HC Deb 19 December 1986 vol 107 cc723-4W
Mr. Gale

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received about advanced fine art student numbers in Kent; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Walden

My right hon. Friend has received a large number of representations about fine art numbers in Kent following the recommendations to him from the National Advisory Body for Public Sector Higher Education (NAB) that the planned intake for 1987 should be substantially reduced compared with previous years. My right hon. Friend has carefully considered these representations. He has decided to accept NAB's advice for 1987–88, but is persuaded tht it would be right in the longer term to look for a restoration of fine art numbers in Kent to their existing level.

In so deciding, my right hon. Friend had particular regard to the desirability, following the creation of the Kent Institute of Art and Design of phasing out provision duplicated in the three constituent colleges. He understood that the reduction in numbers for 1987 recommended by NAB was consistent with the rationalisation of existing provision which the authority itself intends to carry through. My right hon. Friend understands, however, that the authority plans to continue the rationalisation process by launching new, replacement courses. He was not satisfied that the authority's plans to introduce new courses were sufficiently far advanced to justify the allocation of numbers in 1987, but looks to the authority to bring forward proposals for 1988 and expects then to make financial provision for them.