HC Deb 29 July 1952 vol 504 cc1248-9
20. Mr. M. MacPherson

asked the Secretary of State for War how it is intended to select pupils for the proposed school at Welbeck Abbey.

Mr. Head

The boys will be required to have the General Certificate of Education with passes at the ordinary level in mathematics, science and one other subject, or to have reached an equivalent standard, and to satisfy an interviewing board that they are suitable candidates.

Mr. MacPherson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that at the week-end one of the news items in the "Observer" stated that the purpose of the college would be to give education to boys who would otherwise have left school at 16? Will he say whether that is so? If it is so, will he further say by what means he intends to ensure that the proposed school will attract only those who would otherwise have left school at 16? May I further ask him whether he will assure the House that as much as possible will be done to draw pupils on as wide a social basis as possible?

Mr. Head

We want to draw pupils from a wide source. I know there is anxiety especially among headmasters, that we might draw away some of their best pupils whom they would like to remain on at school. We have told them that the total number we are taking, 150, should not be very serious. It is not our intention to go for the best pupils, but to go rather for boys interested in these particular subjects, who have a general all-round qualification to make officers.

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