§ 74. Mr. Chetwynd
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education whether a decision has been reached on the establishment of a college of advanced technology in the north-east.
§ 75. Mr. Willey
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education whether he will now make a statement on the proposed college of advanced technology in the north-east.
§ Sir E. Boyle
The Northern Advisory Council for Further Education recently submitted at the request of my noble Friend's 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. My noble Friend has been studying this question in the light of this report and has himself 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 81W unable to put forward a specific recommendation, but they recorded their conviction that all the authorities would accept and support any decision my noble Friend reached on the matter.
My noble Friend agrees 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 his 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. My noble Friend has considered whether this development programme should be devoted to the establishment of an entirely new college, but he has 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, my noble Friend has 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. The Ministry's 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 noble Friend's 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. My noble Friend will 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. He also proposes to ask all the local education authorities to consider through the medium of the Northern Advisory Council what amend- 82W ments 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 my noble Friend hopes that the Constantine College 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 reconstitution of the governing body. My noble Friend's decision about a college of advanced technology in no way militates against these plans and he hopes that the local education authorities concerned will press on with them as urgently as possible.