HC Deb 02 May 1968 vol 763 c1277
19. Mr. Marks

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what would be the cost of introducing a single school leaving date in 1970; and what action he has now taken to ascertain the views of appropriate organisations on the desirability of this measure.

Mr. Edward Short

The cost to local education authorities will be about £1 million a year for England and Wales. My right hon. Friend the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity, is consulting both sides of industry. I have already received the views of some local authority and teachers' organisations and I shall hold formal consultations with all these bodies in the near future.

Mr. Marks

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that reply. Will he accept that there was some concern in educational circles that the Department was expressing interest but not showing much enthusiasm about making inquiries? I am grateful that they are now proceeding?

Sir Knox Cunningham

Will the right hon. Gentleman remember that it is not always in the best interests of a young person to have a single school leaving date?

Mr. Short

Yes, I agree that there are two sides to this question. There is the great difficulty which the Crowther Report pointed out about turning all school leavers on to the labour market at the same time, but there are also advantages. These two sides we shall weigh in consultation with all the bodies concerned.