HC Deb 04 February 1971 vol 810 cc1883-4
1. Mr. Dormand

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what action she is taking to increase the intake to colleges of education.

The Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. William van Straubenzee)

Applications for non-graduate courses are at about the same level as last January. It is expected that the number of qualified school leavers will rise by 5 per cent. this year and that recruitment will exceed last year's figure. In addition, an increasing number of graduates are taking post-graduate courses in the colleges of education.

Mr. Dormand

Is the Minister aware of the great concern expressed by teachers and by the Chairman of the Association of Teachers in Colleges and Departments of Education on this matter? Is it correct that the shortfall in applications in relation to the target last year was 1,600? Is it correct that the registration of applications this year is 4 per cent. down on last year? Would the right hon. Lady——

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Dormand) has put three questions.

Mr. van Straubenzee

The correct answer to the hon. Gentleman is that nobody would be content or satisfied with a certain level at present. But the figures which I have given, particularly on the increase of post-graduate courses in colleges of education, are surely very encouraging.

Mr. Alan Williams

In view of the relatively small proportion of increase envisaged in the medium term in those colleges, would the Minister explain how his Department intends to accommodate the 100 per cent. increase in the number of students we shall have in the next decade? In view of his right hon. Friend's comments about the restricted training of teachers in future, what special provision will be made to ensure adequate and suitable facilities for the training of girls elsewhere in education?

Mr. van Straubenzee

Obviously, these are all bound up with the very issues which the James Inquiry is examining. It would be unwise to make decisions for one particular sector until we have the whole picture.