HC Deb 11 November 1975 vol 899 cc1119-20
5. Mr. Thorne

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether any progress is being made in reorganising education for those over 16 years of age under one umbrella of adult education.

The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Fred Mulley)

These students form a large and diverse group. I do not believe that their varied educational needs would be better met within a single organisational structure.

Mr. Thorne

Does the Minister therefore depart from what is in the paper published by the Labour Party a year or two ago? Does it really mean that resources are the problem, and that any reorganisation in the adult sector will be set back until more resources are available?

Mr. Mulley

I agree that we need more resources. We are seeking to make them available—for the 16–19 age group. But my hon. Friend's Question asks whether it should be done under one institutional umbrella. The varied needs of those on non-advanced and those on degree courses do not necessarily imply that they should all be within one institutional framework.

Dr. Hampson

Is the Minister aware that nothing highlights more the hollow-ness of the Government's rhetoric on education than the many pronouncements of the noble Lord the Minister of State? Since the conference that he proposed for the autumn has been postponed to the spring and is now no longer to be on adult education but on the 16–19s, will the right hon. Gentleman confirm when the conference is to be, what it will be about, on what scale, and at what cost?

Mr. Mulley

I do not think that that series of questions arises from this Question.

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