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Volume 124: debated on Friday 18 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps he intends to take in preparing to select governors for the polytechnics and other colleges of higher education to be transferred from local authority control under part 11 of the Education Reform Bill.

Subject to the successful passage of the Education Reform Bill, I would wish to appoint the new boards of governors as soon as possible after Royal Assent, so that they have time to make preparations before assuming full responsibility for the conduct of their institutions. I shall look to a number of sources for suggestions for the independent lay members; other members will be nominated by the bodies identified in the Bill. The director or principal is also to be a member.It is in the general interest that the transfer is as smooth as possible. Preparations are needed on a contingency basis before the Bill is passed. I am therefore taking steps to establish a small, informal group for each institution to help with identification of possible governors and to offer advice to the institution as it prepares for incorporation. Each group might have about five to six members, plus the director or principal. It would be desirable to include some members of the existing governing bodies. We are writing to chairman of the present governing bodies, and to the directors or principals of the institutions concerned, seeking their help in identifying suitable people.