HC Deb 12 June 1969 vol 784 cc1649-50
18. Mr. Lane

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will hold consultations with the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals about improvements in the position of students within universities during the present academic year; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

Discussions were held last year between the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals and the National Union of Students, and a joint statement was issued which is largely concerned with the position of students in the academic community. It now rests with university authorities and student organisations to consider together how the principles set out in the joint statement can best be applied in individual universities.

Mr. Lane

Will the hon. Lady agree that, with very few exceptions, the universities have made considerable progress in the right direction this year and that this reflects great credit on the good sense of the vast majority of senior members and students?

Mrs. Williams

Yes, indeed, many universities are putting forward proposals for reforms, some of them to the Privy Council and others have in almost all cases set up joint committees of students and staff and appear to be getting down to sensible and constructive work.

Sir E. Boyle

Will the hon. Lady confirm that either her Department or the University Grants Committee is keeping aro record of what has happened here so that the best existing practice can be spread as widely and easily as possible?

Mrs. Williams

We are informed of any formal attempts to alter constitutions of universties. In some cases we have to depend on the universities informing us what is going ahead. We do our best to learn. I hope that the universities will take up the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion and keep us informed as far as possible.