HC Deb 24 June 1965 vol 714 cc1928-9
24. Mr. Rhodes

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of schoolchildren living in the city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne were not admitted to grammar schools when they were being considered for selective secondary education in each of the years 1960, 1962 and 1964, respectively.

Mr. Prentice

Information is not available in the form requested. With permission, I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the percentages of 13 year old pupils for whom the local education authority was financially responsible, in schools of different types in 1960, 1962 and 1964, respectively.

Mr. Rhodes

Is my hon. Friend aware that on the basis of the previous Written Answer to me, which was of a similar type to the Answer which my hon. Friend has just given, he gave information to show that approximately only one in five of the children in the City of Newcastle are receiving the benefits of a grammar school education? Would he agree that there is no evidence to show that children in Newcastle are less intelligent than children in other cities which have a higher percentage of children attending grammar schools? Bearing this in mind, would my hon. Friend support the actions of the L.E.A. in doing away with this outmoded system of the 11-plus segregation which is undermining the educational potential of children in that city?

Mr. Prentice

To answer the first part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question, the information in the Answer which I will circulate will be in similar terms to the Answer to the previous Question to which my hon. Friend referred. My only difficulty was that the wording of the two Questions were slightly different. To answer his general point, I of course accept that children in Newcastle-upon-Tyne should be regarded as intelligent on average as children elsewhere. The difference between the number of children who are getting a grammar school education in different parts of the country is one of the examples of the absurdity of segregating children at the age of 11.

Sir E. Boyle

In view of the criticism just now of the omission of a Dorset school from the building programme, is the Minister of State aware that the previous Administration approved two very large secondary schools for Newcastle in the 1963–64 and 1965–66 programmes, worth more than £½ million each, which will enormously increase the chance of children in Newcastle getting a secondary course leading to G.C.E.?

Mr. Prentice

The previous Government approved a number of building improvements, but not nearly enough in terms of the general needs of the country.

Following are the percentages:

1960 1962 1964
Primary (all age) 7.8 7.0 1.6
Modern 64.5 54.1 53.2
Technical 13.2 16.5 19.0
Comprehensive Nil 6.5 7.6
Grammar 11.4 12.3 13.2
Direct Grant Grammar 2.8 2.9 4.6
Independent 0.4 0.6 0.8