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Education (Tayside)

Volume 978: debated on Wednesday 6 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is satisfied with the provision of education in Tayside.

Educational provision in Tayside compares satisfactorily with provision in the rest of Scotland.

Does the Minister realise that that answer confirms that his standards for education are, perhaps, just as low as his standards as regards the provision of jobs in Scotland? Does he remember the Adjournment debate last week and his failure to answer my question about the intention of Tayside regional council to phase out 30 posts, supported under Circular 991? Those teaching posts are in areas of deprivation. Does the Minister approve of Tayside regional council's action? If not, what proposals will he make to ensure that the funding of those teachers continues?

The staff complement of schools essentially concerns the regional authority. The most recent pupil-teacher ratios in Tayside compare very favourably with other areas of Scotland. That is our main guide for the provision of education in Scotland.

Does my hon. Friend recognise that the pilot scheme for schools in Tayside, promoted with the co-operation of teachers, further education lecturers and industry and which will lead to a mathematics course for those considering craft apprenticeships, is of considerable value, given the present skill bottleneck? Will he urge other education authorities to adopt a similar scheme?

Yes. This is an important scheme. I understand that about 16 schools are involved in Tayside. The regional authority has shown great initiative. I hope that other authorities will take advantage of the experience in Tayside and that they will follow this good example.

When the Minister visits Tayside on Friday, will he discuss with the Tayside regional authority its intentions as regards provisions for primary schools in the West End of Dundee? Will he indicate to the Tayside regional authority the outright opposition of all school councils and parents concerned, to its intentions?

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that reorganisation in school provision requires the approval of my right hon. Friend. Until such a scheme is submitted to us, it is not wise for us to comment.