HC Deb 09 April 1964 vol 692 cc1181-2
3. Mr. Merlyn Rees

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is aware that there is research evidence to show that when standardised mental and performance tests are dropped from selection procedures for secondary education the chances of grammar school entry decline for the children of manual working-class parents; and if he will advise local education authorities to take this into account whim devising new systems for selection of children for secondary education.

Mr. Hogg

I am advised that the evidence is small, and in any event its significance is not clear.

Mr. Rees

Would not the Secretary of State agree that the evidence in the Douglas Report recently seemed to be conclusive on this, and does it not tie up with the statistical evidence in both the Crowther and Robbins Reports to show that selection of a social nature takes place not only at 11 under the new procedures but already takes place with the 18-plus selection for universities?

Mr. Hogg

I am advised that there was indeed an assertion in the Douglas Report, unsupported by evidence, but that the evidence collected by Dr. Douglas suggests that it is not social class, as is suggested in the Question, but parental encouragement irrespective of class which has the effect to which the hon. Gentleman refers.

Mr. Brockway

The right hon. and learned Gentleman has referred to parental encouragement. Is it not much more the appalling housing conditions in which so many of these boys and girls live which give them no opportunity to study at home?

Mr. Hogg

I hope that that will be taken care of by my right hon. Friend's slum clearance programme.

Mrs. White

Does not the Secretary of State agree that with all these doubts and difficulties it would be far better not to have any selection procedure required at all for the 11-plus?

Mr. Hogg

That appears to me to be totally irrational.