HL Deb 04 June 1957 vol 204 cc194-6

2.39 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are yet in a position to make a statement about the proposed College of Advanced Technology in the North-East.]


My Lords, the Northern Advisory Council for Further Education recently submitted at the request of my predecessor a report on the pattern of technical education in the northern region, with particular reference to the establishment there of a college of advanced technology. I have been studying this question in the light of this report and have myself visited the region. The Council expressed the unanimous opinion that a college of advanced technology should be established in the region as soon as possible. They reviewed various proposals for establishing such a college and considered, in particular, the possibility of either building a completely new college for this purpose or of designating an existing college. They were unable to put forward a specific recommendation, but they recorded their conviction that all the authorities would accept and support any decision I reached on the matter.

I agree with the Council that a college of advanced technology should be established in the northern region as soon as possible. On the other hand, in my view no existing college is at present suitable for designation. It is necessary, therefore, to contemplate a large-scale programme of development in order to provide the necessary conditions. I have considered whether this development programme should be devoted to the establishment of an entirely new college, but I have decided that, apart from the extra time involved, the establishment of a new college outside the existing industrial centres would have no merits.

After considering the situation in all its aspects I have decided to request the Newcastle Local Education Authority to undertake the development necessary at the Rutherford Technical College, so that it may become in due course a college of advanced technology. My officers will begin negotiations with the Newcastle Local Education Authority forthwith in order to settle a programme for the erection of buildings, the recruitment of staff, and so forth. Designation will follow when in my judgment the college is sufficiently well established as regards staff, buildings and numbers of students, and when, in particular, a substantial volume of advanced full-time and sandwich courses is in sight.

It is essential that the college of advanced technology should take its place in a regional scheme in which the other colleges in the region, and in particular the Sunderland Technical College and the Constantine Technical College, Middlesbrough, will play their full part. I shall be requesting the Newcastle Local Education Authority, amongst other things, to review their scheme of government for the Rutherford Technical College in order to afford representation to certain other authorities in the region. I also propose to ask all the local education authorities to consider, through the medium of the Northern Advisory Council, what amendments will be necessary in the existing regional scheme of technical courses.

The Sunderland Technical College will, as a regional college, continue to make its distinctive contribution to the provision for technical education in the region, and I hope that the Constantine College, Middlesbrough, may also develop into a regional college in the near future. In both cases there exist plans, based on regional college status, for the expansion of accommodation, the development of new courses and the re-constitution of the governing body. My decision about a college of advanced technology in no way militates against these plans, and I hope that the local education authorities concerned will press on with them as urgently as possible.


My Lords, I wish to thank the noble Viscount for his detailed reply.