HC Deb 04 April 1957 vol 568 cc572-3
44. Mr. Awbery

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education if he is aware of the effects on the health of school children of the strain in anticipation of the 11-plus examination; and if he will hold an inquiry into this method of judging the qualifications of a child to ascertain if a method can be devised to measure the capabilities of children that will not affect their health.

Sir E. Boyle

A formal written examination is only one of the methods used by local education authorities for selecting children for secondary education, and a great deal of research and experiment is going on in this field. My noble Friend therefore sees no need for a special inquiry on the lines suggested in the question.

Mr. Awbery

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that there is a feeling of apprehension among parents regarding the effect of these examinations on the health of the children? Is he aware that it is affecting the health of the mothers as well, because they feel that the destinies and careers of their children are being determined by these examinations? Is he aware that some local authorities have already adopted another method of determining the capacity of the children, and will he give further consideration to this matter?

Sir E. Boyle

We are debating this very important matter tomorrow. As the hon. Member probably knows, intensive research on methods of selection is being undertaken by the National Foundation for Educational Research, and of course local education authorities keep their own methods of selection under careful review in the light of their experience and new knowledge on this subject.