§ 32. Sir Ernest Graham-Little
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education what were the reasons for altering in 1936 the composition of the Secondary School Examinations Council, which, prior to that date, was composed of 10 representatives of the eight university examining bodies, five representatives of the local authorities, and six of the teaching profession, but subsequently and up to the present time is composed of 10 representatives of the examining bodies, 10 representatives of the local authorities, and 10 representatives of the teaching profession; and whether he will revise the constitution of the council to accord with the original conception of the council as an advisory body, qualified to speak with authority on educational questions?
The change in the composition of the Secondary School Examinations Council was made, in view of the largely increased interest of the schools in the examinations, in order to give equivalent representation to the teachers, the local education authorities and the university examining bodies. My Noble Friend is at a loss to understand why it should be considered that this revision of the constitution of the council renders it less qualified to speak with authority on educational questions.
§ Sir E. Graham-Little
Does my hon. Friend really think that the local authorities are better qualified to decide on the educational value of courses in schools, than the governing bodies of the universities?
It is not for me to assess which is the more competent body, but 2158 the local authorities and the teachers are certainly entitled to a view on this matter.
§ 33. Sir E. Graham-Little
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he is aware that the chairman of the Secondary Schools Examinations Council expressed the opinion that the character of the secondary school certificate examination is no concern of the universities which, at the invitation of the Board of Education, conduct that examination in the schools; and whether the chairman, who was appointed by the President of the Board, in making this observation expressed the official view of the Board?
As regards the first part of the question, the letter to the "Times," to which my hon. Friend no doubt refers, does not appear to be susceptible of the construction which he seeks to place upon it. The letter was written by the chairman of the Secondary School Examinations Council in his capacity as chairman of that body, and not as representing the Board of Education.
§ Sir E. Graham-Little
In view of the fact that that letter was written by the chairman of the School Examinations Council, which was appointed by the Board, who signed it in his official capacity; and inasmuch as the letter does bear that interpretation, will my hon. Friend take steps to correct that impression?
I think, with respect to my hon. Friend, he has read into the letter something that is not there. The content of the letter was that the curriculum of the secondary schools, as distinct from the school certificate examinations, was no concern of the universities.