§ 3.37 p.m.
§ Sir Richard Thompson (Croydon, South)
It is my intention to use my good fortune in the Ballot to raise the matter of the desirability of the provision of a teacher training college within the Borough of Croydon, which I have the honour to represent.
This matter has been raised in the House before. All three Croydon Members have been strongly in favour of the project, and as long ago as November, 1959, my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. F. Harris) raised this matter on the Adjournment. Therefore, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, if I raise the subject again today I hope you will acquit me of any charge of tedious repetition, for I would point out that it is 4½ years since this matter was first aired, and in the meantime substantial changes have taken place in the situation, which prompts me to believe that the arguments on which the Parliamentary Secretary of those days rejected my hon. Friend's plea are no longer valid.
Why do I think this? One reason is that although four-and-a-half years ago the then Parliamentary Secretary came to the conclusion that the most solid reason for resisting Croydon's plea for a teaching training college was the fear of over-concentration of this kind of activity in the South-East, since those days we have had to raise our sights very considerably in our ideas about the scale of educational provision.
We have had quite recently the publication of the Robbins and the Newsom Report. Both Reports have been accepted by the Government and by all 873 parties in this House. In the light of that we have to go in for some rather bigger thinking on this matter. It seems that the massive investment in education which we now face has to try to do two things at once.
First, it has to cope with a soaring population which has completely outstripped the forecasts which the experts made only a few years ago. This invalidates many of the plans and arrangements for the future in education made in the light of those forecasts. Secondly, while providing for teaching many more children we have also to raise our standards in a scientific and technical age when there will be increasingly less and less work for the completely unskilled worker. We need higher standards and we must provide them.
In this small overpopulated country with very few natural resources, it follows that we must live off our brains. That is why this additional provision for which I am pleading becomes so very important. We can differ about our educational priorities, but, whether we go for trying to reduce the size of classes or trying to complete all those things foreshadowed in the 1944 Act which we have not been able to complete, whatever our personal priorities may be, all of them come back to one essential thing. It is that whatever else we do we must make greatly increased provision for teacher training.
All these improvements which we look to and which are implict in our acceptance of Robbins and Newsom depend on increased teacher supply. I do not imagine my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary will have any reason to disagree with me on that. Of course, he recognises it and has shown already that he recognises it by his announced policy to increase student-teacher places to 80,000 by 1970–71.
I suggest that even this welcome improvement has been overtaken by events. For instance, the Robbins Report urges that places be found in teacher training colleges for 111,000 students by 1973–74, rising to 131,000 in the middle and later years of that decade. The recent decision to raise the school-leaving age in the year 1970–71 will have its impact on plans already announced. I have seen an estimate that even with the provision so far announced we must expect 874 a deficiency of 70,000 teachers in the year 1970.
I return to the compelling figures of population growth. Everything we have done in the past would have made very good sense if the population had remained roughly stable, but it has gone up, and my case is that it will go up even more than the forecasters suggest. My right hon. Friend must raise his sights if he is to provide the necessary recruitment in teachers to cope with this situation, let alone overtake it.
Perhaps I may for a moment go over the history of Croydon's plea for a teacher training college to be established there. As I have said, the proposal is not new. It originated in October, 1958, five-and a-half years ago, when the Croydon Borough Council, as it then was, put forward proposals for a training college in the borough. At the start, these seemed to get a favourable reception, because in April, 1960, the Ministry invited Croydon to make proposals for a temporary day training college. By June, 1962, Croydon proposed a temporary college in rented accommodation which could be continued later as a permanent college, for which sites were in mind. Negotiations followed.
I regret very much that my right hon. Friend turned down this proposal, in a letter which I should like to quote, because it has some relevance. It is a letter of 13th March, 1964. My right hon. Friend stated:Now that the initial planning of this further expansion programme is virtually complete it has become clear that it will not be practicable to include within it any of the proposals for the building of new colleges that have been submitted by the Croydon and other local education authorities.That seemed depressing to a go-ahead authority like mine, but I am bound to say that my right hon. Friend qualified it a little later in his letter:The Minister is, however, reviewing the overall position in the Greater London area in the light of the plans of existing colleges and would like to explore the possibility of establishing a new day college catering primarily for mature students, provided that this would be achieved in suitable existing premises at a comparatively small capital investment".He concluded:There seems to be a better prima facie case, having regard to the location of existing colleges and lines of communication for teaching practice, for setting up the college to the north of the River Thames".875 That brings us back to the principal arguments used by the Parliamentary Secretary in the debate four-and-a-half years ago. The Ministry seem to accept all our arguments, but they do not seem to think that they can put the college south of the Thames. I submit that this is a wrong view, and I am reinforced in my opinion by what the Robbins Report said.
But before I go on to that, may I remind my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary why we in Croydon think that our area is the right place in which to site a further teacher-training college. First of all, there are all the advantages of location. We have an unrivalled Position near London, a wonderful centre of transport, both into London and out towards the coast. Although it is true that we are in the densely populated south-eastern area, the fact remains that that is where the new teacher material is so largely located, and surely it makes sense to establish the college where we have the material to hand and not in parts of the country where it has to be imported from outside.
Croydon has recently become one of the Greater London boroughs. Its population has risen to nearly 330,000, and that gives us a tremendous source of recruitment for this purpose.
If the question of sites arises, we have two very suitable sites available now. Of course, we should like to make use of them as soon as possible—there are other candidates for them—but we should like to see a teacher training college established on one of them. Also, our proximity to London enables us to offer great opportunities both for teaching posts and for the acquisition of further qualifications.
Another vital matter for teachers under training is that, within the borough, we have quite unrivalled opportunities for teaching practice while students are training. We have all types of schools and a very high reputation as an authority. We should like the new college to be associated with our technical college and college of art.
This, I suggest, would square with what the Robbins Report itself suggested in paragraph 489:But more colleges of education may need to be established in the next few years in large centres of population"—876 I stress those words, "in large centres of the population"—particularly if the aim is to attract, as day students, a number of the older entrants that the teaching profession will need in the approaching crisis.… When new foundations are contemplated we would recommend experiments with institutions that bridge the traditional gap between colleges for the education of teachers and institutions of further education which prepare their students for other professions.We are in a unique position to cope with that in Croydon because we have our technical college, with all its resources, ready to hand.
If a very quick solution is required—it may well be that we need a quick solution, in view of the urgency of the problem—Croydon would gladly revive its proposal for a day training college, if necessary, in rented accommodation. This has been proposed before and rejected. If speed is of the essence, we should be quite prepared to put it forward again.
Another factor to be stressed is that we are already acknowledged as a first-rate education authority thoroughly capable, and having the necessary resources and experience, of administering a new institution like this. We have our new technical college now. At the time of the last Adjournment debate, 4½ years ago, it was not completed and it seemed then a very large and ambitious project. Today, when it is finished and functioning, we realise that, even now, it is not big enough. We have that college, the college of art, many new schools and a teacher and adult education centre. One is dealing here, therefore, with an authority thoroughly equipped to take on a big new responsibility of this kind.
It will not have escaped my hon. Friend's notice that Croydon has almost the highest percentage in the country of children remaining at school voluntarily after 15 years of age. This brings me again to the point that we have in Croydon a wonderful pool of 16-year-old girls all set for the teaching profession if only my hon. Friend would make his bid for them now. This is, of course, a very competitive time, and the best way of making a bid is to have the college set up locally. Otherwise, others will get in ahead and one will be short of recruits when the time comes.
877 I return to the point about population growth. A few days ago we had an interesting debate on the South-East, to which I made a contribution. The figure which dominated all our discussion and around which most of the debate revolved was the expected increase of 3½ million in the population of the southeastern area between 1961 and 1981. No less than 2½ million of that increase was expected to be due to the natural exuberance and fertility of the people living in the area. These are the people about whom I am speaking.
The argument that one must concentrate training colleges away from people and industries does not make sense. It may be the planner's solution, but it is not the real one. Colleges must be placed where there exists the material to use them, and that is what I am urging on my hon. Friend. I urge him to build on the sure foundations which exist in Croydon. Although he may not concede everything I have said this afternoon, he should at least say that in the light of the increased investment in education with which we are now confronted, the increasing population and the admirable facilities which exist in Croydon, he will reconsider this matter with an open mind. His predecessor, winding up the debate 4½ years ago, said:My hope is that it will be Croydon which will assure us that this door remains open ".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th November, 1959; Vol. 613, c. 1312.]The door has remained open for 4½ years and the wind of change has been blowing through it. Will my hon. Friend now step through it, take note of all the considerations I have laid before him and recognise that, in this necessity of increased teacher provision, in Croydon we have the ideal place and we are at the ideal time to site a new teacher-training college?
§ 3.58 p.m.
§ Mr. Merlyn Rees (Leeds, South)
I congratulate the hon. Member for Croydon, South (Sir R. Thompson) for raising the question of a teacher training college in his constituency. Although I represent a part of a northern city, I support his arguments and can assure him that if there is any possibility of increasing teacher supply by means of a training college in the south of England, that will be to the benefit of 878 the country as a whole, and that will be the main burden of my remarks.
Teacher supply is the greatest problem which will face us in the coming 10 years. The hon. Member for Croydon, South repeated the figures which the Minister gave in January, that with the present facilities for teacher-training we will be 35,000 teachers short by the end of the decade and that when the school-leaving age is raised we shall be 70,000 to 75,000 short. Thus as long as we can get more suitable teachers, wherever the training colleges are sited, that will be all to the good.
By the end of the decade we shall have trained 280,000 women teachers, yet there will be only 10,000 extra women teachers in our schools because of the earlier age at which people are marrying and other considerations which are well known. Whichever party is in power will have to do its utmost to increase teacher supply, particularly because of the loss of women from the profession.
I wish to make a few suggestions and although I do not know Croydon well, my remarks will in large measure follow those of the hon. Member. I will first refer to the question of a day training college for mature students. It looks as if this is a line where the hon. Member might achieve some success because in Leeds a number of years ago—
§ It being Four o'clock, the Motion for the Adjournment of the House lapsed, without Question put.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—[Mr. MacArthur.]
In Leeds a few years ago the Sir James Graham Training College was opened for mature students. This is a line of approach which needs investigation. I am sure, from what the hon. Member said, that this is something in which the new Greater London borough of Croydon would help the country as a whole. In this instance I understand that the Leeds City Corporation had to fight hard to get this college. I am convinced that there are a large number of men who may already have the G.C.E. in five or six subjects but who left school and missed academic training in the last 10 to 15 years, but 879 whom we could get back into teacher-training even if they are in their thirties. We must concentrate on getting more teachers, for the reasons which I have just adduced.
There is one suggestion which is relevant only to the London area. As the Parliamentary Secretary knows, the various Institutes of Education have different constitutions and methods in different parts of the country, but in London the Institute of Education gets its money via the University Grants Committee. It has a teaching institute in Bloomsbury, but is also has some control over or connection with the various training colleges in its area. Would it not be possible, given the variety of teacher training institutions in the Greater London area, for the London University Institute of Education to have at least an annexe in Croydon in association with the borough council for training as few in the first year as 30 or 40 adult men and women, and preferably more men than women? There must be accommodation there. The Institute has its own teaching staff and it has connections with many teacher training colleges throughout the London area. I should have thought that it was not beyond the wit of the principals of the colleges and of the Institute to make at least a beginning in association with the Croydon Borough Council.
I was interested to read the other day of what I think is some sort of private venture, though I imagine with some overall blessing from the Ministry, that Trent Park Training College in Middlesex got in touch with the Southend College of Technology with the result that some of its students do their first-year training in the Southend College. I imagine that with some buccaneering on the part of Croydon, in association with the Ministry, this also could be done in the case of the Croydon Technical College.
There has been much discussion this week about the redeployment of teachers and we are awaiting the Plowden Report. I say in the Teacher this weekend that the Chief Education Officer of Leeds argues in favour of redeployment of teachers at the infant school level. All this is an interesting discussion as we 880 eagerly await the Plowden Report, but, above all, we must have more teachers. This is the only solution for the terrible situation which will develop in the schools. I say "terrible" because the Ministry has underestimated, particularly in the South-East, the number of children who will be in school in the next decade. I wish more power to the elbow of the hon. Member for Croydon, South. The more schemes of the kind he suggests we can have, however small, the better for the future of education in the country as a whole.
§ 4.5 p.m.
§ Mr. James Boyden (Bishop Auckland)
I congratulate the hon. Member for Croydon, South (Sir R. Thompson) on his persistence and I hope that today he is pushing at an open door. I can speak with considerable objectivity since I regret very much the inability of the Government to check the drift to the South. At the same time, the problem of supplying an adequate number of teachers is so great that the Under-Secretary will have to bring some cogent arguments to bear to convince me that Croydon is not a suitable place for at least a day training college and almost certainly, I would say, for a full college.
When I looked at a map of the training colleges in the South-East and London area, I noticed a large gap between Streatham and the coast—Brighton, Eastbourne and Seaford. I should have thought that there probably should have been a training college, not only in Croydon, but also, as an experiment, in Crawley—and this is without a claim from Newton Aycliffe and Bishop Auckland. I hope very much that the Under-Secretary will be able to give consideration to that gap.
I know that the hon. Gentleman is worried about the number of practice places in the schools, but the excellent fast rail communications from Croydon and the excellent bus services would make it possible to go into almost every place within a 10-mile radius and drain the orange so that the pips squeak. I should be surprised if there was not still a considerable number of places which could be used for school practice to which Croydon has admirable access.
The 80,000 places that the Ministry is providing by 1970–71 at a cost of £7 881 million spread over the three years 1964–67 have to be set against the extra expansion recommended by the Robbins Committee of 111,000 students by 1973 and 131,000 towards the end of the 1970s.
I was very encouraged today to see that The Times Educational Supplement comments favourably upon the document produced a few days ago by the Labour Party concerning the teacher training programme. I quote a paragraph from the article, which quotes again a letter in The Times from my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White):In her gloss on this, in a letter to The Times, Mrs. Eirene White makes it plain that, while they hope to carry out Robbins, if its programme for the universities should get in the way of a new programme for enlarging the teacher training colleges it would be the one to suffer. In other words the Labour Party has decided to `get the foundations right' and put the schools first. The major task becomes reducing the size of classes by swelling the number of teachers. If necessary, increasing provision for the abler minority will be sacrificed to increasing provision for the majority of ordinary children.As someone who has campaigned for 30 years or more for what the Robbins Committee has recommended, I should be one of the people whom The Times Educational Supplement describes as terrifyingly optimistic. I hope that both the Robbins recommendations for higher education and the extra training college programme will be achieved. I am critical of the Government in this context in not going as fast as they could. I hope that there will be a drop of consolation today when the Under-Secretary of State tells us that Croydon will get a good training college.
The sentence to which I have referred in The Times Educational Supplement states thatIf Labour, like most politicians, appear terrifyingly optimistic, at least they have got their priorities right. No one can say that they have forgotten Newsom and the average child.I would quite like to be labelled "terrifyingly optimistic" in this field.
My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees) was, I thought, at one with the hon. Member for Croydon, South in referring to the obvious excellence of Croydon for day training facilities—I do not say a day training college—particularly catering for 882 mature students. My hon. Friend was absolutely right when referring to his own training college in the City of Leeds, which has been a pioneer in day training. I believe that I am correct in saying that when it started there were ten times as many applicants as there were places to fill and that a large number of those applicants were highly suitable for training.
I would have thought that Croydon also has a considerable number of advantages in maximising the number of mature students who would come forward. It has very varied industries and it has an excellent cultural life. I remember that in the library committee, only a few weeks ago, we were discussing the excellence of the library at Penge, which, with small resources, was doing a very wonderful job. It has a great reputation for languages. I would have thought that with day training facilities established with the enthusiasm of the Croydon authority, a great many mature people would come forward who otherwise would be missed.
I would suggest to the Under-Secretary that a start could be made with a similar experiment starting in October to the one referred to by the hon. Member for Leeds, South, in collaboration between the technical college and the embryo training college. I would have thought that in the Croydon technical college there could be refresher courses for mature people with the right academic qualifications who could come at once into teaching given a certain amount of encouragement and a small amount of teacher training. This means married women who already have academic qualifications and men and women from industry, and I think that there could also be a development there of the four-term training college for technical college lecturers which is going on in a rather small way and not making much impact in some of the technical training colleges.
In the Minister's last annual report only 25 students were in the year under discussion in the technical training college short courses of four terms. However, expansion is taking place and I would have thought that Croydon would have been an excellent place for starting with this as a growth point for further teacher training. I would have 883 thought, as well, that the refresher courses for married women "returners" might well be located in this complex of technical college-training college such as I am suggesting for Croydon.
The L.C.C. has had considerable success in getting married women who are very "rusty" back to the profession by giving them refresher courses on full pay. Here is another growing point which could operate in Croydon and prepare the way for a full training college in perhaps two years' time. These are things that could be done this autumn with the minimum of preparation.
There is a need which I feel that Croydon could provide admirably and which I do not feel that the Ministry has applied its mind anything like enough to. There is a move now to make more provision for the training of teachers for educationally subnormal children but there seems no comparable move to carry this further and give a great deal more training in all, or nearly all, the training colleges in the handling of backward children.
I referred to this in a debate last Friday week without much success of getting anyone to notice it, but I would urge on the Parliamentary Secretary that Croydon would be an admirable place in which there should be a specialised department in its training college for teaching teachers to teach educationally subnormal children and backward children. There are educational subnormal day schools at Beddington, Mitcham and Thornton Heath. There are boarding schools at Balcombe and Red-hill and there is a day school at Crawley. I would have thought that all these schools were easily accessible to Croydon and schools in which the teaching places for students would be easy to arrange. There are other schools in the neighbourhood which are perhaps a little more awkward to get at like Bramley and Cranleigh, where places for teaching practice could be found.
I urge very strongly on the Under-Secretary that Croydon would make an admirable place for this. The hon. Member for Croydon, South quoted Robbins and referred to the need to train social workers with teachers and he suggested that Croydon would be good from 884 this point of view. There is a great complex of social work in a town the size of Croydon and with its allied smaller towns, and I have always held that the training of teachers would be very much improved by training with teachers social workers of as varied a nature as possible. I think that it was the Fulton Committee which made reference to this in recommending that this should be a development.
It seems, therefore, that Croydon is highly suitable for this sort of development. So, perhaps without completely deserting my need to represent the North-East, on this occasion I support one growth point in the South-East, and I hope that the Under-Secretary of State will be able to give a favourable answer to his hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, South.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Christopher Chataway)
I should like to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, South (Sir R. Thompson) on his good fortune, and on the way he presented his case for a teacher training college in his own borough. I know that this is a subject in which he has taken interest for a considerable time, as has my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. F. Harris). Indeed, my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, North-West raised this matter on the Adjournment only a few years ago.
My hon. Friend, of course, was absolutely right to say that this has been a matter of discussion between my Department and the Croydon local education authority for some time. He introduced his speech with some general reflections about the teacher supply problem and the sort of difficulties which we are likely to face in the years ahead. My hon. Friend suggested that new factors had arisen which now falsified some of the assumptions made in our current plan for the expansion of teacher training colleges, and he referred to the Report of the Robbins Committee. I must point out to him that the Robbins Committee Report, although it was in many ways an expansionist document—indeed, too expansionist for The Times Educational Supplement, from which the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Boyden) quoted—nevertheless accepted that the 885 expansion which the Government proposed for the 'sixties was as much as could be managed in the teacher training colleges.
The Robbins Committee did, therefore, accept the target of 80,000 which the Government had previously announced for the teacher training colleges. Moreover, there have been no further estimates of population and growth as yet to falsify the assumptions on which the Robbins Committee was working. So I think it should be accepted at the outset that we are embarked on a very large expansion indeed of the teacher training colleges. The figures, as the House will know, have already moved from 28,000 in 1957–58 to 54,000 this year, and by 1970 there will have been a trebling in the population of the teacher training colleges in a period of 12 years.
The hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees) and the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland went a little wider in their speeches and touched on a number of points to which I shall hope to refer in a moment. I was a little taken aback, however, that they should still speak with such enthusiasm of the Labour plans for teacher supply which were announced earlier this week, and if I am not mistaken The Times Educational Supplement, in bestowing these bouquets on the Labour Party, had not yet heard that the plans have gone into reverse and are cancelled. It therefore seems a trifle incautious for the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland to take quite so much credit for what was said about realism.
§ Mr. Chataway
There is a good deal else I could say about the comments made on the Report. What the Report actually said I think we shall probably never know, but whether it was one in twenty of the recommendations, it was certainly the recommendation which caught the public eye and was, I suppose, the major recommendation. It was certainly a puzzle to us on this side of the House that what had been taken to be a Labour plan should have been scrapped quite as suddenly as all that.
The hon. Member for Leeds, South fell into another error which was 886 apparently committed by some of the spokesmen at the meeting at which the Labour plan was announced. He said that the Government had underestimated the difficulties likely to be faced in the matter of teacher supply in the next few years. His hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) said the same thing at that Press conference, and then went on to quote the same figures which my right hon. Friend the former Minister of Education had been using and publicising for some months past.
Croydon has one of the first requirements for a teacher-training college, namely, an authority which is enthusiastic to undertake this responsibility. Although I have to suggest to the House that there are many cogent reasons why it would be, wrong to place a teacher-training college in Croydon at the moment, I should like to express my right hon. Friend's appreciation for the way in which Croydon has been so ready to help in the training of teachers over these years.
When in 1958 the first major expansion was embarked upon, this was done in the light of certain principles recommended by the National Advisory Council on the Training and Supply of Teachers. These included three important considerations: first, proximity to a university; secondly, convenient location in relation to teaching practice facilities; thirdly, special regard to areas which were not at present well served locally by teacher training institutions. It was also then recommended that the optimum size of a college for economic running, both educational and financial, should be taken into account in planning the expansion.
It was therefore right to concentrate the great bulk of the expansion on the established colleges with the object of bringing about an appreciable increase in college sizes, particularly then in the light of the implications of lengthening the training course from two to three years. Only limited provision could therefore be made at that time for the founding of new colleges, and inevitably there were more viable proposals than could be entertained within the scope of the expansion then authorised.
887 The case for a new college at Croydon was, unfortunately, clearly weaker than most other cases. Frankly, it did not match up to the criteria which were recommended by the National Advisory Council. Not only is Croydon not particularly close to a university centre, but it lies to the south of the area south and south-west of London which already contains a very heavy concentration of training colleges. This inevitably raises severe doubts about the desirability of adding yet another training college to this concentration.
To have done so would obviously have added to the teaching practice difficulties of the colleges in the area which will become even more severe as the expansion of the number of students continues throughout this decade. In fact, about 25 per cent. of all training college students in England and Wales are in training colleges within the area of the University of London Institute of Education and most of these colleges are within the South London concentration.
These objections to the establishment of a new college at Croydon naturally still held good when Croydon's proposal for a permanent college was resubmitted in February of last year in relation to the current scheme for the expansion of training college numbers to 80,000 by 1970–71. This current expansion programme is based essentially on the intensive use of the existing teaching facilities of all established colleges, and it was clear from the start that there would be little possibility of building any new college as part of the current expansion. In the event—as, I think, my hon. Friend recognized—it has proved to be the case that there will be no new purpose-built college within the 80,000 expansion scheme.
My hon. Friend rightly drew attention to paragraph 489 of the Robbins Report, in which it was suggested that there might be a closer link between the training of teachers and the training of those who are entering other professions, but he will have noticed that, in the immediately preceding paragraph, the Committee also stressed the importance it attached to the enlargement of the size of colleges. Indeed, paragraph 319 888 suggested that, in the long-term, a college of less than 750 students should be regarded as exceptional. I would not wish to attach any magic whatsoever to that particular figure, but I believe that we are right to concentrate generally on the expansion of existing colleges, because it is important that the average size of colleges should be enlarged.
There, then, are the three major difficulties. First, the size of colleges, which means that we are anxious not to see a multiplicity of small colleges created in the course of this great expansion. Second, teaching practice. It is the fact that within six miles of Croydon there are six training colleges already and, within five miles, five training colleges. There will, as expansion proceeds, be increasing difficulties about supplying the necessary teaching practice. Thirdly, the existing spread of colleges. Colleges are, at the moment, heavily concentrated in this particular area, and although there may be a gap, as has been suggested, between the South of London and the coast, there cannot on any sensible basis for planning be much of a case for increasing the number of colleges in South London.
The one remaining possibility is that it might be found right and proper to establish within the Greater London area a small temporary day college for mature students. I agree largely with what was said by the hon. Member for Leeds, South about the importance of day colleges for students. We are anxious to expand these provisions. Already there is such a college in London—the Sidney Webb College—and some of the existing teacher training colleges in the neighbourhood of Croydon provide opportunities for mature students. I can point to this possibility although I must reiterate to my hon. Friend the view that has already been expressed that it may well prove better to locate this additional day college in North London rather than South of the Thames.
I do not want today to rule out completely the possibility of a teacher training college coming to Croydon one day, but I must point out to my hon. Friend that the difficulties to which my predecessor referred in his last Adjourn- 889 ment debate still exist, and I must say to him frankly that, at the moment, I see no possibility of a permanent, orthodox teacher training college being established in his borough.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Adjourned accordingly at half-past Four o'clock till Tuesday, 2nd June pursuant to the Resolution of the House yesterday.