HC Deb 24 October 1968 vol 770 cc1568-9
16. Mr. Christopher Price

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress he has made in his investigation into the diploma course and entrance qualifications for colleges of art and design.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

A joint committee of the National Advisory Council on Art Education and the National Council for Diplomas in Art and Design is examining the structure and content of art and design education in the light of the very wide range of submissions it has received in answer to a general invitation to those concerned, including students and staff, to give their views.

Mr. Price

Would not my hon. Friend agree that there is some urgency in geting on with this review, since it is to the credit of the students at Guildford and Hornsey that what they complained of was their curriculum; and that if something is not done about it quickly now we shall have more trouble again this year owing to the intransigence of the two local authorities involved.

Mrs. Williams

The new Working Party is well aware of the urgency, but my hon. Friend will appreciate that if it wants to take evidence from any student, member of the staff and local authority wishing to give evidence it really cannot act extremely quickly. I understand that over 70 submissions have already come in, and a number are coming in at the present time.

Sir E. Boyle

Can the Minister say when she expects this report to be received? Is she aware that many of us, without necessarily associating ourselves with the comments of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Christopher Price), feel that there is some urgency particularly in regard to the relationship, for example, between the fine arts and graphic art, and the feeling that art education is in a serious need of very rapid overhaul?

Mrs. Williams

I agree that there is much in art education that deserves careful review. I repeat that Sir William Coldstream, the Chairman of the Working Party, is well aware of the need for the most urgent action possible, but I would stress that unless people recognise the time given for the end of receipt of submissions, which was the end of July, it is difficult for Sir William to keep a timetable. Other people must help him to do so.