appeared in the Press since. I will add that the universities have been careful to ask for the agreement of my right hon. Friend before publishing it.

While welcoming many of the main provisions as improvements in the existing system, the universities felt that the proposed training system had been conceived too much on the lines of local authority administration. In order to create the liberal atmosphere in the colleges which they consider essential, and which, as the hon. Gentleman rightly pointed out, the Advisory Council recommended in its Report, the universities suggested that the system ought to be modelled more closely on the universities themselves. This subject of a liberal atmosphere and its relation to the system of administration in the colleges is a very large one, and I can only touch on it in passing.

It seems to me that there is no reason why the atmosphere of a college of education should not be an essentially liberal one. Although the staff serve under the general control of a body of governors on which they are not represented, they have just as much freedom within their departments as university lecturers and, indeed, they often are university lecturers. The heads of training colleges and many of the staff are themselves distinguished university graduates, some of whom have lectured in the past and others of whom are at present lecturing in the universities as well as in the colleges.

When Lord Strathclyde and I met the principals of the four Scottish universities we understood that the three points to which they attached the greatest im- portance were these. First, they considered that the staff of the colleges of education should have been given a more assured say in academic matters, and that the provisions dealing with the boards of studies were not strong enough. We have rectified that, as hon. Gentlemen will see if they refer to Regulation 27. Secondly, they wanted the staffs of the colleges of education to have some place in the making of staff appointments. This, too, we have provided for in the final regulations, although I recognise that we have not gone quite so far as the universities would have liked.

Thirdly, they wanted to appoint whom they thought fit, and not merely members of the senatus, other than those with teaching responsibilities in the colleges, to the governing bodies. They said that the principals of the colleges of education and some members of their staffs should themselves be on the governing bodies, both in their own right and to make it easier for the professors of education and psychology to be appointed members.

While we have, as I say, met the universities fully in regard to the first two points, and on some others which I have not time to mention, we have not been able to meet this third point. I need scarcely say that we are entirely at one with the universities in feeling that both the principals and the professors have a most important contribution to make to the deliberations of the governing bodies. But it was our view that to make the principals and one or two members of the staffs and the two professors no more than a minority among the voting members of the governing bodies would be more likely to detract from, than to enhance, their position. In this matter we feel that it is right that the principals and the professors should be treated alike.

As a result of the arrangements between the colleges and the universities for certain courses to be taken concurrently, the same students may be attending both college and university at the same time. This applies particularly to the education and psychology departments of the colleges and of the universities. This being so, it seemed to us inappropriate that if the principals were to be excluded from the governing bodies, the professors should be included, with the result that they would be voting as governors on the proposals of the principals, their professional colleagues.

As I have already said, we fully recognise that the professors of education and of psychology have a valuable part to play in training college affairs, but we consider that they can make their contribution most effectively in the capacity of expert advisers rather than as ordinary members of the governing bodies, where university interests are already represented by three members. This is precisely what we have tried to secure by providing that one of them shall be an assessor to each governing body where, like the principals themselves, they will be advisers with freedom to speak on all points. In addition, we have provided that they may be full members of the Central Scottish Council which is itself an advisory and co-ordinating body with most important responsibilities.

I hope it will be clear to the House that, far from dismissing the universities representations lightly, as I have seen suggested, we have given the most careful thought to them and have gone a long way to meet them. I have only one other point to make in connection with the universities—

Mr. Malcolm MacPherson (Stirling and Falkirk Burghs)

Would the hon. Gentleman explain the reason for restricting the universities' possibilities of appointment to the senatus? That I would take to be in most universities about 20 per cent. of the teaching staff. Why should a university not be free to appoint a member of the teaching staff who is not a member of the senatus?

Mr. Macpherson

The reason for that is that one of the purposes of the Regulations is to enhance the prestige and position of the colleges of education and the training authorities as a whole. We felt that it would be in keeping with that prestige that members of the senatus should be appointed to the governing bodies.

The universities asked for a considerable increase in their representation on the governing bodies. They asked for one-third of the seats. We have not been able to meet that request. There has been very general acceptance of the view that teachers should be given increased representation, and the universities them- selves shared that view. It will be clear that to do this, as we have done, and, at the same time, to give the universities one-third of the seats would have made it impossible to provide an adequate number of places for the other legitimate interests which must me covered.

As it is, the universities will have three full members and an assessor on each of the main governing bodies, compared with four members of the existing bodies, which are, in most cases, larger than their successors. In addition, they will have one full member on the boards of each of the Roman Catholic colleges and the College of Physical Education, where previously they had none. They will also have four full members on the Scottish Council, where they had none previously.

It will be clear to the House, from the details I have given, that far from resulting in a diminution of the part that the universities play in teacher training, as measured by their representation on the various training authorities, the Regulations have considerably increased it. Moreover, they make special provision, for the first time, for co-operation between the colleges and the universities in matters of common interest between the two.

In the circumstances, I feel that we have gone a long way to meet the major criticisms. My right hon. Friend will be happy to meet the universities or any other of the constituent bodies to consider ways of improving the arrangements for the training colleges. We are here considering the Regulations, which have been subjected to the most close scrutiny. There have been consultations, interviews draft Regulations, representations and, again, interviews. Now, at last, we come to the Regulations. In view of the care that has been taken and the fact that the Regulations have been inspired by the Advisory Council's Report, and the fact that they have had a very large measure of general agreement all round, I hope that they will commend themselves to the House.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.