HC Deb 03 July 1968 vol 767 cc1495-6
31. Mr. MacArthur

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make an early statement setting out the details of the educational development programme necessary to meet the requirements of 1972 when the school leaving age is to be raised.

Mr. Milton

The detailed preparations for the raising of the school leaving age are matters for education authorities and vary from area to area. So far as the Government's policy is concerned I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Rankin) on 6th March.—[Vol. 760, c. 86–7.]

Mr. MacArthur

Will not the hon. Gentleman recognise, however, that there is urgent need for a clear statement from the Government? Will he give an undertaking that such a statement will be made before the end of this year in order to remove the confusion and lack of confidence created by the Govern- ment's incessant and contradictory changes in education policy? Does he not consider that the raising of the school leaving age will be jeopardised yet again unless a definite and clear long-term plan is announced and adhered to?

Mr. Speaker

Long questions and long answers mean fewer questions and fewer answers.

Mr. Millan

That question was not only long, but highly inaccurate and extremely unspecific. We have made our position on school building, on the curriculum and on the supply of teachers clear on many occasions and we shall continue to reaffirm those points as occasion requires.

Mr. Maclennan

Can my hon. Friend say whether the Sutherland education authority's proposal for the downgrading of Dornoch Academy, which his right hon. Friend recently approved, took into consideration the expansion of places necessary in 1972, and is he aware of the great concern felt in the area about this move?

Mr. Millan

I am aware of the controversy which there has been about this proposal, but as I understand the position it will certainly be possible to provide the places which are required in good time in the schools in the area both at Dornoch and Golspie.

Mr. MacArthur

On a point of order. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.