HC Deb 11 June 1968 vol 766 cc17-9
18. Mr. Maurice Macmillan

asked the Minister of Health how many full-time training centres are now approved by the Training Council for Teachers of the Mentally Handicapped; and how many this represents for adult training centres and junior training centres.

Mr. Snow

There are 17 full-time courses approved by the Training Council now in operation and the number will increase in September to 22, of which seven will be for staff of adult centres and 15 for staff of junior centres.

Mr. Macmillan

I am not sure about the hon. Gentleman's answer—[An HON. MEMBER: "It is not in your brief."]—At least I write my own. He implied that he was talking about how many courses were approved by the Training Council. I asked how many training centres are approved. May I take it that the answer is the same in both cases?

Mr. Cant

On a point of order. Are we witnessing an innovation in constitutional practice, in that the hon. Member for Farnham (Mr. Maurice Macmillan) is reading from a carefully prepared brief? If this is so, are these briefs prepared by the Civil Service?

Mr. Speaker

That is an interesting point, but not exactly a point of order.

Mr. Snow

I should like to answer the hon. Gentleman's question qualitatively. In most cases the terms are synonymous, but not absolutely so. There is a new possibility of recruiting more people for this sort of work in the shape of the new course being established at the Ewell Technical College, a part-time two-year course for older women wishing to take up the teaching of mentally handicapped children, and this will start shortly.

19. Mr. Dean

asked the Minister of Health how many teachers employed in training centres for the mentally handicapped are qualified.

Mr. Snow

At 30th September, 1967, 1,020 supervisors and assistant supervisors in local authority training centres were qualified to teach the mentally handicapped.

Mr. Dean

Would the hon. Gentleman agree that the new methods of training are yielding very encouraging results and does not this suggest that a higher priority should be given to qualified teachers?

Mr. Snow

The figures for staff who are now undergoing courses and are securing appointments show a quite reasonable improvement, but we have a lot of leeway to make up.

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