§ 21. Dr. Alan Glyn
asked the Secretary of State for War how many British officers who passed the last entrance examination to the Staff College will secure vacancies at the British or an allied staff college.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for War (Mr. James Ramsden)
There are 189 vacancies for the 1962 courses at the Staff College, Camberley, on the Technical Staff Course at the Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham, and at Commonwealth Staff Colleges. Three hundred and seventeen qualified for selection at the entrance examination held this 236 February, and 171 officers are still eligible from former years. The cases of candidates who are qualified by passing the entrance examination but who do not secure a place, will be reviewed each year while they remain eligible by age.
§ Dr. Glyn
While thanking my hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask him whether he would not agree that it is very wrong that people should be allowed to swot and pass this examination and then not get a vacancy? Would he consider altering the entrance qualification to the Staff College so that it consists of not only an examination but an interview and a recommendation and on these three things an officer should get a vacancy within the numbers which are likely to occur in all the Staff Colleges?
§ Mr. Ramsden
I do not think my hon. Friend's supplementary question gives a fair picture of the system. The entrance examination simply qualifies an officer to be considered for selection. Selection boards then take into account the results of his examination, his confidential reports and his record of service. The examination itself is only a preliminary step. I think that what I have said also covers the second part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question.
§ Mr. Kershaw
Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that there also exists the N.A.T.O. Staff College, which takes a certain number of British officers, although they do not so far get a qualification after their names as having passed the course? Can he say how many British officers can be taken by that institution?
§ Mr. Ramsden
I could not answer that without notice. There are, of course, also the Royal Naval Staff College and the Royal Air Force Staff College at which there are vacancies for some Army officers.