§ 3.44 p.m.
§ The Minister of Education (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)
I beg to move,That this House welcomes the proposals of Her Majesty's Government as set out in the Command Paper on Secondary Education for All.As a prelude to our debate today, the House might like me to draw attention to a rather fascinating contrast in this morning's newspapers between our national treatment of educational matters and what apparently goes on behind the Iron Curtain. The Times correspondent in Vienna reports a very interesting article by a Polish girl student about the military type of discipline in the schools in the Iron Curtain countries. The report said:There is a school rule that boys may not wear their hair more than one centimetre long.and, as to the girls:should one of them decide … to grow a pony-tail and display it in public, every policeman has the right to rob the girl's head of this embellishment.The article goes on to say:The policeman does this in public, making it all the more unpleasant and, at the same time, all the more educative.
§ Mr. Lloyd
By contrast, the Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Education celebrated this year the fiftieth anniversary of the medical service—in itself a very important anniversary—and emphasised that in this country we have virtually abolished malnutrition. [HON. MEMBERS: "Who has?"] I am not claiming that for one political party, but there is a rise in the standard of living. Yet, although many people have appreciated this very much, we have in the newspapers every cartoonist exercising his wit to give the impression that our schools are at present populated by a new race of "Billy Bunters". That is our cheerful English spirit in these important matters and it is in that spirit that I approach my task today.
The adoption by the Government of the policy set out in the White Paper has been widely accepted as the most important single act of policy for education 420 since the 1944 Education Act. So I think that I can best assist the House this afternoon if I give a broad account of the proposals of the Government against the background of educational and social progress since the war. We all remember the high hopes when my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal, assisted by the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) introduced the Act of 1944. Alas, after the war those high hopes were dimmed, because nobody, in 1944, could have foreseen that we should have to provide for 1 million extra children and, as the House knows, the movement of families to new housing estates and to the new towns has meant that we have actually had to provide 2 million new school places.
We have not had enough teachers or enough buildings to do more than keep pace with this unforeseen demand. From that day to this, instead of advancing on a broad front, we have had to concentrate on the hard task of providing for all those extra children. That heavy burden has had an unequal effect on the two main branches of secondary education, the grammar schools, on the one hand, and the modern schools, on the other. Looking back it is easy to see why—because the grammar schools knew exactly what to do. They had a long tradition to work on. It is true that they had to adapt themselves to the scientific age, and that was by no means easy, but, in fact, they were able to take it in their stride. I shall not enlarge on their achievement today, because I do not think anybody will question it. I think it enough to say that they are probably providing the finest secondary education in the world for the cleverest children—from all classes—and that the nation has long been getting real pra[...]ical benefit from the very able young men and women they produce.
With the secondary modern schools, however, the position is very different. We were asking them to do a job that had never been done before. We had never before provided schools to give a secondary education for all our children. It was natural, therefore, that they should make rather an uncertain start. They had to feel their way. Looking back, we can see that it was very hard luck that they had to do it at a time when the whole 421 school system was overstrained by the problems and the burdens of the bulge.
Think how many secondary modern schools had to start in quite unsuitable old buildings and with the teachers overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of the children. Yet we were asking them to do a pioneer job in bringing to life a new type of school of vital importance for the future of the country. As year followed year after the war, and the sheer strain of coping with the bulge continued, it was not surprising that hopes were dimmed and discouragement set in. That was felt by the local authorities and by the teachers and also, of course, by the parents. The plain fact is that far too many secondary modern schools were not only in the old buildings of the senior elementary schools. They were too much like those schools in other ways and they were not providing the kind of secondary education that we all meant them to provide under the 1944 Act.
Then, two things began to happen. The first was of great credit both to the local authorities and to the teachers. As the House knows, the tradition of British education is for the House and the Government to give a large measure of freedom and responsibility to the local authorities and for the local authorities themselves to lay great stress upon the freedom and responsibility of headmasters and headmistresses. Thus began all over the country, not in all modern school, but in a substantial number, a determined effort to make a success of this new kind of school.
Secondly, of course, that effort was enormously encouraged where it was possible, as in new housing estates, to provide new schools. I am sure that hon. Members who have studied this matter throughout the country will agree that it is almost impossible to exaggerate the electric effect of fine, new school buildings upon a school, particularly a secondary modern school, for teachers then know that they have the proper facilities to give real secondary education for the children; and parents feel, quite properly, that the school now really belongs to the new age. At the same time, at this point I must pay a special tribute to those teachers, and particularly the heads, who have succeeded even in the dismaying circumstances of the bad old school buildings.
422 What is it that these good schools have achieved? The first and most important formal fact is that these schools now give courses leading to the G.C.E. at Ordinary level. This is becoming a more and more important qualification in after life. Previously, it could be taken only at the grammar schools. At these good modern schools, however, the G.C.E. at O level can be taken just as well as at the grammar schools. Indeed, many teachers think that it is better for many children, the reason being that the slower pace of the course and of the teaching in the modern schools suits some of the children and they are able to get a better degree of success in the work.
Also, of course, these schools have developed excellent practical courses for both boys and girls. They nearly always have a technical bias for the boys and a commercial or nursing bias for the girls. What is of great importance is that these courses continue after the compulsory leaving age, so that the boys and girls can, with great advantage, stay on at school until the age of 16 or even later.
Another point of the highest importance is that children have the opportunity of going on to the grammar school sixth forms as well as to the technical colleges. What is so immensely encouraging is that at the best of these modern schools, about one-half of the children decide voluntarily to stay on after the compulsory leaving age. Already, some of the schools are reaching towards figures of 75 per cent. of all the children staying on voluntarily. This shows that the parents are satisfied with these schools.
In those areas, the anxiety about the 11-plus examination is fading away. Hampshire, for example, has been in the forefront of these developments. When I was there last week I found that for the last two years 40 per cent. of the children had not even been entered for the 11-plus examination because, I was told, the parents were quite ready that these children should go directly to the county secondary schools, which is the name in Hampshire for the secondary modern schools. After seeing some of these schools, I can well understand this and I can also understand why the best of them, as, for example, the one at Winchester, are even beginning to draw children away from the private schools, although not, of course, from the famous 423 school which is so popular on the Opposition Front Bench—at least, not yet.
I am sure that hon. Members are pleased with these developments. What I want to emphasise today is their scale and importance and, even more, what they hold for the future. I am convinced that we are in the early stages of a major educational and social advance. These schools are not just a few isolated experiments. Last year, about 800 modern schools offered G.C.E. courses and this number is growing fast. I believe that we shall soon pass through the 1,000 mark. These schools are the pride of local authorities all over the country, irrespective of political colour, and their great desire is to bring all their secondary modern schools up to this high standard.
The House will observe that the progress I have described, which is important in quality and substantial, though still limited, in quantity, has taken place in spite of all the burdens of the bulge. Now, however, we are approaching a new situation. For the next five or six years, for the first time since the war, there will be no great increase in the numbers of children in the schools. The school population will remain more or less stable.
We see this as a great opportunity. Instead of resting on our oars, we intend to press forward even faster and so secure a wholesale rise in the standard of education and especially of secondary education. We do not intend to impose a rigid system on local authorities. On the contrary, we are placing ourselves at the head of this nation-wide movement Which I have described. We mean to provide the teachers, the money and the buildings so that local authorities, within the broad policy of the White Paper, can get on with the job in their own way to suit their own particular needs and circumstances.
§ Mr. Harold Davies (Leek)
I was glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman say, "We mean to provide the teachers, the money and the buildings". Is the party opposite coming to the conclusion, therefore, that it must change the formula of the block grant?
§ Mr. Lloyd
Perhaps the hon. Member will wait to hear what I have to say.
I spoke earlier of the importance of good buildings. The most important problem of all is, however, the standard 424 of teaching. That is fundamental. Here, we are faced with a difficult and frustrating conflict between quantity and quality. We are all determined, the Government certainly, to reduce the size of classes by providing more teachers, but we are also determined to raise the standard of teaching. This, of course, means more highly trained teachers.
§ Mr. Lloyd
Both quantity and quality are particularly important when we have the improvement of secondary education in mind. It is even more vital when we are hoping to provide more courses for the children in the later age groups, when more and more of them are staying on, not only at the grammar schools, but also at the modern schools. That is why we attach so much importance to the teachers having a three-year course instead of a two-year course. I look forward to making the training colleges much more like university institutions than many of them have been in the past.
We must, however, face the fact that in this insistence on improved quality we are making real difficulties for ourselves in the matter of quantity. The plain fact is that if we were prepared to go back on the three-year course, we could speedily solve most of our problems concerning the number of teachers and we could make a fairly big and quick reduction in the size of classes, but, of course, we do not intend to go back on this. Therefore, in addition to introducing the three-year course, we intend to make the maximum practicable effort to expand the training colleges as quickly as possible.
As the House knows, we are asking the training colleges to expand by 50 per cent. in four years. This is the largest permanent expansion ever undertaken by the training colleges. It will be a tremendous effort for all the authorities concerned and I am fairly sure that it will take them all their time to reach the target by 1962.
§ Mr. Lloyd
I have a lot to say. Perhaps the hon. Member will allow me to develop my argument.
425 In building alone, the job will be heavy, bearing in mind that the planning of training colleges is a less straightforward job for the local authorities than the planning of new schools, of which they have done so much recently. Moreover, they will soon have the load of the bigger school building programme. Another really serious limiting factor, however, is the big increase in the requirement for highly-trained staff to provide the three-year course for the teachers and, at the same time, to achieve the 50 per cent. expansion of the colleges.
On the question of the number of teachers ultimately required, I assure the House that I will keep an open mind. If, as we get further forecasts, it is clear that a 50 per cent. expansion is not enough, we will look at the matter again.
§ Mr. David Logan (Liverpool, Scotland Division)
Does the Minister wish to imply that regulations will be made under the 1944 Act, but that for new schools that are erected there will be no amendment of the Act and no gift whatever to the managers of the schools? Will he explain what the responsibility will be? When there is demand for new schools in certain areas, will the grant be on the same basis as it is paid today?
§ Mrs. Harriet Slater (Stoke-on-Trent, North)
Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves the question of training colleges, may I ask a question? When the announcement was made, eighteen months or two years ago, that the three-year course was to be introduced in 1960, why were proposals not made at that time to begin to step up the number of training college places? When I asked this question, I was told that the Government 426 wanted quality, not quantity. Now the Minister says that he wants quantity and quality.
§ Mr. Lloyd
As the hon. Lady knows, forecasts about the future needs for teachers are made periodically. Since the time she has in mind there has been a considerable increase in the number of teachers getting married and, therefore, leaving the profession. This has altered the future forecasts and is one of the reasons which make it necessary considerably to expand the training colleges. That is one of the important matters that came up only in the recent figures.
I turn now to the proposals for more school building. With the end of the bulge in sight, the Government could have reduced the school building programme by many millions of pounds a year and still, because the school population was no longer rising, have provided a large amount for improving bad buildings. Instead, the Government have decided on a substantial increase, and our new plan is to run for five years. Of course, a very important matter for the local authorities is that, instead of, as in the past, fixing detailed programmes for one year, we are shortly to fix them for two years in advance. I need hardly say that these proposals have been very warmly welcomed by local authorities all over the country. Many of them have told me frankly that we are giving them scope for doing just about as much as they can manage.
The Government recognise, of course, that the Churches may need some further help if they are to play a full part in carrying their share of this big programme. We are approaching this matter in the all-party spirit of 1944 and I know that this is the wish, also, of the party opposite and of the Liberal Party. I have, therefore, had preliminary discussions with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) and with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond).
I am now consulting the Churches and the other bodies which have an interest in denominational schools. In the circumstances, I am sure that hon. Members, especially those of us who remember the long and intricate negotiations needed to 427 reach the settlement of 1944, will not expect me to say more today. I do not intend to reach any final conclusions until I have completed the present series of consultations.
I am now glad to announce the figure we have fixed for the so-called minor works programme of 1959–60. There has never been a more misnamed programme than this, because it is of major importance to the local authorities and of even more importance to the schools themselves. At £17 million, this figure will be 40 per cent. higher than in the previous year; in fact, it will be the highest ever. This will be very valuable for the primary schools for, as I have seen lately for myself, old primary schools can be entirely transformed under this programme.
The large increase in the major and minor school building programmes coinciding with the end of the bulge will bring about a sharp change in the whole character of our building effort. From the end of the war until the present time, under every Government, the whole effort has had to go on building new schools for the extra children and in the new towns and housing estates. Now, for the first time, an even larger effort will swing round and concentrate on tearing down the bad old school buildings or, in suitable cases, transforming them by major improvements. Owing to the scissor action of the larger programme combined with the dying away of the bulge, the pace of improvement will be very fast. Under our five year plan, we may not quite complete the job, but we shall certainly break its back.
We shall complete the reorganisation of all-age schools both in town and country. The older grammar schools which have waited so long for new buildings will have them at last. There will be about 1,000 new science laboratories a year. The slum schools will go. Those which are simply out of date will be modernised. The modern schools will at last have the buildings they need to make them what they were always meant to be. In short, although, of course, we shall not be able to do everything under the programme, there will be a dramatic transformation in the quality of our school buildings.
I talked, earlier, about the electric effect that fine new buildings have on the whole 428 life of a school. The House will see that, under our plans, this powerful stimulus will be applied to school after school throughout the country. There will be a general rise in educational standards and, also, there will certainly be another result of major educational and social importance.
I have mentioned how, at the best of the modern schools, 50 per cent. or more of the children stay on for extended courses after the compulsory age. As more of these good schools come into existence under our plans, it is quite certain that the same thing will happen again in school after school. Indeed, one of the main objects of our White Paper is to bring about a massive voluntary raising of the school-leaving age. I would like to pause for a moment and to ask the House to reflect on the importance of this movement towards voluntary staying on at school. It is something new in our national life: it has already gathered great momentum.
I must tell the House that nothing, in my visits to the schools, has impressed me so deeply as the attitude of the parents and the teachers to this question of voluntary staying on. All over the country, parents are convinced of the value of education as never before. It is moving when the father or the mother takes it almost for granted that they are ready to make sacrifices to keep their boy or girl at school longer: or when they say quite simply, as they have said to me again and again, "I want my boy to have a better education than I ever had".
The desire of the parents is matched in this by the enthusiasm of the teachers. The true teacher sees so clearly how the child benefits more than proportionately from the extra year between 15 and 16. The head who is striving to build up the personality and tradition of his school knows the stimulating effect on the whole school if there is a good proportion of older children staying on, especially if they have the sense of purpose which comes from working for the G.C.E. or another important examination.
I have been very much struck by the fact that staying on is not something of value simply for the cleverer children, to fit them, perhaps, to take a craft course at the technical college later on. It is, in some ways, of even more importance 429 to give the less clever or less quick children more time to mature before they go out into the world. Here again, the Government are not seeking to compel. We are putting our whole weight behind this strong national movement which we believe is profoundly important for the whole future of the country. We want to encourage the parents and children in this and, not least, the devoted teachers who are in the forefront of this educational advance.
How much real disagreement is there between the parties about our White Paper policy? I would like to draw the attention of the House to an interesting, indeed, rather amusing, coincidence. After I had finally approved the draft of the White Paper and sent it to the printers, but before it had been published, I listened to the right hon. Gentleman the member for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell) broadcasting about Labour policy on 29th November dealing with education, I heard him say this:Yesterday, I opened a new secondary school in my own constituency. It was a mixture of the modern and the technical. I was pleased to find that quite a high proportion of the boys were intending to take the General Certificate of Education, or similar examination, which, a few years ago, would only have been possible in grammar schools. I was pleased, also, to find that after 16 there were opportunities for the boys there to qualify to go on to a grammar school sixth form. Well, here was another example of greater flexibility. It's the principle that matters, and the principle is simply that opportunity must remain open, and children not be finally segregated at 11.As the House will realise, that is a very good short description of one of the main objects of the White Paper. I heartily approve what the school is doing. I am strongly in favour of the chances of transfer to the grammar school, and, on behalf of the Government, I completely endorse theprinciple that opportunity must remain open, and children not be finally segregated at 11".Thus, in this passage, the right hon. Gentleman, admittedly without knowing it at the time, expressed approval of our policy. I now reciprocate, although in my case deliberately, by saying that the comprehensive principle in this form is warmly acceptable to us. The trouble is that there are other forms of the comprehensive principle which involve the destruction of the grammar schools, and a further trouble is that, while the 430 grammer schools have some friends in the party opposite, they also have enemies.
In other words, as is so often the case, the party opposite is divided, and the policy has to be stated in woolly generalities. In this situation, no one can be sure that a future Labour Government would not fatally injure our fine grammar schools. The only safe course is to make sure that they never get the chance.
§ Mr. Edward Short (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central)
How does the right hon. Gentleman reconcile what he is saying about flexibility in the 11-plus examination with the statement in the White Paper on transfers, that such transfers can never be anything but exceptions to the normal rule?
§ Mr. Lloyd
I will explain that at once. The point concerns transfers during the course at the secondary modern school. Educationally, I think that teachers would agree that transfers of this kind should be exceptional. The important thing is that those who stay on and complete the course at the secondary modern schools should, at the end of it, have the opportunity of transfer to the grammar school sixth form.
§ Mr. Frederick Peart (Workington)
The Minister referred to people who take a certain view about some comprehensive schools. Is he now saying that he is opposed to the successful comprehensive schools in London, which are supported by many hon. Members because of their distinctive successes? Surely the Minister will not be doctrinaire, as his party has been.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I am not quite sure whether the Minister has finished his observations. I was not for a moment sure whether he had sat down in order to give way to an interrupter, or had finished his speech. It now appears that he has finished his speech.
§ 4.18 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Stewart (Fulham)
I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:while expressing the hope that the improvements in education proposed in the White 431 Paper, Secondary Education for All (Command Paper No. 604), will be achieved, notes with regret that the financial arrangements are inadequate for this purpose; that no satisfactory provision is made for a sufficient increase in the supply of teachers; and that, owing to a doctrinaire opposition to comprehensive secondary education, the White Paper fails to remove the admitted evils of segregating children at the age of eleven.Now that the Minister has finished his speech—and I think that we all shared your uncertainty, Mr. Speaker, whether he had done so—I could not help feeling that his reference to "woolly generalities" from this side, followed by his own concluding sentences, was a little unfelicitous.
It is gratifying to see that the Government, so far as their professions go, now apparently believe in genuine equality of opportunity and have paid us the compliment of adopting as the title of then-White Paper the phrase, "Secondary Education for All", which appeared, as students of the history of education know, as the title of a famous pamphlet by one of the most distinguished members of our own party, Professor R. H. Tawney.
Equality of opportunity does not mean only equality of opportunity for the clever ones, of whatever social class, to get to the top of the tree. It means equality of opportunity for every child to develop the gifts which he has in him, be those natural gifts great or small. As against that objective, in considering the present educational position, we must admit that, despite the undoubted progress made during this century, compared with the needs of the time, the great majority of our children are still receiving an education which is not good enough in quality, not long enough in time and—perhaps most seriously for many of them—not stimulating enough to develop their faculties. It is beside the point at this stage in view of the national need to discuss how far we have come in the past. We face a challenging situation in this mid-twentieth century.
It is those evils—not good enough, not long enough and not stimulating enough for the great majority of our children—which we have to remedy. To make our education better in quality the most immediate task is to reduce the size of classes. About 45 per cent. of our children are still being taught in classes which contravene the regulations which 432 it was hoped to introduce under the 1944 Act. The remedy for that situation lies chiefly in the provision of a greater number of teachers.
The other main reason why the quality of education is not good enough is that so much of it is still being carried out in buildings which are unsuitable, inadequately equipped or, in some instances, positively disgraceful. To remedy the shortage of teachers and buildings needs a considerable expenditure of money by whatever Government is in power.
To make education long enough in time is a matter of raising the school-leaving age to 16, and we must not lose sight of that objective, whatever may be the immediate difficulties. Until we can raise it, however, we must do all we can to encourage children to want to stay on at school and parents to be eager that they should do so. If they are to do that both parents and children must see some point in it. The education offered by schools must be such as to stimulate the imagination and exercise the mind of the child. There is little point in lecturing parents and children about staying on at school if the courses which the school can offer are such that the child can honestly ask, "Frankly, what do I get out of staying any longer, either materially, culturally, or in any other way?". These two requirements which I have mentioned, namely, that education should be longer in time and more stimulating, are closely bound together.
From what I have said, I think it has appeared that if we are to take anything in the White Paper seriously we must envisage a considerable provision of money, teachers and reorganisation, particularly at the secondary stage of education, to make education more stimulating and to encourage children and parents to take advantage of it for a longer period. That is why our Amendment concentrates on those three points.
Whatever one may think of the objectives in the White Paper and of the undoubted enthusiasm with which the Minister described those objectives—although I was sorry that he evoked very little echoing enthusiasm from the benches behind him either during or at the conclusion of his speech—we do not find that the Government have given sufficient 433 attention to the provision of the necessary finance. We do not find that they have treated the question of the supply of teachers with sufficient seriousness and their thinking about the reorganisation of secondary education is, in the words of the right hon. Gentleman, a series of woolly generalities.
I want to develop the three points which I have mentioned. First, with regard to the supply of teachers, what was the situation last autumn when the training college year began? The gross estimate was that 6,000 more persons tried to get into training colleges to become teachers than there was room for. Of that 6,000, some, no doubt, went to colleges not covered by the ordinary clearing house arrangements. Some, in any case, would have been regarded as unsuitable applicants. Some, following special and urgent requests to the clearing house, were subsequently placed. Making all those allowances, however, I do not think that one can escape the conclusion that 2,000, possibly 3,000, persons who could have been made into good teachers were lost to the nation.
The responsibility for that lies primarily with the Minister's predecessor but one, who is now President of the Board of Trade. The right hon. Gentleman said that we are faced with a frustrating conflict between quality and quantity of teachers. He developed the point that if we are to have the three-year training course and improved quality there is a difficulty about getting enough potential teachers into the training colleges.
It is nearly four years since we pointed out that difficulty to the Government. My right hon. and hon. Friends and I repeatedly drew the attention of the present President of the Board of Trade to this situation. He told us over and over again that there was no point in expanding the training colleges. He said that if that happened, by the time teachers were trained the need for them would have passed. The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well how far from the truth that is today.
The Government steps taken to remedy the situation are to increase the size of training colleges by 12,000 places by 1962, but the Minister said that he would consider that figure again to see whether further increases were either needed or possible. I do not think he needs to 434 consider the question again to discover whether an increase is necessary. His own advisers have already told him that an increase of 16,000, not 12,000, places is needed.
I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman consider the position again to see whether it is possible to increase the number of places and to come to the conclusion that it is possible. In any case, I hope he will realise that it is important to complete the building programme on time. He will wreck the whole arrangements for the supply of teachers if that is not done. Not only do I suggest that the building programme should be completed, but the Minister should ensure that suitable staff are appointed well in advance.
Neither the Minister nor the White Paper have noticed a special problem, namely, the famine year of 1962, when, owing to the operation of the three-year course, unless something is done no teachers will be leaving the colleges. One thing that could be done has, I believe, been suggested to the Minister. For some of the first entrants under the new scheme there should be a truncated three-year course. In other words, the three-year course should not be introduced 100 per cent. for every entrant at once. That is a reasonable proposition and a reasonable resolution of the frustrating conflict between quality and quantity which the Minister described and which the President of the Board of Trade created. The appointment of suitable staff to provide a special course of that kind will also need consideration.
However, it will not be much use ensuring that the training colleges are large enough if, in future years, recruits do not come forward. At the moment, more recruits come forward than there is room for. We hope that the Minister will remedy that situation in due course.
It will also be necessary, over the years, to ensure that plenty of good recruits come forward. Why is there nothing in the White Paper or in anything which the Minister has announced about the carrying out of a recruiting drive for the teaching profession in the senior forms of schools and in the universities? I am glad that the National Union of Teachers is undertaking some of that work, but it ought not to have been left to the Union. 435 It is a function of the public authority as well as of the public-spirited private persons. We shall not be able to expect the flow of teachers to go on uninterrupted unless, sooner or later, a satisfactory atmosphere about salaries is created.
The Government cannot entirely wash their hands of this issue. When we debated the Teachers' Superannuation Bill, the President of the Board of Trade —then Minister of Education—kept telling us, "You need not worry about this extra 1 per cent. demanded from the teachers. They can get it all back, and more, out of the Burnham Committee." It does not sound so convincing today.
Moreover, the local authorities are at present negotiating under the shadow of the block grant. They know that if they make an agreement about salaries the effect of it stretches far away into the future, and they do not know at all what kind of help future general grants will bring to them. The Burnham structure was built on the assumption of a percentage grant. The introduction of the block grant has made it a far less satisfactory mechanism.
That is not a happy beginning to the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman for a new drive in secondary education, for which one of the main requirements is a steady stream of well-qualified teachers satisfied with their conditions of work. Neither is there anything in the White Paper about any steps that local authorities could or ought to take to secure increased employment of part-time teachers. I should have thought, as long as we are hard pressed, that this is one of the first things to which the Ministry and the local authorities ought to be turning their attention.
I have spoken of teachers. I want to say a word now on buildings and finance, though only a word because I believe many of my hon. Friends, if they catch your eye, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, will want to develop this point further. The educational programme of our own party has been subjected to criticism by some of the less responsible members of the party opposite on the ground that it will cost a great deal of money. It is not in the mouth of the Minister or of any other responsible person to make that criticism, because if the Government mean anything at all of what they say, they are them- 436 selves overwhelmingly committed to a very great expenditure of money on education.
When we come to consider what is actually envisaged in the immediate future let us look, first, at the programme of capital expenditure for buildings. We are told that it is to be increased in future years. The right hon. Gentleman said that with the bulge over we could have reduced the building programme. That would, indeed, have been inexcusable, because he has done that already. There has been a falling off in the building programme ever since 1956. The trouble is that there seems to be in educational building programmes a kind of electoral boom and slump. It is in the year following a General Election that this Government's educational building programme is reduced most, and it is in the months or year preceding a General Election that their announcements of what the building programme will be are usually at their most rosy. That pattern was exactly repeated between 1956 and the White Paper today.
If the party opposite is in a position to do anything about it, I hope it will do a little better than the chilly frost which descended so soon after the General Election of 1951, or the falling off that occurred from 1956 onwards. There is a great deal to be done in dealing with the problems of the very bad school, of the ill-equipped school and of the all-age school. These present an enormous problem. The figures mentioned in the White Paper, after allowing for the fact that some of the increase only offsets recent cuts, show that it is doubtful whether they are adequate to do all the things that the Minister so vigorously described in his speech.
While I am on this topic I will say no more on the question of the denominational schools and the religious communities, who are greatly concerned in this building programme, other than that I noted what the Minister said, and that I fully concur with his statement that this must be approached in an all-party spirit. I know that my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) agrees on this point and I think I speak for all of us on this side of the House when I say that we concur also in the steps taken by the Minister already to that end.
§ Mr. R. J. Mellish (Bermondsey)
May I interrupt my hon. Friend by saying, with the added proviso that political parties will have definite views on this matter?
§ Mr. Stewart
I am sure that my hon. Friend has no need to be worried about that. The number of definite views that will be held on this problem are considerable. I know my hon. Friend's concern about this matter, which is shared by other hon. Members on both sides of the House, but I think I shall carry the whole House with me when I say that at this stage I ought not to add, any more than the Minister did, to what I have already said.
With regard to current expenditure, we must take up again a point that came out in the debate on the General Grant Order. This White Paper involves not only expenditure that will arise alter some time, after there has been building. If it is serious at all, and, in particular, if what the right hon. Gentleman said about improving the modern schools is to be taken seriously, it will mean a considerable increase in current expenditure from now on. If anything at all is being done to try to get more part-time teachers, that will mean more exepnditure from that moment. If the local authorities make use of the opportunity they have been offered under the minor works concession, that will mean a growth in expenditure from that moment.
If the modern schools are to be provided with the books, the equipment, the higher allowances that are all necessary, if anything the right hon. Gentleman has said about them is to have any significance, that means greater current expenditure from this moment and throughout the next two years. We are actually told in the White Paper, paragraph 32, that allowance was made for this in the General Grant Order. Yet, when we asked the Parliamentary Secretary how much allowance had been made for it, he said:… those extra items could not have affected the Government's decision about the General Grant Order."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th December, 1958; Vol. 597, c. 101.]Did they, or did they not?
The White Paper says that they did, the Parliamentary Secretary says they did not. In the circumstances, we are entitled, looking at the General Grant Order, to conclude that the Government 438 are, may I say again, a little woolly on this matter, and that we have some justification for doubting whether they were prepared to provide the resources which the promises of the White Paper make necessary.
I have spoken about making education better in quality and longer in time. I want to develop that second point a little further. The right hon. Gentleman praised highly the wisdom of parents who encourage their children voluntarily to stay on at school. But could not he be a little more generous to them? Could he not provide for parents who voluntarily keep their children at school beyond the school-leaving age the very modest scale of maintenance allowances advised in the Weaver Report rather than the truncated version which he has imposed on the local authorities?
I know that many parents keep their children at school though it is a great hardship to do so. I know, too, that some parents who could quite well afford it, do not do so. It is as a measure of justice to those who do that I am asking the Minister to consider again the question of maintenance allowances. I am sorry that these were not mentioned in the White Paper.
There is another point which is mentioned in our own policy statement which the Minister might consider. Can he not arrange that every child who goes to a secondary school, of whatever kind, stays there for at least four years? The three and a bit that some of them get, with the effect of producing a ragged class at the top of the senior secondary modern school, is not a satisfactory arrangement. There are two ways in which it might be done. One is by requiring that children should stay at school to the end of the school year until they become 15 years of age. The other, which might solve certain difficulties in the labour market, would be to arrange for a transfer twice a year, rather than once a year, from primary to secondary schools, still requiring that every child should spend at least four years in a secondary school.
The Minister ought to look at that. It is a pity that he did not look at it when this White Paper was being drafted. I think that he had time to read our policy document before the White Paper was 439 drafted. He borrowed quite a number of phrases here and there and he might have borrowed the idea as well. The Government's White Paper as a whole, with its mixture of Conservative slogans and ideas borrowed from other people, reminds me of the recipe for a bride's trousseau, that it should contain something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.
Above all, if we want education to be longer it has to be, as I said earlier, more stimulating. Let us look at the other side of the picture—those who leave school prematurely, sometimes illegally and sometimes in breach of an agreement made by the parents when the child went to a grammar school. Whether the premature leaving is from the secondary modern school or from the grammer school, what is one of the commonest reasons? It is that the child could not get on with the work and could not see how the school was benefiting it in any way. Therefore, we have to tackle the question of the organisation of secondary schools if we want education for most of our children to be longer in time and more stimulating in content and approach.
We have, therefore, to examine the argued question of the tripartite system and the comprehensive principle of secondary education. The Parliamentary Secretary said today, at Question Time, that my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Swingler) was old-fashioned to refer to it as the tripartite system. It is not my hon. Friend who is old-fashioned; it is the tripartite system. If the Parliamentary Secretary will consult the report of his own Department, he will see that the children are all neatly classified there according to modern, technical and grammar schools with small groups in those variants from the tripartite system, which are still the exception and not the rule.
We ought to be Clear on this point. There are variants from the tripartite system because public opinion and local authorities are becoming less and less satisfied with it as the years go by. But it is still the major feature about our organisation of secondary education. What is the real question at issue? I think that it can be stated like this. As children grow older, everyone accepts that they must begin to pursue different studies 440 suited to the gifts and interests of each child. That is what the word "selection" ought to mean.
What we have to consider, and this is the debatable question, is whether the right way of getting that result is to put children at 11 into separate schools, each with a limited curriculum, and to do that on a presumed judgment of the child's abilities in the 11-plus or 10-plus examination. If we do that, we prejudge and limit the real selection which we can practise thereafter because, as the Government recognise, there is a limit to the extent to which we can yank a child out of one school and put it in another because we may have made a mistake at 11-plus.
Consequently, to put children into separate types of school, each with a restricted curriculum, at 11 limits any future selection we can make of courses suited to the child's gifts. This is what we are arguing, not the fact that different children will need different courses of study as they get older and that children's gifts differ. When we have done more to provide real equality of opportunity, we shall be in a better position to decide how far human beings differ by nature.
We are arguing whether we should put them into separate schools at the age of 11 and increasingly we know that that is not the right way to do it. The arguments against it pile up steadily. There are errors of selection, however clever and ingenious the selectors have been. I have been interested in a report of a committee of well-qualified teachers on the workings of the 11-plus examination. It says that there is violent oscillation in the standard from year to year and from area to area and that the tests are sometimes devised so as to assist the shallow and quick-witted rather than the serious thinker. These are criticisms in a report of a committee appointed by the National Advisory Committee of the Conservative and Unionist Teachers' Association, and I can commend it warmly to the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Stewart
I find further, in the same report, that there is much evidence of the distortion of primary teaching by the 11-plus. It goes on to say also that there is neurosis in many homes as a result of the 441 1l-plus. It uses language which we, in our more temperate party, would never use. But such are its criticisms.
In a recent document on the teaching of mathematics, published by the Minister, it is pointed out that one effect of the 1l-plus is that there is a tendency in primary schools to regard the body of mathematical knowledge required for the 11-plus as adequate for any 11-year-old child, however able. If the Minister is interested in that argument he has good reason to question the validity of this segregation at 11. The Government themselves know that this segregation at 11 is wrong. They admit it in paragraph 13 of the White Paper:But this does not mean that a child's performance at the age of 11 should determine the remainder of his school career once for all.They admit that there should not be a final choice at 11.
In paragraph 20, they point out that there is not much we can do by transferring the child from one school to another thereafter. What follows from that? If we do not want to determine the child's future at 11 and we rule out, except in a few cases, the transfer from one school to another, it means that we ought so to arrange things that the school to which the child goes at 11 is one offering a range of courses wide enough to meet the needs of all normal children. If we do not do that. we are limiting its choice at the age of 11, which is the very thing which the Government say, in paragraph 13, they are not prepared to do.
If we make the decision that it is wrong to make a final decision at 11 and transfer is not the remedy and, therefore, we must see that the child at the age of 11 goes to a school capable of offering a range of courses suitable to all normal children, what follows from that? One particular consequence is that the grammar school has to develop its functions, as, indeed, has been done so often in the long history of many grammar schools. The reason why they have had a long life is that their tradition has been the tradition of change and flexibility.
I read recently an article in The Times Educational Supplement describing the early history of a grammar school and it was apparent that on its foundation the only qualification required for entry was 442 literacy. This idea that the grammar school, by its nature, has to be filled exclusively by people picked out at 11-plus is of somewhat recent currency. It cannot be regarded as part of the four centuries old tradition of the grammar school. If we are serious about reorganising secondary education so as to prevent the final choice at 11, the grammar school must necessarily play its part in that organisation. So it follows that the grammar school must have a change in the qualification for entry, so that it ceases to be restricted to those selected by the haphazard 13-plus business and becomes open to all children, and it has correspondingly to widen its range of studies.
Are the Government going to say that this will destroy the grammar school? They cannot say so, because in their White Paper they say exactly the opposite. They say that the Leicestershire scheme preserves "the integrity of the well-established schools." But the purpose and intent of the Leicestershire scheme when it is in full operation is to ensure that the grammar school shall be open without any intellectual test for entry and that it shall correspondingly widen its range of studies. We accept what the Government say, that to do that does not damage the integrity of the school.
So the Government have got that far, that we ought not to have the finality at 11, that the grammar school has to play its part in the development of a comprehensive system of secondary education. It is then that they begin to dodge and that they begin to suggest, "After all, we need not fuss too much. Let us brush up the secondary moderns a little and hope that people will not notice it." After going to all the trouble of having all those learned psychologists devising the cleverest ways of discriminating between one child and another at 11, they pretend that the schools the children go to are not very much different after all. That is a nonsensical way to approach it.
If the right hon. Gentleman says that there is to be a real change, and real development of the secondary moderns, there ought to be much more in his White Paper about what is to be done about attracting more graduate teachers into them and improving the teacher-pupil ratio.
443 At Question Time the Parliamentary Secretary took pride in the fact that 10,000 children from the secondary modern schools took the General Certificate of Education. But ten times that number of grammar school pupils took it and since the number of grammar school children is only one-fourth of the number of secondary modern school children the likelihood of a child entering from a secondary modern school for the G.C.E. is one-fortieth of the likelihood of a child from a grammar school. It will need something much more serious than anything the White Paper proposes to amend that.
Why do the Government fail here? I think that the answer to that is found in paragraph 17, in the attack, without mentioning the name of London, on the London County Council's schools. They cannot go the whole way of logic of their own argument on this, because that would mean approving something a great Labour authority has done. That is why we charge them with doctrinaire opposition to the comprehensive principle.
In answer to paragraph 17,I would say this. Their worries about those schools are not shared by the parents—
§ Mr. Stewart
—or by the children. The hon. Member had better study the results of the last L.C.C. election.
Those of us who know London politics have seen few things more surprising than the crumpling of the attempt by the Conservative Party to create ill-will among the parents against London's schools, or its still uglier campaign to create ill-will between the London County Council and its teachers. We say to the Government that if they really believe what they profess to believe about secondary education for all they have got to make a new start.
I have mentioned London, I have mentioned Leicestershire, but only as two examples. An hon. Friend of mine is seeking to provide me with another. One can provide a good many. To get really comprehensive secondary education it is not necessary to require local authorities to do it all on the same pattern, or all of them to carry through the same transformation by the same time, but it is the duty of Government to lay down certain 444 broad lines of general policy. The right hon. Gentleman does not tell every local authority exactly how and when it has to get rid of all-age schools and complete that bit of reorganisation, but he does say, as a matter of national policy, that that reorganisation is to go ahead. Thus he invites the nation, as he is entitled to do, to steer a course towards a definite objective. That is what we believe ought to be done on this matter of the reorganisation of secondary education.
There is one last point I want to make about why we believe this to be important. It is because education is not only a matter of learning particular subjects and skills. It is part of the definition of an educated man that he should have developed his own gifts and capacities to the full. But beyond that he ought to have a generosity of spirit. He ought to be capable of appreciating the skill, whether of hand or brain, of other people, whether their skill is greater or less than his own, whether it is kin or foreign to his own range of study.
This is a truth which has been known to wise men in all ages. Its truth is redoubled at the present time, when we are creating a highly technical, scientific community which depends for its prosperity and happiness on mutual respect and good will between the skilled and the unskilled, between the brilliant discoverer working in the laboratory and his technical assistants and those workers of all kinds, skilled and unskilled, whose livelihood will be affected by his discoveries.
This generosity of spirit cannot be promoted by school alone. The home, and all the other influences on human character, can work either to create or to destroy it; but we must agree that the schools and the school system ought to play their part in creating that generosity of spirit, as much as in teaching mathematics or English or science.
We want, then, a school system which will play a part in creating a community in which all will recognise the value of one another, both as individuals and as fellow citizens. It is on the vision of a community like that that we must keep our eyes and set our hearts. A system which encourages children at the age of 11 to make this sharp discrimination by the test not of common humanity, or of 445 character, but of presumed judgment of a vague quality which no one has precisely defined, is not the way to create the kind of community on which we ought to set our vision.
I use the word "vision" deliberately. Some of the social sciences—statistics, sociology, psychology—assist us in education, but, fundamentally, education is not a science: it is an art; and success in an art depends on the truth of a man's vision. I have suggested what that vision should be, but the vision of those whose chief desire is to use the most ingenious methods of picking out the cleverest at 11, to segregate them from their fellows, does not seem to me to be wise or dignified or admirable.
§ 4.59 p.m.
§ Mr. E. Partridge (Battersea, South)
I am glad to have the opportunity of following the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) because I hope that during my remarks I shall be able to show the fallacy of many of the things he said. I am not quite sure whether one is to understand from the first part of his remarks that he agrees that the 1944 Act was a Measure agreed by all parties. I thought it was always assumed that it was so, and that it was also agreed that great progress had been made under the Act, but that there was still a lot to be done.
I would not quarrel with the hon. Member's definition of the underlying purpose, and that it is for the Education Acts, and for the 1944 Act in particular, to develop the abilities and aptitudes of a child so that he can rise to the heights of his attainments in later life. The White Paper "Secondary Education for All" shows the progress that should be made in the next few years. I should have thought that the purpose of the 1944 Act, and the proposals outlined in the White Paper, would have been acceptable to everybody, every creed, every section of society and every school of thought. Indeed, I should have thought that it would have commended itself to all political parties. That is not to say, of course, that there should be no differences about methods of achieving the grand design or the main object.
446 One would have thought, therefore, that the White Paper would have been welcomed on every side and especially by the party opposite. I regret to say that I have felt for some time—and the speech of the hon. Member for Fulham today has confirmed me in my view—that the Socialist Party intends to drag education into the arena of party politics and to make a dog-fight of it. This is not a laughing matter, as it appears to be to some hon. Members opposite. I should have thought that the whole destiny of our country rests on providing education for the rising generation.
§ Mr. G. Thomas
Is the hon. Member not aware that every time there is a change of Government in the country there is a change of temperature in the Ministry of Education? Is he not aware that this has always been a party issue?
§ Mr. Partridge
I come back, then, to the point with which I started—that the 1944 Act was not an agreed Measure. Is that what is being said now?
If I am to interpret correctly the mood of the people, I would say that they resent this attitude and that as time goes on and if a dog-fight develops, the resentment will grow and will manifest itself in a manner which I hope will be very unpleasant to the party opposite. I regard the White Paper as a magnificent plan, recognised as such by most education committees, by thousands of teachers and by millions of parents.
Parents and teachers have seen what has taken place during the last seven years and they are grateful for it. One cannot get away from the fact that we have had greater building during the last seven years than ever before and, what is probably very pleasing to taxpayers and to parents who are largely the taxpayers, school places have been provided at far less cost than heretofore. Despite what has been said by the hon. Member for Fulham, real progress has been made, in diminishing the number of oversized classes.
I agree that much remains to be done. This is a problem which must be tackled, and the White Paper sets out to tackle it. There has already been a great increase in the number of places and in the number of teachers' colleges, and greater facilities have been provided for scientific and technical education. There has been 447 a vast increase in the number who go to universities, and greater and greater sums have been allocated from the national revenue to purposes of education. These are pretty wonderful achievements in the rather difficult circumstances. If party politics must be brought into this, I will say that most of the difficult circumstances with which we have had to contend were created by the party opposite in six long dreary years of dreaded Socialism.
These achievements have been observed no less by parents who have children who are approaching school age or who have just started on their school careers. These parents know, despite the ingenious presentation of the case by the Socialists against the general grants—and I could use stronger language—that those grants are much larger than the percentage grants would have been. This is confirmed by the fact that the general grants were approved by the party opposite without a Division. Hon. and right hon. Members opposite knew that these grants were fair and reasonable and that they could not find a real argument to level against them.
The terminological inexactitudes used by the party opposite on the subject of general grants were either patently wicked or else showed a lack of faith. They have been proved wrong, and as every day goes by they are proved more and more wrong. What, then, will these parents and teachers think of this mean, cavilling, cheese-paring Amendment? I wish that one day the hon. Member for Fulham would give me a lesson, because I have often wondered how it is possible to make a party case with one's hand on one's heart and solemnly and sorrowfully state matters which have no foundation in fact or reason. The hon. Member does this without batting an eyelid.
The Opposition Amendment… notes with regret that the financial arrangements are inadequate …for the purpose set out in the White Paper. I thought that I heard the hon. Member for Fulham say that even the Conservative Party was committed in the White Paper to vast expenditure, yet, on the other hand, the party opposite says that not enough money is provided.
What do hon. and right hon. Members opposite want? They had the oppor- 448 tunity of saying that there was not enough money when the general grant proposals and that part of them which is based upon educational requirements, were before them only a little while ago. Nothing was said then because they thought they were fair and reasonable. Yet today, in this miserable Amendment, they say that the financial arrangements are inadequate.
Again, the party opposite complains about an insufficient increase in the supply of teachers. I should have thought that a 50 per cent. increase in the capacity of the training colleges was pretty good to go on with, at all events.
I certainly find it a little difficult to understand what is meant in the last sentence of the Amendment which states:… the White Paper fails to remove the admitted evils of segregating children at the age of eleven.I should have thought that a White Paper could not have done anything except present itself to be read. I should not have thought that of itself it could fail or otherwise to remove admitted evils. However, I am willing to stand corrected by the great teacher. In this glossy book, I see it stated—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Gordon Touche)
I do not think that the hon Gentleman is bound to name the document.
§ Mr. Partridge
I could name it, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but in rather unpleasant terms. There are references in it to the evils of the 11-plus examination and other matters. The answer which the hon. Member for Fulham thinks covers all of them is the comprehensive school. He thinks that it is somewhere near to educational perfection. He challenged me, when I challenged him whether parents thought that the comprehensive schools in London were quite as good as the hon. Member would have us believe. He suggested that the criterion was the results of the last London County Council election. I should be out of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, if I developed that argument very far, but one of the underlying 449 causes of the results of that election was probably the fraudulent misrepresentations made by the people who presented themselves for election and said, "We will not"—
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
On a point of order. The hon. Gentleman has just charged certain citizens of this Metropolis of London with making fraudulent misrepresentations to the electors. Is that in order?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
It is perfectly in order to do that, as a general charge. It is much more serious to make the charge against individuals.
§ Mr. Partridge
I say that those who presented themselves for election made fraudulent representations. They stated that they would not raise council rents, but after the election they did raise the rents. That was their answer—
§ Mr. Short
On a point of order. I understood from your reply to my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that if an hon. Member indicated the people who were guilty of fraud, he would then be out of order. The hon. Member for Battersea. South (Mr. Partridge) has now said that those people who presented themselves for election were guilty. They include certain hon. Members of this House. Is that charge in order?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
It is a charge against a general body of people and not against single individuals. It is permissible to make charges against a party but not against individual Members of the House.
§ Mr. Partridge
That does not satisfy the parents of the many children who have been dragooned into these comprehensive schools much against their will. The only remedy that hon. Gentlemen opposite have is to bung children into comprehensive schools, which is like putting them into a gigantic factory, without any regard to the transport difficulties that are created when these enormous schools, drawing from a wide area, leave no facilities available either for the children themselves or for other people who wish to use the transport service. I do not think that it is a very good idea at all. Hon. Gentlemen opposite think that the answer is to turn children out like sausages from a machine.
450 Another sentence in this glossy booklet is,We killed the lie that our aim is to abolish grammar school education.This reminds me of a certain gentleman who said, "I have no more territorial ambitions in Europe", and next day he went to the rape of Czechoslovakia. Nobody has said that the Socialist Party had pledged itself to abolish the grammar schools.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I gather that the hon. Member is Chairman of the Education Committee of the Conservative Party in this House. Is he saying that he does not make the charge against our party that we want to destroy the grammar schools?
§ Mr. Partridge
it is rather more subtle a matter than that. I do not think it has ever been said that the aim of the party opposite is to abolish grammar school education. I say that, as the result of Socialist education policy, as told to us this afternoon by the hon. Member for Fulham and as confirmed by this 6d. glossy dreadful—glossy on the cover and glossy in the words—the grammar schools will be destroyed. It may not be the party's aim but it will be the effect of its policy. People know what results to expect from the implementation of Socialist policy. I shall feel it my duty to remind the electorate of it as often as I am able to do so. The Government White Paper is an eminently practical document and commands my enthusiastic support.
§ 5.17 p.m.
§ Mr. Leo Abse (Pontypool)
I would ask for the indulgence of the House for this, my maiden speech. I must ask particularly for your indulgence, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, for I am aware of the esteem in which my distinguished and noble predecessor was held in this House. If I attempted to follow the remarks made by the hon. Member for Battersea, South (Mr. Partridge), my speech might not be of non-partisan character, so I feel that I should turn in another direction.
I would draw attention to the tardy approach of the White Paper to the acute-problems that arise in primary schools. I should have thought that ere now the danger would have been well understood of under-estimating the importance of the 451 primary schools. They perform the vital function of fostering the potentialities of children when their imaginations are fertile, their minds are nimble and receptive, and, as all of us who are parents know, their curiosities are strong. It is obvious that attention should be given to children at that stage of their life.
I find with much dismay that in the White Paper the real problems of the primary schools are apparently to be postponed until at least 1965. That is particularly distressing. The curricula in the primary schools should be free from the didactic approach. The new techniques which are available for teaching young children involve the use of originative activity. All the techniques of mime, drama, dance, and so on, require proper physical conditions.
I am sure that in the constituencies of other hon. Members, as in my constituency, there is ample evidence that these physical conditions do not exist. I know that in Blaenavon, in my constituency, in one primary school there are two classes of upwards of fifty children in one room. In such physical conditions, how is it possible for the techniques which are available to be applied? How is it possible for any dynamic approach to be given to any elementary education? It is not possible while we have primary schools, as I have in Pontypool, which are more than 100 years old and the teachers have to cope with not only elementary education but the elements, because their classrooms have open fires and, certainly in recent weather conditions, conditions are created when anything is possible except a real, dynamic approach to education.
I am not encouraged by what the Minister has said about the minor works programme to believe that any of these worst evils will be remedied within any measurable period of time. I am aware that the White Paper gives more discretion to local authorities and that it will now be possible for local authorities to put forward schemes twice as large as before, up to £20,000. However, as is apparent from the Minister's remarks, it does not mean that the volume will be doubled.
In Monmouthshire last year the local education authority put forward a plan costing a little more than £100,000 for minor works. At first it received half the 452 grant. After a considerable amount of effort on the part of the local education authority, the amount was raised, but the total received was still more than 30 per cent. less than was originally intended. The Minister said the increase in volume will be 40 per cent. Opinion in Wales is that that is an exaggeration. Most local authorities there regard themselves as particularly fortunate if they obtain increases in the range of 10 to 15 per cent. Although one may be talking in terms of a five-year programme, it means that it is nothing of the sort. In the case of minor as well as major works, at least the first two years will be spent in trying to catch up the backlog of projects turned down by the Ministry in past years.
An unfortunate aspect of the lack of priority being given to primary schools is that it is bound to be difficult to attract teachers of the proper quality to them. In schools of this character we need people of graduate or equivalent status. It is understandable why few are prepared to go to them. Reference has been made to mathematics. How can one look without some dismay at the teacher training programme when one realises that only 4 per cent. of the women teachers going through the colleges take mathematics? It means that the overwhelming proportion of the women teachers going back into the primary schools are going back to teach without having looked at mathematics since they were fifteen years old. We are bound to wonder how many potential scientists are being extinguished within our primary schools today. I should certainly have hoped that within the White Paper there would have been sufficient understanding of the need to have properly equipped teachers who have had the opportunity of taking real courses with a view to raising the standard, particularly of mathematics, within the primary schools.
The difficulties within the primary schools are not confined to physical conditions and the quality of the teachers. It is now clear that the difficulties will be perpetuated because of the limpet-like attachment of the Minister to the 11-plus examination. Everyone who has any acquaintance with primary schools knows that the curriculum, as a result of the 11-plus examination, becomes appallingly distorted and the teaching becomes 453 bent away from what its true character should be. It becomes perverted so that the child is being prepared for some alleged future educational requirement instead of being given what everybody knows is the most important thing, its immediate needs. I wonder why there is this extraordinary attachment to segregation at eleven. It is clear from the White Paper that there is every intention within the grammar schools to give advanced technical courses and there is every intention to try to have more and more children in the secondary modern schools taking the G.C.E. examination.
What is happening is that the Government are stumbling and staggering into comprehensive education and not looking at the matter rationally. They are evading having a logical programme. They are trying to meet instead of control the pressure of outside events. I hope it will not be considered presumptuous for me to say it, but when one sees that there is a logical approach, one must wonder why it is not adopted. I believe it must come about. There are definite prejudices in existence which look with distaste at the idea that people from all groups should be mixed up together when they are young. Clearly, the more that people of different talents and capacities and from different groups within the community are mixed together, the more possible it is that we should have what we really need, a more homogeneous and more egalitarian form of society in the future.
I trust that I shall not be regarded as having been too intemperate, but I have children of my own who will shortly be entering a primary school. However inadequately I may have expressed my views, I believe I am expressing not only my anxiety but the anxiety of many hundreds of parents in my constituency.
§ 5,27 p.m.
§ Mr. Dennis Vosper (Runcorn)
This is the second time that I have had the privilege of following an hon. Member making his maiden speech. I congratulate the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse) upon making such a valuable contribution. All of us well remember the ordeal that we suffered when we made our maiden speeches, and the hon. Member must have suffered when making his speech, though he did not show it.
454 Perhaps I am well placed to follow the hon. Member, because this is the first speech that I have made in the House after a rather prolonged period in hospital. Perhaps I had some fellow-feeling with the hon. Member. I am particularly glad that he is one of many hon. Members in recent years who have chosen to make their maiden speech in a debate on education. I hope that, while he will make speeches on other subjects, he will continue to attend debates on education. He occupies his seat as a result of a Measure introduced by the Government to confer life peerages. I do not know whether it is his wish and intention to follow his predecessor to another place, but we all hope that before he does so we may hear from him on many occasions.
It is about two and a half years since I took part in a debate on education, and I am particularly glad that I should be able to participate on another phase of expansion. There have been—listening to the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) one would sometimes think it were not the case—other expansions in education under the present Government. The last phase that I have in mind was the White Paper on Technical Education. In my innocence, when the present White Paper was published I hoped that it would be as welcome in the House as it appeared to be in the country. I am sincerely surprised that the Opposition appear to intend to divide the House on the major educational development, because I know that many hon. Members opposite are sincerely concerned with the advance in education.
I think that I am justified in saying that they intend to divide the House against an educational advance, even though it be by a reasoned Amendment. I have had some concern with the National Health Service and, although I was not a Member of the 1945 Parliament, I have constantly been told that the party which I support voted against the National Health Service, even though it was by a reasoned Amendment. If the Amendment is pressed, hon. Members on this side of the House are entitled to say that hon. Members opposite are voting against a major educational advance.
I submit that the Amendment does not represent the mood of the country. Like hon. Members in all parts of the House, 455 I have spent the last few weeks talking to many of my constituents and to some of the constituents of my colleagues. When I have spoken to them about education, to parents, teachers or administrators, I have found that they judge the Government's record on education not so much by words as by deeds, not by White Papers but by results. On that reckoning, as my right hon. Friend told us, the Government have a record of which they can be reasonably proud.
Not only has there been a general expansion enabling authorities to cater for a 25 per cent. increase in the school population, but from time to time it has been possible to make advances in particular spheres. I have particularly in mind, as well as the White Paper on education, which, by the way, has now run half its course, Circular 283 which provided for the reorganisation of rural schools, increases in minor works, and a whole host of other increases in expenditure.
The great thing is that today the country in general believes in education and wants more of it. We have welcome evidence of that in the very encouraging figures for staying on at secondary schools. The public wants better schools, to remove the black spots in education, and to eradicate the anomalies. That is exactly what the White Paper does. It provides for better schools, sets out to remove the black spots and shows an intention to eradicate the anomalies which must be admitted to exist from place to place.
Hon. Members opposite will not be surprised to find that I fully support the White Paper. Indeed, it would be very difficult for anyone with experience of the administration of education at Ministerial level not to support the White Paper. It is the misfortune of the party opposite that on the benches opposite there is no one who has Ministerial experience of the administration of education.
§ Mr. Vosper
I must apologise to the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede). I was thinking of a purely 456 Labour administration. Perhaps he will support my welcome for the White Paper.
For fourteen years, successive Ministers have had to contend with one problem, the "battle of the bulge". During that time, they have been able to make only limited advances in other directions. The significant and outstanding feature of the White Paper, now that the battle of the bulge has been virtually won, as is tin-deniable, is that the advance is not only continuing, but, according to the building programme for 1960 and 1961, is to be accelerated.
Anyone with experience of the administration of education would want to be associated with the White Paper. It sets out to do things which successive Ministers must have wanted to do, but which they have been unable to do because of the battle of the bulge—the reduction of the size of classes, the reorganisation of urban schools, the replacement of old schools, perhaps most important of all, and major improvements of other schools. Although it has produced the schools, the struggle to deal with numbers has not been spectacular because problems of overcrowded classes, old buildings and so on have stayed with us. However, the results which could flow from the White Paper inside five years could be dramatic. It is partly because the Opposition know that the results will be dramatic within five years that they are uneasy about the prospects of the White Paper.
Like the hon. Member for Fulham, I want to refer to teachers. Although the White Paper concentrates on schools, it will be agreed that a good teacher can provide good education, but a good school cannot necessarily do so. I should have thought that there would be general agreement about the results in the efforts to obtain and train teachers during the last ten to fifteen years. It can be seen from the White Paper that the numbers have increased. To put it in a simple form, between 1944 and 1958 there has been a 50 per cent. increase in the number of trained teachers. We know that the number of training colleges has been doubled and that there has been a more than threefold increase in the number of candidates offering themselves to those colleges.
I do not wish to embarrass the Burnham Committee in anything it may 457 have in mind, but from those figures alone it seems that the teaching profession, especially for women, is not without its attractions. The increase in the number of teachers has been a great achievement, in which all parties have shared, at a time when there has been great competition for professional people. In the last few years, as the hon. Member for Fulham pointed out—and it is only in the last few years and it does not apply to 1950 and 1951—waiting lists for admission to teacher training colleges have grown up. To some extent we can take encouragement from that. The hon. Member tended to give the impression that of those rejected by the training colleges, many were candidates of good quality. He will have in his possession, as I have, the analysis put forward by the teachers' clearing house, from which analysis it can be seen that the majority of candidates not accepted were below average quality.
There is thus a reservoir upon which we can draw to fill any additional places, but it would be wrong to assume that everybody who applied to a training college in the last year or two would necessarily get a place under an expanded programme. Now that we are nearing the embarkation on a three-year course, quality will be of even greater importance than it has been hitherto. It will not be an easy task to fill the additional places which my right hon. Friend will provide. On that argument alone, I should have thought that the 12,000 places was as much as we were able to undertake at present. Like all hon. Members, I welcome my right hon. Friend's offer to reconsider the matter if in a year or two it should prove possible to go beyond that figure. I hope that in an extension of the programme there will be more emphasis on teachers for secondary modern schools or secondary schools in general, because in recent years that has been where the main weakness has lain.
I want now to deal with the White Paper on the school building programme. As it must do, it places the emphasis on secondary education and especially on the completion of reorganisation. I represent part of an authority—and there must be other authorities in a similar position—which has already completed its reorganisation, both rural and urban, or will do so with programmes now in hand. I hope 458 that such authorities will be allowed to move on to those things which they have so long wanted to do, the replacement of schools and the major improvement of others. I fully realise that this matter is covered in the White Paper, but it is most important that authorities which have made good progress to date should not be penalised because their reorganisation has been completed.
In this context I want to refer to primary schools. It is not inopportune to pay tribute to primary schools, because for many years they bore the burden of excessive numbers. In general, the teachers in primary schools have had to teach in antiquated and out-of-date buildings and contend—and let us admit it—with the problems of selection for secondary education. In the last few years, so much emphasis has necessarily been placed on secondary education that at times primary school teachers have felt that they have been left out of it.
There is a welcome reference in the White Paper and a more detailed reference in Circular 342, which goes with it, to say that primary schools can be replaced and major improvements effected. Nothing will make a greater impact on parents, communities and teachers in private schools than in the next year or two to see, for the first time in many years, the replacement of primary schools by up-to-date buildings. I must confess to an interest, because my constituency seems to have rather more than its share of Victorian primary schools.
Most of the debate has tended to and, I suppose, will concentrate on the form of secondary education. The Opposition's approach in this matter is a little negative. In the Amendment there is no mention of comprehensive schools. Presumably, the reason is that there is very strong public dislike of comprehensive schools. Comprehensive schools, as so described, at any rate, are as unpopular with the public as the word "nationalisation". As the hon. Member for Fulham knows, there are educational disadvantages as well as advantages in such a school. On many occasions, the teaching profession, especially in the City of Newcastle, has made itself quite clear on this point.
§ Mr. Vosper
Certainly. As I understand it, the City of Newcastle proposed a series of comprehensive schools and discovered that that did not find favour with many members of the teaching profession. That has been the experience of many cities. The hon. Member for Fulham did not over-emphasise comprehensive schools and in "The Future that Labour Offers" it is said that there are other ways of providing secondary education. I find it difficult to know what those other ways can be. I welcome the Leicestershire experiment, which I shall watch with interest, but if we are not to have comprehensive schools, what are the other ways, as opposed to the present tripartite system of secondary education, and so on?
The picture which the hon. Member for Fulham painted for the House and that which his party has painted for the country have been unreal. Hon. Members opposite have always made the comparison between a successful comprehensive school in London—and there are some successful comprehensive schools—and an old, antiquated, all-age school somewhere in the provinces. That is not a proper comparison. Successful comprehensive schools are very few and far between, and it is not easy to find headmasters and headmistresses for them. The comparison which should be drawn is that between the many successful secondary modern schools springing up all over the country and the average comprehensive school. Many successful secondary modern schools can be found nowadays. Some of them run a G.C.E. course and some others have a wide range of alternative courses. Some are encouraging their pupils to stay on for one, two or three years. That is the picture which should be examined, and not the one showing the difference between one successful comprehensive school and an old all-age school, because the all-age schools are to go under the White Paper proposals.
I have said before that in my constituency we have a new secondary modern school, which has now been opened for about three years. When it was first opened we had the unusual position of parents of children selected for grammar school education coming along and saying that they would prefer their children to go to the new secondary modern school—the grammar school then 460 being an old building. Now the grammar school is a new one and there is a fair choice.
I would have thought that all Members, including those sitting opposite, would have shared my experience of recent months, which has been that my postbag of letters complaining against selection has been decreasing as the methods of selection improve—and nearly all local authorities have been improving them. As the new schools come into being, and people understand the purpose of the secondary school, complaints against selection diminish. Similarly as the methods of selection to secondary modern schools and grammar schools improve; and the absence of finality at the age of 11 helps the parent to accept the choice. I believe that with the advent of this White Paper, and the schools it will produce, criticism of the existing system will grow less and less. Therefore, the case for the alternative system of the comprehensive school or the other rather nebulous suggestion contained in "The Future that Labour Offers" will diminish.
The Amendment accuses the Government of being doctrinaire, but I submit that it is the party opposite who are being doctrinaire. I have had some experience of considering proposals for comprehensive schools, and the suggestion put out by the party opposite that a score of authorities throughout the country are pressing the Ministry of Education to approve comprehensive schools, and are having their applications rejected, is far from true. The Parliamentary Secretary may be able to give us some figures in this respect, but I submit that as many applications for comprehensive schools have been approved as have been rejected, and that in the case of those which have been rejected, the decision has been taken not on social or political grounds but upon educational advice. It is the policy of the Government to consider each case on its merits. The policy suggested in the Amendment and the policy documents put out by the party opposite means that the Government would dictate to local authorities what kind of secondary education they should have. Theirs is the doctrinaire approach, and not that of the present Government.
The hon. Member for Fulham has admitted that the programme will mean the 461 spending of vast sums on education. I was glad of his support on that point. There is no complaint about that, provided the money is spent wisely, and I believe that the present proposals will ensure that.
As for the minor works allocation, I agree that the term "minor works" is becoming rather anomalous as the limit is raised to £20,000, which is half the cost of a new primary school. I was glad to hear that the works approved will allow for a 40 per cent. increase, and I take it from that that individual local authorities have been or will be told almost immediately what their allocation is to be for the current year. Owing to economic vicissitudes, it may be necessary to alter from time to time the amount of money available for the minor works programme, but I sincerely hope that, the limit having been raised to £20,000, it can be kept at that figure, even if it means that the ration for each local authority has to be varied. Local authorities will now prepare plans for the re-equipment and improvement of schools, and should they be told, in a year or eighteen months, that the limit is to be reduced to £10,000, a great deal of their work will be redundant.
Other proposals contained in the White Paper and the Circular which I particularly welcome include the permission now granted to local authorities to build their secondary modern schools and allow for a five-year course. We have always wanted that, and I was glad to see it covered in the Circular.
The Parliamentary Secretary may be able to say a word about special schools, which, as far as I can see, do not feature in the White Paper. My hon. Friend knows my interest in this matter, and I notice that some proposals are contained in the Circular. I am not clear whether special schools are to take part in the general advance of education. If they are, I hope that special consideration will be given to schools for the educationally sub-normal.
I suppose that it is inevitable that the debate and the Division afterwards, if it takes place, will be between the grammar school and the secondary modern school, on the one hand—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—I am glad to hear that, because it would be most unfortunate, even 462 although I think that the grammar school and secondary modern school system will win in the end. I should like to think that the House generally approves the advance made by the White Paper.
§ 5.51 p.m.
§ Mr. Ede (South Shields)
When I listened to the Minister of Education opening the debate, for a long time I thought that we were to be treated as men and brothers. Then we came to what appeared to be the peroration to his speech, from which I gathered that he holds the same view about education as does the hon. Member for Battersea, South (Mr. Partridge), who has a right to be very bitter upon this matter, inasmuch as he is chairman of the Education Committee of the Conservative Party in this House. I can understand his bitterness, but when the Minister talks about our desire to destroy the grammar schools, he must know that he is saying something which does not represent our point of view.
I support the comprehensive school system because I believe that it will increase the number of our children who will receive a grammar school education because they are fitted for it. I do not know whether many hon. Members had the advantage of listening to Dr. Bronowsky on one of his television programmes called "New Horizons," when he went into the whole question of selection at 11 years of age. He had the advantage of being able to interview a gentleman who, I understand, is supposed to be the high priest of intelligence tests. This high priest admitted that he made errors in selections to the extent of 25 per cent.
The interview ended up in an amusing way. He asked permission to give Professor Bronowsky an intelligence test. The Professor agreed, and although it was a complicated test, at the end of a few seconds he produced the right answer. He then said to the high priest, "May I ask you a question, as an intelligence test?" The high priest agreed, and the question was asked. After a rather longer time than Dr. Bronowsky had taken he produced an answer, which was then demonstrated visually to be wrong.
The place of the grammar school in our educational system has always been one of privilege. But parents do now not want to get their children into a 463 grammar school to learn grammar. Dr. Johnson said that the grammar school, apart from religion, confined its attention to the learned languages taught grammatically. When I go down to a speech day, or to open a new school, I sometimes say, "If I went into any grammar school in this county or county borough next Monday morning and announced to the parents that it had been decided that that grammar school should be a grammar school in the real sense, there would be an immediate outflow of all the parents and pupils."
On an application from the Governors of Leeds Grammar School, when they wanted to introduce elementary science and some modern studies, Lord Eldon said that by its very nature the school was prohibited from teaching modern studies. They had to establish another school, which is now known as the Leeds Modern School. This was to provide the teaching which the grammar school was not allowed to give.
Let us realise that the zeal for entry to the grammar school today exists because, generally speaking, it has the best equipped science laboratories in its area, and parents and pupils believe that the future is with the scientist and not the classicist. I want to see available for every child as he goes through school the chance to get the kind of education which he shows successively that he needs. Many parents are disappointed with the grammar school when their child has not quite the type of mind that is necessary.
We are all glad to see the right hon. Member for Runcorn (Mr. Vosper) back and to hear him again. He paid a visit to my constituency to examine the education service there, and although politics run pretty strongly in the educational administration of my constituency, all those to whom I spoke—no matter on which side they were—agreed that the right hon. Gentleman had been very fair in the views he had expressed, the criticisms he had uttered, and the praise which, in some circumstances, he had bestowed. I can assure him that we have missed him from the House and that we were glad once again to be able to listen to his voice on this subject this afternoon.
§ Mr. Ede
I have dealt with him; one does not waste too much time on the small fry.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to the White Paper. I should like to read to him and to the House a paragraph that we put into a White Paper of 1943. The last part of paragraph 28, dealing with the question of the suitability of a particular school for a particular child, if we had a tripartite system, read:An academic training is ill-suited for many of the pupils who find themselves moving along a narrow educational path bounded by the School Certificate"—that was the School Certificate of those days; I admit that in these days any type of school can have a School Certificate Examination suitable to its particular curriculum—and leading into a limited field of opportunity. Further, too many of the nation's abler children are attracted into a type of education which prepares primarily for the University and for the administrative and clerical professions; too few find their way into schools from which the design and craftsmanship sides of industry are recruited. If education is to serve the interests both of the child and of the nation, some means must be found of correcting this bias and of directing ability into the field where it will find its best realisation.I think that is still a legitimate criticism of the grammar school to which admission is obtained by the normal method at the present time. It is one of the things to be deplored that up to the moment the nation has not seen the education service with the vision so eloquently put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham, (Mr. M. Stewart) at the close of his speech. For it is the vision that the school has, the ideals it holds up as the best for the pupils, that will largely determine the success of democratic education in this country.
It is a difficult process to describe, but I think it is probably a mutual process between social standards, social values and the educational service of the country. The man or woman who gives of his or her best to the community in the calling he or she has adopted is entitled to equal honour no matter the social circumstances of that calling. I, for one, hope that the vision expressed by my hon. Friend will be steadily upheld throughout the struggle there will be in the near future about the content of education in this country.
465 Let us be clear on this point. Education is something that is carried on in the class room, on the playing fields or on the school journey in the contact between a more mature mind and an immature mind, and the task of administrators and legislators is to endeavour to let that contact take place in conditions that enable both teacher and taught to exercise their joint influence over as wide a range of interests as possible, so that the pupil shall get a chance of revealing in the course of this process what his real gifts are.
I recollect the second meeting of the Surrey Education Committee I attended, when we had a pupil-teacher ratio of forty-eight pupils per teacher, which was very good in those days. I am talking about 1914. I never had a class of less than 55 to teach. Some genius had discovered in his peregrinations round the county a school which had 287 pupils and seven teachers. His mathematical training had been just sufficient to enable him to put forward this proposition: bring one child up from the infants' school, sack one of the teachers, 'and you will achieve the pupil-teacher ratio that has been declared right by this authority. He did not understand it when I said to him as a practical teacher turned administrator, "Do you realise that if you do this you will put every child in the school out of his stride for the next six weeks?" For the complete reorganisation of a school, which is so easy in the committee room, can have the most disastrous effects on the progress of the children in that school.
I believe we have to find a far higher place in the social values of the school for those children whose gifts are practical, who tend to particularise rather than to write glorious woolly essays—which I rather think the right hon. Gentleman thought the author of this Amendment had given us. I am thinking of the child who moves slowly, who wants to be convinced before he puts another foot forward that he is already stepping on solid ground. I had a boy who held it as a cardinal principle that seven sevens make fifty-three. I made him say "Seven sevens are forty-nine" twenty times, and when he had done it he turned to me and said. "Please, sir, why are they?" The correct answer to that question on the 466 other side of the House would be "I would like to see that question on the Paper." No boy—I am talking about boys particularly, although I have taught mixed classes—gets a sense of achievement by having all his sums marked wrong every morning, with the haunting dread that if he gets one right by accident he will immediately be punished for having copied or cheated.
I agree with what the right hon. Gentleman said on that score. We have got to make education alive and something in which the child is interested, because without interest there is no real education. The wider we make the school the greater facility there is for a child, who is leaving a form to which he is generally attached in order to go to another form of pupils of about his own age, to deal with a subject in which he may be either very strong or very weak. That is one way of helping to get the child interested in the school.
I am glad to say that while not many schools are called comprehensive the move to comprehensiveness is growing. During the Recess I went to a school about four miles from where I live, where some of the pupils who passed the common entrance examination go to this school as the grammar school their parents select. It also takes all the pupils in the immediate neighbourhood of the school who have not passed the common entrance examination. The testimony of the head teacher there was that whereas he had experience in a place where they dealt only with secondary-modern, where children come with a preliminary sense of frustration and failure, because of the way he was organising this school he was able to make it plain to every pupil that if he was qualified for the grammar school side he would go to it, and it he was not qualified for that but had blundered into it he would be transferred to something more appropriate.
He said, "I do not want the children to sort themselves out. I want them all to feel they have a chance of succeeding in this school according to their abilities, no matter what happened at the Common Entrance". I replied. "Well, you will have a hard job to do it." He said, "There is only one thing that stands in the way. The grammar school child can get a grant towards clothing but not the child who does not pass the Common Entrance examination."
467 I have not had time to inquire, and I do not know whether that is a national or a local regulation. All I say is that where there are these various forms of bilateralism, multi-lateralism and all the other horrible descriptions people will insist on giving to things that ought merely to be called secondary schools, that will at any rate never receive the support of the national Government. Every child in any school should be equal before the law and before the regulations. Because I have not been able to complete my inquiries, I am not trying to put blame anywhere tonight. I hold it as a fundamental belief that we must not differentiate inside a rate-aided school between one child and another on any other basis than one that has been recommended by a doctor.
I have heard something about the settlement of 1944. I was at all the meetings, but I never heard the participants call it a settlement. All that I think the present Home Secretary and myself managed to do was to give everybody something but nobody as much as he asked for. We got to a stage when we had a Measure to which no serious opposition —on that particular score with which I am now dealing—was offered in the House. I do not want to reopen any old sores, but hon. Members who were here in 1944 will recollect that one afternoon our late friend Dick Stokes said he was going to divide the House. I saw Sir John Shute and Mr. Joseph Tinker—and old Members of the House will know the status they had—to tell him not to do it, and it was not done.
I hope that the same spirit of accommodation—I will not say more than this—that enabled us to take the tremendous steps forward at that time will prevail today. I was a Nonconformist child in days when it was a serious disability to be a Nonconformist child. No child ought to be penalised or put into an inferior building because of the faith of its parents, and still less because of the faith of the school managers. I say no more than that, but as one who took part in those days in what I regard, under the tremendous and powerful leadership of the present Home Secretary, as a great advance, I hope that we shall be able to get the same spirit going now that we had then. I am quite sure that the right hon. and learned Member for 468 Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies), who played no undistinguished part in those proceedings, will agree with me.
We are engaged, and shall be engaged for years, in a very competitive world in which our standard of living and our influence in the world will depend upon the skill of our craftsmen and the creative genius of our designers. I say nothing to belittle mere academic attainment, but in this particular connection the word "mere" is not out of place. We shall need an education service based on a national conception of social values, which will attract the man or woman who gives his or her best according to the abilities with which he or she has been endowed, and anything which suggests that the education which produces good craftsmen, and particularly skilled creative designers, is in some way or other a sort of second-class education will not secure for us the full effort that our people are able to give.
I rejoiced when I went to Stoke Newington to the comprehensive school there and was told that 80 per cent. of the children stayed on beyond the time when they were free from a legal obligation to attend school. The right hon. Gentleman this afternoon said that they go on beyond the compulsory leaving age, and that is a phrase that I sometimes hear used. There is a sort of belief that a child ought to go at 15 and that we ought to have some excuse for keeping it at school beyond that age. I hope that we shall increasingly get the support of the parents, employers, teachers, school managers and citizens generally in an endeavour to keep the child at school as long as we can.
Inside the schools themselves, in the intimate relationship between teacher and pupil, I hope there will be opportunities for children who do avail themselves of this chance to get especial attention, sometimes in things that are outside the run of education for the ordinary child in school, in which we can give a child something that marks him out as an individual, with a capacity of his own. If we can do that, I believe that we can face the future with quite certain equanimity in this country. It is because I believe that the best way to do that is through the comprehensive school that I shall vote for the Amendment tonight.
§ 6.17 p.m.
§ Mr. J. C. Jennings (Burton)
This debate is, in the main, about secondary education, but I think that we would be very foolish if we considered secondary education without first establishing one fundamental principle. It is that we need to look after the base of the educational pyramid, and that we cannot expect to have a successful and satisfying secondary school system unless we have a highly efficient infants' and primary school system as well.
Therefore, I say to the House and particularly to my right, hon. Friend the Minister that we cannot afford to neglect the primary and infants' schools in the matter of the supply and calibre of teachers, in their buildings, in their equipment, and, may I say in muted tones, in salaries. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why muted?"] I say "muted tones" because we all know that the Burnham Committee is, or soon will be, conducting negotiations. I can see certain dangers arising over the salaries of primary school teachers, and I am uttering a warning note at the outset. In other words, I want to make certain that the primary and infants' schools will not, in the next five years, be regarded as the Cinderellas of our education system.
I have read the White Paper carefully and also the Amendment to my right hon. Friend's Motion. I want to be very sincere and to try to be as objective and constructive as possible. Speaking from a personal point of view and my own vital interest in education, I must say that I am sorry that the Opposition Amendment has been moved. I do not say that for any political reason at all. I am trying to speak as an educationalist rather than as a politician.
§ Mr. Jennings
The hon. Member does not believe me, but he knows that I was an educationalist for a far longer time than I have been a politician.
I am sorry that the Amendment has been moved, because even the Amendment acknowledges that the White Paper contains improvements. That is certainly something, coming from the Opposition to a Tory Government. It starts from that premise. I am sorry the Amendment has been moved because I believe 470 that there is a tremendous amount of common ground on education policy between the Opposition and those on these benches. My right hon. Friend tried to point that out and asked: where do we really disagree? If hon. Members opposite do not answer that, I shall try to do it for them.
There are two main subjects on which we vitally differ. One is finance, in other words, the block grant, and the other is the reorganisation of secondary education, the comprehensive schools. Because of the publication of the White Paper and of my belief, and, I hope, the belief of hon. Members generally, that the Government really meant business, I had hoped that the main theories and practices of education could have been taken out of the forefront of the political battle. I am firmly convinced that it is the wish of those engaged in the active practice of education and of most parents that education should not be in the cockpit of politics.
The life of a child in a school is far too valuable to play about with as a pawn in a political game. Unless I am goaded, and the "Old Adam" creeps up, I shall try hard not to do that. Recognising that the block grant is now in being, or soon will be, that the battle in this Parliament is over, and that we on this side of the House believe that if hon. Members opposite are returned to power —which heaven forbid—they will immediately reinstitute the percentage grant, I should have thought that we could at least have said, "Let us call it a day until you get back."
We know hon. Members opposite object to the present—so-called tripartite—system and intend to bring in what they euphemistically call a comprehensive system. I would hope that we could put this on one side and forget about it for a time while we concentrate on the common ground which exists between us, our desire for an increase in the number of teachers, better buildings and all that is included in the White Paper, but no, unfortunately, we are not to do that. Therefore, as we have to meet the challenge of the Amendment I want to examine it in detail. It starts byexpressing the hope that the improvements in education proposed … will be achieved.Does my sensitive soul detect a note of cynicism here?
§ Mr. Jennings
I will take the hon. Member up on experience. I can understand from that interjection exactly what is in the minds of right hon. and hon. Members opposite when they start an Amendment in those words. They are actually saying that they have no faith in the desire of the present Government actually to carry out this programme. The last time I spoke on education in the House I showed that the Government were not the only Government who were guilty of cutting back on educational expenditure after they had decided on a course of action. I quoted circular after circular, issued during the time of the 1945 to 1951 Socialist Government, with details and facts which have never been contradicted by a spokesman from the Front Bench opposite.
I know that I am small fry and, therefore, cannot expect to be answered from the Front Bench, but no representative of the Socialist Party has ever tried to contradict what I then said. Therefore, I say that it is quite conceivable that, as happened in the time of the Socialist Government, circumstances might affect the programme. I say "might affect", but I am firmly convinced in my mind—I would not say it unless I believed it—that the Government are determined to carry out this policy so far as they possibly can.
The next part of the Amendment refers to the financial arrangements and maintains that they are inadequate for the purpose. This is our old friend the block grant—
§ Mr. Jennings
Yes, I was against it and I say quite frankly that the vehemence, hysteria and exaggeration of the campaign by many of my friends—[An HON. MEMBER: "The N.U.T."] I specify no organisation—convinced me against my will to support the Government on the block grant.
§ Mr. Jennings
I have told members, highly placed members, of my own union 472 that I disapproved of the manner—not the substance—in which the campaign had been run. My remarks were borne out by the fact that little reaction in the rank and file of the teaching profession was observed.
Let us get back to the financial arrangements. As the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) admitted in his speech, it is true that the Government are committed to vast expenditure; for instance, on building £300 million in the next five years, training colleges another £15 million, universities £95 million between 1957 and 1963, and on technological education, £100 million. There is a global figure approaching £800 million for this year and by 1963 to 1965 it is estimated that it will be about £1,000 million, a figure which the Secretary of the Association of Education Committees said was a desirable figure to achieve.
I say frankly that the Government, by their monetary policy in education, are embarking on an era of expansion that has never been envisaged, seen or acted upon in the whole history of the nation. I am delighted that we can see such a policy of expansion for the next five years.
I wish to say a word about the next part of the Amendment, which refers to the supply of teachers. Here I find a lot of common ground with the hon. Member for Fulham. We cannot have a successful education system unless we have a satisfied and contented teaching profession and the correct number of teachers in the profession. Our first priority, therefore, is to see in the next two, three or four years, and as soon as we can, that the supply of teachers is adequate. How are we to do that? It is a problem which would face any Government.
The Government's scheme of expansion, as envisaged in the Report issued by my right hon. Friend, shows provision for 12,000 new places at an estimated cost of £15 million. If one looks at this carefully one can see that the problem is to be tackled in two distinct phases, and I am optimistic enough to believe that the whole scheme will be out of the blueprint stage and in the pipeline at the latest by the autumn of this year.
In the light of the fact that before this year is out the provision of the new 12,000 places should be in the pipeline, I ask my right hon. Friend to take a 473 practical step—immediately to examine Phase III of the operation and to increase the present 12,000 in Phase III by 33⅓ per cent. over the following two years, which would give the 16,000 places advocated by the Advisory Council. If he consented to do that and to consider such a new phase, I also suggest that it would pay him to look at the areas where new universities are contemplated and to work into the university system some new places for training colleges.
The next part of the Amendment is the "daddy of them all". Here we have the words,owing to a doctrinaire opposition to comprehensive secondary education the White Paper fails to remove the admitted evils of segregating children at the age of eleven.I was struck by the use of this word "doctrinaire", because I have been convinced—and my personal approach to the question of comprehensive schools has borne it out—that we on this side of the House are not doctrinaire in our approach. The hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) should not sit there like a pundit of wisdom, shaking his head, until I have finished what I have to say. Of course, if he is out for a bit of fun, I am quite prepared to let him have it.
§ Commander J. W. Maitland (Horncastle)
Does not my hon. Friend think that the Amendment would read much better if there were a full stop after "opposition"?
§ Mr. Jennings
Yes, that is a good point. It would then read, "owing to a doctrinaire opposition".
In our approach to comprehensive education we believe that there is a place in our system for such experiments. We have fifty of them now, and in our documents we say that in areas where there is a sparse population, or in new housing estates where there are no established, traditional grammar schools, this is the right form of organisation of secondary education. We are, therefore, not doctrinaire.
Here we come to the question of a definition of terms. The Opposition should be perfectly clear what they mean by comprehensive education. I have heard it described as "comprehensive schools", "a comprehensive system", and, in this Amendment, "comprehensive secondary education". I will try to define from my 474 point of view what I think comprehensive education is, and if the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) does not agree with me, I am sure that he will tell me.
I think that it can be defined as that system of education which aims to provide for all the children in a given area complete facilities for secondary education without being organised like grammar, technical and modern schools in clearly defined sides. I think that is a fair description of what is meant by comprehensive education.
As the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) said, we also have a multiplicity of other descriptions, such as bilateral and multilateral. It is as well that we should get clear in our minds what we mean by bilateral and multilateral schools. The definition which I have read is not my own; it is one which I found elsewhere. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I have done some research. I try to make speeches on a subject on which I have some knowledge.
If that definition is correct, then we must look at bilateral and multilateral schools to see whether they are comprehensive schools. If the definition is correct, they are not, because a bilateral school combines two of the three types which I have mentioned in separate streams and the multilateral school combines the three types in three separate streams attempting as far as possible to preserve their separate identity. By contrast—and this is the point about what comprehensive education means—comprehensive schools aim rather to amalgamate all three in a homogeneous unit.
I come next to the question of the destruction of the grammar schools. The hon. Member for Fulham said today that the grammar school has to enlarge its function. He went on to say that a change in the qualification of its entrants was necessary. The right hon. Member for South Shields also said that it had to take in not the old grammar school type or, as he described it, the literary type, but almost inevitably all talents. That is not what parents regard as a grammar school.
I therefore put a question to the Opposition. Do they conceive, in their estimation of their proposed comprehensive system, a grammar school existing in any given area as a separate entity? That is 475 a practical question which I have never heard answered by any speaker from either the Front Bench or the back benches opposite. I have never been told exactly what is the form of organisation of their comprehensive system.
§ Miss Alice Bacon (Leeds, South-East)
If the hon. Member turns to paragraph 18 on page 6 of the Government's White Paper he will read that a scheme is beingtried out in two areas of Leicestershire which will, when fully operative, achieve this without damaging the integrity of well-established schools.In other words, the Leicestershire scheme does not damage the integrity of the grammar schools and yet inherent in it is the fact that all children can go to the school irrespective of any examination.
§ Mr. Jennings
May I reply by asking the hon. Lady whether the comprehensive system advocated by her party is based on the Leicestershire experiment? We have never heard from any hon. Member opposite what is the geographical and physical content of their scheme.
The Labour Party have by no means the main support of professional educationists on the question of comprehensive schools. I have here a copy of a statement giving the text of the memorandum of the evidence which the National Union of Teachers drew up and submitted to the Central Advisory Council for Education. The N.U.T. approaches this question of comprehensive schools with considerable caution. It would be as well if the House heard what professional opinion is on this matter. This is what is said in paragraph 18:We are not in favour of any neat and tidy or centrally directed method of organisation.
§ Mr. Jennings
It continues:We believe that existing patterns can and should be developed in a variety of ways.So do we. It continues:Varying and quite different methods of secondary school organisation are developing in many areas and we have little doubt that these local changes of emphasis will continue. We have already stated that the move away from a tripartite organisation is bound to grow, but we also believe that some form of bilateralism will commend itself to many areas throughout the period 1965–75, as distinct from the increase in the number of comprehensive schools which will occur in some areas.I am delighted to see that hon. Members opposite are enthusiastic about this, 476 because that is exactly what the White Paper says. On this matter we are, therefore, on remarkably common ground.
Let me say a word about selection, because the next part of the Amendment makes some reference to 11-plus. The propaganda about comprehensive schools often leads people to believe that selection would be abolished and that children would not be labelled. All teachers know that at some stage in a child's life some form of selection is unavoidable. The point is how the selection is to take place and when it has to take place—either before the child goes to the new secondary type of school or when it gets there. I heard a criticism from an hon. Member opposite this afternoon that the junior and primary school was geared in its curriculum and practice to the 11-plus examination. That may be so, but if the selection has to be in the comprehensive schools, there will be, and there is, an inordinate time spent in testing children.
§ Mr. G. Thomas
Is the hon. Member not aware that the fundamental difference in this question of selectivity is that whereas with the 11-plus examination only 2 per cent. of those who fail are subsequently able to transfer to any other type of school than the secondary modern school, the test which takes place in the comprehensive school is not final at all and in fact tests are continually taking place?
§ Mr. Jennings
Our answer to that is that we believe that the secondary modern system should be so uplifted that there will be little difference between the secondary modern and the grammar schools. The White Paper aims at that.
§ Mr. Jennings
We should retain that standard. Instead of lowering the standard of the grammar school we are raising the standard of the secondary modern school to grammar school level.
§ Mr. John Eden (Bournemouth, West)
I wonder whether my hon. Friend knows that this has been done in Bournemouth over the last five years.
§ Mr. Jennings
Hon. Members talk about selection in comprehensive schools, 477 but, in fact, it is not now called selection; they call it progressive differentiation, which sounds much better than "selection" or "the 11 -plus". The point is that in comprehensive schools we still label children. For instance, one school has a 3A grammar stream and a 3B grammar stream, a 3A technical stream and a 3B technical stream, a 3A modern stream, and so on. Therefore, whatever the system of secondary education, children are, in the end, labelled. This is one of what I call the educational issues.
I wish now to turn to another educational issue, the question of terminal leaving. This, also, is something which my right hon. Friend should examine. It is a progressive move to make sure that each child, in whatever type of secondary school he may be, has a full four-year course. I support the idea that a child should leave at the end of the year in which he attains his fifteenth birthday. One of the aims of secondary education is to bridge the gap between secondary and further education and between secondary education and worthwhile employment.
I had intended to spend a little time in showing how, in secondary modern schools, tremendous expansion has taken place in special courses, but I will skip that and come to something else which, to me, is almost as important as the educational issue. I refer to what is called the social issue, exemplified by this word "segregation". I believe that, just as one cannot abolish selection, one cannot eliminate social or educational segregation, whether it be in a comprehensive school or not.
Let us examine the practical geography of it. In a full, centralised, controlled comprehensive system, as it would inevitably be, the great danger would be that, in certain areas, there would be a monotype social background. One could not avoid it, according to the geography and economic circumstances of the neighbourhood. There would be the "West End" social background in one school and the "East End" social background in another. There would be the up-town school and the down-town school.
Although supporters of the comprehensive system tell me that it will break down class barriers, I regard it as one way of 478 perpetuating group class barriers. In that sense, the ordinary grammar school today is absolutely truly comprehensive in its social cross-section because, in present circumstances, it takes pupils from all forms of society.
I will try to sum up what I think we on this side believe about comprehensive secondary education. We are opposed to a unilateral or an omnibus solution to the problems of secondary education. By "unilateral" I mean the establishment of comprehensive education without consultation with the people concerned, particularly those who have to work the system. Far too often it is possible for authorities, whether central or local, to bring into being a system of education without consultation. That is where trouble lies. I am, therefore, against unilaterally or centrally directed schemes without consultation. After all, hon. Members opposite, together with many of my hon. Friends, are concerned with joint consultation in industry. Why should we not have it in education?
I define an omnibus solution as a nationally or centrally imposed unified pattern without recognition of local needs or desires. We prefer development to be evolutionary, natural, and according to local needs. The tripartite system, as I see it, has, therefore, gradually evolved into a new mixed system within the 1944 Act. This is the way, I think, that British institutions have always developed. We are evolving. Education may eventually evolve towards the comprehensive system in years to come. I would not mind, so long as we evolve and do good on the way.
The White Paper provides the means and the opportunity. Here we have exemplified variety, flexibility, freedom for children to have a first-class education, and opportunity for wide parental choice. I commend the White Paper as the power-house of secondary education for the future.
§ 6.50 p.m.
§ Mr. David Logan (Liverpool, Scotland Division)
I have listened with pleasure to the debate, and I take my mind back to the time when John Scurr, I and one of my hon. Friends defeated our own Government on an education Measure. Those were very stormy times. I do not regret that occasion, and I hope that we shall never again see the time in this 479 House when public opinion is in favour of something which is right and the House is against. Such a thing is entirely wrong.
What has been announced today requires examination, and I am perfectly satisfied that what the Opposition have done in bringing forward an Amendment is absolutely justified. This House is here for the benefit of the nation. I have read that a statesman—with a question mark after that word—has said that many are careerists in the House of Commons, but I doubt it. Most hon. Members come here with a determination to do the best for the people they represent. We have a duty. We are not "rubber stamps". We are here to do the best we possibly can according to our conscience, and in considering education we must remember that it has a dual aspect, both material and spiritual. There is something in it which calls forth the expression of all that is best in the manhood and womanhood of the nation. This Chamber is the forum, calling forth the best from its Members, who should express opinions publicly, honestly, without fear or favour, and especially is this so when we deal with education.
In thinking of how best the education of our country's children can be accomplished. I have in mind my own fourteen grandchildren, my three sons and my three daughters. As I look round at the streets of our towns and villages and see the homes of the people where our children are growing up, I think of the future and I am greatly moved. We have passed through the troubles of war, and I believe that we are in a new era, a period when, if they use it aright, the men and women of our country will be able to lead us to greater prosperity than we have ever had. I am not downcast, although three out of my own home died during the war and I had a son-in-law and three girls in the family who were injured. I am not worried even when I remember the sacrifices in thousands of homes in the Scotland Division of Liverpool when they were fighting back in the docks and the bombs were falling and men were going out to brave the dangers of the sea. The spirit of England is not dead. We still have it, and we must have it in this House too.
480 I believe in equality before God. Whether it be Jew, Protestant or Catholic, each has the same right. We must in this House ensure equality. If it means anything at all, brotherhood means charity one to another. In my view, there can be no true education in this country without the knowledge of God, for I believe that the knowledge of God is the highest form of wisdom. The Jew has it. The Catholic has it. The Protestant has it. "Credo in unum Deum"—"I believe in one God."
If we expect to have proper change for a sovereign or a pound note, in other things in our life also we must see that we have a fair return. This is where I must strike a note of dissent as I come to examine the White Paper and I am told about the glorious vision of a new paradise which is likely to come about. I fail to see it. The literary achievements and the draftsmanship of the House of Commons is marvellous. When one comes to read the results of it, one thinks that a great prize is being offered, but later, in the working out, one finds that one has made a blunder, has read the wrong paragraph or misinterpreted something. Therefore it is better, before we pass anything in law, to know exactly what it is.
It was Marcus Aurelius, I think—I was not living in his time—who said, "Let us be true in definition." Definition is of first importance in this matter we are considering now. I will quote a definition from the White Paper. In paragraph 32, we read:To improve the nation's schools, as proposed in this Paper, will require not only the programme of capital expenditure"—and so on, about finance: and then it goes on to say that,… so far as the school building programme is concerned, the Government recognise that the Churches"—this is what I want to emphasise —may need help. The word "may" is not in inverted commas, but I put them in; it says that they may. But they may not, and very likely, having regard to what the cost will be, "may" will be taken to mean "will not".
We have here something which is issued as a standard to gauge expenses and costs with reference to the lovely scheme put before us. I do not object to it at all if it will better the life of 481 children, if it will open the schools and make a broader expanse for the mind. That is all very good. If it will make better artisans and technicians for our country in the game of competition, I agree with it. But we must remember that if a man has a shop without any goods he cannot run it without finance. We shall find that schools will be closed as a result of some of the things which are proposed. If they ever come into force. I do not issue any threats, but I assure the House that I will do everything in my power to see that the terms put in this White Paper do not become operative. We want a broader and better life. We want men, women and children to have the benefits of good social conditions. No nation can be great unless the home is happy and unless the children have good moral character and fibre. Fancy schemes are of no use; it is the fibre of the home that counts.
Do hon. Members on both sides of the House think that people can be driven? That cannot be done today. There are uprisings in all parts of the world and people are aiming for freedom. We in this land will not be slaves. We are seeking ways of broadening the mind and are aiming for higher things. The people know their wants and are making up their minds to ensure that they will not want them much longer. Mothers and fathers have had to starve in the past and brothers and sisters have had to go out into the world poverty stricken. Conditions are different today; people are aiming for higher things.
A friend of mine said to me, "Have you heard what the Americans, Germans and Russians are trying to do?" I said, no. He said "The Russians are trying to get to the moon". I said, "Goodness, we had moonlight flits here twenty years ago." I hope hon. Members see the joke. I was referring to people running away from the landlord.
Education must be applied equally to the whole nation. No religious denomination should be penalised, and, what is more, any man with a religious belief should not be penalised. He has the right to be treated in the same way as myself. That being so, we should ensure that the money of the people of this nation is spent in the right direction in order to give the children the opportunity 482 to go from the primary school to the secondary school and on to the university.
Years ago thousands of boys were well fitted to go to university, but because of poverty in their homes they were unable to do so. At fourteen years of age they had to earn a livelihood, and although they had marked ability they were not able to carry on to university.
These points are relevant within the ambit of the White Paper. I am keeping strictly to the point and giving illustrations. This White Paper is based on the question of costs of giving secondary education and on the important question of how the money is to be found. I am not affected one iota by the views of either side of the House. People outside expect us to do the right thing, and that is our obligation and duty not only to the rich but also to the poor. I am not preaching about class distinction. I want to give ability its greatest opportunity, whether in the poorest or richest child. All children should have equal opportunity. We shall not achieve it by this White Paper.
I do not want to cause too much trouble, but I hope that when the leaders meet the Government they will realise their responsibility in making up their minds what the demand should be in education. A Clause in the 1944 Act says, in effect, "If you are not able to comply with the demands and regulations and keep your school up to the proper standard, it is no use talking about the fate of the children. The school can be controlled and taken from you".
A proper examination should be made into education and balderdash such as is contained in the White Paper should be washed out. I want there to be a proper understanding when the deputations meet, as I believe they will meet next week. That was my only purpose in speaking tonight. When the deputations meet they should consider from where the money is to come. I think that I understand English correctly. It is sometimes expressed differently in my area, but we understand each other. We speak in the vernacular.
Will the deputations give their support? Will the money be forthcoming? About £87 million is required in 14 dioceses for future building. What is to be done with it? I should like to give the figure for 483 Liverpool. The overall costs up to 1957 were £5,783,263. The total costs over the whole country amount to £87,269,000. The poor of the country have paid the penalty, and now it is time that they reaped some benefits from education. Dividends and stock quotations on the Stock Exchange may be all right, but a good standard of living is more essential than fluctuations of one, three-quarters or one-sixth on the Stock Exchange. I ask the Prime Minister and the Minister of Education not to treat education as a matter of no account. I emphasise that I have no official authority for making the statements that I have made. If we think that the Government are going contrary to what we think is the right and proper way, we should agitate to ensure that we get justice for the children.
Threats and intimidation are of no use. There has been a good spirit here, and a better opinion has been formed on both sides. The courtesy extended from one side of the House to an hon. Member is remarkable; therefore, one does not like to hurt one's colleagues. One does not feel that he should not be courteous, but in the House of Commons we have to express our opinions honestly and according to our conscience. I have tried to do that, and I hope that when my words are conveyed to the Minister he will be impressed with the importance, not of me, but of the points which I have made.
§ 7.9 p.m.
§ Mr. Philip Bell (Bolton, East)
I do not propose to speak about the four great achievements in education during the last decade, which are set out in the White Paper. I do not intend to express any feelings of despair as to the success of the three necessary steps forward which are set out in the White Paper and which have to be taken. I must also deny myself entry into the knock-about tournament dealing with the 11-plus and comprehensive schools. If I am unable to rival the hon. Member for Liverpool, Scotland (Mr. Logan) in oratory, I hope that I may be permitted to say that I share his sincerity in the views which he expressed.
You may well ask, Mr. Speaker, why, then, do I stand between you and calling other hon. Members if I have so little to say about the White Paper? What I 484 shall try to do, however, is to convince both Front Benches that there is a strong feeling, quite possibly a majority feeling, among back benchers on both sides that there should be generous treatment in providing funds for the building of denominational schools.
It is true that the White Paper recognises this problem. Paragraph 22 refers to major building tasks, the first part of whichwill be settled with the local authorities and the Churches as quickly as possible.Paragraph 32 states:So far as the school building programme is concerned, the Government recognise that the Churches may need some further help"—"may need." That is rather an understatement—if they are to be enabled to play their full part in carrying out their share. The Government will shortly invite the interested parties to discuss this possibility.It was right for my right hon. Friend the Minister to say that discussions are pending and he does not feel able to make an announcement of Government intentions. I welcomed very much the courtesy, but it was no surprise, of the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart), who refrained from making any commitments or declarations concerning his party's view. Yet the White Paper, curiously enough, gives little apparent appreciation of what denominational schools have gone through and how they have struggled.
It is an odd thing that it is sometimes forgotten what magnificent work, led by the Church of England, was done for starting education in this country. Up to 1870, the Church of England and the Free Churches, with a small contribution from the Roman Catholics, carried the whole burden of education, educating perhaps over 1 million children, rather less than half the children of school age, without Government help and without rates, for nothing—that is to say, for no material profit. In those days, it was not argued that a good technical school would support the export trade, but the Churches simply considered that their education was the Christian thing to do.
They carried on like that, as an example to the rest of Christian Europe, led chiefly by the Church of England, right up to 1870, when, for the first time, the Government entered upon the scene 485 and the responsibility of the community was accepted for those children who were not adequately provided for and, indeed, for those who were not at school at all. From that period, we had the setting up of the council school, or whatever name it had at that time.
It is interesting to see what happened. A grant was made, but a small one, to the denominational schools. As a result of it, a number of the voluntary schools went out of existence, mostly, I fancy, rural schools. In fact, 650 of them were Church of England schools. The Roman Catholic ones, which were situated more in centres of population, particularly in Lancashire, managed to survive and even increase, though without the grant they still had to buy their land, erect buildings and carry out repairs, paying their teachers less salary than did the State. It is interesting to see what a struggle denominational education made, for as late as 1894 it was still educating the majority of the pupils—between 2 million and 2½ million—although it was getting rather less by way of grant, only half what the council schools were getting.
That position could not last. Clearly, the burden could not be carried for long. With 1902 came the first attempt—some describe it as an instalment of justice, but it was at least the first attempt—to put the maintenance of all schools, whether denominational or not, on an equal footing. That was a brave thing to do. I hope I am not being partisan if I say that it was done by a Conservative Government. It was bitterly fought. In succeeding years twenty attempts were made in this House to upset even the payment of maintenance costs to the schools which belonged to denominations. The struggle died away, as these things do die. What could be done in 1902 could not have been done in 1870. What was done in 1870, when the first grant was given, could not have been done at the time of the Gordon riots.
We moved on and in 1918, after the war, reorganisation began. It brought the compiling of the black list, which shocked us. A number of schools, some of them council schools, were classed in various categories, such as groups A and B, which were bad and should be abolished. In 1938, about twenty years afterwards, many of those schools still 486 remained. Indeed, a few of them have remained to this day.
That led to the next step, the Hadow Report, as a result of which we started having different types of education. I apologise for mentioning what must be familiar, but it leads to my next point concerning the Education Act, 1936. For the first time, we made the real progress of saying that there must be schools for people of different ages, and the secondary school became a reorganised Government-sponsored unit.
What was done then was very interesting. We started what were known as the special agreement schools, which dealt with secondary education. An agreement had to be entered into and approved by the local authority. If an agreement was reached, however, the local authority could pay between 50 and 75 per cent. of the cost of erecting the school. That had never happened before. At no time in history had a penny been paid for building a denominational school. There was a concession about control and we had what were called reserve teachers, whose appointment and dismissal was in the hands of the managers.
There was then great anxiety on both sides. The religious denominations felt that they had been "done out of" the appointment of teachers and that the wrong people would be appointed. They thought that they would never get the 75 per cent. My information, and I feel sure it will be general, is that in practically no case have the Roman Catholics had less than 75 per cent. and in no case have they had trouble about reserve teachers. The reserve teachers are appointed without quibble or argument and the scheme has worked perfectly satisfactorily.
We had moved a long way from 1902. The controversy was dying down. The local authorities did not feel that they were angering the ratepayers if they raised 75 per cent. of the cost of the denominational schools. Experience showed that this scheme has been welcomed by the denominations. Since 1945, the Church of England has had 54 projects put into operation since the special agreement list opened again after it had been stayed for a period during the war. The Roman Catholics, who might have been the fiercest critics because they could not 487 appoint their own teachers, have had 221 projects and the other denominations 16.
That was the first real move towards the payment of capital costs. In 1938, the reorganisation had been taking place and the balance had changed. By then, the majority of the pupils—about 3½ million—were in council schools. The Church of England had retained over 1 million and the Roman Catholics about 400,000. That was the position before the war.
The Church of England, which had the largest stake and was losing many schools in the rural areas, perhaps suffered most in the sense that it was losing its schools. It has been calculated that since 1902 it had lost 52 per cent, of its pupils. The Roman Catholics, concentrated in the industrial areas, slightly increased their number of schools over that period. Then came the war and, with the National Government, in 1944, came the grand plan. We all agreed that it was a magnificent step forward in education following upon the efforts made in the various periods.
But it had become clear that since the black list still remained, the denominations, if they were to transfer schools or close departments, or build other schools, must, in fact, get some other assistance for such reorganisation, which took varying forms. Not only did we have transfer, substituted and displaced pupil schools, but we had a new category, the controlled school.
The controlled school was a Church school which could not raise its share of the money required for reorganisation and, therefore, submitted to being taken over by the local authority, and it retained minority rights. It had only one reserve teacher in five and the reserve teacher could not, in fact, be the headmaster. At any rate, the controlled status was acceptable to the Church of England, but not to the Roman Catholic Church. It was, however, accepted and these schools took a lot of the pupils away from the Church of England. For the rest of the schools various grants were made.
I am sorry for the Minister of Education. How ever he battles with these calculations of displaced pupils and substituted, transferred and varying rights for almost every type of school, I do not 488 know. There was, of course, a grant given for this reorganisation. We are all perhaps a little inclined, when we want something, to think that it is not going to cost very much and rather to minimise the cost at the beginning. It was calculated, for instance—I can only give the figures in respect of the Roman Catholics, but I think them to be accurate—that the cost of reorganisation alone in 1943 was £9½ million. By 1951 people had become more realistic and it was £28 million. In addition to the reorganisation there were the new places which were part of the organisation and that added up to the 1951 bill of £28 million and made the total bill £51 million.
When we look forward we find that the figure is much higher than £51 million. In fact, it is about like £87 million which, less the anticipated grants of £35 million, leaves £52 million. Apart from the liabilities already incurred, the cost of building Roman Catholic schools, if their plans are achieved, would be up to £52 million. Can their plans go on? If we want to know whether they can go on the best way is to look at what has happened from 1945 to 1958. Four thousand two hundred and forty-eight Church of England schools have become controlled and to all intents and purposes they are not really denominational schools.
§ Mr. Bell
With respect I cannot accept that, but I will come back to that point.
The special agreement school was popular. I have mentioned the figures before. We have had 76 projects already approved for the Roman Catholics and 15 for the Church of England. The voluntary schools have, in fact, paid or incurred liabilities during that period of about £10½ million, and according to the latest figures about 2½ million more should be added for those in the process of being built. Those are the liabilities they take. What does the nation do? It has provided about 1½ million places in council schools costing £252 million. Towards providing 96,000 places in voluntary schools the public has to pay £12 million.
It is said, I think properly, by the denominational schools that they have stretched themselves to the limit; that the present reorganisation has handicapped them and that if any more desirable plans 489 are put forward they cannot, in fact, complete them. What they claim is common knowledge now and I am rather sorry that it leaked out so soon. What the Roman Catholic denomination is asking for is a 75 per cent. flat grant for all approved schemes of school building. There are objections to that.
May I say a word or two about these objections? I appreciate them and I would not like it to be thought that members of my denomination are not conscious of the great tolerance given by this country to a small community. Here in this country there is religious tolerance and, by and large, the treatment of a minority for purposes of education is as good as in any other country in the world. Therefore, when I deal with the objections to the suggestion I am making, I hope that it will be in a spirit of charity.
It is said, first, that the 1944 Act was a settlement. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) has, quite properly, I think, denied that it was a settlement. He said that it was the responsibility of the Government to try to make a plan that at least would not either bring us back to Tyburn or raise the fires of Smithfield and he wanted to go as far as he thought the temperament of the people of the country at that time would stand for.
No one was bound by that any more than anyone was bound by the settlement in 1902 or 1870. I think it a misuse of the word "settlement" to say that it was a settlement, except that it settled the matter at that time but it did not settle it for the future. I have no criticism to make about that. Possibly because of the temper of public opinion at that time it was as far as the Government could properly go. Yet the settlement in 1902 did not stop the movement towards a capital grant in 1936.
It is said, I believe, by the Assembly of the Church of England that to extend the grant to the new schools would introduce a new principle. As I understand, the Church of England denominational schools have joined with other denominations in asking for 75 per cent. for all those schools which at present attract some sort of grant, so as to make a flat rate. Unfortunately, I believe that for denominational religion as a whole they do not join with the Roman Catholics 490 who ask for 75 per cent. for the new schools which, under existing law, attract no grant.
Since 1945, 87 new secondary and primary schools have been built by the Roman Catholics without any grant at all, except, of course, for kitchens, playing fields and the medical part. The Church Assembly says that to extend the grant to new schools would be to introduce a new principle. People use the word "principle" in different ways. The proposal would be new in a certain sense, but it is not wholly true to say that it is new. It is not wholly new because there have been capital grants made for the construction of special agreement schools. It is not wholly new, since my right hon. Friend is proposing to pay 75 per cent. of the cost of new teacher-training colleges. Therefore, the idea of paying a capital grant is not entirely new.
Capital payments have, it is true, been associated in the past rather directly with reorganisation. But the erection of grant-aided new schools has to be approved and it has to be shown that they are required and have sufficient pupils and, therefore, can, I think, be properly described, even if they are not transfer or displaced schools, as part of the reorganisation. As new towns spring up and there is a shift of population we may well leave one school to deal with what is left, but we may, on a housing estate, or for a new town, require a new school, and the erection of the new school is part of our organisation from a broad point of view.
Then there is the question of cost. It is suggested sometimes that the proposal would be very costly and would be an unfair burden on the Exchequer and that the money could better be employed. The cost has been worked out for this denomination as the difference between £35 million and £65 million, as it stands now. With the present modest grant about £35 million would be due from the Catholics for the full building programme in the future. If a grant of 75 per cent. instead of 50 per cent. were given it would be £65 million. At any rate, this extra £30 million will not be required within the next five years, but only a proportion. It would be spread over the whole building period of ten or perhaps fifteen years.
491 The Church of England, not joining in the claim for the extended type of grant, says it thinks that there are other aspects of the 1944 Act which it would like to bring up. I cannot see why it should not bring them up. After all, 1944 is nearly as far off as 1921 is from 1944. I hope that the Free Churches have some points. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) will have an opportunity to explain them. I have heard them. If I understand them correctly, I agree with them. What else can I do, taking the line I am?
It is said, for instance, that in many of the schools, the council schools, if I may use that expression, it is impossible for the children to be taken out of the services and to have their own ministers come to the schools to take services for them. I believe that that is the position. It seems to me to be wrong. I certainly think that if it is necessary to amend the Act, it should be amended.
I am told also that the Free Churches feel that they should have some representation in the management of council schools in single school areas. I cannot see why they should not have it. They may have a denominational interest in a school not closely allied to any particular religion, but I would suggest that these are matters which are not insuperable.
It may be asked why these things should be brought out now. History shows there are some moments which are right and some wrong for bringing things to the fore. This is a very different world we live in from that of 1902 and even the years before the last war. Some people here remember those years when there was a good deal more confidence in man than, I feel, we have now, and when there was a good deal more condescension to God.
Perhaps the last years may have made some of us, a great number of us, I think, wonder whether freedom, and the freedom, in particular, to give people religious education, is not very essential for democracy, faced as it is now with the shadow of Communist civilisation. The Norwood Report upon the denominational schools referred to "intangible, spiritual values". The Home Secretary, as my right hon. Friend is now, though he was not then, when 492 introducing the Bill in 1944 quoted Wordsworth, I think, saying that now the object of education wasto inform man with moral and religious principles.Everybody pays a sort of lip-service to religion one way or another. Everybody says it is a very good thing that people should have religion, even if they do not accept it themselves too much. They agree that it gives good moral training. We recognise it by paying denominational chaplains, and we certainly carry it out in our Colonial Territories. Moreover, we signed the Declaration on Human Rights, which says that parents havethe prior right to choose the type of education which should be given to their children.Then, in this House, we say—and hon. Gentlemen opposite say it, if I may say so, with a good deal more eloquence, perhaps, than some of my hon. Friends—that the bomb is no answer to Communism and that we must have spiritual and moral force to put against the wickedness that there is in the world.
History shows that if there is one source of resistance to Communist domination in Europe, it is the Churches. It is not found in the political groups or trade unions or in other organisations. It is the Churches, the Catholic Church, the Protestant Churches, which have been and are the group which fosters real spiritual resistance to Communism.
It is useless for us to say how good religion is if we do not give religion equality of means, and give the Church schools equality with others. A not very popular character in Shakespeare says at his trial:You take my life,When you do take the means whereby I live.It is useless to talk of the intangible, spiritual values which are fostered in denominational schools if we do not give those schools the means to survive, not as a small, eccentric group without any influence or power, but as part of the great stream of education in this country. They have dwindled; perhaps that was necessary; but they are still a strong, compact body.
But if the back benchers on both sides now give the more timid Front Benchers the assurance that we have gone past the intolerant days of the early years of the century, nobody will be annoyed but a 493 good many people will be pleased and proud that we took this great step forward by boldly giving equality—not quite, perhaps, but certainly a sufficient equality for all practical purposes—to denominational, religious education.
§ 7.36 p.m.
§ Mr. Clement Davies (Montgomery)
I do not intend to intervene for more than a very few minutes. I do not wish to follow the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Bolton, East (Mr. Philip Bell) in his historical review, part of which was interesting and a good deal of which was inaccurate, but he was quite right in paying a tribute, which we all desire to pay, to the Church of England for the noble part it played in providing education throughout the country before the time when it was realised by the Government and this House that that was a matter which really ought to be undertaken by the country as a whole.
But he might have paid a more generous tribute to the Nonconformists, for they were in a rather different position. First of all, as a general rule they were poorer, and they had the additional burden not placed upon the Church of England of having to maintain incumbents. They had no tithes to help them. Moreover, they were responsible for the fabric not only of their chapels but also of their schools, and for their upkeep, and providing for their masters. Nevertheless, they were able to build these schools and provide masters, paying them all too little; but, nevertheless, they did it.
§ Mr. Philip Bell
It was not deliberate but rather due to my hurry that I did not say more about them. I certainly do appreciate the great work that was done. However, 1902 stopped them carrying on after that, and that is why, perhaps, I dropped them out of sight.
§ Mr. Davies
That is where I rather differed from the historical record given by the hon. and learned Gentleman.
I should not have intervened at all but for the speech made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede). He and I remember well the period in which passions were aroused in 1902, and, what is more, the effect they had throughout the whole country, and that is why we who were associated with them will always regard with pride 494 the fact that we had the privilege of assisting the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields and the present Leader of the House in arriving at that later situation, which the hon. and learned Gentleman was quite right in saying did not amount to an agreement, whereby those passions were not aroused. Recognition was paid to the need for assistance to those who had strong religious views and desired to have their children taught according to them.
As the right hon. Gentleman said, this did not suit everybody—
§ Mr. Davies
At any rate passions were not roused and the Bill went through this House with remarkable unanimity. That is what I wish to refer to now. To me at that time, indeed at all times, there is only one person who matters, and that is the child. Be it boy or be it girl, its talent should be assisted to develop to the full and it should not be handicapped in any way by lack of money. The Minister knows my views on the attitude of his Government to the block grant. If in any way the child is handicapped by what is done, that will reflect not merely upon the present generation but upon the future of this country, because the future of this country, its position in the world and its leadership will depend upon the extent to which the talents with which the child has been endowed are allowed to develop. The child should not be handicapped by lack of buildings or by lack of teachers. What I really doubt is whether the Government are doing enough in that respect to meet the new situation.
That being so, I say again with regard to denominational schools that whatever is needed to assist the children there to have all they need to be ready to play their part in the future of the country as fully qualified citizens should be given to them.
§ Mr. Davies
I shall refer to only one other matter. I have never liked the 11-plus test. I protested against it at the time it was adopted. Sometimes I have wondered what would have been the position of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) if that test had been applied in 1887 or 1888. I am afraid that if it 495 had been a grammar school education would have been denied to him. Still more frequently, I wonder whether some day someone will look up the records of the universities and find out what happens to the brilliant double firsts they turn out and about whose future we hear nothing.
Some children develop quickly, some slowly, and unfortunately in the tremendous stride forward we made in 1944 we were not prepared to do everything necessary for the children. I have thought all along that the comprehensive school was the right thing, and the Government themselves recognise that it is needed. I hope, therefore, that they will keep a much more open mind than they have done hitherto on the question of the nature of the schools which are provided for the children.
§ 7.43 p.m.
§ Mr. Hubert Ashton (Chelmsford)
It is a considerable responsibility to follow the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies). I was interested in his last comment in respect of comprehensive schools, because I had understood from the policy statement issued in the summer by the Liberal Party that it did not favour them. I may be wrong, but that was my impression.
In the earlier part of his speech, and in the two previous speeches, there was reference to Church schools. I have not the experience of the two hon. Gentlemen opposite on these matters, but I know that this is a difficult and complicated question. In my own village, not twenty miles from here, we are on the point of completing a new Church of England school, an aided school. I should have thought that, in the light of the efforts made by all denominations in this direction, more support is deserving from public funds that has hitherto been forthcoming.
The hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart), in a supplementary question today, mentioned the name of the late George Tomlinson. That jogged my memory and reminded me that in April, 1951, I was fortunate in the Ballot for Notices of Motion. On 17th April, I moved a Motion referring to the number of children in primary schools at that time and suggested that it would 496 be well if we had a rather more clearly defined sense of priorities. The Motion was seconded by Mr. Angus Maude. I, for one, am sorry that he is not still here to take part in this education debate. On the other hand, I should like to join with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) and welcome my right hon. Friend the Member for Runcorn (Mr. Vosper) once more in our midst. At that time the late George Tomlinson said that he thought the tone of the debate was a good one and had regard to the difficulties of the period.
Too many people in this country, especially the educationists, overlook the fact that whereas at the beginning of the Second World War we were a great creditor nation, at the end of it we were, in terms of pounds, shillings and pence, a great debtor nation. [An HON, MEMBER: "The greatest."] Yes—the greatest. All Government expenditure must be conditioned by the overall economic situation in the country from time to time. Now at the end of that year, in October, 1951, there was a change of Government, and I think we can look back over seven years of progress in education.
Quite a lot has already been said on this point. I was not able to pick up the full answer to the Question put earlier today by my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne) about new school places, but I wrote down the figures. In 1951 there were 154,000 new school places, and in 1958 there were 299,000. Furthermore, there has been a switch from primary schools, with which we were concerned in the debate to which I have just referred. In those days the concentration was rightly on primary schools. The proportion of schools being built in 1951 was three primary to one secondary, whereas in 1958 it was one primary to two secondary. As we all know, secondary schools cost approximately 75 per cent. more than primary schools.
I will not catalogue all the allowances made to date, and I will only say of the technical programme that it is a great one and is getting into its stride. I want to refer to direct assistance to the parents and the child. On three occasions since the Budget of 1952, Income Tax allowances for children have been increased. The hon. Member for Fulham referred to educational maintenance allowances and 497 regretted that we were not able to accept the full recommendations of the Weaver Report. Despite that, I think he will agree that at that time the educational maintenance allowances were doubled. I submit that to any fair-minded person all this means very real development and in real terms.
Now I come to the White Paper, which has been specially under discussion this afternoon. As has been suggested earlier, I should have thought that the welcome given to it and its proposals has been good. As I read it, the three main parties agree that at the present time the emphasis should be placed on secondary education, which, by and large, is the object of the White Paper. While on this subject, I will read a short extract from the editorial of Essex Educationfor January. I am an alderman of that county council, which now has a Labour majority. Commenting upon this paper, Essex Education says:It is impressive to read in this pamphlet, described in The Timesas the biggest single act of educational policy since 1944, commendation of so many of the aims which Essex has steadily and successfully been pursuing. Encouragement for children to stay gladly at school after the permitted leaving age. Complete abolition of all-age schools. Opportunities to take public examinations in non-selective schools. Increased provision of facilities for science. Reasonable freedom of choice for parents.This is expressed in a way which shows approval of what we are trying to do in the White Paper.
Now, as a result of the White Paper, if I read the figures correctly, in the five years from 1960 onwards no less than 20 per cent. more will be spent on capital projects. Further, the chances of a really smooth flow for this programme are better than they have ever been before.
I suggest that the fact that we are now spending £613 million a year on education —which is 90 per cent. more than was spent in 1951—and that, according to the estimates, a further £50 million will be spent in 1959–60, and £82 million in 1960–61, gives the lie to certain suggestions that we Conservatives are not interested in education. Although figures and money do not mean everything, I submit that those, and the others that have been quoted in the debate, show that any such suggestion is hardly a correct statement of the situation.
498 We have heard a great deal about the 11-plus examination and the comprehensive school. There is no question but that the hon. Member for Fulham puts his points very persuasively, but when I listen to the arguments and read some of the reasons put forward for going all comprehensive my mind goes back to the arguments that were advanced in 1945 on the subject of nationalisation. That was to be the great abracadabra which would achieve everything in a very short time. Some of the comments made by the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) and others encourage me to wonder whether, on looking back at the manner in which one industry after another was nationalised with great speed, their experience in that direction might give them some pause before going ahead with an all-comprehensive policy much too quickly.
Some discussions and debates which have been carried on throughout the country seem to indicate that there would be no room for anything other than comprehensive schools. I thought that the grammar school was to lose its existence, but I understand that there has been a shift of emphasis, and I am not sure now what is going to happen to it. I should like to know whether the Church schools to which reference has been made—Roman Catholic, Quaker and other such schools, together with certain commercial schools—will be left or will be taken over. In the course of a rather long support of Church schools we heard that at one time the Church was the only provider of education in this country. I am sure that such schools and public schools, and indeed their products such as myself, have many shortcomings, but I suggest that they have nevertheless made an immense contribution to education, and, indeed, have been the foundation upon which education has been built, not merely here but in a large part of the world. A variety of education is something which specially pleases and suits the character of our people.
If, on the other hand, what is claimed for comprehensive schools is proved to be true, it is obvious that the argument for them must be immensely strengthened. I would ask hon. Members opposite, however, whether, with some 50,000 pupils only in comprehensive schools, we have reached that stage. I am doubtful about 499 it and, what is much more important, I have the impression that the majority of people in the teaching profession also have their doubts about it. Furthermore, when the nation fully grasps the intentions of the Opposition in this matter, I do not think that it will be persuaded of the extraordinary things that a comprehensive school will provide.
I want to refer to the subject of further education. A White Paper, Command No. 614, the Report of the Committee on Further Education for Agriculture provided by Local Education Authorities, has been issued by the Government. That is a very interesting White Paper, and it contains a recommendation that responsibility for agricultural education should move from the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to the Minister of Education. That in my humble opinion is probably quite correct. On page 25, in paragraphs 98 to 101, there is a reference to diploma teaching at farm institutes. This is done at only two institutes, one of which is at the Writtle Institute, near Chelmsford. It is suggested that, having regard to the work which that institute is doing, it might be redesignated as a college. I hope I am not going beyond the bounds of courtesy in making this constituency point.
Many of us are very glad that there seems to be a much wider and greater interest in education among our people. I only wish that it were still wider and that some people would appreciate the fact that we are spending the vast sum of nearly £1,000 million a year and, instead of criticising and crabbing certain things which must naturally go wrong in a huge organisation like this, whether they go wrong at Whitehall or locally, would join county councils or local education committees and give them a hand in improving the administration of the most fundamental and vital thing in life —the education of our young people.
There can be no doubt that in our classes today the young have better chances of learning than their parents did. As was said by the hon. Member for Fulham, however, we must bear in mind the fact that education does not begin or end in the classroom, and that the passing of examinations is not the only thing in life. The parents and grandparents of today's children may not 500 have had such good opportunities for learning as now exist, but I suggest that that does not mean that they were or are in any way worse citizens.
I find that the young are very interesting and attractive people, and yet there are certain tendencies today which give us pause and cause a certain amount of anxiety. I have not the least doubt that it was ever thus. But the question of education is a very wide one, and we shall never make our young boys and girls into full citizens unless we continually bear in mind the fact that it is not really bishops or buildings or principalities or powers which will achieve this. What is needed is a partnership between the Church, the State, the teachers, the schools, the parents and the children themselves, and what I want to see in such partnership is a great deal of human understanding and mutual confidence. The White Paper goes one more step in the right direction, and it is from that angle that it has my full support.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Edward Short (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central)
A number of hon. Gentlemen and at least one hon. Lady wish to speak. Because of that, I hope that the hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Ashton) will forgive me if I do not continue the debate on exactly the lines of his speech.
The Government White Paper is mainly concerned with the organisation of secondary education, and I will confine my remarks closely to it. I think it is part of the Government's deliberate preelection policy of attempting to counter the Labour Party's proposals. This was done in housing and in pensions, and we now have the same thing in education. The theme song of the Government seems to be, "Anything you can do we can do much better". The Government have even had the cheek to borrow the title of their pamphlet from a very distinguished Socialist thinker.
I want to analyse part of the White Paper and to point out what I believe to be its blatant, inherent illogicality. There has never been such an illogical White Paper. It is full of contradictions. I do not think it is a very honest White Paper, either. Its purpose is threefold. I do not think this point has been mentioned 501 before. It is undoubtedly an attempt to justify the tripartite system, which is crumbling and disintegrating. The hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Jennings) is not in his place; he made this very point in a quotation submitted to some committee or other.
Secondly, the White Paper is an attempt to discredit the comprehensive school. There is no doubt about that, as I shall attempt to show. Thirdly, the White Paper is an atttempt to persuade the electorate before a General Election into thinking that the Government are launching a great new educational scheme which will enlarge opportunity for their children in the schools.
The first part of the White Paper would carry almost everybody with it on this side of the House. I have no fault whatever to find with the Government's idea of what is wrong with the present system. They set it out as, first, large classes; secondly, substandard buildings, especially the slum buildings; thirdly, the defects in selection at the secondary stage of education. We have no complaint with those three priorities. Indeed, they are almost identical with the priorities in our pamphlet, "Learning to Live."
The third heading is a most remarkable admission from the Government. They point out the concern which is currently felt over what has come to be known as the "11-plus", and they go on to say that the concern felt by parents is due to the factthat there are, today, too many children of aproximately equal ability who are receiving their secondary education in schools that differ widely both in quality, and in the range of courses they are able to provide. And this means that a number of these children are not getting as good opportunities as they deserve.Some months ago, I asked a Question of the Parliamentary Secretary about a piece of research done by the National Council for Educational Research. I pointed out that the Council estimated that in 1955 no fewer than 78,000 children were selected for the wrong type of secondary education. The Parliamentary Secretary replied that this was a very important piece of evidence.
This is a remarkable admission. The Government admit first that there is widespread concern about the 11-plus; secondly, that a large number of children of equal ability are receiving secondary education in schools that differ widely in 502 quality and range of courses provided, and that, because of that, a large number of children are not getting as good opportunity educationally as their abilities merit.
The White Paper then goes on to say how this third defect can be remedied. It says that it can be remediedonly when every secondary school, no matter what its description, is able to provide a full secondary education for each of its pupils in accordance with his ability and aptitude.What does that mean? What is the only thing it can mean? Bearing in mind the earlier admission in the White Paper that a large number of children go to widely differing schools in quality and range of course, it can only mean that the fears of parents can be allayed only if secondary schools are provided with a full range of courses. That follows logically from what the Government say and they appear to accept this view. The White Paper says:The Government regard it as the most pressing of their immediate objectives to make certain that every child shall be able to travel along the educational road as far as his ability and perseverance can carry him, irrespective of the type of school to which he goes.The Government say, in other words, that the lack of courses is the major defect. and they appear to accept the point of view that the fears of parents can only be allayed when every secondary school is provided with a full range of courses.
At this point in the pamphlet there is a change. After this perfectly sound diagnosis, with which I absolutely agree, there is a sudden break, and we get the remedy described under the heading of, "The Organisation of Secondary Education". It is just as though a doctor diagnosed appendicitis and then started to treat his patient for indigestion. That is just what is happening. I wonder whether the first part of the White Paper was written departmentally and then at this point the Minister came in, or his Parliamentary Secretary—I can see the Parliamentary Secretary smiling—and inserted or injected into the White Paper a mass of Central Office propaganda.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education (Sir Edward Boyle)
As the hon. Gentleman has mentioned this point, perhaps I might say that I had no share in the joint authorship of this White Paper, and that my labours were confined to paragraphs 9–12 and paragraphs 13–21. I had some 503 small share in paragraph 21, which resolves precisely the dilemma to which the hon. Member has referred.
§ Mr. Short
The first part of what the Parliamentary Secretary has said is to his credit, and the second part is not. I suspect that the Minister is becoming almost pathological about the comprehensive school. He had to make a violent attack upon the Labour Party's educational policy—but that is another point.
The first profundity in this part of the White Paper is:… there must remain a substantial element of selection, in the broadest sense of the word".Who said otherwise? Of course there must be. This is followed by a sentence which I suspect was slipped in by the Parliamentary Secretary or some more progressive departmental official. It might have come straight out of the Labour Party's pamphlet.But this does not mean that a child's performance at the age of 11 should determine the remainder of his school career once for all.That statement is irreconcilable with the rest of the pamphlet, which then goes on to say that no uniform pattern can be imposed throughout the country. That is precisely what we say in our pamphlet "Learning to Live". Indeed, the extract read out by the hon. Member for Burton could almost have been copied word for word from our pamphlet. We do not suggest uniformity of pattern. We say that a once-for-all selection at 11 must end, and beyond that there may be a wide variety of types of organisation.
It is the Government themselves who wish to impose a uniform pattern. The point has been made over and over again. It is made in the Amendment. It is the Government who are being rigid and doctrinaire in their attitude towards secondary education.
This is a vicious little document in many ways, especially in the central part of it. Let us not mince our words about this. It is intended to shore up a collapsing system and to frighten off any local authority which has the flexibility to try something new. This indicates the only rigid doctrinaire approach to secondary education.
504 In the next paragraph, I think the Minister becomes rather nasty. Paragraph 15 says:The Government do not wish to rule out experiments with comprehensive or similar schools proposed on genuine educational grounds.What does he mean to suggest by that? Will he tell us? Which local authorities, will he tell us, have ever submitted schemes on other than genuine educational grounds? This is an innuendo in the White Paper against the local authorities, and I think the House is entitled to be told what it means.
The Minister made one of the important Government speeches on the Local Government Bill, and I have his speech here. He enumerated the additional freedom that local education authorities were to have. What he is saying now is that one can have freedom of choice in secondary education provided one does not disagree with the Conservative Party. We now get the three threadbare, stock Tory Party Central Office arguments against the comprehensive school. First of all, that the comprehensive school implies the murder of the grammar school, and that is the phrase that is being used, and was, I think, the phrase which the Prime Minister used in his personality cult tour in Newcastle-upon-Tyne last week—the "murder of the grammar school".
The Minister and the Tory Party know quite well that this allegation that we would abolish the grammar school is true only in the strictest legal sense—that locally when one school must close another must open. I understand that it is even possible to get over that difficulty. In fact, where a grammar school is absorbed it becomes the nucleus of a comprehensive school, and the children, the teaching staff, the facilities and the type of teaching all remain. The grammar school, in fact, remains in existence but does not exist in isolation. It becomes part of the bigger unit. It cannot be that the Conservative Party wishes to preserve the social exclusiveness of the grammar school. We do not wish to abolish it, but only to make it part of a bigger unit.
I now want to challenge the Parliamentary Secretary, who is to wind up the debate for the Government, and who I am 505 glad to see is in his place. Would he tell us whether in areas where a comprehensive school has absorbed a grammar school the Minister is satisfied with the G.C.E. results of a comprehensive school which has absorbed a grammar school?
The second stock Central Office argument—and this is the most hypocritical one of the lot—is that the comprehensive school would restrict the freedom of choice of the parents. Perhaps the Minister would tell us what freedom of choice they have got now? Only the people who are in the top 15 to 20 per cent. selected by examination have freedom of choice to go to the school for which they have been selected or turn it down and go to a grammar school. The other 80 to 85 per cent, have no freedom of choice whatever. Here, again, perhaps the hon. Gentleman will tell us in which area there is the greatest element of choice, so far as the courses available to the children are concerned, in an area organised on tripartite lines or an area of similar size organised on comprehensive lines. I was talking to the head of a comprehensive school not long ago, and he told me that no fewer than 60 subjects are being taught.
The third argument is on the size of the school. I was rather interested here in the use of one word throughout the White Paper. Previously we have had reference to the Minister, but here we have this:Futhermore the Government"—not the Minister this time—have serious doubts about the wisdom of establishing very large comprehensive schools.I have taken the trouble to look up some of the schools at which some members of the Government themselves were educated. I will not bore the House with the whole list. The Parliamentary Secretary himself went to Eton, and the number of pupils at Eton at the moment is very nearly 1,200. His colleague, the Minister, went to Harrow, and the number of pupils at Harrow at the moment is very nearly 1,100. There is, however, a more serious point than the argument about numbers.
§ Mr. R. W. Elliott (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North)
Would the hon. Gentleman agree that in Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1,500 teachers had serious doubts about the sort of comprehensive school recently proposed for Newcastle-upon-Tyne?
§ Mr. Elliott
But was it not a meeting attended by representatives of all the Newcastle-upon-Tyne teachers?
§ Mr. Short
It was held in a hall which holds 400. However, I am not talking about that.
There is a more serious point about the size of these schools. The Minister appeared to say on Second Reading, and he even said so today in his speech, that he wants all secondary schools to take the G.C.E. Will he please tell us how this can be done in a small secondary school with a wide range of ability—a wider range than that operating inside the grammar school—without an uneconomic use of the teaching force and space available? I suggest that in present conditions, in which there is a shortage of both teachers and teaching space, that is no solution at all.
We come now to the core of the argument, and this is what it says:Meanwhile, most local education authorities prefer to regard the merits of all such experiments as still unproved; and to retain, at any rate for most of their areas, a system of secondary schools which maintains a distinction between the ranges of capacity for which they cater.This is what I mean by treatment for indigestion when a patient is suffering from appendicitis. Everything in the Government's diagnosis and appreciation of the situation points to the need for bigger schools which should all have a full range of courses. Now we are told that they want smaller schools maintaining the distinction between the capacity ranges for which they cater; that is, schools with very restricted ranges of courses. This is the great contradiction in the White Paper.
If there are any doubts about the Minister's desire to preserve a rigid tripartite system, he dispelled them in his speech today when I interjected. The point that the White Paper makes is that transfers from one type of school to another under the tripartite system can never be anything but exceptions to the normal rule, but the Minister said that they need not all have full range of courses. The White Paper does not say that.
507 The Minister said that these transfers should take place early in the courses, so the Minister therefore repeats this contradiction. He has said in the White Paper that there must be opportunities—and they must be seen to be opportunities—in all the secondary schools, and not just in the grammar and technical schools, so that boys and girls can go forward to the limits of their capacity. Later on, in the most cockeyed and illogical paragraph of all—I do not know who wrote it, but it is paragraph 21—he talks about one of two errors to be avoided being each school trying to do everything. There we have got the big, inherent, basic contradiction in the White Paper and in the Government's education policy.
I now want to say a word or two about the building programme. I am not opposed to any educational building, whether it is a minor or a major project. but this is nothing more than a pre-election confidence trick. Let us face it, and why not say it? Let us consider the financial arrangements. This is what has happened. The general grant was fixed some time ago, and some weeks later the local authorities were given a programme of educational expansion and were then told that the general grant which had already been fixed included provision for it. Quite frankly, many local authorities just do not believe that. They do not accept it. Assuming that it is correct, what a topsy-turvey, rough-and-ready, unjust method of proceeding. Here is a programme which is focused on specific defects in the system, the three specific defects I have listed, which are not uniformly distributed throughout the country. Yet the finance to remedy those defects is to be distributed irrespective of where the defects are.
In his famous speech on the Local Government Bill, the Minister rather advocated that local authorities should follow the example of Birmingham and save money by not appointing the full complement of teachers. That may be the sort of thing which will happen under this method of financing the programme. The programme and the method of financing it emphasise once more the absurdity and injustice of the general grant system. Unless local education authorities are given finance according 508 to the size of the problem and according to the size of these defects in their areas, there can be very little hope of this programme being carried through.
I will refer to another point on which I feel rather strongly on the question of teachers. The Government are introducing the three-year course in 1960. I have mentioned in this House twice before that I believe they are missing a great opportunity here. I have raised this with the Parliamentary Secretary and with the Minister and got sticky answers on both occasions when I suggested the possibility of giving some sort of graduate qualification to teachers at the end of their three-year course. Whether teaching attracts the right numbers and the right quality of entrants depends in the last analysis on the status of the profession, but—let us face it—at the moment teaching is a profession in name only and possesses hardly any of the marks of a profession.
The three marks of a profession which I think the Minister could influence are, first, an adequate professional scale of remuneration, which they have not got by any means at present with a teacher earning £475 a year. Secondly, there should be some large measure of professional self-government, which could be given by the Minister tomorrow. Thirdly, there should be a qualification which has some public esteem as with other professions.
The universities have evolved qualifications for many professions where the body of knowledge is much narrower and more restricted than in education. In the law, for example, if we omit jurisprudence, there is a very restricted compartmentalised body of knowledge, and the same is true of dentists, engineers and so on. There is a big body of knowledge in education which can stand on its own feet, and there is a great deal of research going on in the universities. Other countries have already instituted a first degree in education. Why can we not concentrate on the training colleges, which are near to universities, integrate them with the universities, and terminate the three-year course with a first degree in education? I cannot imagine anything which would raise the status of teaching more than that.
Then for heaven's sake why can we not drop the horrible name "training colleges"? Let us call them colleges of 509 education. We have colleges of medicine and so on. I do not think the Minister should under-estimate the value of giving some sort of status, and appearing to give some sort of status—enhanced status—to this subject of education. A great deal of the status of the profession depends on it. In the White Paper the Minister expressed the hope that we shall get a sufficient number of teachers, but he has not done nearly sufficient to accord to the profession the marks of a profession. I took all this up with the right hon. Lady who was the Minister of Education in 1951, but, of course, she took no notice.
Time is running out and the three-year course is almost upon us. Time is also running out before an election. Very shortly, probably in October this year, a Labour Government will be elected. I hope that when it is elected it will undertake this vital task of according to teachers real professional status and making them—in fact, as well as in theory and name—a profession which can be equated with other learned professions in the country.
§ 8.25 p.m.
§ Commander J. W. Maitland (Horncastle)
Education is always a controversial subject. It should be and it is quite natural that it should be. It is an experimental science where often one has to learn by one's mistakes in order to find the right thing to do. Personally, I think it is a subject which should be approached with a great deal of humility. I do not think that it ought to be party politically controversial. I do not think the people want that, or that parents want it, or that those normally engaged in education want it.
Throughout the debate we have not, on the whole, been party politically controversial. The last speech I thought a rather bitter little speech which brought us back into the cockpit of party politics, which perhaps was rather a mistake. The hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) said that this White Paper—after all, a Ministry paper—was an attempt to hoodwink the electorate, but he must remember that since 1951 a good deal of honest work has gone into that White Paper. People can judge of that. I could not understand the intense indignation which he showed on two occasions because he found in the White Paper two things which happened to be 510 the same as in local Labour Party propaganda papers. Even the Labour Party can be right sometimes.
As do the great majority of people in education, I welcome the White Paper. It has the right approach. What I particularly like about it is that it is not complacent. It admits that there is an enormous amount to do in the future, as everyone knows. No Government, whoever they are, would be right to be complacent about what is happening in education. There is still ahead of us a tremendous task. That is why I think that it is something which should be tackled so far as possible on a non-party basis.
I think that the principle of overlapping standards which has been gradually developing in many local authorities and is given the Government stamp in the White Paper, is the right course. I prefer that to making large and sweeping alterations which the introduction of the comprehensive school would make. I think that we have a natural genius in this country for adaptation. Educational problems are so acute and urgent that we have no time to make changes which would upset the general increase in standards which we have achieved in the last few years.
I am glad the Government recognise that the Churches will need some special help. We all hope that agreement may be reached between them on the way in which the matter should be handled. It is important that agreement should be reached between them, and I am sure that we all wish them to reach it. Although I have studied the Church education controversy in some detail, and have had an opportunity of hearing the history of it again today, I have never understood that while we congratulate ourselves on our freedoms—for instance, our freedom to worship as we wish—and while we pay lip-service in the 1944 Education Act to the freedom of parents to choose the schools which they would like their children to attend, yet, when parents try to choose schools for their children at which they will be educated in the religious beliefs to which they have been accustomed, we seem to become enmeshed in difficulties and jealousies. I agree with those who have said that there is a different attitude today. It is not necessary to stand still. There must be 511 advance, and I believe that now is the time when advance can be made.
What I want to say particularly to the Minister is that I sincerely hope that the White Paper is the beginning of a series. The 1944 Act was a great strategic plan, but by the end of this year it will have been in existence for fifteen years and I believe that it is high time that the Government tried to put forward their views on the various outstanding problems which they have before them. With this new freedom which the local authorities have to spend money as they wish, I believe that it is most important that they should be told by the Government what are their views on these matters, even though it may be very controversial to do so. Even though it would be very controversial, the Government should make a great effort to say at least what they think should be done on some of the outstanding issues before us in education today.
I should like to explain to the Minister, what I mean. There is the obvious question, which is, perhaps, a bad example to choose at the start, about the Government's view on the school-leaving age. Is it their view that gradual voluntary retentions at school will do away with all need to raise the school-leaving age? I ask this because when local authorities are embarking on a £300 million building programme they must know these facts. They must know what is in the Government's mind if they are to invest these vast sums economically and to the best advantage, and if they are to waste neither money nor effort.
Another point, which has been mentioned by one of my hon. Friends, is that of the special schools. The Government should "come clean" about that. What is their plan? Are they to be included in the new series of advances and, if so, when? What is the zero date when they can be included? A point which has interested me very much concerns the county colleges. When are they to be introduced? Obviously, it is not practicable to introduce them now, but the Government should make an effort to say when they are to be introduced and what they will be like when they are introduced. What will they teach? Will they be vocational or non-vocational? These are things which a local authority, setting 512 out on a new advance, ought to know if it is to invest its money properly.
The Albemarle Committee has been set up. We shall, I trust, have increased expenditure and a new advance in the Youth Service. It will need accommodation. We must take that into account. It is important that the Government should try to say what is in their mind about these matters. Every year, under the 1944 Act, the Government have to prepare a report for the House on what has been happening in education. This year, I suggest that they should not merely report on what they have done, but should stick their necks out and tell us what they will do in the future.
There is one point in particular in this new drive forward for building which I should like to bring to the Government's attention. I would remind them about the Cambridgeshire scheme of so designing their buildings that they can be used as country colleges during the day and as rural community centres in the evening. I have been enormously impressed with what they have done. It is more expensive than building in the normal way but if we believe, as I believe, that it is our duty to provide equal opportunity, we must do all we can to provide the equal opportunity for those who are fortunate enough to be born in the country as well as for those who live in towns, for whom it may be possible to provide good opportunities rather more cheaply.
I ask the Government to make a special point of re-analysing what is happening in Cambridgeshire. It has been going on for long enough for people to realise some of its snags and a great many of its advantages. Local authorities situated as is Cambridgeshire, with a large country area to serve, should consider carefully whether they, too, might not take somewhat similar action to that which has been taken in Cambridgeshire.
The White Paper says that this is a period of opportunity to expand our secondary education. I agree. I believe, too, that it is a tremendous opportunity for the Government to display leadership and to tell the country how they visualise that education will develop. By creating the block grant they have recently relinquished voluntarily what might be described as the carrot incentive. They are left with the stick, which, in practice, I do not think they will find to be a very 513 effective weapon or a particularly easy weapon to use. I therefore believe that this places an absolute obligation upon them to provide leadership, and in welcoming the White Paper I want to say, once again, that I hope it is the beginning of a series and the first swallow which will make a magnificent educational summer.
§ 8.37 p.m.
§ Mr. George Thomas (Cardiff, West)
In the time available to me, I propose to confine myself to an aspect of the problem concerning Welsh affairs, but, ere I do so, I want to say that, as a Nonconformist to my finger-tips, I have listened with very deep interest and concern to the speeches made in the House today.
I, too, am proud that we live in a tolerant country. I only wish that we could see as much tolerance on religious matters in other countries as we have in our own. I hope that, when dealing with this problem, the Minister, and my own Front Bench, too, as I am sure they will, will bear in mind the various schools of thought there are in this country on this subject. I leave it there, because I want now to address some remarks to the Minister about the training of teachers, which is a matter of special significance and importance to the people of the Principality of Wales.
The Parliamentary Secretary will know that the University of Wales School of Education and the Welsh Joint Education Committee made special representations to the Department asking that, out of the 12,000 additional places to be provided in training colleges, 1,500 should be available for Welsh training colleges. In the event, the Ministry has offered to Wales the paltry additional figure of 880 out of those 12,000 places. Wales has not only produced her own teachers in the past, but has provided thousands of teachers who, today, give useful and honourable service in the schools of England. We in the Principality, therefore, attached particular importance to provision for an increase in the training of teachers.
Of all the entrants to training colleges in England and Wales in September, 1957, no less than 10.6 per cent. came from the Principality. On this basis, we are entitled to expect no less than 3,800 of the 36,000 additional places envisaged in the 514 whole scheme. I will remind the House that, out of every 10,000 children on the school rolls today, the number proceeding to training colleges in England is 19.5, but in Wales it is the very high figure of 35.5.
We are not suggesting that all these students should go to Welsh colleges. We believe in the free and easy movement of English and Welsh students. It ought to be a two-way traffic, but the balance at present is heavily weighted in favour of England. In 1958, there were 160 English students in Welsh training colleges, but there were 1,300 Welsh students in English training colleges. It will be unfair if the number of training college places in Wales is merely to be made sufficient to provide for the Welsh schools.
The total teaching force in Wales today is about 19,000, of whom 4,000 are graduates and 15,000 are non-graduates. Taking a wastage figure of 5 per cent., this gives an annual need in Wales of 200 graduates and 750 non-graduates. To justify the totally inadequate allowance of 880 new places which the Ministry is offering to us, it has assumed that the annual need for graduates in Wales will suddenly jump from 200 to 350 and the number of non-graduates required will, therefore, fall to 600.
There is not a local education authority in Wales which agrees with the estimate of the Department, and the Welsh Joint Education Committee which, as the Parliamentary Secretary knows, speaks with tremendous authority on this question, has stated that the total number of teachers to be appointed in Wales in 1959 is 1,270. On a reasonable assumption that 270 will be graduates, this means a requirement of 1,000 non-graduates for Welsh schools in 1959. On the basis of the three-year training, this means that Wales will require 3,000 places to provide teachers for her own schools.
While talking, on the one hand, of an expansion of the teacher training service, it is little short of scandalous that in Wales—I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will have something to say about this, because we are not to be fobbed off lightly—
§ Sir E. Boyle
I certainly will not try to fob the hon. Gentleman off in my reply 515 tonight. I have a number of other matters to deal with. I am taking note of his points and will write to him.
§ Mr. Thomas
It is most unfortunate that that is how the Government Front Bench treats Welsh affairs from time to time. We are entitled to a reply on an important issue which concerns every education authority in the Principality. It is too bad if the Minister does not know the answer to a simple issue like this.
Traditionally, Wales has supplied thousands of teachers to English schools. Is the policy now to be changed? Are Welsh students to be told, "You should teach in Wales and you must not cross the border"? I am speaking rather quickly because the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) wishes to take part in the debate.
The number of training colleges in England has doubled since the war, and the Minister was proud to make that statement today. What has happened in the Principality, which has a special pride in the training of teachers? Only two small temporary colleges have been opened. We therefore start at a serious disadvantage. We were sadly under-provided, in the first place. Our total accommodation in Welsh training colleges for teachers is 1,500 and all the Welsh authorities are agreed that they need room for another 1,500. Surely the Minister did not think that an issue of this magnitude would not be raised today.
If the Minister provides an additional 1,500 teachers rather than the 880 which have been offered, even then we shall have only one-twelfth of the total number of places, although we have been supplying one-ninth of all the teachers.
Out of courtesy to the House, I shall not deal with the things with which I wanted to deal. I hope, however, that the Minister will appreciate that the issue which I have raised is causing agitation and annoyance among education authorities in the Principality.
§ 8.47 p.m.
§ Mr. Philip Goodhart (Beckenham)
I will not follow the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas), but I should like to thank him for cutting short his remarks with characteristic generosity so that another hon. Member could speak.
516 I say to the Minister that if there were more time I would not only defend but would acclaim the White Paper. As there is little time, however, I should like merely to draw attention to what I consider to be a glaring omission. There is not a single reference to the word "book" in the 4,000 words of the White Paper. Indeed, the word "book" has been mentioned only once in the whole of the debate. In recent weeks, The Times has been carrying on with admirable perseverance a campaign to support and expand the export of British books. I believe that the time has now come to launch a campaign to get more British books into British schools.
Some time ago the Association of Education Committees, in combination with the National Book League, made a survey of the problem of text books. Their aim was a modest one. They did not set out to find what would be desirable in the best of all possible circumstances, but what was a reasonable minimum under the present capitation allowance system. The findings which they made were, in themselves, modest. They found that, at 1956 prices, 11s. 9d. per pupil per year was a reasonable minimum spent in primary schools on text books. In secondary schools, they found that a reasonable minimum was 21s. 3d. per pupil per year, with a 50 per cent. increase for students of over 15 years of age.
What is the present situation? According to the last educational statistics giving details of expenditure of 131 county boroughs and counties, we find that no less than 85 county boroughs and counties spend 10s. per pupil per year or less on text books at primary school level. No less than 41 county boroughs and counties are spending less than £1 per year on text books at secondary level. In other words, almost half the county boroughs and counties are spending substantially less than the bare reasonable minimum on text books.
I have recently sent a questionnaire to over 100 teachers who participated last year in the admirable Anglo-American teacher exchange scheme organised by the English-Speaking Union. The replies to my many questions varied widely. On the whole, British teachers preferred the British schools and American teachers preferred American schools. That was 517 hardly a surprising finding. There was, however, one subject on which there was almost complete unanimity. That was, that the supply and the condition of text books was infinitely better in American schools, of all types and in all parts of the country, than in this country.
What is happening in the private schools? Recently, the Incorporated Association of Preparatory Schools has made a survey, from which it found that the average day preparatory school expenditure on text books was about 50s. per year per pupil and that it was substantially higher in mixed preparatory schools and boarding preparatory schools. In other words, the private schools were spending more than four times the amount of money on text books than the State schools were spending. There is no other field of expenditure in which the private schools are spending four times as much money as the State schools. Certainly, they are not spending four times as much on teachers and certainly not on buildings. They are not spending four times as much money on food, but they are spending four times as much, and sometimes more, on books.
What can be done about this? My right hon. Friend would be doing a great service if he could persuade his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to withdraw Purchase Tax on stationery. This tax falls on capitation allowance and the removal of the tax would allow, perhaps, an additional £2 million to £4 million a year to be spent on text books. If, however, that is not possible, it would be a great step forward if my right hon. Friend could encourage Her Majesty's inspectors to maintain a positive book policy and encourage the local authorities to spend more on their text books. At the moment, certainly, there is no incentive for local education authorities to spend the money of their ratepayers and of the central Government on a form of educational expenditure which, although intensely desirable of itself, brings no political kudos.
§ 8.54 p.m.
§ Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)
My first pleasant privilege this evening is to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse) on his maiden speech. I have almost a personal interest in Pontypool, for I was 518 closely associated with it in my mining days. I was privileged to know and to share the friendship of three of my hon. Friend's predecessors, and of one in particular. The late Arthur Jenkins was one of my closest personal friends. I was very glad that in his maiden speech my hon. Friend sustained the character and quality of the Pontypool representation with which we have become familiar in this House. I hope we shall hear him on many other occasions.
We were all very glad to welcome again to our debates the right hon. Member for Runcorn (Mr. Vosper). We wish him well on his recovery from his serious illness and hope that now he is completely recovered we shall have the advantage of his contributions to our debates. We all like him, whether we differ from him in politics or not. I should also like to say a word of thanks to my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) and to the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) for the references which they made to the vexed and difficult question of denominational schools. I should like to say how much I share their hope that we shall be able to resolve this problem in the spirit of the 1944 settlement.
I do not share the view that we can take education out of politics. We hear so much about taking things out of politics that we must be careful that we do not de-gut politics so that there will be nothing left. I am sure that we all agree, whatever our political party—if a Nonconformist may say this—that for the religious bodies in this country, as well as for our nation, it would be a calamity if we became politically divided on this issue of religious schools. I can say on behalf of my right hon. Friends on this side, and, I am sure, of all three parties, that our efforts will be devoted to securing a settlement which, if not entirely satisfactory, will be one which at any rate we can accept without making it a matter of political contention in the House. It is in this spirit that I approach the difficult task entrusted to me tonight.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
Will my right hon. Friend express a few words of sympathy with the large number of hon. Members who have not been able to be heard?
§ Mr. Griffiths
As a contemporary of my hon. Friend, and having shared with him for many years the fate of getting up and down and not being called, my heart bleeds for them, as I am sure his does, too.
I feel inclined to apologise for interrupting in this debate, for on this subject, as on so many subjects debated in this House, we are able to call on hon. Members on both sides of the House who have wide experience and deep knowledge of the subject matter that we are discussing. I feel almost inclined to ask for the indulgence of the House in making a maiden speech.
During the last two years, I have had a very great privilege and enriching experience. It is that experience which I hope to bring in some measure to the contribution which I want to make this evening. I hope that experts may agree that something can be gained from a layman's point of view.
It has been my great privilege to work for two years with colleagues of this House who belong to my party and with men and women drawn from all over this island who have deep knowledge and experience over many years of this great educational service in the preparation of the policy of education for our party, which we have published and debated in our conferences and to which we have given the name—I think a very good one —of "Learning to Live". I am proud of the work that we have done, and I am greatly encouraged by the fact that newspaper comment in the country has said that here is an educational document which has not been actuated or motivated by doctrinaire issues but which is a realistic assessment of the situation in which we are, and a determination to create a national educational service worthy of our children and adequate to the needs of the nation in the second half of this twentieth century.
I want to begin, if I may, because it is relevant to this White Paper, by saying that when I first saw it, I thought I saw a new drive. I began to get quite worried. I will tell the house why. The first conviction that came to me in studying this problem with my colleagues was that if we were to accomplish the task 520 of building a national system of education worthy of our children and adequate to the needs of our nation what is needed is not spasmodic drives by anyone but a long sustained effort over many years, backed by adequate resources, and since there is so much to do, a planned, phased system of priorities to put first things first. What I claim for our document, what cannot be claimed for the Government's, is that in it we have presented such a system, and I believe that this document offers the best hope for education in this country.
Let me tell how we began its preparation. Being new to this, I said, "Let us see where we stand." We do not start a new drive from a vacuum. We do not start from nowhere. We start from where we are now. The first thing, therefore, that I said to the experts who helped me was, "We have the 1944 Education Act. Let us start from there." I was in the House when it passed that Measure, and I took a minor part in discussion of it in Committee. In the 1944 Act we set ourselves national targets.
Where have we got to now, fourteen years afterwards? Much has been done, and much of which we can be proud. Let me say a few things about those, for I shall be critical in a moment.
I think we have a right to be proud of our children. This is a wonderful generation of children. It is a pleasure to go to the schools to see them, the children of this Welfare State. I and other hon. Members can compare them with the children of our generation. This is a wonderful generation, and it is due to the fact that, because of the growing social conscience, in the development of which the Labour and trade union movement with which I am associated played its part—I do not claim more for it than that—now at long last our children are getting something like a decent chance in this country.
We can be proud of our new schools. I have been privileged to go to many, and more greatly privileged to open some of them. I have seen some of the schools in London, including a school in Wandsworth, and comprehensive schools, too. I would not wish for anything better for my children to go to. I shall be surprised if there is really any hon. Member, except the hon. Member for Battersea, South 521 (Mr. Partridge), who has seen the schools I have seen here in London who cannot feel proud of them, including that school at Wandsworth, the Spencer Park School, I was privileged to open the other day. I should have thought that London Members would have been proud. London has been a great pioneer in the development of education. I was surprised at the doctrinaire, niggling speech we heard from the hon. Member for Battersea, South.
I have seen much to be proud of. I have admired more than ever the deep devotion of the teachers. I join with my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) in saying that it is time we gave the teaching profession the status which it deserves in the life of this country. We entrust our children to the teachers; we entrust the future of our country to them. Now we care for our children; they are in our hands; but Britain is in their nands. I hope, therefore, that the Minister will pay full attention to the suggestion made today about the status of the teachers. I join in paying my tribute to the headmasters, headmistresses, head teachers of all the schools, including the modern secondary schools. They are working in very great difficulties. I shall return to that in a moment.
As I said, I have seen much to be proud of, but I have seen much to be disturbed about, and some things to be ashamed of, even now in 1959, nearly fifteen years since this House unanimously passed the 1944 Act.
There is still so much to do. There are parts of the 1944 Act we have not even begun to implement. Like my hon. Friends with whom I have talked this matter over, I regard it as important that we should make strides as soon as we can with the county colleges. There is a big gulf we have to bridge in this modern society of ours, in this tumultuous age, surrounded as we are by gadgets. We have to bridge the gulf which can destroy personality, the gulf between school and work surrounded by machines in a factory. Some of the old craftsmanship has gone, and now there is much repetitive work. We have not begun to solve that problem yet. We are not discussing that tonight. I hope we shall have an opportunity to discuss it.
522 Then there is the Youth Service. Believe me, we are worried about it. The Government have killed the Youth Service. It is the only part of the educational service of which I have had experience, because I was chairman of the Advisory Committee for Youth Service in Wales. The Government have killed it by their economy circulars and all the rest. It was set up by the present Lord Privy Seal and by my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields. There was an opportunity to keep the boys and girls within the sphere of education in this age, and it has been virtually killed. So there are many things we have to do.
Now I come to schools. One of the things that disturbs me about the White Paper is the belief that a new drive for education can be started with the secondary school. It is as if the children came from heaven, but where do the children in the secondary schools come from? The secondary school is not the beginning of our education system. The boys and girls who go to those schools come from the primary schools, not from the preps. Therefore we begin our secondary education with children who have been in our primary schools since the age of five. So any realistic, any really effective, reconstruction of our education system must begin in the primary schools, for if opportunities are missed by or denied to children in those schools there is no way for them to catch up in the secondary schools, however perfect those may be. We can build the most perfect system of education, but if the primary schools are no good it will be in vain.
Now let us look at our primary schools. Here are the facts. Let us first consider the buildings. I understand that there are half a million children taught in buildings erected before 1870. I have seen some. Every Minister should visit an old and a new school on the same day.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I am glad to hear that. If the Minister had seen them, I am sure he is as ashamed of them as I am.
§ Mr. Griffiths
Then all I say to the Minister is that this new drive comes on the eve of his departure, for almost the first major thing he did when he became Minister, and within six weeks of taking office, was to issue Circular 331 which stopped school building. Therefore, when we are asked about this Amendment, I say that with a Minister who in his first six weeks of office issues a circular to keep down buildings, can we be blamed for being suspicious about a new drive for them to go up?
Now about classes. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary will tell us how long it is since the Ministry said it would aim to establish that no class in a primary school contained more than 40 children and no class in a secondary school more than 30 children? Here I want to ask a question. It is the privilege of the layman to ask experts questions, sometimes awkward questions. This maximum is set and I ask, why the distinction? Why should the maximum be different? I am not an expert and there are experts here. I have not yet had an answer from anyone. Does any one suggest that we ought to have a different maximum number of children per teacher in primary and secondary schools? This is characteristic of our education system. There is a division, a—what is the word—dichotomy? Here we begin with a division, with a piece of snobbery.
Even the maximum that we then set, of 40 in the primary school and 30 in the secondary school, has not yet been reached. At present the position is that one in every three of the children taught in our primary schools is taught in a class of over 40. Hon. Members have given examples of classes of over 50. Fourteen years since we set the target the position is that one in three of all the children in primary schools is taught in a class of over 40. Here I would call in aid all those Members who are teachers and ask whether any of them will say that he can do real justice to a class of over 40 in a primary school. In the case of secondary schools we set the maximum at 30, but at present two out of every three of our secondary school children are taught in classes of over 30.
Everyone I have met agrees that the biggest single reform that we could make in our educational system now would be 524 to reduce the size of classes. As a consequence, my party has agreed, and recommended as a part of our programme, that priority No. I should be to reduce the size of classes within five years to the limits of 40 and 30 and, ultimately, and as quickly as possible, to a limit of 30 in all schools. That is the right priority, and if we are to have any drive that is the place to start driving.
I now turn to the problem of secondary schools, and I want to offer some observations which are strictly relevant to the White Paper. The 1944 Education Act was notable, among other things, in that in the field of secondary education it provided for the first time that there should be free compulsory secondary education for all in this country. In the same Act there was a provision without which free secondary education for all would have been meaningless. I refer to the provision that the school-leaving age would be raised.
The two things go together. Before 1944, the school-leaving age was 14, but if we were to have secondary education beginning at 11 years of age, with a school-leaving age of 14, we should have had a travesty of secondary education. The Act therefore provided that the school-leaving age should be raised to 15 immediately it came into operation, and there was a duty upon the Minister to raise it to 16 as soon as possible.
In 1945 we began well; we raised the school-leaving age very quickly to 15. The Lord Privy Seal must be very thankful that a Labour Government came to power in 1945; otherwise his Act would have met the fate of the Act of Dr. Fisher at the end of the First World War. But, bless their memory, Ellen Wilkinson and George Tomlinson, aided by my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields raised it to 15—and I want to raise it to 16 as soon as possible, for educational and all other purposes.
The Trades Union Congress is very disappointed that there is not even a promise of raising the school-leaving age. I would like it raised to 16 immediately, but I told the trade union leaders quite frankly that if we regard the reduction in the size of classes as the most important single advance that we can make we should be honest and frank and tell the country that we cannot reduce the size of of classes and also raise the school-leaving 525 age to 16 in the first five-year period. I wish we could, because of the problem of teachers, to which reference has been made. I need say no more about it; it was adequately covered in the admirable speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart).
We decided upon another course. When we are on the other side of the House, before the end of the year, while pledging ourselves to raise the school-leaving age to 16 in the second five-year term, we shall do something which can be done now without an undue strain upon the resources of either buildings or teachers, and that is to have a four-year course. It will require parents to keep their children at school until the end of the academic year in which they attain their fifteenth birthday. At present the children leave three times in the year, Christmas, Easter and July. The result is that that last year tends to be wasted. The teacher who takes a class at the beginning of the final year knows that the class will disintegrate and has not anything like a reasonable chance of arranging a suitable curriculum for all the children.
We propose to do that; why does not the Minister? We have satisfied ourselves from the evidence that the four-year course should be introduced. Of course, there are problems but they are not insoluble. We have discussed the matter of apprentices with our friends in the T.U.C. If industry objects, let me say to industry that it is in its best interests that the children they get should have the best possible education in this modern age. It it something that we can do now to make a reality of secondary education. We shall raise the school-leaving age to 16 as early as we can. We have said that in the meantime we shall adopt this four-year course.
If the Government mean a new deal for secondary education, if they mean the phrase "secondary education for all," which they have borrowed from my good friend Professor R. H. Tawney, who was a member of the Committee which prepared "Learning to Live," it is something that they can do now administratively. It does not need a Bill. The Minister can just get up and say, "I will do it." The hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Jennings) is the only Government supporter who spoke in favour of it.
526 Let me turn from that subject to another aspect of secondary education. I remember the discussion on the 1944 Act about the tripartite system, or whatever it is called now. It is based upon a selection by examination or some other way at the age of 11. There is allocation to school according to the ability and adaptability which the pupils are deemed to possess. It is therefore proposed that they should go to one of two or three schools after selection at 11.
When we had a discussion on the matter in 1944 there were three hopes, none of which has been fulfilled. I ask the Minister to face up to this question. The three hopes were that the selection at the age of 11 would not be final, that movement from one school to another would be easy, and that all these schools, whatever they were called, would have parity of esteem. Would the Minister claim that we have achieved any of them?
§ Mr. Griffiths
I agree entirely with my right hon. Friend. Has selection at 11 become final? Of course it has. Will the Parliamentary Secretary deny that? The White Paper admits it. The fact is, therefore, that now we divide children at the age of eleven once and for all; practically all of them, or 98 per cent. of them. The Minister in his White Paper admitted that transfers from one school to another can only be an exception, and that is quite true. Less than 2 per cent. of the children change their schools after the age of eleven. Is that right or wrong? That is the evidence given to us, and indeed the Minister admits it in the White Paper.
Therefore, the first question I want to ask about that is what the Government propose to do about it. We have been very frank in saying what we would do about it. We say we would abolish the 11-plus examination. Do the Government say so? We have achieved a system in which the division at the age of eleven between children is final, and it is final to all intents and purposes, and for that reason we condemn it and say that we will abolish it. I have said all that I want to say about transfers, because there is no effective transfer.
527 The third point was about parity of esteem. I do not take second place to anyone in my tribute to the headmasters, headmistresses and staffs of secondary schools, but I say that, in the areas which I know best, and they are areas easy to judge, most of the boys and girls in the secondary schools have gone there having failed the 11-plus examination. Is it right that that should be the case? It must be wrong on any kind of test, and I reject it for that reason. The second reason, which was rejected by the psychologists and experts, is that intelligence is constant and that it is possible to determine the capacity and ability of a child at eleven. This is not science; it is pseudo-science of the worst kind.
The other thing I want to say about our system is this. We now divide the children at eleven, but how do we divide them? Here, I call upon the champions of the grammar school to tell us what they propose to do about that. There are areas in which, at the age of eleven when children are allocated to school, one out of every two children can go to a grammar school, and there are other areas in which only one in 10, or even only one in 15, can do so. What do the Government propose to do about that? Since they have turned themselves into these tremendous defenders of the grammar schools, will they tell us what they propose to do about them? This is a travesty of a national system of education, and we therefore say that we must abolish the 11-plus examination.
Then, we have said that we would invite the local education authorities to submit plans for the reorganisation of secondary education on the comprehensive principle. In inviting them to do that, we said quite frankly that we will not lay down any rigid pattern, because there are more ways than one by which it can be done. I have discussed many of these ways, including the very interesting Leicester experiment as well as others, such as the very interesting experiment being tried in Durham.
I believe that the nation has made up its mind that the 11-plus examination must go and that we must reorganise the system. We have said that we will not set down any rigid pattern, because we do not want to destroy grammar school education, but to extend its traditions and 528 its opportunities to many more children. I speak as the representative of a constituency which need not take second place to any in the country in the provision made from grammar schools. We want to throw these opportunities open to other children, to keep them and to extend them. We do not want to level down but to build up.
My time has gone, and I do not want to rob the Parliamentary Secretary, but to give him the time to reply to all the questions which have been put to him, and not least the questions about Wales put by my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas). My hon. Friend said something I want to echo. This country of ours has to win its place in the new world. We have to win our place and cannot bully our way into it any longer. That is the lesson of Suez. If we are to win our way it depends on every boy and girl of the country getting the fullest opportunity to develop his or her talents and the fullest opportunity to develop them in the service of the nation.
What we need is not a drive but a resolve and a plan with priorities to build a worthy system of education for all our children. They deserve our best; our future depends upon them. My hope does not lie in this White Paper and this drive which we get on the eve of a General Election. My hope is that in the near future this party will be sitting on the other side of the House and we shall begin to implement the programme set out in "Learning to Live".
§ 9.26 p.m.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education (Sir Edward Boyle)
My hope is that when people come to judge on the topics which we have been debating today, they will judge them on the basis of what the Government are actually proposing, and not on the misrepresentation of the Government's proposals which we have just heard in the speech of the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths).
I shall be dealing in a few moments with the details of the Amendment moved from the benches opposite, but I should like to make it absolutely plain at the outset of my speech that there is no truth whatever in the suggestion of the right hon. Member for Llanelly that the Government believe that selection at 11-plus 529 should decide the remainder of the child's career. We explicitly say the opposite in paragraph 13 of the White Paper. We use the words:But this does not mean that a child's performance at the age of eleven should determine the remainder of his school career once for all.Furthermore, my right hon. Friend this afternoon quoted a passage from the broadcast of the right hon. Member the Leader of the Opposition, in which the right hon. Gentleman had mentioned a school where there were opportunities for boys after 16 to go on to a grammar school sixth form. My right hon. Friend pointed out that such a policy was a very good description of one of the main objects of the Government White Paper. I am sure that many of us know authorities where that is exactly the practice which is followed. Recently, I have been in Cheshire, where I saw some admirable modern schools where boys and girls, if suitable for extended courses, go on to grammar schools and into the sixth forms at those schools. There is no truth in what has been said, that we regard selection at 11-plus as final. I shall be returning to that subject later in my remarks.
There was one point in the speech of the right hon. Member for Llanelly with which I very much agreed. It was adverted to by the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse), whose maiden speech so many of us listened to today with very much interest. The point was the importance to our educational system of the primary schools. On whatever side of the House we sit, we all recognise that the foundation of our educational system must be the primary schools. I do not want to weary the House tonight with too many figures, but I want to point out that during the last two years the number of children in the primary schools has fallen substantially, by between 150,000 to 200,000, but 200,000 extra primary school places have come into use. The average size of classes has continued to fall and nearly 200,000 more primary school places are under construction or have been approved.
There are three important ways in which I believe primary schools are to benefit substantially from the Government's White Paper. In the first place, the removal of senior children from all-age schools will leave more space for the younger children. Secondly, resources 530 are to be found during the five-year period not only for the building of new primary schools in new housing areas, but also for the complete replacement of some of the worst primary school buildings. Finally, we believe that a substantial part of the resources available for minor projects—those costing less than £20,000—will be devoted to the improvement of primary schools. I can assure the House that in putting forward these proposals for advancing secondary education, there is no intention to let up on the great efforts which we have already made in raising the standards of primary schools, too.
I should like to refer briefly to the special schools, which were mentioned by my right hon. Friend the Member for Runcorn (Mr. Vosper). May I say how pleased we all were to see him in his place today, again taking part in these debates. During the past seven years 214 new special schools have been provided, of which 130 were for educationally subnormal pupils. We have provided over 16,000 new places in those schools, very nearly 14,000 of which were for educationally sub-normal children. I think that anyone who has had any share in the work of these special schools must feel, as I certainly feel, that they are among the most rewarding parts of our educational system.
May I now turn to the specific points contained in the Opposition Amendment? First, I want to deal briefly with finance. I certainly do not propose tonight to go all over again the argument about the general grant which we have had so often in the House, but one point is worth noting: so far as the reaction of local authorities to the Government's White Paper has expressed itself up to now, there is no evidence that they feel themselves inhibited by the new grant arrangements from seeking to exploit their enlarged opportunities for developing the education service. As for the amount of the first General Grant Order, I do not see how any hon. Member can fairly argue that this Order does not provide sufficiently for the development and expansion of the education service.
One or two hon. Members have referred this afternoon to the question of teachers' salaries, and I think that this is a subject which we ought not to ignore altogether in the debate. My right hon 531 Friend and I are very glad that the Burnham Committee is now going on again with its negotiations. After all, that is the right way to make changes or improvements in teachers' salaries. I cannot accept the suggestion which was made this afternoon that the introduction of the general grant makes the working of the Burnham Committee ineffective. We have said again and again that the amount of the general grant will be adjusted to take account of approved changes in teachers' salaries. The local authorities' side of the Burnham Committee will be able, just as before, to take its share in putting proposals to the Minister, knowing that if they are approved the Exchequer will play its part in meeting the cost. That is exactly what the position has always been in the past.
§ Sir E. Boyle
I have a good deal to say, and perhaps the hon. Member will forgive me if I do not give way to him.
I want to come next to the second part of the Amendment, which deals with the supply of teachers. We on this side of the House fully realise that an adequate supply of teachers is central to the whole of the Government's proposals, and that is why we have already embarked on by far the largest planned expansion of the training colleges in our national history.
Hon. Members opposite, naturally enough, have compared the Government's plan with the immediate programme of 16,000 new places recommended by the National Advisory Council. In judging this issue, let us at least be clear what we can hope to achieve with the present programme. When the National Advisory Council offered its advice about the 16,000 places, it reckoned that this was the figure necessary to obtain an annual output from the general training colleges of 12,000 teachers, but if one assumes—and I think that it is a reasonable assumption—that colleges should continue to make the maximum use of their accommodation, then the Government's programme of 12,000 additional places should, in fact, bring the general colleges near to the point where they can give this output of 12,000 teachers a year.
I can, however, give this further assurance and repeat what my right hon. Friend said earlier this afternoon. If the accumulating evidence shows that we 532 ought to continue this expansion for a year or two longer, then, as my right hon. Friend has already indicated, we are certainly quite ready to contemplate that.
Our training colleges are, of course, by no means our only source of recruitment of teachers. The number of graduates entering our maintained schools has risen from 3,600 in 1955 to 4,600 in 1957, and the Ministry will do all it possibly can to take advantage of the great expansion in the university population during the next few years, two-thirds of which will be in the faculties of science and technology.
The hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) asked me whether there was a possibility of mitigating the year of intermission of 1962 by means of an intensive course for groups of selected students who perhaps could complete the course in a shorter period. We are looking at that possibility very carefully indeed. It is a good point.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) used certain figures in advancing the claims of the Welsh training colleges for a greater number of places. I do not want to bandy figures with him this evening. I will study his figures carefully and for the moment I will say two things: first, in arriving at the total number of new places we had to have regard to a number of factors—for example, that the total number of teachers produced in Wales must take account of the numbers turned out by the university education department as well. We know that over the next two years this number will increase by 20 per cent.
We tried to take account of all those factors fairly, but there is one other point which I think he must bear in mind. It is extremely difficult to allocate the total fairly between English L.E.A. training colleges, Welsh training colleges, Church of England training colleges, Roman Catholic training colleges, and so on. I assure him that in arriving at our figures we tried to treat everyone fairly, but inevitably there has been some disappointment. I think that if we made everybody completely happy that would probably be a sign that we had done our job rather badly.
As a matter of fact, the latest figures for teachers are a little more encouraging 533 than they were when I last spoke to the House on this topic. Present indications suggest that the net increase in the teaching force in 1958 was well over 5,000 and may have been nearer 6,000, compared with a net increase of only 4,500 in 1957. There can be no doubt that the distribution of the teaching force was substantially helped by the quota scheme during 1958. That is why my right hon. Friend has decided to maintain it during 1959.
We must remember, of course, that the problem of teacher supply has, to some extent, been made more acute by the very welcome increase in the number of children staying on at school beyond the school-leaving age. The number of 15-year-olds who stayed on at school rose from 21 per cent. in 1957 to 27 per cent. last year, and the number of 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds has risen very substantially during the same period. Of course, we warmly welcome this trend, and we have made full allowance for it in our estimates of future school population and of the demand for teachers.
I will end my remarks about the supply of teachers by reminding the House again of the Government's intentions which are described in paragraph 31 of the White Paper. The Government have determined that the size of primary classes should go on being reduced, so that primary classes of more than 40 children are virtually eliminated by the middle 1960s. Moreover, as the average size of the junior class would then be about 30, very substantial numbers of such classes would have less than 30 pupils at that time. In the secondary schools, conditions in a number of areas are bound to be difficult in the next year or two while the number of senior pupils continues to rise, but we are satisfied that, on the present programme, there really should be a decisive general improvement within the next five years.
I notice that it is the declared policy of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite—the right hon. Gentleman repeated it just now—to reduce all classes, junior and senior, to a maximum of 30. I wonder whether they realise that such a policy would need an increase in the teacher force of 110,000 over and above our present teacher force of 260,000. An increase in the teacher force of this scale simply would not be practicable during 534 the next few years. If the Opposition persist in giving this pledge, they must know in their hearts that they are making a promise which they could not possibly hope to fulfil and I, for one, think that that is wrong.
I come now to the last part of the Amendment which deals with the familiar subject of the organisation of secondary education. I will say straight away that I believe that the Government's proposals have been well received by the majority of educational opinion in this country, and that the local authorities all over Britain have felt that the Government are trying to approach the subject in a practical manner. It really is nonsense for the Opposition to describe the Government's proposals as doctrinaire. On the contrary, it is fundamental to the theme of our White Paper that we should not attempt anything like a uniform pattern of secondary education for the whole of England and Wales.
In this connection, I must make a brief reference to the remarkable observation by the Leader of the Opposition at the start of the year, that the Government intend to slam the door of opportunity in the face of the majority of children. I cannot imagine how anybody could possibly read this White Paper and draw that conclusion from it. It does not strike me as a particularly happy example of the art of drafting a political conclusion first and reading the evidence afterwards.
It seems to me that the best way to approach this difficult question is to consider the children themselves first, because, after all, their needs vary very widely. There is, in the first place, that relatively small percentage of children who have shown by their work in school and by the way they respond to tests, that they are obviously suitable for the traditional grammar school academic curriculum. They are the children who can cope with the sort of reasoning and appreciate we associate with the humane studies, and the more intellectual aspects of mathematics and so on. There is no doubt about what sort of education these children require.
Next, there are those children who are not suitable for an academic education of that kind but who can very greatly gain from a course more closely related to their particular abilities and interests 535 It simply is not sound educational policy to try to give these children, as it were, a watered-down version of the grammar school curriculum. This is why we on this side of the House find it very difficult to make sense of the maxim of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, that we should aim at what they call a grammar school education for all children.
Frankly, such an objective simply does not make sense on educational grounds, and I cannot help feeling that the Opposition tend to confuse the type of education which a child should receive with the quality of the school at which the child is being educated. However keen we may be to raise the quality of our secondary schools all along the line, it is nonsense to pretend to ourselves or to parents that every child is suitable for a similar course.
Standing between the categories I have mentioned, there are the children whose capacities develop considerably after reaching secondary school age or who prove themselves capable of tackling more advanced courses than anyone could have guessed at the time they started their secondary school careers. These may be the children in, roughly, the middle range of ability, or they may be highly intelligent children who are late developers. The Government's White Paper fully recognises that this group exists, and we say quite explicitly in paragraph 13 that, while there must be selection in our system of secondary education,this does not mean that a child's performance at the age of eleven should determine the remainder of his school career once for all.On the contrary, it is the Government's doctrine that every child, no matter what kind of secondary school he attends, should receive the type of course that enables him to travel along the educational road as far as his ability and perseverance can carry him.
How can we achieve this objective? I know that we are all agreed, and I will not, therefore, waste time on the point, about ruling out the idea that every type of school should cater for a sharply defined range of ability. Then there are those, whose point of view was expressed clearly and lucidly by the hon. Member for Fulham, who go to the other extreme and say that each school should attempt to cater for the whole range of ability.
536 The hon. Member said that we needed to provide in each school a range of courses wide enough to cater for all normal children.
We have argued the point about comprehensive schools again and again in the House and I want to say only a few words about it tonight. The Government have never denied—and our actions prove it—that there are occasions when a comprehensive school may possibly be the right answer on educational grounds. One can think of new housing areas on the outskirts of our big cities where there are no secondary schools, or the country districts with relatively sparse populations, where local authorities can make out a good case.
On the other hand, many people directly concerned with education, and by no means all of them political supporters of the Government, have real doubt about comprehensive schools, for two reasons. In the first place, they point out, what is indubitably true, that it is the most exceptional head teacher who can infuse a spirit of unity and cohesion into a large school which has been deliberately planned to be as large as possible in order to cover the whole range of ability with streams of a reasonable size. We do not say that all schools of this kind are bad. I do not know why the hon. Member for Fulham has this persecution complex about the L.C.C. There are one or two very good large comprehensive schools which are maintained by the L.C.C. and which have made a promising start; but a great many of the political supporters of the hon. Member agree, at any rate in private, that the number of head teachers who can cope with schools of this size is extremely limited, and for this reason we must be careful how many of these schools we attempt.
Whatever the best solution may be in new housing areas or sparsely populated areas, entirely different considerations apply in urban areas which have already established grammar and modern schools which are already sufficient to meet the needs of the population. In our view, it simply cannot be right to organise secondary education in our big cities in such a way as to leave parents no freedom of choice and to upset good, established schools, especially grammar schools, which are already doing a first-class job of work.
537 I should like to repeat what hon. Members will have already read in paragraph 16 of the White Paper. One way in which my right hon. Friend will not hesitate to use his powers is to prevent a local education authority from closing down an existing grammar school simply so that a new comprehensive school may enjoy a monopoly of the more able children in its area. I say to hon. Members opposite, with no desire to be offensive, let us be careful about the sort of double talk about grammar schools in which they sometimes indulge. Today, a grammar school means a selective school which caters for a definite academic range of ability. If we want to make a school of this kind the nucleus of a large nonselective school, it will be a different kind of school and it is ridiculous to pretend otherwise.
I will not say anything against a school where I once presented the prizes, the Mayfield Comprehensive School, at Putney, which was built around the nucleus of an existing grammar school. But no one pretends that that is a grammar school; it is a comprehensive school. I say to hon. Members opposite that they should not pursue this double talk about turning grammar schools into comprehensive schools and pretending that they are still the same kind of school.
I said that the Government reject the idea that each secondary school should try to cater for a sharply divided range of ability and we equally reject the idea that every school should try to cater for the full range of ability. There is, however, a third possibility, and that is that there should be an overlap in the range in ability for which different schools attempt to cater. The Government's view simply is that there must be opportunities in all secondary schools, not merely in grammar or technical schools, for boys and girls to go forward to the limit of their ability. If the brightest children in the local schools can benefit from an extended course which overlaps with the standard of the lower streams of the grammar schools, that course ought to be available to them.
In this connection, it is important that the House should not overlook the progress that has been already achieved in many of our modern schools, both in the big cities and in country areas. Hampshire has been mentioned already, and 538 that is a good example. According to our latest figures at the Ministry, there are already no fewer than 38,000 children staying on in modern schools beyond the school-leaving age.
Again, whereas, in 1954, 5,500 children took the G.C.E. from 350 modern schools, in 1958 10,600 children took this examination from nearly 800 modern schools. I appreciate the point made by the hon. Member for Fulham that the number of children from grammar schools taking the G.C.E. examination is ten times the number from the modern schools, but he must at least agree that this trend is a good one. We believe that it will be maintained and still further encouraged. Furthermore, I do not see how anybody could make a regular practice of visiting local education authorities without being greatly impressed at the wealth of experiments being carried on to make this system of overlapping schools work as well as possible.
The only comment I would further add is that however keen we all may be to see a growing number of children from secondary modern schools taking the G.C.E. examination, one should not fall into the error of thinking less of those modern schools where few of the children can undertake this more academic kind of course. We can, indeed, make a reality of secondary education for all and of securing for all children those opportunities which their talents and abilities require without abandoning those grammar schools of whose past achievements in educating the ablest of our children there can be no doubt.
The Government fully recognise that the development of our secondary modern schools can fairly be regarded as the single most important educational objective that faces Britain during the second half of the twentieth century. We can, however, adapt our secondary schools to the future needs; of our children without abandoning those schools that have served Britain faithfully in the past and still do.
Whatever hon. Members may say, it would be foolish to exaggerate the difference between the two sides of the House on this subject. And yet there is one vital difference and it is important that the country should know it. We on this side believe that it is possible to provide 539 secondary education for all children in accordance with their abilities without sacrificing those schools that have done such fine work in educating the ablest of our children. We on this side simply do not believe that the way to advance to the Britain that we wish to see in the future is to penalise successful individuals and level down established institutions.
§ Mr. Short
Will the hon. Gentleman answer the question I put to him? Will he tell us about the academic results of comprehensive schools which have absorbed the grammar schools? For example, if the children in the Mayfield School, or a school of that kind, had gone to a grammar school had there been a tripartite system, would they have suffered by the absorption of the grammar school into the comprehensive school?
§ Sir E. Boyle
If we take the well-known case of a school which, we all agree, has made a highly promising start —Kidbrooke School, Eltham, a large comprehensive school; in that case the Kidbrooke School and Eltham Grammar School still exist side by side—the academic results from Kidbrooke are certainly very good. And yet I do not believe that either school has suffered from the fact that freedom of choice for the parents still exists.
§ Sir E. Boyle
With regard to Mayfield, I have been asked a question which, of its nature, simply cannot have an answer, because it is quite impossible to compare the results achieved by Mayfield with those that it would have achieved if the comprehensive school had not come into existence. I do not imagine that the hon. Member meant to ask such a silly question as that.
During the past two years, I have had the pleasure of visiting between one-third and one-half of all the local authorities in England and Wales. I must have seen several hundred schools and talked to several thousands of teachers, parents and children. My impression is that the overwhelming majority of people do not wish to see education becoming too embroiled with party politics.
540 Of course, when people really differ in their views on educational policy, it is much the best that these differences should be aired frankly and in public. I do not, however, believe that the average parent or teacher, or anyone responsible for the education service, wants to see these differences of opinion harden into party orthodoxies. Whatever we may say in debates in this House, these differences have not hardened into orthodoxies in many areas of Britain.
I have had the chance of visiting several local authorities where the same broad plan of organisation has survived two or three changes of political control without anyone seriously proposing to alter it. I must say this to right hon. Gentlemen opposite. I think that they will have to be a good deal franker with the public than they have been up to now about what they really propose to do with regard to the grammar schools. Is it really their intention to work towards a system whereby all secondary schools cater for the whole range of educational ability, as the hon. Member for Fulham said this afternoon? If so, how do they propose to fulfil this objective without closing a large number of first-rate grammar schools, which are already serving this country well?
Secondly, do they really mean what they say in "Learning to Live" when they talk about requiring local education authorities, with all reasonable speed, to adopt the comprehensive principle, because we on this side of the House think that it would be totally wrong for any central Government to try to compel local education authorities to reorganise their secondary education in accordance with any preconceived pattern laid down by Whitehall.
I want to say a word to those who have talked about Leicestershire. The Leicestershire experiment is a very promising and interesting one. It is now being tried out in two very narrow areas of one county and it is premature to suppose that this experiment can be repeated on anything like a nation-wide scale for a long time.
Finally, I should like to say that the Government are proud of the White Paper and commend its proposals with confidence both to the House and the country. We have thought hard about them and we believe that they are designed to secure to as many children as possible 541 the prospect of a happy and successful life as responsible members of a democratic community.
For my part, I have no doubt that the Act of 1944 has been one of the great achievements in the social history of this country in this century. No one today can possibly visit many of our new schools without being enormously impressed by the standard of work done in them and we can all rejoice in the fact that today there is such great nation-wide
§ interest in education, far greater than ever before in our history.
§ I ask the House to pass this Motion tonight and, in doing so, to reject the Amendment which has been moved from the benches opposite.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question: —
§ The House divided: Ayes 303, Noes 240.545
|Division No. 21.]||AYES||[9.59 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Holt, A. F.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hope, Lord John|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Hornby, R. P.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Doughty, C. J. A.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Drayson, G. B.||Horobin, Sir Ian|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||du Cann, E. D. L.||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William||Duncan, Sir James||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Duthie, W. S.||Howard, John (Test)|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)|
|Ashton, H.||Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Elliott, R. W. (Ne'castle upon Tyne, N.)||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.|
|Atkins, H. E.||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Hurd, Sir Anthony|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr.J.M.||Errington, Sir Eric||Hutchison, Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S.)|
|Baldwin, Sir Archer||Erroll, F. J.|
|Balniel, Lord||Farey-Jones, F. W.||Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun)|
|Barber, Anthony||Fell, A.||Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry|
|Barlow, Sir John||Finlay, Graeme||Iremonger, T. L.|
|Barter, John||Fisher, Nigel||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Batsford, Brian||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Forrest, G.||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)|
|Beamish, Col. Tufton||Fort, R.||Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Foster, John||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone.)||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald||Freeth, Denzil||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)|
|Bidgood, J. C,||Gammans, Lady||Joseph, Sir Keith|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Kaberry, D.|
|Bingham, R. M,||George, J. C (Pollok)||Keegan, D.|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Gibson-Watt, D.||Kerby, Capt. H. B.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Glover, D.||Kerr, Sir Hamilton|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Glyn, Col. Richard H.||Kershaw, J, A.|
|Body, R. F.||Godber, J. B.||Kimball, M.|
|Bossom, Sir Alfred||Goodhart, Philip||Lagden, G. W.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Gough, C. F. H.||Lambton, Viscount|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Gower, H. R,||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Braine, B. R.||Graham, Sir Fergus||Langford-Holt, J. A.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Grant, Rt. Hon. W. (Woodside)||Leather, E. H. C.|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Leavey, J. A.|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Green, A.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.|
|Bryan, P.||Gresham Cooke, R.||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.|
|Builus, Wing Commander E. E.||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)|
|Burden, F. F, A.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Linstead, Sir H. N.|
|Butler.RtHn.R.A.(Saffron Wilden)||Gurden, Harold||Llewellyn, D. T.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G.(Sutton Coldfield)|
|Carr, Robert||Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Longden, Gilbert|
|Cole, Norman||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Loveys, Walter H.|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby|
|Cooke, Robert||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)|
|Cooper, A. E.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Lucas, P. B.(Brentford & Chiswick)|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Hay, John||McAdden, S. J.|
|Corfield, F. V.||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Macdonald, Sir Peter|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||McLaughlin, Mrs. P.|
|Crowder, Sir John (Flnchley)||Henderson-Stewart, Sir James||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip-Northwood)||Hesketh, R. F.||McLean, Neil (Inverness)|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold(Bromley)|
|Davies, Rt. Hon. Clement(Montgomery)||Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)|
|D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Hirst, Geoffrey||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)|
|Deedes, W. F.||Hotoson, John(Warwick & Leam'gt'n)||Maddan, Martin|
|de Ferranti, Basil||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Maltland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)||Pitman, I. J.||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Pitt, Miss E. M.||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Markham, Major Sir Frank||Pott, H. P.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Marlowe, A. A. H.||Powell, J. Enoch||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Teeling, W.|
|Marshall, Douglas||Profumo, J. D.||Temple, John M.|
|Mathew, R.||Ramsden, J. E.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.||Rawlinson, Peter||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Mawby, R. L.||Redmayne, M.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Rees-Davies, W. R,||Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)|
|Medlicott, Sir Prank||Remnant, Hon. P,||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.||Renton, D. L. M.||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Ridsdale, J. E.||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Moore, Sir Thomas||Rippon, A. G. F.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Robertson, Sir David||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Nabarro, G. D. N.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Nairn, D. L. S.||Roper, Sir Harold||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Neave, Airey||Ropner, col. Sir Leonard||Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.|
|Nicholls, Harmar||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R,||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)|
|Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)||Sharples, R. C.||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek|
|Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)||Shepherd, William||Wall, Patrick|
|Noble, Michael (Argyll)||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)|
|Nugent, G. R. H.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold|
|Oakshott, H. D.||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)||Webbe, Sir H.|
|O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Soames, Rt. Hon, Christopher||Webster, David|
|Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Spearman, Sir Alexander||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Orr-Ewing, C. Ian (Hendon, N.)||Speir, R. M.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Osborne, C.||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Page, R. G.||Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)||Stanley, Capt. Hon, Richard||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Partridge, E.||Stevens, Geoffrey||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Peel, W. J.||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Peyton, J. W. W.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm||Woollam, John Victor|
|Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Storey, S.|
|Pike, Miss Mervyn||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Pilklngton, Capt. R. A.||Studholme, Sir Henry||Mr. Legh and Mr. E. Wakefield.|
|Abse, Leo||Davles, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Howell, Denis (All Saints)|
|Ainsley, J. W,||Davles, Harold (Leek)||Hoy, J. H.|
|Albu, A. H.||Davles, Stephen (Merthyr)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Allaun, Frank (8alford, E.)||Deer, G.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||de Freitas, Geoffrey||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Delargy, H. J.||Hunter, A. E.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Diamond, John||Hynd, H. (Accrington)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Dodds, N. N.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)|
|Baird, J.||Donnelly, D. L.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)|
|Balfour, A.||Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwoh)||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.|
|Benoe, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Edelman, M.||Janner, B.|
|Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.)||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.|
|Benson, Sir George||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Jeger, George (Goole)|
|Beswick, Frank||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St. Pncs. S.)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Jenkint, Roy (Stechford)|
|Blackburn, F.||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Johnson, James (Rugby)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Fernyhough, E.||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech(Wakefield)|
|Blyton, W. R,||Fitch, Alan||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)|
|Boardman, H.||Fletcher, Eric||Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Foot, D. M.||Jonet, J. Idwal (Wrexham)|
|Boyd, T. C.||Forman, J. C.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Braddook, Mrs. Elizabeth||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Kenyon, C.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D, D.||George, Lady Megan Lloyd(Car'then)||King, Dr. H. M.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Gibson, C. W.||Lawson, G. M.|
|Brown, Thomas (lnce)||Gooch, E. G.||Ledger, R. J.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Greenwood, Anthony||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Grey, C. F.||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)|
|Cattle, Mrs. B. A.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)|
|Champion, A. J.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Lewis, Arthur|
|Chapman, W. D.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Lindgren, G. S.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvll (Colne Valley)||Lipton, Marcus|
|Cliffe, Michael||Hamilton, W. W.||Logan, D. G.|
|Clunie, J.||Hannan, W.||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Coldrick, W.||Hastings, S.||McAllster, Mrs. Mary|
|Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||Hayman, F. H.||McCann, J.|
|Sorbet, Mrs. Freda||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||MacColl, J. E.|
|Cove, W. G.||Herbison, Mist M.||MacDermot, Niall|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hewitson, Capt. M.||McGhee, H. G.|
|Cronin, J. D.||Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)||McKay, John (Walltend)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Holman, P.||MsLeavy, Frank|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Islet)|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Mahon, Simon||Popplewell, E.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Prentloe, R. E.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Mann, Mrs. Jean||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Mason, Roy||Probert, A. R.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Mayhew, C. P.||Proctor, W. T.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Mellish, R. J.||Pursey, Cmdr. H,||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Messer, Sir F.||Reeves, J.||Thornton, E.|
|Mikardo, Ian||Reid, William||Tomney, F.|
|Mitchlson, G. R.||Reynolds, G. W.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Monslow, W.||Rhodes, H.||Usborne, H. C.|
|Moody, A. S.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Viant, S. P.|
|Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Warbey, W. N.|
|Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lewls'm,S.)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Watkins, T. E.|
|Mort, D. L.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Panoras, N.)||Weitzman, D.|
|Moss, R.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Moyle, A.||Ross, William||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Short, E. W.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|O'Brien, Sir Thomas||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Oliver, G. H.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Oram, A. E.||Skeffington, A. M.||Willey, Frederick|
|Oswald, T.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Owen, W. J.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Paget, R. T.||Snow, J. W.||Williams, Richard (Openshaw)|
|Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Soronsen, R. W.||Willis, Eustaoe (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Palmer, A. M. F.||Sparks, J. A.||Winterbottom, Richard|
|PanneN, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Spriggs, Leslie||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Pargiter, G. A.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)||Woof, R. E.|
|Parker, J.||Storehouse, John||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Parkin, B. T.||Stones, W. (Consett)||Younger, Rt. Hon, K.|
|Paton, John||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Peart, T. F.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall|
|Pentland, N.||Stross,Dr.Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent,C.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mr. Bowden and Mr. Pearson.|
§ Main Question put and agreed to.
That this House welcomes the proposals of Her Majesty's Government as set out in the Command Paper on Secondary Education for All.