HC Deb 26 June 1973 vol 858 cc1311-2
23. Mr. R. C. Mitchell

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many full-time and part-time art teachers are at present employed in colleges of art in England and Wales.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

The provisional total of full-time teachers in art establishments was 2,381 in March 1971. In addition, a number of teachers of art are employed in the art departments of polytechnics and certain other education establishments but separate figures for these, and for part-time teachers, are not available.

Mr. Mitchell

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that reports are coming in from all over the country that there is to be a considerable reduction in the number of art teachers in the term starting next September, particularly because many local authorities seem to be dismissing or declaring redundant large numbers of part-time teachers? What is the hon. Gentleman going to do about it?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

If local authorities are declaring teachers redundant, they are acting contrary to the recommendations of the committee set up to consider the matter. They are free to do it, but I cannot answer such vague accusations. I am willing to look into any particular case which the hon. Gentleman cares to bring to my attention.

Mr. Moyle

Can the hon. Gentleman now give an answer to my earlier question? I did not ask him to give undertakings on behalf of local education authorities but asked him to use the good offices of his Department to secure, if possible, undertakings by local education authorities that they would not regard part-time art teachers as available for redundancy without consulting the appropriate associations representing them. Will he now undertake to use the good offices of his Department both in that and on the patronage point?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Whom local education authorities consult must be a matter for them. I can only repeat that it would be a great tragedy for art education if distinguished artists no longer gave their services part-time in art schools.