HC Deb 28 July 1927 vol 209 cc1427-8
12 Major HILLS

asked the President of the Board of Education (1) what steps he is taking to require local education authorities to provide some form of post-primary education for all children over the age of 11 on the lines recommended by the Consultative Committee in its Report on the Education of the Adolescent;

(2) what administrative changes will be necessary to give effect to the recommendation that post-primary education should be of diverse types suited to the varying capabilities and future employment of the children, and should be given in selective and non-selective central schools as well as in those schools now classed as secondary, having regard to the fact that under the existing Education Acts authorities for elementary education can only establish and administer central schools but not secondary schools;

(3) whether he intends to take steps to put recommendation 34 of the Report into effect, namely, to introduce legislation to transfer to authorities for higher education all the powers and duties of the authorities for elementary education only in areas with less than a certain minimum standard of population, and to vest with full powers in respect of higher education the authorities in areas with more than that minimum standard; and, if so, what minimum standard does he propose?


As my Noble Friend the Parliamentary Secretary pointed out in the Debate on Tuesday, the provision of post-primary education for all children over 11 has been the main object of the Board's policy during the last 2½ years. The first step taken in this direction was the issue in March, 1925, of Circular 1358 calling for programmes from local authorities and, as I have stated, the trend of those programmes, which are now being actively carried out, corresponds closely with the recommendations of the Consultative Committee. Last March I took the further step of urging local authorities, through the County Councils Association, to undertake systematic surveys of the steps necessary in their areas to develop a course of study and standards of teaching which will make it worth while for the average child to continue his or her education up to the age of 15. The questions as to the scope and curriculum of schools and as to the present distribution of function as between different authorities, to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers, are under the constant consideration of the Board and local authorities, but their solution must inevitably be gradual. I think it has escaped the attention of my hon. and gallant Friend that Recommendation 34 of the Consultative Committee is not a recommendation for immediate action and must be read together with Recommendations 31 to 33.


Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that carrying out this reorganisation means considerable capital expenditure and alteration in buildings; and is he prepared to consider financial proposals involving calls for money from the Board to carry out these schemes?


Certainly, we are prepared to consider any proposals, but the point of the present situation is that I have already got the three-year programmes, all of which tend in this direction. If any local authority wished to put up to me a supplementary proposal, they would have, first, to undertake a further survey, which I have asked them to undertake. When I see the results of these surveys, I shall be glad to consider the situation again.

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