§ 20. Sir D. Robertson
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that 11 candidates who recently sat a test for entry to the commercial course at Golspie Technical School were all failed, including at least one girl from Dornoch Academy with an excellent report; and if these candidates were "ploughed" for lack of merit or lack of places.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
My right hon. Friend understands that although there were places for two or three more students in this further education course, only 12 candidates reached the required standard in the entrance test conducted by the education authority. The authority decided that none of the remaining 11 candidates could be regarded as qualified to enter in view of their performance in the test.
§ Sir D. Robertson
If my hon. Friend is satisfied with that answer, I am not. Is 1748 it not quite ridiculous that a student who has gained 70 per cent. at Dornoch Academy, the leading school in Sutherland, as against an average of 50 per cent. for all the other students, is debarred from entering this technical school on the grounds that she is not competent? May I remind the Minister that the London County Council stated in their educational report that 78 per cent. of the students passed out into a commercial college education? Why cannot Sutherland have an equal opportunity?
§ Mr. Stewart
First, this is entirely a matter for the education authority, and the Secretary of State has no power to intervene. Secondly, most of the girls, including the young woman to whom my hon. Friend has referred in particular, failed because they did not reach an adequate standard in the English dictation test which is part of the entrance examination. I am afraid that we have to accept the decision of the education authority.
§ Sir D. Robertson
In view of the very unsatisfactory answer to my Question about 11 candidates, all of whom failed, I beg to give notice that I intend to raise this matter on the Adjournment.