HC Deb 14 June 1956 vol 554 c750
30. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Minister of Education whether, as the result of the steps taken by his Department, every child is now receiving specific and systematic instruction as to the properties of alcohol as recommended by the Royal Commission on Licensing, 1929 to 1931.

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

My Department's handbook of suggestions on health education, designed for teachers and parents, contains a passage on alcohol, and I have no doubt that most pupils receive advice on this matter. My right hon. Friend agrees with the Royal Commission that teachers should be left free to handle it as they think best.

Mr. Henderson

Has the hon. Gentleman seen the latest Report of the Economic Research Council, published this morning, stating that there has been a disturbing increase in the number of persons under 21 convicted of drunkenness? Would it not be possible to arrange for the schools inspectorate to include in their reports to the Department some information on what is going on in schools so that Parliament can be informed of the position?

Mr. Vosper

I have not actually seen the Report to which the right hon. and learned Member referred, but my right hon. Friend is about to reissue the handbook on health education, and there will be a new passage in it referring to alcohol.

Mr. Awbery

Could the Minister instruct all local authorities to place this subject in the curriculum of elementary schools?

Mr. Vosper

My right hon. Friend does not impose a curriculum on local authorities or on schools, but I think teachers will make use of the recommendation to the best advantage.