HC Deb 19 December 1963 vol 686 cc1411-2
8. Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

asked the Minister of Education when he expects to receive the report of the Plowden Committee on primary school education.

Sir E. Boyle

The Central Advisory Council for Education had its first meeting under the chairmanship of Lady Plowden on 7th October. I understand that it is at present aiming to complete its report by the summer of 1966.

Mr. Mallalieu

Will the Minister assure the House that he will not wait until then to start tackling the very urgent problems of primary education?

Sir E. Boyle

In school building—and the hon. Member has a Question down about this—I have already announced my intention from 1965–66 onwards to devote some millions of pounds every year to primary school replacement projects. There will be no question here of a standstill in educational improvement. This is, however, the first major thorough inquiry into primary education for 30 years and I do not blame the Plowden Committee for wanting to do a thorough job of it.

Mrs. White

Can the Minister give us some enlightenment on this? As the Plowden Committee is concerned with the age of school entry and the date of transfer from primary to secondary schools, what advice is the Minister giving to local authorities about the shape of their building programme if they have to wait until 1966 for the report?

Sir E. Boyle

In many cases of primary school replacement, it is hard to see why this need in any way wait for the Plowden recommendations. If, however, the hon. Lady is thinking particularly about the age of transfer—from the age of 9 to 13, and so on—this is a matter which I shall consider most carefully when deciding which projects can be included in future programmes.