HC Deb 13 November 1969 vol 791 cc593-5
11. Mr. Boyden

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the value of new school building completed in the Bishop Auckland constituency during the last three years.

Miss Bacon

The value was £284,000 between October, 1966, and September, 1969.

Mr. Boyden

Will my right hon. Friend consider increasing the programme in this area so that the James I Grammar School, which is being converted to a comprehensive school, may have a good start?

Miss Bacon

In addition to the work already completed, the value of work under construction is £233,000, and other work for 1969–70 and 1970–71 amounts to nearly £200,000, in addition to which in my hon. Friend's constituency a further amount totalling £542,000 will ne available out of the money referable to the raising of the school leaving age. I understand that the work which my hon. Friend contemplates should be finished to enable this school to go comprehensive by 1973.

12. Mr. Hunt

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if his Department will take steps to commission the making of a film for use in secondary schools, illustrating the dangers and ill effects of drug taking.

Miss Bacon

Education on drug dependence is at present being considered by the Health Education Council, which is giving particular attention to the relative value of various media, including films, and I shall give urgent attention to its findings.

Mr. Hunt

In the meantime, would not a film of this kind be a useful way of drawing the attention of teenages in a vivid and effective manner to the dangers of drug taking and to the physical and mental disintegration of those who become addicted, particularly to hard drugs? Will she do everything she can to encourage the early making of such a film, which could be set in this country?

Miss Bacon

We ourselves cannot make the film, but I agree that this is an important and urgent matter. The hon. Gentleman can rest assured that I shall take any necessary steps to try to prevent drug taking in schools.

Mrs. Renee Short

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind also that, apart from the question of children's health, there is a serious and urgent need to give help and guidance to both parents and teachers in recognising the signs of addiction in school children? The hon. Gentleman's suggestion might well help in this direction, too.

Miss Bacon

The recent booklet which we published had a chapter on that very subject for teachers, but I shall bear in mind what my hon. Friend says.

15. Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will issue a circular to education authorities about the dangers of drug taking.

Miss Bacon

Advice is already given in "The Handbook of Health Education" published last year and is available also from Her Majesty's Inspectorate and my Department's medical officers. I am considering whether further steps are necessary.

Mr. McNair-Wilson

Now that drugs have become a major problem among young people, that is not really sufficient. Does the right hon. Lady realise that many headmasters in my constituency, for example, say that they do not know what to tell their pupils, in particular about the dangers of cannabis'? They find the present body of knowledge and advice terribly vague and they long for a clear directive from the Department whidh could give them guidelines at least on what to teach their pupils.

Miss Bacon

It may be that the chapter in the booklet to which I referred has not been read by all teachers. The very advice for which the hon. Gentleman asks is given in the booklet, but I shall, as I have said, see whether anything further is necessary specifically on the subject of drugs, apart from that book.