by Jonathan Petre CARDINAL BASIL HUME this week pledged his support to Hopwood Hall, the teacher training college in Manchester run by the De La Salle Brothers, after the announcement by Sir Keith Joseph, Secretary of State for Education, that the college will lose its teacher training.
But Newman College, in Birmingham, is to be allowed to continue, a reprieve by the Secretary of State from the provisional proposals for teacher training colleges published in August.
In a statement issued early this week, Cardinal Hume gave his support to Bishop Thomas Holland, of Salford, who is Chairman of the Governors of Hopwood Hall, and said: "We shall fight."
England and Wales, which has been meeting this week, issued the following statement: "The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales rejects the decision of the Secretary of State of Education that teacher training should be discontinued at De La Salle College, Hopwood Hall, Manchester.
"The Bishops' Conference has directed the appropriate department of its Education Commission to challege this decision and to work to have it withdrawn."
Bishop Holland said that the Governors "find this proposal impossible to take, and do not intend to take it.
"We will be calling on the Government to think again and we will give very plain reasons why," he said.
The decision by Sir Keith represents a victory for Newman College, which has maintained a very vigorous campaign against the set of proposals issued in August, but Hopwood Hall, now it has lost its teacher training programme, is almost certain to close.
Brother Wilfred Costello, Principal of Hopwood Hall, expressed his "astonishment and great disappointment" at the decision.
"Up until the time of receiving the letter, which arrived on Monday afternoon, I was optimistic. All the signs seemed to show that we were due to be reprieved," he said.
The Governors of the College are to hold an emergency meeting today to discuss possible responses to the decision, particularly the possibility of legal action against the Department of Education and