by Kasia Giedroyc GILES RADICE, Shadow Education Spokesman, has pledged his party's support for the principle of "historic share" of Catholic teacher training places and promised to look again at the question of De la Salle College.
Last year, Sir Keith Joseph removed all teacher training places at De la Salle, Manchester's only Catholic Higher Education College.
Mr Radice, who was addressing the annual Conference of the Catholic Teacher's Federation at Hopwood Hall, Middleton, last week, admitted that it would he difficult to recreate the axed places at De la Salle, but he asured the Federation that labour recognised the loss of the teacher training places as a genuine grievance and would be prepared to discuss the matter in detail when it came to power.
He told the Conference that Labour was committed to the present dual system of voluntary and state-aided schools, but he made it clear that any Labour Government would expect voluntary schools to take account of the needs of local communities and to respect Local Authority policies.
Finally, he appealed for Catholic support for Labour's campaign for a "professionally trained, professionally rewarded and professionally committed teaching profession and a properly funded education system."
The President of the Federation, Mr Harry Leadbetter, urged Catholic teachers to look to the future. "Through teaching, caring, and the love of Christ we have to give our children the best in education, but also the opportunity to take part in all the latest developments in the educational field," he said.
The first of three public session resolutions passed by the Federation vigorously condemned the VAT charged on repairs to voluntary aided schools and called on the Chancellor, Nigel Lawson, "to remove this unjust burden forthwith."
The second resolution called on the bishops of England and Wales to promote an emergency programme for the training of RE specialists, and the third asked diocesan commissions and Catholic schools to respond positively and practically to the special educational needs of children highlighted in the 1981 Education Act.
see analysis, page 3