asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has for providing extra teacher training colleges in Scotland.
A large programme is in hand for the expansion and modernisation of the facilities of the colleges of education, including a new college for 900 students due to open at Hamilton next October. My right hon. Friend has under review the possible need for an extension of the programme.
Can the hon. Lady say whether the programme has been cut back by the Secretary of State's request to local authorities to hold back expenditure for six months and to plan for reduced expenditure in the next financial year? What effect will these cuts have on the supply of teachers in Scotland during the next critical years?
There is only one area in which there is slight deferment, and this does not affect the number of places to be available next year. The unprecedented demand for places in the colleges requires us to look again at the programme for next year and the year following, and this is what we are doing.
How many prospective students were unable to gain places at the training colleges at the beginning of the year?
Because of the demand for places, it was necessary to limit acceptances to those who applied within the period and who were not late and to those of the correct minimum age. On that basis, we had to refuse 110 girls who applied for admission to the three-year diploma course and who were either under the minimum age of 17 or had not applied in time. That is all.