HC Deb 09 July 1942 vol 381 cc922-3
22. Mr. Sorensen

asked the President of the Board of Education how many different versions of agreed syllabuses of religious instruction are in use by education committees; what attempt has been made to correlate or co-ordinate these whether any suggested syllabus of ethical instruction of a religious nature has been considered apart from the agreed syllabuses; what official committee is considering the need and nature of ethical instruction, who are its members; and whether, in his proposals, he will provide for the full progressive appreciation of ethical principles and democratic ideals and for preparation for this in the training colleges?

Mr. Ede

The Board have no record of the number of agreed syllabuses in use by local education authorities. The answers to the second, third and fourth parts of the Question are in the negative. In reply to the last part, while it is not the Board's practice to prescribe the content or methods of school instruction, their Handbook of Suggestions for Teachers emphasises the importance of fostering the progressive appreciation of ethical principles and democratic ideals. The part which the training colleges should play in this matter will no doubt be considered by the Committee my right hon. Friend has appointed to review the recruitment and training of teachers.

Mr. Sorensen

In view of the undoubted importance of the whole question of ethical and religious training, would it not be advisable to secure copies of these various agreed syllabuses now in operation in the country, and will the Committee which has been established give this point its most serious consideration?

Mr. Ede

With regard to the second part of the question, I have no doubt that the Committee on the recruitment and training of teachers will devote the appropriate amount of time to consider this, matter. With regard to the first part of the question, we are at present endeavouring to cut down as much as possible all unnecessary requirements by way of returns from local education authorities.

Professor Savory

Has my hon. Friend's attention been called to the religious syllabus of Northern Ireland, agreed to by the Church of Ireland and the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches, which has given universal satisfaction?

Mr. Ede

I have seen a copy of that syllabus; but I am an Englishman, and I like to have my religion made at home.

Mr. G. Griffiths

To which denomination does my hon. Friend belong?

Mr. Ede

Not to that of my hon. Friend.