HC Deb 07 April 1965 vol 710 cc468-9
17. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what information he has as to the merits of the initial teaching alphabet as a medium for the teaching of reading well suited to a young child; and when his inspectors will be able to report.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. William Ross)

I would refer my hon. Friend to the Answer which I gave to the right hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Sir W. AnstrutherGray) on 23rd March.

Mr. Dalyell

May we have an assurance that I.T.A. is being taken seriously?

Mr. Ross

Yes, it is; very much so. The Dundee College of Education is in touch with the work which is going on in London, and 10 schools in Scotland, under four education authorities, are conducting a pilot scheme. From what I have heard, I judge that the work is going very well. but it is far too early to assess its value.

Lady Tweedsmuir

Can the Secretary of State say whether there is any intention of extending the pilot schemes in the City of Aberdeen beyond the present four schools now concerned? Is he aware that some of these schools have great difficulty in getting the textbooks involved? Can he use his good offices to improve this situation?

Mr. Ross

I shall have a look at this matter of textbooks. I do not think that there is any intention at the moment of extending the scheme. We have 10 schools going, and we think that these will be sufficient to give us an indication of the value of I.T.A.

Mr. Woodburn

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this experiment in Edinburgh and other cities is succeeding very well? Would he ask the B.B.C. if they would co-operate with this in introducing some sensible spelling for words like "receive"? In words like this nearly everybody, adult and youth, spends an unnecessary amount of time discovering whether the "i" comes before the "e" or the "e" before the "i".

Mr. Ross

I did not appreciate that the B.B.C. was responsible for spelling. I appreciate that there is remarkable progress by the pupils who are undergoing these tests. We shall certainly keep our eyes open to see whether or not we can come to a conclusion about this which will be of benefit to all children.

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