HC Deb 03 July 1956 vol 555 cc1148-9
33. Mrs. Mann

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if his attention has been drawn to the complaints made by parents concerning poor quality of school blazers and shrinkage of school caps provided for schools under his control; if he is aware that parents are directed to where these should be purchased; and if he will take steps to give parents freedom to choose what they consider to be the best value, commensurate with school colours, &c., from retailers who provide such.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

My right hon. Friend is not aware that any such complaints have been made by parents in Scotland. So far as is known, the parents of pupils attending public schools are free to buy school uniforms at any shops which stock them.

Mrs. Mann

It is really surprising to hear that reply. The British Standards Institution survey contains pages full of complaints from Scotland, and particularly from Edinburgh. It is a well-known practice of schools—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speech."]—to insist that blazers, caps, and so on, must be purchased——

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Lady has not yet asked a question. She is making a statement.

Mrs. Mann

Would the hon. Gentleman ask the Secretary of State to inform the schools that the parents are not to be obliged to buy from any firm in particular?

Mr. Stewart

This is a matter for the schools. It has nothing to do with the Secretary of State at all. In most cases, as in the hon. Lady's county, the authorities pass on the entire responsibility to the headmasters. I do not think that this is a Government responsibility.

Sir A. Gomme-Duncan

Does my hon. Friend not agree that it would appear from the hon. Lady's statements on her two Questions that it is right to control tomatoes and wrong to control school caps?