HC Deb 09 November 1982 vol 31 cc418-9
10. Mr. Woolmer

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he agrees with the view of the advisory committee for the supply and education of teachers that by 1990 a major expansion in secondary training places will be needed.

Mr. Waldegrave

We agree with the advisory committee in projecting an increase in the demand for newly trained secondary teachers in the early 1990s. The committees recognise that it is impossible to assess the need for additional training places to meet that demand until nearer the time.

Mr. Woolmer

Why, in the meantime, has the Secretary of State treated the advisory committee's recommendations so frivolously? Why have 10 teacher training colleges, especially those that specialise in developmental work, been shut? What scope does he envisage for ensuring that special needs of groups such as the 16 to 19-year-olds will be met in the meantime?

Mr. Waldegrave

At the lowest point we shall be training 7,000 new secondary teachers, for a demand of 4,700. It would be a frivolous misleading of those students' expectations to train more for jobs that will not exist.

Mr. Jim Callaghan

Does the Minister agree that by closing the initial training scheme at De la Salle training college, he will be closing the college permanently?

Mr. Waldegrave

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Whitehead

Does the Minister agree that it is scandalous that these proposals were announced the day before Education Question Time and with no debate in the House? What guarantee do we have that the proposals will be debated and some amendment be possible?

Mr. Waldegrave

I am sure that if we had announced the proposals the day after Education Question Time the hon. Gentleman would have said that that was another type of trick. He must pursue the channels that are open to him for a debate.

Mr. Chapman

As school rolls are falling, and as expenditure per pupil is increasing in real terms, does my hon. Friend agree that there is some point in the criticism that, marginally, we have been allocating too much to the provision of teacher training and too little to new school building or the restoration of many of the older schools? Will he bear that in mind when allocating money for the next five years?

Mr. Waldegrave

I agree with my hon. Friend's underlying argument. It would be foolish to allow teacher training more than a reasonable share of resources. Resources should go to over-subscribed courses. Many of these are substantially under-subscribed.