HC Deb 19 October 1972 vol 843 cc424-5
2. Mr. Sydney Chapman

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will make a statement on the progress of consultations on the James Report.

11. Mr. Willey

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will make a further report on the consultations on the James Report.

Mrs. Thatcher

My consultations are almost complete. I hope to announce Government decisions on the issues raised in the report before the end of the year.

Mr. Chapman

I am obliged to my right hon. Friend for that reply. Realising that she received this important report only 10 months ago and that it contained 133 specific recommendations, may I ask whether she would be prepared to go a little further this afternoon and say what is in her mind concerning Recommendations 10 to 12 about the right of teachers, after seven years' service, to have release with pay for in-service training for courses of at least 12 weeks?

Mrs. Thatcher

I hope to say something about in-service training when we give the decision on the whole report. I agree that that is a part of the report which has received almost universal acclaim. We hope to do something in that sphere.

Mr. Willey

Whilst the right hon. Lady is considering her conclusions, will she realise that we have largely lost the impetus of the James Report and that she would be well advised now to concentrate on those parts of the report which were generally accepted and to seek their speedy implementation?

Mrs. Thatcher

I do not believe that we have lost any impetus at all. It is quite remarkable that we took only a year to get the report and have acted fairly quickly in having extensive consultations upon it. I still have two more organisations to see either next week or the week after. As soon as those are clear, I hope to put recommendations before the House.

Mr. Moyle

Will the right hon. Lady confirm that the future of teacher training will be set out in the White Paper on higher education, which is being prepared, and thus remove all doubt that teacher training is in fact part of higher education?

Mrs. Thatcher

I am not sure that a White Paper on higher education is being prepared. We hope to announce extensive decisions, including the James Report and, of course, the quinquennial settlement, which to some extent will include decisions about the polytechnics programme; and the future of teacher training colleges will be included in those decisions.