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Teacher's Centres

Volume 828: debated on Thursday 16 December 1971

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the number of teachers' centres in England and Wales.

I understand from the Schools Council that there are about 500 teachers' centres.

In view of the importance of the centres for in-service training, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether she is satisfied with the number and, more particularly, with the distribution of these centres throughout the country?

I am never satisfied. I have seen some of the work that is being done and it is excellent. I applaud the way in which local education authorities are going about this. Inevitably there are some much better than others, but I hope that there will be a steady improvement in number and quality.

Does the right hon. Lady agree that another aspect of preparedness for the raising of the school-leaving age, apart from accommodation and money, is the nature of the treatment of older children who stay on at school? Would she say what encouragement she is giving to teachers to play their part in this and to see that there is created for the older child a more adult atmosphere in school, away from the days of gym slips and pigtails, short trousers and school caps, so often associated with senior pupils in their last year?

Teachers have played a prominent part in curriculum presentation for raising the school-leaving age, through the Schools Council. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will read some of the Schools Council literature on this subject. It is distributed to the teachers through the teachers' centres and I know that teachers are finding it most valuable.