HC Deb 07 March 1962 vol 655 cc391-2
30. Sir J. Maitland

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what facilities are provided to enable ratings serving afloat to prepare for the educational qualifications required for promotion and advancement.

Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing

The larger ships of the Fleet carry instructor officers, who also serve with destroyer and frigate squadrons. Correspondence courses, in a great variety of subjects, are provided for ratings to whom instruction is not locally available.

31. Sir J. Maitland

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what results have been obtained by naval ratings who sat for the examination for the General Certificate of Education during 1961.

Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing

3,386 subject passes at O level in the General Certificate of Education were obtained by just under 3,000 ratings who sat for this examination during 1961.

Sir J. Maitland

Would not my hon. Friend agree that these results are extremely satisfactory and that the Navy should be very proud of them and of what it is doing for these people?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

I think that it is. The fact that more than 100 ships sent forward examinees for this examination shows that it is widely spread throughout the fleet.

Mr. Willis

In view of the Admiralty's policy of raising the quality of the officer branches, with which I agree, does it not become increasingly important that educational facilities for the lower deck should be provided so that the numbers coming from the lower deck will not fall?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

We are paying attention to that point, which is so directly connected with the strength and calibre of our instructor branch. The better the officers we can attract to the instructor branch, the better our results will be.

Mr. Pentland

Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that a rating's dialect is not taken into consideration when he applies for promotion? We have a suspicion in the North-East, which we have had for a long time, that a number of bright Service men from our part of the country have been deprived of the chance of promotion because of their Geordie dialect.

Mr. Orr-Ewing

This examination was taken on paper, not verbally. How men can convey their dialects to paper is beyond my comprehension.