HC Deb 10 March 1955 vol 538 cc591-2
13 and 15. Mr. M. Stewart

asked the Minister of Education (1) what representations were made to his Department in 1953, 1954, and the present year, respectively, by the Governors of the Educational Foundation for Visual Aids, asking for financial assistance for the production of advanced science films; and what replies were made; and

(2) whether he has considered the proposals sent to him by the Educational Foundation for Visual Aids for the production of 50 science films to assist in the advanced teaching of that subject; what estimate he was given of the cost of production; and what assistance he proposes to give.

Sir D. Eccles

In September, 1953, the governors asked for an annual grant of £50,000 for the production of science and other films. During 1954 they informed my predecessor, and later myself, that they intended to give priority to science films, four of which have so far been made at an average cost of £2,400 each. I have had correspondence and discussions with the governors, and I am shortly going to talk over with the local authority associations the whole question of the educational value of films.

Mr. Stewart

Is it not the case that the local authorities are inhibited by the economies urged on them by the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor from using these films on a scale which would make production commercially possible? Is it not, therefore, all the more incumbent upon the right hon. Gentleman to give the Foundation the help which it was originally led to suppose it would have?

Sir D. Eccles

I have looked carefully into this matter. The facts are that some people doubt the value of films, others would prefer more books and others would prefer laboratory assistants. I think I must examine the relative merits of spending money in one direction or the other.

Mr. Wade

Is the Minister aware that the four films to which he referred have been very highly praised by science teachers? Is he also aware that if a grant were made industry would be prepared to contribute and probably would double the value of the grant?

Sir D. Eccles

I have had the hon. Member's idea in mind.