HC Deb 21 June 1956 vol 554 cc1625-6
41. Dr. King

asked the Minister of Education if he will arrange for Her Majesty's inspectors to include in their reports some reference to the schools' instruction of children on the properties of alcohol.

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

No, Sir. My right hon. Friend prefers to refer to this topic in his Department's handbook on health education and leave the teachers their freedom to make use of this guidance as they think fit.

Dr. King

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that for at least fifty years Governments have assumed that our school children would be instructed on the dangerous effects of alcohol? While not wishing to dictate either teaching methods or details of the curriculum, may I ask the hon. Gentleman to take the gravest view of the urgency and importance of this question, particularly having regard to the answer given today to Question No. 21?

Mr. Vosper

I would not dispute what the hon. Member has said, but to interfere with the essential freedom of Her Majesty's inspectors would be unwise. This is a serious matter, however, and I am sure that it will come to the attention of those concerned.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Will the hon. Gentleman study the answer to Question No. 21, and consult both voluntary youth organisations and local education authorities to see whether this work can be extended? Will he give an assurance that this work is not being curtailed, in view of the figures given today by the Home Secretary?

Mr. Vosper

I will study Question No 21; and I am in consultation with local education authorities at the moment.