LEAs (Training Grants)

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4 July 1989.

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Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley , Glanford and Scunthorpe 12:00, 4 July 1989

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what plans he has to increase the financial support available to local education authorities through the local education authority training grants scheme.

Photo of Mrs Angela Rumbold Mrs Angela Rumbold , Mitcham and Morden

I announced our plans on 16 May, in a reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Wanstead and Woodford (Mr. Arbuthnot). We propose to increase the expenditure which attracts the higher rate of grant by £36 million, or 43 per cent., and to reduce the expediture which attracts the lower rate of grant by £35 million, or 27 per cent.

Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley , Glanford and Scunthorpe

Is the Minister aware that the total expenditure of the LEA training grant scheme between this year and next will be increased by only 1·4 per cent? That is a substantial cut in real terms. On top of that, the grant to LEAs for training schemes will be cut from 70 to 65 per cent., at a time when LEAs and teachers are being asked to do more and more training because of the national curriculum, local management systems and various schemes introduced by the Government. How will it help to expect them to do more and more with fewer and fewer resources, and how will that help teachers' morale?

Photo of Mrs Angela Rumbold Mrs Angela Rumbold , Mitcham and Morden

The training grant scheme needs to be looked at together with the other main specific grant programme—education support grants. Many of the ESG programmes also support training, and in 1990–91 training grants and education support grants will together support the largest ever specific education grant programme, costing £355 million.

Photo of Mr Bob Dunn Mr Bob Dunn , Dartford

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is about time that we had a review of all aspects of training and training grants? Does she agree that it is strange that we should have four great Departments of state all involved with training, when we should really have one Department for training, which should be called the Department of Education and Training?

Photo of Mrs Angela Rumbold Mrs Angela Rumbold , Mitcham and Morden

I note my hon. Friend's views on the way in which departmental responsibilities for training should be organised. Bearing in mind the great sum that is spent on teacher training, it is vital that the money is well directed. It is a simple-minded illusion to suggest that more input means greater vaue. What really matters is the way in which the money is spent. We must ensure that training, including in-service training, is prepared and managed in such a way that it achieves the best possible results for teachers.

Photo of Mr Win Griffiths Mr Win Griffiths , Bridgend

Does the Minister recognise that the question is about specific grants to local authorities for the training of teachers in service? Is he aware that at a time when local authorities are being asked to expand training for teachers—in view of the national curriculum, the new local financial management and other initiatives being taken by the Government for training teachers—rather than reducing expenditure in real terms, as is happening, and at the same time reducing the amount of money available to local authorities by way of direct support for other national priority areas, the Government should be massively increasing spending on teacher training, irrespective of Government spending in other areas?

Photo of Mrs Angela Rumbold Mrs Angela Rumbold , Mitcham and Morden

The hon. Gentleman sadly misunderstands the situation. There has been a huge increase in the amount of money for in-service training. It is vital for local authorities to study the way in which that money is managed to ensure that the best possible value is given to the teachers who receive the training. If that is not done, there will be no point in adding further resources in this sphere, for the management of the money governs the way in which the teachers benefit.