HC Deb 09 March 1972 vol 832 cc1629-30
8. Mr. Duffy

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will revise upwards the new scheme for expanded teacher exchange between the United Kingdom, France and Germany, as announced in an Administrative Memorandum by her Department to start in 1972–73.

Mr. van Straubenzee

My right hon. Friend will be keeping the scheme under close review, but it already represents a considerable improvement on existing arrangements, both in numbers of exchanges and financial assistance to teachers, and it would be premature to consider revising it generally at this early stage.

Mr. Duffy

Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that it must represent more than an improvement on existing arrangements if his right hon. and hon. Friends are in earnest about entry into Europe? Is he aware that the target figure for the 1970s could be taken up by a single region such as the Yorkshire/Humberside region, and that the target figure for the first year—1972–73—is equal only to the needs of a single city the size of Sheffield?

Mr. van Straubenzee

I do not want the hon. Gentleman to think that I am complacent about the programme, but he is being a little less than generous. The present rate of exchanges is probably in the range of about 20, and in the first year it will rise to a total, between France and Germany, of about 200. As he does, I very much hope that subsequent years will see a substantial improvement.

Mr. John E. B. Hill

Does my hon. Friend expect to see a steadily rising trend? Can he assure us that financial difficulties will not stand in the way?

Mr. van Straubenzee

It does not rest entirely with this country, but I express the strong hope that we shall see a rising trend. There has been a difficulty about the rate of grant for teachers going to Germany, and it has been possible to increase the rate per week to £8.55 as against the £5.45 which was previously announced.