HC Deb 23 April 1969 vol 782 cc459-60
23. Mr. Hannan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many local authorities have submitted plans for comprehensive education; and how many are outstanding.

Mr. Millan

All 35 authorities have submitted proposals for the reorganisation of secondary education on comprehensive lines, and these have now been wholly or substantially approved. Most of the proposals approved cover the whole area of the authority; in a few instances those for particular localities are still under discussion.

Mr. Hannan

Can my hon. Friend answer the latter part of the Question? How many are still outstanding? If they are few in number, will he name them?

Mr. Millan

There are no proposals outstanding in the sense that every authority has submitted proposals. There are one or two areas where detailed matters remain to be considered but, by and large, the proposals have been agreed.

Mr. MacArthur

Will the hon. Gentleman recognise that many local authorities do not accept the Socialist view that comprehensive education must be right for everyone everywhere? Will he restore freedom to local education authorities and bring to an end his shameful policy of coercion?

Mr. Millan

That is an absolutely absurd question. We have had excellent co-operation from local education authorities in implementing the suggestions in Circular 600. I certainly do not equate freedom in education, or the right kind of secondary education, with the question of fee-paying in local authority schools, as the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends do.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the Minister aware that comprehensive education has been the traditional form of education in Scotland and that it has a worldwide reputation? Perhaps hon. Gentlemen opposite are not acquainted with Scottish education.

Mr. Millan

That would not surprise me. As my right hon. Friend says, the idea of comprehensive reorganisation is not new in Scotland, and we have found ready acceptance of the idea among local education authorities.