HC Deb 13 July 1950 vol 477 cc1533-4
33. Mr. Hurd

asked the Minister of Education what advice his Department gives to local education authorities about the inclusion of boxing in the physical training syllabus at boys' schools.

36. Mr. Deedes

asked the Minister of Education whether boxing in national boys' schools is among the sports approved by his Department.

Mr. Tomlinson

It is not my practice to say whether boxing or any other subject of instruction should be included in the school curriculum, which is a matter for the local education authorities and the schools to determine. I have issued no published advice about the teaching of boxing in schools, but it is, in fact, taught on a voluntary basis at many, but by no means all, maintained secondary schools for boys.

Mr. Hurd

Will the Minister pursue this sensible policy and impress on his colleagues that the greater the success which the Minister of Education has in ensuring physical fitness, the less work there will be for the Minister of National Insurance to do?

Mr. Tomlinson

I do not think that the prejudices of the Minister of Education should enter into the fixing of the curriculum; otherwise, I might be tempted to substitute soccer for rugby.

Mr. Deedes

Will the right hon. Gentleman resist any attempt to substitute for this manly sport lectures on the rule of law?

Mr. Tomlinson

I should resist any attempt to interfere with the right of the local education authorities and the teachers to determine their own curricula.

Mrs. Mann

Is the only training for physical fitness to be found in the knowledge of how to deliver good, hard punches and how to knock another man's eye out?

Mr. Odey

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind in this connection the principle of collective Cabinet responsibility?

Mr. Tomlinson

It is no good putting these questions to me; I am not an authority on the subject.