HC Deb 30 November 1977 vol 940 cc492-3
15. Mr. Alexander Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now make a statement regarding the future of teacher training colleges in Scotland.

Mr. Millan

I hope to make a statement in the near future.

Mr. Fletcher

Does the right hon. Gentleman recall that it is now almost 12 months since he presented his consultative document to the House? No doubt he will recall that his proposals were defeated on two occasions and that he was asked to prepare a scheme to retain all 10 colleges. When will the right hon. Gentleman give us a specific date? When will be bring the scheme forward? Surely he can do it before Christmas.

Mr. Millan

Yes. I intend to fulfil the pledge that I made to make another statement before the end of the year.

Mr. David Steel

Will the Secretary of State ensure that his statement reflects the views of hon. Members who are often ignored in these matters, particularly in regard to the future of Callander Park College?

Mr. Millan

I do not believe that I ever ignore hon. Members, although I listen to some more than to others. I shall take account of what is said in the House.

Mr. Canavan

In view of the grave concern about the future of Callander Park College, will my right hon. Friend have consultations about the submission from the college proposing a more diversified rôle for the college, which would ensure its continuation as a teacher training college and would also offer other courses which would be of educational benefit to the whole community?

Mr. Millan

I assure my hon. Friend that the proposals for the college and those that other colleges have put forward have been carefully considered. I am sure that there has been more consultation on these matters than on any other educational matter that I can think of.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

Is the Secretary of State aware that over the last four years Dunfermline College has been pressing for diversification but has had no reply to its proposals? Is he further aware that every student, lecturer and employee is wholeheartedly opposed to the college's removal to Dundee, as is the whole community?

Mr. Millan

I know that the proposals for Dunfermline College were not enthusiastically welcomed in the college. I have been aware of that for some time.

Mr. Teddy Taylor

Since the previous proposals were rejected by the House of Commons, can the Secretary of State give an assurance that when he makes a statement it will be a proper statement in the House, subject to questions by hon. Members, and that it will not be in the form of a Written Answer?

Mr. Millan

These matters are not exclusively for me, but I take note of what the hon. Member has said. No doubt if my statement is not universally welcomed there will be opportunities for debating it.