HC Deb 08 February 1967 vol 740 cc329-30W
Sir E. Boyle

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he will take action on the recommendations of the Working Party on the Government of Colleges of Education.

Mr. Crosland

The House will recall that on 10th November I confirmed my warm support for the recommendations of the Study Group on the Government of Colleges of Education, and announced that the organisations concerned had endorsed the general spirit and purpose of the report, with some reservations on points of detail.

I have now sent out a circular asking local education authorities and voluntary bodies to review their methods of control and general relationship with the colleges in the light of the report's recomrnendations, and asking governing bodies to review their present practices with particular reference to the establishment of properly constituted academic boards.

The Government propose as soon as possible to introduce the legislation recommended by the Study Group to provide for the making by local education authorities of instruments of government for the constitution of the governing bodies of maintained colleges of education, and to provide that the colleges should be conducted in accordance with articles of government made by order of the local education authority and approved by the Secretary of State. The Bill will apply the same provisions to technical and other colleges of further education. The training of teachers regulations will also be amended so as to make articles of government for voluntary colleges subject to the same approval.

Meantime I have asked local education authorities to let me know before the end of June what steps they have taken to reconstitute the governing bodies of their colleges in the light of the Study Group's report, and also to let me have by then draft articles of government that will reflect the liberal attitudes which I have already commended in the report. Similar action is proposed in regard to the voluntary colleges. Clearly there will be room for some variation in the articles to accord with local circumstances and traditions. But I shall wish to satisfy myself that the articles reflect a genuine desire to give the colleges substantial responsibility for their academic task and increased freedom in the performance of it.