HC Deb 21 February 1963 vol 672 cc619-20
17. Mr. Boyden

asked the Minister of Education if he is satisfied that the revised programme for training college expansion will ensure that all suitable candidates applying for admission to training colleges for September, 1963, will be found places; and if he will make a statement.

Sir E. Boyle

There are considerably more applicants, both men and women, this year than last; but, for the reasons given in the reply to the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Wiley) on 31st January, I expect the number to be admitted to be well above the current year's record figure of about 17,000. We shall not know the full details for some months.

Mr. Boyden

I take it that Answer means "No". Why does not the right hon. Gentleman make flexible emergency arrangements so that students who by 31st August have not got places can get places? Otherwise he is bound to lose several thousand students who will be lost to the teaching profession.

Sir E. Boyle

The Answer meant that, quite apart from the long-term plans of the Government for 80,000 students by 1970, I am not neglecting the short-term situation. I asked the colleges to make an immediate start by taking in even more students this September than they have planned to do. In addition, there will be more permanent new places com- pleted under the expansion programme. I hope that 2,600 new permanent places will result. Finally, there are the new temporary day units intended mainly for girls coming straight from school. So far I have approved nine of these. Two of them, in London and Cardiff, are already open, and the rest will come into use later this year. One in Lancashire is planning to take students both in May and September. I can assure the hon. Member that, apart from the big longterm plans of the Government, I certainly am not neglecting the short-term aspect of this very important subject.

Mr. Hornby

Will my right hon. Friend pay particular attention to what he has said about day students, who seem most likely to provide the increased numbers at the least cost to the Exchequer in maintenance and other respects?

Sir E. Boyle

Certainly. When I announced the most recent slice of the expansion programme I said that we would be thinking mainly in terms of day students.

Mr. Willey

As the new bulge is going into the primary schools for the second year this autumn, does the right hon. Gentleman recognise that if once again several thousands of fully qualified young people anxious to become teachers are prevented because he has not taken sufficient action, this will be disastrous?

Sir E. Boyle

Of course, I am aware of the importance of this subject. The hon. Gentleman talks about not taking sufficient action, but two or three years ago very few of us would have imagined that by last winter we could have got 48,000 students into the training colleges. The training colleges have done an extremely fine job. The Government are certainly not ignoring this subject. I regard a build-up from 28,000 to 80,000 students in colleges over 12 years as a pretty big undertaking, a fair sign that we attach priority to this matter. I have already given instances of the sort of measures we are taking to cope with the short-term aspect of this as well as the long-term aspect.