HC Deb 09 March 1972 vol 832 cc1639-40
18. Miss Fookes

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she is satisfied with the supply of foreign language teachers in anticipation of Great Britain's entry to the European Economic Community; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. van Straubenzee

No, Sir. The schools need many more teachers of French. My right hon. Friend has encouraged area training organisations to arrange for more teacher training places to be available for gradutes in French. In addition, there are initial courses in French for non-graduate teachers and the special programme of intensive in-service courses is continuing to expand.

Miss Fookes

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply, but may I point out to him that there are other languages than French, and that the Englishman abroad does not have a very good reputation for speaking any other language than English?

Mr. van Straubenzee

I accept that there are other languages than French, but that is the language that we teach most in our schools, and it is in that language that the greatest gaps occur at present.

Mr. Moyle

Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that if this country were ever to join the Common Market English would become the major working language by virtue of its strong position? Therefore, should not we be considering how we can increase the supply of English teachers in order to spread the English language to the Common Market?

Mr. van Straubenzee

In fact, we are doing precisely that. But I hope that whatever the future holds we shall be able to gain much from the culture, literature and music of the French people.