HC Deb 21 July 1986 vol 102 cc11-2
15. Mr. Gwilym Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he has any plans to meet the Welsh Joint Education Committee.

Mr. Wyn Roberts

I attended the annual meeting of the Welsh Joint Education Committee on 4 July 1986 and set out Government policy over a range of educational issues of current concern in Wales. I have placed a copy of my speech in the Library.

Mr. Jones

Did my hon. Friend take the opportunity to raise the important TVEI programme with the WJEC?

Mr. Roberts

I touched upon the subject and was delighted to tell the WJEC of my pride over the fact that every local education authority in Wales is involved in TVEI. We have announced an extension of the TVEI scheme and have published the White Paper "Working Together — Education and Training" which relates to TVEI.

Mr. Wigley

At the meeting to which the Minister referred, Councillor Emyr Currie-Jones asked him why the suggested plan for the Welsh language, given to the Welsh Office by the Welsh Joint Education Committee in November, had received no response. Why has the Welsh Office been sitting on that plan for seven months?

Mr. Roberts

The WJEC has certainly put forward proposals on that matter. However, they involve a somewhat complex machinery of committees and subcommittees and a complex programme of work. What the WJEC has not done is to meet the requirements spelt out by my right hon. Friend in his letter to it of 23 July last year.

Mr. Barry Jones

The Minister is being unnecessarily laggardly about this matter. Was it not a major error of judgment to attack the WJEC while failing to indicate the financial resources available to it? There is a bitter taste in the mouths of people in Wales because of the Minister's mistake. Should he not apologise to the WJEC?

Mr. Roberts

My intention was to spur on the WJEC, and I think that what I said achieved the desired effect. After all, it is a year since my right hon. Friend wrote to it, and I have openly regretted the fact that we have not been able to make more progress together in such a long time.

I think that the spur that I gave to the WJEC has been successful and that we shall advance more quickly in the near future. One reason why we have not advanced as quickly as we might has been the stress that the WJEC has placed on resources, whereas I have been stressing the need for a proper framework for discussion.