§ 3.48 p.m.
§ Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)
I beg to move,That this House regrets that Her Majesty's Government has impaired secondary education by its failure for more than four years since the Crowther Report to take a decision on the raising of the school-leaving age and to set on foot a consistent programme of action in support of such a decision; and has failed either to announce acceptance of the Newsom Report or to deal vigorously with the grave emergency in higher education revealed by the Robbins Report.It is right to bring together these three impressive Reports. They are not isolated and divorced Reports. They are part of the single educational pattern. One of the main charges we make against the Government is that, constantly and grudgingly, they have regarded as a liability and not as an opportunity that number of children whom we usually and rather ungraciously call "the bulge". Now, after battling through over-crowded classes in over-crowded schools, many of these children, having earned the right, are knocking at the doors of the universities and the colleges and are being denied entry. What is more important, many more leaving school for work are being denied any opportunity of equipping themselves for a new Britain.One of our witnesses"—says the Crowther Report—quoted to us the remark of a German industrialist, 'We envy you your bulge'.The Committee went on to say:We trust that there may be no need to add, 'But we are astounded at the way you have wasted the chance to build up your capital of skill'.I would concede at once the improvements—the expansion—there have been in further and technical education, but if we measure this against the bulge it is largely true, unfortunately, that we have failed to build up our capital of skill. For years now we have been saying that 41 the Government would not make a statement on the major recommendation of the Crowther Report until the eve of the General Election. They cannot have much time left now, but we have largely wasted four precious years.
The right hon. Gentleman has given no reply to the main recommendation of the Newsom Report. One of our complaints against the Government is that they always show an insufficient interest in the ordinary child. That Report revealed that 40 per cent. of all secondary modern schools must be condemned as being seriously inadequate and that in the slum areas the percentage is as high as 79 per cent. The Minister's response has been promises about the school-building programmes two and three years ahead. If he were serious, he would restore the cuts he has made in the present school-building programme into next year's programme; and he would also respond to the very bitter attack made by the Campaign for Education on the present school-building programmes.
After Robbins we got a White Paper with commendable alacrity. We welcome it, but it seems easier to produce a White Paper than it is to produce effective action. We have been waiting for a decision on Ministerial responsibility far too long. We want an end of the fratricidal struggle between the two right hon. Gentlemen, the Minister of Education and the Minister for Science. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition referred to this as a choice of evils. We have still got to make the choice. The sooner it is made, the better. It is clear now that there ought to be a single ministerial responsibility. No one would pretend that this has been an easy decision, but because the decision is difficult does not mean that it can be put off. The Government, who cling on to office into their fifth year like limpets, cannot afford indecision. The trouble is that, meanwhile, everything else has been put off and prejudiced.
I doubt very much whether the House realises the extent of the present crisis. I doubt whether it appreciates properly the crisis which has been brought about by the bulge now coming into higher education. The very last sentences of the Robbins Report are these:In our judgment, this is an emergency of the same importance as the emergency pro- 42 duced by demobilisation after the last war and demanding the same type of extraodinary measures to meet it. If the needs of this situation are not adequately met by immediate Government action, many of our plans for long-term expansion will be seriously endangered.To be faced with this sudden crisis is an appalling condemnation of Government policy. After all, these young people have been in the schools for the last 12 or 13 years. They have been at school for the whole life of the present Government, and nothing has been done. It is because nothing sufficient, nothing adequate, has been done that we are now facing this emergency, an emergency which, the Robbins Report says, demands "extraordinary measures".
The months go by and we see no signs of any clear decisions. We cannot find out—no one seems to know—what is happening. Lord Eccles and Lord Robbins himself warned the Government before Christmas. Lord Robbins said that if the Government really meant business they would have to take quick decisions before Christmas. We heard the Lord President of the Council and Minister for Science last week; he did not seem really to mean business.
Meanwhile, we have a position where the brilliant students at the universities are already accepting posts and where university entrance is being settled. As Lord Robbins himself said, the universities are beginning to suspect that Government policy, once again, is fine phrases and nebulous rhetoric. Also as Lord Robbins said, the universities are not afraid of expansion but, from experience, they are afraid of attempting expansion without adequate means. After all, they have not forgotten—it is only two years ago—that the Government rejected the minimum proposals of the University Grants Committee to meet the Government's own targets. We had for the first time the situation in which the U.G.C. proposals were rejected by the Government.
It is very difficult to appreciate that the Government are wholeheartedly behind university expansion against that background. As the Association of University Teachers has said:The tragedy of Robbins is that it is now too late to do much that could have been done but for the ill-judged Government cuts in university grants.43 It is the Robbins Report itself that says that the universities have cause for lack of confidence in the Government's intentions.
We are bedevilled throughout education with a lack of purpose and a lack of plan from the Government. This is true not only in higher education. It is as true of secondary education as any other part of education. It is over four years since the Crowther Report presented an unanswerable case for raising the school-leaving age, and not only for raising the school-leaving age but for the timing of the raising of the school-leaving age in one of the three years 1966–69. This rested on two main arguments. The first was that in secondary education at present there is an appalling waste of talent, with these large untapped pools of ability. It is this that links the Crowther Report with the Robbins Report.
The second argument is equally important. It is the argument of social justice. If it be regarded as a social service, as part of the "condition of the people", there seems to us to be no social injustice in our community at present more loudly crying out for reform than the condition in which scores of thousands of our children are released on to the labour market. It is this argument, the raising of the school-leaving age, which is fundamental to both the Newsom and Robbins Reports. Four years after the Crowther Committee reported the Newsom Report makes as its very first recommendation a restatement of the recommendation of the Crowther Committee. It called for an immediate announcement that the school-leaving age will be raised.
But, four years ago, the Crowther Report called for an immediate announcement and warned what would happen if we got Government procrastination and delay. The Crowther Report stated that if the opportunities of the 1960s were not to be wasted a decision had to be taken then—and then was 1959. It added that such a decision had to be taken immediately and that it had to be followed by a consistent programme of action, and followed through vigorously.
These are the opportunities which have been wasted and this is the main 44 count in our indictment against the Government. I agree at once that we are immediately up against the problem of teacher supply. However, this problem was faced by the Crowther Committee. Its chairman wrote to the Minister about teacher supply in February, 1958. There was no response from the right hon. Gentleman.
About the same time, he received the Report for the National Advisory Council, which stated that to meet our present commitments—we were increasing the training course to three years—we needed 16,000 more places in the training colleges. The Minister rejected that and provided 4,000 places short. It is not surprising, in view of these events, that there is lack of confidence in the Government's intentions, and a feeling of frustration the whole time.
After this, we got hesitation, procrastination and makeshift measures year after year and, finally, unwilling acceptance of the fact that a second bulge had moved into the primary schools. When I first spoke on education from this Box, in 1961, I dealt almost entirely with the question of teacher shortage; the wasted opportunities in the mid and late 1950s to expand provision for teacher training. I dealt with the immediate crisis, but the response I got from the then Minister, Lord Eccles, was the reply:quite apart from the economic difficulties which face the nation, I cannot see how, in the immediate future, we can go faster in the programme of expanding the training colleges than we are going"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th July, 1961; Vol. 644, col. 604.]We cannot afford a Minister who cannot see—who cannot foresee—problems. We need a Minister who can foresee our difficulties and provide against them. Thus nothing was done. The following year we returned to the subject of teacher shortage, but all we got was the promise of the auxiliary service and short-term commissions, a couple of gimmicks which were no sooner presented than they were forgotten. Then we had a year of intermission, followed by the appointment of the present Minister, who was an improvement.
The present Minister accepted the National Advisory Council's figure of 80,000 for 1970. Meanwhile—and think of the wasted opportunities—each year we have had qualified students failing 45 to gain admission to the training colleges, first hundreds and then thousands of them. This applies not only to entrance to training colleges, but also to universities. We now know that as long ago as 1955, 2,000 to 2,500 well-qualified young people were failing to get into universities because of the lack of places.
The A.U.T. Survey for 1961 showed that one in four of those applying with qualifications failed to get into universities. Had we been able to provide places for them we might have had 9,000 more graduates leaving universities this year. We do not have the U.C.C.A. figures, but we know that over these years of crisis it is probable that only one out of every two young people qualified and anxious to go to a university or college will have the opportunity to do so.
It is in this situation that the Robbins Report called for extraordinary measures and that the action which the right hon. Gentleman has taken, and which we welcome, is inadequate. We now have a synthesis of the three Reports which we are considering today. We need, in the light of the Robbins Report, to take extraordinary measures to provide for a better opportunity for this crowd of young people who, against odds, have and are qualifying for higher education but are being denied the opportunity of having it. We need extraordinary measures now, though it is late in the day, to face the crisis in teacher supply.
We need to deal much more rapidly with the problem of oversized classes. It is 20 years since the war and a real effort is needed to reduce the size of classes. I agree with the Minister that this is the biggest single source of social inequality in Britain. This should have priority, and we can do much more than we are doing. Not only must we reduce the size of classes but we must face up to implementing the recommendations of the Crowther Report.
In doing this—and this is why we complain about having had no response from the right hon. Gentleman—we must pay attention to and make up our minds about the recommendations of the Newsom Report. We must decide what we will do about such recommendations as those on concurrent training, in-service emergency training and the pro- 46 posal that we should have teachers with one main subject and one other, cutting across the conventional division between academic and practical subjects. We want decisions on these recommendations, but, above all, we need extraordinary measures in the light of what action can be taken, for the action taken so far by the right hon. Gentleman is completely inadequate.
We must, first, ensure that not only is there no obstacle, but that there is every possible encouragement for university expansion. We must see—and this is what is lacking now—that decisions are taken and are made known that the universities have every opportunity to provide the staffs required. That is the least we can do. In view of their experience of the last few years, the universities must be convinced that they have the backing of the Government in every possible step they can take to expand the opportunities that will be available in the next few years.
We must, secondly, recognise that we cannot do much more in crowding up in the training colleges. We can do as much as we can in this direction, but we must be fair to the training colleges, for there is a limit to the crowding up which we can impose on them. As I have said time and again, I am convinced that the right hon. Gentleman has not provided the training colleges with adequate resources to enable them to go in for a much more ambitious expansion programme. I do not think that £7 million is enough and, as I have said, only a certain amount of crowding up can be done. We should be thinking more in terms of the larger colleges; seeing how they can be further expanded, and whether further encouragement can be given to the day-training colleges—to expand capacity generally as quickly as we can must be our object.
We should, thirdly, look to the other institutions of higher education. My hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) has mentioned the possibility of having education departments of C.A.T.s. The Minister should consider this, along with speeding up the use we could make of regional colleges. It is particularly important to consider the C.A.T.s because we must take deliberate steps to encourage the links of advanced technology with schools.
47 I was shocked by the right hon. Gentleman's reply that in spite of all the pressure on higher education this year there were 107 vacancies at the C.A.T.s in first-degree courses, 427 vacancies in Dip. Tech. courses, and 212 vacancies in courses of degree standard. That shows that there is far too real a barrier between secondary education and technology.
Fourthly, we have to be much more imaginative. We have from these benches put forward several proposals which should be implemented. There is a serious case, an immediate case for the university of the air. There is a serious case for evening universities—we can learn a lot from Birkbeck. Both of these proposals are supported by the Robbins Report. We should recognise that we are facing a situation calling for extraordinary measures—a situation comparable to that of demobilisation after the war—and we should be prepared to supplement all these steps with a short-term, emergency, crash programme to provide additional places for teacher training.
Apart from teacher training, we have to look at that side of the problem which is inelegantly termed "wastage." I recognise the very encouraging progress that has been made in the last few years. I do not know what the right hon. Gentleman thinks, but I find the figures encouraging. It is encouraging that it now looks as though the Ministry will attain its target in doubling the numbers of part-time teachers by 1965. The task now is to learn from this experience.
Having gained the experience, we should now provide for much wider-scale action, a much more methodical approach, and much more permanent machinery with sufficient money, to ensure that we not only have married women returning to teaching but have them doing so sooner than they are at present. We must see to it that we are more effective over these crisis years. Again, I recognise what is being done, but we may have to take particular steps to provide incentives so as the more effectively to persuade teachers to stay on in teaching. We must ensure that we are more imaginative in attracting mature students into teacher training.
The Minister has the Kelsall Report on Women and Teaching. I know that he regards that Report as very important 48 —I have heard him say so—but it is about time we had some action on it. It gives guidance on what is likely to speed up the return of married women to teaching. The right hon. Gentleman has had enough time to study it, and I hope that this afternoon he will take the opportunity to announce decisions on it.
We have to devote far more resources to research into both teaching techniques and teaching methods, and it is vitally important, not only to devote more resources to research but far more resources to demonstration. It is not only important to have the results of the research; it is important, too, to demonstrate them to the teaching profession. This is in line with the Newsom Report, in which there are several recommendations on which the Minister can act, if he will.
We have the proposals about audiovisual aids, language teaching aids, and television. I expect that my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) will touch on the shortage of science teachers. I commend to the Minister the experience of two diverse countries—Russia and West Germany. When they were faced with difficulties far greater than our own they overcame them very largely by liberally providing teaching aids to science teachers. We have to be prepared to take a quite different view of teaching and, where we are short, as we are in science and in languages, we have to be prepared to provide, at some expense, the means to make this teaching more effective.
While, regrettably, a good deal of this is emergency action—to which we are driven because the Government have not planned beforehand and have not foreseen what was inevitable—it is absolutely essential constantly to keep before us the main purpose of education. It is because we have been driven to makeshift improvisations that the Government have fragmented education. In spite of the emergency that is upon us, we need to keep in mind, and establish all the time, a sense of unity and purpose in education. I hope that by bringing these three Reports together and discussing them this afternoon, we will, at any rate, have succeeded in emphasising that aspect.
49 The major recommendation that stems from Robbins is the need for the provision of higher education to match the increasing numbers qualifying for it. We welcome that, but it is not sufficient to issue a White Paper accepting that principle. When we look at the Robbins Report itself, we are driven to the conclusion that it is not sufficient. Time and time again, the Robbins Report reveals the pools of untapped ability in secondary education, and reveals, too, that these pools very largely have social causes. Appendix One is full of illustrations that we can all call in aid of these vast areas of untapped ability in our educational system.
We cannot, therefore, accept Robbins and, at the same time, allow to continue this deep ditch that runs across education at the age of 15, stopping the majority of children from going on to full-time education after that age. We cannot greatly increase the expenditure on university education without stopping this very real leak of talent amongst working-class children. If we accept Robbins, we must also accept, in one form or another, adequate maintenance allowances to permit able children to stay on at school after the school-leaving age.
If we accept Robbins we must inevitably accept the Crowther Report, and its main recommendation, because the Crowther Report shows—it is quite unassailable—that the most effective and direct way of tapping the pools of talent at present untapped is to raise the school-leaving age. If we are to implement Robbins, we have to provide a bridge across the ditch that at present divides education; and, in connection with Robbins and Crowther, we have not only to think of those who follow the full-time route to higher education. If we are to be vocational, we have to remember that if the scientist and the technologist is to carry on his work he needs half a dozen technicians. If we are to harness science, we must think of the importance to British industry of the skilled craftsman.
If we survey the position as a whole, it is here that one finds the most serious shortage. If we are thinking of education in those terms, we have to think of part-time technical education. The German industrialist, to whom the 50 Crowther Committee referred, was not thinking of higher education. He was thinking of further and technical education. That was the capital of skill, and that is the capital of which we are short in this country. It is here that we compared most unfavourably with any comparable industrial country.
I regard the Government's 1961 White Paper, Better Opportunities in Technical Education, as one of the most important statements that has been made on education in recent years and it is necessary to ensure that the policy outlined in that White Paper is implemented as soon as possible. I concede that progress has been made, but not at the speed which our circumstances now demand.
We cannot stop at the technician. We must think of the majority who are leaving school today and who will receive no further education at all. To go back to the Crowther Report, we have to think of the scores of thousands of young children who are being released on to the labour market with an education which is inadequate for the demands of today. We have to think of the second argument in the Crowther Report.
Social justice is the cement which holds a democracy together. We welcome the Crowther Report, the Robbins Report, and the Newsom Report. We regret that the right hon. Gentleman does not show the same interest as we do in the ordinary child. We regret that he is imbued with this selectivity which has marred British education. We ought to make sure that we provide extra-curricular activities in the secondary schools. We ought also to provide links outside the schools, for example, with the Youth Service.
If we think of the provisions which under the Robbins Report we will properly be making for the young people who will be going to the universities, we ought also to think about the young people referred to in the Albemarle Report—the young people of 15 who are being sent out into a society which is so confusing that even adults have difficulty in finding their way about in it. The Albemarle Report makes the masterly understatement that there is a striking lack of logic in the fact that the Government, while making provision 51 for the social education of those in full-time education, at the same time make the most niggardly provision for those whose need is greatest.
We must constantly bear in mind two themes that run through the Crowther Report, namely, equality of opportunity, and social justice. That is why I support the parents who complain about the 11-plus. They are right to complain, both because secondary education today does not provide genuine equality of opportunity, and because it does not provide adequate secondary education for the majority of those who leave school at 15.
The Newsom Report did not discuss the structure of secondary education. It justified this rather remarkable exercise by calling in aid a statement by Sir Fred Clarke, who said that only after a diagnostic 20 years would it be possible to decide on a particular structure of secondary education. I do not think that we can always wait 20 years. I think that the Newsom Committee overlooked the fact that we have had the tripartite system for almost that period, and that it has now been found to be inappropriate and inadequate for present-day needs.
That fact has been established not only by the authorities which have established comprehensive schools, such as London, Coventry, Anglesey, and other Welsh counties and authorities; not only by those authorities which are establishing a comprehensive pattern of education; but also by those responsible for the Leicestershire scheme, the West Riding scheme, the Croydon scheme with its proposal of a sixth form college, and the Stoke scheme. All those schemes are designed to end the tripartite system, and throughout the country education authorities are in a ferment trying to work out different forms of comprehensive secondary education. They are trying to work out various types of education which will dispense with the tripartite system.
The education authorities are pressing ahead with their schemes, but there is a lack of Ministerial initiative and support. Every authority knows that its plans will be greatly affected by any change in the school leaving age, and their plans are 52 being prejudiced by a lack of decision on the part of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ The Minister of Education (Sir Edward Boyle)
The hon. Gentleman referred to the 11-plus. He said that there are many plans in the minds of local authorities. That is true, and I hope that any local authority which has a plan and wishes to discuss it with my Department will do so. But what about those authorities who wish to proceed cautiously in the matter, not necessarily on diehard political grounds, but because they wish to maintain selective schools? Does the hon. Gentleman think that I should take the initiative to prevent them from doing so?
§ Mr. Willey
I would say that those authorities are in a similar difficulty to those authorities that are pressing ahead with their plans. They are equally prejudiced in that they are getting no lead from the right hon. Gentleman and getting no decision on the crucial question of the school-leaving age. They are trying to translate comprehensive secondary education into the terms of the education provided within their areas, and I think that they are vitally concerned about the question whether and when the school-leaving age is to be raised.
I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would not challenge that. All the authorities concerned know that we cannot provide an adequate and effective secondary school education unless we raise the school-leaving age, whether we are thinking of equality of educational opportunity, or the untapped pools of ability, or whether we are thinking, as the Crowther Committee did, of those who are leaving school and going to industry.
The Crowther, Newsom and Robbins Reports are not isolated. They are all part of a single pattern. They released enormous enthusiasm for education, but that enthusiasm has partly evaporated because of the indecision and hesitancy of the Government. I believe that the Government have failed to respond to the challenge. I believe that they have failed to accept and implement those Reports because they have no plans for secondary education. I believe that the Government have not sufficient sense of purpose, and no real faith in the ordinary child.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ The Minister of Education (Sir Edward Boyle)
The hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) has raised a number of interesting points, to some of which I shall be referring in the course of my speech.
We are debating this Motion of censure today, in the last Session of a Parliament which has been marked by an unprecedented expansion of the education service at every level, and the rise in standards of secondary education has been especially noteworthy. That is why I begin my speech—I shall deal with the other matters referred to by the hon. Member later—by attacking that part of the Motion which says thatHer Majesty's Government has impaired secondary education …It is worth bearing in mind just what has been happening in secondary schools. If we take the last four years, to which hon. Members opposite have specifically referred, the numbers staying on in the sixth forms of all maintained secondary schools have increased by over 55 per cent. to a total of 136,000. During the same period the total number of passes in Advanced level G.C.E. in mathematics has increased by 50 per cent., and in physics and chemistry together by 43 per cent.
§ Mr. Willey
I must call the Minister's attention to the terms of the Motion. It says thatHer Majesty's Government has impaired secondary education by its failure for more than four years since the Crowther Report to take a decision on the raising of the school-leaving age …".
§ Sir E. Boyle
Listening to the hon. Member's speech I certainly had the impression that the gravamen of his charge was that because that issue had not been decided by the Government this had had an adverse effect upon the whole development of secondary education during this Parliament. I thought it at least relevant to the Motion to remind the House of what has been happening in secondary schools in recent years.
The total of passes at Advanced level has increased by almost exactly half, and, at the same time, the range of subjects has broadened, which is relevant to the Motion, because it is precisely our success in expanding sixth forms and promoting this rise in academic standards 54 that most clearly emphasises the importance both of the Robbins Report and of the Government's decision to implement its far-reaching recommendations for the 10 years that lie ahead.
The growth in the number and size of sixth forms is not the whole story of the tendency to stay on. In maintained secondary schools as a whole, the total number of pupils of 15 years of age and over has increased from 250,000 in 1956 to over 500,000 last year—a doubling in numbers over seven years. Over 130,000 of these boys and girls were in secondary modern schools, where the percentage of pupils voluntarily remaining at school for at any rate some time beyond the age of 15 doubled in four years.
We have come to realise more clearly the number of boys and girls in modern schools who can master at any rate a part of the traditional academic curriculum—and it is these pupils in the modern schools who are in considerable measure responsible for the fact that the number of Ordinary level G.C.E. passes in mathematics has risen by a quarter, to 131,000. Everybody knows the value of an Ordinary level pass in mathematics whatever type of secondary school the boy or girl may have attended. This notable advance in secondary school standards has cost a great deal of extra money, both to local authorities and to the central Government, who meet about three-fifths of the bill for expenditure on education.
Today, in real terms, and not merely money terms, we are spending about 30 per cent. more per head on secondary education than we were 10 years ago. The Government's plans for the future specifically allow for a continuing rise in the standards of school education, as the White Paper on Public Expenditure made clear last month.
As for school buildings, it is worth remembering that, taking this Parliament as a whole, improvements to the total value of about £200 million have already been put in hand or approved, and that by far the preponderant proportion of this money has been devoted to secondary schools, in accordance with the policy laid down in the 1958 White Paper. I am not sure that public opinion always realises just how impressive has been our school building record during the 55 post-war years. Before the end of this calendar year, half the children in our schools will be accommodated in postwar school premises.
Starts of major school building projects and minor works of all kinds have together amounted to about £1,000 million, since the war, and four-fifths of this sum dates from the period of office of the present Government. Furthermore, I am now in the process of compiling the school building programmes for 1965–66 and 1966–67, together with a proportion of the 1967–68 programme, and about £200 million worth of new major school building projects will be announced in the coming months.
The hon. Member spoke as though these programmes were all two or three years away, but he will agree that I have often been under pressure to give longer notice of school building programmes. In fact, the planning for these programmes will be able to start very soon after I have announced the details. I have given the House these details to show how unfounded is the charge that the Government have impaired secondary education during recent years.
I now turn to the second charge in the Motion, namely, that the Government have failed to followa consistent programme of actionin the direction of a decision to raise the school-leaving age. In this connection, it is worth recalling the debate on the Crowther Report, which took place in March, 1960. On that occasion my predecessor reaffirmed the Government's acceptance of the principle of raising the age to 16, but he went on to say that he regarded the elimination of over-sized classes as the "first and overriding priority", and he added:We therefore propose to intensify the recruiting campaign for teachers, to make all speed with the expansion of the training colleges now in hand, and later to add another 8,000 places.The hon. Member for Sunderland, North spoke as though Lord Eccles never added anything to training colleges, but he accepted that recommendation of the Crowther Committee. He added:This should enable us, before the end of this Parliament, to make a decision about the school-leaving age."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st March, 1960; Vol. 620, c. 48.]56 Neither my predecessor nor I have ever gone back upon that approach. Indeed, thanks to the magnificent co-operation of the training colleges themselves—I agree with the hon. Member about this—we are expanding the colleges at a faster rate than either of us would have dared to hope at the time of the debate on the Crowther Report. Six years ago there were 28,000 students in the teacher training colleges; there are 54,000 today, and there will be 80,000 in six years from now. Incidentally, on the question of those who did not get in, this year there were 21,000 vacancies, which was 4,000 more than the year before. In fact, only 290 acceptable candidates failed to get in, as compared with 815 in the previous year. So the record of the Government in the matter of training colleges in this Parliament has been outstanding. Training colleges are the most rapidly expanding part of the whole system of higher education at present.
I was pleased that the hon. Member raised the question of the Kelsall Report, because we have not debated it in the House. My predecessor launched a campaign in 1961 to encourage trained married women to return to teaching as soon as their family responsibilities allowed. In the first two years since that campaign was launched about 10,000 have returned either to full-time or part-time service and my latest information suggests that this trend has been maintained.
There is also the important evidence of that Report which suggests that about half the trained women graduates, and three-fifths of the non-graduates with general training, will eventually return to teaching after an average absence of about nine years. Teacher supply must remain the most intractable problem for any Minister of Education today.
§ Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)
Will the right hon. Gentleman take this opportunity to inform the House whether he has been able to do anything further about nursery school provision, which was the No. 1 recommendation of the Kelsall Report?
§ Sir E. Boyle
My line on that is that where an authority, by providing nursery classes in an existing building, can release a number of teachers to go back to teach 57 in the schools, I am quite ready to approve those classes. In recent speeches I have done my best to publicise this fact, and I am disappointed that, so far, Huddersfield and Kent are the only education authorities which have taken advantage of what I have said. I hope that the hon. Lady's intervention will give this matter wider publicity.
This is an intractable problem because of the fact that so many young people nowadays embark on marriage and have their children earlier than young people used to do. Last year, although we recruited 30,000 new teachers, the net increase in the teaching force was only 4,500. Therefore, 25,000 were lost to the profession at any rate for the time being—a rather staggering figure—and the predominant proportion were young married women. On any analysis, married women returners must be regarded as one of the key sources of teacher supply in the years ahead, and the evidence of the Kelsall Report will be of great assistance to me now that I am considering the possibility of launching further publicity on a national level.
I completely reject any suggestion that my predecessor and I have not given priority all along to this problem. On the contrary, we have consistently done so both because of its importance from the point of view of getting rid of oversize classes, and also because of its implications for the raising of the school-leaving age. Even if I had no fresh announcement to make to the House this afternoon, I should still be advising the House to support a reasoned Amendment to this Motion of censure in the light of all the facts I have given about the Government's record and its commitments for the future.
But I have a major announcement to make now, and I think that it will then become clear why my advice to the House on this occasion is simply to vote the Motion down, if it is pressed to a Division. The Motion refers to the Newsom Report, as it has come to be known, and I am sure that the whole House is grateful to the Central Advisory Council, under Sir John Newsom's chairmanship, for its Report on the education of pupils aged 13 to 16 of average and less than average ability.
In the Introduction to its Report, which is argued throughout not only 58 with force, but with sincerity and compassion, the Council says:We fully endorse and reaffirm the conclusion … that there is an urgent need to raise the school-leaving age to sixteen, and that a specific date should be announced for the implementation of this decision.I said before Christmas, in answer to a number of Questions, that I intended to make a statement on the raising of the school-leaving age during the current Session. The Government have given this matter the most careful consideration, and I can announce their conclusion to the House this afternoon.
It is the Government's intention that the school-leaving age should be raised to 16 in the educational year 1970–71, and future planning will be on that basis. The Government reached their conclusion after studying the preparations which will be needed in terms of teacher supply, of building programmes and, not least important, of curriculum in the broadest sense. They are satisfied that the supply of teachers is likely to be significantly better by 1970, that the necessary buildings can be provided in time without affecting building programmes already announced, and that there will be adequate time for the necessary educational preparations. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland has asked me to make it clear that this announcement applies to Scotland as well as to England and Wales.
This means that the school-leaving age will be raised to 16 for all children entering the secondary schools from September 1967 onwards; and that in England and Wales no children will leave school at the minimum age between the summer of 1970 and Easter 1972. Subject to the different school-leaving arrangements in Scotland, the position will be the same there.
I intend, of course, to deal with some of the implications of this decision for school building, the supply of teachers, and the curriculum. But I should like first, to explain some of the main reasons which have led the Government to accept that, despite all the risks involved—and there are risks, especially regarding teacher supply—it had become imperative to set a target date for the introduction of this reform. I do so with all the more willingness because there has not really been very much 59 public discussion of the merits of this question. One suspects that more commentators have alluded to the Newsom Report than have actually read it.
The first reason is this. I think that it is pretty generally agreed that, bearing in mind the more complex patterns of production that are a feature of so many modern and developing industries, we shall need a better level of general education among those employed in industry and commerce, not only at the top levels but at lower levels, also. And it is in this context that the trend in nearly all advanced countries today is to raise the age of school-leaving. In the United States, every State except one has a leaving age higher than 15, and 10 have a higher age than 16.
France and Sweden have both legislated to raise the age from 14 to 16—and, indeed, in Western Europe generally the tendency is to move from 14 to 15 or 16. Of course, in one respect we shall still be different, because our age of entry to compulsory education is lower than in other countries.
The House will not, I am sure, expect the Government to form any fresh views on this aspect of our system at the present time, if only because the Central Advisory Council, under Lady Plowden's chairmanship, is now considering primary education in all its aspects, and will certainly be giving full consideration to this question.
The second reason why I believe that it has become imperative to set a target date for this reform relates to voluntary staying-on. We can all be glad that nearly a half of all pupils are now staying on voluntarily, at least for some period, beyond the compulsory school leaving age. At the same time, it is no good trying to pretend that if the school-leaving age is not raised compulsorily a sort of de facto school-leaving age of 16 will establish itself voluntarily within a forseeable time. That is just not so. It will not. By 1970, if the present national trend continues, only about 40 per cent. of secondary pupils would stay on voluntarily to the age of 16—that is to say, for at least a full extra year. What is more, even this 40 per cent. would be very unevenly spread as between different areas.
I was looking the other day at the proportion of 16-year-olds still at school, 60 and I found that the proportion for England and Wales as a whole was just under 20 per cent., but it was 30 per cent. for Surrey, and only 13 per cent. for Durham, 23½ per cent. for London, 11 per cent. for West Ham, and so on.
It is important to be clear what these figures mean. They mean that if all five-year courses in secondary schools are to remain optional, then, whether a boy or girl takes advantage of this option or not, is likely to depend, in many cases, on the accident to what his family and neighbourhood tradition happens to be.
If, on the other hand, one believes—as I do—that there is still a danger of underrating the potential abilities of many children, that a far higher proportion than 40 per cent. could gain from a five-year course in seven years' time, and that we should make strenuous efforts to level up opportunities as between different areas of the country, then surely the case for compulsion and for setting a target date really does become inescapable.
I must say that I had a good deal of sympathy with those who have felt that a decision on the school-leaving age must be regarded as a test of our national commitment to the ideal of a full secondary education for all. I am sure we have to recognise that a four-year course is simply not long enough to do more than go on hammering away at the basic skills. With only a four-year course, the best teachers in the world cannot provide much more than an improved version of the old senior elementary school curriculum.
§ Sir E. Boyle
I am glad to have the approval of the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede).
But with a five-year course there will be at last the possibility of reconstructing the entire course so as to give children an education that is truly secondary. This cannot begin until the basic skills have been sufficiently mastered to enable boys and girls to acquire understanding of the uses to which these basic skills can be put in improving the quality of their own lives and to contributing to the needs of their own families and to the community as a whole.
§ Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)
As this contains critical implications—and 61 justly so—for the Scottish set-up, are we to hear from a Scottish Minister?
§ Sir E. Boyle
I will, of course, pass on to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland what the hon. Gentleman has said. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary for Scotland is listening to the debate. I am sure that note will be taken of any Scottish points of view. I do not wish, in what I have said, to take part in any controversy over the border.
Once this vital spark of understanding has been struck, the pupils become actively engaged in their own education. The boys or girls in question want to improve their mastery of basic skills and to find out how to apply them. As I said in my foreword to the Newsom Report:The essential point is that all children should have an equal opportunity of acquiring intelligence, and to develop their talents and abilities to the full".I have no doubt that the decision to set a target date for the raising of the school-leaving age is one of the most important decisions we could possibly take in the direction of giving children much greater opportunity to acquire intelligence, and to discover for themselves the difference this can make not only to their prospects, but to the meaning and significance of their lives. I should like now to turn to some of the implications—
§ Mr. R. H. S. Crossman (Coventry, East)
The Minister has confirmed that he has decided to raise the school-leaving age at a date two years later than that proposed by the Newsom Committee. Will he tell the House, for the convenience of the debate, what reasons moved him to disregard the powerful arguments of the Newsom Committee and justify this date?
§ Sir E. Boyle
I assure the hon. Gentleman that I am coming on to some of the implications of this decision, and that in dealing with those implications I shall explain why the Government came down in favour of a target date two years later than that recommended by the Newsom Report. I will deal with the facts relating to teacher supply, then schools, and then the curriculum, and from each point of view I will deal with the matter raised by the hon. Gentleman.
62 The teacher supply aspect is bound to be the most difficult. Our present efforts to increase teacher supply, great as they are, will still leave us 35,000 teachers short by 1970 of what we need to achieve a desirable staffing standard. At the same time, to raise the school-leaving age in the year 1970–71 will require about 20,000 extra teachers.
It was precisely the thought of these figures, which are inescapable, that made me determined not to be rushed into a decision on the school-leaving age. After all, the primary schools are the foundation of our national education system. The infants' departments of the primary schools, in particular, are bound to be very heavily pressed during the next few years and even a relatively short period of retrogression in their staffing standards is not something which any of us should view with complacency. But I had also to accept the fact that the future prospect of teacher supply had already changed since the Crowther Report appeared four years ago.
At the time when this House debated that Report, it seemed reasonable to suppose that, provided we continued to expand the training colleges, as the Crowther Committee recommended, there would be a short period at the end of the 1960s when we could raise the leaving age to 16 without the risk that staffing standards would be seriously worsened. But it has now become clear that there will be no such dip in school numbers as the Crowther Report envisaged. This means, as I see it, that we have either to postpone setting a date for the raising of the school-leaving age almost indefinitely; or else we have to accept a period in which staffing standards will not be what we would like to see. In the view of the Government, and for the reasons which I have just given, an indefinite postponement would be unthinkable, and, therefore, the right decision must be to set a date.
The question, therefore, became one of timing and it seemed, on examination, that the year 1970–71 had clear advantages over any earlier date. On the one hand, it would allow more time for the secondary schools to consolidate their staffing position, and it avoided the great disadvantages for the primary schools of any earlier date in the late 1960s, 63 when their staffing difficulties were likely to be more acute than in 1970–71.
I should like to emphasise to the House that the effect of any earlier raising of the school-leaving age must be both to increase the severity of the initial setback in staffing standards and also to prolong its duration. Of course, I very much hope that the announcement which I have made this afternoon will of itself encourage more married women returners, just as I hope that it will result in a larger flow of graduates to the schools than we would otherwise have secured.
§ Mrs. White
Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that in the way in which he is developing his argument he is speaking as though the teachers who would deal with what might be called the "Newsom children" and the teachers at primary schools are interchangeable? But frequently they are not and the right hon. Gentleman may solve one problem without necessarily solving the other. The kind of people whom we wish to recruit to deal with those children staying on to 16 are very different from those whom we wish to recruit in the infants' schools, where there may be great pressure.
§ Sir E. Boyle
I think that the hon. Lady is mistaken in supposing that we can raise the school-leaving age without having any worsening effect on the standards of the primary schools. I do not see how that can be avoided. Taking the secondary schools by themselves, in staffing terms I believe that they will be in a better position to cope with the later age group by the academic year, 1970–71 than two years earlier. That is my view, after having carefully studied the figures.
I wish now to mention the implications of school building. On present estimates the effect of raising the school-leaving age to 16 will be to add about 350,000 more pupils to the total school population from September, 1971. Clearly, there will need to be a substantial building programme for this purpose. I think that a second advantage of the 1971 date over the Newsom date 1969, is that these buildings can be provided in time without their disturbing any of the programmes covering the 64 years 1965–68 for which local authorities have just worked out their proposals.
This is a matter of some importance, because I have entered into a firm commitment that the school building programmes for the next three years will include a number of projects for the replacement and improvement of old primary schools. I should like to make it clear that this promise is completely unaffected by this afternoon's announcement.
Over the next five years there will be a sharp rise in the number of primary schools needed to allow for larger numbers of children, and I repeat that there will also be a considerable increase in primary improvements and replacements. I can tell the House that in March of this year a Building Bulletin will be issued which will discuss trends in the design of these schools and illustrate a number of selected plans of county and voluntary primary schools designed in recent years. In short, I can assure the House that the announcement which I have made this afternoon does not in any way affect the plans which the Government have already announced for the improvement of primary education during the years immediately ahead.
Thirdly, I wish to say a word about the implications for the curriculum of raising the school-leaving age. Of course, the raising of the age will mean big changes in secondary education. The additional 350,000 pupils in the fifth year will fall broadly into two categories. First, there will be those comparable in ability to many who are already staying on voluntarily for a fifth year. Secondly, there will be those in a lower category of ability for whom five-year courses are still at present almost unknown.
Taking the first category, we should remember that by the time the age is raised the new examination for the Certificate of Secondary Education will already have been in existence for a number of years. Broadly speaking, this examination, when it is first introduced, is expected to cater for the next 40 per cent. in the ability range below the top 20 per cent. It is certainly the view of Her Majesty's Inspectors that we can reasonably expect good results in this examination from boys and girls 65 of below-average ability and in a limited range of subjects lower still.
I am sure that all those who are working so hard to ensure the success of this examination will be glad to learn that they will not have to depend for many years simply on volunteers. But it is, of course, the second category—those who have too little ability to take the examination at all—which represents the new problem and these, also, are the pupils with whom the Newsom Report is mainly concerned. We shall have to develop new approaches to these pupils, and not only pupils in the schools since some of them may be better suited if they receive at any rate part of their full-time education elsewhere.
I hope that public opinion will not make the mistake of becoming cynical and defeatist about what can be devised for these children. Actually, there is a great deal of constructive thought going on already about the best kind of five-year course for the non-academic child. There are a number of most useful suggestions in the Newsom Report itself, as many hon. Members will no doubt have discovered. We need to remember, in this connection, just how rapidly the educational scene and, indeed, the social scene is likely to have altered between 1964 and 1971 As the Newsom Report so rightly observes:the standard indicated by average is rising all the time".There is also every reason to expect that the proficiency and maturity of many teachers in subjects like housecraft, general science and art and music will be considerably greater in 1971 than today. The whole background will be different. The plans of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government for clearing the slums will advance very rapidly between now and 1971.
The decision which I have just announced makes me all the more hopeful that we shall be able to establish a Schools Council to cover the whole building of the schools curriculum and examinations. I can tell the House that the working party under Sir John Lockwood which was appointed last July for this purpose has made good progress and is expected to report by the beginning of March. If this report is endorsed 66 by all the parties in the education service, I would hope that the recommendations could be implemented later this year.
I have dealt at some length with the school-leaving age both because of its intrinsic importance and also because this was clearly central to the Motion of censure which we are debating this afternoon. But I should like very briefly to remind the House of other decisions which the Government have taken which are clearly in line with the recommendations of the Newsom Report.
§ Mr. Dalyell
Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves that point, will he say something, about the twin recommendation of the Newsom Report, that the school day should be extended for older pupils?
§ Sir E. Boyle
I am sure that it would cause great surprise outside this House if I were to pronounce now on that. In the first instance, this is something which should be discussed between the Central Advisory Council and representatives of the teaching profession.
The Government are publicly committed to their plans for a level of school expenditure which includes a deliberate improvement element. In round figures, and taking capital and current expenditure together, we shall be spending approximately an extra £250 million on secondary education over a period of five years during which the secondary school population remains more or less constant.
I am glad that the hon. Member for Sunderland, North asked about research, because this is a matter which figures prominently in the Newsom Report. The volume of research work started by the Ministry's research fund is increasing steadily and the value of all the projects we are at present supporting will, when completed, total over a quarter of a million pounds. The range of subjects includes fundamental projects like the nature of the learning process and also applied projects like our contribution to experiments with the initial teaching alphabet, with which my hon. Friend the Member for Bath (Sir J. Pitman) is concerned.
67 It covers nearly all aspects of the education service, There are projects in the schools field, in further education and in teacher training, and also research projects concerned with the special educational treatment of handicapped children. There is also a particularly interesting group of projects, directly relevant to the Newsom Report, which deal with the general social setting of education.
There are studies, for example, of the problems of grammar schools in the Manchester area associated with differing social backgrounds of the children; another project on learning and social class in the London area, and a third on environment and educational progress at Liverpool. These projects are all likely to add very considerably to the available knowledge of the school in society, a theme to which both the Newsom and the Robbins Reports have specifically directed attention.
Now I turn to the last charge in the Motion, which deals with the Government's response to the Robbins Report. I shall not speak about the universities, which I am leaving to my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council when he replies. I can tell the House, however, that just as I have had an announcement to make about the school leaving age, so my right hon. Friend will have good news to tell the House about post-graduate awards—that is to say, both D.S.I.R. post-graduate awards and also State studentships for the arts and social sciences.
I want to make one general point, which is that I think hon. and right hon. Members opposite do not yet fully recognise just how much the expansion of full-time higher education has already been set in train even in advance of the Robbins Report.
I was able to tell the House last July that expenditure in this Parliament on higher education had already doubled from an annual rate of £120 million to an annual rate of £275 million, and this was before the enormous commitment which the Government have entered into in their decision to spend £3,500 million on higher education over 10 years.
I was a little surprised that the hon. Member for Sunderland, North still will not face the fact that the Government 68 and the University Grants Committee reached agreement last year on recurrent grants some months before the Robbins Committee Report was published. I thought that that was firmly established in the July debate.
I know very well the problems that are caused to the schools by competition for university entry. We have, as a Government, to provide for the consequences of the success of our policies, and especially our success in helping to expand the sixth forms. It is the recognition of this need more than anything else which led the Government to give so warm and instantaneous a welcome to the Robbins recommendations.
I do think, however, that there has been a certain tendency to forget the wide range of institutions for which these recommendations refer, and in this context I want to say something, first, about the institutions for which my Department is responsible, the colleges of advanced technology. As the House knows, the Government immediately accepted the Robbins recommendation that the C.A.T.s should have university status
Since that announcement by the Government two things have happened. First, contact was immediately established between the colleges and the University Grants Committee, and it was agreed that the first essential was the appointment by the governing bodies, in consultation with the U.G.C., of academic advisory committees, for each of the 10 colleges.
They will advise the governing bodies not only on the internal changes necessary for university status, but also on the best form in which that status can be achieved. This may not be the same for all the colleges, because, while the majority of them may go forward as separate universities, the Robbins Report envisaged that some might find their future in association with other institutions. At the moment my Department is still responsible for handling the affairs of the colleges, but it is exercising this responsibility in the closest co-operation with the U.G.C.
I have myself had the pleasure of meeting the principals of all the colleges—a meeting which the chairman of the University Grants Committee also attended. I would like, in this connection, to pay tribute to the very close and 69 cordial relationship my Department has enjoyed with Sir John Wolfenden over this whole matter.
I also have news for the House concerning the expansion progress of the C.A.T.s. As future universities, the colleges will play their full part in the expansion programmes which the Government have accepted. Indeed, they are well fitted to do so by the rapid expansion which has already taken place since their designation in 1956.
Between 1956 and 1963 the number of full-time and sandwich course students in the colleges had increased from about 5,000 to 12,000, and further expansion was already in progress before the Robbins Report appeared. The House may remember that I announced last year that the annual building programmes for the colleges would be increased to £4 million for the years 1964–65 and 1965–66.
After the publication of the Report I invited each of the colleges to discuss with me how they could best quickly and economically contribute to their target of 19,000 students set by Robbins for 1967–68. I received an immediate and positive response, and I hope very shortly to announce both revised targets to individual colleges and also a revised figure of building starts for the period 1964–66.
I have spoken of the C.A.T.s, but I think that it has, perhaps, been some-what overlooked that the Robbins Report also envisages an important place in higher education for the regional and other technical colleges engaged, at any rate in part, in advanced work. So far as full-time and sandwich students are concerned, these institutions will not just be institutions catering for the overflow from the universities. They will be institutions with a distinctive character of their own—more vocationally directed than the universities, but covering a broad range of studies, including, in some cases, the arts. I do not rule out the suggestions which the hon. Member made this afternoon. At present, it is simply a matter, as it were, of sorting out the agenda into a suitable order. I certainly do not rule out his suggestion that in time they should be concerned to some extent with teacher training, too.
70 The Robbins Committee also hoped that they would be centres of experiment in new types of course in fields like business studies and the practical use of languages. The number of part-time students doing advanced work is important in these colleges. It was 110,000 in the year 1962–63, and Robbins estimated that it would rise to 195,000 by 1973–74. The colleges continue to have the main responsibility for the higher education of part-time students to which the Report rightly attached so much importance. I very much agreed with the hon. Member—when he referred to the importance of part-time higher education and the need for us to bear in mind the levels in other countries, too.
The Robbins Committee took the view that within existing plans, and under building programmes already authorised, the colleges should be able to cope with the expected demand of 45,000 full-time higher education places in 1967–68. But, of course, it is important that so far as practicable the development of advanced work should be for the colleges which are best fitted to provide it and where the need is likely to be greatest, and within the next week or so I shall be asking authorities and colleges for information about their detailed plans for the next few years.
The House will recall that the Government statement welcomed the proposal of the Robbins Committee that a Council for National Academic Awards should be established as soon as possible to provide the regional and other colleges with their own system of degrees alongside the London external degrees. There have been consultations about this proposal with representatives of the universities, the education authorities, the colleges and all other interests concerned. Generally speaking, this proposal has been welcomed. I can tell the House that the chairman and the other members of the Council will be appointed as soon as possible, and I hope that this new Council will be in operation by the summer at the latest.
I should like to take this opportunity of endorsing all that Lord Robbins and his colleagues said about the achievement of its predecessor, the National Council for Technological Awards, under Lord Hives and Sir Harold Roxbee Cox. I believe that the work of the N.C.T.A. 71 has contributed a great deal to the manner in which so many technical colleges other than C.A.T.s are now contributing to our total provision for full-time higher education.
I am sure that the House will share my concern and that of other hon. Members that the part which these regional and area colleges play in full-time education must not be at the expense of either the provision that they make for part-time advanced students or their no less important work for technicians, craftsmen and others at levels below the advanced level.
I have been speaking mainly in this debate about the Newsom and the Robbins Reports, but I hope that we shall never forget the Crowther Report as well—what Sir Geoffrey Crowther himself called "The second quantile in ability" from which so much of our trained manpower must be found. I think that everyone realises that my predecessor, Lord Eccles, started a new era in technical education in Britain with his White Paper of 1956, and I agree with the hon. Member about his contribution with his second White Paper of 1961, Better Opportunities in Technical Education, which was the direct follow-up to the recommendations of the Crowther Report.
When the hon. Member complained that we have not followed up that document sufficiently, I felt that he seemed to forget Measures such as the Industrial Training Bill, which passed the House only last week and which, I think, is an extremely important follow-up. I also assure the House that I shall be receiving the Henniker-Heaton Report on day-release very shortly and that I expect to make a statement about it before the House rises for the Easter Recess, because I know that this is a matter to which hon. Members attach much importance.
The hon. Member for Sunderland, North did not mention in his speech the future of training colleges. I apologise for detaining the House for so long. I feel that if I do not mention these points they may elicit comment or questioning, and, therefore, I should, perhaps, say a few words on this subject. The difficulty in a debate is that one wants to answer points which have been raised but sometimes 72 it causes undue trouble if one does not raise a matter which is in the minds of many people outside.
We have not yet reached a conclusion on the recommendations of the Robbins Committee concerning teacher training. This was one of the most difficult problems facing the Robbins Committee, and there is, naturally, room for considerable differences of opinion. The Government took the line, in the first instance, that they should seek the views of all those concerned—the universities, the colleges of advanced technology, the local education authorities and teachers associations—and, of course, the various voluntary bodies.
Some have now replied, but if I may put it this way, there is still an important gap in that the views of others, and, in particular, the views of the universities, are still awaited. There appears to be a wide measure of agreement that selected training college students should have the opportunity to work for degrees, and the colleges and the teaching profession see in the Robbins proposals for schools of education a valuable development of the links with universities which have been fostered ever since the Report of the McNair Committee in 1944.
On the other side, the associations of local education authorities have pointed out the disadvantages which they see in any rapid fundamental change in administration and financial structure, at a time when the colleges are already in the midst of a major expansion, with further expansion to follow. They do not think that it would be wise to dispense with the planning and technical resources of the local education authorities at a time, particularly, when the acute difficulties of teacher supply require the closest possible contact between the training system and those who are responsible for staffing the schools.
It would be fair to say that when I read the statement of the National Union of Teachers I thought that it was a very fair statement of a view not the same as that of the local authorities, but very clearly understanding the difficulties which they feel. There are other aspects, for example, the precise method whereby voluntary colleges, mainly those of the churches, can be accommodated within the proposed new system.
73 I think that the Committee itself recognised that discussions among all the parties concerned would be necessary before final decisions could be arrived at. Because we have not yet had in all the views, it is impossible for me to make a statement this afternoon. But I can assure the House that all the necessary work is in hand to meet the short-term target for training college expansion set by Robbins. This is holding up nothing.
I do not want to score an unfair point, but the hon. Member spoke about £7 million for expansion. That was over and above that which was already planned. For the three years 1964–65 to 1966–67 there is a total building programme of over £20 million for the training colleges, and there is no danger of that being held up because we cannot yet reach a conclusion on this question.
§ Mr. Willey
I mentioned the training colleges, for the reason which the right hon. Gentleman has given. I share his views about the statement by the National Union of Teachers. It puts the position very clearly. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that we must obtain these views before plans are put forward. It is urgent to obtain them as soon as possible.
One matter which I mentioned, and with which I hope the right hon. Gentleman will deal, although I do not want to interrupt his peroration, is the question of Ministerial responsibility, because this affects very much the taking of decisions about the Robbins Report and higher education. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will tell us what decision the Government have reached on this matter.
§ Sir E. Boyle
The Government expect to reach a final decision on Ministerial responsibility very shortly. An announcement may be expected within the next week or two, but I can assure the hon. Member and the House that the fact that no final decision has yet been reached about the future machinery of government has not caused any delay in implementing the Robbins recommendations for the expansion of higher education.
I share the concern which hon. Members have expressed that we have to discuss these Reports one by one and 74 that we do not sufficiently often consider education as a whole, because, clearly, the service is a unity. Sometimes we tend to think of education perhaps a little too much as a process of just producing the required number of scientists, doctors, linguists, technicians and whatever it may be. Surely the most important of all the purposes of education is that of giving an opportunity to each person to develop his own powers and capacities to the greatest possible extent.
In discussions about the Robbins Report there has been much concentration on numbers of students and ways and means, but we must never forget that the basis upon which the whole Report is built is that higher education should be available to all who want it, and have the necessary ability, as a personal service. I believe that that principle should apply across the whole field. It should be our aim to see that there is provided a full range of opportunities for everyone, because our ultimate concern must be each individual person. We must not stunt the growth of some in helping the growth of others. This principle of education opportunity—what I have called the opportunity to acquire intelligence—is something which must be kept always in our minds when we are dealing with primary schools, secondary schools, and, indeed, all parts of our education service.
I am quite certain that there is no service more important in enriching the lives of individuals in this country. I also believe that educational progress is an utterly worthy national objective. All of us on this side of the House can legitimately take pride in the advances towards higher educational standards which we have made in this Parliament in every part of the system, and it is because of the facts which I have given and the arguments I have used that I ask the House this evening to reject the Motion.
§ 5.23 p.m.
§ Mr. George Thomas (Cardiff, West)
The Minister has made an important announcement. It is amazing, as we get nearer the General Election, what deathbed repentances we meet, because we have been asking the Minister, ever since the days of the Crowther Report, to give us, a date for the raising of the 75 school-leaving age. I suppose that it would sound churlish to say that it has now come four years late, but even at the risk of being churlish I must say that while I am glad that the announcement has come now it must be remembered that there is a generation of young people who will have lost their chance because of the dilatoriness of right hon. and hon. Gentleman opposite. I hope to say a little more about that as I develop my argument.
I should like to refer at once to a matter which came towards the end of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, and that is the future status of the teacher training colleges. I realise that the local authorities have a vested interest here. They have played a notable part. They have a great pride in the development of the colleges in their own areas, but I believe that the teaching profession will never be given the status to which it is entitled until the teacher training colleges are part of the main stream of university life.
When the Minister draws attention, as he did in his speech, to the local authority argument on the expansion now under way, I think that he, my hon. Friends and the whole House must give attention to the argument of the National Union of Teachers that expansion is envisaged for the next 20 years, and that, if the teacher training colleges are not to be made part of the main stream of university life because of current expansion, then the right hon. Gentleman is saying that this is not to happen at all. I hope that if the Lord President of the Council has anything to say on the subject in winding up the debate he will be a little more forthcoming.
One would have thought from the Minister's speech that we had a Government who had been consistently kind to education. One would have thought that we had had an expanding opportunity ever since the Government came to power. What is the true story? The National Union of Teachers has drawn attention to the fact that in the past 12 years the party opposite has been responsible for six major cuts in the school-building programme and that it is the only party since the war which in times of economy has looked to the education service to save money.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Johnson Smith (Holborn and St. Pancras, South)
I speak from memory, but I believe that at about the time when the Labour Government left office we were spending 3 per cent. of the gross national product on education. Now it must be 5 per cent. of an even greater gross national product. Does that smack of cuts?
§ Mr. Thomas
The hon. Member cannot escape the facts which I shall give to the House. I was going to save time but since the hon. Member insists I will remind him of the circulars which announced cuts from time to time. In 1951, as soon as it came to power, the party opposite imposed, in Circular 242, a 5 per cent. cut on local authority estimates covering school transport, playgrounds and the youth service. In 1952, Circular 245 required cuts in the school building programme. In 1957, Circular 321 suspended improvement projects and new buildings. In 1958, Circular 334 said that because of the nation's economic condition the utmost economy had to be observed. The hon. Member ought to make sure of his facts before he interrupts.
§ Mr. A. Bourne-Arton (Darlington)
Am I not right in remembering that the late Mr. George Tomlinson was no doubt most reluctantly obliged to issue a similar circular before that date?
§ Mr. Thomas
The hon. Member is not right. He, too, should do his homework. I hope that the hon. Member will catch your eye, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, and will give us the benefit of his views later.
I want to speak of the inequality of opportunity which is running through the education service at present. The very fact that over 80 national organisations have combined in a Campaign for Educational Advance is enough to tell the House that there is something wrong. It is hard to realise from the Minister's complacent tone this afternoon that a campaign is being waged from John o'Groats to Land's End by every educational and professional organisation concerned with education against the policies which are being pursued by Her Majesty's Government and demanding a change.
§ Sir E. Boyle
If the hon. Gentleman is suggesting that the Campaign for 77 Educational Advance is waging its campaign as a political body, that is news to me. Last year the emphasis of the campaign was that it was attracting all-party support and was supported by many bodies on that basis.
§ Mr. Thomas
The right hon. Gentleman must not put words into my mouth. I said that it was campaigning against the policy of Her Majesty's Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Hon. Members opposite ought to read the aims of the Campaign. Those with whom I have spoken—some are sitting on the benches opposite now—have all been critical of the developments in education and have joined in the demands—
§ Mr. Charles Curran (Uxbridge)
Speaking as one who is a member of this Campaign, and who has addressed meetings in public on its behalf, I strongly repudiate the assertion that the Campaign is directed against the policy of the Government.
§ Mr. Thomas
The Campaign for Educational Advance is only necessary because of the policy of the party opposite. [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."] I shall not withdraw. It is true.
Take the question of the length of school life. We have heard that the school-leaving age in 1970–71 is to be raised to 16, and I am very glad that is so. According to the information given to the National Union of Teachers—which was different from that of the Minister's—three out of four of our boys and girls would have been staying in school till the age of 16 by 1970. The Minister says the figure was 40 per cent., I believe, or less than half. Our information is that three out of four—75 per cent.—would have been staying till 16 by 1970, whether we raised the school leaving age or not. But it is very important that the 25 per cent. who would have been leaving shall have their chance of a longer school life.
Of course, school life varies according to the strata of society from which people are drawn. The fact that 92 out of every 100 boys and girls in Britain have finished all connection with full-time education before they reach the age of 18, thus leaving no more than one in 10 of British youth to be available for university education, should disturb 78 the opposite side of the House as much as it disturbs us on these benches.
But if we look at the 10 per cent. who are getting into the universities, what do we find? The breakdown there is equally disturbing. It was established in the Crowther Report that the proportion of children of manual workers who are reaching universities today is no more than about 2 per cent., and I know that the Minister himself will accept this.
It may be that environmental, home and social factors are responsible for this, but undoubtedly it is true that equality of opportunity is still not yet available to all the boys and girls of this land. I have no doubt that if we look to the public schools—I do not want to bring a distraction into this debate—over 90 per cent. of their young people stay beyond the age of 18. If we look to the secondary modern schools we find that nearly 100 per cent. of their children have left school long before they are of an age to get into the universities.
Let us look at the size of classes, about which there has not been much talk this afternoon. The Minister knows that the opportunity for a child depends more than anything upon the size of the class in which he is taught. I understand that at Eton and Harrow the size of classes is roughly one teacher to nine pupils. Taking the independent schools as a whole, the average is one teacher to 12 pupils. In the direct grant schools the average is one teacher to 18 pupils. But if we look to the rest of the State sector, we find that over 2 million children are being taught in oversize classes. To talk of equality of opportunity as long as we have this disparity in the size of classes is absolute nonsense.
I therefore believe that the Minister will be obliged to look at the two questions to which I wish to draw attention, namely, the supply and recruitment of teachers, and school buildings and facilities. The Minister will know that at the conference of the Association of Education Committees, last year, the president, Alderman Wood, in his presidential address, went out of his way to say this about the Minister's school-building programme:Our local troubles have been exacerbated by the consistency of the Ministry in 79 announcing building programmes well behind the agreed dates. Year after year they have failed to give authorities the two clear years' notice for the necessary preparatory work, and their latest announcement for 1964–65 was very seriously behind schedule.Alderman Wood continued:When at last they did announce the 1964–65 programme we were shocked to the core by the really vicious cuts, in some cases to nothing at all. Those of us who hoped that the present Minister, with his experience at the Treasury, would be able to fend off the sharks there, were bitterly disappointed. The Minister should have been prepared to resign rather than accept severe frustration for the 146 education committees.The Minister knows that despite the bright picture he painted this afternoon, there is not an education authority in the land which is satisfied with his school building programme. These are the people who are dealing with the job. We hear sneers from the opposite side of the House that "the gentleman in Whitehall knows best" is our philosophy. It is their practice because they are telling the local authorities that urgent work needed cannot be conducted—
§ Sir E. Boyle
I wish the hon. Gentleman would go on with the story. That speech from which he quoted was made on the first day of the conference. It was on the second day, I believe, that I announced an immediate increase of £5 million in the school building programme. I said that we would have longer notice—two and a half years' planning—which we have since done, and I have since announced a much bigger programme. The story is not quite adequate.
§ Mr. Thomas
The story is not quite like that. The Minister knows that the authorities asked him for a £181 million school building programme. He gave them £43 million. On the second day of the conference he added another £5 million. This has left the local authorities as dissatisfied now as they were before he went. Does the right hon. Gentleman deny that? He knows that I am speaking the truth. Of course, I am; I would not do otherwise.
The Minister of Education ought to have told us something today about the future set-up of the Ministry of Education. I see a strange face alongside the Minister on the Government Front Bench. [An HON. MEMBER: "He has been there before."] I know that the right hon. 80 and learned Gentleman the Lord President of the Council was at the Ministry before, but he stayed only long enough to ring the bell. He was not there for a whole year. He looked like a promising pupil. The teaching profession gave him a good welcome, but a hearty goodbye.
Which of the two, the Minister of Education or the Lord President of the Council, is to be in charge of education? We have a right to know. Cannot the Government make up their mind on the elementary principle of who is to run the Ministry of Education? Are they dissatisfied with the present incumbent? Is not he of sufficient stature to take over? Are we to have the new boy, the Lord President of the Council, coming like a cuckoo into the nest and pushing the sparrow out?
I believe that the Government are in a state of turmoil about the future of the education service. [Laughter.] They may treat it as a joke, but they may be treated as a joke if they go on like this, because the country has a right to know what their intentions are for the education service. Are we to continue with two Ministers, one looking after higher education and one looking after lower education—is that the philosophy—or are we to have a constructive new Ministry with two Parliamentary Secretaries or two Ministers of State, whichever be preferred, so that adequate attention can be given to the reorganisation of the education service?
The Minister's speech makes me think that we may be nearer the General Election than I had believed. Education will be a No. 1 issue in the campaign. We have heard about the 10 new schools a week. It will take us 100 years to get the new schools for all our children at that rate. The Government had better do some arithmetic on that if they are thinking of providing all the new schools which are required. The Minister of Education knows that, during the lifetime of this Parliament, he has brought to the Lobby outside the teaching profession from the universities to the nursery schools. He has caused frustration and dismay, and, by a last-minute repentance, he cannot expect to be forgiven.
The education service requires not an increase of £350 million a year—I think 81 that was the figure the right hon. Gentleman gave—but requires that it be put in the same class as military expenditure has been, with the same top priority and the same regard for its Estimates in this House, if equality of opportunity is to be given to all the boys and girls who are at present denied the chance to which they are entitled.
§ 5.43 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Wolverhampton, South-West)
There is a single simple and rather coldly statistical fact from which, nevertheless, it seems to me, vistas open out over the whole field which the House is discussing today. The Robbins Committee ascertained that, between 1954 and 1961, the proportion of boys and girls aged 18 or thereabouts—those whom we must now, apparently, learn to refer to as "the age-group"—who had the minimum qualifications for university entry had been rising at such a rate that the proportion would double between 1960 and 1980. This fact was the major element in the projection which the Robbins Committee made and on which it founded the proposals which my right hon. Friends have accepted.
There were, of course, other factors. There was the great increase in the actual numbers of young people which will flow from the steady and continuing increase in our birthrate since 1955. There was the assumption that, among those qualified for university or other higher education, there would be an increased readiness actually to accept it. But, overwhelmingly, the most important underlying factor in the great programme for the expansion of higher education which Robbins proposed, and which the country has taken to itself, is this increase in the proportion of the age-group qualified for university education.
It is not an isolated fact. It is not a fact about something which happens in grammar schools and just in grammar schools. What is happening in the sixth forms cannot be dissociated from what is happening throughout all forms in all schools. It is part and parcel of that other fact, to which the Newsom Committee drew attention, that in four years only, from 1958 to 1962, the proportion of children staying on in secondary modern schools beyond the compulsory minimum leaving age had doubled.
82 These facts, taken together, are, perhaps, the best evidence we can have of the results of the great energy and attention which this country has devoted to education since the war. One can never measure at all precisely or statistically, for they are, and always will be, largely intangible, the results of educational progress—the results of devoting to the purposes of education, as my hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mr. G. Johnson Smith) reminded the House a few minutes ago, 5 per cent. rather than 3 per cent., as 10 or 12 years earlier, of a much larger national product; the results of the capital investment implied by the fact that half our school children are today in post-war schools. But perhaps the best way on which we can appreciate what the country has been getting for all this is to note that school life has become, is becoming, and will continue to become, longer, and that it is throwing up an even higher proportion of ever better qualified boys and girls. I do not think that there could be a better proof of the broad success of the policies which the country has been following.
I feel sure that my right hon. Friend will not disagree if I say that, perhaps, the main credit for this does not go to the Government or even to the local education authorities. The people who have decided that this shall happen are the parents. This is the expression, the self-expression, of a national will for progress in education, and the nation as a whole should note it and take pride in it as such.
We have heard this afternoon from my right hon. Friend—I was delighted to hear it—that from a known date onwards the number of children staying on at school after the present minimum school age will be 100 per cent.—that 100 per cent. will be staying on to 16. But this again will not, and cannot, remain an isolated fact. If 100 per cent. stay on to 16, many more than now will stay on to 17, many more will stay on to 18, a still higher proportion will attain the present qualifications for admission to university. Here, then, in what we have heard today, is a development which cannot but be of great importance not just for school education but for the future development of higher education and of the universities. 83 It cannot but affect those projections and estimates upon which the Robbins recommendations were based.
I am sorry that the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) is out of the Chamber. I was astonished to hear him talk about the Robbins recommendations and their acceptance by the Government in the White Paper as though this were a sudden jerk upwards in provision for further education. If the hon. Member, or anyone in the House, needs a refutation of that point of view, I refer him not to any text, but to a simple diagram which will be found, I think, on page 68 of the Robbins Report. It shows that the curve of increasing provision for higher education in recent years does not need to continue even so steeply to fulfil the projections of the Robbins Committee and the programme adumbrated by the Government.
§ Mrs. White
Will the right hon. Gentleman, therefore, explain how it was that the Robbins Committee, in Chapter XVIII, referred to the short-term emergency in such urgent and desperate terms?
§ Mr. Powell
Yes, because I am talking about the long-term increase in university and other higher education which there has been over the last decade and comparing it with the projection up to 1980 in the Robbins Report and in the programme based upon it. Of course, there are big fluctuations in the size of the age group anticipated at different parts of that period; but I am entitled to put upon record and to remind the House that the rate at which university education and higher education generally has been expanding during the last 10 years is even higher than that projected by the Robbins Committee and implicit in the proposals which the Government have accepted.
Indeed, there have been those who have suggested that those programmes and recommendations imply a willingness to lower the standards of higher education. In the voices of some of those who have implied this, I have even detected a certain wish that it might prove to be so. This is absolutely irreconcilable with the Robbins recommendations and with the facts of the case.
84 In the first place, it has been sometimes suggested, by a misreading of the proposals, that the intention is to provide a place for all those who have the present minimum qualifications for higher education, whereas the proposals explicitly envisage the same degree of competition as at present among those qualified. This is a programme to maintain the present level of opportunity for the vastly increased and increasing proportion of the age-group who will have the necessary minimum qualifications.
More powerfully, it has been urged that so vast an increase in higher education must bring with it a fall in standards because of the difficulty of obtaining the necessary proportion of university and other teachers. This conflicts not only with the general fact that an expansion in universities and other higher education generates its own future teaching staff, is a self-sustaining process, but that, as the Robbins Committee, on the basis of some detailed and accurate calculations, stated,the average annual recruitment over the next sixteen years"—that is, recruitment of university and other higher education teachers—need be proportionately no higher than it has been over the past four".In other words, taking the whole period over which the Robbins Committee looks, there need be no dilution in the strength and quality of the teaching force.
There will, of course, be periods, including the emergency period to which the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) has referred, during which temporarily a widening of the ratio between pupils and teachers in the universities and other higher education will need to be accepted. Indeed, it seems to me inevitable that this should be the device adopted rather than that we should attempt suddenly to recruit into university teaching a much higher proportion of those qualified. If, however, we look, as it is fair that we should, over the period of a decade or more, we shall find no reason to anticipate that there will be a decline in the standard of higher education due to a decline in the quality or in the numbers of the teachers.
Perhaps most insidiously, there has been the suggestion that somehow in this 85 much greater group of young men and women coming forward for higher education there must be a decline, if not in minimum attainments, at least in average attainments. Theoretically, I suppose, the point must eventually be reached, if one were indefinitely to increase the numbers with the minimum qualifications, at which there might be some fall in the average attainment—as it were, fewer firsts and seconds in relation to thirds. There is, however, no reason to anticipate that this will be so in any foreseeable future.
The great expansion I have already mentioned of the age group qualified for further education which we have seen in the last 10 years has certainly not been accompanied by any fall in average quality or in the proportion of those with the highest attainments. As this fraction broadens, as the proportion of the age group who have these qualifications continues to increase, and as the policy decision which my right hon. Friend has announced this afternoon takes effect, we shall continuously be bringing forward to the opportunity of university education wide sections of our population of whom there is no reason to predicate that they contain a lower proportion of ability than those who are attaining it at present.
It is that fact which knits together the Robbins Report, the Newsom Report and the Crowther Report. One might, with scarcely more than slight paradox, say that the Robbins Report is about schools. It is a travesty to say that my right hon. Friends or this side of the House have shown an interest and enthusiasm for Robbins and a lack of it for Newsom. The two things hang together and the success and necessity of the past and future development of higher education rest upon the success of school education in the past and the necessity of its development in the future.
This afternoon's announcement means that trends, experiments and developments which have been going on continuously in our schools for the last 10 or 15 years will be intensified and accelerated. We are there pursuing two distinct objectives which, if they are not in conflict, at least there is a certain tension between them. The first is the object of securing for those who will 86 leave school at or about the age of 16 a full and satisfactory course of education. The other is of securing that there is no one with an aptitude for higher education who, by reason of the organisation of our school system, fails to have that opportunity turned into a reality.
I do not think that we need take tragically the fact that there is, and perhaps always will be, a certain tension between these two objectives. In many fields we pursue at the same time two or more objectives which are not always completely and ultimately reconcilable. But we shall in our schools be trying, by all the variety of experiment and experience which our education system, with its flexibility, makes possible, to reconcile these two objectives as nearly completely as we can. From today onwards, with the help of the Newsom Report, with the inspiration of the Robbins Report and its acceptance by my right hon. Friends, and with the basis of firm knowledge of the future statutory school life which my right hon. Friend has given this afternoon, we shall be pursuing these objectives with redoubled determination and devotion.
§ 6.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Malcolm MacPherson (Stirling and Falkirk Burghs)
The right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) has made very clear the inter-relationship of the two Reports. I agree with him that the Robbins and Newsom Reports hang together. He has also made very clear the change in the temper of the country about education from generations which we can still remember. He attributes this to the parents. I am inclined to differ with his singling out the parents. As far as I can see, the boys and girls themselves are as keen as their parents. However, as the right hon. Gentleman said, it is a national will which is being expressed. If I can put it in more colloquial and crude terminology than the right hon. Gentleman used, the nation has been voting with its feet. Seldom has a vote of confidence of so massive a character been given to the country's institutions of any kind as has been given in the last 10 years to the country's schools and colleges.
I wish to take up one of the themes of the right hon. Gentleman the Member 87 for Wolverhampton, South-West and to refer to the question of standards, which has been raised as an objection to the Robbins plans. The Times has rather taken the lead in urging doubt on the question whether standards can be maintained. It refers to the "crisis affecting standards", and it is implied and suggested, and very often plainly stated, that the standards of the students received will fall, but that the standards of the university graduates will also fall. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that this is wrong.
It seems to me easy enough to see this in an historical setting. Going back to pre-war days, we then had a situation in which students were accepted on very much lower entrance requirements than are needed today. In addition, they were accepted with no selection. Almost any student who had the requisite minimum requirements could enter upon a degree course, and yet in those days the standards were high. Nowadays we have a very high entrance requirement, and out of those achieving the minimum entrance requirements the universities select those people whom they want.
As a result of this we have achieved very high undergraduate standards. This is testified on unquestionable authority by those who are concerned with university teaching, and it is what one would expect compared with, say, 20, 30 or 40 years ago. As has been emphasised, and as the Robbins Report clearly states, there are still untapped resources of the same order of ability and merit. It seems to me that there is danger in The Times phrase about the "intake of sub-standard students". We do not need to have any worry about the quality of the students.
However, I am not so sure about the question of staff. Again, if one goes back a bit one gets an historical picture which is of some use. I recall that in this House before Christmas, when the qualifications of present university staffs were being discussed, the hon. Member for Carlton (Sir K. Pickthorn) said that, although people talked about the numbers of second-class graduates teaching in universities, his recollection of Cambridge was that nearly all the university teachers were not only firsts but top firsts. This situation has 88 changed. The proportion of firsts, let alone top firsts, is now apparently between 50 and 60. This shows a considerable decline in the average standards since the days about which the hon. Member was speaking.
I do not think that in those days the standards at Cambridge, although they would be rather higher, as now, were all that much higher than those at other universities. My recollection of my student days is that one expected, and, as far as I remember, one found, that the teachers were all very distinguished persons. One would have been extremely surprised to find a second-class graduate teaching in a university. We still have a high standard among teachers. The Robbins Report points out that the quality of the good work being done at universities has not been falling. The point is that we have added to the high-quality people a fair proportion of people who are not up to the same previous intellectual quality. While the standards of students have been rising, the average standards of university teachers, I am afraid, have been falling. This means that there is some cause for concern about the recruitment of university staffs.
I do not feel convinced by the Robbins law that this takes into account those factors which exist outside the circle about which he is talking. If the rest of society remained unchanged, and if we started from a point at which all standards were satisfactory, I would expect that it might work, but it does not seem to me that, as it is, it will produce results. What happens under the Robbins law if we start, as we do, with an inadequate supply of teachers in individual subjects—say, physics or mathematics teachers? There have been difficulties in filling university posts in these subjects, even with, presumably, a lowering of standards. How does the Robbins law apply in that kind of case?
If we take a change like the increase of post-graduate students from 20 to 30 per cent., it has some effect on the process. Of these additional 10 per cent. those who go in for teaching presumably go in for teaching in schools. That 10 per cent., added to the post-graduate group, will, presumably, after they have done a post-graduate course, be accepted for university teaching. I imagine that this is the point of this increase, and I 89 am glad to hear that this evening the Minister for Science will make a statement about awards for post-graduates. It is not before time. There has been a good deal of pressure on him to make such a statement.
If this is to happen, what will take place in the school staffs? If, as I imagine, this group will be shifted from being candidates for school positions to becoming candidates for university positions, what will happen to sixth-form teaching? I think that sixth-form teaching is in danger of having its standards reduced from other sources besides this. This is only one element in the picture. I should think there will be very strong pressure on the universities to take what they can of sixth-form teaching ability. Therefore, if the universities manage to keep up a proper standard of staff, it is likely to be only at the expense of their feeders—the sixth forms.
I want to refer to two more points about university staffs where it seems to me there may be difficulty in connection with the Robbins proposals. I was much surprised to read in the third appendix to the Report that half the lectures given in the universities are delivered to classes of less than 20 students. These are not tutorials, seminars or discussion groups, but straight lectures.
This suggests that we must again look at the student-staff ratio. It may be that the reason why there is such a need for university staff and why we have to accept people of a lower standard than a generation ago is that staff is being wasted. I can imagine many of the reasons which must exist for having many very small groups in existence, but when we have that proportion of the lectures being given to such small groups as I have mentioned it seems to be a situation which ought not to exist in the days of large, growing universities, closed circuit television, and the various arrangements that one can make for bringing small groups together.
I want to comment in the same way and to the same point on the amount of evidence that one gets about repetition of sixth-form work in the first year of a university course. It appears from the evidence to take place to a noticeable extent. This is a waste of dearly bought staff, dearly bought in the sense of its coming from the national pool of man 90 power. We might well expect that the universities would be able to avoid the danger of recruiting low-standard staff, about which one vice-chancellor complained very bitterly at a recent conference, if they were able to cut out some work which perhaps they need not do. The staffing question seems a very serious one in respect of the Robbins proposals. I cannot accept completely the Robbins standpoint about it.
I have one general comment to make on the university situation, university plans and the Robbins Report. I will do so very briefly, although it is a comment which has been made in many quarters and is important. The Robbins Report started from the point touched on in the Minister's peroration—the need to give the individual as good an education as possible. I agree completely with the Minister's eloquent peroration. However, that having been said, and the Committee having reported from this point of view there remains one other element of considerable importance which must be taken along with the Robbins recommendations. I refer to a survey of the national needs. It is all very well to educate people along certain lines up to whatever standard they can reach, but we must ask ourselves how many, say, technologists the nation needs. There have been a few shots at this. Advice has been tendered to the Minister from his own councils about the number needed.
But the Robbins Committee, although it suggested a number of figures for the future, was working without a clear Ministerial indication of what it is expected may be wanted. I know that projections of national need of this sort are liable to be beset with all sorts of possibilities of error. Nevertheless, they are needed. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman cares to check the information, he will find that there is a good deal of feeling among technologists themselves that something of this sort is needed to supplement the Robbins Report. The Government need to do this. It is not something which the Committee can do. It is a matter of national policy. The Government themselves must estimate what the nation needs in the way of engineers, and also what it needs in the way of technicians to support them. That is a very important factor which is often overlooked.
§ The Lord President of the Council and the Minister for Science (Mr. Quintin Hogg)
Perhaps I might ask the hon. Gentleman a question. When he is asking me to estimate the possible requirement of technologists, has he in mind only vocational posts, or does he want me to take into account that, to my mind, quite indefinite requirement for technologists and engineers who spill over into the whole field of management and salesmanship and general occupations of that kind?
§ Mr. MacPherson
I should like the right hon. and learned Gentleman to take into account the second of those categories. We do not want technologists to be employed simply on technology. I agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman that the difficulty of estimating the number of technologists to be employed as engineers must itself be great, and that of estimating the number of technologists to be employed in other work must be infinitely greater. But shots have been made at this. I am told that in Germany, where they are no doubt much more inclined to be confident about these things than we are, reasonable shots have been made at predicting national needs. I think that we should all be sceptical—I certainly am—about the degree of accuracy that one could achieve, but I think that this is necessary as a guide. How is the University Grants Committee to decide how many university places are needed for these people if it does not know what the national aim is within at least some broad compass?
The same is true of doctors. After two Government statements I still remain confused about just what kind of decision was made by the Government which led the University Grants Committee to propose one new medical school and perhaps others, plus the expansion of existing medical schools. Presumably the Government must have made some decision about the numbers of doctors needed. One would like further information. This is a matter of great national importance. We must staff our own country properly with doctors. It is not in the recommendation. There is not nearly enough public attention given to this matter if we are to play our part, as we do not do today, in sending a good proportion of doctors to the developing countries. 92 Such things as this make it necessary for the Government, rather than any body acting under them, to make the decisions.
There is another illustration of the same point which was put earlier in another place but was not brought to a conclusion. Some time ago the chairman of the University Grants Committee circularised the universities on the subject of overseas students. So far the proportion of overseas students in universities has been about 11 per cent. of the total student body. As far as I can gather from what the Government spokesman in another place said, Sir John Wolfenden stated that the University Grants Committee looked to an increase in the numbers of overseas students but did not look to retaining the same proportion of 11 per cent.
I hope that this kind of decision will not be left to the new grants commission, nor is being left now to the University Grants Committee. This is a matter of Government decision, concerned with national policy. Within this area of the Robbins advance are a number of key decisions for the Government to take and not for individual universities or for the new Grants Commission. I doubt whether the proposed increased in the number of permanent members of the Commission is enough, incidentally. The number is to be raised from one to three, but I believe that it should be further increased.
I am glad that the Minister of Education mentioned the Council for National Academic Awards. One assumes that this will take over the external degree of work of London University which, I gather, has been finding it something of a burden. There has been some suggestion from Scotland, particularly from the teaching profession, that the London entrance requirements do not quite satisfy them, so one would welcome a statement on this.
Further, we should like more information about something which was not mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman but which is closely bound up with the Council for National Academic Awards—sandwich courses. I hope that, in the Robbins expansion, the principle of sandwich courses will not be diminished and that there will be no response to any temptation for academic awards to 93 be equated to the kind of academic degree one gets in a university which does not necessarily involve periods in the works. I believe that the existing "end on" type of course, used in a number of cases, is not a good thing and has, indeed, led to dissatisfaction. The sandwich-course principle is of immense importance.
The Robbins Report also refers to the desirability of being able to transfer students from one kind of institution to another. I trust that such transference will be kept in view for students who start on work for the Council for National Academic Awards—particularly, one imagines, external students. I hope that the Council will be able to transfer them to other kinds of courses.
I am glad that the hon. Lady the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland is here. My constituency is waiting, at each end, for a very important decision on the location of a sixth university for Scotland. I take it that we need not expect an announcement on that tonight but that we may expect it as soon as may be. I hope that preparations will be got under way as soon as may be.
What about the future of the Scottish central institutions? This was left a little uncertain in the Robbins Report and I do not think that anything has been said publicly which has made the position clear. A number of projects and possibilities have been canvassed, however. Perhaps the hon. Lady can give us rather more definite information. Perhaps she can also say something about the Scottish colleges of education. The right hon. Gentleman mentioned the English colleges, and similar information about Scotland would be useful.
The right hon. Gentleman also dealt with research in education. In Scotland we have the Scottish Council for Educational Research, which does extremely useful work but in a comparatively narrow professional field. Much of the research nowadays—if one can call it that, for very often it consists of surveys—needs to be done on a wider scale, and we do not seem to do very much of this in Scotland. I have in mind the last report, concerning truancy; I believe that not a single teacher was engaged in it. That kind of thing is wrong.
I hope that the hon. Lady will, when considering research in future, think not 94 only about engaging teachers in the work of the existing Council—work which can often be done in the spare time of an enthusiastic teacher—but will make sure that the teachers play a proper part in the larger and more publicised researches and surveys which so often influence the public mind and the Government's interest in a particular direction in considering education changes.
§ 6.26 p.m.
§ Mr. Angus Maude (Stratford-on-Avon)
I shall not follow the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Malcolm MacPherson) in detail. I found no cause for violent disagreement with anything he said. But there is certain cause for alarm in his suggestion that decisions should be taken away from the U.G.C. and placed firmly in the hands of the Government. This is something that I feel the House as a whole would view with a certain suspicion.
The hon. Gentleman also referred to sandwich courses, and it seems to me quite inconceivable that, in the possible development of university courses in the colleges of advanced technology or elsewhere, either the principle of the sandwich course would be abandoned or their availability diminished by any sensible Government. Anyone who has discussed this, either within industry or with principals of C.A.T.s or regional colleges, knows that the benefits derived from these courses and the enthusiasm with which they are being run are quite startling. I cannot believe that the Government would wish to diminish their number or attack the principle behind them.
Listening to hon. Members opposite talking about the Robbins and Newsom Reports, it seems to me that they provide an admirable example of one classic statement of the difference between an optimist and a pessimist—that is to say, between the man who, having drunk half a glass of beer regards it as being half full and the man who regards it as being half empty. Hon. Members opposite are perfect examples of those who regard the glass as being half empty. They take the two Reports solely and simply as being measures of shortcoming and failure, but that is the most astonishing reading of both those Reports. One has not to go very far through the Newsom Report, for example, to find its reference 95 to the rising averages of learning. The Report says that this is a success story, and so it is. It goes on to say that not merely is the present generation very much better at its books, with a very much wider, deeper vocabulary, but that there is reason to suppose that the improvement is accelerating.
Taking the Ministry of Education's reading ability tests—which are tests of wide vocabulary as well as of simple ability to read—the Newsom Committee found that the average score of a sample of 14½-year-olds in secondary modern schools has, during the past 10 years, increased by so much that the reading age of children is about two years in advance of what it was 10 years ago. This is an astonishing achievement by any standards. Incidentally, it is as well to remember that it completely rebutts the arguments which we heard in all parts of the House and in the country when the school-leaving age was raised to 15. It was said that it would be impossible to find useful employment in the last year for secondary modern schoolchildren of average or less than average ability staying on at school after the age of 14. I hope that after my right hon. Friend's announcement today we shall not hear the same dismal doubts about the raising of the school-leaving age to 16. The results, which can be shown from the figures alone, prove that what has been happening in the secondary modern schools, certainly with fairly wide variations from area to area and school to school, has been a steady and, in some respects, almost a spectacular advance.
When we consider attainment, and there are still wide disparities between attainments in different social or economic classes of the country, it is interesting to find that the two Reports lay quite different emphasis on this aspect. Robbins suggests that the differentials between the children of the professional and managerial classes and the children of semi-skilled and unskilled workers at the other end of the scale have not appreciably narrowed in respect of their attainments and chances of getting into university during the last ten years.
Newsom, however, takes rather a different view. I suspect that the difference is accounted for by two factors. 96 First, Robbins says, in a footnote to the statistics dealing with this matter, that it must be appreciated that the proportion of the population in non-manual occupaions is steadily and rapidly rising. I suspect that this vitiates much of the comparison made in the original table. Secondly, Robbins quite rightly makes the point that the differentials in attainments of children of different social classes are very largely dictated by decisions of the parents whether to let the child stay on at school to the age of 16, 17 or 18. As Robbins said, there is very little evidence of any difference in innate ability between the children in the different groups; but there are wide differences in the quality of primary schooling and in the parental attitude towards education, particularly continuation of education beyond the minimum leaving age, and in home background which may make a considerable difference to the child's vocabulary and ability to accept and make good use of a secondary school course up to university standard.
Newsom has little doubt that the differentials have narrowed quite sharply. The figures which the Newsom Report uses are significant, and it is worth taking up the time of the House to quote them. In the proportion of the age group getting five O-level passes or better, that is, including different combinations of A-level passes, between 1951 and 1961, according to the sample survey in Appendix V, there has been an average improvement of 17 per cent. This is true for both boys and girls. The improvement with sons of semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers has been 32 per cent. and only 12 per cent. for sons of professional and managerial workers.
It is still, of course, true that there is a wide difference in the proportions between the two classes. With girls the improvement in the children of semiskilled and unskilled manual workers has been 21 per cent. and for professional and managerial only 1 per cent. With both boys and girls the narrowing of the differential between the results of the top class and bottom class, if I may so describe them, has been very marked, the improvement with the bottom class being about twice the average and nearly three times that of the top class. According to the Newsom figures, there is little 97 reason to doubt that the differentials in attainment are narrowing.
It is clear that in a sense this is a self-perpetuating as well as self-accelerating process. This is largely due to the fact, as the Crowther Report pointed out, that there is a stronger desire to stay at school after the age of 15 among the children than is to be found among their parents. When account is taken not only of those facts but of the fact that we are now beginning to see coming near on the educational horizon the children of those parents who were the first to benefit from the secondary education provisions of the Butler Act, when we realise that we are now about to get over the next generation an increasing proportion of the children of parents one or both of whom have completed a full secondary school course, possibly achieving minimum university qualifications, we can see that the likelihood that the proportion staying on at school and achieving higher educational qualifications will increase, not just at the simple interest rate of growth which we have seen hitherto, but almost certainly, as Robbins suggested might be the case, at a compound interest rate of growth, or better.
The social and economic effects of this must be clear to anybody. When we have established a rate of growth as fast as that which has already taken place and which has inherent in it an explosive rate of growth hereafter, this is not an achievement of which any Government need feel ashamed. My right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) called attention to the figures in the Robbins Report of the proportion of boys and girls achieving minimum qualifications to five O-level passes or a combination with A-level passes. These are striking figures. From 1954 to 1961, which was the last figure available for boys and girls together, the increase in proportion was from 11 per cent. to 18 per cent. Compared with 1954, it is estimated that by 1970 the proportion will have about doubled, and that by 1985 it will have about trebled, even at the current rates of growth. That again is an astonishing achievement, and when one hears the sort of speech that was made by the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) one wonders 98 whether the hon. Member—and other speakers too—is talking about the same country, let alone about the same educational system.
The hon. Gentleman quoted figures of the cuts in the educational building programmes put forward by local education authorities. All Governments have always cut the building programmes of local education authorities, and, despite the attempt by the Leader of the Opposition to suggest during the debate on the Gracious Speech that this was not so, all local authorities tend to stretch the figures which they demand so as to be ready for the cuts which they know the Minister will make.
§ Mr. Maude
I do not intend to be diverted at this stage. The point which the hon. Gentleman overlooked is that any Minister of Education has to consider not only the starts which local authorities want to make, but a balanced programme which will get buildings completed in the quickest possible time. I do not mind betting that if any Minister of Education were rash enough to try the unprecedented experiment of passing every proposal put to him by all local education authorities, not only would practically none of those authorities be able to complete them in the time, but the construction industry of this country would seize up within the next few years. We would not get the number of completions that we are getting now if the number of starts were substantially increased, and this is something which some local authorities might well consider. There are, of course, some areas of the country which are backward and which need to catch up.
I propose now to say a word about what is known as the dual system of education in this country, what the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) in an article in the Observer referred to as apartheid in education. I hope that I might have the hon. Gentleman's attention. If someone can refer to the educational system of this country in such terms, it shows clearly that he does not understand what is happening here, and that he is temperamentally unfitted to deal with the problems of education. If the hon. Gentleman knows what is happening in education, then he does 99 not know what apartheid means. He cannot have it both ways, because this is a tendentious phrase deliberately designed to be as tendentious as possible. It suggests, for example, that there is a deliberate decision, backed by legal sanctions, made by the ruling class to keep various classes of the community out of the same kind of schools. Hon. Members know that that is completely untrue.
Apartheid means that the ruling class is not allowed to mix with the subject class. There is nothing whatever in this country to prevent the increasing trend of middle-class children from going to schools maintained or aided by local education authorities. Indeed, middle-class parents would be crazy if there were not, as there is, an increasing proportion of middle-class children going to these schools. So long as this trend continues—and it is bound to accelerate; the figures about which we have been talking mean that it will be so—so long as independent school fees continue to increase and the standards of grammar schools continue to improve, and, above all, as more and more local education authorities move away from a rigid tripartite selection system at 11-plus—as they are doing and will continue to do—so will a steadily increasing proportion of the population send their children to the same sort of school.
I hope that local education authorities will be encouraged by the Minister of Education to provide more boarding accommodation at maintained or aided secondary schools than is the case at the moment. There is a real need for this. In almost every school which takes boarders, about 10 per cent. or more of the boarders are children whose parents are overseas, or who come from broken homes, or from one of the categories which are considered by a local education authority to deserve the provision of boarding school education. At the moment there are not enough boarding places to provide roughly the 10 per cent. which is needed, and we need a considerably larger number of boarding houses or hostels in maintained secondary schools.
I believe that it was Lord Eccles who, when he was Minister of Education, appealed to parents in this country, some of whom are going to considerable 100 trouble and expense to get their children to private fee-paying primary schools, to send them to county maintained and aided schools from the age of five, at least until the age of nine, if not eleven. I believe that as we iron out the still too wide differences in the quality of primary schools in different areas, more and more middle-class parents will do this, and I hope that they will do it at a steadily increasing rate. Nothing is more divisive socially than separation into two educational streams. We do not have a complete division, but the further away from it that we get the better it will be for this country.
§ Mr. Crossman
The hon. Gentleman asked me to pay attention to his speech. I was listening to it. I gather he was criticising my use of the word apartheid. Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I borrowed that phrase from somebody else? I borrowed it from his hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mr. G. Johnson Smith) who said:… there has been created a kind of educational apartheid based on the financial ability of a number of individuals wealthy enough to segregate their children from the major part of the education system."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th June, 1961; Vol. 642, c. 868.]I wanted the hon. Gentleman to realise that.
§ Mr. Maude
It does not in the least matter who said it. At least my hon. Friend said that it was "a kind" of educational apartheid and went on to define what he meant by it, which was more than the hon. Gentleman did in his article in the Observer.
One final point. The time is coming, if it has not already come, when the direct grant list should be reopened by the Minister of Education. I hope that my right hon. Friend, after consulting his right hon. Friend the Minister of Education, will have a word or two to say about this tonight, if he has time. If we are to bring the two kinds of education closer together it seems clear—despite the well-known opposition of hon. Members opposite to the direct grant grammar school—that this type of school provides the link and the transition point between them. I do not go as far as Dr. Dancy and others have suggested; I do not believe that we can turn all our public schools into direct 101 grant schools. But there is a considerable fringe of independent boarding schools and day secondary schools which should not be independent but direct grant schools. I hope that it will be found possible to reopen the list within the next few years, and that many of these schools will take advantage of it.
The achievements to which the Robbins and Newsom Reports bear witness are ones of which any Government and any party might be proud. So far from the rate of improvement in our education having slackened, it has clearly accelerated. Further, it carries within it the seeds of an even more rapid acceleration than has been seen in the last ten years. Nothing in the record of Her Majesty's present Government suggests that provision will not be made for that increase in demand when it comes.
§ 6.52 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)
I want to touch on only a few points in this wide subject. I welcome the raising of the school-leaving age, however belated it may have been. It will create problems for teachers, but they have made it clear that they are willing to face them. It is said that already some children are kept at school when they want to leave, and at an age when they are unteachable. One has sympathy with teachers who have difficult children, but anyone who holds the view that the school-leaving age should not be raised should contemplate the behaviour of the rich in the education of their children. They have never hesitated to keep their children—however unteachable some of them may have been—at school very much beyond even the new school-leaving age.
Not everything the rich do is necessarily right, but this is a good example of what people do when they have the capacity and the money.
I also want to highlight one less important matter—but one which nevertheless is of great importance—upon which the Minister of Education touched, namely, research. I was glad to hear him say that the Government have a great many projects in research. We spend a very small part of our educational budget on research.
102 Education is obviously one subject, and should be treated as such. The Robbins, Newsom and Crowther Reports should all be looked at together, because they all hang together. I am not so optimistic as the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Maude) about the divisions in education. I agree that they are lessening, and, like him, I hope that they will continue to lessen. But it is not only the division between rich and poor. It is the different status of different parts of the education system in this country which sometimes has a harmful effect.
When the 11-plus examination was brought in, it was not intended that it should separate people, except according to aptitude, but it has become a sort of status symbol. Technology still suffers from being treated as a discipline lower than the humanities or the arts. It is this sort of division which is important—just as important as the continuing division between rich and poor.
Here I must say a word of praise for technical colleges. They have been greatly neglected. Whenever I speak to people in industry—people in management and in the trade unions—I hear nothing but praise for work which is done by technical colleges. As much of this country's success in running its economy will depend not only upon pure science—and possibly not even primarily upon it—out upon applied science, engineering and technology, it is very important to encourage the main source of supply of technicians.
The hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Malcolm MacPherson) suggested that some estimate should be made of the number of technologists that we require. The Minister for Science then made a very pertinent intervention. He asked whether he was going to be expected to estimate the number of technologists required for technical jobs or, in addition, the number required to occupy managerial jobs. The right hon. Gentleman put his finger on an important point; one of our faults is that we tend to treat engineers and technologists generally as specialists only for certain types of job, and do not promote them in sufficient numbers into the general managerial structure of industry.
103 It is probably not possible to make an estimate of this sort but I think we can say that there should be many more jobs for technically trained people. I hope that the Minister will be able to confirm or deny one thing that I have heard, namely, that when efforts were made to persuade some scientists who had gone to America to return, it was discovered that jobs were not available for some of those who were willing to return and that that was due to the fact that industry is not creating a sufficient number of these jobs or showing a willingness to use people with these qualifications to the extent that is done in America.
I want to follow up some of the implications of the raising of the school-leaving age. It will have repercussions. In particular, it will create an even greater demand for further education, some of which will have to be part-time and some of which will certainly have to be conducted outside universities. However, the questions that I want to raise concern the universities.
Concern has been expressed that standards may fall. I do not share that concern. I do not share the fear of the right hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs that standards of university lecturers have fallen. What has happened is that they are expected to do far more than they used to, for instance, in administration, and they do not have as good facilities at their disposal. Teaching is not given the status it should have. Promotion and prestige in the university world are too often won by writing articles for learned journals—which I am not in the least opposed to—and too little by being able to teach. There is a great desire to be taught, and considerable criticism in some universities about the standard of teaching.
We must also consider carefully the standards expected both of students and staff. My conclusion, which has been reinforced by what has been said in this debate is that education standards are steadily rising and that many people—including some respected Members of this House—who are considered to possess the highest qualities in many ways, would have some difficulty in getting into a university today. I think 104 that even the Prime Minister might have to give up a little of the pursuit of cricket in favour of the pursuit of knowledge if he wanted to be quite certain of getting into Oxford today.
I am sure that standards have risen at all levels, but I am a little anxious in case we are now excluding a good many people who could benefit from university education. I do not share the view put forward by Mr. Amis that what we are now doing is tapping the pool of untalent. I agree with those who have said that there are still a great many people who could benefit from the universities without lowering the standard at all. In any case I think that there is a great deal to be said for having some people at the universities who are not necessarily of the highest academic standard.
I should be sorry if the universities excluded people who could not reach an increasingly high standard level. This is not dealt with fully in the Robbins Report. It assumes that the present standards will be accepted. It does not discuss these standards. At some time, this House and this country will have to consider the standards and will have to think rather more deeply about how widely they want the standard of education. I am one of those who, on the whole, is on the side of extending it widely.
If we want to keep up the standards of the universities we must tackle the celebrated division between Oxford and Cambridge and the rest. In my view, we have to do this in two ways. The first is by greatly improving the organisation of the other universities. Only one university, so far as I know, is introducing even a modified variation of the college system. I think that a good deal of the success of Oxford and Cambridge is due to the college system. It enables them to have large quantities of students because they are broken down into colleges, and, secondly—contrary to what is generally believed—Oxford and Cambridge tutors put in more hours of work because they have much better facilities for work.
But I do not think that the college system can be indefinitely extended. It is very expensive. I am sure that the Lord President will correct me if I am wrong, but I think I am right in saying that the universities get nothing from the 105 University Grants Committee for residential accommodation for students. I see the reason for this. It wants to spend the money on teaching in the first place. But if we are to extend the universities to between 6,000 and 10,000 students we shall have to break them up into manageable units and provide the students with accommodation and with some sort of centre other than the university as a whole. The other universities will only catch up with Oxford and Cambridge—and I hope they will—if attention to their organisation is emphasised.
There is another question which I should like to raise. At present—and—again I think probably rightly—there is no encouragement for four-year courses. In other parts of the world, it is becoming common to have an intermediate degree and then to follow on with a specialist degree in different subjects. I share the view of the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon that this House does not want to interfere directly in the work of the University Grants Committee, but I think that in a debate of this kind it is relevant to raise questions such as the organisation of the universities, the methods of teaching, the question whether they should be residential or not, without directly giving any orders to the University Grants Committee. These decisions depend a great deal on the Government's view because according to their view they will make money available in greater or lesser quantities.
It becomes more than ever important now that we are raising the school-leaving age that there should be the maximum contact between sixth form and university. This has greatly improved, but I found when I was the Rector at Edinburgh—and the right hon. and learned Gentleman may have found the same at Glasgow—that there are still a number of students who go to the university with inadequate ideas of what a university is all about and of what they want to read, and so they waste a considerable amount of time in finding out their aptitudes. I am sure that this can be cured.
What is encouraging over the last year or two is that the whole status of education has risen, and I think that we should pay some tribute to the campaign for education, whether directed at Her Majesty's Government or not. The fact is that now we have acute competition 106 for the Minister of Education. It was not always one of the most sought after jobs in politics. Also in the country, among parents, schools and universities there is the feeling that this is a vitally important subject. I do not think that it is particularly fruitful to speculate whether this, is due to the teachers, the parents, or on where it comes from. The fact is that it is there. While this is partly due to growing realisation that Britain's position as an economic power depends upon the skill of her people—and that is no ignoble reason for supporting education—nevertheless, I think that it is particularly encouraging that it is also due to the realisation that education is good in itself, and that it is part of the birthright of every boy and girl in this country to have the opportunity to develop their talents and use their intelligence as the Minister of Education said earlier.
§ 7.6 p.m.
§ Mr. W. R. van Straubenzee (Wokingham)
I hope that the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) will forgive me if I do not follow him in detail in the major points which he made in his speech. We have one link in common in that my experience of university life is largely concentrated on the university of which the right hon. Gentleman was once Rector. I suspect that as he was talking in terms of ability to get into institutions, he might find that the standard of rectorship has risen there also.
I want to go back to the question of the school-leaving age and the announcement which was made earlier. It means that in the autumn of 1970 our schools will have to be making their dispositions for a very substantial increased number of young people. In the figures given earlier by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education of those who were already voluntarily staying on in any case, I was surprised at the comparatively small overall percentage.
Before coming to this debate, I looked at the figures for my own county of Berkshire. I do not know whether there are some special factors there or not, but they seemed remarkably higher than those which my right hon. Friend gave. Six years ago, for example, the percentage, measuring one year's sixteen-year-olds 107 against the previous year's fifteen-year-olds, which is, after all, the right measure, 30 per cent. of those were staying on. In January, 1962, the number had risen to 43 per cent. on that basis, and in January, 1963, the last figures that I have, it had risen to 45 per cent., without any "incentive", certainly in the county of Berkshire, of difficulty of finding jobs for school leavers, which is a factor in certain parts of the country. This is a striking testimony of the value which parents felt, and of their confidence in, the teaching provided and the institutions to which their children are going. There is one consideration in connection with this important announcement whch I wish to put to my right hon. and learned Friend. I believe it remains true, despite all the interesting experiments going on and the thought and research, that we have not really solved the problem making an intelligent use of the existing fourth year at secondary modern level. We have certainly to solve the intelligent use of that year and give some consideration to using the period in the fifth year starting in 1970.
There have been some remarkable advances. Certainly there has been the discovery that a very much wider range of young persons can and do benefit from what I might call intellectual courses than had previously been supposed. The culmination of all this comes in the Newsom Report, which is an absolute vindication of those people, of whom I am always one, who utterly rejected the concept that only a comparatively small proportion of young people were capable of benefiting further from educational processes. But that we need to make a constructive use of that final and fifth year I have very little doubt.
There is one step which I should like to see taken in this House. We made one move towards it during this year. We have legislated that children shall leave school only at two leaving dates in the year. I am profoundly sorry—hon. Members on both sides have a responsibility for it—that we did not take that bull firmly by the horns and legislate for one leaving date. We were up against our inate conservatism, which attacks so much of the effort to make changes in this country—and has a benefit only when it comes to voting habits—and is exempli 108 fied by the rigid position of the T.U.C. and of the employer's organisation. Both these great bodies were trenchantly against there being one leaving date in the year. Yet I am certain that, educationally, unless and until we culminate a five-year course in the knowledge that it will be fulfilled, there will be much wasted talent.
I am only too well aware of the arguments against this. But in an area where we have a vastly growing population I went to some trouble to sound my trade unions' representatives, employers and, most important—or as important as those—the youth employment officers. What came out of that was that all three agreed that the product of a completed fourth year, as it is at present, was notably better equipped than one who had gone only one term into it. All were prepared to accept that while a flood of young people coming on to the labour market once in the year would pose very great problems, the benefits to all three would be proportionately so great that they were quite prepared to accept the disadvantages and the difficulties. One day I hope that we shall be able to move in that direction. Meanwhile, like other hon. Members on both sides of the House, I warmly support the decision—though I have a feeling, after hearing one or two of the speeches made by hon. Members opposite, that they had notes of trenchant arguments about why the school leaving age should be raised, and a certain amount of wind has gone out of a number of sails.
I want to come to the Robbins Report. I am one of the first back-bench Members to tackle the problem and so I want to represent a view to my right hon. and learned Friend on the thorny problem of Ministerial responsibility—one or two? I am delighted to hear that no final decision has been made, and I am sure, therefore, that due weight will be given to what I have to say. First, I take my stand firmly on the note of reservation expressed by Mr. Harold Shearman. Those of us—including a great many hon. Members on both sides of the House—who are keenly interested in education owe a considerable debt to Mr. Shearman for expressing this note, when I dare say, for all I know, it would have been quite easy for him to have felt that it was something which he could let pass. In his note of reservation on 109 page 293 of the Robbins Report there is this sentenceI see the educational system, and not merely the area which we have been charged to examine, as a coherent whole, in which no section can prosper if the others are failing and in which the actions of each must inevitably affect the rest.This is not a concept which is unchallenged in the educational world, particularly the higher educational world. But have we not already had an awful warning of what can happen if we do not regard it as a coherent whole? One of the difficulties with which one struggles in the educational world is the deeply set belief in many people that in some extraordinary way if a person teaches children from the ages of 5 to 11, he is inferior to those who teach children aged 11 to 15; that in some way to be a primary schoolmaster or mistress does not carry the same status and cachet as to be in secondary education in whatever type of school.
The truth is—we all know it, but it should be repeated frequently—that many a fine degree at a university; many an honours award in a professional examination; many a successfully completed dip-tech course, or some other course of that kind, may be traced back, like a pedigree, to the patient grounding given at primary school age. Anyone teaching at secondary level will admit that the task of taking on children who have had a good grounding is as chalk compared with cheese when compared with the case of a child who has not been so fortunate.
Surely it would be disastrous if, in respect of higher education, we were to go in for separation. Surely it would be psychologically disastrous to have, no matter how hard one sought to put it over, a Ministry of "higher education"—call it what we will—and a Ministry of "lower education," as it would be so regarded. At a time like this, when the tempo is quickening and there is a better climate of opinion than ever before, to apply that would be a most retrograde step. I am of course aware that the nub of the problem is the university, and it is not for people who, like myself, happen to feel strongly that there should be one Ministerial set-up to sweep calmly on one side the very real anxiety expressed in university circles.
It must be said that this anxiety is by no means unanimous. I have in mind the remarkable speech of Lord James in 110 another place which contained splendid witticisms such as that, after all, they did do some teaching in universities—that and many other examples show that even university opinion is divided. Surely the nub of that anxiety is fear about their independence. There was a time—I must confess—when I was a little doubtful whether we needed to carry into the new Ministerial set-up this slightly cumber-some and very British procedure of the University Grants Committee, or Commission as it is to become. But after all, it is quite fashionable to change one's mind on this issue, as the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) well knows, and so I am in good company.
I find the testimony in this Report, and in the verbal reports and public speeches made on it by Lord Robbins, and the value that the Committee placed on the University Grants Committee, very persuasive indeed. Particularly do I find it persuasive in relation to evidence, taken all over the world, of the fact that in so many other universities it was impressed upon them over and over again that the particular achievement of the British in creating this method of Government finance which yet left the universities intellectually free was something so precious that they must not let it go in any reorganisation based on the Report. There, surely, incorporated into any new Ministry—I hope one Ministry—is the safeguard, typically British, which I hope will carry the day.
There is a second reason—there are many, but I am conscious that other hon. Members want to contribute to the debate so I take merely one other. It concerns teacher training colleges. I have ventured to say in this House before, and there is nothing original about it, that if I were Minister of Education—if I could imagine that for a fleeting moment—the problem which would worry me most would be the morale of the teaching force. I am conscious over and over again of the malaise affecting, not of course all, but so many. In so far as one can put one's finger on it, is is a feeling of lack of status which is very deep-seated.
Here surely comes the importance of Robbins. Robbins found a plethora of teacher training colleges, all of different sizes and differing, one must frankly say, in quality and some with 111 almost an apologetic approach to their existence. Take the conclusions drawn in the Report in paragraph 360, from which I quote:We must make it clear, however, that in our view, which is supported by much evidence, the current discontent in the Training Colleges is not just a matter of wanting degrees. It goes much deeper and involves the whole standing of the colleges in the system of higher education in this country.One could quote other passages in support.
I am quite certain that here the Committee has got at the root of the real problem. In many ways its proposals for the teacher training colleges, their conversion into colleges of education, their incorporation into schools of education within universities awarding in due time degrees of education at a particular university and so on, are fundamental, radical recommendations which have not had the attention their importance would lead one to suppose. They have the great advantage of bringing these important centres into the aegis of the university, eventually leading them to be degree-awarding bodies and so leading by stages to part of that upgrading of the status of teaching which I enormously want to see.
I know that regret has been expressed by some local education authorities about this. It happens that I received very courteous representations from a county borough with which I have no connections—that of Wakefield—when I have expressed myself in these terms in the columns of one of those very fine weekly journals which I am sure all intelligent men nowadays read since a recent change of editor. After all, Robbins specifically recommends that the L.E.A.s should be most closely associated with these new colleges of education. I am certain that nothing I say and—much more important—nothing that Robbins has said is any criticism at all of the work which L.E.A.s have done for teacher training colleges.
How unwise, how fearsomely unwise it would be to separate from one Ministerial head the training of teachers on the one hand and their deployment, if I may put it that way, on the other. Of course I am aware of the limitations of the Minister of Education, as he is at present, in the deployment of teachers. I am using the word "deployment" 112 deliberately. This is one organic whole, as Mr. Shearman said. We would regard it as quite fantastic to separate the function if it were applied to the Armed Forces, if we were to separate the training of the officers of the Armed Forces of the Crown from the civil power which eventually is responsible for their deployment. This is one coherent whole, and, therefore, another cogent reason for having one Ministerial umbrella, not two.
I profoundly hope that the final outcome will be an enlarged Ministry of Education with two Ministers of State and that in this way we shall have one of the most important Ministerial positions in the State, which in itself will be of great importance, with Ministerial responsibility for the whole spectrum of education, and that the inevitable argument as to priority will be carried on within that general Ministry and not taken outside it.
That is the only thing I wanted to say about Robbins. The difficulty in a debate of this kind is that, quite rightly, it can range so widely that one can talk only in a few sentences about innumerable things and find that one has made no contribution in the end. I would prefer to concentrate my remarks concerning the Robbins Report on this point. I beg my right hon. Friend who is to reply to the debate, and who I hope will keep his Ministerial colleagues in touch, not to under-estimate the strength of opinion to which I have ventured to give expression.
§ 7.27 p.m.
§ Mr. Ede (South Shields)
Unlike many education debates in this House, we have had this afternoon several speeches mainly concerned with education and the active life of the schools. The hon. Member for Woking (Mr. van Straubenzee) has played a noteworthy part in emphasising the educational aspects of the problems which are put in front of us.
I want particularly to commend what the Minister said about what he hopes will happen as a result of his delayed decision to raise the school-leaving age six or seven years hence. I had always hoped that I would live long enough to see the school-leaving age raised to 16, but, with so long a postponement as that, I begin to have my doubts 113 whether my interest in the final achievement will not take place in the next world rather than this. I heartily welcome the fact that at last a decision has been taken and a date fixed on which this very considerable reform is to take place.
I particularly welcome the fact that the right hon. Gentleman did not emphasise, as has been too often done in the past, the extra year. He made it quite clear that it is his intention to have a five-year course for every child who will be in a secondary school when the date at last arrives. It is a great mistake to think that we merely impose an extra year. It was one of the mistakes made in the years before 1944, when everybody said that the most important year in a child's life was the year after he attained the age of 14. The most important year in a child's life is the year which he is living now. He will live it only once, and we must see that the best use is made of it in preparing him for the years which will stretch out after he has left school.
A five-year course should be recognised as the hallmark of a secondary education in this country. We have to choose between a conception which means browsing in the fields of learning rather than gorging at a trough. A well-laid-out five-year course would be a tremendous advantage, and I was very glad to hear the Minister say that research is already taking place into what the teacher can do during that five years.
I hope that the working teacher will be consulted by those who are conducting the research. It is astonishing how many people think that they can tell the teacher what he ought to be doing and how he ought to be conducting himself inside the school. If teaching is a profession, the practitioners in it have as much right to be consulted about the schemes which they are to work as people in any other profession.
One of the problems of the teacher training college is that the universities are so shy of undertaking responsibility. On four or five occasions when we were preparing the Education Act, 1944, I accompanied the present Foreign Secretary, when he was Minister in charge of the Department, at an interview with the Committee of Vice-Chancellors. No more rigid body of learned people, I 114 should have, thought, could have been assembled than the Committee of Vice-Chancellors. The one thing about which they were determined was that they would not be flooded out with a gang of people who would enter the teaching profession, as we wanted them to be. I cannot understand the state of mind of leaders of the universities who attach more importance to their schools of medicine than to their schools of pedagogy. After all, what they do is very largely determined by what the ordinary teacher does in the schools from the primary school onwards, and to my mind one of the things which should give them most concern is that the teaching profession throughout the ordinary schools should be inspired by ideals which will make the task of universities as easy as possible when pupils reach the universities.
The hon. Member for Wokingham rightly emphasised the need to discover what teachers can do in the later years of a five-year course. There is very little practice to guide us so far, but I have no doubt that those who have tried to run a five-year course in existing schools have many ideas on the way in which a five-year course could be organised so as to reach some definite point at the end—a point which the pupil could have in mind from the moment he entered the secondary school.
I hope that what the hon. Member said will be borne in mind by the people who are conducting the research into the possibilities of a five-year course, because as far as I can discover there is no settled opinion at the moment as to what is the most appropriate thing to be doing in the fourth and fifth years, and the sooner we can make up our minds as to the way in which progress through the five years should be led by the teacher, the sooner we shall be able to make a success of the announcement which the Minister made today.
May I ask a question about an important change which this Parliament has made in higher education? In 1962, we passed an Education Act which reduced the dates of school leaving to two and which also made what I regarded at the time as a vary substantial contribution to the prospect of a university education for an increasing number of people. We enacted that where a pupil in a 115 secondary modern school managed to get two "A"s and could get a place in a university, the local authority within whose area he resided was to be responsible for seeing that he received the university education for which he was supposed to have shown appropriate aptitude.
How is that scheme working? I begin to think that this is the first year in which it is being tested, and I find an increasing number of youths who manage to get two "A"s, and even three "A"s, but who cannot get a place in a university.
I think of the example of a great-nephew of my late wife's. Any ability which he has does not come from my side of the family. I want to make that quite clear. My main contact with schools now is in going to speech days and in inflicting one speech on a successive and growing number of boys. One hears astounding results of what people get at O-level. This great-nephew of my late wife managed to get 10 passes at O-level. For good measure he got three "A"s. He applied for a place at a number of universities, and he returned from his visits to universities so despondent, so disgruntled and so unable to understand a world which appreciated him so little that I sent a letter to the Minister.
The right hon. Gentleman may have some recollection of it, because he sent me a most helpful reply, which I sent to my great-nephew—and I am glad to say that in the end he managed to get a place at Birmingham. [Laughter.] I do not know why Birmingham should be regarded as a matter of fun. I know that the Minister represents a Birmingham constituency. I think that this lad managed to get into a very good university. He made a mistake in trying to get to Oxford, which lost him any sympathy from me, but at any rate to aim at Oxford and to hit Birmingham is not a very bad example of marksmanship in this field. Are there many youths in that position?
At this time of the year 20, 15 and 10 years ago, one spent a good deal of one's spare time going round trying to scrounge a bit of money out of one fund or another to get into university a youth who had managed to obtain a place. 116 Now I never have anyone complaining to me that he cannot get the money but a large number of youths tell me that they cannot get a place.
How is the scheme which we approved in 1962 working out this year? I hope that we shall be told at the end of the debate. Those of us who spent many hours in Standing Committee working out the scheme entertained high hopes for it. I hope that it will realise now what we set out to do and that the way to the university for boys in the upper forms of secondary schools will be eased as a result of what we did. In view of my personal experience of it in my own family, I have grave doubts whether that hope will be realised.
I am glad that the Minister recognises that the buildings for the five-year course will be matters of great concern. This is the best reason, as far as I can see, for having a seven years' delay before the new school-leaving age is implemented. In 1944 when we were considering raising the school-leaving age to 15 there were two problems. We should want additional classes in every secondary school and we should want an increased number of teachers. In the end I think that the problem of the buildings was more important in its impact upon the parents than the problem of the teachers.
Where all that happened was that a school which was barely adequate for the old school-leaving age had an extra form pushed into it, it was difficult to persuade some parents that any real additional facilities were being afforded to their children. I hope that on this occasion the appropriate accommodation will be ready when the time comes. If it is, I am quite sure that it will give the five-year course a good send-off in the eyes of the parents who are apt to be suspicious when they see something that is alleged to be far better and more humane being conducted in the old school which has been standing in the town or village for over 100 years. When there is no change in the fabric, parents are often too prone to believe that no real change has been made in the quality of the education given in a building which is regarded merely as an institution which cannot be expanded in spirit no matter what is done with the fabric.
117 I congratulate the Minister on being able to make his announcement today. I understand that a further announcement is to be made later today by the Lord President of the Council. When two men ride a horse one must ride in front, and I hope that the fact that the Minister of Education made his announcement first means that he is still supreme and unchallenged in the field of educational expansion.
I hope that the general welcome which has been accorded in the country to the Reports which the Government have been considering will be echoed in the statements made by Ministers from time to time about the expansion of the education service. When I look back over the years to the boys who sat with me in the old elementary school and I compare their lives with mine I realise how important good parents are—parents who are willing to make sacrifices to keep boys and girls at school. When we talk about sacrifices made in the cause of education, let us realise that the parent who deliberately keeps his child at school, instead of taking him away at the earliest possible moment and putting him in paid employment, is making a considerable and continuous sacrifice in the interests of the child and of the educational efficiency of the nation.
I rejoice that so many parents now expect that their boy and girl will go to the grammar school. I rejoice not because I think that all of them are best suited for grammar schools but because, in the false standards which are set in the country, so many people think that the grammar school in educational status is far and away beyond any other available school, and because these parents believe that their child ought to have the best opportunity possible for the expansion of his intellect.
I heard someone speak in the debate about teachers having to expand the intelligence of children. A great teacher in the past said that that was the one thing he could not do. His pupils were limited by the intelligence with which the Almighty had endowed them. He was not there in any effort to correct the mistakes and the oversights of the Creator.
We want an educational system by which the many great needs of the nation 118 will receive fitting service by the development in the schools of the aptitudes of the pupils who go there. The schools should be talent-spotters for the nation. Far more attention should be paid to the innate aptitudes of a child than is sometimes given to them when his future is being considered by his parents. I hope that the research that the right hon. Gentleman has announced to us this afternoon will be devoted to seeing how far the schools can, by their study with the parents, reveal to the pupils the occupations that they should follow so that we shall have fewer misfits in the industrial part of the nation and all can devote themselves to maintaining the high standard of British workmanship that has been evolved during the centuries by our people.
§ 7.51 p.m.
§ Miss J. M. Quennell (Petersfield)
We do not often debate education in this House, and after this afternoon's interesting contributions I think it is the greater pity.
First, we should give a warm welcome to my right hon. Friend's statement. But I feel it is unfortunate that today's debate should have been given such a political complexion instead of being devoted to a close examination of the three great Reports mentioned in the Motion, It is quite impossible, as right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House have said, to discuss even one of them adequately within the compass of this debate. In another place it was found convenient to devote a whole debate to a single Report, and I hope this House, too, will discover time to debate perhaps the most recent of these Reports at greater length and in more detail than we can possibly do today.
Nevertheless, the fact that the last four years have seen three major Reports is in itself significant of the climate of discussion and reappraisal which is current in the whole of the educational field at the moment. It is 20 years since we had an Education Act, and it seems to me that it will not be very long before we have another. The period between the 1944 Act and its predecessor was the longest that this country had ever experienced without fresh educational legislation. The Fisher Act's life was artificially prolonged by war, and 119 I doubt if it would have survived so long but for the advent of hostilities. I should not like to think that its span has set a precedent for the present one.
The whole conception of education has changed so radically, particularly in the last 20 years, that we are now all questioning previously accepted tenets and methods. My right hon. Friend commented in his opening speech that his Advisory Committee, sitting under Lady Plowden, was examining the age at which a child should enter the first phase of its schooling. I am very glad that he has made this appointment. But we do even know what is the right age that a child should begin its first schooling. We hold that 5 is the correct age. Other countries do not. If we are right they must be wrong. But if they are right, how can we be, too?
Once we thought that 11 years was the correct moment for that same child to conclude the primary phase of its education and depart for secondary pastures new. Newsom shows that for many children this is not so. Unfortunately, what should be a discussion on the validity of the argument for a transfer at 11 years from one phase of a child's education to another has become something which is regrettably different and often of educational irrelevance. What we need to be clear about is whether there should be such a dramatic break between the primary and secondary phases, and, if so, what should be the ideal age for it.
To my mind, the present Act is too rigid. It leaves too little room for basic experiment in education itself, and it compels local education authorities to have too great a regard for their statutory obligations and leaves them far too little room for fundamental investigations. But that does not detract from the interesting innovations that some authorities have tried out in the last few years. On the contrary, it is a tribute to their ingenuity and effort.
Since time is so limited, I should like to make a few comments on some aspects of the Newsom Report. The first one, with which I think the whole House will agree, is that we should readily acknowledge the debt of gratitude which we owe to the 33 men and women who comprised the Committee, as well as to 120 the three who resigned during the course of its sittings. Their terms of reference directed them to the considerations which ought to apply to children of average, or less than average, ability and they concluded that these covered half the child population in the country, though my right hon. Friend indicated this afternoon that he felt a smaller proportion was the appropriate one. Their researches into the present educational position appear to have been directed mostly to the urban, mining and industrial areas and, for this reason, I find some of their recommendations hard to relate to agrarian rural areas.
The hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell), in an intervention, asked my right hon. Friend about certain aspects of chapter 6, and it is in chapter 6 that I find certain items which worry me acutely. For example, I do not think Chapter 6 could be applied to a four-form entry secondary modern school situated in a small market town but serving a wide catchment area. Paragraph 124 recognises the domestic difficulties of the urban child. Paragraph 137 ignores the present difficulties of the country child, who has exactly the same problems as those recognised in paragraph 124 but with the additional problem of distance. Not only do the pupils live 5 to 10 miles away from such a school, but in some cases the teachers live even further away.
Several chapters of the Report mention the desirability of residential accommodation, but it is mentioned for specific purposes, with the idea of special courses in mind. If the Committee's recommendation in Chapter 6 is to be made possible in country areas, then regular boarding accommodation will have to be provided as well. In the increasingly industrialised and specialised society in which we shall live, the rural youngster already stands at a disadvantage compared with his town cousin. There are fewer services immediately available to him. The choice of employment is so much more restricted. The obstacles in his path to technical education are so much greater. He is already penalised by the accident of his environment, and I would not want to support the uncritical acceptance of this Report which the Motion demands if it is, in fact, to accentuate an existing disparity.
§ Mr. Dalyell
Since the hon. Lady has mentioned my intervention, would it be appropriate to ask her to ask her right hon. Friend—if that is the correct procedure—what thought has been devoted to the extension of the school day? Is it included in the calculations? Are teachers to be expected to work from 9 to 6 or 9 to 6.30? It may be so, but I think that we ought to know.
§ Miss Quennell
If the hon. Gentleman is satisfied that such a communication would be valuable, I think that he should direct it to the Newsom Committee because it was that Committee which conceived the idea of an extended school day. From a reading of paragraph 31 of the Report, it is hard to see how, from the sample it took, the Committee arrived at a breakdown which could lead to this recommendation.
In Chapter 8, one finds very much the same thing; whatever the virtues of the controversial recommendation (f), it would be impracticable in a rural context. Chapter 9 suffers from the same defect.
Chapter 10 reveals an interesting wariness of public examinations, a wariness so great that the Committee felt justified in repeating it in Part II of its Report, where, in paragraph 486, it expressed its disquiet in more detail. I feel that a disquiet expressed, after three years' reflection, examination and discussion, by a body of people eminently qualified to analyse the possible consequences of a policy ought not to be taken lightly. How schools are, in fact, to be organised so that the fears which the Committee expressed can be given due weight, while leaving the new C.S.E. available to other pupils, I do not pretend to know in present educational circumstances.
In Part II, the Committee raises the problem of textbooks for children of below-average ability, and, quite rightly in my view, it criticises the books now available as unrealistic. In this country, we have been incredibly remiss and dilatory in producing textbooks for this type of child. Examples and exercises are all too often drawn from situations which a child never meets. It is deplorable that our educational publishers have not recognised the desperate need for a continuous and linked series of 122 books which would relieve teachers of the need to write their own books and invent their own exercises. The provision of such a series would immediately enormously lighten the burden on the profession, as, indeed, would the provision of the educational ancillaries also advocated by the Committee.
I have never understood why we should burden our teachers with so many non-teaching chores while complaining about the teacher shortage at the same time—though I must admit that, if all the recommendations of the Newsom Report were put into effect, the teacher would have to be not only a man but part-angel as well.
The far wider spectrum of intelligence for which the secondary modern school must cater creates problems for the teacher which are not found in the grammar school. The rising birth-rate inevitably means that our educational problems will be multiplied accordingly. I myself find the present mood of discussion and reappraisal reassuring. Our educational thinking is undergoing one of its evolutionary phases. In 10 years, our educational structure will probably be completely different from what we have now. It is important that we should come to decisions for the future on educational, not political grounds, remembering in so deciding—to quote from the Newsom Report, paragraph 436—that… all our theories represent temporary resting places in an unending quest.
§ 8.5 p.m.
§ Mrs. Harriet Slater (Stoke-on-Trent, North)
The hon. Lady the Member for Petersfield (Miss Quennell) regretted that the political aspect of the subject had been brought into the debate. Without wishing to be unkind to the Minister, I could not help thinking that the political aspect of his announcement today had been encouraged by the imminence of a General Election. After the Crowther Report was published, four years ago, the Observer had this to say, in March 1960, after discussing the recommendation that the school-leaving age should be raised:If the Government fail to adopt this, the first and principal recommendation of the Crowther Report, or puts it off … it will be a national disaster.It has taken not only Crowther but also Newsom and Robbins to induce the Government to do something, and the 123 announcement today together, no doubt, with what the Lord President of the Council will tell us later, should be regarded as being among the promises which the Tory Government are offering us at this stage in their fortunes.
I wish to devote most attention to the Newsom Report, because I have a strong suspicion that the Government accepted Robbins quickly not only because it was the more spectacular Report of the two but also because the people to whom Robbins applies are much more vocal than the people to whom Newsom applies.
Who are the children whom Newsom calls "Half Our Future"? They are, if the sample which the Committee took is to be accepted generally, the children who live on our housing estates, in our overcrowded cities and in our rural or mining areas. One-third of them, we are told, live on housing estates—some exciting, and some drab, says the Committee—onefifth live in the overcrowded centres of our cities and industrial towns—some of us who have done teaching spent our time in that sort of school—and one-fifth live in rural or mining areas. The tragedy is that many of these children not only have been subjected to living in overcrowded industrial areas or in the neglected rural areas to which the hon. Lady referred, but they have also, because of the legacy of the Industrial Revolution, and our inability to face our responsibilities in the modern age, been condemned to spend their educational years in some of the worst schools in the country.
The Minister gave us figures today to show the tremendous development which has taken place in new secondary school building. But we have not by any means solved the problem yet. We should be making very much more progress than we have made in the past 12 years. The hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Maude), who spoke about those who were pessimistic and those who were optimistic—I wondered why he was at one time such a pessimist that he left the Government in which he now has such faith and went to live in another country—made the point that the Campaign for Education was not political and that it had nothing to say about school building. But what has been said by the Campaign for Education, this non-political body 124 whose only concern is to extend and improve education? The Minister has often alleged, as others have today, that building programmes are cut because local education authorities always ask for more than they expect to get.
I have served on a local education authority for a long time and I have had responsibility as chairman of one to consider building needs and building programmes. I can honestly say we have looked at matters in the light of the needs which are most urgent for our area and we have never put forward a programme in the knowledge that it would be cut because we were asking for too much.
The Campaign for Education said:… the information supplied makes it abundantly clear that there is no evidence for any suggestion that the local education authorities deliberately inflate their submissions to the Ministry in order to secure a bigger building allocation than they might otherwise obtain, and there is little evidence to support the Minister's view that authorities would be astonished if they were to receive all they asked for".This very clear statement comes not from a member of the Opposition but from the Campaign for Education.
Some years ago we had a report on school building. I looked at home to see whether I still had it, but I had not. That was a devastating report, because it showed that many of the schools were condemned and blacklisted over 25 years ago. They still exist. I am very proud of the many improvements which we have carried out in my area, but I can think of some old buildings which never get any daylight or sunshine and which can never be made into schools appropriate to meet the needs of secondary education whatever we may do by way of minor works improvements. We might do away with the old-fashioned lavatories and put in new ones, or we might give the staff a room, but we could not possibly expand sufficiently to provide the things which should be provided in new school buildings. I think that it would do some hon. Members good to look at this old programme for school building. I am sure that those who live in rural areas will know that there are many schools in their areas which should have been pulled down years ago and which can never meet the needs of modern education.
125 Leaving the Newsom Report and looking at the present situation, we ask ourselves: what do we want from education for these people? We want not merely to make them into people who can pass examinations but to create men and women able to live in the world of the future. If we are to give these young people the facilities which they should have we must adopt a completely new outlook on what we should do for them. Moral values, on which there is a chapter in the Newsom Report, are a tremendously important factor. We can achieve the desired results only if we have the buildings, teachers, and facilities to give these young people a wider outlook on life.
In order to do that, we should provide in our schools not just the classrooms in which they can be taught but libraries in which they can learn to look for things themselves. I do not believe—and I say this emphatically—that even a below-average child cannot be encouraged to go to a library to find out things for himself. If hon. Members wish to test that, they should go to local authorities whose library committees have taken on a special Saturday morning class, as the people in my area have done. Children are encouraged to browse through the books, perhaps to look at films in the library or to listen to good classical music in the gramophone library.
We must spend very much more money on library facilities. The only hope that the old schools in my area have of getting a school library is if the numbers in the area decrease so that a classroom can be released for it. When a new secondary school is built a room is provided in which the library can be housed. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to go into one of our schools and to find children, even in their dinner hour and after school, spending time in the library because there is something about which they want to know.
I believe that every local authority must do very much more for children in the cultural sense than has been done in the past. We must extend the facilities for imparting a love of music, of art and of films. I am very proud of the fact that years ago, before such things became popular, my local authority started a film library for art schools.
§ Mrs. Slater
I am speaking of a long time ago when we thought that such a thing was a frill on which we need not spend money. That is the sort of thing which we should provide for these young people. We must do a great deal more in gibing children the opportunity to find out what they can do best.
Last week I was speaking to a young constituent who was present in the Gallery. She told me that her parents sent her to a private school because they did not think the State school was good enough. She said, "It did not do a thing for me and I did not do a thing for the school". Therefore, in desperation, her parents took her away and she went to one of our secondary schools. Then she was persuaded to go for further education to our women's technical college. Now she is doing a course through the Home Office under which she will become one of the social workers. We shall need graduates, technologists and technicians, but, if we are to make society worth living in, we shall also want many more social workers of all kinds—people who will meet our problem families, who will do not curative work alone but preventive work and who will encourage people to improve their lives and living conditions.
Here was a girl who, if she had remained at the school to which she had been sent originally, would have been lost to society for ever. She would probably have waited until a nice gentleman with a bit of money had come along and married her. Instead, because she took advantage of the facilities offered to her, and because, as a result of that, she realised that she had ability which she did not know she had, that girl will be a very useful member of society.
These are the kind of things I should like to see as doing. I should like to see a school building revolution. I should like to see the Minister of Works carrying out on school building the sort of research which we are told he is carrying out on house building. I should like teachers to be consulted on the research that they are doing and on the kind of buildings which should be provided.
127 I should like to see us building less schools for eternity and more schools which can easily be adapted to the needs, so that if in twenty years' time there is need to knock down part of a building because it is not suitable, or we might need a new science laboratory or a room for arts or crafts, we shall not have headaches because of a lot of bricks and mortar and we can easily make the change. With modern science, we have reached the age when we can make such accommodation soundproof and warm, supplied with fresh air and as good as some of the buildings which were put up in the past. If we can do that, some of our schools would look less like prisons and more like buildings in which we rear human beings.
The other thing of which I wish to speak, and which concerns the Newsom Committee in particular, is experiment in education. I do not think we have made enough experiment in education. Not only do we want to do the things about which I have been speaking, but we also need to develop the personality of the boy or the girl. A few weeks ago a team from one of our grammar schools won the "Top of the form" award. I was assured by the head of the school that the girls were not chosen merely because they had a lot of general knowledge, but that they had personality as well. Even if Port Vale does not beat Liverpool tonight at football, at least our girls have reached the national level both in general knowledge and in personality.
I should like to see experiments made in education rather than being tied simply to the accepted facts of today. I hope that my local authority will be one of the leaders in the experiment of developing the high school rather than the grammar school, the secondary school and the present system. When we started to think out this experiment, the statement which we issued said that if we are not careful, an important criticism of our system of secondary education at present lies in the fact that however hard teachers and others try to achieve parity of esteem for the secondary modern schools, these schools, which cater for the vast majority of our children, are still regarded by parents and children as a second-best. 128 That is why we hope that in the future we shall certainly abolish the 11-plus. It is about time that it had gone for ever. I hope that having abolished the 11-plus we shall not concentrate merely on trying to crowd young minds to pass either the O-level or the new Certificate of Secondary Education. We will do that, of course, but it should not become the whole purpose of our educational system.
That is why I hope that an authority like ours—and others—will develop the high school plan in which every child will be educated so that he or she can get on according to the time the child develops and according to the ability which he suddenly finds that he possesses, and that teachers, too, will begin to feel that they are part of, not the second-best or the very best, but of an educational system which is worthy of the very best which teachers put into it.
This afternoon, in reply to a supplementary question, the Minister of Labour said that the Government could undertake and surmount all problems. That was a bold and courageous statement. I do not believe that they have done all that they intended to do. I hope, however, that in education the Government will, as two or three hon. Members have already said, not make the mistake of having a first-class and a second-class Minister of Education. I hope that at least we have continuity of educational work and that the country will get away from the idea of people being born into a certain class and having all the opportunities.
The Newsom Report says that diction and ability to speak is one of the main things which distinguishes children. That is why some hon. Members send their children to the public schools. It is not so much because of what the public school does educationally in achievement, perhaps, by examination, but because of elocution. Sometimes, the man who becomes most plausible is the man who very often can get away with murder. That kind of education also gives the children poise.
I hope that we get away from that system and that in education we regard the problem, not from the age of 6, but from the nursery stage, and that all children, no matter who they are, where they come from, the class to which they 129 are born or the city in which their parents happen to work, will at least have the best which it is possible to give. And I hope that in the future we shall not need to have a Report which deals with only "Half our Future", but a report which deals with the whole of the educational system.
§ 8.27 p.m.
§ Mr. Charles Curran (Uxbridge)
The hon. Lady the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mrs. Slater) has spent most of her speech in telling us that there is room for improvement in our educational system. Of course there is, and there always will be. When, however, the hon. Lady points out at great length and in great detail, and with a good deal of bitterness, the need for further improvement, it is fair to remind her that our educational system has not been completely static for the last 12 years.
As was pointed out earlier—and it is relevant to the debate—12 years ago the country was devoting 3 per cent. of its national income to education. In 12 years, under the present Government, that 3 per cent. has been lifted to 5 per cent., and it is 5 per cent. of a larger national income than the 3 per cent. was 12 years ago. If the Government go out of office at the General Election having done nothing else, they will be able to go out with the statement to their credit that for the first time in our social history England is now spending more money on education than she is spending on drink. That is a transformation well worth making.
The statement which has dominated the debate is the announcement, which seems to have surprised some of the critics on the benches opposite, of the decision that we are now to raise the school leaving age. I welcome this particularly, since in the first speech I made in this House I urged that we should raise the school-leaving age. It is not by any means as self-evident as some people suppose that this is universally popular or will be universally welcomed.
Whenever I have advocated the raising of the school-leaving age, I have found quite a measurable amount of dissent both among the general public and in the teaching profession. I have been told often enough by members of the 130 teaching profession that to raise the school-leaving age to 16 by compulsion is the wrong way of tackling the matter and that what we should do is to allow the process of voluntarily staying on to continue, which would gradually keep in the schools all the children whom it would be worth educating to the age of 16, and allow the others to depart.
I am glad that in his speech this afternoon my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education demolished the argument, which is constantly used, that we could leave that process to natural selection and that, if we did nothing, gradually more and more parents would keep their children at school after the age of 15 and we would get a voluntary raising of the age without any action by this House.
I was surprised—I am sure most of us were—by the figures the Minister of Education gave. There is a widespread impression that the rate of voluntary staying on at school is much greater than the figures show. I hope that the Minister for Science will be able to amplify those statistics. It is very much part of the argument for raising the age by compulsion that the process of erosion is working very slowly and in a very patchy and unevenly distributed fashion. Interested though I was in the statistics that we were given, I hope that the Minister for Science will be able to give us further statistics and details.
I am sure that we are right to say that the raising of the leaving age must be a matter of compulsion. I cannot shrink from using that word. We cannot leave it to the processes of time. Unless the State is prepared to use compulsion and force parents to keep their children at school there will always be a sizeable number of parents who will not let their children stay there. Every step that we have ever taken in raising the leaving age since we made education compulsory by law has been rejected. I am glad that the Government are now prepared to ignore any opposition there may be to the compulsory raising of the age. They are right to do so. I suppose that the time when they have indicated they will do it is the earliest practicable moment when it can be done.
I thought our position on this matter was admirably stated in the Crowther Report, and the words Crowther used are worth repeating now that we are 131 taking this decision. The Report said that what the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, the community must want for all its children, and that a child of 15 is not sufficiently mature to be exposed to the pressures of the world of industry and commerce. None of us here would allow our children to leave school at 15 and be thrust into the labour market, and I believe we are right to say that what we will not do with our own children we should not allow the community to do with any children.
I will not argue—I know that it is fashionable to do so—that we need more education on the ground that it will make the country richer. I am not sure that there is any necessary connection between more literacy and more affluence. That seems a completely illegitimate argument to use. I doubt very much whether the more educated this country becomes the richer it will become. I doubt very much also whether more education will make the individual recipient any richer. It may very well have the opposite effect.
One reason—it is not the only one—why the professional classes are worse off nowadays relatively than they used to be is that they are more numerous. If we multiply still further the number of educated people in the country—and we must—we shall ultimately reach the point where education will not confer very much of a differential advantage in the labour market. That is not a reason for not extending education, but it is a good reason for not using bogus arguments about it. I am not interested in making the country more educated primarily so that it may become richer or in giving more education to children primarily in order that they may become richer. The case for more education can be put on a far more respectable basis than that.
I do not want to say much more about the educational arguments for providing more education, if I may use that tautology. I will leave people who are better qualified than I am to argue about the justification for developing the talents that we have to the utmost. I want to look at the social implications of what we are doing.
I believe that, as Crowther and Newsom and a good many others have said, 132 it is completely wrong for us to go on flinging masses of semi-literate children into the labour market at 15. The social results of doing this can be seen all around us. By doing this and by continuing to do it, we are to a very large extent destroying the economic basis of the family. The family does not exist in a vacuum. It exists to a very great extent because the children are economically dependent on the parent. Under full employment when teen-agers can go into the labour market and command incomes on a scale which makes them often economically independent, the structure of the family tends to become very weak.
There is a very strong social case, an overwhelming one, for doing what we are now about to do, and making it compulsory for children to stay off the labour market at any rate until they are 16. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) pointed out—and it is very relevant—once we raise the age to 16, the process tends to snowball. If every child is required to stay at school until the age of 16, many will be encouraged to stay until they are 17 or 18. We have seen that sort of thing in the past whenever we have raised the school-leaving age, and I hope we shall see it again when we raise the age to 16. In doing that, we shall be doing something which will have very extensive social implications.
As we raise the age at which children leave school and take these masses of semi-literate teen-agers off the labour market, we shall stop the market—this has been going on ever since the war—exposing all sorts of immature children—children whose minds are immature, but they can often command the incomes of adults—to the temptations and seductions of commercialism which is seeking to exploit the teen-ager.
I am not interested in protecting adults from the temptations of commercialism. I decline to become concerned when adults are seduced by advertisers—if they ever are. They should be able to take care of themselves and learn how to do it by trial and error. But radically different considerations apply when we think about children. I do not like to see children able to go into the labour market at 15 and command incomes which often 133 make them economically independent of their parents and find themselves open to all the temptations provided by people who are in pursuit of this great mass of purchasing power. We are doing something which is socially right when we tackle, as we are about to do, the existence of this great mass of immature purchasing power which is so often exploited.
I fancy that the decision announced by the Minister to raise the school leaving age may accurately be called a social revolution. It is a step towards destroying something which has flourished in Britain since the war, and which I for one decline to flatter. I am not impressed by the creation of a teen-age sub-culture, the creation of a great mass of immature young people commanding a great deal of money, whom it has become modish to flatter in search of it, and who can create in that immaturity idols to suit themselves. This is not something I welcome or like.
I know that it is popular—or is supposed to be—to flatter teen-agers, but I decline to do it. I refuse to express admiration when we see clergy ready to debate points of theology with crooners lifted to Surtax level by teenage purchasing power. I do not like that situation, and by raising the school-leaving age I believe that we shall take a long step towards eroding it.
There are very great educational arguments for what the Government are to do. It may be argued—many have done so forcibly and some have not—that, by raising the school-leaving age, we shall make better use of the available ability in the country and thus will we all be richer. It is contended that this aspect must be emphasised to lure the British people into taking this step. I do not believe that either.
As I have said, I recognise that we must not assume that the desire for more education is universal and that it is necessarily popular with everybody. One reason I joined the Campaign for the Advancement of Education—I have been a subscribing member since it was formed and have spoken for it very often—was that I wanted to help create a public opinion that would demand a larger expansion of education. I recognise that it is necessary to create that public opinion.
134 It is idle for those interested in education to imagine that everybody shares that interest. When one looks at the British electorate one is struck at once by the impressive fact that one-sixth—indeed, almost one-fifth—consists of men and women too old to work and who represent collectively a formidable pressure group in favour of services other than education.
I want to see the creation of a formidable education lobby. That is why I joined the Campaign and I hope that no one who wants to see more education will assume that the pressure for it is there and is self-evident. The moment it becomes clear to the people that extra money on education involves choice, as it must, which means inevitably spending less on something else—that we cannot expand education unless we are prepared to put a brake on other forms of public interest, whether pensions, roads, hospitals or anything else—then I fancy that we will find a rapid diminution of entnusiasm for education among those sections of society which will not benefit from its expansion.
I hope, therefore, that the Minister will not suppose that what he is doing, admirable though it is and warmly as support it will necessarily command universal consent. I do not think that it will. It will be necessary for those who support it to do our utmost to persuade people that it is a good thing, not because it will make us richer but because it is a matter of fair play for the children.
§ 8.43 p.m.
§ Mr. William Hamilton (Fife, West)
I do not accept for a moment the assertion of the hon Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Curran) that spending more on education necessarily means spending less on other things. Clearly, if we got the rise in national income which we should have had over the last few years we could and should spend much more on education than we have done, and this could be done without necessarily spending less on anything else.
The hon. Gentleman referred to the 5 per cent. of our national income which we devote to education. I would remind him that this figure has only been achieved after many years, during which we have spent 7 per cent. of the national 135 income on defence annually. If this is the kind of priority we have to be faced with, I have no doubt where the prior claim lies.
§ Mr. Hamilton
I am sorry. I cannot give way. I have only a few minutes.
I was glad that the Minister made his statement about the school-leaving age. It did not surprise us, because the Government must have been aware of the view, widely held in the country, that they had treated Robbins rather more enthusiatically than Newsom. When Robbins was produced, the Prime Minister was about to fight his bye-election in Kinross and West Perthshire. When he had the Government's acceptance of the Report announced, I doubt whether he had even read it at the time. Indeed, I doubt whether he has yet read it. But the Government were at great pains to announce their complete acceptance of it.
I have been quite disturbed this afternoon by a certain complacency among hon. Members opposite about what has been achieved and what is likely to be achieved. The very fact that these Reports have been produced has indicated that there was a crisis in our schools and in higher education. Both Robbins and Newsom pinpoint that. Robbins referred specifically to the crisis of the next few years—this is in paragraph 817 which I need not quote—and the Newsom Report contains a chapter on education in the slums. Both Reports clearly show that however much has been achieved, it has not been nearly enough. I challenge the Government to say that these problems could not have been solved by now if we had devoted to them at least as much of our national resources over the last twelve years as we have to other things, not least defence.
I cannot help feeling that the people in authority, the people in power—and my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) made this point but did not enlarge on it as I would have liked—can contract out of the evils pinpointed by the Reports by going into the private sector and paying for a superior education. To that extent the protests of the most eloquent minority in the community are stifled and muted and it is 136 only now that the vast majority of people are realising that the future of their families and, more important, the future of the nation depend on the fulfilment of the underlying principle of Robbins, that every boy and girl who has the ability and proves that he has and who wants to use that ability should have the chance to do so in some form of higher education.
So long as there is this gross inadequacy of opportunity it is a useless and cruel deception to talk about one nation, as do the Prime Minister and others. It is no such thing and those of us who represent ordinary working-class areas and working-class people know that it is a lie to say that it is one nation. It is nothing of the kind. The opportunities which are denied to working-class children and working-class parents and the figures high-lighted in both Reports add up to an immeasurable waste of our most precious raw material, and that waste is most glaring and criminal among the sons and daughters of manual workers. The figures are all there in the Robbins Report.
There is a vital point which follows from that. Robbins shoots down the myth that the pool of ability is limited, that more higher education means the lowering of standards, that more means worse. Robbins underestimates the richness of the untapped human resources at our disposal. Accepting, as I do and as I believe Robbins did, that the size of this pool of ability depends on factors such as the size of the family, the father's occupation, the family's economic resources, the parents' education, the quality of primary and secondary education, housing and other social factors, and environment, it inevitably follows that as these things improve, as housing and health improve and as the incomes of fathers improve, so the pool of ability, especially among working-class children, will increase phenomenally.
If the Government are serious about tapping this pool to the maximum, we should not be discussing education in isolation. We should be talking about improving family allowances, because Robbins makes it quite clear that a child from a large home has less opportunity than a child from a smaller one. If we improve family allowances, if boarding schools provide more places for culturally deprived children, if we 137 have an enormously increased housing programme to get rid of the slums and slum schools, and if we provide generous maintenance allowances to encourage children to stay on full-time after the school-leaving age, we shall be able to tackle this problem. I do not underestimate the difficulties referred to by the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the raising of the school-leaving age. I appreciate that this may give rise to difficulties in providing the necessary staff and buildings, but I regard these as challenges from which we should not shrink.
All this expansion, and all that Robbins suggested, pre-supposes the continued existence of processes of selection and segregation at the arbitrary ages of 11 and 18. There is no scientific reason why we should select and segregate at those ages, and there is an increasing awareness among vast sections of the community that it is wrong to do so. There is increasing support for the comprehensive principle, and if that principle is right at the age of 11, it becomes even more right at the age of 18. I look forward to the day when we do not decide by arbitrary academic tests whether a boy or a girl should go to university. We should provide opportunities for everybody who wants to try to get to that standard to do so, even though 18 per cent. prove to be failures.
That is one reason why I thought it was wonderfully imaginative of my right hon. Friend to suggest a university of the air. There must be thousands of adults who do not possess the necessary academic attainments to get into a university, but who would nevertheless like to engage in the academic and intellectual exercise of meeting a university curriculum by means of television or radio. I think that the educational potential of the radio and television has hardly been touched on.
In the next few months we are to have an election. There is a great need for political education in the country. Why should not the Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition have ten programmes of half an hour each on specified subjects? The Prime Minister says that he wants to modernise Britain and inform the people of what is going on, what he is doing, 138 and why he is doing it. Let the right hon. Gentleman and my right hon. Friend take part in ten academic exercises on education, on social services, on defence, on foreign affairs, and so on. People would then be informed of what was happening. The programmes would exercise their minds and give them a sound political education, and if, after the election, we could extend that scheme to other spheres and produce university standard courses, I think that we would tap resources which we never knew existed in this country. I should like to see us engage in that kind of imaginative process.
The Robbins Committee makes it clear that Scotland should have one, if not two, of the new university establishments. I am greedy, and want two, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will tell us very soon, if not tonight, that he accepts that there will be at least one university there. A promotion committee has produced a good case for one university in East Stirlingshire. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will say that he accepts that recommendation, and that he is now looking for a site for a second one. Robbins reported a shortfall of about 15,000 students, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will err on the side of generosity if need be and plump for two universities for Scotland, rather than one.
As for the question of one or two Ministers, I accept the principle enunciated by my hon. Friend that education should be seen as a whole, and that there should be one Minister—and what applies to England also applies to Scotland.
§ 8.55 p.m.
§ Mr. R. H. S. Crossman (Coventry, East)
At the beginning of my speech I feel that I ought to make a confession. Although I have spent a lot of my life in education his is the first time in my 17 years in the House that I have been privileged to catch the eye of the Chair in a debate on education. I speak among a number of experts. I want to start as an inexpert by referring to the equable nature of the debate. Personally, I relished the more spirited attitude adopted by my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. W. Hamilton), and I hope to say one or two things later on the subject of apartheid.
139 First, however, I will maintain the equable atmosphere by congratulating the Minister on his decision about the school-leaving age. True, it is three years after the last day recommended by the Crowther Report; true, it is two years after the last date recommended by the Newsom Report. Still, it is there. As I listened to the Minister's detailed and persuasive reasons—and he put forward complex arguments why it was essential that the change should take place in 1970 and not in 1969—I was fascinated.
I found his arguments completely convincing, but I could not help remembering the last time on which I heard him putting forward equally brilliant arguments. This was during the debate in which he told us why, in February, 1962, the University Grants Committee had to have its grant cut. He was brilliant—just as good as he was today. At that time he stated that in his view the Government's targetrepresents the fastest practicable rate of university expansion, and no one conversant with our universities has ever suggested that they could be expanded at a faster rate."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th April, 1962; Vol. 657, c. 772.]He was very expert, and it all sounded very convincing. Yet now, two years later, he proves with equal brilliance that the rate could be vastly faster. Therefore, I view with a certain suspicion the strength of his arguments.
The Minister also made a rather shorter announcement—and I wish he had left this to his right hon. Friend—concerned with the question whether there should be two Ministers rather than one. If I understood him correctly, he said that the Prime Minister would soon be able to tell us the answer, and that in the meantime we could rest assured that it would make no difference to the progress of education. It is a very modest view for a politician to hold of himself—to say that the final solution of a major dispute about political power will make no difference whatsoever.
We have now had more than three months since the Robbins Report. We have had more than three months since its enthusiastic reception, in principle, by the Government, and in those three months we have been aware of the semipublic 140 altercation that has gone on between the two right hon. Gentlemen, and have been able to follow the arguments, week after week, and stage by stage, in the Sunday newspapers—one expressing a preference for one Minister and the other for two Ministers.
I sympathise with the Minister for Science in his predicament. There was a very good case for having two Ministers, but he was embarrassed by the discovery that the Robbins Committee had managed to make a mess of that case by dividing the functions in a way which would inevitably have led to a Minister of higher education and another Minister of lower education. How much happier he would have been—and I might have been—if the Robbins Committee had recommended that education in schools should be dealt with by one Minister, and all education outside the schools—further and higher—by another, and part-time by another. But that was not the case.
Well, we have all been given time to reflect upon the matter, and I make the guess that when the result comes it will not be very different from what my hon. Friends and I have proposed. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, after long consideration we have come to the conclusion that it is essential to have one Secretary of State for Education, with two Ministers of State under him. In the beginning it will probably be two Ministers, each of whom will have his Parliamentary Secretary and his accounting officer, so that the situation will be parallel in certain respects with that of the Minister of Defence and the Service Secretaries of State.
This seems to us a practical solution and it is a solution which, I believe, is bound, as hon. Members opposite have already pointed out, to impress itself more and more on the Government. So we may well get the final solution that the actual proposal made by the Minister of Education prevails, but that the new Secretary of State for Education will be the man who opposed the proposal, namely, the Minister for Science. Stranger things than that have occurred in politics. Meanwhile, I find it very odd that we should be told that the conflict between those two, which has raged over three months, has made 141 no difference. I am glad that they estimate their importance at that level.
I turn to the Motion of censure, and I want to make one statement straight away. Of course I do not pretend that there have not been great improvements in education during the 12 years of Tory Government. I seem to remember that it was the present Foreign Secretary who told us that in 25 years we could, and would, double our standard of living. If we could do that in 25 years, then in 12 years it was bound to be true that there would be 50 per cent. better education than there was at the beginning. That would be a very modest increase, and therefore it would not be surprising to discover than in 12 years there had been some advance.
The criticisms that we advance and the basis for our Motion of censure are not that there have not been essential improvements in education. We make two basic criticisms of the Government in regard to education. First, we say that the advance has been unnecessarily and disastrously slowed up by the Government's stop-go economic policy. Secondly, we assert that the Government have an educational policy of piecemeal improvements without any kind of coherent plan and that this has led to certain very dangerous results in education, which I shall point out later on.
I start with the question of stop-go. The hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Maude) suggested that it was absurd to talk about a stop-go policy. He said that there were no cuts except reasonable cuts made by the Minister of the estimates put forward by the local education committees. This is one of the points where it is worth getting the facts right. Of course, he was right in saying that when he is presented with proposals by local authorities a Minister trims them. But there were three occasions in the life of this Tory Government when they cut their own estimates and not those of the local authorities. The first was in the winter of 1951 when there was a 5 per cent. cut on current expenditure—£14 million cut from building projects, including the work to relieve overcrowding, to replace slum schools and for the reorganisation of all-age schools. All this was cut back in 1951 142 and then we had a period of going forward again. We had the next crisis in the winter of 1957. Again, we had the £14 million cut of the Government's own estimates, once again centred on the old schools, once again cutting back the slums, and once again the all-age schools were preserved. Those cuts were maintained in 1958 and 1959.
In 1959, we had another surge forward by the Government until in July, 1961, the Leader of the House made his famous cuts. These were the third cuts I would remind the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon, imposed not by the local authorities but by the Government. I would remind him that this cut of July, 1961, is still in effect today, and the boost which the Minister gave to the building programme last October still leaves us £9 million short of the original total.
We ought to be quite clear that one of the ways in which education has suffered is by constantly making plans to expand it, and then suddenly saying that there is an economic crisis and the public services must take the first cut. Let us be quite clear that this cut was not applied to private enterprise capital investment it was always applied to essential public services. The same thing was simultaneously applied to teachers' pay. In July 1961, simultaneously with the then Chancellor of the Exchequer cutting the building programme, we had Lord Eccles, then Sir David Eccles, cut out £42 million from the Burnham Award, and that culminated in 1963 in the Minister eliminating the Burnham Committee as a negotiator in order to get his way.
So much for the stop-and-go education in schools. In universities we have a different picture. It is true that in the universities from 1951 to 1955 there were actual reductions in the number of university students, a rather striking fact in the first four years of Tory rule. From 1957 onwards there has been a steady advance of the target of the university student population. We started with 106,000 in 1957 and in seven stages—I think that the target has been changed seven times from 1957 to 1963—we have got to the Robbins total of 157,000 university students by 1967. What makes the U.G.C. cut so fantastic is that it was a cut proposed when the Government were insisting on an even 143 higher target for the expansion of the university student population. Why there should be an appeal for more and more university students when the building programme was being cut back no one could explain even then.
So we come to the Opposition vote of censure. We see that our resolution has been moved for us from outside this House by such people as the head of London University. What did Sir Douglas Logan say? He certainly is an impartial man:When we survey the development of university aid during the decade, however, the absence of a coherent plan consistently followed is painfully obvious … The inability to take the long view, the repeated alterations in the target, the fixing of objectives without willing the necessary means are the very negation of planning. The root of the trouble is that the Government is not yet fully converted to the view that education must be put at the head of the national investment programme.What Sir Douglas Logan said in those words was repeated in the Report of the Robbins Committee which also passed a vote of censure on the Government when it said:It must be recognised that universities already have cause for lack of confidence in the Government's intentions. In the last few years, the universities have wished to go forward more rapidly than they have been enabled to do. The many representations made in the recent years to ensure that their resources should match the rising demand have met with an inadequate response. Neither capital nor recurrent grants have been sufficient.So I do not think that we need talk about political propaganda. The censure on the Government comes from the world of education which has reported, in a responsible way, that the Government in that sense are to blame.
I wish to move from the first grave indictment, the stop-and-go policy, to the second, the absence of any coherent plan, the piecemeal advance and, finally the contrast between the immediate and eager acceptance of the Robbins Committee's programme with the Government's attitude to the six previous reports. Some hon. Members opposite have said that it is unfair to say that the Government show any greater interest in higher education than in other forms of education. I wish to remind them of the history of the Reports which the Government had presented to themselves in the last ten years. First, in 144 1954 and 1956 there were two Reports on early leaving. In 1956 we had the Weaver Report with recommendations about improved maintenance scales, and this was rejected by the Government. There was the Crowther Report. We sometimes forget that in paragraph 302 it is stated:The Minister should reaffirm his intention to implement at the earliest possible date the provision of compulsory part-time education for all young persons of 16 and 17 who are not in full-time education.I should like to hear from the Minister when he proposes to make that proclamation and whether he respects the view of the Crowther Committee that compulsory part-time day release is a vital thing. I shall have something to say about that later. Then we come to the Albemarle Report, on youth clubs. That again was a Report which put forward many proposals and the response of the Government has been very meagre. Finally, we had the Wolfenden Report on sport. I do not need to go into detail, but all these Committees were set up and little or nothing was done about them. Then suddenly we had the Robbins Committee Report and, within 24 hours, its crash programme was accepted.
In order to point this contrast I point out to the Minister for Science another Committee—which I did not mention—the Anderson Committee, of 1960. It was concerned with the means test for student's grants. An interesting facet of the attitude of this Government to life is its attitude to the amount of money found for a student at university and the amount for families of children whom the parents want to keep at school. The university grant is not perfect, but at least the Government have now arranged that 40 per cent. of students have all their fees paid, there is a fairly good maintenance grant, and a means test applying only to a high level of income.
I read the conditions laid down for families who want to keep children at school. The Minister's recommended scale means that no parent of a child of 15 can receive any grant unless the parent is receiving less than £390 a year. The parent can receive the full grant only if he has £300 a year or less. Even if he qualifies for a full grant, he will receive only £40 a year if the child is 15 and, if the child is 17 or more, the 145 grant rises to £65. Now see the difference when it comes to higher education. Parents of a child at university get £176 for maintenance and the income limit is not £390, but £1,500.
The Government must not be surprised if we notice a certain difference in treatment and if I point out to the Minister that to implement the Robbins Report and the Robbins proposals for acceleration of university education while leaving the rate of progress the same as it now is in other fields would be to create not only an 18-plus but also to accentuate a form of social differentiation which the Robbins Committee pointed out as one of the most important defects in our whole university system.
Robbins spent a lot of time pointing out what enormously greater chances the son of someone in the professional classes had in relation to university entrance than the son of someone in the working classes. I am not going to point out the difference in detail. Hon. Members I know them quite well. When we add to them this meanness in regard to maintenance of children at school it naturally means that those who get to university come predominantly from middle-class homes, while children of workers find it infinitely more difficult because of the maintenance test and the means test.
I am glad to see the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mr. G. Johnson Smith) present, because he made an excellent remark about apartheid in this connection. We are committed when we come to Government to have a graded children's allowance without a means test, with a rising scale of maintenance so that the more the need the more the allowance will be in order to enable those from working-class families to increase the proportion sharing in further education.
To say that Robbins without Newsom is wrong is under-estimating the problem. The real problem, which I put in all seriousness to the House, is that the very goodness of the Robbins Report, its excellence, presents its problems. This is the first fully costed Report, phased and with the manpower worked out so that we can see what we are involved in.
146 Let me read to the Minister the other kinds of education for which we have no kind of costed report corresponding to Robbins.
(1) We want a costed and phased programme for eliminating over-sized classes and slum buildings in primary schools by 1980. If we had a similar programme and knew what it would cost, how much better off we should be than by the present piece-meal approach.
(2) We want a costed, phased programme, not only for eliminating all the scandals and evils listed by the Newsom Committee in our secondary modern schools, but for removing segregation from secondary education and integrating the private sector. That will be quite a task. It must be done, but no one has worked out the problem in anything like the same detail as Robbins did. Indeed, we have not worked it out at all.
(3) I want a costed and phased plan for compulsory day-release for all boys and girls after leaving school at 16 as part of a national training programme. We also want to know the cost of the implementation of the Albemarle and Wolfenden Reports.
(4) We want a costed and phased programme for adult education, including retraining, refresher courses and what my right hon. Friend referred to as the university of the air.
Did someone say that these latter are not so important? But in educational terms they are just as important. Who can say that primary education is less important than higher education? Who can say that effective secondary education, with the 11-plus eliminated, is not as important as higher education? Who can say that the education of the boys and girls who leave school at 16, as we hope, or at 15, as now, is not just as important? Lastly, who can deny that trying to get our adult population to be education conscious is not of very great importance, even if we consider it only in terms of the home? Every one of these things is important. But whereas we know roughly what it means to achieve full university education for everybody by 1980, we do not yet know in anything like the same detail what it would mean to carry out the rest of that comprehensive programme.
147 The Minister would not deny any of this claim, and I suggest to him that we cannot judge our educational progress until we have an overall plan based on as full and detailed an analysis of the requirements of the other four parts of education as the right hon. Gentleman gave us of higher education.
Of course I welcome the Robbins Report. Of course I welcome the principle recognised by the Government. Of course I welcome the crash programme, partly because we put it forward in almost identical terms six months ago. But I will refer briefly to four problems which in my view arise out of the Robbins Report and which must be tackled, whichever Government is in power.
The first, which was referred to by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell), is the problem of the pool of talent. If we improve the rest of our education as much and as fast as we improve our higher education, it is quite absurd to believe that only 17 per cent. of the boys and girls will then get to A-level. It might well rise to 30 per cent. This brings to a head a problem which has worried me personally for a great many years. I am not convinced that full academic education right through from sixth form to 22 to 23 years of age is suitable for everybody. I would point out that, with the extra fourth or fifth year now required in academic education, the period will be longer and not shorter. I am not satisfied that every able person, every person with will, vigour and intelligence, is suited to go straight from school to university for three or four years. I am not convinced of it at all.
There is a lot of evidence from other countries that, provided the way to university is kept open, going to work at the age of 16 or 17 may suit certain temperaments better than hanging on at school.
If we hold to this astonishing assumption that all children fit for higher education must go, full-time, straightaway to university, we shall do two things—first, a great many people who go there will be unsuited and will waste their time, and, secondly, there will be a feeling that if they do not get their 18-plus they are doomed and are 148 one of the 80 per cent. who are "not pukka." That would not be a very good situation to achieve.
This makes me want to emphasise again and again the importance of a neglected feature—further and part-time higher education. It was not the Robbins Report—indeed, it was not the job of the Robbins Committee—which suggested that this was a most neglected field. Though in part our further education has brilliant things in it, where individual employers do well, it needs a most searching inquiry. The standard of teaching in our further education and technical colleges must be considered. If the N.U.T. requires whole-time graduates for whole-time training for teachers in the schools, it does not require them for teachers in technical education. I am not criticising them; valiantly they do what they can, but they are starved of money and of self-esteem. The greatest danger, perhaps, of the Robbins Report is its effect in those areas where, if there were two Ministers of Education, technical education would be regarded as second-class education because they were not of university status.
I entirely agree with the Minister when he said that the bridges are the important things to maintain—the bridges between those who leave school at 16 and are doing further education or training and who might graduate and those doing full-time further education. The job of a regional college of technology is precisely to have within its walls people of both these sorts linking the parts of a community together. It would be disastrous if one of the results of the Robbins Report would be to make that separation absolute by having the sharpest division between university status on the one hand and inferior education on the other. We should then be having, as has been said, two nations in education.
I should like to say some further words about part-time education for the adult. I went the other day to have a talk with people at Birkbeck and have a look at what was going on at L.S.E. in part-time education. We are a nation that does less of this than almost any nation. It is a great pity for English people to believe that if they do not get to university by examination by 18 149 they must give up because books are only what one reads at school. One of the great disadvantages we have in competition with other nations is this adult attitude that education is something that is behind one. We should therefore do everything possible to stimulate part-time education, whether through the university of the air or by making it easier to link it more closely with our existing universities.
The second difficulty is one of building priority. Here I merely want to ask the Minister for Science a question. Is he sure that the Robbins Committee was wise to recommend that two-thirds of our new students should be in residential hostels? This is an enormous burden on our building industry. I would have thought that in a period of great emergency we might have done something like the Scots who have perfectly good universities and are proud to go to their local university. I wonder whether in order to save building which could go to slum clearance and housing we would be well advised to give people a lodging allowance who go to their local university so as to encourage them not to move. That is simply a thought I put to the Minister. I am not convinced that we should produce an overwhelmingly lavish standard for students which we cannot afford to keep up in other parts of our educational system.
The third difficulty which the Robbins Report raises is that we have to change not only the amount of education but its contents. The Robbins Committee, as we all know, recommended three major changes of content. Firstly, the Committee thinks that specialisation is an evil if it comes too early and that we have to change towards a more general type of first degree course. Secondly, the Committee holds that we must have a movement towards technology and also out of the arts into science.
On this, I merely ask the Minister for Science whether he would not agree with me that in one respect the Robbins Committee was deficient in its analysis and that it should have made a special study of mathematics and science teachers in the schools. It is no good having a global aggregate number of teachers if they are of the wrong kind. If most of 150 the university students are arts students they will go on creating arts teachers in the schools when they become teachers and the school deficit will become worse and worse. We are desperately short of science and mathematics teachers in the universities and particularly in the schools. I ask whether we should not have a special study made of this problem to overcome this.
I hope that I have made one point clear in what I have had to say, which is that we cannot cure the ills of the universities without dealing with the schools, and we cannot cure the ills of the schools without dealing with the universities. Specialisation is something which derives from the universities. The Robbins Committee points out that the university scholarship induces specialisation in the sixth form and this goes right down the system until we have the ridiculous situation in which our children are the only children in the world who are forced to decide whether to go for arts or for science at 14 years of age. If we are ever to get our technology right and an education which is balanced we must deal with the problem in the universities and in the schools at the same time.
We have also to deal with it most urgently as the Robbins Committee pointed out, in Oxford and Cambridge. The Robbins Committee recommends that unless they rapidly improve themselves our ancient universities should submit themselves to a kind of Clarendon Commission. Perhaps the Minister for Science will have something to say about that tonight.
I should like to say this to the Minister for Science in conclusion. Of course, we do not say there has been no progress, but we do say that the reconstruction of our education on modern lines, the elimination of an already partly eliminatedélite system and the substitution of an open system instead is probably the greatest single problem that we have to face. To do that we need to do two things. First, we must have a coherent and balanced plan for advance of all educational fronts, knowing that no fronts can have everything. All will be short of buildings and teachers for as long as we can see, and that means that the need for balance between the five segments that I have suggested is more important than ever.
151 Secondly, we need a Government which will consistently give to education, as the greatest of our public services, clear and unambiguous priority over private consumption and private spending for ten years at least. It is because in the last ten years successive Tory Governments have failed in both these respects that we are moving this Motion of censure tonight.
§ 9.26 p.m.
§ The Lord President of the Council and Minister for Science (Mr. Quintin Hogg)
It is a great pleasure to me to have listened once again to the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman). The last time I spoke in this House in debate was 14 years ago, when I was also answering him, on that occasion in reply to a speech not less brilliant than that to which we have just listened. He was advising against entry into the Coal and Steel Community. The hon. Member has not changed in the interval. His kaleidoscopic and sometimes baffling changes of front, coupled with his great powers of exposition, always delight the House.
Only last July, I was reading in HANSARD his able advocacy of what afterwards came to be called the Robbins proposal of a Ministry of Arts and Sciences, which I think he termed a Minister of Higher Education and Research. It was equally pleasant this afternoon to hear him rebuking us for not accepting more readily a single Secretary of State for Education with two subordinate Ministers with the same alacrity as he himself has shown in the art of follow-my-leader.
What baffled me most about the hon. Member's speech was his complete abandonment of the terms of the Motion. We came here to debate a Motion of censure, we suppose seriously moved, attacking us for our failure for more than four years since the Crowther Report to take a decision on the raising of the school-leaving age. Then there were references to the two specific Reports of Newsom and Robbins. But the hon. Member for Coventry, East abandoned these grounds of contention altogether. He charged us instead with a stop-go economic policy ranging over our entire economic affairs and with a piecemeal approach to education.
152 My Lords—I beg your pardon, Sir. [Laughter.] Mr. Speaker, I hope that it will be in order for me to say "Bother!"
The hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) referred to me, a little oddly, as a strange face sitting on the Treasury Bench, and he then went on to accuse me of being a cuckoo, although I thought he wholly failed to persuade the House that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education was either temperamentallly or structurally fitted for the rôle of a sparrow.
The House is customarily content to offer a measure of forbearance to a maiden speaker. There may be pedants who inquire about the possibility of a second maiden speech. I can only say that my own opinion is that it is not only possible but more difficult than the first. In the first, of course, one always has the advantage of innocence. By the second time, one may have learned bad habits. In the fourteen years I have been away from this House, I fear that I have acquired, learned, practised and finally come to enjoy a rather more stately and deferential mode of debate than is customary here. I know that this will make me particularly vulnerable to the boisterous winds and eddies I must expect from now on. I can only plead for a measure of chivalry from hon. Members until I find my new sea legs. Perhaps the House will indulge me when I say that I am much moved and profoundly satisfied to see the green benches around me again and to represent my father's old constituency—a thrill I never expected to enjoy in life after, by the accident of birth and the innate conservatism of Mr. Attlee, I was wafted to another place.
The Motion, as I ventured to point out, is far more limited than the discussion in which hon. Members opposite have indulged. I felt inclined to commiserate with the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) at the predicament in which he found himself in opening the debate. He presented us with a Motion which, like some other articles, had two barrels. The first expressed regret that the Government had failed to reach a conclusion which, by curious coincidence, they announced immediately after his speech. Clearly, 153 the first barrel misfired. The second, so far as I could see, complained that we had failed to take steps which we took six weeks ago and have been taking continuously ever since.
The hon. Gentleman extricated himself from his dilemma with, I thought, a certain amount of credit by breaking loose altogether, like his hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East, from the terms of the Motion and talking at large about the 11-plus, the Albemarle Report, the training of technicians, maintenance allowances and certain other subjects.
The truth is that there is a real sense in which educational matters ought to be above the heat and dust of the political battle. Whichever party is in power, the Ministers concerned are responsible for the general education of the children of the other. It is not only ungenerous but, I think, impolitic to create an atmosphere of that loss of confidence; and it is not only impolitic but I think false to suggest that, though there may be differences of emphasis and method, the general social objectives of the parties are really far apart. Moreover, there is, I believe, a danger in a democracy, particularly in an election year, that if the leaders of the two rival factions abuse one another both in the end will be believed and that the result on public opinion is a loss of faith in the validity of our scale of values and the integrity of our public life.
I think that it is, therefore, worthwhile concluding this debate with the claim which has already been made in a short but striking speech by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) and by my hon. Friends the Members for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Maude) and Uxbridge (Mr. Curran) that we in this country are leading a world-wide crusade or revolution, whichever one likes to call it, for higher educational standards as well as for fuller educational provision and more rational educational ideals. I fully endorsed what the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) said about the improved status of education in the climate of opinion in recent years.
It is not only a question of expense, for education cannot simply be bought, but even by this criterion I am told that, at over 5 per cent., we now expend a greater proportion of our national in-\ 154 come on education than any other European country on this side of the Iron Curtain. I must protest again against the misrepresentation which has reappeared in this debate about cuts. There has been a steadily increasing expenditure upon education and a steadily increasing proportion of our national product devoted to that end. My right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal reminded me that in the very year in which the hon. Member for Coventry, East said that cuts were made, 1961–62, we spent £141 million mere on education than in the previous your. Certain it is that since the 1944 Act this country has undergone a total educational revolution, the effect of which will from now on increasingly appear in our public life.
I think that it was an unfortunate metaphor to which the hon. Member for Cardiff, West gave endorsement when he referred to higher and lower education.
§ Mr. G. Thomas
I was asking whether the Government believed in higher and lower education. That is something in which I do not believe, and I made that clear.
§ Mr. Hogg
School education is lower only in the sense that the roots of a tree are lower than the topmost branches or that the base of a pyramid is lower than the top of a pyramid. Education is a wide spectrum and it is in the individual a continuous process. Each individual, from the handicapped child to the professor in the university, is in the eyes, at any rate, of most Members of this House and most inhabitants of this country a creature of infinite North. Perhaps taking a leaf out of the book of the Bishop of Woolwich, we might call "higher education" "deeper education". However, I do not wish to be involved in a question of theology on this occasion.
My right hon. Friend the Minister of Education dealt in his opening speech with the school leaving age. The House will not expect me now to repeat his arguments. I might, however, sum up the position at once. Educationally speaking, there has never been any question that ideally the higher age of 16 is better than the present age of 15, although in this country we are almost alone in starting compulsory schooling at 5 rather than at 6.
155 If raising the age had, therefore, been the only point, obviously it could, and should, have been done years ago, even though hon. Members are quite wrong, as my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge pointed out, in thinking that the measure when it comes will be universally popular. It is in essence a measure of compulsion, bringing more than half the parents and children to do by force of law what, my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West pointed out, a growing minority are already doing by force of persuasion.
Moreover, as several hon. Members have pointed out, the measure will not succeed except in the presence of very great care about the curriculum during the fifth year, an issue which was well dealt with by my hon. Friend the Member for Wokingham (Mr. van Straubenzee). I hope that what my right hon. Friend the Minister said on that subject about the Certificate of Secondary Education and other topics will dispel any idea once and for all that we are not equally concerned both with the normal, the sub-normal and the gifted child. The Government have formed the clear conclusion that none of the necessary planning and modalities could be undertaken effectively until a date was fixed, and that date conincides with the date announced by my right hon. Friend this afternoon.
I cannot accept that the decision is belated. The trouble is that the issue is not one which can be isolated. Educational priorities are difficult things. An advance in one direction is won only at the cost of a setback or, at best, arrested development in another. My right hon. Friend has explained the difficulties which arise in school building, teacher provision and over-sized classes. These are all rivals for scarce and highly-qualified manpower and resources and I cannot accept that in his choice of a date my right hon. Friend has either exceeded the limit of what was desirable in speed or has delayed unduly.
I hope that I will be forgiven if I turn now to the second point in the Motion, namely the Robbins Report. For me at least, the publication of that Report meant a great deal more than 156 the provision of an adequate scheme for the higher education of what my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West described as the most numerous generation of sixth-formers ever to pass through our schools. It is, as far as I am aware, the first occasion when a public document, accepted in its essentials by the Government of the day, has set forth an acceptable social philosophy of higher education, an ideal of university and college life placed in its appropriate context of the educational revolution of the twentieth century.
We are wont to call our modern society by various names, some of them complimentary and others derogatory—the Welfare State, the affluent society, democracy or Western civilisation. In the ideals of that civilisation, it has seemed to me for a long time that there was one gap conspicuously lacking, the intellectual leaven which can come only from institutions of higher education, adequately provided with faculties in arts, sciences and social studies, and which alone can give reality to our dreams of social equality and social justice and solidity to our claim that democracy is not merely the most just but the most stable of human societies.
The modern university is, as the Robbins Report points out, the place where the highest intellectual and professional skills are acquired, the general powers of the mind promoted, and the frontiers of knowledge advanced. It it the final crucible where the last traces of class prejudice can be eliminated, the essentially local and denominational ethos of our schools, nationalised and internationalised. It is the function of the university to achieve the transmission of a common culture and common standards of citizenship.
I am, of course, aware that, as several hon. Members have pointed out, there is a genuine and proper fear within our institutions of learning that the requirements of expansion may destroy the standards that they have so carefully built up. My Lords—[Interruption.] I should like to say that I am entirely on their side. On the other hand, one is entitled to ask what one means by standards. Here I must say that I agree with the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland. I, for one, do not mean 157 the almost competitive standards of entry which the universities have been driven, against, I believe, their better judgment, to adopt since the war in order to apply, if they can, objective criteria to the overwhelming pressure of qualified entries from the schools.
This has set up in turn, I believe, a distortion and over-specialisation in the school curriculum—a point to which the hon. Member for Coventry, East also referred. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West said, all schools have suffered from it, and Robbins is as much a Report about the health of school education as it is a Report about higher education.
By "standards" I mean standards of staffing, adequate standards of entry, pass and class, and, above all, standards evinced by the quality of post-graduate work of all sorts in the publication of learned works and the execution of projects of research. I feel absolutely certain that the Robbins target can be achieved in a realistic fashion, and that in the long run the Robbins Report will be a friend of those standards which I have sought to describe and not antagonistic to them.
Of course, these general considerations were not the only things which we thought to get, and which I think we have got, from the Robbins Report. The first hope that I had, which has been fulfilled, was that, despite the enormous increase in higher education since the war, it was none the less the case that agreed targets were still an under-estimate of what was essential for the health of our system of higher education. I believe that academic and public opinion alike needs to be confronted with the formidable body of evidence prepared by Lord Robbins and his collaborators as to demand, as to availability and as to the security of academic standards.
Secondly, I think that it was absolutely vital to stress the need for a renewed emphasis on the importance of postgraduate work. Although undergraduate numbers are, of course, an adequate yardstick and one at least of the purposes of the university, it is vital for us all to emphasise that a university is not simply a teaching factory; nor are its purposes fulfilled simply when the requisite 158 number of undergraduates is processed into the requisite numbers of B.A.s and B.Sc.s. Indeed, the very value of a first degree course depends in part at least on the exposure of the young to the intellect of those who are in the advance of knowledge. Therefore, even in terms of the so-called "crash" programme, this adds up to the provision of resources and the recruitment and training of graduate teachers.
So far as science and technology are concerned, I am happy to tell the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Malcolm MacPherson) that it can be now announced that provision is to be taker in the 1964–65 Estimates to allow for no less than 2,500 new D.S.L.R. post-graduate students, which is an increase of 25 per cent. on the current year and continues the sharply rising trend of recent years. The awards in the humanities are, of course, administered by my right hon. Friend and the Scottish Education Department. The numbers here will be 1,000 as against less than half in the current year.
The third reason for the establishment of the Robbins Committee was the need for a wider range of courses and institutions offering degrees of university status. This will involve a wide range of places in science and technology, in the teacher training colleges, in business and management studies, in social studies and a range of institutions slanted towards applied science and technology. I speak here not only of the so-called special institutions but also of the colleges of advanced technology and the regional colleges and technical institutions.
The House would wish to know of the advice of the University Grants Committee on the recommendation of the Robbins Report that there should be at least one new university in Scotland, in addition, of course, to the proposed Strathclyde University. The U.G.C. has advised in favour of this recommendation. The Government have accepted this advice and have asked the U.G.C. to advise further on the choice of a location from those sites that have been suggested.
The hon. Member for Coventry, East referred to the question of Government machinery. My right hon. Friend said that a decision on this can be expected 159 in a week or two and I can give the hon. Gentleman the explicit assurance that, whatever differences of opinion may exist outside the Government about the subject of Government machinery, an announcement can be expected within that time. [HON. MEMBERS: "What time?"] Within a week or two. Any period of deliberation which may be thought necessary to reach a decision in the face of the manifest difference of opinion which exists in the educational world has not had the effect of postponing decision on any of the issues of policy by so much as a single minute.
Without consulting public opinion, it certainly would have been impossible to reject the Robbins proposal for that favoured by the hon. Member for Coventry, East or by my hon. Friend the Member for Wokingham. On the assumption that we were right to approach that matter in that way, it seems excessive to question the Government's view that the beginning of February is as good as any other time to announce a decision.
This decision was framed about the school leaving age and the Robbins Report—[HON. MEMBERS: "And Newsom."]—on the Newsom and the Crowther Reports as well—although, on the school leaving age, we were in a position to announce a decision which we thought a correct one, at the very time the Motion was put down.
§ The rest of the Motion, which complains of the absence of vigorous action on the Robbins Report, is approximately the opposite of the truth. The Government accepted with alacrity the targets of that Report. They made the unequivocal and unqualified pledge that the resources would be provided and plans be put in hand at once to the tune of £3,500 million. They accepted at once the recommendation of university status for the colleges of advanced technology, the Royal College of Art and the Royal College of Aeronautics. They have accepted at once the advice of the University Grants Committee that one new university should be located in Scotland. They have asked for an early report on the plans of the three institutions mentioned by name in the Robbins Report as suitable for status as special institutions. They have accepted the National Council on Academic Awards which should be in operation this summer. Their proposals on organisation are very nearly ready and will certainly be made shortly, well before it is likely to be possible to carry them into effect.
§ These are vigorous actions, and I ask the House by its vote to repudiate the Motion.
§ Question put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 235, Noes 297.163
|Division No. 10.]||AYES||[9.57 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Edelman, Maurice|
|Ainsley, William||Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)|
|Albu, Austen||Callaghan, James||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Carmichael, Neil||Edwards, Walter (Stepney)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Evans, Albert|
|Awbery, Stan (Bristol, Central)||Chapman, Donald||Fernyhough, E.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Cliffe, Michael||Finch, Harold|
|Baird, John||Collick, Percy||Fitch, Alan|
|Barnett, Guy||Corbert, Mrs. Freda||Fletcher, Eric|
|Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Foley, Maurice|
|Beaney, Alan||Cronin, John||Forman, J. C.|
|Bence, Cyril||Crosland, Anthony||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)|
|Benn, Anthony Wedgwood||Crossman, R. H. S.||Galpern, Sir Myer|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Cullen, Mrs. Alice||George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn)|
|Benson, Sir George||Dalyell, Tam||Ginsburg, David|
|Blackburn, F.||Darling, George||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.|
|Blyton, William||Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Gourlay, Harry|
|Boardman, H.||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Greenwood, Anthony|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Grey, Charles|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics, S. W.)||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)|
|Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)||Deer, George||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)|
|Boyden, James||Delargy, Hugh||Griffiths, W. (Exchange)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Diamond, John||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)|
|Bradley, Tom||Dodds, Norman||Hamilton, William (West Fife)|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Doig, Peter||Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Driberg, Tom||Gunter, Ray|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Duffy, A. E. P. (Colne Valley)||Harper, Joseph|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||Hannan, William|
|Hart, Mrs. Judith||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Silkin, John|
|Hayman, F. H.||Mahon, Simon||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Healey, Denis||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (RwlyRegis)||Manuel, Archie||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Herbison, Miss Margaret||Mapp, Charles||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Marsh, Richard||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Mason, Roy||Small, William|
|Hilton, A. V.||Mayhew, Christopher||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Holman, Percy||Mellish, R. J.||Snow, Julian|
|Hooson, H. E.||Mendelson, J. J.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Houghton, Douglas||Millan, Bruce||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)||Milne, Edward||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Mitchison, G. R.||Steele, Thomas|
|Howie, W. (Luton)||Monslow, Walter||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Hoy, James H.||Moody, A. S.||Stonehouse, John|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Morris, Charles (Openshaw)||Stones, William|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Morris, John||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Moyle, Arthur||Stross, Sir Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Hunter, A. E.||Neal, Harold||Swain, Thomas|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)||Swingler, Stephen|
|Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Oliver, G. H.||Symonds, J. B.|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||O'Malley, B. K.||Taverne, D.|
|Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Oram, A. E.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Janner, Sir Barnett||Oswald, Thomas||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Owen, Will||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Jeger, George||Padley, W. E.||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)|
|Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Pargiter, G. A.||Thornton, Ernest|
|Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Parker, John||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Parkin, B. T.||Tomney, Frank|
|Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Pavitt, Laurence||Wade, Donald|
|Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Peart, Frederick||Warbey, William|
|Kelley, Richard||Pentland, Norman||Weitzman, David|
|Kenyon, Clifford||Popplewell, Ernest||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|King, Dr. Horace||Prentice, R. E.|
|Ledger, Ron||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Probert, Arthur||Whitlock, William|
|Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Proctor, W. T.||Wigg, George|
|Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry||Willey, Frederick|
|Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Randall, Harry||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Lipton, Marcus||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Loughlin, Charles||Reid, William||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Reynolds, G. W.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|McBride, N.||Rhodes, H.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|McCann, John||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Woof, Robert|
|MacColl, James||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|MacDennot, Niall||Robertson, John (Palsley)||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|McInnes, James||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Zilliacus, K.|
|McKay, John (Wallsend)||Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)|
|Mackie, John (Enfield, East)||Ross, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|McLeavy, Frank||Mr. Lawson and Mr. Redhead.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Crowder, F. P.|
|Allason, James||Bryan, Paul||Cunningham, Knox|
|Arbuthnot, John||Buck, Antony||Curran, Charles|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Bullard, Denys||Currie, G. B. H.|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham)||Burden, F. A.||Dance, James|
|Barber, Anthony||Butcher, Sir Herbert||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry|
|Barlow, Sir John||Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F.|
|Barter, John||Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Digby, Simon Wingfield|
|Batsford, Brian||Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Carr, Rt. Hon. Robert (Mitcham)||Doughty, Charles|
|Bell, Ronald||Cary, Sir Robert||Douglas-Home, Rt. Hon. Sir Alec|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Channon, H. P. G.||Drayson, G. B.|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Chataway, Christopher||du Cann Edward|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Duncan, Sir James|
|Bidgood, John C.||Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Duthie, Sir William (Banff)|
|Biffen, John||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Eden, Sir John|
|Bingham, R. M.||Cleaver, Leonard||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Cole, Norman||Elliott, R. W. (Newc'tle upon-Tyne, N.)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Cooke, Robert||Emery, Peter|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Cooper, A. E.||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn|
|Bossom, Hon. Clive||Cordeaux, Lt,-Col. J. K.||Errington, Sir Eric|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Corfield, F. V.||Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J.|
|Box, Donald||Costain, A. P.||Farey-Jones, F. W.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John||Coulson, Michael||Farr, John|
|Boyle, Ht. Hon. Sir Edward||Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Fell, Anthony|
|Braine, Bernard||Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Fisher, Nigel|
|Brewis, John||Crawley, Aidan||Forrest, George|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Critchley, Julian||Foster, John|
|Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (Stafford&Stone)||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Freeth, Denzil||Leather, Sir Edwin||Rees, Hugh (Swansea, W.)|
|Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Leavey, J. A.||Renton, Rt. Hon. David|
|Gammans, Lady||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Gardner, Edward||Lilley, F. J. P.||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central)||Lindsay, Sir Martin||Rippon, Rt. Hon. Geoffrey|
|Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)||Linstead, Sir Hugh||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Litchfield, Capt. John||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)||Rodgers, John (Sevencaks)|
|Goodhew, Victor||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Roots, William|
|Gough, Frederick||Longden, Gilbert||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Gower, Raymond||Loveys, Walter H.||Russell, Ronald|
|Grant-Ferris, R.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Green, Alan||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Seymour, Leslie|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Sharples, Richard|
|Grosvenor, Lord Robert||MacArthur, Ian||Shaw, M.|
|Gurden, Harold||McLaren, Martin||Shepherd, William|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)||Maclean, Sir Fitzrcy (Bute & N. Ayrs)||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Speir, Rupert|
|Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||McMaster, Stanley R.||Stainton, Keith|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Stanley, Hon. Richard|
|Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Maddan, Martin||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Harvey, John (Walthemstow, E.)||Maginnis, John E.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Harvie Anderson, Miss||Maitland, Sir John||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Hastings, Stephen||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Hay, John||Marlowe, Anthony||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest||Talbot, John E.|
|Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward||Marshall, Sir Douglas||Tapsell, Peter|
|Hendry, Forbes||Marten, Neil||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Hicks Beach, Maj. W.||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Taylor, Sir William (Bradford, N.)|
|Hiley, Joseph||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Teeling, Sir William|
|Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Maude, Angus (Stratford-on-Avon)||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Mawby, Ray||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Hobson, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter|
|Hocking, Philip N.||Maydon, Lt-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Quintin||Mills, Stratton||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|Holland, Philip||Miscampbell, Norman||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Hollingworth, John||Montgomery, Fergus||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John||More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Hornby, R. P.||Morgan, William||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P.||Morrison, John||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Howard, John (Southampton, Test)||Neave, Airey||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Hughes-Young, Michael||Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael||Vesper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Hulbert, Sir Norman||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||Walder, David|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Walker, Peter|
|Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Charles||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek|
|Jackson, John||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|James, David||Page, John (Harrow, West)||Whitelaw, William|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Dudley (Exeter)|
|Jennings, J. C.||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Partridge, E.||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Peel, John||Wise, A. R.|
|Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Percival, Ian||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Peyton, John||Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard|
|Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Kaberry, Sir Donald||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Pounder, Rafton||Woollam, John|
|Kerby, Capt. Henry||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch||Worsley, Marcus|
|Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Kershaw, Anthony||Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)|
|Kimball, Marcus||Prior, J. M. L.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Kirk, Peter||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho||Mr. Chichester-Clark and|
|Kitson, Timothy||Proudfoot, Wilfred||Mr. Finlay.|
|Lagden, Godfrey||Pym, Francis|