HC Deb 29 July 1954 vol 531 cc659-61
1 Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Education (1) what steps she is taking to encourage and develop the game of association football; and what grants she has made to voluntary bodies in this connection;

(2) if she will make a full statement on what action she intends taking to encourage physical fitness and sport of all kinds;

(3) if she will call a conference of representative people interested in sport in order to receive suggestions and advice for future action.

The Minister of Education (Miss Florence Horsbrugh)

Physical education forms part of the curriculum of all schools and of a great many establishments of further education. According to their age and sex children take part in a wide variety of games or sports, which will usually include association football for boys. Local education authorities also use their powers under Section 53 of the Education Act, 1944, to provide other facilities for physical training and recreation.

I make a substantial grant to the Central Council of Physical Recreation, which has close contacts with governing bodies of most national sports' organisations and which advises me on needs generally. I see no reason to call a conference or to suggest a change in our ways of encouraging young people to keep fit.

Mr. Smith

Will the Minister reconsider her answer in the light of the debate that took place last night and the excellent reply made by her Parliamentary Secretary? Will she consult her leading officials and then consider what action to take?

Miss Horsbrugh

I shall certainly consider the debate that took place last night, and also the excellent speech of my hon. Friend.

12. Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton

asked the Minister of Education whether, in view of the extent of juvenile crime, she will take steps to facilitate the provision of more courses, on the now well-tried principles of the Outward Bound schools, to divert the young into the interesting and healthy channels which they provide.

Miss Horsbrugh

I regret that I cannot add to the answer given to my noble Friend by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary on 8th July.

Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton

Bearing in mind the gap between the school-leaving age and the time of call up, does not my right hon. Friend think that a considerable extension of the type of training that is provided by the Outward Bound schools would have a tremendous effect not only in reducing juvenile crime but in diverting some of the activities of the "Edwardian" groups?

Miss Horsbrugh

The work that the schools are doing is excellent. I would remind my noble Friend that it is open to local education authorities to assist young people attending these courses and that their expenditure in this respect ranks for grant. I believe that local education authorities generally are aware of the work those schools are doing, and that it needs no further recommendation from me, but if it does I certainly say again in this House what tremendously good work they are doing.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Would the right hon. Lady specify what organised efforts are being made outside school hours to divert young people's minds into constructive channels?

Miss Horsbrugh

I think there are a very great many of them, such as through youth club schemes and further education. If the hon. and learned Gentleman would like details of any particular branch of these activities perhaps he would put a Question on the Order Paper.