§ Mr. Spearing
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) whether the letters of invitation or acknowledgment to organisations or persons wishing to give evidence to the James Committee on teacher training indicated that evidence would be confidential; and if she will reproduce the relevant parts of the letters in the OFFICIAL REPORT;
(2) if her decision to permit confidential oral evidence to the James Committee on teacher training was a response to a request from witnesses, the chairman, or the committee, or if she informed the persons concerned that she had made this decision;
(3) if she will list in the OFFICIAL REPORT the names of the individuals and organisations listed in Appendix 3 of the James Report on Teacher Education and Training who indicated their wish for their evidence to be confidential.
§ Mrs. Thatcher
The James Committee rightly determined its own procedure without reference to me. I understand that it decided from the outset that discussions with oral witnesses, and during visits to institutions, would be more fruitful if they were informal and confidential. All such meetings were prefaced with an assurance that the proceedings150W would not be recorded verbatim and would be regarded by the committee as confidential.