HC Deb 22 February 1983 vol 37 cc788-9
6. Mr. Beith

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress he has made with his plans to establish a significant centre of teacher education and training in the north-east of England.

Mr. Waldegrave

Before the location of such a centre is decided my right hon. Friend will want to consider the effect of the recent reorganisation of initial teacher training on recruitment to institutions in the north-east.

Mr. Beith

Then what was the meaning of the Secretary of State's announcement in November? Is the Minister aware that as there have been about 10 college closures in the north-east in the past decade, it is hard for people in the region to believe that the Government intend to set up a significant new teacher training centre there? By what date does he intend the project to be carried out?

Mr. Waldegrave

The Advisory Committee on the Supply and Education of Teachers is being asked to look again at the supply of teachers next year. That must be the first stage. The time scale must be two or three years. We need to see how demand holds up in the different colleges.

The meaning of my right hon. Friend's announcement was perfectly clear. We were worried that there was not a sufficient teacher training presence in the north-east in the public sector.

Sir William Elliott

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is considerable regret in the north of England about the closure of St. Mary's Roman Catholic teacher training college in Fenham, Newcastle? Is he further aware that the nearest Roman Catholic teacher training college is in Leeds? Will he bear in mind the desirability of the maintenance of teacher training colleges with a religious base?

Mr. Waldegrave

I can, of course, give my hon. Friend the latter assurance. I remind him that St. Mary's, Fenham closed of its own free will before the Government's recent exercise on teacher training.