HC Deb 30 June 1986 vol 100 cc687-8
6. Dr. Marek

asked the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects to receive the report by the Welsh Advisory Body on Further and Higher Education on the rationalisation of initial teacher training provision in the Principality.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Wyn Roberts)

The committee of the Wales Advisory Body considered this matter on 27 June. It decided to advise my right hon. Friend that a review of initial teacher training provision in Wales at the university and local authority colleges should be undertaken in conjunction with the University Grants Committee and that a decision about any rationalisation of local authority provision should await the outcome of that review. My right hon. Friend is giving this advice careful consideration and will announce the future intakes to initial teacher training courses in the public sector as soon as possible.

Dr. Marek

Does the hon. Gentleman recall his secret instructions to the Welsh Advisory Body that initial teacher training rationalisation in Wales should be based on a minimum yearly intake of 100 students? Does he also recall his instructions to the University Grants Committee, which in a letter dated 20 May to universities said that it was grateful to universities for agreeing to accept the additional numbers."? If the hon. Gentleman recalls those two questions of policy, what does he say to the charge which, by a backdoor method, he has tried, shamefacedly and unacceptably, to close Cartrefle training college and to evade responsibility for so doing?

Mr. Roberts

I absolutely deny the charge. There is nothing secretive about the way in which I or my predecessor with responsibility for education in Wales acted. The working group, whose papers were leaked, recommended that initial teacher training should cease at Cartrefle. School leavers have been able to choose from six B.Ed courses in Wales and about 50 B.Ed courses in England, and too few have chosen Cartrefle.

Sir Anthony Meyer

Is it not a fact that, under the Government, the number of students being trained and going into primary school teaching has increased?

Mr. Roberts

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The entry of students increased from 400 to 500 between 1983 and 1985. The addition of a further 25 this year raises the annual entry until 1989 to 525.