HC Deb 02 July 1930 vol 240 cc1960-2
51. Dr. HUNTER (for Mr. SCOTT)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that in primary schools science, mechanics, bench work, cookery, laundry work, dressmaking, hessian-embroidery, cane and raffia work, leather work, ball making, and paper folding, etc., are regularly taught to pupils under 12 or 14, many of whom have not passed the elementary qualifying examination; and whether he will take steps to eliminate or decrease the teaching of such subjects at least at earlier stages of the pupil's career so that the pupil's energies may be concentrated on the essential subjects of reading, writing, arithmetic, history, and geography?

The SECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Mr. William Adamson)

I am aware that the subjects mentioned are taught to a number of pupils who have not passed the qualifying test. Some of these manual subjects form a valuable part of the training of the younger children. Others are appropriately included in the curriculum of older pupils whose aptitudes are not for book work. I have no reason to think that in either case an undue amount of time is given to these manual and practical subjects and, therefore, I do not feel that the change suggested in the last part of the question is called for.


Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that this question is based upon an erroneous idea of the real purpose of the occupations mentioned in the question?

52. Dr. HUNTER (for Mr. SCOTT)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that the simple qualifying test examination in primary schools (i.e., prior to senior advanced divisions or post-qualifying courses) is optional, and is conducted by an examining board composed usually of teachers and the executive officers; under how many authorities, and in how many schools in Scotland, no qualifying test examination is held; whether the teachers have the power to withhold or veto the qualifying test examination; whether that examination is unofficial or is recognised by the Department; and whether in the interests of both primary and advanced education, he will cause the qualifying test examination to be made compulsory upon all pupils, and have it made official and conducted under the supervision of His Majesty's inspectors of schools, and therefore uniform in character?


I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to his question of 6th June, 1930, to which I have nothing to add.

53. Dr. HUNTER (for Mr. SCOTT)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, in order to ascertain the real position of elementary education in Scotland, he will state the gross number on the rolls of elementary schools with numbers in average attendance, the gross number in the qualifying class, the number of these who entered for the qualifying test, and the numbers who passed the qualifying test, adding numbers of non-entrants and exemptions; and whether he will give instructions that full information under these heads will be tabulated in future annual reports of the Committee of Council on Education in Scotland, so that by a comparison of the gross number in the qualifying class with the numbers who passed the qualifying test the real results of primary education may be obtained?


The average number on the rolls of primary schools in Scotland in the year 1928–29 was 654,199, and the average attendance was 584,473. The information at my disposal is not sufficiently detailed to enable me to give the other figures asked for my the hon. Member. I will consider the suggestion made in the last part of the question, but I cannot accept the view that the real results of any form of education can be completely shown in statistical form.

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