HC Deb 05 July 1951 vol 489 cc2484-5
34. Mr. Hollis

asked the Minister of Education whether it is the policy of his Department that comprehensive schools be organised on a curriculum pattern or on an ability pattern.

Mr. Hardman

My right hon. Friend does not attempt to lay down the basis on which the curricula of grant-aided schools should be drawn up. This is a matter for the authorities of the individual school, subject only to the overriding consideration, laid down in the Act, that the pupils shall be educated according to their different ages, abilities and aptitudes.

Mr. Hollis

Would it not be very much better if the Socialist Party did not undertake propaganda in favour of the principle of the comprehensive school until they had found out how the comprehensive school will work?

Mr. Hardman

I am not quite sure what is in the hon. Gentleman's mind. Any political party or any organisation interested in education has a perfect right to express its views. If the hon. Gentleman is referring to a pamphlet called "A Policy for Secondary Education," there are very many suggestions in it but I think that there is very little that is dogmatic in its pages.

Mr. Cove

Is my hon. Friend aware that the most noted comprehensive school in this country is Eton, and that Rugby is also a comprehensive school? Would he not agree that what is good for the scholars at Eton and Rugby is also good for the ordinary, normal scholars throughout the country?

Mr. Hardman

Not having been to Eton myself, I am not quite sure of the answer to that question.