HC Deb 07 July 1955 vol 543 cc1300-1
52. Mr. J. Johnson

asked the Minister of Education the numbers of private independent schools in England and Wales and how many of these have been inspected by his Department within the last two years.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education (Mr. Dennis Vosper)

There are about 4,900 independent schools in England and Wales. Since January, 1953, formal reports have been made to my right hon. Friend on 538, but no record is kept of the number of visits paid to all these schools by Her Majesty's Inspectors in the normal course of their duty.

Mr. Johnson

Is the Minister aware that the public feels that his Department inspects too few of these schools, and that those that are inspected are the better public schools—the good ones—and the vicious ones are not. This is most disquieting. What is he doing to get more inspectors to inspect the less desirable schools on the list of independent schools?

Mr. Vosper

I do not think that there is any reason to suggest that less frequent visits are paid to any independent schools than to maintained schools. In any case, these inspections are no substitute for Part III of the Act, in respect of which active preparations are now in train.