HC Deb 19 January 1967 vol 739 cc641-2
34. Mr. Raphael Tuck

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science in the forward planning of allocation of resources to the schools, if it is his policy that a large enough increase is to be allocated to enable primary schools to meet the educational needs of the pupils in them.

Mr. Crosland

It is my policy, within the resources available, to meet educational needs in all parts of the educational system.

Mr. Tuck

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Plowden Report has stated that there is no educational justification whatever for such a wide disparity as exists today between the money available per pupil in the primary school and the money available per pupil in the secondary school? What does he propose to do about this?

Mr. Crosland

I am well aware that the Plowden Report states that, and makes a large number of other recommendations. I have very great sympathy with the priority which the Plowden Report wishes to give to primary schools, but one cannot pick out one particular sector of education and give it some overriding priority. In the short term, as I shall say in answer to a Written Question, I am in very broad sympathy with the tenor and philosophy of the Plowden Report.

Mr. Bessell

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is aware of the very grave difficulties in which primary school teachers are seeking to do their jobs in rural areas, particularly Cornwall? Will he look at this as being a special problem, distinct from the national problem?

Mr. Crosland

No, Sir. One must look at this as a national problem. I have said repeatedly that I have been responsible for the school building programme for only two years. For the previous 13 the party opposite was responsible. It is for this reason that I have said that, after we allow for basic needs, the improvement or replacement of primary schools should have priority.