HC Deb 03 November 1966 vol 735 cc642-3
23. Mr. Mathew

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he proposes to meet the National Advisory Council for the training and supply of teachers; and what contact he has recently had with this side of the teaching profession.

Mr. Crosland

I am still considering what should be the future arrangements for consultations. Meanwhile, I am keeping in touch with the various educational interests over the development of new policies arising from my fourteen-point teacher supply programme.

Mr. Mathew

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is widespread disquiet in this very important part of the teaching profession? Will he try to arrange for some contact with members of the Council as early as possible?

Mr. Crosland

We recognise that there is anxiety about the future of the Council, but it is widely agreed that this body was too large, too cumbersome and too divided in its own attitudes to be the appropriate body to offer useful advice to the Government. I am certainly keeping in touch with all of the various interests concerned, and I would like to have some more effective and efficient method of consultation, but so far no consensus has appeared in the educational world.

Sir E. Boyle

Is it not a fact that the colleges of education are under very severe pressure and, in these circumstances, would the right hon. Gentleman not recognise that his failure either to reform the National Advisory Council or to implement the report on training college government, taken together, are causing very real concern in the training college world?

Mr. Crosland

There is some total misunderstanding here because the report on training college government came from my Department, so there is no question of my not accepting it. I agree that the training colleges are under strain, and I have paid tribute to them, again and again, for the magnificent work they are doing in taking in more and more students. I am most anxious to consult with them, and I think that the representative organisation, A.T.C.D.E. would probably consider that I have taken great care to keep in touch with it.