HC Deb 08 February 1968 vol 758 c636
18. Mr. Hornby

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he proposes to reconstitute the Central Advisory Council for Education in England and Wales; and what subject he will ask the Council to examine.

Mr. Gordon Walker

I have not yet reached a decision about this.

Mr. Hornby

Is it not about time the right hon. Gentleman did so? Does he agree that he has a duty under the 1944 Act to make such an appointment, and that it is more than 12 months since the Council last met?

Mr. Walker

No, Sir. I am not under a duty to do so. There have in the past been intervals of 19 and 20 months between the delivery of a report and the setting-up of another Council under the Act. I am under no obligation, but I would be ready to listen to suggestions.

Mr. Dobson

Will my right hon. Friend look at the matter again? As the hon. Gentleman suggested, it is a very long time since the Council sat, and many of the most responsible teachers' representative organisations are very keen to have it reconstituted.

Mr. Walker

Yes, but we must be quite clear what is to be inquired into before we reconstitute the Council.

Sir E. Boyle

We have already suggested from this side of the House that the special schools, and in particular the boundary line between the right hon. Gentleman and the Minister of Health, should be the subject of the next inquiry.

Mr. Walker

That is a different matter on which I hope that we shall be able to tell the House something before very long. I have considered the question of special schools as a subject for inquiry and came to the conclusion that on the whole we would get quicker and better results by acting directly through the Department and Her Majesty's inspectors. But I shall look at this again if the right hon. Gentleman wants me to.