HC Deb 16 December 1937 vol 330 cc1326-7
51 and 52. Sir P. Hannon

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education (1) whether he can make a general statement on the measure in which the teaching of the history, economic conditions and forms of government of the various parts of the Colonial Empire are being taught in secondary and elementary schools in Great Britain; and whether any special steps have been taken by the Government to encourage instruction of this nature in all State-aided schools;

(2) whether any recent suggestions have been issued to local education committees for the encouragement of the teaching of the constitutional structure, history, and economics of the self-governing Dominions in elementary and secondary schools; and whether he will make a statement on the extent to which instruction of this nature is included in school programmes in Great Britain?

Mr. Lindsay

As the hon. Member is no doubt aware, the Board do not prescribe any particular curriculum for the schools, although publications are issued from time to time designed to help the teachers to frame curricula most suited to the needs of their particular schools. The teaching of history, like other subjects of the curriculum, comes under inspection in all State-aided schools in the normal course and reports furnished by His Majesty's inspectors to the Board show that the subjects mentioned by my hon. Friend are taken into account. A number of references to various aspects of Empire history are included in the chapter on history in the Board's Handbook of Suggestions for Teachers in Elementary Schools published at the beginning of this year. So far as the secondary schools are concerned, some suggestions with regard to the subject were made in the report of the investigators into the school certificate examination published in 1931. In 1930 the Board published an educational pamphlet on the teaching of Empire geography in post-primary schools. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of each of these publications.

Sir P. Hannon

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware of the immense importance, from the point of view of the promotion of the interests of the British Commonwealth of Nations, that our Imperiol history and the constitutional structure of our Dominions and Colonies should be taught in our schools in this country?

Mr. McGovern

Will the hon. Gentleman consider giving to the pupils some history of how Colonial labour has been exploited by Members of this House?