HC Deb 07 December 1954 vol 535 cc26-7W
68. Mr. Woodburn

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what changes he proposes to make in the development of education in Scotland.

Mr. J. Stuart

I assume that the right hon. Member refers to the advances foreshadowed in the Gracious Speech. The main task must be to continue at an accelerated pace the provision of schools in new housing areas. In each of the past three years the work done has increased considerably, but it is necessary to expand the programme still further. The programme will include a larger proportion of secondary schools, but the organisation of secondary education in Scottish rural areas will not, as in England, require the provision of a substantial number of additional new schools.

I propose, however, to encourage education authorities in those areas to do more by way of works of improvement on existing schools, and where a school cannot be improved, to replace it. Education authorities are not rationed as to the amount of improvement work they may carry out or as to works of repair and maintenance, and I am drawing their attention to specific ways in which, as has been shown in some areas, such works can make conditions better for both pupils and teachers in the older schools.

In the field of technical education the ultimate aim is the establishment of local technical colleges throughout Scotland. Education authorities will be free to provide for all types of vocational courses for which there is a reasonable demand, and will be encouraged to do everything in their power to ensure rapid progress with schemes for local technical colleges that are already under consideration or have been approved, and to consider what further facilities are required in their areas.

I am also asking education authorities to give more financial support to voluntary bodies or other authorities wishing to provide community centres, youth clubs and other social and recreational facilities.

These points are dealt with in a circular which was sent to education authorities on 4th December, and of which I am sending the right hon. Member a copy.

I should also make it clear that Scotland is playing an important part in the developments with which my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will deal in the statement he is making about higher technological education today, and that I shall be joining with my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Education, in the consultations about the future of the teachers' superannuation schemes in which representatives of Scottish teachers and education authorities will, of course, be invited to take part.