HC Deb 02 May 1957 vol 569 cc351-2
22. Mr. Moss

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education if he will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a statement on the pilot experiment to be undertaken by the Leicestershire education authority in the Hinckley and Wigston areas, so that hon. Members may have a clear knowledge of what is proposed.

25. Mr. M. Stewart

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education whether he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT the details of the proposals of the Leicestershire education authority concerning the organisation of secondary education.

Sir E. Boyle

This is an experimental scheme for the reorganisation of a strictly limited number of secondary schools. The scheme, which is long and detailed, is in print and any hon. Member who is interested can obtain a copy from the Leicestershire local education authority. My noble Friend regrets that it cannot be accurately summarised within limits making it possible to publish it within the OFFICIAL REPORT, though various summaries have appeared in the Press.

Mr. Moss

Is the Minister aware that newspaper reports on this scheme have been incomplete and inaccurate? Is he further aware that wide publicity has been given to Dr. Alexander's statement that the scheme is illegal? Will he say something more to indicate that this experiment is legitimate, significant, and welcomed by his Department?

Sir E. Boyle

I must say that my noble Friend, as I have said before in this House, welcomes any well-thought-out scheme introduced experimentally and on a limited scale. The Leicestershire scheme does not require his specific approval under the 1944 Act, because it does not involve the opening, closure or enlargement of any existing schools.

Mr. Stewart

The Education Act, 1944, requires education authorities to educate children according to their aptitude and ability. It does not require them necessarily to do that by holding a special examination at the age of 11 for the purpose of putting children into different schools. Does the Parliamentary Secretary agree, therefore, that there is no legal obligation on any authority to do that?

Sir E. Boyle

As this is a matter of the exact interpretation of a Section, perhaps the hon. Member could put down a Question on the subject.