HC Deb 22 January 1959 vol 598 cc381-2
4. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Minister of Education what measures are contemplated to encourage the celebration of Commonwealth Day in all colleges and schools.

17. Mr. Pitman

asked the Minister of Education in view of the concurrence which the Prime Minister has obtained from other Commonwealth countries to the proposition that 24th May be generally known and celebrated as Commonwealth Day, what plans he has to announce for encouraging the celebration of that day within the schools of the United Kingdom and the Colonies.

Sir E. Boyle

I am sure the schools and colleges will welcome the change. Many of them will wish to celebrate Commonwealth Day, and my right hon. Friend thinks the form these celebrations should take is best left to them and to local education authorities. I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies that he has informed Colonial Governments of the attention being given to these matters in the United Kingdom and has asked them to let him know what is decided in each territory.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Will encouragement be given to the local education and other authorities concerned in the proper keeping of this family day? Has any consideration been given to the possibility of its being made a school holiday or half-holiday?

Sir E. Boyle

That last matter, in particular, is one which must be left to local education authorities themselves. We recognise the importance of the due observance of this day in the schools, but the exact form that that observance takes is something for decision by local bodies.

Mr. M. Stewart

Is it not gratifying to see the Government in this respect following the lead given by the London County Council some twenty years ago?

Sir E. Boyle

I would rather not get embroiled now in that sort of dispute.